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Thursday, August 21st, 2014


12:13 p.m. - QOTM


You create the world by your belief in it, so it's important to believe this: There really is a path. It takes you not back to your old life but onward to the new one.


--Laurence Gonzales in Surviving Survival
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails, "The Great Below"

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Friday, July 25th, 2014


7:16 p.m. - QOTM
Three quotes from Eric Hoffer's The Passionate State of Mind:



237
The world leans on us. When we sag, the whole world seems to droop.



216
Add a few drops of venom to a half truth and you have an absolute truth.



210
The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity. One needs the talents of an animal trainer to deal with the stupid.



I was going to say something like, "All three of these are altogether too relevant to things going on in my life right now." Then I remembered certain recent news stories and various commentaries about them, so I'll just go with: All three of these are altogether too relevant.


Edit: It turns out that Eric Hoffer was born July 25, 1902. If I'd known it was his 112th birthday, I might have posted more!
Current Mood: weary
Current Music: things clattering downstairs
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Sunday, July 20th, 2014


11:28 p.m. - Come on, shake your body, baby
I don't get out much. Sure, I go to the library, a supermarket, an organic/natural-type grocery, and at least one farmers' market per week, but compared to most people? I don't get out much. Even those of you who feel like you have no life probably have more of a life than I have.

After being so stressed out lately, I realized early today that if I didn't get out somewhere I don't ordinarily go and hang out with people I don't otherwise know, there was a good chance I might stab somebody--and I'd really rather not commit any kind of violence if I've got better options, thank you very much. So then it became a question of where I should go. I had more energy today than I've had in the past week or so, so that was a good start. Not much money, but not broke yet either. I thought maybe what I wanted was to go to Eastern Market, yet a part of me kept saying, "Gosh, it's been a while since I've been to Ben's Chili Bowl." Reminded myself that this is a weekend and Ben's is a popular and historic tourist destination, but I ended up getting off Metro at the U Street station anyway.

After the escalator brought me up to the street, I promptly crossed to Ben's, but I didn't go inside. Outside on the sidewalk there was a steel pan ensemble playing a free concert for anyone who happened to be in the area, music ranging from old classics to a song from Miami Sound Machine (and if "Conga" is considered a classic now, I don't want to hear about it). Tourists and locals and occasional restaurant employees were hanging out, taking pictures of the kids playing the music, taking pictures of each other, dancing on the sidewalk. It was fun. It may not have been the kind of event that could help to bring about world peace or even a slight reduction in carbon emissions. It was simply the kind of thing that brings people together for a little while. It was a reminder that sometimes humanity is worthwhile. It was a good thing.

And then the concert was over and our bellies were grumbling and we got in the long line and I told anyone who wasn't sure what to order that they needed a half-smoke with chili, because of course they did. Inside, tourists were taking pictures of each other standing next to pictures of famous people, because that's the sort of thing tourists will do. The jukebox played "When Doves Cry" and people sang along, because that's the sort of thing you have to do. Hours later, my hands still smell a little bit like mustard and onions.

Afterward, at the usual organic/natural-foods-type store, the grinning cashier wished me a good night. For a change of pace, I'd had a good day, and I rather hope he did too.
Current Mood: better
Current Music: Miami Sound Machine, "Conga" in my head

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


7:28 p.m. - Resistance...
So in the dream I was living in something like a good hotel or a particularly nice dormitory--large building filled with other residents (many of whom live in my general neighborhood in waking life), but not at all spartan accommodations. As I was taking a shower, I felt what seemed to be a mild earthquake. I quickly dressed and went to a large window facing the street, where I saw Chinese soldiers advancing. The Chinese had, rather unexpectedly, taken over the USA. As far as we in the hotel/neighborhood saw, there was no violence.

The dream went on, with a group of polite, pleasant young people patiently trying to indoctrinate us, or at the very least get us used to their way of doing things. We residents weren't exactly cooperative, but we did try to be nice to the young people since they were gentle with us and were, after all, only doing their jobs. Then suddenly they all stopped in their tracks as new orders came to them through the earpieces they were wearing. One of them told us: "According to the latest computer simulations, the American army defeats the Chinese army. The new simulation is more accurate than the previous simulation, so we must accept our loss. We will leave you now." And so they did.

I have no idea what my subconscious mind was trying to communicate last night. The best I can come up with is this: Resistance Is Futile. You Will Be Simulated.
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: Prokofiev's Lt. Kijé Suite
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Saturday, March 29th, 2014


5:06 p.m. - Hello, world
I keep meaning to get online and keep up with LJ and Dreamwidth the way I once did, but I keep finding myself thinking of it as too much of a hassle. Not the keeping up, but the actual act of getting online and signing in to things. Why? Well, part of it is that if I do want to use the computer, there's a lot of stuff on my desk to clear away these days. And part of it is--I don't know, fatigue? depression? both?--whatever, it just seems like so much effort to be here. But all you lovely people won't come to my home and whisper your stories in my ear, so maybe I should make it a priority to move those piles of paper to a better place so it doesn't seem like getting online requires so much energy.

As for that fatigue/depression thing, I don't quite know what to do about it. I think that part of it may be that the latest generic version of my anti-seizure medication wasn't giving me an adequate dose, so my brain's been fizzling and not letting me think or feel quite right. That's probably a big part of the problem, so I've been thinking of asking the doctor to check that "Brand Name Medically Necessary" box next time she writes out a prescription. Fortunately, that won't increase my co-pay too much! One of these days I need to find a way to find the energy to get to a neurologist again.

In other news, I'm still here, still going to at least one farmers' market every week, still reading books, still drinking lots of tea. Been reading very, very slowly, but I've managed to finish 32 books so far this year in all that time I've spent offline. Have also gotten a bit better about listening to some of the old podcasts I've downloaded, so that's a good thing. I have eaten Ethiopian meals three times this year so far, and every time I've gone out to that restaurant there's either been snow on the ground or snow in the air. I've been enjoying the snow, waiting for daffodils, admiring the early-blooming pink-flowered cherry trees in our neighborhood, hoping that snow wouldn't hurt the early pink blossoms on those cherry trees, and admiring the resilience of those early-blooming pink-flowered cherry trees. I've been keeping an eye out for the neighborhood fox, occasionally spotting the cute li'l creature in the alley or in the woods. I've spent entirely too much time deciding which kind of tea to buy. I've eaten more than my fair share of spiced almonds. I've been staring at pretty rocks. I've been hoping that you're well.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Go Swim, "Call Sign"

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Monday, March 3rd, 2014


10:27 p.m. - For the record
I love snow. I do. Snow is beautiful and the chance to watch it fall and drift still fills me with childlike glee. But I'm also a big fan of crocuses in all their shades of purple and yellow and white, and I enjoyed seeing them spring up around the neighborhood last week. So can somebody please make this snow go away now so we can see all those lovely crocuses again? I'd appreciate that and I believe that 99.99% of my neighbors would as well.

More realistically, tomorrow should be a good day to go out looking for fox tracks in the snow. (A fox was playing in the alley this evening before running to a nearby field.)

At least I was prepared for today's storm, having stocked up on kefir, chocolate, and kim chee. (It's just possible that I have different priorities than most people, storm-preparation-wise.) And I went into DC to pick up my indulgence of the month on Saturday--the new Suzanne Vega CD! There are other new CDs I'd love to have too, but it's still cold and we still have astonishingly high oil bills to pay. (Good thing I still have chocolate.)

I'm tired & a bit headachy, so I should get to bed soon. Here's hoping that the furnace continues to work through the cold. (Even though you all don't know it, every single one of you is glad that you weren't in this house Saturday morning. Trust me on this.)

Good night, all. Please tell spring that we're ready to welcome her with open arms.
Current Mood: sleepy

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Thursday, February 13th, 2014


11:57 a.m. - Hello, World!
Just when it seemed I was getting into the swing of things, posting regularly and all that jazz, my dial-up modem decided that it didn't want to let me online for a few weeks. The modem did begin working again, but since it's done this sort of thing before and I really do like to be able to get online reliably, I probably should get it replaced soon. ([personal profile] hasufin has a modem for me; we just need to get it working with the computer at some point. It'll happen eventually!) After getting back online, I was again back in the mood to not say things, which is why you haven't seen me lately (except for the one or two of you who have).

So anyway, here I am. It's been snowing. You may have heard about it on the news. Forecasts prompt deluge of D.C. haiku! Also, appropriate xkcd is appropriate.

And because tomorrow is one of the great chocolate holidays, here are a few non-snowy links:

"4 things I learned from the worst online dating profile ever" (link via Slacktivist).

Relevant to a few folks on my reading lists: Activist Pickup Lines (in case you haven't already seen the Twitter hashtag (I hadn't)).

Relevant to folks with twisted senses of humor: The Cap'n's Unfortunate Valentine's Cards.

Relevant to me: There's supposedly a farmers' market today. I rather suspect I won't be going--it's raining out there and there are several inches of ice and slush on the roads! Bleh. One of these days I need to find myself a pair of snowboots that fit. [Edit: Market canceled today! Good, now I have no excuse to go outside when I really have no business going outside. This is a day to stay indoors and enjoy some quality chocolate.]

Anyway, how is everybody else doing? Are you staying sufficiently warm/cool/otherwise comfortable out there?
Current Music: Nik Kershaw, "One World"

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Thursday, January 9th, 2014


9:57 p.m. - tuewedthu
Tuesday: It was as bitterly cold as they'd predicted, and I was as inactive as I'd expected. Spent most of the day either reading in the dining room (much warmer than my bedroom) or napping under cozy layers and layers of covers. Had fun looking out the windows watching squirrels chasing each other around and around in an apparent effort to keep themselves warm. It was a pretty pleasant day overall, if uneventful.

Miles walked: Zero, nada, none.

Music of the day: J.S. Bach's Brandenburg concertos numbers 2-6, from I Musici.

~~~~~

Wednesday: Still tired enough to spend much of the day napping, I did think about going for a walk later in the afternoon. After going about thirty feet, I thought again and came back home, thinking that was all the walking I'd do for the day. But later in the evening, a smell reminiscent of improperly burning fuel oil or diesel drew me out of the house to wander around the neighboring streets in an attempt to find out where the smell was coming from. I didn't locate the source then and I was too unhappy about the air quality to continue the search for long, but I determined that at least it wasn't coming from our house. Came home and took a shower to get the smell of that gunk out of my hair. Half-wished that I were still coughing as much as I was last week, because it would have been nice to have expelled that stuff out of my lungs.

Aside from the napping, I spent my time reading or listening to music. Oh, I also got the chance to laugh at the landlord climbing over appliances like a monkey. Good times.

Miles walked: Half of one, maybe less.

Music: Toto's first self-titled album, more than once.

~~~~~

Thursday: Farmers' market day! Bought bread and apples at the market, then spent a good while listening to various conversations, occasionally joining in. Other than that, I did a fair amount of reading and walking. Sometime I should talk about what I was reading, but I'm too tired to go into that right now. Also started to do some daydreaming, but a major character in the daydream told me, "Stop thinking about me!" Kind of bossy for a fictional character, but I wasn't in the mood to argue with him.

Miles walked: Roughly 3.5, which is something of a minor miracle. I don't expect to be doing much of that tomorrow.

Music: Mr. Mister's third album, Go On..., and Christopher Cross's self-titled debut.
Current Mood: thirsty
Current Music: Christopher Cross and Richard Page battling in my head

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Monday, January 6th, 2014


8:37 p.m. - Oh, the weather outside is frightful...
...and we don't even have the full force of the Arctic blast yet. Right now the main problem is wind (and I'll be turning off the computer shortly so nothing gets fried if the power goes out (please please please don't let the power go out tonight!)). As a general rule, I would rather be too cold than too hot; but when you're talking about wind chills below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it's time to accept that Mother Nature wants to kill you. Folks in colder climates may take pride in the fact that they survive anyway, and that's understandable. But that doesn't negate the basic fact that such weather isn't made for human bodies to enjoy.

~~~~~~

A couple of silly linguistic links via the Slacktivist:

OED Birthday Words. Mine is "megastar."

New York Times Dialect Quiz. My three cities: Baltimore, Arlington (Virginia), and Raleigh. Not bad, considering I'm from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. I wonder why DC itself isn't on the list. (Least similar cities: Providence, Detroit, Milwaukee.)

~~~~~~

Miles walked today: Roughly 3.5. I don't expect to go very far in tomorrow's chill.

Today's music: J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. I was going to listen to all six concertos, but got distracted by the desire to go out while the weather was still semi-reasonable. Maybe tomorrow.

Loads of laundry done: Three. And that, my friends, tells you all you need to know about how exciting my day has been.
Current Mood: cold
Current Music: wind singing as it gathers strength
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Sunday, January 5th, 2014


10:46 p.m. - 2014, Weekend 1
Well, on Saturday my recent activity caught up with me and I spent most of the day in bed, either napping or reading. I did finally find the energy to go to a local grocery store, where I found masses of throngs of people who all had the same idea for no apparent reason. Everyone had a reason why they were shopping on that particular Saturday evening, but no-one had a clue why everyone else in the area was in the store at the same time. People were asking each other if perhaps there were some massive winter storm coming our way that they'd somehow managed not to hear about, but no. Maybe we were all just hungry.

Music of the day: Sheila Chandra's albums Roots and Wings and Weaving My Ancestors' Voices.

Miles walked: Two.

Today (Sunday), I spent even more time sleeping. Achy and utterly worn out. The only music I've listened to today is whatever was playing in my fitful dreams. In the evening (beautiful evening of mist and smoke) I walked a few blocks, just because I was suffering a severe lack of chocolate which needed to be remedied quickly. Now that my belly's been satisfied with sale-priced chocolate along with a sensible meal of ground beef, sweet potatoes, and enough garlic to repel a dozen Buffyverse vampires, I'm about ready to collapse back into bed and dream some more.

Somehow in the past two days I managed to begin and finish reading my first book of 2014: The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian. A decent dystopian novel with characters I cared about and an interesting enough setting, but something about the prose irritated me. Maybe I was in the mood to be irritated by something and that style was the most convenient irritant around.

I hope to have energy to go walking for a bit early in the day tomorrow before the vicious cold air hits our region. I have a feeling that I won't be wanting to leave the house on Tuesday. Good thing I remembered to buy tea while I was out. Winter days are easier when you have tea.
Current Mood: weary

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Friday, January 3rd, 2014


10:17 p.m. - Three in a row
I keep thinking that if I get in the habit of writing here again, maybe I'll start to write something worth reading. I don't believe that's likely to happen tonight, but you're more likely to write something good if you write rather than not writing, right? Write. So I'm writing. As I recall, most of my first dozen or so LiveJournal entries were attempts to post quiz results, so it's not as if I have any history of being interesting all the time anyway.

Today was the third of January in the year twenty-fourteen, and I almost but not quite got eight hours of sleep last night. After waking up, I dithered around a bit, listened to a CD of Gustav Holst's The Planets, and eventually made my way outside where I tried to be useful by helping to clear off the front sidewalk. Fortunately most of the work was being done by a hardy Midwesterner who laughs at what passes for cold around here, as I quickly lost my usefulness after I lost the feeling in my fingers.

I did a little work on one of my little semi-resolutions by going out to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant, where the vegetarian lunch special proved to be marvelous comfort food. Free of animal fat though it may have been, I don't believe there was anything low-calorie about it, so it's a good thing that I managed to walk about two-and-a-half miles today. As far as I can tell, I never got frostbite, so it's all good! (If anyone's wondering: I don't plan on eating out more than once more this month, unless someone else wants to pay! Eating other people's cooking is expensive, dudes. I'll have to eat lunch quickly after my next doctor's appointment since I'll be ravenous by then, but I do need to save money for the heating oil... bleh.)

Also did a load of laundry, which isn't exciting at all. And then I re-watched The Adjustment Bureau, about which my one complaint is that the film credits should not say that it was based on a story by Philip K. Dick. Loosely inspired by "The Adjustment Team" perhaps, but certainly not based upon it. It's a good comfort-food movie for me, anyway, since I've got a weakness for stories of somebody fighting against their fate, particularly when they get to meet the agents of that fate and get into arguments with them.

Right then. It's about time to post some quiz results.Collapse )
Current Mood: cold

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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014


10:09 p.m. - Whee!
The day began shrouded in fog, and now it's snowing! It's snowing! It's snowing!

Yes, there are days when I'm easily pleased. It's a good thing, too.

I had plans to go out and do something this morning or early afternoon; but as so often happens, I decided that that was a bad idea. Mostly it was my body deciding this for me, really. I did get out to a local farmers' market, though, where I bought apples and eggs while chatting with the few people there. Walked less today than yesterday, maybe a little over a mile, but a good part of that mile was while it was *snowing*, so that was worth it.

Tomorrow's expected to be bitterly cold, which means I'm not likely to go anywhere exciting. Drinking lots of tea and reading books in bed sounds like a good plan. If sleep interrupts that plan, I won't mind.

Still coughing. I'm rather tired of that. I'm rather tired in general, since I keep waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep. Been having odd dreams too, most of which I forget in the morning. Sometimes they come back to me in the middle of the day, teasing me with hints of meaning and clues I never understand. Maybe I'd understand my dreams better if I could get more sleep.

Music of the day: Music from the Motion Picture Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World, a CD I've listened to twice today. Right now the bit of music from Boccherini is playing in my head. That could be a good soundtrack for my dreams.
Current Mood: very, very sleepy

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Wednesday, January 1st, 2014


7:44 p.m. - Hummingwolf Today & Happy New Year!
Now Seeing: My computer screen with the Dreamwidth update page open in one window, a text file open in Notepad, a bunch of icons, and wallpaper with an aerial view of some dramatic arid-looking landscape somewhere.

Now Hearing: Computer fan, hum of kitchen appliances, rumble of the furnace, a distant train.

Now Feeling: Somewhat achy and congested, but not yet ready to fall into bed.

Now Smelling: The minty freshness of Candy Cane Lane tea.

Now Tasting: Salt.

Now Wearing: Black sweater with sort of a v-neck, dark blue jeans, white socks, a worn-out pair of white athletic shoes I use around the house instead of slippers, old glasses that still need to be replaced, and multicolored flowery underwear.

Last Meal Eaten: I splurged on crab & shrimp fritters and a bowl of harira at Busboys and Poets. For those of you who don't know them, Busboys and Poets is a DC-area restaurant chain known for their progressive politics. They support the poor with their politics, but not with the prices of their food. I don't go there much. (The food was reasonably good, though, and I needed to be around people today.)

Other Purchase of the Day: A small kitten calendar, because our kitchen needs a kitten calendar. It just does. (Kitchen kittens!)

CD of the Day: Prokofiev--Cinderella (Suite), performed by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Leonard Slatkin, who assembled the suite himself out of bits of Prokofiev's ballet score. I suppose it must be good music to start the year with, because I've listened to it twice already.

Animal of the Day: Red fox! There's one that's been living in our neighborhood for over a year now, and we hear him often but see him rarely. This morning was the fourth time I've seen him, and I wouldn't have seen him then if I hadn't heard him first.

LEGO Minifigure of the Day: A few days ago, I bought one of those minifigure packages with random characters in them with the intention of opening it up on New Year's Day. So the New Year minifigure is the Welder. Theme of the year: Joining things together--with FIRE! I'm remarkably okay with that.

Last Book Finished: The book cover says it's Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. In reality it's more like a book of poems adapted from or inspired by Rilke, mutated by the aesthetic preferences of a couple of late-20th-century American Buddhist activist women. It's not a bad collection, but I'd still like to read a translation of Rilke.

Number of Books Finished in 2013: 131--and only 28 of those came from the children's section of the library! Of course, some of the books for grown-ups I checked out were pretty fluffy. Still, that's the most books I've finished in one year since I began keeping track in 2007.

Miles Walked Today: About two.

New Goal for 2014: To post enough to LiveJournal and Dreamwidth to get all the entries from 2011 off my "Recent Entries" page.
Current Mood: optimistic

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Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


5:22 p.m. - Resolution-ish
1. In 2014, I will read more books from the Biography section of the library. I need to learn more about other people's stories, stories of those who lived long ago or far away. It seems like one good way to get out of my mental rut.

2. Since going without television and reliable radio often makes me feel a little too separated from the pop culture of the day, I want to get some kind of feel for what's going on by reading more periodicals. Most of those periodicals should not be alternative medicine magazines, even though my housemates do get great amusement from those noises I make when I read something like "Theta healing is practicing quantum physics by using theta brain wave states." (Gah.)

3. I also want to listen to more music. Music is good for the soul.

4. And I want to eat more Ethiopian food. Does this really need justification?
Current Mood: optimistic

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5:07 p.m. - It's almost over. It's almost over. It's almost over.
And I'm so very ready for it to be over.

2013 hasn't been my worst year ever--it's not even in the top five worst years ever--but it has been the year when I've needed to use the widest variety of antibiotics I've ever used in a single year, which must count for something.

Infections are exhausting. Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem. And 2013 is almost (thank God!) over. For all of us, may the arrival of 2014 bring more good things than 2013 and far fewer of the bad.
Current Mood: tired

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Wednesday, December 25th, 2013


12:57 p.m. - Merry Now and Happy Always!
Have a beautiful Wednesday, everyone!


Nativity
Chinese Ink Painting by Yu Jia-de
(Asian Christian Art Association)
Note the lion mask. Aslan!

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Tuesday, December 24th, 2013


9:06 a.m. - An attendance of STR Nicholas
It is Christmas Eve, time once again for the classic holiday traditions! As some of you may recall, one of my favorite traditions involves the mutilation of a classic Christmas poem. Back in 1999, I ran an old favorite by Clement Clarke Moore (or possibly Henry Livingston) through Babelfish, translating from English to German and back again. Even after all these years, I find myself muttering some of these old lines throughout the holiday season, and I hope that you, too, will treasure them in your hearts. Enjoy!


An attendance of STR Nicholas


' Twas the night before Christmas, when by the house a creature did not agitate itself completely, a mouse do not smooth; The socks were hung by the fire-place with Obacht, in hopes that STR would be Nicholas there soon;

The children nest LED quite comfortably in their beds, while sights of the sugar plums danced into their headings; And mamma in their ' kerchief and I in my protective cap, had agreed upon even down for the hair of a long winter,

When on the lawn such developed out a Geklapper, I rose from the bed, in order to see, what the material was. Away to the Window I flew like lightning, tore opened the shutters up violently and threw up sash.

The moon on the chest of the again-pleased snowCollapse )

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Thursday, November 28th, 2013


9:31 p.m. - Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans! I hope it's been a good one for you.

Happy Hanukkah to all you who celebrate!

Happy Thursday and/or Friday to all the rest of you!

Today's been a quiet one for me, but that seems to be what I need right now. I wish for a deep, restful, healing sleep to all of us who need it.
Current Mood: grateful

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Thursday, October 24th, 2013


11:27 p.m. - Happy Continuing October! (Hummingwolf Today)
Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday all those weeks ago! I had planned to post earlier in the month, but there was a week when my computer and modem were not communicating with each other (I'm still not sure what happened there), and then after that I was just tired. I'm rather tired now, actually, but it seems to be time to check in with you all.

Now wearing: A fuzzy purple sweater I've never worn before, a pair of dark blue jeans, warm beige socks, black athletic shoes with bright pink trim, boring underwear, and that pair of glasses I've been saying for years need to be replaced.

Now seeing: Too much dust in my room.

Now feeling: Warm. We just turned on the furnace for the first time this year last night, and the thermostat had a little issue after it lost power earlier today, and now the house is about five degrees warmer than we had planned to heat it to. Nobody's really complaining about the warmth, but we do want to avoid spending too much money on heating oil this year...

Also feeling tired, sniffly, and achy. There's a good chance I'll be sneezing soon.

Now smelling: Garlic, for some reason.

Now tasting: Mint from the toothpaste I just brushed with.

Now hearing: Computer fan, clacking keyboard, and muffled sounds of distant traffic.

Last meal eaten: A "Buffalo-style" blue cheese burger followed by somebody else's french fries.

Most exciting thing done today: Well, it's Thursday, so I went to a farmers' market. Hooray!

Song in my head: Siouxsie & the Banshees, "Kiss Them for Me."

CDs in my CD player:
1. The Nine Inch Nails album that came out last month, Hesitation Marks
2. A Nine Inch Nails EP from more than 20 years ago, Broken
3 & 4. My Fabulous Plum and My Lemonade Stand, two children's albums from Peter Himmelman

Just a little bit of contrast there, I suppose. Needs more flugelhorn.

Number of books read this year so far: 105. Just don't ask how many of those were children's picture books.

Items purchased at farmer's market: Rome apples, the season's last field-grown tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, unpasteurized lacto-fermented sauerkraut, and something else I'm forgetting. Y'know, once I start blanking on food, it's probably time to go to bed. Good night, world!
Current Mood: sleepy

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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013


12:40 a.m. - Happy October! Happy Shutdown Day!
Newslink from the land of the free and the home of the dysfunctional*--

"The capital’s rival clans find themselves at an impasse, unable to agree on a measure that will allow the American state to carry out its most basic functions. While the factions have come close to such a shutdown before, opponents of President Barack Obama’s embattled regime now appear prepared to allow the government to be shuttered over opposition to a controversial plan intended to bring the nation’s health care system in line with international standards."






* Not, it must be admitted, the only land of the free or home of the dysfunctional. The dysfunctional make their homes everywhere, and the free... well, that's debatable.
Current Mood: sleepy

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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013


12:13 p.m. - If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michele Bachmann.
Proposal: Name hurricanes after politicians who deny climate change.

But maybe you'll think twice before signing that petition: some folks wonder if the NSA's surveillance program is really meant to spy on environmentalists. Now, that may sound like excessive paranoia to you, but as Paul Bibeau says on his Goblinbooks blog: "The NSA Is Beyond My Ability To Satirize It."


In other news, the olinguito is rather cute. Also, lobster baby!
Current Music: The Police, "Synchronicity I"

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Monday, August 19th, 2013


10:30 p.m. - 7+ years ago, I said this...
In some cases, despite careful and correct
surgery, sterility does not speak--
words of a butterfly's wing, the
fully formed, but immature, offspring is born.

--MegaHAL


I keep thinking I ought to write down what I'm thinking, but if I see what I'm thinking and hear what I'm thinking, I might know what I'm thinking, and I think I don't want to.

I think, therefore I'm scared.

You feel the fluttering in your chest, in your belly, barely noticed at first, barely there. Soon, though, it grows, it's a heavier beating, wings beating from the inside, centered on the solar plexus, making it hard to breathe. You like to tell yourself it's butterflies. Then you start to wonder if it's dragonflies. Then you begin to believe it could be dragons after all.

If I'm not careful, I might breathe fire.

I try to gather words the way a dragon gathers treasure, build up a word-hoard of jewels and gold and royal purple to dress up my thoughts in. But maybe they have no wish to wear those fancy clothes. Maybe they would tear off the clothes I would like to see them wearing, rip and claw and bite at the clothes that would make them pretty, fit for public display. Naked thoughts are invisible, of course, but there's always something around for them to dress up in. Maybe they would rather cover themselves in dust and ash and earth.

It isn't seeing immature thoughts that bothers me. It's the possibility I might find them fully-formed. Words of a dragon's wing, casting aside the clothes of polite society and showing their true selves to the world.

In some cases, despite careful and correct surgery, you discover that you still breathe flames.



[Originally posted January 2006]

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Sunday, August 4th, 2013


4:40 p.m. - "Everything is everywhere. The environment selects."
One thing that puzzled me was, how do microbes always seem to show up in extreme environments ready to carpe diem? When new hydrothermal vents open on the cold, dark, ocean floor, where do the hyperthermophiles come from? Are they floating in some dormant state waiting for a gush of boiling sulfuric acid to wake them up or are they already down in plumbing systems below the seafloor in the crust and do they just happen to be ejected through new vents? What about the bacteria, archaea, and fungi colonizing the Titanic? How did they find the Titanic when it took us more than 70 years using secret navy technologies? Were the iron-loving microbes already at work on the new steel before the ship set sail? Were they already present in the ocean scratching out a meager existence from molecules in the bottom sediments? [Charles] Pellegrino pondered whether microbes from the toilets on the Titanic and the throats of passengers survived and mingled. When I posed the question to [Roy] Cullimore he quoted Dutch microbiologist Baas Becking:

"Everything is everywhere. The environment selects."



--from Tim Friend's book The Third Domain: The Untold Story of Archaea and the Future of Biotechnology

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Saturday, July 13th, 2013


11:59 p.m. - Hummingwolf Today
Now seeing: Through the mini-blinds I see the next-door neighbors' back porch crowded with potted plants, greens and reds strongly side-lit by their back light. Some of the plants are obscured by the silhouette of a decorative fence.

Now hearing: My room fan, my computer fan, something high-pitched outside (peepers?), the rumble of distant traffic, and water dripping from leaves.

Now smelling: Mud, sweat, and peppermint.

Now tasting: Salt.

Now feeling: A little too warm. Also feeling pain (from infection, congestion, a mild migraine, and the usual fibromyalgia-type pains) and itching (from half a dozen mosquito bites received in a single ten-minute period this afternoon).

Antibiotic of the day: Ciprofloxacin. As reluctant as I am to take any drug which might possibly slightly increase my risk of seizures (and spontaneous tendon rupture? seriously??), I'm more reluctant to let this one persistent infection continue any longer than absolutely necessary. I'll avoid NSAIDs and follow all the instructions and hope for the best.

Probiotic of the day: Local business Number 1 Sons sells fermented veggies with live & active cultures, and I am currently in love with their District Dills.

Last meal eaten: Well, it was going to be something simple, some ground lamb, potatoes, and vegetables I would have eaten happily. But as I was on my way to a local grocery to pick up some more yogurt, I began to feel the patter of little raindrops. I looked at the ominous clouds in the distance, and although they weren't coming from the direction whence our storms usually come, I suddenly decided it was time to try out a restaurant I'd never been to before. So my meal was more expensive than the one I'd planned, but it was a bowl of chicken, brown rice, cucumber raita, spinach curry, and other vegetables which tasted particularly wonderful as I sat in a dry, air-conditioned restaurant watching the fairly impressive downpour through the window.

Last non-food item purchased: Well, I paid a nominal co-pay for the antibiotic yesterday. Other than that, I'm not sure when I last bought something I wasn't prepared to eat. Maybe it was that greeting card I got ten days or so ago.

Last book finished: Mark Alpert, Extinction, a sci-fi-ish thriller about an artificial intelligence that breaks free from its programming and decides it should kill all humans except for some breeding stock. Leading human characters have prosthetic implants (like a weaponized arm that doubles as a machine gun), so the machine-human interface gets a bit blurred at times. Entertaining enough, though like most novels written by people hailed as the next Michael Crichton, it's almost entirely lacking in the humor you'd find in a Crichton story. Still, with a big enough budget, it could make for a great summer action movie.

Music of the day: I've had a bad habit lately of letting myself become music deprived. In an effort to break the habit, I listened to The Police's Outlandos d'Amour and Icehouse's Icehouse, both of which have been sitting on my shelves too long unheard.

Visual spectacle of the day: The sky after the thunderstorm, of course. First there was the rainbow, which may not have been a very bright rainbow, but is worthy of mention simply for being a rainbow. Later, around sunset, the clouds came together in a combination of textures and colors (oranges, blues, turquoises, and an improbable shade of green) you might criticize as overkill if you saw it in a human's artwork; but seeing it in the actual sky, you must simply accept the fact that sometimes reality likes to go just a little bit too far.

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Monday, July 8th, 2013


3:26 p.m. - Hello, world.
Because people have been asking: Yes, I'm still alive.

I'm also really, amazingly tired. I've got at least two infections going right now, which is probably a big part of my problem. There may be a bit of depression involved as well, though that could just be situational because, hey, I've got at least two infections at the moment.

So, I'm not ignoring anyone, and I'm not more active elsewhere online (except for occasional bursts of comments over on Slacktivist's blog). I'm just... tired.

I hope you're all doing wonderful and exciting things without me. :-)
Current Mood: take a guess
Current Music: fan, chirping birds, and distant traffic

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Saturday, April 13th, 2013


7:24 p.m. - Poem of the night
"Night Spider's Advice"--Joyce Sidman


Build a frame
and stick to it,
I always say.
Life's a circle.
Just keep going around.
Do your work, then
sit back and see
what falls in your lap.
Eat your triumphs,
eat your mistakes:
that way your belly
will always be full.
Use what you have.
Rest when you need to.
Dawn will come soon enough.
Someone has to remake
the world each night.
It might as well be you.


Current Music: Ke$ha's in my head. Please get her out.

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Thursday, April 11th, 2013


9:01 a.m. - QOTM


"Genius is the error in the system."

--Paul Klee


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Tuesday, April 9th, 2013


9:30 p.m. - Happy Peak Bloom!
Finally, here in the DC area we can say it: Happy Spring! (It's now feeling more Summery than I'd like, but you take what you can get.)

I'm not really up to saying anything coherent, so I'll leave you with a link to a visualization of the Cherry Blossom Festival and Peak Bloom Dates.

Also, a quiz result which should surprise no-one who has seen me recently:

I'm sure this is all about the hairCollapse )
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Saturday, March 9th, 2013


9:13 p.m. - QOTM
"Has it occurred to you that the lust for certainty may be a sin?"


--John Habgood, then-Archbishop of York
Current Mood: uncertain
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Tuesday, January 1st, 2013


11:01 p.m. - Hummingwolf Today
Now seeing: Nothing terribly interesting. It's nighttime and I've closed the blinds, so there's just my clutter which I'd rather not think about too much just now.

Now hearing: My lovely, lovely space heater. Oh space heater, never let me down!

Now feeling: A bit chilly, despite the space heater. Otherwise I'm dealing with a mild migraine as well as the usual assortment of aches & pains. Emotionally, I'm balanced at a point where I can tip over into happiness or sadness but probably will remain balanced here at least until bedtime.

Now tasting: Nothing in particular... oh, now it's the twig tea I've just drunk a bit of.

Now smelling: It seems to be a combination of ginger and cardboard. Your guess is as good as mine.

Now wearing: Black V-neck sweater, blue jeans that don't fit my shape very well, white socks that have seen better days, white running shoes (also pretty worn out), pair of glasses that I simply must replace in 2013, and boring underwear.

Last album listened to: Kathy Mattea, Love Travels, which I love with a love that isn't going anywhere.

Last book finished: Proving the Unseen, a short collection of sermons by George MacDonald. It was the 99th book I finished in 2012. (Yes, ninety-nine. I would have liked to have reached triple digits, but it was not to be.)

Last DVD watched: Source Code, the 54th and last DVD I watched in 2012. It's very much my type of story, and it would be even if the film didn't feature little bits of a song Nik Kershaw wrote.

Last TV show watched: Well, I tried watching a low-powered analog station a few days ago, but it wasn't coming in well enough for me to figure out which film they'd dubbed into Spanish.

Miles walked today: More than two, but I'm not sure how much more and I'm too tired to try to retrace my steps to figure it out.

Color of the day: #B31E32. It just is.

Last meal eaten: Ground lamb with potato, onion, broccoli, and smoked sharp cheddar, topped with a bit of avocado. The seeds of 1/3 of a pomegranate. And a Cadbury caramel egg.

Wait, wait... Cadbury caramel egg? Yep. I ate one on January 1, 2012 too, so this may be the start of a tradition.

But that's Easter candy! Yes, and the stores had candy eggs on the shelves on December 30--when they were still playing Christmas music. The holiday tunes seem to have stopped for the new year, but it's possible that I just wasn't paying enough attention to what was coming out of those sound systems.

Most recent phone call: Short one to one of my brothers, who seems to have survived the holidays without completely falling apart, so that's a plus.

Most recent real-life conversation:
Random Stranger: You know what's missing in our society?

Me: What?

RS: Someone to say, "How ya doing? Happy New Year!"

Me: Happy New Year!

Thought for the day: Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 21st, 2012


11:12 a.m. - Preparing for a New B'ak'tun
So, does anybody happen to know what the ancient Mayans thought of as the beginning of a new day--sunrise, sunset, or the middle of the night? I'd just like to know when I should be celebrating the start of a new count. Of course, since there's still some uncertainty as to whether the Long Count ends at the end of December 21 or December 23, we should all probably celebrate all weekend long just to be on the safe side. I'm okay with that.

How do you celebrate a new Mayan cycle? Well, the Mayans ate many foods which have become staples for most of us in recent centuries, like corn (maize), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, various kinds of beans (including black beans and pinto beans), squash, pineapple, avocado, chili peppers, vanilla, and chocolate. My plans involve eating burritos and drinking lots of spicy hot cocoa to keep me warm this windy weekend. How about you?


~~~~~~~~~~



And for anyone wondering: Yes, I'm still alive. No, I haven't abandoned LJ and DW for more popular sites--I have no Twitter or Tumblr accounts and I plan on avoiding Facebook for my entire life if at all possible. I just haven't felt like communicating much. (I've been slightly more sociable in the offline world, if that reassures anyone.)
Current Mood: curious

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Saturday, June 30th, 2012


11:52 a.m. - Checking In
It's not you; it's me. I really haven't been in the mood for writing this year! But I wanted to sign in to LJ to tell anyone wondering about me that I'm still alive--even after yesterday's record heat and last night's violent storms! Power was out at home this morning, so here I am keeping my cool at the public library until they kick me (and all the other folks here trying to stay cool) out.

What have I done so far in 2012? Well, I've

* been enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, then

* been freaked out by the unseasonably warm weather

* enjoyed going to farmers' markets each week, even when the markets were not officially open

* read over 50 books so far

* observed a family of neighborhood raccoons, all of them utterly adorable

* been seriously flirted with (about half an hour ago) by someone new in town

* been less seriously flirted with (at various markets) by various long-timers

* hung out with local elected officials (though none of them were *my* elected officials)

* wondered how much of my refrigerated food is going to survive the power outage

* wondered if there's any good place to sleep in this library


Right then. That's about all the coherent thought I can manage. Anyone else tired of dealing with record-breaking heat?
Current Mood: thirsty

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Monday, February 27th, 2012


6:52 p.m. - All our daffodils agree: it's spring.
The honeybees buzzing
the half-open blossoms
of pink cherry trees
at the top of our street
concur.

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Saturday, February 18th, 2012


3:03 p.m. - For those wondering...
... I'm still alive. Haven't been up to writing much, or all that good at using language many days. Have managed to socialize a little bit with folks who live in the neighborhood, though. Been spending time playing with the computer, hoping to do something worthwhile at some point. Haven't managed to read as much as I would like, thanks to that language problem. Health is worse in several ways and I'm terrified. Of course I keep scheduling appointments with various doctors, but I have yet to figure out who is most likely to be able to help. Anyway, I finally realized yesterday that the music of Nine Inch Nails is the best therapy I have for this kind of terror, so I listened to Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral a few times before giving in to necessity and going to bed early.

So. Not doing very well, really. Here's hoping things get better before I lose these last few shreds of sanity.

On the sillier side, here are a couple of silly things one posts on LJ when one has nothing else to sayCollapse )
Current Mood: so. very. tired.

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Wednesday, January 25th, 2012


8:56 a.m. - In the News
“Attention! From 19.01.2012 the icon of Vladimir Putin in the church started to seep myrrh, and the same happened to his sainted portrait,” the Holy Mother says in her blog. “God is sending us signs of his blessed presence.” Um... right. Good to know.

Is there any interested party who hasn't yet seen the blog post about PIPA supporters' copyright violations?

In niftier news which some of you should have mentioned by now: A gallery of life at Antarctic hydrothermal vents.
Current Mood: lethargic

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012


11:30 p.m. - Still Alive
Just noting here that I am, in fact, alive, though I'm still not much in the mood for saying anything. Part of the reason I wanted to post tonight is that today I managed to hit the back of my head hard on the bottom of the bathroom sink (yes, I'm talented) and, though I didn't lose consciousness as far as I can tell, I've been half-wondering ever since whether I had done any serious damage to my poor, pitiful brain. Today was the kind of day when I had most of your standard concussion symptoms before hitting my head, so it really hasn't been much fun.

Anyway, it's been over twelve hours since the accident and I'm still conscious and my pupils look okay, so I plan to ignore the headache, the ringing in my ears, etc. and go get some sleep soonish. This is my note to say that as of tonight I'm still alive, and I sincerely hope that I don't wake up dead. :-)

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