Pyrrharctia Isabella

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:30 pm
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[personal profile] superbadgirl
Pyrrharctia Isabella

Woolly bears everywhere today! You know, though, I have never seen them anywhere but on the ground, usually inching their way toward the nearest road. It's like they've got a death wish. I've actually turned my fair share of woolly bear around in the hopes of saving it from getting squished, but the fool things always seem to turn back around and head for the road. Anyway, I did a double-take when I saw this one and immediately thought it was trying to camouflage itself, haha. The further I walked, the more woolly bears I saw like this.

Hmmm. you know what they say about the woolly bear and its bands - I wonder if there's some folklore about them breaking pattern and perching well above ground. Maybe they're all getting ready to turn themselves into moths. Interesting.

Roy

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:27 pm
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Roy

The problem with the "plan" I have on weekends to do most of my chores and projects on Saturdays and finish things up on Sundays is that I reallllllly cannot find motivation to do anything on Sundays. Whoops.

Just a Number

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:44 pm
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Just a Number

Why are fragrance advertisements so bizarrely ridiculous?


Watching Miami Vice right now. While I understand why it was groundbreaking, the acting is dreadful. Some of the worst I have ever seen. Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas got pretty lucky being cast, considering their thespian skills are cringeworthy at the kindest. Also, if MV is responsible for current music being used for cues I'm not sure I appreciate the influence. LOL. I've reached an age where I get annoyed when the music is so loud I can't hear dialogue.

*wanders off looking for a cane to shake at someone young*

ETA: Surprisingly, though, I'm not finding the fashion particularly objectionable, more specifically the women's fashion.

Hank (the Dog)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:12 pm
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[personal profile] superbadgirl
Hank
"What do you mean you forgot the cookies?"

Oh, this pooch. He is another one of those instant loves - he is calm when anyone comes in, just looks at everyone with that soulful gaze and wags his tail. He's a dream to walk, always checks in with you, and loves to run and play. I love him. Plus, he's drop dead gorgeous. It's always a treat when I get to take him out, and here's hoping he goes fast.

Red Dragon(fly)

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:49 pm
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[personal profile] superbadgirl
Red Dragon(fly)

I finally captured this dragonfly. It's been zooming around the building for a while and either wouldn't stop, or stopped when all I had on me was my cell phone. Not the best backdrop, but beggars can't be choosers.

Also, today I realized how grateful I should be that I have a moderate level of smarts. I have no idea how the person I saw managed to make it to adulthood. No diagnosed developmental delays, just old fashioned "duh, what?"
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[personal profile] graculus
You'd be forgiven for thinking I didn't go on holiday this year, since I may have mentioned it in the run-up to actually going but then haven't posted anything about it over here - folks who follow me on Twitter will have seen some flailing about the trip, for reasons I'll detail in due course, but that's it.

A couple of years ago, I went to WorldCon in London (that's the World Science Fiction Convention, in case anyone reading this was unaware) and at the time there was a bid in to host a future WorldCon in Helsinki, Finland. In its lengthy history, the majority of WorldCons have been in the US and I was keen to support the idea of it being this side of the Atlantic again, so bought a supporting membership. The bid was successful and 2017 was therefore when it was due to happen - in 2014, it seemed like a long way away! Anyway, I felt I should support this plan in person and, if I was going to go to Finland, it seemed like a good idea to have other things to do...

Which is how I ended up with this year's holiday - first off, a week's hiking in a National Park near the Finnish-Russian before heading back to the Baltic, a few days in Turku (medieval capital of the country) and then back to Helsinki for the con and whatever else I felt like doing. That was also how I ended up getting up at 4am to drive to the airport to get a flight to Amsterdam, then to Helsinki and then another flight north, to Kuusamo. Or at least that was the plan, until Finnair overbooked my third flight and I got stuck in Helsinki for 18 hours.

I've travelled quite a bit and this is the first time that I've ever been caught by overbooking. I think I've been lucky in that I once got stuck in Paris on the way back from a trip to Canada, but that was because the flight in was delayed and I missed the connection, not the airline selling something it didn't actually have. What other business is allowed to work that way? The only positive thing I can say about Finnair was that as well as organising a hotel & meals, they gave me compensation there and then, while other airlines have a bad reputation for expecting you to claim later and then, oddly enough, taking forever to pay you back for what you've spent.

My main concern was that I was due to join a group and knew that they'd already left the Kuusamo area and travelled into the middle of nowhere, as well as being due to go bear-watching that afternoon and that was one of the main reasons why I'd chosen that particular trip! In the end, I spent the majority of my compensation on a very long taxi ride from the airport (200km, to be precise!) and arrived just in time to bolt down a cup of coffee, run to the loo and then go bear-watching. The bears were awesome and I'll post some pics at the weekend.

The rest of the week was spent hiking 10-15km a day, with our luggage being taken to the next place we were staying, then sauna and a swim in the lake if you felt so inclined (which I did, in two different lakes, while others in the group younger than me chickened out). I also had a go at canoeing for the first time - I've kayaked before, but this whole thing with one paddle and switching hands is far too much work! The only downsides to the trip were the mosquitoes, which loved me greatly despite bug spray, and that it was too early in the season for cloudberries by about a week! They were everywhere in the bogs we were crossing and I only found one that was ripe the entire trip. :(

Then it was a flight back to Helsinki and a train to Turku for a couple of days. It's a nice, compact little city and I liked it very much, though one of the main attractions was being able to go kayaking in the Baltic for the day. The trains in Finland are significantly cheaper than in the UK (though this isn't difficult) and I definitely recommend them.

Once back in Helsinki, we had a complementary travel card for the bus and tram system as part of being a WorldCon member and this got used a lot - I was staying in the city centre, near the train station, and could either get a commuter train (10 mins) or a tram (25-30 mins), usually depending on whether I could be bothered to walk to and from the respective train stations, since the trams were also frequent. I only managed to get a bit lost once, waiting for a bus that never arrived and then deciding to walk (and walk and walk) before spotting my hotel from a distance and navigating towards it by guesswork. That was also partly caused by my not trusting my instincts, as partway through this journey I'd got on a tram that was actually going the right way then second-guessed myself and got off a couple of stops later.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy Finland was for me as a vegetarian, though I think being a vegan might be significantly more difficult. Helsinki in particular seems to have embraced soy as an alternative to meat - the local burger chain, Hesburger, was doing soy burgers and tortillas, for example - while I ate a lot of potatoes and vegetables, it wasn't anything like as one-dimensional as my trip to Newfoundland a few years back where I pretty much lived on grilled cheese sandwiches for most of my time there.

Anyway, back to WorldCon. I think my main criticism would be about the panels, but that's probably because I've been spoiled by other conventions, NineWorlds in particular. The panels were short, scheduled for an hour but really limited to 45 minutes to allow for people to get to the next panel, which then turns into 30 minutes plus time for questions. There was a problem on the first day about getting in to some of the panels as well, with the convention having to organise some additional panel rooms for subsequent days, which meant that even then people were leaving panels early - I don't really see the point of going in the first place if you're going to do that. As a result, most of the panels I went to felt a bit lightweight and at least one suffered from a lack of robust moderation, or a moderator who wouldn't shut up and let the panellists talk. It was ever thus, I guess!

I knew a few people at the con but felt the lack of people to chew stuff over with, which I've become used to. Anyway, the next European WorldCon is going to be Dublin in 2019, so I guess I'm going to Ireland again in 2 years time! Hopefully more folks I know will go and help keep me entertained.

In general though, I'm glad I went and Finland is a very beautiful but expensive country. I ate a lot of chocolate and licorice, although the salty licorice they love so much (salmiakki) is vile and I don't know how anyone can eat more than one piece. I wish I'd been there for cloudberry season and also that the mosquitoes didn't love me so much. And yes, I did sauna naked - it's traditional, you know! - but put on a swimming costume for the lake because we weren't the only people there. I highly recommend the sauna + lake combination if you ever visit...

Actual Succulent

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:04 pm
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Actual Succulent

Yesterday, someone brought in a three month old pit bull puppy. He is the cutest baby, I'm not even exaggerating. White with a black patch over one eye and a nearly perfectly circular black spot on his rump. The reason? "He pees."

Yes, folks, someone brought a puppy in for peeing. Grrrr.

And today a sweet 9 month old pup got returned because she was too high energy for the people. It's so easy to fall in love with a dog at the shelter but get in way over your head in reality. I totally know how that goes. "My" little pup has moved out of my neighborhood, so I don't get to see her anymore. :(

Tiny Arachnid

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:29 pm
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Tiny Arachnid

What a day. It's boot weather, suddenly, so I was rooting around in my shoe closet (don't judge me, it's not like that, really). I've intended to get an actual boot rack for my boots, but haven't ever got motivated enough and so have them kind of stuffed into a large plastic storage bin, without the lid on. As I was looking for the left boot for one pair this morning, I started sniffing. I bought these little shoe freshener balls that I shift around from shoe to shoe. I don't like the smell of those things, actually, but this wasn't that. It was ...

Cat. Pee.

Apparently someone liked my shoe closet as a hideyhole when terrified and peed. All over my boot collection. This was probably months ago, so the smell is good and set in. *bangs head on wall* I suspect Abe, as when Pickle was peeing outside of the box a while back it was a direct commentary on the lack of suitable box options for her and no one else is a peer.

Then I came home to a giant puddle of puke under my kitchen table. THAT was Pickle, who hates getting brushed like whoa, then constantly barfs up hairballs. *bangs head on wall*

I love them, though, the little peeing and puking menaces.

Acronicta Hesperida

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:17 pm
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Acronicta Hesperida

We had a tornado warning today. People were in a tizzy for a short while, including my boss who gathered us all together in the midst of it ... in the corner-situated conference room, which has two exteriors walls made entirely of windows. LOL. Me: I don't think this is where we should actually BE...

But nothing came of it. It's not common for tornadoes, though last year a small town down the coast got hit - they come up off of the ocean.

Jaffa Cake

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:33 pm
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[personal profile] superbadgirl
Jaffa Cake

About four and a half years ago, maybe longer (holy crow, where does time go?) I tackled homemade Jaffa Cakes but substituted orange curd in place of the jelly. They were delicious and I think they won the monthly contest on the now-defunct Bake,Bake,Bake community. This time, I went for the jelly but despite the apparent health qualities of gelatin, it just grosses me out to think on. So, I used agar powder.

IMG_3834

Innit pretty? Texturally, a bit grainier than gelatin, but it tastes fine. I do wonder if the orange will come through the chocolate. I had a heck of a time getting these covered. The jelly disks didn't want to stick to the cakes and the chocolate didn't want to stick to the jelly disks. They're a little sloppy, too, and I am 99% sure I over folded the flour into the sponge, but these are just for work folks. They'll get eaten. Hah.

Recipe here.

Succulent?

Sep. 16th, 2017 04:04 pm
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Succulent?

Not sure what kind of plant this is. I liked the leaf pattern.

Walked to the tile store today to scope out shower tiles. I'm still not convinced I can do this project by myself and I've about reached my limit with the white small-tiled bathroom floor as well. White floor + long dark hair = a big, ugly pain! I can't go in the bathroom without shedding at least one hair. The shower is a must, the floor is a want. I will send photos to see if I can get an estimate, then maybe that will motivate me to be able to do it myself. Sticker shock is a great motivator for me.

Duck on Pond

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:09 pm

Be back in 10

Sep. 14th, 2017 03:33 pm

West Coast Lady II

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:40 pm
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[personal profile] superbadgirl
West Coast Lady II

Can we please stop with pumpkin spice? Oh my gosh, there is no need for pumpkin spice cheerios. Or yogurt. Or licorice. Or waffles. Or wheat thins. Or, or, or...

Drove to "the city" for a dental appointment today. Shopped a bit at Target (meh), DSW (meh) and Trader Joe's. The latter used to be a fun stop when I first moved to the boonies. It was a chance to stock up on treats - I've never really liked TJ's for practical things: their produce is overpackaged and anemic-looking, I'm not a big fancy cheese or meat person, etc. Today, TJ's was also kinda meh. I must have rednecked the city girl all the way out of me.

Nothing I purchased was pumpkin spiced.

I'M NOT SHOUTING

Sep. 12th, 2017 07:13 pm
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I'M NOT SHOUTING

No bifocals. I probably could have ordered new contact lenses, but when I found out they increased by $30 per eye, I decided I can make my current pair work for a bit longer. Eye doc said I'm likely to see a bit of fluctuating from here on out, but no bifocals yet. Whew!

You know, Hank has been with me almost a year and to be honest - I had hoped that the others would have accepted him. I was looking at photos for the last three months of last year, when Pickle was so sick. Before she just couldn't shake the yuck, she and Hank played well. After? She changed. I halfway wonder if she associates him with her illness. You know, like when you were a kid and you vomited soon after eating, say, peanut butter and for a long, long time after you cannot think of peanut butter without getting queasy. I think I am going to try to cordon off three of the downstairs rooms and kind of keep them separated for a bit, reintroduce Hank again. Hmmmm.

Five things repeatedly

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:57 pm
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[personal profile] graculus
I was tagged by [personal profile] xochiquetzl...

5 things you’ll find in my bag: pens (always lots of pens!), ibuprofen, mobile phone, wallet, hand sanitiser
5 things you’ll find in my bedroom: books, hot water bottle, a silk wall hanging from Uzbekistan with hoopooes on it, pairs of shoes I should put away, a bag of fencing gear
5 things I’ve always wanted to do: go to the Galapagos islands, sea kayaking in Scotland, try cycling on an indoor track, become a better/stronger swimmer, sand-yachting
5 things that make me happy: students who do their homework, whenever I can get off my arse and go to the gym, the perfect parry-riposte, pizza, finding a parking space at the supermarket straight away
5 things I’m currently into: fencing, books, passing my course without dying of boredom, prevarication about lots of things, not being able to think about a fifth thing for this list
5 things on my to-do list: get more organised in terms of meals, buy a new carpet for my hallway, buy a new pair of walking shoes (since my last ones fell apart under warranty), paint my bathroom ceiling, get all my paperwork done for work

I'm actually hoping to get one of my 'always wanted to do' ticked off next summer - I need to look at the dates for something else I want to do in Scotland in July or August, as well as Nine Worlds, and then it's either kayaking or sand-yachting too, depending on how it all falls together.

I'm not so into the whole tagging thing, so anyone who's interested...

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