May. 6th, 2011 09:57 pm
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Seriously, what the hell, UK. It was a historic chance. :/


May. 1st, 2011 04:30 pm
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Steven Moffat might possibly be the most brilliant screenwriter alive today.

Also: bonus story!
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... I stopped my one week old son's crying by rocking him and -- the rocking alone wouldn't do -- singing to him the main theme of Final Fantasy 6.

My sons. :)
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Playing with my two year old son:

I throw a ball. He goes down on all four, gallops after the ball, picks it up with his mouth, turns around, comes back to me still on all four, and drops the ball in my hand, all covered in drool.

I swear nobody taught him that.


Mar. 7th, 2011 11:03 am
balinares: ((extra)ordinary)
They barely had time to take her to the hospital and put her on a bed. By the time I posted that last message, Arthur was already three minutes old.

Spent the morning with them. Now I'm home, seeing to stuff. And then I CRASH.
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Right, so after three fruitless trips to the maternity ward, it looks like the fourth will be good. Enough so that I may not have time to take kid #1 to his nanny and join C. at the hospital, where she departed to an hour ago in an ambulance.

I'd say, 30 more minutes and then I wake up kid #1 no matter what, and off we zoom.

Then, someday, eventually there will be SLEEP. Yes.


Feb. 28th, 2011 09:12 am
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Monday morning. Still no sproutling #2, and that's after two trips to the maternity ward in the last two weeks.

Monday morning, first day in ages that we don't have various family members visiting, those being initially planned as "take care of house and kid #1 and everything while you're at the maternity ward with kid #2" visits. Which went on just as planned except for the 'kid #2' part.

So of course, Monday morning it should be, the day my car chooses to CRAP OUT ON ME AGAIN, when I've got no one else to fall back on.

Seriously, I need a break.
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I can't tell if it's a failure of the English vocabulary or of my mastery thereof, but there are emotions for which I have no name.

There's one, in particular, that I am thinking of. It fills you slowly as you are reading a certain book, or absorbing a certain movie -- not all, by far, only a very select few books or movies have that kind of power -- and you don't notice it very much at first; and then you turn the last page, or watch the credits scroll while the end music plays, and soon you are filled with a feeling of acute bereavement from it being over.

This... well, this is something I'd have by default assumed to be the result of my own brain chemistry and its particular idiosyncrasies. I do that. And then, early in my Internet days, I heard others mention it. And now, what I assume to be a flavor of it made the news. So what defines that emotion, I guess, is the shape of the void it leaves after it's gone, some sort of melancholic longing for something beautiful and impossible.

The funny thing about it is that, at some point, back when I was a wee kid, I had no difficulty prolonging that emotion on my own after the source was gone. The other universe and its beautiful workings just lived on easily in my mind and in the childlike games I played.

So it goes for a while. And then you age just a little bit, and suddenly something departs, and you're just a kid with cardboard wings.

And you feel kinda dumb, and you trash the wings, in part due to shame, in part because cardboard is so stupidly inadequate, it only makes the longing worse.

That was then, this is now. In a way, what has animated my creative endeavors (or, to be honest, the ineffective, flailing pretense thereof), I realize, was the hunt for wings that wouldn't feel stunted so, metaphorically speaking. I'm groping in the dark here, I realize, to express something I'm still mostly confused about, but I hope you get the gist of the idea?

So, anyway, why all the blathering? Well, I turned 34 last week, and suddenly, for no reason I can fathom, it's like being that age again, overnight.

No shit. I misplaced all of the world's magic. Again. It'll turn up sooner or later, I'm confident, but dude.

Aging: not cool.
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Happy new day.

Happy new year, too, I guess; so the ritual goes. It feels kind of nebulous to me right now. Tradition aside, why quantize happiness allotment by year? Maybe happy new month concentrates too much happy, and happy new decade, not enough. Maybe it's just that we're so used to sequencing our lives along that frequency of roughly 3.17x10-8 Hz, now we're caught up in the habit and ritual.

At what point does it turn so ritualized as to become meaningless? I've received some 'happy new year' SMS from unknown numbers, presumably mistakes. Did I unintentionally misappropriate the happy meant for someone else?

Happy new day! We'll see about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Because, let's not delude ourselves. There will be glorious days and crappy days. I wish for the former to outnumber the latter, for me and for you, but 15 billion years into its existence, reality remains stubbornly impervious to the most fervent wishes.

Happy new day! Or maybe not. Crappy days occurrence starts on Jan. 1, so maybe today will one of those days. I can't tell.

But, and here's what I'm getting at, I'll be there, today at least. If today is to be crappy for you, well, that sucks; but I'll be there, and I'll try, with a word, with a hug, to help see you through it, if I can. It's not a lot, I know, but I still think it's important and worthwhile. Happier new day, slightly so, if it is in my power.

Maybe, with any luck, I'll be able to make a tiny little bit of difference, and keep at it during and beyond the course of a given ritual time period. I can endeavour to try.

Happy new day.
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Another month of November has come and gone, and lessons were learned. Which is good. It's the whole point.

Belated NaNo debrief. Skip at will. )

Also also

Nov. 5th, 2010 04:02 pm
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It's a boy, and he's due for March. :)
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Owing to a fun assortment of consecutive issues, since yesterday evening I have spent about 5 hours in commute, total.

This has not been an easy week.

At least I got to smile my way into the train driver cabin and see for myself the fire alarm light go off when they unlatched the rear locomotive, which was kinda cool.
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With the commute, strikes, kid wrangling and everything else going on lately, my life wasn't crazy enough yet.

So I'll be attempting NaNoWriMo again.

Odds aren't looking good for me, what with everything, but if I fail, then let me fail with panache.

Anyone else going for it?
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Well, I'm off to take my car to be scrapped.

This feels weird. It was a brave little car. Took me all the way to Eurofurence and back several times without complaint. Once it took me from [livejournal.com profile] aisheth's place all the way out in Brittany to the south-east of the country, over the course of a single day. Valiant thing.

I still have a stem of lavander on my dashboard from when I last visited Aisheth. I will leave it there on the dashboard, I think, before I close the door for the last time.
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EF was enough of a gigantic blast that I almost don't mind my car woes and the ensuing serious budget dent all that much.

This is good. I needed a gigantic blast in my life.

I did a hell of a lotta stuff and still there wasn't time to do all I wanted. This is a good thing: it leaves you with both a sense of fulfillment and a great want for more.

Anyway! Highlights, with nice lined up bullets for easier processing by the beer-addled mind:
  • The new venue in Magdeburg had the difficult task of coming after the beloved Ringberg hotel in Suhl. It sort of pulled it off, mostly thanks to midtown location, overall poshness, and large function space. Also the EF staff did absolute wonders with the decoration, with huge, beautiful banners hanging in the huge hotel hall.
  • The hotel hall was a public space. That meant passing Muggles. The look on their faces was precious.
  • I loved watching the staff of the hotel, but also of the surrounding mall restaurants and shops, go from cautiously reserved to warm and enthusiastic in a matter of days. Reportedly, by the end of the con, waiters at nearby wurst places were asking attendees what their species was. This makes me absurdly happy.
  • Food in Germany is just ridiculously cheap. Even in the hotel -- which was twice as expensive as any of the many food joints within a 5 minute walk -- it compared very favorably to my daily eatings in Paris. I freaking love Germany.
  • Consequently, absurd amounts of beer were had. Not the lonely, guilty sort, either: for the most part it was all about offering drinks to people I knew (or didn't know so well). I managed to pay off an old honor debt with one of the EF staff members, who had been incredibly nice with me during my first EF all those years back, and whom I'd never properly thanked.
  • Even when no beer was involved, I got to spend some time with people I'm immensely fond of, and I got to make new friends. This alone made the trip worth it. I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] glashund  at last! And he is just as sweet and adorable as online. Thank you for letting me squeesh you, hon. ♥ I hope you had a good time with us!
  • The panels I attended were consistently good, sometimes outright great. I, uh, might have distinguished myself in the writing panels. I blame it on too much German beer. :)
  • Even the serious car-related news I received midway through the con ended up with a positive effect, though not right away. At first I was pretty down for a while: picture me, glumly standing in line for the art show auction results, waiting and brooding, brooding and waiting, without even knowing if I'd won anything because I'd only had time for two quick bids early into the con. I ended up pulling out my sketchbook, and in search of catharsis, but also as an official statement of Screw You, World, I drew an angry dragon (which turned out okay) while standing there in the line. It may not sound like much, but for me, this is big. I never draw in public, where people may watch. And judge. (Here, people watched, and offered praise and appreciation. This is the furry community in a nutshell: come for the porn, stay for the people.)
  • For that matter: EF is the place where the person before you in the line is not an obstacle between you and your goal, but a nice guy to be befriended. Contrasted with my daily commute to Paris, that's incredibly therapeutic.
  • And both my bids won: this piece, and this one. What the hell, people. That's one of Shinnie's most beautiful pieces. You were supposed to bid to death on it!
And I guess that's it. I came home pretty knackered, not having slept a lot. (I seem to wake up at 8am no matter when I went to bed. This makes me feel frighteningly daddy-like.)

And now, after two days worth of car wrangling, it's back to the daily grind. I don't know yet how well I'll deal, but at least I've still got a few last specks of fairy dust sparkling in the back of my mind.
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So. Made it to EF in the end, and had an absolutely great time. So great that the intervening news about my car did almost not ruin my day.

In a nutshell: my car is dead. It's indeed the head gasket. The garage says it was fine when they looked at it, so it's not their fault or anything, honest. Repairing it will set me back several grand. More than the car's worth.

So I'm now sitting at home on unpaid vacation (I hope: my boss has not replied yet) and considering my options. I may have to rush and buy a new car blindly within a couple days at most, because each day I can't get to work is a day I'm not getting paid.

Between that and the great time I had at the convention, I may be headed for some serious PCD, but you know what? At least I was lucky the car broke before I left for EF, even mere hours before. Because it wouldn't have survived the trip, and I would have found myself stranded somewhere in Europe, who knows how many kilometers from home, not to mention the convention center.

Now I'll see to the car issue, and then I'll post highlights of EF, because it was my best con to date and that's what I want to remember of this time.
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"So I'm off to EF. See you guys!"

The above sentence was what I was planning to post. Short, simple, to the point. Instead, here, have another episode of My Life Is Funny, Except When Not.

The plan was simple. A coupla hours of driving up to Brussels, an evening with [livejournal.com profile] unblue and [livejournal.com profile] kefen, a train to EF. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, here's fucking what.


I wish I was kidding. I'm not. As I was commuting home from the railroad station, all gee-happy about the upcoming, you know, vacation and convention and other words in -tion [1], a red light came up on the dashboard.

And damned if it wasn't the radiator. Yes, my old friend the radiator. The same radiator that already cost me a nosebleed and a half but a few weeks ago when I had to have it replaced altogether.

Except this time, the car also produced 1/ a sudden burst of acceleration, like when the turbo kicks in, and 2/ vast quantities of spooge-white exhaust fumes. So I'm suspecting something rather more serious, possibly having to do with the combustion. (Might it be the head gasket? I told the mechanic, "Are you sure the head gasket is fine? The engine overheated; that'll kill the head gasket." I'd looked it up on the Internet. "Eh, no, it's fine," he said. I took his word for it. In retrospect, though, my credibility might have been somewhat damaged by the blood-smeared face thing.)

So what now? I implemented last minute contingency plans based on trading currency for more f'ing train still; hopefully it'll work out. It means a more expensive trip, and a bit longer, because I'll have to go the roundabout way through Paris [2], but I SHOULD still make it on the planned schedule. Thank heavens I managed to have Tuesday off.

I'll drop off the car to the repair shop tomorrow morning (another repair shop, if at all possible), mooch a ride from [livejournal.com profile] jallora to the local railroad station, and I'll be off to EF, fate willing. See you guys, I hope.

[1] If you guessed 'inebriation', give yourself one point. If you guessed something else, something somewhat less mentionable, give yourself ten points. (And tell me what it was.)

[2] Fun fact: the entire transportation network in France is based on the predicate that you can only seriously want to go to Paris. Or failing that, from Paris to the Riviera. (Somehow, it doesn't work out very well at all.)
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One of the highlights of my student life was driving my first car ever.

I have good memories of that car. Good in retrospect, because the actual content of the memories is not all that awesome. The poor little thing had seen enough kilometers to go round the Earth half a dozen times over by the time I got it; it was leaking all over the place, and I could have raised fish in the perpetually rainwater-filled ceiling light. Because the battery would drain empty in the blink of an eye, every time I parked for the night I had to go under the hood and unplug it manually.

Still, it was my first car, and I took my first road trips in it. Good memories. And besides, you'll say, if you start off right away with the worst car of your life, things can only improve from there.

Right? Wrong.

My current car is a valiant thing. Though it, too, has now passed the half-a-dozen-Earths mark as of last year, it's in a much better shape, with a ridiculously sturdy turbo diesel engine, and I hope to keep it for a good while longer if I can. Still, even the bravest aging vehicle needs the odd repair now and then, and last week I had to drop it off at the local repair shop for a radiator leak. But I still required -- rather anxiously -- something to commute, so they promised they'd have a replacement car to lend me in the meanwhile.

This was, technically, not a lie.

The replacement car turned out to be the same model as my first car. The model that was already ancient a decade ago.

Suffice it to say I never managed to close the front door completely, and a bit of the dashboard fell on my knees as I drove. People in the street would give me mixed looks of horror and pity. What cosmic force held it together against all plausibility and at least three core laws of physics? I may never know. The sacrificing of goats might have been involved.

But against all odds, it served well enough for my daily bit of driving to the railroad station and back.

This is nothing to disregard. My commute is bad enough, and at this point whatever helps it not become worse is heartily welcomed.

Come yesterday. The repair shop calls: my car is ready, and they would like the replacement car back this evening because they need it by morning next day. (Which may mean either another customer in need, or goat blood refill time. Hard to tell.) Sure, sir; if all goes well with the trains I should be there by, say, 7:30pm, a bit later otherwise. Ah, sorry sir, but we close at 7pm; can you come in tomorrow morning at ass o'clock instead?

Well. Ass o'clock and I don't get along. At all. Never have.

So it's either ass o'clock, or somehow, somehow make it to the shop by 7pm in the Car That Shouldn't Be.

This is doable. You gotta be the first off the train, the first off the platform, the first out the station, the first in the parking lot, and the first out of the gates, before a train's worth of people clogs up the neighborhood for the next half hour, and you have to pray for not the slightest delay on the road, but it's doable.

Delay type number one: traffic lights.

Picture me, sitting at the wheel, sweating and steaming, tugging on my hair. Picture me -- this is important -- scratching nervously at a pimple at my forehead that'd been bothering me for a few days.

In retrospect, that's my first mistake.

About the same instant, the light goes green and the pimple goes pop.

I immediately feel something trickling from my forehead down the side of my face. Fun fact: even the slightest puncture of the head skin pisses blood like a mofo.

I don't have time to stop and scour my pockets for a hankie. I'm just entering the expressway and I have to keep careening along. The car shakes and creaks ominously.

I try to wipe at my cheek with the palm of my hand. That's my second mistake. Blood doesn't wipe. Blood smears.

Soon there's a cheap-ass horror movie peering out at me from the rear-view mirror.

I make my exit on the expressway in record time. Horrified drivers moving aside as I came tearing along, trailing blood and car parts, may have something to do with it.

And you have to realize, this is otherwise a glorious beautiful day out there, with sunlight on the fields and the beginning of a breeze. I would be whistling, except that I have perhaps five minutes to cover the last kilometers. Maybe more? Maybe less? I don't know. The car doesn't have a clock. (Or it lost it on the expressway. I may never know.)

In the end, I somehow make it just in time to offer the shop owner the vision of a disheveled and wild-eyed guy with half his face caked in blood flailing frantically and shouting "DON'T CLOSE!! DON'T CLOSE!!"

It doesn't get much better than that.
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Today I completed the drive home in a car barely holding together, with half my face caked in blood, all but whistling at this happy sunny day.

The wonders never cease. :D
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