athelind: (facepalm)
This one should be easy to parse: it's a portmanteau of "dot your I's and cross your T's" with "mind your P's and Q's".

It describes over-attention to detail, to the point where you're "correcting" things that aren't really mistakes.

A more subtle variation is "cross your eyes and dot your T's".


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
On a Google search of the phrase "Your Obedient Serpent", eight of the ten links on the first page are to my blogs, user profiles, or comments I've left elsewhere. Only one actually concerns the source I stole it from to which that phrase pays homage: Bob Clampett's Beany & Cecil cartoons of the '60s, in which Cecil caps off the end credits by declaring himself "Your Obedient Serpent".

I'm ... not entirely sure how I feel about that.

On the one claw, hooray! Trivial fame! A memorable phrase linked inextricably with me!

On the other ... where's the love for Unca Bob and his Seasick Sea Serpent?


athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

What’s that one song that always reminds you of the one that got away?






And I'd give up forever to touch you ... )

If I hadn't been so afraid of losing her
Perhaps I might not have lost her.

athelind: (barcode)
Solstice fell last week.
Today, this song was playing.
Nothing more to say.






I'm learning to live without you now ... )

The more I know, the less I understand.

athelind: (ouroboros)
The last panel of today's Shortpacked! sort of capturtes how I've been feeling lately. I need to snip it and resize it for an icon, if the text will still be readable at 100x100.

"We're finally growing up?"

"Screw that. We're finally catching up to all those bastards we know on Facebook who are having their third kid."



I need some kind of tag to indicate "This is a good thing, really!"
athelind: (ouroboros)
I am not a scientist.

I am not in a job where I am doing science, particularly not the kind of ecological sciences that I thought was my calling.

For years, for decades, I had I Am A Scientist, and if I am not Doing Science, I am Wasting My Life carved on my soul.

And because of that, I wasted my life.

But you know what?

I Got Over Myself.

I Am Not A Scientist. I Am Not Doing Science.

And I am finally Doing Something With My Life, because I have let that go.

I am in a position to make good use of my skills and experience. I am in a position to do some good with the second half of my life.

Hell, that's right there at the top of my resume:

Coast Guard veteran with degrees in Earth Systems Science and Biotechnology seeks a position that will integrate his education and experience, to make positive change in the world.


I am there. I've got that.

And it's not at all the job I saw for myself. It's not the job I was expecting.

Life surprised me.

And Life is Good.

Allow yourself the possibility of surprise.


Edit: On reading this the next morning, I realize I didn't clearly state something very important:

I Am Not A Scientist. I Am Not Doing Science.

I am not "following my dream"—but I love my job.

I haven't "settled". This is not "disappointment".

I am in a job that leaves me engaged, fulfilled and, at the end of more days than not, happy.

Life surprised me, and Life is Good.
athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Who is your favorite mythical creature/character, and why?

That would be ... well ... me.


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (Default)
Despite the events of the last year, I still have a lot to be thankful for.

If you're reading this, you're probably included in that list.


athelind: (Default)
Today was the day I went over to [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage and separated the contents into three categories: Definitely Mine, Somebody Else's Problem, and Contents Must Be Sorted Item By Item. Items in the first category got put into a U-Haul and taken to storage; items in the third category will be sorted through tomorrow, which will be ... emotional, to say the least. Those are Boxes Full of Memories.

I cannot believe how much crap I own. I have something on the order of 16-18 proper comic short boxes full of comics, plus a few more random boxes also brimming with comics waiting to be properly housed. Those are high on my list to Just Plain Go. I've got far too many bins of costumery, too; the contents of those may be up for grabs soon.

Many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] paka, [livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger, and [livejournal.com profile] kaysho; your assistance today was invaluable. [livejournal.com profile] kaysho, coming along to help us unload at the storage shed was above and beyond the call, nigh unto the "... helps you move bodies" level.

And thanks as well to [livejournal.com profile] gatewalker and [livejournal.com profile] quiet_rain, for making me feel like I'm still family.


athelind: (Default)
Is there anyone in the Bay Area who can help me move my stuff out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage this Saturday?

I consider "pizza for everyone" to be covered under "moving expenses".


athelind: (loop)
Trying to grok microblogging and social networking just makes me feel old.

I feel the need to make the effort, though—in no small part because it does make me feel old. I look on in baffled incomprehension at a vast swath of online life, wholly Out Of the Loop, and I realize that I'm nearly as disconnected from the Bleeding Edge of the One-And-Twenty as someone with no Internet access at all.

The Unkind Curmudgeon, the part of me that tries to reduce the world into a series of Pithy Epigrams, keeps coming back to "these are ways for people to TALK when they don't have anything to SAY."

Of course, Pithy Epigrams are exactly what microblogging services like Twitter are all about; the Unkind Curmudgeon would thrive there.

I'm not sure I want the Unkind Curmudgeon to thrive.

Nevertheless, I can see the utility and appeal of the Twitters and Qaikus and Status.nets of the online world. Sometimes, you just want to say something quickly and efficiently, without wrapping a well-thought-out blog entry (or stream of consciousness blather) around it. The first sentence of this entry would have been an ideal Tweet, but here, on LJ, I feel I have to elaborate.1

I also appreciate the idea of an ongoing, persistent conversation that's faster than a newsgroup but slower than IRCs or MUCKs. IM conversations have that quality on a one-to-one level: you can say something to someone, and they can respond at their leisure. 2

It's the Facebooks and MySpaces that I don't get. I'm on LinkedIn, the most professionally-oriented of the social network services, and I don't get it. There's no content on LinkedIn. Nothing happens. It's static. Even if you recognize former co-workers floating around on the service, it's just "hey, I know you [LINK]". It's another place to post my resume to get ignored.3

As I understand it, Facebook and the more "social" social nets have Other Stuff: microblog-style "Status Updates"; tedious mind-numbing timesinks "games" like Farmville; the exchange of pointless tchotchkes virtual tokens like the llamas of DeviantArt and the weird little icons that LiveJournal has tacked on in imitation.

I still don't quite grasp what you do on these networks, though. I don't grok how you interact with them. LiveJournal has the eminently-useful (if unfortunately-named) "Friends" list, which is an entirely useful means of monitoring those individuals who provide interesting content; I peruse mine regularly, and it irks me that there's not an equally-elegant way of following the Blogspot blogs I read.

I'm clueless about the SpaceBooks and MyFaces, though. honestly, I don't even know what such sites look like, since most of them are, in my experience, inaccessible to those who don't already have an account.

Given the well-publicized privacy issues and the impossibility of deleting accounts, I am extremely leery of registering just to see if I want to register.

Some contracts, you just don't want to sign.4

Why, you might ask, am I concerned about this at all?

It's not just because "all my friends are doing it."

Any number of recent articles in the blogosphere suggest that my mortal alter-ego's nigh-complete absence from the virtual sphere has had a negative impact on my career aspirations.[citation needed] A Google search on my mundane name yields my 2003 capstone thesis, a few sparse credits in a handful of published RPGs, and a lengthy discourse in an etymology blog about the plural of "octopus".

It's bad enough that my professional experience is so sparse, but, as far as any potential employer can determine, I have no personal interests whatsoever.

Nevertheless, I'm hesitant to establish overt connections between my Mundane Alter-Ego, the Earnest Environmental Scientist and Cartographer, and Your Obedient Serpent, who may be an Eloquent Commentator of Comics and Popular Culture, but also has some ... eccentric ... search results attached to his most-used nom de guerre.


1 Endlessly.

2 I do miss ICQ, which would let you drop someone a note even if they weren't online at the time; I described that more than once as "leaving a Post-It on their monitor".

3 But I'm not bitter!

4 I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe; by the Which I meane, Any that can in Turne call up somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use. Ask of the Lesser, lest the Greater shall not wish to Answer, and shall commande more than you. —H.P. Lovecraft, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".

athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia recently wrote:

Those of you who know me, know that this separation, and now this divorce, is hitting me very hard. I thought I knew what kind of relationship I've had for the last 13 years, and realizing that I never knew it at all has been devastating.


I feel exactly the same way. Try as I might, I can't phrase it any more eloquently.

I will always, always cherish the years we had together, and love for her still fills my heart.

But I can see a future ahead of me now that I couldn't see a year ago, possibilities that simply weren't there.

I only wish that she would come with me.


athelind: (Default)
I saw you there.

I could barely speak.

I could barely breathe.

I wanted to take you in my arms so badly.

And I remembered when I proposed. I remembered what I knew when I saw our rings, there on the table, and I knew it was still true.

Whatever you might say you believe.






[Important Lyric] ... )

Birthday.

Aug. 22nd, 2010 09:17 pm
athelind: (Default)
It's [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's birthday today.

I was doing okay. I was carefully not thinking about it. I cleaned the bathroom, I finished my laundry, I started straightening up my room ... .

... and I found the present that I'd bought for her, back in January, and was saving for her birthday.

For today.

We haven't spoken since she told me she was seeing a lawyer. Everyone I've spoken to has said that, at this point, our communications should just be through the lawyers.

I am probably skirting the spirit of that by posting this publicly, though I don't know if she's even reading my LiveJournal anymore.

Please know that when I say "Happy Birthday", I mean it sincerely, my love.

Please know that I didn't call because I didn't want to make you sad, didn't want to ruin your birthday, and because I knew that there was no way I could wish you a happy birthday without sounding mean or bitter.

And I hope this doesn't do that.

I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you.

Be well.


athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Have you ever had a near-death experience? How close have you come to dying?

Oh, hooray, something morbid to contemplate.

I've had a couple, the first being at age 5.

Our family was vacationing at Yosemite National Park, and my two sisters (the oldest being all of Eight Going On Nine at the time) were set with the task of watching me as we wandered around an outdoor display of old gold mining machinery.

Well, at some point, I got it into my head that I was going to Go Find Mommy, and ran off at full tilt...

... right into the sharp, blade-like edge of some century-old piece of Gold Rush apparatus, set conveniently at Five Year Old Noggin Height.

The blade sliced neatly through the skin of my forehead, along with the layer of muscle underneath, and a major artery. Yes, one of my earliest memories is seeing the world through a red curtain of arterial blood.

Parents were not far distant, as it transpired, and the park ranger responded very quickly (dropping his groceries, as it was always related in later family tellings). With the subcutaneous muscles cut, my forhead skin sagged alarmingly, causing my father to think that there was an actual chunk of skin missing; wonderful parent that he was, he sent my sisters back to the blood-soaked ground to find it.

I was bustled to a doctor's office and stitched up, and I still have a scar neatly along my hairline; four decades later, it's only barely visible. There was a lot of blood lost, of course, and as my mother tells it, I passed out in the car at least once. I have no idea how close I came to death, but if any of several factors had been even slightly different ... .

The other time that I can remember isn't nearly as impressive a tale, and it's been told in this journal fairly recently: the 70-mph blowout I had on I-680 back in March, In this particular instance, I was wholly uninjured, but, again, a slightly different array of factors could have been Very Bad Indeed. If I'd been driving my late, lamented Aspire, with its slimmer wheels and higher center of gravity, I almost certainly would have rolled; the Aspire's tires were brand-new when it was destroyed, but if the blowout was because of something I'd run over, that wouldn't have made a difference.

However close I did or did not come to my Final Destination on that highway, it was shock enough to knock me out of the clinical depression that had plagued me throughout 2009 (if not longer).

Ultimately, I guess I survived that by keeping a firm grip on the wheel and remaining in control during the worst of the crisis.

I suspect that's a metaphor.


athelind: (Default)
I'm doing okay.

I'm holding it together, and getting things in order.

Thanks to all my friends out there, for all your support.

"A million miles is the difference between failure and a new chance."


athelind: (Default)
My morning comics would be a lot better at distracting me from my troubles if one of them didn't involved two people, deeply in love, and their last day together, knowing full well that it was their last day together and very carefully preserving the illusion that it wasn't.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I did that on Sunday.

She sent me the email that ended with, "we need to talk".

She knew what was coming, and so did I.

But we both went along with the pretense.

We went to see The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and held hands through most of the movie.

Afterward, we had a nice lunch, and talked about pleasant inconsequentialities.

And then we went to her place, where I've never lived and never will, and sat down on her futon, the one she bought after I had to leave, and we Talked.

I don't know her motivations for sure. Maybe she was just trying to soften me up for the blow to come; that's what my mother thinks.

I know why I went along with the pretense, though, and I want to believe that it's the same for her:

I wanted One Last Good Day. I wanted one last set of memories of laughing with her. I wanted to remember her smile.

And I have those memories. And I will cherish them.

Because, dammit, what we had was real, and those years of happiness we had were true, and none of the bullshit that's buried them in the last few years can take that Reality and that Truth away from me. Not ever.

I love you, Fire of my Heart.


athelind: (Default)
I was making it through the work day okay. I was holding it together.

And then a customer complimented the pretty dragon ring on my finger.

I thanked them, and kept it together long enough to get to the back room.

I put it on from sheer reflex. and I'll keep putting it on, every goddamned day, for the rest of my life.

To love and cherish, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

I kept my side of that.

I just can't speak for myself right now, so here's another stupid video, and more lyrics.

But that's all I can do, and that's what I've got to face.






How can you just walk away from me? )

... but if you really knew me at all, how could you have said that to me?

It's over.

Jul. 19th, 2010 01:37 pm
athelind: (loved)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia told me that she was going to contact a lawyer and file for divorce.

It's over.


athelind: (green hills of earth)
I've mentioned before that my preferred radio station tends to play the same songs, over and over. I'd listen to another station, but ... most of what KFOX plays is music I like, even when I hear it all the time.

Sometimes, though, a song will reach out and grab me, above and beyond the background noise of all the other songs I've heard every other day for the last six months. Oh, a song like "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" will always catch my ear, because, well, Reaper.

Other songs, though ... sometimes they just walk up to me and say, "Listen to me. I have something to say to you, personally."

Right now, there are two of them demanding my attention in that way, and they're both from the same band.






I have climbed the highest mountains ... )




On a bed of nails she makes me wait ... )

I'm listening.

athelind: (facepalm)
[livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte says, "Now the true test would be to enter some text from a particular author, and see if it comes back with that author's name"
[livejournal.com profile] athelind grauphs, "LOL!"
[livejournal.com profile] athelind grauphs, "I think it's just a very noisy algorithm with huge error bars. it's not ENTIRELY fatuous, since it tells me that I write like H.P. Lovecraft much of the time, in circumstances where, yes, I'm deliberately trying to write like HPL."
[livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte says, "My point is, does H.P. Lovecraft write like H.P.Lovecraft?"
[livejournal.com profile] athelind grauphs, "Indeed. And there's public domain HPL stuff online to use as a test case."
[livejournal.com profile] athelind grauphs, "... dammit. go to lunch. I'll test it."
[livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte says, "thank you."

Plugging in the text of "The Colour Out of Space", we find that H.P. Lovecraft ...

H.P. Lovecraft writes like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



... writes like Stephen King.

I totally need an Athelind Rolling In the Hoard Laughing icon.


athelind: (Warning: Memetic Hazard)
[livejournal.com profile] wordslinger might find this amusing, as it's tangentially related to her much more rigorous project of stylistic analysis.

To be honest, I was going to blow this one off for two reasons:

One, because the results have been so varied that it's become a matter of parody;

And two, because I didn't think I'd produced a body of work with any degree of consistency in recent years. Certainly, I haven't cranked out any fiction in a long while.

I changed my mind for two reasons:

One, because [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte reported remarkably consistent results from his LiveJournal entries;

And two, because I realized that my comics blog was a deliberate attempt to maintain a consisten "voice" throughout its long-form entries.

Out of ten long-form entries, I got the following results:

One J. D. Salinger:

I write like
J. D. Salinger

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




Four H. P. Lovecraft:

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




And five David Foster Wallace:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



...to which I can only echo [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte's reaction: who?

Illiterate Philistine that I am, I've never read Salinger. The Lovecraft results, however, did not surprise me in the least; like HPL, I have a penchant for purple prose, archaic adjectives, and gratuitous grandiloquence. I suspect that if the algorithm were keyed to identify italics, my writing would have shown even more kinship to that of Unca Howard. One of the HPL-tagged episodes did, in fact, have several FULLY CAPITALIZED PASSAGES, though that was more in emulation of Jack "King" Kirby; I rather doubt that the meme-encoders included his Groovily Bombastic Scriptage in their algorithms.

Were I in a more frivolous mood, and had more respect for the underlying algorithms of random internettery, I might dig out some of my college papers (aside from the one that got repurposed as a KDDR entry) and see how they test out; even when I'm writing serious technical discourse, my florid style often bleeds through, and I can never resist a good chain of alliteration.


For the record, I analyzed this post, and got H.P. Lovecraft again. Given that I found myself deliberately emphasizing the Lovecraftian tendencies of my style as I wrote, that's not only unsurprising, but quite probably biased: "gaming the game", as it were. So, grains of salt all around, and 'ware your blood pressure, all and sundry.
If the meme-writers had my sense of humor, any text that referenced the "I Write Like" page itself would be weighted toward Douglas Hofstadter.

athelind: (Howitzer)
The phrase "crawling from the wreckage of my life" has been running through my head today.

It has an oddly positive tone that seems at odds with the words ...

... but when you realize that the alternative is "trapped in the wreckage of my life", then the upbeat tone all makes sense.


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