for me, the horror elements were mild, the suspense was compelling, and the characters were king. highly recommended. happy to talk spoilers in comments.
i am enjoying the heck out of these podcasts:
More Perfect: stories from the history of the US Supreme Court. this is from the people who do Radiolab.
Code Switch: talk about race, mostly in the US, from a group of PoC working at NPR. stay woke.
Invisibilia: this one is roughly themed around invisible influences that shape our behavior. the one that hooked me was about how learning to express feelings helped an offshore oil rig reduce their accident rate.
i drafted a new knitting project bag pattern and made a prototype. it's pretty rad. now i feel more confident about making one with mimerki's fabric.
i eyeballed pictures of a handknit sock and have reproduced the effect without reading a pattern.
Pokemon GO. it deserves its own post, but suffice it to say that i enjoyed the downtown bus slowdown immensely this morning, since i was earning XP.
C will be home for our annual camping trip in less than ten days.
so i've got that going for me.
his departure had a bit of a tornado effect on the house. and then game was cancelled this week. so i'm having trouble marshalling the spoons to clean up the house since i started in a hole instead of just dealing with the filth and disorder i generate on my own. i've even managed to misplace my kindle. i can't adequately express how not-okay that is. (at least i feel pretty confident that it is in the house somewhere.)
so i've got that going for me.
lots of things went well this week and this weekend. i made experimental raspberry-lemon curd. there's a roast in the crockpot insert, ready to cook tomorrow. i had an excellent lunch yesterday. i had an excellent walk with Leela this morning. i mail-ordered some new pants and they are so damn comfy.
which is nice.
- hearing:gunga galunga
C is driving from his parents' house in NH to PA to get crap out of his parents' crap-filled house in PA. while I love living in a future where we can chat on and off all day, it means that the weasels have started to whisper in my ear because I haven't heard from him for 12 hours.
i put C on a plane again tonight, and he'll be gone for an indefinite amount of time.
i will miss him desperately. as noted previously, i don't need him in order to function and in some ways things are easier without him around. but i want him around.
i have felt some existential horror at the not-needing. what if C has no utility?
the real question is, why do i think that he has to be needed rather than wanted? relevant article: author posits that we are all conditioned to value men solely for their utility.
prior to the whole cancer thing, our plan for the summer was to go camping as much as we could and get Leela used to the idea (or determine that it was never going to work) before our annual trip in July.
( realizations and a change of plansCollapse )
on Saturday we got up, went out for coffee, and once C's breakfast had settled, he was willing and we were off. Leela doesn't love the car. i had given her some benadryl to make her a little drowsy, and rode in the back seat with her. she proceeded to drool copiously in a way i had never seen. like, soaking my pants copiously. i spread my flannel on my lap to help sop it up, which was good, since it caught the vomit :/
after puking, Leela felt much better and lay down for the rest of the ride. fortunately, dog vomit is basically scentless, so i just had to keep from spilling until we arrived. after that, pretty much everything was fine.
Dash Point feels surprisingly isolated for being on the edge of Federal Way and under a flight path to SeaTac. the park has a salmon stream and a pleasant hiking trail along it through a second growth forest, from the campground to its outlet on a Puget Sound beach. we saw rabbits, and ate the occasional salmonberry, and Leela splashed in the stream. the sound, well, that was a step too far. (we didn't go down early enough for the minus tide.) there were wee six or eight inch waves. Leela could see that other dogs were playing in the water, and she would run up to the edge, but then THE WATER MOVED and that was not okay. i guess if the waves came up past my knees i would be a bit wary too.
we made steaks and baked potatoes with the campfire, and generally chilled out. between the tree cover and being relatively close to the shore we had steady cool breezes and as long as we stayed out of the sun the temperature was great. Leela slept pretty well in the tent, although she did alert a couple times during the night. (placid Molly did that too, so i feel pretty okay about that.) the important thing is that she didn't flip out every time someone walked by the campsite. she didn't mind being on a run (we attach an elastic lead to climbing cord run between a couple trees; leashes are the law). she totally loved walking in the woods, and picked up on the campsite being "home" immediately.
C did okay too. it was definitely not-NH.
the campground was busy, mostly families. i was delighted that it was only maybe 50 or 60 percent white people, and not all of those white people were speaking English. ditto the day use side of the park with the beach. parks are for everyone <3 <3 <3
the only problem heading home was that when we parked the car, Leela didn't really want to get out. eventually i had to pick her up, which is hysterical because she sticks all four legs out as far as she can, like some kind of deformed starfish. still, it was pretty easy. we can do this again.
*there was filming going on a few tables over, seemed to be people in the music business telling anecdotes. didn't recognize anyone, wasn't going to get in their way to find out. we live in a city, motherfuckers.
C is home (for now). it's good.
i signed up for the comiXology Unlimited trial Tuesday night, and promptly read three trades (two i knew about, one that was a new discovery). where Marvel Unlimited is narrow (Marvel only) but deep back through the Silver Age, comiXology Unlimited is broad (pretty much every publisher other than Marvel and DC) but shallow in that it only seems to offer first volumes. i found out about the service because Paul Constant instantly bitched about it being terrible for creators.* having used the app, it's as terrible for creators as Baen Free Library (i.e. not at all) with a side order of consumers being able to instantly buy the issues that aren't included in the subscription. seems like a money-spinner to me - i'm going to have to come up with some rules about spending. it definitely beats the eternal waits for library copies of trades (especially when my local branch is closed for renovations).
I got caught up on the finale of The Flash.
*comiXology is owned by Amazon, so it must be the devil's tool. i'm sorry the book store you worked for went under. it's been like, 20 years man. i admit that i still hate Lowe's for fucking over the hardware store i worked for in college, but i don't write a doomsday screed every time Lowe's sneezes. i ignore them.
i had a draft post about how well my routine has been working, that Leela super-loves daycare, that i miss C but everything is suprisingly okay.
this is all still true.
Wednesday night buhrger and butterflydrming met Leela for the first time. and she would not calm the fuck down. she just stood under the table and made her siren noise: roorooroorooroo. i took turns with mimerki sitting on the floor with her. she does react to new people entering the house, but it has always subsided quickly. not this night. she stopped being noisy eventually, but it was easy to set her off again and i had no idea why (other than the basic "you people aren't C, get out and send C in").*
that night she woke me up repeatedly with these horrible gagging noises. and i'd swim up enough to think that i needed to get her to the emergency vet, and then she would curl up and fall fast asleep, breathing normally. so we stumbled along until the regular vet opened in the morning, and they did a phone consult and assured me that nothing life-threatening was going on and they could see her Friday. having slept for shit, i called off and kept her home, where she eventually started to hawk up phlegm. so yeah, the vet saw her and confirmed that she has kennel cough (basically a doggie cold) and she'll get over it on her own. but she's very contagious, so she really shouldn't interact with other dogs for 10 days.
no daycare. no playing with her neighborhood friends. oof.
since she's so skittish with people, i can't have a dog walker come in. i need to figure out this weekend how to plan my work schedule. the next couple weeks are also the viaduct closure (traffic doom in downtown Seattle) so traveling between home and the office will have additional challenges. i think i'll probably just do shorter office days and log on from home in the evenings.
D starts weekly radiation soon, on top of the chemo. i told C about the dog drama (because in his position i would have wanted to know) and the dumbass told his mom. therefore D, who is retired but will never stop being a cop, has figured out that not everything is okay here and is fretting about disrupting our lives and making noises about how C doesn't have to stay.
i want to yell at him for that.
but i understand. i want people in my life to understand that stuff is happening, but that i also need to be treated mostly like i am a normal person on a normal day and not some fragile glass thing. i got a haircut this week, and my stylist V who i love for NOT being an incessant small-talker and cutting my hair in a businesslike fashion while i sit quietly and enjoy having her hands on my head, asked how i was doing...and i told her. she then talked about cancer stuff the entire time. which was really very sweet. but what i want when i see people is to NOT talk about cancer or how living without C feels like a rehearsal for life after he dies.
it's like wearing a backpack. the weight is distributed pretty well and my conditioning gets better all the time. some days it feels heavier than other days. this week i had to rebalance the load. i'd say that eventually i will get to take it off, but the truth is that it's only the weight and how well it's fitted that changes. everyone is carrying their stuff all day every day.
it's a beautiful day. i'm going to go see the sounders probably lose. My hair is cute, Leela's coughing less and less, The Blue Sword came out as an ebook, and last night
*i wish it worked that way. if yelling at everyone who enters the apartment would magically produce C, i would do it too.
which gets you things like:
And another one.
And another one.
i am afraid to watch the new Powerpuff Girls. but i am delighted to powerpuff myself.
i had an interesting thought recently, when some people were wrong on the internet. i think of myself as having grown up in the least racially and culturally diverse place possible, and i should be even more of a clueless asshole than my WASPy cousins. but that's not actually true. i grew up with visible religious minorities woven into the fabric of my daily life. it was just so normal i don't think about it at all. i'm not frothing at the mouth about those scary Muslims and their different habits because i grew up with the Amish :D
i'm on another Marvel Unlimited binge. i was trying to read Secret Wars, but wow, beyond the Last Days of Ms. Marvel* i can't make myself care. instead i'm reading all of Civil War. it isn't perfect, but much of it is good.
reading Civil War definitely makes the Mr. Impossible storylines in the Venture Bros richer.** man, this season was a real return to form and a pleasure from beginning to (too-swift) end.
*Kamala and Carol Danvers work together, and Kamala's family is awesome. it's the sweetest. <3 <3 <3
**the great thing about Venture Bros is that everything works on its own. you don't need to know anything other than the text. if you can see the references and echoes, then there's another level to appreciate.
- feeling:wound up
- hearing:will.i.am - Scream & Shout
i don't know if TMBG made me or knew me. it's indistinguishable now.
after confirming that commercial lemon curd + Fage scratched the itch, i could move on to getting the sugar out of the lemon curd. it turns out that a)sugar is not the thickening agent in lemon curd b)lemon curd is remarkably easy.
low-sugar lemon curd
based on David Leibovitz's improved lemon curd.
Makes 1 very generous cup
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons SugarLeaf (this is a sugar/stevia blend. sweetening equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar.)
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
i used a double-boiler made from a saucepan + shallow metal mixing bowl.
- half-fill saucepan with water. heat on low.
- in the mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
- add the butter cubes and set the bowl on the saucepan, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
- increase the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens to the texture of hair conditioner.
i had to restrain myself from just eating it with a spoon. a test with yogurt nicely replicates the flavor and mouthfeel of the Ellenos lemon curd.
- for this test i used bottled juice. i have fresh juice in the freezer, i'll use it next time.
- i have plenty of SugarLeaf and i like it. i'll try a sugar-free version with erythritol eventually.
- the unused egg whites went in the freezer for later.
- the original recipe and several others called for straining the mixture when it's complete. i couldn't find anything to strain out, and i don't think i would do it for rogue pulp from squeezed juice.
- location:the couch
- feeling: pleased
- hearing:You Must Remember This podcast
i think it started with her name.
When she came to me and said she wanted to change, I could see in her eyes that she had made the decision to do it. And I said, “I do not want you resenting me. I would a lot rather lose the election than lose you.” She said, “I’m not going anywhere.” I said, “I know, but I don’t want you to resent this for the rest of your life. You made this decision when you were a child. I like it. I approve of the decision. I don’t care about it.” And she said, “Look, Bill, we cannot—this is stupid! We shouldn’t lose the election over this issue. We shouldn’t run this risk. What if it’s one per cent of the vote? What if it’s two per cent? You might win or lose the election by two per cent.”
i remembered this as being something that happened when Bill was running for president. it actually happened when i was in elementary school.
- in 1992 she was getting picked at for something she had done ten years before, and that something was in response to some loser who couldn't find something more substantial on her husband.
- she was willing to give up her identity for a lousy 2%.
item 1 is part of the treatment she gets as an uppity woman.
item 2 is how her political brain works.
i don't like how her political brain works.
i'm aware that the media is ridiculously hard on her. i know that there are shitheads in both parties that openly use gendered slurs in addition to the dogwhistles. that's all wrong, and i call people on it whenever i can.
i've spent a lot of time checking myself about this. i'm aware of my internalized misogyny and the various ways that it manifests.
so i've done the work. i've compared the actual votes and i've read policy statements and i've taken the various platform tests where statements aren't attributed until the end and there are several places where i genuinely don't agree with her.
i can tell that many women in my life are Disappointed With Me. i'm sorry. i'm not rejecting you. i'm rejecting the Patriot Act and the Iraq War and doing anything to win.
no one on the Republican side this time is remotely acceptable. of course i'll vote for her if she's the nominee.
- location:the couch
- hearing:Ken Burns' The Roosevelts
- You were without a dog for about a year before Leela joined the household. What's the hardest thing about not having a dog?
- You and C haven't taken a big trip in a while. If you could go anywhere and money were no object, where would you go?
- As a knitter, what's your favorite wool to work with and why? Is that a question it's even possible to answer?
- For so many of us, the life we have isn't the life we expected or planned for. If you were living that life, what would it look like?
- Two part question: Is there a Star Trek character you admire most and if so why? If you were a Star Trek character, which would you be? Would they be the same one?
...i really choked on this one. maybe the answer is "having had a dog". we clearly survived somehow before. but we gained a great deal that we didn't entirely know we were missing. mental health stuff mostly. dog *is dog* and makes you feel good just by being around. dog makes you exercise. dog makes you put on pants and talk to your neighbors. dog provides an external focus for anxiety.
space. the ISS would be good enough. (IIRC the Russians aren't doing this anymore.)
my other powerball fantasy is a cruise around the world. i collected some huge brochures for it about ten years ago. this actually exists, including a trip through the Panama canal. it takes a year. you can bring your dog.
favorite wool is more of a spinner question, i think. but my answer is similar - i like wool that is more bouncy and elastic than drapey. i don't have a firm answer yet; i like wool that is related to Downs or Merino (this covers a lot of sheep breeds) better than something like Wendsleydale or Icelandic. (that said, i have a bunch of breed-specific samples to try. i could be wrong. i like exploring this stuff.)
which one? there have been several. the husband and dog and city of moderate size were always in the plan. the expected life for a very long time included having children. the planned for life (the aspirational life, let's be clear) would be approximately Kurt Beattie - artistic director at a respected regional theatre of moderate size.
no. "admire" is a word that i only apply to real-life people. i can say that of the Star Trek actors i most admire Patrick Stewart, both for his body of work (Royal Shakespeare Company did several teaching videos that i studied in college) and his charitable causes which include domestic violence and PTSD. honorary mention to Wil Wheaton, who i loathed on the show, but figured out how to create a life on his own terms and a steady income (all while dealing with anxiety and being open about that).
i'd be Bones - influential and trusted, in charge of his own domain, but not interested in being in charge of all the things. he's brave when needed, occasionally quippy, and can't help saying what he's thinking or at least showing it on his face.
- location:the couch
- hearing:Mary Berry explains chocolate
i read Flex and The Flux over the holidays. enjoyed the heck out of them.
i was thinking about why i liked them better than Ready Player One or His Majesty's Dragon, since they're falling apart in similar ways as soon as i examine them .
let me back up.
Ready Player One was enjoyable, but it annoyed me with its obsessive reliance on references,and using them in ways that didn't serve the story. (it annoyed me even more that the dead character was too young for the content he was obsessed with.) the references got intrusive and painful and masturbatory and overrode the otherwise interesting worldbuilding and story.
His Majesty's Dragon failed on its premise. somehow, intelligent dragons have always been around,and somehow, world history and culture is almost entirely unchanged. oh, and Napoleon is the first person to think of using dragons as dropships for ground troops. complete and utter bullshit. i kind of hate-read some of the sequels, not sure why at this remove, because the writing style annoyed me - i know that she considered Patrick O'Brian to be a major influence and *shudder* she is no Patrick O'Brian. i just kept hoping the world would get better, i guess. (i do HIGHLY RECOMMEND Novik's unrelated book Uprooted. i don't know how they come from the same person.)
in the 'Mancer books, magic is powered by obsession. so you get powers based on fire, or art, or paperwork, or video games. every time you warp the world with your obsession, you have to deal with a flux of bad luck. magic is illegal because it's stupidly dangerous. Europe is a no-man's land post WWII.
the books hinge on an AU where technology and popular culture are basically exactly the tech and culture we know today. one of the main characters is a video game 'mancer who uses familiar console tech and game characters and mechanics to manipulate the world.
if you think for five minutes about how a chunk of the industrialized world disappearing 70 years ago would change both the economy and art, the soufflé deflates. (and that doesn't even address MAGIC,or what happened in the Pacific...Japan must be fine because there's Nintendo and Mortal Kombat. but why? why? why?)
Steinmetz wears his influences on his sleeve. but he's very clever with them, and it so happens that i like his influences.* there was a moment where i literally pumped my fist in the air. (there was also a moment where i stopped and said, yes, Ferrett, i also liked that scene.) but the key here is that the characters are great, their motivations and actions are organic to those characters, and the cultural stuff is almost entirely crucial to the plot and integral to the action instead of "look what i did there".
will you love it if you have never played a video game? i think it's quite possible. and it's pretty hard to be a nerd without having been exposed in a general cultural way to the stuff used in the books. there's certainly enough friendship and adventure to make up for all the Mario. (and there's a fat female nerd with a sex life. *sparkly heart emoji*)
*well, okay, i really really wanted to like Breaking Bad but was blocked by the stuff with his inlaws and his wife. ironymaiden: loves making drugs, killing people,and becoming a horrible person. can't stand mundane family conflict.
I am aware of a monster backlog of questions and answers and experiences to catalog. I just haven't touched the computer at home very much, and this mobile app sucks.
Leela has suddenly started to shed. No wonder she's been itchy lately. Her entire undercoat is going in one big blow. We have a furminator; there's no resistance when you stroke. Like some kind of magic wand that produces superfine fluff. (Yes, I'm collecting it to spin, but I might need a support spindle to make it work since the staple is so short.)
the digital revolution shooed me away from The Beatles. their best albums were made without track breaks; i can confirm that the break imposed in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/A Little Help from my Friends still makes me scream and curse. between that and the way releases dribbled out over time and under various restrictions it was easier to enjoy all the other music out there.
i have all the feels.
once upon a time, videodiscs competed with VCR for the home video market. my family lived beyond the reach of cable tv lines, could get a whopping four tv channels over the air (and ABC was always snowy), and couldn't afford one of the giant satellite dishes of the day. it took an hour+ round trip to get to a video rental place. enter Columbia House.
we developed a pretty extensive collection of those heavy plastic-cased discs.* and the club thing meant that occasionally they would throw in random documentaries for free. so The Compleat Beatles arrived at our house unbidden. no one in my family was particularly into The Beatles (mom was too old, dad was into new folk, my brothers loved heavy metal, and while my sister owned The White Album and the red & blue compilations, she passed them to me without a backward look.) the doc hooked me with its exhaustive soundtrack and excellent storytelling. i watched it over and over, and in retrospect i can credit it (and another freebie, Girl Groups: the Story of a Sound) with both the formation of an independent taste in music and my love of documentary film.
The Beatles, with their evolving sound and differing writing styles, set me up for appreciating a variety of music. they had songs for when i was happy, songs for when i was depressed, songs for when i was angry, songs for whimsy, and songs for being rebellious and horny. songs that were basic, songs that were baroque. Sgt Pepper on my walkman was the soundtrack of the constant car trips to care for my declining grandmother. i wrote lyrics from White Album songs all over school notebook covers. the soundtrack of my first kiss was American Pie, but that boy used to sing Michelle to me.
so i played Sgt Pepper this morning when Rhapsody offered it to me. how it aches. i raged against that stupid track break. i shed a tear in memory of fellow fan markbourne. and i thought about how She's Leaving Home set me on the road away from the farm.
*we even got a custom cabinet for them. my parents still have them, although i don't know that they hook up the player much since my niece and nephew have outgrown Thunderbirds and Goofy Sports. i still know exactly where to get up and flip over Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- feeling: melancholy
- hearing:The Beatles - Martha My Dear
- i'm in love with The Great British Bake Off. (that's "The Great British Baking Show" to PBS viewers. no links, wikipedia and pretty much everything else online is full of spoilers.) if you loved the Japanese Iron Chef for its combination of food porn and a window into another culture, and you also enjoy the human interest segments during the Olympics, then you just might love this show. (they even have little segments where they visit food historians! food. historians.) yes, it's reality tv where there are challenges and people get eliminated. but it's a clean competition - no inducing of conflict, no creation of rivalries or villains, no nasty judges. the people competing actually cheer for each other and help each other along.* they hug the people who get eliminated at the end of the episode. one of the judges totally teared up talking about the awesomeness of the 2015 winner. it is sweet and soothing comfort tv. the 2014 season is on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- this gif of a penguin being tickled
- this article about livestock protector dogs keeping fairy penguins safe from predation
- C has been listening to Rivers of London books on audiobook, so i can finally burble at him about them! (he's only a couple in, so that one thing hasn't happened yet and it's killing me.) these might be books that the buhrger would like? for me they scratch the same itch as the Laundry.
- today is Tuesday. for some reason, i was convinced that it was Thursday,and cubemate B believed that it was Friday. we have been making jokes about this all day. meanwhile, cubemate J is really excited about the computer he's building for himself, and is going to make an alicorn mod for the case. i am pretty thoroughly delighted that a guy who is older than me and really into sports is also unabashedly into Twilight Sparkle.
also, i have a dog. she is energetic and exasperating and ridiculously cute and affectionate. dog.
*i don't recommend any of the regional clones that i've tried. there's something very specific about Brit culture plus these judgesand these hosts. GBBO is where it's at.
i love the train.
i love the hostel.
it was generally an easy experience.*
i did not attempt to be social with anyone else in Portland. i didn't end up with any yarn, but i did end up with a nice scotch. gifts were acquired for C's giftmas and birthday. Powell's yielded two more classic knitting books, and a treat for knitta D. i am wearing my fancy new vertically striped over-the-knee socks today. (i knit enough socks that i rarely buy them any more. but the likelihood of me knitting over-the-knee socks for myself is vanishingly low. that's way way too much work.) there was also the discovery of the Columbia outlet store.
i knit a good bit on the train, but not while i was there. i didn't really have enough energy after travel or on Saturday to be doing a charted pattern. but man, lace is so much FUN. i feel a real sense of accomplishment as the pattern starts to emerge in my project. i have made my peace with not hitting gift deadlines this year. i've compromised in the past, ditching the thing i wanted to make in favor of the thing i could make on time. screw it.
i don't think i actually ate anywhere that was new to me on this trip, but i finally had my first pumpkin pancakes of the season.
i was in transit home while MLS cup happened. that was good; i would have been sad if i was in Portland, i think. (my team didn't make it that far. their team won. they're rivals to my team; it both makes me sad and not sad. in general i wish them well. shhh.) as it was, i was charmed to see people lining up for a viewing party hours before the venue opened. i saw some people in gear, but in general Portland seems to have less in the way of signs, posters, and banners. maybe it's a legal thing?
when i got home, there were effusive greetings from Leela at the door. she then proceeded to keep me in sight for a few hours, which was fine by me :)
*i did have a touch of indigestion after eating what was probably the richest food i've had since starting antibiotics, but even that fit pretty well into the day - i was near the clean and friendly public library when it first struck, and was able to rest quietly while the others went on a lunch date. more annoying was getting to experience a missing Zipcar for the first time. no, dude in India, i am not in Seattle, and the car i reserved *may* be in Portland, but it sure as hell isn't in its parking space. (the transport problem was solved with Lyft, and it was fine. a whole 15 minutes were wasted.)