luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
And here's the proof:

http://www.behr.com/consumer_ca/ColorDetailView/PMD-90

(Not quite my favorite shade of purple, but I'll still take it.)
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
By and large, it's been a rough month, punctuated only by a few better moments.

I hope everyone who celebrated U.S. Thanksgiving a few days ago had an enjoyable holiday. I did -- as I have for the past 15 or so Turkey Days, I went to my friend T.H.'s home, where I joined her extended family. Everybody contributed something, nobody shouted about Trump (we're all LGBT-friendly people, disgusted with the Giant Lying Russian Stooge), and everybody had a good time.

This year, however, I did NOT drive to T.H.'s house in my longtime motor vehicle. Those days are over.

My 1996 Sunfire, a.k.a. "Patty's Pretty Purple Pontiac," a.k.a. "Baby," is destined for the sunset after 20.5 years of mostly faithful service (the transmission failure on the road to Pennsic 40 being a notable exception).

Details... )

So, what do I do about a new car? I'm pretty sure that I don't qualify for any kind of financing. I certainly wouldn't give *myself* a loan. So I need to buy an older model (beater, jalopy, hoopty, etc.) that will pass Maryland inspection and run for a few years.

What's my budget? I am still figuring it out. As small as possible, but remember that a $700 car that needs $2300 of work to be legally registered under a new owner really costs $3000.
I wish I could just get myself to Carmax, but that place doesn't seem to sell anything under $7000 and I don't see myself being able to afford that anytime soon.

I'm really caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, folks ... without reliable transportation, it's even harder to find temporary or permanent employment, but without an additional source of income, I can't afford wheels. I have no idea what my health insurance costs will be next year ... they are already going up a lot under Obamacare, but I am NOT counting on Obamacare to last past January 20. Seriously.

Gaah, I don't know what to do. First-world problem, I know.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Yeah, I know, long time no post.

I had a long feature article to write, I felt all seized up from anxiety over the presidential election, so I went WAY over deadline, which meant that I got paid a lot less for my work... and my editor was pissed off... and then I got anxious over money....

And then I went through all the ups and downs of the near-end of the seemingly endless election cycle, and I went into my work as an election judge thinking that of *course* Hillary Clinton was going to squeak through. But the news looked bad as soon as I got home and I just couldn't fall asleep for the longest time, even though I'd been awake since 4:45 a.m., until I took cold medication (and I am not sick) to try to still my racing mind.

I had posted this on FB before going to bed:

Report from today: I awoke at 4:45 a.m. to get to work at a precinct in College Park. (I voted on Oct. 31.) I served as a provisional ballot judge. We were busiest, surprisingly, between 7 and 9 a.m., with an early crowd of people trying to get voting accomplished before the workday. Other than that, a steady stream but no big evening rush. Perhaps all those folks had voted early too (one of the local early-voting sites was elsewhere in College Park).

Before today, I had worried that idiots were going to harass the incredibly diverse voters of this precinct, but the only observer we had was from the Organization of American States. He was the former Peruvian ambassador to the U.S., and he bore an uncanny resemblance to Tim Kaine.
This precinct gave three times as many votes to Clinton-Kaine as to the Giant Lying Russian Stooge and Lord Voldemort. We did our part.

Even though CNN just called California for Secretary Clinton, I am feeling lots of loathing and disgust right now. Can you say "reverse Bradley effect"? I can't even imagine the suckage of another humongous recession. I am going to bed after I finish this one beer, but this may be the last news I watch for a long, long time.


Since the news, I have been in a dark place.

Facebook again, Wednesday afternoon:

(Adapted from a couple of comments I made on other pages.)

I admire everyone who is saying, "Yeah, folks, let's go out and fight for justice! Never give up!" However, some of us are in a very dark place emotionally and are not ready to do that yet. Some of us may never be ready for that, ever. I know that my grief and disgust are still too deep.

Since I have earned degrees in journalism, physics, and astronomy, I am feeling some professional as well as personal repudiation. There's nothing like living in a nation where a large chunk of the population believes that every journalist sucks and repudiates the science that both detected the global warming problem and could give us the tools to fix it.

The polls lulled us because so many people in this country are willing to lie about their own bigotry. I have lost a lot of my faith in the arc of the universe and the supposedly intrinsic goodness of humanity.


And finally in the evening:

On top of everything else ... I started heading out to the "gathering in community for worship, reflection and fellowship" at my church, and the steering on my 20-year-old car started acting really squirrelly. The car was pulling to the left, which grew noticeable at about 30 mph, and when I tried to correct it, the steering system felt all loose or something. I pulled into a parking lot and checked the tires -- no flats. Managed to drive home, but I have to get it looked at tomorrow. It could be something as simple as power steering fluid or as messed up as a bent tie rod or a busted axle. Just another episode in the ongoing saga of "The Ruination of Patty D[redacted]."

Still don't know what is wrong with my car. Still don't know whether I will ever work again. I *do* know that without an Affordable Care Act subsidy, my health insurance will cost $532 per month for my high-deductible plan. Right now I pay $70 per month. My mortgage is only about $594 per month.

I am still sad. I am angry. I am on a hair trigger.

Today...

Sep. 24th, 2016 11:29 pm
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Today the boy toy and I spent the day in Baltimore, visiting a couple of museums that waived their entrance fees today under a special Smithsonian program: the B&O Railroad Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. (Sorry, photos are still in my camera.) Then we stopped at a diner-type restaurant that had been featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Network.

We had a great time ... but when we got home, we found a large hairball right in the center of the top of the coffee table.

Gee, thanks, Julia. :-P
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
On Monday, September 5, I marched in my town's Labor Day parade with my local Toastmasters club. While we were lining up to get ready for the parade, I took some photos that I thought might be of interest to CZ.

First, a couple of images of a plug-in BMW:

IMG_5335 Electric BMW in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade 2016 IMG_5334 Electric BMW in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade 2016

THEN ... I saw a car that looked an awful lot like the orange Porsche that CZ used to own back in the 2000s:

IMG_5336 Solar-powered Porsche at the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, 2016

Note the solar panels -- I sincerely doubt that these were factory-installed in 1974 or whenever the car was built!

IMG_5337 Solar-powered Porsche at the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, 2016
IMG_5339 Solar-powered Porsche at the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, 2016

I even photographed the dashboard for clues to the retrofit:

IMG_5338 Solar-powered Porsche at the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, 2016

Lots of other cool things. I really need to update my Flickr site.

Holy Hell

Sep. 1st, 2016 11:52 pm
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Tonight I watched the documentary Holy Hell on CNN. The group described in the film wasn't the worst cult on planet Earth, but it still did its share of damage to the people who thought they'd found a second family of total love. Worth a watch. Definitely thought-provoking.

Tomorrow morning I'll figure out what I'm doing for this weekend's Battle on the Bay and pack the car accordingly. I don't even know what the Baron and Baroness are doing for heraldic support. Guess I'd better check that out....

Oh NO.

Aug. 31st, 2016 10:14 pm
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Don't worry, I'm perfectly fine. Even got my driver's license renewed today, which would have been my father's 99th birthday. (99!)

BUT ... today the weather forecast changed, and what had been the prospect of a perfectly sunny and clear Labor Day weekend was replaced by the prospect of having a tropical storm roar over the mid-Atlantic region on Saturday evening -- right when Storvik is hosting Battle on the Bay. (It's our turn to host this SCA event; in odd-numbered years, the Barony of Lochmere runs it.)

Longtime readers of this journal may recall the vicious June 2012 storm that resulted in the cancellation of that year's Storvik Novice Tourney. That was NOT a happy weekend. One of our fencers took refuge under the permanent pavilion just before a tree crashed down on top of her tent. She's convinced that she would have been killed if she'd stayed in her tent. Other tents were destroyed or damaged, and the access road was blocked with downed trees and wires.

I have been hoping that I could camp at the event (Friday and Saturday nights) because I'm helping out with troll (entrance gate; where we collect the money) and the Battle on the Bay site is a 45-minute drive from my home. However, I really don't want to bring home wet canvas. I did that after the spring SCA "garb wars" event on the Eastern Shore, when it rained all weekend, and spreading out the tent to dry in the living room was a giant PITA. (And that one I *had* to camp at because of the distance.) I guess I'll just keep an eye on the weather forecasts. I happen to know that the National Weather Service runs another one of its giant "operational" supercomputer models every six hours.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
First off: Today is the 34th anniversary of my father's death. Coincidentally, at the time of Dad's death, my parents had been married for 34 years (and about seven weeks). So, about seven weeks from now, I'll have a sense of how long my parents' marriage lasted.

Gene Wilder has died at age 83. Mostly I remember him as Willy Wonka.

Tall Dancer called me again tonight. I guess this is becoming more of a weekly check-in thing. This time around I avoided talking about job searching and mostly prattled on about dancing, eating the endless leftover cole slaw from the epic party, my weekend plans, and so forth. He is always more reticent about his personal life than I am with mine -- the whole pseudo-counselor thing, I guess. But he did say he is going camping at an outdoor "relaxacon" over the coming holiday weekend. Up with friends from Kentucky and Tennessee. I think he did the same thing over last Labor Day weekend, too.

Happy find at a local Little Free Library: I snagged a copy of the Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the Broadway musical Hamilton. Given my financial state, I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of seeing the actual production, but at least I can enjoy the book.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Once again ... when you have to log into LJ/DW, you know you've been gone a while. But, hey, I've been living my life.

I didn't go to Pennsic again this year. Still not enough money. However, this might have been a good year to miss, as the weather turned out to be brutally hot and humid. Even the King of Atlantia said on Facebook that the weather was the real enemy this Pennsic, not the opposing alliance of SCA kingdoms. Both among my Facebook friends and the denizens of the Pennsic War group on FB, person after person reported that her feet and ankles were all swollen up from the heat. Lots of people packed up and left early. A full day of martial activities was canceled because of the heat -- who wants to risk heat stroke under several layers of metal and padding?

In other news ... I've been having a blast with my Lithuanian dance peeps. On Sunday the 14th we drove up to Frackville, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country, to perform in the town's annual "Lithuanian Days" celebration. It was held in a nearly empty shopping mall that was built in 1980 and hasn't been updated since. I mean, I could imagine myself going with there with both my parents ... and my Dad has been dead since 1982. Both the younger and older dance groups (obviously I'm in the older one!) performed two sets, and then we went for pizza and beer in between them. The (mostly elderly) audience really appreciated our performances. And then on Saturday the 20th, we had a crab feast alongside the Severn River. Let's just say you know it's been an EPIC party when you come home and have to wash the sand off your butt!!! :-)

P.S. Tall Dancer phoned me last Monday and again tonight. In lieu of Internet chatting, he tends to call me while he's driving home from his Monday night dance group.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] wookiemonster!! I hope you are having a great day full of dancing!!

(Yes, I know that I don't mark too many birthdays on LJ/DW anymore. However, Wookiemonster is still very diligent about everybody else's natal anniversaries, so it's only proper to celebrate his!)
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
This past weekend was "Dumpster Weekend" in my condo complex. Three or four times a year the condo association puts out a big Dumpster for us to use, over and above the usual trash bins. Since my dishwasher hasn't worked for a few years and is just taking up space, the boy toy got the notion that we should take it out to the Dumpster.

I was a bit skeptical, but the boy toy studied the big orange Home Depot book of home repairs, and I had him talk on the phone with my friend Bill R., the condo king of northeastern Massachusetts. We had to make a couple of runs to Home Depot for tools and supplies. But, finally, we got the darn thing detached and unscrewed and pulled it out from under the counter, and we were happy to find that it actually had a couple of small wheels at the bottom. We put duct tape around the unit so the door wouldn't flop open, and we tried to push the thing on its two wheels toward the Dumpster, but it was awkward and Sunday's weather was stifling (we're under a "heat dome" this week).

So I thought: I have this car, why not use it to lug the dishwasher? So I pulled the car up alongside the sidewalk, but the dishwasher, alas, did not fit into the trunk. Here's how we ended up getting the thing to the Dumpster: I left the trunk open and the boy toy balanced the appliance in the open jaw of the trunk, and I put the car into low gear and crawled at walking speed while he held the dishwasher so it wouldn't fall out. It was a bit awkward, but we got it there. Then we left it on the side of the Dumpster, because by then the boy toy was *so* sweaty and dirty and gross-feeling that he didn't want to heave the thing up the six-foot sides of the Dumpster.

Then the boy toy discovered that the cap that we bought for the remaining hot-water pipe didn't fit. So we left the water to the sink switched off and didn't do the dishes that evening (Sunday). On Monday we went to the local friendly hardware store at the downscale local mall, but the one employee in the store couldn't find what we wanted and seemed to not know a whole lot about plumbing anyway. So I swore that we would go to a REAL plumbing-supply store, even as the sink continued to fill with dirty dishes and utensils.

Yesterday I used the boy toy's computer to look up plumbing-supply stores in Beltsville, because that neighboring town has lots of industrial-type neighborhoods. (I'll explain a moment why I was on his computer.) The first address, which was supposedly right on U.S. Route 1, took us to an empty lot with a chain-link fence around it. The second address took us to a row of small warehouses off the beaten path, where the guy behind the counter knew exactly what we needed and sold it to us for less than $5. Boy toy installed the part, and it felt SO good for both of us to take turns doing all the dishes. Someday I'll get a new dishwasher, but I have a lot of higher priorities.

Anyhow, the reason why I was using the boy toy's computer was that I devoted some time on Monday night and Tuesday morning to download and install Windows 10. Overall, it was pretty painless. I figured I'd better not wait until the last day that the software was free, and no way am I going to pay $119 for what had been free of charge, y'know what I mean?
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Wow, barely one post here per week? C'mon, Patty, you CAN do better than that.

Facebook is such a time suck, especially since I want to Read All The Things. Especially the political things. Helps me articulate how much I hate the flaming sack of shit that is the Republican presidential nominee.

I see how some people have figured out how to crosspost from Tumblr to the LJ/DW platform, but I have no plans to do so. These days I look at Tumblr even less often than LJ/DW. Mainly I have a Tumblr account so that I can <3 and repost other people's things that I find interesting.

My Android tablet has been stuck in an "infinite boot loop" for some months now. One of the guys in the Lithuanian dance group saw my mention of the issue on Facebook and pointed me to a website that has some software that can supposedly solve the issue. Technically the software is for the Google Nexus, but my tablet is an Asus-branded clone of a Nexus, so maybe it will work. We shall see.

Forty-seven years ago tonight I was watching the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Well, OK, I dozed off around this time. I was young and wasn't used to staying up so late....
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Why, yes, I *know* I haven't written for a few weeks. Because ... Svente! That's the Lithuanian word for "festival." Last weekend was the big Lithuanian folk dance festival up in Baltimore, also known as Šokių Šventė 2016. I haven't been writing much about my participation in the Lithuanian folk dance group since last October, but it's been building to a crescendo ... and, finally, an awesome festival.

Oh, gosh, I could go on and on about how wonderful that festival was, even though it took me a day to get over it (I am getting so OLD). Truly awful national news this week, though, and I need to get up early in the morning for Storvik Novice Tourney and Baronial Investiture -- only my third SCA event of 2016. I feel so out of practice....

Roots

Jun. 2nd, 2016 11:56 pm
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
Just finished watching the four-night remake of Roots on the History Channel. Extremely powerful. My head is spinning.....
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Cut for potential triggers... )

I'm not sure what is going to come out of the man's death, besides people leaving mementos at the base of the Mother and Child statue. Perhaps a memorial fund that would help people who are down and out on their financial luck would be most fitting.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
JULIA'S SIDE:

Oh my Ceiling Cat!! My litter boxes have been out of their regular places for days!! I don't know how to count that many days!! The humans have been going in and out of the place where the pee and poop is supposed to go and making all sorts of funny LOUD noises!! Sometimes Daddy yells a lot! There is this loud RRRRRRR sound! Yesterday Mommy was in there for a long time with the doors closed and when she came out it smelled funny! Not pee and not poop!! I want to pee in the right place again!!

MY SIDE:

After 16 years of living with bathroom wallpaper that I didn't choose and I never really liked, I am finally changing the place! It has been a somewhat challenging project. In some places the wallpaper came off easily, and in other places it didn't. (We used a product called "W.P. Chomp [brand] World's Best Wallpaper Stripper." I kid you not.) Then we went through multiple rounds of spackling and sanding. There were plenty of old dings and divots and holes where towel racks used to be, and also places where the drywall had sort of rotted out under the wallpaper. Yesterday I finally started applying paint to the walls. I hope we will get the ceiling, trim and doors done today.

It won't be perfect -- probably the only way to get "perfection" in this bathroom would have been to get a contractor to strip everything down to the studs and construct a brand-new bathroom from scratch. But at least I will feel as if I have accomplished some sort of home improvement, despite my limited budget. :-)
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
It's just after midnight, so that day that was the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster is over now. Of course it weighed heavily on my mind.

I believe I've written about it on LJ in past years. I just said this on FB:

That morning I was between jobs (story of my life) and watching the live coverage on the Manchester (NH) ABC affiliate, which sometimes came in better for me than the Boston station, which wasn't covering the launch anyway. When I realized what had happened, ice went through my veins. Nine months earlier, I had watched a Challenger launch in person from the press area at KSC, and I had decided that Challenger would always be my favorite shuttle. Once the crew was confirmed gone, I felt as if I would never be happy again. RIP.

Other than that, I had a decent day. I talked with my editor about my next feature article. The boy toy and I went to the Riverdale Park farmers' market, which is indoors during the winter. Then I went to water aerobics, which I'd been missing for a bit (can't go swimming when the pool is closed due to Snowzilla).

Tomorrow (or today, since it's after midnight) I'm going to see Bruce Springsteen again at the Verizon Center. Go me! Then on Saturday I am finally going to an SCA event again. I haven't been to a single one since War of the Wings last October.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
... will be Inauguration Day. We in the United States will have a 45th president, like him/her or not.

The last time we got a new president, I had a four-day weekend because I worked in DC and Inauguration Day fell the day after MLK Day. Inauguration Day is a holiday in the District because CROWDS and SECURITY, so I had Jan. 20, 2009, off from work. However, I spent Jan. 17, 18, and 19 sitting in the Merchants Tire & Auto in College Park, getting one thing after another repaired on my car's engine while they tried to figure out why it was overheating. By the time Jan. 20 rolled around, I simply wanted to sit at home in my pajamas and watch the proceedings on TV.

If we elect another Democrat, I would really like to go into DC for the inauguration. If we get a Republican, hell no.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
First off, a Happy Belated Birthday to Maugorn and Forestcats/Bridget.

This week was quite the reminder of our universal mortality. Not only did we pass the 19th anniversary of my mother's death and funeral (the 9th and the 13th, respectively), but also David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I wasn't as big a fan of David Bowie as I have been of several other artists, but still, his music was part of the soundtrack of my life, going back all the way to the time I first heard "Fame" on WRKO-AM Top 40 radio when I was in high school. As for Alan Rickman ... oh, I was just one of many, many women who swooned over him. Especially that voice. The perfect pairing of fine wine and chocolate. He also seemed like one of the few celebrities with whom I would actually like to have a meaningful conversation. Now I shall never get the chance. :-(

As far as other stuff goes ... The first half of the week, I felt pretty darn productive, but I've stumbled badly the second half of the week. Blame it on Alan Rickman, I guess. I've definitely set myself up for an intense three-day work weekend. Well, work plus a New England Patriots playoff game, Maugie's birthday party, and Lithuanian folk dance practice up in Baltimore. Oh, and a Finance Committee meeting on Sunday morning, bright and early before the church service. *sigh*

New year

Jan. 2nd, 2016 11:51 pm
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Happy New Year to all!

The boy toy and I spent New Year's Eve together at home. We watched Jurassic World, our Netflix disc that's been sitting around for a while. It was OK. We ate various foods, including shrimp, and drank Lithuanian beer instead of champagne. :-)

Yesterday we felt like "going out and doing something." We thought we would walk around Arundel Mills mall, since, we haven't been there in ages, but the parking lot was SO insanely jammed that we turned around and headed back to Prince George's County. After a visit to A.C. Moore, we ended up at the "festival of lights" at Watkins Regional Park. It was the last night of the show, and for $5 per car we got to crawl in low gear past an imaginative computer-controlled light show featuring lots of snowmen, Santas, elves, scenes from "The Wizard of Oz" and toy soldiers directing us along the route. Thanks to our county park system!

Today the boy toy and I took down most of our Christmas decorations, except for the live greenery -- I have to figure out where to recycle/compost the stuff.

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