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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Life in Points

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Life in Points

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disgruntled
  1. Bobby had his first class Tuesday night--second-level General Chemistry--and so thy madness hath officially begun. Thy madness, for those who do not know, is our return to education. More specifically, biology education. Meanwhile, I am reviewing my own general chemistry because a look the other day at graduate programs in marine science showed that most recommend or require a full year of organic. Dangnabit.

  2. For those amused by our fishy foibles, I came home the other day to find Mack the Knife back up inside the filter outlet. But by the time I checked again at evening time, Mack was back in his cave, and that's where he's stayed since. Silly fish. I guess he needs a home and a vacation home.

    I will be posting fishy pictures, but I have to change the batteries in my camera. At first, I thought Mack was curious-looking but mostly ugly but now I think he's so dumb-looking that he's actually cute. Hmmm.

  3. To the IT geniuses at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services: Okay, I kinda sorta understand your rationale behind locking our computers after twenty minutes of non-use. The key words being "kinda sorta." I understand that it can pose a security threat when employees walk away from their desks without logging out, yadda yadda. Not really an issue around here at the good old DPP WAU, since we have exactly two people in our office, but whatever. However, when said automatic lockout also automatically freezes CJIS for me, that pisses me off. Because it seems rather contrary to the notion of "security" to lock the computers and then also lock the freaking program that we use to run information on offenders. And I feel rather silly constantly telling the warrant officers that I can't run a tag or a name for them because bloody CJIS is frozen. Just like the government to implement a solution where none is needed that only ends up causing more problems. *sigh*

  4. Okay, I know that I live in Fantasyland much of the time, but I really wasn't aware that cell phones had become such a fashion statement. Everywhere I look, people are strutting around with those idiotic earpieces sticking out of their pinnae. And most of those people have a special walk that lets you know just how important they are to need a telephone implanted in their ear 24/7. (I guess this replaces last year's trend of the belt laden with at least one cell phone, a Blackberry, and a pager to the point of making one's trousers droop on one side.)

    Can I be officially sick of cell phones already? At Ocean City--a town essentially centered on vacation and tourism--I spied more eejits walking down the Boardwalk with these gadgets wagging in their ears, and there was one charming group of five young gentleman meandering down the Boards, three of whom were gabbing into cell phones. Can we give it a break, people? I get it: You're important. Far more important than me; my cell phone is usually either dead or on vibrate and stuffed in the bottom of my purse. I dislike telephones in general (as anyone who has ever tried to talk to me on the phone will attest) and particularly telephones that follow me about like a rat behind the Pied Piper.

    Well. I have decided that I can be important too. No, I may not be a corporate tool or beautiful and powerful enough to necessitate that the world be able to reach me on the Boardwalk or in the car or in the frikkin' toilet, but heck, I'm a writer and a student, and I think that makes me pretty important too. So I will henceforth go about with a pen stuck up my nose. In that way, I'm handy whenever the muses need me and I send the clear message to the world that, yes, I am important too. Important enought to require a bodily implant to announce my importance to the whole damned world.

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  5. Bobby found a new hockey team Tuesday night. He has been invited to play on his friends' Hockey North America B-league team called the Bulldogs at the Columbia ice rink. So no more Your Team Name Here, and may I say thank flippin' Eru. No more driving an hour each way to Ice World, no more losing every single game, no more league with exactly three teams.... (The HNA league he's playing in has nine teams. *shock and awe*) The best bit about playing at Ice World was that from writing there last year during NaNoWriMo, the smell of the place tended to make the muses very productive. Gotta love classical conditioning.

  6. Meryth and Talban are officially on their way north to try to achieve status as Canadian citizens. In other words, I finished and sent the models up to Jenni on Tuesday. I will post pictures after she tells me that she got them. I think that they turned out pretty well. It was my first stab at painting non-metallic metallics (i.e. painting metal items without shiny paint but using blending techniques to make them look shiny), and I was fairly pleased with the result...for a first try, anyway.

  7. I am considering working on essays on the purpose and meaning of the Silmarils in Tolkien's work, Feanor as a hero in The Silmarillion and how Tolkien's portayal of him compares to common "fanon" notions, and the portrayal of female characters in The Silmarillion and how fanon and fan fiction show them in comparision. I think I might be insane.

  8. Why, oh why, does the office phone always ring when I am here alone and in the bathroom? Always. I drink a lot of water and like to get up to stretch, so I will go to the bathroom about three times per day. (TMI, I know.) If I am here by myself for a whole day, the phone will ring at least once while I'm in the bathroom. Is it some kind of conspiracy? Did I miss a memo that we're being punished to pee? (And this is taking into consideration that on the average day when my boss is not here the phone will ring, oh, a half-dozen times.) And for one, at least, I will be in the bathroom. Argh.

    Maybe I need one of those earpiece cellphones....
  • Goodness, I remember the first time I saw the earbud phenomenon. It was the summer after I graduated college, and it was in London. I had been in Belgium for a few days, and I'd taken the Chunnel to London, where I was supposed to find a youth hostel somewhere in the city, in the height of tourist season, without a reservation*, or any idea of how far one was, and with 2500 Belgian francs that ended up converting into about £5.00 when all was said and done -- enough for one-count-it-one Underground ticket. In the middle of all of this, there were all these British persons striding around Waterloo station talking to themselves! It took me a few minutes to realize that they weren't actually barking mad, that they were just having phone conversations with earbuds.

    Having witnessed the rise of cell phones in the U.S. since then, I've considered revising that last statement about the British phone persons not being barking mad.

    Personally, I can't really think of any character in the Silmarillion, with the possible exception of Eärendil, and that only "possible," who would really qualify as a hero. People who take a bad situation and then make it worse for themselves, as about ninety-eight percent of the Sil characters do, don't really qualify as "heroes" in my book.






    *No, I was not being ditzy. It was an emergency. Really it was.
    • Yep, I thought they were talking to themselves at first too. Which is why the T-shirt illustration I posted made me crack up the first time I saw it.

      It used to be those weird dangly microphone things, but now it's actually some insect-looking thing in the ear. Weird, I think, but I would go batty being followed by a phone constantly.

      Personally, I can't really think of any character in the Silmarillion, with the possible exception of Eärendil, and that only "possible," who would really qualify as a hero.

      I was doing some reading on tragic heroes and anti-heroes the other day; that was more along the lines of what I was thinking. I agree that everyone from the Valar on down have a tendency to make a bad thing much, much worse. (Earendil, I would agree, is a decent hero. Finarfin too, though he gets so little press. And Amandil too, maybe.)

      But people have a tendency to portray this one or that one as a villain, and I don't really think that's on target either. Hence the idea.

      *No, I was not being ditzy. It was an emergency. Really it was.

      It made me nervous just to read it....

      I suppose everything worked out okay since you seem to have made it home in one piece. :)
      • Babe, I've survived much worse than that trip to London. Let me put it this way -- at the toughest point in that particular adventure, when it looked as though I'd have to spend a night homeless in a park, at least it was a British park in August. Perfect weather for sleeping under the stars, and the park had an opera house, too. And it turned out that I found a bed for the night, anyway.

        The reservation that I have about calling Eärendil a "hero" is his blatant neglect of his family. He leaves Elwing alone with two toddlers, while he goes off gallivanting around, not accomplishing much of anything. Given what happened while he was gone, the difference between that and outright abandonment seems fairly academic, and abandonment really is a nasty thing to do. I can see Amandil as a hero, but I'm not sure Finarfin has enough canon personality to count. He's a possible hero.

        I do like him, though. He's actually in the story I'm working on now, and it's been interesting to age him several millenia from the hail-fellow-well-met kind of a guy that I wrote in Four Hands Around and learn what's become of him since then.
        • True, Britain in August is better than, say, Baltimore in December.... o.O

          I don't know that I would count Earendil's actions as abandonment necessarily. Badly timed, yes, but I don't see his behavior as much different from the many other mariners who were seeking the same sort of thing and likely also left behind families. Or the other instances of Elves who would go gallivanting off for a year or two and leave their people to fend for themselves.

          I suppose my feelings about Finarfin come down to whether the line "But the host of the Valar prepared for battle; and beneath their white banner marched...the Noldor who never departed from Valinor, whose leader was Finarfin the son of Finwe" should be read as "Finarfin led the Noldor at home but left them to wander off to battle without him" or "Finarfin led the Noldor at home and then into battle." I've always liked the latter explanation, personally, but I know it can be read either way.

          If he did, though, I have a much easier time attaching the label of "hero" to him. He is the only Noldorin prince not to commit kinslaying and go off to do stupid things in Middle-earth, and he's the only one who actually gets to fight in the battle where Morgoth is defeated. Kind of ironic. Plus I love the scene where he is the only one speaking rationally, not that anyone listens to him, of course....

          I'm really looking forward to this story you're writing. (And I still need to finish the last chapter of "Four Hands Around".... *facepalm*)
          • I don't see his behavior as much different from the many other mariners who were seeking the same sort of thing and likely also left behind families.

            See, I wouldn't attach the label "hero" to any of those mariners, either.

            I also have a hard time believing that Finarfin wouldn't have marched into the battle against Morgoth. If only because he'd have to endure an eternity of "what if. . . " if he didn't. He strikes me as the kind of guy who Does The Right Thing, and going into that war was the Right Thing to do. Besides, you think the Valar would have let him stay home? Frankly, most of the Valar couldn't find their butts with both hands. They'd need Finarfin along just to get them going.

            I, too, am looking forward to this story I'm writing. It's set in Valinor during the Third Age, which ought to be interesting. And the last chapter of Four Hands Around is relatively independent of the first three, if you're worried.
            • I didn't mean to imply that I thought the other mariners were necessarily heroes. I don't have enough information on any of them to judge either way!

              What I meant was that it seems normal to the ways of life to Human and Elven seafaring cultures for mariners to spend a great deal of time away from home. Earendil--even being lord of his people--I don't see as much different. I see him as doing what males in his culture had always done before...it just happens that his timing was bad.
  • Feanor and his sons needed a PR person, heck, they'd keep an entire firm busy.

    In rinnor!verse, the last people to survive or leave ME are the ones who wrote the history, and none of them viewed the Feanorians very kindly, either due to loyalty to someone else or to perceived victimization.

    Alqualonde? Even though they were wrong to try to steal the ships, I find it conceivable that the Teleri did something first and things escalated from there. Both at fault for letting it get out of control.

    And Doriath and the Havens? That was but a police action to enforce the laws, at least that is how a Feanorian would rationalize it. What right does a granddaughter of thieves have to the stolen goods? Especially when the thieves stole it from another thief in the first place?

    If I had time and talent, I'd write a long fic spanning all the ages that deals with the personal relationships and politics among the elves. I have yet to figure out though, how one lives with one's enemies; it's ultimately a small tribal society, and everyone lives forever. I just imagine a very long back and forth of subtle digs and maneuvering for position between antagonists. Or not so subtle.
    • That is exactly how I see it. Tolkien did envision his works as pieces of history written by loremasters of the time, and so there is naturally a historical bias. And when you consider the authors of the Sil:

      -Rumil (of Tirion): Loyal to Finarfin and obviously not inclined to leave Aman, so I think it's safe to say that he has higher-than-average loyalty to the Valar too, and probably looks down on the rebellion too.

      -Pengolodh (of Gondolin): Iirc, he was born in Nevrast, so he never even met Feanor. Plus he was loyal to Turgon, who was certainly not in the fan club of any of the Feanorians...quite the opposite.

      So I think that there's definitely a historical bias in the Sil.

      As for the kinslayings...

      Alqualonde I've always seen as an escalation of events. These things happen. A fistfight in a stadium turns into an all-out brawl with people pouring onto the field and trampling each other, for example. All 'cause one guy splashed beer on the other guy while stepping over knees while walking back to his seat.

      It is said that the Teleri started pushing the Noldor into the sea. Whether justified in this or not, I don't think it's hard to see how in the dark (and the Elves--most of them--had never lived in the dark before), probably frightened and hungry and stressed, an eruption of scuffling and shouting could lead to escalated violence.

      Doriath and Sirion, I agree: the Silmaril legally belonged to the Feanorions. Dior and Elwing had no right to judge their deeds against their right to a possession that belonged to their father. And I've always thought Dior and Elwing guilty for putting their people--and their children--in harm's way over a trinket.

      But...that is why I want to investigate the Silmaril more because I honestly believe that it is addictive and makes good Elves do very stupid things.
      • And I figure Elrond has some majory grudges against someone, to censor almost the entire history of the Second Age. He's hiding something.

        Which is where my muse starts nodding, glad that I've been listening to her tales. I'm afraid she's twisted my mind.
  • Those earpieces... *shudder* I first started noticing them soon after it became illegal to drive while holding a cell phone up to your face with your hand(s) here in Connecticut--I assumed people would have the sense to take off the earpieces before getting out of their cars, but after a short while, it was almost like it was trendy to leave them on. Yuck! It totally creeped me out while I was ringing businessmen in suits with those things on while working at The Pharmacy. Like they were going call up to the mothership and order the store vaporized if you did something wrong. O_o
    • LMAO!!

      I am glad that I am not the only one who finds the trend bizarre and a bit disturbing. I really think that it *is* some sort of fashion trend. I see people all of the time, out with their families, for example, phone plugged into ear....

      I think they're great for the car. It's illegal to talk on a handheld phone in DC but not Maryland yet. (Really, I don't see why it's so hard to pass a law asking that people driving...um...drive?! I've seen a disturbing number of people reading behind the wheel around here lately.)

      When I worked at The Piece, the dangly microphone thingies were just out, and I always thought it so very rude, the people who would come up to the counter, shouting into one (or any phone for that matter). If/when I open my ice cream shop, I have already told Bobby that we will have a "hang up before ordering" policy!

      People.... *rolls eyes* Elves and fish are so much better! ;)
      • Heh, well, don't think that outlawing handheld cell phones while driving means people stop using them. ;) (Fond memories of driving to the airport before the Puerto Rico trip and seeing a guy in New York (where it's also illegal to use a cell phone in a car, I think) driving an occupied *hearse* while talking on the phone!) They were actually trying to ban *all* cell phone devices (since the real distraction is arguably the fact that you're conversing at all, not just that you're driving one-handed, but fat chance they could outlaw that without also outlawing passengers or other drivers on the road or something :P)

        Ugh, if they could outlaw use of cell phones at the counter for anything but super necessary calls (like when I need to call home from the pharmacy to get Mom's credit card number to pay for my meds), I'd totally love it! One of my worst pet peeves while working retail was being unable to figure out if a person was listening to me or expecting me to do something for him/her while s/he was on the damn phone!

        Agreed! Though I'm more of an Elf and cat fan, myself... more pointy ears (without stupid cell phone ear pieces in them) that way. ;)
        • (Fond memories of driving to the airport before the Puerto Rico trip and seeing a guy in New York (where it's also illegal to use a cell phone in a car, I think) driving an occupied *hearse* while talking on the phone!)

          I laughed at this, terribly enough. How awful! I was behind an oil tanker the other week, and he changed a lane and left his signal on, so I went around him, thinking, "Heh. If this was a passenger car, I would bet he was on a cell phone."

          Then I looked...and he was. Yep, nothing like driving a big mobile bomb to encourage cell phone use!

          And yes! People need to learn damned manners on their phones! I can see stepping aside to make or take a very important call, like the example you used. But when I'm stuck behind some moron at Rita's more interested in shouting into his cell phone than ordering his frikkin' gelati...ugh, that's annoying. (And this happened, earlier this year, and I said something about how rude it was and got everyone in line behind the guy talking about him. Of course, he didn't notice 'cause he was on his phone and all.... :^P)

          Agreed! Though I'm more of an Elf and cat fan, myself... more pointy ears (without stupid cell phone ear pieces in them) that way. ;)

          Awww...yes! *plays with unicorn ears since we don't have a kitty* They're pointy too. ;)

          (Btw, are you supposed to get any of the tropical storm this weekend? If you are, stay dry! :) )
  • *snerk*

    The chances of me answering my cell are pretty slim. If I actually have it where I can hear it, the chances of me being able to dig it out in time are close to none.

    And I think you *should* walk around with a pencil up your nose. Well...maybe not, because if you trip and fall, you might seriously hurt yourself.
    • That's true!

      Finrod just held up a sign: "Good luck finding your brain to skewer." OMG. Pot and kettle much? :^P

      I'm the same way with my phone. It died shortly after getting back from the ocean. I haven't charged it yet because Bobby put away the suitcase without getting my charger out, and I'm too lazy to get it out myself. :^P

      Honestly, in an emergency, the fastest way to reach me is by email.

      8^B <--übergeek
      • Finrod just held up a sign: "Good luck finding your brain to skewer." OMG. Pot and kettle much? :^P

        *smacks forehead, but secretly laughs* Did you come up with that yourself, Finrod?

        I haven't charged it yet because Bobby put away the suitcase without getting my charger out, and I'm too lazy to get it out myself. :^P


        Wow...Mine is charged. But then again, I also use it as my alarm clock in the morning!
  • Ahhhh, cell phones! I too have fond retail memories of people coming to the counter and trying to talk on the phone whilst filling out a rental contract, not that they ever read those contracts anyway, I guess. I used to like Mom's spiel at The Piece to cell screamers: "I'll come back when you're ready to order." *Turns and runs away before they can say, "Hold on George. Missssss! *Snap snap* I'm reeeeeady!"*

    It's illegal to use a cell (mobile) phone in Britain, so there are also a lot of alien head devices over here. The first time Kirsty's dad picked me up at the airport, he started chatting away in the front seat. I tried to respond but Kirsty poked me and said, "He's on the phone."

    Funny thing is, Mr. Joe is one of those people who wears the device all the time in the car/shopping (even when he's not using it or expecting a call), only to turn his phone off and leave it in his pocket when you've actually made plans to call and meet up somewhere. *Smacks head*

    I think the most upsetting thing I ever saw on the road (thank God I wasn't driving at the time) was someone doing a crossword puzzle whilst driving, I think on I-95: newspaper open, pen poised, face close to the page and concentrating intensely---on the puzzle.

    And to think I had serious palpitations trying to change the CD track while driving on the highway.
    • Illegal as in "while driving" or illegal period? (Oh, the latter would simply be heaven....)

      I just have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that so many people think that it's appropriate to carry on a telephone conversation while trying to interact with a real human being at the same time.

      I suppose, though, that people behind counters or wearing aprons aren't quite "real" enough....

      It doesn't seem like much to ask, though, that people hang up or set the phone aside while ordering or filling out a contract. How would they feel if I came up to their table with a phone in my ear?

      I remember you saying about the crossword puzzle. Personally, I think that drivers should be required to...drive. Not talk on the phone. Not put on mascara. Not read the newspaper. Drive.

      Is that so much to ask?
      • Ahh. *Smacks head* I meant while driving, of course. :-)

        It doesn't seem like much to ask, though, that people hang up or set the phone aside while ordering or filling out a contract. How would they feel if I came up to their table with a phone in my ear?

        You probably would be fired, if you hadn't already been fired for refusing to cook meat that is. ;-)
  • MWHAHAHA! I love that cell phone pic. That's great.

    And go, you! I still think it's completely crazy to do chemistry if you don't have to, but I guess you think the same about law, huh?

    I'm looking forward to the fishy pics.
    • Oh, believe me, if I didn't have to do chemistry, I wouldn't! But it is required for the bio major at most schools to have a year of general chemistry and either a half-year or full year of organic. At Towson, for the ecology track, only a half-year is required. But then most graduate programs want to see a full year, so we're going to bite the bullet and do it. Better than applying to a school and being rejected over a missing half-year of organic!

      I'm fortunate that I did my full year of general chem when I got my first degree. The stuff I'm doing now is just review for organic, which we'll probably take this winter.

      I'm looking forward to the fishy pics.

      I'll post them just as soon as I get off my couch and move to the desk so that I can plug in the camera. Lazy.... :^P
  • At first, I thought Mack was curious-looking but mostly ugly but now I think he's so dumb-looking that he's actually cute. Hmmm.

    owwww pictures! He really starts to reign that tank with a his home cave and his holiday cave doesn't he?

    The key words being "kinda sorta."

    Ow I sympathise! After a year of working on a helldesk, in my later jobs I always started with, yeah I know you think I am a normal user, but this is the prob, these are the errors, so what are we gonna do about it. The things they came up with were mostly masked with security reasons which were so user unfriendly, that they started to apologise, but ending with procedure is procedure. So basically you are paying for those who do not heed the security protocols they have to enforce...

    And most of those people have a special walk that lets you know just how important they are to need a telephone implanted in their ear 24/7.

    I once had an experience in the bus, while driving into town that a person called her friend to say she would be arriving soon. Fine you think, very reasonable. Until she started to squee through her mobile while her friend was just metres away from each her... I mean turn that darn thing off before I shove it somewhere. Also mostly in the train when i hear a person talking to no one sitting on the opposite... I most often have to realise first that they are talking on the phone. Thank goodness that the Dutch railways have compartments where using the mobile is strictly forbidden... not that anyone is paying attention to it.

    But yeah I have one. A very practical one which is on 24/7 and I take it with me when I leave home with Kevin: no exceptions, hubby wants it. But I don't use it that much. I half of the time forget to use it.

    So no more Your Team Name Here, and may I say thank flippin' Eru.

    LOL I like the name of the team!

    I think I might be insane.
    My thoughts exactly when I started to contemplate the idea of writing my own essay. I think it is too much to comprehend for one and I surely do not need any more projects to work on... *sigh*
    • owwww pictures! He really starts to reign that tank with a his home cave and his holiday cave doesn't he?

      Yep! He was in the filter again when we got home but back in his cave to eat. Weird fish....

      I've tried to take pictures of him, but he's constantly moving and they're all blurry. When I get the SeaLife camera for Christmas (it is currently "hidden" at my inlaw's house), I'll try with that.

      So basically you are paying for those who do not heed the security protocols they have to enforce...

      And oftentimes, in government, the paranoia of our superiors too, who like to believe that we are always Up To No Good. Well, in the case of our office, that is often true, at least somewhat! :^P But I am mostly Up To No Good because the job is so damned easy, I get bored....

      Until she started to squee through her mobile while her friend was just metres away from each her... I mean turn that darn thing off before I shove it somewhere.

      Ugh. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. In so many instances, if people would just learn some frikkin' manners, the world would be such a happier place.

      But yeah I have one. A very practical one which is on 24/7 and I take it with me when I leave home with Kevin: no exceptions, hubby wants it.

      I have one too. I think that with the technology available and the relatively low cost, it is a wise thing to have, especially for women or parents. (Not because women can't take care of themselves but because a woman stranded on the side of the highway is inviting much more trouble than a man!) But I am glad to hear that you have it. :)

      LOL I like the name of the team!

      Me too. And that's about all I like about the team. ;)
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