Monday, September 29, 2008


This was shared by a fellow Raveler. Read and cringe, kids, read and cringe. This is, as the author suggests, getting closer and closer to territory covered by science fiction. There will probably be an awful lot of women getting bear traps installed in some very funny places, and I think I might be one of them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Larvely Linoln

Phew. All done. Here's the black Lincoln with a dime to show the scale. Am now officially out of bobbins, dammit, which means I can't do any more spinning until I wind up what's already done.

Friday, September 26, 2008

William Blake To Mod Debate?

"Raisin, Raisin burning bright, in the tellies late at night. What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful sinistry?"

That about sums it up.

In Which There Are White-tails

This was not how the deer reacted to my presence in the yard this morning. They, the pests, have successfully nibbled their way through our vegetables and flowers, and this morning the family walked right down through the yard while I was standing on the front stoop. The mother stopped, stared, and tracked me with her ears, then continued through the front garden; the two yearlings did the same, and then a young buck with tiny little antlers followed them. He must have just lost his velvet, because the antlers looked raw and bloody; either that, or he must have taken a poke at the neighbors' dachshunds. The whole family made a slow procession down through the yard, all the while paying no attention while I spoke to them; I finally flapped my arms and yelled "Shoo!" in an attempt to make them leave the garden alone. They. Paid. No. Attention. I don't know what to think of this performance...
Otherwise, two nights ago, the local foxes had a little territorial dispute. At 1 AM. I was so annoyed I got out of bed, put on my bathrobe, and went outside to have a word with them. They were in the woods somewhere, but as soon as they heard the door, they decided to move their argument to another venue.
Oh. Finally started spinning the black Lincoln wool from MDSWF this year. It's pure wool, but it's got a little tiny bit of a halo. Maybe I've finally got enough spinning under my belt to be slightly above "Novice", but the singles are coming out fairly even. They're approximately sport weight so far, barring the occasional slubby bit that sneaks through. Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I finish filling the current bobbin. It's so much easier to spin than the bamboo stuff!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Which There Are Chickens

I like my boss. He was overheard to remark, "I smell chicken" in reference to a certain announcement today. Shortly afterward, the entire office ground to a halt so we could watch Obama's press conference. Every time that man opens his mouth I find a new reason to respect him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Which There Is General Pettiness

There have been rumors flying around the office that an Important Personage would be visiting us to see how things are progressing. Today, while I was at the post office, I bumped into the boss and found that yes, there was indeed an Important Personage due to visit the office, and that said visit would be occurring this very day. I beetled my brows and considered heading home to change into something a bit more businesslike. No, said the boss, that wouldn't be necessary.
The appointed hour approached, and at three o'clock the office was abuzz with activity. A whole four people doing phonebanking, and yet another four doing the requisite geeky stuff required to keep things going, and... me... manning the front desk to get people registered and/or signed up to volunteer. If the IP had arrived when she was supposed to, she would have arrived during a peak period of activity. If she'd arrived when she'd been supposed to, it would have been a heartening sight. She arrived, however, three hours late, which meant there was no one doing phonebanking (the volunteers aren't chained to their oars, after all) and there were only three of us in the office, and those of us who remained were lurking around in various stages of relative relaxation while we waited for the IP to appear.
I was not impressed by her tardiness, but I said nothing. While I'm not accustomed to being the center of attention, neither am I being accustomed to being completely ignored; I appreciate slight acknowledgement of my presence as a human being, so it further irked me that she failed to appear as anything but rude. She may indeed be a nice person, but I require more evidence than what was given me this afternoon. After about five minutes of what sounded like utter twaddle, I ascended from the couch--ladies, even ladies wearing jeans and cardigans, ascend--and approached with what is my version of icy hauteur. This consists of an absolutely calm expression, a change from my usual slouch to my full height, and a change in tone of voice. I'm not tall, so it's rare that I get the feeling that I'm actually looming over people, especially when they're of a similar height; I definitely got the feeling that I loomed. :P No, I'm not being petty. Promise!
"I don't believe we've been introduced," I said.
"I'm blah-de-blah-de-blah," she answered. "I'm the (insert impressive title here)."
"I'm (insert my name here). How nice to meet you. I really must be heading out."
And so saying, I scooped up my things and swept out of the office. If I were capable of doing something eerily supernatural, I suspect there would have been swirls of dead post-it notes fluttering in my wake. Preferably post-it notes with mean little faces drawn on them.
Okay. Maybe it is petty to be irritated by a rude twelve-year-old with a briefcase. And maybe it is petty to have wished for a swirl of demented post-its. But I'm not the one who was three hours late and acted like a twerp. That's not the best way to make a good impression on the people who are working for the person who works under you while we're all working toward a common purpose.

On a different note, I dealt with my first veteran today. A Vietnam vet came in to sign-up for volunteering; he expressed outrage at how many people are buying into certain stories while the economy is faltering and so many are struggling to make ends meet. How, too, he wanted to know, could a veteran be so against giving other veterans access to things like education and other benefits that they earned? Y'know, I'd like to know those answers myself, but I don't think they'll be forthcoming. I was so moved by the man's concerns that I got a bit teary-eyed. For his sake, and for all our sakes, I hope his fears do not come to pass.


This is sort of like the old Tomagochi, but without the beeping and such. I never had one, and I don't think I knew anyone who did. The little dragon hatchling to the right is of a similar variety, but it's on a different site. Basically, you clicks them, you feeds them, and they grow. ;)

Feed Me!

Adopted from Valenth

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumn Whimsy Redux

Now that autumn is officially here, it's time to start thinking about apple cider, pumpkins, potted chrysanthemums, and raking leaves; with this in mind, here's a neat way to celebrate the beginning of autumn. It uses the same chocolate crust as the Triple Threat Cheesecake, but you'll note, I'm sure, that the filling is quite a different beast altogether. ;) Happy autumn!

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Whisk flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl; add gradually to creamed sugar/butter mixture. This will resemble coarse crumbs or crumbly cookie dough. Turn mixture out into the bottom of a greased springform pan and press it into an even layer using the back of a spoon or the flat bottom of a drinking glass. Bake on the middle oven rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven.

1.33 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling! if you have homemade pumpkin puree, that works poifectly, too.)
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened (about 3 packages)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz bourbon or whiskey

Get as much water out of the pumpkin puree as you can, either by letting it sit in a strainer layered with paper towels for a few hours, or by putting it between layers of paper towels and patting some of the moisture out (this takes a couple of tries). Whisk sugar and spices in a separate bowl while the cream cheese is being beaten (assuming you have something like a KitchenAid mixer… BIG help with this recipe), and begin adding sugar mixture to the cream cheese. Add pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, and bourbon and beat at low/medium speed until smooth. Add heavy cream and continue beating until everything is incorporated. Pour the filling into the springform and gently knock it against a counter or table top to get all the bubbles out. Wrap some tinfoil around the pan to keep any leaks from spilling out, and bake on the middle rack at 350 for about an hour.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

La Espía

This one is Teabird's fault. I'm not sure I'd make that good a spy or be able to stab someone with a sharp pointy object, but the rest of it fits fairly well. :P

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...


67% Intrigue, 68% Civilization, 63% Humanity, 34% Urbanization.

Live well, ride fast, and die young, baby!

Well, you turned out to be something of a rogue. This may not be exactly the life you wanted... but it's difficult to place people who want to enjoy all the romance and intrigue of civilization, without actually having a demanding job. Besides, since you enjoy the benefits of humanity so much more than you enjoy the press of humanity itself... you shouldn't have much trouble with your role in life. As long as you aren't afraid of danger there's a place for you in society, even if it's a rather dark and wicked place. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to fulfill the role of a spy.

The good news: You're free and clever, and you can do whatever the heck you want. The bad news: everybody else is free and clever too, and they're not all on your side.

With the flick of a blade, you can change the course of history. Might be fun. Might be a little messy.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Another Day At the Races

I suffered a shock while I was at the office today. I found out that there are indeed some West Virginians who are awful, rotten, racist jackasses.
At around 3 o'clock, a pickup truck roared past the office with a squeal of tires, a blast of the horn; the driver, mature and thoughtful man that he was, shouted, "Fork Obama!" Or something very like it. I stuck my head out from behind the curtain that partitions the office and said, "I doubt, sir, that you're his type."
Such maturity. I'm so ashamed. *sigh*
The second shock I got today was that the women who think highly of the.. um.. VP pick for a certain elephantine party... aren't actually figments of someone's imagination. One of them came into the office today to register to vote. I was in the back printing out more walk-lists when I overheard a very cheerful voice announcing that someone liked... this person. I sauntered out from behind the curtain and said sweetly, "Did I hear someone say they like Sarah Palin?"
Claudette*, who was helping the woman fill out the registration form answered that yes, this lady did like so-and-so. I looked at the woman and smiled.
"Do you mind if I ask why?"
"She's just so personable to me. She's just like the rest of us, the kind of person you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with."
My first thought was, And so was MUSSOLINI.
Instead, I asked, "If, god forbid, something should happen to John McCain while he's in office, do you think she would be qualified to run the country in his stead?"
Dead silence. It would appear madame hadn't thought that far ahead, let alone even considered the possibility. I further pointed out that Ms. Palin seems disinclined to remember the events of the Women's Rights Movement--if it weren't for that small blip in history, she'd never have been a governor, let alone a city council woman, and certainly wouldn't be doing what she's doing--and also seems uninterested in people's civil rights... aside from.. a certain amendment to the Constitution.
The conversation then veered to why the woman felt that voting was against everything she believed in. This struck me as odd, since even that kind of statement expresses an opinion, so I asked her to elaborate.
"I'm completely against the war, you know. I've lost a lot of relatives over there."
I pointed out that, as this is obviously a serious concern for her, she might consider voting for that very reason. If nothing else, opposing people who continue to favor certain behaviors will give her a chance to express that concern to the powers that be. I left her to mull that over for a while, and just as I got back behind the curtain I heard her say she was registering as a Democrat. I won't say I had anything to do with it, but at least I put in my two cents.

The good news, though, far outweighs any bad stuff that happened today. I got a box in the mail from a certain friend who lives in Florida. *ahems* Miss Rachael, you rock with absolute and total style. She sent me a jar of her homemade fig preserves with--squee!--vanilla. I am so looking forward to trying it! She also sent me a skein of handspun yarn in the most amazing shade of blue (she spun and dyed it herself. Most impressive, young Skywalker). I'm floored. The texture is fabulous. The color is fabulous. AND IT'S CORRIEDALE! And.. and... I'm in a state of woolly ecstasy.
She also sent me Season 3 of Supernatural. Ooooh, I'm looking forward to that, too. Gah... figgy jam, gorgeous yarn, and a new way to get my Brothers Winchester fix.
Miss Rachael, you rock. With style.

* The names have been changed to protect the owners' privacy. ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just Say NO!

Last Tuesday was knit-night, and one of the ladies brought wild catnip from her farm. Silly me, I left the baggy in my knitting bag, so now the bag and its contents are strongly scented... catnip scented. See photographic evidence on the left. The little brat even stole yarn from my bag!
Well. For the last three days I've been volunteering--see previous post-- and today I actually got to teach someone else how to do what I've been doing with the turf cutting.
There's been plenty of other stuff going on: people have actually come in and asked to do phonebank (brave souls, they!), and there have been a bunch of equally brave folks out canvassing on foot; that's in addition to the people who are tabulating things and crunching numbers, and the ones who are going to various events around the region. Honestly, I'm perfectly happy to be doing what I'm doing with the turf-cutting doohickey.
Today, the Democratic candidate for the state Supreme Court came in to deliver some signs for people to put in their yards, and the lady who's running for WV Secretary of State also came in for a quick visit. Mr. Ketchum was convinced he'd met me before, but I have no idea where that might have been since I've never had any brushes with the law and I don't move in those circles. Oh, well. Both of them were delightful, though. If being personable were enough to get people elected, they have an excellent chance of making it. ;)
I told the boss I'm staying home tomorrow and will be back on Monday bearing bagels.
"Homemade bagels?" he said.
I should have said, "Is there any other kind?" :P

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day At the Races

Well, today was certainly interesting! Got up, showered, got geared up to make a batch of soap, then trotted myself off to the next town. The town I live in isn't really a political black hole; the college has student organizations, but I haven't seen much evidence of any politicking except for signs on people's lawns or in their windows. That means that the regional headquarters is in the next town, and that's where things are happening.
I discussed it with mom yesterday, then called dad and discussed it with him, too. Both of them thought it was a good idea, but I grouched at dad and said, "And why aren't you doing something, too?" His excuse is that he doesn't want to be stuck doing phone-duty. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to be stuck on phone-duty, either! Turned out there was enough to do that didn't involve people, and that was exactly what I was fortunate enough to do.
It turned out, furthermore, that the directeur regional was a former classmate. I didn't know him except by name while we were in college, and was astonished he even remembered me.
"What would you like to do?" he asked.
"Something that doesn't involve people," I answered. "I can do paperwork if there's any that needs doing."
Paperwork wasn't exactly what I ended up doing, but it did involve an awful lot of paper. I was given the task of cutting turf in one of the voting precincts in the next county. This was done with the aim of making things easier for the people who are canvassing on foot; lots of paper involved here, since the lists of voters have to be printed out along with little maps of each chunk of the precinct. So, for three hours, barring about a 20 minute interval during which the printer decided to be extremely uncooperative. By that point, we were about ready to throw it out the door and let passing traffic destroy it; luckily there was an old inkjet printer in the back, and that, while awfully slow, did get things done.
So.. get out there and do something, dammit!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obfuscate +5

Okay. Every time you turn on the television, every time you look in the paper, every time you turn on the radio, what do you hear about? A certain person said this, a certain person refused to do that, a certain person danced with a yellow cat. I think you know who I mean.. ahem.
Brilliant move by the GOP: By tapping someone who's cute, fluffy, and appealing, you've managed to get everyone's minds off the major issues like the war and the economy, thus diverting attention from where it should be.
This, as far as anyone over the age of about 20 knows, has never been done in a campaign before. Previously, the burning issues were what got candidates elected.
I'll say it again: way to obfuscate. The issues are still there, folks, and you're still going to be affected by them, no matter how cute, fluffy, annoying, or despicable people are.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I'm reluctant to make any political statements, but since this banned book thing has come up and I do read, I have to say it: only someone who is either too lazy or incapable of independent thought would ban books that aren't the equivalent of mental popcorn. Lady, I name you εχθρός[Echthros], for that is what you are.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Foodies Forever

This has been floating around for a while, and I've seen several acquaintances post it, so I'll cave in and do it myself.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison (A childhood friend's dad used to hunt)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (Never.. never, never, never...!)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari (Serious squiddy love affair... yes)
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle (In my next life, maybe...)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns (Why, oh, why did Mr. Jung's have to close...)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (wineberries abound in the woods here)
23. Foie gras (Not recently, but, boy was it good...)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Smoked oysters.. does that count?)
29. Baklava (Lucky enough to have a Greek neighbor)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas (One of my favorite snacks)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (Alias a Black Cow. Best made with IBC Rootbeer)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (in soup)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (in sushi)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle (Childhood friend's grandmother used to make them from scratch)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (Caviar without the blini, please!)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (would do almost anything for gjetost.. serious love affair there, too)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Yum)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (Home made bagels.. yum)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Totally Vanilla

Vanilla seems to be a recurrent theme these days. :P My Tahitian vanilla beans arrived yesterday and, according to mom, they smell incredible. I was thrilled that, instead of the three pods I'd originally thought, the folks at Beanilla stuck an extra one in the package, which meant that I had an extra one to play with.
So, in the hours between 6 and 8 PM, I made with the little tiny seeds scraped from the inside of the pod and added a bit more vanilla yumminess to it by steeping the empty pod in the oil while it was heating on the stove. You can't actually see the vanilla seeds unless you look really closely, but the bigger black flecks are poppyseeds. I didn't put enough to really make a big textural difference, but it was more to give it some visual appeal. As to the smell, well... it smells like Tahitian vanilla. ;) This may not make it to the show because it's fairly soft after the unexpected intervention by the kitchen faucet.
I had the lye solution outside (as usual) and put the the pot of oil into its water bath to cool to the right temperature. Turned my back for literally 30 seconds, came back and discovered that the pot was floating directly under the running faucet... and was fast approaching a volume of water that would make the oil overflow into the sink.
"Oh, no!" I moaned, then grabbed a ladel and the turkey baster to scoop the oil into another bowl. In theory, a gravy separator would have worked for this task, but I didn't have one. I thought about calling the neighbors and asking if they owned a gravy separator, but time was of the essence. After I finally got most of the oil scooped back out, I re-weighed things to see how close to the original 49 oz it was. It was close... sort of. I glurped some extra olive oil into the pot just to make sure the volume was right, and crossed my fingers.
Addendum: Went to the library to hunt for a copy of Tam Lin or something similar. While I was trotting across the street, I was whistled at by a pair of youths in a pickup truck, one of whom also chose to add something that sounded suspiciously like, "Hey, girl!". This, rather than having the desired effect (whatever that is...), always makes me laugh. Mmph.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oh, the humanity...

Rachael, it's all your fault. :P
Two new possible quotes to change my voicemail to:
"O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem!" or "Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare!"

I'm making a second batch of pumpkin soap as soon as I figure out what to scent it with. Hopefully I have something in the drawer that won't make it seize and will complement the cinnamon and nutmeg. Might also make the next batch with some soy milk, to make it creamier. Oooh, the possibilities. :D