Monday, February 28, 2011

13 august

i know i've been going on and on about meaning to clock the august photos and process them, but i really was working on them!

i just finished editing the video and posted it.

if you've just come in on the story, ever since 1 january 2010 i have been taking a picture every thirteen hours and then i make the photos from each month into a video. i'm a little behind, mostly because when i got sick in august i lost the attention span required to process all those photos.

later on i hope to do a little data analysis of my snapshot life and maybe a cute infographic, but i'm still thinking about how to organize the data.

for now, though, i'm just happy to have posted the august video.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

failures and delights

so i got it into my head that i had to make turkish delight. it's probably not important why exactly, and it probably cuts too close, but i wanted to make something sweet and delicate and interesting for cr.

it took a few tries. first i had a recipe that was missing some steps and all i had was hardened sugar syrup. then i kind of figured out what was going on and tried again, but i hadn't let the sugar syrup heat up enough, so it never set up right. nice flavor, but it wasn't going to harden enough to eat except with a spoon, not ever.

so then i looked at a different recipe, and started again.

i let the first batch simmer too long too hot and it caramelized a little, which was all right because it still had a nice taste and the lovely brown color suits the almond flavor i'd planned to give it. and then i figured out more of how to work it, and made two more batches over a couple of days, in rose flavor and lavender.

they're pretty and delicate, but they have an odd similarity to, uh, flesh tone.

...if you're pinkish.

...which i am.

anyway, i made a slideshow of my pictures, and here's a fun little video of the stuff simmering. it's very thick, so it's a SLOW simmer, which i thought was amusing enough to record.

Friday, February 25, 2011

kind of fun

ok, so i have some pictures for you of the thing from my kitchen, but i'm waiting for another batch to set, so nothing for you yet.

and i've been clocking photos, but it turns out i'm only halfway through august. AUGUST!?!? well. still workin' on it.

and i was going to write more things that i've been meaning to tell you, but i notice that i have a LOT of open tabs in that "interesting or fun things" window i have open in my browser, and maybe i ought to just finish up some stuff and close some tabs, ok?

plus it's snowing like a sonofagun, eight inches today and counting, so i have time to play with stuff here at my desk since it turns out there's no party for me to go to this evening.


here's a funny sign that made me laugh. i like this sort of guerilla art, which leads me sort of to the next thing:

red bull has put up an awesome awesome collection of street art through google street view.  and if you like your art museum-y, there's a collaborative art project between street view and a bunch of art museums, which is also awesome.

and less cool but still entertaining: where the streets have your name, a fun little -you guessed it- map related amusement.

but then MAPS MEET THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!, which is super fun if your idea of fun is trying to escape zombies and keep from dying, and thanks to this cool toy you can now do it in your neighborhood. i don't usually browse in chrome, but it's worth opening up a second browser to play with. i managed to outrun the zombies (at the easy level) and get out of town, surviving nearly a half hour. apparently once you get away from them, you're safe, as long as you keep running. those first few seconds will get you nearly every time, though.

and while i'm not usually into the zombie apocalypse, i have TWO zombie-related links for you today. there's a neat interactive youtube thing called "editing the dead", which puts you right in the zombie action.

and then there's this comic:

it can be found at toothpaste for dinner.

that's it for today.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

one in the morning

when your alarm clock goes off at one in the morning, what do you do?
  • assume it's a mistake and roll over?
  • wonder who has played this cruel trick on you?
  • draaaaaag yourself outta bed for whatever activity you've misguidedly gotten yourself into?
  • reach for your camera and take a picture?
yeah, that last one. at least that's what you do if you're me. every thirteen hours i take a picture. i don't even wake up anymore; i just take the picture.

and sometimes, apparently, just a little more. i was loading my photos onto my computer and i noticed a couple dozen pictures that were mostly just unidentifiable pink.


and then -oh!- that's an eye. hello. and that thing? oh, i really hope that's not - no, just a nose.

and what an interesting angle!

something white and flat?

oh. the ceiling.

and i wonder why i wake up feeling not fully rested?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


this morning i got ambitious and posted the two versions of willow over at my podcast.

the first is a simple voice and guitar arrangement from my album down the jericho road, and the second is the new arrangement i made last week thinking we might use it at church for a lenten service.

either way, they're there and you can hear them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

tunnel break

on day 30 of the snohaus build i managed to get far enough up into the tunnel to break through. here's a cool photo of the tunnel, and a video of the digging that broke through.

i am laying on my belly about twelve feet up the tunnel, and i have barely enough room to lift my head.

it is terrifying, but also awesome.

in other news, today i managed to get out of bed and go skiing. i have some pictures of that, and saturday i made a new arrangement of my song willow, and i was going to link you to a recording of that, but i notice that i never did put one up on my podcast, so there isn't one for you to compare it to. at some point i'll put those up, but i wouldn't hold my breath if i were you.

i still haven't clocked the october photos from the thirteen project, although i did manage to sequence them all.

and i was going through my pictures, looking for what i might have done or photographed to tell you about later and i found a very entertaining (to me, at least) series of pictures that i do not remember taking, but from the timestamps i can only assume i was heavily sedated.

so maybe you'll get to see those.

but not now.

now i'm going to bed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

on the outside

ok, snohaus fans!

here's some video of the work on the outside of the structure from day 28.

later there will be some other pictures and some news about the construction, but yesterday it was a freakish sunny and sixty degrees and if you don't mind i'm just going to go out and survey the damage and begin the repairs. happily, there's new snow that fell overnight and it's going to be cold again this week, so once i get repairs laid in they'll stick a little.

Friday, February 18, 2011

fifty-nine blogs

today i thought i'd do a little thing i've been threatening to do. you know that i read random blogs and subscribe to ones i like.

i decided to visit a bunch of random blogs and pick out the best ones for you. but then the farther in i waded, the more i saw that today's crop of random wasn't yielding very much that's good or interesting. i had to visit fifty-nine blogs until i found ONE that i thought was worth subscribing to.

of the first fifty eight, here's my breakdown:

14 were well out-of date and not being updated.
14 were sicky-sweet cute mommy blogs.
14 were just plain not very good.
3 were commercial
3 were informational on topics of no interest to me
3 were way too preachy
2 were very bad writing
2 had auto-play music
1 was in a language i don't read
1 had bad formatting, and
1 was pretty good except it only gets updated every four or five months.

the winner is this blog here. i like it. maybe you will, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


i'm pleased to see that someone just bought a bunch of one of my items at my zazzle store. i'm not sure what anyone is going to do with 15 ceramic ornaments with my dove design on them, but my cut of that is 10%, so that's money in my pocket i'd otherwise never see.

it's kind of awesome for me, because it was a design i made for cr and i just happened to have taken a pretty photograph of it before i gave it to her, and this winter i thought maybe i'd just make it available for people who might buy it.

i'm not marketing very aggressively, or even at all, unless you count the sidebar on my blog, so i'm always surprised when someone finds and buys one of these things.

i kind of want to know what they're doing with fifteen of the same product, though. are they reselling them? giving them as a gift to multiple people? awards for something? decorations for a church? a wedding? some event?

i guess if i'm going to sell this stuff, i don't get to be fussy about who the purchaser is or how they will use my designs. that's my copyright, and i still get paid.

paid. that's kind of awesome.

Monday, February 14, 2011


it was a bad day at snohaus; it was forty degrees and that's bad for the structure. there was a loss of height, and my neat edges and flat surfaces have eroded somewhat. late in the day when it started to cool down i was able to re-face some of the surfaces, but since the temperature is only going to be in the single digits tomorrow, there won't be much that's workable until wednesday.

and although i did get some things done today, editing video was not one of those things, so i have no fun snohaus pictures to show you.

and i don't feel like telling you about what's going on in my kitchen right now, although probably later i will tell you about it.

what i feel like telling you about is a comic book. i heard about it this fall while i was running around on backroads in the green mountain state forest, in an episode of the NPR culture blog monkey see and as the nice gentleman said, it is "not a 'graphic novel'; it is a comic book."

and it sounded so awesome that i thought i'd better get a copy for crashco if he'd never heard of it, since he likes comic books. and i looked it up when i got home and saw it wasn't all that expensive, so i got three. if a thing was going to be that awesome, i figured that i should have a copy, and so should my sister, who likes weird stuff.

tales designed to thrizzle #6.

now with TOO MUCH COLOR!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

higher up and farther in

yesterday was kind of a big day in snohaus and i was excited to tell you about it, but it was dark so there are no pictures.

i wanted to figure out how far my tunnel has gone up because i didn't actually measure or do the math and only just eyeballed it, but that's a little hard to do when it involves irregular curved surfaces that change from day to day.

you can lay in exact lines in snow but it still settles and melts and compresses as you go, and between that and working inside and outside it's tricky to tell exactly how things will line up. of course, i use rough measures; eye level is about five feet for me, if i only look straight ahead. the sled is longer than a yard. i keep meaning to measure it or maybe bring out the yardstick, but i think maybe approximate lengths are good enough.

but the thing is that i have to know, sort of, where that tunnel is coming up. i have to know how close it is to the place where it will meet the second room that i haven't dug yet. i need to know if the angle is too steep, or not steep enough.

and then i had this idea: snow is translucent. i figured i could lay flashlights on the outside right up against the walls and then go in the tunnel to look for the light spots and then be able to mark on the outside how far up and along it's come.

of course, to do such a thing you have to wait until it's dark out. cr thought maybe i could have laid a big tarp over it.

that's funny, because cr hasn't seen it yet, and she doesn't really know how big this thing is. i have no idea where i would get a tarp that large outside of a military or industrial setting! and who has the energy to schlepp a thing like that around?

anyway, by my little dots of light i figured out that the top of my tunnel has reached the height of the raised walkway and that i'm only four or five feet from the place i need it to come out, so another day or two of digging will finish that.

now the tricky bit is still going to be building that second dome large enough to carve a small room out of it. the awesome thing is that i have figured out that the base will be so large that when i get done putting in the top room, there will be room in the base for a small room down in the trench.


you didn't remember mention of a trench, did you?

ah, well. there is one. tomorrow will be a big build day, and i promise to take pictures. i do not promise to have the energy to post them right away, because if i move all the snow i want to tomorrow, i am going to be cold and tired and need a nap.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

abstract landscape

today is day 27 at snohaus. "massive" is one word that one of my neighbors has used to describe it. "crazy" is probably another, but not in my hearing. the children across the street have started building a snowfort with stairs and a little dug out area, and a guy across the way has built an igloo that he plans to spend the night in tonight.

i'm a veteran of winter camping, but i can't wrap my head around winter camping so close to a warm bed.

anyway, i'm finally going to tell you about a thing i've been meaning to tell you about for a long time:

last october, before the Very Bad Thing happened, i was at a potluck and the host tells me that i'm not to leave before he gives me a thing. it's a birthday present, nevermind my birthday is in december. it's large and light and wrapped in a garbage bag and handed over unceremoniously.

but what it is is this fantastic painting, the work of abbie bowker. a long time ago i was at a showing of hers and i can't begin to afford awesome paintings, but this one had my attention. i fell in love with it. the landscape is loosely based on a view of mount mansfield, which is a mountain i can see from my living room on a good day. it is the highest mountain in vermont.

i love vermont. i love mountains. i love things i can see from my sofa.

and i love this painting.

and now, courtesy of the artist, it's mine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

get a bucket

ok, the truth is that i was going to write about something else today, but plans change sometimes.

like my plans for snohaus. i'm getting close enough to finishing that tunnel and close enough to piling up the material for the second dome that i can start to think about other elements: more upward stairs? a terrace? bocce court?

but i was getting ready to go out for a while and a guy showed up with a bucket loader to push back the snow from the parking lot because the plow just hasn't been able to keep up and the driveway just gets smaller and smaller.

so now i have ENORMOUS piles of snow near my structure and that bad boy didn't do any damage, but how and where i mine the snow for building will necessarily change. so now i have descending stairs and a big trench and i moved a LOT of snow today and i'm tired.

tomorrow i intend to spend the whole day working on it, and maybe i will have interesting pictures for you.

while i'm indoors warming up i'm thinking of making a little something in a dark chocolate ice cream, and i'll let you know how that goes, as well.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the hole thing

yesterday was day 24 on the snohaus build. it goes slowly, because i want the structure to be stable and if you're not in a hurry the best way to do that is to let things sit a while after you disturb the snow.

digging INSIDE the hole goes very slowly because of that and because of my clautrophobia; there are only so many times in a day i can force myself to go on in there. still, the attractiveness of having built an awesome snow house outweighs the fear, but only by so much each day.

then there's the additional consideration of hypothermia. if i'm only building the outside, i have minimal contact with the snow, but once i go inside i am sitting or lying on the snow and that sucks the heat out of me pretty quick. extra layers help, but wear too many of those and when i'm active i only sweat.

even if i get the layers perfect for the day, moisture seeps into my clothes and once my outer shell is wet, i'm done for the day. i don't mind changing gloves and most days i wear three different pairs because they get wet as i work, but i only have the one shell that's good for digging in the snow. it's light enough to work in and has all the appropriate skirting to keep out snow, but once i'm crawling on my belly the arms get wet.

the tunnel is by far the scariest part, and the slowest. i'm digging it toward the second dome and because i haven't done the math but only eyeballed the distances, i'm not sure exactly where the tunnel will come up into the second room. and i'm still just building that second dome. even to make it a small room means a HUGE base, because its floor is a good three feet at least above the floor of the main room, and that means i haul in a LOT of snow.

one of my neighbors says that if i build it much bigger, i'll be able to ski off of it.

here's some video i shot inside the hole to show you what it's like digging in there. one thing you probably don't notice is that i do not go in or out of a hole without my yellow scoop in hand. sometimes i leave the shovel behind, but i always keep the yellow scoop with me.


in case of a cave-in. the structure is well-packed and it sets every day and i'm confident of its strength, but just in case, you know? if part of the structure collapses on me, i'd better have a tool to dig with.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

ya gots ta laugh

ok, so i'm still working on snohaus, and maybe soon i'll have more pictures for you. and there are a couple of videos i might link you to later, but not now because i don't feel like it. and i was reading blogs today and i'm kind of grumpy about one that i used to like a lot where the lady used to write about stuff she was doing, but now her blog is one giant collection of STUFF SHE LOVES, complete with links that you can use to buy the stuff, and the only reason i keep reading her is that she's taken blog whoring to new heights.

the thing about it, though, is that most of the stuff she posts about, except for the link exchanges with other ladies desperate to gain readers and count hits, is that by the time she posts about any given thing it's already been going around the internet for a couple of weeks and isn't even OLD news.

my analysis is that while she had a lot of content, she had a handful of actual readers and she was interesting. now she has nearly no real content but lots and lots of "readers", but something tells me that it's worse than tupperware parties. it's like collecting facebook friends and twitter followers just to collect them, and you just KNOW most of those visitors are only there because they're trying to drive visitors to their own sites.

it's on my mind because i just read her most recent post, which is all about how many visitors she has. her post yesterday was a commercial for a product very similar to the shamwow. the post wasn't anything more than advertising copy, and a lot of it, disguised feebly as pleasant chat.

no, i'm not going to link you to it. i'm just not. but i will quote her verbatim (italics mine):

(product name and link removed).
Sounds all spacey and cool huh?
Oh it is.

I recently came across (product name and link removed) while looking for a better option when it came to cleaning up wet messes and scrubbing down the kitchen, bathroom and dishes. I normally run to my paper towels or to those yellow and white checkered kitchen rags that stain and fall apart after 2 uses. I hated buying paper towels only to see them pulled off two and three long and wasted on a small clean-up job!! Seemed like such a waste!

Well, I found my solution in (product name and link removed) They boast a better cloth that is also environmentally friendly! Did you know that 2.5 million tons of paper towels are used annually!? The (product name and link removed) is made from renewable and raw materials such as cellulose (a derivative of wood) and cotton! One
(product name and link removed) is comparable to 15 rolls of paper towels! What savings!!!

so. i didn't mean to go all grumpy on you. what i MEANT to do was give you a short list and linkdump to my favorite webcomics, because i loves me my comics and i thought i'd like to tell you which ones i read regularly.

instead of trying to tell you about them, i'm just going to give you a list.  you do your own clicking.

toothpaste for dinner
the oatmeal
the non-adventures of wonderella
the adventures of superhero girl
saturday morning breakfast cereal
questionable content
girls with slingshots
cyanide and happiness
comic jk - you have to be pretty nerdy for this one. sometimes i am not nerdy enough.

and not really a comic strip, but laugh-out-loud and brilliant: hyperbole and a half.   you probably know about her, though, because everyone seems to know about her. i've been reading her for a while, but last week i heard them talking about her on NPR, so pretty much everybody knows now.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


yesterday was day 22 on the snohaus build. it was too warm by midday to do a lot of structural work, but i managed to move some snow and make some progress on the connecting tunnel.

right now the connecting tunnel doesn't actually connect anything, but if you look at this picture of the upper walkway, i'm putting a second dome just to the left of where i'm standing to take the picture and underneath that long wall is going the tunnel to connect the two domes in an indoor sled run. i think it will be very cool.

this second picture shows the upper walkway from down my the entrance to the main cave. down the end of the walkway is where the second dome is going. it's not possible to see from the photo that behind the wall is a massive conical base that goes all the way down to the ground. the top of the structure there is maybe six and a half feet off the ground.

but then you get into the nitty gritty, the part that terrifies me, the part that terrifies peg. it's big enough now that once i ride my sled through the tiny little entrance hole i can sit up and even kneel comfortably, and it's big enough to use a shovel inside, so if i don't think too hard about the tunnel that i'm building my heart rate is almost normal.

but see? next to the sled? next to the entrance hole? that's the mouth of the tunnel. why yes, it IS very small. it is only large enough for me to creep in on my belly, which i do on the sled. because the tunnel slants up, i have to work hard to creep up, but then all i have to do is release my grip and i come flying out the bottom.

it goes far enough now that when i'm digging in there, i am entirely up in there, which makes me need to concentrate very hard on the digging and not so much on the not being able to move so much or lift my head, because if i think about those things i feel my stomach coming up.

happily, like i said, all i have to do is release my hold and i come sliding out backward.

Monday, February 07, 2011


i was maybe going to post for you the new pictures from the snowfort, where things are now very, very scary inside.

but it's kind of late in the afternoon and what i'm thinking about is dinner. today what i have to eat is awesome leftovers, lunch and dinner.

i have some tasty pasta e fagioli, which for some reason is pronounced "pasta fazool". i got the recipe here, and it's good. and last night i made this recipe for mushroom risotto with caramelized onions. i never met a caramelized onion i didn't love.

anyway, it's time to go forage. i think there will be some cheese involved, too. and i'm pretty sure i have some ice cream for dessert.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

on my board

last week i made bread. it's a good heavy sweet bread that makes excellent toast and i think i promised to tell you about it or to post the recipe or something.

you can make it fully kneaded, or as a no-knead. the more you knead it, the denser it will be.

i'm going to assume that you know your breadmaking basics and let you go from there. of sourse i use the maple syrup from the isham farm, but you're welcome to use any premium syrup you like.

maple barley malt (a mostly complete recipe)

about equal parts white flour and barley flour, totaling about nine cups
2 or three tablespoons yeast
1 cup grade b maple syrup
1/2 cup malt syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
four or five cups of water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt

prove your yeast in a cup of water with a little sugar. when you come back to it, combine your wet ingredients in your bowl and add in the salt and the flour, alternating barley with white.

if you're going to knead it fully, use more flour. if letting it sit for a no-knead, more liquid.

either way, when it's the right consistency, let it rise. you know, until it's ready. then punch it down and form it into loaves or put it in pans.

bake it at 350° for about a half hour. it's done when it makes that lovely hollow sound when you thump it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


on the seventh of december in the evening a small woman came onto the ward and she was all full of some kind of attitude. i didn't have any clue what she was about, but she was all toughness and defiance. and on the back of her neck she had a tattoo, the kind that your pimp will sometimes brand you with, but it was a weird kind of mark; crossed fork and knife.

you meet all kinda people up there, and you can't assume what kind of life they're having.

in the morning we learned that this woman was a professional chef. and that tattoo, i thought, was a very funny and dark joke. i knew i was going to like this woman.

and we're sitting on a sofa in the common area, pretending to be reading while pandemonium goes on around us.

i say "pretending", because what we were really doing was eavesdropping and it was fascinating.

and without looking up, she says to me: "damn. i majored in cultural anthropology. and i forgot to bring my notebook!"

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

double dip

sorry to go all extra-postal on you, but i wanted to respond to a comment i got about my snohaus and claustrophobia: during last year's construction i went on at some length about my claustrophobia and you can read it here.

if you want to read the other posts about last year's construction, you can find those here:

invasion of the mole people
into the hole again!
keep digging
round two
fall of the house

i think that about sums it up for snohaus posts, but i also realize that today is february second, and i always try to sneak in a link to a little piece of music i wrote a long time ago on february second:


ok. i gotta put my snow clothes back on and go out to dig some more.


it's snowing today, which only makes me happy.

i'm the perverse sort that likes recreational shoveling.

today is day 17 of my build on this year's snohaus, and here's my slideshow to date:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

i'll talk to you later

while i was out on the road in october i made a video journal. it's taken me forever to edit it down to just the fifteen minutes.

it's my mornings and evenings on the road and a look at my campsite and my living space. really, i guess, if you want to go all interpretive, it's about tedium, isolation, and the oncoming winter.

bad things are around the corner, and you can almost see them in my eyes if you look.


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