castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Yuletide fic is done. There's some parts of it I think I could've done better, but it's a decent story, and I hope the recipient will like it.

Presents are basically ready. There's a stuffed toy I'd like to finish for Middle Son's stocking, but if I don't finish it, that's okay; it's not like he's going to be short on presents.

I'd still like to send out a holiday letter, but I'll probably wait and do it as a New Year's letter. (I don't usually bother, but since some of my relatives might not have heard that Oldest Son moved to Belgium with his dad, this is the year it'd make sense to do one.)

Tree is up.

Yes, the tree is hanging upside-down from a board attached to the entertainment center.  This is how we childproof.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Fun things to do with babies, #5924: Sing the opening of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" when they first manage to stand up unsupported. I suspect this kid's going to walk much sooner than his brothers did.

Tangentially, I saw 2001 for the second time a few weeks back, over twenty years after my first viewing. Treating it as a visual experience rather than a story made it work much better for me; I understand better now why it's considered a great movie.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. It is not Good Adult Behavior to put off finally filing taxes until a government shutdown is imminent. (Especially when we're theoretically getting a substantial refund -- sheesh! Why did we take so long to pull together that last pile of data?)

2. Note to self: do not say you're going to check the leather gaydar when you mean the weather radar.

3. Youngest Son is probably *not* the reincarnation of one of my late cats, even though he can endlessly amuse himself by batting rolling things around the floor.

3a. But if he is, let's hope he's the one that was a pleasant and laid-back cat, not the cat who had some serious personality issues.

4. At the urging of my parents, who gave me seasons 1-5, I have started watching Big Bang Theory (very slowly, as my video-watching time is limited). So far, I find it hilarious, but also find the personalities scarily familiar.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Happy (U.S.) Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

2. Oldest son has gotten pretty good at sweeping the floor and cleaning up his own mess, though he still has to be prompted to do it.

3. Middle son has added Godzilla and Shaun the Sheep to his fandoms.

4. Youngest son is mouth-testing the world, and the days where we could leave him in one spot without him rolling away are over.

5. I have tried my first MOOC (massive open online course), an overview of ancient Greek history, and am in the middle of my second, an intro to programming in Python. Opinion so far: Great for continuing education and for things that can be machine-graded or that have a clear rubric for easy peer-grading. I wouldn't want to pay college tuition rates for a MOOC, though; if I'm paying college tuition, I want the chance for actual interaction with the professor (it may be hard to get in a lecture class of 150 students, but it's nearly impossible in an online class of several thousand) and to be evaluated by either the professor or by someone who's studied the subject, not by someone who doesn't know any more than I do about it.

6. I'm having fun with my spinning wheel.

7. And I'm still using my spindles.

8. I'm in the home stretch of a sweater that I've been working on for six and a half years. (And when that's done, only 25 knit and crochet works-in-progress to finish.)

9. It is unlikely that I'll finish this shawl before Hobbit Part II, given that it takes me 20-30 minutes to knit a row when I have kid-free time to work on it and I still have about 150 rows of the body to go, plus the border. But I can dream.

10. I'm not writing. I'm okay with that right now; Not Yet Dead showed me that I'm still capable of writing a novel-length work. When I'm getting more sleep and can get a dependable chunk of uninterrupted time, or possibly when I get a story idea that I want badly enough to write, I'll write again.

11. I've been rereading the entirety of Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries for the first time in several years. Amazing how she can convey so much in a short phrase.

12. Department of "I may not be reading this as the author meant it": When Sayers describes Charles Parker as evangelical, does that imply he's in a different Christian denomination than CoE, or just a more low-church branch of CoE?

13. Department of "An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered": Friday night we had a massive rainstorm (which, given that we're still in a drought, I welcomed), and while I was giving my ex a ride to the bus stop, a belt slipped, causing several functions to fail. I now have a new appreciation for power steering. Fortunately I was able to get to a side street before the car completely died, and middle son was unphased by sitting in the car in the rain for twenty minutes while we waited for Spouse to pack up the other kids and the toolbag. (He discovered how to draw in the fog on the window.) Spouse put the belt back in place and recharged the battery, and we all got home safely. I am happy to be married to someone who is capable of and willing to fix a car in a downpour.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Goodbye, slowly-dying half-rotted tree in the front yard.  You were an awesome place for my oldest son to climb when he was younger (sadly, you're too rotten to hold his weight now), and for a tree of your species you were surprisingly long-lived (all three of the companies we called for bids said "OMG that's the largest one of those I've ever seen").  I'm just happy that we no longer have to worry about you falling on the roof, the cars, or the neighbor's fence.  (Also, apologies to the large lizard who may have been living in there.  You're welcome to move into our attic or one of Spouse's parts cars if you find that environment congenial.)  (This offer does not extend to the large roaches who were also living in the rotted trunk.)

2. Have been briefly hit with the temptation to use one of my favorite ancestral surnames as part of the impending sprog's name, but will resist.  Though "Sinn" would be a great name for a theologian.

3. I like being 37 weeks pregnant better than I like being 10 weeks pregnant.  Yeah, I'm not precisely comfortable, but I'm not nauseated.

4. We have diapers, onesies, and a carseat.  I finished all the Christmas shopping.  If I finish writing up how to do that last portion of my work while I'm on maternity leave, then that'll pretty much guarantee that Ethelbert will hold out for Mayan Calendar Reset Day to move out.

5.  However, if I'm still pregnant by time <i>The Hobbit</i> opens, that will totally be my attempt to induce labor.

6. It turns out that you *can* get tired of the NPR Weekend Edition theme if a four-year-old sings it enough times.

7. One of the fun things to do with newborns is play music that they heard a lot in utero and watch them get this "hey! I recognize that!" expression.  With oldest son, it was Durufle's Requiem; with younger son, it was the music we dance to at my folk dance group (and my mom pointed out that he clearly liked some tunes better than others).  With this one? It's probably going to be the <i>QI</i> theme.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Latest ruled-out baby name: Silvio Machiavelli.

2. I'm trying to figure out whether spouse is serious about suggesting "Enzo" as a name.  In any case, no.

3. And on the other side, spouse is not convinced that "Richmond" would be a good way to name kid after his grandmother Virginia.

4. This is probably going to end up another case of looking at the kid, looking at the birth certificate paperwork that we have to fill out before going home, and saying "what the heck, we'll name him [one of our two original options]."  Though most likely we still have two months to figure it out.

5. The preschooler may have figured out how to operate the iPod and similar devices, but he hasn't quite realized that any Youtube video you can watch on one device you can watch on the other device or the desktop, which to me is the more important bit of cognition.  He's starting to get there, though.

6. Hooray for cold fronts!  Today's high: 68F/20C.  A nice change from yesterday's high of 88F.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Four-year-old plus swift and ball winder: wow, he was interested in that for a lot longer than I'd have expected.  He wound about a hundred yards of yarn; I only had to rescue it from entanglement five times (from when he started winding in the opposite direction).  Overall, kept him occupied for a bit, and no harm done to the yarn (but don't try this with laceweight).

2. Highs are still in the 90s F/low 30s C, but we have nonetheless managed to get our first household cold of the season. Bleah.

3. Today's time sink:  Mean Fat Old Bat. Book review blog, mostly romances; first blog in a while that I've found so entertaining that I keep hitting "Older Posts".  Recommended.

4. Still gestating assiduously.  Approximately 75% through.  Still in denial about the fact that there will be a newborn in the house in December. Still hoping to take advantage of one local movie theater's Baby Day -- won't be the optimal environment for seeing Hobbit Part I, but beats not seeing it in the theater at all. (And if Ethelbert runs more than a week late, what better way to invoke Murphy's Law than by trying to see Hobbit in opening week?)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. At dinner with a friend the other night, I mentioned that I was thinking about seeing The Avengers, which led to her trying to wrap her brain around Ang Lee having made a Hulk movie, which inevitably led to Austen. Forget Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters; the ultimate S&S rewrite would be "ELINOR SMASH!"

2. I did see The Avengers and quite enjoyed it, in spite of having very little familiarity with the comic characters and not having seen any of the previous movies (and having read several analyses and spoilers already).

2a. You know you're watching way too much Sherlock when you look at Mark Ruffalo's facial expressions and suddenly start picturing Andrew Scott playing Bruce Banner.

3. Confusing Anthony Stewart Head with Murray Head leads to weird mental images.

4. Tangential to 3: The idea of a musical version of the Reichenbach Falls episode of Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes Superstar, is wrong in so many ways, yet fits so well....
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. The Castiron household's idea of fusion cuisine: paneer makhani on matzah bread.

2. After reading this blog post on "A Scandal in Belgravia", I am now imagining a retelling of "The Yellow Wallpaper" in the Sherlockverse as an Irene/wallpaper story, presumably with a drugged Sherlock as the narrator.

3. The good thing about spring break: I can actually find parking at work.

4. The bad thing about spring break: SXSW traffic everywhere else.

5. The yarn from a few weeks back is now a scarf.

photo )
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. How fricking long does it take for me to write this blasted chapter 9 on the stupid Fic of Doom? Way too damn long. Argh!

2. This week's topic of discussion in the Castiron household: What if International Rescue were staffed by the Teletubbies rather than by the Tracy family?

3. Certain episodes of certain television shows really do not hold up well to being watched in 5-10 minute segments over several weeks. The acting still works, and the emotional tension if anything is increased in spite of my being spoiled, but the dubious parts of the plot are, well, dubious.
cut for vague spoilers 3a and 3b )
3c. While I think the writers will be able to pull off the smaller fix-it believably, previous episodes have caused me to lose faith in their ability to pull off the bigger picture fix-it. (That said, if they decided "you know, we've set up a problem that really *isn't* fixable -- let's run with it as broken and see what that does to the stories"? That would be *awesome*.)

4. After 30+ years of turning yarn into sweaters and socks and other useful objects, I'm not particularly impressed by my ability to do so. But turning fluff into yarn? That's still *cool.* (I'm also very glad that technology has made it something I can do occasionally for fun rather than something I have to do to clothe my family.)

cut for photo of yarn and detailed specs )
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. This was not a year I remotely cared who won the Super Bowl.

2. One of the best times to go grocery shopping in the U.S. is a half hour after the Super Bowl starts.

3. On the way home from our lunch outing yesterday, younger son recited the entirety of this episode of Pocoyo. Which means that a. we're letting him spend far too much time watching stuff on the computer, b. his memory is pretty darned good, c. I need to listen to other stuff he's saying and see if he's doing this with other shows -- older son often echos lines from movies, but that's the autism there, and d. if he ever does it with the right accent, I'm signing him up for acting classes when he's old enough.

4. Why am I drawn to punk and heavy metal music lately? What is it about loud thrashing fast music that's so damn satisfying? Is it psychic caffeine, an outlet for rage, or what?

5. Shiner's current seasonal brew, Dortmunder Spring Ale, is pretty good.

6. I hope they're going to do the Ruby Redfruit again for this summer. Beer brewed with grapefruit juice and ginger -- sounds weird, but turns out to hit the spot when it's 102F out.

7. Does there exist a fic where Sally Donovan and Martha Jones go out for a pint and a debate on how best to cope with annoying geniuses?

8. Have been spoiled, but haven't actually seen that bit; summary data inclines me to suspect that I might have done the same thing in the character's shoes, but we'll see what I think when I actually watch it and find out how much of their actions were based on evidence and how much on seeing what they wanted to believe.

9. Speaking of spoiled, I really need to get back to watching DW season 6.

10. I clearly do not talk much about fandom with the spouse, as he had never heard the term "slash" before. (The topic came up because he was seeing homoerotic subtext in an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine. Make of that what you will.)

11. Now I want to request Thomas/Diesel 10 for next Yuletide. Which is simply Wrong.

12. But not as wrong as the new Thomas episodes where the trains' faces move. That's so wrong it makes kitten trees look right.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. I finished reading my gift fic from Yuletide. I love it; I can see it as Kincaid!Holmes and Watson's backstory, and the last line had me chortling.

2. My recipient appears to have liked their fic :-). Yay!

3. I have a slew of windows open with Yuletide fics and with other fics I've been reading. It is a bit of mental whiplash to go to one window, start reading a paragraph talking about "John", and suddenly realize that no, this is John Adams (1776) rather than John Watson (Gondal crossover incarnation).

4. The thought of either John Watson talking to Benjamin Franklin or John Adams talking to Sherlock Holmes is to be banished to the farthest reaches of my mind.

4. Apparently I'm getting one more year of laid-back Christmas due to younger child not yet getting the concept of presents as things he's supposed to be interested in unwrapping. Works for me!

5. And when I did finally get him to unwrap the Pocoyo DVD, he was utterly delighted. "Oh my gosh! Pocoyo!" (I have no idea where he picked up "oh my gosh", as neither of us parents say it, but hey, at least I don't have to worry about him saying it around older relatives.)

6. Stephen Fry saying, paraphrased, "It's much more fun to get clean if you've gotten a little dirty first", is a grand example of phrases that make the kids' video that much more entertaining for the parents.

7. I got Doctor Who season 6 as the present for me & spouse. Yeah, now that I've read all the spoilers, I'm finally getting to watch it. Story of my fannish life.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Survived a trip to my parents', involving plane travel with the chronologically challenged and a few afternoons with seven boys (all under the age of eight except for the autistic preteen) running around together. It was great fun, and it's going to take me weeks to catch up on my DW/LJ reading. If I usually comment on your fic and haven't lately, that's why. (If you're writing a particular Sherlock crossover, I'm saving it as my reward reading for after I get another chunk of the Fic of Doom done.)

2. Trip threw off my 60-for-60 writing; will write a makeup fic later.

3. The ACD/BBC Sherlock Holmes Crossover Fic of Doom is now about a third done, I think. (Just under 20K words in the coherent in-order draft, plus another 20k of later scenes, and I expect anywhere from 10 to 30k later fill-in yet to be written.)

4. The working title is "Not Dead Yet", which is thematically appropriate but, I suspect, too closely linked to Monty Python to work as the actual title for a story that isn't intended to be crack. I still haven't found anything I like better, though.

5. If anyone is interested in betaing what I've got in the coherent draft so far, I'm at the point where it'd be useful. (Given the time of year, I don't expect a quick turnaround; I'd hoped to finish before Sherlock season 2 airs in the UK, but I don't see that happening.)

6. Damn, I've got to get my Yuletide fic written too. (800 words so far, and getting it over 1000 will be easy, but I think it's more like a 3000-word story. Ack!)

7. I want to see a game that's a crossover between Angry Birds and Pocoyo. It would of course be called Sleepy Birds and have a plain white background; you catapult Sleepy Bird at a picture of an object, and if you hit it, Pocoyo jumps out and shouts the object's name.

8. Yes, I have a preschooler. How could you tell? (Quick! Under the table!)

9. I'm debating whether to try and see the new RDJ!Holmes movie in the theater. On the one hand, I wasn't especially enamored of the first one (aspects had some merit, but there's a reason I never bought the DVD). On the other hand, I now know to approach the franchise as steampunk action flick rather than Sherlock Holmes story, and if I'm viewing it that way, big screen is the way to see this puppy.

10. There are actually three movies out now or coming soon that I want to see enough to consider seeing in the theater. This has not been the case in years.

11. Writing this post is not helping me make progress on Yuletide story or Fic of Doom.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
[on my commenting that a local restaurant was now open for lunch as well as supper]

Castiron: Yeah, either they're doing enough business to justify it, or they've paid off enough debt that they can afford it.

Spouse: They've paid off enough dead? What?

Castiron: Oh yes. Zombies are of vital importance to the restaurant industry; if they don't support you, your restaurant's doomed. That's why every chef bribes zombies. Why do you think that Zagat starts with Z?

***

Later over lunch we were stumped by a profound question: are there any actors who have appeared in both a Jane Austen adaptation and a Mel Brooks movie? (ETA: Thanks to [personal profile] lastscorpion, I now know that Cloris Leachman of Frau Blücher fame was in a Sense and Sensibility adaptation that I'd never heard of before.)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Still alive. Massively behind on DW/LJ reading due to Holmesian Fic of Doom. On balance, I'm okay with that, since it means I'm actually writing.

2. 11K words in the in-order draft, plus another 15K in out-of-order scenes. And given past experience, by time I write the remaining scenes and transitions, this thing's going to hit at least 40K words. Possibly longer. We'll see.

3. After I finish this fic, I really need to see if I can muddle through original fic again.

4. Sometime in the next couple weeks I need to write my Yuletide fic too.

5. At least I got a fandom I can handle. And I know what the scenario is for the story. So that's something.

6. If you have any interest in Eastern European folk dances and you have the opportunity to take a workshop with Cristian Florescu and Sonia Dion, do it. They're excellent teachers.

7. Drat, I still haven't written my Hound of the Baskervilles 60 for 60 fic.

8. Woof.

9. Also attempting to knit a pair of socks by December 12. I'm making better progress than I'd expected, but I'm only about 30% through them. However, postage to Canada being what it is, I have motivation to finish in time to give to the recipient in person rather than ship them.

10. There is water falling from the sky, and the temperature is below 70F/20C. Am I really still in Texas?

11. What would the Hound and Old Yeller have to say to each other if they meet in the canine afterlife?

12. Finished plying a skein of yarn that I'd been spinning for a few weeks. I've been knitting for over 30 years; I'm jaded by the fact that one can turn yarn into sweaters/socks/sundries. But being able to turn fluffy stuff into yarn? That's cool.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Why do the housing lists for folk dance camp keep disappearing in my house? (Besides the obvious reason that the house is exceedingly cluttered and I'm clearly not choosing a consistent place to put them.)

2. Things to be thankful for: I can afford to get a replacement computer while I'm figuring out what's wrong with the old one and whether it's fixable.

3. Watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with spouse and spuds. Spouse connected the climactic battle sequence with both Robin Hood: Men in Tights and the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (but not all three together, which would have been truly bizarre). He passes for normal, but I'm really not the weirdest person in this household.

4. Got my Yuletide assignment; there are actually *two* requests in it that I'd be comfortable writing. I doubt I have time to do both (especially with the Sherlock Holmes Fic of Doom still unfinished), but we'll see.

5. (The SHFoD: ACD/BBC crossover with a side of a mystery fandom. Hoping to have it ready for beta & Brit-picking soon, though knowing my writing variability, "soon" could mean either "next week" or "July 2012". At least it's AU enough that BBC season 2 shouldn't joss it.)

6. What I love about the iPod isn't just having my own personal soundtrack whenever I want one; it's being able to hear the insides of pieces. There are all these nifty harmonies and countermelodies and background rhythms that I simply don't hear when I'm listening to music on speakers, but with earbuds? I hear them. It gives me one of the things I loved about being in band/orchestra/choir -- hearing more of the parts instead of just the whole.

7. Drat, I hope I didn't leave those housing lists at work, because I don't feel like recreating them.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Resolutions for the coming twelve months:

1. I will refrain from hand-dyeing badgers.

2. I will beware the Ides of March.

3. I will not talk friends in the local folk dancing group into making a Lord of the Rings/Lord of the Dance crossover video.

4. I will not turn my house into an imitation Christo & Jeanne-Claude artwork.

5. I will not get involved in a land war in Asia.
and a bunch more )
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Visiting an art museum during lunch, I saw this portrait and immediately thought "Frodo Baggins!"

(Combination of the hair and the shirt, I suspect.)

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