Wednesday, October 13, 2010

picking dandelion leaves by flashlight after 9pm

That bunny has me really well trained.  If I go outside, then come back in without dandelion leaves, she looks disappointed.  So I go out again to collect some.

Zoe says that Chestnut is really an alien spy sent to learn about human beings.  The aliens are learning quite a lot.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Bunny Beach, by Rafaela Zeballos (Age 6)

One day my bunny got too many walks. She was super stressed out. I wished that there was a bunny beach. There weren't any where I lived. And, also, there were too many dog beaches. There were dog beaches that could hold more dogs than there were in town. And some dog beaches didn't have any dogs, because there were too many dog beaches.

So, I decided to make a bunny beach. We took an airplane to Washington D.C. and we talked to the President! And we said, "There needs to be more bunny beaches. There are too many dog beaches."

So, the President said, "OK. I will pass a law that a quarter of the dog beaches will become bunny beaches. And there shall be no dogs allowed on those bunny beaches. So the bunnies can be safe."

So, the President called up his architects and the architects took down the sign for the dog beaches and said they were bunny beaches! And, also, they made a sign that said:

No Dogs Allowed.

So, I brought my bunny over to the bunny beach. And there were a lot more bunnies! We had a lot of fun. I played in the waves and made sand castles while my mommy watched the bunny and played with her and shared spinach snacks with her.

The End

Sunday, September 26, 2010

zero landfill plants

Subaru has a sponsorship plug on NPR where they boast that all Subarus are made in "zero-landfill plants". I keep thinking that when you buy a new Subaru, you open up the trunk and there are all the scraps that they couldn't throw away. With that image still in my mind, the plug goes on to say that "Love: It's what makes Subaru a Subaru". And I think that their customers would have to love them to put up with that, and I'd much rather have a car that was made by great engineering.

It's still not as bad as the plug for Saab, which says: "Saab: Move your mind.."

And I think, "....Because this car ain't going anywhere."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Click to lie

Adobe keeps wanting me to update my version of Flash. When I click to do it, it displays a long, hard-to-read agreement and wants me to click the box that says I read and understood it. Somehow, that's the box I'm not ready to click, even though I ignore these sorts of things all the time and just click through to get other software I want. What are the legal implications of this World Wide Dishonesty? Does anyone but Richard Stallman care?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Harvard-Dartmouth vs. Yale

The late great Mark Ellis Gordon, father of my childhood friend Barbara Gordon, maintained that the holiest day of the year was the day of the Harvard-Dartmouth football game. The second holiest day was Yom Kippur. In the year when the two collided, he did take Barbara to the game, though he wasn't happy when Barbara told her grandmother about it.

As a grownup, I've often heard about the important Harvard-Yale game. Nothing about Harvard-Dartmouth.

Mr. Gordon attended Harvard in the early 1950's or late '40's. Is there something in sports history about Harvard vs Dartmouth in the 50's? 40's? 60's? that would explain his POV?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

frog in the bathroom

There was a frog in our bathroom this morning. Zoe found it hiding behind a jar of conditioner. It was tiny. It looked like one of those plastic frogs that glow in the dark, or have a push-pin at the bottom so you can attach them to your clothes. This one crawled. The kids took it to school in a portable terrarium. I hope it survives. Rod has been searching on the web and he thinks it is a spring peeper, the smallest NH tree frog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

bunny in kitchen, photos

I really need to find the flash camera.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

the bunny seems happier in the kitchen, now

She's used to the family.  She sniffs at everyone's sneakers, nibbles on some of them.
I'm told she got caught under the 'fridge yesterday.  But she obviously got out.  I'm curious if she's sufficiently intelligent not to do that again.
She looks less like a tribble, more like an overgrown caterpillar.  Then she'll hop out of caterpillar and be quite a rabbit again.
She's cute, doesn't mind being patted, and makes us laugh.  Fulfilling a pet's function.
Last night, when I got home, there were PVC pipes leaning against the garage door. Rodrigo says he'll use them to construct an outdoor pen.  Cheaper than pressure-treated wood, and safer if she chews on them. Goes his reasoning.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the bunny wants to jaunte

She'll be quiet and still in one corner of the kitchen.  I'll turn around and she's someplace else.  I know she can jump onto the Rubbermaid storage box I had once thought would block her escape to the rest of the house.  I haven't seen her jump up.  I walk away, hear a thud, and there she is on top of the box with a helpless bunny "How did I get here?  This place is interesting.  I don't think I could ever get off" look to her. But, once, when I reached to pick her up, she jumped off the box, back onto the kitchen floor, without effort or harm.

I can't get over the impression that we have a small alien prisoner. She wants to teleport. She wants the power to turn invisible. Someone should write a story about hyperintelligent bunnies who can do these things. For now, she is dissatisfied with life. But where else should she go?  To hide in the backyard until a hawk or fisher cat eats her? We will build a pen for her, an outside pen. We will. That may cheer her up.

She is so not a dog. At most she is like a cat in that she is aloof. She tolerates being picked up and patted. She will sometimes walk up to me and sniff at my sneaker. She is very curious. Sometimes. She is also content to lay about resting for long stretches of time.

She is cute and soft. I feel affection for her. This weekend, I was alone in the house with her, and noted that she did have the calming, cheering influence of a pet. The girls are thrilled with her. When they Skyped me, they asked me to get the bunny so they could see her. She huddled in a corner, not wanting to socialize, but I scooped her up anyway. Her life's purpose is to be cute for my children. You're on, Chestnut. Time for your closeup.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Meet Chestnut?

Someone bought all four of those fluffy white bunnies, but the bunny lady has another, younger bunny. Zoe and I like that this one has brown eyes, not pink. She's only 7 weeks old. The fluffy white ones were 12 weeks old.  Somehow, we've already named her Chestnut, even though we're not sure if someone else will grab her first.  We think she's awful cute.

RoRo says she looks like a tribble with feet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

bunny on the brain

I saw these bunnies on craigslist and I want one.
I resisted the dog for good practical reasons.  We might cave on the bunny.  Its fluff-to-trouble ratio is looking highly favorable.  Lower vet bills, less drama.   Kipling never wrote about giving your heart to a bunny to tear.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

botany and prepositions

A few sprigs of chives have sprung up through the poison ivy next to the sidewalk outside my office building.

Literal truth just begging for symbolism.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

not a sequel, not a prequel, 1984.1?

Is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead a parralelquel?

Has anyone written a parralelquel about a guy who monitors the 2-way TV's in 1984?  He probably works in a cubicle among many.  His life is probably not too different from Winston Smith's.  My guess is there are folks now with similar jobs in nursing homes or prisons.

They must have some rules as to what kind of activity to report.  Probably lists of boring rules, with jargon.  I bet there's official jargon, for reporting activity, and slang that the monitors use for joking about the people they're forced to watch all day and night long.  I mean the 1984 folks, particularly, but I imagine it exists to some extent in real life.

I remember a high-tech day care center that would give parents a secure URL/Web address so they could watch their kid from their PC at work.  It is a reassuring feature for guilty/worried/lonesome parents.  But with some disturbing implications.

Monday, May 17, 2010

decent weekend

Saturday skating with Rafi.
Sunday Avatar with Zoe.
Got past page 100 in #1B1T and read some 21st century Ray Bradbury too.
Monday managed to swim before work.
O.K. Now work.   :^)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rafi's haircut

First off, she looks adorable with it.  She was already adorable, and beautiful, but sometimes, as the day wore on, she looked... well like she could use some attention to her hair. 

Second, I've wanted her to have a short hair cut for years because
  • I thought it would look good because she always looked great with her hair tied back. 
  • Half the time she is off to school before anyone brushes her hair.  By the time I see her Friday night at Aikido her hair is often a disaster.
Third: I did not trick her the way my mother tricked me.  When I was 6, my mother asked me in a bright voice:  "Would you like a pixie cut?" and that sounded so magical I said yes.  I didn't know it would mean cutting my hair off.  I remember crying in bed that night missing my hair.  In defense of my mother, when I look at my first grade photo with the pixie cut I must admit it's a lot cuter than the 2nd grade photo of me with longer hair.

Remembering the pain of that pixie cut, I did not use trickery.  I used propaganda.  I asked Natalie to cut my hair short first.  Then I asked Rafi, "Do you want a short hair cut like Mommy?"  Rafi said "Yes!"  And her hair cut came out even better than I expected.  I'm amazed at how cute she looks.  She's pleased with herself.  That's the best part.

I, alas, don't look as good with a pixie cut as I did when I was 6.  No photos until it grows out.

Fourth:  Propaganda may not have been needed.  She had already taken a scissors to her own hair a few weeks earlier.  She wanted her hair cut.

As to donations, yes I would like it if it went to a child who could use it.  We'll measure it and send it off if it is 12".  I am too much an animist to send my 6-year old daughter's precious talisman of a braid to wipe up nasty oil spills.  My hair clippings, fine, but they've gone up Natalie's vacuum cleaner already.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

on route 3 south this morning...

A pickup pulls in front of me in traffic.  It's a large olive drab Nissan Titan.  If it gets into an accident, will the police report be titled "Crash of the Titan"?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

milk and sugar with that?

Years ago I weaned myself from loving cream in coffee down to only liking skim milk.  Now I find even half-in-half makes coffee undrinkable.  Whole milk, on the edge.
  • really great coffee is great black and wrecked by sugar.
  • somewhat bad coffee is drinkable only with sugar
  • really bad coffee is undrinkable
  • some great but strong coffee, such as some espresso, is improved by milk
  • some mediocre coffee is best with both milk and sugar
  • turbinado is the best sugar for coffee
  • sometimes turbinado adds flavor to bland tea, but white sugar is better in mate or mate with tea

Thursday, April 15, 2010

cheesecake is easy!

I baked a surprisingly good cheesecake last weekend, and it was rather easy.

I mainly followed the Joy of Cooking recipe for "cheesecake cockaigne", though I left out the sour cream topping, and that was just fine with my husband, kids, and me.

The crust was supposed to be graham cracker, but I couldn't find any when we started this, so we ground up oat-flake-cluster cereal with corn flakes. (The kids had fun squishing the crumbs in the cereal bag, by rubbing a mug over it.)  Then I noticed that the tub of cream cheese that I thought we needed to use up and thus the reason for the start of the project wasn't full at all--in fact we didn't have enough cream cheese, so we shelved the crumbs until I had purchased more cream cheese and actual graham crackers.

So the crust was about 2/3 ground up cereal flakes and 4 graham crackers--to make 2 cups of crumbs.

I mixed it with just enough slices of softened butter in a glass pie plate until I could smoosh it around the edges into a crust.  Baked it at 350 F while making the cheese filling.
The recipe for graham cracker crust called for adding sugar, but that seemed ridiculous, so I ignored it.

The cheesecake filling was a mixture of whipped cream cheese, regular cream cheese, a bit of cottage cheese and 2/3 pound packet of "neufchatel" lowfat cream cheese.  It was supposed to be one and a half pounds of cream cheese. I'm not sure how close I came to that amount.
The recipe's cup of sugar seemed too much, so I added about 4/5 cup.
Then whipped it all together with the marvelous Kitchenaid mixer (so happy to have purchased one at last!)
I added the 3 "large" eggs, one at a time like the instructions said.
The recipe called for almond or vanilla extract.  Almond sounded better, but I couldn't find any, so added vanilla.  Then a dollop of real maple syrup.

Blended it so that it was mixed and poured it into the pie plate.  Turned the oven temp up to 400 F.  Baked about 40 minutes.

It came out light, fluffy, kind of like a cheese souffle. 

And what remained was still good days later when taken out of the fridge.

Definitely didn't need a sour cream topping.  Would be a nice thing to take to a party.

Friday, March 26, 2010

improvements needed on facebook (or whatever replaces it)

  • Allow me to filter out the Virtual World games
  • I want to know how you are doing. I don't care about your virtual farm or mafia world.

  • As soon as you add a friend, you should be prompted for the name of a group.
  • Everyone is not the same sort of friend. "Friends" belong to different interest and social groups. I like hearing about all my facebook friends. I don't need to remind those in California to go to our town meeting. There are friends to whom I'd like to chat about a Tim Burton-esque moment, and many facebook "friends" whom I would not want to bother with that stuff.

    Thus whatever replaces facebook will be something with a natural easy interface for adding friends to appropriate groups, and easily sending messages to groups. Some "friends" would be in several groups, of course.

    I should be able to sort them into privately decided on groups. I should also be able to define public names for groups into which my "friends" can sort themselves. All of this should be extremely easy to do and not require me to read directions as to how to do it. It must be intuitive.

    When you "confirm" someone as a friend, you should get a popup asking what publicly-defined groups you'd like to be in. For example:

    • Margie's Movie and TV Discussions
    • Guinea Pig willing to read Story Drafts
    • Tell me about the kids. Photos please.
    • All the minutiae about your day, really.
    • Issues relating to our town's public schools
    • People who might buy my sculptures

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Democracy makes 49% mad

All this talk of "the people are against this" and this bill is being "shoved down our throats" ignores the fact that there was an election, and a majority of the people voted for the Democrats. Health Care reform was a major platform under which the Democrats campaigned. We got what the majority voted for. That's how democracy works. When I compare expenditure on Health Care to that on a bloody unnecessary war entered into by our previous, Republican, Administration, I'd say the Democrats are wiser at spending our money, and lives.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

$5 for a box of summer

California raspberries in February.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Notes on Boskone panel: The Heroine's Journey

The Hero's journey is physical with internal parallel.
Archtypical Joseph Campbell, orphaned baby, foster parents, journey to end in becoming Wise Old King.
Real people make things for work and find a partner and have kids.
Getting Back what you lost.
Isis: Putting pieces of a man together so you can have a baby.
Greer: Girls in labyrinths.  Eilonwy and her bauble.
LeGuin's Tahana irritated other writers to write better.  Wizard of Earthsea vs Tombs of Ituan.
Theme of Escaping constricting female role.
Bujold: Women inherit from mother-in-law.  Go out and stay out.
Ista was stuck back at home.  At 40 she tries again.
Bujold was given credit for writing about a middle aged woman.  Someone in the audience remembered a crack about a 50-year-old heroine entering a dragon's lair:  Is it hot in here or is that just...
Bujold:  Women attract men.  Men defeat other men and get the woman automatically.  That's why men and women are both looking at men.
Bujold:  Not just the guy's story and flip it.  What is woman's power?
Janet Kagan's Mirabile.
Goddesses Priestesses figures, mother role.
Nanny Ogg - Middle Aged.
Demeter--Balbo lifts skirts and dances to make Demeter laugh.
Writing a Woman's Life.
Christopher Broockmeyer's tale of an Action-Adventure Grandmom: All Fun and Games

the best quote I heard at Boskone 2010

was when Verner Vinge said:
That humans will be here in a million years is kind of depressing.  There should be something much better around that we made or that we became.
 It reminded me of how we tell our kids we want them to be better than us, not take after us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rafi on the Boskone Badge

The Artist guest of honor at Boskone was John Picacio.  They used one of his cover illustrations for the Badge.  We noticed that the child in the image looked a lot like Rafi.  I tried to snap a photo of Rafi before leaving for the con Sunday morning but ran out of time and didn't manage to get the angle just right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Edgy Mr Ed

This morning my husband was talking about how prime time television used to have more innocent shows with fantasy elements--like I Dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, and Mr Ed.

"Mr Ed, a talking horse.  A kid's show in prime time," I said, but then amended,  "No.  It was suitable for kids, but it wasn't a kid's show.  Because Mr Ed wasn't about a talking horse.  It was about a man who was frustrated with his wife and his small town middle class life.  His wife thinks he's a dolt, but he has this talking horse like a superman secret identity superpower."

"I never thought of it that way," said my husband. "He is frustrated with his wife--he probably married her straight out of high school.  The horse is his superman alter-ego.  That would be how to remake the show.  Have Wilbur be obviously psychotic, with Mr Ed just talking in his mind."

That led to whether Slaughterhouse Five should be interpreted as literal science fiction time travel, or as the character being psychotic, or as Magical Realism.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

arisia 2010: silver costume

I didn't take many photos at Arisia. Here are two of people I don't know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Someone needs to reinvent galoshes.

They're practical.  I'm tired of having to change my shoes when I'm running in and out.  There's also the puddle-sock hazard.
The old galoshes and rubbers were difficult to remove.  And they acquired a hopelessly un-Cool reputation.  Someone is going to re-invent galoshes, make them Cool, and make lots of money.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Arisia 2010

Ro helped Rafi with her Kamikazi Kids Pink Sparkle French Princess costume.
Pie helped Zoe with her Kamikaze Kids Phoenix costume.

Unicorn-C sold at the Art Auction!