evilhippo: hippo (114 [in transit])
( Mar. 26th, 2011 08:48 pm)
Well, I seem to have made it back from Portland in one piece, despite the best efforts of deer and fog last night, and Minnesota and Wisconsin and their snow this morning (never, ever am I moving north of here). I have a giant-long, tl;dr recap entry I'm working on, but it's going to take me forever to finish, so in the meantime, have some pretty pictures, mostly of Cape Kiwanda.

Ah, Oregon. So lovely (though I'm not the biggest fan of the almost omni-present damp). I'm definitely going to have to go back, though when I do I'm going to miss my native guides a lot. They were, after all, the entire point of me visiting in the first place, and without them I probably would've found a way to get myself washed out to sea, or fallen off some topography or accidentally been indentured to a food cart or something. [livejournal.com profile] zolac_no_miko, [livejournal.com profile] look_alive, and [livejournal.com profile] shichahn: you guys are awesome and I love you. So here is a picture of everyone looking appropriately epic. ♥s and also HNUUUURGH BORK BORK BORK.
I think this is an appropriate night for me to sit here and post a picture of my dinner.

Like so: )

I now return you to the part of my journal where I don't post pictures of food.
I am absolutely digging this 60-degree weather we're having. Last week (and even this weekend) I thought I was going to have to give up my bike for the winter, and now I've had two absolutely lovely nights of biking home without even needing a jacket. And it's a good thing, too, because otherwise I would be pulling out my hair.

Even the city is giving me advice now:

I spotted that as I was crossing the bridge over the Metra tracks by the Art Institute, and I figured, okay, it's the Blue Cross building, they're probably telling me to quit something. (Yes, despite that seemingly-strategic lamp, it does actually say "QUIT.") Smoking? Eating junk food? But... apparently no. Unless the array of blue lights above it is actually meant to represent a blue Tetris block and it's telling the city to stop playing Tetris?

I'm going to choose to interpret it as a Sign, because today we had two people give their notice, and both of them were of the rare, sane variety, who actually do work. We still haven't replaced people who left in August. I don't think there's a single department in the office that isn't behind right now, and I don't know how they're going to cope with losing two competent, well-adjusted people. (I'm almost certain I'm going to lose all my help, and I would crawl under my desk and cry except there's no room because of all the files at my desk.) I haven't filed something on time in more than a month... and I used to be the only one who was ahead. Now I spend all my time fighting with other legal assistants and attorneys to get their work done and have no time to do anything I'm actually supposed to be doing. Stupid nightmare job.

One positive upshoot of the current situation, though, is that I've been listening to a lot of music lately to drown out Ego Girl, and I recently wore out my crappy old $15 headphones. So today I invested some of my overtime money into a set of actually-good headphones (it actually occurs to me to be embarrassed as to how much I just spent on headphones). But music... guys, music has bass! And dynamics! And... and... I forgot how much I was missing by just listening to things on crappy headphones and crappy laptop speakers. (I thought I wouldn't like in-ear headphones, but it turns out they're not as creepily claustrophobic as noise-cancelling ones and the general effect is that the music is right there and all the outside noises are behind it. I rode past a helicopter on the lakefront tonight and could still hear my music, but I could also hear other cyclists coming up behind me at times when there was no helicopter. Fancy!)
I don't even know where to begin to start. Did I even mention I was going to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear? I probably didn't. It kind of didn't register in the midst of the giant Thing that was the Paris trip, and then the middle of October went pchoooo and suddenly I was on a bus populated by Redditors and hippie liberals. (Now with pictures!)

So maybe I should start there, at the beginning, with the bus. )

tl;dr I hitched a ride with the internet.

A brief interlude at a rest stop McDonalds )

tl;dr Some guy threw my french fries on the ground in an attempt to flirt at me.

But let's get to the important stuff! The rally! )

tl;dr Rally was good! And freaking Generation Y, how do we work? (At least we're fun to watch?) (Are we Generation Y? I kind of forgot to keep track. Interesting side note, though, is that there seemed to be a lot of 20-somethings and a lot of people in their greying years, but not a whole lot in between.)

Also, since I'm here: Happy Halloween, guys!
evilhippo: hippo (46 [internets])
( Oct. 24th, 2010 06:25 pm)
I realized I never finished up the last days of London, and since I am incredibly bored this afternoon (I've read, I've written, I cleaned and made soup and made bread and I'm still bored) I guess it's time to finish that story.

Hopefully there aren't too many details that have been lost between then and now )

And finally, to bring this whole story arc to a close, since I ran out of space so quickly on Flickr, I've dumped practically every picture I took into a couple of scrapbook galleries: London and Paris. I haven't pared them down to just the pretty ones, nor have I edited any of them, so beware that there are a lot, and not all of them are good. But that's how trips work, so I don't think I'll be editing them anyway.
evilhippo: hippo (115 [hippo])
( Oct. 7th, 2010 08:37 pm)
Two updates in a day, sorry guys. But there are more pictures now, because I have more than half my battery left and I might as well abuse it (there are actually more than that, but I'm running out of bandwidth on my Flickr for this month). There are pictures from the tail end of Paris, London, and just a few minutes ago.

My little walk up to Sacre Coeur was... not little. I'm not sure if this was overlooked in anyone else's study of Paris, but the thing is up a freaking mountain. (Chicago is flat, okay, so this thing is a mountain.) Stairs! Holy stairs, and people. So, my eternal disdain for stairs further cemented (they are now above cobblestone streets, which had surpassed them only recently when I was walking around Bankside in London and twisting my ankle every few feet), I made my way up to the top, dodging tourists, buskers, and peddlers. It was an adventure. And what a view! What a giant rabble of people. Suits and students and all other sorts. They kicked us out at 7:30, so I went in search of food. I ended up with a sandwich and a chocolate croissant, which I ate while walking to the Moulin Rouge. It's amazing the difference between this part of Paris and the part south of the river. In stark contrast to the tiny alleys, austere storefronts and quaint restaurants and cafes of the rive gauche, I just found myself on a giant mountain and then walked down onto a boulevard full of neon-signs and sex shops (mostly in tandem).

Also, the Moulin Rouge is right next to a Quick, which seems to be France's answer to McDonalds (most of them are right next to McDonalds). And across the street is a Starbucks. I... on one hand I find this very appropriate, and on the other... have they no shame?
So, now that I'm no longer as likely to pass out in front of major landmarks... today was a lot more manageable. I found neighborhoods that made a lot of what I saw yesterday make more sense. Here I am, making my official retraction on Paris being "homogeneous." Here I am also saying I think the part north of the river is kind of pants. But that might be because it's Sunday and most everything was closed. That's absolutely no excuse for how far I walked in search of a bottle of water, though. Maybe I'm just really, really bad at this but it should not be possible to walk miles without coming across a store that sells cold bottles of water.

Of course, there are more pictures today. You know the drill.

And then, further attempts to stay awake. )

So, what I learned today: Just because an area is interesting to me, or historical, does not make it "touristy." Touristy is very definitely independent of what I think of something. It is actually possible to turn the wrong corner in Paris and end up somewhere you don't want to be. And slowly, slowly this city is clicking into place for me, and even though I am still severely out of context here, it's starting to make sense in and of itself. The architecture is relentlessly (almost disconcertingly) consistent, but at least there are neighborhoods that aren't sorted entirely by what they are selling.

tl;dr I walked, and then walked some more. And then there was some walking, and a bit of walking and more walking. Also impressionists and walking, Oscar Wilde and walking, medieval relics and walking, and walking with walking and hipsters and tourists.
evilhippo: hippo (45 [shock])
( Oct. 2nd, 2010 08:57 pm)
Okay... I really don't know where to start this. (This is mostly a way to keep myself awake past 9:00 here. I feel like I've been up since Friday morning at 5. Which... I sort of have, if you don't count the three and a half hours of half-conscious sleep I got on the airplane).

For those of you uninterested in a wall of text about how many things have tried and continue to try to defeat me, there are pictures! Cliquez ici! Tomorrow's ought to be a little less typical-touristy, but today's aren't too bad.

C'est un mur du text? )

tl;dr Brain fail from overwhelming city. Will sleep and figure things out later. So far... things are amazing. Also I have not thought about work once, nor do I intend to, even though I forgot to put my out-of-office message up and so should technically be checking my e-mail.
I did this last 3 years, 7 months and 11 days ago... let's do it again! (Okay, if I'm going to be completely forthright, I saw [livejournal.com profile] apple_pathways do this and went "Oh, that's always fun, and I do need to clean out my bag!")

Let's see what's changed since college! )

All in all... I'm surprised that it's not messier. It think the turn-over rate for my bag is much higher than it was for my backpack, though, because I constantly have to pack light. Normally my lunch container is in there as well, but mine suffered a bit of a microwave mishap today and I had to toss it. If I'd done this in the morning, it'd also contain a couple of peaches or plums. Also not pictured is my iPod, which usually rides in the raptor bag since I can't seem to listen to it while riding anymore.

Notice how every mundane object this time around gets an explanation, whereas most things in the old post had a story? Sigh. Adult life just isn't as much of an adventure, I guess. Or I'm doing it wrong. (I'm completely open to that interpretation, but there don't seem to be any instructions, so I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances.
evilhippo: hippo (38 [what?])
( Jun. 20th, 2010 11:41 am)
Today, in Vicarious Cat Ownership... Guys, look what my mom did to the poor fluffy grey cat we had:

I'm afraid he might murder my family in their sleep tonight, though they claim he's "happy" because he's cooler and can groom himself now.

Poor thing. The groomer even left his tail fluffy, so he looks like he's meant to be keeping the corners free of cobwebs.
evilhippo: hippo (11 [surreal])
( Jun. 10th, 2010 07:24 pm)
I figure it's only fair that I share the main conversation point I've had with other people lately: Is that a tattoo? (Contains abstract bruise) )

One of the girls at work and I were trying to use it as a rorschach test, but no one else would tell us what they saw in it. Most of them went "Agh! I didn't know it was that bad!" (This is the side of my arm, so when I'm walking around normally you pretty much just see the mostly-healed yellowish part of the bruise.) Personally, I see a duck with a colourful Nefertiti headdress. She saw the Pillsbury doughboy, but she also neatly disregarded all the coloured parts and focused on the x-shaped part at the bottom. (Also, in case you were wondering, it really doesn't hurt all that much anymore.) I've also had a few people confuse it for a tattoo, and I've had to tell the story an awful lot, since it's a hard bruise to ignore. (There are still people at work, though, that seem to have missed it. In fact, someone just noticed it today. For him, I abbreviated the story to "Yeah, I got hit by a car, it's all right" and then carried on with the question I was asking him. I did this mostly because I knew he'd give me a fantastically confused look, though).

I also found this ) on my way back from work today. I came across it standing up huge and obvious in the grass, all by itself, in front of the building next door. I hope it's a Sign. I also hope it's not too sad that I picked it. I always feel bad when I do things like that (I also have this problem with Christmas trees, and pretty much all cut flowers), but I figure, the grass was kind of long, so it was probably going to get mowed soon... so sitting in a glass for a few days and then being pressed in quality literature will hopefully be a better fate for it.
I got home this afternoon and it still had a cake setting. )

True story!

Considering how fussy cheesecake can be, and how much I just completely winged it with the recipe (cream cheese? I'm using brie! I don't have cream, but I have some left-over half and half! Vanilla extract? How about vanilla and coconut! Wooden spoon? Rice paddle!) it's pretty delicious. And it's a perfect size for one person.

I'm pretty certain at this point that I'm basically just living out my mad scientist fantasies in my kitchen. And now I have a robot rice-cooking assistant that can also make cakes. (Did I mention that my rice cooker has fuzzy logic? I am so doomed when the robot uprising comes.) I should also point out that my robot assistant made me brown rice and woke me up this morning, just in case anyone has the impression that I've used it only for cake.
evilhippo: hippo (49 [truth])
( Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:35 pm)
I settled down today and (pretty much) finished moving in. And you know what that means!

Pictures! )
First of all, I promise I'm going to stop posting pictures of food I've made very soon. One, because I've run out of experiments for now, and Two, because I don't want people to get the impression that I know what I'm doing in the kitchen. BUT!

Bagels! I thought for a bit that I'd invented the furikake bagel, but it looks like someone else on the internet beat me to it. That doesn't make it any less tasty, though, especially with cream cheese. The ones closest to the camera are actually lavender-lemon bagels that I made for my roommate, and at this point I don't even care how they taste because the entire apartment smells like lavender, lemon, and bread, and it's wonderful (for future reference: more lemon, less lavender).

The conclusion? Bagels are really fun to make! There's less waiting involved than with bread, and you get to throw things in water and watch them boil. (However, if you do as I did and use the first google search result, you need at least the cup and a half of water for the dough. A cup and a quarter won't take in all the flour, and it gets super-dry while it sits out to rise. I'm not sure how much it matters that it's dry, since you throw them in water anyway, but I'm pretty sure they'll live if they're a little bit more moist.)

P.S. Anyone planning on moving to Chicago? I need a roommate in September because I don't want to move again, and because it'd cost too much to live on my own. I mean, look, the building next door to mine is going for $1,300,000.00. If everyone just got up and moved to Chicago with me, we could split the mortgage, say, 25 ways (assuming there will be some people who don't want to move). That's only $52,000.00 each. And judging by the defaults on mortgages that were made as early as last November, I'd say it'd probably still be easy to get that kind of mortgage on no income. What are we waiting for, guys?
Because someone indirectly asked, I present to you: Back Porch Garden Progress!

The pictures start there. There aren't many, because some of my plants are in a bit of a non-pretty phase and I just transplanted a lot of stuff into one of my hanging baskets (and then I RAN OUT OF DIRT. Stupid dirt). But you get the gist of it. This photo also now includes the bonus story of my dad having manure delivered to the house.

(Also, guys, CitiMortgage has achieved new levels of stupid that I didn't even think existed.)
evilhippo: hippo (58 [yip yip])
( May. 19th, 2009 10:24 pm)
The bread project is now a continuing success! I have created bread that looks, smells, and tastes like bread, and I believe that I will be able to duplicate my results. The next step will be figuring out how to make a chewier crust. It's good for a fifth try, but for french bread, it's still a long way off. Someday, I hope to get as good at this as I am with pancakes and mashed potatoes. By the time I hit retirement age, I should be good and ready to cook for other people. (I also managed to cook fish correctly today, though I don't think I can duplicate those results yet. Fish and I have a rocky relationship sometimes.)
Profile and introductions to various writerly activities still not written. I'll get around to this after I've burnt away more of this anger at my stupid alma mater. Until then... I have some more pictures of my lovely window garden now. My peas have gotten huge. And I have a tiiiiiiiny tomato sprout, finally. Along with more sunflowers and basil than I'll probably know what to do with. (And a stormtrooper poaching elephants.) By the way, that sweet potato? I bought it for Thanksgiving.

Aaaand since I have nothing else useful to say, here is a meme via [livejournal.com profile] flutingfrenzy.

Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

Chicago )
live music )
mandolin )
Hughes )
evilhippo: hippo (10 [wee])
( Apr. 16th, 2009 06:58 pm)
Guys! Guess what I came home to today! My passport, which came in like, three weeks. What the heck government... is this efficiency?! I mean, seriously, what is this, some kind of socialist nation? Or are you just spiting me because I'm not going anywhere? SEEDLINGS! Those are my baaaaaby peas. I also have a few sunflowers poking up in another pot, and a basil sprout that's so small I can't get my camera to focus on it (I'm worried the rest of the basil is a little too deep, but hopefully it'll be tough and come up anyway). This gives me hope that in a few more days, my front-room seeds should be waking up, too. And it also makes me want to go get more seeds. I guess I know what I'm doing Sunday.
evilhippo: hippo (74 [closer look])
( Mar. 21st, 2009 10:00 pm)
My dad recently got into flickr. Most of the stuff he's posted has been novel for its "wow, this is old and on actual film" quality. But this set makes me want to write a pseudo-steampunk novel about Youngstown's further-burnt-out dystopian future. Screwing with my mind even more, those photos are from 1998. My mind immediately rebelled against how old they looked, and then I remembered... 1998 was more than ten years ago. Yikes. (It's also amusing to think of my dad still being chased out of places by the police while I was in 8th grade).

I didn't give much thought to Beirut's new EP, but upon second-listen, Zach Condon's vocals over electronic music is just as haunting and (now that the Balkan sound is a little broken in) somewhat more novel. Also, man, guys, I feel old because I'm officially at the point that some of my favourite musicians are younger than me. Sure, Zach is only a year younger, but it's all downhill from here.

In regards to the BSG finale... I think I cried mostly because the show was over, and I was going to miss the characters. But... ) That aside, though, I have a feeling re-watching the finale at any point in the next few months would just make me notice everything that didn't quite line up and ruin what afterglow I have. Someday I'll go back and re-watch the whole series. And I'm totally glad I was keeping up with the show as it was going along, rather than only finding out now. I'm kind of disappointed that most of the set pieces being auctioned off are way out of my price range.

P.S. It looks like my dear favourite St. Vincent is riding high on SXSW propaganda (well, I still put value in a favorable mention in the NYT). I wish I'd talked to her long enough two years ago that she'd remember me, so I could give her a hug if I go see her in June.
Mr. Spider is a real gentleman. )

It's a good thing I don't have to be there until 11 tomorrow, so I can actually do my paperwork beforehand. It looks like this entire evening will be Mr. Spider's.


evilhippo: hippo (Default)


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