Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Spirit Thief

Today I got my first International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club package. It included the journal I bought us for the first round and a book and bookmark, very appropriate for book club Tuesdays on the blog! I look forward to reading it and letting my pen pal know what I think since she went to the trouble of getting it signed for me, too! I think I will, considering how similar our tastes in books are.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hot Pie's Hot Pies!

After a week hiatus we were able to resume our weekly Game of Thrones party last night with our friends. And like the last time we decided to cook from the Game of Thrones cookbook. This week I tackled Medieval Pork Pie and Meringue Swans.

I already had some wild ground boar in the freezer so it was an easy choice to make the pie. I skipped the make your own dough part and opted for store bought. (Anachronistic, so sue me.) The pie came out great and even my Stark wolf looked decent (although slightly more doglike, than wolf.)

The slightly more advanced meringue swan choice was made when the pork pie recipe mentioned it, to use up the leftover egg whites. I had never made meringue before so I had to consult a few internet sites to reassure myself after 20 minutes of the handmixer going that it would eventually get to the right consistency. (My handmixer almost started to smoke, poor old thing.) It wasn't as light and crispy as perfect meringue but it came out close. I am glad I followed the advice of making extra swan parts because plenty of the necks and wings broke in the process.

All the work was definitely worth it for the results. (Yes, that's me in my Hermione shirt. Geek mashup day!)

P.S. We also enjoyed some kangaroo and pork hot sausages I got. Kangaroo is gamey, and slightly greasy, but delicious.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Do You Die in This One? Or Much Ado About Nothing

This weekend we got a chance to meet Dwight Schultz (Barclay on TNG and Voyager) and Amy Acker (of Angel, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods, and the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing.) Both were absolute pleasures to meet and we got a kick out of the fact that Dwight's dog is named Buffy. (Nerdiness comes full circle, mwahahaha!)

In other news I have found ginger ale goes great with lavender vodka.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

At last the silence is lifted, hear, hear!

I have not blogged all week because I have been absorbing the information coming out about the Boston bombings. I spend the first 24 years of my life living within 10 minutes of Boston city limits. Parts of my hometown touched parts of Boston. I was there all the time. My dad was in the press stands for the marathon each year during much of my childhood, teenage, and early adult years.

My first reaction was to call him to find out if he was okay. Luckily he is semi retired and they had given the assignment to some other reporters. So he was fine. Then I got a call from my uncle, talking about my cousin working the finish line, but that she was okay and he didn't have any other news. I found out later that she had been working across the street from where the bombs went off and got away quickly. I admit it gave me 9/11 flashbacks, as I remember how the terrorists flew out of Boston. The vulnerability and embarrassment I felt in conjunction with all the other emotions. I felt guilty that our city let those people in, let the nation down, and the people of New York.

What I have seen since has shown me that the rest of our country, especially NY does not harbor the same feelings, at least not any more. The amazing outpouring of love from our rival city shocked me. I was humbled. I was also bereft over the emptiness of it.

It's hard to understand such wanton violence when the perpetrator thinks they have a reason, it's impossible when there is no reason, when it's chaos and destruction for its' own sake a la The Joker in The Dark Knight. How much more frightening it becomes when there is no one to fight. And now with reports of an innocent women, (a doctor no less, devoted to saving lives)! being attacked and blamed by someone for the attacks it is even more upsetting. It was so disappointing to hear after feeling such pride for those who were there and pitched in to help, the volunteers, cops, firefighters, bystanders and locals. It makes me think of Mayor Green's speech on Jericho.

Johnston Green: Hey, Shep? You said earlier that you had heard that speech before. Ever ask yourself why I say it? 'Cause I happen to trust you people. 'Cause I love my town. Now, something happened in Denver, in Atlanta, and it could be that we wake up and find out that's where it stopped. But, until we know, are we going to use our imaginations to solve problems or to cause them? Now, we can get the power back on. We can find out how big this thing is. If we have to we can fight. We can fight anybody, we can fight all enemies. The only way that's going to happen is if we work together. Now, go on home. We'll meet tomorrow at the town hall. And folks, don't you break my heart again.

Nothing could be more apt. Use your imaginations to solve problems, don't create them. Don't look for terrorists in a crowd of people , don't create phantom suspects out of your fear, instead look to the ones who created the people finders, and housing finders because that is where we can do the most good. (This is a picture of me at the Boston Commons last summer.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sugar, Sugar- There's a Light

Los Angeles is a haven for new Hollywood and old and we love our obscure stars, and embrace our has been with a fervor of nostalgia akin to children at Christmas.

Over the weekend of April 19th-21st we will be able to relive all the fun of our favorite movies and television shows at The Hollywood Show. It is a bizarre mixture of pop culture from the 50s through today.

Josh and I will be in attendance to Dance the Time Warp again with Columbia, Magenta and Brad, and make if we are lucky get Fred (Amy Acker) And Barclay (Dwight Schultz- not to be confused with Dwight Schrute.

Maybe if we are lucky we will find a magic remote and land in Pleasantville, during a kinder, gentler time. If you are interested in attending Goldstar has tickets at $10/Saturday and $5/Sunday.

And if anyone is going to the SoCal Renaissance Pleasure Faire this weekend give us a shout out! We will be attending on Saturday for a bit.

The Hero of Canton!

Fox has proven themselves to be, once again, astronomically stupid by banning the selling of Jayne Cobb hats on etsy. Do they really think that will do anything more than further alienate a very powerful section of their media consumer base? Is a show 10 years old still such a big threat that people are buying enough hats that they take notice? Really?

And in banning the Jayne hats are they going to ban every other cosplay item that gets made and sold or shared that is fashioned after something in a property owned by them. I really want to see them try.

You can copyright a pattern, as in the words on the page, but not the way something looks. That's called designs, and sometimes they are similar to things that have come before. (Below is a picture of my fiance in his Jayne hat I made him.)

So in the spirit of Firefly and defiance, do not let them take your sky from you, or you head sunset. Barter your hats, and wear them proudly and don't let your fellow fans touch those filthy Alliance scum knockoffs that Fox is trying to sell you. Jayne's mom made him that hat. In that spirit, you should know who makes yours.
Teach them a lesson. And e-mail me if you need a pattern and some tips. I would be happy to trade for it.
Buzzfeed also has a great article on it if you want to continue reading about our struggle. The Struggle of Canton

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lavender, Bacon, & Neil Gaiman

I just enjoyed a fabulous weekend. It was filled with my favorite things. Great food, great company and great entertainment. I successfully made some lavender infused vodka as well as some tasty bacon wrapped dates. We also attended a stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' which was done extremely well. Hats off to the crew who created the interesting sets. The play goes for another month so if you are in the Los Angeles area and like Neil Gaiman I recommend checking it out. Information can be found at this link Sacred Fools Theater.

So as I said I was having some fun experimenting with recipes. My first experiment was based upon seeing a bag of lavender in the spices section of World Market and having a yearning to make something with it since I love lavender as a flavor and a scent. Like Lady Early Grey tea. So I bought it, then decided it would go well as vodka, paired with St. Germaine's. (Which I have not gotten yet.) So I added the lavender to a bottle of vodka (about 1/2 c lavender buds to a 750 ml bottle of vodka) and let it steep. Knowing how quickly garlic vodka becomes potent I decided to start testing after a day and found that two days gave it a great lavender taste and aroma without being too cloying. I used a fine mesh strainer to drain out the lavender and put it back into a glass flask I keep around for these kinds of things. It tasted great with a few cubes of ice, club soda and a dash of honey. That was how I was enjoying drinking it at any rate. I will have more to share once I get the liquor for my new cocktail invention.

Since I was hungry after making my concoction I decided to throw together some bacon wrapped dates because the dates had been calling to me in the store earlier. I cut slices of bacon in half an wrapped each around a date, then I put it on a broiling pan and drizzled some fig balsamic on them. Broiled for 10 minutes. they came out pretty tasty but the ends of the dates burned a bit so next time I think I want to marinate the dates in the vinegar, then slice them and add some goat cheese, then wrap in bacon and broil. I think that will be better.

So there you go, two recipes to make up for the lack of posts lately! Buongiorno!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Back to Childhood!

Been sick and haven't had much to share with you guys, though I do have some projects in the works. One is a possible children's book series related to solving scientific mysteries. Science has become such a taboo in so many parts of our country because of the shameful power held by so few who fear it so much. That message needs to get out to the kids before this new generation becomes intellectual paupers as well as monetary.

So it got me thinking about my favorite books as a child. I read The Babysitter's Club books almost exclusively for many years, to the point I would wait for them to be released with bated breath. Meeting Ann M. Martin as a child was awe inspiring. I wanted to be her, be a writer, since then. Then those books got me through the long nights of insomnia after my mother died, my night time friends.

The few other books that managed to hold my interest included the Everworld series, Raul Dhahl's books, and various others I can't remember at this point. But there are two books, and one series that stand out as ones I will still revisit to this day, two well known, the other an obscure find at Buck-a-Book, the greatest east coast chain store of the 80's. The less famous is Double Yuck Magic, a book about a girl who lives in an apartment and wants a dog so bad she uses a mad scientist's handbook as well as a heap of magic to create the world's best dog.

The other book is a much older and well known one, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It had a very feeble made for tv movie version that fell so short of it's mark it barely resembled the book. It was one of the first times I felt an author was writing a brilliant mystery with grown up plot twists for me. and even though I know how it ends I still love to reread it to visit all my favorite kooky characters and to cheer on a twelve year old outwitting the grownups.

My other favorite series was the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. In the first book Dealing With Dragons a princess decides she doesn't want to do boring princess things like needlework and dancing and runs away and becomes, (on her terms) the captive princess of a dragon named Kazul. Adventures ensure with witches, wizards, more dragons and magical items, in this quadrilogy.

What were your favorite books as a kid? What books made you made? What do you still read to this day?