Cleanup

Jan. 9th, 2015 04:38 pm
amanda_lodden: (four)
I'm wandering through my friends list, removing names that I don't know who they are.

If I removed you, and I shouldn't have, just comment and tell me who you are.
amanda_lodden: (four)
[Some spoilers, I suppose]

Vigo, calling John for the first time: Hey, John. Really sorry about my son. I'll have your car cleaned and detailed tonight and returned first thing in the morning. And I'll pay the adoption fee for another dog, whenever you're ready. And why don't you have a little talk with my son and teach him some respect... a little roughing up is expected of course, but if he walks away afterward, then no harm done and we'll call it square. No one has to die just because he's an idiot, right?

Of course, that would make the film about 15 minutes long and rather boring. However, I really feel like that's about how much screen time the story deserved. It's a perfectly serviceable action flick, I suppose, but the justification for the start of the conflict seemed rather thin. Hell, I'd have been happier if Vigo HAD said something like that, and Wick responded unkindly.
amanda_lodden: (four)
Holy cow, there's been some chaos lately.

First:
We sold our business. It's not the "retire early and live a life of wealth and leisure" exit strategy we may have dreamed of in the early years, but it was a number greater than zero and it gets rid of a lot of headaches. It's also tremendously sad, because we had coalesced into an extended family rather than just a group of co-workers, and now everyone is going their own way and I miss them already. It's also terrifying for me, because real bosses expect you to show up. Every day. On time. I'm not sure if I'll be able to cope after a decade and a half of not having to do that.

On the practical side, there's an entire office to empty. Thankfully, I'm not the one doing most of it-- just my little area is hard enough. But it's a good bet that there will be a last-minute "Oh god oh god oh god" rush and whatever's left will end up out in our barn.

Second:
Chris moved into his own house this summer, and got married earlier this month. (Yay, congrats!). John has claimed Chris's bedroom as his new home office, and has been slowly migrating things downstairs. This is complicated somewhat by the fact that Chris hasn't moved ALL of his stuff out yet.

There's been some entertaining exchanges as Chris cleans things out, in which he finds something that isn't his and leaves it someplace for us. 3 times out of 4, it's not ours either, and we put it back in his area. I foresee a few trips to drop off charitable donations in my future.

Third:
Did I say John was moving things downstairs slowly? Yeah, no. We discovered that CJ's room has a shower failure and as a result there's probably some mold issues hiding under the carpet, and probably explains why CJ has such a difficult time with allergies. (Plus, the carpet is old and was in need of replacing when we moved in 1998.) So CJ is moving into the guest bedroom, which means that my craft/sewing room has to move out.

The plan is: John moves all of his stuff off of his desk and clears the area around it. CJ moves his "desk" (which is actually just a table and much better suited to craft and sewing stuff) to John's actual desk, leaving the far 2/3s of the room for me. I move my craft and sewing stuff into the office, taking over CJ's table. CJ moves his bedroom into the guest bedroom. We take up the carpet and find out how bad it is. We fix the shower, and whatever needs to happen floor-wise happens. We set up the newly-restored formerly-CJ's room into a guest bedroom. (Or possibly CJ says "Agh, I hate this new arrangement" and moves back into his former room. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) And we do all of this quickly and somewhat simultaneously, because we like CJ and want him to continue breathing. The catch? The guest room carpet needs a good cleaning before CJ moves into it, and I don't just mean "vacuum it."

So the carpet cleaners have just left. Since we were having them come out anyway, we had them do the family room as well. John and CJ (and to a much lesser degree, me) spent the last couple of evenings moving things around to clear out the family room, hallway, and guest bedroom. The guest bed is in pieces, leaning against our dresser-- and my lazy laundry habits are paying off, because the only access I have to socks and underwear is the stuff still sitting in laundry baskets because I haven't folded it yet. The couches are in the kitchen. My sewing machine and accouterments are sitting in random places wherever they would fit in the upstairs office (and some of it is in the bathroom and some of it is in CJ's current room, because Shit Needed To Move Now). John and I had breakfast in his new downstairs office because it was the only place where we could both sit down at a flat surface at the same time.

Fourth:
Did I mention that we're hosting the Penguicon ConCom meeting and SMOS party on Sunday? The upstairs is going to be off-limits because there's no possible way I can put both floors back into a semblance of order, but the family room and kitchen need to be put back together ASAP, and all the furniture needs to be thoroughly vacuumed because some folks have cat allergies. The good news for the allergy sufferers is that the carpet cleaners will have drastically reduced the amount of dander in the room.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we have all been rather exhausted lately.
amanda_lodden: (four)
Me: "Yay, Wednesday I have no actual commitments, and thus have an entire day to myself. Think of all the projects I could catch up on, or at least make progress on!"

My body: "lol. Nope. I have a better idea: you're going to sleep until nearly 2pm, then wake up groggy and fuzzy-brained when the phone rings and you're forced to get out of bed. No, I don't care that you napped last night, you're still going to get 14 hours of sleep tonight, dammit."

I'm choosing to think positively about this by assuming that I have just saved myself a week of illness by letting my body have the rest it clearly needed to fight off something.
amanda_lodden: (four)
While CJ and Maria spelunked through caves, I sat at (and sometimes on, as the cave tour was 90 minutes and I'm the fidgety sort who can't sit still that long) a picnic table, a jay meandered the area, coming closer when it was quieter and then flying farther off when more people walked by, or when a new noise (say, for example, the click of the camera focusing) startled him. (I have a lot of fuzzy pictures of him flying away.)

At one point when I was engrossed in my book, he actually hopped on the table I was sitting on, but when I turned towards him he fluttered back up into the trees.

2014-09-02 15.26.14

His friend the chipmunk also popped over to visit briefly, but didn't stay long enough for me to get a picture.
amanda_lodden: (four)
I've got a folder on my Kindle called "To Be Reviewed". This is my attempt to clean it out a little bit.

* Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell

Another phenomenal book from someone who is fast becoming a favorite author. Haskell sees the tropes, waves at them, and then turns away from them into a much more interesting story.

Ultimately, it's a story of strength and transformation (sometimes literally, mostly figuratively). The characters are complex and feel real. It's pure fun, until you realize that there's deeper philosophical thoughts hiding underneath the fun.

* No Game for a Dame by M. Ruth Myers

You know those old hardboiled detective novels, which may have fun mysteries but often leave you a little squicked out at how women are portrayed in them? This book is their antidote.

Maggie Sullivan is a Private Detective in the 1930s. She's smart and quick and good at what she does. The sexism (and racism) of the era isn't ignored, but it isn't overwhelming, and Maggie makes as much use of the stereotypes surrounding her gender as she encounters difficulties because of them.

I liked this book a great deal, but I felt like the ending was a little deus ex machina. Much of the climax involves Maggie having good luck, or someone bursting in at just the right moment. I understand that it's before the era of instant communication and Maggie's options were somewhat limited, but I do wish that she'd left a little bit more of a trail of clues for her cohorts to follow, so that it felt like she had more of a hand in the ending.

* Tough Cookie by M. Ruth Myers

The second Maggie Sullivan novel is even better than the first. What I said then still applies, so I'll just quote myself:

"Maggie Sullivan is a Private Detective in the 1930s. She's smart and quick and good at what she does. The sexism (and racism) of the era isn't ignored, but it isn't overwhelming, and Maggie makes as much use of the stereotypes surrounding her gender as she encounters difficulties because of them."

* Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain

I love this series, but I only like this book. Karigan gets sent forward in time several hundred years, and the fish-out-of-water thing doesn't play as well this time as it did in earlier books-- in part because Karigan's focus this time is "I have to get home!" rather than "I have to solve the problems I'm facing" as they usually are. (Okay, technically being in the wrong time is a problem she's facing, but she faces it by whining and ignoring the rest of the problems in the world she's in.) You get told things about the future of Big Name characters, but not with a good sense of why or how Karigan could change the course of history.

* The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

Holy cow, this book was amazing. And intense. And more than a little creepy at times. Myfanwy Thomas works for a secret organization that keeps supernatural forces under control in Britain. And while that part is kind of cool and there's an interesting mystery to be solved, that's only half of what the book is about-- perhaps less than half. Because Myfanwy Thomas has lost her memory. Fortunately, she had some advance warning that it was going to happen, and her former self wrote some letters to help her out. The book is a fabulous story about what shapes us and makes us who we are. Myfanwy has to figure out who did this to her before they do worse, while simultaneously trying to figure out who she is, both in the literal and in the philosophical sense.

[Note: I actually read this book a year ago, and just realized that I hadn't ever reviewed it.]

* The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

I was recommending The Rook to a friend, and as I described the organization that Myfanwy Thomas works for, he said "Oh, like The Laundry?" I'd never read any of the Laundry series, so I didn't know how to answer that, but now I do:

No. No, not at all like the Laundry. Oh, the organization's goals are about the same, and there's a power struggle within it. But while The Rook makes you think about the mystery (and gives you all the clues you need to solve it, if you're good enough-- I wasn't, and the ending took me by surprise) and the implications of Myfanwy's memory loss, The Atrocity Archives reads more like "The Bastard Operator From Hell gets shoved into things he thinks he wants but maybe not." The BOFH part does die down after the first half (thank goodness, as the jargon did not age well), but there's still a distinct lack of depth to the Laundry in comparison.

* Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner

Not quite as good as its prequel, but still very enjoyable.

* The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Throughout the series, Rachel has gotten more mature, while making more complex (and poorly-received by the general public) decisions. I've said before that the series is ultimately about morality, and it still is-- but it's also about Rachel making peace with herself and her past, and opening herself up to other people's points of view as well.
amanda_lodden: (four)
The story itself is engaging and likable. It's worth a solid 4 stars, 4.5 if Amazon let us do 1/2 stars. I'm particularly fond of the way that Vixen's daddy issues are handled, because so very many absentee-parent stories ignore the confusing mix of emotions in favor of a black-and-white option.

But it's also full of obvious copyediting errors. In addition to at least a dozen little words missing ("the", "he", etc), at one point I was taken completely out of the story in the middle of the climactic battle by saying "Wait, who is Jimmy?" Further confused reading finally indicated he was the brother of an earlier character, which is fine and dandy except that when the brother is introduced, his name is Andrew. But that's nothing compared to the confusion of Mr. Chase and Mr. Haste, both of whom are important characters in the narrative, which makes it extra confusing when Mr. Haste is referred to as "Mr. Chase".

The errors are enough to break the flow of the story, and are the sort of thing one expects to see from a first-time self-publishing author who thinks they can go it alone, not from a seasoned veteran like Stackpole who should understand the value of editors.
amanda_lodden: (shopping is hard)
A mountain of laundry needing to be done = a gajillion trips up and down the stairs

A gajillion trips up and down the stairs = "Screw it, I'll just stay in the basement for a while"

"Screw it, I'll just stay in the basement for a while" = a dramatic decrease in the amount of clutter in the basement + a dramatic increase in the amount of recycling ready to be taken to the recycling center

Additionally:

A mountain of laundry needing to be done = a need to fold some of the laundry to free up enough baskets to bring the newly-cleaned laundry up the stairs

A previously-scheduled engagement = a fair amount of walking around outside

Solve for how tired Amanda is.

Answer listed in the teacher's edition: "Utterly exhausted."
amanda_lodden: (four)
Title says it all.

One down, a couple dozen to go.

(Hopefully the one that's done will be the hardest of the bunch.)
amanda_lodden: (four)
* The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

I picked this book up thinking that it was a light, humorous romp poking fun at a bunch of princess tropes. (There's nothing wrong with that sort of thing, if you're in the mood for it, and I frequently am.) This is not that book. Well, this is sort of that book, if you took that book and added ten times the depth and maturity, and then sprinkled in a generous helping of solid story-telling.

The Princess Curse is a mix of many different fairy tales, so skillfully done that I didn't even notice the Beauty and the Beast one until someone else pointed it out-- and it's very obvious, I was just so engrossed in the story by that point that I didn't pay any attention to it. The author has several opportunities to go deep into Creepy Land with her child brides, and very pointedly does not do so, which I appreciate.

I'd give it 6 stars, but I've subtracted one for the lack of a sequel. You left yourself so many good hooks, Ms. Haskell. Please, I beg of you, write about one of them. Or all of them.
amanda_lodden: (four)
A couple of weeks ago, CJ tripped over a power cord. This immediately led to a series of interconnected accidents that would make Rube Goldberg jealous, and ended with him sitting on the floor under my desk, holding it up as the side fell over.

Fortunately, CJ was not seriously hurt. Nor was there anything expensive-and-fragile on my desk, and the universe kindly decided to let the inexpensive-but-fragile items survive to shatter another day. The only casualty was the desk itself, and John swiftly came up with a way to MacGuyver it back together so that I could get my Internet fix while I decided what I wanted to do about the desk. In the spirit of all proper DIY furniture repair, the solution involved propping it up with a stack of books.

I spent more time than is prudent just staring at the desk and the area it lives in, and I started thinking about all the things I don't like about the desk. I've never done well with L-shaped desks to begin with, and the location of power outlets and windows and the TV in the room has meant that my work space is on my left, while my dominant hand is on my right.

And so, I started to scheme and plot. I had A Plan. It required cleaning the desk off, a task slightly more strenuous than "Clean the Aegean stables." After weeks of cleaning things up and finding new homes for it all, I finally executed the final stages of The Plan. Again, in the spirit of all proper DIY furniture repair, I changed the plan three times in the middle of executing it.

SAM_0005

It's not quiiiite stable enough for me to want to put anything expensive on it, but that's easily fixed by a $5 trip to Home Depot for some 90-degree brackets and 10 minutes with a drill. In the meantime, I'm pretty pleased with it-- because it's a straight desk, I feel like I have more room (though that might just be the current lack of clutter) and there's definitely more room to walk around it (er, except for the clutter behind it, as things that used to be on the desk and will someday be on the desk again got moved to the floor and chair behind the desk). Plus, I managed to take apart the old desk without dropping any of it on myself, which I'm very pleased about.
amanda_lodden: (four)
A million years ago, or perhaps more like 8 or 9 months (really, in app timeframes, is there a difference?), M and C talked me into installing Ingress.

If you're not familiar with it, Ingress is a location-aware game that centers around the idea of "portals" that aliens are using to infiltrate our world. Or something like that. Honestly, I haven't opened any of the backstory media files since I finished the tutorial. There are two teams, and you try to take portals from each other. Except when you're low level, you mostly just hack portals and hope you someday level. (It's a team-driven game, and I'm not a team-driven player. I understand that some folks actually get together with higher-level teammates and therefore progress a lot faster.)

Anyway, M and C (and later a different C) all swore by Ingress and how much more they walked and therefore felt better and lost weight and yadda yadda yadda. I was somewhat dubious, given that my back pain prevented me from walking a great deal, but I gave it a try.

I played it for a little bit, but early on there weren't a lot of portals nearby, and the ones that were nearby were all in the mall, where my old phone refused to acknowledge that GPS signals could possibly exist. Ingress became "that game that I drive places and sit in my car to play." Which is okay, I suppose, except that I didn't want to drive places and sit in my car. I tried submitting portals, with about a 1-in-3 success rate. None of the successful ones were particularly near me, and I didn't really understand why the rejected ones were getting rejected. So I let it fall by the wayside.

But about six weeks ago, M and C and I got to talking about Ingress again, and I had replaced my old phone with a newer model. On a lark I pulled up the intel map to see if it had gotten any better.

There have been a LOT of new portals added. Most notably, there was a cluster of portals a few miles away, near a medical complex. Which made no sense to me whatsoever, because Ingress is all about permanent art installations and historic places and government buildings and churches and bars (technically I think it's supposed to be "gathering places" rather than "bars" but ... that pretty much works out to bars.) It turns out that the medical complex has a "Garden of Healing and Renewal" which has a path with a bunch of fountains and art and stuff. And since it's intended for people convalescing, there are benches approximately every five feet. (I use a lot of hyperbole, so I'd like to clarify: that's not exaggerated. Until you get to the back wooded areas, it is not possible to walk more than five feet without encountering a place to sit. In the back areas, it's more like twenty feet.)

It's a gorgeous garden, and I probably never would have realized it was there if it hadn't had about a dozen Ingress portals in it. I've gone there and walked several times, now that I know about it. I've also explored nearby parks and downtown areas. I'm trying to make it a point to go out and walk every day, though because I am a get-the-achievements!-type gamer and there's an achievement for hacking a large number of different portals, I tend to try to go to new places as well as old ones.

I am not fast, and I am not miraculously healed. There's still a lot of sitting involved in my walking. But six weeks ago, I could walk (or even just stand up) for about 5 minutes before my back would hurt and I'd have to sit down. And today, I walked for 8 minutes before I needed to find a bench. It doesn't seem like a a huge improvement, but it's 30%... and more importantly, it's an improvement. [Edited: Oops, 5 minutes to 8 minutes would be a 60% increase, not a 30%. ("Math is haaaard.")]

The downside? I'm finding myself checking out the intel map for areas I plan to visit, and trying to figure out how early I'd have to leave to be able to hit portals near my destination. Or on the way. Or both. We'll know that I've gone completely off the deep end when I set an alarm to get up even earlier to hack more portals.

In the meantime, if you've got an Android phone and you're interested, I have 8 invites for recruiting. (An iPhone version is expected "soon" but I don't think it's out yet. Sorry, Apple users.)
amanda_lodden: (four)
Note to self: do not choose a book by your favorite author for "I'm tired, I'll read for a little bit and then I'll go to sleep around 10:30 or 11" because it turns into "I'll just read one more chapter" until you finish the book at 1:30am.

I have a definite soft spot for retellings of familiar stories from alternate points of view or timelines. Nobody's Princess is the story of a young Helen of Troy, before the stories in mythology. It's also a fine story in its own right. The characters are compelling and complex. Despite following a story path already defined by existing mythology, none of the plot feels overly contrived or forced. I enjoyed it very much, and plan to read the sequel in the near future.
amanda_lodden: (four)
So, for several years now, I've helped with registration for Penguicon, and for the last two conventions I've been the Head of Registration. And yet, Penguicon is "that thing I go to because I'm working on it" rather than "that thing I'm working on because I go to it." I've never truly felt like I "belonged" at Penguicon.

Until now.

I don't know exactly what changed. I'm sure that some of it is this year's ConCom, which really gelled as a team. Last year, there were a lot of communication issues that led to me feeling left out of the loop and like we were each in charge of our own little fiefdom. This year, there was a lot more focus on working together and helping each other. They're also just fabulous people that I like hanging out with.

Some of it is that I put my foot down (or "threw a hissy fit" if we want to use the technical term) about where Registration would be located, and we were right in the thick of things instead of being banished off to the far-off depths of the lobby. (Though this year the lobby was a lot more heavily populated than last year, too.)

Some of it is that I've got competent staff and volunteers and I'm using the same basic system that I used last year. Knowing that the system worked well last year, I don't feel like I have to babysit it as much this year.

But whatever the cause, the result is the same: suddenly, I was completely at home. I can't wait for next year.
amanda_lodden: (four)
After much swearing and gnashing of teeth, I have:

* 1860 badges, of which 870 are in envelopes, which are sorted by name

* 22,900 ribbons in plastic bags, also sorted by name

* A binder full of documentation, including full pre-reg badge listings (by last name, and also by badge number)

* 500 instruction/play sheets for picture bingo

* Two boxes with supplies for picture bingo, one for Registration and one for Ops

* Clean laundry, ready for packing

Still to go:

* Clean-up shopping. Not strenuous, and mostly for jokes so if it doesn't happen.. eh, whatever

* One more report to print (which I am waiting for any last-minute additions to)

* A few bits of code editing so that we can open next year's registration
amanda_lodden: (four)
More backward than forward today. I was stuck at home until UPS showed up to drop off the ribbons, because UPS is full of fuckers and every single time I've assumed that they can handle leaving a package, they've screwed me. I can't afford the time delay if they left me a little "We tried!" note.

So, I sat at the computer and printed out badges. 90 minutes and a little more than halfway through the files (with a bug-fix in the code generation), and I thought to do a test print on my black and white printer. Sure enough, the two pages of badges that I can get to print at a time... they don't line up exactly. Which means I can't have them cut in the big machine. I'm certainly not going to cut them by hand-- it would take forever. So, now I get to scrap everything already printed and do it over again one page at a time instead. [insert swearing here]

The ribbons DID show up (at 4:45pm, just in case I wanted to get anything done outside of the house), whereupon I discovered that the second vendor doesn't package the ribbons by type-- they were packaged up 1000 ribbons to a bag. So John and I sat at the kitchen table and sorted all the ribbons out into individual sandwich bags. Whiiiich meant I didn't get back upstairs to work on printing badges. So for a day that had a primary goal of "Prepare all the badges for printing" I managed to prepare exactly none of the badges for printing. Go me!

Two ribbon orders are borked-- one my fault, one the vendor's fault. I've emailed the vendor about the one that's their fault, and hopefully there will be some sort of solution that isn't "suck it up, buttercup." I emailed the person who ordered the one that's my fault, and I don't have any solution there at all. (A third order is technically wrong, but not in an obvious way, and that one's my fault as well.)

However, I DID manage to get all the packages of ribbons labeled with who they belong to, so that they can be sorted for easier retrieval. So.. yay, I guess. I had hoped for more.
amanda_lodden: (four)
This is as much a checklist for me as it is a post for anyone else.

Ribbons are due to be delivered tomorrow (er, later today, since it's after midnight). The labels for the ribbons are printed already, waiting for the ribbons to arrive.

Specialty badges are designed, tweaked, and saved as a PDF ready to be taken to a printer.

Reminder emails have been sent to those who wanted one.

The code to generate badges has been written and tested. For reasons I cannot fathom, the first forced page break works and the rest don't. After fucking around with it for an hour, I've opted to just print badges two pages at a time. It sucks, but at this point it would take less time than finding what's causing the page-break bug.

Envelopes for badges are already labeled (thanks, AJ and Alex!). There's about 15 more labels for last-minute changes and additions, which are printed but not yet stuck on an envelope.

The scavenger hunt bingo card has been tweaked, and is ready to be taken to the printer.

Prizes for the scavenger hunt have been set with the badge holders and lanyards in an effort to collect all the bits that need to go with me next week.

Still to go:
* Find last year's "how to sell badges" documents, or re-write them. (Probably re-write, since I can't find last year's)

* Actually generate the badges (two f'ing pages at a time)

* Take the entire stack of "things that need to be printed" to the printer

* Put badges in envelopes

* Put labels on ribbon packages

* Generate a list of badges with non-zero balances (partially done; there's a report but it has issues with manually-entered badges, meaning it thinks I owe about $3000 because I put the staff-badge orders in under my own name)

* Put "needs payment" labels on envelopes containing badges with non-zero balances

* Print a full list of all badges, for cross-referencing if it all goes to shit

* Print a full list of all ribbons, for cross-referencing if it all goes to shit

* Print a full list of refunds already given, to stave off people who think we still owe them something.

* In my dreams: Get OpenId logins working on version 2 of the registration site. More likely: make the email field mandatory and put a note that OpenId logins are an intended upgrade.

* Nag Nuri to approve the pricing for 2015 so that I can update the config file so that I can open 2015 registration next week.

* Actually update the config file.
amanda_lodden: (four)
So, I run registration for a local convention. Several of them actually, but if I'm complaining about one, it's pretty much always the same one. We don't need to name names here.

I had actually quit this particular con, and then rescinded it when I found out who the new ConChair would be. I like him. More importantly, I like his vision. He wants to do silly things like "document how processes are currently done." (This con has a "We don't make rules!" culture to it that tends to end up leaving things in limbo quite often-- because while they don't make rules, they most certainly form traditions. It's very hard to maintain a tradition without a framework.)

So, I sat down and thought about my little registration corner of the con, and what I would really like to see happen. I had some pretty awesome ideas, and I even wrote some of them down. And then I completely and utterly ignored them for ... oh, let's call it 9 or 10 months.

Hey, did you know that awesome ideas do not magically spring forth from the earth, and require actual work to implement? I DO know that, in fact. Yet somehow, every time I thought "I should really work on that registration stuff I want to get done" I ended up doing something else instead. (In fairness, this happens a lot with all sorts of different Stuff I Want To Get Done, not just registration stuff. I really ought to refer to it as Stuff I Want To Have Already Done But Don't Want To Actually Do.)

Now, of course, I'm just a little more than a month away, and I'm staring at a mountain of Stuff That Needs To Be Done Already But Isn't. I've spent the last three days clawing my way through a bunch of it, so a lot of the pile has been moved over to Stuff That Is Finally F*ing Done Thank Goodness. And a decent portion of that has been "making a better, more stable, more stupid-proof system" that will make the next iteration of this quite a lot easier. (The same ConChair is running next year as well, and I've already told him I'll take registration again.) Moreover, I'm making a conscious effort to design it in a flexible-yet-understandable way, so that I can hand the whole thing over to the NEXT person down the line and let them decide whether to use it or start over from scratch. So it is getting better, and it will continue to get better, and I am actually making forward progress on implementing at least a little of what I wanted to implement.

But I can't help thinking that this whole thing would have been so very much easier if I had started working on it last summer when I first said to myself "I should really work on the registration stuff I want to get done."
amanda_lodden: (four)
Short review: Go see it.

Longer review: Let's face it, any time a movie is titled based on what the art medium is rather than what the story is, you're looking at a potential bomb. But I love Legos, and sometimes those potential bombs turn out to be excellent-- I absolutely love a movie named after the board game that inspired the setting. So off I went, with high hopes and low expectations.

I'm pleased to say that the movie budget included a line item for "quality storyline" and "writers". The story shown on the screen is sweet and funny. If you happen to be old enough to remember when Legos came in large amorphous boxes instead of specific (and frequently licensed) kits, then there's a meta-story layered above the story on screen, about how the toy that used to be all about building and creativity is now about instructions and kits, and that story is enjoyable as well. And then in the third act, the movie takes a sharp right turn, adds a third layer that re-frames the entire movie while punching you squarely in the emotions, and continues on towards a perfect yet suddenly poignant resolution.

While I highly recommend this movie for adults, I feel I have to include a dire warning: the theme song is repetitive and highly catchy. It took me two days to stop hearing it go through my head on an endless loop. And that's okay, because it's catchy and I liked it, and the only person affected was myself because I have a filter in between my brain and my mouth (most of the time). If your child's brain-to-mouth filter is not yet developed, taking him or her to see this movie will almost certainly result in several days of non-stop "Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you're part of a team!" that will drive you crazy. You have been warned.

When you go, stay for the credits. There was no easter-egg scene when we went, but you do get to hear all of Batman's song, which is totally worth it.
amanda_lodden: (four)
I'm not a big fan of "I've been to X different states" checklists. Manhattan is very different from Niagara Falls, and the idea that visiting either one of them is representative of New York as a whole is laughable. Ditto on Flagstaff and Tucson. Even in my relatively homogeneous home state, Detroit and Traverse City have a very different feel to them, and neither one of them feels like Escanaba.

But I confess that I am excited, because in less than two weeks I will get to set foot on another continent for the first time in my life. Just five more to go...

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amanda_lodden

January 2015

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