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Voting so far!

This is how the Unappetizing Thing votes stack up so far:

Your Hat was eliminated because it's not a food item.

Raccoon and casu marzu were eliminated because they are not available in my area for the time and money limits stated.

The following have been eliminated because I've already eaten them:

vienna sausages
Canned peas
chipped beef on toast
Liver and onions

Rocky Mountain oysters have the lead, but it depends on how you count -- if you take menudo, tripe, and tripitas and combine them because they're different ways of preparing the same thing, then tripe is a clear leader with 6 votes.

Rocky Mountain oysters 4
menudo 3
brains 2
Tripe 2
Natto 2
Canned Haggis 2
frog's legs 2
Head cheese 2
Durian 2
vegemite tacos 1
sea cucumber 1
boiled eggs with Marmite soldiers 1
tripitas 1
hákarl 1
mämmi 1
Balute 1
beetroot sandwiches 1
Weetabix with cheap red wine 1
Lutefisk 1

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Gaze in Awe

Upon the glory of modern washing machine technology!

Our old machine (a 30-year-old Kenmore) has been making weird noises off and on for awhile now, and we've been talking in a desultory way about getting a new one some day. As of last week, it started leaking from someplace underneath whenever we used a warm water wash cycle. I thought hard about whether I should try to get it repaired or get a new one, and finally decided on the latter. So Monday night we cheated Bo of his walk and took him to Home Deport instead to look at washing machines. After half an hour or so of comparision and debate, we went with LG over the Samsung. (Despite the fact that the Kenmore has been a damned good workhorse of a machine for decades, I am wary of buying anything from Sears these days, as it's gone way downhill.) They delivered it today and had the old one out and the new one in within twenty minutes -- and it only took that long because I wanted to clean the accumulated crud off the floor before they installed the new one.

This machine gets very good reviews, conserves water, can wash bulky items like comforters, and uses about a sixth as much energy per year as the old one. I don't know if it will last thirty years, but right now it's awfully nice.

The other minor excitement of last weekend was that some of the Decorative Rusty Shit we got for the gazebo takes the form of twisted iron rods about three feet long, with a twirly thing in the middle. We'd originally thought we were going to put them in the same place as those hand print things, but as it turned out, the rods were too long, or the hand prints were too narrow, because they wouldn't fit in the same frame. So we ended up standing the twirly rods upright between a couple of 2x4s with holes drilled in them to make a sort of screen, like this:

And while we were putting it together, one of them slipped out of its hole and conked me on the head. Luckily it was tipping over slowly and from a short distance rather than being swung violently or from a great height, but it still smarted, and the place where it hit has been a bit sore. No bruises, though, so I can't elicit pity and horror from onlookers.

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Glass, surprisingly enough, half full

So! You may or may not have heard that in the latest issue of the Buffy comics, the thing that everyone's been predicting since Spike and Buffy got together has happened. Bummer. But to put things in perspective, I'm gonna link to this post I made a few years ago.

For those who can't be arsed to click the link, I made that post in the middle of S9. I was so convinced that Buffy and Spike would never be a thing in the comics at all, ever, that I made a bet to that effect:

I hereby solemnly swear that if Buffy and Spike end up in a romantic relationship in the comics, I will eat one (1) Unappetizing Thing, to be determined by my flist! In order to qualify as a romantic relationship under the terms of this wager:

A. Both must enter into the relationship freely and of their own will.
B. Both must agree that they are in a relationship.
C. Both must agree upon what type of relationship it is – friends with benefits, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.
D: Both must publicly acknowledge said relationship.
E: The relationship must be, on the whole, a positive experience for both of them.
F: Last a minimum of half a 'season.'

The above terms must be plainly stated in the text in order to be satisfied. Subtext or 'negative space' does not count. Extra credit will be awarded if said relationship does not end in death, disaster, or apocalypse within one season.

In order to qualify as an Unappetizing Thing under the terms of the wager, the Thing must be:

A. A real dish customarily eaten by some group of people somewhere. i.e. no thumbtacks, motor oil, etc.
B. Available in Phoenix AZ, USA for a reasonable expenditure of time and money. It cannot be anything which would take more than two weeks or fifty dollars to procure.
C. Something I have not already tried. (Dried ants, pig's blood soup, and jellyfish are already out of the running. For what it's worth, I liked all of them.)
D. NO type of mushroom or fungus. I have a phobia about them, and I will not eat them, no way no how, even in the cause of getting Buffy and Spike laid. (Moldy cheese is acceptable in cases where the mold is authorized to be there.)

It's doubtful that we're going to get that extra credit, but even if this issue counts as a breakup, Buffy and Spike got together in issue 11, and stayed together through issue 26. That's one issue more than half of a 30-issue season. So I have officially lost the bet, I will undertake to eat the Unappetizing Thing, and YOU get to decide what it is! If you are so inclined, you can click on the link above and vote in the Unappetizing Thing poll. I'll leave it open until May 31, 2016, and then I'll tally up the votes, and eat the Thing, whatever it may be. I believe that the poll takes anon votes if you don't have a Dreamwidth account, but if it doesn't, just leave your vote in the comments.

I'm not 100% thrilled with the way the comic's handled everything this season, but looking back at my posts from S8 and S9? It could be SO much worse.

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DIY Weekend

Progress from last weekend and this weekend:

Read more...Collapse )

Still a fair bit to do: pour cement into the last two bases for the decorative iron stuff, water seal all the wood, put hooks along the beams so we can hang lights, put hooks on the outside of the west side so we can fasten up the sun sail properly, dig holes for the new positions of the wrought iron tiki torches and set them in concrete, and possibly hang a few more decorative thingummies. I'm really happy with the way it's going; I think we'll be done with all the major construction by next weekend and then it will just be finishing touches.

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Prompts for me?

We got a fair amount of work done on the gazebo the last two weekends. My camera battery seems to have conked out, though, so I I need to replace it to take pictures.

Kathy and I have decided that we have to gird our loins and make a concerted effort to meet new people. I suck at meeting new people. But it's getting to be a necessity. I have been thinking seriously about the possibility of moving up to Washington when Mom passes away, just because we now have more family and friends up there than we do in Phoenix. Unfortunately I don't think it's financially feasible, and Kathy's job is an issue.

Yes, I would rather move to another state than face the horror of... DUN DUN DUN...Making Friends.

I have never been any good at making friends. I was not an isolated or bullied child; I got along fine with most of my classmates. I had friendly acquaintances at school, and Girl Scouts, and church. But I never had, you know, friends of the sort you read about in books, until I got into college, and got into fandom. As an adult, I got along fine with everyone at work, too, but I would watch in furtive amazement as they casually mentioned going to each other's houses or out for drinks or whatever. How they heck did they do it? Just ask people over? What if the people said no? None of them ever asked me, so obviously I must give off anti-friend vibes of some kind.

When I made friends it was usually because someone saw a story or a drawing I did, and liked it. So deep inside I'm convinced that people only like me if I'm writing or drawing something they want. If I'm not producing entertaining content, then I'm just an awkward, annoying weirdo whom no one in their right mind would want to hang out with. The more rational portions of my mind occasionally suggest that perhaps this is not the case, but pffft, what does it know? Which leads conveniently into:

What the Hell Should Barb Write For Seasonal Spuffy? I got nothin', people, so give me some prompts, pleeeeeease!

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Drive-by posting

Well, a number of exciting and not so exciting things have happened since last I posted. No, I'm lying; it's only been unexciting things. As it turned out, Costco sold out of the gazebo we were hoping to get long before my pocketbook recouped enough to buy it, so we've returned to Plan B and are building one ourselves. The cons are that it will be a bit more work and won't look as professional, but the pros are that we can take the materials home ins stages in our tiny cars, and it will be much cheaper. Also we can custom fit it to the somewhat irregular size of our patio.

I'm trying desperately to come up with an idea for Seasonal Spuffy -- speaking of which, if you haven't signed up for this round, run like the wind and do so now! All the cool kids are doing it! (And so am I, but don't let that stop you!) There are still a few precious days left! RUSH OUT IN A BUYING SIGNING-UP FRENZY!

I went through a moderately awful scare today upgrading my desktop to Windows 10 -- my laptop had gone without a hitch, but for some reason, the desktop upgrade failed to migrate a whole bunch of profile and setting information for non-Microsoft programs correctly. Everything's back to factory standard. This was a major inconvenience with my browser passwords, but it was a small catastrophe for all my archived email. Luckily I was finally able to track down the folders where all the files had been stashed and recreate the profiles for the most important things, but it was a dodgy several hours. Not helped by the fact that I only got five hours of sleep last night, on account of fretting over a potential confrontation at work (which, naturally, never happened.)

Lastly, there's a nebulous plan coming together for a Buffyverse get together at Phoenix Comicon -- so far it's me, Soaringclaws, Bewildered, and maaaaybe Feliciacraft if we can wear her down before then. If anyone else on my flist is planning on going and is interested, let us know! Last year's get-together was a lot of fun; we just met for a few hours at a restaurant near the con and talked about all kinds of stuff.

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But My Sorrow Has No Friend
by Barb C.

Characters/Pairing: Buffy/Spike
Rating: T
Words: 620
Setting: BtVS Comics Season 10 Issue #24
Notes: For the SB_Fag_Ends prompt "Thomas the Rhymer." Just an idea I had about how the fight with the Soul Glutton could have gone down differently. The comics are where I get my angst on.

Buffy pieces out the hows of it later: The Soul Glutton lunging for Dawn, Spike throwing himself in the way. In the moment, all she sees is the look in his eyes: a revelation and a loss, all in one. But he keeps on fighting, till they've defeated the monsters and closed the portal and saved the world, again.

As the dust settles, Spike turns to her, panting that way he does after a fight, even though he doesn't technically need to breathe. Everyone else is frozen, awaiting the conclusion of their last dance. She's circling him now, gauging her opening. They're both a bit banged up, but she's certain she can take him. If she wants to. Does she want to? Of course she doesn't. She can knock him out, tie him up, chain him to the wall, call Riley and get another chip installed, something, anything to bring him back –

But she's no Janet, and he's not been stolen away. He's still right here.

She raises the Scythe – can he hear her heart pounding? "Buffy," he says, voice low. "Don't."

Ironically, that erases her doubts. Want is irrelevant. She knows what Spike – the real Spike – wanted her to do if this ever happened. "So now all of a sudden you're afraid to die?" she asks. Trying to keep it light. For Buffy Summers, killing-your-vampire-boyfriend, again, values of light. "Even without a soul I never thought you were a coward, Spike."

He grimaces, squeezes his eyes shut and opens them again. She tells herself that they're different now – flatter, less human. But the truth is, they're just blue. Just as Angel's were always just brown. "That's not it." A muscle in his jaw flexes. "Souled me is a wanker."

"Shut up," she snarls.

Spike dodges her half-hearted swing, flashing into and out of game face in a startled instant. "Did you love him?" he asks.

Did she? She's said the L-word in connection with Spike twice. The first time he blew her off, and the second time, she blew him off. If she really did love him, she'd have gotten up the courage at some point to revisit the issue, wouldn't she? If she's held off this long, she must have a good reason, and maybe that reason is that vampires with souls are still vampires, and souls are impermanent things at the best of times. Spike dodges again, sidestepping with supernal grace – he really is a better fighter without a soul, she thinks ruefully. Doesn't matter. She's better still. "That's none of your business."

"Perhaps so. Like to think you held him in some degree of fond regard, though," he says. "I'd say held me, but he doesn't do me the courtesy, so I don't see why I should return the favor."

And he's hooking a foot out to trip her. She rolls into the fall and is on her feet again in seconds, but he grabs the haft of the Scythe as she comes up, not to fling it away (she's expecting that) but to aim the stake-end at his own chest. She falls back, hands dropping nerveless from the weapon. "Spike – "

That look in his eyes isn't – what it looks like. He'd said so himself. His other self. Oh God why does this keep happening to her? He laughs, a short, ugly sound. "Either way, he's a wanker. Asking you to do his dirty work. He'd say this isn't love," he adds, conversational. "But buggered if I know what else to call it."

And he's dust. Just like any other vampire.

Buffy kneels there on the cavern floor for a long time, arms wrapped around herself. When she rises, her eyes are dry. There's no point in tears. She's not even sure who she'd be crying for.


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All my life I've lived in central Phoenix. Our neighborhood is weirdly patchwork: you get a block of city-owned rent controlled apartments, and only two blocks away, a street of huge beautiful old houses with horse property. Our block is intermediate -- single houses built in the late fifties to early sixties. They're mostly one and two bedroom, almost small enough to qualify as microhouses by today's standards. (Ours is less than a thousand square feet, and that's after we enlarged it by enclosing the carport.) It's not an especially picturesque street, especially as several properties on it have been rental house which have not been kept up well at all. Back in the 90s we had a genuine drug house down the block.

In the last year or so, the cruddy rental properties have all gone up for sale, and are slowing being renovated and put on the market. We keep getting postcards from investment companies who want to buy our house. There are trendy coffee shops appearing on the major street a few blocks away. The run-down strip mall at the nearest major intersection is getting a major makeover.

I strongly suspect that as all the really historical and scenic neighborhoods have been priced out of anyone's range, the hipsters are moving into ours, which is merely old.

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That feeling when the love of your life buys you half a dozen delicious handcrafted chocolate birthday cupcakes at the local craft bakery, and you squee in delight, put them safely out of reach, and then go out to run errands, and come back to find that despite being safely out of reach your IDIOT DOG has somehow reached them anyway and eaten ALL OF THEM, necessitating a call to the pet poison center, a sixty-five dollar charge, and half an hour of feeding him hydrogen peroxide in milk and running him around the yard till he barfs them all up.

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Happy Bunny Day

To those of you who are not Anya.

We didn't do anything much for Easter -- no decorating, no eggs, no nuthin. I occasionally think that maybe I should get off my butt and get up and go to church on Easter, purely because I love the music, but what with the whole not believing in God thing I think it would be a tad hypocritical of me. Plus it would mean getting up early. So not happening.

Instead I did yard work, and some laundry, and messed around with some characters for an RPG. I also wrote a little more on the next chapter of POM. This chapter has a lot of transitional stuff, moving characters around in preparation for the Exciting Climax, and I'm not very happy with what I have so far, but then, I seldom am at this stage.

I haven't been sleeping very well the last week or so, and the pollen count is through the roof here, so I felt muzzy and snuffly all day. We did have Mom over for dinner -- salmon grilled on the salt plate Kathy got for Christmas, grilled vegetables, and prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe. Think I'm going to try and get to bed early tonight.

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