Links & Accomplishments, 6/4/2017 to 6/10/2017

I haven’t kept up with these very well. Oops.


Why Procrastinators Procrastinate, and the related article, How to Beat Procrastination. An oldie but a goodie. Procrastination is explained here with funny drawings and anthopomorphic pals like the Instant Gratification Monkey. I resemble… most of this. And scheduling, I can confirm, has been a great way to (sometimes but not always) get the Instant Gratification Monkey on my side.


– Attended writing group
– Worked ~1h on Lioness edits

Other Media
– Listened to Larpcast #91 and 93
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Anthropodermic Bibliopegy”
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers”
– Listened to Stuff Mom Never Told You, “Policing Women’s Speech”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #120

– NPCed for Madrigal 3
– Wrote Mad3 NPC PEL

– (Mon) Ninja Fitness Strength workout #3 and Agility #1
– (Tues) Ninja Fitness Endurance workout #4 x 2 (~2.67mi at 4.5-4.7 with an incline of 0.0-2.0)
– (Tues) NF Zen workout #1
– (Tues) 1 min plank/1 min wall-sit
– (Weds) 2.34mi walk
– (Thurs) NF Strength workout #2 and #4; Zen #2
– (Fri) 1 min plank/1 min wall-sit
– (Fri) ~2.5mi walk/run with sprinting intervals
– (Sat) NF Agility workout #2

Rejection Log

– “Remember to Die”, 24-day form from Arsenika

Links & Accomplishments, 4/30/2017 to 5/6/2017


Women Are Dying Because Doctors Treat Us Like Men. In a continuing vein of “the substandard medical treatment of women really pisses me off,” I guess. I know much of what we know of heart disease, for example, comes from longitudinal studies like the Framingham Heart Study, which was all men.

Given my success with Zombies Run!, I am trying out a new fitness app for iOS: Ninja Fitness. Basically you level up your little ninja avatar, gaining different “belts”, through doing real exercises in four categories: Strength (upper body and core exercises), Agility (lower body), Endurance (running), and Zen (yoga and stretches). As you exercise you also gain stars, which you spend to unlock more exercises, as well as outfits and whatnot for your avatar. It’s not quite as slick of an app as Zombies Run!, but for 99 cents, I think it’s worth it. I’ll be switching to this for my runs where I just want to listen to my own podcasts without interruptions.


– Wrote ~2800 words on a new short story, “Swan Song”
– Wrote a new poem, “The hope of the chestnut”
– Submitted “Remember to Die” to Arsenika

– Read “Sigrid Under the Mountain”, by Charlotte Ashley (orig. in The Sockdolager; republished in Podcastle #468)
– Read “Sun, Moon, Dust,” by Ursula Vernon (Uncanny #16A)
– Read “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang (Uncanny #15B)
– Read “Real Ghosts”, by J.B. Park (Clarkesworld, March 2017)
– Read “I Know All of His Names”, by Kate Heartfield (Liminal Stories, Spring/Summer 2017)

– NPCed for Madrigal 3
– Wrote PEL for Mad3

Other Media
– Listened to Radical Candor episodes 5-6, 15-17
– Listened to Larpcast episode #88
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episodes #114-115
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Three Nuclear Close Calls” and “A Brief History of Foreign Food in the U.S.”
– Watched episode 13 of the new MST3K
– Watched episodes 36-39 of the Forensic Files collection
– Watched episode 1-2 of Bill Nye Saves the World

– (Mon) Did Zombies Run 5K training week 8, workout 1
– (Tues) Did Ninja Fitness strength workout #1
– (Weds) Did Zombies Run 5K training week 8, workout 2… ish. (Had technical issues)
– (Thurs) Did Ninja Fitness strength workout #2, agility workout #1, zen workout #1
– (Fri) Did Zombies Run 5K training week 8, workout 2. Completed the program, woohoo!
– (Sat) Walk in the woods, don’t know how far, maybe ~2mi?

Picture of the Week

Gaultheria procumbens, one of the many plants known as “wintergreen” (also teaberry or checkerberry). This was the only picture from when I went wildflower-spotting this weekend — a lot of spring ephemerals had passed.

Links & Accomplishments,4/23/2017 to 4/29/2017


Shared by friend and travel buddy EB: How I Found the 4 Hardest-to-Find Bookstores in the World. There’s not a single one of these I’d want to pass up, but the underground bookstore in Coober Pedy, Australia, sounds especially interesting.


– Read Changeless by Gail Carriger
– Read Blameless by Gail Carriger

– Took a road trip around western MA with EB, visiting numerous places from Atlas Obscura and the 1000 Best Places to Visit in MA list. (Hopefully a post on that sometime soon?)

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episode #113
– Listened to Radical Candor, episode 3 and 4
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Mongolian Princess Khutulun”
– Listened to Larpcast episode #87
– Watched episodes 34-35 of the Forensic Files collection
– Watched episode 12 of the new MST3K, Carnival Magic

– Took a ~4mi hike in the Savoy Mountain State Forest
– (Mon) Repeated Zombies Run 5K training, week 7 run 2
– (Tues) 10 x crunches
– (Weds) 10 x crunches
– (Thurs) Repeated Zombies Run 5K training, week 7 run 3

– Gave a presentation to my team about CSS Shapes and Clipping/masking

Picture of the Week

“20 Miles from Boston – 1768” — not sure if it’s truly an 18th-century original, but I found it on Old Connecticut Path in Framingham/Natick while out on a run.

Links & Accomplishments, 4/16/2017 to 4/22/2017


As I mention below, I recently did some research on the CSS Shapes specification (as well as the Clipping/Masking spec, which can work well in tandem). Unfortunately it’s not well supported yet — and given all the resources I found date from 2014, maybe it will never be — but the general idea is it allows content to flow in non-rectangular shapes. Kind of a neat paradigm shift for laying things out on the web, I thought. Here’s some more info on it:


– Worked on Lioness edits (~90 mins total)

– Read “The Hulder’s Husband Says Don’t,” by Kate Lechler, Fireside Fiction, April 2017
– Read “It Happened To Me: I Was Brought Back to Avenge My Death, But Chose Justice Instead,” Nino Cipri, Fireside Fiction, April 2017
– Read Soulless, by Gail Carriger

Other Media
– Watched episodes 5-11, 14 of the new MST3K
– Watched episodes 24-33 of the Forensic Files collection
– Listened to Radical Candor, episodes 1-2
– Saw the RiffTrax Live of Samurai Cop

Apparently the Forensic Files episodes on Netflix aren’t the whole series, just a collection of episodes from various seasons. So these numbers have no actual basis in anything but Netflix itself. Oh well — I’m enjoying it, nonetheless.

– Visited several Atlas Obscura sites with EB: Johnny Ro Veterans Memorial Park, birthplace of Johnny Appleseed, the gravestone of Joseph Palmer, and the Rollstone Boulder

– Had a not-so-fun (but minor) medical procedure
– Went contra dancing at the Concord Scout House with Alison
– Took a 1.4mi walk

With the Unpleasant Medical Procedure, it was not a good week for running, alas, but I at least got some exercise in and didn’t stay idle.

– Did a developer self-directed day on CSS Shapes and Clipping/Masking

Picture of the Week

Lise presents: a rock so beloved the town of Fitchburg blew it up, glued it back together, and stuck it in the middle of a traffic circle.

in Blog | 352 Words

Links & Accomplishments, 3/19/2017 to 4/15/2017

Who has two thumbs and has been suffering some nasty depression the last 2-3 weeks?


Luckily, I wasn’t completely idle during that time. Just to get back on the blogging bandwagon, here’s what I’ve been up to.


You’re Writing for Friends, by Mette Ivie Harrison. Pullquote: “Here’s what I want you to remember: You’re not writing for everyone.”

How Hyperfixation Helps Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression. Or: why Lise games more when she’s struggling with depression. I posted this on Facebook, but it’s important enough that I’ll repeat it for the people in the back. In particular, I identified with this quote:

“I don’t know how to cope with my undesirable thoughts without total immersion.

“If I’m not binging on a show, the thoughts are more likely to make an appearance. If I don’t listen to a specific artist or album on repeat, my mind is filled with self-loathing thoughts rather than lyrics.”

When I’m having bad days, thoughts like, “maybe I should have more mastery on my afflic lock?” are a welcome distraction from the chorus of “hate HATE hate HATE HATE.”

A friend of mine replied with, “At what point does hyperfixation become addiction?” It’s a good question, but I’m not sure I know the answer. The facile answer is, “When it becomes harmful,” but in the moment it’s sometimes hard to see the line. I know I’ve crossed it a few times in my life. Mostly these days I think I manage it pretty well; I’m a lot better than I used to be at recognizing when everything in-game starts to take on a funhouse-mirror over-significance. One thing I stopped doing recently — which probably helped me dig out of this depression — is visiting the WoW subreddit, which is a font of negativity and misogyny. Leaving that helped me step back and gain some perspective.


– Worked on Lioness edits ~ 7.5 hours total
– Attended writing group

– Read Heretics and Heroes, by Thomas Cahill
– Read Love in the Time of Victoria, by Françoise Barret-Ducrocq
– Read Double Negative, by David Carkeet
– Read “With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips” by Beth Cato (Uncanny Magazine #15A)

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class episodes: “The New London School Explosion,” “Interview: Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr”, “Jules Cotard and the Syndrome Named After Him”, “Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy”, “H.P. Lovecraft”
– Listened to Writing Excuses #12.6-12.14
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #109-112
– Listened to The Training Dummies #159-163
– Watched episodes 1-4 of the new MST3K
– Watched episodes 1-23 of season one of Forensic Files (it’s all on Netflix now, ohmygod, I love this show)
– Watched The Brontes. This was so good, and made me want to know more about the sisters!
– Got the “Ahead of the Curve: Gul’dan” achievement in WoW (basically completing heroic Nighthold with my guild)
– Got the “Accomplished Angler” achievement in WoW (finally, after many years). So now my main is titled “Salty” Silbuns.

– Visited my mom in upstate NY
– Had dinner at Bluefin with Kevin

– Attended 2-day leadership training
– Attended MBTI training (I came out as an ISFP, in case you were curious — maybe a post on that later?)
– Finished the CI Scrubber redesign project

– Zombies run 5K training: week 6, workout 2 (3mi) — I ran for 10 minutes straight!
– Zombies run 5K training: week 6, workout 3 (2.95mi)
– Zombies run 5K training: week 7, workout 1 (2.67mi)
– Zombies run 5K training: week 7, workout 2 (2.69mi)
– Zombies run 5K training: week 7, workout 3
– Zombies run 5K training: week 6, workout 1 (3.06mi)
– Zombies run 5K training: week 6, workout 3
– Zombies run 5K training: week 7, workout 1 (2.92mi)
– Had fasting bloodwork

I took a ten-day break from running in there, and REGRETTED MY LIFE AND MY CHOICES, as I’d lost a lot of progress. But I’m mostly back on track now, and approaching the end of the 5K training program. Who knows — maybe I’ll actually run a 5K once I’m done?

A sock monkey pirate that my mom got me as a present. Since he came from a Quebecois Christmas fair, I’ve named him Monsieur Jangles.

Links & Accomplishments, 3/12/2017 to 3/18/2017


Lilou the Pig is a therapy pig that works at the San Francisco airport. She also has an Instagram account, for all your adorable piggie-related needs. Here’s Lilou dressed up for St. Paddy’s Day:*

* Disclaimer: Lise does not support the weird fetishization of Irish culture that accompanies St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. She does, however, support adorable piglets wearing hats.


– Worked on Lioness edits x 1 (~1h)

– Cooked mouclade for Alison and Matt S.

– Visited Alison and had tea at Dunbar Tea House in Sandwich, MA

Other Media
– Listened to The Training Dummies #148 and #157
– Listened to a loooooot of Stuff You Missed in History Class episodes: “Speaking with Auschwitz Survivor Michael Bernstein,” “Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-day Queen,” “The King’s Evil and the Royal Touch,” “John Kidwell and the Founding of Hawaii’s Pineapple Industry,” “Edmonia Lewis,” “Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #108
– Watched all of the Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell miniseries

– (Monday) Zombies run 5K training: week 5, workout 3 (3.22mi)
– (Friday) Zombies run 5K training: week 6, workout 1 (3.18mi)
– Had a massage

Links & Accomplishments, 2/26/2017 to 3/11/2017


The New Relevance of the Fantasy Novel, by Betsy Dornbusch

11 Joan Didion Quotes Every Writer Should Know. Some new favorites here!

What Writers Really Do When They Write. A thinkier piece on a similar topic. Pullquote: “The writer, having tossed up some suitably interesting pins, knows they have to come down, and, in my experience, the greatest pleasure in writing fiction is when they come down in a surprising way that conveys more and better meaning than you’d had any idea was possible.”

A comic about writer’s block. I seem to have a theme going this week 🙂


– Worked on Lioness edits x 3 (~2h 30m, total)
– Signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April
– Wrote blog post: “The shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience”: some thoughts on Into Thin Air

– Read Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episodes #105 – 107
– Listened to Writing Excuses #11.51 – 11.52, #12.1 – 12.2 and 12.4 – 12.5
– Listened to The Training Dummies #155 – #156
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class: Executive Order 9066 & Japanese Internments, parts 1 and 2
– Watched the RiffTrax of Retro Puppet Master (missed this one in last L&A) and Ator, the Fighting Eagle

– Submitted character history for Shadowvale

– Blocked my pink Forest Canopy lace shawl

– Had dinner with Kevin at Rosebud Diner

– Took a long walk around my neighborhood (2.5mi-ish?)
– Took a 1.4mi walk
– 10 x crunches x 3
– Zombies run 5K training: week 4, workout 3 (2.85mi)
– Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder, rung one
– Zombies run 5K training: week 5, workout 1 (3.13mi)
– Zombies run 5K training: week 5, workout 2 (3.17mi)
– Used my sun lamp x 4 (possibly more, I forget)
– Had annual cardiologist appointment

My guild in WoW recently had a Bad Transmog Raid Night — like an ugly sweater party for gaming. This was my contribution.

“The shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience”: some thoughts on Into Thin Air

I finished reading Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air (subtitle: a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster) on Saturday, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. Just some thoughts that go through my head:

As I said on Facebook, my reaction to much of this is WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER SUBJECT THEMSELVES TO THIS? Climbing Everest seems to be playing Russian roulette with natural phenomenon to begin with (storms, a serac falling on you), but on top of that, the whole “you probably won’t sleep or eat above 20,000 feet, and you’ll either be freezing cold or burning up from the solar radiation; also did we mention the risks of pulmonary or cerebral edema?” just made me not even understand why, even if you’re a risk taker, you’d put up with that misery.

I’m just appalled/intrigued/blown away to the extent to which people trust themselves (or their guides) to make decisions that may end their lives when they are hypoxic and sleep-deprived. I mean, I guess you don’t have much of a choice. (Unless you don’t climb Everest to begin with, but we can tell that’s not going to happen).

On that note, the most poignant story for me was that of Rob Hall, the head guide for the expedition that Krakauer was on. By all accounts he was imminently sensible, setting turnaround times to ensure climbers weren’t getting so exhausted that they couldn’t get down from the summit. Except that then he decided to ignore his own rules, seemingly to get a client to the top. He ended up at the South Summit when the storm struck, unable to go on. He was basically stuck, dying there, for like 24 hours, able to reached by radio and satellite phone, but unable to be rescued. There’s a quote from his wife in the book, saying that when she talked to him on satellite phone it was a “Major Tom moment,” and yeah, wow. How do you even go on with that?

I know Krakauer gets some criticism for this book, and his role in what happened. Even as I was reading, I had a dim recollection of a conversation I had with a fellow staffer when I was working at the Adirondak Loj. She was reading a book about mountaineering — it might have been Anatoli Boukreev’s book, The Climb — and I made some comment like, “oh, like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air,” and she went off on Krakauer, talking about how Krakauer “huddled in his tent” the whole time instead of helping with the rescue effort.

But honestly, having reading Krakauer’s book, he comes across as super honest about his capabilities, or lack thereof. He’s introspective and you can tell there’s a lot of pain there for what he did or did not do. I can’t blame him for any decisions he made there, because he, like everyone else, was delirious with hypoxia. If he was huddling in his tent at Camp Four, so were a lot of other people. You can argue that he knew things were worse than he let on, of course, but to me, he comes off as earnest.

(And as I understand it, Boukreev has since met his end on Annapurna, so he perhaps should not be cited as an example of sensible mountaineering).

Also, reading that climbers in the IMAX expedition, summitting on May 23rd, sat beside Scott Fischer’s corpse and talked to it? Is just grisly. It speaks to the mindset of the person who would actually climb Everest, to my mind — the absolute denial of the monstrousness of death.

And the book is full of monstrous, gruesome images like that. The sherpa coughing blood into his mask. The porcelain-doll look of frostbitten skin. The corpses, like landmarks, that litter the trail.

There’s a Joan Didion quote as one of the chapter headings — the famous “we tell ourselves stories in order to live” one, somewhat expanded. It speaks of the “shifting phantasmagoria — which is our actual experience.”

Man, was that book a shifting phantasmagoria.

Links & Accomplishments, 2/12/2017 to 2/25/2017

I’ve been inconsistent about doing these, but I do like them as a record of what I’ve been up to, so I’m trying to get back in the habit…


I’ve really been enjoying Django’s “Promise Land Reloaded” series, logging his recent Crusader Kings 2 playthrough. It’s inspired me to start playing CK2 again, although I’m not nearly as skilled, or as lucky, as he is!

The Trash Heap Has Spoken. About being fat, taking up space, and role models from children’s TV — a piece I feel I could have written.

“Fieldcraft,” by Kellan Sparver. Kellan is a good friend of mine and fellow VP grad, as well as being someone I support on Patreon. I read this story ~1-2 years ago, in draft form, and loved it. It’s not SFF, per se, but it explores the experience of being bi through the metaphor of being a spy in a fascist regime. As he says, more relevant today than ever, sadly. In any case, I was pleased to see he finally made it available for y’all to read. I hope you’ll consider supporting him!


– Attended writing group

– Read Hounded by Kevin Hearne
– Re-read “Fieldcraft” by Kellan Sparver
– Read The Revenge of the Wizard’s Ghost by John Bellairs
– Read “Don’t You Worry, You Aliens” by Paul Cornell (Uncanny #13A)
– Read “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny #13A)

Other Media
– Listened to Larpcast episode 85, “Writer’s Block”, and 83, “Community Moderation”
– Listened to Happier, episodes 101-104
– Watched the RiffTrax of Retro Puppet Master. (Which was… pretty bad. After reading The Disaster Artist, I kind of wonder why Greg Sestero has such fond memories of it, but I suppose compared to The Room, it’s Citizen fucking Kane).

– Attended Intercon
– Facilitated panels at Intercon: “Bleed in Boffer LARPs”, “Plotting by the Seat of Your Pants”, and “Thrift Store Costuming”
– Played in Kingsword at Intercon Q
– Played in Always Waltz at Intercon Q
– Ran Cracks in the Orb at Intercon Q
– NPCed for Madrigal 3 winter revel
– Finished costume for 5G Crossroads dinner/masquerade ball
– Attended 5G Crossroads dinner/masquerade ball

– Had lunch at Margaritas with Alison

– Did Zombies Run, week 3, workout 2
– Did Zombies Run, week 3, workout 3
– Did Zombies Run, week 4, workout 1
– Did Zombies Run, week 4, workout 2
– Did 20 x jackknives x 2 days
– Had a massage

My costume for the 5G Masquerade I attended this weekend. I was going for “snowy owl.”

Links & Accomplishments, 1/15/2017 to 1/21/2017

Have you been introduced to the joy that is Wholesome Memes? It’s:

  • Arguably the only wholesome community on Reddit,
  • Full of earnest, non-ironic generosity and kindness,
  • One of the secrets to staying sane this winter,
  • Cures terminal cancer of the soul.

One of my favorites:

If this doesn’t make your heart grow three sizes, you may want to consider having it replaced, as you are now legally dead.


– Worked on Lioness edits x 2
– Wrote blog post: “The sleeper must awaken: meditations on climbing and new experiences”

Other Media
– Listened to Happier episode 97
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class episodes: “Beer History with Erik Lars Myers”, “Unearthed: Piltdown Man”, “Unearthed, Part 1,” and “Unearthed, Part 2”, and “Maccabean Revolt”
– Listened to Larpcast 82, “Convention Larping”

– Attended Mel’s birthday party

– (Weds) Rock climbing with Jess
– (Thurs) 11am planks
– (Thurs) 6min stationary bike plus 1.5mi walk/run (Zombies Run week 2-ish)
– (Fri) 45-min walk