Venus

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Prison Break Fanfiction
I write primarily non-shipper general fiction, and some Lincoln/Michael slash pieces as well. Yes, I know they’re brothers… and no, I normally wouldn’t be writing brothercest. That said, if it’s not your thing then please stick to the General Fiction section.

                  Prison Break Gen Fiction                      Prison Break Slash Fiction

Supernatural Fanfiction
Supernatural also deals with two brothers, who in this case are bound together in the pursuit of demons and vengeance. An excellent overview of this show and its characters can be found here.
                  Supernatural Gen Fiction                      Supernatural Slash Fiction

Other Fanfiction: Iron Man, Die Hard 4, Chuck, White Collar, Burn Notice, Reaper, and more

Original Fiction and Non-Fiction Stories: Miscellaneous Original Fiction // Real LJ Idol Season 8 // LJ Idol Exhibit A // LJ Idol Exhibit B // LJ Idol Season 9 // LJ Idol Friends And Rivals // LJ Idol Season 10 // LJ Idol Prize Fight // LJ Idol Season 11


Venus

Dismayed

to be looking for something like a mesh, gnat-resistant face-mask for bicycling, and discovering that some people are making and/or regularly wearing them as a means of "getting around" COVID mask mandates. Ughhh. We will never be free of this virus or the behavioral restrictions around it until people stop spreading it, and it really seems as if some people are just hell-bent on being jerks about all of it. :(

I modified my Amazon search to remove the word 'gnats,' but it still remembered enough of my original phrasing to keep showing me a fair number of over-the-head mosquito nets (which would flap around my head and get sucked into my mouth while trying to breathe during cycling, so NO). I also got a lot of suggestions for those horrible horse hoods people use to keep flies away, because Amazon apparently considers itself the center of a hot market for people looking to buy something like that? At least the pictures made it clear the horses could see out through the mesh a little (I used to ride past horses wearing them when I cycled near the office, and always pitied the horses). Some of the hoods try to be extra-stylish, with built-in ear-covers in matching fabric. So you can add to your poor horse's misery by also putting its ears in jail—and even add tickly fringe right on the nostrils? :O

Also a random offering of Halloween masks came up, including Kabuki demon, mime, Scream ghost, Black Panther, and evil-robot skeleton...

I found something and ordered it, and I hope it works—i.e., that there's enough air-flow to breathe well, but the holes are small enough to keep out the gnats. It's hard to know. Gnats seem pretty tiny when you're trying not to accidentally inhale them, but get one in your eye and it'll suddenly feels pretty darn big. We'll see. The whole point of the mask is that it's the time of year when there are lots of gnats out along the bike path, and I get tired of breathing like a swimmer to avoid them (inhaling back near my shoulder). Eventually, I lose focus and breathe at the wrong time (mmm, lung gnats). I'm hoping the mask will make things easier.

On the mosquito topic, we got a postcard about 3 weeks ago from the local mosquito-abatement people. We didn't used to have any organizations like that in Sacramento at all, until the Zika virus crept into the U.S (there were plenty in nearby farming counties where flood irrigation was used). Anyway, the postcard says "Call or text to report day-biting mosquitos." AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Do they want to answer their phones all day long? One of my first complaints about moving to Northern California was that the mosquitos didn't respect the dusk & dawn rules I was used to. First, it was while camping in the mountains, and then we moved to this part of the city and they'd pester us while we were out gardening. An entomologist friend told me they were a different species of mosquito than what I grew up with in Western Oregon, which was super-annoying. Like regular mosquitos weren't bad enough!

But I guess it could be worse. I could be standing around in the heat wearing a freaky hood that put my ears in jail. Still hung up on that...

Venus

Bits of Tid

It takes me so long to get updates out now that they become info-dumps, where the fun, random stuff never quite fits in.

And since I'm massively behind on life news that I keep wanting to post, I'm going to go the other route instead and pre-emptively post the assorted weirdnesses first. ;)

Our son loves absurd humor as much as I do, so these two snippets are courtesy of him. One is mystifying, the other curiously captivating. And of course, there's Meowdy, Partner:





Plus, from the other end of the random spectrum, something Spotify suggested for me. I don't typically like her music or singing (other than a few covers done by other artists), but this recently rediscovered recording of Joni Mitchell singing House Of The Rising Sun offers a haunting folk-ballad sound I never expected and can't seem to let go of.

Oops, I'm out of time already (it's 1:40 am, so late to bed once again. YES!!!)

But in closing, let me just say (appropos of this past weekend) that while the Capital Air Show is generally good fun, when the flyovers are so close to the ground that the people inside the houses yell "Holy shit!" and the vibrations set off car alarms for a good square mile or more... things have gone too far. :O

That is all.

Venus

Now, With Less Eye-Bulging

Boy, late-night television is its own weirdness. Especially the medical ads! \o?

And speaking of weirdness, HalfshellHusband was in the shower yesterday with his Spotify music cranked up, and his playlist included (God help me) the Bob Dylan version of 'Tambourine Man.' Because apparently, the world is comming to an end! /o\

I wonder about him, sometimes. He's the only person I know who listens to the Beatles' rendition of "Miss Lizzie" by choice. That song's signature guitar lick alone is homicide-inducing. :O

The weather here has been a mixed bag since the last time I posted. We had some really hot days, as expected, but we also had a long stretch of morning high clouds/smoke that kept the temperatures down for hours. That was great—I got a lot more outdoor biking in than I'd hoped. The smoke occasionally boxed us in for a few days, though nothing like what the people closer to the fires are going through. And we even had some cooler temperatures (low-to-mid 80s) last week, which was wonderful. I can never tell when it's becoming Fall here, but based on the epic increase in bike-path squirrels lurking in the shade and then running out in front of my tires... I'd say the animals think it's started.

As a side-effect of more biking, though, it appears that my left cycling shoe is really trying to hurt me. Or it's a side-effect from our July vacation, where I went out for several 4- to 5-mile walks after doing NO walking since May (thank you once again, scorching summer temperatures!), because that's when my foot started hurting. \o?

The pain is all centered around the big toe—the base of the nail hurts on top, and the metatarsal joint at the bottom of that toe also hurts. Aside from several other possibilities (which I will ignore for now, since they relate to arthritis, bunions, etc., and are long-term issues that are harder to treat)... it seems as if my left biking shoe pushes on those areas. I don't have any expandable shoe lasts, so I shove an empty OTC medicine bottle down in there to stretch the shoe when I'm not riding. As you do...

Seems a little better? I also have the option of wearing an older and roomier bike shoe on that foot. I'd have mismatched shoes, but I'm totally the kind of person who would chose problem-solving over style. And I have. Duct tape is my sordid, secret love. ;)

I keep meaning to post more often, but now I'm out of time again. So many rambles, but so few of them captured into blog entries for sharing. :(

Venus

Meanwhile, in the blast furnace...

We had a few days of reprieve before the next Doom Cycle begins. And by 'reprieve,' I mean 92-96o days instead of 99o-plus.

I got out for a nice ride last Thursday—it was only 80o by the time I finished. Right now, I'm lucky if that's the starting temperature! Friday was a rest day after 9 days of biking in a row, because I was just too tired, though the overcast skies made me kind of regret not going—for the first 3-4 hours, anyway. Then the smell of smoke rose up (yikes) and hung around the rest of the day.

I biked in the garage Saturday, and also unexpectedly on Sunday. Last week, I was super-tired every morning, and it took me forever to wake up enough to get ready on Sunday. I was also suffering from an intermittent medical condition that we refer to in our house by its technical term, which is, "feeling 'swimmy' between the ears." Ugh. I sunblocked and everything, but when I went outside, it was already 90o (about an hour early). I seriously considered biking outside anyway, but decided not to because of that lingering disequilibrium, so I biked in the garage again instead. :(

Mondays are tough in the summer, because I have a weekly meeting that lasts until noon. But I checked the upcoming forecast, and today's high of 95o was the 'coolest' day for the next week, so I went out riding at the same starting temperature of 90o I'd passed up yesterday. BUT, no dizziness, so it was more workable. The ride wasn't too bad, and I finished at 93o (the hottest end-of-ride temperature this year) without having to creep through the last few miles, so... \o?

I would have liked a little more water, though, and I'm finally ready to move that rear bottle cage from my old bike onto my new one. That will let me carry 2 bottles to drink and 1 to "wear" instead of just having 1.5 bottles to drink and 1/2 a bottle to wear. These are 20 oz. bottles, too!

For garage biking, I'm almost finished with Castle, Season 2. That is, I've seen the S2 finale, but now I'm picking up the episodes I inadvertantly skipped by misnavigating the earlier disks. I only ever watched the 3 episodes that came up on each disk's initial menu display—I didn't realize there were two more episodes hiding via a "Next" button. I've got a few spares to pick up from S1, too. :O

I don't think I mentioned how sorry I was to finish Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles back in late June. I really, really liked that series, and it was just opening up into newer and more fascinating possibilities when it got cancelled. :( I also loved the haunting, melancholy quality it had, which was so unexpected in a Sci-Fi series, but was perfect for those larger questions about whether "humanity" is simply something that you are/aren't, or whether it's something that you might hope to achieve. *Sigh*

Next up after Castle: probably a rewatch of Six Feet Under? Unless I can get the Netflix download-and-stream app to work on my laptop. Streaming right off the network is still a no-go, the Wifi signal just isn't strong enough. :(

Well, now that I've blathered on about heat and biking and TV forever, I'm off to bed. Geez, look at the time!

Venus

And then, a month and a half later...

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting back into the swing of reading and posting. I guess the doseage for my anti-depressants just isn't quite high enough to cope with the fallout of long-term COVID-isolation depression on top of the ongoing chemical depression? I can't seem to quite escape this funk, and my follow-through has been lousy for more than a year now. :(

So, there's been a lot of "enduring." Waiting to be able to make plans of any kind, and to travel around more freely. Waiting even to get out of the house for anything other than exercise and errands! Waiting for an end to this Covidternity...

We'd been wanting to go north to visit my family, and found that daunting because of unknowns Covid side-effects like, Will rest stops be open? and Will gas stations let us use their bathrooms? No, really--that used to be mainly about my small bladder, but now that HalfshellHusband takes diuretics twice a day, it's paramount. Sometimes he has to use the bathroom every 10-20 minutes once those meds have kicked in. :O

I got some helpful answers from friends who had recently traveled out on the highways, so we took a very sudden 10-day vacation in early July. It was SO good to finally be able to leave town (first time in 17 months) and see people! My family is mostly doing well, though my Mom is having some mobility issues. Her back and hips are sore, so she walks hunched over and limps when the pain is really bad. I think it's sometimes hard for her to even get around her house, which is really sad. She fell on her hip years ago, and had PT afterwards... but the PT created pain in her OTHER hip. So, all of that not only left her in a bad situation, it also made her leery of consulting the doctor about any other pain issues. :(

She's still very sharp at 95, but I worry about losing her if those frustrations wear her down. :(

My siblings are doing pretty well, and the cooler weather was nice. We were a week late for the really intense heat in the Pacific NW, and also missed some scorching days back home as well, which I always appreciate. Not nearly enough of them, though-- the forecast has been for 97-105o heat for most of the last 3 weeks and most of the weeks ahead too. A blip of 93 tomorrow, but that's about it. I hate this climate SO much. :O

I DID have some unexpected luck early last week. There were some hazy clouds, which are almost unheard of here in the summer. Sometimes that makes no difference, and it gets just as hot. But on Monday, the temperature went up to 80 at the expected time, and then stayed there for several hours. I took a chance and went out riding, and it was the nicest ride I'd had in a month (since the last day of unexpected partial cloudiness). It was 82 when I finished, and so refreshing. Tuesday, it got up to 84 and then "stuck" there for awhile. But the wisps of clouds shifted almost as soon as I went outside, so after a great first half hour, it was a slog and about 89 when I finished.

Wednesday had more hazy clouds, and I was SO hopeful! After my morning meeting finished at 11:00, I stepped outside to see how hot it actually felt and discovered that it smelled like smoke outside. And that I could see smoke drifting down to ground level. UGGGGHHH. There was a forest fire to the Northeast that we weren't aware of, and the wind had shifted the smoke in our direction. Really unexpected, and the smoke only lasted a day, but the fire is really close to Paradise, which was destroyed a few years ago, and the people in that area have been through so much already. :(

It was slightly cooler Saturday, thanks to a little breeze, so I did some yard work after I finished riding. I hadn't done any weeding for over a month, thanks to 100-degree temps every weekend and/or being out of town, so it was good to make a dent there. I DID spend several hours in the last few weeks cleaning up fallen cherry-plums (from the backyard tree that is supposed to be non-fruiting), because I discovered that was what was making our yard so attractive to raccoons! Two hours of cleanup on one Friday, and a whole new batch of plums a week later that I cleaned up again. I never cared about raccoon visitors until they ate through some of our solar water-heating panels for the pool and cost us $1200. :(

I've been doing quite a bit of reading over the months, and we're watching some interesting TV series. We're really enjoying The Expanse, and looking forward to the final seasons of Lucifer and Bosch. Looking forward to seeing them, anyway--not to having any of those series end!

I was disappointed all over again when I finished watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the garage before vacation. That was such a great series, and I so wish it hadn't been cancelled. And one of the things I liked most about it was the thoughtful, melancholy feeling so many of the episodes evoked. Not at all what you expect from the genre, and it just made the show all the more interesting. Now I'm watching Castle out there, and since we only have the first 2 seasons on DVD, I need to start digging through our home library soon. I wish we had something new and interesting to dive into, but my only options are rewatching something I've already seen. Why can't I get our Wifi signal to reach the garage so I can stream Netflix out there?!?

In conclusion, I hope all of you have been happier and more energetic than I've been feeling, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed toward climbing out of these doldrums...

Venus

Happy Father's Day and Summer Solstice!

We celebrated the first today, for HalfshellHusband. Not so much the second—the winter solstice is bigger for us, mainly because HSH has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Although nowadays, I like to imagine that the sun becomes noticeably less intense as we get farther away from June. I LOVE the extra daylight, but the summer temperatures? Ugh. It was 108 on Thursday and Friday here, and by the time this heat wave dies down on Tuesday, we'll have had almost a week of 100+ weather here. I hate this climate!

We've been catching up on our TV shows. We finally finished out the season for The Rookie, The Good Doctor, and New Amsterdam. Not so thrilled with The Good Doctor finale, as Claire is one of our favorite characters and gives the show its "heart." For New Amsterdam, we're happy that Iggy and Helen are both okay. We really miss Dr. Kapoor, and with no permanent replacement for his character on the hospital staff... we're hoping the actor's wife is doing better and that he might be able to return to the show.

I'm now watching The Blacklist alone, as the plot arc has peeved HSH to the breaking point. I totally understand why—I've hated the whole Katerina Rostova storyline since it started, and the farther the show ratholes in pursuit of it, the more it all crappifies itself. But I'm in it for Red, Dembe, Aram, and Harold, and the fewer episodes with Lizzie and her ridiculous vendetta, the better. Still about 6 more episodes to go, and plenty of opportunity to regret it all later. \o?

All right, off to bed. I'm already running late, and it's a work day tomorrow. :(

Venus

Rises up from the Tar Pits...

I guess I hadn't realized quite how burned-out I was from the combination of my stressful work project and the last phases of Survivor Idol, not to mention the isolating effects of the pandemic. It's been a struggle to do much of anything, including posting to my journal and catching up on my friends-list, making phone calls and writing/answering emails, and taking care of 'paperwork' for various household issues. Plus finishing the sewing pile and some reorganization projects...

So much Blah, and so little that brings me anything like joy. I feel like I've been hanging on by my fingernails since last Fall, and even with something closer to normalcy on the horizon, it's too late. I ran out of "cope" months ago, and I don't know if it's coming back. :(

So, what HAVE I been doing in the last month? Well, I got my second COVID shot (the Pfizer vaccine). It made me pretty sick for about 24 hours, but I felt almost 100% again after that—except for having a really sore arm for almost a week. Our daughter visited for the first time since Thanksgiving, which was wonderful! She's doing well, and is working at her summer internship after finishing her first year of law school. She also has a boyfriend—her first—and we're thrilled that someone she likes has noticed how special she is. Her previous romantic experience from junior-high onward was pretty much the same as mine, and we'd really hoped it wouldn't be...

The weekend after that was Mother's Day, where I made it out for a walk with our son (not even a hike, as it was too hot), and worked on our taxes all weekend. E-filed the federal return, and drove to the main post office to mail the state return around 10 p.m. on the last possible day. Ugh. Although I was not alone... :O

I've been doing a lot of yard work, cleaning up weeds and trying to get things planted before the Season O' Scorch settles in. Final planting was last weekend (temps of 100, 105, and 100), i.e., later than I would have liked. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I've bicycled a lot, sometimes in the garage when it's been too windy or too hot (which has been often). I think the season for the peppery smell and the cottonwood fluff on the bike path has come and gone. I haven't seen much new and interesting wildlife lately, except for a tiny egret (about 1/6th the size of an adult, which made it automatically cute) and the lump that refused to get off the pavement when I tried to shoo it and which turned out to be a small tortoise. \o?

We've been catching up on TV shows, and lamenting the effects of the last year. Many shows seem excessively "woke" (too much all at once, and if only they'd been farther along the spectrum to begin with), making it appear that they're all trying to tell the same story. Both The Good Doctor and New Amsterdam have become more like soap operas than dramas, which, hey—there are bunches of medical soap operas we're already not watching, because we don't like the genre! We're irked at the sudden shift in Bloom's character on New Amsterdam (in the world of the male gaze, all kinds of women seem to be randomly bisexual, whereas men never are). It doesn't feel as if the justification has been established, and rewatching House with The Boy, I can't help thinking about where things will go on that show and how much of a jolt that will be for him. The writing just doesn't support it. Also on New Amsterdam, Max seems to have become obnoxiously manic, and he's vying with Helen's niece for "most deserving of a smackdown."

I've finished a bunch of books lately, too: Real Life and Memorial (which have overlapping themes and which show how much alcoholic parents can screw their children up), Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man (recommended), Piranesi, Leave The World Behind (which aborts rather than finishes), and now, Neuromancer. Lots more to go after that!

I hope you've all been having a good Spring, and have been able to get vaccinated if you're eligible. I'm looking forward to being able to leave the prison of this house behind soon...

Venus

It's in the bag!

Or in the arm, to be precise, and who knew that second COVID dose from Pfizer would be so punishing? :O

I got my second shot midday yesterday, and about 12 hours later, my arm was really sore—just like before. But this time, it hurt SO much that I couldn't sleep on that side at all. I was awake most of the night with a headache and a super-painful back, and alternately sweating and freezing. I took Advil before bed, and again in the middle of the night, but I'm not sure it helped much? The alarm went off around 9:30, and after being up for about 20 minutes, I decided I needed to go back to bed. Dozed until 1pm, still sore, cold, and sweating. I got up for real then, and checked to see whether it was okay to take MORE Advil (because it helps with pain, but it also lowers fevers, and those fevers are an important part of the immune process). The CDC website said yes, so I took FOUR. Feeling slightly less achy, but not great.

Argh. Our daughter is coming for a brief visit this weekend (as in late tonight), and I don't want to be too sick to enjoy it.

In other, overdue news, I won Survivor Idol! What a thrill, after the longest finale ever! First, the final 3 people had to write an entry per day. Then one of the players dropped out, and at Day 15 we went to 2 entries per day. A new twist loomed at Day 20 (which might have been 3 entries per day), but fortunately, we didn't get that far—flipflop_diva and I mutually agreed to be finished with that phase after Day 17. All of that writing was a HUGE challenge, and also fairly exhausting. Then we started the final Tribal Council, with opening and closing statements and questions from any contestants who chose to ask them. That lasted another 15 days, and then we went to final voting and Gary announced the winner three days later on a super-close vote. \o/

It was a tremendously grueling experience (especially for a mini-season!), but I played with such a wonderful and talented group of people, and I had an amazing final opponent in flipflop_diva. What a ride! And the reunion party is still going on. :O I'm finding it awesome, though!

I finally got the code in for the work project that was eating my life in parallel to that whole Idol season, so I took a couple of vacation days to make up for working on my days off, and mainly spent them in the yard. Digging, planting (mostly RE-planting, to replace the things that died off over a year ago), and mostly trying to get as much done as I could before we entered the season of Eternal Scorch and my time ran out. It was super-hot that weekend, and last weekend. In fact, I see that I was only able to bike outside twice last week (because of heat, wind, or both), and that I haven't yet made it outside this week! That was supposed to be today, but that COVID shot had other plans. :(

Also, counting the hours until I can take another mega-dose of Advil for aches and pains is one of my least-favorite activities ever. But it's here! *hits the bottle* *the other kind of bottle*

I hope you're all healthy and well and that most of you are in a climate where you can actually ENJOY spring! \o?