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Olive is really gassy anyway and is prone to happiness farts and mysterious bouts of cabbage stank.

And she belches. Noticeably. She'll be sitting there and her sides will billow out and she'll make this little rrruup noise, then blink and fan her ears back like she's surprised herself.

So I was leaning back against the arm of the couch reading, and she had gradually spread from my lap to cuddling up against my chest. And I glanced up and she was doing the slit-eyed, ears relaxed "I love you" face, so I leaned my face down closer to hers to maximize cuddle.

Then, our faces less than six inches apart, I opened my mouth to start to tell her that she's a good girl or something, and she blinked and flicked her ears and went rruupp.

And she doesn't usually understand why I get shouty when she lets one off right next to me--because she does that too, she'll lean against me with her tail up and happyfart right in my lap and it smells like a fish that died of intestinal problems--but SHE BURPED IN MY MOUTH

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I don't get a lot of chance to watch TV when Mom's home, but somehow or another, most of the good bits from "The Daily Show" end up in my Facebook feed.

Last night they had a joke about how someone went to one of Ted Cruz's appearances and shouted at him, "You look like a fish monster and you're a terrible person!"

And I admit it, I laughed.

Then I realized that I feel sort of sorry for Ted Cruz.

I mean, not that he's out of the race. As a female-bodied, genderqueer, bi, unfriendly-to-organized-religion Liburl, I have no problem with that. His beliefs and his plans for if he got into power are downright scary. I would vote for Mom's incontinent dog as President before I would vote for Ted Cruz.

But everyone's been so cruel about him personally. His looks, his choice of words, his voice, the fact that he's plainly not comfortable with or good at handling large crowds of strangers. Whether or not he resembles a blobfish or Grandpa Munster has nothing to do with the things about him that should be criticized. If he misspeaks and says "basketball ring" instead of "basketball hoop," well, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It's not like it has any effect on, say, his ideas on foreign policy.
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Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

It's weird to me how time moves on. Challenger has always been with me, one of those deep scars that's faded so that you can't see it, but that still flare up sharp and fresh if something jars them wrong. I didn't even realize it was that particular day until I saw something show up on my Facebook feed.

A single-engine plane flown by a man who'd been (I think) an Army reservist crashed at airfield east of Dayton on Wednesday, and yesterday or Wednesday a young woman died when her car crashed with a school bus north of here. So the Dayton Barely News and their sister TV station have had literally almost nothing to say the last few days except for "Dohhh, airplanes just keep falling out of the sky here! So dangerous!/AN VETERAN HERO!!!2!" depending on the angle they want to exploit, "yeah, we guess it was too bad this lady died but there were kids on the bus oh noes! Why didn't they have seatbelts?", or "Okay, so it's actually been pretty nice here through all this terrible weather six hundred miles east of us, but oh my god, you guys, it snowed near Cincinnati! And this town two or three hours southeast of here totally got nailed with a foot of snow! It counts! We're included in the Snowmageddon of '16! " The only mention of the Challenger anniversary was a short closing story on the national news.

I was six when she died.

I remember barely any of it. Or at least barely any of the details. But I think it's sort of my memory equivalent to "where were you when Kennedy was shot?"
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This weekend I went with Dad to see "Back to the Future" at the Victoria theater downtown.

The Vic they have now isn't the original 1866 Victory Theatre that burned down twice, but this one was obviously built early enough to have been renamed for Queen Victoria; probably between 1880 and 1910. It's all gilt and sculpted ceiling ornaments and burgundy velvet. They have a series of summer movies where they roll a screen down in front of the curtain and show a movie and cartoon, and there's free soda and popcorn in the lobby at intermission. I saw "Blazing Saddles" at a Mel Brooks weekend they did a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. So when I saw a poster about them finishing this season with "Back to the Future"... oh hell yes.

It still holds up really well, and isn't even that awkward for an '80s adventure movie. For being all about fightin' Nazis, the Indiana Jones movies make me really cringey now with how much of each film is devoted to celebrating Indy killing brown people. I loved the "Ghostbusters" movies, but really, they could have replaced Sigourney Weaver's character with a parakeet and it would have made almost no difference. Actually, that would have made the second one a lot more interesting; Vigo's not after her baby, he just has Carpathian Mineral Deficiency and wants her fresh cuttlebone! (and hell, the first one too. "THERE IS NO PRETTYBIRD, ONLY ZUUL!" And the Hartz Millet and Honey Treat Man. I am just way too entertained by the idea of "Ghostbusters" with parakeets).
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Places I normally look for Wendy:
  • In her camouflage chair

  • DSC_8579

  • On the counter where the cats usually hang out

  • Places I found Wendy today:
  • On top of the refrigerator

  • On top of the seven-foot storage cabinet, eating toilet paper

  • Sleeping in a storage bin of clothes in a bedroom that I'm not aware of anyone opening today

  • Cuddled up to Olive's ass, despite the fact that Olive is jealous and cat-aggressive and would have repeatedly slapped Wendy in the face for it if she'd been awake

  • DSC_8598
    (I don't remember the brand, but I'm ninety percent sure that's a silk/alpaca blend I bought about six years ago. I'd started to untangle it because I just found it when I opened a drawer, and it's gorgeous yarn. I was going to try making a shawl out of it. But... nope.)

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    Oh my god, I cannot tell you how happy "The Librarians" makes me. Premise: there is a library of magical objects run by Noah Wyle chewing up the scenery in Tenth Doctor mode and a very prissy John Larroquette, and they are responsible for training the new crop of librarians and making sure magic things don't fall into the hands of the poor man's Malcolm McDowell. This is like a show made just for me; it's just so goofy and cheerful and cheesy, and is about fantasy librarians.
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    The other show I love lately is "Forever." It's mostly just another New York City-based police procedural, but Ioan Gruffudd is beautiful and sometimes you just need that eye candy. But I like the characters, and the acting and writing are pretty good for what it is. I thought that I could guess how an episode I'd mostly missed went just from the last fifteen minutes. When I watched the whole thing online, I had the broad strokes right, but there was a lot of developments and character interactions that I missed. I love the relationship between Ioan's character and Judd Hirsch's. There seems to be genuine affection between them, and the writing seems to respect them both, instead of just making Hirsch's character an annoying sidekick.

    Also the premise is that his character is immortal and comes back to life naked in a body of water after he dies, so the possibility of Ioan Gruffudd showing some skin is always worth watching for.

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    A while ago I started making a list of places I like, for reasons I don't even remember. I think it started out as 100 things I liked, then kind of narrowed down into 70 or so places I love. I turned 35 on the 4th of August, and I never could figure out how granular to make it--all of the things I like in Cincinnati, or just the city? I went to St. Louis in June and really liked it; does that count the same as the coffee house near Dayton I'd go to ten times a month if I could?--or whether I wanted to try to narrow it down to 35 or build it up to 79, or build up to my birthday or start on my birthday. Then I was going to try doing a Place of the Week post to get me posting more regularly, and after a while I just sort of forgot about it.

    When I remembered, I thought that the place to start would be Hocking Hills. The same way I can't quite believe I've never talked about the cat who was so important to me growing up on Dreamwidth (he died in 2008 and I started on here in 2009), I can't quite believe I haven't said much about the place that feels more like home than anywhere else east of Madison (I last visited there in 2007). I took hundreds of pictures there when I was in undergrad. The weekends I didn't go back to Columbus or Dayton, I went down to Hocking Hills for most of the day and killed the night at Donkey Coffee, which I also miss terribly. I'm still sort of looking for another park that feels the same, and I'm always disappointed when I go someplace someone says is like Hocking Hills. But they're not on my current computer, since this is the third one I've had since I moved away from there. They certainly aren't on this tablet. I thought that I'd saved them to an old external hard drive, but I found it a few weeks ago and data recovery software I ran says that they're there, but they're unrecoverable. The best I can figure is that back sometime before 2009, I deleted them from my computer to save space thinking hey, I have all the important ones on Flickr, and then I deleted my old Flickr account when they went Maximum Ugly a few years ago, thinking I had everything important on that hard drive. I cried when I could only find the same twenty-eight salvageable photos on the hard drive that I have on my computer, and I sort of lost heart for the project for a while. Then I actually got motivated to do things lately and I've been spending all my computing time resizing and tweaking photos instead of actually writing or posting anything.

    But one of the other things that I don't think I've written about here even though I used to go there all the time is the Fair at New Boston, a reenactment of an early 19th century trade fair near Dayton every Labor Day. I don't even remember how I heard about it. I think someone from their group might have asked to put flyers up at the library where I worked. But once I did, in the few weeks leading up to it I kept sort of going back and forth between "that's so silly!" and "oh my god that's awesome! It's next week!" I went every year between 2008 and 2010 and then I just stopped going and I don't even remember why. Possibly because it was Labor Day weekend and my Irish skin melts in the kind of weather Ohio usually has over Labor Day weekend. Also it's in the neighborhood of two hundred miles from Bloomington. But I started thinking about it a while ago, and when I saw the weather was supposed to be good that Sunday, I went on out, and it was great. I wish that I had remembered that it only runs two days and got there earlier that 2:30 Sunday afternoon. Walking around, I couldn't quite remember why I'd stopped going.

    I've got sort of busy lately with things like all the baby knitting I have to due since my sister is due in a few months and one of our family friends had hers a month or two ago, and going to Chicago, and this is much bigger than I meant these posts to be, but... sure, Day of the Place can be Wednesday.

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    The scene at our house last night:

    I come home from work and I figure I'll start som laundry and then go to Monday evening knitting--one of the amazing things about Bloomington is that I can knit with friends of mine three nights in a row, plus Thursday, plus at least four other meetups I don't go to--after I check a few things on the Innernet.

    Then somehow I end up at r/nosleep and start reading stories. Even though I've just got over being stay-up-until-dawn spooked by the "Abandoned by Disney" series of creepypasta for a week. Because I'm somewhere between a masochist and an idiot. And they're not that bad. The premise is that you're supposed to treat the stories as if they're actually real reports of happenings and they're supposed to be within the realm of suspension of disbelief, as well as meatier and better-written than AND THEN A SKLELTON POPPED OUT. Overall, they're not that scary. They're interesting in a way that I might write another post about when I'm not on a tablet, but the events are too far out in most of them for me to buy them, and everyone copies the popular ones, or at least most of them have common tropes. I can't believe that many people's lives have turned into ripoffs of "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers" at once. But the series I started because they're they're supposedly the scariest ones worked as well-written, good suspense stories.

    And as the light from the window turns grey and then blue, and good suspense turns into eldritch cosmic horror, well, it gets a little creepier.

    And about then:


    Me: Olive, quiet.


    Me: Olive! Quiet!

    [The window is even angrier.]

    Me:HEY! Shut up! Shut it!

    I was starting to get up to turn the lights on anyway, so I look up to see what's going on. At this point it's worth mentioning that our house has a sort of shotgun layout with my room on the corner, and my front window is the only one that looks out on the street in front of the house. I have the futon I can't get rid of in front of that window, even though the window frame behind it is pretty deep. I look over and I don't see Olive behind the shade, but I sure can hear her. The roommates' kitten is perched on the corner of the back of the futon. From his posture, he looks like he's bugging her through the blind. Neither of us really like the kitten, because he eats all her food and steals all her toys and my yarn and uses her box and is always in my room harassing her and trying to slash my Achilles tendon from under the bed. I feel kind if bad for him since he's only about five months old and his people are never home, but he is a pain in the ass proportional to his size (and he's a Maine Coon mix, so it's huge).

    So I grab him off the futon and chuck him out while he tries to see what work he can get done on gnawing through my wrist.


    Me: Goddamnit Olive, he's gone! Shut the fuck up! Shut up OLIVE

    Olive [scuttles in, her ears fanned back and her eyes big] Dwee neep ahhh!

    So there's that moment where your brain really doesn't know how to parse thing or react to it. Of course a second later I realized it must be my roommates' other cat, the little black one, and just about the same time she popped out of the window to yell at Olive because now there were too many damn cats in the room she's apparently just now decided belongs to her. I still don't know what she was yelling at. The window looks out on the front porch, but there wasn't anything out there when I checked. Maybe she was yelling at me because I was yelling at her.

    So now there are two cats that think they belong in here, and I'm slightly creeped out by the thought of what's so exciting right outside my window at night.

    Okay, so before my computer decided the backspace key meant "post" Thursday, I was saying...

    Oh my god you guys, I found the most amazing book at work yesterday:


    It's really too bad there's no < spooky> markup, because those dripping letters are what you really need to talk about --{===>THE DICTIONARY OF MURRRRDERRRR!<===}--. ASCII swords are a pretty poor substitute for say, Orson Welles or Vincent Price reading it.

    That's really what it is. A dictionary of early twentieth century murders, and it is amazingly English.
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    The other day I sat and watched a pair of house sparrows have dueling dust baths in the gravel driveway across the street. Apparently there was a larger and more choice little hollow of dust at the end of the driveway and one next to it. After some hopping and fluttering and shouting, one would dash into the better pit and start to roll around and shake its wings and body in these little staccato burst--wrrt vverrt vverrt--(I don't know why a bird rolling around in the dirt sounds like a vibrating phone in my head. It just does)--while the other one hopped around the edges and yelled at it. Then the other sparrow woulld show him, boy howdy, and jump into the other dustbath and start ffloofing its feathers out. Once or twice one rushed the other and took its spot, and every so often they'd jump out of their baths and hop around and scream at each other. But mostly they sat there and went VVRRT VVRRT and FLOOF FLOOF and screeched.

    I'm sort of surprised how much wildlife there is in our neighborhood, which is mostly all the sort of old-and-plain-but-decent neighborhood you get on the outskirts of campuses, where the grad students and some locals live. Our house was built in 1931 or 1932 and we're across the road from a church built in 1951. I suppose part of it might be the big old trees all over the place; I think the two in our back yard were probably planted at the time it was built, and they're doing just fine. But we have bluejays all over the place, and crows and cardinals and pileated woodpeckers and some sort of phantom hawk I've never seen but hear all the time. I wrote a metadata schema for classifying birds (and I called it the Bird Recognition Data Schema--BRDS--and thought I was terribly clever) as my metadata class final project, and I was inspired to choose birds because of the mourning dove that likes to sit on our porch. He just plops himself down on the concrete and goes HOO GOOOOO right outside my window at the crack of dawn.

    There's a morning glory vine that started growing along our porch railing just last week that's halfway along the porch by now. Apparently there was also a wasp nest in the porch swing next to our front door. Which I walk past every time I go out to my car, and stand right next to every time I have to unlock the front door. I didn't even know about it until I stepped out onto the porch and both my roommates were right outside the door. Because they'd tried to sit on the porch swing and discovered that there was a wasp in the bit of wasp nest in the porch swing and... apparently poured water all over it? I guess? Because that side of the porch was very wet.

    Our house was built in 1931 or 1932 and has the problems that a lot of houses that age do. When I unlatch the windows, the casement slides down at least as far as the lower window, so my room is full of bugs. The cat adores it. For some reason a lot of big grey moths come in through the crack at the top of the window at night. Olive, who is afraid of toys, is both delighted and rendered into a homicidal killbot by the moths. She chases them all over and leaps up walls and smacks them around like fluttery little hockey pucks. Then she eats about half of them and leaves me the other half-a-moth to find later. She's terribly generous that way. The one time I saw her lose one, she sat and stared at the Magic Window all the rest of the night like it was really good kitty porn, and even asked it to give her another moth once or twice.

    But last night I found a firefly inside the house. It was on the woodwork of the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. It looked big for a firefly, so I stood there a minute trying to figure out if it really was one or if it was some other kind of beetle. I'd just leaned in to poke it when it started flashing its light very fast. So I turned out the light and watched it flash in the dark.

    It seems early for fireflies to be out, but I guess it's better than the kitchen moths we have all over the place.