From "Oh this has not gone well" (part 14) by Redditor "ThisHasNotGoneWell":
"Well," I started, how do I explain statistics, and not sound like the boringest boring person in the world, "In the world I come from people have enough free time on their hands, and they take games seriously enough, that people will study a game like a Mage might study magic. I had plenty of time when I was waiting for the pass south to clear, so I spent some time pulling the rules apart, figuring out the probability of any given hand. The other players might have a gut feeling as to how probable a given hand is, but I know the figures exactly. I'll also try to keep track of what cards I've seen played already. Between that, and having worked out the probabilities of each, I usually have at least an idea of how good my hand is compared to the others."
"Wait," she said, trying to wrap her head around what I'd just said, "So, you know what cards they have in their hand?"
"Not quite, I know what cards they probably have. And even if I don't know specifics, I'll at least have an idea of whether their hand is better or worse than mine, and that's really all I need."
"Don't humans have anything better to do?"
I thought of the many hundreds of hours spent playing videogames and watching Netflix.
I just saw the Changeling Child and it was, bar none, my favorite show this Fringe. A sequel to Midsummer Night's Dream, a generation along, and really sweet. One last performance tomorrow (Saturday) at 145p at Atlas. I'll be seeing something nearby so might even be able to meet up first to loan a button. Srsly, try to see it :). Fringe goes thru Sunday plus a few shows extended but sadly not this one.There was a bit of screaming and gnashing of teeth involved: I dictated something like it into safari facebook on my phone a few minutes after wandering off from chatting with Tommx and Erica, and then it offered tagging someone and I hit 'back' and it took me back to my notifications. Then I went through typing it in again, since at the fringe bar it was too loud for dictation, and just before I was to hit post, the phone turned itself off, out of power. I finally posted from exsmof's phone.
Anyway, it was delightful. I wasn't laughing as much as I did in One in Four, but it's also a whole play, and sweet, and extremely well done.
Less than 10 hours before I'm ticketed to Exit pursued by bear. 2pm, Atlas.
I somehow doubt I'll get to Trey Parker's Cannibal The Musical at 11:15.
Might try to get to something more tomorrow or Sunday. Been thinking to get to Heroes' Tale.
Debating Exit Carolyn. If I go to the 7p I can't go to an acro thing in Rockville, though it does put me pretty close to a party...
Oh! Yeah, Clara Bow: Becoming It was worthwhile, and is at 3:45.
and ugh. I really have to go to sleep. Oh hell, I think I may have said I'd meet badmagic ahead of Exit for lunch. eep.
Because really pathetically I don't trust myself to get anything done alone.
*everybody else seemed to enjoy it a lot more than I did. There were some strong performances, but I really hated the acting of one of the characters, and I was annoyed by the character with the most lines, and I was distracted by finding fault with the initial premise. Also? Neither K nor the guy on the other side of me had any memory of the character,"Mom."
when i got home last night there were a bunch of boxes of books by the recycling. They were in good condition and looked like anything from interesting to rare (there were some large Russian English dictionaries on top of one, and some Shostakovitch records on another) so I moved them to my parking space where nothing is supposed to live but I can probably get away with it a couple days, and pinged someone who is already handling getting other stuff to a charity he favors, and grabbed out Katherine Graham's autobiography for immediate reading.That last paragraph may be a bit open for my usual friendsfriends security level over there on FB.
My building has a building library; I'm not sure whether I should've given it first crack, but that would have required getting the boxes up a flight of stairs and through a couple doors at 3am, rather than just 50 feet to my space.
I'm not sure what sorting I should do before they go to support Fairfax Auxilliary. Probably start with grabbing out anything in Russian... .
I'm sad, because I'm pretty sure this is the collection of someone who died. And it also has me thinking of all the books Mom has, some of which are Old and Important, and many of which are outdated and random. And many of which Dad once wanted back.
It seriously was sad, seeing things like that. I rescue stuff. It's so important to me that it has a home and not a landfill. And yet I do know that getting stuff to goodwill is yet another measure of cope, and even there one needs to be realistic about what they will and will not put out to sell. That's part of why I have so much grandma stuff that needs to be dumped on a "we sell it all on ebay and you get a cut." Because that Eastern Airlines tiny carryon that needs a zipper repair will be thrown out by goodwill, and treasured by the right person. When Allyson was over helping me through a large amount of momclothes she was overjoyed to take the Woodies and Garfinkles boxes from the closet. Cardboard boxes, but she wraps stuff in boxes from defunct stores and she especially loves local defunct stores.
A sweet little old man who lived a few doors down died a few years ago. As part of cleaning out the place, the family had put a box of mugs and glasses in the trash room. I'd looked through it, and seen a small mug, smaller than I usually use, emblazoned with [specific dc high school 50th reunion]. Kept it around to honor the guy, vaguely intending to contact said high school. A year or so later, Shira was over, and I showed it to her, and she took it with her! I don't think it was the high school she'd attended; I'd have to ask. But to her it was a sufficiently meaningful bit of DC history she wanted it.
This is all part of why it's so hard to sort. What is a life? This is part of why it's so hard to get rid of even things I don't really want. I guess I imbue things with a soul. Not just "does it give me joy" but "can I get it to someoen for whom it will?"
I have to stop typing; I decided to keep plans for today and need to leave soon.
Here's how it happened; I went out for a walk around dusk, because I hadn't gotten any exercise that day, and I tromped around campus for a while playing Pokémon Go and about the fourth time the app crashed on me I decided I'd had enough exercise and started walking home. By now it was full dark, maybe 10 pm or 10:15.
I was tromping down the street full tilt in my usual "take no prisoners" pace, when I noticed a couple of police cars by the back dock of the Post Office, with their flashing blue lights on. As I came by I saw a white car pulled over in the glare of their headlights being searched by a policeman while a pair of young people sat stiffly on the nose of the police car with another policeman talking to them.
I would ordinarily have passed by, politely pretending not to notice these stressed people. But these are not ordinary times and I've been hearing things, and I started weighing things over in my head. The girl was white, very blond--the boy was wearing a red watch cap and I couldn't see enough of him to be sure of his color. A couple of my friends had mentioned the Power Of The Middle-Aged White Woman to keep cops from getting violent. Should I stay?
Could the police men even see me in the dark? I was wearing a white shirt; surely they could. Wait, now the boy turned his head and I could see he was white too. Maybe they didn't need me. Probably they didn't. I should go.
But I could feel the urge to turn around and leave, especially when the policemen kept glancing my way. Like a social repulsor field. And I thought: maybe I should stay just for the practice. Practice Being There. So I stayed.
The policemen glanced at me again. I reminded myself I had every right to be there, and to watch policemen doing interesting things on public property. I stayed. One of the policemen drove away. Mosquitoes came and expressed their pleasure that I had been so accommodating as to wear shorts. I asked myself what Judi would do. I stayed. A new policeman drove up and talked to the kids a while.
Then he walked over to me saying "May I help you?" Jimminy Christmas he was actually taller than me which doesn't happen very often.
I smiled and said "No thanks, I'm just watching."
He said "that's fine, you have every right to watch." (Ha. White Woman Privilege at work.) "I just wondered if you knew these juveniles."
I smiled and shook my head and said "Sorry, no."
He walked back over to the kids. My feet got tired and I leaned against a nearby stone wall. More talking. I wondered if there might be ticks in the lawn the stone wall was retaining. I hoped not. Presently he led the girl over to his police car. I moved a bit so I could see that he wasn't hurting her. She got in the back of his car. He drove her away. I sat back down on the stone wall.
After a while the boy was allowed to go sit in the driver's seat of his car. He smoked a cigarette. I stayed. And a while after that the remaining policeman got in his car, pulled out and drove away, and the boy did likewise and I went home.
I stayed for roughly an hour and came home with tired feet and new mosquito bites, and had Kip check me for ticks before I went to bed. (No ticks, whew; ticks really give me the creeps.) It was not an easy thing to resist the social repulsion field and all the voices in my own head telling me everything was fine and I didn't have to be there and I was probably embarrassing those kids or the policemen or both, and for nothing. But it was a lot easier for me than it would have been for someone who didn't have my advantages. And hopefully next time it will be easier still.
Because there will be a next time. I'm practicing.
But I woke up this morning with I helped bury someone yesterday in my head.
I've known Sonya Schultz since her son Ben and I dated back in high school. Sophomore and Jr years. It was at their house I first was part of Havdalah. It was with them I first went to Simchas Torah - Ben and I went in all our Sadie Hawkins finery before going on to the dance. In the years that followed, she included me in her huge seders when I wasn't in Cleveland. In recent years other friends have offered invites first, or I've been in Cleveland. It's been a while since I've been to the house. My last sure memory of talking in person was shortly after Ben's now three year old was born. It was some years before that, in that apartment, when she said to me, "Marry one of my sons; I don't care which!" At the house last night, I was reminded by more than one of the family that she would have adopted me in, regardless.
I spent much of the day yesterday with Cathie and later Lauren. They would each occasionally run into Sonya and sometimes also David at Strathmore, or at Costco. I am envious.
It's kinda weird. In a certain way she and I were more regularly in touch the last couple years because she would respond in my facebook here and there. But I had no idea she was ill, because it had been so long since she and I had spoken in person. And tbh, I might not have known anyway -- people commented last night they'd just seen her at shul a week ago.
The funeral was long and full. Cathie and I were some of the few who ended up parking on the street because the parking lot was full. There were some beautiful stories and some heartbreak, and as is always the case for me, I learned more and was sad not to know it earlier. Bits about just how fiercely there she was for her kids, bits about her involvement with the shul, or defying being told "no woman can pass this econ test," or that they'd been on their most recent cruise only in May. Or that they'd planned to remodel the kitchen. I could so visualize that kitchen, the house. It wasn't the house they had when Ben and I dated; I don't remember that one, now.
At the gravesite, there was a traditional handwash station. One washes on leaving a graveyard. She and Ben had been at my grandmother's funeral at Arlington. Memories came flooding back of her coming up to me to give me wet wipes in the absence of the two handled cup. "al natitlat yadayim."
I've only been to a couple gravesites that weren't Jewish funerals*. Even so, there were things that were new to me. More traditional. That we all process together with the coffin but stop 7 times in reluctance. That one should add at least three shovelfulls of earth because 3 makes it not an accident or coincidence. That the first shovelful should be the back of the shovel, because we don't really want to be efficient in saying goodbye. That we shouldn't hand the shovel along to the next but instead put it back into the pile.
I've never before been to a funeral with real shovels adding the earth that had just been dug out, rather than symbolic trowelsful. After a while there was one person who went back and was shoveling more, for real, and Ben's younger brother for a while, and if there had been more than two shovels and I had been more clear whether it was okay or I was too far from the family I wanted to as well, despite the dress and shoes. It was hot, very hot. We said kaddish and we all went to the cars. Last night I learned that J had finished shoveling all the dirt for his grandparents, and would really have preferred to have done so here. And that the small bucket I'd wondered about that his girlfriend troweled from may have been Jerusalem dirt, but the part that was important to her was it also contained a vegan truffle she'd made for Sonya, but which Sonya had suggested bringing on Saturday but then not felt up to eating. This sounds so odd, written, but brought tears to my eyes in person.
I'd planned on going to a couple fringe plays last night, and I'm glad I hadn't preticketed. I spent the afternoon with Lauren, and then was in the right part of town to go over to shiva last night rather than trying to force getting there on Thursday. And the reason why shiva is traditionally in the deceased's house was so very apparent. So many memories in these rooms. A memory of a shiva, even. Sonya's mother.
I need to get moving. There's more to write and there isn't. There's contrasts with my mom's death, and after. Maybe later.
*One was Steve Devoney's dad, a couple months ago, after which everybody retired to the house and there were stories and video. One was a close friend, 8 years ago. The funeral itself had been a mass in latin at which there happened to be a coffin; the gravesite was in English and I think maybe mentioned her name. After everybody left her aunt started wedging flowers in any part of the coffin handles and hinges she could, and a couple of us joined in this until the coffin was covered in flowers, and then after the people came and lowered the coffin we dropped more flowers on top. And they put the concrete or whatever cover on and uncovered the dirt and I commented that in Jewish funerals we add the dirt. To make it final, real. And the four of us still there we each did add a handful. And that's when the aunt cried.
"But there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin." -- Mitch Albom, For One More Day [via Goodreads]
It turns out that there's no Music AH for Worldcon 75.
I mean, on one level, I'm not shedding any tears over screwups with the convention after they booted me (and the way it was done). But on the other hand, my friends are going to miss out on a lot of the activity they enjoy at the convention because there's nobody put it together.
"The audience usually has to be with you, I'm afraid. I always regarded myself as not even preaching to the converted, I was titillating the converted.
"The audiences like to think that satire is doing something. But, in fact, it is mostly to leave themselves satisfied. Satisfied rather than angry, which is what they should be."
-- Tom Lehrer, in a 2003 interview in the Sydney Morning Herald (interviewer: Tony Davis)
[And then there are those satirists who manage to leave room for both reactions simultaneously...]
If I were really good, I would try dividing it up into chunks of ESC, Session 1, and Session 21, but I'm not that good. So have a jumbled together report of my last two weeks. I'm not writing it in any sort of order, so the footnotes
*So um redacted redacted redacted hour kissing on the dock redacted redacted. Also this is the second time in three months where I have taken photos of me kissing a cute girl and sent them to her girlfriend.
*Dave Wiesler is the absolute best at writing music. His bandleading night in session 1, I mostly couldn't actually dance due to a twingy ankle (and I am gentler about that when there's five more nights of dancing than I would be otherwise), but that meant I spent some good time just hiding behind the bandshell catnapping and listening to just fucking magnificent music. I want want desperate want a recording of his Joie de Vivre set, it was just *magical*.
*FOUR SQUARE ON THE RAFT IS THE NEW BEST GAME AT PINEWOODS! And of course, we invented/found this game and the weather immediately got grumpy and rainy and Scottish and no one wanted to go play in the water anymore so we never played again. But there was like an hour and a half of it on Sunday.
*Also redacted details but one of my favourite comets3 and I get to see each other at Pinewoods every year, and this year was just _super_ good for it. Also, yes, it is absolutely possible to fit two people into the single4 bed in Kitty Alone, you just have to be very friendly and accept that one of y'all might have the windowsill digging into their leg the whole night. Luckily no one is sleeping very long at camp.
*Fred is SUCH AN AWESOME HIGHLAND TEACHER! We covered two dances in two days during session 1, and then refined one of them and learned another two dances in session two. Somehow I have now reached the point where I was in the demo set for things, which is terrifying, considering that everyone else in the demo set is either Triona (who started at the same time as me but actually practices and is good at Highland) or people who've been competing for like fifteen years.
*I mostly did not go to any classes except Highland, but I did make it to the cross-step waltz class, which was really good! It had one variation that I'd never seen before, some more practice on grapevines (which I suuuuck at), and there was about a ten second "and also pivots exist" near the end which I managed to corner Keira and get actual info about and then I did some real pivots with Val and internalized them well enough to teach them to Stephen and Alex. Now, these are all three super competent dancers, but I still felt pretty proud of myself and will try to throw those in next time I lead cross-step.
*The hardest part about doing secret rehearsals for secret Abbots Bromley is then not whistling the tune for the next three hours and giving away the secret. Also, our fool was complimented both times on their ability to hit the triangle in an appropriate and not overwhelming manner. Alsoalso, the fact that the Abbots Bromley is traditionally taught to Scottish dancers by being dragged into the woods by a veritable wizard is basically the Best Thing. Alsoalsoalso, I don't know what you are talking about I was definitely not part of any of this weird English ritual nonsense.
*I GOT TO DRESS LIKE ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX AND HIT ON EARTH PEOPLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR AND A HALF AND IT WAS AMAZING AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN IT WAS SO GOOD EVERYTHING IS SO GOOD!
*Spent like four hours in what felt kinda like a con panel where we talked about old drama (and I (re?)learned a story that's important for me to know and now I have a clearer picture instead of just details) and the progression from gamergate to trump supporters and a bit of just tragic personal history of a friend of mine. It was a cozy night! Sad that all the stories were sad, but the greater world is sad right now, and Callahan has an adage about the importance of shared pain.
*Had very _very_ low amounts of polydrama/jealousy going on. This doesn't *always* happen at Pinewoods, and I swear there's a lot of camp beyond kissing people, but when you consider that I actively resisted camp for at least two years before originally going because I didn't want to be a seventh wheel, it's cool to have a year where all the relationships were able to be content with each other.
*I taught a workshop about "SCD for Crew"! It was about an hour, and I went into it wanting to cover five main things: the five basic Scottish steps, quicktime pousettes, allemandes, at least one corner figure, and dancing something without cues. We got through all those things! It helps that crew tends to have a crazy high dance ability!
*Speaking of crew, there were two nineteen year olds who I spent time with, both of whom make me very confused since I'm pretty sure I was in no way that chill or competent when I was nineteen. I want to be friends with both of them and am not sure I am cool enough to be so, also they apparently told other people I was awesome which just ???!??!!?
Apparently I'm getting old enough to have people look up to me, which is kinda nice and also ??!??!???.
*RAPPER RAPPER RAPPER I GOT TO DO RAPPER AND IT'S MY FAVOURITE DANCE FORM AND GODDAMNIT I WANT TO FORM A RAPPER TEAM GUUAHHHHHHH. Okay I just looked it up and it's like £35 a sword but I'm actually weirdly okay with the idea of sometime dropping $230 on this once I have a Real Job in order to facilitate having a team I want to do rapper _that bad_.
*Also our rapper teacher tried Scottish for the first time at ESC, and he did well and it was very charming and fun, *and* our Scottish teacher tried Contra for the first time and she had fun and THIS IS WHAT ESC IS FOR AND THIS IS WHY IT'S THE BEST SESSION!
*During Scottish I had two separate moments where I felt the need to subtweet about someone and instead just went ahead and told him because that makes more sense and is less drama-inducing. Plus, I only have one ex-boyfriend who's since gotten married, so like, if I talk about feeling compersion towards him and his wife, that's not really subtle and he knows it's him.
(The second spoken subtweet involved the phrase "bad decision hot" and no I'm not telling you any more about it.)
*I had two separate trips to Little Long Pond, both excellent in their own way. The first involved taking newfriends Austin and Phoebe during ESC, at which point we found out that the canal was much lower than normal and we had to tie up our canoe and wade through (this was awesome). On our way back, we touched two separate bouys in regular long pond. It is worth noting that due to pub night exhaustion, we were definitely only going to touch the canoe, not get into it, and definitely not paddle clear to the other side of the lake.
The second time was jere7my and I kayaking, which meant we were able to get out and port the kayak over the little waterfall and then do the canal properly. We saw a frog, and a tiny turtle, and we chased a green heron a bit and then we saw AN OTTER!!!! jere7my took some pictures!
*For the Star Wars vs Star Trek ball, I had Lise do up my hair in exquisite Leia buns, and I wore glitter and my Leiaish dress. I looked very beautiful and the buns did not come out despite doing Scottish dancing and later stilt-walking.
*The number of people catching and using my pronouns was magnificent. Also, I'm quite amused by some friends asking if it was okay if they used "she-shit-they" as my pronoun, as it was inevitably what happened. I will absolutely accept sheshitthey as my pronoun, yes, as I have used it myself occasionally by accident.
(Misgendering yourself is weird.)
*I had a job interview on changeover day between session 1 and session 2. It was...I mean, it was a phone interview and it only lasted about twenty minutes but I think I answered all of their questions well and I think I asked good questions of my own. I should be hearing back from them sometime this week upcoming maybe.
*Was in a ceilidh act attempting to hexify a Scottish square. It went solidly okay. Extra difficult in that one of our people didn't show up so I pulled my dance-sister Connie in on absolutely zero warning. I think this would make a better workshop than ceilidh for the future.
*Fucked up both my acts in the session 1 ceilidh, neither in ways anyone else would notice or care about. Felt...really bummed out about it, and got super quiet and brainwarped, which eventually culminated in me vanishing for a long while and eventually sobbing on the dock for a bit at one AM, because that's kinda what you do at Pinewoods at least once.
*I always feel a little weird that I basically never go to classes at Pinewoods. I think I pretty consistently average 1.5 classes a day or less, and inevitably the bulk of that is either Highland or Rapper.
*People seemed pleased by my classes on basic SCD technique during ESC, but I very much did not. I don't think I prepared well enough for them or did a good enough job teaching, and I especially fucked up the last day something thorough (in no small part to the complete lack of sleep beforehand). I suspect a lot of this is me being Too Hard on myself, but I also suspect that me being Too Hard on myself counts as bad even if sucking at teaching doesn't.
*Speaking of rapper, I managed to hit someone I like and respect very much in the face with a rapper sword because sometimes this sort of shit happens but also god_damnit_. She was very gracious.
*I managed to put my open water bottle into my bag at one point, which was a Dumb Idea. My camera got the brunt of the damage --it's completely broken, despite spending most of a week in a tub of rice (thank you crewwww). So I'll have to look into a new digital camera, siiiigh.
I am really sad that I have to put any notes into this category, because this is significantly worse than the bad category. But there you have it.
*There was a pretty blatant transphobic joke made by the bandleader and two of the musicians Wednesday night. Like, two dudes dressing up as women, being introduced as "our guest musicians [feminized versions of their names]" by the bandleader and a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge laughter involved. It was not okay, and I'm not looking forward to having to fight at the next TMC2 meeting about how this was Not Okay and how we need to explain that to the people involved.
(But I'm looking even less forward to being a part of a community where transphobic jokes are able to be the norm.)
Overall I had a REALLY REALLY good time, which is pretty typical for me. I enjoyed myself and played games and saw and made good friends and fucked about in a canoe and swam and so much dancing!
I am already looking forward to next year. <3
1: ESC = English Scottish Contra session at Pinewoods! Also called ESCape. Session 1 and Session 2 = the two official Scottish sessions at Pinewoods.
2: TMC is the Teaching and Music Committee of the Boston RSCDS branch. RSCDS is the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I'm a part of TMC both naturally and because someone from the Highland Ball needs to attend their meetings. We're the peeps who pick the MCs, Musicians, and Teachers for events like Pinewoods.
3: Comet is a term starting to appear in some branches of the poly community. It refers to someone who briefly comes into your life on a periodicish basis, and who you don't really date or communicate much with in between, but are always happy to pick back up where you left off. This particular comet started as my "James Dean relationship"3.a, and I adore him something fierce.
3.a: Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse. We went from zero to sexytimes in about a date and a half, we broke up after six months (both knowing it was coming; he was moving far away), we stayed friends. And sometimes more than friends.
4: Did you know that there is a name for the size of bed smaller than twin? Yeah, it's single. Singles are _very_ small.