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On September 11, 2001, I was fifteen, a sophomore in high school, living in a middle-class suburb commuter town about an hour and change away from New York City. My dad drove across the New York border to work every day, and so did many, many others in our community. Southwestern Connecticut has an almost incestuous relationship with New York; that's the only way the rest of the country knows who and where we are. On Yankees vs Red Sox, the state splits 50/50, but New York defines us.

Shaken as we were, we still weren't nearly the hardest hit.

The announcement came mid-way through second period. I was in Mr. Malcolm's pre-calculus class. I didn't like it exceptionally well, since I thought it was boring and Mr. Malcolm's Boston accent droned on, but I got good grades irregardless. I was half-way paying attention to correcting our homework when our principal came over the speakers. The words of the announcement and the name of my principal are lost to me- I don't remember if he introduced himself. What he did say was couched in caution – somber but steady. The World Trade Center had suffered some sort of catastrophic damage. Being a smart man, our principal had no desire to set off a riot of emotion in his school, but clearly felt obligated to tell us that Something Bad was happening. The gist of what he said was . . . alarming, but not world-shaking. I had no concept of the size of the Two Towers, the sheer number of people affected. I couldn't have even told you what they were. It wasn't /real/ to me, not at that instant.

The announcement was brief, the class resumed, and we all tried to get things done while not-knowing and not-realizing lurked in the back of our minds. Students who were unduly affected could ask permission to watch the news in the library- or anyone with a study period or lunch. Classes more or less continued, with rumors and words spreading like wildfire through the hallways between each- those who had gone to see the news informed those who hadn't. Word came that it was a plane – that a tower collapsed- that the second might follow. There was worry about the Pentagon. Life might have kept moving forward, but it was grim and distracted, with one eye over its shoulder.

It didn't become real to me until my turn came to go watch the news. I can't remember if a teacher let us go, or I waited until my lunch, but I know I ate fast that day. There were more people in the library then than I had ever seen before- at least fifty- and it was dead silent, except for the sound of Dan Rather and pandemonium on the screen, an hour or so southwest of us.

 I watched the footage of the planes hitting, the towers falling, bodies dropping, and people desperately trying to outrun a wave of dust and debris. A desperate, quiet horror suffused the room.

September 11, 2001, was picture day at my high school. If you had a yearbook from that year, you'd have a snapshot in time of exactly what we looked like, that day the towers fell. The photographers didn't even try to make us smile. There was no pretense; in, out, done.

What I remember most clearly from the evening of news coverage that followed was Congress (some portion, anyways) singing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps. And being furious. We had been attacked by Muslim terrorists, and our government's reaction was to show exactly how small (non-existent) the separation between church and state was. It would alienate anyone not already enraged with us, and not to mention, anyone /not/ comfortably Judeo-Christian within its own borders. As an atheist, it left me spitting mad.

 School moved on as scheduled, but there was a bomb scare halfway through the next. Of course there was. Flags abounded everywhere, from cars to houses to clothing. Drives for food, clothes, water, blood and money started up almost immediately; I can't remember what we gave to whom, but there was the feeling that we had to do /something./

At the time, I didn't know anyone involved or affected. Years later, I had a co-worker who was on the fourteenth floor of the second tower. She described to me, in detail, how it was, and how her floor was amongst the lucky ones. Details obviously couldn't convey the depth of how bad it was. She never could stay with the same company, after.

 Ten years later, what do I remember? I remember my principal interrupting my pre-calculus class. I remember horrific rumors spreading through the hallways. I remember reality sinking in slowly as terrible details and video emerged. I remember being upset at my government. I remember that restless desire to do something, and being proud of those who could.

Ten years later, I don't know what it is I could do, or even what I should. Still, I remember. 

Maybe that's enough.




(This is more for my memory than for anything else.  And the hell of the thing is, I shall post it with a giant chicken icon.  I am so sorry.)

windlion: (Default)
So, I have actually been trying to write lately!  Naturally, it's not actually the start of anything useful, oh no.  It's the backstory of the backstory for Odin's Children.  Also known as the most boring set-up ever for anyone who is not me.  This is mostly my sitting around and going "So, if I was setting up an experiment with 200 human test subjects for genetic engineering, how would I do it?"  (Use a vector virus with a high infection success rate.  Two locations, one control, one not.  Clean hallways, dirty hallways, gender-segregated dorms, isolation rooms for successful subjects, la la la la.) 

I drew diagrams, people.   I could probably write the protocol with a bit (a lot) more research.  And it's aaaaaaall in there, sort of.  I'm also totally bullshitting the names, because Onuris gets a much cooler moniker later on that fits my naming scheme (which is actually kind of apropos of nothing, but it sounds cool.)  The other character was initially named by someone else, and I forget what his full name was supposed to be, so I am just grasping at straws completely.


In other words, have some backstory! )

 

And this is just the set up before I totally whallop the ever-loving crap out of them.  Poor boys.  (If you're a main character, the smaller the odds, the greater the chances they apply to you.  Be genre-savvy!)
windlion: ([me] Odin's Children fandom)
Finally got around to sketching tonight- one of my older characters cooperated. So I got to revisit one of my best-worst creations!


Behold: The Feather Mullet )


Hooo. At least, for all I haven't drawn much, it does look like I'm improving. . .  That old one is kinda painful now; I had forgotten about it until I went to upload and there it was.  XD   I've still got things I absolutely want to fix in the new one- the face-framing feathers, the outfit, that uneven shirt collar- but overall, I'm pretty happy with how he's turning out.  He's looking more smirky and cat-that-got-the-canary, which is as it should be.  Progress!
windlion: The Breaker - For the Win (The Breaker - FTW)
So!  I apparently somehow stumbled into the Google Redirect Virus in the past few days.  I was briefly terrified and wondering why the hell google image searches of osprey and whooping cranes were sending me to "YOU MIGHT BE INFECTED!  VIRUS SCAN!" pages that were apparently attempting to scan my computer (even if it might just have been an animated gif fake out).  I had a bit of a panicky "Augh, close window, damn you!"  while being careful about reading the pop-ups that they produced.  Nothing dubious was clicked on,  I think!  That was . . . interesting.

I promptly ran Avast, hit up internet forums, deleted my temp files, updated Spybot, and downloaded about three different anti-virus programs.  (Hitman Pro, Ccleaner, TDSSKiller, to be precise.)  As best I can tell, I am currently clean, though word is that you can wipe your temp files and then see it reinstall itself from some hidden nook or cranny.  Hence, TDSSKiller is apparently a stone cold bastard about locating hidden files.  Also, CCleaner is what you run when you really, really want to hide that Illicit Dubious Download/Sextape/Atomic Bomb Plans that you had.  Super-heavy-duty "Cleans until its GONE" deleting program.   I like overkill.  If it comes back, there's a chance it might be in my router; there's at least 3 Ipads, an Itouch, 2 Iphones, two laptops and another PC that swing through here on the same router and god only knows which one of us hit that landmine.  (I am tempted to blame myself for opening IE so I could have gmail open in two browsers.  I know, I know.  That's practically asking for it.  If it's any consolation prize, I now have Chrome as a third browser option, so that'll do.)

On the upside, I deleted at least 2 gigs of temp files, a baker's dozen of more-or-less benign tracking cookies, and my browser now runs significantly faster.  I pretty much never get viruses/malware that I'm aware of, so that was . . . rare.  It's somewhat mortifying, like a venereal disease.  (What /is/ that and how did it get there?!  Obviously I wasn't safe enough!  Kill it with fire!)

Practice safe-interneting, children.
windlion: The Breaker - For the Win (The Breaker - FTW)
So this has been my week of rest.  I've accomplished precisely nothing!   In my defense, a) I needed a vacation.  b) I attended my friend's wake.  c) I had a good health scare, as I had unspecified digestive issues for a week.  I was afraid I was developing food allergies like my sister; she's allergic to almost every fruit in creation, nuts, soy, wheat and more.  It's like a laundry list.  I suspected gluten, as that was the most likely culprit to mess up one's innards for days at a time, so I went gluten free for a bit.  It seemed to help, then everything righted itself, so I am back to having no clue what caused that but eating bread again.  d) I did manage to get my dentistry needs taken care of, before I ran out of dental insurance.  One cleaning, and the quickest 10 minute filling ever.  (No anesthetic, just a little scrape-and-patch. )

To keep myself busy, I rewatched Return of the King with my fellow LotR-loving friend, which is good for a day in itself, I've been reading lots, and I gave myself amnesty on actually playing Assassin's Creed, given that the XBox moved out a month and a half ago and I won't be buying one myself for . . . ever.  (Not that I don't /want/ a nextgen system, but it is pretty far down my priority list of spending.)  So I went to youtube for my cut-scene needs!

Assassin's Creed I:  We did get to play through the first memory block or two, so I had a bit of a feel for the game.  Playing it myself, our first reactions were "Wow, we're playing a douche bag!" plus "Altair, your no-suicide policy sucks!  Do you even /have/ a no-suicide policy? WHY WOULD YOU JUMP THAT WAY?!"  It's the first game I've played in awhile with absolutely no talk option button!   That takes some getting used to. . . .  I had an easier time platforming, my co-player had an easier time fighting.  Suffice to say we had to watch the "OH GOD MY LEG" "Shut up before the Templars put you out of your misery."  scene quite a few times after Altair threw himself off cliffs with gleeful abandon.   It's more open platforming than Prince of Persia, but the controls are finicky.  I was actually vindicated when the on-line walk-through player also had issues from time to time.  XD  It was refreshing to see a play-through by someone who wasn't super-humanly cruising through everything for their fiftieth time, making your first round look incompetent. 

I also completely agree with someone who said that the Mythbusters NEED to do the Leap of Faith.  Because that is so much snerk-worthy physics FAIL.  (Yeah, guys- find a real hay stack.  Yes.  Now try hopping in it.  That /might/ work from oh, ten feet above a ten foot deep pile.  Anything over a story up?  You're probably breaking things.  Necessary things.  Hay isn't that soft, especially if there's nothing keeping that hay from scattering.)

On the cast- Malik is my very very favorite character type: snarky, disgruntled, damaged but functional.  Badass, smart, and still strong despite his significant handicap.  He is also an attractive Middle Eastern man.  Hominah.  *cough*  I can see why he has fangirls.   Though he supposedly changes through the game, Altair is not as strong a character to me.  He initially needs a kick in the pants; in the end he could use more of a face.  There's two challenges here, probably - one, having not run him around for thirty hours, I haven't developed as much attachment to him or thus crafted my own interpretation of his character; two, his voice actor just isn't as good.  I have to say the American accent bugged me.  Supposedly Ubisoft had its reasons, whether they be meta "We're not going to try and market a game with an Arabic-speaking protagonist in America" or in-story "This is really Desmond acting as Altair."  . . . but I felt like it hurt the character somewhat.  For one, he doesn't /blend/ given that everyone else has more or less the right accent, and two, the American accent doesn't do justice to the character and location names.  /I/ can't do justice to them, either- as it was, I waffled going "Am I being pretentious if I pronounce Altair as 'aahl-tah-EER' instead of the Western 'Al-tare'?"  (Then again, I am forever going to pronounce Balthier from FFXII as "Bahl-tier" instead of "Bahl-THeyer" as it just sounds better to me.  Of course, this is also the game where they pronounced marquise as "mar-kwess" instead of "mar-key," which made me flail on principle, so.  Perhaps we just agree to disagree!)

Story-wise. . .  I felt like the closer it got to the end, the more interested I was in Desmond's story than I was in Altair's.  Possibly because as Altair became less of a douche bag, he also got more vanilla and less interesting.  Possibly because the plot wasn't as exciting or coherent as it could have been.  Just as you might be interested in seeing what Altair actually does now that he's making his own decisions, /that's/ when you see what the Templars wanted.   I think they actually did a good job of handling that- you have no idea coming up to it what it'll be, and it's kind of sudden.  We go from what should be settling-Altair-time straight  to Desmond and the "Oh, dude, you just outlived your usefulness, you are so screwed!"  revelation.   (Mind, there should have been more tension to that.  Loaded gun or syringe, at least.)  They definitely set this up as a series, for better or worse - there's no resolution.

Now, being that I'm being a lazy backseat gamer several years after the fact, all this means is I had to queue up the next set of playthroughs so I could resolve my cliff-hanger. . .

Assassin's Creed II: I haven't physically had my hands on it, so I can't say much for game play.  It /looks/ like they amped up the free-running to be a lot smoother, and the combat got more varied.  They also shook up the side-quests and tried to make things more interesting.  There's more content as a whole, so it's harder to compare it straight to AC I.   But the music went from pleasant to noticeably good, the graphics got a good level-up, and you can see they put a lot more effort into things.  This is a game I definitely /want/ to play. 

So, they fixed the accent issue!  Ezio has just as thick an accent as everyone else, and now there's something like 20% more gratuitous foreign language usage to make you feel immersed!  Possibly enough people complained about Altair's Americana, or Italian just isn't as threatening to Western markets as Arabic.  Hmmm.  Also, Ezio just has a lot more character compared to Altair- he's not a douche, he's a manho!  A lovable one, mind.  You get to see him interact with more people, and he clearly has more of his own story.  Altair was kind of cut and dry, isolated- the only people he really interacts with are Al Mualim and Malik. 

On the other hand, they went and forgot the frame story.  I'm not saying Desmond's "Let's go flop down on my bed!" time was super exciting in AC1, but it helped to create break points and remind you what's supposed to be going on.  Used more effectively, this would be reacting and interacting time; help drive home what he's seeing and why it's impacting the future.  And actually give some context for the voices popping in over the Animus.  As it is, there's potentially interesting characters there getting ignored, and Ezio is sort of running off with the story forever without getting anywhere concrete.  With all of the side-quests, it feels like there's no mile stones.  Don't get me wrong, I like Ezio, but the fact they handled him well kind of makes it more obvious how they failed with Desmond.

I can't really comment more until I finish seeing it through.  Incidentally, since AC2 is so much longer with so much different content, it's a lot harder to find good vids for it.  Either they'll hit all the content and not have HD, or they'll have HD with annoying commentators, or they'll have HD but miss all the side-stories, or be incomplete, or . . .  it's messy.  Either way, much to watch still!  (I am still amused they had the balls to use real historical figures, to very non-historical ends.  Oh, Leo.  "Put it with the other bodies." "Others?!"  *snerk*)

This weekend, I shall actually interact with meatworld humans, and there's much I ought to be doing before that.  Like cleaning!  Or applying to jobs.  I think it's safe to say the phone interview one from last week is a no go, but that's not a surprise.  It's okay; there was one posted today that sent me into giddy paroxysms of delight.  Most likely totally out of my reach!  But it would be awesome.  Next week, the vacation is over and it is time to get moving. 

Uneven

Mar. 4th, 2011 05:25 pm
windlion: (Default)
Lots of good and bad happening lately. . .  I'm not sure where I even stand.

Yesterday, one of my long-term coworkers died.  She'd been a good friend, a good person, and an encouraging voice.  I don't think she deserved to go the way she did, but she'd been sick for months- her family knew it, we knew it.  Everyone at work tried to send her as much support as we could.  I went to see her a month or so ago, with flowers I'd arranged and cookies I'd baked.  She was trying so hard and she was always a strong personality.  Her family gathered around, trying to spend as much time with her as they could.  I hope they had good times before she passed.   I'm always going to remember her laugh and sense of humor
 She wished me well leaving- and I'm going to be thankful for her support.

Today, I had a phone interview - first interview I've had in years.  It was . . . not as exciting as I could have hoped.  All of 8 minutes in which I don't think I impressed the HR person, and she didn't impress me much either.   She wasn't particularly enthused or informative.   I don't think I gave bad answers, but I might have communicated I was too ambitious to be interested in the job they're hiring for.  My family tells me to be optimistic and that it was all right, but I'm not sure I'll get a call back for another interview. 

Tomorrow, I'll have my last day of retail work.  I'd been really excited to finish, and I'm still relieved, but now it's sort of bittersweet.  I'll miss the people.  There are a lot of genuinely good people out there, and I've learned some valuable things.  One of them being that retail is just not for me. XD   At least, I can only change so much about myself.  I can learn. 

Next week, I'll get some errands done, I'll take care of some appointments, and I'll get started on seriously job hunting.  I have the dentist to see, hair to fix, and blood to donate. 

Next weekend, I'll have my first real weekend to myself in a long time.  I've got friends out there, and I plan on seeing them.  Unsurprisingly, the friend who left me behind still doesn't have time for me.  I'm just going to have to keep moving on.  I wish I could get my creative oomph back, but I'll have to see what sparks the next idea.  
windlion: (Default)
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I am a Wood/Earth Ox, and I am an old bugger!   There's . . .  probably not a way they could have done a better job matching me, seriously.   Slow and steady, loves me some green, and exactly as graceful as a bull in a china shop.  Bonus of night owl and winter lover, which is indeed true.  I am apparently doomed to toil forever, which surprises me not at all.   . . .  Would the ox be my chosen totem?  Ehh.  That's debatable, but who knows what that would be anyways. 
windlion: (Default)
How to Dig Out Your Car From 14 Inches of Snow In Enormous Drifts (without totally ruining your paint job):

Step one: Do you love your car?  Do you really, really love it?  Enough to potentially ruin a white coat?  Or at least, really need it in the next hour?  Well, this is the time to figure that out!  If yes, proceed to step two.  If no, then . . . wait a few days.  It'll melt.  Really.

Step two: Pick a likely angle of approach.  The one with the least snow drift between you and your car is probably ideal.  Make sure you're wearing waterproof gloves, or you may not love your car as much as you thought. 

Step three: Glomp your car!  Show it that you love it, truly love it, enough to break through the iceberg carapace it is now wearing!  Think snow-angel or flailing desperately a la doggy paddle.

Step four: Keep flailing while your family and neighbors laugh at you.

Step five: Break through the snow to your ice-encrusted automobile!  We recommend under-cutting the snow with broad, flat sweeps of your hand as close to the surface as possible, then breaking off chunks to hurl at the people laughing at you.  Or at least then cause an avalanche onto the surfaces they just shoveled.  This is v. effective! 

Step six: Retrieve your actual snow removal implements from inside your car now that it is actually accessible to do the fine detailing.  We might recommend thawing out a bit while you're there.  When the engine is warm and your windows sufficiently clean, roll on, leaving chunks of icy menace behind! 


(Why yes, we got a lot of snow.   14 inches, in fact.   I do indeed park outside!  Man, I really love my car.  How did you know?)
windlion: ([me] Odin's Children fandom)
Getting my emo out of the way over on DW- trust me, it was emo.  And now, I crosspost my sampler-guide of things that live in my brain!   Because it's really difficult to sign up for a writing filter if you don't know what might be in it. . . and because I could use feedback on what, if anything, someone would like to read.

(Odin's Children – sci fi series, shared with my roommate)

The grand epic! Also known as the characters that spawned a thousand AU.s, because things happen when people who like to build worlds get bored. (Read: it's all my fault.) The original, most elaborate flavor is a sci-fi space opera, with action and intrigue, because that is how I roll. Not all of it makes sense yet, but that's because . . . there's lots of details to hash out. Half the cast belongs to Nnie's brain, the other half is in mine, and some like to timeshare.

(Simon, urban fantasy)

Simon is a strait-laced, cynical misanthrope whom I like to throw into terrible unrealistic situations, because watching him twitch and bitch mightily is good fun.  All he wants to do is climb the ladder to senior accountant, safe and secure in his expectations of normalcy.  So. There are a list of horrible things I'd like to do to him, but I figure a zombie apocalypse is a good place to start.

(Lt and Envoy, fantasy noir)

The lieutenant is a poor bastard just trying to do his job. Competent enough to be promoted, but low enough on the totem pole to be sacrificial, he's caught between a rock and a hard place. He has a stable if mediocre life working for the city guard, if only he didn't have this unsolvable case. Enter the envoy, who does not enjoy his country being framed for unsolvable murders and wishes he was anywhere but there trying to stop a war . . . And why should the lieutenant trust him, anyways? His people aren't anything but barbarians who consort with demons.

(Jade Green, fantasy)

Because sometimes, when I read things that are terrible, my brain reflexively spits out alternatives. This one is to say that adopting a kid isn't always an altruistic move, and the kid in question isn't always immediately trusting, grateful, or doting. It's a two way street. And sometimes the kid isn't pretty, precocious, or even human.  This is what happens when a human spy picks up a useful little orcling- because a future seven-foot tall tusked tank that can see in the dark is worth the investment in feeding the bottomless pit now.

(Niwa and Muse, shoujo band manga, timeshared with Flidget)

This one goes back to my high school years, and my cathartic delight in creating a poor bastard with luck that's worse than mine.  Which is to say this is about the trials and tribulations of a high school idol singer (who really wishes people would like his /music/ since he is a performing artist after all)  and his extremely shy and anti-social downstairs neighbor, the librarian.    I wish I could say they fight crime, but no - they bond over Starbucks in the mornings and apologies about dragging luggage up the stairs at three a.m.  instead.  


Frankly, there's more, but those are the ones that are semi-developed and/or have something written for them, no matter how small.  My brain likes to throw out ideas, and enjoys the creation of them, rather than the cultivation of those ideas to fruition.  I need to work on that.   If I can get myself together enough, I will attempt to post drabbles/scene portions for the above-listed. 

windlion: (Default)
Because it's really difficult to sign up for a writing filter if you don't know what might be in it. . . and because I could use feedback on what, if anything, someone would like to read.

(Odin's Children – sci fi series, shared with my roommate)

The grand epic! Also known as the characters that spawned a thousand AU.s, because things happen when people who like to build worlds get bored. (Read: it's all my fault.) The original, most elaborate flavor is a sci-fi space opera, with action and intrigue, because that is how I roll. Not all of it makes sense yet, but that's because . . . there's lots of details to hash out. Half the cast belongs to Nnie's brain, the other half is in mine, and some like to timeshare.

(Simon, urban fantasy)

Simon is a strait-laced, cynical misanthrope whom I like to throw into terrible unrealistic situations, because watching him twitch and bitch mightily is good fun.  All he wants to do is climb the ladder to senior accountant, safe and secure in his expectations of normalcy.  So. There are a list of horrible things I'd like to do to him, but I figure a zombie apocalypse is a good place to start.

(Lt and Envoy, fantasy noir)

The lieutenant is a poor bastard just trying to do his job. Competent enough to be promoted, but low enough on the totem pole to be sacrificial, he's caught between a rock and a hard place. He has a stable if mediocre life working for the city guard, if only he didn't have this unsolvable case. Enter the envoy, who does not enjoy his country being framed for unsolvable murders and wishes he was anywhere but there trying to stop a war . . . And why should the lieutenant trust him, anyways? His people aren't anything but barbarians who consort with demons.

(Jade Green, fantasy)

Because sometimes, when I read things that are terrible, my brain reflexively spits out alternatives. This one is to say that adopting a kid isn't always an altruistic move, and the kid in question isn't always immediately trusting, grateful, or doting. It's a two way street. And sometimes the kid isn't pretty, precocious, or even human.  This is what happens when a human spy picks up a useful little orcling- because a future seven-foot tall tusked tank that can see in the dark is worth the investment in feeding the bottomless pit now.

(Niwa and Muse, shoujo band manga, timeshared with Flidget)

This one goes back to my high school years, and my cathartic delight in creating a poor bastard with luck that's worse than mine.  Which is to say this is about the trials and tribulations of a high school idol singer (who really wishes people would like his /music/ since he is a performing artist after all)  and his extremely shy and anti-social downstairs neighbor, the librarian.    I wish I could say they fight crime, but no - they bond over Starbucks in the mornings and apologies about dragging luggage up the stairs at three a.m.  instead.  


Frankly, there's more, but those are the ones that are semi-developed and/or have something written for them, no matter how small.  My brain likes to throw out ideas, and enjoys the creation of them, rather than the cultivation of those ideas to fruition.  I need to work on that.   If I can get myself together enough, I will attempt to post drabbles/scene portions for the above-listed. 


windlion: (Default)
My brain might be all over the map, but I have done my laundry, I went to the dentist, I paid a bill, I bookmarked jobs, and I baked.  I am going to declare that productive, damnit.   Cooking is always good- I kind of love box cakes.
Because I do things like this to them:

Apple Spice Cake
Peel, core and slice 2-3 baking apples: two didn't quite cover the pan but might stretch further if you add pecans/walnuts and/or raisins.  You can be fancy and cut rings if you'd like the look of them.
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp each allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger
Spice or carrot cake box mix (Betty Crocker does fine by me.)
vegetable oil and eggs as directed by box
cider or apple juice

Throw your diced apples in a bowl, add the liquid ingredients and stir, then add the spices and sugar and stir again until the pieces are well-covered.
If you'd prefer raisins and/or nuts, now's the time to add them.  A dash of rum or brandy could be good, too, depending on taste? 
Grease the bottom and sides of a 13x9 rectangle cake pan, then spread the apple mixture evenly across the bottom.  (Cupcakes would probably work just as well, but use foil or silicone liners or you might end up eating paper-covered apples.)
Using either apple juice or cider instead of water, mix the carrot or spice cake according to directions.  Pour on top of the apples, careful to not disturb them.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  (My oven is sloooooow.)
Wait until cool before serving; you can either invert it to show the apple-syrupy side up, if you have been particularly artistic, or you can spread it with vanilla or cream cheese frosting.  Nom.

Now if only I could write something, or send out a job application, then I might feel like I have done worthwhile things today on top of delicious things. . .
windlion: (Default)
I sallied forth, and I have returned! Naturally, there were some exceedingly up and down moments for the venture, but I guess it was more or less successful. Family was visited, culture was obtained, crap luck was had, ransoms were paid, cities were evaluated. Chicago falls somewhere short of London, and thus is much more attainable. I have been forcibly reminded that one does not always get their first love (especially when the exchange rate is bollocks and would destroy my relatively meager savings). Chicago is, however, miles and miles of bad road ahead of Philadelphia, which is a cesspit of humanity (except for the food and family). I broke down the pros and cons on lj, so I shall not repeat it.

I am told that Boston is a more Northeasterly twin of Chicago, or at least a sibling raised apart, so that bears some looking into as one is three hours away and the other three /by air./ My partner-in-crime-or-atleast-housing is sick and tired of the Northeast, though, so that may be more of a strike against it. I am going to be lucky if she doesn't up and move to Austin to be close to her nearest and dearest film critics; the rent alone would be murder.

Since I've had two days before I have to go back to work (which I dread with every fiber of my being) - I'm woolgathering. I've been putzing about the internet, reading blogs of people a lot more interesting/talented/successful than I am, and then thinking about where I stand and all the things in my head. It makes me want to untangle things for myself, then lay them out, as I tend to think more clearly in writing. It also makes me want to figure out what exactly my ambitions are- my direction and where I'm going. That's going to take more than this entry can hold, though.

Wherein I babble a great deal about very little )

It's easy to say "I want to be a better writer." or "I'd like to live somewhere that I enjoy." or "I don't want to hate my job." It's a lot harder to know what to /do/ with that, or how to achieve it. It's hard for me to not get bundled up in the "But but but- how is it going to /work/?!" I get so focused on the potential problems and pains that are so very plausible that I neglect that success, or at least, not complete failure, might be an option. I guess I'm a work in progress.

Vacation!

Oct. 17th, 2010 02:18 pm
windlion: (Default)
Incidentally, it is also my quarter-centennial! Good god I am getting old. Naturally, this progression is marked by a lack of birthday actions, as my traditional birthday dinner is . . . taco night, apparently. (At least someone is thrilled.) It's okay, since I got some of the celebrating out of the way yesterday going apple-picking with my friends from college (Congrats to former roomie on passing the bar!) and picking out pumpkins with my long-suffering current roomie. I now have four good-sized fellows chilling in the garage, plus a few tiny ornamentals, and I am pleased as pie after the pumpkin-shortage that occurred last year. <3 It really is the little things that make me happy. I am not even bothering with making a cake today, as in a little more than twelve hours, I'm going to be hauling my sorry not-morning-person-at-aaaaaaaall ass up and driving to La Guardia. We don't really need to be at the airport until 8, but the morning traffic into New York is such that if you aren't where you need to be by seven, you will regret it.

Why La Guardia? I am taking my first real vacation in forever and going to visit my Aunt in Chicago! She is graciously loaning her couch to my friend and I (or floor. I am waiting to see if she offers separate-or-together, because god knows I confuse my family with my "They're really extraneous unrelated siblings. No, really, I am not shagging them or interested in doing so." relationships.) We're vacationing, and casing the city as a potential-place-to-live spot. I am really, really looking forward to being someplace other than here.

After four days in the Windy City, we're going to fly back Thursday, then drive down to visit my siblings in Philly. It is good to have family scattered across cities! Much cheaper than hotels, and they'll know the good restaurants. Hopefully we will have fun and not be bankrupt by the time we get back. And here is to hoping that my aging gentleman car is not assaulted as I leave him interesting places. (Circumstantial evidence says he'll be fine. I've accidentally had doors unlocked sitting in the mall parking lot while I was at work for a few days, on separate occasions. Apparently his classic tape deck is just not sexy enough to steal.)

For now, I get to wash up my windows, get gas, get cash, get drugs (Dramamine, thou art my savior) and get packing. I think one of my projects for being bored at the airport/plane ride is to work on drabbles/ficbits for my various universes in my head- so I can provide a sampler of exactly what I have on tap. It's been awhile since I've written, so it ought to be good for me. . . . So is posting, really. I shall crosspost appropriately!

Kharma

Oct. 9th, 2010 06:30 am
windlion: (Default)
. . . Which is to say, I think I must have been a very very bad person in a prior roundabout, because I totally have terrible luck. XD;;; I am no longer freaking out about the rent, but at least I don't think it is kicking in immediately. Which is good, because I think I am going to have ridiculous medical bills this month.

The dentist bills aren't ridiculous, just necessary extortion, but the ridiculous is . . . stupid sports injury. Because my roommate really wanted to try parkour, and talked me into going to an open gym with her friend the black-belt ninjutsu/12 years parkour expert. /She/ had fun, learned how to do a kong, and was rolling to pop back up on her feet no prob. Me? I am the ungainly elephant in the room, and I managed to throw myself at the floor and ding my shoulder up pretty nicely. To the effect, I think I need to go down to the local walk in clinic and get x-rays. >_< Ow.

I think, in the future, I shall be sticking to my squire-ly sports. Archery, fencing, horses, martial arts if I can manage it. At least none of them require me to be graceful- as clearly I am not.

Edit: No dislocation on the collar bone! Huzzah! Just . . . sprained and depressed it somewhat. Probably pulled some muscles nicely in addition to tearing ligaments a bit. Ow. Temporary sling, Motrin, and learning to sleep on my left side are in my future. X-rays are at least pretty cool to look at.
windlion: (Default)
So, I am a bit of an odd duck. Some people donate time and skills, some people donate money, some people donate stuff, and some people donate bits and pieces of themselves. I'm not exactly flush with money, I have an erratic work schedule with no useful skills, and I can't quite give up organs I'm still using. So, for me? When I'm done cleaning out my closets, I go in for a nice pint of the A+. I feed the hungry vampires as regularly as I can, and that is my charity. It's one of those things where . . . I do it because I can, when so many other people can't. I'm not a gay man, I don't do drugs, I don't get laid, I don't have tattoos/piercings (yet), I don't get wigged out by blood/needles/labcoats, and I don't suffer any unusual ill-effects from donating. It used to be kinda funny when they'd do the rundown of "How sketchy are you?" questions and I would rattle off "No" many times over. Now, it is all automated computer-confidential, so I get to tell the nurses "You'll have to ask me about Africa from five years ago, and that's it."

When I was in school, this meant that I'd sign up for the blood drives on campus, then get turned away multiple times over for being sick, having bled too much lately (nosebleeds are my nemesis), or having low iron from bad cafeteria food. (Not that much edible red meat on the menu, as you might expect.) Having graduated and being kept nice and plump on my retired father's cooking, I don't get turned away nearly as often now, but . . . where I donate gets kind of interesting. I have now seen the inside of way more churches than I was aware existed in a twenty mile radius. I get to chill out in hotel lobbies, I get to stare at bad circa-70s art deco chandeliers, and I get to listen to the Red Cross nurses bitch at each other about the hours, their supervisors, the really terrible places they've been. I bleed out pretty quickly, and then I distress people by popping up and heading for the door about five minutes after I'm done. XD By now, it is all pretty routine, and I get to feel good about it afterward.

Today, I was expecting to hit the gallon mark; my 8th pint, which is only 2 short of having provided a full refill in my lifetime. Except . . . I couldn't find the damned place. They listed it as being on a local campus; 'Awesome, I can get there,' I thought. Now, today, it was rainy, and half an hour before my appointment, I scribble down my directions for the 20 minute drive and off I go. . . . Not so fast, unfortunately. For whatever reason, my car decided that he would introduce me to the joys of slip-and-slide tires! At every red light, at every hard turn, there would be this lovely little lurch or slide. And, naturally, I forgot to account for the stop-and-start traffic at roughly lunch time as the directions take me down a road I normally avoid. By the time I get to the campus, it's almost ten minutes past my appointment time, and I'm telling myself it's okay, they'll take me when they can get me.

Except. . . this isn't the branch campus I'd been to before, this is the central middle-of-urban-center campus. There's no free parking that's not an establishment. There's a paid student only parking garage. There's visitor's center parking that is beyond a gate. And where the directions sent me, there are no signs for the drive. They're all on the opposite side of the street! I end up deciding to compromise, park in a restaurant parking lot clearly labeled "For customers only!" multiple times, and haul out over to look at the signs. "Campus blood drive today!" "11:30-5:00!" "Critical need!" . . . And notably, no word about what /building/ on campus it's at, when there are at least a dozen to choose from. All right. Time to look for arrow signs! Oh, there's three of them. Side by side. Pointing away from the street into the middle of the campus. Fair enough. I head that way . . . but there are no more signs. There's nothing on any of the building doors to indicate a stopping point. I wander around for awhile, getting damp, being stared at by students, and feeling more than a little foolish and uncertain about my car's future. (Totally going to be towed, that's my luck.) I finally see the Red Cross vans . . . parked next to a boarded up derelict elementary school. No signs anywhere in sight. I'd had it; I went back to rescue my misbehaving car from being towed and went home. That's the first time I've gone to donate and just gave up before even getting there. >_< So much for my gallon.

Following!

Sep. 14th, 2010 07:02 pm
windlion: (Default)
To anyone who just noticed I am stalking them:
Hi! You know who I am from lj. Or else, you know who Flidget is, and I am just a paltry accessory to the wonder that is the Flidget. I am getting around to rebuilding my friends list. Pay me no mind, I mean no harm. And there is no obligation here, as I rarely ever post, unless something demands to be written and shared.

New Arrival

Sep. 6th, 2010 11:27 pm
windlion: (Default)
With all the lj kerfluffle, I thought it was about time that I planted my flag over here to hold down the fort as it were. It's the home away from home, the escape hatch, the bolt hole, the vacation villa. . . I don't expect to get overmuch use out of it, as I'm a lurker by both nature and habit, but it's good to have.

And I do.
windlion: ([Flidget] chibi Phantom sweatdrop)
. . . So, I may or may not have dropped off the face of the internet for *cough* awhile.  And while that is partly because of work, that is also partly because I am made of fail.  Thus!  One of my new year's resolutions this year is to stop being afraid to actually post on my bloody livejournal.  For something that is supposed to exist as my personal rant space, I have a remarkable amount of stage fright when it comes to actually posting.  It has occurred to me that that is Kinda Stupid, so I should just . . . post.

This brings me to my second resolution for the year:  I hereby vow to actually make some sort of progress in my life.  I need a better job and a living space that is not my family's house.  Oh wise people who have actually moved out, doth thou have any recommendations on where a starting-level  . . . er, anything, could find a place to share with comrades and also locate plentiful jobs within an hours radius?  Where the rent and taxes would not be exorbitant?  I am likely to end up either doing science temp jobs or attempting to sell my soul to a zoo in return for any sort of job, so I am not going to be rich, but between two not-rich twentysomethings, we're probably looking at renting a place anywhere between $300-$800 a month. 

If anyone has any recommendations on how to get jobs that are not soul-sucking retail, I am also all ears!

Vermont!

Oct. 17th, 2008 10:29 am
windlion: ([Ghost] 36 genki genki)
I am headed into the land of dubious internet access, Vermont!  And also, into even more dangerous and frightening territory therein - a wedding.  Wherein I am in the party.  Wearing what has to be one of the reddest, poofiest prom dresses known to man.  FEAR.

There may or may not be pictures when I return, but for the next few days, internet access may be spotty.  

Oi, Jens, I expect there to be Jacob waiting for me when I return.  XD  I shall post the beta if I can.   Bai!
windlion: ([Ghost] 36 genki genki)
I initially wrote this up when Very Bored in order to spam the GCS on Gaia with my dark arts, but since it's all typed up so neatly, I figured I should share. You will read the following, and one day, ONE DAY, when you're hungry. . . you will make it and taste the awesome.

Wind's Adulterated Awesome Mac )
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