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Friday Five debuts on this journal...

I've been thinking that I want to post here more often in 2018, because I truly enjoy keeping up with those of you who post regularly. I don't have much fannish content these days, and I'm not always good about updating on my own life, but two weeks alisanne suggested just the solution: thefridayfive, a DW community with weekly prompts. An excuse to get me writing when I'm enjoying the boring routine of everyday life and finding little to post about.

This week, we take to the skies...Collapse )

By the way, I challenged my quieter flisters to post 17 times in 2017, and I think some of you met that challenge (and more) and now are entitled to a drabble. I'll follow up on that this week. Ready yourselves with prompts!

Also, I just discovered that DW has not been cross-posting my posts to LJ in *months.* (Sorry, LJ folks. I thought you were just being unusually quiet.) Has anyone else had that problem? Any suggestions for fixing it?
One day, there will be more than memes on this journal again. One day. Not today.

My ten favorite characters from ten different fandoms (Do I even have ten fandoms?)

1. Sherlock Holmes from various Sherlock Holmes fandoms, except BBC Sherlock, where I like Molly, and Elementary, where I like Joan.

2. Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder (hm, this should be coming back on again soon, need to check that out)

3. Alison "Tosh" MacIntosh from Shetland (watching this on Netflix right now)

4. Harry and Seven of Nine and Tuvok from Star Trek Voyager (having been watching this on Netflix for *ages* and am still not done)

5. Hathaway from Inspector Lewis (mostly because I thought they were going to make him gay or bisexual; that whole idea seems to have been dropped, but by the time I realized I'd already grown to like him and his moody funks)

6. Ellie Miller from Broadchurch (do you sense a theme here? a lot of mysteries consumed in the magnetic_pole household)

7. Sue on the original version of the Great British Bake off (gah! three more)

8. Both Tracey and Cynthia on Chewing Gum (this is really fun, if you haven't watched it yet)

9. Oh my word! How could I forget? Korra from Korra (and Katara from Avatar)

10. And last but not least, DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE from Harry Potter (Hermione, Remus, Sirius, Neville, Snape, Tonks, Dolores Umbridge--what? JKR writes great villains--Minerva, Fleur, Slughorn, Petunia, Peter.. I could go on and on)

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Posting challenge 10/17: Adult-y meme

Taking this from [dreamwidth.org profile] ayebydan. Will put a text box below for those of you who'd like to do it yourself.

1.What bill do you hate the most? Uh, Graham-Cassidy? Currently. I'm sure it'll have competition shortly. (I don't know--was I supposed to say "electric" or "credit card" or something? Do you have opinions about your bills?)

2.Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner? At home. Don't usually go out unless it's a non-romantic (social, multi-person) event.

3.What do you really want to be doing right now? Sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee. Which I'm doing. (It's Saturday; this question is easy.)

4.How many colleges did you attend? Just the one for undergrad.

5.Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now? It was on sale.

6.What are your thoughts on petrol prices right now? I don't drive. That said, recently Metro has increased prices by about 15% and cut my stations's service by about 40% during key commute times, so I'm not happy about the transportation situation generally.

7.First thought when the alarm goes off in the morning? "I've got to get to bed earlier."

8.Last thought before going to sleep last night? "I've got to get to bed earlier."

9.Do you miss being a child? No, not generally. But there are things I miss from my childhood--living in greater LA, swimming in an outdoor pool, having enough time to read until I got bored.

10.What errand/chore do you despise the most? I am embarrassed to say this, but the chores I really hate (i.e., scrubbing the shower, washing the heavy pots and pans) I don't do very often.

11.Get up early or sleep in? Sleep in.

12.Have you found love yet? All kinds. A partner, various family members, friends, and now children of friends. I have been lucky.

13.Favourite lunch meat? Peanut butter.

14.What do you get every time you go to Wal-Mart? Mmmm. No Walmart, but I do go to the grocery store almost daily (see "Don't drive" above). Frequent purchases: soy milk, greens for making a green drink, cereal, iced coffee.

15.Ocean or Lake? Not near either. :) Would I like to visit one? The ocean. Would I like to be stranded in one? A lake.

16.Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? Mine is new-fangled--only legal since 2009 in the US state I was living in at the time.

17.What famous person (past or present) would you like to have dinner with? Hm. This one is always hard. Lately I'm less interested in famous people than the actual folks in my life. Let's say you: the flist-er I've never met but always wanted to talk to in person, or the one I haven't seen recently enough.

18. Have you ever crashed your vehicle? Once myself (a fender-bender while I was learning to drive); several times as the passenger when other people were driving.

19. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose? No. Thank goodness.

20. Strangest place you ever brushed your teeth? Not sure I've ever brushed them in a place other than the bathroom. Is the question more geographical? Siem Reap, Cambodia. Never thought I'd get to visit.

21. Somewhere you have never been but want to go? Many, but just to pick one: Brasilia.

22. At this point in your life, would you rather start a new career or a new relationship? Gah! Restarting either would be devastating. I hope I don't need to do either.

23. How old are you? The age my parents were when I first realized they were looking older. Also older than the author of this meme, bless them.

24. Do you have a go-to person? Ah, how I wish I had a PA. Administrative work has never been my forte.

25. Are you where you want to be in life? On the couch on a lazy Saturday? Yes. Though I may go swimming at the gym shortly.

26. Growing up, what were your favourite cartoons? Scooby Doo. The Flintstones. The Jetsons.

27. What about you do you think has changed? My weight. My memory. My ability to stay quiet when Someone on the Internet is Wrong.

28. Looking back at high school, were they the best years of your life? No. Gah! I hope the best years of my life are still ahead of me, don't you?

29. Are there times you still feel like a kid? Always. (My two cents: you never stop feeling like a kid, even when the kids these days start driving you crazy.)

30. Did you have a pager? No.

31. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager? I studied as a teenager, as did almost everyone I knew. The teenagers I saw on tv were foreign creatures.

32. Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with? No kids, so this is a little hypothetical. That said, I was the kid my friends' parents loved them to spend time with. I remember more than once a friend or acquaintance saying to me, "My mom is so glad we're getting to know each other!" At the time I took it as a compliment.

33. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stands out to you? I had several teachers in high school who coached various academic competitions (what my friends and I did for extracurriculars) who had a flattering level of faith in me. I still remember their confidence in my abilities; it meant a lot.

34. Do you tell stories that start with "when I was your age?" Embarrassingly, yes! Kids today *are* different--so much so I need to talk about it with them.

I would love to hear answers from all of you, especially if you haven't posted for a while. I miss chatting!



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Posting challenge 9/17: Five things meme

Borrowing this one from [dreamwidth.org profile] shaggydogstail, cross-posting from my tumblr.

5 things you’ll find in my bag: Mm, I try not to carry a bag. In my shorts pockets today: keys, phone, metro card, cash, ID

5 things you’ll find in my bedroom: books, books, books (the better half has decreed that the living room shall not look like a library, so the bedroom does); a clock-radio from the 1980s; several shirts that will probably never be hand-washed or scrubbed for stains; my one stuffed animal, a fluffy sheep the size of a volleyball; a mug with two dozen rainbow colored Sharpies

5 things I’ve always wanted to do: live above a grocery store or restaurant; live in a megacity; travel in North Africa, West Africa, or India; take gorgeous photos; write a novel

5 things that make me happy: sunshine, baked goods, air conditioning, eating out, baby animals

5 things I’m currently into: shorts and tee shirts, high-SPF sunblock, swimming, long periods of silence, not commuting

5 things on my to-do list: The real answer to this will bore you to tears. (They are all work tasks with rapidly approaching deadlines.) Instead: nephew-proof the apartment (they and their parents will be here for a few days); clean the shower (and pretend I do that regularly); purchase various yummy baked goods (under the pretense that they are for the nephews); check to see if I can bring the nephews to the pool; plan various retreat strategies for when it all gets to be too much

Anyone else interested?


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So I've had this odd, recurring stomach bug for about two weeks now, which in the end isn't a terrible thing--the semester hasn't started yet, I can afford to spend some time on the couch, and I have managed to watch so much television, you wouldn't believe. All of Broadchurch (excellent first and third seasons, much love for Olivia Colman); all of Grantchester (the most pastiche-y show I've ever seen, every cozy British mystery series trope I could think of wrapped up in a single show); whole stretches of Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine; the madcap, infectious Chewing Gum; and the best one of them all: Baby Animals in the Wild (on Netflix, ten hours total).

Click through, scroll down to that little spotted fawn, and watch the trailer. Go ahead, I'll wait for you.

This series is the antidote to everything difficult in your life right now, flist. It's twenty half-hour episodes, organized in ten pairs devoted to different habitats. Forest babies, beach babies, grassland babies, desert babies, wetland babies, mountain babies, jungle babies, snow babies. In the first episode, "Morning," you watch the babies and their parents wake up (or, for the nocturnal crew, settle down to sleep) and feed. The second episode, "Afternoon," takes you along while they play, hide, suckle, practice chewing, practice pouncing, and eventually settle down for the night. Tiny alligators break out of their eggs. Baby koalas cling to their mothers. Chicks open their beaks so wide for food. A spindly foal stands for the first time. Bear cubs devour the salmons their mother's brought. Gibbons bounce. And they all eat so hungrily and sleep so peacefully.

If you haven't seen this series yet, give it a try! I guarantee your soul will feel better. :)

Any other recommendations, flist? Shows you've been enjoying recently?

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Posting challenge 7/17: Book meme

Who can resist a book meme? Thanks to [dreamwidth.org profile] therealsnape for leading the way.

Note: I do a lot of reading for work--in fact, almost exclusively reading for work these days, apart from the occasional fic. Which means that I don't read a lot of fiction. But I do read a real variety of non-fiction--academic, general audience, recent, not-so-recent, in my field, in other fields. So I'm going to go ahead and reply here, with a caveat that I really wish I read more fiction. One day!

I'd love to see what you have to say! I'll create a text box below if you want to do the meme yourself.

Bold the statements that apply to you.

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
Of course.

2. You currently own more than 50 books.
These first questions are just to stroke our bookish egos.

3. You currently own more than 100 books.
12 Billies, if you know the Ikea bookcase size. I've actually received four in the mail while typing this meme. I kid you not. This is what happens when you study the recent past. Everything is $.01 plus $3.99 shipping.

4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.
Mmmm, no. I don't read online very well yet. (And honestly between reading the news and reading articles in PDF form, I don't feel I need any more screen time than I already have.)

5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.

6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands.
It's actually pretty logical--mostly by subject, with a bit of size distribution to keep the bookcase stable. But I'm not sure a stranger could find something quickly.

7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
Always!

8. You read every single day.
I read the back of the cereal box over breakfast. I'm not sure how I'd get through a day without reading.

9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.
Of course! Two, since one is a bit dry.

10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.
Always be prepared. (Metro riders in DC have to say this fairly often these days.)

11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
Actually, no. Reading fic, yes. Fic makes me obsessive. But not books.

12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.

13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.
Hm. If you have suggestions on this, let me know!

14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read.
I try never to decline the few social invitations that arrive, lest I turn into a hermit.

15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
In the general sense that all good days are reading days.

16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book.

17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.

18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.
No, and I've also never been mugged while reading a book. Gah! Do folks really walk around reading? Isn't that dangerous for a whole host of reasons?

19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.

20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book (it’s okay, we won’t tell).
Just once, when Dumbledore died. Full on sobbing in an airport, I'm afraid to say.

21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
Well, my students. Usually a few days before papers are due. But every once in a while a student will e-mail and say "I've read everything you suggested in class last semester--do you have any other suggestions?" and I'm giddy with joy.

22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.

23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.

24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.

25. And you judge them. A little bit.

26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.

27. You’ve vowed to convert a non-reader into a reader.

28. And you’ve succeeded.

29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.

30. You own several signed books.
I'm collecting signed books by my colleagues, as we start to publish them.

31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street.

32. In fact, you have.

33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.
If dead writers count, then yes!

34. You own a first-edition book.
Well, technically. But it's obscure and relatively recent stuff, nothing genuinely valuable.

35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.

36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.

37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.

38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.

39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.
Wow. Not at all. I'm going to be curious to see who says yes to this one.

40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.

41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.
My favorite academic remainders bookstore used to sell these great canvas book bags. I've got two.

42. You gave your pet a literary name.

43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.

44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.
Mmmm. Is this really a related question? Yes, but only because I'm old and learned to skim using caps and punctuation. kids these days r hard 2 understand

45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...
Embarrassingly, I once gave a cultural history of Christmas to someone as a Christmas present. (In my defense, it looked great!) After that, the better half took charge of all of our gift-giving.

46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.
Doesn't anyone else not have favorites this way? I could name a handful that really touched me or influenced me in some way, but I don't have a favorite.

47. You love the smell of books.
Ergh, not really. I buy a lot of things from the 1960s and 19070s and am always a little worried that smell is a toxic mold of some sort.

48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.

49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.
Hm. Held my breath, definitely!

50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.

And here's my TRS's very own addition:

51. You found out about a new book you want to read while doing this meme.
I did! Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter via TRS. This looks light and fun. And to contribute one of my own, since I didn't discuss specifics above: Empire of Cotton: A Global History



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Posting challenge 4/17: Happy-making

Last week write_out tagged me to post ten things that were making me happy, and, deep in the midst of my self-indulgent spring-semster doldrums, I was stumped--could I think of ten things that were currently making me happy? And then my router broke, and I wasn’t able to get online much at all for a few days, and a proper sense of perspective was restored. Wifi makes me happy! That’s one, at least. :)

But equally happy-making is the DC Eagle Cam, which is aimed at a pair of adult bald eagles in the National Arboretum who are raising two eaglets, hatched March 29 and March 30. These little puffballs are going to become majestic, intimidating predators in just a few months. It’s amazing. You can watch their hatching videos at the site or just check in to see how they’re doing...and what new unfortunate animal’s been brought to the nest for food. (Today it’s a fish; a few days ago it was a duck.) Enjoy!

What's making you happy, flist?

(Cross-posted to DW and Tumblr.)

Posting challenge 3/17: Meme time

[Forgive me if this posts twice! DW is reluctant to cross-post today.]

I'm at home in bed today with a stomach bug and am feeling *just* well enough to infect the flist with memes. (Not well enough to grade, of course.)

Here's one from Tumblr, which in true Tumblr fashion asks right off about your height, sexual orientation, and ethnic background (does this make me old, feeling reluctant to share personal information right off the bat? Or even considering that information personal?) and then becomes extremely polite, lobbing softballs like "Your favorite animal?"

MEME: Identify yourself!Collapse )

The second one, borrowed from a number of you, thank you, seems to be composed by a US resident whose idea of the adventurous life is a little more expansive than mine. Had I not broken my elbow that one time, the answer to almost everything would have been "no." Well, I do travel quite a bit. And eat sushi. But otherwise, I think the meme-writer would be quite disappointed.

MEME: Living on the edgeCollapse )
Okay, 2017 posting challenge, here we come! (Are you joining me? Check out my original posts at LJ and DW. I'm offering drabbles/double drabbles for infrequent posters like me who manage 17 posts in 2017.)

Flist, I'm slightly overwhelmed. It's not as bad as the first year or two of teaching, when every day presented an existential crisis: can I really do this? I can. But between the commute and some very time-consuming committee work this year, it feels like I'm always juggling one more ball than I can really manage. I'm late with everything, and I hate being late.

Also, I feel like I should be out there in front of Congress or the White House or something every single day. I keep telling myself that we all need to pace ourselves, live to fight another day, but the sense of immanent freaking catastrophe never really goes away.

Okay. Sorry. I'm going to set aside my complaints and political fears for something light: celebrity photos. I don't usually pay much attention to celebrities and don't usually find strangers very attractive...but I think I have a tiny crush on Viola Davis.

Click for the most beautiful smile you've ever seen [link goes to my tumblr]

Don't you feel a bit better now? (I'm a little weak in the knees.)

Flist, do you have a favorite photo of a favorite celebrity? Post, please! Distract us from everything else on the internet right now.

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Posting challenge: 17 posts in 2017

1. A very happy birthday to two extraordinary literary characters, Sherlock Holmes (January 6) and Severus Snape (January 9)!

2. I have a challenge for you: are you, like me, an infrequent poster here on LJ or DW? But do you still read your flist and enjoy the community? Pledge to post 17 times in 2017.That's only once or twice a month. Not so hard. We can all post once or twice a month even at the busiest time and keep the home fires burning throughout the upcoming year. We'll need the community and the support.

I'll do it if you will.

The fine print:

* What's the reward? If you reach 17 posts this next year and let me know in early 2018, I'll write a double drabble for you.

* What if you reach 17 posts before the end of the year? Fabulous! Keep going. That's the point, right?

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