Pumpkins!

Nov. 1st, 2012 10:32 pm
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
One of these pumpkins is a vampire kitty, one is a hockey goalie, and one is a puzzle. They were created by me, Mike, and Macey. See if you can guess who designed which.



This was actually Macey's first ever pumpkin-carving experience! Apparently pumpkin-carving is not so much a thing in the UK. I think she did pretty okay.



We didn't have any pumpkin-carving-specific tools, so given that all I had on hand were steak knives and paring knives, I went minimalist with my design. I think it's recognizable.



Mike was very resistant to the whole idea of gourd art until I told him to make his pumpkin into a puzzle, at which point he kind of went quiet and then five seconds later reached for a piece of paper and a pen. The actual carving was done by me, because goop and also knives. It's solvable from the picture, and super-easy since it has all the givens, because Mike hates my right wrist and wants it to be sad. (For those of you unfamiliar with Slitherlink, the idea is to connect the dots such that each number borders that number of lines.)
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
Child: *drawing a grid on a piece of paper* Okay, tell me four names of boys you want to marry.
Me: Mike Smith, Brent Seabrook, Brooks Laich, Evgeni Malkin.
Child: *makes a valiant attempt at spelling* Now tell me four numbers of babies you might have.
Me: Zero, zero, zero, zero.
Child: They have to be different.
Me: Zero, FOUR HUNDRED, five million...
Child: I'll... just pick some for you. Okay, pick four pets.
Me: Ooh, pets? Do they have to be different from the potential husbands?
Child: Yes. They can't be peo--
Me: Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin...
Child: >:(
jedusor: (music)
I don't tend to write a whole lot of music recs, since I don't have much of a vocabulary for them. I just know what I'm into and what I'm not into, and saying "I'm really digging band X right now" is more of a microblogging sort of sentiment than a topic for LJ. But I've been waiting to pimp this album to you guys for years. This is the album that [livejournal.com profile] imagines listened to on repeat instead of talking to me for the entire train ride we took together from Boston to New York City in summer 2009, because Wes had said I could play that version of the album for people but not share the files, and I did not blame her one bit. It's been in my own regular music rotation since Wes first started sending me rough cuts and asking for opinions about three years ago, at which point I kind of jaw-dropped and put "Run Like Hell" on repeat for approximately forever. (iTunes claims I've listened to that particular song a total of 79 times across the three versions of it I have, but I didn't get this computer until after I'd had the first version for a few months, and anyway that doesn't count all the times I've played the burned CD on my stereo and in the car.) My other favorites are "Sensitive" and "Something Sometime," but the whole album is fantastic.

Wes sent an official copy of the physical CD back from Hunt with Mike for me, and it looks awesome. If you want one of those, either order it here or bug [livejournal.com profile] thatwesguy to make other arrangements. (I bet he'll sign it for you with a tasteful cover-art-complementary colored gel pen if you ask him nicely.) If you're satisfied with an electronic copy, go forth and download. It's a pay-whatever-you-want deal, and you can stream the entire thing just by clicking the play button below, so you have no reason whatsoever not to give it a try.


jedusor: (white collar kiss)
I was talking to my boss yesterday about how my friends tend to be older than me. I've always known this was a trend, but I didn't really realize until I was explaining it to her how particularly true it is right now. I still have a few friends my own age who live elsewhere, but not here. I have two Seattle-area friends who are 26 and two who are 29, and all the rest I can think of are in their 30s or older.

I made a graph a few years ago of the ages of my LJ friendslist and hypothesized that the age I would get along with best was around 30, but that social circumstances had led to my befriending the upper end of my own cohort and the lower end of my mom's. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, but current evidence certainly supports the part about me liking people in their 30s. I think that's how old most of my puzzle, yuppie-nerd, and poly-kink friends are, which is most of my friends. This might be why I didn't make many close friends in college--I had a lot of acquaintances, but the only person from Clark I connected with and felt comfortable around (and the only person I've really stayed in touch with since graduation) is Gerry, who's in his 40s. People my age tend to bewilder me. They're always texting right there in front of me while we're hanging out, and they never say what they mean, and there's so much drama. I realize that's a generalization--as I said, I do have friends my age elsewhere--but that was pretty much what college felt like for me socially.

There's also this distressing pattern wherein I have a friend who I believe to be close to me, and who behaves like we're close, and then out of the blue completely cuts me off and refuses to respond to my attempts to contact them. This has happened four times now with people who were important to me. I realize that the common denominator there is me, and believe me when I say I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did and how to prevent it happening again, or at least predict when it's going to happen (and if you have any theories, by all means lay them on me). But they've also all been around college age. Four is not a sufficient sample size to draw conclusions, but it's enough to make me pretty much okay with not seeking out younger friends right now.

Even if my older friends do always tease me for being a baby. It's a cross I must bear.
jedusor: (food: dessert)
Gaby: I have to go to the bathroom. If she comes to take dessert orders before I get back, can you tell her I want the huckleberry tart?
Me: I will tell her you want a raw potato.
Gaby: If you can get them to give me a raw potato, I will eat it.

Photobucket
jedusor: (Default)
Poor [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur is currently host to a parasite that was supposed to depart her body some time ago, and asked for soundtrack suggestions to convey a message to her imminent offspring. So here's a mix.

YouSendIt download

Tracklist

Born Too Slow - Crystal Method
Born just a little too slow
Just a little too slow
Just a little too


Dans mon corps - Les Trois Accords
Dans mon corps, dans mon corps de jeune fille
Dans mon corps de jeune fille, il y a des changements
(In my body, in my body girl
In my body girl, there are changes)


There Is Life Outside Your Apartment - Avenue Q
I know it’s hard to conceive
But there’s life outside your apartment
And you’re only gonna see it if you leave


Don't Wait - Dashboard Confessional
Don't wait, don't wait
The road is now a sudden sea
And suddenly, you're deep enough


Don't Stay - Linkin Park
Sometimes I’m in disbelief I didn’t know
Somehow I need you to go
Don't stay


Leave - Barenaked Ladies
I've informed you to leave
'Cause I can't afford to lose more sleep


Here Comes The Flood - Divine Comedy
Here comes the flood
Rivers of blood, baby


The Great Escape - We Are Scientists
I got a great idea
I'm gonna wait right here


This Too Shall Pass - OK Go
You know you can't keep letting it get you down
And you can't keep dragging that dead weight around


The Finish Line - Snow Patrol
I think the finish line's a good place we could start
Take a deep breath, take in all that you could want
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
WHO was lovely, but I can't tell you guys much about it, since it's going to be run again in the Bay Area in November. So here's the censored version of my photo set from the event, with a few of Carrie's photos mixed in. I've left out all my pictures of locations that were thematic for their corresponding puzzles. (A few of these are oddly sized because I cropped out spoilers.)

Pictures )
jedusor: (@cave)
Anyone know of an apartment or room in the Boston area available this summer? [livejournal.com profile] macey_muse and her boy need somewhere to live, and their planned accommodations just fell through. June through August, preferably MIT-accessible. Comment or contact me directly if you know of anything, and I'll give you Macey's contact info.

heh

Apr. 20th, 2011 06:09 pm
jedusor: (super-hyphen)
Mike: *quoting out loud from Myths Retold*
Me: So if Kit ends up bringing the dude who writes those to my birthday party, are you gonna fanboy all over him?
Mike: Not... much?
Me: Are you gonna stare at him admiringly from afar?
Mike: That sounds creepy.
Me: Are you gonna?
Mike: Not now that I've realized it's creepy.
jedusor: (emergency bourbon)
1. Add olive oil.
2. Don't add olive oil.
3. Add salt.
4. Don't add salt.
5. Stir more often.
6. Stir less often.

Thanks, guys!

VegFest

Mar. 27th, 2011 07:58 pm
jedusor: (food: soup and salad)
Today I went to VegFest, an annual event that basically consists of hundreds of different vegetarian food samples. There were speakers and cooking demonstrations and book sales and other stuff too, but the samples are the main draw of the festival. I volunteered to help out for a few hours and therefore got in free, but then they talked me into signing up for a Vegetarians of Washington membership for $22. The membership got me so much awesome crap, though! Here's a list of stuff they gave me:

-A half-gallon of So Nice organic soymilk
-A loaf of Hemptation sprouted whole-grain bread
-A loaf of Dave's Killer Bread
-Two packages of Mori-Nu silken tofu
-Two cups of Amande almond yogurt (blueberry and strawberry flavors)
-Two cups of WholeSoy soy yogurt (peach and apricot mango flavors)
-A bottle of Sambazon acai juice
-A bottle of Good Belly Splash juice (blueberry acai flavor) --ETA: blech.
-A bottle of Taste Nirvana coconut water
-A bottle of Odwalla Superfood juice
-An Odwalla berry energy bar
-A sample size Lara energy bar (chocolate chip brownie flavor)
-A Cascadian Farm granola bar (Harvest Spice flavor)
-A sample box of Cascadian Farm organic dark chocolate almond cereal
-A sample packet (two pancakes' worth) of Prana vegan pancake mix
-A three-ounce bag of Bob's Red Mill steel-cut oats
-A bag of Boulder Canyon salt & vinegar potato chips, which are basically the best goddamn potato chips in the universe
-A bag of Somersaults cocoa nuggets
-Two packets of Dilmah tea (English Afternoon and Moroccan Mint flavors)
-Four packets of Numi tea (two Earl Grey, two mint)
-A packet of Bigelow green tea with pomegranate
-Two packets of Sunbutter sunflower seed spread
-A 15-gram bag of shelled hemp seeds
-A packet of organic sugar
-A Natracare feminine hygiene sample packet
-A birthday card (??)
-A year's subscription to the Vegetarian Times
-About 20 coupons, including one for a free half-gallon of Silk and several for free meals at Seattle-area restaurants
-A VegFest T-shirt

So yeah, I'm betting the value of all that is more than $22. And it's a good cause to support, too.

I spent some time there hanging out with Mark, who now holds the endurance record for obliviousness about my academic situation. He's known me for over eight years, and only today fit together the information "Julia is 20 years old" with the information "Julia is a college graduate" in his head. (He was perfectly aware of both of these facts, just never connected them.) It was a pretty hilarious conversation.

I had a really great time at the festival, and definitely plan to go again next year if I'm still in the area. Lots of awesome food, lots of friendly people, lots of fun.
jedusor: (diabolo)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

My first crush was [livejournal.com profile] rubrick, when I was ten (which was one third his age--really, you all should have seen adolescent!me coming). I'm sure he could tell at the time, although I don't think I actually confirmed it to him until a year or two ago. It fizzled out around the point when my mom broke the news that he had a secret mullet in the photo I had pinned up on my wall. Even at age ten, mullets were a definite dealbreaker for me. I can only hope he found someone new to mend his broken heart.
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
I'm pretty happy right now. Today was a good day. I didn't actually do any writing, but I did a lot of pre-writing thinking, and that always makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I like accomplishing things in my own head. It's like when I used to cozy up with a friend for a sleepover and share secrets late at night, except without the complications of social interaction.

I talked to Gerry on the phone for a while. Life has been hurling giant balls of manure at his head, as usual--seriously, the guy has just about the worst luck of anyone I've ever known--but he was just as cheerful and wisecracking as always. I don't tend to spend much time missing people because my friends are so widespread that it would result in a lot of misery if I did, but I actually miss the hell out of Gerry, so it was great to connect with him.

I got stopped by two different groups of religious folks on the way to the grocery store, which was weird since I've only ever seen that happen downtown since I moved here. The first group was the standard "hey, how you doing, ever heard of Jesus?" type, but the other guys were awesome. They weren't spreading the word, they were accosting people on the street for a trivia quiz about Aurora Avenue, which they asked permission to film and put on their website as part of an effort to clean up the neighborhood. I only missed one question (I guessed that "aurora" meant "light," not "dawn") and won four dollars and fifty cents in quarters. Yay, bus money.

I spent the afternoon curled up under a blanket making icons, which I haven't spent much time doing lately. Seashore is not as awesome as Photoshop (sadly, Dr. K resisted my attempts to persuade her to put the copy she bought for the lab on my laptop instead of her desktop) but it's good enough for most of the basics. [livejournal.com profile] lisaecksteincom linked to this three-part series on characterization, and that led to more pre-writing thoughts. I have this crazy notion in my head to write a screenplay for a musical based on Jonathan Coulton songs. It's been a while since any original characters have grabbed my attention like this. I'm not at all sure it will go anywhere, not least because I have zero experience with playwriting, but I'm having fun with it.

I've been working on making my sleep schedule more sane, and I have commitments outside the house every day this week. I think both of those things are contributing to my good mood. I always forget how much of a difference the sun makes, even though I hate it while I'm out in it.

Hunt recap

Jan. 23rd, 2011 12:03 am
jedusor: (beginner's luck)
I knew going in that I wasn't going to dive into the MIT Mystery Hunt as wholeheartedly this year as I usually do. For one thing, I was remote. A lot of the appeal of Hunt for me lies in the camaraderie of it, the knowledge that everyone else in the room is also excited and driven enough about the event to forget about sleep and food and the outside world, and that energy just doesn't translate through Skype. For another thing, I just spent four years straight on winning or constructing teams, and I kind of needed a break.

So I wasn't expecting to devote my weekend entirely to Hunt in the first place, and then I got sick right before it started and ended up spending the weekend wrapped up in blankets on the couch with a box of tissues, which did not do much at all for my mental acuity. Still, I enjoyed myself, and I had a reasonably good remote solving experience (thanks in large part to the efforts of [livejournal.com profile] canadianpuzzler, who was our official remote wrangler).

The Hunt theme this year, as everyone still reading this probably already knows, was video games. The intro skit (YouTube video here) was fantastic, and dealt with the sound issue beautifully, although unfortunately not in a way helpful to future constructing teams. The Hunt was structured around five video game worlds, each containing separate rounds, which led to some entertaining discussion of "metametametas." The coin (for some Huntspace-specific definition of the word "coin") was a wooden Weighted Companion Cube with characters from each world on the sides. The thematic wrapup video was completely adorable.

I admit I was rooting for II&F to win this year. I spent some time in their HQ during the History Hunt last year, and was incredibly impressed by their organization and morale. (And I'm not just saying that because they dressed me up in the honorary-Dan-Katz duct tape sash and fed me.) Any team capable of winning a Hunt is probably capable of turning out Hunt-quality puzzles, but not every team has their shit together enough to handle editing and testsolving and logistics and communication and all the other work that goes into putting on a successful Hunt. However, Metaphysical Plant did a fantastic job on all that from what I can tell, and there's no reason to assume Codex won't.

Some scattered thoughts:

-The Achievements page was, IMO, the best new idea Plant implemented this year. I really hope some form of it is used in future Hunts.

-I'm disappointed to have missed out on the Events, which looked great. I would have liked to go to Insult Swordfighting, in particular.

-I had a giant gigglefit when my teammates decided that one of the answers had to be BACKSOLVE_ but couldn't work out the last letter, so they backsolved it.

-Recombination is a puzzle that I tried to write for the '08 Hunt, but ended up scrapping because it would be too hard for non-jugglers to determine siteswap heights. Seriously, that exact idea: I was going to present it as a video of a person doing siteswap patterns with different objects, and use the objects along with numbers on the screen for answer extraction. I definitely would have done the extraction mechanism differently, though. (ALLINCLAPC? The hell?)

-Good Vibrations was extremely amusing. I was surprised by the number I knew off the top of my head. I've, uh, read a lot of Savage Love.

-I described The Baddest Man to my older brother, who, like me, grew up reading the books. His immediate reaction was, "WHAT? They SPOILED THEM? Why would they do that?" (I got a similar complaint from a team in '08 about my puzzle Hack Writer.)

-They got Randall Munroe to write an xkcd strip for Unlikely Situations. *sigh* I'll always have Trudeau.

Here's our quote board, as far as I can tell (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ertchin for clarifying some of the words I couldn't make out):

"This isn't Vegas--you can't be drunk by 10am."
"I can't have Dancing Spear Guy and Blooper Nanny adjacent."
"That's the answer to everything--lick it."
"What's the potato doing?"
"Oh! That's a canonical Grawlix?"
"Just type 'bowtied dork' into Google and see what comes up."
"In the sociology Hunt, you only get credit for solving the hipster meta if no one else has solved it first."
"Mmm... congealy."
"Fancy a spot of death?"
"Finally I made a quote which wasn't fraught with sexual innuendo."
"They were eaten by a female obstacle."
"Or perhaps The Knack's ode to Nikoli: 'My Shikaku'."
"Projectyl's working on it--it's practically solved."
"It's all right... I'm not naked."
"No one wants to know about your love snake."
"I need a stuffed animal biologist."
"BING? What is this crap? I'm changing it."
"If you want to win my heart and earn my monogrammed handkerchief or whatever the fuck, solve this puzzle for me."
(on hearing all of our spaceship explanations) "Well... yeah..."
"The next time you chuckleheads open twenty puzzles at once, I quit." (Note: This was said by Dart, which makes the quote exponentially funnier if you know Dart and can picture him saying the word "chucklehead.")
"Do you know what you have been thwacked with?" "The Corn of Grammatical Justice."
jedusor: (writing)
[livejournal.com profile] selinker came up with this awesome idea: write a novel in a minute. I gave it a shot, and here's what I came up with:

Napping With The Fishes

“I’d like to be your friend, Billy, but friends don’t do this to one another.” Madison eyed her terrified victim coolly. “Friends don’t promise each other fruit snacks they can’t deliver. I’m sorry, Billy.” She gestured to her henchmen. “Boys… tickle him.”


A minute, it turns out, is not very long! (I watched "Brick" a few days ago, which might explain a lot here.) If you want to participate, check out [livejournal.com profile] selinker's Wired Decode post.

heh

Nov. 8th, 2010 01:41 pm
jedusor: (green bag)
Text from me to Robert: Just passed the Marco Polo Motel. "Okay, how do I get to my room?" "We've got housekeeping set up to direct you, ma'am. Just keep hollering."

Text from Robert to me: "No, you may not take our silk bedsheets home with you."

At SNAP

Oct. 31st, 2010 01:12 pm
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
Dude walking by, to friend: I don't like ducks.
Me: Tyler doesn't like ducks.
Slik: He doesn't?
Me: They played the Sharks recently, according to his Twitter.
Slik: Ah. Yeah, I don't like ducks either, for the same reason. Although... I don't quite have Tyler's level of allegiance.
Me: Tyler doesn't so much have allegiance as...
Slik: Yeah.
TK: As what?
Slik: Let me put it like this. Say you like donuts. And the guy next door to you, he likes donuts too. So you're like, hey, that's cool, we both like donuts! But he's got a house made out of donuts.
TK: Ah. That's what happened with me and the Red Sox. Everyone else liked donuts a little too much.
jedusor: (badass geek)
When I first moved to Kansas City right after my thirteenth birthday, my family started going to some homeschool gatherings. At one of them, I hit it off with a girl around my age named Grace, and invited her to my house for a sleepover. She told me at some point during that night that her older sister Ida had this uncanny knack for predicting fashion trends. If Ida wore something, she told me, everyone would be wearing it two years later.

I was excited about this. Had she done tests? How many times had it happened?

Grace didn't really know.

But if she hadn't tested it, how could she be sure?

Grace kind of shrugged. She was sure because right now everyone was wearing the jeans Ida had been wearing a couple of years ago.

No no no, I explained, that's not how being sure works. You have to write down what she's wearing now, then compare it to fashion trends in two years, and then you can really know for sure. But only if you track someone else who isn't a trendsetter and compare them. Here, look, let me graph a projection of the results if you're right. No, look.

...this, in retrospect, may be one reason I've always had difficulty finding people my own age with whom I could really connect.
jedusor: (riverdancing)
Rachel: *playing the piano* Fuck fuck fuck fuck!
Me: Is that in the Beethoven sheet music you've got over there?
Rachel: Yup. It's written in right there. In German.
jedusor: (don't dream it)
The list )

The term "best friend" hasn't been relevant to me in a long time. I have a lot of friends, but I keep bouncing around the country, so it's hard to stay in touch with most of them. Mike has been a constant in my life for a while now. [livejournal.com profile] imagines and I do a pretty good job of maintaining a close long-distance friendship, I think. There are a few other people I used to talk to on AIM a lot, but I went off IM cold turkey for college, and people haven't seemed to be around online as much since I graduated. Facebook and LJ are all right, I guess, but they're not good for maintaining one-on-one relationships.

I had two close friends my first semester at Clark, but one went nuts on me and one started having a lot of health issues and had to stop socializing as much. Most of my other friendships were more context-based rather than personal--study groups, hanging out in the lab together while mixing solutions, and so forth. I know a few people in the Seattle area, and I'm hoping to develop an in-person social network here for the first time since Kansas City.

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jedusor: (Default)
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