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fauxklore
18 September 2017 @ 04:10 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Maurice Bluestein modernized the wind-chill index. Edie Windsor was an activist who played a major role in overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. J. P. Donleavy was a novelist, whose works included Fairy Tale of New York. Frank Vincent was an actor who sort of specialized in playing gangsters. Grant Hart was one of the founders of Husker Du. Harry Dean Stanton was a character actor who was in too many movies to attempt to single out a few to mention. Paul E. Gray was the president of MIT from 1980 to 1990.

Pete Domenici was a senator who represented New Mexico for many years. In general, I disagreed with his positions on environmental issues. He also got into trouble for reports about having fathered an illegitimate child and supposedly had pretty awful phone manners. However, he was a strong supporter of treating mental illness the same as physical illness.

Book Club: Book Club was on Wednesday. We had a pretty good discussion about Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I like the central question at the heart of the novel, which is who should tell another’s story. But the reason I am mentioning this is that part of the novel involves one of the characters having an affair with a writer she admires. I made a comment to the effect of, "if Neil Gaiman showed up on my doorstep…" and was shocked that two of the people present were entirely unfamiliar with him. (I explained him as a writer of humorous fantasy with floppy hair and a British accent.) It also turned out that there were several people who had never read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Philistines!

Christine Lavin: Friday night I went to see Christine Lavin at Jammin’ Java, one of my favorite local venues, not least for its proximity to home. Doug Mishkin opened for her and was thoroughly delightful, getting everybody singing his song "Woody’s Children." As for Christine, she was as funny as ever, with a mixture of old and new material. Many of her songs tell stories, e.g. one that described a dinner with a famous person with atrocious table manners. (I won’t reveal who it was, so you can have the joy of the surprise at the end.) During intermission, she taught members of the audience how to do some elaborate napkin folds. (I, alas, was in line for the facilities, so missed out on the lesson, though I saw the results.) All in all, it was a thoroughly delightful evening of folk song and laughter.

Loser Brunch: There were several things I could have done this weekend, but it had been a while since I’d been to brunch with the Style Invitational Losers and Devotees, i.e. fans of the Washington Post’s humor contest. This brunch was at Brion’s Grill in Fairfax, so reasonably convenient. The buffet was just okay, losing points from me for not having any fruit beyond a bowl of mixed melon. On the plus side, they did have cooked to order omelets. And they had French toast donuts, something I had never experienced before. This sort of thing is all about people, in my opinion, so I don’t really care much about the food. The conversation was lively and it was a good way to get out of the house for a couple of hours.

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fauxklore
11 September 2017 @ 04:35 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Kate Millett wrote the feminist classic Sexual Politcs. Gene "Stick" Michael played baseball and moved into management, primarily with the Source of All Evil in the Universe. Don Williams was a country music singer, as was Troy Gentry. Michael Friedman wrote the score of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Len Wein was a comic book writer and editor, credited as co-creator of Wolverine. Don Ohlmeyer was a sports television executive, responsible for Monday night football. (He was also the mentor of someone I grew up with, who has some very interesting stories about him.) Nancy Dupree was an historian who focused on the history of modern Afghanistan. Jack Kiel created McGruff the Crime Dog.

Jerry Pournelle wrote science fiction and published articles on military strategy. He had actually worked for the company that I am employed by at one time (as well as other companies in the space industry). He was alleged to have been the first author to have written a published book using a word processor on a personal computer. I have absolutely no recollection of having read anything he wrote, but I think I have read anthologies he edited.

Lotfi Zadeh was a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is best known for his work on fuzzy logic. I am somewhat hesitant to list him because there had been at least two earlier, incorrect reports of his death. But the EECS department is now reporting it, which is a more reliable source than various Azerbaijani sources. Incidentally, it is probably not well known that he was Jewish, at least technically, as his mother was a Russian Jew. (His father was Iranian and, I assume, Muslim, in which case the Muslims would claim him too. Though maybe not, since he apparently went to a Presbyterian mission school when his family returned to Iran from Azerbaijan. None of this actually matters in the least – I just think it’s interesting. And is perhaps an example of fuzzy religious and national identity.)

Birthday: I turned 59 on Labor Day. I really want my life to be in much better order by the time I’m 60.

Speaking of Order: I more or less tore my living room apart looking for what I had done with some theatre tickets. Of course, they turned out to be in the pile that I was positive that they absolutely could not be in. In the process of searching, I did manage to throw out 4 bags full of papers. What is pathetic is how much there is to go.

A Little Night Music: That ticket was for Signature Theatre’s production of A Little Night Music. Signature makes something of a specialty of Sondheim so this was a sure bet. And it was, indeed, a good show. There were lots of familiar performers, e.g. Bobby Smith as Frederik, Sam Ludwig as Henrik, Maria Rizzo as Petra, Will Gartshore as Carl-Magnus, and Holly Twyford as Desiree. I should note that Twyford is known as an actress, not a singer, but was more than up to the role. But the real highlights were Florence Lacey as the acerbic Madame Armfeldt and Tracy Lynn Olvera as Charlotte. Both performers highlighted the humor of some of Sondheim’s wittiest lyrics. Even though this is a show I know well, I still noticed lyrics I hadn’t quite caught before. Overall, this is among the best theatre I’ve seen here.

I do have one complaint, however. The air conditioning was way too aggressive. It wasn’t even hot out. I need to remember to bring a sweater or shawl whenever I go to Signature.

Also re: Shirlington: I had amazingly good parking karma for this trip to Signature, with an available spot right by the stairs / elevator in the closer garage. I believe the reason for this is that it allowed me to do a good deed. There was a miniature Celtic festival going on and a blind woman was trying to find a place to sit to listen to the music. I let her take my elbow and led her to the chairs set up in front of the stage.

Story Swap: Saturday night was our monthly story swap, which is always fun. I have found an Albanian story to tell, which went over reasonably well. Especially the part in which the hero is sent to collect overdue taxes from a church full of snakes.

JGSGW: There was a Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington meeting on Sunday. The topic was ancestry tips and tricks, but, alas, that was pretty much focused on tips for your tree on ancestry and I don’t keep mine there. I was hoping for tips on more effective searches. And, given that the speaker was time constrained, I didn’t bother asking. I did have some conversations before the meeting which were most useful, so it wasn’t a waste.

I had intended to go to a storytelling show later in the day, but I was too tired. At least I did manage to get grocery shopping done on my way home from darkest Maryland.

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fauxklore
08 September 2017 @ 04:38 pm
All repeats, though some I had not gotten in quite a while.


Grilled Cheese: This is a mix of hickory smoked almonds, mustard breadsticks, and cheddar cheese bruschetta. It has 120 calories. I thought this had an excellent mix of flavors, with the almonds providing a nice hint of smokiness. Very tasty.

Deconstructed Carrot Cake: This is a mix of carrot chews, cinnamon flavored raisins, walnuts, and ginger fudge. It has 180 calories. This is one of the more convincing deconstructed desserts that graze offers. I like the cinnamon and ginger flavors, too. It could, however, be a bit better balanced, perhaps with smaller walnut pieces so it is easier to eat all the components together.


Booster Seeds: This is a mixture of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseed. It has 200 calories - and 9 grams of protein. This is a good combination, but not particularly interesting. And the flaxseed is a pain, since the seeds are so small. It is particularly irritating when you spill a bunch of this on your desk, not that I would know anything about that.

Original Fruity Flapjack: This is a soft granola bar, with dried apricots, dates, raisins, currants, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. It has 230 calories. The dominant flavor is definitely from golden syrup, which is not something I’d ever really complain about. There is a nice balance of textures, with the chewiness of the bar and the crunch of the seeds. Very good.

Kettlecorn Kern Pops: These are half-popped corn kernels with a sweet and salty flavoring. The package has 130 calories. I like the texture, but I really prefer the more savory types of kern pops to these, which I think are just okay.

The Cheese Board: This is a mix of cheese-flavored cashews, cheddar cheese bruschetta, and baked herb bites. It has 110 calories. This is a pretty nice savory snack – and I’m not even a big cheese person. The cashews are particularly good.

Fantastic Forest Fruits: This is a mix of dried apple slices, blueberries, lingonberries, and cherry-flavored raisins. It has 80 calories. I think this combination leans a bit too much on the tart side, with the lingonberries tipping the balance. The blueberries get pretty much drowned out by the other flavors. Okay, but there are other dried fruit snacks I prefer.

Snickerdoodle Dip: This is a cookie dip, with cinnamon pretzel sticks to dip into it. It has 150 calories. This is one of my favorite Graze sweet snacks. Insanely delicious and a good argument for the built-in portion control.

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fauxklore
06 September 2017 @ 01:58 pm
Here is the rest of the catch-up stuff.

Celebrity Death Watch: Louise Hay was a motivational author. Richard Anderson was an actor, best known for portraying the boss of bionic people. Hedley Jones was a Jamaican musician, who also designed and built the first traffic lights in the country (among other technical accomplishments). Shelly Berman was a stand-up comedian and actor. Walter Becker was one of the founders of Steely Dan. John Ashberry was a poet.

Take Me Out to the Ball Games: I got back on a Thursday and went to Nationals games (vs. the Mets) on both Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The Friday night game started out with some pathetic pitching on the part of young A. J. Cole. He did settle down, some, but the Nats never got very far against Jacob deGrom. Things did get exciting at the end, but the Mets kept their lead.

Sunday was Jewish Community Day and I went with some friends from my chavurah. There had been a special ticket price, which also included a ballcap with Nationals written in Hebrew! This is now my favorite ballcap, even ahead of the one from the Leones del Escogido. There were also tastings of various foods from a kosher caterer. As for the game, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a 3-run homer for the Mets in the first. The Nats proved to be really good at stranding men on base, though they did make things close. And it all came to down to Edwin Jackson getting thrown out at the plate at the end for them to lose.

Apparently, my wearing Nats gear brings luck to the Mets.


Vacation Stories: In between the two ball games, there was a Saturday night and a Better Said Than Done show, with a vacation theme. I told my story "M.D., Ph.D., G.R.E.A.T." which involves our family trip to Expo ’67 in Montreal, my parents’ failure to stop at any of the intriguing tourist traps along the way, and how I finally found satisfaction on another trip years later. The audience was responsive and I think it went well.
You can judge for yourself. Here’s the video.

Don’t Analyze This Dream, Part 1: There was a very important work matter, which I had to discuss with Bob Kaplan, even though he was in the hospital. Alexander Craig insisted that he and I talk with Bob, who was wearing blue pajamas and had just had surgery. We were then going to follow up with the Delaware group. Note that none of these are names of people or organizations I have any association with.

Don’t Analyze This Dream, Part 2: My home was invaded by a group of juggalos. Well, 4 of them stood outside and waited, while the one with the full clown makeup went inside, wielding an inflatable baseball bat.

District Dumplings: This past Thursday night I went out to dinner with a couple of friends who were in town. They chose District Dumplings in the Mosaic District. It was disappointing. The chicken and basil dumplings were good, but the others were bland. And, even though we ordered our dumplings steamed, they gave us fried. If you are over that way, Brine is a much better choice of a place to eat. Oh, well, the company and the conversation were good.

The National Book Festival: I volunteered at the National Book Festival this year, which was held this past Saturday. It’s the sort of volunteer task I can do – with a commitment measured in hours on one day (plus a couple of hours for a training session). I was a Hall Chaperone, which basically meant that I stood on the L Street Bridge at the top of the Grand Staircase with an "Ask Me" sign and directed people to other places in the Convention Center.

You’d think that sign would invite smartass questions, but there were only a few. Mostly people were asking how to get to the main stage (on the 3rd floor) or to the Metro. My favorite conversation was with the guy who said, "you look like you would like someone to ask you a question," to which I replied, "I would be delighted to be asked a question." (Alas, he just asked one of the usual ones.) Anyway, it was reasonably fun and I ran into several people I knew. I would volunteer there again if my schedule works.

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fauxklore
01 September 2017 @ 02:55 pm
I also collect state capitals. My specific goal is to do a volksmarch in every capital, generally involving the actual capitol building. Cheyenne was on my way back to Denver (where I’ve done the appropriate walk already) so made for a reasonable morning excursion.

I had not done a 10K volksmarch in nearly two years. I have been having sporadic foot issues, which were probably not helped by how much walking I did in New York the weekend before. It was hot out. It was not really fun.

It didn’t help that the walk wasn’t particularly interesting. There were a few sections of historic buildings, but there was a large part around a lake in a park and another large section through a cemetery, neither of which were notable. The area around the Capitol was better, but the Capitol itself is closed for renovation. There was an attractive Greek Orthodox church and a synagogue across from a statue of Robert Burns. I’d have liked more background on some of the historic houses. So, overall, I thought the walk was meh, but it did serve its purpose.

After the walk, I drove back to Denver and checked into the Hampton Inn near the airport for the night. I have stayed there countless times over the years and it remains reliable for what it is. I called some friends and we made plans for dinner. Normally, I’d have been up for meeting them downtown, but I was pretty worn out and suggested we eat near where I was. That required a bit of research and, through the simple expedient of seeing what the iphone said was nearby, we ended up at African Grill and Bar in the Green Valley Ranch shopping center, a couple of miles down Tower Road.

What a find! Okay, they didn’t actually have any African beers other than Tusker (which is Kenyan, so doesn’t really go with West African food). But the food was excellent. We ordered lamb samosas, fried plantains, spinach stew with oxtail, coconut stew with chicken, and okra stew with goat. The stews came with rice, too. Everything was tasty and all of the dishes were different from each other. Seeing as I do have occasions to be in that area, I am definitely going to keep this place on my go-to list for the future.

And the next day I flew home, though with a delay of a couple of hours. Thus ended an all too brief vacation.

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fauxklore
One of my life list items is visiting every National Park in the U.S. So it made sense to leverage off my trip to Carhenge to drive a couple of hours further north to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. (For those who might wonder, I had previously been to Badlands National Park. In fact, I think that may have been the first National Park I ever went to.) It was an easy and uncrowded drive, with the highlight being a sudden stop to let a couple of pronghorn cross the road just before I got to the turnoff for the park visitor center. Once at the visitor center, I had to choose which tour to take. I decided on the Natural Entrance tour, which is the most popular. You’re not allowed to take any bags into the cave, so I went back out to the car to leave pretty much everything except my camera (and my wallet and car keys). I did have time to stamp my National Park passport book and to buy a long-sleeved tee shirt, as well as to watch the park movie and read some of the exhibits, before the tour.

The tour passes the natural entrance, but doesn’t actually use it. The ranger did use a ribbon to demonstrate the wind from the cave that gives it its name. Then we went through a door and down a lot of steps into the cave. There are a total of about 300 steps along the tour (mostly down – you take an elevator out) and roughly half of them are in this first section. When the whole group got down, the ranger talked about two specific types of formations in the cave – boxwork and frostwork. Frankly, neither is anywhere near as spectacular as normal stalagmites and stalactites.

We continued along through the cave, with various stops for talks. The tour covers about 2/3 of a mile, which is a very small part of the overall cave complex, which is still not completely mapped. The most interesting parts were when our ranger (Sina Bear Eagle, a Lakota woman) told the Lakota emergence story, which has to do with the origins of both bison and people. She also read some fascinating excerpts from a journal kept by Alvin MacDonald, who led early tours of the cave. Apparently, it didn’t bother him to leave 3 of the 9 people on one of his tours in the cave overnight!

After the tour was over, I contemplated doing one or two of the short nature trails that were alleged to start near the visitor center. I was, alas, unable to find where either of the trailheads was, so nixed that plan. Instead, I drove on, stopping to look at a herd of bison just outside the park road. These were reintroduced to the area in 1913 and came mostly from the Bronx Zoo. (A few more were brought over from Yellowstone in 1916.) They’re really quite magnificent, at least from what I consider a safe distance.

The next couple of hours involved driving a series of back roads from South Dakota going west and then south into Wyoming. My destination for the night was Guernsey, Wyoming. I’d booked a room at the Cobblestone Inn there based pretty much on being a reasonable distance for my plans. It was adequate. I’d have said it was nice, but the first room they put me in had not actually been serviced. And the second one was lacking a shower curtain. But the really egregious sin was their failure to have coffee / hot water available in the breakfast room the next morning. Yes, I understand that things break, but as a person who considers access to caffeine to be a basic human right, being told just to use the coffeemaker in my room makes me knock at least one to two stars off my rating of any hotel.

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fauxklore
01 September 2017 @ 10:56 am
Title pun thanks to my college friend, Mark.

Having seen 3 total solar eclipses previously, all of which required considerably more complicated travel (Ghana in 2006, Kiribati in 2009, and Micronesia in 2016), there was no way I was going to miss out on the Great American Eclipse. Looking at the path of totality, I realized what would be the ideal spot for me to go. I planned a full year out for my trip to Alliance, Nebraska, home of Carhenge. This is a quirky place, which is always a plus. The combination of a good length of totality (2 and a half minutes) and reasonable odds of good weather made it an ideal destination.

So, after a night at the Fairfield Inn at JFK (just adequate), I took a Jet Blue flight to DEN, where I picked up a rental car. As is all too typical of google maps, their directions are so determined to shave off every possible inch that they make all sorts of pointless turns. Google also has a touching faith in road signs. I might turn on West Kansas Street, but there has to be some visible sign for it in order for me to do so. Still, I managed to find my way along various back roads of Nebraska and made it to the Alliance Hotel and Suites. I was paying about five times what my room would normally cost and about ten times what it was worth, but it was reasonably convenient. At least it was clean, albeit shabby.

Carhenge itself is a few miles north of Alliance. The weather looked iffy, with rain overnight and a lot of fog in the morning. But things cleared up as eclipse time neared. I should note that they were charging $50 for parking, but this was a charity fundraiser, so I was okay with it. There were other parking options a somewhat further walk away. I toured the sight, amused by the car art (e.g. The Fourd Seasons). The main henge is fascinating – built to the proportions of Stonehenge. It’s a must for any fan of uniquely American bizarre tourist attractions. To make things even better, its founder, Jim Reinder, was there, and he thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by the local media, as well as watching the eclipse with his extended family.

As for the eclipse, I had brought eclipse glasses, my aluminized mylar filter, and solar binoculars. I also had a small tripod and a device for attaching my iphone to the binoculars. What I had not quite figured out at home was that the tripod interfered with the binocular attachment. And I couldn’t hold the binoculars steady enough without it, so there went my main photography plan. I did take a few photos of the "point and pray" variety, but nothing was really great. The eclipse, however, was great. Even at my fourth experience of totality, the feeling of awe was overwhelming. While there were plenty of people around, the site is big enough that it didn’t feel crowded. And it was obvious that everyone was completely amazed by what they were seeing. I think that even applied to the handful of cosplayers who showed up – a couple of people dressed as aliens and one guy as an auto tech kangaroo.

After the sun came back, I waited a while before braving the traffic. I was smart enough to stay a second night in Alliance, so I only had to make it the few miles back to town. My understanding is that the traffic going any further was pretty dreadful. I was glad to take a nap instead of dealing with that. I would end up doing plenty of driving the next day.

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fauxklore
29 August 2017 @ 03:18 pm
I was going to skip Lollapuzzoola 10, since it was scheduled for the Saturday before the eclipse. But I figured out a way to make the travel work. Surprisingly, it is actually possible to fly from New York to Denver. Who knew?

I took the train up to New York, schlepping far more gear than for a normal weekend excursion. I had managed to get a good pre-paid rate at The Library Hotel, which is one of my favorite hotels in the world. Aside from a great location (41st and Madison, about a block from The Library at the Center of the Universe), how can one resist a hotel that asks you "fiction or nonfiction?" when you check in? In addition, it was raining when I arrived and I was there in time for their nightly wine and cheese reception. A glass of prosecco and some strawberries did wonders to revive me. (The rate also includes continental breakfast, but that’s less exciting.)

But this is supposed to be about Lollapuzzoola, not about great hotels of New York City. The weather was better in the morning and I enjoyed riding shank’s mare up Lexington Avenue. Before long, I was settled in at a table doing warm-up puzzles.

At most puzzle competitions, Puzzle #1 is the easiest. That was not quite the case here. Paolo Pasco is a young constructor who hides on the West Coast, presumably because he wants to live to be an old(er) constructor. The theme was reasonably challenging, though my solving picked up once I figured out what evil Paolo was up to. That "aha" moment is always enjoyable – and, in this case, let me solve the puzzle cleanly, albeit slowly. I definitely did not appreciate the guy at the table I was at who felt obliged to comment out loud "it’s too hard." That distraction probably slowed me down by at least 7 or 8 seconds.

Puzzle #2 by C. C. Burnikel was, in my opinion, the easiest of the day. But I do have some qualms about it. Some of the clues told you to do specific things and the instructions at the top indicated that one wouldn’t get full credit if one did not follow those instructions. However, there really wasn’t any way for the judges to know whether or not a given contestant had followed the instructions. I think most people did, but it’s hard to be sure.

Puzzle #3 was by Erik Agard. I have to admit that it had a bit more pop culture to it than I’d have preferred. I also thought that it was one where grasping the theme wasn’t essential to solving it. Both of those aspects made it less interesting than the other puzzles of the day.

Puzzle #4, which was by Francis Heaney, was intended to be the hardest of the day. It was, indeed, challenging, but I caught on to the trick quickly. With entertaining word play, this was my favorite of the day. It also helped me in the standings – especially since it seems that other people struggled more with it.

Puzzle #5 was by Joon Pahk. This was one where the theme didn’t make a lot of difference in solving. As for Puzzle #6 by Mike Nothnagel and Doug Peterson, let’s just say I was glad not to be a finalist

In the end, I solved cleanly (i.e. without making any errors) but was slower than I’d have preferred. I ended up 105th out of 227 contestants, which is the 53.7th percentile. Comparing to previous years (and, why yes, I am a wee bit compulsive), I was not surprised, but mildly disappointed:


2012 – 42.6
2013 – 44.6
2014 – 57.6
2015 – 51.0
2016 – 59.1
2017 – 53.7

Bottom line is that my accuracy has improved, but I remain solidly middle of the pack when speed (or lack thereof) gets factored in. I remind myself that this is a self-selected crowd. And the selection of puzzles really is excellent.

After puzzles, there was pizza and socializing. And then I retrieved my bag at the Library Hotel and was off to JFK to spend a night at a lesser hotel before flying off to Vacation Part 2.

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fauxklore
28 August 2017 @ 01:43 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Joseph Bologna was an actor, with a long career spanning movies, television, and stage productions. Diane Pearson was a romance novelist. M. T. Liggett was a folk sculptor in Kansas. Sir Bruce Forsythwas a British TV presenter / game show host, who is claimed to have had the longest career in television for a male entertainer. Sonny Burgess was a rockabilly guitarist and singer. Bea Wain was a singer of the big band era. Dick Gregory was a comedian and civil rights activist. Jerry Lewis was also a comedian, though in later years was more famous for the annual telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His comedy was particularly popular in France, which I attribute to the silliness of a language with accent marks in two directions. Brian Aldiss was a British science fiction writer. Thomas Meehan was a playwright, whose work included the books for such musicals as Annie, Hairspray, and The Producers, making him the only writer to have written 3 Broadway shows that ran over 2000 performances. John Abercrombie was a jazz guitarist. Jay Thomas was a sitcom actor. Cecil Andrus was the Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter, as well as serving 14 years as governor of Idaho. Tobe Hooper directed horror movies, including The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

I want to particularly highlight Dianne de Las Casas, since I actually knew her, though not particularly well. She was a storyteller and a writer of children’s books (as well as several books about storytelling). She was also the founder of the annual Picture Book Month in November. She was known for wearing tiaras and elaborate fingernail designs. Overall, she was a sparkly and memorable woman, who died tragically young (47) in a house fire.

What I Did on My Vacation: First, I went to New York for Lollapuzzoola 10. This is my favorite puzzle event of the year, largely because the puzzles in it are particularly wild. And, once again, I had a fabulous time.

Then I flew to Denver, rented a car, and drove to Alliance, Nebraska to watch the total solar eclipse over Carhenge.

After that, I headed to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota to satisfy my obsession with national parks. From there, it was Cheyenne, Wyoming to satisfy my obsession with state capitals. Back in Denver, I had dinner with friends.

What I Did at Home: Aside from starting to catch up on work, I went to two baseball games. And I was part of a storytelling show.


All of the above is to be written about.

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fauxklore
17 August 2017 @ 04:13 pm
Summer Berry Compote: This consists of a sweet compote with raspberries, strawberries, and currants, along with whole grain shortbread to dip in it. It has 130 calories. Given my fondness for berries, it is no surprise that I think this is completely delicious. It had apparently been out of stock for a long time, so I was really glad to see it back. More, please.

Veggie Caesar: This is a mixture of edamame beans, cheddar cheese bruschetta, and sour cream and onion half-popped corn kernels. It has 120 calories. This is savory and a little salty and lots of crunchy. I think it’s a nice combination, though I have to admit it isn’t really clear what it has to do with Caesar.

Peanut Butter & Jelly: This is a mixture of salted peanuts, raspberry strings, and vanilla fudge. It has 220 calories. This is a nice combination of sweet and salty. It is, of course, best to eat all of the components together. You wouldn’t want to run out of fruit strings and still have lots of the less interesting peanuts left, after all.

Vietnamese Pho: This consists of a moderately spicy broth paste (which you reconstitute with hot water) plus dried shiitake mushroom slices, rice noodle pieces, and sesame seeds. It has 60 calories. It’s not really very pho-like and the broth is definitely dominated by the flavor of star anise (which, admittedly, tends to be a flavor I find dominant in any quantity). It’s not terrible, but it’s not something I’d want as often as I seem to get it.

Chia Coconut Cookie with Special Blend Black Tea: The tea is just tea, with a little bergamot (not as much as in most Earl Grey tea) but the coconut chia cookies (you get two) are the heart of this. They have 120 calories. I like both the flavor and the slightly crumbly texture of these cookies. I’m not a big fan of coconut, but it isn’t too dominant here. They’re mostly buttery and not particularly sweet. Overall, an excellent snack – one of my favorites.

Eleanor’s Apple Crumble: This consists of soft apple pieces, raisins, and caramelized honey and cinnamon almonds. It has 110 calories. The almonds are especially tasty. Eating all the components together does taste something like an apple crisp. A reasonably good sweet, but not overly sweet, snack.

Peach Cobbler (new): This consists of almond slivers, peach fruit drops, yogurt-coated sunflower seeds, and amaretti drops. It has 160 calories. The peach drops are amazing. I wish there were more of them and fewer almond slivers. This doesn’t taste much like a peach cobbler, but is good anyway.

Sweet Memphis Barbecue: This is a mix of barbecue peas, salsa peanuts, and wild rice sticks. It has 190 calories. This has a lot of flavor, without being too spicy or too weird. That makes it a good savory snack.

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