kaigou: Jung-In (Kim Jae-Wook) looking very please-no (1 oh dear heavens no)
In what appears to be another case of unplanned synchronicity: much like [personal profile] starlady, I also had dental surgery last week, also spent the past few days happy on vicodin, and also downloaded something for pleasant watching while mindless on the aforementioned vicodin. Except in my case, it was Fuurin Kazan, and... uh.

Alright, so I like Uchino Masaaki enough to watch despite his sometimes overacting (I adored him as Ryoma in Jin), but at least he can act. Compared to Ichikawa Kamejiro (who plays Takeda Shingen), who sometimes seems to think that "dramatic acting" really means "dramatically widening and narrowing your eyes" sometimes punctuated with "dramatically raising and lowering your eyebrows in unison". A truly dramatic scene was ruined with Kamejiro raising and lowering his brows about six times in rapid succession. All I could do was burst out laughing. It was not the vicodin's fault, trust me on this one.

But then we get to Uesegi Kenshin, played by Gackt. Yes, that Gackt. Except apparently he was under the impression that he was playing the lead role in Tale of Genji, because he's dressed about a hundred years out of date (read: like a court noble, not some local daimyo). As if the ultra-old-fashioned dress and loose, barely-tied hair weren't enough, the first few scenes his makeup was so dark around the eyes and so pale everywhere else that in comparison to his generals -- who all look like tanned men who, y'know, actually go outside and do general things -- Gackt looked more like a corpse. Not even a warmed-over one. More like 'dead for several days'.

Between the out-of-date clothes, hair, and the ultra-pale complexion, it's just icing on the cake that Gackt holds his mouth and enunciates in such a way that I keep expecting to see fangs. (Or maybe he's just talking about mouth prosthesis, I'm not sure.) Holy crap, Kenshin wasn't a woman, he was actually a vampire.

This realization is reducing all of Uesegi Kenshin's scenes to total camp, except for the fact that none of the other characters seem to be aware of the wierdness.* Only me, the viewer. Just call me Van Helsing of Taiga.

*truth is, this just makes it more painful to watch, as though the rest of the actors were forcing themselves to pretend like Gackt's total wrong-for-Kenshin treatment is perfectly fine. I mean, I thought Hiroshi Abe was miscast as Kenshin, but clearly I had no idea of the heights of miscasting that could be achieved.
kaigou: just breathe (2 just breathe)
Well, the bombshell update is that we came within about twenty feet of having our house burn down from an electrical-cable-started brushfire. Fortunately, it was middle-of-the-day, and (since our house is pretty much blind to that side of the woods) we had a sharp-eyed and -nosed neighbor who first thought it was a midday barbecue... then thought twice and came down the street to see. She banged on our door as she was calling 911, then ran to our neighbors and alerted all of them, too. It couldn't have been more than three, four minutes from her call to the fire trucks' arrival, but my gods, it felt like the longest and most terrifying moments of my entire life.

Crazy enough, my first impulse was to grab a picture of my great-grandmother off the wall (why? it's scanned, and my sister has a copy), and the next reaction was to turn off my computer. Whut? Apparently, logic is not my friend when panicked. Then I headed to the backyard with a hose -- because thinking clearly also is not in the cards. I think I was there for a minute, before the water pressure dropped too far (because CP had turned on the longer hose, in the front yard), so I went back inside to grab the dogs and get them into the car. When I came back out with a cat, next-door neighbor was there and asked if she could do anything, so I just handed her the cat and went back inside for the youngest cat. (Middle-cat was outside, keeping himself well away from the chaos, fortunately.) Took a lot of chasing, wrestling, and some serious scratches and one pissed-off hobbit-in-a-box later, I was walking out the front door as the fire trucks pulled up.

If you've ever done a sport that has sprints at the end -- running, biking, whatever -- you know how sometimes time doesn't seem to make any sense? The average race for my sport was about six minutes. Fifteen hundred meters: two minutes for a five hundred meter start, two minutes for the five hundred meter body, two minutes for five hundred meters of sprint. Well, give or take thirty seconds wherever. Thing is, I can distinctly recall races where it felt like the sprint alone was twelve minutes. Time lengthens, stretches, doesn't mean anything anymore, when that much adrenaline is in your system. Standing in the yard watching the flames eat up the summer grasses, I couldn't tell if they were coming at me fast, or slow, or frozen, or if I was there fifty seconds or five hundred seconds.

I'm not sure if it's consolation that the fire chief's comment (as they were wrapping things up, afterwards) that the timing was really close. Five more minutes... he waved in the direction of a coming storm. Rain, I said. No, he said: wind. And the wind was heading cross-creek, right at our house, which meant if the neighbor hadn't reacted as fast as she had, and the fire department weren't literally a mile up the road and a quarter-mile to the left, the storm's vanguard of high wind would've hit that fire and shoved it right up against our house.

Yeah. Yikes.

(Yesterday, CP said something about how if an electrical cable is going to snap off and hit dry grass and spark something, why didn't it happen during a storm when there's rain? I said, better at 1pm on a Tuesday than 1am on any night. If it'd been middle of the night, by the time we'd realized, it would've been too late.)

Anyway, talk about having things wake you up to putting life in perspective. Of all the things that I wanted to grab, or thought I should grab, in a split-second decision standing there trying to figure out where I'd put the leashes (more like spinning in place in a total panic trying to find the leashes) I realized the priority was to get the animals out. Anything else would be gravy. But the animals were one thing that required no compromise. Which should probably be an obvious decision, but it's wierd, it's like your brain goes through the revelation anyway, in that moment.

Amusing footnote: as I realized the most important duty (while CP was outside with the hose) was to save our four-legged children, Sachiko ran back to her bed then reappeared for me to put on the leash. I barely noticed. I got the dogs outside, pretty much dragged them both across the zapping invisible-fence-line (didn't have the motor coordination to remove collars as well as put them on), shoved them into my car, rolled down the window, and ran back inside for the cats. Only later, when the firemen gave us the clear, did I realize: Sachiko had grabbed her stuffed frog and had been holding it in her mouth the entire time. Clearly the priorities are the same for everyone in this house: save the babies! Even the stuffed ones.

Fifteen minutes later, we had large drops of rain coming down. It rained later that night, and again for about a half-hour yesterday. I still haven't walked out to see the empty lot, or the size of the burn scar. All I know is that CP's comment was that the fire wasn't halfway across the lot like my adrenaline-crazed eyes had thought. It was more like fifteen feet from our property -- and our house is only about five feet more from that point. Another five feet and the fire would've hit dry two downed trees, and a dry old fence after that. The firemen literally arrived in the nick of time.

Very, very, lucky.
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)

...seems to have developed some kind of marmalade growth.

more images
kaigou: when in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. (3 when in doubt)
Sitting in my mother's living room, late Saturday night after getting back from 12 hours of wedding decoration, wedding, reception, and breakdown.

Me: After all this wedding hoopla crap, if my sister's marriage doesn't even last a year, I swear I'm going to smack her.

CP: Sorry, but you misspelled "shoot". Glad to help.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 mao amused)
Odetta, the great dane mix grande dame, was a Sherman Tank: she didn't go very fast, but she could take out entire bushes and small trees to get there. Saimhain, the beagle-mix with only two braincells, was an old Army Jeep: could get up pretty fast when must needs (preferably if also going downhill with a tailwind, in a hurricane), but then she'd come to a complete and sudden stop and need at least eight hours of rebuild time before she got going again.

Me: I'm not sure what Balto would be.
CP: Something big, not too fast, but happy.
Me: Drawing a blank.
CP: I'm thinking a VW bus.
Me: That works. A real trooper, and when he does break down, it doesn't take much to make him happy again.
CP: All he needs are the flowers painted on the side.
Me: He's a happy boy.
CP: And sort of round, too, just like a bus.

I think we ended up deciding Sachiko might be an old Peugot coupe, an Austin-Healey, maybe a Triumph Herald (coupe). Something, as CP put it, "with British electronics". The kind of vehicle that's cute and trying for elegant, although as a mongrel she's a little on the discount side -- but not quite as low-class as a Pinto. One that's fun, but don't breathe wrong or it'll stop working and simply refuse to do anything unless coddled for at least an hour.

Me: She's a flakey girl, after all. She'd be a flakey car.
CP: Just think Lucas wiring.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
Still waiting to hear from my dad about his mother's chocolate cake recipe (and his rhubarb pie recipe, just because it sounds bizarre but it's best evidence to cite of making pie from anything) -- but here's my Mom's (and now also my) favorite bread recipe for when guests come to visit. I could've sworn I'd posted this before, but apparently not. Bread recipe behind the cut... )

This is not a bread that's ever kept well when I've made it, simply because there are always two-legged rats willing and able to devour the bread as soon as it slides out of the baking pans. This is also why I always make a double-batch, which gets me three large loaves, two medium loaves, and two small loaves: that's the only way to make sure there'll be some bread leftover for me.
kaigou: And now I, chaos butterfly, shall flap my wings and destroy the world! (2 chaos butterfly)
The tachikoma/honda has a remote key entry. So did CP's previous car, the Saturn. My veedub has no remote key, so I find remote keys infinitely fun to play with, but otherwise not something I pay much attention to. Except sometimes.

Me: Also, just so you know! If anyone ever breaks into our house and steals the old Saturn remote and key sitting by the front door, they will not be able to unlock the Honda with it! And even if they hit the button repeatedly for a minute or more, nothing will happen!
CP: Really.
Me: YES! And I know this because I TESTED IT MYSELF.
CP: I see.
CP: For the comic relief?

My personal motto: if you can't be useful, at least be entertaining.
kaigou: first I'm going to have a little drinkie, then I'm going to execute the whole bally lot of you. (2 execute all of you)
In re explaining authors who defend racist/sexist themes in their work by declaring that this was just how the story worked out, or just what worked best for the story, CP replied:

"Ah, I see. Authors don't kill people, stories kill people."
kaigou: Toph punches Zuko. (2 pigtails and inkwell love)
Discussing the newest member of the horde, Zaizai, a 7mos old orange tabby.

Me: I think Zaizai's going to end up like the Monster. Low, and round.
CP: I suspect he's going to end up like Balto. Low, and dense.
Me: Balto is dense in more ways than one.
CP: Balto, does your head have a low specific gravity?

I wanted to name him Zai-Tian [在甜] as a play on honey/sweet, being an orange-tabby, but CP thought that sounded too much like zai-jian -- "goodbye" or "see you later". Desperation made me remember the nickname Zaizai, which means "little child" ... but first tone means "calamity" -- as in the kind created by mudslides, tornadoes, and small rampaging kittens. Naturally, the name's already been mangled by CP, into Zoomzoom. Pictures forthcoming.

ETA: I don't know why I bother naming animals, actually. Odetta became Bonehead, and Saimhain became Pigtail, Kiku became Squeaky (and sometimes, Squeaky Monster, and sometimes, just plain Monster), Sachiko became Flake (and sometimes, Coyote Girl), Balto became Little Red Nutball (and sometimes Goofball), and Baccano became Bakabaka. Now Zaizai is already Zoomzoom, but with a meow that sounds like an engine cranked against its bearings, he's rapidly becoming Creaky. Soon, I'm sure, to be Little Monster. Why do I even bother?