songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I’m working on writing. I’ve just finished a BIG story - (nearly 300K words of Hobbit fanfic and I’m really proud of it) - but I want to work on paying writing. To this end, I’ve looked at what’s selling; I have no trouble writing to sales rather than Writing For Art.

There’s a thriving erotic romance market and I’m pretty sure I can write that, so I’m trying to plot stories for it. The problem is that apparently I’m not naturally a PWP writer. I’ve read several in a variety of the subgenres, to get a feel for the tropes and standards.

Uh.

Yikes )

I have figured out why all the novels in this genre are so short and read so quickly; they’ve got no subplots. That does save time.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
We're watching the Great British Bakeoff. It's as good as people said - the first two seasons were fun, and now we're watching the last one. It makes me quite pleased that I'm not on the show, though; seriously, they're thrown into the deep end from beginning to end, aren't they? Yikes.

Merrie's up in Seattle, at ECCC with friends. Geordie and I are enjoying the time on our own. We like having her at home, but it's funny to be just the two of us.

He and I have spent lots of time together alone - we have gone on weeks-long road trips together, literally just the two of us and no one else. Someone at his work said something about knowing people who, when they retired, had to learn how to spend time together without anyone else and that some of their relationships didn't survive the retirement. Geordie and I don't have to worry about that!

Which is good, because he's just been laid off, sort of. The company he worked for ... two years ago, I guess, was bought by a company which immediately was bought by a large computer company. The middle company wasn't really working out, so their product sort of stalled... which made the large company decide to cut its losses.

So, they've laid off half the staff in the group, which is about 120 people, including all of the salespeople for that group. The layoff is unusual: they're still nominally employed until May 1, and if they don't get a different job before that date, they get the full total of their vacation pay, and they get both the stock options vested immediately and the full quantity of the 4-year bonus program that they'd originally been offered.

They're being paid for the period between now and May 1, they're welcome to come into the office and have as much of the free breakfasts and lunches as they want, and they can still ... work? (only, there aren't any tasks for them to do). I think we'll be going on a trip in these next couple of months.

He's been looking at jobs in other parts of the country, both in the Portland Or area and maybe up in New England. He'll really like New England, although I'll freeze for the 6 months of winter. I prefer the Pacific Northwest, myself. I fit better into the culture and I love the mystical redwood forests.

I've been doing lots of knitting, and I think I forgot to post there that I finished the Hobbit fanfic that I'd been working on for over two years. I'm super proud of it; I'm still writing side bits of the story, but I'm honestly thinking of finding out if I can print it out and get it bound, so I can have it on my own shelves. I can get Scrivener to compile it to ebook format and then use Lulu, maybe? It's nearly 300K words, though, so it's fucking massive.

Anyway, there's lots of work to do, even though I don't yet have a job. Ugh.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I remember that someone on my flist lives in or near Portland - can I ask a question?

What's Happy Valley like? We're flirting with moving up there (if Geordie gets a job there) and it's so different price-wise from down here in the SF Bay Area that I have a hard time telling what's a good area and a bad one.

Do you have any hints or tips?

Thanks tons!
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
It's been a nice few days. I've made bread a couple of times - I tried a no knead recipe and it's okay, but it's not good. It's soft and it only works well if it's baked in very small amounts, like buns or rolls. I've gone back to my usual basic bread recipe, but it stuck a little to the bread pans. Geordie's ordered me a pair of silicone bread pans. I'm looking forward to using them.

I made lemon curd, as well, and orange curd. I've done some plotting and outlining for a couple of original stories I'm working on.

I only have one chapter left in my ongoing Hobbit fanfic. It's been two and a half years and I sort of don't know what I'll do with myself on Friday nights now that it's over.

I've been working on things to sell on etsy, but I just hate the advertising and marketing part. I sort of wish I could do the sewing and drawing and such and then someone else would just come along and do the photography and posting and stuff for me. *sigh*''

I've also been working on tidying up the house. Geordie bought a new Braun chopper/blender/thingy which means I could move the blender and food processor up to storage. This means the counter is much clearer, which is nice.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I haven't heard from the phone interview. It's been just over a week (she'd said she'd get back to me in a week, but given how slowly hiring actually happens, I figured that it'll be longer.). I emailed the recruiter, though, just to check.

I've been to the doctor today. I have a deep cough that won't go away. Not productive, but sometimes in my chest. It's dry and hacking and, when it won't stop for minutes, becomes halfway to sounding (and feeling) like my body's trying to vomit. It's NOT nice. Drinking water doesn't help; sometimes it exacerbates it. What does help is extremely mentholated cough drops. Regular mints don't work. It feels as if I've got something stuck in the back of my throat, or a dry patch. Swallowing doesn't help, and it doesn't always happen after eating, so it's unlikely that it IS something real stuck in the back of my throat.

Also, there's a painful bit, on the right side of my innards, deep into my body just to the right of my navel. It's not my intestines - those I can feel and they're normal. It's also not my stomach - that's much higher (although it, too, can be painful when pressed on; I've a long history of acid reflux.)

Also, my blood pressure's been up (to 140/90) for the past few months. We think this might be connected to the recent increase in my synthroid dosage (although, now that I think about it, the bp was up before we raised the synthroid dose). Since it's not going down and it's holding steady (almost no fluctuation; I have a home bp tester and it's showing just about exactly what the doctor's does), we've started me on lysinopril, to lower my blood pressure.

I've got a referral for an ultrasound for my belly and I'll be getting an authorization for an ENT visit where, we hope, they'll run a camera down my nose to take a look at things. I'll ask for a copy of the video, 'cause I love to see this stuff.

I'd sort of like a new body, please. This one is breaking.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
We're watching The Terminator (the first one) and something has always confused me. Sarah's room mate, Ginger, always has her headphones on playing music. ALWAYS. When she's dressing, when she's showering, when she's having sex ... were any of you that devoted to your music?

Also, we see Arnie getting his guns, but where does Rhys get his?

And how do the clothes from the skinny punkass kids at the beginning fit Arnie?

Anyway, back to watching and knitting.

*stress*

Jan. 30th, 2017 12:33 pm
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Phone job interview today in half an hour and wow, but I'm distracted by the political mayhem going on.

Augh.

Okay, focus. I've gone over the skills I have that they're asking for, I'm looking at their website to see if there's anything I can find to ask about (other than things like contract conversion rates, which aren't appropriate to ask at this early stage), I've wrapped myself in knitting and blankets so I don't shiver audibly on the phone, I've finished a cup of coffee and had a good meal, one of my cats is snoozing in the room as a good-luck charm...

Argh

Jan. 27th, 2017 07:06 pm
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I'm posting this here because this doesn't cross over (much) with my Facebook feed.

I've a couple of 'friends' - more acquaintances - on Facebook who post things which make me so frustrated. They're petty little things, and not anything I need to be involved in, but sometimes I just want to say what I think instead of being politely encouraging (as is 'polite' now) or simply ignore things.

For example, one woman is 'on a journey of self-actualization' and yeah, we all need to know ourselves and all that jazz, but every single picture she posts is of her own face, but mostly blurred. Her eyes are usually sharpened and then the rest of her is Artfully Softened.

Yes, what she posts isn't my business. It's not the constant selfie-dom that really bugs me, it's the goddamn fuzzing. FFS, lady, you look the way you look (in her case, she looks quite attractive by any standard, certainly from the collarbones up, which is all she ever shows), so why the fucking Gaussian Blur-o-Rama?

It doesn't help that every one of these posts is over a slightly passive-aggressive statement about Learning To Love Oneself and Loving One's Flaws, to which all her friends jump in with the expected compliments and reassurances.

I'm aware that my annoyance with her doing this is my problem, so I don't say anything to her about it. Just ... sometimes I wish I could be direct with her.

Anyway, I'm going back to writing, now. Petty rant over!

Adobe?

Jan. 26th, 2017 12:40 am
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Do I want to spend $25/year to be able to convert pdfs to word and excel sheets from Adobe? I've tried the free online methods and they're not working for the documents I have.

Well, poop

Jan. 23rd, 2017 07:03 pm
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I didn't get the job I interviewed for on Wednesday. I thought I'd done pretty well - two of the three interviewers seemed to like me quite a bit. The hiring manager especially seemed to like me.

However, I got an email from the recruiter today that said I didn't get the job and had this feedback from the company.

1. The role being entry level and her desire to be in a lead or supervisory role within 6 month.
a. It is great to have goals and to be ambitious but it need to be realistic.
2. Not answering questions during the interview and interrupting the interviewers.
a. She was enthusiastic and excited to be here but it is concerning when candidates don’t allow interviewers to finish their statements or answer the question they were asked.


I am pleased that I got real feedback, but I'm a bit confused. I didn't say I wanted to be in a supervisory role in 6 months, that's much too fast. I don't want to be doing basic entry level tasks after a year or so, sure, and I know I said that.

I will admit I probably jumped the gun with some of the questions. That's something I can fix immediately.

However, the not answering questions? That one's bugging me. One of the questions I got was this: "Why did you choose to get a science degree?"

Um? Because I like science? A friend of mine says I should say things like, "It's always been my dream. Even as a small child I loved the idea of science."

Also, the same interviewer asked me how I work with people who are different from me. By doing my work and getting along with others. Seems basic to me, but yeah, I guess I've got to come up with an answer for this.

***

There were three interviewers. The first and second went well - very well, it seemed. The third interviewer was very different; she just didn't seem to like me. She's the one who asked both of the above questions, and she kept saying that the job is 100% boring repetitive tasks.

***
This was an entry level manufacturing job at a company which gets really bad marks on glassdoor. The complaints are all that there's no training and no management, that the entry level jobs are literally labeling tubes for 8 hours a day 5 days a week, with random unpaid overtime and no chance of movement.

The first two interviewers made a point of saying that there's a shiny new training program and that no one has to do repetitive tasks all the time, although there are points in the manufacturing cycle where that is the main task.

The third one asked me why, if all my experience is in research, I'm applying for manufacturing jobs. I said that research is all that's done in school and that all my experience is academic. And that I understand that manufacturing is vital and important - if we don't make the things to help people, there's no point in inventing the cures at all.

The third interviewer used to be in charge of the manufacturing department and recently changed departments - right before the new people create a training program. Any bets about what's going on in the management?

***
I'm frustrated with not getting the job, although it was just barely above my minimum pay and for a company that doesn't sound great. The coming management fight looks uncomfortable.

I mean, it would be nice to have gotten a job, but maybe it's okay to have missed out on this one.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
It's been a nice weekend. Geordie and I spent all of Saturday in the house, cuddled on the couch and watching movies and random stuff on youtube. I got a friend onto Skype, so we can talk more, which is really great.

Today, we went out and just drove around in San Francisco and Alameda, stopping off at a nice grocery store at the end and bringing home half the veggies in the world. Geordie made slow-cooked ribs for dinner (delicious, omg) and I made quick 'pickled' cabbage using a packet of seasonings from Daiso. I like it, but I'm not sure I'd call it pickling, as it doesn't use vinegar but mostly seasoned salt. (Tasty, just not pickled.)

I've a lot of plans for the coming weeks, including (I hope) a job interview either Wednesday or Friday. I'm hoping for Wednesday, as I don't really want to be out of the house on Friday, Inauguration Day. I want to be home, hiding under the fucking bed.

Also, is there anyone out there who's both a Tolkien fan and knows if there's an Albanian version of the Lord of the Rings. Specifically Albanian, and ... more the Silmarillion, now that I think of it. I'd like to know if there's a specific name other than Annatar used for that particular version of Sauron in an Albanian translation.

Anyway, it's later than I wanted to go to bed and I'm not sleeping in tomorrow, no matter how much it's too cold outside of my bed.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I can't remember who wanted this, but here's the great book about Math and Craft: Making Mathematics with Needlework. Seriously, it's a GREAT book.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Let's start 2017 off in a positive way with a Pay It Forward meme. The first 6 people to comment will receive a surprise from me at some point in 2017 — anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! It will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

If you can, post this in your own journal and pay it forward. Let's do more kind and loving things for each other in 2017, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
So, I haven't been keeping up the daily records here, but I've been writing them out by hand. I think I should post them here and back date them, so I have a continuous record here. I like writing them out by hand and I have a nice little moleskine book with page-a-day space. It's supposed to be a To Do Diary sort of thing, but I find that unless I can see my whole week or month's schedule, I forget that something's due until the day it's due.

Which brings me to my car registration; I should have gotten the renewal form in the mail and haven't. I'll be going online and getting that done tonight, oh golly yes.

I got an email from a recruiter; one of the jobs he'd been talking to me about last year has decided they do want to interview me. The company gets pretty awful reviews on glassdoor, but they're paying over my minimum, the job is temp-to-hire, it's swing shift (which gives me mornings to spend doing creative things, or sleeping), and it's a job, which is really the thing I need. Without the first job, no matter how terrible, I can't get the second job, which will (one hopes) be better. Etc...

I'm hoping to get today's chapter of my fanfic finished early. I've got most of it thought through in my head, now I just need to get it out through my fingers. Then I can knit and hang out later tonight with Geordie.

Dammit, I forgot to get something out of the freezer for dinner. Argh.

I think that's it for now. Time to stop procrastinating.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
So, today's the day my weekly fanfic chapter is due. Why am I poking around on tumblr?

(Spoilers: because I'm a procrastinator.)

The thing is, the chapter's in my head the same now as it is when I'm overtired and stressed at 1am, so why do I let myself get so distracted?

Time to go write.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Already Monday, in the New Year. The past two days have been relaxing and quiet, which I think is a hopeful start for this year.

I bought a Page-A-Day moleskine journal in a pretty purple, because I want to keep better track of my daily life - the little daily boring bits. These two days haven't been super exciting, but it's nice to write things down anyway.

Geordie got me a drawing tablet for Christmas. I'm really excited - my old one was was, uh, 20 years old or so? Anyway, this one's got active pen pressure and the active area is HUGE. There's a lot I want to do with it, and one of my goals for the year is to learn more about how to draw with my eyes on the screen and not on my hand. Phew, it's trickier than it sounds.

I'm still working on setting goals for the new year, but they'll include publishing my writing, getting a job in my field, blogging regularly (on Medium and maybe Wordpress), and reading and reviewing at least 30 books.

Tomorrow I've got several errands to run and I'll be taking Merrie out to practice her driving.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Well. It's 11:16pm my time, Pacific Standard Time, and we're opening a bottle of (inexpensive) champagne to help drink away 2016.

It has been a fucking awful year for many - deaths both personal and public have filled every single month, sometimes as many as one death per day. I'm hoping that 2017 is better. Golly, I hope so.

I don't have much to say that's intelligent. Everything I could say has already been said more and better by everyone else.

Just, let's work together on fixing what we can, okay?

I'll see you on the other side, filled with champagne and fruitcake.

Fic Rec

Dec. 29th, 2016 12:12 am
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
So, I'm idly poking through people's Yuletide recs and I found this one for Antler Guy and Neighbor Steve, which is a tumblr post about a really interesting and sort of creepy statue that someone passes on their way to work every day.

A story has grown up around the tumblr post, as these things do, and now it's a Yuletide fandom. This story is exquisite - different from the tumblr story and delightful, filled with the peculiarities of a non-human, ancient eldrich viewpoint.

It's a Neighborly Day in this Beautywood

Go, read, pay tribute. Lasagne is a good choice.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
This is just a small selection!

At Flickr
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Well, we found snow! We drove out from Ashland yesterday, ate breakfast at the Morning Glory cafe, stopped into Jenny's Yarn store in Medford, then drove up and out to Crater Lake. It was amazing - filled with snow and beautiful views. Unfortunately, the lake itself is closed in unless you ski or have snowshoes. They used to have tunnels to the viewing points which allowed for lake viewing during the winter. They're gone now, and no one who works there seems to remember them, or have any idea when they were gotten rid of.

One guy said, "Well, they weren't here in '15..." to which I said, "So, at least a year, then." He gazed at me blankly and said, "Well, two."

Uhm. Surely not. If they weren't here in December 2015 and it's now December 2016, that's only one year. Yes, we're nearly into 2017, but that's ... not quite the same as two years. Two years would be December 2017, NEXT year. *sigh*

Anyway, we drove slowly along back down the road, starting on the way to Bend, Or. Halfway along, we changed our minds and drove to Eureka instead.

We poked about on Yelp in Eureka, looking for a place to eat. We settled on Tap and Growler; it was great. Good beers and ciders, good interesting food, nicely price and reasonable serving sizes. Where we had breakfast was more expensive and we couldn't eat it all.

Now we're relaxing in the hotel, hanging out online and watching Overboard. I've gotten lots of knitting done and it's been a nice day.

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songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
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