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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in pandoradeloeste's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 28th, 2016
9:47 am
I found this entry sitting on my computer this morning. I guess in all the excitement yesterday I walked away and forgot to delete it or post it. Whoops.

Unless you interact with the Tenderloin you probably missed this, but there are a lot of corner stores being closed down and boarded up. Not in a "nobody is paying attention to this lot, please graffiti my boards and break in to get anything left behind" way, but the lots are actually pretty well maintained. When I started working at TNDC there was a corner store called Big Boy/El Niño Grande that supplied my caffeine/snacks needs, but they were among the first to get closed and boarded up. Since then, several more corner stores have been closed and boarded up. The Tenderloin is called a food desert for a reason, and you don't go around closing desert oases without at least replacing them with water fountains or something.

To that end: today the boards came off the corner stores, and they've been replaced with CVSes. All of them. Even the corner stores that were just boarded up, or in the middle of a block. You know how we used to joke about the ubiquity of Starbucks in Seattle and New York? It's like that, only more so.

Nobody really knows what to make of these. People are cautiously optimistic to massively freaked out. Tenants are happy because the stores are close by, especially the tenants who have mobility issues and had real trouble getting to a Safeway on a regular basis, and they're. . .well, they're not grocery stores by any stretch of the imagination, but they have prepackaged food, and some of it even tries to be healthy. The food justice working group is losing their shit because they had been working on deals to move healthy produce and meat into some of those corner stores, before they all got converted. I'm just trying to get through the day with some piece of equipment outside the building making a weird humming noise that's making it hard to think.

. . .

Had to step out to mediate a crisis in the lobby. That's the third one this morning. Oddly enough all the crises seem to be about the same thing this morning: everyone wants to move out yesterday. Two of those people I can understand (one has schizophrenia and has a lot of unsavory ideas about being watched in their unit and being attacked, and the other has a partner living in another building), but the third is kind of a surprise - they've always been very vocal about how they like living here, and they're involved in the community, so I had no idea that they were so unhappy.

There's a lot of that going around, apparently. Right when I got into the building I had to help someone else plan their move-out in a hurry. They were dead set on leaving right away, without waiting to figure out where they were going to stay when they got to their destination, or even until they bought their Greyhound ticket. I think they would have left with only the clothes on their back if I'd let them. I probably should have tried to talk them out of it, but I was distracted by that humming noise that keeps making my teeth itch and I skipped right over "help me understand" and into "let's make sure you come out of this crazy plan alive". Bless Homeward Bound for making that shit happen (although they sounded mad busy).

. . .

Man, fuck today. A former tenant just got peeled off the sidewalk in front of the library. Apparently they free-climbed the building (which is impressive because they had arthritis the last time I spoke to them) and started yelling about how "they're coming for us" and "leave now before the rush", and then jumped. They're still alive, and I'm not sure whether to be happy about that, as awful as it sounds; they're in pretty bad shape right now.

They were always a little unstable. They self-medicated pretty heavily, and when they were sober they claimed they saw the ghosts of former tenants (of KCC and from when the building was still a YMCA). I got them some sage once, and they said that worked for a while. I tend to be pretty hands-off when it comes to people's voices/visions/other internal stimuli (so very far above my pay grade), and I don't engage with it unless it's affecting our work somehow or their housing, but the ones that ride the edge between reality and paranormal systems I half-believe in creep me out. Especially today, what with everyone and their pet dog trying to move out, and that funky humming noise.

. . .

I've seen about eight tenants today, and that was the first one that wasn't in crisis or wanted help moving. If this tenant wanted to move I would be even more creeped out than I already am, because they're very active in community organizing work in San Francisco. Given half the chance they'll talk your ear off about gentrification, and tax breaks for tech companies, and displacement of families and working-class residents. They brought me a peanut butter Twix bar because they knows those are my favorite (the CVSes are doing two-for-one deals on the candy as part of their grand opening). It has a sticker on the back where the nutrition facts usually go - some weird design in red, yellow, blue, and green.

For some reason the humming is getting louder. So are the tenants arguing in the lobby. Maybe it's the headache, but it seems like that sticker is vibrating. Off to deal with the argument, and then go to the nurse's office for some aspirin.

. . .

Things are not okay over here. Not really okay at all. idk if it was the aspirin or the contact high from th stoners under my window btu the humming is worse and everyhting hurts and I jsut spent the last 10 minutes crying under my desk because wtf am I even doing here when people keep getting angry adn fighting each other and fighting the cops that come to break up the fights, adn running away on the earliest greyhousnd bus and ODign and throwing themselves off buildinsg and the GG bruidge (yup, that's a thing now, perfectl yhappy tenants decide they can't handle life anymore and then jump off the bridge, fml). MKy colleaege went home early. I'm going too if I can adult long enuogh to et to BARt and

That. . .is apparently where I cut off in midsentence. That's weird. I have no memory of feeling this scared or upset yesterday. I remember a lot of people wanting to leave and general malaise in the building, but that happens sometimes; we get a full moon, or Mars goes into retrograde, or whatever, and suddenly a bunch of people have a bad day.

I remember telling my boss I was going home and leaving, but then getting sucked into a block party by the CVS. There was a lot of dancing, some celebratory drinking (not of alcohol), a performance by a dance team in black robes with pretty rainbow sigils, and more dancing.

I don't know why I kept getting freaked out by the humming noise; it takes a little adjustment, but it's not unpleasant. I barely noticed it this morning on my way to work, and only because it's so QUIET around the Tenderloin now. There aren't people on the streets - no drug dealers, nobody socializing, nobody walking around, it's the sort of calm you normally get in cities at 3 in the morning, or when the streets have been cleared out for the Superbowl. It's quite peaceful.

And speaking of work, I'm going to have to start looking again. Google and Twitter bought TNDC's entire portfolio to convert to employee housing, so we're basically shutting down. Luckily we don't have to do a lot of work to relocate the tenants, because by happy coincidence they are mostly leaving of their own accord. I'm mostly using the two weeks to say goodbye to tenants, noodle around on Tumblr, and do some job searching. I don't suppose anyone knows of any openings at Google for a former professional bleeding-heart tree-hugging hippie. . .?
Thursday, January 29th, 2015
2:02 pm
Better late than never
I was going to post this two days ago, but we've been so swamped at work that I completely forgot about it. Anywho, this has been sitting in my drafts folder for two days, and it might help people understand what the hell is up with the Tenderloin and the SFSPCA these days, so here's what's happened:

On Tuesday when I walked into work, the streets were uncharacteristically quiet. Usually around our building there's some level of drug activity; the level varies based on what time of the month it is, the weather, the level of police presence, and other factors that I don't know enough about drug culture to understand. On Tuesday there was virtually nobody standing on the corner selling drugs. However, I noticed some cats hanging around the area, which was weird - residents usually have dogs rather than cats, and almost everyone has their pets on leashes. These looked like strays, but very young strays.

I got to work and found small herds of kittens roaming around the building. The desk clerk was chasing a calico that had run off with her pens and pencils, one tenant had an army jacket with a kitten in each pocket, and a small group was busy attacking a tenant's wheelchair. (The tenant didn't mind at all, although he said he was concerned about running over them by accident when he moved around.) The building manager and my boss were, pardon the expression, having kittens. They had no idea where all of the kittens were coming from, who had brought them in, and what the fuck we were going to do with them.

We found out what had happened:Collapse )
Friday, January 31st, 2014
6:28 pm
A while ago I promised to start sharing more cool things about the Tenderloin. (I've been lazy about keeping all of my social networks updated on my various life events, so for those following along at home: about a year ago CVE started looking like it was going to die an undignified death so I jumped ship and started working as a social worker in a converted YMCA building in the Tenderloin.) I've done a bad job of it so far, which I apologize for - a lot's been going on, at work and at home. And what I do share has tended to be the stuff that reinforces stereotypes of the area (a tenant getting jumped a few blocks down, people trying to sell me roxies and heroin when I walk home, the PO box unit being taken over by hooded figures that hover a foot off the ground and do nothing but spin and hum). But there's a fair amount of Tenderloin features and happenings that falls into the category of good or neutral and do very good things for the neighborhood, and when I'm lucky enough to get out of my office (which I need to do more often) I get to see some of it.

For example, yesterday I had to step out in the middle of the day to go to Kaiser and get a TB test. In order to get out of the building I had to go out of the side door, which is actually our main door now that the previous main door has been blocked by a giant barricade made out of found materials. Around Thanksgiving there was a zombie outbreak in the Tenderloin (they think they've traced it to a leaked formula at a biotech conference) and we had to shelter in place for a few days while a neighborhood watch cleaned up. (If you've seen Attack the Block, it was kind of like that, but with zombies instead of aliens.) Fun fact: zombies and heroin really don't get along, which is unfortunate for them because they chose a neighborhood with a high rate of IV drug users in a city that fucking loves heroin. Between the CDC and some very territorial, civic-minded drug dealers who donated their stashes to the cause, the outbreak was taken care of in relatively short order. (More on that later - I have some killer stories about some badass fucking tenants with balls/ovaries of solid steel, may their memories be a blessing; but they're not pretty, and I promised to focus on the positive right now.) After the outbreak property management wanted to take down the barricade that tenants built over the front door, but it had become less barricade and more art sculpture/memorial as people added mementos of the fallen, candles, etc, and tenants were not having it. So it's still there. The melted wax from all the candles gives it a really eerie, organic look that I like a lot.

The bus stop was about four blocks away. To get to the bus stop I had to walk up Leavenworth, where there are yellow brick shapes painted on the sidewalk. There are several sidewalks painted thusly scattered throughout the Tenderloin. Whenever I walk on one I always have to do the skippy-dance thing that Dorothy does in "Wizard of Oz" - you know the one - as long as you're on a sidewalk with yellow bricks, you see green everywhere for the duration of the skippy polka thing. The effect is similar to wearing green-tinted glasses, like the kind they had to wear in Oz in the books. I don't recommend doing it if you're nauseous at all or prone to headaches, but otherwise it's great fun. And it's hilarious to see people you don't normally expect to see doing the skippy polka. Nothing challenges your unconscious stereotypes of black men like seeing someone in sagging jeans and a Lakers jersey doing their best Cowardly Lion.

On Leavenworth and Turk they were retouching the mural of a mermaid wearing a 49ers jersey that gives out compliments. Not creepy compliments like "nice tits" (I can get those on pretty much any street corner, and if I'm wearing nice tights or heels I can get asked if I'm "working") - nice ones that make people feel better about themselves. People have heard things like "That outfit brings out your eyes!" and "You're going to shine at that interview!" and "You got out of bed and got out of the house even though you were really depressed and didn't see the point, and that's fucking metal!" That day, mine was "You planned ahead really well this month to get your reports done!" (I did, in point of fact, and it was the smoothest monthly reports I've ever done. Imma do it again next month.)

Since I had some time before catching the bus I stopped into the Khan's House Of Junk on Turk and Hyde . It looks and sounds like a trashy thrift store, but it has a really cool feature. If you give them $2 and ask for Priya's Special, they sell you exactly what you'll need in an hour. No matter what it is - a bottle of water, a bus token, liquid antacid wash (a 50-50 blend of Maalox and water; don't ask, that's a different entry), reading glasses, an at-home HIV test - it's always $2. At least it's always only been $2 for me - I've seen people in there who I think have difficulty getting a dollar together so maybe it's a sliding scale. This time I got a really nice pair of almost-new Fluevogs, worn just enough to be broken in a bit. They were worth way more than $2 and I was very surprised to get them, but it doesn't pay to question Priya's Special so I put them in my bag and kept going.

The bus stop was across the street from a new art collective that's sprung up in the last few weeks. On Christmas Eve we had a very localized and very weird animal stampede that did a number on a building that housed a payday loan place, a crappy restaurant that has to have been a front for the mob, and a liquor store. Later one of my tenants told me that a well-known slumlord's office was located in the building, too. The animals were weirdly efficient about it, too - a bunch of big cats formed a perimeter and held off the cops until the larger animals were done turning the building into chunks of rubble no bigger than a grapefruit (and how they managed that is beyond me - last I heard hippos couldn't chew up concrete and rebar and spit it out, but there's video of them doing it). Then they left, and the next morning they were all back in their cages. By New Years Day the lot was washed clean as a whistle, which is very weird because there was absolutely no rain in the area, nor did anyone come in with a dumpster to clean up the rubble. For a while everyone gave it a wide berth, until a few people pitched tents and started a tent-based art collaborative. Think Occupy, but centered around art instead of politics and protests. You'd think an encampment would attract a lot of problems, especially in an area with a nonzero amount of crime, drugs, and chronic homelessness, but it's one of the most clean, inviting, and chill outdoor spaces I have ever been in. Some beautiful work has come out of there. We have one of their pieces on the barricade in our building.

The TB test at Kaiser was uneventful - my arm didn't explode or anything. On the way back I passed the Tenderloin National Forest. What Yelp doesn't tell you is that it's far bigger than the size of the lot would suggest. It isn't just a few trees - it's an entire fucking redwood forest folded into a tiny bit of the city. I haven't tried very hard to find the edges of it, but it's at least big enough that I can't cross it in ten minutes of walking. It also has entirely different weather than the rest of the Tenderloin. San Francisco has weird little pockets of microclimates, but this is something else. The sun will set at 3:00 in the summer. It's cool and misty while it's hot and dry outside, rainy during a drought, sunny during the evening (fog central in the rest of the city), etc. That day there was a thunderstorm in there, and I accidentally stepped in a puddle and soaked my shoes. Good thing I had the Fluevogs.

Today I have to go back and get the test read. I'll see if I can stop by Morty's on my way - they're a really good pizza place. They had a problem with their wheat and wheat byproducts turning into snakes a while back, but the appropriate fines were paid to the health department and it's all better now. Nobody does a slice like Morty's. Nobody.

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
6:50 pm
In which I attempt home improvement and end up reading for an hour instead while putting away books
When two book-lovers live together and pool their collections, they tend to have a lot of books between the two of them, even after they eliminate the doubles. Moreover, being book-lovers, their collections will grow. Books will spawn in dark corners, multiply on shelves, be magnetically attracted to people's bags when they walk through libraries and bookstores, etc. Eventually their nice neat bookshelves have stopped looking very neat:

blurry pictures and pic spam below the cutCollapse )

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
10:42 pm
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
2:04 pm
Memories of Occupy SF/Oakland/Cal
Moments to remember about Occupy SF/Oakland/CalCollapse )

News reports and history books are going to condense the events of the past six months (and probably the next six too) down to discrete actions and tactics. October 25. The wave of camp shutdowns across the country. January 28. Black Bloc vs. nonviolence. Port shutdowns. General strikes. If a politician name-checks Occupy during a big speech. These images are things that no report or book is going to bother with because nobody important was there, because it doesn't fit the narrative they're interested in telling, because they don't have time or space for it, or because it didn't serve any larger purpose. And to some extent, maybe they shouldn't. As much as we support each other, and as much as the processes and tactics we engage in are deeply personal, Occupy isn't about individuals. It's about collective power and sleeping giants and big amorphous masses of people that a news helicopter can't completely fit into one shot. These individuals I've named and the weirdly intimate snapshots that I remember are mostly irrelevant to any narrative at all except my personal one, but if I don't record them, they're going to get swallowed up in the official narratives and I won't remember them later. I need to remember this stuff. This is what makes Occupy come alive for me, not marches or actions or accounts of which camp was raided when. This is why I do what I do.
Friday, January 27th, 2012
5:01 pm
Occupy The Moon
So, a lot of people seem to view me as the source of all things Occupy. I guess that's my fault for letting my Facebook statuses (statii?) and Twitter get occupied. And a lot of people are also asking me, "So all the camps are gone, and it seems like Occupy is winding down. What's going on, if anything?"

Here's the answer: we're going interplanetary now. Step one is occupying the moon. (Don't be fooled by the fact that Newt Gingrich suggested it; he's on our side.)

Kinda puts scuffles over tents and plazas and info tables into perspective, huh?

the scoop you will not find on any Occupy websites or Twitter feedsCollapse )
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
9:50 pm
Law and Order: Oakland
In the Occupy movement, the 99% are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: those who occupy, and the pro bono attorneys who defend them when they are arrested for nonviolent protest. These are their stories. CLONG CLONG

I had Monday the 28th off from work, so I used it to go the arraignment of an Occupy Oakland protester. I’d seen the protester several times at Occupy events and knew him as Rasta; he had been part of the original camps (before the first and second raids) and acted as a scout and security officer who patrolled the perimeter of the camp, broke up conflicts, and kept an eye out for police actions. On Thanksgiving, Rasta was part of a crowd of protesters who were trying to stop police from removing Port-A-Potties that had been rented as part of a community Thanksgiving dinner. One police officer shoved him and his fiancée into a group of police officers, who knocked him to the ground and arrested him with no small amount of force.

(Rasta is the tall guy with dreads roughly in the center of the frame at the beginning; his fiancée is the woman in the headscarf and camo pants who is holding him*. He was initially charged with felony assault on an officer, which is pretty rich considering that the video shows other police officers running into him.)

Getting to the Arraignment: or, Adventures in Not-Quite-Legal MarchesCollapse )

The Arraignment: or, Man That Placa Was a Real Sangrón!Collapse )

After the arraignment: or, losing a bit of the moral high groundCollapse )

All in all, an educational experience. It's actually good to see what I'll be facing if/when I get myself arrested over the next few months. (I'll actually be a little disappointed if I don't manage to get arrested before Occupy runs its course, although I hope it's for something like "sitting and linking arms with other protesters" rather than "get shoved into a group of cops and charged with assault".)

* I know both their legal names, but it doesn't seem kosher to name them on a blog without their permission, so they're going to be Rasta and fiancée for now.

** The plaza outside City Hall was originally called Frank Ogawa Plaza. Protesters changed it to Oscar Grant Plaza, in honor of the shooting ~2 years ago. Unfortunately, Frank Ogawa is actually quite worthy of being honored with the plaza's name – he lived in a relocation camp during WWII and was one of the first Asian American California congressmen. I prefer to combine the two and call it Ogawa Grant Plaza. Sadly, my version has not caught on outside of Chez Poisson.

*** National Lawyer’s Guild is very awesome and has been providing legal aid pro bono to all the Occupy protesters who get arrested. It’s common practice for people to write the local NLG chapter's hotline number on their arms (415-285-1011) when they go to any Occupy action where there's a chance they could be arrested. I have it on my arm pretty much permanently, in varying stages of fadedness/legibility. I would highly recommend donating to them if you can; there’s a few thousand arrests that have been made so far, and probably a few thousand more to go before we’re done.
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
11:44 am
I have two tickets to a BDSM play party in San Francisco, and I don't know what to do with them. Any ideas? (I promise this is not the lead-in for a very belated Rabbit Hole Day entry.)

How did I end up with tickets to an event with torture and spanking and butt plugs and more naked people than all three seasons of Deadwood (plus whatever's aired from Game of Thrones) combined? Good frakking question. Basically, it's Wicked Grounds's fault.

About a month ago the owners decided that they were financially and emotionally exhausted by the effort of trying to stay afloat, and that they would be closing at the end of April. So many people protested that they decided to give it one last shot. If they could raise $50,000 (the bare minimum needed to keep the place open for another six months), they would stay open. To that end, there was a fundraising event yesterday at the San Francisco Citadel (dungeon in SOMA), with strip trivia and a raffle and auction. (Side note: we made our goal and Wicked Grounds will be around for at least six more months. For the motherfucking win.)

Among all the nekkid titties and cock (more than I think I've seen in the previous 26 years combined - also first time I'd seen an uncircumcised penis in the flesh, as it were) I ended up winning two tickets to a play party/art exposition at the Citadel on May 6. As it's not really Aaron's bag, and I'm a) not sure if it's my bag either, b) even if it is I'm not going to flirt or play with non-Aaron people, and c) my bum leg is still wrapped in unsexy and clumsy green plaster, if anyone else can make better use of the tickets, or knows someone who can, please let me know. (You can email me or comment anonymously if you prefer.)

more details about the event hereCollapse )
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
10:14 pm
Revenge of the Meme
Answers to last week's 15 characters meme:

1. Uncle Iroh
2. Frank N. Furter
3. Edward Elric
4. Phèdre no Delaunay
5. Sue Sylvester
6. Dexter
7. The Piemaker
8. Willow
9. Gaeta
10. G'Kar
11. The Dude
12. Jayne Cobb
13. Daria
14. The Pirate King
15. Captain Hammer

Three [Edward Elric] and Seven [the Piemaker] collaborate on a novel together. What is the title?

Love Among The Beekepers - a romantic comedy in epistolary style, with absolutely no dead people or animals. (Unsurprisingly the Piemaker is better that Edward at writing a romance novel; Edward still thinks girls are somewhat icky/have cooties, and he keeps trying to introduce outside plot elements, which the Piemaker has to quickly resolve so that they can get back to the main story. Critics say that the book is inconsistent but overall an entertaining read.)

How would six [Dexter Morgan], two [Frank N. Furter], and five [Sue Sylvester] end up in a love triangle?

Dexter is attending a conference in the same hotel where Sue is staying with the Cheerios for a cheerleading competition; as luck would have it, the hotel is also holding a Transylvanian convention, and they all bump into each other in the elevator. Frankie approaches Dexter in the middle of the night and acts like Darla to have sex with him. He then tries it on Sue, who not only sees through it right away but totally kills his boner by saying, "You think this [grabbing exactly what you think she's grabbing] is hard? Try being waterboarded - that's hard!" Frankie gets mad and says that Dexter liked it hard last night, and Sue has hate sex with Dexter to stick it to Frankie.

(And then Frankie walks in on them. "Sue!" "Frankie!" "Dexter!" "Frankie!" "Brittany!" ". . .")

What would nine [Gaeta] buy fifteen [Captain Hammer] for his/her/its birthday?

Gaeta would have a total crush on Captain Hammer, but try to hide it because he thinks Hammer is a corporate tool. He would get Captain Hammer one of those giant mallets with the hard rubber heads. The card would say something catty about needing to compensate for the size of his hammer; however, the insult would fly a mile over Hammer's head, and he would think this is an awesome new trademark tool that he would start carrying around. (He's feeling a little insecure after the exploding Death Ray caused him pain, and he feels better with a weapon.)

Would twelve [Jayne] like five's [Sue Sylvester] kinks?

Jayne would be all over rough hate sex like white on rice. He wouldn't like bloodplay much, though. Sue wouldn't warn him that she would bring a knife to the party, either, so when she brought it out, Jayne would react defensively and disarm her (and not in a sexy way, either).

Write a drabble in which eleven [The Dude] has to get eight [Willow] out of jail.

"Drive! Drive!" Willow screamed.

"That was really hairy, man," the Dude said as the Ford shuddered onto the 1. "I was told in, like, no uncertain terms to stay away from Malibu. And why were you buying from that guy off the freeway? I coulda told you he was a government plant, man."

"I keep saying, it's not marijuana, it's belladonna," Willow said. "And, not that I don't appreciate the help, but how come you bust me out?"

"Your friend with the, you know, the eyepatch told me you might need some help. He gave the Dude a smoke bomb and told me which cell you were in. Walter, like, did the rest." The Dude checked his rearview mirror. "Is anyone following us?"

Willow muttered something. The car radio shrieked and went silent. "There. None of the cops between here and LA will bother us."

"Fuckin' A, man."

Nine [Gaeta], six [Dexter], and thirteen [Daria] go out for dinner. Where do they go, what do they discuss, and who picks up the tab?

They go to a local Cuban restaurant, known for its cubanos. Gaeta would be thrilled to have something other than algae for dinner, and would disgust the other two with stories about the living-on-the-raggedy-edge conditions on the Galactica. Dexter would do his best to draw out Daria and Gaeta and do as little talking about himself as possible; unfortunately he'd be a little awkward about it, and occasionally be distracted by his dead father. Daria would be biting and sarcastic as usual, but generally polite and interested in stuff. She and Gaeta would get into a political discussion about the US not prosecuting cases of torture and invasion of privacy in the Bush era, and being completely sketchy and supporting Mubarak's regime in the Egypt revolution; Dexter would do his best to keep his head down during this discussion because he does his best not to have an opinion about politics. Dexter, in at attempt to Win Friends And Influence People, will pick up the tab. Gaeta and Daria will let him, because they're poor college kids/Battlestar officers; however, they will split the tip.

If eight [Willow] and one [Iroh] were racing from Paris to Shanghai, who would win?

As soon as the race is on, Willow would try to teleport directly to Shanghai. However, Iroh thought ahead and enlisted Ty Lee's help; as soon as the starting [bell/gun/air horn/whatever] goes off, she chi-blocks Willow so that she can't use magic and has to rely on mundane means to get to Shanghai. Willow maintains a comfortable lead over Iroh through Europe and most of Asia - her computer skills let her hack into transportation agencies' systems and get herself good seats on the quickest trains/buses. Iroh does OK for himself, though; he charms his way onto transportation easily. Once they get to China, Iroh pulls ahead a lot because he blends in more easily and can kinda-sorta, enough-to-fake-it read the street signs; Willow gets slowed down dramatically because she is very obviously Not From Here and gets fleeced by local taxi drivers and ticket vendors. Unfortunately, Iroh would discover a delicious tea shop right outside Shanghai and stop in for a cuppa and a game of pai sho, letting Willow win.

Could two [Frankie] and seven [the Piemaker] be roommates, or would that be the worst thing ever?

It would start off OK - Frankie would love living with a kickass baker, and the Piemaker would enjoy having someone around other than Olive and Chuck to eat his experiments. Frankie would be fascinated by the Piemaker's dilemma of having a girlfriend he can't touch; unfortunately his fascination takes things in a much more erotic direction than everyone's comfortable with, and eventually the Piemaker would ask Frankie to leave. Frankie would adjust his boa and flounce off to his castle singing "I'm Going Home". (Olive and Aunt Vivian would harmonize with him occasionally as he makes his way out through the Pie Hole. On cue, the tenants above the Piemaker would drop playing cards off their balconies.)

Who would be a better Jedi Master, ten [G'Kar] or twelve [Jayne]?

G'Kar, hands down. He already sorta preaches interconnectedness, and a unifying force binding everything together would go down easily. Jayne, on the other hand, thinks the Force is shiny for them as believe in it, but hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for Vera at his side. (G'Kar would spend a few minutes trying to convince Jayne that he uses the Force when he fights, since he has really good reflexes; Jayne would get bored and wander off in search of mudder's milk, while G'Kar rolls his eye.)
Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
3:06 pm
I might even do a better job of this one than the "ships that don't really work and are therefore impossible to write" meme.

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f'list to post questions in the comments. For example: 'One, nine and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?' 'Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?' 'Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?' 'Write a drabble in which three and eleven fight crime.' (...possibly not technically a question.)

3) After your f'list has asked enough questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
9:06 am
Not late for a very important date
Yesterday I found out firsthand that the rumors are true: Emperor Norton is still alive and holding court in San Francisco.

details at 11!Collapse )
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
3:29 pm
Monday, August 9th, 2010
9:41 pm
"One down, two to go! :DDD"
I'm super-late to the party because we were in Hawaii when the verdict on Prop 8 was announced (more on that later when we organize our pictures). We caught it on CNN, but I had to wait until today to get the full love-fest since we were in Internet blackout mode.

And oh my God, you guys. This video.

(Feel free to start it at about the 1:40 mark. Warning: three-alarm blubs at around 2:00 and 5:21.)

I don't know whether to strangle Judge Walker for announcing this when I wasn't around to join the party, or kiss him for the nice ruling. Maybe I'll do both.
Sunday, July 18th, 2010
9:26 pm
One of my favorite parts about getting new coworkers:
n00b: How did you and your husband meet?

me: We spent an evening trying to kill someone in order to secure my immortality for another seven years. It was really intense.

n00b: . . .

me: We both died dramatically - well, him more dramatically than me. After that. . . ::sappy sigh:: it was just meant to be, you know?

n00b: o_O

me: . . .It was a game.

n00b: Ohhh! ::relieved sigh::

And then the conversation takes one of two turns:

n00b: (with horrified fascination) What kind of game was that? [I explain LARPing] Ah. That's. . .interesting. . .

gamer n00b: (mentally running through the systems and genres ze knows, playing it cool so ze doesn't out hirself as a giant nerd yet) What kind of game was that? [I start to explain LARPing] - oh, that's awesome!
Monday, June 21st, 2010
2:07 pm
Inspired by Facebook:
Inspired by a comment from vogtalicious, I started coming up with some possibilities for the surprise! twist! ending! likely to result from M. Night Shyamalan directing "The Last Airbender". Feel free to add your own:

- The water tribes/air nomads/fire nation are experimental enclaves set up by Long Feng and the Dai Lee to study group psychology and warfare. Identity crises ensue, particularly among the Fire Nation.

- Most of the main cast is ghosts trying to get Aang to avenge their Water Tribe/Earth Kingdom towns ravaged by the Fire Nation.

- Sokka is Aang's opposite and nemesis, and gets a boomerang made out of glass to fight with.

- It's all a dream/delusion/near death experience as Aang drowns in the ocean after getting shot down by a Fire Nation ship 100 years ago

- The cabbage guy has been assigned to follow the Gaang around the world and act as his guardian. He holds off the Fire Nation with the power of his eyes until Roku and his dragon arrive to rescue Aang.

- Sokka is really the Puppet Master behind the rise of the Fire Nation.

- Jet is revealed to be Aang's anarchic/nihilistic split personality

- Aang is a cylon

- Ozai/Zuko is the Smoke Monster. Iroh is the Constant.

- Ozai is Aang's father

- Aang decides that the world is a mess and he just needs to. . .rule it. He masters all four elements, crowns himself Emperor, and becomes that which he once fought against. Sokka tries to pull a Xander while Aang is in the avatar state, and dies heroically for his efforts. Katara, Suki, and Toph regroup tragically and ride off into the sunset on chicken-horses, vowing to come back and kill Aang.

And my favorite:
- Shyamalan's been faking us out with those whitewashed trailers and press releases - the cast has not been whitewashed, but has been cast with Asian actors that very few people know. The cast with better-known white actors was a publicity stunt to drum up interest, because Paramount is stupid and doesn't realize that A:TLA comes with its own enthusiastic following. Unfortunately nobody finds out because the response has been so negative that everyone boycotts the movie.
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
9:07 pm
Five ways CVE fails today, and one way I steal memes from fanfic writers
I think I already mentioned my office's trans!fail ("we can't have genderless bathrooms! we might use a bathroom a man has used and get cooties! our trans clients' comfort and safety is totally less important than avoiding the boy-cooties"). Now I get to add health!fail to the list. D:

We got an email from HR announcing a Biggest Loser-style competition - people buy in and commit to losing a certain amount of weight over three months (amount has to be over 20 pounds), the person who loses the most weight gets all the cash. And thus was my productivity shot for the afternoon as I a) went to the bathroom and did a shakedown to stop my hands shaking, b) pulled up all my Fat Acceptance 101 links, c) used them to help write a careful email to HR detailing why this was a terrible idea, and d) did another shakedown before facilitating open lab and helping people apply to jobs.

1) Way to conflate health with weight. Again. (Seriously, how many frakking ways do I have to say it?)

2) They're trying to make this as noninvasive as possible - the contest takes three months so that nobody is crash dieting, they wrote "NO CRASH DIETS" in boldface and underlined, they say that participating is entirely voluntary, etc. Let's assume for the moment that all of that plays out as safely/healthily as HR hopes it will. Everyone adheres to the "no crash diets" rule despite the siren song of a cash prize, nobody pressures anyone else into joining the contest. We're still creating an office culture, with the blessing of the Human Resources Department, where weight loss and dieting are encouraged, with the following corollaries:
- It's also encouraged to talk about your diet and help each other with their diets (because we're all helpful fixer-upper types, or we wouldn't be in social services). For "help each other", read "police the fuck out of each other's food".
- Not dieting or losing weight becomes strange and deviant.
It's important to note that office culture means we're all a part of it, whether we want to be or not. In that sense, we cannot opt out of this contest - it's going to affect us all, simply because we're spending eight hours a day in that environment.

3) The office is going to be BORING AS FUCK. People who start working on a new thing - a craft, running, a religious conversion, WoW, a diet, etc - tend to proselytize about it. (Trust me, I've done all of them except the WoW.) It's understandable - a new thing that causes changes in your life that you like, you want to share the joy. But imagine a whole crapton of people monopolizing every. single. conversation. with details about their level 40 Alliance paladin dick of a rabbi who compared not feeling the Shabbat joy to incest and rape lunches and how many calories it has, how many pounds they've lost, whether they've gained weight over the weekend, etc. etc. Even if weight were a culturally neutral topic like knitting or WoW (debate about the social status of geekery aside), that's gonna get monotonous in a hurry. And with money and a social construct like a contest to keep people interested in it, it's going to be that way for three months.

4) Weight and diet aren't culturally neutral, which means that it's very easy to fall into the "diet = virtuous and good; not dieting = lazy and immoral" way of thinking. There's a decent chance that the people proselytizing about their diets are going to be doing it with a healthy dose of self-righteousness. This is a pretty hostile environment to eat anything remotely calorie-dense, like a burger or (god forbid) chocolate. It's a lot of baggage to put on something as simple as lunch, FFS.

5) We work with people with mental health diagnoses. Something like 40% of our employees are former clients. Non-employee clients are often within earshot of the lunch area. If dieting fucks with your head, what do you think it can do to someone with depression or bipolar disorder (who might already be inclined towards a negative self-image) or someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD lends itself very well to disordered eating), or God forbid, someone who's had a bona fide eating disorder? Again, they don't have to be actively participating in the contest to be affected by the sort of culture that can trigger someone pretty strongly.

tl;dr version: what the fuck was HR thinking creating this kind of office culture when we're in the business we're in?
Monday, May 10th, 2010
7:41 pm
This belongs on Twitter or Facebook. . .
. . .but neither of those will let me cut for Lost spoilers.

ye"re gonnae die brotha!Collapse )

In other news I have discovered the best apple cobbler recipe known to man. ::om nom nom::
Saturday, April 24th, 2010
1:04 pm
SPNL writers:

cut for SPNL spoilersCollapse )
Friday, February 26th, 2010
11:27 pm
Mandolins may be fucking metal. . .
. . .but Alice stole the show.

Context: Abney Park always grabs someone from the audience when they play "Airship Pirates" to hold the violin for Nathaniel, who needs to play both guitar and violin in the song. When they played at DNA Lounge they grabbed a little girl dressed like Alice to hold it. OMG YOU GUYS. SO ADORABLE. Everyone in the audience was cuted. She spent the first half of the song looking like she couldn't decide whether to be utterly petrified or really excited, then once the violin solo was over she started getting into it. The video cuts off before the end, but before she left the stage she was throwing the horns and giving people high fives (yours truly among them). Robert joked that he thought she was going to start crowdsurfing any second.)

(By the way, Robert is quite a bit larger than I expected him to be. It might just be that I've always seen him from a distance or in a teeny little Youtube video - I had the same reaction when I saw Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk in a non-Firefly context - but up close enough to get splashed by whatever rum concoction he was drinking, he's a freakin' giant.)
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