Yeah, I know I’m being a bad blogger, but I can’t really think of anything to write about lately. Hopefully something interesting will happen soon, or I’ll stop being lazy and make something interesting!
The tone of this post ended up varying dramatically between informational and increadibly personal, so get what you can out of it?
The first ever Geek Girl Con was this weekend and, let me just say, I count myself fortunate to have been able to attend.
First off, my first con experience was PAX2011 earlier this year and it was more than a little overwhelming. You always hear about amazing “coming home” experiences people have at PAX, feelings of belonging and so on, but, for me, it was so big and loud and, honestly, intimidating, that I think the warm fuzzies I’d been hoping for were just not in the stars. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed my time at PAX, but it just wasn’t as… accessible? as I thought it would be. I think that, maybe, a lot of the warm stories of PAX awesomeness that I’ve heard are from people that went when it was smaller and more intimate. What I saw was huge crowds, long lines, big vendors and glimpses of awesomeness. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m not a big fan of huge crowds or waiting, but having to show up an hour early or more for some of the events just to get in (and earlier for decent seating) kept us from spending our time more enjoyably. We did get to meet some nice people, but there was a sense of transience to those interactions since, with so many people in attendance, it wasn’t likely you would see anyone more than once. It may also be that my own enjoyment of PAX was soured by the sadness of my husband leaving for Texas immediately afterward. One of my fonder moments, and one that still makes me tear up, was sitting on the floor of the main theater during the first night’s concerts, leaning against Aaron and crying as the Video Game Orchestra played a medley of songs from Final Fantasy. (Final Fantasy was one of the reasons we hit it off when we first met.) Highlights for me included seeing Felicia Day “in the wild” of the show floor, the Wil Wheaton panel, the concerts, the cosplay (always love!) and this:
On the other hand, this weekend, Geek Girl Con (henceforth to be referred to as “GGC”) proved to be everything I had hoped PAX would be, and more. As would be expected for a first year con, GGC was small. At first I was a bit leery of its smallness, as I was concerned that I would run out of things to do (HA!) but I think the smallness of it was exactly what I needed. As you would know if I was a good blogger and updated every now and then, I’ve been in a kind of personal limbo and this weekend really gave me a shove in the right direction. I feel like this weekend really was the beginning of a very personal journey that I’ve been too scared to start. But more on that later.
Right. Small con.
The first and most mundane benefit of GGC’s smallness was the shortness of the lines. As I’ve mentioned, I hate waiting. But, it seems, nerds love a good queue, so lines it is. I suppose it probably has something to do with some of us, myself included, having a penchant for being early to things or something, but I digress. To paraphrase a fellow con-goer (Hi Emily!): at GGC going to the wrong place for a panel may cost you five or six spots in line, whereas at PAX, it would be hundreds. Plus, since it was such a small con, you did get to keep seeing line buddies and it was a much better opportunity to really get to know people. AND! The small venue meant you got to see most of the cosplayers at least once.
But really, the beauty of GGC was its heart. Organizers, sponsors, volunteers, guests, vendors and attendees alike really believed in the con and it showed. To take something the lovely Bonnie Burton said and use it completely out of context, “You don’t put geek girls in a corner.” and to me, that seemed to be what this whole weekend was about. I know that like many other female geeks, I’ve personally experienced that kind of “but you’re a girl” discrimination from a very young age and GGC seemed to be thumbing its nose at that idea. Just as many of us have had to “prove” our geek cred or we’re not taken seriously, that seemed to be the spirit of the whole weekend. There was kind of a feeling of “Fine. You don’t want to include us in your oh-so-wonderful-and-exclusive [blank]? We’ll make our own and we’ll make it better.”
I missed out on a lot on the first day because I planned poorly. I hadn’t really given that much thought to the panels I wanted to go to as most of the programming I was interested was happening on Day Two. As a result, I had large gaps in my schedule that found me kind of just staying in the same room by default because the panels seemed like they might be interesting, but I think I missed out on some stuff I really would have really enjoyed if I had planned better. It also didn’t help that I had been up since 5AM to be there by 7AM (I was the first attendee at Geek Girl Con! Ever!) because they were giving away 50 tickets to the sold-out Whedonesque Burlesque and I was determined to go. Needless to say, I was a little foggy most of the day.
Boobies and Blasters: The Women of Star Wars was a lot of fun and I did get to go to the Character Studies panel with Amy Berg, Sarah Kuhn, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Jessica Mills and Stephanie Thorpe, all of whom have, in various media outlets, created and/or portrayed strong nerdy/geeky female characters. I think everyone on the panel agreed that much of what they put into these characters comes from their own experiences of being a slightly odd (or not so slightly, in some cases), misunderstood or marginalized person and building characters based on the fact that they never saw those kinds of characters portrayed in any kind of meaningful way in the media. Just like I kept hearing all weekend, everything that they discussed really focused around the idea of working to fill in those gaps in the media that bother us. Again, if you can’t find examples of what you want to see, do it yourself.
Also, something Javi said really struck home with me and kind of pushed me down a path of introspection that I’ve been avoiding for a long time. He basically said that everyone has a crappy childhood and suffers their own kinds of pain, even the people that claim theirs didn’t suck and maybe especially them. And then the panel went on to not judging people based on appearances and all that lovely stuff, but I kind of got stuck there, amidst my own musings. I’ve always felt a little guilty that I was never really bullied by my peers, which, looking back, I have absolutely no explanation for. Over and over I’ve heard stories of people being picked on, beat up and things like that, but I’ve never been able to relate to that kind of torment and, so, even among “my people”, I’ve felt a little odd. It was almost as if I felt like I had missed out on a very important initiation that left me outside of really belonging to this group that I love so much. But when Javi said what he said, I asked myself a horrible and revealing question: What were my pains? Wow. It was all I could do to not burst into tears, sitting there on the third row. So, yeah, I’ve done my time. I have suffered to say “no” to being what people want me to be and just to be who I am. I’m not going to go into details here, because this is way too public of an arena than I’m comfortable with for something that personal, so we’ll just move along.
The evening had it’s own kind of reveals, if you know what I mean. Needless to say, Wheadonesque Burlesque was really fun! It’s kind of amazing that the acts ranged from so vastly hilarious to incredibly sexy, but they pulled it off. I was also sitting on the middle aisle so I got to see Wash’s dino tail up close and personal.
I think I’ll stop there for now as I’m sure I could probably churn out another 1500 words about Sunday. I just have to say that it seems to me that the sentiment among a lot of geek women is rather similar to the “It gets better” campaign and it also seems that it is up to us to make it so.
As you might already know, I started my new job as a kitchen prep at Chipotle. It’s going well, so far, but it is EXHAUSTING. The muscles I used to have, from my time in the Chili’s kitchen when I got out of high school, are LONG gone, so it’s probably going to be a painful transition. That is, I’m so freaking sore…
But I really don’t feel like dwelling on my little aches and pains, so we’ll move on…
One of our biggest concerns with the move was how the cats were going to handle the change. Silly us, apparently. They took the car ride like champs, sleeping in their kennel the whole way. The only issue was in the hotel rooms. Elliot (the orange tabby) was terribly confused as to where upstairs had gone. You see, they’ve lived a very sheltered little life, only leaving our two story apartment for quick visits to the vet. So, I’m sure they had no real comprehension of the world at large. The vet’s office was just another room, somehow connected to the apartment. They went there and then came back. On the trip, every time we stopped for the night and let them out of the kennel in the hotel room, Elliot began a fairly systematic search for “up”. She climbed on the highest furniture and stood her tallest, searching every corner for her room. (The spare room that all there stuff was in at our old apartment.) It was adorable. Molly, on the other hand:
Once all of their stuff was present, the frantic search for “up” has ceased. As soon as we let them out of the kennel after we had unloaded the uhaul, Molly set off to look for boxes to get into and Elliot started running back and forth on the couches, just as happy as she could be to have her stuff back.
Now that we’re settled, they are totally happy with the sunbeam situation. In our old apartment we only got sun inside for about an hour in the afternoon, in a very small patch. Our new place has a large patch of sunlight in the spare room for most of the morning into the early afternoon, when it moves into our bedroom until sunset. Molly and Elliot are seriously ecstatic about the arrangement. They spend the majority of the day lying in the sun, only moving to stretch.
The rest of the time, they spend sitting in the window. They LOVE the windows. Since we now live in a climate that allows/requires open windows, their little kitty world has just been vastly broadened. I can’t say how many times I’m sitting in the living room, watching Netflix or on the internet and I hear meowing from one of the rooms. Most of the time it’s just Elliot freaking out about the trash truck or something outside and then she comes running to tell me what happened. :)
Last week, though, I hear Molly’s distinct meow from the spare room. LOUD. And she didn’t stop, so I got up to investigate. There she was, on top of a stack of boxes, meowing at me. So, of course, I went over, petted her, picked her up and made a general big deal of her and she was all purrs the whole time. That same day? Three more times! The last time, I got this:
I don’t know what I would do without our girls. And we all can’t wait to have the man of the house back.
My Lord! Has it really been almost a month and a half since my last post? Yikes! I can’t promise things will get better right away, but I’m back! :)
It’s been an insane two months since we last spoke. I finished up the school year and with that finished my professional teaching career, hopefully for the long run. I can’t really say that I’m going to miss it, but I will look back with fondness. Even though the career wasn’t a fit for me, I did enjoy the people I got to meet and I can only hope that I was able to make a difference in even a few of my students’ lives. (Blah, blah, blah, sentimental, blah, blah.)
As soon as school was done, it was a mad dash of cleaning and packing, sorting trash, keepers, sellers, donations, etc. (Moving is hard!) Thanks again to our wonderful families for their help loading day! My dad provided his years of packing experience to help us get the most out of that little uhaul and WOW did we fit a lot of stuff into that little space! The last week at home was a strange combination of days spent in frenetic activity and evenings filled with goodbye dinners and last hangouts. My mom was really the only one that almost made me lose it. She teared up almost every time we saw them and we saw them quite often… My mom is a great lady! ::sniffles:: ::cough:: Something got in my eye…
The trip itself was surreal. We had done the math and the most economical way was driving both the small uhaul and my car. Because of the cats, we would have had to rent a much larger uhaul just to fit us all in the cab and the gas mileage would have been much worse, especially if we towed the car, as we had been planning to do. Halfway across Texas, I started to feel not-so-good: headache, congestion, mild achyness. So, by the time we reached Roswell, I was fairly miserable. While Aaron picked up food, I showered, we ate and I collapsed into bed. The rest of the trip was much the same. Drive, feel bad, stop, eat, sleep. We did get to see some fantastic scenery, though, once we got to the mountain-y parts of New Mexico. The tiny bit of Colorado we saw was beautiful, Utah was gorgeous (and we used a dry outhouse rest area in the mountains there… Crazy!), Idaho can BITE me, Oregon was pretty but wouldn’t let us pump our own gas, and then we reached WASHINGTON! :)
I love it here! The weather is gorgeous! (Except for the day it hit 87F… We don’t have A/C. Oscillating fans are amazing!) It’s a bit more humid than I expected, but I shouldn’t be surprized, really, as we’re only a mile or so away from Puget Sound. When the breeze is just right, we even get a hint of ocean air in our apartment. :)
Okay. Back to linear narration.
We stayed in a crappy little American’s Best Value motel for a few days as we scouted for apartments. We found a homey little (stressing the LITTLE) two bedroom that was priced comparably to some studios and one bedrooms we’d seen online. As for myself, I fell in love with the area. It’s a tiny little town that doesn’t even register on some maps/with some companies. It has a very neighborhood feel as opposed to the other place we considered on the opposite side of Seattle that seemed much more sterile and commercial. We put in our apps and waited… And waited… And waited…
I know it wasn’t really THAT long, but when you’re living in a hotel, staying close in case a call comes in, and WAITING, it feels like much longer. FINALLY, five days after we started the process and after we had finally given up and moved into my mom’s friend’s ex-husband’s condo’s spare bedroom, we got the call that the paperwork was through and we could come and fill out the real paperwork and get our keys! YAY!! We said, “We’ll be right there!!” and after signing a bazillion papers, we were handed our keys, picked up the cats and the uhaul and drove HOME. :)
Then there was the grueling unpacking of the uhaul with just the two of us, up stairs, but we won’t go into that, and we returned the cursed thing and went HOME.
And that’s where I think we’ll end for today. :)
Yeah, I know I’m being a bad blogger, but I can’t really think of anything to write about lately. Hopefully something interesting will happen soon, or I’ll stop being lazy and make something interesting!
As a little reminder, I am currently an English teacher. I have a bachelor’s in English and I write a mean literary paper. My grammar (when I’m paying attention) is usually pretty spot on. Also, linguistics was one of my favorite things to study in college. Proceed if you dare.
I love the English language. It’s fascinating to me. It’s complicated and ridiculous at times, but that just adds to its charm. (I have a love for languages in general. They all rock pretty hard and I wish that I knew more of them.) That being said, one of my favorite things about English is its propensity for being butchered. I say this in all love and good will. Some of the grammar rules are downright silly and when you try to justify them to an English language learner, you’re left shrugging and replying with the dumbfounded teacher’s standard retort: “Because that’s the rule.” I hate when that’s the only answer I have to give, but it happens sometimes. I do the best I can to offer clear and reasonable explanations for grammar rules but some are just odd and incomprehensible. (Don’t ask me for examples, jerk! I can’t think of any right now! It’s been a long week!!)
And getting back on topic: I love broken English! It makes me happy in ways that I can’t explain. One of the happiest moments of my life was poring over a version of the New Testament of the Bible that had been translated into Hawaiian pidgin called Da Jesus Book. I could have just died from sheer wonder at how the way the words fit together and the beauty of them when you read them aloud. For example, instead of:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
King James Version (KJV)
Jesus say, “God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat he wen send me, his one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus me no get cut off from God, but get da kine life dat stay to da max foeva.”
(John Tell Bout Jesus 3:16)
Is that not wonderful?! I’m dying! I love it!! And it’s a love born out of appreciation for the spoken word and the differences between languages. Linguistics is incredibly fascinating and I would throw out some examples but I have a tendency to gush and I’m sure not everyone finds these things as interesting as I do, so we’ll move on.
(But just a quick little example anyway for anyone that cares: Native Spanish speakers have a hard time differentiating between the /s/ phoneme “SSSSS” and the /z/ phoneme “ZZZZZ”. When quizzed, they will usually identify both of them as /s/ because there is no /z/ sound in Spanish. For some, (usually bilingual from a young age) they can’t recognize the difference when it’s subtle but for others it is impossible for their ear to pick up on /z/ at all because their ear was never trained to decipher it as a child. Craziness!! So cool!! I could gush for a few more paragraphs, but I won’t. You’re welcome!)
All that being said, with native English speakers and educated people, I can be a bit less forgiving… Fine. I can be downright judgmental, depending on the situation. But I am aware of it and I try to curb my tendency to
bash people over the head with their keyboards correct people. I’m mostly successful, because I know that no one likes the grammar police and no one likes to feel stupid or to think that someone else thinks that they are stupid. I do find myself, however, getting a little judgy when people who should know better, repeatedly use the same incorrect grammar. It irks me. I understand lazy writing and lax proofreading –I’m guilty of it more often than not– but some things REALLY get to me. But again, we won’t go into that.
In spite of being a stickler for good grammar in some situations, I often find myself being “creative” when it comes to my own writing. I get no end of eye-rolls from my husband when I make up non-existent words that fit grammatical rules of prefix/root/suffix and that can actually be deciphered using the same rules. It amuses me. And, hey, if Shakespeare can do it, why can’t I? The problem is that I sometimes find myself forgetting if words are “real” or not. But, again, I don’t really mind. People can roll their eyes at me and get judgy, but I’m having a grand old time over here in my little corner of the internet.
Getting to the meat of the issue, I did a little poll on Twitter and Facebook yesterday about a word that has been part of my vocabulary since I was very young. This is the question I posed: “ya’ll or y’all”. The results surprised me. As I was expecting, people from northern states or from other countries chose “y’all” because of the grammatical “correctness” of it. (And let’s just ignore the fact that contracting “you all” at all is grammatically incorrect.) It was people from southern states that surprised me. I was expecting more to say “ya’ll”, but quite a few did not. (I love that my former roommate threw me a curve ball with her “Not a contraction.” theory and “yall” entered the running. Fantastic! Isn’t language great?) What I found interesting is that almost all of the southern people that chose “y’all” told me WHY. (Contraction. “You all” minus “ou”, apostrophe goes here, etc.) I’m thinking that, perhaps, many of them grew up with “ya’ll” like I did and after learning grammar rules applied them to the apparently much contested word. I can’t be sure, but that’s my theory.
Anywho, the reason the question occurred to me at all was that I was reading a snarky website that was making fun of people with horrible grammar. For anyone without the desire to click on said link, some examples include things like a little knick-knack for teachers that says: “YOUR THE BEST!” ::shudder:: The thing that got me thinking was a greeting card that said: “HEY YA’LL!” In the comments, someone brought up the point that, as someone from the South, they had always seen it written that way (ya’ll). Of course, there was a snide “In case your not joking…” kind of reply to the comment that explained contractions in a condescending way. I get it. Contractions, “you all” should be “y’all”, blah, blah, blah. But when it came right down to it, I actually prefer “ya’ll”.
That’s right. I prefer the “wrong” version.
But I’ll tell you why. Firstly, since I grew up seeing it written as ya’ll, to me, it looks “right”. But my second reason is (slightly) less visceral than that. Pronunciation. When I look at “y’all”, in my mind, it would be pronounced with a slight yuh (i.e. yuh-all) and that’s not correct at all. I can’t help it. “Y’all” reads yuh-all to me. It could be that my mind is just trying to justify my preconceptions and I’m okay with that. But don’t think I’ll ever be able to get behind “y’all”. Yuh-all. Give me a break! ;)
So, in short, if you see me writing “ya’ll”, it is not out of ignorance. It is a deliberate action of defiance against grammar rules. Or not. But I do so knowingly. And I will continue to do so, in spite of what anyone has to say!
Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?
So, I was totally bored and I decided to set up a Facebook account under my bloggy name. I’ve got a few online friends on my real Facebook page, but it can get a bit cluttered, so here you go, if you’d like:
There’s also a button at the top of the page that you can use any time. Have a great weekend! :D
This post came out sounding a lot more disgruntled than I intended it to. I guess it’s a combination of tiredness and… Well, no, mostly just the fact that I’m sleepy! (-_^)
This whole fitness thing is so strange. I’m just starting to feel like my old self again, that old strength returning to these tired (recovering) bones. I’m starting to feel strong again, which is a huge relief, and on top of that, I’ve been losing weight. And that’s the weird part. I mean, yes, weight-loss was part of The Plan, but it wasn’t the main goal. I do need to lose weight if I want to run and not wreck my poor knees, so bit by little bit, it’s coming off. The thing is, I’m not losing it uniformly. I’ve noticed a lot of change around my face, and my legs are starting to tone up nicely (I’m getting that nice “line” of muscle back on my calves! Woo!) and my hands and wrists are looking less sausage-y.
It’s all disproportionate! My waist has decreased, but not nearly as much as my legs, so my new pants that were fitting so nicely all over are now pretty much the same in the waist, but starting to get baggy on my legs. It’s so irritating!
I keep hitting weird plateaus where for a week or two my weight stays EXACTLY the same. Every weight in. EXACTLY THE SAME. And my scale goes to the first decimal. This past week and a half was like that. Every couple of days or so. Same time. Same conditions. SAME EXACT WEIGHT TO THE FIRST DECIMAL! I started to think my scale was broken. Finally, though, this morning when I weighed myself I’d magically dropped over a pound since Tuesday. Odd. (And yes, I know this sounds contradictory to the “weight doesn’t matter” thing, but after progressing pretty steadily, these little speed bumps are irksome.)
And on top of weird weight-loss woes, the lovely wardrobe I’ve spent the last three years accruing with my grown-up teacher salary, mostly doesn’t fit me anymore. I still have some clothes from ages ago that kind of fit, but it’s that back of the closet stuff you always mean to get rid of, but never get around to tossing. And it’s from the broke, bygone era of mostly t-shirts and jeans. Except the jeans are long gone from over-use. So, yeah, I have no jeans. Partially because I REFUSE to wear stretch denim because it feels gross and partially because the only place I’ve ever found regular denim jeans no longer sells them.
So, yeah, if you see me wearing slacks and t-shirts on the weekends (a lot), that’s why. I have no coordinating clothing anymore. I have slacks that fit, but few nice shirts that do. And I have tees that fit, but no jeans that do.
…And inconsistent workout facilities.
Just in case you missed it, here’s a recap of what’s going on with me: Working on getting into running shape, quitting teaching and moving to Seattle in August. (Did I cover those last two on the blog, or just on twitter? I don’t recall…) There. You’re all caught up. ;)
Disclaimer: I know I’m talking about health and fitness a lot lately, or maybe it only seems that way to me, but, as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s at the forefront of my mind. If you find this sort of thing boring, I apologize, but to me it’s vastly more interesting than my oh so common complainy pants posts, so you’ll just have to deal with it until something more interesting comes along. Here’s a picture of some otters I took at an aquarium to assuage any potential wrath:
So, yeah, turns out this post will be not only fitness related, but of the whiny variety as well. I’m having a bit of trouble this week. Pretty regularly now, a coworker and I had been taking advantage of the small exercise room provided by our district for after-work workouts. And on the days that she was busy with kid-related stuff, I would go home and either go walking with my husband or do some laps in the apartment pool. Since the beginning of the hot season here in south Texas, which started in February or March this year, walking in the afternoon was taken off the docket due to my propensity to overheat. We would still go in the morning on the weekends, but then even that got too hot, but we always had the pool.
Fate, it seems, has decided to make my life miserable. This weekend we went swimming on Saturday, noting that the pool was kind of green. Then, with much hesitation, we sucked it up and went swimming again, on Sunday, in an even greener pool. (Icky!) We decided not to use the pool again until the situation was remedied. (I think the filter isn’t working. There wasn’t any suction.) And upon further inspection yesterday, it is, in fact, closed with no sign or anything to let us know what’s going on.
Then, yesterday, after work, I changed into my workout clothes and headed over to the workout room… It had a sign on the door:
I was not only irritated that it was closed, (and I changed in the bathroom for nothing!) , but yesterday was May 31, not June 1, so the sign was a big fat liar! Way to lie, liar sign! I was pissed to say the least.
THEN! To top it all off, got into the car, pulled out my ancient muddy pond brown Zune and found this:
Note the cracks and large black spot on the upper left side. I love you, Zune! Please, don’t die!! (Although, upon further inspection, I kind of love it that Elphaba is staring fixedly at the black spot! Maybe she can fix it with her magics! Though that didn’t work out too well for her, so maybe not…) (Also, that’s Donna Vivino as Elphaba. She is amazing! I just needed to let you know.) Upon discovering the injured Zune, I called Aaron for the fiftieth huffy time of the day just to share my dismay with someone.
And this was all on top of the previous huffy calls that were due to missing texts that threw off my crock pot plans! CROCK POT PLANS THAT I WOKE UP AT 5:00AM TO BRING TO FRUITION!!!
Ahem. Sorry. It was all very upsetting.
Anyway, in typical “me” style, I’ve said all that just to get to my point: My avenues for exercise have been decreased dramatically! Too hot/humid to walk (I mean, it’s almost 100F out there, people! Heat Index! UV rays! Solar… Flares…?). Exercise room at work, closed. Pool, closed. I’m at a loss. What’s a girl to do? (ToT)
I’m playing around with blog themes again. Bored with brown and looking for something different. This could take a while, so let me know if any particular look is a winner. (Though, of course, I’m capricious and will probably go with whatever suits my mood at the time. Take no offense, please. I’m just flighty.)
Also, yesterday was Towel Day, so I shared a picture on twitter. In case you missed it:
Do you know where your towel is?