musesfool: tasty cosmopolitans (we'll laugh and we'll toast to nothing)
[personal profile] musesfool
So I woke up on Tuesday morning and I thought, I could take Thursday off and have a FIVE DAY weekend. And so that is what I did, and now i am home gloriously doing nothing today, except maybe laundry later. Tomorrow, someone is coming to hang my mirrors, and Saturday I have the cleaning service, so I will have to be up early, but today I slept in until 9! It was amazing!

Last night, I met L for dinner and then we went back to where she is apartment sitting for DG and chatted for a couple of hours, and I didn't get home until about midnight, but it was great just to hang out and talk. Dinner was good too, and there were two for one drinks, so she had some kind of blood orange cocktail and I had one two that had passion fruit and peach in it, and it was delicious.

Yesterday was full of surprising good things. I had my review, which went exceptionally well and better than I expected, given what happened last year. But boss3 said that not only had I risen to the occasion of having more and more work piled onto my plate, but she noticed that I had taken her advice from last year seriously and also seemed more engaged and interested in the work than I had been previously. So that was great.

Because of how the day was scheduled, I wasn't going to be able to eat lunch until 3:30, unless I ate at 12 noon, which I normally don't like doing, but I ran out and bought a bagel and scarfed it down, but after my review, it turned out that I did not have to cover reception, and in fact the receptionist had made me up a plate of food from a retirement party that had happened at lunchtime, and left it on my desk! So I ate a little bit of that (it was about 2:30 by that time, so my usual lunch hour), and then one of the other assistants guided me to where they were keeping the leftover cake, so I also got a piece of cake out of it.

That seemed like a good note to go out on for the week, so I'm glad I am off today, since yesterday could probably not be topped, unless they decided to give me a raise. Which sadly they did not, as there is no increase attached to the performance review process.

Now I need to find something to eat because I've just been drinking coffee all morning and it's starting to make me shaky.


Today's poem:

How to Write a Story
by Cyn Kitchen


here, we join Ted
a man in a tree.
how he got there
you decide.
scuttling branch to branch,
lowered by chopper, launched
from trebuchet, a beginning.
here he sits, whistling, whittling.
above, birds flit among leaves
below, pasture green & rolling.
Ted is in the tree, you put him there
but make no mistake it was under
his own power.
throw rocks at Ted.
start small,
bean him with pebbles.
muster strength to heave
stones fist-big,
boulders round & smooth as a heart.
observe. take notes.
consider more rocks.
let exhilaration blow through you
as you throw, observe, repeat.
do not go easy.
watch him in the tree, tattered
bleeding, wide-eyed
as an empty house.
writers never pity. 
this mess is of his own making.
it is not Ted's tree.
he does not live here; 
he was only visiting.
suddenly, a tornado
sweeping over the prairie.
there is no cover. this is
between Ted & the finger
of God that will flick him from
his branch. or
that hunter in boredom
will blow him off his high horse
double-ott buck,
send him in a high arc over
crest of hill.
perhaps the same chopper
could pluck him away.
a ladder? too easy.
nevertheless, get him down.
Ted is in handcuffs. the story took off
on its own while you were looking
straight at it. not what you had planned
but there it is, undeniable.
you did all you could
still you ended up here,
struck like a match. keep taking notes,
follow at a safe distance.
up ahead, another tree.
how he gets there you don’t know.
fill your pockets with stones
caress them like old lovers.
the story has not ended.
the story does not end.
it keeps going whether you
are watching it or not. 

musesfool: kara, pretty (nothing but the rain)
[personal profile] musesfool
It is so cold in this office today. On the upside, it's keeping me awake?

What I'm reading Wednesday:

What I've just finished
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, which I thought was intriguing but the narrative structure was too distant for me to get emotionally involved with the characters. spoilers ) I thought everything about the gods was so interesting - do humans know this? does it affect the human story-telling tradition? the development of language? but the Hamlet rehash plotline was only okay because we were never in the other characters' feelings. And the ending is a bit abrupt and anticlimactic.

I also read these two articles which I recommend:

+ Lloyd Dobler is Cameron Crowe’s original manic pixie dream date #this movie is the best movie #formative influences

+ The Legend of Keanu Reeves #my lifelong keanu reeves situation continues

What I'm reading now
The last Amberlough book: Amnesty. I just started it this morning, so I don't have much to say except I think it was a questionable editorial choice to enclose a 'foreign' language in « » instead of regular quotation marks - I can't remember if the earlier books did this, but since I don't remember, I'm guessing they didn't. The words are still in English! This isn't a comic book where you might need the visual signal that a different language is being spoken. That's what narrative text is for. Idk. It jumped out at me this morning and not in a good way.

What I'm reading next


Today's poem:

What I Mean By Ruin Is...

When there's only condiments left in the fridge
and you join a free online dating service
so men will buy you dinner.

When you've shucked the night with the dull blade
of indecision and gulped down everything,
even the pearls.

When some old, left-handed love has left
your guitar strung backwards
and you can't find any songs
for rain in its frets.

When you wake up next to the body
of your past and it looks ready
to wrinkle and bald.

When the last burn of summer is peeling
from your breasts and there's nothing to husk
the pale, raw of new flesh.

When the woman who wears her hair
in the old way quits mumbling about Jesus
on the street corner and takes her salvation
pamphlets to a pauper's grave.

When you're too ugly to pray,
but pray
              and the only voice
on the drunk subway wails
                         good grief.

~Stevie Edwards


Now I have to go to a meeting. Sigh.


LJ Idol Prize Fight: "Homecoming"

Apr. 16th, 2019 01:46 pm
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
idol prize fight | week 20 | 1800 words
Nostos (a Greek literary theme in which an epic hero finally returns home after a long journey)


The Greyhound bus slowly approached the downtown depot that that was the last stop on Darryl Adams' long, tiring journey home. Darryl was sick of the whole thing—weird passengers, weird drivers, broken seats, broken air-conditioning, and the smell… God, that smell. Maybe he should have considered hitchhiking part of the way after all?

The trip sure hadn't been like that Simon & Garfunkel song he'd loved so much as a kid. More hellhound than greyhound, definitely. He'd seen casino buses at a couple of stops that had practically been gold-plated compared to what he'd been riding in. Casino buses! What was that all about?

If only he hadn't spent almost everything he had on plane tickets to get back into the country. Buses were all he could afford after that.

Darryl's parents wouldn't even be there to pick him up at the bus station. He'd been calling for weeks, but he hadn't been able to get a hold of them. They didn't believe in cell phones, and their answering machine didn't seem to be working. Typical.

There was probably a dead car sitting in their driveway right now…

He had expected more enthusiasm for his return, after being gone for six years. But it was possible they didn't even know he was coming.

When the bus stopped, Darryl grabbed his duffel bag and backpack, and hurried off toward the bathroom.

Ugh. It was better than the bus, but still disgusting. When he was finished, he washed his hands and face. Then he stripped off his shirt and stuffed it in the trash. He pulled a clean T-shirt out of his duffel bag, and put it on. Then he started walking.

The Diggity Dog Diner was two blocks from the bus station. Darryl had been dreaming about their Bacon Bonanza Burger for days, ever since his plane had landed at JFK.

A wino lurched out of a doorway as he left the bus station. "Spare some—"

"Joey?" Darryl said.

"Uh, yeah." The wino squinted at him. "Do I know ya?"

"Only since eighth grade! It's Darryl."

"Oh, yeah, Darryl. Huh." Joey scratched the back of his neck. "What're you doin' down here?"

"I came in on the bus. I just got back," Darryl said.

"Whoa. Were ya like, in jail or somethin'?"

Did he look that bad? "No," Darryl said. "I was volunteering overseas. In Colombia."

"Huh." Joey thought about that for a minute. "Why?"

Darryl blinked. "To see the world. Help make a difference. You know."

"Uh huh. So, ya got any—"

"Sure, sure." Darryl fished in his pocket and found some coins.

"Thanks, man." Joey shuffled off down the street.

Well, that was depressing…

Darryl walked over to the Diggity Dog, which looked a little more run-down than he remembered. He went inside and sat at a table next to the window.

A gum-chewing waitress came over and took out her order pad. "What do you want?" she asked.

Read more... )

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

took up God's house to meet him

Apr. 16th, 2019 10:45 am
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
The news about Notre Dame was so heartbreaking but it seems to not be quite as complete a destruction as first reported, which is a small balm to the hurt, and I have to believe that it will be rebuilt, somehow.

[personal profile] selenak posted this poem, which seems like the best response in poetry form I could imagine:

The Cathedral Builders
by John Ormond

They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,
with winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
inhabited the sky with hammers,
defied gravity,
deified stone,
took up God's house to meet him,
and came down to their suppers
and small beer,
every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
quarrelled and cuffed the children,
lied, spat, sang, were happy, or unhappy,
and every day took to the ladders again,
impeded the rights of way of another summer's swallows,
grew greyer, shakier,
became less inclined to fix a neighbour's roof of a fine evening,
saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
somehow escaped the plague,
got rheumatism,
decided it was time to give it up,
to leave the spire to others,
stood in the crowd, well back from the vestments at the consecration,
envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
cocked a squint eye aloft,
and said, 'I bloody did that.'


In less noteworthy news, my storage bench, which was supposed to arrive on Monday, April 22nd, when I am scheduled to be home, arrived yesterday, Monday, April 15th, when I was at work. Luckily, the delivery guy carried it up to my apartment door, so I only had to wrangle it into the bedroom, but it seems to me that we live in a time when delivery estimates are more fine-tuned than that, so I should not have been surprised by an email saying my package was delivered a week early.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to reschedule my Handy appointment to put it together to be earlier than it is (or, rather, I can't confirm an earlier appointment until 4 hours before the appointment is supposed to happen, which is not a situation I find appealing), so it will have to sit in the box until 4/28, when someone is scheduled to come and assemble it, but at least it's in my possession? And the mirrors are going to be hung on Friday (or, at least the bedroom mirror will be hung; and I'll finally see if the one for the hallway works out), so the final stages are at least commencing.


In fannish news, I recently discovered two DCU/White Collar crossovers where Neal Caffrey was previously Robin, and I was excited, because you know peak Matt Bomer is my mental Dick Grayson, so imagine my surprise (and dismay tbh) when it turned out that Neal was not, in fact, an alias for Dick, but instead in one case he was Tim and in the other he was Damian. In my surprise and disappointment, I did not continue reading either story, so I can't comment on their quality, just that they were not what I was hoping to read when I clicked.

musesfool: Ahsoka Tano (my power's turned on)
[personal profile] musesfool
That storm last night/early this morning woke me up and I had to run into the living room to close the window because so much water was coming in. Ugh.

Today's poem:

Geography IV
by Susan Rich

Of what is the earth's surface composed?
– Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III

The world is a little place – a feather, a pebble, a spoon;
it turns to the left and taps its foot, a soldier signaling

to the rest of its platoon. The world doesn't know
it's a little world, thinks it's Greta Garbo in her Paris debut.

Watch as the world decorates half-moons and cinnamon stars,
slips the Sound some islands to improve a stellar view.

Tonight the world wishes to sing what it means
to miss New Orleans; listens to drowned hymns

of the Tchoupotulas while waiting on help,
recompense, a cat with seventeen kittens. Now the globe

pulls round again, scattering meaning in gold
rings of ramekins; a wizard of chemical breathing.

When invited to a soiree by this parched world,
down the Pinot Grigio while your inner life implodes

knowing nothing is serene as it seems – the past
lit with menthol cigarettes, our futures just as unclean.


The Clone Wars season 7 trailer gave me A LOT of FEELINGS in re:

- ♥♥♥AHSOKA♥♥♥

- Snips and Skyguy reunited! Just break my heart all over again why don't you?


- Maul!

spoilers I guess? )

Between this and Falcon & Winter Soldier, the Disney streaming service is certainly making a tempting case for itself.

Lastly, Matt Lanter & Hayden Christensen, or as I tagged it on tumblr, #same hat. (I amuse myself anyway.)

musesfool: Daisy Ridley as Rey with lightsaber (you were not mine to save)
[personal profile] musesfool
Today's poem:

by Aracelis Girmay

What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?
Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
despite your birthdays & the death certificate,
& it one day shades the heads of something beautiful
or makes itself useful to the nest. Walk out
of your house, then, believing in this.
Nothing else matters.

All above us is the touching
of strangers & parrots,
some of them human,
some of them not human.

Listen to me. I am telling you
a true thing. This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching;
the touches of the disappearing, things.


I'm having a fairly lazy Sunday, after a fairly lazy Saturday. Last night, I made the dough for cream cheese preserves cookies, and this morning I made the cookies, and they are delicious! but the dough is almost impossible to handle. I don't know what the problem is (not enough flour probably?) but my sister said they had the same problem with the recipe and so use a different recipe now.

my grandmother's preserves cookie recipe )

I also made strawberry cream cheese ice cream, because I still have a bunch of strawberries, and it turned out excellent as it always does. I guess it was a weekend for baking with cream cheese?

Pics are here.


I'm still thinking about Episode IX and someone - [personal profile] gffa I think? - mentioned the callbacks and references to the OT, and how everyone (note: not me! I loved them! but I love variations on a theme) complained about them as laziness in TFA, but with this trailer, we see that, to quote another SF franchise (that was inspired by the OT), "all of this has happened before. And all of this will happen again." THEY ARE STILL FIGHTING THE SAME WAR. Which makes sense (I have this whole PT = WWI*, OT = WWII, ST = now-ish thing that I've never gotten around to writing up), especially with George Lucas's whole, "it doesn't repeat but it does rhyme" (QFM) thing.

*I mean, the PT is clearly influenced by Shrub-era politics, but I can make the case for a WWI parallel! trust me!

I just really hope that "the rise of Skywalker" isn't some bullshit redemption arc for Kyle. I hope instead it refers to Rey (or Finn, but as I've said before, so much of her styling and history etc. goes there and it's poor storytelling to waste that just to thwart expectations) either being a Skywalker or taking the name. Idk. I'm just glad to see the new trio + Rose having adventures together, I guess.

My deep dive back into DCU fandom has reminded me that in the end, for fannish purposes, canon is the clay we build stories with, and we can ignore a lot of the stuff we don't like. (And obviously what you do or don't take and what you leave is dependent on what you personally like and may not match up with what other fans like or leave behind.) So that is what I do these days; it makes being disappointed or enraged by the actual canon slightly easier. (I mean, obviously I am still both of those things sometimes, but less so than I used to be. *hands*)

musesfool: Daisy Ridley as Rey with lightsaber (you were not mine to save)
[personal profile] musesfool
poetry month has infiltrated my dreams, because this morning I woke up with lines of (non-existent) poetry in my head and thought, I have to post that one today! Except there is no such poem. The lines were:

My vocabulary does not contain the following:
disavow, good morning, potato
Please substitute:
promise, good night, my heart.

I don't know what my brain was doing. *hands* Have today's poem:

The River

This is my formula for the fall of things:
we come to a river we always knew we'd have to cross.
It ferries the twilight down through fieldworks

of corn and half-blown sunflowers.
The only sounds, one lost cicada calling to itself
and the piping of a bird that will never have a name.

Now tell me there is a pause
where we know there should be an end;
then tell me you too imagined it this way

with our shadows never quite touching the river
and the river never quite reaching the sea.

~John Glenday

With that said, let's talk fandom stuff:

First, in brief: Falcon & Winter Soldier is a go! Please be the odd couple superhero comedy I've been yearning for! And when I say "odd couple" I mean it - Sam as Felix and Bucky as Oscar! Or v.v., I'm not picky. I can already hear the old Odd Couple theme music in my head! (I guess this means neither Bucky nor Sam becomes Captain America after Endgame? Or will timeline shenanigans prevent that and this will be a whole new timeline?) I still have no plans to splash out for the Disney service, but [personal profile] angelgazing mentioned it might be bundled with Hulu, which I already get, and between this and the new Clone Wars season, I might be tempted...

And speaking of TCW, the trailer for Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker dropped yesterday and while I'm trying not to get my hopes up after TLJ made me ANGRY WITH RAGE (no, I don't want to rehash it now), there are some things that are EXCITING!!! in it:

spoilers want you to DO IT )

Anyway, that was a lot and it gave me a lot of feels and I would really like for them not to fuck this up, because it should have been Leia's movie, and we've been robbed of that, and they really need to honor her properly here.


Dear wind...

Apr. 12th, 2019 04:26 pm
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
Can you STOP?

WTF is wrong with you? After all this rain, we finally have a stretch of sunny days. So you have to start throwing one of your tantrums? :(

Argh. I DID go biking yesterday, but it was after the workday, when the winds had settled down a little.

It's about that time today, and they're still shown as being 20 mph at multiple locations near my house. Why? WHYYYYY? /o\

musesfool: art deco brandy ad (been drinking since half-past three)
[personal profile] musesfool
Free breakfast at work today! And hot (well, relatively speaking) breakfast to boot! Pancakes and bacon! There were also eggs and potatoes but they all had peppers in them and peppers and I are unmixy things thanks to acid reflux.


So after waffling a bit - mostly over delivery dates and vacation days - I ended up ordering the storage bench I mentioned last week, except I ordered it from Wayfair instead of Amazon because 1. the bench itself was cheaper, and 2. the charge for assembling it was cheaper. So it's supposed to arrive on Monday, 4/22, which is good because I will be home. And they should deliver it right to my door so I don't have to schlep it up any stairs or in the elevator, and then someone will come the next weekend to put it together. And I've scheduled a guy to hang the mirrors next Friday - or at least the bedroom one, which is important because right now it's just sitting on the floor where the bench will go. But once those two things are done, my bedroom will finally be complete!

I will share pictures when the time comes.


I have been thinking about iced tea sangria all week - I might try to make some this weekend as a test run for Easter. I already have an iced tea called hibiscus sangria tea (it is delicious and I recommend it as a refreshing iced beverage at any time #i like cool beverages) so adding some wine and some fruit to it could be good. I have another iced tea I haven't tried yet (Chardonnay iced tea, made with white grape skins and hints of pineapple and peach, also from Republic of Tea), that sounds like it would also lend itself to adding wine to it, especially a sweet, fizzy wine like Moscato. I have to clean out the refrigerator first though. *wry*


Today's poem:

In the Microscope

Here too are dreaming landscapes,
lunar, derelict.
Here too are the masses,
tillers of the soil.
And cells, fighters
who lay down their lives
for a song.

Here too are cemeteries,
fame and snow.
And I hear murmuring,
the revolt of immense estates.

—Miroslav Holub
translated by Ian Milner


Totes McVotes

Apr. 11th, 2019 10:55 am
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
It's the last day to vote in this week's LJ Idol poll! The numbers are really close, and it looks like we clearly need more readers to decide the outcome rather than friends/family from Facebook and the like. The poll is here. Please read and vote for your favorites!

So, there was the windy bike ride on Tuesday, then a rest-day yesterday (while the bike was in the shop). Our forecast is also listing winds with gusts up to 24 mph today, though only (!) 17 mph tomorrow. Augh! We're transitioning into Spring late here, after all those recurring rainstorms, but these windy days are typical. What a pain-- they typically continue randomly through the end of May, about when the heat starts spiking up. Really, the best riding season here is Fall. :(

Still planning to go out today, though. :O

In Spring blooming news, it looks like both of the houses on my morning commute got rid of their wisteria, which is too bad. There's still a big patch of it coming over a retaining wall along the freeway, and more at another house I only see on the way home. Western Redbud is everywhere, including along the parkway (and it's purple, despite the name). Smelled and saw some municipal Scotch Broom on Tuesday's ride, which reminds me that I'm SO glad I don't have allergies. I have chronic rhinusitis, which has a similar effect on my nose (year-round, to boot!), but no allergies. My mother is desperately allergic to Scotch Broom...

I'm starting to seriously worry about getting our taxes done. I filed several amended returns last year (fixes for TurboTax's bugs regarding Coverdell Education savings accounts). We owed more federal tax for those prior years, but got additional state refunds. Now I'm having to work through Publication 525 worksheets for 3 fiscal years, and attempting to figure out what "recoveries and reimbursements from Schedule A" means. ALL of Schedule A? The state/property/personal tax part of Schedule A? The H&R Block tax software is showing some huge amount of state tax refunds I owe money on now, and the numbers aren't right, so I'm clearly doing something wrong. But their software doesn't help me with that. And there seem to be new questions about life- and disability-insurance benefits, where you can purchase more as part of an employee group plan. Now you're supposed to pro-rate those additional benefits as 'income'? I guess? Thanks, Trump! :(

I suspect TurboTax would have sucked in my info from prior returns to compute those Publication 525 worksheets, or at least talked me through it. Gah. I may wind up buying it anyway, and starting over. :(

It's the last weekend to sort this stuff out... Even if I file for an extension, I would have to do a state tax return, which depends on the federal returns, so that's no good. :O

musesfool: jason todd is not all right (always all right)
[personal profile] musesfool
On Sunday afternoon, I was not feeling my earlier plans to make a whole lot of food for this week, but around 4:30 pm, I decided to just get off the couch and do it, so I ended up making a big tray of ziti, and also a pot of French onion pasta, since I didn't really have room in the fridge or the freezer to keep the onions, and I didn't want them to go to waste. By 6:30 pm, everything was packed into little containers for lunch and dinner all week and lunch has been great. The problem is that baked ziti is very filling, so I haven't actually wanted to eat dinner when I get home. Last night, I waited until about 7:30 pm, when I was hungry again, to eat another bowl of pasta, but I can see that while well-intentioned, this was not the best meal plan I ever made, and I won't be repeating it.

I'm still figuring out what I want to do for Easter dinner, since I have currently not accepted any of the invitations I've received and will probably stay home regardless. Should I do a little roast beast? A steak? Or should I be more traditional and see if I can get a small loin of pork? (I don't like lamb.) I love a spiral ham, but it is too big and too expensive for one person. I did invite L over in case she's not going out of town to her family, but I doubt she'll come.

And then there's dessert... Maybe blueberry cobbler? Or one of the many lemon cakes I have bookmarked? Or maybe just a regular little yellow cake with frosting? I've been meaning to make preserves cookies and they are very springlike so that's a possibility. I could try to make grain pie again - I was the only one who liked it last time, but now I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone else...

In more fannish news, a couple of people have mentioned to me AUs where Jason comes back with amnesia and becomes a doctor, either in the ER or in Leslie Thompkins' clinic (which, wouldn't she have recognized him?), but while I read and enjoyed one where he became a nurse, I have yet to turn up an AU where he's a doctor. And believe me, I've looked. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have a link?

And lastly, today's poem:

Our Origins Are In The Sea
by Eavan Boland

I live near the coast. On these summer nights
Arcturus is already there, steadfast
in the southeast. I stand at the edge of our grass.

I do not connect them: once they were connected—
the fixity of stars and unruly salt water—
by sailors with an avarice for landfall.

And this is land. The way the whitebeams will
begin their fall to an alluvial earth and
a bicycle wheel is spinning on it, proves that.

From where I stand the sea is just a rumor.
The stars are put out by our street lamp. Light
and seawater are well separated. And how little

survives of the sea captain in his granddaughter
is everywhere apparent. Such things get lost:
He drowned in the Bay of Biscay. I never saw him.

I turn to go in. The hills are indistinct.
The coast is near and darkening. The stars are clearer.
The grass and the house are lapped in shadow.

And the briar rose is rigged in the twilight,
the way I imagine sails used to be—
lacy and stiff together, a frigate of ivory.



Apr. 10th, 2019 10:09 am
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
Windy bike ride yesterday. :O

Normally, I would probably have stuck to riding in the garage, but the bike had to go in for a tune-up today, and I wasn't able to ride on Monday. Too busy getting my LJ Idol story finished and posted by the 4 pm deadline! Any faint hopes of biking after that vanished with the "Rain starting in 77 minutes" Accuweather note for my neighborhood, which was still some 45 minutes plus prep-time away. :(

Yesterday's wind forecast was bad, but not immediate. It was supposed to increase over the course of the day. I went out to check around 12:30 to see if it seemed workable, and decided to chance it. Of course, between sun-blocking, changing, and more work, I didn't get out for another hour, but still... It wasn't so much the 13-17mph winds, which are daunting enough, but not a deal-breaker. It's the "gusts up to 22 mph" part. When those come from the side, bad things can happen—especially if you're riding out on the road, which is the only option near my office.

My usual route almost always winds up with crosswinds (and gusts) during the out-and-back part where I get a lot of mileage, so I'd planned to work around that. But not before after giving it a little try. ;) This is a game I play with myself, where I imagine it might not be that bad (since that direction has buildings/trees as a windbreak up until that point). [Spoiler alert: it is almost always that bad.] I got maybe a third of a mile before deciding the gusts were too much, and turned around. Still less bad than the epic time I was afraid to slow down with those gusts, lest I get smacked over by one of them. :O

Instead, I went out a road I haven't been on for over a year. Lots of new construction there, which is the story of this region. It's in a county that has no inhibitions about sprawl, so all the farmland is gradually being developed over time. The strawberry farm along there is gone now. Those disappearing rural areas are where I ride to avoid stoplights and stop signs, of course. :(

When I came back on that road, it was the first stint of riding into the headwind. Good grief—my heart! My lungs! Wow. There was 1.5 miles of that, mostly moderately uphill. Then a loop, and then snaking my way back to the office in increments of a few miles of headwind broken up by sideways trips East to spread out the effort.

THAT was a workout. Hours later, I was still feeling it. :O

Today's weather is similar, so I hope it's over by tomorrow, when I'll have my bike back again...

Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Apr. 10th, 2019 10:50 am
musesfool: tim/kon (if it helps you breathe)
[personal profile] musesfool
How is it only Wednesday? This week has already felt nine weeks long. All day yesterday, I was just like, "It's only Tuesday?" in tones of great disgust and despair.

On the plus side, books:

What I've just finished
The Beastie Boys Book by Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, which I definitely recommend if you like the Beastie Boys, are nostalgic for NYC in bygone days, enjoy memoirs about bands or music, or books about friendship, because this is all that and more. The first essay sets the tone and is great - whipsmart and wry and nostalgic and a little wistful, and that tone permeates the book. If nothing else, it's a great paean to their friendship with Adam Yauch (MCA), who died in 2012 and you can feel how much they miss him throughout the book.

I also did a reread of Close to Home by [personal profile] iesika, which I don't think has made the jump to AO3, but can be downloaded here as an epub. This is the one where Kon asks Tim to help him investigate a hate crime at Smallville High, and is one of my favorite Tim/Kon stories. Also the one with the highly memorable line about Switzerland and Sweden: "one has skiing and the other has meatballs," which never fails to make me laugh.

Of course, rereading Tim/Kon fic always makes me think of this, and the story I always meant to write inspired by it. Sigh. I want to write it! I want to write all my wsip! But I just feel no urgency compared to how much I want to read other things right now. Bah. Writing is hard.

What I'm reading now
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie. I just started it on the train this morning, so I don't have much to say yet.

What I'm reading next
The final Amberlough book comes out next week, so probably that!


Today's poem seems apt, even if I don't actually believe in "the muse" and find it a harmful way to think about writing:

Open Letter to the Muse

Dear alphabet. Dear spark.

My head is dull like a shell with the ocean in it. When you left me in the restaurant, I scoured the dictionary for days. Kissed men until my teeth hurt. Craved margaritas and the salt on the back of your neck. O my barb wire. My broken key. When you went south wearing my blackest dress, I looked in every hotel room from here to Knoxville. Cried in the shower. Found you puking in the backseat and mumbling about metaphor. On good days, you're a mad scientist. On bad, a vain girl with a scalpel. I put out a glass of wine to trap you. Line the drawers with sawdust. You hide my clothes and threaten to riot. Play gin rummy with the neighbors, throw record players out windows. On good days, I can get you to lie on the floor while I chant Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

–Kristy Bowen


the way a sweet tooth loves salt

Apr. 9th, 2019 01:38 pm
musesfool: Korra/Asami (how to make two lovers of friends)
[personal profile] musesfool
Today's poem

Neck of the Woods
by Amy Woolard

Filthy as 12-bar, filthy as a stuttering key in the hazy
Door lock at 4 a.m. Filthy as I don't know what it means to love

Out in the country there's no fence to speak of—there's just
The blonde path, wide enough for a truck, a truck wide enough

For two bodies to ride restlessly beside one another without
Ever touching. There's no fence to speak of, just various dusks &

I'm in love with the dust that kicks up—I'm in love with what
A dirt road does to a truck. There's no edge of the woods—there's just

The blonde path stretching out of the dark green like a
Leg bone, a radio dial catching a hit of station before

Moving on past into the static. Two girls ride ruthlessly
Beside one another—one filthy as a story, the other filthy

As a storyteller. One girl might leave a trail of crumbs
Behind her. One might leave a line of poured-out gasoline.

Old evening air the way warm soda tastes like a hangover,
A long drive in July. I got plenty of time. You got light in your eyes.

It's all the middle of nowhere. When the music stops, everybody
Scatters, even the light—an embarrassment of a sunset, really, &

Why even talk about the stars as if we still care about them
In the off-hours, when we're not confessing to the dead?

These girls wore each other, is what I mean. Passed out in
Each other's shoes, passed the ends of sentences from one to

The other like taking belts of whiskey out the bottle. One
Night one girl waves goodbye to the other & the empty fifth

She leaves in my hand is where the story turns dark, is where
I stick myself against the story flush as a wheat-paste poster,

Contact-printing my body back onto itself, a decade delayed. Love,
This is where the joke begins: one girl's gotten gone. Her brother

Walks into a bar to deliver the punch line, & the other girl doubles
Over—An inside job. See, you got to be able to fall, for there to be

An edge—see the bar in waves, the doubled stars in waves, all just
Frosting on a cold cake. Both girls breathless in their own bodies now.

Now, it's a ruthless thing, to know what's about to happen to
Someone who does not know what's about to happen. One girl might

See years go by in waves of roadside signs, a trail of vein rise up
On the back of her hand before it begins to wind down the twin

Bones of her forearm. Two girls trailed each other, delivered one
Another from one year to the next, twinned until they wound down

To just one night. One girl might leave a line of salt in the dirt,
One a flush of dust, sifted into a river. What is there left to leave

When there's no body to speak of? This is where the storyteller
Begins: I am trying to know what it means to love anyone

Else the way I meant to love her, the way a sweet tooth
Loves salt. Sugar, I used to know this place like the back

Of my papery hand. Now there's just the blonde past,
A river oversaturated with roses & ash, a back way

Home, a way back to what there ever is to leave behind.
I am trying. The smell of fresh pine, the small task of rain

On a windshield, a drift like the bow of a single fiddle
Drawing itself across my collarbone, my lungs sinking & rising

Slow like sloppy keys in a deep octave, my heart resting dark
Like a gun in a glove box whenever I might need to lean for it.

I've paid some hush money to the unpaved path, the paved-
Over past, plucked up the door lock & parked two loose cigarettes

In the useless tape deck, then that small piece of quiet—after the click
Of the ignition but before the radio cuts on, the quarter glass

Coaxing in the scalene country air, yellowing its passengerless slant
Over half the truck's bench seat, the angles catching nobody, missing it all

—What any girl with half a mind wanders out this way for, to take
As much of it in over & over & sure enough breathe it all the way out.


Kitty Update

Apr. 8th, 2019 10:03 pm
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
I meant to post some news about this over the weekend, but was too busy trying to get my Idol entry written. Which is now here, with a link to the poll and other entries at the bottom!


So, kitties... we did not remotely anticipate what happened there.

The person fostering them brought them to our house last week, and introduced them. Two sisters, a little over a year old, both sweet, beautiful and super-soft. She brought them out of their carriers, since they showed no signs of leaving on their own. Then they both made a beeline for the laundry room, and got behind the washer.

We moved the washer and pulled them back out, and then the woman held each of them and petted them, and gave them to us one at a time. The cats were clearly scared, but not aggressive. We talked, stroked the cats, and let them wander (right back into their carriers, as it turned out). Then the woman left. All of this took more than an hour.

I showed the cats their litter box and food and water, and gave them gentle, reassuring pets. Then we left them alone in the kitchen for a bit. After a while, I heard the sounds of one of the cat toys moving, and when I went into the kitchen about ten minutes later, they had disappeared.

We'd blocked off any access to behind the washer and dryer, and could see they weren't back there. After much, much searching, we found them in the narrow space between the fridge and the wall, where one of the cats was using her sister as a pillow.

They stayed there the rest of the day, until the kitchen was dark and empty, and I heard them break something around 10:30pm. I relocated them to the laundry room, which made them both nervous.

The next morning, they were hiding next to the fridge again. We couldn't coax them out with treats or toys or pets. They moved again around late evening, so I blocked off access to that space. But the next day, the shyer cat was behind the dryer again. She stayed there almost the entire weekend, only coming out when the dryer was actually on or when no one else was around.

The other cat got to the point where she would come out to see me, and spent time cuddling and playing when HalfshellHusband wasn't around (he's heavy-footed, and talks louder than I do, which both cats found scary). That kitty was kind of a tiny terror-- really energetic and full of mischief, but really, really cute. But still kind of skittish.

Her sister never got over being petrified. :(

If it had just had the one cat, we would have given it at least another week to see if she could get over being afraid of HSH. But her sister was a lost cause. After five days, she was still doing everything she could to avoid us.

This is what we didn't expect, and what the foster owner wouldn't have guessed. Both cats had bonded with her, and were sweet but clearly shy. But they'd never been in a situation before where she would have been able to tell that they were pathologically shy. This was a first for me, too. Cats like me, and even the shy ones warm up to me. But one of them was clearly unadoptable, and we couldn't keep one without the other. If the friendlier cat had come on her own, yes. But we couldn't have the foster owner come back and take only one of them home. That would've been too awful for both cats. So, we had to give both kitties back. :(

There may also be a lesson in here (that we've encountered before) about not adopting siblings, because they bond with each other and not with you. But having never adopted from a foster home before, we now wonder if that might also be a mistake. A cat you bring home from the pound (or a tree near your office) is desperate to find a loving family. They know they're being rescued. But a cat that is already in a loving home is more likely to feel traumatized or sad about being re-homed, rather than grateful.

So, no kitties after all, not just yet. But we'll keep looking, and hoping that someway we'll find the right match for us.

LJ Idol Prize Fight: "Inner Truth"

Apr. 8th, 2019 03:43 pm
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
Inner Truth
idol prize fight | week 19 | 1170 words


No one really understood the wolf. We wouldn't have blamed him for not coming to the meetings, but he did, every week. He was the only wolf there.

He was the only one who ever tried.

Me, I was just a frog. I had problems too, of course. All those princesses who balked at the thought of a simple kiss? I wasn't some toad who spent his days in the dirt, I was a clean, shiny frog. I had standards! What was so hard about a kiss? If I had to repeat the same stupid storyline over and over again, was it too much to expect a little cooperation? Instead, I'd been slapped with a sexual harassment suit. Now I was stuck in Anger Management therapy to work on my "issues" with women.

Hey, at least I never ate anybody.

Though if I had, would anger management really be the solution? I mean, if eating people was in your nature, well… that was disgusting, definitely, and no one liked to talk about it. But was that an anger problem, or just a fact of life?

It was tough on predators, for sure. Like that song—People who eat people are the loneliest people in the world, or something like that. Maybe the song was true?

But wolves were not people.

The real problem there involved witches, though only a few of them ever ate children. They were always the ones who refused to be reformed, of course. They were old-school witches, they didn't care what anyone else wanted. The witches who actually came to the sessions were there to work on their resentment of other people and their apparent need to curse the entire world.

Well, some of them, anyway. A lot of them were just everyday spell-casting hags, who were usually pretty nice. They only came to the meetings because their friends did, and because they liked the donuts.

Read more... )

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

unknown streets and somebody's verse

Apr. 8th, 2019 12:00 pm
musesfool: nightwing/red hood (everybody knows the dice are loaded)
[personal profile] musesfool
Reading The Beastie Boys Book (which I definitely recommend) reminded me that I was once going to write a Dick/Jason story titled "Don't play no game that I can't win." I might still need to do that.

Which brings me to the latest fannish thing I find quite baffling and not a little off-putting. The "No nasty shippers please!" notes at the end of genfic. Do they not realize that just makes me WANT to ship it, and want to TELL them I ship it (even when I do not, actually, ship it at all)? It's like those "No ship tagging" threats on tumblr. Like, you made a thing, and that's great, but then you put it on the internet in public. People are gonna feel how people feel about it. You can't control that!

Let's be real, I certainly have NOTPs for which I would like to scream at people that their ship is bad and they should feel bad (funnily enough, they are not generally the types of ships that would have these sorts of notes appended to them; off the top of my head, I can only think of three absolute NOTPs that I have, and none of them fall under anything an anti would get their knickers in a twist about; mostly I just don't care about ships I don't like), but if I write gen abut those characters and people want to interpret it as shippy, well. Either their shipping goggles are tight or I added unintentional subtext. It happens. *hands*

I know that even when I read stuff tagged with & instead of /, if it's my OTP, I'm shipping it in the story, regardless. Maybe other people are different. Being rude in your ANs just means I'm unlikely to comment or rec, even if I liked the story and even if I don't actually ship it, because I know I ship other things that would put me in the "nasty shipper" category.


Today's poem:

You Know, I Think More and More Often

You know, I think more and more often
that I should go back.
Maybe I'll meet you. And happiness?
Happiness is being sad together.

So I look through the moonlit window
and listen.
Nothing. A breeze stirs somewhere.
Alone among the leaves - the moon.

Like a golden wheel it rolls
above the windblown leaves.
Such moons, only paler,
shone over the Wisla.

Even the Big Dipper on its course
stops in a tree at midnight,
just like at home. But why here?
Truly, I don't know.

What's here? Longing and sleepless nights,
unknown streets and somebody's verse.
I live here as a nobody:
a Displaced Person.

I think of you. I know I must leave.
Perhaps we can return to our past,
but I know neither what youth will be like
nor where you are.

But I'm yours or no one's
forever. Listen,
listen, read this poem
if somewhere you are alive.

by Tadeusz Borowski

musesfool: Dick Grayson in a tux (sharp-dressed man)
[personal profile] musesfool
A. This was all over tumblr but i haven't seen it on DW yet, so in case you didn't hear, John Cho was cast as Spike and Mustafa Shakir as Jet in the live action Cowboy Bebop. That could be amazing. I hope they do right by the music. #see you space cowboy

2. More tv news, from various people: Pitch may get a season 2 after all. I didn't watch the season 1 finale once it got canceled, so if it comes back, I will have to do that.

iii. I did this on tumblr so I'll do it here as well, as it is always a fun game and has occasionally resulted in an actual story: send me a made-up fic title and i'll tell you what i would write to go with it

d. Also from tumblr, I took this Which Robin Are You? quiz (yes, yes, it's 2019 and we are still fascinated by online personality quizzes) and answering honestly, I fully expected to be Damian and instead I was...Dick. Which seems off to me, given my knowledge of my personality, but. I did answer honestly. *hands* I'll take it. *g*

5. Today's poem:

by Traci Brimhall

My father was a fish,
my mother, a prostitute
who flung herself into the ocean
to rid herself of the smell
of men and baptize her lungs
with the water's sweet salt,
but my father took her
in his fins, and saw her black hair
which swayed like seaweed
and loved her.

He left her on the seashore
where she awoke the next morning,
her toes tickled by the rising tide,
her body covered in scales
he had shed. She turned left
to right, rolling so each glinting grey
fleck of him caught the rising sun
and shimmered. She used the tip
of her finger to collect the shining
pieces of my father and walked
to town naked, cupping all
that remained of her lover,
which looked like silver
and smelled of the sea.

musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
Today's poem:

The Mysterious Human Heart in New York
~Dorianne Laux

Streetwise but foolish, the heart
knows what's good for it but goes
for the dark bar, the beer before noon,
the doughy pretzel hot and salty, tied up
in a Gordian knot. It takes a walk
through Tompkins Square where
the homeless sleep it off on stone benches,
one shrouded body to each gritty sarcophagus.
The streets fill with taxis and trucks,
pinstripes and briefcases, and the subways
spark and sway underground. The sun
is snagged on the Empire State, performing
its one-note song, the citizens below
dragging their shadows down the sidewalk
like sidekicks, spitting into the gutter
as if on cue, as if in a musical,
as if there's no association between the trash
flapping against the chain link and the girl
with her skirt up in the alley. When the traffic
jams on 110th--a local pain, a family affair--
the Starbucks junkie leans against the glass
and laughs into his hand, a cabbie
sits on his hood and smokes, cops
on skates weave through the exhaust,
billy club blunts bumping against their
dark blue thighs. Everyone's on a cell phone,
the air a-buzz with yammer and electricity
as the heart of the city pounds like a man
caught in the crosswalk holding his shoulder,
going down on one knee, then blundering
into Central Park to lean over the addled bridge,
the sooty swans floating under him, grown fat
on cheap white bread. Oh heart, with your
empty pockets and your hat on backwards,
stop looking at yourself in the placid waters.
Someone is sneaking up behind you
in an overcoat lined with watches,
and someone else is holding a cardboard sign
that says: The End is Here.


In other news, I stayed up way too late last night reading fic, but I also remembered the thing I was forgetting (a new drain cover for the bathroom sink) so that's all right.


your airship dreams of love

Apr. 5th, 2019 01:23 pm
musesfool: Tahani Al-Jamil looking fabulous (you can't front on that)
[personal profile] musesfool
Have a random grab bag of stuff on this cold and rainy Friday:

- I keep falling further and further behind on Brooklyn 99. Without the lead in of The Good Place, I keep forgetting it's on. I think the eps are available on Hulu, because I also keep forgetting to set my DVR to record it.

- As a follow-up to my posts about sheets and hot flashes (post 1 | post 2), I've finally tried the linen sheets and I do not like them, Sam I am. I do not like them on my bed. I do not like them under my head. I would not, could not while I slept, I much prefer percale instead. Ugh. That probably doesn't scan properly, but you get the idea.

I keep sleepily scrounging around in the bed, looking for the sheet, which to my barely awake brain should be smooth and crisp and cool and not feel like I'm sleeping on my best linen Sunday dress. *hands* The percale is the clear winner here. But not to worry, L has agreed to take them off my hands and even give me a nominal reimbursement I did not request.

- Speaking of my bedroom, now that my tax refund has been deposited and my credit cards have been paid off, I think I am FINALLY going to schedule some guys to come and hang my mirrors - the one in the bedroom is the most important, but also the one in the entry way (if it fits - I mean, measurement-wise, it fits, but it might be too overwhelming for the space? I can't even get it out of the box, so I have no idea). I am off on Good Friday, so I think that is when I'm going to schedule that.

- Once the mirrors are hung, or, again, once the bedroom mirror is hung, I can then buy a storage bench to put underneath it, between the windows, in which I can store my extra comforter and some sheet sets, and also to have a place to sit that isn't the bed. This (huh, the price went up $2 from yesterday! wtf?!) is the one I'm leaning towards, but I don't want to order it until the stuff is hung, and also I will need to take another day off to handle the delivery and I don't know if they will bring it upstairs. I mean, they ought to bring it upstairs, right? But I want to be there to make sure, because I can't carry it myself. And then I will schedule someone to come and put it together. And that would be the last major thing to do in decorating the apartment for now. Woo!

- Going back to the idea of my tax refund and clearing my credit card debt, I then proceeded to celebrate by buying two lipsticks. What can I say? I am definitely trying to spend less now, but sometimes you need a new lipstick.

At least I didn't go nuts and splurge on a set of vintage turquoise Pyrex bowls, but the prices being charged for the full set were beyond my means and also I don't have anywhere to display them. I am glad I have my pink ones and the yellow ones from my mother, though.

- Speaking of shopping, I am having the dreadful feeling I am supposed to be buying a replacement of something I need but I cannot for the life of me remember what it is. Is it something I need to add to the grocery list? Should I be ordering something from Amazon? Is it something I'm going to regret not having immediately, or is there time to figure out what it is and get it before it becomes urgent? We just don't know.

- Of course, that could just be because I've had three large cups of coffee today when I normally only have 1 (or 2 on weekends), because it's free and it's here and I've been at my desk since 8 am and the audit kickoff meeting was the easiest and least stressful part of my day so far.

- I did want to say congrats to the OTW and the AO3 on the Hugo nom. Go transformative works fandom!

- Oh I remember the thing I keep forgetting to mention here (not the thing I'm forgetting referenced above - I still can't remember that, but a different thing; look, I am doing the best I can okay; I'm working on not enough sleep and more than enough caffeine here): when I bought my Avengers: Endgame ticket, I opted for the 11:30 am show on Saturday morning and the ticket cost - with taxes and fees included - NINE DOLLARS AND SIXTY NINE CENTS. I haven't bought so cheap a movie ticket - 2D, no IMAX, but with reserved seating - in YEARS. Yay for matinee pricing! I plan to bring my tissues and my bottle of water and cry my eyes out if/when Steve dies. I have no other expectations for this movie and I am not spoiled and plan to stay that way. *hands* It's the end of an era, you know?

- Lastly, today's poem:

How It Adds Up

What they don't tell you
is how it all ends. sure it was
volcanoes exploding
in the opposite hemisphere. moon
was igneous and adrift
while they cheered
your airship dreams of love
and you felt soft
and scared like a child
lowered into a well or some balloon
returning to a vast ocean.
you are in the kitchen
peeling garlic when it sneaks up
while the pots
and you hate it.
you hate it. you hate how it comes
from all directions
like breathless rhinos
chasing clouds you are already old
pushing this perpetual engine
of grief waiting at the window
for that letter to arrive three years
late so you
could write back 'come home
my love, see how your departure
has unbalanced this air.'
but it is now summer and no one writes
to you anyway
so you
just keep on waiting.

--Hemant Mohapatra



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