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27th-Jun-2016 03:51 pm - Car Searching
Monkey kisses
Have (somewhat) narrowed down the car search.

Requirements: AWD, wagon, reliable, newer (not brand-new)
Almost-requirements: Heated seats (you would think this would be a non-issue in newer cars, but I'm looking at YOU, economy Subarus), not an awful color (I'm looking at you 90's Subaru Outback Teal)

Looking at:
Volvo XC70
Subaru Outback or Forester
Mercedes e320

Volvo: This has rock-solid ratings and a great interior. The problem is that unless I buy very-new, the next available model years seem to be 2008. Mileage creeps way up if at all newer. Because people drive these for-ev-er. It's a good sign, but it makes it tough to find at a reasonable price.

Subaru: Solid. Reliable. Great to drive in the snow. These are popular for a reason. People drive them forever. My issue is that the ride is sort of tinny and the cars have a very cheap interior feel. It's not a dealbreaker, of course, but it gives me slight pause. There's also this weird crossover where they started making the Outbacks more like mini-suvs...and I really don't want a mini-suv.

Mercedes: This was my old wagon. I loved my old wagon SO MUCH. The issue here is that these are becoming incredibly scarce, what's available generally is old and has high mileage, and there is a known issue with body rust. I wouldn't get the c-class again (my last car) but the e-class was amazing to drive. SO solid in the snow. So awesome to handle. Third row seats are also a plus.

I have pretty much eliminated the Audis (they're cheap and available, but their reliability ratings are crap), the Cadiallac SRX (too big...why was D showing me this car?!).

I'm open to looking at other wagons, but there really aren't a lot of them out there.
23rd-Jun-2016 10:37 am - State of Cars
Oh hell
My old mini-van: Oil filter failure caused engine to seize on the freeway.
My 320 Benz Wagon: Totaled by a semi in 2014 (not my fault)
My 280 Benz Wagon: Totaled by a minivan in 2015 (not my fault)
My father in law's Chrysler 300: Quits in stop and go traffic, or at stop lights, or at stop signs, or when not actively accelerating. Not all the time. Just sometimes. SURPRISE.
Derrick's Blazer: I just had to have towed after it stopped shifting. (It would shift into first but nothing past that...the RPM was insane.) You cannot drive on the freeway in the low gears. Also it made this really unpleasant thumping/jumping.

The tow truck driver had to put the extra wheels on it because he couldn't get it to shift into gear for towing.

So D is driving his motorcycle and I'm...without a car at the moment. Which accelerates the car shopping timeline (we had been laaaazy about this. I hate car shopping and it's hard to actually visit lots and such with a toddler).

D and I are not on the same page, right now. Right now, I'm willing to pay a little more for a newer car that WILL NOT HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT RIGHT AWAY.

Maybe it's just the PTSD from having cars randomly quit on the freeway in traffic talking.

He wanted a budget that accounted for potential repairs to the potential new vehicle. NO.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want a huge car payment either. But we have a good chunk that we can put toward a downpayment. I just want something that isn't going to die on me.

Again.

Also I slept oddly and my neck is sore as fuck.
10th-Apr-2016 09:34 pm - Little things
Bourdain Monster
This resort is a lot of very nice things, executed not so wonderfully.

For instance, there is an in-room keurig coffee maker...and they only gave me decaf coffee.

Oddly, none of the devices in my room were plugged in--no lamps, no clocks, no phones. The clock has no cord to plug it in. It just sits there, inert, on the bedside table.

There is a rain-shower.

Let me tell you. There is a reason why we don't all march out and stand in the rain to bathe ourselves. If I wanted water trickling feebly over my body I'd bathe in the tears of those crying over the lack of water pressure.

They are the first-worldiest of first world problems. It's true.
19th-Mar-2016 02:19 pm - On the plane
Monkey kisses
Overheard:
Passenger 1: "So do you think Trump is gon' be president?"
Passenger 2: "Gosh, I sure hope so."
P2: "Yeah, I reckon."

Who are you people?!

Oh. That's right. I'm in Texas.
24th-Feb-2016 09:55 am - Smooth
Shirley Temple--whoa
I'm trying to limit my caffeine intake just to see if I can.
An exercise in control.
One cup of coffee creeps up to two, too often.
I'm done with the first cup this morning, already.
And it went down so fast. So fast and so smooth.
It was coffee of the subconscious. As automatic as breathing. As comforting as home after a long journey (for what is wakefulness but the end of the journey of the night).
So now, cup two.
I have no control.
I give in.
15th-Feb-2016 09:24 am - Overly Complicated
Coppertone Girl
On a whim I started looking at swimsuits again. I'm not sure why, save that the two I have are ill-fitting and very old--respectively. It's not like I'm in imminent danger of needing a swimsuit, but it's unpleasant to not have one and need one. I figure I should cover my bases and an ad popped up on Facebook, so.

But dude. Someone is WAY overthinking swimwear.

This woman looks so smug because she just stole her toddler's swimsuit.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.06.40 AM

Sometimes your boobs might just need some dust ruffle action.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.03.40 AM

Why are there so many straps and what the heck is that little tiny underboob peep hole? WHY. ANSWER FOR YOUR SWIM CRIMES.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.04.19 AM

This is just weird. Even the model is shielding herself from the glare of its awkwardness. She looks horribly embarrassed. "I'm sorry I spent all of college getting a liberal arts degree, mom. Can I take off the bikini of shame now?"
It says it's crocheted, too. Because that's what you need. Crochet swimsuits.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.04.29 AM

This one isn't so bad aside from being ugly. But lots of the suits have extra strappage and fabric. Like: You know what would be awesome? If I had to wrap my swimsuit around me a bunch of times like embalming linens. Also: Stupid and impractical tan lines.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.04.47 AM

This is kind of cute. If very minimal and prone to making your breasts look like twin Eiffel towers.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.05.02 AM

...But how does it...stay...on...? Frank Lloyd Wright, your swimwear design extension was not the best use of your brand.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.05.08 AM

Your boobs have a terrible cold. You've put kleenex under them to keep them from dripping snot everywhere.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.05.40 AM

Palate cleanser. I actually like this one:
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.04.02 AM

For when your boobs are fighting with each other. Two boobs enter ONLY ONE CAN WIN:
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.05.57 AM

What the shit. It's really not a swimsuit top so much as bondage. I cannot envision you'd ever need to raise your arms while swimming or anything, so this is probably a really great design:
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.06.06 AM
YOU ARE A HUMAN CENSOR BAR.

...maybe I should just wait until the one I have totally falls apart. Or continue falling out of the other one.
13th-Feb-2016 11:44 am - Hell
Monkey kisses
Derrick found some really great ukulele tutorials on YouTube. For the instrument, they're fantastic. But the guy in the videos insists on singing along and he's so, so bad.

This is what I imagine hell is like; something you need inextricably linked with something that makes you want to shoot yourself.
9th-Feb-2016 03:04 pm - Blah blah.
Bourdain Monster
Me: [Asking client informed questions about retinal pathologies so I can write them into the script, credibly.]
Boss (post-call): Wow. I'm super impressed by your knowledge of those things! You make us sound really good.
Me: Um. I read the document they gave us?
Boss: But you used all the terms correctly! And knew how they were connected or not connected!
Me: Um. She sent us a document outlining all of this.
Boss: Yes! But you synthesized the information! And spit it back out in a way that shows you understood it!
Me: Um. She sent us a document. Did you not see the document?

I can read! Go me!

This happens a lot. I don't know why people are impressed by the ability to just *read* the damned material. But apparently they are. Or maybe it's the understanding that's impressive. I don't know. It's not that hard. I may not know a thing, but I can learn a thing very quickly.

This is also what I like about my job; I get to learn an incredibly wide variety of things. Not necessarily with the greatest depth, but enough to explain them to a broader audience.
3rd-Feb-2016 09:32 am - Similar
Monkey kisses
I really like Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, etc.), but his writing style is very much the same from book to book.

So is his content, mostly.

It's fine. He's an easy read. It's digestible--like so much pop-psychology and the ever-intriguing, rarely-accurate, definitely-untestable, barely-supported anthropological psychology. It's fun, despite its flaws, but should be taken with a grain of salt.

But his books are all the same.

I feel like someone should tell him this.
But it's not like he's not successful. So go with whatever works, I guess.
14th-Jan-2016 09:47 am - Truly Madly Deeply
Unbearable Lightness of Being Hat
Every now and then movie execs don't know exactly how to market a movie. Apparently this was the case with The Princess Bride; is it comedy? Is it drama? Is it romance? Is it...for kids? Not for kids? (Carey Elwes talks about some of the issues with marketing in As You Wish.)

The movies almost always suffer for it--and they're almost always amazing, nuanced movies (thus making them difficult to categorize). Princess Bride was a "flop" that was only redeemed through word of mouth and the wonderful world of VHS home movies.

Alan Rickman dying actually makes me a little sad. He was one of my "I'll watch anything he's in because I like watching him" actors. There aren't many.

I suppose I should watch Die Hard at some point now?

But there are better Rickman movies.

Everyone knows him from Harry Potter, naturally. Galaxy Quest is wonderful and if you're a Trek fan and you haven't watched it, you should. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is another. The 90s Robin Hood with Kevin Costner wasn't a great-great movie, but I loved it as a kid, and Alan Rickman was wonderful in it.

Dogma. Perfume. Sense and Sensibility.

Not Love Actually, though. Alan Rickman was good because I like Alan Rickman...but I didn't like Love Actually.

(You will notice that I HAVE seen things. Despite assertions to the contrary.)

One of my favorites, however, is Truly, Madly, Deeply. Which is a deeply melancholy little piece about the manifestation of grief. And it was marketed like this:
TrulyMadlyDeeplyMoviePoster

As a madcap romp! As a romantic comedy! So many exclamation points!

Which I guess it *could* be. If you squint. But it's really not.

Even the title is kind of misleading, though I'm not sure what else they might have called it. It's no wonder that many people haven't heard of it. But it's a tiny little gem and some of Alan Rickman's best work. I think it may be time to re-watch it. I haven't since college. Maybe I don't feel the same way about it, but I think it will hold up.
31st-Dec-2015 11:40 am - Book List 2015
Wild Thing
My reading list this year was shameful. Less than half of what I usually read.
It’s almost like I had a baby or something and that cut into my reading time. Babies don’t care about book lists. They care about being fed and stuff. :/
I could list countless baby/kid books on here (I think I’ve memorized “The Cremation of Sam McGee” pretty thoroughly), but I won’t. Just adult books. For real adults. Which I pretend to be.

  1. A Fire Upon the Deep — Vernor Vinge

  2. As You Wish: The Making of the Princess Bride— Carey Elwes

  3. So Anyway — John Cleese

  4. The Signal and the Noise — Nate Silver

  5. Dauntless (Lost Fleet #1)— Jack Campbell

  6. Fearless (Lost Fleet #2) — Jack Campbell

  7. Courageous (Lost Fleet #3) — Jack Campbell

  8. Son of the Morning Star: Custer and Little Bighorn — Evan S. Connell

  9. Brain Rules for Baby — John Medina

  10. Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

  11. American Gods — Neil Gaiman (re-read)

  12. Ancillary Justice — Anne Leckey

  13. To Kill a Mockingbird (re-read) — Harper Lee

  14. Go Set a Watchman — Harper Lee

  15. Valiant (Lost Fleet #4) — Jack Campbell

  16. Ayshus on the Inside —Richard Gist

  17. The Homicide Trinity — Rex Stout

  18. And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie

  19. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower #1) — C.S. Forester (Not done yet, but I’m counting it…)

Thank you book club. Without which the list would have very likely been more sparsely populated.
22nd-Dec-2015 11:17 am - Doing
Monkey kisses
Hey Live Journal! Is there anything I can do for you? Anything simple that would brighten your day a little bit?

(I'm trying to re-focus to get out of The Funk.)
5th-Dec-2015 10:58 pm - Contagion
Jesus Understood
The baby's cold is becoming my cold.
I cannot possibly imagine how this happened considering the things she loves best are:
1. Chasing the cats around the kitchen while holding a jar of sprinkles.
2. Putting her snotty, mucusy self all over me.

She's the cautionary tale for a "stop the spread of disease" poster. The Goofus to the Gallant.

*Wipe nose, stealthily stick fingers in mom's eye while her head is turned for a minute.*
*Pretend to want a hug and then rub face into mouth*
*Reach up while nursing and put snotty fingers in mom's nose/mouth*
*Look up lovingly, smile, and sneeze into mom's eyes with no warning*

She's not sleeping well tonight. So far it's required only one intervention, but she's waking up quite frequently, fussing a bit, and going back to sleep.

This, after I came home on Thursday to Samantha (the nanny) sick with a cold and looking like hell. "You could have called in!" I said, with sympathy and not much admonishment. "Oh, well, it was the last day of the week for us and the baby is so mellow. I knew I could tough it out and we'd just have a chill day."

Not the point, you infectious thing, you.

There are germs everywhere. Hand washing is of no consequence when I'm having to hold and nurse and wipe and change a mobile snot-tornado. It doesn't even make a dent.

Say nice things about me after I've drowned in the rising levels of mucus.
23rd-Nov-2015 10:58 am - Car shopping
Monkey kisses
I hate car shopping. Even though D is willing to do a bulk of it for me. The problem right now is that I *need* to get a car. I don't have the luxury of just idly browsing indefinitely, even if my in-laws ARE very generous about loaning out the shop car.

The problem is also that we have a budget. I want to spend what I got back from my totaled car--which is several thousand more than we paid for it--and maybe a *bit* more...but I don't want a car payment right now. Not with paying the nanny more than my mortgage each month. And I like just owning the car outright. Sure, we could technically afford a car payment...but I really, really, really don't want one.

And I also want something that I really *like*--not that I'm just making-do with.

D found a good Cadillac SRX for a reasonable price, but it's just not quite right. It's a color that I don't love (white) and it doesn't have third-row seating and a few other features are off. Also, it rides higher than I'd like, and gets pretty low MPG--low-teens/city. That's an area I don't want to go backward in.

It would be fine. But I don't love it. It would do. But...

So I'm sure I'm frustrating D with what look like (and probably are) minor or petty complaints.

We looked at another SRX (I'm not sure where he got stuck on the SRX in his search, but he did), and it looked clean but when we got there it had a bubbled rust spot on the body. The poor sales guy. I wouldn't even spend the time to drive it (we had Nadia with, so it's an effort to test-drive stuff) because the rust is a hard no. Everything gets rust in MN, but it doesn't mean that I want to start out my "new" car life with rust.

With time, there are lots of options available. Feeling pressed for time makes this more stressful than it needs to be. It's the old matrix of work. There are three elements: Cheap, fast, and good. You can only ever have two at a time.

So we could get a great car, quickly...but not cheaply.
We can get a cheap car quickly...but it won't be as good.
Or we could get a good car, cheaply...but it won't be quick. That's where we're at right now.
2nd-Nov-2015 12:48 pm - 2017
Fred and Ginger Dance
There are fairly serious rumors of a new Star Trek TV series coming in 2017.

I can't help but be a little bit excited. There is a lot of promise there.

On the other hand, the TV landscape has changed dramatically since the last Star Trek series (Enterprise) was on TV. A lot of things are bigger and better; darker, more complex--in both tone and in visual clutter.

I've watched and re-watched all of ST:TOS. (I'm considering doing it again at some point--probably when the baby is ready for TOS.) It's a product of its time. For what it was, when it was, it was revolutionary.

I just re-watched all of ST:TNG. It's also a product of its time. For what it was, when it was, it was a quality show.

I started watching ST:DS9 for the first time. I completed the first season. It's good, so far. I like it in that way that I like Star Trek. But it still feels a bit murky. Perhaps it's because it's not a re-watch from nostalgia, but I don't feel like I'm lost in the world. Yet. And, again, it feels like it's a product of its time. There was a very clear look and feel to those late-90s-early-00s shows.

That's not necessarily a criticism--that these shows are a product of their times. What TV is truly timeless, save for that made to self-consciously be inside a time capsule?

I plan to go through ST:Voyager (never seen) and also--maybe against my better judgement--ST:Enterprise (never seen). I've always liked Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap!!!), even though I've been warned that Enterprise is not a strong entry into the Star Trek universe.

I have trepidation about a new Star Trek TV series in 2017. It will, inevitably, be a product of its time...and I'm not *quite* sure that Star Trek holds up in the current format; complex, dramatic, thematic, sweeping, action-packed, blue-washed TV.

I liked the new movies...but I cannot honestly say I would have liked them as much if they weren't representing the cast-and-crew of the Original Series. If it had been just random Star Trekkie people who weren't Captain Kirk and Mister Spock...would it have been as good?

I don't think so. It's NewStarWars, in a way--in look, if not tone. And that's not a compliment.


ETA: Oh. It's a STREAMING show. That will try to entice people to buy into CBS's streaming service after a CBS-aired pilot. BOOHISS. Less excited.
29th-Oct-2015 12:57 pm - Switching off
Monkey kisses
I went to a historical seance reenactment with a friend on Friday. He made a comment how it was a bummer that d and I couldn't go out much together without it being babysitting-expensive (he had invited d out, too).

It's true. People are going to start to think d doesn't exist anymore if he keeps staying home with the baby while I go out solo.

Then again, I've always been okay with us both doing our own stuff. It's nice to do stuff together, but it's also nice to have our own "things".
16th-Oct-2015 09:16 pm - Why I don't drink and internet
Kirk--fuck it
I've had a half-glass of wine for dinner (so far! D is making food!) and I'm reminded of why I don't drink and internet:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 8.51.51 PM
I didn't post it. I was tempted! But no-wine me wouldn't have wanted the confrontation.
16th-Oct-2015 12:20 pm - Conversion Therapy
Gay sex for god.
Can we just call "conversion therapy" for LGBT youth what it is? Child abuse.

I'm so sick of the varnished vernacular on things like this. Actually, I'm mostly envious of the "other side" consistently getting to own the vernacular and being really good at it. So I want to name some of the things myself.

Let's just call it what it is, man.

So instead of saying, "There's a push to end conversion therapy" which might get tepid support, we say, "there's a push to end this form of child abuse."
10th-Oct-2015 10:28 pm - Zoobilee Zoo
Monkey kisses
I heard a reference to Zoobilee Zoo on @Midnight.

It pinged something in my brain; it sounded so familiar. So I looked it up.

Dang. Ever have something you've 100% forgotten about come back to you in a weird, dream-like nostalgia flood?

Yeah. Zoobilee Zoo. With Ben Vereen. I used to watch it, I think. Every single thing about it is absolutely familiar, and yet--until I looked up the reference--I could not have told you a single thing about it. It had been locked away completely with a million other irrelevant childhood impressions.

ZOOBILEE ZOO. Dude. It's really eerie and trippy setting it again when it was so lost from my consciousness.
1st-Oct-2015 08:47 pm - Lost cause
Monkey kisses
Listening to D trying to explain why "all lives matter" is an awful response to "black lives matter" to his mother (I think, though it could be his dad...but probably not).

They're not bad people, you guys. They actually try. It's just that they're very...isolated and naive and even ignorant about some things. Lack of exposure is the culprit. His sister in law thought she was in the middle of a shootout while on the way to our place because two people were loudly talking and "it's not because they're black, but..."

Oh. He's moved on to school shootings and gun control. Goodie.

Mostly his mom agrees, she just needs things pointed out to her sometimes and she does shift her perspective on frequent occasion.
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