Monday, June 26th, 2017 10:00 am
For [personal profile] metaphormorphosis.
Prompt: hexarchate, "red pandas."

(NOTE: I promise this has a happy ending for the red panda.)

"Zoo?" High General Garit said. "Really, Jedao?"

Jedao, who was driving the car, glanced sideways to assess Garit's expression, even though the high general's tone of voice told him everything he needed to know. Garit had invited him along on this damned trip to a hunting preserve because Garit was desperate to bag a gray tiger, and alongside his record with firearms, Jedao had made the mistake of letting drop that he had grown up hunting. Jedao had tried to point out that going after pesky deer and jackalopes was not the same as gray tigers. Garit had merely clapped him on the back and told him not to be so modest. Modesty had nothing to do with it. On top of the stupid expense per round, the recoil on the ammo that Jedao was going to have to use was proportionate to something with its stopping power, and he wasn't looking forward to the ache in his shoulder.

"Just for an hour or two," Jedao said coaxingly. "My mom and my siblings wanted me to send home some vacation photos. And I promised my nieces that I would bring them back some souvenirs, and maybe the zoo's shop will have some mounted skeletons or the like."

"You spoil those kids rotten," Garit said with a snort.

"What are uncles for?" Jedao said. One of the great regrets of his life was that his job kept him away from his family for long periods of time. The girls grew so fast. "Besides, the folks down at the shop might have some tips for hunters."

Garit shook his head, amused. "You're transparent, but all right."

The zoo was not particularly busy. The two of them were off-duty, and the young woman who told them about the zoo regulations either didn't recognize them or didn't care, which Jedao found congenial. Jedao persuaded Garit to come into the zoo proper so Jedao could snap some photos.

Jedao fiddled with the manual exposure, trying to get the black panther to show up in its cave. The camera had been a gift from his brother, and was practically an antique. Jedao was not especially gifted at taking pictures that pleased his family ("These look like reconnaissance photos, who cares about all this kill zone stuff when you're snapping pics of an engagement party?" his sister had once complained) so he had resolved to do better.

"That's the oddest damned fox I've ever seen," Garit said, pointing.

Jedao gave up on the exposure and settled for a muddled silhouette in the shadows. "Beg pardon?" he asked.

They strolled closer to the enclosure Garit had indicated to have a look. A reddish, bushy-tailed creature was taking a nap in the branches of a tree. Bamboo shoots sprouted not far away. Some of them looked like they'd been gnawed on.

"That's not a fox," Jedao said, reading the enclosure's label. "Red panda. Apparently they eat bamboo. And sometimes birds and things."

"It's kind of cute," Garit said grudgingly. "Doesn't look like much of a challenge, though."

Jedao thought that coddled zoo creatures were generally unlikely to be much challenge, but he didn't say anything that would give Garit the idea of adding another kind of animal to his wishlist for this trip. "My nieces will like it," he said, and raised his camera.

"We should catch you one to take home to them," Garit said.

Jedao made a face. "Have you ever looked at the customs forms for importing wildlife? I'm pretty sure these critters don't exist on my homeworld."

"Well, I'll look into expediting it as a favor to you if you can help me with my tiger problem," Garit said.

"That's very kind of you," Jedao said, as diplomatically as he could, "but my nieces are notoriously good at killing goldfish. Let's just leave the red pandas alone and go hit up the shop so I can buy bat skeletons or fox-eared hats or something, and we can head to the hunting grounds."
Monday, June 26th, 2017 08:48 am
[profile] wendelah has been a nurse for 32 years and knows her shit: Go here and see these links for helping to fight for the Affordable Care Act. Yes, it's flawed, but it's a far cry better than what they're looking to replace it with.

I have many strong, personal feelings on health care and the medical system right now and don't want to dump them on you, so I'm going to disable comments and make a more upbeat post soon. If you want to talk about the ACA or health care, or any of the other interesting political things that [profile] wendelah has linked to, please let the focus be on her post. :)
Monday, June 26th, 2017 08:44 am
A very big THANK YOU to everyone who helped signal boost the [community profile] drawesome community over the weekend! We gained more than 30 new members yesterday, so well done everybody! *high-five*

So far, even though we seem to have a lot of new community members, only a handful of people have ventured into the Introduce Yourself page to break the ice. I understand how it can be a bit intimidating, to put yourself out there in a public comm.

So if any of you guys want to add a contribution to the post (whether comment or sketch) to get the interaction going, that would be awesome! Drawesome, even! LOL.
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Monday, June 26th, 2017 03:08 am
Recent family events as previously warned.

Read more... )
Monday, June 26th, 2017 11:00 am
Monday, June 26th, 2017 02:20 am
1. Not only is it my day off tomorrow, but it's my birthday, too! That was a nice coincidence.

2. I bought a couple manga tonight and I have to say, I am so happy I finally discovered how to buy ebooks on Amazon Japan. Not only do I prefer the interface of Amazon to the iTunes store (I hate that you can only buy things through iTunes itself and not a webpage), but I can use my own credit card rather than having to get someone to buy me a gift card. With iTunes I always hesitated to buy anything because once I used up the gift card amount, I would have to ask someone to buy me one again, and I'd have to pay up front for it. With Amazon, I am really casual about buying manga, because it's just like $4 here and there. I also like how it's just automatically downloaded to my kindle app and I can load it on my device or delete it in seconds, rather than having to go through iTunes (again).

3. Jasper was being super cute and silly while he was napping tonight. He actually got even sillier after I posted this picture. (I didn't think it was possible.)

Monday, June 26th, 2017 10:03 am
[tumblr.com profile] sashayed: It’s Not That Bad to F— Up While Calling Your Senator About Something Important

To prove this point, she presents actual transcripts of messages she left on her senators' voicemail, with her reaction gifs.

Sample:

Hi, uh, Sen. [Name]. And staff. [Nervous laughter.] My name is [Rave Sashayed] and I’m a constituent from [place where I vote]. I just wanted to call to thank you for standing up against the AHCA in the Senate. I–it’s an incredibly cruel and stupid and – and vicious bill. You know? And I’m not, like – a person who used to call her Senators all the time! know? I’m, like, a normal person! [Nervous laughter] But this – it’s crazy to me that this bill could become legislation. It directly affects me, it directly affects the people I love. I mean, it kicks millions of people off of Medicare for a tax break for – I mean. You know this. You’re. Uh. A Senator. So. You’ve read the bill. Um.

I would like to remind people that I phoned my MP's office and actually stated (completely incorrectly and randomly) that I lived in a place which said MP does not represent, had this pointed out to me and had to correct myself. AND YET (like Sashayed) I LIVE.

Right now, it looks like the Senate is wavering. Republican Senators are saying they "just don't know" if they've got the votes to pass the AHCA.

If you can't do phoning, you can't do phoning (I am sometimes a person who can't do phoning). But if you can, now's the time. IT IS OKAY TO PHONE AND FUCK IT UP. As long as you can communicate that you are opposed to the AHCA, that's enough.

Also, have some MOTHERFUCKING ICONS (photos of the ADAPT protestors being arrested during their protest at Mitch McConnell's office).
Monday, June 26th, 2017 07:58 am
And my show love is back! Woo hoo! That was a fantastic episode.

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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 09:40 pm
My housemates are back! All of them! This is good and bad. It was nice having the bathroom all to myself, but it was getting kind of lonely in a house made for four people, only having two.

Critical Role continues to be a delight. I'm watching Episode 52 now. Plot! )

Housemate and I are almost up to The Coming of Shadows in B5. We took a detour to watch some more Season 1, and watched the A Voice in the Wilderness two-parter. You know, every time I watch the show during a Republican administration, Seasons 3 and 4 seem relevant, but right now I feel like the Mars stuff even in Season 1 is super timely. I keep forgetting how much of the Mars plotline is brought up in Season 1, especially in that two-parter.
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 09:09 pm
That time when a young-ish woman's thoughts turn to superheroes and X-Men comics and Latin rock. (This is not a joke, my interests really are seasonal like this, and those really are my regular summer obsessions.) Right now the nostalgia for last summer's MCU femslash spiral is hitting me HARD. And lo and behold, I have a new GotG movie's worth of femslash to look for!

If you've got fic recs for either of those, btw, I'm all years. (Haven't seen AoU, Civil War, Agents of Shield, or the Netflix shows, though.)
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:28 pm
 Alexander, Bestest Old Pussycat

Under here. )
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:05 pm
I read Harry Potter fic, even though I'm pretty sure I've never managed to read any of the novels all the way through, or watch any of the movies start to finish.  Whatever, that's fandom.

Anyway, I periodically go through looking for new fic on AO3, and the best way (imo) to do this is to click on the Harry Potter works tag, sort by date, and then put "kudos>100" (or whatever other kudos threshhold you choose, today I picked 1000 because it's such a huge fandom) so you only get stuff a lot of people have liked.  (If you just go "sort by hits" or "sort by kudos" in a fandom as old as Harry Potter, you only get the oldy-goldies, which I've mostly read already or know I won't like.)

I also have AO3 Savior, a greasmonkey script added on to my browser that allows me to blacklist tags and such.  Items tagged with stuff I don't want to see show up in Works lists as blocked, with reason for blocking.

I went looking for Harry Potter fic today.  Apparently, a VERY high percentage of popular fic right now has either character bashing or Voldemort sexytimes.  Also!  I have "*/Tom Riddle" and "Tom Riddle/* both blacklisted (the asterisk tells it to block anything there, so I don't have to go through and list alllll the possible Tom Riddle pairings).  But apparently, if I want to block threesomes with Riddle, I have to ALSO blacklist "*/Tom Riddle/*"

Why do so many people want to write and read about Voldie sexytimes?!?  I do not get it!  I'm not judging, you do you, but gah.

(The bashing is, alas, a Harry Potter trend of longstanding.  Thank you to everyone who a) realizes that that is what you are doing and b) tags it properly.)
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 04:58 pm
I've finally found one area in which German is superior to French (by which I mean, easier for me as a native English speaker). It's numbers. German numbers seem to work mostly like English ones, but French numbers make you do math. (ETA: They do in the standard French of France; apparently it is not universal and other varieties of French do it differently.) Well, numbers from 70 to 99. 70 in French is "soixante-dix," literally sixty-ten. 71 is "soixante-onze," sixty-eleven. 80 is "quatre-vingt," or four twenties. 90 is "quatre-vingt-dix," four twenties and ten, and so on up to 99, "quatre-vingt-dix-neuf," or four twenties and nineteen.

My French is not too bad, apart from not having a full adult vocabulary, but I still have to stop and think when hearing or speaking French numbers.

This is especially fun in the context of telephone numbers, because the French don't say telephone numbers digit by digit like American English speakers do, they divide them into groups of two. So if somebody's telephone number includes the combination 97, they will say "quatre-vingt-dix-sept," and the unsuspecting English speaker will write down 4 (quatre) and only then realize they've got it wrong, and have to go back and correct while their French interlocutor is now several numbers ahead. You can guess how I know this.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand all this is probably interesting to no one but me, but I was happy to find a context in which German is simple and straightforward. Unlike its ten million billion pronoun forms.
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 04:44 pm
18. A song from the year you were born

This was an easy choice.

This version of the song, the best known one, is I think later than 1969 (my birth year), but I like it better so that's what you get. It's worth looking at the original 1969 video on YouTube, though, if only because both video and song version are so hilariously 1960s.

David Bowie, "Space Oddity"





All the prompts )
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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:15 pm
For once, it might not be geography itself getting in the way of fun.

My family’s going to Denmark for a long weekend in a few months, at the very beginning of September. Is there anyone in that country - on the European continent - in reasonable proximity to an international airport hub - who’d be interested in meeting up for an afternoon or possibly longer if schedules allow?
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 12:54 pm
The gulls and cormorants at the imaginatively named Bird Island in Pt. Lobos have had their chicks. \

Click on the thumbnails to see the bigger pictures.







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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 01:46 pm
After going around to all the skate shops I could find in Brooklyn (excluding Williamsburg, because ugh, so far away) and Lower Manhattan, I've decided to just stick with my skate school that's two miles away and nice and trustworthy. I just called the owner/founder, and he says that I can order the deck (the main body) online and bring it in to outfit with the rest of the necessities, if I don't see something I love that they have in stock.

Which means I have a couple of decisions to make, and they're hard, so I'm putting it to a vote. Help me out, friends -- there are no bad options, so which one should I get?

A bunch of pictures, some of which are new )

Poll #18526 Help me buy a skateboard for my birthday
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 19


Which two (2) win for you?

View Answers

'90s Spaceman
4 (21.1%)

Creature Kills!
7 (36.8%)

Good Motel at Sunset
9 (47.4%)

Deshi - magenta/blue wrench
6 (31.6%)

Oyola - cream wrench
1 (5.3%)

Coakley - '40s planes
8 (42.1%)

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 10:55 am
I haven't done a huge amount of cooking, because on Tuesday it's my turn to host the potluck and Buffy watch, and I've been trying to get my place ready. Yesterday I thought I'd give my kitchen a quick clean, believing that it was fairly clean already. But once I started cleaning attentively, my views on the subject . . . adapted, and so there was wiping down of cupboards and cleaning under the stovetop and washing the windowsills and scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees (luckily it's a small kitchen, because ouch). I'd never realized how many little dirt-trapping crevices and nooks my kitchen possessed, and I badly want to know what fool thought it was a good idea to install cupboard doors with lots of paneling detail--sort of like this, but a much cheaper, uglier imitation--instead of nice flat ones that would wipe clean easily.

Anyway, let's talk about food.

Something I've cooked recently: The lavender shortbread and lemon-lavender posset I mentioned last week were a big hit at the potluck. The posset in particular is exquisite; I decided to strain out the lavender rather than leave it in, and the result was gorgeously creamy and smooth. I found the lavender shortbread a teensy bit dry--the dough was dry, but I was hoping it would be all right after baking--so next time I'll use a little less flour. I live in a very dry climate, so the recipe might work fine elsewhere. By the way, the recipe will easily serve eight, rather than the four to six that Hollywood specifies, and I say that as someone who loves rich things and usually scorns tiny portions.

Yesterday after cleaning the kitchen I did my best to dirty it again by making one of my favorites, pasta with a sausage and tomato sauce. The sauce is basically: brown some hot Italian pork sausage links in olive oil, set aside, use the oil to cook an onion chopped fairly small, when the onions are pretty well cooked add some finely chopped garlic and cook just until the garlic is fragrant. Then add a big tin of tomatoes--I usually buy tinned whole tomatoes and cut them up myself--a bay leaf and any other herbs you like, return the sausages to the pan and simmer for about half an hour. Yesterday I gussied it up a little bit by adding two diced peppers, one red and one yellow, to the onion, and adding some wine to the cooked vegetable mixture and cooking it down before adding the tomatoes. I rarely use wine in cooking because I rarely have wine around, but a couple of weeks ago I impulse-bought a bottle of wine, didn't like it enough to drink it all, and so I froze it in ice cube trays. It's a useful trick for all those annoying recipes that call for half a cup of wine.

This morning I made another loaf of beer bread because (a) I really liked the last one, and (b) I still had a couple of bottles of Smithwick's that are probably too old now to drink with pleasure but are perfectly good to cook with. I used this recipe again as a base, but altered it a lot to make cornbread. I used 2 cups of medium stoneground cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill and 1 cup of bread flour, and I added about 4 ounces of grated cheese, roughly 3/4 cup of leftover corn kernels that were cooked with green chiles and a little cream, and about three tablespoons of additional green chiles (roasted and chopped, from a jar). I reduced the salt a little because of the cheese, and as before I stirred about 3 tablespoons of the melted butter into the batter and brushed 1 tablespoon on top before popping the pan in the oven. The resulting cornbread is seriously, seriously good. It's got a beautiful moist texture and a strong corn flavor, with sweetness from the corn kernels and honey and a bit of kick from the chiles.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: For the Tuesday potluck I'm going to make a potato-and-spinach curry from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries--it's a nice easy one with panch phoron and coconut milk, and I'm going to buy some supermarket naan to serve it with. And I've got to buy some gin for g&t's, because I told everyone I had gin and someone else agreed to bring the mixers, and then it turned out I didn't have nearly as much gin left as I thought.


Something I vaguely intend to cook someday: No idea. The weather's supposed to turn hotter again after a blessedly cool weekend (by which I mean, high temps of about 80F/26.6C rather than 95F/35C). I don't want to cook. I want a beautiful man to bring me delicious salads and perfectly ripe fruit, and preferably to fan me while I eat them.