jinian: (c'est la vie)
Harvard stopped paying me on May 31, and my new job didn't start until the following Monday, so I took the chance to finally go to NYC with grad friend A the way we'd been talking about for months! It was perfect weather, sunny and cool, and we had an excellent time.

We agreed that getting there early wasn't worth getting up super early, so we met at the bus station at 9. It's nice to be comfortable enough with someone that you can just read and listen to music together for a few hours.

First New York meal: a corned beef reuben at the Starlight Diner. It's near the bus wasteland, and we needed food. A had gyros, and both our dishes were good but extremely large! I ate the other half of mine for dinner.

First activity: the Met! They were having a Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons fashion exhibit, which was amazing. We only had an hour and a half, story of my life when it comes to the Met, but honestly that's about all my joints can take of museum time without being able to sit and rest a lot. The fashion exhibit was glorious and made me even more disappointed in the basic bitches who went to the Met gala without even touching on the theme. There were plenty of ways to look sexy and interesting while still being avant-garde in Kawakubo's collections.

A kept trying to stop and look at paintings. No, if we don't go directly to the thing we want, we will be looking at everything else forever. We look at permanent-collection paintings after the limited exhibit!

She did have a brilliant idea afterward, though. We needed to eat New York cheesecake. Two Little Red Hens had good reviews and was reasonably nearby, and turned out to have excellent cheesecake, plus somehow 100% perfect lemonade. We didn't try the cupcakes, but they looked good too.

We checked out our hostel after that, which was a weird one -- there had been a deal on hotels.com, so we'd booked a king-size private room. In a hostel. Well, it did turn out to be a private room with its own bathroom, and rather nice though entirely without appliances, but the mattress was very clearly a full size. Good thing neither of us is a wild sleeper.

A went out for a walk to admire the sunset, I rested and took aspirin and read a Courtney Milan novel. (Books on my phone, so much easier to carry around all day.)

In the morning, A's tamagotchi woke me up at 7. Thanks for that. More reading time! A got up at 8 and we headed off to find breakfast at Bagels & Co. I had a sesame bagel with cream cheese and fresh orange juice, and it became very clear why they charge so much for cream cheese: sheer volume. We also each got a rainbow-colored egg bagel (pride-related?) to take home; mine is in the freezer awaiting suitable toppings.

We had thought of going up to NYBG, but it's pretty far really and A can probably get sent there for work at some point, so we stayed in Manhattan instead. First stop: the Natural History Museum. We looked at very many dinosaur and mammal remains, and near the cool drawings of animals whole/muscled/bones-only we met a security guard. He complimented my spaceship shirt (based on this design) and asked if I was a pilot. No, I said, a scientist. He asked where we were based, and when we said Harvard he asked if we knew Neil deGrasse Tyson. We do not! But he does. He, in fact, gets into a Michael Jackson dance-off with him every year. Sadly, it didn't happen while we were there.

Next we took a walk along the High Line, which was much longer than last time I was in New York, absolutely hipster-saturated but a really lovely aerial park. We got pretty hungry during this but failed to find actual food in the area, so we headed off toward the Strand. My phone had run out of data (Twitter autoplay, RIP) so A was navigating, and she found that at our bus transfer point there was a Sushirrito. This is apparently a Bay Area chain, and it was highly amusing and delicious. They have a machine that makes the nori-and-rice wrapping, which is really clever, then the humans apply fish or whatever (A had chicken katsu, I had yellowtail), plus veggies and other good things. They are very tasty but less well thought out than burritos as to what happens at the ends of the cylinder.

We went to the Strand, which was actually the first time I'd been. A good bookstore. I got The Star-Touched Queen and a souvenir magnet. We left in good order with just enough time to get the obligatory Jamba Juice, which has considerately moved to be more convenient, at Penn Station, and dash to the bus.

The last adventure was at the Burger King at the bus rest stop in CT. A got not only chicken fries, which cost twice as much as chicken nuggets for being long and skinny and better spiced, but also... mac n' Cheetos. The latter is horrifying and hilarious, it's Cheeto-shaped deep-fried Kraft dinner, I do not understand who came up with this.

I made it home by midnight and then my knee hurt for four days, but oh well, it was a very good trip. :)
jinian: (no comment)
I'm behind on saying all the fun and horrible stuff that's been going on -- there's a lot of it -- but here is what's happened on my trip so far.

1. Woke up far too early before leaving Boston, and while cleaning out my bag discovered I had a razor blade in it by slicing the living fuck out of my right pinkie. This bled for over half an hour despite pressure, adequately distracting me from useful things like bringing along the key to the storage unit I have things in here in Seattle. I eventually stuck a cotton ball on it with a band-aid over the top, and it had stopped bleeding by my transfer in Dallas (after saturating the cotton ball and making a giant cotton-imbued scab). I ripped most of the cotton off and have been keeping it dry, since it seems to have sealed up all right. Probably could have used stitches, but timing prevented.

2. Too tired to do anything fun after arriving on Xmas eve. Came to Mom's and stared into space a lot, then went to sleep. The ongoing sinus thing was not helped by air travel.

3. Still exhausted on Christmas, but swapped gifts with Mom and cried some, then headed to my cousin's. Three out of five people living there had a stomach bug recently, but BCA swore no one had thrown up in two days and she'd disinfected the house thoroughly, so we got peer-pressured into going. (What did I come across the country for if not to see people, after all.) Had a pretty good time, would have liked to leave after about half the time we spent there as is usual for family gatherings.

4. Relaxing day on the 26th. Went to the hardware store to find paint chips for Mom's bedroom and bathroom now that she's moved upstairs into Dad's old space and planning to rent out the downstairs.

5. At 2:30am on the 27th, I started throwing up. At 4:00am on the 27th, Mom started throwing up. It went on for about 4 hours in both cases. I slept through as much of yesterday as I could, which also meant a good deal of knitting and watching Game of Thrones. Toward evening I managed some broth and saltines instead of just soda and water. (Exactly one person in attendance at Christmas did not get sick. The judgmental people looked with more favor upon those who'd decided not to come after that.) I'd intended to see people, but that was not happening.

6. The plan was for me to leave at 12:40am last night, with a transfer in Minneapolis. I was feeling awful enough that I rebooked a direct flight for this morning instead. I have now woken up far too early, of course, partly due to a very growly stomach. There is nothing in you, stomach, shut it. Feeling acceptable so far apart from that, though.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
Saturday I had all day until my train at 7pm, so I planned to go to the Cloisters, since I didn't manage it last trip and it came highly recommended. It's great, loads of interesting European Christian art in a building specially constructed to incorporate pieces of other buildings.

Read more... )
jinian: (mokona dessert!)
I took a long lunch on Friday and ate a giant plate of nachos -- if I get to go back to NYBG there will be return visits to OK Mr. Pancho. On the way back, I visited the exhibits on the Garden grounds.

Model trains and Japanese chrysanthemums )
jinian: (Collomia grandiflora)
I am in bed with Nyquil and doxycycline, so this is a good time to catch up on posting about my second trip to NYBG. I made lots of tweets, and these are the herbarium-related ones with some extra notes.

Read more... )
I went to Cider Days last Sunday and tweeted some things about it, mostly during the Cider 101 tasting event. Here they are.

Only missed one cider. Whew.
November 8, 2015

Perry! Good variety names; Bloody Bastard, Butt, Merrylegs. Tastes nothing like pears, but good.
November 8, 2015

Oh crap, perry has naturally occurring sorbitol. Cross fingers I don't get a migraine. D:
November 8, 2015

Oliver's Traditional Perry from England, made with wild yeast, strong delicious smell of sweet pear. Going from dry to sweet is a good plan.
November 8, 2015

Possible flavors in this cider: smoke, cloves, band-aid. (Audience: band-aid?!)
November 8, 2015

Herefordshire cider: smoky tannic no thank you
November 8, 2015

French process of cider making is called "keeving", results in Martinelli's only alcoholic. In French it's called "defecacion", hmm.
November 8, 2015

West County Redfield cis ?% ABV, really delicious, beautiful amber color due to red-fleshed apple.
November 8, 2015

(I later found the West Country open warehouse sale and bought two bottles of this! Another one, too, very champagne-like. Probably saving them for Thanksgiving.)
Redfield trees are apparently beautiful too! Pine Hill Orchard will sell me juice, apples are bad for eating but good for pie.
November 8, 2015

(They would not, actually, though I got many apples and petted a baby pygmy donkey.)
I like vinegar a lot, but Millstone Farmgate cider is a bit much for me.
November 8, 2015

They're making the valid point that more acetic ciders are better paired with foods than sipped straight. I probably would love it with fish
November 8, 2015

Busting out the weird aerator corks for the natural cider from Asturias. Still very acidic!
November 8, 2015

Basque cider! Definitely more funky than the Asturias varieties, and fun stories from the speakers about their cultural cider adventures.
November 8, 2015

Would have been handy to have L along for driving purposes. Whee. Hope I can find a food in historic downtown Deerfield.
November 8, 2015

(I could not. Where was the small fair that we found last year? Not near the hall where they held the tasting, but I couldn't figure it out.)
Last one! Eden Ice Cider Heirloom Blend, v sweet and 10% ABV. Tricky to get apples to freeze on the tree, harvest & juice then concentrate.
November 8, 2015

I waited a little bit to sober up, then looked up the other event locations on my phone and drove to a market with burgers. They had a maple burger! It was delicious. Ate it outdoors in the wind and great fall weather.

Unfortunately my later adventures took place in rural hilly areas and were thus not tweetable. Lots of very pretty countryside, though.
jinian: (real scientist)
I can't say the same for the Barbies outside my bedroom window, though.


(Traveled down here today and got started on my sampling of herbarium specimens at the New York Botanical Garden like an awesome person. Very tired now.)
jinian: (c'est la vie)
One moment of being intensely pleased with myself: I decided that hateboners are filled with bile instead of blood. Am I right or am I right? (Also, then I said "HEADCANON". :D?)

I am feeling better slowly! Currently I am actually up to doing things to help with my extreme social isolation. (Unfortunately signing up to Fetlife has immediately made my life goal of not interacting with any pompous motherfuckers who call themselves lord much more difficult. Really, get someone else to send your welcome messages.) Be nice if the timing worked out better, though -- I haven't been to any meetups yet, nor will I next week since all the things are Tuesday and I'll be in NYC.

For some reason someone had hung a container of new, vaguely botanical wall decals on a chain-link fence on my way to work. I stopped and went back for them once I'd thought it through a little, then when pretty much everyone had gone I put them up on the cabinets and appliances at work. It's only reasonable for the herbarium lab to have a vine decal on the fume hood and various sprigs on cabinets and drawers, right?

The Girl With All the Gifts is (1) really good and (2) sneakily written by Mike Carey. Ha.
jinian: (capybara)
Leaving tomorrow morning at 5:39am, flying through Dulles before the worst of the snow hits (I hope), in Seattle hopefully around 11am.

Anyone have recommendations for good long fanfics I can download for the plane? I'll read most anything as long as it has women in. I've run through most of my known comfort reading due to my own recent illness, so new-but-familiar stuff is next best.
I didn't actually get to my drawing last night since I was busy coming home from NYC and dealing with considerable cat mess, but I'm caught up now!

Silly Oktoberfest commemorative apple cider drawing for Saturday, since that's what I was up to. I feel that the apple should have a little hat, but couldn't quite work out how to place it. Atop the stem? Of microscopic size?

 photo 2014-10-04-inktober4_zps689d89c0.jpg

A gooseneck gourd for yesterday. It came out much better than I expected! Especially since my original attempt was a complicated chrysanthemum that I erased too much and messed up my paper, so I chose the gourd as a shape that fit into the un-messed-up space.

 photo 2014-10-06-inktober5_zps305b9dda.jpg

I bought a brush pen on Sunday, which I'd been wanting to on the first day of the challenge, and I'm really happy with it so far. I think the little garden snail was the perfect subject. The one I saw this morning had a light olivey green shell, not brown like all the snails I've seen before.

 photo 2014-10-06-inktober6_zps2907a269.jpg
jinian: (worms' meat)
17:10 cats land in Boston as air cargo
18:00 cats arrive at home and disperse themselves invisibly into the apartment while i refuel and return the Zipcar
18:30 I return to the apartment and easily find Bat, whose idea of hiding appears to be simply becoming flat while adjacent to an armchair (he later improves on this by wedging himself between the chair and an ottoman); he does not wish to interact
19:00 Squeak begins intermittently living up to her name but cannot be found
19:20 Squeak consents to be discovered and petted, but only in the bathroom; vast puffs of fur emerge from her body
20:30 Squeak happy enough to play with me in the kitchen; Bat still wedged; Diz whereabouts unknown
21:00 Batty amenable to petting, emerges from hole only to be hissed at by Squeak and to emit strategic aromas; litterboxes are used and food is eaten; Diz whereabouts unknown

00:00 Squeak curled up behind my knees on the couch; Bat eating dry food in my bedroom
??:?? coalescence of Dizzy from the ether to be thoroughly petted; re-evaporation of Dizzy
04:00 Squeak discovers the fine echoing properties of the hallway where my roommates sleep and is forcibly relocated into my room with closed door; as the couch is surprisingly uncomfortable, I accompany her
06:30 after ongoing shenanigans including Bat in and out of the bedroom, I admit that I am awake and get some cereal
7:30 despite grouchy reconfined Squeak, fed Kylee is able to zonk out again
10:00 I awaken with Squeak curled adorably in the small of my back; now that it is daytime and my roommate is awake, she is not whining at all; Bat has burrowed hilariously into the cushions of the armchair; Diz whereabouts unknown
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: (c'est la vie)
I am alive, just withdrawn! Feeling crummy much of the time due to digestive badness and icky soupy weather. However, recent highlights include:

- Weekend in Manhattan (racing friend, giant rocks in Central Park, HTTYD2 3D, "Seattle-style" teriyaki, the Jane Hotel, the High Line, boat tour: all A+ would trip again; bus AC going out for part of the ride: D-)

- Trip to UConn greenhouse to collect plant material for research (for which I awesomely sourced liquid nitrogen from a welding supply place when my university hookup was somehow completely out, and from which I brought home a new living plant friend as well as all the tissue samples I needed)

- Fine fireworks show and stunning lightning-and-rain storm as ably described by [personal profile] sovay

- Finished a quilt top, found and assembled a suitably interesting backing

- Reading All The Georgette Heyer with occasional dashes of Tamora Pierce
jinian: (c'est la vie)
1. Got my first manuscript review request that didn't come through PI first. How overwhelming. I wonder if I'll be reviewing stomata papers for the rest of my life, or if the editors eventually catch up when a person changes specialties?

2. Talking to [personal profile] telophase about Japan. Upsetting, a bit, as I'm still homesick for Japan, but so nice to use my learnings.

3. Youngest cohort member defended his thesis today. Wearing a blue lab coat, white collared shirt, and bow tie. The cutest.

4. Call from Dad to arrange lunch next week. Yay. They are hardly ever up here.

5. Allie Brosh talk! Entry was a confusing disaster -- sheesh, the U Bookstore puts on events all the time and many are at this venue, so how did they botch it that badly? -- and the event started 40 minutes late. Once we got in, though, we had books to read! The new material is of course great. Allie read "The God of Cake" while projecting the newly refined illustrations; her reading started out a little flat but she warmed to it quickly, and the illustrations are even funnier blown up. Lots of good audience questions, which she fielded charmingly. (Most interestingly, she draws on paper.) I was tempted to stay and get a doodle in my book, since that was on offer and we'd wound up in an early signing group after the entry doom, but I was starving so we got delicious Thai food instead.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
1. People two blocks west have some sweet peas still blooming!

2. Things improved by listening to Night Vale at work include: Setup of a new computer. Seed dissection. (I am confident I could have added "seed sowing" to this if I'd brought my laptop into that room with me.)

3. Troy/Abed/Annie fic continues to exist and please me vastly. Though maybe I shouldn't really read this much smut at work.

4. Although making a crown out of the trailside Lathyrus latifolius proved impossible, picking them and smelling the hot blackberry and grass odors was awesome.

5. September travel arrangements are finally all squared away after considerable frustration. Still up in the air whether I get to meet with the person I want to, but at least I'm not up against a deadline any more. Also I feel like I should be submitting an abstract at some point? but if they don't ask for one...
jinian: (king of all cosmos)
In my BED with my Isotonic Princess Pillow. Fuck yeah.

trip back

May. 29th, 2013 01:18 am
jinian: (worms' meat)
Turns out it doesn't help that much to barely catch the train if I then miss the bus from downtown to my house by ten minutes AND the second-chance bus from Fremont to my house by ten minutes. Walking home was not what I had in mind. I waved at a cab partway through, but he didn't stop.

Also, I read all four of the books I got at Room today, plus two ebooks. I was down to Crazy Beautiful by the end.

But now I am home with cats.
jinian: (Wiscon braid)
This was one of the times, taking overnight flights, that I thought, oh, finally I am tired enough to be able to sleep in this crappy situation. Still no, though: turbulence, and a guy snoring with speed and verve in the seat just ahead of me, were enough to prevent more than a few minutes of nap.

We at least managed to depart on time depite a highly entitled person actually breaking the hinge on an overhead compartment while attempting to jam her giant fluffy bag in there. Everyone had to take their things out and a maintenance person with special enormous navy-blue tape (six inches wide?) came and taped the latch down once it was closed.

Weirdly energetic in the deserted Minneapolis airport, I decided to take the chance to go backwards on the moving walkway. Harder than I thought, and I shuffle-ran awkwardly, then hopped off.

It is cold here, and I have done a lot of napping since getting in at 9. Soon, guest of honor readings!

FHL day 2

Mar. 21st, 2013 04:48 pm
jinian: (FHL cockles)
It sure is weathery up here. The most amazing wind yesterday, especially on the ferry -- the strongest I've ever felt around here, like I was going to be blown off the boat. The only thing that compared to it was the wind at the observatories at Mauna Kea. Then sunny and nice enough to eat lunch outside today, suddenly a flurry of graupel and rain half an hour ago, and now cloudy with sunbreaks.

Big pictures of yesterday's fauna )

The seals were funny. As long as I was poking around the beach, they kept popping up and looking at me every few minutes. I found a piece of cobalt beach glass, but it wasn't done yet (not sharp-edged but not smooth either) and I had to be careful not to scare them off when I threw it back into the water. I started to feel like they wanted to come out onto the beach and couldn't do it when I was there, so I went to sit on a rock, but they never reappeared. Guess they were just curious about what I was up to.

My talk went okay this morning. I felt like I stumbled a lot, but I don't think I missed saying anything I wanted to. I'm headachey and my shoulders hurt a bunch now, though. Good thing we have the afternoon off for loafing purposes.
jinian: (Thalictrum uchiyamai)
Wim's dad and stepmom were in Kyoto, and it doesn't cost that much to take the shinkansen to Kyoto from Nagoya. I got to take them to what turns out to be one of my favorite places, the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. There are exhibits for EVERYTHING, with some working crafters, and visitors can do surigata-yuzen dyeing, which uses a brush and stencils to make shaded designs. Here are the dragonflies I did on a handkerchief.

[The teacher was very cute, enthusiastic and admiring.]

They later got some maples and acorns on there to keep them company. This technique is not hard, and a person could laser-cut the stencils. It does require nice, thin, impermeable paper, which reminded me of vellum. (Wim thinks mulberry paper, but I think that's more tissue-like.)

We had lunch at the building's cafe and then went to a temple. I wish I knew which one; this is what happens when you let other people plan. [Edit: Definitely Nanzen-ji; I found the ticket from going up inside the Sanmon.] Absolutely stunning leaves, even in the pouring rain.

[The rain made them even more vivid]

[Bellflowers and maples, with enormous gate]

You could climb that big gate in the background, and here's the view from above.

[Forest of trees and umbrellas]

[Mysterious garden where we caught a taxi]


hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite

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