Dresden: Harry magicking

The Giving of Thanks is Upon Us

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada! COVID restrictions mean we really aren't allowed to get together and while I'm sure that many people will be flouting that, we are obeying, so we're doing a little dinner tomorrow instead of having my brother and his wife over for brunch like we usually do. And she is his wife now because they got married last week! Again, due to COVID restrictions, they did a private civil ceremony, but that was their plan anyway. They were just going to have a big party afterwards, which they are saving for their anniversary next year (hopefully things will have calmed down enough for that by then). We have pictures from the ceremony and they're very sweet and they look very happy, so we're pleased for them, even if it's a bit disappointing that we couldn't celebrate with them.

We have a pretty big second wave of COVID happening right now in Canada, especially in my province, but, thankfully, my area is still very low. I don't know how long the schools will stay open, though, and I suspect we might be going back a phase or two for lockdown restrictions again soon.

Healthwise here, we're all trucking along. Mum's knee is playing up, probably due to the change of season, but she's doing well otherwise. I have been feeling kind of like shit lately, but in an overall run-down sort of way than anything in particular. The stones have been quite good lately, aside from yesterday, in which I had the feared combination of epic period cramps + stones made worse by said period cramps. Yesterday was NOT a good day. I find it funny though that my mum is so proficient at stone whispering that she can rub my back and go 'yeah, this one's turned the wrong way, okay I've turned it now, I think there are three of them, they're right here, they should be turning the corner soon'. Like, she could get a job as a professional Stone Hurry-Alonger.

I've been keeping myself busy with a new Tunisian Crochet hook set and playing around with ArtBreeder, making all my OCS. Look, it's Vampire Mat!:


It's a lot of fun because I can't always get exactly what I want with the website itself, so I can take the photo into Photoshop and practice some manipulation skills to get it right. I also discovered you can 'breed' two photos together, which is good for making children of characters. It's...a deep rabbit hole. I'll probably post everyone once I get them done.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there! The world is a strange place, I hope you are managing to find some joy in it.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Scottie Time

It was Pax's birthday yesterday! He's two years old now. Here's a picture of him, just after eating his birthday cookie:


Don't worry, he's scheduled for a hair cut. I still can't figure out the vagaries of my camera, so it's a bit noisy. Here's a better picture from last month, with him and my dad being bros in the Scottie Chair:


He's a big boy Scottie now and starting to behave like it. He mostly obeys and is less crazy and he's much better about nibbling on people, though he still gets a little too excited sometimes. He's just the happiest boy and a delight, even though he's trouble too.

Hope everyone is doing well! Stay strong!
Dresden: Harry magicking

Still here, still

Man, 2020 distorts time so much. It feels like it's insanely long, but also at the same time three weeks go by and you're like, where did the time go? I haven't posted since, like, June, which is weird. But I also didn't have much to say. And still don't. But I thought I would check-in.

Same old news around here. Everyone's fine, Global Pandemic wise. We still have a super low number of cases in my area, which I am insanely grateful for. Our city introduced mandatory face coverings a couple of months ago and everyone seems to be complying, which is good to see. I think most everything is opened up now, with restrictions in place. I'm able to get massages at least every two weeks, if not every week, which is good because my kidney stones are being little bitches right now. I had a big flurry of them, but they seem to be settling down once more. My hormones have also settled out and I'm sleeping a lot better and I'm hoping a combination of those two things will make me feel better in the long run. The kidney stones are something I think I just have to live with, barring any great discoveries, but I could do without insomnia and missed periods.

I've started crocheting again and have begun a Christmas present project. I always try to start really early for those because I have a tendency to start a pattern and not like it and freak out and go through four other patterns before I find something I like, but even then there's something about that pattern I can't live with and have to rework and then spend the week before Christmas frantically trying to sort out sleeves while my mum gentle soothes my nerves. So far, though, I'm a third of the way through my first choice of pattern and I like it, so yay! Although I'm not sure about the lace trim on it, so I may change that...

Also, herringbone half doubles are gorgeous but doing rows of 226 of them is very hard on the wrist!

In other creative news, I came across a website called Artbreeder, which uses machine learning to create portraits of people. Basically, you can upload a photo of a person or use an already uploaded photo and tweak the features on it to create different looking people by changing the age, gender, race, hair colour, angle of the face, expression, etc on it. You turn a dial and the algorithm layers in millions of samples of other photos to create realistic portraits or make them look like digital paintings. You can also do landscapes, album covers, and full-body characters (almost like concept art), but I haven't played around much with those. I thought it would be good for OCs or for getting inspiration for OCs. There are some limitations, of course. You can only do blue or brown eyes and there's no way to change lip or eye shape without using the race sliders which change the rest of the face, too. But you can probably download a photo and work it in photoshop if you need a very specific detail. And it's just kind of fun.

Hope everyone else is hanging in there. 2020 is throwing a lot of shit our way, so take care of yourselves physically and mentally!
Dresden: Harry magicking

A Midsummer Night's Awesome

Hello friendly friends!

If you are in need of some entertainment and are in any way a fan of Shakespeare, I highly recommend checking out The Bridge's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream:

(website link: here)

It will be up for a week from yesterday, thanks to National Theatre Live, who are putting up one show a week for a week from their archives in order to raise funds during COVID-19. Obviously, the theatre industry is being hit hard, but I'm grateful they're finding creative ways to let us enjoy it in other ways.

This production is really, really fun. It's a much different take on it, but it works, and even my mum, who doesn't like Shakespeare, was giggling along as I was watching it. It's super joyful and the performances are great. I really like the dynamics between Titania and Oberon (who they had swap roles, Titania taking Oberon's dialogue and role in the story and Oberon taking hers), and the way they contrasted it with Theseus and Hippolyta (who are played by the same actors). All the aerial work is amazing and the use of music and adlibbing and audience interactions is really cool, plus the way the sets work. They really played up the aspect of 'this may all be just one weird-ass dream' and I liked it.

Hope everyone is doing well in these crazy times! We're in the midst of some non-Corona related stress, but, on the bright side, my menstrual cycle seems to be righting itself and a lot of the PCOS symptoms that go along with that being out of whack
are resolving, so that's good.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Dresden: Harry magicking

Hello World!

Hello there, folks! I hope everyone is keeping safe in these chaotic times and if you are out protesting you are wearing a mask to keep yourself as protected as possible and getting tested if you can.

If you desire/need a small mental health break or two, here's a couple of things to provide a smile:

BBC Radio is reairing Cabin Pressure from the beginning. John Arthur mentioned it on one the last episodes of Cabin Fever. I'm not sure if they're airing the whole thing or just the first season, but definitely the first season at least. It's up on the iPlayer, which is not geo-locked for radio.

And Taika Waititi is reading James and the Giant Peach with his celebrity friends on YouTube and it is delightful. There are new episodes up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, about 20 minutes each. It's to raise money for Partners in Health in the UK and the Roald Dahl Trust will match any donations.
Dresden: Harry magicking

More Adventures in Robining

It turns out we have a robin's nest in the front yard, too. We found it while gardening a few days ago.

I had heard the mommy bird flapping around outside our den window but I was still really shocked to find a whole nest of baby birds just sitting in a bush. It's been pretty cool to watch them grow, but today Mom accidentally scared one of the nest. I have Googled and it seems they will only jump out if they're ready to do so, so I think it'll be okay. But it's running up and down the garden and we had to bring Pax in to make sure he didn't try to eat it.

The robins in the back are no longer there, so we think they've also fledged. Mrs Bird has built a new nest on top of the old nest, for whatever reason. I'm guessing she's planning on having another clutch?

We are far too emotionally in these robins. Please send help.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Still here!

Hello, world! I hope life is treating you as well as can be expected and that you are healthy and safe and so are those you care about.

Things remain pretty chill here. We have no active COVID cases at the moment in my district, though I think they might have mentioned a new outbreak at a nursing home around here on the news last night, but I couldn't hear properly. Either way, we have been extremely lucky and I'm very grateful for it. We still have to abide by the province's guidelines for social distancing, but Ontario is starting to slowly open up. Garden centres are now open, and stores that have their own storefront (I.E not a mall) can open too. I'm glad we're going at a slow rate and taking it week by week. We don't want to open too fast and have another big outbreak.

The store where I get a lot of my allergen-free food opened up on Monday, so that was nice to through again and grab some treats. I've been doing okay with the regular grocery store foods, but I was pretty limited and wasn't able to get the healthiest stuff, just stuff I could eat, so it's nice to be able to eat a bit better again.

We've been keeping ourselves entertained by getting far too emotionally invested in the neighbourhood wildlife, especially the fauna in our backyard. We have a bunny we call Charlie (because we don't know if it's a boy or girl bunny, so we gave it a unisex name) and it has discovered that Pax can't get out of his pen, so it just boldly hops around, doing what it wants while Pax goes crazy in his pen. We also have Mr and Mrs Robin who have made a nest over our back porch light, right next to the back door. Many a breeding pair has made a nest there over the years, but I'm guessing these guys are new parents because they are much more nervous and hostile than the ones we've had in the past. Whenever you open the door, Mrs Robin flies to the tree and screams at you and then Mr Robin comes and joins her, and they start swooping at you to go away. They also swoop at Pax, who thinks they want to play with him and runs around smiling and barking at them. We've been trying to get him in and out as fast a possible so they aren't away from the nest too long. It's been really cold here, with snow on a few days, but the eggs have hatched and Mrs Robin is bringing them worms now. We're very proud of her for doing such a good job under difficult circumstances.

Healthwise, the stones have been better, but now my PCOS is acting up. I didn't get my period last month and the medicine I'm suppose to use to induce one hasn't worked yet, but fingers crossed it will soon. Last time I went without a period, it lasted five months and then I bleed for six months straight and had to go the hospital twice for haemorrhaging, so we want to avoid that as much as possible. PCOS for the suck!

Overall, though, we're all coping and know we're very lucky to be where we are and in the shape we're in. If I could just get a massage, I would be so grateful, but there are worse things happening in the world right now. It's important to keep perspective.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Checking in

Hello fellow isolationists! I hope you are healthy and safe and staying at home unless you are required elsewhere. I also hope you are keeping your spirits up and not watching too much news and finding ways to keep yourself entertained.

Everyone around here is Corona-free still. Our region peaked at 55 confirmed cases and 51 of those have resolved as of yesterday, so we are very, very lucky and I am grateful for that and feel for everyone in the hot zones who are in much more stressful surroundings. We've been doing our part to stay home except for groceries and we're used to being home a lot, so it's not too cabin feverish around here yet.

Mum and I get regular massages (me once a week, her every other week) to help with our health issues and those are not considered essential services (understandably), so it's been, like, a month or more since I've had one and I am feeling it. They help keep the stones moving and passing without as much pain, and I have just been riddled with big stones that are hard to get out and have been having trouble sleeping and just generally feel miserable. Thankfully, they ARE passing, just with a lot of effort and discomfort. People are in a lot worse shape than me, so I can't complain too much, but it's a frustrating situation to be in.

We've completed 2 and 3/4 jigsaw puzzles and watched all three High School Musical movies (which were simultaneously better and worse than I remembered) and some animal documentaries on Disney+, plus a lot of YouTube. Like way too much YouTube. Also, Mum and I have started to complete each other's sentences and say the same things at the same time and the other day independently decided we should have cornmeal pancakes for supper and asked each other about it at the same time. So, we're probably spending too much time together. Or developing mutant powers. One or the other.

Dresden: Harry magicking

Boys in Frock Coats!

Period dramas have always been Mum's and my happy place, so we were totally stoked for the new Emma adaptation. We were even considering going to the theatre to see it but decided against due to the Covid concerns. And now it's been released on demand early because theatres are closed. It's a steep price ($20 for a 48-hour rental) but Mum and I decided it was cheaper than if we had gone to the theatre to see it, so we decided to rent it last night.

And it was really good.

The casting is awesome, the costumes are incredible, the music is amazing, the cinematography is gorgeous. I wish it had been about half an hour longer because some of the subplots were truncated to the point that it seemed almost like they accomplished nothing by being there and that could have been remedied by just a few more scenes to explain what was going on. But the core story of Emma and Mr Knightley was really, really well done, particularly because the actors were spot on. They've gone for a much more true to the book, less likeable Emma, and there were a few minor plot deviations that I felt developed her character a bit better given the limited time we have in film format. I always like new adaptations because I find it fascinating how people interpret things differently and Johnny Flynn's Mr Knightley is a bit of different take than I've seen before (a little less wry and a bit more repressed), and the way he played some of Knightley's iconic scenes made me go 'oh, that makes a lot of sense why he was behaving that particular way'.

Some other minor thoughts:
- Miranda Hart was born to play Miss Bates and managed to both make me laugh and break my heart
- Rupert Graves deserved way more screentime as a delightfully affable Mr Weston. He was adorable.
- Really, the whole cast needed more time. I would have loved to see this cast in a mini-series format adaptation.
- Johnny Flynn's closing credit song just makes my indie-bluegrass-Appalachian folk loving soul very happy.
- Also, evidently, he and the actress playing Jane Fairfax did their own singing and instrument playing in the movie, which is impressive. Especially Jane's actress, who had to do some really hard piano stuff.
- There were a lot of scenes with servants helping people undress. Like, a ridiculous number of scenes with servants pulling socks off people. I...don't know what that was about. However, Hartfield's long-suffering pair of servants made me lol.

Anywhoodle, I know $20 is a lot of money for a rental, and though it was worth it for me, if you aren't hardcore into Jane Austen stuff, I might recommend waiting until it gets on Netflix or is cheaper in the future. It is a happy watch if you're looking for something, though.