Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Crafting 2014

Now that everyone has opened their presents, I can show you the things I made as Christmas gifts this year! (Except one that isn't finished... yes, my dad had to open a "work in progress" gift, but only because I lost the one I finished nearly an entire year ago and had to start over... this week).

Beatles silhouettes for Kevin

Elvis profile and signature for Ralph (Ignore Ipo sitting there, I didn't have a photo without him)

Peeps ornaments for Lori (felt backings to match each Peep)

Pug ornament for Mom (not pictured, pink felt backing and ribbon hanger, added after photo was taken)
Plus Dad's lemons speech from Portal 2, but like I said, I had to redo that one and it's not done. Still... I had fun making presents (like I always do) and other people seemed to have fun receiving them, so that's a good thing.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Weird thing to post about, I know, but I'm loving Warlords of Draenor (the new expansion for World of Warcraft) and here's a huge reason:

Yeah I totally met a Naaru. Love it. Love everything about it. Love the Naaru.

And yes, I only posted this so I could Pin this image to Pinterest for other stuff.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tidewater Comicon

You know what's amazing? Cosplaying.

You know what else is amazing? Tidewater Comicon.

You know what's the most amazing? WINNING first-place group cosplay at Tidewater Comicon!

Wanna know how I know? WE DID!

I'm ever so proud of Beth and Chris for making our incredible Game of Thrones outfits and rocking them. So there's a photo of us with the other winners.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Birthday from... Google?

I didn't know Google did this for birthdays! If you're logged in, this is the Google logo you get. I felt special. Thanks, Google!

Gimli Gif

Sorry, this isn't a gif of my cat or the dwarf we named him after... it's a gif that our cat is completely entranced by. He's watching it for about the 30th time as I type this sentence. It's Jell-O, bouncing at 6200 fps, found on Reddit.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

We did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! For the unaware and for posterity, this is what I'm talking about: someone who does the challenge nominates you (and a couple other people). Then, you have the choice to either donate $10 to ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis) research and dump a bucket of ice water over your head, or donate more (I've heard varying rules, from $25 to $100 or more).

Jake nominated Birk, but since we have the same name, I decided to do it as well (as if we didn't know which Alex Birk he was talking about). But only Birk nominated people. The video is below:

Yeah, it's kind of chilly out tonight for an August evening... That was really cold.

Anyway, I'm about to go to to make our donations, but I wanted to post the video here first.

On a side note, I wanted to mention that I've never been given a reason to donate to ALS research before. I donate to cancer research because I know/knew people with cancer. I donate to AIDS research because I know someone who works with AIDS research. I've never been asked to donate to ALS research before. Now I have (albeit indirectly by piggy-backing on Birk's nomination) and so I am. EVMS recently did their challenge and the doctor who spoke at the beginning of the video made an excellent point... ALS research won't just benefit finding a cure or treatment for ALS... it will help with other conditions like Huntington's. It could help with something entirely unrelated, too... you know how sometimes scientists are looking for one thing and they wind up stumbling across a totally different thing? Who knows when/where that might happen? So yes, I dumped ice water on my head and posted a video of it online, but more importantly, I'm donating to an important cause that I recognize as important without having any emotional ties to it, and asking others to do the same.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Margaery Dress

For NY Comic Con, I'm going to be Margaery Tyrell! So Beth is making my dress. I visited her two weeks ago so we could get to work on it... this is what we had when I left:

She does beautiful work, right? I'm pretty amazed, myself. For reference, here's a photo of the dress she's recreating:

I've also ordered shoes, and started working on making the Tyrell ring, and researching how to make my now-annoyingly-long hair do what it's doing there.

Obviously, completed photos yet to come!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If I Had a Post-It Wall...

At CNU, we had a Post-It quote wall. When somebody said something funny, we wrote it on a Post-It and stuck it to the wall. These are legendary among my friends.

I don't have a Post-It wall anymore. (Not that kind, anyway... I do have several Post-Its stuck on my office wall over my phone, but they aren't funny.) But I have a blog.

It's like learning quantum physics in Russian after you've spent your entire life living under a rock with mole-people who speak Mayan.
I'm good at similes.
Me, telling Birk that financial aid doesn't make sense unless it's your job to make sense of it.

Yeah, I know... I probably think I'm funnier than I am. But hey... it's my blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I have a max-level WoW character for the first time! Thrashbarg hit 90 last night. Birk brought home cake and candles (the zero looks funny because they didn't have any zeroes so he broke a 6) because we are ridiculous people and he is sweet.

So what did I do this morning? Started a blood elf named Grabhsarht. Gonna get her to 90 too. Eventually.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Growing Old/Up/Out

I was thinking about the saying "you have to grow old but you don't have to grow up." But I finally figured out what I don't like about that. Growing up is important. It's a good thing. It's why you can pay your bills and make wise decisions and learn from your mistakes to make better choices in the future. I want to grow up.

When people say this, what they really mean is that they don't have to grow out of things.

Growing old: spending more time alive. This is not optional. (Unless you die.)

Growing up: becoming mature and responsible and obtaining knowledge (and applying that knowledge to appropriate situations).

Growing out of something: no longer being interested in something deemed to be suitable for a younger age group than the one you are in.

So... you have to grow old, you should grow up, but you don't have to outgrow.

This is probably the sort of thing that belongs in /r/showerthoughts but I was pretty proud of it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Feel Like Edgar

I submitted a conference presentation proposal a little while back... and it was accepted!

So of course, with the weird associations I tend to make, all I could think of was the scene in Men In Black where the bug grabs Edgar. (You know the scene... "You can have my gun... when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." "Your proposal... is... acceptable." Then the bug reaches out of the crater, grabs Edgar by the head, and turns him into an Edgar suit so he can go - as K so eloquently puts it - "tear-assing around Manhattan.")

Anyway... does that mean I'm Edgar and the VLA is the bug?

So, you know. Um. Sugar. Give me... sugar. In water. More.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Congratulations to Birk!

He got into med school at EVMS!!!!! Now we don't have to wait all summer (while people ask us about it) to find out! Hoorah!

We went out for eerily glowing sushi to celebrate

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Birk and I need somewhere to go for Halloween this year. This is my favorite costume, ever, by anyone, of anything, ever.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Photos: Mid and Late April

I've continued my trend of forgetting to take a photo every day. But here's what I've managed to do...

April 14: New staff entrance sign at the JUL

Sunday, April 20 (Easter): Flames coming out of the kiln.

Tuesday, April 22: Butter chicken, yum!

Thursday, April 24: The cool thing about the location of the Norfolk campus library
is that, sometimes, the bands playing at the Norva have to use Market St to park their
vans and buses and trailers. This is Psych Ward Druggies' group of vehicles (or part of them)
out the window of the office I use when I'm working from Norfolk.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Photos: End of March, Beginning of April

Without my cheat sheet, I've lost track of what day of the year each of these is, but I feel like dates are sufficient... Also, I'm still being a slacker. I honestly thought I'd get better at this after the wedding.
Sunday, March 16: Self-explanatory, no?

Wednesday, March 19: Back to work... I love my coworkers.

Thursday, March 20: My mushrooms are drunk on red wine.

Wednesday, April 2: Let's get this Camp NaNoWriMo started!

Saturday, April 5: Continuing Camp NaNoWriMo, but on the porch on a gorgeous day.

Friday, April 11: Near the middle of this photo is what remains of the
paper lantern Birk and I released on the ridiculously windy night
before the wedding. I took this from his parents' dock this morning.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Too Much Time on Their Hands

Despite being a great song by Styx, this is yet another of my linguistic pet peeves. It's not grammatically incorrect, or mispronounced, or anything like that, though. It's just kind of mean.

That is a zentangle. It's a specific type of black-and-white doodle that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. I'm a big fan of them, personally. I've heard a lot of responses to seeing a zentangle for the first time: that's impressive, how pretty, what a mess, I don't get it... but the worst one is "someone has too much time on their hands." Really? Do you say that when you see this:

Because I'm fairly certain that "Starry Night" took longer to create than an ink pen doodle on printer paper. (I don't know for certain; I wasn't there.) But they're both created for the same purpose... art. If you think all art is a waste of time, well, I'm probably not your friend. But at least you're giving them equal billing. But you shouldn't assume that one is a waste of time while the other is genius-quality artwork.

This goes for anything intricate, complex, or otherwise time-consuming. If someone spent enough time to create something that amazing, it's not a case of "too much time" with nothing "important" to do... it's something they've made time for because they wanted to. As someone (or many someones) said, time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted. I might think climbing Mt. Everest is a waste of time, personally, but the person who does that probably thinks all the YA fiction I read is a waste of time, or my cross-stitching, or blogging, or watching movies and TV I can quote in their entirety from memory.

So can we please, as the entire group of anglophones, stop using this phrase? It's rude, it's demeaning, and I don't much care for it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014

I know a lot of people think it's a cop-out, but I'm going to do all haiku this year (unless I get inspired to do something more complex). I like haiku. I think they're fun to write, fun to read, and encourage succinctness, which I am all about. (Have I mentioned that our wedding ceremony took five minutes?) Anyway, enjoy my haiku.

Tuesday 4/1: In honor of my least favorite holiday.
Shout, "Poisson d'avril!"
And all transgressions and sins
Will be forgiven.

Wednesday 4/2: In honor of "42" day and Birk's/my engagement anniversary.
Never leave home without;
Clean; defend; ask for favors;
Towel is man's best friend.

Thursday 4/3: I wrote it; I just forgot to post it. #onedaylate
Weather is changing.
Complaining about the cold
Turns to about hot.

Friday 4/4: A woman at the refdesk today literally asked me to write her absent son's thesis for him. For the record, my real opinion isn't as harsh as my haiku, but...
Students are students.
If they can't hack the workload,
Allow them to fail.

Saturday 4/5: Bonus round: I'm writing one in French, because why the hell not? (Approximate translation: A world-wide language; it would be simpler, but... No. It's not better.)
Une langue mondiale;
Il serait plus simple, mais...
Non. C'est pas meilleur.

Sunday 4/6: What a lazy day I had. This one's about how the cat had one, too.
Couch, bed, on the floor,
A lap, the desk, the windowsill.
If I fits, I sits.

Monday, 4/7: What I'm doing isn't exactly procrastination, because I only found out about the proposal deadline on Friday... but I am working on something last-minute.
Planning comes first, but then the...
I'll do it later.

Tuesday, 4/8: Woke up with an absurd headache this morning because of the local storm systems.
Searing pain: headache.
Damn these major storm systems.
I, barometer.

Wednesday, 4/9: Our interim director relaxed the food and drink policy for the building, so I can have my Coke with me in the classroom while I teach (at 8am this morning) and at the reference desk (9-11 this morning). I am more than a little appreciative.
Food/drink policy:
Thank you for being relaxed.
I have caffeine now.

Thursday, 4/10: Saw my "Don't Panic" patch on my desk; thought about situations in which one might be told that, and why they might think that's not so helpful.
Don't panic, they say.
Chicken Little, they call me.
But there's the aster-

Friday, 4/11: Not based on a true story. I retrieved it. After thinking about how much I didn't want to crawl under the desk. But then I pretended I was a hibernating bear for a second, and that was kind of fun.
Peanut M&M,
You may just be there forever.
Hiding under the desk.

Saturday, 4/12: Why yes, this is a haiku about a card in Hearthstone. (Scarlet Crusader.) What of it?
Yell, "For the crusade!"
Attack consequence-less-ly:
You have Divine Shield.

Sunday, 4/13: Yesterday, we played with our wedding bow from Chris. I missed the target a few times. (I got better...)
Pull string; release; thwap!
The arrow penetrated...
the target? No: ground.

Monday, 4/14: Whoops, posting this one a day late.
Board the bandwagon!
Join the masses and rejoice!
I watched Game of Thrones.

Tuesday, 4/15: Just sitting here waiting for the wind to knock out the power.
With a great whooshing,
The great storm teaches us
To live sans power.

Wednesday, 4/16: Well, we survived the storm last night. Today, it's freezing. I find this unacceptable.
Scarves, gloves, coats again.
I thought we were done with this.
Winter: please leave us.

Thursday, 4/17: Don't write haiku when you're just... done.
Is today over?
No: It's only nine-oh-four.
Oh. What about now?

Friday, 4/18: Ready for a meta-haiku?
is a word with precisely
five syllables. Wow!

Saturday, 4/19: Self-explanatory, I think. And the answer is no, they don't.
Camp NaNoWriMo:
I haven't written enough.
Do my haiku count?

Sunday, 4/20: We went over to Birk's parents' house for a 'potluck' dinner of sorts. It was delicious.
Sausage, vegetables,
Raviolis, and salads.
Potluck dinner. Yum!

Monday, 4/21: Double haiku day... I finished the last DVD of the last season of Game of Thrones last night (around 2:30am). As you can see, I am... frustrated.
Now I'm all caught up.
And I have to wait a week
for another one.

This is exactly
why I didn't watch in the
first place: the waiting.

Tuesday, 4/22: I'm doing design work again! Which means I have two jobs again, but at least this time, one of them gets done from home. Feels good.
"Back in the saddle"
I'm not a cowboy... but I'm
back to designing.

Wednesday, 4/23: I'm resigned to the fact that I won't be winning Camp NaNoWriMo this month. There's always July!
Won't finish novel.
Will pay bills, make cash, do swap,
Cook, clean, sleep, eat, more.

Thursday, 4/24: Channeling Doge to explain to you my commute this morning.
Wow 264.
Much traffic. I can't even.
So terrible times.

Friday, 4/25: Storms 'n' such.
Kaboom! Storm bellows.
Tornadoes touch down elsewhere.
Glad to have this roof.

Saturday, 4/26: Crafting crafting crafting crafting... I'm cross-stitching the Beatles right now.
Poke, pull, half stitch done.
A few thousand more of those
And there's the Beatles.

Sunday, 4/27: Self-explanatory, I think.
Not enough weekend.
Need more time to do nothing
Between the projects.

Monday, 4/28: Very self-explanatory. Less poetry, more condensed blog post.
Cleaned the apartment
yesterday. Reward myself
with Duck Donuts now.

Tuesday, 4/29: Poetic weather report.
Rain, rain, go away.
At least it isn't more snow.
Sixty degrees: yay!

Wednesday, 4/30: It has been fun!
And we're finished.
NaPoWriMo will return
in eleven months.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NaPoWriMo is Coming...

Only a few days left until April, and that means I'm about to become a writing machine again!

After the wedding, a bunch of people asked if I was like, "What do I do with myself now?" And while it's true that planning and executing the wedding took up an enormous chunk of my creative output for over a year, it feels more like, "Oh good, now I have room for Camp NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo and heck, let's throw NaBloPoMo into the mix, and I can sign up for craft swaps again, and I can get back to working on Christmas presents!" So no, I'm not a creativity orphan wandering aimlessly... I've finished one huge project and I'm ready to do the things I really couldn't while I was doing it.

So Tuesday is the first day of both NaPoWriMo, which you may remember from last year (National Poetry Writing Month), when I'll be writing a poem every day. I'll be posting my poems here daily.

And Tuesday is also the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo, the more flexible version of November's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you can work on all sorts of projects (play, graphic novel, short stories, poetry, movie script, or the usual novel) and set your own word count, plus you can be placed into a "cabin" with other writers to have discussions about your writing, your lives, or whatever. I'll include a word count update with each NaPoWriMo post this month! I'm sticking to the usual wordcount goal: 50,000. And I've got a vague idea of what I'll be writing about, but I'll keep that quiet for now.

Anyone joining me? If so, let's talk about it! Happy writing!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Photos: Days 57-67

You guessed it... I skipped a few again. Days 57-59, and 62, to be specific. But there's some big stuff in this group...

Day 60, March 1: I like this one of Beth & Chris at my bachelorette party.
Day 61, Mar 2: Bridal shower games! Lori guesses "both Alexes."

Day 63, Mar 4: Remember how earlier this year I had never seen a snowplow?
Well, on my way to work, I drove behind two of them. Pretty cool. And SLOW.
(This one refuses to go centered, so fine, it'll stay here.)
Day 64, Mar 5: I actually found this on my desk when I got to work the previous afternoon, but I didn't open it because I wanted to know who it was from first. It was the shawl Elizabeth made for me! (You'll see photos of the actual shawl in the wedding photos.)

Day 65, Mar 6: My SoBe LifeWater cap thinks I'm cool...

Day 66, Mar 7: Gimli loves his new toy, made by Lori!

Day 67, Mar 8: Anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot, and they unwittingly
gave us forks to match our respective colors in the wedding!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ice Cream and Research

I saw this article linked in my Facebook feed. I tried to respond on Facebook without sounding like a nut who gets too worked up over things my Facebook friends might not be as passionate about, but I failed miserably, so I gave up and brought the fight over here to the blog instead.

So the article is about how Ben and Jerry's came up with some new flavors to add to their offerings. Neat. I don't think an ice cream commercial counts as newsworthy, but there are people who disagree, so that's fine. It's HuffPo; I don't expect great things, really.

The link on Facebook that led me to it claimed that B&J had come up with some great new invention that would revolutionize the ice cream industry as we know it. (Verbatim: "Ben & Jerry's New Invention Could Change Ice Cream Forever" with the summary text "Why has no one thought of this yet?...")

Click through, and you find that the only news here is that there are four new flavors of Core ice creams (the kind where there's a "core" of something other than ice cream down the center of the container).

I remember eating far more than my fair share of Karamel Sutra in high school, and it was a Core flavor... chocolate ice cream on one side, caramel ice cream on the other side, with fudge chips, with a core of caramel in the middle. It's like magic. I understand the excitement over the concept of the Core flavors; I remember feeling that excitement in 2002 when Karamel Sutra hit the shelves.

But it took me 20 seconds of "research" to learn that it was 2002 when Karamel Sutra was released. That was over a decade ago. Cores are, therefore, not new. And as far as I know, they have not yet revolutionized the world of ice cream. (Not in the far-reaching ways the headline seemed to prophesy.)

Now I'm getting to my point. As an academic librarian, I see students on a regular basis who have no interest whatsoever in doing research. I get it; it's not for everyone. But if you're in college, it is a requirement. Research papers, as it turns out, require a little research.

Not everyone is a college student, obviously. But I do feel like certain situations call for just the tiniest amount of effort in the field of "research." (I use the sarcastiquotes because I don't feel comfortable putting basic Googling on the same level as real research simply because I lack the right nuances in vocabulary to set them apart from one another.)

In this context, it's not really that vital; nobody's life is going to be changed that drastically from seeing a headline promising an ice cream revolution and finding that it's just four new flavors. But I've seen this happen so many times with things like Amber Alerts (either totally made up or years old) being reposted on Facebook inaccurately. Whenever I see one that's incorrect, I make sure to comment and tell people it's wrong, because it's just like crying wolf. If everyone reposts every fake Amber Alert they see, when a real one pops up, it's lost in a sea of fake ones and nobody knows whether they should take it seriously. It takes a minute, tops, to Google them. You'll know immediately whether it's on Snopes.

I don't lament the decline of the English (or any) language due to acronyms/initialisms, new words (I don't say "fake" or "made-up" words because aren't they all?), or other markers that curmudgeons point to when they want to blame teenagers for all the problems of the modern world. But I do lament our decline in willingness to fact-check literally anything. My biggest pet peeve is bad journalism (which is nearly all journalism, unfortunately) because it's irresponsible, lazy, and makes my job (as a responsible information-seeker) really difficult; I have to wade through all the crap to find one shining example of good information.

I know there are financial reasons that junk like this gets cranked out constantly (if you don't think I realize that B&J probably paid someone at HuffPo to write that article in the first place, you gravely insult me, and I also know someone probably got a little cash thrown their way for sensationalizing the stupid article for social media consumption... and it worked, because I've clicked on it about 7 times today) but that's only part of the problem.

But you know what? It worked. I am dying for a pint of Karamel Sutra right about now.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014 Photos: Days 48-56

(I skipped Day 48. Oops.)

Day 49, Tuesday, February 18: Green books display for St. Patrick's Day
Day 50, Wednesday, February 19: One of the last few honey pastilles I still
have from last year's trip to Paris. Sore throat bad. Honey pastilles good.
Day 51, Thursday, 2/20: We went to the courthouse to get our marriage license!
I took a photo of Little Visitor Georgie outside.
Then I skipped a few days because I was sick.

Day 55, Monday, 2/24: Tylenol Cold on my desk at work, without which I would not have been at work.

Day 56, Tuesday, 2/25: "Oh yeah, I need to take a photo today. That'll do."
Crocheted ampersand from a craft swap, in its spot over my office window blinds.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 Photos: Days 43-47

I actually skipped day 43... oops.

Day 44, Thursday, 2/13: LV Georgie at the Norva on a rainy day
Day 45, Friday, 2/14: Birk's mom brought back this nifty box from Thailand
Day 46, Saturday, 2/15: This is what five pounds of gummy sharks looks like.
Day 47, Sunday, 2/16: Gimli "helps" me stuff taffy in bags for wedding favors.

2014 Photos: Days 34-41

I skipped a couple days in here... four, to be exact.

Day 36, Wednesday, February 5: little bird from One Tiny Surprise Thing swap
Day 37, Friday, February 7: Virginia Beach history display at the JUL
Day 38, Saturday, February 8: Bethy tangled in wire during wedding crafting
Day 39, Sunday, February 9: SarahJ, Madame, and me after an amazing dinner chez Madame!
Day 41, Tuesday, February 11: lemon cookies, second batch