bloodyrosemccoy: (Logic Fail)
Sometimes, while we're waiting for the next presentation, my coworkers and I wind up fielding questions about downtown Salt Lake City. Got a baffling one today.

GUY: Hey, I have a question for you! My family is in town for one day, and everyone tells me that we have to see Temple Square! What's that?

pause while my coworker and I exchange puzzled glances

COWORKER: You want to know where it is?

GUY: Well, yes. But also, WHAT is it?

ME: It's ... well, it's the Mormon Temple.

COWORKER: The LDS Temple. There are beautiful gardens ...

ME: Make darn sure you don't walk on the grass!

COWORKER: ... visitor centers ...

ME: I should add that you really aren't allowed to go inside the actual temple.

GUY: *with dawning confusion* MORMONS? It's all about MORMONS?

another pause

ME: This is Salt Lake City. So, yes.

The guy was not so sure about this, so my coworker and I gave him some other options. He settled on the Natural History Museum and Red Butte Botanical Garden,* which are right next to each other and quite lovely, with a far different feel than the Temple. More of the cool natural history, and the pre-frontier human history, than Temple Square, which I like better. (Though Mormon history is, uh, interesting.)

But that still left us with the question.

COWRKER: He ... he hadn't heard of the Temple. And he came to Salt Lake.

ME: Has he even HEARD of Utah before?

I mean, I know that we're not eactly as iconic as, say the landmarks of New York City, but by god, Mormons are pretty much the only thing anyone outside of Utah knows ABOUT Utah. That was the first question I got asked ANY time I said I was from Utah when I was anywhere else in the US--"Are you a ... MORMON?" I was going to make T-shirts. To have someone who doesn't know the most iconic thing about Utah is just ... bizarre.


*I also recommended the Museum of Look At These Fucking Dinosaurs, which is AWESOME, but he was not willing to go that far.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Optimus)
Y'all might think we Salt Lakers are weird, but we ain't got NOTHING on our slightly-to-the-south neighbor Provo and its BYU Bubble.* Sure, here in SLC we do get Disapproving Mormons who will frown at your immodest tank top, and a lot of them do insist that the onus is on the woman to keep men from thinking Impure Thoughts,** but the concern troll notes aren't quite such a big deal.

I shouldn't have read the comments, though. Highlights include:

-The original author of the post going "Dude, I wrote this like FIVE MONTHS AGO, what is even happening"
-A lot of helpful comments along the lines of "But my dear that is a VERY IMMODEST SHIRT do you want the boys to THINK ILL OF YOU?" when it's like an ordinary T-shirt.***
-Creeps, creeping on her
-My absolute favorite in terms of wrongness, in which a lady sanctimoniously declares that "my innocent 10-year-old son told me that the layers shirt I was lounging around the house in was making him uncomfortable; did I bite his head off about being a pervert or shame him into leaving the room? No; I changed my shirt because I love him and I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable" like that makes her really nice and considerate when all I can think is, How the HELL did this 10-year-old boy become an obsessive prude? and suddenly the whole anecdote gets really creepy.

God, I live in a weird neighborhood. At least I'm just on the outskirts.


*A lot of great artists and authors go/went to Brigham Young University, and while a lot of them are cool, somehow I can always tell just by the art and writing whether it's a BYU person. There's some intangible flavor there that's tough to explain to outsiders.

**Were I a dude, I would frankly be insulted by the constant implication that I was completely incapable of restraining myself around women I found attractive. The argument that they are helpless victims of women's wiles has always baffled me for that reason.

***Not that even smaller shirts would be worthy of notes like that, but it does go to show how hypersensitive people can get about things like this.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Elsa Lets It Go)
I went to one actual Olympic event when they were here in Salt Lake. I don't even remember what it was specifically. I think it was the Men's Longass Ski Trek. It was surprisingly unmemorable. All I really recall was that it was chilly, one guy seemed to be having a ski malfunction, the audience had enough cowbells to make Christopher Walken question his commitment, and that later they had to take away the medalist's medal because he was using a hack, or whatever it is Olympic gamers use to cheat.

It was tough to avoid Olympic Fever when you could see the Olympic torch from your house, though. My aunt got totally into it and wound up going to all sorts of events.* It was all anyone in school talked about--scandals like the obligatory figure skating judge debacle and That One Time Mitt Romney Almost Committed Political Suicide By Saying The H-Word were big news. Everyone simply had to get these really strange fleece berets because the Canadian American okay that makes more sense team had worn them and I thought it was ridiculous, but somehow we each wound up with one. I suspect my aunt.** I for one obsessively read Dave Barry's daily writeups on them because god help me Dave Barry is hilarious.

One night my brother and Dad went downtown to try to get into the Women's Short Track. (You know, as spectators.) They hunted around for the scalpers who had been everywhere for days, but after like an hour and a half couldn't find anyone willing to sell them absurdly-priced tickets. Just as they were returning to the bus stop a Mysterious Dude appeared and bestowed upon them two tickets for super cheap. They sat in the section with a bunch of people who had just scored tickets and were feeling pretty good about themselves, and a bunch more people from the Netherlands who were feeling pretty good about themselves and about how Utah had relaxed its alcohol laws and about life in general, and watched Chris Witty win the gold.

My brother also got to see the medal ceremony for curling. His school had the tickets. Each of the area schools had been given tickets to specific events, and that was the year the three of us were divided between elementary, junior high, and high school. My sister's elementary got the closing ceremony tickets.

And my high school? Well, I say I only went to one official Olympic event. The other event was the Paralympic opening ceremonies.

The nice thing about the Paralympics is that the parade of nations is way shorter, so you can get down to business more quickly. We were sitting in the section where the Finnish and the Spanish athletes were, and as the music played we danced in the aisles with them. I liked watching the Jumbotron's ASL translators. And I have a very strong memory of one funny little thing. We were all given little penlights to shine to make the stadium look cool. They were white, but I also had a green one of my own with me at the time. I looked across the stadium and amidst the sea of white lights I saw another green one. So I flickered my green one and the other person flickered theirs back and we had a little moment of green-penlight-solidarity. Hi, green light person, whoever you were. I remember you.

It was a surreal couple of weeks. And it all comes back to me every time another Winter Olympics comes on. I still question the wisdom of having them here, but as long as they did happen here, it made for some interesting memories.


Fun Fact: Given that we had some freshly-minted Post-9-11 Paranoia, this was a really paranoid games. We had a running joke about security guys hiding in every bush and trash can, and there were metal detectors everywhere. The detectors became a problem because everyone had bought collectible and useful Olympic pins, and it hadn't occurred to anyone until too late that the pins were, you know, made of metal.


*She even managed to get into the figure skating, and I'm still not sure how. Nobody could get into the figure skating events. The tickets were insanely expensive and got bought up right away, and then the scalpers made them even more insanely expensive.

**I just recently threw mine out on account of it had fallen to the floor of my closet and was irreparably stanked up in the latest plumbing disaster. It's okay. I still have my "Hablo Español" pin, a snowglobe, and for some reason an Olympics-themed cast-iron skillet.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Beastly)
Reading reports from various friends about the SNOWPOCALYPSE when it is chilly but relentlessly sunny outside. Total cognitive dissonance.

I could do without this smog, though. Dear Utah, can we fix that?

Utah?

Dec. 20th, 2013 08:13 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Change)
Hey, weird. For once Utah's actually being kind of awesome! Way to go, Utah!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Logic Fail)
The one thing I took away from that Miss Utah business was that it's ludicrous to expect ANYONE to be able to provide a satisfactory answer to a multifaceted, yet bizarrely vague, question addressing a large social issue in the 12-second time frame allotted. I would have stood there aghast and finally said something like "How the hell am I supposed to answer THAT? World peace. Fuck you all" and stomped offstage.

One of the several reasons I am not Miss Utah, I guess.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Snape Teaches)
So here at the office, we get calls from a lot of outlying places where there are not a whole lot of neurosurgeons. You know, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and of course folks from all over Utah. My question is, why is it only the Vernal people who feel the burning need to tell you where they are? It's always "MY NAME IS LURLENE LAMPJAW AND I'M CALLING FROM VERNAL!!!" And yet you never get the people from St. George hollering "THIS IS BOB BOXBODY CALLING FROM ST. GEORGE!!" It's only the Vernal folk.

Also, the Vernal people seem a bit unclear on how telephones work. I know you're 175 miles away from the major metropolitan center,* but you don't need to yell. The magic smoke carries your voice to my ear pretty clearly. It's not like you're lighting the beacons of Gondor here. Our witchcraft is far more advanced than that.


*Salt Lake City, where the party doesn't stop until 8:30 pm!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
Mom and I went to see Phil Plait give a guest lecture at the planetarium this evening!*

His topic was asteroids, since, you know, they keep trying to slam into us, and that is unsafe. He's an entertaining lecturer. His critiques on Deep Impact vs Armageddon always make me happy. And then he passed out a big chunk of iron meteor for us to take a look at, which was awfully brave of him.

The Q&A was brief--blessedly so, because Utah audiences are ASSHOLES. The first dude was a wise guy who as far as I could tell was trying to wedge in a plug for Budweiser. The second guy got hold of the microphone and immediately went stark raving Time Cube Guy:

GUY: My question is about how important it is that everyone read my website.
PLAIT: Uh huh ... ?
GUY: For example, homeopathy. It's a thing. You address it, and I have problems with something about the way you do. Have a tortured metaphor about Big Gulps! There are people being KILLED!
PLAIT: Um ...
GUY: Also, I don't want to be offensive, but let's start dissing Mormons!
AUDIENCE: DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION, DUDE?
PLAIT: *recovering* These are complex issues that I can't address in such a short time frame and thank you for coming good-bye ...
GUY: WHARRGARBL
PLANETARIUM DIRECTOR: Phil Plait, everyone! Now get the hell out of this theater, there's a movie showing in fifteen minutes.

At that point the audience burst into Crazy Guy Drowning Applause, and I dashed down to the front to act as a diversion. I had a legitimate reason--since I was in the very last seat in the nosebleed section, I was now Keeper Of The Meteor. So I jumped on the dais, handed it back to him ("Here's your meteor! It smells like money now!" "I know, right? Weird, huh?"), then went out to wait for him to sign my book.

It is funny to meet and chat with someone with whom you have a celebrity relationship. After all, you feel you know that person quite well, since you read their blog and books and things. It's easy to forget that they are unaware of you. You're all like HI PALBERT LET US GO OUT FOR BURGERS AND THEN WATCH MST3K LIKE WE ALWAYS DO IN MY HEAD and they're thinking, Damn I wonder how long till I can go to bed. I hope Wharrgarbl Guy doesn't corner me again. Next!

So instead of launching into a discussion of GAMMA RAY BURSTS AMIRITE BUDDY? I just asked him what the correct pronunciation of "Pleiades" is and a quick question about a moon for one of my stories.

He did like that my name was Amelia, though. I forgot that there's an Amelia in Doctor Who. No matter how awkward the setting, man, nerds can always bond.


*Once we had straightened out that the Bad Astronomer is not, in fact, a bad astronomer and would be quite fun to listen to.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Relaxin')
I love watching the pattern of snowmelt on the mountains. It tells you a lot about climate patterns. The lower slopes' south faces usually melt off first, so you get this sharp delineation where one side of the slope is brown and the other is still white. Then the north slopes start to melt off, too. But both of these only go up to the snow line, and above that the mountain is still completely covered. That takes longer to start coming down. And even when the peaks make it out from behind all that snow, you still get a couple of wet days where everything over about 5800 feet briefly turns a rather transient white again.

I also like to keep track of the couple of glaciers on our mountain that can even last into midsummer if it's a cooler year.

It's fun living in a panorama!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Walken)
I realize that folks in warmer climes don't insulate their homes or own cold-weather gear, and comparing climates is a pointless pissing contest, but on the other hand HAHAHAHAHAHA wimps.


My sister moved to California because they are her people.

For the record, the high in Salt Lake today is 13*F. ([livejournal.com profile] nobleplatypus, who showed me the vid, says it's 8* where she's at.) I had to wade ass-deep through snowbanks to get to the neighbor lady's to feed her cat. Wearing nothing but a loincloth and some barbed wire on my feet for traction. And I was constantly punching myself in the face to keep warm.

What I'm sayin' is, you Californians want cold? Come on up here. Don't drive, though. It's really slippery.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Death)
Gather 'round, all you internet people and listen up, because Professor Amelia needs a hand with some research.

Specifically, I'm wondering about a particular trait of That Mom.

I'm sure quite a few of you, back in childhood or now with parenthood, have had to contend with That Mom. You know, the one who thinks all downtime is wasted time, who serves on every possible church, school, and neighborhood committee, and who still organizes and closely supervises playdates for her 16-year-old son.* THAT That Mom.

Here's my question: when she would inevitably take it upon herself to Organize the trick-or-treating among you and your friends so that it would be safe and healthy and razor-free and boring as shit, was the mall ever an option? Did anyone ever brightly suggest, without a hint of irony, that the mall was hosting trick-or-treating and that it would be a GREAT way to spend Halloween? Or did they just try to convince you to stick with a safe well-lit party, like any sane zealously overprotective parent afraid of poison candy?**

I always thought the mall option was a standard lame option, but my friend from Boston said she'd never heard of such a thing until moving here. (She had also never heard of doing trick-or-treating only within one's own ward, but I can believe that because yeah, that is pretty much a Utah thing.) So my question for all you non-Utahns out there is: WAS that an option? Did the That Moms of the world all leap at the chance to have a nice well-lit Halloween? Or was that just a Utah variation of That Mom?

And if there weren't any mall options, were there, god forbid, OTHER lameass possibilities that they suggested instead? Because if there's one thing That Mom knows, it's that lame is the best way to do things. Much safer that way.


*And actually uses the term "playdate."

**Fun Fact: The only actual, documented case of poisoned Halloween candy is from 1974, when 8-year-old Timothy O'Bryan died after eating Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. The culprit was not some random happy-go-murderer, however--it was his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, who had just taken out a life insurance policy on little Timmy.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Calvin And Uncle Joker)
Oh, Utah.

I really wish I’d kept the pamphlets we got in eighth grade sex ed. The cover alone was priceless: it was a closeup of the fly of a pair of jeans. A giant chain ran through the belt loops, and right in front of the zipper it was secured by a GIANT PADLOCK. It’s a good thing my mom was the kind of crazy hippie who felt that it’s totally fine for kids to know about how bodies work,* because I’d never have learned it from school.

Well, I say good luck, Utah, in your quest to let hormone-crazed adolescents learn about sex from their parents, unless their parents are as squeamish as the politicians they vote for, in which case the teenagers will learn about it from those completely reliable sources of TV, magazines, the internet, and each other. Let me know how that works out for ya.


*We never had a big formal The Sex Talk. Mom mostly answered our questions when they came up. Interestingly, while I remember her explaining things from the time I was three, so from then on I could explain mechanics of acquiring a little sister, I distinctly recall that it was much later—at maybe age nine—that it actually sank in how the sperm got into the vagina. My brain had glossed over it before that. And I remember it clearly because suddenly, whole new aspects of the culture were now opened up to me. I still can recall the first time I understood that two sitcom characters were joking about THE SEX. Yes, I was kind of slow on the uptake in some respects. Still am.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Sweet Moves)
What I Learned Since The Spring Equinox

- Komodo dragons have a hunting strategy so creepy I now check my closet for them every night.
- Brandon Sanderson is a damn fine fantasy author.
- Tales from the Crypt was on HBO, making it a lot more TV-MA than I ever expected it to be. It’s still incredibly cheesy, though.
- One way to get that stonewashed jeans look is to unleash the cellulose-dissolving fungus Trichoderma. Jeans: pre-molded for your convenience!
- Above gateways in castles it was common to have a watchtower with a hole looking down upon people entering—where one could drop rocks or boiling oil on undesirables. This was called a MURDER HOLE.
- Snails and slugs are DEMON SPAWN FROM HELL WHO WILL EAT ALL YOUR BEANLINGS. They are one of the few members of the animal kingdom I cannot love anyway, so this is no surprise.
- The USDA divides US climates into numbered garden hardiness zones, with lower numbers equalling harsher growing conditions. It does not work quite as well in the western US as in the east, though. However, Salt Lake City is roughly Zone 6.
- DeviantART twits ship Kel/Joren. OH GOD WHY.
- Dad does not like heights.
- Raccoons can have 3-6 kits in a litter. In your attic.
- The Four Corners region’s desert status is even more recent than I realized—at the tail end of the ice age, it was a lot more temperate and its woodlands probably even reached above your waist.
- Sometimes the things you think are your job actually get you into trouble with your boss.
- Total Recall is an awesome movie. WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME?*
- For that matter, so is Invasion of the Body Snatchers—both the 1956 and 1978 versions.
- The Great Basin is a subset of the Basin and Range region of the US. I was never really clear on the difference.
- The pygmy hog’s piglets fit in your palm and are the most adorable things short of baby golden moles.
- William Gibson’s early, non-awful treatment of Alien3 is available online. It is still not as awesome as the version in my head, because nothing could be, but at least it’s got adventures and Hicks and Bishop and Newt!
- On a similar note, James Cameron’s Avatar would have greatly benefitted from the hour of deleted and only-partially-animated scenes on the Extra Super Bonus DVD. I’m not saying that would’ve made it a great movie, but it would’ve been a better movie. You get more Norm! And more Max! How is that bad?
- Most people do not find a cut and size of jeans that work for them, then just keep buying that style over and over so they don’t have to bother trying them on. Weirdos.
- Sometimes you find yourself running a bed and breakfast purely by accident. Anybody else want to touch the llama?


*I showed it to my sister, whose response was “Oh, my god, why have I not been watching this every day since high school?”
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
Alas, my brother’s visit was too short all around. I wanted more time to hang out and chat with himm. I know he wants to move back out this way at some point—I am just hoping it’ll be soon, since we both suck at telephones and IM. I keep trying to convince him to get an LJ, but that’ll never happen.

---

The biggest thing we did this week was take his girlfriend down to Moab, largely because it was an excuse to go to Moab. It’s always different down there—this time it was a bit cooler and rainier, like everything in the world right now, and the Colorado was flooded. Also, tragically, the bookstore that sells books you’d actually want to read went out of business, leaving the rest of its merchandise to be assimilated by the pretentious desert bookstore it had merged with last year.

ME: Hey, dude! You should totally get The Way of Kings! Look, it’s right here, and I believe it is exactly your type of thing.

MY BROTHER: Good god, I am not buying that monstrosity here! Do you want me to have to check a whole new piece of luggage?

(I wander over to a display where a tender picture book entitled Go The Fuck To Sleep sits cheerfully mocking anyone who thinks loving one’s kids means never being exasperated by them)

ME: Hey, I heard about this book on the radio! Is it any good?

BOOK STORE LADY: If you have a sense of humor.

ME: That was the conclusion of the radio people, too.

---

ME: This condo is a bit overfurnished. How am I supposed to get anywhere with all these chairs and coffee tables everywhere? Should I just parkour my way to my teacup over there?

MY SISTER: YES, YOU SHOULD.

MY BROTHER: PARKOUR, MOTHERFUCKER!


Somehow this became the running (har) gag of the trip, since we all find parkour to be a punchline in and of itself. Need to get out of the back seat of the car? Parkour! Need to get your windstolen hat out of a canyon? Parkour on down! Condo pool locked? Parkour! Hear about another Batman ally? Parkour, motherfucker!

---

I spent a lot of time editing. The OGYAFE is coming together, and I’m in that wonderful stage where it all looks GREAT. I’ve started to think I should’ve written it first, since Doctors! is not really marketable for a first novel, but hey, after I get the OGYAFE sold it might be easier to sell the crazy one about alien medical drama.

---

Meanwhile, while we were all hiking around the desert checking out breathtaking natural rock formations, my seeds sprouted! The corn and squash and beans are looking good, and the nasturtiums always make me happy. I am especially amused that I found the spot where I dropped my packet of marigold seeds. I’ll have to buy some started tomatoes, and once that happens I am going to have an awesome garden this summer. Unless it snows.

---

The last thing we did with brother and his girlfriend was go see the Green Lantern. And we were baffled. How do you take a story about superheroing and aliens, one where the hero can construct any goddamn awesome evil-battling thing he can think of, and make it completely boring? You would think it would be a visual extravaganza. My sister and I are starting to suspect that the writers had no idea they were writing an action movie. They seemed to think it was a pilot for a low-budget sitcom with a sci-fi premise.

Also, I have to admit, I am getting just a little sick of having completely useless women in these fucking superhero films. I am at the point where I’d rather have NO female lead than have a female lead whose only purpose is to be the love interest and offer vague advice about how Mr. Hero has to feel his feelings and commit to responsibility and other such psychobabbly bullshit. C’mon, you even decided to put Amanda Freaking Waller in the movie and there was still no sign of a formidable female. I am half-suspecting that a great sequel twist would be finding out that this "Amanda Waller" is in fact a pod person.*

At least the "green" part meant they scrapped the dreaded Teal And Orange Filter. Small favors there.

---

Anyway. That’s the week in highlights. Anything interesting happen to you guys while I was off gallivanting?


*Obviously, that will be the B-plot, since the credits set up the sequel's A-plot already. Even though this movie stinks, I will still be courteous and not spoil it for those of you who are a) not aware of the Green Lantern canon already and b) absolute dumbfuck morons who can't see exactly who the sequel villain is going to be by about five minutes into the film (he has never been particularly subtly rendered). Although to be fair, if you're like me you were waiting for him to be the villain in this film, if it had ever gotten its shit together.

Minis!

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:05 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Relaxin')
The vegetable garden has met with the approval of Fern, the official Supervisor of the Outsides. She was suspicious at first, as she always is when she catches me in the Outsides, but after keeping a close eye on me for a while she demonstrated her acceptance of the new patch of dirt by rolling around in it, then sitting herself down firmly next to the starter plants waiting to be transferred. I think that’s a good thing.

It would seem that the demon that possesses me in art supply stores has a twin in the garden store. I planted the bought-in-a-fit-of-madness seeds today, and if autumn tarries I will have more pretty vegetables than I know what to do with. I mean, for god’s sake—RAINBOW CORN. How can you turn down goddamn RAINBOW CORN?

Answer: you can’t. I planted some today. Let’s hope this year’s autumn lasts as long as its winter did.

---

I have started using junior readers as conlang translation exercises. I have extremely strong opinions about junior reader books, namely that most of them stink. (A plague upon you, Dick and Jane! Plague, plague, plague. And don’t get me started on the madness that is Dr. Seuss.)

However, you can still find some good ones that actually tell a story, instead of just talking down to kids in the name of reading. Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy is damn cute but is a bit difficult to translate to an alien language, since she likes to toss in French words, and it's not easy to get across that French = fancy. Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books are excellent, though, and honest-to-god make me laugh. And right now I’m loving Dav Pilkey’s Dragon books. I still need to translate a few concepts, but they do help solidify some of the core grammar and vocabulary.

---

Speaking of dragons, I have begun fleshing out dragons for the OGYAFE. There are many approaches to dragonbuilding, but I have decided on one that surprises no one: realism. My mantra shall be WWDAD?—What Would David Attenborough Do? It seems to be working.

---

Book Club has assigned another brick to read: Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. I hadn’t read Sanderson before, but I was already sick of him: he’s a Utah author, and therefore every self-important Utah fantasy nerd feels compelled to share stories proving that Brandon Sanderson is their Close Personal Super Best Friend.*

So imagine my chagrin when I started this book and discovered that it is AWESOME. God damn you, Brandon Sanderson! God damn you and your excellent, toady-attracting writing skills! You are making it very difficult for me to dislike you for something that is out of your hands!

---

Mom’s friend has been our houseguest for a few weeks, on account of her home life suddenly becoming extremely awkward. I haven't mentioned it because I never know how much of it is my story to tell, nor whether it will turn legally awkward if I blurt stuff out, but I must say it has been an interesting experience. It is a little unsettling to hear her talk about how awesome we all are. As Mom says, we seem to be the ones people turn to in times of crisis, like we project steadiness. We find this absolutely hilarious.


*No, I’m not exaggerating: One club meeting consisted entirely of a pissing contest between two members about who had exchanged more emails with him.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
So apparently we have decided to skip spring this year and switch from winter to summer pretty much overnight. It’s kind of awesome to have 76-degree weather and snow at the same time, but this does mean that we’re gonna get a lot of snowmelt really fast and the canyons may flood.

Photobucket

But it sure looks cool.

---

Mom and I went to the quilt show last Saturday. We are obviously drawn to the same sorts of bright colors:

Photobucket
Alas that the lighting isn’t better here. It was equally wrong with and without flash.

Photobucket
It was tough to get good angles on these things, too, since people kept jostling around. This was the best I could do.

God help us if someone makes us a Lisa Frank quilt. We may not stop at pictures, and just steal the whole dang thing..

---

Oh, sure, the say they’re just two friends enjoying sodas together, but I am beginning to suspect that Daja fancies Kuen a little.

Photobucket

Okay, actually I set them up this way because it’s impossible to make a doll without knee joints look less than silly when they sit on chairs. I was surprised at how nice this looks.

---

My sister and I managed to convince each other to watch different versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The 1978 version of the movie is hugely entertaining for its hideous fashions (plaid tweed and turtleneck sweaters!), its attempt to oversell that THIS IS A HORROR MOVIE, DAMMIT,* and its giving you the sense that you're watching an entire cast of people with short-term memory loss. Every time they run into someone they haven’t seen for a while, they forget to check to see if they’re dealing with a fresh pod person or not. And Donald Sutherland just can’t let go of the idea that the police are his friends.

Also, I know it doesn’t makea sense and the 78 version is a remake, but I like the idea that Kevin McCarthy spent 22 years running through the streets yelling “THEY’RE HERE!” at passing vehicles.

---

I am always stunned when someone tells me they have never seen Donald in MathMagic Land. I thought it was required for substitute teachers to show this video to keep the kids from overthrowing the administration. Which was just fine with me, since it always fascinated my nerdly little mind.



Yup. Still awesome. And still clinging to that 50’s We Can Do Anything WITH SCIENCE attitude at the end there. I wish there were more of that around.

---

Got The Farm all planted out on the deck—finally. The seedlings were ready for their big kid beds. I’m not sure the thyme is really thrilled with the transplant, though. I may have to replant it, but I’ll see how it does first.

I was excited to see my carrots and beets actually sprout this year, though. I’ll let you know how they do!


*The soundtrack tried way too hard, but Ben Burtt's use of ultrasound noises was inspired, as is most of what Ben Burtt does. Fit in with the whole fetal motif of the podbabies.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
Hey, guys, another interview meme! Meant to jump start me back into life and writing and stuff!

You can comment and I might give you questions, although given my track record with that it may be a while or never before I actually do. Uh, sorry about that. I am trying …

Anyway! [livejournal.com profile] beccastareyes asked me some questions!

1. I don't remember if I've asked this before, but why did you go to Africa?

Short answer: because I was studying Swahili.

Longer answer: lots of reasons. I have always been an anthropology nerd, and so I really wanted to take a look at any place that was not familiar to me—I wanted to get some perspective on human culture, mine and others’. Plus, it would be an adventure.*

I could really have gone anywhere, but I had picked up a book on Kiswahili a few years earlier, and in doing so I learned a bit about the history and culture of the Swahili people. It was fascinating enough that it seemed like a cool place to start.

2. Favorite conlang or conculture project. Or just rambling on whether you can separate the two, or if conlanging is an aspect of conculturing.

I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED. HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE?

I’ve got a few right now:

Unicorn Riders! )

Big Fluffy Aliens! )

Third, I’m working on the OGYAFEland cultures. On the one side you get the humans of the kingdom Polara, whose society I hope is believable and unique from any cultures here in our world (not to mention the annals of fantasy). On the other you get the sprites, who are shamelessly utopian, because god dammit I don’t care if it’s not fashionable, I am the writer and I get to make a world where things went right.

Highlights from the human side of things are a sense of style like the bastard child of French Renaissance and Streamline Moderne, verb phrase place names (“Roses Climbing”; “Sparks Fall on the Mountain”; “Lion’s Roar Drowning”), a casual animistic belief system with cultural heroes but no gods, a lunisolar calendar, interjections like “Skulls and Shrooms!”, a complex gender spectrum based on beliefs about blood, magic as a high-education trade like medicine or law, and patchwork pants. On the sprite side, you get energy efficience, love of the arts, large cities twined with woodland and meadows, no school, and, naturally, socialism.

3. Is Tamora Pierce worth reading as a grown-up? I read three of the Alanna books as a kid, but it was near the end of my 'sneak into the kids books to grab things' phase. Now, of course, there's Amazon and used books.

YES. (As mentioned on her blog, neither of us is ashamed of the kids’ section—I never was, and she got over it. I truly believe that some of the best writing can be found in juvie and YA sections.)

4. What's the best thing about living in Utah? Given I've spent all of a couple of hours there, enlighten me.

That you can forget about your laundry and leave it in the washing machine overnight and it won’t grow mildew.

Okay, real answer: How orange it is! In Salt Lake you theoretically get all four seasons, which means a lovely bit of variety, but I especially like the aspens and scrubby oaks turning colors in the fall. They make a lovely swishy noise when the wind blows through them, and the air smells GREAT, all crisp and dry and a little bit like leaf and dirt.

Dig:
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And in the south, there’s the orange of red rock, in strange and wonderful buttes and arches and basins. It also smells great there—a soporific combination of sun, iron, and sage.

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You can almost smell it now!

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Oh, and there were dinosaurs.

5. Your LJ says to ask you about your mermaid collection, so a fellow ocean fan is asking.

I’ll be damned! Somebody found the “Things to ask me about” bit!

I’ve always loved mermaids, ever since I was three years old and saw Disney’s The Little Mermaid and loved it.*** I like the variations on merfolk in history and the aesthetic, and—you should know me by now—working out how they could actually live underwater has always appealed to me. (I have worked out several “species” of merfolk; one of my favorites is a fully mammalian species that stole quite a bit from the adaptations of dolphins. Merfolk with blubber!)

So I sort of wound up collecting various mermaid figures and pictures, just because I thought they were interesting. (It started, once again, with Disney: the first mermaid in my collection was a Happy Meal toy Ariel I got soon after seeing the movie.) I’ve built up a sizeable pile of mermaids!

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Sadly, this is the best picture I have of them right now; they’re in storage pending my getting a house with some room to display them. But once it comes out, I’ll even have a few more to add to the mix, including that one crazy clay sculpture of a skelemermaid I got for Xmas one year. So yeah, it’s still growing!


*There was also a little bit of defiance there; people all worried about the whole chronic-depression-dependent-on-pills thing, and I wanted to prove that it wouldn’t hold me back.

**I have books like these for many concultures. I call them my hitchhiker’s guides.

***Not so much love for the original Hans Christian Andersen story. Have you read it? It is LOONY. It’s some kind of codependent psychodrama and has a whole lot of weird theology about whether or not mermaids can acquire an immortal soul. Kind of like an early version of Teen Supernatural Romance.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Pirate Key)
Y’know, I’ve lived in Salt Lake City pretty much all my life, and I gotta say: there’s still some cognitive dissonance present when you step outside and the dry mile-high mountain air smells downright briny.

Spring here is weird.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bookstore Belle)
Well, this should be interesting. I just fell through the internet into a book club. Finally, somewhere in Salt Lake City, fantasy nerds are beginning to unite!

It is still a modest club; only three people RSVP’d for the first meeting tonight. The club may grow fast though, as evidenced by the exchange in the café at the beginning of the meeting:

GREEN SHIRT GUY: (to LONG-HAIRED DUDE) … Excuse me, are you here for the book club meeting?

LONG-HAIRED DUDE: No, sorry.

ME: The fantasy book club? I’m here for that!

LONG-HAIRED DUDE: Wait, you guys are in a fantasy book club?

GREEN SHIRT GUY: Well, possibly. We’re just getting started.

LONG-HAIRED DUDE: (eyes alight) That sounds … cool.

ME: So perhaps you are here for the book club after all!

LONG-HAIRED DUDE: Yes, it would seem that way.


Remember this moment, my friends. This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of a book club press gang.

Then when the other RSVP member showed up (bringing the tally to three late-twenties-early-thirties white guys and me--surprise), we talked for about forty-five minutes about our favorite books, and movies that ruined them, and what kind of other nerdly pursuits we liked. Then we remembered that we’re ostensibly a book club and decided maybe we should read a book to talk about for next time, unless we forget or don’t like it.

Definitely my kind of club.

I’m hoping it picks up steam. Even around these parts, there have got to be some geeks and nerds around to hang out with in a setting that doesn’t require polyhedral dice. * You never know!


*There is such a thing as a Mormon fantasy freak, actually—we have a surprisingly large number of spec fic authors here in Utah, many of whom aren’t Orson Scott Card, Colossal Douche, and Mormons embrace that. But none of said Mormon geeks seem interested in forming clubs outside of the ward. Why bother?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Walken)
Y'know, that old adage about how The Eskimoes Have Like TEN THOUSAND Words For Snow, Man, is as distorted as most of those old adages, but it is true that there are different kinds of snow.

Today we got the rare fuzzy snow.

I mean it. It actually looks like goose down coming out of the sky. My car looked like a tribble with tires till I brushed it off.

I just don't get how people can live in places without four seasons. The seasons are just so INTERESTING!

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