ok, Thanksgiving vacation meant everything snuck up on me, so short deadline.
IF YOU WANT TO BUY A CALENDAR, TELL ME BEFORE MONDAY DECEMBER 4!
Preferably, also paypal/venmo/hand me money before then as well, or tell me how you're going to do so :)
This year's calendar is LONDON -- 2017 was terrible for creative output for many of us, but I found some mojo on vacation and I have some very cool photos from London and Oxford for 2018.
So still mainlining books, almost entirely in the braincandy/fluffy category.
If anyone is looking for straight-up escapist Space Opera, in which almost all of the main characters happen to be women, I highly recommend Scalzi's "The Collapsing Empire".
There's nothing interesting about the gender politics of the world except how uninteresting they are -- it's the exact flip of the sort of space opera in which theoretically the genders are equal, but 9/10 of the main characters just happen to be men.
9/10 of the important characters are women and some of them are bookish and some of them are foul-mouthed and some of them are interested in sex and some aren't and it's just normal.
(It does exactly that thing of "when there are ENOUGH female characters, choices you make about each one don't have to be read as Statements About Women".)
Anyways I thought it was refreshing.
I'm on GoodReads now, if anyone else wants to connect there.
haven't decided whether I'm going to make everything in LJ private / stop cross-posting / delete my account. are there folks who won't follow? if you're reading here and want to keep reading and don't read at DW, here's the place to let me know.
instant pot recipe of the evening: chicken and rice
the important proportions bits:
2 medium onions
6 cloves of garlic (pressure-cooked garlic is almost imperceptible -- next time i'll put the whole head in)
slices of raw ginger
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
2 cups diced celery and carrot
2 cups medium-grain brown rice (nishiki brand)
3 cups liquid (i used vegetable broth)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
black pepper, thyme, 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
sautee the onions with the garlic and ginger in the instant pot.
deglaze the pan with the broth, and add everything but the chicken and stir.
put the chicken on top, and pressure cook (manual / high) for 25m. fast-release.
next time I think I'd add a little sushi vinegar or something, it wanted some acidity. definitely a recipe that you could flavor in all sorts of ways, but the chicken was perfectly cooked and so was the rice, so i'll keep the liquid ratio.
I'm not sure how strongly I can state the awesomeness of Ursula Vernon's (tkingfisher
)'s fantasy books. Her middle-grade stuff is cute, her art captions have always been charming and strange, her fairy-tale retellings are lovely, but... I hope she has a long long life in which people pay her lots of money to write fantasy because I REALLY LOVE what she does when given free reign. (And I REFUSE to be superstitious about saying that in 2016. Years are just numbers, damnit.)
In this case: her recently-completed serial, "Summer in Orcus." Read it.
OH RIGHT my number one gripe was "i read in both places, and don't want to wade through duplicate posts"... but now there are people only crossposting some stuff, or who used to crosspost but don't anymore.
also there is no dreamwidth app, though at least their default rendering of my reading page isn't horrific on mobile.
someone on the internet tells me livejournal is moving their servers to russia?
which i thought had already happened, but i'm uncertain. a bunch of people i know are concerned about it, but i'm not sure how it affects me.
i just re-backed-up to dreamwidth, and perhaps i will explore posting there and reposting here.
this entry is a good place to tell me if you post there under a different name, because at the moment i don't have a lot of content on my dreamwidth feed, and i do still have a reasonable amount of activity here!
also, anything anyone wants to mention about negatives from cross-posting... other than "losing my awesome collection of icons". i'm still exploring.
ANNUAL CALENDAR POST
if you want to buy one, they're $15, or $18 if you want one mailed to you.
this year's has a lot of libraries if you're into that kind of thing :)
circus progress report:
- back in hoop 401 next session. feel like i will be stuck in 401 forever. even if this is true, it's not a bad place to be. totally learning new and different skills with T, and do believe he's a good and safe teacher. still not as effective a teacher for me as R, but the novelty is great.
- pretty sure i will never be able to take part in the student show unless it gets a lot less competitive. this isn't necessarily true, but at least i would need to set a goal of creating an act and devoting the time do that (private lessons, probably taking the "creating an act" mini-session). priorities.
later this month:
friday/saturday: working tech for a touring circus show at the armory
sunday: taking 4 hours of back-to-back trapeze workshops with one of the artists from the show
monday: flying trapeze with coffeekitty
before TSNY:boston closes :(
tuesday: my usual lyra class
the cirque du soleil show "quidam" opened in april 1996, and closed last month after an almost 20-year run.
in july 1996, i took a roadtrip with nathanw, daveg, and jdaniel to quebec to see the show, in its initial season. it was completely on a whim, the summer after my freshman year -- it felt grown-up and daring to roadtrip to another country with three "older guys" (somehow a year feels a lot older when you're 18). if i remember correctly we drove up in a rental car, stayed in a college dorm for $20/night, and i saw my first modern circus and was completely blown away. the show took most of its imagery from magritte, who was my absolute favorite artist at 18. i saw a silks act (probably?) performed by isabelle chasse, who was one of the first pioneers the modern aerial silk apparatus. i saw a juggling act
which was designed by michael moschen and involved the most amazing props. i saw a banquine act that completely broke my brain. and i came back to boston and told all my friends we should see cirque du soleil when it came back to boston.
july of 1996 was still taking classical violin lessons but had almost no modern music performance experience. i saw cirque and joked that if i ever ran away and joined the circus, i was joining the cirque du soleil band.
in july of 1996 i was slowly falling in love with eric, though still months away from admitting it to myself.
tonight, 40 of us piled up crash mats and comfy blankets, set up a projector at esh, and watched the "quidam" DVD. the cinematography is terrible, the performance is obviously cut together from at least 3 shows, and it's missing many of my favorite moments, and it was still magic. there is nothing like the sound of people reacting to circus who know EXACTLY how difficult and painful and impossible what's happening in front of them is.
i think if i told 18-year-old me that 20 years later, not only was 38-year-old me a professional musician who often performed with world-class circus acts, but was studying circus aerials, and was married to that guy i was hanging out with that summer (and that he'd arranged the processional from "quidam" for organ for our wedding)... i think i'd be pretty happy about that.
catching up on the weekend...
friday night shabbat/birthday dinner for my sister went well. i am increasingly pleased with my take on the "no knead"/"artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" bread recipe, except that my version involves a lot of machine kneading. i still don't know how anyone gets the sort of loose-and-airy-but-still-chewy texture they show in their books with their technique, but my version (kneading for 5m at low speed in the kitchenaid when you first combine ingredients, rise in the back hallway for 4-6 hours, rise in fridge until needed, shape boule, let rise 40m, bake in pre-heated lidded dutch oven at 450) is pretty good. but it's going to be sad when that initial cool rise isn't possible -- i wonder if room temp initial rise will work as well?
saturday involved a brief trip to rhode island for some shopping and brunch, and then grabbing greek take-out and bringing it to the verse&vodka production of "inherit the wind". the show was very very good -- somewhat more formal (actual black-outs between scenes! a set-up more like a thrust stage than "theatre in the surround".) than their previous stuff, but the acting was generally very solid. antonin scalia's death did give drummond's speech about his opponent some extra poignancy, but the show was effective and affecting even without that (yes, especially bert cates, and yes, I'm biased).
the bartenders continue to be very nice and fine as long as all you want from your drink is "strong". mine failed to understand i wanted my bourbon IN my ginger ale, poured me an extra inch of bourbon in apology and then wouldn't take any money.
after the show fraterrisus
and i went out to grab a drink at spoke with minkrose
and a friend. we split a cheese plate and several cocktails and had a very good time talking and catching up.
sunday was valentine's -- eric and i went to formaggio's where we bought several tasty meats and cheeses and fruits for our usual valentine's picnic. then we went to our first partner acro lesson :)( partner acro was a lot of fun.Collapse )
i've heard that acro is often where couples come to work out (or discover) their trust issues, but i feel like eric and i acquitted ourselves well -- we're pretty good at teamwork :)
after the lesson i stuck around and played a little on the hexagon, and then we went home to picnic.
after the picnic we decided to watch "grand budapest hotel" which was extremely pretty and made absolutely no sense at all. but it didn't act like it had any intentions to, so i just sat back and enjoyed the pretty.
monday i had off work, but i had to go set up an experiment for tuesday, so i'll bank those hours against my upcoming long weekend. afterwards i went to catalyst and got to spend time catching up with coffeekitty
I have been remiss. I will be making calendars -- if you wish to purchase one, let me know. They are $15, or $19 if I have to mail them (which barely covers shipping costs!)
Let me know here if you would like one and we can arrange payment.
extremely random odds and ends.
this year has had many new experiences.
- first ear exam (for work purposes, since i'm working on a program with some noise exposure and they wanted a baseline. apparently i'm within 5dB of threshold, despite the company i keep.)
- first time having hair bleached/dyed in a salon (conclusion: biologists with three foot long dyed hair shouldn't go to salons. i expect the "this makes no biological/chemical sense" hair professional nonsense, but the part that was a problem was the lack of respect for my expert knowledge of what will and won't work with three feet of hair. i may use the dye she used, but the whole process mostly showed me i wasn't missing any secret tricks of the trade. though i may want to get someone to help me bleach just the roots of my hair next time, since it's annoying to do by myself.)
- first time playing at a friend's funeral/memorial. (eric and i played the flute parts to a stravinsky soprano solo for dan's memorial, and eric played the oboe on a britten piece.) it seems quite possible that will happen more than once this year. (it also seems to be the first year to go to more friends' funerals than weddings. 37 seems a little young for that.)
- first time floating in a sensory deprivation tank (that's this evening: i'll report back.)
i spent the weekend in new york city visiting zac&nina, which was delightful. excitingly, we managed to pry zac away from the distillery for a whole 36 hours or so. friday night was a cuddle pile, eating ice cream from the carton and drinking whiskey, while i picked nina's brains about project management, and rifled through the clothes she was getting rid of, stealing half of them. saturday zac and i made a coffee and pastry and fruit run and then nina made brunch sammiches. eventually we pried ourselves off the couch and went to williamsberg, where we played dress-up at crossroads thrift store for a couple of hours (i found zac a jacket that fit like a dream and originally cost somewhere north of $1000), and then went to the "brooklyn night market". reminiscent of the one in neverwhere, but with more hipsters. Z&N had bought a package that included food and drink and activity tickets. so we had japanese pork buns, and tacos, and weird brazillian sandwiches, and beignets with three different flavors of caramel sauce. we tried on jewelry and flower headbands and bought costume brooches and mocked the band. we played black-light mini-golf, and left the market with lemon-flavored cotton candy (which we ate on the subway) and piece of celebratory pi-day pie. our timing was perfect -- as we completed each activity we noticed the line had grown enormously, and when we left before midnight we felt extremely satisfied with our "we're old and we don't care" life choices. then there was a fashion show of all the clothes we'd bought, and the evening ended with all of us squished onto the love seat, with me feeding each of us from the single slice of pie.
sunday i met up with sara, and we brunched and talked professional challenges and crises, and went to the (very disappointing) morbid anatomy fleamarket, and stopped by the distillery
for a bottle of their "technical reserve" (97% straight chromatography-grade ethanol, great for making bitters and limoncello and such).
definitely making it back to NYC more than once this year, comma damnit. if only for all the lovely people i DIDN'T get to see this weekend.
last week was the big installation of the device i've been sheparding through acquisition and training, and this week i'm flailing a bit at work. which wasn't helped by my desktop completely losing its brain and then the computer running one of our main pieces of lab instrumentation also losing its brain, and having to babysit the IT guys while they figured out what to do about them.
random bits and pieces.
- i have had "city of new orleans" stuck in my head since last wednesday. this is because isaac refused to have me sing any other song to him at bedtime when i was babysitting him. i pulled up a youtube video to learn the lyrics (isaac said, scandalized, "mama said no video! mama said TOUGH NOOGIES!") and then played it on my violin while isaac sang along.
- i can do a pullup and a chinup! sometimes I can do more than one pull-up in a row! this is still kind of mindboggling and feels a little like levitating witchcraft. i probably did a dozen of them over the course of the day yesterday.
- speaking of levitating witchcraft, had lovely dinner yesterday where i fed soup to coffeekitty
and she told me about flying upsidedown in her tiny airplane and almost doing a powered flight right into the ocean (oops).
- finally went medieval on our tupperware a few weeks ago -- discarded everything that wasn't the halfpint/pint/quart takeout containers (for freezing) and replaced them with a large variety pack of snapware. thus far i am very pleased with the outcome, mostly in that i have not been subjected to either a tupperware landslide or the futile search for a matching top in weeks.
- stitchripping a spandex superhero costume while watching the commentary tracks to "agents of SHIELD" maybe the nerdiest thing i have ever done in my entire life.
- spent several hours on the phone with my family thursday. love my family, and both they and the phone make me kind of crazy. tiny niece is not so tiny anymore though -- 12 pounds! (now outweighing my full-term niece-of-choice who was born a week before.)
- my household continues to be pretty darned cute. ( photographic evidence.Collapse )
Anyone looking for some small contract programming work?
A friend writes:
Would you know anyone who could help us with this? This is the type of
coding we usually do in-house but we have been very busy with other projects and it has not been possible to complete these tasks."
If this sounds useful, I can put you in touch.
i've taken two trapeze classes so far. (static, not flying.)
part of me says "either trapeze makes me feel both physically stupider and less fit than lyra ever did, or that two week break REALLY threw me off."
and then i realize both classes i've been to have been in 85+ degree weather, and maybe i shouldn't judge the apparatus until i've taken it through the fall.
attention folks who like my calendars!
I will be placing this year's order on FRIDAY, November 22nd!
If you have paid me by paypal (or a solemn promise that the check really is in the mail :) by then, you can get a calendar.
Price is $15, or $18 if you need shipping.
Sign up by commenting here or by emailing me!
This year's calendar includes pictures from Southern France, Barcelona, Prague, and New York City.
- starting my day at my lab bench with 5mL of saliva
+ means that nothing else more weirdly gross is likely to happen to me today
+ is marginally less icky than starting the day with 5mL of someone else's saliva
- realized a way in which i probably messed up yesterday's experiment
+ i think
it's not too late to fix it
- could not fall asleep or stay asleep last night
+ this almost never happens to me
+ new comforter is super poofy and just the right amount warm
+ should start designing new duvet cover for it
- throat is sore and scratchy
+ almond butter cookies. like peanut butter cookies, for those of us who aren't overly enamored of peanut butter. delicious success, though very different texture than the same recipe made with peanut butter (flatter, less cakey. i assume this is related to almond butter being less emulsified than peanut butter, since the nuts are harder. want to try it with hazelnut butter, and maybe make my own pecan butter and try it with that because it would be SUPER TASTY. is the only reason they don't sell pecan butter the price?)
+ boston organics soup (kale, carrots, onions, sprouted lentils/beans, potatoes, paprika, tamari, miso).
+ cozy things on a cold morning: my beautiful new birch mug that eric bought for my birthday, full of hot tea. my lined silk bathrobe. my super-fuzzy slippers from fraterrisus
+ 6 gigs in 13 days with 4 bands, done!
(started thursday, got longer than i expected, still posting it today)
good moods by force of will. because thursday needs it.
+ that experiment which has been plaguing me for the last 6 months, which has been a source of constant misery and craziness, is finally done and dead. i threw out all the samples today, because we have answers from all of them. i'm declaring today the start of a fresh leaf at work, with some new projects, and some better habits (going back to written to-do lists, which i find very motivating.)
+ sushi lunch today with jadia
, along with really good useful conversation poking at brains (mmm, braaains) and work habits.
+ NYC trip was pretty awesome -- it involved less gadding-about-by-myself, but that was because it involved more quality time hanging out with someone i'd like to continue to get to know better.
+ got to see cerevisiae
and go to the penny jive at the end of my weekend.
+ last weekend eric and i took a spontaneous weekend away in providence, just because we could. the (air)B&B was a beautiful restored victorian house with fascinating art, and it and our host were perfect in pretty much every way except for the tragically flat futon. (trying to stay positive here, for my own documentation: flat futons in NYC and providence have contributed to a lot of shoulder pain the last week. ow.)
+ ( weekend summary behind the cut -- awesome food, and good performancesCollapse )
+ jewelry studio retrieval was not too terrible, and while there was more there than i remembered, it still was possible to pack everything into the craftroom at home without too much trouble.
+ another weekend away. i'm seeing a glass of wine by the pool, and some quality reading and snuggling time in a blanket fort in my future.
"New LJ" annoyances... is anyone else seeing that
a) some journal entries list "X comments" but then the comments aren't displaying? (i.e. I click through from my friendspage to read them, but they don't actually appear on the entry page -- they do exist and I can see them in the iPhone client, but I don't see them logged in in chrome, firefox OR Safari). This isn't happening with every page, just some of them, so I assume that means it's cluster-related?
b) weird floating menus that are blank and/or misplaced on their "post an entry" page?
good things this weekend:
- quality mrf_arch
time, and feeding him smitten kitchen's "chicken with olives and grapes" which was as fantastic as advertised.
- working with eric to get the studio/study/craft/music room more organized and usable, and discarding the piece of furniture which has been taking up the majority of the floorspace since the snowstorm in february.
- cleaning and organizing my room.
- tidying and cleaning the house. (when did i become the sort of person who found it restful and stress-relieving to clean my house??? i'm not sure how it happened, but i'll take it.)
- making brunch for electrictruffle
and his two smallest children, as well as dreams_of_wings
and eric. so good to hang out with J, and meet the babies. stupid portland is too far away.
- making the la brea peep pits
(or more accurately as dreda
put it, a peep bog). the horrible aftermath
. were i to do this again (though i'm not sure it's worth it), i'd probably bake the brownies for 10m before putting the peeps on top -- the last 10 minutes of baking were necessary for the brownies, but caramelized the peeps past ideal.
- infusing shiso leaves
(available at ideal market!) in rye and vocka over last weekend. the infusions came out very differently -- i like the rye one best, not surprisingly. made a lovely shisho collins last night that should totally become a new summertime standard -- need to make more infused rye, stat :) (note to self: bruised ~4 leaves, put in ~3-4oz of rye for 5 days). also on my list: pepper rye (though somewhat less fierce than L's, amazing though it was. possibly PINK peppercorn booze? so many options!)
- awesome last-minute social of several varieties, hosted by me and others. especially the kind that involves 3 types of spontaneous baking experiments going on at once, everyone congregated by the kitchen, a sushi feast, and snuggles.
's R, playing "monster airline" by situating herself in one of our large tupperwares with several couch cushions.
- SPRING WEATHER, windows open, shoots and sprouts of flowers on our lawn. and NO DEMONWEED IN THE BACK YARD (yet.)
broken plane + late replacement plane = no connection to Austin + night at Dallas airport = cranky coraline
I still have hopes that this Austin trip will be less stressful than last year's (when we were filling out and faxing mortgage paperwork and calling our lawyer between HONK sets) but it's not off to an auspicious start.
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