I just have a lot of feelings about Cassini, and NASA, and JPL, and just... science.  Even though things are so, so shitty right now, Cassini survived decades (and NASA advocated and maintained support for Cassini for decades) to provide incredible amounts of information that might have near-future application, and perhaps not.   But it's science, and eventually that information will come in handy and just... science for knowledge's sake without immediate profitable application makes me so hopeful that we may get through this.

Thanks, NASA.  Thanks, Cassini. 
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Fish recipes?

Sep. 15th, 2017 03:19 pm
blcwriter: (Default)
My dad is a medical studies junkie-- he uses the studies to acquire new habits, like stopping smoking, or exercising more, or doing brain games.  He's in a diet study right now that's not much out of line with how I already cook (Mediterranean-ish, heavy on fruits and vegs) but they are being very strict about fish three times a week.  (Not shellfish-- fish.  It'd be easy if I could just do mussels or shrimp or scallops for one out of three nights.) 

The problem is, I really, really hate non-oily fish.  Tuna?  Salmon?  Cod?  Monkfish?  Bluefish? Skate?  Lemme at it.  But Dad really only tolerates salmon and cod, and he can't abide fresh tuna or the other oily fishes (we both hate swordfish, IDK).  Living in Boston means I do have access to good white fish but... I hate white fish, and I'm doing the cooking, so I feel like I can be a little selfish here.  He likes mackerel, but it's very seasonal and not something we'd cook regularly.  (He also likes pickled herring but because pickled herring is an Issues Trigger for me, that's out of the question.  Yeah.  I'm making this harder for myself, I know.)  When Dad does buy white fish, I tend to cook it with lots of middle eastern spices/flavors, so that the dressing/relish overpowers the lack of flavor & texture-- but I can't drench everything in green olives and preserved lemon and parsley and oregano or cilantro three nights a week.  

Are their white-ish fishes you like that have some good flavor/firm texture and that won't kill my grocery bill buying fresh, wild caught, Whole Paycheck-style?  I am OK with halibut and arctic char, but tilapia, hake or flounder is so mushy that I can't get it down.  Striper?  Trout? Canned sardines in some kind of salad or mousse? Particular frozen fish from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods?  There's a reliable source of smoked trout that I can put on a leafy green salad with root vegs that he likes, but ... what else?  I am hoping to build a good half-dozen or more dishes so that I don't have to think too much about it, or some suggestions for old-reliable sauces and salsas that are good toppings I can make ahead.

Any reliable recipes, cookbooks, or websites you like for this kind of thing?  (And yes, I am mindful of the Monterey Bay recommendations about wild-caught, long line caught, and endangered fish varieties...)  

Thank you!

Decisions, decisions:  

I have a final interview Monday at a well-known nonprofit doing an HR Director job in a specific subset of HR that I would really, really like-- and three people I worked with at other points are already working there and I serendipitously ran into them while I was walking wtih the nice HR Director who was touring me around.  So-- that would be wonderful, and I think that I could do a lot of good work there in a well-defined role with a boss who seems like she would be easy to work with.  It would involve roughly an hour commute, which I could probably do on the T, and I am told by the recruiter who got me in the door that they can meet my pay needs.  They have an extremely long-tenured work force-- and I've only known/heard of one person who had a negative experience there, and I don't know all the details in order to assess if I might encounter the same issues.  

On the other hand, there is the possibility of a vague, undefined job in my own city that came about completely randomly-- but it has still been super vague what I would do, and I am feeling once-burned twice-shy about not having a description for what I'd be doing and to whom I would report, and so I am feeling less than 100% about taking a job that is lacking in details.  I suppose I could just write up a proposal and have them adopt it (they have acknowledged they need an HR operations and policy person) but I am (perhaps foolishly) feeling like it's inappropriate for me to write my own job description-- or that it's hypocritical, or something, because one of the things I'd be doing once I was on the job would be nailing down job descriptions and making things more regimented, so that people are less politically-driven and more performance-oriented.  The general outline of things they need my help for are right up my alley, but there are aspects I would need to learn PDQ-- including all the ins and outs of the various union contracts.  I am also worried that I am too much of a straight shooter, and that I will be uncomfortable and feel unethical dealing with the practicalities of local politics.  I think the mayor and his team are doing important work-- I just don't know if I'm the right person.  I think I am being too formal and cautious about the city job, but after I leapt before looking this last time, I am extremely nauseous about the idea of ending up someplace where again I would be overworked, underpaid, and without the authority or resources I need to see things through.

I didn't get the other three positions I interviewed, for, though, one because I was overqualified, one because one of the interviewers and I rubbed each other the wrong way, and one because they went with someone with a few more years' experience-- all of which are reasonable reasons and not "blameworthy" on my part, but I'm beginning to feel more bummed and less neutral/OK with those decisions.  I am therefore very nervous that if I am too cautious and don't take the city job, I will have to start from scratch all over again.  Since my unemployment is still being "reviewed" because one of my former employers hasn't confirmed wages yet, I am extra nervous, because I am starting to run out of money pending unemployment kicking in.

I don't want to take the city job and then say "nope, sorry, got this other job instead," though-- I know it's OK and people do it all the time, but it bugs me.  I am worried if I say "I am not ready to make a decision yet," though, that I will shoot myself in the foot and they'll change their mind about wanting me.

Argh.  Fuckity.  Etc. 
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(Apologies for the radio silence, I have been coming to terms with work and unemployment things.)

Thoughts on working, with family & mental health musings... )

(Also at AO3)

She woke up, and that was a surprise.
 

Read more... )

The first two minutes are How You Do Worldbuilding Right. The Pearls are fascinating if also a horrible example of exoticizing the Noble Savage archetype. The CGI is trippy as shit… Besson must’ve seen Jupiter Ascending and vowed to one up the Wachowskis. The anti-colonialism message is heavy-handed but not horrible. Rihanna was great but tragically, tragically, TRAGICALLY underutilized. TRAGICALLY.  GIVE RIHANNA ALL THE SCI FI MOVIE ROLES EVER.  The movie did not pass the Bechdel Test, or the Mako Mori test. The side characters on Alpha were fascinating, I would watch a series about the General and his multi-culti staff running a city of a thousand planets, because give me all the interspecies misunderstandings and wacky alien hijinks plus shipboard life stuff 5eva.

Also: Valerian was annoying as shit (and Not Attractive), Cara Delvigne was (like Rihanna) tragically underutilized (and not to thin-shame anyone, but my personal opinion is Cara needs a sandwich and some seven layer dip, stat) and the heterosexual love story was so cliched and disruptive of the actual plot that I might go back just to hate watch and throw tomatoes at the screen.

Seriously. SO BAD. SO MUCH FRENCH MALE CHAUVINISM. VALERIAN IS A MALE MARY SUE. SO MUCH BULLSHIT FAUX LIBERAL STORYTELLING. Go in expecting the #patriarchy but stay for the opening scene, Bubble, and the Alpha personnel. Some talented vidder, please splice me just those scenes.

I am also hereby starting the hashtag #bubblelives.  Fic to come.

Bubble lives, damnit.

Problematic

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:53 am
blcwriter: (Default)
Look.  I know that General Hux from the new Star Wars movies is a space nazi and murdered a star system.  I KNOW.  But.  But.  I, too, am surrounded by temperamental idiots who impede my doing my work, and am too surrounded by ineffective syncophants and a boss who is erratic and cannot be relied upon because all their directions are vague declarations.  Just.  Look.  I can kinda sympathize with the dude just tryin' to achieve his dreams of galactic dominion  without being ok with his space nazi tendencies.  (This problematic confession brought to you by the new Last Jedi behind-the-scenes looks with the Domnhall Gleeson bits.)
I have been poking away this week on a hockey rpf fic that will probably not see the light of day, not unlike the several hundred other stories I've started and not posted or finished in the last several years.  I have been hesitating over thinking too much about where the hesitation to post is coming from, other than that I disconnected myself a lot from fandom and now am having a hard time even keeping my toes in the water.  Maybe I'm worried about too much of a good thing-- or maybe the opposite.  I actually deleted a fic for the first time after continuing to get wank-filled comments from Steve Rogers stans who were hyperventilating about my refusal to accept Our Lord and Savior, Captain America--  I didn't have the interest in finishing the story after all the hate I was getting on my tumblr for daring to reblog content about Tony Stark.  (Not about Steve Rogers, or anti-anyone.  Just, merely about Tony Stark.)  

I sort of wish that I felt compelled to write Wonder Woman (2017) fic, or something in Mad Max: Fury Road, or even to continue on from the one story I started in The Martian fandom... but I think I'm mostly just content to reblog fanart and picspam and write a bit of meta in Wonder Woman tumblr about what a great story it is.  I have no fic ideas, or no prolonged ones-- I think in large part because I feel like there are no "gaps" in the stories as told on screen.   There are no significant plot holes, underdeveloped characters, or dissatisfying endings that I feel compelled to fix, and it's interesting to decide that that's why I write.  

MMFR generated a lot of wonderful stories, and so did The Martian.  I haven't stepped foot in any of the WW fic tags, and haven't been curious to. I guess I don't want to spoil the enjoyment of the movies qua movies because I was so thrilled walking away from them on first viewing that I don't want to go back and purposefully run a critical eye over things to try to find problems I'd then want to write about to fix.  All three movies have wonderful, wonderful world-building, though, and I am very happy for the people for whom those stories have created a playground to write next chapters or what-ifs.  For my part, though, I don't want to poke at the canon too hard.  

I even haven't gone back and watched Star Trek Beyond-- it was so very good, compared to Into Darkness and even the first movie that I don't want to find out I was wearing rosy-colored goggles and missed some real problems; which made me realize that not long ago I was recommending two books ("A Country Year," Sue Hubbell, and "A Month in the Country," J.L. Carr) to someone going through her own divorce/midlife crisis-- but I also haven't reread those books since the first time I read them and they saved my life. 

I probably should talk about this with my therapist, hmm?  Being afraid to make things up on my own, or re-embrace something important and meaningful because I am afraid I will just mess it up again?  Urgh, fandom, this is why you're a problem.  You make me think too much.

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I have been working, more or less steadily, since I was 15.  The only time in my life that I didn't work for more than a few weeks was between Memorial Day 2009 and late August, 2009, when I had a nervous breakdown, quit my job as a lawyer, and wrote a shitload of pretty good Star Trek fanfic while being very, very depressed and trying to figure out what to do next.
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Rating:  PG-13 for homophobic and racist/ethnic slurs

Prompt/Summary:   Home for the holidays in Georgia, and Leonard's mother hates Jim.  They make it work, anyway.

Warnings:  Homophobic behavior, anti-semitism, black humor, general family holiday unpleasantness and toxic family nonsense, too many loving descriptions of food and random tourist facts about Savannah, Georgia. This is an accidental sequel to The Taste of All in It, a modern restaurant AU.

Link to AO3 here. Paul Simon's "Something So Right" was on repeat as I wrote this.


  • Generous, flattering pockets in dresses, pants and skirts

  • Free shipping on orders over $25.00

  • Parking space, complete with broken meter

  • One full glass of a new favorite wine (whiskey, beer, lemonade)

  • Your favorite actor getting great reviews for their new project

  • Cheese

  • Enough paper towels for the job at hand

  • No new work emails

  • New underwear

  • Your shoe size in stock and on sale

  • Lip balm that isn't too sticky and doesn't make you break out

  • Cats and/or dogs on the street want you to pet them

  • Polite, informative lady mechanics

  • That Indigo Girls song

  • A great new kale/quinoa/superfood salad

  • Cackling at your enemies' misfortune

  • Lanz nightgowns/pyjamas

  • New content from your favorite creator

  • Snappy banter

  • A really functional tote

  • Enough of your favorite pens

  • When your neck and shoulders pop in the heat of the shower

  • Swiffers

The New York Times posted this Op-Ed piece about Star Trek’s 50th today and how, essentially, the franchise has become too corporate and it’s all spoilt because it’s not low-budget and fly-by-the-seat-of-its-pants anymore.

As I read the piece, all I could hear were the sounds of whiny Comic Book Guys everywhere complaining that no one was allowed to enjoy anything new anymore because it had changed over time, adapted, survived, and as all things do, evolved into something that other people than the “Original” fans could also enjoy.  (TL:DR, this op-ed is the sound of one fanboy fapping about kids on their lawn.)

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Singleversary

Aug. 28th, 2016 01:44 pm
blcwriter: (enterprise)
Yesterday was my five year singleversary-- the day I moved out & moved on.  I think what I liked about the day was how mundane it now feels.  It's just another day, not an occasion worth marking with either celebration or grief.

It's been a few years since I felt mopey about being being separated and not being part of a couple-- the more time that passes the happier I am in my own company and the more inclined I am to do as I please and to say what I think.  I've been more inclined to set boundaries, too-- "I don't think that's funny," or "That's not my job, so-and-so can help you," or "I wouldn't really enjoy that and would be a downer, but if you would be interested in doing X or Y some other time, I'd love to get together."  I like that these things are now normal for me-- I generally like myself and am capable of being content being alone, and I am not afraid to tell people what I think.

I like that I'm older, and that sometimes I even know better now.  
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Flowers seen on my cooldown from my first Couch 2 5K run.  I hate running, but it's the only way I lose weight, and I need to lose weight because work stress has shot up my blood pressure.  (That, plus it's a sedentary job.)

I am going to try to plan my routes so I go by all the city's good yards, though, so that's something.

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I was in the kitchen this evening, perusing pickle reciepts for the way-too-many cucumbers I picked today (5 pounds, and not one zucchini), and Prairie Home Companion was on, in the way that it is on Saturday nights on NPR.  But it wasn't really on, because the show's off the air, and they're only playing reruns.

I've been listing to PHC my entire life, pretty much every Saturday night.  I've seen it live three separate times.  I wouldn't actually say that I am a fan.  I would say that I have always valued the show for what it represents:  a sense of local place, a sense of smallness, a willingness to wait for the punchline, the patience to sit through a shaggy dog story that sometimes really isn't that funny, and is pretty much the same as the last Big Story you got sat down to be told, a sense of not-really-nostalgia, but likewise no sense of needing to proceed full speed ahead.

PHC took its time.  It meandered.  Sometimes it got a little off course.  Still, Garrison Keillor got you to the end of the ride, and in the meantime you'd heard several different things you mightnt've expected, even if you had to put up with some really lame Dad jokes.

I didn't always like the music, but I was glad it was being aired.  I am not a storyteller who could go on for hours, but I appreciated the art and the practice of it.  I am not a small-town resident, or a regular church-goer, but I appreciated that the smallness and ordinariness and regularity of those things as portrayed on PHC nevertheless coexisted with liberality of spirit (and politics), exhortations to be patient and kind, and an interruption of understandable cantankerousness to do the right thing.

Hearing the echoes of all that compressed meaning, rebroadcast tonight, makes me sad because I worry who will fill Keillor's shoes, especially with the insanity that is the election this year and the assault on blacks, women and queer folk by those people whose smallness of mind and of heart make it impossible for them to remember patiences and kindness.  Who will take the time and make the space for slow and steady?  Who will remember that a sad story is best followed by mid-tempo music, and that you've got to have at least one long-winded joke?  Who will remind us that duct tape and rhubarb are treasures of the republic (or who can remind us what it truly means to be a republic)?

I caught myself feeling like an alien-- if I came here because of the Prarie Home Companion broadcasts and found that people did not sit on their porches playing the fiddle and more-or-less-tunelessly singing old hymns, wouldn't I feel very misled?  Would I be consternated by the violence in deed and in word that takes up so much space, so much air?

Who will remind us to be above-average now?


When we went to Norway, I fell in love with the simple but differently spiced food.

Of course, most Scandinavian cookbooks aren't in English, or are Magnus Nilsson's doorstop, which can make it all a bit inaccessible.  (At least until you realize it's all Irish cooking but with more dill/ginger/cardamom/caraway.) 

Its worth it, though.  Darra Goldstein's Fire and Ice cookbook has a really simple quick pickle of finely sliced rhubarb and cucumbers (these are from my garden) with grated ginger & crushed pink peppercorns.  So delicious, and really crisp & tangy.  

The garden this year was by turns a success and a bust.  I've taken over the gardnening, mostly, from my dad, who now finds it too hard to stoop much, and whose shoulder and back hurt if he does too much digging.  While I was a brat about getting sweaty and hot as a teen, now I don't mind it at all; the pruning and trimming and digging all have realizable results, and sometimes when people are being awful elsewhere, there is nothing like a good day with the electric hedgetrimmer or chainsaw to get out the aggressions.  (Yes, I have a chainsaw.  There's a vicious vine on the other side of the fence and twice a summer I have to cross the boundary to cut it all down to the ground so it doesn't uproot the third fence we've put in in ten years.)  I like the medium-term return of a vegetable garden, and cut flowers inside the house, and homegrown things to cook into dinner.

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