bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Work may be best attempted on drugs
I’m thinking of changing my job title to professional Cat Herder and Tilter at Windmills. Don’t think the bosses will go for it though. Part of my job is corralling incredibly creative, free spirited technophobes and teaching them to use our company’s technology. On the up side, I am dealing with absolutely lovely people most of the time. On the down side, it’s a challenge, an impossible dream of sorts, in fact.

I gave Thursday’s training sessions completely loopy on migraine meds, a fact I confessed going in – honest, I’m not usually this spacey, I’m just a bit drugged, you see – and they were very sweet about it. In fact, as it turns out, I didn’t do that badly. And, hey, there is an unexpected benefit to running a training session a wee bit drugged out: I didn’t get twitchy afterwards, not that I intend to make this a regular thing. Ugh.

My medicinal situation did me no favors later when the Education team began loudly going over a new product they’re teaching in the salon end of our business – express facials. At my best, part of my humor will always be about 13 years old and any innuendo, no matter how juvenile is no end of hilarious. So, oh yes, by the time they got to the discussion of the salt scrub and making sure our students received specific instructions on proper application, I was on the verge of dying. Thank Bob for high cubicle walls.

Unclear on the concept of tease
I’m a bit of a connoisseur of TV and movie trailers, which is weird I realize, but I love the puzzle of how to tease a story to draw an audience in without mischaracterizing the story or giving too much away. Some do this exceptionally well, others quite terribly and, yes, sometimes the terrible ones are the most interesting.

BBCA’s trailer choices for Musketeers, however, are just on the bad end of strange. I’m in the odd position of having watched the series on DVD before watching for a second time on BBCA (Thank you, thank you, no end of thank you, for airing each episode uncut at least the one time.) and they give away entirely too much in the trailers. The trailer for Commodities, for example (last week’s episode, and I’m just quoting the trailer, so no additional spoilers here), shows Porthos growling, “He’s a slaver!” 9 seconds in and Aramis summing things up, “You were the Comte de la Fère, a son of the nobility?” 15 seconds in and there’s still 15 more seconds of trailer. I believe they are unclear on the concept of tease.

It all started with dime novels…
It was doubly funny for me when Tom Burke mentioned Lonesome Dove (the mini series) fondly in an interview. I’ve been thinking about another of my favorite McMurtry books all week, Anything for Billy. The imaginative version of Billy the Kid’s adventures is narrated by Ben Sippy, a wealthy ‘Back East’ dandy in search of the real ‘Wild West’. The impetus for this search is an addiction to dime novel westerns, which he read so voraciously that he tore through the publishing companies’ entire back catalogs and then swiftly outpaced their publishing schedule. When his favorite writers couldn’t possibly feed his habit quickly enough, he started to write his own…

My own relationship with fanfiction, much? Why, yes, as a matter of fact it is, though I tend to stop writing for a bit whenever someone posts something new. It’s usually more relaxing to just curl up and read someone else’s better written creation…but then what I read is inspiring and there isn’t any more for a while, and the whole cycle starts all over again… *grins* Oh well, there are far worse obsessions hobbies? Nah, I got it right the first time.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Master & Margarita

‘Dostoevsky is dead.’ ‘I protest! Dostoevsky is immortal.’
Last week a fellow Russian lit fiend friend sent me the image above and absolutely made my week. Sometimes I honestly am just that ridiculously easy. But, but, it’s a The Master and Margarita inspired prank street sign. So what if it happened in 2012 and I’m only just hearing about it now? At the time it happened, at least, the city council apparently decided the sign and the prank were a worthy tribute to Bulgakov and allowed it to remain up. For me, this qualifies as one of those ‘suddenly one more thing is right with the world than I gave it credit for’ moments.

All for…well, anyway.
We finally got a real preview for the Musketeers on BBCA last week. I’d decided not to buy the DVD because they’ve been saying April for months now and, hey, it’s April. Why not save a little cash? However, at the end of the preview they said June. June? Really? Oh, no, no, no, June is simply unacceptable. Soooo, the DVD should be here in a few days and I shall be spending some time unearthing the old multi-region DVD player from the garage. Problem solved.

Curse of the drinking writing classes
I usually define a good week at work as one packed with a lot of variety. By that barometer, these past few weeks have been stellar, which definitely keeps my interest levels high but, holy crap, am I ever busy. Websites and audits and a multitude of eclectic copy assignments, oh my!

Drouble, Dribble, Toil and Scribble
I am an addict! Many, many thanks to the TGS mods for the Spring Challenge. I am having so much fun playing with any crazy idea that pops into my head – something I am perhaps a little too loathe to try in a longer format. I was only going to tackle a few of the prompts but, yeah, see the first sentence of this paragraph.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town…
You know that thing, where you write something at least in part to work on things you know you’re bad at and then you read over what you’ve written and, yup, you’re still bad at them? Okay, maybe this is just a me thing, but ugh! Dialog. Multiple POV. Pacing. Better, I guess, but still not good. Frustrating.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
It’s raining. Has been off and on all afternoon and evening. And it’s glorious!

I love it. Southern California needed it. And it’s even the perfect kind of rain – steady, constant and not too hard for half a day and then back again a few days later for the last week. Exactly what this drought hardened and, in large patches, fire-stripped of all of its protective ground cover, land needs in order to actually absorb the water like normal landscape instead of rejecting it all in a flurry of flooding and mudslides. Ah, California! Blue skies, gorgeous weather but, from time to time, the state will actively try to kill you. ;) But I digress…

So, right. Rain. Lovely, beneficial for all concerned today and adored by me. I was already working from home today, so I got to curl up with my laptop in front of the living room windows with tea and good coffee. I put on Dark Side of the Moon and Minstrel in the Gallery and a lot of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis even though hardly any of that goes together outside of my head because, well, I feel like it all goes with the rain. And I wrote and wrote…okay and I also answered a metric f-ton of email and random requests, so it wasn’t quite as productive a work writing day as it could have been but, even so, projects moved forward and I finished a couple of pieces I’ve been needing to get to, so truly a good day all around.

Then this evening after dinner, I curled back up with the not work laptop to work to meander my way through a little not work writing with a glass of wine, still listening to the rain fall. Today was also just the barest hint of the beginning of Spring Training which, once the games start, is basically the baseball equivalent of coffee from the Heart of Gold – almost, but not quite entirely, unlike… – but it does mean that real season is right around the corner. And the new series of Top Gear starts here on Monday and I have new books. So, this is basically just a run by posting of general contentment. *happy sigh*
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Be it ever so smoky and weird-moonscape-looking-hill-surrounded, there is no place like home and, as of yesterday evening, we are back in ours. Yay! Toasting this fact last night with a nice glass of wine, I tried not to make the obvious jokes about smoky notes but eventually gave in because, hey, you’ve got to laugh. And if something actually scares you then you’ve got to laugh even harder.

There are many wonderful things about living in Southern California and, sadly, the wildfire danger is certainly one of the ways we pay for all of our benefits. I live close enough to the mountain that I have been in the fire danger zone many times before, but this is the first time we’ve actually been in one of the evacuated communities.

So, um, yeah. Anyway. That happened and in the end it fortunately just amounted to a few days of stress over what thankfully turned out to be a near miss – a very near miss looking at the large burnt areas on the hillside across the street – rather than a tragedy (heartfelt thanks to our local emergency services.)

What fascinates me in the aftermath is that I’ve talked to coworkers, friends and family over the last few days and, to a person, they all ask how you pick what to take with you in such a situation. I understand why – the thought of losing everything and starting over is pretty universally frightening. We started with practical things we would need right away – clothes, medications, cell phones, laptops, chargers and such – and, of course, the cat and her supplies. When we still had time, we grabbed less practical things we hoped never to part with, but we didn’t have a lot of time even though we were chucking things into clothes baskets to carry quickly to the cars.

Interestingly enough though, that evening as I tried to fall asleep in my old room at my parents’ place and my brain spun over everything we left behind, there are only a few decisions I would have made differently, only a few extra things I would have tried to grab. As much as I would never want to start over and replace any of it, especially those much loved things that simply can’t be hauled out quickly in an emergency like all of our books, when it really comes down to it, most of it is just stuff. Useful stuff. Interesting stuff perhaps. Enjoyed stuff. But still just stuff.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
…or, rather, one bitters fest coming soon.

Bourbon, a comfy armchair and a sinfully good book, right? Normally I reserve the sinfully good book descriptor for works of fiction, but I do think this one happens to live up to the moniker in a number of different ways.

Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas

Bitters 9781580083591_p0_v1_s600


Part cookbook. Part bartenders’ manual. Part thorough history of a quirky subject. This book offers sinfully good recipes for alcohol, traditionally the most wicked of ingredients ;)  and is truly also a sinfully good read…if, you know, you like lovingly detailed histories of minutiae, which I, for one, absolutely do!

The subject matter also pertains somewhat to Bourbon, so clearly it fits my theme. Because Bourbon neat is truly a lovely thing, but Bourbon used properly in an old school cocktail, heavy on the bitters, or simply Bourbon with bitters, can be even better.

We’re handy do-it-yourselfers in this house. He brews beer. We both cook and bake a lot. I make pickles. He makes jam. So naturally, after pouring over this book, making my own bitters was something I had to try. Bitters require nearly a month of various infusion stages and I am only two weeks in on my first two attempts. But even at this proto bitters stage, both smell absolutely divine. The apple cinnamon is already welcome in my Bourbon any time. Ditto the key lime in my Dark and Stormy. Suffice to say, this book is already a winner and, barring anything unforeseen in the next two weeks, well on its way to becoming a much loved and well used kitchen companion as well.

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January 2015

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