There are a couple of arts events in Austin this weekend which are (1) outdoor and (2) scheduled as "rain or shine". My sympathies go out to anyone who's slated to participate in either of them. At least, if they hadn't shifted the date, we would have been indoors!
( spoiler cut )
...oh good, there are already people vidding it to Johnny Cash's 'Hurt', I don't have to attempt to do it myself.
(How is there no Peter&Colin&Sylvester BroTP on the Archive yet? How is this possible? (And why is the only Pertwee & Delgado fic in a language I don't read?) Fandom, you are causing me pain.)
There are so many good things about Sorcha! She is a very loving and affectionate dog, and when I am around her, I think that I am a more loving and patient person. (Not that she doesn't try my patience sometimes! But her challenges are pretty minor ones.) She brings a lot of simple happiness to my life. She is a good cuddler, sometimes lying on the couch with me and putting her chin on my wrist or leg. She makes cute sounds like clacking her jaw when excited (a Greyhound trait), huffing air through her cheeks, or little growls and yips when she is dreaming.
I've been around animals most of my life, so all this isn't unexpected; but, it is a surprise how easily she fit into my life when I got her. It's like she's always been here.
There are some ancillary benefits to dog ownership: A pet is a neutral topic of conversation to bring up with co-workers, family members, and strangers, unlike a lot of my other interests (which most people think are weird, or which at least require some explanation).
Walking at the dog park once or twice a day has been very good for me and Sorcha, it's a nice routine, it's social, it gets us out in the fresh air, and I've met some very nice people there. The kind of small talk that happens at the dog park is very non-demanding and seldom stresses me out, unlike small talk almost anywhere else-- often we talk about dogs, sometimes about work or the weather.
Having an unusual, recognizable dog means that people will approach you in the neighborhood when you are out walking. This could be good or bad, depending on your circumstances, but for us it's fine since Sorcha is generally very calm. So, I've had some nice interactions with my neighbors and gotten to know more of them.
Oh, and she takes a good photo. :)
I suppose it was too much to think we can have an award to call attention to promulgation of rape culture....
We went out to the RenFaire on Saturday; it was our only trip for the year, and the weather was perfect -- partly cloudy, high around 70°, not much wind. Of course, that meant everyone else thought it was a great day to come out too. :-) The traffic backed up for several miles; after sitting in it for some 45 minutes, Russ decided to test a hypothesis. Instead of inching our way up the last mile or so to the dogleg, he turned left off the main highway and went a block over, where there was no traffic at all and we came out with an easy right turn onto 1488 and no backup to speak of. This probably saved us at least 20 minutes, and it also got us ahead of the "screech-THUMP!" that happened about 5 cars behind us on the road that runs by the Faire.
This year TRF has finally done something long overdue -- they've instituted "Preferred Parking" for $10 in the closest 8 or 10 rows. Knowing how my feet and knees tend to feel by the time we've walked the Faire, I didn't hesitate about paying that, and we ended up in row 6 (though near the further end). I can't imagine that we would have been any closer than row 30 if we'd gone for the free parking.
As mentioned, the weather was perfect. I got to wear one of my heavier outfits which is normally too hot. Russ hedged his bets by wearing his maroon velour top and tights under civvies, but by the time we were there and parked it was definitely warm enough for the costume to be enough. As we don't care about any of the Major Performances, 6 hours is quite enough time for us to walk the Faire, check out our favorite shops, schmooze with our friends, and (in my case) pick up the latest CDs from my favorite bands. I was very pleased to see that Tartanic has re-formed after their tragic loss in April and was out there performing again.
I bought things -- actually rather more than I'd thought I would. I finally picked up the Durga wall hanging that I've been looking at for a couple of years, and some refrigerator magnets from the same shop. There was a garb shop having a really good end-of-season sale, and I bought a Holyclothing-style dress in chocolate brown for $35; this style normally runs $80 or more. (A few years ago I found 3 pretty skirts in this same shop for $25 each; apparently they make a practice of running this kind of clearance.) I got 3 CDs -- 2 by Circa Paleo, and one by Jim Hancock & Friends, who were apparently replacing Istanpitta this season. I found a mortar & pestle set smaller than any of the ones I have now, and bought one so that I can ask my supplier about possibly getting some. (Aside: the mortar & pestle sets at the TRF shop were priced comparably with the ones I carry, which is reassuring.) I got some nice scented soaps at Magick Cauldron, and my annual indulgence of cinnamon-coated cashews. We did not stop for my other annual indulgence of hot spiced cider because the line was very long and by that time it was getting dark. And Russ bought an entire outfit from Boss Wench! He's been lusting after this one for a couple of years himself, but we're just now getting dug out of the financial hole from the Denver County Fair disaster in 2011 and he wasn't able to justify the expense before.
My hat got several compliments, as did my necklace. And I got a nice bit of egoboo from one of the rickshaw guys as we were leaving. He asked if I wanted a ride, I said, "No, I'm fine," and he said, "Damn fine, if you ask me!" So that was a pleasant ending to the day. The backup was nearly as bad going as coming, but only until we got past the dogleg; after that it was smooth sailing home.
The Icelandic Glacial bottled water that we picked up at Austin Celtic comes in a very attractive bottle -- it's square in cross-section, and the portion above the label is molded to look like an ice cliff, all facets and angles. It's really a shame that they're cheap plastic and therefore not suitable for recycling into craft projects.
Mouser got up on the kitchen counter and stole 2 strips of bacon! Russ caught him with one of the strips hanging out of his mouth, so we know it was him. Mixed emotions -- on the one hand we don't want the cats stealing food, but on the other, seeing Mouser that enthusiastic about anything but gooshyfood is a good sign. I think he may start getting the occasional bacon strip as a tidbit.
We have dooryard lemons! Not a huge crop, but about half a dozen nice ripe ones.
I'm working on a steampunk/Victorian playlist for Weird West Fest, and because I don't have time to order CDs and rip them, I'm actually buying MP3s directly from Amazon. I've picked up 1 collection of English broadside ballads and 2 sets of barbershop quartets, and a selection of Gilbert & Sullivan. I already had plenty of classical from the right era; in fact, I'm going to have to go thru my rough cut and delete some stuff. And I'm sneaking in a little ragtime even though technically it's out of period, because steampunk is all AU anyhow, right?
Boy, both G&S and the barbershop stuff are trickier than I thought. Some of the former is sharp political/social satire that will not come off right to people who don't know the context, and some of the latter is, frankly, appalling -- on the level of blackface minstrel shows. Which is to say that it accurately reflects the racial attitudes of the period, but I don't want it in a playlist now! Also, there is only one MP3 of "Bicycle Built for Two" available on all of Amazon. And I'm sneaking in a few more ringers -- one of Moonwulf's songs about a real historical event of the period, a couple of Steeleye Span pieces that sound like they're from the right era, and the "Flower Garden" waltz from Alice, which is a pretty good imitation of an actual Viennese waltz. Also, I'm annoyed to discover that my Mikado CD doesn't include "To Sit in Solemn Silence" and none of the other ones with MP3s available seem to have it either. OTOH, some of the stuff I think of as "Chicago 1920s Irish" fits right in.
Oh, this isn't good. The weather forecast for this weekend between here and Austin is nasty, which is going to cut WAY down on the number of people who are willing to come out for the event. GoodThoughts that at least the threatened ice pellets will hold off would be welcome. A cold but sunny day on Saturday is probably too much to ask for. This event looks like it'll be lucky to be a break-even, which is a shame because it's a good concept.
A weird bit: last week the urgent care doc told me the radiologist said they could not find my appendix and my colon was inflamed and she diagnosed me with colitis. Yesterday, the report that that clinic sent to Dr. Rheum (and Doc Appendix) said that my appendix and colon both looked normal. That sounds good, except it makes me feel like how do I trust who was right? Did someone inexperienced look at it the first time, then someone else came along to correct them? If zond7 had not been with me I would feel really strange as if people would think I had made up the whole thing. But he was there and I did not.
SO glad I am not in the hospital right now and I was so happy to come home. My only "glad game" thought about possible hospitalization was that at least maybe they would treat my nausea and I would be actually hydrated from the IV. In every other way... nightmare...
Val came with me (driving my car and schlepping the scooter in and out of it) which was very helpful both on a practical level and for moral support and keeping my head together.
I am reading Barbara Hambly "Darkmage" and lying in bed. Woke up with a feeling like a horrible hangover, maybe from the CT scan contrast dye. Had a cup of warm milk, some tapioca, a sort of shot glass of coffee, some sips of Ensure (which tastes ok but which sits in my stomach like a goddamn anvil) and lots of small glasses of water. i might try like 1/4 cup of congee before this appointment today. New primary care doc (the old one stopped his primary care practice... alas) I hope this new guy is nice and scientifically minded and will take on the actual coordination and analysis of things.
All things considered i am doing ok and as usual appreciating my warm, cosy house, cat, and access to infinite books. Extra deeply appreciating my friends. Thank you for all coming over to visit and bringing soup and taking out the trash and so on.
(Because my lips are still tightly buttoned re Sekkrit Projekt, which is eating my life.)
What I read
Finished Critical Mass, which I thought one of the stronger Warshawskis, but then, early C20th women scientists, I am going to mark it up for that, right?
Jacqueline Carey, Dark Currents: Agent of Hel 1 (2012), which was all right, given that Urban Fantasy Is Not My Bag, but really, it seemed a bit - under-ambitious? - for Carey and not the confounding of expectations that I have come to anticipate.
Also the latest issue of Slightly Foxed.
On the Go
Laurell K Hamilton, Affliction, go ahead, judge me, I like these, they are mind-candy, and at the moment, mind-candy for me-reading is what it's about.
Good question... I have an unread Angela Thirkell that I bought during a book-launch at the Slightly Foxed bookshop, but I'm saving that for a real crisis.
A new international study ranks Canadian students among the top of the class in key subject areas, but there has been a noticeable decline over the years in math and science scores among the country's pupils.
All due kudos to Ben Goldacre for showing up Bad Science, but when, in a letter to the Times, he claims that this is the first ever generation in the UK where children will be worse off than their parents - O HAI, Bad History.
Realising that this is Not A New Thing, and looking back at other periods when upward social mobility, or even remaining at the same level as one's parents had achieved, stalled, might actually provide some useful guidance as to what we might expect, or at least some Awful Warnings of what not to do.
Plus, not all of The Older Generation, among which I must count myself, think that what we attained was simply through hard work and personal virtue: I for one am very conscious that certain generational phenomena (the Welfare State, student grants, emergence into a full employment sellers' market, women no longer needing male co-signees to mortgages, etc etc) played a very considerable part in where I am today.
I was also somewhat beswozzled, having actually read 'The Time Machine', to see someone positing H G Wells as a writer of optimistic 'socialist futurism', from his position in the 1890s/1910s as some period of national confidence. OMG no. A period of intense anxiety and fears. There's a good deal more darkness and complexity to HGW's visions of the future than this description invokes.
It didn't help that the one thing i said i must do was blocked because the links to the forms were broken and the form itself was in some cryptic Microsoft format that only Windows Outlook can open (i think). Thus, that task is incomplete this morning, hopefully NOT postponing my Ohio colleagues from getting started on a computer for my hire who starts on Monday.
I carried my camera in to work the past two days, and there have been remarkably few birds. Not just no over wintering species: the gulls were gone, all but three mallards were gone, and only a few coots. A colleague says there were many in the midafternoon.
I'll take the camera on Thursday and see what i can see then.
PS You too can pick a date and give me a question or prompt at DW or LJ. (More than one, if you like.)