Dunkirk

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:11 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
We saw the 70mm film version at the Somerville Theatre. It was worth it. Amazing, in an old fashioned kind of way. Those were real Spitfires, and some of the original little boats appeared as themselves, though the whole cast and specific plot points were fictional. At 1:42, Arthur thought it was longer than necessary. Acting very good. We both felt that the music was meant to be manipulative, and we resented it. I think it might have been better to have no music at all, just ambient sound. Filming took place in Dunkirk, Britain, the Netherlands, and a bit mysteriously, the US, probably California. Arthur has acquaintances among the stunt people. We were surprised that in a crowd of people to whom actual film matters, only a very few of us stayed for all the credits.
mermaidlady: heraldic mermaid in her vanity (Default)
[personal profile] mermaidlady
1. Barre Class: I love Pure Barre, but between working downtown and rehearsing in Cambridge it's difficult to get to Brookline for a class. I just discovered a Bar Method studio two blocks from my office. And they have showers there, so I could take a lunchtime class. Also, their monthly membership is much cheaper than PB. But I still have a bunch of classes on my Pure Barre account. They're good for *five* years and a new studio is going to open in Harvard Sq., with the same owner as the Brookline one. I think they'll let me transfer my account and then I'll go there before rehearsals.

2. Easy fixes: I got a dunning notice form the MA Department of Revenue yesterday, saying that I hadn't paid my taxes. Which is of course absurd. Have you met me? I checked my bank records and there was the canceled check. I called this morning and the situation was remedied in 5 minutes. They had filed my payment under 2017. I was all set to get belligerent, but fortunately that was unnecessary.

3. New water heater: We now have a tankless water heater. It's so small! There's so much more room over by the laundry area. It does take a while to get hot water to the third floor, but we'll never have to worry about running out (or the tank failing) again.

4. Working from home: I work from home once or twice a week now. Some things are harder to do because I'm working on a PC remotely through a Mac and my home "office" isn't actually set up for all day working. On the other hand, I can do laundry, make a really nice lunch, maybe run out to the gym, snuggle with Albert, sit around all day in a big soft t-shirt, and still get all my work done.

5. Organization: The corner cabinet in our pantry was a mess. My baking supplies were in there as well as some junk and apparently some mice from time to time. Things were hard to find and inefficiently stored. Also, I hated my flour canister. It's supposed to be sealed, but the gasket always falls off the lid into the flour.

The other day I hauled everything out. I scrubbed the cabinet (can't find where the mice get in though). I bought some great containers for sugar and flour (and will probably get more. Yay, Prime). Reorganized everything. All the baking supplies I rarely use are now in the basement -- equipment in a box, oddball flours in the freezer. I just need to get another storage box for the empty tins, which should also live in the basement until needed and figure out where my enormous cake topper mold goes.

Bonus: Albert. He's just the best.
chanaleh: (breathe)
[personal profile] chanaleh
I came home one night (a Thursday) a few weeks ago and promptly had a meltdown over the fact that I constantly feel like I'm too tired to do anything useful. That is, I only have one or two half-hour scraps of baby-free time in a day (at least on weekdays), and even though there are surely small pending tasks I could fruitfully accomplish in that half-hour, all I want to do is sit down and stare at the ceiling. Same on weekends during baby naptime: I think all morning about the things I want to work on when she goes down, and then once it happens, all I do is sit and veg.

thinky )

Oh, and, technically I am taking a vacation next week, except that the occasion is a weeklong visit from my mom, so it's not exactly downtime even though it will be fun times! Hopefully some extra downtime for Etrace though, if he can chill at home while we take Aria and go run around/pay social calls.

Knightriders

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:30 am
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[personal profile] jducoeur

In the news today are a bunch of obits for director George Romero. Pretty much all of them focus on Night of the Living Dead, and to be fair, it's the work he is best known for.

But let's pause a moment and remember his movie Knightriders -- the closest thing the SCA has to its own motion picture. Legend (maybe true, maybe not; I honestly don't know) has it that Romero happened to attend a particular SCA Crown Tournament, and was swept up by the drama he saw there; his producers weren't thrilled by the idea, and said, "Enh -- maybe if you add motorcycles and a good soundtrack, we'll think about it". So he did.

Knightriders has always been on my personal list of Movies Every SCAdian should see. Not because the club portrayed is the SCA, mind. It very much isn't: it's essentially a traveling RenFaire where they joust on motorcycles. But the feel of the group, I've always thought, reflects the SCA beautifully. You have the folks who are dead-serious about The Dream, who see something better in the ideals of their club. You have the stick-jocks who are here for the sport and the babes. You have the craftsmen who are making it all possible, and, yes, you have the folks who are just here to party. (There's even poor Patricia Tallman, better known for Babylon 5, in her first major role as the token mundane who is enamored by the whole thing but doesn't quite seem to get it.)

The movie gets a bit full of itself at times, and some people mock it mercilessly, but I love it -- not least for Ed Harris (in my favorite of his roles) as King Billy, who is trying desperately to keep his people both safe and united, and to pursue his dreams while everything around him is falling apart. He is a wonderful study in obsession, illustrating both the advantages and problems of having a strong leader.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's not the most brilliant movie ever, but it's wonderfully human. For pretty much every character in it, I can say, "Yeah, I know folks just like that". That's one of the higher compliments I can pay a director...

Cookbook #121: Gruel Intentions

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:27 am
mermaidlady: heraldic mermaid in her vanity (Default)
[personal profile] mermaidlady
Gruel Intentions, Mysterious Package Company (2017).

"The #1 Gruel Cookbook in the World!" What?

I subscribe to The Mysterious Package Company's "newsletter", Curios & Conundrums. The first one this year, Gods of Madness was on a Victorian theme and included, amongst other oddities, this small cookbook (10 recipes). It sounds like joke, but the recipes, all grain or legume-based porridges, beverages, soups, &c., all sounded really good and the photos were quite appetizing.

I made Victorian Restorative Gruel.

Cook steel-cut oats in beef stock and a little sherry. Meanwhile, cook chopped bacon until crispy and then brown chopped onions in the bacon fat. Add to the oats. When the oats are soft, take off heat. Whisk together a spoonful of molasses and a whole egg. Add to the oats and let sit under cover 10 minutes. Thin with a little boiling water.

It is SO good! Savory and creamy and hearty. Kind of like oat risotto.

photo )

I'm eager to try some of the other recipes, like Atole (Mexican cornmeal drink), Pig's Foot Congee (Chinese rice porridge) and Pootjes Pup (Dutch noodle pudding). I also have another MPC cookbook on the docket -- How to Poison Your Friends, which was part of the paranoia-themed issue.

121/130, 7 this year, 9 left to go!

Not at Readercon

Jul. 14th, 2017 05:47 pm
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[personal profile] lauradi7dw
I knew it would need to be today or not at all, as I have other stuff happening all weekend. If I had been able to get my act together yesterday to do all the chores I need to get done today (not done, but neither is the day), I could have managed it, especially if the venue were still only about six miles from home, rather than near Quincy Adams, but nope. So a few sighs, some keeping track on twitter, and that's it. I have mixed feelings about that kind of event, anyway. I would learn a lot and make notes and have strong opinions, but also mostly keep to myself, beyond hello how are you remarks to people of my acquaintance. Clearly many people use it as a time to see old friends, but I'm usually not good at that. The exception was the first time I went, when Elizabeth Wein (eegatland) was there to read and sign and so forth. On the Friday, a friend of hers, friend's baby, and I all showed up and did nothing but hang out with Elizabeth, so that wasn't typical either. I've already started planning costumes for Arisia, reminding myself that they must be danceable (and suitable for riding the T), but I know that even though I'll be *touching* people while dancing, I won't be talking much at the event, either.
It's not that I'm shy, or that I don't like conversation. I just often can't figure out how to do it.

Eating in

Jul. 14th, 2017 05:11 pm
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[personal profile] chanaleh
One of the best things [livejournal.com profile] etrace regularly does for me is roast me a chicken (over a bed of vegetables) every Friday night for Shabbat dinner. He's refined his technique over the past 3 years until he has it pretty much perfected. Which means it's kind of a pain in the ass relative to the "throw it in a pan and turn on the oven" I used to do, but he does it because he loves me, and it is fantastic. And while I love everything we do Friday evening -- lighting candles with Aria, opening a bottle of wine to go with dinner -- my hands-down favorite moment of the whole week is sitting down and pulling the beautifully roasted skin off my piece. NOM.

Hilariously: A few weeks ago he made a roast beef on some other weeknight, using the same pan he roasts the chicken in. And when it was done and Aria saw it resting on the counter under a sheet of tinfoil, she said "Candle time! Candle time!" No, lovey, I know it looks a lot like a chicken, but it's Tuesday!

Shul friends D (the lawyer) and R (also a lawyer) passed along some toys to us last weekend that their youngest grandchildren had officially outgrown... one of them being a little wooden Shabbat set: pretend candles, wine cup, and bread board with two loaves of challah "slices". I thought, Aria will get a kick out of the first two, but it's too bad I never make challah! Maybe I should get in the habit, just so she can have the full experience. Anyway, but we'll try them out tonight and see how it goes.

Shabbat shalom, y'all.

Turkish music in the neighborhood

Jul. 14th, 2017 05:05 pm
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[personal profile] lauradi7dw
There have been posters up in the Cary (Lexington) library for quite a while advertising a concert last night by Cambridge Musiki Cemiyeti, performing classical Turkish music. It started at 7 PM, and when I got there a little after that, the door was open and the hallway had lots of people straining to listen, because the room was full and they are pretty strict about fire limits. It's called the Large Meeting room, but that's only to distinguish it from the smaller meeting rooms. It is almost never large enough for everyone who turns up to a concert. I listened for a while, which was not entirely easy because some of the listening loiterers were chatting among themselves, including the people near me, who were not native speakers of English and were working out Turkey/Turk/Turkish, and which was appropriate when. I think that all languages should use the local words for countries and nationalities, but nobody asked me at the time languages were invented. What I realized was that while the music seemed familiar to me, I had the mental image of people dancing to it, not sitting quietly listening. I suppose I must have heard that (or a similar) group at NEFFA or the Lowell Folk Festival.

100 Demon Dialogues

Jul. 12th, 2017 01:19 pm
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[personal profile] jducoeur

For the past several months, Lucy Bellwood (author of the delightful nautical graphic novel Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide to Life at Sea) has been posting a series of single-panel comics titled 100 Demon Dialogues. You can find the full series here.

They are little vignettes of conversation between herself and her inner demon, a personification of all the insecurities and doubts that any creative person (really, any person) is prone to. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, frequently thought-provoking, they're one of the better reflections of basic inner life that I've seen.

The series ended today, and the much-demanded Kickstarter opened at the same time. She's collecting the cartoons into a book (both soft and hardcover), and producing a plushie little demon.

There's a fun little cartoon on the Kickstarter page that introduces the project. I'm getting both the book and plushie -- frankly, I had decided that I wanted the collected book even before she announced that she was going to do a Kickstarter for it. I want it for my own personal reflection, but I suspect it may also be an good book for helping kids work through their feelings and understand that grown-ups aren't as secure as all that, so parents may particularly want to give it a look.

Check it out, and spread the word: it looks like it's going to be a great result, from a fine artist who is really hitting her stride...

Bits & Pieces

Jul. 12th, 2017 08:35 am
mermaidlady: heraldic mermaid in her vanity (Default)
[personal profile] mermaidlady
The sour cherry harvest continues. It was latish this year and the yield has not been fabulous. Smaller cherries than usual too. At least I've got 3 jars of jam so far. We've also had Hungarian cherry pastry and sour cherry soup, the usual cherry flamingo and clafoutis, although this year I used a recipe from the Orient Express.
***

Our hot water heater died Sunday afternoon. Because of weirdness at our house, cutting the inflow to the tank (it was leaking) cut off all the water to the 3rd floor and to the shower on the second floor. That was fun too. Fortunately we have gym memberships and could go shower there.

We've decided to go tankless. It's very expensive, but I think it will be worth it. I don't know when they're going to be able to install it, but we've got a temporary heater in place, so I could take a shower at home yesterday!
***

I succumbed to Prime Day and bought a Paperwhite (upgrading from my keyboard Kindle). I had a bunch of gift card credit, so it was a gift to myself. I'm going to miss the page turn buttons, but I'm looking forward to the built-in reading light. I was a reluctant convert to the e-reader, but I really adore being able to have so many books at hand, especially when traveling.
***

Speaking of books, I got an ARC of Black Tudors through LibraryThing. It's been a while since I read any 16th century history and I'm enjoying it so far.
***

Albert? Well, he's the Albertiest.
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

Okay, yes -- complaining about how creepy Facebook can be is shooting fish in a barrel.

Still, I was taken aback by the notification I just got there. Un-asked-for, it popped up with, "You last updated your profile 2 weeks ago." Which, on the one hand, is just a statement of fact. But it's a statement loaded with connotation.

Seriously -- why is Facebook telling me this? When I have something I care to say on my Profile, I say it. I don't need reminders -- I certainly don't need automatic, non-opt-in reminders after only two weeks of profile inactivity. And mind you, this isn't saying "you haven't posted" -- I post to FB moderately often. This is saying that I haven't revealed new and updated information about myself.

There's a weird sense that FB is trying to guilt-trip me for not being sufficiently naked: that the system and the audience have the right to know everything that happens in my life, and that if a whole two weeks have gone by without updating my profile, something is clearly wrong.

Yes, it's a little thing. But it's the combination of all those little things that remind me of why I dislike and distrust Facebook...

but the clothes

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:24 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
I admit that "Big computers, big hair" is a good summary of the photographs, but it's the clothes that snap me back to the time period the most
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/gallery/2016/feb/13/future-women-the-bell-lab-computer-operators-of-the-1960s-in-pictures-women-in-computing

High Holidays

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:11 am
chanaleh: (leaves)
[personal profile] chanaleh
My two favorite friends from synagogue are MH, the president, and EHF (hereinafter SCO#4), the chair of the ritual committee. Between them, they have been talking to me for ages (since I was pregnant with Aria; possibly even before that) about training me up to lead High Holiday services.

notes from the life of an amateur cantorial soloist )

I figure, if I memorized the entire Hamilton soundtrack in less than 2 months, I can do this. It's just Shacharit, right? Right? #17tammuz #tishreiiscoming

appropriate attire

Jul. 7th, 2017 12:13 pm
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[personal profile] lauradi7dw
There were lots of rumors on social media yesterday, to the effect that Paul Ryan had made a rule preventing women from wearing sleeveless dresses to the Capitol. What is actually the case is that the rule is old, but being enforced. Men have to wear jackets, and nobody is allowed open toed shoes (so no sandals, even in DC in the summer). It's just for the Speaker's Lobby. I didn't know there *was* a speaker's lobby, but apparently reporters hang out there, and from interns on up, they are told about the dress code. I think it would be better to have a positive statement (jackets will be worn) across the board, rather than a negative for women. I have long wished for a similar rule for TV news and weather people. And talk shows, as well. The men without exception have suits on. The women almost all have tight-fitting dresses. A couple of years ago when discussing what we were planning to wear to a family wedding, I said that I was thinking of being out of character and wearing a meteorologist dress. This was confusing to some people, but immediately clear to others. In the end, I wore a rayon flowery shift and blue jacket. I look at female meteorologists on TV squished into tight dresses and high heels, thinking to myself "all those years of physics, and it's come to this." When I'm flipping through the cable news channels, I have noticed that all the women on Fox News (sic) who are on sofas rather than behind desks are wearing knee-length dresses with the right leg crossed over the left. Really. Rachel Maddow apparently has one suit jacket that she wears all the time, but at least it's a jacket.

July 11th
saw a couch-full of women on Fox news with left leg over right. Maybe it's the uniformity that matters.
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