a little brag

Jun. 26th, 2017 16:30
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
I now have a 100 day streak on Duolingo!

I find that gratifying in two different directions. First, of course, it's good to feel that I've stuck with my German, practiced regularly and not given up. On the other hand, 100 days is only a little over three months, so when I feel frustrated with my progress I can remind myself how little time it's actually been.

30 day music meme, day 19

Jun. 26th, 2017 14:44
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
19. A song that makes you think about life

"Thinking about life" seems to me a fundamentally adolescent thing. I don't mean that as an insult; it's just that in my experience, as people get older, the questions become more specific. There's a loss of ambition, or arrogance, or energy; "life" is just too big a topic.

So here's a song about adolescence and (I think) about the looming spectre of adulthood.

The Mountain Goats, "Damn These Vampires"





All the prompts )

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 21:15
such_heights: amy deep in thought (who: amy [dust after rain])
[personal profile] such_heights
It occurs to me I've been on twitter a lot the last two months, but nowhere else. So - hi. Still here. Grieving, but here.

Comments disabled as I think I've had as much sympathy as I can handle (it's much appreciated, just A Lot sometimes).

<3

Music meme and gaming

Jun. 26th, 2017 20:00
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Day 9 of the (in my case very slow-running) music meme asks for a song that makes you happy. And I have quite a lot of those, making me happy is a big reason I have a music collection at all. I think I'm going to go for Complex person by The Pretenders. The lyrics are not all that cheerful in some ways, but I love the bouncy tune and I always hear this as a song about determination and not letting things get you down.

video embed, actually audio only )

Also I've had a good week for playing games: mostly list with short comments )

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:25
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
At the end of the story of Korach ben Itzhar, the cousin of Moses who leads a strange rebellion in Numbers 16, Moses says

Numbers 16:29-30If these men die the common death of all men, and be visited after the visitation of all men, then the LORD hath not sent Me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the ground open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down alive into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have despised the LORD.


'Make a new thing' is a doubled use of the same Hebrew root letters, and that root is the root used in Genesis 1 to describe God's Creation of the world, so trying to preserve some of the sense of the Hebrew we might render it 'Create a creation'. Which is terribly infelicitous, so.

There is a debate among the more philosophical commentators about the nature of miracles. Rambam holds that God set in motion the natural laws of the world- physics, in a nut shell, and then because God is the Unity at the center of creation, God is able to alter those natural laws to effectuate something outside of them. Ramban, instead, holds that all of creation is constantly and miraculously being instantiated by God and that what seem to be miraculous violations of the natural laws of physics are just naturally within God's power. Both Rambam and Ramban are incredibly subtle and complicated thinkers and it's hard to say what either meant. It's possible this is not a debate and that they're truly in agreement. I do not claim to understand their teachings, which is why this post. But let's assume this is a debate as at least a starting axiom.

There's a third position, one which is at the same time even more naturalistic than Rambam and less, or which may be what Rambam is actually saying, I'm not sure. And it derives from this moment in the story of Korach.

Pirkei Avot 5:6 : Ten things were created on the eve of the [first] Shabbat at twilight. And these are they: The mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach in Numbers 16:32]; and the mouth of the well [that accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness in Numbers 21:17]; and the mouth of the donkey [that spoke to Bilaam in Numbers 22:28–30]; and the rainbow [that served as a covenant after the flood in Genesis 9:13]; and the manna [that God provided the Israelites in the wilderness in Exodus 16:4–21]; and the staff [of Moshe]; and the shamir (the worm that helped build the Temple without metal tools); and the letters; and the writing; and the tablets [all of the latter three, of the Ten Commandments]. And some say, also the destructive spirits, and the burial place of Moshe, our teacher, and the ram of Abraham, our father. And some say, also the [first human-made] tongs, made with [Divine] tongs.



This is a really complicated Mishna that I don't understand at all, but it seems clear from the fact that the first item on the list is the mouth of the Earth that it's the phrase "Create a creation" that is the source for this logic. (I don't have the sources for all of the other things in this Mishna. I think the fact that the other two mouths are mentioned sbusequently suggests that the Earth-mouth is the source for all three of those. And I'm pretty sure there's no Torah source for the bit at the end about tongs, which is why it's just part of the 'and some say'... all that is purely Midrash Aggada) The Mishna is saying that Moses asked God to invoke a miracle of creation and this mouth that had been created at Creation and set up to swallow Korach swallowed up Korach. And it raises a lot of questions. It seems to be a response to this question of the nature of miracles, and its answer is in one sense more naturalistic than the Rambam: Not only is the world run according to natural laws set in motion at creation, but even things that apparently work outside of the laws of nature are actually naturally set in motion at creation as part of a special step in creation that took place Bein Hashmashot of Erev Shabbat.

Yet this is a hugely problematic theory for Jews because it seems to propose a completely deterministic universe where an intervention like the Earth swallowing up Korach for sinning against Moses and God can be preprogrammed as part of creation. If this is the case, where is free will? Where is Korach's ability to choose on his own whether or not to sin, if this preprogrammed miracle Earth-mouth was created as part of the Creation of the World?

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:25
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[personal profile] dreamwaffles linked to a fundraiser for Kaye, who has been researching Rat Lungworm, a disease that almost killed her son Graham, who is now disabled and uses a service dog for everyday life. Kaye was a crucial part of the University of Hawai'i's RLWD research team and also the team trying to get legislative support and grant funding, but she's fighting medical debt for Graham's treatment and ongoing needs. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and is now dealing with an eye infection they need to get treatment for before their roommate and her toddler come back from vacation, so they don't infect the baby. They're raising $50-$60 in the short term for medical treatment; they also have a long-term fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] anna-guth is a student from Germany who was recently accepted to Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in England, but her parents can't afford the full GBP24K tuition. She is raising E6.5K for tuition and school fees; you can read more and reblog here, or give directly to the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] echosiriusrumme is a student trying to buy her own clarinet; at present she doesn't have her own instrument to practice with but has a pressing need to practice before auditions and recitals for a Performance track next fall at her university. She has a few options lined up for between $800 and $1.3K, but needs to raise the funds to cover the cost; she is offering to repay over time any funds contributed to the purchase. You can read more and reblog here (plus find a ko-fi link) or give to her paypal here.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
catvalente: (pic#941394)
[personal profile] catvalente

If you’re a science fiction fan, you’ve probably heard of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. If you’re not, here’s the cheat sheet straight from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas:

“The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.”

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award is a juried award as well, with this year’s jury including Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Nöel Sturgeon (one of Sturgeon’s children and trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate).

It’s kind of a big deal for the science fiction field. And Cat Valente is it’s latest recipient.

That’s right: Cat’s short story “The Future is Blue,” published in Drowned Worlds (edited by Jonathan Strahan) took the prize! As you may have already seen on Twitter, Cat is incredibly excited, chuffed, and all-around honored to be awarded the Sturgeon Award.

Learn more about the award and past winners at the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award’s site.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

I spent me pay like a bloody fool

Jun. 26th, 2017 06:00
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
[personal profile] sovay
So while I punted the first of my afternoon commitments, which was my cousins' letter-writing party, I did make it to the second, which was a picnic on Cambridge Common with the once and future Anarchist Society of Shakespeareans, and I had a much better time than I was expecting with the conversations ranging from children's books to family histories to competitive hospital stories (the other person won), and I admit that I bought the small neat teal-green Penguin edition of William Dampier's Piracy, Turtles & Flying Foxes (1697/2007) based almost strictly on its title, but the basement of the Harvard Book Store had about half a dozen of the Penguin Great Journeys in the travel section and I couldn't afford them all, and I am not looking forward to my doctor's appointment in about eight hours, especially since I stayed awake to write a post which I did not manage to finish, but the point here is that I would need to pry myself away from this keyboard no matter what, because I just exclaimed to [personal profile] spatch: "What price Hollywood? What price salvation now? But for Wales!—" by which I intended to convey my disappointment in screenwriters, and when I turn into quotations I need to head for bed.

Daily Happiness

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:20
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Not only is it my day off tomorrow, but it's my birthday, too! That was a nice coincidence.

2. I bought a couple manga tonight and I have to say, I am so happy I finally discovered how to buy ebooks on Amazon Japan. Not only do I prefer the interface of Amazon to the iTunes store (I hate that you can only buy things through iTunes itself and not a webpage), but I can use my own credit card rather than having to get someone to buy me a gift card. With iTunes I always hesitated to buy anything because once I used up the gift card amount, I would have to ask someone to buy me one again, and I'd have to pay up front for it. With Amazon, I am really casual about buying manga, because it's just like $4 here and there. I also like how it's just automatically downloaded to my kindle app and I can load it on my device or delete it in seconds, rather than having to go through iTunes (again).

3. Jasper was being super cute and silly while he was napping tonight. He actually got even sillier after I posted this picture. (I didn't think it was possible.)

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
[tumblr.com profile] sashayed: It’s Not That Bad to F— Up While Calling Your Senator About Something Important

To prove this point, she presents actual transcripts of messages she left on her senators' voicemail, with her reaction gifs.

Sample:

Hi, uh, Sen. [Name]. And staff. [Nervous laughter.] My name is [Rave Sashayed] and I’m a constituent from [place where I vote]. I just wanted to call to thank you for standing up against the AHCA in the Senate. I–it’s an incredibly cruel and stupid and – and vicious bill. You know? And I’m not, like – a person who used to call her Senators all the time! know? I’m, like, a normal person! [Nervous laughter] But this – it’s crazy to me that this bill could become legislation. It directly affects me, it directly affects the people I love. I mean, it kicks millions of people off of Medicare for a tax break for – I mean. You know this. You’re. Uh. A Senator. So. You’ve read the bill. Um.

I would like to remind people that I phoned my MP's office and actually stated (completely incorrectly and randomly) that I lived in a place which said MP does not represent, had this pointed out to me and had to correct myself. AND YET (like Sashayed) I LIVE.

Right now, it looks like the Senate is wavering. Republican Senators are saying they "just don't know" if they've got the votes to pass the AHCA.

If you can't do phoning, you can't do phoning (I am sometimes a person who can't do phoning). But if you can, now's the time. IT IS OKAY TO PHONE AND FUCK IT UP. As long as you can communicate that you are opposed to the AHCA, that's enough.

Also, have some MOTHERFUCKING ICONS (photos of the ADAPT protestors being arrested during their protest at Mitch McConnell's office).

fiber monday

Jun. 25th, 2017 21:08
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
The most recent office project (easy, very slow, for meetings in which I needn't speak) is finished. It's a narrow, single-skein shawl called See the Sea, and it's too small to stay on my damnable shoulders---not enough overlap, at 60" along the upper edge. Thus Sea is reassigned me --> Reason, and Dovana is reassigned Reason --> tiny relative when latter isn't tiny. *dusts hands* (What is this, though. I'm, like, the thinnest big-boned person of average height you'll (n)ever meet? Extra wool not only for cardigans but for shawls, pfui.) I don't block finished objects with pins, but because I can't wash this without Reason's notice, there won't be a photo till I've presented it, then taken it back for washing.

The prior office project is also finished now :P and won't look good till my hair is more heavily salted: undyed wool/alpaca grey-browns in a nifty gradient + chestnut with red tones = boring. *shrugs* The pattern is great, however: a shallow, asymmetrical shawl knitted in short diagonals. Unlike most of these yarn-club single-skein exercises, A+, would knit again.

My #SummerOfBasics idle daydream list, without buying yarn:
* Little Wave cardigan in progress
* ___Sand cardigan in progress (mine's not blue)
* Lena in "nutmeg"-colored yarn reclaimed from a failed shawl and/or Tegna in a lightweight green-grey
* Leigh in the repurposed purple wool/silk blend long allotted to it, though I see now that it'd be good only for chilly layering
...and then for next year, perhaps Summer in the "blue pine" Hempathy that never became something for Reason after her 3yo self snapped the yarn twice, and Noro Y839 skirt in yarn picked up when a shop closed a few years ago.

That said, I hope to finish the two cardigans and Reason's orange one, plus make my mother's gift by mid-fall. It'd be plenty.

Status: ___Sand's hem continues with pauses; now that those office projects have been polished off, the ghost shawl catches the pauses while my finger heals yet again. Here's ghost shawl in someone else's photo---blues are past, with the light/dark brown segment plus edging remaining. Baby hat is paused till my shoulder and wrist feel less aggrieved. Lately, joint woe tracks general inflammation evident in other ways, which still surprises me. I gather it's usual, generally.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
So my computer developed a corrupt registry file )

*

ANYWAY, it's nice to have my machine back, with nothing lost. And the fridge and freezer are stocked again after an epic grocery trip, assisted by a rent credit from my landlady. I learned a ton in the After Effects class. mention of parental health issue ) So life continues okay.

Media has been a bit thin on the ground of late, as you might guess. I'm reading Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy many years after [livejournal.com profile] synn gifted them to me; after a slow start, am now ~100 pages into book two and so far so good. Watching Die Another Day and now Skyfall on TV in the background; first time seeing either. Need to get back to source watching for the auction vid, and there's a belated Equinox treat that's finally possible now that the movie I need is out on DVD.

It looks like I'm not bringing any vids to Vividcon this year, which feels weird. But I do get a [personal profile] corbae as a roommate.

*

Good wishes to those of you who are struggling. Greetings to everyone else.
kindkit: Man sitting on top of a huge tower of books, reading. (Fandomless--book tower)
[personal profile] kindkit
I've finally found one area in which German is superior to French (by which I mean, easier for me as a native English speaker). It's numbers. German numbers seem to work mostly like English ones, but French numbers make you do math. (ETA: They do in the standard French of France; apparently it is not universal and other varieties of French do it differently.) Well, numbers from 70 to 99. 70 in French is "soixante-dix," literally sixty-ten. 71 is "soixante-onze," sixty-eleven. 80 is "quatre-vingt," or four twenties. 90 is "quatre-vingt-dix," four twenties and ten, and so on up to 99, "quatre-vingt-dix-neuf," or four twenties and nineteen.

My French is not too bad, apart from not having a full adult vocabulary, but I still have to stop and think when hearing or speaking French numbers.

This is especially fun in the context of telephone numbers, because the French don't say telephone numbers digit by digit like American English speakers do, they divide them into groups of two. So if somebody's telephone number includes the combination 97, they will say "quatre-vingt-dix-sept," and the unsuspecting English speaker will write down 4 (quatre) and only then realize they've got it wrong, and have to go back and correct while their French interlocutor is now several numbers ahead. You can guess how I know this.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand all this is probably interesting to no one but me, but I was happy to find a context in which German is simple and straightforward. Unlike its ten million billion pronoun forms.

30 day music meme, day 18

Jun. 25th, 2017 16:44
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
[personal profile] kindkit
18. A song from the year you were born

This was an easy choice.

This version of the song, the best known one, is I think later than 1969 (my birth year), but I like it better so that's what you get. It's worth looking at the original 1969 video on YouTube, though, if only because both video and song version are so hilariously 1960s.

David Bowie, "Space Oddity"





All the prompts )

All we do is fade away

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:07
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
[personal profile] gwyn
[personal profile] goss has created a cool new community for fan artists called Drawesome. If you're an artist or just interested, go check it out. I keep thinking about trying to learn to draw--I'm completely wihtout talent, I can't even draw stick figures, and I really don't know how to even go about it, but I'm surrounded by artists and they're always grousing at me that anyone can learn, you don't have to be born with talent. I don't believe this, but I still want to learn, at some point.

Drawesome on DW
[community profile] drawesome: A Drawing Community for Fan-Artists



___

I haven't been making this public much yet, but I feel like I have to, just so everyone knows what's going on. They found a cancerous tumor during the colonoscopy Thursday, so…yeah. Guess who has cancer. Did you guess me? You're correct!

It's weird, I've been expecting this for years, but not this one: I figured it'd be melanoma or the thing that killed my twin sister, ovarian cancer. This one is my ultimate nightmare--I'm phobic as hell about bodily functions, and there's so much awful stuff that results from colon cancer that I'm completely freaked out about.

I don't see the surgeon till Thursday so right now I don't know much. I had a CT scan yesterday to see if there's more cancer anywhere else and additional bloodwork, and then I had to put on my everything's normal face and go do a guest lecture at the UW. This one woman waited till I was saying thanks goodbye to pop up with a question, and to say she had resting bitch murderface is to put it mildly; I wouldn't be surprised if her whole family was axed to death and they're buried in her basement. And she asked this totally angry, pissed off question and I just didn't have spoons to answer so I was like a deer in the headlights.

Anyway, my biggest fear is that this means I can't go to Vividcon. Like, I care way less about my life, especially these days, and am totally willing to wait till after so I can go. I have a feeling they will not like this. But it's the one thing keeping me together. Not to mention very expensive nonrefundable tickets. The doctor kept stressing how early they'd found it and how good that was. But he also smiled when he said I might have cancer so who knows what's going on with him. Oh and also I got notice that the insurance I have through the ACA is going away next year--the only reason I was able to afford the colonoscopy was that this insurance was really good, and the only other decent one doesn't work with my doctor and clinic. So even if the fucking republicans take everything away in two years, I'm out for 2018 just when I need it most. (And they're such fucking liars, they blame this on market volatility and say it was such a hard decision…no, it's not, you just want more money lining your bonus pockets.)

I'm turning off comments, even though yes, I am really sad and depressed and feeling very lonely. My family's all gone, and most everyone lives far from me or useless (like, I love my BFF, but he's useless) so it's a lot to expect of people. It's been hard just doing day to day stuff like I'm fine. But I have a lot of this in my future so I have to get used to it. I hate the not knowing the most, though.
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
[personal profile] sovay
Whether because of the heat or my period, I got almost no sleep last night and what sleep I did get was full of incredibly unpleasant nightmares of the kind that do not even make good stories: someone poisoned our cats, I was accused of blood libel and it was taken seriously as a criminal charge, I went to an amusement park and there was a terrible accident and people around me died. Literally the first piece of news I saw when I checked Facebook to see whether the planet had exploded while I was asleep was this story about Jewish pride flags being equated with support for Israel and removed from a Pride event in Chicago. At least I know Autolycus and Hestia are alive and well because I woke up with one of them walking back and forth across my face and the other mewing clearly that no one had fed her in the history of ever. [personal profile] spatch tells me the Coney Island Cyclone is turning ninety, so that's nice. The rest of my afternoon is supposed to be highly social; I'll settle for no nightmares, I hope.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 14:15
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (cosmia)
[personal profile] skygiants
I have never read Dhalgren or indeed any Samuel R. Delaney. However, as of yesterday I have at least had a Dhalgren Experience, thanks to [personal profile] aamcnamara, who turned up a local theatrical-dance-music-light-'architectural puppetry' performance of something called Dhalgren: Sunrise this weekend.

Dhalgren: Sunrise is comprised of bits of text from what I assume is Dhalgren the book, accompanied by dance, light, and music, almost all of it improvised. Also, some of the music was performed on imaginary instruments. "That must be a theremin!" I thought brightly to myself on seeing one of the instruments, mostly because I don't know what a theremin looks like and therefore I assume that any instrument I don't recognize is a theremin. But it turns out it was not a theremin, because there was a credit in the program for 'invented instruments,' though I don't know whether the one I saw was the Diddly Bow, the Bass Llamelophone, or the Autospring.

Anyway, so my new understanding of Dhalgren is that it is about a city in which Weird, Fraught and Inexplicable Things Are Happening. This is not a very thorough understanding, but it's still more of an understanding than I had before. The show is composed of seven scene-vignettes:

Prelude: A brief reading of [what I assume to be] the book's introduction.

Orchid: Three women dance on a bridge and a man acquires a prosthetic hand-weapon-implement. The director at the end gave special thanks to the dude who made it, understandably so, because it very effectively exuded Aura of Sinister!

Scorpions: Gang members dance and fight in front of a building? Alien gang members? Just aliens? Anyway, some entities wrapped in glowing lights have a dance fight in front of a building; the text is from the point of view of a worried inhabitant of the building who Has Concerns.

Moons: The moon has a new secondary moon friend named George. The dancing in this section was one of my favorite bits -- the Moon did some amazing things with her light-strung hula hoop. [personal profile] aamcnamara pointed out later that the narration in this bit, which featured a wry and dubious radio announcer, seemed like a perhaps-intentional echo of Welcome to Night Vale. I have never actually listened to Welcome to Night Vale, but from my cultural osmosis knowledge this seems about right.

Fire: The light show took front and center in this bit about everything being on fire and also, simultaneously, not on fire. The maintenance man doing the narration is very plaintive about all of this. There may also have been dancing in this bit but I don't remember what anyone was doing.

Sex: The guy with the sinister prosthesis has an intimate encounter with two other people inside a blanket fort. I always like the blanket-fort method of showing sex onstage, it hints appropriately while allowing actors not to have to do anything they're uncomfortable with. At some point in this process the sinister prosthesis is removed for the first time, which I expect symbolizes something about human connection.

Sunrise: The characters who have previously just had sex emerge from the building and now seem to have a difference of opinion about whether the sunrise is just normal, or whether the earth is actually falling into the sun. Eventually all the characters are onstage being distressed, along with the music and the lighting -- again, really cool light effects here, especially the final overwhelming projection of light followed by and darkness.

It's a one-hour show without intermission, which we all agreed afterwards was for the best; the deeply weird mood and atmosphere would have been difficult to slip back into if one could get up in the middle to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have actually read Dhalgren, I will leave you with [personal profile] aamcnamara's sum-up: "It was a strange experience, but honestly could have been stranger."

recipe weekend

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:55
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
I haven't done a huge amount of cooking, because on Tuesday it's my turn to host the potluck and Buffy watch, and I've been trying to get my place ready. Yesterday I thought I'd give my kitchen a quick clean, believing that it was fairly clean already. But once I started cleaning attentively, my views on the subject . . . adapted, and so there was wiping down of cupboards and cleaning under the stovetop and washing the windowsills and scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees (luckily it's a small kitchen, because ouch). I'd never realized how many little dirt-trapping crevices and nooks my kitchen possessed, and I badly want to know what fool thought it was a good idea to install cupboard doors with lots of paneling detail--sort of like this, but a much cheaper, uglier imitation--instead of nice flat ones that would wipe clean easily.

Anyway, let's talk about food.

Something I've cooked recently: The lavender shortbread and lemon-lavender posset I mentioned last week were a big hit at the potluck. The posset in particular is exquisite; I decided to strain out the lavender rather than leave it in, and the result was gorgeously creamy and smooth. I found the lavender shortbread a teensy bit dry--the dough was dry, but I was hoping it would be all right after baking--so next time I'll use a little less flour. I live in a very dry climate, so the recipe might work fine elsewhere. By the way, the recipe will easily serve eight, rather than the four to six that Hollywood specifies, and I say that as someone who loves rich things and usually scorns tiny portions.

Yesterday after cleaning the kitchen I did my best to dirty it again by making one of my favorites, pasta with a sausage and tomato sauce. The sauce is basically: brown some hot Italian pork sausage links in olive oil, set aside, use the oil to cook an onion chopped fairly small, when the onions are pretty well cooked add some finely chopped garlic and cook just until the garlic is fragrant. Then add a big tin of tomatoes--I usually buy tinned whole tomatoes and cut them up myself--a bay leaf and any other herbs you like, return the sausages to the pan and simmer for about half an hour. Yesterday I gussied it up a little bit by adding two diced peppers, one red and one yellow, to the onion, and adding some wine to the cooked vegetable mixture and cooking it down before adding the tomatoes. I rarely use wine in cooking because I rarely have wine around, but a couple of weeks ago I impulse-bought a bottle of wine, didn't like it enough to drink it all, and so I froze it in ice cube trays. It's a useful trick for all those annoying recipes that call for half a cup of wine.

This morning I made another loaf of beer bread because (a) I really liked the last one, and (b) I still had a couple of bottles of Smithwick's that are probably too old now to drink with pleasure but are perfectly good to cook with. I used this recipe again as a base, but altered it a lot to make cornbread. I used 2 cups of medium stoneground cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill and 1 cup of bread flour, and I added about 4 ounces of grated cheese, roughly 3/4 cup of leftover corn kernels that were cooked with green chiles and a little cream, and about three tablespoons of additional green chiles (roasted and chopped, from a jar). I reduced the salt a little because of the cheese, and as before I stirred about 3 tablespoons of the melted butter into the batter and brushed 1 tablespoon on top before popping the pan in the oven. The resulting cornbread is seriously, seriously good. It's got a beautiful moist texture and a strong corn flavor, with sweetness from the corn kernels and honey and a bit of kick from the chiles.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: For the Tuesday potluck I'm going to make a potato-and-spinach curry from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries--it's a nice easy one with panch phoron and coconut milk, and I'm going to buy some supermarket naan to serve it with. And I've got to buy some gin for g&t's, because I told everyone I had gin and someone else agreed to bring the mixers, and then it turned out I didn't have nearly as much gin left as I thought.


Something I vaguely intend to cook someday: No idea. The weather's supposed to turn hotter again after a blessedly cool weekend (by which I mean, high temps of about 80F/26.6C rather than 95F/35C). I don't want to cook. I want a beautiful man to bring me delicious salads and perfectly ripe fruit, and preferably to fan me while I eat them.

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June 2017

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