Showing posts from April, 2013
There are many, many things that I am not good at. Basketball. Painting. Putting down books and DS games when it's time to go to bed. Not deciphering things that turn out to be human language.

One thing I am particularly awful at is not Googling interesting people. I understand that this provides a lot of entertainment for the blogosphere when I do it to celebrities -- speaking of which, have a picture of Robert Downey Jr gnawing on Gwyneth Paltrow, and Gwyneth Paltrow being so used to this after three Iron Man films that she basically doesn't notice -- and I try not to tie myself into knots over wanting to know more about people who make art and/or science that I enjoy. Paparazzi photos ick me out, so I stay away from those, and my conscience doesn't bother me.

I'm also terrible at not Googling random people I meet face to face. I'm horrible with names, and embarrassingly prosopagnostic out of context, but I have this weird smart-dar that can pick out the other ge…
Got proofs back. Whee! Normally I hate having to page through a hundred bajillion proofs from a shoot ("...argh, I blinked... blinked again... wtf what happened to my nose? ... collar got crumpled..." It can get tedious) but the photographer this time was the lovely and talented Anastasia Sierra, who weeded out most of the test shots and other flotsam before sending them to me.

I was there to model some vintage pieces (a load of hats she had, and a fox fur I fortuitously brought), so I asked her what era she wanted makeup from. It turns out that when they give you the US citizenship test, they teach you a lot of things about the Revolutionary War and the branches of government, but pretty much diddly and squat about pop culture, so I spent a lot of the shoot chattering about silent films and sufferagettes while Anastasia fussed about with her lights.

The makeup I'm wearing in that photo is quite heavy. I have flat pancake foundation on, brows drawn in a few shades darker…
I picked up a freeware mahjong game recently. I do that from time to time -- I find mahjong solitaire less aggravating than Freecell or Klondike, and less twitchy than Tetris. This one happens to be Ivory, available free of charge for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and iOS devices. The playfield is a resizeable 3D rendering, rather than the customary bitmapped tiles; you can rotate it in along a number of different axes, which is handy sometimes for seeing which tiles are really free in some of the more complicated configurations.

Ivory comes with both the traditional mahjong tiles, and an alternate set that have text markings instead. They use Arabic and Roman numerals, Greek letters, some of the common Unicode digraphs, and typographical marks like ampersands and the copyright symbol. The traditional tiles are nicely rendered, but the typographic tiles are easier to see if I have the window shrunk down, so I've been switching them back and forth while I play.

At some point, I had a mom…
Since I am apparently doomed to spend the evening inside with Tylenol and Kleenex instead of at the fundraiser where I wanted to be, I'm going to talk about the dress I fully intended to wear there before realizing it was about 400% too respectable for any place called "Flat Top Johnny's".

I found the thing at a yard sale, where I purchased it for a whopping $5. Please excuse the fact that:

- I am an astoundingly lousy photographer
- I was in the middle of sorting laundry on the bed when I decided to do this
- I desperately need to wipe down that mirror
The lady who sold it to me warned me that it was made for "someone in a corset". It is, in fact, a smidge too big in the waist -- which is a big improvement on how things normally fit me, which involves taking them in several inches as soon as I get them home. I discovered that I actually had to wear a push-up bra with it, because the bustline is very obviously designed for a much higher max circumference th…
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Genuine Guarnarius"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Trojan Horses Caper"

Box 13 - "113.5"
Addendum: Fundraiser for the Officer Sean Collier Memorial Fund at Flat Top Johnny's tomorrow night. I've never been there, but given the location, it looks like it's the unofficial official MIT pool hall. I'm going to try to make it out there. If you're there too, feel free to say hi. I have three feet of red hair, you can't miss me.
The MBTA Transit Police Benevolent Fund has set up a donations page for Officer Richard H. Donohue, who was wounded in the Watertown incident. He's reported to be stable and likely to recover, although it will be a while.

The MBTA seems to be the traditional blue-collar lifelong career path in Boston. Jobs are in high enough demand that the T holds a lottery when they do their hiring. It's also where you're most likely to hear the (in)famous Boston/Cambridge accent, outside of Car Talk -- it's not uncommon for a driver on the Red Line to announce stops at Hahvahd and Poatah instead of Harvard and Porter. (Before you ask: yes, you can actually park the car at Harvard Yard, but only if you're a Harvard student dragging your stuff into one of the dorms during move-in weekend. There technically exists parking in the vicinity of Harvard Yard, but as a practical matter, you should not really count on being able to stop the car anywhere in Cambridge. It is, in all sinceri…
Hello, entire internet. I'm glad you like my comments about Boston. I'm informed, via Twitter, that there are road construction signs flashing BOSTON STRONG and WE ARE ONE BOSTON as far out as New Hampshire. I also can't believe I just typed the phrase 'as far out as New Hampshire', because New Hampshire is all of an hour away. I used to live in the Sonoran Desert, where driving for an hour will get you from Phoenix to somewhere else in Phoenix. Or, if you start from the edge of Phoenix, to a spot on the highway from which the only visible evidence of human habitation is the pavement and a sign that says NEXT SERVICES 40 MILES and sincerely means it.

I'm not really a Massachusetts native; when I was born, my parents lived in Andover and worked in Cambridge, but I grew up in Arizona, in what I am trying like hell to reframe as the longest and most ill-conceived family vacation ever. I am, however, a local, as in I live here now and I could have hiked down into t…
The buses out here have changed their marquees. Normally they flip between the number and destination, and route notes -- they'll alternate 94 MEDFORD SQUARE and VIA W MEDFORD RD on the front, for example. Today, there's a third phrase: BOSTON STRONG.

Someone has also taken to sticking Post-Its all over Cambridge that say things like 'breathe' and 'trust'. Hats and jackets with the logos of Boston sports teams are even more abundant than normal, and I wasn't sure that was physically possible. Although I shouldn't be surprised, really. If Massachusetts has a state religion, it must be the Red Sox. I was giving out directions to Fenway Park months before I had any idea where the hell anything else was in this city. I eventually learned that anyone standing on the platform at Park St Over and wearing more than two articles of baseball-related clothing could just be interrupted after 'excuse me--' with, "Any train but E, get off at Kenmore. One…
Finally figured out what the hell that kanji was meant to be. Ryuuichi's using the construct 父親, chichioya, which literally says "father parent". I've never run into it before. He's also using it without the formal o- or any honorific suffixes, when talking to Mitsurugi about Mitsurugi père. No dictionary will tell me definitively what that one means, but he is definitely doing it on purpose -- when explaining to Mayoi in the office, he drops back and uses otousan, as she has been.

The oya part is also used in other constructs for people who are seen as parental figures, like oyakata (親方), a "coach" in martial arts, or oyabun (親分), "Boss" of a gang, or the don of a crime family, in a very tightly-knit sense. The implication is that this is someone you look to for guidance. The character is also used with a different pronunciation in a collection of adjectives and expressions that describe intimate relationships, with overtones of great affecti…
Finally gotten to Case 1-4 in Gyakuten Saiban. You know, the interesting case.

Lotta's name in Japanese is Natsumi, mercifully in katakana. She has one of the heaviest Kansai-ben accents I've ever tripped across. If you've ever seen Meitantei Conan in Japanese -- she's worse than Hattori, who is hamming it up at least half the time. It's not incomprehensible, but I'm guessing at a lot of slang based on context and vague impressions.

Manfred von Karma is Karuma Goh. He is equally creepy. His speech is distinctive. It's common in Japanese to double up on imitative noises and non-word sorts of descriptions; a heartbeat, for instance, is dokidoki, and zuruzuru, zuruzuru is the equivalent of "dilly-dally". Karuma uses a lot of them, especially with -o endings, which in Japanese tend to be considered evocative of rolling or booming noises. (The "Goron" in Zelda games is from gorogoro, the noise of an avalanche or rock fall.) A lot of his dialo…
A few things about the recent news:

"Watertown": People keep saying "Watertown, MA" like it's an actual independent town somewhere that the police shut down in its entirety. It's not. Watertown is a district on the very western edge of Cambridge. It might technically be its own municipality on paper -- Google Maps will give you a deceptively certain-looking boundary line if you ask -- but so is Somerville, a town which I walk completely through on my way to the grocery store. On a good hot day, taking into account thermal expansion, it's maybe a couple square miles, and like a quarter of that is the Mt. Auburn cemetery. The media has been saying Watertown because the cops said Watertown. The cops call it Watertown because the locals call it Watertown. And the locals call it Watertown because the people out here have the kind of all-pervasive historical obstinacy about these things that one more normally associates with, say, the Basque.

Cambridge is part…

Weekend Radio Theater

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Second Generation"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Betrayal & Bumpass-Hell Caper"

Box 13 - "Death Is A Doll"
And in the final gesture heralding our slow return to normality, the MBTA webpage goes back to normal. They now advise us of a wide variety of annoying and obstructive closures while they make sure the roof of the Red Line isn't going to fall in, and refurbish bits of the Blue. I got the alert saying service was suspended at 5:36am, and at 9:09 at night, they return to explaining the unnecessarily complicated and tedious procedure for locating buses that normally stop at Orient Heights while they're working.
Holy. Shit.

Suspect in custody. Medic requested.

These people are goddamn magicians. I was sure this would end in a fireball. The fact that it didn't means that even the suspect really believed that the police were not out to kill him if they didn't absolutely have to.

Coming from a place full of rednecks and guns, this is almost incomprehensible.

Everyone left in the area is cheering like madmen.
Jesus Motherfucking H CHRIST. Reporters are trying to push their way onto an adjacent street. Plainclothes detectives trying to forcibly hold them back. YOU PEOPLE HAVE THE BRAINS OF JELLYFISH. SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR A WHILE.

Locals still doing the smart thing and backing law enforcement 100%, by which I mean GTFO when told to.

For distant folk: They haven't just charged the boat he's hiding in because they're worried he might have more IEDs with him, and that the boat has a full tank of gas. Watertown is a mixed residential/commercial subdistrict of Cambridge. Rescue personnel are doing their best to evacuate everyone non-LEO that isn't already clear.

News is saying police have found the last one, hiding in Watertown. He is lucky that law enforcement got to him before locals -- the LEOs want him alive, I rather suspect the locals don't.

Police are fantastic out here. Arizona Sheriffs would have blown the fuck out of this guy already, probably helped by everyone in the neighborhood with their most convenient anti-coyote shotguns. I have the utmost respect for Mass State Police, Boston Police, and the people who live in this city. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate living in civilization.
Further updates: T is open again, except for Commuter Rail, ferry service, and the RIDE, which will start back up tomorrow on the normal Saturday schedule. They say "limited service", which I expect means, "no faster than we can eyeball everybody getting through the gates". This also means that everyone they want is accounted for, or someone thinks they are, which is good news. I hope.

That also means I get to go out and buy more Aleve tomorrow morning, because I'm almost out and goddamn am I going to need it. I hate migraines.

[Edit: Apparently they haven't lifted the lockdowns yet. The T goes very far outside the boundaries of those -- and Boston is still rather deserted. Normally everyone is trying to race each other outbound right now, but nobody could get to work this morning, so...]

[Edit to the edit: I have a feeling the last dude's dead somewhere. Either he was wounded and has bled out, or he shot himself at some point when he realized he couldn…

T still closed. They get back on Twitter every couple of hours to tell us there's still no service and occasionally to answer questions like "Um, is there any way I can get my car out of the garage at Alewife?" (Answer: Probably yes. Contact the T Police at 617.222.1212. Info at @MBTAGM.) Boston still phenomenally pissed. Not at the MBTA -- one of the victims is a transit cop with the almost stereotypical Boston-Irish name of Richard H. Donohue, who was reported to be out of surgery and in stable condition as of this morning -- but at the people responsible for making the MBTA shut down.

I found myself hoping, as of about 9am, that the fucknuts involved stepped a toe into Rhode Island at some point. For non estadounidenses, US law has a clause stating that if you cross state lines in commission of a crime (including fleeing from the scene of a crime and aiding in the flight of a fugitive, which are per se illegal), it automatically becomes the proverbial federal …
oh goddamn it.

Once again, I'm fine. I'm stuck at home because the MBTA has shut down -- and that was not a fun T Alert message to wake up to; the last time the T shut down was for Hurricane Sandy -- which is exactly where they want me: miles away from where Die Hard: Boston Edition is apparently still in progress.

Shutting the T down was not exactly an overreaction, but I suspect they felt free to take such a drastic step the first time they thought of it basically because the city didn't lose its collective shit on Monday. Bad stuff happened and no one stampeded, so when more bad stuff happened they figured the citizenry would do as they were told, and issued the order to close everything down. I don't know details -- and we've been asked not to broadcast them if we do know them, incredibly without any actual swear words -- but I'm told there are FBI and SWAT involved and so forth.

The Powers That Be are understandably incredibly fucking angry right now, and …
Okay, gang, I have a mission for you. Primarily the female ones of you, and possibly also any drag queens.

My bras are all dying. You probably could have guessed. I've also gotten smaller, so even the ones that aren't gasping their last are being taken in. This is not a pretty sight.

I own one of these bras here on the right. t is a "Maidenform Custom Lift Convertible Plunge Bra", style 07747, in 32D. It fit me when I bought it, which is no mean feat. When it stopped fitting me, I started wearing it on the smallest hook. When it stops fitting me again, it will be taken in and continue its life until the cups expire or it disintegrates into its component molecules, whichever comes first. Maidenform does not make these anymore, because they obviously hate me.
So I need pointers to new bras that are similar to this one. You can ignore the fact that it's convertible; that, I don't care about. Gravity has not yet gotten such a hold on me that I cannot "convert…
There were National Guardsmen in the T stops today. They weren't all that obtrusive, but they were there, in BDUs, keeping an eye on things. Bags were being checked at Harvard, and probably all of the other stops that are too busy for the transit police to eyeball everyone coming through fare control.

If this were Phoenix, I think I would be more scared of the law enforcement than anything else. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department have a reputation for being sexist, racist assholes who think that "civil rights" is remembering to mirandize you in a language you actually speak, without using nightsticks for emphasis. (It is not an accident that the original case that requirement resulted from was Miranda v. Arizona.) I have great sympathy for anyone trying to be a decent cop in among that lot.

If someone was hoping for long-term chaos, they must be very disappointed right now. The city still runs as it always has, less one fare lobby on the Green Line. The T was o…
For those of you who are local:

The Newbury College Fashion Show is still going on tomorrow night. The afterparty is still being hosted by Storyville, and I intend to be there. I refuse to put my life on hold because someone else on the planet is a crazy fucker. I'd never get anything done. Besides which, given the enormous swarm of cops that must still be out there, the Back Bay is probably the safest place to be right now.

Full T service has been restored to all stations except Copley, which is still closed for the investigation. Storyville is right behind the Pru, so I'd suggest either Prudential on Green B/C/D, or Back Bay on Orange. 21+ only, club/cocktail attire, free admission all night. Newbury College is out in Brookline, and the shortest T route I know of is Green D to Reservoir, and then either hoof it or take the college shuttle up the hill to the auditorium.
Today, despite the terrible news, reminded me of why I feel so much more welcome in Boston than I did in Arizona.

I was at Mass General this afternoon, on my way out as the ambulances were on their way in. Reception was warning people that the entire T might be shut down, because that's what the news was saying at the time. MGH is literally right next to the T stop -- you have a good view of Yawkey Outpatient behind the Liberty Hotel from the platform, in fact.

So I walked out and across the street, preparing to hoof it home down the Esplanade and then Mass Ave if I needed to. I expected people to be streaming out of the T, but they weren't, and no one was posted at the door to shoo away the confused, which is generally what the MBTA does when a stop is closed. They were all flooding into the T, as it turned out; nothing was stopping downtown, but Green and Orange still had service at the distal ends, and the Red tunnels are farther underground, so they were just running train…
Dear everyone:

I am fine. I was actually at Mass General when it happened, talking to a nice lady who just last month gave me a very very big bottle of Xanax, which I am about to put to its intended use. I wouldn't even have known anything had happened, except I went downstairs to ask a question of my insurance wrangler afterwards. Patient Financial Services shares a lobby with Triage, and the ambulances were starting to come in as I going out.

I would have been home a while ago, except the train ride out was a little too exciting for me, and I surfaced in Cambridge to walk around for a while and calm down. The Red Line was running everybody Outbound as fast as they could. We made MGH to Porter in eleven minutes flat, with stops at all stations. I'm just happy the driver remembered the curve at Harvard. There was another Alewife train approaching moments after the one I left pulled out.

I did my grocery shopping -- badly, as in, I now have cupcakes, but forgot to buy bread -- …
Still happily playing through GyakuSai games in Japanese. I only get to do these things in fits and starts, and can't play games and fix my lingerie at the same time, sadly. I only have so many hands. Two, to be precise. Although I do tend to cache pins and needles in my mouth when those are insufficient -- you clamp the pin in place using the bottom edge of your top incisors, pushing up with the tip of your tongue and letting the part outside your mouth push against your bottom lip, but apparently if you don't sew you don't know this. The cringing the first time David saw me do it was rather funny.

The middle two cases in the first game, the ones that are Ryuuichi vs Mitsurugi, are enlightening. There's a noticeable sliding scale in the way Edgeworth speaks in English, going from "delivering opening statement to the Judge" to "hammering on the desk demanding that the witness give their name and profession for the third time", but the difference is …
I was fitted for a catwalk show yesterday. Can we talk about fittings? Yes? I thought so.

When doing wardrobe for a show of any kind -- fashion, theatrical, pretty much anything except a show heavy in dance, where costumes must actually accommodate your body or disastrous things happen -- the definition of "fit" used is typically much looser than in everyday life. Anything from "I can get it zipped if I just don't breathe too much," to "give me some safety pins, I think I can keep it from falling off" counts as fitting, for a catwalk show. You are a padded clothes hanger. You don't need to be able to live in the stuff, just get down the runway and back without dying or flashing anyone, or at least flashing anyone more than the designer intended.

The particular scene I'm in has wardrobe graciously provided by Ann Taylor. Ann Taylor (and their sister brand Loft) is perhaps a bit short on the leopard-print-and-flash that I prefer, but they do off…

Weekend Radio Theater

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "Murder In The Himalayas"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Hot $100,000 Caper"

Box 13 - "Hunt And Peck"
Further random cultural notes:

I would like to point out that the yobisute style of speaking occurs in languages other than Japanese, although it's most explicit there. It had a prominent place in English up until, oh, fifty years ago or so.

The BBC's Sherlock plays with it in the modernization; the protagonists call each other 'Sherlock' and 'John' in the modern day, because this is the appropriate localization (...chronolization?) of the two of them calling one another 'Holmes' and 'Watson' a century prior. Strangers address them both with titles, as 'Mr Holmes' and 'Dr Watson', to pay them the proper respect. First names are only for family and lovers -- the Holmes brothers, note, call one another 'Sherlock' and 'Mycroft' -- but the precise relationship of the detective and his doctor is more in the nature of a close friendship than anything involving professional distance. Hence, dropped titles as a sign of in…