gnomi: (kitty)
Today we celebrated my parents' 50th anniversary, and I was asked to be among the speakers. (Because no one comes to parties to hear the speeches, I suggested my parents keep the talky part of the party to no more than 30 minutes. Each of the speakers was allotted five minutes.) I gave the following d'var Torah (talk on the parsha (the week's Torah portion)).
This way to the learning )
gnomi: (kitty)
If you hear about an explosion at the Boston Marathon finish line, which is about 500 feet from [personal profile] mabfan's office building, don't worry about us. We were all safe in Brookline: Muffin and Squeaker didn't have school, [personal profile] mabfan stayed home, and I am working from home. Everyone in our family is safe. My heart goes out to those who are directly affected by the incident.
gnomi: (100_things)
February 2012 marked my 30th anniversary as a member of fandom. I was 11 when I first attended the Sunday of Boskone 19 ([profile] beckyfeld and [profile] lcmlc had attended for the whole weekend, and I got a taste of the convention when Abba-with-no-LJ and I headed over to the Park Plaza on Sunday to fetch them). After that first taste, I was hooked. I attended the full weekend of Boskone 20 and from there I haven't looked back.

When I started in SF fandom, it was mostly centered around book fandom. Science fiction written-wordfans have an interesting relationship with their source material. We feel a proprietary relationship with not only the book itself but with the creator of the book. And at conventions in the early 1980s (which for me was Boskone), we had access to many of our favorite writers, either because they were guests at the convention or because they were fans themselves and attending the convention by paying out of their own pockets for the cost of hotel rooms and food (some conventions comp memberships for people who participate in programming; I do not know if Boskone did so in the 1980s). This easy access to our favorite writers led to, for instance, my meeting Joan D. Vinge in the hot tub at a Boskone. We stop writers randomly in the hallway and ask them about their current writing projects or about things in the books we've read that we want to understand better. And we expect this level of interaction.

With the growth of the Internet when I was in college, I became active in USENET groups that discussed TV shows I enjoyed. There was something wonderful in the ability to join with other fans of shows that might be unknown to people in one's everyday circle of interactions and discuss things that would make your nearest and dearest go "Huh?" Internet fandom on USENET had etiquette rules about interactions with the show creators (in many cases, they boiled down to "Don't do it unless you can be respectful. Don't make us look like a bunch of idiots"). The September that Never Ended (1993, when AOL got USENET access) came and went and USENET groups eventually moved to mailing lists and then to the Web, but fandom stayed fandom. We still wanted to discuss every detail of everything we saw or read.

Over the years, through many TV fandoms, I have seen how fandoms with an "open canon" (shows are still being broadcast, as opposed to shows with a "closed canon", those shows now off the air and thus not adding new shows to the "canon") react to new episodes. In my many fandoms over the years, most had members who were online moments after the end credits rolled, with people discussing the shows while they were fresh in our minds. These discussions (and, usually, debates) would rage until the next episode ran and often even thereafter, folding in what we learned in new episodes to flesh out our interaction with the show. I remember on we had rules about spoilery discussions about just-broadcast episodes: They were forbidden completely until the episode had run on the West Coast of the US. After that, they had to be marked as "Spoiler" for a week. After that, spoilery details were fair game. This led to discussions by those of us on the East Coast that for a couple of hours looked like this:

Person A: Can you believe [spoiler] did that?

Person B: I *know*! When [spoiler] [spoilery verb-ed] [spoiler]? Amazing!

And so forth.

Anyway, so I've become used to online discussions happening as or right after the show has aired. But one show I am watching, for which there is an online presence, does not seem to have this "discuss-immediately-after" culture, which I find interesting. I wonder if it's that the fans want to think more thinky thoughts about the show and therefore are holding back on posting or if I'm just not hooked into the sources of more immediate conversation. So I will either have to be patient or look around more.
gnomi: (Default)
This afternoon, as I was heading to a meeting, I happened to strike up a conversation with a coworker. Through a series of bizarre conversational connections, I discovered that he knows [ profile] lensman along with [ profile] beckyfeld's friends E. and JP. [profile] beckyfeld's name sounded familiar to him, but he couldn't remember if they knew each other.

I am always surprised when this happens, though it happens often enough that I often think I should stop being surprised.
gnomi: (miracle_max)
Scene: On Saturday night, [personal profile] mabfan and [personal profile] gnomi are at the seder with [profile] lcmlc and Abba-with-no-LJ. [personal profile] gnomi has just broken the Afikoman for distribution.

[personal profile] gnomi: There are pieces of varying size.

[personal profile] mabfan: Pieces of Varying Size? I don't believe they exist.

This subsequently sparked a conversation about "The Princess Bride," the fact that [profile] lcmlc has never read the book, and whether Goldman should do a digital enhancement.

[personal profile] mabfan: It would be like what Lucas did with "Star Wars."

[personal profile] gnomi: Inigo parried first!
gnomi: (Default)
Chinese food, new Doctor Who (no movie watching, though we had a Bursteinflix pickup by new members), and sleeping Muffin and Squeaker. This was all following a lovely afternoon with my parents in honor of Chanukah. Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be making latkes to share with visiting friends. And what minimal snow we got didn't stick.
gnomi: (Default)
In this week's The Brookline Parent column, I talk about celebrating Thanksgiving with Muffin and Squeaker in Muffin and Squeaker Give Thanks.
gnomi: (Default)
I was sitting in my cube at 1:55 this afternoon and felt slight shaking. The shaking intensified, and I asked my across-the-cube-wall neighbor if he'd felt anything. He had, as had others in the open-plan office space. Neighbor (I'll call him A.) went to the USGS Earthquake Hazards site and reported that there had been a quake with its epicenter in Virginia. [ profile] mabfan called just as I was about to text him to see if he felt anything, and he had. He checked in with the babysitter and I checked in on [ profile] lcmlc and Abba (they didn't even feel the shaking).

I hope those of you closer to the epicenter are OK.

ETA: Gotta love the modern age. Texted with [profile] beckyfeld and confirmed all OK by her (phone lines are clogged).
gnomi: (Default)
This weekend, [personal profile] mabfan and I and Muffin and Squeaker joined [profile] lcmlc and Abba on a Grand Adventure to answer the following question: can four adults take two two-year-olds to a bar mitzvah in Maryland without losing their minds.

Or, to put it another way, [personal profile] mabfan and I and [profile] lcmlc and Abba and Muffin and Squeaker went to Silver Spring, MD, for [profile] beckyfeld and [personal profile] osewalrus' son's bar mitzvah.

The weekend was lovely, the train trip was not as harrowing as I had feared (even with a two-hour delay outside Baltimore on our way back due to flooding on the tracks), we saw many people -- both family and friends -- that we hadn't seen in forever, many of whom had never met Muffin and Squeaker. M&S were beautifully behaved during all of the "you need to be quiet and pay attention" parts (helped partly on Sunday by the centerpieces at the brunch -- the girls had more balls to play with than they knew what to do with).

Mazal tov again to the parents of the bar mitzvah and the bar mitzvah himself. Yasher koach!
gnomi: (birthday (shoegal-icons))
On 10 July, [personal profile] mabfan and I will be throwing Muffin and Squeaker a party in honor of their upcoming second birthday. Their birthday is not until the 19th, but due to the Three Weeks and the fact that [personal profile] mabfan's brother and his family are coming to town (and thus will be able to join in the festivities), we're celebrating a bit early.

All are welcome to join us on Sunday, 10 July 2011, from 11 AM-1 PM for a party celebrating Muffin and Squeaker. Kosher dairy snacks will be served. There will be chocolate cake and ice cream cake. Only time will tell if, like last year, Muffin loves them both but Squeaker turns down the ice cream.
gnomi: (cooking_pasta (shoegal-icons))
My father is driving down to Maryland in a couple of weeks, and he is looking for kosher restaurant recommendations in the area between the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Garden State Parkway. Any and all recommendations are appreciated.

gnomi: (mousie_with_bear (lanning))
-- I know I've been kind of quiet except for announcements of columns. Between Pesach (Passover) prep, Pesach itself, *recovering* from Pesach, and job searching, life's been busy. I'll strive to be more talky here, but no promises.

-- A posting on the Jewish Boston mailing list about someone trying to find a pre-season minyan on Cape Cod made me wonder about early Onset minyanim.

-- I've been and will be again chaperoning a couple's dates for religious reasons. If I have the brain to do so, I'll elaborate more in a later post.

-- I've come to the realization that I really like Shabbat morning Pesukei d'Zimrah (verses of praise, one of the early parts of the morning service).

-- Squeaker was convinced yesterday when [personal profile] mabfan was talking to [personal profile] osewalrus that it was Sabba (Hebrew for "grandfather"; what Muffin and Squeaker call my father) on the phone. I said, "No, that's Uncle [personal profile] osewalrus," and Squeaker just looked at me like I was nuts and said, emphatically, "Sabba!"

-- Muffin decided -- and convinced Squeaker -- that one of their tables, flipped over, is actually a slide like the ones they play on at the park. They now yell "Slide" and slide off the edge of the flipped-over table.

-- Help me. I think I'm becoming a Gleek.

-- Last week, [personal profile] mabfan and I watched the 1952 science fiction movie "This Island Earth." To then get the taste of that (honestly kind of wretched) film out of our brains, we watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie, in which *they* watch an abridged version of "This Island Earth." We were both amused when the robots said almost exactly something I'd said while watching the movie the first time.

-- I'm in that "I have a bunch of things on needles and don't want to work on any of them" stage, but I haven't 100% figured out *what* I want to knit. I may cast on a pair of socks, just because. Or I may knit an elephant. Time will tell.
gnomi: (birthday (shoegal-icons))
Happy birthday, [personal profile] osewalrus!

Best wishes for the coming year! Muffin and Squeaker want me to make sure to tell you "Happy birthday, Uncle Harold!"
gnomi: (Default)
This is what it's been like since Wednesday:

-- Wednesday: Finished my Thanksgiving cooking (I did half and [profile] lcmlc did half, and a guest brought a dish): pumpkin bread, crustless pumpkin pie (so more like a pumpkin custard), brisket, stuffing/dressing (it was outside the bird), and cranberry-apricot chutney. Also, saw "Harry Potter and the First Half of the Book Deathly Hallows Part I."

-- Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner at [profile] lcmlc and Abba's. Lots of food. Everyone around the table was family. Small crowd: to Muffin and Squeaker, it was Mommy and Daddy, Sabba and Savta, Uncle Bill, and Uncle David. Plus, of course, Muffin and Squeaker. Who loved all the food.

-- Friday: Home with [personal profile] mabfan and Muffin and Squeaker during the day. Cooked Shabbat lunch during girlie nap time. Took advantage of crazy-early licht bentchen (candle lighting at the beginning of Shabbat) (3:58, and that's not the earliest this year) to be able to have dinner out and still be home not too late for girlie bedtime. Also, our next column came out.

-- Saturday: Shabbat. Went to shul after hour-long power outage resolved. Upstairs neighbor had urge to run around our apartment and adjust our timers. Odd impulse that I was glad to take advantage of. ;-) Hosted lunch at our place for [profile] aunt_becca and R and B. Much fun was had. Much mac and cheese was consumed.

-- Sunday: Had Lexington-based family visiting for brunch combined with [personal profile] gnomi's Tailoring Services. Security blanket repaired.

-- Today: Up at 3:30 AM with a Muffin who is cutting four new teeth simultaneously. Somehow, Squeaker slept through the hullabaloo but was awake at 6:30. So far I have attended a webinar, made a job-search-related appointment for tomorrow afternoon, and put in a laundry. I am playing the hours that [personal profile] mabfan is at work as a hermit, only socializing with Muffin and Squeaker and their babysitter.
gnomi: (Default)
At 3:35 PM this afternoon, we bid a fond adieu to [personal profile] mabfan's brother, who was in from Oregon.

At just about 4:00, the skies absolutely opened.

At 4:08, the lights went off.

At approximately 4:30, NSTAR called to tell us that our power would be back around 6 PM.

It wasn't.

At 7:10, NSTAR called to tell us our power was back on.

It wasn't.

At 8:00, we went up the hill to chez [personal profile] arib and wife to borrow a cup of power to charge our cell phones.

At 9:15 or so, [personal profile] arib called our home number to see if our answering machine would answer, indicating the return of our power.

It didn't.

At 9:40, we headed home. The power was still off on our block, but we saw the crews working to restore our power and stopped to ask the crews about their progress. The tree that had taken out our power had been removed from the power line and the NSTAR guys were about to look for the damage.

At 9:50, we arrived home and [personal profile] mabfan started a very late bedtime process for Muffin and Squeaker, while I brought in the baby gear. And just as I was bringing in the last of the stuff, at 10:02, the power came on.
gnomi: (yeshiva_stewart)
This past Shabbat, I did something I haven't done in 22 years: I had the Maftir aliyah and read haftarah in front of a minyan.

On three and a half days' notice

And people said I did it very well. :-)

Let me explain...No, is too long. Let me sum up )
gnomi: (Default)
So, our power came back sometime around 11 PM on Saturday night (at which point the big thunderstorm that had knocked it out originally was over), and we ran around resetting clocks and stuff and then eventually went to sleep.

On Sunday, we took things relatively easy, doing some things around the apartment and some shopping but otherwise keeping things low-key. We watched "War Games" with some friends (one who had never seen the movie and the other who hadn't seen it in years), and when it was over I wanted to watch its thematic sibling (as I see it), "Sneakers," and so we did. Much fun was had.

I called [profile] lcmlc in the afternoon to wish her a happy Mothers Day, as she and Abba are down in MD with [profile] beckyfeld and [personal profile] osewalrus.

And now I'm back in the office. Happy Monday, all.
gnomi: (exhausted_monkey)
So, here's how the weekend happened:


-- Worked from home
-- Had morning doctor's appointment
-- After work, finished food for dinner (did most of cooking on Thursday, but was afraid there wasn't enough food, so added a dish at almost the last minute)*
-- Set up for Shabbat dinner and Shabbat in general
-- Sent [personal profile] mabfan off to shul (he had yahrtzeit for his mother on Shabbat) about 10 minutes after he got home from work
-- Lit candles just a few minutes into the 18 minutes
-- Set table and then read and waited for guests to arrive
-- Guests came in waves, until all eight of us (including [personal profile] mabfan and the two friends meeting him at shul) had arrived
-- Dinner filled with fun conversation and followed by Settlers of Catan
-- Eventually, sleep


-- Up early for shul
-- Really enjoying shorter walk (with significantly less hill) to shul
-- [personal profile] mabfan and I sponsored kiddush in honor of his mother's yahrtzeit, and people thanked us for the extras (red peppers and clementines) we had
-- Home for lunch after shul
-- Very brief nap
-- Back to shul for Mincha and Shalosh Seudot and Ma'ariv because [personal profile] mabfan was the speaker at Shalosh Seudot
-- Home after Ma'ariv, with two potential events to attend
-- In the end, decided to attend neither event. Instead, unpacked some more boxes of books and relaxed.
-- Sleep relatively early for a Saturday night, but we needed it.


-- Up around 8:30
-- Unpacked more boxes of books. We most likely need additional bookcases (this is not particularly a surprise)
-- Out to Harvard St. to do errands and then meet a friend for lunch
-- Birthday party for friends' one-year-old daughter
-- Out to Lexington for dinner with relatives. Discovered on way from Alewife to house in Lexington that there had been illness in house earlier that day. Decided to not have dinner in Lexington.
-- Returned to Brookline and had dinner at Rubins, as [personal profile] mabfan was in the mood for chicken, and our place is set up milchig.
-- Home after dinner
-- Got things ready for going to work on Monday
-- Watched some TV
-- Cursorily watched Superbowl (mostly for commercials)
-- Sleep after end of game

*Final menu for Friday night dinner was: roasted garlic to go on challah; starter of black bean and chocolate chili from Moosewood; main course of Mexican Lasagna, [profile] introverte's cheese kugel, and vegetable stew from Moosewood; dessert of chocolate chip cookie bars and vanilla ice cream.
gnomi: (alternate_kitty)
So, as [personal profile] mabfan said, he and I are traveling to New York this weekend. And, for me, travel comes with the requisite Packing Angst. What do I take? How much of what do I need? And, at this time of year, how many different possible weather patterns should I prepare for? We're trying to pack light, so that we don't have to schlep too much to the thing on Sunday (since we're leaving from there directly to the train).

My current thought is as follows:

-- Backpack containing books for reading over the weekend and manuscripts to work on during the actual travel

-- Laptop case containing, well, my laptop (and maybe a couple of DVDs for when I get too eye-fried to work on manuscripts anymore)

-- Duffle bag for clothing and travel needs (meds, hairbrush, toothbrush, etc.). Clothing is: two shul-worthy outfits, PJs, smalls, shul-worthy shoes (reminds self that not every shul is like our shul, where at least 1/2 the women wear sneakers to shul).

My thinking is this: One outfit for Friday night and Sunday's event, one outfit for Shabbat day, mufti for traveling on Friday and for motzai Shabbat (Saturday night).

Am I forgetting anything? I'll run the Perpetual Packing Protocol this evening so that I don't forget, for instance, to water the plants. I'll set my Out of Office before I leave this afternoon. And that, I think, is that. But I'm stressing, regardless.


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