momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

From @sparrowdreams

copy this post into a new text post, remove my answers and put in your
own. when you are done tag up to 10 people and also tag the person that
tagged you….most importantly, have fun!

a / age - 28

b / biggest fear - That one of the people I care about is going to die in sudden, unanticipated freak circumstances.

c / current time - 12:37 EST

d / drink you had last - a cup of Republic of Tea’s HiCAF Toasted Coconut black tea

e / everyday starts with - A hot shower

f / favourite song - I have to pick just one? Let’s go with Vienna Teng’s ‘Level Up’

g / ghosts are real? - nah

h / hometown - Look, there are some things I don’t post publicly on the internet

i / in love with - hi-mi-tsu~

j / jealous of - people with good make-up skills

k / killed someone - nope

l / last time you cried - Teared up during the end of Arrival on Monday

m / middle name - It’s fairly uncommon, so again, not posting that publicly.

n / number of siblings - one

o / one wish - That the world becomes a more progressive place in the immediate future.

p / person you last called/texted - text my automated appointment reminder service to confirm

q / questions you’re always asked - How’s the dissertation?

r / reasons to smile - the sun is out and my cat is fluffy and adorable

s / song last sang - Mmm, something off the mix CD that’s currently in my car, though I don’t quite remember what track it was on last. KMFDM’s ‘Anarchy’, maybe?

t / time you woke up - 9:30ish

u / underwear color - decline to comment

v / vacation destination - Kyoto (hopefully)

w / worst habit - picking at my skin

x / xrays you have had - teeth, foot, lower back.

y / your favourite food - Most of them? I really can’t pick a single thing, though right now I haven’t had egg tarts or taiyaki in ages and I miss them terribly.

z / zodiac sign - Pisces

Too little brain to pick out a specific ten people, but if you want to do it, do it, and feel free to blame me.

web hosting recs?

Thursday, 26 May 2016 04:11
momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

acI’m on the hunt for a new hosting provider - the friend who was hosting my sites previously is unfortunately not able to continue doing so. Which means - moving time! And it’s been ages since I shopped around, so I’d love some recs. I don’t need a ton of bandwidth/server stuff, but I do need to be able to install Perl/PHP  modules, stuff like that.

(step 2: actually sit down and write my own application for my cosplay site, because I wasn’t really satisfied with the available CMS solutions already)

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Someone should have told me the Vorkosigan novels were actually reasonable lengths - I had been putting them off because I didn’t want to get sucked into more Jacqueline Carey 800-page doorstop monstrositities. But I finished Shards of Honour in like five or six hours on Wednesday, and Barrayar yesterday afternoon.

Unsurprisingly I’m enjoying them immensely *g*

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because I’ve used the same password system since 2004 and I finally downloaded a password manager like it’s 2012

and oh my god, this is exhausting. I’ve been at it for about four hours now and I’ve still barely scratched the surface. I’m going through and slowly eradicating my last identity from the internet, and separating ashkatom-the-internet-presence from ashkatom-the-real-life. I’ve closed so many old accounts, changed others to random gibberish, gotten rid of the last vestiges of two old projects, locked down my facebook as much as one can

and the internet? the internet is forever. the internet is designed to revel in the fact that it is forever. one of the most forward-thinking communities I know a) requires you to ask the mods to change your username and b) has no account deletion procedure. there are communities I signed up to when I was thirteen with my old identity that cannot be deleted, the password can’t be changed. my situation is complicated by how tightly I’ve interwoven this username with my real life, but at this point? I don’t think I could disappear. not without burning everything to the ground and salting the ashes.

the thing that makes me angry is that it’s so simple. like, I feel like rule one of user-friendly, anti-harassment web design is give someone the gosh-darn autonomy to delete their account so they can control their information. I know, in my history on the internet, all my identities have become inextricably linked, but - you don’t realise how daunting it is until you face it. there’s so much information, and the internet is very good at cataloguing and cross-referencing that information. 

I can’t imagine trying to lock my own information down after a breach. it terrifies me. I didn’t know, when I was 13, the kind of climate the internet would grow into. ‘don’t use your real name and don’t tell anyone your address’ was my “internet safety” lecture, and that - that’s not enough. I don’t know what is, anymore - throwaway emails for every account you sign up to, since often the account management/deletion policy isn’t obvious until you’ve already signed up and had cause to go looking? how far do you have to fudge the details of your day-to-day life in conversations with the people you meet? what’s the tradeoff between ‘being able to establish yourself an identity’ and ‘being safe’? where’s the point where safety measures are Enough and the social engineering starts instead? how the fuck do people ever trust anyone.

I am very privileged to be able to ask these questions academically.

I guess what sits most uneasy with me about being confronted with the breadcrumbs of my own life like this is that I have always been an open person. I’ve done good by being an open person, I’ve helped people. I feel very strongly about being an open person, in exposing the details I choose of my life, good or bad. it’s just become obvious to me how easily it could not be my choice.

like I said, it terrifies me.

momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)



Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk.

During an otherwise quiet evening on the desk, someone messaged my co-librarian on our library’s chat service with a specific, but not quite specific enough, request. She wanted the title and author of a book in a murder mystery series, published post-2000. She then provided a some 200-word synopsis of the plots and characters in the series, which involved a young girl in rural postwar England who solves crimes in her village “using her bicycle and chemistry skills.”

She’d tried book-related listservs and message boards, to no avail. Since our go-to fiction RA librarian was gone for the evening, we were on our own. But not quite alone: I jaunted over to NoveList Plus, that magical database beloved by librarians and bookish folks everywhere, and entered keywords from the patron’s description—and which serve as this post’s title.

Boom. First result:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first of five books in Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce mysteries series. Since NoveList’s plot description was surprisingly sparse, and I wanted to make sure I got the right book in the series, I cross-checked it with its Amazon page and sure enough, NoveList was right on target.

Putting the same search terms into Google yields nothing close to what I was looking for. Google can do many other things well, but its wide generalist’s net can miss what a targeted niche search like NoveList will catch every time.

Which, of course, reminds me of the Neil Gaiman quote you can find on every corner of the librarian internet: “In a world where Google can bring you back 100,000 answers [or in this case 6 million], a librarian can bring you back the right one.”

Thanks to the life-changing magic of NoveList, we got it right tonight.

All hail librarians and their resources.


momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

/puts out ‘I Aten’t Dead’ sign

/goes back to sewing

momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)



Long ago I heard an interview with Jonathan Lethem on City Arts and Lectures in which he said a number of things I found very interesting, which I wrote down, but I have no idea where. (I have often wanted to link people to various City Arts and Lectures recordings, but have been unable to do so as they don’t provide tapes, transcripts, or streaming audio – which, come to think of it, is kind of ironic given what I’m about to talk about, but let’s move on)

Lethem coined the term “culture oracle” to describe a sort of person who knows about, and has access to, all kinds of obscure cultural products that you’d never be able to find except through them. The example he gave was a friend of his who would occasionally invite him over to watch a movie, and the movie would be a third-generation copy of a VHS tape that was recorded years ago from public-access television at three in the morning, and that would be the only chance Jonathan Lethem would ever have to see that movie. Things like that still existed only as physical objects. You could only access them if you were plugged into the right social networks, and frequently you wouldn’t know you were looking for them until you found them. This gave the culture oracles an almost mystical aura, as though they could see aspects of the world that were invisible to others.

(One such person, I think now deceased, was the inspiration for Perkus Tooth in Chronic City.)

Today it’s much more difficult for these people to exist, because so many media products have been digitized, and even if something hasn’t been digitized you can often order a used copy online. And even if you still can’t find something, it lacks the mystique it might have had before, because the scope of things you can find is so bewilderingly vast now.

(Digression, sort of: film is a partial exception to this, in that films are much harder to digitize, and potentially much harder to ship, than books or records. I used to be a volunteer assistant projectionist at my college movie theater, where I learned to work with 35mm film. The set of 35mm reels that makes up a feature film is extremely heavy, and has to be shipped in a set of metal canisters at a cost comparable to that of shipping furniture. And every time you project the film, there’s an inherent risk that it will be damaged, especially if it’s old film that may not have been stored properly in the past. Someone on our programming committee once pitched a series on the history of South African film, which would have included several movies that had never been shown in the US, but all the films would have had to be shipped from South Africa, which would have been ludicrously expensive. If you want to see something that has never been released on VHS or DVD, you are likely still out of luck, especially if it’s foreign. On the other hand, in the pre-Internet days, you’d be considerably less likely to be aware of its existence at all.)

As I was saying, thanks to the limitless cultural stimuli available on the Internet, I think it’s nearly impossible for a text or a piece of music to feel like a message from another world, as was still possible even fifteen years ago. Yet there might be a few ways in which you can sort of approach culture oracle status in some respects:

  1. You can translate things that are not otherwise available in translation, because it’s not profitable. For instance, I would imagine that some anime fansubbers know a lot of Japanese cultural trivia that a non-Japanese speaker would have no way to discover.

  2. You are interested in something that interests almost no one else, like early 20thC British suit patterns or old aircraft manuals.

  3. You’re willing to sift through vast amounts of material that most people already have access to, but would be strongly disinclined to read, in order to find the interesting bits (i.e., you are @nostalgebraist)

i’m going to hold on to this one, because Yes and because Thoughts

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Friends! Do any of you make jewelry? Do you have friends that make jewelry? Do you or they have an online store? Give me links! I’m finally getting around to my Christmas shopping, and there’s a few people I’d like to get something for.

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Happy Halloween! My outfit for handing out candy :) I’ll see about getting a picture of the back of the dress later - it has vertebrae on it!

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Some craft-room organization projects!

1) My Brother embroidery machine came with this truly terrible plastic envelope to hold the extra feet (theoretically - they fell out a lot), so I made a new one, and actually tried machine embroidery to make a label for it (and for similar ones for my other two machines). Pretty pleased with the results, though I think I’m going to add a hang-loop, and maybe interface the twill strips.

2) As I accumulate more Smooth-On products, I also accumulate more tech bulletins and MSDSs for them all. I was getting tired of them getting lost or dripped on, so I got a binder and plastic sleeves to put them in so I can find them.

For people unfamiliar with MSDSs - it stands for ‘Material Safety Data Sheet’ and as that kind of implies, contains a bunch of information about the compound it’s for, as well as information on safety and health risks, what protective gear you should have, emergency clean-up procedures, etc. In the US and Canada at least, workplaces are legally required to keep an MSDS binder for basically anything considered harmful workers may use, and if you end up working with a lot of chemical products, it may be smart to keep one yourself! If nothing else, they usually tell you what kind of gloves you can use with products - some stuff causes unwanted reactions with, say, latex, but not with nitrile.

3) Unsurprisingly I have a lot of swatches. Some of them, like my Spoonflower booklet, are all nice and neatly presented in their own little packages. But I’m disorganized, and also had a ton of ones that were just loose or stapled to sheets of paper with product numbers, and I wanted them all together. So I made nice labels for them and put them in 3x4 card binder pages. As you can see in the last photo, Dharma labels their swatches quite nicely (but sends them as a stack in a plastic baggie, which meant I was finding them EVERYWHERE)

momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)
  • Fantastic weekend, solved most of last  year’s problems, A++ would con again
  • I am not allowed to bring more than five costumes to a con, because that is how many I will actually wear. Internet, hold me to this.
  • I also need to stop making costumes I melt in in Atlanta
  • Aquarium night with terieri and squigglehaunt as my trash seadweller family was FUCKING FANTASTIC
  • I have so many photos to edit, ty gothichamlet and pinnedtogether for getting some shots for me
  • The costuming track needs a bigger room and also some better panelists for some of the shit
  • I got my entire Last Herald-Mage Trilogy signed!
  • I am making a bingo for the masquerade next year, I swear to god
  • The Sheraton is a surprisingly nice hotel, even if it’s a little more of a walk from the others.
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For anyone interested in Japanese art and able to get to Boston in the next two weeks, The Museum of Fine Arts’ Hokusai exhibit is AMAZING. I went today and it took a good three hours to see everything, and I think I may go back at a less busy time to appreciate some individual pieces more.

(also, I’ve now been in the same room as an original copy of one of the most famous works of Japanese art. I’m still excited nine hours later)

momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

Japan Shopping - Crafting Supplies

…Okay, this is where most of my money went. This and tasty food. The three bolts at the top are kimono-related - the embroidered one is an unfinished obi bolt, and then the other two are undyed kimono bolts. I got the obi bolt and the plain kimono bolt for 1000¥ each at the Toji temple market, and then the fancy kimono bolt was probably my most expensive single item at 2800¥ (which honestly is still really inexpensive for something that lovely).

The burgandy sakura print is a polyester chirimen which was 1900¥ or so a meter, and the navy is either cotton or linen, and was 1440¥/m - it has images from a famous Japanese hand scroll I studied in art history, and I couldn’t resist it. Both were from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto, which I could have stayed at forever, basically. Amazing selection, decent prices, notions like crazy. I also got all the needlefelting supplies and the kanzashi templates (the little plastic things) in the bottom photo there.

The green stripe (pictured with my narrower green stripe to show off the color matching) is a cotton knit I got for 600¥/m at Nagato’s second shop in Nippori Fabric Town. Which is basically heaven on earth if you’re me - I would have picked up more if I had costumes planned or space in my luggage, but in the end it was mostly browsing. Of note - Okuyama had a ton of stuff in traditional Japanese weaving patterns in very affordable polyesters, as well as some well-priced silk-brocades, and Tomato Arch-Kan had some crazy-cheap staples as well as some fancy polyester brocades.

Most of the rest of my notions are from Toraya in Osaka, which also had a pretty great selection, though I kept it to just kimono-making stuff because ahaha money. A couple places in Nippori had the same stuff, but I was in Osaka first. And then the sashiko pattern book was from Kinokuniya.

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Japan Shopping - Nerdery

AKA ‘oh right, I had more photos to upload’. Two of books are from Kinokuniya (the one next to Shinjuku Station is huge and magical), and then the one on Hijikata is from the Hijikata Archive Room. Most of the figures and charms are from K-Books - I went to the one in Osaka, and then like three of the branches in Tokyo. The Gintama fics are from the Character store in Ikebukuro (where all things JUMP live), and some of the Hakuouki stuff is from the Anime store (also in Ikebukuro). The file folder and Saitou keychain - along with the Hijikata wine - I bought in Hakodate, at the Goryoukaku Tower gift shop.

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Japan Shopping - Wafuku

What I brought back! Minus various uninteresting kitsuke things (though I can… take photos if people want?), some plain zori, and a pair of hakama I forgot to photograph. I made out like a bandit, basically, so some shopping notes!

The first two were from a used kimono shop that’s a block or two past the Animate in Osaka - the light green was 200¥ and the dark green was 100¥, no I am not making those prices up. They had more expensive ones, but by that I mean like… 1700¥ (roughly $15 USD). There were a whole bunch of shops crammed into a few blocks of narrow back alleys, and they had a fantastic mix.

The purple kimono was 1000¥, at Tansu-ya, which is a chain selling new and used kimono and accessories. They’re a little more expensive - the 1000¥ rack was their low-end stuff - but it’s a little more curated and better-quality than some of the stuff in the Osaka shops. This came from the Nippori shop, though I bought most of the kitsuke accessories at the one in Shinjuku (which is in an underground mall connected to the station and thus confuses google maps terribly).

All four obi  and the light pink leaf kimono are from temple markets. The red geometric obi was from a table set up by… Yakasa Shrine, I think? Possibly Gion Shrine. It was 1000¥ if memory serves but I was out with a friend and we wandered a lot that day. Not a full-fledged market per se but there were a few vendors.

The rest are from the antiques market that happens on the first Sunday of the month at Tou-ji in southern Kyoto, which was a wonderful assortment of old stuff, obscure and otherwise (one vendor had templates that had been used for kimono fabric design production, assumably at some place now closed - they looked pretty old). The kimono was 500¥, the black obi was 1000¥, and the kaku obi were 500¥ and 1500¥ (It doesn’t show in that photo, but one has a lot more edge wear and some slight fading). 

The first Sunday market is apparently the tame, small one - there are a few regular ones in both Kyoto and Osaka, and some are huge. You can also haggle, but I don’t know enough Japanese and the only thing I turned down because of price was a 4,000¥ quilted kimono and I don’t know if I could have talked down to how much I had on me. Doing a google search for ‘kyoto temple markets’ and ‘osaka temple markets’ will get you places and dates.

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After almost-five weeks of travelling, god. Still sort of recovering, but normal posts will resume soon.

In the meantime, does anyone have recs for a place to get a decent custom-printed mousepad?

momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

So, in three weeks, my dad and I managed to see… not every side of Japan, but a hell of a lot of them. I am going to do more detailed posts once I sort and edit photos (both from this and from my trip back in March), but a quick rundown of where we went and my quick thoughts:

-Tokyo: More from March than this trip, but Tokyo is a fascinating city of tons of different parts all jammed up together - some areas feel like a high-end shopping district in NYC, some have that sheen of ~FUTURE~ that I think is the image of the city that we’re sold, and here and there, there are little pockets of history, of old places that have survived.

-Kyoto: Regal and set firmly in tradition - if Tokyo is Vancouver, BC, Kyoto would be Victoria - the more ‘proper’ counterpart. We stayed the longest here, and I could have stayed even longer, because there’s so much history to be seen. Kyoto definitely capitalizes on that, but in a way that doesn’t feel too overdone or touristy. In some ways it still remains a center of culture, so it doesn’t have the feeling of being stuck in the past.

-Nara: the smaller and more touristy counterpart to Kyoto, but given that it hasn’t been historically relevant for hundreds of years, that’s not surprising. The historic sites are still 100% worth a vist.

-Koya-san: A short trip but a world away from any of the cities. It’s been the center of Shingon Buddhist tradition in Japan for over a thousand years now, and time seems to move differently up on top of the mountain. And it was a wonderful respite from the bustle of the cities.

-Osaka: I went here, my dad went to Hiroshima. Osaka is interesting because I feel like I could describe it in terms that seem very American - rougher than Tokyo, more sense of hustle - but it takes them and makes it something very Japanese. I did not get to try nearly as much food as I had wanted, but another time, maybe.

-Hakodate: Off the tourist-radar - both guidebooks I brought mostly mention it as a stay-over on the way to Sapporo - but with my interest in the Bakumatsu period it was a must-see for me, and I’m glad we did. It’s a facinating little city - much of it’s growth was in the mid 1800s, as one of the three ports open to the West, and there are elements of that everywhere - buildings that combine Japanese and western architecture, tram lines, the old churches at the base of Mt. Hakodate.


Thursday, 18 June 2015 01:27
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Back from Japan and once again on a laptop that can actually handle tumblr. Unfortunately I am also incredibly jetlagged still, and am leaving again tomorrow for a family thing this weekend and then on from there to OSB in Portland, so I’m not sure when I will have time to properly post photos and write-ups (not to mention catching up with friends).

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A brief Katsucon write-up, while things are fresh in my mind. This was actually my first year going, though I’ve had friends for years who went every year. Some of my motivation was based on the fact that Katsu is kind of one of the big two of east-coast cons everyone goes to, with the other one being Otakon. I handle heat terribly, and found Otakon too crowded and overwhelming when I went the one time in 2004, so I went for Katsucon this year. Opted to drive down because if I have company, I don’t mind long drives, and it meant I didn’t have to worry about checking anything (Southwest, I am still annoyed at you). The venue was lovely - I hadn’t quite realized that a lot of the stuff is inside (like the fabled gazebo) and it was nice to only have to go outside a few times all weekend (getting stuff in and out of the car, emergency CVS run, avoiding the coffee line inside the Gaylord), particularly as I tempted fate by going ‘I only need my light winter coat, not my heavy one’ and then the wind was hideous all weekend. Downsides: the hotel portion is in no way actually prepared for being booked to full capacity, in terms of wifi strength and hot water.

I was a little worried I had bit off more than I could chew by bringing five costumes to wear, because that was my big mistake at Dragon*Con, and I was prepared to drop something if I felt I couldn’t handle it, but it actually worked out easily and I was really happy with most of what I wore (Dolorosa needs some fixes before I’m happy with it, which is why there are basically only photos from the HS shoot Friday). I got to hang out with a lot of awesome people that I had met already, and some I only knew from the internet. There were a few rough spots, but a lot of them were basically 50% me forgetting that I cannot do the ‘six hours of sleep, live on the adrenaline rush’ for cons any more and my mood crashes out really, really badly when I’m tired, particularly if I have to deal with people. Not fun, but something I can remember to watch for in the future. Also, the McD’s on the way out of town is a gongshow Sunday afternoon and best avoided for your own sanity and free time, as well as that of the employees.

Shout-outs to:
All the awesome people I got to meet, or re-meet - neckfruit, drippingcolorsproductions, yaexrae, elementalsight, saccharinesylph, knightarcana, vantasticmess

pyropi for helping me lrn2PAX and knightarcana for helping me get my brown lacefront styled and wearable despite still having stuff of their own to finish.

vantasticmess, knightarcana, and spacedogprincess for being great carmates and helping keep me awake and focused yesterday

And the very many people who gave me compliments on my outfits! After the ridiculous number of hours I put in, I was really happy that other people thought they turned out well, too.


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