Category Archives: Pop culture

Just what the Doctor ordered

“An N95 respirator is the safest thing to put between myself and a virus, but it is by no means the most interesting.”
— The Third Doctor, probably

As a courtesy to everybody he interviews this week, Ron has been following the governor’s advice and covering his face.

With a bandanna.

Which makes him look as if he is planning to rob a stagecoach after deadline.

I couldn’t let him run around like that, so I rummaged through my craft closet tonight and let him pick through my fabric stash to find something he could handle wearing. He chose a blue fabric with Our Lady of Guadalupe on it. He could do worse than to have the Mother of God standing between him and everybody’s cooties, I suppose.

I, of course, insisted on geeking it up. It would take a pretty audacious virus to try to get past twelve Doctors. (This fabric predates Thirteen by a couple of years.)

Allons-y!

Emily

P.S.: Ron also has an N95 respirator to go with his stylish cloth mask. I found it in my craft closet tonight while I was searching for elastic. I think I bought it to ward off migraines while I was painting the kitchen in Cape, so if you see him in it, don’t side-eye him too much. I’m pretty sure the people fighting the pandemic didn’t want a slightly used mask that’s been rocking around in the bottom of a craft bin for three years. o__O

Sunday Self-Care: Christmastime Is Here

Maybe it’s the election.

Maybe it’s the way people treated each other in the months leading up to it, or the way they’ve behaved in the weeks since.

Maybe it’s the weather.

Maybe it’s the usual seasonal depression settling over me.

Maybe it’s some combination of the above.

Whatever the reason, I haven’t had much enthusiasm for the holidays this year, and I really considered leaving my Christmas tree in its box in the garage and letting December go by more or less unacknowledged.

I considered it. But that tree is aluminum, straight out of the late 1950s, and it’s got a color wheel to light it up and a set of matte-finish red and green ornaments to hang on it, and for the first time since I bought it, I have a living room full of furniture that goes with it. How could I possibly pass up a chance to see how that Marshmallow sofa looks with a real mid-century aluminum Christmas tree glittering beside it?

And if I’m going to take myself back to the era immediately preceding my own existence, shouldn’t I have period-appropriate music to listen to while I assemble the color wheel?

Yes. Yes, I should.

tiltshiftchristmas
Behold the magic of a mid-century modern Christmas.

So I downloaded the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, set my iPhone inside a coffee mug to amplify the sound, and let Vince Guaraldi soothe my frazzled nerves and erase all the grown-up worries and fears and frustrations from my mind.

“Christmastime Is Here” is one of those songs I took for granted for years. It wasn’t the sort of Christmas song you’d hear at church or sing in school or hear on the radio stations that switch their format to “all Christmas, all the time” during December. But it was always part of Christmas, and the older I get, the more I appreciate the way it strikes a balance between grownup melancholy and childlike wonder.

This year, finding that balance has been more difficult than usual, and I’m grateful for Guaraldi’s help finding it as I settle into a replica of a rocking chair that predates the Peanuts gang’s first animated special by several years, sip a cup of peppermint cocoa, and listen to piano and triangle and children’s voices mingle with the hum of the motor on the color wheel turning gently behind the tree.

Christmastime is here.

Emily

The sun’ll come out …

We went and saw the remake of Annie last night when we got back from exchanging Christmas presents with my family. I tend not to be a fan of remakes, because you damn kids get off my lawn, but this new Annie was much better than I’d anticipated.

My only real complaints were the excessive use of electronic pitch correction — which I loathe — and the questionable decision to cast Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan. She wasn’t awful; she just wasn’t good enough to follow Carol Burnett (although admittedly, I’m not sure who would have been).

All that said, I thought it was an effective update on a classic, and Quvenzhane Wallis was cute and plucky and made a good foil for Jamie Foxx. Bonus points to whoever was responsible for casting the dog: This is the first Sandy in the entire history of the musical who’s actually resembled the red, pointy-eared dog from the comic strip.

Meanwhile …

Annie may be convinced the sun’ll come out tomorrow, but around here, we’ve been “stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely” so many times in a row that I finally gave up and shucked out 30 bucks for some fake sunshine today in the form of a light therapy lamp.

lightbox

We’ll see if it helps. It’s certainly bright. Rainy, misty days are kind of pretty, but too many of them in a row tend to drain my energy and leave me feeling pretty rough around the edges. About all I can say for this winter is that it hasn’t been too icy. After last winter, that’s a huge blessing, but I still could use a little more sunshine.

Ah, well. One way or the other, the sun’ll come out Feb. 19, because that’s the day the Phillies have their first spring training workout. I love ya, spring training. You’re only 57 days away.

In unrelated news, I finally got a hand free to take my guitar to Shivelbine’s and have the action lowered, which it desperately needed. It’s much easier to play now. The guy who worked on it was super nice and didn’t even charge me for it.

They had a 12-string Alvarez for sale. Don’t think I didn’t think about it. The main thing holding me back is laziness: I don’t like replacing strings on the guitar I have. I don’t even want to think about replacing twice as many. o_O

Emily

Merry Christmas. Blink and you’re dead.

We have a Christmas tree at our office.

Our office Christmas tree does not have a topper.

I do not have any act-right.

The dollar store near our office is selling treetop angels for $3.

So, obviously, this had to happen:

Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely.
Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely.

A weeping angel is the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent life form evolution has ever produced, and right now one of them is about to be trapped inside my office.
A weeping angel is the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent life form evolution has ever produced, and right now one of them is about to be trapped inside my office.

I couldn’t help myself. Really, I couldn’t. The reporter who sits behind me is a Whovian, as are two copy editors, all the IT guys and at least one person in advertising. And that empty spot at the top of the tree is just begging for a worthy decoration.

Besides, somebody already brought in one of those Elf on a Shelf things, and they’re at least as terrifying as the Weeping Angels. If you don’t mind a voyeuristic elfin ratfink carrying out covert espionage operations all over the office from Thanksgiving until Christmas, you shouldn’t be fazed by a quantum-locked assassin masquerading as a divine emissary.

I suspect the Elf on a Shelf of being a Weeping Angel in disguise anyway. I mean, it does seem to be quantum-locked, and we are advised not to touch it.

Come to think of it, that’s a little unnerving. The prevailing theory among Whovians is that Santa is a Time Lord, because he doesn’t age, he doesn’t die, his bag is obviously bigger on the inside, and the only thing that could manipulate time and space efficiently enough to allow for several billion deliveries in a single night is a TARDIS. (Evidently his doesn’t have a functioning chameleon circuit, either, since it always looks like a flying sleigh, which is almost as inconspicuous as a flying British phone booth.)

I can think of only one Time Lord whose ethical standards would be so dubious as to allow him to infiltrate children’s homes with poorly dressed Weeping Angels.

Don’t pull on Santa’s beard, kids. You’re liable to find John Simm hiding back there.

Emily

Weekend projects

I used Valspar instead of Krylon this time, mainly because I couldn't find Krylon. We'll see how it weathers.
I used Valspar instead of Krylon this time, mainly because I couldn’t find Krylon. We’ll see how it weathers.

This weekend was all about clearing projects off my plate. Most of them were little projects (moving the quail, putting bird netting in the garden to protect my tomatoes, and starting a new batch of beer), but the big one I’d been meaning to finish involved the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcar.

I’ve been neglecting the car for about two years. Oh, not the mechanical stuff — I take it in to have the oil changed and the tires rotated and various belts and filters and things replaced at all the appropriate times — but what makes the Dreamcar the Dreamcar is its Amazing Technicolor paint job, which becomes decided less amazing and decidedly less technicolor after a few months in the sun. To look its best, it really needs to have its hood and roof repainted about once a year.

Last time I repainted it was a couple of days before we left for vacation in 2012.

After spending the brutal summer of 2012 in the Oklahoma sun, it was pretty faded out, but before I got a chance to repaint it, we moved, and I was too busy to mess with it. I also managed to leave all my leftover spraypaint behind when we moved, and I couldn’t really justify spending the better end of $50 on a glorified craft project while we were paying for two mortgages. By the time we sold the house in Tulsa, it was October, and then the holidays hit, followed by ice storms, a rainy spring and a stormy summer, and … well, yesterday was really the first opportunity I’ve had to do anything with the car, so I took advantage of it.

While I was working, I installed a few of my recent acquisitions on the dashboard:

On a recent trip to Memphis, I picked up some miniature rubber chickens at Schwab's. Because if there was one thing my dashboard needed, it was rubber chickens.
On a recent trip to Memphis, I picked up some miniature rubber chickens at Schwab’s. Because if there was one thing my dashboard needed, it was rubber chickens.

Is there a Doctor in the house? From right, the Seventh, Fourth and Second Doctors, accompanied by a Roman centurion auton.
Is there a Doctor in the house? From right, the Seventh, Fourth and Second Doctors, accompanied by a Roman centurion auton.

I painted a TARDIS on part of the car last night, but the sealer I used on it this afternoon interacted badly with the paint and ran all over the place, so I’ll have to sand that area off and start over as soon as I can shake free.

Emily

Acquisitions

I’ve been slowly but surely converting a tiny, unused space at the end of the kitchen cabinets into a sort of FlyLady-style “launching pad” for the back door.

Thanks to an inconveniently placed vent, I had a section of unused space at the end of the cabinets that was about 18 inches wide and as deep as the counter. The wall was wide enough to hang a calendar, but I couldn’t put anything on the floor because it would impede air circulation.

Last week, I installed a hanging deck planter under the calendar to hold a hive tool, a pair of bee gloves, a can of goldfish food and a few other odds and ends, and we picked up a little tile-topped plant stand yesterday to hold a bag each of quail feed and dried mealworms (the birds’ favorite treat). Then last night at Target, I found the most appropriate of all possible hooks to hang my ballcap and bee jacket:

beehook1 beehook2

 

Very convenient, and I love reclaiming wasted space — especially in a 730-square-foot house, where we don’t have much space to waste.

I made a few other purchases today, mostly for the pond:

pond3
Duckweed. Hard to find sometimes, but awesome for shading the water and giving pollinators a safe landing pad.

pond2
Big pot of water lilies, also for shade and pollinator protection.

pond1
Little concrete bench so I can sit and enjoy my coffee in the garden in the mornings.

The white circles in the pond are the bottoms of styrofoam coffee cups. They’re temporary; I put them out there to give the bees a safe place to land so they don’t drown while they’re trying to get a drink. Also note the presence of our old friend Smeagol, the weird Gollum-looking lawn ornament I found at Lowe’s a few years ago and absolutely could not resist. Too many summers in the Oklahoma heat left him with what appears to be the corrupt-plastic-hobbit version of vitiligo, but a coat of Rust-Oleum should fix that easily enough. I still need to come up with a good way to display a replica of the One Ring in the pond. Geeky, yes, but that’s just the way I like it.

Hope your garden is just the way you like it, wherever you are.

Emily

 

 

‘Shopping trip

I’ve been dinking around with filters and layers for a design project I’m doing at work, and while I was figuring out a shortcut today, I ‘Shopped up a photo Ron shot of me yesterday at Daily Star Comics in Metropolis:

tardismeweb
Eat your heart out, Billie Piper.

Don’t look too closely, or you’ll see where my lines got a little wobbly on a couple of spots I was trying to enhance by hand, but I think it’s still a fun photo. Way better than Bitstrips.

Too bad I didn’t figure out the shortcut before I spent 10 hours tracing posterized edges by hand to convert photos to cartoons. -_-

Emily

Well, I’ll be damned.

“So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.” — Bob Dylan

OK. Let me make sure I’m following this line of reasoning:

Germany is known for great beer, so we should let Germany brew our beer.
Switzerland is known for great watches, so we should let Switzerland make our watches.
Asia is known for great electronics, so we should let Asia assemble our phones.
And Bob Dylan is known for writing brilliant, incisive lyrics that are sharply critical of the Establishment, so we should let him …

sell us a car?

Dubya.
Tee.
EFF?

And that heckler in Manchester thought it was bad when he went electric.

Either Bob Dylan has lost his damn mind, or he’s just trolling the hell out of us for giggles, like Johnny Rotten did a few years ago:

Or maybe this is just a sort of belated answer song to “Diamonds and Rust.” After all, on some recordings of her song about her failed relationship with Dylan, instead of ending with, “I’ve already paid,” Joan Baez ends with, “I’ll take the diamonds.”

Maybe advertising Chrysler products is just Dylan’s little way of saying, 40 years later, that he’s content with the rust. </snark>

Emily

Well, that was surreal.

Look at these pictures:

merida2 merida1

Now, look at this post from 2006 that I stumbled across tonight while I was looking for my thermophilic compost recipe.

I told y’all Pixar wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of a rough-and-tumble redhead with Scottish blood doing unladylike things while dressed like a refugee from a Renn fair.

Too bad I gave that outfit to Goodwill before the movie came out. I’d look pretty cool wandering around the Secret Garden in Makanda in that getup.

Emily