starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
I ran the Scott Coffee 8K in Moorestown this morning. My finishing time was 52:50.7, which is quite an improvement on my 2010 time of 58:32. It helped that the weather today was universally agreed to be the best weather of any Moorestown Day ever. The race is flat and fast and the residents along the route set up water stations, blast "Born to Run," and give free high fives, so it's pretty nice. Also Moorestown Day now has a cheese curds truck. Hipsters, man.

[personal profile] spaiku and I went down to see our friends in Toms River, which was fun and low-key, and then we went to Seaside for ice cream--Seaside Heights, that is, and Kohr's custard. I hadn't been back since my abortive trip in December 2012, when between the cops and the sand dunes in the street I couldn't even get into the town. The island now has the world's smallest Home Depot, in an old house, and many newer houses in the process of being raised nine feet into the air. It's so weird to have the northern six blocks of the boardwalk just…gone, to say nothing of the Casino Pier that is now half as short again as it used to be. There's a stand on the boardwalk selling "Restore the Shore" paraphernalia, including a lot of wooden things made from the old original boardwalk wood. I suspect by the time I'm back in September I'll want one. Funnily enough, despite all the destruction, the island still is home to what has to be the world's only remaining A&P, which non-coincidentally is completely unchanged since the 1980s.

I'm not sure you'd notice it if you didn't know where to look, in most cases, but the Sandy recovery is all over New York, too--in the "know your zone" ads on the subway, in the endless construction on the MTA. I suppose I should just get used to seeing O's written with the hurricane eye symbol, given that the waters can and will rise again.
starlady: (run)
Official race time: 1:22:45, which is faster than my 2011 time of 1:24:57, though not by as much as I was hoping--I'd been trying to take that 04:57 off my time and finish under 1:20:00, but given that I wasn't able to do much training for the past month, and my shoes are basically shot, I'm quite happy with my time. It was a lot of fun! Even more fun than 2011, I'd say; the weather was better, too, although the crush in mile 1 was much worse, but on the other hand my progress up the Hayes street hill was much, much better than last time. I was definitely slower in the second half than I could have been, so there's room for improvement. But this year I wound up keeping the guy wearing the cardboard costume (a cactus this time; in 2011 it was a birthday cake) in sight, so that's a victory. I registered on Halloween for $31.31, and I think I'll keep doing that in the future, because it is so fun, and the sponsorship this year was better than when Zazzle had it in 2011, for sure. 

But seriously, Bay to Breakers is so fun. There's something really great about it--the people cheering you on from the sidelines in costumes (and half-drunk at 9 in the morning), the people running in costumes (not so drunk anymore; they've cracked down on drunk running quite a lot). I wound up feeling that as long as San Francisco can have such public celebrations of its own weirdness, the city will not entirely lose its heart. I hope so, anyway. 

I'm still selling a bunch of genre and related books, if you're interested!
starlady: (run)
While I was running this morning, a dude walking his dog (and I don't mean a dude who has a mortgage, or is a grad student; he was one of those dudes where you can't tell if they live outside in the parks or are backpacking and "living off the land" around the country, but probably the former) saw me and asked for a high five as I was running past. I gave him one because it seemed easier than not, and he and his friend were both quite pleased.
starlady: the cover from Shaun Tan's The Arrival, showing an aquanaut in suburbia (i'm a stranger here myself)
So recently the city closed off the old soccer fields that I run past basically every time I go running to redo the street next to it as well as the park, which is a city block in size. This resulted in the farmer's market that had run on the street in question on Tuesday afternoons decamping six blocks south in something of a huff, and meant that the soccer fields and the block were closed off for at least a good six months. (It's hard to remember when anything started because with the drought we've been having we functionally have no seasons here. At any point in the year, almost, it can be either sunny or cloudy and in the 60s F in the morning when I'm running. Nor does my running outfit change meaningfully.) 

I do remember that they finished the project sometime around June, and though the street has reopened to traffic, the fields, now divided into a shiny baseball field with distance markers on the fences and everything, and what looks to be a barely-regulation size soccer field, have not. They are fenced off with chainlink fencing, and though the sprinklers go on at random intervals (I ran through them yesterday and was very sad they were only at waist height, because it was hot) I have never seen anyone inside. The city appears to have spent a lot of money building an elaborate crow playground, as the flock of crows that live in the area are the only creatures enjoying the new facilities.

It might not be Night Vale, but sometimes Berkeley comes close.
starlady: Orihime in Hueco Mundo: "damned to be one of us, girl" (damned)
Most of my running shirts are from my alma mater, St. Olaf, the nerdiest of which has to be the one that has the three dropped letters of the Greek alphabet, Stigma Quoppa Wau, on the front, and "best fraternity ever" in Latin and Greek on the back. The most obvious, however, is the one says "St. Olaf" and then my class year in big letters.

Every so often while I am running along the treacherous streets of Berkeley someone will see the shirt and say to me, "I went to Carleton!" Which, for those of you not intimately acquainted with small Midwestern liberal arts colleges, is the other college in my college's town and also incidentally the real-world double of Blackstock in Pamela Dean's Tamlin. After much internal struggle (WTF do I care that these people went to Carleton), I decided that my stock response to this would be to say, "Um ya ya!" Which is our fight song chorus, and appropriate because we usually trounce Carleton at sporting events.

Today, however, while I was stopped at a corner, a young woman took off her earbuds and said to me, excitedly, "Is that a Golden Girls T-shirt?" Because, if you don't know small Midwestern liberal arts colleges or music schools, most people have only heard of St. Olaf as a joke made on The Golden Girls. (Full disclosure: Gatsby also worked for two weeks as a janitor at St. Olaf after the war.) I looked at her and I said, "No, it's a St. Olaf College T-shirt. It's actually a real place." 

Yup, that one takes the cake.

starlady: (run)
A week and a day ago I ran the St. Olaf Reunion 5K - it was fun, even for something that I got up at 6:45 for. The course is cross-country, which was nice for my knees, but I hadn't gone running for a week at that point, so [livejournal.com profile] olewyvern and I wound up pacing each other the whole way, except for the last ten feet when I pulled ahead because the chute wouldn't fit two people. So, 32:09 for me and 32:10 for her. It was a beautiful day, though since we had to trot back and forth across the soccer fields like fools my feet got soaked pretty quickly.
starlady: (run)
I just did the I Run 4 Cal 5K - apparently we raised at least $14,000, which is good. I dislike having to do laps, and thanks to the 5K I ran on campus last year I know it's possible to get a 5K out of campus without laps, so the course being two laps was mildly annoying (I suspect I would have had a faster time without having to do the course twice, so this is not disinterested whining, full disclosure). In any event, my time was 30:32 - I am satisfied in light of the hills and this being the first race I have done in eleven months, and my pacing was better.

In unfun body news, however, I have managed to give myself some kind of wrist injury in my right wrist. I suspect it's an RSI, though I hope that with braces and better ergonomics I can avoid doing it again. Luckily I have a doctor's appointment scheduled tomorrow for allergy meds and my persistent infection/allergy? thing in my ear piercing holes, so I will get my money's worth out of that $15 co-pay.
starlady: (run)
Happy Constitution Day, Norway! At my alma mater there will be cake for everyone today.

So on Sunday morning I got up ridiculously early to bike to the BART and get my butt on a train for downtown San Francisco to run the 100th annual Bay to Breakers 12K. I finished in 1:24:57, well within my personal goal of 1:30:00. The Bay to Breakers race is notorious for many things, among them the Hayes Street Hill between mile 2 and 3, which rises at about a 12% grade. Looking at my split times, I actually sped up on the second half of the course, after the hill; at the top of the hill my split time was 11:45, but at the finish line it was 11:24. Compared with the 8K I ran last year (split time 7:19), there's a lot of room for improvement, but I was pleased that it wasn't, on the whole, anywhere near as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. If anything, I took it too easy. (Fun fact: when I was at the crest of the hill, the winners were already at the finish line.)

The other thing about Bay to Breakers aside from the hill and the rather lovely course through the city's microclimates to the finish line on the Great Highway, with the Pacific slamming onto the shore in front of you, is that it's basically a giant excuse to have a citywide party. Those of us who actually ran it got a bit less of this, and this year the city also enforced the alcohol regulations and barred floats from the race course, which I understand put a bit of damper on things. Still, I have to tell you, it was one of the most awesome things I've done: the weather was perfect, if just slightly on the chilly side, the sun shone bright (except for the 2/3 of a mile that it rained in Golden Gate Park), and the people flinging tortillas at the start, the Elvi (plural of Elvis), the sharks (they run the course backward), the people running naked, the tons of people running in costume, the people cheering us on from their houses as they blared music and drank at 8am--it was all really, really fun.
starlady: (orihime)
Ecological Law Quarterly 5K: 31:37, on the hilliest course of my life. My last 5K, last July, was 34:20, which shows a real improvement, particularly in light of the epic hills (it was on the Berkeley campus). I met up with [personal profile] via_ostiense and C before the race, and afterward we had coffee, hot dogs, and ice cream while moseying around. I enjoyed that the race started at 12(:20), but now it is 3 pm and I have done nothing. Oh well, it was totally worth it. And what I should really do is start running that same course every so often.
starlady: (but it does move)
I got up at 7:30 this morning to run the Mayor's Cup 5K at 8:30, which I did in 34:20. Last year my time in this race was 39:40, and it was a lot hotter this year, so I am pleased with my performance. Unfortunately I went to bed at 1am, so I am now on my second cup of coffee of the day, and probably need at least one more. So it goes.

In Meeting for Worship one doesn't respond directly to what other people say, but today everyone who was moved to speak, including me, wound up all talking about the same general topic, understandably. The United States: what do we do with it? About it? As I write this my copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains and Ira Berlin's The Making of African America are both within arm's length; as I was driving to work Friday morning NPR read the entire Declaration of Independence, which includes a line about "cruel Indian savages" that just makes me want to reach back through time and shake TJ and the other Founders: both the Declaration and the Constitution, read in the light of today, betray the very principles they espouse and set out--and yes, I do think that there's no point to knowing history unless one does make judgments about it in light of today, though obviously it's necessary to understand historical context to make informed judgments. The events set in motion in Congress 234 years ago are inspiring and dispiriting and had many consequences both for good and for ill. We have done right; we have done wrong; on July 4 along with our watermelon and barbecue and fireworks we must remember that we are obligated by the history which we claim sets us apart to do much, much better.

Unserious ETA: Or you can have Karen Healey's version, in which George Washington hung on a tree for nine days and nine nights and gave up the ability to tell a lie so that he could endow Bruce Wills with the power of a hundred men. /eta

starlady: (oh noes)
# I remembered what I forgot in my last personal post: on June 5 I ran an 8K for the first time, in 58:32. Given that it was 81º F when I got in my car at 07:50 to drive to the town where the race was, I am quite happy with my performance. Luckily there was a surfeit of water stations; by the end I was just dumping the water on my head, which was a good decision. Loved it, though (really pretty course through a nice town I know well); would run again!

# I have a line on a possible housing situation in California that sounds like it's just about perfect. I am having a phone interview/chat with the house's point person tomorrow evening and am already slightly nervous. I have lived on my own before, but all my housing-hunting experience took place on another continent in a different language. Relatedly, I really want my senior year roommate to tell me whether I can put her down as a reference/recommender or not. (Voice of reason says: She's probably just busy; she has a significant other and a job and a life after all. Nervousness says: Augh!)

# Two months until I move to California. The list of things I have to do before then is…quite long.

# Nearly finished my Holmes big bang story, yay! Just in time, coincidentally, for major racist fail in another fandom's big bang (link goes to [personal profile] torachan's roundup). This sort of thing inspires in me personally anything but complacency. That is not what I want to do or the person I want to be in my writing and in the world, but I don't ever want to think that I don't have to think carefully about the stories I choose to tell, and how. Blech.
starlady: A can of gravity from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. (in emergency break seal)
The New York Times was on fire this week. All of the following articles raised some really interesting, important questions about a variety of issues, and I recommend them:I was particularly interested in the Heidegger article because so many of the philosopher's ideas are central to modern critical theory and cultural studies; I actually asked [personal profile] peoppenheimer, since he's a professional philosopher, what he thought about it. My thoughts on the culture article are complex; I think the author makes and misses good points with equal frequency, for starters.

Bonus manga discussion rec! [personal profile] branchandroot talks about CLAMP's problems with women and with endings. I definitely have to agree with the discussion of women and girls getting the short end of the stick.


This morning my dad and I went to Philly to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K, in honor of my mom. I ran the whole thing straight through because I was worried that my leg would stiffen up if I took a walking break, so I managed to finish in about 33:30, which is quite a lot faster than the last 5K I ran (five minutes faster, roughly). As they say, boo-yah! This one's for you, Mom.

Also the course was nice--down the Parkway, back up Market Street to just past 30th Street Station, then over the bridge and back down around the Art Museum to the Eakins Oval. I do love Philly quite a lot.
starlady: Carl's house floating above the fields (always an adventure)
One of the clearest memories I have of 1989 is of seeing sea and shorebirds dying, soaked in oil, in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the nightly news. My family and I have not bought a drop of ExxonMobil gasoline from that day to this; that was unquestionably one of the things that inspired my tree-hugging environmentalist views. Twenty-one years later, the shores of Louisiana are going to look the same very soon. Clearly we've learned fuck-all.


This is one of those very infrequent real life posts. Signs on the road which comprises 75% of my half-hour commute informed me this morning that starting Monday the county will be doing emergency road work on same. The potholes have gotten truly epic over the past five months, particularly in February and March when they were quite literally getting larger daily, so this is good news. Except for the fact that I think I'm going to have to start taking my backup route, which is 295. Yeah, that's not a great backup. I have to work tomorrow morning, and I may try it out then; Saturday traffic is almost nil, so that will establish a best-case baseline.

I went running at night yesterday and it was glorious. Dark, but glorious (and warm). My left hamstring was giving me trouble over the past two weeks, to the point where I actually didn't run for a week in favor of stretching every day, but I stretched before and after last night and felt pretty great. I think I might go again this evening. No I'm not great at moderation.

Speaking of which, I signed up for [community profile] ladiesbigbang. I have only vague ideas of what to write, but that's okay. More importantly I need to get on my Holmes Big Bang story; I'm at ~8050 with the plot clear ahead of me, but I just need to sit down and write the damn thing. I admit the scenes from the (AU)^2 sequel are taking up the requisite space in my brain with more verve at the moment.

Also, I feel like a blogger. I totally just drew up a schedule for my [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw posts. Given that one of them requires me to translate entire poems by Catullus again (because unlike me, most of you didn't spend your childhood in the Latin mines, and you ought to be able to understand the points I'm making about the poetry), this is actually reasonable, I think. Speaking of which...
starlady: (always)
It's Thanksgiving in the States, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.

We have a tradition in our family of going around the table, before digging in, and saying what we're thankful for. We didn't do it this year, because of who was present (two children ages six and two) and who was absent (my sister, in Portland, and my mother, permanently), but I did spend a good deal of time earlier this week thinking seriously about what I am thankful for. It took more effort to articulate this year, because this year has unquestionably been the most difficult I have had in a long while, perhaps ever, but there is a lot I have for which to be thankful.

So, first of all, I am thankful each and every day to be alive, and glad about the same. I am thankful for my health, and for the fact that, despite my own shaky situation w/r/t income, I have a roof over my head and food on the table every day. I am more thankful than I can say for my dad, my sister, and my bird, and for their unstinting love, and I am grateful beyond measure to have had my mother in my life for as long as I did, though it was of course far too short a time.

I am thankful for my family, and especially for all my friends, around the world and on the internet, and for all the people who share their thoughts on their journals and who entertain my comments, from whom I have learned more than I ever even knew I didn't know, and from whom I continue to learn. I am thankful to be applying to graduate school, and thankful that I have a reasonable expectation of being able to pursue my academic passions and eventually earn a living wage doing it. I am thankful for DreamWidth and all the people I've met there, and thankful especially for the Organization for Transformative Works and the Archive of Our Own, which have challenged me as a translator, as a fan and as a scholar since I became a volunteer in March, and which--along with the people I've met through them--have become far more important to me than I ever imagined. I am thankful too for the opportunity to translate manga and to be able to fill a niche, however small, in fandom, and thankful for the people who read, and comment, and nitpick my translations.

And I'm thankful for cranberry sauce.

Every year at Thanksgiving or Christmas I try out a new recipe. This year it was Ruth Reichl's pomegranate gravy. Like all recipes related to the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, it's slightly complicated for complication's sake, but oh, is it tasty. I will say, though, that you have to watch your sugar like a hawk, and stir in the juice as soon as all the sugar is melted, particularly if you're not using refined sugar (like me--I wound up ditching the first attempt, when I let the sugar go too long and accidentally made hard candy). Since I just bought pomegranate juice rather than juicing six pomegranates, I think next time I may try to concentrate the pomegranate juice beforehand (thus adding another pot to the process), but I think that will make it even better.

My dad and I ran a cross country 5K Turkey Trot this morning, and given that it rained for the past two days, it was easily the wettest, muddiest run I've ever had in my life--my shoes soaked completely through within about ten feet of the starting line, and let me tell you, by the end of the race we looked epic. Despite that, though, I managed to shave a good four minutes off my last 5K time (roughly 35:30, down from 39:40 on the Fourth of July), which just confirms the awesome.

And because I think everyone should read this book, I'm going to finish by quoting Charles Mann's description of the first Thanksgiving in 1491:
By fall the settlers' situation was secure enough that they held a feast of thanksgiving. Massasoit showed up with ninety people, most of them young men with weapons. The Pilgrim militia responded by marching around and firing their guns in the air in a manner intended to convey menace. Gratified, both sides sat down, ate a lot of food, and complained about the Narragansett. Ecce Thanksgiving.
starlady: (revisionist historian)
Went with the young literary man-friend to see The Men Who Stare at Goats tonight. It is funny fluff, enlivened considerably by the fact that Ewan McGregor having played Obi-Wan Kenobi allows the movie to make some very knowing in-jokes. (Although, ten years after The Phantom Menace, Ewan still looks like crap in a desert.) Unfunny things: wholesale, unnoticed, and uncritiqued appropriation of various elements of Native American and Asian practices and belief systems, by the U.S. Army no less. I do think, though, that the movie does have a minor point embedded in the fluff, namely that the U.S. invading Iraq in 2003, and thinking that everything was going to be sunshine & daisies thereafter, were both as bullshit as the psychic soldiers concept. But that might just be me, seeing that I called bullshit on the Iraq war since at least 2002, when they started trying to soften up the public and sell it to the media.

Dad and I wimped out on the Y12K, which I think is okay since I probably would have finished in major pain and/or torn a muscle in either or both of my legs (I've been doing better at stretching before and after I run, but need to do both more), but we have made plans to do a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Given that yesterday and today the high was 71 degrees F, I'm not worried about the weather. Also apparently my running shoes have been worn completely through the sole by my running in them. I am proud of myself, I won't deny.

Finally, in honor of NaNoWriMo, the AO3 and the fact that I've volunteered to be a tag wrangler for about a dozen anime/manga/video game fandoms, I present the return of the first lines meme: daughter of the first lines meme!

Currently I'm at 18172 words with NaNo. I'm about to reopen my document and plunk out some more words, and while I was running today I had an amazing brainwave that will make the backstory 100% more awesome, and possibly open the door to a kickass related book, but I've obviously fallen off the pace and, given grad school apps, don't think I'll get back on to finish. Still, this is more than I've done in my previous two NaNo attempts combined (confession: all of my NaNo attempts have been the same story), and I'm pleased.

ETA: Did a search in my document for "maybe" in light of this post on diction by [personal profile] jonquil and found that only my upwardly mobile lower class character, and the person who spends too much time with her, used "maybe." I wish I could claim that was entirely conscious on my part. Still, a great post. /ETA

Okay, for real this time )
starlady: Toby from the West Wing with a sign that says, "Obama is the President."  (go vote bitches)
Just got back from exercising my civic duty. It's a beautiful day for an election, way nicer than last year, when so much more was on the line and we had the feeling that we were on the right side of history, doing the right thing. That was a nice feeling. I do like voting, but that's partly because I like being in control.

GRE and a job interview (for holiday retail, but beggars, choosers, etc) tomorrow. I went running for the first time since I got that cold yesterday and was pleased with the results; we'll see if it holds up when I go again today. I honestly don't know if I'll be up for the 12K Sunday week, though, since I was sick for the weeks I should have been building from 4.5 to 5.5 miles per, and the race is 7.5. NaNoWriMo is coming along--haven't started in for today, but I have thought about where I'm going to go when I do crack open the word processor. Currently I'm at 6465, which puts me ahead of the curve, where I'm desperately hoping to stay. Seeing as I really should be writing my umpty-bajillion personal statements for grad school, we'll see how long that holds.

I read The Red Tree by Shaun Tan yesterday--it's a picture book, though the term seriously undersells the sheer giddy mastery of Tan's art, to say nothing of his storytelling--and I found it to be scarily applicable to my current situation. Tan just won a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist, and it was completely deserved. My copy of The Red Tree is a Canadian import by way of the divine Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis, but The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia, which are even better, are widely available.
starlady: (run)
One of the few positive consequences of being un(der)employed is that I have plenty of time to go running. The running woman )

In the meantime, job and grad school applications swirl about me. I could really use a stroke of luck on the first front; there's at least a chance that I found one this Sunday, when I went to Meeting for Worship for the first time in six years. But more anon, if it pans out.

starlady: (orihime)
My dad, sister and I ran the Teal Ribbon 5K yesterday in memory of my mom--I finished in 39:10, of which, considering that it was my first 5K ever and that I was by no means physically destroyed at the end, I am quite proud. I only got back into running (after about a six-year gap) about 10 days ago, but I must do more of it, it pretty much seems to be the best all-around exercise I've yet encountered. Seemingly unrelated muscles have been pleasingly strained.

I watched the Studio Ghibli film "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" tonight. It was, I believe, Studio Ghibli's first feature film, but after 25 years it's aged surprisingly well (which is to say, not at all), if one excepts the 80s soundtrack on the Japanese language track. I've been told the dub is good, but I really try not to watch dubs.

It's striking to see how many of Miyazaki Hayao's themes are revealed to be signal preoccupations--girls that fly, powerful women who oppose them, the immense importance of living in balance with the Earth. Nausicaä is an appealing heroine (and a ginger!); I found it amusing that everyone in her valley wants to protect her, but she takes no notice of that and protects them instead. Also, she didn't die at the end, at which I was vastly relieved--since reading Livia Monnet's chapter in Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams, I've become hyper-aware of all the maternal, female messiahs in sff who die and redeem the world by dying (perhaps the prime example of this is Aenea in Dan Simmons' Endymion and The Rise of Endymion). Plus she has an Evie a fox-squirrel, which is just cool. Per Monnet, I also found it interesting to consider the fact that Nausicaä's agency (or rather, its effectiveness) arises squarely from that characteristic which has traditionally disqualified women from full subject-hood: her openness (or permeability) to other beings, whether it's her fox-squirrel, the ohmu, other people or the world itself. By the same token, it's also interesting to contemplate Lady Yushara as a cyborg, which she apparently is. I was also struck by how many of the movie's themes seem to have been taken up by other, later anime--the Giant Warriors in particular are like something out of Eva or The Big O (and they look a lot like the giant robots in Laputa. Miyazaki steals from himself above all other sources).

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