Archive for the ‘Not Writing Related’ Category

Carolyn Reviews Stuff

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

I’ve been working hard at mentally refreshing myself after a tough several years. To that end, I’ve been watching movies and TV Series and here’s my thoughts on that. In no particular order

Locke and Key: (Kids discover keys with magical properties.) Enjoyed this series but there are plot holes you can drive a bus through. However, the antagonist is incredibly scary.

October Faction: (Teen twins discover their parents work for a demon slaying organization). I intensely disliked this at the start, particularly because the writers had no control over the backstory timeline and couldn’t be bothered to google basic facts. The story was driven by a chronologically impossible/unbelievable series of events and the parents were supposedly the same age but (predictably) the wife looked 20 years younger than her husband. So I was settling in to hate watch and about halfway through the whole premise turned upside down and took on some intensely serious themes about hatred and bias and by the end, I was on board.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: (A take on Sabrina the teenage Witch) I really enjoyed the first two seasons. Excellent all around. Season 3 was an emotional let down. The first two seasons were full of amazing female characters and by season three they were all dead or stripped of their agency and moral character.

Van Helsing: (In a dystopian future where vampires rise to supremacy, a descendant of Van Helsing awakes from a coma and evinces strange powers against vampires.) I liked the first season but quickly had trouble with season 2 and 3 and I think I’ve bailed because of the focus on violent scenes for the sake of . . . violence. I am disappointed by the way Vanessa Van Helsing was so quickly stripped of heroic qualities.

Parasite: The South Korean film that won Best Picture at the Oscars. Fully deserving of the win. What a great movie.

Knives Out: I loved this movie. Loved it. It’s hilarious.

Late Night: Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) gets a dream job as a writer for a female Late Night show host (Emma Thompson). Great movie. Made me laugh at the same time it tackles serious themes about racism and misogyny.

Sex Education: A British series centered around a nerdy, repressed high school student (male) with a sex therapist mother who teams up with the school’s gorgeous and brilliant slut-shamed girl to offer sex advice to students. There are so many characters to love here and the series delves into issues of class, sexual violence, race, and sexual identity.

The Stranger: Richard Armitage stars in this series based on a Harlan Coban novel where a mysterious woman divulges secret truths/blackmails to people with terrible consequences. Pretty gripping.

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Leaping Birthday Lizards?

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Happy February 1st in a leap year and congrats to everyone born on February 29 who can have their birthday celebration on their official birthday.

This leap year month at Jewel HQ we are having a party for the big dog. We don’t know her actual birthday but we subtracted her age (~8mos) when we got her from the shelter and arrived at February.

She needs a new collar. What would you get a dog for its birthday?

Below is a picture of Bella with her BFF Tiger the cat.

Bella The Birthday Dog and her best friend Tiger the cat.
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Happy Thanksgiving to All

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

To all who celebrate, a Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

To all who observe, happy Fourth of July.

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Delicious Pancake Recipe – You’re Welcome

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

This morning I decided I wanted pancakes but we didn’t have buttermilk for my usual recipe. So I read a few recipes and remembered another recipe that called for egg whites. What I came up with was DELICIOUS and and made from what I had on hand. Here’s the recipe so I don’t forget what I did and so you can enjoy:

  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp (or so) lemon zest

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl

Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to soft peaks.

Lightly whisk the yolk with a fork, add the oil, butter, lemon zest, and almond milk and combine. It turned out one of my eggs was a double yolker so I think you could safely use two egg yolks. I’m sure any kind of oil would work, but I used walnut. If you use sweetened almond milk, you might want to cut down on the sugar.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Combine until mostly smooth. Fold in the egg whites and don’t over stir at this point, just until everything is combined.

Cook your pancakes at whatever size you like. I used a buttered griddle at medium heat and a cup of batter for each pancake.

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A Bad Day was Had

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

I had to travel to a two day conference at the other end of the State and upon returning late in the evening, go to work the next day. This morning AT 5:45 AM, when I got up we had no internet and my carrier was saying they expected service to be back at 4:11 PM. Wow

Less than an hour later, I dropped my thermos of coffee, which happened to be open because I had had just taken my second sip, and my coffee spilled everywhere. ALL OF IT.

Here’s a picture of my mood at that point:

I had to buy replacement coffee that wasn’t the coffee I make which I love because I make it the way I like it. AND because it was morning, I decided to get almond milk instead of regular milk and only realized too late that I might end up having to replace that coffee too.

Mornings. I’m telling you. The brain is not firing on all cylinders when there’s no coffee fueling it.

As for Mouse, the cat I adopted from the shelter last December, who turned out to have diabetes, her numbers have stayed good, so we’ll go two more weeks without insulin and recheck her to make sure she’s still doing well. She has at last decided to wander the house a bit and is currently on the couch with the big dog. Both are napping

The almond milk was actually OK.

How was your day?

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Happy Holidays

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Happy Holidays to All. Here is picture of a daffodil thingy. It’s white and yellow and very pretty. May your life be full of beauty and joy.

A close picture of a daffodil type flower with white bottom leaves and a yellow bell. It's very cheerful and happy.
A Daffodil sort of flower. Photo by Yours Truly taken Feb-2018

To everyone who loves Romance and a Happy Ever After story, may all your stories thrill and charm you.

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242 Years Ago

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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Making Friends With Freddie, Part 4

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

I haven’t posted about Freddie in a while, but not because there isn’t anything to say. Below is a video of him dancing to his favorite song, Good Night Irene. When he’s ready to go to bed, he starts dancing like that and singing.  A little more about that in a bit. As you can see, he’s adorable. And he’s on the counter. We do some target training there, and he hangs out on the counter in the evening while I’m getting my lunch and coffee ready for the morning, doing some kitchen clean up and feeding my sourdough starter.

Target training is going well. When we’re training, he’s 100% on target. Non-training times are about 80% so we need more work and repetitions. For those who don’t know, target training is when you train a bird to touch the end of a chopstick (or any clean dowel or stick). You give a treat as soon as the bird touches the end of the stick. You train the bird to go to the target — that is, wherever you have the end of the chopstick. This teaches the bird to go places you want and need him to go, such as inside a cage, a carrier, or just away from something troublesome.

Right now, Freddie steps up on my forearm, and I need him to step up on my hand because that is a safer and more stable way to carry the bird. I am working on training that. He will now step near my hand, but not yet on it. We have a good time!

Regarding going to bed, yes, he sings and dances to indicate he would like to go to bed, but actually putting him back in his cage is about 70% successful for me. He loves the cat/dog bed under my desk and I realized last night that he seems to want to roost for the night there. This, of course, is a terrible and unsafe idea for him to have. Sometimes when I put him back in his cage for the night, he sidesteps me and grabs the outside of his cage. He then climbs down to the floor and wanders about, and last night was when I realized he wants to roost in my room. It was some time before I could coax him out of my room and for him to decide he was ready to step up. I managed to cleverly block his attempt to not go into his cage. In return for his being in the cage, I sang Good Night Irene to him for some time.

And so our training continues . . . for him and for me.

 

 

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Respect The Beak

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Now that Freddie the macaw has an indoor perch and has been inside several times and quite excited about it, I had to get some toys for it so he can entertain himself. Here is a video of Freddie making short work of parts of a toy. He was very happy. The big pieces are actually pretty soft, but what you don’t see is the smaller, harder wooden blocks that he chewed up already.

He walked into the living room from the deck and I figured, OK, this will be like the garage where he stepped up on my arm right away. But he didn’t. He made a beeline for the couch and disappeared underneath it, talking to himself the whole time. I put the dogs up in my room and when I came back he was halfway across the living room, and then he happily stepped up. And, he likes being inside and every time I walk past him he lifts up his leg (which is the signal for “I want to be on your arm!”) A couple of times he was unhappy about going back into his cage. So there are some behaviors to work on. This is new territory for us both, of course.

You can read more about Freddie here:
Here and also here.

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