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I've had an income since I was 17 or so (not counting mowing lawns), so I've also had income taxes for going on a quarter-century now. In that time, I don't think I've ever actually had to pay income tax. I mean, I think there were one or two years where I owed state taxes, but I always received a federal refund that more than compensated.

Despite that, every year I get paranoid, put off filing, and generally get the shakes while clicking through my income tax returns, even though every year it turns out that no, in fact, I won't have to send the government every cent I have and have to scrabble through loose change to buy food for my cat. Go figure.

This year is yet another triumph, and now I can scratch taxes off the list of things to stress about. Leaving moving, finding a job and buying a car, but I'll take the progress where I can get it.


Truly, we live in the Age of the Geek. . .

Saw an ad in the Pentagon Metro station for some military contractor that apparently manufactures an electronic communication and intelligence network for the military.

Name of the contractor? Palantir.

I'm so amused. Wonder if they had to pay royalties to Tolkien's estate?


Fortunately, there was room at the inn...

Came home to North Carolina to visit my family, only to discover for the first time in the last three decades or so, there was forecast heavy (well, heavy for here) snow for eastern NC for Christmas. Contemplating the idea of being snowed in with my family, I promptly took the coward's way out and ran for the hills. Or Chapel Hill, at any rate.

Now, of course, there is no snow, at least as of yet. But I am safe, fed, not broiling to death in Jacksonville, and neither tears nor blood among my family had to be shed. Gonna count it as a win, listen to the Hogfather audiobook and knit like the wind. Merry Christmas, y'all!
(1) My, Olivia Wilde sure is pretty.

(2) This really would make a cool video game.

(3) I sorta wish they'd let Bruce Boxleitner chew more scenery.

(4) They let Jeff Bridges chew quite enough scenery, thank you very much.

(5) Overall, I enjoyed it (although I seem to have been in the minority in my audience that did so).




In this case, to a group of small children (probably the children (or even grandchildren, scary)) of my fellow alums. But he read it to all of us as students, too, and I think we all had that same look of rapture on our faces as teenagers as the small children do. God, I missed that.

For the record? Dr. Jon Miller, NCSSM, is an amazing human being and the best teacher I ever had.



I was just thinking that despite its lack of many of the things I loved about the original series, the new "Nikita" was beginning to grow on me (unlike SG:U, which has finally lost me, but that's a different story) when tonight's episode brought me Broots, the nervous, twitchy computer genius from "The Pretender," playing a nervous, twitchy computer genius. Play to your strengths, Brootsy!

...damn, this show gets any better and I'm gonna have to find icons for it.


1. Wintuk really does rock. I'd heard one negative review from someone who didn't like it as much as the other Cirque shows, but I must respectfully disagree. Because the venue is considerably smaller than most Cirque shows, there were limits on things like aerial acts. But the energy of the show was amazing, there were the normal number of "that is just not humanly possible" moments, and the ending was fabulous.

2. Company was great, too!

3. The Hotel Pennsylvania is tiny, poorly lit, you can't reach the hvac controls because the TV stand is in the way, and for the amount they charge, you'd think the damn remote control would work.

4. That said, it is remarkably convenient to get off Amtrak, walk across the street to the hotel, and then walk back across the street to Madison Square Garden.

5. I have achieved Tim Horton's! ... and, I don't quite get what all the fuss is about. *shrug*
Whee!  Just got back from the magical fiber tour of the Great White North.  Spent three days at the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat, at Lake Lawn Resort in Delevan, Wisconsin.  Took the Bast Fibers class from Stephanie Gaustad, learning how to spin flax, ramie and hemp.  Very, very educational.  Still working on how to use a distaff, but did manage to spin a bit of credible flax.  Bought a whole lot of fiber (including flax) at the wonderful Spinner's Market, which was very cool. 

Flew back home just long enough to repack, rent a car and drive up to the Mannings in Pennsylvania, to take the week-long Beginning Weaving class.  Also incredibly educational.  Got to weave on four different floor looms (a LeClerc, a Gilmore, a Schacht, and a Glimakra), weaving dish towels, a sampler, and a Noro scarf.  God, that was fun.  Made a scarf out of a ball and a half of Noro in just over 24 hours, that would have taken me weeks to knit and block.  Granted, I'm a really slow knitter, but even so, weaving is incredibly fast when you have someone like Tom Knisely showing you how.  Also snagged a fair bit of yarn and toys from their store, although I managed to keep the shopping frenzy to a minimum.  Sadly, now I want to buy another loom.  Have told myself that that can be my prize for finding a new job.  

Now back to the spinning wheel - one of my fellow weaving students wove her scarf out of handspun, and I was impressed with how it came out.  Now, of course, I want to try.  Fun!

Not with a bang. . .

but who cares, we'll take it.  Apparently, Florida has announced that the State will not be appealing the appeals court decision that overturned Florida's ban on gay and lesbian adoption.  Which effectively means the court's decision is final, and the ban is no more. 

Not as dramatic as decisions allowing same-sex marriage or halting DADT, perhaps, but satisfying.  I found the Florida ban aggravating in its sheer stupidity, and I'm glad it's gone.  


\o/ Licensed Driver Again! \o/

Watch out world, now he's dangerous! 

And yes, NC folk, this does mean I will finally be able to come back down and visit the Land of No Public Transportation to Speak Of.  Yay!

Cirque du Soleil - Almost halfway. . .

Went to go see my eighth Cirque du Soleil show with the incomparable tricksterquinn at the National Harbour.  Currently, there are 23 Cirque shows playing in the world, and with Wintuk later this year I'll have made it to almost half of them.  Not bad, considering a couple of them are permanent shows in Canada, Tokyo and Europe.  There's another show - Totem - which apparently will be coming to Baltimore as well as Charlotte, NC, so hopefully I'll get to add that one as well. 

Thus far, I've gotten to see O, Mystere, Ka, and Zumanity in Las Vegas, La Nouba in Orlando, Dralion and Ovo touring here in DC, and Kooza in Seattle (thanks, dragojustine !).  They're all awesome, in totally different ways.  Each show shares many of the same elements, but each has their own unique blend and style.  The costuming of Ovo was especially awesome, as Ovo is the bug-themed show.  The performers were costumed in brilliant colors as grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, and even cockroaches (which is a pretty cool trick, making cockroaches look cool!).  

If anyone is considering catching the show while it's in DC (or nearby, anyway), I heartily recommend it - it's beautiful, and funny, and awe-inspiring.  

May, at times, include standing out in the rain, unable to cross the street in either direction without drawing the ire of thoroughly grumpy Metro PD (also soaked from standing out in the rain far longer than you), waiting for a motorcade of Someone Far More Important Than You to get its collective asses out of your damn way so you can go home.

There's some sort of deep lesson in civic responsibility, national pride, personal humility and patience in here somewhere.  At some point, when I'm dry again, I may give a damn.  

Does no one study physics anymore?


Entertaining Vegas news - apparently no one bothered to run the simulation to tell them that if you build a concave building and stick it in a desert, it'll focus sunlight.  Go figure.  Apparently, guests at one of the casinos have reported getting singed hair and melted plastic bags from lounging out by the pool because the shape of the building focuses sunlight like a magnifying glass. 

Remind me not to book a room there.  On the other hand, might be fun to go sit out at a safe distance and watch!

Adventure accomplished!

Yay!  Mini-vacation was a blast.  Watched "A Little Night Music" on Broadway, which was amazing.  Bernadette Peters was awesome, and the rest of the cast stepped right up and were awesome too!  Great fun.

Saturday saw us meandering to WEBS physical store and warehouse, where a great deal of yarn was bought.  I really need to sit down and add to my stash on Ravelry just so I can keep track of what I have.  Pleasant side trip to Smith College, where the Botanical Garden was lovely.  

Sunday brought totally random side trip to the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum, which was awesome!  Found an illustrator that I really like, most of whose work's are now out of print.  :-(  Still, picked up a lovely copy of Snow White, and remembered to pick up a copy of Ul de Rico's "Rainbow Goblins," which is wondrous and colorful beyond belief.  

Great time!  And the weather even cooperated, right up until time to come home (must've been trying to get us to stay).  [personal profile] synecdochic , [personal profile] sarah , and [personal profile] hilarytamar were great company, as ever, and a fun time was had by all. 

Now, I have to try and get work done from home, waiting for my new loom to be delivered.  Whee!


Thoughts on "Nikita"

(1) Maggie Q has a really nice ass.
(2) Maggie Q is well aware of fact no. 1.
(3) The bits reminiscent of "Alias" were both inevitable and expected.
(4) The bits reminiscent of "90210" were a surprise.
(5) By and large, the cast of "Nikita" is prettier than the cast of "La Femme Nikita."
(6) Sadly, none of them are as good as the cast of "La Femme Nikita."
(7) Melinda Clarke is at least in the same ballpark as Alberta Watson, her predecessor as Madeline.
(8) Shane West is so, so, SO not in the same league as Roy Dupuis as Michael.
(9) To be fair, no one else could be either.
(10) Conclusion - time to see if Amazon has the complete series of "La Femme Nikita" on DVD.


I am a D.C. native at last!

Someone stopped me on the street to ask directions, and I was able to tell him! Woot!

Of course, it helped that he was asking directions to the White House, and we were standing on the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania at the time. On the other hand, even though you're only 100 feet away from the White House at that point, you can't see it from that corner, so it TOTALLY still counts.

And I'm taking my victories where I can find them.
And want to go commit acts of senseless violence and destruction really, really badly.

Normally, the fact that I'm renting this place furnished and with utilities included (for a fucking boatload of cash, but that's neither here nor there) is fairly convenient.

Except, of course, when Pepco (according to my landlady, in Cali-freakin-fornia) changes their automated billng system. In such a way (again, according to my landlady, who isn't high on my list of favorite things at the moment) that her automated PAYING system, well, doesn't. So that Pepco comes out and shuts off the power. Which, of course, inconveniences her not one fucking BIT, but sort of leaves me here sitting in the dark venting and wondering how long the various batteries in the various electronic devices will last.

God, I so hate my life right now. . . I need a new place to live, and a new job, and yeah, a new life, pretty freaking STAT.

Drop back ten and punt. . .


Ah, well - the California district court judge did more or less what I expected, although I was hoping - he lifted his stay of his judgment that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, but he delayed dissolving the stay until next Wednesday. Which means that unless the Ninth Circuit institutes its own stay, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in California starting then.

However, I'd be REALLY surprised if a panel of the Ninth Circuit didn't impose its own stay pending appeal. It's possible - the joy of being an Article III judge, with the joy of lifetime tenure, is that unless you're trying to be promoted to the Supremes, you really don't have to give much of a damn about what other people think of your job performance - but I'd still be surprised.

Still, progress - slow, incremental progress, but progress.
Printing out a Supreme Court decision on the Tucker Act jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims, complete with one of Justice Scalia's lovely dissents, only to have Microsoft Word go "There are too many spelling and grammatical errors in the document to continue displaying them."

Uh, Bill? Justice Scalia would like to have a word with you about your software. . .

God is most definitely an iron...

I'm one of the handful of people in my neighborhood of DC that's lost power. Normally, this would not leave me with nothing to do - I have four spinning wheels, over 40 spindles, and as of this moment, three rigid heddle looms (one's a loaner). Not to mention all the freaking knitting needles and yarn.

The problem? Had to go make a run to Bed, Bath and Beyond, not because I had no candles, but even worse, I had no matches. (hangs head in shame).

Am now going to attempt weaving by clip-on, battery-powered LED lamp. My life is a little weird.

Note - yes, I know someone will point out that I should just be able to knit in the dark. I can, as it happens, knit stockinette with my eyes closed (on a good day). Sadly, my current knitting project involves cables.

Note the second - any of you out there who can knit cables with your eyes closed can just kiss my ass. I have weaving to do. :-)



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