amanda_lodden: (all the things - real)
[This should rightfully have been posted yesterday. Ah well.]

Last week, my doctor gave me amphetamines. Officially, they are to help kick-start weight-loss, because my back and my knees and my ankle and my diabetes would all be much better if I lost weight, but three of the four actively prevent me from doing a lot about it.

Unofficially, this week with drugs has made it clear to me that it's not just laziness or mild depression keeping me down (though those are both still definitely factors). The round of lab tests that came with the new prescription included a thyroid test, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there's a problem. This week is the first week in a loooooong time that I've truly felt like a human being. I hadn't noticed the downward spiral as it was happening, but the contrast with now makes it obvious.

Is it working? On the official front, I'm down two pounds. For a week that included Thanksgiving and a birthday party, that's pretty good. On the unofficial front, this week was the first time in roughly 5 years that I crossed more things off the List of Tasks That Must Be Done than I put onto it. I'll reiterate: that includes two days that involved social obligations instead of Getting Stuff Done.

The amphetamines do not provide motivation, so there's still plenty of sitting in front of my computer playing games. They also don't include magical back-healing properties, so it's ridiculously easy for me to overdo it. As long as I keep the games in balance with getting-up-and-moving-around tasks, I'm good. It's only when I spend 6 hours all at once at the computer and then get up and try to do 6 hours of activity that it all goes to shit.
amanda_lodden: (all the things - real)
[This should rightfully have been posted yesterday. Ah well.]

Last week, my doctor gave me amphetamines. Officially, they are to help kick-start weight-loss, because my back and my knees and my ankle and my diabetes would all be much better if I lost weight, but three of the four actively prevent me from doing a lot about it.

Unofficially, this week with drugs has made it clear to me that it's not just laziness or mild depression keeping me down (though those are both still definitely factors). The round of lab tests that came with the new prescription included a thyroid test, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there's a problem. This week is the first week in a loooooong time that I've truly felt like a human being. I hadn't noticed the downward spiral as it was happening, but the contrast with now makes it obvious.

Is it working? On the official front, I'm down two pounds. For a week that included Thanksgiving and a birthday party, that's pretty good. On the unofficial front, this week was the first time in roughly 5 years that I crossed more things off the List of Tasks That Must Be Done than I put onto it. I'll reiterate: that includes two days that involved social obligations instead of Getting Stuff Done.

The amphetamines do not provide motivation, so there's still plenty of sitting in front of my computer playing games. They also don't include magical back-healing properties, so it's ridiculously easy for me to overdo it. As long as I keep the games in balance with getting-up-and-moving-around tasks, I'm good. It's only when I spend 6 hours all at once at the computer and then get up and try to do 6 hours of activity that it all goes to shit.
amanda_lodden: (book)
* Press One For Pig Latin by Robert Swiatek

Self-published, and a stunning example of why authors need editors. He may have some good or funny points, but they are lost amidst the long and pointless rambling. I did not get far before I called it quits.

* Lord Arthur Savile's Crime by Oscar Wilde (21)

Did Wilde self-publish, perchance? Though the title does not indicate it, this is a collection of short stories, and most of them I quite enjoyed the beginning of, but every single one of them just... ends. There's no denoument or tying up of loose ends-- just the beginning of the next story, which is unrelated. I kept going because I had hoped that the final story would tie them all together or something, but...

* Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Myserties by Sherry Seethaler (22)

According to the preface, these are real questions Seethaler has been asked, though presumably she culled the questions down to just the ones she felt were book-worthy. The whole thing was a solid "enh, whatever" for me, and it took me 5 months to read all the way through because it just didn't hold my attention well enough. What's there is reasonably well-written and understandable, it's just boring.

* Luck o' the Irish by Stephen D. Sullivan (23)

I met Mr. Sullivan at GenCon, where he was gracious enough to answer a lot of my questions about small-press publishing. I liked this book, until it ended in what I felt was a rather abrupt manner. It's a LOT shorter than I expected, and there's references within it to the protagonist's family and allusions to other things that have happened within the family, yet I checked and there does not appear to be a prequel or other books in the "series". Soooo... yeah. Over too soon, and not in the good way. More like in the "oh yeah, yeah baby, ooooh right there, oh god ye... what do you mean you've finished and you're going to go to sleep now?" way.

* Fool by Christopher Moore (24)

Rather a lot of swearing, and that comes from the woman who swears like a sailor. I don't fully know how I feel about this one; I generally like the concept of "familiar stories told from someone else's point of view" but this one was difficult to get engrossed in.

* Lady Susan by Jane Austen (25)

Did you know that they had anti-heroes in classical romance literature? Neither did I. I can't call this book "good" because I couldn't find a single character I could feel any real connection with, but it is well-written.
amanda_lodden: (book)
* Press One For Pig Latin by Robert Swiatek

Self-published, and a stunning example of why authors need editors. He may have some good or funny points, but they are lost amidst the long and pointless rambling. I did not get far before I called it quits.

* Lord Arthur Savile's Crime by Oscar Wilde (21)

Did Wilde self-publish, perchance? Though the title does not indicate it, this is a collection of short stories, and most of them I quite enjoyed the beginning of, but every single one of them just... ends. There's no denoument or tying up of loose ends-- just the beginning of the next story, which is unrelated. I kept going because I had hoped that the final story would tie them all together or something, but...

* Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Myserties by Sherry Seethaler (22)

According to the preface, these are real questions Seethaler has been asked, though presumably she culled the questions down to just the ones she felt were book-worthy. The whole thing was a solid "enh, whatever" for me, and it took me 5 months to read all the way through because it just didn't hold my attention well enough. What's there is reasonably well-written and understandable, it's just boring.

* Luck o' the Irish by Stephen D. Sullivan (23)

I met Mr. Sullivan at GenCon, where he was gracious enough to answer a lot of my questions about small-press publishing. I liked this book, until it ended in what I felt was a rather abrupt manner. It's a LOT shorter than I expected, and there's references within it to the protagonist's family and allusions to other things that have happened within the family, yet I checked and there does not appear to be a prequel or other books in the "series". Soooo... yeah. Over too soon, and not in the good way. More like in the "oh yeah, yeah baby, ooooh right there, oh god ye... what do you mean you've finished and you're going to go to sleep now?" way.

* Fool by Christopher Moore (24)

Rather a lot of swearing, and that comes from the woman who swears like a sailor. I don't fully know how I feel about this one; I generally like the concept of "familiar stories told from someone else's point of view" but this one was difficult to get engrossed in.

* Lady Susan by Jane Austen (25)

Did you know that they had anti-heroes in classical romance literature? Neither did I. I can't call this book "good" because I couldn't find a single character I could feel any real connection with, but it is well-written.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
Today, I paid a visit to my past. John and CJ were kind enough to come along and listen to me prattle.

The first stop was the biggest: Greenwood Acres, also known as where I spent my summers for over a decade.

There was some confusion at the gate, because what I really wanted was a day pass, and they don't have those. They have visitor passes, but you have to know someone in the park already, and that person has to agree that you're visiting them. Since it's been 20+ years, there's no one I know there anymore. They have passes for scoping out a site, which last about an hour, and I was *certain* that I would want to spend more time there. So I tried very hard to pay for an overnight tent pass, and the nice lady at the office Just Did Not Want to take my money. Eventually, I gave up and accepted the hour pass, figuring that they'd yell at me for how long we took when I left, and I'd pay them then.

The woman at the gate looked very familiar, and my guess is that she was someone's daughter and what I recognized was the family resemblance.

The very first place I went was 7th street. Mom's camper was on lot 2; Grandma's was diagonally across the street on what is now lot 51, but used to be 48. Where they found three extra lots, I do not know.

There's a "scorched earth" feeling to the area. Lots 1, 2, and formerly-50-now-53 are occupied, and everything else is completely bare. It used to be bustling with the Hydes on lot 3, the dear-god-why-can't-I-remember-their-names, the folks with the blond daughter who taught me very early on that one could be a little heavy and still be very pretty (Linda? I think) on lot 4, the Plews on lot 49-now-52... and, of course, the Loos on lot 1, the Kellys on lot 50-now-53, Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, and the Newsoms right behind Mom on 6th street. Not only were so many lots empty, I got the sense that the three remaining did not have the same open camaraderie that I recall from "our crew".

We took pictures. This is the Plews and Grandma & Grandpa's lots, which includes the back of the camper on the Kelly's lot. Grandma & Grandpa's lot backed up to a playground, which is exactly how I remembered it and yet completely wrong. There was a sandbox to the right of the slide that is no longer there. The slide should be orange. The green and yellow thing at the left side of the playground wasn't there; it's the carriage of the big swings that used to be behind the Rec Center. (The tall black supports for the big swings are still there, but the swing part has been removed. And apparently scattered throughout the playgrounds.) But it's still the swings I fell off of and broke two of my fingers. I had intended to park the car and walk the rest of the park, but it had started to drizzle a little, and I didn't want to get caught out in a rainstorm. So, we kept driving instead.

Next, we went down to the Rec Center area. I remembered the carousel, but I'd utterly forgotten about the tank. To my utter glee, as I was pointing and saying "The tank, I'd forgotten about the tank!", two little boys ran over (with moms lagging behind) and demonstrated what the tank is there for-- climbing on and in. (Though a nagging voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I think they might have welded the top shut so that you can't climb inside anymore.) I made everyone walk through the Rec Center, which was... loud. It was always loud, but somehow it was more bearable when I was young. The candy counter is still there, though it's been moved a little to make room for a snack area (by which I mean burgers and hot dogs, so more than just snacks but not really full meals). On the way out of the area, John took an excellent picture of it. The monkey and goat pens are no more, and I saw nary a peacock, so I have to assume the little zoo was demolished. I had thought that the putt-putt course was new, but as we drove past it some of the decorations looked familiar, so I have revised my opinion on its age.

We drove past the little canal where Grandpa and I sometimes went fishing on our way to the beach. We didn't stop and go in, but the General Store at the edge of the sand brought back a flood of memories for me. Since by then it was actually raining instead of drizzling, we did not get out and tromp around on the beach, but I did note that the swimming area is no longer marked off with buoys, and the diving raft is gone. Both of these make me sad.

I missed the turn I had intended to take, so we came back up 7th street, which is when the pictures above were taken. Next, we headed down to the boat dock, which took us right past where I fell off my bike when I was 8 and earned myself 3 (more) stitches. If you look closely, you can still see the goose egg on my forehead, which is why I always wear bangs (and why my bangs always have that little cowlick that doesn't want to lay flat). I knocked myself unconscious with that stunt, and when I came to, I was laying on a picnic table under the pavilion, which is where they had carried me to until the ambulance arrived. Incidentally, whenever a book or story describes an outdoor party under a pavilion, that shot there is what I picture, because the boat dock always had music and dancing in the evening on weekends. I do this even with movies, where they are *showing* me the pavilion-- in my mind's eye, there's always the little pop-and-snack counter behind me (I didn't take a picture of it, and I should have), and the restrooms are where they are at the boat dock, and whether they are shown on-screen or not, there's picnic tables off to the side. I KNOW it in the depths of my heart.

In front of the boat dock, there's a walkway around a little bay in the lake. I took that picture while standing on the section of the dock that serves as the boat launch (for smallish boats like rowboats and canoes, anyway), which feels so very wrong-- I always remember getting into Grandpa's rowboat on the other side, across the bay from where I was standing. I'm honestly not certain why they ever decided to make that squared-off little bit, but it's been like that for as long as I can remember, and I remember standing on that dock and watching fish dart around in the weeds. (I didn't see any today, though.) There were two boys hanging around the area, and a small fishing pole on the dock that we carefully stepped over, so some traditions haven't died. In my world, the bottom of every lake in existence looks like this. I was tempted to scoop out a little plant and take it home to put in the pond, but I didn't have sort of tools or buckets for such an endeavor, and I didn't think the plant would survive the trip home.

Remember how I was certain that this trip down memory lane would take several hours? The thing that struck me most about the whole thing is how tiny it felt. Perhaps it was because we were driving through the park, when my usual methods of travel were my own two feet, my bicycle, and the tram (which we did see, and which looks nothing at all like it used to. Sadly, we didn't see it in time to take a picture, but it used to be a big wooden... set of seats, not unlike church pews but painted a boring beige, pulled by a Jeep. Now it's more like a little bus with no sides. And it's blue.) Perhaps it's just that I was much smaller then, and hadn't seen all that much of the world. The entire park, from entrance to the far edge of the beach, is less than a mile long, and it's half as wide across. Once upon a time, it was practically my whole world for months on end, and a mile felt huge-- an entire city, to six-year-old me. Now? Even with prattling on about what used to be and traipsing around the Rec Center and boat dock, we were done and handing over our "just looking" pass at the gate in 40 minutes. It took me longer just to type up the journal entry.

It took 2 hours to get there, and I wasn't at all done. We wandered into Grass Lake, where I was determined to stop at the bar. Because once again, I feel like I practically grew up there-- it was where we went when Grandma didn't want to cook but did want to get "out". I'm not sure how people would react to a six-year-old in a bar nowadays, but back then? They knew me by name. But we had barely gotten in when I said "screw it" and hustled us back out. The bar was packed to the gills with no empty space, and it was all, all wrong. It used to be darkly colored, and now it's garishly bright with paint colors that might well have had the word "neon" in their name. Plus, the bar itself was on the wrong side of the room. Who moves a bar? So, we skipped the bar and headed off to get ice cream at The Parlour.

I had printed directions from the campground to The Parlour, because I didn't remember the slightest thing about that route-- or so I thought. I turned onto one road and was about to say "I don't think we ever took this road" but instead said "flagpole in a swamp!" because that's what we passed, and I remembered it. The weird part of that is that a little further along the route, we passed a turnoff and I said "Oh, no, we used to take THAT road." And, in fact, we turned around and took that road, because those memories were crystal clear. The road makes a bend just before it ends, so that the angle is awkward for looking down the main road you're about to turn on. Grandma always asked her passenger to tell her when it was clear, because if you had one, the weird angle for the turn meant that their head blocked your view. Without fail, Grandpa would always tell her she was clear, and then as she started the turn he'd add "... except for that Greyhound bus." (No, there was never a Greyhound, and after the first few times, she just rolled her eyes and ignored him.)

On the way to ice cream, I pointed out The Ground Round, which is where we went to dinner when Grandma not only felt like going out but felt like going out somewhere nicer than a bar. Our plan was to eat at The Parlour as well, but if I had been in the correct lane I totally would have changed our dinner plans to The Ground Round, and just gone for ice cream afterward.

I forgot the cardinal rule of ice cream at The Parlour though, which is "however much you think you want, order about half that." In addition to being pretty rich and creamy (and oh, so yummy), their scoops are HUGE. What they call "one scoop" would be any other place's "two scoops" easily. So even though we ordered "Junior" sundaes, we still got an awful lot of ice cream. I ordered a Junior banana split, and after gorging myself I asked for a to-go cup... into which I spooned two of the three scoops of ice cream. Unfortunately, two hours of driving is a lot to ask of ice cream, so by the time we got home I had some lovely ice cream soup. Which I stuck in the freezer anyway, because it's still good ice cream, and it will probably still be yummy once it hardens up again.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
Today, I paid a visit to my past. John and CJ were kind enough to come along and listen to me prattle.

The first stop was the biggest: Greenwood Acres, also known as where I spent my summers for over a decade.

There was some confusion at the gate, because what I really wanted was a day pass, and they don't have those. They have visitor passes, but you have to know someone in the park already, and that person has to agree that you're visiting them. Since it's been 20+ years, there's no one I know there anymore. They have passes for scoping out a site, which last about an hour, and I was *certain* that I would want to spend more time there. So I tried very hard to pay for an overnight tent pass, and the nice lady at the office Just Did Not Want to take my money. Eventually, I gave up and accepted the hour pass, figuring that they'd yell at me for how long we took when I left, and I'd pay them then.

The woman at the gate looked very familiar, and my guess is that she was someone's daughter and what I recognized was the family resemblance.

The very first place I went was 7th street. Mom's camper was on lot 2; Grandma's was diagonally across the street on what is now lot 51, but used to be 48. Where they found three extra lots, I do not know.

There's a "scorched earth" feeling to the area. Lots 1, 2, and formerly-50-now-53 are occupied, and everything else is completely bare. It used to be bustling with the Hydes on lot 3, the dear-god-why-can't-I-remember-their-names, the folks with the blond daughter who taught me very early on that one could be a little heavy and still be very pretty (Linda? I think) on lot 4, the Plews on lot 49-now-52... and, of course, the Loos on lot 1, the Kellys on lot 50-now-53, Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, and the Newsoms right behind Mom on 6th street. Not only were so many lots empty, I got the sense that the three remaining did not have the same open camaraderie that I recall from "our crew".

We took pictures. This is the Plews and Grandma & Grandpa's lots, which includes the back of the camper on the Kelly's lot. Grandma & Grandpa's lot backed up to a playground, which is exactly how I remembered it and yet completely wrong. There was a sandbox to the right of the slide that is no longer there. The slide should be orange. The green and yellow thing at the left side of the playground wasn't there; it's the carriage of the big swings that used to be behind the Rec Center. (The tall black supports for the big swings are still there, but the swing part has been removed. And apparently scattered throughout the playgrounds.) But it's still the swings I fell off of and broke two of my fingers. I had intended to park the car and walk the rest of the park, but it had started to drizzle a little, and I didn't want to get caught out in a rainstorm. So, we kept driving instead.

Next, we went down to the Rec Center area. I remembered the carousel, but I'd utterly forgotten about the tank. To my utter glee, as I was pointing and saying "The tank, I'd forgotten about the tank!", two little boys ran over (with moms lagging behind) and demonstrated what the tank is there for-- climbing on and in. (Though a nagging voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I think they might have welded the top shut so that you can't climb inside anymore.) I made everyone walk through the Rec Center, which was... loud. It was always loud, but somehow it was more bearable when I was young. The candy counter is still there, though it's been moved a little to make room for a snack area (by which I mean burgers and hot dogs, so more than just snacks but not really full meals). On the way out of the area, John took an excellent picture of it. The monkey and goat pens are no more, and I saw nary a peacock, so I have to assume the little zoo was demolished. I had thought that the putt-putt course was new, but as we drove past it some of the decorations looked familiar, so I have revised my opinion on its age.

We drove past the little canal where Grandpa and I sometimes went fishing on our way to the beach. We didn't stop and go in, but the General Store at the edge of the sand brought back a flood of memories for me. Since by then it was actually raining instead of drizzling, we did not get out and tromp around on the beach, but I did note that the swimming area is no longer marked off with buoys, and the diving raft is gone. Both of these make me sad.

I missed the turn I had intended to take, so we came back up 7th street, which is when the pictures above were taken. Next, we headed down to the boat dock, which took us right past where I fell off my bike when I was 8 and earned myself 3 (more) stitches. If you look closely, you can still see the goose egg on my forehead, which is why I always wear bangs (and why my bangs always have that little cowlick that doesn't want to lay flat). I knocked myself unconscious with that stunt, and when I came to, I was laying on a picnic table under the pavilion, which is where they had carried me to until the ambulance arrived. Incidentally, whenever a book or story describes an outdoor party under a pavilion, that shot there is what I picture, because the boat dock always had music and dancing in the evening on weekends. I do this even with movies, where they are *showing* me the pavilion-- in my mind's eye, there's always the little pop-and-snack counter behind me (I didn't take a picture of it, and I should have), and the restrooms are where they are at the boat dock, and whether they are shown on-screen or not, there's picnic tables off to the side. I KNOW it in the depths of my heart.

In front of the boat dock, there's a walkway around a little bay in the lake. I took that picture while standing on the section of the dock that serves as the boat launch (for smallish boats like rowboats and canoes, anyway), which feels so very wrong-- I always remember getting into Grandpa's rowboat on the other side, across the bay from where I was standing. I'm honestly not certain why they ever decided to make that squared-off little bit, but it's been like that for as long as I can remember, and I remember standing on that dock and watching fish dart around in the weeds. (I didn't see any today, though.) There were two boys hanging around the area, and a small fishing pole on the dock that we carefully stepped over, so some traditions haven't died. In my world, the bottom of every lake in existence looks like this. I was tempted to scoop out a little plant and take it home to put in the pond, but I didn't have sort of tools or buckets for such an endeavor, and I didn't think the plant would survive the trip home.

Remember how I was certain that this trip down memory lane would take several hours? The thing that struck me most about the whole thing is how tiny it felt. Perhaps it was because we were driving through the park, when my usual methods of travel were my own two feet, my bicycle, and the tram (which we did see, and which looks nothing at all like it used to. Sadly, we didn't see it in time to take a picture, but it used to be a big wooden... set of seats, not unlike church pews but painted a boring beige, pulled by a Jeep. Now it's more like a little bus with no sides. And it's blue.) Perhaps it's just that I was much smaller then, and hadn't seen all that much of the world. The entire park, from entrance to the far edge of the beach, is less than a mile long, and it's half as wide across. Once upon a time, it was practically my whole world for months on end, and a mile felt huge-- an entire city, to six-year-old me. Now? Even with prattling on about what used to be and traipsing around the Rec Center and boat dock, we were done and handing over our "just looking" pass at the gate in 40 minutes. It took me longer just to type up the journal entry.

It took 2 hours to get there, and I wasn't at all done. We wandered into Grass Lake, where I was determined to stop at the bar. Because once again, I feel like I practically grew up there-- it was where we went when Grandma didn't want to cook but did want to get "out". I'm not sure how people would react to a six-year-old in a bar nowadays, but back then? They knew me by name. But we had barely gotten in when I said "screw it" and hustled us back out. The bar was packed to the gills with no empty space, and it was all, all wrong. It used to be darkly colored, and now it's garishly bright with paint colors that might well have had the word "neon" in their name. Plus, the bar itself was on the wrong side of the room. Who moves a bar? So, we skipped the bar and headed off to get ice cream at The Parlour.

I had printed directions from the campground to The Parlour, because I didn't remember the slightest thing about that route-- or so I thought. I turned onto one road and was about to say "I don't think we ever took this road" but instead said "flagpole in a swamp!" because that's what we passed, and I remembered it. The weird part of that is that a little further along the route, we passed a turnoff and I said "Oh, no, we used to take THAT road." And, in fact, we turned around and took that road, because those memories were crystal clear. The road makes a bend just before it ends, so that the angle is awkward for looking down the main road you're about to turn on. Grandma always asked her passenger to tell her when it was clear, because if you had one, the weird angle for the turn meant that their head blocked your view. Without fail, Grandpa would always tell her she was clear, and then as she started the turn he'd add "... except for that Greyhound bus." (No, there was never a Greyhound, and after the first few times, she just rolled her eyes and ignored him.)

On the way to ice cream, I pointed out The Ground Round, which is where we went to dinner when Grandma not only felt like going out but felt like going out somewhere nicer than a bar. Our plan was to eat at The Parlour as well, but if I had been in the correct lane I totally would have changed our dinner plans to The Ground Round, and just gone for ice cream afterward.

I forgot the cardinal rule of ice cream at The Parlour though, which is "however much you think you want, order about half that." In addition to being pretty rich and creamy (and oh, so yummy), their scoops are HUGE. What they call "one scoop" would be any other place's "two scoops" easily. So even though we ordered "Junior" sundaes, we still got an awful lot of ice cream. I ordered a Junior banana split, and after gorging myself I asked for a to-go cup... into which I spooned two of the three scoops of ice cream. Unfortunately, two hours of driving is a lot to ask of ice cream, so by the time we got home I had some lovely ice cream soup. Which I stuck in the freezer anyway, because it's still good ice cream, and it will probably still be yummy once it hardens up again.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper outside of Jackson, and I spent pretty much every summer there. They had picked their lot based on the fact that there was a little playground right next to it. For some reason, I thought that the campground had closed-- I recall driving around in the area maybe 6-10 years ago and being very sad because I'd found the entrance to the park but it was all grown over and fallen into disuse. (Perhaps it was a particularly vivid dream, because I do not know when I would have had such an opportunity.)

But http://www.greenwoodacrescampground.com informs me that the campground is still very much open (though Google satellite view indicates that there are zero campers in the area formerly occupied by my grandparents and their crew).

Right now, I am awash in memories. I look at their sitemap, and I can trace my way from our lot (7th St lot 48! Though they've renumbered a little, and now it's lot 51) to the Rec Center where they had video games and pool tables and foosball tables and a little candy store and big huge 4-person swings outside which were just awesome to ride in, but no one ever wanted to be the one to push. I remember that in front of the Rec Center was a little zoo, and I bet that it's not there any more. Even in the span of time that I was there, the zoo was cut back substantially -- at one time, there were peacocks and goats and monkeys and a couple of donkeys that gave rides on the weekends and I want to say there was something on the other side of the monkeys but I'm blanking on what it was. By the time I became a teenager and Too Old For The Campground Now(tm), it was down to just the goats. From the looks of it from Google Maps, the whole area is a putt-putt course or something now.

As a side note, talking about the zoo reminds me of when M and I were very young, and she got stung by a bee while we were looking at the monkeys.

Wendal, who ran the place, got an idea into his head at one point, and for a few years there was a drive-thru "African Safari"-style zoo up near the entrance next to the golf course. I remember a lot of people expressing concern because they had a real live rhino, and the zoo was separated from the campground by just a chain-link fence. (I assume, knowing what I know of zoo design now, that the rhino had its own area that kept it confined without looking like it was keeping it confined.) That style of zoo was very popular for a little bit, and then people stopped going to them because they were going to whatever the next entertainment trend was instead. After a couple of years, the animals were sold off to real zoos (that is what I tell myself, anyway) and the zoo was abandoned.

I remember that Grandma saw a human-interest news report about a woman who had had a heart attack while driving, and her kid took over driving and got her to the hospital in time to save her life. Though I was 14 and pretty close to being able to take driver's training, Grandma decided that I should learn to drive Right Then, so she took me to the abandoned drive-thru zoo and taught me how to drive there. The only time I actually met Wendal, it was because he drove his pickup over to find out why the hell there was a car driving erratically around his abandoned zoo. Once Grandma explained, he beamed a big smile at me and told us to go right on ahead.

I remember that it wasn't too long after that, a year tops, before we heard the awful news that Wendal had been killed in a car accident.

I remember Mary walking down the street yelling "Barbara, I need things!". Mary and Barb lived on the same block in Garden City, and had lots in the campground just a few spaces from each other. I often wonder about the story behind the "I need things!" call, which Mary made at least once a month and generally more like once a week. Did Barb borrow things from her when they were home? Did Mary once walk over to Barb & Will's at an inopportune time, and now they used the announcement as a warning system?

I remember when Mom bought a trailer across the campground street from Grandma & Grandpa. As an adult, I realize she did it as an "I give up" thing, because I was supposed to spend weekends with Mom but often wanted to go up to the camper, and I feel kinda bad about that. I still tended to sleep at Grandma & Grandpa's, though. I also remember when a skunk nested under Mom's deck... which she found out about because she tore the deck down. Mom was sensible and backed off, and we sat and watched Mama Skunk ferry her babies one by one over to an old sewer pipe that was no longer in use.

I have pictures of birthday parties held at the campground, one on Mom'a patio and one on Grandma & Grandpa's. I can't identify most of the people in the pictures, but I know that for at least one of the parties, two of my cousins came up to the campground for the weekend for it.

I remember spending inordinate amounts of time at the playground next to Grandma & Grandpa's camper. I loved the swings the best, but as I got older I tended to take a more protective attitude towards a number of younger children, and I probably spent more time pushing the swings for littler kids than I did swinging on them myself. There were one or two little kids who would actually come over to the trailer and ask me to come out and push them if I wasn't out there already. I also remember complicated games on the slide, in which one person would sit on the bars on the top and act as a "gatekeeper". It was rarely mean-spirited-- sometimes it was a safety measure, because other games on the slide involved climbing up the slide part, and it was the gatekeeper's job to make sure there were no collisions.

My only broken bones happened on the swings, too. One of the cloth seats had rotted, and as I got higher and started pumping in earnest to go faster, the swing tore and I went sailing. I tried to "catch myself" when I landed (nearly everyone does), and landed on my left hand, breaking the ring and little fingers. The hospital gave me these little foam-padded metal splints but didn't actually secure them... and I was only 8 or 10 years old. Those little splints were off my fingers and I was playing with them, flexing them back and forth, by the time we were out of the parking lot. The ring and little fingers on my left hand are crooked to this day. Also, I'm just a little bit afraid of swingsets.

I remember going to The Parlour for ice cream, and it's still there so I'll be needing ice cream on my camping trip too. The pictures on the website are too bright-- the walls were a darker color back then, and the red wooden posts used to be green. The ice cream used to be awesome, and I'm hoping that hasn't changed. They still offer their 21-scoop massive sundae, so some things definitely haven't changed.

I also remember a water display thingy, and I don't remember the name of it but Google is my friend, and a bit of searching turned up The Cascades. I remember that we would sometimes make a special trip over to Jackson in order to see the Cascades, and that it was something I usually did with Mom instead of with Grandma & Grandpa or a large group. Mom and I liked the lights and the sound of the falling water; everyone else tended to call it boring or "but we've seen that!" as if you could get tired of it. Maybe you can, and maybe Adult-Me could, but Kid-Me thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

I remember swimming in the lake and the pool, both of which are pretty much "how I learned to swim." I was never much of a beach rat, but I had no problem being in the lake for hours. I remember that there was a floating raft out in the lake, providing for jumping/diving purposes. I also remember not liking to get up on it, because the lake was named "Goose Lake" for a reason. Ewwwwwwww.

I specifically remember one time in my middle-school years when I had a friend come out to the campground for a weekend. D and I had gone to the beach, and Grandma decided it was time for us to come back, so she sent Mom to go get us. But Mom decided that laying on the beach and soaking up some sun sounded nice, so instead of bringing us right back the way Grandma wanted, Mom stayed out with us. D was fine with this concept and laid out with Mom, but I was starting to feel the sunburn I had gotten and spent most of the time creating forts out of towels so that I could keep the sun off of me. I spent that night being uncomfortable because everywhere a piece of bedding touched me hurt, but D was absolutely miserable because she was red from head to toe. She couldn't get comfortable, and she didn't want to move to try a different position because movement hurt. In retrospect, she probably should have been taken to the hospital due to the severity of her burn, but... what can I say, it was a different time. Grandma was piiiiiiiiiiiiissed at Mom over the whole matter for a long time, though.

There's more (oh dear God yes, there's more) but I'm tired of typing, and these typed-up memories are just the ones that are coherent enough to write down-- there's tens of thousands of half-second snippets floating around in my head too. I desperately want to go back to the campground and the surrounding area, even though rationally I know it will never be as good as I remember. It can't be, because so many of the people surrounding me then are gone.

Incidentally: there's a contact form on the website, so I sent in a query asking what their policy on non-camping visitors are. If it's just plain not allowed, then I'll probably borrow a tent and make a reservation, but leave instead of actually camping.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper outside of Jackson, and I spent pretty much every summer there. They had picked their lot based on the fact that there was a little playground right next to it. For some reason, I thought that the campground had closed-- I recall driving around in the area maybe 6-10 years ago and being very sad because I'd found the entrance to the park but it was all grown over and fallen into disuse. (Perhaps it was a particularly vivid dream, because I do not know when I would have had such an opportunity.)

But http://www.greenwoodacrescampground.com informs me that the campground is still very much open (though Google satellite view indicates that there are zero campers in the area formerly occupied by my grandparents and their crew).

Right now, I am awash in memories. I look at their sitemap, and I can trace my way from our lot (7th St lot 48! Though they've renumbered a little, and now it's lot 51) to the Rec Center where they had video games and pool tables and foosball tables and a little candy store and big huge 4-person swings outside which were just awesome to ride in, but no one ever wanted to be the one to push. I remember that in front of the Rec Center was a little zoo, and I bet that it's not there any more. Even in the span of time that I was there, the zoo was cut back substantially -- at one time, there were peacocks and goats and monkeys and a couple of donkeys that gave rides on the weekends and I want to say there was something on the other side of the monkeys but I'm blanking on what it was. By the time I became a teenager and Too Old For The Campground Now(tm), it was down to just the goats. From the looks of it from Google Maps, the whole area is a putt-putt course or something now.

As a side note, talking about the zoo reminds me of when M and I were very young, and she got stung by a bee while we were looking at the monkeys.

Wendal, who ran the place, got an idea into his head at one point, and for a few years there was a drive-thru "African Safari"-style zoo up near the entrance next to the golf course. I remember a lot of people expressing concern because they had a real live rhino, and the zoo was separated from the campground by just a chain-link fence. (I assume, knowing what I know of zoo design now, that the rhino had its own area that kept it confined without looking like it was keeping it confined.) That style of zoo was very popular for a little bit, and then people stopped going to them because they were going to whatever the next entertainment trend was instead. After a couple of years, the animals were sold off to real zoos (that is what I tell myself, anyway) and the zoo was abandoned.

I remember that Grandma saw a human-interest news report about a woman who had had a heart attack while driving, and her kid took over driving and got her to the hospital in time to save her life. Though I was 14 and pretty close to being able to take driver's training, Grandma decided that I should learn to drive Right Then, so she took me to the abandoned drive-thru zoo and taught me how to drive there. The only time I actually met Wendal, it was because he drove his pickup over to find out why the hell there was a car driving erratically around his abandoned zoo. Once Grandma explained, he beamed a big smile at me and told us to go right on ahead.

I remember that it wasn't too long after that, a year tops, before we heard the awful news that Wendal had been killed in a car accident.

I remember Mary walking down the street yelling "Barbara, I need things!". Mary and Barb lived on the same block in Garden City, and had lots in the campground just a few spaces from each other. I often wonder about the story behind the "I need things!" call, which Mary made at least once a month and generally more like once a week. Did Barb borrow things from her when they were home? Did Mary once walk over to Barb & Will's at an inopportune time, and now they used the announcement as a warning system?

I remember when Mom bought a trailer across the campground street from Grandma & Grandpa. As an adult, I realize she did it as an "I give up" thing, because I was supposed to spend weekends with Mom but often wanted to go up to the camper, and I feel kinda bad about that. I still tended to sleep at Grandma & Grandpa's, though. I also remember when a skunk nested under Mom's deck... which she found out about because she tore the deck down. Mom was sensible and backed off, and we sat and watched Mama Skunk ferry her babies one by one over to an old sewer pipe that was no longer in use.

I have pictures of birthday parties held at the campground, one on Mom'a patio and one on Grandma & Grandpa's. I can't identify most of the people in the pictures, but I know that for at least one of the parties, two of my cousins came up to the campground for the weekend for it.

I remember spending inordinate amounts of time at the playground next to Grandma & Grandpa's camper. I loved the swings the best, but as I got older I tended to take a more protective attitude towards a number of younger children, and I probably spent more time pushing the swings for littler kids than I did swinging on them myself. There were one or two little kids who would actually come over to the trailer and ask me to come out and push them if I wasn't out there already. I also remember complicated games on the slide, in which one person would sit on the bars on the top and act as a "gatekeeper". It was rarely mean-spirited-- sometimes it was a safety measure, because other games on the slide involved climbing up the slide part, and it was the gatekeeper's job to make sure there were no collisions.

My only broken bones happened on the swings, too. One of the cloth seats had rotted, and as I got higher and started pumping in earnest to go faster, the swing tore and I went sailing. I tried to "catch myself" when I landed (nearly everyone does), and landed on my left hand, breaking the ring and little fingers. The hospital gave me these little foam-padded metal splints but didn't actually secure them... and I was only 8 or 10 years old. Those little splints were off my fingers and I was playing with them, flexing them back and forth, by the time we were out of the parking lot. The ring and little fingers on my left hand are crooked to this day. Also, I'm just a little bit afraid of swingsets.

I remember going to The Parlour for ice cream, and it's still there so I'll be needing ice cream on my camping trip too. The pictures on the website are too bright-- the walls were a darker color back then, and the red wooden posts used to be green. The ice cream used to be awesome, and I'm hoping that hasn't changed. They still offer their 21-scoop massive sundae, so some things definitely haven't changed.

I also remember a water display thingy, and I don't remember the name of it but Google is my friend, and a bit of searching turned up The Cascades. I remember that we would sometimes make a special trip over to Jackson in order to see the Cascades, and that it was something I usually did with Mom instead of with Grandma & Grandpa or a large group. Mom and I liked the lights and the sound of the falling water; everyone else tended to call it boring or "but we've seen that!" as if you could get tired of it. Maybe you can, and maybe Adult-Me could, but Kid-Me thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

I remember swimming in the lake and the pool, both of which are pretty much "how I learned to swim." I was never much of a beach rat, but I had no problem being in the lake for hours. I remember that there was a floating raft out in the lake, providing for jumping/diving purposes. I also remember not liking to get up on it, because the lake was named "Goose Lake" for a reason. Ewwwwwwww.

I specifically remember one time in my middle-school years when I had a friend come out to the campground for a weekend. D and I had gone to the beach, and Grandma decided it was time for us to come back, so she sent Mom to go get us. But Mom decided that laying on the beach and soaking up some sun sounded nice, so instead of bringing us right back the way Grandma wanted, Mom stayed out with us. D was fine with this concept and laid out with Mom, but I was starting to feel the sunburn I had gotten and spent most of the time creating forts out of towels so that I could keep the sun off of me. I spent that night being uncomfortable because everywhere a piece of bedding touched me hurt, but D was absolutely miserable because she was red from head to toe. She couldn't get comfortable, and she didn't want to move to try a different position because movement hurt. In retrospect, she probably should have been taken to the hospital due to the severity of her burn, but... what can I say, it was a different time. Grandma was piiiiiiiiiiiiissed at Mom over the whole matter for a long time, though.

There's more (oh dear God yes, there's more) but I'm tired of typing, and these typed-up memories are just the ones that are coherent enough to write down-- there's tens of thousands of half-second snippets floating around in my head too. I desperately want to go back to the campground and the surrounding area, even though rationally I know it will never be as good as I remember. It can't be, because so many of the people surrounding me then are gone.

Incidentally: there's a contact form on the website, so I sent in a query asking what their policy on non-camping visitors are. If it's just plain not allowed, then I'll probably borrow a tent and make a reservation, but leave instead of actually camping.

GenCon

Aug. 6th, 2011 01:28 pm
amanda_lodden: (geek girl)
So far, so good. I'm pleased to report that I did not get my usual Friday blisters (many thanks to MW for his suggestion of Thorlo socks, which are worth every penny), which meant I actually got to do things Friday afternoon and evening. There are quite a few muscles and joints that are not happy about missing out on the traditional Friday Flop(tm), though.

Got to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] dark_towhead at lunch, though scheduling glitches meant it was far too short. Better than nothing, though. I miss T, and I'm sad that I didn't get much of a chance to meet D before they moved, because I quite like him.

Every year is different, as my tastes change and my ability to find things change. This year, it's more seminars than games for me, which is an interesting change of pace. Learning quite a bit, too.

Also: the expansion to the convention center is finished, and holy shit is it huge. Despite the increased size, I feel like I'm walking less-- signage is infinitely better, and things are in sensible places (except within the Exhibit Hall, which is still fucking packed to the gills-- but I like where they put the artists this year, in the middle instead of shoved off into the back). I'm no longer ducking down random corridors in the hopes of finding the room I want, or to avoid huge crowds. When I *do* duck down a random corridor to explore it, it actually goes somewhere instead of dead-ending at a wall. I'm also not having to run over to a random hotel as much, because there's room for most things in the convention center now. There's still stuff in both the Hyatt and the Marriott, but both are less crazed.

GenCon

Aug. 6th, 2011 01:28 pm
amanda_lodden: (geek girl)
So far, so good. I'm pleased to report that I did not get my usual Friday blisters (many thanks to MW for his suggestion of Thorlo socks, which are worth every penny), which meant I actually got to do things Friday afternoon and evening. There are quite a few muscles and joints that are not happy about missing out on the traditional Friday Flop(tm), though.

Got to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] dark_towhead at lunch, though scheduling glitches meant it was far too short. Better than nothing, though. I miss T, and I'm sad that I didn't get much of a chance to meet D before they moved, because I quite like him.

Every year is different, as my tastes change and my ability to find things change. This year, it's more seminars than games for me, which is an interesting change of pace. Learning quite a bit, too.

Also: the expansion to the convention center is finished, and holy shit is it huge. Despite the increased size, I feel like I'm walking less-- signage is infinitely better, and things are in sensible places (except within the Exhibit Hall, which is still fucking packed to the gills-- but I like where they put the artists this year, in the middle instead of shoved off into the back). I'm no longer ducking down random corridors in the hopes of finding the room I want, or to avoid huge crowds. When I *do* duck down a random corridor to explore it, it actually goes somewhere instead of dead-ending at a wall. I'm also not having to run over to a random hotel as much, because there's room for most things in the convention center now. There's still stuff in both the Hyatt and the Marriott, but both are less crazed.
amanda_lodden: (no place for truth on the internet)
I'm no longer in my teens (nor my twenties), which means that when I attend a gaming convention, I do silly things like sleep for an entire night and relax in between games, and "food" means an actual meal rather than scarfing something down while walking to the next game.

I've considered the possibility of volunteering at GenCon for the last few years, and I've always been put off by the fact that they'll reimburse you for your badge if you work 16 hours, and they'll do jack-all if you work 15 hours and 59 minutes. 16 hours is a lot of time-- the guy at Volunteer HQ pointed out that it's "only 4 hours a day" but that ignores the fact that 1) 4 hours a day is 25% of my waking time, and 2) we go home Sunday, which means that I only HAVE about 4 waking hours on Sunday.

What it occurred to me to ask this year, though was this: "Do hours worked roll over to the next year?" Because for a con that's crying for volunteers all the time, it seems like having a way to encourage people to work multiple years, even if it's a smaller block of time each year, would still result in more willing volunteers. It would also mean that after the first year, you've got a pool of volunteers who have already been trained on at least one thing, which means you don't have to waste time training a newbie over and over.

GenCon does not roll hours over between years, but I still think it's a good idea, and I would like to put that suggestion out for the world. There are more cons than just GenCon, and a common theme among them is "we need volunteers!"
amanda_lodden: (no place for truth on the internet)
I'm no longer in my teens (nor my twenties), which means that when I attend a gaming convention, I do silly things like sleep for an entire night and relax in between games, and "food" means an actual meal rather than scarfing something down while walking to the next game.

I've considered the possibility of volunteering at GenCon for the last few years, and I've always been put off by the fact that they'll reimburse you for your badge if you work 16 hours, and they'll do jack-all if you work 15 hours and 59 minutes. 16 hours is a lot of time-- the guy at Volunteer HQ pointed out that it's "only 4 hours a day" but that ignores the fact that 1) 4 hours a day is 25% of my waking time, and 2) we go home Sunday, which means that I only HAVE about 4 waking hours on Sunday.

What it occurred to me to ask this year, though was this: "Do hours worked roll over to the next year?" Because for a con that's crying for volunteers all the time, it seems like having a way to encourage people to work multiple years, even if it's a smaller block of time each year, would still result in more willing volunteers. It would also mean that after the first year, you've got a pool of volunteers who have already been trained on at least one thing, which means you don't have to waste time training a newbie over and over.

GenCon does not roll hours over between years, but I still think it's a good idea, and I would like to put that suggestion out for the world. There are more cons than just GenCon, and a common theme among them is "we need volunteers!"
amanda_lodden: (Default)
The recent 3-weeks-worth-of-rain-in-a-single-night storms had filled the pond to a point that even the leak couldn't keep up and the stream held water for a while. A few nights ago, I glanced out the window nearest the starting point of the stream and noticed movement. Further investigation revealed that the movement was a small koi who was checking out this new territory. Also, the koi, while still small by koi standards, are about twice as long as they were when I put them in the pond last year. (They're not big fans of the surface, especially when there's movement near it, so I rarely get to seem them up close.)

This led me to watch the pond for a while, fascinated with the fish. Some of the fish are nowhere near as big as the larger fish, and at first I wondered what was wrong with them that they hadn't grown. Then I started counting, and realized that I have the nine larger fish that I put in (ten, minus one that became a turtle snack early on), plus at least two smaller fish. Babies, in other words.

I have yet to determine whether they're baby koi, baby goldfish, or one (plus?) of each.

[Update: There are definitely baby koi, and I'm 99% certain that it's a mix of both. Also, there are at least four babies, maybe more.]
amanda_lodden: (Default)
The recent 3-weeks-worth-of-rain-in-a-single-night storms had filled the pond to a point that even the leak couldn't keep up and the stream held water for a while. A few nights ago, I glanced out the window nearest the starting point of the stream and noticed movement. Further investigation revealed that the movement was a small koi who was checking out this new territory. Also, the koi, while still small by koi standards, are about twice as long as they were when I put them in the pond last year. (They're not big fans of the surface, especially when there's movement near it, so I rarely get to seem them up close.)

This led me to watch the pond for a while, fascinated with the fish. Some of the fish are nowhere near as big as the larger fish, and at first I wondered what was wrong with them that they hadn't grown. Then I started counting, and realized that I have the nine larger fish that I put in (ten, minus one that became a turtle snack early on), plus at least two smaller fish. Babies, in other words.

I have yet to determine whether they're baby koi, baby goldfish, or one (plus?) of each.

[Update: There are definitely baby koi, and I'm 99% certain that it's a mix of both. Also, there are at least four babies, maybe more.]
amanda_lodden: (Default)
* Suture Self by Mary Daheim (17)

This book is another lesson in "Amanda's tastes have changed as she's gotten older." I read Daheim when I first started getting into mysteries, and I liked her. Now, mostly I see a whiny main character that grates on my nerves, a childish bitch of a sidekick who I repeatedly want to throttle, and a plot resolution so ridiculous I groaned and wished I hadn't bothered with the book at all.

* All Around The Town by Mary Higgins Clark (18)

The polar opposite of Suture Self-- I started reading it, and as soon as I realized that the main suspect has multiple personalities, I was sorely tempted to just put the book down and walk away. I *hate* multiple personalities in stories-- they're so rarely portrayed like actual MPD sufferers, and it's soooo easy to end up pinning the murder on one of the "hidden" personalities.

The general story was well-written up to that point, and there were some intriguing points of view being shown, so I stuck with it. Clark did not disappoint me-- the twists and turns kept me guessing, alternating between "oh, I bet that person did it" and "oh crap, she's going to make it a hidden personality after all." By the time I got to the end, there was enough reasonable doubt that I would have been satisfied with any one of several endings.

But there's still a "magic cure" for MPD and people get better right away when the initial cause of the psychotic break is removed. So minus one star for that bullshit.

* The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines (19)

Strong female characters, going out and kicking ass. Based on familiar fairy tales, but with a different perspective. I wanted to like this story SO much. I wanted to love this book.

I don't love this book. I don't hate it, but it's missing an essential spark that I can't quite explain. The characters have some actual depth to them (except Snow White's mother, who is just eats-puppies-and-kittens evil) and the three main characters manage to have a bit of character growth. But...... I dunno. Things end up feeling a little bit pat, even though Hines goes to great lengths to make them complex. Cinderella's dead mother is far too much of a Deus Ex Machina. Talia is just a little TOO skillful, even though the explanation given makes sense given her history. They go too many places, with too many things happening all at once-- I almost feel like it should have been two books with more description and side interests and character growth in between.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
* Suture Self by Mary Daheim (17)

This book is another lesson in "Amanda's tastes have changed as she's gotten older." I read Daheim when I first started getting into mysteries, and I liked her. Now, mostly I see a whiny main character that grates on my nerves, a childish bitch of a sidekick who I repeatedly want to throttle, and a plot resolution so ridiculous I groaned and wished I hadn't bothered with the book at all.

* All Around The Town by Mary Higgins Clark (18)

The polar opposite of Suture Self-- I started reading it, and as soon as I realized that the main suspect has multiple personalities, I was sorely tempted to just put the book down and walk away. I *hate* multiple personalities in stories-- they're so rarely portrayed like actual MPD sufferers, and it's soooo easy to end up pinning the murder on one of the "hidden" personalities.

The general story was well-written up to that point, and there were some intriguing points of view being shown, so I stuck with it. Clark did not disappoint me-- the twists and turns kept me guessing, alternating between "oh, I bet that person did it" and "oh crap, she's going to make it a hidden personality after all." By the time I got to the end, there was enough reasonable doubt that I would have been satisfied with any one of several endings.

But there's still a "magic cure" for MPD and people get better right away when the initial cause of the psychotic break is removed. So minus one star for that bullshit.

* The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines (19)

Strong female characters, going out and kicking ass. Based on familiar fairy tales, but with a different perspective. I wanted to like this story SO much. I wanted to love this book.

I don't love this book. I don't hate it, but it's missing an essential spark that I can't quite explain. The characters have some actual depth to them (except Snow White's mother, who is just eats-puppies-and-kittens evil) and the three main characters manage to have a bit of character growth. But...... I dunno. Things end up feeling a little bit pat, even though Hines goes to great lengths to make them complex. Cinderella's dead mother is far too much of a Deus Ex Machina. Talia is just a little TOO skillful, even though the explanation given makes sense given her history. They go too many places, with too many things happening all at once-- I almost feel like it should have been two books with more description and side interests and character growth in between.
amanda_lodden: (manga with glasses)
A week(-ish) ago, I was poking through old folders and came across a directory of old abandonware games that I'd downloaded. Mostly I just said "oh cool!" and moved on, but there was a little Mastermind game already unzipped and just waiting, and I thought "oh wow, I loved Mastermind as a kid!"

5 minutes and a single game later, and I realized that the memory of playing Mastermind is better than *actually* playing Mastermind, and I moved on to other things. And then my computer started acting weird, putting up and then killing off windows rapidly.

It's worth noting here that I *do* run a virus scanner, but it's not one that scans things as you open them. I just had it scheduled to scan the hard drives every so often.

Apparently, I didn't have it scanning the removable USB drive where I found the abandonware games though, because it turned out that the little Mastermind game came complete with a worm from 2005. Since it's a worm that replicates in part by modifying every .exe file it can find, the game might not even have been the original source of infection, just something that managed to not get cleaned in a prior life.

The process of cleaning off my computer ended with a series of blue-screen-and-reboot-so-fast-you-can't-even-read-the-error-message-before-it's-gone resets. Best guess is that something convinced the CMOS that it has hardware it doesn't really have, and the computer is complaining because this "essential" hardware fails to respond to POST. John thinks he can fix it, given time, but he doesn't want to play with it right this second, so I have a "new" computer-- specifically, the old PVR that we were using before we got AT&T U-Verse.

As I sit here installing all the software I take for granted and slowly pulling data off the old drives (after thoroughly scanning it for viruses), I realized just how much worse this would have been in 2005. My emails are safely stored online, so I didn't lose anything there. Bookmarks are synced through Chrome, so those don't need restoration. Picasa and Flickr have backups of some of my photos (and after this, will probably get even more of them). Random thoughts and documents have been slowly migrating to Evernote. Steam handles many of my computer games now. Mozy backs up all the folders full of important data. LiveJournal keeps my online journal for me.

It's annoying to have to re-download so many of the applications I use, but it's nice not to have to worry about data loss on top of it all.

Yes, the new computer has a virus scanner on it-- and yes, it scans files as they are accessed. And yes, I will be making a lot of backup CDs, because I have realized that no matter how convenient online backups and flash drives are, there is a lot of value in write-once backups too. Since the worm in question modifies every application it can find, everything on the flash drives and online backup still has to be scanned before it can be trusted, but CD backups can't be infected once they are written. That means that anything I deem irreplaceable needs to be on CD.
amanda_lodden: (manga with glasses)
A week(-ish) ago, I was poking through old folders and came across a directory of old abandonware games that I'd downloaded. Mostly I just said "oh cool!" and moved on, but there was a little Mastermind game already unzipped and just waiting, and I thought "oh wow, I loved Mastermind as a kid!"

5 minutes and a single game later, and I realized that the memory of playing Mastermind is better than *actually* playing Mastermind, and I moved on to other things. And then my computer started acting weird, putting up and then killing off windows rapidly.

It's worth noting here that I *do* run a virus scanner, but it's not one that scans things as you open them. I just had it scheduled to scan the hard drives every so often.

Apparently, I didn't have it scanning the removable USB drive where I found the abandonware games though, because it turned out that the little Mastermind game came complete with a worm from 2005. Since it's a worm that replicates in part by modifying every .exe file it can find, the game might not even have been the original source of infection, just something that managed to not get cleaned in a prior life.

The process of cleaning off my computer ended with a series of blue-screen-and-reboot-so-fast-you-can't-even-read-the-error-message-before-it's-gone resets. Best guess is that something convinced the CMOS that it has hardware it doesn't really have, and the computer is complaining because this "essential" hardware fails to respond to POST. John thinks he can fix it, given time, but he doesn't want to play with it right this second, so I have a "new" computer-- specifically, the old PVR that we were using before we got AT&T U-Verse.

As I sit here installing all the software I take for granted and slowly pulling data off the old drives (after thoroughly scanning it for viruses), I realized just how much worse this would have been in 2005. My emails are safely stored online, so I didn't lose anything there. Bookmarks are synced through Chrome, so those don't need restoration. Picasa and Flickr have backups of some of my photos (and after this, will probably get even more of them). Random thoughts and documents have been slowly migrating to Evernote. Steam handles many of my computer games now. Mozy backs up all the folders full of important data. LiveJournal keeps my online journal for me.

It's annoying to have to re-download so many of the applications I use, but it's nice not to have to worry about data loss on top of it all.

Yes, the new computer has a virus scanner on it-- and yes, it scans files as they are accessed. And yes, I will be making a lot of backup CDs, because I have realized that no matter how convenient online backups and flash drives are, there is a lot of value in write-once backups too. Since the worm in question modifies every application it can find, everything on the flash drives and online backup still has to be scanned before it can be trusted, but CD backups can't be infected once they are written. That means that anything I deem irreplaceable needs to be on CD.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
I try really hard to tune out people on cell phones and not listen in on them, but sometimes it's hard. In the airport, the woman sitting next to me called someone, concerned about their whereabouts. What ultimately caused me to not be able to tune her out was how her conversation was in perfect cadence with a guy standing across the hallway, about ten feet away. She would talk and he would be quiet, then she'd be quiet and he would talk. When she said "I'm just worried about you missing the flight" and then the guy said "I'm right near the gate, I'll be fine" I thought "Wow, it's almost like they're talking to each other."

I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed him out. And yes, they were talking to each other.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
From Facebook:

Joshua Thompson doesn't understand why churches and 'family groups' spend millions of dollars a year on abstinence-only instruction when a World of Warcraft account only costs fifteen dollars a month and has a much better record of ensuring virginity.

(he says he lifted it from bash.org)

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amanda_lodden

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