Thursday, November 20, 2014

atmospheric measurements

masked lady detail


Checking in from planet Jen. I hope things are well on earth.

( ha ha! stating the above under this particular photo of a painting in a book makes me laugh because it maybe implies that on planet Jen we wear domino masks and loose braids and faux-ermine trim on our black velvet ballgowns while getting ready to write a blog post. MAYBE WE DO on some other part of PJ, but on my particular archipelago at this particular time it's more bathrobe and pajama pants.)

ANYWAY. I have been busy! Work and things. I work more hours now and was just awarded a special job on top of my job but still in my job, job which is exciting! But it doesn't start until Dec. 1.
Details to follow if it doesn't kill me week 1. (week 2 I'm taking vacation!)  Not work has also been good! I've been doing a lot of reading, a lot of needlework and crochet and whatnot, and before it got cold a lot of gardening. GOOD STUFF. I love it all and count my lucky stars that I'm in a position where if I want to, I can pretty much.

How are you? I hope that whatever planet you're on is atmospherically pleasing.

OMG - I almost forgot, which is weird because this is the reason I wanted to be sure and have at least one blog post in November: as of November 20 something, I have had this blog for TEN YEARS! TEN! That's a lot. I may or may not say more about this in the future.

okay. that's all for now. I am ending this transmission. I was going to do more photos but then I lost 20 minutes futzing around with them which is counter to my mission of:  get in, get out, but go more often. Be well, comrades.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

star ratings of immediate thoughts

noble plaster chicken

TONIGHT'S FULL MOON: five stars. I feel like I could probably read by its light,  which means it's of a particularly fine quality. Bonus four stars: total lunar eclipse. (sorry) (ha ha ha!) I plan on being asleep when the eclipse comes, but I bet it will be amazing. (moon, next time think about falling in the earth's shadow sometime before I need to be in bed.)

STREET SWEEPER: four stars. Good work keeping ahead of autumn debris, street sweepers! I also like the sound they make. I got so mad last summer when I'd think I heard the street sweeper, but it was just that guy riding his lawn mower down the street.

COYOTE I SAW ON THE WAY TO RETURNING BOOKS AFTER MIDNIGHT TO THE LIBRARY:  three point five stars. Full stars for the majesty of nature and the undeniable pleasure of seeing something wild with a big fluffy tail crossing the city street like she owned it, but then this coyote was probably eating people's cats and chickens for which I must deduct.

MIX CDS: five stars.  I hadn't made one in ages but when the radio news got too grim and my sister was having to drive a lot for work, I got busy! The beauty of these is I did not have time to fuss too much. Too much fussing is always my downfall. I pick a random theme and GO FOR IT and it has been fun. I bought a little external drive for my laptop (since it does not have a disc drive) and it works like a champ.

SLEEPING: all of the stars! I think sleeping is greatly underrated and I'm going to go do it right now.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

spiderville, tomato towers

My tomato harvest nemesis. (Many of her relatives also live in the Tomato Tower condominiums) #tomatotime #spiderville

This photo is from the 22nd, but it's still feeling pretty true today. These spider ladies have built elaborate webs going every which way ALL OVER my tomato plants. I try not to disturb anyone, but it's not always possible. And let's be honest - they're not worried at ALL about disturbing me. They don't even like tomatoes! I think they're just messing with me, honestly.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

more books

Hello again - here are a few more recent-ish (mostly from July because I am behind) book impressions.  What are you reading? Do you dig it? My up to the minute book update is that I'm reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Ugh, it's so good. People at work are tired of hearing me talk about it. ("oh, it's fiction? Nevermind." OR "never heard of it" OR OR OR I could go on but I won't. I just reassert its felicity at every freaking opportunity and hope someone will eventually take me up on it.) 

Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick  by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky Read July 16
Love, sex, comedy, funny, Queen, crime, color, library, hating your job, loving your job, financial crisis, sex fascists, sex comedy, one cool trick

Explicit but big hearted. Funny.  Surprising. A perfect meld of writing and artwork. 

Epistolary, marriage, language, depression, infidelity, fidelity, sometimes the city is not your friend, short, wild animal feelings in your chest

if you enjoy reading about complicated human feelings including ones that are not always positive and if you can tolerate a journey that reaches a stopping point but doesn’t feel like the end (because complicated human feelings keep on shifting and turning and don’t easily resolve), try this book. The writing is beautiful and it’s short!

the two covers: I prefer the one on the right but the library had the one on the left so that's what I read. The insides are the same! 
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch  Read May 26 - 28  

Constable Peter Grant discovers that there’s a lot more to London policing than he thought: trickster ghosts, magic, wizards, and a lot of other urban fantasy stalwarts. My favorite parts (I tore through this book and couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to put it down), dealt with the Rivers of London that give the series its name: they’re an ancient, powerful, embodied, bickering blended family and have chosen Peter to keep the peace.


Adults with jobs, nobody gets kidnapped, no misunderstanding, their siblings get married, when it clicks it clicks

I usually don’t read contemporary romance novels unless they’re funny, but someone mentioned this on twitter so I gave it a go. I liked it! It’s only funny incidentally, but I enjoyed it regardless. Our couple consists of an investment banker and a FBI agent. The closest thing to hijinx is that their siblings are getting married and they’re thrown together in situations with religious parents where they have to pretend they’re not doing it. What sets this apart from many contemporaries is that while they have a little friction at first (because someone is a bit of an asshole), they enjoy each others company! They are equally successful in their jobs! And despite one of them being in the FBI, nobody gets kidnapped or shot. Despite one of them being an investment banker, nobody gets thrown out of the family business. Grown ups in love acting like adults!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

this is planet earth

it is finally raining! Only a little, but I'll take it. Everything is crispy and dusty. If I was in charge of the weather, it would rain (gently) for a week and then resume sun. (NOTE: I am not in charge of the weather.)

So much fun! (On the way in) #DuranDuran  #hollywoodtheatre #pdx
golden afternoon light
There has been so much going on I don't know where to start, so I will start with the Duran Duran Unstaged viewing that Bec, Ms. Tara and I went to. GOOD TIMES. This was a "one night only" theatrical showing of the youtube collaboration between Duran Duran and David Lynch from a couple of years ago. Basic premise of the original: special concert that was broadcast live with a layer of Lynch on top. Some might find it a curious collaboration but it makes perfect sense to me: David Lynch is fluent in visual non-linear dream language and Duran Duran songs are often lyrically oblique and musically nocturnal. (Playing right now in my headphones: Night Boat.)

ANYWAY - it is a concert film, an art film, and a good weird time. Special guests Kelis, Beth Ditto, Mark Ronson, and Gerard Way all seemed genuinely stoked to be on stage with the band and it was just really fun. Would watch again!

Here's the teaser trailer. You can't really tell, but that's an egg in a rubber gloved hand.

Here's Planet Earth with Gerard Way. (Couldn't find any other full songs on the internet. Gerard Way is an adorable tiny moppet.) I think there was some editing between the time it originally appeared on the internet and when it appeared in theaters for ONE NIGHT ONLY (plus some other nights) because in our showing, Gerard Way had bright red hair shining through the black and white.

Here's the sign after the movie with the marquee turned on!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

why not do it today?

Today is Internet Slowdown Day. This John Oliver piece is from a while ago, but his description of the net-neutrality issue is the most passionate yet informative (and hilarious) that I've seen.  Anti-Cable Company Fuckery INDEED.

Write your representative! (or call if you can, phone calls count for more somehow.)

supermoon spider bites

I think a spider bit me on the face or near-face region last night during the SUPERMOON which seems like it should give me at the very least a minor superpower.  (do supermoons feel super at all now that they happen 3 months in a row, etc.?)  Nothing yet, I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.

Zinnias are wonderful and no one will ever convince me otherwise. So if you've got some problem with them keep walking pal. 


•I'm sad that So You Think You Can Dance is over for the season, for this was a very good season! I loved this take on the show and how it has changed for the better. The author of that piece has stronger feelings about Adam Shankman than I do, but I 100% agree about the fabulousness of Cat Deeley. She's the best! 

•spider season - I have to admire the optimism of the spider that builds a web across the front door every day. 

•this is the part of summer that is hard. It's still summer in spirit, weather, and fact but the days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school and wah. Winter is coming. 

•Finally watched Season 2 of Game of Thrones. I enjoy it, but it's really murdery.  I have to turn my head a lot. 

•I found a bunch of local garden blogs and am now filled with ideas and a sense of inadequacy! Woo! But I don't mind feeling inadequate to a task (some tasks, I should say)  - it takes the pressure off, somehow. 

Same Zinna picture but different.

and now to bed - I'm sleepy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GREETINGS and book bits

GREETINGS. (I heard something on NPR recently where an American correspondent was talking to an African correspondent and he was all "hey, hello" super casual and she came on with a strong 'GREETINGS' and it was perfect. Like, it's the only way I want to greet anyone ever, want my phone message changed to it, etc. GREETINGS.)

ANYWAY. I started to get into the bananas nature of my summer, but that way lies mission-creep so I deleted it for now. It will have its day! But today I come before you to talk about BOOKS. I've been trying over the many years of this blog to find a way to speak briefly about various books that I've read. I've tried some things, but nothing made me particularly happy. Then I started writing in a notebook.  Just the title, then a list of top of my head things I thought about it. I'm bringing those here, and then I'll write a little more about it if I feel like it.

I'm trying to train myself to bring my thoughts a little closer together so if someone asks me about a book (not unusual or unexpected in a library) I can pull it together and respond. As it is now, it's like all my thoughts are floating at various depths in a swimming pool. They're there, I just can't lay my hands on them in the space of a quick conversation. (does that make sense? I will trust that it does.)

The list method is something I picked up from Lynda Barry's What it Is. There's a part where she has this enormous word list that you cut apart and use in your writing/drawing exercises. After you select your words, you quickly write down whatever pops into your mind. I've used this in other writing and find it VERY USEFUL.  Here we go:

Dystopia, horror, thriller, science, good teacher, young girl with extraordinary intelligence, failures of bureaucracy, road novel, it’s probably what you think it is

This was a fast read once I got about 30 pages into it. I don’t want to say too much because while I don’t agree that spoilers are inherently evil (or good), I think this book is best enjoyed just diving in. Warning: creepy and gross. But the pages kept turning!

Creatures, science, family, magic, time walking “the old fashioned way”, trust, loyalty, lots of castles, vampire investment opportunities, knew everyone, invented everything

This was the concluding volume of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness; it tried to tie up EVERYTHING, which I think made for an overstuffed book. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed the trilogy and would be lying if I said I wouldn’t read another installment next year. (As far as I know there are no more installments.) I thought aspects of the story were too tidy, but I really love the world she has built over three doorstopper volumes. (Volume 2 is set almost entirely in Elizabethan England!) (p.s. I heartily disagree with the “Twilight for grownups” dismissals that this series has received and will happily have it out with anyone who wants to bring that argument to me.)


I was going to put more books up tonight, but I think I'll just do short little bursts and we'll see what happens. More soon, but not now - I've got to get myself to bed because there are Florida relatives in town and they are running me ragged with their tourism demands! (it's super fun, though.) 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

no water

I've had this song stuck in my head since I woke up this morning and since it's great and fun I don't feel bad about getting it stuck in your head, too.  Besides sounding just like a Tune-Yards song, it also reminds me of Tom Tom Club and I think of Busta Rhymes with every WOO HA WOO HA.

PLUS, if you even needed a plus, the video is pretty great.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

summer video

HELLO. I had to get one more post in before July was gone until next year.

I had a good July! It's always one of my favorites because it is my birthday month. I read somewhere that people often have an affinity for the time of year they were born  - does that sound legit or ridic to you? I vote: LEGIT.

Anyway - someone linked to this song and video on twitter and I LOVE IT.  It's mega summer guitar pop with a boat and stripes and an amusement park... just watch it.

See you in August!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

when your world is full of strange arrangements

(this picture from nine years ago (9!) came up in my flickr stats today.  Have you been to the redwoods? You should go.) 

ha ha! I just deleted a bunch of wah wah stuff and it feels GREAT. I will say that today was a weird one for me and I felt manic yet sluggish at the same time which is a gross combo. But my normal brain is returning for which I am grateful. 


• were 2006/7 peak blog years? I mean personal blogs. It feels like so many people have either gone pro or gone to Facebook and I just kind of miss the old freewheeling days of WHATEVER out in the open by anybody. I know this is largely replaced by Twitter for many and that's cool, but still. 

• I am super digging the Mad World book and am so happy they're already at work on volume 2. MORE ON THIS in the future when I will also include a bunch of pictures and videos. 

• My old computer won't even turn on and on the one hand it's fine because I have a newer, functional computer and I can get whatever I need off of the backup (I THINK), but on the other hand aaaaarrrrgghhh. Just do what you're supposed to do, brick of plastic! 

• So, I've been listening to some ABC (thank you, Mad World book) and my favorite part is always when Martin starts talking to himself. "Martin, maybe one day you'll find true love. (heavy sigh)" ha ha ha ha! The Best! 

• ho ho - I just deleted (or delted, if you like Original Typo Style) something else that is not worth devoting any infinite free space to. Ha ha! take that, THOUGHTS. 

Monday, July 07, 2014

tomato time


June 8 - I planted these about a month earlier from starts I bought at Fred Meyer.  From the left: Bloody Butcher, Sugar Lump, jalepeno (not a tomato), Tigerlike, Juliet, another jalepeno. I've taken to buying tomato plants that produce smallish fruit because I never know if we'll have enough sun to ripen a big tomato.


July 4 - the tomatoes seem VERY HAPPY in their block bed! They have since crested the fence. Lots and lots of little green tomatoes - I'm excited for them to start getting ripe!

Tomato mania warning: I also have a green zebra and a "chocolate cherry" tomato growing in pots elsewhere.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

the roof the roof the roof is in bloom

Eco roof on Multnomah building. New Tilikum crossing bridge visible in the distance.  #Portland #pdx

These photos are from earlier this month - June 4 to be exact. I had to go to an all day work thing at the Multnomah Building and surprising no one, I was NOT looking forward to it. I was the worst - the whiny one inventing wild surmises about what awaited us once we got there. I'm not proud of it. I have a respectful terror of the possibility of team building skits and my mouth gets out ahead of my brain.

But you know what? it wasn't bad, really. (NO SKITS.)  At the afternoon break I went upstairs with some friends to visit the eco-roof and it was amazing!


I guess I don't normally think of these kind of wildflowers and grasses to be on an eco-roof.  These are all native plants and don't need much minding. The view was spectacular. It was also the beginning of Rose Festival and we could see the Fleet starting to come in - what a day for it!

Eco roof on the Multnomah building. So pretty!  #Portland #pdx

I would imagine the eco-roof is no longer at its peak, but it IS open to the public!  If you find yourself with a few extra minutes while in or around 501 SE Hawthorne, I recommend it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

may is when the flowers bloom


WARNING: Megaton of photos in this post! For mother's day my sister and I took Mom to Schreiner's Iris garden. It was sunny and beautiful and a good time was had by all.

it was SO SUNNY that taking pictures in the normal way was not going to happen  - too much contrast, too much shadow. So I decided I would take sort of abstract flower pictures. I think this one looks a little volcano-like.

Deep water!

Lady bug hard at work. She flew away right after I took this.

This looks like a solar flare, or maybe like a monster with no eyes who has a really sweet disposition but everyone is scared of him anyway. (until he saves the day by with elaborate butter sculptures that fool the enemy, somehow. Haven't really thought this out very far.)

I love the ombre effect on this one.

I'm just mad about saffron

inside Schreiner's
for $7.50 you could get a dozen cut iris. Each stem has around 3-5 potential blooms. WHAT A DEAL!

Peony peony peony peony. P-E-O-N-Y   F-O-R-E-V-E-R

foxtail lily
foxtail lily detail. They really do look like foxtails when you can see the whole thing.

bee at work
Hard working bee! (on an allium)

ridiculous ruffles. (I'm in a difficult typing spot right now because Otis the cat is trying to curl up and go to sleep on top of my arms. I have to push his feet off the keyboard...)

This should be some sort of airship/fighter in the new Star Wars.  pew pew pew  the pilot sits in the space above the orange stripe. It looks like it probably maneuvers well. GET ON THIS, HOLLYWOOD.

SPEAKING OF SPACE, these columbine in bud look like aliens and nobody can convince me otherwise.

Alien flower after it opens. STILL LOOKS ALIEN. Like, imagine if that was 4 football fields across and floating in the air while blasting historic/chronological songs of the summer over the city. Awesome, right?

Ambassador pink caterpillar heads down into the diplomatic sitting room.

red poppy


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

currently reading

despite having a million things I want to read someday checked out from the library, I couldn't settle on anything. I'd read a few pages and put it down because nothing was quite right. (apart from the serial novel I'm reading, but I can only read that as it's being released - more on that next time.)

ANYWAY.  There's a new Richard Jury (detective) novel coming out in June by Martha Grimes (author) and I thought I'd go back to the beginning and read the first one. I haven't read it in YEARS so it's kind of fun to meet everyone for the first time again. When I read it last I'm sure I had no idea I'd be anxiously awaiting book number 23 in the series.  This is a super grubby paperback that I bought from the library's bookstore (where they sell discarded library materials), probably some time in the very early 90s.  I think I managed to make a complete set, which is good since some of them are now out of print! Although I think they're slowly coming out as ebooks, which is good.

This book is set near Christmas, but it still feels like the perfect thing to read sitting under a tree in the springtime. (creatures spotted while sitting under the tree: finch, crow, squirrel, honey bee, bumblebee, mason bee, spider, mystery bug, cat.)