zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
I'm creating a Deadlands character who is a guy whose family was associated with a Taoist temple in Guangzhou (Canton), who came to America during the Second Opium War. Research, I haz it )

Anyway. I'd like to come up with a harmonious Chinese name, and I'm curious if anyone has appropriate knowledge. For a family name, I'm thinking Yan, since it's one of the few that seems neither cliche (like Chang or Wong) nor liable to run into idiot cowboy punsters (like Chou or Wong). Does Yan fit for a Cantonese guy? (In searching, I find that "Guangzhou is the mandarin pronounciation for kwongchow." Huh! I hadn't thought that they wouldn't use the local pronunciation.)

Personal name is harder. My understanding is that the aesthetic in China is to come up with a name that means something good, and which is unlike everyone else's name. In English, I'm figuring on calling him China Jack. But that could easily be something someone stuck on him because they couldn't pronounce his Chinese name... Or perhaps it was something vaguely like his Chinese name. I like the sounds ng, j-, and ts-, in general... Jixu? There is at least one Chinese guy with that name, but I can't find what it means. Is the "xu" the same xu as in Lin Zexu, the opium-destroying badass bureaucrat who I figure Jack's family idolized? Ah Lung is cliche, but I still like it, but I hear both that it means "big dragon" and that the Ah is something added to names to make diminutives. Is "ah" = "big" a nickname thing like "Big Tony"?
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Oh my friends in Portland: I will be up there from Tuesday evening until veeery early Monday morning (the 8th). Most of it will be cruising around with my family and hanging out at the Edgefield, but from Saturday evening until aforementioned very early Monday I will be at liberty and I would love to see you. If someone happens to have crash space, that would also be fine, but is not required... This time I will have a car, and I can go anywhere! Muahaaha!

To my friends from TV night: Er. I am sorry that I did not realize that this was coming up so soon. If you want to finish Scrubs and watch Leverage without me, that is ok. I can pick up the Leverage, here or there, somehow. I haf my vays.

To all friends not covered by above pronouncements (and those covered who would like another): Yay you are all great thanks!
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Californians: today is the last day to register to vote for the special election to be held May 19th re: the budget. And the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, at least, isn't planning to stay open late, so probably all over the state, if you moved, or if you suddenly want to be civic, you probably have one hour to physically get to your county's Registrar of Voters office to fill out a form. Godspeed!
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
For those following this on Dreamwidth:


This entry marks the border between "real" Dreamwidth entries and imported posts.

(fancypants html stolen from [personal profile] elf who also has a good basics-of-Dreamwidth post here)

Perhaps you'd vaguely heard about Dreamwidth? Here's the deal )

In other news, I finally signed up last night for the Southwest Airlines frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards. I was going to see if the rental car prices they offered were in fact cheaper. I was diverted from this goal, however, by the link "Get credit for past flights." No shit? I thought, and plugged in a past flight. And got credit. OOOOOOOoooo, I thought, and plugged in all of the flights I took on Southwest in the last two years (I save the notifications in a folder in my email so I can find them before a flight, and don't delete them just in case), and got a free flight out of it. OMG YAY. I can't believe how much better Southwest is than every other airline. I mean, that's just decent. Woo!
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Racefail 09 has been in my head a lot, and I happened to start collecting actual words to post while reading Jim Hines's post which seems to have a cross-section of the whole debate in the comments. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn't know, there are two useful LJ tricks which may help you out as you go from journal to journal: to see the comments listed in order of time, so you can catch them all, at the end of a LJ URL type ?view=flat ; to switch a journal from some horrible viewscheme like teal text on purple background in a 3 inch wide column, at the end of a LJ URL type ?style=mine.

Some words from defensive white people lead to my version of a history of Racefail09 )

I'm interested to see that the call for shunning has gone out. Six months or so ago, when I was still following the Nielsen Hayden's blog Making Light, PNH posted related to how a couple white SF/F guys got caught chortling about ragheads, and I commented about how screwed-up it was that the attitude was "oh those guys! la they are jerks"... It was like how Harlan Ellison's assholishness was tolerated for so many years, letting him hurt scores of people before Connie Willis. Why, I asked, weren't we shunning unapologetic bigots? You can see in that comment thread the result: a few people saying Wooo! and a few people saying OMG STAR CHAMBER and most people ignoring the issue entirely until they could divert it into another thread on how to apologize. So that! to the people who are like "well if we were just talking nicely among people of our own type in a controlled environment surely this would get solved".

Anyway, do I still feel like unapologetic fucks should not be invited to take part in cons, anthologies, all that professional-ish stuff? Yes. And I'm glad to see that author/bloggers like Jo Walton have come to the same conclusion.

Some other author-type people who have done well (many found from the list at sheafrotherdon's): Justine Larbalestier, Naomi Novik, Ann Leckie, Sherwood Smith, Kate Elliott, Liz Williams, Martha Wells, Claudia Gray, Alistair Reynolds, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Eleanor Arnason, Stacia Kane, Tim Pratt... I'm missing some, please fill in, I heard Pamela Dean but I don't have links? Editor-type people who have done well: Susan Marie Groppi, Debbie Notkin, Christopher Barzak, Niall Harrison, L. Timmel Duchamp. Oh! And of course there's the authors who have been great all along: K. Tempest Bradford, N.K. Jemisin, Moondancer Drake, Helen Keeble...

And here are some other brilliant posts about this whole schlmiel: ciderpress points out that it's not like POC feel all happy with these continual blowups even if white people learn stuff; bossymarmalade writes a lovely response to Bear's fail; asim peacefully fills in some historical MLK Jr perspective; thingswithwings notes how the antiracists are the ones with posts jampacked with links and attributions because they've learned about being blown off. [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong links everything said by everybody if you want to know more. I rarely recommend videos, but this one on how to tell people they sound racist is awesome.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
O my ACUS peeps who grow ever nearer to me in time, I have a few questions to get sorted, namely, where shall I sleep, what game shall I run, and what was that third song about getting high that I have forgotten?

For the first, anyone need a roommate? I am nonsnoring and I believe I have a relatively small footprint in terms of stuff scattered about. I'd love to share a room at US with a couple-three people to cut costs.

For the second, here are some thoughts: )

For the third, it will be the Dudesical on Sunday evening. Last Dude I mentioned to [livejournal.com profile] corwin77 that I'd thought of four songs that would be perfect for a potential Dude soundtrack, but I could only remember three, and I'd forgotten the one that wasn't about getting high. Now I've remembered the not-necessarily-high song: Jonathon Coulton's "Mr. Fancy Pants". PANTS! And of course the other songs are "Smoke Two Joints" and "Because I Got High" (my version is by Afroman, is that the original?)... Ah! Is the last Ringo's "No No Song"? I dunno, I'm not sure even a former Beatle can join the elevated ranks of the three songs I've already listed.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Yesterday the Fail Truck pulled up with a delivery, and I signed for it. Oy. You guys may be aware of RaceFail '09 (summary here, ongoing links to everything here), which began a week or two ago. Yesterday Teresa Nielsen Hayden ([livejournal.com profile] tnh), proprietor of a popular general blog where I've been hanging out since 2003 (she's also a SF editor and a Big Name Fan), posted a pretty screwed-up post out of pain and anger arising from the hurt of her husband Patrick on being called on racism. I left her a comment along the lines of "I know how it feels when you feel like people are stabbing you in the back--that really sucks". Sure, there were bits in the comment about how I got past it by taking responsibility and about how her friend [livejournal.com profile] annafdd (who pointed out that Patrick was wrong) was right, but I said myself that wasn't the main point. (Earlier this evening the entire 500-some comment thread went under a friendslock, so I'm spared the embarassment of linking the comment directly.)

So let me make it clear how that was full of fail )
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
So, the trouble with all RPGs that have "linguistics" skills/feats is that you pay the points that you would pay for something nifty, but in game, it's really boring to have the PCs stuck around a bunch of people who they can't talk to. (Mike S puts this well.) So having useful info in the possession of someone who doesn't speak the PC language happens maybe once or twice a campaign, if the GM remembers that Bob over there could use a bone thrown to him. "Linguistics" turns out to be as useful as "Glassblowing" but it's usually charged at the rate of "Doing spinning jump kicks".

I'm considering running a game where the PCs are international troubleshooters for something like the Carter Center, where they're going to be dealing with the hundreds of obscure languages of Africa or Asia. It occurs to me: perhaps this trouble could be fixed if you had the PCs divide up "linguistics" between them, say 60% to Bob who studied languages with the CIA, 20% to Martha who was raised by ambassadors, 10% to Jin who bounced around Asia on a merchant ship, 5% each to Sasha and Palana who will have to explain their knowledge of Yoruba if it ever comes up. Then when they're faced with a guy who's frantically explaining something in Bambara, roll a d20 and see who gets it.

Maybe have the option of someone paying a fate point to whoever wins, getting the language, and also another 5% of the spectrum from the winner's chunk to represent the buyer's bettered odds of knowing obscure languages. Or paying a fate point to the pot to get the language at a crummy me tarzan you jane level, in addition to Bob's fluency. If the PCs weren't going to agree about how to split up the linguist niche at the beginning, probably an auction would sort it fairly. And everyone gets the languages they list at the beginning which are part of their character concept.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Someday I'm going to squee about Ecclesiastes at length (I love that book of the Bible SO MUCH), but anyway, I tend to judge Bibles by their translation of it. (RSV FTW!) So, unpacking a box tonight I come across the Tanakh, "the new Jewish Publication Society translation according to the traditional Hebrew text", which I got for a basic writing course in college that used the Bible as the base text, taught by this very enthusiastic grad student who was so delighted to tell us all about how cherubim were crazy six-eyed winged snakes, where I wrote a couple-page weekly paper once about how it does us no good to not be introduced to the earthy juicy stuff in the Bible like (I believe it was) Sennacherib's ambassador yelling up at the Judeans that they should damn well surrender Jerusalem because they were surrounded and their situation was hopeless and they'd soon be eating dung and drinking their own piss...

Right, so, anyway, I flip over to Ecclesiastes and start reading. They name the Preacher Koheleth... Interesting! And then I get to Ecc 2:1. "I said to myself, 'Come, I will treat you to merriment. Taste mirth!'"

Bwa! You know where that construction leads! It leads to a guy with a prayer shawl and a chain gun full of dildoes and mini boozes. He kicks down the door, busting it open to reveal that its hollow core is filled with candy! "Taste mirth!" he cries, spraying the room Splut Splut Splut Splut Splut!!

"That too, I found, was futile."

Hee hee hee hee.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
The water is fixed!
Meanwhile the furnace, icy,
withdraws from service.

Daaaamn.

Dec. 13th, 2008 11:18 am
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Wow. At least I don't own a house.

Looked at my first water bill this week, and found that it was for $677, at which point I was like Wow, water's going to be pretty expensive... and then I looked some more and found that they said I was using 3,200 gallons a day which um no. Phoned EBMUD and they sent someone to check the meter in case they'd read it wrong; he left a doorhanger yesterday that said "No, the meter was spinning as I watched it, and also now it's up to 5,100 gallons a day. Oh, and here's a nifty booklet and some dye tabs for toilet leak checking."

Big money )
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
What's smart. Is it smart for your washer's brand and name to have no relation to its model number and manufacturer? Is it smart to have no manual or support on the web? Is it smart to have the water faucets and dryer vent 10 feet away from the gas faucet? Is it smart to have a double-barrelled laundry sink where the only water inlets are demanded by the washer?

No. These things are not smart.

The trouble with hooking up washers )
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Bit of a thought: is there anyone who will be in Portland on Thursday afternoon 2:15ish with a car, who is interested in bicycle shopping? It'll be a bit of a pain in the tuchus to get to Clever Cycles, home of Dutch upright-riding-position street bicycles and wool knickers, on public transit... But on the other hand, since I'd actually be hopefully test-riding bikes etc it wouldn't do much good to help me out just because of my inherent lovability. I carefully maintain my lovability by not making people wait around for me while I ponder the 43% blue versus the 46% teal. Thus, just throwing this out there in case someone is an actual bike-interested person...

Um... Oh, did you all know that I moved? Yeah, last week. I'm in a place of my own. Nice little house behind another house, with its own fenced-in area all around; big concrete patio for parking, big shed I can put my car in with space to spare...

More about it )

But anyway, I've been pretty goddamned stressed, what with volunteering for the election, packing, moving, unpacking, and ACNW coming up. And it's party season. I could name what I've done every single night for these three weeks. And that's where I've been. Looking up and forward.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
I volunteered for No on 8 tonight, doing phone banking... For those not keeping track, Prop 8 changes the constitution of California to ban same-sex marriage, whereas currently it's legal. There was a poll in early October showing the right-wing buttinskis winning, and the latest poll still has them winning, but it's only 48 to 45. So there is hope, but rather than sitting around hoping wingers stay home, it makes me feel a lot better to do something.

My personal sample size was 50 calls, of which there were 10 people who talked to me long enough to get a sense of where they were at, of which 5 were against and 5 were for. My big triumph was getting in touch with someone in San Jose who also wanted to volunteer... I just read _World War Z_ this weekend, so my thought was that recruiting another volunteer while volunteering was like being a zombie that sucessfully managed to bite someone. :)

Details about what the phone banking was like )

Phone banking is not that scary. It fulfills that desire that we all have, to go down lists and cross things off and sort them. Action is fun.

Sending money is good, too, though, if you're out of state, or whatever... This really will help all of America, if California gets to keep being free. GLBTAI people will be able to escape to here, to any number of industries or climates. We have nearly 12% of Americans living here. We can be a great big honking example to ease the way for other states. Help us out, here. Even a little bit is cool.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Bah! I've been meaning to write up a "what other game* should I run at ACNW" post for more than a month, now. So get your answers in soon!

The options )

(*"Other game"? Why, yes! Mike S, John 9, and I are going to be taking another stab at "Guns of Abalaa", so keep your slot 1 free!)

Earthquake!

Sep. 5th, 2008 09:11 pm
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Yay! Another 4ish earthquake that lasted more than a few seconds! This one has fun quiver-y aftershocks, a twist I haven't felt before. It lasted long enough to get an initial estimate of which bookcases I should bolt to the wall first... The one most immediately hovering over my bed is more ok than I'd feared. Had some nice circle-y motion, unlike the usual shock-in-one-direction. Most interesting bit of afterschock detection was the string hanging down from my russian furry hat's earflap... It swayed in the air and confirmed that I wasn't just imagining faint quivers. Reminded me of a crack someone had made about the telltale on the Phoenix Mars Rover, comparing it to a weather rock... Here ya go.

Alright, should have news by now... Yep. Cool, 4ish, I was right, no one probably hurt, so I can say Ha Ha, move to California, where the land itself entertains you.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
O my Bay Area peeps, I draw your attention to Southwest's program "Ding!" which today is offering a wide range of tickets from Oakland to Portland at the time of Ambercon Northwest for $93.50 each way, which is a savings of $60 total from what you could get otherwise. You don't get that price option unless you click through from the Ding program, and the time limit to buy tickets is 6 PM tonight. If you'd prefer to fly out of SFO or SJC, I'd still recommend getting Ding for the next few weeks, as this is the time when the ACNW ticket options may come.

O my Portland peeps, lured by the thought of seeing you (and testdriving Dutch bicycles) I will be in your fair city from the morning of Saturday the 13th of September to the evening of Monday the 15th of September... Anyone have crash space? ;) While I am happy to entertain myself and find my own lodgings and shuttle myself about on your inestimable TriMet, it would be even more entertaining if any of you have time to hang out.
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Hi, I'm blogger Madeline F. You may remember me from such posts as, "Honk twice is you realize that your car is on fire", and... ...Damn it, I should have held off for this intro.

Hand signals! Nice ones! )

And, continuing last post's one-post trend, I have a completely different bit of info to convey here: my uncle is looking for an IM client to suggest for his work. He says: "Years ago there was a client (Trillium, I think) that could talk to all the major IM flavors. Is it still the pan-client-of-choice, or is there a better one out there now? Do any of them allow interoperability w/ texting to/from cell phones? (We're deploying our whole group all over the country full time for the next several months, and we need a universal way to keep in touch realtime.)" I don't chat, but I know some of you do. Any suggestions?
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
I'll be gone from the 1st to the 12th, mostly in Colorado, except for this weekend when I'll be "awake" at 6 in the morning driving my sister's stuff to the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, where she has a teaching job on an Indian reservation. It's her first teaching job, 1st grade. I'm looking forward to seeing her bunker in the Pueblo chemical weapons depot: apparently the government made far more chemical weapons storage bunkers than they needed, so they rent the rest out for tiny sums. Bunkers! On a working military base with cameras and checkpoints and everything! The sister has multiple cars stored there and there's still room; I picture it as looking something like Dirk Pitt's house.

The above paragraph is old news: here is what actually happened (Imagine that you're a really good precog) )

Anyway, the important bit here is, I'll be going to Worldcon in Denver, arriving at the convention Wednesday morning. I'll be rooming with [livejournal.com profile] elisem in the hotel numbered 2, the Crowne Plaza, and I'll be at the Making Light party on Friday evening. Aside from that, no schedule yet, though I may be at the Hugo announcing thing to see how my votes went. Who else is going to be at the con? (If you're not going, want me to pick anything up for you?) I want to see you! Call me!
zdashamber: painting - a frog wearing a bandanna (Default)
Ask yourself, do I have $6000 sitting around that I can spend tonight on my cat? I'm guessing the answer is "I need pet health insurance, which is only about $20 a month, but which I have to buy before my cat is too old, because more than 10 or 11 years old means there's no one who will insure my cat."

$6000 is the price after your cat catches his leg on something while jumping off it and breaks the leg: it covers taking your cat to the emergency vet in the middle of the night to get him painkillers and antibiotics, and then getting the leg pinned together again later. At least 6K. It's probably more than that, because Flat Hair Girl, who had this experience, did not have that kind of money.

I'll tell the story sometime, and it's sad and you might not want to read it, though the cat lives. But the main point of this post is, veterinary bills have gotten insane, and you might not have known. Maybe things are better if you don't go to Berkeley, home of enormously rich people. But I'm thinking that the cost drivers are systemic. This is my hypothesis: 1. Drugs: crazy expensive due in part to the drug war. Ketamine, frex, is both abusable and a veterinary anaesthetic. 2. Veterinary "guild" attitude: frex, there's only one state school in all of California (pop. 60M) that gives out veterinary degrees, and it's damn hard to get into the veterinary program at Davis; and veterinarians from other countries have insane hoops to jump through to be able to practice in America. 3. Pet Health Insurance. Yeah, this ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race: once people started thinking "why can't my cat have chemo?" they needed insurance, and then when a decently large number of people got insurance the vets could start charging $4000 for an amputation, which according to Flat Hair Girl was only $300 20 years ago in Illinois.

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Madeline the Edifying

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