Sunday, January 31, 2021

Greetings from Meadowside

We have a very highly hyped snowstorm coming on Sunday, so on Saturday we went to Meadowside Nature Center along Rock Creek Park to walk. The wind chill wasn't as cold as the past few days and the trees kept it from blowing hard along the creek, so it was a beautiful afternoon to walk to the mill ruins and we saw deer and many, many vultures in the woods. Then we stopped at Roots Market for vegan lox and other necessities before the arrival of the snow. There was a Pokemon Sneasel event going on, so I caught lots of those too. 

 After dinner we watched The Dig, which I had been warned shortchanged Peggy Piggott's actual contributions and altered the details of her life story for some gratuitous storyline developments, but it has a lot of lovely aspects -- Carey Mulligan's and Ralph Fiennes' performances, the discovery of the boat, the recreation of the Sutton Hoo dig, a child performer who's lovely, the overlap with The King's Speech. Would definitely watch again. And SNL is back, uneven but enough good moments (kiss!) that it was worth watching. 

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Lyrics for Saturday and Black Hill Bluebird

By Miranda Lambert

Yeah, I'm a turner
I turn pages all the time
Don't like where I'm at, 34 was bad
So I just turn to 35

Yeah, I'm a keeper
I keep digging down for the deep
Like the records I'm playing
They might keep you waiting
But you know I'm gonna play 'em for keeps

And if the house just keeps on winning
I got a wildcard up my sleeve
And if love keeps giving me lemons
I'll just mix 'em in my drink
And if the whole wide world stops singing
And all the stars go dark
I'll keep a light on in my soul
Keep a bluebird in my heart

Well, I'm a giver
Yeah, and I'm still giving 'em hell
Forgiving's pretty hard
So I made an art out of forgettin' 'em well

Yeah, I'm a rhymer
I can turn twenty cents into a ten
And if I get confused, and I start to lose
I rhyme a dime 'til it all makes sense

And if the house just keeps on winning
I got a wildcard up my sleeve
And if love keeps giving me lemons
I'll just mix 'em in my drink
And if the whole wide world stops singing
And all the stars go dark
I turn the light on in my soul
And keep a bluebird in my heart

And if the house just keeps on winning
I got a wildcard up my sleeve
And if love starts giving me lemons
Just mix 'em in my drink
And if the whole wide world stops singing
And all the stars go dark
I'll keep the light on in my soul
Keep a bluebird in my heart


All I accomplished on Friday was getting my hair dyed (more red than I expected from the box but at this point, after not being cut for a year, the ends are so split that I'm not sure they absorb cheap drugstore color anyway). It was a good day for taking a walk in the cold too, and for having beans and sausage for dinner. 

We watched this week's awesome WandaVision with the awesome cast additions and flipped perspective, then we watched the first episode of Doom Patrol because we hadn't seen it before (it felt like a mash-up of various X-Men and Fantastic Four stuff). A couple of the bluebirds we saw at Black Hill Regional Park: 







Friday, January 29, 2021

Poem for Friday and Squirrel Scampering

A Cryptomas Rhyme
By Noelle Acheson

‘Twas the day after Christmas. Instead of some rest
I decided to review how we had progressed.
In January, headlines screamed military tension.
Bitcoin as “safe haven” attracted attention.
The ructions in March did much to dispel
The “safe haven” myth as all prices fell.
“Black Thursday” also highlighted the danger
Of too much leverage. But things would get stranger.
We all soon grew aware of the threat of a new
Type of virus that spread. It was not “just the flu.”
As April drew round, we saw a new correlation
Between bitcoin and stocks, and a dip in inflation
As spending dried up. But the biggest shock
Was a negative oil price from way too much stock
And not enough storage. Uncertainty spread
As markets digested the changes ahead.
The official response to the looming crash
In incomes and output was to print more “cash.”
The ballooning supply of fiat to spend
Was in sharp contrast to a cap that won’t bend.
And with perfect timing did the network remind
Us that every four years the new issue declined.
The halving in May during our big event
Highlighted supply rules we can’t circumvent.
In June prices held. Volatility dropped.
The spread of the virus could not be stopped.
Nor could the rise of the prices of stocks
That used tech to help people weather the shocks
Of a new way of working and seeing their friends,
In spite of the cuts in yields and dividends.
The summer saw two new trends gather speed:
Services to satisfy institutional need
For custody, platforms and products galore.
And decentralized finance had surprises in store:
A surge in the volume of trading on some
Of the platforms that had names that would become
Memes of their own. Sushi, pizza and YAMs –
While many delivered, it seems some were scams.
With part of the U.S. fighting fire after fire
As August dragged on, stock markets climbed higher.
In October, the bitcoin price started to rise
And a looming election pushed stress to new highs.
PayPal’s support for transacting in some
Crypto assets meant mainstream adoption could come.
More well-known investors came out in defense
Of a bitcoin stake held as a hedge – it made sense
In the face of the risk of growing inflation
And currency woes that could lead to stagnation.
In December, bitcoin’s correlation to gold
Has fallen almost to zero, as new narratives unfold
And the bitcoin price enters a new paradigm.
As I write this verse, it continues to climb
Toward new all-time highs. Now, I do not know
Where it goes from here, but the inflows do show
That institutional interest seems here to stay.
With so much going on, there is more I could say,
But this poem is already way too long, yet
I can’t leave without urging us not to forget
That the year has been hard for so many out there.
And although there is hope, we should still be aware
Of the need to be kind, and to take care
Of our health, and our loved ones. For always somewhere
There is someone whose day could be brightened with sharing
A bit of compassion, affection and caring.
With that, dear readers, I bid you good cheer!
Happy holidays, and have a hopeful New Year.


It was very cold on Thursday, a good day for staying indoors with cats on blankets. Not much of excitement happened around here; I spent a lot of hours following the action on r/wallstreetbets and Twitter, since works for a regulatory organization and both my kids have done day trading using RobinHood (if I hadn't seen The Big Short, Margin Call, and The Wolf of Wall Street, most of the trading terminology would be beyond me). 

We watched Dolittle after dinner, which was in no way a good movie, especially for adults -- my kids would have enjoyed it as pre-teens -- but there was less animal violence than, for instance, His Dark Materials, and there are some funny bits in lovely scenery. We also watched The Cat Returns, not as engaging as its sort-of-prequel Whisper of the Heart despite having a lot more cats, but entertaining anyway. Speaking of animals, our local squirrels:







Thursday, January 28, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Meadowlark Winter Gardens

By Fady Joudah

Thank you for dreaming of me
for letting me know
for waking up to remember that you dreamed

I never wake up when I dream of you
What woke you up
was it someone
else’s body?

A small thrill a little secret is ours
a desire for safe travel
in unspilled blood


I had a quiet Wednesday morning reading news and articles for Holocaust Remembrance Day, then I talked on Zoom with two of my high school friends -- the one who lost her father last week was there and in pretty good spirits considering everything, the one who's a pediatrician not there because she was taking her 90+ year old father to get his vaccine. It was chilly but not really cold out, and we saw two bunnies when we walked. 

We had apricot, fig, and faux beef tagine for dinner for Tu B'shvat before The Masked Dancer, which is much harder for me to guess at than The Masked Singer but still mindless fun. Then we watched the rest of the current season of Fate: The Winx Saga, whose cartoon original I never saw, which I watched with my brain turned off even more, and on that level it's passable Mary Sue fic! Some more of the Meadowlark Gardens' Winter Walk of Lights: 







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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and After the Snow

In the dark we crush
By Julia Cohen

crab apples for the sound of it. Light cannot
be bitter. The backyard licks us.

Blue like kindling, the fox we caught with
a shoebox. Your shirt is a constellation

in the tent of recovery. If you release the hand
you relax the animal. Bookshelves hold up

the moon. I sweep your fur into a feeling.
I put you into my memories on purpose.

Moss smuggles stars into your cheeks.
Inside your body’s future, bravery turns to pulp.

The flashlight pendulum. Your face sounds like that
record player. Electric & spinning.

Let’s grow old together. Don’t be scared
of Gertrude Stein. Be brave.


Our tub has been leaking through the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom, so on Tuesday we had a plumber come inspect all the various pipes in our house while we hung out in other parts of the house. Turns out the problem isn't a pipe but a crack in the plastic covering the back wall where the old tile is, so we need that repaired rather than the plumbing, which will probably actually cost more. What snow we got melted slowly over the day, so by the time we took a walk in the afternoon, there was very little left. 

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I watched Voyager's "Projections" with my fan friends, one of whom was very stressed out because of a sick family member. Then Paul and I watched a couple of episodes of Fate: The Winx Saga, which is simultaneously derivative of Harry Potter and every other magical academy franchise and self-aware enough to parody them. There's an awful lot of stereotypical bitchy teen girl stuff, but the central mystery is interesting enough for me to keep watching, and I like the cast and the focus on women's magic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Snowy Evening

Maine Yet Miami
By Richard Blanco

The soft harp of snowfall plucking through
my pine trees lulls me to peace, yet I still
hear the bongo of thunderstorms rapping
the rooftop of my queer childhood, dancing
to the clouds’ rage, raining away my sorrows.
Though snow melts silently into the gurgles
of my creek, my grandmother’s voice remains
frozen in my ears, still calling me a sissy, yet
praising me as her best friend. Even though
I marvel over spring’s abracadabra each time
my lilac blooms appear, I still disappear back
into the magic of summer nights on the porch,
the moon lighting up my grandfather’s stories
about his lost Cuba, his words carried away
with the smoke of his <i>tabaco</i> and the scent
of his jasmine tree flowering the night with
its tiny, perfumed stars. Despite the daystars
peeking behind the lavender clouds swaddling
mountain peaks in my window at sunset, I still
rise to the sun of my youth over the sea, after
a night’s sleep on a bed of sand, dreaming or
dreading who I would, or wouldn’t become.
Though I grew courageous enough to marry
a man who can only love me in his English:
<i>darling, sweetheart, honey</i>, I love him back
more in my Spanish whispered in his ears as
he sleeps: <i>amorcito, tesoro, ceilo</i>. After all
the meatloafs and apple pies we’ve baked
in our kitchen, I still sit down to the memory
of my mother’s table, savoring the loss of her
onion-smothered <i>vaca frita</i> and creamy <i>flan</i>.
No matter how tastefully my throw pillows
perfectly match my chic rugs and the stylish
art on my walls, it all falls apart sometimes,
just as I do, until I remember to be the boy
I was, always should be, playing alone with
his Legos in the family room, still enchanted
by the joy of his sheer self and his creations:
perfect or not, beautiful or not, immortal or
as mortal as the plentiful life I’ve made here,
although I keep living with my father dying
in our old house, his head cradled in my hand
for a sip of tea and a kiss on his forehead—
our last goodbye in the home that still lives
within this home where I live on to die, too.


We had a forecast of snow for Monday afternoon, so we took our walk around the neighborhood right after lunch in anticipation of that and otherwise had a quiet day of laundry, chores, and work. We had lots of birds on our deck the whole chilly day -- we wondered whether they knew the snow was coming, too. And we had chick'n cordon bleu for dinner. 

After this week's Antiques Roadshow, we watched the season premiere of Snowpiercer, which was awesome -- Jennifer Connelly and Sean Bean facing off while Daveed Diggs tries to hold everyone's shit together. Then we watched the Batwoman we missed Sunday, decently acted but the writing is so mediocre. Here's how pretty things were this evening:

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Greetings from the Deck

The wind chill on Sunday was just as cold as Saturday, so again we did not rush to get out in the morning. Instead we did chores around the house -- our bathtub is leaking but we think it may be a caulking issue rather than a plumbing issue, so we tried plastic and paper towels, which seemed to work -- then we had plans to Skype the kids but one slept late and the other was out early, so by the time we got everyone sorted, we had already eaten lunch and I had already caught a bunch of dragon Pokemon with incense for the special research day. 

So we talked to the kids plus my parents, took a walk around the neighborhood during which we saw more woodpeckers plus a lot of crows, and came home so I could Zoom and watch WandaVision with fan friends once we'd managed to figure out how to get everyone sharing the stream. I had the Green Bay-Tampa Bay on mute in the same room, after the unfortunate ending of which we had dinner and watched the equally unfortunate Buffalo-Kansas City game. So once again I must root for Tom Brady to lose a Super Bowl! This house finch visited our deck: 





Sunday, January 24, 2021

Greetings from Black Hill Regional Park

It was very cold on Saturday, so after a lazy morning and a couple of Pokemon raids, we went to Black Hill Regional Park. We were hoping to see the eagles who nest there, though they were frustratingly hiding, but there were buffleheads, wood ducks, mallards, geese, and mergansers in the lake, plus house wrens, Carolina wrens, juncos, and many bluebirds. We took the shorter trail by the water because it was so cold and drove around to the other parking lot to see more birds. 


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When we got home, Paul made a plant-based version of avgolemono, which we had for dinner with hummus and lebneh. Then we watched Mank, which is slow to get started and has some typical Hollywood Story stuff but the acting and relevance of the storyline drew us in. Afterward we checked out the Studio Ghibli offerings on HBO Max and watched Whisper of the Heart, which starts as a teen drama but is gorgeous to look at and eventually grows up with its protagonist.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Greetings from the Canal

Our Friday was about as quiet as our Thursday, which was fine -- we had a slightly unnerving evening the day before when many ambulances and police cars arrived at a neighbor's house, and we feared the plague, though it turned out not to be coronavirus. So I slept a bit late and didn't get everything done that I wanted, though I am at last caught up on email and bills from before the inauguration. It was a gorgeous day for a walk and again we saw several woodpeckers, plus we were visited by cardinals. 

We had veggie sausages for dinner, then watched WandaVision, which remains wonderful -- by turns funny and sad, very clever evoking different ages of television, very well acted, lots of hints of connection to the MCU but playing its hand very slowly. Afterward, we watched Outside the Wire, in which Anthony Mackie and the cast are good but there is an insane amount of violence, close up torture, and a script with a few too many predictable elements. Here are the ducks in the canal last weekend: 

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