Oriental eggplants, prune plums, sweet potatoes, and blackberries.

I will be making pie for a Labor Day bbq, and I'm going to try to make kolache, either prune or date-almond.

Also, the drive band on my Majacraft wheel snapped, and since it's a discontinued model, I'm having to ask around to see who can get me a replacement. Hopefully it won't be too ridiculous, but so far the only supplier I've found is in Canada.
Went to a free swing dance class down at the Jam Cellar with [personal profile] greenygal tonight. I liked it, even though I had a lot of trouble remembering what steps went when and not backing into the walls. I may go back, or look for classes closer to home.
I tried the basic yeast bread recipe from The Tassajara Bread Book today. It made two loaves, so I made one plain, and made one a stuffed loaf with mushrooms, olives, wilted chard, and cheese. We'll see how it turns out.

Definitely this makes too much bread, so I'll have to cut the recipe in half from now on. Except maybe the kolache recipe. Kolaches for everyone! (and everyone will have to eat one, since the recipe makes about 24 of them!)
I had half a muskmelon for lunch today, and came to a realization.

I need a grapefruit spoon, in spite of the fact that I won't eat grapefruit because it's so unpleasantly bitter.

Also, melons just a bit smaller than a grapefruit fit right into my food containers when cut in half, and it only takes two scoops of a table spoon to deseed them, so I'm going to keep buying them when they're in season.
Blackberries, blueberries, donut peaches, and black pepper chevre.

Also made rhubarb syrup today -- 5 half-pint jars, now cooling on my countertop. I may make something else tomorrow. Peach salsa, maybe?
As in, I can't open the front door to my building to get out. I'm going to call the emergency repair line right now, because this is REALLY bad.
I have a reservation for a room (Studio, 1 King, sofabed) at Con.txt and am looking to share and split the cost. My reservation is for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Let me know if you need a room -- I'm quiet, not going to have room party, and something of an early riser. Signal boost to your friends who'd like to split the price of a room.
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] fabrisse and I had dinner at Plume.

It is an experience I heartily recommend to anyone -- the tasting menu has vegetarian options for all courses, the prix fix menu did not. You'll need your fancier clothes, of course, and reservations. The sommelier came out to help [livejournal.com profile] fabrisse pick two wines for dinner -- she was able to have a half-glass of one, and a full glass of the other, paired for her dinner.

The amuse bouche last night was asparagus cream, a pickled herring macaron, and a tiny slice of brisket topped with tomato. I ate [livejournal.com profile] fabrisse's brisket, though I suspect they would have found a substitute if we'd made a point of it.

The second course for me was soft-shelled crab tempura with sweet potato tempura matchsticks and green tomato chutney; the crab was exquisite after I cut it into four pieces. Her first course was saffron carrot tartare with chive blossoms and pistachio oil.

My third course was red rock mullet filet served over two squash blossoms, cut open and laid flat over blood sausage. Her second course was broccoli with garam masala and double-baked sunchokes over a hazelnut foam.

My fourth course was lovage pasta (bright green!) carbonara, with a coddled duck egg, duck prosciutto, and chanterelles; it came in a lidded glass bowl. Her second course was ricotta basil gnocchi (not quite as bright green), yellow cherry tomatoes, basil oil and sea beans.

My fifth course was duo of lamb -- a merguez sausage, a medallion of lamb loin, a bundle of haricot verte tied with a garlic stalk as a ribbon and a garlic black tuile (a baked ribbon that was absolutely fantastic) and a mint filled garlic bun (basically, a bao stuffed with black garlic and mint) served au jus. Her fifth course was a wild mushroom and porcini tartlette the size of her hand.

The sixth course was a pre-dessert palate cleanser. Mine was a beautiful strawberry confection; hers was a specially made that was peach, possibly, but some other fruit because she's allergic to strawberries.

Desert was a rhubarb blanc mange with two mini-macaron, blueberries slivers, apricot slices, rhubarb coulis, and apricot sorbet.

Then we both had peppermint tea to wind down.
National Maker Faire at UDC this weekend -- I think I might go there on Saturday. Anyone else interested?
Ada Palmer, of Ex Urbe, and historian at University of Chicago, has just published her first novel, Too Like the Lightning.

I just finished it (though there was one scene that almost made me stop reading, for real) and would love to talk about it, but I'm not going to spoil you.

Instead, I'm going to give you the jacket blurb, and hope that intersts those of you who haven't picked it up yet:

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…
neotoma: "Squee!" goes the bunny (SqueeBunny)
( May. 5th, 2016 11:28 pm)
Just got back from seeing Captain America:Civil War. SO much fun! That was what Age of Ultron should have been!
On Tuesday I went with [personal profile] greenygal and L to see Project Itoh: The Empire of Corpses.

It's an alternate-history anime featuring Dr. John Waston (yes, that one) working for the British government trying to find the lost notebook of Victor Frankenstein. In a world where reanimated corpses have become cheap labor.

Yup, a steampunk zombie movie from Japan. I loved it; it was gorgeous and ridiculous and utterly fascinating.

In no particular order there was:

John Waston, who has stolen and reanimated his friend's corpse.
M/Walsingham, the head of a British intelligence agency who blackmails John into working for him
Friday/Noble Savage-007, the aforementioned friend as a reanimated corpse; Watson has programed him to act as scribe
The Nautilus, in a moment of sheer WTF?!
An automaton that just wants a soul
A cameo by Thomas Edison
Babbage analytical engines directing corpse labor
Analytical engines running on punch cards with input/output by manual typewriter
Ulysses S Grant in Japan
Alexei Karamazov as Russian corpse-engineer who has stolen the Frankenstein notebook and run off to Afghanistan
Nikolai Krasotkin as a Russian agent sent to track down Alexei Karamazov
A battle at the Khyber Pass, as enacted by armies of reanimated corpses
Frederick Burnaby, who is assigned as Watson's handler/bodyguard
The British super-computer/analytical engine is named Charles Babbage
The American one, in San Francisco, is named Paul Bunyan
Frankenstein's actual monster
Universal Horror's version of Frankenstein's monster
A Japanese military officer with truly outrageous eyebrows
A woman on top of a stagecoach, wielding a flamethrower
Zombie shinto monks as scribes for a Japanese corporation's analytical engine
Security hacking of reanimated corpses and with reanimated corpses
A villain who wants everyone in the world turned into a reanimated corpse, because that's the way to peace...uhm, no?
Corpse-bomb, because what's creepier than reanimated corpses? Reanimated corpses that explode!
A trip around the world from London, to Afghanistan, to Japan, to San Francisco, and then finally back to London (by submarine? from San Francisco?!)
Frankenstein's brain, in a jar!

It was like someone had put 19th century European literature and history in a blender, and then filtered it through Japanese anime.

I want more of it, possibly in crossover with Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, possibly just a 5000 word essay on how abundant corpse labor would have transformed Victorian culture, with special focus on the effects on the working class of being replaced by undead factory workers, on death and dying when bodies might be reanimated, and on the leisure class when half your servants are dead.
Today's the last day for Con.txt panel suggestions.

I've suggested a panel on asexuality and a panel on non-monogamous marriage in SF (sedoretu, line marriages, etc).

If either (or both!) go through, I'm going to be looking for co-moderators.
Also, I pruned back my rose bush yesterday. Hopefully this means I will get enough roses at the same time this year to make rose petal ice cream or rose petal jam.

I'm also thinking about buying a pair of dwarf blueberries for my container garden. They'd need a little extra care, because they need acidic soils, but I've already got a rosebush, two banana plants, and a phal orchid, so it's not like I don't like a challenge.
I went to see Rams at the AFI last night. The description is: 'In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what's dearest to them - their sheep'.

My initial reaction was 'my god, it's Norwegian Bachelor Farmers!', except they're Icelanders. But I was with [personal profile] ellen_fremedon; and the Vegan Knitter, and she agreed it was totally Norwegian Bachelor Farmers. Though when we got to the end, she pointed that once you've run away to the mountains, that's the last step to becoming an outlaw and your story is over; so the ending was perfect, at least in the context of Icelandic sagas.

This afternoon I went to see Chandu the Magician with [personal profile] greenygalas part of the William Cameron Menzies retrospective. It had a good bit of painfully dated orientalism, and a good bit of raygun gothic with a 'death ray' as the central macguffin, but it also had some amazing set design consider it was made in 1932, some nifty special effects (and lots of van de graaf generators and tesla coils) and correct use of 'thou' and 'you' between a master yogi and his student Chandu. You could definitely see the seeds of both the Jedi and Indiana Jones in the movie.

Next up, there's short run of Harryhausen films, including King Kong and Jason and the Argonauts at the AFI that I'm going to go to, and a two-day only run of Project Itoh: Empire of Corpses, which is a steampunk anime alternate history -- 'Ever wonder what the world would be like if the British Empire had been built upon a working class of reanimated corpses?' -- so I will go see it even though it's only showing weekday nights.
Went to see Zootopia with friends today. It was very cute, even though we got interrupted by a fire alarm partway through.

I rather want to see this movie spawn an animated series, because apparently a funny-animal police procedural that tackles prejudice is something I need like burning.

Otoh, I was sleeting lightly when I got home, and I'm so ready for the weather to turn. It was nice during the week, but miserable yesterday -- I had chattering teeth in spite of wearing gloves and a jacket of Shetland wool -- and not much better today.
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2016 09:13 pm)
I just got my apartment renewal notice in the mail. It was sent Wednesday. They are giving me a week to get my documents together for renewal, which is impossibly short, and I just started the new job so I don't have a paystub yet, let alone 4 to 6 of them.

I'm going to call the apartment housing office tomorrow and complain, and then I'm going to lodge a complaint with the Housing Opportunities Commission, because I'm pretty sure someone is playing fast and loose with the rules.

The Metro is completely shut down tomorrow. The buses are still going to run, but the sheer volume of people who are displaced from their usual transit is likely to overflow that system as well.

I'm going to have to be out of the house by 6:45 tomorrow, just to get to work on time. Bleach.

Two robocalls from the same number today for an IRS phishing scam. It felt lovely to report them to the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

If you (in the USA) get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or the Treasury department, get the number, get the name if possible, and give them NO financial information about yourself.

The actual government will send you letters. The actual government will government will send you lots of letters before anything gets serious. These people are phishers who got your name from the same places telemarketers always do, and are trying to scam you (in my case, probably from my resume on a jobsite).

I dumped several pots yesterday, so today I sowed a longbox with 'Lauren's Grape' Poppy from Botanical Interests, sowed three 4-inch pots with 'Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry' and an 8-inch pot with 'Attila' alpine strawberry, both from from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

If the poppies don't come up, I can usually get live plants at MD Sheep & Wool. The strawberries are more of an experiment, but the 'Attila' cultivar is supposed to send out runners, which is unusual in alpine strawberries.

We're supposed to have rain/snow late tonight, so hopefully this was the right day to put the seeds in the ground. Now, off to add them to my Growstuff account.


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