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One thing I find really strange/jarring about a lot of genre YA fiction is how something huge and life-changing happens and then the characters go back to doing normal teen things--particularly going to school. They also don't tell their parents things that they really, really should.

Like, authors, maybe I remember being a teenager better, I don't know, but I have something to tell you: I stayed home when I had to catch a late flight from vacation and nobody wanted to wake up in three hours to work/school the next day.

If I was secretly the princess of a magical kingdom and had until the full moon to find the Fiddlybobs of Rule, I would absolutely not be going to school. And yet, I saw this perpetrated again and again! I can forgive plots where the supernatural side of the story is a secret to be kept from parents (e.g., Animorphs), but that's not relevant in a lot of the books I'm reading now. Or sometimes the characters keep things secret when they really shouldn't because there's no evidence their parents suck, can't handle it, shouldn't handle it, or whatever. When things went south, 90% of the time my first instinct was to make an adult deal with it and those were normal life issues! If I needed to find the Fiddlybobs of Rule I would 100% be asking my parents if they know anybody in the Fiddlybob finding biz.

Were all YA authors raised by rabid disciplinarians?

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/78993.html.

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Don't know if I mentioned this, but I was in a car accident back in February--I'm okay, but I've been without a car for over a month now. For a while it was okay! It is becoming not okay as I am now fighting with bureaucracy on a completely different issue, and I'm running out of things to do around the house. There's a lot in walking distance that makes living life technically painless, but nothing that is really a day-long activity. I can go shopping and buy the necessities but there's only so many times you can walk to the mall or the grocery store. "I'll read a book! Oh right, no way to reach the library." "I'll go to the park! Oh. Hmm. That's too far to walk." "I'll garden! Oh, right, you did everything you needed to yesterday." "I'll play video games. ...No, because then I'll hate myself for wasting time."

Nevertheless, I've played a lot of video games. Except FF14. For some reason I log in and don't care. I've got a month and a half left of paid time but I really don't care. I maxed out my black mage and my options are level another class or... something. So I'm playing GW2 with a friend but wow that big event is reminding me that this is a ridiculously difficult game to get back into and googling for fight strategies (or anything strategies) turns up scanty information.

And what bureaucracy, you may ask?

Well I want to volunteer at the hospital.

Which requires proof that I received the MMR vaccine.

So getting the titer means finding a place that will provide it and getting someone with a car to drive me there (difficult because my parents work and my grandmother's car got smashed up so there is only one car I can use which belongs to a working doctor).

I've been given the run-around on getting the MMR titer--which will cost about $150--but I'm also attempting to track down records from the freakin' 80s/early 90s because I don't want blood drawn, don't want to spend that kind of money to volunteer, and I'm getting stymied at every turn.

Doctor: We don't have that, call the medical records. Also we can't order the titer without you coming in for a check-up.
Medical records: Why would we have that? Call the health department.

Why would I call the health department? They certainly won't have it.

My family doesn't have it because I'm done with school and who needs proof of vaccination once school is over?

So I called my school and am waiting to hear back. Then I called my college because maybe they have it! Well they might, but it's spring break so there's no one in the health center to check until next Monday.

I've been bouncing around on this for a freaking week. I was just like "screw it, I'll get the vaccine again!" and went to get it because unlike the titer, any clinic will do it, but was told that it was risky because it's a live virus. So we put in a call to a doctor to find out if this is true.

The irony if this all is that a few months ago I vowed to keep all records of all bureaucratic dealings because you never know if twenty years down the line it'll show up to bite you in the ass. So what happens? I need vaccination records from twenty years ago.

Now, I've volunteered for the hospital before, and I never needed this vaccination record. I know this is because anti-vaxxers kids are now coming of age and wanting to go candy-striping, and since MMR is the anti-vaxxer boogey man, that's the one they want proof of.

Is there anything that Jenny McCarthy isn't ruining for the rest of us?

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/78758.html.

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All these tumblr posts going around about unusual mermaids are killing me because they make me want to do all the things. I'm a writer with too many ideas at the best of times so this does not help at all.

Stormwright: My current project which stands at about 60,000 words and is the subject of my "Finish It/Write 40,000 Words in February" challenge. Sure I wrote 80k/a whole first draft for nano but I was already elbow deep in Stormwright and didn't have the honeymoon that I did for Swanherd. It's mostly about a witch and a half-merrow boy in a world where merrow men are ugly, so the stories say this is why mermaids like to sleep with human men but really that ugliness is the hotness to the ladies. THE HOTNESS. Also involved: troubled merrow succession, mysticism in re: the deified Shark Queen, and lots and lots of teenaged adorablosity. These protagonists are the cutest you guys, THE CUTEST.

Downreef: A tale of love and sequential hermaphrodism! Also an underwater post-industrial setting because I had two visions coming up with this: a black ocellaris's color and pattern on a flying fish, and a mermaid-filled machine-shop. Our main character, Dovekie, was rescued from the barrens as an egg when a magic storm wiped out the rest of the city's clutch, which made him the only possible friend-of-similar-age for Princess Milise. She's an adventurous bobtail squid and he's--well, they're sea-folk and nobody really knows. A flying fish mixed with something else, which means he gets the side-eye from sea-folk but he's not much of a flier, according to the flying fish. When Mili's given a consort--a seahorse named Shen--Mili has a snit about princessly expectations and Dovekie makes friends with the mild-mannered boy and then takes him to the dirigible races. "But anything on land is monstrous and blighted, right?" "Sure, but look at those beasts fly!" Later, a husband is selected for Mili, a dragon moray off the reef. Eripho spots that Dovekie's parents were a flying fish and black clownfish right away, and also uncovers Dovekie's well-kept secret in the blithest possible fashion: "So what? I used to be a princess." "...What happened?" "Older women."

Arctic Fantasy: Doesn't involve mermaids but it does involve a world of shapeshifters! Which is frankly good enough for me as long as it's set mostly on the water. Almost every story touches on the mafia-like orca families and my current novel project, Brings Them Home, is no different. Our hero is the son of a famed bowhead navigator and a ribbon seal she once had an adventure with, so our seal grew up with a herd of bowhead ladies in the Wilding Deep. To become an adult he has to undergo the Wandering Rite, where he'll find whale-ancestors who've shed their human forms generations ago, spirits, and hopefully Grandmama to teach her a new song and learn an old. Instead he spends the winter in town where he meets Yuliya Nightfoe, the Grand Dame of the poets (a vigilante group of orcas who enforce the laws of the Demarchy) who threatens to adopt him, and later he teams up with Nadezhda Finds-Them, an orca girl who he suspects intends to eat him. Nadezhda just thinks he's a transient orca while she's a claimer (resident) and picks fights with him because tramps and claimers have issues working together. Imagine our hero's surprise to find that nobody recognizes a ribbon seal when they see one (because, really, who has seen one?)

Mermaid Science!: After giving myself fits dealing with mystery deaths in my aquarium, trying to properly light a planted aquarium, figuring out compatibility, and trying to ID fish (I have never seen so many scientific names in my life! I never thought I'd become the person who says "oh yeah, that's totally L. hongi. Nice."), I asked myself if keeping mermaids in captivity would be any more complicated than what I'm doing now (I've had fish since I was ten, imagining tiny dolphins and mermaids in my aquarium was a thing that apparently I hearken back to). Cue a world with various mermaid species ranging from the human toddler-sized teacup (Amplexi ningyo) which is ever-willing to please thanks to the outgoing nature that saw them domesticated back in the Heian Period; the tree hunting Thai Archer (Laquei suvannamaccha) that throws the concept of "megasirens" into question by being a freshwater dwarf species and just as intelligent as the lorelei (Ancillae brentano) or the quintessential mermaid, Sirensis andersonii. I've had various ideas in this world but a lot of difficulty actually hammering them out into a plot. The ideas have gone:

Love and Other Obstacles at Oscar's Koiland: Set in the South Florida Mermaid Sanctuary, which is partly inspired by my experiences with various fish farms and a background in public aquariums as well as my own fishkeeping adventures, with all the weird, smart, funny people you come across in such a, frankly, weird hobby. I also had oodles of fun coming up with charming, odd, or highly descriptive names for mermaid diseases (check out some fish diseases to see what I mean). Our heroine, Luz Betancourt, is a whipsmart lady who works at the chronically underfunded mermaid sanctuary. She has one of the best voices I've ever written and her #1 priority is saving mermaids, either through ESMER (Everglades City Mermaid Rescue), Beach Combers, or on her own when she comes across a previously-thought-extinct exemplar of the deepsea dwelling Sirensis djullanar, who died out when their leviathan cities were killed during whaling. Whoopsies!

Nyxed: Kinda-sorta set in the late 80s, early 90s. No one really understands the nanaue (Pseudalopexis alopex). Back in the heyday of mermaids in captivity they were rare enough to be a real draw, and were displayed right alongside the much larger and more common andersonii. Right up until a youngster they called Pacifica learned to talk--a fact people dismissed as a cheap trick and not a sign of intellect. Until Pacifica, bullied by the bigger and older andersonii, lashed out and killed a trainer. Next up, moved to another aquarium, where Pacifica's older and wiser, and this time worked together with the andersonii in his tank to take revenge on the trainer that starved them. Third aquarium and this time the nanaue--now named Tangaroa--plots an escape and covers for it by helping the maneating and frankly psychopathic loreleis out at the same time. And then he meets the photographer Vinchenza, and they kinda-sorta revolutionize the way the world sees the sentient species of megasirens (andersonii, loreleis, archers, nanaue, and djullanar). Also involves lots and lots of behavioral studies of the continental US's only mermaid species, the goldstocking (Concupiscentiae floridensis) and sets the foundation for the mermaid rescue industry as it stands today (in Oscar's Koiland).

I need more time. Lots and lots more time. And energy to get all this down because I need it all right now and aaaauuugh. But all those "where are the unusual mermaid" posts make me wanna jump up and down and go "here, here! Your science/fishkeeper/I-wanted-to-be-a-marine-biologist-when-I-was-seven writer is right here!"

Also: the ocean is weird, you guys. Fish are weird. Everything is weird and it is so exciting, all the time.

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/78341.html.

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Things I don't understand about American cars:

Why are the pedals tucked up in the foot well like a pair of terrified testicles? C'mon down boys, you got room!

You're supposed to stretch your legs out, but if I have my heel on the floor I can only touch the pedal with my toes. I'd need feet twice as long to be able to drive properly. As it is even with my foot hovering up in the air, I couldn't floor it unless I sank deep into the seat, raised my foot higher and really reached for it.

Given that I was driving a Mustang GT this was kind of a total waste of car. Shame, because I liked it a lot.

Though the GT wasn't so bad as the Mustang V6 because it had a different seat package with shorter European-style seats that meant my knees cleared the edge and I could actually move my leg decently. And while the Mustang has a deeper well than the Beetle Turbo, it didn't feel quite so oversized and claustrophobic as the Beetle (fun car my ass).

But it's not just a sports car thing! I drove a Fusion and while its pedals weren't tucked way up in there, they still floated way off the floor and forced me to keep my feet off the floor, too, to really reach them.

According to dad, though, this is mostly a sports car thing. And then he told me to go check out European cars. Sigh. SIGH.

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/78326.html.

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Last Wednesday, my car got smashed up--I don't want to talk about it online too much but suffice it to say, I am in one piece, my car is in one considerably smaller piece than when it set out that morning, and I am awaiting news from the body shop/the other driver's insurance.

To pass the time I've been researching potential replacements.* My car is 12 years old, yet in spite of the law that says the insurer has to put me in the position I'd been in if my car hadn't been hit, they only have to give me the Kelly Blue Book value. If I wanted to buy a used 2002 model, for the blue book value I'd get a car with double my car's mileage.

It's a good car. I don't want to replace it. But it's a 2002 and it could have some extremely expensive damage that eclipses its value, we don't know yet. It's such a good car that car people usually remark on it. e.g., the tow truck driver said "That's a great car. I had one, a really great car." "It was my first car." "One of my favorite cars," he added, rather wistfully.

I bought it during the few years where luxury car brands were trying to entice younger markets, so they made kinda sporty low-end models. None of them do that anymore, but it turns out that no one is making sports coupes anything like my car (two-door, non-fug, with some room inside). Hell, "two door" seems to be disappearing entirely and replaced by boring sedan. No I don't want a sedan with a secretly sporty ride, I don't want a sedan at all, do I look like a sedan-driver to you? I wrote off entire car brands because they don't have anything at all what I'm in the market for, and I don't think I'm a particularly unusual market.

Imagine my surprise as I look at the market and I don't see anything I actually want for less than $50,000. It's not like I want a luxury car, my needs are simple:

1. Safe! This is especially important as I looked at the damage done to my car. Sure it was a low-end Mercedes sports coupe but it was still a Mercedes and all that implies. It was much smaller than the car that hit me, but it's still a fuckin' tank and if the seatbelt hadn't gone off, I probably could've driven it to the body shop after clearing up the broken glass. This whole "safe" thing writes off about 90% of the small cars I thought I'd be looking at.

2. Sporty! I spent 12 years driving a sports coupe. My experience driving other vehicles tells me that I require a sporty drive--I don't know entirely what this means except that it's more responsive, has more feedback as a driver,** better suspension, and very importantly: bucket seats. When you're as short as I am, you want short seats, too.

3. Good looks! Where do I even begin with how great my car looked vs. the lackluster field right now? This car, in this color blows all the competition away on sheer aesthetic value, particularly if you're looking for a two-door hatchback with lots of space (which this car had in spades, to the endless surprise of everyone). The only car that looks half as decent is the Honda CR-Z, which is maybe half the size of my car on the inside.

In fact, after some research I found that I can get sporty or I can get good-looking and never the twain shall meet. Though amusingly one of the articles I looked at was a list of 10 cars under 25k guaranteed to get you laid and I'd written off a lot of the list as lamesauce already. I am not sure what this says about me as the subject the car-buyer is attempting to lay, but... there you go.

Hatchbacks have mostly re-evolved into station wagons with altered lines. I cannot say PASS fast or loud enough to that. (That said, the Veloster Turbo is tentatively on my list because it's got the best mileage I've seen and it doesn't look quite so station wagon-y).

One of the cars that keeps coming up is the Golf GTI which... have you seen that thing? Even when it's cool, it's an uggo.

I also keep coming back to the retro muscle cars. My sister's had two Mustangs, and they look good, but over the past few years the body appears to have been... I don't know, melting into a car-blob. The 2014 is better than it was but for some reason the 2015 is melting again. That grill! It's so droopy and sad! I like the look of the Challenger and the Camaro, but I am not sure I'm in the market for an actual sports car. Driving the Camaro felt a little like being in a submarine (and I didn't get to see how feisty it was because the dealer pressed me about the color and ignored my "v6, please" and took me down winding side streets instead of somewhere I could nominally open it up). Perhaps I'm still bummed dad sold his '91 z28.

Then I think of the mileage and sigh to myself. My car is from 2002 and it got better mileage. We're in the future! Improve this! (I know, I know, no comparison. Still. SIGH.)

I spend a lot of time looking at cars but now I'm really looking. Both online and from my window: I live above a busy intersection where I see all sorts of cars, and I've realized that most vehicles on offer now are converging, stylistically, into some uberauto of pedestrian dullness. The lines are all the same! The colors are all muted! BLAAAAAAH.

*When I first got my car--my first car--I didn't imagine I'd be that person that wanted to hold onto their car forever. I'm easily bored! I want new, cute things! Nope: I'd drive this car forever if I could. It is my platonic ideal of cars, doing everything I need and being fun to drive.

**One possibility, my grandfather suggested I take his car and he buy a new one. I've driven it enough to know that it has the same problem as a lot of other non-sport cars I've tried: it floats along. My car tells me exactly what I'm doing and how I'm doing it--rolling into turns, accelerating, decelerating, etc. I'm sure I'd get used to this but I'm not a fan.

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/77943.html.

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I decided to challenge myself in February, to write 40,000 words and hopefully finish my current project, Stormwright (or possibly titled The Lightning Tide, I dig the latter a little more but Stormwright is easier to type when I talk about it).

It was something I sat down to write several months ago on a whim and figured "I'll just write this to please myself and we'll see where it goes." I said to myself, "you know those stories where mermen are ugly? Obviously, mermaids find that ugliness hot. What if, instead of a mermaid's daughter living in the small town, what if it was the mermaid's son?"

I got a lot of sparkle out of it. The protagonists were so cute I could kiss them. The worldbuilding was the perfect mix of mermaid mythology, folklore, and groundedness. I didn't tell anyone about it, I just wrote it. It's totally different from my usual while also being exactly my jam. Nevertheless, I put it down to play with other toys. After all, I hadn't intended to do anything serious with it.

Out of the blue, I got an itch for something involving sharks and shark gods and realized, I could apply it to Stormwright. I finally mentioned it to a couple friends, and the response was universally "omg yes!" so I figured, why not finish it?

Note, I picked almost all the teen's names off a "top baby names" list for about 1995/2000, and it sounds so much more like a fantasy book than any fantasy I've ever written (I never tire of ways to have people mispronounce Niamh. Never.)

Gavin: an unknown mermaid seduced his father and left Gavin on the doorstep some months later. The merrows are endlessly speculative about who his mother is, but as far as he's concerned his mother is human and the other one can rot. He keeps to himself too much to be "the weird kid" but he's sure everyone thinks he's the weird kid (no teenager really considers that no one thinks about them very much). He has zero awareness that as an unmarried shark-merrow, he's something of a hot commodity among rich merchants looking to add a second husband or consort to their household, since most are promised in marriage contracts during childhood. If told, he would make a rude noise because it is cold and wet down there and fuck that.

Also, I saw the joke about how male protagonists curse a lot because rawr that's what dudes do, and I noticed Gavin curses way more than Niamh does. He curses almost as much as I do. As far as I know, I am neither a teenage boy nor a male author, so I don't know what this says about me. Other than I have yet another book where I will have to go back and clean up the language.

Niamh: a witch and the daughter of Mairi Faulkner, a huntress of considerable renown who lives for roaming the earth and killing shit. Niamh, on the other hand, has all the makings of an ass-whomping witchy warrior like mom, but what she really wants is to be a hedge witch and settle down in some town and cook potions and get up into everyone's business.

Instead, she follows mom to a small island that lies next to a merrow empire where things are rapidly falling apart. The merrow queen doesn't have an heir, and she really, really needs one. Problem is, the mystics--the stormwrights--that would choose the next queen can't come to a consensus. Public opinion favors the queen's eldest daughter, who is still a broken woman after having to kill her lover, Alsztrate, a stormwright who ravaged the empire in the way only a jilted mermaid with the power to call maelstroms could. But the field is wide open and there are plenty of other women with enough political or monetary clout to make a serious bid for the throne and probably shatter the empire in the process. Never mind the queen's youngest prince consort, scheming behind the throne.

In short, the merrow queen thinks Alsztrate is back, and is pretty sure that she:
1) Needs her to reach a consensus about who is going to succeed one of the most successful conquerors and peacemakers in nearly a millenia
2) Needs to kill one of the most powerful stormwrights in existence before she finishes what she started

I spent far too much mental energy stitching things together, going back from my brilliant first scene and rearranging everything to be more streamlined, to fit the changed plot, to maintain some of my old work and I still ended up leaving about 20,000 words on the floor that I may or may not cannibalize later. I'm now sitting at about 38,000 words total and while the form is still giving me fits I'm going to try to power ahead and get through the rest and fix everything in post. I've spent two weeks "fixing" and wanting to cry about how it will never be right and all I'm left with are the ugly, functional bits instead of the great sparkly bits (not true, I am mostly left with the long, long discussions of language and culture that will also have to be cut, sigh). I haven't even gotten to a big ball scene! Or a big battle! How will I live without endless digressions on mermaid fashion and embroidered flying dolphin or leviathan motifs!?

Mostly, I am really, really sad about dropping thousands upon thousands of words wherein our teenagers are more Scooby and the Gang than they are pawns in political machinations. Niamh is just so bright and earnest and wobbly about her place in the world, and Gavin is just so smart and sensitive and waiting to get hurt/shut out that they play against each other brilliantly and spend 90% of their time being intellectual dorks and 10% confirming each other's worst fears without realizing it. And Gavin's friends! They are so cute too! And in over their heads! I could spend two hundred thousand words on them hanging out and doing lots of nothing important adorably!

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/77611.html.

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Alyc gave me some vital writing advice today while I moaned about being stuck in a scene.

me: …you did help me and also tipped me into an existential chasm

Alyc: oops. I’m sorry

me: “What is the purpose of this scene? …I should cut this sequence and have them attacked during their date. I still spoil the date and then they’re chased back home. Yeah. Much better. …I just need to figure out a way for Gavin to put his pants back on.”
then
"…what is the purpose of this book?"

Alyc: bwhahahaha
I love that the issue is needing to get Gavin back in his pants
as for the purpose of the book, that’s something you don’t figure out until waaaaay after the book is done

me: bahahahaha
well I’m glad it’s not just me then

Alyc: No really. Stephen King says so
so does Neil Gaiman
And Samuel Delaney
you aren’t allowed to argue with them
well, you’re allowed… but you’ll probably be wrong :D

me: and yes, it’s very important for Gavin to have pants before throwing lightning at some mermaids
oooooh

Alyc: yeah, having lightning thrown at you isn’t nearly as daunting when it’s done by a guy without pants

me: yeah it was a cute date Niamh took him swimming. And the pants problem always stymies me
"how do I get from merman meetcute to dude in pants for big battle showdown"
merpeople! so vexing

Alyc: he could be wearing a kilt?

me: bahahaha

Alyc: this is why scottish people wear kilts
for proper mermaid meet-cutes

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/77393.html.
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I said I needed to blog more. One of the reasons I don't blog or engage as much online is because I'm tired of flamewars and find it stressful waiting for some asswipe to make an asinine remark.

So what do I do?

Wake up to a dumb comment from a MRA who really, really wants me to tell him "yeah you can dismiss and minimize women's issues, that's fine bro!" and ended up in a flamewar (oh, I'm sorry, a "devil's advocate" discussion). I just posted and he's typing already. I'm still reading my comment and he's already responding! This guy is salivating to prove a dumb woman wrong.

And, y'know, make my point for me.

That's fine, bro, that's fine.

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/77275.html.

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Hello readers! I return to you from skiing. I went to Utah, so there's no talk of polar vortexes. I enjoyed the trip but by all accounts it was something of a humdinger:

I didn't recover from altitude sickness until two days before I had to leave, hence why I haven't done anything online beyond feed my dragons on Flight Rising (I'll be responding to comments and stuff today). My mom said I needed more water which resulted in me having to pee about every 15 minutes for the first few hours of the day and not much more that I can tell though it probably saved me from serious muscle pain. Altitude sickness is the worst, you guys. The worst! You spend a kabillion dollars to fly across the country (after which the cost of lift tickets and everything else seems like no big deal) and all you want to do is sleep.

The snow was wonderful which meant the weather sucked. Fresh powder = snowing = cloudy, windy grossness which wouldn't be a problem except I have delicate princess skin especially when it's dry and the snowflakes feel like razors driving into my face. The last day was our only clear day, and sometimes I boggled that people actually went skiing. One day I called it quits when the wind pushed me sideways across the mountain--while I was standing at the top of the lift deciding where to go. The day before the snow was perfect... until temps above freezing and between one run and the next the entire mountain turned to ice. That night it snowed enough to cover everything again.

I had some spectacular non-injuries! I'll start from the top.

3) the final and least spectacular of my falls, which had the same source as all my others: one ski went a-wandering, this time without any wiggly boot action. I was (once again on a green) cruising along, my ski went into some powder and my face went "ploff" into a snow bank. What do I mean by no wiggly boot action? I've got small feet so finding ski boots wasn't easy--for a few years, my options were slightly too-big rentals or child's downhill racing boot. When I wandered into my usual ski shop and the guy said "try these!" I did. They actually came in a size smaller, but I could barely put my current boots on. "Too tiny!" I said. "Perfect!" said he, and for years, they were. Now there's wiggle in the heel of one boot. I've since fixed it with various mods, but after a half day of skiing it starts wiggling and I need to clamp it down further. I should have gotten the smaller size, but then I remember I could barely get my current boots on (and I need help if it's really cold because the plastic stiffens).

2) I'm cruising down a green run that gets you from one mountain to another, so it's busy and people are crazy, either going really slow (fine) or zooming between them. A speed demon nearly gets sandwiched between another skier and myself, and since I'm on the edge I'm like "hey! Yield to downhill!" and am treated to a look of sheer panic on her face when she realizes the unskilled skier can't turn with her alongside and I am, indeed, at the periphery of the run. I'm spared and speeding along myself after breaking from the pack, then my boot wiggles when my ski catches a groove. My legs go in directions they shouldn't and I tumble facefirst and come to a stop about forty feet from my poles and one ski. One of my gloves slides twenty feet downhill. A guy gathers up my things and spends so much time helping me up that I'm super-duper touched. My foot and ankle are in that tingly-numbness of pain that makes it hard to get my ski on and the guy practically holds me over the binding until I've got it. He grins, "and that's what we call a fire sale."

This was the most painful thing I did.

Impressive because....

3) I'm on a green run, minding my own business, when one ski wiggles. I try to bring it back, fail, and think "oh god! Must save my legs!" as images of my legs snapping off with skis still attached dance through my head. I fall and spin around and my back hits the ground hard enough for my helmet to bounce and the back of my head to register "damn girl, that helmet is HARD! Ow!"

Which prompts two thoughts. One, dang isn't the helmet supposed to save me from banging my head? Two, oh damn if my head hit the helmet that hard, what did my brain do to my skull!?

I lay there in a daze for a minute and a guy skis over and asks if I'm okay. "I... think so." "You think? Do you need ski patrol?" I consider. "No. My helmet's hard, that's all." He helps me up and I am super touched by the kindness of skiers, who (at least here) are always ready to help others out. I go to lunch with my mother where we decide I don't have a concussion, or not a serious one anyway. I have lunch and go on my way. Three hours after I bang my head I go into a lodge to use the restroom, go down the stairs* and each step jars me right to the top of my head (more than normal) and then my stomach does flips. While this is certainly due to too much lunch, I go "oh god, what if it is a concussion!?" and call mom. She tells me to call grandma. Grandma goes "oh god! Get to the clinic now!" I think this is overkill but whatever.

First Aid checks me for a concussion. Nope. But they do palpate my neck and ask where I feel pain. "Right there." She has someone double check and "right there" is in the same place. "That's not muscle, that's right over the C2, and since you reported pain in the same place... we want you to get a neck x-ray. Sometimes people fracture their necks and don't know until they get a CT scan years down the road, and the only reason I'm not calling an ambulance is because you've been active for three hours, you're wiggling your head around--stop that!--and you're not guarding."

Down I went to the ER because you can't have neck x-rays anymore, they have to be CT scans. Mom calls my grandparents who freak out, while I'm like "chill! I'm fine. Though if I did break my neck I could laugh and laugh about how I broke my neck skiing!" But seriously I didn't want the grandparents to know until after I could say nothing was wrong.

The Park City hospital, by the way, is the nicest little hospital I've ever seen. Everything was so quick, everyone was happy to talk to me, and while I was getting my CT apparently the doctor, a nurse, the receptionist, and a volunteer all visited my mother to ask if she needed anything or to get info.

Final diagnosis: minor whiplash and I would be sore in the morning.

I really wasn't and only needed a few of the extra strength ibuprofin and none of the muscle relaxants. Pulling a muscle in my calf during crash #2 was far, far more painful and even that just meant I limped around pathetically.

Oh yeah, and the world cup was going on while I was there, so I saw some incredibly talented people do incredible things and got tons and tons of free swag from all the companies with stands down at the main lodge.

*Silver Lake was designed by sadists. Who puts the bathrooms of a ski lodge, one of the busiest in the resort, downstairs!?

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/76780.html.

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I noticed Blackfish was up on Netflix last night so I settled in to watch that (and right after saw that apparently protesters had stopped the Seaworld float at the Rose Bowl parade). I'd recommend it, though according to what I've seen from others it can be rough watching. During my research for arctic fantasy and comedy of manners I'd come across a lot of snippets and basic info of the incidents so I knew what was coming and none of it left me particularly shaken but there were still points that I'd consider chilling or breath-taking. A lot of people said they had to stop/pause when they took Kalina away from her mother and heard these heart-wracking cries afterward. I've listened to more orca calls than is good for anybody, and I'd never heard anything like it. The documentary pointed out that neither had anybody else, and it doesn't take an expert to know how raw it sounded. That's the kind of thing that'll haunt you.

The interview with the whale hunter early on alone is worth the watch, when he says that after catching the baby whales the rest of the pod stuck close and called for them that he "realized what we were doing. We were kidnapping little kids."

I think the one thing that really boggled me were all the videos of Seaworld staff claiming that orcas live for 25 years so their lives are even better in captivity because they live longer (Lolita, at 40, is the oldest orca in captivity, which is still less than half a natural lifespan). The video might be back from the 90s (they look recent in which case there's no excuse because you should wikipedia that, seriously), but we've known they live well past that since at least the 80s. Corporate greed and indifference? No surprise. Blatantly spouting easily disproven misinformation? Yeah, that still surprises me, though it really shouldn't.

The bit on Loro Parque could have been expanded more, but the film was focused on trainer deaths--and honestly, while there were things in the film that surprised me, it didn't quite capture the full-on madhouse that is orca life in captivity for the orcas themselves. It did show more of Tilikum's life than I expected, I knew he'd been bullied terribly at Sealand but apparently that continued at Sea World and that was the start of his spending time alone, to protect him from the females rather than his history of killing people. I also heard, for the first time, that apparently he was an eager people pleaser. Striking, given that no one else mentioned that and it made the story all the more painful, I guess. Here's this whale getting dumped on by his tankmates who is the most agreeable and amiable whale to work with to humans. I know people might say this shows nothing, it's not like he's a bullied soul seeking solace where he can find it and then lashing out, he's an animal, but it's a hard comparison to shake.

The more I learn, the less I think it's possible to overly anthropomorphize their behavior.

This entry was originally posted at http://damselfish.dreamwidth.org/76517.html.

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