nightdog_barks: (Dorothy)
Literally, it was a blur. I had my annual eye exam, which involves doing the pupil-dilation thing so the doc can peer into the depths of your skull eyeball. It's not a fun activity, and I actually skipped it last year because I am a big wuss. Anyway, my life was a bit fuzzy around the edges most of the day. It's all good, though -- no diabetic damage, and the "little cataract" (doc's term) in my left eye ... is remaining little. :D

Started reading Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture, and so far, despite some very long sentences, I am enjoying it. *g*
nightdog_barks: English robin on a white background (English robin)
I was so sorry to hear that Jonathan Demme has passed away. We saw his Talking Heads' concert film Stop Making Sense in the theater when it came out, and it was a revelation in movie-making. I own the DVDs for both that film and his Neil Young: Heart of Gold, which is (almost) equally terrific.

Finished reading Elif Batuman's The Idiot last night, and ... well. I really liked it. I liked it a lot. I thought Batuman did a pitch-perfect job capturing the voice and outlook of a 19-year-old college freshman and thrusting us into her life. What really disappointed me were the many stupid comments on the "pro" review sites (Slate, the AV Club, the Washington Post), left by people who had never read the book but thought they knew everything about it. I know, I know -- you're not supposed to read the comments. :-P

Weather is on a yo-yo string; ridiculously warm yesterday, almost chilly today. Have not seen any baby bunnies for a couple of days now (and I am glad; they are adorable but I want them to move on because Layla). Also noticed we have another tomato, this time from one of the Black Krims.

Watched Lincoln the other night and enjoyed it. Afterwards I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole -- guys, meet the last person to have looked Abraham Lincoln in the face. (The Life magazine article cited at the bottom, #6, is a somewhat more detailed write-up, although you have to scroll a ways to see it. But then you get to see all the cool period ads.) :-)
nightdog_barks: (Bunny Ears)
Out of its nest and causing us tsuris keeping the damn dog from treating it like a squeaky toy. (We're putting up stray lawn chairs and more tomato fencing, but omg she's so curious about this tiny furry creature.) :-P

 photo SAM_0167_zpsejnlx9v4.jpg

Editing to add that I have just discovered there are TWO baby bunnies, not one. TWO.
nightdog_barks: Drawing of a coyote (Coyote)
Three in the morning and Layla is barking. I'm awake because I have Satan's Own Insomnia, so I get up and put my glasses on and go to see wtf she's barking at.

Well, she's barking at one of these (that's a young opossum), and it's trying its best to hide under the blade of a shovel propped up on our deck. It pokes its head out, and I guess it can (kind of?) see us as possibly amorphous shapes through our sliding glass door, so it opens its mouth (common possum defense tactic), starts making a RRRRRR-noise at us (common possum defense tactic), and weaving its little head around like a snake (WTF?). Both the dog and I just watched, baffled. (I was actually reminded of that silly Moon Moon meme.)

Anyway, we watched the bizarre head-weaving for a couple more minutes, and then I turned the light out and we all went back to bed. Or I did. Layla was restless all night. :-P

Also today I saw this wonderful news story -- Brooklyn woman returns from travel to find pregnant pigeon nesting in her pasta strainer. :D

Goings On

Apr. 18th, 2017 06:46 pm
nightdog_barks: (Tomatoes)
We have a baby green tomato! Carnival turns out to be first past the line -- all the other plants are blooming, but this is the first fruit I've seen.

Also in the news ... I thought the little baby cottontail I first wrote about on April 14th had been relocated by Mama Bunny, because the fluff covering the nest had gotten much sparser and Layla didn't seem to be interested anymore. BUT NO. We discovered this afternoon that Little Bun is still here. Layla was very excited, so I moved a bit of fluff away, and lo and behold there was a tiny hind leg, kicking. The burrow (and it looks like a decent burrow now, not a shallow scrape in the soil) is deeper -- the only thing I could see was that little hind leg. Not that I wanted to see any more; I'm sure it's got enough on its tiny bunny mind, being barked at by a giant black dog. *g* I had been planning to remove the lawn chair and tomato fencing we've got over/around the nest, but obviously ... can't do that now.

I finished reading Zadie Smith's Swing Time, and I felt pretty ... meh about it. I loved the first section, when the (nameless) narrator and her friend Tracey are little girls growing up in London, and I really wished Smith had kept that focus instead of opening up the story to include this Madonna/Angelina Jolie mashup character that Nameless Narrator worked for. Parts of the book were terrific (especially the early parts), but as a whole it just didn't work for me. Anyway, now I am reading Eunice Lipton's A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance, and a Family's Secrets, which is nonfiction and is about Lipton's search for the details of her uncle Dave Lipton's life -- an uncle who died very young, fighting in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. I also bought Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky and a collection of short stories, The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories (edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin).
nightdog_barks: (Happy Pink Stove)
Today is the second time I have made this recipe, and it is so good. It's sort of like the consistency of crème brûlée, layered with thinly-sliced apples. Very easy to put together, not much sugar. This time we added a teaspoon of apple pie spice and a couple of tablespoons of golden rum, and subbed almond extract for vanilla. The whole recipe is under the cut ...

Dorie Greenspan's Custardy Apple Squares )


Apr. 15th, 2017 03:12 pm
nightdog_barks: English robin on a white background (English robin)
Here's Layla, today. Or at least, some of her. :D

 photo SAM_0163_zpssaqjkneb.jpg

I don't think Mama Rabbit has moved the baby -- there was more fluff, though, so she's around somewhere. Otherwise it is just warm and humid, ick.
nightdog_barks: (Medieval Boy)
1) Layla discovered a tiny baby bunny in the backyard. First and most importantly, IT'S OKAY. I called her away and she (reluctantly) left it alone. Our yard guys had come and mowed -- they hadn't been here in a few weeks so the grass was pretty high, and even though Layla is out and about every day, it must've been well-hidden. SO. The tiny bunny covered itself up again with fluff (I thought at first it was a downy baby bird), and we moved a plastic deck chair over the burrow (a shallow burrow) and surrounded it with some tomato fencing (which looks like this -- folds and unfolds, easy to pass through for small animals). Layla was still interested, after all this, but I told her "NO" very sternly and she is good about leaving things alone if I do that. :-)

2) Meanwhile, all our tomato plants are blooming and the dill is growing very well. We need to do something with the basil; it's ALREADY starting to flower. I foresee pasta in our future.

3) I've been copy/pasting my LJ Memories links over to Dreamwidth, since they don't transfer in imports. Here are a few of the Housefics I stopped and re-read last night:

Accidental, by [ profile] menolly_au
Ningyo, by [ profile] yarroway
Made Visible, by [ profile] rubyjuly
Bang, Bang ... (that awful sound), by [ profile] jezziejay
Usually, You Cut Them Out, by [ profile] sassyjumper

Please READ THE WARNINGS -- some of these are not what you would call happy fics. But they're all great reads. :D

Three things = post.

Grey Jay

Apr. 13th, 2017 07:02 pm
nightdog_barks: Illustrated head of an Eastern Screech Owl (Eastern screech owl)
Saw this on Twitter today -- somewhere in Canada, a grey jay does what it does best. :D

BONUS: A woodpecker hitches a ride in Chicago. *g*

To and Fro

Apr. 11th, 2017 04:29 pm
nightdog_barks: (Looking West)
Omg so tired. We were in Columbus, Ohio, for a wedding over the weekend -- left on Friday, came back Sunday. We had a good time seeing family, but ugh, I've gotten unused to the whole boarding airplanes and flying places thing.

Anyway, I have started reading Zadie Smith's Swing Time, and so far (I'm only about 60 pages in) I am liking it.
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
1) It is very sunny outside, and it looks like I'm going to have to water the tomatoes. I am sure Layla will help. :D

2) Finished David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter last night, just in time for our new police action in Korea. Wait, or is that Syria? Well, no hurry, it'll probably be SOMEWHERE ELSE in a week or even just a few days. Anyway, it was an excellent read and properly scary in light of most of the news since ... November.

3) A reminder! I'm going to delete [ profile] nightdog_writes next week. I talked about it here. It's not an account that I'm using anymore, and all of the stories it contains are archived or mirrored on Dreamwidth. I am keeping my personal account, [ profile] nightdog_barks, at least for the time being.

Three things make a post.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
Letting folks know that I will be deleting [ profile] nightdog_writes one week from today -- on April 11th, 2017. All of the stories there are also on the Archive of Our Own, and there is a mirror of the journal on Dreamwidth. Links and bookmarks should be changed accordingly.
nightdog_barks: (Anton Chekhov)
So it appears that LiveJournal has a new User Agreement. LJ had some scheduled maintenance today, and when the site came back up there was a box over the front page, prompting approval for the new terms. I read the terms and was somewhat concerned. There was a button for "Not Now," but when I clicked that I was prompted to log out. So, yes, I agreed, because I was afraid I would lose all access to my journal until I agreed.

These are the two paragraphs in the new Agreement that concern me:

6.3 Please note that in accordance with part 3 Article 10.1 of the Federal Act of the Russian Federation No. 149-ФЗ the Administration shall keep the following information and provide it upon the lawful request of the competent authorities regardless of Users will:

6.3.1 any information related to receipt, transfer, delivery and/or processing of voice information, written texts, images, sounds, video and other electronic messages of Users and information on Users who performed the above actions, within one year upon performing such actions;


8.4 Please note that the Community (the Community’s page) within 24 hours, the Community Owner shall be subject to Article 10.2 of the Federal Act of the Russian Federation No. 149-ФЗ if more than three thousand Internet users access.

These paragraphs are bolded in the Agreement, seeming to indicate that they are new. And before anyone says "BUT THEY COULD DO THAT ALREADY IF THEY WANT TO," ... yes. I know that.

The point is -- while the LJ servers were in the U.S., they were subject to U.S. laws. Now that the servers are in Russia ... LJ users are subject to Russian Federation law? Because that's how I'm reading it.

UPDATE: The actual announcement from LiveJournal.
nightdog_barks: (Horse Weathervane)
Bring May flowers? April flowers, more like it, since the seasons are sped up this year. It is just now calming down -- it started raining at about 12:30 this morning and pretty much rained the rest of the night and into the day. At least we didn't have any hail -- we had nickel-sized hail last week with a few golf balls thrown in, which was no fun. O_o

I am so far behind in replying to comments, both here and on AO3. I can only blame my free-floating anxiety and general sense of dread, which has gotten so much worse since ... well. Really, since last November. :-P

In good news, there are definitely chicks in the wren nest cave -- the parents have been feeding them and I can hear the babies squeaking. Layla has seen the parents coming and going and simply watches them (the wrens ignore her but do dive-bomb the squirrels and warn away other birds). She chased a pair of doves that were in the back yard yesterday -- made them fly and then went bounding across the yard in pure, unadulterated canine joy. She was so happy.

Also in good news, some of the tomato plants are blooming (the Rutgers and Black Krim, definitely; will have to look at the others). (Editing to add that one of the Carnival tomatoes is also blooming; nothing yet from the Better Bush.)
nightdog_barks: (Facepalm)
The China that existed in the minds of millions of Americans was the most illusory of countries, filled as it was with dutiful, obedient peasants who liked America and loved Americans, who longed for nothing so much as to be like them. It was a country where ordinary peasants allegedly hoped to be more Christian and were eager, despite the considerable obstacles in their way, to rise out of what Americans considered a heathen past. Millions of Americans believed not only that they loved (and understood) China and the Chinese, but that it was their duty to Americanize the Chinese. "With God's help, we will lift Shanghai up and up, ever up until it is just like Kansas City," said Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, one of the Republicans who would become a particularly bitter critic of the administration for its China policies (and who once referred to French Indochina as Indigo-China).

~ David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, "The Politics of Two Continents," page 223
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
Well, it appears we have gone straight from winter to summer. It was 92 here yesterday (33.3 Celsius) and today it is supposed to be around 88 (31.1). Everything is green and growing, but jeez this is too warm too early.

Anyway. Here are the last three books I've read ...

1) All Things Cease to Appear, by Elizabeth Brundage. I liked this a lot! Unfortunately I thought the ending was way too rushed and tied up much too neatly, but it was still a very good read. It's a ghost story/murder story (I'm calling it "murder story" instead of murder mystery because c'mon, there's really no mystery about who the killer is), with distinct echoes of Donna Tartt (a lead character is an art historian at a small upstate New York university) and Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley). The author does a great job of a place in time (the late '70s), and I'd be interested in picking up another book by her.

2) Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard. (Actually it's a much longer title but I'm not going to type it all out kthx.) Omg I loved this. Millard has the wonderful ability to take a story we already know the answer to (Winston Churchill's capture and escape from the Boers during the Boer War) and make it nail-bitingly exciting. RISKS! CHILLS! THRILLS! WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Well, dead, but still. Somebody should make a movie of this. Two thumbs up! :D

3) Sweet Lamb of Heaven, by Lydia Millet. I wanted to like this. I really did. Woman hears voices in her mind, woman leaves creepy husband, woman finds refuge in run-down old motel on the Maine coast ... woman's story descends into New Age-y psychobabble about God, the language of trees and other plants, metaphysics, and an antagonist who is either God, the Devil, or a technological glitch in reality. I don't know. By the end, I didn't care. No stars, no thumbs up, wtf did I just read?

SO. Now I am reading David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter, which is about the Korean War. Figured I should learn about the first one before the next one starts. AMIRITE OR AMIRITE LOL :-P

New Guest

Mar. 17th, 2017 04:14 pm
nightdog_barks: (Nancy D.)
... okay, so that tiny wren cave/nest I described on March 5th, and said that I didn't really know if they were using it?

They're using it. There's at least one teeny-tiny egg inside. (One of the wrens and I scared the hell out of each other while I was watering around the lemongrass pot, and so I got our little Fenix flashlight and peeked inside.)

Garden Note

Mar. 9th, 2017 06:13 pm
nightdog_barks: (Tomatoes)
Planted remaining tomatoes, basil, and dill today. Layla attempted to sample the dill, so behind the tomato fencing it went. // facepalm //


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