Seen Frozen: good but I think I let all the talk about it made me have higher expectation, or also I was expecting more winter weaponry than I got. The sister relationship was ace but the setup made me frown a lot because there were parts I just wanted to pause and interrogate the writers.
Started watching Atlantis: cheesy show on BBCA that could easily be on Syfy. The lead is generically, charming handsome with a penchant for getting into trouble but based on good intentions. There is already a love interest but it's an easy show to have in the background--the bad CGI is even a bit charming. Also, Mark Addy (King Robert from Game of Thrones) is Hercules and there is some comedy examining the 'man' vs 'the myth' and how legends grow that is in the background. What I really wish is that actor crossovers were more popular so I could read GOT characters as pantheon gods with all the bastardized mythology.
Written ONE sentence for Yultide.
Fake sobbed at my computer at everything.
Yesterday while grating potatoes into fine slices I ended up grating my thumb as well. So now I have a thumb which doesn't bend, which is gonna make climbing today real interesting. I was planning on outdoor buildering at the sandstone wall of the deserted British barracks (now that one finally can do that without fear of getting shot at, heh) and technically I don't need my thumbs for that too much, because it's all crimpy finger holds... Eh, or maybe I go running instead and save the climbing for tomorrow.
So far we're having the massive rain as promised, but the dreaded 100km/hr gusts aren't here yet. So we got floods and they're slowly rising (today is a bad day to live near the Yarqon though it hasn't properly flooded yet, the Ayalon is about this close to shutting down and train service is "disrupted") but there isn't a major tree-falling situations. The area my parents' are at is presently holding the rain cup - they're measuring the highest rain rate, and most of the towns around them cancelled school.
It's also exceptionally cold for Israel, but I'm dealing well with it so far. It's only going to get close until and through the weekend, though, so not screwing it up for even ten minutes is a concern.
11:48 So apparently the reason we have less tree-on-power-lines situations this year is also because most municipalities had the sense to go and trim trees preventatively. And a couple km south of Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZiyon is setting up sand banks against the sea. We're presently having a break in the rain which I think we're about halfway through, but the rain radar just died on me (I'm surprised it last so far; the IMS website crashes on days like this), so.
...oh god Galgalatz seriously? I thought you'd've played the songs-titled-Rain to saturation by now given that it's been raining for most of the past week, but apparently not. (Who am I kidding, it's Galgalatz. "Cute" is in their job description. If they're not getting people to facepalm at them this way, they're not doing their job right.)
I didn’t win any! But The House of Aunts and 起狮，行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows) is on their 2011 Honors List. That is nice! I have never had a story honor-listed before. Presumably it is like waiting for buses and that is why two have come along at once. (It did require a conscious effort to spell “honour” that way, in case you were wondering.)
There are two Carl Brandon Society Awards, one for speculative fiction by non-white people, and one for speculative fiction dealing with issues of race and ethnicity. This year’s winners are Tenea D. Johnson for her novel Smoketown, and Andrea Hairston for her novel Redwood and Wildfire.
Mirrored from Zen Cho.
Under Heaven, by Gay Gavriel Kay
This was the wrong kind of book to read right after Railsea. Kay is great at writing, but the way pretty much all the women in the story are obsessed with pleasing men, toying with men and controlling them really stands out. Several of them are courtesans. Usually, the courtesans die and the women who are *not* courtesans are the ones alive at the end.
That said, the ambience of the story is beautiful enough. I might read the follow-up novel some time. However, none of the characters really captured me. It was all a bit too much like a historian looking back, which was made stronger by frequent passages from a vague future and talk of historians getting this thing right or this thing wrong.
I'll check if the first Rivers of London book is available as an audio book now, plus I'll be looking for ppl reccing newer Fantasy/SF with okay gender roles. (I don't even know yet if Rivers of London have okay gender roles.)
(I'm kidding about the potential arch nemesis. There are no hard feelings, considering I still get to go to Usbekistan. Otherwise I would now plot revenge, complete with sinister chuckles.)
Anyway, that means no exciting travelling plans for 2014 yet. I'll do my normal criss cross country travelling within Germany, of course, and maybe manage a weekend trip to London, which is always a thrill and lovely. In 2015, Usbekistan prospects aside, I will also go to Los Angeles for the International Lion Feuchtwanger Conference (which took place this year in Berlin), and the mixture of academia and catching up with old friends surrounded by fragments of tv and cinematic realities are just what I associate with Los Angeles, where I once lived for three months in the mid 90s on a scholarship. It's not a city that aesthetically appeals to me, but emotionally it does, both because of the connections I've formed there and because of all the pop culture history. Los Angeles memories: watching The Exorcist projected on a big tomb in the Hollywood Cemetary with Iamsab, visiting location sights like the Fisher house (from Six Feet Under) or Buffy's high school with Kate, having an incredibly brief phone call with Billy Wilder (I asked for an interview, he was already too fragile - this was in what turned out to be the year of his death), talking to two of Thomas Mann's secretaries... I do love coming back to LA.
About travelling in general: I'm really fond of it and have no problems with the mechanics, i.e. staying in a different hotel every night (or, this year when I was in Mongolia, in different yurts), different types of food, and, depending on where you, linguistic difficulties. There is always so much to learn and be swept away by. (Or be shaken to the core by. That, too. Visiting Poland, for example, didn't just mean admiring Krakow, from the churches to the salt mines. It also meant visiting Auschwitz.) And I'm lucky in that often I can combine the useful with the leisurely via travel. It's an aspect of my life I truly treasure, and would miss terribly if I had to do without it.
Superiority of Muffins -- Ten Reasons:
10. Your home-made muffin is always the right size: make 'em mini if you later want to enjoy bite-sized snacks, or to wow those co-workers of yours who balk at regular or large. Make normal-sized muffins in lieu of cake, and of course bake the big ones for a hearty breakfast…or lunch. Or dinner.
09. ALL THE FLAVORS AND TYPES! Fruity or creamy, nutty or chocolate-y, full of wheat or gluten-free, healthy and low sugar or buttery goodness, and and and! You can also make them savory without troubles, stuffed with fresh herbs or olives, with cheese or bacon! Also feel free to make yeast muffins -- those work great as well. Many kinds of dough are available!
08. You can bake 'em as light as air so they're just a fluffy greeting on your tongue, or dense little darlings from chocolate or pecans or oats, or all of the above.
07. If you find muffins boring, or they don't look excellent, just whip up some frosting, ideally with cream cheese of course, et voilà -- you just made a cupcake!
06. Speaking of added elements, feel free to fill them: It's not tricky at all to squirt tasty goodness into their heart.
05. They're transparent -- metaphorically, that is, not like invisible pizza. But because they are so small, you stand a good chance of catching any issues, such as too-low or too high temperatures, or the fact they don't rise.
04. They're easy to control during baking: If any issue arises, chances are good you can fix 'em. (If all else fails, process-wise, revert to 07 and smile beatifically.)
03. They're easy to handle after baking, and this time that's literal: Put them into a Tupperware box and toss that box into your bag to take to work; leave them in their metal tray, put some aluminum foil on top, and slide the tray gently into a European-style flat plastic bag for perfect carry-ability. (You can still do no. 07 if only you take the frosting separately.)
02. You can have them with wine. I don't just mean that you can sip a nice glass while baking (although I'm also a fan of that). But no, feel free to replace all liquid with wine. I wouldn't necessarily dare that with a cake, but size matters here, see no. 05 & 04.
01. They're the most versatile of baked goods. So clearly, that makes them baked bests.
In San Francisco I've had job after job, including my first outside-the-Opera-Housse job for years. In Ukiah I'm working on way, way to many projects, all of which need to be finished last month.
The drought in Ukiah is becoming increasingly severe. So far, since June, we have had 1.9 inches of rain. Enough to dampen the top of the dust a few times. That comes on top of a spring where we had no real rain, I think the calendar year total since January 1 is about 5 inches. Our normal rainfall is somewhere around 30 inches. A few widely separated blades of grass are poking through the ground in low protected spots. For the last 6 years we have had a minimum of 3 inches of healthy grass, and on one year 6 inches by now, so I'm officially calling this a nightmare year, just like the one in the late 80's when I had no grass and starving horses on my land. This year of course there is lots of hay in the barn and the horses are still all fat and happy.
For the last week it has been freezing in Ukiah, down to 18 or 19 one night. On at least 4 occasions Sean has replaced one or more faucets in the pastures after they froze and burst. I just purchased more parts...
Last Friday we made a quick trip up there so I could check a couple of things and feed Lace carrots. Not long after we arrived it began snowing. It is the second time in my life that I have seen snow at the Ukiah house. We finally left just before the snow turned to freezing rain. Tonight should be the last night of serious cold before the temperatures begin to rise above 32F.
I think I may have mentioned that the full time Stage Electrician is retiring. I've had very, very mixed feelings about this. Tim and I have worked comfortably together for 12 years, so having him retire is a big change. My job is completely dependant on the goodwill of the full time person (I'm part-time-temporary after 14 years), if the full time person doesn't like me I don't work. I have and haven't wanted to take over the full time job. I'd like a change, it would be good, but I REALLY don't want to work M-F 8-5 plus a couple of nights. Still I -did- expect the uber-boss to contact me about the job... But no the administration decided to appoint a barely qualified interim person -without talking to me, AND while ASSUMING that I would stay in my present job. Lucky for them they appointed someone I -think- I can work with. This being a Civil Service job I will have a chance to apply for it in three months - after I've spent that time teaching the new guy the job. Sigh. Next week will be my last day of work with the Tim. Only time will tell what will hapen in the new year.
A $15-million lawsuit against the chair of the Canadian Mint, which turned up evidence that millions of dollars was moved through offshore havens in a "tax avoidance scheme" and much of it was never reported to tax authorities, ended with a pact not to alert the Canada Revenue Agency about the case, CBC News has learned.