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The Gory Details

Jul. 23rd, 2014

03:52 pm - Red squirrel!

It's a very hot day, so I'm taking full advantage of my air conditioning and am enjoying nature from indoors, looking out the window. Spotted this cute little guy at the bird feeder:

Red squirrel gleaning seeds

Jun. 3rd, 2014

05:37 pm - #BookADay - catching up on days 1-3:

OK, I adore the book-a-day idea, which I saw in N8an's feed, but since "procrastination" is my middle name, I'm a bit behind-hand. Still, here goes with the first three days' worth:

1. Favourite book from childhood:

This one's easy; it's Kipling's Jungle Book, which I discovered at age 8 or so, and read cover-to-cover in one sitting, after which, completely entranced, I started over and read it again. (The link is to one of my BookCrossing copies, with additional comments.) I still love the book - though I've had to grit my teeth whenever I see bits from the Disney animated version, since it turned favorite-character Kaa from wise-and-dangerous-mentor to comic-relief semi-villain. Grrr!

2. Best bargain:

Not so easy to choose, here; I've found lots of fabulous books for little or nothing, at yard sales or charity shops or (for free!) at the local recycling center swap-shop (which, alas, closed after people kept abusing the privilege). My most unusual swap-shop find was probably the 1865 edition of The Love-letters of Dr. Kane. Dr. Kane, it turned out, had been along on some Arctic voyages in search of the lost Franklin expedition (a topic that's always fascinated me), and had made sketches that were the basis for some of the better-known engravings of the trip, including one of the graves on Beechey Island. I recognized the images at once from my other reading - but I had had no idea of his very odd and rather controversial romance with Margaret Fox until I found this book. Fox was one of the two Fox sisters renowned in spiritualist circles - and who later confessed to having faked all the table-raps. It seems that Fox and Kane had a long flirtation, and she claimed that they were secretly married before one of his last expeditions, but when he got back he denied this, and much conflict and litigation ensued. The book contains the text of slews of letters between the two, most of which are, frankly, pretty boring, but the mere fact that these two people, both of them quite notorious in their different spheres, had had such an interesting relationship, and that it went public in a scandal-mongering kind of way that seems more like today's celebrity-expose TV shows than something I'd equate with the mid-1800s... well, it was fascinating!

3. One with a blue cover:

Lots of candidates here, but the one that sprang to mind was My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. It's another of his delightful epistolary novels, this one for young adults, and it's charming, informative, and often hilarious. [The link is to one of my BookCrossing copies, with additional comments and quotes from the book. I dare you to read that and not want to try the book yourself! Oh, and there's a very good audiobook version of this one, too.]

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Sep. 3rd, 2013

12:12 pm - Woohoo! There's an Indiegogo campaign for A Redtail's Dream!

A Redtail's Dream is one of my favorite webcomics, a charming series themed off of Finnish mythology but with a snarky/apathetic hero and his faithful and exuberant dog - who, as they journey through the dream-world to try and save their village, takes on the forms of different animals (while retaining adorable doggy-ears and fluffy tail). I adore the artwork and the story (which ranges from hilarious to touching to scary and back again), and even though the book (a single volume for the series, plus international postage) will be a bit pricey, I had to have it. And I wanted to post about it in case anyone else would like to check out the funding drive here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-redtail-s-dream-hardcover-print-drive

There are, of course, more economical options for PDF versions and such, and higher-end ones that include custom artwork (which I also covet, but I could strain my budget only so far!).

And if you aren't interested in the campaign, do check out the webcomic - it's really delightful!

Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic

Sep. 12th, 2012

01:35 pm - Fascinating archaeological news about Richard III

When I first heard that there was an attempt to locate the remains of Richard III during a very short window of opportunity before the last undeveloped portion of the site went under new construction, I didn't dare hold out any hope of actual results - but it turns out that the team found amazing things, including portions of the old Greyfriars building, and...

...wait for it...

...human remains, including a male skeleton showing signs of battle injuries, and some spinal abnormalities.

Many people were buried in abbeys and churches, of course, and many people died in battle, and this may not be him at all, but the fact that these wonderful finds were made under such circumstances amazes me. And I admit I'll be waiting for the results of the DNA tests with interest!

I found a delightful blog called The History Blog that has been covering this story with an enthusiasm that tickled me very much; here's the most recent post:

http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/19646

It includes links to official sites with more news, so fellow Ricardians and/or archaeology buffs can check it out. And I'm adding The History Blog to my favorites list!

Current Mood: excitedexcited

Aug. 20th, 2012

05:53 pm - Queen Anne's Pocket Melon

Queen Anne's Pocket Melon by gorydetails
Queen Anne's Pocket Melon, a photo by gorydetails on Flickr.

Unusual heirloom melon, very small - softball sized or less - and very fragrant. In fact, it's meant to be used for its scent rather than for eating, which is rather a shame! [I did taste one and found it very bitter, odd since it gives off the scent of a perfectly ripe, sweet muskmelon...]

Aug. 19th, 2012

09:40 pm - 2012 Garden, one day's harvest

2012 Garden, one day's harvest by gorydetails
2012 Garden, one day's harvest, a photo by gorydetails on Flickr.

Granted, it's a very good day - some days it's just a few cherry tomatoes - but I was pleased!

Jul. 23rd, 2012

10:53 pm - I'm not keeping this journal up very well, am I?

Ah, well - "sporadic" works for me!

I noticed that I'm approaching my 10-year anniversary on BookCrossing (where I have spent a great deal of time, what with the buying, reviewing, discussing, and releasing books), and oddly enough I find that I have more books on hand now than I did before I started BookCrossing; no matter how many I release, they come in faster! (Interested parties can see my BookCrossing page, with my most recently registered and/or released books, here.) So my anniversary goal is to get my backlog of read-but-not-released books moving, which would not only help share the book-love but would also clear some floor space in my poor, book-stack-ridden house...

Of course, I'll have to alternate this with gardening, as the tomatoes are starting to ripen. Can't miss the tomatoes!

Aug. 16th, 2011

04:01 pm - "Name that photo" answer:

This is the source of my "what is it?" mystery picture: burnt sugar!

BURN that sugar!

It started out as a pan of sugar syrup meant for the hummingbird feeders (1 part sugar to 4 parts water), which I usually simmer for 5 minutes or so. But this time I forgot to set the kitchen timer, and it wasn't until the house began to fill with smoke that I realized something was wrong! The burnt syrup was overflowing the pan like Caltiki the Immortal Monster, bubbling and seething and smoking... (The pan may never be the same - though I have another pan that suffered the same fate a few years back, and which, after much scrubbing, has almost returned to normal, so perhaps there's still hope.)

While the bubbling blackened sugar-syrup was actually rather dramatically beautiful to look at, it was also a reminder of why I've taken to thinking of my kitchen timer as my Most Valued Appliance - without it, odds are fair that I'd have burned the house down before now. I'm so used to setting it whenever I put anything on the stove that I still can't understand how I missed it this time, but perhaps I was due another little object lesson in kitchen safety!

Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed

Aug. 15th, 2011

08:43 pm - Today's harvest - more veggies, more colors!

I got a nice little harvest today, clipping veggies in the rain.
2011, Aug. 15 harvest (Roughly) clockwise from the top: jalapeno, "Sweet Chocolate" sweet pepper, "Great White" tomato, cucumber, orange pepper, green peppers (had to harvest them green because a stem broke, otherwise they'd have grown up to be the chocolate or orange types), "Calliope" eggplant, and two "Sweet Lavender" eggplants. Most of it went into a stovetop ratatouille tonight (yum!), with the orange pepper waiting for tomorrow - I plan to make some hummus and dip the pepper in it.

Tags:
Current Mood: hungryhungry

03:08 pm - Name that photo:

What is it?

Anyone care to guess what this picture shows? I'll post the answer tomorrow, along with the reason why the picture exists at all {wry grin}. [If you click on the photo, the Flickr entry has a hint.]

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