gina_r_snape: (Noel emotional breakdown (NME shoot))
I posted this Saturday on LJ. But remembering there are folks over here not there, I'm posting it again.

---

Greetings flist. I'm feeling melancholy and nostalgic this morning. The weather is freezing out and I woke up with low blood sugar. At breakfast I drank too much very strong tea and now I'm trying to recover before starting my day. I plan to make a challah bread, and after that I'm not sure. Plans for a "board game" evening with friends were thwarted, and T-Rex has a lot of tasks to take care of during the day today.

While waiting for my blood sugar to normalize and the caffeine to settle down, I watched a show called How The Edwardians Spoke. It was very interesting; and watching people listening to recordings of their deceased relatives got me thinking about my own. All three of my grandparents (I never met my paternal grandfather) died over 10 years ago. My brothers have silent home movies of my maternal grandparents from the 1960s and 70s, but when I've asked them for a copy I always get told they are stored somewhere in the attic and they are too busy/lazy/disinterested to dig them out for me. So I got a bit emotional on the couch, thinking about them. One woman in the documentary said she couldn't remember what her brother sounded like, which of course got me thinking about what my grandparents sounded like. I longed to hear their voices. How could I not start crying, right?

Have I mentioned that I've met T-Rex's mother? I've been to her place twice now. She's a lovely, funny, interesting woman in her 80s with witty and painful stories of her life in the Ukraine and the States. Her flat reminds me of my paternal grandmother, clean but cluttered, overstuffed and decorated with cultural brick-a-brac (in her case Ukrainian instead of Spanish). When she tells me stories, I find myself longing to hear my grandparents' stories. Of course I regret never having the foresight to interview them before their passing. My maternal grandfather, in particular, would tell me bits of things about the neighborhood where I live; I live where he grew up and frequently walk past where he was born. He and I weren't as close as I was to my very affectionate grandmother. He was a quiet man, not terribly demonstrative. But "still waters run deep" as they say, and I know he loved me.

I suppose it's better to cry over the loss of loved ones than to cry over never having them, though. Right?

It's very cold in NYC. And work has been tirelessly pressing. The clients complained about the draughts (our building is in desperate need of repair but funds remain unforthcoming). So after gaining permission from the city, we were able to put tape (and in some cases plastic) on the windows to stop the draughts.

Of course, the temperature then went up to the point where the clients wanted to undo the tape and open their windows. But that was short-lived and we are plunged into freezing temps once again. We have a particularly needy, whiny bunch at the moment. And I am worried about getting audited while on holiday at Gallifrey. So this week I'll be doing my best to prepare my staff in case that happens.

On the physical front, I've been waking up with low blood sugars for a few days. I'm not sure how much of it is hormonal, but if it continues after a few more days I will know it's because I've now lost 7 lbs. T-Rex bought me a "Fitbit One" tracker and I've been using it to track my steps, miles, calories burned, sleep, and logging my food and weight. It's working. And although the numbers suggests I should be losing about 1 to 1.5 lbs per week, I am losing between .5 and .75 a week and that's good enough for me. When you have diabetes, it sometimes gets in the way of best laid plans. Blood sugar drops mean more calories. But it occurred to me not long ago that I really shouldn't complain about having a disease where one of the "cures" to a critical problem is eating sweets. I also think my metabolism is slow, and so I probably don't burn as many calories as the device assumes based on height, age, etc.

The best part about having the Fitbit is that the goal setting works. As a behavioral modification tool, it does actually get me moving more than I might have otherwise. I am motivated to meet my daily step goal. And as T-Rex walks A LOT, this is something we can do together. Plus, it's something I can keep up unlike other exercise plans such as workout videos or a gym membership (as history has shown unsustainable for me).

Anyway, I'm grateful today is Saturday. I can take things at a slower pace and do something that makes me feel good. So challah bread it is! Oh, and prepping for Gally. I will be COSplaying someone else this year in addition to Queen Victoria, and her outfit is not yet fully together.

Happy Saturday, flist.

Meh

Apr. 4th, 2011 10:50 pm
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Boosh Noel F* Me shoe)
Well, I got nothing done this weekend. I felt completely listless, so I watched 30 Rock and curled up with my cats on Saturday. I did meet up with [livejournal.com profile] pomona513 on Sunday, however, and bought a funky tie with vegetables on it. And I went to the DWNY video meet for a short while, where I got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] tennis_bear.

My cape arrived today. It sort of helped, but I was particularly amused by the language on the return form. They called it a "counterfoil" and I'm not sure why it amuses me, but it does. I also liked how the paper that lists your purchase was called a "Despatch Note" rather than "Invoice" or "Packing Slip."

The weather was weird today, but the perfect temperature for my new cape, so at least I got to wear it home.

The State negotiated to keep some of the homeless funds we lobbied for. They plan to replace the former housing voucher with something new - to be announced at a director's meeting on my birthday. FML

I have a meeting on Wednesday with my dissertation chair and second. I might have to shell out real money for mplus, as my chair informed me that the University didn't purchase new licensed copies. And my friend who was going to give me her copy doesn't think it'll work now as the license expired. Anyone have an idea for a tacky fundraising auction I can do? I have a YouTube account, if it helps.

At least work was relatively quiet today.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Buzzcocks Noel Sit On Desk)
I went with my friends BE and KS to Mara's Homemade last night. We thought it was going to be their last night, but the owner has decided not to give an official date.

I've discovered I have a deep deep love for char grilled oysters. And they go exceptionally well with Pimm's. Mara's recipe calls for Pimm's, lemonade, Sprite, and mottled mint and cucumber. I could suck those babies down all afternoon. And it'll be my new summer drink, I've decided.

If only summer weather were closer. Today it's 37F with a constant misty drizzle that occasionally gathers the strength for rain in NYC. A part of me wants and needs the sun, because I'm feeling melancholy. But a part of me takes comfort in contemplating how much the weather reminds me of London and Edinburgh. I threw caution to the wind and wore yoga pants and a zip-up sweatshirt to work today.

I made one "April Fool's" prank at work - wrote a fake agenda for our meeting with a discussion of client issues. It took my staff a minute to realize it was a fake, too. But eventually they figured out that Lindsay Lohan isn't coming in drunk and attracting press, Dan Radcliffe doesn't need a pass for his evening job, and Muammar Gadhafi is not trying to rally troops to start a client coalition.

Speaking of sucking things down, I (SPOILER ALERT) inhaled Downton Abbey in two sittings )


So, if you've watched Downton Abbey and wish to discuss in the comments, please do. I think I'll be making today an endless-cups-of-tea sort of day. I long to be curled up on my couch with my cats.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Studious (HP))
So I went to University yesterday and did a training on EndNote. It's a bibliography software that I've struggled with using in fits and starts over the past few years. My academic advisor gave the instructional session, so I decided to try one more time. I think it's finally sunk in, how it works, and I'll give it a go.

It's been ages since I stepped foot on campus. As I'm not teaching this semester, I've had no reason to go there except for occasional use of the toilets library. How warmly I was greeted by so many!

I sat in the doctoral lounge in the afternoon and attempted to get work done. Actually, I did get work done, in an interesting paradox. When I'm alone on my own, I find I seek out forms of distraction. But when other people interrupt me, I get frustrated and strive to concentrate harder.

This photo of the Boosh boys is for [livejournal.com profile] drfardook's amusement after a conversation we had last night, but seems oddly apropos )


At any rate, after spending time in my department, I went to the NYU Bobst library where I miraculously still have access. Having first grown used to that library during my undergraduate days, I still flinch when I walk in and see display cases where the card catalogues used to be. It feels like a missing limb. I truly am in some ways still a product of the 20th century, of another age.

I wanted to copy one chapter of a book that my University does not have in its holdings. I discovered that Bobst only has an electronic version, much to my annoyance. And the "ebrary" won't let you print it out. Call me old fashioned, but I want a hard copy! I want to be able to highlight it and mark it up - and :gasp: read it in a cafe or a pub and NOT on the computer. I struggled with whether this makes me the product of another age, or if it's a tangible need that will endure as we further progress into the electronic age and the myth of the joys and efficiency of a paperless society.

One of my exes used to chide me for keeping hard copies of CDs when electronic backups would do. I used to say I liked having them. I still miss playing records and rolling joints on gazing at album covers. In Being Human, one subtle way they showed Mitchell wasn't as he appeared was his stack of records, tapes, and antiquated but still operable stereo. But the fact is, I do now only listen to music on my iPhone, the iPod hooked up to my stereo, or directly from the iTunes library on my computer. I threw out a stack of old games on CD Tuesday. Perhaps it's time to do the same with my CDs.

I caved!

Mar. 28th, 2011 02:22 pm
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Studious (HP))
Er, yeah, so, I wound up having a surprisingly emotionally upsetting experience yesterday followed by nausea for several hours - and hence not much work done. Soooooo, I went ahead and ordered the damn cape. At least it was on sale?

I'm still feeling a bit queasy today and not entirely sure why. But I seem to be keeping down bagels and coca-cola (an achievement only made late in the day yesterday). So off to work I go. And by off, I mean "stay at my desk and read academic work." I'm certainly not putting on real clothing and heading outdoors. Why did NYC get so frelling cold out?!?! It's bloody freeeeeezing.

Been meaning to ask - has anyone on my flist watched Downton Abbey? It's on my "to watch" list. And has anyone heard anything about a second series?
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noel nutella)
Today is the first day of my four-day weekend of cleaning and dissertating. I slept for eleven hours last night and had some strikingly vivid dreams this morning. [livejournal.com profile] fiendish_thingy even appeared in one of them to my delight and surprise. I almost never dream of friends as they actually are. We sat on a couch in the lobby of Gallifrey talking. No idea why. But it felt good to allow my brain the opportunity for extended REM-sleep.

I ate toast with nutella this morning, and herded the laundry previously scattered to the four corners of my flat-world, feeding on dust bunnies.

Then I took this quiz, what I saw on [livejournal.com profile] droxy's LJ and it's very amusing. Not least of all because since I don't believe in Dante's version of Christian Hell, the results make me think "well, I would be afraid if I believed it..." A tautology of a meme outcome if ever there was one.

The Dante's Inferno Test )


And since we're on the topic of gluttony/indulgence, I really want to buy this cape from TopShop. It's the brown piping that draws me in. Some of you will understand. cut for very large photos )


I took a long shower and contemplated the outline for my dissertation chapters. Clumps of ideas, with a better idea than before regarding what might be missing or need further exploration and developing bubbled up to the surface. Cells splitting into an organism. The creative process is embryonic. But it's also like connective tissue sometimes.

Finally, LJ comments and PMs seem to be randomly delivered to my inbox or swallowed up by my spam folder. So if it seems like I respond to some things in longer than usual time, that's why.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noelian Heights)
Well, the dress sold without me. There was no way I'd have been able to afford it. The final bidding was pretty intense too. It jumped steeply in the last 7 minutes, and even jumped from £4,100 to £5,600 in the last 70 seconds. And it's all for charity, which is just lovely.

I have consoled myself by finishing a project [livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I started a few weeks ago. Behold - 18:06 seconds of Howince goodness with a splash of homage toward Noel's Wuthering Heights performance. (FWIW, I put Vince in red before we knew anything about the red dress. He's meant to be wearing something like his outfit from The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox. [livejournal.com profile] drfardook made Howard. You'll have to ask him about Howard's outfit).

Anyway, enjoy the video!



It was a lot of fun to make. If you are curious about the how to... )


I know it's terribly amateurish, but nevertheless I'm well chuffed. I plan to post it on [livejournal.com profile] booshslashhaven and to DeviantArt.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noel Buzzcocks Fruit Friends)
I've got a lot on my mind today. So instead I'll do two memes. The first one from [livejournal.com profile] muscadinegirl and [livejournal.com profile] pumagrrl. The second from [livejournal.com profile] bluestocking79



You were born during a Waxing Gibbous moon



- what it says about you -


You love to let people in on the story of how things come together. You know the background of ideas and have a deep understanding of things others just touch the surface of. You can surprise people with your wide variety of knowledge, and they'll remember and appreciate you for it.


What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at Spacefem.com




Getting to know you meme )
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noel snoozing Childmen)
I should really be in bed right now. But I had some caffeine earlier and still passed out on my couch. Then [livejournal.com profile] bluestocking79 and I got into some heavy duty visual scrutiny of some pictures that woke me right up. So I'm gonna force the sleep issue in a few minutes. But first, I meant to post about my weekend.

[livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I took a trip to Pearl Paint and picked up some art supplies on a whim. Over a meal at Buddha Bodai, I came up with the idea of making a stop motion animated film of Howard and Vince. So we decided to make clay models of them to amuse ourselves. They are still works in progress, but here they are. We also drew Stationery Village, taking turns with the "buildings" and details. My bus came out waaaaay too small, but it's comically small so we found it funny. I think we'll use our drawing as the backdrop if we manage to get software and actually film a clip.

Here is clay!Vince in the making, with Howard in the background )



[livejournal.com profile] drfardook works diligently on clay!Howard )



Vince whispers something into Howard's ear )



and then goes in for a kiss )



Stationery Village, with a towering Paper Clip Castle )



Fear not. We won't be quitting our day jobs to pursue art careers any time soon. (I'm not sure, but I think I can hear [livejournal.com profile] jigglykat sniggering all the way from Boston at that thought).

On Sunday my friend BE and I went to Ikea. I bought new pillows and a couple of bits and bobs. I confess, dear readers, that I cannot go to Ikea without buying some of their foodstuffs. Lingonberry jam, Swedish Fontina, cardamom biscuits and some of that squeezable fish stuff in a tube, to be precise. Going to Ikea is a bit like traveling. You do come back with souvenirs.

The best part about Sunday, though, was waking up feeling fully rested. For the first time in over two weeks I felt like I might have passed a hurdle and am truly on the mend. I'm still experiencing symptoms, but they are discernibly waning.

Ok, now I'm off to bed for real!
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Grandma's House))
Forgive me LJ, it's been 4 days since my last entry. If that sounds oddly like a confessional, maybe it's because of the news I heard this morning. Governor Cuomo is being bashed by religious leaders for living with his girlfriend out-of-wedlock. The news this morning was all about Cuomo's refusal to meet with the Bishop of NY. I am greatly amused. I must admit, I have come to dislike Governor Cuomo in recent days. I sense he holds deep hatred for either NYC, Mayor Bloomberg, or both. But his refusal to meet with a religious leader to discuss his "moral failure" gave me a bit of respect for him.

In other news, I am still drowning in my own fluids. But a little bit less so. Coming back to work this week has been nothing short of exhausting. But yesterday the shelter doctor gave me prescriptions for two inhalers. So now I'm all lightheaded and loopy and phlegmy, but at least a small amount of oxygen is making it to my limbs. I've now had this cold for 14 days.

I'm still not completely finished unpacking from Gallifrey. There are bits and bobs to put away, and my corset needs washing but I am not sure whether to use Woolite on it. Last night I felt vaguely optimistic that I might get something done. I came home, put the cat food away, ate a modest dinner, then promptly passed out on the couch for 1 1/2 hours. So, still no Gallifrey pics. That's ok. I still haven't posted the Wizarding World portrait pics from Infinitus yet. One day...

I missed the deadline for submitting presentations to a conference in October. And I wasn't able to apply for that position in Portland. I try to concentrate on my literature review and my head is just swimming. The good news is, I still have time off. 1 sick day, 2 holidays, and 5 vacation days remain until July 1st. I need to plan them wisely and pray the lurgy doesn't become a lifestyle.

And now that I'm done whinging, I wish to bring your attention to the inimitable [livejournal.com profile] fidelioscabinet. In light of recent attacks on the right to collective bargaining on the state level, she has started a series of entries on labor history. First one here and the second one here with promises of more to come at irregular intervals. They are extremely interesting and I encourage you to read them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I favor taxing businesses over cutting health care benefits, laying off workers, etc. And during this time of increased strain on the state level, it does not surprise me that history is repeating itself. Is it any wonder I spend so much time on YouTube watching silly interviews with Noel Fielding and tv shows like Victorian Pharmacy. I yearn for a time when everything seems possible, not impossible. Watching the Daily Show the other day was almost too much to bear.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noel snoozing Childmen)
Well that was some weekend. I mostly slept, with occasional bouts of productivity. Or consciousness. Who am I to quibble over words? Suffice to say, rather than getting done what needed getting done my body said (queue gravely obstinate voice) "Oh hale no! I ain't movin' for no $hit." FWIW, I am still in pain but a lot less so than a few days ago.

I had another vivid dream - this one involving me making sandwiches at the home of friends in Berlin and incomprehensible telephone conversations. I'll spare you.

Question - is anyone on my flist going to watch the Being Human spin-off "Becoming Human"?

Question Two - is anyone on my flist a huge fan of the Rolling Stones and willing to pay shipping costs for a few picture books I no longer want?

Question Three - Is anyone on my flist going to Gallifrey with whom I have not already been in contact about going?

Right, it's 6pm. I'm going to do my best to stay up and work on my lit review. FYI, the Task Force fiiiiinally released their 2008 study on transgender discrimination (just in time for Creating Change?). I'm sure my ex SF must be happy it's reached the light of day. Now the question is, will they ever release the data for others to examine?
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Noel snoozing Childmen)
So it seems there was a change in the power dynamics of my household this morning. Not sure what it means, but it was interesting to witness. Nymphadora has reclaimed the top rung of the kitty condo. It used to be hers, until Calliope came along and made it her territory.

So Calliope sat on a chair, glowering. She then hopped to the top of my shoe shelf, what is normally Nymphadora's spot.

I observed no deleterious effects thus far. But I hope I don't come home to find Kittygeddon has taken place in my absence.

It was suggested to me yesterday during our outing that I ought to look at an Army Navy store for boots in the style I want. So just now whilst sucking down a Red Bull (slow moving Saturday has turned into crawl-moving Monday) I had a look at their website and below the usual fare of combat boots, duck boots and hiking boots they had Vegan Jungle Boots.

My brain is still going WHUUUUUUUUUUH??? Vegan and Army/Navy seems oxymoronic.

On a more serious note, if anyone has been following the news about Uganda, Brenda Namiggade was granted a temporary reprieve to stay in the UK. She is in fear of her life as a lesbian in a country where a man was recently murdered for being gay and an activist for LGBT rights. Where legislators are fighting to make same-sex activity punishable by death. What's wrong about her being granted a reprieve, you might ask? Her reprieve is temporary because a prior immigration judge "found on the evidence before them that Ms Namiggade was not homosexual." So what exactly does one have to do (or not do) to prove sexual orientation and fear for one's life?

Lastly, on a lighter note, a coffee and a red bull were invited to do a tango in my blood stream this morning after a seemingly humble and happy cup of tea laughed in my face. Pamplona did not erupt in my nervous system. I still feel groggy and limp. I shouldn't complain. I couldn't have had a more pleasant morning in other respects. But I was promised better living through chemistry.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Tea Mitchell (Being Human))
Yeah, alright. I'm in a sad funky mood and work is weird today what with clients complaining about the cold and the multiple people hospitalized over the weekend and the physical discomfort of wearing multiple layers to protect myself from the window draft. And I've got at least one conversation going on this topic, so I might as well just do a separate entry just on the season opener of Being Human. So who watched it last night? )
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Don't Look Back (Colbert))
Well it's Sunday night and for the first time in ages I can not only manage easy egress in/out and within my study, but I can see the floor, the desk top and organized piles for the first time in months. I'm not entirely certain how many bags of recyclables were thrown away (articles, old notebooks, various other paper goods), but good doesn't even begin to describe the end result. I've not yet finished, mind you, but more than a dent was made.

A small amount of furniture was also moved. An old bookshelf may find itself on the sidewalk, even.

Purging is good. If 2011 is going to live up to its promise, then the purging is just as necessary as the commingling. Not holding onto things that "might be useful in the future," or that "seem really interesting and I want to read at some point," or that hold a tenuous emotional bond to a particular moment, or a hope, or a teacher, or a memory. Yes, there was even some of that in the stacks.

My muscles are going to be very sore tomorrow, I can tell you that. [livejournal.com profile] drfardook was indispensable. I only hope my multiple forms and displays of gratitude were adequate to the task, and that he didn't completely freeze his backside off on his journey back to Beacon.

Which reminds me. Sesame oil, soy sauce and buckwheat soba noodles were made to commingle. Just saying. Consider it a PSA, even.

So I was chatting this evening with my friend BE and realized I've not left my house since Thursday night. That's right. THURSDAY. It's had both its positives and its negatives. Not being subjected to the cold = goooood. Spending too much time inside my own head = not as good. Two things pierced the protective padding in my mind this weekend and tried to drag me back to the ill-advised behaviors borne of the unhealthy commingling of painful pasts and selfishly unconsulted projected futures that form a kind of paradox mindset. I need to stop. I keep telling two specific friends of mine (LG and BE) to live in the moment. I need to take my own bloody advice.

And nothing soothes the soul like fandom. So tonight I rewatched the series 2 finale of Being Human and the series 3 opener. (Not gonna spoil, but feel free to say whatever in the comments). That finale remains a powerful piece of work. One part horror, one part mind-f*ck, one part eternal bonding. There's not a moment wrong in the entire episode. Series 3 opener? Not so much. The pacing was off, the themes overplayed. But there were moments. Moments that kept me interested. I am not sure how I feel about the anticipated story lines for this series. But I will stick with it. And I was amused by the cameo of Kai Owen. (Er, that's not really a spoiler, right?).

Now I've got a pile of books on my bed demanding to be stacked and a ticking clock threatening to sneak up on me and dart past midnight if I don't step away from the computer. So off I go. See you when I do.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Don't Look Back (Colbert))
So I called out sick today. It's not the snow. I just woke up with, shall we say, certain pains that made me not want to put on real clothes and deal with the public. So after a nice long hot shower I am spending the day in sweats and fuzzy socks.

I plan to get some reading done, and maybe set myself some writing deadlines.

I've got plans this weekend to attack my home office again and this time REALLY make a dent. When MA came over the other night she said something interesting to me. I'll paraphrase. She hired someone to help her reorganize her workspace because she felt like putting it off was tantamount to telling the universe she wasn't ready to move on to a new phase in her life. This was just after she'd been laid off from her job, so it was an excellent time to tackle such a project. So I feel like, with the new year, now is a good time to make a genuine difference in my home work space.

Plus, I'll be getting some help this weekend from [livejournal.com profile] drfardook who has been promised homemade multigrain bread. There may also be some cheese and marmite involved. And fruit salad of the kiwi, mango, strawberry variety. I am on the fence about grapes or pineapple.

There will be massive amounts of throwing things away. Of pruning and possibly posting online of books for sale. There might even be some moving of furniture, but that's more of a maybe whereas the purging of papers is a definite. It's not something I can do alone, as I live in a 4th floor walk-up and it would take me a month to carry stuff down alone. Plus, I need someone to push me so I don't just faff about moving piles from one spot to another and pretending it's an actual accomplishment.

When MA came over Tuesday night, she brought two books for me to borrow and/or keep. One of them is entitled Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World. I found a recipe that might make good use of the napa cabbage we got in my winter CSA. Is anyone on my flist practised in the art of dumpling making? [livejournal.com profile] ladyaelfwynn or [livejournal.com profile] sketchybrunette perhaps? I am thinking of substituting soy beef for the pork and trying my hand at this recipe. Here are the ingredients:

Jasmine Dumplings

Filling

3/4 pound/340g napa cabbage, shredded
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 T coarsely ground loose-leaf jasmine tea leaves
1 bunch scallions
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 lb/455g ground pork
60 wonton wrappers

Jasmine Dipping Sauce
1c/240ml steaming water
1 T loose-leaf jasmine tea leaves
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
1 dash toasted sesame oil (with hot chile if desired)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

cabbage leaves, jasmine tea and water for steaming the dumplings

Le Sigh

Jan. 18th, 2011 11:17 pm
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Purr cartoon)
Greetings f-list. Why yes, I am still alive. I've just been cocooned in pleasant company and pleasant pursuits for a few days.

The conference was wonderful and inspiring. I am very very pleased to have gone.

On the flight back I sat next to a junior faculty member (TM) from my Uni who extended herself during the con and she advised me about the qualitative portion of my dissertation. We also chatted about academia, family (she and her partner are raising their baby vegan, she keeps joking that it's the closest thing to immaculate conception she can think of since her partner is the one who gave birth), and her undying love for Angelina Jolie. LOL I told her about Doctor Who. We talked about playing music (she used to be a musician and I used to play guitar). And generally just enjoyed each others company. She even gave me a lift back into Manhattan!

Upon my return, I spent some time with [livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I think it's fair to say my taking him to Russ and Daughters followed by Economy Candy and the Essex Market were something of a LES culinary tour de force. Pity we didn't make it to Guss' Pickles or the Doughnut Factory. But hey, gotta leave something for another time right? At the very least, he got to pretend to be a NY Jew for a bit. And I see my brainwashing influence has taken root because he insisted on buying licorice bootlaces in homage to the Mighty Boosh. ^_^

Today ME of the Jew Crew came for dinner. We had savoury chickpea flour pancakes with onion, shallot, and sunchokes from my CSA (and parsley) with a side of sauteed cod and a carrot salad (also from my CSA) with a balsamic vinaigrette. Then her husband AJ and a mutual friend (KS) came over for tea. I brewed some Whittard's Afternoon Blend and got to use my tea set! She made almond macaroons and we used an egg from my CSA as well for that. And we had some halvah from Economy Candy and I also happened to bake a challah bread for tomorrow so we had some of that with nutella.

There was much chatting and smiling and purring (AJ purrs when he's content. No . . . really). And now that they've all gone home I'm sitting here online instead of cleaning up. I suspect the wine and the heat and the food have lulled me into a sense of contentment. But the truth is, this year has started off such that I am brimming with contentment. What is that about?

Tomorrow after work I intend to hack away at my office space a bit more and set myself a work schedule for my dissertation. And catch up on my f-list. So if there are any pertinent entries you'd like me to see, please do not hesitate to point them out!
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Lucius Champagne (HP))
Well, 2011 is off to quite a start. Sorry it's taken me so long to post. Alas, my friends had cameras and I did not and they STILL have not come forth with photos. So the few I did manage to take with my iPhone have been light and exposure adjusted and you can aaaalmost make us out.

Since last year worked out so well, I went back to Alias restaurant again this year and it was LOADS OF FUN. The owner made funny hats for everyone and genuinely hand-picked them to suit individuals with amazing accuracy! [livejournal.com profile] pov_power was there, and so was [livejournal.com profile] soulsister101, and a string of others who are sadly LJ-less.

We toasted at midnight and there were hugs and kisses(!) and the DJ played "What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding" by Elvis Costello. At first I was a bit "Whuuuh?" because last year they played Lady GaGa and we all started dancing like maniacs. But then I decided this was an incredible sentiment and hopefully a good omen.

Here are some pics of the party-goers with goofy hats (I mean it when I say these pics are murky at best )


After dinner, most of the party left. But my dear dear friend JD and I did some party-hopping. Walking down Rivington St. we ran into some Australians and other nationals (including one guy born in Israel, raised in Edinburgh who now lives in London) standing outside of Essex who were super fun. They had an extra wristband for their party (they paid $150 for open bar!!!) so we got in for free and got free drinks. I tipped heavily.

Then JD and I decided to bar-hop. We walked in and out of a lot of places I never hang go to. It made me feel like I was getting to know another side of my neighborhood. Walking through doors to find cavernous entrances beyond storefront facades, I felt like it was something out of a dreamscape. We also said goodbye to the LES standard Max Fish, which is slated to close soon. You can see us a bit better in these photos )


We then wandered into a bar I could not resist simply for the fact there were lightening bolts on the door )


Finally, we finished off back at the Essex with the nationals who got us in for free. We danced and drank and laughed and it felt GREAT.

JD and I then came back to my place, listened to some mellower music (Tame Impala and Au Revoire Simone) and caught up on life. He lives in LA and I get to see him so rarely. He left around 4am and I slept well. :)

On Sunday [livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I met up with [livejournal.com profile] vraidaae, [livejournal.com profile] erratic0101 and a few others for some HP COSplay in Central Park )


Then [livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I were off for vegetarian dim sum and a bit of shopping (tea! sweets!). Finally, I tore myself away from him to fly over to the DWNY meet where the Podshock guys jovially took the piss out of me (don't worry, I gave as good as I got); plus [livejournal.com profile] tennis_bear and I chatted about life and love and pr0nny fanfic. I couldn't have asked for a better day after such a wonderful new years.

How was yours, my darling flistees?
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Poncho (Mighty Boosh))
Is it a weekend if you go away Sunday and Monday? Well, after two weeks of covering for my boss I need a week of Gina time. [livejournal.com profile] pov_power came over Friday for dinner and it was the perfect way for me to start my little holiday. We had those leek and onion pasties I made over the summer, salad, and [livejournal.com profile] bluestocking79's delightful brussels sprout recipe. The pictures are not that impressive, but I assure you the brussels sprouts were melt-in-your-mouth heavenly. Pictures and recipe:

Leek and onion pasty with salad )


Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots and wild mushroom in a white wine cream sauce )


Recipe can be found here.

On Saturday I putzed around, did some dishes, relaxed. But on Sunday [livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I took a little trip to Philadelphia where we stayed overnight at a very odd hotel. Nothing in the room matched - except for two identical wall decorations. And it had a kitchen (including dishwasher! actual pots and dishes!) larger than mine. I imagine people who stay there go for weeks on end, not overnight.

Anyway, on Sunday we went to the Mütter Museum and looked at all manner of creepy things. My brain, ever loving to amuse itself, started playing "Inside of You" in my head. As for the museum, I was struck most by the 8ft colon, depictions of various skin diseases, the human skin leather-bound books (considered an apt way to memorialize someone at the turn of the last century) and the rows of skulls with causes of death including "suicide from weariness of life." Have you ever heard a description more Victorian? Photography was not allowed inside the museum, but [livejournal.com profile] drfardook did take a picture of me on the oversized couch in the atrium where I felt like a Gashlycrumb Tinie awaiting my doom )


(Also, I was approached no less than six times by people asking about or complimenting me on my kitty hat during our trip).

I also toyed with buying a small phial of Ü, the museum's signature fragrance by BPAL. With aromas of frankincense, vanilla and cinnamon on my wrists (and lingering on my sweater well into the next day), I kept declaring it smelled like death and breakfast. Intellectually compelling, but I remain ambivalent about its aroma as a sensual pleasure.

We ate at two places, one the Monk's Cafe where mussels in leek and garlic broth were devoured with glee accompanied by the smallest pommes frites I've ever seen in my life, and a selection of Belgian beers. We liked the place so much we went back the next day for more Belgian brew. The other was a little hole-in-the-wall that served vegan and vegetarian versions of the kind of food Philadelphian University students devour after a night of cramming and/or stumbling out of a bar at 3am. I got a vegetarian Philly cheese steak which was just ok, but looked rather nice )


Looking for a night's entertainment, he googled a dive bar in the area. I was not pleased that they had on a football game instead of music, so I asked a guy at the bar if he knew a better place to go. Turned out his name was Luke and he's in a band from NYC called The Runaway Suns. They were playing across the street at a dive called Tritone and were actually pretty good! We took his advice and stayed to watch a couple of bands, which really hit a spot needing hitting. Their sound was part garage band, part psychedelic, part sixties pop. I could definitely see myself checking them out again )


On the way back to the hotel I was somehow struck by this view, my only shot of an actual Philadelphia monument )


On Sunday, we went to the Franklin Institute, which neither of us realized was geared toward 8 to 12 year olds. We didn't want to spend $26.50 each on the Cleopatra exhibit. So we just wandered about the main museum (as an educator I gained free entry). I had crazy flashbacks to my childhood because my father took me there as a child and I vividly recalled the walk-through heart and the steam engine. We played with the displays in the electricity room, where I learned a valuable lesson about taking off scarves with metallic threads before touching anything focusing on static electricity. I also played with the pulse detector where I learned that if I think about studying, my heart rate shoots up; but if I think about the Mighty Boosh I completely flatline. LOL I question the reliability of the machine. Oh, and we watched a video in the Planetarium about black holes, which made me think of John Crichton until Liam Neeson (the narrator) sternly advised us that wormholes would be too dangerous a place to navigate for space travel. Party pooper.

Across the street from the museum were a string of now-defunct parking meters covered in cosies )


Afterward, we walked a mile in the cold to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and discovered IT WAS CLOSED. Aaaargh! The walk in the cold wore me out, so we waited for the bus. Growing impatient, and my blood sugars dropping, I suggested we find a cafe instead. I jokingly said "I bet you the bus will come rolling down that hill the second we've crossed the street (it was something of a highway)". And sure enough, it did exactly that. But we wandered into a small cafe where we were warmly greeted with tea, OJ, and a discussion with the worker behind the bar (named Mika) and two patrons about relationships. This was a sweet little surprise as we sat convivially and compared notes about cheating, time, expectation, and so on. At one point a sushi salesman walked in (the cafe used to be a sushi place) and offered Mika a calendar. Mika asked if he was selling calendars, and this set off in me the idea of a door-to-door sushi calendar salesman. I think it will have to wind up in a story at some point for the sheer absurdity of it. Then one of the guys (Tyler) offered us a ride back into the center of town in his VW bus, where he told us his theory of Faery and Elfin myths being comparable to Native American lore. Now, normally I would not get into a van with a stranger. But seeing as how I was not alone, and the day felt more and more like an unraveling adventure, we rolled with it and everything came up roses. It was just one of those days where you feel like you have wings on your feet. Know what I mean?

[livejournal.com profile] drfardook and I ended the day by splitting some fried mac n' cheese and a fried oyster po'boy at a stall in the Reading Market called Beck's Cajun Cafe, a couple more beers at Monk's Cafe, and then back on the train to NYC. I taught him that memory car game "I'm packing a picnic basket" where you go down the alphabet and name things, repeating each prior item on your turn. We chose to load up an iPod instead and came up with band names. First just bands, then he came up with the idea for a second round with only bands who play terrible music. I could not have been more entertained.

Now I'm home and it's a blustery 21F (-6C). I was meant to meet up with a friend for lunch and statistics consultation. But instead I've opted to hibernate and avoid the cold and blinding whiteness of the tundra smattering of snowflakes.

I leave you with this picture I took in the doctoral lounge the other week. I had to laugh when I saw my jacket and accoutrement in juxtaposition to the others )



Phew. Well, I hope you enjoyed the regaling of my trip as much as I enjoyed having it.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Default)
So, it seems the Spirit of Jazz was haunting me this weekend. (No signed contracts, though). On Saturday I went to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island. It was a gorgeous, glorious afternoon of music, period wear, and strong cocktails that knocked me off my feet. But not before I managed to take a few photos and videos.

Here was an antique car, and a woman whose outfit was giving me sailor dress envy (I very nearly bought one for this event a few days ago) )


A woman in an exquisite green number )


Band leader Michael Arenella (who my companion and I suspect was bludgeoned with a brass instrument by a band member after the gig was over) - note the lovely old timey mic )


An adorable couple )


Dancers in action )


This dandy fellow had multiple partners of all genders throughout the day )


Less elegant than others, but I liked the look of these two )


I also captured video of the dancers. Alas, I was unable to splice these together. But the second one has a nice finish to the dance.





And today was the DWNY video meet. I imagined it would be the nerdiest thing ever - Whovians huddled in front of iPads under a tree in Central Park. But it wound up just a nice, lounging picnic near Strawberry Fields. Saturday was both physically and emotionally draining for me (for reasons I'd rather not get into), so I was glad to be out in the sun in a no-pressure environment.

On the way home, I wandered with a friend into Tompkins Square Park where a Jazz concert had just let out. This and eyeing Howard Moon leaving the park made me suspect the Spirit of Jazz was following me. So here he is for you:

THUD

Aug. 22nd, 2010 09:33 pm
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Sniff!)
Well I had something of a weekend.

On Saturday I went to swap out my modem at the cable company, and wound up hanging out in Madison Park attempting to read. It's a bit out of my neighborhood, but I think I might go there again to study. It's pretty and it's quiet and there are tables and cute doggies and the temptation to get something from the Shake Shack is tempered by the queue around the park. (It's so prohibitively long that I've never actually eaten anything from there).

Here's a guy (on the right) I snapped on the sly, who was walking a dog and a cat )


At any rate, on a whim I rang up my friend SM and he happily skipped on over. We chatted in the park for awhile, then went to a little cafe adjacent to the Museum of Sex. Afterward, SM declared that he wanted champagne. Heeee. So we wandered over to Chelsea, stopping along the way to look for something yellow and trying on ridiculous hats. None were purchased. We wound up in the West Village at Smorgas Chef Restaurant where we split a herring sampler, a cold water shrimp salad, and I had a gorgeous frozen lingonberry and rum drink. We talked about everything under the sun, he sang songs from The Muppet Movie, and we ended the night with scotch and soda at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, chatting about the relative story arc writing skills of RTD vs Moffatt, and ghost sightings.

Here's the view from our outdoor table, and one of SM. The view struck me as pleasantly picturesque )


SM is producing a play, and he's looking for a non-equity actor to play a flamboyant but worn down cabaret singer in her late 30's. If anyone on my flist knows of someone, do let me know!

Today I had a long catch-up chat with a friend and went to a second birthday party for an old friend/former co-worker. The weather in NYC is brutal. Massive, pouring rain. I wore a hat and made cool poses in the train station to amuse myself.

Now it's Sunday night and I'm finally getting round to watching the first episode of Sherlock, as it seems to have eaten about 80% of my fandom friends. I'm only 1/3 of the way through ep 1, but Holmes is delightful.

And how are you, flist?
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