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Moar Crazy Recapping
However slow and painful eons I seem to spend pulling my hair out at work over somebody else's code that I need to make work, time never seems to actually slow down for me at all, does it?

So, Christmas happened, as may have been gathered from my annual January "new year" post. Carmen survived my parents, and my mom doesn't flat out hate him, which is probably as good as I'm going to get without finding a vegan who is some kind of zealot for her religion, and who forces me to run on treadmills on a regular basis. He made a couple of little faux pas (most of them only faux pas according to Mom), but nothing that would have gotten him thrown out of the house or anything.

I also survived the subsequent trip to Minnesota (in the SNOW) to meet his parents, and they appear not to hate me, either (Carmen claims they like me), so that's probably also good. His parents are a fun pair, and his mother is actually really adorable with good taste in English tea (I guess she doesn't drink anything but black English teas and herbal teas). We went sledding on his childhood sledding hill and broke the neighbor's sled, but I guess they said it was old and they didn't care. Then we went snow tubing, which I think is better (although it's not free), simply because inflated tubes have way more cushioning than a plastic tub made for children ^^;; Both were fun, and kind of scary for me--I have no idea how Carmen is fine on these things, where he legitimately almost ended up in a tree (pine/evergreen-type tree, so he was sliding into the thing), but is not okay on roller coasters! Also, we saw the Mall of America, apparently the largest mall in America... which has a theme park inside of it o_0 It was crazy.

Right before the trip to visit his family Carmen decided he wanted to try knitting, having seen me doing so and I guess having found a code blogger who also knits. Considering he has told me he doesn't like wearing knitted garments (except I guess his beanies), I found this perplexing, but hey, I am all about fostering craft! He doesn't want me to teach him (he seems to prefer to learn from books and YouTube), but I pointed him at my usual beginner's book (Debbie Stoller's Stitch n' Bitch) and he was off to the races. He made his mom a scarf, which he worked on while we were there (hilariously with his headlamp that I got him for running/future camping expeditions for extra light) in his parents' livingroom, and finished once we got back home and mailed to her. It's a 1x1 rib, which I would not have attempted as my first scarf. (My first scarf was a disaster, to be honest. It was tossed, along with the awful, awful cheap yarn I bought.) I've tried to steer him towards quality yarn and tools, but he's proving to be quite the bold beginner. He's finishing the second of two double-knit dishcloths his dad requested, and has already cast on for a matching headband for the scarf he made his mother. (He is clearly not a project monogamist, which I am if not counting completely hibernated projects.) I still suspect he's going to get bored of it when he runs out of objects he wants to knit, but in the meantime his obsession with getting perfectly even stitches and the enormous amount of experimentation and research he's doing into that (paired with how even his stitches just plain ARE) is kind of amazing o_0 He even went with me to a yarn convention (which was really a knitting convention known as Stitches West, but I really only go into the market, because I am never able to go to the classes I'm willing to pay for due to time constraints and class size constraints). Considering his second project is double-knitting (which is knitting two sides on one piece of fabric, switching the colors so each side is the negative of the other side) and his third involves cables, he's advancing a lot faster than I did. He's got plans to knit himself a pair of socks. Also, everything he wants to knit for himself, he wants to knit in grey. Grey, grey, grey. -_-

I also went on a short Six Flags trip just up to Discovery Kingdom (sigh), but the new Joker coaster they're building over the bones of Roar looks interesting, so I'm hoping that's going to be good. It was during a week of lots of rain, so we were afraid we'd be rained out (but needed to activate our passes that weekend because Eva & Brandon were going on a trip that they wanted to use it for), so off we went. Since everyone expected rain, there was nobody at the park! I think we rode Medusa like five or six times in a row without getting off XD It was pretty glorious, but also made it pretty starkly obvious how little there was to do there once the lines were gone. We rode plenty of rides we otherwise wouldn't have cared about simply because we could and there were no lines, including trying out their apparent "new" Pacific Rim-themed 3D thing... which as far as I can tell is actually Pacific Rim the trailer, in 3D, with DBox seats that squirt a bit of water at you. Meh. Carmen didn't come to this, obviously, given his motion sickness thing, but this prompted me to finally see Pacific Rim, as neither of us had seen it. He kept making the comment of how Mako doesn't talk: "Is she mute? Why doesn't she say anything?" That is kind of weird, but I guess I mapped her to Ayanami Rei a bit, so I wouldn't have noticed it without him pointing it out. (The whole of the movie was basically live-action Evangelion for me sans whiny Shinji and creepy Gendo.) I'm also sad they didn't spend more time fleshing out the other pilots, but not a bad movie.

Finally made it to the Rose Garden pruning event this year and helped out as a volunteer. I was given two lovely bare-root roses, which I proceeded to plant in pots (which were really of the size I thought I could manage because the size they probably needed would not have fit on my balcony) and set outside to wait for spring. Spring has sprung, and some of the canes are turning grey... I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I suspect they are dying and that I spent money on new pots and soil and fertilizers for nothing :( My balcony is kind of in sorry state right now. There's a lot of rain, which is good, but it means I can't go out and do much without getting frozen, and any time it looks like I could, I usually end up having plans and not being able to mind the plants much at all. It's not looking so hot this year :( Plus, I have noticed some rice birds digging around in my pots (for seeds or worms, presumably) and pecking at my green blueberries... I may have a real problem on my hands. At least the one lemon tree is happy, and has pumped out maybe 8-10 lemons because it wasn't super windy last year and some flowers managed to get pollinated before getting blown away. It's a small consolation prize, but I take what I can get.

Carmen and I went to a nice dinner at a vegan restaurant called Millenium for Valentine's weekend (but not the actual day, because it's crazy enough just doing anything on that weekend). It was beyond-words delicious o_0 I have never had tempeh that I liked, but their smoked tempeh was the perfect texture and such a wonderful smoky flavor, and paired with the little bit of BBQ sauce and the farro-risotto mix it came on top of, it was just sublime ♥ SO much good food, I want to go again as soon as their seasonal menu changes to try more stuff :) And we also did a Feastly pop-up dinner this past weekend which Carmen's "sea-gan" friend mentioned to him, which was a vegan omakase (or, as they spelled it "omokase"). It was also good, but I still think I like Millenium better :) Their dessert got the aquafaba meringues right (much better than my attempt), and added matcha flavor to it, which I think is key. I think you really need to add a flavor to it, because otherwise they're kind of bland :/ (Or at least the ones I made at home which weren't burnt were, and most were a bit overcooked anyway...) I may try that whole meringue thing again, but in a much smaller batch, and probably with like parchment paper or something. No wax paper or silpat. Yikes. But they had a really good cauliflower tempura that I think I need to attempt to replicate, with yuzu kosho "aioli" sauce. I didn't know what yuzu-kosho was before (I know what yuzu is), so that was interesting. The fermented tofu was also pretty spectacular--very creamy.

Another thing from this weekend, is seeing Zootopia (maybe spoilers ahead? But not many...). I love it :P It's deeper and more thoughtful than I thought it would be, which is always nice, but has plenty of levity and cuteness! And it features a rabbit, so of course I love that :3 But maybe because I'm somewhat food-source-conscious (read: uppity vegetarian), I am kind of curious what they eat in Zootopia. Because... uh... (I have a terrible version in my head where what they eat is humans as meat from human farms, but you never know.) All you ever see is the ice cream parlour shot (and, uh, where do they get the milk for that? That's a little horrifying if you apply what needs to be done to cows in order to get them producing milk regularly enough for that sort of thing and apply that to anthropomorphized cows) and the Hopps family carrot farm, plus a shot of some produce in a shop in a walking scene. Maybe they eat fish, since there seem to be no sentient sea mammals (no marine district? No dolphins?) or birds, since I saw none of those anthropomorphized. Carmen's only complaint seems to be that they used their best joke (the sloths at the DMV) in the trailer, but I think there were plenty of little jokes going on. My favorite is in one of the scenes where the police chief is handing out assignments and one of them is an "undercover" assignment, and you see a wolf zip up into a sheep costume :P I still need to see Deadpool, because Carmen saw it with his coworkers and everyone else has seen it, so I have nobody to go with, sigh. Will probably need to go see it by myself when I can find some time.

Max started his Numenara campaign! So I have a D&D like game to play, now, and I have a little cyborg girl who crafts cybernetic prostheses and hails from a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe that recently settled down in a small town. Our group is suspiciously made up of a lot of people who don't like making up backstories (I practically had to piece together Carmen's backstory for him, and both he and our other Glaive have some form of amnesia to make up for the lack of backstory). Still, we managed to just barely scrape by with our very first adventure, which was basically meeting up and trying to walk to a temple, but getting caught in crap that was obviously a trap (curiously baited for my character, but amusingly and unexpectedly picked up by the other characters). I had to deactivate Carmen's character temporarily because he got essentially mind controlled o_0 Exciting times. Max's cousin David has a character that makes every other person's (including NPCs') rolls harder simply by being around him, because we can't bear to look at his face :[ His character is a bit of an albatross, but my character is a religious goody two-shoes with glasses half full (of what???), so she's going to be determined to make friends anyway.

Work managed to be full of lots of very, very stressful drama, leading me to not be able to eat for a couple of days. (Yet still, my weight continues to climb... I've regained 10lbs. already and I can't seem to stop or reverse it.) It's a longer story that if I do chronicle, will probably need its own private post, but I will probably be working with a different group in the near future, even though I would have liked to stay with my current group (Carmen famously asked me, when I mentioned that I wanted to stay with the current group, "But... why??? You hate what you're doing now!" and he kind of has a point that even if I like the actual people that the work they're giving me is shit. Apparently they know that better than I thought they did yet continue to make me feel sub-par for not magically making undocumented legacy code work with new additions copy-pasted in there by my predecessor from the legacy code for the old equipment). The drama llama definitely reared it's ridiculous head, needless to say :( Basically, every day at work is painful, both physically and mentally these days--physically largely because of shoulder and back pain coming from the amount of stress I'm going through. And also those couple of days I had to take painkillers for headaches. But hey, you know, it's a job...

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I just wanted to note that I do still check in here. I just haven't had anything brilliant to say over the last couple of posts. :-) (I also haven't seen Deadpool, because it doesn't come out in Japan until June! :-P )

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LOL. I technically have a Midwestern parent as well--my dad is from the Midwest! Um... frills, though? o_0 Yikes. No thank you...

I always feel like I am Scourge, Murderer of All Plant Life, but apparently the fact that I had kept a plant alive from 2005 to this year (when it caught a fungus from a plant my mom bought while visiting) means I'm not quite that bad. I think my eldest plant (not counting cutting lineages) is an orchid from 2007? I have a very hit or miss record, but somehow people seem to think I have a green thumb of some kind because a lot of the plants do actually live. It's... only slightly green. And that might be stamp pad ink. But I'll take it.

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