Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Well, I did it again. Tendonitis. This time, my right hand is cold and tingly, especially around the fingertips. There's cramps up to the elbow, and occasionally beyond. Heat helps, as does medicine, but damn it's inconvenient. I suspect it's a combination of working on the computer 8 hours a day, then coming home and playing WoW for a few hours, before finishing with a night of spinning. Yeah. That's probably it.

Mostly I'm blaming World of Warcraft. I mean, if those folks at Blizzard hadn't put their danged Fire Festival at the same time as I got interested in spinning again, we wouldn't be having this sort of trouble, now would we?

I've been thinking of doing something different with the blog these past few days. I know this is a knitting blog, but to be honest when you're working on only one or two projects that are on tiny yarn and tiny needles (hello, Irish Miss scarf!) and your camera doesn't work for shit (still can't find that damn connecter cord), words are all you got. So I got thinking, around the time that I did the zombie post - writing fiction is fun! So maybe I should post some of my fiction here? All I've really got on me right now is my NaNo Novel from last year - would folks be interested in seeing that up here? I warn you, it's not edited AT ALL, and in my opinion it should get off to a much quicker start than it does, but I like it. It's 50,000 words, but that doesn't include all of the story. When I got to certain parts, I'd have to actually WORK on it, to make it go. It might be good practice, it might just be fun to do. Anyone interested?

As a teaser, here is the excerpt I posted last year:

an excerpt


Dr. Phillip Jennings scratched a flea in his beard. The sweet smoky smell of beans cooking over an open fire comforted him, and he leaned back against the concrete and lumber contraption he called home. It was nice living here, under the Bryan River bridge, not a care in the world. Once or two hours a week he’d go into town and help the poor little engineering majors with their homework in exchange for canned food, soap, bottled water, and a few packs of cigarettes. He didn’t smoke, and he told them so, but still they gave him the cigarettes. Once he tried to explain the difference in being homeless and being in prison, but the boys eyes (it was only boys he helped to study, the girls were too cautious of his dirty, smelly self) would glaze over, so he stopped. He shared the cigarettes with the other street people, and built up good will. The shelter let him shower there so long as he brought his own soap and wasn’t drunk, which he never was. He enjoyed life too much to drink; his was an existence free from care, and idyllic eden where he could sleep, read or think as much as he wanted, every day of his life.

So when he saw the stranger shambling up from the other side of the river, he felt no fear. He waved, and gestured to his beans. “Howdy, brother. You look hungry, want to share some beans? Maybe a smoke?” The stranger said nothing, just continued his clumsy, slow advance. Dr. Jennings scratched idly at his beard flea (he was considering naming it Irving, but thought that might make it harder on himself when the flea drowned in tomorrow’s shower) and waited. Maybe the stranger was a crazy – god knew there were enough of them in the general homeless population, and he knew quite a few of them himself. Most were harmless, but a few were unstable enough to merit avoidance. Dr. Jennings wondering if this man was one of those. “Hey now, brother,” he spoke softly, like to an unfamiliar animal, “There’s no trouble here. I got food to spare and a nice warm fire. Won’t you share it with me?”

The stranger crawled hands and knees slowly up the side of the embankment, putting a cold and dirty hand on Dr. Jennings’ shoulder to steady himself. He started to raise his face.

The eyes were empty, not filled with madness, but cold and glassy as a taxidermied bear’s. The mouth was bloodied and raw, flesh falling in strips from he perfect, white teeth. Those teeth terrified the good doctor more than anything, shining white and clean in that dirty, dead man’s face, the metal gleam of braces undiminished by the meat and gristle of Dr. Jennings’ shoulder and neck as it bowled him slowly over onto the concrete floor, a wailing moan starting somewhere in his belly and escaping through his mouth like steam from a kettle, rising to match that rumbling howling screech from the stranger’s own filthy, dead lips.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Roux the Day

So, Mr Sweetie has a new student worker who's vegetarian, and I wanted to cook something all vegetarian-y and impress her (because, you know, I'm a praise-based organism). She *does* eat milk and eggs, which gives me a little more wiggle room, though this recipe I made today doesn't use any milk.

I have said before, publicly, that I don't know how to cook. See the green onion incident.

I've been wanting to make pasta from scratch for a while - ever since the Library Overlord mentioned that yeah, it's just flour and eggs and a little bit of salt. Like, seriously. That's it.

So I gave basic pasta a go last weekend, and then I felt I was Truly! Ready! to cook something ovo-vegetarian.

Here is the basic recipe I use for pasta:

2 cups flour (more if you think you need it)
4 eggs (room temperature)
Pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a seperate bowl, whisk the eggs up good. Mix that shit together, until it sticks to itself enough that your hands are, you know, fairly clean. Like, you can move them independantly, bend them, see where the skin is, that kind of thing. Make it into a ball, then put that ball in the bowl, put some foil or damp cheesecloth or saran wrap on the top, then leave that shit alone for at least half an hour. It's done when it has a kind of glossy dampness all over. And is vaguely plump-looking, not that you really expect it to rise.

Flour the surface you're going to be rolling on really well, then roll it out (or, you know, buy a pasta machine). If you have limited space and/or are me, you can flour the top of the dough VERY well, the fold it, and the flour will keep it from becoming a big mass of dough again. You can make layers this way. Layers are nice. Roll it nice and thin, then cut it into strips, and cook them in boiling water with some salt. Use a LOT of water - and also? They cook FAST. Like, 2 minuntes fast. Don't leave thinking you have time to do other things. Drain the water out when they're done, and you have pasta. If you are me, you have ugly, uneven strips, but it's pasta and it's tasty.

The first time I made this, I forgot that I had thrown out the pesto I planned to have it with. They were good all by themselves. The second time, I had them with canned pasta sauce (spinach cheesy goodness). Even better.

So tonight, I Had A Plan, you see? I was going to make a meaty-tasting meat-free pasta sauce. It was going to rock. Here was The Plan:

1. Roux is thick. Make some roux. Medium to dark, but not too dark.
2. Walnuts are mellow. Toast some walnuts. Add them to the roux.
3. Portabella mushrooms are delicious and meaty. Sautee them bitches in butter.
4. Everyone loves green onions.
5. And salt.
6. And pepper.
7. Maybe you should add some water, so it actually forms some kind of sauce.

Somehow, I thought that roux was one of those things you could have a lot of, so I made a LOT of roux. I'm proud of myself that I didn't burn it, and I got it down to a nice dark peanut butter color (I have never made roux in my life), so I just dumped the entire goddamn cup of roux in with the walnuts, thinking thick = sauce.

So, at that point I had a giant pile of roux, and my precious walnuts. I tried adding water in a frantic attempt to less-roux-ify it. I actually ended up straining the walnuts out, so I had a pot of roux and a pot of walnuts. I added the mushrooms, onions, salt, and pepper to the walnuts pot, and it was good, but it sure was.... thin. Maybe I should add back a little of that roux.

So I didn't want to add too much, but I did want a creamy consistancy, so I busted out the coconut milk. As it turns out, coconut milk is actually pretty good in savory dishes! I was starting to have a passably okay mushroomy-walnutty-vaguely-creamy-sauce-thing. But it was still a little thin.

Instead of doing the sane thing and quitting while I was ahead, I added more roux. After pouring the thin stuff off the top, which was mostly water. So I was adding almost pure roux again. Then I went and cooked the pasta, and by the time the pasta was done, you know what I found out?

I had somehow invented the vegetarian recipe for brown gravy. And not the good stuff, either - the instant kind like you get a Luby's, three hours after the lunch rush. Oh yeah.

At that point I did what anyone would do in my situation. I fed the dog what she would eat and put the rest down the garbage disposal, then sat down with a bowl of ice cream for dinner.

Friday, June 13, 2008


So I get up this morning at 4 a.m., because the cat would like to be in the window now. The cat is not allowed in the window, neither at 4 a.m. nor at any other time, because he is 15 lbs of fat-ass, who wants to sqeeeeze his way through the blinds (and crush them, and break them, and ruin our deposits) to sit on the windowsill... for maybe ten minutes top, then squeeeeze back through to the bed.

Have I mentioned that the window is right above my head? As in, the cat must walk on my face with his 15 lb self to get to and from said window? So yeah, I'm against the whole process. Why he only wants to do this first thing in the morning is beyond me, but I suspect it's an elaborate plan to wake me up, so that maybe I'll feed him early. Not that I ever feed him early, but hope springs eternal.

So today, I am awake at 4 a.m., because the cat has tried to walk on my face, and there really is a limited amount of cat-flinging you can do while prone and groggy and cranky as all get-out, but somehow it sinks into my lizard-brain that Heed is crouching down next to my face, hair puffed out all crazy, growling at something in the backyard.

He is not a growly cat, so this scares the shit out of me.

I woke up Mr. Sweetie before I looked out the window, and I thought I saw a dude wandering around the yard behind ours (see, this shit is why we need a privacy fence, I don't need to know what is going on in your yard, neighbor people!), stumbling around like he was drunk or stoned or something. Well, scratch that, you see a lot of drunks in a college town, and he didn't seem drunk, so probably on something. The dog started barking, Mr. Sweetie got out the handgun case from the closet but didn't open it - you know, because you never know, but you want to be safe. I guess I don't really regret him getting the gun now, hey?

So the dude wandered around for a while, then turned like he heard something (which he didn't do for the dog - weird, right?) then wandered off towards the highway. We were pretty goddamn awake at that point, so we started getting ready to go to work.

We had some extra time (like two hours extra time), so I figured hey - I'll make breakfast. Haven't done that in a while (try ever, but I was still freaked out and needed something to do), and we had some pamcake mix and chocolate chips, how hard could it be?

So I'm mixing up the batter, and Mr. Sweetie's on the computer in the living room, and next thing I know he's spouting crazy-talk about zombies and uprisings and oh god oh god we're all gonna die.

Honestly, it's like we don't plan for these things.

So, of course, I finished the pamcakes (they were delicious), turned off the stove, and grabbed the bug-out bags a friend had prepared for us last year. Supplemented with the 50 lb bag of cat food we'd picked up from the store the other day, the rain barrel from the yard and our brita pitcher, and we were good to go. It wasn't easy getting the Maggie and Heed into the attic, and let me tell you, getting Maggie's crate through that creepy little door did not help my mood one bit, but once we pulled ourselves up and busted a small hole through the roof, it was cosy enough. Mr. Sweetie made an amicable truce with Falafel Jones, the previous resident, regarding which sides of the roof were off limits, and we were able to last out the uprising without too much trouble.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Building Worlds

Well, the wedding we attended last weekend went along well, as did the godson's birthday party, though the whale went unfinished. We got him an Indiana Jones Mr Potato Head instead, and next time his mom is in town we'll give her the theoretically-completed whale.

In other news, Mr Sweetie and I have started working on our roleplaying game again.

It's something that we started talking about around this time last year, or maybe last fall. We both like classless systems, and skill-based systems, and really the more flexibility the better. We started building some mythology together, which with his background in religious studies and classical literature, and my lifetime love of low fantasy and how-did-they-make-that, it's turning out really interesting. We've got the general feel down, which is a lot more ... folktale-y than your classic RPG, but we're pretty stoked about it. I don't want to say too much about it, since nothing's really set in stone, but we came up with a really cool thing today that creates roads (a lot more important than you might think), plows fields, and ferries the souls of the dead. It's awesome.

So in short, life is good.