athelind: (Eye - VK)
Your Obedient Serpent finally found out how to import the entirety of his LiveJournal into DreamWidth, where all the Cool Kids seem to be going.

It's the whole shebang, too: journal entries, comments, tags, filters, everything except my ridiculous gallery of icons (DW maxes out at 15, which really is plenty; LJ allows me 202, and I have 82. Time to pick and choose!)

LJ-specific templates like the Writer's Block questions didn't make it through; I don't know if polls did, either, since I don't use them enough to pick a poll-entry out without slogging through pages and pages of archives.

I don't know if I'm going to shift my primary posting habits over there, but now that I don't have to abandon eight years of archives, that's become feasible.

Of course, DreamWidth makes it much easier to cross-post, so it does make sense to make my posts from hereDW rather than over therelj.


athelind: (Default)
Today, I filled out my census data as the second person living at [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby's residence, and something occurred to me.

Neither [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia nor I remember filling out a census form in 2000 -- and in 2000, we were living in CSUMB's student housing. Despite the fact that we lived there for five full years (and the longest I've ever lived in any single place is six years), we were considered transient. In many places, students living on campus aren't considered "local residents", and thus aren't permitted to vote in local elections (though they can vote in national elections); since districting is based on census data, it makes sense that they might leave students out of that, as well.

In 1990, I was in the Coast Guard, and lived on a military base.

In 1980, my family lived in an RV park in a largely-agricultural part of Southern California; the immigration status of most of the other long-term park residents was, shall we say, dubious. My mother can't remember if we filled out a census form that year.

This may be the first census that's actually counted me since I was six years old.

The next time someone bitches about the effort the government has been going through to try and get the homeless and other "traditionally under-represented" segments of the population tallied accurately, I'll have to point out how easily a middle class white kid slipped through the cracks for forty years.


(This may be the most appropriate use of my barcode icon ever.)


athelind: (Default)
I hate to say it, but with all the fuss about Google Buzz and having to create a full profile to opt OUT of the damned thing, I'm trying to fight down a wave of Insufferable Smugness about refusing to get a gmail address in the first place, because I Didn't Trust Google With My Private Mail.

I SAW THE FNORDS, MAN.


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

It's Old English for "Noble Serpent".

I've been using it since the early '80s, originally assembling it from a "Random Old English Name Generator" table in an early issue of Dragon Magazine. If I recall correctly, "Lind" (serpent) was only on the prefix table, not the suffix, so from a gamer standpoint, I "cheated" -- no idea how well or poorly it may work on a grammatical standpoint.

The original "Athelind" was actually a Champions character, a centuries-old dragon who decided to take up superheroing as a lark.* A decade or so later, when "The Boojum Snark" decided that it would be more comfortable for the rest of alt.fan.dragons to address him by a name rather than a title, he adopted it as his nom de guerre.

And the rest is history.


* At almost exactly the same time, a comic called The Southern Knights, and that Atlanta-based superhero team included a centuries-old dragon who also decided to take up the crimefighting trade. Needless to say, my fellow players immediately brought it to my attention.
athelind: (Default)
Argh.

Last week, a flare-up in joint pain heralded another bout of Serial Flu, that one-symptom-at-a-time never-really-sick variation of influenza that hits me now and then. Body aches most of last week; congestion and post-nasal drip over the weekend; digestive upset on Monday, after work. As usual, I never felt bad enough to really consider myself sick, and, aside from a general air of lingering blah, I thought I was pretty much done with it.

This evening, I've got the Extreme Tiredness symptom, along with a slight resurgence of stuffiness, and a mild, general achiness that's not quite the same as the Crippling Arthritic Agony of last week. It's not done with me yet.

I had my flu shot this year (though not my H1N1, yet); in years past, if I had my immunization, "serial flu" would almost never progress to full-on flu.

I doubt I'm contagious; I'm not really in virus-spreading sneeze/sniffle mode. I don't really feel sick, honestly, just run down. [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi and [livejournal.com profile] tealfox, I'll give you a heads up if I'm not fit to share breathing space with the Saga group on Saturday. I should be good, though.

athelind: (Default)
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There was a stuffed rabbit named Juniper, long gone, who was my favorite stuffed animal.

There were the Colorforms Outer Space Men, also departed, who tapped into every child's "cool monster" center decades before the current wave of "Mon", and who left me with a life-long tendency to empathize with The Alien.

There was a teddy bear my sisters brought back from camp one year, who was just another stuffed animal in my childhood days. Somehow, though, he survived all the moves and cleanings and purges of belongings, and gained my respect and affection. He lost an eye along the way, and, when I first went off to college, I gave him an eyepatch, turned an old sock into a turtleneck, and dubbed him "Nick Furry, Agent of B.E.A.R.". He's held that name for almost thirty years now, far longer, needless to say, than he was just Oso The Random Teddy Bear.

My favorite. by far, however, had to have been my very first G.I. Joe. He was, originally, one of the Mercury astronaut Joes that Hasbro produced, starting in the year I was born, though I suspect he dates from a couple of years after that. This was Archetypal Joe: 12" tall, no "Kung-Fu Grip", not even the fuzzy, flocked, "life-like hair" of the early '70s.

I had a bunch of G.I. Joes, as did most of my friends as a kid, but this one was always the senior officer. The whole neighborhood respected the obvious air of authority bestowed by painted-on hair. He was the Old Soldier, hailing from the days when G.I. Joe was "America's Movable Fighting Man", and those "Adventure Team" tyros paid him his due, by gum.

His foil-coated space suit is long gone; he's dressed in the green fatigues of a later acquisition. When all the rest of my collection was bestowed onto my younger cousin, I held on to him, making some excuse about "first run" and "valuable collectible", but that was smoke and mirrors. Valuable he may be, though the collector's market has little respect for toys actually well-used and played with.

It's a moot point, though.

You don't sell your best friend.

Somewhere in the depths of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, both Nick Furry and the Old Soldier slumber comfortably in a box, awaiting the Day of the Great Unpacking, when they shall, once more, be seated upon a shelf, displayed for all the world to see.

And sometimes, maybe, just maybe, when nobody's watching ...

... someone will play with them again, too.

Because that's what toys are for.


athelind: (Default)
About a month ago, I made a friends-locked post about this; now it's time to turn the cards face up.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I are separating.

On Friday, she'll be flying to the Philippines for business. Immediately thereafter, I will be moving out.

This is not a divorce. We are not "breaking up". We still love each other; gods, do we love each other. We still want to be together.

However, since I graduated from CSUMB in 2003, I have not held a full-time job for more than three months; they've all been short-term contract or temp positions. My current part-time retail position barely lets me pick up my prescriptions and the occasional grocery run.

She needs to know that, if something happens to her, I can actually survive.

I need to know that, too. I wish we didn't have to do this, but, honestly, until I make some drastic change in my situation, I'm just going to keep spinning my wheels.

The separation will continue until I have a permanent, full-time job that lasts more than six months.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby, I have a place to stay until I can get my shit together.

I will do everything in my power to insure than the duration is as short as I can make it.


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Default)

Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So is optimism.


-- distilled from Robert Anton Wilson,
"Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning".




My thinking is broken. I've assimilated unhealthy memes.

Taking control of my life means, first and foremost, taking control of my head.

Re-Reading List:
  • Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers
  • S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action
  • R. Buckminster Fuller:

    • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
    • Utopia or Oblivion
    • Ideas and Integrities
    • Critical Path (Have I actually read this, or has it just been sitting on my shelf for years?)

  • Sun Bear, The Path of Power
  • Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Richard Bach:

    • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
    • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Hush. It's my metaprogramming list.)




athelind: (Default)
You know, I've been leaving my current position at the comic-and-game shop off of my resume, on the assumption that it's somehow "too trivial" and "doesn't look good" for a prospective science professional.

On the other claw, it adds two vitally important things to my resume:

  • Evidence that I am, in fact, currently employed; and
  • A position that I've held for more than a year -- the only one I've held for more than a few months, since getting my degree in 2003.*


I think I have far too much ego invested in the wrong places. I've been more concerned with presenting myself as a ⟨jonlovitz⟩Scientist⟨/jonlovitz⟩ than as a worker--and I have no idea if that's for the "benefit" of prospective employers, or to sustain my own precarious illusions.

So what looks better? A resume that says "I work in a comic book shop", or one that says "I haven't worked at all since 2007"?

Or have I already answered my own question?


*Aside from my time at AppleOne, which I treat as a single job instead of listing each contract/position individually.
athelind: (Default)
I woke up this morning with a headache, but in a far better, more positive mood than yesterday.

Now I'm afraid to take anything for the headache, in fear that the good mood will go with it.



Addendum, 10:23AM: Well, I took something for the headache. It hasn't gone away, but the good mood is slipping.


athelind: (Default)
After spending yesterday talking and laughing (and drinking) with family members, some of whom I haven't seen in twenty years, I'm feeling more positive about everything. The car? A setback and an annoyance. The job hunt? I've got prospects and directions I've never even tried before, because I didn't think I could do them.

I've spent far too much of my life not trying stuff because I didn't think I could do it. The only things I've ever done right were the times I dove right in despite that.

Joining the Coast Guard. Running off to Texas to move in with my Internet girlfriend. Going to a brand-new school that had only opened four years previously.

In the words of Virgil (and Scrooge McDuck), Audaces fortuna iuvat!


The secret, you see, is to
KEEP

SMILING!

athelind: (Default)
About 20 minutes ago, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard what sounded like a distant accident.

My stepdaughter then pounded on my door and said, "Some one just ran into your car!"

The drunken son of a bitch hit the FULL-SIZED VAN that parks two houses down, hard enough to TURN IT 180 DEGREES AND LAND IT ON THE SIDEWALK, and then continued on to slam into MY car at high speed.

He hit his head in the impact, but was up walking around by the time I got out there. The fire department, police, and paramedics are out there now.

The front of his car is a crumpled mess. I've seen the rear or mine -- the left rear is about a foot or so in front of the right rear.

It's destroyed. It's fucking destroyed.

I can't take any more of this. I just can't. There's just been too fucking much, in too short a time.

Trick or fuckin' treat.


athelind: (Default)
I just realized that I kind of left folks hanging after this post, so here's an update:




  • The Grape came back from the shop, a week ago Wednesday. The bumper is refurbished, the headlight replaced, and all is well. The hood kinda rattles a little when I idle, so I should probably give the body shop a call about that.
  • If you're in Silicon Valley, I highly recommend Kuykendall's Auto Body for body work. They were fast, efficient, and the car looks great.
  • Poppa spent two nights in the hospital as they ran a battery of tests. They offered to let him go home, but previous experience has shown that the same tests that get ordered immediately in the hospital will take a couple of months to clear insurance red tape if they're done on an outpatient basis. He's fine; the doctors gave him a relatively clean bill of health (the only anomalies were things they already knew about, and sum up to, "Dude, you're two weeks shy of turning 80!"). The surprise party is a go; my folks are already up there.
  • After getting the car back on Wednesday, last Thursday was spent with an early-morning doctor's appointment and a mid-afternoon dentist appointment. My cholesterol and related blood numbers are back in the target range, and I've lost a bit of weight, so I'm getting my health back on track.
  • Last Friday, I went ahead with the Santa Cruz Resume Run. I hit three places in Santa Cruz, and everyone was cordial. One civil engineering firm said that they'd actually been talking about getting a GIS guy in, in part to scan and convert old plans and records over to modern formats (something I've done in the past) -- of course, with the current state of the economy, they're not hiring at the moment, but they'll give me a call when they are.
  • I was thinking about heading out today and hitting some firms in San Jose and Santa Clara, but then I remembered what day it was. As amusing as it would be to say "Trick or Treat!" when I hand out resumes, I know people often dress up for Halloween in a lot of work places -- and sometimes even have active parties. The whole point of these hand-carry runs is to make personal contact; I don't want the memory of my First Impression getting lost 'midst costumed confusion. I'll spend the day emailing resumes and getting a better assortment of targets to visit before work on Monday.



athelind: (Default)
Got this one from [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte, who in turn imported it from Facebook.



Leave a ONE WORD comment that you think describes me. It can only be one word. No more. Then copy and paste this on your LJ so that I may leave a word about you.


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
"Man in the Wilderness"
Styx
lyrics by Tommy Shaw




Lyrics... )


...and kids today think they invented emo...

athelind: (Default)
In 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, I was in the United States Coast Guard, stationed at Coast Guard Group Monterey. Group Monterey (or Station Monterey, as it's called these days) is at Breakwater Cove, more or less at the other end of Cannery Row from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was flopped on my bed, lazing around with the TV on after a long workday, waiting for the evening meal. October is when Monterey gets its brief glimpse at summer, so I'd doffed my uniform and was in my skivvies. I wasn't watching the World Series; a rerun of The Facts of Life had just started, and I was on the verge of grabbing the remote when things started shaking.

My reaction:
  1. Hm. Quake.
  2. Huh. It's still going.
  3. Holy Shit! It's the Big One!

Somewhere around 2.5, the reflexes of someone born in California and raised with earthquake drills through childhood kicked in, and I was under the table. The table, it should be noted, was Military Barracks Furniture, and probably sturdier than most houses: the legs were 4x4s. If the floor had dropped out from under me, I'd have been in some trouble, but if the ceiling had gone, I was, quite literally, covered.

When the shaking stopped, the power was out. I threw on some clothes -- I can't remember if it was my uniform or my civvies -- and ran downstairs to see if I was needed anywhere on base. I wasn't, so I jogged down Cannery Row at a good clip to assess the damages, particularly at the Aquarium; those big glass tanks were a particular concern, and I figured someone from an emergency service should look in on them.

The Aquarium was fine, as it turned out, and the docents were evacuating the tourists very professionally; power was out all up and down the row, and, in fact, in most of the town.

On the way back, I checked out the Marina, right by the pier; again, no serious damage, but the currents on the harbor were visibly off, twisting and turning and flowing the wrong way.**

Eventually, we heard from our engineers. Several of them had driven up to Alameda on a parts run. Before getting on the freeway, they'd stopped at a convenience store to get drinks for the long drive home -- and that's where they were when the quake hit. They stepped outside to see the section of Interstate 880 that they were about to take... collapsed into a sandwich.

The electricity was out for the next few days in Monterey; as a result, our commander shrugged and declared liberty for everyone but the watch crews, since the rest of us couldn't do much of anything without power tools. We had a generator to keep the Operations Center running, and it had enough juice to spare for the mess hall, as well.

I felt kind of bad, really: most of the coast was in chaos, and I got a long weekend and never even missed a hot meal. Even the duty days were surprisingly light; not many people go pleasure boating after a major catastrophe, and even the professional fishing fleet was taking a few days of downtime.

The aftershocks kept coming, though, for a couple of weeks, and we'd all get hyperalert when they did -- or when a truck rolled by. In fact, I was exceptionally vibration-sensitive for several more years, well after returning to civilian life and moving to Oceanside, in San Diego County -- just long enough to get jolted awake by the barely-perceptible fringes of the Landers quake in 1992.


*A decade later, taking Geography/Hydrology at CSUMB, I realized just what kind of underwater avalanches the quake must have triggered in the Monterey Underwater Canyon.
athelind: (Default)
I don't do a lot of this, but I'm feeling introspective today:

I've found far too many jobs that require a Master's degree; now I really wish I'd stuck around Monterey Bay and gone to Moss Landing Marine Labs to get it.

People look at my capstone paper on Elkhorn Slough, and express surprise that it's not a Master's Thesis; sitting right there at the mouth of the Slough, I could have turned it into one in two years easily, or three at the outside -- so, figure 2005-2006, and wham, more employable out the gate.

And that would have been a lot more productive than flailing around half-assed for six years on a hunt for an entry-level position.

Of course, if I'm gonna start doing Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda, if I'd stayed in the Coast Guard and gone to Marine Science Technician school, I could have retired in 2005, to start a whole new life with a government pension backing me up.

In this timeline, however, I'm looking for entry-level work at 45.

Oh, just to add you-know to you-know: NOAA's recruiting for officers. I meet the requirements perfectly, and exceed them in places, save one: "Be able to complete 20 years of active duty before turning 62."

I know I checked NOAA out right after graduation, when I was 39. Gods as my witnesses, the age cap then was 38. Not "complete 20 by 58", but 38, flat-out.

I would have turned 42 in 2006, incidentally. Why is that year the watershed date (pun inevitable) in all these what-if scenarios?



athelind: (Default)
I've spent the day being melancholy about the Apollo 11 launch, which happened when I was 5. So I come home from work, and what do I find on my Friends list, courtesy of the [livejournal.com profile] retro_future community?



The cover to my very favorite book from childhood.

Please keep me away from any mention of Major Matt Mason or the Colorforms Outer Space Men for the next 72 hours or so, or I'm just gonna curl up into a Schwartzchild Radius of nostalgia and never be heard from again.


Those of you participating in [livejournal.com profile] tealfox and [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi's Star Wars Saga game this weekend who read the linked review will see a particular irony in this particular book impinging on my consciousness at this particular juncture.
athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Enter the Dragon, naturally.
athelind: (Default)
You know you've been using a computer too long when you type out a long, complicated word like "resuscitation", and when a red line doesn't appear under it, you immediately think "is my spell checker working?" rather than "oh, I spelled it right."
athelind: (Default)
Every now and then, I'll see a topic or a line of thought or, hell, a spelling or grammatical error that crops up repeatedly over the span of a few days -- often enough that I feel the need to make a LiveJournal comment about it.

I usually include a note that I've been seeing this [whatever] in a number of different places, and that my comments aren't aimed at anyone in particular.

Invariably, that note is ignored, and at least one person will respond most heatedly as if I were in fact addressing them specifically. It's not just a matter of getting defensive about their position; sometimes, they will come right out and say "you didn't need to take this public".

You know who you are. Don't try to deny it. Yes, I'm talking to you. You're the only one who has ever done this.

You may have noticed that I run a few "sub-columns" in this journal, usually identified by headers. The Hoard Potato talks about mass media, Understating Athelind's Argot discusses peculiar turns of phrase that I use, Film at 11 talks about the news of the day, and so on.

From here on, when I make a broad response to something that more than one person has brought up that annoys me, or that I feel needs response, I am going to use this header: You're So Vain.

Just for you.

athelind: (Default)
Ever feel rotten, non-specifically?

About an hour before the end of my shift today, I realized that I felt tired, without actually being tired. I felt like I hurt all over, without the actual hurting part.

A couple of hours ago, I took a couple of naproxene. The general, overwhelming weariness is gone now... replaced by Actual Aching.

This might just be my chronic arthritis sneaking up on me. It's been chilly and wet for a couple of weeks, now. The fact that the most intense locus of acute pain is in the ball of my left big toe, which is one of the few places that I've had an actual medical diagnosis of arthritis, lends some support to this hypothesis.

On the other claw, it might be the opening volley of yet another bout with the fershlugginer flu.

I'm hoping the former. I've danced enough with Lady Influenza this season. People are starting to talk.

I'm still goin' to see Watchmen tomorrow morning.

athelind: (Default)
It's that time of year again: Fat Tuesday, marking the last big occasion of self-indulgence before the beginning of Lent.

I'm not Catholic, but I've found in the past that Giving Stuff Up For Lent is a good way to push myself into establishing better habits, at least for a while.

I've let my eating habits go to Helena Handbasket over the last year or so, and it's time to get them back on track. The single thing I've found that improves my diet immensely is to Just Say No to Beef and Dairy: that, all by itself, eliminates the worst of the fast food out there.

So, for the next 40 days:
  • No beef. Exception: beef liver, because we have some in the freezer.
  • No dairy products beyond yogurt and "incidental cheese" (a little grated Parmesan on a salad or pasta, for instance).
  • Nothing deep-fried.

Time to crank up the salads, the salmon burgers, the peanut butter sandwiches, and the fruit-and-soy-milk smoothies.

The nice thing is that I like the salads, the salmon burgers, the peanut butter sandwiches, and the fruit-and-soy-milk smoothies; I just need to fall back in the habit of eating them regularly.

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