Gratitudes

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:53 pm
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
[personal profile] kass
1. I made two really tasty things with my farm share yesterday: napa cabbage slaw (soy, sesame, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, scallions, and peanuts) as well as a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi (fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, fresh mint, and I'll add arugula á la minute) and they will be tonight's dinner along with some roasted chicken thighs. Om nom nom.

2. This morning I was really good at what I do.

3. This afternoon I went for a walk with kiddo and the visiting [livejournal.com profile] ltlbird, and after that we played card games and watched cartoons, and these have been lovely ways to spend a Shabbes afternoon.

4. This weekend I've been reading a draft of something awesome and offering beta comments and that is making me super-happy.

5. I spent some time learning today about the origins of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and Magic: the Gathering (my kid asked me which came first and I did not know, but now I do.) It's neat to be learning things about geek culture because my kid wants to know more.

How are y'all?
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)
[personal profile] neotoma
Pita, spanakopita, mixed tomato-cheese handpie, olive bread, melomakarona, mango donut peaches, regular peaches, shiro plums, blueberries, yellow sweet cherries, a half-gallon of Mocha Moo, cheese curds, 3 lb of ivory and purple bell peppers , and spicebush (now called 'sorghum', because no one knew was 'spicebush' was) vinegar.

I made blackberry preserves and cut up the fruit for mixed stone fruit jam -- about half sour cherries, the rest plums, nectarines, and donut peaches -- to cook up tomorrow.

photos, weekly rec

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
tassosss: (Default)
[personal profile] tassosss
I'm still waiting for my photobucket links to break with a kind of fascination of watching a crash in slow mo. I pretty much only use photobucket for fanish stuff, and that sparingly since I don't do a lot of art, mostly banners and things these days. I haven't lost access to my account yet.

But really that had me browsing through pictures on my phone recently since that's my main camera for recording my life, and it's kind of hilariously made up of two things for the past few months: bread in various stages and animals that my cat has killed and brought to the door. Which is even more hilarious when you know that my 1st grade science project was titled "Animals that my cats catch." So yeah.

Anyway. I'm making regular loaf bread today from the Joy of Cooking, and tomorrow I'm going to do Casatiello, which is an enriched Italian bread that has chunks of cheese and salami in it. I haven't gone grocery shopping for the extra ingredients yet, which is why it's waiting till tomorrow.

Been working on my Teen Wolf fic this week. I'm kind of feeling like I want to clear off what's ongoing before starting something really new. I'm still messing with Dragon Age short fic, but I don't really have a direction for a lot of that, though I'm thinking I might once I get to some mysterious critical mass.

Still been reading a lot of Dragon Age fic. This week's rec is
Haven (256723 words) by SageFic
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cullen Rutherford/Female Mage Trevelyan
Summary: Kate Trevelyan, mage and earnest, genteel nerd, travels to the Conclave with Colleen Lavellen, an ex-Dalish-turned-librarian, and Robert Trevelyan, her charming smuggler cousin. But when the Divine's peace talks explode, Robert falls in with bad company, Coll finds herself chasing mercs, and Kate becomes...the Herald of Andraste? Sort of. Kate has absolutely NO idea what she’s doing, and her growing attraction to a certain former templar isn’t helping.

Why I love it: This covers just the time in Haven starting a little before the game with some really great character work throughout. Basically I love this story for the conversations you get between characters. It delves into the mage-templar conflict, and really sets up a nice discussion between mage!Trevelyan and Cullen about Kirkwall that is really well done and not seen very often. Early scenes include Divine Justinia, and there's a lot of good daily life included. It diverges enough from gameplay to keep it interesting. I'm not a huge fan of the Lavellen or male!Traveleyan characters that are included, or the epistolary chapters, but over all it's good.



my love i am the speed of sound

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:42 pm
musesfool: Peggy Carter is gunning for you (your heart is a weapon)
[personal profile] musesfool
L and I made a spur of the moment decision to see Dunkirk last night - well, as spur-of-the-moment as you can with purchasing reserved seats ahead of time *snerk* - and I have mixed feelings about it. It is beautifully shot and I could watch Tom Hardy spoiler ) all day, but mostly I feel like it took an amazing real life story and didn't deliver on the emotional impact of it. spoilers )

I liked that it was nearly dialogue free (and I didn't mind that I couldn't understand half the dialogue that there was), but I felt that the structure was overly fiddly and unnecessary and it kept me from full immersion (um, pun not intended?) emotionally. Also the music was too loud and there was too much of it.

It also suffers a little from Band of Brothers syndrome in that I couldn't tell the two young dudes apart for most of the story. Once they're both wet so you can't tell which one has curly hair and which one has straight hair, I couldn't tell them apart, and I honestly didn't care that much about them beyond the generic - I mean, I didn't want any of those guys to die, and I felt there was nothing specific about those two to make me care more. spoilers ) (Otoh, casting Harry Styles - who was good, I thought - was a smart move, because I always recognized him, even half-drowned.)

Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh (and James D'Arcy!) were great, as was Tom Hardy. I mean, I would have watched a whole movie where Tom Hardy spoiler ) But overall, it's a B to B+ kind of movie for me. I wouldn't see it again.

If you do see it, I can say it was definitely worth seeing in 70mm, if you have that option. Otoh, if you have a fear of drowning, I don't recommend it for you.

Both L and I had similar mixed feelings. We discussed it on the walk to the bus stop, and my god, I have never sweated as much as I sweated yesterday - it was not a day for walking but I did a lot of it. I was so overheated that I never once felt cold in the movie theater despite being sleeveless, which has never ever happened to me before.

Before the movie we were going to meet at a Mexican place that looked good, but it was so jam packed with people, we ended up at the Cafe Tallulah, where the cheeseburger is fantastic, but again, on a day as hot as yesterday, wtf were the front windows all doing open, so you couldn't feel the air conditioning hardly at all? I never sweated so much in my life while doing nothing.

***

Daily Happiness

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:33 am
torachan: a kitten looking out the window (chloe in window)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I'm just a few pages away from being done translating Tera Girl! Even though this is only a three volume series, it was such low priority it feels like it's taken forever to finish it, so I'm excited to finally get it done. (There is an unrelated one-shot at included in the last volume, and I do also plan to translate that, so I won't technically be done with the series until that's done, but I'll be done with the main story and the unrelated one-shot can wait for a bit.)

2. We got these delicious edamame Pretz in recently at work and I just tried them today and they're so good!

3. Carla got a bunch of really cute Chloe pics yesterday.

Thrifting

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:16 pm
jamie: John Sheppard caption: all work and no porn make shep a sad boy (john - all work)
[personal profile] jamie
Found a Travelsmith jacket is my meandering today. I've been visiting my regular haunts before I move away. T'was a nice bonus.

4 sleeps left.

Stargate Origins, a webisode series? Hmm.

Astrology for 7/22/2017

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:00 am
[syndicated profile] tibetanbuddhistaltar_feed

Posted by Norma

7/22/2017 Saturday by Norma

Discuss your deepest feelings with others and you will be shot down. It’s best to remain in quiet, neutral territory. “Nice day, isn’t it?” Is a good response to, “How is your problem going?” A parade or display of importance should not be dismissed, congratulate a winner and compliment good behavior. Be as sensitive to others’ pride as you are to your own today. Frank A. Clark said, “Gossip needn’t be false to be evil-there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.” This is an excellent day to go for a drive, a picnic or a family reunion. If you’ve been under the weather or feeling weak, your strength returns. Time spent outdoors is excellent and conversation, letters, emails, texts and phone calls bring happiness. Reach out to those who matter to you!

Lineage in the West

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:30 pm
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Posted by Jetsunma

WM-99-22 JAL VGR HHPR kapala-M

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Love Now, Dzogchen Later”

Well, today I’d actually like to tell you a story. And I think it is seasonal in one way in that this time of year we generally think about what we want or what we want to give or how, or maybe family relationships and what needs to improve in our lives. And a lot of times at the end of the year during this holiday season and at the beginning of the next upcoming year, we kind of reassess ourselves;. reassess our lives, and kind of take stock. And I would like to tell you this story to help you take stock a little bit, and to give you some motivation, you know, some perspective. Because I think that if you come to this temple and you practice, you may not necessarily understand or know what’s going on in the greater Dharma community. Some people travel around but some people don’t. Some people stay here down on the farm with me. And so you might need to be exposed to some context in the Dharma community.

When I first met His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, that was quite a while ago, almost twenty years. I met him the first time that he came to the United States. And one of the reasons actually that he came to the United States, besides being invited, was that he heard that there was this American woman over there and he heard stories about me. And he knew in his mind that this was someone that he had been looking for for a long time. I came to find out later on that when he was a very young monk the first time he held the kapala, or the skull cup, of the first Ahkön Lhamo, it was before the Chinese invasion, and so it was whole, in one piece.  First time he held that cup, he said, “Oh.”  He made prayers:  “If there is any way I can find this dakini in this lifetime, I would like to do that.” He set his goal that way. And so of course with a mind such as his, when the goal is set, the deed is done. When he heard my name, and heard something about me, he knew immediately. But of course he didn’t tell me immediately. All I knew was that this lama was coming to my house. He’d never been to America before, and I really did not know what a lama actually was. I thought, “Guy sitting on rug. Guy wearing sheet.” I really didn’t know. I mean I had a great deal of respect for Buddhist thought and it was coming to my mind naturally. In fact, I was teaching meditation that I later found out to be based on Mahayana Buddhism. So, it was pretty interesting that this all came about so naturally. But then when he came to the house, we didn’t know protocol. We didn’t know respect. We didn’t know nothing. I knew how to barbeque, that’s what I knew. And so we had a barbecue and we moved my two sons to another room, and put Penor Rinpoche and Lobsang in the same room; and Lobsang’s like, “Oh God!  Save me!  Don’t you have another room?”  “Well, why? Is it crowded in there?”  “But you don’t understand.”

But you know, they were very nice. And then they asked for some tea. So, I thought, “These are Buddhists. They want to be calm.”  What did I know? So, I made chamomile tea, and I gave the teapot to Lobsang to give to His Holiness on a tray nicely set up. and His Holiness sent back a message, “What is that?  Bugs floating on top?”  You know how the little flowers float? “No.”  “Don’t you have some other kind of tea?”  “We have regular tea.”  “Oh yeah, we want regular tea.”  I thought, you know, Buddhists like to be peaceful. I thought.

And then the worst, the worst. He was so gracious and so kind. He never put himself up in any way or, you know, was anything less than the most humble of monks. I mean he never indicated that he was such a spectacular lama. And besides I didn’t even understand what the term meant—high lama, you know, lineage holder. I mean, I could understand the English words, but I didn’t have any way to put them all together. So, we had this barbeque and I served him a plate of hotdogs. And you know just the old America food, which he was pretty interested in actually. He sort of liked it. You know, he ate it. But then I remember plopping down right next to him and saying, “So, what’s Tibet really like?” or something like that, you know. You know him now. He’s such a righteous, orthodox, holy kind a guy. Can you imagine?  Can you imagine this Injee twit comes and plops down next to him and says, “So, how’s it going?”

I was used to Southern hospitality. So, I made another big meal (and I was a pretty good cook back then) and had some friends bring some stuff too. We sat him at the head of the table and said to His Holiness, “Please, help yourself to everything we have.”  He gets served. I didn’t know that. And so Lobsang’s going,… Lobsang was a lot younger then. “No, I’ll do it, I’ll do it.”  Well, that was back in the day and the reason why I’m telling you this funny story is because things have changed so much since then.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Oh good. Back to song topics that don't make me want to rip my hair out.

Had to stop and think about this one, because "love the voice" is not high on my priority lists for songs I enjoy most. But for a long time, I listed my favorite type of music as "anything with a baritone voice and acoustic guitar."

What You Need | Dance Magic | I'm on Fire | Love Is Chemical | Holly Holy | Wherefore and Why | Stay Young | The Warrior | Rainy Days & Mondays | Delta Dawn | It's So Easy

And one where the vocals are so pretty, I almost forget that I love the lyrics, too )

Meme list
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
[personal profile] dorothy1901
The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the world (first launched in 1797), has been restored. There's a pretty interesting article on the restoration in today's Boston Globe, with photographs and diagrams. (So that's where the orlop deck is!)

Link: A look inside the USS Constitution’s restoration. (Note: the Boston Globe has a paywall, but I believe that non-subscribers can read up to five articles for free.)
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

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when the sun burst through the sky

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am
musesfool: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (can't hardly wait)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spent last night reading fic where Jason and Cass turn out to be biological siblings, not just adopted siblings, and squee!, that is one of my favorite Batfamily tropes. Plus, there was some awesome Jason-Cass-Steph bonding which I feel canon has repeatedly cheated me out of, even though they would get along like a house on fire (literally, probably, given Jason's involvement and enjoyment in blowing things up). Plus there is some hilarious snark at poor Tim's expense that made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Oh Tim. (There will be recs at the end of the month as usual, but here and here for those of you who are impatient and also not following my pinboard.)

Also, yesterday, my consolation birthday present arrived - a beautiful red patent leather Love Moschino tote bag (wow, there were three left in stock when I ordered mine and now there are none! I'm glad I got there in time!). During the whole epic search for a new bag, I coveted a red patent leather bag, but couldn't find one (or, rather, couldn't find one that was less than, like, $800 and while I'm profligate, I'm not that profligate), since I guess they aren't in style right now? Except it's red patent leather so I can't imagine how it could go out of style? But whatever. On a whim on Wednesday, I checked Zappo's to see if there were any available, and lo and behold, there it was. It's beautiful. It's big and kind of unwieldy (and unpleasantly sticky against the bare skin of my arm in the heat), but I don't care, because it's gorgeous.

Bosses 1 & 3 both admired it as I unpacked it from the box, and they were like, "Are you going to save it for special occasions?" and I said, "Hell no!" (note: I did not actually say "Hell no!" I just said, "no! I bought it so I could use it! Because it is beautiful!") And I recommend to all of you to use your beautiful and special things rather than waiting for some mythical special occasion to crop up, because frequently, you will be waiting forever and never get to enjoy the beautiful thing you bought for yourself. Using a special bag/wearing your beautiful new shoes/opening that expensive bottle of wine - they can all make a regular occasion special, and I recommend you do that rather than wait for some occasion arbitrarily deemed "special" enough to break out the fancy lipstick or whatever. Live your best life whenever you can, people!

***

The Tether of Bodhicitta

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:30 pm
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Posted by Jetsunma

StupaFoundation

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Love Now, Dzogchen Later”

I have the great pleasure of watching the aviary building being built from my deck. How carefully these skilled workers laid the foundation. How carefully they smoothed the ground. How carefully they measured, so exacting, so perfectly, looking through instruments and laying strings and then putting in wood to mark the way, and then, you know, stage by stage, one bit of strength after the other. How skillfully, and now the walls are coming up. And these are very heavy walls made of concrete, but they are all built up to the top, and I think to myself, ‘If that firm foundation had not been built, since that land slopes right there and it is screaming wet all the time, guess what?  That little building would just slide right off the edge; but not the way it’s built.’

And we find ourselves in the same position. I regret to tell you that I have seen time and time again students who have taken the Dzogchen teaching but have not accomplished Vajra qualities. They have not given rise to the bodhicitta. They may have put on the garb of renunciates, but they are not renunciates. They have not renounced the grasping of samsara. They have not stabilized their mind. So it’s like they are traveling the great ship of Dharma and even though the ship itself is fairly stable, it is on an ocean and it is going to rock and roll a little bit, you know?  And it is like you’re the practitioner on roller skates who’s not holding on on top of a sheet of ice on the boat. It’s not going to work. You’re going to go overboard. And they do. They get thrown off. Whereas if we had taken time to practice properly with depth, not so superficially, taking responsibility for the accomplishment that you know in your heart has always been required of a proper disciple… And it’s not like it’s news to you. I’ve been yapping about this for years. So, in that case, maybe you would be more seaworthy. You’d have your sea legs. I’m pretty sure of it. You would be hanging onto a rail. You’d be properly equipped to travel this ship of Dharma to the other shore. And that would be like the seed of Dzogchen being planted in a field that is rich and fertile and moist.

So having given rise to the Bodhicitta, we would be different than we are. How would we be different?  Would we look funny?  I don’t know.  We look funny now sometimes. I look funny. You should see me in the morning. That’s all silly stuff. How would you be different?  I think better. To accomplish excellent qualities, to establish virtue in the mind stream, to give rise to the Bodhicitta?  A lot better.

So the point is that you find yourself in a particular situation where you can go to New York every summer, and you can study, and you can sit down and practice for the rest of the year. But we do not find ourselves in the perfect situation where we are in a monastic environment constantly where the reality of Dharma is constantly reflected to us, where the method of Dharma is constantly reminded to us. where the way is constantly pointed out, and where our limited capabilities, you know, are constantly guided. It would be like a child growing up without the advice of a parent. It is not very effective. And the reason why I’m telling you this is not so you can go, ‘Oh bummer! Here I’ve had Dzogchen and now I find out it’s not happening,’ or something.  That’s not what I’m saying. I hope you understand that. Dzogchen is the very nectar of Dharma. It is the distilled substance that is empty of substance-ness. It is awakening. It is the way to move towards realization. It is the way to give rise to one’s best capabilities. It is the way to accomplish the Buddha nature. But like any other method, if you do not accomplish the steps that lead to strengthen that method, you’ve missed out.

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