jmc_bks: (Ray in b&w by meeks00)
The new Harris Teeter opened in my neighborhood.  Well, the next neighborhood over, really, Locust Point.  But it's within walking distance and closer than Whole Paycheck. It'll probably replace WP as my grocery budget buster. (Although WP's prepared food section seems better at first glance, HT's produce section is better by far.)

Yesterday I bought stew meat at the butcher stall at Cross Street, but forgot to stop at the vegetable stall, so I walked to HT and bought the veg for stew and then puttered around while it bubbled away on the stove.  Will I ever remember that mixing flour and water for thickener works better than sprinkling flour in directly?  Probably not.  Instead I ended up stirring like crazy to get rid of the lumps.  It was pretty good for a dish I haven't cooked in nearly 20 years.

The cracker candy and peanut butter bars that I planned on making...did not get made.  It'll have to be tomorrow evening, I guess.  All the ingredients are on the shelf, I just felt like I'd used all my interest in domesticity by cleaning out a cabinet and making the beef stew. 

This afternoon I flipped between Star Wars IV: A New Hope and Kissing Jessica Stein and football.  (FWIW, The Empire Strikes Back is on SpikeTV right now.)  I love both movies for very different reasons.  And I was looking for updates on the Packers-Chiefs game.  While I'm sorry the Pack lost, at least all the hype will go away now, leaving them to concentrate on the next couple of games and the post-season.  They play the Bears at Lambeau next week, and I'm expecting lots of trash talk from The Boy Uncle, a die-hard Bears fan.

I've invited Mom, T, bro, and SIL to my house for dinner on the 23rd if that suits.  They are welcome on the 24th, when I originally planned to invite them, but there's a game at 12pm that day, so parking will be horrendous in my neighborhood.  Haven't figured out the menu yet.  Maybe more beef stew with salad, rolls, and some type of dessert?  Must consider.  I'd like to do a turkey breast maybe, but am not sure I can get one from the butcher -- he was going to check and let me know but I haven't heard back yet.  Whatever I cook, mashed potatoes and gravy must be on the menu, otherwise it is not really dinner for T.

Must motivate myself to wrap gifts -- everything that wasn't shipped directly is sitting on a bench in my living room, waiting to be wrapped or bagged appropriately.

I feel like I'm forgetting something, something major, but can't figure out what.  I'll probably remember when it's way too late.
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
There's an article at the ABA Journal online about an associate's bias suit against his former firm in which he alleges that the hourly billing requirements were 3,000 hours per year.

2,000 is pretty standard, which works out to billing forty hours a week over 50 weeks, assuming an associate can risk taking two weeks off during the year.  Yes, yes, everyone works forty hours a week.  But is everything you do billable?  Not really.  In order to bill forty hours in a week, you have to work between fifty and sixty hours.  So in order to bill 60 hours a week (3,000/50), you'd have to work 80 or more hours?  That's crazy.  After a certain point, you are too tired to give value -- how does that figure in?  It probably doesn't.

Am boggled.

Woe

Oct. 10th, 2011 09:34 am
jmc_bks: (bashful)
I'm visiting TheBiochemist because I hadn't seen her in a while and South West had a big fare sale and there's a long weekend.  

We've been couch potatoes mostly, recovering from the Oktoberfest party they had Saturday night.  Good beer, homemade brats, lots of cool people over.

Sadly, my stomach has reminded me that it does not like red meat.  And if I add dishes with cheese or butter on top of that, I'll be punished.  Am feeling better today, but spent all yesterday huddled miserably on the couch :(  Poor H, she kept asking if they'd broken me.  No, I did it all by myself -- I knew better but ate anyway.
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
♥ I have signed up for a holiday fic exchange. It could be good, or it could be a disaster. It coincides with my first attempt to write fanfic.

♥ A tweet joking about M&Ms in m/m prompted me to say that there ought to be M&M slash fan fiction. Yet I cannot find it, at least not on AO3. Which means I may write it. Fandom is crack. (Or so I assume, having never tried real crack.)

♥ "You know I love you more when you are cold and heartless." -- a True Blood line from Eric to Pam that I'm thinking about working into B/R.

On non-fandom fronts:

~ I made a decision at work that I may regret later. Have had a stomach ache and sleepless nights for the last week. *deep breath*

~ The Goofy Cat is getting skinnier and skinnier, despite eating like crazy. I know it's a function of her thyroid problem but still...

~ The Madrid SF (2009) between Nadal and Djokovic is even better than I remember -- and I remember it being a very good 3 set (5 hour) match that left Nole completely gutted and shell-shocked and *off* for months after. Had forgotten that he was still sponsored by Adidas then, wearing the smurf shoes, and that Rafa was wearing the sherbet colors.

Things I want but likely won't be buying/doing:

~ The Kindle Fire is very pretty and shiny. But I don't *need* a tablet.

~ Valencia and Sevilla are the two possible venues for the Davis Cup Final (Dec 2-4). I love Sevilla and have never been to Valencia, but it's just not in my budget or really in my schedule -- to close to Thx.

Oh, Irene

Aug. 27th, 2011 07:44 pm
jmc_bks: (Default)
First, [livejournal.com profile] why_me_why_not is having a Hurricane comment party.  



Cape Cod was awesome and relaxing and I loved all of it except the drive (more on that in a bit). The house is a little bungalow near the Sea Street beach, on a cul de sac.  Less than a hundred yards to the 30 steps down to the beach, which is on the Nantucket Sound.  If I left the sliding doors open, I could hear the crash of the waves on the beach as I fell asleep.  And the beach was never too crowded, even though it was right next to the public lot with beach parking.  The water was still and calm on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but higher and much windier on Wednesday and Thursday.  There's an osprey that nests nearby and I got to watch it dive for fish and pluck up a crab.  And the little birds that pick at whatever lives in the sand at the edge of the water, they were hilarious.   Two of them "owned" that little stretch of beach, and they patrolled vigorously, puffing up and running intruders off their territory.
Early morning view looking east toward South Monomoy Island, a long, narrow barrier island hanging off the eastern elbow of the cape that hosts the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

On Tuesday, while sitting on the beach and chatting with my neighbors, I felt my chair shift.  It was a little odd, because I hadn't moved or adjusted the chair, but I chalked it up to shifting sand.  A while later I went to the house for a drink and the phone happened to ring while I was there -- there'd been an earthquake in VA/DC/MD and my mom was calling to make sure I was safe (she'd forgotten I was on vacation).  In retrospect, I wonder if it was shifting sand or aftershocks of the earthquake, which were felt all the way to Boston and as far west as Cleveland.  Checked with my neighbor -- no major damage, nothing leaking, no gas smells, don't come home early for this.  So I didn't.  When I got home, I found a few books on the floor -- they weren't wedged into the shelves tightly enough, I suppose, maybe I should buy more? ;)

I used sunblock assiduously but still managed to get a few odd streaks of sunburn -- across the tops of my thighs, and that little tender spot where my arm meets my torso -- the outer part of the armpit, I guess.  And oddly, despite remembering to put sunscreen on them, my feet are the brownest part of my body, an odd reverse of the usual sock-tan-lines :P

Ate a lot of fresh seafood, yum.  I feel like I'm about to confess to something terrible: as much as I love seafood, I don't really *love* lobster.  I mean, I ate a lobster roll and it was good (although why are the rolls always stale?), but the clams and scallops were more to my taste.  And the fish and chips.  And the clam chowder.  And Cape Cod Creamery's ice cream?  Delicious, especially their Dennis Double Chocolate, which is a dark chocolate ice cream with small chunks of dark chocolate and cinnamon.  Marion's Pies in Chatham does great savory and sweet pies, and the orange citrus rolls were out of this world.  Think cinnamon roll in texture and size, but lose the cinnamon and add a lemon and orange flavored sugar glaze with bits of zest mixed in.
Lounging at the sea wall at the top of the stairs down to the beach.

Remembered (at last) to take the 1,000 piece puzzle along, but didn't get very far since puzzling required too much time indoors and too much concentration.  Did very little reading, at least compared to what I expected to accomplish.  Visited The Book Rack, a used book store in South Yarmouth with a huge collection of historical romance books.  Picked up several Harlequin Romances from the 60s that I plan on reading and posting about over at WordPress.  I'll post a book report over there in the next day or so, too.

Ended up coming back a day early because I didn't want to be driving down the east coast as Irene was hitting MD, NJ, NY.  Which has turned out to be a good thing.  Traffic was pretty easy yesterday (except through NYC), since no one had evacuated yet.  C ended up not coming, which was not a huge surprise, given the weather and other things.

As relaxing as the trip was, I'm not sure I'll go back any time soon for a couple of reasons.  First, the drive.  It was 8.5 - 9 hours with no major delays or backups, and frankly the Outer Banks is a closer and easier drive (plus fewer tolls, which I think totalled about $45, must check my EZPass).  The Cross Bronx Expressway is miserable -- yesterday we crept along going 10mph or less from the entrance to the GW Bridge.  No lane closures, no road work, just volume and drivers who couldn't figure out which lane they needed to be in.  And it was just as bad on Saturday, plus the bipolar driving through Connecticut.  I've mapped out other routes, but they all add 2 or more hours to the trip, which is already long to begin with.  Second, although the bungalow's location was excellent, it needs some cosmetic work -- nothing that couldn't be fixed with elbow grease and $1,000 or less, but there are a lot of other rentals out there in the same price range that are better.  Still, the rental agency was very good and Essential Rentals (bike, linens, grocery delivery) was excellent.  

ETA: why is LJ ignoring my paragraph breaks and multiple returns?
jmc_bks: (Suits)
+  I seldom post anything original on tumblr, usually just reblog some pics or gifs that I like, maybe upload an original photo I've snapped somewhere.  Today was a banner day for reblogging.  It's all because of Suits.

+  Posted a sort of review over at WordPress of a book mentioned during the IASPR conference in May.

-  I'm thinking of making the comments have a mandatory sign-in of some sort, assuming that's an LJ option.  The spam I've gotten in the last month is ridiculous, a couple hundred comments, higher volume than legitimate comments, most in French, Russian and Hebrew, although a few in English (about canker sores?) thrown in.  There are a few people with whom I've interacted regularly elsewhere that don't have LJ accounts, so I'd miss their observations, but I'm reachable by email, twitter and over at WordPress (where I'll probably start keeping all my book-related posts) so we can still communicate, I hope.

-  Once again I was asked today why a data dump didn't work.  The two databases I've got admin rights to had the data; I have no idea why the report based on the data download is missing data -- that's probably an IT issue related to the report script or data migration that was part of the last release/update/upgrade of the program so IT would be the best place to go for help.  And yet somehow, they asked me first.  The logic escapes me.  

-  My romance reading ennui knows no bounds.  None of the samples or unread books on my Kindle appeal.  None of the books atop Mt. TBR appeal.  Am sad.
jmc_bks: (star fort kinsale)
+  Clusterfluff ice cream from Ben & Jerry's -- yum.  If you like fluffernutter sandwiches, you'll probably like Clusterfluff.  PB ice cream with swirls of peanut butter and marshmallow and chunks of peanuts and caramel.  I accidentally melted a pint of it today while grocery shopping and running errands.  Fortunately for me, is refroze fairly well :)

-  What happened in Norway is terrible.

-  Seriously, American politicians?  

-  A person who had a large impact on American politics and foreign policy in terms of use of the military for humanitarian aid died over the weekend.  But since he didn't OD or get headlines at TMZ, very few people seem to have noticed.

+  Friends with Benefits wasn't bad.  Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have pretty good chemistry on screen.  The repeated use of a flash mob?  Eh.  The editing was a little choppy, too.  But it was mildly entertaining and a good way to avoid being outside in 110F weather.  

-  Straw Dogs remake?  Why?  The trailer alone is full of offensive, sexist, ugly tropes.  Country > city. And yet the country is full of losers leading disappointed/disappointing lives.  Education = effete.  Critical wife = bitchy, deserves to be punished.  Being fired for being an asshole always should be responded to with violence.  And attacking your former employer at night with high powered rifles is the most reasonable response.  I think a lot of True Blood fans (women) are going to go see this movie for Alexander Skarsgard, and they are going to be unhappy with the character he plays, who is a redneck rapist.  (I say this because the PR seems to frame his character ambiguously, and when asked about the character, he said it isn't fundamentally a bad man, just disappointed with how his life has turned out.  Because, y'know, being disappointed with your life makes rape acceptable?)  Yeah, not a movie I'm going to be paying to see, thanks.
 
-  Also, WTF, LJ?
 
-  I've watched a couple more episodes of the third season of True Blood.  What a train wreck.  Stick a fork in me, I am done.

 
jmc_bks: (bashful)
On the "people are awesome" side of things, I saw HP 7.2 today.  The crowd was perhaps the best movie crowd I've been among for a while.

Minerva McGonagall is awesome, as are Mollie Weasley and Neville Longbottom.  My favorite line:  "I've always wanted to cast that spell."  

On the "people suck" side of things, my neighbor was robbed on Friday.  He came home to find his doors and windows locked but the house ransacked.  Both televisions gone, the contents of cabinets and closets strewn everywhere.  His jar of loose change was also gone, along with other electronics and games.  Oddly, all his polo shirts and Hanes t-shirts were stolen, but none of his nicer clothes and not the laptop.

I've spent the last hour organizing drabbles and ficlets.  I've written ~31,000 words in the last 8 months, which is a lot for me, relatively speaking. 
 
Coming soon: an SBD post on a category-romance-like m/m I trudged through last week.  Holy tropes and gender stereotypes, batman!
jmc_bks: (armada4 - 08 Davis Cup)

+  The Doc/Nate ficlet I've been trying to write is not cooperating.  Same with the Ray/Nate bit.  I think reading real!Nate's memoir has screwed with my ability to write him as a fictional character; I don't have that problem with any of the other characters, primarily because their canon exists (for me) only in the fictionalized tv series setting.  Maybe I should stick with Brad/Ray, my OTP.
 
 


+  Strunk & White fan fic?  If it didn't exist before, it ought to now.


+ A couple of years ago, I pimped the ATP to The Biochemist hard, with the example of the shiny pretty of the Spanish Armada as a selling point.  And this past weekend she drove to Austin to catch the Ferrer/Fish match.  Since she's the one who usually pimps music to me and got me sucked into fandom, I have to feel like my mission has been accomplished :)

+  What's new out today (other than GRRM's new book that I'm utterly disinterested in) that I ought to read?
jmc_bks: (meninas)
Coming soon:  a review of Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S.Gina Choi.  In short: it was awesome.  Longer version later.

Check out Steve Tignor's love letter to Madrid.  Between that and FortyDeuce's tweets, I've been wishing I was in Madrid this week, enjoying the tennis and Retiro Park and stopping for a tart or sweet from La Mallorquina in the Puerta del Sol.

The Dairy Queen commercial for ice cream cakes for Mother's Day seriously squicks me -- it's the bubbles filled with kittens.  They remind me of a scene in Bujold's Cetaganda, in which that idiot Ivan plucks fruit from a kitten tree, only to realize that since it wasn't ripe, he'd essentially killed a fetal kitten.  Ick ick ick.  There's a lot of subtext and ethical undercurrents to the Cetagandan genetic manipulation and scientific experiments, but that image of a dead kitten made me ill when I first read it.  I have to skip that scene when I re-read the book.

Have I mentioned how much I like Panic's The Ballad of Mona Lisa?  Also, I have a ticket (via The Biochemist) for their show as part of the DC101 cook-off/festival at RFK in a couple of weeks...but it turns out I have a graduation party at the same time :(
jmc_bks: (GK_Bradabs)
~ The trailer for HP7.2 looks good. I especially like the way Snape apparates, and seeing Molly duel Bellatrix Lestrange.

~   I am glad the royal wedding press coverage was over. I did not watch it, although I did see some clips online. (Why was it taking up half of WaPo's front page?) Pretty dress, shiny uniforms, bizarre head gear. I did think it was sweet that Harry watched Kate walk up the aisle and then appeared to lean over and say to William, "Wait til you see her."

~ Why was it so easy to sit and blurt out two ficlets for the GK The Iceman Cometh fic party based on prompts, but so hard to write the fic I promised to The Biochemist (in which Brad's license is suspended due to his speed fetish on his motorcycle)?  The bike fic is plotted out, I just...can't get it written.  It's the first time ever that I've never been able to just sit down and blurt everything out on the page with little or no thought or effort or editing.  

~  Mommom's dining room table is being delivered to my house on Monday.  I probably should make room for it, decide which chairs, etc., are going into the basement, etc.  And yet instead I'm sitting on the front porch, enjoying the sunshine.

~ I would like to be in Madrid this coming week instead of 9 months from now.

~ Is it wrong that I want to see the new Fast & Furious movie? It's total cheese, but still...
 
 
jmc_bks: (Default)
Traffic in DC is unpredictable for me. What ought to take 10 minutes by cab or 15 by bus turns into an hour long commute. So I left with plenty of time last night to meet for dinner. And, since I *planned* for heavy traffic, it was relatively light. Instead of hanging out in the bar, I walked to the Borders on the corner, where I saw the saddest of things: a nearly empty bookstore, shelves with little on them, and huge signs saying "EVERYTHING FOR SALE, EVEN FIXTURES". I had forgotten that this Borders store was closing because it seemed to do such good business. But when I asked, they said that the rent was horrendous and increasing per the lease, which was the nail in the coffin.

All the wooden shelving had "sold" labels. Most were completely empty, a few had scattered books on them. The fullest shelves were full of YA paranormal. Not sure if they were just overstocked with it, or if the genre's popularity has leveled off.

Books I left with (for less than $14)
1. tangled by Carolyn Mackler (YA hard cover): I've read her before and liked her voice.
2. Virtually Hers by Gennita Low (Rom Susp, trade paperback): Ditto. I've got another TPB of hers to be read, but hadn't bought this one because it's tpb. Why the move to tpb out of mmp? There was a publisher change, too, from a NY pub to Samhain. Was she caught in the midlist author crunch?
3. Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh (Eur Hist mass market paperback): I stopped reading her just before this one came out. For less than $2, it didn't seem like a big risk.
4. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh (Eur Hist mmp): Ditto.
5. Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen (Paranormal mmp): I went to a Q&A with her back at RWA2009 and was very impressed by her. I've accumulated a few of her Final Prophecy books but not read them yet. Again, low risk here.
6. Through Stone and Sea by Barb & JC Hendee (fantasy): I've heard good things about them but not read their work before.
7. ??? A category that I seem to have left on the train :( It was a few months old, not the current month's releases, presumably because the store had stopped getting new stock.
jmc_bks: (h's iris)
Several years ago, I was outside all day at a street festival and needed a hat. I never have a hat when I need one. Of course, the reason is that I look like a complete dork in a hat. But still, sometimes one must have a hat, or suffer from sunstroke. The choices were limited, and I ended up spending $10 on this blue hat that I figured I would wear once and then misplace or forget.



But several years later, I still have the hat. It has accompanied me to California and Ireland and Spain, and to different beaches up and down the East Coast. The design is really simple -- it's a single piece of extremely sturdy ribbon, sewn (sown? no, sewn, I think) over itself, with the placement of the stitches determining the shape of the hat. It squashes down to almost nothing, making for easy carrying. It's easily cleaned, just toss it in the washer and then let it air dry. The brim adjusts, which is useful depending on the angle of the sun.

Of course, I do occasionally forget even the Awesome Blue Ribbon Hat, and end up buying the cheapest hat available. Which is how I ended up with a Rafa Nadal/Nike baseball cap from the US Open last year, and a USOpen fishing-style cap the year before. Yes, I'm a don't-forget-to-pack-a-hat failure. And I look like an even bigger dork in ball caps than I do in other hats.

While I was gift shopping a Barnes & Noble over the holidays, I also bought a gift for myself -- it's cheating, but I did it anyway: this little carrier-type bag made of recycled juice boxes. The colors were so bright and cheerful. I use it to carry my lunch to work, or as little handbag when I'm out running errands. Several people have stopped me and asked if I made it or where I got it.

jmc_bks: (Default)
I've created a tumblr account.  Do I need more social media?  Probably not, but I got tired of not being about to comment on others' tumblrs appropriately.
jmc_bks: (GK - layers)
I shoveled snow today.  It wasn't a lot, so I shouldn't complain.  But it was on my scheduled day off, and the roads were a mess and schools and offices and businesses were all screwed up as a result of the ice/snow.  So all my plans were re-arranged, which makes me irritated.  I like to stick to the schedule, people!

Read Treachery in Death last night, finishing it this morning.  Liked it a lot, much better than the last In Death.  Very focused on the police procedural aspect and the mystery, less focus on the personal relationships.  Although they are very important to the plot, that sort of backs into the procedural piece.  However.  HOWEVER.  If JD Robb/Nora Roberts doesn't get the fine tooth comb treatment from her editors -- a woman who makes her publisher POTS OF MONEY -- then I would be shocked.  But still there are stupid errors like a case being referred to at different points as the Geraldi case and the Giraldi case.  At hardcover prices and with a big name author, I expect better than that from the editorial department.

The Goofy Cat keeps getting up on the kitchen table.  I've tried putting things on the table to block her -- nope, I come home and find them on the floor.  I've removed the table cloth, thinking she liked the texture.  Doesn't matter, she'll lay on the bare table.  Whenever I see her or hear her on it, I race into the kitchen and pick her up, tapping her nose and putting her down.  Nothing seems to make a difference.

My favorite khaki pants have gone missing.  They aren't in the closet or the laundry basket or at the cleaner's.  I was sure I dropped them at the cleaner's but Su says no.  It's not like I could take them off and misplace them.  They must have been sucked into an alternate universe with all the odd socks and earrings that I can't find.

Bought a copy of Where the Wild Things Are today.  I have a copy already, but for the life of me could NOT find it.  (Maybe it's with the khaki pants?)  I figure now that I've bought another copy, my original copy will surface.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
I've spent most of this week doped up on DayQuil and NyQuil.  When I'm not a zombie going through the motions of work, I'm falling asleep on the couch or the train or wherever I sit down for more than a few minutes at a time.

My pretty new tea pot arrived today.  It's a sunshiny yellow, which I love.

New books to be read, if I ever finish Medicus, are waiting on my night stand:  Carla Kelly's new book, which appears to be generating some controversy among her fans since it is a departure from trad Regencies, and a f/f book set in the surf culture in Hawaii.  The second book I bought only because when I opened to a random page, the characters were talking about Nora Roberts.  Which entertained me.

Medicus is well-written, and interests me as I read it, but I don't feel really compelled to keep reading.  You know how sometimes it's hard to put a book down, you have to know what comes next?  I don't feel that way.  There's no urgency.  And the mystery feels remote, not central to the story.  Which is maybe the author's intent, I'm not sure how this book is classified, as a mystery or just historical fiction.  

Or my ennui could be a function of the cough medicine.
jmc_bks: (Icicle)
Work is kicking my ass and I don't have much to say about my recent reading material.  Plus, it snowed again and is supposed to snow again this weekend.  DNW.

It's heartless of me, but seeing my cat do this today made me laugh.  I had to grab my phone to take a picture.  Once I got it (blurry as it is), then I could rescue her.  



She stalked off with offended dignity and groomed herself...and a half hour later got the carton out of the trashcan and did it again.

 

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