Another resident of the same building has also died, within a day of the first victim, probably also by poison.
The protagonist is a criminologist, moderately sensible and intelligent.
They have just had lunch with the victim's wife and friends (sent in from a restaurant) and they are cleaning up the remnants while the others do things elsewhere.
They find a glass of cold beer in the kitchen.
They do not know who put it there.
They drink it.
On a scale of one to ten, how hard would you throw the book at the wall?
It wasn't entirely my fault. I was trying to get lots of work done, and then there was an emergency trip to the dentist where the good thing was that I learned I don't have an infection, but the bad thing was that I learned I probably have a cracked tooth in need of a crown. There is a 20-30% chance it's just bruising from stress-related bruxism, which will clear up if I wear my bite guard at night, so I have my fingers crossed and my bite guard at the ready.
In the evening I was glad that I'd planned ahead. Abrinsky is working away this week (and next week and the week after) you see, and this is generally something with which I do not deal well. This time, however, I made food in advance to ensure I do eat, but do not eat ALL the things I don't actually want, and I made a pile of DVDs that I've bought recently. Recently-ish.
The first item on my film programme was Les Hommes libres about occupied Paris and Jews being rescued by Muslims. It was interesting, and sad, and had beautiful music and beautiful men who gazed at each other.
Today I did not walk because there was rain and rain and more rain. I also did not listen to the radio or read twitter during the day, which turned out to be a good thing because abrinsky is working in London this week and terrible things happened in London today. I was fortunate in knowing that there was no need to worry about him before I knew there was reason to worry about him. I hope I don't need to worry about anyone else I care for.
Today's DVD was I for India about a Punjabi doctor who came to England in the early 1960s and kept in touch with his family through exchange of cine films. He stayed here, attempted to resettle in India, returned to Darlington and felt passionately Indian all his life. One of his daughters repeated it all by moving to Australia. Again it was sad. Again it was about identity, (not) belonging, language, love, gentleness. Even though there was not supposed to be a theme to my film programme. I cried.
Lots of things make me cry at the moment. Everything is so desperate and shitty and cruel and I don't know how we're all going to survive it. If we're all going to survive. Personally my life is actually pretty good, and often that makes me feel worse about the general terribleness, because I feel guilty. I work at being an island of calm and healing.
( Getting through the Great Barrier Reef )
*And given what Ant finally fell out with Chris over, I was unimpressed by him standing in the prow wearing his harness like a lei AGAIN, during a gybe in a biggish swell very close to the reef. Getting him back if he fell in wouldn't be any picnic.
What I read
Finished JA Jance, Cruel Intent, and am sufficiently prepossessed by the Ali Reynolds series to download the boxsets of the next three and a couple of novellas.
However, decided that perhaps I should take a little break and read something else, so I read Simon Brett, The Strangling on the Stage (2014), one of the Fethering mysteries, though I'm not sure one reads these for the actual, you know, mystery plot. This one had amdram luvvies.
Patricia Craig, Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading (2015) - charity shop find, about which I found myself a bit meh - it didn't seem to me to quite mesh the various elements, but that may have been me - even before the William Mayne apologism. I wanted perhaps more about the books themselves?
Robin Stevens, Jolly Foul Play (2016) from local indie bookshop sale shelf - I'm still not entirely sold on Hazel Wong - I feel there's a place somewhere between 'perpetuating Orientalist stereotypes' and having her be a standard 1930s boarding school girl who happens to be Chinese - but this did, I think, introduce some complexity in relationships and I think I shall be reading others in the series.
On the go
I am still very much enjoying the ongoing serial by Avoliot, The Course of Honour.
Still intermittently plugging on with the Inchbald bio - still not up to Wollstonecraft interactions.
The Dorothy Wrench bio is still very much backburnered - somehow I just slip off it whenever I pick it up.
No idea, find myself between books.
I had remembered the problem as a hole at the shoulder, but when I dug the jumper out of my vast pile of Textile Stuff, it turned out to be a frayed neckline. The neckband was stitched on, and thus easily removed, leaving me with loose stitches around the back of the neck and ends of rows at the front. So, I picked up stitches and crocheted a new band with totally not-matching yarn left over from my recent granny blanket. It went well.
It went so well that I plucked up courage and cut/unpicked about 12cm from the sleeves and crocheted some new cuffs with other leftover yarn. Then I threw the jumper in the washing machine to see if it fell apart, and it did not. I wore it last night and it delights me. It's loose and sloppy in all the right ways, and now it is an undead jumper, which abrinsky has christened my 'zombie jumper'.
The other thing we did was to go on lamb-hunting walks and take videos of cute lambs
Title: One Ring to Bind Them: A Halachic Inquiry on the Occasion of Purim 5775
Fandom: Rabbinic sophistry + The Lord of the Rings
Summary: "Rabbi, is it possible to use the One Ring, to rule them all, in the ceremony of kiddushin to solemnize a marriage?"
File Size/Type: 11 MB/mp3
Tindeck streaming link
I suppose a 'visionary historian' might find this out by, you know, having visions?* rather than being able to substantiate the claim from empirical evidence?
But really, when someone comes out with the following:
[W]e have gained enormous power over the world and it doesn’t seem to make people significantly more satisfied than in the stone age.my impulse is to snarl 'And you know the satisfaction index of the average Stone Age person on the Stone Age equivalent of the Clapham omnibus HOW exactly?'
It's a hard enough question to answer for far more recent epochs of history. Perhaps those Stone Age people were too busy surviving to the grand old age of 30 with enough teeth to eat with to pause and reflect on the quiet desperation of their lives. But I'm not sure that amounts to satisfaction with their lot.
I think there's a difference between 'gotta put up with stuff/make the best of things', as people did within really quite recent history if they can't see any alternative (this thought brought to you by a discussion last week about marriage and divorce in the UK in the second half of the C20th) and being satisfied with the way one's life is.
Will concede that, looking about at certain people in the world today who do have enormous power, and seem to spend their time in constant whingeing (one longs for the flounder to send them back to the vinegar-bottle [though I observe that I have conflated two versions of this folkloric motif]), perhaps 'enormous power' doesn't make for satisfaction, although I would hazard that a reasonable degree of control over one's circumstances does at least make for a more comfortable life.
*Or having that deep poetic intuition into Things claimed by Robert Graves re White Goddesses etc.
Made a hasty trip to Ukiah on Friday. It was a "shop till you drop" trip a'la Ranunculus.
- Martin's on the way up and left with a dozen posts on top of the car. Ok, so four of them were 12' "jump poles", long 3" poles used for all kinds of things, including poles to jump over in the arena. The other nine were 5"x8' posts that I plan to use for latch posts and brace posts.
- Ag Unlimited for star thistle spray, "spreader" (a product that, kind of like soap, makes the spray stick to the plants better) tank cleaner for after the spraying is finished and a sack of seed for Sheli.
- Rainbow Ag for pump and motor cleaner and lube so that the sprayer pump doesn't rust while not being used, 5 gal of tool gas (no ethanol to go bad) and a brand new gas can. The new gas can is the current industry spec, a round, red, metal tank with a giant yellow plastic pour spout that looks like a giant duck bill. The last gas cans I bought were plastic and had highly disfunctional pour spouts which only allowed the gas to trickle out, really it took at least 7 or 8 minutes to get 5 gal of diesel into the tractor. This new style gas can looks like it might really work!
- Mendo Mill for new hose and hose clamps for the sprayer.
Altogether it was an expensive day. Add to it the $220 for the replacement sprayer motor and I'm on a real spending spree. One more thing, a new pressure gauge, will make the spray rig almost like new, the first major retrofit since we bought it 19 years ago.
I had hopes of getting a couple of posts in and maybe even getting the hoses replaced on the sprayer, but it wasn't to be. Work called and I turned tail and headed for SF at 5:30.
Work turned out to be an 8 hour day plus at Pier 27, the newish cruise ship terminal. When it isn't handling cruise ships the site is rented out for parties or even corporate events. This was some benefit. We loaded it in for 8 hours, went home and came back at 11pm to take it all out. Band didn't stop till 11:30 but we still were walking away by a few minutes to 2. Took me an hour to get home, since the pier is in an area that is really hard to reach from my house and no cabs showed up to offer me a ride home. Still almost 6,000 steps before 3am is a pretty good step count!!
Sunday Donald and I got some weeding done in the garden and some new plants bought at the nursery. Very pleasant day.
Today I've been a total loss. Barely moved all day. Tomorrow should be better!! Hope so since the downstairs tenant reports his place is leaking again after NOT leaking for most of this very rainy year. ????
Tazlina got a haircut today. Not the best she's ever gotten, but it is nice and short and she will appreciate it as soon as the warmer weather comes back (it is raining today). She got very hot in Ukiah this week.
Bees moved onto the Ranch today.
Cows moved to the House Pasture on Friday.
I think I need stress relief, and *yay*! My seeds came in today.
I'm trying a bunch of new plants. Here's a list:
First, spring greens: chervil, bronze goldring rommain lettuce, black seeded simpson lettuce, bekana greens, outstanding romaine, and emerald fan lettuce.
I also got a miniature (3'-4') sweet corn called Little Giant, 2 kinds of bean, grex, and pellegrini, a cabbage called primo and an early carrot called mini-sweet, two types of tomato, a grape and one called myona, and three kinds of melon -- crimson sweet watermelon, "ice cream," and eel river.
I also got sugar beets, to see what it's like to make sugar. It's a ton of work, but I want to see how much sugar we get per, say, ten beets. And a kind of rice called koshihikari, and a kind of sunflower that's good for oil.
And flowers! I got flowers for the bees and such -- I got all my seeds from Bountiful Gardens, but I linked to a couple of other good places.
We'll see how it all goes!
I liked David Mitchell's column in The Observer New Review section yesterday: Choose my own Netflix adventure? No thanks.
Apart from the point he makes that, actually, what one wants is to sit down and have somebody tell you a story -
- it also strikes me that in this particular allotrope of interactive narrative, presumably it is a case (as with the choices made by The Dice Man) that these are not entirely free and random choices but already set up by whoever's producing the thing.
So it's unlikely that you get the option to turn a grimdark noir narrative into an all-singing all-dancing extravaganza, or that you have the choice of observing that the ferocious monster has a thorn in its foot, the poor thing and, rather than fighting it or running away, you remove the thorn and you and the monster become besties 4evah.
So the choices are already made for you and the idea that the viewer is choosing their own adventure except within existing parameters is spurious.
Okay, I have sometimes read a book/watched a movie and thought things like, there ought to be a whole lot more of the snarky sidekick, or, get rid of that annoying child, but I'm pretty sure that the Choose Your Own Path thing would rest entirely on plot cruxes which might take the narrative in different directions.
The significant choice that one makes when reading/watching/listening is made before one starts, and has picked a noir thriller/screwball comedy/all-singing all-dancing extravaganza.
I'm mostly ignoring the negative side of things today, but I will say I've gotten far, far less pro-fic reading done than anticipated while here. The house has been hooked back into the edges of the internet - more or less, depending on how the well the range extender can connect to my brother's slow and patchy line next door at any given time - but my focus had shredded even before the increased distraction. Instead I managed to finally wade through the email backlog of AO3 update/fic notifications, Twitter fanwork links, and Rec Center newsletters that I'd tagged as having something interesting. It still involved plenty of reading, but was project oriented and more action than passive consumption.
At this point I've descended to repeated games of Solitaire/Freecell alternated with checking Twitter, Pinboard, and Newsblur. Pretty sure the only way I made it through high school was hyperfocusing on reading and the OTT need for sleep because of undiagnosed allergies.
I collected with them there, and Purple soon joined me.
One of my old team had been going through some significant personal changes; she talked a little about that. I gave her reciprocal information, and my card with my real name, and the information to join the tech-slack. (Later, I would ping a former colleague who had done some pioneering work on that process in this workplace, and thank her, since it sounded like my old teammate had gone through a much better experience with the workplace bureaucracy than the former colleague had.)
She and Purple proceeded to talk synthesizer projects until she left to catch her train.
I will need to email my old manager about when to visit in the next few weeks.
The food offerings were surprisingly edible for the context. It was corned beef and cabbage sandwiches with slightly inexplicably rubbery rolls, some under-fried potato-and-cabbage fried things (tasty, but with the consistency of glue), various very green vegetables (cucumber, peas, broccoli, asparagus, and possibly more), cheese soup, and ... green hummus. No green beer, though.
It was a gorgeous evening, not quite too warm. We were joined by the Scruffy Canadian briefly. Someone who I thought might be the Cute Receptionist wandered by. Since I'd missed connecting with her the last time I thought I saw her, when she got close enough I called the name. In case it was her.
It was her. We caught up a bit. Purple teased me.
We hailed lb as he was headed out of the office with his deep dish pizza leftovers. There was a good chat, including some wtf-ery over a github thread that a new arrival in channel had shared (and participated in). There are some statements, such as "An SJW's work is never done", which have radically different meanings based on the context of the person who said it, and since we don't know them that well yet, we are uncertain whether this person is working for the greater good, or complaining about people working for the greater good.
There were dinner plans. I nearly accidentally left my phone in Purple's office until it tweeted.
Dinner was nice. We really should go to the Thai restaurant near the Trader Joe's more often, since it's delicious, close, and reasonably priced. Despite the bell peppers, prawns, and peanuts in nearly everything. (I am attempting to figure out whether peanuts take the surface of my mouth off the way walnuts do, because that would just be ... perfect.)
The Signal app has resolved some of its issues for voice calls, and my partner and I were able to talk nearly all the way home. It only cut out at the place that still gets me a lot on regular network calls, where 35 joins 280 by San Andreas Lake.
It's lovely to say a sleepy goodnight to my partner as we both settle into our beds, and go to sleep with the connection open, knowing that the other is there. I swapped my old Douchebag Headphone (the around-the-neck model with the earbuds) for one that purportedly connects to two devices automatically (it did not, but it wasn't a downgrade) and thus my partner got my old one. (It so happens that I'm the one who digs leading-edge tech, and they like to squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of old tech, so we are an excellent pair there.) They are enjoying it. I was delighted when I saw them in it, because the colors are accidentally representative of both of our favorites.
Saturday started out quietly, with various audio and video chat. One of the video chat things was marred by no helpful audio coming through from the other end; I should have reset when I noticed that it wasn't doing so well.
A friend just had some technically-minor surgery, and I had made plans to go over and say hello and congratulate this weekend. There was a little bit of plan-changing, but in the end I went over there in the afternoon and said hello and such. My aunt had stopped by with some fabric for me and some cashew butter for them. Due to the placement of the surgery, we kept ourselves to heartfelt arm-clasps and some back-patting.
When I got back down to the street, I discovered that a Very Large Pickup Truck had pulled up alongside me with its hazard lights on. Unfortunately, the driver was nowhere in sight, and I wasn't sure if I had enough room to pull out. (I was parallel parked, with a sedan nearly touching my bumper in the back, and a Prius a good distance in front of me, and less than a car length of space on the diagonal to get out.) I decided that I would make one try at it, and if I didn't have clearance that I was comfortable with, I would stop and wait for the driver to return.
It turned out that even though I think there was only one foot of clearance on each side, I was able to get out. (My partner cheered me on.)
I wound up picking up dinner on my way home. They did manage to get my order wrong, although in a different way to what I thought: I thought they'd gotten the wrong thing to the right receipt entry; they had in fact gotten the order entirely wrong from the receipt on down. The replacement was also subtly wrong, but I was not going to argue at that point. (My partner, who had been on the phone the entire time, heard my order and was able to verify that if it was a hallucination that I'd said that, it was a shared hallucination.)
The calendar sharing is going well so far.
There had been an incident. (My partner and I arranged a date; it hadn't gone in their calendar because they thought they'd remember it. Unfortunately, three people managed to step square in each other's complicated traumas, and it took a while to recover. With a lot of communication and crying.) After that, I shared my social calendar with my partner (not the full-on calendar with the specifics on the doctor appointments and such). I also shared the "shadow calendar" I'd made for them, the one that has their work schedule and all the stuff that they tell me about when we're planning our weeks. It's not yet time for us to share a single social calendar.
My partner has shared that calendar on with the friends they're staying with until the situation with the ex gets cleared up. They're not quite comfortable sharing it with others ... just yet. That may change, as the weeks go on.
Today, I'm setting up the week to come, and doing the various communication that goes with it. It's not sexy or glamorous, but it's the little bits of caring contact that helps sustain a relationship. I have to remember to translate the four to five calendar entries that make up one doctor-type appointment into a single block in the social time, ideally when entering it, but at minimum when setting up the week to come.
My attention deficit disorder was diagnosed in the fall of 2015. For a while, I'm not sure exactly how long, I've had to start with the actual time of the actual event I'm going to, and schedule backwards and forwards from that, in order to make sure I have a fair chance of getting there on time and in good order.
First I enter the event, with its actual duration.
Then I figure out where I'm going to be before the event, and figure out how long it takes me to get to that place from the place I am going to be before that. (It usually takes me an hour or so to get from home to any given place in the city of San Francisco; 45 minutes to get to old-work; an hour to get further down-peninsula; anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to get across the Bay.) I make a separate calendar entry for the transit time, with a little wiggle room.
I figure out where the next place I need to be is, and I do the same thing for that side.
I then give myself an hour's notice to start getting ready, even if I'm scheduled for something else at that time.
If it looks like it's close to my likely sleep time, I count back an hour further and allocate that as wake-up time. (If I haven't slept enough, I will use the wake-up time for an extra hour of sleep, and try to do any complicated prep the night before. Using a checklist, if possible. Sometimes this warrants an entry of its own.)
If it's early enough, I will count back eight hours from the wake time, and schedule that as sleep.
When it's a scheduled sleep time, I will have to schedule myself a bedtime reminder, which is an hour before sleep.
Sometimes, there's a chance that events will run long. In the case of my regular dentist, they've been known to run an hour late. So for them, I schedule in that buffer time. Just in case.
If it's a doctor appointment, the actual appointment goes in my bright red non-negotiable deadlines calendar, and all the ancillary things get in my main calendar. If it's not a doctor or similar, the main event goes directly in my personal calendar.
When it's something that's going to affect my social calendar, the fore and aft transit times and the event itself get globbed into one block of time that I'm unavailable for other events. Since my social calendar can be shared with people who don't need any personal details, unless it's a public(-ish) event, it gets described in vague terms. Dr. X at this address on this floor for this purpose gets vague-ed into "Doctor Appointment."
Stuff in my partner's shadow calendar get vague-ed up the same way. Why yes, my partner is going to X event at Y venue, there is a topic, and they're going with Z. That is "With Z at [vague description]." Or "Date with Z." Before my partner shared the calendar with their hosts, I scrubbed back through and edited a few items that I'd put on there, which had a little too much detail for general consumption. Even so, their hosts were clearly reading through past events, because I overheard Ms. Documentation read out the title of one (with some questions), and I promptly collapsed in giggles. Oh, dear.
There are two current crocheting projects, one of them started a while back. The older one is the penis-based sex ed hat, a sequel to the vagina-based one. So far I have urethra, bladder, glans, some ductwork, and I need to stuff the first testicle before I can close it up. (The testicle is blue, naturally.) I will probably put a drawstring or something on the scrotum so the testes can be examined easily.
The other one is a lace nightgown out of black #10 crochet-cotton thread. I'm putting #6 clear blue-green iris beads on it here and there. We'll see how long I take to finish that one. The beads are in a narrow prescription bottle that fits nicely inside the ball of thread.
I have been going back to paper to-do lists for daily use, and attempting to scan them into my image archives. I've started dating them so I have a better idea of how things went. It's been a fairly reasonable system for reminding me of what I need to get done, and I can move things forward in a helpful way. Sometimes I start pages ahead of time for stuff that needs to be done on a specific date.
After a week and a half of the new meds, I am encouraged at what they're doing with my sleep. That may wind up being a separate entry.
Bread during the week: the Honey and Sunflower Seed Loaf from Cranks* Bread and Teacakes, actually 50:50 strong wholemeal/wholegrain spelt flour (as it was the end of the bag of strong wholemeal), and mixed seeds rather than sunflower alone. V nice.
Saturday breakfast rolls: the Tassajarra method, 50:50 strong white/wholegrain spelt flour, maple sugar and dried cranberries rather than cinnamon and raisins. Nice.
Today's lunch: yesterday Waitrose fish counter had small whole seabass, so I bought two (which they gutted and scaled for me), and had I thought to purchase enough salt while we were there, could have made another essay at salt-baking them. But instead I mixed up a paste of crushed garlic, minced ginger and soy sauce rubbed it into them, having made slashes along the sides, and baked them in oiled foil, turned out very nicely. Served with Charlotte potatoes roasted in beef dripping, buttered spinach and sugar snap peas stirfried with star anise.
*Cranks was a chain of UK vegetarian wholefood restaurants, now defunct.