dragojustine: (dream a little bigger)
I have not been around. I miss you all. Will be at Muskrat Jamboree in two weeks, if anyone else on my flist will be? Limited participation in fandom due to serious and mounting procrastiation problem and associated guilt.

San Francisco )

Adam Lambert's Glam Nation Live CD just hit today (and you can listen online). I feel a little ridiculous about being the sort of fangirl who pays $17 for a CD of songs I not only already have, but already purchased, but apparently that is the type of fangirl I am. I just desperately needed a good sound quality copy of 20th Century Boy, because my favorite current artist covering my favorite song from one of my favorite movies (because it's his favorite song from his favorite movie too)? That is the stuff fangirl flail is made of.

Have a fic rec: I love slave fic. I can't help it. I love it- I love the ones that are modern day AU and the ones that are pseudo-historical. I love the crazy-BDSM-institutions ones and the sex slavery ones and the regular old not-sex-specific slavery ones. I love the ones with angsty morally tormented owners and the ones with oblivious owners. I love the ones that are contractual and voluntary and the ones that are outright non-con and the ones that are sappy slow-build falling-in-love dealing-with-the-dubcon ones. So I give you Patience, a Steady Hand, by Helenish. It's the best kind of pseudo-historical, cheerfully anachronistic but detailed and immersive, and it's got the most amazing slow build and fascinating characters and a happy ending that made me sniffly.

I'm back!

Dec. 1st, 2008 02:54 pm
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
So, I'm home. I will NOT be catching up on the flist, because, five days! So if there is anything I should see, please do point me at it.

cut for road trip babblings )

Final mini-nano update: 17,000 words this November. I wrote 16 days of the 24 days I was at home, so that's kind of a sucky record. I made that 15,000 conservative goal (that's what an average of 500 words a day works out to), but totally missed the 20k or 25k I really wanted. But I'm really happy with what I wrote. The news to me is that I suck at writing what I SET OUT to write- I had three specific things I wanted to work on, and those are still untouched. Hmm. Now the trick is to keep up regular writing, because it makes me happy. *nod*
dragojustine: (LA)
I-10 was closed right outside Las Cruces, all the way to the Arizona border, apparently because of high winds. For fully four miles up to the closure, both shoulders were lined by semis. A solid unbroken line of them, all stopped and just sitting there, with no drivers visible.

It looked like the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.

New Mexico sure doesn't look like it's at it's best, economically, does it? I mean, stuff is run-down, boarded up, rusted out... the outskirts of Las Cruces look a lot like a hotter, dustier version of the worst Rust Belt horror stories I've heard. I sure as hell would not want to be trying to get a job there.

Indiana Jones was a thoroughly awful movie, for reasons of story structure (why KGB instead of Nazis? Why aliens instead of God?), character motivation (when did we stop caring about putting it in a museum, or about keeping it out of the hands of the bad guys, and start caring about returning it to the aliens? And why wasn't Miriam as awesome as we know she is?), predictability (what, you think that's Indy's son? No!), suspension of disbelief problems (the waterfalls? Really?), and just general idiocy (oh god, the FRIDGE OF DOOM). Which sucks because it had the potential to be a VERY VERY good movie ([livejournal.com profile] miriad came up with one beautiful plot for Indy 4- her husband and I came up with another). But in the end, Shea whats-his-name was good and Harrison Ford was FANTASTIC and the fight scenes were Indy fight scenes, even if they were about five hours long and had the quality of parody, so... *shrug*

I had fun.
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
Treasure Island audiobook in the car. Most entertaning.

[livejournal.com profile] amara_m is always saying disparaging things about El Paso. Amara, love, you are COMPLETELY right.
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
Arrived safe and, you know, no less sound than before. Very little in the way of internet- Mariott with no wireless (huh?) and I can't make the actual physical jack work *headdesk* Feeling generally unconnected and deprived. Deprived of fic, deprived of tv, deprived of flist. Due to logistical barriers, will be a solid week before I have actually MOVED IN anywhere (which I thought I was doing, you know, today) so that makes it worse.

Note: In the three days I was gone, not one person emailed me. Or commented. Or called. Not one.

Going to go be sad now.

road trip log day 3 )
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
*Colorado plateau is a hell of a thing. How can land be so flat 6000 feet up?

*Finally, some mountains that aren't mucking about.

*It's far more tiring than I thought to fight these gusty cross winds all the time.

*The thing about interstate truck stop towns is that they're so damn huge for their population. This town I'm in now MIGHT have a population of 200, but between the Flying J and its parking lot, two other gas stations and their parking lots, the truck wash and its parking lot, the diner and its parking lot, the mega-uber-super Wall*Mart and its parking lot (all lots sizes for trucks), the damn thing's the size of Rhode Island. Must be 2 acres of pavement for every permanent resident.

*Painted desert and petrified forest- beautiful and well worth a lengthy visit. I am becoming quite a connoisseur of desert scapes, you can trust my judgment on this.

*What is up with all the pretty freeways? All these underpasses and exchanges all painted up in geometric patterns in bright orange and blue southwest color palettes. It's a bit odd.

*Why is it that when the Winchesters get a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere, it's always funky and themed and horrifically overdecorated, but when I get a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere, it's just ugly?

*However, this god-awful Motel 6-clone does have one thing up on the spectacular canyon lodge: fitted bottom sheets. This makes ALL the difference in the WORLD. Forget your heated pool or 200 TV channels or whatever else you're advertising- I want to see "Fitted bottom sheets!" on those huge billboards. I'd ask at the office before deciding to stay someplace if I didn't think that would make me sound insane. I can't be the only one who feels this way.
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)

*Starting at the coast and driving NE for three hours is better than any seven chapters of geography textbooks for internalizing the concept of "rainshadow"

*Rest stops in the middle of the desert are WINDY

*Can you imagine covering all this distance on Route 66, at 55 mph with tons of little towns with stop signs and everything?

*They sure don't let you forget about Historic Route 66! now do they?

*Gas station on 66 selling gas at... wait for it... $4.99. Sign by the register:
We have sunk a lot of money into this business. It costs a fortune to operate in the middle of nowhere. You have the choice to purchase from us or not. But please do not complain to our employees about prices. PS. Next gas 50 miles.

Snarky buggers.

Saturday evening, at the grand canyon:

*Colorado plateau very high. I expected it to be hot, without taking that 7000 feet of elevation into account. Huge drifts of snow. Forgot that outside the So-Cal Weather Free Zone, it's still very early spring.

*More forest- I mean, genuine alpine forest- than I expected.

*God, this country is HUGE.

*Reached first observation point just 30 minutes before sunset. Perfect timing- slanting light, glowing pink and gold canyon walls, dusky depths, whole nine yards. Gorgeous.

*Lodge is RIGHT on the rim- just three steps outside my door. Nice.

*Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time, and so is not one our ahead (except the Navajo reservation, which is). Will not reveal how long I spent trying to figure out why my cell couldn't detect the time zone and I couldn't change it manually. V. Embarrassing. Convinced they do it just to confuse tourists.

*Haven't really seen stars since the summer before I moved out of mom and dad's- not proper ones, anyway. Tonight might just be the best stars I'll ever get. When you travel, you expect the food and accents and geography and such to change- but it startles me a bit to realize I'm far enough away from home for the stars themselves to change. Not a lot- North Star just about 15 degrees or so too low, but enough that it's not where I look for it. Just enough to make you feel small and far from home.
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
Spent all day yesterday packing up and watching New Who (HOW MUCH do I love Christopher Eccleston now?). Then off to [livejournal.com profile] miriad's, where we ate pizza, she loaned me many books and baked REALLY good cookies, and then showed me the first part of the original Stargate movie (because I WILL end up in some variety of SG fandom. It's become completely inevitable).

Oh my lord, James Spader. James Spader is SO ADORABLE and SO DORKY and SO CUTE and SO SO SO HOT. I just... *flappy hands* No words.

And now- the minute I unhook my computer and load it in the car- I am ROADTRIPPING. Which I have been craving for months now. I have my room at the Grand Canyon all reserved and everything. *excited*

Right now my future is a distinctly hazy and frightening place, and when that happens, I want to TRAVEL so so so badly. Because when you're traveling, future and planning and money and boyfriend- none of it exists. There's just you, traveling. Total freedom, newness, wings under your feet, yadda yadda. What I need right now.

I shall have no internet until Monday earliest. Farewell, sweet flist. Goodbye, cruel world. I don't hate you, I promise *hugs and kisses*
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
The Guardian's books section has an absolutely wonderful little article on characterization. I don't agree with it all, of course, or even most of it, and it heavily privileges "great literature." But I am moved by the slightly floundering attempt of one man to ask "what makes a fictional character?" and to identify what exactly fascinates him about certain characters.

So I guess I may be moving to Texas? )

So, all in all, that's very exciting.

I finally got my hands on that 2005 canceled TV show, Eyes. )
dragojustine: (Vegas)
The trip to Vegas was exactly what I was hoping for. )
dragojustine: (Turkey)
So today was my horrible scheduling heart-attack-moment day of reprieve.  A whole extra day in Istanbul, guilt-free!  There was a lot of awkward standing around and much hugging this morning, while Carmel presented Nina her card and tip, and everyone started to scatter.  Tony and Carmel and Damien were the only ones left in the city for a full day, so we arranged to meet for dinner.

I got to take two of the local ferries across the Bosporus and back, which I'd quite wanted to do.  The view of the European side is wonderful (and of course, it's another bit of inner-romantic-indulgence.  This trip is rotting me from the inside).  The rides are short, but they're dirt-cheap and interesting and beautiful.  I ended up by Dolmabache palace, the palace built around 1850 after the sultans left Topkapi.  Supposedly built to rival Versailles.  I don't know if it manages that (at least, not from the outside it doesn't, though parts at least of the inside certainly do) but it is, to say teh very least, quite satisfyingly ostentatious. 

Tram back, cheap lunch, and a very long evening shopping.  It's quite an experience to walk around in or near the bazaar as a woman traveling alone- Despite making a minimum of eye contact, I racked up 12 dinner invitations, 3 gropes, and one guy sticking his tongue down my throat.  It would certainly take some getting used to, and some reconditioning of your normal impulses toward eye contact and smiling and small-talk pleasantries (and my impulses toward that last are already pretty low, by Western standards).  The shopping itself was great, many gifts bought and a pretty dress for me.  Much sparkly jewelry ogled. 

One last dinner and then bed in my truly crappy hostel, where I ended up getting quite sick and throwing up for the first time all trip- because making it the whole three weeks would have been too much to hope for, I guess.  The hostel didn't have towels either, and I didn't want to pack mine wet, so I'm leaving for the airport exhausted, sick, and unwashed.  Oh, traveling! 
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Early morning and long bus ride back to Istanbul. The Istanbul otogar is a complete circus.  Took an hour to get ourselves to a dolmus back to Sultanhamet.  Settled in and decided to e-mail Dustin first thing- good thing too, as I realized my flight leaves Sunday, not tomorrow!  I mixed up the end of the tour and though the departure day was the day AFTER the end, not the same day.

Very embarrassing, but good, as I was very disappointed about my lack of time in Istanbul at the end.  Freaked out but managed to book at the hostel across the street for 10 Euro.  I've been really pinching pennies all trip, so I think one more day will be fine.

Got out to Aya Sofya finally.  That building has been the thing I most want to see in the entire world since... I can't remember, but I think it was when I did that paper on the Ottomans winter quarter TS year.  So, seven years. 

It was more of a mix, more of a hodgepodge, than I expected, but that just made it more interesting.  The restored mosaics are beautiful beyond belief- even after all I've read about Byzantine mosaic work, this is my first time seeing really good ones in person and it's just... striking.  The dome is boggling, and (even despite the horrible unfortunate scaffolding) the entire impression is of light and air and space and soaring vaults, just like it's always described.  It's wonderful.

Spent an hour or so in the bazaar- no buying yet, now that I have another whole day.  It really is pretty overwhelming, disorienting, but that's the fun.  The jewelry sections are quite satisfyingly sparkly.  I'm getting quite a hankering for really sparkly necklaces now.  Those lariat style ones, maybe, or the shaped collar ones that don't actually connect in front but curlicue over your collarbones, something in red gold if possible.  I would have to be in another strata of society entirely to actually wear such a thing, and I feel a bit little matchstick girl pressing my nose up to those windows, but wow. 

Our final dinner together was a place on that pedestrian underside of the Galata bridge.  You settle down on these beanbag chairs on the outer walkway, with the restaurants behind you and this incredible view of Suleymanye mosque (there are three mosques right there, actually, and I can't recall the names of the other two) and that huge fountain on the water, and the bridge stretching out to either side, and the Galata tower and the ferries, and everything spotlighted or strung with lights.  It's the most incredible date-spot I think I've ever seen, and I would give a truly astonishing amount of money to be there with a date someday, especially when it goes silent except for the splashing of the water and the call to prayer just drifts, eerie and otherworldly and beautiful, from a dozen directions at once.  I am convinced that, at least at night, Istanbul is the most beautiful city in the world. 

The big day

Sep. 6th, 2007 06:44 pm
dragojustine: (Greek warriors)
Today was the big highlight day: Troy then Gallipoli. First, the hostel is awful, the shower is awful, the breakfast was weird and skimpy (except, apparently, if you order vegemite. Apparently that's quite good here). This whole town is so Aussie focused it's hilarious.

Troy )

So I am soft-headed, just in a slightly different way.
Gallipoli )
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Kind of a nothing day.  I napped in the room till a ridiculously late hour, then did the loop of the Temple of Artemis, museum, basilica.  More napping, good dinner.

Got sucked into the shop of a carpet seller, a Kurd named Ennis, for an hour or two.  Lots of tea and backgammon.  Much talk about the people he's met, how he loves talking to travelers, about the woman from Seattle his brother married.  Then a lot of talk about Eastern Turkey and Lake Van, about the Kurds and being Kurdish and the Turkish government and identity and the pace of change in the younger generation and the need for education to resist oppression.  Good talk.

After dinner, the hamam.  That was pretty incredible- it felt completely luxurious but without being fru-fru and new-agey like spas at home. It's interesting how completely unselfconscious you can be-I thought the scrub guy and masseuse would bother me at least a little, but not at all.  The amount you can sweat, and the amount of skin you can take off, and the intensity of massage you can stand, is all pretty incredible.  you come out feeling five pounds lighter.  It also really evens out funky tan lines.  I find myself desperately wishing for someplace like that at home, just cheap and businesslike and effective. 
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Half day travel to Selcuk, which is a lovely town utterly swarming with Kiwis and Aussies.  I find it funny how the tourists segregate themselves.  The town has a lot to see- the Ephesus museum, Selcuk mosque (one of the only major non-Ottoman style mosques around, I understand, and strikingly different looking) and some lovely small towns nearby.  We settled in at the hotel and then went to Ephesus, again late in the day for the heat.  Good guide, if a little dry, spent about two hours with him.  We missed the newly excavated terrace houses, though, which is too bad (and might be worth braving a little more heat and crowds for).  It looks like the city is being pretty constantly excavated and restored, and I would quite like to go back in a few years.  The theater made me all mushy and romantic (of course!) especially so because you can look out past the stage to the huge, broad, paved Harbor road that led through the heart of the city down to the docks.  How am I supposed to resist that?  

Headed back and had a birthday dinner for Joy.  Melinda bought a highly-suspicious cake, and Nina arranged for the restaurant to put up this huge banner.  There was another huge table, an older tour group of Kiwis, and they insisted on singing to her quite heartily.  

That restaurant had a kitten, absolutely tiny thing with its eyes barely open, and we got to cuddle it and syringe-feed it.  It was quite possible the most ovary-melting cute thing I've seen sine the very first time we visited Roxy.

Ephesus really is fantastic, and you time it right you can have the whole city practically to yourself.  The facade of the library is spectacular.  And that harbor road, just stretching out like an arrow, lit by led to the ghost of the bustling docks... My god I am creepy and gushy and sentimental.  
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Half-day travel to Pamukkale, to one of the nicer hotels we've been in- big complex with this spring fed swimming pool, all un-chlorinated and mineral-y, with this big courtyard with nice decks and those cushioned tree-house things I've been seeing around, which are startlingly comfy.  Also, really nice bathrooms, actual shower curtains, little sample bottles of shampoo, and a computer with free internet! *does the awesome hotel dance*

We waited around, didn't actually head up to the site until about five, for the heat.  I'm sad that I missed the museum that way, but it's a fantastically long hot walk through the travertine pools, a long way UP from the town.  

There are old baths made into a museum, the absolutely beautiful restored temple mineral pool (which you can swim in for a jaw-dropping fee, considering it's the same damn mineral water in every gutter in town).  Ruined building complexes, the old Plutonium, where the springwater and all the lethal gasses come out.  Remains of city walls and several gates and arches, nice amphitheater, the martyrion of St Philip.  Old amphitheaters make me so sentimental, in a really embarrassing way- I have, somehow, built them up in my head in a symbolic way, until they just seem to contain all the LIFE of the entire city, for centuries, and you sit there and just drink it up until all the ghosts around you and on the stage seem real enough that walking back out into ruins is an utter shock.  I am a romantic, and classical cities are so alive and vibrant to me that it is rather embarrassing.

The travertine pools themselves are quite something, far huger in scope than I was remotely prepared for.  Absolutely beautiful, calcified lace and wedding cakes.  We saw at least four brides having their pictures taken there- it's obviously quite the trendy spot.  Also lots of stunningly immodest tourist dress- those with digital cameras were playing a "most inappropriate tourist" scavenger hunt, which Damien won with matching his-and-hers flesh-colored thongs.  I am not making that up.  

Watched sunset at the top and walked back down through the pools in the cool.  It's just about the most ludicrously romantic thing on the planet.  
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Up and out pretty early for the promised 3 hour hike that Nina sort of badgered and shamed me into going on despite my difficulties at Nemrut and on the Goreme hike. We started in the old ghost town of Kayakoy, cleared out in the population exchange in 1924 and later abandoned by the transplanted Macedonian Muslims sent to replace them. It's all stone, and at just that level of ruin where you can still see everything very clearly, quite creepy. It's the only town we've seen with no minarets, and it's incredible just how startling that looks. Lovely basilica with intact mosaic on the floor.

Our guide was just some local teenager Nina roped in, far more interested in canoodling his girlfriend than in us. The actual hike was beautiful but a complete bitch, and if we hadn't been tackling it so early in the morning I never would have made it. It's incredible how much more exhausting than just walking it is, when you have to carefully plant and brace every individual footfall. I ended up glad I'd done it in hindsight, of course, but only barely.

Wonderful day on the public beach at Oludeniz at the end. Watching the storms of paragliders like dandelion seeds off a cliff the brochures say is 6500 feet. Whole day there, giving myself a quite satisfying sunburn. Got chatted up by a really hot Turkish guy who teaches English in the Black Sea area during the year and works the paragliding shops in the summer.
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Complete hell. I've been hacking and coughing and sniffling and sneezing and Kelly told me she'll take another room because I kept her awake all night. I got some pills from the pharmacy, and they work a bit but only for the cough and only for a short time.

Dolus to Fethiye. new pension is associated with a hotel with a pool, which is icy cold, so that's wonderful. Everyone else went out to trek in the Salikent Gorge- the one where Nina was telling us cute stories about schoolboys pulling you up over the rocks for 50 kurush- also, where you have to wade through the icy water. But I just couldn't face hard physical activity 3 days in a row, and I really want to hike tomorrow. Swam, gave in and paid too much for a cool swishy skirt, and ate a crepe with honey and bananas (YUM). Planning on sleeping and resting as much as possible in the air con to try to be okay for tomorrow. Met a guy at the pool whose cough sounded exactly like mine, and it turns out he has bronchitis. Oh, fun.
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Sea kayaking today! I've been getting steadily sicker since the fever that night in Antalya, though I think the fever hasn't come back. I'm hawking and sneezing and sniffling like mad.

The kayaking trip was wildly fun. Just about everyone bagged out on it because of the heat, but it was quite cool and pleasant on the water and not such hard work at all. Two absolutely fantastic guides- Bez and Ally. They were absolutely exceptional, just damn fun. Bez was fantastic with the little girl in our group, and I've never seen anyone look like they're having so much damn fun on the water. He was paddling circles around us and rolling over and picking up starfish and urchins and jellyfish for us. The other guy was just gorgeous. I mean, beautiful. And just rocking the shirtless long haired pirate headscarf look. Just... wow. The sort of person you just want to sit and look at, as long as possible.

The sunken city of Kekova- pretty bare ruins, some foundations and stairs plunging into the water. Lycian tombs standing straight out of the water. A nice lunch.

Really badly sick by the end of the day. Tire blowout on the bus back. The pharmacy doesn't have any cough drops, just these pills I don't have any faith in. I am getting desperate for comfort and familiarity in that way you do when you're sick, but none to be found.
dragojustine: (Turkey)
Kas is beautiful. It's strikingly Greek-looking, the first properly Aegean town we've been in, with the white terraced houses and red tile roofs plunging straight down to the sea. Except, of course, for the flags and Turkish signs and all the damn minarets. Apparently they don't have anyone to do the call to prayer here, so all the mosques use a tape-recorded one, and you can clearly hear the cassette player tones. It's funny.

We walked down to arrange the sea kayaking for tomorrow and ate at this fabulous place called Mama's Kitchen, with these huge meat-filled dumpling things.

Finally to the beach, which is actually a steep plunge off barnacle rocks with some slimy ladders. I've never seen a rock-cliff beach like that, but it was cool and wet and refreshing and perfect. Damien is quite the enthusiastic diver, so that was fun.

Back to the pension, which has an absolutely lovely terrace, and, amazingly, free internet.


dragojustine: (Default)

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