Posts Tagged ‘art’

No air-conditioner

I’m here to report on the first couple of weeks of life without a/c. It’s fine. There were two days when the outside temperature was in the mid-90s that were rough, but honestly, otherwise it’s not noticeable. We can keep the apartment about ten degrees cooler than the outside air and with a fan to circulate, it stays comfortable inside. Granted, I’m using the stove very, very little, but that’s a pretty small thing.

The nice thing–and no, this isn’t me trying to convince myself that this is a good idea–is that because I’m only rarely going from cold to hot, my body is doing a better job of regulating. When I come out of a heavily air-conditioned building onto the hot sidewalk, the temperature outside feels hotter than it is and I start to sweat immediately. It still feels hotter, coming out of my apartment, but not as much. Less sweat, too.

So, when I ran across this list of 23 Ways to Beat the Heat, I thought that I would share it.

The Closest Farmer’s Market

106 and Central Park WestI went over to our local farmers market today. There are only six or so booths, but with a nice variety of things. It’s at 106th and Central Park West, nestled against an unexpected bluff of stone. It’s a beautiful setting, and naturally I didn’t have my camera with me. Google Maps Street View is not really doing it justice, but gives you a bit of the idea.

The weather has cooled off enough that I have been cooking at night. Other than that, most of the day was spent organizing the office. There have been several things in our boxes that baffle me. For instance, why in the world did I decide to pack the folding file I had in college? I mean, nothing–nothing is useful in that. I didn’t even know I still had it, so why is it in NYC? I’ve started a box for “things that don’t belong here” that Rob will take back to Portland when he goes back for IPNC.

The apartment in process

Okay, first of all, I have to say that you people are so impatient. Sheesh! Second, here are the photos.

The Apartment in Process

I’ve started putting the kitchen together, but have to hold off a bit until we mop the floor so we can put the pie safe in there. Right now it’s hanging out in the door between the living room and dining room.

Last night we went out for dinner at an asian fusion restaurant. This morning, we returned the truck, and walked back home through Central Park. It was very nice. There are sections were the traffic noise is no more noticeable than at Woodthrush Woods. My. It feels really good to be done with the truck. Arriving at home, we ate breakfast in the apartment–bagel for Rob and cereal for me. We still don’t have a clear table to sit at, but that should come soon. I’m hoping to have the dining room clear by this evening.

I’m looking forward to the point when I can write something.

No internet?!?

That’s right, we don’t yet have internet at the apartment. We get it next Friday, you know, while I’m away at Readercon. Until then, postings will be somewhat sporadic I’m afraid.

We spent yesterday cleaning and unpacking. The bedroom is assembled and has no boxes. Yay! Rob has disassembled the stove and is deep cleaning it. It’s a nice old Welbilt, which has thirty plus years of grease buildup on it. We shudder.

The living room is starting to emerge from the chaos of boxes, but it will take awhile.

I have to give a huuuuuuge thank you to Emily, Jodi and my brother, Steve, for their help moving us in.

Here are some photos from moving day.

Arrival in NYC

The stranger’s house

I am living in a stranger’s house. It is not the boxes which make it so; it is the absence of things. We sold the steamer trunk which served as our bathroom cabinet. As we were carrying it out, I realized that I’d owned it for nearly twenty years. I bought it in college and moved it around with me, but it has no place in NYC and is not truly irreplaceable. I have, in fact, coveted nicer ones that I couldn’t justify because I owned this one. I didn’t mind selling it.

But when I walk into the bathroom, it is no longer part of my house. This room belongs to someone else already.

Rose Parade = Bad Yard Sale Day

Rob and mePortland has an old tradition of the Rose Festival and the Rose parade. Part of the Rose Parade tradition is that it always rains on the day of the parade. So, what day did we pick for our yard sale? Parade Day! We’ve had some customers, but not as many as we would like. The weather feels like November.

And with an hour left in the yard sale, we still have the cyclops head.

Edited to Add: Evan Nichols stopped by and took this photo of us. Note the grey and Novembery weather.

Typewritten stories

We picked up the last of our typewriters (portable Smith-Corona with black pebbled finish) from the repair shop today. It has a smooth and lovely action. I typed a letter to celebrate. I think that, once we are in New York, I want to write a couple of short stories on our typewriters.

I was thinking about doing some sort of contest and giving the winner an original typewritten story. You know, you’d get the actual original manuscript–after I made a copy, of course. It just seems like, if I’m going to type it that the manuscript itself should be part of the package.

So the question is: What nifty contest can I host?

You can see where I live.

The front of our apartmenThanks to Google Maps new street view feature, you can see the front door of the apartment we are moving to. As a friend of mine said, “It’s like living in the future.”

On the one hand, keen! On the other hand, it’s a little creepy. I mean, is that a neighbor walking past the building? Will I meet that woman while I’m there?

And then I swing back over to the keen! side. Can you imagine how much work this must have been? Holy cow. Rob just showed me his old apartment and his favorite restaurant is still across the street.

Edited to Add: Mr. Radley, in comments, pointed out another very shiny service.

Where google maps is fuzzy, try using (requires Flash) which lets you switch between several different satellite map services, one of which may provide a clearer view.

A case study of a geek’s sense of time

Am I offbase in being annoyed about this? When I dropped my computer off, the guy at the desk said it would be ready in a week. That was eight days ago, so I thought I could reasonably expect it to be finished today. I called to see when I could pick it up.

1) “Um… I’m having trouble finding it, can I call you back?”
I was silent for a moment and he said, “Don’t be scared when we say things like that. It usually means that it’s on a technician’s desk. I just need to spot it.”

Sure. That’s fine.

2) He calls back. “It should be ready later this week. We’re short-staffed because one of our technicians went on vacation to Spain.”

I said, “So when will it be ready? I was told that it would be five days when I called in and a week when I dropped it off.”

“I don’t know. I mean, if you could see what it’s like here. We’re really short-staffed.” He sounded nervous, like he was a geek totally out of his element. Which was probably true. “We’ve only got two techs on the floor. A third one comes in at three. Your computer is about ten down in the queue.”

“That’s good to know, but what does that mean in terms of when it will be ready?”

“I don’t know.” It sounds like he’s having to grip the phone harder to keep it from sliding out of his sweating palms. “I’m not a technician; I build systems.”

“Well, what I’m trying to decide is if I should come down and pull it out of the queue.”

“I wouldn’t recommend that. There’s no guarantee that you could find someone who would have it done faster than four days and then it would just be back at the end of our queue.”

“Four days?” I stuggled not to shout at him. “Look. This wasn’t an urgent repair, but it was my only window of time to have it done. This is my primary computer. I have a gig coming in on Thursday; I need it back.”

“If you could see what it was like at our end, you would understand why it’s not ready. One of our techs is in Spain and we’ve been working our regular hours.”

The effort to not shout became harder; I’ve run shops before. “I have been on your end. A vacation to Spain doesn’t spontaneously arise; that should have been part of the planning with your scheduling. I was told a week. I’m annoyed because I was given inaccurate information.”

“He was already in Spain when your computer came.”

I didn’t respond to that, because clearly, that did not improve his case at all. “I need the computer back by Thursday. So I’ll call at five o’clock on Wednesday to see if it is ready and if it isn’t then I’ll just come pick it up.”

“Oh that should be plenty of time. I know it’ll be ready in a couple of days.”

“Wednesday is tomorrow.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Today is Tuesday.”

“Oh. Man. Well, I’ll tell them you need it back. But we’re really backed up right now.”

At this point, I was finished with the conversation because I wasn’t going to get anything useful out of the boy. “Thank you for your time. I’ll check in tomorrow.”

So, my mental note from this is that computer geeks have no sense of time at all. I’m sure this will come in handy on a story sometime.


I’ve pulled up the linoleum in two rooms now. The wood underneath is in surprisingly good shape; in fact the worst damage seems to be the two or three place where I’ve gouged it trying to pry linoleum up. The interesting thing is that the stuff in the office just came right up, really quickly and easily, it took maybe two hours to get most of it off and then a little bit longer with a few tough spots. Not so in the guest room. That was a two day ordeal. I’m really hoping that they did a shoddy job with the glue in our bedroom.

The plan right now is to move our stuff into the guest room so that I can start on our bedroom. We may delay the removal there so we can paint windows in there without worrying about drop clothes. It depends on how ambitious we’re feeling over the next week.

San Fransico 1905 and 1906

This is a short silent film of San Fransisco before and after the earthquake. In 1905, an unknown cameraman rode the Market Street line, filming the length of it. After the earthquake, he rode the line again. Matt Lake has created a haunting composite of the two films.

Opera length kid gloves

I am cleaning house.

I have two pairs of beautiful kid gloves, that actually fit, with tiny pearl buttons at the wrists. More amazing, I have worn both pairs for an event. The expression “fit like a glove” comes from gloves like these, which must be carefully eased onto the hand and are so snug that they are, quite literally, a second skin. The kid is so fine that my sense of touch is almost unencumbered by the glove. My only hesitation comes from the fear that I will get them dirty. This, I think, is why men started opening doors for women, to protect our gloves.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Wild MushroomsAs I mentioned, Rob and I went to the farmer’s market yesterday and picked up some mushrooms. Then, today, in a splendiferous surprise, our plaster repair man came by and gave us a quart bag of morels. It seems that he always picks a freezer full of them when he goes on his vacation. He’d said he would bring me some, but I didn’t expect this many.

So tonight, I am making the Wild Mushroom Risotto Recipe at
3 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable broth

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini and stemmed shiitake), sliced
1 cup arborio rice* or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Bring vegetable broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep broth hot.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add wild mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender and juices are released, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add Sherry and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add 3/4 cup hot vegetable broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining hot vegetable broth 3/4 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh thyme. Serve warm.

*Arborio, an Italian short-grain rice, is available at Italian markets and at many supermarkets nationwide.