Bloglet, the gentleman's mock turtle soup --
Moss made it sweeter than myrrh ash and dhoup

I'm a little sad that Montana didn't go for Obama, after the heroic efforts my family and friends back home have been making to bring the state around. But it was so damn close, I'm proud all the same. I'm not really able to put my feelings into words at the moment, so I'll just link to the eternally wise and eloquent Plaidder. _
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10:52:08 AM, Wednesday 5 November 2008

Commie-Pinko 2008 Yes We Can-Can Dance Your Ass Off Election Mix
(props to Ms. Nehring and Ms. Durham, from whose music collection the vast majority of this was lifted)

1. Maddy Prior - Padstow (I know it's not political, but K. requested it, and it sure does feel like Summer is a-coming today, after a long and lonely winter. And there is a "King George" reference.)
2. Leonard Cohen - Democracy
3. Billy Bragg - The Internationale (Don't worry; when I was whistling this coming home last night I covered my Obama button so no one could accuse him of palling around with me.)
4. West Side Story - America
5. Peggy Seeger - Not Going to Give it Back
6. Clancy Brothers - Streets of London (I know it's about London, but it applies heartbreakingly well to this country.)
7. Gaye Adegbalola - Lying Preacher Blues
8. Leslie Fish - The Press
9. Persuasions - The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
10. Avenue Q - For Now
11. Pointer Sisters - Yes We Can
12. Pete Seeger - How Can I Keep From Singing _
10:32:56 AM, Tuesday 4 November 2008

That was mellow but impressive. It took me longer to assemble my election day playlist than it did to actually vote. My early morning gig rescheduled to evening so everyone could vote (which was awesome of them), so I just came back from my polling place, a nursing home about three blocks from here, about five minutes ago. Usually when I vote there, there's a period of milling around the front desk 'til you can speak to the lady who tells you which table to go, a short line at the table 'til you sign the book and get pointed to a booth, and then no time at all to vote and take off. It was like that this time, but more so. There were double the number of poll workers, and they had developed a really good system of asking people for their last name or address while they were standing in line and then directing them to stand in one line or other. There was a bit more bustle today than there had been previously, but the new efficient system was more than equal to it. It actually took me less time overall to vote today than it has before. I was in and out before I knew what had hit me. Let's hope everyone's experience, if not as painless as mine, will ultimately be just as effective. _
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09:59:14 AM, Tuesday 4 November 2008

"Good morning, sir. Your horoscope advises a demonstration of courage in the face of adverse circumstances, sir."

Word, Stephen Fry alarm clock. Word. _
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08:05:52 AM, Tuesday 4 November 2008

K. just told me, "If you were a goat, that is exactly what you'd look like."

I choose to take it as a compliment. _
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10:21:51 PM, Sunday 2 November 2008

I'm suspending steno practice for a month and using that slot on my EverydaySystems Calendar for NaNo. I'll give myself a green if I wrote 1,667 words on a particular day, whether or not I'm on track in my wordcount. I'll give myself a yellow if I'm not behind in wordcount even if I didn't write 1,667 words on that day, and I'll give myself a red if I'm behind and I didn't write 1,667. I think that's sufficiently motivating without being draconian. I don't think I can change the name of the calendar without losing my data, though, so I've given the novel a rather unfortunate working title (Catch as Catch PFLAN) to make things tidy. It's pretty godawful, but then, the whole novel is designed to be pretty godawful, and that's just how I like it. The theme of the month is completion, at any cost. It's the most self-indulgent, derivative, formless, gormless mass of alternate universe monomania I can possibly conjure. And it's working; I got 2,185 done yesterday on the train alone. (Back and forth to the CCP and on the way to an All Soul's party in Brooklyn, though we were too tired to write on the way back.) 50,000 or bust! _
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05:01:09 PM, Sunday 2 November 2008

You know, that went remarkably well. Maybe I passed; maybe I didn't. But unquestionably I did much better on this one than on the last two. My hands still started shaking as soon as the test began, but I was able to keep from exacerbating it by not panicking and not allowing the shaking to translate into desperate, jerky movements. I had enough reserve speed that I didn't really fall behind; I think I made maybe one drop of three or four words but otherwise I kept up just fine. If I failed, it's because of stacking plus the drops plus some clumsy misstrokes. No dictionary problems to speak of. I didn't look at the screen, so I don't know how many those add up to, but I think I have a pretty good chance at this one. Even if I failed, I'm proud of not freaking out like I did the last two times, and I'm proud of having practiced every weekday (minus that one red day and those two yellow days) since July. I can seriously do this. If I have to do it again next time, that's fine. But I can seriously freaking do this. _
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02:13:10 PM, Saturday 1 November 2008

Today did not go as planned. My early morning class was canceled, so I was going to sleep in, then go to ASL class, get some Greenies for the cat, get my computer warranty (which was apparently the wrong one) and recovery discs (which were Vista rather than XP Pro) straightened out, pick up some groceries at the fancy grocery store near the computer store, then go home, cook dinner, and go out for a fabulous evening at the Dances of Vice Halloween Murder Mystery party from 8:00 to midnight, at which point I was going to go home and get a good night's rest for the CCP tomorrow.

Instead: my ASL teacher thought that the class was scheduled for next Friday. The pet store was out of Greenies. The computer store told me that the warranty is right, but since it doesn't work they'll wrangle with the warranty manufacturer and then call me back to tell me what's going on, and also that they don't give out XP recovery discs and I'll have to burn my own, then I realized that I had left my ID (which I needed for both dancing tonight and the test tomorrow) at Pratt, so I had to make a lengthy detour to go pick it up, which meant I didn't have time to go to the fancy grocery store, and then when I got home it was too late to cook dinner and be back in Brooklyn by 8:00. And then I noticed that my closet doorknob was broken and the door won't open. (And I really wanted to wear my I Know Regular Expressions shirt tomorrow, too! But the girl lent me her octopus shirt, so that's all right.) By the time we'd eaten, our options were either go out to Brooklyn, catch a fraction of the live music, and then come back after little more than an hour in time for me to get a good night's sleep or go out to Brooklyn, spend several hours there, and leave me a nervous sleep-deprived wreck in the morning. My girl was very sweet and understanding and said we should stay in after all, which makes me feel like a cad, since she was really looking forward to this and got her kickass white satin dress repaired specially for it and everything. Blargh. I just have to pass this @*&#$ test. I've been practicing nearly every weekday since June. This week alone, I've passed every practice test I've taken by healthy margins of error. (Yesterday's test, all about the glorious integrity and moral probity of Ted Stevens (not kidding) had about a dozen errors. I'm allowed 34.) But if my hands start shaking tomorrow, what can I do? Or if my software freezes up, like it's done three times this week? Or if my steno machine's key sticks and I don't notice because I'm not looking at the screen? Ugh. I just gotta go do it. That's all. _
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10:51:33 PM, Friday 31 October 2008

I just bruised my left boob while dancing to the surf rock version of the Tetris theme song. _
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11:35:20 PM, Thursday 30 October 2008

There is a cat butt in my face. The cat is not purring, though he has been tolerating my constantly petting him for about ten minutes. I just noticed that the cat is following the mouse cursor with his head. I wonder what he thinks it is, and whether I should be worried. _
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04:58:54 PM, Thursday 30 October 2008

So today during immunology, my steno output read as follows. See if you can spot the error:

"And when there is sufficient thyroid hormone in the plasma, you can now feedback into the hypothalamus to prevent further release of TSHRH. Okay, right? But here, regardless of the presence of Hp 5555 aaa55 aaaareded 555 s 151s 51 rsd everreddeddeddedded 5 u s 66 ap 575757 cap consist consist is 111-22-2100 it 61t532 e 21i retire you 212ededed s t6s"

I mashed the keys of my machine, trying to see if any were sticky. I unplugged and reinserted the connecting wires. Finally, I exited and restarted the program. And everything was just peachy again. Good thing I finally decided to cough up $600 for a year's worth of upgrades yesterday, huh? Maybe when I'm really rich I'll pay $300 so that I can keep one dongle plugged into my home computer and another one in my laptop bag so I don't have to be perpetually terrified that I'll forget the dongle when I pack for work one day and render my $4,000 software completely useless until I go back to retrieve it. Not that I could actually have two instances of Eclipse running on each computer at the same time, mind you. That would be piracy! (Hell, I can't even have two instances of Eclipse running on the same computer. Because allowing me to edit transcripts in one instance while allowing the other instance to be connected to the steno machine so I could be prepared to start writing at any moment is just too high tech for our tiny little stenog minds.) Oh yeah, and I have to make sure to register the $300 extra key online every three months, or it'll expire. Because there's nothing court reporters like doing more than trolling the 1337 torrentz for k-rad warez.

I've been reading a lot about DRM lately, on Twenty Sided, in Content, even on Penny Arcade. Y'all got it easy, suckers. I need to hire a Python tutor post freaking haste. This SH-EUT is R-EULGS. _
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08:21:10 PM, Friday 24 October 2008

Meme from 'B:

"When you see this message, comment with a song lyric that typifies how you feel right now. Revel in the immediacy of life and the emotion of music, then pass this meme on--with a lyric."

Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
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10:34:28 PM, Thursday 23 October 2008

I'm trying to remember the name of a beloved song from childhood. The only line I can remember is:

"I can crack an egg so the yolk stays whole.
Well, I almost can.
It's almost whole."

Ring a bell for anyone? _
05:56:30 PM, Thursday 23 October 2008

So I almost got my phone stolen last night. I was walking to the subway in Brooklyn and was about 20 feet away from the entrance when a tall, skinny teenager walks up to me and says, "Do you have the time?" I reach into my pocket for my phone, and when I take it out to tell him the time, he snatches it out of my hand and walks to the end of the block to join three other kids who are just standing there. I blink a couple times, turn around to look at them, and say, "That thing is three years old and beat all to hell. You're not gonna get anything for it." The kid and his friends keep standing there. "Seriously," I say "No one's gonna want it except me. Come on, give it back." Some other kid comes up to me from the other direction. I don't know if he knows the four guys or what, but he's around the same age. "They stole your phone?" "Yeah. It's really annoying. Beat-up, cheap-ass phone, but it's got all my numbers in it." He eyes me. "You a New York girl?" "Yeah." "Hold on." He goes over and says something to the boys. Then he comes back and hands me the phone, the battery, and the battery cover. "It's all there," he says. "Thanks!" I tell him, stuff the mess in my pocket, and head into the subway. I put everything back together, and it works fine. Weird experience, but if you don't count that one time the crazy guy in the elevator started shouting violent threats at me and my girlfriend, it's the closest thing to a crime that's happened to me in over four years of living in this city. _
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04:49:14 PM, Thursday 23 October 2008

I sent off the blogswaps and cookies yesterday, but because I got caught up in a blind frenzy of envelope adhesive strip removal when putting the packages together I realized only when it was too late that not only did I not include personal little notes to each person (which I had totally been planning to do), but I also neglected to label one of the CDs, and since I wrote the addresses on only after all the envelopes were sealed up, I have no idea whose wound up blank. So before listening to my CD, take note: it's pretty disturbing. I broke a lot of my blogswap rules with this one. I put on several songs from other people's previous blogswaps, I used the same artist more than once, and it's a bit shorter than I usually make 'em. It's a Halloween mix, and kind of a raw one. All the songs are about killing, in one form or another. Basically, I was thinking to myself that Randy Newman's "In Germany Before the War" is possibly the best song he ever wrote, and I wanted to distribute it so other people could share in its creepy, creepy excellence, but it's just not the sort of song you can put on your ordinary benign miscellany mix. It would taint whatever I put it near, unless I put it with its own kind. Then I thought of Michael Longcor's "Monster in My Head" and the Violent Femmes's "Country Death Song"; equally brilliant, equally gruesome. Well, there was nothing for it. It is October, after all. So basically: just don't listen to my mix CD unless you want to get all horripilated in the house. _
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01:12:19 PM, Thursday 23 October 2008

Meh. I am annoyed, because my new steno machine, which I was originally told would arrive at the end of September (I ordered it September 9th), is now apparently going to arrive in the first week of November. But the CCP is on November 1st. And my stacking problems continue to get worse and worse. The other factor is this: when I look at the screen, I'm tempted to reflexively correct every error I see, which frequently means that I get stuck and fall behind -- fatal on a timed test. When I look away from the screen, I can usually tell when my fingers have misstroked, but I just put in the corresponding number of correction strokes and keep going; looking at the screen, even when I'm writing perfectly, slows me down and makes me tenser than looking away. In recent practice sessions I've noticed that I'll get the first three minutes absolutely word perfect, and then make one minor mistake (I'm allowed 34 for the whole five minutes); but rather than recovering from it and moving on, it'll frazzle me into making another mistake, and those two mistakes will upset my cool even more, and it'll cascade from there. So I had determined to look away from the screen during the test. The problem is that my current beat-up old steno machine has a sticky Z key, and maybe one out of every 20 times I hit it, it will refuse to come back to center, which means that all subsequent strokes will be ignored until I click the Z key again and unstick the spring. If that happens during the test and I don't notice because I'm looking away from the screen, I could write the entire thing flawlessly and not realize until the end that everything I wrote was disregarded. Pretty damn frustrating. All right, I'll stop whining now. _
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01:12:32 PM, Monday 20 October 2008

The blogswaps are burned, but not yet labeled. The cookie ingredients are acquired, but not yet baked. The workspace is cleared of trash, but not yet organized. The invoices are... yeah. Ugh, invoices. The laundry is done, but not yet folded. The laundry will never be folded. Next: dishes. I'm good at dishes. _
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10:35:49 PM, Saturday 18 October 2008

Via K.:

Rosanne Cash is freaking hilarious. _
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10:00:09 PM, Saturday 18 October 2008

Five years gone from my last palindromic birthday, I still love my tattoo:

(photo by K.) _
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08:23:40 PM, Friday 17 October 2008

I always feel like such a fraud when I tell a client "I was out of my office all day yesterday." But saying "I was out of my office, and by office I mean 'rubbish-strewn corner of my living room/kitchen demarcated by a fire door, a futon, my girlfriend's old Ikea desk, and a rolly chair with half its back ripped off'" probably wouldn't win me any points for honesty. _
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03:14:14 PM, Friday 17 October 2008

Mirabai Knight

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