misslynx: (Default)
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG - it finally happened!

Behold the results of the last round.

Eight votes. Eight votes. I'm not sure anyone's yet gotten eight votes. It might have taken me seven challenges to finally win one, but... holy fuck. I think I'm in shock.

For anyone who wants to read the story in question, it was "Away".

And I really, really hope that this isn't another spreadsheet error.
misslynx: (Default)
Well, apparently I didn't actually get three negative votes after all! The moderator just let me know that it was a spreadsheet error - the negative votes for a different story showed up in my row instead. So I actually got two positives and no negatives, putting me in second place for the round rather than second-last place.

What a massive relief - I'd been wracking my brain trying to figure out where I went wrong!
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
Slept too late, and the pears were not ripe yet despite being stuck in a bag with apples for a day and a half, so I didn't get to make the sweet potato/pear thing I was going to - just set off with the cupcakes, cookies, tofu roast (á la Tofurkey, but by a small local company instead) and blackberry porter. Which as it turned out was plenty, because there was a ton and a half of food. [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie is an excellent cook and tend to go all out when hosting any kind of social event. Also, multiple varieties of wine and beer, and at least three kinds of the beer had chocolate in them. And five kinds were varieties of stout. Clearly a woman after my own heart.

So, spent the day with her and [livejournal.com profile] mr_pugh, [livejournal.com profile] cleasai and [livejournal.com profile] insolent_cherub, plus a brief appearance by The Moogie's brother. There was much eating, drinking, silliness, and general merriment. I really need more of that. I did miss being with my actual bio-family, but being with chosen family can be pretty awesome too.

The results of my adventures in baking seem to have been well-received, though I ended up with a lot left, but that may have been just because there was so much there. I did give everyone some cookies to take home (and later gave three more to a homeless woman who was camped out in the entryway of [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's building when I went there to water their plants), so I only have a few of those left, but I still have eight cupcakes left! Anyone want one?

BTW, the cupcakes came out pretty well in spite of everything, though they are possibly the stickiest, messiest cupcakes ever due to the ooey-gooey caramelly Dulce Sin Leche topping. Also, some of them ended up with bonus caramel inside, due to the not-so-successful attempt at swirling it into the top of the batter before baking. But hey, any screw-up that results in cupcakes having a molten caramel centre is a feature, not a bug, as far as I'm concerned.

And I am pleased to note that thanks to a collective gift, Cleasai now has the Spirit of the Century book, and will be running a game of that sometime in the future, possibly starting in March. My attempts at trying to kickstart character creation right then and there, since it seemed like it would be exceptionally fun to do with a bunch of drunk people, were unsuccessful, despite SOTC having the most fun-sounding character creation process I've ever seen...

Anyway: I am now very tired and it is definitely time to sleep. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
...And I have chocolate-orange shortbread baking in the oven - well, orange shortbread, anyway. The chocolate gets added after they come out. And a really, really random mix of Christmas music on, which includes everything from the Mediaeval Baebes and Loreena McKennit to various noisy punk and/or industrial manglings of Christmas carols, and everything in between.

I actually completed most of my shopping yesterday, and the few bits I still had to do today didn't involve going anywhere horribly crowded, for which I am eternally grateful. I do not do crowds well, and the amount of running around I had to do yesterday and the day before was fairly stressful.

The un-fun part of things peaked after my last stop yesterday, when, coming out of the health food store, I hoisted my two gigantic Shopping Bags of Holding, and proceeded to twist my ankle, so that all of a sudden it would barely even bear my own weight, let alone that of all the stuff I was trying to carry (partial list: two 2-litre bags of soymilk, a big bag of cat food, a crate of clementines, a kitchen sale, and about 20 other things). So I flagged down a cab, and thankfully got an awesome cabbie, who when he realized I was hurt, not only got out and carried my bags into the cab for me, but brought them all the way up to my apartment when we got there. And tried to refuse my efforts to give him a larger tip because of it.

Probably the part of yesterday that was simultaneously the most stressful and the most awesome was going to the LCBO store in the Manulife Centre. Stressful because: holy crowds, Batman. I had to resort to my crowd-coping techniques of (a) every now and then, closing my eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths, and (b) when that didn't work, digging my nails into my palm periodically to ground myself in my body and vent some anxiety. Not hard enough to break skin, don't worry - I suppose it's still a minor form of self-injury, but sometimes it's the only thing that works. But as I said, it was also awesome, because they had a crazy variety of really interesting-sounding beer. The main thing I'd actually gone there for was to get a little bottle of some kind of sherry or sweet wine, for the sweet potato recipe, but I'd figured I might as well check the beer situation while I was there and maybe get some interesting drinkables. And it was soooo hard to choose - I ended up with the crème brulée imperial stout that [livejournal.com profile] curgoth posted about a while back, a blackberry porter, a smaller bottle of a Scottish stout, and something that shall remain nameless since it's going to be a gift for someone.

Also got the above-mentioned kitchen scale, two cooling racks, and some better measuring cups to replace the mostly broken ones I had, and yesterday also a better muffin pan and a sifter. I am starting to feel like I may actually be approaching the status of being a Person Who Bakes, as opposed to a Person Who Has No Clue About Baking (But Every Now And Then Attempts It Anyway For Some Bizarre Reason).

Today, I was not enamoured of the idea of going out at all, even though my ankle seemed fine, but I did have a few last things to pick up (notably, more sweet potatoes, since the recipe I want to make for the potluck Christmas I'm going to tomorrow calls for two pounds, and my newly acquired kitchen scale revealed that I only had one). But fortunately they could all be acquired in my own neighbourhood.

The best part of today happened pretty much spontaneously: Random acts of kindness )

And with that, the second batch of shortbread has just come out of the oven and the Scottish stout is empty, and I need to haul two large bags of laundry to the laundromat before starting in on the vegan "Dulce Sin Leche" cupcakes (i.e. like Dulce de Leche but without milk).

Hope everyone out there who celebrates Christmas has a good one, and everyone who doesn't had a good whatever-else-you-do-celebrate (all the other major December-ish holidays are past now, correct?).
misslynx: (Default)
I had a wonderful time at the Kensington Market solstice festival, masked as a wolf, but despite wearing wool and layers and all that, got cold enough to have to bow out before the parade had quite reached its destination. Still, an excellent night, and a perfect example of everything I love about Toronto.

In no particular order, highlights (including from before and after the event itself) included oatmeal coffee stout, an anglerfish lantern, Native drummers, marching bands, old friends, new friends, puppet shows, howling at the moon with my similarly masked companions, Mexican food, mummers, fire, dancing and giant animal puppets.

And perhaps especially, encountering [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen, [livejournal.com profile] optimystik and the kids and getting to carry the Lynxcub around on my shoulders for a while and show him some of the awesomeness. I had been thinking that while last night's visit was great, I kind of wished I was the one taking him to the parade tonight, and as it turned out I did get to spend some time with him there, so all was good.

And now, there are about a thousand forms of work I should theoretically be doing, but I think it is time for bed.

Happy Yule, everyone! And now, sleep.

I exist!

Dec. 20th, 2010 02:43 am
misslynx: (Default)
I finally, finally got some votes in [livejournal.com profile] originalfic_las! Two people voted my story best, which was not enough to win, but it was tied for second. Up until now, none of my stories have gotten any votes at all, so now I feel kind of like Yay! I exist!

If anyone would like to read my story, now that the voting's done and it's OK to say who wrote what, it was Disablót. I think [livejournal.com profile] foxesdaughter particularly ought to read it, but of course anyone else is welcome to as well (and to give me feedback on it if you want). The prompt, BTW, was to write a story based at least somewhat on Dickens's "A Christmas Carol", though obviously mine is based a little more loosely on it than most.

I sadly didn't manage to vote in this one - I'd decided early on which one I wanted to vote for as best (Lost in Translation, which made me practically laugh until I cried), but found it much harder to pick one for worst, since at this point most of the bad writers have already been eliminated and it's down to picking the least good instead, which is harder. And somehow while I was deliberating, life got in the way and suddenly it was Sunday night already. But thankfully, "Lost in Translation" won anyway, and if you haven't read it, you really should.
misslynx: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] optimystik is participating in a fundraising event tomorrow, the Global Mala 2010, in which people will do 108 sun salutations (a yoga routine) to raise money for Schools Without Borders's Safe Spaces project, for women in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and Ramotswa, Botswana.

The event is taking place tomorrow, but there's still time to sponsor him! Donations can be made securely through that site, either by credit card or PayPal.
misslynx: (Art - Curtana Fairy)
I posted this on FB already, but it deserves maximum exposure:

The Circus of Brass and Bone is an online novel by Abra Staffin-Wiebe, about a post-apocalyptic steampunk circus. As if that wasn't irresistible enough on its own, the author is writing it to raise money for her mom's cancer treatment.

The fundraising aspect of it is purely by donation - there's no set cost to read, but people can make one-off donations or sign on to be monthly donors.

And while there's only one episode up so far (the site only just launched), it's an interesting read and I'm looking forward to more. Definitely a project worth checking out, and supporting if you can.
misslynx: (Photo - bicycle gears)
Today was a day of major cycling. I rode a grand total of 33km today, which I think may be an all-time record for me. That was a combination of five trips - three short ones earlier in the day (to a meeting with a client, then to an ill-fated coven meetup for potential new members, to which no potential new members showed up, then home), and then a longer trek in the evening - down to the Asian Night Market on Cherry Street, about 12.3 km by the route I took, and back again.

I now hurt in muscles I didn't even know I had. Usually long bike rides just leave my quads sore, but this time I think nearly everything from the waist down is sore, and my lower back more than anything. Going from sitting to standing or vice-versa currently involves stabby back pains, major leg soreness, and either whimpering or swearing. I did a whole bunch of stretches when I got home, so I'm hoping that will help some. Contemplating a hot bath, but I'm tired enough that I'm more inclined to just go to bed.

My bike is locked outside because carrying it up the stairs was already clearly NOT an option by the time I got home.

Ironically, I'd intended to not ride all the way back - I was going to just ride over to Shaw and take the Ossington bus back up, since the buses on that route have bike racks on the front. But I kind of started riding north, and kept telling myself "I'll just head over to Ossington once I reach Dundas... College... Harbord... Bloor..." and then not doing it. I did nearly cave and take the bus at a couple of points, but each time thought "I'll just go a little bit further first..." And eventually found myself walking the bike up the Davenport Hill, which is the main thing I would have taken the bus to avoid, so by that time there was really no point.

So I guess this is a small taste of the sort of thing I can expect as I start going on longer rides in order to gear up for doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer next summer... And really, despite the soreness, I really wants to do more rides like this. Especially the parts involving the Martin Goodman Trail. Riding along the waterfront is really wonderful, except for the nasty bit from Spadina to Yonge, where the trail disappears, and for much of that stretch there isn't even a bike lane on Queen's Quay the way there is west of Spadina and east of Yonge. Clearly the lesson in that is to plan longer lakeshore rides, so that the part I don't like will compose a smaller proportion of the overall distance. :-)

I have, in fact, a crazy idea in mind, to at some point ride from my dad's place, just north of High Park, down through the park and onto the waterfront trail, and then as far east as I can manage - possibly all the way to [livejournal.com profile] foxesdaughter's place. That would be a distance of 18.9 km, according to Ride the City. Definitely longer than I've ever ridden in a single stretch before, but nearly all of it either downhill or flat. The way back, not so much... I suspect I'd have to ride to Union Station and then take the subway, or something like that. But it would be a seriously cool ride.
misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
Me: "It's pretty sunny out. Would you like your hat and sunglasses on?"

Lynxcub: "If a fire truck came into my dreams, I would jump up on top of it and work on it! I would work on top of the cab to make the lights go off and the sirens go off. And then there would be a blowy horn --"

Me: "Um... that really isn't answering to my question..."

Lynxcub: "--and I would work a lot on it and the lights and the siren, and there would be a flashing green light, and... [a fair bit more detail I can't remember omitted] ...and that's what I would do if a fire truck came into my dreams!"

Me: "That's very interesting. But would you like your hat and sunglasses on?"

Lynxcub: "No."

. . .

Lynxcub, junior forest firefighter )

Remind me not to ever have him wake ME up )

A moment of sheer awesomeness )
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
When I was walking along St. Clair earlier today, carrying the Lynxcub, we encountered a policewoman (parking enforcement, nothing G20 related) who smiled and said hi to us, and we responded in kind.

Just a momentary, random encounter, nothing of real significance, but at the same time, it somehow made me feel a little bit better about everything.

Sometimes the biggest danger in conflicts like this is that each side dehumanizes the other. I wasn't at any of the protests, but I have enough of an activist background to still feel like the people who were (well, the ones who weren't being complete dickheads) are "my" people, to some degree, anyway. And while I try very, very hard not to fall into the trap seeing the opposing side as some kind of completely alien "other", sometimes it's more of an act of faith than anything. So it's nice to get some affirmation of that once in a while, however small.
misslynx: (Art - Curtana Fairy)
(Started this post last night, got distracted, and only just remembered I had it half-finished...)

You know you've had a really, really good gaming session when you manage to make one of your players cry.

Er... in a good way, I mean. Wow, that first sentence sounded way more sadistic than I actually meant it. The scene in question did start with something awful, but the crying part happened when the characters were able to transform it into something good (specifically: healing children injured in a war, by a spontaneous act of magic-through-music).

It's times like this that really remind me why I love gaming - because at it's best, it can be a really vivid and moving form of collaborative storytelling. And in particular, I love Deliria, because it really lends itself to that, more than many other systems. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade, for creating it.
misslynx: (Default)
Made it out to the farmers' market this morning, and was very happy to find that (a) it's now moved outside for the season (less crowded, and I can take Kiska along with me as I shop instead of having to tie her outside the doors), and (b) there's starting to be a little more in the way of actual fresh produce from this season, as opposed to the endless parade of root veggies and apples left over from last fall. I got fiddleheads (yay!), wild leeks, and mustard greens, as well as a few other less-seasonal things.

It's still early in the season, so there's not too much new stuff available yet, but at least it's starting. I even saw some asparagus at one booth, but only a few bunches were left when I spotted them, and by the time I got over there, they were gone. I really need to start getting there earlier. I also missed the mushrooms completely today - he was sold out of every variety by the time I got to his booth. I miss the days when they used to have it in the afternoon rather than the morning, but apparently this way works better for the farmers.

BTW, I got confirmation from the wild-foods people that all the stern advisories about having to boil fiddleheads into mush in order for them to be safe to eat are a little overblown. I know I've eaten them lightly cooked many times and never had any problems, but everywhere you look now, people are telling you to boil them for at least 10 minutes, despite the fact that that would pretty much eradicate all flavour and nutritional value. Seriously, who does that to any fresh green vegetable?

Apparently, what the situation is is that they have some kind of tannins on the outside that some people are sensitive to, and can get a hellish case of indigestion from if they aren't removed, but not everyone reacts to them. I guess I don't... The vendor said that safety-wise, you do need to clean them well, preferably in a couple of changes of water, but the boiling-for-10-minutes thing isn't really necessary, unless you're very sensitive to them. You can also put them in water, heat it just to boiling, drain it, then do it again with a fresh lot of water, and that usually works as well for people who do have problems with them. But he said anyone's who's always been able to eat them with no trouble after cleaning them well and then lightly cooking them is probably OK to just keep doing that. So that was good to find out.

And speaking of all this lovely fresh food, time to make lunch. Hmmm, fiddleheads, or sauteed mustard greens tossed with pasta? Decisions, decisions!
misslynx: (Default)
O. M. G.

That was one of the best concerts of my life. And I've been to a lot of concerts.

Seriously, you should have been there. And by "you", I mean everyone.

I will perhaps post more later, tomorrow, when I'm not trying to make myself plough through some last-minute urgent work before going to bed. And maybe see if any of my cell phone pics turned out.

But for now, I just had to say: wow.
misslynx: (Default)
Note to self: when exhausted and massively short on sleep due to a brutal work crunch may not be the best of all possible times to keep compulsively reading news coverage about the situation in Haiti. One's usual emotional shock-absorbers are not functioning at full capacity in that state, and everything hits even harder than it ordinarily would, and I am the not the sort of person who can read stuff like that and remain unaffected even at the best of times.

Interesting article in the Toronto Star Underlying racism infects crisis response: study.

Unfortunately, the study's findings pretty accurately describe the mentality of a lot of the commenters on news stories on the Star site and elsewhere, which make me want to set people on fire. More so than I usually do, that is. Maybe one of my new year's resolutions should be stop reading the comment sections on news sites. Nothing good ever comes of doing that. Even when I can bring myself to post comments challenging all the reactionary crap that gets posted there, it feels like trying to stem a tidal wave of shit with a paper fan or something.

. . .

But in the vein of trying to do something constructive about the situation instead of just whimper and rock myself, this is a reminder that I am auctioning off three custom-written stories via the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti community. One fairy-tale based, one mini-legend like the ones I've done in [livejournal.com profile] thousandcats, and one that's more or less anything goes.

Winning bidder on each one donates the amount of their bid to any recognized charity doing relief work in Haiti, and forwards a copy of the receipt. Only received one bid thus far (on the fairy tale), so I'm hoping to stir up a little more interest, so as to actually generate some useful amount of donations.

Note: if you do decide to bid, make sure you're clicking on the "Reply" link right under my comment with the offer, and not on the "Leave comment" link at the bottom of the comment thread, otherwise your bid will go in as a comment to the entire 3000-comment thread rather than coming to me specifically, and I'll never find it.

. . .

BTW, I'm finding the level of activity in that community to be really inspiring. There are hundreds and hundreds - maybe more like thousands - of things being auctioned, from books and stories to homemade cookies, souvenirs from all the different parts of the world that contributors to it live in (there's a lot of "A Box of [place name]" items that are basically collections of random stuff from the places in question - I was very tempted by the Box of Holland, which included stroopwafels among other things), graphic design and editing services, crocheted Cthulhus, PHP scripts and web hosting.

Yesterday, the moderator posted a request for people to translate the community FAQ & userinfo into other languages, and within just a few hours there were versions of it up in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Russian and Tagalog. A day later, that's been supplemented with Hebrew, Italian, Catalan, Welsh, Hungarian, Portuguese and Greek, and people are working on Korean and Chinese.

Note to self #2: more time perusing communities where people are coming together to do helpful and positive things, and less time looking at comments on news articles makes for a happier and more productive Lynx, with more faith in humanity.

. . .

In related news, I am delighted to report that I am still, for the moment, the top bidder for the crocheted dinosaur I want to get for Aidan.
misslynx: (Default)
Not to mindlessly repeat the name of the blog I found it in, but this really, truly is an epic win:

misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
On the way back to [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's place earlier tonight to drop off the Smallest, I had a very... unusual encounter.

There were two scruffy-looking guys sitting in the doorway of a closed shop, drinking, and one of them called out something to me as a I passed that I initially misheard as asking for a dollar for his college fund. Thinking this was at least a cleverer than usual panhandling line, I declined, but politely -- smiled and said "Sorry, I can't right now."

But then he said "No, no, I want to give you a dollar for his college fund!" -- while pointing at Aidan.

I was a little startled, to say the least, and asked "Seriously?"

"Yeah!" he said, taking a loonie out of his pocket as he walked over to where I was, and then added with an impish smile "You know, it's amazing how many people won't stop, even when I'm offering them free money."

"I guess they just hear what they're expecting to hear," I said.

"Yep," he said, and handed me the loonie. "Now don't go spending that on beer, OK? It's for the kid!"

I laughed and assured him I wouldn't, and we bid each other good night.

It's times like this that make me think that we really do live in a strange and wonderful world sometimes...
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
Saw this in [livejournal.com profile] glamourbombing, had to share;



There are a couple of other fun videos at the site it comes from, too: The Fun Theory. Apparently it's a project by Volkswagen, and based in Sweden. They're running a contest for creative ways to get people to change their behaviour for the better (be it environmentally, or in terms of health, or whatever) by making it fun. I really, really hope they end up posting all the contest entries on the site! Or at least a decent selection of them...
misslynx: (Default)
I was totally blown away by the volume of response to my little mini-rant about that O-Canada-in-Hindi e-mail forward. For something written off the top of my head late at night when tired and cranky, it seems to have made a lot of people happy. The comments really made my week/month/year, and was particularly welcome at a time when I've been highly stressed and fighting off depression. Thanks to everyone who commented!

And for anyone who enjoyed it, I have to point you to the most awesome development in the comments: One commenter ([livejournal.com profile] secret_weapon) actually did translate "O Canada" into Hindi! And provided a cool little video to go with it, which has sparked all kinds of imaginings in my head.
misslynx: (Default)
Still need to do a Real Update[TM] covering assorted events of the past month like Maíre & Deb's wedding and [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech's visit, but this is not it. For the time being, I just need to announce a few small things:
  1. This recipe is awesomely delicious. But should not be made if you are in a hurry, as it takes time. It's easy, but it takes time. Especially if you use the beet greens (which I very much recommend), as they tend to need a lot of washing. But OMG is it worth it. It's impressive-looking, as well as tasty - the pasta turns neon fuschia and looks amazing mixed in with bright green beet tops and dark red beets. I think I used a higher veggies-to-pasta ratio than the recipe calls for, and a little more garlic (two large cloves to one bunch of beets and a small amount of whole wheat pasta), and added a squirt of lemon juice to tone down the sweetness. But so, so very good. Will definitely make again.

  2. My Deliria game seems to be getting off to a good start despite having thus far never had the same group of players show up twice. Best quote of the evening: "You guys are pretty nice for a bunch of Satan-worshippers." [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie is an excellent hostess, as always. Yummy mushroom thingies and pistachio nuts and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Yes, she got an extra experience point.

  3. Last but definitely not least, on the way back, I did something that I not only have never done before, but that until recently I had considered impossible, or at least highly improbably that I would do any time in the foreseeable future.

    I suppose the story really begins the previous night, where I briefly attempted what I ended up doing tonight, because suddenly it just didn't look quite so impossible as it always had before, but didn't quite feel up to it then. Or maybe it begins last week with [livejournal.com profile] optimystik giving my bike a mini-tune-up which included raising the seat a bit higher, which I've found has made a huge difference in how easy it is to ride, particularly up hills. Small hills that used to be daunting to me I can now ride up relatively easily. But still, I hadn't quite expected to be able to do this.

    Tonight, when riding along Davenport, I got to Christie, where I usually get off my bike and walk it up the killer hill of doom. And I did not get off my bike. I did not walk my bike. I just turned right and rode straight up the hill.

    Let me repeat that: I RODE UP THE DAVENPORT HILL. On my bike. Me. 46 Years old. Arthritis in knees and ankles. Massively out of shape until relatively recently. I. RODE. UP. THE. DAVENPORT. HILL.

    It was not easy. I downshifted all the way to 1 (well, 1 on the middle gear - my bike has 18 speeds but in practice I only ever use the middle 6 because the left shifter scares me), at times was going so slowly I almost thought my bike would topple over, and at several points seriously considered giving up. But I did not give up. I didn't even stop for a breather after I got to the top, though I desperately wanted to. Ironically, the very slight incline of the first couple of blocks after the crest of the hill was almost harder than the hill itself, because my leg muscles were so fried by that point. But I kept going, even though I had to stay in really low gear at first. By St. Clair I was back up to 4, and by the time I got home a minute or two later, my legs didn't hurt any more, though I was still a bit out of breath and soaked with sweat. I don't know what kind of shape I'm going to be in tomorrow...

    But I did it.

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