Less sick than I was!

1. My GOODNESS, I feel so much better today! I spent almost all of yesterday in bed, reading and watching videos. Now I merely have constant snot and a sporadically wracking cough. Go Team!

2. I did do five loads of dishes, though. I think I’ve mentioned this before — we don’t have a built-in dishwasher, we have a small, rollaway dishwasher suitable for a single person or a couple who doesn’t cook much. In a household of five + dogs, this means it’s too small. So when I skip a day, like Tuesday, the next two days are a race to catch up.

3. The kids and I, for school, watched a documentary about the Massacre at Fort Mystic. This, for those of you who may not know, was the massacre of the Pequot tribe by a coalition of Pilgrim settlers and Narraganset and Mohegan in 1637. It was the introduction of “total warfare” to the New England area, and the subsequent Treaty of Hartford set the tone for tribal relations for the next … two hundred years or so.

My son copes with these sorts of historical realities by blowing fireballs, rockets, bombs, or lasers at whichever side he perceives to be the Bad Guys in the fight. M has, as an instructor mentioned to us, “a highly developed sense of justice.” In this case he was firebombing the English settlers. As coping mechanisms go, I think this is perfectly acceptable for a seven-year-old. The urge to rush in and help the helpless and downtrodden is not an urge I’m inclined to quash.

I, of course, found the part about the resurgence of the Pequot Nation in the 1970s, the hopeful and triumphant part, to be absolutely tear-jerking. But that may just be me.

4. I’ve been re-reading Finder, specifically The Finder Library, vol. 1. I’ve talked about this on Fantastic Fangirls, a bit, but I do so love these stories. I’m taking my time on this re-read. Looking carefully at the art, checking the footnotes. It’s worth the time.

5. I read Jennifer Traig’s Well Enough Alone, the memoir of her hypochondria. The book is really hilariously funny. If you like memoirs of illness by incredibly self-aware, wry people, this is for you.

Nothing to see here, folks

1. Lo, I am sick and pathetic and at work. I’ve been up since two, since my sore throat woke me up. But I did get a load of dishes done before I came in.

2. I’m at work because I don’t have enough sick leave to get the day off. But I did swap into an all-day training class, so I don’t have to talk, think, or deal with aircraft. You, the flying public, are welcome.

3. I started watching Read or Die last night (and this morning at 2:00 am). More accurately, I’m watching R.O.D. – the TV. That’s apparently the name of it. Not “the TV show,” or anything, just “the TV” Which I keep reading as “transvestite.” But, anyway, it’s the sequel to the Read or Die OVA and Read or Dream — or, at least, that’s what Wikipedia says? I really like it so far. More shows about groups of super-powered women who are friends and family!

4. I should order more volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist from my library.

1. I like the Sucker Punch soundtrack rather a lot. I like very much that Emily Browning sings two of the tracks, I like Skunk Anansie’s two tracks, I find the sexy-slink Emiliana Torrini cover of “White Rabbit” to be freaking amazing.

2. I am downloading covers of White Rabbit from Zune.

3. I read vols 20-24 of Fullmetal Alchemist this weekend. No real thoughts yet, except that the homunculi are really super creepy.

4. I have a sore throat, am losing my voice, and generally feel like a microscopic assault is being waged upon my body by invisible assailants. The countermeasures produced are not comfy either.

How the sausage gets made

Apparently some guy fell asleep on the mid shift at an airport on the east coast recently. So now we have a rule saying that, on the mid shift, we are required to make sure the controllers around us are awake before we give planes to them.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to make sure the controllers around me are awake even without a special rule saying so …

Movies this week

I ended up seeing a number of movies this week, it turns out.

Battle: Los Angeles — The United States is, it seems, really scared of what will happen to us if we are ever invaded they way we invade other countries. Other than that minor interesting point I didn’t think the film was very good.

Red Riding Hood — This was a hot mess. The engine of a werewolf movie is Fear of Ourselves, and Fear of Sex. The engine of Red Riding Hood is Fear of Sex, and Fear of The Outside. The film managed to combine the two stories while leaving out all of the engine themes. I’m not sure how they managed that. However, the production team DID somehow include a nightclub dance-orgy-party scene in fairy-tale medieval faux-Europe. Impressive. One last note — if the trees in your forests are covered with three-foot-long thorns, by the end of the film I want to see at least ONE person or creature impaled on them. Just sayin’.

Paul — Paul was very funny, very good, and not quite as stunningly amazing as Hot Fuzz. Also, I think Frost and Pegg really don’t like conservative Christian Americans.

Sucker Punch — I loved it, and it was a hot mess, and I will be talking about it more elsewhere, I think.

Georgiana

I am reading Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman, and I came across this on my Tumblr feed:

It’s so apropos.

Georgiana is smart, personable, witty, social astute, emotionally damaged, pathologically insecure, and destructively needy. I adore her. Her relationship — her codependent, destructive, passive-aggressive, poorly communicated, incandescent rollercoaster relationship — with Bess reminds me of nothing so much as adolescence. Adolescence played on with half a million pounds a year, across at least two countries, with the British Parliament and French Revolution as backdrop. Talk about a blaze of glory.

House arrest, with books.

The kids successfully flew by themselves to Chicago to visit their grandmother, and successfully returned. Their adventures included the Museum of Science and Industry, the Children’s Museum, seeing their cousins, and watching a vast ton of Pokemon movies. Said Pokemon movies returned home with the children, a feat which my mother informs me is “grandparent privilege.”

Upon re-entry to the house after a vacation, usually the kids are a bit … problematic. There’s resistance to the resumption of rules and schedules and chores. This time, K has ended up on what I call house arrest.

When you, o child of mine, demonstrate that your judgment is insufficient for you to make good decisions when out of my sight, then you must remain in my sight. House arrest lasts about a day or so, and it’s frankly hard on the adults to keep up. I don’t want to follow you around the house while you pick out socks! Not my idea of a good time! But when you choose to, not at all hypothetically, tie your self into a rope sling suspended from the basement rafters, incite your brother to cut your dolls’ hair, and color on your socks in crayon, your judgment is clearly not up to the task.

House arrest is tedious. Yet, as I said on Twitter last night, we’re not barbarians. House arrest means you sit around and read books. K and I went upstairs (so she could feed Togepi and Piku, her stuffed Pokemon, their dinner) and picked out some books. John Bellairs, The Ghost in Mirror. Two Famous Five books. The first Arana tpb collection. An anthology of Greek myth. Eyewitness Insects. The Pokedex. This is in addition to the book we are reading to the kids in the morning and at bedtime, Caddie Woodlawn. And in addition to books we read for school.

I think about a dozen people on Twitter yesterday said they would rather be on house arrest with K than go to work.

In the meantime, it’s snowing and sleeting and blustery here, and the reports I’m getting indicate that driving conditions are not good. So we’re not going to the Y this morning but are staying in. I expect I’ll make the kids go play outside for a bit so they can run around before school. I was sort of looking forward to the Y today, actually. I’ll make up for it by biking in the basement, I suppose.

House arrest indeed.

Vegetarian cooking recipes

A couple people asked for recipes on Twitter –

Vegetarian Chick-Pea Cassoulet

5-8 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1 large onion, chopped
1-3 stalks of celery, chopped, depending on how much you like celery
lemon pepper, 1-2 tsps

Put all those things in a big, big skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. Fry on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. If the garlic looks like it’s burning, turn the heat down.

Add:

1-2 cups of chick peas, aka garbanzo beans. Or, about a can of them. If you use the canned variety, drain them first.
1/2 cup of uncooked rice
1 1/2 cups of cold water, or the broth of your choosing. Because I am vegetarian and eating low-salt, I used water.

Stir it all together a bit, turn the heat down to medium, and put a lid on your skillet.

While that’s simmering, chop:

1 bell pepper, the color of your choosing
A handful of peapods
A bunch of fresh spinach

I made the pepper and peapods about the same size as the chick peas, if that makes sense? So that when I was eating it, they would feel the same in my mouth. Other people may not have this neurosis.

Periodically stir the simmering stuff. Add a little bit of water if the rice isn’t done yet and the water is gone. Add about a teaspoon of dried marjoram, and the same of dried basil. If you are using fresh basil, hold off on that.

When the rice is almost done, but still kinda chewy, add the peapods, bell pepper, and fresh basil if that’s your choice. Stir it together and put the lid back on.

When the rice is done, throw the spinach in. Stir it together for a moment, turn the heat off, and you’re done.

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice — rectified for the errors I made with the beans

5-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped fine
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1-2 tsps chili powder
2-3 tsps dried chipotle pepper powder
2 tsps black pepper

In a large pot, like a 3- or 4- quart, I guess, simmer those things in a light coating of oil. Not too much, just enough so they don’t stick and burn. When the onions are translucent add:

2 cans of red kidney beans, drained
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water or the broth of your choosing
4 TBSPs of butter or margerine. I used unsalted butter.

Stir that together, put a lid on it, let it cook. While that’s cooking, chop up a green bell pepper if you like. I didn’t have one, so it’s not in what I made. Stir the stuff in the pot periodically. Taste the liquid. If it’s not spicy enough, add some of the following, as you prefer — cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce, chili powder, chopped jalepenos — until it’s spicy enough. But you don’t want to drown out the chipotle pepper flavor, that’s what’s making it taste smoke-y.

When the rice is half done, throw in the green pepper. Add more water if there’s not enough. When the rice is done, you’re done.

To be read

Books I have started reading:

Shadows in the Desert, Dr. Kaveh Farrokh
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Amanda Foreman
New Amsterdam, Elizabeth Bear
1491, Charles C. Mann
Just Kids, Patti Smith
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
A Drink Before the War, Dennis Lehane

Books I own and mean to read before Wiscon:

Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
Leviathan, Scott Westereld
Liar, Justine Larbalestier
Undine, Rachel Caine
Before European Hegemony, Janet L. Abu-Lughod

Books I own and mean to read in the next six months:

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosse
Your Hate Mail Will be Graded, John Scalzi
Tortall and Other Lands, Tamora Pierce
The Panic Virus, Seth Mnookin
Powers Scriptbook, Brian Michael Bendis

Books I own and mean to read, that are giving me accusing looks from the pile:

Dante Valentine, Lilith Saintcrow
The $64 Tomato, William Alexander
The Shape of Things to Come, Greil Marcus
Six Modern Plagues, Mark Jerome Walters
The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer, as told by Lucy Weston
The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker
Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars, published by Dark Horse Press
Bury the Chains, Adam Rothschild
Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky
Un-Spun, Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Dungeon, Fire, and Sword, The Knights Templar in the Crusades, John J. Robinson
Stupid Wars, Ed Strosser and Michael Prince
Nelson’s Trafalgar, Roy Adkins
The Honourable Company, John Keay

Books I own, gave up on, and want to hide from:

The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman
1421, The Year China Discovered America, Gavin Menzies
Crimea, Trevor Royle
Leviathan, The History of Whaling in America, Eric Jay Dolin

And none of this takes into account books I have forgotten I meant to read and have gotten lost in the house, books people recommend that I meant to get and forgot to get and no longer remember, audiobooks, or books that will be recommended to me in the future.

Time, money, both still finite

1. The May circus shows are coming up. Somewhat to our chagrin, the kids’ Unicycle acts are each in the second half of the show. So both kids will need to stay up until 10:30 or 11:00 at night on show nights. Not to mention dress/tech rehearsals, which are LEGENDARY for how long they runs. To pre-plan for as positive an outcome as we can manage, we’ve taken advantage of the DST time change. The kids are now getting up at 7:00 and going to bed at 8:30, instead of 6:00 and 7:30. As we get closer to show-week we’ll inch their bedtimes and wake-up times further back.

This is … suboptimal for me. I really LIKE that evening time without my kids. I watch inappropriate movies. I spend time with J, just us alone. Or J and N and I watch Top Gear and eat junk food without an eagle-eyed child wondering if THEY can ALSO have an extra treat in the day.

I’m telling you, I treasure that time without the kids.

But, it’s just for a couple of months. And it’s kinda nice to snuggle up with the kids in the evening and talk, and watch Justice League Unlimted cartoons, and read books together.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll manage, and it will be fine. But I don’t particularly like change to my routine, and I expect I will whine about it somewhat.

2. Whedonistas was sold out for a while on Amazon yesterday, but I’m told it’s back in stock now. My thanks to all of you who ordered, and pre-ordered, and who demonstrated to the big sellers that they need to stock more of this book and others like it.

3. We went grocery shopping yesterday. It’s … pleasantly surprising, how much less expensive groceries are without energy drinks, soda, boxes of highly salty pre-packaged foods, pre-packaged frozen cheese-related foods, ice cream, or salty snack foods. I’m going to call that a win.

This afternoon, if everything works out schedule-wise, I think I’m going to get a chance to do some cooking. I have a couple new things to try.

4. Off to the Y this morning. I don’t know if I want to bring Tiger Eye, by Marjorie M. Liu, or New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear, or Georgiana The Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, or Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. A wealth of reading riches by a bunch of great women. Hmm.

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