Improbable Phrases

Who says that?

Pretty, No?


It has a super fancy skirt! I absolutely love the colors on this octopus.


Chocolatey Goodness

I’ve been talking a lot here about how I can’t wait to get home, and that’s true, but there are things here that I will definitely miss while I am in the States. One of them is a brand of ice cream bars that I’ve only ever seen here in Indonesia: Magnum Bars. These are made in several different varieties, but are all coated in some kind of Belgian chocolate and have really good quality ice cream inside. They only cost about 10,000 rupiah (a buck) apiece and are worth every rupiah of that.

My favorite is the Hazelnut Bar. It has hazelnut pieces in the dark chocolate coating and hazelnut flavored ice cream in it. I like them a lot. They’re like frozen Nutella. I will miss them while I am home. They are my every-once-in-a-while gift to myself after grocery shopping, which is always a bit of a trial.

In general, the ice cream bars I have had in the States were cheap chocolate and chalky-tasting ice cream. I am amazed at the difference in quality between a store-brand ice cream bar that you could get for a buck in the States and one of these. There’s really almost no comparison. They’re so much better. I’ve spent nearly 200 words exclaiming over them, and I’m not even ashamed. They’re amazing, I love them.

Pretty Little Thing

I wish I could afford this. I love it. I love octopuses so much. But this one is way too expensive.


But it’s a bowl! And it’s got exquisite detail. No fair that I don’t have all the money in the world.


Source here.


Also, this. Octopuses are really smart.

By Any and All Names

When I was in college, I spent a summer in the Dominican Republic. I was introduced to a fruit I had never seen before. I loved it. It was made into juice, mostly, and its flavor was distinct and lovely, provided enough sugar was added. Like you would for lemons in lemonade.

In the Dominican Republic they called it chinola. Armed only with that word, I went back to the US to see if I could find it. No luck. My thought was that some cans of vegetables were bilingual, maybe I could find the fruit that way. I discovered later that year that chinola was what Dominicans called it. One of my classmates told me that in Mexico it was maracuyá. But I couldn’t find any under that name either.

The fruit:


Source here.

One day, as I was standing in the juice aisle at Kroger, I found a picture of it on a container marked “Passion Fruit Cocktail.” For $2.80, I figured it was a minimal investment, even if it was wrong. It turned out to be the exact fruit I had loved. I bought it every time I went to the grocery store until they stopped carrying it. For a while I bought a Snapple Passion Fruit something or another that had peach in it. It was okay, but the passion fruit flavor was a little hidden by the other stuff in it.

When I moved to Indonesia in 2012, I noticed that they had one other of the fruits I’d learned about while summering in the Caribbean: guanábana. So maybe they have passion fruit too, I thought. I found it at a few restaurants in Jakarta, but only mixed with mango and so much sugar it didn’t really taste like fruit juice at all: just Kool-Aid. And oddly, listed as passion fruit, which made me wonder if it was import only, since they didn’t have a Bahasa word for it. I was sad that they didn’t seem to have passion fruit juice, but then South Africa came to the rescue. A company called Dewlands exports juice, including passion fruit. Victory!

When I went to Yogya and Sumatra for Christmas, they had fresh passion fruit juice and I discovered that it is grown in Indonesia and I learned the Bahasa Indonesia word for it: markisa. At lunch this week, I discovered that the canteen sells a bottled drink called Frestea that comes in a markisa flavor. I’ve had it twice this week. It’s pretty good, but mixed with a black tea, so the passion fruit flavor isn’t as strong. I’m excited to have found my favorite fruit again.

The tea

markisa teh

Source here .

A sampling of names from around the globe, according to Wikipedia:
maracujá in Brazil
lilikoi in Hawaii
parcha in Puerto Rico
granadilla in South Africa
saowarot or เสาวรส in Thailand
machu bey-darch in Cambodia
estococa in Costa Rica

The Fault in Our Stars Trailer

I am most excited for one movie this year: The Fault in Our Stars. I love that book so much and can’t wait to see what the movie version is like. The author of the book has given the movie his stamp of approval, so I’m not worried. Except that I’ll cry in the theater. It comes out in the US in early June and I definitely want to see it when I’m home.

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A Literary Round-up

Time was when I apologized for reading mostly sci-fi and fantasy. That’s behind me. I enjoy it. I just do. I love other things, but sometimes I need to read a lot of unrealistic, unlikely things. And you know, get it out of my system. If I were in an arguing mood, I’d have a few paragraphs on why I think that historical romance is just as thorough as sci-fi and fantasy at being unrealistic. But I’m tired this week, so I’ll just vaguely suggest that I think so, and leave it at that.
In the last month, I have read 11 books, all either sci-fi or fantasy. They are as follows.

1. Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It was all about autism being the last brain development disorder that had not been “eradicated” by medical advances. This novel discussed what it really meant to eliminate medical issues, whether it was beneficial to individuals and societies, etc. I found that I disagreed with her conclusions. Not because I like disability, but because I think there is value in being an individual. And in the novel, the point of eliminating disability was to make everyone alike.

2-6. The Belgariad Cycle by David Eddings.
Pawn of Prophecy
Queen of Sorcery
Magician’s Gambit
Castle of Wizardry
Enchanter’s Endgame
So! 1,728 pages of quest fantasy. PART ONE. David Eddings was off his freakin’ nut. All five of the Belgariad cycle books lead up to…five Mallorean cycle books. Gaaah. 10 books in order to get a full story. It’s so melodramatic.

“The story of a boy, becoming a man. To do it justice, there needs to be 10 books, with themed titles and 300+ pages a piece.”

I am working on my aversion to series, but I feel that David Eddings’ work goes a long way towards reinforcing my irritation with unwieldy, long-winded, epic-length series. But then again, they weren’t that bad, and I only have 5 books, or 2,048 pages to go! And hey, that means that the books in epic-ness PART TWO, are longer than PART ONE!
Good Lord.

7. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber. It was funny. It was a kid’s book. The introduction made it seem like it was the Sangreal of funny kid’s books, but I wasn’t totally enthralled.

8. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Ethics, religion and alien cultures. I was totally amazed by this book. The characters were lovely, the flash back/ flash forward worked well, and it brought up some VERY interesting points on spirituality, etc. I also have a renewed appreciation for the Jesuits. With the conservative right wing getting so much current attention due to their stance that multimillennia-old scripture is the final say on the validity of any scientific discovery, it’s nice to see religious scholarship that is so interested in finding things out. Not in proving that what the scientific community found can’t be right because the BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

9. The Children of God by Mary Doria Russell. Ethics, religion and alien cultures, part two. Where we consider what it means to believe in a God that so clearly allows terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things to happen to faithful people. Does it nullify faith, can it deepen faith? It also looks at social change. Can social change be beneficial to all parties? Or is it inherent that one will suffer while the other gains?

10. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman. Picture book of cuteness! Lovely, almost Pre-Raphaelite drawings. It’s Neil Gaiman, so I had to look at it. A potential baby shower gift. If I knew anyone having a baby girl.

11. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder. Turns out that while this is the first book in this series, it isn’t really a first book. All sorts of relevant information is actually interspersed throughout a previous series. See above comments about unwieldy epics. Bah humbug. But! The stuff about glass is fascinating. I had no idea glass-making was that complex. I was thinking of just the end process of making molten glass into a vase. But this book also deals with what’s in that molten glass. Discussing recipes of sand amounts, etc. not just the glassblowing aspect. I’m geekishly interested in this.