Tracy Durnell Avatar
Tracy Durnell
she/her
Sci-fi writer in the Seattle area. Love reading, music, baking and brunch. Longer writing at tracydurnell.com.
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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@dwalbert thank you! Interesting thought on the wetter dough -- that makes sense though! I didn't put them on the tray touching (they grew to touch) so that could also be a good theory.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Some micro.bloggers might be interested in this conversation tomorrow Saturday May 18!

Social Norms in the IndieWeb

Iโ€™ve written some about how unclear social norms can deter inter-blog conversation. I bet folks here would have interesting thoughts compared with self-hosted sites.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@alongtheray I definitely chowed down! ๐Ÿ˜„

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Tried a new strawberry shortcake recipe. Tasted good but didnโ€™t rise much. A few theories why:

  • I used too much buttermilk
  • I didnโ€™t have a 3โ€ cutter and sized up instead of down
  • I got a new baking sheet which is a different material
  • recipe should use more baking soda
  • should bake at 425 not 400

open face strawberry shortcake with soft whipped cream next to tray with two more cakes

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

I stumbled across my old iPod in a box yesterday and charged her on up. Discovered my Bluetooth speakers have an aux in and weโ€™re off to the races! ๐ŸŽถ Wonder when the last time I synced this thing was ๐Ÿ˜‚ 2016? Hoping I can add music to it without iTunes ๐Ÿคž

silver iPod connected to Bluetooth speakers with an aux cord

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@annahavron I feel like I've seen them everywhere except in my yard the past couple weeks! My red flowering currant is done now, and my jasmine hasn't flowered yet, so maybe slim pickins. Though I saw two attempting to feed from a pine tree and a rock wall over the weekend ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@jean I'm about 4 chapters in and enjoying it so far!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@KimberlyHirsh I just reread A Rogue by Any Other Name which follows the fiance from this ๐Ÿ˜„

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Had fun browsing for books with friends at the library today! ๐Ÿ“š Went in to pick up Doppelganger, which I had on hold, then we poked through the fiction section and ridiculed their poor labeling system. I was the only one who found stuff โ€“ Iโ€™m willing to try random stuff as long as itโ€™s short ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Two facing shelves of books with five novellas and a nonfiction book

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@Miraz yikes! Hopefully she's all right ๐Ÿคž

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@annahavron ๐Ÿ˜ƒ fun!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@anniegreens so pretty! My Lewisia rotted out of its pot this year ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ข I'm hoping a little bud part I salvaged will re-root ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@aa they look beautiful!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@PaulnRhe I like that squirrel one!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@hutaffe ooh, thanks for sharing, they're always good

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@sherif ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ƒ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@lukemperez oh nooo ๐Ÿ˜ญ Fixing past owners' weird decisions and hack jobs is such a pain. Every time I'm tempted to take a home improvement shortcut now I think of who'll have to deal with it next ๐Ÿ˜‚ Glad you got it sorted!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@amerpie thanks Lou ๐Ÿ˜„

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@keenan I've been enjoying your music series this month! ๐Ÿ˜„

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@jabel what a pretty dress! Hopefully she had a great time!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@petebrown agreed! There's a huge difference between being indexed and used for training data -- one is mutually beneficial, the other parasitic. There's also a huge difference in who's doing it: LLMs are corporate theft of people's IP. Without links back, they are the ones breaking the open web.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

A couple neat bonsai I saw yesterday. The second oneโ€™s a wisteria, probably days from the flowers opening โ€“ will be spectacular then but I liked the cool shadow it cast now.

flowering pink azalea bonsaiwisteria bonsai on the verge of flowering

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@baldur thank you for sharing! It's been pissing me off every time I open a PDF.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@jayeless congratulations!

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@abc excited to check out your list! Here's mine.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

I was thinking about doing some planting, but with drought in the forecast I guess I should hold off another yearโ€ฆ native plants need watering their first three years. Just a bummer when itโ€™s such a a long wait for the next chance (some native flowers seem to only be available in spring).

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

@mbkriegh cool headband! Almost looks like reptile skin ๐Ÿ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

A good day! Taxes and chores balanced out by several hours of fun design work, solid hangout time with husband and cats, reading a novella, and dinner including vegetables that did not take an hour to cook ๐Ÿฆพ I love working for myself - might not earn much but Iโ€™m way healthier and happier ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Probably I should trim these lower branches for access since even I have to duck under them, but they make such a lovely arch in the spring! Just saw a hummingbird in there too ๐ŸŒธ

garden path between house and fence over arched by red flowering currant with bunches of dangling hot pink racemes of flowers

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

๐Ÿ“š Todayโ€™s library haul:

  • Goblin Girl by Moa Romanova
  • Strikethrough by Silas Munro
  • Dumb by Georgia Webber
  • Heartstopper 5 by Alice Oseman
  • Linghun by AI Jiang

Linghun was suggested by my librarian and was a Nebula nominee last year. Hopefully itโ€™s not too horror for me!

five books stacked - three comics, a design book, and a novella

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

I blazed through my last library haul so todayโ€™s is bigger ๐Ÿ˜Ž A couple cookbooks, some art books, and some comics. Still going for lighter (mental) fare โ€“ but had to bring my husband to carry these for me since I still have lifting restrictions from the surgery ๐Ÿ˜น

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

French toast with berries for breakfast! ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿซ

My cat came over as I was finishing and casually took a big ol chomp of the butter before I realized what he was doing ๐Ÿงˆ๐Ÿ˜น๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ

Listening: Passion by Peter Gabriel

berry and syrup topped slice of French toast crowned by pear slices beside serving dishes

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

First day post-surgery (2 weeks ago today) trying to do some real work - taxes - and I fizzled after about 45 minutes ๐Ÿซค Hoping I can find the energy and brainpower for both taxes and a project scope I need to prep this weekโ€ฆ Recovery is sooo slowwwww ๐ŸŒ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Iโ€™m pretty low mental energy right now so I requested a bunch of comics and art books from the library. The Artistโ€™s Way snuck in because I failed to re-pause my hold in time ๐Ÿ˜‚ (I tried while I was waiting for my surgery but mustโ€™ve forgotten to hit save ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ)

Four comics, two art books, and The Artist's Way

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Finally had some energy today after surprise gallbladder removal on Monday โ€“ but burned myself out cooking. Turns out I can handle the pain of an infected organ far longer than I should but have zero tolerance for plain food โ€“ I almost cried over an Ensure ๐Ÿคฃ Made white bean soup and fish tacos.

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

We think the coyotes might be denning in our back 40 again! Heard some cute yipping yesterday ๐Ÿ˜„

Also been hearing a varied thrush a lot โ€“ one of my few confident birdsong IDs โ€“ and finally saw it wreaking havoc in the wood chips ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

I made the most of a morning blown by a doctorโ€™s appointment by stopping for a waterfront walk on the way home ๐ŸŒž Gotta catch that sun whenever I can!

a few seagulls wade in shallow water at the lake edge on a sunny day with puffy clouds, Seattle hazy in the distance

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

I recently blogged about why leaning on LLMs to do the work of reading and researching for us is a mistake:

Using LLMs to prepare summaries presumes that you will be interested in the same aspects of a piece of writing as anyone else, when what we take away from anything we read is specific to us โ€” to our current knowledge, understanding, framework, and purpose for reading.

As someone whoโ€™s deindexed my main blog from Google to avoid turning up in their generated summaries / results, imagining people using some other LLM to summarize that essay makes me feel icky and sad ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Todayโ€™s library haul was pleasingly slender, making this a more realistic venture than many ๐Ÿ˜‚ * Design for the Mind * This Country (graphic novel) * The Tea Master and the Detective * Steering the Craft * Ways of Curating

I was lucky to escape the library parking lot intact though! Never go at closing ๐Ÿ˜‚

holding five slender library books with spines facing

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Twenty years ago today, I put on a vintage nightgown and shot a gothic self-portrait in a tree behind the college gym at 9 at night ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ There was a basketball game inside so I kept hopping down and putting on an overcoat as groups of people walked by, looking super shifty ๐Ÿ˜‚

black and white artsy photo of  woman in white perched in a limby tree in front of a brick building with arched windows

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

To make myself feel better, I ordered lead test swabs and tested our vintage dinnerware. The tests are a little hard to judge but I think weโ€™re in the clear there. (Might retest in daylight?) Then I tested my vintage pyrex ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Adios!

packet of lead test swabs next to pyrex bread pan holding a dozen used swabs, mostly not showing lead

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Baked Smitten Kitchenโ€™s pumpkin bread. Used 1.5c AP flour and 1/2c whole wheat. Cut sugar to 1 1/3c. Upped cinnamon to 1tsp, and added a bit more of the other spices too. Topped with a cream cheese glaze. Took at least 75min - it was looking dark so I draped foil over it partway. Moist and tasty ๐Ÿ‘

Cinnamon sugar crust atop a large loaf of bread, uplifted like a slope Slice of pumpkin bread dribbled with white glaze

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Maaaan, just found out vintage ceramics can leach lead from the glaze, especially if you wash them in the dishwasher and it damages the glaze. Weโ€™ve been eating off vintage plates for the past three years ๐Ÿ˜• Ordered a lead test kit even though thereโ€™s nothing to be done besides stop using them ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿคž

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Second go at this thick-toppinged coffee cake. Subbed ginger for allspice. Added 1/4tsp fine salt to topping, Iโ€™ll try 1/2tsp next time. Baked 55 min but could have pulled out at 50. Iโ€™d vote more nuts, maybe 1.5c? This time I crumbled the topping too finely. Might go lighter on the vanilla.

Square of crumble topped coffee cake with a glass of milk

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Brunch day! Potato salmon hash with poached eggs and sourdough toast. Now Iโ€™m ready to lounge ๐Ÿ˜„

Two poached eggs, split, atop breakfast potatoes with green onions and parsley beside a buttered slice of bread, a cast iron skillet behind

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Tracy Durnell
@tracydurnell

Baked chocolate chip cookies. I like very little chocolate, so I used 6oz total (2.5oz 70% bar and the rest semisweet chips). Half the brown sugar was dark. Stand mixer struggled with the thick dough. Baked 12 min. This batch was just chocolate, but Iโ€™ve added 1c walnuts to the rest of the dough ๐Ÿช

Six fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on parchment