This will be a two-day report. I got home ahem late last night.

Last night being NXNE Free Period, and thus a zone of No Plans, I met up with my concertgoing compatriot and we sat down to dinner with the Thursday night schedule. Dancing was indicated, so dinner was this:

Poutine pizza!
Good God. It's a duck poutine pizza.


No, I did not eat all of that. Maybe just shy of half. And we got some steamed asparagus with it to layer gently between the waves of gravy-laced death.

Having fueled up, we opted to head to the Horseshoe with thoughts of catching Hooded Fang at 10pm, but nudging in for the 9pm set too so we got a good spot. This proved to be a good choice: the 9pm set was Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, a band I saw because it was there and then ended up really, really liking.

Aside from having a ginormous beard, Ben Caplan has a hell of a handle on stage patter. The music itself is...Gothic east coast fiddle rock with a palpable dash of klezmer, and the kind of thing that inexorably gets you stomping feet and shouting when the extremely pleasant man onstage with the wicked comic timing is telling you to shout. The blurb in the festival book compared him to Tom Waits, but...not quite the right comparison, I think? He's got that rasp, but Ben Caplan has a big voice, and a huge onstage personality. He's charming, basically; he charmed a room full of people who I think were there to see someone else right into falling headfirst into his set.

By the end, the compatriot and I were kind of goofy and happy and entirely feeling fun, and while the east coast stuff is not always my thing? I would gladly see them play again.

Next up, Hooded Fang, and a bit of a disappointment.

I admit that I know hype kills, and Hooded Fang has had a lot of hype if you are a person who 1) lives in Toronto and; 2) pays attention to local bands and; 3) is maybe a bit of a teensy filthy hipster as your correspondent can sometimes be. There were some definite sound problems throughout the set, but technically it was reasonably solid: what you could maybe call 1960s Scooby-Doo surf pop.

So what was the problem?

I get the feeling that if said band is generally ever happy, the sound problems may have made them kind of sour. I think the note I had from my Twitter commentary was stage presence of a pet rock. I had no sense, period, that anyone on that stage actually wanted to be there. I don't think they even introduced themselves; I wasn't sure I had the right band for the first fifteen minutes or so. After the Ben Caplan set, the contrast sort of stung.

I mean, there were like a dozen kids in front of us, centre stage, totally losing their shit for the whole set -- climbing up on stage to dance -- and these guys did not care.

I...have a mild professional problem with that. I need to feel like you kind of actually want to be playing that show, just a little. Just a touch.

So after that we were a smidge dejected (and really, really warm), and bailed forthwith to Trinity Bellwoods, where we swung on the swings, consulted the Magic NXNE Book some more, and decided that dessert was a better plan than more sets.

Thus endeth Day 2.




Day 3, aka this evening, had a definite plan: Young Lions Music Club had a showcase at the El Mocambo featuring a few tiny local bands I really, really like, and that was where I was going to be. There was an option of seeing a few other local bands at Yonge/Dundas Square first, but it was viciously hot today, and I am underslept and bagged, and had legitimate author things to do for most of the morning/afternoon, so I opted for a short nap instead.

I got there a little ways into Cousin's set:

Cousin


They bill as "slacker rock", and that's about right: solid guitars, a faintly nineties feel, and a singer whose voice honestly isn't keeping up with the proficiency of the rest of the band. But it's reasonably danceable, and even though it wasn't really blowing me off my chair, it deserved a bigger crowd than they got. It's arena-sized music, and a crowd of thirty people in a not-yet-filled club was a little sad.

Next, though -- Paradise Animals!

Paradise Animals
Wheeeeeeee--


I found this band sometime this spring and bought their EP promptly. And I have been looking forward to this set.

It started with a bit of sound futzing that, after the Hooded Fang thing, felt somewhat ominous, but settled out fast: a nearly continuous wave of guitar and synth and a voice that weirdly reminds me of Joy Division. This is eighties-splashed, rhythm-driven dancing music: I am honestly not sure the style fit the format, or if it would have done better in a more clublike setting. I kind of decided that I didn't care. Toronto audiences are apparently infamous for not dancing, so I was that one girl in the front who danced like hell while every else did that nodding thing.

They weren't much for stage chatter either, but? Y'know? It was a good set.

The most impressive thing, actually: the fact that they can get that depth of sound with just four people. And it became really apparent, really early, how that was done: I think the drummer was the only person onstage playing only one instrument. The guitarist was fussing with pedals half the time, and the singer and bassist traded off the bass for a saxophone, for keyboards, for synth. It was a bit like watching Andrew Bird construct songs, just with four pairs of hands, and actually kind of fascinating stuff.

I had a chat with the singer/keyboard player/bassist/everything else after the set, and he said new songs likely drop in September, so I will (and you should) keep an eye out for that.

After that: The Ryan O'Reilly Band, sweet Brit-folk harmonic acoustic stuff which was both lovely and a total change of pace from the set before. It was lovely and quite well put together, and then halfway through this set my fun timer (read: my blood sugar) just totally went off, and I had to take a hasty exit, come home, and fill myself gently with protein until the mood crash sorted itself out.

So I have missed Paper Lions and Teenage Kicks tonight, which is kind of making me wrinkle my nose in an unhappy way, but...well, I've been pushing my body a bit hard for the past week, and this isn't really surprising. And I have to work tomorrow. And I need to sleep.




Tomorrow! Saturday!

Tomorrow is arranged a bit like a tactical mission. Sets I'm hoping to catch include Hollerado, Of Montreal, and The Flaming Lips at Yonge/Dundas Square, and then a hop to the El Mocambo to see Limblifter (!!!) at midnight, and then another hop to the Painted Lady on Ossington for Dinosaur Dinosaur, which is a tinyband of quality I've seen a few times in the last year.

This might actually work, mostly because I also have compatriots for tomorrow night, and it's easier to do the hops/get through the iffy sets when you have company. We'll see how tired and old I get, and how the night develops, and what adventures are located along the way...
leahbobet: (gardening)
April 6, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 200.
Words total: 19,100.
Reason for stopping: It's really, really late.

Darling du Jour: N/A. Really, I'm mostly revising here.

Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: N/A.

Research Roundup: Barley ears, visual reference.
Books in progress: Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl.


Technically this is still my week off when I'm not supposed to be doing work. It's working: I can tell my brain is growing back, because I have the energy and drive again to do things like real, actual cooking, housecleaning, and coming up with ridiculous outsized ideas that are worthy of caper movie plots. More to the point, I'm doing all these things and not resenting them. The giant pot of chili I'm going to make tomorrow is making me happy already.

But even in a relatively collapsed state, I'm getting slowly used to this whole I Am A Full-Time Writer thing, and I think I like it very much.

Today, for example:

Slept until about 11:30, after being up late doing laundry and roasting a duck and whatnot. Fixed myself a salad for lunch (spinach and a bit of red onion from the CSA, white button mushrooms, sliced strawberries, homebrew balsamic dressing, cold roasted duck leftover from last night's escapade) and settled in to answer businessy e-mail and write up a guest post or two. After which I headed out to the ROM to meet a friend for previously scheduled half-price night museuming, and the rest was coffee in the sun and a really excessive examination of the South Asian/Middle Eastern/Egyptian galleries, dinner at Mother's Dumplings, tiny red velvet cupcakes, and wandering the laneways under bright chilly stars, looking for good artsy garages with interesting graffiti.

And then I came home, and stretched out on the couch with a pot of grapefruit eucalyptus tea, and made wordcount in the post-midnight quiet.

It won't be this all the time. Tonight was a little too expensive for that, even sticking to budget fun venues, and more work needs to get done in general than got done today, especially once deadlines come back into play. But I have a feeling I will fight like hell to keep days like this in my life. I will fight for them as cool and unstoppable as an avalanche.


Feet sore, and tea's cooling. G'night, Internet.
leahbobet: (gardening)
February 11, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 250.
Words total: 15,900.
Reason for stopping: It's late, and I don't want to screw up my sleep schedule.

Darling du Jour: The tails of his soft-check shirt slopped over both thighs: the one angled down, bent-knee, to rest normal on the floor; the one stretched straight out, heel resting on the chair opposite, in a way that once would have been a sharp discourtesy.
Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: She still doesn't like rude, which is funny considering how much she's talking about what's good manners and what isn't.
Mean Things: Hallie really is perenially crabby. I mean, she has reasons, but crab crab crab.

Research Roundup: N/A.
Books in progress: Lynn Coady, The Antagonist.


This is a cursory obligatory page of fiction, for a day when I was mostly out with friends eating food (first brunch at Barque, and might I add oh my god blueberry pancakes with smoked duck on them what is this magic; then later, extremely vegetarian dinner at Fresh). It was pretty cold out today. This was a good day to mostly spend inside places, restaurants and people's apartments and such, eating food with one's friends.

I feel good that things are at a point where even if I start at midnight, I get, at least, my page.

Goodnight, internet.
November 27, 2011 Progress Notes:

"Five Autopsies"

Words today: 300 scattered through the week, and another 1200 today.
Words total: 8,550.
Reason for stopping: Work tomorrow! Sleeeeep.

Books in progress: Tristan Hughes, Eye Lake.


Blogging outage! Sorry about that, folks: the convention sort of ate my desire to be public, and then this week is the week the dayjob picks up speed, and then there was a really good party on Friday night that took out Saturday with its backtrail. I have not been a writerly sort since last Friday. Things to report have been few and far between. I took a few quality naps.

Today there is writing, and writing talk with [livejournal.com profile] sora_blue as we went on a Parkdale Brunch Day. I have the first of my Christmas shopping, and some cassis macarons from Nadege, and pickled cherries and smoked duck charcuterie and a pair of black stockings with a seam up the back like femme fatales wear. There was also good coffee, though it's wearing off with a vengeance now. Seeing this all lined up in a row really says something about my tastes, but eh. We like what we like. A little downtown hedonism doesn't really hurt.

This week at Dayjob sounds like it's going to be a little long, and next weekend's hedonism is going to be yet more hedonistic, since it's One of a Kind Show time. Second verse, same as the first. Hopefully, with more words involved.
leahbobet: (gardening)
October 12, 2011 Progress Notes:

"On Roadstead Farm"

Words today: 600.
Words total: 9600.
Reason for stopping: Another pickyish night's work, and it's gotten late.

Darling du Jour: He looked down at me; exhaled short and near-silent, and something rat-trapped and hard went out of him on the tail of that little breath.
Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: PTSD alert! Feeling out of control of yet another situation.

Research Roundup: My map of Detroit again.
Books in progress: Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't Be Jammed.


It's pouring in the last outpost of Utopian Toronto this evening, and so I have been cooking: chopped egg salad, wild blueberry muffins, a bluntly amazing batch of homemade fried rice. The CSA egg share has gotten ahead of me, and I'm going away for a week and a half in fewer days than I want to think about. I've been trying to use up eggs tonight. (Yes, between the cellphone camera issue and the past six weeks of deadlines, the CSA blogging also got away from me, but look me in the eye and tell me that was unexpected.)

Tomorrow all this gets shoved aside, as a bunch of us are going for a ridiculously fancy steak dinner in a private dining room which will be ridiculously fancy. Why? Because we are awesome people who like meat and occasional dinners with tablecloths. Plans include brandy, bubble pipes, and pretending to be railway tycoons.

Between this and last night's 10-person dinner (complete with visiting Halifax friends) at King's Noodle, with the whole Chinese duck and the eggplant and the garlic greens? It's kind of been a banner week for eating so far. I may even stick that last watermelon I have in the dehydrator tomorrow to see what happens.

More words tomorrow, after dinner. Hopefully we will hit the magic number, and then this grant application can go happily on its way.
September 17, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 250.
Words total: 1100.
Reason for stopping: Volunteer gig to get up for tomorrow! Fun volunteer gig, but still.

Darling du Jour: Instead she stared into the bathroom mirror with her chin yanked up high, and pressed and pressed the speckled, puffy skin. It paled under her fingers like a sunburn; throbbed right back at her restless fingertips.

Mean Things: The kinds of bruises that are going to make even strangers want to ask who's been hitting you. Which is embarrassing all around.
Research Roundup: Reference photos for two-day-old bruises.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe; Rae Carson, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.


The chicken was good. So was the rest of the day.

We did not go for grilled cheese as planned, because the grilled cheese place was so full it was spilling people into the patio, but [livejournal.com profile] sora_blue and I had a perfectly creditable brunch at Le Kensington Bistro, being (1) a bistro (2) in Kensington Market that is (3) new. The eggs benedict were plentiful and a little too salty, and came with a nice rosti thing and greens. The coffee was solid. The lavender honey creme brulee with little meringue cookies was worth the whole price of admission.

Afterwards there was some wandering of the vintage stores on Kensington Ave., and apparently it's magpie day, because I brought home both a giant sparkly fakeass green plastic ring worthy of being a Green Lantern ring (good thing I liked it, because it got stuck on my finger) and a beautiful burgundy-and-black Goth Pashmina. And then a quick drop into the bookstore, further vintage stores having been judged dangerous, and home, where I made pasta with the sausages from yesterday for dinner, watched Double Indemnity, finished knitting the green tweed 1980s Flashdance sweater I've been puttering at most of the summer, and retired to my bathtub with a book and a pot of tea.

This has been the most leisurely, thoroughgoing day of chilling out I've had in a good long time.

It's still cold in here. Dr. My Roommate has filled the dehydrator with apples and peaches and is running it overnight in a bid to generate some heat. So, dried peaches in the oatmeal tomorrow morning.

And I want to read a few more chapters before going to sleep, so. This has been your official Week Off Report, Day the First.
September 16, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 200.
Words total: 850.
Reason for stopping: I have lunch plans tomorrow. This still being awake thing is really unwise.

Darling du Jour: And: maybe I'm dreaming, but she was shaking too hard; her yanked knees hurt much too much to be asleep.

Mean Things: Just because you lived don't think you won't be sore for weeks.
Research Roundup: N/A.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.


Today is the first day of the rest of my life a whole beauteous week off work. Possible plans include spectating at City Council (like a nerd boss), visiting [livejournal.com profile] dolphin__girl at her island writing retreat and co-retreating a bit, cooking ridiculously large amounts of things, getting some auctorial and Ideomancer shit done, three book signings, the Clothing Show, a birthday party, a bridal shower, Word on the Street (!), a concert, and a small volunteer gig on Sunday.

I also reserve the right to blow any and all of this off to sit in my pajamas and read with a handy stash of bonbons by my side. 'Cause I'm on vacation, suckers.

We have started this whole thing right: a walk through Kensington Market on the way home from work, where I got three (3) kinds of cheese, a fat organic small-farm-raised chicken, and some pork/maple/something else awesome sausages. The chicken was roasted for my dinner (nom nom chicken). There was loud radio and dancing in sock feet, and today was one of those days where the sky was blue and crisp and clear, and just the shifting of the light through the bright green leaves was enough to make me root-deep happy.

September is a virtue. I could have September forever.

And tomorrow is grilled cheese for lunch with [livejournal.com profile] sora_blue, and one of those book launches, and crisp sunshine and big blue skies and getting stuff done. Or, y'know, not.
leahbobet: (milk?)
My plan for this weekend is to lock myself in my apartment and work on the line edits for Above pretty much all day. Except for Sunday, when I will lock myself in a very nice patisserie on Harbord with a bunch of my friends, the laptop, and a plate of brioche french toast with strawberries, and work on the line edits for Above all day.

So to minimize the distraction factor while I do this, I stopped off at St. Lawrence Market after work and had the spendy equivalent of that trip to the grocery store for lots of chips and pizza pockets before you settle in to cram for exams.

Since I don't plan to be about the internet much (or, well, I better not be!) and since I haven't done it in a while, here's a market haul foodporn list to tide you over until Monday:

Two (2) pomegranates;
Two (2) bags dried mango, the good kind;
One (1) bottle elderflower soda;
Dolmades;
Speck and goat cheese antipasto;
Sundried tomatoes;
Garlicky shrimp antipasto, which I'm supposed to put in fettucine, but usually I just eat out of the container nom nom nom;
Bocconcini;
Parmigiano reggiano, which I will probably use in some mushroom risotto tomorrow;
Two bags of cheese curds;
Quail and pear pate;
Aged asiago cheese;
White stilton with apricots and ginger;
Double gloucester with stilton (it was kind of a banner day at the cheese store);
Cedar-smoked salmon, a large filet thereof, some of which will be involved in my breakfast tomorrow;
A pound of wild medium scallops, which will be my dinner tonight, and maybe some will go in the risotto too;
Three (3) bags of sauerkraut and mushroom pierogies, which equals to about a million billion individual pierogies and should keep me in pierogies for a month;
A cheese crepe from the pierogie place, because I wanted a snack.

Most of this was bought with quick cooking/no cooking in mind; if I put on a loaf of bread tonight (and maybe run the dehydrator so I can have homemade dried apple rings tomorrow), I will be able to effectively snack myself through the weekend in a way that is both nutritious and awesome and does not require me to leave the desk too much.

Possible progress reports pending. Maybe. We'll see.
Today [livejournal.com profile] thesandtiger and I went to the One of a Kind show and goofed around and bought a bunch of fancy stuff for about twice what we told ourselves we'd spend, as is the tradition of our people. I didn't document the craft show haul last year, but we will rectify that shit today.

Gifts
-- Hairclip for one friend who will, I think, love it.
-- Small hand mirror for another friend as a part gift.

Edibles
-- A bottle of maple sugar. I plan to do wicked things to baked apples with this.
-- Two vacuum-sealed bags of Indian candy, aka candied salmon. I, um, already ate one.
-- Two jars lavender honey from Prince Edward County.
-- Two bottles apple cranberry vinegar.
-- One bottle honey vinegar. Yes, that's vinegared mead. It's amazing.
-- One container maple salt, because I finished the container [livejournal.com profile] dolphin__girl gave me for Christmas last year and I like putting it in my bread.

Base personal spoilage
-- Another of those hand mirrors, because it was adorable and I needed one, or a compact or something, to keep in my purse.
-- Three fridge magnets from the same place. One has a little cartoon pufferfish on it and says "Breathe". Hee. Also, a requisite "Make Art Not War" one, because I am still at least 18% hippie and my household should reflect this.
-- Two absolutely breathtaking shirts from Yasmine Louis, who I bought a hoodie from this spring which I love with all the love in the wide world. I even wrote a post at Make Awesome Sauce about her, back when that project lived and I was blogging for it. They are beautiful and I love them and I think I fangirled her embarrassingly.
-- A hat from Lilliput, because clearly hats were something that were in severe deficit in this house. It is one of those ones that are like newsboy caps with the brim out front, but not so round and flatter, and it is a lovely dark purple felt. It makes me look trendy and sharp and rakish and awesomely disreputable. Lock up your bespectacled hipster menfolk, Internet.

There were a couple other things we tried on -- dresses and the like -- which were nice, but weren't $200 (or whatever) nice, and a lovely green ring I didn't go back for after all, and beeswax candles I just plain forgot to pick up, and I was sort of hoping for something feathery to put in my hair. Also sort of failed at holiday gifts for friends, which is always our cover story for going to this thing, but still. This was a serious and deeply respectable haul.

The other thing with going to the craft show? Anything preserved or knitted elicits this automatic Let's see if I can make that reaction from me now: I look it over, counting stitches, checking on construction, inspecting the fiber. And mostly, on the theoretical level, I can make most of this stuff; it'd just be time and work and patience.

And then I want to. I want to knit and knead and pick out words for poetry so bad my hands twitch.

So I am home, surrounded by goodies, and deeply inspired to make: make food, make hats and gloves and sweaters, make paper, make seedlings, make words. And this is why I love going to this thing, aside from the regular stereotypes about girls and shopping: the work of our hands is kind of amazing. All those people living off, fully or partially, the work of their hands is amazing. And even if it's a little thing, at this time of year, it holds back the dark.

And this got stealthily profound, so I'm off to start some bread and clean the bathroom with the radio up loud, because there is entropy to fight, in that implacable way one does.
A few very nice things fell into my inbox in the past few days. I show you them.

1) Via the eagle eyes of [livejournal.com profile] wistling, the Spring 2010 issue of On Spec is due to drop sometime soon. It has some fantastic cover art:



It contains "A Thousand," which is a story about Vancouver, cranes both paper and living, some of the problems of cultural miscommunication, and people being drastically unfair to each other. It also has fiction by that selfsame [livejournal.com profile] wistling (as his alter ego, Campbell nominee Tony Pi) and [livejournal.com profile] tinaconnolly, who are both cool people whose work I admire.

2) [livejournal.com profile] slushmaster informs me that the illustration artist Gary Lippincott did for "Mister Oak", which appeared in the February 2010 issue of Realms of Fantasy (and was probably one of the nicest illustrations I've ever had) is going to be reprinted in Spectrum 17, which will be out in November. It is a fantastic painting and totally deserves to be petted and made much of. Congrats, Gary!

3) Ian Tregillis, OWW alumnus and awesome dude extraordinare, had his first novel, Bitter Seeds, come out this week from Tor Books. You should read it.

4) Ted Kosmatka, whom we have published in Ideomancer and who is likewise an awesome dude, sold his first novel, The Helix Game, to Del Rey this week. Sight unseen, I can tell you that eventually, when it comes out? You should read it.

5) I had high tea last night. Nom.
leahbobet: (milk?)
Once again, we're through the Longest Night, and this morning I woke up and the sky was cold and brilliant blue, and every time the crane that's building a skyscraper a few blocks northward turned around it reflected sunlight into my apartment, so clean and bright I could taste it. This is the kind of winter I love: clear and sharp and wild and crisp. This is when I bop around the apartment with the stereo up and roast whole chickens and drink mountains of tea and watch the twilight.

Really, the only thing for it was to go to St. Lawrence Market and buy every edible thing my heart desired.

The haul:

A peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery, first thing, because it is foolish to go shopping on an empty stomach;
Blackberries;
Blueberries;
Bananas;
Vine tomatoes;
Fresh basil;
Green beans;
Ginger;
Garlic;
Little white Parisian potatoes to put under my chicken when I roast it;
Mangoes (two);
Those long red sweet chilies;
Grain-fed, Mennonite-raised, organic, pure, and saintly whole chicken, soon to be defiled with garlic and limes and my personal homemade chili oil;
Breakfast sausages;
Four dozen (four dozen! ah ah ah) pierogies -- three trays sauerkraut and mushroom, one potato and cheese;
Pine nuts, so I can make the basil into pesto;
Grated parmigiano reggiano;
Dolmades;
A bundle of soba noodles thicker than my arm;
Double gloucester with stilton;
Aged asiago;
Salish alderwood-smoked sea salt. No, I didn't strictly need this. Oh, come on. You would have totally done it too.

I didn't get Indian candy because the line was too long, and as it was, I almost broke my shoulders lugging this all home. Likewise with the fresh pasta and my usual can of iced, unsweetened Japanese oolong. I didn't get a $20 wedge of Tetsun di Barolo, because I still have some shreds of restraint left in me. And yes, I am still out of milk.

I foresee roast chicken, and green beans with butter, and mushroom risotto, and Chinese beef buns, and fresh homemade pesto, and pomegranate-berry mix, and a really lovely fettucine, and fresh-baked rosemary bread in this household's future. Yesss.

Happy winter. :)
Having a quiet night tonight: it's grey and misty and raining chilly rain outside, so I am inside knitting socks, catching up on my TV shows (all two of them), and cooking Ethiopian tomato-and-honey chicken. My toes are cold; I had to put on the heat last night. This clearly means the Annual Fall Nesting has commenced. I think I'm going to bake tomorrow. Hot baths are also appearing on the radar.

(Which reminds me, time to stock back up on my schmancy artisan Canadian-made independent-business nice-smelling aromatherapy it's-got-clay-innit bath salts. Yum.)

And even though the book I'm supposed to be writing is still miffed at me for walking out on it for a month even though I legitimately had to do something else *cough cough ahem*, The Enchanted Generation nudged a piece of the arc of conflict into my pocket while I was blanching tomatoes, and it lets me know what happens in the third quarter. Which was an open question, and I admit the answer kind of makes me cackle.

And...this is autumn.

I like autumn.
leahbobet: (gardening)
1) My steamer is whistling creepily and tunelessly at me, like a serial killer. I seriously could have sworn Eugene Tooms was hanging out in my kitchen vent, it sounded so lifelike. If I don't show up tomorrow, you'll all know why.

2) As you may or may not know, Toronto is currently in the second day of a garbage strike. I am relatively sanguine about this -- after all, Windsor's ten weeks into one, so really, two days doesn't hurt me, and the last time they did this, in 2002, I coped just fine, thank you -- but I have discovered that people tearing their hair out over this wakes up my inner smug asshole just a little. People! I say to them, in the privacy of my own head. If you were practising proper waste diversion then what to do with your garbage wouldn't be an issue for like, two weeks or more! There would be no reason to panic like idiots two days in. In fact, right now is a very good time to learn proper waste diversion practices and discover the mad joy of throwing out nothing but the plasticky stuff they wrap things in for no good reason!

See? My inner smug asshole, she is wide awake. I figure even if I have to store some stuff on the balcony -- and granting that I'm a single-writer household -- I'm good for like a month. I am feeling so inappropriately self-righteous about this you'd think I'd just read Atlas Shrugged with one eye and Fast Food Nation with the other.

(Compost on, my friends. Compost on.)

3) On a much nicer note, rejoice with me, for I have found a local organic delivery/farm share thing! No longer will I have to be sadly, mewlingly jealous of [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks's farm share box posts, and this will probably keep me off the street out of the work cafeteria too, which can only be good. And there's blueberries.

Going to sign up tomorrow. Yay!
1) Leisurely homemade smoothie for breakfast in front of computer, in the sunshine, whilst chairdancing to Bowie.

2) More sunshine on the way to work. Tee-shirt weather kind of sunshine.

3) Workday that was sufficiently worky, but not rushed; we had a lot to do today, but we also had time to do it and the decks are clear for next week.

4) Lunch out in the sunshine on the front lawn with the workfriends.

5) Soft serve ice cream truck on University Ave. Ice cream! Dipped in chocolate! Om!

6) Nice e-mail and notes and such from nice peoples re: birthday (thank you, nice peoples. :) )

7) Pea plants sprouting in earnest in my balcony boxes.

8) Sushi and dessert shortly with The Peoples.

9) Partial requests (yes, that's plural) in my inbox.


Oh, monkeys. This is a good birthday. :)
(And first off, thank you for the people who dropped nice notes in the comments of the last post. :) )

Things that bugged me today:

The guy driving the rusting-out SUV with the licence plate GLBLWRMR. Screw you, buddy.

The still-pervasive idea that by not exposing someone to an idea in the media or through official/parental channels (and we're talking stuff like smoking, drinking, sex, etc. etc.) people will not do those things out of some pure, unstained ignorance. I don't know why anyone thinks that works. The television didn't make your child pick up that cigarette, they chose. Because people choose, even when they're young, and then it is for them to live with those choices or make new ones.

There is a distressing lack of sunshine in my life that needs to be addressed.


Things that made me happy today:

The eleven (!) hours of sleep I got last night after some serious insomnia.

That even though work remains like having rocks continuously piled upon you as you vainly try to complete the last rocks (er, tasks. Whatever), several of the rocks were shorter and smaller and more easily accomplished today than we had expected them to be. And that means my rock-shoveling tomorrow and Friday will be vastly lighter. Mmmm. :)

The sheer volume of anonymously laid-out snacks on the signout desk at work. There were Timbits in the morning and *insert awed tone* Tickleberry's cherries in the afternoon. Tickleberry's! I usually don't get those more than once a year! *glee*

That my hand is fussing still (I strained it badly last Tuesday; see above re: work and many rocks) but appears to be recovering every day, and it's not bad enough today to stop me from doing some revising.

My African violet is in full bloom, and it's beautiful.

My new tiny work teapot (with matching teacup), which holds about two-three cups of loffly tea.

The Marco Polo from Mariage Freres that [livejournal.com profile] dolphin__girl brought me back from Paris for Christmas, which I put in my tiny teapot.

The way the tea leaves curled open in my cup.

The smell of my Marco Polo, which I just sat and smelled for ten minutes or so. Luckily I work with tea people and this was not taken as superlatively weird.

Really, a good cup of tea counts for a lot in my day.


I think we know which side's winning. :)
leahbobet: (milk?)
Wherein it finally gets warm enough for Leah to go to St. Lawrence Market for Saturday groceries and then feel the need to gloat about them on the public internets!

(This is a medium-sized haul, since I did not bring my granny cart and could only purchase what I could physically carry home. Or I would have got some fish too.)

Pears, four
Blackberries
Ataulfo mangoes. The number of the delicious yellow mangoes is three! Ah hah hah--
Giant ominous-looking garlics, two
Three pounds ground beef, destined for Chinese dumplings, chili, and my freezer.
Bocconcini, destined to be eaten before I actually make a caprese salad. But apparently it's cheaper at the market than at the local grocery store.
Ricotta, also destined to die by snacking before I make that lovely cheese and honey and figs toast--

(Crap. I forgot the figs.)

Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Five counties cheese. Nom.
Pierogies, two packages, being the sauerkraut and mushroom sort.
Indian candy. I get five dollars' worth of this every time I'm there. Because it is one of those small delights.
Montreal bagels, six. The object of this is to bring them to work and freezer them, and then I won't have to spend $2 on a bagel and cream cheese on the way to work if I don't have time for breakfast. Since the six bagels were only $3.50, I'm already winning here.
Soba, a metric assload. This may last two weeks. Mmm. Soba.
Acacia honey, to put on that toast with ricotta and tomatoes and the figs I didn't buy.

And!

One aloe drink and one cheese crepe, because all this looking at food was making me snacky.

I still don't have pasta, or teafilters, or...well, figs. But that isn't the point of a market trip. *g*


If there was anything wrong in the world today? It isn't anymore.
leahbobet: (gardening)
(I bemoaned at work yesterday that I haven't actually eaten myself a path across Toronto in a few years now. So now that it's getting on warm enough to leave the house regularly and there's sunshine? I am going to devote some of my spring and summer to doing that. And you will get the resultant foodporn. Aren't you happy people?)

Loffly craft/working lunch this afternoon (actually, almost all afternoon; I got home about twenty past five) with [livejournal.com profile] bunnyhero, [livejournal.com profile] shiroiko, [livejournal.com profile] kats_kradle, and [livejournal.com profile] ginny_t at Le Pain Quotidien. The Yorkville one is a really lovely space, all thick light wood and sunlight and preserves on the table, high tea style, for you to put on everything. We had to vulture a bit for a table, but once we got it and all drew out our knitting/quilting/laptops, there was:

Tartine with ricotta cheese, tomatoes, mission figs, and acacia honey on fresh artisan bread. This came on a nice little ceramic cutting-board style plate with sliced cucumbers and radishes and a tomato wedge and some greens, and it was light and springy and heavenly. Also something I can probably make at home, if I nip out for some ricotta cheese. Good presentation too; the bread was cut into wedges so you could pick it up like a pizza, and the sliced cucumber and radish were stood up like little fences between slices.

Organic mint lemonade. In a carafe. Om. Nom. I might have to get a random carafe just to put things in it and pour them before I drink them. It is extremely Civilised (tm).

Lapsang souchong, in silk teabag, with tea bowl for the drinking of the tea. Preheated tea bowl. I admit, if you are a cafe and you ever want to come a'courting, the way to win my heart is to preheat your tea bowl.

Sticky toffee pudding. I did have an issue with dessert, which we call The Omnivore's Dilemma. This is not the classic concept of the ethics of food, but the "oh crap, I want to eat all of these. How many desserts can I have again?" I picked this one because it was somewhat substantial and it was a special, whereas the other stuff will be there again next time. It had toffee on top. it was warm. I was happy.

There were also bits of [livejournal.com profile] shiroiko's almond meringue in there somewhere.

So this was overall a success, and I got a respectable amount of knitting done too. I will be returning to the scene.


And now, speaking of scenes, I am going to make myself a pot of Stash herbal blueberry and revise some fiction. Hardcore.
Tonight appears to be a night for goofing off and budget-grade sybaritic luxury (eating clementines in a hot bath and tossing the peels carelessly into the water? Recommended), so I leave you with these few reviews to put you off my scent. Clever, no?

[livejournal.com profile] londonkds finds "Miles to Isengard" "grim but very readable."

Paul Raven at Velcro City Tourist Board generally says nice things about it:

This is a very interesting character piece wrapped around a dystopic near-future in the Southern States. The narrative has an almost hyper-real quality, possibly to enhance the sleep-deprived POV of the characters who are driving a stolen nuclear weapon to its (and their own) doom.

Its a story about rebellion and following the voice in your heart, the latter given emphasis by the actualising of the opposing voice in the form of the bomb itself, who the main character half-believes is talking to him, telling them that their efforts are futile. The bitter-sweet ending does little to suggest the bomb is lying, but their defiance in the face of inevitable capture and punishment is all the more poignant for that. A cautionary tale, albeit one that feels thematically a few decades late - which is not to say nuclear weapons are a solved problem, but their time in the fictional spotlight feels to have receded with the mid-eighties. Nonetheless, written with subtlety beneath the grit and country grammar, and much more moving than I expected thanks to a strong eye for detail.


And to complete the proof that so much depends on the reader, Lois Tilton at The Internet Review of Science Fiction seems lukewarm, though I admit I can't parse the tone of that last bit here:

The characters, however, are an ill-assorted group who never much differentiate themselves as individuals, outside of Sam, the narrator. The author never says which volcano is their destination, but if it is the most active, St Helens, I am not convinced that they could get a semi up the trail to the active vent. And the child soldier remains an enigma, seeming out of place. A world where there are checkpoints on the highways and bands of insurgents hiding in the national parks is not the same thing as a world where children are turned into orcs and sent into battle wired up to explode when they die. In a world like that, a factory making nukes doesn't seem like the worst evil.


Three-three-THREE reviews! Three different readings!

And now I shall return to goofing off.

ETA: And of course, the second I posted that, the notification for another one came in: Bugpowderdust finds it:

a close second to the Foster as story of the issue. It’s a story of a band of adventurers trying to destroy some seductive but nasty world-destroying technology by chucking it in a volcano, which I guess is where the LOTR reference in the title comes in, but this is a near future setting with our band of heroes barrelling along in a truck. It’s a well told story, with a nasty creeping paranoia that scratches at the inside of your skull.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Things I pre-cooked today include:

-- Beef dumplings, for the freezer
-- A giant baked macaroni and cheese, seperated out into handy lunch-sized tupperwares
-- A chicken stuffed with garlic and limes and crusted with yellow curry powder, roasted with little red potatoes which are delightfully cripsy on the outside and taste like gaaaaarlic.

This kitchen is not only currently rated at three to four apocalypses, they are three to four apocalypses of awesome. My apartment smells so good it's probably illegal.

(I also did some much-needed laundry and a bunch of workshop work and the cleaning of the kitchen before, after, through all that cooking, but none of it really measures up to that chicken. Oh my stars and little fishes. This chicken.)
October 18, 2008 Progress Notes:

Above

Pages today: 12.
Pages total: 216/264.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
216 / 264
(81.8%)


Reason for stopping: It's late and I'd rather not do the work just to have to redo it, which I will if I stay up much later.

Munchies: Mango juice and baked mac and cheese.
Books in progress: Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe.
The glamour: Running about at the ROM; turning my kitchen from a Revolting Pit into a...Dubious Strip Mine, maybe.


Was at this two and a half hours tonight. This is the Hard Bit Where I Have to Heavily Rejig Things (tm). It takes longer.

Spent most of today at the ROM taking in the special exhibit of Marie Antoinette's court dress and accompanying lecture/movie with [livejournal.com profile] noizangel and a nice friend of hers and a nice friend of said friend. Which was a somewhat up-and-down outing, since the dress they're advertising as Her! Court! Dress! is actually a dress that they're, well, pretty sure was made by her modiste around a time period where it's likely that it was possibly for her. Even if her modiste had lots of other clients. A-hem.

Yeah. Nice dodge on your sketchy-ass provenance, ROM people. This is my disapproving bunny face.

However, even with that and the kind of crappy structure of the movie, which was Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and seemed mostly to be about having parties, getting drunk, anachronistic eighties music, not believing in narrative structure, and then abruptly ending the story right as it might get interesting? The lecture made it worth the price of admission. Caroline Weber is a really engaging, funny speaker, and from what I can tell from my half-assed historical training (which is mostly in history of science, but the methodology holds) does some interesting research. Basically, she outlined how Marie Antoinette's fashion choices (as documented by the first pieces of known fashion journalism) can be read against the historical context as rather deliberate methods of image construction, in a similar way to Louis XIV's, in order to obtain power or security. Which involved a huge dose of pre-Revolution social history and history of the Bourbon court at the time. Also every time she referred to the dress upstairs, it was "which may or may not have been hers" without a blink. So, scholar points for that. I may track down her book, even though both the period and fashion history as a whole aren't really pet topics for me.

And well, after that we had a nice twilight tea. Yes, that's my second in as many weekends. I do not say no to high tea. I stand unrepentant, but let's say I'll probably not be hitting the Windsor Arms next week. :p


Tune in tomorrow, where our heroine hopefully sucks less than she has this week and finishes at least Chapter Nine!

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