lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 ... to try to write about mundane things after Inky's death, but life goes on, I suppose.  

Shawn ended up doing a ton of research into "elderly" cats and discovered that Deliah, who is 16, and Ms. Piggy, who is 18, are considered BEYOND elderly and into geriatric. You can kind of see it on Ms. Piggy, she's been cranky and stiff for some time now, but Deliah? She still acts like a kitten!

Shawn sent me a lot of the articles she'd read and it was comforting to read that we're doing everything right by our older cats. It's absolutely correct to be feeding on demand (small amounts, often,) and looking for foods high in protein and fat.  Of course, this is doing NO GOOD for our fatty orange boy, Buttercup. But at this point, I'm very much looking at our cats and saying "WHATEVER YOU WANT, MY PRECIOUS BABIES."

Today is Imbolc, but my family is going to celebrate tomorrow. Normally, in our tradition, we dedicate ourselves to work with a particular deity for a year. No one in this household has had he wherewithal to do the requisite research, so our plan is to make something yummy for breakfast (I'm thinking cinnamon buns) and spend a little time as a family planning out some of the rituals we all want to do together.  That seems 'close enough' to the spirit of the holiday for us right now.

I made some piroshki for dinner tonight at the urging of my family.  

piroshki on a plate

This is a recipe that Shawn got from her "Recipes North Dakota" FB group. Shawn has the best FB groups. She's in "Liberal Preppers," "Recipes of North Dakota," "Simple Vintage and Homemaking," "Stocking our Shelves," and "Weird Thrift Store Finds."  All my FB groups make me vaguely annoyed, and meanwhile, she's showing me pictures of strange things found at Good Will. To be fair, Shawn spends a LOT of time curating her feed. She has a modest number of friends that she follows and she is very fast with the hide, snooze, block, and unfriend buttons. Meanwhile, I friend anyone. Part of that is because: writer.  I never know who is following me because they've read my books and they just want to know what might be coming out next.

Mason had work today at KAYSC. He said they had an open discussion about various projects they're considering undertaking. It sounded very much like baby's first meeting. He came home and bonded with Shawn about various buzzwords, "fostering synergy" and such like. 

He's now playing D&D on Discord with a bunch of people he's in an amateur Overwatch league team with. I'm so glad he found his people. I have no idea who I'd be if the internet had existed when I was his age.

Otherwise, I spent part of my day going through old DW journal entries updating my tag set. It started because Shawn and I had one of those arguments couple have about the timing of various things in our collective memory. Did this thing happen first, or that other thing? Both of us were SO SURE we were right, and I knew I'd blogged about the events in question.  BUT, it took me forever to figure out how to track down the whole story because I'd been really sloppy with my tagging. So, I spent an hour or so reading through the old entries from 2011 and making the tags consistent.  

It was really funny to watch my comments numbers drop precipitously after I became a Bleach fan.

Ah, speaking of finding one's tribe, if only I'd known about Tumblr back then (or whatever other fan communities existed.)  

Otherwise, it was a quiet day. I've been a bit more spotty with my Spell-a-Day, but I did manage yesterday's. Not much to report, however, just a renewal spell/meditation. 
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
And now it is Wednesday, which is the day in which Mason and I record our MangaKast. It's up and available at: in which there is a lot of giggling, spoilerage, and squee.

As usual, this is us, in the raw. I had to edit a huge section of "d'urrrr" because neither of us were at our best... (tbf, there was no coffee in the house and I was operating on one cup.)

I can't believe we've been doing this for 9 whole episodes, but it's been a blast.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
If you're curious what Mason and I sound like first thing in the morning, you can feel free to listen to our third MangaKast, which is up on the WordPress site now:


It's a very rambling, sleepy conversation, but, even if no one listens, we're going to keep doing this because WE AMUSE OURSELVES.  :-)  And, who knows, at some point we might have an actual insight or two.

And, if you just can't get enough of my dulcet tones (and you happen to live local to me), you're cordially welcome to stop by Dreamhaven tonight and listen to me read.  I can even promise cookies, because Eric usually brings some.  The details are:

On Wednesday, March 26 from 6:30 to 7:45 pm, I will be the Speculations readers at Dreamhaven Books and Comics. Dreamhaven is located at 2301 E. 38th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55406. You can get more information about the event by calling 612-823-6161 or visiting:

I'll probably be reading from one of my two works-in-progress, either the Precinct 13 sequel or the book I'm writing for Rachel, which is a YA about a gender queer person whose dreams invade Real Life (tm).

See you there, perhaps!
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Since my other podcast project was kind of a dud, Mason and I have decided that it'd be fun to do a very on-the-fly, slapdash podcast about Bleach on the mornings that the chapters come out.  We've decided to call it MangaKast (with a "k" as a play on the word mangaka, which is what one calls manga artists.)  We recorded it at about 6:30 am, before breakfast, before coffee, and before school.  So, I might not be the usual shining star that you may know me to be.  In the future, I hope to at least get up in enough time to make coffee so I'm not a complete moron.

If you want to take a listen, the first one is up at:

When you get there you'll see just a very little, almost easy to miss arrow and pause symbol.  Press that and music will start.  We start talking shortly afterwards.  We don't even really do a proper introduction, but we decided that it's content over quality... yeah, that's it.

Anyway, enjoy if you will.

Fan Day

Mar. 5th, 2014 10:24 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Bleach 571 came out today, I know you're all as excited as I am…. and since I know you don't want to be spoiled, I'll be sure to put my comments about it under the cut.

Read more... )

In other news, my Solstice present from Shawn finally arrived.  Here's me in it:


So what am I wearing?  That's a Scouting Legion hoodie from Shingeki no Kyojin aka "Attack on Titan."  These are the characters who go out beyond the walled city and fight the "baddies" (jury is out, given how sympathetic many of the shifters seem to be.)  If you're not reading this manga or watching this anime already, I'm not sure I can entirely recommend it to you because… at first I was fairly traumatized by the action (though Tumblr fandom had warned me)… it's… uh, there are… well, let's just say the Titans eat people, like graphically.

However, it is the hot new thing all kids are into. And they're into it for a good reason. The story is strong and the characters are deeply compelling.  I find it interesting because it's not like the usual shougen manga because the hero fights with a team and teamwork is critical to winning battles.  Also, war sucks in a really UN-glorified way.  People die. People whose names you've learned, whose stories you know, who you've come to love and sympathize with, die.  And they don't just die HEROICALLY.  Sometimes, like in real war, their deaths are stupid and meaningless and awful.  In fact, one of my favorite characters, Jean is motivated to join the Scouting Legion because his friend (lover?) dies in a back alley and… they're honestly not sure it's him, he's been so disfigured.  No one saw him die.  And Jean becomes determined to go out in blaze of glory, because f*ck that.  I also love Jean because he's a coward and admits he's scared out of his mind every time they go into battle.  There's also a couple of shifter characters who bend my mind they're so awesome.

Also, if you're generally interested in non-binary gender representations in media, it's happening in SnK.  Here's a Tumblr post about this character.

In Real Life™ news, I got put on another panel at MarCON this weekend.   So, now in addition to the other Sunday (3pm?) panel, I'm also doing: Timing and Pacing, 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Krushenko's

See you there?
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
New Bleach chapters come out on Wednesdays (when Kubo-sensei is not on hiatus, at any rate,) and so I've decided that, for the most part, I'm going to give into my fannish squee one day a week and mostly just spend the day being a fan.

Chapter 570 was good, in case you were wondering.

Read more... )

Speaking of manga and chapters, last night, at work, I picked up Volume 5 of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers. [ profile] naomikritzer bought volume one of this series for me as a Solstice/Christmas gift this last year because the premise sounds right up my alley (and it sort of is.)  The manga is an alternate history where sometime during the Edo period, the men of Japan are all afflicted with a disease that wipes out a huge percentage of the male population.  Women rise to power and men become, well, breeders, really.  Many are sold off to brothels, etc.  The main plot, however, revolves around the men in the "Inner Chamber," the shogun's own harem/concubines.  So there is political intrigue and lots and lots of men being "debased" for the shogun's pleasure.

YET, despite that fabulous premise, this manga could be a lot hotter than it is, honestly.  Despite the warning of "explicit content" there's only a little hint of m/m and most of the sex is a pan to the left and IMPLIED.

The other problem with the story, IMHO, is that there are a lot of time jumps.  Like, right now, I'm not actually sure where I am in the timeline.  It started when the female shogun was well established, but then jumped to tell a story of the first "Swain" (the concubine in charge of taking the Emperor's maidenhead and then falling on his sword) and then jumped again to tell of the rise of the first female shogun.  I THINK we've been moving slowly back to the "now" from that second story-in-a-story, but I'm honestly not sure.

Unfortunately, this is a two part problem, one that falls squarely on my shoulders, and the other I will blame on the mangaka (a woman named Fumi Yoshinaga).

The problem that's mine is that Japanese names don't stick very quickly in my head.  I have to be hammered with a Japanese name for several issues before I remember it (even when the characters are wildly different looking, like in Bleach--thank fate for the Bleach Wiki and the fact that Byakuya kept saying "Renji" over and over and people introduced themselves at each fight...) and... the second problem is that the mangaka seems to have one image in her head of "hot guy" and so the guys that catch the shogun's eye (even different shoguns) are all kind of the same TYPE.  Worse, everyone is sporting the same hairstyle, purposely copying the Hot Guy.  So, I've had a hell of a time figuring out if I'm following the first Hot Guy or a new Hot Guy.

BUT, despite this criticism, I'm still reading.  I even picked up the last two volumes 6 & 7, with the thought that I'll see this through.  The universe is interesting enough to keep me reading and the titillation is titillating.  (I've got a good imagination, after all.)

Plus, as Naomi well knows, this sort of set-up is a big guilty pleasure of mine.  I really enjoyed (far too much) Catherine Aasaro's LAST HAWK, because it's this same thing, only in that case the Hot Guy is a crash-landed fighter pilot captured and thrust into the harem of a matriarch on a matrilineal planet.  Similarly, I pushed through Wen Spenser's A BROTHER'S PRICE because it was a future where there was another plague that affected only men, and... yada, yada harems and brothels full of desperate men.  Similar-but-different, I really adored ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND a six-volume shojo manga about a girl who mail-orders the perfect android boyfriend (from the future, but that's kind of a side story.)

Clearly, I love this set-up.  It's like some kind of gender-swap Slave Girls of Gor and I'm really not sure what it says about me.... and I'm not sure I want to know.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Last night my friend Rachel took some friends and I out to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis' West End called Raku. We had sushi and sake. Our sake had an awesome name: onikoroshi, which the menu translated as 'demon slayer.' It was really tasty. I have to say my sake experience previous to this was very low. I bought a bottle once at a grocery store in ValParasio, Indiana, and it was, in point of fact, nothing to write home about. This sake might not SLAY any demons, but I could certainly see it creating a few... because tasted like floral scented water. I could have had way too much to drink very, very easily.

Luckily (and unluckily), Shawn stayed home last night because Mason was feeling under the weather, so I had to stay sober to drive--and, in case you didn't know this about me, I'm the lightest lightweight ever. Two sips of anything, even something most people don't think of as terribly potent, and I'm under the table muttering about 'dim shablows' and telling people 'I love ya, man.' Plus, as fun as that may sound, I'm actually one of those people for whom alcohol actually works as a depressant. I'm a very sad drunk.

At any rate, what I really want to post about was our sushi. Particularly this:


Naruto sushi! Weirdly, it did not contain ANY RAMEN....

It was a nice night. I handed off what I hope to become a 'seekrit project.' So... fingers crossed.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Thanks to [ profile] revolutionaryjo, last night I finished #24 of Attack on Titan/Shingaki no Kyojin. When I mentioned in passing that I was watching this finally, a reader of my Bleach fanfic said that s/he couldn't decide whether or not to look forward to or dread the day I started writing SnK fanfic.

I'm never going to write in this universe.

Though it has a military structure that totally appeals to me (because unlike Bleach, the various units actually function a lot more like real military divisions,) the universe the characters exist in is unrelentingly grim. The situation itself is no more horrible than a lot of shonen stories. The future is a place where humanity has been forced to retreat behind walls because kaiju giant human-shaped creatures (Titans) roam around looking for tasty people to eat. A hero emerges.... you know how this part goes, I'm sure. Eren has a determination no one else has, along with a nifty superpower that makes him the hope for humanity.

There's even a lot of intriguing politics. There are spies and traitors in our ranks. It's unclear whether or not the whole thing is a farce, ie a giant set-up by the powers that be to keep humanity cowering and afraid and completely malleable and heavily taxed.

Normally, this would be a winning combination for me. But, the author is really extremely 'realistic' in his approach to war and casualties... heavy on the casual part of that, which is to say, like in a real war, people die stupid, meaningless deaths, sometimes very much random and unfair. Very, very few people get to be heroes. Even the hero of the story, Eren, doesn't always get to be heroic. Sometimes his superpower goes out of control, and sometimes he can't call it up, and sometimes he's ASKED to waste human lives for a greater goal (which also sometimes doesn't work out, even if the effort is valiant.)

That last bit is the part that has caused an utter lack of "FEELS." I care about what happens in this story, but the situation has forced me to divest in everyone. I have one character I like, but the words "DOOMED" seem so clearly printed on his face, that I refuse to imagine anything beyond THIS MOMENT.

SnK should also be a prime candidate for fic from me, because they skip over a lot of the more interesting times--boot camp is given two or three episodes before we get a timeskip and then training with the advance scout troop also gets only a few episodes. This is where the FEELS fail. Possibly more attention is given these times in the manga, because the speed at which we head into action means that I miss out on the little moments that could make these characters stand out. It shrinks the world rather than expand it for me. If we had several episodes of life at boot camp, I might give a few more 3-D maneuvering f*cks.

Yet I'm expected to keep track of all these white people. The other problem about SnK is that no one really stands out physically. Several people (being military and all) have the same hair color and hair style and there's not a single person of color. Which, I presume can be blamed on the fact that this takes place in some kind of pseudo-Germany/Europe, but last time I checked the Moors had made an in-road into Europe SOME TIME AGO. It's kind of creepy, in fact, that it is CANON that Mikasa is Asian and THUS IS CONSIDERED VERY RARE. I have no idea if that's meant to strike the kind of fear it does into my heart, but, if we have more Gunthers and Heinricks I'm going to start thinking that they're intentionally echoing Nazis.

The uniform certainly does.

So, perhaps if I read the manga I'll start sympathizing with the mindless Titans?

It will be interesting to see why Annie is one of them. Her motivations are currently unclear and it's fascinating to me that the times that she powers-up/rips free/calls others to eat her while in her Titan form is whenever someone threatens to cut off her limbs. Had she been experimented on? Is Eren's creepy-ass scientist dad somehow to blame with his Silence of the Lambs basement? My theory about why all the Titans are attracted to Eren and why they're always trying to capture him? Dad is the villain. He's created all the variants, including all the ones who are ultra-intelligent and he's done it at the behest of the government.

But, even with all this, I have very little interest in investing in this fandom beyond being a reader/watcher. if I had any FEELS it would have been focused on Jean/Marco AND ONE OF THEM IS ALREADY DEAD. It's kind of hard to write a sweeping romance with a F*CKING GHOST (although SnK fan writers/artist are sure doing their damnedest.)

So, yeah. NO. Just NO.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
As you probably have noticed, LJ, I've mostly left you to get swept up by Tumblr. It's been a torrid affair and I'm afraid I've fallen deeply for Tumblr. I do hope, LJ, that you can I can still be friends.

But, now I have to rave a little annoyingly about my new friend, Tumblr.

Do you know what Tumblr introduced me to? Attack on Titan (aka "SNK," which is the abbreviation of its Japanese title, which I have yet to memorize.) I've started watching SNK, while doing the dishes. I think I'm up to episode 16. I just finished watching the "Female Titan" episode, which means I may be ready for some big ass trees. It's interesting to me the extent to which I've been spoiled/not-spoiled by all the various bits of clips and screen shots and fan art about this show. All the fan activity drew me in to try it, while giving me the warning that it's... bloody. War has consequences and the Titans eat us. So, I'm not invested in ANYONE. Actually, at one point I had to check Wikipedia to make sure the MAIN CHARACTER actually lived, because it looked very much like he didn't. I thought that maybe the show was going to break out and be the first shonen hero story where the hero who gave all the rousing speeches died early and the entire show/manga was about avenging him. But, no (and I'm okay with that. I did the Wiki search after realizing that no, I would not go on watching if the good-hearted brave one bought it.)

But, because I know better than to invest, I've been having fewer 'feels' as the kids call it. It fun to watch and addicting in the way of these shows, but it's not going to replace Bleach any time soon.

The other thing Tumblr got me interested in? Welcome to Night Vale. Welcome to Night Vale, of all things, is a podcast. The clever thing about it, is that it's set up to be a story about a guy on the radio, so it has an immediacy to it that I'm enjoying. I'm only up to the "Management Negotiations" episode (the one following the Glow Cloud, number 4, I think,) but it amuses me. The radio station is in a desert town somewhere in the US where weird is somewhat commonplace, you know, like how old woman Josey just happens to have angels changing light bulbs for her and things like that. But, in between bizarre public service announcements, advertisements for strange places, there's a story about the radio DJ and his attraction to a new scientist who comes to town (with PERFECT hair) named Carlos.

It was the cute fan art of these two that got me enchanted. I have a harder time finding time to listen to the podcasts, but I've been making time because the story is that interesting.

That leads me finally to "Sleepy Hollow" which I enjoyed tremendously. Tumblr didn't find this one for me, alas. I also thing that "Sleepy Hollow" is far too clever and cheesy-goodness-y for network TV. I predict it's going to go the way of "Firefly" and be over before it really gets started. For one, the main character is a black female police lieutenant and, you know, female leads? Not a lot of them, really, it's sad to say. I mean, I suppose Ichibod Crane is technically the hero of the show, but she's the one through whom a LOT of the mystery is being solved. Things I liked--the headless horseman is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Ichibod Crane nearly lost his sh*t when he saw the Freemason pyramid symbol on the back of the US dollar. Masonry symbols have been popping anywhere you look for them, but they aren't given a lot of play, yet, which makes me extremely hopeful that beyond the good witch/bad witch stuff they've set up, there may also be a third magical group--the Freemasons, which would crack me up. Between the Biblical stuff and this, I'm so 100% sold, it's not even funny.

Also, there are creepy demons.

"Sleepy Hollow" FTW.

Okay, got to run, but I promise I'll be back, LJ. I'm really sorry I've neglected you for my new lover, Tumblr (s/he is prettier, though. Sorry!)

Fan Art

Jul. 21st, 2013 08:59 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Just a quick sketch and an ink of my favorite guy:

renji and table 004

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
So, we went to kuk sool finally after many days absence to discover that all the cherry blossoms had bloomed, so OF COURSE we had to take some petals home and have a little shikai battle. You'll have to imagine (a lot), but also that I have Zabimaru.

I kind of like how the blossoms look like magic spikes. (Mason makes a good Byakuya, neh?)
senbonzakura 068

My sad death. Luckily, I'm headed to the Soul Society!
senbonzakura 069

No, I will rise again, like Renji!
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
This is the sort of thing that appears as random art on the bottom of the letters I send to my pen pal, Keri, in Seattle. Several years ago (or maybe just a couple years ago), I decided that I missed the sensual, private pleasure of writing personal letters. So I put out a request on Facebook. Keri, a woman I only kinda-sorta knew at the time said, "Oooh, pick me!" So I did. We've been corresponding for at least a year and a half if not two years now and every time I write to her, I usually embellish the letter with a bit of fan art/art.

Here's what I'm sending her this week:

renji all

Pretty nice, huh? I bet you wish you were my pen pal.

Or maybe not. Maybe you'd be pretty sick of all the Renji I send.... Although, tbf, I have actually sent her Ichigo, Kisuke Urahara, Captain Kyouraku, Byakuya, and Gin Ichimaru, so I'm not ENTIRELY one-track fan art-ing her. Though there's a lot of Renji. How do I know? My red colored pencil is little more than a sad little stub.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
One of the things that's significantly expanded my horizons is reading a book called "Japanese Street Slang" by Peter Constantine to Mason. It's a very RUDE book to read to a nine-year old, but only a nine-year old can truly appreciate how hillarious farts are. So, we often skip the entries on sex-related things (though I read those to myself and to him if they're not too graphic), and go on to the hilarity of bodily functions of all sorts.

I never thought our obsession with Japanese street slang would lead to a deeper understanding of weird moments in Manga like this one:

isshin pees

The fan translated sites went with, "I want to pee alone," which probably sounds even stranger to a Western ear--

--Unless you know about the villiage practice* of tsureshoben, "pissing together." Tsureshoben according to our slang book started off referring to when people used to, "take a break in their field work to go off together for a piss." The entry on tsureshoben goes on to explain, "Today people still quote the proverb Inaka no tsureshoben 'pissing together in the country.'... Another proverb worth memorizing: Tsureshoben, tabi no michi. 'Pissing together on the road.' This proverb indicates that urinating together during an outing or a picnic is a sign of friendship. Ideally, close friends should be able to drop formalities and relax to the extent that even when nature calls they can respond in each other's company." (149-150)

Yeah, so even though I love the fic that sprouted up to explain this moment, the above might be closer to the truth.

*A fascinating side note to this moment of oddness from this particular character is that his family is one of the big noble houses. His familiarity with country practices (and his general laissez faire attitude) has made me wonder what kind of nobles his family is... were they a family that made its fortune through hard work? The sort that perhaps brought itself up from a lower class, ala a kind of nouveau riche? I tend to think so. I think maybe we're supposed to guess this about this character from moments like these, though I may be reading more into this than is there.


Feb. 26th, 2013 09:29 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Natto, I think, it one of those things every Western otaku hears about at some point. I first heard it described at last year's CONvergence by someone who had been an exchange student in Japan and had it forced on her for breakfast in a way that made it impossible to refuse without being beyond rude. It's a Japanese breakfast food (often sold in convenience stores) of fermented soybeans. If you Google "weird Japanese food," natto usually makes any top 10 list.

Innocent looking packaging:
eating the natto 001

The reason it makes so many top ten lists is because it's... stringy. Something about the fermentation process makes a kind of "special sauce" for the soybeans that's very, VERY reminiscent of snot. It's kind of a transluscently yellow and sticky and mucous-like.

It is, I will not lie, GROSS looking as all get out:
eating the natto 007

Because I'm THAT fangrrl, I ended up watching videos on how to eat natto as part of my 'research' for my fanfic. While watching serveral different Japanese and Western people filming themselves eating this stringy-snot looking mess of beans, I was overwhelmed by a desire to find it and try it for myself. My first part of the quest: figure out if anyone sells this stuff in the U.S.

The Internet said I could order a packet from somewhere in SanFrancisco. It would cost me three dollars, but shipping, no surprise, sucked. I started asking around. I asked some folks at my dojon, but this is Japanese food, not Korean, so no joy there. My friend Naomi, who is much more adventurous a cook than I am, suggested that I try a place called United Noodle over in Minneapolis. She said, "If anyone in the Twin Cities has it, it would be them."

Mason and I took off on a grand adventure yesterday around noon. I had instructions on how to get there from their web site and a few half-remembered tips from Naomi. Of course, I got lost. Ironically, I used to live very near where it is, as it's within a stone's throw of Augsburg College campus. But, as I've explained many times before, once you leave Minneapolis, the fairies of the place abandon you. I once couldn't find the downtown Minneapolis library! So, I must have driven around half of South Minneapolis before I ended up on the right road (TBF, Minnehaha changes and switches its directions SEVERAL TIMES.) But, United Noodles is actually also hidden in a back lot, so once I was in the right place it still took several circles around the block before I found it.

Mason, meanwhile, found this whole thing HILARIOUS. He giggled in the backseat every time I muttered, 'crap!' and had to turn the car arond.

But, it turns out it was ALL WORTH IT. United Noodle was the motherload.

We stocked up on ALL THE CANDY:
nattou 006

And there was an entire CASE of natto to choose from. I got two kinds:
nattou 002

These represent packages of three. The containers are really quite small and always come with a packet of soy sauce and hot mustard:
eating the natto 002

You have to pull off a little film to get to the beans:
eating the natto 004

Then, I smelled it. I was told that most Americans found the smell of natto at best "funky." I'd read descriptions ranging from "like pungent cheese" to "someone's rank sweat socks at the bottom of a gym locker." I actually am disappointed to report that, to me, natto smelled like cheese--like fancy, expensive cheese.

I was told in all the instructional videos that you hardly ever eat natto plain. So, I dutifully mixed in both the soy sauce and the hot mustard (after testing the mustard's hotness, of course.) The mixing is where you really get to experience the stringy stickiness.

Then, I tasted it:
eating the natto 008


Well, the most noticable thing is the texture. Little hard (chilled from the fridge) beans in a very mucous-like sauce. But... they really didn't taste like much beyond a litte cheesy. I can see why the thing is to add something because mostly I tasted soy sauce and mustard with an undertone of like an aged sharp cheese. Perhaps, tomorrow, I will taste them without pre-mixing first.

I can still, however, smell them on my hands. The sharp, pungent aged cheese really does describe it best.

Mason and I were deeply disappointed to not find them more disgusting. I will totally be eating the rest of them at breakfast.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
On Sunday, Shawn, Mason and I went to HalfPrice Books and I happened to see that someone had dumped back issues of SHONEN JUMP for only a dollar a piece. We had another agenda, so I only bought a couple. But, even Shawn, who is not a fan, kept saying to me, "For only a dollar a peice? You should go back and get them all."

So I did (Still life: motherload, with cat).

bleach color 005

There are about twenty or more issues there. Not all of them contain actual episodes of BLEACH, but a good number do, and those that don't have NARUTO, ONE PIECE, and (most importantly to me) HIKARU NO GO.

At first I thought, why do this? I mean, all of the issues have the story I've read collected in the Manga, right? Except that, there's THIS:

bleach color 001

THE COLOR INSERT of of the Byakuya/Ichigo fight!! OMG! OMG!!

bleach color 002

For me, that alone was worth the $20 I paid for all twenty issues. But, there are a tons of other goodies in-between the pages. Old SHONEN JUMP used to run a lot of fan art, which is always fun, a few interviews with Tite Kubo (and others) and amazing insert tidbits like this:

bleach color 009

And color insets of some of the 'group portraits' like this one, which is Renji among the Vizards, as far as I can tell (hair color kind of gives it away, but what is he doing with them? Outside of [ profile] empty_mirrors and my fic, anyway?):

bleach color 007

(The larger version):

bleach color 008

There's even more awesome, but I think this is probably enough BLEACH for today.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
This is very lovely to watch. Given how long I work on my fan art, I have to admire how simple he makes this look (even with the magic of time-lapse.) I do have one snark, however: Dude, check out your RING! WTF, man.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
I turned 45 yesterday. It was a lovely day, except for the crushing headache I had all day. The weather was great and my family (actually my parents via a birthday check) treated me to a day at Barnes & Noble where I bought ALL THE MANGA. The thing I wanted the most was Bakuman #17 and I read it right away. I also picked up BLEACH #25, 27, and 40 (Mason wanted to skip ahead to see the name of Ulquiorra's 2nd release translation, turns out? It's called "second release." One of the many times these things seem cooler in Japanese. Can't imagine the American/English voice actor who had to shout, "Second Release!" and try to make it sound nearly as awesome in Spanish/Japanese.) Then my family spent the rest of the money on other books we'd been looking for, including a new drawing pad for me.

Quite the haul!

Mason and I had wanted to have a Bleach marathon, but my headache didn't cooperate. So today we went to the import store to stock up on Japanese candy for a full day tomorrow of Bleach. Our local mall, Rosedale, has a "," wherein we bought:

japanese candy 011

OMG. THEY HAD EVERY BURGER!!! Yes, hamburger flavor candies. Why would you not love something like this???? Also pictured are Ice Cream flavored KitKats (sorry, Karin, no green tea flavor, I checked.) We also picked up Meiji Gummy Choco (muscat flavor) and Konpeito Sugar Candies (various flavors,) and a Litchi flavored carbonated drink whose brand name I can't actually read.

Also, for Bleach fans out there, I did not see ANY Soul Candy. I checked everywhere... perhaps behind the counter? Also, no freeze dried squid covered in chocolate. I got excited when I saw a squid a package of something, but the contents did not seemed to be squid flavored. Perhaps just a mascot...? I also found a lot of flavors of gum, but nothing garunteed to increase my breast size, alas.

My birthday... the gift that keeps giving.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As of this moment, Loki yet lives. 

I thought for sure he was a goner yesterday, however.  At one point he seemed to shed his entire skin/slime coat.  It was... stringy and disgusting.  Mason looked at Loki and asked me, "Is he rotting alive?"  Turns out, not so much.  I'm now thinking that the medicine I put in stripped the crap off his skin/slime coat, and that might actually have HELPED. 

But with all that gross crap floating around in the tank, I decided I'd better keep changing the water a lot.  I must have done a 25% water change twice since then, and now Loki isn't just sitting on the bottom of the tank but ACTUALLY SWIMMING (albeit hiding underneath the filter.)

So... yeah.  Fins and fingers crossed.

I feel like the worst fish mom ever, but, well, I'm doing everything I know to do.  I think we just have to play wait and see now.  I'm not sure that I will go back to PetCo to replace Thor, though.  I'm thinking they may have brought this horror with themselves, especially since I can't imagine anything left in the tank that could have acted so fast.

I'm also currently avoiding writing.  I'm still stuck on my proposal, but I'm also in the middle of writing some porny bits on my slash/fan fic.  For someone who has technically made a living as a romance writer, I have to say, writing sex is always difficult for me. I get so incredibly embarassed by it.  I had to already write several lines touch typing because I was too flustered to look at the words as they appeared on the screen.  It's weird.  I think part of it  with fanfic/slash is that I know people are going to read this (in fact probably this more than the ones where there's only romance/sexual tension) and I keep thinking, "What if this is only hot to me?"  (Yet, a literature survey has shown me that, no, a lot of people go for what appears to be my kinks.)  Even so, it's like a minature version of the slash reading...  I keep thinking that if I'd had to read something as explicit as Kyell's Road Runner piece, I'd have actually expired from the embarrassment.

Anyway, I should go do something productive.  Either just bite the bullet and write the sexy parts, or plot out my proposal.


Like, Art

Sep. 17th, 2012 06:41 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
I have a penpal who lives in Seatle, WA.  Sometime ago, I decided that she needed not just my scintilating words, but also my art.  So, when you see the picture I'm about to post, imagine the top blank section filled with words of greeting, well wishes, tales of my life, tribulations, etc.

Don't you wish YOU were my penpal?

mason and more 020

Although, you wouldn't right now.  I just sent this lovely picture of Renji to my penpal filled with tales of woe, mostly.  I've been contemplating what I might have to do if a book contract doesn't pan out soon.  Today, I'm working parttime over the High Holidays to help out a friend with her dog walking business.  It's not going to pull the "big bucks," but, well, a year without income has kind of sucked for me.  Turns out that starving artist gig really only works best if you don't have a family or a kid.  :-)

But, like Renji, I'm not beaten yet.  I've got a really cool idea for the proposal (the one I went Kelly Barnhill on) and I think with a bit more work, it will be ready for the big league.  Fingers crossed my editor agrees with me.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So, yeah, what HAVE I been up to?  About 5'2" -- har, har.

But, in all seriousness, I've been away from the internets (mostly, but more on that in a second,) because I've been trying to get my brain wrapped around a proposal for a miliary SF novel.  I've got this awesome character, right? But, uh... no plot.  I've got and IDEA for events what should happen, but none of the "why the heck does this matter?" bits.  So, I've been banging my head against the keyboard A LOT this last week.

Of course, because I've been frustrated with the work I need to be doing, what's been pouring out of me like wine (or, perhaps "whine")?  Fanfic. 

This is part of why I said I think that fanfic can be addictive, in both the good and bad senses of that word.  The bad part is that "oh, holy crap, so much more FUN than thinking thinky plot thoughts!  OMG, look at me, I just spewed out 4,000 words in two hours!"  Followed closely by, "Wow, 80 people read it already!" 

So I've been trying the classic carrot/stick approach.  If I get some work done on the proposal, I'm allowed to go back to the fic.  But, I've been SO STUCK that it's been super-frustrating all around and has leaked out in fan art (see below.)  The only good news in all of this is that I have always had a profound sense of discpline.  If I want to continue to have the life of a writer that I've grown accustom to, I simply must "do my best!" (as the characters in my Manga are always saying) and get this thing out if it kills me.  I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow when I'm scheduled to hang out with my writer pals, so I can do some idea bouncing of their writerly brains. 

I kind of know my problem.  I need a good villian.  I laid awake a lot last night trying to figure out who that might be for this particular character.  I MIGHT have a bead on him now.  We'll have so see.  I'm off in a few minutes to learn how to walk a dog.  (I'm not kidding.  I'm learning the ropes of a dog walking job a friend needs help with during the High Holiday season.)  I'm hoping that letting stuff percolate without trying to force it out--which I'd been doing previously--might be the key.  I used to do a lot of my plot thinking on the treadmill, so the dog walkies might help me, actually.

Otherwise, Shawn had the day "off" yesterday.  In actuality, she had a fairly horrible test at the doctor's in the middle of the morning, and I not only drove her there, but offered to hold her hand afterwards.  It was actually pretty painful.  It involved electrodes and needles and... thankfully came out negative (the result that means normal.)  But, it also means Shawn still DOESN'T know what causes parts of her body to go numb randomly.  However, the doctor has pretty much ruled out anything that's super-life threatening at this point.  So it's a good news/bad news deal.

Mason is back to school.  We have some cute back to school pictures I should post finally.  Speaking of pictures, Shawn, the trouper, actually sent a gigantic order to Walgreens to finally print out the last two years of photos.  We spent nearly 70 bucks, but it should be nice to actually have hardcopies of some of these, and we can finally share some with Mason's school and our family.

Ah, so that's about all I know.  Hope you're all well.  I look forward to the flurry of spam this post is sure to elicit from the LJ spambots!

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