proposal for a Pugetopolis-area WisCon-inspired book group
chris. | 7 August 2014 | 9:00 pm | biblios & syllabi | Only Pings

About 3-1/2 years ago there was some effort toward starting a WisCon-related book group in the Puget Sound area.  Emails were exchanged, but eventually things just sort of fizzled out.  I blame the ~holidays~.

But i’d really like to see this happen!  I came home from WisCon this year rejuvenated and inspired, and despite WisCon’s (current) problems i am still very interested in trying to get a book group inspired by WisCon going.  So let’s try it!!

I’m going to make a few concrete proposals to grow from:

  1. Meet only 4-6 times a year.  A monthly book group is hard to keep up with — my current monthly book group12 sometimes can’t meet because people have conflicts crop up, and a few years ago we finally just gave up trying to meet in the summer at all because what’s the point of regularly cancelling those 2 meetings.
  2. Read at least the Tiptree, Parallax, and Kindred award winners.  Plus 1-3 books selected from book group member suggestions.  Always, however, keeping an eye on selecting books that are available via libraries, used book stores, or intra-member loan.
  3. Try to keep meetings:
    • Accessible via public transit.
    • In public, non-commercial spaces (e.g., library community rooms, rather than cafes) if possible — OR
    • In member homes that are smoke- and pet-free (for allergies) if possible.
  4. Bring your own snacks/beverages, so there’s no pressure on any one host to prepare food for everyone and no awkwardness when a member can’t eat the snacks provided.

How do we get this going?!

Well, 1st, sign up at the Yahoo group if you’re interested — the group has open, unmoderated membership at the moment3.  If you need help signing up, or if you’re interested but have questions/concerns, contact me at this temporary email: bookgroup @

2nd, i’d like to propose that we just go ahead and get the 1st meeting on the table so we have a fixed point to start planning around.  I suggest a weekend (because i already know of people in Olympia who are interested in coming up to Seattle for the book group) in either late August or early September — we can hammer out the exact date/time via the discussion list.

(Discussions for “1st meeting”: set reading list for 1st few meetings, set meeting dates and locations, generate ideas for naming the book group, random chit-chat)

And, also, i’m offering my place in Seattle’s UDistrict to host the inaugural meeting.  We do have cats, but we also have a large deck where the group can meet so that we’re out of the allergy zone.  My place also has accessibility issues because there are 19 stairs up to the front door, so if this is a problem then obviously we can move elsewhere.  I offer my place simply because it’s flexible scheduling-wise and we cut out the extra step of having to book a time at a library or something.

Possible book list based on my suggestion in #2 above:

  • Rupetta by N. A. Sulway.  Which, unfortunately, isn’t available at Seattle Public Library4.  We could start with last year’s winners — The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan and Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam are both available at SPL.  (Checking SPL because it’s my local library.)
  • Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson.  Available at SPL.
  • Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.  Available at SPL.

Edited to add:  Also!  Personally, i am definitely interested in including readings that aren’t just novels or fiction.  I’d love to read some non-fiction (who wants to read Marx with me??), or go wild and read some fic, occasionally dissect a movie or TV series.  Let’s think big!  Mostly i want to engage with speculative fictions thru’ a feminist/social justice framework.

So, what do you think — shall we try it??

  1. We’re 12 years old!  Go us!! []
  2. Good grief, i am really really far behind in putting up our book lists. []
  3. The use of a Yahoo group is open to negotiation.  This is how the book group i’m currently in organizes, so i’m familiar with the system and thought this would work for the time being. []
  4. Yet!  Let’s all request it! []
when I lived in Ur [+photo]
chris. | 3 August 2014 | 9:20 pm | Glitch, wrdnrd | Only Pings

hand-drawn diagram for planning my Glitch home street

One thing i’m trying to get better about is taking pictures of silly mementos instead of holding onto random pieces of paper.

Case in point, this image.  It’s a crappy hand-drawn diagram i made, but i’ve held onto it because when i played Glitch and the final housing system was released, i spent days thinking about and planning my front yard before i implemented anything.  My diagram paid off because the yard turned out exactly the way i wanted it.

You can see more of my snaps from Glitch at the game’s archive site.

parkour shadow [+photo]
chris. | 2 August 2014 | 3:05 pm | errant pedant | 4 Comments

Last Sunday, i finally bought a bike helmet to replace the one i had to throw away when we were moving.  (It turns out that bike helmets have a life span, even if you never have an accident!)  I persuaded Andy to accompany me on a trek to the UW campus — pretty easily persuaded, when i asked him if he wanted to try doing some very light1 parkour in Red Square.  So i biked over and he jogged a bit and we met in Red Square where he practiced some balances.  The evening sunlight against Suzzallo Library was gorgeous, and i lucked into this shot of Andy’s parkour shadow.

Andy's shadow against Suzzallo Library

  1. He’s still recovering from his torn Achilles. []
Where the hell you been, Wrdnrd??
chris. | 1 August 2014 | 7:41 pm | diary | Only Pings


Andy and i managed to successfully move, more or less, as planned at the beginning of July.  The packers packed up all our crap on the 3rd.  On the 5th, the movers moved all our crap out of Rivendell into the new place.

Since then?  NO INTERNET.  We suspected we’d have to wait a few days, maybe a week, until our ISP got things transferred over.  Since we needed to still stop by the old place to pick up things we hadn’t wanted the movers to deal with, we just did interneting there.  No big — i mean, that 1st week we were mostly focusing on unpacking and settling into the new place anyway.

Then there was week 2.  Where it became apparent that our ISP was going to be super slow about switching the internet.  And also the phone company wasn’t being speedy about transferring our landline, which we need for our DSL1.

Then there was week 3.  Where we began to suspect that our ISP was incompetent.

And then, in week 4, we finally fired our old ISP and just went with the phone company for DSL.  The phone company managed to tell us exactly when our modem would arrive, when service would get switched on, et cetera.  So!  Good job, CenturyLink!  And a hearty FUCK YOU to MegaPath.  God, i miss Speakeasy.  So sorry they got bought out by a bunch of incompetents.

It didn’t help that it had become apparent by the time we were moving that the wireless on my laptop had died.  And here i thought the Concourse’s wifi during WisCon just sucked2!!  But, no, the wifi on my laptop also did not work during our end-of-June trip to Portland.  By the Sunday of moving weekend, it was obvious both (a) our new place wasn’t going to have internet for a week or so, and (b) if i wanted internet at all i’d need a wifi-enabled device so i could pick up wifi signals in the neighborhood (e.g., coffee shops).  SO.  Thank god for steady paychecks, because i just walked into University Bookstore and bought myself a tablet.

Yeah.  Everything i’ve done during the entire month of July internet-wise was done on a tiny little tablet.  I hate working on tiny screens like that.  Makes me feel claustrophobic.

We have internet at the new place as of last night.  THANK GOD

Anyway.  Otherwise the new place is pretty great.  Gonna call it Cobweb Cottage, i think.  Yeah, sorry, friends who are arachnophobic.

  1. We refuse to have cable in the house, so don’t even mention it. []
  2. Andy assures me that it did also kinda suck. []
what remains on the desk [+photo] #IntoTheWest
chris. | 2 July 2014 | 6:48 pm | wrdnrd | Only Pings

So.  We’re moving.  Really, officially, finally after 2 months of banking hell12.  There are so many posts i want to blog right now, but all my mental energy is going toward not losing my mind while we clean and pack up the apartment.

For now, here’s a picture of what’s left on my desk (a zone that’s usually a chaos of papers and overdue library books):

objects left on my desk prior to moving

What’s significant enough in my life right now that i want to pack it myself so it doesn’t get lost in a sea of boxes over the next few weeks?  Friends of Dennis stuff, my WordPress book (because i need to work on the FoD website), and my books for syntax class.  Also the flowchart of how we’re dealing with our possessions (e.g., pack vs. get rid of), advice from a friend on picking a new broadband service, my clipboard with my To Do list, and a graphical representation of my current mood.

Since we’re moving a little west of where we are now, i’ve been hashtagging my Twitter gripes as #IntoTheWest.  Fun for everyone!

  1. FUCK banks, man. []
  2. Do NOT even come at me about credit unions, unless you WANT me to rant at you for 30 minutes solid. []
Andy at 20 — long hair, goatee [+photo]
chris. | 17 June 2014 | 9:33 pm | errant pedant | Only Pings

When Andy and i visited friends in Boston last September, i mentioned at one point that Andy had long hair and a goatee when we met.  Since he’s clean-shaven and close-cropped these days, our friends found it hard to believe.

Well.  One finds the most wonderful things when one is packing to move.

Behold, Andy at 201:

20-year-old white cutie with long, dark hair & a goatee

OH, EXCUSE ME.  I have been informed that this picture must also be posted:

cute white guy in a lab coat doing science

So sciency.  So sexy.  Tho’, to be fair, i thought lab coats were really, really sexy until i met an actual real life working lab coat.  A lab coat that’s been used for actual science is, as you can see from Andy’s sleeve, fucking nasty.  We still haven’t gotten rid of his lab coat, because i’m not sure what proper hazmat disposal would be.

  1. He’s 35 right now.  SO OLD. []