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Jerome's 2018 in Review, for Posterity.

As I said in a tweet the other day, I thought about doing an end-of-year roundup but 2018 has been seventeen years long, so it felt like a lot of work. But really, It's only been 11 and a half months, and that shouldn't be so bad if I stick to the important points. I mean, sure, the world is boiling and the government is a tire fire of garbage and nobody can manage to get things pointed in the right direction, but what about the personal stuff? So that's what you get.

Right after New Year I started seriously taking classes for my bachelor's degree. Well, prerequisites for it, anyway; I've been attending classes at Portland Community College with the intention of transferring to Oregon State to finish up, mostly because they both had strong online class options. And boy, did I learn a LOT about myself in that first term. I took CS 120 (Computer Concepts), Math 75 (Remedial Algebra), and English 201 (Shakespeare's Early Plays). It doesn't sound like a lot, bu…
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Occasional Media Consumption: Swordheart, by T. Kingfisher.

I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong.

I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I stumbled upon Melissa Scott's Trouble and Her Friends and I suddenly knew, with a certainty that has still not yet left me, that I wanted to be a part of the future (and the culture) of technology. And yet that's not fair, because T. Kingfisher, nee Ursula Vernon, is her own writer, her own voice, her own authorial person, and doesn't deserve to be compared to others.

To say that Kingfisher's prose style and choice of genre (which is to say, a particularly dar…

Things I learned.

My sister posted a really excellent summation from her point of view:

"My Dad taught me to fly fish, to understand the importance of organized labor and the value of work, and that it was possible for people to change for the better even well into adulthood. I think that was good parenting." And my other sister summed it up thus:
"Take pride in your work. Take all of your vacation days. What you can't handle, surrender to God. Help people when they need it. Let people help themselves when they can. Be faithful." And so I've been thinking about the things I learned from my father. And I learned a crapton of really useful, everyday stuff from my mom: compassion never hurts; charity isn't a contract, it's a gift; when in doubt, try to give rather than take. My mom taught me a lot of those things by example.

The stuff I learned from my dad was different. It was more technical and experiential, and I often learned it in conflict with him, because nearly ou…

What I Did This Weekend, And Why It Mattered

A while ago some friends of mine pointed out to me online that they were involved in a kickstarter that was live, so I went to check it out. And it was a kickstarter for a gaming convention in the Bay Area in October, and a whole bunch of people that I cared a bunch about were going to be involved and wanted it to succeed. And I was a bit flush that month, so I said 'fuck it' and I backed the kickstarter and that got me a ticket to BigBadCon 2018.

And so I had a ticket, and I made reservations, and bought a plane ticket, and everything was looking up. And then I broke my foot. And now I was mobility-limited. And then my mom died. And I had to go out of town and deal with all of that basically the week before the con, which included taking a bunch of unpaid time off from work. And I thought really seriously about not going, but then I was like: no, there are cool people there that you haven't seen in literal-years. And you've already spent the money. So I said 'fuck…

Grief is weird.

(CW: death and dying, Catholicism, Bible quotes)



My sisters are planning my mom's mass today. So, lemme back up: my mother, who's name was Joy, (and a good chunk of my family) are devout Irish Catholics and the home parish for this is the local Jesuit church, St. Francis Xavier. Because my mother was basically a pillar of the community for so long, there's a lot of weight about doing her final appearance Right. Mom would demur, but in this case I think she'd be wrong; lots of people knew my mother as "Joy From Church" and lots of people loved her, especially because she was always about the open arms of love that she thought was the Basic Catholic Message. My mother was not without (sometimes great) flaws, but she believed in her heart that it was her job as a Catholic to love everyone, and she worked hard to make that happen.
Anyway, for the Catholics, there's a specific mass that's said as part of a funeral. And so my sisters are working out the var…

#RPGaDay 2018 Day 30: Share something you learned about playing your character.

Playing a character is like playing an instrument. It's OK to noodle around alone in your bedroom and get comfortable with the notes, but the real fun is when you get together with the band and feel how your part, the notes you play (and don't play) mesh with the other people around the microphone. Sometimes you get a solo, sometimes you get a break to grab a quick drink of water, sometimes you play rhythm to keep the tempo, sometimes you play harmony, sometimes you play melody. Know when the song starts and where you come in. Know where the song ends and recognize that you might not be playing the last note... and if you are, make sure you hit it. And sometimes, you smash your instrument to flinders on the stage because it's just that kind of show.

Find the band you want to be in, and go have fun.