TL,DR (now with REAL grammar action!)

It was a pretty good week, despite Remy being sick for a few days. On Monday, I went to one of the nearby libraries for a meeting of a German conversation club. The moderator of the club emails news articles to everyone, then you're supposed to read those and come to the meeting prepared to discuss them- auf Deutsch, natürlich. I always try to keep up with reading and listening, but prior to Monday, I hadn't actually attempted to speak German in ages. The last occasion was over the phone, with my mom's friend Simin, who lives in Germany. "Tante" Simin, as I call her, exchanges emails in German with me on occasion. She knows German and Farsi fluently, and just a smattering of English. Still, several times during our attempt at conversation, she was forced to explain herself in English because I was being a retard and couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted to say. I couldn't remember a word, or I was trying to juggle all the verb, gender, plural, and adjective ending rules, so my brain just seized up.

If you don't speak German often, It's all but guaranteed that you're going to screw something up ("Shit, how many goddamn verbs have to be thrown onto the end of this sentence?" That's the one that frequently gets me). Most native Germans are not forgiving about it. The nicer ones will detect your accent, and reply to you in English; on the whole, their English is damn good. The meaner ones will taunt you by asking ,,Was?" repeatedly.

I had no idea whether the conversation group was populated by native Germans or not. I also knew that they requested intermediate to fluent speakers only. And, the articles for this week's discussion were about Germany's atomic energy policy and the rising trend of domestic violence committed by females.

Was I intimidated? Hell yes. Here I hadn't exchanged a ,,Wie geht's?" in however long, and I would have to try stumbling through advanced topics. Well, I figured, it's a group discussion. I'll probably be listening most of the time anyway, and can just chime in whenever I feel brave.

So I went... and at the beginning, the moderator and I were the only ones there. I seem to have this uncanny ability to scare away regular members whenever I attend a club meeting for the first time. The moderator basically interviewed me about our topics. His German was very good, but I couldn't tell if he was a native speaker or not. I understood most of what he said, more than I could say back, but I held my ground. A couple of other girls showed up later to help round out the discussion, and I wound up having a pretty good time, even though there were several points where I had to stop mid-sentence because I didn't know how to phrase what was in my head. As my mom says, though, you just have to keep trying to spit it out. The next meeting is in two weeks, I'll definitely be going again.

On Tuesday, our friend Nick ("Apples") and his fiancee made a stop in Pittsburgh for a night- they're moving from upstate NY to Denver, CO. We took them out to dinner, and had a great time. I hope for the best for them in Denver. Visiting them out there one of these days should be awesome.

Remy was sick from Wednesday onward, unfortunately, but he's better now. Still, this counts as one of the more social weeks I've had in a while.

Otherwise, some random stuff I've been up to...
Collapse )

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

It's really damn lazy whenever people have paladins and clerics talk about "faith" in a D&D setting. They hear that word bandied about in church, so it sounds good to have it come out of a Warpriest's mouth ad nauseam. The problem is, D&D is a fantasy setting only somewhat modeled after the real world.

In the D&D world of Faerun, there are a pantheon of gods whose existence is concrete and not in question. People call on these deities to perform magic and miracles, and it always works... well, unless they have shitty concentration, and orcs are swinging clubs at their heads. But in that case, the failure is on them, and not on the god who really actually exists.

The definition of "faith" is "belief without proof." When there exists a shit-ton of evidence for something, it is impossible to have faith in that thing, by definition. A cleric in Faerun cannot have faith in his god any more than I on Earth can have faith in the Pythagorean theorem. If I stamp my foot and fold my arms and say, "A squared plus B squared does NOT equal C squared!" what difference does it make? The theorem still works. Who cares what I think? Similarly, in Faerun, if someone claims not to believe in a god or gods, he's not having a "crisis of faith." He's being an idiot. The god(s) will continue to exist whether he likes it or not.

So, if a divine-powered NPC ever starts nagging your character about "faith," feel free to deliver a solid smack upside the head, and tell your DM to knock it off. The clerics/paladins of Faerun should instead be concerning themselves with things like adherence to their deities' dogmas, and loyalty to the deity one chooses to worship. No Flavor-of-the-Month postulants, please.

P.S. If I lived in Faerun, I would totally be a Dawnbringer of Lathander.

Totally blowing my football load

I don't play fantasy football, but if I did, I would totally name my team "Pissing Excellence."

How sad is it that I am psyched to be watching the preseason? I had fun watching the game against Detroit, and I'm actively looking forward to watching the Third-String Steelers play the Third-String Giants. Part of the reason is that several of my coworkers are Giants fans, but still, preseason should not be attention-grabbing. Should it?

Of cookies, and the cold that keeps on giving

My coworkers sent me some black and white cookies last week, which was awesome. A tit-for-tat gesture, as I am known to ship them a few dozen of our famous regional cookie (the Smiley) now and again. Black and whites are Remy's favorite. I tried making them once, but they didn't come out properly at all. I have since located a new recipe, and I plan to give it a shot sometime when there aren't quite as many sweets lying around our house. (In general, that blog has a lot of good looking food and fantastic photography, but many of the recipes look like they're more of a pain in the ass than they're worth.)

Meanwhile, I continue to have a blocked eustachian tube. My doctor saw nothing wrong with my ear, which means that mucus from my cold must have backed up into a deeply embedded region that wasn't meant to hold fluid, and it must take its sweet time draining back out again. I was completely deaf in my left ear for about a week and a half, with the notable exception of tinnitus. In the past day or two, a tiny bit of hearing has returned. It seems to be just certain frequencies, and it seems like my eardrum is so excited by the novelty that anytime I hear something, the sound reverberates almost painfully. The best illustration I can come up with is when somebody drives by with their car stereo's bass cranked. You know how annoying that sounds/feels, and how your windows rattle? That's my left ear when a sound happens to get through.

I was on antibiotics for a few days; now I'm popping Mucinex and a prescription anti-histamine. Also drinking my fluids and (ugh, I hate) chewing gum to try to loosen things up. From what I've seen on the internets, this could take anywhere from weeks to a month to clear up entirely. At least I'm not chronically congested anymore?
kitty general


Remy's family was in town for part of last week, which was fun. They all enjoy Pittsburgh, and they got on swimmingly with my family- which doesn't surprise me, but at the same time, I can't help feeling relieved.

Otherwise, I remain less than healthy, which makes my cold over two weeks old now. I feel mostly fine, except that I get congested and cough-y each evening with some really ugly mucus. My left ear blocked up on Saturday, and it's been ringing ever since. Can't hear as well out of it, either, and nothing I do clears it entirely. I'm trying to get an appointment with my PCP, but no one's answering the damn phone. Worst-case, I will drive down there on my lunch hour. I think it's a sinus infection at this point, and I just need that little piece of paper to obtain some antibiotics.