grinninfoole: (strangelove)
Actually several "its". Next weekend, I'm off to DexCon in NJ. This August, I'll be driving down the east coast to visit friends while I head towards DragonCon.

I've been seeing a life coach, which sounds kind of dumb to me, but it's been helpful, because she's helping to articulate what I really care about, and thus to focus on doing what I want to do, rather than what I think I should. I find that I am more relaxed and confident lately, and I'm accomplishing more things that matter to me. (Such as getting to the trainer 4 times a week, getting solar panels on the house, driving out to Kentucky for a family wedding, and spending more time with friends.)

It's ten months since my brother died. I'm still growing my hair out, two months to go, and it's such a nuisance. I don't know how people deal with it.

I started listening to a podcast on the History of Rome on my long drive, and it feels good to be learning about stuff that I didn't want to spend a ton of time reading about, but that I'm glad to know nonetheless. And so far, my favorite historical character has been Hannibal Baraka, so I'm sad he lost.

Millari is living here at the house again for the summer before she moves to Mexico. It's lovely to have her around so much, though her stuff is creating some clutter. The kitty is very happy she's here, and is every more cuddly and purring than otherwise. (She's in the crook of my arm as I type this. I think she sends her felicitations to you, dear reader.)
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
Alas, she does not feel about me like I feel about her. I do wonder if this is indicative of some personal flaw that I must address, or if my sample size is simply too small. As with many things in life, rejection is an inevitable part of the process. Food for thought in 2015.

For now, what matters is I spoke my mind fully and well, and I'm the better for it.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
OK, I found a work around for the glitch in the LJ app on my iPad, so I can write this post and see it at the same time. Much better.

I'm in Andover, visiting with my mother and brother as has become my wont. My brother has another chemo appointment tomorrow, and I'll be accompanying him. Assuming that he find this as tolerable as the last one, it will be the start of an ongoing series of treatments.

I have spent about three months of this year back here, lending what support I can. Besides cutting into my income, it's changed the situation at the store significantly. Back in May, when my brother was first diagnosed, I was here for most of the month to rally round the flag, and then my father died, so I wound up not working that entire month. While I was away, it became clear that the fellow managing the store was derelict in his duties and, worse, lying to the board about it. So, the first day I came back, he was fired and Lefty took over again as store manager (he's been coming up every week from New York), and we began this intense process of damage control to get the delinquent bills paid. It was a difficult couple of months, but we got things back on track, and we started grooming me to take over as store manager.

And then we found out that the doctors at MGH had been really wrong about Dave's condition. September was tumultuous, and we tried to find a way to tag-team running the store with each of us doing it part-time, but it just didn't work. So, while I'm still working at the store, I have stepped down as a manager, gone back to working hourly, and taking a pay cut. We have put out a call for applicants to manage the Northampton store, and I'll help train them up to the job, when I'm not out here.

I hope that my brother and I might take some fun trips together soon. I'm particularly thinking of Hawaii and then New Zealand, but sojourns to New York or Chicago also sound good.

I have been thinking about what to do with myself, given that I have more time on my hands, and what sort of goals I should pursue since throwing myself into work isn't really an option just now. It's lead me to wonder what it is that dedicated creative types have that I don't. One answer that has occurred is a social infrastructure that promotes writing, drawing, etc. and I think I might have stumbled into one just now around my new radio show.

Yes, I have a radio show, Civil Politics, on Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP, 103.3 FM for those of you in western MA) every Friday at 7 PM. I'm the host, and George Claxton and Susan Timberlake are the commenters, and we talk about political issues. We're less concerned with the tribal squabbles of our two parties, and more with what politics is about: competing interests, social problems, moral values, and finding ways to get along with each other. We must have 3 or 4 listeners already! (The show is available for streaming, and we're recording them as podcasts, which are online at civilpolitics.wordpress.com) I quite like doing the show, and I think it's an important set of discussions to have, one that more widely known media don't actually do. I have yet to listen to any of them again, but I will do, because I want to get better at it.
grinninfoole: (Default)
I left myself a note the other day to post about my monthly accomplishments. Now that I'm trying to do it, I'm staring blankly at this screen, wondering what the hell I could possibly have had in mind. Still, never let it be said I won't blindly follow the orders of a small-minded tyrant....

1) Negotiated a 10% raise at my job, and chose a career path.
I guess that's pretty big. I'm still making 20% less than the average for Sales & Related employees in my area. But, as I mentioned in another post, I like what I'm doing, who I'm working with, and why I'm doing it. And I think it's enough for my needs.

2) I got Howard Cruse to come to the store last week for book club, and it was fantastic. (Read more on the store's Facebook page, if you like.)

3) I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and went to the Burlesque show a couple of weeks ago. It was fun, and I got to socialize a bit with new people, which I'm not doing all that much. I wonder if I should try joining another game, or perhaps starting one?


Eh, this doesn't seem all that amazing to me. Still, I did do these things, and I'm proud of them, so what the hell.

OH, and these aren't MY accomplishments, but they're still pretty cool:

Time lapse photos of star formation.

Some clever buggers at UC Riverside have figured out how to convert acids into bases. Assuming that isn't a mistake, that strikes me as the kind of fundamental discovery that wins Nobel prizes. (But I'm not a chemist, and maybe it will just be a parlor trick.


EDIT TO ADD:
A fish that lives on land! (With gills and everything.)

A diamond planet! (Please, Doctor, can we go?)
grinninfoole: (Pathway)
I have been meaning to post for the past week, but I haven't made the time, despite staying up late.  Well, no more.  Surely you, my myriad readers, are desperate for news of me, so here it is. 

I moved into my new space last Saturday, so it's been a week.  It still feels a bit strange, but I'm adjusted better than I feared.  I feel rested when I sleep, and I like the space, though it still looks new to my eyes, and so this still feels like a bit of an adventure.  I must keep making time for making it mine.   There shall be a place for everything, and everything shall be in its place, but I shall first have to find all the things, get rid of stuff I no longer want, and then find places for the rest.  I can do it, but I must keep plugging away, and not just allow piles to acrete.  F found the change in dad space weird for a couple of days, but now she's got it figured out.

One good thing is that I'm so far succeeding in developing a habit of exercising when I get up in the morning.  I hope to end the year feeling strong and healthy and confident.  I had a look at the online schedule for my old dojo, as I'm thinking of starting Aikido again in the spring, and I was shocked to see that Kanai sensei had died seven years ago.  I know I have been away for a while, but damn....


Scattershotness:

I'm helping to organize the Paint and Pixel Festival in April.  It's a new event to showcase the many great artists in the wilds of western New England.  I have managed to hook a couple of headliners, but now I need to follow through on spreading the word so folks actually buy some tables.  I don't have any money in this, but I'd like it to become a success.  I took this on because I kind of miss the fun of organizing 5Con, I'm looking for new things to do to reinvent myself, I figure it will look OK on my resume, and the organizer is smoking hot.  (And happily married, so there's nothing in the offing there, because I'm done with that dance, but apparently I'm still susceptible to the prickings of my libido. :)

I have some friends who are apparently struggling to pull themselves from the slough of despond, and I haven't heard much from them of late.  You guys know who you are.  I'm pulling for you.  Call when you can.

(It's quite windy with gusts up to 50 mph; earlier there was a <i>thunderstorm</i>.  In February.  Frakking global warming.)

I made really tasty stew tonight.  M and I had some after we watched Fringe.  It feels good to watch a new show and be current on it.  Fringe isn't my favorite show, but it's really well done, and I'm impressed by how well written and structured it is.

I have seen some season 1 Deep Space Nine episodes recently, because M borrowed them from a friend, and is watching them with her inamorata.  I had forgotten just how strong that show was, and how well characterized it was, right from the start.  I'll probably say more about this later.

M and I are going back east to visit my family tomorrow.  I plan to interview my dad about his life, before he either dies or becomes so senile he won't remember anything.  I hope I haven't left it too late.

Carla Speed McNeil has finally published a new Finder book, called Voice.  It's about Rachel Grosvenor, now a young woman, and her struggle to earn formal acceptance into Clan Llaverac.  Things have gone wrong, and she needs Jaeger, but he's not around, so she has to go find him.  It's superb.  Man, she really is amazing comics creator and SF writer.  With the possible exception of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, this is the best creator-owned, one person writer/artist comic currently ongoing.  if you aren't reading yet, start now. 

I'm going to start sleeping, myself. 

Good night everyone. 
grinninfoole: (Default)
I have been rearranging my deck chairs lately, though I am making some progress on life goals.  I have re-started properly following Weight Watchers, journaling my points and considering the food I eat more carefully.  (The Kripalu 'Rain Forest' bars millari made the other day present a challenge.)  I have watched quite a bit of TV lately, though. Which isn't much for life growth, but was fun, so I shan't regret it.

Today was spent taking care of niggling things about the house, so now the front porch is clear, the big AC is finally out of the window, the hornet's nest is removed (and the window properly closed this time.)  I'm even posting to my LJ (as you can plainly see.)

I had a surprisingly helpful conversation with a customer last week, who was asking about graphic novels because she wanted to teach a class.  She turns out to teach at HCC, and had helpful advice on seeking work there, though I wish she'd written her name down as well as the other stuff.  She said I could drop her name, but since I don't remember it, I'm feeling like I can't actually do it.  It's purely a matter of me finding an excuse not to take a risk where I care about the consequences of failing, and I must shake it.  

I have moments of... not regretting, exactly, but  mourning my decision to split up with millari.  Like when I notice the absence of my wedding ring on my left hand, or today, when we were changing the sheets, and she perfectly interpreted my thinking, based on my facial expression.  

I think I shall sign up for Yuletide this year.  If I limit myself to a few fun fandoms (Leverage, Burn Notice, maybe Chuck), I think I can summon the wherewithal to squeeze out 1000 words.  And I'll be happy about it.

Anyway, I've spent more than my alloted half hour, so to bed!

P.S.  I have been meaning to mention here for at least a week: I am, apparently, a SQUARE, a total L7.  Recently, the show Glee did a version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I read a great essay (that I can't find now, alas) that explained exactly why it was a travesty.  Apparently, Glee took out the word transsexual from the songs, and had a girl play Frank N. Furter, along with some other changes (perhaps removing the cannibalism?) that, this person claimed, completely flipped the point of the story, which is that, in that house, the normal, clean-cut, white-bread heterosexuals (like me) are the outsiders who don't fit in, and over the course of the movie, they discover that, much as they deny it, they actually kind of like Frank N. Furter's way of life.  

I grew up with constant reminders that I was an outsider, a weirdo who didn't fit in, so I can forget all the ways in which I so very 'establishment'.  "Still," I thought, "Brad is definitely not a gamer, would never take comics seriously, and probably never actually enjoyed learning anything.  I'm may not be Frank, or Rocky, but I'm not Brad."  And then, a friend posted THIS to her journal, a very saucy song by a man in drag about he can't wait to have penis surgically transformed into a vagina.  I watched and listened, agog, feeling a bit like that moment in Buckaroo Banzai when Christopher Lloyd proclaims: "It's not my damn planet", and finally accepted the truth:

Hi, my name's Brad and I'm quite ordinary and mainstream.  Welcome to my blog. :) 
grinninfoole: (Default)
Last Wednesday, I took the afternoon train to the Big Apple for the New York Comicon. It was a four-day adventure/vacation/business trip, and I had a great time. It actually started Tuesday, when I stayed up rather late watching Caprica, making a quiche so that I could save money on breakfast while I was away, packing, and washing clothes. The rain and cold of last week were ending as I left, and the entire time I was in New York, the weather was perfect: 60s to 70s, mostly sunny. Here’s a day by day recounting, behind a cut for your TL,DR pleasure.

WEDNESDAY )

THURSDAY )


FRIDAY )

SATURDAY )

SUNDAY )


Monday:
Slept in, was able to get coverage for work, and lazed the day away, making sure Millari was OK. She’s still a bit wobbly, but she should make a full recovery.  And, now it's Friday of this week already.  I'm shocked at how quickly the time is passing.  I definitely want to do this again next year.
grinninfoole: (Default)
I have sore throat, so I'm loafing as much as possible today. The great storm which apparently socked the hell out of south and mid-Atlantic states left the merest dusting of snow here, after I went to some trouble to secure studded tires for Skull Jr. Typical. :)

X-mas is bearing down, but I am mostly ready. I have gifts for friends and loved ones (mostly), and I got a tree yesterday (which we shall trim this evening), and we've hung stockings (monster stockings which I got at my store), and the Team has sent many X-mas cards, and gotten together with friends and swapped pressies... it's been nice, this year. I much prefer the holiday season when I have my act together.

Mami y Papi will visit for Xmas eve, we'll dash out to Andover to see my family on the day itself, and then back home for a little household cheer on Boxing Day. M will be going to Germany, getting to know a new friend, over New Year's. I'll be looking for something to do on the 31st, but I am, apparently, cool enough to have been invited to TWO parties on New Year's Day. If possible, I shall go to both.

Xmas is my favorite holiday, but it is so precisely because of the secular nonsense that's built up around it. I'm not a Christian (and even if I were, the holiday doesn't really have anything to do with Josh from Nazareth) and I find the insistence of some, who claim that they are, on grounding any celebration in what they value quite tedious. I'm basically an atheist, and content to be so, and Christmas doesn't have to mean any more to me than 'that time when we put up lights, and decorate conifers, and swap gifts, and shop wildly, and send cards, and feast with family and friends'.

On a related note, we have had a nice Xmas rush bump in business at work, so it looks like we'll finish 2009 in the black, if only slightly. I shall be 40 in a few months, and I foresee the need to disrupt myself from my comfortable rut, but the rut does appear to run on towards the horizon.


Creatively, I'm still running a D&D 3.5 game using the Midnight setting. It's so much more work than designing stuff for 4th, but the setting requires the clunky lack of balance that 4th edition was specifically designed to fix, so what the hell. And I have a great group of players. Who knows how much longer it will last, but I have a couple of plot hooks to throw out at them, and then I expect the players to drive things to a thrilling conclusion. And then, we'll see. Perhaps the writing will come again, if I can accept that muse seems more sub-creative and transformative than path-breaking in its proclivities.


This weekend is also a good one for watching cool TV shows. Dr. Who Waters Of Mars premiered in the US last night, and it was terrific. There are two episodes of Dollhouse waiting my viewing as that plunges towards its finale, as two installments of Venture Brothers season 4 (which has been very satisfying). Also, M and I are making our way through Babylon 5, and we're at the half-way point of Season 3, having just seen Severed Dreams and Ceremonies Of Light & Dark. Oh, man, the show was so good.

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago, I happened to watch the pilot of the comedy/drama Chuck, and simply loved it. I watched the next four episodes, and this first impression was confirmed. Light, frothy, charming fun, with pretty people, Jayne from Firefly, good humor, and an actual plot arc bubbling away underneath. It'd be cooler if there were any people of color in it (besides Tony Todd in a minor part), but otherwise I recommend it.



ETA: I have been poking through older entries, and I stumbled across this post about the war in Afghanistan. I now take back what I wrote about the Bushies not fucking that up.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Last year, I wrote about badly screwing up with a good friend. I have meant to write an apologize for some time, but I haven't gotten around to it. Happily, with the impetus of holiday cards, I finally have.

Below is what I wrote, which I'm recording here as a reminder that I can push through my emotional blocks sometimes.

Dear R & C,

Many times this year past I have wanted to write to say how sorry I am that I was such a jerk to R. Whether it was finding little notes that you had written for weeks when I had missed group, or a stack of postcards for the reading C organized, or other moments that recalled your warm hospitality, hardly a week has gone by when I have not been reminded of you. I have put off writing because I feel so ashamed of myself that it's been easier to leave this for later.

One great thing about the holidays is that it's a season for reaching out to people who have touched our lives. So, I'm writing to say that I'm sorry, that I miss you both, and that the time I spent as part of your 'salon' meant more to me than I then knew or can now express.

Happy holidays,
GF
grinninfoole: (Default)
IN the time since my last post, I have:

passed two of my comps (Medicine and Seventeenth Century European Science) and failed one (American Science). Naturally, I punted the one I wasn't worried about. Strangely, I'm still not worried. I'll take it again, and it'll be fine.

helped Millari move out of her home and into our new, shared one. We have made great strides in setting it up the way we want it, though there's still a lot to do.

procastinated doing 3rd edition conversions and design for a new D&D campaign. I'm very excited.

visted Shadow and Pixi up in New Hampshire.

worked at the store. And done a good job, too.

Attended to many domestic errands and tasks, though with, alas, more to do.

Confirmed that I shall be going to Gencon with Lefty in August.

Not gotten around to making arrangements for the Kenyon/Exeter reunion.

and, today, attended Lisa and Elizabeth's sweet and simple wedding in Look Park and their very tasty reception at Del Raye's.


I -MUST- finish my research project. Once it's done, the MA is all but mine. My problem is that I find such an open-ended endeavor scary, because I feel like I am committed to finding some particular intellectual nugget, and if I knew it was there, it wouldn't be a proper research project and there would be no point in doing it. But, there may be nothing to my idea, in which case, what the hell do I write? 'It turns out that the reason no one else ever bothered to compare secrecy in alchemy with other experimental disciplines in c17 natural philosophy is that there isn't really a comparison to make?' OH, boy....

[oh, and Feisty still hides from Stinky, but he doesn't make any effort to find and attack her anymore, and since he's outside a lot, she seems pretty happy running about the house in his absence. She's even getting bolder when he's around. In fact, she's just climbed up on the table and blocked my view. Good kity...:)]

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