choco_frosh: (Default)
(Mostly scribbled down at about 8am this morning.)

On the fells, pastures slope up to heather--but some part of my mind expects forest. And I don't know whether that's a medievalist who's read Nicola Griffith one time too many, or the New Englander who's used to a landscape that's pine trees by default, or whether it's some other cause that accounts for the fact that my gut-level expectation of a landscape is the fields slope up to the forest.
We're going through Elmet, but the wood is long gone.
The heather's in bloom; the decaying/ex- mill towns look almost exactly their counterparts in New England.

There's something, I muse as we roll toward (or maybe out of) Caer Loidis, past what's probably about to be a mall, there's something especially ugly about Development in Britain. Maybe it's just the fact that I know there's so much /less/ land here, and so every bit that's actually still woods or fields is that much more precious; or maybe it's the knowledge that any given chunk of land once belonged to someone, may have two thousand years of history and owners beneath it, and now the topsoil that contains whatever minimal traces that left--if nothing else, the plough furrow, the soil chemistry because /this/ was sheep pasture and /this/ was in barley when Robert Aske's Pilgrims marched on York, or Fairfax passed by on the way to Marston Moor--being untidily bulldozed.
Or maybe it's just that development usually makes me disgusted, and I'm just less used to seeing it here.

I ramble: then and now. Then on the Trans-Pennine Express with Peter, who still finds the view out the window utterly too boring to bother with; or now in my Mum's library, the books all packed in boxes for a move that hasn't come yet, Mum reading Country Life of all things, Peter having utterly crashed after a day of constant energy. Both times utterly sleep-deprived, so much so that five hours of jet lag is a secondary factor at best: our plane caught a tail wind and arrived an hour early, and that in itself is great--but it means I slept for maybe an hour on the plane, then another hour uneasily napping in a real bed when I realised I just couldn't any more. Either way, safe across the Atlantic.
choco_frosh: (Default)
Being a review of Robin McKinley's Pegasus, plus about half a review of C.J. Cherryh's Rider at the Gate and Naomi Novik's everything.

“Preface: )"OK, if you had a Mercedes Lackey-style animal companion thing going on, how would that Really work in practice?”

I am speaking, of course, about C.J. Cherryh’s Rider at the Gate books and Robin McKinley’s Pegasus. Read more... )

*** Except for the endings. I think Hero and the Crown is the only thing I've read of hers where she actually sticks the ending.

NOTE: I started this review right after Readercon, and then it mouldered on my desktop for several weeks. Tonight I was feeling restless and angry and useless, and so decided I might as well get THIS done, anyway; except I'd forgotten about half the more cleverly vitriolic things I was gonna say about Pegasus. Oh well, have a review.
choco_frosh: (Default)
Packing. Trying to figure out what I've forgotten to pack.

Meantime, is there anything that anyone wants from the other side of the Atlantic?

(I mean, excluding things like "A new ring of eight", "The head of Theresa May/Donald Trump", or "An entire Stilton cheese". Things I can physically and legally stuff in my luggage.)
choco_frosh: (Default)
...I should really be looking for jobs. Uh, constructive procrastination?

So it's just as well that [personal profile] teenybuffalo and [personal profile] sovay weren't available for dinner Saturday night, 'cause that's about the worst batch of Vegetarian Heart Attack I think I've ever made. Moral of the story: taste the basil before you buy it.

Sunday I skipped bellringing (unnecessarily, as I realized later) to haul up to New Hampshire for this big family reunion thing my Aunt had organized. This would not, frankly, have been my first choice for the day: in additional to my campanological commitments, I hate driving,* I don't really have much of anything in common with my cousins anymore, and given my finances I'm kinda feeling like the black sheep of the family. But she was going to feel hurt if I didn't turn up, so...

And actually, it was ok. I mean, I still don't have much in common with my cousins (and almost feel more at home with my cousins-once-removed, the elder of whom has grown about a foot since I saw her last), but I really shoulda caught up with my stepcousin K., who (I learned) had just moved to within a few blocks of me. (wtf?) And the food was tasty, and I got to see my brother and get the latest from him.
More importantly (and this was an even bigger shock than the suddenly 5'6" cousin), I got to see my uncle. RM... huh. That's a story.
See, about, ooo, a year and a bit ago, RM. found out that the weird digestive problems he'd been having were, in fact, bowel cancer. And that would be bad enough, but, well, he was the one kid whom Grandma succeeded in bringing up as a Christian Scientist, and if you're a Christian Scientist and get cancer, the options are supposed to be 1. Miracle** or 2. Die faithfully. RM. ultimately went with option 3., which is Stop Being A Christian Scientist (I guess?) and actually get modern medical treatment; but when Mom visited him last spring, he looked about on his deathbed anyway, and I hadn't gotten an update since, so I was amazed he'd made it up. ("Your mom's always been the worrier," was his [typically] sardonic comment.) In fact, though, he'd apparently made the drive up from Ithaca just fine, and while he had lost more weight than was healthy, he was a lot less corpse-like than I'd been expecting.*** And not super energetic, but seemed to be mostly his old self.
So yeah. That was my weekend. Well, that and reading too many fantasy novels (and I owe you a post on that, too), with less than optimal results for my census productivity. I should get on that. First, job searching.

Nine days til I leave for England. Still don't know which city.

* The drive up, at least, was substantially better than I'd anticipated--in terms of driving time. What I ALSO hadn't expected was that they're still in the process of widening I93, thus simultaneously rubbing your face in the fact that they're tearing up the landscape so as to cover more of it with tarmac AND the bits where extra lanes might actually be useful still aren't done yet. Like seriously, guys, why was the interchange at the south end of 293 not the FIRST thing you did? And why do I suspect that the answer is somehow connected to the fact that there are still hundred-foot piles of gravel by the roadside?

** I don't know whether or not that's EXACTLY how people who go in for faith healing would describe it, but f--- them, because if it isn't, than they're even more irrational than I think they are anyway.

*** I also noticed he'd lost some hair, but then Grandpa was mostly bald by the time HE hit 65, and my brother's at least heading in that direction, so I don't actually think that's significant.
choco_frosh: (Default)
How is it only two weeks til I leave?
choco_frosh: (Default)
Peter and I got home very late last night from two days in Maine.* Photos will be hopefully be forthcoming at some point, but I thought of various of his ungodparents and other friends at various points. S, uoyay illway ebay adglay otay owknay atthay ouryay unay-odsongay isay ownay eakingspay igpay atinlay, evenay ifay itay isay ethay arbarousbay aichay ialectday. [personal profile] sovay, El' was amazed at him running barefoot over the stones of the beach. And I kept thinking of Stephen (who doesn't have a journal), as we were constructing a causeway out of stepping stones to avoid the mud in the shallows of the lake, and then later when he was taking to kayaking with a vengeance.

Now I need to sleep. Or try to do so, given that I drank a bunch of coffee after dinner to stay awake for a project that wound up only taking forty-five minutes...

PS: Oh, and of course thanks to my various relatives, and to Squigamunk, for putting up with him occasionally being a brat!

* Well, it was two days for me. Peter had been in Scarborough for like a week before then.
choco_frosh: (Default)
Moral of today's transit story:
Never assume that the fastest route is going to involve a direct bus route. Sometimes, retracing your steps back into Boston is the way to go.
Also, the last commuter rail train doesn't leave that much before the last T does.
@Lechmere

ETA: I was on my way back from the USS Constitution (re)launch party, which I'd attended for the chantey sing. We got to see it floating, but at least when I left we hadn't actually got to sing FOR it (someone had written a song specially), and I got out of there before she actually got towed out of Dry Dock #1.
And I'd come there directly from an Arisia board cookout, and there directly from CotA, so it was a long day. A good one, apart from the bit with the T.
choco_frosh: (Default)
Sortof regretting not getting a room at Readercon for Friday night, as well as Saturday.

Not least because then I could have my own room party! I was thinking rum + sea shanty sing + Alestorm singalong, but that was just tentative...

I thought for a half second about seeing if I could book my room for a second night. Then I remembered that I am still poor.

(I mean, unless BRCF writes back tomorrow to say "OMG we thought that editing project last week was going to take you like twelve hours here have All The Money". A man can dream.)
choco_frosh: (Default)
Signs you've spent too much time doing random historical map research: you look at your Google directions for picking people up for Readercon, and think for a split second, "Hey, is that a Roman road?"

In other news, I had a dream last night that BRCF was going to pay me in Bitcoins, and also it turned out that Bitcoins were actually issued as physical objects--little blue plastic squares, labeled in red and gold "Good for Five (5) Bitcoins!" which you then had to redeem online.
choco_frosh: (Default)
Hmph.
1. Census seems to have dropped the ball on getting us all necessary (well, useful) paperwork, so it didn't seem worthwhile to go out and patrol today.

2. BRCF sent me another load of stuff last week: more than the first lot, but certainly not fifteen hours' worth.* I finished it up Friday, and am now waiting to either hear whether it met their standards or get a new lot to work on. So THAT was out...**

3. ...So I spent apparently spent too much of the weekend sitting and/or walking in non-ergonomic ways, and now my knee is acting up again. Or rather, doing the other other thing in the repertoire, namely making my right heel ache like blazes.

Despite this, I'm going running. Last time this happened, letting my various bits stay inert was worse than resting them...

* leaving me wondering yet again whether they don't have as much stuff in need of editing as I'd been given to understand, or whether someone honestly thought a 5.5 hour job was going to take more than twice that.

** I suspect they're going to hand me a bunch of stuff on Wednesday, which would be fine except that I'm going to be at Readercon for the four days following!
choco_frosh: (Default)
OK, I'm out of materials for the Census, and haven't heard back from my bosses at BRCF so I don't have anything to edit either, so I'm going to catch up on blogging instead!

Yesterday was pretty fun. The day pretty much went pancakes - ringing - barbecue - more ringing.

Ringing pt. 1 was at Old North, and featured meeting various and assorted visiting ringers I hadn't met before/occasional ringers I see once in a blue moon. I tore out of there five minutes early, hauled butt to the train station and caught my usual train home,* and then NOT usually retrieved my car and picked up [personal profile] nineweaving, then slavishly followed Siri's directions out to [personal profile] sovay's parents' house for the annual ice cream churning and Grill All The Things. Neither of these exactly went as usual: they have a new ice cream maker (much needed), but the vendor had sent S's Mom a motor instead of a crank, so we just sort of sat on the stoop and watched the motor make the ice cream. And then we decided we were too hot (and/or too busy juggling toddlers) to grill, so we just did hamburgers and such in the oven. But a good time was still had.

I ducked out early from this as well to haul my butt BACK downtown for the annual rite of providing the bells for the 1812 Overture on the Esplanade.** Being me, I arrived waaayyy too early, and so hung out with people (inc. even MORE ringers I'd never met) and watched them eat dinner, since post barbecue I was mostly too full for the various yummy things that people had brought for the (equally traditional) picnic in the church courtyard.
Then ringing happened. [profile] lauradi got a video if anyone's interested, which features decent ringing and me looking emaciated. Apparently I need to eat more, despite my All The Muffins diet and effectively eating dinner twice that day.

The fireworks were pretty awesome, even without the bit where I think they were trying to reproduce the shape of the continental US in FIRE.


* Incidentally: a vote of thanks to the MBTA and all of their employees and assorted auxiliary people who did sterling work to public transit moving through a federal holiday.

** CotA is a couple of blocks away, and so we'd be audible from there if it weren't for all the soundproofing. BECAUSE of the soundproofing, there've been microphones permanently installed in the bell chamber since 1976.

PERSONAL NOTES:
choco_frosh: (Default)
There's a contra dance in Cambridge tonight, and I'm just not feelin' it. Which is a pity, since (a) I think practically every bellringer under 30 is going, and (b) this is very possibly going to be my last opportunity til sometime in September.

ETA: Subsequently fell down an internet rabbit hole, and now I hate all the political parties of England AND France, and most shades of political opinion in the US, too.
Remind me never to go on Facebook again unless it's absolutely the only way to coordinate something important. (Though "looking up stuff on random bits of Anglo-Saxon history" was also a contributing factor, so maybe I need to just never go on the internet again.)
choco_frosh: (Default)
SooOOoo... a solid week ago I got this new job. And I thought my problems were over.

Guess what? They're not. Read more... )
choco_frosh: (Default)
OK, well, I should be putting an Arisia proposal together right now. Well, TECHNICALLY I said I was going to do my Census post-class self-study today, so I should be doing that, but for reasons that will become clear in a few moments, Fuck That.

Sooo... the week before last, I think it was, I applied for a job as a...junior researcher, I think it was, at [Boston Research Consulting Firm]. VERY unusually, from my experience, the department head subsequently got back in touch, albeit mainly to tell me that I was horribly overqualified. (Which was possibly true, but a) I'm switching careers, kinda, so that's expected, and b) Hey, it's a job.) Usually, even if they DO get in touch to tell you you're overqualified, that's the end of it, and you're left feeling like "Well, fuck." In THIS case, though, he said he was going to forward my résumé on to Matt, the head of their Editorial department, because they might have some freelance editorial work down the line. And that could STILL have been the end of it, but Matt actually DID email me, to say "...please let me know your bandwidth (how many hours a week you would be available to edit our research content) and let’s set up a time to talk." So I write back, and then don't hear from him for over a week, while I sit around wondering what the heck has happened THIS time.

On Wednesday, after asking myself What Would My Dad Do?, I took a moment before Census training and called Matt's number to ask more or less exactly that question, and in due course we set up an appointment for this morning.*

-------

So I get there--it's the fifth floor in a faceless office park in Waltham--and have to wait a bit, and then meet Matt and get ushered into a conference room: all of which was expected. And THEN we spend like fifteen minutes chatting about German History--which was definitely NOT--before we get down to the nitty gritty of what the job entails. As I had expected, it was going to be more of what I've been doing for [cheapskate client in Germany], namely taking stuff written by experts and editing it so it's actually decent prose.
What I had NOT been assuming was an on-the-spot job offer.

And then came the moment I had been hoping wouldn't happen. "So what do you think would be a reasonable starting rate?" he asked.

Oh Shit. I mean, I know I've been horribly underpaid in the past, but this is a potentially globalized field, and I don't want to get to greedy, because I REALLY want this job...

"Let's start me at $15?"

Matt actually laughed in my face.** "Well, I'd LIKE to employ you at that rate--or at any rate my bosses would..."
"What can I say, I've been really underpaid!"
Anyway, I somehow managed to recover from this screw-up,*** and we agreed that I should start at their standard starting rate for editors.

...which is $45 per hour.

Pause to let that sink in.
Yeah.
I'm going to be working part time, but still.
wow.


I guess I should have learned from Harvard Business School that any time you add the word "business" to a job description, they jack up the salary.

* At this point in writing this, I took a pause to go look at what was probably a juvenile bald eagle, sitting on a tree about fifty yards down the shore. As you can guess from the preceding, I'm in Maine again.

** You probably just did too, given that $15 was what we figured MRE should have been paying me, and this is a much more highly-skilled job. (Though it's also a much more pleasant one, and you can't outsource [University]'s mailroom work to someone with good English in Mumbai.) What can I say, I panicked. Fortunately, [see above]

*** I should perhaps note at this juncture that Matt is yet another person who got a PhD but then decided he didn't want to teach, AND got it in German studies, so PART of all this was that he took pity on my post-academic floundering.
That sounds more self-pitying than I feel, I guess: the OTHER part is that I'm hella good at editing papers in questionable English, and amply demonstrated that I'm experienced in the same in the course of the interview.
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Yoiks. I never posted about LAST weekend (well, the non-theater bits),* and now I'm headed for Maine again.

Well, as soon as I get this job interview done.
#toomanythings

* The fact that the ten-foot long fast sketch artwork has been riding around in my car all week pretty much says it all.


ETA: OK, that was one of the most wtf job interviews I've ever had.
choco_frosh: (Default)
OK. So, while it's somewhat fresh in my mind, I should write up a quick review of the play I saw on riday night, namely

LEGBALA IS A RIVER )
"I'd tell you to tell more people to come," the stage manager told the audience at the end of the show, "but our last performance is tomorrow, and we're sold out already." So I will tell you: go see this show when they do it again, in Summer Stock or at Portland Stage or wherever. Badger people to bring it to Boston, to Chicago, to the up-and-coming theater in the suburbs or the new performance space that just opened or the outdoor theater festival. Go see it, when- and wherever it goes up again.
This was an incredible experience.

Footnotes. )
choco_frosh: Bede, from a MS in Benediktbeuern or someplace (baeda)
1. I've realized what the worst thing for productivity is, where job applications are concerned.

It's not trying to map the lost wetlands and burhs and shires of Anglo-Saxon England. It's not listening to Ursula talk about masturbating cats and her IUD. It's not snacks or books or chores or a caffeine habit.

It's when someone is supposed to be contacting you about a job interview for something that might actually pay the bills, but hasn't bloody done so yet.

Arrrggh. (tears metaphorical hair.)

2. Yes, the city did-- eventually--come remove the half a tree that was leaning against my window. No, nothing else seems to have broken in the process, so the only apparent casualty is one of my screens, which my landlady has promised to replace.

3. Yes, I did get my car into the mechanic this morning. The check engine light had--inevitably--turned itself off the moment I made the appointment, but they did put a patch on my muffler and replaced all the [untranslatable mechanic-speak], which they assured me would make a big difference.
And replaced a busted tail light that I'd failed to notice, which would have been the thing that would ACTUALLY have got me into trouble.

The rust was apparently nothing that was going to make my car fail inspection, but just to be on the safe side, I had them do one a month early. So now it's all inspection-stickered and stuff.
I must say, though, it's a bit disconcerting when you can remove bits of your car with your fingernails...

4. Jheesh, what is with me and the MBTA this week? The subway was massively and inexplicably delayed each of the last two days, and today it's apparently the commuter rail's turn.

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