rangersyl: (adventurer)
I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Visited my Aunt & Uncle, who were under the weather -- but my cousins did a great job hosting. There was lots of champagne, as I recall LOL.

We had another cousin concert - this was on Sunday. We played for about 120 people (!) and it turned out well. I had three instruments going -- alto and tenor sax plus my clarinet. It was a lot of fun. Though I'm glad the last 3 months of sheer terror are over.

Heading out to vacation next week.

Am also very close to beginning actual writing on my Eleven, River, Amy & Rory story: The Raven Who Sets Things Right. I've had the idea for a very long time, and have been steadily working on research and outlining over the last few months. Hoping to make some real progress during my vacation.

How is everyone?
rangersyl: (adventurer)
So I'm packing. I decided to take an Alaska cruise at the sort-of last minute. Yeah, I'm by myself but you know what? I'm totally looking forward to shutting out distractions and just relaxing.

As a fringe benefit, I'll do some atmosphere-soaking for the Raven story. By the time next week is out, I will either have made significant amazing progress, or totally given up LOL.

I signed up for 3 shore excursions: horseback riding, native canoe paddling, and a visit to a Tlingit longhouse.

Had some trouble working on my carry-ons, which I just now sorted out. How ridiculous! But I'm only carrying-on things that I don't trust to the thieves and vandals of the TSA and assorted airlines. Turns out there's a lot I don't want to get pilfered, and since I'll be flying a couple of legs on those itty bitty commuter jets, I have to be really careful with bag size. But I just squeezed two camera bodies, 3 lenses, flash system, small tripod and adequate padding into my appropriately-sized 'personal item,' so yay me!

In other news, work today was a mixed bag. We planned a baby shower for one of the team members, but it was such a surprise that he scheduled field work today and missed the lunch in his honor! So on the one hand, we were REALLY good at keeping a secret... but yeah, maybe too good. It all worked out though, as we had cake when he got back.

My team is doing very well, but I'm having trouble with some new... well, a new person. Or an old person in a new job. As one of my peers stated today: "This person needs to learn to stay in their lane!" Or perhaps not antagonize the very people they will desperately need to turn to when things go downhill. I'm lucky I'm 20 miles away from the Death Star, but still in fallout range, apparently.

Vacation... almost on... vacation...
rangersyl: (head tardis)
Hullo everyone! I've been a bit scarce, but I've enjoyed reading everyone's updates!

So let's see... Work has been nuts, which is normal. My computer died (or rather, the boot sector of the hdd died). Several days later, I now have it repaired but am over 800 emails in the hole, as it were. The worst part is that I was a goddess of organization and efficiency up to that point, and now it's shot to hell. I did manage to at least put out the worst of the fires today, but it felt very much like riding a rollercoaster w/o those safety brackets.

Went to a business writing seminar yesterday, which was interesting. I've always been proficient with English (composition and grammar) and in fact tested out of English requirements in college. The instructor asked us when was the last time we took any grammar and... dang. 7th grade? But she did hit us with a grammar test and I missed a couple -- which certainly took me down a couple of notches. Because of this, I tried to find a grammar reference suitable for native speakers... AND THEY ARE HARDER TO FIND THAN THEY SHOULD BE.

So where does my flist find their grammar questions answered? Any suggestions?

Getting ready for our annual 4th of July BBQ extravaganza! I'll be cleaning and prepping the smokers and grills this weekend.

I have finally gotten physical therapy for my foot (and only 6 months late!). The delay was due to the plague from hell that ate my January and February; followed by a couple of trips and then 2 bouts of jury duty.

The good news is that in spite of the lack of PT, I have healed nicely. I have a slight limp, however.

The bad news is that while working on correcting the limp, I've managed to set off a five-alarm fire in my calf and ankle muscles. Oy does it hurt. The PT says that it's overuse, and taped my calf. Which is the same calf I tore in 2000, and proceeded to sprain the supporting ankle about 4 times the following 2 years. Gee, maybe there's a weakness in there?

I have been banned from walking any more than necessary the next 3 days. :(
rangersyl: (Default)
I had my reservations about today -- having to go to an office I don't care for to sit in a training class that wasn't going to be given by my favorite instructors.

But you know, things worked out!

Turns out my favorite instructors were contracted to do this particular class (even though they lost the national contract).

I tell you, emergency response taught by crusty retired firemen is the way it should be done!

But it doesn't stop there! I got two big boxes from my friend in Colombia -- things I had ordered during my last visit there and was waiting to receive. Including an awesome black leather bomber jacket and some shirts made for me by a seamstress. Not to mention Colombian chocolate bars. Yum!

And then! I got a letter from a friend that had to move away to join the army. He's in basic training now and I got an actual, real-life handwritten letter from him. I'll write him back tonight.

So now I'm figuring out how to make room in my closet while chillin' and listening to some vinyl awesome.
rangersyl: (DW drama)
This is very late, but I thought it may be of interest to some folks.

I was at the Gallifrey One Con in February -- it's something of a tradition with myself and some of my friends. This was my ... 7th in a row? Can't remember.

Anyway, there was typical con stuff, panels, cosplay, lots of opportunities for disposable spending in the dealers room.

The best panel I attended this year was called "Travels with the Doctor" and had in it 2 former cast members from each decade that the show has been on. The 60s were represented by Frazier Hines and Deborah Watling (Jaime and Victoria); the 70's by Katy Manning and Richard Franklin (Jo Grant and Captain Mike Yates). For the 80's there was Nicola Bryant and Mathew Waterhouse (Peri and Adric), and finally rounding out the panel were Billie Piper and Arthur Darvill. Who should need no introduction.

And yes, Gally is an amazing con!

After the panel, I took some notes (with the intent to post a con report). )
rangersyl: (big smiley face)
Hi All! Who else uses Calibre to organize their fic reading lists?

I just discovered the fanfiction plugin and OH.MY.GOODNESS ALL OF MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED.

:: spreads confetti everywhere ::

Does anyone else use it? Am I the last person on Earth who figured this out? Would anyone like a 'how to' post?
rangersyl: (big smiley face)
Not so much a lucky shot as a lucky find!

The Snark Missle

Saw this while strolling through the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC a few years ago. The metaphor was too much to resist, so I took out my phone and snapped a picture. Awesome!
rangersyl: (Mr. Grumpyface)
Hi All ! Back from a trip to DC that I really didn't want to take. The bad news was that it was a training course involving all kinds of group work, roleplaying difficult conversations, and all the things employees can do to get fired. It was also full of a huge percentage of agency brass -- so me and the handful of other first-line supervisors felt really... freshman-like.

On the other hand, the group I was working with were very cool, and thankfully had enough extroverts who grabbed the microphone to expound upon their thoughts so that I didn't have to. Also, for the record, roleplaying is only fun if there are orcs, swords and wizards involved.

The better news is that I seriously scored with my flight upgrades, so I flew in style. The other good thing that was as I was chillin' in the front of the plane, I worked diligently on a mindmap of the tricky parts of my Raven story. I may have busted through the writer's block.

But now I start a two-week stint of jury duty. I have to call in daily, so I can't exactly plan things. I need physio for my foot, and I chipped a tooth, but I can't make those appointments until I get the jury duty sorted out.

So - that's me. How is everyone doing out there?
rangersyl: (adventurer)
Hi All! It's been a while. I'm going to try to post more often now, as I'm trying to get myself all organized and set and finally OVER all of the crazy that's been hitting me for the last few months.

Well, okay, yeah, some of the crazy is self-inflicted since I did some traveling that, while fun, set me back a bit.

ANYWAY. In the interest of making a useful contribution, I know that many folks on my Flist are writers, and I dug up an old (but still viable and fun) link you might find interesting. Yes, it's about grammar, but in a fun way.

LifeHacker: Brush up on Grammar Rules with these Light-hearted Resources

... and I know there's a run-on sentence up there somewhere ;)

rangersyl: (adventurer)
If you've ever tried to shoot photos at an aquarium, or even through glass, you'll know how hard it is to get anything decent. The odds are stacked against you: glare! depth of field! death by autofocus! This shot was the best of several dozen taken at the Aquarium of the Pacific in the Jelly exhibit. Jellies are mesmerizing and photogenic, and it's hard to not at least try to get a shot of them. These guys were about 4-6 inches long. Unfortunately, I don't recall the species.

Lucky shot of the week: Jelly )
rangersyl: (DW drama)
This was one of my favorites when I first read it years ago, and the book still impresses me. The focus of the story is the dying Venusian civilization (of Venusian Aikido fame). I'd actually consider this essential reading for the NAs and PDAs.

Venusian Lullaby by Paul Leonard )
rangersyl: (DW drama)
So I was thinking that the Capaldi costume photo reminded me of something. It came to me this morning, as I was lying in bed halfway between asleep and awake.

Spoilers for publicity shots old and new )

Coincidence? Sleep deprivation? What do you think?
rangersyl: (health and safety)

So. Last September -- in fact the day before the gov't shut down because of lack of funds -- I was instructed to go on a spending spree because we needed to use up all the money that was alloted the previous fiscal year. No, it doesn't make sense, but there it is.

Anyway, given about 15 minutes to make big-ticket decisions, I ordered a shelving system for our supply room. We have been using old filing cabinets, and honestly, that was horribly inefficient. The shelving system? Seemed awesome but then I found out that shipping cost as much as the units themselves. Oh well, I'm supposed to spend a couple thousand in fifteen minutes, I didn't have time to really comparison shop. Then the gov't shut down, we all worked for no pay for three weeks, but things settled back to normal. I assumed that none of our orders made it through.

Fast forward to last week, when, without any previous warning, the entire shelving system arrives. "Some Assembly Required" does not even begin to cut it. So now I have to ask my investigators to assemble shelving. This is the 'other duties as assigned' part of the position description, no doubt. No, we don't have any support staff on hand.

We also, by the way, don't have any tools to assemble said shelving. I ordered some with the shelving, but who knows when or if they'll show up. So -- how much do I love my team? -- we conferred and everyone brought tools from home. I supplied a cordless drill, and then went to Home Depot with my own money and purchased screwdriver bits. The guys have the thing about 1/2 assembled. It took them 1/2 the day, and I assume half of tomorrow as well.

It'll be really cool to be organized, so I'm looking forward to it. But the road we had to take to get there is instructive.

In other news, yes, I'm back at work! I missed 4 weeks due to the plague. It is great to be gainfully employed once again! I'm slowy digging through 1000 emails that arrived while I was gone and trying to figure out what is urgent vs. what is important.

But now, I'm about ready to sip a glass of wine and turn off my brain.
rangersyl: (adventurer)
Been sorting through my long-neglected photo archives and trying to upload the good ones to my Flickr account. I came across one that I took at the LA Zoo several years ago, during a special photography event. The Zoo was open early for the photography class, and the keepers cooperated by bringing some animals out for closer looks, as well as letting animals out into their enclosures on a schedule so they could be photographed. This particular shot was of a tiger cub, I believe they were Sumatran tigers. There were two cubs and the mom, and I have a series of bad photos where they ran around the enclosure, pounced on each other and pounced on Mom. While the photos were fun to look at, they certainly weren't very good and couldn't be improved by photoshop. I was still getting used to the camera, and all of the things that auto exposure can do wrong, managed to go wrong.

At any rate, there was one brief moment when a cub looked out over the moat and I got *the* shot. )
rangersyl: (fanfic)
by Rangersyl (Avarill)
Rating: All ages
Pairing(s)/Character(s): River Song / Eleventh Doctor
Warnings: None
Spoilers: None. Vaguely set in season 6b
Summary: No matter where they were in their relationship, River Song could never entirely hide her sense of ownership over him.
Word Count: ~1200
Author's Note: Thanks to [personal profile] flowsoffire for the beta! This was mostly an exercise for myself in writing River POV.
rangersyl: (adventurer)
So -- anyone out there going to Gally this year?


Jan. 24th, 2014 08:23 am
rangersyl: (geek)
Feeling perkier! So perky in fact that I undertook a Project: installing Cyanogenmod onto my Samsung tablet. Ever since I got the thing I've hated the proprietary Samsung bloatware that it came with, and also hated the tacked-on front-end that was... tacked-on. As much as I love the 7" form factor, the software just kept me reaching for the lead weight of my old Xoom whenever I needed a tablet. The solution is to root the device and install a clean android system. The danger, of course, is to irretreivably brick it. I was successful, though, and am happily customizing the little tablet.

It feels really good to be looking for things to do!
rangersyl: (Default)
This was my second read-through of this book, and the first actual book I've read in way, way too long. I had a sort-of plan to read the Virgin Missing Adventures and the BBC line in chronological order. And since I'm still recovering from the plague, I at least found the energy to pick up a book. Which would indicate I might be able to get my life back soon, yes?

The Plotters )
rangersyl: (Default)
Against all odds, my Doctor Who obsession began with the written word. Seriously. The show had been cancelled for several years, I'd never seen it (though I'd heard rumour of it now and then), and it all started with [profile] rjanderson's spectacular fanfic and the New and Missing Adventures.

As someone who had blown a lot of money on crappy tie-in novels, the NA's (and later the MA's) were a feast! Sure, there were clunkers, but there was also a lot of inventive writing and some solid old-fashioned storytelling in there. The NAs were the crucible in which New Who was forged. Story arcs, deeper character development, nuanced and sophisticated concepts were everywhere. Each book felt like an experiment in how to best tell a Doctor Who story.

IO9 did a summary of tie-in-novels, including some interesting points about the NA's.

While devouring the books, I wrote a number of reviews. I had almost forgotten about them, and when I remembered them I figured they were long lost on some dead hard drive or another. But I did an archaeological expedition with a stack of ZIP discs and found my opus! Now that we have Goodreads, and now that it seems some of these books are being re-released as ebooks, I thought I may as well post my reviews.

Ben Aaronovitch wrote my two absolute favorite Seventh Doctor stories: Battlefield and Remembrance of the Daleks. He also was one of the strongest NA writers. I remember the Also People as a blow-your-mind scifi extravaganza wrapped up in a fluffy blanket of ... fluff.

Also, My reviews don't usually contain plot points, since I figured anyone who wants the plot can just read the back cover blurb.

The Also People )
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