The sister thinks this is funny, but again, she gets my van for a full week unsupervised. Talked to The Boy and how the week in NYC will go, its sounds very busy and full of people I might have met at the wedding, but, its all good. I got a walking map of Manhattan (and once I typed that, it did sound funny to me) if all else fails.
Let the games begin...
...the stars of the Southern Hemisphere:
Left to right: Alpha Centauri, Beta Centauri, and Crux aka the Southern Cross.
Some Spark knock the planet over?
(I did not spot this myself, but once clued in I found the image.)
Blade Runner: Gorgeous. And the plot works. And it has some great moments. And nothing which made me furious. But it's a bit too cold for me. I don't love it, but I am glad I've seen it.(About four times now, in an attempt to like it more.) 6/10
Alien: Amazing realisation of a fictional future. Fantastic design. Lots of iconic moments. Hangs together really well as a film, and I'm glad I saw it at the cinema a couple of years ago. 8/10
Legend: Very silly. Doesn't quite work. But Tim Curry is really, really good in it, and it looks beautiful, and I can forgive it its weaknesses. 6/10
(Thelma and Louise I feel bad for not having seen. Sorry!)
Gladiator: I didn't buy into the hype, and it felt overly glossy. Nicely made, and a better movie of its type than we'd seen in a while. 6/10
Hannibal: I really wanted to like this. But he managed to make a film about a charismatic serial killer dull. I literally wondered _during_ the film how he managed to make it so dull. 3/10
Matchstick Men: A fun romp that I solidly enjoyed at the time. The characters are having so much fun I couldn't help but join them. 8/10
Kingdom of Heaven: A Ridley Scott movie I enjoyed _more_ than most people. It felt like it had been hacked up though, and I wasn't surprised there was a directors cut. Which I will someday see! 7/10
Prometheus: A film I despised more because it could have been amazing than anything else. But sadly it fills me with rage. 2/10 (4/10 if you include the fun I had reading meta about it later.)
The Martian: An incredibly well made film that was dramatic, and gorgeous, and funny. I wish there were more films like this. Slightly _too_ many thing go wrong for me, but it's nigh perfect. 9/10
Lord, there's so many things I keep meaning to blog about and then I get distracted. And then I'm like "I must blog about this thing!" and remember that I didn't blog about the other thing and then it just becomes easier to go play Dragon Age for awhile.
But! Dogskull Patch is still mine!
After careful perusal of the house, it's best treated with a bulldozer, I think. Clearing out the junk--and there is so much junk--is just not feasible with my available manpower. Also some large animal has been inside. I choose to believe that it is a dog. Thinking about the alternative sources of the poop in the corner is a little more than I wish to deal with.
Also, the house has bees! There is a feral hive living in the wall (and maybe the attic) of honeybees! Which I think is actually REALLY REALLY COOL, since there aren't supposed to be very many wild hives in NC anymore owing to colony collapse. A Master Beekeeper and his apprentice are supposed to come out and investigate the possibilities of getting them out, since I flatly refuse to destroy a honeybee hive, even if it's holding up work.
This weekend we took out a lot of little weed trees. There's some hundred-year-old white oak that will be touched over my dead body, but some of the scruffy Carolina blackcherry (edible but unexciting) and the privet and five million loblolly and blackjack oak seedlings can come out. My buddy Krin went through the aerial photos going back to '79 and figured out that the back forty (or I guess back five, in this case) had been harvested at least once, which would explain why all the pines are growing like that.
I've been reading up on the local soil and poring over historical maps. This sort of thing is weirdly fun for me, but it's a bit late to switch careers to agronomy and also my agent would nail my head to her wall as a warning to other authors. There is a TINY patch of "silt loam" in this chunk of the county, and Dogskull Patch is literally sitting square on top of it. (And when I say "tiny" I mean "my neighbors have only a couple yards of it, and the back 40 is something else entirely.") When I was excavating some holes, I was very puzzled by the dirt--it was incredibly fine, almost like ash. It reminded me of porcelain clay. Apparently that is what "silt loam" is like.
(It's on the high point of a low hill. Not that you can really tell, in the middle of the woods, but a chunk of Dogskull is literally the highest point, by a couple feet, of the surrounding area. I'd guess that's why the silt is still there, and didn't get carried off by erosion.)
According to the county soil maps--and I had no idea that the geologic surveys ran so precise!--Dogskull Patch and environs is "prime farmland of state concern." I assume that means "If anyone cared about dirt the way that dirt should be cared about, they would beg to keep Dogskull as farmland, not vanish under tract housing." On the other hand, it was a tobacco farm, and tobacco farming is REALLY hard on soil. So at best guess--beautiful soil treated cruelly, now with a load of trees.
I must remind myself that it has taken care of itself for many years now, and that anything I can do to help is merely a bonus. I am not saving it, except perhaps from developers. I am merely improving small bits and making it more itself. Otherwise the monumental SIZE of the task and the sheer weight of responsibility would crush me flat. (My buddy Foxfeather advised me of this, and I am grateful. It was excellent advice.)
So, we took out some of the trees and dragged them over close to the property line to build a hugulkultur bed there. A large enough one will function as a berm and I can plant trees on the far side to help block the line. I'd like to put in a seriously gnarly hedgerow there, maybe with some Osage orange. Hedgerows are great habitat and the orange is one of the few more-or-less-native plants that will potentially keep out feral hogs.
But that's awhile in the future. Everything is in the future. Meanwhile, in other news I work on the next Hamster Princess, have no idea what to work on for my next T. Kingfisher (there's at least two novels and one novella that aren't too far off, but none of them have hit a tipping point in my brain) and am suffering the massive productivity loss that is afflicting most of the creative people I know in this political climate. Also my stepfather keeps having heart attacks and winding up in the hospital with increasingly dramatic pulmonary failings--"THREE aortic aneurysms! Two blocked arteries! How are you ALIVE, sir?" but is about as interested in human company as the aforementioned feral hog, so I am in the grim stage of waiting by the phone to hear that he has finally keeled over so that I can swing into action. This is horrifically stressful, but he's nearly eighty and has certainly earned the right to die alone while fly-fishing if he so chooses, and for all I know, could still outlive me.
(I am at that stage where I do not feel guilty about thinking such thoughts, nor am I feeling guilty about not feeling guilty, but, in somewhat meta fashion, am feeling vaguely guilty that I am not feeling guilty about not feeling guilty. "If I was really a good person, I would at least question that I am not at all guilty about this!" This is a complex emotional knot best severed with hard manual labor and tequila.)
I am writing this while sitting out in the garden. My beloved backyard garden is really shining this year. I am proud and grateful to it. It exudes peace, and for once I can actually appreciate that, instead of rampaging around trying to change bits. I think it's mostly done (ha ha) and while I have lots of things to tweak, stones to add, etc, the bones are all there and not likely to change tomorrow, so I can sit and relax in it and admire the beans and the iris and the potatoes in their grow bags.
Anyway. Life keeps keeping on.
My previous ramen recipe was vegan. It’s also bloody lovely. But ramen is one of those dishes that varies a lot, and sometimes—especially on a grey day—I crave the flavour of ramen cooked in a meat stock.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
- 1l boiling water
- 1 pork or beef stock cube
- 1 tbsp maggi liquid seasoning
- 1 egg
- 2 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
- 50g (1/2 pack) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 75g (1/4 pack) beansprouts
- 1 pack instant ramen
- 125g (1/4 pack) spinach
- 1/2 small carrot, peeled and grated
- Chili-garlic sauce, to taste
- Stick 500ml of water in a small pan over a high heat to get a rolling boil.
- While that’s heating, put the rest of the water in a pan with the stock cube and maggi. Bring to a fast simmer and stir until it’s all dissolved and incorporated.
- Stick the beansprouts, mushrooms, and scallion whites into the broth. Stir.
- Put the egg into the boiling water, and cook for six minutes.
- With 4 minutes to go, add the ramen to the broth. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the egg and run under cold water.
- Decant noodles and broth into a large bowl. Top with spinach, carrot, and scallion greens, leaving space for the egg.
- Shell the egg and slice in half. Add it to the bowl, and top with the chili-garlic sauce.
Mirrored from Little Pleasance Kitchen.
Tried to get some yardwork done today, because of course, while I am gone, its going to be hot and gorgeous outside. I will just have to get the stuff still in the small pots into water trays and hook up the hoses for my neighbor to take care of for me. The lawn wont get mowed.. I needed that extra 17 hours.
But, grand adventure, going to see the Godson and his wife, maybe a play and just hang out in NYC.
In today's stream of Atelier Ayesha Plus, we made it from our tiny cottage in a meadow all the way to the big city, where we hope to find out more about the mysterious flower that blooms where our sister disappeared.
Along the way, we met some ... interesting characters!
At 10 PM Eastern on Sunday we're returning to Fate/EXTELLA, to discuss a previous cutscene before continuing Altera's route. This will contain major spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen the rest of the game, so you may wish to review a Let's Play or the archives before tuning in.
THE RECIPIENTS OF THE 2016 NEBULA AWARDS
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
“The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION
Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistic
ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY BOOK
Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
2017 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD
Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous)
KEVIN O’DONNELL JR. SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD
flavors: Vanilla Peanut Butter, and Oreo Cookies & Cream
Breyers Releases Two Almond Milk-Based Ice Creams - and Ben & Jerry's has 2 new flavors in their vegan line.
OMG, do the Breyer's ones really come in 1.5 quart-sized containers? Not in those little pint-sized containers that all the other vegan brands come in? I wonder how much the Breyer's costs...
Have finally decided to join the 21st century and bought a chunk of cloud storage for some offsite backups; specifically the Google offering, which integrates well with the rest of its services. Have also discovered and used RClone, which a rather genius piece of work - effectively rsync for various cloud storage vendors. Apropos, a made a talk proposal for OpenStack Australia Day which has been accepted.
Other major events in the past few days has been organising for the AGM of the Victorian Secular Lobby, writing up the major events of 14th and 15th weeks of Lord Dampnut, US President, and attending a great wine tasting at University House for Klein Constantia with a selection of South African and French Savoy wines. The Vin de Constance was pretty amazing; it was sweet liquid gold and with a price to match (on special for a mere $137 for 500ml) .