bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hwooof, that was a tough week, but this weekend was the best that's happened in a while, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

(It was just a trough of stress. Political stuff, work stuff, probably body chemistry stuff. I am finally getting started with seeing a therapist and then I missed an appointment because I was so discombobulated I thought it was the next day. I had never missed a doctor's appointment before. I felt so stupid until [personal profile] deelaundry said a kind thing that hadn't occurred to me: When I said, "I look like a flake," she countered with, "You look like someone who needs help." Self-compassion is a thing it would be nice to learn.)

The good stuff:

Socializing: In support of this year's goal to get together more often with friends I like to talk to and/or want to get to know better, a few of us went to a play yesterday and had a satisfying coffee shop chat afterwards, and then I accepted an unexpected invitation to another blossoming friend's low-key Superbowl dinner. All good.

The play was called Trans Scripts, a synthesis/melding of interviews with trans women from the US/UK/Aus. It was elegant, illuminating and well acted -- two cast members were particularly strong -- although I thought it faltered in a few spots when it shifted from "showing" through anecdotes to plain proselytizing. [personal profile] marginaliana wrote up some of her thoughts.

A phone conversation the previous night:
95-year-old grandpa: Oh! I didn't expect you to be home on a Saturday night. I thought you'd be out with your friends.
Me: No, I'm boring. Well, I'm going to see a play tomorrow, but it's a matinee.
Grandpa: Oh, yeah? What is it about?
Me, bracing myself: It's based on interviews with transgender women about their lives.
Grandpa: Oh. You know, there's this woman I know from the temple, who lives with another woman, and it turns out they're--what do you call it--lesbians? Lesbians?
Me: Mm-hm!
Grandpa: So that's very interesting! I just knew them as women from the temple, you know.
#NotAllGrandpas

Doing: Had a computer-free day Saturday involving a mall run, errands and two movies. In addition to some necessaries for work and winter weather, I treated myself to a grommet-studded cut-out shirt that I probably won't wear anywhere but at home and Club Vivid (because I am me) but love anyway.

Reading: Was delighted by Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vols 1-2: plucky, witty, metatextual, intertextual, often involved the defusing of supervillainy through psychology/sympathy rather than fisticuffs. The '80s horror of Paper Girls turns out to be not as much my aesthetic, although the introduction of overlapping timestreams in vol. 2 is getting interesting.

Watching: Saw Moonlight and Lion. Loved the first and really liked the second; cried through them both; my heart aches for Chiron. Hope to see I Am Not Your Negro and Hidden Figures this week. Catching up on what I missed in Dec-Jan when too much else was going on.

Vidding: I remain in the planning stages of the two auction vids, and am figuring out if I can make the multifandom Club Vivid vid I've been preparing since the fall or if it'll need to wait another year. I watched all the [community profile] festivids -- slim masterlist this year, half the usual total -- but haven't commented on any or recced any here because I'm afraid the gaps would give away what I made, and the thought of doing fake comments/recs to throw off the scent makes me tired. I'll probably just post the rec list after reveals.

Cooking: A pleasurable week is in store of chicken breast and goat cheese sandwiches for lunch and stuffed cabbage for dinner. Also, the supermarket was selling chocolate-covered banana chips, which I didn't know was a thing but I am all over it, mm. Banana chips were such a treat when I was a kid.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
First of all, thank you to everyone who posted photos or descriptions of your experiences at Saturday's marches.

After much angst, I chose to stay with my mom rather than to go the NYC rally. In the end, that turned out all right. The marches clearly had robust attendance, and while at home I was able to open my mom's eyes to the scale of the movement and the nature of the marchers' concerns—she hadn't known about the events at all and said she'd never seen anything like it, even given the Vietnam protests of the '60s—and spend more time debating her boyfriend, a staunch conservative who honest to goodness argued with TV coverage by shouting, "What about white people?" and "All lives matter!"

Not to mention that having all-day news and social media access gave us clearer access to speakers, performers and commentators and a broader perspective across the nation and the world than would have been possible while packed into a crowd.

Instead of berating myself for being on that day the sort of complicit bystander we decry in history classes, I try to remind myself that witnessing is also important.

.

Executive orders. Cabinet confirmations. Federal hiring freezes and gag rules.* Lies and distractions and tangled-up media relations. Standing Rock now, too, OMG. I only have so many dollars to donate, so one of the things I did today was ask the [tumblr.com profile] FandomTrumpsHate mods to extend an invitation to the runner-up in my vid auction in addition to the winner. We'll see if she's interested. If I can raise $210 for charity, that's another drop in the bucket of resistance. Or some metaphor that makes more sense.

I'll definitely be making a vid for the winner, though: [personal profile] deelaundry! We are discussing options.

*I worked at an HHS agency for several years; I'm very glad I'm not there right now, for both practical and ideological reasons. Friends who are Feds or contractors, I hope you know my thoughts are with you.

.

I've created a new DW/LJ tag, "politics," both for organization purposes and so those of you who want to can unsubscribe from it. That said, I still intend for this journal to remain primarily a fannish space.

.

And now for something a little lighter.

A few months back, Dee gave me a Liz Climo 2017 daily calendar. It is punching above its weight in emotional support. Today's cartoon is going to get tacked to the bulletin board:

image behind the cut )

Meanwhile, Mr. [personal profile] deelaundry gifted me a subscription to a monthly spice mix service. I had never belonged to one of those food-by-mail clubs before and wasn't sure what to expect, but the first trio of envelopes arrived yesterday and it’s a winner: four types of red chiles ground together, a cumin-oregano rub, and za'atar, with recipes curated by the head chef of the marvelous café at the National Museum of the American Indian. I have a baggie of sumac in the kitchen, but you can never have enough.

Tonight, hoping to finish the last Festivids treat. Golive on Saturday is a light at the end of the week.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[warning: stress dreams involving violence]

Awake brain: I know I have work and vidding deadlines, but I feel pretty good.

Unconscious brain: Ha ha ha! Have some dreams about bears, and a horse peeing on you, and performing as Captain Kirk in a Star Trek play but you forget all your lines and musical cues so everyone has to cover for you, and experiencing people's startled reactions to your face after you lose most of it in an accident, and forgetting to buy a dress and write a speech for your sister's (nonexistent) wedding, and missing your trains to get downtown!

...Yet I still feel pretty good? Well, less good now that the work deadline looms and the time I set aside to vid keeps getting diverted to procrastination activities ranging from cooking to watching long-ago completed vids. :/ I did finish the Elf one, as you may have seen, but that still leaves the four [community profile] festivids-in-progress.

Of the good: Made it unexpectedly to most of Boston Fannish Brunch today; there will be a [personal profile] roga in town for the beginning of Hanukkah; going to visit [personal profile] deelaundry and family for Xmas; going with [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl the next day to a National Theatre Live screening of Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen's latest play, followed probably by New Year's Eve hangouts with old movies.

Ah, that's the oven timer. Round one was meat for the week, round two is veg, round three will be baked apples (with much less sugar). I've been peeling, coring, slicing and baking apples with a simple dusting of cinnamon afterwards, so am attracted to this recipe that involves only coring, even though baked apple skin looks to me like death.

(Dear brain: That is not an invitation for another stress dream.)

ETA: The apples are delicious, like an inside-out crumble, although I wouldn't say they're less work than what I was doing before; maybe because I don't have a melon baller or apple corer. I used about 1 tsp brown sugar and a generous shake of cinnamon along with the oats.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
(Aside from current events like the DAPL breakthrough. \o/)

I’m not a good sleeper, but last night, with the help of a "non"-drowsy allergy pill, I went to bed at 9:30 and slept until 7:30 and woke in my little quilt cocoon to a dusting of snow outside, feeling like life is beautiful. Why can’t every night be like that?

I found some books for gifts and for me at the twice-yearly Harvard Book Store warehouse sale this weekend: some cookbooks, a slim volume about narrative craft by Ursula Le Guin (originally written in 1998 and updated last year) and four nonfiction books I’d been eyeing for a while. That’s part of the good thing. The other part is that work is going to cover most of those because they’re job-related. Hooray; that frees up this month’s book budget for other treats.

While exchanging a defective jacket, I found a cowl-neck "tunic sweater" that fits. It was on sale and it makes me happy. I have not been feeling good about myself body-wise for a while, and a well-fitting article of clothing helps. It’s long enough to be a short dress, but I wasn’t brave enough for that today, given the chill, and am wearing it with black pants.

Since it is the Month of Capitalism, I also browsed around for stovetop tea kettles, because I’ve finally grown embarrassed enough about boiling water for guests in a battered saucepan to search for an alternative. (It was more of a small-kitchen, don’t want specialized gadgets thing than an affordability thing.) Thus was I introduced to the modern world of programmable electric kettles, where you can set the shutoff at various temps below boiling for perfect tea steeping. I think this is where my Hanukkah gift card from the stepfamily will be going.

Culinary rescue! A pre-Thanksgiving cider-braised chicken recipe came out way too sweet and I ended up sticking most of the constituents in the freezer: leg meat, barley, onion, too-firm diced carrot and celery. Yesterday I tried reinventing it as a soup and am pleased to report that it came out great.

A roasted spaghetti squash, not so much. Overdone to mush. I would turn it into soup if there weren’t already soup this week. The internet says it can be puréed into a sort of mash, with butter/margarine, salt and pepper. Any other ideas?

Friends came over on Saturday to work on various laptop projects, "alone together"; I made some progress on the Elf vid, and we experienced the first two episodes of Yuri On Ice. Waiting for the second Grantchester S1 DVD to arrive; started watching S3 of The Fall on Netflix. Was pleased to learn that it began as a medical drama! With Richard Coyle from Coupling, no less.

<3 to all of you while this good mood lasts. Later in December will be much more stressful, on top of whatever fresh hell the news brings.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I don't even know what to say. You all see what's happening too.

How I've coped this week:

Reading, Watching, Sharing, Doing
I've been taking in as much news as I can handle, which varies by the evening. Since it's all too easy for me to think about things and stop there, I've also made efforts to transform that intake and mental processing into actions. Things like setting up monthly rather than annual charity donations, signing the subset of petitions that have a shot at going anywhere, and building a spreadsheet of local, state and federal representative contact information plus specific issues to thank them for supporting or urge them to oppose. I haven't psyched myself up yet to, uh, actually make the phone calls, but I'm working on it. Still unsure which outreach efforts are most effective when I live in a Democratic state with kickass reps who are already writing joint statements and introducing bills to prevent or reverse the most atrocious developments.

Working
Nobody at our office got anything done the day after the election, but by the next day I was ready to bury myself in work. My monthly productivity is now on track to be one and a half to two times normal.

Vidding
[personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] stultiloquentia and [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl came over at various times last weekend for communal laptopping and to talk or not-talk about our government-to-be. I made a [community profile] festivids treat draft in 24 hours and picked at a few others. Current plan: four Festivids and one Christmas vid. Ha. Ha ha ha.

Cooking
Vidding only worked as a distraction through Saturday. Sunday I tried to sit in the computer desk chair but kept drifting into the kitchen to start some other cooking or baking project. By the end of the day, there was curried pumpkin-apple soup, pumpkin bread, an onion and feta frittata, baked sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable lasagna and lemon-basil haddock with spaghetti squash. It's kept me in leftovers for the entire week, plus extras in the freezer, and one loaf of the pumpkin bread fed my coworkers.

Reading
Not much fiction. Finished the Young Miles compendium -- enjoyed the Dendarii parts, gradually lost patience with the rest -- and am wrapping up Vampire Romance 2. Starting to do proper research into the paranormal erotica short story market. I did go to book club last Thursday despite only having read a few chapters of the book months ago (The Goblin Emperor), and was glad to have done so, for the company.

Writing
Picked up a high school- into college-era (!) orig fic last night and added 1,200 words in 60 or 90 minutes, which, if you've been keeping track, is a lot for me these last few years. Want to try some more tonight and over the weekend. There is a sequence of scenes I daydreamed about back in the day that for some reason resurfaced, matured with time, a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to get them down on the page. A sort of recovery story, years after the hurt I put the hero and heroine through: probably another form of self-comfort this month to go with the blankets and hoodies and warm drinks and toast.

Watching
Not much besides current events. [personal profile] thedeadparrot and I did go to see Arrival last Friday and it was great; haven't enjoyed a new SF movie that much since Interstellar. Oh, and Westworld. I'm still ambivalent about it but there's more to enjoy than it seemed at the beginning. This week's episode had one particularly delightful scenario and one great twist. Still, laughably Dark and frustratingly male-POV even when it's focusing on Strong Female Characters.

Dreaming
Starting last Tuesday, I went from having never dreamt about politics or politicians in my life to dreaming about them almost every night. Am ready for this phase to pass.

And so another week comes to a close. How are you all holding up?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. Having [livejournal.com profile] synn for a friend. She waited in yet another line at the SPN con she's attending this weekend to get me Sebastian Roché's autograph on an 8x10 I mailed her with a homemade montage of his late '90s roles on Roar and Odyssey 5, and she took the time to email a description of how he reacted to it. ♥Longinus♥ ♥synn♥

2. Friends in general. This week included a Boston tourism day with [personal profile] alpheratz and [personal profile] seascribe, a small dinner party at a grad school classmate's house, the usual wonderful deep conversation with M. (hereafter [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl; she got an LJ for Yuletide!), and heckling the latest pair of Project Runway episodes with [personal profile] thedeadparrot.

Next weekend there will be a [personal profile] deelaundry; we're going to see Robert Sean Leonard in Connecticut in his latest play: Camelot.

[personal profile] alpheratz's visit reminded me to get out more to parts of the city I don't usually visit. The South End and the Back Bay segment of Comm Ave are so lovely this time of year.



3. Roasting trays of zucchini, eggplant, yam and cabbage for meal sides this week. ♥autumn♥

4. Playing with a few vids. One is an Elf vid for Xmas that I've been wanting to make for years. The others will be Festivids; TBD if assignments or treats. They are among the five-and-counting requests from people that I'd love to make, and there are still a couple of movies to watch before signups close in case they can be added to my offers. Much better than last year at this time.

5. Books to read. One enjoyable SF series: the Young Miles compendium by Bujold, beginning tomorrow, having finished Shards of Honor and Barrayar a week ago and NK Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate on Friday. One guilty pleasure: Vampire Romance 2 by assorted contributors, begun last night. (You may recall an anecdote about volume 1.) The first two stories weren't anything special, but since they were apparently publishable quality, they did make me think optimistic thoughts about generating simple beginning-middle-end ideas for marketable het paranormal romance or erotica short stories: a possible goal in the not-so-distant future. (Though it's mysterious why I think I can write a short story when I can't even finish a "one-shot" fic WIP... maybe because I wouldn't have such personal investment in the short story. TBD.)
bironic: insignia pin from star trek the next generation (trek insignia)
My birthday is in a couple of days, so after a small group of us went to see Star Trek: Beyond yesterday, we came back to my apartment for a Star Trek-themed party. Wish I could have invited more friends, but things are limited by the size of my apartment, and the timing conflicted with Boston Fangirl Brunch anyway. Instead, please consider yourselves part of the extended virtual celebration.

menu.JPG

(Click for bigger)

DRINKS

Klingon Bloodwine
Cherry juice with pulped fruit

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Cold.
Orange-Earl Grey iced tea

MAINS

Scotty's Lemon Chicken
She cannae handle much more flavor

Ferengi Spore Pie
Mushroom-swiss quiche

Terran Salad
Mixed greens with vinaigrette

DESSERT

Cellular Peptide Cake
With mint frosting

We played a couple of card-based games, including Slash, which was fun. In the background we put on some TOS episodes, "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion" -- one iconic, one kinky/hilarious -- and then the Deep Space Nine revisit, "Trials and Tribble-ations." Also I found the scene from the TNG ep "Phantasms" where Data dreams that Troi has been turned into a cake (TW: strong noncon overtones), because that was the inspiration for the cake I made for the party.

trek cake 600.jpg

(Click for bigger)

I'd been looking for an excuse to make more recipes out of the Star Trek Cookbook for a while. This made me happy. Even if it involved turning on the oven on two 95-degree days! The trials of a summer birthday.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
VIDDING

I keep thinking I've updated recently but it's just placeholder vid posts for Vividcon. I ended up making a third vid at the last minute for Premieres. It is a simple little thing for the animated movie Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. Anyone else of a certain age remember Chrysta and Batty Koda and Tim Curry as the smog monster? I got the song idea when someone nominated the source for Festivids, but then no one requested it, so here we are.

DOING

Got back last evening from 5 days on Long Island -- well, 3 1/2 plus driving -- where to my disappointment there wasn't time to connect with my city fan friends nor a contingent of Brit fanquaintances on account of I spent most of the weekend with my childhood friend A. (who now lives two time zones away) & her family, who were in town for a wedding, plus dinner with my also-in-town-from-out-of-state cousin, boat ride with my mom and her bf, combo high school graduation/birthday party for various stepfamily members, visit with my remarkably old yet mostly lucid grandparents, visit with my dad & his fiancée, etc.

The beginning of the trip involved too much driving around and socializing, but by the end I had relaxed. It was a relief to eat meals prepared by someone else, and tasty meals at that, like Dad & E.'s grilled skirt steak with summer corn and bruschetta. My mom and I came across reruns of some TV shows we hadn't seen since my childhood (Night Court) or hers (George Reeves Superman). Dad & E. & I settled in for some of the Olympic trials in swimming, diving and gymnastics. I swam a little. Helped my dad organize some bookshelves that had been disturbed after a burst pipe, and then we squared up a six-foot-tall PVC cage around his pea patch that is the latest escalation in his battle against vegetable-swiping chipmunks.

I slept well the last two nights. I never seem to sleep as well anywhere else as I do when I'm in that bedroom where I lived from age 9 to 18 and college summers and a few years after that.

Packed a few more boxes of books and my old stereo to bring up to Boston. Sat for a while after I had gotten back and unpacked, looking at the new-old books on the shelves and thinking about who I was when I collected and read them and who I am now and strengthening the connections between the two. I've been slowly shedding books that I will never read or that I read and didn't like. These aren't going anywhere.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Music: NPR/Stephen Thompson's Austin 100 lasted most of the drive to/from New York this weekend. It provided a dozen new-to-me songs I'm calling keepers, including four that sparked vid ideas. Two of the vids I'd definitely like to make at some point. One of those would be perfect for Club Vivid -- next year, that is -- once I figure out what fandom(s) slot(s) into the structure it presents.

Books: That thing where I said I was re-reading The Dispossessed because I'd made it almost to the end last time but petered out? I'm a little more than halfway through now and have no memory of anything beyond the middle of chapter two. It's a perfectly fine story of character, comparative politics and cross-cultural communication barriers. I'm beginning to suspect I didn't read much of it at all and have been confusing it with Stranger in a Strange Land, which I similarly didn't finish years ago.

Brain: Day four of four days off, and I'm feeling better than last week, although still not great. Took care of a lot of to-do's yesterday. Could use more days. Unfortunately, this is another week of Many Things To Do At Work + several evening engagements. Also feeling all a-roil regarding my career path after -- well, a lot of things, but most recently a grad school alumni party at our professor's house last night, at which many people shared the impressive things they are doing. I will continue to plug away at my tasks and do my PT exercises and see what happens.

Food: Taking care of myself by making sure meals are prepared for the week. Tried a couple of new recipes today that came out well. If you are interested: chicken and white bean chili (subbed a can of chicken near the end for raw breasts, and milk & yogurt for half-and-half & sour cream) for lunches; the simplest, silkiest cauliflower soup for afternoon snacks; and quick sautéed mushrooms with garlic, parsley and a mix of butter and olive oil to bring to a friend's tonight.

Now to figure out how to spend the 2 1/2 hours until the get-together.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
pickles

I had a hankering last weekend for pickled red onions and tried a recipe with white vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns, and they came out terrible. I should have predicted that my disgust for white vinegar above all vinegars would make it impossible to eat vegetables soaked in it. Next time, will try cider vinegar or maybe rice vinegar. Don't suppose any of you have favorite quick pickle/refrigerator pickle recipes?

texts

I'm writing that Porn Battle ficlet, yay. Crossover between The Golem and the Jinni and Inkheart: two men with fire inside them. It is basically for me, but I still hope it finds an audience. Never mind that it's 700 words of conversation and no sex yet.

Friend C. lent me Frankenstein Underground by the guy who did Hellboy and it was great! Really pretty. The color and lighting especially. Actually I liked the art more than the story, but the story had plenty of items of interest: Frankenstein's creature + tentacles + statues of Mesoamerican-style gods + below-ground steampunk Egypt-worshiping secret societies battling dinosaurs + stuff. Here, NY Mag has a PDF of the first part. Reminds me that there were too many sound effects for my taste as well.

Meanwhile, Take Your Fandom to Work Day is staging a comeback. I'm trying to figure out whether to attempt a story. Once upon a time I thought about doing an SGA AU, but (a) there was no plot and (b) I'm really not sure I'd be comfortable "revealing" my job in fandom, no matter how often I remind myself not to flatter myself that anyone would care enough to "out" me. The fun thing about doing SGA is that a handful of the characters could more or less keep their jobs.

tv

Who knew? The SyFy series The Expanse continues to be pretty great. Complex social/class politics, many major characters who are not white men (though not the two ostensible leads), interesting dialects. The dialogue isn't torture to listen to like Defiance's is/was. Lots of different kinds of ships. I like that they're doing creative things with depicting gravity, even minor-seeming moments that show how characters live everyday in low- and zero-g environments. The world feels lived in. I'm sure the fact that the show was adapted from a book series explains a lot. Three episodes to go.

peeps

Not the Easter kind, although: Have a good Easter, those of you who observe. I went to Boston fannish brunch today for the first time in a while and sat with some people I haven't had much chance to converse with, and it was lovely, even when we didn't all share particular fandoms. As they'd say on Twitter: Hay, new fronds!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Had a lovely time in San Francisco.

I stayed with my college friend R., which was a treat. Also got to have dinner one night with old friend G. & his fiancée, and another night with the most excellent [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro.

Four days was barely enough time to get a sense of the layout and a taste of the neighborhoods, so it served as sort of the sampler tour. Highlights for me were: )

I caught a cold on the way home, so basically all I've done since then is watch a lot of TV and movies and spend a few days at the office.

On Saturday I decided to make it fun by setting up mini-marathon themes, like "Australia" (more of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries season two, Tracks, Rabbit-Proof Fence). Other times, random pairings turned up unexpected similarities. Like how Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Turbo both featured a sudden and hilarious Auto-Tune song. Or how Talk of Angels and the second Bridget Jones' Diary turned out to have f-->f-->m love triangles.

Hm, what else did I watch? 12 Mile Road with Tom Selleck, which was like The Horse Whisperer lite; Touching the Void, which was pretty good; and Her, which I'd give maybe a B? I can't decide whether the ways in which it broke formula and tried to have insightful commentary on gender, relationships and societal attachment to technology outweighed the parts that were same old, same old. Interested in seeing Ex Machina at some point.

Caught up on Game of Thrones and John Oliver; watched some Ace of Cakes reruns; tried to watch the season premiere of Penny Dreadful but got bored.

Plan is to see Clouds of Sils Maria tonight with childhood friend and Avengers: Age of Ultron tomorrow with fan peeps. Kristen Stewart is my main draw for the former, and Hugo Weaving and Thomas Kretschmann for the latter, although I am given to understand that Weaving will be in the mask and TK has only a small part? Alas. We'll see.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Lately, it seems like every time I post, hours later I remember something else I'd meant to include. This time it was an anecdote about how I work with smart, witty, poetry- and literature-loving people, and yet the other day I had to explain to three managers who were about to unintentionally insult someone that "bemused" does not mean "amused" but rather "confused." Sigh. I thought only fandom had that problem! Some comfort can be derived from the suspicion that the word is going the route of "literally," wherein common usage ends up in the dictionary and thus isn't "wrong" anymore.

Bonus item: While subscribing to Eater Boston about a month ago has proven a good decision for hearing about local restaurant news, sometimes one has to laugh at the density of trendy culinary terms. Tonight, it's "Eat a Kimchi Hot Dog on a Sriracha Donut Bun Tomorrow Night at Coppa."

(In "hyperlocal" food news, I just threw cubed soft tofu, half a roasted diced sweet potato, leftover steamed broccoli, and radish greens in a frying pan with my sister's peanut sauce recipe and it is delicious. Side of asparagus. Mm. Soft and warm, just like I'd hoped, as the days continue to shorten.)

(Okay, no, I didn't cook the recipe. You know what I mean.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Pretty good weekend, on the border of summer and fall. Remembering how the weather was like this last year, too, when I was moving: 90 degrees one day and 50 the next.

Sampled tasty dumplings yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] thedeadparrot and [personal profile] azephirin. We were planning to go apple picking today but A. couldn't make it. However, those still standing were still able to make apples happen. Thus, an afternoon's cooking:

Pix: chicken, apple-blueberry crumble, mini apple pies )

The crumble is to take to work, with the excuse of my anniversary. (I like to do that from time to time, although I've been more thoughtful about it since an older colleague said she stopped doing the same a long time ago when she realized the men she worked with never brought in food, even when they came back from traveling.)

I'd never made pastry dough before, so I tried a simple recipe. It turned out fine. Next time I'd pile more chopped apple in the little pies, though. They cooked down more than estimated.

Now to decide what to do with the other half of the apples!

Besides being out in the beautiful weather, I learned some functions in Excel to make some budget spreadsheets. Woo, exciting life. Also watched the latest installments of Project Runway and Doctor Who, and the rerun of Cake Boss just now featured cakes in an Isaac Mizrahi show, so that's nice and full circle.

Oh, and got around to watching the Tom Hardy vehicle (ha ha) Locke. That was interesting enough as an experiment in stripped-down, theater-like cinema, but the ending didn't work for me, and the more I listened to the director's commentary, the more irritated I got that the character was supposed to be an Everyman. Village Voice was the only review I found that came close to how I felt about it.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Oh, hey, Remix is happening. Just signed up! It's been a few years since I participated, and more than a year since I posted a story at all; I'm hoping this will get the ficcy juices flowing. Kept my offers to three fandoms to make things less stressful, especially since I expect to be working on a vid of some kind around the same time. We'll see how it goes with new mods.

Other than that, things here are as usual, except for the wild turkey I saw pecking at the sidewalk a block from Harvard Square this morning. In the voice of Michael Palin, beautiful plumage. Two other passersby were filming it with their phones.

Been exercising almost every day and cooking to take better care of myself, which of course doesn't leave as much room for fannish activity, but still, there has been time this week to start reading A Game of Thrones. About 300 400 pages in now. It's not as overwrought as I'd feared; the mental effort goes to keeping track of all the names -- I can't imagine how much harder that would be without having first seen the show to have faces to pin them to -- rather than ignoring purple prose.

Also I printed this out and hung it up in a simple frame in the kitchen yesterday for laughs whenever I wash dishes.

Oh, and a childhood friend and I are going to see Eddie Izzard live in May!

On a break now between making chicken paprikash and roasted vegetable soup for the week and going to a former classmate's for a dinner party. She and her husband have one of the most beautiful houses I've ever seen, and one of the two best of anyone around my age, yet they just decided to move. I suppose I can't complain, since they'll be a few minutes closer to me. Tonight's challenge was going to be figuring out whether to leave too early to watch Cosmos here or stay too late to watch Cosmos there, but lo, it appears the episodes do appear on fox.com after the fact.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I wasn't sure how a Saturday could start better than a good night's sleep topped off with a dream about having dubcon sex with vampire David Bowie.

Turns out the answer is by following up with a walk to check out the winter farmers market (it was okay; I bought a radish and some garlic-roasted nuts), taking advantage of the one-day 50-degree break in the weather to go on a long-for-me bike ride, and stopping on the way back at Trader Joe's to pick up a few treats like pea shoots and dried apricots.

Later, when my quads work again, there will be cooking. Am going to try these steamed gyoza and either spinach or pistachio muffins (maybe these or these) for St. Patrick's day/six-month anniversary at work on Monday. Trader Joe's had shelled pistachios, which would make the latter easier. Maybe this time I will not overmix the batter and actually achieve non-dense muffins.

...Hi, this is me trying to post more. Should talk about how fabulous Top of the Lake was.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Odd day.

Dozed after waking to footsteps upstairs, and had a dream about cut for Holocaust-like imagery. ) Jeez, it sounds horrific to write it up like that. At the time, it was just a thing that was happening. One girl hid in a room that was my childhood bedroom by lifting herself onto the top shelf of the closet by the lintel like a pull-up, realized that she could be easily seen, and hastily shoved a folded blanket between her body and the top of the door. I was the girl. Vin Diesel found her/me and said, reasonably enough for a prison guard, something about how the punishment would be eight somethings but he'd go halvsies with her and only do four if she'd just give in. She/I said, calmly, Okay. He seemed taken aback. That was that.

*shrug*

Today marked the end of my three-month probation period at work. I had a good review and was not fired. (I was not worried since my performance has been fine and people like me, but still. Not being on probation is a relief in the current financial climate. If anyone in the office had had to be cut to save money, it would have been me.) (Not to say that fear isn't still there; it's just harder to let someone go after they're off probation.)

.

Good, easy soup recipe, adapted from my new everything-chicken cookbook: Dice and sauté two small onions. When soft and beginning to brown, add a quart of chicken or vegetable broth. Grate a couple of zucchini or summer squash; add to the pot and boil for ~15 minutes. You can also add small pasta at the time you add the vegetables. At the end, drizzle in two eggs or egg whites and lemon juice to taste. Mm. Looks like it makes three bowls' worth.

.

Let's answer some vidding questions from [livejournal.com profile] alizarin_nyc: "What do you use for media when starting a vid? Do you rip DVDs, convert .avi files or what? What editing software do you use and why? What is the next thing you want to learn/try in writing or vidding?"

I tend to rip DVDs )

I use Adobe Premiere )

I want to learn to do a thing with John Sheppard's face )

But also how to better create clip pacing that is less a slave to the music )

...I don't know if I articulated that well at all.

4) That's a good question about what I might want to learn next in writing. Will have to get back to you on that. As compared to video editing, fiction writing is a thing that comes so unconsciously to me -- not always easily, just instinctively rather than as a series of technical steps -- that it's hard for me to approach and understand it as a craft. (I used to think that was something to brag about, but the more I press up against the boundaries of what doesn't come naturally to me and what I haven't been educated about, and the more I look back on many of the fics I've written and listen to others who do understand the technical elements of putting together effective stories and characters, like the more I appreciate that relying on instinct alone can also be a limitation.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Halloween wasn't going to be a big deal this year, and lately it has felt like I mostly sit around doing or stressing over not doing this freelance assignment, so it's a pleasant surprise to find that actually I have been part of a sort of extended Halloween celebration.

1.
Last Friday, [livejournal.com profile] ellen_fremedon, [livejournal.com profile] cincodemaygirl and [livejournal.com profile] alpheratz accepted my invitation to Oyamel, this excellent Mexican tapas place that had a two-week special menu for the Day of the Dead. Amazing food and drinks. )

2.
Normal weekend with a few highlights like putting together a bookcase with a coworker and keeping horror movie marathons on TV all day in the background (Stephen King, Hammer, Tim Burton, Twilight, etc.). Then we had this, you know, tropical storm/nor'easter, and the office closed for a couple of days but I didn't lose power or Internet, so even with responsibly setting aside a day for the above-mentioned assignment, I had time to fill my last Kink Bingo square, which was going to be a Vampire Diaries story but ended up being that Halloween-appropriate True Blood/The Queen of the Damned vid about hypnotizing/seducing fellow vampires into drinking your queenly blood. Hurrah.

3.
Speaking of vampire vids: Have you seen [livejournal.com profile] thirdblindmouse's new vid, Possession? She set Nosferatu to Sarah McLachlan. It is a thing of beauty and hilarity.

4.
My coworkers managed to pull off a potluck/costume party the day we returned to the office, which meant I got to wear a Star Trek dress and black boots in the style of Uhura, only with more modesty. Thank you, thinkgeek.com. Also I made these deviled eggs with orange-colored yolks and spiders made of olives on top, from something I saw on Pinterest.

5.
And today my friend A. and Mr. A. and I went to see a ballet version of Dracula, which... well, the (pre-recorded) music was entirely forgettable, the choreography 75% forgettable, the pacing poor, and the ending sudden and different from the book, but (1) the choreography for Dracula and his various pas de deux was spectacular, as was the man dancing him—bringing his elbows up behind him and his head forward like a bat, switching abruptly from slow and slinking to snake-strike quick when he decided it was time to attack his victims, making these elaborate creepy hand movements while pouring wine or taking someone's hand or touching someone's face or bowing in false obsequiousness, half-crawling and once howling like a wolf, lowering himself from a second-story railing head-first and extending his arms like a bat again, having partners begin mirroring his movements to indicate hypnotism—all very much in line with the book and early film depictions, and deserving of the standing ovation he got at the end, even if it might have been partly because he was the only one who got to do any decent dancing—and (2) they went full-throttle for the dubiously consensual homoerotics of Dracula seducing Harker after banishing the three brides. \o/ Dracula's hands were all over Harker's body... )

Vampires: still straddling the line between horror and desire.

Man, I would love to see David Hallberg play this Dracula. It would be worth sitting through the listless beginning and the endless tea party again. (After what felt like half an hour, the party at least was made interesting when everything went blue and slow motion as Dracula appeared on a balcony and entranced a spotlighted, normally moving Lucy.) One other saving grace was an ensemble danse macabre in a crypt or mausoleum or graveyard or something, the corps [sic, ha] done up like Helena Bonham Carter in a Tim Burton movie, only bloodier. There was a folk dance as well that had potential, but the dancers were out of sync and didn't seem to be doing as much as they were capable of. They did have a nice, gory wolf carcass. The scene where Mina was forced to drink from Dracula's breast worked well, although the audience tittered again when he ripped his shirt open, and the makeup people didn't powder his torso (or behind his ears, grr) to match the white of his face. Anyway, also impressive: The guy doing Renfield somehow danced an entire scene in a straightjacket.

In general, it was fascinating to observe the ways in which the novel could be transformed into dance, movements as clever metaphors. They stayed pretty faithful to the original plot and characters. [livejournal.com profile] catilinarian, I think you would have loved it too.

6.
That was going to be the end of it, but hey, does going to see a filmed performance of the Globe Theatre's production of Doctor Faustus count next week? Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) plays Mephistopheles. Should be quite enjoyable if I stay on top of my assignment in the meantime and don't freak out about leisure activities. November is going to be nuts.

...

Thinking of all of you in New York and environs who are still struggling with power outages, lack of heat, gas shortages, etc. Though my mom & co. lost a tree and my dad's household is without power and is expected to remain so for up to two weeks, my family made it through okay.

Mixed bag

Jan. 6th, 2012 07:27 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. I tried and enjoyed [livejournal.com profile] apiphile's three Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy fics today -- at least, I am assuming that "apiphile" and "Derek Des Anges [apiphile]" are the same AO3 user, substantiated by the similar tagging practices and the design of hir LJ. Nice, complex characterization, sustained conflicts, good dialogue. Maybe not for you if you don't like descriptions of unhealthy sexual relationships, paranoia/despair/disconnectedness or physical injury.

The Spy Who Got What He Deserved, If Not What He Wanted

Life During (Cold) War Time and sequel, Once in a Lifetime


2. In my hunt for more lean protein- and vegetable-based meals, I also tried and enjoyed two new recipes this week:

Turkey scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

Chicken and artichokes in a white wine sauce

A+ for the meatballs; I didn't make the glaze and didn't miss it, and mixed in a little fresh ginger and liked the extra bit of zing. It was funny -- the raw meatballs had the look and texture of spicy tuna sushi. Next time I'll try chopping the parsley and scallions in my tiny food processor, as the big parsley leaves kept sticking out of the meatballs and messing up their shapes, and will see if they're as good baked as they are on the stovetop.

A-ish to B+ for the chicken; nice flavor, not what I'm used to making, but could maybe use more mushrooms or a third vegetable to balance out all the artichokes. I also didn't flour the chicken or add butter to the sauce.


3. Now back to frantic Festividding, as it is due tomorrow and I don't even have a complete draft yet. At least I hate it a little less than I did on Wednesday?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Catch-up time! With a few pictures.

Home Decorating for the Holidays – First trip to synn's new place )

TV & Movies – Red Cliff, Sherlock TV show, Tron: Legacy, Stargate (1994), Thoughtcrimes rewatch, Brimstone ep rewatch, Vampire Diaries. With bonus link to an article about invented languages for fictional cultures. )

Cooking – Mm, holiday food. )

Hanukkah – Gifts, given and received, and a little help from technology. )

Should say something about fic now that I've got a bit of time to read some again. But I am not a big fan of Yuletide—I'm up to the "T" fandoms that I know and so far I've only got Texts from Cephalopods to recommend, along with about 10,000 other people, based on a possibly bogus YouTube video we watched when we saw the name of the "fandom"—and a couple of enjoyable Inception stories of late, Late Night Phone Call by [livejournal.com profile] sparkledark and The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret by [livejournal.com profile] eleveninches. Need to check out [livejournal.com profile] sga_santa and see if there's anything good over there. It's nice that the rare pairings (by which we mean everything that isn't McKay/Sheppard and Rodney/Jennifer, and maybe Sheppard/Weir and Sheppard/Teyla) are growing ever more numerous as the years pass since the show ended.

…Whoops, my friend just called to remind me that she and her husband and their puppy are coming over tomorrow evening for dinner. Guess I'd better figure out what they'll be fed.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Let us continue with the theme of focusing on the positives, shall we?

+ I clipped most of what I need for my Festivid last night and started laying stuff down on tracks. Hurrah! I really like some of what's there. Granted, I did an easy section first, but so what? Having that part done will be a motivator for doing the rest.

I think the main challenge for this vid will be to make sure the beginning is interesting so people will still be watching when the good stuff comes. That, and I need to do unfamiliar editing things in two other sections. /cryptic

+ Warm polka-dot socks on a chilly, rainy day.

+ Project Runway finale.

+ Roasted broccoli and cauliflower. Mmm. So simple, yet so amazing. Also pumpkin brown rice.

+ Forty Years and Eight Pounds has been getting some kudos and comments this week. Mysterious, but lovely.

And you? What is a bright spot in your life today?

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