Well, goodness! I didn't mean to fall into a black hole. I moved house, everything is a mess, and I fell behind on free time.
I decided to change the layout of the website a bit. Maybe making the font a bit bigger. Hopefully that helps with reading and navigation. I might need to spend some time going back into the archives to make sure it all looks passable. I'll just add it to my to-do list and hope I get to it...this month.
I was shocked to see that the police arrested a man who may/may not be LISK/Gilgo Beach Killer. I suppose I was surprised because I didn't think there was much evidence that could conclusively lead to a person but apparently that was not the case! The book I read about the people who were murdered and buried in the Gilgo Beach area is called Lost Girls and is by Robert Kolker. I appreciated the intense focus on the victims instead of the purported killer (at the time of print - completely unknown). I hope this focus on the victim continues as a standard in true crime.
I read a LOT last year. Maybe I'll do a mid-year reading graph...for the year before. It was well over 300 books. Strangely, with Twitter imploding and Reddit being on strike, I've been spending less time on social media. I feel like it's so obvious to say that there is this correlation/causation between mental health and social media but since being off...I've been able to sit down and watch more TV and new movies (being less antsy). I purposefully did not join any of the new social media apps that popped up (ex: Threads) to keep my time for myself.
I've managed to read some new authors and I've tried some new cozy books (that I didn't like). I'm at 139 books read so far, so only 101 books away from my goal of 240. I'm shooting for more than 240 now. I usually read a lot during hurricane season. I mean, when you have no power...what else is there to do? I'm currently continuing Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series. It's enjoyable and I even learn things (historically). What else have I read recently...
I have made a huge dent in my bookmarks. I don't know what I was doing with myself when I saved all these random things to read but I'm going through them now. Mostly because I'm stuck on what I want my office décor to look like. I had started with yellow and bright/happy, but that's as far as I've gotten. Anyways...
7 James Street is an interactive longform article (I love these). This is a true crime one about a murder in the UK. It's about the murder of Lynette White, a welsh woman, who was found in Cardiff after being stabbed. People reported seeing a white man, bloodied on the steps of the house where Lynette had been found, but police arrested 5 black men instead. These five men became known as the "Cardiff 5." Eventually the five men were freed and in 2000, the police reopened the Lynette White murder case and found usable DNA from under the baseboards and on some cellophane. The article also touches on corruption and manipulation of witnesses, the economy of the docklands in Cardiff, and miscarriages of justice.
The Fifth Force of Physics is Hanging by a Thread by Nautilus writer Philip Ball. It was written in 2017, so that's how behind I am. I'll be absolutely honest, physics is not my love. I struggle with it. The article talks about how the four forces already known (gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear focus. A fifth force would be either an entire new force or just a modification of general relativity (thus only four forces, with one needing tweaking). I understand enough of this to understand that I don't understand any of it well enough.
Happy Friday! What a week. I've been catching up on laundry and the news. What is this world coming to...
All the hub-bub where I live is on some minor political scandal (it's really the dumbest thing) so I'm just going to ignore it all. Let me know if it's at a Matt Gaetz level of wrong. He's an odd dude isn't he? I feel like he's probably odd.
The book below is an illustrated poem by Yeats. It's from The Song of Wandering Aengus...and the illustrations are divine. I picked it up in Dublin, Ireland when I went there a few years ago. It was a whim of a purchase but I really love it.
I made a double batch of shells (there was a bridge tournament going on outside on the porch). I've learned not to mess with people playing bridge...they're fearsome! I love manicotti and stuffed pasta shells...it's what I order most of the time at Italian restaurants. It's so simple to make but I tend to not make it at home to prevent my fat ass from pigging out. Like, what's a serving size? One shell? Two? I'll eat a disgusting amount without blinking.
I found a recipe from Epicurious (Vegetarian Skillet Stuffed Shells) and it was a pretty big hit. I have one skillet, so since I was doubling the recipe for the group out back (fully vaccinated and retired...I'm not playing around with Covid. No vaccine, no play) I put the pasta and shells into a baking dish and tented some aluminum foil on top before putting it in the oven. It turned out okay that way.
I think if I make it again, I'll use a different recipe. One that has more cheese (manicotti and/or ricotta). This was a nice, simple recipe. Worked for a crowd (cheaper that way) but it wasn't as good as I'd like.
I'm almost caught up on Janet Evanovich. I'm still not loving the later part of her series, but something seems to be happening (well for Stephanie and her grandmother...she's still in a love triangle). I'm in line at the library for the last book so we'll see how that goes. I've basically kept all the books around three stars in my head. They're not great, not comforting, but not the worst. I just feel she's phoning it in...
I also picked up 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. I didn't read the back, I thought it might be a type of telling of 10 Things I Hate About You/Shakespeare. I'm not actually sure it is, but I've only read two chapters into it. It's Young Adult (YA) and a pretend-dating to real romance type fiction book. I think it has the potential to be really cute.
It's Friday!! yay!!
I had the busiest week. I got my second Covid shot and in two more weeks, I'll be fully vaccinated! I also had a bunch of work that I managed to get caught up on! Success!!
I gave Smitten Kitchen's Perfect Margarita a whirl for the household of retired folks staying with me. They said it was amazing. I'm not a tequila person so I tend to avoid margaritas (unless it's a mango margarita slushy, but that's another story). The seasoning seems to be the huge winner to this drink's success. It's called Tajin chili powder (I even put a tiny amount into some of the margaritas for those with spicy taste buds (like, a dash). She always has great recipes.
I think my next drink (other than Mint Juleps that I drink before and after the Derby) will be the classic Mary Pickford.
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I've been having a weird, long migraine. I'm not having head pain (so my CGRP meds are working-yay!) but all the other stuff is hitting me hard. It's all so much better than it was but I need the weather to settle. So I haven't been reading at my normal level. I'm still reading Jo Nesbo's The Snowman. It's a nordic-noir mystery. There was a movie made from the book but I haven't seen it. Because I'm a wimp.
I'm also still slow reading the annotated Emma. I am really slow with it but a chapter here and there throughout the year has gotten me about half way through. I think since I want to finish before the year is over, I need to hustle a bit.
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I'm SUPER excited for Halloween. I don't think the neighborhood is doing trick-or-treating because of Covid. Which is perfectly safe and fine albeit a total bummer. We've got to blame someone, so I'll blame Mitch McConnell's decomposing hand. I don't like Mitch, but hopefully he's not really decomposing...in public. That would be rude.
I probably won't make any of these drinks but I want to. With this hurricane in range (which just means...anywhere from one mile to 500 miles) this week, I don't think I should risk it. Everything is kinda just misfiring and recovering. Anyways, some of these drinks look awesome - Town and Country's 36 Halloween Cocktails.
Another random video I needed to save for some reason. But after watching it, I learned there are conspiracy theories (from the comments) that the Titanic was switched with the Olympic. Jesus Christ.
Amok! Amok! Amok!
I read this one from the New Yorker this week. It's about the death of a Sherlock Holmes expert. There were questions by some of his friends, family, and acquittances about whether or not he had been murdered (in a strange locked room mystery) or if he had committed suicide. It was around the time that the last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's children passed away (and with her, several of her father's papers ended up at Christie's for sale). The article is titled "Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic." I was unaware that Arthur Conan Doyle had children or have followed them at all. Sometimes canonical authors seem to exist as the only object in a void. I had the same feeling when I learned about Charles Dickins (who at age 45, left his wife and took up with an 18 year old actress. He had three hundred children with his wife, or ten. One of those numbers. Dickens' mistress was a year older than his daughter. Dude was nasty. The Invisible Woman is about their relationship. I'm judgy).
200,000+ people are dead in America, Donald. What a fucker.
On another note, I'm still going through all the random links I saved. Why? Who knows.
Youtube has been messing with their algorithm, probably due to the inappropriate videos that were popping up in children's playlists. Or something like that. I keep getting recommendations for videos that I've already watched and barely anything new. Hardly anything from people I'm subscribed to. It's a mess.
The video on the right, of actress Mary Pickford and her husband, actor Douglas Fairbanks, was saved in my links. I don't know why! It's neat though. Pickford is so petite! If I remember correctly, Fairbanks and Pickford (and maybe Charlie Chaplin?) created United Artists so they could be in control of their career. Interesting times.
I also listlessly read three books. I'm so slow this week for some reason! Plus, I only half watched some of the TV shows I had taped. I didn't really try any new recipes other than a bland lemon pasta bake. What is with all these bland recipes? I can make it better obviously but what's the point of keeping the original if it's so boring. Do we not believe in spices and flavor? Lord help me.
I'm strangely slow with music/podcast innovations. I might have been the last person on Apple's previous platform (ITunes) before they shut it down. I keep trying to listen to the regular radio in the car but the station owners have decided to start playing Fox "news" segments and -I still can't get over this- Bill O'Reilly's segments. So...I'll be bouncing from that.
I mean, I just want to listen to music. I don't need a DJ or their "forward from Grandma segments" and I don't want a biased "news" break. Just play the freaking music! They've been driving me insane. The other day I counted TEN ads and then the Fox "news" break.
I sent an email asking if this was permanent because if it is, I'll find something new but if it's going to stop I'll stay. I hate changing music stuff but I have Spotify, Amazon Prime and Google Music. I can switch over if necessary.
And don't come for me over Fox. Everything Rupert Murdoch touches turns into tabloid trash. I'm not interested in losing brain cells from this crap. I'll lose them a better way thank you very much.
I'm going to have to refill my supplies regardless.
I've tried out some complete flops in the recipe department. I don't think my taste is so outrageous but all the dishes turned out really bland. It's a bit of a disappointment. One was so bad I ended up ordering a last minute pizza. The good news is that I'm going through all these cookbooks and random cuttings and getting rid of the bad ones. This last attempt was a quiche that was...dull. Everyone else liked it but I thought it needed so much more.
I'm mostly trying to stay out of politics but it's not really a secret how I feel. My one friend who voted for Trump has come crawling back trying to get in the friend group and make amends. So far the only people willing to talk to her is me and one other girl...and we're very cautious.
Whatever happens with that relationship will happen. I pretty much know who I'm voting for but I always do research into the candidates. So I'm going to podcast and research! After getting my work done early. Fun times!
I did manage to escape Twitter without seeing Joyce Carol Oates' foot issues. Something things you should maybe only share with your doctor? I
At the moment I'm only reading one book although I have a few others started. I'm a little off with my reading but I've reached 200 books read this year so I'm not panicked about reaching my goal (230 books). I still have quite a large TBR pile, the result of inheritance and some overzealous buying/receiving but I've made quite a dent the past few years.
I'm not reading Finding Freedom, the Harry+Meghan book. No knock on them but I'm a fervent anti-monarchist. I was annoyed as all hell that when I paid tax in the U.K. that any of it went to the monarchy. I don't care if it was only a few cents. I've also met some of the British royals in social situations and in charity/political situations. I actually liked Charles just fine...Kate was late and William was blah.
Still don't want any of my money to have gone to them.
Plus one of my friends is obsessed with the British monarchy and she's given me the low-down. I think Meghan and Kate are barmy to marry into that nonsense of an institution but my friend feels bad for both. She can almost sway me. At the end of the day, I'm amazed at how divisive this incredible dull family is. Good luck to Meghan and Kate (and the rest of the group) but you owe me about $3 in taxes.
I have read a lot of books. Well, "read." Like, if I'm not feeling a book I'll read through to the end and then count it as "read" but I discovered after reading through a Goodreads forum that other people don't do that and feel there should be a "DNF" shelf (DNF = Do Not Finish). Ah...oh well. I'm not going to change my habits now.
Sadness, one of the cats that works for the UK government is retiring. Oh no! I love the cat workers of Whitehall and wish the U.S. had a chief mouser. A White House Cat so to speak. A First Feline. Right, back to the UK, Palmerston the Cat, chief mouser to the Foreign Office put in his "resignation" letter the other day.
I downloaded "What What Crappens" podcast. It's a Real Housewives (and other Bravo shows) podcast that isn't produced by Bravo (so it's good). So far I quite like it but because I can't figure out if Spotify will let me mark multiple podcast episodes I have to fast forward through hundreds of episodes to get to the seasons I know of. This is with every podcast though. Spotify doesn't seem to think this is super important...which is a bit of a bummer.
Other podcasts I'm thinking about adding are "Son of A Hitman," "Foundering,"The Piketon Massacre,"Phoebe Reads a Mystery," and "The Michelle Obama Podcast." Lots of murder in that group.
The Eurovision Song Contest is coming to America. It's called The American Song Contest. I'm not against it but I'm not someone who can watch Eurovision sober. Granted, I'm sure more people will know about Eurovision (in America) because of the Will Ferrell movie. It could be a smash.
This week has been crazy. Not for any particular reasons...just between work and getting all my chores/errands done. Plus whatever tropical storm/hurricane has been occasionally putting me down. I'm doing okay today, so I'm trying to get things done at a record pace to make up for all last week. Which means multiple loads of laundry and cleaning the kitchen.
I also don't know what marketing asshole told brands that I needed to hear from the every day. I do not. My email is a disaster if I don't nuke it on the daily. I'm rage deleting in between writing.
I actually gave up on this series (the Janet Evanovich one). It took the MIA giraffe that was set loose in Trenton to do me in. Granted, I still read a few beyond but that was my "jump the shark" moment. And yes, you did read that right. One of her books has a giraffe that goes missing as a sub-plot. It was just too ludicrous for me and I couldn't get into the story.
The TikTok/Trump back and forth is mind-numbing. I'm not going to ever be on Tik-Tok for a few reasons. Mostly it's because I have no desire to give the Chinese government any information about me. They can get it the old fashioned way and follow me on Twitter like my FBI guy does (I'm kidding). Also, Facebook was really fun...until everyone else got on it. If Gen Z wants TikTok they can have it without my boring ass on there.
Anyways, Instagram (also owned by EvilCorp...I mean, Facebook) is starting a TikTok rival. This isn't surprising as Zuckerberg's best ideas come from other people. I said what I said.
It's called Reels and I can only hope it replaces the videos that stop and ask if I want to watch IGTV (I do not). My luck probably won't hold.
Potamac is the best though.
American Greed doesn't seem to have a YouTube channel, which is a bummer. Above is the Fyre Fest episode. That one was a wild ride and explains it to people like me...who think going to a random event with a bunch of unknown (to me) people sounds awful. I think Coachella and Glastonbury sound super unfun...but fun to me includes a spa and not being around other people.
You could say I'm....utterly boring.
Here's another channel with more clips and such. The show is on Peacock (the streaming service), so that's fun too.
I've got a few new podcasts to add to my list! I'm really excited about them as they're by the BBC Radio/BBC Sounds, who have done other productions I really enjoyed. One is about Anna Delvey, the fake heiress that conned people in NYC. There was a write up in the Cut if I remember correctly and one of her friends wrote a book about her friendship with Anna. It's a story that would (and probably was) on American Greed...which I love.
American Greed is a television show on CNBC. They cover fraud crimes, art theft crimes, grifting, ponzi schemes, medical malpractice fraud cases, occasional murder (if fraud is involved). I think it's fascinating.
On the true crime podcast train, I've been listening to Casefiles as I work. This is an Australian based true-crime podcast, although he covers crimes in other countries. I don't find him gratuitous, which I appreciate. Although, I do have to skip some of the episodes as they're too scary or rough. He usually gives warnings if it's going to be really rough. Or if there are children hurt/murdered. He did a deep dive on EAR/ONS/Golden State Killer, Mr. Cruel, and the Hinterkaifeck murders. He (the anonymous host) is Australian and has a very chill, soothing voice. It's a nice background noise...even with the subject matter.
I've been cleaning and going through things. I finally gave myself permission to toss old notes from school. I feel weird admitting that! I honestly had so much anxiety around it because I had this odd fear that my school was going to come back and demand my degree back because of a clerical error so I would have to prove that I had taken the class!
It's too late now though. I'm not giving any of the degrees back! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!
I also woke up 99% positive I was coming down with the 'rona. Which would be shocking considering I haven't left my house. Nope. migraine. Like always. It went away with Excedrin (and the CGRP shot I take). It's like that meme, is my headache from no water, migraine or a brain tumor.
So no Covid-19! Although we've had some spikes where I live...which can be traced to people going out without masks and also protesters who are protesting masks (?). A bunch of them ended up in the ICU (according to the grapevine). I would hope they survive and learn something but I'm not sure you can fix stupid. Wear a mask for heaven's sake.
Bulger was terrifying to me when I learned about him. He helped break up the Italian mafia (to gain control himself) and also placed a mole in the FBI. Let that sink in. An Irish mobster infiltrated the FBI. He escaped after several murders and went on the run. He was finally caught a few years ago (and has since died in jail I believe). A very scary guy.