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Thought of the Day [Sep. 25th, 2018|06:44 pm]
I have no room to look down on anyone else's TV/Netflix/whatever habits when I'm scrolling through being like, "Oh snap, there's a cheetah hunting an antelope! I'll watch the heck outta that!"

It doesn't matter that people have been filming cheetahs hunting antelopes for decades, and it's always gonna end in the same one of two outcomes every time.

It doesn't matter that you could point out, "Annie, you've watched probably over a hundred cheetahs hunt a hundred antelopes on a hundred different-but-actually-really-similar nature documentaries over the course of your life. You've got to have the gist of it by now. And you want to watch yet another one?"

Damn right I do. This one has slightly newer camera-panning technology!
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Football(?) [Sep. 22nd, 2018|06:54 pm]
It's September and I have facebook and this is going to sound weird, but... I'm always a little surprised when people are still super excited about Michigan football.

Like, I went to the games while I attended the school. I dressed in the colors. I knew if the team was doing well that year or not. It was fun. But I figured it was a thing we all did just because... I dunno, because it's fun to do coordinated activities when you're all in one place together.

But I get this bewildered feeling when people are still getting pumped about it over ten years later and I'm like, "Wait, you were actually... you actually cared about the football this whole time?"

I'm aware that I'm probably the weird one here. That's okay.
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In Which Our Heroine is a Little Overly Defensive [Sep. 14th, 2018|01:40 pm]
Every so often I have TextEdit up in the background to make quick notes. And when I start to misspell a word, the program pops up a fix suggestion. And I click it like, "Oh right, thanks." And then it fixes the word. But keeps it underlined in blue for a while.

I know that this is so that you can find it again if you "corrected" it by mistake or something, but I always read it as, "Remember that word you misspelled? Good thing I caught that. You're welcome." And it makes me furious. So I click around in the window until that little blue line goes away and that smug TextEdit isn't pointing at my recent spelling mistake anymore.
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Wednesdays [Sep. 7th, 2018|09:03 pm]
Reading a book on different types of minds: "He was born on a Wednesday, and Wednesdays were always blue."

I scoffed out loud, because that is utter nonsense.

Wednesdays are yellow.

Tuesdays are light blue, Mondays are dark blue, Sundays kinda bounce between purple and teal, so they pass through blue, but Wednesdays? Wednesdays are unequivocally yellow.

(That said, the book went on to talk about how this guy could perform amazing feats of memory and math. I certainly can't tell you what days of the week distant dates will fall on, and he can. So I dunno, maybe he gets to decide what color Wednesdays are, not me.)
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Coffee Thoughts [Sep. 7th, 2018|09:00 am]
I read a passage in a book by a physicist a few years ago that was explaining a theory of how a universe with entropy could still end up with all this cool, complex stuff. He posited that the beginning of the universe was a state of "low entropy," and then, like when you mix cream into coffee, a bunch of cool "stuff" can happen on the way from the low-entropy state to the high-entropy state:


“Those swirls in the cream mixing into the coffee? That’s us. Ephemeral patterns of complexity, riding a wave of increasing entropy from simple beginnings to a simple end. We should enjoy the ride.”

I never actually finished the book because I lost it or something, but that stuck with me, and now every morning when I make my coffee, I bear witness to the beverage equivalent of the heat death of the universe, and my non-caffeinated brain is in no state to handle that kind of heavy shit.
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Bottle Seller [Sep. 5th, 2018|12:20 pm]

What will be in your bottle? Nobody knows! Maybe it's whiskey, maybe it's facewash, maybe it's something else!
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Not Fooling Anyone [Aug. 24th, 2018|02:57 pm]
"You're purring a lot for a cat who wants me to think he's soooo sad."
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Dog Dream [Aug. 20th, 2018|07:35 am]
I had a brief dream last night that I was a dog. Like, my point of view was dog-height off the floor, my vision was bad, and my sense of smell was awesome. And anyway, I was snuffing around an airport at a baggage carousel, and suddenly, instead of carrying bags, the carousel started carrying pieces of pizza and open jars of peanut butter. And I ate them all with joy in my little doggy heart.

That was it.

I like the idea that I got some random dog's dream. Which would mean that some random dog ended up with a dream meant for me, and its little doggy mind is completely blown this morning.
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Second Summer [Aug. 19th, 2018|06:06 pm]
I was so proud of myself for handling the Austin summers so far. Getting the kids outside often, staying active, keeping a good attitude about it all, etc.

But I forgot that the hardest part of the summer here isn't June and July. It's not even August. It's September and October. Maybe the first few days of November? Second Summer.


Everybody else is getting excited about FALL and CHILL and JACKETS and I'm like, "I could crank the A/C enough to wear a jacket inside, but that sounds really expensive and wasteful."
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The Inside of My Head [Aug. 16th, 2018|11:49 am]
Nate and I were talking a while ago about what the insides of our heads would look like if they were physical spaces. I don't remember what he said, because I am a spouse who is apparently awesome at listening. But I wanted to write my own thoughts down somewhere.

So like, my actual house is relatively organized. Things go in boxes, boxes go in closets, etc. Standard stuff to keep us from panicking when we have people over for dinner.

The inside of my head, however, basically looks like this. You may notice that you can still pick your way through it, but all that shit is just right out there. And it's not even useful shit most of the time. It's just random shit. It's conversations from middle school and song lyrics and the memory of where my keys were that one time 2 weeks ago.

When I have something important to remember, I'll do the mental equivalent of painting it neon red and setting it on top of a stack somewhere. Then I'll probably see it when I need to.

Unless it gets accidentally buried under something else, then we're screwed.

(This is why I live and die by whiteboard to-do lists in real life. Without them, I am often floating around with a vague feeling that something needs to get done, but I won't remember what it was until I wake up at 3am that night and then can't stop thinking about it.)

To get the full effect, you also have to imagine fantastical little creatures crawling in and out of the piles, or clinging to the ceiling. These are Art Ideas, and I can either take the first one I see or go digging through piles to see if I can find any better ones.

Once a month during PMS, Mean Annie comes to crash on the couch, and she yells at me occasionally about what a dump this place is. She doesn't actually do anything to help though, she just whines that I don't even have the right kind of soda in the fridge.

There is a balcony too, for when I want some visual quiet. "The balcony" can be a vacation, or a couple glasses of wine. Or both. It's a nice break, but you can't stay out there too long, because you can't see any of the neon red things that need attention, or you'll miss one of the creatures swiping its tail across the stove and setting the whole place on fire.

(Edit: This required a photoshop. I added a ticker that tells me things related to the kids.


I have no idea if this is what other people's heads are like. It sounds kinda crappy as I describe it, but it's actually not so bad. You make it work.
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Sitting and Watching [Aug. 11th, 2018|08:44 am]
As I get older, I find I can enter this kind of partial-zen state, where I can be perfectly happy to sit on the porch and just look at things. This is generally not when the kids are running around, or when I've got some To-Do gnawing at the back of my brain, or if I've got some other Wildermyth-related idea that I'm working on.

But sometimes, when I'm caught up with tasks and I don't have my phone or laptop going, I can just sit and watch the world and exist. And for that moment, it's enough. It's a really, really satisfying feeling.

And then I realize holy crap, this must be what cats feel like all the time.
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Mid-to-Late July [Jul. 21st, 2018|03:28 pm]
The garden is back down to its off-season crew, aka just the herbs.

Well, technically there's one spindly grape tomato plant hanging on, but since we're going to be on vacation next week and there's no way it would pull through, I'd stopped watering it. The poor thing just decided to put out more flowers yesterday though, and it broke my heart in a stupid little way.

* * *

The art these days generally looks like this:


Putting different scenery in our Wildermyth mission maps is the first step to making a fight at say, a forge, feel different than a fight at a weaver-works.
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Thought of the Day [Jul. 3rd, 2018|09:24 am]
I know it's not the right time in my life for chickens. They require more commitment than I can give. They're smelly and need lots of protection and our neighborhood *technically* forbids them.

But I cannot totally quash my desire—to someday own tiny dinosaurs who will poop breakfast for me.
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Sourdough Rises Again [Jun. 29th, 2018|06:38 pm]
When we last left my foray into sourdough startering(?), things were looking a little dicey and my one bread so far had been an intriguingly-flavored brick.

TURNS OUT! My problem was twofold:

1.) The organic rye flour did indeed work waaayyy better than the standard Costco bread flour, at least for getting started. All of the sources I researched were like, "And oh my heavens make SURE your flour is organic rye flour OF COURSE." And I thought they were just being snooty. But turns out it works way better. Fortunately though, you can feed it regular flour once it gets "established" (i.e. a couple weeks in). There's hardly any visible rye flecks in there anymore, but everything is working well.

2.) Things were originally just too watery. Or—I had too high of a "hydration level," because for serious baking you have to use serious terms like that. But anyway yeah, I quit adding so much water and added more flour and things got way better.

So I fixed these things, gave it a few more weeks to find its footing, and now we're getting these gorgeous fluffy sourdough boules consistently.

(Quick aside: apparently the gold standard in the sourdough-baking world is loaves with huge honking airholes in them. I don't understand this, because those make crappy sandwiches and all the butter drips through when you make toast out of them.)

I combined the two starters into one, since feeding two was double the work of feeding one. And it has become an ambitious little booger, hugely poofing up every time I feed it now. Rye-ly and Wheatley have merged I've renamed it my "Dwarf in the Flask."
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Thought of the Day [Jun. 28th, 2018|12:19 pm]
Over the last few years, I've realized that in Austin, the "heat index" is for noobs.

That thing where you go, "Well it says 95˚F, but the heat index is 105!" when calculating how miserable you're supposed to be.

Maybe Minnesotans say the same thing about wind chill.
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More Wildermyth Comic Backgrounds [Jun. 27th, 2018|09:26 pm]




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More Wildermyth Wildlife [Jun. 21st, 2018|02:18 pm]


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State of the Foodstuffs [Jun. 1st, 2018|04:46 pm]
We're supposed to hover around 100°F for the next few days, and my poor little garden hasn't been able to take it.

The tomato plants are on death's door, currently delivering their tragic Shakespearean monologues to each other. After having grown to great heights and starting to tease me with a bunch of green fruit, they turned totally wilty and brown over the course of a few days. They're apparently going to finish the fruit that they started though, so I'll keep them around until there's nothing left to pick. We've gotten enough tomatoes that it wasn't a total loss, but it was a far cry from the piles of tomatoes that we were foisting onto neighbors last year.

The basil doesn't seem to mind the heat as long as it stays watered. The other greens though (chard, beets, sorrell) are gone. I noticed they were struggling during the day, and told myself I would just try to give them extra water and try to harvest them when they looked good again. Then I came out one afternoon to find them all laying flat, crispy and sun-scalded.

There is one beet plant left that, while small, continues to hang out all green and happy right next to the also-happy sage, who I'm assuming is satisfied with how it finally showed them, it showed them all!

The rosemary persists, without comment.

* * *

Did I tell you about our peach tree? It went bonkers this year. It gave me that "oh god I can't use these up fast enough" experience that the tomatoes failed to give. It was awesome.

Except for the larvae.

The little half-inch devils made their homes within probably a third to half of the peaches I took off that tree.

They all seemed so bewildered when I sliced off their little peach roofs. I almost felt bad for them—as I dumped them and their wreckage down the garbage disposal.

The peaches were still useable after cutting well around the eaten area, but I hope the neighbors didn't get any of the little buggers in our giftbags of peaches. Or if they did, I hope they discovered them by cutting the peaches and not by... (shudder)

* * *

And then, because gardening is so last month now, I rolled a new sourdough starter after getting a neat little book on it. A couple of starters, actually, to see:

a.) whether rest of the fancy-froofy rye flour I had in the pantry will actually perform as well as the baking world says it will, and
b.) whether the bulk-bread-flour from Costco (non organic! Recoil from my blasphemy, bakers!) can underdog its way to something useful.

A week in, Wheaty smells tangy and pleasant. Rye smells like something from the woods of my childhood that I can't quite place. Neither have any rising power whatsoever.

The one loaf I tried making with them so far turned out very dense, but the flavor was weirdly compelling enough that I've been looking forward to toasting a slice for breakfast every day.

We'll wait and watch them for another couple weeks. Unfortunately, trouble-shooting sourdough starter is nearly impossible, even with the internet. Everybody's got a different idea of the things that make or break them. Im not sure whether that's comforting (in that way of, "eh, just do whatever, it's going to do its own things anyway") or unnerving.
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I Try It So You Don't Have To [May. 29th, 2018|09:19 pm]
Just googled "Can you dunk biscotti in wine?"

Turns out the answer is yeah, kinda. But only certain biscotti, and only a certain wine. (And not coffee? Whatever, screw those guys, I don't care if they invented biscotti, they're obviously wrong.)

But I've got chocolate biscotti. And I've never bought Vin Santo, but I do have red wine in a box.

* * *

Verdict: even though dark chocolate and red wine usually go well together, this didn't. It's hard to describe, but the flavors "fought" with each other. It was less than the sum of its parts.

Coffee-dunking works way better.
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Meal History [May. 20th, 2018|08:04 pm]
I'm reading a book about the history of American meals, because that's what's exciting to me these days I guess. And it's funny to discover all the weird opinions people had about food over the centuries.

Meat for breakfast is necessary.
No wait meat for breakfast is actually the worst and will give you chronic health problems.
No wait actually it's fine.

The main meal of the day should be around noon, to give time for digestion.
No no, having the main meal at the end of the day is much much better because people can eat it more slowly after work.

Chocolate will restore your vital energies!
No way it is super bad for you!

Soup is stupid.
No it isn't, it's fancy.

Hot school lunches are a sound investment in the children of our country.
No they aren't, they—you know actually, everyone was pretty on board with this once it got rolling.

But anyway, as much as Victorians & early-twentieth-century folks and all their huffy health/morality claims annoy me, it gives a context for a lot of the arguments about food these days. Claims that this or that nutrient will brighten people's moods and make them more productive. Or all the different theories declaring that if we just ate XYZ foods, and not ABC foods, we'd all be beautiful and healthy.

Not to mention all the worries about the optimal way to parent children, what causes cancer and what doesn't, and what smartphones are doing to the very fabric of society.

Not to say that we're not making progress. It's just that the clucking and finger-wagging and prescriptions for long life/happiness lose their punch when you read the exact same phrases being blasted out to the public for hundreds of years, only about different and often contradictory things.
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Rimworld Thoughts [May. 7th, 2018|11:07 am]
Nate's been playing a lot of Rimworld, and it's one of those games that's too micro-manage-y and complicated for my tastes, so I'm happy to sit and watch him play. You control a group of space colonists (starting with 3-5 and eventually recruiting up to as many as you want) abandoned on a random planet, and you need to get their little mini-civilization up and running by giving them orders to grow food, build houses, defend themselves, etc.

This could have been super boring (for me anyway), except for the fact that each colonist has a randomly generated name and personality. They have passions and pet peeves, they fall in love with each other, and they tame and name animals that they come across.

So we have two "beautiful warriors" who get married, and then the guy falls into despair after his wife is killed by an infected gunshot wound. We have a sanguine doctor who cheerfully forgoes entire nights of sleep to tend to his friends and convince prisoners to join the colony. We have the put-upon, grouchy guy who gets stoned and takes a nap in the middle of a field amid preparations for a big battle.

We had Ferdinand the llama, who obliviously survived more disasters than any llama has a right to, only to finally be slaughtered by one of our colonists who was having a psychotic breakdown because an elephant ate the last of his food.

We get to tell each other fun things like, "Oh no, one of the Yorkshire Terriers overdosed on Go-Juice and puked in the warehouse!"

And nobody really cares about all the drama and story arcs except for us, but. The point is that when a game makes the effort to randomly generate characters and events, it can pay off in spades.
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Thought of the Day: Technology [May. 5th, 2018|10:50 am]
I don't staple papers very often these days, so I had to find an old stapler in one of our drawers somewhere. And I was pleasantly surprised when it worked, because it was over ten years old.

And then I remembered that it's a stapler, not a smartphone, and a lot of things don't become completely obsolete after ten years.

It's a nice thing to remember.
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Chinzilla Sketch [May. 4th, 2018|09:22 am]

I thought that when I googled this one, it was going to be done to death, but actually there were only a few relevant images, and nobody had really gone all-out on it. So there may be space in the future for a bigger effort on Chinzilla.

PS- One more fun garden fact. As chard and beet greens get mature, they start to burn the back of your throat if you eat them raw. It's because of something called oxalic acid, and while it's not going to actually harm you in the quantities found in a chard leaf, it is the primary active ingredient in Bar Keeper's Friend.

If you cook them it's fine, that nixes it for whatever reason, but I suddenly became very interested in researching oxalic acid yesterday for about an hour after taking a single bite of a chard leaf.
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Garden Update: Beet Letdown [May. 1st, 2018|09:45 pm]
I had been surprised by how many of my beet plants had sprouted in the garden, and I had grand plans of pickling dozens of beets because I simply couldn't eat them fast enough.

Those did not pan out, sadly. Turns out this thing can happen where the top of the plant looks gorgeous, but it's not developing the actual beet underneath (not my photo in the link, but that's what they look like). You go to harvest it, and the root is this piddly little thing that isn't worth cooking.

We got a few beets that were maybe an inch and a half in diameter, so we boiled those and stuck them in a salad. And it was a fine salad. They were fine beets. But they looked so small in the bowl by themselves.

I have been using the greens, but they're just not as good as the chard, and I still have plenty of chard.


The tomatoes vary a lot in how they're doing. Of the two cherry tomatoes, one is my largest plant and the other is runty, wilty, sickly, and probably some other unhappy words that end with the letter y. I don't know if it's the plants themselves that made the difference, if one just got sick and the other didn't, if the soil is really that different in the three feet between them, or what. If I had only bought one or the other, I would have believed that I was either amazing or terrible at growing cherry tomatoes specifically. Now I have the data points to know that I am both. Or neither, more likely.

I'm nervously watching the heirlooms grow their green fruit, checking in every day, looking for spots or bugs, and giving them more than their fair share of water. We are once again in the stage of "you have a good plant, now whatever you do, don't botch this." I know the real trials are still to come, because these are tomato plants, and tomato plants love to tease.


The melancholy sage from the previous garden post has suddenly become happy. I have no idea what happened, but now I'm afraid I'll breathe on it wrong and piss it off again.
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The Things You Learn About Yourself [Apr. 18th, 2018|09:54 am]
Sometimes you wonder, "If I really let loose, like didn't stifle it at all, what kind of a scream would I make?"

And the moment when you go to dispose of a massive dead roach, and suddenly the roach is not as dead as you thought it was and now it's trying to give your fingers a hug—that's the moment you learn the answer to that question.

Nate wasn't home to hear it, but I did scare the hell out of the cat.
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