lizbee: (Games: Shepard (mine - Jane))
Just so you know, the lack of a "Lie of the Land" post is not because I disliked it, or even because I was indifferent! It's just that Continuum is this weekend, and I've been very busy, AND I've been horrifically arthritic, which makes typing problematic.

I'm home from work today, slowly and carefully doing small chores like half loads of washing, and hand-soothing stuff like dishes, and generally perceiving the world through a fuzzy codeine fog. And also playing Dragon Age: Origins, even though I'm still in the first part of the story and keep being killed by spiders.

(Between the codeine and the fact it only requires a couple of fingers, gaming is easier than regular typing. Aside from the aforementioned spiders.)

If you're in Melbourne, you should deffo come to Continuum. Especially to the Bioware Panel, which takes place at 10am on Saturday and may continue with more shouting and opinions after. Possibly in the bar, or at least a cafe appropriate to mid-morning. We have a PowerPoint presentation. It includes Hamilton lyrics.
lizbee: (Star Trek: Data)
My property manager has conducted investigations and worked out that the man who inspected my flat last month was not a random weirdo, but The New Guy In The Office. Needless to say, he will be Spoken To.

Unfortunately, The New Guy lost all the pictures he took during the inspection, so they have asked very nicely if they can do a new one. I have graciously assented, figuring that this is rather irregular under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act, and with luck I'll be able to leverage their mistake into some kind of handy concession -- permission to put up a shelf in the bathroom, maybe. Although right now, I could also go for one of those fancy Japanese toilet seats with a butt warmer.

It is, you see, Quite Cold. So cold that cycling to work this morning triggered asthma I didn't even know I had -- at least, I was wheezing all day until I bought and took some Ventolin.

And last night, tragedy of tragedies, my heater died. It was rather expensive, but also not worth having repaired -- it's that awkward between-place. So I'm tossing up whether to replace it straight away with a rather cheap one, or whether to wait a couple of weeks and ask Dad to buy me a fancy new one for my birthday. But $200 is a lot to spend on a heater, so I don't know.
Last week, I got an email from my real estate agent notifying me of a routine inspection.

"That's odd," I thought, and shot back a response pointing out that they had conducted a routine inspection just last month, and legislation states they have to be at least six months apart.

Late Friday afternoon, I had a call from my property manager. She was quite puzzled, she said, because they had no memory of such an inspection, and did I know who had conducted it.

Well, no, I said, but he was mid-thirties, white, dark hair, bit of a paunch, average height. He wasn't from my regular office, but the larger one in the next suburb.

"Oh," she said, "that office wouldn't be conducting our inspections. I'm the only one authorised to do that for your property."

And then there was an awkward silence as we both realised that a strange man had had unauthorised access to my flat.

The man did give me a business card, which I've lost, and I also spoke to him on the phone, so I've emailed his number to my property manager.

But then I entered a PARANOIA SPIRAL, because weird things have been happening in my flat lately. I came home from work to find a used tea bag sitting in a cup, which is a thing I never, ever do. Various kitchen utensils have gone missing.

Now, realistically, I knew that it's very unlikely that there's a local serial killer breaking into my flat to steal random kitchen utensils and one Twinings Earl Grey tea bag. There's probably just a guy about my age who works for the neighbouring real estate agent, who is about to find himself in a world of trouble with a middle-aged lady named Doris.

But I shared my story with my friends, who, while pointing out that it is VERY unlikely that I'm being stalked by a tea obsessive who really just needed my tongs, two plastic spoons and a small cheese grater, linked me to various motion-activated security apps for MacBooks.

But, you know, I'm a single lady living alone in a neighbourhood which people keep telling me is dangerous (I've yet to see any actual evidence of this myself, mind, unless you count the presence of people who are not white, which I don't). So I was feeling a tiny bit paranoid.

Until, later that evening, I heard an odd noise in the kitchenette. And there was the cat, caught in the act as he knocked a wooden spoon down the side of my oven. I checked, and there, wedged between the oven and the wall, were all my missing utensils. I've never been so glad to see a pair of tongs!

  • my cat is a jerk
  • all these years I thought he wasn't one of those cats who knocks things off high places, and it turns out I've been wrong
  • I probably just left that tea bag in the cup for some reason, even though I can't see how -- I mean, I also think I'm compulsive about rinsing bowls after I've used them, and a quick look at my dirty dishes says that's a lie
  • I am probably not going to be murdered in my bed
  • except possibly by the cat
  • if my property manager can't sort out the mystery of who conducted that inspection last month, I'm still going to ask them to change the locks
  • and maybe while I'm at it, I'll ask if I can put up a shelf in the bathroom, all the storage space in this place is for tall people, and it's a problem
lizbee: (LoK: Lin and Tenzin (back to back))
So what have you been up to? / Major life changes? Same old same old?

Oh, you know, work, sleep, watch TV, write.

I'm trying to get fitter and a bit healthier, on account of all the heart disease and DIABEETUS in my mother's family. To that end, I've invested in a Fitbit One, a bike pump and a key to the locked bike cages at the station three kilometres away.  It's going well!  I seem to have more energy, and I cracked 16km/hr on my bike last night. (Admittedly by taking a different route, one with fewer stop lights and more trucks, but, you know.)

I can't remember if I blogged about it here, but in April I moved out of my last sharehouse and into a tiny flat in the inner west.  It is DELIGHTFUL, except that it's always my turn to clean, and for reasons I guess I'll discuss below, I did no cleaning at all last week, and have regretted it ever since.  I'm basically procrastinating right now, before I start washing ALL THE DISHES.  (Literally.  All the dishes I own.)

ETA: I have washed all the dishes.

What fandom are you in/do you spend most of your time in?

Legend of Korra!  Specifically the Lincentric part, because cranky middle-aged superheroines are love, and I still adore the complexity of the Beifong family's dysfunctions and the impact they had on Republic City.  

Where do you hang out online?

Twitter, Tumblr, and I'm still blogging about social justice, pop culture and auscore with [personal profile] yiduiqie  at No Award.

What are you reading?


I started The Dark Forest, the second book in Li Cixin's Three-Body Problem trilogy, but the library's ePub is super buggy -- turning pages takes 15 seconds, and it loses my place every time I put my Kobo to sleep.

I meant to try it on my iPad, but accidentally started reading The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett instead.  Only a million years after everyone I knew in Harry Potter fandom was obsessed with Dunnett's books, I'm finally reading them myself.  They are quite hard work!  Rewarding, but also a challenge, especially if you're an instinctive speed reader like me.  I really have to force myself to slow down and find the plot hidden in the dense prose. 

Oh yeah, and I'm also reading A City Lost And Found: Whelan the Wrecker's Melbourne, which is a combination of urban archaeology, local history and a working class-eye view of the twentieth century.

So, you know, just a few things. 

What are you watching?

I've been watching The X-Files!  I'm into season 9, and ... look, I knew the last few seasons had a bad rep, but there was a point back in season 4 when I really looked forward to Mulder leaving.  

I have regrets.

But I am determined to finish the damn series, and I really like Doggett, and Reyes has a lot of promise, although she feels like a much more nebulous character than any of the others.  And I liked the bit in the season 8 finale where Skinner shot Krycek in the head. 

What are you making?

So the reason I cleaned nothing last weekend is because I needed to finish revising the novel I wrote and submit it for the Ampersand Prize.

It is a middle-grade contemporary boarding school novel, which I started back in 2012 and kept having to put down because I was busy with other projects.  I finished it a few months ago, knowing that it needed heavy revisions, and when I found out that the Ampersand Prize existed, I realised that I absolutely had to enter it. 

You see, my original pitch to myself with this novel was "Malory Towers with a social media policy", only as it turns out, the school is co-ed and social media isn't really a factor in the story at all.  And the Ampersand Prize is run by Hardie Grant Egmont, which publishes the Enid Blyton school stories that inspired me. This could work against me, but I figured that made it worth a shot. 

Anyway, it was finished last week, and while I don't expect to win, long-listed titles often get editorial notes, which I would value a lot.  I'm trying not to think about it too much until it's all over, though.

Now I'm tossing up three ideas for my next project, trying to decide which to write next.  All require research, and I plan to use NaNo as a time to do a very rough first draft/outline/getting to know the story and figure out what it wants to be type of thing.  

Since I'm equally excited about all three projects, I'm thinking that I'll go with the one that has the most international and commercial potential -- I guess I'll talk about it in more detail in a locked entry -- but it's hard to choose. 

What are you squeeing about today?

I'm honestly pretty excited that the bathroom is clean. 

(Signs you may in fact be a grown up...)

If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be...

[personal profile] violetisblue has taken out a restraining order to make me stop recommending the Avatarverse to her. 

I should really watch/read/dive into _______ and then come talk to you about it!

This was a recurring theme at Continuum, and I'm speaking to the choir a bit here, everyone should read The Steerswoman and sequels by Rosemary Kirstein.  

What else is on your mind?

Why do I have so many surfaces that require dusting?
lizbee: Toma with her eyes closed, paper falling around her (TV: Toma (paper))
So yesterday I had a bit of a scary experience, and I'm writing it out here in detail for future reference. Which is to say, I transcribe a lot of criminal courts these days; you can't help but hope you'd have a clear memory if you're in the witness box.

Trigger warning for stalking-by-stranger )
lizbee: (Avatar: SECRET TUNNEL!)
1.  I bought 8gb of RAM and installed them in my laptop!  This is pretty exciting, since first I had to work out what kind of RAM I needed, and how much my laptop could take, and then I had to leave the house and buy a new Phillips head screwdriver.  And then came the really hard bit, ie, getting a tight screw loose, and then applying the full force of my strength (derisive laughter) to getting the memory into the second slot.  (Turns out that close enough isn't good enough.  More like, "close enough and your laptop tries to boot up but just gives you a black screen and then you panic for a bit".)

This is exciting!  More for me than for the people who just followed my liveblogging of the RAM adventure on Twitter, but I did something technical and didn't stuff it up!

And now my laptop is faster than when it was new, and I can actually use it without scheduling extended breaks for tea whenever I want to open a new program or save a file!  Which means that, if I find myself in the middle of a big writing project by the time my North America trip comes around, and I hope to be, taking the laptop is a viable option instead of the equivalent of hauling a brick across an ocean.  (I was also considering getting a keyboard for the iPad, which is still a possibility, but ... well, the truth is, I paid so little for this laptop that it cost less than some iPad keyboards.) 

2.  More expensively, but with less technology, I have bought plane tickets!  I'm flying United from Melbourne to Toronto (via Sydney and LAX), then Air Canada from Toronto to New York, and, eventually, United again from Chicago to Melbourne. 

I wound up deciding against Korean Air because, much as they're an amazing airline and it would have been more comfortable, it added about 20 hours to my trip.  United seems like the McDonalds of airlines, but it's a much faster flight.  Really, the only thing they lack that I would have really liked was in-seat USB plugs.  And my Kobo can manage, like, a week of constant use before it needs recharching, so between that, my iDevices and possibly my laptop, I guess I'll be okay for entertainment. 

("Liz, just bring a notebook and a pen and use them to write," you say.  Ah, but pens never work properly on planes!  I presume it's a side-effect of the air pressure.  And I'm really ... fussy about my writing implements.  Which reminds me, I really need a new brush pen...)

Now I have five months to sort out all the other things I'll need -- travel insurance, my ESTA waiver for the United States, possibly a new suitcase that isn't falling apart, a proper winter coat.  (Usually I use a very light wool coat, since my limited time spent out of doors in winter usually involves very brisk walking.  But then [personal profile] rj_anderson said, re Ontario, "There probably won't be much snow," and Chicago is supposed to be very cold in November.  I don't know about Boston and New York, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right?  What do northern hemisphere types wear in late autumn?!

3.  I baked bread!  Which I've never done before, but I worked in bakeries for years, and most of the bakers were idiots, so I figured how hard could it be?

And it was very nice bread!  Mostly.  I replaced the water with boiled wine, because what's the point of doing something complicated for the first time if you can't make it even harder?  So it came out with a lovely purple colour and a pleasant aftertaste. 

Of course, it would have helped if it had been cooked through.  So there's a lesson for the future:  the "tap and if it sounds hollow it's done" trick isn't necessarily accurate.  I served it up at our Game of Thrones finale party, and we sort of ate around the doughy bits. 

I briefly contemplated making another loaf for the Mad Men finale party, but really, the most appropriate food for that is nothing, just and endless sea of scotch and kosher wine. 

It does turn out, unfortunately, that kneading dough is bad for arthritic hands.  Maybe more practice would make them stronger?  Or maybe I shouuld invest in a bread maker?  But that feels like cheating.  I mean, what's the point in making bread if you haven't poured your own sweat and tears (and nail polish and a stray hair) into it?
lizbee: (Default)
I just filled out my three-month review form for work, while the kitten climbed up my back. He's pretending to be hungry, but as he has two bowls of his favourite foods sitting in the kitchen, I think he just wants attention.

Anyway, I feel fairly positive about my review, which is on Friday, although the manager doing it is the strictest and most arbitrary person on staff. (Not by coincidence, she's also the youngest manager, and the most recently promoted.)

As for New Year's Eve plans, I'm working tonight until seven, and then the House o'Squid is off to the House o'Cats to spend the evening with [ profile] peace_bloom and [ profile] sajee, drinking wine and ... well, I'm sure we'll come up with other things to do.

I shall return the copy of David Starkey's Six Wives that I borrowed months ago, too -- I just started the chapter on Catherine Parr, so I should have it finished in the very near future. How I hate Henry VIII. I know I've discussed this before, but I really hate him quite a lot. I've seen people argue that, by the standards of the age and the behaviour expected for kings, Henry was perfectly reasonable in changing wives the way normal men change their socks, but if that was really the case, it wouldn't have caused any scandal in Europe.

Mostly it just shits me off that Henry was married to two of the most brilliant women of the age -- Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn -- and completely failed to appreciate what he had. I fear I may have become an Anne Boleyn fangirl. It's terribly embarrassing.

Next, I'm tossing up between Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser's biographies of the wives. I'm inclined to go with Weir, purely because I find Fraser's writing a bit ponderous.

(I may also be drawing chibi versions of the Wives. I KNOW, I KNOW. If anyone can point me towards a really good online resource for Tudor female dress, I'd be most grateful. I haven't had time to look myself.)
lizbee: (Default)
Doctor Who: Blue Box Detective Agency: Experienced specialists in the uncanny, unearthly and downright peculiar.  Reasonable rates.  Extra charges apply for slime.  Sarah Jane, Martha, Rose & Romana, for all your paranormal investigative needs. )

Meanwhile, back in the House o'Squid: This really happened. Which should come as a surprise to no one who actually knows us. )
lizbee: (Default)
When you see this on your flist, quote Firefly.  Unless you don't want to.

[I can see myself growing weary of these memes pretty fast, but - FireflySerenity! Midnight screening in less than twelve hours!  OMG!]

Mal: Now think real hard. You been bird-dogging this township a while now. They wouldn't mind a corpse of you. Now you can luxuriate in a nice jail cell, but if your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty flowered bonnet, I will end you.

(Our Mrs Reynolds)

(I mean, there were a million choices, and I thought long and hard over the "Well, look at this!  Looks like we got here just in time.  What does that make us?" / "Big damn heroes, sir." exchange, but I figure that's probably turning up all over the place.  And I really love that line above, because it encapsulates the speech patterns and absurdity of the show so well.)

Also, because [ profile] synaesthete7 asked, and several ideas converged at once: a House/Cameron ficlet.  No, really.

'Til It's Gone
by Lizbee

Summary: Everybody sing the chorus of "Big Yellow Taxi"!
Fandom: House
Pairing: House/Cameron
Rated: G

Le cut! )

Headache still present, not yet at blinding intensity.  Fortunately, I was going to the doctor's today anyway.  Also heading into the city to pick up A Slight Trick of the Mind (which, incidentally, the nice boys at Pulp Fiction hadn't even heard of, so if you're sitting around wondering why x book hasn't appeared on their shelves, poke 'em about it -- the only authors they routinely order in hardback are Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, J. K. Rowling [who?] and maybe a couple of crime authors, depending on pre-orders).  Other plans include cleaning, reading, editing and turning in early for a pre-midnight screening nap.
lizbee: (Default)
I keep dreaming about being nibbled to death by fictional theologians, and Ordol has really sharp teeth.  Even more worryingly, this morning I woke up with a fresh, slightly infected scratch on my hand that I certainly didn't have last night. 

This is probably my subconscious's way of telling me to stop sitting up late re-reading the Chalion novels.  (Have I ever shared my Holy Family = Vorkosigans Theory?)  And perhaps I should go on a Hidden Sharp Objects Hunt, since I had an identical scratch on my tummy last week.

On an even more worrying note, I'm really enjoying my Organisational Policy class.  Like, really enjoying it.  I read a policy on the use of camera phones in public spaces, and had fun. 
lizbee: (Default)
Because I got 56% for an assignment, and feel rather pathetic.  So, yes, hugs and warm fuzzies and general love is much needed.  I will bribe you all with a cartoon of Neville, who feels my pain.  The best bit is the blurry part where my wet hair dripped onto the ink, although I must admit that the deformed toad is also quite Teh Awesome..  Neville gets his Potions OWL... )

I wish I could blame my bad mark on the lecturer, or some external force, but the bulk of the problem is that I didn't actually work very hard.  Although... ) And I'm not very interested.  I think it's time to admit that I am, at heart, a reference librarian with pretentions to management, and this whole catalogue/computer business is not for me.

But yes, some kind of positive attention would be gratefully received this afternoon.
lizbee: (Default)

Went home sick from work today, as a random collection of symptoms finally decided they were all going to come out at once.  These included a blinding headache, muscle cramps and spasms, arthritic pain, stomach cramps, chest pains and tightness in the chest.  Cue much distress, followed by a very slow walk home and the making of a doctor's appointment.  (At five this afternoon; note to self, don't forget.)

On the upside, I just spent half an hour on hold to our evil ISP, the worst customer service people in the world.  And after much trauma, worry and hold music, I finally got them to send out a new router.  Turns out that they'd lost all record of my previous calls.  All of them.  *shakes head*

And now for a fandom moment:  I've been looking at Dan and Rupert in the new GoF pics, and I have to say they're both looking very cute, in a hairy way.  Very hairy.  But good hairy.

My hatred for Emma Watson and her smirky little prissy face, on the other hand, is growing exponentially.  She's going on my List.

Also, remixes were revealed while I was away from the internet.  So I am now allowed to tell you that I wrote I'll Kiss You (The Nice Aurors Don't Remix), remixing a story by [ profile] violet_quill.  I was very nervous when I started it, but I ended up having mad fun.  And I am very pleased to know that Death's Avatar (The Gift that Keeps on Taking Remix) was written by [ profile] bowdlerized.  Thank you for such a beautiful remix.

lizbee: (Default)
Severus Snape
The date gun at work
Ditzy!co-worker's scuzzy boyfriend
SFX Magazine
Marvel Comics
VO5 Conditioner for Normal Hair
"Coin-Operated Boy"
The month of March
George Lucas

That is all.

EDIT: The following entity is NOT dead to me:

The person who wrote this remarkable remix of "Death's Avatar". "It occurred to him not for the first time that his life hadn’t been a gift so much as a loan." This is just brilliant, great writing mixed with images and ideas that never came to me. The repeated phrases -- "Wake, Severus" -- and the images and everything else are simply marvellous, and I can't praise it enough.
lizbee: (Default)

So I'm technically the bakery's cake decorator, and my first priority every morning should be ensuring that the cream and cake products are out on the shelves.  But I'm also doing the job of three bread wenches, so cakes generally don't happen until early afternoon.  The store manager wanted them sooner than that today, but I was overdue for a break, and really wanted my lunch.  Incompetent!Manager volunteered to do cakes.  Despite my misgivings, I left him with detailed written instructions and a vague sense of impending disaster.  This was, after all, the man who turned my fondant icing into toffee -- twice.

I returned an hour later, to find cream ... everywhere.  Mixed in with the sesame seeds.  In the fondant icing.  On the bread.  On the bread tags.  In the drawer. 

Incompetent!Manager gave me an uneasy look and muttered, "I'm off for smoko ... back in twenty."

Cue cleaning.  Lots of cleaning.  There was jam all over the jam bag, which once seemed as likely as being able to wipe one's nose with one's elbow.  But considering some of the other things going on with that jam bag, I shouldn't be surprised.

Bakery of DOOOOOM!!!

I was first inclined to be angry.  Homicidal, even.  But somewhere between scraping up the dried donut crust, and finding that the vanilla essence has left a permanent stain on my hand, my sense of humour intervened.

And fic happened.

Recipe for Disaster
by Teh Lizbee

Summary: This bears no resemblance to canon at all, but there are characters named Potter, Snape and Lovegood.  Among others.  Along with pies, cakes, bread and a vague squid reference.  Owes a massive debt to [ profile] junediamanti's "Hogwarts School of Cleverness and Culture", because ... well, you'll see.

Beta'd by [ profile] lydaclunas, who has actually outdone herself with the innuendo this time.

Cut, with reluctance because I really do think I want people to read this. )


lizbee: (Default)

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