tmcg: (Default)
2013-01-10 03:11 pm
Entry tags:

A Uniquely Portable Magic

The NYRSF event on Tuesday night was a pleasure: wonderful audience, wonderful reading by [ profile] vschanoes from a devilishly funny and brutally painful novella, wonderful group to schmooze with, and a wonderful meal afterward at Milady's. Also an enjoyable round of drinks beforehand in the beautifully candlelit darkness of The Room, a little bar all brick and iron and stone and heavy wood—the perfect venue to set the mood for "Taibhse," the story I read, and just a few doors up from the SGDA.

Curator and host Jim Freund recorded the readings in both audio and video format; the story is in text format at my very Web 1.0 site The Vale of Broken Links; and I posted a couple of pictures on my website. (Podium is weirdly tall? Or five-foot-four is shorter than it used to be?)

tmcg: (aw)
2013-01-09 02:25 pm
Entry tags:

When is the next More Joy Day?

[personal profile] jenlev, this reminds me of your lovely coffeeshop tradition, and I'm pretty sure I'll be copying the idea.

Found in a bookstore on January 2nd.

tmcg: (leafy starry)
2012-12-11 04:20 pm
Entry tags:


LBM portrait

Studio portrait of my mom when she was, I think, about thirty.

Happy birthday, Mom, wherever you may be.

tmcg: (Default)
2012-12-06 08:33 pm
Entry tags:


It's thirty-six degrees outside. I am inside, and I am warm, and the warmth extends to more than a single room at a time, and I did not have to light and supervise a cranky kerosene heater, or position and monitor various electric heaters, in order to achieve this.

We have weeks, months, even years to go before things are truly normal again, in this house or in my town. The new boiler is running off an extension cord plugged into an outlet in the first-floor kitchen, because the basement wiring was immersed in salt water > can't be trusted > has to be replaced > hasn't been yet. Two of the breakers in the new main panel keep tripping, which means that either something's not right with the panel or something's not right with the house wiring and the old panel didn't register it. My dining-room office-in-exile is plugged into a bedroom outlet (this is an improvement over the living-room-office-to-bathroom-outlet rig of a week ago). Heavy-duty extension cords are our friends.

New debris piles appear every day as people return and gut their basements and/or first floors. The streets are still devoid of cars (all the cars here drowned, and almost all the drowned cars have been towed away, and many of them haven't been replaced) and busy with contractors' vans and appliance-store delivery trucks and moving trucks for the packing-it-in-and-getting-out folks. But no more National Guard, no more curfew, no more state of emergency. Just a lot of long-haul, continuing cleanup.

We were extremely lucky here. No loss of life. A habitable house. Funds to pay people to pump the basement out and do the first heavy-duty debris-clearing and tear out the walls and apply a professional mold treatment, friends to help with continuing debris-clearing, insurance to replace the funds. And even for us the recovery has been long cold hard work, and is far from over. For those less lucky, OMFG.

tmcg: (happywilly)
2012-11-25 11:14 am
tmcg: (googlewilly)
2012-10-01 05:23 am
Entry tags:

Verdammt! No Ubertrophy at Duolingo

Just before it came out of beta, I got an invitation and signed up at Duolingo. I picked German, since I'd already studied Spanish, and French wasn't quite ready yet. Over the summer (also working with Michel Thomas recordings, which I can't recommend highly enough--but more on that another time) I climbed my way module by module and (painstaking) translation by translation up to Level 15.

I'm still happily plugging away at German, but recently I got itchy to find out what happens once you've mastered all the modules in the skill tree. (When you've done all the lessons, you've finished the module; you can then, either by accumulating skill points through translations or by testing out of the skill module, acquire Mastery, at which point the module's colored rectangle in the skill tree turns gold and displays a golden trophy.) So I switched to Spanish and set out to turn all the modules gold, in the process also brushing up my Spanish, which needs it.

A couple of nights ago, testing out of Determiners, my last remaining ungilded Spanish module, I turned the whole tree gold! Since you get a fullscreen trophy when you master a skill and a sprightly trumpet flourish when you level up, I expected something cool. Animated fireworks? The sound of a cheering crowd?

But there was nothing! All that happened was that the Duolingo-recommends-you-do-this-lesson-next star appeared on a mastered module about halfway back up. An understandable continuation, since Duolingo trades language lessons for translation services, and they want you to keep translating, especially as you get better at the language...and there's a virtue-is-its-own-reward pleasure in seeing all those gilded, betrophied rectangles...but still. There should be cheers and fireworks before the crushing realization that you have embarked on a Sisyphean task.

Ah, well. In case anyone who sees this wants to connect over there, I'm TMcG there.

Update, October 2nd: They've redone the lessons page and separated translations out entirely. Much controversy has ensued! So far I like the new setup, and it clarifies a lot of what I was scratching my head over in this post.
tmcg: (kimba)
2011-09-09 05:15 pm
Entry tags:

HSUS adoption event video

The Humane Society rescued seven hundred cats from a hoarding situation in June. Three months later, they held a big adoption event, and produced a really nice video of it. Under four minutes.

Video embedded under here )
tmcg: (Default)
2011-08-23 02:10 pm

Yeah, We Felt That

I hope that everyone near the Virginia epicenter is okay.

Whole house shook here. The whole house shakes a little bit whenever a schoolbus or heavy truck trundles by outside, but this was shakier and swayier enough for me to think This seriously might actually be a small earthquake and get up with notions of collecting animals, getting into a doorway, getting a pair of shoes on, grabbing the disaster go-bag. (In that order, for better or worse.)

The radio reported it five to ten minutes earlier than my local TV cable news station or CNN. My across-the-street neighbor, talking loudly on his phone (he managed to call out to say to a friend "Did you feel that?" just before the circuits got overloaded), was announcing "We just had an earthquake" before 1010 WINS reported it, but he might have been guessing, same as me. (Interestingly, neither his first thought nor mine was "bomb blast, Manhattan." Ten years ago, when WBAI's signal cut out in the middle of a reading I was doing on "Hour of the Wolf," I said to the host, with a coldness in my gut, "Uh, better turn on CNN," because my first thought was that something had happened to the Empire State Building, where the broadcast antenna was.)
tmcg: (sword)
2011-08-17 08:50 pm
Entry tags:

Another promotion!

Got a third stripe today. Proud of it; the class was a freaking killer (and then we did five-on-one multiple-attacker scenarios). Yellow belt is on the horizon.
tmcg: (Default)
2011-08-02 05:22 pm
Entry tags:


Hearty recommendation for Kunis Piano Moving. They did an awesome job yesterday moving my family-heirloom upright. I have my piano again! I will have much to say about that (and pictures), but for now I say "Hooray" and "Whew."
tmcg: (Default)
2011-07-28 08:42 pm
Entry tags:


I now have two stripes on my white belt.

That they are black electrical tape delights me no end.

tmcg: (Default)
2011-06-25 11:29 am


Thurs 8:00 PM ME How to Write for a Living When You Can't Live Off Your Fiction. Elaine Isaak, Alexander Jablokov, Barbara Krasnoff (leader), John Edward Lawson, Terry McGarry. You've just been laid off from your staff job, you can't live on the royalties from your fiction writing, and your significant other has taken a cut in pay. How do you pay the rent? Well, you can find freelance work writing articles, white papers, reviews, blogs, and other non-SFnal stuff. Despite today's lean journalistic market, it's still possible to make a living writing, editing, and/or publishing. Let's talk about where and how you can sell yourself as a professional writer, whether blogging can be done for a living, and how else you can use your talent to keep the wolf from the door. Bring whatever ideas, sources, and contacts you have.

Friday 12:00 PM Vin. Kaffeeklatsch.

Saturday 7:00 PM NH Reading.