So, this is probably going to be a longer, more in-depth, more passionate post than necessary about a film that does not deserve more thought than whether or not to upsize your combo, but I feel like saying a few words about the slightly-earlier-than-summer summer blockbuster “Rampage.”

To start with, this movie does something that I quite like in general. Readers of TVTropes will no doubt be familiar with such concepts as the obligatory dumbass that does something stupid at the beginning of the movie to show how smart the protagonist is in comparison, or the obligatory hot woman who shows intense interest in banging the protagonist, again early in the movie, to show how amazingly hot HE is, or the obligatory nerdy guy who exists purely to say “You’re supposed to do things THIS way”, just to demonstrate how the protagonist is a loose cannon, man, and you just can’t control him, man, he’s like the wind.

Rampage has those elements. No question about it, they’re there. But they aren’t overplayed. The dumbass is dumb, true, but his dumbness is resolved in about three seconds and information is imparted during the sequence that comes up again later in the film. The hot woman is dealt with in three sentences, and she’s done. The nerdy guy has a legitimate point, and he’s not dismissed as an obstructionist moron like Peck in Ghostbusters. Everybody in the film - with one glaring exception - is doing things as well as they can, at that point in time, with the cards they’re given. 

The one exception is, unfortunately, the primary villian of the piece, a evil nefarious sinister muahahahaha psychopathic woman who may be a scientist or might just be an evil businessperson, but is so over-the -top evil that she’s hard to take seriously. She starts off telling a woman in a exploding space station that she won’t let her off the station without the Plot Device of the movie, and winds up getting her killed, and follows that up with a (admittedly necessary for the screenwriters) incredibly stooooooopid decision to bring all the giant monsters - I’m assuming that anyone reading this is at least vaguely aware of the premise of the film, but for those who aren’t, a brief summary is “giant monsters wreck Chicago” - to downtown Chicago instead of, say, a hundred miles outside of town, which would have been trivial to arrange for her. She’s basically in an entirely different movie from everybody else - only genetics prevent her from twirling her moustache and tying women to railroad tracks - and it’s somewhat jarring. 

To be honest, she’s the reason I suspect that people who don’t like this film don’t like it. The actress who plays her and the director and the screenwriters all made choices for the role, and they chose ... poorly.

I have to admit, though, her sidekick/henchman/brother plays off of her unstoppable evil well - he’s basically the eighties businessman from Futurama, and he’s just as confused by how eeeeevil his sister his as we are, even though he’s willing to go along with the general business plan of “make giant monster-izer/???/profit”. 

I can’t say enough about this particular aspect of the film: the people in it are not stupid. They may be wrong, they may make mistakes, but they are not, Big Evil Businesswoman aside, doing things that put up a big flashing sign that says “I Am Doing This Only Because The Plot Needs Me To Do It Now.” I respect that entirely - it’s one reason why I like Die Hard, and it’s one of the few things that I don’t like about the original Ghostbusters (Walter Peck has a point, goddamnit.)  

The second point I like about this film is that things are not belaboured to death. So, in the film, three canisters of Giant Monster-In-A-Can land at three locations across the US. One of them lands bang in the middle of a forest in Wyoming, and is discovered by a wolf. The Evil Nasty Businesswoman sends her Unstoppable Killing Machine Of A Henchman and his cohorts to go get the canister and/or the wolf. The UKMOAH is depicted as these guys usually are - we see how many attachments he has on his gun, we see how professional he is in the field, and we see exactly how tough he is. Heck, in another movie, he’d be the hero. Hell, basically he was, in a little film called Predator.

It’s a nice, tight little sequence, seeing him and his crew find the impact point, get spooked by animals, all the usual things ... and then the wolf shows up and we get the entire rest of Predator happening in about two minutes as his entire team gets eaten, culminating in the UKMOAH himself getting killed by the wolf. Bang, we’re over, done, and out. Nice, tight, well-constructed, showing how much of a threat the wolf is without making us watch twenty minutes of unneeded characterization and/or padding. This happens several times, actually - we get a setup, we get the information that moves the plot along, we get a pretty-well-done action sequence (although this director is no McTiernan, he does an okay job,) and we move on. I know that, in most movies, we need to have a heightened sense of emotion to make sure the threat is clear, but here, we don’t bloody need it. We have a giant goddamn wolf, we have a city, we need to get’em together as fast as possible, let’s get cracking. 

I’m genuinely surprised at how long the movie is, as well as how short it feels. It works the same was as many of the best Bond films do; a book on Bond that I have calls in the Fleming Sweep - you get carried along from scene to scene and location to location, because you don’t overplay it and you don’t waste time on unnecessary elements, saving time for the bits that do matter. 

Lastly, and this is the thing that made me write this, and is the thing that I suspect nobody else cares about: I am awestruck at how well this movie evokes the feeling that the original source material - the video game Rampage - should have.

The game involves three people mutated into giant monsters - one Godzilla ripoff, one Kong ripoff, and a giant werewolf - who run around an 8-bit city climbing and wrecking buildings, beating up on the Army, and eating people. It’s fast (for the period it came out), mildly funny, and basically tries to capture the feeling of the best of the cheeseball Toho Godzilla movies (There are Godzilla movies that are horror movies, there are Godzilla movies that are science fiction adventure films, and there are Godzilla movies that professional wrestling looks at and goes “Really?”) where you’re rooting for the monsters and the set-builders. 

That’s why, in passing, the Evil Nasty Businesswoman attracted the giant monsters to Chicago. It would have made sense, in the real world, to have all three of the mutated animals of the movie come to some safe point in the middle of nowhere, but that wouldn’t be any fun. 

No, we need our giant ape, our giant wolf, and our giant lizard, all come to some place with buildings they can climb, punch, and grab people out of to eat. It’s incredibly stupid in any universe save the one of Rampage, but here, we get what we pay to see, and that’s a massive shitload of property damage and spectacular giant monkey-on-giant-wolf-or-giant-lizard action.

I am on record as being in favour of the 2014 Godzilla movie - it was designed around the idea of anticipation adding to the pleasure of seeing Godzilla open a can of whoopass, and for me it worked. The final shot of Godzilla giving the MUTO what-for was worth the entire movie, as far as I’m concerned. 

I’m also in favour of Kong: Skull Island, which basically gives you as much monkey action as you could want. Kong versus helicopter, Kong versus skullcrawler, Kong having a bath, Kong versus squid, you want it, it’s there. I love Kong: Skull Island to pieces, because it really understands what we want from Kong in the modern era, and it treats Kong’s status as a giant metaphor for something with respect. (In the modern era, it’s hard to write a story with Kong representing the wild, untamed, urge of the protagonist to get it on with the female lead, so they found another metaphor to use.)

Rampage is somewhere in between - more closely following the Toho paradigm of two-thirds of the movie being people talking about the monsters, and the last third being the monsters kicking ass and taking names. The buildup is good, the anticipation is good, and the payoff is - mostly - deservedly fun.

As a side note, at this point, if you know your memes, there’s a shot of a particular Air Force airplane in flight, during which you WILL say “Let me sing you the brrrrt of my people.” As a long-time fan of that airplane, I highly approve.

That payoff, though, is as close as you can get to the same payoff of the game. I don’t believe that every adaptation needs to follow the source exactly. I’m fine with changes ... as long as they respect the thing that makes the original worthwhile in the first place. 

Rampage does. In spades. It’s not impenetrable to non-players. You don’t have to know a damn thing about the game to watch the movie. But it’s a movie about monsters, buildings, and fucking huge destruction, and the fun you can have when you bring them all together. The goddamn SEARS TOWER falls down during the course of the film. A giant wolf jumps through one building to get to another one. A mutant crocodile tail-whomps a whole bunch of Army APCs into the next area code. 

This is not Super Mario Bros., which takes the game and pees on it. This is not Mortal Kombat, which takes the game and turns it into a pale imitation of Enter the Dragon. It’s not Street Fighter, which ... doesn’t quite work but also doesn’t feature much street fighting at all. This is Rampage. Period. And it does what Rampage does. No subtext, no distractions, just an honest attempt to put a relatable human face on a movie that pretty much exists to wreck as many buildings as possible and eat as many people as possible while keeping a PG-13 rating or under. 

I had a great time. I don’t think I’ll ever call it a classic, but it is so much fun (particularly in those motion-control seats. Really added to the fun) that it doesn’t matter. People who want sensitive human drama - yeah, not for you.

People who want giant monsters wrecking stuff? 

Why aren’t you already in the theatres, dude?

Delightful review, Robb. I was surprised when I saw the trailer in the theatre, because I was halfway through it before I realized it was Rampage. I was interested in the relationship suggested between the protagonist and the rapidly expanding ape. I'm glad to hear that (apart from the main villainess), things stay together. I hadn't heard of the "Bond Sweep" before, but it nicely conveys a winning strategy. I'll look forward to seeing it.
Scott Stevens 3dedited
For my own satisfaction, I looked it up, and no less than Kingsley Amis coined the term - it's the moral equivalent of Blues Traveler's "Hook", and when it's done right, it works very well - you end a given section in the book or movie with a plot twist, revelation, or development that makes you want to move on to the next bit to see how it's resolved. Here, for instance, there's the bit you saw in the trailer where the Man In Black tells Our Hero that he thinks they'll be all right loading Mighty Joe Young onto the plane - we *know*, as soon as he says that, that that plane is going to make an unscheduled landing at high speed, and we're carried over the bit *on* the plane by that anticipation. The bit on the plane is necessary, but viewed alone, it's probably a bit dry, so the hook drags us past it nicely, to the butt-whoopin' that we know is coming. Again, it's not the best film ever to do this, nor does it do it as well as some, but it's a nice, competent, fun film that uses this structure to its advantage.
Also, the relationship in question is, actually, surprisingly believable. Dwayne Johnson is not a bad actor at all, and he sells the relationship well. It's forgotten about for most of the last third of the movie, once the ape goes, well, ape, but it comes back well at the end. Once you see it, by the way, please let me know how you like it.

And no worries if you're not.  (Long overdue HB Snoozeletter comes out tomorrow. You can sign up for our mailing list here if ya want.)

Also: For pals in far-away places: If you know of any venues near you that book bands where people tend to listen (read: we are not competing with TV screens showing sports), or if you've ever wanted to host a house concert (they are shockingly easy), let me/us know! 

You can reply here, or you can email us at .

I'm 100% serious about this, we will find you a gig where people listen to you when you come to St. John's.

Also we will put you up.
And we are 100% serious about taking you up on it! Warm weather is coming... :)
I have forgotten what leaves look like.
Dood, so have we.

The daffodils are up, and our grass is clumpily coming in, but dammit there are no buds on the trees yet. I would love a day over 60, plzkthx, it's almost fucking May.
I'm hoping to make it to the May 2nd gig.

We should talk about places down here for y'all to gig at. I know your requirements are pretty minimal, but knowing how much space, do you need electric, etc would help. I'm still too new to the area to be all "Oh! Hai! I know all the places!" but I'll keep my eye out.
Honestly, the most important thing is vibe. We don't wanna be background music, but we also know that more traditional theater-esque won't book us without knowing who we are. It's a conundrum.

But thanks for keeping an eye out! :)

Can't wait to see you on the 2nd! :)
Seconded with Roger and I planning to come.
Karen 1d
The Trapp Door Gastropub in Emmaus frequently does two-person bands in the corner right up front. Very intimate, and people do go for the music. And clap.
Karen 1d
Oh - that seems like a good call!
Holy carp, are we really both on the same 3-day old post at the same time? Ha! I love OPW at night right before bed.
Karen 1d
Yup. Or at least I'm online and I see when there's an update to a Post I commented on. :)
This is great-- thanks!

I've been devouring all of the reports about Southwest 1380 (the plane that lost an engine and had a hole in the fuselage that made an emergency landing in Philly).  As an air travel enthusiast and Southwest fan, I am so impressed with how this terrifying scenario was handled.

I just listened to the control tower chatter, and wow... this is what everyone's training is for.  (Listen here, if you're interested:

That pilot was so calm, professional, and perfect. That first ATC guy (the one you could hear clearly during the first few minutes) was also absolutely fantastic. He's *exactly* the guy I'd want on the other end of the comm channel during an emergency. Great job, everyone. Really. 

I am devastated to hear about the one woman's passing, and one is too much, of course; but it's so true that this could have been so much worse.

I wish I knew the name of the ATC guy... I would send him something. For realzies.

I wonder if you could send a fruit basket or a card or something to the tower staff in general, congratulating them on their professionalism etc.
I'm not entirely sure if the guy with the kind voice is PHL's ATC guy, or is he with some interim control tower. Because once the plane was approaching the runway, they switched radio channels and some crappy guy took over. I don't want him to get the fruit basket. Only good guys get gifts. :)

I’m sure you know about poetic meter.  It may be Shakespeare that you think of first—although for me, it’s always been Descartes:  I think, therefore iamb.

Okay, perhaps I peaked too soon.  Perhaps you think, “if that’s a peak—then Facebook, here I come”.  So let me get my feet out of my mouth and take another shot.

Iamb, trochee, spondee, dactyl, and the rest.  Someone mad or stupid must have coined these names.  Every time, I have look them up.   Thank the Lord for Google, I suppose.  Phyrric.  Really?  That's a meter? 

Never mind the major nightmares shown on our TVs.  We can fix this mess, at least.  Let's have every name reflect its pattern.  Trochee is the poster child for this.  TRO-chee, TRO-chee, TRO-chee.  Say it, and you know just what it means.  Yes...but take a look at dactyl.

What do you hear when somebody says "dactyl"?  It's only two beats, but the meter has three.  And the fix is so obvious.  Just switch the names!  Take the name amphibrach (AM-phi-brach, AM-phi-brach).   Steal it for dactyl and call it a day, because nobody talks about amphibrach anyway.

But you can’t fix them all in this way, sad to say.  Because none of the names—the names we were taught—the terrible, meaningless names we were taught—have three beats and then ends with the stress on the last.  You could say an-a-PEST if you want--go ahead!  But you’ll sound like a rube. 

It doesn't matter.  No one writes in meter anymore, anyway.

You just reminded me of a ridiculous children's book I read when I was around 10, "Fast Talking Dolphin" by Carson Davidson. I had to look it up, and let me tell you that was no simple search. I am positive that my interest in poetic meter and obscure forms can be traced back to reading this book obsessively over the summer.

A Dolphin falls out of a plane into a pond in the woods. Kid finds him there. Dolphin can talk. Dolphins, as it happens, all talk in rhyming verse and social class is determined by the *meter*. The dolphin in the pond is an Anapestic dolphin and quite proud of the fact thankyouverymuch. The book also features a Rube Goldberg contraption the kid makes to slowly feed the right amount of salt-water into the pond. and a classic "adults are going to find out and ruin everything, what will kid and dolphin do?" plot.

So you know, it spoke to me on a lot of levels..
I just bought "Fast Talking Dolphin". You should have been a salesman.

I was hoping it would speak to you on a lot of levels. I wonder if it will to others...
Scott Stevens 4/17edited
When I think of a dactyl, before I think metric form, I think dinosaurs. As in terradactyl... It did odd things to the inside of my head in prosody class in college, I can tell you. And I also need a copy of Fast Talking Dolphin now....
Karen Hoofnagle 4/18edited
I was hoping to work "pterodactyl" into the dactyl paragraph, but it's trochee, so there was no way it was going there...and I needed the end of the trochee paragraph to transition to dactyl!
And now I realize I googled to get the spelling right and grabbed the rap album name instead of the dinosaur name and am feeling extra silly.... I may have to listen to Serengeti now just so I know what the heck I grabbed.

Karen Hoofnagle 4/19edited
I am now the proud owner of a copy of Fast-talking Dolphin, published by Scholastic Book Services in 1978. I have learned that

The most casual thought
Can become quite majestic
When properly rhymed
In the best anapestic.

So saith the dolphin. So saith we all.
Scott Stevens 5dedited
It's so bonkers I can't not love it.

... are the words I use at the laundromat

Our dryer died last week, so for the last 5 days we've been watching Mt. Laundry reach Everest altitudes while our underwear drawers were even running out of Emergency Undies rations.  So on Monday we decided to bring our enormous hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Dare I say it was fun?

We tossed the stuff into three giant washing machines and then went next door to El Diablo Burritos where I got myself three delicious chicken soft tacos and Matt got himself three steak tacos with this chili-lime sauce on 'em. SO GOOD.  When we were done nomming, it was time to move everything into the dryers. 

We filled the 40 minutes of dryer time with a trip next door (the other way) to the Hallmark store where we bought Mothers Day cards and Yankee Candles (because we're grandmothers, apparently).  We have a little Yankee Candle problem-- we keep one lit in the bedroom and/or the great room pretty often; it acts like a nightlight in the evenings. The problem is that no matter how well we trim the wick and use those little candle caps, the black waxy soot is on EVERY wall and ceiling, really amplifying every drywall nail in the ceiling. It's a great look... though it gives me something to obsess over when I can't sleep at night and am looking at the ceiling.  I can't but think "Jeez. If our walls and ceiling have this much black crud on them from just 2 years of burning candles, imagine the work that dude had to do as he cleaned the hundreds of years' worth of soot off of the Sistine Chapel frescoes." 

House stuff

My house needs a lot of love. In no particular order:
1) I need to fix the fence that got wrecked in the nor'asters. At the very least I need to replace the missing slats... at the best I need to replace the whole fence because it looks like crap.  That will not be cheap, but that's OK-- I am willing to pay good money to have a straight, even fence that will last.

2) I need to have a plumber come over and fix a zillion broken things.  A) The basement slop sink keeps filling with black bilgewater... that's not good.  B) The drain underneath the basement slop sink has a huge hole rusted out of it so I kludged together a replacement pipe out of duct tape (yes, really) and it's holding enough, but water + tape don't equal a long-term solution. C) They also need to figure out why my master-bathroom sink is dripping underneath it. (Stuff in the cabinet beneath the sink is wet, but I can't find where it's leaking.)  D) My kitchen faucet looks like shit and the adjustable water-spray can't decide what setting it wants to be on, so it just spritzes in get-all-over-everything mode. E) my hall bathroom toilet needs to have the guts replaced...  you have to hold the handle down to get a complete flush, and that only works 80% of the time... the other times you need a second flush. Annoying. 

3) I need to get the carpets cleaned. We had them scheduled but called them off because of one of the snowstorms.  I'll probably wait until July to get the carpets done at this point, mostly because we are having two Beatles rehearsals per week at the house and we have a zillion people bringing instruments and gear in and out of the house. No sense cleaning the carpets when I have a parade happening 2x/week.  Maybe I'll have them cleaned once the show is in production so we can have a cast party at our place after the closing night, maybe.

4) Landscaping. I would love to hire someone to trim my bushes that got obliterated in the snow last month. While they're at it, I would love to have them plant plants, put some mulch down, and have a yard that isn't a joke.  Then I would love to have someone turn my backyard into something not-embarrassing.  Yes, that means removing the Big Gay Purple Shed. 

5) I need to get the gutters cleaned, and while someone is up on the roof, they need to clean out the drain vents because I am sure they are clogged.  As much as I love my rare Redwood tree, it poops stuff for three out of four seasons and I'm constantly cleaning up after the damn thing. It's maddening.  And the stuff it drops is smaller than the holes on the gutter guards, rendering them completely pointless.  

Easter candy
In other news, I'm not all that into chocolate. But Matt's folks were in Connecticut for Easter and brought us each back a solid dark-chocolate bunny from this local magical chocolatier in Simbury, CT.  I devoured two chocolate rabbits by Munson's Chocolates in just 5 days. They were DELICIOUS. So smooth and tasty!

Yogurt: The struggle
Speaking of tasty things, I've been on a yogurt kick, but it is near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store. There is Greek yogurt out the ass, and every kind of low-fat or fat-free yogurt everywhere. But I just want full-fat yogurt, made with sugar or some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee.   I finally found Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt, but you have to look through the different kinds of Siggi's to find the full-fat stuff. It is deeelicious.  I also found Brown Cow brand yogurt, which is also full-fat yogurt and damn tasty.  But finding these is a feat and a half, and I have to make special trips to find 'em. Annoying. 

What else...

Hot Breakfast stuff...

Hot Breakfast has been taking a bit of a hiatus, but we're finally starting to fill up the ol' gig calendar. We've got a gig in Dover on May 4th, and then we've been asked to play the Wilmington Flower Market on the 10th and then a record-store event on May 11th.  We've got other stuff potentially coming up, too... so it'll be nice to play our own gigs for a change, since we've been doing so many tribute shows lately.

What else...

I've been wearing this ridiculously bright hot-pink lipstick lately and I don't care how silly and age-inappropriate I look. It makes me happy. 

Today is my brother's birthday, and I posted a goofy photo of him wearing a leisure suit as a 4-year-old on Instagram.  I called him and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, which was delightful. I love my brother very much.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my birthday and we have nothing planned, just like the last zillion birthdays. Matt asked me if I wanted him to get everyone together and I said no thanks.  I don't need people to interrupt their lives and go through the hassle of leaving the house and fighting the social anxiety (or real anxiety) on my account. I don't need the validation. I already feel valid and loved, thanks. :)

If someone thinks of me tomorrow they can send me a text or a card or something. But I don't like obligation. Birthdays are not important to me. 

EDITED TO ADD: How could I forget! My beloved birthday pie turns 17 today, which means we're bringing it for its drivers test and license.  It's a little stressed about the junior prom considering how hard it is to find a date, but we are staying optimistic. I was telling Shelle via text that the closest prospect was a can of evaporated milk from 1995 that lives with my parents, but said can of milk is not interested in kid-stuff like the prom anymore. Shelle replied "Too milquetoast for dances?" And that is why I love Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​​. 

OK, that's enough for now.

It's your birthday, but you give away the presents.
"some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee."
That's a gift.

Happy Birthday. I celebrate you.
We've had good service from since before they had their current website (2001).
Awwww, thanks for the birthday wishes and sweet words!

Thanks also for the Moon recommendation. You've recommended them to me before and they did really wonderful work for us.
Yay you're coming to Dover! On a day I might be here! (or I may not, since I'm kidfree that night, and miss city life). Where are you giggin?

Also, Plumbers putty is an awesome temp-fix for leaking pipe solution. My kitchen sink drain (vintage 1971) is rusted through in a way only fixable by replacing the sink. And sinks are no longer made the same size, so it's not easy to just drop a new one in. So I puttied the drain about 6 months ago, and dream of a day when I can remodel the whole damn dump of a kitchen that I currently have.

I'm with you on the annoying "can't find real yogurt" issue. I've caved and gone over to greek.

In my washerless youth, I used to pay $0.20/lb for a wash&fold service. Cheap at twice the price,IMHO, and worth every penny.

Also in my washerless early 30s, I also used a wash-and-fold which was most definitely absolutely the best deal ever-- I am in total agreement!

And thanks for the plumbers putty suggestion. I'd never heard of it, but your suggestion sent me down a youtube rabbit hole, and now I wanna fix EVERYTHING.

We'll be at the Dover Public Library on Friday, May 4th from 6:30 - 8pm. So a nice, chill night for everyone! We are not kids' music, but we don't drop F-bombs or sing about anything particularly inappropriate... but I always like to set that expectation, especially when we're playing in a place one might expect a kids-band to play. Kids do seem to like us... I think it's because we smile a lot. :)
> near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store

The struggle is real. I like whole-milk yogurt, and I like it plain because I want to control how much sugar I put in it. Whole Foods is terrible but I always found that they tend to have a more reliable inventory of unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt than Acme.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY tip: If you can't find Brown Cow, try Nancy's brand.
Nancy's brand? Never heard of it, but I am officially on the lookout!

Best returns of the day. Wear that lipstick!
Thank you, thank you!

And consider my maw stupidly fuschia. :)
and I love you.
And I love you. :)
Oh! Happy birthday, Jill! A world with you born into it is a world enriched.

You know what's weird? When I'm out and about and I buy nonfat yogurt for Paul, I actually have to be very careful when grabbing a container because SO MANY brands are sold in full-fat form around here. I kid you not.
Anne Mollo 4/17edited
You are so sweet. Thank you for the birthday wordseses!

And dooood, I am coming to Vermont for the Mollo and the yogurt. :)
Yesterday, the store I visited had ONLY full fat yogurts. It was The Weird. And if I'd known that was how to lure you up here I'd've mentioned it a LOT sooner...

Mo Magee is the world’s sweetest cat. She is blacker than Dale Cooper’s favorite coffee, and very hard to photograph. 

Fortunately, she likes being in full sunlight.

She isn’t much of a lap cat. She follows me around and hangs out nearby, generally. She only likes to sit on my lap if I’m working at a desk. When I lie down for the night, that’s when the real demonstration of affection begins. 

She dances around in circles on my stomach and chest for a good fifteen or 20 minutes, banging her head into my hands. There will be no knitting, reading, or, God forbid, sleeping, until her needs are satisfied. I’ve cultivated a petting routine that starts off assertive enough to keep her attention, with lots of head scratching, then gradually becomes more and more gentle, until she curls up and falls asleep on my belly. 

The tragic flaw in all of this is that five minutes after she’s finally dozed off, I have a full bladder. 


So black.
Black is beautiful.
So pretty!
Ain't she the cutest?
Black cats are the best. (don't tell my other cats)
Oh my Gawd, black cats. From what I understand, black fur is a dominant trait. Black cats must be the genetic mix of all the best traits.

As I type this, Thrym, King of Jotunheim, our giant tabby striped tiger boss, just stalked into the room, so, yeah, DON'T MENTION BLACK CAT LOVE.
Turd Ferguson.
I hope he doesn't live up to his other name. I've got him shut up in the back bedroom while the plumber is working.
Things that sound dirty but aren't:
"I've got him shut up in the back bedroom while the plumber is working."

"And the dog is on a short leash."

It's time to make camping swag again!

A week or so ago, I went with some campmates to the Renwick Gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian, in Washington DC.  The Renwick is currently hosting an "Art of Burning Man" exhibit. Highly recommended. Inspiring. (In case you are wondering, my camp is called Balls Camp. We favor Ball Gowns.)

I saw a trinket there that inspired me to make a more complex necklace for camp swag than I have in the past. Not saying the designs won't continue to evolve, but I'm pretty happy with it. . .and I'm starting to wonder what an acrylic version would look like. . .

These are beautiful.

Sometimes I wish I had the constitution for Burning Man.
Ya, I hear you. Mostly I camp here on the east coast, because trekking to and enduring the desert is so much effort. A bunch of localish regional burnereque events have sprung up over the years, so I am much more likely to hit a few of those a year instead of the big burn.

warmer temperatures are intoxicating. 

Episode 7 is almost finished dialogue assembly. 

I made this for lunch and FUCK YEAH:

I am a fan of that writing style.
Not overdone, just delightfully casual and confident.
This book & website etc. were pretty controversial for a bit, because people felt that the authors, as white vegans, should not be appropriating African-American Vernacular English and using the word "thug."
I find this argument as ridiculous as saying "all African Americans are thugs who curse all the time."

I *first* found this web site when Terry Brennan, the artistic director of Tribe of Fools, posted something from it on his facebook page. Terry is super South Philly, though he's originally from Nebraska. At the time, I think, I was at Temple, and damn near everyone I knew talked like this (i.e., "chop up the garlic real small but save that shit till later," etc).

I still love it, bought the book, have not tried all of the recipes, yet.
I just made it, and it was very good, indeed. Mango salsa and thai peanut sauce are nice as condiments, although the peanut sauce is not exactly calorie-friendly! Thanks for the link.
Scott Stevens 4/14edited
Did you really? YAY!
Yeah, I don't think their focus is on calories at all. Their focus is on eating flavorful and plant-based food. They also have a lot of messages in their book and web site that seem to be things like, "Go to the gym, stay in the parking lot, lift cars, sign autographs, you're welcome." It seems to be about unapologetically eating well and eating hearty.
For what it's worth: If you like this recipe, and you want to save a step without sacrificing flavor, Penzey's Tandoori Spice Blend has almost all of the same spices used in this recipe, with the exception of chili powder.
Merci bien!
OH. One other thing. Smoke flavoring. The recipe doesn't call for it, but add it.

I've had an extremely sporadic tachycardia/arrhythmia for as long as I can remember - I'll get was feels like a catch in my throat, notice that my pulse is racing (~200 bpm), get slightly light-headed, and then everything will go back to normal a few minutes later. I tried to track it down with medical services in college, but we couldn't catch it on a monitor. I've never been able to predict it or determine a trigger - not caffeine, not panic attacks, not even hormones. It will happen a few times a month, or not for years, or every few months. Since getting a smartwatch with heart rate monitoring, I've been able to track it more closely and this Spring I mentioned it to my new primary care doc during my routine physical. She wanted me to get it checked out, which, yes, is totally reasonable

Yesterday I went to a cardiologist. He had me describe the whole thing, including that it doesn't really bother me, but my doc told me to come in. He said I didn't have to do anything at all, but as the conversation progressed leaned heavily on how I should at least get an echocardiogram and oh would I indulge him and agree to an event monitor and by the way, really, only one cup of coffee a day is the best plan.

I... don't want to do any of this. I didn't want to go to the Primary Care doc, let alone the Cardiologist, and I definitely don't want to give up my coffee habit.

And also, I'm 46, and I want to be around for my loved ones for a good while longer and if my heart is likely to go kerblooey, but the kerblooey is easily preventable, maybe that's a thing I should find out about.

And I'm totally fascinated by what one can find out about bodies these days.

So, I'm getting an echocardiogram (in June) and an event monitor (sometime, through the mail) and I'm cutting back on coffee and I'm cranky about all of it, but doing it anyway and maybe we'll find out something neat. But also, maybe not, maybe the heart is unknowable. Sometimes signals just get crossed.

(xposted from DreamWidth)

Giving up coffee would make me grumpy too! I can't wait to find out what you learn.