Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sugar cookies!

Speaking of cooking, I made some sugar cookies the other day. I think everyone on Earth has a different recipe. This one, from all recipes, is fabulous: sweet, crisp, not overblown:
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I suspect you won't need the instructions. I would like to caution that chilling the cut-out cookies before baking is a good idea; the alternative is cartoonishly smooshed-out cookies (in my case, gorillas that resembled bison and moose that ran into the bison-rillas in suggestive ways.

Warm up corn tortillas

Forty-nine tortillas into a 50-tortilla package, I think I finally have the method down (besides frying, I mean):

Paper towel
Tortilla-size piece of wax paper
Tortillas (four, maybe more?)
Tortilla-size piece of wax paper

Microwave for about two minutes (I have a cheap microwave, so if yours is one of the fancy, powerful ones, maybe less time is the way to go.

Anyway, you get nice, warm tortillas that aren't dried out or gummy. I'll let you guess how the previous 45 tortillas worked out...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Hampshire lite/fight club

Well, we finally got a decent snow. I think the last time I saw snow like this here was in the mid-'90s. Katy is a hog in mud in this; Max is OK with it, but would really prefer to have his snow a la carte (aka without the Newfie who's usually included).

Here's their usual hostilities:

Saturday, January 26, 2008


nice cig, Willy.

Racking my brain

I read part of a book a couple of years ago, and I've been trying for months to track it down. It is a novel - part of a series, I think - about a girl who has adventures on the high seas. I thought it might have been The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but having read a snippet, I'm certain it isn't.

What do I remember? The girl had an unusual name, a connection to the Cape (or near the Cape) and of course an adventure on the ocean(s). Oh, and that the books are well-written. Last time this happened, it took me years (and finally, very good luck) to track down a book. I hope this time isn't as difficult.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lee's Surrender

So, my dear sweet mother found this unusually fantastic birthday present for yours truly:

It is, as you might guess from the post title, Lee's Surrender, from a coverlet placed in Old Kirby Knob, Kentucky. As you can see, this is an impressive display of hand weaving. My mother found it in Missouri, made by a woman said to be of questionable character.

For certain people, Lee's Surrender is instantly recognizable. "Certain people" probably most often consist of people who have read these dark materials:

I suppose this piece she gave me would be something like the feeling you might get when you realize "that's really a Klimt!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Red alert, red alert

A national emergency of which I was unaware continued Monday:
Because these terrorist activities continue to threaten the Middle East peace process and to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, the national emergency declared on January 23, 1995, as expanded on August 20, 1998, and the measures adopted on those dates to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond January 23, 2008.
It sounds hokey, of course, but of course, certain people benefit when there's an emergency on...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow? Check. Happy Newfy? Check.

Katy's pleased with the weather here the past couple of days. Although our city does get cold, it doesn't often get snow (that usually lands in the hills, not down in the valley). But every so often...
When we went out for the morning visit to the back yard, playing ensued, some of which I caught in immortal electrons:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday morning shuffle

all from my bought-music category...

The First Cut is the Deepest - Cat Stevens
That Time - Regina Spektor
Conquest - The White Stripes
Mr. Bad Man - Tori Amos
abbie's song - Joe Purdy
San Jose - Joe Purdy
You Can Bring Your Dog - Tori Amos
Get Em High - Kanye West, Talib Kweli and Common
Munich - Editors
Fat Slut - Tori Amos

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another brief brush with immortality

The butterfly lady - more alert to these things than I - spotted another of my scarves on the front page at Etsy today - cool!

I'm not sure if the appearance will have a direct effect on, um, sales, but it did drive a heck of a lot of traffic to my shop, which is very nice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

10 books in a row

On one of my shelves:

The Sea of Trolls - Nancy Farmer
Mind of the Raven - Bernd Heinrich
Kanji & Kana - Hadamitzky & Spahn
A book entirely in Japanese, indecipherable at the moment
Kyo Noren - Takai Kiyoshi
Godless Morality - Richard Holloway
The Communist Manifesto - Marx & Engels (oooh, *that* communist manifesto!)
The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara
The Next Million Years - Charles Galton Darwin
Forgotten Kingdom - Peter Goullart

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hey, cool!

I sense an item of mine was on the front page of Etsy last week - this scarf now has 396 views and has been added to a whole passel of people's favorite-items lists, pretty much all Jan 6. Nice!

Would have liked to see it find a new home, of course, but this is a good second place. :)

Drat, foiled again

Well, the Postal Service is on cracking down: The service now collects a fee when it returns "undeliverable-as-addressed items that were posted abroad with a United States return address."

Damn, and that was such a good way to send shit for free.

Anyway, this is 2008, so they mean business: Now the address to which the items are "returned" will have to pay First-Class Mail International postage on the item(s).

I'm not completely sure about the plausibility of posting your parcel in the foreign country without stamps, but this opens up a whole new world of sticking people you don't like: Next time you're in Afghanistan, put their return address on a bunch of undeliverable-as-addressed lead weights. It will be a double prank if you can find something equally heavy but much less desirable to receive in the mail. I'd vote for uranium, but that will only work when you're on a visit to Niger.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Getcher Bose ripoffs right here!

OK, maybe that's not quite right, but a complaint has been filed on behalf of Bose against a bunch of companies who supposedly are importing noise-canceling headphones that infringe on patents held by Bose (which is based in Framingham, Mass. Who knew?)

Maybe this means that until the dispute is settled, you could get Bose quality without Bose price? Maybe not. I don't own, nor do I plan to buy, noise-canceling headphones, but if I did, I might check out:
Phitek Systems Limited, Level 4, Axon Building, 2 Kingdom Street,
Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand. (I used to live in Newmarket, btw)
Phitek Systems Limited, 3049 Summerhill Court, San Jose, California
GN Netcom, Inc., 77 Northeastern Boulevard, Nashua, New Hampshire
Audio Technica U.S., Inc., 1221 Commerce Drive, Stow, Ohio 44224.
Creative Labs, Inc., 1901 McCarthy Boulevard, Milpitas, California
Logitech Inc., 6505 Kaiser Drive, Fremont, California 94555.
Panasonic Corporation of North America, One Panasonic Way, Secaucus,
New Jersey 07094.

They being the respondents in this dispute...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Great line...

Christopher Chester, reporting for The Associated Press from Baghdad, filed a story on the unusual snowfall. At the end, and maybe let through by a friendly editor:
For a couple of hours anyway, a city where mortar shells routinely zoom across the Tigris River to the Green Zone became united as one big White Zone. There were no reports of bloodshed during the snowstorm. The snow showed no favoritism as it dusted neighborhoods Shiite and Sunni alike, faintly falling (with apologies to James Joyce) upon all the living and the dead.

Nice :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Geez louise

OK, now that all hell has quit breaking loose:

Strong wind did not destroy our home, nor are many dead, unless you count the trees, but wow. Big storm, big wind, lots of trouble. As for us, just a little damage when the power crews re-hooked up our electricity (the power pole was destroyed by a falling tree). The front page for that day is here.

Anyway, the paper had to publish off site, a new one for me, and the first time in memory the paper couldn't get out at the plant. A good video about that is here, produced by my friend and colleague Carlos. Complete with my messy hair, cackling and a nice shot of the butterfly lady (and the rest of the crew, of course).

The video is from our makeshift newsroom - we could finish the paper in town but had to use an out-of-town press - and around town, which as you can see took a decent wallop from the wind. Not a big storm from a global perspective, but a good thumping for this city.

Needless to say, this was a great day from a work perspective. Pretty sad for our city, though. No human casualties were reported, though.

The past few days have been pretty busy, in a good way...