aome: (fucking serious)
[personal profile] aome
I made New England clam chowder last week, and for the potatoes, I cheerfully went out and dug up some of the ones from our veggie garden (which I have sadly neglected lately and is now mostly dead).

I kid you not, this was one of the potatoes I dug up.

Now, don't get cocky.... )

It felt vaguely cruel to chop it up.

At Swim, Two Memes

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:54 pm
aome: (stucky)
[personal profile] aome
First meme: Yet Another List of Random Questions, which I actually filled out a week ago and then forgot to post. :P

What's your favorite kind of bread? )


Then a shippy meme, gacked from [profile] thesmallhobbit:

Who do ya love? )


I know I'm a little early, but in case I don't make it back to LJ in time, I want to wish all my Jewish friends a very happy new year on Thurs. Shanah Tovah!

Well, that was fun.

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:18 pm
aome: (what would you have me do)
[personal profile] aome
Had my colonoscopy this morning. This was a routine check-in, since it had been over 10 years since my last (thankfully having been in remission for nearly the entire time). I went into it resigned but not particularly stressed; sure it's not exactly FUN, but it's never been more than a hassle, honestly.

More hassle than usual this go-around, though. )

AND, to top it all off. Girly stuff )

Moving on.

I've been collecting a number of links in the past week, so in no particular order:

Double chocolate banana bread. This is the second time I've made this, and it's just as amazing as the first time. *snarfs entire loaf*

Butterbeer marshmallows. Damn, they're expensive, but I'm sooooo tempted. (Oh, man, they also have Kaluha coffee marshmallows, Nutella marshmallows and, for the Dr Mcoy fans out there: bourbon marshmallows.)

And speaking of HP Pottery Barn has a new Harry Potter collection. Some cute stuff there.

Really cool Targaryen family tree, created by a DeviantArtist.

In other news ... there really hasn't been a lot of news. Still getting back into the swing of school, which is to say we're all permanently exhausted as we readjust to getting up at the ass-crack of dawn again. I did attend the high school's Back to School night last week, which was good. Will wasn't able to attend, as he was helping his younger brother/wife finally (FINALLY) get their tons of crap out of the basement. But that also meant I was free to take all the front-row desks that none of the other parents (nor my own husband) want to sit in. The teachers get all of 8 minutes to talk, so it's a bit of a rush, but I did get the gist of all MiniPlu's classes and introduced myself to all her teachers. I liked them all (including the lone teacher MiniPlu hasn't met yet - next term's US History Honors teacher), although the Chem situation is ... interesting )

I always feel a little weird when I introduce myself to the teachers; I hate describing MiniPlu as "the Asian girl" but I figure that since these teachers see a million kids per day and school's only been in session 8 days (as of Back to School night), it's a quick way for them to bring up an image of my kid, since there are hardly any Asians at the school (and obviously, divided by 4 grades, even fewer per grade). The Chem teacher still managed to get MiniPlu mixed up with someone else, because after I introduced myself he said something about how she had emailed him to ask for some document that he'd refused to provide, and I had no idea what he was talking about. And neither did MiniPlu. I think there's another [MiniPlu's name] in her year, and even if that one isn't in her block class, it's possible maybe he mentally switched them? (I don't think I mentioned the Asian thing when I shook his hand - he jumped to the "document" remark before I could get in another word.)

Ugh, still feel like an over-inflated balloon. Going to walk the dog and see if I can get it to shift. Stupid Crohn's, stupid colonoscopies.
sallymn: (books 12)
[personal profile] sallymn

(click to enlarge)

The Knuckleduster Cowtown Creator by Forrest Harris (1999)

I'll give you three guesses which fandom I had started dabbling in when I saw this in a post by an online acquaintance and had to track down (luckily second-hand) for myself :)

Obviously, it was written for RPG enthusiasts to help them create their Old West towns: less for reading, more for reference. All manner of good stuff like the typical businesses in town, floor plans for buildings, goods available in all kinds of stores and suggested prices, typical character types and the jobs they might do, medical skills (and what doctors couldn't do), livery prices, stagecoaches and robberies, morse code and restaurant meals, fancy house euphemisms and gambling games, and of course lists of names (people, horse, stores, towns and so on)... not what an expert on the period might want but for someone who wanted to get their game right, it's wonderful.

And for a humble little fanfic writer who has a complete fascination for domestic detail and wants to get her stories to at least sound right... it's been a treasure :) to the point where I scanned what I found the most valuable bits of the town/character stuff and keep the scans on my hard drive so I can take the information with me wherever I might be scribbling...


nanila: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with (star wars: k-2so)
[personal profile] nanila
[personal profile] emelbe and I set our alarms for 02:30 and 02:35 respectively, just to be sure we got up in time to walk over to Caltech for the end of mission. We dressed and poured coffee into ourselves, made sure we had our badges, and got out the door in plenty of time to arrive before 04:00, the official start of the event and NASA TV coverage.

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Walking up to Beckman Auditorium (aka the wedding cake) from the south.

As it happened. )
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila
Thursday was meant to be a quiet day, since we all knew we had to be up and at Caltech by 4 AM for the thing we’d all been preparing for: the actual end of mission.

In reality, there were some impromptu science meetings at Caltech, one of which I attended in the morning. I slipped out just before noon, because I had someone to meet.

I headed down from Beckman to South Mudd to see my former JPL postdoctoral supervisor, from back in those heady days when I was still a lab scientist, for lunch. I hadn’t seen him since 2006. I eventually remembered where his Caltech office was. I could’ve found the JPL one much more easily, but it would have required me to check in and get a badge, which seemed a lot of faff for lunch. Besides, there are nicer places to eat in Pasadena. Once in the correct corridor, I spotted his technician hovering outside the door, plus another UK person from the physical chemistry community whom I’d never met but knows the bloke pretty well. There were lots of smiles and hugs, and we decided to head down to a restaurant over on Lake Street.

We had a very pleasant hour of conversation, reminiscing and catching up. I had a shock on hearing that their children, whom I remembered as children or young teenagers, were now grown up and had careers of their own. Of course I knew that would have happened in the intervening decade-plus, but it’s not until you actually speak together about these things that they’re driven home to you. They were equally shocked on learning that Humuhumu has started school - and has a younger sibling! The bloke and I had been remiss in our communication, clearly. We talked of science, of course, and of politics and its effects on research direction, and of our worries about the future due to Brexit and the current US administration.

I am still kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo. You must instead picture me with a group of men: one starting to disappear into the frailty of old age, peering out earnestly from large-framed glasses, one solid and grey-haired and mostly silent with twinkling blue eyes, and one cheeky-grinned middle-aged bear of a chap with a shock of brown hair and a beard. All sitting together in a booth of a Japanese restaurant, eagerly shoveling the contents of bento boxes into our faces, occasionally bursting into roars of laughter while cheesy ‘90s music played in the background.

We parted with promises not to let another eleven years pass before we met again. I was left with the warm glow you get from (re)connecting with friendly, kind, intelligent people. It was a lovely way to buffer against the excitement and strain of what was to come on Friday morning.

20170914_214801
Chilling out in my JPL t-shirt before the end of mission.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
On Wednesday morning, [personal profile] emelbe and I saddled up and drove over to the Jet Propulsion Lab for a tour. We put her trusty sat nav on, and I noticed that instead of a car, the little icon was an x-wing. She turned the audio on. “Driven well you have,” said Yoda. “In a quarter of a mile, turn left. It is your destiny.”

It was decided that it was fitting for Yoda to be allowed to direct us to JPL.

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JPL tour badge with Curiosity on the front. We got to keep these.

Tour, with side trips down memory lane )
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
I flew into Los Angeles on the Sunday before the last-while-Cassini-is-still-in-orbit-around-Saturn Project Science Group meeting began. I was feeling dodgy when I got up at 6 AM, but I napped in the taxi and took some ibuprofen, and hoped that the feeling would go away.

It did not.

I made sure my usual mobile pharmacy (ibuprofen, paracetamol, Rennie) was stocked in my rucksack before I boarded the plane, and was glad I'd done so about three hours into the flight when my fever started spiking. I alternated ibuprofen and paracetamol every two hours. The flight attendants kindly granted all of my requests for cold water/cans of ginger ale, which were frequent. It was one of the most miserable long-haul flights I've ever had.

I spent nearly all of Monday in bed apart from a brief foray out to get a hot Thai curry into my belly for lunch. This paid off on Tuesday, and I was able to spend half a day at Caltech to dial into the penultimate operations meeting. (There will be one more after the crash, but obviously we’ll no longer have an instrument status to report.) I was excited about this, because I had been saving up something for a very long time.

In fine fettle was the other option )

to be continued

I let my skills deteriorate

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:12 am
twicketface: (Default)
[personal profile] twicketface
CEO chat went well, she totally agreed with my side of things and somewhat told me I need to go to her (instead of my boss) more often since I'm the only one that doesn't report directly to her. Anyway, she's giving me some (but not all) of what I requested and talked about ways I can make even more $$ by being more creative, which will again include not taking no from my boss for an answer. I guess it's a good vote of confidence and somewhat a sign that I've got more sway in how things are done from the client service side of things.

So that's neat.

Scheduling some time off for the fall, including a day for my folks to come help me take down some bushes in advance of the fence installation and a week in October to do fuckall. Probably repaint the basement for part of that time and finally get the theater room done. Carpet dude is coming to give me an estimate this afternoon.

My tennis elbow is finally starting to feel better and I think the free weights is making the difference. Of course, I tweaked my calf playing tennis on Sunday but found a good video online about how to treat and it's almost all better now.

I cannot stop listening to Aesop Rock's latest album and it's a really good problem to have.
nanila: Pokemon Go 2km Egg Hatch (pokemon go)
[personal profile] nanila
First, I received my Cassini Grand Finale stickers from the delightful [instagram.com profile] marka_design. I put one of them on my 15th and final Cassini lab notebook, and I plan to put the other on my laptop and take a photo of it when I'm at the end-of-mission events next week.

IMG_20170907_142354_265
My red lab notebook with one of the Cassini stickers.

IMG_20170907_142354_264
A photo of a page of ops checks (deliberately blurred) in my lab notebook, with the focus on the two Cassini stickers as received.

There was a JUICE meeting at my institute this week. It was not for our instrument team, but for another that we work closely with. They convinced the project scientist to attend. He gave us an informative and exciting presentation, but most importantly, he brought a small stack of the very first official ESA mission stickers. I actually didn't snaffle one because I went off with my counterpart on the other team for an hour and a half splinter meeting. However, the PI from their team kindly saved us each a sticker.

IMG_20170908_151017_871
The first official JUICE mission sticker, showing Jupiter, the Galilean moons and the JUICE spacecraft. This will go straight onto my new laptop when I receive it. It seems oddly fitting to be retiring one laptop and beginning to use another right at the end of the Cassini mission.
aome: Me as a toddler (toddler ice cream)
[personal profile] aome
Gacked from my new friend [personal profile] spiffikins. :)

70 questions, including 3 fill-ins )

Two's first day of school yesterday went well, and he was lucky enough not to have any first-day homework, probably his last year for that. His first impression of his A day teachers was good; we'll see what he thought of his B day teachers (today's electives and his social studies teacher) this afternoon. He reported sitting with some new kids at lunch, to be nice, which I was proud to hear about. I really hope he makes some genuine friends this year. Even one friend.

MiniPlu came home with another boatload of chem homework - more outlining, plus memorizing the order, abbreviations and spellings of the first 18 elements for a quiz today. (She was NOT amused.) Plus a math packet. And she has a short English paper due Monday (on top of a summer-work test in both English and Math on Monday, and a Chem test on Tues). Should be a fun weekend. :-P

My achievements today: a nap, finished reading "The Scottish Boy" (see link in yesterday's post), and not a whole lot else. :-P

(no subject)

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:14 am
hafnia: Animated drawing of a flickering fire with a pair of eyes peeping out of it, from the film Howl's Moving Castle. (Default)
[personal profile] hafnia
Now that I'm out and have officially been outed, I can make an announcement:

I was in Idol again.

Top 5 this time. Not shocked to have gotten voted out when I did — 24 hour deadlines are kind of nasty that way!

Anyway!

I'm happy with how far I made it. I wanted to refute something I saw floating around in Season 9/Friends and Rivals, which was that people only get far because everyone "knows who they are" and it's "not a writing contest, it's a popularity contest".

I played under an alt, interacted minimally with the other players, never asked for votes from anyone, only let five or so people know who I was (most of whom didn't vote in Idol :) ), and wrote my ass off. I think the fact that I made the Top 5 pretty well refutes that — especially since I didn't pay attention to "Idol Rules" and wrote whatever the fuck I wanted (in this case, lots of weird fiction that verged on long).

So — yeah.

At the end of Idol, I usually do a wrap-up of everything I did that I really loved. This time around...there were a few!

Take a Hike is up there — weird selkie story.

The Blue Hour — more nonsense about the daoine sidhe, but this time in a positive light! sorta. :P

Salty, which I submitted as my best piece of the season, and which has extra-meaning now...

It's Always Been Enough, about real magic as performance, and redemption/self-discovery :)

The Waffle House Index — someone else summed this up as "love and death and the end of the world", and I think that's accurate

The Goal Is Zero, which features a return to the Night Market

Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you, which is about Real Magic and the complicated relationship we have with our mothers and our stories...(it gets Pretty Fucking Dark, fyi, and is probably the darkest thing I wrote for Idol? Idk)

Going Forward, about difficult choices and the things we do in the name of grief.

So there you have it. :) The cat's out of the bag, and I'm pretty relieved about that tbh.