Friday Roundup

Happy Friday. There’s a mosquito somewhere in the apartment, which has bitten me approximately eight billion times today. I’m going to spent the afternoon hunting it down and seeking grim vengeance. With insects, I generally try to take an all-creatures-great-and-small leave-well-enough-alone approach, but mosquitos are exempt from my mercy. It’s going down.

Last weekend, I replaced a faulty igniter in our gas stove. I am not especially intrepid with household repairs—I live in constant fear of electrocuting myself, accidentally blowing stuff up, or causing grievous property damage—but I’m getting much better. This year alone, I’ve re-hung vinyl windows, replaced a broken window lock, replaced a p-trap in the kitchen sink, and fixed a leaky bathtub faucet. And now, of course, I’ve replaced the igniter. I watched dozens of YouTube videos before starting the repair, which ended up being a little tricky, since I had to get out the hacksaw to saw off a stuck machine-threaded screw. 

Here’s my #1 household repair tip: Always have a hacksaw on hand. I ended up using it when I replaced the p-trap, too, as I had to saw the new PVC pipes down to the correct size to get them to fit together. Anyway, the most valuable YouTube video for replacing the igniter was the one below. I love this gentleman with his crisp shirt and his calm air of quiet competence. I want him to calmly guide me through every aspect of my life:

Anyway, the oven works like a dream. It’s still too summery here to really cook or bake anything, but I tested the new igniter by roasting up some broccoli and cauliflower. Toss the florets in olive oil and salt, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and roast at 425 for ten to fifteen minutes, until you start to get some good color on them. Scoop them into a serving dish, add a couple spoonfuls of drained capers and maybe a quick grating of lemon zest, and you’re done. One of my favorite ways to eat broccoli.

I picked up the wines in the above photo at the Whole Foods wine shop this morning. I’m doing roast chicken with zucchini and potatoes for dinner tonight, so I thought the chardonnay might be a good pairing. Mostly, though, I really love that label. Absolutely gorgeous. Probably 80% of my wine-purchasing decisions hinge upon whether I like the label, which I feel strongly is the most prudent and sensible way to decide such things.

My Wrong City promotion is still going on! Buy the Kindle version from Amazon (or download a copy free from Smashwords), then post a review—any length, any level of detail—on Amazon by the end of September. Then let me know about it by leaving me a comment here (or on any other post, or by Tweeting at me, or emailing me… basically, just let me know that you’ve done it), and I’ll enter you in a random drawing for a paperback copy of Demon City, plus swag. Look, September is more than half over now, and not a single person has taken me up on this, so if you do it, your odds of winning are very, very good.

What Not To Wear’s Stacey London wrote a surprisingly introspective piece recently for Refinery29 on figuring out how to dress when you’re in your forties and single. As someone in that same position, I related pretty strongly with a lot of her observations.

Video of the week: Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky”, which is kind of a cool post-apocalyptic video for a song about a bitter breakup.

See you next week.


mousie, on the wrong computer for posting but the right one for making amazon purchases said…
congratulations on the successful repair! i wish we had a gas stove, it sounds like it's way better than electric. i guess it must be harder to cancel out the stove heat with a/c in an apartment, since it's a smaller space. it's two thousand degrees outside as usual here in september in florida, but the a/c is chugging along happily and the stove and oven remain in use.

not gonna lie, i thought you were going to link to the article where nick reveals that he shares your approach to purchasing wine. if you hadn't seen it before, now you have proof that you know what's up. (i'm guessing from their weeks-long absence that the duranalyses are done for now? they were nice while they lasted, but if you're not feeling it, then that's all there is to it.)

i just bought wrong city, and it's sitting on the newly-stickered and christened makoto kino the ipad! that's step one! (did i mention that bias cut got here, and right now it's propped up on a mini grand marnier bottle and i am america and so can you? because that's happening.)
Morgan Richter said…
Thank you for buying Wrong City, Mousie! I hope you enjoy it. Gas stoves are great, even though after twenty-five years of having one (I grew up with electric), I still worry that I'm going to blow it up somehow. But when they work correctly, they heat up like a dream (there's something nice about turning a burner on and having it be instantly thermonuclear), and the gas bill is always minimal compared to the electric bill.

I had never read that interview with Nick! That's marvelous, and I feel even more strongly than ever that I could hang with him. He's fun. You can learn so much about people by what they eat and drink.

Duranalyses! Ah... okay, here's the thing, and I feel a little weird and nervous and superstitious about letting this out in the world (seriously, I want to use a smaller font here or something), but for the past couple of months I've been very (very) hard at work on a lengthy Duranalysis book proposal, which I will begin shopping around very soon. So I've been working on Duran more or less daily, but nothing for public consumption yet. I hope to get back to Duranalyses for this site as soon as the proposal is out there in the world.
Ingrid Richter said…
Aw, man, I hope you find that mosquito, Morgan. I know it will never come for me...

In other news, my other favorite "Bitter/sweet breakup song": The Cars: Drive (i.e. "You can't go on... Thinking nothing's wrong") Added bonus: the always awesome Paulina Porizkova, scrawling on the wall behind her with markers. Weird note: not sung by Ric Ocasek. Always thought it was.
Illesdan said…
I'm the same way with mosquitoes. They avoid me; but I can't stand seeing something constantly dancing around in my field of vision. Too distracting.

I applaud you for attending to minor repairs on your own. I run into far too many people inept with tools or the concept of reverse engineering.

I'll have to try the broccoli/cauliflower dish sometime; its sounds good.

Anonymous said…
aaaaaa, that's so cool! i hope it goes well! i don't know if you're allowed to let other people see it since you're trying to publish it for real (i know nothing at all about the art of publishing for real, oops), but since you were nice enough to look at duranger, i'd be happy to return the favor if you'd like an extra set of eyes! ^_^

speaking of cool things that could potentially be related depending on your answer: my friend alex and i were doing an unboxing-of-sorts of the astronaut tour book (aka the most ridiculous thing ever made) last night in our line chat. she may have discovered something downright shocking to both of us on one of the pictures i took of nick's several-list-form bio, but we thought we'd run it by you just to be sure since you probably know more fictional characters than we do. do you know any yatens in movies/tv(/comics?) other than yaten kou?
Morgan Richter said…
Mousie: Yaten Kou is the only Yaten I know. Please, please, please tell me you've found some connection between Nick and the Sailor Stars. Because that would be: a) awesome, b) hilarious!, and c) strangely unsurprising. I've never seen the Astronaut tour book, and now I fear I'm missing out.

Illesdan: Mosquitos always seek me out and try to destroy me. The one lurking in our apartment has bitten me probably somewhere in the realm of eighteen times thus far (I still haven't found it); it has not bitten my sister at all. Dreadfully unfair. And yeah, capers and a bit of lemon make roasted broccoli and/or cauliflower really pop. I highly recommend trying it.

Ingrid -- Hell, I always assumed Ric sang "Drive", too. You learn something new every day...
Anonymous said…


brace yourself

this is part of one of nick's bio pages

also, the astronaut tour book is something you should absolutely look into buying, it is trying so hard to make you like it and it will steal your heart. it has two pop-up pages! two!!! one of them features a lighting rig doohickey that you can make twirl around like a pokestop! there's also a flip book! and trading cards! and a mango version of the careless memories anna may, in newspapery-style paper and with no guide kana so i can't read it! (oh, and the actual tour book part of the tour book isn't bad either.)
Morgan Richter said…
Amazing. I'm going to go ahead and assume this means Nick is indeed a big fan of cute, tiny, pissy male pop stars who can magically transform into super-powered women in fetish gear. Phenomenal. Most of Nick's ten-fantasy-characters list is pretty great; I knew about his Captain Scarlet idolatry from reading Steve Malins' bio of the band, but seeing Modesty Blaise up there is fun. If it's okay with you, I'm going to weigh in on this extensively in this Friday's roundup, because all of this seems very important. And I'm going to have to track down a copy of the tour book.
Anonymous said…
i haven't actually seen sailor stars yet and my memories of him from the manga arc are very distant, but from what he sounds like from alex and the internet (likes cats! green eyes and silver hair! wears suits! plays keyboards!), i wonder whether yaten is there because similar traits, or if he's acting as the fellow fan signal because no other yatens seem to exist. (i think about names that don't include "sailor" that are unique to sailor moon when you leave off the last name and they're mostly villains with weirder names. he's a great choice for catching the eye of other sailor moon fans and no one else!) maybe it's both.

modesty blaise was one of the ones that leapt out at me as well, because (from my limited perspective) that is a really deep cut in terms of what comics characters you could choose. i feel like you'd be more likely to find someone saying "black widow" instead. (though it makes more sense that he'd run into her naturally, now that i think about it; it's just someone my age who has to have been waaaay into comics at some period to become aware of her.) and now i'm going to have to look up captain scarlet! (maybe i should finally buy steve malins' book.)

yeah, feel free to take that picture and discuss it further on friday. you're right, it's extremely important.

the tour book is actually not that expensive (relatively speaking, anyway, the shipping costs more than the book) new from the official webshop, which is where i got it. i'm not sure if i'd get it secondhand if you want all of the tiny band that goes on the first pop-up page, because andy, john, and simon were just floating around when i first opened the book, lol. (nick and roger were behaving themselves and staying in the pouch the band members are supposed to be stored in.) you can get basically any tour book from the last 16-17 years, including let it flow's (the last 90s-lineup tour), which is both really weird and pretty intriguing.
Morgan Richter said…
Mousie -- Oh, yeah, the anime version of Yaten is totally like Nick (my sister floated the fascinating theory that Yaten could be based on Nick; not sure if it holds water, but I like the idea, and there are a whole lot of similarities. It'd be interesting to know whether Naoko Takeuchi is a Duranie). Sailor Stars is hilarious and loopy and unexpectedly sexy; I don't know that it's any good, actually, but it sure is entertaining. In any case, it's SO MUCH BETTER than Super S.

I'm going to have to look into getting the tour books! I've never thought of that.
mousie coming at you live from wfit! etc etc said…
ngl, i'm probably going to skip supers. the dream arc in the manga is my favorite - baby hotaru being raised by the outer senshi! more characterization for the inner senshi! - but it sounds like supers replaces that with more of chibs and her horse boyfriend. which... she strikes me as a character who is intended to be a little creepy, what with the 900-years-old and inappropriate-crushes elements, so while i'm cool with that, i still wouldn't want all the focus on her. but the anime seems to have softened the weird bits, from what i've seen. (granted, i'm completely out of order - i watched the first series first, then skipped to supers because haruka and michiru. then i'll probably go back to r, and end on sailor stars.) they seem to be trying to make chibs actually cute (i'd have to look through my manga when i get home, but i don't remember pink sugar heart attack being useless?), and it doesn't sound like she works well that way. but maybe she'll grow on me... i remember saying "this doesn't work! she's too much like usagi!" about anime rei's wildly different characterization, and she eventually grew on me.

i'm having trouble ordering more tour books, i'm not sure if the problem's me or them. but itunes got through to my credit card just fine yesterday, so i'm suspecting it's them. i'll find out in an hour when i go pester the credit union about it, i guess! i started wanting to pick the tour books up because it sounds like they're full of interesting tidbits even when they aren't essentially three mini-books in one, but nobody ever scans them. (and astronaut was full of interesting tidbits, as well as being three mini-books in one.)
Morgan Richter said…
I was okay with Chibi-usa in Sailor Moon R, because there was enough cool stuff going on otherwise (and yeah, as you point out, on some level she's supposed to be unsettling). Never watch the 1990s US dub of R, though; she's tolerable in Japanese, but not in English. I have no patience with SuperS, which was All Chibi All The Time and just got cloyingly cute and gross. It's geared toward a much younger audience than the previous series, and it's terrible. And the complete absence of Haruka and Michiru is felt very deeply (they pop up in one special, but appear in no episodes -- raising Hotaru takes place entirely offscreen); when they return in Stars, colder and sexier than ever, it's a tremendous relief. As far as I'm concerned, every episode needs Haruka and Michiru running around, being impossibly cool and aloof and sparking heartfelt girl-crushes and sexual confusion among all the Inner Senshi.

(As I have long maintained, the correct answer to "Who is your favorite Sailor Moon character?" is always Haruka, though I'm willing to give Nick partial credit for Yaten, mainly because the correct answer to "Who is your favorite Duran Duran member?" is always Nick.)
Anonymous said…
...wait, i meant i was on s! definitely not supers! this is why volunteering and posting is a bad idea, even if internet usage is allowed and even encouraged on slow days like today was. ><

wow, no wonder the second installment of moon animate make-up was in japanese. i thought it was weird that the first one used the dic dub and the second one was in japanese (and the mouth flaps suffer in places because of it), but it's a very chibs-heavy episode.

supers just sounds so... baffling, on all levels. i was told the stuff about the amazoness quartet being chibiusa's senshi team gets cut, too, but if the season is all about chibiusa then i'd think that would be something they wouldn't want to cut.

i...sorta agree? i remember reading the manga my favorite was minako (all that time to herself in the sailor v manga basically amounts to giving her the most characterization outside of people named usagi, plus she gets some cool moments in the sailor moon manga) and then various outer senshi, followed by i think usagi and ami? while in the anime, i feel like minako's another one hurt by the transition to what is a lighter and more comedic show (she's no longer the leader of the inner senshi! her most memorable cool moments don't happen! by the time s happens, they've kind of thrown out the "more experienced" part that helps differentiate her from usagi!).

so in the anime, haruka edges her out on account of remaining rad and michiru gets more unique stuff to do so i like her more in her own right in the anime. in the manga haruka and michiru felt more like a set instead of two individually functioning characters, which i know is just because space was limited, but it's still really nice to see more of michiru and have more backstory for both of them. (and both figuarts are still for sale at epcot mitsukoshi and eventually i'll probably get my hands on them, especially since ami and michiru can share the water effect parts. oho ho ho ho ho.)
Anonymous said…
...oh, and i constantly worry about whether i've given nick too much to do in duranger because at the least simon is co-starring and at the most everyone is someone's fave and they all need chances to shine, which should tell you everything you need to know about who my favorite duran is. XD

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