clevermynnie: (see us waving)
My staycation ended up being very nice! Ben didn't have the whole time off, so it ended up being a mix of me having time to do whatever and us hanging out. Plus we went to some holiday parties, had Christmas dinner with friends, had people over to brew, celebrated a friend's birthday, and went to a New Year's tea party, so even though we weren't off visiting everyone we were quite social. For Christmas I got Ben this molecular gastronomy cocktail kit, with alginate and all sorts of weird additives to spherify mojitos or whatever you can think up. And he got me one of the expansions for Dominion which was really fun. I suppose even our gifts were staycation themed!

We cooked a bit but not a ton, so for Christmas dinner we just brought a plum pudding and mulled wine (using [livejournal.com profile] marrog's brilliant recipe). And for the tea party I had my first foray into making gluten and dairy free cakes, basically modified mini-Linzertortes with jam and icing that turned out surprisingly well. Oh, and we actually did a bit of beer bottling (generally unnecessary since we have small kegs) so that we can enter one of our beers in a homebrewing competition that's in March! Who knows how it will do, but that should be interesting.

And I did a lot of running, weights, and piano over the break which was pretty great, in addition to playing SW:TOR with friends and starting Skyrim. I am starting to feel a bit restless, travel-wise, but we have a lot of stuff coming up already so I don't think that'll last much longer. I laughed at xkcd's take on New Year's resolutions, but I am feeling like life is moving forward in a lot of good ways, and I know both what I want to do and how to do it. I'm happy to be here and to have so many opportunities for growth and connection.
clevermynnie: (and then?)
We had a really fun time the other night going to the launch party for Game, the new Science Gallery exhibition. They had several really neat interfaces set up, like the ability to play Pong controlled by levels, or scales (the scales were funny, since they were on the floor and Ben and I were, waist up, just staring intently at the screen, someone asked us uncertainly if we were controlling the game with our minds). There was also a game with a galvanic skin response sensor, where you raced your dragon against someone else's and the dragon flew higher and faster if you were more relaxed. I was very gratified to not only beat Ben but to get a high score on that game! Thanks, meditation!

There was also a cool long-form game, controlled with laser pointers aimed at a screen, which up to 100 people could play at once. It alternately between gathering/defending levels and building levels, and was pretty fun though the dynamic with the other people playing reminded me a bit of pick-up raids in WoW (meaning, the most vocal and least nice people often dominate). But I had fun learning a new co-operative game.

I've also been leveling a bit in the new WoW expansion, which is okay but not nearly as much fun as the previous ones IMO. And doing SW:ToR flashpoints with Philly friends, which has been awesome. I miss tabletop gaming though... I keep thinking about trying to start up something here but maybe I should actually do so.
clevermynnie: (Default)
So many things have been happening that it is easier to recount them in bullet form! Highlights include:

*Lovely geek wedding of Dublin people who I wish we saw more of
*Lots of SW:TOR and D&D which is awesome, especially since WoW kept revoking my expansion purchase
*Running recovery and marathon prep for the Dublin Marathon next Monday going well
*Finding new tasty Indian and Spanish restaurants around town
*Stopped eating meat (aside from fish), and am pretty happy about it
*Totally loved the books Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, and Embassytown by China Mieville
*Fun science outreach project at work bearing some fruit

I actually have pictures for the last one; a photo of Ben watching a video I did about my research that's currently up in a science museum, and a photo of me talking about this poster I did in conjunction with a graphic designer who made it beautiful. Science outreach is really fun!

outreach video

outreach poster
clevermynnie: (Default)
So many things have been happening that it is easier to recount them in bullet form! Highlights include:

*Lovely geek wedding of Dublin people who I wish we saw more of
*Lots of SW:TOR and D&D which is awesome, especially since WoW kept revoking my expansion purchase
*Running recovery and marathon prep for the Dublin Marathon next Monday going well
*Finding new tasty Indian and Spanish restaurants around town
*Stopped eating meat (aside from fish), and am pretty happy about it
*Totally loved the books Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, and Embassytown by China Mieville
*Fun science outreach project at work bearing some fruit

I actually have pictures for the last one; a photo of Ben watching a video I did about my research that's currently up in a science museum, and a photo of me talking about this poster I did in conjunction with a graphic designer who made it beautiful. Science outreach is really fun!

outreach video

outreach poster
clevermynnie: (i carry your heart)
When I came back from Norway to my home with Ben, he told me that life was a lot more boring without me. "When you are gone, I am just this guy at home, drinking beer and playing video games with his cats." An idyllic life to be sure, but one that is apparently nicer with a partner around. I like being told I add value.

Actually, I enjoy doing solitary things when Ben is at home more than I enjoy doing them when he's out. We'll get snacks for each other, or point out something cool to the other person, and overall it's just nicer. We hang out together a lot as well, obviously, playing games or watching shows or cooking, but I really value how compatible we are in terms of solo pursuits. I think it made my time spent raiding less of an issue than I have heard it can be for many couples, because Ben had plenty to do on his own as well.

And since we have two cats, we don't even have to argue over who gets the lap cat when gaming! Life is pretty sweet sometimes.
clevermynnie: (Default)
The whole time that we lived in Philadelphia, Ben and I did not have a tv at home. We had computers, and Netflix, and a futon/sofa in one room, and eventually an Xbox plus a small computer monitor in our bedroom. But we watched a lot of shows and movies in our computer chairs.

We still weren't that enticed by the idea of a tv and tv channels once we had our place set up here, but we started to wish we had something better. Ben's computer monitor broke shortly after we got here, so we were down to one screen for watching shows, or playing Xbox games, or playing any kind of computer game that wouldn't run on Ben's laptop. So once we were both working, we did something we've been wanting to do for awhile, and got a projector and projection screen! The price wasn't that different from the price of a nice tv (actually substantially lower given the size of the screen), and it makes use of the comfy but enormous couch that came with our apartment, and it puts our console games on another screen than my PC games. And watching movies or shows is really nice; it makes Merlin or Game of Thrones or DS9 feel considerably more epic. Ben's work subsidizes the purchase of gaming consoles, so we also picked up a PS3 and some new games... I have been playing Child of Eden, which is just gorgeous and has very enjoyable music and art. On the screen it's immersive and fantastic.

Plus, I enjoy the fact that when we are not watching it, the screen goes away, and then we just have a nice bay window and my piano. It's great! We really need to formally inaugurate the system by watching Star Wars.

And man, it is really nice.
clevermynnie: (Default)
It has been a really Game of Thrones centered couple of days, in spite of the second season having recently ended. I found out that the Mourne Mountains, where I ran on Saturday, are actually the location of a fair amount of scenic filming in the show. The Tollymore Forest along the north side was apparently where the opening scene of the entire show was filmed, that scene being the reason why I put down Game of Thrones and didn't watch it again for several months. Apparently there's also a lot of filming along the Antrim Coast, which I haven't yet been to.

And then, last night Ben and I went to see an Indian-inspired production of The Tempest, as part of the Dublin Shakespeare Festival, and who should we see clowning for the audience before the show but the guy who plays Joffrey Barathian! He was playing a tin whistle and capering in costume, which was really weird after seeing him so much as Joffrey. My instinctive reaction to his character at this point is revulsion, so seeing him in person kind of makes one want to push him over and yell 'Winter is coming!' But I bet he gets a lot of that, playing such a dislikeable character. Anyway, apparently he's a student at TCD and thus was just helping out with the festival.

I have mixed feelings about Game of Thrones. On the one hand, it has pretty interesting plots and a whole host of interesting characters. It took me a bit to get into the plots because the background is so complex, but once I was caught up I really liked all the maneuvering. The violence is really hard for me to stomach, though, and that's what turned me away from the show initially. The only good argument I've heard for it is that it shows realities of war and medieval living, rather than whitewashing how violent that would be. Which is true, but on the other hand it really feels like HBO pushing as hard as it possibly can to be edgy which I find off-putting. And the nudity is just so over-the-top, completely gratuitous 90% of the time because hey, it's HBO and we can toss in some naked ladies if we feel like it. Never men, unless it's strictly needed for the plot, of course.

I wish there were more fantasy series being made. Because honestly Game of Thrones is pretty much the best, in a somewhat anemic field, but it would be great to see more series with its production values presenting fantasy plots. There are lots of great books to go from.

And I know, I should read the books that Game of Thrones is based on! But they are unfinished, and I am really hesitant to pick up a sprawling fantasy epic with hundreds of characters, that I may someday have to reread if a new book comes out, or that may never be finished at all. I will definitely read them someday. But for now I am limiting myself to the show.
clevermynnie: (mask)
A Mom Becomes A Man, And A Family Sticks Together: "The couple had met in college; they got married in 1987. And with Les' secret now in the open, they decided to stay together. In 1997, Les began hormone treatments as part of the process of beginning to live life as a man. "Amanda was 7 at this point, and I explained to her where this was going," Les says. "And she burst into tears and threw herself onto my lap. And she says, 'Oh, please, don't change into a man. If you have to change into anything, couldn't it be a cat?' " Laughing, he adds, "And that was not a question I had prepared myself to answer. I mean, I was kinda stunned.""

Petition: Personhood for Women!: "Women's reproductive healthcare has become a political football, with Congress and States acting in concert to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, and to establish numerous and capricious restrictions on legal procedures, and with presidential candidates, Congressmen, and pundits who don't even believe a woman has a right to contraception. These positions are inconsistent with women's equality and liberty."

“Not Okay”: MovieBob on Sexism and Harassment in Nerd Culture: "But I am kind of fascinated by the thesis of the guy’s central argument, ie. that his behavior should be acceptable because he considers it to be part of the fighting game community’s identity. Mostly because it’s the same thesis that tends to be used to justify damn near every incident of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc, that pops up in the world of internet geek culture, a culture that paradoxically defines itself my a shared experience of social marginalization, but can often be observed practicing just as much insular conformity within its own borders. How often have we heard that sexism, misogyny, or casual racism in this or that community is just part of how things are there? And how any insinuation that this supposed default status might be a bad thing is violently shrugged off? Particularly, my favorite variation on this theme, “Aw, come on man, this is like the last place where it’s okay for guys to talk like this.” As though some kind of sacred tradition is being preserved by not calling bullies out on their bullying. Hey, uh, genius? Lean your ears up real close. [Through a megaphone:] THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY PLACE WHERE IT’S OKAY. BECAUSE IT’S NOT OKAY."

I Write Letters: "To Whom It May Concern: Rick Santorum is not "crazy." He is not insane, nuts, batshit, wacko, delusional, cuckoo, or any other euphemism for mentally ill. He is a vile bigot. The two are not, of course, mutually exclusive—but it is not axiomatic that anyone who holds the extremist views that Santorum holds is mentally ill, and it is certainly not accurate that mental illness inexorably or exclusively causes a belief in extremist views."

The White Savior Industrial Complex: "One song we hear too often is the one in which Africa serves as a backdrop for white fantasies of conquest and heroism. From the colonial project to Out of Africa to The Constant Gardener and Kony 2012, Africa has provided a space onto which white egos can conveniently be projected. It is a liberated space in which the usual rules do not apply: a nobody from America or Europe can go to Africa and become a godlike savior or, at the very least, have his or her emotional needs satisfied. Many have done it under the banner of "making a difference." ...There is an internal ethical urge that demands that each of us serve justice as much as he or she can. But beyond the immediate attention that he rightly pays hungry mouths, child soldiers, or raped civilians, there are more complex and more widespread problems. There are serious problems of governance, of infrastructure, of democracy, and of law and order. These problems are neither simple in themselves nor are they reducible to slogans. Such problems are both intricate and intensely local."

O Captain, My Captain: A Look Back At Deep Space Nine’s Ben Sisko: "In both the original Star Trek series (TOS) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), the existence of the United Federation Of Planets provided a perfect excuse to ignore (human) race and racism completely. The Trek franchise has always featured black actors and actresses, well developed Black characters, and TOS even featured the first televised interracial kiss in the episode “Plato’s Kiss.” Both shows dismissed racism on Earth as being as outdated as using money, instead highlighting racial politics between alien species rather than humans. This model may have continued through DS9 had they hired any other actor to portray Captain Sisko. However, Brooks–a Shakespearean-trained actor, graduate of Oberlin College, and the first African-American to earn an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers University, where he has also worked as a professor–brought much of himself to the role, and that included an emphasis in the importance of the African-American experience. Even nearly three hundred years in the future. Whether Trek fans were ready for it or not, DS9 brought the topic of race closer to home."
clevermynnie: (Default)
It's been a nerdy weekend for a few reasons. The first is that my anniversary present from Ben arrived, delayed by the drama of moving and graduating and then by the difficulty of creating a figurine based on my WoW character. There is a company that does this, called figureprint, and for a long time I've really wanted a figureprint of my raiding main but they're pretty expensive and hard to justify. So it's a great present! The fabrication process is actually pretty interesting:

At heart, it's basically an inkjet printer, which is pretty cool. It actually uses HP-11 inkjet printheads. But instead of printing on paper, it prints on a thin layer of plaster powder. So you have to imagine that there's a bay with a platform, and a spreader bar comes in and spreads a very thin layer of plaster powder, which has the consistency of flour. So it gets spread onto the platform, like a sheet of paper. And then the printheads come out, and they print right into that plaster. It sets the ink on top of it, and like paper it soaks into it-that plaster hardens. It's color ink, ok? And the spreader bar comes across again, and that platform actually moves down about 1/250th of an inch, and the spreader bar spreads the next layer of plaster, and it just repeats that process over and over, 250 layers for every inch.

So if you think about it, it's an hour per vertical inch to print. And at the very end, the platform is all the way down, it's about 8 inches down, and the entire bay is filled with this white powder. Then what you do is you basically dig down into this powder, and it's a very manual process, and extract the model from that powder-blow off the excess powder, and then you're holding in your hand this little statue that you made. And it looks very white at that point, you can just kind of barely make out the colors. And then you take it and it goes into this glue bath. And the glue soaks into the figure, and it makes it much stronger and it also brings the colors out, it makes the colors much more vibrant. And we've done a lot of experimentation with different glues, and different kinds of curing processes to come up with what we're using now.


figureprint


Obviously that's me with it, though it actually looks even better in person. And, my Christmas present was The Old Republic, the new Star Wars MMO from Bioware. Which I've been very excited about for awhile because it's sort of the MMO sequel to two games I loved several years back. A lot of my WoW guildies are also playing, and man is it a fun game. So far, at least.
clevermynnie: (Default)
me: man, I am still getting emails from Penn Physics and they are having their holiday party today
I want free food and booze
Scott: ooh you should go!
me: I don't think I could get there in time, and with the airfare it would no longer be free
Scott: this is why we need the transporter
me: so that I can die and a clone of me can be created in Philadelphia to eat free food?
Scott: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
whoa what?
me: I always found the transporter kind of disturbing
do you remember the TNG episode where monsters start attacking Barkley in the transporter?
Scott: vaguely, I'm -- I saw the end of that episode. And then the episode where a transporter beam split created Riker's twin who was stranded in a base for decades
me: oh man, that too
I just couldn't help but imagine that the transporter creates an entirely new person, who has all the original person's memories and conceives themself to be the original person
while the original person is gently vaporized
Scott: !!!!!!!!
GENTLY VAPORIZED
me: your last thought would be "how exciting! my first trip through the transporter!"
and your clone would think they had just had that thought, when they came out the other side
Scott: oh god that's horrible
me: they would be all "gosh, transporters aren't so bad"
so they wouldn't be worried at all when they went to use the transporter, and were vaporized themselves
the next clone would come out thinking, "soon I will be a transporter pro!"
Scott: !!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!?
I
wow
Scott: I just want to paste this entire conversation into Facebook
if, for nothing else, the term GENTLY VAPORIZED

connection

Jul. 19th, 2011 10:07 am
clevermynnie: (Default)
I am glad to be living in the Internet age for two main reasons: easy access to information, which I find viscerally satisfying and make great use of, and easy communication with other people. Of course, keeping in touch with people is made easy, like how much I interact with my parents online, how great it was to have easy access to Ben when we were long distance, how easy it is to write to old friends who are far and farther from me.

But it's also interesting to think about the connections we forge with other people, that aren't based on location or convenience but rather shared interests or modes of thinking. Livejournal is of course a prime example of this; while I have a few lj friends that I knew in real life first, or met later on, many of you that I haven't met I nonetheless enjoy reading about and care what happens to you. Another example is World of Warcraft, where I've been part of a stable raiding guild for almost four years, have spent many hours talking with and working on problems with my guildies, and met several in real life. When I first joined my guild I was shy and worried about what the atmosphere would be like, but since I lucked into the most amazing group of people running the guild, I eventually opened up and got a lot out of my interactions with people there. I got more responsibility, which has had countless experiences that were great or terrible... I have been wanting to talk about that in another post. But so much of what has kept me in the guild, beyond the simple joys of escapism and the more complex joys of problem-solving, is the people I know there.

So it was a big shock, yesterday, to learn that one of my guildies had died. She had joined us about six months ago, in part following in-game friends she'd known for many years, and was part of our active raiding group meaning that we all spent 12 hours a week at minimum together. She died in her sleep from heart issues, despite being relatively young for such a thing.

It really makes one appreciate the depth of the online relationships we develop with other people, and the cohesion of the communities that spring up. In the end, there is such a breadth of people to talk to and learn from, and we are so fortunate to have access to each other.
clevermynnie: (smile)
The rest of the weekend after the marathon was pretty nice. I spent Saturday evening not really wanting to walk around much, so I replayed Portal, and then on Sunday I was feeling less stiff (still a bit sore) so I was able to help clean up and prepare for a brewing party we had. Some people from Ben's lab and our D&D group came over, and we made a witbier (think Hoegaarden) and ordered delicious delivery tacos and had mochi. It was a great day to stand around in our backyard, because it was sunny but not too warm, and our garden is getting pretty green. We have a lot of strawberries blooming, buds on our blackberry bush, sage, rosemary, parsley, chives, and some violets that I planted recently.

We also had D&D last night, which was fun although I'm realizing that my elven wizard has a lot of interesting abilities but is just not that good at damaging enemies. Our D&D group is splintering as people start to take internships away from Philadelphia, and both of our party tanks may be gone for the summer, so I am considering repurposing my character as a swordmage.

In stressful times I find it's a huge help to have weekends like this.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I think things started to get crazy on Wednesday of last week, when I went for an 8-mile run and felt surprisingly sluggish and bad. Later in the day I developed a sore throat, which turned into a cold on Thursday. I stayed home, wanting to get better as fast as possible because on Friday I had to catch a 6:30 AM bus to NYC for Gotham-Metro, a condensed matter physics conference which is organized by grad students and which I was going to present a poster at along with several other people from my group. Luckily, staying home did help to get me unsick, so Gotham-Metro was enjoyable. There were two invited professor talks that were both great, some good students talks and some bad ones, and an interesting faculty panel on unanswered questions. I like going to smaller conferences sometimes, local ones, because it is such a low-pressure way to get to present your work. And sometimes cool things pan out from smaller conferences, like when I met someone at an APS-California section meeting who invited me to give a talk as part of a seminar series.

I had assumed the weekend would be relaxed, but Ben had just come back from his own longer conference trip, and we spent most of Saturday doing beer-related stuff; we bottled a cider we had been fermenting with an English ale yeast, and then brewed a Scottish ale that is now fermenting. That was basically all of Saturday, and then on Sunday I went for a 21-mile run, then took a very fast shower and inhaled a tuna sandwich so that we could go to gaming, where the rest of my day was passed as a wizard.

I both feel behind and want a break. I think I am not good at distinguishing breaks from responsibilities sometimes.
clevermynnie: (Default)
You know, awhile ago I took this psychological test which was supposed to suss out ingrained prejudices, by figuring out if you subconsciously associated words with other words via your reaction time. The test told me that I had a prejudice towards women in science, probably because my reaction time was fastest when clicking on words that I think of as part of my identity. I tell you this because all my feminist links this week are about science, and that makes me quite happy.

Scientists are “normal” people, some children discover: "It looks like a visit to Fermilab has no impact on boys’ gender stereotypes about scientists, but it has a strong impact on challenging girls’ gender stereotypes about scientists. For girls, there was a 58% increase in female scientist representation in their drawings; for boys, there was a 0% increase in female scientist representation in their drawings. If boys grow up to be men, and empirical evidence has no effect on males’ gender stereotypes about scientists, how do we challenge males’ association of science with maleness?"

Gals And Computers: "Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, recalls the mid-1980s, when women made up 40 percent of the students who majored in management computer systems, the second most popular major on campus. But soon after, the number of students majoring in the program had fallen about 75 percent, reflecting a nationwide trend, and the number of women fell even more. "I asked at a department meeting," he says, " 'Where have the women gone?' It wasn't clear." His theory is that young women earlier had felt comfortable pursing the major because the male subculture of action gaming had yet to appear. Globe review shows that the proportion of women among bachelor's degree recipients in computer science peaked at 37 percent in 1985 and then went on the decline. Women have comprised about 28 percent of computer science bachelor's degree recipients in the last few years, and in the elite confines of research universities, only 17 percent of graduates are women. (The percentage of women among PhD recipients has grown, but still languishes at around 20 percent.)"

Courtney Stoker on Feminist Geek: "While sci fi fans don’t mind (and often excel at) criticizing their sci fi shows, they are generally only supportive of criticizing that focuses on “literary” details—plot holes, bad writing, continuity in the canon, inconsistent application of science. But as soon as you start talking about the bigger structures in a show’s texts, like racist logic, sexism, classism, whatever, some douchey white dudes with serious entitlement issues are going to dismiss you. (It’s actually sort of funny, because they can’t really, like the rest of the world of douchey white dudes, tell you you’re reading too much into the show, or taking the show too seriously, because ten minutes ago, they were posting about insignificant detail x in an episode that aired 20 years ago.) If I complain about the complete lack of plot in Avatar, for example, I’ll hear murmurs of consent in a room full of geeks. If I say Avatar is inexcusably racist, however, that same room will suddenly get defensive."

Make Your Dude-Dominated Subculture More Accessible to Women: "It seems like there’s a participation gap between the men and women who play the game. The bug reports and feature requests that I get via email show a much smaller gender gap than the forum membership would indicate. I spoke with a fellow developer about this subject and she told me some of her internet horror stories. She said that she’s always been treated with respect in our community, but we didn’t reach any grand conclusions about the big picture. What to do when the members of a community are of all genders but the voices in the community are predominantly male?"

Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks: "Most male geeks believe that they are subverting traditional masculinity by reclaiming and self-identifying with the term “geek”. For most male geeks, geek identity is defined partly as a rejection of the “jock” identity. According to the traditional high school male social hierarchy, jocks are high-status males and male geeks are low-status males; jocks are alpha males and male geeks are beta males; jocks are masculine and male geeks are “effeminate”. Thus, when a man proudly self-identifies as a “geek” in response, what he is doing is redefining what it is to be a man, redefining geek identity as masculine.

Typical male geeks argue that to be a geek is to be masculine by interpreting the scientific, mathematical, and technological achievements of overwhelmingly male persons as definitive proof that science, math, and technology are inherently male and define maleness. Such male geeks typically argue that there are innate differences between male and female brains that make success in science, math, and technology exclusive to men. Thus, arguments and studies that suggest otherwise are perceived as a direct attack on the masculinity and male identity of male geeks. According this male geek worldview, if women are equally capable in science, math, and technology, then male geeks lose their claim on masculinity and become low-status, beta, and “effeminate” males once again, because there would be nothing left to separate male geeks from women. Thus, male geeks—much more than non-geek men—tend to be emotionally and socially invested in maintaining the idea women’s brains are hardwired against understanding science, math, and technology to the same extent as men."

By the way, as a coda, my favorite webcomic EVER is the story of an awesome mad scientist in a steampunk fantasy world. Of course the main character is female, why do you ask? It's called Girl Genius, it has great art in addition to a fun and enjoyable plot, and here is one of the first covers:



Read it from the beginning! You know you want to!
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
This weekend I went to Buffalo and Niagara Falls with about 12 people from my raiding guild in World of Warcraft. When I told someone that yesterday, after they asked me about a WoW shirt I was wearing and how my weekend was, the person said to me, "Good for you! I remember that before you were keeping your playing pretty quiet and didn't mention it much." It pointed out to me how, even though I had this thing that I really enjoyed doing and these very cool people I had met through it, I almost never talked about it with people because I just assumed they wouldn't get it. Some of the reactions I have gotten when it does come up are: video games are a waste of time because they aren't real, everyone you meet in a game is unemployed living in their parents' basement, regularly devoting time to a game is stupid, even if you spend several hours a week with people for a few years working on difficult achievements you don't really know them, or the classic "I love games but WoW is a bad game". Of course, I get equal volumes of bizarre and unfounded accusations about marathons, women in science, feminism, etc. and that doesn't generally stop me from mentioning those things to people I am getting to know. I guess part of it was that I was afraid of being identified with the stereotype of the lone gamer, and that's a bit silly now that I stop to think about it. Stereotypes of gamers, like those for other groups, break down when you see the diversity that the label is actually hiding. For these reasons and a lot of others, it was great to be with my guildies all weekend, making constant WoW references, doing fun stuff like various boat rides, laser tag, go carts, Rock Band, and mafia until late at night. It took very little time to adjust to how everyone is in person, as opposed to in-game or through any of the other online means that we communicate, and I had just such an excellent time.

Highlights:

*conversations on the long car ride to and from Buffalo
*having massive amounts of water dumped on us on the Niagara Falls jetboat
*the "hurricane deck" where you basically stood under the falls and pretended that your poncho was having an effect
*the guildie's grandmother who we were staying with telling us that the meetup was "our Hogwarts"
*singing in the car on the way to laser tag
*watching our guildmaster learn to drive for the first time in a go cart
*hours of mafia (which was so entertaining) punctuated by chocolate stout floats
*endless WoW jokes about doing ready checks for lunch, strat videos for boat rides, summoning a table of Thai food, etc.
*talking late at night in the ladies bedroom
*getting to know people better who I already know and like

I wish we had another one coming up! A few people are going out to Blizzcon, which is in Anaheim in October, but tickets are sold out and were crazy expensive so I doubt that is something I could make it to. And while many people took pictures that are all over facebook, I also took some of the area and of everybody. Here they are!

jetboat prep

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (Default)
The two funniest things I've seen recently are both really nerdy. Not science-nerdy, WoW-nerdy. :)

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
I don't often talk about World of Warcraft, even though I am still playing it regularly and enjoying it a lot. That's because I figure it won't be interesting for most of you, since I think almost none of my lj friends play. But fun things have been happening recently, so I thought I'd write about my entry into the world of raiding.

a brief introduction to WoW, and why we must hang together )

lf raid )
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
Since I spent the previous two weekends either travelling or having a guest, and since the weather here has taken a decided turn for the hot and humid, I spent last weekend inside doing things for myself, including lots of chores I'd been meaning to do for awhile but never quite found time for, but also more enjoyable things.

I had summer plans for piano and sports, and those are actually going well. I'm practicing piano more than I did during the school year, at least, and what I really need to do is either magically find my metronome that I've searched several times for, or just buy another one. I'm working on some Mozart, and I think it's essential. It was inspiring to hear Martha, my Berkeley piano teacher, play Mozart. She did it with a brilliance and clarity that I felt were both impressive and entirely appropriate. I've also been running some, weightlifting some, swimming some, and doing yoga some. So at least thus far, I haven't lost anything I gained for my knee during physical therapy. I found it interesting, actually, that my therapist told me that even if I stopped exercising, I'd still be much better off knee-wise than I was before this round of physical therapy, because I've changed some ways of moving that were unstable.

But what I've really spent a lot of my spare time on the last few weeks has been World of Warcraft and Harry Potter. I know, I know, but it's been really fun and I'm enjoying myself immensely. I got my first heroic key for my main in WoW, and finally some cool-looking gear. What I really need are the Pauldrons of Wild Magic, which look awesome and have lightning playing around them. And I've been rereading the HP books, in preparation for the last one, and... I forgot how wonderful they are. I love the stories and the detailed world so much, and I had also forgotten how difficult those books are to put down. This led to also rewatching the movies, and the result is that I'm now really excited for the fifth movie and just dying for the last book. I know, I'm imitating the summer activities of adolescents everywhere, but it's such fun.

wow, ben

Jun. 2nd, 2007 02:04 am
clevermynnie: (i carry your heart)
Since Ben is in LA, we are putting back into practice all the things we learned the last time we were long distance. For example, to brush off when you just keep missing each other on the phone, and that phone > IM and videoconferencing is really nice. But one thing we didn't both have the first time around is World of Warcraft, and let me tell you, WoW plus Google Talk makes a really nice way to hang out with your long-distance boyfriend. :)
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I have no more problem sets to do this semester! Huzzah! I'm actually completely done with statistical mechanics, where my entire grade consists of my five homework grades and the professor is just 'looking for an excuse to give us all A's'. This is gratifying because each of those homework sets was extremely difficult. I've never before had homework where each problem consistently took several hours of work, research, and full use of every resource available to me. I have to write a paper for liquid crystals, which is due Christmas (but I want to write it before I leave Philly, on the 19th). And I have an actual exam in quantum, which is technically a portion of my qualifying exam grade, next Friday. So I intend to spend next week studying for the exam and writing that paper.

Ben is mostly better, though still a little snuffly. I feel bad, since I was violently ill for less than 24 hours, but he was sick for nearly a week, and rather sick for four days. Oh well, I can't control his immune system response. I don't have a great grasp of biology, but maybe someone can enlighten me... say he got infected with both the virus, which I was carrying, and some of my body's antibodies to it. Well, I guess my first question is, does your body even produce antibodies for gastroenteritis, since the main reaction seems to be violent expulsion of the contents of the entire alimentary canal. But my second question is, is it possible for a person to have an immune reaction to someone else's antibodies? It seems unlikely that Ben was infected with both my stomach flu and some other cold, which I never got, at the same time. But it also seems unlikely that he would react so differently to what I got.

In WoW, my main finally hit 60. :) This means I can make more money by completing quests, and that I can try some of the endgame instances. I'm in a guild, but no 60s in my guild are ever online to run anything. Bah.

And I concluded that living in California for five years did not kill my tolerance for cold. It's been in the 30s here in the day, and I walk about 20 minutes to and from campus. And it's totally fine. I am happy, though, that my mom gave me those down jackets for Christmas last year. I never used them in Berkeley except when I went skiing at Tahoe, but here they are really great.

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clevermynnie

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