I did my homework on time

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:01 am
dorchadas: (Not he who tells it)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Today marks the first week that I've gotten all my reading of 世界の中心で、愛を叫ぶ done for class before we even met for the first reading. In fairness, it's a relatively short chapter and like three quarters of it is dialogue, which is always easier to comprehend than, to pick an example at random, a half-page about how beautiful and pure a girl is using an extended inorganic chemistry metaphor.

(That example was not random)

I also got more practice handwriting, when [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I took the postcards we bought at the wedding and wrote them out to our old Chiyoda Eikaiwa students. We do a mix of English and Japanese, with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd writing the English and me the Japanese, and my penmanship is atrocious. Sometimes I wonder if they can ever read what I've written:

2017-07-23 - Postcard Japanese
I think every single looks different.

I can instantly read this and know exactly what it says, but I kept having to look kanji up while I was writing because I didn't know how to write them. This is actually a major problem with Japanese writing nowadays, even with native speakers. Auto-complete kanji selection means that writing that takes place on computers or phones can be done phonetically, leading to a phenomenon called character amnesia, or 漢字健忘症 in Japanese (kanji kenbōshō) (article here. I write in Japanese relatively often, but literally the only time I hand write it is for these postcards.

I had a nice vacation--still too short, as they all are, but I was able to go back to work with a minimum of problems. My insomnia last night was entirely down to the people across the alley staying up and talking until 12:45 a.m. on a Monday and drinking like four cups of water because I was inexplicably thirsty. And yesterday was [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's birthday, so we went out to dinner and I ate duck curry! Emoji Fairy La And I had butter chicken on Sunday, and I'm having more butter chicken tonight...

Yum.
dorchadas: (Chicago)
[personal profile] dorchadas
So recently, Chicago Dyke March had an incident where they threw out three Jewish women marching with rainbow flags that had Magen David on them. The march organizers claimed that they made people feel unsafe and that the women had been asked to leave for expressing Zionist opinions at an explicitly pro-Palestinian march, but the women say they were approached and confronted about their flags. And since the march organizers put up a fundraiser for a self-care retreat where they used the phrase "from the river to the sea," leapt immediately to a Nazi analogy when explaining their decision:
"But, we need to be in control of our space just like you wouldn't accept Nazis in your synagogue."

-Alexis Martinez
and then used the phrase "Zios" when celebrating how they got the journalist who covered the initial incident demoted--they claim they didn't know the term or its usage, but I believe that as much as I'd believe someone who claimed they just happened to shorten the word "Hispanic" and why are people so angry--I believe the three Jewish women who were exiled.

And just recently, the Chicago Slut Walk said they stand with the Dyke March and also plan to ban "Zionist displays." What are those?

Is it any Jew who is identifiably Jewish? Is it merely the Magen David, a symbol of the Jewish people for centuries which long predates the modern nation of Israel? The Slutwalk claims that they're not the same thing, but I do not trust them to make that distinction. Slutwalk seems to uncritically believe the Dyke March's version of events, where the marchers were changing chants and being openly "Zionist," whatever they think that means. Of course, the Dyke March was happy to leave up comments about how Zionism is an insidious cancer (sound familiar?) and one of the women they banned was an Iranian Jew, and they also describe Zionism as a "White supremacist ideology."

Tell that to a Nazi.

There's a good article on the New York Times about the incident titled I’m Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars that talks about how intersectionality so often fails to consider Jews:
One of the women who was asked to leave the Dyke March, Eleanor Shoshany Anderson, couldn’t understand why she was kicked out of an event that billed itself as intersectional. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional,” she said. “I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

She isn’t. Because though intersectionality cloaks itself in the garb of humanism, it takes a Manichaean view of life in which there can only be oppressors and oppressed. To be a Jewish dyke, let alone one who deigns to support Israel, is a categorical impossibility, oppressor and oppressed in the same person.

That’s why the march organizers and their sympathizers are now trying to smear Ms. Grauer as some sort of right-wing provocateur. Their evidence: She works at an organization called A Wider Bridge, which connects the L.G.B.T.Q. Jewish community in America with the L.G.B.T.Q. community in Israel. The organizers are also making the spurious claim that the Jewish star is necessarily a symbol of Zionist oppression — a breathtaking claim to anyone who has ever seen a picture of a Jew forced to wear a yellow one under the Nazis.
I saw claims that A Wider Bridge has an anti-LGBTQ stance, which is just blatant lying. But it serves the struggle, so I guess it's okay.

This is why I give money and don't directly participate in activism. Israel is a complicated issue, reducing it to indigenous Palestinian vs white settler colonialist Israelis is 1) insultingly stupid and 2) blatantly applying American political dynamics to the rest of the world, and I sure as hell don't want some leftist crusader subjecting me to an inquisition about Israel while they decide if I'm a good Jew or a bad Jew. I don't trust them to be able to understand my answers, and I don't trust Slutwalk to be able to able to distinguish between "Zionist" and "non-Zionist" uses of the Magen David. The Slutwalk already has the attitude that most pointing out antisemitism is spurious, so of course they're going to lean toward antisemitism. If you think a lot of it is fake--that's there's some kind of, say, world-wide conspiracy--in an environment where antisemitic incidents almsot doubled in early 2017, then in practice, you're not going to end up much different from those people who immediately assume any black person shot by the police must have deserved it.

Shabbat Shalom.

"Shadowrun" starring Will Smith

Jul. 21st, 2017 03:39 pm
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
[personal profile] dorchadas
So I loaded up Twitter last night while I was reading in bed and among the cute Kirby pictures and journalists tweeting about how terrible the world is, I saw a trailer for a new movie:



It's not quite Shadowrun. It has elves and orcs in the modern world, but the cyberpunk dystopia element isn't really present. It's more urban fantasy, as keeps calling it. But I'm going to think of it as a Shadowrun-adjacent property until I'm proven wrong, and we're probably going to have a viewing party for it when it comes out.

My dentist's appointment was slightly more involved than I was expecting. I was told that I just needed new sealants at my last cleaning (at a different location), but the dentist said that I had very early cavities and could probably do with fillings, so to prevent future problems I got them filled. It was painless and took next to no time, but still a bit distressing that my previous dentist could have missed them.

Well, I switched dentists now, so hopefully it won't happen again.
dorchadas: (Default)
[personal profile] dorchadas
I made a dumb Utena meme on the tumblr I share with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd. You might like it.

On Tuesday, before Japanese class, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, an exhibit of Murakami Takashi (村上隆)'s art. I didn't know anything about it before we went and modern art isn't usually to my taste, but I was surprised by how much I exjoyed the exhibit. Not the pictures where DOB, Murakami's cute Mickey-Mouse-esque character, is unfolded and stretched across a campus in a nightmare of teeth and eyes, but the works that are more traditional.

Examples:
Click for art )

Yesterday, both [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to the farmer's market together, which meant that I had some input on the contents of the meal! I originally thought about having duck and pita bread, but there were no bakers selling any pita at the market, so we settled on something different and made sandwiches instead. Ingredients are mostly my idea with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's input, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was the one who put them all together into the final meal. Emoji Kawaii heart

Farmer's Market food pictures )

I have a dentist appointment in two hours to reapply a sealant on my teeth, so of course I'm very nervous. I'm going to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's dentist, because he's within walking distance and she recommended him to me, and I know that sealants are an easy procedure and it shouldn't take more than half an hour, if that. But any number of things could go wrong, and even though I know they won't, what if they did? Emoji Panic flailing

But there's not much point in worrying about that now. Back to playing Wind Waker.

Game Review: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Jul. 19th, 2017 04:19 pm
dorchadas: (Warcraft Algalon)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Warcraft is the series that I've put the most time into. Even completely ignoring World of Warcrafr--my main had something like 450 days /played by the time I lost interest in the game in in 2011--Warcraft III was my go-to game for pretty much all of university. I'd work on a paper for a while, load up WCIII and play a quick game, then go back to the paper. Back in high school, instead it was Warcraft II, and I was good enough that our team placed second in a tournament that the high school games club ran entirely on the strength of my performance. I mean, one of my team members forgot to build a town hall.

Warcraft I, though, I have less experience with. I came into the fandom (as the kids say nowadays) with WCII, so I got used to that game's much more capable interface. I eventually borrowed the install discs from a friend and played through Warcraft I, and then after I beat it I never went back.

Until now.

Warcraft I humans vs orcs battle
Welcome to the world of Warcraft.

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Dramatis Personae:
  • Shining Star, mandragora sorcerer-priestess of Nyahré.
  • The Green Knight, mandragora briarwitch.
    • Drifting Snow, chuzan former farmer.
  • Bonnie, kong Auspicious Orator.
  • Amos Burnham, a human from Earth.
  • Elaphe, a chuzan junior member of the Black Rose.
Seriously injured but with their enemies dead, the party began cleaning up the loose ends. Elaphe searched the lab where the vampire had died, finding several seemingly-enchanted items--a suit of armor composed of tiny scales and fitting like a second skin, a cup as large as his forearm that had seemingly been filled with blood, and a set of chains made of soulsteel, as well as the cloak that the vampire had been wearing. He scooped them all up, as well as a pile of crystals, and the books on necromancy that were in a bookshelf against the wall. Shining Star offered her talents to the mercenaries, who had suffered several casualties and had severely injured members being carried out. They were also bringing out the corpses of the necromancers for burial, to prevent their angry ghosts from rising and attacking their killers. She spent some time on this while the Green Knight and Amos went down the remaining tunnel and found a living area with clothing, some money, but no food. They took the money and then left the cursed cave behind.

Outside, Crimson accepted the rest of the mercenaries' payment with grace, though obvious sadness. His company was in no condition to fight now and would need time to recover. They all made camp together away from the cave, and in the morning departed for Rockfort. This time, the mercenaries were not singing.

The trip back was uneventful under clear skies, though a chill wind was blowing from the north. Once in Rockfort, Bonnie told the wall guards about their success in fighting the necromancers and the undead, showing one of the necromancy books as proof after Elaphe would not give up the cloak to be used as a sign fearing that it would be taken from them. The guards were obviously skeptical, but they sent a runner off to the castle to consult with the king. The runner returned after about an hour with a message that the king's chancellor would speak with them after lunch the following day, and with no other option, the party accepted. They continued into Rockfort and through the pipe in the town square, passing into B'rabt, and taking a room at a hostel. They remained there that night, watching the B'rabti passing to and fro, the priests of the moon god, and the slow flow of the Kintai south to the Narrow Sea.

The following day, everyone except Elaphe went back to Rockfort to meet with the chancellor. Bonnie introduced herself as an Auspicious Orator of Chai and explained their deeds, and the chancellor eventually declared them knights of Fontina, subject to the rights and duties thereof. The Green Knight violently rejected the knighthood and almost earned a spear through the throat from the guards in the room, but stood down when Shining Star asked him too. The chancellor was very clear that the king was too busy to see the party, so they left and went back to Elaphe, who had been attempting to identify the items they had found. They rode north until the moons had risen in the sky and finally took a pipe through to the Scarlet City.

On the way in, Shining Star saw another one of the starfolk, who live in the Star Road and fight a ceaseless war against the demons to prevent them from descending in their swarms to the world below.
Bonnie's player: "Is there anywhere in this world which is just a nice place to live?"
Me: "Don't be ridiculous."
She nodded a greeting to them and received a nod in reply, and then they entered the temple. The Temple of the Goddesses in the Floral Quarter gave a warm welcome to Shining Star, especially when they heard that she had killed several necromancers and a vampire. The old priest of Tharu who had treated them last time gave them a room, though they would have to pay for their own food, and offered medical treatment of the injured. Elaphe' wounds were serious, and they would need at least six weeks to heal, so they settled in for a long convalescence.

Amos spent some time with a group of Muskalan mercenaries who followed the way of the Excellent Archer, eventually picking up their fighting style himself. Shining Star devoted herself to studying sorcery in the temple's library. The Green Knight spent time cultivating a patch of wilderness outside the city and training Drifting Snow to live off the land. Bonnie went to the Chaian consulate and spoke with a powerful orator stationed there about the books they had found. The orator was able to send a message back to Chai about the books--they were to be placed in the Orators' library--and realizing that she could convey a message, she asked if the orator contact her father. She sent a message explaining what she had been doing, and her father sent her a reply about how proud he was of her and how he was glad she was accomplishing so much, since he had never left the borders of Chai. Bonnie left with a happy glow and spent time teaching Amos Muskalan and Shining Star Sarasan, using her superior understanding of languages to speed the learning process.

Elaphe, once he was cleared to walk again, took the artifacts they and found to a shady sorcerer for identification. The sorcerer told him that the cloak could be used to command the walking dead, the cup could be filled with blood that the owner could drink themselves or give to others to drink for healing, the chains had the ability to bind ghosts, and the scales were armor that would increase the wearer's mobility underwater. He later took them to be priced, but when he heard the princely sum offered for the armor--four and a half ryō, enough to retire on--he had second thoughts.

Two weeks before Elaphe's wounds healed, the first snow of the year fell.

Another logistics-based episode requiring convalescence extended by bad rolls on the part of the chirurgeon, much like session seventeen. Bonnie and the Green Knight's players are thinking of switching their characters out for new ones, but don't have their new characters finalized yet so that won't happen until next time. Elaphe's player also wants a set of silken armor, since he can't wear armor with Black Rose Style, but we saved that for the next game. The next game might be entirely more Scarlet City, actually, as new characters are introduced and the party figures out what they want to do. They thought about finally following the map to the treasure, but that requires winter travel into the wilderness. There's also exploring the safe route in Etemenanki they learned about, or the pipe through to the jungle ruins neither of which will be affected by the weather. We'll see!

Happy (on vacation) Monday!

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:45 pm
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Relevant title since it's 海の日 (umi no hi, "Marine Day") in Japan.

My shirt came in the mail! Even after I got an alert that it had been delivered, and then checked to find that it hadn't been delivered, but then it turned out that it was delivered.

Click below to hack the Gibson.
Picture )
Otherwise, spent the day playing Stardew Valley and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. I forgot how terrible the interface on the original Warcraft was. No hotkeyed groups, only able to select four units as a time, no contextual mouse clicks...it's a DOS game. Despite that, I'm having some fun with it. I'm over halfway done already, and should have a review up tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.

We finished watching 少女革命ウテナ ("Revolutionary Girl Utena") with [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture last night. It's much more optimistic on a second viewing, I think. And much more obviously about growing up, and how some people never do. We'll probably watch something light and fluffy next. We already watched Wakakozake afterward, now that [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture has been to Japan with us and knows why [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I don't go to Japanese food in America very often.

We tried to order takeout 唐揚げ afterward. There were no restaurants that delivered it. The only restaurants still open were the Thai-food-and-sushi ones that are so common in Chicago and completely absent everywhere else. Emoji rain

This is the first day of my vacation, but it feels like I have to go back to work at any moment. Maybe after Japanese class tomorrow, I'll be able to relax a bit more. I can hope.

But right now, people are almost here for Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom!

Work Venting

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:09 pm
rebelsheart: Text: Experience is the name we give our past mistakes. (Experience)
[personal profile] rebelsheart
So Friday at work, an hour and a half after I'd intended to leave, I finally finished everything that had to be done by Monday. So did FTE coworker H. So of course, we spent 30 minutes chatting about our manager having been a bit of a jerk earlier that day and then doing math that I can basically describe as stress validation.

During a call with our manager, H started to complain that we had a lot of work to get done, and was cut off by the manager, who asked if we thought if teams in the other divisions (notably, he referred to what used to be his only team, in South). We were both put off by this, and we weren't trying to compare our workload in relation to other divisions, only to the other two regions in our division.

While there is a restructure in progress on a national level, it's not expected to be done until sometime in the first quarter of 2018. In fact ,the last divisional team to incorporate into the national restructure will be ours.

We looked at active directory and tried to get an idea of how many users each regional team in our division had. H and I make up two thirds of field IT in the Mountain region, with contractor C in Salt Lake City being the other.

Mountain has 370 users and three field techs across three states.

California has 260 users and three field techs and a supervisor. Somewhat obviously, it is only one state.

Northwest has 168 users and three field techs and a supervisor across two states.

Apparently, back before H had a horrible car accident and missed a year of work, there were three field techs, a supervisor, and the divisional manager in Mountain. There was not a supervisor when I started in May 2016. The divisional manager left in march 2017 and his position was eliminated as part of the restructure.

The math we did was users per tech. We did the math two ways, as the supervisors do pick up tickets in addition to escalations.

Mountain: 123 users per tech.
California 65 per tech (87 if you ignore the supervisor).
Northwest has 42 users per tech (56 if you ignore the supervisor.)

That math alone validates our frustrations in our opinion, and I kind of wish we'd gone into the call with the manager with this knowledge.

Now here's the iffy math. Mountain is 3 states: Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. H and I are the primary support for all but 2 (extremely remote) users in Colorado. C, based from Salt Lake City, handles those 2, as well as all of Utah and New Mexico as his primary users.

C has maybe 70 users for whom he is primary support. I'm guessing half of those are in Salt Lake City. Our AD doesn't break users down that far in OUs, and we didn't really want to count.

Colorado has 4 outlying offices with maybe 30 people between them, and it might be as low as 20. The downtown Denver office has 70, half of whom will be moving to the largest office in the state at the end of August. That office hosts all of operations for the division, and serves as the base for several national teams.

Now you get the idea of just how stressed and frustrated H and I are.

And I can safely say that the stress is impacting my personal life as well. I rarely spend time in front of any sort of computer system anymore to relax. Guild Wars 2 I log in to for mostly missions. I didn't touch the Wii U for probably 2 months, having spent 6-8 hours a weekend playing Breath of the Wild since it launched. I don't even play the games on my phone often, other than to occasionally distract me from work when there's a moment or two to do so.

Once again, I'm burning out, and I don't know how much longer I can last. I've been a contractor ever since I moved to Colorado, and that will be 3 years in August. I started my first job here on October 20, 2014.

I'm looking forward not only to the Disney world trip in October, but the convention in December as well. And I'm barely two weeks back from the last one.
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
[personal profile] dorchadas
​On Friday [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I took a trip out to the suburbs to visit my parents. We managed to get on the express train, shaving twenty minutes off the trip, and then had a delicious dinner of salmon and vegetables with my mother's homemade ice cream pie for dessert. We came back on Saturday, later than we usually do since I'm feeling less time-crunched than I normally would what with my upcoming week of vacation, and spent most of the rest of the day at home. But we went out to dinner and on the way, we bought some chocolate.
Read more... )

Tamagoyaki!

Jul. 14th, 2017 11:07 am
dorchadas: (Perfection)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Prime Day happened and we didn't pay much attention, but we did take the opportunity to grab some new cookware. A replacement for the crockpot we've had since we got married, a new lunchbag to replace the tattered one I've used since I started my current job, and something else that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd found that got me really excited:

Tamagoyaki Pan
A tamagoyaki pan!


[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd makes dashimaki for me every time we eat breakfast together, and the pan we've been using is adequate but obviously not designed for the purpose. Since we have next week off together, I'm really excited for all the new delicious dashimaki I'm going to get to eat! Emoji Fairy La
dorchadas: (Toon Link happy)
[personal profile] dorchadas
I was originally planning to play both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages--fushigi no kinomi -jikū no shō-, "The Mysterious Seed -Time-Space Chapter-"--together and then write a joint review because I wasn't sure there was enough difference beween them to warrant separate treatments. Obviously, now I know that's wrong. They have the same premise, where Link is tested by the Triforce and dumped into a land that may or may not really exist, but beyond that and the basic gameplay conceits of the Legend of Zelda series nearly everything is different. Oracle of Seasons focused on combat and the end result was mostly a disappointment for me, but Oracle of Ages focused on puzzles and that was a much better choice for the format. If I had played this game first and then played Seasons, I might have been happier overall. This is definitely my favorite of the two.

Oracle of Ages Nayru's Song

"Quiet! I can't hear Nayru's song!"

Read more... )

(-_-) zzzzzzz

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:57 am
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
[personal profile] dorchadas
I was planning to go to sleep early last night but was foiled twice over. The first time because I insisted on staying up and making sure that I could get Phantom Hourglass and Skyward Sword--well, 夢幻の砂時計 and スカイウォードソード--working correctly through DeSmuMe and Dolphin, respectively. I originally tried NosGBA for Phantom Hourglass, but it had horrible screen tearing that would have made all the screenshots I took look like garbage, and while Skyward Sword booted up and gave me the proper warning messages, I can't really test it because I don't have the right setup. We have our old WiiMote, but not the WiiMotion Plus, and I haven't bought a USB Wii sensor bar yet since I'm just finishing up Oracle of Ages and still have a long road ahead of me.

And then when I finally lay down to go to sleep, the party that the people in the building next door were having was still going. Maybe they were celebrating the end of summer school, since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd just finished her stint helping with summer school yesterday? I don't know. I was annoyed enough to look up the noise complaint procedure but not annoyed enough to actually call in, and when the rain started the party died down.

Farmer's Market Dinner )
Tomorrow we're going out to the suburbs to visit my parents for a day and then my week-long vacation starts. We're going to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit of Japanese art and probably going to go to a few restaurants that we've been wanting to get to for a while. And I'm going to play a ton of video games, of course. Emoji Waddle Dee Two more days!
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