a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
yhlee: Mirror Georgiou from Star Trek: Discovery, eating an apple (ST:D Mirror Georgiou apple)
Read more... )

...so are there going to be more Short Treks? Or does anyone have fic recs? I'd happily read gen about Tilly or Reno or the minor bridge crew characters, Sarek-Amanda-Spock-Michael family feels, dirtybadwrong Mirror!Georgiou/Michael, anything happy about Captain Pike or Cornwell...or ANYTHING cracky like coffee shop AU or whatever. XD Actually, I'm probably most likely to read coffee shop or mundane AU because that's where my brain is right now, LOL.
20 April 2019 20:35 - Sephardic Charosets
donutsweeper: (Default)
I mentioned this recipe in the Yuletide discord and there was some interest in it so I thought I'd write it up. It's quite the change from the typical apple, walnuts, sugar and wine recipe that I (and many Ashkenazi Jews) grew up with but has become a staple at my seders since I got it 26 years ago when in college. I usually double it so there's plenty for the seder and to give to people to take home and I still have some left to eat through passover.

1/2 lb pitted dates
1 C dark currants (or double the raisins)
1 C raisins
1/4 C pitted prunes
1- 1 1/4 C sweet wine (grape juice will work too)
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/4 C ground almonds

1) Soak the fruit overnight (either coarsely chop the fruit before soaking or whir with an immersion blender once in the pan the next day). 2) Drain but reserve the liquid. 3) In a heavy pan combine the fruit, 1 C wine and 1 C of reserved liquid (if doubling do NOT double this). 4) Cook over med-low heat 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally (until the liquid is absorbed) and the mixture is thick. 5) Cool. 6)Stir in nuts and more wine if it's too dry.
20 April 2019 20:57 - 52F - 43F : Rainy
zhelana: (seaQuest - light and dark)
I did spend a little bit of time writing last night, which is good. Then I went to bed around 2:30 and woke up around 2:10. I got up and read DW until it was time for my appointment at World Toyota. I got there easily, and they managed to upsell me on new windshield wiper blades at buy one get one free. Then I went into a trailer labeled "customer lounge." At first all I saw were rows of chairs aimed at a large television that was playing the braves game. Then I saw a room off to the side labeled "customer workstations" which had three high top tables with three chairs at each. There was no one in this room, so I claimed an entire table and set up my laptop. I fought with the wifi for a minute or two before deciding that I'd just read instead, so I read all my kindle books.

About 50 minutes later, someone came to get me, which is a nice personal touch over the intercoms you can barely understand at Atlanta Toyota. I paid and left. I was about halfway home when I remembered Kevin is at Brandon's playing a RPG so I needed to feed myself. I took a slight detour and went to Zaxby's.

I ate and then went home and started in on my reading again. I'm 2 chapters from done with The Municipalists so I think I plan to finish that overnight tonight. If not, I'll certainly finish it by Monday. Then I can (re)start on Early Riser.

I didn't go on a walk today because it was raining when I came home from the car vet.

My mom asked me to take her dog for an extra 2 days next weekend. I already was supposed to have him Monday to Friday, but now I have him until Sunday evening as she and my father are going to the Gammons' house to spend a weekend at the lake after they come home from Hilton Head. The Gammons are moving away from the lake because their huge house is just taking too much effort to clean now that they don't have 3 kids at home to help with the chores, and there really isn't any use for a house with an entire suite downstairs where one of their sons and his wife used to live.
20 April 2019 18:50
the_rck: (Default)
Somehow, Scott and I ended up staying up past midnight last night. It was mostly due to Scott not coming to bed until past 12:30. I didn't even notice how late it was because he doesn't stay up like that normally. I woke at 6 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep.

Part of the not getting back to sleep is that Scott opened the blinds when he did the work on the ceiling fan last weekend. Since we get up at 5:30 on weekdays, I hadn't really noticed, but I definitely noticed this morning. The other parts of not getting back to sleep were the usual culprits in terms of the Halcion and painkillers having worn off and in terms of my body being unable to make up its mind about being warm or cold.

I need to make some family phone calls this weekend. There have been three birthdays in the last week, and I completely forgot. I wished my sister a happy birthday on Facebook, but that seems like more of a failure than missing it altogether.
20 April 2019 17:22 - Do I know anyone
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Who can turn a few reviews into epub books?
20 April 2019 14:59
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
reading for Phoenix Extravagant

from The Met's essays on East Asian art (hat-tip to [personal profile] mecurtin

(yes i am literally reading my way through relevant-to-this-novel things in alphabetical order)

- Art of the Edo Period
- Art of the Korean Renaissance
- Art of the Pleasure Quarters and Ukiyo-e Style
- Asuka and Nara Periods (538-794)
- Buddhism and Buddhist Art
- Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
- Chinese Calligraphy
- Chinese Cloisonné
- Chinese Gardens and Collectors' Rocks
- Chinese Handscrolls
- Chinese Hardstone Carvings
- Chinese Painting
- Daoism and Daoist Art
- The Decoration of Arms and Armor [All my arms & armor books, including the ones that talked about decorative techniques, perished in the flood, FML.]
- East and West: Chinese Export Porcelain
- East Asian Cultural Exchange in Tiger and Dragon Paintings [Haha, I think of ones you can find in the tourist markets in Seoul going for a song. Elsewhere too, I'm sure.]
- Edo-Period Japanese Porcelain
- Folios from the Jami' al-tavarikh (Compendium of Chronicles)
- Golden Treasures: The Royal Tombs of Silla
- Goryeo Celadon
- Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)
-
Heian Period (794-1185)

for future reference:
- Chinese pigment [Wikipedia]

recently read, other
- Alison Green. Ask a Manager.
Picked this up on sale as an ebook a little bit back. I could have wished for less scattershot organization within chapters, although the chapters themselves were organized by topic (e.g. talks with coworkers, talks with your boss, etc.). Cannot comment on the efficacy of the advice since my job (writing sf/f freelance) is...idiosyncratic. My favorite parts were the far-out-there excerpted letters/answers (like the one about the woman who had a worker who was hexing coworkers she didn't like!!!); less practical to be sure, but I would have found an entire book of the wildest stories more entertaining for anecdote-gathering purposes.

currently reading
- Jason Shepherd. Learn Welsh Now.
A beginning Welsh ebook with linked audio files for pronunciation, which are still up and very handy. Chapters are short, with vocabulary lists, rough pronunciation guides, grammar tips, and quizzes. I'm slowly working through this as a supplement to Duolingo Welsh.
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
Despite a late start, I slept nearly nine hours into this afternoon and dreamed about some lost episodes of a Twilight Zone-ish, Outer Limits-ish nonexistent TV show that awake I am somewhat saddened by, because changeling stories that end in death between worlds are not all that radical. I suspect I may have been influenced by the discussion surrounding the recent season finale of The Magicians.

I thought I should mention that I have blurbed Bogi Takács' forthcoming poetry collection Algorithmic Shapeshifting (Aqueduct Press). So has Ada Hoffmann. We both used the words "visceral" and "Talmudic," which should suggest something about the poems. It doesn't look as though copies are yet available for preorder, but e-ARCs for reviewers are an option.

The plan for the rest of the afternoon is to pick up a book from the library and meet [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for a movie and dinner. And then maybe go home and go back to sleep. I cannot stay asleep for a month, but I am really starting to wish it was economically and physiologically feasible.
20 April 2019 20:31 - Book meme- Day 19
scripsi: (Default)
19. Still can't stop talking about it.

I talk about books. Period. I bore all my friends talking about the books I love. I bore you with talking about books I read. And books I love. Of course, some books, or authors, get talked about more.

I will, for example, always recommend Dorothy L. Sayers. She wrote a series of detective stories in the ’20s and ’30s featuring a gentleman detective; Lord Peter Wimsey. I’m not sure if the actual detective is good- my first time was in my teens when I was largely unaware of tropes, and now I’m so familiar with the books I’m not the best judge. I read them for the characters. Lord Peter is witty, his manservant Bunter can stand up to Jeeves, and he has a delightful mother. You don’t have to write them in order, though they are written chronologically- Lord Peter is 33 in the first book which takes place in 1923, and 45 in the last one. I do, however, think it’s a good idea to write the ones featuring his love story with Harriet Vane in order; Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. And I say only read Five Red Herrings if you are already a fan.

I will also try to talk people into reading Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s written a number of SF novels, all of them set in the same universe and most of them featuring a hero called Miles Vorkosigan. There is also a series of fantasy novels and novellas called The Five Gods universe, as well as another fantasy/romance series called The Sharing Knife. I’m not that keen on The Sharing Knife books, but that’s largely because I don’t much care for Romance novels, to begin with. But on the whole, I always find Bujold very entertaining, and she really knows how to write interesting characters, even if it’s only a minor one.

I’ll always recommend Diana Wynne Jones too. She wrote fantasy novels both for children, YA and a few for adults. I find even her worse book a good read, she is funny, interesting and even if she has a few favorite tropes, there is always a new twist, often quite unexpected.

And then there is Neil Gaiman. And Tove Jansson. And… I’ll never run out of authors and books to talk about.
penk: (Default)

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been having some serious problems with bandwidth from home. Since I work remotely, this has gotten to be a serious issue. Regular daily checks against Speedtest would result in abysmal numbers (we’re talking between 8 and 15 Mbps.) I knew my cable modem could do better, and after a bunch of debugging, I realized it was most likely the Archer C7 TP-Link router I was using. This was originally supposed to be a decent performer, but in the end, it’s turned out to be absolute crap. So I went shopping.









The fix turned out to be replacing the router with a Nighthawk AC2300 Dual Band Router The installation was super-duper easy, and setting it up with my reserved IP addresses, guest network, customized DHCP range, etc was a breeze. The initial config was done via an app on my phone, which was pretty helpful, as it allowed configuration while hopping around on the new Wifi network I was creating.









So how fast is it? Well, here’s what Speedtest is showing me now. To say this is an improvement would be a gross understatement. This is epic.





Thanks Netgear for providing an excellent product with excellent performance results. I’m a fan.

20 April 2019 10:39 - Update on various aggravations
rachelmanija: (Naked and dripping wet)
1. Chef Nourish refunded my money (minus $23 for the two gross meals I already received.) Also, my Yelp review is still up. I'll take that as a win.

2. The bookcase saga continues. To refresh your memory, one of a set of two matching bookcases arrived without the unique bolts needed to put them together. The seller refused to send replacement bolts. Amazon said they were a third party and not their problem.

I finally got the seller to tell me the name of the manufacturer of the bolts, and inquired with them. They promptly replied to tell me to take it up with Amazon. I told them Amazon wouldn't help, and got this reply:

Yes, they are a third party and we do not sell products to Amazon. They sold it to you, so they take responsibility. They should send you a new bookcase.

ARRRRRRGH. I sent them an email repeating that Amazon told me to take it up with the seller, and the seller told me to take it up with the manufacturer. At that point, either taking pity on me or wanting to stop getting messages, they promised to send me more bolts. We'll see if they ever arrive.

3. In the meantime, I gave in and ordered a replacement bookcase from the same people (I know, but it's a matching set). They sent me the matched set (i.e., two).

While attempting to drag them inside, Alex bolted between my legs and was down the stairs in literally seconds. In a panic, I rushed after him.

I should mention at this point that it was late at night and I wore only a very skimpy nightshirt with nothing underneath. Also, since I'd been in my chair at that moment, I did not have my crutches with me, something whose implications only dawned on me when I was at the bottom of the very dirty stairs I had just literally slithered down bare-assed.

With no other choice, I slithered to Alex, who luckily hadn't gone far and was lurking under a nearby bush, grabbed him, and then levered myself back up the dirty stairs, still bare-assed and now with the additional weight of a cat. Let's just say it was not the most fun thing ever.

Goddamn cats! Anyone got any ideas on how to keep Alex from bolting again? Other than locking them out of the living room every time I open the outside doors, which is not remotely practical due to the layout of my apartment. I live near an extremely busy street, so I really don't want them escaping.

The bookcases are still outside my door, so I have no idea whether or not they came with the bolts.
20 April 2019 10:47 - weekly wrap up
runpunkrun: image of a folded newspaper, text: good news everyone! (good news everyone!)
Dreamwidth:

I'm having a mood theme yard sale, in case you have a paid account and want a mood theme I downloaded sometime during the early 2000s.

While messing around with my own mood theme, I rediscovered the page where you can check out the overall mood of the entire site.

Recs:

Over on [community profile] fancake, I recced Once Upon a (Prescription) Mattress, by that_which, a fairytale-inspired Stargate Atlantis fic with a great voice.

And this week's AO3 bookmark recs are in Captive Prince, Macdonald Hall, and His Dark Materials—all book fandoms!

Food:

Over on [community profile] gluten_free, I talked up parchment paper—specifically the parchment paper muffin cups I won't bake without—and now we're on an egg-free kick.
20 April 2019 16:58 - PSA
rydra_wong: From the film "The Last Flight": hands holding a champagne glass containing a set of false teeth. (last flight -- teeth)
YMMV, but I would commend the recent "In Our Time" episode on "The Evolution of Teeth" to the attention of anyone who would like to experienc some pleasant mild intellectually-stimulating body horror.

Features the term "skin-teeth". DID THE TEETH START IN THE SKIN AND MIGRATE INWARDS OR IN THE PHARYNX AND MOVE OUTWARDS. Also sharks. Lots of sharks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003zbg or iTunes or your podcatcher of choice
20 April 2019 08:47
bridgetmkennitt: (Default)
Sign ups are open for Not Prime Time and instructions for it are here. They'll close on April 30th.

I actually finished season 2 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in 2 days and it was wild, but I loved it. I hope there's a season 3.

I also got HBO streaming so I can watch the last season of Game of Thrones. The best part though is how many movies I want to watch/haven't seen are on it, that aren't on Hulu or Netflix. Score!
20 April 2019 15:47 - Plotbunny for Free to Good Home
extrapenguin: A man raising a glass protector off from above a magic device. (guardian)
There is a theory that our universe is only a simulation. There's some probability stuff (one universe with sentients can technically create an infinite amount of computer simulation universes) and some other stuff (the fact that the outcomes of some quantum mechanics things depend on whether the thing is observed) that gets trotted out as evidence pro, but as the truth of this hypothesis doesn't affect my life in the slightest, I don't really give a fuck.

Except, of course, in the realm of plotbunnies.

Zhao Yunlan at one point outright asks Shen Wei whether they're just characters in a book; why not have the Guardian-verse be a computer simulation of planetary ecological development under various conditions, where they got funding by making "reality TV" out of these simulated worlds' events? Then the creations would rage against the capricious gods and want compensation for their part in the circus performance of the bread and circuses. Epistemology, breaking the fourth wall, and thoughts on the rights of non-flesh-and-blood sentients! What's not to like? Please take this plotbunny off my hands so I can with clear conscience concentrate on my 520 assignment and Ye Zun plotbunnies.
batman: Yoshino Harusawa from Devil Survivor (primal tongue)
I finished Devil Survivor: Overclocked not so long ago, otherwise known as a million years after everyone else. I did start playing the DS version when it first came out, but got frustrated at the mechanics, and then ended up picking up the 3DS remake with all the modifications. I then did not play it for years, because I make great gaming choices, clearly. Better late than never! I … feel like this sums up my entire backlog reduction project...

Ho? But they're hee-horrible! I can't magical punishment them, ho? )

I've got a post left to do for Cinderella Phenomenon, and I am thiiiis close to finishing Chaos;Child (otherwise known as "fun murder times for broken teenagers driven on by guilt and self-loathing!") and then it's working on Xenosaga 2, Kingdom Hearts 2.5, The World Ends With You, or Atelier Totori. Probably Xenosaga, because I'm at Atlantica for Kingdom Hearts 2 and I was not a fan of Atlantica in the first game.
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
And tonight after all the guests from the seder had gone home we vacuumed the eleventh plague off the walls and ceilings of three different rooms, for it came in the form of tiny, tiny midges slipping through the window screens and homing straight for the lights and it was not as gross as the first plague or as fatal as the last, but it was impressively obnoxious. It was a good seder all the same. Every year is different and what matters is that you open the door to the stranger: let all who are thirsty have to drink, let all who are hungry be fed, let all who are enslaved be free. Next year in Jerusalem, next year in freedom as my mother says. Chag sameach, all.
19 April 2019 20:59 - 73F - 52F : Severe Storms
zhelana: (Marvel - thumbs up)
Last night was another one of those where I was up every hour. I fell asleep easily at 10:30, but then was awake at midnight, and every hour until 4am. Then I stayed asleep until 8am, went back to bed at 10am, and woke up every hour until I finally woke up for good at 2. When I woke up, the groceries were already here, so I woke Kevin up and we put them away.

When we were finished with that, I read lj and dw, and then did some reading. Around 5 I had a great debate as to whether to cook dinner or just act like a cat and continue reading in a blanket all day. Eventually I decided it was cheaper to cook than to cat, so I got up and cooked Italian Wonderpot, which is one of Kevin's favorite meals. It's one I think I can continue to make if I make it with whole wheat pasta or something. Hopefully that won't change it too much, and Kevin will still like it. There's enough stuff that the pasta isn't the main part of the meal, and you probably don't eat more than a serving of pasta.

After the meal, I tried a larabar brownie. It was not bad for a low carb, gluten free sweet. At any rate, it tasted like chocolate even if the mouth feel wasn't quite right. I guess I can replace some of my candy bars with this. Probably not all of them unless I find a mint option, but I think I did see a low carb mint ice cream, which might do for that flavor. I didn't buy it because I was buying a lot of snacks to try different things this week.

When I was done, I came back and continued with my reading. I gave up on a book I just started yesterday for being too theoretical and not providing enough concrete examples. It's the kind of heady crap you get in graduate school, but it's not fun to just read it. I started a book that is supposed to be a general overview of Russian history from the Kyivan Rus to Putin. There are no realpage numbers on it though, so I guess I'm reading a chapter a day, which is probably significantly more than 10 pages. Unless I read 10 kindle pages, which is significantly less than 10 pages. Or I guess I could figure out how many pages there are supposed to be and what percent of the book would represent 10 pages each day?

Kevin's doctor told him today that our deductible that we have to pay before the insurance will pay any of his new bipap is $1900. But it's on a year long rent-to-own program, which means in January, it'll reset as though we paid 0 of it and we'll be on the hook for the entire thing again. He says he knows where to call to try to buy one outright for the $2000 that our deductible is, which will mean getting no help from his insurance, and I'm not sure why we pay for his insurance because they're always crap. I guess that's what we get for him working for a UK based company where his bosses don't have to deal with the insurance they decide to buy for their US based employees. This has caused more than one headache. Although he may have just found a place to buy a good one for $1700 which is even less than the insurance wanted out of us.

Amazon sent out an email for something or other highlighting 9 free books you can read in translation on the kindle. I downloaded 5 of them, but I'm not going to start reading any of them until I'm done with The Red Tent which I just started. As with anything shiny and new, I want to start right now, but if I'm honest with myself I can't handle any more daily reading. Although there's only 6 more chapters of The Boy on the Wooden Box so theoretically I could start a new book when I finish that, if I acknowledge that I'm going to have to stop reading it when I find out what the next book club book is. That would give me 6 weeks to finish the book, which is about right for a novel, I think? We'll see.

I haven't written fiction in a week now, which is pathetic for a camp month. Admittedly I easily made my goal, but stopping 2 weeks into the month, even given that, is not ideal. Maybe I'll try to write something tonight.

Tomorrow is going to be rainy, but it should stop by the time I'm done getting my oil changed. There's really no excuse for not going on a walk. I haven't gone in 3 or 4 days, and I meant to go today, but it never stopped raining, even though the only rain was supposed to be in the morning. After that it should be nice until Thursday evening. We probably won't get a fighter practice Thursday, but Tuesday we should.

I have no plans for Sunday or Monday, and tomorrow the only thing planned is an oil change. I guess it's going to be a boring long weekend for Easter. Kevin was off today, too. At least he's been relatively quiet for whatever reason. I should be able to get a walk in both of those two days since the weather should be nice.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I wanted a piece of jewelry to commemorate handing off Con or Bust, among other things, but nothing was really grabbing me, so I outsourced creativity and asked Elise Matthesen to make me a surprise pendant. I prompted soft green (after a necklace I bought last Readercon and broke a while ago) and/or freedom. The result is called "Breathing Room" and it's glorious; it makes me feel like I'm wearing a protective amulet or armor. I posted pictures on Twitter.

(Elise is having a big sale now and has promised to do something with the makes-a-surprise later this weekend, so check the shop out!)


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siderea: (Default)
Maggid
By Marge Piercy

The courage to let go of the door, the handle.
The courage to shed the familiar walls whose very
stains and leaks are comfortable as the little moles
of the upper arm; stains that recall a feast,
a child’s naughtiness, a loud blattering storm
that slapped the roof hard, pouring through.

The courage to abandon the graves dug into the hill,
the small bones of children and the brittle bones
of the old whose marrow hunger had stolen;
the courage to desert the tree planted and only
begun to bear; the riverside where promises were
shaped; the street where their empty pots were broken.

The courage to leave the place whose language you learned
as early as your own, whose customs however dan-
gerous or demeaning, bind you like a halter
you have learned to pull inside, to move your load;
the land fertile with the blood spilled on it;
the roads mapped and annotated for survival.

The courage to walk out of the pain that is known
into the pain that cannot be imagined,
mapless, walking into the wilderness, going
barefoot with a canteen into the desert;
stuffed in the stinking hold of a rotting ship
sailing off the map into dragons’ mouths,

Cathay, India, Siberia, goldeneh medina*
leaving bodies by the way like abandoned treasure.
So they walked out of Egypt. So they bribed their way
out of Russia under loads of straw; so they steamed
out of the bloody smoking charnelhouse of Europe
on overloaded freighters forbidden all ports—

out of pain into death or freedom or a different
painful dignity, into squalor and politics.
We Jews are all born of wanderers, with shoes
under our pillows and a memory of blood that is ours
raining down. We honor only those Jews who changed
tonight, those who chose the desert over bondage,

who walked into the strange and became strangers
and gave birth to children who could look down
on them standing on their shoulders for having
been slaves. We honor those who let go of every-
thing but freedom, who ran, who revolted, who fought,
who became other by saving themselves.


* "Goldeneh medina", Yiddish, literally "Golden Land", idiomatically America
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

It's been, as the kids say, a heckin big week for us in nature around the house. This is why I'm skipping last weekend's events to reveal to you the astounding developments of Tuesday through Thursday.

So Tuesday morning I was walking into the dining room and noticed ... something ... out in our goldfish pond. Not goldfish. There are, if they survived the winter, eight goldfish there. But this was something on the surface. I looked out again, and went upstairs to get a view from the spare bedroom, and got my camera. There were ducks in the pond. Mallards, a male and female. Just sitting on the water, floating around, poking their heads into the water, sometimes dabbling. Sometimes just floating.

After a couple snaps I got to worrying: do they eat goldfish? That seemed unlikely but they might so I went upstairs to wake [profile] bunny_hugger --- I've been rousing an hour or two before her most days, lately --- and gave her the news, which she responded to the way you might respond to someone who woke you about three-quarters of the way through your night's rest with breaking duck news. But she thought that it should probably be all right because she didn't think mallards would bother with goldfish and also how the heck did they even find our pond? There've been many creatures finding our pond, including some interesting birds, but those have been, like, Cape May Warblers. Not waterfowl.

SAM_3602.jpg

This is more or less the first thing I saw: the pair floating around and maybe getting annoyed by the pond heater.


SAM_3609.jpg

From upstairs I got to see the female dabbling, and also just how much of a smeary distortion there is in the window up there. It's an old house, show some respect.


SAM_3614.jpg

My best picture of either duck gargling.


The ducks spent maybe 45 minutes around the pond, after I noticed them. They spent like twenty minutes of that just standing by the edge of the pond, then jumped back in and did a little more swimming and dabbling and splashing about. And then they got up, tromped through the yard, and left. Which is their business, but which hurt [profile] bunny_hugger as she'd only just gotten awake enough to go looking. She had assumed they'd spend the whole day there, or at least hours.

SAM_3627.jpg

And then I ventured outside. I was maybe fifty feet from them, but, I buy my cameras for optical zoom. They spent a good while standing by the edge of hte pond like this.


SAM_3631.jpg

And here the pair are just floating around again, enjoying the waters.


SAM_3633.jpg

I didn't see the female dabbling any further, but she did poke her head underwater some.


SAM_3638.jpg

This is fairly near the water filter, a foot-cube plastic crate with rocks inside that's grown a lot of algae over the years.


Since then I've been looking out the window obsessively, naturally enough, for signs of seeing them again. No sign yet, but on Thursday the big plastic heater that was sitting in the center of the pond had been tipped over. That is, it was resting on its back. It's a very bouyant thing, and it was tethered by the power cord and by some twine hooking it to a post at the edge of the pond. It would take some big disturbing thing to knock it over. And it hadn't been upside-down Wednesday. (I've since taken the heater out because it's not getting cold enough to freeze the pond over anymore.)

SAM_3644.jpg

Now the male tipped over so often and so long you'd think he was designed to do that or something.


SAM_3648.jpg

Ah ... say ... does the female there need any help? She's had her head underwater kind of a while now?


SAM_3649.jpg

Whew! All right, everything's cool. No worries.


Also on Thursday I saw that at least one of the orange goldfish who'd weathered the winter was still out there, swimming fast and looking quite large. It registered no comment about the duck situation.

SAM_3655.jpg

After a good 40 minutes or so they got out and walked across the backyard, inspecting the side garden and the flower bed.


SAM_3656.jpg

THE DUCKS ARE MAKING FOR THE HOUSE STOP KEEP FREQUENCY CLEAR STOP WILL CONTINUE TRANSMITTING AS LONG AS CAN HOLD POSITION STOP 2X2L CQ IS ANYBODY THERE 2X2L CQ IS ANYBODY THERE 2X2L CQ IS ANYBODY THERE


Trivia: In 1867 Cadbury chocolates began their largest-to-date advertising campaign, on the slogan ``Absolutely Pure, Therefore Best''. Source: Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between The World's Great Chocolate Makers, Deboarah Cadbury.

Currently Reading: DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Les Daniels.

19 April 2019 20:43
the_rck: (Default)
Writing is still going very slowly. I'm still having days when I write nothing at all. Given two assignments with due dates looming, it's a little worrying. I've passed minimum word count on one of those two, at least, but it still doesn't fulfill the conditions of the exchange. The other story has been sitting, untouched, for a while because it's not ready for writing yet. The due dates are a day apart, so I figure I'm good as long as I'm making progress on one or the other.

Cordelia didn't have school today because of Good Friday. She's very confused about that but happy to have a day off. The local schools do spring break in March without connecting it to Easter. I'm pretty sure that, when I was a kid, it usually floated to follow Easter.

I got a load of laundry done today and cooked some fish. I also put together my pillboxes for the next week. I have seven that are meant to be a week of storage and use one for each day so that I can open the bottles once a week instead of every day. I'd have liked to do dishes, but I couldn't manage that on top of the rest. The pills were hardest. Those run into both the osteoarthritis and the tremor, so I keep missing the compartments. I try to do the boxes when Scott and Cordelia aren't watching. I'm not sure why given that they know I have those issues.

The pillboxes are very helpful, though, because I can look at them and know whether or not I've taken today's dose of whatever goes in that compartment. There are things I really don't want to miss taking or double up on. Now I just need a way to track the take as needed stuff.
19 April 2019 15:11 - Decluttering Drawers: Bedroom
rachelmanija: (Dollhouse)
Learning how to fold things so they are in horizontal rows rather than vertical stacks is definitely the point where this tipped over into "hobby." However, it does make stuff WAY easier to find.

These are before-and-after aerial shots of my T-shirt drawer:



19 April 2019 16:00
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
still rsi left wrist

plassyuing flight rising bc i can do that w right mouse hand

also sryth

& weirdly, ipad & pencil 2 drawing on procreate. last night: sketches of pike & enperoro georgiou

ara ius playing the game arsenal an fps w evil chickens. i thought of you, [personal profile] rachelmanija

oik, typing 2 hard. see y'all l8r
19 April 2019 16:58
seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
I was just emailed a weekend coupon to the local kosher pizzeria. I... don't know what to do with that.

A zissen pizzach to all!

I guess I do know what to do with that. :P
19 April 2019 13:58 - #big mood (theme)
runpunkrun: rodney mckay with a gun, text: "My Army training tells me...this is going to be a hot mission." (rodney's in army now)

One of the fun things about a paid account is being able to upload customized mood themes like it's 1999 (literally—that's when LJ started up), and I just happen to have a MILLION zip files of other people's mood themes saved to my computer.

So, if you're interested, leave a comment and pick a couple; I'll upload the zip files to Mediafire and add the links to this post. Warning: They're all LJ era fandoms, and accordingly some have better resolution than others. Also the pictures vary from tiny to big.

Here's a list: look it's the aughts again )

I haven't used moods in such a long time I forgot how...weird the options are. No "helpful" or "useful," no "industrious." Guess I'll go with busy.

19 April 2019 22:22 - Writing
scripsi: (Default)
I decided to evolve the All About Eve-fic I posted recently. It’s not going to draw readers, but it won’t leave me alone, so I need to write it for my own sake. And I enjoy writing, always- only it would be fun to have more people to discuss thing with. It’s a little boring to always get stuck in small fandoms, or small corners of bigger fandoms. I wonder why that is? Perhaps the dynamics I like are unfashionable, so they simply don’t appear in big fandoms.

I finally got around removing all my fics on fanfiction.net. I stopped updating there last year when I got irritated by their lack of response over a person who harassed several writers there, including me. It was my first fanfiction archive, and I kept posting there out of habit, mostly finding it clunky and hard to navigate. I considered removing my account altogether but never got around. But recently I got a message from someone who had taken issues with the lack of warnings on one of my old fics, and who would report me if I didn’t fix that.

Now, I’m not opposed to warnings, and on AO3 it’s very easy to include them in the tags, so I do. But ff.net have never had a natural spot for them, and when I first started to post fics there, around 2004, there simply wasn’t the same culture about warning for triggering content as it is now, so I didn’t see it as important. I could, of course, have gone back through all my fics and start to put in suitable warnings, but it just felt like too much a hassle. Much easier to just remove the fics altogether. They are still all on AO3 and I left my people open on ff.net with this information. Those who have me as favourite author can easily see where my fics have gone.

I’m still in two minds if I should sign up for On Fic Mountain and Not Prime Time. There are too few fandoms I actually would want to write, and at the moment I don't want to fill up with fandoms I only feel so-so about and write a fic I don’t enjoy writing. I think I rather try for a few treats instead.
extrapenguin: Wei Wuxian (from Modao Zushi) playing the flute in front of a red Sun. (mdzs)
DRAFT DONE!!!

I have finished my MDZS WIP (on my phone, so no wordcount updates; it must be over 40k though) and can now do other things with my life for a bit!!! I'm not letting myself touch it for edits until next weekend. It needs editing, and lots of it, but: complete first draft!

Happy full moon, everyone.
rachelmanija: (Fowl: Evil Chicken)
A delightful middle-grade novel about a girl who acquires a flock of chickens with superpowers.

I feel like that’s really all that needs to be said. Either this is something you immediately want to read, or not. But a few more things I liked about it…

- It’s epistolatory, told completely in the form of letters, chicken quizzes and pamphlets, to-do lists, etc.

- There are a lot of completely accurate chicken facts.

- The superpowers are used the way that actual chickens would use superpowers if they had them. They’re not superintelligent chickens, just regular chickens with unusual abilities.

- The heroine, Sophie, is biracial (white father, Mexican-American mother) and while this is relevant to the story, it’s not what the story is about. Are you or do you know a Latina girl who wants a book where someone like them is the heroine and it’s not about Issues? Do they like chickens and/or The X-Men? Then they are the perfect reader for this book.

- Honestly though anyone is the perfect reader for this book. I guess unless they hate and fear chickens.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

19 April 2019 09:55 - Cool Stuff Friday
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Episode IX: The Rise of Friday

19 April 2019 14:22 - Mum Back in Hospital
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
Ambulance came to pick her up this morning: she's developed an infection on top of her broken ribs/sternum/cracked vertebra. They're going to be keeping her in at least overnight :(
19 April 2019 08:13 - Salon post: April 19
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
Welcome to this week's salon post!

Topic of the week
What's your favourite holiday? (Been thinking about this because of a thing I'll put in a comment.)

What I've been up to
A short work week, and a quiet one, and trying to line up ducks for various other projects (including a "Wow, my June is busy.")

Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
House rules )
brithistorian: (Default)
Youngjae is the main vocal of the group Got7.  Here we get to see him performing by himself, and I must say, he does not disappoint.

I have fun trying to figure out where K-pop videos are being filmed based on signs in the background.  Usually I can narrow it down to a town, sometimes to a street, but this time I'm able to narrow it down to a specific block:  Thanks to the include of The Wee Chippy, I know that at least past of this video was filmed in the 1300 block of Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California.

19 April 2019 10:35 - Ospreycam!
auroracloud: (budding twigs)
In the last few years, WWF Finland have installed a few live webcams in places where various wild animals spend their time, so people can learn more about their lives. Their osprey webcam now has occupants! They're filming a nesting place of a pair of ospreys, and the birds returned there a couple of days ago and have started gathering nest materials. They've also started attempting to make baby ospreys.

They're magnificent birds, and fascinating to observe. I love looking at them. If you need any proof that birds are actually dinosaurs, ospreys are a pretty good example.

Once May starts, we'll also get the biggest hit of the webcams, the seal cam... Then we'll all watch Saimaa ringed seals rest on sunny rocks to aid their molting.
18 April 2019 22:26 - "Getting paid for every jar"
rosefox: A person in a gas mask. (illness)
Today I got blood drawn to verify my immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella.

If you're in or near an area with an active measles outbreak, or if you happen to be seeing your doctor for some other reason, I encourage you to get your immunity checked, especially if you're too young to have had measles and too old to have gotten a second dose of the vaccine when that recommendation was added in 1989. For all the talk of unvaccinated kids, it's non-immune adults who can do the most harm, because they're the most mobile. The guy who started the Michigan outbreak assumed he was immune, and thought he had bronchitis; then he infected 40 people. So please get checked out, and get your MMR if you need it, and do your part for herd immunity to counteract those who won't or can't.

My pediatrician was on the ball and I got an MMR in 1991. I'm almost certainly immune. But we live on the edge of one of the neighborhoods that's had reported cases*, and we frequently shop in that neighborhood, and Kit plays on the local playground with kids from that neighborhood... so we're all getting blood tests just in case.

* I've been thinking about how easy it is for this to turn into "I don't want my child to play with those dirty children from that segregated community" and the like. I have been reading some Orthodox Jewish news sites—all of which are pro-vax, bless them—and one published an op-ed that bluntly said, "Letting your kids get measles instead of getting them vaccinated plays right into 'dirty Jew' stereotypes and harms the whole community." So I am being conscious with my wording, and glad that that discussion is happening within Orthodox communities, and keeping my very non-Orthodox self the hell out of it.

Kit's pediatrician says the dose Kit got at 12 months will protect them until they turn four and get the second dose, and there's no need to give it early (which he does do for children traveling to epidemic areas). But he's keeping an eye out for reports of measles on our end of the neighborhood, and giving babies their first doses as early as it's safe to do.

I hate this. I hate every part of this. I hate how easily anti-vaxers prey on vulnerable people. I hate that this is still, still, based on fear of autism (and don't get me started on autism and Jewishness, because whoo boy there's a lot to talk about there). I just want everyone to be safe and healthy, especially the little babies who get no say in any of this.
18 April 2019 22:56 - small babies are cool
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
My nephew Fritzie, at 5 months or so, is in the "oh, hey, I have feet, my feet are cool!" stage of things. He can turn over and do various energetic movements and is now eating a few things other than breast milk, too. And smiles all over the place. Plus he tells you instantly if he has just peed, because he hates marinating in his own fluids and does not wish to do it ever. (Frederick says this is atypical of most infants, but I can't say's I blame him. Fritzie, I mean.)

An overly-lit picture of him from a couple days ago. )

I went and hung out and was useful occasionally as a second pair of hands to do baby things with, this afternoon. K went to a dentist's appointment, F did some work, and Fritzie hung out with me, and was perfectly cromulent for a bit, but eventually decided he was inconsolable; that's just what babies do, sometimes. Mostly I think he didn't want cereal, he wanted *milk*. So K coming back was a relief to him. (The picture's from our combined birthday celebration a few days ago, though. I enjoy it because he is, to quote Diane DiMassa, playing the cello.)

Also, I met the neighbor's three dogs. Two of them are brother-and-sister golden retrievers, and the third is a Leonberger. (This is, for those who don't know, a ginormous dog which just got its AKC certification in 2010. They originated as a mixture of St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and Great Pyrenees. Yes indeed, they are muckin' huge. Also, kindly.) The neighbor let me come in his yard and give them a thorough scritching, so hopefully in future the (protective of her turf) Leonberger will be good with me wandering by.

Then I went to a Dedham Historical Society lecture on "The Indigenous Peoples of Dedham", which was given by a 2nd year grad student in history (going for a Masters but not a Doctorate), who is very shy and not yet all that good at public speaking (in that I could tell she was holding back panic), but was knocking it *out of the park* in terms of being detailed enough to be useful, but never getting lost in the weeds. She went on about how things were vaguely collaborative in the 1600s, and got worse, and then the semi-genocidal King Phillip's War happened and yeah, not good, to understate.

Factoid I didn't know: Apparently the accepted Dedham wisdom is that there were no indigenous settlements in what-is-now-Dedham itself. (I make that specification because Dedham is now about 10 square miles, but was originally 200+ square miles; their turf went down to the Rhode Island border.) She said that there's archeological evidence of seasonal encampments in the area of what is now Wigwam Pond, and that these encampments were generally just about around where the white settlements were. This makes sense, given that the local tribes did tend to have different wintering and summering locations.

Other factoid: She made sure to note that while there was no battle of King Phillip's War in what-is-now-Dedham, what-is-now-Dedham did serve as the common rendezvous spot for the four local counties. This caused murmuring from the clued-in crowd. (In other words, nope, the town was nothing like blameless.)

I could tell she was going to be The Best when, in the first few minutes of her talk, she made glancing reference to the 2008 struggle to change the Dedham High mascot, which was at the time a stereotypical Native American mascot (subdivision red-faced brave). She called the mascot, or possibly the people supporting it, "well-intentioned but misguided," and I was like, "Ah, I am in good hands" and relaxed. (Also, in the course of events, she noted that the current state seal is fairly enh, but the original one is actively awful. I had no idea.)
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

Despite some surprising events which ate up almost all my free time this week, in adventures of such import that they cannot yet be revealed, I did get something published each day this past week on my humor blog. And here's what it all was. Thanks for reading.

And now, let's close out the VFW Ann Arbor Pinball Hall of Museum visit.


SAM_2678.jpg

Playfield for the 1986 Williams table Grand Lizard, and source of the immortal question, why does a lizard-empress have mandril bodyguards? The answer is why would she NOT?


SAM_2687.jpg

Games in for repair, including two early-60s tables. They were likely working by the next time we visited but there is something wonderful about a game that's challenging despite all the rules and all the playing options being right there, obvious for anyone to see.


SAM_2693.jpg

Playfield of Strange Science, another of the pinball tables I first learned the trade on.


SAM_2695.jpg

Playfield for Quicksilver, an early solid state game with the blobbiest artwork in pinball.


SAM_2697.jpg

So when Stern pinball released Iron Maiden in 2018, wiseacres like me naturally asked how we were supposed to differentiate it from the 1982 Iron Maiden, featuring art by Keith Parkinson doing some Hajime Sorayama stuff.


SAM_2700.jpg

[profile] bunny_hugger making her way out the door while people check out the food donations which gave the night its ostensible theme.


SAM_2702.jpg

Oh, and a couple of the not-quite-pinball mechanical attractions they have there, and which I don't think were turned on: a couple of devices built around the theme of rolling a ball into place using controls that make this needlessly hard. They're fun but nobody plays them enough to be good at them.


Trivia: Cincinatti and Saint Louis did not play each other at all for the first half of the 1882 American Association baseball season. They played each other 16 times in their final 36 games. Source: The Beer and Whisky League: The Illustrated History of the American Association --- Baseball's Renegade Major League, David Nemec.

Currently Reading: DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Les Daniels.

18 April 2019 23:15 - Masechet Chullin Daf 142
seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
Daf 142

End of the masechet! I'm trying to decide what I want to learn next- I liked the accountability of making myself do dailyish posts, but I don't think I care that much about the next Masechet, Bechoros. Anyone have any thoughts?

Actually, in general, I'm curious to hear from anyone who's been reading along who didn't have much experience with Talmud before, what they've learned from these posts of mine. Feel free to drop a comment or a PM.


The Rabbis usually want to end a Masechet on a high note, something that transcends the ticky tack technical details that otherwise fill most of the time in the Gemara and offers some more inspirational. Here, we get a little focus on the promise of long life to someone who observes the mitzvah of shaliach haken.

Kal vachomer: If one gets long life for such a piddling, easy mitzvah as shaliach haken, how great must the reward be for doing a legitimately difficult mitzvah!

Rabbi Yaakov moderates the enthusiasm a bit by pointing out that clearly anytime the Torah promises reward, it's not promising reward in this world, it's promising reward in Olam Haba. That's because reward in this world is too temporal to reward an action as great as doing a mitzvah, perhaps.

Rabbi Yaakov offers what seems like a mashal- A father sends his son up a tower to send away a mother bird from a nest and fetch bird eggs for dinner. The son falls to his death. Shaliach haken and kibud av are the two mitzvot that God promises long life for, so clearly the son's reward will be in Olam Haba.

The Gemara says "This seems like a mashal, clearly this never actually happened." No, answer the Rabbis, Rabbi Yaakov really saw this happen. I'm a little skeptical, but yeah, we all know about misfortunes in life that seem unfair. There is no clear causal relationship between our actions on Earth and our reward on Earth, that much is clear. God intervenes in our lives, but that happens in ways whose ultimate objectives are hard to comprehend. Needless to say, we don't always know what's good for us.


Edit Twist ending! The Gemara compares R' Yaakov's message to the message Elisha ben Abuya took from the same or similar events: God's rewards are unjust and we should rebel against God. If only Acher had taken R' Yaakov's lesson he would not have sinned, says the Gemara. Weirdly downbeat ending to the Masechet, IMO.
18 April 2019 22:34
the_rck: (Default)
We had a pretty good game session last night. It took us a while to figure out where we'd left off because it had been so long since we last met. Scott kicked off a major plot for us. Well, maybe 'kicked off' is the wrong phrase. He dropped different bits of it on different characters so that we had to put the pieces together.

We discussed character advancement. The other players seemed to have ideas. I just have this blobby sense that the things my character ought to be good at don't fit the available options unless I twist the names of the skills beyond recognition. Part of that is that I built her backstory to explain her being good at the sort of inference about worldbuilding/plot that I do automatically when I'm role playing or reading or what-have-you. I thought I might as well lean into it since it's not a thing I can manage not to. I can play as if my character doesn't know a plot thread is there, but it's less fun.

I think part of my problem is that, as defined by the rules, there are three skills that my character should be really good at. I want her to be good enough at them to have multiple specializations without necessarily being that good at the other specializations. Scott and I kind of work around this because he knows what I think she can do and agrees that my ideas of what she can and can't do make sense. She has a high sneak skill, but she would actually be terrible at, say, ghosting through the streets or walking silently in the woods. She's good at knowing where the holes are in surveillance systems, and she's good at acting like she belongs wherever she is.

We're still trying to get Scott's sister to tell us what she'd like us to bring to the Easter dinner. Even a general food category would be helpful. She's told us what other people are bringing but not what she'll be making.

Scott bought some new trousers online. One pair fit comfortably, but the other two are going back. I wanted to wash the keepers today, but my hands weren't up to it.

My hands gave up on working properly before Cordelia got home from school. I think a lot of that was me trying to disassemble things that needed to go into the dishwasher. The cold brew coffee making thing wouldn't come apart. I tried several times, with breaks, before just dumping it into the dishwasher still assembled. It kind of got clean, much moreso than I expected, but coffee grounds tend to get wedged in seams and corners when I wash it that way.
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