mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
My husband and I have an apparent attraction for quirky doomed personality cult hotels. Back in 2008 we spent one night in a quasi-romantic getaway that doubled as urban exploration at the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron Maryland, a picturesque rambling mock-Tudor on the St. Clair River where a portrait of ol' Thomas Alva looked sternly upon you in every bedroom. I spent a second night there for union business in 2011 and noticed how tatty the place had gotten in just a few (hard) seasons. The carpets in the meeting rooms were worn, the landscaping was bleak, but the food was still good and the Ivy Room was the kind of dark comforting place you can't come by easily these days. By mid-2012 it was closed and all the lovely leather furniture and Edison memorabilia were carted away to auction. It's a Doubletree now, considerably shorter on charm but I hear the raccoon invasions have stopped.

Well, we had to go down to Memphis again last weekend for my dad's memorial service, and while looking up hotels I learned that Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel right at Graceland would be closing this autumn, so of course we had to stay there. 

(It's being replaced with some luxe new joint called The Guest House at Graceland, which is just stupid. Why would you have an Elvis-themed anything and not call it Heartbreak Hotel? The current hotel is even on Lonely Street FFS.)

Heartbreak Hotel turned out to be a pretty OK place. The lobby and the Jungle Room bar were cute and some of the light fixtures were so amazing I was sorry to hear (from the bartender) that they, too, would be sent off as lots at an auction along with, one presumes, the portraits of EP that adorned the wall above our bed. The hotel itself looks Brutalist from the outside, but it was built in the late 1980s and the guest rooms do show it. Nothing was exactly wrong with our room, but it was dated, and I presume it was more financially feasible to just start over.

Still, we had a good kitsch-filled time. There are rainbowed fragments of mirror above the bar and Thomas Kinkade portraits of Graceland in the first-floor hallway. The fitness center was named Kid Galahad for a movie I'm pretty sure no one remembers. It all felt strangely right. 
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
How to make Rose Hip Soup:

1) Go to Chicago

2) Buy a bag of dried rosehips from a Slavic market in Ukrainian Village because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

3) Keep them in the breadbox for two years while your spouse is increasingly annoyed with you

4) Look up about ten different recipes for rose hip soup and finally settle on one that makes it clear it's a summer dish

5) Soak rosehips overnight in 8 cups water

6) Boil for 30 minutes the following day

7) Strain cooled juice into bowl.

8) Attempt to press the cooked fruits in a ricer. Give up on that and break out the food mill inherited from Ukrainian Grandma. Enlist the spouse for extra muscle.

9) Reserve the resulting dollop of fruit-pulp paste. Dump the seed-ridden contents of the food mill back in the juice and cook it again.

10) Strain the seeds and junk out of the juice a second time. Put the seeds in the discarded ricer and wring every last drop of juice out of them. Throw seed mixture OUT.

11) Mix the fruit-pulp paste back into the twice-cooked juice.

12) Add sugar because it's sour as FUCK

13) Add a tablespoon of cornstarch because it's still not thick enough to pass as "soup" after all the work you put into it. Simmer for fifteen minutes or until you say "God dammit I'm hungry."

14) Serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt, slivered almonds, and maybe some crackers topped with Gjetost cheese or almond cookies or... whatever, really.

15) Enjoy the soup because you @#$%ing earned it.

Sisyphus

Feb. 20th, 2016 09:41 am
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Dreams are weird. My mom and her side of the family have a lot of ideas about the significance of dreams which I don't really share, but of late my dream-self seems really disgusted with my waking self.

Last night I dreamed I was cleaning my old room in my parents' house and found a box containing replicas of the UK Coronation Regalia. I have a 1/12th scale set for my dolls that my grandmother bought me in '91 but this was much larger, to the point where I could try it on. I grappled with the plastic band of the fake St. Edward's Crown, shoved it on my head and went in the living room.

There, I said to my husband, "You'll appreciate this. The core of this is supposed to be the crown of King Sisyphus and I feel like Sisyphus whenever I'm at work."

Trufax: My husband had Deep Thoughts about the myth of Sisyphus when we were in uni, the core of St. Edward's crown is thought to be very old but has no connections to Greek myth, and I do indeed feel like I'm forever rolling a stone uphill at work most of the time these days.

But yeah, in between that and the dream on Valentine's Day wherein I tracked down the guy who broke my heart in uni, Dream Mark is getting a wee bit... salty.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I was browsing the e-edition of the Detroit Free Press today and caught a blurb about a massive warehouse fire in Highland Park. I had a bad feeling about it; Highland Park and the area of Detroit adjacent to it is home to storied if ruined industrial sites like the actual Ford Model T plant. About ten years ago, a five-alarm warehouse fire in Detroit destroyed the old Studebaker factory. Another fire a few years later claimed a paint shop that just happened to have an amateur museum of Detroit artifacts going back for decades.

Well, this time around the warehouse that burned is still burning was an especially bitter loss, as it was the new headquarters/showroom of Reclaim Detroit, an organization that salvages rare wood, beautiful glass, and other irreplaceable treasures from blighted or demolished homes. But for Reclaim Detroit, these artifacts would've either been lost to arson or to a landfill

But, luck being what it is in Detroit and its toy-towns, all the carefully salvaged wood and glass and metal went up in a blaze anyway. A total loss.

Sigh.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
When I was a small child, about three or four, there was a knife shop at the mall. Called Cutlery World, it was on the outskirts of the food court by the Orange Julius and burrito stand that served dry shredded beef that my kiddy taste buds couldn't stand. Cutlery World had as the centerpiece of its display case a giant automated Swiss Army knife that folded its dazzling array of tools in and out in a slow mechanical sweep. I was mesmerized by it. I would stand at the case and watch as knife blades and scissors and tools I didn't know the name for passed behind the glass.

(I saw one of these in a junk shop that was going out of business in NYC last year and was sorry I couldn't buy the damn thing.)

Anyway, I think that marks the beginning of a certain weird affinity I have for rhythmic mechanical stuff.

Read more... )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

Looks like that's what everyone else is doing today...

 

 

Meme meme meme )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Of all the things that irk me about tumblr I think I hate the glib little Communists the most.

Like yeah, the anti-Semites and the 'hatred is okay if you're punching up' people are worse but god damn am I annoyed by the Communists.

PS: some of the punching up people are the anti-Semites which tells me what I need to know about the validity of 'punching up.'

Soup

Dec. 15th, 2015 07:54 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I love fall.

I didn't really get to enjoy it this year what with bouncing around the country like a Ping-Pong ball and when I was living out of a hotel room for 50% of October and November I didn't get to enjoy home-cooked fall foods, either. No persimmon pudding or sweet potato pie, no chestnut stuffing or pomegranate cream.

Well, I guess since fall hasn't taken its leave yet, I'm making up for it. Last night I shelled a pound of fresh Italian chestnuts and cooked them up with a mess of brussels sprouts, then threw a prize of a small Blue Hubbard squash into the oven so I could make my own squashy sauce to dress gnocchi tonight.

The kitchen's a mess, my ricer will be hell to clean thanks to squash pulp, and I have fragments of chestnut shell under my fingernails but I feel a hell of a lot better for doing all that.

Oh yeah and it was pretty tasty too. Washed it down with a chocolate porter milkshake, even. Hey, we had old beer and older ice cream to use up.

Ghost Town

Nov. 25th, 2015 11:51 am
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I'm on the sixteenth floor of a glass cylinder by the side of I-240.  It was the Hyatt when I moved to Memphis, and then the Omni, and then the Adam's Mark, and then by the time I had the money to stay here it was a Hilton. They're finally putting some money into refurbishing the place and have broken down and permitted free wi-fi, which is nice.  The view from the 16th floor is mostly treetops in a mix of green and rusty brown, punctuated by the spire of a church where I briefly took Latin lessons as a child and the nearby landmarks of Clark Tower and what used to be the UP Bank. Memphis, the city, is lost in the trees, which my husband claims is what Mitt Romney meant when he talked about the trees all being "the right height" in Michigan.  Two miles down the freeway is the large hospital complex where my father died, and then a patch of strip malls I used to frequent, and then Covington Pike with its auto dealerships and fast food restaurants, and then finally the exit to the desolate stretch of Raleigh where my parents unwisely bought a house in 1989, not knowing that the neighborhood was going to implode around them.

I can see none of these things from the sixteenth floor. The only landmark indicating Raleigh is the cluster of WMC radio towers, which I used to call the "Dinstuhl's Formation" because from my vantage point it was located just past the candy factory.  The candy factory is still there; I bought a packet of my father's favorite Cashew Crunch there last month in hopes he'd recover enough to enjoy it.  Since he didn't, we ate it. I bought another packet yesterday to be incinerated with him.

We took a ride yesterday to see that giant spiderweb at the north end of town, the one that made international news. We found the location, a vacant field in a neighborhood which resembled the place we used to live in Detroit (not a compliment), but didn't see the web. People probably already tore it up. 

This is a strange city, sprawling and low-density.  It has the population of Detroit in an area much larger than Detroit, which itself was designed to suit five times the current population.  Memphis got to its size by gobbling up "toy towns" and unincorporated land in a way cities can't legally do in the Midwest.  Driving along the north stretch of I-240 it feels like there's nothing there at all. What's off Warford Road? Dunno, never went there. No reason to go there.

Driving here is disorienting; I've always had problems with cardinal directions in Memphis, with its curious east-west alignment.  The river flows south and the money flows east.  My husband, a quick study in places as foreign as Vienna and Inverness, needs step-by-step guidance every place we drive, and he'd been visiting since 2001. No, you don't want Little Rock, you want Nashville.  No, not THAT Nashville, keep going toward Jackson (Mississippi). You never want to head to Jackson, until you do.

It's a bad dream populated by every terrible driver that haunted Detroit in the mid-aughts.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Dunno why I come here every day to see the feed now that it's alive again and don't post.  Oh well.  Life keeps happening.

My story about Jugdral!Arthur being bad is back in business and over at AO3 now.  Chapter Four went up this week.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Is it just my browser settings or does the new Serenes Forest gallery of Hundred Songs of Heroes cards mostly consist of crotch shots?

o_0

Feels dirty browsing it, I'll tell you.

(BTW said crotch shots hammer home the disparity in the way FE chicks have been sexed up compared to the dudes)
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Since tumblr sux for archiving things, I made a little series of posts on tumblr regarding what I call the "baby cavaliers" and I may as well link to it here.

For reference, these are the babby cavaliers:

Roshea
Finn 
Calion
Lowen
Franz 
Amelia

With bonus essays on Geoffrey and possibly Noah (not yet posted).

FE13 has no babby cavalier because it's defective and I want my money back.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Uh, yeah.

So I finally finished "Starchild." Since it had its own tag here on DW I figure I'd better mention that it's done even though I suspect anyone who did care stopped caring three years ago.

Basically, I kept waffling on the ending.

Ending spoilers. )

 
Original character endings for the pilots )




mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, this was a Western AU that I really wanted to write but I wasn't sure where to develop it. It wasn't just a Western AU, as it had a touch of what I like to call "arc-light punk" and then got into stuff like heavier-than-air flight and the obsolescence of old sabers-n-cavalry warfare. But straight-up retellings of game plot, even in an alternate setting, just don't hold my attention and so it's been sitting untouched since before my laptop crashed in March.

I guess it'll go here, for now, just to prove it existed.

Public Enemies

 

I do not own Fire Emblem or any of its characters.

 

Gen2 Wild West AU with a twist... )

Eh

Sep. 30th, 2014 11:50 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
September happened.

Fitting that I'm closing it out by archiving J!fandom fluff on the Wayback Machine while ignoring my cat.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Drummond Island is the kind of place where you check into your hotel after 8 PM and find they've left the key in the door for you, and when you go to check out there's a note on the door saying they ran to the store and will be back in a few.  The ferry to it is equally low-stress: show up at the scheduled time, drive on, drive off.  No reservations required or even possible.

Also it is one of the few places on earth containing alvar plain geological formations.  I've seen one of the other alvars, on Manitoulin a few years back, but this one's allegedly better-preserved.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Yeah, so there hasn't been 'Net access reliably since Owen Sound.  We've gotten to St. Joseph's Island.

[Placeholder for later]
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Let's see.

Today we hit a remote beach along Lake Huron, gorged on Scottish baked goods (including steak and kidney pie) in the town of Grand Bend, and hit Goderich.  The latter claims to be "the prettiest town in Canada"-- not Ontario, all CANADA, which seems a pretty steep height to scale!  It most certainly is pretty despite the ravages of a tornado three years ago, and it's nestled alongside the beautiful Maitland River, but still...

Then we covered a lot of farmland marked by what looked like floating puffs of smoke but were actually undulating swarms of winged insects. These led us to the adorable city of Port Owen, where we had an interesting experience at an Indian joint with a very chatty host, failed to get a bottle of wine for our anniversary night, and enjoyed an actual bloody Jacuzzi suite at the Best Western.

On to Tobermory.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Got as far as Sarnia.  Which is right across the border.  This is not very ambitious when one is embarking on an eight-day trip around a very large lake but the better part of my day was spent on a wonderful tour of Detroit's old movie palaces, including the one that got turned into a jaw-dropping parking garage.

Oh, yes.  Sarnia.  If you've ever been through scenic places like Michigan City, Indiana then Sarnia is like that but more so.  It's nickname is Chemical Valley.  It blazes with golden light in a way that's sinister and entrancing, like a dream city from a silent film gone wrong.  One time as we were driving past one of the refineries was venting and it looked like the whole complex was on fire.  Nice place to start a holiday!
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Since no one asked for a TMNT reboot but we got one anyway, I wanted to share a little story about being a young Turtles fan.

I watched the "classic" series with my Dad and we both loved it, and so I didn't have any problem getting my hands on the spin-off paperback books.  These were slim little volumes with primary-colored covers and a few illustrations.  Kiddie stuff, right?

WRONG.

I was quite scandalized when I came across Donatello uttering "damn" in the one about diving for the lost civilization of Atlantis.  Remember, this was the Clinton era and bad words were still, you know, BAD.  But the books were just overall very weird.  The Atlantis one started off by mentioning that the research ship was at the latitude of Madeira, like that meant anything to most 'Merican kiddies.  The mystery artifact, a cannon, got ID'd by its caliber size and was determined to be wreckage from a WWII battleship-- the Bismarck itself, if memory serves.  And Donatello used cuss words.  These were serious little mystery/adventure books, except instead of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys you got April O'Neill and mutant turtles.  And I don't think the contemporary run of Nancy Drew books was as concrete in its details as the Madeira-and-Bismarck stuff.

I have no idea what the target audience even was for those books.

Then again I have no idea what the target audience is for the new movie.

Gimme a break.

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