Thursday, April 18th, 2019 11:24 pm
Though I put a tarp on my car, no huge hailstones hit my car. Today the rain fell, though. I drove in Breckinridge Park, where I saw lots of swallows and flycatchers enjoying the weather. Tonight I saw clients at the Dallas Vounteer Attorney Program. I finished up around 8:45. We watched a couple on an HGTV show pick an apartment in Medellin. I picked up a work email, and worked from home on it late tonight.

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 08:48 pm

We have learned to recognize his chirps when he's on our balcony. There are three of them, I think. One has a very bold red band, then there's this one which is not as large, and then another one whose colors are quite faint and mostly yellow. Read more... )
Thursday, April 18th, 2019 06:37 pm
I stayed home sick today because I felt awful, although I can't really say I was contagious or anything.
That gave me time to go to Boulder and get a key for [personal profile] threemeninaboat's bike locker at the train station, the first locker reserved on the open-next-week line, and then physically verify the key's function, while also verifying that the lock does not in fact work on the door latch mechanism they've provided.
I also spent some time installing lock hardware on doors, because several of the doors have never had the right keys in the whole time we've lived here and when someone locks one of those doors it can be a serious hassle to get back through it.
This led to the discovery that there is no door sweep on the door between the garage and the house. There's a 10mm wide gap beneath it. That's about the same size gap between the garage door and the concrete.
No wonder we have a mouse problem.
I never thought to check, because the previous owners had carefully installed double-layer seals all the way around the door, as they did on every other one, to help prevent mice getting in.
It now has a nice custom-sawn piece of redwood that exactly fits in the space. Tomorrow that'll get bolted in place on the bottom of the door, when I have the energy to take the door off its hinges, and I'll put a commercial adjustable sweep behind it to air seal it as well as mouse sealing it.
As I was working on getting the parts together to fix this, I noticed the garage door opener no longer closes correctly.
This house needs some burnin' down.
Thursday, April 18th, 2019 07:05 pm

Apparently there was some hoohah lately about people's degrees not matching up with their A-level results?? and people doing better than their A-level grades might have suggested so it was grade inflation? (whether there was evidence of the converse, and people with smashing A-level results and mediocre degrees, deponent knoweth not).

And I feel this fits in a bit with my post earlier this week in that it is weighted to one moment of shining early promise...

Years ago, I read somewhere about somebody who had, after a perhaps not very starry start, become an internationally renowned expert in, I think, educational theory, had published widely in the relevant peer-reviewed journals and with top publishers, won awards etc: and applying for some post, somebody on the panel looked at the c.v. and said, 'huh, they only got a 2.2 from [might have been a polytechnic? anyway, non-elite institution]'.

Okay, with the numbers of sly hoaxers there are in the world, perhaps it is a necessary check on people being who they say they are to have them put down educational information from decades ago, though I very much doubt this sort of thing gets checked ('Did XY attend your school and did they take and pass Geography O-level in year in question?') But there comes a point when the exact grades at least should no longer matter?

I also think of those young persons of promise who perhaps did something - a first book or whatever - that was considered a major achievement and the precursor to very great things indeed and basically either never got the second album together at all, or it was not quite all that.

Or, they got some cushy post and sat back. Or didn't even get the first book out in spite of being considered sure to do great things.

While others do not really hit their stride until much later - this is not, I think, the same as those women artists who have to wait until they are 90 and all their male competitors and critics have died off to be recognised, I'm thinking more of people who get it together, not entirely unlike oneself, in the middle way of life. And possibly not having given any particular signs of remarkable shiny promise.

I think there are lots of different trajectories possible, and I'm not sure that whooshing upwards like a rocket from the get-go is a terribly encouraging model to have in front of one.

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 12:31 pm
To the people who are repeatedly breeding and discarding hundreds of one common type of dragon on my adoptable dragon sprite site, thus clogging up the egg-claiming page with unwanted eggs for hours and days:

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 08:35 am
Livvy was glad indeed that they had two stout fellows to accompany them to the play, for there were a deal of crowds about the place, and shouting, and shoving, but with Sam and Jerome to guard 'em they need not have the least worry. And o, it was a fine sight, even before the play went about to commence – sure one might observe the Quality in the boxes, and Sophy and Jerome pointed out this and that one, and titbits of gossip and scandal –

Jerome had brought the promised basket from Seraphine, that contained a deal of fine tasty treats, and even some hothouse fruit – does His Lordship leave any, why, I have the reversion, for must be fresh and fresh for him, not left-overs –

So Livvy told him of how Sir Charles went set up a hothouse at the manor, so that Lady Fairleigh might have hothouse fruit, and asked was Lord Raxdell a very exacting employer?

Why, he is most exceeding nice about his dress, but he can wear it, shows very well – there will be other valets come to me, ask, how may I obtain such and such an effect with my master, and really, I must sigh and say, perchance do you go about to disguise his defects of figure with stays or some such, because one may observe that the fellow is not one that will spend a good hour or so a day in practice with his fencing master like unto His Lordship. Is particular, but shows kind and generous, 'tis not always the tale. Is not here the e’en – has seen this play several times already – I see has lent his box to Lord Abertyldd and several others of his set –

Sophy nudged Livvy. The young lady, next to Lady Abertyldd – with the white roses? – that is the Miss Brumpage that Mr Edward Merrett has a notion to.

Pretty! said Livvy.

And then the play commenced.

What a fine amuzing thing it was. The young man that determines to save his sister from a beguiled elopement by dressing in her clothes and going to the rendezvous himself – the young woman that is so horrified at her brother’s plan to beguile a young woman into a runaway match that she pushes him into the cellar and locks the door upon him, dresses in his clothes – sure Miss Addington looked most exceeding well in breeches! – and keeps the assignation – Mr Winch as the innkeeper at the appointed hostelry, o, her sides quite ached with laughing –

At the end of the evening Jerome said, sure, he would escort Livvy back to Offgrange House, 'twas no trouble in the least, and so they took their leave of Sophy and Sam, that were gazing doating into one another’s eyes, and set off, their arms linked together so that they might not get separated in the press, and Jerome keeping his stick in hand, just in case.

As they walked he remarked that did the Fairleighs stay much longer in Town, and did they concede Livvy a little time for recreation, perchance a party for Vauxhall might be made up?

Livvy said she was not certain of their plans, but sure that would be very agreeable might it be contrived.

How very civil was Jerome: did not lord it as he might have done, sure valets were oft very proud and haughty and determined to demonstrate their consequence, one saw that a little with Plender at Offgrange House.

Or perchance they might visit a menagerie? Though, had she been at Raxdell House, mayhap she had the opportunity to visit Master Josh’s creatures?

Indeed, said Livvy, was a thing came up while we were picking herbs, Sophy said 'twas a mongoose

That mongoose will ever be looking into whatever is a new thing!

 - and then Master Josh Ferraby came up after it, and Sophy offered that he might show us his animals.

The wombatt, said Jerome, is most particular out of the common – comes from the antipodes.

At length they came to the belowstairs door of Offgrange House, and Jerome smiled down at her, and said, had been a most agreeable evening, and he hoped that he might have further opportunity of seeing her again while she was in Town, touched his hat, and departed. Livvy smiled a little to herself, and went in, and up to the dressing-room.

Lorimer came in to say, Lady Fairleigh had gone to bed, but Sir Charles was with her and said he fancied he could undertake her requirements in making sure of her comfort &C.

Livvy smiled at her and said, he has the finest hand in the matter, she will say.

Lorimer looked doating. 'Tis give out, in the family, that had loved her for many years, since boyhood, even before her parents made up the marriage to the Earl. And at last they could wed. But, my dear, 'tis late and you should get to bed yourself.

Next morning while Livvy was undertaking Lady Fairleigh’s toilette, the latter asked her about how she had enjoyed the play, and that came to an account of the play, and how very entertaining it had been, and the evening in general.

Oh, said Lady Fairleigh, how delightful it sounds. One hears Miss Addington is quite the finest of actresses –

Sir Charles came in. What, we are talking of Livvy’s theatrical excursion?

O, indeed I am put in a deal of envy, Sir Charles. For even when I was still able to get about I cannot recall that we ever went to the play.

Sir Charles looked thoughtful and said, he did not see why it could not be managed. He fancied there were those among their acquaintance with boxes at the theatre, and he might carry her in, and they could ensure she was sat in comfort. And sure it was desirable that she had some standard by which to judge her offsprings’ efforts in amateur theatricals.

O, Sir Charles! are they so bad?

Sir Charles laughed. As it perchances, Em and Geoff are by no means bad, at least as amateurs go. I do not say that they could earn their living upon the boards but they are not an entire embarrassment to watch.

I am ever in doubt that I manifest maternal prejudice in the matter!

They looked at one another very fond.

I fancy that the person to apply to would be Lady Bexbury: she will know who has boxes, and when they are like to be empty, &C.

I daresay she will be calling within a day or two: but I will write her a little note upon the matter.

Livvy recommenced the brushing of Lady Fairleigh’s hair that she had temporarily ceased. Sir Charles said that he had just looked in to say that he purposed to go to Raxdell House the morn: had had a very civil note from Mr Roberts that he was entire welcome to go visit his hothouses. Dared say they would make him quite discontent with his own efforts.

He kissed Lady Fairleigh’s hand and took his leave.

Barely had the door closed behind him than it opened once more and little Lady Di toddled in.

After an apologetic nursemaid had come to retrieve her and take her back to the nursery, Lady Fairleigh sighed and said, sure it was delightful to be among her family, and Di and Gussie were the sweetest of infants, but she found that she had grown used to a rather quieter life. A little taste of Town pleasures was agreeable, but she found herself looking forward to returning to the manor.

And Livvy found herself in inward agreement with her mistress.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 08:15 pm

I've seen "Cheese Tea," the salty dairy topping, at more boba tea places, and even shops that specialize in it like Happylemon, and now I've learned what goes in the 'cheese' (it's milk and cream cheese whipped together). At 85°C Bakery, you can get iced coffee with the topping.

If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years. - User researcher Jan Chipchase

I got a PyPortal from AdaFruit and have been playing around with it. It's a micro-controller with an attached display. It runs a subset of python and defines a function for grabbing a chunk of data and putting it on the display. Great for dashboards, or Oblique Strategies.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 08:52 pm
My cousin Dan was my father's sister's oldest son. She and her two sons lived in the small Arkansas town where my parents went to high school. When I was a junior in high school myself, we moved to that town. I graduated from high school there. That town is kind of home-and-yet-not-home to me, in the way two-years-of-high-school can be for a person.

Dan was thirteen years my senior. My late mother liked Dan. He shared some of her interests--he played in the band, he trained to become a teacher, just as she had, and he had an eye for antiques. Dan and his own mother were very close. During her life, I think they spoke every day.

Dan always seemed to me to know himself. He had a kind of self-assurance which, with hindsight, must have masked some self-doubt. But I never saw that. He was one of those people who understood his interests and his frailties, or at least it now seems to me. I liked him, but I do not claim to have known him well.

I remember one year when Dan was perhaps college-age. He fell ill--I am not sure what malady he faced. He came to live in our guest room for some weeks, so that my father, a country doctor, could keep an eye on him. I believe that we kids were told to stay away, a bit. My brother and my sister, only 1 and 5 years younger than I am, have no recall of this time.  But my recall is accurate, I believe.

Dan finished college and moved to Missouri, because a school district in Missouri paid $ 1,000 per year more than Arkansas schools paid. He taught math and science, and his students reported to my cousin John that he inspired them and teased them in a way they liked. They said they liked being teased by him because he listened to them and based his satire on his knowledge of them.

Dan played the organ in church on Sunday. Late-ish in life, he converted Catholicism. He learned he had a brain cancer in recent weeks. He passed away after some chemo-therapy. I got a call three Saturdays ago about his illness.

Sunday I drove to my brother's house. He drove us up to Arkansas. We arrived at my parents' old home, now my sister's former home newly sold to a third party.  Almost all our living cousins on my late father's side of the family were there. It was good to see them. My sister had picked up grocery store ham, potatoes, BBQ beans and a roll. I sat at a folding "children's table'. My cousins and I had an interesting time together. Most of them are older than I am, I did not experience some events that they did.

My cousin John conducted a graveside service. He did a great job.

I wish I had known my cousin Dan better. I am glad to see so many of my other cousins.

Monday I walked in Shawnee Park and One Eleven Ranch Park.
Tuesday we ate sockeye salmone. Wednesday we ate eye of round,

I walked in a muddy patch today. I hate doing that except when I mean to do that.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 09:20 pm

On a pretty regular basis, I find myself thinking about this scene from The Trotsky, in which two of Leon’s colleagues are trying to convince the school’s students to back Leon’s (radical) course of action:

I particularly like the acknowledgement that Tony isn’t sure that he’s sold on the path forward, but is prepared to back it anyway.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 04:28 pm

I wanted earlier to say that this cold is wiping me out, and I also wanted to say that it's kicking my butt, two phrases which are semantically similar. What came out is "This cold is wiping my butt", which isn't. ("This cold is kicking me out" would have been equally puzzling, but less funny.)


Read more... )
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 12:19 pm
I've got another spasm in my back, my bunion has been twinging, and it turns out I'm not quite as healed up down there as I said I was a few months ago. I'm hoping these are minor, temporary setbacks.
From the Dept. of Future Happiness: I've booked an Airbnb in San Francisco for 9/25 through 9/30. I'll be all by my lonesome, aside from those times when I can meet up with the Tickler and her other sweetie S, Burner buddies, college chums, and those of you imaginary internet people* who live in the Bay Area.

This time I'll be staying much closer to the fair, so I'm hoping for more walking and fewer ride shares. I'm doing this my way, not the Siberian Siren's.

Now that I've re-read my entries from my trip in '17, it's occurred to me that flying out the day after the fair and its ensuing debauchery may be a bit brutal, but I didn't really feel like spending Monday there. I will, of course, hit Amoeba Music & SFMoMA before the fair. And this time I'm flying in & out of OAK.

*Stolen with love from [personal profile] eeyorerin.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 07:37 pm

What I read

Finished A Duke in Disguise - I thought the early sections dragged a bit, or maybe I am just a bit impatient of that particular kind of UST going on and on. But pace did pick up. Also title is a little bit misleading as he's not so much in disguise as unknowing? Also some slight improbability given what we learn about the hero's sexual experience... But, on the whole, the usual page-turner.

Catherine Dain, Luck of the Draw (1996), still waiting on replacement copy of Dead Man's Hand, no 7 in the series.

However, while waiting, embarked on Dain's later series, Death of the Party (2000), which feature an amateur sleuth (actress turned therapist in LA) and found it very generic compared to the Freddie O'Neals: so DNF and that and the second in the series have gone into the charity shop bag. I suspect the other one of hers ('A New Age Mystery'), if I have it, I think it's somewhere about, is likely to be similarly disappointing.

Re-reads of Gail Godwin, Father Melancholy's Daughter (1991) and Evensong (1999), very good but although I felt I wanted to reread these, somehow not quite hitting the spot where I'm at at the moment.

On the go

A bit more of Charlotte Lennox, and pottering on with The Strange Case of Harriet Hall - I have sufficient curiosity to find out the resolution of the mystery, especially after the most recent plot twist, not to abandon it entirely, but it's not exactly an edge of the seat page-turner, so it gets put aside a lot.

Lara Elena Donnelly, Amnesty (The Amberlough Dossier #3), which turned up yesterday: as twisty as ever.

Up next

Dunno: maybe a bit more going through the crime shelves in a picky and critical fashion?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 07:41 am
... my GoFundMe is still active, because we're still going to need a lot to cover the incoming repair and medical bills. (what is it with hospitals sometimes taking literal MONTHS to send the bill? Just got one in yesterday from mid-December!)
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 09:17 am
Happy birthday, [personal profile] linzer and [personal profile] shezan!
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 08:49 am
So, a few days later, she found herself squeezed into a gig with Sophy, being drive by the latter’s amiable but silent uncle Ajax to Raxdell House. And feeling most well-turned-out, for Docket had looked at her, and said, excellent fine hair, good colour, was in some surprize that Sophy had not been about dressing it for her, why did she not step up to the dressing-room, so that they might be about it?

For it turned out that Sophy was most exceeding well-thought-of in matters of dressing hair, would have ladies come beg Lady Bexbury for her services in the matter; Sophy cast down her eyes, and mayhap even blushed but one could not tell. There had also been some matter of advice upon dress, all entire proper to her station but so that she would not look some countryfied miss. Sure she had heard that Docket was a very daunting creature but showed most kindly towards her.

It flustered her somewhat when Lady Bexbury herself came into the dressing-room – she jumped up, and made her bob, and Her Ladyship took her hands and said, La, am delighted to see you here, Bracewell, for I hear excellent good report of how well you do for dear Hester Fairleigh, have quite the finest hand at making her comfortable and seeing to her needs.

And Livvy blushed deeply and found herself telling Her Ladyship, what she did not normally go about to disclose, about her brother Billy, that had been a cripple, carried off by a winter fever while still quite young, but that she had helped her mama look after afore she went into service at the manor, and she dared say that had got her into the knack of knowing the matter. Her Ladyship smiled and said, one might have guessed some such sad tale lay behind, and did her mother still live?

O yes, said Livvy, and is now in one of Sir Charles’ fine almshouses, most exceeding comfortable. And blushed again.

Why, I am sure Sir Charles looks well to 'em, but here is somewhat towards supplying her with additional comforts; and I daresay that you might wish to buy yourself a memento or so of your visit to Town – she pressed a little purse into Livvy’s hand. I am exceeding fond of Lady Fairleigh and it gladdens me to see her so well cared-for.

Sophy and Docket smiled after her as she left. O, said Livvy, is she not quite angelic? They looked at her very doating.

But now they came to the finely-appointed stableyard at Raxdell House, and there were grooms cried out in greeting to Ajax, for it seemed he was quite a favourite among 'em, and was conveyed away with promises of ale to convoke about some business of theirs. Sophy, saying that Ajax was very well-reputed for his skills with horseflesh, also had been a jockey and still had a deal of knowledge concerning the turf, led Livvy through past the kitchen-gardens and hot-houses –

La, there is Cousin Jerome, I wonder what he is about? – for a tall figure was waving to Sophy from within one of the hot-houses,

They went in, and Sophy made a civil dip to Mr Roberts, that was the head gardener, and said did Jerome come a-picking of these fine grapes? And Jerome, that one might see from the great niceness of his dress must be a valet, said that His Lordship liked to keep a bowl of fresh fruit about his chamber, so he came to find what Roberts had that was just at the right point of ripeness.

Roberts said that he fancied the bunches of this vine were just on their peak, and handed a few grapes over to Sophy and to Livvy, that agreed that they were entirely perfect. He went on to say that he thought there might be a peach or two also come ripe, did Jerome step this way –

Jerome paused, and looked at Livvy. But Sophy, he said, you do not make me known to your friend.

Oh, said Sophy, this is Bracewell, Livvy Bracewell, that is Lady Fairleigh’s maid – Livvy, this is my cousin Jerome, that you may apprehend is Lord Raxdell’s valet.

Jerome bowed very elegant over Livvy’s hand as she made her dip.

Sure, Jerome, I mind me that I have passes for the play, and Sam and I go take Livvy, and there is a place not yet took up, might you care for it?

Should be entire delighted, said Jerome, with a lingering look at Livvy. And may prevail upon Seraphine to put me up a basket for the occasion into the bargain.

He and Sophy exchanged the details, and he went off with Roberts.

Sophy giggled and said, Sure Jerome ever has an eye for a fine young woman! I fancy he is taken with you. Livvy blushed. But is exceeding well-conducted, I doubt there will be any requirement of hat-pin. Well, let us be about our business.

O, indeed they were fine gardens. And not only were there fine lawns and flowerbeds &C, but romping about were a deal of very pretty small children –

Came running up to Sophy with glad greeting cries perchance the prettiest of them all, a darling with golden curls holding by the hand a somewhat smaller girlchild with dusky skin and wiry black curls – Sophy! Sophy!

La, Miss Flora! said Sophy, as the child jumped into her arms and bestowed several kisses upon her, not at your lessons the morn?

'Tis such a fine day, said the other child, that Mrs Lowndes said we should take ad – take ad-vantage of it while we might.

And here is a kiss for Hannah! said Sophy, suiting the act to the words. And might there be a kiss or two for Livvy?

Livvy knelt down upon the grass and held out her arms. Flora came at once to bestow a kiss in the manner of one that fancies hers will always be desired, and Hannah a little more shyly behind.

What pretty darlings, she said.

Sophy looked at them doatingly, and said, Come, Miss Flora, you might conduct us to your sister’s herb-garden. So Flora put her hands into theirs, and Hannah took Sophy’s other hand, and led them around and about until they came to a plot at which two older girls were standing.

One was assuredly a sister of Lady Offgrange – perchance the Lady Louisa that was to make her come-out shortly – and the other must be Miss Ferraby.

How now, our Flora! Sure there is never somewhat ado but you must be about finding out what 'tis, you little mongoose. But she gave an affectionate ruffle to the golden curls.

Sophy went about to make introductions – Livvy made her dip – Lady Louisa remarked that she had heard very well of Bracewell from her mother and sisters – Livvy blushed – Miss Ferraby said she was entire welcome to make free of her herb-plot, for it fell out that she would be leaving Town shortly and it would fall into neglect for a while and 'twould be a shame that somewhat that might be of use went to waste.

Livvy looked at the herb-garden and remarked upon what a fine one it was: so well-laid-out, and everything so flourishing. Miss Ferraby blushed and said, had been a good season, and had ever had the very wise advice of Lady Jane Knighton, and of course her own mother, on the matter. And while she minded upon it, Williams, that was her mother’s lady’s maid, would be delighted did Lacey and Bracewell join her for a tea-drinking once their labours were done.

Then said, come along, Lou, let us not hover: and, also taking Flora and Hannah with them, left Sophy and Livvy to their task.

'Twas very agreeable: a fine warm day but a pleasing breeze to it; the scents of the herbs; a little buzzing of bees; the more distant sounds of the children at play. And excellent fine fresh herbs that would make up into lotions and washes and salves.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019 12:31 am
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