Friday, August 26, 2011

Autumn is Coming! Autumn is Coming!

This was the first morning I felt the cool touch of autumn in the air.

Thank you, sweet baby Jebus.

For the last two months the average temperature during the day has been 103degrees. We haven't come close to getting the minimal rainfall due for this time of year. Crops have withered, ponds, lakes, and rivers have dried up. Today the cashier at the grocery store handed me my receipt and said, "Have a blessed day and pray for rain."

It has been too hot for me to even drink my coffee in the morning, resulting in severe caffeine withdrawals.

Shut up in the house for two months where I've done nothing but sit on the couch and sweat and scowl, I've become a terror to be around. This morning was the first day I've been happy to be alive since summer began. I look forward to the day I can return to drinking coffee.

So does everyone else.

Now you have a blessed day and don't forget to pray for rain.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review - Dissolution by C.J. Sansom

I enjoyed Dissolution, though it was darker than some of the historical mysteries I've read. By the end, I was profoundly grateful to be living in the Year of Our Lord 2011. I appreciate luxuries like regular bathing, warm clothing in the winter, fresh food, and beer free of chicken poop.

So often you find it's the little things (poop-free beer) that matter.

Fans of Brother Cadfael and Sister Fidelma could probably appreciate this well-researched and well-written book, though Dissolution takes place later in the historical timeline of the U.K. than either of the others. 

Toward the end I guessed who-dun-it. Or I thought I had. The author hid some devious twists and turns in the last few pages that I didn't anticipate. He was very tricksy. I like that quality in my mystery authors.

I will be picking up the next book in the Shardlake series, because I want to know how the character progresses after his disillusionment. In the end he was left at a crossroads of conscious, and I'm a little nervous for him. When you're close to the thunder rolling 'round the throne, it's safer if you don't have a conscious at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Week in the Lab - Pork and Pears

Yeah, sounds disgusting.

Pork and pears.


Anyone who grew up watching episodes of the Brady Bunch has heard of "pork chops and appleschawsh", but I don't typically go for meat and fruit combos.

I'm not a fan of cooked fruit.

Unless it's in a pie.

Which is a totally different situation.

I'd never heard of combining pork and pears before I picked up a copy of The Best Simple Recipes from America's Test Kitchen, but they are AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN, right? If anyone knows what they're doing in the kitchen (which in my house, is referred to as "The Laboratory"), it would be these people.

And it wasn't going to require a special trip to the grocery to pick anything up, because I already had all the ingredients.


For an ATK recipe, it was surprisingly simplistic.

The title of the book isn't false advertising.

Thick-cut pork chops...

a pear...

little bit o' sugar
little bit o' oil
chicken broth
balsamic vinegar
sprinkle of bleu cheese

It was...


I would rate this recipe TEN toques!

10 =

Now I'm feeling ambitious. Does anyone out there have a recipe they love that I could experiment with next week in the lab?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Guy is Giving Hillbillies a Bad Name

I've decided to invent a new word.

Now that I have a blog, I can do that. It's in the rules.

Dis-hillbillity (dis-hil-bil-i-tee)

Scenario: A 25 year old man dressed in a black tank top and torn jeans sits on the porch of his mobile home drinking beer with his skinny-as-a-rat-tail, backward-hat-wearing friend while his pregnant wife pushes a lawnmower through waist-high grass in 100+ degree heat while trying to kick away a mongrel dog nipping at her ankles.*

Useage: "I cain't mow the lawn because three years ago I hurt mah back. Ima on the dis-hillbillity," he said as he took another swig from his bottle.

*Actually witnessed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Evils of Dodgeball

My friend and I have a game where once a month we exchange an "artistic" prompt and we have to produce a piece in any medium using that prompt. My prompt for this month was "Innocence Destroyed".

Immediately I thought of the elementary school child's first experience with the game of dodgeball.

Yeah. Totally jacked up.

Yes, that is a picture of me. Yes, that is a pair of overalls. Yes, my mother is responsible for the Prince Valiant bowl haircut which I think she cut with a pair of nail scissors. Is it any wonder I'm not a serial killer?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review - Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

*Surprises and spoilers contained within...*

It's a story about a ghost.


The ghost of Harry Dresden.


You thought he would survive the assassin's bullet, didn't you?


You thought because he'd beaten the loup-garou and the skinwalker, battled the legions of heaven and hell, walked the paths of the Nevernever, annihilated the entire Red Court with a single spell, backtalked/sassed/gave lip and generally pissed off gods, goddesses, wizards, creepy little girls with vast amounts of knowledge, FBI agents, necromancers, the entire Chicago police department, hellhounds, mob bosses, queens, knights, priests, fairy godmothers, werewolves, medical examiners, wardens, valkyries, tv show hosts, enforcers, ectomancers, pub owners, and homicidal ex-girlfriends that he was somehow invincible?

Yeah. Me too.


"Here Lies Harry Dresden. He Died Doing the Right Thing."

But a wizard's work is never done, not even after death. Harry couldn't get that lucky. After death, things really start to get interesting. That's part of Harry's curse; he lives (and dies, apparently) in interesting times.

I thought it would be impossible to top Changes, the previous novel in the Dresden Files series; it was just that good. So Jim Butcher didn't try. Instead of throwing punches and fists full of fire (Fuego!) to beat his last book, Butcher bobbed, he weaved, he faded out to the incorporeal. Topping Changes became a non-issue. A moot point. A ghost.

"He dodged it," as my friend and fellow Dresden fan, Clint, so aptly put it.

He went in a totally different direction.


In order to get the most out of Ghost Story, I highly recommend reading Side Jobs, the collection of Dresden short stories published between Changes and Ghost Story. The last chapter, Aftermath, helps explain the developments since Harry's death and the appearance of the Formor. It's not a must, but it definitely clarifies a few things and sets up Ghost Story nicely. Plus the short stories are good, clean (except for "Love Hurts", but it's a good kind of naughty) fun.

In Ghost Story, readers learn more about characters introduced in earlier novels, meet a few new characters, and explore the wounded depths of Harry's friends and frenemies after his death. Harry realizes the enormous impact his life, death, and afterlife has had on everyone around him, as well as the city that he calls home.

Harry may be dead, but don't write him off yet. It ain't over 'til the valkyrie sings.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feelin' the Luuurve for Moleskine Journals

Moleskine Journals - The Legendary Notebooks

Something about them...

Smooth, creamy paper.

Plain black cover.

The elastic band that secures it closed with a snap.



Obviously I am a fan. (See a few of my Moleskine Doodles, here, here, and here.)

But for some artists, the cover of a Moleskine journal cries out for embellishment. The selections for today's Random Sh*t I Think is Cool post are from three such individuals. They've never meet a blank Moleskine cover they didn't luuurve.

The first three can be found at Nowvember's shop.

Embroidered Typewriter appeals to the writer in me.

Kitteh haz layzur beamz and iz not fraid to use dem.

Put the product of your tasty brain in this Moleskine.

 These three are found at Sabletoothtiger.

Whenever I read a particularly good book, I always wish I had thought of it first.

Says "Sad Poems About Unicorns and other stuff I never got for xmas".
I find unicorns and red-eyed demon bunnies frightening, and yet strangely appealing.

Great place to store your own personal Nostradamus. Or would it be Nostradami?
(Did you see that bunny move?? I swear I saw it twitch. Creepy.)

This one is from Blackbird & Peacock.

My taste in music = Not Cool
My taste in Moleskines = Cool