Almost there...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Wanh! It's Tuesday night and I miss Buffy!

'k. Better now.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Oh this is just perfect. Absolutely perfect. For all those who want marriage as God intended, as written in the bible.

It still just bugs me that Christianity claims marriage as its own, insisting that modern marriage as we know it is the only marriage. Christianty started out believing firmly that celibacy was far more valuable than marriage, and it didn't become a sacrament until medieval times. Marriages were held at the church door rather than inside the church because the church didn't bless marriage. And now for the fundies to be running around defining it legally in the eyes of the state (a state that is supposed to separate chuch and state) as a union between a man and a woman and nothing else because anything else is an abomination in the eyes of god, well, it just chaps my hide.

Good (hectic) weekend. Drove up to Lizzie's housewarming on Friday. Christyn and I carpooled, and though both of us have rules against trying to get to events in Sacramento on Friday night, we both drove up in the midst of rush hour traffic (that was blessedly light) on a Friday to get to Lizzie's party. Yeah, Lizzie means that much to us both.

Saturday we slept late and ran a few errands in town, then headed to Pyanepsia. I haven't ever made it to this particular ritual before, so I went to the newbies room for the lecture. I've always liked the idea of Pyanepsia, but it was nice to have it so crystallized again. Pyanepsia is the closing of the seas, the end of the season on Apollo, and the start of the season of Dionysis. Dionysis only gets 3 months, while Apollo gets 9, but that's okay, because we can only need 3 months of conclusions, death, and madness. The season of Apollo is a time for growth and reason. The season of Dionysis is not. Sitting there listening, it occurred to me that doing Fezziwigs during the season of Dionysis makes so very much sense. It's a madness. It's a time to abandon reason, work harder than I do all year, keep rougher hours than I do all year, and not get paid for any of it. It is wild dancing. It is becoming another person and walking in her shoes for a while. It is sheltered inside while the storms rage outside. All the while, it is sandwiched by the major holidays of our predominant culture - Thanksgiving and Christmas. This truly is the silly season for me, and I'll feel Dionysis walking next to me this year through my maenadic dancing.

The next morning, I stepped fully into that newly inagurated season, rising too early to drive a hundred miles in a corset and sit in a freezing warehouse with 100 other people. Madness reigns supreme. Pyanepsia was a nice gentle reminder that all this is normal and expected for this time of year, and that things will start making sense again come February.

We made candles. I made two dipped tapers. We also made a communal Erisone, and tied to it all the trappings of the past year. I tied on my last scrap of 7/8 inch black velvet fabric ribbon. I'm done creating the dress. Now it's time to use the dress. Hopefully the dress is up to the madness I'm about to inflict upon it.

You know what I love about life in the Bay Area? It's that we have things like Dickens Fair and the Dance-Along Nutcracker. You don't merely go and passively observe here. You get involved. And that to me is the hallmark of what the Bay Area is all about - being engaged rather than merely observing what others are doing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Interesting. First reaction: How lame is that? Second reaction: This would be really challenging for a bunch of Fezziwiggers. Third reaction: Might be a fun party. I wouldn't want it as a dating mechanism, but it might really be an interesting gathering of friends as an interrupt to our highly verbalized lives.

Gay marriage is the segregation battle of the new millenium. Right now we're entering the "separate but equal" phase. Yesterday, the Massachusettes Supreme Court ruled that "Barring an individual from the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a member of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." They've delayed the official legalization of gay marriage for 6 months as part of the ruling. Now the Governor is leaping into action to formally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and to create a separate "civil union" for gay people. The religious right is in a frenzy again trying to stop it because "marriage is sacred!". I sincerely have to contest how sacred marriage is if you can have it done at a drive through window, but whatever. Oh, and there's the whole issue of the history of the Christian church where marriage wasn't a sacrament until the 11th century and couldn't even be performed inside the church until then. But yes, I understand, this is a big adjustment to the religious right who doesn't seem to be aware of history beyond (well, being generous,) the American Revolution. But going beyond the needs of a particular church, because any church can define marriage any way they choose as far as I'm concerned, the bigger issue is how marriage is defined by the state. In the view of the government, being married provides several civil benefits. It's wrong for those civil benefits to be limited to a union between only a man and a woman. The government must keep a separation between church and state. If a preson wants to marry someone of the same sex, the government shouldn't be able to prevent that on the basis of a given government official's belief system. Morality is relative depending on your religious beliefs. Civil rights transcend specific religious restrictions. If there's one religion on earth that believes same sex partners can be legally married, then the state has no right to deny that union strictly on that basis that it's between individuals of the same sex. And I can tell you right now, the Theoxinia Olympikos recognizes gay marriage.

Nevertheless, it seems that even though the lesson is laid out in precedent as plain as day (Plessy v. Ferguesson's "separate but equal" was trounced Brown v. Board of Education's "inherently unequal"), we're going to have to step through the entire process again. I will be interested to see if it all plays out within my lifetime.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Okay, so this week I'm forgoing roller skating in favor of Caliban at Scruffy Murphy's with Cyrus, Athena and Christyn. If a few other folks show up, that'd be cool. Irish dancing could ensue. Fun shall be had one way or another.

I'm having one of those days at Stanford. You know the kind - where it seems like mediocrity gets the highest reward. People who excel around here don't get steady work. Those that limp along but play politics adequately continue to have a job. I was very sad to find out that a former coworker is not in a continuing position as I believed, but instead is facing a layoff in March. Meanwhile, another coworker who I found to be mediocre at best got one of the ongoing positions. Then I got the announcement that we're probably going to have to shift the way we're implementing workflow because no one wants to be bothered to learn MQ Series. So, even though PeopleSoft Workflow doesn't really meet the needs, we're going to be asked to use that anyway because the support staff already uses PeopleSoft and knows it for other things. And then there's the new portal project (to replace My.stanford.edu, which as supposed to become the portal using Sundial, which was supposed to replace the SUPAD portal, and a whole host of other silly portal projects that never really went anywhere). It's going to be a PeopleSoft portal. And now instead of using the Worklist Manager for a central to-do list, we're going to use the PeopleSoft portal as the central to-do list. It doesn't do it as well, but it's PeopleSoft, and we already have folks who can support PeopleSoft. And besides, then we can just outsouce it to Wipro and have the work done cheaper in India. Then there's the issue that the HRIS Director has decided that we should use web forms instead of having the users enter data directly into PeopleSoft. So we've been tasked with creating a shadow system for all HR transactions using web forms that the distributed users enter their transactions into, then a central HR person will take that information and enter it into PeopleSoft. This is because the users are making mistakes and web forms will fix the problem. Or so it is believed. I have a desperately hard time imagining that fixing anything. But rather than fix the problem of the users carelessness in data entry, we'll make it so that the data gets typed in to one system, printed out, and typed into another system all over again. Clearly that should fix the problem.

I am now officially bitter about life at Stanford. Just for an hour or so. Gonna go have lunch with Jo-Ann. Then I'll get back into it and see how I can make this mess better. Just keep swimming.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Seems the list I was pointing at has gone missing. I'm sure you've all seen it from a million other sources. It's been forwarded to me as email too. Anyhoo, just some Monday morning Bush bashing. I still really hope Dean doesn't win New Hampshire. He's still the kind of candidate Bush wants to face. He'd have much more trouble beating Kerry in the long run, but sadly, Kerry isn't extreme enough to win a primary. Sad that. Ah well. Maybe the Brits will cheerfully remind us all what a deeply hated man Bush is, even by our allies.

My boy is famous for his Utilikilt among friends. Now he may be famous around the world. Check out the entry titled "They Work" starring Rick, Lisa, Megan, and Sara. And vote for it. Ballot stuffing is encouraged since this team got a late start in the contest and because $1000 will buy utilikilts for everyone on the team.

Hee hee! My new dress just arrived. It's a gorgeous blue. I can't wait to try it on tonight. No, I didn't bring the corset to work, though I should've. I think it may need to be taken in a smidge at the waist. We'll see. But it's mine. And it's a pretty blue. And it's here. And it's mine. Yay!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Okay, so the dress should be arriving tomorrow at the office. I'm debating whether or not to bring my corset to work so that I can try it on in the bathroom. Somehow that seems both like a good idea and very very wrong.

In other news, I finished my dress on Friday night thanks to Rachel, who heard my anguished pleas for 7/8 inch black velvet fabric ribbon and fetched some for me at Britex on Thursday on her way to work. She's working at ACT right now, on the very same street just a few blocks from Britex. God bless her. This was after some insane drama involving calling 9 Jo-Ann's Fabrics, 2 Hancock's Fabrics, Beverly Fabrics, Fabrics R Us, and visiting Michael's. There is no place in a 25 mile radius that has 7/8 inch black velvet fabric ribbon in stock. I was utterly astounded. Rachel called to offer me tickets to her show on Saturday and I said that I'd probably be in sewing hell that night, since I fully expected to have to drive to Britex on my way to the Cow Palace on Saturday morning, then pay stupid parking prices in Union Square, then sew bows on the skirt on Saturday night to get the costume approved on Sunday.

So, instead, I spent Friday night catching up on Tivo's recordings, trying to convince Nym that neither the ribbon nor the needle and thread were cat toys and that now was not a good time to camp in my lap and sewing bows. The bows on, I changed into my costume during the language workshop and then headed over for approval at 12:15. The approval lady didn't give me any grief, suggesting only that I might want to add a bit of holly to my hat. I may ignore that suggestion since I'm supposed to be in mourning and all. Everyone else I passed loved the dress. I had to stop for three people during the day to allow them to look at my dress. Athena does great work. By 2:45, I had everything signed off, my gate pass and parking permit in hand, and was officially ready for Dickens Fair. What's more, Bob managed to get costume approval as well with everything we've pulled together in the last couple of weeks. Saturday night, I tried to go to Will and Gabe's birthday party, but something went wrong there, so instead I headed on to Christyn's dessert party. Good chocolate was had. Good conversation was had. And a good back rub was much appreciated (Thank you Paul!!!). All in all, it was one of those evenings that makes you stand back and be really pleased with your life and your friends.

Today I finally got to work with Frederik and Elizabeth on the Renunciation scene. I feel like I know how that's going to work now as well. Now I just need to decide if I want to try to memorize a section of Stagecoach. I think I do. Memorizing the lines for the other scene went so easily that I think Stagecoach will also be nice to know. We'll see how this week goes.

I feel so much better about Dickens Fair this year than last year. Last year I was really sick of the workshops, sick of the gigs, sick of the bullshit. This year, I'm really happy to be there, really happy to help, and just happy in general. The new games Elizabeth is teaching are fantastic. Unfortunately, Fred is hitting the same wall I did last year, so he's a bit grumpy. Something about taking the same workshops (which amounts to listening to the same lectures) for four years in a row is making him a little batshit. Such is life. Still he's got a wonderful new person in his life (Malaya), and I think once fair starts he'll be fine.

I can't wait to see my new dress tomorrow. Yay!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I have poor impulse control.

I was looking for costume bits for Bob online, and happened to stumble across this dress. I've always wanted an 1880's style bustled dress. And there it was, for about what it would cost me to buy the materials, already sewn together and pretty and stuff.

I wrote to Athena, thinking she'd talk me out of it. Some help she is. She wrote back saying, "Well. I definitely think you should get it soon, so I can see it and decide if I want to get one myself. :)" Great. So I bought it. It's shipping now. Athena recommended getting the blue to match my eyes.

As if that wasn't bad enough, then I discovered Dress Diaries on LiveJournal. More specifically, I found a thread on Victorian boots. I'll have you know that I've spent 10 years searching for a new decent pair of Victorian boots. We've been stuck in platform hell for upwards of 6 years now and I'm so sick of it I could spit. All I want out of life are a cute pair of Mary Janes and a cute pair of Victorian Boots. So there they were, for $63 including shipping. The best price I'd found before was around $150. Well, it was just too much to resist. So I ordered them too. Yeah, that's right. Just before Christmas I spent around $270 on myself in one afternoon of online shopping.

I have very poor impulse control. And buyer's remorse. But my dress should be here soon (like maybe next Friday) and then I'll know if I did something really stupid, or just mildly deranged.

Monday, November 10, 2003

kfury: Good sewing day?
miss_emelia: yeah. almost there...
kfury: Heh. You said that and I checked your blog, thinking you'd posted an update.
miss_emelia: funny.
miss_emelia: see, it's still a theme in my life.

Athena and I think we'll finish the costume Wednesday evening. It's so close, but we ran out of 7/8 inch black velvet ribbon for the bows on the skirt and we still have to do one trial run in full corset and she's re-sewing the buttons because they didn't lay right the first time. Also, she's going to hem the bottom of the jacket. But we're so close! We showed it to Cyrus last night and got a major "Wow!" from him, which totally rocks. When guys who have no interest in costume or dance go Wow at your outfit, that's a good thing.

I also went to workshops Saturday. I'll likely finish my workshops and get signed off this weekend. On Saturday I ran through the scene with Fred. I was surprised at how well I knew my lines since I'd only really started working on memorizing them on Thursday. Now we just need to tap someone to direct who can give us some good blocking. But it's coming together. Almost there....

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Reading my email, I saw a link to this article about the biology behind physical attractiveness. Then I went and looked for a way to calculate my waist to hip ratio, which at my current weight means a 29 inch waist with 43 inch hips. This may explain why I'm often perceived as thinner than I actually am. My ratio is .67, which is lower than the ideal of .70. (I have a disproportionally large bubble butt, but that's okay.) Now the odd thing is that most American women have a much higher ratio - something on the order of .75 or higher. So bouncing around Google I find this article which ultimately explains why I never get to wear pants. People often wonder why I always wear skirts, and the ultimate reason is very very simple: pants don't fit me. Ever. Every now and then, I'm lucky enough to find some jeans that I only have to belt moderately, but usually I put on a pair of jeans or other pants and if they make it over my thighs and butt, then there's an extra dozen inches of fabric floating somewhere around my waist. It's ridiculous, unflattering, and uncomfortable. Skirts are far more forgiving.

Ultimately, I don't know what the heck it all means, other than I'm at a statistically lower risk for heart disease. And that the odds of my ever wearing pants on a regular basis is very very low.

Went to see The Matrix (with Google) last night. Sigh. Wish it was good. Liked the music though. Can't wait to try a polka set to the end credit music. It's a shame about the movie though.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The heat in my building is broken. I have a personal space heater since it's always freezing in here. So broken heater doesn't really bother me much.

Until the facilities guys come over and accidentally throw the wrong breaker and shut down my power without so much as a "Hey, we're going to be working on electrical. You might want to save your work."

Click. Gone. Now I honestly have no idea what I was in the middle of doing and what I'd actually finished. Time to go visit the gym now methinks. Random power outages are one thing. Random power outages caused by some guy being an idiot are another entirely. Mergle.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Had my last mellow weekend of the year. It was great. Halloween was a smashing success. Christmas caroling on Halloween is always the best because it is the only time of the year people are expecting to open their doors to strangers. And then giving them candy confuses them. And then telling them there's only 54 shopping days until Christmas is the perfect fright. It's just fun. It's also a great chance to make sure the Dickens costumes still fit and to inaugurate the Dickens season. Workshops start next weekend!

On Saturday, Rick headed out to Sacramento to film a Utilikilts commercial with the gang. I stayed in bed, dozing and reading. I finished my book, with book in one hand, cat in the other. There are few things better in this world than a lazy Saturday morning in bed with a good book and a cat curled up with you purring away.

Rachel, who was also single this weekend, called and we headed to Hobees for a late breakfast. I had their new Pruneyard Ommie - Turkey bacon, mushrooms, spinach, red onions, Swiss cheese and topped with Sundried Tomato pesto. It was scrumptious. Now I have an actual decision at breakfast - this or the Southwest Ommie. Things could be far far worse.

After breakfast, I headed home for some housekeeping. Cleaned up the place pretty thoroughly downstairs, and left the upstairs for Sunday. Rachel came back about 5 and we headed to Pleasanton for the Bal de Vampyre. It was then that I realized I felt very different from the past few weeks. I suddenly remembered the word "affordances" which I'd been trying to use when describing a UI problem to the software developer. Someone in the bathroom was wrestling with the faucet, which looked like it should twist to turn on, but actually is supposed to be pushed. I thought to myself, "Hmm. That's a product affordance problem." And like a lightening bolt I realized I had at least a good healthy chunk of my brain cells back in functioning order. Amazing what a little sleep will do for a girl.

So I enjoyed the ball, danced quite a bit and such, and then headed home for more of that good sleeping stuff. Slept til 11 on Sunday, and roused and did my homework, again with cat assistance. Then I played the white tornado upstairs, cleaning out the closet and the bedroom, doing laundry, repotting a plant, sanding some picture frames in preparation for painting. Basically, taking care of a bunch of stuff I'd wanted to for quite a while. Ran out to do a couple of errands and picked up a yummy chile verde burrito from Los Charros. For the second day in a row, I only ate once, but felt totally happy and satisfied. The three meals a day thing is overrated, as far as I'm concerned. Far better is the 8+ hours of sleep a day.

So now I'm back at work and expect to get far more done today than in recent history. Sleep - the wonder drug! Too bad I'll not get the chance to do this again until January. But maybe, just maybe, I'm ready. Well, ready, as soon as I memorize my lines.