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it's raining, here are some links

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

this video makes me laugh and laugh and I'm not entirely sure why. I love how irritated they are with each other having this ridiculous argument in a restaurant, yet neither one of them will give way. I haven't watched this show yet (no BBCA for me), but this made me run off to netflix to save it for later. (via the awl)

SO SUPER FUN! I wish more bands made interactive coloring videos. Color one! Do it! You know you want to. The first couple of times I panicked because I wasn't done before the song came on and I thought I'd lost my masterpiece, but now I know that if you watch the charmingly spooky video - which features a sheet ghost (my favorite kind!) on piano - you will be able to resume your project. I like the tarot cards they're using - I wonder if it's the Pamela Coleman Smith aka Pixie Smith (iconic tarot artist) commemorative set. (via fluxtumblr)

mystery solving teens + dubious fogey principal's office + el chupacabra = me laughing and laughing. "We're muscle for hire, in a way." ha ha ha!

advice for tourists

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Sunday, November 28, 2010
souvenir design

I hope that you (whoever you are, wherever you are) have taken the time AT LEAST ONCE in your life to press a penny in one of these ridiculous machines. It's fun, especially if it's the kind where you get to crank it yourself.

Out of Order
look at that sad face! This is what happens when denied the therapeutic penny crank. (therapeutic penny crank sounds dirty and/or crazy, but what can I say? It is what it is.)

pressed penny (world famous)

this is what it would have looked like, had it not been sad faced out of business. (note the bear statue in front! I'll have you know that's a chainsaw carved bear.) I don't even collect these things, but my mom and aunt both do. They're locked in a hilarious (to me) pressed penny battle. They're in it for the long haul, with strategies and feints and whatnots. I admit to being an enabler, but I'm lucky to know someone who's into it or I would have to be. You know how it is.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! I know I'm a little tardy with the update here, but since I am so very grateful for so many things, I thought it wouldn't matter if I was a little late saying so.

But first, Thanksgiving dinner, which was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. You know what I love? I love that Thanksgiving is a holiday built around food and feasting and thanks rather than religion. I love that when I went to the grocery store the other day almost every basket in every line had a variation on the Thanksgiving theme. (I'm all for alternative menus, but there's something almost patriotic feeling about watching so many people from so many walks of life buying their sweet potatoes, you know?)

Should I mention here that one of the things I miss from my churchgoing youth is singing harvest hymns? They were old fashioned and made me think of I don't know what. Continuity, maybe. I liked singing a song that people have sung for hundreds of years about hastening and chastening.


In attendance: me, my mom and sister, weird cousin Bonnie (who is awesome) and Martina and Irmgard (also awesome).
This is what we ate:

Turkey (there was almost a turkey incident as I rattled around town on Tuesday from fancy grocery store to fancy grocery store looking to buy a fancy additive-free turkey that I didn't pre-order in March or whenever. IT ALL WORKED OUT, but there were some tense moments. I ended up at the Hollywood Whole Foods, which is very nice. They gave me a free turkey bag and politely laughed at my manic turkey jokes, variations of which I'm sure they'd heard all day.)

Stuffing - my mom makes really good stuffing, but she can never remember how she does it so there's always an element of surprise. There was stuffing in the bird, but also a pan of non-bird stuffing.

Mashed Potatoes: Martina brought these and they were SO GOOD. Very creamy, and I think included cream cheese and a pound of butter, more or less. This makes no health difference to me as I already had half of my blood replaced with butter earlier this fall. DELICIOUS.

Spaghetti squash: my sister made this from a pioneer woman recipe, and it was so good - baked in the oven whole, then spaghetti'd up, then mixed with shallots and maple syrup. Verdict: I would be eating it right now if it wasn't gone.

Cranberry Cherry Chutney: I made this ahead - it's really good, but I was a little short on cherries and I don't think it thickened up like it should have. Very tasty, but it didn't have as much structural integrity as it could have. Still - very good on sandwiches!

Sweet Potatoes: Bonnie brought these, and I'm so glad she did. Rather than try to make them sweeter with marshmallows or brown sugar, she fixed them savory-style. Of course the potatoes themselves are very sweet already, so it was a lovely sweet/ savory combination. There were also pecans in it. Very tasty!

Raspberry Jello Salad: My great grandmother used to make this all the time. To be honest, we probably wouldn't have made it if Bonnie hadn't said "I really want Grammie's jello salad." But it is good! There's a layer of sour cream in the middle and the raspberries started out frozen, but they were ones we picked last summer.

Rolls: these white bread rolls made from scratch by my sister are so buttery and delicious, even more so when they're hot with extra butter. (It's like butter anemia. I need a butter infusion or I will die.)

Gravy: homemade turkey gravy. Not too salty, not too boring.

PIES: homemade pumpkin pie from scratch (aka: sugar pumpkins roasted in the oven then converted to delicious PIE.) and apple hand pies, served with whipped cream. (all made by Bec.)

Mystery Salad: brought by Bonnie, I think this had both marshmallow fluff AND cool whip in it. And apples and cashews. Not at all what I was expecting when she said "I'll bring salad" but the textures worked remarkably well together, considering one of those textures was marshmallow fluff.

Didn't make it: I really wanted to make a small soup course to be served in a shot glass, but I ran out of time and honestly, we had so much food! It was going to be carrot ginger. sigh.

Something to consider for next time - maybe a green salad or something with a little bite to counteract all the starch. But I'm not complaining - it was a delicious meal made all the better by good company.

Which leads me to part two of this post - things I'm thankful for. The list would be too long if I tried to write it all out, but every single day I'm reminded of how lucky I am in my family, my friends, and life in general. Thank you to everyone who is a part of that!

the hansel gretel seven

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Monday, November 22, 2010
grand coulee dam
I should either be sleeping or writing right now, but I'm making a blog post instead!

Here's what's cooking around these parts:
1) I'm terrifically behind on a bunch of things, but for some reason it's not bothering me. I would investigate, but I'm afraid investigation would cause me to lose that loving feeling, then it would be gone, gone, .......... gone and so on. (Woah-oh oh) So I'm noticing it and moving on!

2) the cable guy had to come out yesterday because many channels were unwatchable and I called to (politely) complain. He came up the driveway while I was putting some stuff in the recycling bin and noted that "you've got some kind of Hansel and Gretel thing going on here." (I think because the house is set back off the road with a lot of garden in front, although maybe he meant I look like I would bake children in an oven. I hope it wasn't that second thing!) Anyway - SQUIRRELS! They apparently love the taste of cable and like to sharpen their little teeth on it. Cable guy replaced it and also bestowed 3 months of free HBO! Score.

3) The Buffy Watching Club (for lack of a better name) is now firmly in season 6, which I haven't really watched since it aired the first time. Man, that is a dark season! But it's good. Today we watched After Life, Flooded, and Life Serial. It'll be interesting to see how these episodes seem after all this time. But as always the best part was seeing all my Buffy peeps, because they are wonderful even if some of them have irrational prejudices against certain episodes in season 1. (:::coughcoughPuppetShowcoughcough:::)

4) OMG! It might snow tonight/ tomorrow/ some time in the next 30 days. This means that all local weathermen have already removed their jackets so that they might roll up their shirt sleeves and get to work readying the WEATHER CENTER or STORM WATCH or SNOW TURKEY SPACE HEATER ALARM CENTER. (okay, on that last one I'm just mashing up a few stories all together as a time saver.)

5) Next blog post I'm going to write in paragraphs or a paragraph rather than lists or bullet points. It is my SNOW DAY GOAL.

6) the picture above is from one of the James Bondian hallways in the Grand Coulee Dam, which by the way is the largest concrete structure in the United States.

7) now I'm super tired.

singing, dancing, raining

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Thursday, November 18, 2010
It is raining and dark. I started this post a couple of times with some dramatic interpretations of these facts (there was a toupee… a toupee made of heaven's TEARS), but when it comes right down to brass tacks or crying toupees - it's raining and dark, neither of which is a shock for Portland in mid-November.

What is shocking: I managed to finish some things - the forever incomplete quilt is now COMPLETE. Huzzah! One day I may even take a picture of it. The epoch-spanning bookcase project is not yet complete, but it is at that chaotic almost-done phase. That's what phase it is, right? not the chaotic never-done phase? RIGHT??? (oh, never mind. It's right!)

Work was so nice today in a gentle way - it was a short shift, I was happy to see everyone working and they were all happy to see me. There was only one sort of weirdly shirty patron, but even he didn't leave without checking something out. My favorite was a boy of about 10 who came in because he was conducting his after school business (by himself, as far as I could tell). He got a replacement card, chatted about the weather ("it's so cold and wet, I had to come in." ) and checked out some Calvin and Hobbes. Such a charming, self-possessed little dude!

Bonus: while I was writing this they called to see if I will come in tomorrow. (answer: why thank you, yes.)

And now for the singing and dancing portion of this blog post, here's a Camera Obscura video that I also find to be very charming. I love the contrast of the retro cavorting dancers with Tracyanne Campbell's eye-avoiding delivery; the visuals remind me of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg crossed with what I imagine a commercial for Japanese Ikea would look like. I love that it's a bright happy video for a happy sounding melancholy song. Did I mention that there's dancing? Because there totally is.

things I found

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today was Veteran's Day. I really like this piece from American Women Veterans called The Nights in Kabul are Beautiful. It's thoughtful, thought provoking and all around good writing. I would encourage you to read it if you haven't already.


This week has been so weird! But boring to describe, so I'll leave it at weird.

Things I Found:

in a box: Some lovely letterpress cards with Emily Dickinson quotes on them. I got them at wordstock a couple of years ago from Letterary Press and they must have fallen into The Void. (Emily D. would want me to capitalize it that way.)

at trivia: the most painful questions to miss are the ones where you know/remember just enough about the subject to realize that the answer springing fully formed into your brain is WRONG. My downfall last night: rapper feuds, less popular ancient Roman emperors. 50 cent v. Valerian. Now there's a feud I'd remember!

in another box: Buffy Clue game pieces - This is OLDEN DAYS awesome - I found this on someone's live journal back in the season 4-5 days. Since I love a) Buffy and b) Clue, I was ALL OVER IT. It's really well done in that instantly recognizable late 90s fannish photoshop style. The designer made a game board with Spike's Crypt, Xander's Basement, The Factory, The Bronze, The Magic Box, The Library, Willy's Bar, Giles' Apartment, and Buffy's House. Instead of "who killed Mr. Body?" the question is "Who killed The Master?" There are game pieces (I seem to be missing Buffy, but I'm sure she'll turn up) and clue cards and I remember having a jolly good time printing it out and putting it together. (note: this photo looks like it's from season one or two rather than four and is not part of Buffy Clue, but I love it so much I'm using it anyway.)
in a stack of papers: Cardboard Saturn and Cardboard Earth. These are part of a larger solar system mobile -I hope I find the rest of it, because these are great. (and really pretty. If Saturn was a little smaller, I'd make a necklace out of it.) I think these two got separated from the rest of their solar system cohort when I photocopied them to use in my epic (never completed) Bubblegum battle of the bands in outer space collage. (The Archies vs. I can't remember who.) EPIC.

butter, garden town after dark, and a video

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

•This song/ video makes me happy.

•I scored 19/20 on the BBC spot the fake smile test - I know it probably has nothing to do with nothing, but it felt like a validation of my general ability to detect bullshit! (for hints on getting a high score, look at the bottom of this post**)

•it's blood and butter in my veins now: I have discovered the brown butter SECRET for mushroom ravioli. By which I mean I googled "what sauce goes with mushroom ravioli" and was told to make a brown butter sauce with walnuts and sage. I used hazelnuts (Oregon's state nut, aka The Filbert!) and thyme since it was $%^&* dark already when I went out into the garden to pick herbs. (The sage is in an area with a high incidence of slugs, which is a sketchy part of garden town to be avoided after dark even with a flashlight.) ANYWAY: secret recipe is a stick plus of butter (I know! so delicious), which you cook without burning until it turns brown (mine got foamy, but it was fine), add the nuts and herbs, put it on the ravioli and that is the end. It is a happy end.

•As part of Operation Art Supply, I'm sorting and moving things around in the hopes that my life will be less stupid. (I will report back upon conclusion.) I found a big box of nice markers I even forgot I had (the box was in another box, you see) - I had to test them all, which I did on an envelope and now the envelope is so pretty with random bright graffiti, I don't want to throw it away. Signed, Makes Her Own Problems.

** hints for the smile test: check the eyes, natch - but also a genuine smile is more likely to make you want to smile in response. I think it's one of those hard-wired animal instinct things.


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Sunday, November 07, 2010
I didn't take a 4 hour job at my favorite branch today - the deal I made with myself was that if I didn't take it, I would instead have to make serious progress on ongoing projects. Serious for real progress.


Inventions! (I should note that these are still in the theoretical stage because I just thought of it today and COME ON - like Ernest and Julio Gallo, I can make no wine before its time.)

Invention 1: pneumatic bottle/can return. A mundane household task that fills me with loathing and despair is returning cans and bottles for deposit. I hate it so. As I was brushing my teeth this morning (and discovered a diet coke can on the shelf) I thought how nice it would be if there was a hole in the wall somewhere that led to a discreet series of pneumatic tubes that led to a can payment center. I would put the can in, it would be whisked away by SCIENCE and then a nickel would appear as if by magic (but actually by science) in a coin receptacle nearby. I would even accept receiving a quarter for every five cans returned, or maybe they could just automatically be applied to my bank account. WHY HAS NO ONE DONE THIS?! What better way to grow the economy than with pneumatic tube infrastructure? I'm writing my congressman.

Invention 2: this is not really an invention because they already exist in the world, but: Pneumatic desk so I can stand up while I do my computer work! (I am enchanted by pneumatics today! It's like being blinded by science, but for people who don't necessarily have a sense for how these things actually work.) We have ergonomic adjustable desks at work, but they are ugly (and at work, and we've already established that I'm not there today). Then I thought, maybe I should just put my desk on some kind of PULLEY SYSTEM with ropes and a special desk heaving chanty. It would be like raising a sail on a boat, apart from how it's nothing like that at all! Anyway - this one I managed to solve. I'm currently typing this while standing in front of my dresser! If I put my laptop on a dictionary, it's at a lovely ergonomic height. Writing while standing (or at least while not sitting all the time) is my experiment for the day. Take that, Butt In Chair people. I'm going Feet On Floor.

well, that was exciting

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Thursday, November 04, 2010
Hooray! Things finally shook out the way I hoped they would here in the great state of Oregon. It was really freaking me out that Kitzhaber might not win. I was trying to prep myself in case he didn't (using GWB terms 1 & 2 mental ninja tricks) but in the middle of that I realized how lucky I am in so many ways - is there anything easier than being a liberal in Portland?

In non-election, non-surprising news, I've started too many projects at once. I've got some stuff I need to mail out, there are two more sides of binding to go on that quilt, I started putting together my massive bookcase project and things are EVERYWHERE. It looks like a paper/fabric bomb exploded which isn't as decorative as you might think. My desk was cleared off for 4 brief shining moments but no longer. I will dig out!

I did get some flickr pictures uploaded, so do please enjoy some of the Waldo Lake in August experience!

red canoe adventures
Canoe! I hadn't been in a canoe since I left florida ages ago - it was nice. The lake is really huge, but we were just in one little "I can see shore" section of it.

my paddle
The water is so clear and so pure we could see to the bottom even though it is REALLY DEEP. hang on.. let me find the text of the sign (which is on a photo that has yet to be uploaded). Okay! here it is. This one is for the geology nerds:

Welcome to Waldo Lake. Waldo Lake, Oregon's second largest lake, covering more than ten square miles, occupies a basin scoured by alpine glaciers. It is one of the clearest and purest lakes in the world. You can see to depths of 100 feet on a calm day. The clarity gives Waldo Lake its indigo appearance as all the sun rays are absorbed except blue.

Snowmelt and subsurface flows are the main sources of water into the lake. There is little soil erosion entering this lake resulting in few nutrients available for algae growth.

Waldo Lake is a fragile and rare resource. Enjoy its beauty and help keep it pure.

waldo lake
I can't get enough of the green of the grass with the blue of the lake and sky. So beautiful! I'd like to go camping there for real someday. (there is a story that goes here about motels, the perseids, and lady motel keepers with binoculars that one would assume were for looking at meteor showers but were apparently for spying on guests as they take luggage from the car to the room in the dark. She's probably a Jessica Fletcher style amateur detective, but it was still creepy.)

sun goes down
and then the sun went down. I had that heavy square format camera with me and took some pictures through the viewfinder. I know they're not straight or perfect, but I think they have an imperfect charm.

waldo lake sunset
I should note that I was balancing the camera on a rock that had a kind of flat spot on the top. I was also being assisted by a 7 year old, but he was very helpful.

waldo sunset
I love this picture! It looks all serene sunset silhouette, but there was actually a lot of whooping and laughing echoing across the lake - a group of teenage boys piled onto a rubber raft and were paddling (with their hands) to the middle. There was much falling off and falling out and general warm weather/cold water/ summer evening hilarity.


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Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I can't believe I have to go to bed not knowing who won the Oregon Governor's race! Multnomah county (Portland), Clackamas County (Portland metro-area) and Marion County (Salem) are still not fully counted and they're likely to go for Kitzhaber, but MAN I don't like not knowing. It shouldn't be this close! Dudley has ZERO government experience - his resume is: rich white former athlete. I'm also stressing out about Washington's Senate race, although I feel like Patty Murray is going to take it. I hope.

I can't even talk about the rest of it yet, except to say that Boehner looked a little pale beneath his tough orange hide tonight. Now their fractured party is going to have to do some actual work instead of just consensing on "No."

Bah. I'm going to bed.

election day

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I voted! Which for me in Oregon means I took my ballot to the library and dropped it off, because I'll be damned if I'm going to put a stamp on it. (okay, I would put a stamp on it if I was out in the library-free wilderness somewhere. But only then!)

This video made me laugh this morning:

and the words "election day" always ALWAYS make me think of the song below for at least 20 seconds:

I can't help it. Now I'm going to put together a bookcase and watch some election returns.