Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'life in the big city' category

Honeydukes Butterscotch Pudding

August 22, 2007 11:39 am

Because there haven’t been enough Harry Potter posts around here lately…

Cambridge restaurant offers an HP inspired pudding.

Pug and I went to Upstairs on the Square once and it was very nice — if rather more up-scale than we were expecting (slightly awkward, but like I said, it was very nice). I can’t vouch for this dish myself, but I think the story is awesome.

The article gives their recipe, but I have no idea what the non-dairy substitute for heavy cream would be. It also looks like a lot of work and suggests the use of a blowtorch.

Hmm, new hair. That’s weird!

June 19, 2007 6:51 pm

I chopped it off for the benefit of wig-needing little people again. And this time shorter than it’s been in, oh, twenty years! So, no ponytails for a few months. I like it, though.

26justme.jpg It’s still just me. I figured out how to aim the camera at myself today, too. Stand in front of a reflective surface so you can see the reflection of the screen of the camera. Mirrors are the obvious choice; the glass on a framed picture worked well, too.
21face-shrug.jpg I dunno, what do you think?
I took this one in front of the mirror in my room, btw, before opting for the better light in the living room. No flash = no strange shadows!
23quizzical.jpg The fun little blur effect on the background is
100% It Just Happened. I like it.
27hey-you.jpg On this one I took the time to smudge away the reflection of my arm in my glasses, which you can still see in some of the other shots. So…there you have it! That’s what I did today!

I think mice are nice…but not today

June 6, 2007 9:24 am

Well, it’s been an eventful morning… and it’s not even ten-thirty.

I opened my door this morning after getting dressed and found a mouse staring back at me from about three feet away. I closed the door again.

This is the part where I look like a wuss. I don’t mind rodents outside; I don’t even mind the mice that sometimes scurry around the subway tracks. My brothers used to have gerbils, for crying out loud, and I held them all the time. Poke had a mouse for a weekend once and I held him, too. But this morning, I let an animal smaller than the palm of my hand barricade me in my room for about twenty minutes while I worked up the courage to go do something about it. And yes, when I cracked the door open at the end of that, the mouse was still sitting there.

By that time, I could hear my roommate and her boyfriend getting up and I was starting to run late myself, so I picked up my trash can (sans trashbag). The mouse was finally starting to move into the living room. This was doubly good: it wasn’t coming toward my room, and I could see that it was limping. When the gerbils got out at home, they were tough to catch, being fast and skittery. And then at least we didn’t mind picking them up.

The mouse had headed for the card table and cowered, making it, in the end, fairly easy for me to plonk the trash can over him. Jack slid a flattened paper bag under it and we carried bag, can, and mouse outside and released it. Probably going to be cat food pretty fast, but I’m inclined to cheer on the cat.

I saw one of our friendly maintenance guys while I was outside, and he said he would come by while I’m home during the day tomorrow — he was talking about traps; I want to figure out how it got in and plug whatever holes we might have (and I know there are a couple around the radiators). We’ve never seen mice in the apartment before and we haven’t noticed droppings or anything, so I’m more interested in prevention. Besides, as my roommate pointed out, if we woke up and found a mouse in a trap, we’d be pretty squeamish about that, too. (Unless it were something like a bucket trap…which might not be a bad idea. This version drowns the mouse — ew, wet mouse corpse to dispose of — but I think I’ve seen a version like that without the water, so you just have the mouse waiting for you at the bottom of the five-gallon bucket, and you go deposit him Somewhere Else. Pretty sure your average mousie couldn’t climb out of that big a bucket. And if so, get a ten-gallon bucket?)

At home, sometimes we’ll get little nocturnal lizards that slip in an open door when you come home at night and then hide in the house for days. Those are a beast to catch because if you don’t aim your tupperware (or whatever you’re trying to catch it in) quite right, the tail pops right off and you’ve got a writhing tail stuck to the wall. Ew, ew, ew. The mouse was lame, but he was all in one piece.

As a fun little coda, the word of the day from (yes, I’m a nerd and I get those e-mails) is abulia, which apparently means “a loss of volition or the ability to make decisions” (new one to me). Picture me peeking around the door and shuddering at a poor, helpless, lame, little mouse.

Being intolerant of the intolerant(so much for the moral high ground)

June 1, 2007 12:50 am

In the latest of a series of court cases that have come to resemble a game of Whack-a-Mole, Laura Mallory’s quest for the banning of Harry Potter from Gwinnet County schools has been thwarted once again. A short article in the Chicago Sun-Times quotes her as saying “I maybe need a whole new case from the ground up.” Ya think? Whack!

Which reminds me of the white bearded madman sitting in front of the Unitarian Universalist church in Harvard Square. He had set himeself up in a lawnchair with a couple of signs, handing out fliers that accused UUs* and specifically Cambridge’s UU First Parish Church** of anti-Semitism.

Understand here that UUs tend to value tolerance, acceptance, and understanding very, very highly. The first time I walked by, I laughed. Around places like Boston Common and Harvard Square, there’s always someone promoting a pet cause. A few weeks ago there was someone making similar accusations about and in front of an Episcopal Church, come to think of it. Might have been the same guy. At any rate, when I walked back by, I gave into morbid curiosity and took a flier.

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This is what happens…

May 29, 2007 12:21 am

…when I forget to read my comics for a weekend.

Vogon poetry joke on Get Fuzzy.

Then the next day:
“I’ve been waiting for you, ObiWilco.”

Meanwhile, Multiplex does Shrek 3. Which I haven’t seen, just for note. Movie cliche, pop culture reference!

Meanwhile, my apartment has been a veritable hotel lately — first the roommate’s family here for her graduation, then the boyfriend here for his birthday, then the college friend here until she could start to move into the apartment where she’s subletting a room for the summer. All very nice and good fun, but nice to be back to normal-ish.

My six-week summer class started up last Monday and meets two nights a week. I like the prof, and the class is an interesting mix of people for whom this is their last class, people who are half done; MAs and MFAs; even a few juniors and seniors mixed in with the grad students. It’s a copyediting course, so it’s basically a lot of exercises in being nitpicky, which — hey, it’s me — is actually kind of fun.

Identity crisis?

May 11, 2007 12:25 pm

I don’t know why I would think that “Lady Vulcan” would be a particulalrly unique pseudonym. So why am I so weirded out by the discovery that someone else on the net uses the same handle?

Unless I’m actually finding more than one other person, she’s a middle-aged woman who writes fan fic for Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, Stargate, and Angel, draws pictures that look like Elf’s did in middle school, and belongs to a message board for singles who love motorcycles. Just barely enough similarity of interest to be confusing.

After finding this person who may or may not be a single person, I continued to google. The University of Hawaii at Hilo and California University of Pennsylvania (located in California, PA, of course) are “The Vulcans,” which makes their women’s sports teams the “Lady Vulcans.” I also came up with some ’80s movie called A Hazard of Hearts in which one character is called “Lady Harriet Vulcan,” which amuses me. A synopses suggests that she’s not a nice character, but the part was played by none other than Diana Rigg, so at least that’s a comfort.

In other strange and fascinating news, there was a man near me on the T last night with a bicycle and a sketchbook. It looked like he was drawing some of the people around him on the train and I got a glimpse as I passed him to get off. One figure seemed to have the strap of a messenger bag across her chest, glasses, and wisps of hair falling out of her braid. Which would be me…

I miss watching all my artist friends in action. Love you girls.

Loreena’s latest

April 27, 2007 12:41 pm

When Loreena McKennitt’s latest album, An Ancient Muse, came out last Novemer, it was the first new material she had released in nine years. I don’t think she’s done a real tour in that time, either, so happening to be on the tour route has pretty much made my month! A singer, instrumentalist, composer, and lyricist who records under her own label, Loreena is a real inspiration and I admire her a great deal. So take any criticism that slips in with that in mind.

An Ancient Muse is perhaps not her strongest album to date (mind you, I have three candidates for that title), but it does have many lovely pieces. The style and sound are the Loreena we know and love, mixing the Middle Eastern influences she has explored since 1994’s The Mask and Mirror with the expressive Celtic palatte that marks all of her music. Muse reminds me of Mask and Mirror in that it seems to be set in a more Eastern atmosphere than recordings like 1997’s The Book of Secrets, which stays mostly in western Europe (“The Mummers’ Dance,” “Skellig,” “The Highwayman,” “Dante’s Prayer,” etc.), but looks to the East a few times along the way. Muse seems to live in Greece, Turkey, Arabia: the first track is called “Incantation,” but it seems also to be an invocation in the Homeric sense of calling for guidance from the album’s eponymous muse. Homer is more directly referenced later in the album through “Penelope’s Song,” a haunting call from Odysseus’s patient queen, and in between we visit “The Gates of Istanbul,” walk “Beneath a Phrygian Sky,” and water our camels at a “Caravanserai.” We only leave that space a couple of times, going to the Scottish border in “The English Ladye and the Knight” and putting on our yarmulkes to dance a “Sacred Shabbat.”

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Spring news

April 25, 2007 10:14 am

I realized that I have posted almost no actual news in the last month! It’s all been a bit mad.

My roommate and spent the middle of March apartment hunting, under the impression that we would have to move when our lease ran out on June 1. Our current building is gradually being rennovated and sold as condos, but as it turns out, that process is going more slowly than the owners anticipated (as I understand it, real estate is a buyer’s market right now), so they’re letting us renew the lease for another year. So that means I don’t get to be rid of our stained carpets, stained countertops, and finicky shower, but I am very glad to not have to move. Besides, I love the area around us, so I’m glad not to leave just yet.

School is almost finished for the spring — my last class is next Tuesday. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Research Paper Land, Group Presentation Land, and Final Project Land, but the end is in sight. Of course, there’s still a last paper, project revisions, and poetry revisions to do in the next week, but still — light, tunnel, yeah.

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Roommates and other funny people

April 8, 2007 12:08 pm

“We just got a nice new fish tank…the angelfish are in HEAVEN.”

“Do you have Cher-e-o-kee blood?”
-C., asking about the bag my cousing made for me that has the Cherokee alphabet on it. I think it’s hilarious — there should be a Native American rock band called Chereeokee, the Singin’ Indians.

“You’re not a Jedi for fun. That’s like your job.”
-L., my classmate. We were looking at an article that compared a young fisherman and his mentor to Luke and Obi-Wan.

“Christina, you can’t bring your author back from the dead…even though he may be from Transylvania.”
-G., my prof, reassuring my classmate. We were writing promotion plans for the manuscripts we are hypothetically publishing. Obviously her author can’t go on book tours, but his point was that she has the translators.

“I thought you were going to say ‘Oh, it’s in Rhode Island!'”
-R., my classmate, after I reveal (following considerable debate) that the house I have described in a poem is entirely metaphorical.

And on the Babylon 5 front, Sheridan has declared independance. A great episode — I love when Delenn gets to be a badass. Also just saw the two-parter that deals with the B4 timetravel storyline from season 1, which was several kinds of cool. My heart went out to Garibaldi, though. He’s in a coma when Sinclair gets reassigned, and now the guy comes through the station and all Michael gets is a last-minute note.

Spring break in Phoenix and what’s up here

March 19, 2007 12:39 am

Hello again! Get comfortable; this is a long one.

Phoenix was gorgeous, while Boston was cold, cold, cold two weeks ago. (We kept track. Phoenix: almost 70. Boston: 17. Etcetera.) Coming back to cold weather wasn’t too much of a wrench, though — last week we had some gorgeous weather, it almost felt like real spring! Meaning I went out Wednesday morning with NO hat, NO scarf, NO gloves! Fewer pieces to keep track of — I almost lost my hat on the subway a few weeks ago. I’d tucked it under my arm and it slipped out as I was leaving the subway station. Hit the cold air outside, missed it, and ran back. Lucky me, some wonderful person had picked it up and set it on top of a fire extinguisher! Nothing like starting the day with a scare! But I digress…

My first full day in Phoenix, we headed a little further south — Pug, me, brother C., and girlfriend A. — to spend the evening at Kitt Peak. Along the way we stopped at the Indian ruins at Casa Grande, as well as a Mexican place in Tucson that is notable for serving meat that they dry in what you might mistake for a birdhouse with mesh wire walls. Very tasty. We had so much good Mexican food last week.

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