darkemeralds: Photo of fingers on a computer keyboard. (Writing)
I put my hinged table project on hold because this whole other almost-full time, intensive, non-paying job of writing intervened, but today after "work" (I shouldn't put that in quotes--it's work) I finally finished it.

Wall table )
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Default)
"Writers, you need this book."

That was the tweet from my friend Sue last Monday morning. Ordinarily, "Yeah, yeah, whatever" would be my response, because I have never gotten anything of out of books for writers.

But last Monday was different. )

It's like a fucking miracle.

Writers, you need this book.
darkemeralds: Photograph of the seal on King Tut's tomb, with the words "What do you see?" and "Wonderful Things!" (Wonderful Things)
How many motors do you have in your house?

Kevin Kelly, in What Technology Wants and on his blog, talks about how the most successful technologies disappear. They start as major innovations, then become increasingly invisible and ubiquitous. (Douglas Adams pointed this out, too--Kelly quotes him at the link.)

Buckminster Fuller called it "ephermeralization," doing "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing." (Note that he says can, not must or should. I don't think he, or Kelly, or Diamandis or any of the Techno-Evangelists actually advocates for banning old technologies. There are still people producing illuminated manuscripts, buggy whips, and flint arrowheads.)

Kelly cites electric motors as one example of massive ephemeralization. When they were new, electric motors were huge and expensive. Entire factories were adapted to run off a single large motor. As they got smaller and cheaper, they were adapted to a million uses that weren't originally anticipated. They became ubiquitous and invisible.

How many do you have around you? Think about everything you own where you push a button and something moves. There's a motor in there.

It's a longish list. )
darkemeralds: Shirtless construction worker. Caption "Home Improvement" (Home Improvement)
In the One Thing Leads To Another category (a category which pretty much characterizes my life), I'm making a work table.

Two things led to this project: First, I have a leftover door from the bedroom remodel; and second, several items1 on the remodel punchlist2 require sewing, which called for a bigger work surface than I have room for in my tiny house.

So hey, I have an idea!3 Why don't I make a wall-mounted, lift-up/drop-down table from that door? How hard could it be?4

Harder than I thought. Story of my life. )

1slipcover, decorative pillows, a faux-fur throw. Ironically, no window treatments.

2I just learned that what's called a "punchlist" in my neck of the woods is called a "snag list" in the UK. Either way, it's the list of final corrections needed on a project.

3Another category that characterizes my life.

4And yet another.

Overcooked

May. 25th, 2014 11:22 pm
darkemeralds: Image of an open book whose pages are turning into wings and flying away (Winged book)
It's been a peculiarly stressful week, beginning with a short visit from my brother, who flew up from Santa Barbara for our oldest sister's milestone 60th birthday.

(First of all, oh my god how do I have a sixty year old sister?)

I both love and like my brother, and we get along well. We had a nice time together.

DarkEmeralds and her sisters, brother, nieces and mother
from left to right: DarkEm, niece, younger sister, niece, niece, Mom, niece, brother, the birthday girl

But... )
darkemeralds: (catastrophe)
One of the brightest highlights of all my travels over the years was visiting Glasgow three years ago as the guest of [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis. And the highlight of that highlight was the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building on Renfrew Street that houses the Glasgow School of Art.

Facade of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building, Renfrew Street Glasgow, UK

Kis and I walked there from a little lower down in the town. Glasgow celebrates its status as a cradle of Art Nouveau and the home of Mackintosh in all kinds of ways, but that building, which Mackintosh and his wife designed and built specifically to be an art school, and which has been an art school since it opened its doors in 1909, is the crown jewel. Climbing to it is entirely appropriate.

From basement to rooftop, the Mackintoshes designed everything in the building. Clocks, locks, beams, benches, the very room numbers on the doors...everything. The elegant curves and straight lines, the just-so ornamentation, the restrained exuberance of Art Nouveau are everywhere.

I don't know why it struck me so--maybe because it's urban, and technical, and seems to have arisen out of the industrial heart of a wonderful, harsh, challenging northern city--but it did. It grabbed me and took hold of my imagination, and I immediately started a novel set in Glasgow in the period. Its opening scene was set in the School of Art.

Today the building caught fire. The damage is described as extensive.

I feel heartbroken.
darkemeralds: Melted chocolate in a pot (Chocolate)
Recipe time. I mentioned these the other day and so here, let me share my vices with you.

Chocolate hazelnut little freezer square candy thingies



Melts in your mouth. And in your hand. Hence the freezer. )
darkemeralds: Sam & Dean leaning on the Impala on a lonely highway, text "It's a long long road from which there is no return" (long long road)
I'll have to read a lot of meta before I get all the plot-bits straightened out in my mind. Very often, other people help me understand what I liked and didn't like about a given show. But I know I liked some things right off.

Spoilers below the cut from which there is no return )

I feel like Show has dug in and found one more catlike life, and I'm surprised and very happy to be looking forward to a tenth season.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I've made a terrible discovery.

If you put 100 grams of well-roasted hazelnuts and 150 grams of good quality milk chocolate into the high-powered blender you bought to make kale smoothies, and you run it for a minute or so, you get a hot hazelnutty chocolate liquidy gianduja nutella-stuff.

If you then pour this into little molds and stick it in the fridge, you get little melt-in-your-mouth chocolates.

Seriously. It offsets the kale smoothies amazingly.

Movie meme

May. 14th, 2014 02:46 pm
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Default)
Meme! Anyone who feels like it should post their ten most CRUCIAL CRUCIAl CRUCIAL-ASS movies, like the movies that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnations (not necessarily your ten favorite movies but the ten movies that you, as a person existing currently, feel would help people get to know you) (they can change later on obviously).

I don't know how to separate favorites from essentials, and I can think of a number of movies that would have been essential had I seen them early enough in life to be shaped by them, but here goes:

Lawrence of Arabia
Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing
Wings of Desire
Serenity
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Big Chill
Bless the Beasts and The Children (I was 15, okay?)
Star Wars. You know, the first one, in 1977
Big Night
Fearless

As several other meme-doers on my flist have mentioned, I feel more connected to television than to movies. Also, I just saw a photograph of a first hardcover edition of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe and got to thinking about how much more I was originally shaped by books than by movies.

But, there you go. Ten movies that slotted into my consciousness well enough to make me see them more than once, buy when they came out on DVD, learn lines from, or be influenced by in life (e.g.: I took Arabic in college because of Lawrence.)
darkemeralds: (catastrophe)
Late last night I was up on my stepladder, sticking glowy-stars to my bedroom ceiling, when my brand-new Nest Protect smoke and CO detector first flashed yellow, then turned red and started shrieking at me.

"Emergency, emergency," it said (yes, it talks). "There is smoke in the room."

The Next Protect smoke detector


Spoiler: there wasn't. )
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Default)
This excellent ranticle by Heidi Cullinan (author of gay romance novels) articulates everything I hadn't quite thought of for myself about the way the Harlequin purchase by Murdoch has been covered in the media.

Briefly: The media, largely, regarded [the nearly half-billion-dollar sale of the leading firm in a billion dollar industry] as a women’s issue. Instead of reporting, we received jokes, insulting satire, and an umbrella reminder that despite what this might mean for the money and power and influence to the culture of reading in the twenty-first century, romance novels are about women, and women are ridiculous.

At least Forbes covered the story intelligently.

I'm pretty damn tired of my second-class citizen standing--third class, if you count my age. It's blog posts and articles like this one that increase my conscious awareness of biases that I wasn't raised to observe. Keeps me sharp.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
My bedroom door has been on sawhorses out on the porch for several days, and I did toy with the idea of just leaving it off.

But no. Despite my having absolutely no need of behind-bedroom-door privacy, there's still something about a separate room, with a separate temperature. And besides, I'd already bought new door hardware.

Portal )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
I'm slowly getting caught up with everyone on my reading lists--hello, everyone!--and it's been lovely, reading what people have been thinking and doing in the last couple of months, and having some online conversations again. I'm about a third of the way through my backlog and am committed to catching up and returning to daily reading, commenting and posting this week.

The punch list on my bedroom project still has about eight items on it. I finished one of them today.

Sliding Doors )
darkemeralds: Photo of a white tiger hugging a man, with caption Hug. (Hug)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kis! I hope the day has brought you lots of love and remembrances, and that the year will be filled with joy and pleasure.
darkemeralds: Photo of Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA (Haystack)
Before the Great Bedroom Remodel got underway, I began a Five Places I Love In Portland series. I ran out of focus after only four. So let's call this Portlandia 5: The Coast.

Cannon Beach )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
The bedroom remodel is substantially complete--which is to say, things that belong in the bedroom have all been moved back into the bedroom, and I've restored the kitchen and living room to order.

Before:
DarkEm's bedroom before work began, showing the ruined wood floor, messy paint work, torn up carpet, and a general incoherent mess

After )

I return to my online life tomorrow, and will start getting caught up with everyone. But now, Penny Dreadful, then sleep.
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Default)
If you mailed me a decorating magazine article, would you please private message me or email me again? I seem to have deleted the original message exchange on the subject, and I'm having no luck connecting your real-life return address and name to your online identity.

Sorry to be so lame!
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
Both of my sisters came over yesterday and helped me assemble furniture. This may count as an even greater act of generosity than helping someone move house.

Both of them were calm, thorough, and patient, and even if I could have physically managed those giant wardrobes alone (I couldn't have), the task would have defeated me mentally without their help.

We got about 80% of the way there. )

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