nightdog_barks: (Happy Pink Stove)
Put together this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cake today (from the Washington Post). Followed the instructions except for sifting the flour and spices together -- just took it out of the oven and it smells delicious. :D

We must have an opossum in residence close by -- Layla treed a youngster both last night and this morning in the backyard, scaring the bejeebers out of the little guy both times.

Currently reading Jay McInerney's The Good Life, sequel to Brightness Falls and the middle book in his "New York trilogy" (I've noticed some people calling it his "Yuppie trilogy," heh). It's a good read, but omg these characters do not talk like normal people talk. Before this I read Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I had read it once, years and years ago, but I heard Gaiman had restored something like 12K words to a new edition. It was interesting to see how the book did or did not follow the first season of the TV show, and how a few scenes had been transferred to TV virtually unchanged. I enjoyed it a lot -- two thumbs up, would recommend.
nightdog_barks: Red Mobil Pegasus flying over an open book (Pegasus and book)
It actually rained a bit this morning and is still overcast, giving us a temp of 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius), which is amazing for mid-July. Unfortunately, the humidity is 70%, making it feel as though it's 95 (35 Celsius). I'll still take the cloud cover.

Was very sad to see this news -- Maryam Mirzakhani passes away, aged 40. First (and so far, only) woman to win the Fields Medal, genius mathematician. Wife and mom. And just 40. JUST FORTY. What else might she have accomplished? Seriously, cancer can go DIAF.

Sigh. Still curious to see who the 13th Doctor will be, even though I fell out of love with the show this season and I'm really not sure why.

Here, have a somewhat blurry pic of Layla (taken this afternoon) --



Oh! Editing to add that I forgot to mention I saw a bat last evening, flitting around our backyard at just dusk when the sun was going down! I think Layla was barking at it. :D
nightdog_barks: 1930s movie poster of Buster Crabbe and a lion (Movie Poster -- Jungle Man)
And by warm, I mean it's about 95 degrees and feels like 105. :-P

Layla got me up at about 4 in the morning, woofing (very softly) that she needed to go out (she was lying). Anyway, I was sitting in one of our deck chairs while she lounged on the deck, when our wind chimes suddenly ... chimed. EXCEPT THERE WAS NO WIND. It was dead calm, close and stifling, with what appeared to be a full moon. So I got up and aimed my trusty little flashlight at the chimes. (These are our wind chimes. I love them.)

There was an anole lizard clinging to one of the chimes. "Oh, hello," I said. Made me smile. :D

Reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians, enjoying it so far.

Friday

May. 12th, 2017 04:01 pm
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
Partly cloudy, partly sunny, cooler than it has been, which is a relief. There was another young opossum in the backyard last night -- Layla was barking at it ferociously and scaring the hell out of the poor thing (it was backed up against the fence as far as it could go without becoming one with the fence), so we made her come back in the house. We have not seen the baby bunnies in several days, so I'm devoutly hoping they've hopped away to other, greener yards.

Finished reading Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky, and while I liked it, I didn't love it. It was definitely a page-turner, but the more it went on, the less connection I felt with any of the characters, and I thought the SPOILER ) was ridiculous. So, well. One thumb up?

Now reading Anthony Loyd's My War Gone By, I Miss It So, which is a nonfiction account of his time in Bosnia in the 1990s as a war correspondent. As one might expect, it is not a fun read.

Thought the second episode of American Gods was much better than the first. Guest spots from Gillian Anderson and Cloris Leachman really lifted this one. Still enjoying Class on BBC America.

In old news, President Potatohead and his cronies are still pigs.
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).

Doggo

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 [livejournal.com profile] menolly_au
Ningyo, by [livejournal.com profile] yarroway
Made Visible, by [livejournal.com profile] rubyjuly
Bang, Bang ... (that awful sound), by [livejournal.com profile] jezziejay
Usually, You Cut Them Out, by [livejournal.com 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.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a rabbit's head with long ears, facing left (Father Rabbit)
There was a cottontail in our backyard last night. Layla, needless to say, was very excited and wanted to go chase it, but we wouldn't let her (we are very mean). The cottontail could tell it was being watched (by us and the dog), and so it just sat still for a while. Then it relaxed enough to look around, and then enough to forage around in the grass and dirt. Layla eventually got bored and decided to take a nap. :D

Finished a very good book -- Wake, by Anna Hope. The story follows three women -- Ada, Evelyn, and Hettie -- through one week in November, 1920. The Great War has only been over for two years, and its effects are still rippling through their lives. I really enjoyed this short novel and give it two thumbs up. Now reading Simon Sebag Montefiore's new history of the Romanov dynasty, and so far it is excellent.

The weather is still wildly unseasonable -- much too warm, and today we are waiting for rain.

Hello 2017

Jan. 1st, 2017 02:57 pm
nightdog_barks: Painting of a white crow or raven with a pomegranate seed in its beak (White Raven)
Well, the first day of 2017 here is GORGEOUS. 63 warm degrees (17.2 Celsius, and really, it feels much warmer than that) and sunny. Both new calendars are up (Sierra Club in the bedroom, Audubon Society in the kitchen), and there's laundry in the wash. Layla was Not Pleased about the neighborhood fireworks last night (especially when someone set off what sounded like an M-80 close by), but she's happy and fine today.

Also today, I went out on the deck and discovered that SOMEONE had stolen three ripe lemons from our little Meyer lemon tree. There were seven there yesterday; I have picked the remaining four to keep them out of GRASPING PAWS. (I am blaming the opossum who apparently lives nearby.) Oddly enough, the three ripe Satsuma oranges on the other tree were untouched. :D
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a rabbit's head with long ears, facing left (Father Rabbit)
And already I like you because you showed me four baby bunnies last night. The bunny encounter ...  )

So that's the rabbit story! Omg I wanted to pick them up and cuddle them SO MUCH. I resisted by thinking "fleas ticks tularemia" but wow, the human cuddle instinct is strong. I read later that baby wild bunnies are prone to just keeling over ded from stress, so I'm glad I didn't touch any of them.

I am reading Tim Winton's Cloudstreet and liking it very much. It is a challenge sometimes, though, to decipher the Australian English. I already knew that chickens are chooks, but why the heck is a bundle of dry branches called props? And why is a bicycle a grid? And omg, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize a teachest is a TEA CHEST. Nevertheless. I am enjoying the story of the Lamb and Pickles families ("It's gunna sound like a counter lunch -- Lamb and Pickles.") :D
nightdog_barks: (Red Daisy)
1) It rained some earlier today and we are supposed to have more, but right now it is sunny and warm (and humid).

2) I was reading Black Deutschland and it was pretty good, but I have to admit it was also somewhat ... boring. So I thought, "Oh, I'll put this aside for a moment and read Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman, which I've been looking forward to!" So okay, I pick up Unnecessary Woman, which is about the life of a Lebanese woman in Beirut, and I'm reading it, and then I come to page 43. The narrator, Aaliya, is bartering sex for a gun, because her apartment has been broken into. Her partner is Ahmad, who used to work in her bookshop but has since moved up in the world (so to speak) to become a feared militia torturer. Cut because squick ...  )

SO. I get it, I know that I'm intended to read this as darkly absurd and ridiculous, a comedy of the human condition. But all I can think is, DUDE, WTF? Dear Reader, I have not been able to continue with this book, and I am not sure I will finish it. I'm probably overreacting, but to me, that is just such a weird choice as a writer to make. :-P

3) I am now reading John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which is at least some decent brain candy.

4) Is anyone going to watch the first Presidential debate on Monday night? The NY Times is predicting "Super Bowl type numbers" in viewership, and I think they're full of shit just don't see that.

5) On our walk last night we saw a tiny baby toad that was about the size of my thumbnail. :D

Five things make a post.
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
Ugh, I hate this time of year, and it's always like this. It's the middle of September -- it's supposed to be getting cooler, but instead it gets HOTTER. At least it's only one more week? Seriously, fuck this weather.

Ahem. Well, even if it's not cool outside, Mister Nightdog is cooking a brisket and the house smells wonderful. I finished reading Uprooted and really liked it, although I'll admit I think it could've lost about 20 pages and had a better, tighter ending because honestly, the ending seemed to go on FOREVER. After that I read Kelly Link's early collection Stranger Things Happen. I liked all of it except one story -- it was called "Louise's Ghost" and both the main characters were named Louise. No thank you.

Now I am reading Darryl Pinckney's Black Deutschland, which is about a gay black (American) guy living in West Berlin in the 1980s, before the Wall came down. It's pretty good.

Oh, and also I think Layla and I heard a coyote last night. We heard a high-pitched yip-yip-yip, but it didn't sound like a little dog yip, it sounded like a big dog doing a yippy sing-song. Whatever it was, Layla did not like it. :D
nightdog_barks: (House Reading)
So there is a fic Career Day Challenge over at [livejournal.com profile] house_wilson, and it reminded me of a fic from back in the day -- a story where either House or Wilson (or both?) was a tailor. Does anyone else remember this? Or am I imagining things? All I have is a super-vague recollection of one of them ... being a tailor. In a tailor's shop.

EDITING TO ADD that perhaps the tailor shop was a cover? And everyone was really part of a spy organization? Which, I know, sounds kind of like Kingsman, but this was years and years ago, way before the movie.

OTHERWISE. Warm and sunny here after some much-needed rain. I have seen a couple of hummingbirds in the past week, so today I hung a hummingbird feeder in the backyard. Also on our nightly walks I have FINALLY started seeing wildlife again -- so far just armadillos and cottontails.

I am reading Christopher Buehlman's Those Across the River, which is about weird happenings and family secrets in the Depression-era American South. It is obvious the narrator is one of those people who Can Not Leave Well Enough Alone. :D
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
1) Stuck in one of those periodic cycles of ferocious hot flashes. :-(

2) But! In much better news, we saw a screech owl two nights ago! I could hear it calling, very softly, and I could tell it was close, so I said "Layla, wait just a minute," and started shining my little flashlight into the trees And there he was! Wee little guy, about the length of my hand (5 1/2 to 6 inches tall). He (she?) was reddish-grey and had a streaky chest. It owl-bobbed its head at us a couple of times and flew away on silent owl wings. :D

3) Almost finished with LaRose, by Louise Erdrich. If the ending holds up, it will be one of the best novels I've read this year -- the others are Samantha Hunt's Mr. Splitfoot and Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins. It hasn't been a particularly good year for novels for me, so far (I've read a dozen and thought three were memorable).

4) People who use "lead" when they mean "led" should be banished from Twitter. This is like when paid became payed for a while, and it makes me grit my teeth.

5) This is some prime-gauge nightmare fuel. The permafrost is melting, so long-frozen anthrax spores wake up. Thirteen people hospitalized, 1,500 dead reindeer. The dystopian fics write themselves.

Five things, as I've heard, make a post.
nightdog_barks: (Glass Full of Rain)
It seems like spring, anyway, although it's cooled down a bit. Last night we got a good round of thundershowers (Layla remains oddly unaffected/unconcerned about thunder) and tonight into tomorrow we are supposed to have more rain.

Speaking of Layla, here is a shot of her that I took this afternoon:

 photo 9447a844-1e48-4bd8-af5c-eef45b38e216_zps5nthombg.jpg

Also, here is a picture of our garden (such as it is) ... under the cut ...  )

In the past couple of weeks, we've seen more night-time wildlife than we have in MONTHS -- screech owls, cottontail rabbits, even a teeny-tiny baby garter snake (that wriggled quickly away from Layla's inquisitive nose). :D
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
Taken yesterday --

 photo Layla15_zpsnexdgmj5.jpg

A few more under the cut ...  )

:D

Weather is GORGEOUS here. It really feels as if we have skipped winter altogether and gone straight into spring.

Also! Saw a screech owl last night, for the first time in months and months! It was TINY, sitting on a branch, trilling to itself. :D
nightdog_barks: (Open Book)
Ugh, it was cold and WINDY all day today. I hate wind, especially COLD wind, so bah, humbug. :-P

I did finally finish Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, and would highly recommend it as a clear, vividly readable history. I'm looking forward to volume 2 (this is supposed to be a trilogy). Started Elizabeth Strout's novel My Name Is Lucy Barton, and so far I'm enjoying it.

Watched Tomorrowland on one of the movie channels and ... it was okay.

Saw an opossum while walking the other night! First wildlife I had seen in MONTHS.
nightdog_barks: (Winter tree)
It's actually not that bad outside -- it's 39 degrees (3.9 degrees Celsius), but the wind is blasting out of the north and so it feels at least ten degrees colder. I hung a suet basket in the backyard (there are already two seed feeders out there) for the birds. Layla helped by bringing one of her squeaky toys outside and dancing around with it. So far we've had the regular winter avian visitors -- juncos, titmice, chickadees, goldfinches, warblers. Last weekend we had a flock of cedar waxwings come through, accompanied by ... robins.

Have been reading Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, which is the first book in a two-volume history of the naval war in the Pacific in WWII. So far it is very good. Read The Revenant (book the movie is based on) and thought it was ... okay. It was probably the most simple, straightforward adventure story I've read in a very long time, and honestly I thought the Canadian wilderness novels of Guy Vanderhaeghe (The Englishman's Boy and The Last Crossing) were much better.

Not much else. Thinking about starting some tomato seeds. Heard a screech owl the other night while walking. First one I've heard in MONTHS. Have not seen any night-time wildlife in forever.

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September 2017

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What I'm Reading Now

Fiction
The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

Nonfiction
Alligator Candy: A Memoir, by David Kushner

Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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