I've been reccing Steven Universe art again this month over at fanart_recs. Here are links to all the recs I posted: |
Check out the fanart_recs community for art recs from many more fandoms.
Fandom: Steven Universe|
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Steven, Connie, and Stevonnie
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: misspeya
Why this piece is awesome: This is an animation of Steven and Connie fusing into Stevonnie. It's sweet and joyful. I like the bounciness of their hair and the little detail of Steven's shoes getting left behind.
Link: Stevonnie animation
The mesh of streetcar wires overhead is particularly dense at Spadina and College, on the border between Chinatown and Kensington Market and the University of Toronto.
- Star Wars: A New Hope was first released exactly 40 years ago, this past Thursday, 25th May. My cousin and I, having also turned 40 this past year, celebrated the franchise's milestone with a bottle of wine and a re-watch of the original version. Also, I love how from now on there'll always be this added layer of meaning to the opening sequence, in the wake of Rogue One.
- Incidentally, my bro turned 42 this week. The answer to Life, The Universe and Everything! I'm ordering him a bunch of geeky stuff from online. If ever there was a year for a nerdy, know-it-all type to swan around in Hitchhiker merchandise, it would be now. *g*
- Fan Art Schedule
- Captain America Reverse Big Bang: Currently working with a writer. Looking forward to posting art for this one soon.
- Defenders Big Bang: Did the Artist sign-up. Still waiting to choose a fic writer to collaborate with.
- The Wonder Woman movie is coming out this weekend here! \o/ Can't wait!
Hey, folks. Does anyone have good advice on how to maintain friendships as an adult?|
Because, like, I feel like I never see anyone outside of my immediate family anymore. And I am very lucky that immediate family includes not just my wife and baby, but also our other partners and Fox's grandmothers, so it's not like it's just the three of us all the time. We're a three-parent family and I've got a basic pack of like eight people, which I love and am really grateful for.
But... I spent my childhood with almost no friends, being bullied a lot. And then I went to college, and suddenly I could make friends! Lots of friends! It was amazing. And then, (after a few depressed and lonely years immediately after college) I moved into a collective household with college friends, and we were social enough to draw lots of awesome new people. And even after we moved to Texas with the core of that household, and then moved back, we were still involved with a creative project with most of those people, which meant that I was seeing friends multiple times a week.
But then the creative project ended, and so did my relationship with the people in that collective household outside of Lila. And I was pretty shaken up about that (even though it was my decision), and I spent about a year mourning (and working on my career, and trying to get pregnant), and saw very little of anyone else. And then I was pregnant, and then I had a very small baby, and was therefore exhausted. I kept seeing friends occasionally, from time to time, but though I missed them, I really didn't initiate. And I think that people, noting that I had been turning down invitations for, like, three years solid, stopped inviting me to things as much. Which is reasonable.
But now I have more energy, and I am lonely as hell. Or... not lonely, exactly, because I spend almost no time actually alone. But I miss the friends I used to spend time with. I want to know what's going on with them, and get their read on what's going on with me, and just generally leave my house and get out in the world and do things together.
But there are obstacles. One is that a baby (even as chill and portable a baby as this one) and running a small business do take a bunch of time and energy. One is that I now work evenings and Saturdays, which may change in the fall, but is pretty inconvenient now. One is that I'm not sure how to regularly see people when we're not doing some kind of structured activity together. One is that I haven't really figured out how to use social media to stay in touch with people, rather than just having a vague sense of their lives going by.
And one is the very old fear that nobody wants to play with me. Which you would think that the past twenty years would have talked me out of, but here we are.
I'm... working on it? I do host a monthly political-action party for people I don't see often, and those have been fun. But that leaves the other thirty-odd days when I don't have much contact with anyone outside my pack except for occasional "liking" them on Twitter and Tumblr and very occasionally Facebook. I don't want to just like people online. I want to like them in person. Or at very least, find a way to have more substantial online conversations despite the fact that I may at any moment need to jump up midcomment to stop someone from putting their hand in the humidifier. It's not a matter of meeting people-- I know which people I want to do things with. I just need to actually do the things.
Today's prompt is 'you read my mind'.
I took Kit to|
Specifically to the splendid shiny new Books Are Magic, which has an amazing children's section complete with big bean bags and a squishy couch to sit on. I recommend it highly.
Kit was very serious and focused on the subway, the way they are in new situations. grahamsleight was with us and kept trying to get their attention, but they were too focused on absorbing all information from the surroundings. But when they saw the books, they lit up with delight. They've been to libraries, and of course at home they're surrounded by bookshelves. They understand bookshelves.
They zoomed over to the shelf of board books and picked out some familiar ones before looking at the rest. After a little while of watching them pick books up and drop them and bang them on other books, Graham said "Kit, look!" and rotated the revolving rack of Little Golden Books.
So then they pulled down some books and rotated the rack and that was fun. They were very puzzled by the Little Golden Books being so thin and would grab several at a time, thinking they were one book.
Eventually they went back to the board books. They liked grabbing multiple copies of a single title and waving them all around. They turned pages in a book they'd never seen before, got to a (fairly crude) drawing of a kid in a bath, and signed "bath". I nearly fainted. The other day I saw them turn to a book page that shows people dancing and start doing their adorable chair-boogie dance, but it was a familiar book. This was completely new. MY BABY UNDERSTANDS SEMIOTICS. WHAT.
(I later had some deeper thoughts about how if Kit can look at a picture that looks nothing like bathtime at our house and still understand it as "bath", that makes it all the more imperative to show them books about kids and families of all kinds so that they internalize broad concepts of "happy kid" and "family", and that ended with me buying two board books about kids with same-sex parents and emailing Rebecca Sugar via Cartoon Network Books to ask whether she could make a Steven Universe board book that shows Steven and his amazing loving cobbled-together family.)
kissane and dailyjuna joined us, and Graham read books to the kids (who were impossibly good together) while Erin and I kvelled. Kit spotted a little chair and pushed it all over the place. They repeatedly tried to go behind the counter. (I told them "You don't work here yet.") We eventually decamped to 61 Local, where Kit tried to drink some of my orange juice and had a remarkably contained meltdown when the noise got to be too much. As soon as I took them outside they quieted down, and they stayed very chill on the bus and home. What a good Brooklyn baby.
Every time I wear them in the front carrier, people express amazement, because they are enormous and I am small. But it was so nice to be able to just go up and down stairs instead of wrestling with the stroller and have them "on my lap" when I sat down instead of needing to take the backpack on and off (which is really tricky in transit), and my arms are very grateful to my hips and knees for taking the load. As soon as they can walk up and down stairs with help, the subway will be much more manageable with the stroller: it folds up small and slings over my shoulder, and that frees me to hold their hand on the steps. But carrying both stroller and baby is just impossible for me, I don't want to rely on strangers to not drop my baby down a flight of stairs, and most stations don't have elevators. So in the meantime, I'm building up leg and core strength. Maybe I should start working out again.
1. I had a nice, relaxing day off, and got some housework and translating done. I got some reading done, too. I think I might finish another book this week! :D|
2. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 tonight and it was so good! I liked the first one a lot, but this one was even better. ( SO MANY FEELS ) But yeah, this movie was pretty great.
3. We also went to Cheesecake Factory afterwards and got nachos (to eat there) and cheesecake (to bring home).
4. Sweet Molly!
See here for explanation.|
2.A song you like with a number in the title
huh. Could have used Red Balloons for that as well. Lots of options here, but in the interests of Something Completely Different we'll go with Take Five. I'm not sure it needs any expanation, being so famous, but it's something I've played in my university-bands days, and I think is a bit of a rite of passage for anybody doing jazz. No, my head still can't get around 5/4 very well.
Canonical link: https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/1337765.html|
One of the things that became clear when I asked for suggestions as to questions to ask assisted living facilities is that a lot of people have no idea what an assisted living facility is, and were answering thinking of nursing homes. This confusion is endemic. Neither tn3270 nor I understood the distinctions before we started looking into it; even his mother, D – who had been the person who asked us to find her a place – didn't understand how different an assisted living facility is from a nursing home. Not until she first set foot in one, a few weeks ago.
As those following this journal know, tn3270 and I have been shopping assisted living facilities for D for most of the last two months. I started writing this four hours after returning from the first "short list" tour of an assisted living residence – the first time we returned to one and brought D with us to check it out for herself. Over lunch – a complementary lunch visit is a typical second-step of the assisted living shopping experience – I asked D if it was like what she had imagined. No. Not even a little bit. She thought it would be like the rehab she had been in after breaking her hip, or the nursing homes her sisters were in. Her mind was (favorably) blown.
So I thought I would do a public service and try to share that experience with my readers, to edify you as to the differences.
At least in Massachusetts. Readers, be cautioned: I literally have no idea how universal these terms are, or whether they mean the same thing everywhere. This is how things are here. How they are where you are, if you are not here, I do not know.
Since apparently more people have far more experience with nursing homes and rehabs (for reasons that will become apparent below) – and since a lot of people don't necessarily know whether facilities they've visited or been nursing homes or something else (they were probably nursing homes) – I thought I'd start there.
( Read More [4,980 Words] )
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I love home. I love my dogs.|
I miss everyone I saw at Wiscon, but I am so glad to be home.
Three times this Wiscon I was in the audience when the moderator opened it up for questions and there was silence. Which persisted until I stuck my hand up and asked something weird and stupid, which I probably should have though better of, but 1. it was the best I could think of at the time and 2. it was better than nothing. And it was followed by better questions after I broke the ice. The first time was A Room Of One's Own, after the GOH readings. Maybe everyone was intimidated by Kelly Sue Conway? She is really funny, you guys.
Amal El-Mohtar read us a story that included the lines, if I remember correctly, "You are a Great Horned Owl. You are an apex predator. You are a terrible parent." I was surprised, because Great Horneds are notoriously very nurturing parents. They'll keep on feeding their fully-fledged adult-sized offspring until it's time to start preparing for the next clutch. Amal said, "So I should change that metaphor to something about trust fund babies?"
Amal was right that they are terrible nest-builders, though, which is one reason why we get a lot of Great Horned babies at the raptor center. If the babies are uninjured and the tree is intact, we will nail up a wicker laundry basket and return the babies, and the parents are usually still hanging around looking for babies to feed. And they'll keep using the laundry basket every year because it's the best nest they've ever had.
So I've been watching things periodically, and also checking out some art stuff. The last first: I've been doing the exercises at http://drawabox.com/ - the first page of 'em, anyway, I've gotten through lines and ellipses and will be moving on to boxes soon. Ooooooooooooooooh. I'm not finding it all that difficult but it's nice to have something to practice--some kind of structure. We'll see how the 3D stuff goes.|
I've also been watching a bunch of Netflix. The new MST3k is a lot of fun! I haven't had anything completely blow me away yet, but it's a nice thing to have on to watch when I want something funny that I don't have a great deal of emotional attachment to. I really like the host segments and the conceit of how they've built up the universe is pretty funny. I've now seen Reptilicus, Cry Wilderness (and let me take a moment to say: WTF is with that movie?), Time Travelers, and Avalanche. I feel like they're getting better as the season goes on, so we'll see!
I've also finally started watching Season 2 of Sense8 and I'm really enjoying it so far!
I am attempting to keep watching Critical Role but the episodes are SO LONG. I am barely making any progress, I am in the middle of the episode with the underwater tomb where two of their Slayers' Take pals come back for a couple episodes. It's a lot of fun! But like four hours an episode and I have so much science I ought to be doing.
This pinch hit is due at 11:59pm EDT Thursday 1 June. (Countdown) - or slightly negotiable. Note that reveals are scheduled for 4:59pm EDT Friday 2 June (Countdown).|
Please reply to this post or email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim.
( Pinch hit #14 - CLAIMED )
I picked up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k, a book on increasing wordcount output, after seeing it recommended somewhere. It's $2.99 as a Kindle ebook and a fast, well-organized read. It also, sadly, doesn't help me much. But that's not surprising; Aaron herself says in her introduction that every writer's process is different and that if you don't find her methods useful, scrap 'em.|
Aaron's method is based on three cornerstones: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.
By knowledge, Aaron means you should know what you're going to write before you write it. This doesn't just mean outlining in the usual sense that most writers use, but even something so simple (as she mentions) as sitting down for five minutes before your daily writing session and jotting down notes on how you want your scene to go.
I am an outliner--I outline at the chapter level because I find it almost impossible to finish stories that don't have some level of preexisting structure. (I learned this the hard way, after leaving dead story-corpses all over my hard drive and not being able to finish things for years. There's a reason my short story output per year is not great.) I rarely outline in more depth than that because I have almost never found it helpful to do so. Well, in a spirit of open-mindedness, I tried Aaron's method while working on Dragon Pearl. I spent about five minutes and worked out where I thought the scene was going to go. Within 500 words, I had gone completely off the rails, so that was pretty much a waste of time. I could have tried it again, but I know myself well enough to be pretty convinced that going off the rails would be a regular occurrence. I mean, I'm the person who tossed off Kel formation instinct almost as a throwaway worldbuilding detail only to have to practically take over the trilogy (it's a major theme and plot factor in both Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun), and a character who had not even existed in the outline for Revenant Gun ended up becoming one of the major secondary characters. So, uh, yeah. Since I'm prone to zig where I was supposed to zag, this bit of advice is not helpful to me. But it might work for you.
By time Aaron means time management--not just making the time to write, but figuring out your own writing output patterns and playing to your strengths. So if you take a couple weeks to record your wordcount output and discover that you write fastest in the evenings, then prioritize writing in the evenings. If you write best when you have several uninterrupted hours, try to arrange your life to make that possible. Things like that. This part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't work another day job--I'm a stay-at-home parent. I can pretty much arrange my hours however I want. I'm not great at time management, but this is more a function of my terrible willpower than lack of self-knowledge.
The last bit is enthusiasm, by which she means that stuff you're genuinely enthusiastic about writing will go faster--often much faster--than stuff you're not. I have experienced this; I think many of us have. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help me. I am sitting on a weapons-grade mood disorder. My being able to sustain enthusiasm about ANYTHING for longer than a few hours is pretty much never going to happen. When I have writing projects scheduled out a couple years in advance, it's pretty hard to imagine being able to maintain any level of enthusiasm for the work to come. And, I mean, besides bipolar disorder being disruptive, I spend a lot of time depressed, including depressed about my writing. So this is just a wash.
She does have one useful insight that I've observed about my own writing (and which I wish someone had told me rather earlier), which is that when you seem "stuck" in your writing, sometimes it's because your subconscious is trying to tell you that there's a glitch in what you're currently trying to do, and you need to reconsider your approach. I have definitely had that experience--generally once I figure out a solution to the problem in the writing, the "blocked" feeling resolves itself.
Anyway, the Rachel Aarons of the world may well be able to write a decent novel draft in the twelve days that she cites, but I am never going to be able to do that. I can't sustain much more than 2,000-2,500 words per day without burning out, partly because I don't think fast, partly because writing is a painful endeavor for me. I guess I will have to be resigned to being slow and suboptimal. Her observation that you should be as excited about your writing as you want your readers to be particularly dismays me, because I spend most of my time hating my professional writing  and by this standard I'm just doomed. :/ But that's not Aaron's problem, it's mine.
 In all fairness, my fanfic isn't much better, it's just that in fanficlandia people tend to not actually leave comments if they think your fic sucks, they just leave crickets. :p
I have a strong memory of when I first decided to experiment with eating grain-free. Back in 2010 I was heavily into baking my own sourdough. This meant toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch most days.
But it also meant I often felt bloated and gross (especially after lunch). And I was finding it harder to manage my weight even though I was running 50km+ (31 miles) each week.
So after reading about the paleo diet, I decided to put my bread making addiction on hold, and experiment with this whole grain-free approach.
After trying it for a month, I was pretty happy with the results but found the lack of dairy and legumes too restrictive. So I created my own ‘almost-paleo’ way of eating with a focus on vegetables and including legumes and a little dairy.
I also decided to avoid ‘bread-like’ packaged products, even if they were ‘paleo’ and just focus on enjoying delicious real food. Simple.
To be honest I didn’t really miss bread. And when I ‘treated’ myself to a slice of amazing sourdough from one of my favourite bakers, the icky feeling afterward didn’t justify the pleasure. So I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything to avoid bread.
Then earlier in the year I came across this bread recipe using broccoli, eggs and almond meal. Since I was writing a baking book I decided to investigate.
What a revelation!
Satisfyingly bready yet also low-carb and a serve of veggies? Brilliant.
It’s been so great to have the occasional sandwich for lunch. Or a slice of avocado toast. Definitely a keeper!
Like to try more low-carb / gluten-free breads?
Then check out my new book, the ‘Sunday Baking Sessions‘. There’s also my ‘Life-Changing’ Cauliflower Seed Loaf, Rosemary & Almond ‘Sourdough’, Coconut Flat Breads, Low-carb Tortillas and plenty more…
To make sure you don’t miss out on the special introductory price go to:
NOTE: Special launch price available for a limited time only.
Broccoli Sandwich Bread
From the ‘Sunday Baking Sessions‘.
When I’m in the mood for a sandwich or a slice of toast, this is my go-to recipe. I love how something that feels and tastes quite ‘bready’ is actually a serve of vegetables. I slice and freeze so I can just defrost in the toaster as needed.
This broccoli bread does look very green, which I love but I’ve found my boys are much happier eating the white, cauliflower version instead. What is it with kids and green food?
makes: 6-8 slices
takes: about 40 minutes
500g (1lb) broccoli, 2 small
100g (3.5oz) almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
2. Whizz your broccoli using your food processor until it looks a bit like fine couscous. Or chop as finely as possible.
3. Add eggs, almond meal and salt to the food processor bowl. Stir with a spoon until combined.
4. Line a baking tray with baking (parchment) paper. Tip the broccoli mixture onto the lined tray then using your hands smooth into a rectangle about 1cm (1/3in) thick.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is slightly browned and feels firm and springy when touched.
6. Cool on the tray. Cut in half crosswise and then into 3-4 lengthwise to make 6-8 slices (or cut to your preferred size).
different quantities – the 500g (1lb) broccoli is a guideline but if you only have 400g (14oz) or up to 600g (21oz) it will be fine.
higher fiber – Add 1-2 tablespoons psyllium, oat bran, ground chia seeds or ground flaxseeds (linseeds). I’ve also made it with whole linseeds.
nut-free – replace almond meal with bread crumbs, ground linseeds (flax seeds) or ground sunflower seeds. Each of these will soak up different amounts of moisture so you’ll need to be prepared for different baking times. When I made it with ground sunflower seeds the texture was wetter and it took 30 minutes.
different vegetables – cauliflower works really well. You could also replace up to half the broccoli / cauliflower with grated raw veg like carrot, beets, sweet potato, parsnip or zucchini. I wouldn’t use all root veg though.
other flavours – I like to keep this simple so my sandwich flavours come through but you could play around with some grated parmsean, garlic or chopped herbs.
Shelf Life / Storage
Will keep in the fridge for a week or so. I like to keep it in the freezer and just warm slices in the toaster as needed.
ps. Like a sneak peak?
Here are some samples from the book…
pps. I normally don’t like to play favorites…
But the Savoury & Breads chapter in the ‘Sunday Baking Sessions‘, is the one I’ve found myself using the most since I downloaded the finished book to my phone.
And the cool thing is that since there’s no gluten or flour, there’s no need to knead! Or mess around with yeast.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the special introductory price go to:
NOTE: Special launch price available for a limited time only.
So the first four episodes of season five of Steven Universe aired tonight as a "one hour special event." They will be re-airing individually throughout the week -- two tomorrow at 7:00, then one Wednesday & one Thursday.|
Aside: my DVR didn't know what to do with a block that didn't have proper season/episode information attached and shoved it down at the bottom of the list, which made me think it hadn't recorded at first, that is, panic.
( SPOILERS, SO MANY SPOILERS, ALL THE SPOILERS )
May. 29th, 2017 @ 08:33 pm
I was so gleeful to get my boots back that I got the boy to teach me how to shine boots like he was taught in the military, and apparently this involves fire. Guess who spent the better part of an hour last night lighting boot polish on fire. You get three guesses and the first two don't count.|
(Of course this led to a number of amusing conversations where he'd say in a very long-suffering voice "It's on fire" and I'd be all "Yeah, I know, I know" with a grin that would probably be unnerving if he didn't know me well.)
Still watching too many makeup videos of how to do a this eye and that eye and cat eye and one eye two eye red eye blue eye I need more palettes and also two weeks of paid vacation time where I can just sit and fuck around with this stuff. Having dug out a really old smoky eye type neutrals palette (okay not that old but still) and messed around with it I have discovered that I am actually messier with palettes than I am with loose powders. Which is entirely the lack of practice, but still. 2017 is the year of escapism by makeup. The Urban Decay primer potion is also A Primer, for experiment noting, but the applicator is terrifyingly pokey. Why, Urban Decay. Why do you want me to stab myself in the eyes.
(I could just use shape tape but I want to conserve that for the luggage I'm carrying around under my eyes.)
I have no idea where the day went. I did get most things done but not nearly as much of it as I meant to while at work, meaning by the time I got up to play with makeup it was late and i was exhausted. For a day when I didn't actually have shipping to do it turned out to be surprisingly busy. Restocking and organizing will do that, I suppose.
Blegh. Maybe tomorrow I'll take another shot at palette/pressed powder shadows and actually get something out of it. And if that doesn't work, I do at least know what I'm doing with the loose powder ones! Something I never thought would happen. Heh.
May. 29th, 2017 @ 10:16 pm
We went to Blue Nile for dinner on Saturday. As usual, we got the vegetarian meal for three. When we get the version with meat, we don't eat enough of it to justify the added cost. The vegetarian version is tasty, filling, and what we really want when we go there. There was live music which isn't really our thing but wasn't terrible. Service wasn't great. We ended up waiting for five to ten minutes at a time on three different occasions. There seemed to be plenty of waitstaff, and they were by no means full, so I really don't know what was going on.|
I sent patient portal messages on Saturday to the oncology nurse I see to discuss my decision to stay off of Tamoxifen and to the sleep disorders clinic to ask what I should do about the c-PAP. I am almost entirely sure that the problem is not the headgear. I have issues with being worried that I'll break the hose, disconnect the hose, bend it so that air can't get through, etc. I also have issues with feeling like I'm trapped by the machine itself. Taking off and putting on the headgear feels as insurmountable as sitting in the middle of a row in a crowded theater and desperately wanting to escape. (I felt this yesterday while sitting at my SIL's house because I was stuck in a corner and couldn't get out without getting several people to move. It's very stressful even when there's no reason for me to need to get up at all.)
( Feminine TMI )
We spent about five hours at Scott's sister's house yesterday. We left much later than planned because everything we tried to do kind of blew up in our faces. Cordelia's back went out rather abruptly Saturday evening, and she was still hurting a bit by Sunday morning. She doesn't seem to have done anything at all to cause it, either.
Stuff I accomplished today: made naan bread from scratch. Turns out it's really fast and easy to make, and tastes absolutely heavenly fresh out of the oven. I had it with some chicken curry I threw together from random stuff in the pantry, and it turned the meal from something half-assed to something awesome. A+, will make again.|
Stuff I didn't accomplish today: finish my RBB fic. I feel like I'm on an asymptotic path with this story, I keep moving toward the ending in little incremental steps but never quite get there. It's not even a very long story! I just can't seem to wrap it up for some reason. And the deadline is Friday, so it's going to be pretty tight. I was really hoping to finish it today and have the rest of the week to edit, but I guess not. Sigh.
I'm going to go have another piece of naan and see if I can squeeze a few more paragraph out of my useless brain.