Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

The Mongoose Joke

09 February 2014

One of Rick’s favorites. He once posted it here.

Thus the old joke about a rancher trying to deal with his snake problem: “Dear sirs, I’d like to order two mongooses.” (He frowns, crosses that out.) “Dear sirs, I’d like to order two mongeese.” (Frowns, crosses out, tries again.) “Dear sirs, I’d like to order a mongoose. While you’re at it, please send a second one.”

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The Most Bullshit-Sounding-But-True Facts

07 February 2014

A few from this reddit thread:

  1. Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built.
  2. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
  3. When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.
  4. From the time it was discovered to the time it was stripped of its status as a planet, Pluto hadn’t made a full trip around the Sun.
  5. The last living child of African American slaves died in 2010.
  6. We went to the moon before we thought to put wheels on suitcases.

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A Movie I've Been Waiting For

07 February 2014

Oh, God, I’ve waited for this one, and I hope to see it sometime this first week.
My favorite screenwriter and one of my favorite directors got together to make a film.
The writer of Heathers.
The director of Mean Girls.
They are brothers.
Working together at last.
I’m talking: Vampire Academy.

Mini-review I just saw on Twitter: I have seen Vampire Academy!!! Credits rolling. Review to follow. Quick take: OMFG AWESOME. I’m 100% serious. #happy
(I realize I have odd taste in favorite screenwriters; Charlie Kaufman is probably my second favorite. I squeed like a little girl when I happened to have dinner recently with one of Daniel Waters’s former classmates at McGill.)

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Sochi: A Visit

06 February 2014

Last June, before I was really aware of Russia’s stance on LGBT issues (or how screwed up all kinds of things were), we visited Sochi. I was excited about it; in most cities, we visit stuff that’s long past, and this was the chance to see a city’s immediate future.
I think we all know what kind of a clusterfuck that is now, so I’ll show you what it was like eight months and a few days ago.
First, we came into port.

We drove around the Olympic village to be. Not very encouraging looking, is it?
Neither are the stadia anywhere near ready.
The international broadcast center. Note the ironic rainbow motif.
Then we drove two-ish hours into the mountains to visit the area where the ski events would be held. The climate up here was completely different; down in Sochi proper, it was miserably hot. As you see, the mountains still had some snow. The sides of the mountains also had, I kid you not, gigantic rhododendrons and enormous ferns. Not where the ski lifts would be, thankfully.
We rode up several gondolas to the tippy top, where we had hot chocolate. Sadly, I didn’t manage to capture a good photo of that.
Lots of buildings up in the mountains were unfinished, too, though most of what we saw would be for spectators rather than athletes.
But there were also some buildings that appeared to be complete, including the hotel where we had lunch.
Of the Russian cities I’ve visited (St. Petersburg, Sochi, and Novorossiysk), the one I’d find most interesting to return to would be Sochi (assuming Russia gets its head out of its ass on LGBT issues). It’s a very long city, with a region that stretches almost 100km along the Black Sea. As the southernmost part of Russia, and one of the warmest, it was where a lot of sanitoriums (read: spas) were built. Practically every industry had one, and these large, old sprawling manors and grounds were still kept up for the most part.
In particular, the Red Army (Voroshilov) sanitorium, designed by Stalin’s favored architect Meran Merzhanyantz, was on a steep (and long) enough hill to have its own funicular. (More pictures here.)
Historic photo:

Even before we returned home, our visit to Russia soured a bit with the next port, Novorossiysk. Turns out someone had gently chided them about taking so long to clear the ship in the morning. That led to an hour and a half delay re-checking everyone’s paperwork. Our two days in Russia required an impressive amount of bribes from the ship. The list of items was read off, but I only remember two:

  • 18 trays of sandwiches
  • a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black

Note: if you’d like to use my images for editorial purposes, contact me below and I’ll send you original sized images in exchange for photo credit. Thanks.
[contact-form subject=’Sochi Editorial’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

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Asking for What You Want: My Letter to Steve Jobs

05 February 2014

In 1986, I turned down an opportunity at Apple. Stupid. I came to regret it and would apply for pretty much any job I thought I could do at Apple for years. I’d occasionally get calls. I’d occasionally get interviews. Once I was a front-runner, but then a hiring freeze struck.
Finally, after a particularly frustrating set of interviews in 2006-2007, I actually wrote Steve Jobs a one-page snail mail letter. Some of it is really dated now.

What does it take for an Apple loyalist to get a job at Apple?
Yesterday, during a phone screen for a .Mac position, Apple’s recruiter [name deleted] noted that I worked in Ruby on Rails in three positions spanning two years. She said, “The problem I see is that all our work [in the WebObjects group] is done in Java.”
It’s apparent she hadn’t read my resume because, in my previous position, I wrote and deployed WebObjects applications. In Java.
I’ve sacrificed a lot to be an Apple loyalist over the years: I’ve turned down numerous jobs; I’ve tended to move toward technologies (e.g., Ruby on Rails) where the overwhelming share of developers were Mac users. I’ve done what I can to stay with the Apple energy.
I started owning Macs in 1985, when I went to go buy a PC, and walked out with a Mac. I became a Mac programmer, producing shrink-wrap apps for small companies. For fifteen years, I worked only as a Mac programmer, moving toward Unix-related technologies when Apple was headed toward MacOS X.
I’m not just someone who stood in line for an iPhone, nor just someone who gets a new Mac every year, nor just someone mentioned in Guy Kawasaki’s The Macintosh Way (under my maiden surname), nor just someone who just bought her sixth iPod, nor just someone who has soaked up the energy and knowledge at WWDC.
I’ve been trying to get a job at Apple for twenty years.
Is there some way you could help me with that?

I never got a response from SJ, nor did I expect to.
I did get a lot more calls from Apple recruiters, though. The job I was hired into a few months later, on the Safari team, wasn’t one I’d applied for. The recruiter thought, rightly, that it would be a good fit, and I happily analyzed and triaged bugs for more than five years.
If you’re not getting the results you want and you write a respectful letter, you’re not going to be any worse off. You could be a whole lot better off.

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Showing a Bit Too Much Process

05 February 2014

When I’m writing a longer, more complicated piece, I’ll often schedule it for a couple of days out to encourage me to work on it. Give myself a deadline. Otherwise, drafts sit around and collect dust and, a month or two later, I’ll say eff that and delete the sucker in a fit of pique.
Usually, I’ll schedule a piece for later in the morning so I can have my coffee, look at it, then either re-schedule it for later or publish the piece. In this morning’s case, I’d forgotten to change the date when I scheduled the piece, plus I woke up later than usual, so it was published before I woke up.
Often what’s missing in those first drafts is context and flow. In this case, it didn’t just miss the boat, it was missing an entire yacht club of context.
Please hold, I’ve rescheduled it for Saturday.

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Village Voice on Writers of the Future

03 February 2014

I had missed this piece from March 2012, even though it quotes me.
Because I’ve never posted this on my own blog and I think it’s important, I’m going to quote what I posted over on John Brown’s.

If you haven’t seen documentation about Scientology’s systemic abuses, you really have been avoiding looking, frankly. I’ve got some links on my WotF-tagged posts.
How can Galaxy Press afford to keep the anthologies in print, you might ask? Because I assure you, they benefit from the church’s own internal human trafficking to do so.
You may not know that Scn owns their own presses, operated by Bridge Publications. There’s frankly no way, despite their claims of massive sales, they could afford to keep the anthologies in print using commercial printers, especially the older anthologies where the sales have tapered off.
Here’s a lawsuit from a former Bridge staffer who, as a minor, severed a finger in a guillotine that had no safety guards. Minors are prohibited by federal law from operating such equipment, and Montalvo was offered no compensation.
Meanwhile, workers at Bridge Publications? Are Sea Org, and Sea Org women are prohibited from having children and coerced into abortions. I have a post about that here.
The camera crew for the event come from Gold Base, where the security is insane. Look at the inward-facing motion detectors, razor wire, spikes — all designed to keep people in (granted, as well as out).
These are the working conditions for the people who actually make the bright shiny anthologies so that people can say there’s no connection. It’s not just about the surface details, that’s just gloss.
Here’s the California penal code for human trafficking.
d1: Scn does this with Sea Org staff. Don’t believe me? Look at the spikes in the link above.
d2: Scn controls passports and IDs of its Sea Org staff.
e: Scn does this with Sea Org.
Watch the testimonies from the Human Trafficking Conference. Of these, Will Fry’s is most relevant as he was actually Sea Org at Bridge Publications.
Look deeper. I will be.
Until then, ponder: what social costs are you willing to pay to get a check for a few hundred or a few grand and have your story perpetually in print?
As Nick Mamatas has pointed out, you have been recruited. Your post is proof that you are indeed doing PR for them with this post.

I remember talking with Tony before this story went to print. One of the things he said was that he couldn’t use Montalvo as a source because the case had settled. However, I’m not bound by the same rules of a journalist. The lawsuit is a matter of public record.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death

02 February 2014

I’m surprised that I feel such a loss at his death.
He wasn’t my favorite actor.
I like to call him: my favorite actor whose choices I mostly hated and mostly couldn’t watch. That’s because I strongly prefer comedy to drama and he clearly went the other way on that scale. Sometimes I would watch his movies even though I knew I’d hate them, but I stopped doing that after Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.
State & Main is one of my favorite films. A friend said he didn’t like it because it “lacked warmth.” Well, he’s from the south, so I just kinda laughed at that and said, “It’s got great warmth for Northern New England. After all, styles of warmth differ.” And it did. (And they do.)
So I’ll hang onto that and The Big Lebowski, Twister (aka: The Weather Channel with a plot), The Invention of Lying, and Pirate Radio.
And maybe, just maybe, at some point I’ll be in a place where I can watch The Master.
Philip Seymour Hoffman

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