Aug. 9th, 2013 10:16 pm
castalia: (Miranda by seamusfinnegan on tumblr)
Have car back, yay! Have less money now, boo.

I have mainlined almost all of Welcome to Night Vale since yesterday and am really enjoying it. Cecil/Carlos = ♥ I really hope it's nominated for Yuletide this year.

A lot of my fannishness is based on the radio these days, tbh. Cabin Pressure, of course, which led to John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme (so much love), The Unbelievable Truth, etc. I wish we did more radio comedy in this country.

I do need some new shows, so I'll be checking out Agents of SHIELD and the new Sleepy Hollow series this fall. I may be done with Dr Who until Moffat goes away, so until Warehouse 13 comes back for its final season I won't really have much sci-fi to watch. I've been busy instead with period shows like Bomb Girls and Call the Midwife instead, and trying to watch everything Miranda Hart has been in. And of course there was Broadchurch, and I'm currently still watching The Almighty Johnsons. I've been really remiss about posting about things, possibly due to Tumblr but then I was never very good at keeping up with posts anyway. Oh well.

DragonCon is sneaking up on me this year and I am so not prepared yet. Two weeks to go!
castalia: (Cabin Pressurs - shifting otters by reds)
Connecting flight was late, then we got sent back to the gate because a fuel pump failed. Waiting now while they fix it. Was supposed to have landed by now.

Hoping to get to Durham sometime before dinner.

*wastes time on Tumblr some more*

New couch!

Feb. 3rd, 2013 03:10 pm
castalia: (Hobbit - Bofur :D by eowyn)
Okay, so I went a bought a new couch. After not finding anything in the big box stores, and way too expensive options in the local design stores, I found a company in North Carolina still making furniture here in the US for surprisingly affordable prices. They had a similar design to the crazy expensive one I liked at the local place, but for less than half the cost, and they had a Black Friday sale that let me upgrade to the fabric I wanted at no extra charge. So, I took the plunge and ordered a custom-made sofa.

It's taken a while, and I was biting my nails a lot during the wait b/c of the whole "oh shit, did I really buy that?" thing (I almost never buy anything brand new when it comes to furnishings), but it was just delivered on Friday and I think I love it. It's comfortable, low to the ground so my feet can touch the floor when I sit on it, and the color is exactly what I wanted and looks FAB with the red accents I already have in the room. The plan is to slowly create a funky steampunk vibe in my living room but with some modern accents as well to keep it from getting too crazy.

Pics behind the cut to spare your flist breaking... )

I'm very close to finishing my chair in upholstery class (post on that to come soon), so I may for once have a nice room with places for people to sit if they come over. Might be a good excuse to actually start inviting people over for a change.

More art.

Nov. 19th, 2012 02:07 pm
castalia: (Default)
I sold a few things and ended up with money in my Paypal account, so I ended up buying more art off Etsy. It's a sickness, it really is, but having fun art on my walls makes me smile so much (my little retro rocketships I got at con this year are right above my computer desk and they cheer me up every time I glance up at them).

This one's for the kitchen:

And I haven't decided where this one will go yet. Maybe the living room.

I seem to be on a tea theme this time 'round, but that makes me happy as well. My do-over birthday with [livejournal.com profile] seachanges was yesterday, with fun at the local medieval faire and then comfort food at Panera, plus Blackadder the Third. It was nice to have a mostly lazy day after the 16 hour stress-fest that was Saturday - I slept about 10 hours after that and feel much better now. Hopefully this week at work will be better, and at least it's a short one thanks to the holiday.


Nov. 8th, 2012 09:50 pm
castalia: (Cuttlefish - Invisible)
I have had a shitty day and have therefore committed cake. However, I feel justified because:

1. Stress. Very little went right today, the wrong things including dead battery on the generator at work, traffic that delayed us getting to our event site, and annoying people once we got there.

2. The cake is made with olive oil and is probably about as healthy as you can get with cake. Or at least, this is how I'm justifying it to myself.

It's an extremely, extremely simple French Yogurt Cake, which has become my new favorite cake. It comes out with the most perfect crisp outside, fluffy moist center, and a really interesting and lovely flavor thanks to the yogurt and olive oil. I adore it. It goes well with fresh strawberries and cream or fruit sorbets (especially mango), but TBH I like it best just plain.

I've been baking a lot of cakes from scratch lately (and mostly taking them to work to get feedback on them so I can have an arsenal of desserts for the upcoming holidays), but this is definitely my favorite.

I wish I had better coping mechanisms for bad days than baked goods, but oh well. Caaaaaaaaaaaaake.

I really need a food icon...
castalia: (Cabin Pressurs - shifting otters by reds)
Since getting my raise and having things settle down a bit at work to the point where I think I might be able to deal with staying here for a while (until something else in the organization comes open or a better thing comes along, anyway), I've been, well, nesting, I guess. I like my apartment, if not the location, so I've been trying to make it look and feel more put-together.

The last hold-out of "cheap, college-dorm-esque" furniture is my futon. It's sturdy, serviceable, not actually that uncomfortable for people to sleep on, and it stands out like a sore thumb. I'm starting to hate it. I'm ready for a grown-up sofa, damn it, and since pretty much every other piece of furniture in my living room (and much of the rest of the apartment, for that matter) is second-hand, I feel I can be justified in getting something new. Or at the very least, find something not-new and get it properly reupholstered.

So, I have begun that most awful of quests, the Search for the Perfect Sofa. And lo, it sucks.

I didn't realize how incredibly picky I am about sofas, as probably 99.9% of what I see in furniture stores is boring and ugly to me. This being Florida, it's also generally white, tan, or some variant on beige. So, so boring. I want color!

Somewhere out there exists the perfect teal/turquoise sofa - tufted, damn it - in an apartment size (under 80") that won't set me back too crazy much but is also good quality and worth the investment. I'll also settle for other nice blues, and black if I absolutely have no other colorful options. I also want it to be as eco-friendly as I can afford, made here in the US, and low/shallow enough that I with my short stature can sit in it and have my feet touch the floor.

This is turning out to be a tall, tall order. I found something today that would work perfectly and really appealed to me style-wise, but at the low end of the price spectrum it was $3100, with the fabric/color I wanted pushing it up to $3600. Holy shitballs, furniture industry!

I know I've saved a hell of a lot of money by buying the majority of my stuff used, but I still shudder at the thought of paying over $2000 for a sofa. I know it might be worth it in the long run if the quality really is there, but damn. I had even considered leather for the sake of longevity, but now I'm doubting it'll be in the budget.

/1st world problems
castalia: (BSG - Starbuck Yay!)
Normally I dislike being stuck at my desk in the mornings, but Friday was a very good day to be so. We have a general newsgroup thing for our email system at work, where people post all manner of things (questions, for sale ads, stuff going on around town, etc), and if I'm very bored I'll check it randomly throughout the day. Luckily I did so at just the right time, as one of the ladies in Development was giving away her KitchenAid stand mixer for FREE. I saw it 4 minutes after it was posted and managed to be the first to respond, so it is now MINE. I have always wanted one for baking, so this is hugely squee-inducing.

It's definitely an older one, as it has the type of power plug I remember from things my parents had back when I was growing up (hard to describe, but kind of like the prongs are made of longer pieces of brass folded down, not like the solid prongs we have now). But that's a good thing, as the newer models have complaints of poor quality parts and more failures than the old ones. It's certainly very solid. And it runs, which is good. She insisted in needed oiling, so I'm gonna take it apart to see if it just needs new grease or if there are indeed any leaks or anything (hurrah for lots of online tutorials!). Parts are also widely available, and generally pretty cheap.

The bowl it came with looks perfect, so I'm thinking she didn't use it much. It has the standard attachment, the bread one (whee!), and a wire whisk one. I honestly can't wait to try making bread in it. I've always wanted to try, but just can't be bothered with hand kneading.

There's some slight discoloration around the head which makes me think it might've been burning some oil at one point. However, even if I do need to repair it slightly, that will be much, much cheaper than a new machine, which I could never justify buying, even on sale. Even used ones on Craigslist still tend to be over $100. So I am feeling very lucky indeed. :D
castalia: (Default)
What a lovely week. I have a sinus cold and my first potential hurricane on the horizon. Joy.

I'm going to stay in tonight, make curry, and wallow a bit, if anyone asks.

*pulls covers over head*
castalia: (Default)
Very busy lately, kind of behind on various things. Still watching Falling Skies, but the last two eps have been spoilers )

Actually enjoying Common Law still, though I don't see how the premise will be sustained for very many seasons. It swings between annoying and rather sweet, depending on how obnoxious they want to make Travis's flirting and the general "boys' club" vibe the show tends to get. I do like the boss, the ME, and the therapist, but the new forensic type chick they added is annoying to me. Mostly I love the other couples in the therapy group and wish they'd ignore the dumb cases to spend more time with the group sessions.

As for real life, I had my parents visiting over the holiday. That went pretty well, though it's very nice to have my space back now. I'm still hoping to go visit over Christmas, as I get some time off then.

Had to call emergency maintenance last night due to a leak in my ceiling, when water spots appeared right before I was heading off to bed. A/C is the culprit, but since it was midnight by the time the maintenance guy got there, he mostly just sucked up as much water as he could with a shop vac and said he'd go back this morning to fix it properly. They seem to be on top of things here and take water (and potential mold) issues very seriously, so hopefully that'll be sorted by the time I get home today.

Kind of wish all the thunder and lightning storms would knock it off soon. I like rain, but I really don't like all the flooding we get here when it happens, so a break in that would be great.
castalia: (OUaT - Emma and her face by xthebitchisb)
I finally have my new dryer, but this whole experience has really cemented my decision to never purchase anything from HH Gregg ever, ever again.

When I spoke to the manager on the phone on Monday, he said no problem, don't send in the delivery charge rebate form and just come in to the store sometime and they'd credit me those charges as well as the hose kit. So yesterday I dropped in to do that, only to be told they'd already done that when they arranged for the dryer to be delivered. Okay, sure, whatever. A phone call to save me the trip would've been nice.

Today I get it delivered, and my new receipt shows they only tossed in free delivery for the dryer, not the washer that I'd already paid a delivery charge on originally. So it looks like I still need to send in that damn form to get my rebate after all. This only confirms my belief that rebates are a total attempted scam, that they are just hoping people won't send those forms in (and in this case, may even tell you not to in the hopes that you won't notice what your final total is). I should've gone to a local place and asked them to price match instead.

At least laundry is being done, and tonight I get new OUaT and fannish company. And next weekend I get a REAL weekend off, both Saturday and Sunday, for a change.

I also found an online store that deals in British foods where I can buy an entire case of my favorite Welsh tea, and the case of 6 is actually much cheaper than buying individual boxes from any other store I've found (I can get 6 for the price of 3). Win!
castalia: (Downton Abbey - Mary/Matthew by holypota)
I had meant to type up thoughts all sorts of things this week, including long overdue thoughts about the S4 Merlin finale, but it's taking longer than usual thanks to some kitchen stupidity I engaged in last weekend.

The good: two new kitchen knives, actual decent ones to replace the utterly useless ones I was gifted with by family as a starting out sort of thing. I'm starting to replace several of those types of things with quality items instead now that I'm branching out more with cooking. Hurrah for restaurant/chef supply stores.

The bad: the 8-inch chef knife doesn't fit in my old knife block. I stuck it in there anyway as a short-term thing until I could go buy something more suitable, but was dumb and let the edge face outward. I realized a bit of it stuck up out of the block, but I figured I could be careful enough for a few days.

The worse: Nope, I couldn't. My knife block has side compartments for utensils, and when I went to pick one up it had gotten stuck a bit in the wire frame. I tugged on it to pull it out, and when it finally jerked free my hand flew up and sliced right up the edge of the exposed knife. Didn't even realize it at first and thought I'd just hit it on something, and then of course there was all the lovely blood.

So, yes, typing with a splinted pointer finger. I didn't feel it was bad enough to go to the ER over, but the slice is a bit deep and right over the middle knuckle and I've seen what can happen when that isn't allowed to heal properly (my father did this one and went to use the hand anyway, then promptly tore the tendon he'd nicked, which meant microsurgery rather than a bandage and time). So I have a butterfly bandage and a homemade splint fashioned out of some cardboard and it seems to be doing the trick so the cut can heal without tearing open every time the finger bends. It's damned annoying doing just about everything, though, especially typing.

Since doing everything is now so annoying, I've spent most of the weeknights and this weekend discovering new fannish loves. I'm highly enjoying Once Upon a Time - so, SO nice to have a fantasy series to watch again! Especially while Merlin is in hiatus and MLP is being tainted by ablism fail.

After ages of hearing about it, I finally tried out Downton Abbey three days ago and since that time have totally mainlined both seasons and the Christmas special. It has its issues (the first few eps really gave me pause as to what sort of message the show would be peddling), but I still seem to be hooked. The cast is excellent, the costumes utterly gorgeous, and the soapish elements quite addicting. Plus there's Dame Maggie being brilliant as usual, with Penelope Wilton right alongside. I've enjoyed Michelle Dockery since Hogfather, so it's wonderful to see her shine in such a complex role. With such a large main cast, there are so many women and they're all so different, and most eps have passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors.

I do have a few criticisms; as usual with period dramas, the diversity of the cast is just about nonexistent, and the one gay member of the main cast is a rather slimy antagonist. One of the forefront underlying plot lines is very questionable indeed regarding the misogyny of it all. It feels very predictable at times, in both good and bad ways. Some inaccuracies and anachronisms, but also some nice attention to detail. It feels like a guilty pleasure, tbh.

Strangely enough, I have a het OTP for both series, a rarity for me. I usually don't care for the main pairing of any show (Farscape being a rare exception), but am shipping both Snow/Charming (not Mary Margaret/David, though) and Mary/Matthew like burning, especially the latter. Is anyone else watching either of these? Thoughts?
castalia: (Hogfather - Death and Susan snow)
...you are lauded as a near hero just for walking a few blocks in less than a foot of snow in order to get to work so animals are fed. While yes, people are stuck up on the mountains and can't get in, it was not a particular hardship for me to go in for a half day.

Best purchase this year: snow boots! (I got these in a lovely chocolate brown, for about 50% off. Not a bad deal, and I figure they'll last forever, considering how rarely I'll have to use them.

Oh well, at least the Snowpocalypse gets me out of the traveling portion of my work duties. Schools are still shut down and they're predicting more snow tonight, so I'm not holding my breath for them to be open the rest of the week. *knocks on wood so as not to jinx self*
castalia: (DH Nothing Christmas)
Okay, I gave in to capitalism and crack-of-dawn silliness this year. I got up early this morning before work so I could hit up Best Buy. They had a package deal on a desktop with all the right specs for a much better price than I'd seen anywhere else in my recent online shopping, so I snagged it. Had to wait in an hour long line to pay for it, but I didn't bother showing up until the store had actually opened - none of that waiting in the rain for hours shit for me, thanks. I think my little brother did that this year - he and my dad just live for that crap. I remember getting dragged out as a kid to pick out Christmas presents, but the crowds weren't so bad back then.

I probably won't be able to set everything up until tomorrow, but I've been needing a new computer for a while now, as the main laptop is 5 years old now and about to give up the ghost. It's just old and tired. This will be my first desktop, but I'm looking forward to upgrading to Windows 7 and having so much shiny new RAM. Yay!

One good thing about the South on Black Friday - I never saw any bad behavior in the store at all, despite the lines. No one pushed or shoved or cursed anyone out or anything. People were polite to each other and held places in line if someone had to step away to deal with family or ask a question, all very understanding of the policies for the most part, with some commiserating and joking around about the odd way they'd partitioned off the computer section but nothing too harsh. I'm sure I'll hear some horror stories later, but I'm glad I didn't have to witness any.

Luckily, I finished all my Christmas shopping ages ago, so I can relax for the rest of the holiday season. I'm stuck at work today and through the weekend, though. The day after Thanksgiving is our busiest day of this quarter, but not as busy as, say, summertime, so it shouldn't be too bad.


Nov. 17th, 2010 10:22 pm
castalia: (Default)
I am now 30. Not sure how I feel about that.

A good day was had, though. Awesome Italian food, ice cream, etc. I may have to be lame and go to bed early, sadly. Am all tired out.

Tomorrow will bring sushi and the orchid sale at work where hopefully I can get a birthday present to myself.
castalia: (Default)
Hm, tax free weekend starting today. This might be a good time to go ahead and get a netbook like I've been considering all year. Decisions, decisions...

Anyone have anything good/bad/neutral to say about the Asus Eee PC 1005PE? Or 1015PE? Or the HR group? Or any of the HP minis? I'm leaning towards the first for the battery life, but am intrigued by HD capabilities.

In good news, according to the NY Times it appears Zach Wamp won't even get past the primaries in his bid for governor. Am SO RELIEVED. That will get him out of TN politics completely (*crosses fingers*) this year. Now to hope McWherter stomps Haslam's ass into the ground come November (not that he's much better, but I'll take the lesser of two evils who at least is pro-choice, thanks). Unfortunately, I'm afraid Wamp's seat in the House is going to go to someone equally horrible, as my district is about 65% Republican and the candidates are generally unpleasant. *sigh*

Ow ow ow.

Jun. 16th, 2010 10:31 pm
castalia: (Default)
I hate this new eye doctor. A new new one is definitely going to be in order here very soon.

At my recent eye exam my prescription went up by .50, and I've never had it go up more than .25 at a time. But he said that's what it was and okay, it'd been more than two years since my last exam so I figured it would be okay.

Wrong. New contacts felt awful and I couldn't focus. Sucky.

So I emailed him and he said to come in and try the number in between. Got a sample and tried them.


Anyone else ever use Acuvue Oasys contact lenses? These are supposed to be new and awesome and all that, but they HURT. I've been getting such headaches with them in, and Googling makes me worry b/c there are some pretty awful reviews from some contact wearers out there. Correlations between this type of lens and all sorts of corneal damage and crap. I think I'm going to have to exchange them for my old plain Acuvue type (which, annoyingly enough, my new eye doctor doesn't even carry b/c they're "old"). Argh. At least lens.com takes exchanges for unopened boxes.

Ow. :(
castalia: (Default)
Yes, I really didn't need yet another hobby, but I'm just so thrilled with having green and growing things around that I don't care. I can take a break from knitting or something (even though I have tons of socks to finish, Christmas knitting to get started on, etc...).

For my office desk, I now have a peace lily, a snake plant, an English ivy, and a red vein Fittonia as a pot group. I'm really very pleased with how it all looks together, all nice and green foliage with a splash of red in the center. I shall have to take pictures, now that I'm thinking of it.

At home I so far have in the living room: an Easter lily that's fading now (but that I can plant in mum's garden until next fall and hopefully it will come back again), another peace lily, a cutting from a Wandering Jew that I'm hoping will root nicely, and a tricolor Dracaena marginata. I've put a small zebra hawortha in the bathroom along with my orchid, but I'm planning on maybe putting together a dish garden of succulents and moving that to my "kitchen" table in the living room instead. And if the horticulture department at work still has any orchids left, I may add some more to the bathroom and do up a pebble tray there.

I'd like to have something in the bedroom, maybe another Dracaena, but we'll have to see. I don't like leaving the curtains open in there b/c it gets so much direct sun and makes the room all hot, so it'll have to be a shade loving plant or something that can be in the window itself and handle all that sun. Hrm.

Anyway, I'm getting a nice collection up and so far have only had to actually purchase about half of them from the local nurseries. For the rest, I've been lucky to get cuttings and divisions from others' plants, lots of freebies. I can see where this could easily become an expensive and time consuming hobby, so I'll have to be careful about what I get, but for now I'm quite pleased. This was just the accent my apartment needed.

Also, the House Plant Expert book I picked up at McKay's for only 75 cents is proving an invaluable resource. What a sweet find.
castalia: (Default)
Back from another night of caving, this one more successful than the last. Last time my kneepads were entirely the wrong sort (athletic ones on the cheap) and I might as well have not worn any at all. This time, no pain at all, whee!

Best of all, these were super cheap. I paid $2.50 for a bag at the thrift store containing two very flattened boxing gloves and two hard plastic knee pads with elastic and velcro fasteners. I took the elastic strips off one of the knee pads and sewed one strip to each boxing glove at the top (the wrist area already had elastic loops there), then reinforced the seams with epoxy.

Wore them tonight and although they had to be adjusted now and again, they worked great. Even if I tear the outsides up eventually, I can always save the foam and make new ones. Yay for cheap yet effective gear!

Tonight's cave is in Trenton and has some of the most amusing rooms. It's a pretty popular spot, and sadly there are traces of people in there, but at least one result of that is kinda cool. There's one dead end where the mud is really thick and sticky, and people have created a ledge of little sculpted figures out of it. Everything from flowers to skulls to (of course) phalluses. Plus a kraken eating a ship, a shark about to eat a surfer, a great big tarantula, and a whole host of other stuff. We call it the Sculpey Room and it's neat to see what's been added every time you go back.

Am worn out now, but it's nice to be getting out and exercising with coworkers. Plus there's Cracker Barrel afterward - so worth it!

Fannishness is sort of on hold right now, for a variety of reasons. Mostly just too busy, plus most of my shows are in hiatus and I haven't found new and shiny things to replace them. Will get to that soon, I hope.

*off to bed, too tired to deal with muddy gear*


Nov. 29th, 2009 10:56 pm
castalia: (BSG - Starbuck Yay!)
First night in new apartment is a go! :D

Okay, so I'm sleeping on a futon cushion on the floor, b/c my new mattress won't be delivered until next weekend. I have very little in the way of foodstuffs yet. Everything is still in boxes because I can't face them yet. However, yay apartment!

It's very quiet here, despite being right downtown. Except for one person clomping on the stairs, I haven't heard a peep, not even from the people on either side (though I think the stairwell is adjacent to my bedroom, so that'll cut down on any noise from another apartment). And I've been able to piggyback on someone's wifi signal, as mine won't be hooked up until next weekend. Sweet.

I am literally two minutes from work. Probably a fifteen minute walk, tops. I have added two hours to my day. This is AWESOME.

castalia: (Al (FMA) - woe)
There is a small part of me that hates this time of year. Not because of the weather, oh no. This is the time when it's nice and warm outside, in the low to mid 70s, the humidity isn't quite so bad, and the trees have dumped the first load of pollen already and the count isn't too bad. You can go outside without instantly needing a shower and wanting to die or go stand over an air-conditioning vent. Happy times.

However, Spring brings with it that most horrible of needs: new cargo pants.

But Casta, you say, those are so easy to find! They're everywhere! And yes, indeed, they are everywhere. In men's sections. A few years ago, the fashion industry decided that women didn't really need those cargo pants (especially of the khaki variety, *sob*) and if we wanted pockets in our pants then we should be satisfied with shorts, capris, and all manner of shortened trousers that make us short women look like we're wearing highwaters. Not fun, and not at all fashionable, damn it.

Sure, khaki cargos can still be found occasionally, in outdoor stores catering to those willing to spend $60-$150 on a single pair of pants. I am not among that number. I want affordable pants, pants that I can get several pairs of and it won't break the bank.

I got lucky last summer at Kohl's with a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt pants that had cargo pockets. Small cargo pockets, but pockets nonetheless. Alas, they were the ONLY pair in the whole damn store. *sigh* So I waited until I got to Montana and snagged some great outdoor pants at Sportsman's Warehouse for only $30 each. Not so bad, and they zip off at the knees if you want some shorts or have to wear waders. Alas, the lighter pair of these two got stained with the dye we used to test the water flow in the creeks, so while they're great for hiking, they're not so great for work.

I checked at the local SW yesterday and they were out of every size except extra small. Damn them.

All I ask is a few more pairs of khakis I can wear to work, that will look nice enough for when I'm in the office but hardy enough to wear when I have to work with animals and be in the wetlab. Why does the universe thwart me this way? Every year I manage to find one, maybe two pairs that will work, but pants wear out and I'm down to only three usable pairs to wear to the aquaruim. Argh.

I'm considering these or these, but I hesitate to order what I haven't tried on. I have bad luck with Columbia pants. I bought one pair to take to Wales (expensive, too) and the first day I wore them they got rained on. Which wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that when they dried (line dried, not in the dryer) they wrinkled up into the strangest fabric I've ever seen and would never smooth back out again. I tried some others on yesterday at SW but one size was just barely too tight and the next size up was hugely baggy. I just can't win.

I hate shopping.


castalia: (Default)

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