After much consideration, this Journal is going mostly Friends Only. This is simply a step I'm taking to make sure that this journal serves its intended purpose (keeping up with my friends) and is not used or viewed in some other, less lovely, way. If you are not currently on my friends list and would like to keep reading my journal, please comment to this post (or e-mail me) and ask to be added.


In order to keep reading my blog, you will, unfortunately, need to establish accounts in order to login to the site. It's the only way the site has to distinguish who is approved and who is not. It does NOT mean you actually need to blog yourself. Plenty of people have "blank" blogs just so they can read the things their friends write.

It's also free. (You can have a paid account if you want things like polling ability, more icons, etc. But if you're not actually blogging, that is totally worthless.)

What you need to do is go to and sign up. Then e-mail me the name of your account. I will then add you to my friends' list. You will then need to do the same to me. (Mutual friending is how you read locked entries.) You do this by going to and logging in. You then search for my username (kakiphony) in the box at the right top corner of the site which says "find". Type my name where it says find and press "go". That will open up my profile page. You then click on the little box at the top of the screen that looks like a little man with a plus sign beside him. It will ask you if you really want to add me as a friend and you tell it yes.

Whenever you want to read my blog, you got to and login. At the top of the page after login is a link that says "Friends Page." (It's right under your big username in the top left of the screen). You click that link and then you see the journal entries for everyone who you have friended by visiting their profile pages and clicking the little men to add them as your friends.

It sounds way more complicated than it is. I trust that you can handle it. :)

HP Sorting Quiz

I've been thinking a lot about sorting lately. The scramble to get Pottermore beta accounts last week led to the discussion of sorting, and of how some sorts are too simplistic. This led me to explore some of the more in-depth sorting communities (Sorting_Elite, where I've submitted an app and Platform 9 3/4, where I'm drafting an app now.) This morning I saw that mandyloo had posted the results of a quiz and I took five minutes to take that.

Generally, I've thought of myself as a Ravenclaw since so much of my identity from the time I was a child has been tied up with the being the "smart" one. But as I've been drafting these apps and reading communities, I've come to see aspects of my personality that fit in with all four houses. This result is actually fairly in line with my own internal assessments -- High correlation with Ravenclaw and Slytherin, and slightly less high in Gryffindor (I'm too introverted and not daring enough to see myself there) or Hufflepuff (while I can work hard on some tasks, it's not my usual tendency and I'm not really a people person).

But do we ever know ourselves well enough to truly assess our own personality? I've always thought a really interesting experiment would be to take a Myers-Briggs type assessment and then have some close family/friends and some casual acquaintances take the same test for me -- so they'd be answering the way they think I would answer. Then we'd compare the results. I suspect that there would be a lot of variation in the results because the way we see ourselves is never the same way that others see us -- and I think there is truth in both faces. I know that while I consider myself an introvert, others see me differently because I am also a fairly decent actress. But my husband would certainly see me as an introvert because he has to deal with my social phobias. But do social phobias make me a true introvert? Because with people I know well I can be very extroverted. Identity and personality are complicated.

It will be interesting to see what the sorting communities have to say. Of course, I sort of suspect that I'll be squibbed at Sorting_Elite! I see a couple things in my application that folks may see as pushing or ruling out a house. (Example: I think I mentioned that I don't typically work hard at academic pursuits, but I do at more physical tasks. But I failed to elaborate and say that's because I've never needed to. I got so used to being the top of my class -- even in college! -- that I never developed good study habits. I fear that the unelaborated comment will rule out Ravenclaw, when in fact I'm sure there are some smart, geeky, slackers with the same issue in there.) There are a few other things I'd like to go back and edit for more truth/clarity, but pulling my app would put me even further back in a very long list of applicants. I don't think I'll be sorted until September and if I pull my app I might not be sorted until October!

Your result for The Sorting Hat: A Comprehensive Harry Potter Personality Assessment [Test/Quiz]...


56% Ravenclaw, 35% Hufflepuff, 57% Slytherin and 45% Gryffindor!

Or perhaps in Slytherin

You'll make your real friends,

Those cunning folks use any means

To achieve their ends.

          Slytherin's cardinal traits are ambition, cunning and determination. Like the Gryffindor House, Slytherins are emotionally volatile. In contrast, however, Slytherins are much less dominant and assertive, and less extraverted in general. Rather than expressing these emotions outwardly, Slytherins direct them inward or act in a passive aggressive manner. Both Gryffindor and Slytherin are much more driven to succeed than the other two houses: Gryffindor out of pride and Slytherin out of ambition.

          Slytherins are also much more pragmatic than the other houses and more adept at manipulating people. A key trait would be a low level of agreeableness: Slytherins are more pessimistic, more distrustful than most, and more likely to attribute negative motivations to people. So although Slytherins experience a wide range of emotions, due to their distrustful views of people and skeptical worldview, they are less expressive and more likely to appear cold or distant unless provoked.          

          A Slytherin's ambitious nature comes out in different ways depending on what is important to the individual person. It could lead them to try to achieve top marks (if intellect and schooling is important to them) but it could also be directed at social settings or towards athletic endeavors.

Take The Sorting Hat: A Comprehensive Harry Potter Personality Assessment [Test/Quiz] at HelloQuizzy


Best smoothie yet

1 container So Delicious Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt
an equal amount orange juice
1/2 single serve packet Tera's Whey Yumberry protein powder
1 peach (skin left on)
4 ice cubes

It made more like 1 1/2 servings, but I drank it all.

Sooooooooo good.

J also said his regular plain yogurt, orange juice, blueberry, Wolfberry Tera's Whey and ice smoothie was good.

I do think I need to find some soluble fiber to add to these though. As good as they are, they're too easy to digest and leave me hungry well before lunch. Adding some fiber would probably help.

Crossposted from here where there are comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Female SF/F of the 1970s Meme

Since Joanna Russ (a writer of, among other things, SF/F as well as an academic and feminist) passed away in April, there has been a lot of talk in SF/F circles about the so called "Russ Pledge" proposed by Nicola Griffith:

We should take the pledge to make a considerable and consistent effort to mention women's work which, consciously or unconsciously, has been suppressed. Call it the Russ Pledge. I like to think she would have approved.

Today I happened across this meme of women SF/F authors who started in the 1970s on [personal profile] coffeeandink's blog. It was created by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll who also has posts on his blog requesting information on female SF/F authors who began their careers in the 1930s, 1940, 1950s and 1960s.

It's interesting to me how few of these names are familiar to me. I started reading in the 1980s, of course, but my library was filled with older works. In fact, I'd bet most of the SF/F I started reading was at least 10 years old. Hence, I would have expected to know more of these names. I'm interested to see the lists from the other eras once they are completed.

Italicize the authors you've heard of before reading this list of authors, bold the ones you've read at least one work by, underline the ones of whose work you own at least one example.

List of authors behind the cutCollapse )

Crossposted from here where there are comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

What to do with frozen cocktail shrimp

Saved for future reference because it was pretty darn good.

Frozen cocktail shrimp (with tails, but not the whole shell) were on sale at Meijer this week. This is what I did with them.

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
1 lemon
3/4(ish) cup white wine
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
1 pound asparagus
shrimp (I used the whole bag, but could have gotten away with half)
1/2 box pasta
grated parmesan

Start a big pot of water to boil for pasta.
Sautee minced garlic with sliced mushrooms, red pepper and a little salt in olive oil.
While you ignore that pan, juice the lemon (yes, the whole thing).
Wash and snap asparagus and cut into bite size pieces.

When the mushrooms are more or less cooked, add the white wine and lemon juice.
If the water is boiling, start your pasta now.
Also start rinsing your frozen shrimp in cold water in a colander.

When the timer for your pasta timer say 4 minutes, add your asparagus to the mushrooms and sauce. Cover.
When your pasta timer says 1 minute, add the shrimp to said pan and cover again.
When the pasta timer goes off, turn off both burners.
Drain pasta.
Add pasta to pan with shrimp, veg and sauce.
Toss well.

Service with parmesan and the rest of the bottle of white wine.


Crossposted from here where there are comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Establishing internet relationships vs. privacy

Lately, I've been thinking about the friendships I've made online, the friendships I would like to make and/or further cultivate online, the nature of online celebrity and the interplay between a desire for online relationships and the desire for online privacy.

I love the friendships I have made online. None of them have yet turned into in-real-life friendships, but that is something I can imagine happening with a few people if the circumstances and distances could be arranged. There are a few people I would very much like to meet in person, and who I think would fit in with my real-life friends and family quite well. (There are, of course, others that I realize I would probably never be friends with in real life. We're too different. But I treasure those relationships too because they expose me to different perspectives and ideas.)

I would like to have better friendships with a few people I've met online -- both in-person and more online contact. Just like in the real world, there are always people I wish I could get to know better.

Then there are people I would like to get to know at all (let alone better) online -- people I read avidly, but with whom I've never had the pleasure of true (online) conversation. These tend to fall into two categories: 1) active "popular" posters on discussion boards and 2) internet celebrities who have many more fans than they could ever establish meaningful (even online!) friendships with. (My definition of "celebrity" tends to mean "authors" -- the ones who write amazing fiction, run in the same online circles I do and inspire me with their blogs and online commentary in addition to their published works.)

I don't think this is an entirely unusual desire. I think most people crave connection with those they view as cool, or popular or talented. I know that in real-life I've always had (usually unfulfilled) desires to make friends with groups and individuals that I thought were cool, smart or attractive. In high school, it was the older crowd of New Wave kids (which included my husband!); in college, it was the groups that included attractive boys I had crushes on, etc. I've always wanted to be part of in-groups with people I respected or looked up to, and part of that is wanting to be part of a group that I view as having status. These desires are a normal part of the human experience.

What is odd about having them in an online context is that there is actually a possibility of fulfilling them. Whereas the New Wave kids in high school were a group I clearly had no chance of joining (they were 17-18, I was 14; they were out-going yet insular, I was shy and withdrawn) and real-life celebrities are clearly unapproachable (they have security and no one really wants to be that crazy stalker who interrupts their meal at a restaurant or drives by their home address!), popular posters and online celebrities are different. They openly invite conversations , reply to comments and seem to both encourage and enjoy the friendships they make via social media.

The way to establish these relationships seems fairly clear:
1) On the message boards, respond to posts by the popular people. Send them private messages where appropriate. Basically, engage where openings exist.
2) Respond to authors' posts on lj and Facebook. Try to be entertaining and not just a kiss-ass. Cultivate conversations.
3) Make your own posts/profiles public. Most celebrities or truly popular online personalities are not just going to follow you because you follow them (and on sites like Twitter they can't see your comments to them unless they are following you or your tweets are public.)

#1 and #2 are deceptively simple. They're easy to do, but hard to do well. No one wants to be Paul from Grosse Pointe Blank following the hot girl around going, "Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater." There's a knack to being interesting and out-going without being a pest or a weirdo stalker, even online. I'm not sure I've found that knack yet, so I've shied away from this approach.

#3 is even harder. My current default position is to lock everything down. I know just what can be found online about a person -- things than can impact job searches, current employment, family dynamics, real-life friendships, etc. Putting your real personality, thoughts and feelings out there at all, let alone publicly, can be dangerous. It's possible to create online accounts that don't tie to your real life, but it's hard to keep them separate. Even if you use an anonymous name and e-mail address, the minute you start sharing details of your personal life, even camouflaged, your identity could eventually be determined. Is that worth it so that you can have conversations with a cool person or a celebrity?

Currently, I walk a very delicate line. My lj, Facebook and twitter are all locked so that I have to approve someone before they see my posts. This keeps me marginally safer than public accounts, but impedes my ability to make friends with authors, etc. I haven't decided if cultivating friendships with people I admire online is worth the loss of my privacy. I'm very torn about it.

Crossposted from here where there are comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Bus driver gem of the day

"Name three (there are four) former US Presidents who are not buried in the United States."

Silence on the bus.

Someone says, "Truman?"

The bus driver chuckles and after a stop answers his question: "Jimmy Carter, Bushes 1 and 2 and Bill Clinton."

Guy standing next to me, "Bill Clinton is dead?!"

His girlfriend pats his shoulder. "The point is they're not buried because they're alive."

I've never seen a college boy blush so fiercely.

Crossposted from here where there are comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Reflections on Pern, fandom, writing, etc.

For the past few days I've been re-reading Dragonflight and Dragonquest. I'm not entirely sure what prompted me to pick them up, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the stress of changing jobs and moving. There's nothing like a comfort read when you're stressed! (The last Pern novel I read was Red Star Rising. I think I may own Skies of Pern, but am unsure if I've read it, and I know I don't own and haven't read Masterharper or any of the Todd collaborations.)

And the Pern books are definitely my oldest and dearest comfort reads. I discovered them with Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums in the fifth grade. Our elementary school library had the first two and I made my first foray into the adult sci-fi section of the local public library to find the third. (I assume it wasn't in the school library because it had some sexual themed romance.) Finding not only the Piemur volume, but also the Lessa/F'lar/Jaxom trilogy, and the Moreta and Nerilka books, I became utterly and completely hooked. By the fall of my sixth grade year I wrote a letter to Anne McCaffrey for an English class project and was as in thrall to dragons as some pre-teen girls are to horses (or unicorns).

During the summer after sixth grade I spent three weeks at Northwestern doing the CTD creative writing class. I was the youngest person in my class and no one liked any of my writing until I shared the fantasy story I'd been scribbling in notebooks all year (it was original, but highly derivative). The teacher (Mr. Scherr) said I was finally opening up and sharing my passion, and two other girls in the class and I spent the next two weeks bonding over dragons. We started thinking about fanfic(devising our own personas and weyrs) without even knowing that such a thing existed! (This was 1989. We had no internet -- not even GEnie or Prodigy -- and none of us had even heard of a convention.)

At some point that summer or the next fall, I received a postcard response from the Dragon Lady herself in response to my fan letter. It was quite short and said something like, "I think you are looking for ForTen" and included an address. I wrote to the address and got back a manila envelope that changed my life: A fact pack about the Tenth Pass fan club, persona sheets and a note stating that the club needed no queen riders, but were actively looking for crafters -- especially a herder. Thus was born my first fanfic character - Herder Kaki. (Look, I was 13 years old and had never even heard the term Mary Sue. Plus, for some reason I had conflated live action role playing and fanfic in my head. I thought I had to create a character I could role play!)

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that for the next four years ForTen and Pern kept me sane. As my social life and peer relationships deteriorated, my friendships with people I only knew through the mail blossomed. I got to write passages for a multi-character murder mystery and was thrilled every time another author asked if they could use my Herder in their plot lines (I never said no!) I felt like I was appreciated for a talent I thought I had (writing) and having those friends made me feel less isolated. The writing gave me purpose. In order to interact with people I admired, I had to create. And create I did -- hundreds of pages a week only a small fraction of which ever made it into the fanzine!

I abandoned it during college (when I was too busy, to happy and had to many real world friends and peers to need it), but picked it back up in law school. Amazingly, the people of ForTen embraced me with open arms once again and before too long I was more active than I'd ever been. (Partly, this was because the internet had made collaboration so much easier.) I created new characters (bronzerider L'kahn -- the ultimate bad boy/rebel without a cause and his professional gambler, Bitran mother) and revised old ones (little boy Dimimay grew up to become D'may; Kaki gained a pet and then accidentally impressed a brown dragon). I even branched out into other weyrs (High Reaches in particular where I helped create the mad Weyrwoman Valkyra and the former acrobat greenrider Elliotajia -- named after my dog!)

Once again, the people of ForTen gave me a peer group and purpose during a time when I was otherwise miserable. (Law school was such a bad idea!) And I loved those characters and stories. Despite the fact that they were just fanfiction and set in someone else's world, I still feel like they were some of best characters I've ever conceptualized, with compelling back stories and realistic quirks. Truthfully, they were even less Mary Sueish than some of the stand-alone characters I've tried to create.

I don't remember just when I gave it up again. Possibly while I was studying for the Bar Exam or around the time I met my husband and started having in-person friends again. I no longer have the e-mail account I used back in those days (thanks for just deleting everything HotMail -- I HATE you!) I know that by 2005 (5 years post-law school) I'd been away long enough to have someone e-mail me for permission to use my characters as NPCs (I have that in gmail -- love that archive!) I think I may have dropped out around 2001, during my first year of private practice.

But because of this history, the Pern books are my ultimate comfort. They're the most nostalgic books I own. They remind me of the time in my life when I first realized I could be creative -- and that people would like me for it! So, despite the glaring flaws I now see in the books, I still love them. They will always be a part of me.

And because of this history I have a soft spot for fanfiction. In the pro and anti debates I usually find myself in the pro camp simply because I want what I had to be available to other struggling tweens and teens. Fanfiction can provide such a sense of community and collaboration! I think it can be invaluable for giving isolated people an in-group and triggering creativity.

(I've found myself really missing my own characters as I've been re-reading the books. I wonder what L'kahn would be doing now? Did he ever get his wingleader status back? Did he drink himself to death? How did D'may grow up? It's funny how their stories just stopped in my mind -- as if their book ended and had no sequel.) Crossposted from here where there are comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Netflix rec: Intelligence

Last night, J and I started watching Intelligence -- a CBC show that ran for two seasons (2006 and 2007). It is wonderful. So good that we watched the pilot episode and the next three episodes with only short breaks to rinse the dinner dishes and get tiny bowls of ice cream. That's four and a half hours of television in one night, which is a LOT of television in our world.

The thumb nail sketch of the show is that it centers around the Organized Crime Unit in Vancouver and one of the city's crime bosses who also ends up working as an informant. There is inter-departmental politicking (and inter-jurisdictional politicking with the Americans), international intrigue, drug trafficking, domestic drama, a Russian madame, a strip club and all the usual trappings of such a show. But these are smart trappings. The cast is top notch (Matt Frewer is fantastic and I very quickly ceased seeing Taggert from Eureka), the dialogue and plotting moves at the speed of light and the characters are complex (even the truly despicable ones are likable -- there's only one I'm hoping gets shot or busted soon).

Truly, I can't recommend this one enough. So far (I am only 4 episodes in!) I rank it up there with Friday Night Lights and early seasons of The West Wing. This is quality dramatic television. (So, of course, it was canceled after two seasons!)


We also watched Better Off Ted on Netflix last week. Another great show killed before its time. The fact that I will never see another Phil and Lem episode again makes me very, very sad.

Crossposted from here where there are comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!

Pastry crust

Anyone have a good, fool proof, easy recipe for pastry crust (for savory pastries) that they'd like to share/recommend?

I'm generally happy with frozen crusts for quiche, but I'd like to be able to make decent chicken pot pie, meat pies and pasties, none of which (in my opinion) do well with frozen crust.

Please note, I do not own a KitchenAid or beaters. This will need to be a by-hand recipe.

Crossposted from here where there are comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to comment on the dreamwidth post or on lj!
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