chase_acow: made for me fandom stocking2013 (farscape drd)
([personal profile] chase_acow Feb. 19th, 2019 03:01 pm)
Don't get me wrong, I love to wallow in weeks old sheets and bedding* because it's glorious. The bottom sheet has moved to exactly where I want it from all my nightly flopping. The top layers are interspersed so the comforter curls over my chest, but the fuzzy blanket is higher and can flop over my face when the three am air gets too cold to breathe. Everything smells like me and it's soft and I know it's mine.

But.

Sometimes, I wash all the bedding, change up all the colors so that I'm sleeping on copper and the midnight blue top sheet lays on it like sky and earth. Everything smells fresh and lines up on the bottom so that making the bed isn't an exercise in severe frustration. Though this time the puppy helped and wow, I thought the cats were bad. Then I took a shower and even though I knew it was supposed to snow and be cold, I shaved the long winter's growth** on my legs, and let me tell you, last night's sleep was fantastic.


*always change the pillowcase though, your face will thank you
**i'm talking werewolf proportions here
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violsva: Dottie Underwood from Agent Carter, in prison (Dottie)
([personal profile] violsva Feb. 19th, 2019 03:20 pm)
Actually let's cut this. ) It's been so much nicer inside my head since I drifted away from Tumblr.
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([personal profile] brigdh Feb. 19th, 2019 03:20 pm)
The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species by Carlos Magdalena. Nonfiction about Magdalena's life as a botanist at Kew Gardens, London. Magdalena is particularly devoted to preventing the extinction of plants – which sadly tend to get less media attention than endangered animals – specializing in figuring out how to get them to flower, how to turn the flowers into seeds, how to convince the seeds to grow, and, to complete the cycle, how to keep the seedlings alive long enough for them to flower. It's a far more complicated, mysterious, and nerve-wracking process than it seems! Another speciality of Magdalena's are waterlilies, so the books includes stories about many species, from the gigantic Victoria amazonica to the world's tiniest, Nymphaea thermarum, which is super adorable and I want one for myself. If only it wasn't, you know, critically endangered.

So definitely an interesting topic. However, it didn't have my favorite execution. I personally prefer science nonfiction to lean heavily towards interesting botany facts and touch lightly or not at all on the scientists' personal life and experiences. The Plant Messiah had a lot about Magdalena's childhood, family, and personality, which... sorry, but I'm not reading this book to learn about him. The writing style itself is also fairly simplistic, which I suspect means The Plant Messiah will disappear from our cultural memory quite quickly. Still, if you enjoy reading about plants, it's well worth checking out!


Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Darnielle is the songwriter and lead man of The Mountain Goats, one of my very favorite bands, and I've been eager to see what he does with prose. Universal Harvester is his second novel, but the first I've read, and it's... basically what I'd expect from guy behind The Mountain Goats, honestly.

Universal Harvester is divided into four parts, each of which has a vastly different tone and style than the others, and three of which focus on entirely different characters. Part One is the story of Jeremy, a young man working at a video rental store in rural Iowa in the late 1990s. Customers start complaining of weird images on the tapes they return, and he finds startling footage of what appears to be bound and tortured captives in an empty barn, spliced into the most random of Hollywood features. After prodding from a casual acquaintance who's more interested in the mystery than Jeremy is himself, they set out to investigate the source of the films. Part Two shifts the setting, characters, and tone entirely, to become the story of an isolated housewife in a financially struggling family in early 1970s small town Nebraska. She misses her parents, she can't connect emotionally with her daughter, and she slowly becomes drawn into a cult. It's literary fiction, a story in the tone of Joyce Carol Oates or Margaret Atwood. Part Three returns, briefly, to Jeremy and the mystery of the strange footage, but where earlier it had the feel of a horror novel or thriller, now it's slow and sad and vague, with no answers or tension, just the acknowledgement of unsolved mysteries. Part Four is the briefest, and is set in the modern day. The same farmhouse that Jeremy traced as the origin of the strange footage is purchased by a perfectly ordinary family: two retired parents, two college-aged children. They discover a huge cache of video tapes on the property and watch the same inexplicable images as Jeremy had, but their reaction is confusion and boredom rather than terror.

I hugely preferred the first section, when the book was trying for horror, but that's my own prejudice against literary fiction than any fault in Darnielle's writing. He is a very good writer at what he's most interested in (which unfortunately for me is not gore and shocking twists); he's particularly excellent at evoking a setting, in this case the specific time and place of the rural and small town West in the latter parts of the twentieth century. The descriptions are beautiful and vivid: long drives on empty highways, the look of corn fields against a setting sun, awkward talks with coworkers, the half-buried awareness of no good career options, just a life stretching out emptily and unhappily. Darnielle's other main theme is grief, particularly the experience of losing a mother. Take a look at that title, after all: Universal Harvester, the actual brand name of a tractor as well as an easily recognizable metaphor for death. And those two things are what the book's actually about, not murder mysteries or haunted videos.

In the end, Universal Harvester wasn't what I wanted it to be, but it did a very good job at conveying what Darnielle wanted it to be, and I suppose I can't critique it for that.


And with these two reviews, I've caught up on blogging everything I read in 2018! ...only in late February, yes, I see the problem here. I unsurprisingly already have quite the backlog of 2019 book reviews to write, but hopefully will have some more free time moving forward and will get those up before another two months pass. Particularly since I've now entirely abandoned tumblr, and so hope to do most of my fandom socializing here on DW. I also have a twitter, which I mainly use for real life™ things. But if anyone is interested in my twitter handle, just let me know – I only don't want to post it publically due to my vague attempts at keeping my RL and fandom identities separate.
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([personal profile] clawfoot Feb. 19th, 2019 03:39 pm)
So I had an absolutely wonderful weekend that I hope never to repeat.

No element was bad: it was just too many good things. I was at my sisters' place from Fri-Sun, then on the way home from their house, we picked up Fedoriarty and Valkryor, who were then our guests until Monday afternoon. I got back at around 5pm from dropping them home; just in time to prepare to start the work week again.

Visiting or visitors: I must in the future choose one, not both. I do not regret doing either. I just wish weekends (even long ones) were longer.
Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe set off a firestorm during his "60 Minutes" interview when he said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had initiated a discussion "about how many Cabinet officials might support" removing President Donald Trump from office by using the 25th Amendment. This has prompted outrage among the President's supporters, who see this as nothing short of an attempted coup. Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has even promised to commence hearings into the matter.


The anxiety weasels have returned, but I should manage a linkspam this week. It has not been a great mental health week for me, but I think I have identified the issues with my sound chambers for now (need more base-line microphone amps, peering at the chambers I )

Made the mistake of accidentally kicking off my own exclusionist trauma issues on a Metafilter post, and will be taking a break from there (have locked myself out of my account for the rest of the week). I am reminded why I tend to view lesbians with guarded suspicion, and regret bringing up both that particular article and tensions in queer-female-and-adjacent communities more generally.

No, seriously, the word lesbophobia is a dog whistle, and doubling down on it when I go "are you--are you intending to communicate this?" and insisting I'm speaking in bad faith is, ah. Fun.

Also today, I had a horrifically-ill student attempt to isolate his own DNA with a cheek rinse and fill it with so much phlegm that I couldn't figure out what the hell he was doing wrong when he showed me his sample. I did not, however, find this out before that student helpfully tried to dip a micropipette with no fucking tip into his cup of filthy sick spit-water and draw up a milliliter of fluid, and then get confused when the tip didn't fit on the micropipette afterwards. I think I got it dried out enough not to bleed everywhere, but I'm not sure. I definitely went back and splashed ethanol all over that sucker after he left.

I can only hope he had the same nasty bug I did a few weeks ago, so maybe I can fight it off before he infects everyone else.
([syndicated profile] jedediah_feed Feb. 19th, 2019 07:32 pm)

Posted by Jed

Achievement unlocked: When I gave my billing account number to Pair tech support this morning, the support person said they hadn’t known there were account numbers that low. :)

Pair has been hosting my website since July 1996. I was going to say that’s the longest-duration business relationship I have with any company, but then I remembered that I’ve been getting my hair cut at the same haircut place since 1991. :)

But I guess the haircut thing is not so much a “business relationship” as being a customer. (And I’ve been, for example, an Apple customer for longer than that.) But then, I’m also a Pair customer. So I’m not sure where the line is between those things, or whether I’m making a distinction that doesn’t make sense.

Oh, and maybe I’ve been with my credit union since before 1996? Not sure.

…Also occurs to me that it’s possible that I’ve been with Pair since before some of their current employees were born. If that’s not true now, I imagine it will be in a couple years.


  • Have fossils of the movements of ancient animals 2.1 billion years ago been found? CBC reports.

  • Increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, it turns out, will not accelerate tree growth. CBC reports.

  • Motherboard reports that vast "mountains" may exist, hidden deep inside the molten interior of the Earth.

  • Universe Today reports on Hubble observations of the atmospheres of outer-system ice giants Uranus and Neptune.

  • Universe Today reports on the startling assertion of Elon Musk that, in the foreseeable future, a round-trip ticket to Mars might cost only $US 100 thousand.


  • CBC Montreal looks at how the city of Montréal deals with snow disposal in winter.

  • NOW Toronto reviews The World Before Your Feet, a documentary examining the life of one Matt Green, who aims to walk all the thousands of kilometres of streets of New York City.

  • VICE reports on how the mass shooting of Dunblane still affects survivors and townspeople even two decades later.

  • CityLab looks at the unique Schwebebahn mass transit system in the Ruhr town of Wuppertal, and what it says about transit culture in Germany.

  • CityLab takes a look at Cape Town, where a foodie culture is not reflected in ready access of all to food, and how some people are trying to fix this.

Posted by Beth M

This is like, “the week of quesadillas” at my house. LOL. When the concept for these super easy creamy quesadillas first came into my head I couldn’t decide whether to make them with chicken or do a vegetarian version, so I just made both! While I love both versions of this quesadilla, the incredible ease and low cost of these Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas might make them the winner. They literally only take about 20 minutes and are so freaking good. 

If you want the chicken version, head over to the post for Creamy Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas.

Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

A plate full of Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas with a dish of red salsa

How to serve Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

Because the filling for these quesadillas is so rich and creamy, they really benefit from being served with a nice tangy salsa. The salsa I used is a smoky chipotle red salsa, which paired so well with the flavors of the quesadillas. Normally quesadillas would be served with some sour cream or guacamole dolloped on top, but there is so much creaminess already that I think that would be overkill.

What type of white beans should I use?

I definitely suggest using cannellini beans for this recipe because of their large size, firm texture, and ability to hold their shape. Other white beans, like navy beans, tend to break down and are better suited for use in soups, stews, or recipes where they’ll be mashed. If you want to read more about the common types of white beans and how they’re best used, check out this helpful guide from Camellia Beans.

 

Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, these insanely delicious Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas make an awesomely fast weeknight dinner. 

  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans ($0.69)
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin ($0.03)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($0.87)
  • 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded ($1.00)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream ($0.35)
  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas ($0.96)
  1. Rinse and drain the cannellini beans well. Once well drained, transfer them to a bowl and add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Stir to combine the beans with the spices.

  2. Roughly chop the spinach into smaller pieces. Add the spinach, cheese, and sour cream to the bowl with the beans, then stir to combine.

  3. Divide the spinach and bean mixture between the four tortillas, then fold them in half to close.

  4. Cook the quesadillas, one or two at a time, in a skillet* over medium heat until the tortillas are brown and crispy and the filling is melted and gooey (3-5 minutes each side).

  5. Cut the quesadillas in half, then serve.

*I cook my quesadillas in a dry skillet (they don’t stick), but you can use oil if you prefer a more fried texture to the tortillas.

A hand dipping a piece of creamy white bean and spinach quesadilla into a bowl of red salsa

Step by Step Photos

Seasoned cannellini beans

Begin by rinsing and draining a 15oz. can of cannellini beans. Make sure they’re drained well, then place them in a bowl with 3/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp salt. Stir to coat the beans in the spices.

Chopped spinach

Roughly chop about 2 cups of spinach into smaller pieces.

Beans, spinach, cheese, and sour cream in a bowl

Combine the seasoned beans and chopped spinach in a bowl with 4 oz. shredded pepper jack cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream. Stir to combine these ingredients.

Flour tortilla with spinach and bean mixture covering half

Divide the spinach and bean mixture between the four tortillas, covering half of the tortilla, then fold them in half to close.

Cooked quesadilla in the skillet

Cook the quesadillas, one or two at a time, in a skillet over medium heat until the tortillas are brown and crispy, and the filling is melted. I don’t add oil to my skillet, but you can if you prefer a more fried-like texture to the tortillas. (The residue you see in the skillet is splatter from juices coming out of the quesadilla.)

Sliced Quesadillas ready to Serve

Slice the cooked quesadillas in half and serve!

Close up of a quesadilla being dipped into a bowl of red salsa

As mentioned above, I LOVE these Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas served with a nice tangy salsa!

 

The post Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Posted by Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer

This week’s cover is from the Czech edition published by Talpress, and it offers further proof (in case anyone was in doubt) that Martina Pilcerova really pays attention. That’s a cryochamber, with Lisa Sato inside. The guy next to it is the doctor who hid her in his basement, and the pyramids in the background are the New Egypt cryo-facility. I can tell for sure that Miles is not in this picture, because Pilcerova’s portraits of him tend to be more Byronic. I like that because I think that Miles is, in fact, mad, bad, and dangerous to know. This guy looks kind of bland. We will discover later that he’s not so much mad, bad, and dangerous as thoughtless and condescending. Bland can be dangerous.

In this week’s discussion of the interior of the book, we should be starting in Chapter 6. I’m feeling reflective this week, so I need to throw in some thoughts on Chapter 5 first.

It’s so easy to get to the end of Cryoburn and feel like Aral has not been in this book. However, Aral showed up in Chapter 5 last week. He is not, of course, actually there. Miles used him as an instructive example.

The Barrayaran Embassy staff was appalled that Miles had involved a homeless eleven-year-old runaway in his affairs. On the one hand, I can sort of see their concerns about putting a child in harm’s way. On the other hand, when Miles met him, Jin was living on a makeshift farm he set up on a roof. I concur with Miles’s assessment that the journey across his hometown was just as safe as everything else Jin does. And while he is missing from Miles’s perspective, Jin is now in the custody of his legal guardian. The worst that can be said of her is that she’s overwhelmed.

By some measures, Jin could be considered better off after his arrest, even if he isn’t where he wants to be. He didn’t have access to education from his roof-farm.

I’m rambling here. Miles compares Jin at 11 to Aral at 11. Eleven is a pivotal time in a young man’s life. You might find out that you’re the Seeker of the Signs. You might get a Hogwarts letter. It was a pivotal year in Aral’s life because it was when he witnessed the murders of most of his family. At that point, General Piotr put his only surviving son in uniform. Aral served as Piotr’s aide-de-camp and had helped take down Mad Yuri by age thirteen. I don’t know if Miles knows that taking down Mad Yuri meant disemboweling him on a balcony in the rain. Miles doesn’t know everything.

I believe that Miles sometimes overestimates the maturity and capabilities of children, and sometimes underestimates their needs. He’ll do it later in this book. But I think he’s correct here: A kid who can keep himself and a flock of chickens alive on a rooftop can deliver a message.

Jin didn’t just have the flock of chickens, he also had the rats, a cat, and a falcon. When we first met him, I assumed that he had assembled most of the menagerie after arriving on the rooftop, but apparently the animals were a cause of his decision to run away rather than an effect. His aunt had announced that they all had to go. I have some sympathy for her position. I have some sympathy for Jin’s. Where does an eleven-year-old get a hawk?

Back in his aunt’s house, Jin is desperate to get back to his hawk. His aunt and uncle have noticed—he’s been locked in his sister’s bedroom for the night, with little Mina shuffled out to the couch. Mina is an extremely pragmatic six-year-old; she offers to let Jin out if he will take her with him. Her financial resources, in combination with the possibility that she will wake the household, overcome Jin’s better judgment. They leave their aunt’s house heading in a direction Jin thinks is likely to be south.

While they’re walking (and they are walking for a long time, in shoes that don’t fit), Miles gives WhiteChrys, one of the local cryonics companies, a chance to make up for the inconvenience he suffered in the disruption of the conference. WhiteChrys is very interested in improving Miles’s mood—it fits in with their interest in expanding onto Komarr. The cryo-corporations of Kibou-daini do a lot more freezing than reviving, and control the votes of their patrons while they are frozen. Competition for patrons is fierce. Miles will discuss the implications of this for Komarran politics later in the book.

Today, Miles is playing up his rivalry with Mark for the benefit of WhiteChrys’s execs. WhiteChrys isn’t innovating on the technical side. And actually, I don’t think they’ve invested much in the revival side of the process. My only evidence that these corporations ever revive anyone at all is Angry Yani. Patrons seem to be worth much more to the cryocorps frozen than on the hoof. Their current financial innovation is commodifying contracts to create a secondary market on Kibou. I don’t have all the details, but this seems to me like it would allow interested parties to trade contracts for both financial and political ends. This innovation won’t be practical on Komarr where there aren’t competitors to trade with—WhiteChrys plans to have a monopoly on Komarr there. In service of that end, they offer to bribe Miles with shares.

Next week, Ambassador Vorlynkin gets upset about the bribery and Jin and Mina get lost.

Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer teaches history and reads a lot.

([syndicated profile] tor_dot_com_feed Feb. 19th, 2019 07:30 pm)

Posted by Sweepstakes

Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. Master of science fiction Alastair Reynolds unfolds a time-traveling climate fiction adventure in Permafrost, available March 19 from Tor.com Publishing—and we want to send you a copy!

2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.

2028: a young woman goes into surgery for routine brain surgery. In the days following her operation, she begins to hear another voice in her head… an unwanted presence which seems to have a will, and a purpose, all of its own—one that will disrupt her life entirely. The only choice left to her is a simple one.

Does she resist… or become a collaborator?

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on February 19th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on February 23rd. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

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