squirrelhaven: the muppet composer-guy banging his head into his piano (*headpiano*)
While stopped at a light on my commute today, I was mystified by a signboard printed in a fancy curling script that appeared to advertise an upcoming "Holy Gross Armenian Festival." Apparently this event will include a food fair and dancing -- but I couldn't fathom why anyone would want to eat gross food, and what exactly would the dancing involve? More importantly, how was this not deeply offensive to the local Armenian population? Or is there perhaps some famous Holy Gross Armenian of whom I'm unaware? An obscure and repulsive saint, maybe? I don't know that much about Eastern Orthodoxy...

Not until I'd read to the end, and learned that everything would take place at the Holy Gross Ghurch, did I realize that what looked like a capital G was in fact a C, at which point everything made more sense except for the graphic design choices.
squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
Let me show you it:

Save the Words

Okay, it's only awesome if you're a word geek, but if you are, I promise you will love this. Please note: the site has sound. Awesome sound.

(Explanation: the Oxford English Dictionary people are trying to save several obsolete words from falling out of the English language, by asking people to adopt them. In the sense of using them as often as possible, yes, but also in the sense of picking one that will be your own and taking care of it. My only issue with this is that there are so many fantastic words here, I find myself completely unable to choose -- which isn't helped by the fact that they're all adorably saying "Pick me!" and "Over here!" and the like as my mouse rolls over them.)

Click on words to get their definitions and sample sentences. (The sample sentence for "lignicide," which means "woodcutter": "I'm a lignicide and I'm okay, I sleep all night and I work all day.")
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
Hey, Chicagoans: Am I right in thinking that there's an area (or possibly more than one) near O'Hare that's mostly big industrial headquarters-type buildings? Where exactly is that? Does that neighborhood have a name?

If there's not one specific place, then my question becomes: let's say you drew a triangle with one point at O'Hare, one point in the center of the Loop, and one point in Evanston. You have to situate your (fictional) ConHugeCo headquarters somewhere in that triangle. Where does it go? (FWIW, ConHugeCo probably also maintains glossy offices in the Hancock building or something equally posh. But this building, or complex of buildings, is where the research labs are, and where a lot of the paper-pushing gets done.)

squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
I dreamed last night that Abraham Lincoln was a friend of mine, and he was into trying out new hats. Every week or so he'd have a different kind of hat -- beret, tam, porkpie, etc. -- and it was sort of his thing, and we'd all tease him about it. And then one day he showed up in a stovepipe hat, expecting everybody to make fun of it, and to his surprise we all said, "Actually, Abe, that's an oddly good look for you. No, really. It somehow suits you. It makes you look very dignified." And so he stuck with the stovepipe hat for the rest of his life.

Also, in the dream, Abe was gay, and Mary Todd Lincoln was actually a man in drag. But this was in no way the point of the dream, which really centered on the hats.

I can offer no explanation for any of this.
squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
For my many gamer friends, who really ought to see this (and who will probably get more from it than I did, though I still thought it was awesome). And yes, that's Felicia Day, of "Dr. Horrible" fame.

squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
If you had to come up with a name for a two-headed fire-breathing snake-monster who eats people -- but has her civilized side -- what would you call her?

I don't mean a classification, I mean a name. Like Shirley or Babs or Gladys. Except those don't quite suit.

squirrelhaven: the muppet composer-guy banging his head into his piano (*headpiano*)
I'm typing up the chapter I wrote yesterday (4000 words! In one day! Eeee!) and just had my most amusing typo in a while: rather than arranging to legally carry a firearm as planned, my heroine acquired a bun permit.

Dude. Those cream fillings can be dangerous, yo.

So, um, hi.

Jun. 5th, 2009 10:15 am
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
I am (belatedly, I know) trying to set up housekeeping here at Dreamwidth, in part because so many of my friends are posting over here (baa), and in part because I have been utterly unable to make the openID thing work for me. I really don't know why; I've tried on a few occasions, I've read all the instructions, I've read umpty-ump FAQs and the like, and it just. does. not. work. Maybe I'm an idiot. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. But maybe this will circumvent the problem once and for all.

Anyway. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to balance the DW and LJ sites. My hope is that I'll be able to import my squirrelhaven LJ over here, to have a working copy of it, and then crosspost for the forseeable future. But that will depend on my figuring out how to do the above. We'll see how that goes.

But, well. Here I be.

O. M. G.

Apr. 30th, 2009 10:03 am
squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
I had lunch with a friend last month who, in the course of a wide-ranging conversation, mentioned his amazement at having discovered some sort of underground movement in which real people dress up as costumed heroes and take to the streets, seriously trying to fight crime. And that police don't always know whether to see this as a good thing or a bad thing. I'd forgotten about it, until I stumbled across a link today.

You really need to see it to believe it.


I just. I don't even know. Is this funny? Is it awesome? Is it kind of scary and sad?

Well, okay, it's definitely funny. I've been reading for a while and so far am most amused by the one who claims Osama Bin Laden as his arch nemesis. Somehow I imagine Bin Laden would be surprised to hear about that. (ETA: No, my favorite has to be Polar Man, in Canada. Who models himself after an Inuit legend, and shovels for the elderly. I couldn't make this up if I tried, folks.)

Also, they almost all have myspace pages.

THERE IS A COSTUMED SUPERHERO ROAMING THE STREETS OF LONDON WITH AN ANGLE-GRINDER. His mission is to free the motorists of England from the tyranny of clamps, such as police use on the wheels of illegally parked cars.

The world is such a bizarre and fascinating place, it truly is.
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
Remember a while back when I posted pictures of jewelry I'd made?

Well, I've made a lot more; beading turns out to be the perfect activity for when you've got small, unpredictable periods of time to work with and not much brain. And I've finally set up an Etsy store, under the very apt rubric Emily Procrastinates. (Hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] sanj for coming up with the name.) I have this vague hope, you see, that my beading habit might become self-supporting. Because I want to buy more beads, and to make more things, and I can only wear so many necklaces myself.

Anyway. Just thought I'd put that out there. If you or your friends feel like enabling this addiction of mine, I'd be most grateful. (And if you're local, we could work out some kind of cash deal that would involve a discount for you and a circumventing of Etsy and Paypal fees for me. I'm just sayin'.)


Feb. 5th, 2009 02:04 pm
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
My niece is turning 14 this weekend. I have only just now remembered this. With amazon prime, I can order something this afternoon and it will arrive on (or near enough) her birthday that I won't feel like the deadbeat aunt. She loves to read, so surely a couple books would fit the bill. Yet I am drawing a total blank on what the classic young adult novels are.

For reference, I know she loved the Twilight books, and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I gave her brother a pile of Neil Gaiman books last year, so I can't do that again. I know that there are YA books I've read that would be perfect for her, and yet I cannot think of any; I've got a total deer-in-the-headlights problem with this oncoming birthday. Suggestions?

ETA: Thanks, everybody! I'm all set now -- purchase made, headlights averted. Phew.
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
I'm on a kick with the beading lately, using pretty much all of Stellan's naptimes to play some more. I should probably slow down, as I'm neglecting other tasks that need doing. But I'm having fun, and it's been a while.

I also never stop being surprised at my own competence. The things I've made, they look like they were made by someone who actually knows what she's doing. It's such a weird thought.

Anyway. D kindly took some photos of my recent work, so I can show off. Photos behind the cut. )

I'm starting to have this fantasy of setting up a table at a low-key craft fair somewhere, to sell some of this stuff. Because I really don't need this many necklaces, I just like making them. And it might be nice if my beading habit could support itself.
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
The iTunes visualizer is spectacularly good at soothing a sick, cranky baby.

I'd always wondered what it was for. But man, on the "jelly" setting, with some James Taylor, suddenly the kid who'd been crying and fussing all day was content to sit on my lap for 30 minutes, just watching the pretty colors.

Thank you, good folks at Apple.
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
I wonder how long it's going to take for it to really sink in that we just elected a mixed-race, dark-skinned man with an African name, Muslim father, teenage mother, lower-middle-class background, sharp intellect, and liberal voting record to be our next president. That America is a place where that can really truly happen, that the election wasn't stolen from us, that bigotry and short-sightedness didn't win. Last night I thought maybe I was just too tired for the fact to really register. But today I can't shake the feeling that I need to re-check the news every couple hours, like if I stop paying attention for too long somehow reality will shift, and McCain will be headed for the White House instead of Obama, his gorgeous family, and their new puppy.

(Speaking of which, maybe I'm a total sap, but I love the fact that he promised his daughters a puppy in his victory speech. If there was a way for me to become even more enamored of the man, that was probably it.)

D and I were musing on the drive home last night about who we'd like to see in Obama's cabinet. I can't help wondering if Colin Powell will be in there somewhere. I know he's a Republican, but he's a smart, moderate, non-evil Republican, and he did endorse Obama for president. I also have this fantasy where Al Gore becomes the director of the EPA. I'll be really curious to see who does get named to administration posts. I'm also unutterably relieved that Obama's going to select the next few Supreme Court justices. The man was a constitutional law professor; he's going to do a good job with that. Hallelujah.

I know everything won't get better all at once. I'm not expecting angels to sing and life to be suddenly rosy when Obama takes office. The country is in a deep, deep hole, and it's going to take a long time to climb out of it. But for the first time in a long while, I believe we're headed upward instead of deeper down. That's a good feeling. (Or it will be, once I fully wrap my head around it.)
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
It's probably good that baby monitors don't have snooze buttons, but still, there are mornings when I wish for one anyway.
squirrelhaven: extreme close-up of a red flower (Default)
If it's not one preoccupation, it's the other:

I've been checking the electoral projections at fivethirtyeight.com at least once a day for the last many weeks (that is, the days that I've made it to my computer at all), to try to keep myself reassured that Obama's got a very good chance of becoming the next president. The daily poll tracking has almost all been encouraging; even when it shows a slight improvement for McCain, it's along the lines of "Well, yesterday McCain was down by 12 points, today he's only down by 10 points," and even those small gains tend to disappear within a day or two. But the thing I find myself staring at every day is the pie chart in the upper left corner of the page, showing the odds on Obama's win. I have never seen the site place those odds below 90%, and usually they're above 95%.

Upon checking the site this morning, I remembered a nightmare from last night, in which Obama's win percentage had dropped to around 70%. My heart was in my throat for a moment, until I'd digested today's actual figure: 96.2%.

I'll be so glad when this election is over. (Unless we lose. In which case I'll be devastated. But let's not think about that.)
squirrelhaven: the muppet composer-guy banging his head into his piano (*headpiano*)
Just so we're clear, that's me wailing, not a baby. No baby to speak of yet.

But I think my iPod has just died. Which I realize is not the end of the world (it had been clear for a while that this iPod was elderly and infirm, and I'd already asked for, and been promised, a new one for Hanukkah/Christmas), but I'd really been hoping to bring it to the hospital so I'd have soothing music to listen to during the birth. And this kind of throws a wrench in that plan.

Details, and a plea for assistance )
squirrelhaven: green fern fronds on dark background (fronds)
I feel embarrassingly clueless asking this, but:

The farm we've joined will happily accept our food waste for their compost. As we aren't serious enough gardeners to have much use for compost ourselves (plus we have a dog who's a little too interested in eating anything that resembles food, even when it's decomposed), this seems like a great plan. But we know almost nothing about composting, other than that it's a good thing and cuts down on the garbage we're ultimately sending to a landfill. And all the sites I can find online that promise to help us get started are filled with technical information we don't really need at this point.

My questions are: what types of food waste can be composted, and what can't? What's the best way to store said waste during the week between farm visits without having it stink up the kitchen? Is there anything else we should be doing with this food waste, besides setting it aside in some safe way and then bringing it to the farm each week?

Many thanks.
squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
Okay, first off, I have to say a few HUZZAHs, because huzzah! We have a working satellite again! And I know, I owe comments to a few of you. But for right now, my Very Important Query:

Do I want to watch "Doctor Who"? (I mean the current iteration.)

A few weeks ago, the NYTimes had an interesting article about Russell T. Davies, the head writer for both the current "Doctor Who" and for "Torchwood." The article made both shows sound more interesting than I had previously assumed they'd be. It also profiled his past as a writer; evidently he created the UK version of "Queer as Folk" (which I've seen 2 episodes of, and really enjoyed, but alas, Netflix does not carry it so I've been unable to view the rest), and also wrote a film -- or, as it turned out, 2-part miniseries -- called "The Second Coming." Which D and I watched a few days ago, and it was really, really good. I'd been curious about it chiefly because it has obvious correlations to the book I'm theoretically writing (well, I'm really writing it, just not right now): an ordinary guy starts claiming to be the son of God, and people actually believe him, though his best friend isn't sure if maybe he's just crazy. And while it IS relevant to my book, it was also just a fantastically written drama, and extremely well thought through, and very well acted, and theologically fascinating. I'm hesitant to say more about it because I don't want to spoil it. But D and I were both sort of dubious going in, and then both completely engrossed and thoroughly impressed by the end.

So anyway, that's given me a lot of respect for this Russell T. Davies guy, who seems to be very good at writing believable, complex human characters, and also at taking high-concept material and thinking it through from all sides and doing surprising and very clever things with it. Yet I know next to nothing about Doctor Who, except that it has a long history with which I am entirely unfamiliar, and a reputation for cheesy production values. And I saw maybe half of one episode a few months ago (the Doctor was on a spaceship called the Titanic) and found it kind of charming but also kind of inexplicable.

I know some of you out there are quite the fans of the show, though, so tell me: do I want to Netflix the current series? Do I actually need to know the show's long history to appreciate what I'm seeing? Does the cleverness outweigh the potential cheesiness?
squirrelhaven: cartoon squirrels happy to have no souls (squirrels have no souls)
1) I just saw what may be my favorite creatively-misspelled spam subject line ever:
      "Haven't you always wanted a big duck?"
I have to say, I hadn't really thought about it before. But now that they've asked, why YES! I *do* want a big duck! Where do I sign up?

2) I had an exceedingly odd dream the other night, in which the world had somehow fallen into chaos of the most literal kind, and it became nearly impossible to separate the real from the unreal. Of every 100 things that seemed to be happening, maybe 10 were actually happening, and the other 90 were just offshoots of the chaos, and I was trying to put together a cohesive narrative of what was truly going on but kept getting confused about which events to believe. I vividly remember a scene in which I was sorting through newspaper clippings, trying to determine which articles were plausibly true and which just made no sense. What really stressed me out was that, in this dream, Obama had won the presidency, but I couldn't tell whether he had *actually* won it or whether that was just one of the untrue chaos stories. So I was searching my news clippings for clues; were there any stories which mentioned President Obama and Vice-President Pink Unicorn, for example? Or were the Obama-verse stories logically consistent? In retrospect, it's all really funny, but at the time, it made me very anxious.

3) We had a wonderfully sociable weekend, during which I had a conversation (sadly, I can't remember who with) about tasty foods, and was asked to post a recipe I mentioned. So here it is: pancetta and fruit croquettes. )
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