vamysteryfan: (Default)
And also deeply weird sometimes. They serve up those tailored ads based on where the algorithms say you are. But the company I work for has a server farm in Kansas City and my laptop visited Tucson along with me. So Google Maps uses Kansas City as my default location. And I get all these ads for the Arizona Opera House, etc. I wish I could go see Hercules vs the Zombies In AZ this month
vamysteryfan: (Default)
Now Hawaii 5-0 is breaking my heart. All their promotional pictures/banners still have Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park on them. I miss them. The show amped up the Danny / Steve relationship, and man did Steve get whumped this week. But still. MacGyver was pretty good. What the heck happened with Amy Carlsen that she's no longer on Blue Bloods?
vamysteryfan: doll me (doll me)
In honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week, various aquariums had a tweetoff, wherein all manner of cuteness was displayed. They combined it all into one big ball of cute. https://storify.com/plamon/seaottertweetoff I've been browsing it and really, every photo is "Awwww!"
vamysteryfan: (Default)
There's been some controversy over Silicon Valley startups putting vending machines in apartments to replace bodegas and mom-and-pop stores. My niece found the best vending machine anywhere and shared it:

"In late August, I visited my friend from school in Germany. She’s a winemaker and her fiancé is a butcher, because Europe is really like that. He is a sixth generation butcher, and soon will be taking over the family business.

"As you might imagine, on the train there I was picturing a quaint rural butcher shop, like with a timbered front, copper pans, and cobblestones. Maybe everyone has a moustache. It is that, but 10 times bigger and with a lot more stainless steel. As we toured the place he pointed out the dozens of varieties of house-made sausage, liverwurst, wieners, and meat salads, in addition to the regular chops and cuts. It is Willy Wonka's Butcher Shop.

"He told me they sell between 2200-4500 pounds of meat per day, and they don't sell to restaurants or anything-- that's just catering and foot traffic to the store. They butcher all of the animals on the premises (Mondays and Thursday). The first time we met, back in Bordeaux, he had to go back early on Sunday. It was the Monday before Easter and someone had to take care of the lambs.

"His recent addition to the shop is an automated, 24-hour vending machine. He’s super proud of his machine, which is cutting-edge butcher shop technology and my favorite thing in the world. The machine sells vacuum-sealed cuts of meat, sausages, salads, and beer. There's a separate bucket of bread that works on an honor system.

"It gets traffic during the day, but the peak times are at night. His best customers come on Friday and Saturdays, after 2 am. Carloads of drunk people drive up, buy packets of wieners from the vending machine, and go to town in the parking lot.

"The best seller among his late night customers is a salad of sliced ham, chopped pickles, and mayonnaise. He sells a knife and fork set for 40 cents, but the drunk visitors do not bother. He has a security system and reviews the footage the next day. So most mornings he gets to work and watches footage of drunk people shoving fistfuls of ham and mayonnaise into their mouths.

"Then, it’s time to kill the lambs."

I'd end up a vegetarian after a few months of that.
vamysteryfan: doll me (doll me)
L'Shana Tovah to all my friends celebrating. May the year be joyful!
vamysteryfan: (Default)
Courtesy of a friend who couldn't use the tickets, I went to the Nationals baseball game last night with [personal profile] sara_merry99 and her husband Patrick. It was great fun to see them again. The weather was perfect. Just as the game started, some vintage planes flew overhead on their way to Andrews AFB to a weekend air show. That was pretty special. The Nationals lost but it was a great evening.

Just a couple of photos with the view from our seats.



vamysteryfan: (books)
I've got a lot on my mind. Saturday was the National Book Festival here in DC. The Library of Congress and a bunch of local businesses sponsor it. I got my gavel pencils from the Law Library of Congress and a nice purple bookbag. All sorts of nice activities for kids and lots of authors for the adults to listen to. It was a misty rain kind of day, surprisingly good for walking. Today is gorgeous, no humidity and nice breezes. it is Labor Day, so it's a work holiday. I won't get paid, but that's okay because I got to sleep in. Another good walking day. Still spending a lot of time reading, though. Currently I'm reading Version Control by Dexter Palmer. It's very good speculative fiction, with good thinky thoughts about the Internet, smartphones, and online dating. And very interesting ideas about time travel. Hope everyone had a good weekend and has a good week!
vamysteryfan: (Default)
 It was only 81% in DC. I didn't have glasses but some coworkers did and they were wonderful about sharing. I have some interesting pictures to share shortly. It's hard to put it into words, just how amazing it was to see it. And for a couple of hours, people were all focused on one thing. My big boss went to Nashville to see the eclipse. The weather turned bad and he's stuck out there until Friday. It feels kind of mellow when he's away, even though he's the most low-key guy imaginable.

My weekend was nice. Sister 9 and I went to see Despicable Me 3 as a late birthday present. It was hilarious! Enough puns to keep the grownups entertained while the kids loved the movie. But I thought it was a cool film. I think I'll get the DVD for Sister 9 when it comes out. Afterwards we had lunch and then walked around the park for a bit. The weather was pleasant - not too humid but very warm. 

Still reading like crazy. I just finished Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George HW Bush. A British atheist spent two weeks aboard an American aircraft carrier. He wrote quite entertainingly and at times quite movingly about his experiences. Love the military or hate them, those men and women give up so much to serve. 

I'm still reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladstone. Interesting how motivation and opportunity meet with serendipity. More anon!
vamysteryfan: (Default)
 Again, the murderous little devils. This time it's a cold, not allergies.

Crazy day at work today. We started 12 people yesterday and then 55 people today. Lots of paperwork. I spent the morning running around like a nutcase. Thank heavens for lunchtime. Afternoon was more paperwork. 

I had such a nice weekend. Jenn and I had a chance to catch up on Saturday night. It was a fun, fannish evening. I haven't had one of those in a while. And anybody who comes to visit DC -  you should definitely try Centrolina in City Center. Attentive service, great seafood, and desserts to die for.

I finished reading The Pigeon Tunnel by John LeCarre. I liked it. It's a very odd but interesting book of essays. The theme is loosely what inspired his various books. It helps if you are pretty knowledgeable about the Cold War. He did quite a lot of in-person research. I loved the information about meeting Arafat. There are also a couple of essays about his feckless father (an unsuccessful conman by his account).

I read a couple more Comissario Brunetti books by Donna Leon, filling in some earlier books in the series I hadn't read. The Golden Egg was about the death of a Venetian man with no official history. I did not see the ending coming, even with the clue in the title. I read Dirt, the second book in the Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods. I do much prefer Stone when he wasn't wealthy, before he solved problems by just throwing money at them.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

vamysteryfan: (muse of fire)
 Let me tell you, I've earned it :)

The short project ended Thursday afternoon. My boss and my boss's boss both took off Friday. I spent the morning doing all the closing out stuff for the 45 people. About an hour after I finished, Big boss emails that we are likely starting 45 people on Monday. I start all the prep work for that. At 4 pm when I've almost finished, he sends another email. Only 12 people are starting Monday, but there will be 55 starting Tuesday. None of the work was (really) wasted but I so wish I'd had  a quieter Friday.

Looking forward to seeing snycock tomorrow night!

I'm reading The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carre. It's an odd collection of essays. It skips around quite a lot, but it does provide some interesting insights and how he writes and how he came to be a writer. It's been on my to-read list for a while. 

There will likely be some fluffier reading in the near future. We'll see what's available.

Enjoy your weekends!
vamysteryfan: (butterfly)
 It was nice. I had to work but they gave me a card and lots of people wished me happy.

I had lunch out with friends on Saturday, A nice salmon salad. Sunday I got a pedicure and haircut, so I have happy feet :) and really short hair. 

I did spend a fair amount of time reading. I read the latest in Donna Leon's Brunetti series and two of the earlier ones. 

Work has been so weird this week (and it's only Wednesday). Monday morning at the staff meeting the director said he was anticipating a quiet week. We joked that he had just jinxed it.  An hour later, he sent an email announcing we'd be starting 45 new people on three different projects the next morning! A mad scramble ensued.  The projects are only supposed to last a week, but the paperwork is all the same as for longer projects. 

Hope everyone is having a good Wednesday!
vamysteryfan: doll me (doll me)
Hope you have grand plans for the weekend!

We have torrential rain in DC this weekend, so I may spend more time reading than I thought. Which is a good thing.


I have to share my new Doctor Who charm bracelet - it's so cute!

vamysteryfan: (Default)
It's roasting hot here in DC. We've had so many days where the temperature was over 90 F.

Last weekend, I volunteered at a three-day conference for WordPress, an interesting blogging platform. I worked registration, which was a great way to meet new people while still in my comfort zone. The I got to go to sessions for free. I learned a lot.

Yesterday I used up a couple of gift cards at the bookstore. There's nothing like browsing actual books. I'm currently reading All the President's Menus by Julie Hyzy. The main character is a chef at the White House. It's light, fun fare.

Work has been really busy. We started 43 new people on 2 projects on Thursday. Tomorrow, we are adding 40 people in the morning and 20 in the afternoon. Good times.

I still take photos, but I haven't figured out a good hosting solution. Anybody happy with what they've worked out?
vamysteryfan: (Default)
 Happy Bastille Day! I am reminded of a fanfic where Ronon casually observed that the first two weeks of July are a party of nations.

I am attending a conference where I hope to expand my skill set. I'm volunteering for several shifts instead of paying for it which is very nice. So far I have learned new things and eaten a very nice banh mi.

It is roasting hot and very humid in DC (our typical July weather). I hope everyone has a nice weekend!
vamysteryfan: (Default)
 I thoroughly enjoyed it. The casting was good. Chris Pine and Gal Godot had such chemistry. The special effects were good. I did not see the plot twist near the end coming, so that was good. I liked that scene where Diana achieves her goal but it doesn't have the results she thought. I might go see it again. The place was pretty crowded.

I took Sister 9 to see it for her birthday. We went to one of those nice theatres with the reclining chairs. Bonus - they had expedited my new glasses so I could see it much better. Afterwards we went out for burgers, and had a chance to catch up on all the news. 

Oh, yeah, the glasses. Even though there is surgery in the near future, the eye doctor thought they were essential and expedited them.  They are meant for distance. I don't know if this happens to everyone? When I get new glasses every three or four years, there's always an adjustment period as my brain adjusts to the changed input. Basically it just means that the world around me is really curved for a few days. I can't walk down the street with them on  or I'll fall. When I first sat down in the movie theatre, I thought the rows were curved. Nope. It's kind of trippy.
vamysteryfan: (muse of fire)
 It's amazing how much these highly paid attorneys want their carbs.  Both the donut people and bagel people shorted us on the delivery, so there was much crankiness in the land.

Busy week. Two projects ended, one started..I treated myself to a pulled pork barbeque sandwich dinner. Yummy
vamysteryfan: doll me (doll me)
Went for an eye exam this morning, the first time in four years. (I tried to go once last year, but I had to wait for an hour and a half. They said they would see me in another 45 minutes so I left)

The doctor was horrified at mine. I have to schedule a consultation with the surgeon. I'e been looking things up on the internet but any info from people who had it done would be welcome.
vamysteryfan: (books)
I'd like to get back to posting short book reviews at least twice a month. My reading has slowed down some, but I still like mysteries and histories.

Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.It's a social history, a gift to foodies (with all the photos), an exploration of American history, and more. Freedman chose 10 restaurants to act as lenses on the development of America. Delmonico was the first true restaurant and he uses it to track the transition of entertainment from home to outside dining. He focuses on Antoine's to discover  the African influence, as well as one of the more shameful aspects of American history. Schrafft's shows the rise of women dining out respectably. Howard Johnson's was made for the interstate highway system. Le Pavillon and its ilk shows the rise of French influence. Chez Panisse. exemplifies the farm to table movement. But it's so much more than that. It resonated with me personally because I could relate to at least some of the restaurants. I remember HoJo's and the ice cream and my mother being able to enjoy a Manhattan at the same time. I ate at the Cafe at Chez Panisse shortly after it opened. The service was abysmal but the food! I was too young for Schrafft's but I remember Chock Full o' Nuts. Freedman also discusses whether there is an American cuisine and the homogenization to American taste. !0 Restaurants is well worth reading from so many viewpoints.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye
by Michael Connolly. I finally got to read it and I ended up reading it in one sitting. Harry is now a part-time investigator for San Fernando as well as a private eye. The book combines the search for a serial rapist with the search for a possible missing heir. Los Angeles plays a pivotal role as usual. I need to read about the Arts District now. The book is beautifully written and tightly plotted. I love following Harry's internal world. There are some interesting snippets about Vietnam.

Clair DeWitt and the City of the Dead
by Sara Gran. It is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina. Kind of depressing, because Katrina was so terrible. The book had a kind of surrealistic style that I'm not sure appealed. Lots of drugs and drinking and elliptical references, plus the sudden yet inevitable betrayal. I'll still try the next book in the series.

Murder in the Marais by Cara Black. First in the series, it is set in Paris around 2000. I kind of remember the politics of the era, which heavily influence the narrative. It's a very political mystery with roots going back to World War 2 and the Nazi occupation of Paris. Kind of depressing. I will try the next book in the series.
vamysteryfan: doll me (doll me)
 to all my Canadian friends! 

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival has opened. The theme is The Circus. No animals, but clowns, acrobats, etc. It's hot and humid as befits July in DC. It will take place this weekend and next. I always enjoy going, no matter what the theme.
vamysteryfan: (books)
Mine was good. Saturday I went to the National Capital Area Barbeque Festival. It's a big deal here. Lots of competitors, including military chefs, lots of food, lots of vendors. Giant Supermarkets, one of the big sponsors, thoughtfully set up a health booth where anyone could get their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose checked. My numbers were all good. I then went and ate ALL the BBQ meats! Pork, beef, chicken, even crabcakes. I'm sure my numbers weren't as good after I was done. There was nice music, mostly American country and rock, in contrast to the Jamaican music last weekend. Near the exit there was even a stand giving away free Tums samples. So thoughtful!. I remembered to put sunscreen on my face but not around my neck so I have a lovely collar of sunburn. I just keep throwing moisturizer on it.

Sunday was a little mellower. I wanted to try two new-to-me mystery authors, so I got the first two books in their series from the library. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black is set in Paris around 2000. I kind of remember the politics of the era. It's a very political mystery with roots going back to World War 2 and the Nazi occupation of Paris. Kind of depressing. Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina. Also kind of depressing, because Katrina was so terrible. The book had a kind of surrealistic style that I'm not sure appeals. I'll still try the next books in both series.

Also I love my Kindle. I borrowed an ebook on 10 Restaurants that Changed America by Paul Freedman. Some parts of it are making me so nostalgic for my childhood. There was a restaurant chain near the highways called Howard Johnson's. Great ice cream. I remember going there.

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