Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Creepily accurate

This is one of those memes that's so popular with the Live Journal crew. I've been keeping a livejournal account, mostly so I can make non-anonymous comments to my Livejournal-using friends' posts, but I've also been occasionally re-posting Discolor Online posts there, or quiz results and other non-essential time-wasters.

Putting this one up at my "real site" this time, though, because it's come up with a creepily accurate summation of my nature.

Your True Nature by llScorpiusll
The quality that most appeals to you:Strength
In a survival situation, you:Play dead
Your hidden talent is:Courage
Your gift is:A loving heart
In groups, you:Feel uncomfortable
Your best quality is:Your sensuality
Your weakness is:Being unforgiving
Created with quill18's MemeGen 2.0!


Best line I've ever heard as patter on a live-music recording:

"Are you ready to mosh against multi-nationals?"

Why, yes! Yes, I am.


Wil Wheaton

He may have stood me up for dinner at GenCon SoCal, but I still appreciate his passion on certain issues.


Who would have thought?

Imagine my amazement to find out that Andrew Sullivan and I agree on something.



During my travels by bus yesterday, I was waiting at a crowded bus stop with Kate, when a long-haired, bearded white guy in the park behind us started yelling obscenities and racial slurs at a couple of black guys who were walking past. The white guy was tall, but the two black guys were tall and heavy set. The white guy had an open can of beverage, I assume he was liquored up. He certainly acted like it. The white guy was belligerent, got up off his bench and began to stalk toward the pair of black guys, ranting about being sick of niggers and how he'd kick their asses. The two victims of this unprovoked outburst at first ignored it, then, after he got up and started moving toward them, started getting more defensive. One of the other bus passengers waiting with me was an older black man, who wasn't taking any of it, and walked over to the white guy and told him to shut up and sit down. Whitey, not so drunk that he couldn't see he was outnumbered, sat back down on his bench.

Several passengers watched the exchange uncomfortably and disapprovingly. Had I been alone, I might have jumped in to break it up myself, I'm prone to that kind of thing. But I had Kate with me and all I wanted was to keep her out of it, to keep her from even noticing. Luckily for me, she was wrapping my coat over her head because of the drizzle and didn't seem to notice anything was going on.

When Whitey sat back down on his bench, he made eye contact with me, then gave me a little smile and shrug, as if to say, "What's that guy's problem." I gave him a little head shake and averted my eyes, to let him know that he did not have my support; I might have white skin but I was not on his side. He sat quietly, as various bus passengers took quick glances over their shoulders, unnerved and worried about what he might do next.

Shortly after, two buses pulled up and passengers loaded onto them. I looked out the window of my bus to see that the guy on the bench had gotten up again and was yelling threateningly to the old man, now that he and the other passengers were on the bus and he was safe from confrontation over his behavior.


For Jeff...

because it's no fun having an internet twin unless you can occasionally dress alike.

I'm a Dolce & Gabanna Girl!
Dolce & Gabanna: Classy with an edge. You take
traditional ideas and give them a kick in the
ass! Always stylish and appropriate for

What fashion designer fits you
brought to you by Quizilla

Besides, this way I don't have to think of anything to write. I took 15 buses today, I'm just freaking tired.


"Ankle Deep in Mud"

Throwing Muses aren't exactly known for their sensical lyrics, but this line from the song Bea was in my head when I fell asleep last night and when I woke up this morning. It is truly how I feel at the moment.

I hate politics. I hate the nasty tactics, the mudslinging, the partially-informed opinions, the insinuations of personal misconduct over the most innocent actions...I hate all of it. And I'm not just talking about national politics. I've been foolish enough in the past to believe that I could make a net-positive contribution to local committees, PTAs, conventions, trade associations. Not because I have a particular agenda, but because I've seen that there was a hole that needed filling, something that needed to be done and no one willing to do it. I suppose claiming not to have an agenda is not entirely true: there have been occasions where I have volunteered to do something because I looked around at the handful of other possible candidates and sometimes feared that they would make whatever the problem was worse. I suppose that gives me a default agenda.

I'm a private person. In the end, I just want to be left alone to live my life in peace. I'm not out to gain personal glory. I'm not interested in being the boss of the world. At the worst of times, I fear that there really is no room for good people in a political environment. In my various roles, I've tried to conduct myself in a sincere, upfront manner and to work earnestly for compromises that will result in the most people feeling there's been a good end result to whatever the issue at hand may be. I'm not foolish enough to believe that I can please everyone, there are just some people who are never going to be happy if things don't go exactly their way.

JD recently had a link on his site to an interesting, sad column about Colin Powell. Powell is the perfect example of someone trying to do good, all the while being undermined, back-bitten, manipulated and betrayed. I feel for the poor man. If I feel that the "service" I've performed in my various thankless roles has been at great personal cost to myself, my family, and my business, how must he feel?


I'm a Sap

For all my fearsome reputation as a chick who doesn't suffer fools, someone who doesn't take shit from people, one whose Elbow of Death should be feared, at the core I'm incredibly soft-hearted. No small part of my hard exterior is the result of having my tender heart bruised and trampled over the years by people who would abuse my good nature.

In an interesting example of duality of nature, I've become both harder and softer as years have passed. I certainly choose my battles more carefully, but still refuse to completely give up my fiery nature and or stifle my unwillingness to accept corporate profiteering as a substitute for personal morality. Still, all I really want is to build consensus, make people happy (by providing them with good, fun products; by being a good, straight-up, trustworthy business partner; by choosing to work cooperatively with people instead of being aggressive and unnecessarily adversarial; by being an advocate for people when I have the opportunity) and live in peace.

I am a remorseless sap. I get choked up at the coffee commercial where Jimmy comes home from college for Christmas and wakes the family by making coffee. I think furry animals are adorable. Since having my own, I am magnetically drawn to babies (something I wouldn't have thought possible when I was a single, childless woman).

Much to my punk rock husband's chagrin (or maybe he secretly loves me for my sapitute) I am by turns both more confrontational and assertive and tender-hearted and sentimental.

A classic example occured today, as Chris wandered into my domain to hear "hippie crap" playing in the background. That hippie crap would be Cat Stevens' song Father and Son, which literally brings tears to my eyes sometimes.

Father and Son

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

It's not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.
(away away away, I know I have to
Make this decision alone - no)

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

(stay stay stay, why must you go and
Make this decision alone? )

A friend once asked me if, given the choice, I'd rather be miserable or stupid. The idea being, you can see the world's sins and the ugliness out there and the knowing would make you miserable, or you could choose to be stupid, unseeing, unknowning, aware of only your own smaller concerns, but happily unburdened by greater worries.

I know my own choice. What would you choose?


What About Afghanistan?

Over the weekend I caught up on some newspaper reading, and saw Nicholas D Kristoff's editorial piece on Afghanistan in the New York Times. It's also available online at the International Herald Tribune. The Boston Globe ran a similarly themed editorial.

As a woman, and the mother of a daughter, I have long lamented the treatment of women and girls in these oppressive countries. Rapes, beatings, imprisonment, genital mutilations, death by stoning, sexual slavery, all based in "tradition" or worse, because supposed religious conviction demands it. In November of 2001, Mrs. President Bush took to the radio, rejoicing about the military action against Afghanistan with a pre-Thanksgiving address in which she said, "The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women." In honor of Veteran's Day 2003, President Bush gave a speech to the Heritage Foundation, in which he pledged, "The United States has made an unbreakable commitment to the success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Freedom by what measure? Freedom for whom?


Oh, Canada!

Made it to Vancouver and back in one piece. The border crossing was HELL, as bad as I've ever seen it in the last 10 years. Cars were backed up solid for more than a mile, inching forward or not moving at all, causing at least an hour delay at the "truck crossing" and undoubtedly much longer at the main border crossing. As Ray said, "I think this answers the question, 'Why don't we do this more often?'" Both times the boys ended up leaving the car and going to nearby convenience stores for "provisions" so we food and beverage to help pass the time.

We'd had the idea that we'd arrive in Vancouver in the early afternoon, but ended up getting after 3:00. Then, because of the Valentine's Day rush, I'd had to make our dinner reservations for unusually early, so we had less than an hour to recuperate from the drive before we had to be at the restaurant. Thankfully, I think the dinner at Tojo's lived up to its build-up. Ray stuck to the non-fish fare, and Chris, Christine and I all had the chef's arrangement, which meant several courses were just delivered to our table and we didn't have to think about it. The appetizer was the weakest, and had me worried that we'd made the wrong decision. It wasn't bad, but I knew from experience there were several other options from the standard menu that would have been better. Happily, it was all up hill from there, and hit on several of my favorites: "suntan tuna" (tuna rolled in nori, then tempura fried to sear the outer edges while the insides remained cold and red), Tojo's baked oysters (shell-licking good), Canadian sable fish (served hot, with a sweet-salty miso sauce and a side of buttery mushrooms and vegetables), and the sushi platter included Tojo's special Golden Roll (a thin egg-crepe around crab and scallop in creamy sauce). Oh bliss. I do love Tojo's.

We spent much of the evening just wandering around the city, seeing sights and chatting. I took everyone down to Stamps Landing, which has now expanded and remodeled a bit since my day. Ray noticed that all of the restaurants seemed to have people in outdoor seating or in areas completely closed off from the main bar or restaurant, and we figured out that those were the smoking areas. A little Googling after the fact explains the phenomenon: the City of Vancouver had a year 2000 deadline for indoor public areas to be 100% smoke-free, with the exception of pubs, bars, nightclubs and other adult-only venues, which could restrict their smoking areas to 30% of their space. There's been some back-tracking on the total indoor smoking ban that was originally in place province-wide, but the bars and restaurants we visited were keeping their smokers separate, and business seemed to be hopping nonetheless.

After raising a pint of Shaftsbury Cream Ale in memory of Nigel at Stamp's Landing, we took a taxi down to the far end of Robson Street and then walked our way back up to Granville. We stopped off midway down Robson at a place called Maxim's and had a couple of cocktails, and took a detour into a Virgin Megastore to browse the finest collections of geek goods. Sadly, the US dollar isn't what it used to be, and the prices weren't very favorable, so no purchases were made. Robson was packed with youths of Korean heritage, waiting on the sidewalk to get into clubs and restaurants. There were far more Korean-focused businesses than when I lived in the city, to my surprise. Granville was more of the same, kids standing in the drizzling rain waiting to be allowed into this club or that club. Eventually the rain forced us older folks into a cab and we returned to Broadway, where we had a late dinner and more cocktails at the Cactus Club Cafe (which we'd tried to visit earlier in the evening but had been too packed).

The room we got in our hotel was spacious and comfortable. It would have had a nice view if we hadn't had clouds and rain to contend with. Unfortunately, the hotel was packed with college sports teams for the weekend, and when we got up to shower and start our day we found there was no hot water to be had. Christine got a discount on her room, but the woman at the front desk wasn't going to budge when I also complained. Ah well, a cold shower it was. There was just enough time to stroll through Granville Island before our brunch reservation. We brunched at the Shaughnessy Restaurant at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, but rain again kept us from enjoying time outside. Instead, we decided to head over to the Vancouver Aquarium, which has undergone significant renovations since I lived in Vancouver and is quite a nice collection. The one complaint I have about the aquarium (aside from the teeming masses of whining children) was that so many of the exhibits had just the name of the creatures and no other educational or informative information.

After what felt like a very long day I was finally able to connect with Kate's dad who brought her to meet us at a little coffee shop I used to frequent and still really enjoy. Bean Brothers opened the same month that I moved to the neighborhood, and it's been nice to see it grow up from a standard coffee shop, to a dual purpose cafe complete with wood fired pizzas and a deli counter area in the back for soups, sandwiches, desserts, and even beer. Kerrisdale used to be the province of jewel-encrusted, blue-haired widows walking their snooty little pug-faced dogs. It's become much younger and hipper since I left BC, and there were many more cool restaurants and shops interspersed with yuppified specialty stores and fast food options. The 7-11 across from my old apartment used to share space with a carpet and paint store, but now houses a full-on Hobby Shop, complete with a Warhammer 40K sign hanging in the window.

Sadly, the border crossing back into the US was a long and tedious as entry into Canada had been. I'd probably choose to take the train in the future, and hopefully avoid that mess. Still, overall, I was happy to be back in the city. I'd live in Vancouver again in an instant, no question. Very glad R&C let me show them around a bit.


Off for the Weekend

Car, still broken (Kate missed the bus this morning and I had to waste two hours walking and riding buses to take her to school and get back). Bleh. Origins Awards, compiled and being proofed by other eyes. Daughter, appointment with pedatrician set for Monday after next. Hamster, fed. Cage, locked. Envelopes, sealed and mailed. Overnight bag, packed. Alarm, to be set momentarily. Tojo's Tuna, here I come!


Random Update

Car: Still not fixed, no idea when it will be. Haven't had time or energy to follow up getting it sorted out. Life much more complicated when taking the bus.

Origins Awards: time-consuming, soul-sucking thankless job. Luckily for me, Ryan Dancey is determined to torpedo any good work that I may have accomplished in the position, and is unlikely to give up before I do. After listening to people with grudges old and new endlessly repeating that the Origins Awards are utterly worthless, broken, and meaningless, I find the hopelessness of being able to accomplish anything is very freeing, in that "Welcome to Nihilism" kind of way.

Conventions: Should I know what I want to run at what times on what days for conventions six months away? According to major convention organizers, yes I should! Hotel blocks are already filling up, booth fees are due, commitments must be made, and deadlines are looming. It looks like another summer of convention hell is soon to be upon us. Scrambling to get it all organized.

Daughter: Got a call from Kate's teacher today. Long discussion about her performance in school. Will be meeting with a Student Intervention Team because Kate's school behavior and performance are troubling. My sweet, intelligent girl at home is struggling deeply at school. Other kids calling her "Ugly Stupid White Girl" doesn't help her emotional fragility. Came home yesterday with her hood pulled over her head, telling me she wants to hide her blonde hair because "everyone in a five mile radius has black hair." Who'd have thought it'd be the white kid getting tormented about her skin color?

Weekend: Despite all this, I'm sticking to my plan to go away on the weekend while Kate visits her dad. I'm going to show some friends around my old stomping grounds in Vancouver. I hope to make a trip to Stamps Landing Pub, which is where our old writer's group (and my partners in Adventures Unlimited) used to meet regularly, before Nigel Findley's death. Stamps was Nigel's chosen place, and the rest of us gathered around him. It's where we held our private memorial for him. This weekend is just a few days shy of the ninth anniversary of his death. I bawled like a baby the day I heard he died and miss him as much as ever. It's hard to believe he's been gone so long!


Why? Why?

Awake at 2:30 in the morning again. Why, why? Bleh.

Got a chance to watch a few TiVo'd movies over the weekend. I was particularly tickled by the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn vehicle, Desk Set, which I'd never seen before. There were times I'd swear Spencer Tracy's performance is being delivered through a fifth of bourbon, and the installation of the EMILAC wall-spanning computer system in all its 1950's glory is goofy, retro fun. More than that, though, the comic timing and chemistry of Tracy and Hepburn, and a subtle, witty script made it genuinely enjoyable.

Next up was To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall's debut. Bogart is firmly ensconced in his role as the independent American drawn to do "the right thing" once you get past his prickly self-defenses. And yet, the film is thick with sexual tension and inuendo, on fire whenever Bacal and Bogart share a scene. This is the film that gave us the famous line, "You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow." Hoagy Charmicheal as the piano-playing Cricket is a hoot, but man, I don't understand why they made Lauren Bacall sing for this film. Sultry speaking voice or no, leave the singing to the pros, I say.

Thanks to TiVo, I've also been catching up on Angel through reruns. The 2003 season episodes have been showing roughly in order, though I also seem to be collecting 1999 and 2000 episodes at a rapid pace. The more recent episodes are much more engaging than the episodes I caught in the show's first couple of seasons, especially when Charisma Carpenter was given some better material to work with. Evan always encouraged me to give Angel another shot, but I'm always forgetting when a show is airing, and I'd never quite shaken the impression that it was just a pale shadow of the far-superior Buffy. I'm thinking about devoting some time to watching the Buffy and Angel DVDs and viewing things in proper order.


Social Miracles

Went to a party at Bruce and Tim's last night. Got to see another friend from the Bay Area, Ray Greer, and meet his wife (who I'd only seen in pictures) for the first time. Unseelie made it up to the area again as well. Good people, glad they've got reasons to come up this way and visit again. Too bad we don't have occasion to get to DunDraCon these days, that used to be our ony excuse to travel to the Bay Area. Good fun was had, but most special of all was that Bruce worked his mojo and actually scheduled a social event that both Mike and Lisa Pondsmith and Chris and I were able to attend. That hasn't happened since Mike and Lisa moved up to Seattle from the Bay Area, lo these several years ago. Mike and I often joke, as we pass each other on an escalator or bump into each other at the registration desk, that we only ever see each other at conventions and never in Seattle.

I think that may change!

Kate was thrilled to be going to a party at Tim's house, as Tim is a big goof and champion rough-houser: a kid who never grew up. He did not wince at letting Kate and Cody try to learn to play pool on his pool table (too much for my nerves, I had to leave the room). Kate and Cody got along famously, and played Prince of Persia together for a good long time, taking turns trying to get past various stages of the game. They then progressed to 4-person Halo, with a couple of adults rotating in and out of the game.

Chris had been all insomniac again, so by the time we left the party he'd been up for over 20 hours straight. I was doing a little better, but Kate's passed on some sort of weird roving cold that waxes and wanes on an hourly basis. Friday I was miserable with a tight chest and chills during the day, but by evening felt fine, Saturday morning my chest was completely clear but my sinuses weren't so hot. Strange.

Bruce and Tim have nice friends.


Kate, the Bird Girl

Kate is fully determined to be the neighborhood animal rescue child. Yesterday after school she came flying up the steps to the house, beating on the doorbell like there was no tomorrow. I opened the door and she rushed past me, "I need a towel right away."

She proceeded to tell me that there was an injured crow near her bus stop that the local kids were pestering and she HAD to save it, and tore back out of the house, one of my best bath towels in hand. I got my shoes and coat and went after her.

True to the telling, there was a crowd gathered around an injured crow, trying to coax it into a box. Another area mother had taken the towel from Kate and lined the box with it, and fearlessly picked it up and plopped it into the box. By the time I crossed the street, Kate was proudly carrying the box toward me and the other mother said, in thickly accented English, something about packing it with coffee grounds to help it heal. The crow seemed to be in bad shape, but it was alive and alert and I couldn't stand to see it suffering any more than Kate could.

I called four veterinarians, two bird rescue volunteers, the Washington Department of Wildlife, and Seattle Animal Control before I found someone to take the bird off our hands. Kate and I ended up driving the bird across Seattle during rush hour to drop it off with Animal Control, who have an agreement with a wildlife rescue organization to collect injured wild animals found in the city. I told Kate that was the best we could do.

Later in the evening, Kate announced to the game group that if the bird lived she was going to call it Miracle and if the bird died she was going to call it Charcoal. She also filled us in on how the story of the injured pigeon ended (involving an "Evil Church Lady" who "stole" her pigeon and recycled the box the kids had left for it). Kate got her whole class involved in delivering a complaint letter to the doorstep of the church, demanding that the Evil Church Lady give "Snowy" back, and added a line (a lie for dramatic effect, Kate admitted) about how she had raised the pigeon from an egg.


Because I have no time for a real entry...

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Texas is blank because I figure the couple of times I've changed planes in Texas airports doesn't count as "visiting."


Jetlag sucks!

Oh my god, soooo tired! I don't know why travel manages to screw me up so badly, but it really does. I fell asleep before 8:00 last night, and might have had a chance of righting my schedule but then was awoken by some jackass calling Chris's cell phone (wrong number on top of that!) at midnight! Argh, was awake the rest of the night and had about an hour's nap around 6:00am before having to get Kate up and off to school. Ran around doing errands all day, only to find out that I'd conpletely forgotten what day it was and that we had a houseguest arriving!

While we were out and about, Chris's cell phone rings and it's Christopher. "Hi! When are you getting in?" Chris asks. "Actually, I'm at your house," says Christopher. Doh! And there we were on the other side of Seattle, and with at least one more meeting to have before we can get back to the house.

Christopher was wonderfully understanding, and I think we've got him all set up with a bed and spare key, so all should be well from here on out, but it's been a hell of a day. Chris is sound asleep (having been up for over 24 hours himself) and I'm dyng to go to bed myself, but must wait until Kate has had dinner and goes to bed before I can give up the day.

At least I did remember to take the trash out this morning...


We're back

Well, it took a travel day that involved three airports, two planes, two shuttle busses, a rental car, and about 21 hours, but we made it home. Whew.

Had a great trip, very productive. Established what I can only consider great new relationships with some really great people, and our hosts made sure we were completely taken care of the entire time, despite several other (unrelated to us) burning fires that cropped up and needed their attention while we were there. We never wanted for anything while we were there, and the days of meetings were punctuated by cordial, rational, productive discourse.

On the first day of our trip we did also manage to see friends M. and M. (different M.s than M. whose DUI exploits I've written about), and peek in on their sweet sleeping baby for a minute. They had us over to their house and whipped up a delicious dinner, plied us with wine and Bailey's, and I wish we could have drawn the visit out over another day or two because it was so pleasant.

Quite the change from the rampant nest of back-biting vipers and sabateurs to progress I'm all-too-often forced to deal with in certain other of my positions. This reintroduced the radical thought that perhaps I should just stop agreeing to deal with the game industry boobs, louts, and bullies, and stick to forming partnerships with sane, rational, decent people. Stunning concept, completely reinforced by the shit storm I returned to find in my inbox when I returned to the world of petty grudges, rumor, and inuendo that far too often makes up the hobby game industry.