nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
( Mar. 18th, 2014 09:59 pm)
I felt the urge to rewrite my introduction so I thought I’d use it as a starting point for a Subscription Meme, as I haven’t seen one going around for a while.

I’ve made a template, which I’ve filled out very wordily below. Please feel free to adapt it to your wishes, and please link this post wherever you like. (Please participate or share? I'm going to feel very sad if this entry sits here alone with 0 comments...)

Subscription Meme template:
<b>People in this journal</b>
<b>About my job</b>
<b>Some random facts</b>
<b>Things I like to do</b>
<b>Social media usage</b>
<b>>Subscriptions, access and commenting</b>
<b>What I’d like to get from my participation here</b>

My responses! )
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Sep. 22nd, 2016 10:16 am)
Autumnal or vernal, depending on your hemispherical orientation.

Also, it is my birthday and this morning I opened my gifts with two eager assistants. We were all very pleased by the cuddly Jupiter which arrived without sender designation. Mystery sender has since been identified as Dear Friend Josh. \o/

Me, Humuhumu and cuddly Jupiter. Two of the three of us sporting some outstanding bedhead. Photo processed with the "Saturn" filter in Google Photos.
A visit to the California Academy of Sciences, located in SF’s Golden Gate Park needs no excuse other than the place itself. However, in this case, there is a story behind our trip there.

We chose our temporary place of abode in SF based on the accessibility it afforded to the park. The N-Judah tram line stopped a mere block and a half away, and dropped us off about as close to the front door of the Cal Academy as it’s possible to get if you’re not already on foot.

On my previous trip to San Francisco in December of 2013, I was privileged to be shown around the Cal Academy by [personal profile] emelbe, who volunteers there regularly. [personal profile] emelbe drew my attention to the book Pierre the Penguin and suggested I take it home to the then-13-month-old Humuhumu. I did.

I have read Pierre the Penguin to her, and then to Keiki, at least once a week ever since. She has the book memorised.

Pierre is an African penguin who lives at the Cal Academy along with 19 other penguins. One day, Pierre moulted as usual. Less usual was the fear he developed of going into the water, a necessary step to stimulate the re-growth of his feathers. He stayed bare. The other penguins began to pick on him. Aquatic biologist Pam tried a heater and medication to get Pierre back into the water, but it didn’t work. Eventually, she hit on the idea of making Pierre a tiny neoprene wetsuit. (The wetsuit is on display in the Academy bookshop.) Not only did this keep Pierre warm in the water, it also made him appear more like a feathered penguin, which stopped the other penguins from bullying him. He was able to resume diving and a few weeks later, his feathers had regrown.

When we told Humuhumu that we would be able to visit Pierre on our trip to the USA, it became her main focus. Every day she would ask, “Are we going to see Pierre?” Finally the day arrived when we could say yes.

It was a tremendous joy to watch her tear from one end to the other of African Hall toward the penguin enclosure, crowing, “Pierre! Pierre! Pierre! Pierre!” If I ever forget to be grateful, I need only remember this event to recall the level of privilege I’m able to afford to my child: to travel from one side of the globe to the other to visit a penguin she’s been reading about since she was one. OK, so that wasn’t the only reason we made the journey, but to be able to include it was still remarkably fortunate.

If that weren’t enough, we got to see Pam (nb: I think it was actually an Amy, but never mind) pop out of the hidden door in the sky-painted wall with fish in her pail, and feed the penguins (twice a day without fail).

On the day Humuhumu returned to nursery, her key worker asked her who she met on her trip to the USA. Her first answer: “Pierre!” The nursery staff asked who Pierre was: perhaps a member of the family? She shook her head. Who is Pierre, then? “A penguin!”

They thought she was joking and asked me about it when I picked her up, so I got to explain to them that yes, Pierre is literally a penguin and yes, that was the highlight of her trip.


Picspam, +25 )
I’ve wanted to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Northern California since [personal profile] emelbe first introduced me to photos of it, which was at least 10 years ago. Knowing the aquarium was there heavily influenced our decision to stay in Pacific Grove once the Santa Cruz portion of our trip was done. We ended up going to the aquarium twice and spending most of the day there both times. It’s huge and beautifully set up and there are so many interactive things for the children. Nearly all of the second floor is splash pools and mazes and tanks on their level (e.g. the floor) and activities.

It was also a rather good Pokéspot because free wi-fi + 5 Pokéstops with lures going almost constantly + gym + historical spot next to the ocean == many, varied and frequent Pokémon appearances.

All of these images were taken with my phone. I brought my dSLR and nice telephoto lens, but they proved too much of a faff to deal with when chasing around two active children. I’m a bit sad I didn’t manage to get a good shot of an otter or from the shore bird enclosure (they come to within inches of the humans and there are no barriers) or of the Great Wave exhibit where you stand under a glass ceiling and the water crashes over you. I guess we’ll just have to return again, though my advice to anyone else contemplating a visit would be to avoid Labor Day weekend. Our first visit was on the Saturday and it was heaving. The Tuesday visit (with my aunt + cousin) was much calmer.

An aquarium specialty is truly enormous tanks. Below is a portion of a floor-to-ceiling one that, when walked through, gives the impression that the fish are circling around you.

Many sea creatures. A few land creatures, too. )

Finally, Humuhumu and the bloke discovered an interactive in the ¡Viva Baja! exhibit where you could colour in your own fish, e-mail it to yourself and then view a 3D version of your fish design swimming in the ocean. Here is Humuhumu’s vibrant fish.
  • I didn’t get to poke as many mons as I would have liked in the USA due to lack of mobile data. After the first hotel, our next two temporary abodes were, frustratingly, nested between Pokéstops but not quite close enough to reach them with the provided WiFi connections.
  • Although I saw the shadow of a Tauros several times, I didn’t manage to catch one.
  • I did, however, acquire the following new Pokémon, in addition to the Ekans, Growlithe and Pikachu mentioned previously:
    • Nidorino
    • Diglett (looks like a tiny happy...tombstone?!)
    • Persian (mrow)
    • Grimer (horrible purple drippy thing, joint least favourite with the Weepinbell)
    • Cubone (why so difficult to catch?)
    • Second Pikachu (wooo)

  • My 10k egg from the USA hatched into a Pinsir. It’s a very powerful Pinsir, but I’m still a bit disappointed.
  • I maxed out the Bug Catcher and Psychic medals. It will now be a long time before I max out any more as I just don’t see certain types of Pokémon very often.
  • I unlocked the “Pikachu Fan” medal, which has now displaced the Rocker as my Most Pathetic Medal Tally. Yay!
  • Have finally managed to bump up to Level 23. Will be popping a Lucky Egg & using my Spreadsheet of Evolve very soon.
  • Thanks to the trip to the USA, I can now evolve several Pokémon I couldn’t have before, including the Abra, Ekans, Machop, Mankey, Meowth (although I’ve already caught a Persian) and Paras. I AM EXCITE.

After meeting up with [personal profile] emelbe in Monterey, she kindly helped to enable me to achieve “relax and switch off” mode by introducing me to two new games: Viridi and Abyssrium. Viridi is aesthetically pleasing and very soothing. It’s even more low-key than Neko Atsume, which I didn’t know was possible. You plant a pot full of succulent cacti, water them, and wait. The plants grow at real-time speed, so you only need to check on them once a day. When you start up the game, a short movie showing the growth progress of your plants is shown. A snail slowly and continuously orbits the perimeter of the pot. My pot is called “Subsumed”.

Abyssrium requires more interaction. You grow a coral reef and populate it with fish. It’s a “clicker” game, but a very beautiful one. I’ve now reached the stage where I have nearly all the animals apart from the dugong, which is effectively “beating” the game. I found this walkthrough by Sir TapTap very useful for strategising and acquiring hidden fish. Now that I don’t have to graft to earn new fish, I have a plan to create a garden full of nothing but jellyfish, sun fish, seahorses and turtles, which are the slowest-moving creatures available, and watching it whenever I feel tense.

My reef a couple of weeks ago, just a few bits of coral and fish:

My reef now, teeming with life:

A few more soothing reef images, just because. )
We're home from two weeks of holiday in the USA. I have so many photos and so many feelings. I saw my parents. I saw a large chunk of my extended Filipino family, who brought us a dizzying array of Oreos, bags of arare, a gigantic watermelon and a lot of love. I saw my cousin, for whom Keiki is named, and whom I haven't seen since our grandfather died in 2001.

Having dropped off our horrifically jet-lagged children at nursery with warnings about naps and a lot of apologies, I return to work, and immediately foment an unscientific poll.

Poll #17660 Email, why so broken
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 42

How to deal with an e-mail backlog?

View Answers

Read methodically, prioritise/rank, begin replying
17 (40.5%)

Delete all, burn computer
25 (59.5%)

Because I know I'll never remember everything if I wait until after the trip to write it down, I present to you the Santa Cruz picspam. (PS sorry if the photos don't show; all my phone images back up automatically to Google Photos & I don't have the energy to transfer this curation to Flickr right now

Sunday evening arrival at the resort. Humuhumu dancing in the golden hour.

+17 )
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
( Aug. 30th, 2016 04:51 am)
The usual squee is most welcome in the comments.

  • I hatched a CP1300+ Magmar! My only previous encounter with a Magmar was in London, when I was still quite low level. It was CP13 and although it came with a lot of candy (for some reason) it was nowhere near enough to power it up to a usable level. So it was exciting to get this one, as I’ve been able to put it to use in the gym. It’s currently residing in a local gym, earning me stardust & Pokécoins.
  • I discovered a nearby gym has been taken over by a large group from Team Mystic. So I battled up its prestige enough to pop in my CP1600+ Gyarados, and it’s actually been there for almost a week. I’ve never had a Pokémon in a gym for more than about two hours, so this is really exciting.
  • I HATCHED A VULPIX FROM A 5KM EGG. Now I understand what [personal profile] recessional is on about. :D So lovely.
  • I had thought I wouldn’t use my Spreadsheet of Evolve again until Level 25, but my monitoring shows I already have 39 evolutions available and I’m only halfway through Level 22. As I’m unlikely to gain XP very quickly over the next few weeks without my regular London trips, I shall probably use my second Lucky Egg somewhere on my journey from 22 to 25.
  • I’m very close to maxing out the Bug Catcher and Psychic medals. My most pathetic medal is still the Rocker, since I have caught a grand total of three Electric-type Pokémon.
  • I’m already 379 Magikarp candies on my way to my second Gyarados. So. Many. Magikarp. I wish I could trade my Magikarp for some Eevees. Or Meowths. Or Geodudes.
  • Since arriving in the USA for a holiday, I have caught an Ekans and a Growlithe. I had thought the former was some kind of poo-joke-Pokémon from its shadow, but it makes sense that it’s a snake now that I see it. The latter has me enchanted, and now I want whatever a Growlithe evolves into. I’ve never even seen a shadow of one before.
  • The first egg that I got from a US-ian Pokéstop was a 10k. It went straight into an incubator and I am absurdly excited about hatching it.
In a rare, almost scientific move, I am following up on last week's poll. Here is my new phone case, simultaneously expressing my love of Japanese woodblock printing and Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go meets Katsushika Hokusai

The Great British Bake Off has begun again. The first episode of the new season aired on Wednesday night. I livetweeted with the other fanpersons on my list. We all fell in love with Selasi Gbormittah. So...who is/are your favourite(s)? (A reminder of the contestants, with photos: Radio Times listing)

Poll #17641 Bake Off 2016
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16

My favourite(s) on Bake Off this year are:

View Answers

3 (18.8%)

2 (12.5%)

0 (0.0%)

16 (100.0%)

0 (0.0%)

10 (62.5%)

8 (50.0%)

3 (18.8%)

0 (0.0%)

2 (12.5%)

0 (0.0%)

3 (18.8%)

nanila: YAY (me: abby)
( Aug. 22nd, 2016 10:54 am)
I was going to post this tomorrow rather than today, but for various reasons am in dire need of cheering up. Please to share with me your Pokésquee if you have any.

  • My Spreadsheet of Evolve finally got to the point where I was ready to pop my Lucky Egg.
  • 67 evolutions in slightly over 30 minutes with eight new Pokémons registered to the Pokedex gave me 74500 XP. The egg ran out just before I finished the last one. I suspect the additional time taken for the Pokedex registrations rendered it impossible to complete them all in time for doubled points.
  • The orgy of evolve wasn’t quite as fun as I was hoping. Partly because I was nervous about getting them all done in time, and partly because frankly it’s boring evolving 11 Pidgeys and 12 Rattatas.
  • This was mitigated by watching my trainer bompf from the end of Level 20 to nearly Level 22. That wasn’t at all tedious. :D
  • Am now Level 22.
  • I now have a Wartortle. Take that, Euston Station.
  • Why did no one look at the Weepinbell and think “flying condom. no. bad idea. back to the drawing board”? Least Favourite Pokémon.
  • I have maxed out the Bird Keeper and Punk Girl medals.
  • Whenever I have grump, I go and poke the Gengar’s tummy, and then there is less grump.
As mentioned recently, I've acquired a new phone. I have been browsing for a case, and on Redbubble, I believe I have hit on a blend of high art and fandom that speaks deeply to me. Behold.

"Noir" by Missy Pena

"The Great Wave" by Missy Pena

Help me to decide, friends. Which shall it be?

Poll #17636 Phone case
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 60

Which shall it be?

View Answers

24 (40.0%)

The Great Wave
36 (60.0%)