autographedcat: (Dayna Larger)

Every so often, a book comes to my attention that perhaps wouldn’t have normally. I’ll read a review, or hear it recommended, and think “Hey, that sounds interesting”, and I’ll make a note to myself to pick it up if I see it, or sometimes i’ll just grab it off the Amazon Kindle store where it will sit, waiting for me to find a moment to crack it open.

I don’t, at this point, remember who recommended the book “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s been sitting in my Kindle Library for some time. But a couple of days ago I randomly opened it and began to read. Today I finished it.

I don’t recall the last book that so often made me laugh out loud, so often moved me to tears, so often stopped me dead in my tracks with a perfectly phrased insight or so often made me just stop, walk away from the book because I needed time to think and digest.and reflect on what I had just read.

I’ve read collections of advice columns before, from Dan Savage and Miss Manners and others. This is very likely the first collection of advice columns I will read again and again, because as much as I took from it, there’s more to take and find and connect with.

If you’re a human being who is currently in the process of living a life, I recommend this book.

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (vicambulate - walking about in the stre)

One of the things that excited Larissa and me about our new apartment was that it was walking distance to a great many things, and we can certainly do with more exercise and fresh air in our lives. So today we decided to go out for a nice stroll down to Pike Place Market for lunch and a bit of random shopping.

We left a bit after noon and headed down Thomas Street to the pedestrian bridge that goes down into Myrtle Edwards Park. We’ve already come to love this park, and there’s a great many photos taken of the waterfront and the Olympics across the water on my Instagram page. We had not, to this point, really taken the time to explore the walk/bike trail that runs all along it, though, so we set off south towards downtown to see what we could see.

We wandered along the edge of the Olympic Sculpture park, stopping to take a photo of myself under a giant ampersand.1  There’s a bit of a sandy beach just past it, with a large sign warning people to not pester the harbour seals when they are resting on the rocks.  We didn’t see any seals, but there were a number of ducks on the water looking reasonably pleased with their lot in life.  Past this beach the trail empties out onto Alaska Way which continues on down past the piers on the waterfront.

We ambled on down the street, stopping to take pictures of interesting signs or structures, and eventually arrived in the vicinity of Pike Place Market, where we promptly became incredibly indecisive about where to eat.  It didn’t help that, being Saturday, the market was completely packed with people, so we wandered up the block a ways and found a nice sushi joint called Japonessa which promised “a Japanese core concept with hints of Latino flair.”2  We were seated pretty quickly despite having no reservation and our very friendly waiter got us set up with some ginger beer and a superb edamame appetiser, which was very fresh and salted perfectly.  We then sampled the brie tempura, which was served with an extraordinary raspberry sauce, and finished with a variety of sushi rolls and sashimi.3 I have a feeling this is going to be a restaurant we return to, because everything was excellent.

Well stuffed with food, we went back over to the market4  We poked through the hat shop, but they only had sizes up to XL, which isn’t quite large enough for my head, so no new hats were acquired.5 We wandered down into the lower levels, where they keep the bookstores.  There are two bookstores that I’m aware of in the Market, both with friendly and conversational clerks.  I was tempted by many things, but in the end we only walked out with a single paperback.

We wandered over to Beecher’s Cheese Shop to get some cheese, but it was packed and the line was very long, so we decided to come back another day.  Larissa’s foot was starting to bother her and it was beginning to get dark.  So we headed up Pine St to 3rd Ave and caught the #13 bus back home.

It was a lovely afternoon with no agenda.  And that’s really what Saturdays are all about, Charlie Brown.


  1. amplectere potestem “et” 

  2. This wasn’t a fusion I’d encountered before, so it seemed worth a try. 

  3. Larissa declared the sashimi “the best she’d ever had”, and she’s had quite a lot of sashimi over the years. 

  4. Pausing briefly to politely suggest to the guy standing on the corner with an IMPEACH OBAMA sign that he might consider the many benefits of getting a job, or at least finding something better to do with his time. 

  5. I’ve been told there’s a serious hat shop somewhere in Seattle, and I need to take some time to find it. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)
So, having made a solemn pledge to start updating again, I promptly stopped updating. Which isn't to say things have been boring around here. [personal profile] runnerwolf came to visit, which was shiny and awesome, and then I went to California for Consonance, which was also shiny and awesome, and then I came home and had the plague, which was dingy and boring, and then Marian Call was in town for a concert, which was back to shiny and awesome.

So, rather than talk about those things, each of which deserves at least a post unto itself, I want to talk about Pop Culture Comfort Food.

This past weekend was mentally fragile for me. I do pretty well most of the time these days, but depression still sucks, and every so often it gets the better of me. There are some things that reliably help, but it's mostly a matter of just getting through them until my brain chemistry balances out.

Since I had managed to lure [personal profile] kitanzi into playing The Old Republic with me, I got the notion over the weekend to rewatch Star Wars. I followed it up with The Empire Strikes Back because, well, it comes next, doesn't it. And a couple of things struck me while I was watching it:

1) The Special Editions are fine. Seriously. There's really nothing wrong with them. (Before you start, I want to note something: Han still shoots first. Really. Go watch. He shoots Greedo, whose gun discharges at strikes the wall. At the very worst, they shoot simultaneously. It's Not Even A Thing, stop griping about it.)

2) These films are, for me, the cinematic equivalent of a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. I've seen them enough times now that they really are like comfort food. I go back to them and I'm 10 again and the world is okay.

[personal profile] kitanzi and I were discussing this last night, and she said that she couldn't really think of a movie that fit that category for her, but she certainly had books which did, most notably Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, which she claims to have read more times than she can actually count anymore.

So what are *your* pop culture comfort foods? When you just need something warm and familiar, what entertainment do you turn to?
autographedcat: (Default)
Right here, you will find the quintessential essence of a good thriller:

"I was terrified, but I wanted to know what happened next."

Neil Gaiman divulges 'Doctor Who' clues | EW.com:
The girls proved Gaiman right, listening with faces more eager than petrified, and the book went on to claim the loyalty of children around the world, winning two awards (a Hugo and Nebula) and a movie contract, before becoming a musical. At the off-Broadway premiere of the show, Gaiman learned what Morgan DeFoire, seated beside him, had really thought of Coraline.

“I told her, ‘You know, we kind of have you to thank for all this, because you weren’t scared by it. And she said, ‘Actually, I was terrified. But I wanted to know what happened next. I knew if I let anybody know I was scared, I wouldn’t find out.’”
autographedcat: (cat with book)
74 Free Banned Books (for Banned Books Week) | Open Culture:
To commemorate Banned Books Week, the always great Internet Archive has opened up access to 74 banned books. The collection features some serious pieces of literature (James Joyce’s Ulysses, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, Huxley’s Brave New World, etc.); some traditional children’s classics (Winnie the Pooh); and some sinister books of unquestionable historical importance (Mein Kampf). These books can be downloaded in multiple digital formats, including sometimes ePub and Kindle formats. This gives you the ability to read the the works on the Kindle, iPad, Nook and other mainstream ebook readers. (See note below.) But the old fashioned computer will also do the job.
autographedcat: (Default)
My darling [livejournal.com profile] cadhla wrote a book, as she is wont to do, and then she had that book bought and published by DAW Books, which had up to this point not been her custom, but its one to which she's adapting with great enthusiasm.

Today, September 1st, was the "street date" for the first of her October Daye novels to hit the shelves, and I made a special trip at lunchtime to see if they had it.

I found, neatly filed on the shelf, a solitary copy.



I thought this was odd, since I knew they had several copies on order when i spoke to them a month ago, so I grabbed it and found a clerk. "I know this may seem an odd question," I asked, but do you have any more copies of this book?" he checked, and the computer said they should (and that one copy of their original order had been sold!), so we went looking for it. And it wasn't on the shelves, and it wasn't over here and.....oh, *there* they are.

On the featured paperback display!




Happy bookday, sweetie. It's been a long time coming
autographedcat: (Default)
Having gotten our paperbacks out of their long period of bondage and onto shelves, our attention turned to....the remaining boxes of books, most of which were either hardbacks or oversize paperbacks.  Now, I could have built another set of shelving to house these, but you can buy shelving units designed for large books pretty easily.  On the other hand, I didn't want to spend a massive amount of money.  And you know what that means....Ikea!

Now, I've heard people from more metropolitan and urbane cities sing the praises of Ikea for years.  And I've heard Jonathan Coulton sing about it too....but that's another show.[1]  But my one trip to the land of flatpacks and meatballs was a frustrating and generally unhappy experience, because they'd only opened the giant store in Atlanta a few weeks prior and the novelty hadn't warn off.  It took us 45 minutes just to park, and by the time I got inside I was already tired and cranky.  As a result, I'd never bothered to go back.

However, having the entire day off by virtue of Larissa's oral surgery, I figured it was a good time to make a quick run over to get the shelves I had found on their website that looked just right.  It *was* a much more pleasant experience.  I had printed out the page with the item I wanted, asked the first employee I saw where to find it, and got directed straight to it.  Once there, another employee (who was absolutely gorgeous, apropos of nothing) explained to me how to locate the one I could take home downstairs, and off I went.  pulled the heavy boxes onto a cart, took them to the register, and out again.

One of the corollaries to Murphy's Law is "If everything appears to be going well, you are obviously overlooking something."[2]  Sure enough, when I got to my car, I found that the boxes did NOT fit neatly.  I had accounted for the length of the box, but not the angle at which it would need to slide through.   Argh.  Luckily, a nice gentleman helped me navigate two of the boxes into the car, leaving the third sticking a foot out the back.  I then carefully drove over to the loading area, where free twine was available to tie the trunk down and secure the box so it wouldn't slide backwards under any circumstance.  Those crafty Swedes, they think of everything.

Having gotten the shelves home, i took them out of the car and set them aside, as I had other things to do.  So today, I pulled them out of the box and began assembly.  Pretty much everything I'd ever heard about Ikea is true -- the stuff assembles easily and has very detailed instructions that are simple to follow.  We only ran into trouble getting the final piece fitted in, as it required lining up a great many pegs to holes, and it wanted to be difficult.  But after much sweating and swearing, two meltdowns and one brief marital spat, everything was connected and screwed down and we set it against the wall and affixed it there.

Of course, rather than sit and bask in the accomplishment, I started putting books on the shelves.   Guess which I ran out of first?

[livejournal.com profile] kitanzi has an LJ icon that reads "If you have enough shelf space for your books, you don't have enough books."  We have enough books, but a few boxes still.  I think I'm going to pull all the non-fiction off these shelves and make room for the fiction, and then we'll figure out where to but the *next* set of shelves which might finally complete the unpacking.

Pictures...of course there's pictures )

It's nice to see my books again.  I've been missing them.

[1] We've been watching a lot of Alton Brown lately.  It's infectious.
[2] One day I'll get this translated into Latin for use on a crest.
autographedcat: (More fun than a bucket of panda)
Some people have complained about some of the unresolved questions in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] davehogg fills in the blanks for us. (Warning -- spoilers may occur.)
autographedcat: (gaming)
This was apparently announced back in January, but it only just came to my attention, thanks to Peter Trei over on rec.arts.comics.strips:

D+Q to publish MOOMIN THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP in September 2006

Drawn & Quarterly will publish the first of a five-volume series of MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP in September 2006, it was announced today by Chris Oliveros, President & Publisher of the Montreal-based graphic novel and arts publishing house. This is the first time the strip will be published in any form in North America and will deservedly place cartoonist and author Tove Jansson among the international cartooning greats of the last century.

“All of us at D+Q are huge fans of Jansson’s Moomin children's books, especially the editor of the series, Tom Devlin, who brought the Moomin comic strips to our attention,” said Oliveros. “The quality and quantity of what Tove created in the MOOMIN comic strip is nothing short of astounding.”

“To comic strip fans, there are few surprises or unknown strips out there that have yet to be published in North America,” said Tom Devlin, Editor and Production Designer. “To be the editor of a five-volume series that will bring the comic strip of one the most internationally renowned children’s authors and her creations to a whole new audience is thrilling. Comic strip fans as well as fans of the MOOMIN chapter books will be fascinated by the caliber of Tove’s cartooning skills.”

Jansson is revered around the world as one of the foremost children’s authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated chapter books regarding the magical worlds of her creation, the Moomins. The Moomins saw life in many forms but debuted to its biggest audience ever on the pages of world’s largest newspaper the "London Evening News", in 1954. The strip was syndicated in newspapers around the world with millions of readers in 40 countries. MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP; BOOK ONE is the first volume of Drawn & Quarterly publishing plan to reprint the entire strip drawn by Jansson before she handed over the reins to her brother Lars in 1960.

The Moomins are a tight-knit family – hippo-shaped creatures with easygoing and adventurous outlooks. Jansson's art is pared down and precise, yet able to compose beautiful portraits of ambling creatures in fields of flowers or rock-strewn beaches that recall Jansson’s Nordic roots. The comic strip reached out to adults with its gentle and droll sense of humor. Whimsical but with biting undertones, Jansson’s observations of everyday life, including guests who overstay their welcome, modern art, movie stars, and high society, easily caught the attention of an international audience and still resonate today.


Oh, I want it. I want it very much. :)
autographedcat: (Default)
One of the problems with a small apartment occupied by two bibliophiles is the matter of where to actually PUT all the books. There really just aren't that many good places to put bookcases, if one is to have any other furniture in the place.

When I was visiting [livejournal.com profile] djbp and [livejournal.com profile] bardling last month, I got to admiring the wall mounted track shelving they had up for bookstorage in one of the upstairs rooms. It occurred to me that this could be the answer to our problem. Since it was wall mounted, I could simply have shelves cut to whatever length I wanted on that part of the wall, and since they didn't have to reach all the way to the floor, they could be placed above other furniture.

Last night, I dropped by home depot and picked up some supplies. Rails, brackets, and a 1x8 cut into five 27.5" pieces, which was the precise distance from the wall to the edge of the window in our computer room. This is the room where the guest bed is deployed when we have visitors, so we wanted to arrange the room in such a manner as to not require extensive shifting about to put the bed in place.

Things didn't go as smoothly as I'd have liked. I discovered rather quickly that the studs in the wall were made of metal, and as a result I made another trip to Home Depot to get some drywall-anchor screws so that the shelves could be mounted between the studs instead. Then I found that the particular drywall used here was so soft that if you weren't careful, when the anchor finally was fully caught it would start to burrow through the wall. There are, as a result, a few more holes in the wall than I had originally intended. But they are all in places where the shelves are, so they're not really noticeable. I'll get some plaster later and fix them up.

Anyway, I finally got it all up, and populated with books, and it looks rather nice in the end, so the frustration was ultimately worth it.

Click here to see a picture of the completed job... )

After completing the shelves, I called my Mom to thank her for the lovely St. Patrick's Day card. I was rather pleased to see that she sent a couple card, rather than just to me. I pointed out to [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi that I couldn't recall her ever doing that when I was with my ex, so that must mean she passed inspection. :)

We decided to spend the rest of the evening watching something silly and light to lift our spirits. In light of current events, I decided I wasn't really up for more M*A*S*H -- I didn't really want to see a war themed show, even one as solidly anti-war as that. So we watched the first two episodes on the season 1 DVD of Coupling, which was just what the doctor ordered. Extremely funny, and I went to bed in a much better mood than I would have otherwise.

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