Even though I had a reasonably decent night's sleep last night.
Good meetings with people and good conversations, some tasty food, a panel that (I think) went fairly well even though it was in the room I hate, with the speakers on a platform and a spread-out audience, and cold. (One might also mention the single microphone that had to be handed back and forth among the panel.)
Also managed to get to a couple of other panels.
Was contemplating the Tiptree Auction but felt some recharge time alone was necessitated, May go to the parties for a little while, but am already feeling a bit that what a hedjog wants is a nice cup of Horlicks and a Nice Book to go with it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
OMG OMG OMG
This book is awesome.
It is full of lady pirates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not sure I can be more coherent than that.
I laughed out loud multiple times. I cried multiple times. I cannot wait to start the third book, and I know for certain when I finish it, I will be pissed off that Lynch hasn't yet published the next four books promised in the series.
The plotting in these books is so masterful. I am in awe. And jealous.
Once again, I am left desperately wishing for an HBO series of these books to watch.
View all my reviews
I prefer things I can get as trade collections because there's pretty much zero chance I can afford to chase down individual comics. XD
(This has been brought to you by wasting time by reading Cyclops' TV Tropes page.)
Also last week I finished the last steps for the pickled cherries. The process is that you soak the cherries overnight in vinegar, then add spices and sugar to the vinegar and boil it and then soak the cherries in it at room temperature for three days, then boil the liquid yet again and pack it and the cherries into sterilized jars and refrigerate for at least a month. The leftover vinegar solution tasted really good, so I'm optimistic. If they taste good in a month I'll post the recipe.
I've started using the brandied cherries that I made a week or so ago. I can report that they are delicious with chocolate ice cream. You can also make a tasty spritzer by putting a few cherries and a good glug of the brandy into the bottom of a tall glass and topping it off with a 12 oz can of cherry-flavored unsweetened sparkling water.
Today I made a farro salad with roasted vegetables and arugula. I roasted a bag of mini-peppers, cored and quartered lengthwise, and a thickly sliced large onion in some olive oil at 400 F until everything was tender and sweet and just slightly charred at the edges. While the vegetables roasted and cooled I cooked about a cup and a half of farro in lots of boiling water--the same way you'd cook pasta--and drained it when it was tender but chewy. I added two minced cloves of garlic and the juice of a lemon to the hot farro, then mixed in the veg and let it cool down to room temperature. At that point I added a nice bunch of roughly chopped arugula and a few finely chopped mint leaves along with just a splash of oil, and then mixed in a couple of ounces of crumbled feta. The result is both pretty and delicious, though if you like lemon as much as I do you might want to use two, and don't forget to add the zest as well. ( Here, have a picture. )
Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I've got chickpeas in the slow cooker, some to become hummus and some to be frozen for future use as who knows what? And later today I'm going to cook Amalfi-style zucchini/courgettes based on Marcella Hazan's recipe. It's basically fried zucchini dressed with garlic, wine vinegar, and mint. Hazan's recipe calls for the zucchini slices to almost deep-fry in a lot of oil, but I'm going to saute them in olive oil instead, because I have never had a good experience deep-frying at home and anyway I feel, with apologies to the doyenne of Italian cooking for Anglophone audiences, that they'll taste better that way.
I also have a hami melon I bought on sale. Depending on how it tastes I may eat it plain or dress it up a bit with lime juice, honey, and yet more mint. Actually the dressed-up option is extremely tempting regardless, because I recently bought some Turkish honey from Trader Joe's and it is so good that I went back and bought a second bottle just in case TJ's suddenly stops carrying it, as is their wont with many of my favorite products.
Something I vaguely plan to cook someday: I have no immediate plans to bake, because my freezer is still crammed with rhubarb coffee cake, orange and almond polenta cake, and half a recipe of uncooked dough for digestive biscuits. And yet I am longing to bake J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, and now-ish is the time to do it so I can use up my chocolate before the weather gets too hot. Otherwise I seem to have switched into summer eating mode. I've got little multicolored tomatoes that aren't bad for out of season, and some ricotta to eat them with, and various salady things, and tons of pasta because whenever I see decent pasta on sale I buy multiple packages. I still have a piece of Spanish-style chorizo to use in something, and some calf's liver in the freezer, and chicken bones that should go into stock, and etc. etc. I want to try as much as possible to just do vegetables + pantry and freezer supplies for a while.
I would quite like to eat some Indian food, but cooking it is so labor-intensive that I don't know if a mere craving is sufficient motivation. Hopefully one of these days I'll have a weekend where I want to cook elaborate things, as opposed to one where I want to cook easy things and then watch cooking shows on Netflix and YouTube.
I took them to the local bookstore after lunch yesterday to pick out some reading material for the road trip. Connor got a couple of Plants vs Zombies graphic novels and Will got the most recent Tapper Twins book. The cashier who rung us up said none of the employees had gotten their expected paychecks that day. I will be very unhappy if they are forced to close.
Last night was game night and we finally convinced Robby to come along. Will won one of the door prizes, but it's a party game that's rated ages 17 and up, so I'll have to screen it for appropriateness. We got about halfway through a game of Harry Potter Clue before Connor started dying of hunger, even though we all ate supper before we left, so I had to run him to the nearest McDonald's drive thru. After we got back, we played a fun game called Sounds Like A Plan, which was a lot like Apples to Apples but without so many pop culture references.
The Red Sox have been winning lately. I keep falling asleep on the couch watching baseball on TV, so my shoulder is very sore and unhappy. Meanwhile Robby threw out his back and is trying to avoid putting any more strain on it. No roller coasters for us old folks.
My mom seems to have gotten some sort of stomach flu. I had to go over there on Thursday with some Popsicles because she couldn't keep anything else down. Now she's worried I'm going to get sick right before our trip, but I don't think I caught it.
"The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society".
"Finding Brooklyn’s Ghost Streams, With Old Maps and New Technology".
"In 1975, a Cat Co-Authored a Physics Paper".
"Gereja Ayam, the Abandoned Chicken Church".
"Signal de Botrange: The highest point in Belgium is a staircase to nowhere".
"Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre: A magical work of architecture where a wind turbine enables monks to levitate".
"Abandoned London Post Office Railway: An unmanned underground railroad created to transport London’s mail beneath its congested streets ran for seven decades, until it was unceremoniously shut down and abandoned".
"Underground Railroad Memorial at McDonald's".
"Forgotten Giants: Six beautiful wooden giants are hidden around Copenhagen".
"Tiny Mouse Shops of Malmö: Swedish mice can dine at the Nuts of Life restaurant or take a date to the amousement park".
"FBI Spy House: A painfully obvious spy house sits right across the street from the Russian Embassy".
"Why Justin Timberlake Sings ‘May’ Instead of ‘Me’: Linguistics and vocal styling converge in this late ’90s pop trend".
"One of the Earliest Industrial Spies Was a French Missionary Stationed in China: When he wasn’t converting people, Father Francois Xavier d’Entrecolles was extracting trade secrets from porcelain producers".
"The Unsung Delight of a Well-Designed Endpaper".
"The Violent Ice Cream Wars of 1980s Scotland".
"The Surprising Challenges of Making Things Vegan".
"Judean Date Palm Methuselah: This tree was extinct for a thousand years before sprouting again from a 2,000-year-old seed".
The Establishment ( 17 links, including discussion of suicide, body positivity, and fatphobia )
I knew it'd be a weekday, I was told they usually are on Wednesdays, so figured I could arrange for whatever friends wanted to celebrate to go to the pub that evening, but it's Eve of Poll so I imagine even then a lot of you will be busy!
Me and the Brighouses are already talking about going to watch village cricket that weekend, to celebrate surviving the election/commiserate about whatever kind of Brexity government we've ended up with. With the picnic hamper and wine and I can make a cake. It would be nice to have something like that to look forward to.
I am finding the whole citizenship thing a bit anticlimactic, to be honest. Maybe just due to my brainweasels, maybe the job interview didn't help, or maybe it's just taken so long and been so expensive and draining that I can't summon the energy to care any more.
I hoped to be more happy about this, but I expected to at least be relieved.
Maybe I'll feel better after the ceremony, but at the moment I'm just trying not to dread it too much. I don't want to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing where I think I'll hate it and so I hate it, but damn, I've never liked this idea. And now it's not an idea, it's this letter with all the information printed so tiny I got Andrew to read it. It suggests practicing the Oath or Affirmation before you get there but "this isn't a memory test!" so cards with the text on will be provided. So I'm gonna have to print it off at about 20-pt font because I won't be able to read their damn cards. I'm torn between really not wanting Andrew (or anybody) there and wanting him there for accessibility reasons, like so I don't get lost finding the place.
I'm glad it will be over soon, anyway.
Finished Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon's Gender Failure. (memoir/book version of a show by two non-binary performers, about being non-binary.)
Finished Martha Wells' All Systems Red. (science fiction novella. MURDERBOT.)
Finished Rose Lemberg et al's Alphabet of Embers (anthology of SFF short stories with illustrations)
Finished Kate Elliot's Black Wolves. (fantasy novel)
Started Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion. (science fiction. living ships, body horror, pregnancy, cannibalism, women (principally defined here as "people who menstruate and give birth",) very good if you can cope with etc)
Started Audre Lord's Sister Outsider, have so far just read the Russia chapter. (feminism and anti-racism and memoir, essays.)
Started Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems. (poetry, some of it very good and some of it well-intentioned but INCREDIBLY ill-considered.)
Started reading Arthur Horner's Colonel Pewter (1950s Australian serialised comic about the adventures of an eccentric retired military gentleman and his grand-nephew and cat. And aliens. The edition I'm reading is a Lever Arch folder of strips my father cut out from the newspaper as they came out and stickytaped to the paper and filed.)
TV and Movies
Saw The Eagle Huntress in the cinema (documentary, sports, a girl and her giant eagle, highly recommended if you can cope with animal harm etc)
Watched DVD of Saving General Yang (2013 historical action film directed by Ronny Yu, based on the Generals of the Yang Family. Now have the terrible urge to dive further down this rabbithole and read/watch ALL THE THINGS about the Yang family. Am resisting.)
A few more B99 episodes. Met Kevin!
Started watching this BBC Watergate documentary (hattip to rydra_wong), am halfway through and enthralled
Played David Teie's Music for Cats for Beatrice and Dorian. (album, music composed for the benefit of cats.) Dorian seemed uninterested. Beatrice sometimes turned her ears around slightly, and might have breathed a bit faster at some points. It made me sleepy, though.
Listened to Janelle Monáe's The Electric Lady. (album, science fiction, third installment of the Metropolis series. Yes, good, love.)
Re-listening to Rhapsody's Dawn of Victory. (album, Italian symphonic metal.) Love the music, would like to listen to some symphonic metal that is a) less of a cishet white nerdboy power fantasy, and b) specifically less rapey now please.
Agreed to join a play-by-post Legend of the Five Rings game, because I haven't RPed in too long and a friend was starting one up.. Realised belatedly that I had NO IDEA what I was getting into, this is some graduate level roleplaying right here, there's over (in meta terms) over ten years of setting, and (in game terms) two millennia of setting, with complicated etiquette etc. Asked for and received GM's permission to join in later once I've disambiguated my arse and my elbow a little more. Am sloooowly reading the handbook and trying to find my bearings.
Have mostly kicked the Stardew Valley habit. Dipped into the Kittens Game briefly for the first time in over a year, then returned to my senses.
Caught up on The Strange Case of Starship Iris (SF series) and The Hidden Almanac (fantasy series) and listening as they come out now.
Listened to a few episodes of Glittership (audio versions of queer SFF short stories)
Really enjoying One From The Vaults at the moment (trans history), still listening in order and not caught up yet.
Re-listening to a lot of old Jay and Miles X-Plain The X-Men (comics recaps) and Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap (drunken reviews of convenience foods) for comfort while falling asleep.
Made a dinosaur toothbrush-holder, as seen in a lot of different crafts and/or autism pinterests and blogs. This just involves buying a $3 plastic dinosaur from KMart, and cutting a hole in its back, just large enough to poke the end of a toothbrush into. That's it, that's all that's involved. Tried making a harness for the dinosaur to hold the toothpaste as well, but this just looked sloppy, so I ended up cutting another hole for the toothpaste. This looks less neat than the toothbrush hole, but is at least functional.
Make a notebook.
Basil everywhere. Capsicums growing. I should be planting kale and daffodil bulbs right the fuck now, but have not gotten up the energy yet.
I made breakfast for tumblr. You're welcome?
The Douchecat Combined Armed Forces chiefs of staff have moved into their winter headquarters, the chair with the heating pad on it. It's nice to have a warm base on which to smack each other.
Also tried out the toilet paper tube method of cat enrichment. It does seem to be making them eat slower, and may or may not be enhancing their enjoyment of dinner.
Mother Jones: The Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal
And the Guardian have a helpful guide to the multiple different investigations going on:
The investigations swirling around Donald Trump – a short guide
NYT: At a Besieged White House, Tempers Flare and Confusion Swirls — from the 16th, which is practically decades ago in our new accelerated reality, but still fun:
Some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers fear leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.
It’s been widely rumoured/speculated that the White House "significant person of interest" is Jared Kushner:
Vox: It’s becoming increasingly clear that Jared Kushner is part of Trump’s Russia problem
(Via robynbender, this: https://twitter.com/bornmiserable/
Raw Story: White House looking at ethics rule to weaken special investigation: sources
The two people this could potentially block investigation into are Kushner and Manafort.
This also suggests it’s Kushner:
NBC News: Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny in Russia Probe, Officials Say
And late on Friday, we enter holy shit territory once more:
WaPo: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin
( Cut for length )
Saturday was lolliepopp and N's wedding which was absolutely lovely (they had a Lego cake!). I've not seen so much of N since he moved to the London but it's lovely to have seen him flourishing since we went to our first BiCon together (way, way back in 2003!). And there were lots of awesome other guests to catch up with.
I stayed over with oilrig
in an extremely hidden but pleasant hotel in Croydon - which meant negotiating tram tracks in the dark. I'm a bit scared of how trams silently creep up on you. It was lovely to have concentrated oilrig time because Life keeps getting in the way of that. We went to Boxpark on the sunday and ate way too many waffle-bites..
On Tuesday I visited Mum in Respite and fibally got into a QI recording with oilrig after having gotten turned away the last 2 times when they were oversubscribed. It was the last episode in the O series. It was shiny
On Thursday I had my first session of the "Prescription for Health" exercise scheme and got talked through using the machines and other equipment in a ludy-safe way. I've not used a medicine ball (these ones had handles but i've not used the handless kind either) before and that was quite fun but the cross trainer broke my brain a bit (even though it was the seated kind so I didn't have to worry too much about balance at the same time as cross-lateral movement and coordination. In general i'm very wobbly. But the newish gym is lovely with lots of natural light and sea-views out of the window by the stationary bikes.
audio: Passion Pit, "Lifted Up (1985)"
stream: on Vimeo
download: 258MB on Dropbox
summary: I won't lie, I knew you'd belong here.
My wiscon_vidparty premiere!
There's no point beating around the bush: Tomorrowland is a compelling movie with bad pacing and execrable politics, but it's also a movie where two girls save the world, one of whom is a robot. (George Clooney helps.) I wanted to make a vid about that part of the movie, less about Brad Bird's weird elitism and despair. The song choice seemed almost too obvious, but on the other hand, I like it.
Weirdly, this is the second vid I've made for Wiscon with a Disney connection, the first being Just a Dream Away. Making this vid also helped me to realize that the movie has already been influential at the level of visuals: Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond, last seen in my equinox_exchange vid We Are Who We Are, is almost a carbon copy of the city in this movie, right down to some of the camera angles. I had originally hoped to make this as a Festivids treat, and then November happened. At least I can now go watch the Festivid that did get made for the movie.
One of the things I like about vidding is that it's changed the way I watch movies and it changes the way I think about the sources I vid. Towards the end of making this one I started thinking that they should have cast Casey as not white, which cemented my ambivalence about the entire film. (It wouldn't work, of course, because Brad Bird not so secretly fears the postmodern present, which is why his vision of Tomorrowland is anchored in the late 19thC and the high water mark of the modern, the 1964 World's Fair.) In conclusion, Star Trek does it better. Onward.