Monday, March 31, 2008

Meme-foolery from a fellow Fairbanksan

Ok, I live in North Pole, but close enough for our purposes.

Theresa, author of My Fairbanks Life, tagged me in a meme. We don't actually know each other, but we do have some people in common. It's a small town, you know. I won't be tagging anyone, because most of my blogpatriots are involved in Nathan's writing exercise, and we don't need any extra stress!

So, without further ado, here's the meme:

Go through your archives and link to five of your favourite posts that pertain to the following categories. Then pass it along to five other bloggers, two of them should be people you know but could stand to learn something about, and the others can be new friends. (Great idea, not gonna happen here)

Link one must be a post about family.

To The Woman I Married, because she is family, even if she's not my wife or even married anymore.

Link two must be a post about friends.

Tolovana 2008, because you better be friends with people you're spending time with, naked.

Link three must be a post about yourself.

I try not to write about myself, but I think some of my insecurities and pomposity come through on I'll take "Potential Humiliation" for 200, Alex.

Link four must be a post about something you love.

I love lots of things. Food, books, language, and music all seem to be recurring topics. Along with the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Police Blotter. But, I'll go for the obvious and pick the spouse and kitties. Mostly because they are right here and I would be in big trouble if I didn't pick them. Eek.

Link five can be a post about anything you choose.

I'm intrigued by how I will be able to write something that fits into the Sophie from Shinola exercise. Of course, that's a post that has yet to be finished, so I hope I haven't violated the spirit of the meme.

*********************
Theresa, thanks for tagging me, this was fun! Maybe I'll hear you on the radio sometime...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I am a jealous jealous woman right now

My bestest chum (not the fish kind) just got home from PLA, and she's bragging about her loot. Because we're book geeks together. For her, it's her job to be a book geek.

What's making me jealous - she got an ARC of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother.

I know what you're thinking, it's coming out in a month, but still.... what a lucky librarian!

Avgolemono - Easy, Fast, Filling, Tasty

Two of which a prospective date should be. Unless you're a zombie/vampire/cannibal and then you might be looking for all four in a potential mate. But I digress...

On a Sunday afternoon while doing laundry and other domestic things, I found myself full of a fearsome hunger. We've been cleaning the freezer (salmon will be smoked tonight!), and I've been rotating stock. Dinner tonight is falafel, because I have garbanzos/ceci/chickpeas that need used. But I digress again.

Avgolemono is a great soup to whip up on a busy afternoon. If you have homemade stock and lemons on hand - Yay! If you have canned stock and lemon/lime simulcra on hand - Yay!

Avgolemono

1 large can low-salt Chicken Broth or 1.5 qts Chicken Stock
1.5 C leftover rice/1 C uncooked rice/1 C uncooked orzo/stars/other itty bitty pasta
2 eggs
3 T lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put your stock in a medium sized pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. If using uncooked rice or pasta, add and cook as appropriate. If using cooked rice, toss it in and go to the next step.

In a bowl or a measuring cup or some other appropriate container whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. Slowly pour in 2 cups of hot broth, 1 cup at a time, whisking as you add. This tempers the egg and keeps it from being cooked immediately when added to the soup. If you mess this up and end up with something more like Egg Drop rather than a cream soup, that's ok. It still tastes good, and I won't report you to the food police. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the simmering pot of broth and starch, stirring all the while. Bring up to temperature, the egg will thicken the soup. Salt and pepper to taste before serving. I usually only add pepper, as the soup doesn't seem to need any salt flavoring.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fun (delayed, but using the time machine!)

I've been a manager. I've written grant proposals. I've edited manuscripts. I have a love-hate relationship with jargon, buzz words, and noxious managerial-speak.

For your amusement I offer up

The Buzz Phraser

For example:

* Cross-Imaginative Outline Bulletin Expectations
* Cooperatively Multi-Central Parameter-Oriented Applications
* Structurally Computerized Employee-contained Problem
* Exclusionary Portable Authentication Impact


Trust me, play with it long enough and you'll have a "Holy Shit, I think ______ used that in a meeting last week" moment!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Funny Friday - Some people's views of the world are a trifle cockeyed...

Yeah, get your mind out of the gutter about that cockeyed bit.

For your amusement, I offer up Cockeyed.com.

Pranks
Creativity
Hot Pocket Autopsies

What's not to love? It's odd, entertaining, and maybe even slightly educational.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I like to sing and dance, I like to sing and dance

And I love the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. But that's not what I'm babbling about today.

Everyone's got something that they geek out over. Some of us get a voyeuristic thrill watching people geek out over things that we find only moderately interesting, but are not necessarily obsessions.

I enjoy dancing. I'm not especially gifted, educated, or trained in dance, yet I usually have a great time. I was one of the only kids in high school that liked our dance unit. Probably because I was the tallest person in class, so I kept having to partner with our dance instructor, one of the counselors who had been a competitive ballroom dancer while in college. Having a partner that knows what to do can make you think you know what to do. It's incredible. But digress... I'm good at digressing!

Susan, a Making Light regular, has started a fabulous blog Capering & Kickery. From the About page:

Welcome to Capering & Kickery, a blog for social dance historians, reconstructors, performers, social dancers, writers of historical fiction, and anyone else who wants solid, research-based information about historical social dance in Europe and America from the 15th through the early 20th centuries.


I like to read historical novels, and the few times I've had questions about interactions at a dance, or how dance is used to prod the plot along, she has been kind, generous, and remarkably thorough with her answers. I mention thorough because I asked a question that I figured would be a Yes/No and one sentence of why. Susan wrote up about 8 paragraphs explaining why the modern portrayal was wrong, but she didn't get all self-righteously obnoxious about it. It was great, and I felt honored that she took that much time to answer my little question about a dance in a regency novel.

So, if you like dance or just geekery in general, please cruise on by Capering & Kickery and check out some of Susan's writing. It's fascinating stuff.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Urho's Day!


According to Steve, my cousin by marriage*, today is the feast day of St. Urho, he who drove the grasshoppers from Finland. It is a day to wear purple and celebrate. Celebrations seem to involve drinking, according to Steve.

If you are Finn or Saami, maybe you just like reindeer sausage or think Nokia is super cool, or maybe you just like having silly days to celebrate, whatever reason you have, raise a glass of aquavit, eat some horrible licorice candy, wrap yourself in a Marimekko print, or take a sauna and remember the efforts of St. Urho. I'm sure that somewhere, inside all of us, is a person that wants to tell things to go to hell. When we do finally say it, that's St. Urho sharing his wisdom and strength in our time of need.


*Yeah, it's not like I have a common last name. After working with the guy for six years, he one day up and asks me if I'm related to Bob Clucas. I reply that as a matter of fact, Bob's my uncle (heh). Turns out his wife is also my uncle's niece, but through the other half of his marriage (Aunt Janet). It took Steve six years to make the connection? I'm shocked he got his PhD completed as speedily as he did, with reasoning skills like that! Yes, I'm joking. Steve is a wonderful guy, and has a sense of humor that can't be beat.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Match It For Pratchett

Terry Pratchett fans have probably heard that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Earlier this week he donated $1,000,000.00 to aid in research related to Alzheimer's Disease. A movement has started to get his fans to donate what they can so they (we) can collectively match Mr. Pratchett's donation.

Match It For Pratchett has been set up as a clearinghouse for information on the movement.

If you're on Facebook, Match It For Pratchett.

The US and UK* URLs are:

UK: http://www.alzheimers-research.org.uk/

US: http://www.alz.org/index.asp

Terry Pratchett has brought a huge amount of joy to my life, and I can say with pride that the Fairbanks area has at least twenty more Pratchett fans because of my efforts. I've worked in research, I know there are no quick fixes or easy answers. Even small advances are expensive. Skilled researchers are not cheap, nor is good science. If you have a buck or two to spare, please consider donating to the cause. John and I will be.




*What about Canada? I mean, it's a perfectly good country with a fine scientific history and heritage? Shouldn't the Canadians be included? Or could it be that I couldn't resist putting in a footnote on a Pratchett related post?

Yikes! The Match It For Pratchett Post got exposure!

Eek. I feel a little weird about it, but not in a bad way. They linked to my post from the main Match It For Pratchett site.

And a nice someone named Siobhan posted the URL for The Alzheimer Society of Canada

http://www.alzheimer.ca/

Hey, we Alaskans are very fond of our Canadian neighbors.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Funny - Pet Care Above and Beyond

Yeah, the three of you that have known me since before 1995 know that I love this story. It's sweet, heartwarming, and not as disgusting as the title implies.

I gave my cat an enema

The worst I have to worry about with my kitties is worms (from eating voles) and a neurotic fur mowing tendency in the orange one. But, that's ok, it's proof that really is my kitty - he internalizes his anxieties and takes it out on himself with self-destructive acts. ;)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ice Is Nice

Friday night John and I visited the World Ice Art Championships, an annual event here in Fairbanks. We have ice carvings all around town through the winter, and they are a delight.

The weather has been unseasonably warm, a bad thing for ice carvings. On Friday it was we had a high of 46ºF, a freakishly high and wrong temperature for this time of year. During the day the organizers wrapped Tyvek around the sculptures and stashed dry ice around the 'regular' ice.

One of the best things about the Ice Park is the Kid's Park. Slides, mazes, tops, and other fun things for kids and non-grown-ups to enjoy. If you were presented with a slide 20 feet tall and over 60 feet long, all of ice, would you be able to resist? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I'm a lousy photographer, but I tried to capture shots of the sculptures I liked. The link above has pictures and web cam links. The link below goes to my Picasa album of our time in the park this year, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Oh, Michelle - I took a picture of the penguins just for you. :)

IceAlaska2008

Scrapple - Fried Food of Champions?

We made our scrapple based on a venison scrapple recipe found in multiple places online. We had a small "no, don't delete those pictures!!" incident with the camera, so no Bonus! photos. Sorry.

Here's the recipe from Cooks.com:

Venison Scrapple
1 med. onion, chopped fine
2 lbs. venison, bones and some beef suet
1 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. salt and dash of pepper

Brown onion in suet until delicate color. Into 2 quarts of salted cold water, add the browned onion with the fat and the meat and bones and cook until the meat is tender. Cool.

Skim off the fat and remove the bones. Chop the meat fine. To the remaining liquid add enough water to make 1 quart. Add the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and meat. Cook 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent lumping. Turn into mold. Cool. Cut in slices and fry until brown


I used 2 pounds of venison, some soup bones from the freezer, and used moose fat since I have it. We boiled it with the browned onions. John kept referring to it as "stew" while it bubbled away on the stovetop.

We put the pot on the porch to cool. Removed the bones as soon as we could, so we wouldn't disturb the fat layer later. Once the fat set up, removed it. Then, we warmed up the broth, that had jellied up because of the bones, and John pulled out the meat and sorted through it to make sure we only put in stuff we'd actually want to chew. That took awhile. He can be very thorough when motivated, and this was one of those situations. The cleaned meat was put back in the broth, which I had run through a sieve because I don't like running into bone chips and mystery things in my food. Call me picky that way...

So, I added the cornmeal and cooked as directed. I used loaf pans for the mold, it took four of them to accommodate my slurry of stuff. Reminded me of polenta laced with stewed moose.

Well, I never got to eat any of the creation. John ran off with the pans so he and his moose hunting buddies could try it. Apparently it was ok, they fried it up and had it with beer. I never got to try it, and I have four loaf pans that are AWOL.

I'm intrigued enough to try it again, because I don't mind polenta, and I like tamales very very very much. So, bits of meat in cornmeal sounds attractive, especially since I'm keeping an eye on what meat is going in there.

I'm not sure that John is that interested in me making it again, but I want to give it another try. I'm tempted to try making scrapple with a pork shoulder, because that sounds good. Then again, with pork shoulder I'd probably make tamales or pozole. We'll see.

I feel rather let down by the whole thing, so that's why I'll try it again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Funny

Well, SBTB has Friday videos, I'm going to try to institute something I find funny on Fridays. We'll see how it goes.

Today, I offer the latest version of the Unalaska Police Blotter, where you can chuckle at these gems (and more! go, read the real thing!):

(The following could happen with my family. Seriously)
Welfare Check – Officers responded to a domestic disturbance and discovered that an entire family unit had been engaged in an animated discussion about one another’s relative merits, or lack thereof, which subsequently resulted in a mild case of fisticuffs. No charges were filed per the District Attorney.

(I hope I'd treat an incident such as this as graciously!)
Suspicious Person/Activity – Caller reported someone had bungee-corded her door shut from the outside, and requested officer assistance. An officer responded and removed the cord, thus freeing the trapped and somewhat amused resident.

(Nathan, has this happened to you?)
Harassment – A man reported he was being harassed by a cameraman, after he refused to sign a release allowing his image to be shown on television. The man said his employers had already been notified, but asked that police document the complaint.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Scrapple Update On Friday Night!

John takes his journeyman exam tomorrow, so we've been very focused on that. Look for a scrapple update with BONUS! pictures on Friday. Promise.

Tell me what's happenin', what's the buzz?

A few years ago I read The World is Flat, because it got lots of buzz about how the world and the way we interact with each other is changing/has changed.

I think I'm the wrong demographic for the book, because all of the obvious "ah-ha" moments left me going "well, duh". When discussing it with a friend's husband, he pointed out that I am in the wrong demographic for the book - I was on a few BBSs in the 80s, I've been online since 1989. I've been interacting with and engaging in commerce with people all over the world since 1990. If The World is Flat had been written in 1992, it would have been insightful.

Got any books, fiction or non, that people rave about or critics/reviewers gush over that leave you going "It's not bad, but it's certainly not as good as _______ thinks it is"?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Adventures In Cooking

I love to cook. I love to cook interesting things.

Tonight's adventure - Moose Scrapple. We'll see how it goes, and I'll be reporting back on how it goes.

Personal Note to CHW - if you're interested in trying some, give me a call or drop me an email. I'll only share if it turns out to be not disgusting. Promise. I made bumbleberry crisp for dessert tonight, and if it turns out well I'll make one and drop it by the clinic.