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Help, please?

There is a job I want to apply for. The good news is that it's for a museum I really respect. The bad news is that it's in Los Angeles. *shudder* At the moment, I think the good outweighs the bad. My only problem is that I need a wide range of writing samples, and, at the moment I only have two.

Is someone willing to work with me this weekend to put together some others?

RIP: Leonard Nimoy

I have to admit, I've always been a Kirk girl. But that's because I wanted to BE Spock. He was, in many ways, my first introduction to logic -- my first introduction to understanding how to take a step back and analyze consciously rather than unconsciously.

His death hurts.

Guardian Obituary

RIP: Alan Howard

Those of you who know me may have heard me mention being a Royal Shakespeare Company groupie in my not-misspent-enough youth. Alan Howard was the star of the troupe at that time. I actually got a lump in my throat when I found The Guardian obituary today. The first photo was from Coriolanus which was the first RSC production I ever saw. It was on tour in Brussels and my Humanities class read the play and took an evening field trip to see the production.

A year later, I'd flunked out of college and was taking an intensive Shakespeare class through University of Maryland to prove to my family (and myself) that I could handle university level work. The class took place in Stratford on Avon and introduced me to one of my favorite professors, Claire Baker. Alan Howard was her favorite of the actors, and she was disappointed that he wasn't in any of the current productions.

Fast forward another year, and I'm taking two semesters of British Theater with Claire Baker in London. It's the last season for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych and we have tickets to see every production including three with Alan Howard:
Richard II
Richard III
The Forest by Alexander Ostrovsky

I ended up seeing both Richards multiple times, including the final RSC performance at the Aldwych Theater which was Richard II. Alan Howard came forward at the end and gave a lovely speech about the theater and the ghosts of past productions there.

During that same season, he also performed in C.P. Taylor's Good at the Donmar Warehouse. It's a fascinating play with music interspersed throughout. As it shows a good man slowly becoming a Nazi, it used Alan Howard's resemblance to his uncle Leslie Howard as a way of keeping the audience off balance. It was the only performance of his that I genuinely loved. I was lucky enough to see it several times at the Warehouse, which is a tiny venue, making the transformation very intimate.

I wish I liked him more as an actor. Other than in Good, he was, for me, a somewhat cold, remote presence.

For most of you, I know that your exposure to him was probably either as the Lover in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover or as "The Ring" in The Lord of the Ring trilogy.


Answer for question 4248.

What are your thoughts on vaccinations? Do you personally believe they play any role in the development of autism or other chronic diseases? What diseases would you like to see a vaccine manufactured against over your lifetime?
Beginning with the last question: A viable TB vaccine would be wonderful, with AIDS as my second choice (purely because TB still affects more people).

As to the second question: HELL NO! Some people are allergic, and, especially early in the vaccination schedule, people should be observed to make certain they don't have an adverse reaction.

And to answer question 1: I've already written a post where I've listed everything I've been vaccinated against. I'll throw in that because I was a military brat (and because I'm over 50), bubonic plague, smallpox, and the old "killed-whole-cell" typhoid fever vaccine were among my innoculations. The last of those has some interesting side effects including a high fever localized to the injection site (seriously, I could put my hand two inches away from my arm and feel the heat) and soreness.

Book recommendation

I've mentioned this before, but I strongly recommend everyone read Hieroglyphs. The book is a science fiction short story anthology which came from a challenge to Neal Stephenson. He'd asked about new technology and Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, said, "You're the ones who've been slacking off." The writers were asked to focus on near-future tech and to concentrate on the benefits rather than the problems. The latter part of the challenge wasn't entirely successful; some people just don't want to give up their dystopias.

The reason this came up, is there's an article at BBC America about why a space elevator probably wouldn't work. The first story in the anthology, Stephenson's Atmospaera Incognita deals with the practicalities, and issues, of building one.

I know some of my friends are engineers. Can we build one? And, please go buy and read the book. Even the stories I didn't like made me think, and who can ask for more than that from their sci-fi?


Has anyone heard from Gileswench?

I've been trying to get ahold of her for a couple of weeks by phone and email. I'm worried.

Answer for question 4244.

What's the most unusual conversation you've ever had?
My brain works funny. I also have a tremendous need to communicate.

The most unusual conversation I've ever had was translating from English to Italian and vice-versa for two people on the train from Brindisi to Rome. The topics ranged from simple "how do you... (ask for a light, ask for a menu...)" to why the gentleman's wedding ring was really a sign he was engaged rather than married.

The reason this was unusual is that I don't speak Italian. I did it using French cognates, but the Italian gentleman complimented me on how well I did.


pleasance, another friend, and I saw this today before the snow hit.

It's bloody. It has moments of vulgarity (no, I'm not referring to the language, although there's some of that, too.). In short, there are a few issues with it.

I loved it.

For one thing, the villain had an actual plan. Through the villain's plan there was actually some good information about climate change.

There were a huge number of references to classic spy stories, mostly from the 60s. I saw references to the Bond franchise, of course, several of them through Mark Cross. There were also references to:

* The Avengers (Steed and Peel, not Cap and Hulk)

* The Man from UNCLE (and we also saw a preview for the new movie. Their Illya Kuryakin isn't pretty enough.)

* The Harry Palmer movies (Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain)

* Secret Agent (John Drake as played by Patrick McGoohan)

There's a lot to see, but I think one of the big takeaways for me is that most of them don't enjoy killing -- even with a blood ballet that Sam Peckinpah would envy.


awake and scared

Anyone up for some dream interpretation? I was traveling with my family. I saw a white snake through a window (I was outside; it was inside) of my bed and breakfast. Later I'm asleep in bed, and the snake is on the wall over my head. It falls into my bed and bites my left pinky. I scream for my sister who's asleep in the room. She eventually wakes up. I woke feeling panicked. The snake had died and they were taking it to the hospital with me. I still, as I'm writing this, feeling like there's something wrong with the finger where I was bitten. **shudder**

Answer for question 4230.

What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why? Would you ever move there if you could?
There is no all time favorite.

There are a few cities I had a hard time living in, but most had something that I loved.

In Mannheim, it was the Saturday farmer's market (seriously, the cauliflower looked like it had been painted by Vermeer) and the fascinating grid system. The Duke (I think it was Duke, could have been Prince) who founded the city was fascinated by chess and the main street between his old palace, now the university, and the bridge was the dividing line. From the palace, the letters A-K formed rows on the right, and the letters L-T formed rows to the left. The numbers 1-7 formed the columns, so that my address was J7 with a unit number attached. I loved that system.

I currently live in DC which, along with Brussels, Belgium, is the city I think of as home. Both cities are beautiful. Both get slammed as the home of bureaucrats, but both have dynamic free or inexpensive cultural lives.


At brunch yesterday, someone suggested I read up on "The Ray Wars" in Due South fandom at the Fanlore wiki. While I was there, I began to rummage through articles on other fandoms or fanfiction sites, especially ones that I've been involved in. There was less about the UCSL in the Buffy fandom than I'd expected, but I got about what I thought I would regarding Smallville.

It was Stargate SG-1 which surprised me. Several of my stories -- all but one of them gen -- have been linked directly in the articles about the 'zines in which they originally appeared. My Chaplain series is one of the stories listed under "Christianity and Fandom." By no means are mine the only stories linked, but it never occurred to me that "Time Was" (one of my weirder stories), "Teal'c's Thanksgiving," and "Campfire Stories" would be, for lack of a better term, important enough to be linked. It's not like every story mentioned in the 'zine lists has a link, either.

Not all of my stories in the fandom have been linked (even the gen ones) by any means, but this is the only one of my fandoms where I have a direct association -- and I know I didn't do it.

Vaccinations, A personal account

I am a daughter of the military. I'm also the daughter of the most well organized woman in the history of the world. I got my shots. I got them on time. I got them for the region in which we were living or going to live.

What does this mean? It means that I was vaccinated for typhus (live vaccine) and bubonic plague (dead vaccine) when I was three before we moved to Vietnam -- and so was my 6 month old sister. I was vaccinated for polio, smallpox, and Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT) before I was six. There was no chickenpox vaccine, so I got chickenpox when I was seven as did my little sister. I had the flu shot most years.

I got the rubella vaccination in third grade because that's when it became widely available, and my school was scheduled for mumps vaccination (again, a relatively new vaccine) when one of my classmates contracted it. Fortunately for the rest of us, hers ended up the only case. She ended up repeating 3rd grade because she'd been out for over 6 weeks and wasn't able to catch up by the end of the school year. I mention this because some of the anti-vaccination crowd say there aren't long term consequences of childhood diseases. Even ignoring the sometimes severe physical consequences of childhood diseases, there can be social and psychological consequences from the quarantines.

Thanks to Mom, I had every vaccination required at the appropriate time, including updates before we moved to Belgium in my late teens.

One of my funnier stories is when I cut myself badly while I was living in London in the early 1980s. I didn't have my shot records with me and didn't know whether I needed a tetanus booster. They were able to find me in the WHO database because US military shot records had been entered. Yes, I needed the booster.

As an adult, I've had required shots before visiting Egypt, including one of the Hepatitis (C?) vaccines. Because I had pneumonia as a child and then three times as an adult, I've had the pneumonia vaccine. I have a yearly flu shot. I updated my DPT 18 months ago so that I didn't risk being a pertussis carrier as many of our customers bring their young children to meetings; plus, it was time for a tetanus booster.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to my doctor's office before breakfast to have a blood draw. They're checking to see if I have the immunity to measles because I'm in a high risk group.

This is as much anecdata as anything Jenny McCarthy has written. I know that. But I also want people to know that most of us made it to adulthood with a full schedule of vaccinations.

The Corcoran and the National Gallery


I've liked, but not loved, the Corcoran for a long time. Their collection was eclectic, but not shaped to one person's/family's taste as the Phillips is (the Phillips is becoming less this way, but it still feels coherent to me). It was also part of a legacy endowment with a fantastic building in a wonderful location. A few years ago, before the crash of 2008, they were trying to expand into my neighborhood by moving their College of Art to an old school building near me which would have freed space in the main building for more art works. They sold that school to a private developer (and there's a great deal of debate over whether they were allowed to since they'd gotten a sweetheart deal on city land) in order to boost their coffers once the crash happened. About a decade prior to that, they'd commissioned a Frank Gehry extension to the original building that failed to raise enough money and/or flunked the zoning and Commission of Fine Arts Review -- which is important since the original building is a) listed on the historic register and b) two blocks from the White House.

Other solutions were presented to the Corcoran's problems, including moving the collection to Virginia and turning the historically registered building into condos. Those of us who paid membership fees for the Corcoran protested that mightily for a wide variety of reasons. Then there were rumors, which I've seen both confirmed and denied by the parties involved, that the University of Maryland was going to take over the collection and the building. Instead, in a last minute move, the National Gallery of Art has taken over the building and the collection in collaboration with George Washington University which is taking over the school and will get some of the collection somehow.

Some of the process of integrating the collections was covered in an article in The New York Times today.

One thing that struck me as odd is that there are people who think the National Gallery has a lot of American Art. It has some, but the major collection of American Art is at the Smithsonian.

UPDATED with the proposed ghastlyGehry extension.


Based on a comment in The Guardian today

Poll #1997874 Better Fictional Religions than Scientology

Which fictional religion is better than Scientology

The Orange Catholic Bible from Dune
The Force from Star Wars
The Mars man's faith from Stranger in a Strange Land
The Fremen from Dune
Some environmental thingy from The Lord of the Rings
Hollywood's Roman Catholicism with Bing Crosby
Whatever the faith is in Canticle for Lebowitz
Other which I will mention in comments
The weird Christianity of the Perelandra universe by CS Lewis
Aslan Rules!

Let's say Discworld's faith won (what do you mean it's not a choice?)

Omnianism rules!
I like the Small Gods
Offler, the Crocodile God
The Lady (but don't rely on her)
Blind Io
That love goddess who gets around
Annoia rattle your drawers!
Whatever Vetinari chooses

The ticky

is an atheist
is mighty confused
loves Tom Bombadil


Answer for question 4222.

Name a specific physical or personality trait that draws you to other people. Why do you think you find that trait so compelling?
There are a couple of different levels to this.

Years ago, I started at a new job. One of the young men (late 20s, so much younger than I was) was always well dressed and absolutely physically gorgeous. He was also dumber than a post and had a superior attitude toward his customers. By the end of a fortnight, I didn't find him attractive in the least.

By contrast, I've gotten into conversation with people I found at best mildly attractive, and, by the end of the conversation, they were wildly so. Kindness, intelligence, and wit look great on everyone.


I have been on cognitive rest for the past 6 days due to a virus affecting my inner ear. The song "Dizzy" has been my theme tune the whole time.

I'm back at work today and trying to catch up with everything. My apologies for any emails, LJ or Facebook posts, or anything else that I might have missed. It was a bad week.

L'Enfant Plaza

I'm fine. My evening commute was bollixed up, but I am absolutely fine.

One person is dead. Two are in critical condition. Another 81 people were affected badly enough to require a trip to the hospital. No one saw any flames, just smoke.

I feel pretty lucky.

And, thanks to eanja's generosity, I'll see many of you at Arisia.


Answer for question 4180.

You have an out of town guest for 24 hours and you have the day off. They've never visited you before. Where do you take them? What do you do and what sights do you see?
I live in Washington, DC which means there's no way anyone can see everything in 24 hours. The key thing is to ask what they want, or know their personalities well enough, to focus on a particular area.

The one thing I would do is make certain we saw the Mall at night whether on foot, by bus, or in a cab. The buildings are beautiful at night, and it's the one thing I remember my parents doing for guests in my childhood. Of course, in those days you could get closer to the Lincoln Memorial at night in a car.

If they leave the decision up to me, we'll spend most of our day at either several of the museums (with lunch at the Museum of the American Indian -- Mititsam is delicious and has several vegetarian options) or going through the Capitol and the Library of Congress (with possibly the Supreme Court added in).

Whenever possible, I'd include a theatrical performance, either the Shakespeare Theatre, Synetic Theater, or something at the Kennedy Center -- usually dance if it's my choice.

My Yuletide Stories

My assignment:

I was matched up with Jenett again on Lammas Night, but she also had Agora as a possibility. I had the movie, watched it, fell in love, and wrote The Beauty of Philosophy. However, the original match kept haunting me, so, for the first time, I wrote a treat. It's in Lammas Night and called The Early Days.

I also did quite a bit of pinch-hitting. There were two which couldn't be directly assigned:

Halloween in the Bewitched fandom, and Little Miracles in Crossing Jordan.

One pinch-hit ended up assigned doubly which made my entry in Anne of Green Gables a treat, too. The story is called Patty's Place on a Wintery Friday Evening once again proving that I'm terrible at titles.

And here are my assigned pinch hits:
Women and Men and Beds in Kill Your Darlings (the only Explicit story this year)

An Evening In in Enchanted

To Write a Sermon in Mansfield Park

A Week Later in Twelfth Night (the first of three Shakespeare assignments)

The following were written after the December 20 deadline passed.
Preparation in Hamlet

Pride in Coriolanus

Planning the Future in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

The Last Night in Kings (not Explicit, but definitely Mature)

All in all, it was a lovely Yuletide.


I have written:

1 assignment
1 treat
1 pinch-hit which ended up as a treat (accidental double assignment)
2 pinch-hits which couldn't be assigned
8 pinch-hits

It's been a good Yuletide. The collection opens at 7 pm EST. I'm all bouncy.



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