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Daughter of Mystery is now officially released! There's a 2-chapter teaser on the Bella Books website if you want a taste. Book release party will be at Other Change of Hobbit on Feb 9. If you can stand to wait until then, contact OCH to reserve a copy and come help me celebrate.

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The wit and wisdom of Jeanne, Vicomtesse de Cherdillac: "When you admire a woman, it is a virtue to make yourself attractive for her, even if it is not possible to make yourself attractive to her."

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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This may be the first dream to stick with me where I as clearly living in Concord. I'm starting on a road trip from the Bay Area to Seattle, in a little (and I mean LITTLE) sedan, accompanied by [livejournal.com profile] cryptocosm and two other men who seemed to be co-workers of mine. Cryptocosm had been driving (??to get to my place??) and it was just after dinner so I said I'd take the next shift. (And I know how small the car was because the guy sitting behind me had to push the seat forward enough that I had to sit sort of sideways to drive.) It was clear exactly where we were, but the gps showed the merge of 680 with 80, so I figured I was starting from Concord and that I'd figure out how to get on the freeway ok.

The next scene in the dream -- and this was definitely a "next thing I knew" not movie jump-cut -- we were parked on a stranger's driveway and had a flat on the left rear, and it was almost dawn.

Now you have to understand that in dreams I have a real "thing" about driving while asleep. I do it regularly and it scares the crap out of me. So in this one, I insisted that I hadn't been driving asleep, I must have gotten short-term memory loss from the trauma of getting the flat. (There was some indication that the car might have gone out of control and sideswiped some other vehicles, although the parking job seems to have been under control.)

But when I went to get out my phone to call roadside assistance. The case was there but my phone wasn't in it. Instead, in the same pocket, was a stranger's high-tech pager. There were a number of clues in the pager to the owner's identity (like information on his employer, since it was for his job), so I set about trying to decipher who he was and how he was involved. There was some sort of recording or broadcast coming out of the device (which was actually my radio-alarm) that I was having trouble hearing. And somewhere in there the owner of the driveway came out and I had to reassure her about what we were doing there. And round about then I figured I needed to wake up and get moving.

Interpretations and image sources: I was just talking recently about needing to plan another Seattle road trip. As noted, sleep-driving is a regular anxiety of mine in dreams, but I'm not sure if it means anything other than a real-world concern for falling asleep at the wheel. No clear resonances for the other elements, although I note that with 4 people in the car, somehow I was the one who had to organize everything. No waiting for other people to rescue me! And then there's the motif of getting distracted from an immediate problem by an abstract puzzle that needs solving.

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I've become addicted to the restaurant reviews in Diablo magazine, since it has a lot of coverage of the part of the world I live in now. So I've been scoping out places to try on my "bike to the calorie-fest" program. The Rising Loafer cafe in Danville is perfectly situated for this program, given that it lies a mere two blocks off the Iron Horse trail. And it has a bakery! What more could one want?

I was a bit concerned that the Diablo review said the prime outdoor tables fill up quickly on weekday mornings, but it may be that 9am is still early for a weekend. (I left the house at a dawdling 7am out of concern for likely temperatures.). By the time I pedaled up to the lovely streetside courtyard, there were still plenty of al fresco tables available.

My usual test of a new breakfast place is the eggs Benedict and there was the added attraction that the advertised house-made English muffins. But I also wanted to try a specialty pastry, so I asked to substitute the giant cinnamon roll for the bread side. Well, no, they can't do substitutions -- so I happily ordered the roll separately and told them to hold the bread.

My plate arrived with a side of bread. But it was a slice of banana bread so I wasn't about to send it back to get trashed. On the other hand, I didn't have anywhere good to stash it in my bike tool bag. Ah well. It's a long ride.

The eggs Benedict passed the test with flying colors, mostly. The muffins were excellent and the eggs nice and runny. The Hollandaise seemed a little on the insipid side, but I tend to like it sharp. The dish came with home fries which were crisp and hot, studded with bits of rosemary. I spared them from catsup and used them to mop up the leftover yolk and sauce.

There was supposed to be a "fruit garnish" which was missing, but nobody else around me seemed to have fitted one either, so this may have been a menu change. The cinnamon roll was hot and fresh ... and somewhat unfortunately smothered in white icing. But with most of the icing scraped off it was definitely worth having ordered. Fluffy and -- other than the icing -- not too sweet.

At the end, having contemplated the logistics of taking the banana bread with me, I decided to nibble on it while loitering over email and writing reviews. Like the underlying cinnamon roll, it was not too sweet but a bit less moist than I prefer. (Although it may have been warm when cut and therefore evaporated a bit while I ate.). The walnut content was about right but maybe a higher banana content? At any rate, I finished it with my second cup of coffee.

All in all, a place worth returning to. And when I work up to my goal of taking the Iron Horse all the way to Dublin and back, it would make a good breakfast break ( with a somewhat lighter menu than today!).

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After my recent burglary, various people at work asked me when I was going to move.

Back when I was a kid, I had a plum tree. A very prolific plum tree. And I had this fantasy of building a tree house in that plum tree so I could just reach out over a railing and pick plums to eat.

I have that house.

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It finally snowed!

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Spent the evening getting caught up with the CSA veggies. I made a batch each (i.e., 4 servings each) of broccoli soup, carrot-mango-ginger soup, leek-potato soup, and turnips au gratin. Still 4 assorted winter sqashes to go, but they'll keep as is.

I had a very enjoyable weekend at World Fantasy Con, hanging out with klwilliams, acanthusleaf, Ann whose lj handle I don't know, and assorted friends thereof. Today I took thread_walker out to lunch to celebrate my bonus/performance award. Tomorrow is dinner with nedlnthred and friends tbd.

The DSL connection has been non-functional since the 29th, but it'll be a couple more days before I'll have the mental bandwidth to try to get the phone company out to work on it. If things go true to form, this means I will find that it's started working again when I get home tomorrow evening. One cannot conduct a fully functional online life via iPhone -- although it's quite the sanity crutch.

Days 4 & 5

Sep. 12th, 2009 11:32 am
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(to be posted when I get reception; pictures to be added later)

We open our scene in the late afternoon on Wwdnesday (day 5).

I'm looking at the hind ends of about 20 bison who are in no particular hurry to go anywhere. Based on some butt-sniffing and lip-curling, there also seems to be a non-zero chance of having a front row seat for some hot bison-on-bison action.

Will they or won't they? )

Day 3

Sep. 8th, 2009 01:11 pm
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(photos to be added later)

Breakfast was watermelon juice (complicated explanation), coffee, and Denver scrambled eggs (a folded omelette being beyond my cooking logistics). I stopped in West Yellowstone for ice and a few groceries, primarily the next two dinners worth of meat. I thought it would be fun to pick up some local ... specialty, and came closest by getting a pound of ground buffalo. (Ranched in Colorado, so not entirely 'local', but good enough.)

Had a lovely, if short, chat with the kiosk attendant at the park entrance. I think she liked my enthusiasm. The Madison campground is a rather short distance inside the park, but far enough for me to have a chance to encounter that quintessential Yellowstone experience: the bear jam. Well, technically it wasn't bears -- it was a pair of bald eagles who were nesting about 50 yards off the road and were photogenically ripping something into bits to feed the young ones.

By the time I'd gotten settled into camp and organized my typically-over-prepared biking kit (after all, it might rain, or turn suddenly cold, or I might need to identify a bird ... or to sketch something), it was noon. I figured I'd start riding generally in the direction of Old Faithful and turn around after 2 hours. I took the Firehole canyon loop ( the steepest climb of the day, on the first 20 minutes) and the Fountain Flat Drive trail (old gravel road restricted to foot and bicycle traffic), then stopped at Biscuit Basin to get off the bike and walk the boardwalk around the geysers.

I had noticed that the road didn't stray far from the Firehole River and that I was heading upstream (and into a headwind), so I relaxed my 2 hour rule of thumb and continued on to OF, arriving in 2.5 hours (including side trips). Actual biking time: 2 hours for 19 miles.

I munched my lunch snacks waiting for Old Faithful (who was being a bit of a tease, throwing up a couple of small spouts then waiting for the very end of the 20 minute prediction window for the main event.

The trip back was, as predicted, much easier -- 19 miles in 1 hour. When I started out originally, I was thinking that I might just bike down again tomorrow, but by the end I was back to my original plan of driving and hiking tomorrow. (The general overall plan is to alternate forms of exertion: bike, hike, kayak, bike, hike.). So tomorrow I do a fairly easy walking tour of the OF area trails and then whatever else I feel like doing.

The campground has no cell signal (so this gets posted later -- assuming I don't manage to lose it trying to save it) but I was able to post a couple of facebook pix and download my e-mail while waiting for IF to blow. Didn't read the e-mail until I got back to camp. Probably a good thing, since it included a note from my mom about some recent downturns in her physical and mental health. The down side of being wired while off on a relaxing vacation.

Suddenly, cooking a gourmet dinner didn't seem as appealing any more, but I figured that I was actually more shaky from the bike ride (and therefore needed food) than from the e-mail.

While I was fixing dinner, an elk came wandering by just in the edge of the trees around the camp area. Elk, I'm ok with -- I'd prefer no bears that close.

Dinner was spinich fettuchini with home-made pesto (basil and garlic from the csa box) topped with a stir-fry of some of the ground bison and the usual csa box suspects (the rest of the crookneck squash, onion, bell pepper).

I'll probably wander over to the nature program in the amphitheater when I'm done cleaning up. Assuming I don't just fall into bed.

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It is dark, but the sky is ablaze with the full moon reflecting off the clouds. Over the conversations of my campground neighbors, I can hear the tiny lapping of lake water. In the distance, the coyotes are singing and an occasional duck complains and grumbles. There's woodsmoke in the air, interlaced with the sharp perfume of the mosquito repellant. In one hand I have a mug of hot spiced cidar, in the other ... why yes, I'm sitting here in the wilderness enjoying a delightfully high-speed 3G connection on my iPhone. No I am not pathetic, I'm not I'm not.

ETA: To the sensory postcard, add a flash of lightning and rumble of thunder. Time to brush my teeth and go to bed.
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So my "road music" at the moment is the librivox.org recording of an unabridged edition of Dumas' The Count of Monte Christo (which I've long wanted to read, but find much more managable in audio form). It never struck me previously, in any of the various dramatized forms I've been exposed to, quite how much of a Mary Sue Edmund Dantes is.

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First gas stop. I showed up at the Honda dealer promptly at 7:30 to see about the trailer hitch issue. They still had no clue as to how I ended up with the wrong size until I explained my theory that the Element hitch assembly only came in the 1.25" size. They checked it out with the folks in the parts department and sure enough I was right.

In the end, it doesn't really matter, because I would have made the decisions to end up in the same situation in the end. But as I explained to them, it seriously undercut my confidence in their knowledge of their product.

Operating on the theory that the surest and mist efficient way to buy a hitch adapter would be to go to a U-Haul or equivalent, I recalled that I'd be going past a neighborhood in West Sacramento packed full of equipment rental businesses, and my hunch proved to be correct. So now I have the hitch converted to a 2" receiver, all ready for the bike rack when I get to the stage of the trip when I want the bike outside. And I didn't lose much time at all. I left the Honda place at 8:00 and only spent half an hour at U-Haul.

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When you wake up at 9am (for real) from a dream in which you wake up at 10 am and, in a panic, try to phone your friends to tell them you'd misremembered the brunch date at 10 as being at 11, it is a comfort to be able to verify that the (real) brunch date is for 11, not 10. It is, however, still a good idea to get up (for real), despite, in theory, being able to sleep for another hour.

Waddaweek

Jul. 30th, 2009 01:51 pm
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The week started out as one of those " lots of social functions stuffed into the evenings" weeks (well, functions and preparing for functions). Then the headless chickens had to stick a wing in, and the next thing I knew I was staying to do emergency data entry until after midnight last night. At least it wasn't this evening, when I have Cal Shakes tickets.

On the plus side, I get an unofficial comp day. On the double-plus side, my boss is letting me sub it in for one of my scheduled vacation days in two weeks. (Normally unofficial comp days are supposed to be scheduled within the week, but since they want all hands on deck for the moment, the winning argument was that I wouldn't be taking any additional time off.) So yay, I get one of my vacation days back!

So the week has been: Mon: prepare for doing the "shepherds purse" lecture in Cloondara, Tue: lecture (went over very well, according to the feedback), Wed: headless chickens, Thur: Cal Shakes, Fri: under negotiation, weekend: see the new HP in IMAX and finish the tunic for HH of the Mists. And that's why I haven't been posting any long philosophic essays lately.

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Submitted in evidence from Jo-Anns:

CSA haul

Jun. 24th, 2009 06:28 pm
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Beets
Cabbage
The omnipresent carrots but no potatoes
Crookneck squash
Cucumbers
Green beans
Garlic
Apricots

Thus week's challenge: plan for the weekend's family get-together

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Yeh. Like that was going to happen.

No buying!

May. 31st, 2009 03:14 pm
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No, I may not buy roses today. I may not buy any plants until I've finished the Spring(!) weeding and dead plant inventory.

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No, I may not buy plants today. I may only window-shop. Check out stepables.com for those traffic-resistant groundcovers.

Edited to correct url and make link clickable.

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