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Hawk's Eyrie
It's all about releasing your inner sociopath
merhawk
This journal is mostly, but not fully, locked. If you want to read the locked posts, friend me. I do always pay attention to my friending requests, though I won't promise that I will either friend you or - if I do friend you - put you on my default reading queue.

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merhawk
I'm going through my morning job search, and I came across this gem in one of the job descriptions:

2.7 Quickly discerns the customer need and promptly prepares a quote, order, return/credit with minimal errors within 48 hours. Four mistakes per month is allowable. [Bolding done by me.]

Seriously? Seriously? Well, thank you for letting me know up front that you're a company I'm not interested in working for.

Not that I don't think you need to keep errors down, BTW. However, sometimes there's bad luck (or computer issues, or bad customers, or etc) that cause these types of errors. If you start off in the job description with such a harsh view of "number of mistakes", you don't sound like the type of company that understands the entire work ecosystem and I don't want to work there.

[Not that I was going to, anyway. It turns out that the job was not in the industry I thought it was. But still, I pity whoever takes it.]

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Compared to a lot of women, I don't get much sexual harassment. I find that my hair being short, never carrying a purse, and always being in pants tends to code me as male just enough that I get left alone more often than not.

Except for the past week, where I've now had two (2!) instances of inappropriate breast grabs.

Instance 1:
canyonwalker and I were flying to our NYE gathering and a broad-shouldered woman decided to sit in the middle seat between us on a Southwest flight. Her elbow also decided to get acquainted with my chest; it's happened before on flights and usually people are just unaware of what they're doing. I moved forward to get out of elbow range; she moved forward with me. I moved backwards; she moved backwards with me. I started to seethe and tried to figure out if I wanted to make a fuss. What finally decided me to say something was that I wouldn't put up with it from a man, so I'm not sure why I have to be "nice" and allow a woman to assault me with impunity.

I politely mention to her that she might not realize she was hitting me in the chest, suggested that there were ways we could sit to both be comfortable (1 forward, 1 back), and said that I didn't care which of those was me. If she realized what she was doing (I think she did, she was probably trying to push me into the window but I wasn't putting up with it), she didn't expect to be called on it. She blustered about how she paid for her seat, she was squashed too, and that I should "just deal with it" because "she wasn't going to stop" and that I needed to "leave her alone".

canyonwalker almost chimed in at that moment that if he (or any other male) had said that they'd be arrested upon landing. I'm glad he didn't, because I suspect it would have inflamed her more - I thought she was barking because she was embarrassed to be called out on her bad behavior and that she'd behave if I let her bluster. That turned out to be the case, though it wasn't the end of her bad behavior. She pushed passed canyonwalker and everyone else at the front of the plane to get off as quickly as possible. My only guess why is embarrassment, as we saw her waiting at baggage claim when we got down there.

I would have made more fuss to the stewardess if she hadn't gotten her bloody elbow out of my body. I'm just glad I didn't need to. I despise the fact that too many people believe that women will be nice if you invade their space, and try to push people around because of that. She KNEW it was going to be a tight squeeze - canyonwalker has large shoulders, just like she did. Maybe she should have tried a different middle seat, that didn't have a broad shouldered person in it rather than decide to try and push people into the window at bad angles.

Instance 2:
I was at my physical therapist yesterday, and a new (to me) male was there helping with the exercises after I saw the PT. One of mine involves moving a muscle just under my breasts. Rather than warning me he was going to touch me - or even trying to go to the lower part of the muscle - he puts his hand on my side breast with no warning.

I pointed out that, when he needs to do something like that, he should warn female patients BEFORE putting his hands on them. He didn't seem to get the point, though I don't think he'll do it to me again. My massage therapist and I spoke about it today, and he was appalled that the assistant did that. I might end up mentioning it to my PT tomorrow when I see him, as I feel more and more creeped out by the lack of understanding he was showing when I mentioned how inappropriate it was.

Or maybe he was embarrassed. However, better embarrassed than sued. Most assistants I've known at PT offices want to become PT's themselves, and awareness of where they are putting their hands on someone's body and appropriate warnings about what you are going to do is pretty paramount. I've been going to therapy for more years than I want to think about and I've never had a therapist need to touch my fatty breast to understand what my muscles underneath are doing.

TL;dr both men and women are perverts who need to keep their body parts off of my breasts!

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merhawk
We had friends over tonight to play some Cards Against Humanity with new cards I'd just picked up. One of our friends also brought over the game "SuperFight", which we quipped was "Like ComicCon, but without the lines".

I was willing to play it, but I've been to too many ComicCons - I figured it was going to get pretty tedious, pretty fast. It actually was pretty hilarious however, and we were laughing more for this than we were for CAH. After a long argument through one of the fights, I quipped "I'm a nerd, I've argued stupider!"

As an example of hands - my first fight hand was "My significant other" "Shooting Shotguns of Shotguns" which seemed to have a pretty good chance of defeating the hordes of hippies at Burning Man in a big hamster ball with too many groceries that had rolled over all the other hands. But when I had to choose my random adjective, I got "Literal Jazz Hands" and my SO was rolled into the giant hamster ball. :(

canyonwalker managed to win the game with the Kardashian's riding Mr. Rogers with a 200 mph fast ball vs my K-Pop star who shot blinding light from their hands and a fire hose of super glue.

All I'm saying is, if you can have a game that involves the wrongness of the Kardashian's riding poor Mr. Rogers, you gotta play it!

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I've been watching with increasing frustration the calls from various politicians and law enforcement (who should know better!) that the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

That is sometimes the answer. The majority of people who shoot - even those who know how to shoot straight and hit what they're intending - are not trained to shoot in stressful situations. You'll have a gun, you'll be able to point it, but the question is will you be level-headed enough to shoot the person threatening people without making yourself a bigger target and endangering other people.

Even if someone has a gun, there are other ways to try and take them down - that is safer for everyone else involved. A person without extensive training on how to shoot in chaotic conditions is rarely able to safely and/or helpfully waving a gun around trying to save everyone else.

The Daily Show illustrates perfectly why this run on guns and concealed weapons permits actually can make us unsafer:

Jordan Klepper: Good Guy with a Gun part 1

Jordan Klepper: Good Guy with a Gun part 2

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merhawk
I haven't been posting much on this; frankly because most of what I want to say is obscene. He's demonizing an entire religion, stomping on the basic tenets of the United States as he does so, and somehow thinks/claims that he's being reasonable and not flaming the fans of Islamiphobia/Immigrantphobia that is so dangerous to the majority of people who are from here/come here in peace.

I was talking with a(nother Secular) Jewish friend today, and explaining that it was a bit weird that I wanted to have a menorah this year, but it was just something I wanted to do. His response hit the reason on the head, though; "There's a feeling of another Kristallnacht in the air, so you feel like you should connect."

It doesn't matter who the Kristallnacht is aimed at. It's despicable, and those who promote that type of hatred are both bottomfeeders and walking right into what Daesh wants. They want the West to demonize innocent Muslims. They want a division between Us and Them. That wedge gives them an in; "They hate you anyway, you should join us. We're the only ones who care about you."

Those who never learned history are doomed to repeat it; I have no desire to have a repeat of Germany in the early 20th century. I wish even more people would feel the same way.

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merhawk
When I say I'm having a flare...
View post on imgur.com


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merhawk
I was feeling nostalgic for a menorah this year, so I did a DIY using our tea lights and candleholders. canyonwalker wanted to get in on the action, so he made one using cans from our pantry.

TeaLightCanMenorahsLight

TeaLightCanMenorahsDark

Chag sameach!

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merhawk
I just had a robocall telling me that it was "my last call" from the IRS before a "major lawsuit". The robocall number then tells me to call the same number back to take care of this.

It's probably easier for them to claim some form of legality if people call them back, but all I could think of was that it made it easier for me to report it to the regulatory authorities.

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Mood: annoyed

merhawk
Op-Ed piece by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, who remembers the lessons of WWII:

Why my state won't turn refugees away

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merhawk
I was unhappy with how the focal for my Oregon Jasper necklace came out, so I redid it earlier this week with smaller beads around the focal and a different jump ring. I think it looks a lot better:
Cut for picturesCollapse )

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merhawk
A pretty good commentary on dealing with chronic pain, though it's just touching on the edges:

8 Things to Remember If You Love Someone With Chronic Pain


kitarra said that I should write a book on this while I'm in-between jobs. We'll see. It probably won't happen, but it's something I've thought about.

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merhawk
On one of the chronic pain forums I lurk on, someone posted pictures of a new advert campaign that London Drug is doing:

A Chair/A Chair to a Chronic Pain Sufferer
A Baby/A Baby to a Chronic Pain Sufferer

While I dismiss the assertion that any of their over the counter medications can do much for me/most chronic pain sufferers, the idea behind them is incredibly accurate. Though I would argue that the picture they have of the torture chair looks more comfortable than most chairs I see.

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merhawk
With me leaving my last job, I’m starting to get my groove back. I’ve done some beading projects over the past two years that I’ve forgotten/haven’t had a chance to post. Now that I’ve sorted all my stuff, I might also end up making more items too. I really should figure out easy; it’s the best time of year to try and sell things.

Turquoise Silver NecklaceCollapse )

Sword earringsCollapse )

Jade NecklaceCollapse )

Fluorite Bear NecklaceCollapse )

Malachite Hematite Necklace BraceletCollapse )

Kyanite NecklaceCollapse )

Serpentine Gold NecklaceCollapse )

Garnet, Amethyst, and Periodot NecklaceCollapse )

Seed Beads Amethyst NecklaceCollapse )

Moonstone, garnet, and agate necklaceCollapse )

Fluorite NecklaceCollapse )

Oregon Jasper BirdCollapse )

Crazy Lace AgateCollapse )

Crazy Lace Agate CloseupCollapse )

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merhawk
The whole US is moving to ICD-10 billing Thursday (October 1st), and there's as much panic in the medical community as you can imagine. Aetna did some videos illustrating some of the oddest ICD10's out there (in their estimation). My favorite?


ICD-10 Cartoon: Hurt at Library (Y92.241)

What's your favorite?

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merhawk
My relationship with canyonwalker is now old enough to drink.

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merhawk
It's all about perspective, right?

However, I think we can all agree that the fact that there's a Settlers of Catan book now out there is just utterly wrong.

While I'm glad the game became so popular (I recall playing the original German version in the late 1990's with sticky note translations on the cards!), this still is making my eyes bleed.

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merhawk
I woke up this morning to the following headline:

Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry

I'm doing a happy dance over here. It's been a long time coming, and I'm proud of the justices that ruled for inclusiveness rather than bigotry.

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I'm still not sure how I feel about Marvel's Secret Wars [there's a good chance I'm using it as a dropping off point], but even the whole thing with "Battleworld" is better than the crap DC is selling with DC You.

For Elath's sake, DC - learn from Marvel's mistake in the '90s and drop Bob Harras' tuchus to the curb!

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When I was younger, I didn't want to get rid of books I didn't think I'd read again, because just by looking at them I remembered the joy I'd gotten from them. On top of that - it's a way for people to take a look at my shelves and get a feel for me.

A few years ago, when I realized it was either move into a bigger house for my books or pare down my collection, I cut it by around 50%. These past few weeks I've been thinking of paring it down some more; with everything that has been going on with me over the past year I've been trying to think through am I doing things because this is what I've always done, or am I doing it because that's what I've always done.

Well, I'm in the middle of paring down the collection again. I won't say that I'm only keeping the best books - there are some on the shelf I'll never read again but I have pared down to the ones that really had an impact on me as a youth (for example, you'd need to pry my Song of the Lioness books out of my cold, dead, hands - even if I never read them again).

I'm going to actively sell the books that are worth $10+/book, and am considering doing the same for the ones in the $8-$10 range. After I clean this up, I need to start making a decision about my comic book collection.

At least now I'll have room to put my beading supplies behind cabinet doors in the living room, rather than having to drag them out of the garage every time I want to do something.

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I live in California, and the county we live in has given us a mandatory 25% reduction in water since 2013 levels. I'm on our HoA board, so we did an analysis of our 2013 levels vs 2014 levels vs current 2015 levels.

From 2013 to 2014, our complex already reduced 27%. And if the current rate of savings keeps up as the year goes on, we're on track to save 28%-30% from 2013 levels this year.

I'm very proud of our membership. Now let's just hope that printing these numbers in this month's newsletter doesn't get everyone thinking that they can save less water, and we backtrack on what we've got to do.

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The last of my ECCC pictures are uploading now. As usual, and help with ones tagged as unknown is very welcome.

My friend Eddie described it as a Midwestern Con. That's a very apt description. It had a good dealer's room, some great comics, but not much set it apart and unique from other cons. Well, it did have a LOT of panels on diversity - which I thought were great. But more of them were on the "diversity 101 level", which was disappointing. I was hoping for something more than that. I did also get to see a World Premier of some animated Guardians of the Galaxy footage, so that was interesting as well. However, I'm not sure I'd make it my one con next year.

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Today was interesting; I still didn't go to too many panels, but I enjoyed wandering around and seeing all the cosplay. I've just put up the pictures from yesterday. Some of them will be tagged unknown; help is always appreciated on them.

I have at least double that amount of pictures from today, and we're about to wander over to the costume contest. It'll hopefully be fun. We'll have to see.

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venkablackfire and I wandered all around Seattle yesterday, while waiting for the rest of our Emerald City Comic Con group to arrive. We saw some very bizarre statues, the Space Needle, Pike's Market, etc, and had some very creepy encounters.

One was with an owner (son of the owner?) of Market Beads that randomly started to talk with us about his cell phone issues, and then started showing my bead strands like a cat bringing me tribute. I ended up buying some oregon jasper and an awesome Kabuki mask, so it probably ended ok. Except he gave us both beads for "good luck". Mine somehow ended up with Venka, I have no idea how... *innocent look*

The second was a proprietor who offered to "tell us where to go in Seattle". I backed out of that store immediately, and just kept an eye on Venka to make sure she wasn't getting boxed in. It ended when she left, and he came out and proclaimed "You know that book 50 Shades of Gray? Yeah, I didn't need to read it, I live it!" *shudder*

The third was a homeless guy in a wheelchair who wanted to give us both a really big hug. Yeah, no.

Other than that, we had a blast of a time and ended up eating really awesome food at Twisted Pasty, and then I ended up running into an old con friend after that while trying to buy groceries. We also saw a Popsicle statue on the way back to the hotel. Very bizarre.

I'm exhausted. And I've still got 2 more days to go!

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merhawk
In Seattle with venkablackfire for Emerald City Comic Con. We've toured the city a bit today, and con will start tomorrow. It'll hopefully be a lot of fun.

Anyone else here?

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merhawk
Woohoo! Not that it's much rain, but we need every drop we can get.

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Dear Rep King,

I read your remarks earlier in the week regarding 'I don't understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second'.

That's okay. Many people don't understand how Republican's can decry the Senate Democrats refusing to pass a bill to help victims of human trafficking because of the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment in it (What was that Mitch McConnell did? He said that the Democrats are playing politics to hurt women, and then he turns around and holds up the new AG nomination due to those self-same politics. Hypocrite!<1>).

To get back onto the original subject, Netanyahu has gone - as Jon Stewart described in this wonderful piece - "full blown settler". The fact that your end of day revelations require all the Jews to be in Israel in a unified country doesn't mean that all Jews agree. The frum settlers are a blight upon Israel, and the fact that Netanyahu supports them doesn't help him. He's not as much of a war criminal as Ariel Sharon - that man started the second intifada by going to speak at the Temple Mount stating that it would always belong to Israel knowing what would happen - but he's close.

The frum have a disproportionate influence on Jewish life in Israel; kind of like how the Republican party has a disproportionate influence on everyday life in the United States. There's not going to be peace until more moderate voices on both sides start talking with each other, and the other Arab states stop using Israel as their bogey-man to keep their population looking outward as to the source of all their issues. For example, back in 1948, if the Arab states had wanted[2], they could have helped the Palestinian population actually settle into other countries rather than make them permanent refugees. The issues would be vastly different these days if that had happened. Netanyahu isn't helping Israeli security; he's hurting it.

Many Jews are Democrats because they believe in helping people. That's part of the faith. I don't see many in the modern Republican party helping people without bias. Am I being unfair to you? Possibly. But I'm sick of listening to people talk down to minorities of any stripe as if we can't think for ourselves. I don't need you to christinsplain to me why I should vote Republican. I'm quite capable of reading and listening to what your party says, and reject it as being insular and short-sighted.

In conclusion, Rep King, please shut up - and start listening to the very people you're claiming that you want to speak for.

שָׁלוֹם,

Hawk

[1]I like this quote regarding the whole thing the best: Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, called McConnell’s comments “politics at its worst.”

“Opponents of safe and legal abortion are using a bill that was supposed to help women to hurt women and hold up the important Senate business of confirming a well-qualified nominee to serve as Attorney General,”
.

[2]I'm excluding Jordan from this. Both King Hussein's have been pretty stand up mensches considering everything.

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I never thought I'd say this, but I'm getting pretty bored with reading comics. The stories feel like ones I've read over and over and over... I might give the new "battleworld" of Marvel's a chance, but it also feels like a good time to cut most of it off. I'll still get a few of them - Buffy, Astro City, the last Ultimate Spider-Man, maybe Ms Marvel and/or Hawekeye - but I feel done with reading most of them for now.

I'll still watch the movies and some of the TV shows. Those adaptations bring me more excitement. Possibly I'll change my mind, but it feels like a good time to mostly end the habit.

That being said, I still enjoy Comic Conventions, and can't wait until I'm up at Emerald City in two weeks. I'll get to hang with venkablackfire, verbicide, and some other friends while admiring all the Cosplay. I'm really looking forward to it.

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canyonwalker is traveling over in the UK, so of course I injured myself! I was slicing some peppers for a movie marathon and managed to get part of my thumb instead. It wasn't that big a cut, but it managed to A) take all the skin off and B) hit the vein. After 20 minutes of no clotting, my friend took me to urgent care, where I got the most awesome wrapped thumb. It's such a small wound, and yet they wrapped it in so much cotton it seemed like I'd hurt myself even worse.

Pictures of the wrapped wound. Nothing graphic, I promise.Collapse )

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I'm stuck in a pain flare right now. There's nothing new about this, unfortunately, other than the fact that I had a call at work today from a woman stuck in one as well.

She cried, metaphorically speaking, on my shoulder for about 15 minutes. She went on about all the things she wants to do, but can't, because her body is betraying her. She can't go out to walk because the cold hurts her too much. She can't get her fingers to move the way she wants them to. She wants to do all these things for her elderly father, but she's stuck in the house...

I heard myself in her. Now, I'm not quite as bad off as her, though I feel I have my moments. But I've gone through that process myself, all the "fuck this, I want to do x but my body won't let me!". Or "I'm going to be in massive pain, but I'm doing to do this regardless." I'm always profoundly grateful for canyonwalker at those times. Even if he doesn't gt it, he listens. He does things like let me steal all his body heat to make my body move the way it should, or pretend to listen to me rant about all my frustrations with everything. I seriously have no idea how I'd manage some days without him.

I'm positive that the woman I was talking with doesn't have someone who can regularly do that for her. Which is why she was so grateful I listened. Things like this is why I tell my employees that if we're going to give patients good customer service, sometimes we just need to let them vent. No matter how uncomfortable it might make us. It's still nowhere as bad as what they're going through.

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"Strengthen your core", they say. "If you strengthen your core, your chronic disk issues will go away", they claim.

I say "My core is stronger than ever (and has never been weak, no matter what you claim!). Where is this pain relief you speak of?"

*bangs head on wall*

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"Messianic" Jews - aka Jews for Jesus. Especially schmucks like Sid Roth of "It's Supernatural", who's decided his life's calling is mailing unsolicited Messianic literature to people who have Jewish sounding surnames. Oh, and his unsolicited literature is in a plain white bag, so it's not obvious until after you've opened it.

The next plain white bag I get is being returned to sender faster than his head can spin.

If there's one thing you can get almost any Jew - frum[1] or secular - to agree is mind-numbingly annoying are the Jews for Jesus people. The ones in my parent's home town tried to sham legitimacy by claiming that their main offices were at the JCC[2], but that most people came to another address to talk with them.

[1]aka Religious
[2]Jewish Community Center


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Happy birthday, slothman! I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

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canyonwalker and I went hiking at Big Basin Redwood State Park today. This isn't our first time there - or even our third. Back in 1997 we hosted a darkfriend social hike there, and it's been one of our go to hikes in the intervening years. The main "problems" with the hike are two-fold: 1) It's a 10.5 mile hike and 2) It's insanely popular.

Well, Super Bowl Sunday seemed a perfect day to do it, since a large portion of the population would be at home watching the game. Our nefarious plan mostly worked. There were still enough cars there to make it crowded, but not enough that we felt crowded on the trail. In fact, we went the opposite way we normally do - we started by doing the long stretch to Golden Falls Cascade and Silver Falls, then to Berry Creek Falls, and ended by taking the route out that we normally walk in on. I like this loop better; the trail from the parking lot to Golden Falls Cascade and Silver Falls is a lot of up and down, and it's nicer to do that when you've got most of your energy. The trail from Berry Creek Falls to the parking lot is also up - but it's all steady up or semi-flat, which is so much easier when you're out of energy.

We also discovered, after all this time, that there's an easy 3.6 mile hike to Sempervirens Falls! I'm not sure how we managed to miss those falls before, but they are definitely on our radar for next time.

Also, while out and about on the trail, we saw a crew from the California Conservation Corps improving the trail. My hiking boots salute their hard work - if it wasn't for them, the good trails we take for granted wouldn't be there.

Pictures of the falls:Collapse )

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One of my (under 30) employees was doing some video game testing on Friday night. I'm not 100% sure why she volunteered to do it (extra money, most likely), since she seemed so discombobulated by the people she was testing with. She ran back into our office to grab a jacket after she'd started the testing, and started talking about how "nerdy" these guys were.

When I mentioned that I was a nerd too, I got a "No you're not!" She then recited all the tired stereotypes about nerds (stays in the basement, plays video games all day, overweight, male, etc) and kept being incredulous when I mentioned "I play games", "I read comics", etc. I finally asked her if she played any games other than the one she's testing, and she said "Sure! Taboo, Cranium, etc".

ROTFLMAO. I'm planning to use Pandemic in a few weeks to teach some of my employees about how teamwork is necessary to succeed. It'll be interesting to see what she thinks of actual board games, not party games....

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I supported the Kickstarter that Unshelved had to print their most recent book, as well as have adorable USB drives shaped like Card Catalogs with DRM-free ePubs inside...

Card Catalog USB Drive

Not only are they incredibly awesome[1], it arrived on my birthday! Best unintended birthday gift in a long time! *grin*

[1] You can go here to see how to get your own

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I had plans to make my shaped sugar cookies with icing decorations this combined birthday party with canyonwalker, but then I realized I didn't have quite the shoulder stamina I wanted and decided to make roll sugar cookies instead, and let everyone ice their own. Plus I made a bunch of toffee cookies, and a large batch of caramel marshmallow cookies. Hopefully everyone will be satisfied! And if not... that's their problem. *smirk*

I thought I'd have more anxiety with this birthday, but I'm fine. Now when my brother's birthday comes up in February, we'll see how it'll be.

Baking pictures!

The cookies as balls:
Balls

The cookies after I squashed them:
Flat

Yummy baked sugar cookies:
Cooked

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Don't expect me to continue the trend of two (or more!) posts in a single day. I usually leave that type of meshuga energy to canyonwalker. However, I feel like a dam has broken so I want to get some things out.

Cut because of discussion about my brother"s death. I"m know some of it will trigger, so please don"t click if you"re feeling fragile.Collapse )

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Ok, not quite so much. I've made a few more pieces than this over the past year, but here are three that I already took pictures of:

Moonstone Garnet Necklace
Moonstone and Garnet necklace. I picked the pendant up in SF's Chinatown and the moonstones are from my great-aunt's collection.

Malachite Necklace Bracelet
Malachite necklace and bracelet. I found that gorgeous pendant in downtown Scottsdale, AZ. For downtown prices, the cost was a steal. For anywhere else, I paid too much. However, the pattern is very unique - and perfect. I couldn't pass it up.

LaboraditeNecklace
Laboradite and amethyst necklace, with a bit of kyanite mixed in. I found the pendant at a Gem Faire in Santa Rosa and couldn't resist.

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I know I haven't been around much of the past 6 months; I've been reading what's been posted, but I haven't been able to get myself to talk. I wish I'd had the strength to cheer you on or commiserate with you publicly, but I just didn't have it in me to speak. Just know that if you thought I was thinking about you when you posted - I really was. 2014 started out so well for me, but turned hellish half-way through and I'm still processing the death of my brother. The odd thing is that I was the one who was so together at the time compared to everyone else (blood-related, that is). canyonwalker wasn't able to be there the entire time, and someone had to be sensible about things. But once I wasn't needed in that role, I started my own stages of grief and just haven't come to full grips yet.

On top of that, my father had emergency surgery the beginning of December, and it could have proved fatal as well. Considering how bad off he was, he's well on his way to a perfect recovery (as perfect as recovery can be when you're 75). I desperately needed the trip we just made to Cancun (canyonwalker is detailing it over on his journal) and it helped. But once we got off of vacation... I'm back in the same stages I was in before.

I'll get out of it, at some point. I want to try and make more of a point of being outgoing and seeing friends again. I know I keep saying that, but I actually feel it might stick this time. A lot of things went wrong with my brother, and one of them was that he kept himself isolated when he had support that he never used. If he'd used it, things would have been very different. So while I'm not promising anything, I will do my best to much more visible and available this year. And yes, silmaril, that means more beading posts.

I have no idea who's still reading this or not. I'm well aware that the majority of my friends circle is over at G+ now, and I still hate the interface enough that I'm not sure I'll ever manage to get myself there. But for those of my friends who are reading this - and even those of you who aren't - I wish you all a sweet and happy new year, and may any trials that happened in the previous year just be there to help make you stronger for this one.

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Today's the birthday of my favorite spouse, canyonwalker. Happy Birthday, love!

It's also the birthday of my favorite twin of his from another mother, prince_eric. Have a wonderful birthday as well!

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My oldest brother is dead. We were never particularly close, but I always knew that when push came to shove, he was there. I didn't push my chance to see him when I was in Philly in May; he's mostly a hermit, and I "knew" that I'd be seeing him in November at our parent's 50th wedding anniversary.

Except now I won't get the chance. The next time I'll see him is in the casket, before we bury him on Monday. And while we never said much to each other, I enjoyed spending time with him. And now I never can again.

RIP, Nathan. You will be missed, even if you never believed it.

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At least, don't tell me it's probably benign in a letter and then ask me to come back in 6 months "to confirm this area has not changed".

Personally, I'm annoyed because this is a horrible way to tell someone that their mammogram has something to be worried about. I was in the office where the radiologist interpreted it. They could have come and talked with me so I could ask questions about probabilities. Instead I get a stupid form letter that's supposed to be reassuring. My mother had kidney cancer. I am quite aware that a 6 month cycle means that there's something they are concerned about.

Fuck them. I have an appointment with my primary care tomorrow night about my most recent back herniation, and I'll make him figure out for me if I should really bother going back in 6 months.

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Things I hate:
1) My back, my knees, my shoulders, my big toes... basically every part of my body that can potentially throw out.
2) Narcotics. I do not enjoy being high as a kite, even if it does take away the pain.

Things I appreciate:
1) canyonwalker
2) My boss. I highly doubt she will actually be able to take care of everything tomorrow with me unexpectedly out - without having to call me - but I appreciate that her first instinct was to try.
3) Doctor's who know me, make sure I have prescriptions on hand "just in case", and then actually respond to emergency calls on a weekend.

Fuck you, back, and the horse that you wouldn't be able to rid in on.

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I've never been more grateful to suffer from chronic pain. I've gotten pretty bad food poisoning from some bad egg salad sandwiches[1], and the over the counter stuff isn't doing much for the muscle pain.

"Thankfully", I'm used to taking scalding bathes (110? Maybe even 115?) for 10 minutes or so to help relax the muscles. It helps, barely.

This better be better in the morning - and gone by Friday night when I need to fly to the East Coast.

Blargh.

[1]Cliched, I know.

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We've been doing a lot of interviews recently, and I've started and let go a few people. One of the main issues I'm having is trying to figure out computer literacy. To wit, it's not just "Can you use Outlook?", but "Can you use multiple systems such as LIMs, Salesforce, Outlook, Excel, Word, and File Share Servers competently enough that I don't need to explain basics such as 'double-click'?"

At my last place of employment it was fairly easy - I'd make them figure out some citations and explain some search logic and figure out quickly. Here it's much harder - many of these are intrinsic skills you'd expect 30+ year olds to have figured out and it's a bit insulting to ask if they know how to.

That being said, I need to find out a way to do it. I'm getting sick and tired of hiring people that I have to practically start at ground zero with.

Any suggestions? I'm expecting crickets as response, but anything would be nice.

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Great News: I went rollerblading for the first time in 6-8 months. It was completely exhilarating and relaxing and I had no problems. It was as if I hadn't ever stopped doing it because of all the back et al problems. I've missed it so much.

Dangerous News: Which is great, because I was so pissed off by a situation at work that I took out my helmet and arm guards to put on, then went out rollerblading without them and never even realized. I got home, started to take off my skates, and noticed that they were still lying in the foyer. D'oh! That would have been a really bad spill if I'd had any problems.

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Just how hot was it at my office today in the shade? Hot enough to explode an unopened Coke Zero can. Luckily all the liquid flowed into the cup holders for an easy cleanup!

ExplodedCan

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Have you ever been so tired, that you just start doing things on auto pilot? I did that tonight with my baking. I wanted to make fig newton bars, but I pulled and started mixing up my oatmeal fruit cookie bars instead. I'm using the fig jam, and they'll be tasty... but it certainly wasn't what I was planning to do.

Then again, my office is just delighted that someone bakes. I definitely won't get any complaints.

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Is it just me, or does the cover to #2 make Loki look like a young John Travolta?

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