Life’s Little Missteps

I picked up some groceries on my way home from work yesterday. Among other things, I bought some tequila. I didn’t see our regular brand, so I decided to try something new.

Coconut Tequila

How could I not see that?

It was something new, all right, and not what I’d wanted to buy. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the word “COCONUT”, in large letters, on the label.

Coconut-flavored tequila isn’t terrible. It’s better mixed with Coca-Cola. Phillip says we should try it with lime. Anyway, we won’t let it go to waste.

(As I was typing this post, Phillip informed me that he likes this coconut-flavored tequila!)

I started off to work this morning, and Phillip suggested that I wear a jacket. It might rain, he said. So, I put on a rain jacket.

I meant to go outside during my morning and photograph the blue sky, to compared to last week’s ash-filled sky. But I forgot to.

As I stepped out of the office building, at the end of the day today, I realized that I’d left my jacket at my desk. Oh well, I didn’t need it, and it’ll still be there tomorrow.

 

Concerts Keep The City Going

I’ve been playing Moonlight Fields longer than I’ve played any other city in Cities: Skylines, far beyond the point where I typically would call a city “finished”. I’ve unlocked all the tiles I can unlock. I’ve unlocked all the buildings and monuments I want to unlock (in other words, all the positive unlocks). Moonlight Fields still has room to expand, but there’s no demand for expansion, and I don’t feel the need to add any more sprawl.

Sign

(Hollywood Alphabet Pack by Crazyglueit, from the Steam Workshop)

Moonlight Fields is a successful city. It has a good income growth. Its needs for health, garbage disposal, and safety are met. Citizens are happy. It survives fluctuations in population. It maintains an average population of 110,000 citizens. It survives disasters.

I keep playing the city. I tweak  little things here and there. I fix busy intersections, and alter transit lines. I add landscaping here and there. I’m enjoying this city a lot.

Rocks

The thing that keeps me playing Moonlight Fields, more than just the enjoyment of a fine city, is the Concerts DLC.

Concert level 1

Concerts is like a game within the game. It’s like the Match Day DLC, but with more a more active player role. Rather than setting up the right conditions for a football stadium and then sitting back and watching your team’s wins and losses, Concerts allows upgrades to a festival area based on meeting certain criteria. The upgrade is a reward for hosting successful concerts. There are two upgrades (three levels of festival area quality) available. It’s a lot of fun.

Concert level 2

I did fine on the first level, and advanced to the second level. But now, I can’t figure out how to boost the bands’ popularity. In fact, all three bands are gradually losing popularity. I don’t understand it. The festival area has a monorail station, a metro station, a blimp station, and taxi stands next door. There’s a train station, with both local and intercity lines, a few blocks away. There’s a metro stop at the train station, in case you don’t want to walk to the festival area. There’s direct access to and from the freeway. As far as I can tell, no one should have trouble getting to the show.

Music Experience

I have advertising and the premium practice studio turned on. I’ve tried increasing ticket prices, and I’ve tried lowering them. I’ve tried adjusting the security budget up and down. After achieving a popularity of 80 in level one, NESTOR has dropped to 73. Once in the 50s, Lily La Roux and Elijha MOTI are both at 20. I need one band to have a popularity of 85 for the second upgrade, and I don’t know how to get there, and the internet, so far, hasn’t helped me.

But I keep playing.

Returning Discs

Phillip had a NorWesCon meeting today. He’d planned on taking the car.

Season Two of Supergirl was due back at Scarecrow Video today. At first, that seemed like a logistics problem. But, I figured, there are buses in the area. I could get reasonably close to Scarecrow. Or, I could get lucky and find a car2go or ReachNow in the neighborhood. (I keep forgetting about Zipcar!)

I looked into it, and discovered that the combination of Link light rail and route 67 would work perfectly.

Meanwhile, Phillip discovered how bad traffic was predicted to be this weekend, and decided to take Link. That freed up the car for me. But I decided to still take public transit, enjoy the scenery, and maybe spend some time exploring the U District on my own.

This morning, Phillip left to walk up to Capitol Hill Station and ride Link and RapidRide A to the meeting. I took a shower and walked up the hill a little later.

Along the way to Capitol Hill Station, I dropped a DVD into the mailbox to return it to Netflix. The film was Dark Horse. We watched it last night.

Dark Horse is a wonderful, delightful documentary about a group of people in an ex-mining town in Wales who form an alliance, paying £10 per week, to breed and race a horse they name Dream Alliance. They go into this project knowing they have no hope of winning a single race. Professional horse racing is not a sport for the working poor. They don’t even have enough money to breed a horse from a quality lineage. But they try it anyway.

The story of Dark Horse is told to us by the people who were involved in the crazy project.

I got to Capitol Hill Station and had a 4 minute wait for a train to University of Washington Station.

Campus SignI exited University of Washington Station and walked over the bridge into campus. The bus stop was close by. According to my research, the 67 runs every 15 or 20 minutes. OneBusAway told me the next 67 would arrive in 11 minutes. I was in no hurry. Less than a minute later, a 67 bus arrived.

The 67 got me a block and a half from Scarecrow Video. I arrived at Scarecrow at 10:54. Scarecrow Video opened at 11:00. It hadn’t occurred to me to check their hours before I left home. Because it was a multi-disc set, Season Two of Supergirl wouldn’t fit though the “Night Drop” slot. So I read some more of Norwegian Wood on my phone while I waited outside.

At 11:00, Scarecrow Video opened, and I returned Supergirl. I browsed around a bit, and then I walked over to the bus stop on Roosevelt and 50th. OneBusAway told me a 67 was due NOW. I looked up the street, and there was a 67 a half-block away.

My plan was to exit on Campus Parkway and explore the U District for a while. Then I noticed that our 67 had turned into a 65. I decided to stay on a while, and see where the 65 goes.

I still don’t understand the reasoning behind a bus changing its route number in the middle of a route. I did some internet searching a while back, and I have yet to find a transit system in another major city that has this feature. It is a mystery.

I discovered that routes 65 and 67 are essentially one route. Having skipped the U District, I exited at University of Washington Station and rode Link back to Capitol Hill.

Here’s how the 65/67 works: Route 65 starts in Jackson Park and continues south through Lake City, through some neighborhood named Wedgwood, and into the University of Washington. At some point on the UW campus, it changes into a 67 and continues through the U District, north along 11th, and then Roosevelt, to Northgate. Then the 67 goes back south along Roosevelt, changing into a 65 somewhere in the U District, and continues on to Jackson Park. (Why is this not one route? Is there any city besides Seattle that does this? The mystery continues.) If I had studied Metro Transit’s map more closely before I left home, I wouldn’t have been surprised by this, but I’d planned by trip with Google Maps, and used Metro’s web site just to check the frequency of the 67.

I exited Capitol Hill Station and decided to have some traditional “Phillip’s at a NorWesCon meeting” phở on Broadway. I came to a new restaurant named Poke & Sushi, however, and decided to give it a try. I didn’t actually know what poke is, but the guy behind the counter was helpful and friendly.

I had tuna and white rice, with traditional poke sauce, with green onions, tofu, and edamame. I had a Fat Tire beer to go with it. It was tasty. I’d go back there.

Fifty-Two Books

Well, I did it. I completed Popsugar’s 2017 Reading Challenge in 8 months, plus a few days. That’s 52 books in 248 days. That averages out to a book every 4.8 days. (There were some short books in there.)

The combination of having a goal, a deadline, and a commitment to document the completion of each book worked well for me.

There were books I liked, and books that didn’t thrill me. Some books disappointed me. I stuck to my self-imposed rule to complete every book I started for the Challenge, even if I wasn’t enjoying it. (I figured the point of a reading challenge is to be pushed out of one’s comfort zone.)

Here are ten books (in alphabetical order) I discovered, and fell in love with, along the way:

1Q84
Afterworlds
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion
Asleep
Bestest. Ramadan. Ever
The Dalai Lama’s Cat
The Ghost Bride
The Golem and the Jinni
Orleans
Saga, Volume One

I read fifty books for the first time. I read two books I’d read before (because the Categories required it).

Seven books were eBooks. Forty-four were physical books. One book was an audio recording (because the Category required it).

I read one book by a former President of the United States. I read one book written by a future President of the United States.

I read books originally published in the USA, in the UK, in France, in Finland, in Iceland, and in Japan. I read a book by an author who was born in South Africa, and a book by an author born in Zimbabwe. I read an American book written by a Dutch author.

I plan to do this reading challenge next year. There are plenty of reading challenges out there, but so far, I like Popsugar’s the best – it’s full of surprising and off-beat Categories.

A Family Member

Brothers, by Ralph Josiah Bardsley, was published in 2015. An internet search for “book with a family member term in the title” lead me to this book.

BrothersJamus Cork is a Bostonian by heart, but he is attending graduate school in New York City. He is enjoying life in New York. He meets a man, by chance, in a bar and they fall in love. Life in New York is wonderful.

Jamus has his life planned out. He will finish school, stay in New York, and be a writer.

Then, both of his parents die in a car crash. Jamus’ only brother, Nick, had been born just before Jamus left for college. Nick was three years old when their parents died.

Now, Jamus is back in the South End neighborhood of Boston, raising Nick on his own. This is not the life Jamus Cork was planning.

Jamus has a good job in a bookstore. He continues to write. He loves his brother, and does his best to be a good guardian. Still, Jamus has nightmares of the crash that killed his parents.

Brothers Jamus and Nick Cork are more like father and son.

Sean Malloy has finished graduate school in west Massachusetts, with a doctorate in Education. He’s returning to Boston. As he’s packing, Sean receives a phone call from his brother, Kevin. Kevin has just been honorably discharged from the Marines.

Brothers Sean and Kevin Malloy move back into their parents’ house in South Boston. Their two sisters live nearby. Sean’s teaching career is at odds with his family’s blue color background.

Grace Kinvara grew up in South Boston. She went to school with Sean and Kevin. Kevin had asked Grace to the prom, but she told him she was waiting for Sean to ask her. It caused a rift between the two brothers for a while. Sean didn’t ask her to the prom, however.

Now, Grace is still making romantic moves toward Sean, but he’s clearly not interested. Kevin can’t figure it out. Neither can Father Richards, who thinks Sean and Grace would make a wonderful couple.

Nick becomes a rebellious, tough teenager. He’s known, all his life, that his brother is gay, and, to him, it’s just who his brother is. Other kids are not so accepting. Nick gets into fights. During one fight, he calls his opponent, whose parents are from Nigeria, a racial slur. Nick is stopped by his English teacher, Mister Malloy, who calls Nick’s guardian in for a parent-teacher conference.

It’s not the first time Sean Malloy and Jamus Cork had met each other. They’d locked eyes during Mass once, and had had a casual conversation afterwards. Grace noticed the way Sean and Jamus had looked at each other.

More than halfway into this 250-page book, Sean and Jamus go on a date. It’s Jamus’ first date in ten years. Jamus is afraid to tell his bother that he’s going on a date with his English teacher. Sean is afraid to tell his brother that he’s going on a date with a man. Sean has never gone on a date with a man before.

Brothers is a pretty good novel. It was a little slow at times, and the ending wrapped up a little too neatly, I thought, but I enjoyed it, overall. It was full of side stories and plot twists, just enough to keep it interesting. It’s a character-driven story.

My favorite character was Nick, who grows from a child wondering why his brother takes him to the park alone, unlike the other “parents”, to a teenager wondering why his brother doesn’t keep any of his novels on the bookshelf at home. When he gets a copy of Angel of New York, Jamus’ most popular novel, Nick begins to wonder how much truth there is in the story of a gay street kid, high on drugs, who kills his family in a car crash.

  • A book with a family-member term in the title

Something I Don’t Often See At A Laundromat

Sundays are our typical day for doing laundry. Yesterday was so hot, however, that an air-conditioned streetcar sounded better than a warm laundromat. We did laundry today, and the laundromat was just as warm as it would have been yesterday.

Today, being Monday, there was an attendant on duty. She came in handy when we jammed one washing machine with quarters. On Sundays we’d have to go to the grocery store next door for assistance.

There was a modeling photo shoot going on in the laundromat today. There were two models, an assistant, a photographer, and a couple of cans of beer. They shot in corners of the building while people did their laundry out of the camera’s range. It might have been a beer commercial, but I doubt it. More likely, it was a class assignment.

Fried Chicken

Today, Phillip and I took a streetcar joyride to the International District. Basically, it was an excuse to escape the heat in our apartment.

I love the First Hill Streetcar. It’s comfortable and roomy. It offers some great views of the city.

We exited the streetcar at 5th and Jackson, and started walking at random. Phillip spotted a place named Seoul Tofu House. We agreed to go in for lunch. We’d never been there before.

Phillip had the Spicy B.B.Q. Pork with Soft Tofu Soup combo.

I decided on something called Fried Chicken. The photo on the menu showed what looked like a huge plate of fried chicken. I ordered it because I was curious what the Korean take on fried chicken would taste like.

Our food was delicious. Don’t misunderstand me. Phillip’s combo was delicious and my fried chicken was delicious. My fried chicken, however, was fried chicken – just like what you’d find at an American picnic. It was a little disappointing – but I’m not complaining. The plate was just a huge as the photo showed. I ended up getting a box to go.

In our wandering, we saw a tiny Japanese delivery truck, with right-hand drive, parked on the street. It was for sale. Later, we saw a tiny Japanese van, with right-hand drive, also for sale, by the same company. We’re not in the market for a truck or van, but they looked pretty cool.

We browsed around Konokuniya bookstore, and Uwajimaya. Then we browsed around Daiso. Phillip bought one little Halloween decoration at Daiso, and that’s the only thing he bought. It was very unlike him to do so much browsing and so little buying. I didn’t buy anything, which is not unlike me.

After Daiso, we rode the streetcar back to Capitol Hill.

We stopped into Phoenix Comics and Games, where Phillip picked up the latest Squirrel Girl, which he had on hold, and I bought Volume Five of Saga.

We stopped into Rocket Fizz, where I spent thirty dollars on candy, and Phillip, keeping with the theme of the day, bought nothing.

Then we walked home and ate leftover fried chicken while we watched another disc of Supergirl.

TV Without Television

Phillip and I drove to Thornton Place Cinemas this afternoon and watched the pilot episode of Inhumans on an IMAX screen.

Yes, that is correct. We drove to a movie theater and paid to watch television.

Inhumans was pretty good. It could be a good series. Maybe it’s unfortunate that we don’t own a television – or maybe not. I still believe we made the right decision, almost two years ago, to discontinue our cable service. We just weren’t watching TV enough to justify the bill.

On our way home from the theater, we stopped into Scarecrow Video and rented Season Two of Supergirl. We watched a whole disc on our computer this evening.

Even without a television, we managed to spend half a Saturday watching TV.