matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Birthday Cake)
Or, Hark! a Real Entry!

I've been nose deep in writing/typing [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic entries, or working, or watching episodes of Stargate SG-1 to really feel up to posting a real entry. Also, due to various things, I have been feeling rather down lately, but I shan't get into that just now.

I actually started celebrating on Tuesday, since I am a firm believer in Spreading out the Fun: went to the Burlington Mall for a poke-around, and got myself some Godiva Mint Chocolate Chip Truffles and a bag of dark chocolate-covered coffee beans. Wednesday and Thursday, I had to work, but yesterday, my actual birthday, out of the blue, I had the day off. Part of the day I spent running errands, but that evening, we three went to the park at Salem Willows for a picnic. There were some picnic tables, but then I spotted a huge tree with a wooden bench around the base and decided that was a better spot, since it gave us a view of the water on the north side of Salem Peninsula. We watched the sun set over the water and went for a walk along the water as the moon and the stars began to shine.

I'm planning to go back to Salem sometime this week to poke around and visit some of the historic houses that I haven't seen yet and to visit a few favorite places (ie. the Salem Witch History Museum located in the basement of a storefront on the Essex Pedestrian Mall: the animatronic dioramas are hysterically decrepit! Also the Salem Wax Museum: the wax has started to melt back from the eyes on some figures, leading to these hilariously bug-eyed/expressions, as if the sight of the visitor has startled them!). I hope to visit the Endicott Mansion, which is reported to be haunted, thus, I'm hoping I can share the tour (which is self-guided) with some other visitor. I'm not afraid of ghosts by any stretch (I'm more afraid of the living...), but I'd rather have someone along in case something odd does happen, so that I'll know it isn't my active imagination playing tricks on me.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Black rose)
Just up after a fun filled Halloween evening. Unfortunately, it was too cold and windy for us to have our annual bonfire and Halloweiner roast, so we lit the fireplace and had an indoor barbecue. We had six trick or treating goblins show up, as well as a few people who just wanted to take pictures of our Jack o'lanterns -- ninety-five all together. It didn't seem like many people in the area decorated their yards as much as they usually do, and even we didn't put up as much as we usually do, since we've been busy moving stuff in the house, getting ready to have new windows put in. Plus we're getting our roof done, so we haven't been putting many decorations up close to the house.

Also, I ended up not going trick or treating: the wind kept blowing off my witch hat, when I stepped out into the yard. Pretty hard to hold onto your hat when you're wearing a bed sheet. But I had fun reading ghost stories and spooky poems to my folks.

Also watched the classic 1931 version of "Dracula". Brrr... Great atmosphere, and I can see why Bela Lugosi is the iconic Dracula: his presence is wonderfully chill-inducing! (Take that, sparkle-'pires) And on Saturday night, I found "Nightmare Before Christmas" on YouTube.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Halloween)
And a Blessed Samhain, to those who follow the Old Ways. I've started to find "Happy Halloween" a bit oxymoronic. Of course, you don't want a cruelly frightening Halloween, but even still, it is the celebration of things going "Bump!" in the night, so perhaps a "Spooky Halloween" is in order. I got a jump on the festivities last night, when I slunk out at midnight and tooted a vuvuzela, in honor of the mysterious vuvuzela player who haunted our neighborhood twenty Hallowens ago.

I'll post more in a bit about our yard decorations and our recent jaunt to Salem's Haunted Happenings. I gotta go find the witch hat to go with my costume. I'm reviving the bed sheet ghost of last year and adding a witch hat. Hey, it worked for one of the kids on "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", so I thought I'd give it a go.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (EvE Online Sieges)
I've been too quiet in here lately, but life has been far from quiet, hence the lack of posting...

Last weekend was a bit of a rough one, since That Time of the Month hit me. Sunday night, my folks and I went to the Topsfield Fair; Monday night, my dad and I went again, this time to watch the demolition derby -- translation: fun ways to recycle cars, to the tune of about four turning over during the shenanigans. Unfortunately, I had to work that morning/early afternoon, so I was pretty tired.

Tuesday, I spent much of the day recovering from the crazy weekend. Wednesday, my check came in the mail, so I decided it was time I'd better get some flannel sheets for my bed. The ones I have, while they've still got a lot of mileage in them, just won't fit the mattress. Thus I headed to Wal-Mart to see what I could find. No flannel sheets to be found, but... I found a unicorn PillowPets plushie. I've seen them advertised, but haven't seen the unicorn anywhere, till I found the fluffy fellow sitting at eye level on a shelf. Also got the first season of "Castle" on DVD: started watching this season on hulu.com, and I am utterly hooked (not just because Nathan "Mal Reynolds" Fillion plays the leading man, but also for the witty writing and the wonderfully bizarre cases -- and the sly references to "Firefly"...).

Just got back from the monthly trip to the Salem, N.H. Barnes & Noble, mit Target shopping for the infamous flannel sheets. Found four volumes of the manga version of "Kyou Kara Maou!", and got a copy of James Frazer's classic study of myth and magic "The Golden Bough". And at the Target in Salem, I found some lovely flannel sheets with a print of autumn leaves. They look snuggly and I can't wait to put them on the bed!
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Autumn_Road)
Our family has officially entered the 21st century: we now own an iPad. My dad won this little widget in a raffle at a plant grower's convention a month or two ago, and we -- or at least my dad and I have been eagerly awaiting it's arrival. He knew it was arriving sometime today, but imagine my surprise, when I came home from a somewhat long day of running errands to find it had arrived. Dad had it set up on the charging base, and all I had to do was download the software for it and we were ready to go!

It's gonna take a little getting used to: the pull-up keyboard is a lot of fun, but the scrolling throws me a bit, as it's the reverse of what I'm used to doing. But other than that, it is freakishly easy to use: almost easier than my laptop and slightly more portable.

Technically, I'm not the primary user for this thingy: it's my dad's widget, I'm just the one twiddling with it and figuring out how all the bells and whistles work. Which coiled take some time, heh-heh... Ah, yeah, that's it... ::shifty eyes::
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Bawst'n (Boston))
And I think this was their best concert yet: their guest conductor on a Sousa march was Rachel Ray, who joked about the baton looking like "half a pair of bad chopsticks" or "a kabob without the shish".

And their guest star was... Idina Menzel... Oh dear God, IDINA MENZEL!!!! :: Squees!:: It was a given that the lady best known for playing a certain misunderstood girl with green skin wore a green gown, and her last two songs were from "Wicked" ("For Good" and "Defying Gravity"), but she also had a few surprises, such as funny stories about how she used to be a wedding/bar mitzvah singer (even mischievously belted out a few bars of "Hava Nagila" between numbers at one point). And she also sang a cute silly song which she and her husband Taye Diggs came up with for their little boy Walker (that kid is lucky to have them for parents, and if he takes after either of them I'll bet he's kyoooot!).

Also, we nipped into Tim's Used Books, afterward, while we waited for the traffic to die down. Picked up a few books including the last two books of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, aka Oonagh's canon to the [livejournal.com profile] carpe_ho_ras crowdn (still need to find the first book...) and Chreitian de Troyes's Arthurian Romances, as well as Beroul's "Tristan".

This year's official Pops tee-shirt could not be passed up: it's got a picture of a fish blowing a trumpet. Or a "fish horn" as I couldn't help calling it. When I'm more alert, I shall tell the Tale of the Fish Horns...
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Fourth_of_July)
Just up from finishing up washing the dishes after watching the Fourth of July concert from Boston. Rather quiet Fourth, as my dad had to work today, thus we'll be having our indoor cookout tomorrow evening -- Yes, I know, contradictory name is contradictory: we have so many BUUUUGGGS in our yard that we rarely have a cookout before October and our Hallow-Weiner Roast at Hallowe'en. Dad and I watched our town's fireworks last night (would have gone to the ones in Wilmington, as it's a better show, but it turned out they'd scheduled them for last night, which is weirdly early for them).

Have been watching "Dexter" on DVD (from the library) and enjoying every minute of it. I think if I do end up redeeming a certain pale fellow, he may end up somewhat like a certain blood-spatter expert, in terms of temperament.

Also found a small and sadly defunct Gormenghast fanfiction community: [livejournal.com profile] thestonelanes; there's a nice number of fics on there, which I'm working through slowly. I know there's a section on ff.n for Gormenghast fics, but since the incident of the virus attack in April, nothing can possess me to go back there. Especially not with this new laptop. I might sneak on via one of the comps at the library, but not from my own (mean of me, but it's a matter of principle).
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Merv Cake)
Unfortunately, I had to work yesterday, which put a gap in some of the festivities. I'd contemplated going to Salem today, but as it's raining, it wouldn't be as much fun, plus I'd rather wait a bit and save a little more money.

In the meantime, I've been celebrating in my own way: spent part of Thursday (my actual birthday) leisurely browsing in the Burlington Barnes & Noble: the crazy folks at Quirk Classics have unleashed another brilliant work: "Android Karenina", the Tolstoy classic now with steampunk robots! The clerk at the check out looked utterly horrified, which only made me smirk evilly. Also picked up a kind of sketch-book journal (to go with the "Smencils" -- scented pencils that my mom gave me), and a copy of Jeff Belanger's "World's Most Haunted Places". And from my dad, I am getting a new mattress (since the springs in my current one are cutting through the cover on the edges), and just not any mattress: a job-lots place in New Hampshire has been offering Tempurpedic mattresses, so we're getting one of those.

Also have been watching a lot of things, including a semi-marathon of Le Chevalier D'Eon -- pre-Revolutionary France with zombies and gender-bending, wow! -- and more episodes of Firefly. I'm planning to move on to the anime version of The Count of Monte Cristo, per Samina's recommendation ( :: Waves hi:: ) and most likely continue watching the mini-series version of Gormenghast: I've learned a lot of interesting things from the "making of" book, which I got via Amazon. Turns out Meryvn Peake and Benjamin Britten were working on an opera version, which was never completed due to Peake's illness. Also Sting wanted to produce either a movie or a rock opera based on the books. There are some interesting [livejournal.com profile] carpe_ho_ras convergences which tie into these discoveries: Britten went on to write an opera version of Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice", and I have an unfinished -- and therefore unposted -- journal entry in which Muraki somewhat broodingly compares his obsession with Steerpike to a similar -- and fatal -- obsession which the main character of Death in Venice holds for a much younger man. Also, on the Muraki-SP fanmix which I'm tinkering with, I included Sting's "Every Breath You Take"... and I'm almost wondering if Sting might have unconsciously been thinking of Steerpike's rather voyeuristic tendencies when he wrote the lyrics. Hm. (I could just be Reading a Bit Too Much Into It the same way some of the people with odd allegorical ideas about the books do.)
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Easter)
My Twitter tweets have been spotty, this is how far into hermit-mode I've been: plus, I've been up to the eyes with work, Easter, and shenanigans at Carpe Horas -- the last has been keeping me sane when the first started to eat me alive.

--Easter: Had a fairly quiet Easter Sunday; we had a late supper at Cracker Barrel, and my dad and I spent much of the day cleaning up the yard after winter and all the windstorms we had (lots of downed branches and twigs in the grass). Gave my mom a Hello Kitty Easter plushie in her Easter basket.

--Work: crazy hours last week due to the holiday, also being asked to come in earlier and earlier on one day in particular. I understand it's busy and they need me, and I did miss a day due to that flood, but I ended up feeling a bit put-upon, especially after I waded through six inches of receding flood water on my sidewalk to get in to work one of those days. Forgive me for feeling a bit entitled: I just felt like I'd stuck my neck out for them and my efforts weren't being recognized.

--Also, a word of advice to fanfiction.net: No more ads with viruses, I mean it. I couldn't hit the Ad Block fast enough to keep from getting hit. I did not need a virus scare at one in the morning, which kept me up till three trying to calm down. I am not going to archive my fics on your site any more, as I'm scared to death of your buggy site now.

Unfortunately, this means I can't read fics on there any more, and some of my favorite fics are on there. :: Sighs:: Someone needs to come up with some kind of plug-in to make ff.n safe to surf, or to collect fics from there and disinfect them. There was a new YnM fic that I'd just started reading and enjoying.

But there's been some good things, too:

--Mom's parakeet: The past week or so, Flurry the budgie has suddenly started to get very friendly: he's coming up to the side of the cage to say hello to us, even getting close enough to give "bird kisses" (ie. teeny nibbles on our noses, if we get close enough to the bars of the cage). He's also getting much better about sitting on and staying on fingers -- and not biting them, either.

--[livejournal.com profile] carpe_ho_ras shenanigans: Crack plots a plenty, both the spooky and the silly! Practical jokes have been played on people by two twin elf boys, to the delight and annoyance of many. The moon turned blood red over the Mansion, leaving people scrabbling for an explanation. And I've introduced a character from one of my earliest serious fandoms, namely, Parsifal from the opera by Wagner; the guileless knight has been a hit at the Mansion and there is much plottage being planned.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Edward Dalton)
And that would be "The Historian", by Elizabeth Kostova. She pretty much blends the Dracula of history with the Dracula of Bram Stoker's creation and yet frames the narrative in one of the most meditative, subtle structures I have ever seen in vampire lit yet. It's a slow, reflective read, but it has a nice rhythm to it. Definitely a book to be read with a sharp mind, as the horror and vampirism elements are handled very subtly, with none of the near-hysteria that Stoker brings to his book (not that there's anything wrong in hysteria, I just felt it got a bit excessive in places, but I could just be looking at it with a modern outlook).

Also: because my dad has night watchman duties on Wednesday night, we decided to have our St. Paddy's Day dinner at Cracker Barrel tonight instead; I got a Reuben sandwich, like I did last year: scrumptious!!

Aaaand, looking forward to watching The Irish R.M. now that Dad got the DVD/VCR combo to play nice with the TV.

Not too thrilled that I only got hours on Wednesday, but perhaps I can score more on Friday.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Tsuzuki/Hisoka)
To everyone on my friends list, I hope you all have a lovely day surrounded by the people you love and care for deeply, on whatever level of love: friends, family, sweethearts, buddies....

I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood (thank you, hormones. :: Glares:: ), but in spite of this, I feel well-loved by all of you: the folks who first friended me back in the Diaryland era, many of whom I met through the "A.I." fandom; the folks I've met along the way since then and now through various fandoms, the folks who joined the party this past autumn and winter via various friending memes/forums.

Just gave my folks their Valentine's presents: my dad went hoopey over the jars of pistachio nuts I gave him to replace the contents of a bag of nuts which a small mouse stole from the living room: Dad took one look at the jars and said, "Ooh, perfect! The mouse can't get into these! The nuts are all locked up!" And my mom loved the book of L.M. Montgomery stories which I'd hunted down on Amazon some weeks back (and she also found the Head-Tiltingly Strange redactions in it as hysterical and odd as I did).

Went back to the antiques store near St. Mary's in Newton: my dad was hunting for some andirons, a fire screen and some fireplace tools for our fireplace, since we've been lighting it every night lately. Poked through another shop next to it which was almost wall to wall in antiques from the Far East, including but not limited to a glass case chock full of ivory netsuke, several five foot tall vases, and what at first I thought was a kimono, but which as soon as I'd said as much to my father, I realized was a haori jacket. Baka! :: laughs::
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (flight into egypt)
I woke up this morning to find over a foot of snow had fallen: nice powdery stuff, too, the kind that's really easy to shovel. I call it "broom snow", since you can practically use a broom to sweep it away.

Wrapped up the giving tree gifts and brought them to St. Michael's: some lucky lady is going to get a gift card towards her grocery shopping and the loveliest blue plush bathrobe and white plush slippers imaginable.

The three of us had dinner at the local Cracker Barrel: and who should we spy at the table next to ours, but a stocky gent with a white beard, clad in a red sweater. Hm...

Off to bed with me: I'm exhausted and the week of crazy at work begins tomorrow...
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Birthday Cake)
A few things I forgot to mention about Mom's birthday on Sunday:

--Flurry the budgie was chattering up a storm during dinner: he's starting to talk! Not clearly, but he's getting there. So far he can say "Baby" and "Baby bird" and repeats it if you say it to him. I heard him say "Baby 'keet" and "parakeet", and we think we've heard him say "Good bird".

--As my dad and I were singing "Happy Birthday", Oskar the cockatiel started making these "Yerk?" noises, as if he were trying to sing with us! He's never done that before!

--We waited till tonight (well, Monday night) to cut the cake, which had a picture of Hello Kitty drawn on it. This conversation ensued:

Mom: "Whoops, it looks like I cut her head off."
Dad: "Ooh, you're so mean!" :: Kidding::
Me: (In the kitchen, getting a knife) :: Adjusts glasses, lets out evil/insane giggle::
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Birthday Cake)
A month of planning, plotting and scurrying around for my mom's Hello Kitty birthday party has paid off: this morning, I fibbed to my mom, saying there was a scheduled chat between some NaNoWriMo folks this evening, so I went to Mass this morning at St. Will's in town... And while my folks went to Mass at St. Michael's in Andover, I decorated the dining room with streamers and set the table.

I don't think I've seen my mom's face light up like that in a long time, the way it did when she came in after Mass. We had Hello Kitty cups and plates and napkins and hats; I'd ordered a Hello Kitty cake from the bakery department of the store where I work. She utterly loved the new dress I got from Build-a-Bear for her 18-inch Hello Kitty plushie, and she went gaa-gaa over the two bags of Hello Kitty goodies I gave her, particularly the bound notebook and notebook paper which I got at the Sanrio store in Salem, N.H. and the Goth Hello Kitty mini-plushie and the Hello Kitty angel Christmas tree ornament I found at Tokyo Kid in Harvard Square. All the running about and the whispered conversations and phone calls on the sly with my dad have paid off. Mom herself said she wishes they'd had Hello Kitty when she was a kid; today she got just that, and her smile was well worth everything my dad and I put into making it all possible.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (LJBlackout)


...who's the naughty mouse who broke the NaNoWriMo site?!

Kidding... The NaNoWriMo site is currently down for maintenance, which made me wonder if so many people had logged in that the site broke itself somehow. I was about to update my word count and ask a question on the forums, but that's going to have to wait till the site comes back up.

Spent most of the day shopping for ...Hello Kitty party stuff for my mom's 60th birthday which is coming up later this month. I had half-jokingly suggested to my mom that we throw her a Hello Kitty-themed birthday, but she demurred... But when I proposed the idea to my dad, he hopped on it like a kid on a merry go round. I am even planning to see if the anime stuff store in Cambridge has any unusual Hello Kitty stuff (though I won't be going for some of the more bizarre items, as seen on the "Hello Kitty Hell" weblog). I managed to get a good chunk of the NaNo novel written while I was riding the bus hither, thither and yon, which I should be typing instead of browsing the Hello Kitty Hell blog (which I haven't looked at in months).
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Autumn_Road)
Sunday: Went to the Topsfield Fair with my folks: I tried posting a voice post about it, but the sound came out horribly tished-up to the point that it sounded like I'd picked up some EVPs. Looked at the decorated pumpkins, said hello to the teeny-weeny miniature horses and the rabbits, watched an *itty-bitty* quail chick skittering around with his brothers and sisters in the incubator.

Monday: Worked part of the day, and spent the afternoon/evening with my dad at the Fair. Watched their Figure-8 car race and also... Pig racing, the brain child of a mischievous fellow from Florida: To get the pigs to run, he puts an Oreo cookie in a pan of grain at the end of the little race track. I never knew pigs could run like that!! Speedy little pudgy buggers. Also watched, for the first time, a live demolition derby; one way to recycle beat-up old cars and haf a little fun while you're doing it: ram them into each other!!

Tuesday: Quiet day, aside from taking care of bank business and bringing back a DVD to the library. Finally watched "Kiki's Delivery Service" from start to finish. I first saw part of it at Boskone a couple years back, always meant to watch it, and I figured now was the best time of year to do it.

Today (Wednesday): Round three in the quest for Vol. 9 of the Evangelion manga. I'd run across a shop in Cambridge which specializes in anime and manga, and so I tossed off an email to them: They don't have it in stock, but if it's reprinted, they'll be sure to let me know. I've got one more card to play (ie. Harrison's in Salem, Mass.) and if this doesn't work, I'll either bite the bullet and get one of the absurdly priced Amazon copies as a Christmas present, or print out and hand-bind the pages from a scanlation site (though that means missing out on Carl Gustav Horn's nifty little afterword in the back).
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Birthday Cake)
My crazy father turns 60 today (and mind you, he's a fairly young 60: what hair he has left is still mostly black, with enough grey to give him an older, wiser look). I've already surprised him with a mylar palm tree decoration (meant for cheezy luau parties, but since he loves palm trees, I thought I'd get it as a gag gift), which I surreptitiously hung up in our dining room before I had to jet out to run some errands: he utterly loves it, even popped some Beenie Baby monkeys on top of it! Just got his cake at the store, and since he was asking me if there was a book that the movie "Valkyrie" was based on, I'm surprising him with that. When I was out picking up my copy of Richelle Meade's "Succubus Heat", I also managed to find the DVD of the movie at a bargain price, but I think I'll save that for Father's Day.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Birthday Cake)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
46,822 / 50,000
(93.6%)


That's slightly more than 3,000 words to go. If you'd like to read the first two chapters, they are here: http://www.devilsadvocates.info/forums/index.php?topic=504.msg2433#new Hopefully I can get it done tomorrow afternoon; not sure how likely I am to get much done today as it is my mom's birthday today, plus we have housework to do.

Yesterday: Managed to get a start to my Christmas shopping. Things being what they are, I may not get much done, but I am finding ways to get budget-priced gifts for the people on my list.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Bawst'n (Boston))
Last year, my dad's boss gave us three tickets to the Boston Pops' "Pops by the Sea" concert in Hyannis, since they were supplying the plants to decorate the stage. Apparantly, it's a standing gig, so this year: we scored tickets again. My mom is a little reluctant about going, so it looks like he and I might just be going down there ourselves... maybe even staying overnight, we'll see. I'll keep you all posted.
matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Black rose)
Lovely little party at Northampton beach Tuesday night: we got pizza from a local brick-oven restaurant and munched on that while sitting on the sea wall overlooking the beach. I went for a walk down by the water as the sun was setting, and I looked back to see little candleflames... On coming back, I'd found my dad had lit some jarred gardenia-scented candles and put them in a ring around a red velvet cake. It was so pretty, I almost didn't dare blow them out, but he relit them.

I've been experienceing some glitches with my debit/credit card. It seems the card got locked and the bank has no idea what happened. Seems as though someone with a similar account number may have called in to have their card locked when the card was misplaced, and the wrong card got locked. So consquently, I had an Amazon.com order bounce, as well as having my MxO account shut down for a day because they couldn't access the card, and I nearly had the cellphone go awry as well. I got the card unlocked, and it seems to be all right now. Wierd.

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