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05/19/08 12:25 - 45ºF - ID#44392

jackdaw

Z and I have a bird feeder. I just blogged this in detail over on my Livejournal, but there's a local aspect I figured I'd share over here. Besides my smugness at my own innate knowledge of birds enabling me to successfully identify a Common Grackle on first guess (once I'd gotten a good look and verified it wasn't a starling or a crow or a blackbird). Because it made me remember a passage I'd read in a book review.

There's a rumor going around, and I think my source was a student of Z's mother's, who is the son of the band's drummer, that Jackdaw is either breaking up or going on hiatus or in some way just not being Jackdaw.

So I thought I'd repost this excerpt from a book called Wildwood
that made me cry when I first read it in a book review on Bookslut. "If it doesn't break your heart, you don't have one my dear."


"Lorenz observed that jackdaws form lifelong attachments, as rooks seem to do, and that there is a distinct, well-understood pecking order within the tribe to which all the members adhere without question. Lorenz gradually learnt the Jackdaw vocabulary: 'Zick, Zick' is uttered by the courting male to mean 'Let's nest together' and, once in possession of an actual mate and nest, 'Keep out.' Any act of social delinquency is immediately censured by the other tribe members with a variation of this call, expressed by Lorenz as 'Yip, Yip.' Most interesting of all is Lorenz's discovery of the subtle distinction between 'Kia' and 'Kiaw.' The first is the cry uttered in flight by the dominant jackdaws to urge the whole flock outward to new feeding grounds. The second is to urge them home. Thus, 'Kiaw' plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the flock when one meets another.

Most birds seem to keep their song quite separate from their language. The staccato alarm cry of a wren or blackbird is quite distinct from its sweet song. Jackdaws, however, incorporate their words into their songs to create, as Lorenz puts it, something more like a ballad, in which they can re-create past adventures or directly express emotions. Not only this, but the singer accompanies the different cries with the corresponding gestures, quivering or threatening like the lustiest performer passionately enacting a song. In a way, the jackdaw is mimicking itself, as a solitary jackdaw kept in a cage will come to mimic human speech, but it may also, Lorenz thinks, be expressing emotion. When a marten broke into the roosting aviary at Altenberg and killed all but one of his jackdaw flock, the lone survivor sat all day on the weathervane and sang. The dominant theme of her song, repeated over and over, was 'Kiaw,' 'Come back, oh, come back.' It was a song of heartbreak."
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Permalink: jackdaw.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


05/07/08 06:52 - 63ºF - ID#44265

wheeee

Related to my earlier post about becoming a Buffalonian, it just finally clicked and I realized why the Livejournal community Buffalo Dorks is so successful. Other cities have communities like it, and they're always dead, or just spam (come to my show! new store opening! with no replies or comments or anything); newcomers to Buffalo and the Dorks community are always astonished.
But it's just more of the same: the natural Buffalonian tendency to use people to get information, the tendency to want everything to come from other humans.
I like it a lot. If I want a haircut, instead of just going to the closest place, I ask on there. (Actually, I go to Style Lab and ask for Cha-Cha because she skates with me and is awesome-- but same deal.) If I need a doctor, I ask if anyone knows a good one. If I have a garage sale, I post about it on there. If I need to find a sofa, I post and ask if anybody's got one going spare.

Today I drove to Cheektowaga and got twenty free strawberry plants from a fellow Buffalo Dorks member, because she posted on there to offer them to good homes. This is a pretty good deal, as strawberry plants are like three dollars each at the garden center, so I'd never be able to afford twenty. They'll spread, too, so I may have some to give away next year. (Meanwhile, if anybody wants strawberry plants, let me know; she said she still may not be able to find homes for all of them. She had a *lot*. They're June-bearing but I don't know the specific variety.)

It's not just that Buffalonians want to get information from other people-- if it was just wanting, it would still be not a very good community. But it seems we love to give information, too. And even if we don't know an answer, we often will post to point to someone who will. I just told someone who was asking if anyone knew any mountain dulcimer players who gave lessons that they should go to the Irish session at Nietszche's on Saturdays, because even if none of those musicians knew that instrument, they would certainly know someone who did.

Anyhow. More Buffalo-related navel-gazing.

Hm, maybe this summer I can get the house and yard squared away nicely enough that I could host my own (e:strip) party. That would be fun.

And OH!

I saw (e:mike) and (e:jill) at Allentown on Saturday morning! (At least I'm pretty sure it was you two! I kind of couldn't actually see...) You guys walked past while I was in the yoga cool-down part of the Mia Mauler Workout. If we hadn't been all twisted up like pretzels, and I hadn't been on the completely opposite side of the room, I totally would've yelled something to you, but it seemed, well, not only inappropriate but actually impossible.
So anyway.
Come at 11:30 next week and do the whole class. It starts off with like an hour of cardio kickboxing but after the initial shock wears off, you totally swear that you could kick someone's ass. Lately I almost want someone to try to start some shit with me so that I can fucking take him out. That would be great.
After the kickboxing portion (and lest you think "kickboxing" means "Billy Blanks Tae-Bo Bullshit", Ms. Mauler was the 2003 champion of her weight class in real actual kickboxing, with three victories by knockout in that season. There's kind of a reason we're called the Knockouts. But I digress), it switches over to weight-lifting-- squats and chest work with usually some triceps thrown in. Then after that, she does a couple of ab sets, which are usually murder. Then after that is finally the yoga.
It's a class with everything in it. It is fiendishly hard, but not actually all that difficult; it is usually something that most fitness levels can adapt to and do fairly well at, but you can challenge yourself every week.
And she is *such* an engaging leader, always charming and entertaining and just a tiny bit scary.

So really, all y'alls who signed up for Allentown should come this Saturday. I'll be there. Mia will be there. What more do you need?
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Permalink: wheeee.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


05/05/08 12:42 - 42ºF - ID#44237

going native

So I have this theoretical situation brewing in the back of my mind about a hypothetical scenario in which I might have the need to create an ambiance of fog around an area, through which perhaps an actor will move.
(I'm being circumlocutious because that's really funny when you're as hammered as I am. And I am absolutely sure that the word circumlocuitous or circumlocutious is a word, and I refuse to look it up, but I wish I was sure of the placement of that final I. Spellcheck is unsurprisingly unhelpful.)

Anyway. The venue wherein I was considering this creation of artificial fog has a fog machine, but its use has been banned due to a particular colleague's severe allergy to the stuff.
So I thought perhaps dry ice would suffice.
I asked (e:zobar) and he shrugged; he studied chemistry, but not very intensely, so he knows very little about the theatrical applications of dry ice. Unsurprising.

"Hm," I said. "Who do I know who would know?"
I mentally ran through all my friends, relatives, and acquaintances before I realized that this is it. I've finally gone native. I'm finally thinking like a Buffalonian.

In my native culture, my reaction above would have been, "Where can I look that up?"

But in Buffalo, you don't look stuff like that up, you ask your friends and find somebody who knows about it.

Because everybody in Buffalo knows everybody else, and an expert is usually only one or two degrees of separation away. Knowledge and social obligation go more or less hand-in-hand; networks of favors and those indefinable interpersonal connections that you have to nurture; moms' anniversaries and kids' birthdays and the kinds of parties where you stand around in the attached garage fishing cans of beer out of big plastic ice buckets. You've got a problem, somebody related by blood or marriage, or possibly who you went to school with, either is a guy, or knows a guy, who owns a business that deals with that, or that studied it in school, or that knows the guy who wrote the law about it. It's all in the family, somehow.

I admit this is a more entertaining and satisfying system than just looking shit up. And it's been remarkably effective in a lot of things-- I never look online for custom t-shirts now that I skate on a team with a woman who owns a silkscreening facility.

Anyhow, I just thought I'd share my cultural observation here.

Incidentally after last night's roller derby bout, the Knockouts and Saucies are facing a winner-takes-all situation for the league championship at the next bout. May 31st. I'm serious, it will be really exciting.
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Permalink: going_native.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


05/03/08 09:09 - 62ºF - ID#44223

allentown?

Oh hey, I heard a bunch of you were joining Allentown as a group?
And going to Mia's fitness class?

If you are, I'll see you there this morning.

This morning, we will be working on snap-kicks.
Do you know what that is?
Me neither.
Frankly, I'm terrified. :D
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Permalink: allentown_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


05/03/08 08:59 - 62ºF - ID#44222

what rubbish is he filling your head wit

I never know what (e:zobar) is telling you about me.

I have one photo to share, though it's posted elsewhere, of the lesbian shotgun wedding.


It was lovely.
I will post the rest of my London photos at some point. Most of them are of Z making stupid faces over weird food.

I am here to do the obligatory pimpage of roller derby. There's a bout tonight. 7 pm, Rainbow Rink, 101 Oliver St. in North Tonawanda.
But what's really amusing is that my team isn't skating, we're hosting it, and we've decided to do so in costume.
The bout theme is "Hell on Wheels", and various of the girls are bringing all their biker friends.
So we're dressing like biker chicks.

If you've ever wanted to see me in a pleather miniskirt, tonight's the night.


Unrelated: Chita is on the shelf by the picture window in the living room, stalking the birds outside. She just crawled slightly backward to see them better, and... fell off the shelf. It was pretty funny.
She's pretending she meant to do that, of course.
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Permalink: what_rubbish_is_he_filling_your_head_wit.html
Words: 186
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/19/08 10:41 - 71ºF - ID#44059

official

It's official, we are seriously actually going to go to the UK in three days to attend a lesbian shotgun wedding.
I am terribly excited.
There are apparently no consequences for doing it all at the last minute.
If I'd known that I wouldn't have spent the last five months worrying constantly about it.

Eh it'll be awesome. I have a good feeling about it all.

I'm totally going to find the weirdest shit I possibly can and feed it to (e:zobar) and be all, "This is normal! Don't ruin my cultural experience!"
It will be brilliant.

Z has spent today angrily calling things "rubbish" and "shite". He claims to be warming up.

I have bought my ex-girlfriend a baby t-shirt that says "I Love The USA" on it in sequins. (Really a baby shirt, for her baby. I'm not getting her anything for her wedding, because I just dropped three grand on getting there and finding somewhere to sleep.)
I also bought her Richard Scarry books that will teach her child American words (like "truck") and THE WRONG SPELLING of things. I am trying to warp him already.
MUA HA HA.

However, Lowly Worm did not appear in either book. I thought he was a consistent recurring character. What the hell book is Lowly Worm in??? Someone help me out here.
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Permalink: official.html
Words: 223
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/10/08 11:37 - 46ºF - ID#43979

ribs, tits, booty, etc.: state of me

I cracked a rib with my tit.
Yes I did.

We were scrimmaging. I was trying to block the opposing jammer. She got past me, and then got taken out. So she went down sprawling, and I was behind her with no time to avoid her. I went partway over her, and my pelvis landed on her head. And me? WHAMMO, right on my tits.
I got up and kept going, and made it back to the pack right behind her, but I wasn't much good for anything.
I think I cracked a rib. Landed flat on my chest, and you'd think my boobs would squash pretty much infinitely and absorb the shock, but no. My rib is fucking killing me.

I then skated in a bout (I hurt it last week and then our bout was Saturday night) and discovered, rather the hard way, that taking really hard hits to the shoulder on that side was exquisitely painful. It was really really unpleasant.

It keeps almost being better, but it's not quite. It's bothering me again today. I've got to keep my torso, shoulder, and arm immobile for a couple of days so it stops hurting, but just you try doing that in your daily life. It's no good.

Anyway, I just had to share my latest injury. I totally cracked my rib with my boob.

But, on the plus side, unrelatedly, I own a pair of mesh ruffle panties in zebra stripe. They're very fifties. I love them. I did not buy them to wear as underwear, but as outerwear, in true derby fashion. I wore them tonight over opaque black tights and under a black pleated miniskirt.

I have fashion sense, all right, but it's the fashion sense of a girl half my age and half my size. But you know what? Fuck it!

Actually I recently discovered the world's most awesome thing: The Campaign for Real Booty.
Ha! I'm so sending in a picture.


Here's a bonus picture for y'all. This is how long my hair is. It needs a trim. Also, that is the dress I plan to wear to my friend's wedding. I bought it from pinupgirlclothing.com and love it. It's not like anything I've ever had, and it's stretchy enough that it fits right. Yay! It kind of shows off my booty, which is exciting: I have never before had a booty. But for some reason, the ten pounds or so I gained over the summer has now settled firmly in my hips and ass, which is really kind of exciting.
I had fans at Saturday night's bout! People I didn't know! Some fortysomething lesbians who very shyly asked for a picture of my butt! It was very cute. I blew them a kiss during my intro skate.

Hm, the image uploading thing doesn't seem to be working. Well, here's one that's a smaller filesize, maybe that'll work better. It's not the same picture but you get the same idea.

image
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Permalink: ribs_tits_booty_etc_state_of_me.html
Words: 512
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/04/08 11:15 - 41ºF - ID#43893

oh roller derby

I should probably mention on here that there's roller derby tomorrow night. I'll be skating, it's my big comeback after losing nearly two months to my fucked-up knees (and the flu). I'm out of shape but more strategic, or that's what I'm telling myself.

If you only make it to one this season, this is probably the one to hit.

Tomorrow (Saturday April 5th) night, doors at 7 (show up ~6:45 to get your ticket). Rainbow Rink, 101 Oliver St. North Tonawanda, just off the Twin City Highway.

Nickel City Knockouts vs. Devil Dollies

It's going to be fast, hard-hitting, and dirty-- the Dollies are winless this season, and hungry, and have several key players injured, so they will be scrapping, while the Knockouts have a reputation for dirty play that may or may not be warranted.
We will find out how warranted it is, because we have visiting refs from NYC's veteran roller derby league, the Gotham Girls, assisting our officials. They're a Division I WFTDA team, currently ranked 5th in the nation, which they're eager to improve-- they've never faced three of the top four teams.
(Didn't know roller derby had national rankings? Oh yes, it does, and they're more hotly contested every year. ) Anyway, they're Big Noise in the derby world, and awesome to boot.
We'll also have some visitors from the Albany roller derby team, who are now my homies-- six of them are making the trek. This is Albany's first bouting season, and we badly want to scrimmage them but don't know when we'll have time.

It's also not going to be quite as crowded, I don't think-- previous bouts this season have been standing room only, crowded as hell, but presale figures are lower this time-- maybe it's hockey burnout, and nobody wants to see a sport? Maybe six months is too long to have a continuous sustained interest in an amateur sport? Whatever it is, there's a good chance you'll actually be able to get a beer at this bout, and maybe even sit down, and most definitely take a piss without waiting 45 minutes in line-- the rink has added restroom facilities just for us, and bleachers.

So if you've been meaning to come catch a bout, this is probably the one to see.
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Permalink: oh_roller_derby.html
Words: 384
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/04/08 09:50 - 40ºF - ID#43892

mead

I have just successfully brewed mead. This is something I've kind of always wanted to do. In college one of my roommates was a biochemistry major who worked in a lab on a project to determine the precise locations of proteins on the cell walls of yeast. He decided somewhere during this that he just couldn't get enough of yeast cultures, so he began brewing mead in our kitchen.
He started off using bread yeast, and did some recipe that involved a long fermentation. Then he got busy, so he left it kind of too long. By the time he siphoned the yeast out into a plastic pitcher (we were all class, people), it was... Well, he gave me a glass of it, and I took a sip, and made a face. It was strong, somewhat sour, a bit pungent, rather horrible.
But he'd spent a long time on it. So I smiled, and waited until he looked the other way, and then held my nose and drank the whole thing down.

A little while later, noticing my glass was empty, he happily poured me more.
I waited a bit, and did the same thing again.

Then I fell over and lay on the floor for about twelve hours while the carpet talked to me and fairies buzzed around my head.

We'll just say it wasn't the most mellow drunk I've ever had.

But I remain convinced that mead is great, and I've had some I bought in liquor stores that was OK, but expensive. You can get it at premier for $15 a wine bottle. And it's good, but it's not as good as $15 wine. (I normally buy wine that's between $5-10 a bottle, with the $15-20 range being saved for either proven favorites from vineyards I know, or something personally recommended by a friend. Hey. I am all class, people. Also I've been working really hard to NOT develop expensive tastes, with limited success. [Sadly I can't drink Johnny Red but must drink Johnny Black. I refuse to try any of the higher grades for fear I'll like them still better. Bastards.])

So I made a "quick mead" recipe I found on the Internet. Side note: did you know we have an excellent home brewing supply store right in Kenmore? Yes! Niagara Tradition, on Sheridan just past Military. Friendly staff, decent stock, very knowledgeable and helpful, and a good selection. So there's my plug.

Here is my recipe, and in true Livejournal fashion, about fifteen pages of mumbling:

I invested about $20 into this venture, buying sanitizer, plastic tubing, four fermentation locks, yeast, honey, and ginger. (The last two I got at Wegman's. If anyone knows any good farmer's markets or whatevers that'll sell you unprocessed honey, I want to try that next. The Coop maybe?)
As primary fermenting containers, I didn't purpose-buy anything-- I'm just using the big glass growlers you can buy beer in at Premier. They have like a two-dollar deposit, but the same bottle costs four dollars at Niagara Tradition, so I think I'm doing good. And if I want more, well then I'll just have to drink more fancy beer, which is a terrible fate only not at all terrible. (The fermentation locks and rubber stoppers to fit them (size 6.5) are about $1.50/$2 each and are infinitely reusable.)

My first batch is a success: light, slightly sweet, slightly fizzy, tasting of honey and ginger and a little bit of yeast. I don't know if it's called "quick mead" because it is only supposed to take four days (I took a week because I had it in too cold a room at first), or because it is sparkling, but it's good. Weak, and probably mostly non-alcoholic, but quite good. (Fermenting it longer might get rid of the yeasty taste, but it would also make it less sweet. I think I like it as it is.)

I have a second batch going but it's something more complex, requiring 18 days fermentation, then another 2 weeks secondary fermentation in the bottle.
I think I need to buy a bottle capper. But on the bright side, the fact that I haven't taken back my deposit bottles means I am well-stocked in glass bottles. Five cents apiece ain't bad for these suckers. I should take the cans back, though.
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Permalink: mead.html
Words: 722
Location: Buffalo, NY


03/28/08 12:09 - 33ºF - ID#43810

lesbian shotgun wedding

ok 2 things in this post.
Yes we are attending a lesbian shotgun wedding.
It's not... exactly... a shotgun wedding. It's a civil partnership ceremony. (You can't call them weddings!! Weddings are for heterosexuals. But at least there are civil partnerships now.) And it was scheduled before my friend got knocked up. But she will be quite obviously pregnant for the ceremony.
See, they scheduled the ceremony, and said, "Once we're legal partners, we'll have a child!" And that was good. But you know, the human body is not a machine. So my friend figured, what the hell, let's start trying now. They've had this reciprocal agreement worked out for ages with a m/m couple down the street, that one of them would donate the, you know, necessary, when it came time. So my friend figured she'd start making the attempt now, and since it usually takes six months to a year to be successful, she'd most likely get pregnant shortly after the ceremony, or perhaps just before, which would also be nice.
Anyway...
Yeah, it worked the first time. So she'll be nearly ready to pop by the end of April. And so it's going to look like a shotgun wedding. As long as they're married before the baby's born, it's all legal, and I think they'll both be allowed to put their names on the birth certificate, which is the important part.


I stayed in a hostel in London (with said friend, actually! Ten years ago now) and it wasn't bad at all, but (e:zobar) is young and not wise in the ways of the world. It is fine and I really doubt anyone will molest his butt. Not with me there to protect him.
But the exchange rate... oh my GOD, I may have to sell my body to pay for booze. Because everything's, like, Manhattan prices there-- what costs you a fiver here costs you a fiver there, and beer is like, seven-- except it's POUNDS not DOLLARS and a pound is TWO DOLLARS NOW! *faints*
It was $1.67 when I was there. It was a long time ago. It was painful even then. Yikes.

Anyhow.
The second thing:
Chita!!
Napping with me:
image
Yes she's licking Z's beard in the photo below. He calls her his "assistant" now that he's working from home, and she sits on his lap and licks herself and sometimes him, and headbutts him while he's on conference calls. It's cute.

Missing Image ;(


Missing Image ;(



Aw I guess I can't get those to work-- they're really big files but I figured it could resize them. Bummer.
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Permalink: lesbian_shotgun_wedding.html
Words: 436
Location: Buffalo, NY


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