aruan: (Iron Man - hello Tony)
So, our cable company randomly stopped being an inefficient corporate monopoly and gave me two tickets to an advance screening of The Desolation of Smaug tonight. With free popcorn and drinks!

Holy crap that's an amazing CGI dragon. (SPOILERS) )

Then, on the way home, I had a missed connection, because between never knowing the right thing to say when the moment calls for it and living in fear of embarrassment means I don't introduce myself very often. Anyway, I may have posted it to Craigslist, because why not. If you're interested, read it below. )
aruan: (30 Rock - bored now)
Would Iron Man and Batman count as superheroes? (Thanks, [personal profile] par_avion, it's your fault that I've been thinking about this all day.)

Oh god you guys, I need to be eased back into the real world after five days of conventioneering, because my boss came in today and this was our word-for-word greeting:

Boss: "Hey, welcome back! We missed you!"
Me: "I didn't miss anyone here."

In non-feral English that was actually, "This weekend was so intense and immersive that there was no awareness of the world outside SpringHill Suites, so I couldn't miss what didn't exist." AND THEN:

Boss: "Do you think you'll write about [VividCon]?"
Me: "I don't think norms would understand it."

FFS YOU DON'T SAY 'NORM' TO A NORM. In my defense, I was caffeine-deficient and spent 15 hours in a car yesterday on top of five days of being able to say exactly what I was thinking as soon as I thought it. But seriously, it felt as heinously embarrassing as my nightmare of walking around high school without pants.

Fortunately, my boss is both sympathetic to post-vacation funk and generally cool, so she waylaid the conversation into theorizing about whether one of her ovaries was possibly "exploding" and suggested we become the kind of co-workers "who say inappropriate things to one another at 9 a.m." My husband has been displaced as the person I love the most today.

Some links:

  • It's only a matter of time before Google can answer personal questions.
  • "The royal couple playing at 'normal' parenthood is no more authentic than Marie Antoinette dressed as a shepherdess."
  • Another reason not to ride a bike in New York: Cops will crash you to write a ticket.
  • aruan: (30 Rock - bored now)
    My brush with The Rachel, the self-fulfilling cycle of anxiety about my hair, and why Cumberskittles is responsible for this latest crisis. )

    My new haircut is still drying, but all signs point to it being just as great as the first one. Everything is OK - for another six weeks.
    aruan: (30 Rock - bored now)
    I finally string enough thoughts together for a new entry, and of course it's more than 1,000 words of personal meta.

    He was interested, and had money, but it was in his car. Would I mind watching his kids for a moment? With that, he pushed his infant daughter into my arms and walked out to get it. )
    aruan: (Default)
    Because a girl can only do so much between hormones, too little sleep all week and not eating for 15 hours because of a clusterfuck with our delivery order from a new restaurant. But some of it was good crying! And some of it was just melodramatic.

    When you talk of the Tampa Bay Rays' 2011 wild-card drama - and you will - know this - St. Petersburg Times

    The Rays are Brandon's home team, and any sport where there's an equal possibility of going home with a souvenir or a black eye from a foul ball is always a good time. But this was an absolutely unbelievable game, down seven to nothing in the eighth and then tied up by the bottom of the ninth by a guy who's hit .108 for the season, stretching all the way into a 12th inning before the Rays secured their spot in the postseason. They're such amazing fielders - and easy on the eyes, too, since the franchise being pretty underfunded means their focus is on scouting college players.

    Downtown Disney flash mob marriage proposal - The Disney Blog

    Nothing melts my cold, cold heart like a creative proposal, especially when there are accomplices involved.

    Ferrari Enzo abandoned in Dubai - BBC Top Gear

    I saw The Brave Little Toaster at a very impressionable age, and blame it for my inability to throw away anything just because there's a newer model out. The movie made me incredibly sad for everything that has outlived its (perceived) usefulness. But a beautiful machine in its prime left to decay?

    The Last Stand Ending - sunsetagain on deviantART

    You guys. The end of the third X-Men movie already broke me once, but this sketch did it all over again.
    aruan: (maybe this is the time I won't)
    Like everyone else this morning, I woke up to the new Delicious, a stunning example of what happens when you throw a bunch of money and developers at a problem that doesn't exist, while doing zero audience research to figure out how your service was being used. Having been largely out of fandom for about five years, when SGA was still The One Fandom and lived on LJ, before ToS fuckery and fannish migration and Delicious's role still in its infancy, the scope of what has been lost wasn't entirely clear to me until [livejournal.com profile] walkingshadow spent a good chunk of her day explaining it patiently through her seething rage.

    But despite not having nearly as much invested in Delicious as most of you, the impact of its spectacular implosion is another setback on what is my already haphazard wade back into fandom. )

    But even in this fragmented new world, Delicious seemed to be last place on the internet that everyone still went. The simplicity of its privacy settings was a revelation - things were either private or public; no friendslists, no filters, no barriers to fannish entry. Just click on a tag and lose yourself for a few hours. I'd venture that had to do a lot with Delicious's success in fostering what could arguably have been the largest fannish community space since the LJ schism (and why I have reservations about the picket fences evident in Pinboard's "introvert sharing" philosophy, though that seems to be where the fannish tide is drifting.) Delicious was accessible even to someone brand new to fandom, or someone like me who may as well be. Wasn't the reason we all used Delicious because it was a massive public park that all corners of fandom played in, where the little bold number of how many times something has been bookmarked meant something?

    But what's done is done, and fandom has every reason to find a new berth. And hey, AO3 rose out of a dark moment too, so maybe this will all eventually be for the best. But as someone still trying to find her footing, this didn't help my already fragile grasp of the new fannish geography.
    aruan: (Default)


    This is my mom, about to skydive on Thanksgiving in 2004. She's my hero for a thousand reasons, and the thought that her grandchildren may not know her because of brain cancer is unimaginably cruel. I hope that I can be even half the mother she is.
    aruan: (it has happened to me)
    On this day a year ago, I got hitched in lieu of risking arrest for living in sin in Abu Dhabi. Neither one of us is rummaging for a receipt though, so I figured it's about time we made it official by posting the evidence for all the internet to see. Click the photo for an album of our tiny ceremony of close friends and family, planned in just three weeks and without looking at a single weather forecast, otherwise I wouldn't have been wearing a strapless dress. Brr!



    [ETA: Icon due to LiveJournal's capricious selections, not my preference. Although, weirdly appropriate.]
    aruan: (finally)
    My new job began this week, but I use that sentence lightly. Getting used to the new 11:30am start time has been the hardest part, as half the editors I'll be working with were either still doing their old newsroom jobs or just started in their Weekend Edition capacity, so there was no actual copy. Basically, I spent a leisurely week pretending to publish my own newspaper, editing and designing a 24-page section. There were stories about the Chinese converting 'night soil' into biogas and the French left gloating about the current financial crisis and dead mothers coming out for hurricanes. It was an entertaining but overall depressing exercise, like reading the news tends to be these days.

    But mostly, any free time I've had the past month or so went into the abyss that is the Twilight series. Should anyone feel the need to find out what the teenies are going crazy for this season, ask me about it. I've read all four books, seen all the trailers and have promotional photos. Also, very complex feelings, most of them some variation of [blech]. The first book was fun, actually - if you like high school romance and vampires, but also have a high tolerance for repetition and stupidity like prismatic skin and basing relationships on the way your significant other smells - but the rest is just insufferably stupid without any emotional payoff. Also, the series enshrines codependent, abusive relationships, not to mention that Bella's only characteristic is that she loves Edward - no hobbies, no friends, no motivation other than being with him. All of which, of course, begs the question of why I'm still here: pretty icons, the promise of incestuous bloodplay fic (still searching for that), and Robert Pattinson's magical hair.

    Other things I've been doing:

    - Smiling randomly that Lance is on Dancing with the Stars
    - Cheering on the Tampa Bay Rays, as Brandon is a St. Petersburg native. One of the photo editors, Mike, is from Tampa, so we've been exchanging gossip and shaking off losses and sharing "Whoo, World Series!" fist bumps
    - Mainlining 30 Rock
    - Learning keyboard shortcuts for everything
    - Counterbalancing my love for Winston with the worthless brick of an iPod that Apple sent for my birthday
    - Partaking of the zombie silliness in World of Warcraft. Also, discovered shamans, possibly never going back
    - Drinking lots of tea because my mom handed off TWO giant tubs of biscotti to us in Europe
    - Shaking my head. The barista Alison spoke with about getting a piece of pumpkin bread for our Dubai road trip two weeks ago shook her head and said, "Pumpkin season is not until January!" [dies]
    - Playing Rock Band again. Short story: A dear friend, at all of 25 years old, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma back in July, and he's been getting treatment in New York. It didn't start well, but he finished chemotherapy with two fewer rounds than expected and is in total remission. His plane back to the 'Dhab landed on Thursday and by that evening we had gotten the band back together. It's so fucking good to see him again.

    You don't want me to do the controversial meme. ) Obama's got a lot to fix, but I've got more confidence in him than a warmongering coffindodger and his ignorant pandering sidekick.
    aruan: (making pie helps me deal with life)
    Alison had me over for dinner, and afterward we watched Ally McBeal while playing Bitch and balancing carrot cake in our laps. They were two deeply depressing episodes - her client was being sued for fraud because she married a man not for love, but because she thought he would be a good, financially stable father. Of course, this forced the court to debate what makes a marriage legitimate, and Ally kept insisting that it was about finding your other half, about all-consuming passion and not compromising.

    Sometime during a lull in the A plot, Alison asked how I knew Brandon was the one. I thought about it through two turns and a reminding prod from her, but only because there isn't an impressive answer. We didn't look at each other and fall in love - neither of us are exactly what the other considers their physical type. There were no choirs of angels, he didn't stand outside my window with a boombox - actually, that probably would've been a bad idea, as we tend to disagree on music a lot. But we can be in the same room together doing nothing in particular and be completely happy just for each others' presence. He remembers to bring me coffee if he gets some for himself; if I stop at a gas station, I always find something trivial for him, even if it's just a bottle of Coke (we try not to keep any in the house generally). We both like to stay up late, we laugh at the same jokes on The Daily Show, we have the same general world view. We listen when the other has a concern and feel free to talk about our own problems, and neither of us likes to yell. We split the chores. I love that he brings home strange musical instruments like they were stray puppies, and he's delighted by the fact that I'm a good audience for his ridiculous pun-based humor. Being with him is quiet and warm, and we can both be just a little less responsible because the other is there to pick up the occasional slack. Life is better and easier with him, and isn't that the point?

    But none of that is particularly grand or even all that special, really, not like the fireworks and intensity that some people characterize love as. And sometimes I wonder if it should be, but then I see him and think, "I'm so happy he's mine."
    aruan: (Default)
    Somehow, hurricanes were much less scary when I was living in Florida than watching them barrel toward the people I love back home on weather.com from across the world. It seems Bertha has been derailed, but hurricane season already jumped the gun this year, so who knows what else will happen?
    aruan: (happiness is a ZPM)
    I love Slate. They raise interesting questions, take unconventional angles, and basically tell stories from the human interest perspective - no inside baseball, no corporate fluff, just how this affects you and me. It's useful journalism.

    By far my favorite part is their Explainer column. Some people get sucked into the Internet following Facebook links to news sites to Wikipedia entries to blogs - I read endless back issues of the Explainer, with each column featuring related topics gathered into a summary at the bottom. Whether breaking news or pure frivolity, the questions are usually things I'm left wondering about that for some reason couldn't fit into conventional news stories.

    Some recent highlights: what living in a windowless basement for 24 years does to your health, are "replacements" allowed under China's one-child policy for earthquake victims, do rehab centers have a refund policy if you relapse, where do polygamous sects get all those women, the distinction between porn and prostitution, should you drink urine in emergency situations, and how bathrooms in space work.
    aruan: (ulcers at 30 won't be a surprise)
    Slate's review of Noise is the first I've heard of the new Tim Robbins flick about a Manhattanite who becomes obsessed with ridding the city of car alarms and faulty doorbells through vigilanteism with a baseball bat. I can sympathize on an abstract level - being able to sleep through the boys playing Rock Band four feet from the foot of my bed renders most other noise scenarios equally meaningless. I do, however, believe in jamming cell phones in classrooms and mandatory ring tone changes every two weeks if you work in an office with no vibrate-only policy, so there is a whole other world of noise pollution I lament.

    Anyway, it's a real world story I wanted to write after this incident, but couldn't get the editors' support on it. It didn't help that the couple did not want to speak to me, likely on the advice of counsel, but I had more responses to that short story than most feature pieces. People hate noise, compounded by the fact that unlike lobbying their city council for a signal or stop sign at a dangerous intersection, they feel there is no recourse for loud cars. The police, when they do come out because often they don't bother, saying the offenders likely will have left by the time they arrive, either tell them to move along or give them a warning. Now, I understand being roused from sleep can lead to demands of capital punishment, but a "move along, sir" is hardly an acceptable compromise, too many nights of which allegedly led Mr. Hyde (no pun intended, but oh, the irony) to point a shotgun at his tormentors.

    We're surrounded by noise all the time - ambulances, police sirens, iPods, children, cell phones, car alarms, muzack, elevator dings (can you tell the Ramee Garden has made me bitter?), car horns, air conditioners, radios, TVs, construction, etc. But how many of those very things can we live without? Granted, some of the ones we can't change, we can move away from - quiet streets, suburbs, cooler climates. God knows the world needs farmers, but moving to a spit of land in Idaho shouldn't have to be the solution. The movie, and Mr. Hyde, have a point, although a pair of noise-canceling headphones may do wonders for both?
    aruan: (ohgodWHY)
    With a bonafide coffee addict and a Starbucks dilletante comprising our household, you'd think we would have sprung for an espresso machine a lot sooner than now (and especially not just as it's getting brain-bakingly hot outside).

    But tonight, after much research of the four or so models we had to choose from here, Brandon came home with a Krups XP4030. It's black and silver, thankfully matching all the other countertop paraphernalia, and fits perfectly into the corner with the drip coffee maker and cereals. It expels steam like a squat little dragon once you're done.

    Of course, not knowing the dosage and eager to stop overpaying for sub-parly made Starbucks lattes, we both drank double shots, with the net result being my writing this at 5:16 am. We think we're going to bed now. Hopefully.
    aruan: (maybe this is the time I won't)
    We're moving out of the hotel tomorrow, after three months and almost three weeks FINALLY going to live a life that isn't confined to suitcases.

    Problem is, I'm the most useless person the night before something big happens - I pick up long-abandoned projects, my OCD habits come out usually with cleaning involved, my attention span narrows into negative space. I've played two video games, watched two disks' worth of Gilmore Girls (despite having seen every episode at least three times) and done one load of laundry, while managing actual progress only in the form of emptying a single drawer, loading my carryon with emergency supplies, half-packing two suitcases and setting out clothes for tomorrow.

    But there is a list! And a husband who occasionally nudges me to move along, though never too firmly and even offering to meet the early delivery guys so I can sleep in, since it's now past 5 a.m. and I'm nowhere near sleep. A home. Finally. We live here and love our jobs, and our bosses love us, and we're so much happier than either one of us ever hoped. And as of tomorrow, that happiness will be compounded by a ridiculously large LCD TV, a real bed instead of two twins pushed together, and hopefully all at a temperature that renders my little space heater obsolete.
    aruan: (big bang baby)
    I'm about to go sleep the sleep of one who stayed up for the day's first call to prayer, but there was no way we were leaving the makeshift printing hangar without getting a copy of the very first edition of The National.



    Yeah, slightly blue, but it's Volume 1, Issue 1! We're finally official! None of us left our seats tonight despite a lighter-than-normal workload because suddenly, after three months of putting out what felt like a college paper with minimal responsibility for the end result, the whole world would see today's edition. Despite standing in heels for four hours, two paper jams and much doubt, we launched a newspaper. I'm not sure anyone will ever get to do that again.

    [ETA: Check out the video on CNN.com: Arab answer to The New York Times? In the teaser shot, Mike is in the foreground with my hubby just behind him!]
    aruan: (maybe this is the time I won't)
    (Don't) correct me if I'm wrong | Spectatrix

    I found an introvert's blog through a link from a link of a link, like you do when idly perusing the Intertubes, and this entry resonated with me particularly. I've always known I am an introvert, but had no idea that my panic mode at being criticized, coached or corrected had anything to do with it. When my old paper switched back-end editing systems I struggled with it, and Brandon couldn't understand why I snapped at him for coming over asking if I needed help, even when he only said it loudly enough for the person in the next cubicle to hear. I avoided labs (even French, which I want to speak fluently more than anything) in college because of the on-the-spot tension that made me rubbish at them anyway. Being perfect in public is not an option, it's an imperative, likely since introverts tend to be given fewer venues to impress others than the loud people at parties.
    aruan: (this is my church)
    Another colleague will be joining us next week, and boss Rob asked around the desk what advice us oldtimers have to offer, things we wish we'd taken care of or brought with us, etc. I made a short list. Please note that Abu Dhabi is a much more liberal and commercially open enclave (think Epcot's World Showcase) than most of the Middle East (or most of the UAE for that matter), and these tips are not all-encompassing should you, say, make the sad mistake of moving to Saudi Arabia.

    This desert life )

    That's my three months' worth of wisdom. If anyone has tips on bearing with the heat, please share.
    aruan: (not my bag)
    UGH. Abu Dhabi reached 100 degrees on April 1, but today felt like a reprise with bonus humidity. Let me tell you how much fun it was to walk from my arctic hotel room, where I keep moisturizer in three strategic places, into the AQUARIUM of the outdoors. Now, I came here from Florida so neither concept is new, but I swear it was like being smothered with a wet towel the entire walk to Mike's car. Good thing I didn't have to hail a cab.

    Our lunch excursion was rewarded with a preview of the Red Bull Air Race that begins properly on Thursday. The gigantic inflatable buoys have been in the bay for days, and the huge Hollywood sign-esque display erected last weekend, but today the stunt planes were practicing swoops and dives and spins between the pylons, skimming the water then flipping sideways and roaring past the Marina Mall picture window where we ate. Our work schedule was pushed back to 4 p.m. this week, which means we can get in a good two hours of fun.

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