peak Alex

Apr. 27th, 2017 07:18 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
"how much do you know about atomic ground states and the quantisation of energy?" I ask, while making custard
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
Lots and lots of tweaking has happened over the past few days -- I've brought the footplate up a fraction, I've adjusted the upholstery tension, I've removed the arm rests and anti-tips, and I've swapped a drinks bottle holder onto it. A, meanwhile, has provided Sheer Brute Force and willingness to do fiddly little bits, and (a) got the axle bar moving for me and subsequently tightened it up again (so it's now medium tippy as opposed to not-even-remotely tippy), and (b) swapped the brakes over between chairs, so I've got scissor rather than push brakes on it.

So far I've used it getting home from Edinburgh on Saturday (with flat tyres, pre-tweaking) and out & about Sunday and today (post-major-tweaking).

Read more... )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
A messaged me in great excitement, the other weekend, to tell me that he'd had afternoon tea somewhere that had given him basil-flavoured meringue that didn't have green bits in, and he wasn't sure how they'd done it, but it was Tasty and A Friend.

They'll have infused either the sugar or the egg white with basil, I said, and it was probably the egg white.

I am pleased to report that infusing the egg whites with basil -- separating your whites from your yolks, then leaving them in the fridge overnight with some lightly crushed basil leaves dropped in with them -- does in fact give you basil-flavoured meringue. But, er, you really don't need much basil -- two leaves would probably have been plenty sufficient for my five egg whites, and as it is they're a little assertive -- but hey, basil-meringue strawberry Eton mess. \o/

(You can of course also just chop some basil up very finely and add it to your meringue mix right before shaping the meringues and putting them in to bake, but that wasn't the spec so it isn't what I did. ;) )
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
I am currently having the problem with Duolingo French, you see, that it is trying to teach me the word for wallet, and the word it thinks means wallet is "le portefeuille". Which is all fine and good, as far as it goes, except that the French word I know meaning wallet is, er, "das Portemonnaie". Because German, you see, or at least my flavour of German, went through a phase (as did much of the rest of Europe) that can summarised, somewhat crudely, as You Know What's Really Sexy? French. French Is Really Sexy.

I have no idea whether Duolingo thinks le portemonnaie is an acceptable translation, and I suppose I will find out next time I find myself learning how to talk about clothes in French. (I am dubious. Duolingo persists in not believing in potatoes, you see, even if it has condescended to believe in priests.)

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, meanwhile, have an attempt at Engaging Their Younger Visitors, as best I can tell, that consists of sticking a bunch of laminated Shakespeare quotes near plants mentioned in said quotes, which series is entitled Bill's Blooms.

I was delighted to realise that one of these was taken from Much Ado About Nothing (II.i):
The count is neither sad nor sick, nor merry nor well; but civil count, civil as an Orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

... except, to my slight consternation, it was attached to an example of Citrus madurensis, the Calamondin orange.

I perambulated the remainder of the Conservatory, which contained a goodly set of Citrus. (A fact of which I had not previously been aware: nobody knows what the fuck lemons are. Citrus medica x Citrus aurantifolia, suggest Oxford, with which Wikipedia does not agree.) Not represented, alas, was Citrus aurantium, the bitter - or Seville - orange. Well, fair enough, thinks I; if they have no Seville, it is reasonable that the quotation not be attached to a Seville.

... they do so have a bloody Seville -- it's just over in the Palm House.

I have sent them an e-mail thanking them profusely for my lovely afternoon, and inquiring as to whether they just... don't think that joke's as funny as I do, then.

(It's okay! I was actually more polite than that, I promise.)

"Excuse me," I said to the woman in the charity shop, bent to peer at the bookcase, "could I trouble you to reach me down a book from the top shelf...? Oh, thank you so much -- second from the left, Americanah..."

"Oh, good find," she said, "I'm trying desperately to quickly find something to read, that looks like the only good thing on that shelf. But--" and here she brandished some Orhan Pamuk at me.

... and having thus Bonded over Literature, we went our separate ways, which at least in my case involved being briefly deeply embarrassed about What It Is I Have Become, as a result of which I knocked a shoe onto my head; it thonked pleasingly as it bounced, somewhat sadly, to the floor.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
1. One of the picture prompts Duolingo gives you when you're learning German and it asks you to translate "the sugar"? Is a bowl of sugar with vanilla pods in. I am charmed, and also sort of curious about whether it does that for other languages and I just... haven't noticed.

2. I am signed up to the London Business School Behavioral Research Lab, which means I sometimes get an e-mail inviting me to participate in a study in exchange for cold hard cash. This morning I got to drink a small quantity of beetroot & passionfruit juice (selected from a tray containing a variety of juices), read some feedback about it, and then give my own. It took about 15 minutes all told, I got paid a tenner for it, and I continued very gently learning to like beetroot. (It was surprisingly tasty, and paid for half my new ereader. This makes it a win all round.)

3. I've actually been managing to swap e-mails with P over the past few days! He's been responding! It's been lovely, not least because he pointed out an excellent bit of costuming that occurred in Elementary 4x17 that completely passed me by -- namely, Read more... ).

4. I think I have worked out why some of the creme brulee attempts have gone grainy! I'm pretty sure (I have not kept adequately detailed notes) that it happens when I pick up cheap extra-thick double cream and let it out with a little milk, as opposed to just using double cream. So that is a mystery solved, for all the mechanism remains somewhat opaque to me. (Ideas?)

5. ... A. just brought the last creme brulee through, with the last of the strawberries he picked up for me last week on top, and two spoons, and proceeded to lean companionably against me while telling me all about how en-GB-oed is his problematic fave. hashtag domestic bliss, etc etc etc.

6. I got to stick my name at the top of a file in the Dreamwidth codebase, today, because I'd written more than 10% of it (or 100 lines, whichever is smaller; in this instance, 10%). It's a tiny feature that like one person (possibly two people?) is going to (be able to) use, but I think that's still actually the first time I've got to do that, and I am Contented.

7. I had shakshuka and bagel for breakfast, and bagel and cheddar and cucumber and a strawberry for lunch, and textures and flavours and yes.

8. I was on time to (or early for!) all my appointments in spite of Tube Shenaniganry (the Piccadilly line just wasn't for much of this morning, okay), and the staff at my local station did a top-notch job of looking out for me, and then pleasant brief commiseration occurred on my way back in. (People who have had that much of a morning 100% get me explicitly thanking them and wishing that the rest of their day gets better.) (I gotta say, given what today's been like for them, I really hope they enjoy tomorrow's strike.) And then I made a phone call I really didn't want to, and removed another source of uncertainty; and then I dealt with some other stressors. Yes.

9. I am so endlessly, immensely grateful for having a warm and comfortable bed that makes me hurt less and that soothes me. (I have a memory foam topper from freecycle; memory foam pillows from my mother; a weighted blanket of my very own; soft duvet covers, and soft micofleece blankets, and stripy tulip pillow cases my mother thought I should have.)

10. Have a ridiculous song. (Oh right, what was actually going to go here was mild amusement at the intersection of interests of public transport, graphic design, zoological illustration and a specific animal species that means I've probably managed to luck into sorting A a Very Appropriate Present -- this is not spoilers, I've had a chat with him about how much effort I'm willing to go to in order to achieve the thing -- but I sort of wandered off into being distracted. So have two cheerful things for the price of one.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Last night I was feeling vaguely guilty for the part where I was sitting around knitting and reading short stories after dinner, while A tidied gently and handled some paperwork he needed to get done.

Today Why time is a feminist issue came across my dash again:
What I didn't know at the time was that this is what time is like for most women: fragmented, interrupted by child care and housework. Whatever leisure time they have is often devoted to what others want to do – particularly the kids – and making sure everyone else is happy doing it. Often women are so preoccupied by all the other stuff that needs doing – worrying about the carpool, whether there's anything in the fridge to cook for dinner – that the time itself is what sociologists call "contaminated."

I came to learn that women have never had a history or culture of leisure. (Unless you were a nun, one researcher later told me.) That from the dawn of humanity, high status men, removed from the drudge work of life, have enjoyed long, uninterrupted hours of leisure. And in that time, they created art, philosophy, literature, they made scientific discoveries and sank into what psychologists call the peak human experience of flow.

Women aren't expected to flow.

Which was a useful coincidence.

(I'd done and hung out the laundry, and put the previous round away. I'd gone out and bought groceries. I'd planned and made dinner and dessert; I served up as he walked in the door from work. We'd been trading executive function and social mammal reinforcement all day. And I still felt like I didn't ought to sit around knitting for an hour, especially not if he was doing housework, because I should be helping, because of course I did, because the patriarchy. It is, I find, very helpful to end up in situations where this discomfort arises, the what-should-I-be-doing-to-help, and the answer's nothing, keep on with what you're doing, I've got this.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. I have taken to posting my todo/tada lists as do-not-display-on-Reading-page, e.g. today's, largely out of fear of being tedious/clutter/etc. However every time I link to one comments end up being made on it, ergo:
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 30

Keep hiding t*d* lists from subscribers?

1 (3.3%)

26 (86.7%)

Something else, which I will explain in comments
3 (10.0%)

2. [ profile] kaberabbits >:(

3. Spotted in the Evening Standard -- an article by a white dude about SW:TFA that kind of made me want to take him out to dinner when combined with the rest of his articles in that spread.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
... because this is now the second time I've cooked it, and I made exactly the same set of modifications, so I might as well write it down so as to have the recipe the way I do it next time instead of having to reconstruct it from several different sources again.

Heavily modified from the Graun and the BBC, because of course it is. (But seriously, though, who puts cornflour in meringue. WHAT IS IT FOR.)

Read more... )
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
Pull requests made: 13 16 18 (with a few more probably to come)

Attendees: twelve I think (in addition to general hanging out in IRC)

Other bug progress: [personal profile] hunningham and [personal profile] pseudomonas did loads of work on big projects, [personal profile] shortcipher has done a lot of testing, [personal profile] cesy has made serious headway on an automated test suite, and [personal profile] me_and has written a feature spec

Longest telecommutes: [personal profile] swaldman had this one cornered (at ~725 miles) until the Australian contingent rocked up (thereby neatly overtaking the San Franciscans and Seattlites); video calls worked, eventually.

Wiki pages edited: SEVERAL.

Issues filed: five (#1604, #1608, #1609, #1612, #1613)

Naps taken: three

Wheelchair tyres changed: two

Slightly suspect soldering jobs: one

Food made: white bean dip & smitten kitchen's chickpea thing, macaroni cheese, sweet potato chilli, couscous, rice, parsley-tomato-cucumber-preserved lemon-pomegranate salad, apple-honey cake, gingerbread-apple upside-down cake (recipe via smitten kitchen; nb you can substitute yoghurt + a little water for the buttermilk), Apfelstrudel (family recipe I should probably write up), lemon meringue pie (with more reasonable meringue)

State of the kitchen: astonishingly non-wrecked.

Next (in-person) event: Saturday 20th February & surrounding, probably. Watch this space for details! (With an option on having me do something virtual or less over-catered sooner if folk are in favour.)

Thank you all so, so much. <3
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
A while back I spotted that the Globe was putting on Much Ado this season; given that It's My Favourite and there were tickets to be had for a fiver, there was no way I wasn't going, and I somehow managed to talk [personal profile] me_and into it in despite of the fact that he'd not seen any Shakespeare live previously and hadn't ever read Much Ado; on top of which he very kindly left work early in order that we could get to the Globe in sufficient time that I wouldn't be going above baseline anxious.

This turned out to be a very good thing. In that he'd booked online, and I'd subsequently phoned them up (go me) to book the wheelchair space in the Yard and had had it all confirmed, and we got there and another wheelchair user was already installed in that space. "Um," said front-of-house, and took our tickets, and disappeared down to the box office to triple-check. "Um," I said, and proceeded to fret quite a lot that I'd somehow fucked up the phonecall. (I hadn't. An actually sort of fascinating bug in their systems showed up, which they're going to fix for next time.) Right, said front-of-house, well, there's several options, we can ask the wheelchair user in place to move (... but they did book, it seems, and they did arrive an hour ago in order to make sure everything would be okay...) or we can offer you the other wheelchair-accessible space up in the box, come into the Yard and we'll point it out to you so you can decide, or we can ask people to move so you can be right up against the stage, or...? -- we're happy to take the box, please don't move the other wheelchair user, we said, and front-of-house vanished off to negotiate with people already up there and then reappeared to take us up via the backstage lifts, with a request to the actors en passant that they hold off another 3 minutes to give us time to install ourselves. And then one way or another we were squeezed in such that we could sit next to each other rather than having me up hard against the balcony edge and facesfriend perched behind me, and we were given a free copy of the programme so I can devour all the additional programme notes, and it was actually handled really well and I am duly impressed (and have e-mailed in to thank them some more).

As for the play itself! )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] me_and, also referred to herein as facesfriend, is tentatively stepping back into using DW as a social network, on the grounds that having committed enough patches to make a [site community profile] dw_news post he might want to shake the dust off his account. He's techy (to nobody's surprise, um), he reads spec fic (I'm hoping to persuade him to post about the various books I just foisted onto him), he is into systems and logistics in a way that I find utterly captivating but leads D to describe him as My Boring Dudefriend With Whom I Boring, and he's kind and thoughtful and generous with his time. He does LARP (about which I know nothing), can be very entertainingly snide and deadpan if encouraged but is careful to keep it away from people who don't like it, and is a singlet who picked his handle lo these many years ago for entirely unrelated reasons unaware of what the naming convention implies (if this clause is opaque to you then the meaning's largely irrelevant).

Or, to put it another way, I think it's time for an introductions meme.
If you would like to, please comment to this post, and I'll introduce you to everybody else by giving a reason why I think you're great. Some people I know better than others, so I can't promise all my introductions will exactly encapsulate why someone might want to get to know you. You're also welcome to comment to someone else's thread and ask for a specific introduction to that person; I know some people are more confident than others about just jumping in and introducing themselves to a stranger. I am also happy to matchmake if you would like that; ask me for a recommendation of a personal journal and/or community from my circles.

And of course, feel free to repost this game in your own journal, if you think it would be a good way to make connections between some of your people. I think this could go quite well if it spreads a few hops away from here, but also worth doing even if no-one picks it up.

Please do play if you'd like to; if you want to PM me to ask permission and encouragement I will gladly dispense same. <3
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. Walking down the hill in the sunshine to buy sourdough and orange juice for breakfast, to go with strawberries left over from strawberry-mint-lemonade I made last night.

2. Cinnamon-sourdough toast, strawberries, and orange juice for breakfast.

3. ... followed by sourdough toast topped with kimchi for lunch.

4. For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I am putting together a costume (that is going to involve anti-gravity space-wheelchair). All components except make-up and one last bit of jewelry are now sorted and I am very excited about this. Proof of concept works and I am pleased (and currently working out the optimal way to trace a design for a temporary tattoo what do you mean a full-bicep temporary tattoo is overkill NO IT ISN'T).

5. I am rereading Max Gladstone's Craft books and finding them really very soothing.

6. I have had a string of slightly difficult conversations this week, and all involved have been kind and supportive and fantastic, for which I am v grateful. (Relatedly, having had a pretty rocky time of it on Wednesday night, I coped astonishingly well with Thursday despite several flashpoints that could plausibly have seriously set me off and... didn't.)

7. OUR LITTLE FEETY POTATOES are currently ravening maws poking out over the top of the nest making little cheeping noises. (We have a blackbird's nest right above our front door in the ivy; it is FAB and this is the second clutch this spring/summer.)

8. Tonight I am going to curl up in a pile with my housemate and catch up on Orphan Black and talk and eat ratatouille and it'll be great.

9. More M-fic this morning...

10. ... and a second e-mail from the AO3, informing me that someone who read one of my bits of A:tLA fic and liked Katara's homesick insomnia and commented to tell me so actually liked it enough that they're working through the rest of my stuff, which always makes me smile when it happens.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
... and twice makes a tradition. P-the-ethical & I have a habit of going for A Fancy Meal most times we end up in the same place, which we probably need to curb a little now that we see each other more than twice a year, and he was keen to go back and is an excellent dining companion; I'd been wanting to know what facesfriend thought of the place since he'd mentioned to me that work owed him a fancy dinner; and I was wanting to introduce them in a context that wasn't in point of fact A Party. Plus taking more people out to fancy vegetarian dinners means I get to try more of the food, so. That was a motivation.

Read more... )

As one might expect service was unobtrusive except when they had no option, e.g. the committee that assembled to gape in amusement at how badly I'd got my hair tangled in my coat on arrival; and the point at which we came to pay, my boys looked at each other and me and pulled out their cards and said we'd sort out my contribution later, the waiter was very carefully very impassive, and I ended up going bright pink and burying my head in my hands and giggling because yes, in fact, it was exactly what it looked like. But also at a point earlier in the meal I'd mentioned that It Was My Birthday Treat, was wished a happy birthday, and then my dessert came out on a plate with "Happy Birthday" in the glaze and a candle on top of it. So! It was showy but also judged exactly right for me. It was lovely. <3
kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
Sad and insomniac? Focus difficult? Feeling useless? Give it a couple of kilos of loose change in a range of currencies and it'll be happy for hours.

(Reasons to keep facesfriend around: I erupted into a small victory hiss at him as he was saying goodnight on IM, because having earlier found obsolete English shillings I had finally finally a little over an hour later found obsolete Austrian Schilling to go with them, and he appeared to find this hilarious and adorable because he understood exactly why I found it so satisfying.)
kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
Periodically I will have a lot of FEELINGS about something at someone, and will get to the end of the feelingsdump, and say, somewhat sheepishly, "... I HAD A LOT OF FEELINGS sorry".

Facesfriend is in the habit of responding - rather drily - "gosh, how unlike you."

This exchange happened earlier today. (In this instance the topic was Explaining The Manics to him; over the past couple of weeks topics I have Had A Lot Of Feelings About include comparative bus etiquette, the second world war, the Green Party boyband video, the RNLI, space robots, etc.) And it finally twigged that no, actually, I do think of it as Unlike Me and something sufficiently out of the ordinary to be apologised for, and this is probably because I spent at least ages 13 to 21 with untreated severe depression, and one of the symptoms of my depression is generally anhedonia, and I just... am not even a tiny bit used to being able to experience intense positive emotion at the drop of a hat. It's strange and unsettling and I don't know what to do with it.

It's very disconcerting to learn that's not how others perceive me, these days. Internalities and externalities.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
1. I have MORE FEELINGS about Jupiter Ascending, and Jupiter's agency, and biology-as-theology, and learning to trust yourself. Would any of you have any interest in me typing them up here?

2. Poaching stonefruit in spiced white wine syrup continues pretty much my favourite thing. (The deal is: you dump misc spices - I tend towards some mixture of cardamom, allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, occasionally bay - and sugar, preferably vanilla, and white wine, and halved stone-fruit, and their pits, in an ovenproof dish; and then you bake 'em covered at 180ish for as long as you can be bothered with, and they are delicious.)

3. ... facesfriend keeps insisting on buying me pretty much any foodstuff I look at briefly in a shop and then move on from because it's not a thing I feel comfortable getting into the habit of buying, from an augh-my-finances point of view, and. I just feel ridiculously spoiled. (I mean, it means that yesterday for dinner he got kale chips + peas-and-carrot-curry-ish + lemon rice + poached peaches, and today he got kale chips + wine-braised-fennel quiche + boiled potatoes + steamed broccoli + poached plums, so he asserts he's doing pretty well out of the deal, but hey. Spoiled. Yes.)

4. I have caved and am borrowing the first six MCU films from facesfriend, the better to understand your blue-eyed boys & related works. (This led to me having a very earnest discussion over breakfast about all of the bits of MCU trivia I have acquired via tumblr-catalysed osmotic processes).

5. ... in related "domestic bliss" news, I spent some of this afternoon very happily singing along to the Indelicates while turning dried rosemary branches into a more useful-for-storage form factor.

6. Sunshine. I am so enjoying the evenings getting longer.

7. Hot beverages in general; hot chocolate in specific. (My current favourite, as I believe I have mentioned: hazelnut milk, dark chocolate/cocoa of some description, allspice, cinnamon.) Relatedly: milk pans. (I wants one, precious.)

8. I am doing a very, very relaxing comfort-reread of some pulpy urban fantasy that is full of chosen family kicking arse and looking out for each other. Yes Good basically.

9. I finished the Möbius scarf! Photographs to follow when I get my act together. It's a simple reversible lace that I more-or-less made up as I went along; it is big and snuggly and very adjustable for whether I'm on the tube or in an ICY BLAST and hurrah.

10. I have spent the weekend mostly actually having a breathing space from work, and it has been utterly lovely.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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