Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

There is an Angry Crow Outside My House

Good evening, squiders. I have an angry crow outside my house. It’s been there since we got back from Scotland, so I’m pretty sure we, personally, have not done anything to make it mad, but who knows?

It is, however, very annoying. We’ve been taking the dog for a walk every morning about 6, 6:30 am (before it gets too hot to function) and it will sit there and yell at us. And then it will follow us up the street, yelling at us. Today it kind of swooped at me. Like, as a warning, not like it was actually going to attack.

(It is not just me. It is swooping/yelling at pretty much everyone. I think it might be the dog? I am not generally out front without the dog and other people on the street are also walking their dogs, so more data might be needed. Sometimes it yells at me while I’m watering the flowers, but this is typically immediately after the walk so I’m not sure if it’s not because of dog association.)

Anyway, as I said, it is annoying, and I would like to be able to be outside with being yelled at by an angry crow. However, I’m not sure what to do here. I’ve heard stories about crows, about how they’re smart and they’ll remember you and they will tell crows you’ve never even seen about you, so I don’t want to do anything actively antagonizing.

But I also want to be able to be outside. And I’m sure my neighbors would prefer if the crow were not yelling at me at 6 am.

Sometimes there are more crows, but only one is actively upset, as far as I can tell.

Does anyone have experience with crows? Is there a good way to figure out why it’s mad/get it to stop being mad?

Part of me wonders if it hasn’t nested in one of the trees, and that’s why it’s being so aggressive, but it seems like it’s too late in the year for that.

And, you know, barring calming it down, is there a good way to get rid of it, in a way that’s not going to make me Enemy Number One for the local crow population?

Please help. It is so loud.

Have Some Castles

Good morning, squiders! I’ve just returned from two weeks in Scotland. We had a lovely trip, and perhaps I’ll talk more about it in a bit, but it turns out when you’re out of the country for two weeks there’s a lot of catch-up that needs to be done.

However, I didn’t want to leave you with nothing, so here’s some pictures of some (not all) of the castles we went and saw while there. There’s over 1000 castles in Scotland, ranging from ruins to still-lived-in homes, which does say something about the state of the country during the medieval time period. But as someone who comes from someplace without castles, I think they’re neat, and so did the small, mobile ones.

A lot of the ruins we looked at had been destroyed (either by defenders or by attackers) during the Jacobite Revolution, which took place over the first half of the 1700s. (Carnasserie was destroyed earlier. Carnasserie was surprisingly neat though because they’ve fixed it up enough that you can climb all five stories up to the top of the castle ruins. Also it was free.)

(Eilean means island, by the by.)

Inveraray, Dunvegan, and Eilean Donan are active homes used by the Campbell, Macleod, and Macrae clans respectively. Dunvegan has been continuously lived in for 800 years, which is pretty cool (and surprisingly rare). Eilean Donan was destroyed in the early 1700s but was rebuilt in the early 1900s, which is quite a feat.

I’ve got pictures of other structures too–standing stones and circles, neolithic burial cairns, iron age forts, stuff along those lines. It is interesting, living in a place where there are seemingly people everywhere, to go some place where things have been standing for sometimes thousands of years, and people have mostly…left them alone.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the castles! Thursday we’ll start on the Master Plot summer series, so I shall see you then! (There is a small chance that all gets delayed until Friday. But it will happen this week, no worries.)

Still Irrationally Mad at SETI

Story time, squiders. Hooray!

Recently I was on YouTube, catching up on my subscriptions (I’m doing better about not just sitting in front of YT and letting it suck away all my time, but I do sometimes purposefully build in time for it) and watched a video from Buzzfeed Unsolved about aliens.

One of the stops they made was to SETI, and I was reminded that I am mad at them.

Childhood is a funny thing, squiders. Sometimes the things you went through and the emotions you felt linger, into adulthood and more than they probably should, and my anger at SETI is one of those.

(Of course, til said video, the last time I even thought about SETI was…oh, who even knows.)

As a kid, I want to say middle school, but it may have been early high school or late elementary school–I really do not remember–we had to write a 10-15 page research paper. Now, 10-15 pages these days is nothing, but as a kid, that is the Longest Thing Ever, and I wanted to make sure that I picked an interesting topic that I could stick with and find enough information on.

Being a giant nerd, I decided my subject would be whether life was possible on other planets. However, one of the requirements of the assignment was that at least two of your resources had to be interviews that you, yourself, did with appropriate subject matter experts.

Extremely-introverted child!Kit did not like that. Oh no.

Luckily, email-based interviews counted, so I did my research and sent out emails to people who seemed like they would be good fits. And one of those emails went to SETI. I don’t remember who, exactly, but it was a person, and not just the organization.

And whoever-SETI-person-was sent back an extremely nasty email, saying that they didn’t have time to talk to me and to not bother them.

Imagine being somewhere in the 12-15-year-old age range and getting a mean email from an adult in response to a simple request for a school report. To this day, it’s still one of the meanest emails I’ve ever gotten.

And the kicker? I also sent emails off to a university professor and a NASA scientist, both of who were more than happy to help me and were very nice people. I remember thinking it was so weird at the time, that the SETI person–objectively the least prestigious of the bunch–was the one who couldn’t be bothered.

And it did leave a lingering bad opinion of SETI in my mind. Like, as an adult, I can realize that one bad apple does not a bad organization make, and that maybe that person was just having a bad day or whatever, but the logic doesn’t override the emotion of being a child and having an adult tell you that you’re not worth their time or respect.

And I also realize that it was a single email, not lingering abuse or any other number of worse things that a child can experience, but childhood emotion doesn’t care about that logic either.

So here we are. Years and years later.

I guess, like Mr. Darcy, my good opinion once lost is lost forever.

But, seriously, if you’re going to send a mean email to a child, maybe just don’t reply at all.

AHHHH

A sneak peek at my inner monologue right now, squiders.

You know, I suspect at one point in my life, I got a lot more done than I do regularly now.

Con starts tomorrow! How ready am I for it?

Eh, I’d say middling. The list from last week looks like this:

  • Sign up for author co-op table slot
  • File sales permits with the usual government agencies
  • Figure out what horse panel is supposed to be about (alas, no descriptions are available yet)
  • Research how far a horse can actually travel
  • Prepare moderator questions for editing panel
  • Costumes? (Probably too late, but ponder anyway)
  • Make Writers’ Motivation Series fliers to put out
  • Order fun masks?

Also, according to the schedule the con sent out very early this morning, I have autographs at 5 o’clock tomorrow? I don’t think I’ve ever had autographs before. I am unsure what this means, actually.

(The answer on the costumes was no, it was much too late to get on that. I could re-wear something but I’m not feeling anything.)

Panel information is out, so I just need to sit down and write things down (horse panel is about realistic travel in fantasy, which I generally know about, but it would be good to have some facts at hand about how long horses can generally go in a day, how fast a sailing ship can go, etc.) and think up some moderator questions for the editing panel (none provided this year, can probably steal/modify from my questions for last year’s panel).

Masks are unlikely to happen at this point. It moving weekends this year really did throw me off.

Actually, I didn’t really check book stock either. Uh. I hope I have enough with the added autograph session (whatever that is–I’m just going to ask when I get there).

Oh, no, I forgot about the laundry.

*kermit flails*

In non-con news, I started my new job outside the house this weekend, which is going fine. It’s weird, not going to lie, but it’s probably good for me, except I am definitely drinking too much coffee.

And I finally put together my revision plan for Book One! It only took me about 20-30 minutes. An example of one of those things that keeps getting put off that doesn’t actually take too long.

And now, alas, September is over. Or, yay, September is over? September always feels like a weird transition month to me, with no substance of its own. Part of me is sad, because my creative work took a back seat to other things I needed to do. The rest of me is like YAY OCTOBER, which is counterproductive, really.

I am excited for the con this weekend, even though I’m not as prepared as normal for it. It’s always nice to just get out of the house and hang out, and I normally get a lot of work done between panels and feel productive.

Well, wish me luck, squiders! I’ll see you next week for the wrap-up.

Butterflies, Part Deux

Apologies if I spelled Deux wrong. I don’t actually speak any French. My sister asked me to help her with a French dialogue once, back in high school, and after a few lines she said, “Never mind,” and took it away.

So, if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got unnecessarily invested, and it was all very emotional.

Fast forward to her birthday this year. We get her a fish tank, with the promise of fish sometime in the future. (It is now the future and she has a Betta named Bubbles, who I am again unnecessarily invested in. Apparently I am a lover of all animals.) My sister, however, got her a butterfly kit. With caterpillars.

(The same sister who was disgusted by my French, yes.)

However, the caterpillars were essentially at the chrysalis phase (ginormous) and this was a problem, because we spent most of the next month out of town. So I had to foist the butterflies/caterpillars off on a friend, who dutifully took pictures and videos so smaller, mobile one could live vicariously.

My sister felt bad about the smaller, mobile one missing the butterflies, so she ordered replacement caterpillars with the idea that we would reuse the same butterfly kit otherwise.

About a week later, the caterpillars arrived–dead. And not even caterpillars. Chrysalises. But they were very obviously dead.

Apparently they’d taken three times as long to arrive as expected, and had probably been baked because, you know, summer.

But imagine, if you will, a small child, very excitedly opening the very obvious box of caterpillars–only to find death waiting for them.

Good times. Good times for all.

Anyway, I returned them (got to wonder what the UPS employee thought about that) and my sister ordered replacements, and shortly thereafter we received four alive caterpillars and all was well.

They all made it to the chrysalis phase without incident (perhaps having learned to not shake them around from last year). They all hatched! But, alas, one of our butterflies did not form correctly in their chrysalis. It was more obviously deformed than the one last year (I think it only had one wing, and it was shriveled and wrapped around its body) but much more mobile, so, while still sad, not overwhelmingly so.

Smaller, mobile one did not name them this year. Perhaps this helped. With the attachment issues.

Yesterday we released them (surprisingly difficult to get them up and out of the butterfly kit) and put the deformed one on our last remaining flower that survived the hailstorm on Friday (guess what! We need a new roof in addition to almost every plant in the yard being torn to ribbons. Glee). I’m not 100% sure what the butterflies are going to do, because everyone’s yards/flowers are decimated due to the hailstorm, but hopefully they’ll find food somewhere.

I also forgot to check on the other one to see if it had gotten eaten yet.

I actually feel a little bad about not being so invested this year. Godspeed, nameless butterflies, wherever you are.

I’ve Been Playing in an Among Us Tournament

Sorry to talk about Among Us YET AGAIN, but it continues to be fun. Well, my group is fun, and I like hanging out with them, so by extension, the game is fun.

Anyway, my Among Us discord has been hosting a tournament for the last three weeks. I signed up because it seemed like a safe environment to get some good practice. I mean, there’s games going on fairly regularly within the group, but they aren’t always serious affairs. Sometimes we play variations like Hide and Seek or Vent Tag, sometimes everyone is feeling silly and are more focused on being silly than finding the imposters, etc. It’s fun, but not always good practice.

They had 12 tournament sessions, and your first three were scored (I only did three, because that was all I could make). I ended up doing one on each map: Mira, Skeld, and Polus. Today all the points got added up, the top ten got announced, and the final is set for Saturday afternoon, my time.

(We have a lot of members from the UK, plus other European countries, so games are sometimes at weird times. For me.)

And I actually did really well. I was sick my first session, which was on my best map, Mira, but came in second for that session, which felt pretty good.

(I love Mira. I think it confuses a lot of people which means if you have any sort of semblance of an idea of how to use it, it’s really powerful.)

(Also all the vents are connected.)

My second session was on Skeld, which I am awful at. I can’t seem to figure out how to 1) kill without someone immediately walking in on me, or 2) not die immediately. I went into it dreading it, and it somehow went worse than I thought it would. I came in second to last.

Yesterday I did my final session, on Polus. And man, I crushed it. Everything went perfectly–I was voting right, I was staying alive, and the one game I got imposter, me and my partner won by the second round. I was only on the losing side one game.

I came in first for the session, which is madness.

So, for the tournament, I’m in 12th place. Way higher than I expected. I thought I’d be more, like, 18th-22nd. (There’s 35 people total.)

So I’m pretty proud of myself.

There’s also a chance I might play in the final. One of the top 10 people can’t play, so the 11th person has already been moved into the final, so if someone else can’t make it, I’m in the bullpen, so to speak.

I don’t really want to play in the final–that seems a little too exciting–but for my first video game tournament of any sort, it’s been pretty good. And it has been fun to really focus on the strategy of the game, though I don’t think I’d want to do it all the time.

(Also, perhaps I should never enter a tournament again. That way I can always think back to this time and remember how well I did this one time.)

Anyway.

Reading through the story continues. I’m deeper into the story, but finding it hard to focus on critiquing myself versus getting sucked into the story. But we persevere.

Hope you have a good weekend, squiders!

There is an Impostor…

So, squiders. I did it. I jumped on the Among Us bandwagon.

Among Us, for those who haven’t heard of it (unlike the bigger, mobile one, who apparently knows all about it from school, sigh), is an online computer game where you are one of up to 10 little astronaut guys trying to get things done on your spaceship/station/planet (depending on the map). But one (or two or three) person is an impostor, who runs around killing the other astronauts and sabotaging things.

(Here is more information, if interested.)

It’s essentially an online version of Werewolf or Mafia, if you’ve played those.

The game is about two years old, though I first became aware of it about a month ago when the memes started circulating on Tumblr. At the time I did just enough research to understand where the cute little astronaut things came from, and called it good.

But then it kept showing up.

And then there was the livestream AOC did of her playing it, which people kept talking about, so I went to check it out. And it looked fun. That’s when I began to consider maybe playing it myself.

And then my video game newsletter featured it. I went and looked–the game is only $5 (and apparently the mobile version is free, though I haven’t tried that version).

$5 for a game is not very much. That’s like, one less trip to the coffee shop for me.

So I left it open for a few days while I considered what I wanted to do. And Tuesday was, well, Tuesday, so I decided I deserved a little fun.

Good Lord is it addictive.

Like all online things, it depends on the other people there. If you can find a good group of people, you can happily play several games in a row, and it’s a great time. The game’s not complicated, though there is strategy to it, both as an impostor and a crewmate (such as figuring out how to do tasks in electrical without getting murdered).

(Alternately, there are some very immature people out there, who are probably literal twelve year olds. The good news is that it’s easy to find a new game.)

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday playing it, which was not the best use of my time, but I had fun and now it’s mostly out of my system. But I do feel like I’ve gotten my $5 out of it, and the replay-ability is high.

If you’ve been considering it, give it a try. Especially since the mobile version is free.

As for Nano, well, I’m a day behind due to election shenanigans/Among Us, but I’ll catch up by the end of the day. My MC found the dead body right before I headed this way, and so far so good.

See you next week, squiders!

Feeling Untethered

So, we’re temporarily not living in our house. Most people, when they’re very sick, will sleep and read and watch TV, but my husband decided this was a perfect time to have work done on the house.

Specifically, to remove the early 80s popcorn ceiling throughout. Which precipitated not only having to get almost everything we own out of the house, but also ourselves, since there is not usable furniture or anything of that ilk.

(It sucks to take everything you own out of your house. It’s like moving, but without the end result of hopefully having a nice, new place to live.)

So we’re living with my mother-in-law this week, which isn’t bad, but it does make me feel…listless. I don’t have anything to do–no real dishes, or chores, or cleaning. She’s around to help with the small, mobile ones so I don’t need to focus on them as much as usual. I should be able to do all the writing and drawing and whatnot that I could possibly want to.

But I’m not. Mostly I’ve been listening to the TANIS podcast and using a coloring app on my phone (one of those color by number apps).

I kind of hoped it was just yesterday–a recovery, if you will, from spending several days moving everything I owned. Today isn’t much better.

(And now it’s Wednesday, so apparently Tuesday was not better at all.

I have managed to read a book I owe a review on, so there’s something! But man, it is rough going here. Tomorrow, perhaps?

How are you doing, squiders? Tips for re-setting yourself when everything feels adrift?

I am Unnecessarily Invested in These Butterflies

So, for the smaller, mobile one’s birthday about a month ago, we got her a butterfly kit. You know, one of the ones where you put caterpillars in and eventually you have butterflies.

(She asked specifically for either an ant farm or tadpoles, but I didn’t want ants in the house when she invariably somehow let them out, and what do you do with tadpoles once they’re frogs? We do not live in a frog climate.)

Butterflies, though, we could do butterflies. They don’t live that long in the great scheme of pets, so they seemed a safe bet.

Now, the butterfly kits do not come with caterpillars. What they come with is a coupon to get caterpillars from Uncle Milton, who, as far as I can tell, is the purveyor for all caterpillars for all butterfly kits ever.

(And also ants for ant farms.)

So we give her the kit, we order the caterpillars, and they come in about 2 weeks. We’re supposed to get 4-5 caterpillars, but we have 3, with possibly one more dead on arrival that is soon either consumed by the other caterpillars or buried in caterpillar poop/food.

Smaller, mobile one is ecstatic. I try to decide if it’s worth contacting customer service over not getting our 4-5 caterpillars. (No, was the conclusion.)

We put the caterpillars in the kit, or, rather, a small, removable section at the top of the kit, where they have lots of “caterpillar food” (which looks like sand and smells like death) and a place to make their chrysalises. Smaller, mobile one takes them everywhere, even though I tell her it’s probably not a good idea to shake them around so much.

This proves unfortunately true when she takes them outside and the neighbor kids knock them over.

And then there were two caterpillars.

(Again, not sure if the now-dead one got eaten or buried.)

Smaller, mobile one is very upset about the dead caterpillar (she’d named them all) but got over it pretty quickly. I, on the other hand, am also very upset about the dead caterpillar. They’re not my caterpillars. I’m not terribly fond of caterpillars in general. But they’ve like, imprinted, or something.

I am much more upset for much longer than the smaller, mobile one, which is ridiculous.

(Actually, we originally thought they’d all died in the knocked over incident, because none of them moved for several hours, so I guess it’s good that we ended up with two.)

The remaining two, Lacey and Turner, got humongous (seriously, much larger than I expected based on their size when we got them) and made cocoons, hoorah. Success. But also kind of gross, because they left parts of themselves outside, which eventually separated and just kind of…hung off the top of their little ceiling. I am learning all sorts of things, and most of them are things I didn’t need to know.

So, yesterday, we awoke to one of the butterflies (smaller, mobile one says it’s Turner) hatching out of its cocoon. Hooray! Except…it got about halfway out and then stopped moving. Seriously did not move for over twelve hours. I was convinced it had somehow died halfway out. Its wings stopped unrolling, it stopped moving its legs. Nothing.

And I was really upset. Again. It’s ridiculous.

This morning, said butterfly was all the way out, down in the pool of sugar water at the bottom of the habitat, and I assumed it had just fallen down, since its wings were still messed up and now it was hanging out in the water. Its head was out of the water, though, and when I moved the net (with the thought that I would pull it out if it were dead) it moved. So, still alive, I guess?

I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Maybe this is normal.

But I’m exhausted from the emotional roller coaster of what this poor butterfly is doing.

Maybe tomorrow its wings will have untwisted and it will be out of the water and everything will be great. Maybe tomorrow the other one (Lacey, according to the smaller, mobile one) will hatch and come out in a much more dignified manner, or maybe it too will get halfway out and then pretend to be dead for half a day.

I can’t quite fathom why I’m so invested. Maybe it’s because I am one with the animal kingdom and invested in the welfare of its inhabitants. Maybe it’s just more suffering on top of everything else going on ’round these parts.

Who knows?

Maybe I should have gotten her the ants.

butterfly habitat

Do you know anything about butterflies? Have you done one of these yourself, squider? Is this normal butterfly behavior? Should I put this poor butterfly out of his misery?

Augh!

Small Hiatus

Hey, squiders. Interesting times, eh?

I try to stay mostly on topic here at the blog, but at the same time, it almost feels…unseemly…to pretend like everything’s fine.

So I’m not going to.

I firmly believe that people have the right to not be judged or treated differently based on the color of their skin. I hope some positive action comes out of this.

No posts this week. And I won’t make guarantees for next week either, both because of this, and because my husband’s medical issues will be moving into a new phase as of Monday.

Stay safe out there, squiders.