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Qualified Perceptions
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  • The garage at the new Assembly Square has little lights above each parking space. The full spaces are red, and the empty spaces are green. So clever! I've never seen that before, but it works really well to instantly spot an empty space in a line of cars, without the "small car behind large car" issue.

  • harrock and I had Christmas Eve dinner at La Brasa, which is a newish restaurant in East Somerville. The rib roast by the ounce was particularly tasty - good char and seasoning, chimichurri sauce underneath, nom nom nom. The dulce de leche flan was the best dessert in the world, and I am very grateful that they brought us a second dessert when Jerry wanted to split the I-forget-which-fruit mousse. (The mousse was very tasty, as was my fish, but they were not the best thing in the world.) And their conceit of ashes of vegetables, used as a very mild seasoning but very striking decoration, tied things together really interestingly. This may go on the list to drag more people to.

  • I heart Audible for letting me return books because I do not like them. Or because I do not like the narrator. I do not do this often, but the fact that I can is very much appreciated. I was listening to Initiate Brother, because I had read it way back when but hadn't read the sequel, so I was going to listen to both, but the narrator was strangely annoying. Accents are a weird thing when there are multiple actors involved - remember how in Babylon 5, Londo was the only Centauri who had a Centauri accent? Or in Avatar, most of the cast has standard American accents, but Uncle Iroh has a strong Japanese accent. It's weirder when it's one narrator doing all the voices, and a few of them have accents (several Asian or exaggerated Asian, and one New Jersey Mafia).
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(Soon to be able to read lots of new Xmas books, in case you're wondering why I'm not talking about the new Daniel Abraham or the new NK Jemisin or other things I'm looking forward to)The Moonstone, The Stone Man, Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Nation, Ticker, The Shadow of What Was Lost, The Seventh Bride, Carpet People, All the Paths of Shadow, House of Silk, Moriarty, the Spiritwalker (Cold X) trilogyCollapse )

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A cheetah disguise for Woofies! Or else a yellow mushroom! Hoods always take more yarn than I expect them to; I ran out before I could make ears. The spots are done with needle felting, which lets them be more random and varied than stitching them in. I think that worked well, though the rest of the costume is not my best stuffed-animal tailoring.

And a pair of socks for Aedlin, who apparently felt left out that she did not get handknit socks for Christmas. I think normally you are supposed to be older than four before socks are the thing you want, but Aedlin has always been surprising.

We had Armistead Family Christmas extra-early instead of extra-late this year; there were a couple of other family-visiting side quests (visited Dad up at Clear Lake, and my Aunt Margee in Marin, who I haven't seen for over a decade), so we didn't manage to visit any of of the other Californians (sorry!). It ended up being extra-rainy - good for the locals, less fun for vacation, and Google Maps was very exciting as it steered us around various semi-flooded sections of 101. Aedlin was particularly enthusiastic about hanging around with and imitating her older cousins, though she was a little more cautious about leaping from the balcony of one floor onto the sofa below than they were.

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These are Christmas presents, done in reasonably sufficient time. For cold Minnesota winters. Actually, a lot of my Christmas presents for my mother-in-law have been winter knitting. I am apparently still a little traumatized.

Anyway, thrums (twists of unspun wool caught in the knitting at regular intervals, to stuff the mittens with soft warm insulation) were interesting to work with, though the instructions for these particular mittens left quite a lot to be desired, especially given that one bit was "make thrum about the size of the sample" and the kit had no sample. There were two different ways to twist the wool in, one way that made larger bumps and one way that made smaller bumps. The purple mittens demonstrate the larger bumps - they kind of make me think of Daleks. Sadly, I think they may become ratty very quickly once they start being worn. But that shouldn't stop them from being warm.




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Look, more socks! Also, I have been playing around learning Drupal. "Knitting Project" is a content type. I'm trying to decide whether I actually want to copy all the knitting photos over, or if a proof of concept is enough. Actually maintaining two different parallel constructions is kind of annoying, and the static pages are easier to port somewhere else, but the Drupal Cloud is free storage. Maybe the thing to do is copy enough to be an interesting database, and then play around with more views, so I have incentive to learn more things.

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Back when I had the non-stressful stress dream about getting married, I started to suspect that the part of my brain that assigns me dreams, and the part of my brain that carries out the dreams, are not really on the same page.

A few nights ago, I had one of those dreams where one gets a kiss from someone inappropriate. Me-in-the-dream said "Huh, that was unexpected, and possibly inappropriate. I wonder what I should do. Oh, wait, I know, this is one of those 'Jenny Kiss'd Me' moments. I shall file it away as a treasure, and not treat it as a plot at all." Then I spent the rest of the dream trying to remember all of the words to the poem, which is harder to do when you are asleep and do not have access to the Internet.

Love plot angst stress - nah, not really doing that so much. Getting old stress - yeah, maybe there's some of that. Not remembering the words - that's something I'll obsess about.

Also, "Time, you thief, who like to get things into your thing, put that in!" still manages to be evocative, in context. :)

Current Mood: thankful thankful

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One of my self-appointed jobs is to go to the new restaurants and then drag other people to them later. So I went to Cafe Artscience this evening after work - I'll admit it was in the hopes of getting to try some Mad Science Food, but instead I got tasty food and some of the awesomest service ever. So I'll talk about that instead, but it gets kind of convoluted.

First, I got seated at an Interesting Table. I had made a reservation for one person, and I kind of imagine that they thought "Hey, this would be a really cute single table, put here on the curve of the banquette." I've never actually had a one-person table before, and in theory, yup, definitely cute. In practice... sitting on the inside of a U curve is more comfy than sitting on the outside of one, and... I felt vaguely like I was not cool enough for the table. You know how some restaurants have the high table in the window, to attract passer-by? I think they probably want to put Fabulous Customers in those tables. ilhander would be perfect to sit at that sort of table. He would probably have been perfect at this table too. Anyway, it wasn't *un*-comfortable. It was just vaguely awkward, in a "hmm, am I supposed to be sitting slantways to the table? Or straight on? Which direction am I supposed to be facing? I think I'm doing this table wrong...".

Shortly after they poured the water, the waiter (Rich) came up and said, could I do them a great favor and possibly let them move me to this other table over there? I said oh, of course, and got moved; in the process it became clear that I was being moved to a "more comfortable" table. And it was a more comfortable table - a little two person table, with a normal U-shaped comfy chair.

It took me a while after being moved to realize exactly what had happened, and then I was beyond impressed. First, I don't think I was conveying "I hate this table" or anything like that. I wasn't *thinking* "I hate this table." It had really only impinged on my awareness about as much as "hm, I feel like I'm not doing this right." I certainly wouldn't have complained or asked to be moved. I wouldn't ask to be moved unless perhaps the table is on fire and sinking into the swamp. But they noticed more clearly than I did that I wasn't quite comfortable - and then, asking me to do them a favor and move was masterful. If Rich had asked "Would you like us to move you to a more comfortable table?" I would have said "oh, no, I'm fine". So he didn't ask that. Instead, he asked *me* to do *them* a favor, and it got me moved to a place that I was clearly happier. It was possibly one of the single most impressive fast-social-manipulation I've ever had used on me, and I am in awe. (I told him that later, and he did the little thing with his fingers and said "these are not the droids you're looking for." Yes, just like that.)

Right. So that was the first thing. Then, I was in Travis's section, and while he might not have been a Jedi master (or maybe he was, it just didn't come up), that generated its own set of anecdotes to talk about.

I said before that the food was tasty; I should digress here into what I ordered. (Smallish plates)

* Beef Carpaccio, Canadian Lobster, XO Sauce, Burgundy Truffle
* Artichoke soup with focaccia crouton and some sort of hard sharp cheese and a surprising piece of anchovy. (The cheese was a very nice contrast/complement with the soup.)
* Potato-crusted tautog with lardo and brown butter celeriac
* Oh, also an Eon-ish drink with One Large Ice Cube.

The carpaccio came out first, and Travis came by and said, would it be all right if he brought me a splash of red wine to go with the carpaccio? I said (of course!) sure, and he did, and it really turned the carpaccio (or more accurately, the dabs of ?XO Sauce? up to eleven. I think that was one of the best "this drink makes this food taste better" combinations I've ever had. After that, I told Travis that I would defer to his judgement in All Things, and after the dinner part was over, he picked a coffee (cortado!), and a "little spoon" of deconstructed foamed PB&J, and then one of those many-things-on-a-long plate desserts that I think showed up on the check as "birthday" cake and was fascinatingly delicious, especially with the spicy sweet popcorn.

Oh, right, also, when I was finishing up the soup, and scraping the tag ends out with my spoon, he wandered by and used Expressive Gestures to indicate the bread and the soup bowl, as if to say that if I used the bread on the last of the soup, he wouldn't tell.

Anyway. I like being a regular at restaurants, and bonding with the waitstaff. This was a fascinating example of feeling bonded with and charmed on a first visit - not because I'm so adorable and I assume waiters must love me - but because these waiters were just so perfectly charismatic. I would suspect them of being secretly actors in disguise, if this were somewhere else like Boston or LA. (It felt kind of like meeting M for the first time, which only shumashi/mjperson/harrock will understand).

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I bought a book (my first knitting ebook) about intarsia in the round. The trick is very clever, and about halfway through these socks, I came to the realization that it doesn't matter where you think the round marker is. That is, I use two circular needles, and I could start with either one, because instead of being a spiral, it's really eight little sub-spiral pieces, and the last one is tucked under the first one, like a folded-together cardboard box top.

The advertisement was "making intarsia easy", and I have to say that it doesn't really do that. Keeping eight bobbins semi-untangled is not easy, regardless of the clever trick.

Flaw one: I should have used a thicker yarn with size 2 needles. It said fingerweight, but for me, it came out a little flopsy. Flaw two: due to some sortof counting error, one toe is a little longer than the other. This never happens with two-at-a-time, but managing sixteen bobbins would have been even more pesky (and two-at-a-time isn't good for patterns where you have to shift the needle boundaries).

But... they really are cool looking.

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Anyone who is psyched to (some time next year or so) get a medium lightweight gradient sweater going between a color and black? I contributed to a kickstarter for a yarn dyer I like, and get a sweater's worth of yarn out of it. If this sounds like something you would want, let me know and let me know what color you like best (of the nine small colors in the page below, not the "maple" color).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1882887336/fibrofibers-expansion-more-nightfall-for-everyone

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