Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delicious, fashionable murder.

From My Life Is Average:

Today a lady came up to me on the street, pointed at my suede jacket and said, "Don't you know a cow was murdered for that jacket?" I said "I didn't know there were any witnesses. Now I'll have to kill you too".
As a bonus, one of the comments says, direct quote, "thats not funny you shouldnt kill anybody and we should all get along" [all sic] There was also a :( at the end, but I left it off because :( with a " looks like this :(" and I was all like, "Don't be sad, soul-patch man!"

Can you tell today's been dragging?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Am Not A Fast Cook: Fruit Turnovers

I made these for Christmas morning brunch, and they were a big hit. Technically this recipe is more about making the fillings, because pre-made frozen puff pastry is cheating on practically every level. (My "I don't care" face -- let me shows you it.)

Start by making the fruit filling the night before -- this consists of compotes featuring the fruit of your choice. I used blueberries, raspberries and apples, and the preparation consisted of putting a cup of fruit (fresh or frozen; washed and peeled as appropriate), one or two tablespoons of sugar and either a little water (blueberries), a little cinnamon (apples) or a little lemon juice (raspberries and apples) in a small saucepan (separately, as if I needed to make the distinction). Cook over low heat until the fruit begins to break down and the syrup coats the back of a metal spoon. For the apples, this takes about 30 minutes with the lid on; for the others, about 20 minutes with the lid off and occasional stirring. The compotes will be thinner than you expect, so cover and chill overnight before using.

To make the turnovers, get yourself some frozen puff pastry sheets and cut into squares (about four to six inches on a side). Brush with egg wash, then put two spoonfuls of filling into the center of each square and fold over, corner to corner, to make triangle pockets. Seal the edges, place on a sheet pan* and brush again with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for ten to twelve minutes. While baking, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 T. lemon juice and a 1/4 teaspoon vanilla to make a glaze. When the turnovers have cooled for about ten minutes, drizzle the glaze over them and serve. Is delicious. Enjoy!



*I recommend you either use a pan with raised sides or cover the bottom rack of the oven with foil. The filling will leak and you will have a mess, otherwise.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Five bucks says I make at least three errors in this post.*

According to the fine folks at Cheezburger Central, my birthday (Sept. 24) is National Punctuation Day. I find this not only amusing, but both fitting and appropriate.



*And by "five bucks" I mean "free subscription to this site, and a cookie". (All cookies subject to being imaginary. Void where prohibited.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Now that's my kind of holiday scene.

From a thread on Christmas traditions at Ace of Spades:

My wife has a roughly 1/32 scale little Christmas scene with a tree and a pond and a bunch of happy skaters and revelers.

Every damn year I half-assedly semi-hide a couple of my old toy soldiers in menacing positions. And every damn year one of our visitors notices it before she does.

This year there's a Soviet with a PPSh-43 and another with a Molotov cocktail, standing bold-as-brass in front of the conifer for the past week with the happy skating family in their sights. She hasn't noticed.
I LOL'd and LOL'd.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It'd be cute if it wasn't actual money and lives being spent.

So, not only are they planning to control health care prices, they're going to control our means of complaining about it.

Yay.

At least they can't control the weather, though Lord knows it's not for lack of trying. ("Environmental justice"? That isn't even a thing. Silly politicians.)

It's bigger on the inside

Just for giggles, I have a TARDIS drawn on the whiteboard in my cubicle. (It's next to the green-green-green-red dots from Fringe, because I am that big a nerd.) This morning, something smudged it, making the bottom half look all faded and disappeary-like.

I think I'll leave it that way. It's fitting.

And yet I'm feeling fairly cheerful ... go figure.

This morning, while washing my hair, I tilted my head back and something went "pop" in my neck. Kind of a cross between "pop" and "crack", actually, but the sound isn't important. What is important is that it hurt so bad I thought I was going to throw up, and that ever since then I haven't had full range of motion in my neck. I can feel the lump under the skin where something seized up, and if I ease myself into it I can sit up straight, but there's definitely a problem and it doesn't look like it's going away any time soon. Driving in to work was fun, let me tell you.

At work, I've been pestering a rep to provide Item A, which was missing from a bundle. He promised yesterday he'd get it done. This morning, I checked and he'd done Items B through E, which didn't need doing, and there's still no sign of Item A. I'm not sure what he thinks is going on. I can't be much more specific than "Provide Item A, please and thank you," but apparently that wasn't clear enough. This is where I'd normally thump my head on the desk, but thanks to the crick I can't bend my head that far forward.

I think this evening will be spent with my good friends Ms. Hot Damp Towel and Mr. Ibuprofen Bottle.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Presenting the world's tiniest violin ...

I can never remember who said this or where I read it, but why is it that the folks I'm supposed to feel the sorriest for have the biggest TVs? Can't pay your heating bill? Hock the freakin' flatscreen. This is basic money management. What's so hard about this?*



*Asked and answered in one.

I Am Not A Fast Cook: Frenchish Bread

I say "Frenchish" because true French bread has a much more chewy texture and is baked in brick ovens; whereas I have to make do with a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven to get the proper crust formation. Still: It's good stuff. (Also: I know this is a repeat from early days, but it's been more than a year so I'm filing this blatant hackery under "recycling a popular classic". -- Ed. )

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups flour, 1 t. kosher salt, 1 T. sugar and 1 T. yeast. Mix thoroughly. Add to the mixture 1 T. melted butter and 1.5 cups water, heated to no more than 120 degrees F. Stir into a dough with a wooden spoon, then turn out, shape into a rough lump, cover with the inverted bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. After resting, knead the dough for at least ten minutes, adding flour as necessary. Put the dough back in the bowl (now greased with a light coat of olive oil), cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. After rising, punch down and knead for 1-3 minutes, then rest again for 15 minutes. After this rest, cut the dough in two and shape into oblong loaves with diagonal slashes across the top. Let rise, again for 1 hour or until doubled in size then bake in a preheated 400-degree (F) oven for 40-60 minutes. As noted before, for a darker, thicker (and more flavorful) crust, the cook should place a shallow pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven just before baking. (Do NOT use cold water, thinking that the heat of the oven will cause it to boil. This Does Not Work and has no discernible effect on the bread.) Cool the bread on wire racks for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Good with butter or all by itself. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brigid makes some good points

although I think it's less about "not understanding" and more about "vive la difference", myself.

^_^

Ugh.

My boss is in one of her "find somebody to berate for making a small mistake instead of getting any actual work done" moods. Her idea of problem solving is to make someone cry. I hope the battery on my mp3 player holds out; I don't think I could listen to this all day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This is some Burn Notice-level stuff right here.

Why do I get the feeling that whoever was assigned this article about the Stuxnet worm was humming the 007 theme while he wrote it?

So last night I had a massive breakthrough.

I can now, thanks to said breakthrough, let another party identify and fill my needs without feeling worthless and helpless for not doing it myself. The details are much too personal for this space, but suffice it to say that a lot of puzzle pieces were filled in last night, and I have a much clearer picture of the world in general than I did yesterday morning.

It's time to start recording some new tapes to play in my head. This is one hedgehog that's feeling a lot less spiky than ever before. ^_^

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That's a load off.

Today I made my twice-a-year visit to Facebook, did a bunch of housecleaning (friending and unfriending, that sort of thing), realized that I've always kind of hated Facebook (especially in recent years), and deactivated my account. Friends, relatives, you know where to find me, and I know where to find you. That, more than anything, is why I deleted myself. More on that in a moment.

Honestly, it's like a big heavy weight came off my shoulders, because I made the decision for me. Facebook felt like a massive obligation. I would rather stay in touch with people through e-mail and phone calls and things like that, where there's actual, real conversation. There was just too much to worry about with Facebook -- who's friends with whom, wall updates, all those rackin' frackin' app/game requests -- when I started Facebook, it was a simple, one-page-per-person dealy that I quite liked. And then eventually it grew into a behemoth, and I lost both the ability and the inclination to keep up with it in any meaningful fashion.

Back to contacting friends and relations: Everything that's on Facebook is stuff that I get other places. I keep up with my friends and family via e-mail and blogs. Twitter is my wall. And I don't take or appear in enough photographs to justify that part of things; when I do take pictures, they usually end up here.

I wasted almost my entire college experience sitting alone at my computer, pretending I had a life in the things I did online. It's taken real effort for me to build relationships in the outside world ("meatspace", the kids are calling it these days), and although a lot of those relationships got started via the Internet, I had to venture outside to keep them going. I want to keep and build on that, not on what amounts to a party-line for text messages. (I mean no offense if you loves you some Facebook; if that's your thing, that's cool. It's just not my thing, and hasn't been since, oh, 2006.)

There's also the issue of wresting control of my life from my ideas of what people expect of me. I don't make decisions based on those old tape loops any more; when I do, I immediately know it because I feel like crap. Once I've got the tape unspooled and no longer playing, I feel worlds better.

And right now, "worlds better" is how I feel.




*Plus that's one less account They can hack. I got caught in the Gawker thing over the weekend and almost lost this site for good in the aftermath. I don't need that kind of "fun".

Miscellany

-- Today I am testing what happens if I go a day with a super ace wrap instead of my brace. So far so good, but so far I've mostly been sitting at my desk. I think the key lies in my choice of shoes. I'm wearing ankle boots, and I don't think my sneakers would be as stable. Still: Progress!

And yes, for the record, I am being very very very careful when I go outside.

-- I heard this on the devil box TV (and immediately forgot who said it and why): "If you put out cookies and milk for Santa, and in the morning they're gone, and you have a dog ... It was probably Santa."

-- The remainder of my NaNoWriMo project will be posted weekly, instead of biweekly. NaNoWriMo ends when it does for a reason, and I find I suddenly have other activities/events/people (and my poor neglected cat) competing for my attention. Chapter Twelve will be posted at noon this coming Sunday, with subsequent chapters to follow at the same Bat time, same Bat channel. I hope my dear readership (all +/-2 of you) will not be too inconvenienced. (Besides, we're getting to the good part, and I want to give it the loving care and craftsmanship it deserves. I will tell you this much: It Gets Worse. Bwa ha ha ha.)

-- The office Christmas party is on Friday! I found stompy boots that won't make my foot fall off, which means I can wear a dress, which makes me happy because I like wearing dresses and I wasn't looking forward to Dressy Trousers Forever Because I Can't Stand Up (Much Less Walk) In Heels And Flats Don't Fit Over The Brace Very Well At All. Yes, that's a legitimate fashion category. Just go with it.

-- Fringe is done until January and Burn Notice ends the season this week, but then there's Christmas and New Years and hallelujah, I actually have plans for both holidays this year. And I mean real plans, not "I'm going to sit at home in my jams and watch old movies" plans. This is a pretty big deal for me. Life is looking up. I'm Not Complaining.

Monday, December 13, 2010

YAY

There was a stupid something and my blog went away and I said "Hey!" and now it's back

yay thank you Blogger people

because I've had this thing for like six years now (and I always miss my blogiversary because it's during NaNoWriMo and I forget) so obviously I would be very very sad if it ever went away for good. But it didn't.

YAY.

(Also no recipe today because of the afore-mentioned hinkiness and because I'm having a really hard time focusing on much of anything right now -- and trust me, that's a good thing.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I love writing

but sometimes I do big scenes where someone gets their emotional hiney handed to them, and boy if it doesn't take it out of me. At least today I've got some down time to recover; consider that after writing the final scene of this chapter, I had to go straight to bed and try to sleep on it. That was a not-fun night.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

QotD: Apropos of nothing; it just makes me smile

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes 'ding' when there's stuff. It can also boil an egg at thirty paces -- whether you want it to or not. I've had to learn to keep it away from hens." -- The Doctor

Monday, December 06, 2010

Aw what

My right ankle hurts like all get out today, and I'm not sure why (unless it was the quick two-way powerslide I pulled yesterday on a conveniently slippery linoleum floor*). I'm at work with my shoe and my brace off, my little half-naked footsy hidden under my desk with my sock pulled down over my toes to get the cotton off the scar (which is also irritable -- and I really don't know why on that one). Ibuprofen helps some, but not too much; I mostly just want to go home, pop a couple vicodin and crank up the footrest on the recliner while I work on Chapter Eleven. Which, once the painkillers kick in, may just be four pages of "I like Jell-O."

On further reflection, the pain seems to be mostly where they took out the bone chip, so it might just be the cold as is causing the problem. It was nine degrees when I got to work today, although I didn't know it at the time -- I think that's why I didn't really notice. For some reason I feel the weather more when I know the temperature, hot or cold.


*I'm never doing that again.

Am I a bad person for laughing at this?

Ducklings + a strong wind = Squeeeeeeeee! There's just something about the way those little yellow fuzzballs go rolling across the pavement, and the way they shake themselves off and get right back in line behind their mother, that just makes my morning brighter.

I Am Not A Fast Cook: Thanksgiving Turkey

This Thanksgiving I had a feast with my godmother and The Jack (who did fancy mashed potatoes and spicy breaded chicken wings, and they were delicious). I was in charge of the pumpkin pie (no problems there) and the turkey.

I had never cooked a turkey before.

I did my research; I prepared myself. There was a lot of pointing and proclaiming "You're not the boss of me, bird!" It must have worked; it was delicious.

We had a seven-and-a-half-pound bird, which was a good size for three people. I made an herb rub (1 T. thyme; 1 T. rosemary; 2 T. parsley; 3/4 t. paprika; 1 t. kosher salt; 1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper; 1/4 c. olive oil). This rub was applied liberally to the turkey, outside and inside. I then put the turkey, uncovered, in a preheated 325-degree oven. After 45 minutes, I put the lid on the pan and left it in for another 55 minutes. (I checked the temperature at the second 45-minute mark; it wasn't quite there. Total time: About twelve minutes per pound, which is what They Tell Us to do.) It was brown and moist and delicious, and my godmother's dripping gravy was insane because of all the herbs.

Overall verdict: Success!

Friday, December 03, 2010

OH DAGNABBIT

From a (sugar)buzzkill article about calorie-laden holiday-themed coffees:

The worst of the cheery chocolate-laden delights? Starbucks' Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. A venti made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream is a jolly 700 calories with 27 grams of fat (17 grams saturated fat) and 95 grams of sugar. According to the piece that is the equivalent of 17 ½ candy canes.
Which explains the title of this post, because I had like seven of those over the past month at various NaNoWriMo functions. I did get talls/grandes, though, so that probably knocks the calories down into the 400-550 range. But still. (And yet, even with that and the holiday and everything, I've lost about five pounds since Nov. 1. Go figure.) I should have guessed; the drink is almost too sweet. I think I'll stick with the regular peppermint mocha from now on ...