umadoshi: (Tohru & the pretty boys (flamika))
[personal profile] umadoshi
We have a window in our bathroom! (A skylight, technically, since the exterior bathroom wall slopes outward and is shingled.) Except I have yet to see the window, because it's on the front of the house and I came in through the back door when coming home tonight, and there's still a bathroom wall between the room and the window/exterior wall. Getting the actual window in was the only time-/weather-sensitive part, and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and the contractor agreed that the drywall would stay intact for now. (I wasn't here for the discussion, so I don't actually know if that's because [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I haven't finalized what we're doing with that part of the room (the extra floor space we could gain by removing the existing interior wall and just having the sloped wall), or because of time constraints, or because that's just not being part of what that contracting company does...? *shrugs* But we have a window.

K.B. Spangler has a new book out this week--one that's not connected to A Girl and Her Fed. (Digital only right now, but a print version is coming.) [twitter.com profile] seananmcguire wrote a short Twitter thread in response when Spangler announced the new book's availability; the key takeaway about the actual writing is "If you want some of the most elegantly written, internally consistent, funny, touching, TRUE science fiction coming out today, you should take a look at @KBSpangler. She's the real deal, y'all. She's writing shit that breaks every rule, and still works."

In related news, I just spent a vile amount on US-to-Canada shipping* to get a print copy of Rise Up Swearing (so far the only compiled volume of AGAHF) and a little pin of Bubbles, the Fed's digital clownfish...avatar? (I'm blanking on the correct word. "Avatar" is applied to something else in that 'verse, though, IIRC. Hmm.)

I was spared having to decide, in this time of "yes, I swear, I'm trying to cut back on spending", whether I was going to get a "Literalists do it with their genitals!" shirt; the shirt is currently unavailable (as in, no longer showing up on the site at all, not just out of stock). My wallet is grateful.

*Ordered directly from the AGAHF store, and she was as appalled as I was at the shipping cost. It wasn't surprising, though.

The first week at Casual Job is over--all two days of it! (Four hours yesterday and eight today.) I'm having some tech frustration at the office that would take ages to type up and is not terribly interesting, but I'll say that I really, really hope the person who sometimes does on-site IT support for us is around on Monday, because WOW, calling the help desk was useless. -_-

So far at Hal-Con I've seen several people wearing geeky shirts from stories I know, and things like a Sailor Saturn costume down in the mall food court. (A moment of respectful silence for the food court workers this weekend, who'll be slammed.) But the best was when Ginny and I were running down from work to get lunch and ran into someone in Tohru cosplay! The cosplayer mentioned that she was off to get her Yuki and Kyo, but Ginny and I were then unsure if she'd meant plushies of the boys in their cursed forms or fellow cosplayers.
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

It is always dangerous to try going to two amusement parks in a day. It's too easy to shortchange one for the other. We'd made that mistake during the New England Parks Tour a couple years ago, but we didn't know what else to do. We had gotten away with it earlier on our Fifth Anniversary Trip; the hours of Bowcraft and Keansburg meshed well. Saturday, we were planning to try this stunt again. It would get even weirder than that.

Driving south, the hour or so to Atlantic City, we passed signs warning that the state parks were all closed. I had somehow picked up enough local news to know this was likely coming; [profile] bunny_hugger hadn't. It was part of the budget standoff between the Legislature and Chris Christie. If you can remember as far back as July you might remember the late night talk shows mocking Chris Christie for lounging on a beach closed to the public, part of the disgraced governor's efforts to establish himself as so toxic and petty and universally hated he could become a Republican health care plan. The shutdown would not hurt us directly, except that it did foreclose some Sunday options. New Jersey has a healthy number of lighthouses, but I'm not sure any are in Federally-owned parklands so they couldn't be added to [profile] bunny_hugger's lighthouse count this trip. But we had forgotten to bring her lighthouse passport book. So while we could claim credit for seeing lighthouses we would have had to get stamps on loose sheets of paper and bind them into her passport. Doable, but not ideal. We must, next trip, make sure not to repeat the oversight.

We came up to Story Book Land, established 1955, and were immediately delighted. It was, like Bowcraft, a park that looked like it was just dropped off in a strip mall, although this in a much less densely populated part of the state. (Indeed, across the street from the parking lot is an Office Concepts store and a tattoo parlor.) It started out as one of the kid's fairy-tale-lands, the way many parks in the 50s did. We've been to its spiritual counterparts at Idlewild in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and to Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire. This one is unlike Idlewild and Story Land in that it's still owned by the originating family. And, apparently, doing pretty well for itself. It's a small park, and one only open to 5 pm the early-summer Saturday we were visiting, which is what made attempting two parks seem like a plausible idea. We also figured the place would be swarmed with packs of kids running out ahead of an exhausted parent shouting at Brandon to get back here. But we trusted we could handle that.

Its entrance is a white castle, flanked by nutcracker guards. Also temporary red traffic barriers so people walking in from the parking lot have something like safety from cars driving in off the street. The entrance is a narrow hallway by the cashier's booth, with a gate featuring some of the birds and mice from Cinderella on signs that warn to only push the gate open when the music plays. The music is ``Hail to the Chief''. We don't know what exactly the link is between Story Book Land and Disney, but they've got a bunch of Disney Depictions of characters in the park. There must be some arrangement there or else an extremely bad day once someone at Disney Master Command hears about the place.

Just past the entrance is a large circular flower 'fountain', and a signboard with a clown welcoming you to Story Book Land. To the left is a 30-foot state of Mother Goose, goose beside her, and a couple of fake books to sit on for photographs. Apparently the Mother Goose had (has?) a loudspeaker and a camera inside, for a staffer to look out on and talk to nearby kids. To the left of that is a three-layer birthday-cake-shaped pavilion, which would make [profile] bunny_hugger long to have her own birthday party at an amusement park. The cake had a sign commemorating the park's 62 years of operation. The cake used to be only a single layer; the kids of the park's owners had it expanded on their parents' anniversary. Across the path from Mother Goose is the main snack bar, the Gingerbread House, which has a couple of figures from the A & W restaurant chain on the roof for some reason. Also, off to the side of Mother Goose, they have a Big Boy state, checkered overalls and everything. This goes unexplained.

So after about ten minutes at the park we were having a great day.

Trivia: The British Military Government allowed the formation of political parties in its zone of Germany on the 15th of September, 1945, about a month after the United States allowed district-level parties in its zone, and three months before the French military government did. Source: Germany 195: From War To Peace, Richard Bessel.

Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.


PS: Halloweekends Friday some more!

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Performers for some of the haunted houses and walkthrough attractions rallied around symbols of the various venues.


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The Kiddie Carousel, sparkling as a jewel in the night.


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Glimpse of the Millenium Force roller coaster past the exit of the loading station. You can also see, through the door, the illuminated tower of the roller coaster's lift hill.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: X, perhaps the last possible 'X' glossary term.

I am the one hiding under your stairs

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Making my humor blog's big weekly pieces be a bunch of how-to articles this month has strangely relieved me of my deepest problem: thinking of what to write. Have you seen what I've written recently? Try this if you haven't.

Let's get back to Cedar Point Halloweekends. That's a fun time and place to be.

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Mean Streak, several weeks after its closure, and partly torn up for its renovation. The roller coaster train underneath is from Maverick.


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Old West-themed building near Maverick, which itself is at the end of the Frontier Trail. The 'White Water Coal Co' suggests to me the White Water Landing log flume ride, itself taken out a decade-plus ago to make room for Maverick. There's several bits of park decoration that have increasingly faded White Water Landing logos or references but since they're all in the Old West part of the park that just makes them fit the theme better.


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Entrance to the Frontier Trail at night on Halloweekends. For the Halloween season the trail is dressed up to this steampunk walk-through attraction and making the trees look like that is part of the show.


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Entrance gate of the Steampunk thingy on the Frontier Trail at Halloweekends. It hasn't got started quite yet, which you can tell because there's not lasers shooting out of the eyes.


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Brass-plated (well, painted) swan on the Frontier Trail as part of the cyberpunk thing. The swan had been part of the Swan Boats ride; others of the swans were sent to Michigan's Adventure. This one went into seasonal performances instead.


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Rally of the haunted-house/haunted-walkthrough-area performers at the Luminosity stage. This was new this year, with all the performers gathering for a good send-off just before the witching hour of 8 pm.


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One of the performers on the Luminosity stage, set up outside the Iron Dragon roller coaster, in a show that we were a little too far away to hear quite clearly what was going on.


Trivia: In the early 1940s Orlando Scott offered lie-detector screenings of potential employees to high-volume clients at $15 per interviewee. He pledged to test for ``integrity, intentions, loyalty, competency, intuitiveness, stability, alertness, efficiency, ambition, vocational stability, sabotage, etc''. Source: The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession, Ken Alder.

Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.

Mishmash post

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:04 am
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - thoughtful)
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I want to say it feels weird to think that I'm going back to the office tomorrow, but it doesn't seem real enough yet to feel weird. (Having had only something like a week of work in the spring is not really helping. I'd barely sat down at my desk and then we were finished!) What does feel weird is thinking--hoping!--that when I get home tomorrow there'll be a window where there is now a solid wall.


--The first few days back are usually pretty reasonable. (I could conceivably even be home for supper tomorrow evening!) Thankfully, today I was able to finish and submit the half-volume that's due tomorrow, so that's not hanging over me...but I'll need to go pick up my and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose's con passes, and then on Friday, no matter what time we wrap up at the office, I'll be going straight from there to the convention. I even made it as far as looking over the schedule and making notes this evening, although in practice I rarely make it to more than a small percentage of the panels and talks that catch my eyes. So many people. O_O (The "rarely" applies to cons and similar things in general, as this is only my second Hal-Con.)


--When I was poking around in my tags the other day to see if I could figure out when I stopped bouldering, I came across this 2013 post about Claudia from when she and Jinksy were about five months old. Oh, my kitten. *^^* (*finds baby!Claudia!kitten icon*)


--I have this half-formed theory that Casual Job is the appropriate excuse to actually start figuring out lipstick, since I really haven't, despite buying a bunch in Toronto. The defense I have to offer is that I'm usually at home living in pajamas when Casual Job isn't on (I'm very glad I'm not one of the many people who needs to Get Dressed to successfully work at home--although if it'd help my focus, you bet I'd do it), and when I go out it's usually either quick errands (hard to convince myself to bother) or to have dinner out with someone (and I know people eat and drink with lipstick on all the time, but it turns out I find it intimidating to consider needing to immediately touch it up while out if it smears/wears off).
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

There's a lot of parking lots in Seaside Heights. Just, you know, a plot of land such as you might put a house on, only it's gravel or dirt and there's a guy out front offering to let you leave the car there until 2 am for five or ten or twenty bucks, depending on how busy it was. We saw one, a block north and west of the Casino Pier main building. He was standing in front of a metal music stand and playing the saxophone in-between (rare) customer visits. No bucket for tips or anything, and he wasn't playing any particular song. Just practicing his music while overseeing a Jersey Shore parking lot.

This lovely vignette is something we watched from the miniature golf course. Not the one atop the buildings on Casino Pier. We were tempted by that, but went instead to play the new miniature golf course that's adjacent to the water park, opposite the shore from the Casino. It's got a Privateer theme, much like the miniature golf course [profile] bunny_hugger and I went to with my father back in January. This one had some of the things you'd expect, props of buried treasure and all that. It also put up a bunch of signs about the pirate-or-privateers and their action around Toms River during the Revolutionary War. The pirate-or-privateer action along the Jersey Shore doesn't get a lot of attention, even in New Jersey histories because, you know, we've got the Battles of Trenton and Princeton and Monmouth Junction and the horrible winters at Morristown to talk about. But they were present and vicious in the sort of thing that horrified people about pre-20th-century warfare. So it was fun and I guess educational, if you pretend the signs knew the difference between it's and its.

We went back around the pier, and the Casino, and looking over merchandise and toys and looking for amusing sidelines. I spotted at an employee's door the printout of the benefits Casino Pier employees could claim, such as discount tickets to Great Adventure or to Legoland. We also stopped in another candy shop, not Berkeley's, where there was a bounty of old-time candies like liquorice pipes and Necco wafers and all. I forget if we picked up something to eat there.

We did return to Berkeley Candy, as promised, and brought that back to the car where we found we were no longer alone in the parking lot. There was one other car, parked next to ours, in the enormity of the municipal parking lot.

Candy safely stowed in the back we went back to the pier, admiring the beauty of the pier at night finally. And we bought a night ride on Hydrus, even more gorgeous in color-shifting light against the night sky, as well as the carousel again. Just magnificent.

After a lot of pondering we figured what we wanted for dinner: pizza on the shore. One of the pizza places had ricotta cheese pizza. I don't think I've had that before, because if I did, I would never have been able to eat anything else. I'm still licking my lips hoping to get a few molecules of that back again. Just magnificent.

We saw out the close of the pier, with all the lights turning off and the rides shutting down, and even the boardwalk games shuttered themselves. The day was over, and we said our goodbyes to Seaside Heights, to go back to our temporary Toms River home.

In the municipal parking lot there were two other cars.

Trivia: By the end of 1866 Dr S S Law's Gold Indicator Company had fifty subscribers to telegraphic reports of market prices in the New York Gold Exchange. Source: The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's Oline Pioneers, Tom Standage. (Standage doesn't say when the Company started, but from context it was apparently after the Civil War concluded.)


Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.

PS: What's looking good at Cedar Point?

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Evening light making Raptor (the green roller coaster) and the Casino in the distance look really, really good. Taken from the ValRavn queue.


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More of Raptor and the Casino looking so very good in the evening, autumn light. GateKeeper is the tiny blue pair of arches on the far right, above the horizon line.


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Turkeys who are very busy with their projects in the petting zoo and do not have time for your issues, thank you.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Well-Ordering Principle, which lets me do about my favorite thing in the world: start with a joke and use it to prove all numbers have prime factorizations. So I guess I understand why everyone treated me like that in middle school.

umadoshi: (kittens - sleeping)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky/SFF Things

"Seanan McGuire on What She Learned From October, Plus a Sweeps!" The interview is about what writing Toby's series (AKA her first novel and series) taught her, and the contest, which is open until September 30, is for all eleven books to date.

"Transcript for OTW 10th Anniversary Chat with Seanan McGuire & Martha Wells".

"Exclusive Interview and ARC Giveaway: In Other Lands author, Sarah Rees Brennan". This contest has closed, alas, but I really liked the interview (and its entirely appropriate attention to mermaids): "My protagonist Elliot is a huge nerd, so when he arrives in a magical world he immediately asks ‘Show me the mermaids!’ rather than ‘Explain to me this strange word… magic…’ and mermaids are for him a shorthand for him wanting to behold the many wonders on offer in a magic land–in other words, harpies, unicorns and mermaids, oh my. He then keeps asking about the mermaids, having lessons about them, researching them, getting different answers about mermaids from different people, until he finally does meet one–with consequences I will not spoil for those who do not yet know!"

"Sci-fi author Martha Wells on writing a series about a robot that calls itself Murderbot".

"‘SHEroes’: Wonder Woman meets Bionic Woman". "Lindsay Wagner, aka Jamie Sommers or “The Bionic Woman,” posted her photo with Lynda Carter, aka Diana Prince or “Wonder Woman,” on her Facebook page recently and, as expected, fans went wild with nostalgia."

"Superheroes for the Jewish New Year". [Book Riot]

Over at [dreamwidth.org profile] ladybusiness, [dreamwidth.org profile] renay posted a great interview with Kate Elliott.

"Present-Day Devices as Props". "Every Star Trek production requires a large number of props to act as technical devices of Starfleet or of aliens. There are custom prop designs for standard phasers, tricorders or communicators. But in most cases there is a need for additional props that either serve a specific purpose in the story or are used as generic futuristic decoration. Several of the props that could be seen are actually slightly modified devices of the 20th/21st century. In particular, game consoles have been used repeatedly for handheld scanners."

Sarah Gailey (author of the hippo-wrangling AUs River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow) currently has an unrelated serial, The Fisher of Bones, running in Fireside Magazine, who've just announced that the whole story is now available for preorder (and...get the ending before folks who're reading it/choose to keep reading it in serialization, which seems a bit odd to me, but sure).


TV/movie news

"Linda Hamilton Set to Return to 'Terminator' Franchise".

"MISS. FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES Movie Is a Go, Thanks to Kickstarter".

"“Madam Secretary” Showrunner Barbara Hall Developing CIA Drama for CBS" about "a multigenerational family of spies."

"The real hero of Netflix's "The Defenders" is the way Jessica Jones throws very heavy things".

"REPORT: Marvel Studios Developing a Power Pack Feature Film".


Miscellaneous

"Dictionary of the Oldest Written Language–It Took 90 Years to Complete, and It’s Now Free Online". [Open Culture]

"A 68 Hour Playlist of Shakespeare’s Plays Being Performed by Great Actors: Gielgud, McKellen & More". [Open Culture, 2015]

"Street Artist Paints Fantastic Fake Shadows Under Objects Perplexing Sidewalk Pedestrians Walking By".

as I was walking...

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
Actually, I was settled in one place, come to think.

Anyway, so Cambridge (the College) has moved, and unexpectedly postponed the start of classes for a week due to what seem to have been electrical and networking issues, so classes only just started. (I did various Useful Things at home during the week, but, confronted with an extension of my vacation, I also shrugged and vacated some more. I went to Nut Island one day, and then World's End over the weekend, after which I had the entertaining experience of watching the fog roll in on Nantasket Beach. Rarely does it happen so clearly. Also got to watch the sunset at the endpoint of Hull. Mmm. Waves.)

Getting back to the point, here, it's already become clear from three days' worth of evidence that if I leave campus at a certain point, I will miss my useful bus home. It's not like I'm doing it on purpose, it's just, the way class and the subway and the busses work out, I barely miss the last bus before they transition from every-20-minutes-or-so, and hit the valley of the one bus that's a 40 minute wait. (After that they're every half hour.)

Since my various travels of August and September disrupted my gym routine (and then I was sick for a few days), and I haven't gotten back into it, what I have been doing lately is walking more. Running into this bus valley enables me to mutter and, rather than waiting in irritation, I stop by the grocery store/food co-op, and then am able to walk 3/4 of a mile or so until the next bus comes. (The way to do this is to walk until I see the inbound bus coming, at which point I stop at the next bus stop and wait for the outbound return, because to be caught between bus stops would be *annoying*, yo.)

In this particular instance, I had just stopped at the bus stop and was (I admit) looking at my phone when a guy coming out of a cross street whammed into the woman driving on the main street, right in front of me. (Durnell Ave at Washington St. No one cares but me.)

More detail than one needs on an accident. )

So! Good deed completed, I left and went down to the bus stop with a bench, and hung out reading until the bus came.

Waffling over classes. )
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

So we went for power-riding. First, Hydrus, the new roller coaster. It's good-sized and beautiful and looks like the sort of thing to expect at Dorney Park. Dorney Park was in mind because they have a roller coster named Hydra: The Revenge, a subtitle that seems baffling until you learn that over there, Hydra replaced a roller coaster named Hercules. We were also amused that they went with a less-feminine-sounding name for the Hydra, but, well, Hydrus is a creature from medieval bestiaries, as well as a constellation (which Wikipedia says is the thing being referred to here), so I guess why not? The hydrus of bestiaries was a Nile River creature that's some kind of water snake, although it's also been given the properties of otters, birds, dragons, and mongooses so good luck pinning that down. The ride sign uses a dragon head for its icon.

The ride warned to leave in the lockers stuff like cell phones and cameras, and I fell for that the first time around. Later times I just stuffed my camera in my cargo-pants pocket the next time and that was fine. Not sure what they're afraid of except maybe people taking selfies on the ride. The ride starts with a vertical ascent, riders on their back, going up a good seventy feet before tipping over and dropping straight down. And then there's a bunch of loops and twists and rolls, a short, beautiful, and fast ride. If it's got a flaw --- and I'm not sure it is --- it's that it's difficult to get a good view of the pier from altitude when on it; you're high up and moving slowly for only brief glimpses. It's quite good, and that it was on a pier that still smelled of lots of new wood freshly nailed down only helped the feeling. We'd ride it several times, sometimes among groups of people who didn't seem to quite know how many were in the party and so were slow about getting into the eight-person car.

We also got to the Pirate's Hideaway. It was the only roller coaster we'd ridden on our original, first date that was still there. (Hot Tamales was there, but we hadn't ridden it our first date, and anyway it wasn't running on our anniversary.) It's changed since the storm, in that the roof had been taken off a formerly-indoors ride. It's not made a difference in how the ride moves, of course, although it means the lack of scenery stands out. In the mostly dark you have the extra excitement from, well, not seeing where you're going. In the light, well, I'm not going to protest a roller coaster, even that's a small one.

And then a couple other things on the pier. The Moby Dick, with the seats swinging side to side in that wonderful dizzying way. I didn't appreciate until [profile] bunny_hugger pointed out how regional these seem to be. There had been a Moby Dick at Casino Pier going back to time immemorial, or at least 2008, but I don't know if the current machine they have is the same one they had before the storm.

And the carousel. Of course we went to the carousel. We went first to the pair of mounts we'd ridden that first date, the ones with our middle names on them. I forget if we had the ride to ourselves or not. I do know we were disappointed that the band organ wasn't playing, and we worried that something had broken and not been repaired, or worse, to it. Well, the band organ mechanism was certainly there. Maybe it was just off, albeit for a Friday right before a holiday that seems strange. On the other hand the crowd seemed light to me; maybe we just weren't there on a busy enough day.

We only had two hours on the unlimited-rides wristband, although that did turn out to be enough for all the rides we really wanted to get on. The pendulum-claw and dubiously-tastefully-named ride Super Storm we've been on before and it's not a kind that [profile] bunny_hugger cares for anyway; similarly with the Disk'O. There's a giant Ferris wheel but, again, that's not the sort of thing [profile] bunny_hugger cares for. The reverse bungee? Not likely, although watch this space.

We did rush for the carousel at the time our wristbands were set to expire and were of course caught behind a bizarrely slow group trying to get on without success. This let us in on a secret of the two-hour limit on the wristbands: they actually encoded two hours fifteen minutes, enough margin to avoid anyone complaining about normal disagreements about the hour. We were able to use this to get a last-minute ride on the carousel and an overtime ride on Hydrus.

And eventually even our overtime ended, and we just had to be where we were.

Trivia: George Washington granted Margaret Arnold safe passage from West Point to Philadelphia after her husband Benedict's treason was discovered. Source: The Uncertain Revolution: Washington and the Continental Army at Morristown, John T Cunningham. (The extent of Margaret Arnold's involvement in her husband's treason is unclear.)

Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.

PS: Roller coasters! And stuff.


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Launch station for Top Thrill Dragster, the tallest and briefest roller coaster at the park. We don't go on it much since the ride is too brief and one-trick for the usual wait. But if the ride is almost a walk-on? Yeah, that's worth it.


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Water tower watch: the new water tower (left) had finished being painted by our Halloweekends visit, and we expected the century-old water tower (right) to be demolished by our next visit. It wasn't.


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Afternoon clouds behind the ValRavn roller coaster, and a heavily renovated part of the midway.


So, you may have been wondering ...

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:12 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

... where some of our entries have gone, why we haven't been posting or replying much, and why we've been acting strangely in general. ^^;

Relationship and mental health stuff )

I hope you're all doing okay out there! Insofar as is possible, anyway, omg.

Also Alias drew this new avi awhile back, but I hadn't updated my DW yet. Oops!

umadoshi: (walking in water)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I'll work backwards (chronologically) in this post.

I just finished registering and paying for the Friday evening class (for which [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear and [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh were already registered), so I guess it's now a definite Thing That Will Be Happening. Time to spend the next week and a half trying to get back in the habit of stretching regularly. >.>

There was some uncertainty before I successfully got registered. The online registration process was straightforward for the trial class, but two things happened almost simultaneously re: the actual class. 1) I got a follow-up email from the studio saying they hoped I'd enjoyed the trial class and listing the beginner timeslots that still had openings...a list which did not include the one I wanted (AKA the one my friends were already registered for, not to mention being the only one that could conceivably work with Casual Job going on), and 2) the online class schedule/registration form showed "(3 Reserved, 5 Open)", but didn't have a "sign up now" button (which some others did). TBH, I still have NO clue what's going on there, but after exchanging some emails with the studio, we established that the class did have openings, and now I've given them money, so I should be good to go.

As for the actual trial class on Friday, it could get long, and involves fitness talk, so I'll put it under a cut )

But I don't feel afraid

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We explored some of the arcades along Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Mostly we were looking for pinball, which we didn't find. I had a faint recollection of some Seaside Heights location being on the Pinside map, but was dumb and didn't write down where, so we instead had to spend time wandering around amusing places without any particular goal in mind looking at what was interesting. Don't know how we were supposed to survive that. One thing we did discover and like was this ``Grand Piano Keys'' game, which we thought was a piano-themed rhythm game. It's actually just hitting the right sequence of lit keys in order, with rhythm irrelevant, and once we realized that our scores went way up. Still, twice was about enough times to play that.

We also located the new Berkeley Sweet Shop. Or Berkeley Candy, as it's named now. We're not sure what connection it has to the older shop. It's a much smaller storefront, without the taffy-making machinery on display. And with far fewer candies overall. We figured to get a box for ourselves, and another for [profile] bunny_hugger's parents as gift for watching Columbo. But we also realized it was barely into the afternoon, and salt water taffy would melt into an unpleasant goo left in the car. We left, promising to come back, and the clerks nodded, probably suspecting we were lying. We did come back, in the cool of evening, before leaving for home and got what we hoped for. We were eating taffy from the box we got as recently as this week.

We prowled around the pier, looking for rides we had been on, or decorations we knew. The Mighty Mouse figure that had been next to our Wild Mouse coaster was there again, standing next to the Pirate's Hideaway roller coaster. The Yogi Bear statue was there too, as were some other, less-copyright-infringey statues like the giant chicken holding a can of Coke. They had a bench with a clown statue sitting on it, and I got some pictures of [profile] bunny_hugger beside that. This would help further an ongoing joke with some of our friends, who've taken our furriness to be a cover story for our being Juggalos. (See, [profile] bunny_hugger had let slip how the soft drink of Further Connection North/Motor City Furry Con was Faygo, and MWS combined that and the whole dressing-up and acting-strangely aspects of our behavior to draw the obvious conclusion.)

And we circled the Floyd Moreland Carousel, which we'd so feared we would never see again, and later supposed we would never see again in that spot. It barely seemed different; the only real change has been that the pier switched from tickets and tokens for rides over to swipe cards.

And the roller coaster. Hydrus. Brand-new. Beautiful, really, with bright green track and blue supports and a three-dimensional dragon head peering over the sign. A vertical lift hill and first drop, too, reminiscent of the Untamed roller coaster at Canobie Lake Park. It had only been open a few weeks. [profile] bunny_hugger and I would enjoy, briefly, tenure on the front page of Coaster-Count.com's ``Rare Coasters'' riders for being on it. More people have had in on the fun since then, so it's not nearly as rare anymore.

One disappointment, and something we couldn't resolve without giving up on our anniversary as the day for our trip there. They had pay-one-price rides for other days of the week. For evenings, some days of the week. Not for our day, Friday. They did have a wristband to purchase, but for only two hours' unlimited riding time. After that it'd have to be buying a new wristband, or buying a swipe card for a la carte rides. Best deal we could find was to get the wristband, and two hours' of power-riding in, and then see what made sense afterwards.

Sunday, I think, we would notice coupons at the Wawa for discounts on Casino Pier ride wristbands. Nothing that would make them, like, all-evening or even four-hour wristbands, but things that would have made them a bit cheaper. We should've thought to check. All I can say is I was out of practice for this sort of attraction.

Trivia: Technicians at the University of North Carolina's Morehead Planetarium constructed a wooden mockup of the Gemini spacecraft, mounted on a barber's chair, to train astronauts in star-sighting techniques in 1964. Source: Moon Bound: Choosing and Preparing NASA's Lunar Astronauts, Colin Burgess.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Let's step up the photo-clearing backlog with stuff from Cedar Point at the end of last year.

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Halloweekends! The parking lot of the Breakers Hotel, at Cedar Point, with the Top Thrill Dragster the only prominent roller coaster. Almost washed out in the afternoon sun on the left there is Magnum XL-200, which from the name you'd never have guessed opened in the early May of 1989.


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Cleared grounds! This used to be a miniature golf course that we always figured we'd play sometime when we had a couple free hours during a Cedar Point visit. But they were expanding the Breakers hotel --- a couple years after demolishing a wing they had renovated two years before --- and this was one of the casualties.


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Also obliterated over winter last season: this version of the hotel entrance, convenient for Breakers guests to get into the back of the park. The line is caused by the x-ray scanners operated by teams from what they named ``Tenable Security Systems'', just as if a hipster novelist was trying a little too hard to give them a name that sounded off.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Volume Forms, an interesting dynamical systems thing.

umadoshi: text: "Witch! Get over here!" + "Hey! That's DOCTOR Witch to you!" (AGAHF - doctor witch)
[personal profile] umadoshi
[dreamwidth.org profile] sovay went to a vampire movie marathon earlier this month and wrote about the movies. (If you read and enjoy the post, remember that [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay has a Patreon for film reviews!)

"Tag Yourself, I Am the Irish Bat Dad". "The video was filmed by Tadhg Fleming, and went viral when reposted by @jonnohopkins, and if you haven't seen it then I would describe it as 'the Citizen Kane of portrait-mode Snapchat stories about a bat getting in'. But I would like you to now avert your gaze away from the video and instead turn it deep inwards. Who are you? What are you? What is the very spirit of you? Your essence? You know it. But sometimes it's hard to express. Who, exactly, are you: are you a mood, a note on a piano, a taste, a feeling? Are you light, colour, heat, sound? Whatever you are, I think you can find yourself in this video. I think you can tag yourself in amongst the chaos. Here are some suggested tags – feel free to add your own:"

"This is How Canada Talks".

"BPD and the Pace of Friendship". [author Mishell Baker]

"10+ Adorable Comics That Hilariously Sum Up What It’s Like Living With A Dog".

"Meet the man fighting to save our country's rarest chickens".

Genevieve Valentine posted her red-carpet rundown for the Emmys.

"Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] calissa, "A Digression About Storytelling, Narratives, and Diversity by Bárbara Morais". [The Book Smugglers]



Several links via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne:

--"100 Common Myths & Misconceptions: The world's most widespread falsehoods - debunked!"

--"What Happens When People Are Bored At Work (10+ Pics)".

--"Celebrities Re-Created 1940s Hollywood Glamour Shots And They're Gorgeous". [Buzzfeed]

--"10+ Dogs Who Don’t Understand How BIG They Are And Think They’re Lap Dogs".

--"Spite Houses: 12 Homes Created With Anger and Angst". [2015]

--"Amateur Vs. Pro: How Differently The Same ‘Ugly’ Location Looks When You Become A Professional Photographer".

--"10 Badass Trees That Refuse To Die".

--"28 Precious Vintage Photos of Children With Their Pets".

--"This Russian Photographer Captures Stunning Photos Of Kids And Their Pets".

Hi there!

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:50 am
scarlettina: (Default)
[personal profile] scarlettina posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: [personal profile] scarlettina
Age: 55 (Good G-d, how did that happen?)
Location: Seattle, WA

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I’m a New York transplant living in Seattle with two cats and way too many books. I am creative and opinionated and still express myself like a native New Yorker, which makes some Seattleites uncomfortable despite my best efforts. I am a theater geek, a movie buff, a lover of tabletop and board games, a reader, a writer and a jeweler.

Top 5 fandoms: I’m a second-wave slash writer (second-wave as in: the first wave was in the early 1970s, the second in the mid-’80s to early ’90’s; everyone else came after) who hasn’t written fanfic in a while, but when I was doing that it was Star Trek, Starsky & Hutch and, more recently, Doctor Who (see my fanfic journal at [personal profile] scarlett_key). I have loved watching and discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, so many more. How do you pick just five?

I mostly post about: My personal life, which also tends to be sprinkled with bits about politics, the science fiction community, movies, theater, books, travel, cats, my family, writing and observations about life in general.

I rarely post about: sports, math, the giant hornbeam tree in front of my condo, jackalopes, and my collection of porcelain hands (yes, really).

My three last posts were about: I occasionally do the Friday Five so this morning’s post was answering last week’s questions, two particularly striking dreams, and discovering the pile of get-well cards I received when I was in the hospital last year.

How often do you post? I currently post about once a week, though I’m aiming for better.

How about commenting? I try to comment on at least half to two-thirds of the posts that I read.
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! at play 1 (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I have good intentions about reporting back on the trial aerial silks class, but for now: I survived, I am nowhere near as bendy as I used to (SHOCKING, I know), and I'm almost definitely going to sign up for the actual class but haven't done so yet. (I did check and make sure it's not right on the verge of being full. Right now the registration site says five out of eight slots are still free, and one of the three claimed slots is [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh.)

I already mentioned the key bit of this on Twitter ([twitter.com profile] MermaidLure, not [twitter.com profile] ysabet_m), but I went from that studio's website to the one of the place where I took nearly all of my dance classes, long and long ago. exercise classes and my dance history (such as it is) and whatnot )

Garden stuff!

Our tomato harvest is a bit awkwardly sized: we're bringing in enough fruit that [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose is having a bit of trouble keeping up with eating them, but not enough that we think (at useful times) of foisting some off on people because we're ~drowning in tomatoes~ or anything. There also aren't enough at one time to make it obvious that we can/should just cook up a big batch of sauce or something. It's a little weird.

Anyway, it being fall means that our thoughts have turned to planting bulbs! A couple of days ago we placed an order with Vesey's, in which [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I ordered 30 Prince Claus snow crocuses, 40 Tricolor snow crocuses, 30 of the Snow Crocus Mix bulbs, 20 of the Jessie starflowers, and 20 of the Mixed Daffodils mix.

...I didn't fully process until just now, typing that all up, that this means we bought 100 crocus bulbs. I mean, I knew, but...it just didn't seem like that many, somehow. La!

I was seriously tempted by some irises, but we opted against them. The German and Bearded varieties are beautiful but expensive, and we didn't really have an idea of where to put them, and this lovely Dutch Iris Mix starts at a package of 75 bulbs. O_o

We also ordered another set of three tomato halos, but not another set of the stackable tomato ladders, as we discovered this year that Canadian Tire offers very similarly-shaped tomato cages that can be stacked on top of the Vesey's ones. This'll bring us up to six each of the halos and the Vessey's ladder segments, which are meant to slot together, and then we can use the Canadian Tire ones for height. (You can see our current arrangement fairly well in the third picture here, where the red components are from Vessey's and the green ones--which aren't meant to be stackable, but do come in a longer version if we ever want still more height--are from Canadian Tire. This year, with our ten tomato plants, some of the green ones got pressed into service in as single-segment supports, but at the far left you can see a plant with a base Vesey's ladder plus a Canadian Tire one for height.)
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Let me first give you some more pictures from the Lansing Pinball League costume contest last Halloween:

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And who's that fine-looking peacock? It's my dear bride, in her kigurumi, plus some gloves and a mask that she decorated herself to complete the look.


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Winners of the Lansing Pinball League costume contest. League president WVL is in the center doing, I think he said, something or other from Stranger Things, a media product I know not a thing about. Note that [profile] bunny_hugger made use of some old bird-foot slippers to add to her look


Nice, huh? Well, here's my mathematics blog's activity the past week.

Also, What's Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Besides my discovery that I wasn't scheduled to be writing about Gil Thorp this week?

And now some of our pumpkin-carving from last year. Enjoy, I hope!

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[profile] bunny_hugger hard at work carving out her pumpkin. My pumpkin's at the far end of the table and much more rushed through, really. On the left is her father's jack-o-lantern.


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[profile] bunny_hugger's jack-o-lantern, which last year was giving something reminiscent of a Popeye squint, along with the electric candle inside to test out how it looks illuminated.


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[profile] bunny_hugger's parents got a pack of (reprinted) Halloween cutouts like the kind they saw when they were kids. We estimate the art style to be mostly 1930s. [profile] bunny_hugger got a similar pack of (reprinted) cutouts from when she and I were kids. They're more 60s-styled.


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Our pumpkins set up outside [profile] bunny_hugger's parents' house. Her father's is on the left, and her mother's next to that. Mine is the tall, wide-smiling thing and you know [profile] bunny_hugger's already. I needed so many test shots to get one where there would be lens flare from two jack-o-lanterns.


Trivia: A Pittsburgh paper boy was arrested for shouting out the (accurate) news that trading firm Jay Cooke & Company had failed on 18 September 1873. Source: Devil Take the Hindmost, Edward Chancellor.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We walked to the Seaside Heights boardwalk. It was changed from our last visit, and changed almost unrecognizably from our first. FunTown Pier, destroyed by Sandy and by the fire a year later, still wasn't there. But something was being built around its location. Maybe all the talk from the owners about how sure, they were going to put up something eventually turned into positive action. Last I had heard (from [profile] bunny_hugger, who checks the news more rigorously than I do) they had applied for permission to build a Ludicrously Huge Something Or Other that nobody in their right mind thinks they would ever build, which I'd taken as an attempt to look busy rather that writing the place off. But now there were new boards being laid down, construction vehicles moving sand around, the suggestion that maybe something was, five years on, being built.

Casino Pier, our pier, was different. It was open, and running. It was shorter, no longer going out over the (normal-level) water. It was wider, taking up more of the beachfront, part of a trade with Seaside Heights to swap land for the historic carousel. The carousel is still where it was when we first saw it, that magical night. Seaside Heights hopes to put build a new housing for it, and there's moving of it to be done, and none of that's ready yet. For this visit the carousel was, anticlimactically, exactly where it had been when we took our Casino Pier Farewell Tour several years ago.

The pier was changed, besides being shorter. Many of the rides were gone: Stillwalk Manor, its great dark-house ride, was dropped into the Atlantic by Sandy. Star Jet was iconically dropped into the ocean. The Wild Mouse that was our first roller coaster has gone to what we'd like to think is a better place. (It's Sacramento.) The only roller coasters left from our first visit are the Hot Tamales kiddie coaster that I guess isn't a copyright violation and the Pirates Hideaway miniature ride.

They have new rides. A giant Ferris wheel. The new Hydrus roller coaster, which loomed over the pier --- while huddling up as far from the water as it could get --- and looked fantastic. A pendulum claw ride called Superstorm that had been running when we last visited. The rooftop minigolf had been renovated, and the statues looked new and fresh. There was also a new pirate-themed miniature golf opposite the Casino, toward the water park area of the pier. (Yeah, the water park area isn't on the beach, because ... just ... you know. Things and stuff.) Also we knew that the Berkeley Sweet Shop, closed after the fire destroyed its antique taffy-pulling machine, had somehow found the ability to reopen. It would be north of the old location, somewhere in Seaside Heights, but it was somewhere there.

We were changed too. The most important change was something we didn't consciously notice at the time. When we first visited, someone noticed us and asked if we'd want a picture taken. It's one of the best pictures of us. This time, we weren't approached by anyone. I suppose it's impossible to radiate new-relationship energy forever and to seem always open to strangers asking if we wanted photographs. I suppose also nine years ago selfies weren't a thing we just assumed people would take, though. Maybe folks of today were just respecting our privacy.

Trivia: Johns Hopkins died in 1873, with a trust of $3.5 million bequeathed to found a university and hospital. The university opened in 1876; the medical school in 1893. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Halloween came to the pinball league ... uh ... right before Halloween last year. Let's watch.

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Getting ready for Halloween! I paint the lily by putting on a raccoon mask.


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Trophies that [profile] bunny_hugger bought for the Lansing Pinball League costume contest last year.


austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

The next day was Friday. The 30th. Our fifth anniversary.

We had brought presents for each other, hidden away by being put on completely different ends of the suitcase. It's a big suitcase. [profile] bunny_hugger gave to me a small wooden keepsake box, the sort that could hold a small treasured item. She was respecting the traditional fifth-anniversary gift material. I somehow had the idea the fifth-anniversary gift was silverware; possibly we were looking at different lists. But I was true to my list: I'd found commemorative spoons, one for Michigan's Adventure and one for Sandusky, Ohio. It was the closest I could get to Cedar Point, and it does feature the Breakers Hotel from Cedar Point on it. It also features some of the notable architecture of early-20th-century Sandusky. They're small things, naturally, since we wanted things we could easily carry to New Jersey and back again. But things meaningful to each other.

We eventually set out for the day. I don't think we missed housekeeping another day in a row, but it's possible. This was the really the only day we had specific plans to be a specific place for.

Something I discovered before we quite got on the road: if I had the key fob in my pocket I could unlock the rental car just by tugging on the door handle. I knew this was a strange, wondrous property of new cars that [profile] bunny_hugger would hate. She objected, on definition grounds if nothing else, to the `key' being something that just had to be in the car somewhere for the ignition to work. For the key to not even need to be touched to unlock the door would be too far. I would keep it, for a couple days, a weird little magic touch that I knew about.

For lunch we went to a Jersey Mike's. We always used to go to one at least once every one of her visits. Jersey Mike's sub sandwich shops have reached into Lansing; there's two in our area. We never eat there. I think I've picked up sandwiches from them to bring to our home two or three times, and I've eaten there sometimes when I was out for the afternoon. But we've never made it part of our regular life back home, and so it remains something special for trips like this.

One disappointment about the place: the Coffee News thing. It's this one-page kind-of placemat with human-interest stories of dubious reality and trivia of dubious plausibility and all that. It's supposed to get a new issue Wednesdays, but they had the same issue we'd read at the Crystal Diner our first night in town. On leaving I discovered they had some more issues, including the most current. The place just leaves old issues around because I guess it's not like a document talking about weird-news from Ukraine a year ago is timely or anything.

From lunch we drove east, for the destination closest to our hotel, and the site of our first real, important, perfect date: Casino Pier. Or, more generally, to Seaside Heights.

I chose to park at this public municipal lot just at the western border of the town. It's a good, easy-to-find spot, the kind that would keep us from losing where the car was. The unsettling thing is that the lot was empty. I wasn't sure it was still open to the public. But they had a pay station, and that accepted my credit card, so we just accepted the weirdness that it was a lovely, warm, sunny Friday afternoon at the Jersey Shore, just before the fourth of July, and here were hundreds of parking spots that nobody wanted. Unsettling. Bizarre.

Trivia: In 1866 Joseph Dixon patented a wood-planing machine which could process enough wood for 132 pencils per minute; his Dixon Crucible Company of Jersey City would become one of the first mass-producers of pencils. Source: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Some miscellaneous Halloween-era stuff before I get into Halloweekends pictures.

IMG_0636.jpg

From about Halloween last year: Blind Squirrel Tavern decorated for the horrors of the season with, like, Road Show one of the games to play. The alcove for the majority of the games isn't very large and arguably isn't the entrance to the tavern, but it's enough space for the league nights and they did dress it up for the season.


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So here's what a selfie-type-league pinball league looks like. Write down your scores on the slips of paper provided and drop them in the box. [profile] bunny_hugger also won a gift card from one of the raffles, just a couple months ago. The creepy demonic head guy left after Halloween.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Ulam's Spiral, with something tossed in to make sure [profile] chefmongoose reads.

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