bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
WPA era posters and brilliantly trashy old school pulp geek out, and I am head over heels for the end result! The posters were a birthday surprise from my husband and, as the subject line says, I felt they just had to be shared:

2014 Fantastically Geeky BDay Posters - LJ

Just in case you can’t read it and would like to, the tagline on the Princess and the Scoundrel is “She loved him and he knew it. But would it be enough?” *silly, giddy grin*

The artist behind the posters is Timothy Anderson who has a website with many other lovely, clever things I am now drooling over...especially the Star Wars done in the style of Spaghetti Western posters.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
I’ll admit that my personality leans a lot more toward the cynical side of things than the bright and sunny. A lot, a lot more. I tend to think of this as being practical rather than anything negative and I suppose that speaks volumes. But I don’t usually think that the Universe is just plain out to get me. Not usually. This week and change however? Yeah, this week made me wonder.

So, last week a big scary wildfire more or less ended at our doorstep. It’s Los Angeles. We have so many wildfires here that we’ve named an entire season for them and I do live tucked up in a canyon one highway turn below Angeles Crest Forest, as do many people across the northern border of dozens of cities the entire breadth of LA County. So, while this was our closest call yet, it does happen from time to time and none of this is anything remotely special. Unpleasant, frightening in the moment, but no more than that and our house and 99% of the others are all still standing so, yay!

It follows then that this week started with the aftermath of that unexpected little adventure. Coming home after two days evacuation, the house reeked of smoke because, hey, the hills that end right across the street were still smoking, and looked like it had been ransacked by two people in a twenty-minute frenzy for anything important and easily portable because, well, that’s pretty much what happened.

I was expecting all of that. Unpleasant, yes, but in a weird I’m really fucking grateful kind of way. That I could have dealt with. Unfortunately my poor cat is quite elderly and the shock of the whole thing plus breathing all of the ick in the air was too much and crashed her system. We had to put her to sleep on Tuesday and I just – we weren’t – that was just too much. We only lost her sister in October and she was fine – for sixteen-year old cat definitions of fine – just before the fire and, wow, unexpected and kind of brutal, really.

So that set the tone for a week filled with seemingly nothing but varying degrees of ick, from the anniversary of the death of a very close friend that’s recent enough to still be a pretty raw wound to just the garden variety work level of ick – too much work on my end, too little on his – to the lingering, prickling kind of sad of going through the daily household routine without my usual calico shadow alternately purring and scolding me.

We’ve all been there before and no single piece of it is anything I just can’t handle. Hell, I can even handle all of it at once, I just really, really, didn’t want to. Especially with all of the petty, little stuff mixed in, my week sounds like some sort of early Hollywood serialized melodrama, one too stupid to even be a campy kind of good, so it’s shown in the earliest reel before most of the audience has filed in. It is to the point that, when my tire blew coming home from the office Friday night on particularly bad for this sort of thing stretch of freeway – Naturally! – once I found enough shoulder to pull over to and landed there I just started laughing. Really, Universe?! Really?

But, it’s Saturday so this should all be over now and next week has simply got to be better, right? Thank Bob for a quiet Saturday brunch with my husband and books. And for sangria, lots and lots of sangria. And probably for more wine later, most likely lots and lots of that too. And for a quiet weekend in where nothing more can get us.* Cheers!


*Editor’s Note: Bourbonneat would very much like the Universe to note that her assertion should in no way, shape or form be taken as a challenge. Bourbonneat is already quite thoroughly impressed with the Universe’s powers of messing with her life and requires no further demonstrations of same, thank you very much.
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)
I have done battle with countless pots of molten sugar and steaming vats of pickling liquid this past weekend-plus-a-day and emerged victorious!
20121213 Making Marshmallows - online
Ray. Ray? What did you DO, Ray?!


Christmas, I am ready for you!! Of course, this is all somewhat less than impressive with Christmas being, well, basically now and all that. Oh well. Still, prepared is prepared and at one point I didn’t think I’d be anywhere near that this year - I was away for work the first weekend of the month and then ill for the second and several days on either side, so all the holiday cooking was condensed into last weekend only.

Instead of the traditional cookie baking, my husband and I make candy for gifts. Well, candy and pickles – not for consuming together, naturally. Different gifts for different people. It started when he made me a homemade batch of salted caramel (for which I am a mad, mad fiend) for my birthday that disappeared long before the end of the party and when the in-laws starting asking for my pickled carrots.

Now the caramel has become this absolutely sinful brown butter, sea salt caramel of his own devising and our confectionary endeavors have branched out into homemade marshmallow (Aztec hot chocolate – because if the spice must flow, I’d prefer it be into my mouth), cranberry orange bark, cherry pistachio brittle and whatever else makes us say, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to try…’ Also now I pickle onions too. And sometimes fruit. And I’m working on a good recipe for bread and butter pickles. Oh, and this year, bitters as well... Yeah. Project bunnies. Much like their cousin the plot bunny, they have a tendency to multiply when you’re not paying attention.

Anyway, it’s all done and wrapped now. I feel terribly accomplished and the kitchen needs to be destroyed by fire, which is really about par for the course when it comes to playing with molten sugar. It doesn’t matter how thoroughly you scour, you’re going to have to do it a few more times…and then a few more times again. Sugar is sneaky like that. Oh well.

Merry Christmas to all out there in LJ-land! I hope your holidays are enjoyable!

As for me, I love the crush of family that is about to come my way with all my heart and should have a very nice time. But when it’s all done, wonderful though it will be, I’m going to need some serious snark to cut all that sweet and heartfelt. I see my December 26th and it is full of fic writing (because this is turning into a monster and still is nowhere near done – yikes!) and some of my favorite non-cloying Christmas movies: The Ref, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Long Kiss Goodnight. Maybe even some Die Hard if I’m in the mood for mind numbing but fun.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
The Tattle Tale Calico

Oft upon an hour early, while I sit word-stuck and surly,
Trying desperately to pry the copy from my head,
My fingers eager to be typing, while my brain continues sniping,
Suddenly there comes a griping, from the cat upon the stair.
An obnoxiously loud demand from the cat upon the stair.
Yowls the calico, “Go to bed.”

Quiet, I call, I know the hour, but her mood remains quite sour,
As words finally begin to flow to the page from my head.
But my concentration she is breaking, with the demand she’s loudly making,
My husband she is surely waking, this plaintive cat upon the stair.
This annoying little tattle tale cat upon the stair.
Yowls the calico, “Go to bed.”…


Yes, yes. I totally mixed my Poe references here. But, let’s be honest. Reading this, you know that’s the very least of the apologies I owe the man. ;)

Anyway. My cat. I have a large calico cat with a larger voice and an even larger self-imposed sense of responsibility for the hours the household keeps. She really feels we all ought to be in bed – all including herself – by midnight and begins sighing, huffing, and attempting to lead us to the stairs about that time every night. But she graciously concedes that we are night owls and doesn’t really begin her loudest demanding until about 2.

It’s hysterical…and annoying. Any time someone is still awake at 2 – which in my case is nearly every night – the cat will come to the stairs and begin yowling with increasingly louder volume for us to come up to bed. So clockwork is her behavior, that our friends have come to rely on her for timekeeping when we have game nights. ‘I bid 500 florin on recruitment card.’ Or ‘Any takers on these sheep? I really need some brick.’ And then the cat starts yowling and we all know it’s 2…time to open another bottle of wine, game for another two or three hours and really piss off the cat. ;)

She is especially bad when only I am still awake and trying to write. Then, not only does she come to the stairs to yowl at me, but she periodically runs to the bed to yowl in my husband’s ear, seemingly trying to alert him to the fact that I am still awake and really ought to be asleep. Obnoxious little tattle tale. It’s not like he doesn’t know his wife is an insomniac and the poor man certainly deserves to be able to sleep without a loud furry interruption. Oh well. At least she cares?
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Although most years I love cooking up a storm for Thanksgiving, the nicest part of my parents offering to host this year is readily apparent today. My husband and I do not have mounds and mounds of dishes still left to do in a kitchen hastily put only to barest rights the night before! Oh delicious, lazy Friday off!!

I love Thanksgiving – getting together with family for an elaborate meal with a chance to relax, chat and just enjoy one another’s company. It’s like all of the best parts of Christmas in a warmer, more casual configuration. But I can’t help but feel the holiday would be better if more folks would drop the weird, borderline fetish with an overly rosy revisionist history vision of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.

I have been to Plymouth Plantation, site of the Plymouth Colony, around Thanksgiving and while the view out over the sea is stunning in its rough beauty, at this time of year the land itself is stark, inhospitable and really farking cold. I mean icy wind cutting through every layer of coat, sweaters, scarf, hat and gloves you have piled upon your body to forcibly pull up gooseflesh on your extremities so tight is actually hurts cold. You know, not unlike the sort of cold one also gets on the other side of the Atlantic, so it’s not as if Pilgrims couldn’t possibly have known better. Oh, and the late November in which I visited is a full month earlier and warmer than the timeframe in which they landed.

Suffice to say, the whole experience simply served to confirm my feeling that England really cut out the middle man, Douglas Adams style, when the Pilgrims left for the new world. (Now there’s something else Thanksgiving celebrants can all be thankful for this weekend: that many, many subsequent waves of colonists and immigrants also arrived to dilute the Pilgrims’ eventual influence on the character of the country. ;)  ) Not to mention, the Pilgrims were absolutely charming people:

'We’re seeking religious freedom! Nah, just kidding. Had you going there for a bit, didn’t we? We’re seeking our religious freedom. The rest of you weirdos can all go to hell…er…well, I suppose Roger is calling it Rhode Island these days, but you get the general idea. No, seriously. Start walking now or we’ll start shooting.' (Is it weird that in my brain I hear this alternately in the voices of Eddie Izzard and Louis Black? Nah, didn’t think so.)

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