beatrice_otter: Vader and Leia (Vader and Leia)
I love a good Star Wars time-travel AU, but I do sigh sometimes about how repetitive they are.  (This is one of the reasons I started Past Lives.)  I mean, with AAAALLLL  the characters there are in Star Wars, why is it only Obi-Wan and Anakin who end up going back in time, with the occasional time-traveling Luke thrown in?  Why not any others?  Why not Dooku, out for revenge against Palpatine for having him killed?  Why not Leia?  Or Lando and Han?  Or Yoda?

I was contemplating this, after Rogue One, and I thought, WHY NOT BAIL?

Bail knows what the Death Star is, and the Death Star didn't shoot immediately after it came out of hyperspace.  It came out and hung there, while Leia was brought from the detention block, while Tarkin tried (and failed) to manipulate her.

Alderaani Space Control called the palace to tell them that something HUGE--the size of a small moon--had just appeared in the skies over the planet.  It wasn't quite visible from the palace yet, but would be coming around the curve of the planet in roughly fifteen minutes.

Bail asked Breha to give the order to evacuate.  (Of course she knew of the Death Star, what it was and what it could do.  She was his Queen and his wife, and he had no secrets from her.  In the Rebellion as in all things, he was her eyes and ears and hands.)  "No," she said.  "There isn't time.  If they mean to shoot, they'll do it immediately, and no one will get out alive.  But they may not mean to destroy us.  They may be testing us.  If they see we evacuate, they'll know that we know what that thing is--and they'll shoot.  But if we do nothing, we may be able to bluff them."

By the time the Death Star crested the horizon, the great dish on the side was beginning to glow.  Queen Breha gave the evacuation order, hoping at least someone would make it out, but it was too late for anyone in the palace, and they both knew it.  They held each other and waited to become one with the Force.

Bail woke up in a familiar office on Coruscant.  This was unexpected.  The Alderaani didn't believe in heaven or hell or any kind of afterlife except the Force, and even if they did, his old Senatorial office would have been neither.  He was sitting at his desk staring out at the Coruscant skyline.  Someone clears their throat and asks for Senator Antilles.  He almost doesn't respond; it's been three decades since his name was Antilles.  And he's too confused, wondering what the hell has happened and where Breha is.

But the person asks again, and he turns.  It's his old aide, who resigned in protest after the Empire was declared, who joined a peaceful protest march and was gunned down in the street.  Zie is trying to tell him that the Trade Federation has just begun a "peaceful" blockade of Naboo in the Chommell Sector.

Bail stares.  Maybe this is Hell, if he's going to have to relive all of this.  Maybe he's crazy.

His aide notices and asks if he's all right.

No.  He is not all right.

She calls for a med droid; there's always several on call in the Senate building.  It comes and examines him and pronounces him perfectly fine except for elevated stress levels.  (He looks in a mirror and is startled to see how young he looks.)

The examination gives him time to think.  If he is hallucinating, or in some kind of hell, nothing he does matters.  If this is some sort of Imperial trick, he has no clue what they might hope to get out of this.  If they could convince him it was later, during the early Imperial days, they might be able to get him to give up some of the details of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, but now?  A decade before the beginning of the Clone Wars?  But if he has somehow gone back in time, can he change things?

He has to try.  The question is, how?  Palpatine-the-Sith is definitely something for the Jedi to deal with, but at this point he has no contacts in the Jedi, and (unless you have a personal friend in the Order) official contact between the Senate and the Jedi is closely monitored both officially and by your fellow senators who want to make sure you don't persuade the Jedi to intervene on your side in any particular matter.  Palpatine would be sure to hear of it.

But Palpatine isn't the Chancellor yet.  And if Bail can block him, even if only temporarily, he'll have some breathing room to work.

Last time around, Bail and three-quarters of the Senate had been caught completely off-guard by the blockade and then invasion of Naboo.  It had seemed to come out of nowhere, unimaginable before it happened. The vote of no-confidence had been predicted, but not that the new election would go to a then-nobody like Palpatine.

This time around, Bail knows it's coming.  This time around, Bail can be prepared.  This time around, Bail knows who his supporters are and who Palpatine's supporters are, and where all the bodies will be buried and the weak points will be found.  This time around, Bail knows what's at stake, and is willing to get his hands dirty in ways he never would have the first time around.

Bail calls his staff in, and they have a council of war.  They start arranging meetings, and a whisper campain among the other aides.

To some people, Bail commiserates about how awful the situation is and don't they feel scared it could happen to them, and gee, Palpatine's negotiations with the Trade Federation went particularly badly--he's not a very good politician, is he?

To some people, Bail points out that if the Trade Federation is willing to trample a thousand generations of history like this, who knows what they'll do?  It's out of character for them, and that's bad for business.  Do you really want to be their ally?

(For some people, Bail arranges for accidents or poisonings for the day of, so that they will not be present to influence their hangers-on.  Nothing fatal--that would raise too many red flags.  But food poisoning and slight colds ... those can easily pass unnoticed.  The first time around, Bail would have been apalled at the very idea, and had no clue how to arrange it.  Now ... now Bail has done worse things at lesser need, and knows exactly how to arrange it, even though it is an extra hassle to have to do it without his staff knowing.)

And it works.  Despite a much stronger showing than everyone except Bail and Palpatine expected, Palpatine falls just short of the number needed to be elected.  Bail wins.  And the day after he is installed, Bail invites the Jedi Council to meet him, sweeps his office for bugs, and tells them the shape of what he lived through.  Most are incredulous.  Mace Windu just stares at him and says, "So that's what's been happening recently.  I have rarely seen a shatterpoint so large--and never one I didn't see until after the fact."

The Jedi deal with Palpatine.  Bail starts to slowly, methodically, reform the loopholes and corruptions that Palpatine had used to such effect.  There is no Clone War.

He has only two regrets.  The Queen of Alderaan could never marry a man who outranked her.  Breha marrries someone else.  And his precious Leia has no need of anyone to adopt her.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I will be in Greece and Turkey for the next couple weeks.  if you post fic or interesting meta--or see something great to rec--I would appreciate if you would link me, because I won't have much time for fandom.
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
Title: Hand In Glove
Fandom: NASA Mars Mission posters
Word Count: 3554
Summary: This, Javier Navarro thought in disgust as he stared up at the tower he was supposed to fix, was not exactly the heroic and exciting thing he had imagined when he’d seen the NASA recruiting posters and, on a whim, submitted an application.
Read more... )

Title: From Castle to Palace
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast/French History RPF
Word Count: 17,602
Summary: The curse is broken. Belle and her Beast would be happy to just live quietly together in the curse-free castle. Unfortunately, the rest of France has other ideas …
Read more... )

Title: The Music of the Spheres
Fandom: Fantasia (1940)
Word Count: 1662
Summary: This is the music that underscores all.
Read more... ) had such a great prompt.  It's really meta, and it takes three of the pieces--The Rite of Spring (the Evolution one), The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Night on Bald Mountain--and examines the relationship between the music and the story.  I really like it, although it is the least popular of all my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide fics.

Title: On the Nature of Miracles
Fandom: Chalionverse/World of the Five Gods
Word Count: 1475
Summary: Even the Mother's miracles of healing have limits

Meta about the fic )

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
I received a Cat Pictures Please fic.  Catnip: You're Welcome, which is a sweet story.  I also wrote four stories this year: my assignment, a pinch-hit, and two treats.  See if you can guess which ones they are!

Here are my recs:

84 fics in a variety of fandoms )
beatrice_otter: Woman in age-of-sail uniform (Lieutenant Bennet)
This year, for Yuletide, there were a couple of post-series stories (now that the series is complete) in which Tharkay and Lawrence get together as a couple.  And I found, reading them, that after the last book I don't ship them anymore.

It's not that I don't think they'd work very well together, and it's certainly not that I don't think they have chemistry.  But after being disappointed when they both swore off getting married, I felt I had to figure out why.  After some rumination, I discarded the idea that reading so many Regency romances has primed me to be disappointed if there's no marriage (because if that were the case, it wouldn't be only popping up now).  Here's what I came up with.

1) Temeraire.  If Lawrence never marries, given his deep attention to the Proper Way of Doing Things, he probably won't ever have kids.  And I know that Temeraire, given his work for the emancipation of dragons, doesn't need another captain, in the way British dragons to this point have been passed down in the family, but I still don't want him to be lonely, you know?  There's this half-formed picture in my head of Temeraire surrounded by Lawrence's children and grandchildren, still hoarding them as "his" people, and having that family support even after Lawrence is dead and gone.

2) Tharkay.  Tharkay now has an estate.  Tharkay has now been wedged into the xenophobic snobbery of the British aristocracy, and it will do them good!  If Tharkay never marries and dies without heir, the estate goes to some collateral branch or reverts to the crown, and everybody can then heave a sigh of relief that it's back in the hands of Good White British Men, just like it was supposed to be and Tharkay can get quietly forgotten.  If, however, Tharkay marries and has kids ... then the British aristocracy has to deal with the reality of him for generations to come.  And I think that would be good for them.  (Hard as hell on the kids, but good for society as a whole, and I have never been of the opinion that "the world is cruel" is a particularly good reason not to have kids if you would otherwise want them.)

3) CROSSOVER POTENTIAL.  They are now in the tail end of the regency!  Think of all the Regency romances you could cross them with!  Would Georgiana Darcy be a suitable wife for either of them?  How about Mary Crawford?  And, of course, you could cross them over without romance, but where's the fun in that?

Which leaves me with two options for satisfying my yen for post-canon Temeraire fic.  Either they are together but married to highly accommodating wives, or they are not together and "just" very close friends.
beatrice_otter: Regina holding an apple (Apple)
As I was taking a few minutes to make myself some home-made macaroni and cheese, I thought to myself, "Self, there are probably other people on teh intarwebs who would love to make themselves a really-easy single-serving of homemade mac-and-cheese, if only they knew how."  And lo!  here is my Christmas gift to you all.

You will need:
a bowl
a spoon
a microwave
Macaroni (idk, half a cup? however much you will eat? remember that it expands when you cook it)
water (enough to cook the macaroni)
Cheese (a couple of slices)
Salt & Pepper
Optional:
a plate
Milk
flour/bisquick
dried onion flakes

What you do: you pour macaroni in a bowl, the same bowl you plan on eating out of.  Remember that macaroni grows, so like, a little more than half of how much you think you will want to eat.  Then you pour water in the bowl, so there's more water than macaroni (but not too much more).

Microwave your macaroni-and-water, stirring occasionally.  It'll take like five minutes?  Maybe six?  You'll want to stir it a couple of times in there to keep it from clumping up and to check you have enough water in there.  You can add more water as needed.  Also, the water will bubble over as you cook it so I would recommend putting a plate under the bowl to catch it.  If you have too much water when you're done cooking the macaroni, you can pour some out. But you do want some water still in there for the sauce.  Basically, if water is visible from the top it's too much, but if you don't see any when you dig down to the bottom of the bowl there's too little.

Once the macaroni is tender enough to eat, put your cheese in.  I put in like two slices of velveeta and some Parmesan (maybe a tablespoon or two?  Idk, I just dump some in).  (I also tear up the cheese into small bits so that it melts faster.)  If you've got dried onion flakes in your spice rack, a few shakes of those can pep it up.  Adding a splash of milk and a tablespoon or two of flour or bisquick will make the sauce creamier.  You stir all this up and microwave it for another minute or so (enough for the cheese to melt).  Then you stir it and add salt and pepper to taste.  If it's not cheesy enough, you add another slice of cheese.  If it's too cheesy ... realistically, is it ever too cheesy?

Tada!  There you have it!  In five minutes, with very little more effort than it would take to make the boxed kind, you have homemade macaroni and cheese.  And all you have dirtied is a bowl, a spoon, and a plate.
beatrice_otter: Jedi fighting against a blue background (blue Jedi)
Disclaimer: I have never read much of the old EU having to do with the prequels, and nothing since that became Legends and they started over with a new EU.  I consider the EU, past and present, to be a secondary canon, from which I can grab any neat and/or interesting things, but which I can also discard when I think it's stupid or doesn't make sense.

There is a question that has bothered me since I first watched Attack of the Clones in theaters over a decade ago.  Well, no, it hasn't bothered me, but an assumption I made about canon as perfectly obvious seems to never have occurred to either the Powers That Be at Lucasfilm, or to anyone in fandom, even those who (as I do) take a fluid approach to the EU.  And the issue is this: how sure are we that Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas was the one who actually ordered those clones?

Here is what we know from the movies and the cartoons:
  1. The Kaminoans believe that a Jedi Master named Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones, complete with the "aggression inhibiting" chip that turned out to actually be ol' Palpy's mind control.
  2. The Kaminoans have pretty much no contact with the Jedi prior to Obi-Wan showing up.  They keep to themselves, they aren't really involved in the Republic at all.  Which is to say, if a Force-user showed up in Jedi robes and called themself Sifo-Dyas, how would the Kaminoans check the identity?
  3. Jango Fett, the guy the clones are cloned from, was not hired by Sifo-Dyas.  He was hired by a guy named Tyranous, which just happens to be Count Dooku's Sith name.
  4. Sifo-Dyas died around the time that the clone army was ordered.

Now, there are three possibilities.  Either Sifo-Dyas was an active participant in the conspiracy to start the Clone Wars, or he was a patsy manipulated by Palpatine and Dooku into ordering a clone army, or Sifo-Dyas wasn't the one who ordered the clones at all.  Let's consider them one by one.
  1. Sifo-Dyas is also a fallen Jedi, he just didn't leave the Order.  Or maybe he was still on the side of light but believed that the Republic was too corrupt and needed to be destroyed.  Either way, he wants the Clone Wars to happen, and he is an active conspirator in getting the ball rolling by creating an army that will appear just at the right time to kick things off.  If this is the case, why did he die?  It seems to me that it would be a staggering coincidence if he just HAPPENED to die right then, right after ordering the clones.  I suppose it's possible, but unlikely.  It's also possible that there was a falling-out among thieves, but (witness Pong Krell) it would seem to be more like Palpatine and Dooku's modus operandi to leave him in the Jedi Order where he can be stirring the pot and causing bad things from inside, and then kill him or extract him later when his usefulness is actually at an end.
  2. Sifo-Dyas was a patsy manipulated by Palpatine and/or Dooku into doing their will and ordering the clones.  This seems to be the tack that EVERYBODY AND THEIR BROTHER, from Lucasfilm on down, assumes.  But it's never really made sense to me.  I mean, wow, that is some serious manipulation.  Okay, so I can totally see Palpatine getting some poor Jedi all in a twist with visions like Anakin's, but Anakin's were relatively straightforward and simple: person you love is in danger, Jedi can't save them, I can.  The actions prompted by those visions are, at heart, very simple and straightforward.  Worried about loved one?  Turn to the dark side and save them!  Problem solved!  .... traveling outside the Republic to a secretive race of beings with specialized technology to create an army of clones, when the Republic hasn't even HAD an army for centuries, an army that's going to take ten years to create, that's ... that's so out of left field, I have no idea how you would manipulate someone into doing that.  It's nowhere near the normal Jedi playbook, it's nowhere near the Republic playbook, it's taking what was (at the time) business as usual and catastrophizing it to the nth degree.  Like, what kind of visions would do that?  I don't even have a clue.  This is a REALLY COMPLICATED plot, with lots of moving parts.  Like money.  All those clones, ten years of growth and training, it could not have been cheap.  If Sifo-Dyas was manipulated into doing it, where did he think the money came from?  Where DID the money come from?  How was he convinced to use it in that way?  I mean, if it were me, and I was a Jedi getting visions of some sort of future catastrophe involving the Jedi and a war or something, I wouldn't use a fortune to create a clone army.  I would use that fortune to hire the best PR and lobbying firm in the Republic to try and sway public opinion to prevent it that way.  I mean, I suppose it's possible, but it has never seemed especially LIKELY.
  3. It wasn't Sifo-Dyas at all.  Palpatine and Dooku hatch the plot, and Palpatine as Chancellor is a little to recognizeable and in the spotlight to play the part of the Jedi to the Kaminoans.  Dooku can't go as himself, because then when the Jedi find out about the clones (and they have to, to be able to use them), it will be obvious that it is a trap of some sort, because why would he create clones that he would then have to fight, and if he were going to create the clones and then decided to fight the Republic, why not either a) make the clones loyal to himself, and not the Jedi, or b) just stop the order entirely?  So he picks the name of a Jedi recently dead or whom he kills himself.  This way, it's a legitimate name the Kaminoans can check, but nobody will be able to ask the Jedi in question "hey, did you create that clone army?" and find out that somebody was impersonating him.  This way, the Jedi are asking "why did Sifo-Dyas create a clone army?" and not "why does somebody want us to think Sifo-Dyas created a clone army?"  Then he goes and hires Jango Fett to be the model, and uses his own (new Sith) name because while he wants a little anonymity, he also wants to be able to hire Jango for stuff on the side of the Separatists.

Option three, where it wasn't Sifo-Dyas it was Dooku all along, has always seemed to me to be the simplest and most direct answer.  And I was pretty sure that's what they were hinting at by pointedly having Obi-Wan be surprised it was Sifo-Dyas because he died around then, and also by having Jango Fett pointedly tell Obi-Wan that no, Sifo-Dyas didn't hire him, Tyranous (a Sith name if there ever was one) did.  Like, I came out of the theater thinking that was A BLINKING RED NEON SIGN THAT THERE WERE NO JEDI INVOLVED IN THE CREATION OF THE CLONES, and expected that to be a plot point in the next movie.  And I have spent the past fourteen years bemused that everybody seems to take the Kaminoans statement that Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones at face value.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
The Standing Rock Reservation won the fight with the pipeline (at least for now, we'll see what Trump does), but at a steep cost. They drained their funds supporting the protestors, and could really use some cash to tide them over, even in a best-case scenario. (If Trump brings the pipeline back, things could get ugly again.) But the funds they used to support the camps were also the funds they have to support things like schools, snow-plowing (kind of crucial in North Dakota winters) and just generally keep things running.

If you would like to help them get through the winter, here is a link to donate to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. (Your contribution is tax-deductible and will be made to the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, which has established a special fund for the exclusive use of the tribe.)

I have some comments on the aftermath of the whole situation.  Living in North Dakota, I've got a rather different perspective from the ones I've seen in the media and in fandom.  I know people who went to the camps in support, and I know deputies that got sent down there to keep order.

First, I support the tribe, I'm glad they won, and that this has turned into a rallying cry that has helped unite Native American tribes from across the US and indigenous peoples from across the world.  This was the first time in over a century that the Seven Council Fires of the Sioux met together, and that is wonderful.

Second, I am so angry at the fucking White Savior Liberal Activists.  Because a lot of them showed up, and they did a lot of really nasty things.  They ignored the wishes of the tribe on whose behalf they were supposedly protesting.  The tribe wanted peaceful protests.  There were a number of WSLA who did not care what the tribe wanted, and they used violence and destruction against the explicit wishes of the tribe in order to provoke police retaliation so they could go on social media and talk about police brutality.  They also went around to a lot of local white farmers and ranchers and destroyed equipment and farm supplies.  I have no idea why, but they did it.  If you wondered why there were so many cops getting pulled in to "keep order", that was why.  And you know that woman who got her arm half blown off?  According to an Episcopalian chaplain who was at the camp to support the protestors, she was building a bomb and got careless and that's how she was injured.  I'm not saying the police were perfect angels (hah!) or that they did everything right.  They did some shitty stuff too.  I am saying that in some of those incidents, the fucking WSLAs don't have any room to complain, and their actions not only got them hurt but caused long-term damage to the people they were there to help.  You know, I expect to be disappointed and angry at the police in a situation like this.  To have to deal with stuff like this from people who are supposed to be on the good side is ten times worse.

And you know what?  The WSLAs are all gone now, and the tribe they ignored and used is still here picking up the pieces.  The tribe has gotten blamed for so much shit the WSLAs did, and the WSLAs burned so many bridges the tribe needs more now than ever.

In short: support the tribe, and if you are a white person who wants to protest things involving people of color, FUCKING WELL LISTEN TO THEM AND DON'T SHIT ALL OVER THE PEOPLE YOU ARE SUPPOSEDLY HELPING.
beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
It's that time of year again.  As some of us are frantically writing Yuletide stories, there comes the challenge of finding betas for obscure fandoms that we don't normally write in and so don't have a beta for.  There are several ways of finding betas, but one of them is to ask a hippo in the Yuletide chat to find someone for you.  (Hippos are matchmakers to help people find betas without compromising their anonymity as authors.  Here's an instruction manual and explanation, if you're interested in joining chat or learning more.)  And usually, they can!  But sometimes even the hippos in chat fall short.  There are currently several beta requests, a couple that have been open for a couple of days, so I thought I would try to publicize them.  If you can help with one of them, you can either go into chat yourself and talk to the Hippo there (if they're online), track them down some other way, or ask me and I'll hook you up.  The hippo will then send you the contact information.


Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Dangan Ronpa 3, 10k words

Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Trails of Cold Steel, 13k words

Hippo: kinetikatrue
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (TV) 27k words (gore warning)

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
The FBI and the Department of Justice are trying to put through a "small rule change" about how warrants that would have a big effect.  The Justice Department is using an obscure rule of federal criminal procedure – called Rule 41 – to sneak this expansion through.  Right now, when an FBI agent wants to hack computers of potential suspects or innocent victims of malware attacks, it has to get a warrant from a judge where the crime occurred.  That gives government hacking clear judicial oversight to make sure our Fourth Amendment rights aren’t violated and stops the FBI from hacking whomever it wants. But if the DOJ’s “small change” goes through, the FBI can shop around until it finds the right judge to sign just one warrant to hack any computers related to their case. That could mean hacking millions of computers all over the world with just one warrant.  And Congress hasn’t even held a public hearing to debate this expansion of government hacking and its potential consequences for the American people!

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is trying to stop this with a bill called the Stopping Mass Hacking Act (S.2952).  This wouldn't stop it completely, but it would require Congress to actually talk about it before letting it pass.  You know the drill.  If computer security and government snooping are important to you, please call your congresscritter and talk to them about it.  http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ and http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Here's a handy script:

I believe that the federal government already has too much ability to pry into the lives of US citizens and spy on them.  The Department of Justice is trying to greatly expand that with a change to their rules for warrants, so that they can hack large numbers of private citizens on suspicion that they may be related, without needing to justify each hack.  This is unlawful search and seizure.  Congress should stop this, or at least talk about it before letting it go through.  Please support the Stopping Mass Hacking Act bill, so that Congress and the rest of America can talk about what judicial oversight is appropriate to protect Americans from over-zealous government hacking.

beatrice_otter: Delenn--We are Starstuff (Starstuff)
As I was going through the Yuletide signups looking for treats to write (no, my main story isn't done yet, this is a form of cat vacuuming*), I realized that the fandom I had noticed with excitement on the signup sheet was not, in fact, what I thought it was.  I thought "Official NASA Journey To Mars Posters (2009)" were the same posters as the Space Tourism Posters NASA put out this year.  But, in fact, they are not.  There are two sets of cool retro posters!  My day is brightened!  But it's a good thing I noticed this before picking a prompt and starting to write.

*Cat vacuuming is a term thought up by my favorite writer, Lois McMaster Bujold, of that stage of writing where one is desperate to do anything to avoid sitting down at the computer and actually putting words down.  After one has cleaned the whole house top to bottom, done all the yardwork, made dinner and cleaned the kitchen, run all one's errands, organized the garage, and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LEFT to do besides write, one is very tempted to shrug and say something along the lines of, "well, I haven't vacuumed the cat yet," and try that instead.

beatrice_otter: Radek Zelenka--sometimes what you need is a scruffy man with a flashlight (Scruffy man with flashlight)
My personal laptop is old and has problems.  Not with the actual computer part of it; with the power and big cracks in the case.  As in, big chips of plastic case come off every so often, and while the power cord itself works fine the place it plugs into only works intermittently.  If you can find the exact right place, and not jiggle the laptop or the cord at all and hold the whole thing perfectly still, it charges fine.  But it's really annoying.

So I was going to replace it.  It's Windows 7, and I use Windows 8 and10 at work.  They're both faster, but 7 is SO MUCH EASIER to use on a laptop.  (8 and 10 assume that a tablet is your primary way to use the OS, or at least a touchscreen laptop.)  So I wanted to keep it, since it's still being updated.  I bought a refurbished Windows 7 laptop online, tried it out, it worked fine.  I was getting ready to load all my programs and transfer my files (a huge bother), when a techie friend said "hey, it's so much easier and quicker to clone it, why don't you do that instead?"

Okay, great.  Fine.  I read some articles online so I know what I'm doing, download a cloning software and clone my old hard drive onto my new one ... and it won't boot up.  Try it again, same thing.  Now, at this point, I would like to just go back to how I started and manually transfer programs and files, but I don't think that's possible because it's been formatted a couple of times--doesn't that wipe out the OS?  So I download another cloning software and try that one.  Same problem, except now at least I can get it to run System Repair.  Which says there's a problem I can't fix.  But the System Image Recovery options are also available now, and I go there.  Yes, I can use the backup of the original laptop I made before trying to clone anything (I am no fool).  But!  In order to do that, I need a system repair disk or a Windows installation disc, neither of which I have.  It will make one for me, all I have to do is put in a blank disc! ... which I don't have.  Nothing in town is open on Sundays, and I'm not driving an hour to the nearest city where I know there will be a store open that would sell blank cds, it can wait until Monday.  At least my original laptop is okay.
beatrice_otter: Sarah Connor kicks ass--made for me, not shareable (Sarah Connor kicks ass)
I went in to the doctor this morning for a routine checkup and to get some warts on the soles of my feet removed.  But one of them, I wasn't even sure if there was a wart there any more, or just a big callus.

See, one of the things that many autistics do is rub or pick at any irregularities in their skin--scabs, dry skin, calluses, zits, etc.  This is a form of stimming and can be anything from no problem at all to really damaging, depending on several factors like how often and intensely you do it, what type of things you're picking at, etc.  (If you do it so that it's dangerous--regularly breaking the skin and thus bringing the risk of infection, for example, or preventing wounds from healing--you can sometimes get the same satisfaction out of letting glue or nail polish dry on your skin or nails and then picking at that.)  And I've always been one to pick at things, though never to the point it became a problem.

This is relevant because, about a year ago when one of the warts was coming in, there was a flap of skin or something sticking out.  And this is on the sole of my foot, it was really bugging me.  So I started fiddling with it, and eventually yanked, and this core of stuff came out of my foot leaving what looked like a deep puncture.  Well, I disinfected it and bandaged it, and when it was healed up there was still a callus there but I thought that might have been the core of the wart, right there.  Sure enough, the doc said I was right--it was nothing but callus left.  So I only had to have two warts frozen off, not three.  Yay!  Less pain!

Also, the doc knew like nothing about autism or how an autistic person might react to stuff in a doctor's office.  Like, the fact that we have sensory processing issues was complete news to her.  So now she knows, and hopefully will take this into account for her other autistic patients.  (At roughly 1 in 70 people being on the spectrum, I guarantee I'm not the only one of her patients who is autistic, whether they--or she--know it or not.)
beatrice_otter: A Beatrix Potter illustration of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Lucie having tea. (Mrs Tiggy-Winkle)
Apparently the autocomplete in my phone doesn't recognize the word "persnickety."
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Me, at a meeting yesterday: gives information about someone that's going to be published in the paper.

Guy writing the article: so it was x?

Me: no, it was y.

Article guy: so I can put down x, then?

Me: no, it was y, let me explain how x and y are completely different and it was NOT x, it was y. No x at all.

Article guy: okay, gotcha. Y, not x.

Me, reading the paper today: ... he put it in the paper as xy.

Friendly reminder, folks, of how often it is that things in the news are less than completely accurate. Take this case: the guy writing the article has no horse in the race, no stakes, he genuinely wants to get this right because he takes pride in his work. And it wasn't a case of a man just not listening to a woman; I've worked with him for years, he does not pull that kind of crap. But he thought he knew what the deal was, and even though I corrected him (and he understood at the time and took notes), this was one detail of a larger article and we had a lot of stuff to cover so I didn't want to derail the whole meeting to make sure he really and truly understood what was going on, and I don't proof-read his stuff. I'm pretty sure what happened was that he understood at the time, but by the time he got around to actually writing it, he didn't remember all the specifics of our conversation, and so he defaulted back to his earlier understanding. No malice, no trying to massage the truth, just a case of previous assumptions hanging on even after being corrected.

If it happens even in a case like this where there are no stakes either way except a pure incentive to be accurate, imagine what the processes are when you are competing for viewers/readers, etc.
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
Movie poster for Birth of a Nation

Saw Birth of a Nation tonight (the new movie about Nat Turner, not the 1915 KKK one).  SUCH a good movie, I still had chills an hour later.  There's violence and gore and a sad ending (though not as down as I expected, given what happened), and much is made of Nat's Christian faith in really interesting ways, so that's something to consider before watching.  But OMG is it awesome!
Spoilers and mentions of sexual assault )



beatrice_otter: WWII soldier holding a mug with the caption "How about a nice cup of RESEARCH?" (Research)
I have been carefully curating my playlists since the early 2000s when I went off to college.  All music I owned was ripped to a series of laptops and put into playlists based on my own personal preferences, which were then loaded onto an mp3 player.  Some of these playlists are fairly short; some are thousands of songs long.  When I play them, I want a shuffle that is truly random, where I have the same chance of hearing everything on the playlist.  It wouldn't be ON the playlist, and I wouldn't be playing THAT playlist, if I didn't want to hear it!  I don't want the algorithm trying to figure out what I want, because it always goes "she's listened to these twenty songs in the last week, so obviously they are her favorites and she should hear them again."

When I listen to music on my phone, here's what happens.  Say I want to listen to my musical theater playlist.  The phone says, "aha! she listened to Hamilton yesterday, so when she puts on the Musical Theater playlist, she doesn't want to listen to all of it, she mostly wants to listen to Hamilton!" and cycles through the Hamilton songs with the occasional other show tune thrown in.  Which, no.  If I wanted to listen to ONLY Hamilton, I would be listening to the Hamilton playlist.  I would not be listening to the musical theater playlist!  So instead of putting the phone on shuffle and just driving down the road bopping along to my favorite show tunes, I have to worry about skipping through the stuff I just listened to yesterday.

Alas, I have not been able to find a music player app for android that doesn't do this.  And since my old MP3 player isn't really functional anymore, and I don't want to buy a new device for something my phone can do quite well, I'm frustrated.  I know that I am an old fuddy-duddy, and most people don't manually curate their own playlists anymore, just let the app do it for them, but I do--I've got twenty years of music exactly how I want it, and it's super simple to keep in order as I add music to it.  There has to be an app somewhere that will do what I want, where "shuffle"="random shuffle through the playlist" and not "let me try to read your mind and horribly fuck it up."

beatrice_otter: Supergirl Victory (Supergirl Victory)
I do not have cable; I watch most things on Hulu Plus and Netflix and Amazon Prime, with the occasional thing on a channel's website.  For example, CBS doesn't let most of their shows on Hulu at all, so I watch CBS shows on CBS.com (which I hate with the power of a thousand burning suns, so it has to be a REALLY GOOD SHOW for me to be willing to do so).

Last year, that show was Supergirl.  But The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow were all on Hulu.  So I figured, the one good thing about Supergirl joining them (Cat as no longer a series regular, :( that sucks) was that Supergirl would also go on Hulu and I could watch it there!

But it does not seem to be on Hulu.  Does anybody know anything about this?  Will it be there, just delayed?  Will it not be there, and if so, WHERE CAN I SEE MY SHOW?
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
That was quick!  Matching must have gone really quickly this year.

Anyway, while it's not the BEST yuletide assignment I've ever gotten, it's pretty close.  We only match on one fandom, but that one has some great prompts that I think I can have fun with.

Which also means that when the early rounds of pinch hits go up, I can snag any that look interesting without going "no, not until your actual assignment is done," because the chances of me having problems finishing my assignment (and thus needing exclusive focus on it) are pretty small.

Fun, fun!

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beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
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