cider days

Nov. 1st, 2014 09:53 pm
jinian: (mokona dessert!)
This morning I got into a car with [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and [personal profile] gaudior and we all drove off for two hours to western Mass (thanks in part to the phone GPS lady) to Cider Days, because we love apples. It was rainy and chilly, but we got food before starting to drink, bought $5 glasses, and then joined the gigantic over-capacity hard cider sampling and discussion panel room.

The panel involved lots of fascinating jargon, lots of semi-reasonable molecular biology, and plenty of delicious and unusual ciders. People were coming around with bottles of each cider the panel talked about, and all the panelists seemed to work together to make ciders from Pine Hill Orchards juice. It got pretty hot in there, so between that and the ciders' alcohol content (usually around 10%) I was ready to go before the end. We didn't leave until after they called out us late-coming youngsters and said how great it was that we were interested in cider-making, though. :)

I was really there to taste local apple varieties, though, and I got to do that next. It was raining enough that I had to take notes on my phone instead of on paper, but that worked out pretty well despite autocorrect's attempts to interfere. Lots of apples from Second Chance Orchard were laid out on long folding tables with labels under each, and you just picked up one of the many little knives and cut them yourself. (Not what I'm used to, but sure!) The standouts of that tasting were the King David, a great crisp apple with well balanced flavors, and the absolutely delicious Sweet Winter Pennock. I also loved the Jaegers Reinette (my notes read "sweet perfect"), and Bancrofts seem like they'd be great for cooking.

We got cider doughnuts, which were excellent, and looked around the tents a little. I felt bad for not buying things, since we were some of the few people there in the rain, but I do not actually require any very nice baskets.

Next stop, Clarkdale Fruit Farms! More of the old heirlooms I'm used to, like Cox's Orange Pippin and Ashmead's Kernal, but also intriguing new names like Westfield Seek-No-Further ("delicious balanced") and Hubbardston Nonesuch ("sweet good"). The Enterprise is a better tarter Empire, and something that autocorrect turned into "Crimson Gold" had almost a syrupy start but developed into a really delicious experience. I found a new favorite for my apple favorites list, the Esopus Spitzenberg ("complex strong well balanced") and bought a quarter peck of them, along with some Golden Russets, which have a cool bimodal flavor profile, sweet at the core and tarter outside. I will love this farm forever for having a chart on the wall of where the varieties arose. Esopus Spitzenberg is a NY native, it seems.

On the way home, we stopped at a Friendly's. Nostalgia value for [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and me! Valuable protein for everyone!
jinian: (bachelor's button bud)
October 25
My elephant jack-o'-lantern from [personal profile] sovay's party. He remains adorable and on the porch. (And wow, brush pen and pumpkin are a great combination.)

 photo 2014-10-28-inktober25_zpsb46a0227.jpg

October 26
Black Forest cake made by me and [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. Fun with representational shading!

 photo 2014-10-28-inktober26_zps70f9fc7e.jpg

inktober 2

Oct. 2nd, 2014 09:57 pm
jinian: (baby dalek)
Just a little one today, I've been hurting a lot all day. I guess I'm doing a fall theme for these, which may be unimaginative but that's what I'm thinking about.

This one is about the time I made pumpkin pie in Nagoya, Japan -- actually kabocha as that's the only squash available -- and used Hokkaido butter in the crust. Now, I do know how to make pie crust just fine, but that butter was above and beyond butter. In real life, we had a shallow pan under the pie plate, and it's a good thing we did. The melted fat was set to take over the world.

 photo 2014-10-02-inktober2_zpsa99e40b7.jpg

And, for those of you I haven't marveled to about this already, that microwave-looking appliance is a countertop oven, and that is the only way you get ovens in Japan. Kitchens don't have them built in. Japanese people refused to believe me when I told them standard American kitchens had large ovens built in. It made stress-baking very difficult while I was there! The oven I used for the pie was actually in my workplace, not in the dorm.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
More unpacking! Negotiated what of mine is going in the kitchen, so the rest can go to the attic. Still working on the clothes, but having more room to play Boxes of Hanoi in will help a lot.

Swept the floors like an awesome person.

As a household, we have hit some kind of critical mass for silly ice cube trays. From C: koi, UFOs/moons. From me: brains, robots/clock-keys. From M (and his person J): delight and plans for drink parties.

Nice dinner with roommates, maybe the last time we'll cook outdoors this season.

It's been too long since I watched a movie with my person J. Donnie Darko turns out to be pretty great! (Warnings: fridging, very scary Patrick Swayze, bad therapy.)
jinian: (garden yukito)
Tumblr being delightful:

Funnel webs on top of the yew hedge.

More nerdy taxonomy lookups. Too much computer-staring, but the reasons were still fun.

Walking a labyrinth at the Divinity School.

Relaxing dinner out.

Read a comic with the President of the United States in it, and was like, whoa, it's a white guy. (Strong Female Protagonist: it's the point of AU divergence, so the President is specifically GWB, but that wasn't clear in the first frame where he appeared.) Yay for whiteness as a marked condition.
jinian: (bold bananas)
1. Go to the library to get a book for my fun research project.

2. See the library's chocolate jar, which is the only reason many people visit the library.


4. After browsing someone's dissertation but reining in my tendency to sidetrack myself, get the book I wanted and another one I bet I'll need later.

5. Realize that I should eat actual food.

6. Go toast half a bagel and nom some sugar snap peas.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
Wim sent me a few things in a small package, which eventually reached me despite going to the sublet first. He generously included a packet of Swedish fish candy, but one of the other things in the package was a sweater of mine that had somehow gotten into Wim's deadly mothball-packed stuff. (There are at least two chemicals that count as mothballs, and one I am okay with while another is nauseating. These are the horrible ones.) I put the sweater through the wash. The candy, well.

So I sent him this haiku to inform him of the problem.

Days later, unwrapped
Swedish fish waft on fall winds
The smell of mothballs
jinian: (fft ninja)
Today was one of those "no good deed goes unpunished" days. Still good things about it, though:

0. This is more weird than good, but I am impressed enough with the inside of my head right now that it goes here: my strange sleeping-too-warm dream from last night was that Bucky Barnes was having an abortion and wanted me there.

1. I had a burrito for lunch that I think was actually safe for me to eat. So far so good! And so satisfying.

2. Former PI specifically solicited my input on something and was all respectful when I gave it.

3. I remodeled the thin foam pads I'm using for my bed so that they're folded in thirds instead of in half, and, while the result is only slightly wider than my actual butt, it's also 150% as comfortable as the previous configuration.
jinian: (mokona world)
Mostly things are being very very stressful right now, because I am learning that one should NEVER EVER use U-Haul's U-Box service. For one thing, everyone I have spoken to there assured me that it is 100% impossible to change the payment method on an order after the order is placed, which... is a thing that businesses can do...? Not U-Haul, though! Also I have spent multiple hours on the phone talking to over a dozen people, getting nothing but runaround and confusion from people who were mostly rather nice but entirely unable to help me, because they almost to a one mentioned needing more training. Once I had found, through sheer luck, the one department that is able to change orders in the computer system, they proved to be unable to change them usefully -- my stuff's guaranteed-delivery-by date is now LATER than before. Aaaand last night when I called in having never gotten a confirmation for the promised pod pickup last Friday, I discovered that no such pickup had occurred, it was scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Ask [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and [personal profile] gaudior how happy I was then. I talked to the location manager, who said he would try to expedite it, but basically I am planning to move to my new apartment without my stuff being there (however frustrating that may be, and it SO IS) because NONE OF WHAT I WAS PROMISED IS TRUE. There will be some fucking refunds over this, I tell you what.

But! On Saturday for almost the whole day I was able to ignore that clusterfuck, and here are some good things.

1. When I was heading out to do errands, I found adorable free art on the sidewalk! I almost went past it to do my shopping, but decided I'd better grab it and take it home right away. There is a leopard and a giraffe, who must be like the giraffe first-grade teacher because she's leading three little giraffes, and they're all in a very flat-looking jungle. It's great.

2. Subsequently I went back out again and did my errands like an adult.

3. Nap.

4. For the first time here, I had a good interaction at the video store. Having watched The Fortune Cookie last night and found it dark and upsetting more than funny, I have to retroactively question the guy's judgement, but it was awfully nice to talk to an employee at that store who had the slightest interest in talking to customers. Plus, they had a display of Star Trek novels for $2.50, which included Uhura's Song in great shape, and when I bought it I think I managed to promote Hellspark to him effectively!

5. I had a lovely walk home from Porter in the still-humid-but-cool dusk, including a stop at the yogurt shop (where I resisted feeling like a jerk and told them how to cook their mochi a little longer to stop it being chalky, because it's been that way twice now and I want to eat it if it's good!) and walking a way I hadn't gone before to tie my mental map of the area together. There was a big pavilion set up outside Harvard Yard where they often put them for events, but no event right then, so a little kid was riding their bike around in it, which cheered me up even more.

6. Joss Whedon's 2012 film of Much Ado About Nothing is not perfect, but it's mostly very good, and there were several points that I've never seen done so well before. Unfortunately the person I was watching it with hasn't seen/read it a million times and didn't have subtitles, which made it a lot harder to follow. Sorry, J. I may watch it again myself before I take it back, though. :)
jinian: (bold bananas)

My bus to NYC was delayed, first by traffic near Waterbury, CT, which somehow made the driver think getting off the highway to putt through small towns and part of Waterbury was a good plan, and then by some kind of accident or procession when I was almost there, which caused traffic backup and additional wrongheaded-seeming detours. But [personal profile] skygiants met me, and we got Thai food with her roommate before all walking down to the Film Forum for Double Indemnity, which was pretty great because: (1) Barbara Stanwyck, (2) nerd hero, (3) man/murderin' OTP, (4) chocolate egg cream. Admittedly the last could easily have applied to another movie, but it didn't.


The free exhibit currently at the Fashion Institute of Technology is "Exposed: a history of lingerie", which is highly worth seeing for many reasons. The most amazing individual pieces were the current student projects -- really stunning though in some cases impractical. I think if I got to pick any pieces from the entire thing to wear they'd be the absurd 60s giraffe-print bikini set and the student project like blue-and-black birds' wings, though there was also some very fine corsetry. Luckily for us, we happened to meet a lady there who told us all about an exhibit of ballgowns at another museum. Over bagels afterward it became extremely clear that we had to go to that on Sunday.

But first, another movie: Stella Maris with Mary Pickford. When I told my parents about this, they pooh-poohed the idea that anyone would NOT know all about Mary Pickford; she was married to [filed in my head under "some guy"... um...] Douglas Fairbanks! And had a ranch that my dad went to? past? when he lived in the area. Silent movies for free with live accompaniment are always good, and this one especially so, with amazing acting by Mary and an actually interesting Q&A afterward. Boy, though, the one short that they said was considered lost could remain lost. It wasn't so much a visit by the Racism Fairy as the Racism Fairy spreading herself in naked glory all over the screen, and there were other problematic elements as well.

It was a bit too late to get to the regular botanic gardens at that point, but we trotted off (through what amounted to hiking trails at times) to the Central Park Conservatory Garden, where we found a fountain commemorating Frances Hodgson Burnett. [personal profile] skygiants maintains that the child-nymph represented in bronze must in fact be what FHB looked like. Would statuary lie to us? The garden did some lovely and impressive things with shape, repetition, and leaf color, and also the bathroom windows are nifty openable octagons.

We did in fact feel tired at this point, despite the comparatively clement weather, so we got some very good Indian food (I hadn't had aloo paratha in so long!) and went home to fall asleep over books.


Brunch! Mexican restaurants are dangerous when tomatoes are a problem, but I negotiated it all right and the food was tasty.

Then, off to the Met to see the ballgowns: "Charles James: Beyond Fashion". The curators were really, really into this guy. In the main gallery, the walls were mirrored and adorned with his self-important quotations, including the original EMPHATIC CAPITALS, and the placards were frequently pretty over the top as well. Most of the clothes were intriguing-to-wonderful, though, and even when I thought he missed the boat I could generally see what he was getting at. The exhibit included robot arms holding cameras and projectors, which along with large electronic displays allowed some really intuitive and beautiful ways to display the garments and information about them. (They also allowed there to be a sign asking that you not touch the robot arms because they're fragile. Aww, little robot armses.) Apparently James started as a milliner, which you could see in his structural mindset, but they sadly didn't have any of his hats available, even in photos.

I made good time coming home, which was good because I hadn't charged my persnickety e-reader correctly. I napped some and made it back with 1% battery left on my phone!
jinian: (algae)
Fuck today. Like Harry Potter, I have a lot to be upset about. (Apart from everything, on my way home the T turnstile ate my $9 ticket and my phone spontaneously started playing music and called Pamela. Maybe it thinks she likes the Pipettes.) But some good things:

1. Young girl outside my favorite church/dance theater this morning posing like the ballet-dancer statue while her family took photos.

2. Free lunch, and the ability to eat it.

3. Really lovely hair seen in the wild: precisely executed cornrows are a thing of beauty, but the winner was the one with perfect diamonds of scalp -> braids -> twisted crown.

Now I am in bed, and I am going to watch Spirited Away.
jinian: chibi Hana from 7 Seeds working hard! (hana stivver)
Sunday good things:

1. Chat with J.

2. Really nice walk and yogurt in the park. Underdone mochi, silly pilgrim statue, still very pleasant.

3. Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters was exactly the terrible movie I wanted to watch.

Monday good things:

1. Entertaining texts distracting me from moping.

2. "Rafflesiaceae flowers are fly pollinated and mimic carrion— they lure pollinators through deceit (i.e., offer no reward), thus acting as dual parasites on their pollinators and their Tetrastigma hosts (Bänziger, 1996; Nais, 2001). " Yeah bitches, Rafflesia!

3. Dinner (with [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and [personal profile] gaudior) and a movie!

Tuesday good things:

1. Bunny sighting right by the Divinity School!

2. Soooo hot, and of course I chose this day to go into the greenhouses to collect specimens... but it was actually quite comfy in the greenhouse compared to outdoors!

3. OMG all the sleeping.

Wednesday good things:

1. Doing actual lab work! DNA preps from a kit are still kind of adventurous when everything is unfamiliar and the equipment is busted and/or mysterious.

2. Orientation to the herbarium library and getting to go hunt for a thing in the book-smelling stacks with automatic lights and beautiful old monographs.

3. Books bound with marbled paper and containing annotations in the loveliest faded ink and perfect old-style handwriting! Plus, solving a mystery that led to relabeling a book correctly!
jinian: (wtf Martel)
Thursday Seattle things:

listened to Mudhoney playing at the top of the Space Needle on the KEXP song of the day

wild roses and ceanothus on the Burke-Gilman trail

put on flannel and got rained on

Taco del Mar with sweetie

Friday good things:

1. It's Kylee's Day of Zero Dignity with Foodstuffs! Licked the spilled lemon filling, put my mouth over the exploding pink lemonade bottle. :)

2. Keiko got me Esau. So touched.

Saturday? good things:
absolutely fucking died laughing at this
it's the surprise element, something i have seen a million times with a gloss that is snarky as fuck

Monday Seattle things:

Samurai Noodle with grad friend C

sold books at Twice Sold (ballard one = old u district one, the same guy!)

Wednesday Seattle things:

EJ Burger, the best chocolate milkshakes in town!

Hana with Marie and Wim (including rained on, driving to Cap Hill because we're sure parking will exist on Wed night, paying for parking because it does not)


Dinner at Tup Tim Thai! Fun waiter was still fun, though we only saw him briefly this time.

OMG got cats moved. Hilarious. Not the best night's sleep ever. :) Every half hour or so Squeak would have to hiss again (at Bat, at my hand, at the existence of the room which was unfamiliar and thus offensive), and I would try to block her from whatever was pissing her off.

Still finding new places to walk in my neighborhood. Found gorgeous honeysuckle on two trellises, smelling sweet and golden as they looked, a few days ago. This morning, a turquoise house with turquoise-and-blue-checkered door.

So so tired and feeling regretful and panicky. Mover coming this morning at 10. I will prevail!
jinian: (black and white)
Lunch at Charlie's with [profile] marzipan_pig. Black bean burger and hot fudge sundae were used to optimize the Charlie's-ness of the experience.

Hair re-pinked at Scream.
jinian: (queen of cups)

Final lab meeting. Destressing Value Village run: found exactly the short denim skirt I was thinking I wanted, plus another cute one for $4. Molly Moon's ice cream (salt caramel, chocolate) eaten on a bench in Cal Anderson Park. Phoenix comics.


Fremont Jai Thai, PCC, antique mall.


Last laser ablation. Farewell potluck at lab. Paid full price at Scarecrow Video for the first time since I can remember. Carrying black locust blossoms in my bag.
jinian: (birdsquee)

1. Laser killing cells with PI.

2. Black locust smell OMG.


1. Delicious lunch at U:Don with [ profile] thatmathchick! Both the company and the ume-shiso inari onigiri were unusual and very pleasing.

2. E-stim at the acupuncturist's. Okay then!


1. This may be the best I have ever cut my bangs.

2. Confocal computer is getting fixed! Hurrah! Didn't think it would be here in time before I left.

3. Mock orange blossoms in my hair for the last two days. Looking forward to being in a lab that's less pathogen-sensitive so I can have and wear other plants.

4. Fun fun times in game chat and out of it.

good things

May. 4th, 2014 12:28 am
jinian: (FHL cockles)
1. Pocky.

2. Hair is long enough to stay up with a stick!

3. Lovely dinner with mom.

4. Slinky velvet halter dress still looks good despite my being a bit thinner.

good things

May. 3rd, 2014 12:43 am
jinian: (bold bananas)
1. Making a silly video for my friend this morning made me smile all the way to school.

2. Successfully did a work!

3. Ate cherry goat cheese ice cream from Molly Moon's in a local park.

4. Revisited naming rules for Birkenstock Nippleclamps.
jinian: (algae)
1. Awesomely wrote to a person about a summer sublet in Cambridge and heard back.

2. Got rental contract info from Wim.

3. Ate entire bowl of udon with egg and kabocha, like a person with a digestive system.
jinian: (Winry kicks ass)
1. Slept until 11:30. Aw yiss.

2. Saw Short Peace, four short anime showing together at the Grand Illusion, and all were excellent. The first, "Possessions", is flawlessly wonderful. The one that was most like Akira was not the one by the director of Akira; that was the beautiful tragic one told on a scroll, in fact. And it's a little odd that the first three are all historical or historical-fantastic and the last is postapocalyptic. Highly recommended, though.

3. Wim and I ate Hawaiian food and fixed a lawnmower and got a bunch of moving boxes and played Rock Band.

4. Had a conversation with racing game people about Dicentra formosa (like a bell, like angel wings) and Rafflesia (Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles). Delightful!

5. My Question Block Lamp played the invulnerable-star music for the first time ever. I love Easter eggs.


hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite

July 2017

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