Category: Blog


The Two Towers, Bk 2, Ch 4

April 16th, 2014 — 10:59am

Sam finally gets to see an Oliphaunt! :)

The Two Towers, Book 2, Chapter 4

Two Towers Bk 2: 04 Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

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Two Towers, Book 2, Ch 3

April 15th, 2014 — 10:47am

The Two Towers, Book 2, Chapter 3

Two Towers Bk 2: 03 The Black Gate is Closed

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International Tabletop Game Day

April 8th, 2014 — 8:45pm

Last Saturday was International Tabletop Game Day (or something) and there was a big event at Game Empire, my local game store. SB picked me up in the morning and we zipped over there on his little Honda and played board games with STRANGERS for a couple hours (but I survived because they were board game nerds and board game nerds are my people). First we played King of Tokyo, which I had never played before and which was quite fun, and then Carcassonne, which I own but had never played with five people! Everyone was nice and I had a good time. I would have liked to stay all day but I am trying really hard not to get overtired and freak out like I did a couple weeks ago.

Yeah my self-inflicted emotional turmoil is all resolved. Long story, but I figured out why I freaked out (which had nothing to do with SB, really) and explained and apologized and I think SB understood and he seems to have forgiven me for being a psycho idiot that night and everything is good and I am very happy to be with him :)

Yesterday was a beautiful warm sunny day, up in the 80s, so SB picked me up in the afternoon and we rode his Honda down through PB and up to La Jolla and found a beautiful grassy spot on a cliff and watched the birds and the surfers and skimboarders and even saw a sea lion making her way up the coast! It’s sooo much fun riding on the back of the little Honda. We rode down all these narrow little back streets in La Jolla and looked at the fancy houses.

image

And today I spent mainly lying on the couch, recovering from going out yesterday. It’s very very frustrating to know that I will pay for a couple hours of fun with, potentially, a few days of being so tired I can barely move, but oh well, that’s how it is. At least I have a comfy couch to rest on. And QuizUp to amuse me. If you have an i-device or an android device and you enjoy quiz games, install QuizUp (it’s free) and play with me! Search for “kayray” and, from among the multiple kayrays, choose the one with the same picture that’s on the top right corner of my blog here.

Oh, here’s a hat I knit a couple months ago:

2014-02-06 18.58.18

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Literal Videos

April 1st, 2014 — 9:25pm

I’m taking this super-great class on coursera, “Music’s Big Bang: The Genesis of Rock ‘n Roll” and I’m learning so much! I don’t usually do the peer-reviewed assignments for coursera classes, because in my experience my peers tend not to understand how to grade things fairly, but the assignment for this class is to make a timeline, which not only sounds like fun but will also really help me to retain the things I’ve learned.

So while looking around for free online timeline tools, I bumped into someone else’s timeline of memes. I managed not to get too distracted, but I did notice the entry for “literal videos”, which I had forgotten about. Remember those? Most of them have been taken down from youtube for copyright infringement, but I did find the first one ever made, “Take Me On”, which is pretty great, and an old favorite, “Under the Bridge”.

“Sometimes I sing under lights that are purple. Sometimes I’m shirtless, and I tilt my head…”

I managed to stop looking for Literal Videos and worked on my timeline a bunch today. By the way, there’s plenty of time for you to catch up if you want to join me in the class. We’re only three weeks in and the deadline for the weekly quizzes isn’t till the class ends in May.

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The Two Towers, Book 2, Ch 2 The Passage of the Marshes

April 1st, 2014 — 4:38pm

The Two Towers, Book 2, Chapter 2

Two Towers Bk 2: 02 The Passage of the Marshes

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missing posts: an explanation

March 28th, 2014 — 9:29am

Regular readers might notice that I’ve taken down a few recent posts. I’m going through some personal problems and it was really helping me to write about my feelings here, but I was starting to have difficulty in deciding how much to share and how much to keep to myself. I need to make all those posts private so I can keep writing about my Difficult Situation without editing myself too much.

Many thanks to all of you who messaged, commented, and emailed. Your emotional support really helped.

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Dream a Little Dream

March 18th, 2014 — 8:30pm

“Dream a Little Dream”, played a bit shakily on the ukulele. Not perfect but good enough to share :)

The chords are here: http://www.alligatorboogaloo.com/uke/tabs/050811.html
(I skip the A6 chord in the bridge; it’s difficult and unnecessary.)

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OB Farmers’ Market

March 13th, 2014 — 4:39pm

Yesterday I met up with SB in Ocean Beach for the weekly farmers’ market. We held hands and walked around and looked at all the stalls, and bought oranges and sambusas, and then we went down to the shore and sat on the sea wall and ate and talked and watched the people and the water. Ocean Beach is still kind of rough-and-tumble, not too touristy, with lots of barefooted dreadlocked hippy-kids selling handmade hemp jewellery and attempting to play guitar for tips. Lol. Exactly the same as when I used to go there 20 years ago.

A lady sitting next to us on the sea wall introduced us to her tiny white mongrel puppy dog, Petunia, which was wearing a little red dress with hearts printed on it. A very sweet dog and a nice lady.

It was lovely, just sitting there, watching the sun go down, listening to the birds and the waves and the people and the wind, smelling the smoke from the food stalls at the market.

Here’s the almost-sunset:

We got ice cream too. I had huckleberry! I’m always excited to find a berry-flavoured ice cream. I don’t know why Black Raspberry isn’t popular in California. Boy were my hands sticky after oranges and ice cream, heh.

When it started to get cold we walked back up Newport and looked in the windows and went in to a couple of shops. In a dollar bin at Cow Records I found the Bob Newhart record that Pete Campbell is listening to in his office in one of my all-time favorite Mad Men episodes, “New Amsterdam”! SB bought it for me :)

Gonna listen to it now while I knit the edging onto my Girasole shawl:

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The Two Towers, Book 2, Ch 1 The Taming of Smeagol

February 28th, 2014 — 3:04pm

Here we go with the first chapter of book 2!

Two Towers Bk 2: 01 The Taming of Smeagol

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last weekend

February 26th, 2014 — 3:28pm

Last weekend was soooo nice. SB came over on Friday after work, and I made pizza and we watched Mad Men and hung around.

Saturday we just lazed around all day, talked, made soup, went to the Apple store, watched TV — so nice and lazy.

Sunday was sunny and warm-ish and we were up pretty early so we went out to the boardwalk in PB. Had breakfast, walked (slowly) up to the pier, went out and watched the waves, saw a pod of huge dolphins swimming south, watched the surfers. Then we rented a tandem bike and rode 17 miles up and down the boardwalk and around the bay. He pedaled and I rested my feet on the frame and watched the people and the ocean and everything. Gosh it was fun! I didn’t even get much of a sunburn because a) it’s WINTER and b) I remembered to apply sunscreen twice, yay me. (I have this new Badger sunscreen that smells nice and doesn’t burn my throat if I put it on my lips so it’s less of a chore.) I did burn the backs of my hands a bit.

We stopped for lunch at 5 Guys — first time I’d eaten there and now I know why it’s so popular! They make a great grilled veggie sandwich, yum. And we had ice cream at a place that makes ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies, though that’s too much sweet stuff for me so I had a nice basic coffee ice cream cone :)

It was so lovely to be out in the sun and fresh air for hours, and to see all the happy people enjoying the beach.

There’s this huge pelican statue near the pier. He’s wearing a cravat and waistcoat for some reason. I guess California pelicans are snappy dressers. Lol.

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The Two Towers, Bk 1, Ch 10 & 11

February 16th, 2014 — 5:59pm

Hey, Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are the last two chapters in Book 1 :)

Two Towers Bk 1: 10 The Voice of Saruman
Two Towers Bk 1: 11 The Palantir

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LEGO and Uke

February 12th, 2014 — 9:55am

We saw the LEGO movie on Saturday morning and had such a good time! It was so well made — great cast, well-written, funny but dark, visually perfect (CGI that makes you almost think it’s stop-motion). One of those movies with plenty of entertainment for the little kids and also deep subtle stuff for the big kids. Thought-provoking, even. The happy LEGO people singing about how awesome everything is while the surveillance cameras watch. How important is it to follow the instructions? How do you decide if an idea is dumb? And yes, I got all choked up near the end. Of course.

I don’t think I’ve seen a kids’ movie this good since the Toy Story films.

Can’t get the song out of my head. If you saw it, you know what I mean. At first I thought it was satirical… but the more I hear it the more honest it sounds. Hey, everything is pretty awesome, you know! It all depends on your attitude.

A Nobel prize, a piece of string, you know what’s awesome? Everything!

Also: I don’t remember if I mentioned that I borrowed Chloe’s ukulele around Christmas so I could learn some carols, but then I got sick and did nothing for 2 months. A few weeks ago (it was when I had the “Mad World” obsession) I dug out her uke again, found the chords for Mad World, and learned it. And had fun! I love to sing, and the uke is so simple and quiet that I can plunk along on the chords and sing with my little soft voice and have a fine old time. So I kept playing and learning more songs. Pretty much any song you can think of, you can find the chords online.

I told my lovely Aunt how much I was enjoying my borrowed uke and she sent me a uke of my very own! It arrived yesterday and I played from about 3pm till bedtime. It’s a “Fluke”.

Ukes are lightweight and the nice soft nylon strings don’t cut my fingers up so I can play for hours on end. Which I do. In the afternoon when I’m too tired to do anything I put on the TV and practice my uke. When I first started playing, I wanted to learn “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” (George Harrison-style) but the chords were too difficult. Yesterday I tried again and it wasn’t a struggle at all! Proud of myself.

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Hope Wrap Dress

February 6th, 2014 — 3:13pm

I saw “American Hustle” last week (great movie); it takes place in the late 70s and the costuming, hair, sets, etc., were perfect. I noticed that one of the main characters wore a few different Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses, which made me lust for one of my own. So I found a free online pattern for a similar wrap dress and went to the awful fabric store for some stretch cotton — scored big with a green and white op-art print!

The free pattern is here:
Hope Wrap Dress

Make sure to print the test square first! Also make sure your printer is printing at 100%. Tape all the pieces together with just a bit of tape at the matching marks; then, when you’re sure it’s all matched up right, add more tape as needed.

The pattern is only one size (34) but it fits me almost perfectly. I had to modify the side seams (3/8″ instead of 5/8″) to give myself a little extra room, and I shortened the sleeves by 4 inches. Next time I’ll buy 3 yards of fabric — 2.5 was really pushing it and I had to piece together the binding and ties.

It’s an easy pattern – only front, back, and sleeves — but if you’re a beginning seamstress you’ll want a knowledgeable friend to guide you.

My awesome fabric:

Pattern taped together and ready to cut:

Finished it today! My head is not actually ENORMOUS. I hope when Henry is around sometime he’ll help me get a better photo:

Now I have to wait until the weather warms up before I can wear it! Maybe by August. Ha.

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The Two Towers, Bk 1, Ch 9: Flotsam and Jetsam

February 5th, 2014 — 10:51am

Another chapter!

Two Towers Bk 1: 09 Flotsam and Jetsam

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“Icons”

February 5th, 2014 — 10:19am

Henry sent me this link to an amazing short film. It’s an ad for the Sunday Times Culture section, which I now have a nearly uncontrollable urge to read:

So beautiful. And something for everyone — Rodin, Gump, Mad Men, Michelangelo, Reservoir Dogs, Daft Punk. I love the little touches, like the way Draper’s sleeve and collar are lighted, and the perfect hand-makeup for the Michelangelo vignette.

Want to know how it was made? Here ya go. This blows my mind. It’s a glorious ballet.

Stunning, no?

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three movies

February 2nd, 2014 — 9:01pm

I watched three really great new-to-me movies over the last few days:

“Cold Fever” (1995), the story of a young Japanese man traveling through Iceland to perform a ritual for his dead parents. This was such a lovely movie. Besides the beautiful visuals, what really struck me was the way the movie portrayed that feeling of total disorientation you get when you travel to another country, and also the terrific jumble of humans that Hirata meets on his travels — most of them helpful and kind, others not so much, and all of them interesting.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109028/

“Kicking and Screaming” (1995): newly-graduated college students trying to figure out life. Sweet and funny, with appealing characters, and the dialogue was soooooo well written. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113537/

“Kicking and Screaming” was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, who also wrote and directed

“Frances Ha” (2012) — about a young woman in NYC trying to figure out life. :) Awesome dialogue and interesting characters, and I fell in love with Frances. It’s refreshing to see a movie with a female protagonist whose life isn’t defined by finding a man! Also Adam Driver was in it! (Adam from “Girls”) He’s always so much fun to watch.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2347569/

Yup, three quiet, gentle, well-crafted movies about people interacting with each other. My favorite kind. :)

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The Two Towers, Bk 1, Ch 7 & 8

January 29th, 2014 — 12:07pm

Two more chapters!

Two Towers Bk 1: 07 Helm’s Deep
Two Towers Bk 1: 08 The Road to Isengard

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Goodbye Pete Seeger

January 28th, 2014 — 8:16am

He’s gone. I knew it would happen soon after he lost his wife a few months ago. But it’s still hard to believe he’s actually gone, the man who’s been singing to me since before I can remember. Oh Pete. I feel like a member of my family has died.

The NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

“The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”

A handful of favorites:

The Hobo’s Lullaby:

Little Birdie (Live!)

The Ballad of Aimee McPherson

Leatherwing Bat

Henry my Son

Mrs. McGrath

What did you Learn in School?

Poor Little Turtledove

Abiyoyo

The Eerie Canal

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The Two Towers, Bk1, Ch 6

January 27th, 2014 — 3:11pm

Another really beautiful chapter. I love the bond that the members of the Fellowship have formed.

Two Towers Bk 1: 06 The King of the Golden Hall

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Star Trek

January 26th, 2014 — 8:54am

I’ve been wanting to re-watch Next Gen, since i haven’t seen it since it originally aired, pretty much, and I have memories of it being pretty good (some of the time).

I started with Season 1 a while back and found it next to unwatchable. So I asked around on the internet and among friends and relations: when does Next Gen get GOOD? The consensus seems to be “season three”.

So I watched the first ep of season 3 a couple months ago, and Henry and I watched the second ep last night. Hmm. Stiff, clunky, poorly-written to an almost unbelievable extent, boring camera work, and I think that instead of auditioning actors for supporting roles, they just grabbed random people off the street and handed them a script.

It was “Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” bad. Hilarious.

So then we watched an ep of TOS and, by comparison, it was a Shakespeare play performed by fine actors and filmed by a genius. Episode: “The Galileo Seven”. The cinematography was interesting! The story was compelling! The actors ACTED! The sets, though simple, were attractive. Even the music was appealing. Sure, the “Spock is a Vulcan and has no emotions — but wait! When the chips are down, he’s as human as anyone!” angle was perhaps overplayed… but you’ve got to remember that when it originally aired that was a new story and not yet part of our cultural language.

I’ll keep slogging through Next Gen. I KNOW there are some good episodes in there somewhere. But thank goodness I’ll always have TOS to fall back on when I need that “Star Trek” feeling in my soul.

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