kshandra: Close-up of a single lit candle against a black background (Candle)
I was working up the energy to get ready for work this morning when [personal profile] gridlore commented that he was exceedingly grateful not to be driving for a living today. He had been listening to the local news radio station as he does most mornings, and had just heard about this.

Half of the routes we were delivering to today (including 80% of the routes we had moved up for the holiday, as they're normally covered on Thursdays) use that freeway. And CHP closed it just as our drivers were all leaving the warehouse this morning... Fortunately, none of our customers have called wondering where their deliveries were (no doubt the overall change in schedule was enough to make them understand that today was not business-as-usual), but everyone's been running 45-60 minutes behind all day.

Once I was settled in at work, my thoughts drifted to Scott, for obvious reasons. Hard to believe it's almost eleven years. Part of me wishes he was here, in the wake of the election; no doubt he'd be on the front lines of the resistance (and it terrifies me that I am moved to use that word to describe my friends and family in the 21st century, but what other word fits as well?). And part of me is bitterly grateful that he didn't live to see what this country has been revealed to be.
kshandra: White text on a blue button: "Better watch now, because things could go wrong in a hurry." (Keith - Better Watch Now)
Today's writing prompt comes courtesy of Tumblr: You have to entertain 10 kids for 10 hours. You get $100 at an office supply store. What's your plan?
Prices pulled from the Office Depot website (because yes, I do get that detailed with random shit like this).
  • Bankers boxes to make castles: $35.19 for 12
  • Construction paper for making coats of arms for the castles and assorted other decor: $9.49 for 300 sheets
  • 12"x18" newsprint (because you know someone isn't going to be interested in the castle thing): $8.79 for 500 sheets
  • Box of 1000 economy wooden craft sticks: $8.49
  • 2x 12-pack Crayola markers (and let's hope no more than two kids want the same color at once): $5.49 each
  • 2x 2-pack symmetrical kids' scissors (not leaving the left-handed kids behind here!): $5.49 each
  • Crayola 64-pack crayons: $5.49
  • 2x 6-pack Scholastic glue sticks: $3.39 each

Total, including 8.75% CA sales tax: $100.92. I think I can find that other buck in the bottom of my purse. ;-)
kshandra: Sinfest character Slick sits at his laptop, poking the keyboard; the words "refresh refresh refresh" hover over his head (5-Minute-Refresh)
Imported from FB in lieu of actual content today.

  1. Are you named after someone?
    Not to the best of my knowledge. My first name isn't from family, and almost every female I've met who was born in about an 18-month window around my birthday has the same middle name.
  2. When is the last time you cried?
    I honestly can't recall. I'll mist up over damn near anything, though.
  3. Do you like your handwriting?
    It's been better. I'm woefully out of practice.
  4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
    Turkey.
  5. Do you have kids?
    The stuffed animals don't count, do they?
  6. Do you use sarcasm?
    Never heard of it. </dry>
  7. Do you still have your tonsils?
    Nope!
  8. Would you bungee jump?
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAno.
  9. What is your favorite kind of cereal?
    Golden Grahams. If I'm feeling particularly decadent, I'll use chocolate milk.
  10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
    Rarely, even though I know they'll last longer.
  11. Do you think you're strong?
    "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." --anonymous, frequently misattributed to Mother Teresa
  12. What is your favorite ice cream?
    Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy.
  13. What is the first thing you notice about people?
    It depends on the interaction.
  14. Football or baseball?
    *insert George Carlin routine here*
  15. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself?
    Where do I start?
  16. What color pants are you wearing now?
    Jeans.
  17. What was the last thing you ate?
    An organic chocolate truffle from Costco. [livejournal.com profile] lysana once described these as "chocolate satori," and she's not wrong.
  18. What are you listening to right now?
    The clack of my keyboard.
  19. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    Purple, natch.
  20. Favorite smell?
    Wood smoke. Sandalwood. Vanilla.
  21. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
    A customer calling with a last-minute order change.
  22. Favorite sport to watch?
    It used to be figure skating, but got out of the habit before the scoring system changed, and I've never managed to get a good handle on the new system.
  23. Hair color?
    Brown, liberally sprinkled with gray.
  24. Eye color?
    Brown. If I've been crying a lot, they go green.
  25. Favorite food?
    Pizza.
  26. Scary movies or happy ending?
    Doesn't have to be a happy ending, necessarily, but it better not be scary.
  27. Last movie you watched?
    In full? Doctor Strange. Caught a chunk of Woodstock on TV last week.
  28. What color shirt are you wearing?
    Faded purple with bleach stains, because I'm lazy.

A lost day

Nov. 20th, 2016 08:55 pm
kshandra: Cartoon: Garfield face-down in his cat bed, a single Z in a word balloon over his head (Z)
Once upon a time, turning to [personal profile] gridlore in the middle of the day and saying "I'll meet you in bed" meant something decidedly salacious. Today, it just meant he was going to curl up and read while I went back to sleep. (At least until the air hose on my facehugger unplugged itself, anyway.)

We retreated to our bedchamber for a couple of reasons. He'd been up much later than is his usual pattern last night, and woke up ill (he loves Doritos Flamas, but the feeling is not mutual); I was still tired from yesterday's excursion, which came close to tripling my average daily step count.

And we'd had to talk about money issues, which always wears us both out mentally and emotionally. We got letters from the feds earlier in the week, informing us that we officially make Too Much Money™ for Doug to continue receiving Extra Help for his Medicare coverage, so we had to start looking at Part D prescription plans. Thank $DEITY that we actually paid for an AARP membership when he turned 50 this summer, so he has access to their coverage... So now we get to find an extra $86/month to cover that, which I'm really thrilled about. </sarcasm>
kshandra: Cover artwork from Trans Siberian Orchestra's "The Christmas Attic" (Christmas)
Home from Dickens with [personal profile] murphymom. She asked me to drive, which meant that we stayed as long as I wanted to. :D

Got there right at opening. Made a beeline for the braiding studio, and there was still no line. Had tea for the first time at Cuthbert's, which was lovely, though the trifle would have benefited from another hour or two to sit and let the pound cake absorb a little more of the moisture. Got to all the shows we wanted to see, plus a few more (videos are all from previous years):







...and the French Postcards Tableaux, but you'll just have to imagine that one on your own. ;-)

Ran into (in no particular order) [tumblr.com profile] chronopunk and his mom, [livejournal.com profile] valiaderekin and her wife, and [livejournal.com profile] rmjwell and his Cubs regalia. (Enjoy that feeling as long as you can, man.)

Wish I could afford to go more than once a season, but I definitely feel like we got our money's worth this year.
kshandra: Cover artwork from Trans Siberian Orchestra's "The Christmas Attic" (Christmas)
[personal profile] gridlore and I saw the Hershey Kiss bell-ringer commercial on Wednesday night. [personal profile] murphymom and I are going to Dickens Fair tomorrow. [livejournal.com profile] holiday_wishes is open for business again. (I'm still debating whether or not to participate; those of you who have been here a while may recall why.)

I spent the last hour in the office today listening to my favorite irreverent holiday channel. I might as well embrace the season.

S-M-R-T

Nov. 17th, 2016 10:25 am
kshandra: figurine of a teddybear seated at an office desk, looking at a computer (ComputerBear)
Those of you who have been reading me for a long time will recall earlier posts of mine trying to find what could best be described as "Cliffs Notes for the News" - I know that I'm woefully uninformed, but attempts at cover-to-cover newspaper/newsmagazine reads tend to bounce off my skull.

I appear to have found what I've been looking for.

[personal profile] gritsinmisery linked to theSkimm on her FB shortly before the election. Founded by two women with a background in TV news, it has become as indispensable as morning caffeine for me. This morning alone I've read about a series of suspected arson fires in the South that have burned 80,000 acres and the latest round of airstrikes in Aleppo (Gary Johnson, are you listening?). If the past week has taught me anything, it's how vital it is that ALL of us learn more about the world we inhabit, and I feel like I'm finally making steps in the right direction towards that goal.

I should have shared this earlier in the week, because through the end of today, for every person who signs up for theSkimm through referral links like mine, FEED will donate a meal to a child in need through one of its global giving partners.

Check it out.
kshandra: Graffiti of hands ripping open a dress shirt, Superman fashion, to reveal the word FAIL (FAIL)
Nothing like a rapid-fire sequence of email and phone calls from a single customer to get one's heart rate elevated. And it could have all been avoided had I not received bad information from someone else in the building. (Said coworker has apologized for dropping me in a hornet's nest, and is someone who saves my ass on a regular basis, so I'm not going to hold it against them at all, but.)

And people wonder why I eat my feelings.
kshandra: White text on a blue button: "Better watch now, because things could go wrong in a hurry." (Keith - Better Watch Now)
...so have something from FB last night to make up for it.

Me: Damnit, I’ve already gotten you one Ugly Xmas Sweater sweatshirt…

[personal profile] gridlore: *looks over shoulder at laptop screen*



Doug: ...too Jewish.

Me: *dissolves in helpless laughter*
kshandra: The TARDIS to the right of a purple sun (TARDIS)
I just spent two hours sitting in a room with my high-school crush, watching Doctor Who.

Okay, the room in question was the Century 20 Oakridge, and the fact that Chris was there was pure happenstance, but it was a wonderful little bit of nostalgia for me.

[personal profile] gridlore and I had used the comps we received from Fathom Events after our disastrous attempt to see Young Frankenstein last month to go to tonight's screening of the newly-animated Power of the Daleks. The evening started out on a bit of an ominous note, however, when we walked into the theatre and found the video crawl had begun with no audio... The major difference tonight was that a supervisor came into the house shortly before the main event was scheduled to begin to say that there were indeed technical difficulties, but that they were working furiously up in the booth and hoped to have the show start soon. And to their further credit, once the audio had been brought back online, they sped through the pre-show rah-rah (hooray for digital projection!) to get us to the start of the actual presentation, more or less on schedule.

For those of you unfamiliar with classic-era Doctor Who, Power of the Daleks is one of the all-too-many stories that was lost to an archive purge in the mid-70s. A complete audio recording of the story still existed (because fandom), and a team from the BBC used that along with the few hundred stills that remain, a couple of short video segments, and an original shooting script to reconstruct the production as an animated feature. Doug and I were both initially disappointed with the quality of the animation, particularly of the actors, until we learned in a post-show featurette that the team had only six months to turn the entire project around. Considering that the average Pixar film takes 3-4 YEARS to complete, with a staff 20x as big, the fact that they were able to do as much as they did is practically heroic.

All in all, it was a great way to get back in touch with my fannish roots.
kshandra: jointed teddy bear, standing upright, wearing a faux-leather flying helmet and jacket, goggles, and "silk" scarf (Aviator)
Today's topic (it is still today, right?) comes from [personal profile] gritsinmisery, who offers: Places you would visit on the North American continent (other than Black Rock) if money and health were no objects.

  • Back to NYC. [personal profile] gridlore and I have each been solo; it'd be nice to get there together. On the dream to-do list: Hamilton, natch; dinner at Gramercy Tavern (and maybe be there on a night KO shows up); Radio City (ideally the Rockettes, but I'm open to alternatives).
  • Back to Austin, ideally during bat season. Take Doug to Tears of Joy, catch some live music this time.
  • Sturgis Bike Week, ideally with a trike worthy of the event.
  • The Inside Passage of Alaska. (Some of you may recall this was the original anniversary idea, before Istanbul became a reality.)
  • A "greatest hits" tour of Canada. Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal again (Eggspectation, how we've missed you!), Prince Edward Island.

I'm sure there are places I'm forgetting, but I'm already just under the wire on this. Maybe another night. ;-)
kshandra: jointed teddy bear, standing upright, wearing a faux-leather flying helmet and jacket, goggles, and "silk" scarf (Aviator)
Yes, I'm copping out on serious content again today, but [personal profile] gridlore and I FINALLY sat down today to work on getting the rest of our photos from Istanbul labeled properly. (We also did some fairly major [for us, anyway] cleaning in the living room, which has me disinterested in doing much of anything else tonight.) We made it through almost all of Page 1 of the album, stopping with the last of the Miniaturk photos because the words were all starting to swim in front of him.

Looking through the photos gave us the opportunity to enthuse once more over just how much fun the park was. "It was like we spent an entire year in the country," Doug said at one point.

God, I wanna go back.
kshandra: Animated text: Closing paragraph from the 01/08/11 Special Comment - icon made with http://wigflip.com/minifesto (Default)
Changed my default userpic; it's now an animated scroll of the closing paragraph of Keith Olbermann's Special Comment the night Gabby Giffords was shot. It's an important reminder, to myself and hopefully to others.

Keith no longer holds quite the same space in my fangirl's heart that he once did. [personal profile] gridlore stopped following him before Countdown went off the air for the final time, noting that it had become the liberal equivalent of all of the conservative echo-chamber shows he railed against so often, and I ultimately had no choice but to acknowledge the truth in that statement. I've used the #KOdependent hashtag on Twitter once or twice since then, and was only half-joking about it. But in the wake of this week's results, Doug is appreciating the need for a liberal firebrand (or dick-punching arsonist, if you prefer) once more.

In other news, Facebook just scared the bejesus out of me. Somebody flipped the wrong switch somewhere, apparently, and they put memorial banners on everyone's profile. I discovered this the hard way by going out to my sister-in-law's profile.

My transgender sister-in-law who just started hormone therapy earlier this summer, and who has been posting about whether she's going to rush the process along to make sure she still can, or whether she's just going to go back in the damn closet.

I've already heard about one suicide brought on by the election (and not one of the unconfirmed reports, either). The possibility that C might join their number was entirely too real, and I did not need that.

And how are YOU doing?
kshandra: Rich Uncle Pennybags, pockets turned out and palms upturned, over a background of Monopoly money (Broke)
So I was rubbing money on the sore spot last night and placed an Amazon order (nothing outrageously frivolous, but things that weren't all that high on the priority list - replacement bands for our Fitbits; an extra seatbelt extender so I don't have to keep moving the first one from my car to [personal profile] gridlore's truck; a vinyl mat and storage bag for Doug's chessmen, so he can bring them to Thanksgiving). While I was at it, I finally made the jump and signed up for Prime; we order just enough from them to make free shipping worthwhile, and having another entertainment stream for Doug at home certainly doesn't hurt. I was expecting to be given a confirmation screen so I could choose between monthly or annual payments - I'll eventually switch to the cheaper rate, but I don't have it to spare right now.

I wasn't.

Since Friday's a federal holiday, my paycheck had fortunately posted a day early, so the money was there, but I kinda need it for other bills.

(I went into my account and changed it immediately, but now it looks like I have to wait for the original transaction to post so they can refund it. Which is frustrating, because I know from my own job that those transactions can be voided same-day.)

I was anxious anyway this week; why not add money stress to the pile? :-P
kshandra: long-haired woman silhouetted against a stormy sky (Bad)
One of the friends I made in the heyday of pundit fandom wrote an amazing dystopian AU several years ago called The 28th Amendment, taking place in a world where McCain (with Huckabee as his running-mate) won the 2008 election, only to die two months after the Inauguration; the titular Amendment "states that America is and always has been a Christian nation and her laws must therefore be in harmony with God's Laws", specifically outlawing marriage equality and abortion. The story includes Real-Person Slash, which I've grown less okay with as I age, but that's really beside the point here (save that some of you may not want to read it if that isn't your cup of tea). The 28th 'verse has been haunting me in these final weeks leading up to the election, for obvious reasons.

The author tweeted this morning, wondering how she had woken up in her own story.




I almost couldn't get out of bed today. I finally managed about five minutes before I was supposed to be at work, because, as Doug put it last night, "babies are still pooping," and we need my paycheck more than ever now. There's been a fair amount of gallows humor in the office, and I imagine the mood will be even more somber as our drivers (black, Latin@, and Asian) return.

Copied from a comment I left elsewhere on DW:

[personal profile] gridlore will die, no two ways about it, without the Medicare expansion. He'll die, and I'll wind up having to file bankruptcy because there's no way in HELL I can afford his medical care. (Assuming I can afford my own, which isn't guaranteed, despite having coverage through my employer. So maybe we'll BOTH be dead, and it won't fucking matter anymore.)




We'll go on. We have to. I just wish I had the first idea how.
kshandra: Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow (Smart is Sexy)



We have a whiteboard that lives on our refrigerator; [personal profile] gridlore wrote "FLORIDA! FLORIDA! FLORIDA!" on it yesterday. My productivity at work was atrocious as I kept scrolling through #PantsuitNation posts. I got home and started cooking ground beef for the Ultimate Taco Tuesday.

But I'm not the confident person I was when I posted that picture this morning. I'm fucking scared. For my husband, who will - no two ways about it - DIE if Trump takes office and overturns the ACA. For my sister and her wife, both for being queer and for being an interracial couple. For all the people I know and love who will be literally and figuratively in danger under a Trump administration.

Prove me wrong, America. Shatter the glass ceiling tonight. America is already great - let's make it better.
kshandra: jointed teddy bear, standing upright, wearing a faux-leather flying helmet and jacket, goggles, and "silk" scarf (Aviator)
Today's post comes courtesy of [personal profile] lilalanor: "Maybe your favourite photos you took in Turkey and why? (I am always here for people explaining beloved travel photos I don't know)"

I am hoping to actually get my act together enough to post more reflections on the trip as a whole this month, using the postcards we sent home as a rough outline, but I'll start with this.

Our first full day in Istanbul, we took the Big Bus Golden Horn route. One of the stops listed on the route was a place called Miniaturk. We weren't entirely sure what the appeal of a scale-model version of Istanbul was supposed to be when we had the opportunity to see the real thing, but we figured it'd be a good place to get off the bus for a while.

This place was incredible. Each of the models has a barcode reader on a stand next to it; you are handed a card coded for your preferred language along with your ticket, and the reader spits out a prerecorded history of the landmark in question. The model of Ataturk Olympic Stadium had buttons you could push to play the fight songs for the Big Three (none of whom call the stadium home, but that's beside the point). The airport model has an Airbus 321 that taxis around the tarmac. The park doesn't limit itself to Istanbul, either, with models of famous landmarks throughout the region. (In this video of the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, you can hear the recordings I was talking about.)

We were easily there for three hours, and would have stayed longer if we'd been able to figure out the cafeteria, but we were still getting the hang of the local currency. We kept saying to each other "Okay, we'll look at this one last thing and then head for the bus stop," then turning the corner and shouting "OMG look what's over there!"

We were helpers!

And then there were the kids...

We were approached by two different groups of 10-11 year olds, the girls in this photo and a group of boys. They were working on an assignment for their English class and had to ask tourists about their stay in the country. They were absolutely charming, and their collective grasp of the language was almost embarrassing to me. I sure as hell wasn't fluent in a language that had almost no commonalities with my native tongue at that age!

[personal profile] gridlore and I have been fantasizing about going back to Istanbul almost since we got off the plane at SFO; we had just gotten really good at the city when it was time to come home. And we've been escaping into that fantasy more and more as we get closer to Election Day, pricing out airfare and hotels (we've found an adorable boutique hotel for half of what we paid for the big-name chain we stayed at in April). Short of a lottery win, it ain't gonna happen, but if it does, we are devoting a full day to Miniaturk.

Bleh.

Nov. 6th, 2016 02:44 pm
kshandra: Animated text: Closing paragraph from the 01/08/11 Special Comment - icon made with http://wigflip.com/minifesto (Default)
Today's post is a serious cop-out, but I have NOT been kind to my body this weekend (I'm not designed to run on nothing but leftover Halloween candy, no matter what I might want to do), and it's catching up to me. There's still laundry that needs doing, but right now I think I just need to lie down and be miserable for a while.
kshandra: Toby Ziegler, marker in hand, holding a sign that has been doctored to read "Obama f/o/r IS THE President" (West Wing Obama)
votingselfieOur local library was hosting Early Voting this weekend, so [personal profile] gridlore and I took advantage of the fact this afternoon. (I'm actually registered permanent absentee in the state of CA, but my mail-in ballot disappeared almost the instant I brought it into the house this year...) Voting was open 12-5, and we left the house around 1pm.

I regretted not leaving sooner the instant we pulled into the driveway.

I was just out of frame to the right when Doug took this photo. There were another ~30 people ahead of us just to get into the building, and then the queue doubled back on itself twice before we finally got into The Room Where It Happens. The line was still this long when we left, an hour or so after we first got in line.

One of the women ahead of us was juuuuust skirting the edge of electioneering by wearing a "Not today, patriarchy" t-shirt. Not being quite as confident and/or confrontational, I settled for my Reason for the Season shirt; Doug wore an infantry-themed shirt and was thanked for his service more than once.

Once we got to the front of the queue, the process went quickly enough; we'd made a point of marking our sample ballots before we left the house, so we didn't have to spend any time trying to remember which proposition meant what, which two props cancelled each other out, etc.

As we left, there was a fellow resplendent in Chicago Cubs gear; Doug gave him a "Go, Cubs, Go" (which we both admit is better than our own fight song), and I greeted him with "Hey, Ernie, let's win two!" Which got me a big smile and a "Right?!" in return.

In all, the long wait left us both basically trashed for the rest of the day, but this was well worth the investment of our energy.

Now, we wait.
kshandra: Animated text: Closing paragraph from the 01/08/11 Special Comment - icon made with http://wigflip.com/minifesto (Default)
Today's topic comes from [livejournal.com profile] bkwrrm_tx: If money weren't an issue, what would you like to be doing for a living?

I'd go back to working at a movie theater. And I'd specifically look for an art house that still uses analog projectors. One of the more frivolous items on the Lottery List that [personal profile] gridlore and I keep in our heads has always been to buy and restore one of the old classic movie palaces for this very reason. There's just something soothing about the sound to me. And I enjoyed all the fiddly bits of the job - assembling trailer reels, threading the film, even splicing breaks.

The job certainly has its drawbacks and nightmares - I had a 70mm print brain-wrap on me once, and I can still see the booth floor when I close my eyes over 20 years later - but it hits all the right buttons in my brain.

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kshandra: Animated text: Closing paragraph from the 01/08/11 Special Comment - icon made with http://wigflip.com/minifesto (Default)
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