Thursday, March 31, 2011

extruded oddity

i eat pretzels in bed. perhaps i should refer you, again, to this graph:

things i eat in bed

anyway, i eat pretzels. stick pretzels, very plain. sometimes some of them are a little fatter than most, or is bent, but in my last bag i found a few that indicated (to me, at least) that the extruder needed to be reset.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a different benedictus

i have updated my podcast to include the newest music, along with the previous incarnations of that tune, and some words about the process.

i'm almost embarrassed by the immature form of the benedictus, but it's making me think of revisiting a lot more of that mass and mining it for material that can be developed into something better now.

anyway, that's about all the web exhibition i can take for the day.

now i have to go plan a menu and go grocery shopping.

you can find the podcast here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


i remember the moment in which i first realized the power of the written word.

my parents had gone around the block to talk to some people and they were gone longer than my six year old mind judged appropriate, six year olds having really only four references to time: "before", "now", "soon", and "some point in the future very incomprehensibly distant".

so i decided to go out and look for them.

but what if they came back to find me missing? surely they would be as worried to find me gone as i was to find them not home yet. there must be some way to convey to them the idea of having gone to look for them where they said they'd be, some way to leave a message where i had been and then be able to go somewhere else.

a note! i could leave a note!

i had learned at school what some words looked like, and they had taught me how to sound out words, so i figured i could use the arcane symbols of the alphabet to express my thoughts.

it didn't look right, but i knew my phonemes, by golly, and i got it down on paper just fine enough to convey not just information but ATTITUDE.

and i went off to find my parents.

happily, that first effort has been preserved and was returned to me last week.

knowledge is power. literacy is power.

Monday, March 28, 2011

where the week has gone

it's not that i have nothing to say to you; i have lots of things to tell you about, going back to october and the roadtrip pictures and i keep meaning to finish the story of the mental hospital and halfway house and i have the thirteen project and new music and assorted things from my kitchen and MORE tabs that are open that i need to try out the stuff to see if i want to tell you about it, so if anything i have an overload of things to write to you, but what's really been keeping me from writing is that cr had some surgery last wednesday and if you know cr, you know that she's going to downplay her own discomfort because other people have more serious surgeries or hurt more or have fewer people to care for her, and if you really know cr you know that even though she's been accepting and appreciating the steady stream of visitors, she still puts on her hostess face (she is a lutheran, and from kansas, so that right there explains a LOT about her) and even though she's recovering very well, at the end of the day she still gets tired and cranky and has cramps and muscle spasms and is a little depressed.

i've had enough injuries and surgeries to know the pattern of the recovering days, and how even as you get better and better after you've reached your daily limit you fall into that dusk-to-bedtime blue funk, so i've been spending a lot of time with her and i wait with her at night until she can sleep comfortably and then i go home.

it's a thing i'm happy to do, but it takes a fair amount of my time and energy and i need some time to nap and vegetate and recover myself, but i have the luxury of that timeand in between i'm making little delights from my kitchen to share with cr and my other friends (because i'm not capable of doing things by halves) but blogging just hasn't been on my list.

and it drives me nuts when bloggers write an entry just for the sake of writing an entry. i will not forget you if you go a day or even a week without writing, and unless you are supporting yourself with ad revenue (and no, HOPING to be a big-time blogger does not count), you can take a few days off and nothing will be lost.

so that's where i've been. later on i'll have things to show you.

i promise.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

clearing my desk

ok, ok, ok.

i just have to close some tabs, you know?

so i'm just going to toss you a hodgepodge of assorted links that i liked enough to tell you about.

tree of life web project is a fun exploratory thing you can play with if you like biology, which i do.

bryan makes self-portraits under the influence of various drugs. it's a weird psycho-pharmacological documentary/art project.

you probably don't follow this blog, but here's one of the best posts i've ever read.

this is an awesome gallery of pretty science-y pictures.

want to see where all the geolocated tweets are coming from today? go here.

i think these involuntary collaborations are very funny.

here's a handy tool you can use if for some reason you need to identify all the world's national flags.

...and if you want to know how the world moos, go here.

The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form

here's an awesome weather map site that will turn out so many cool graphs for you that it will make you giddy.

...and another fabulous interactive map that shows health and well-being statistics by state and county

and if you're not sick to death of maps (i never am), an awesome interactive historical map of new york.

here's a fabulous panoramic view from the top of everest, and for the hardy adventurer here's an expedition documentary you won't want to miss.

this comic makes me nearly pee myself every time i see it:

so. now i can close some tabs. not enough tabs, but some. there are still some things i need to play with before i decide to pass them on to you or not.

Monday, March 21, 2011

up and down and up

yesterday i wasn't able to do anything but stare blankly into space and at times play that little flash game i last wrote about (thank goodness for that!) and i did manage to watch the syracuse orangemen take a beating and the hands of marquette, which did not improve my mood.

as far as televised sports go, i fanatically watch the tour de france, but i also watch portions of other prominent cycling events. outside of that, though, i'm kind of fussy. i care about college basketball, but only if syracuse is playing. i don't give a flying fig about the NBA. similarly, the only time i care about baseball is if the red sox are playing, if they haven't blown the season yet. if revolution soccer is available to me i will watch that, but i won't pay extra for it. and rounding out my televised sports enjoyment, i like to watch the canadian curling championships.

everything else is a waste of my time.

today i finished writing the benedictus that i've been working on and cleaned up the typesetting for the hard copy so if i was ambitious i could post that to my podcast and make the preview of the sheet music available for you to see, but i'm not feeling ambitious, at least as far as deskbound activities go.

i kind of feel like making ice cream or cookies or something, and it's about dinner time.

so i think i'll just leave you with this old poem of mine:


Syracuse lost
the ball game last night.
It made me think
of the last time i was in Syracuse
and found myself
pushing a car
on a street
where someone i once loved lives.
Everything was cold and grey,
encased in ice
as we tried so hard
to keep the car from slipping
out of control,
down the hill, because
slides, too easily,

Friday, March 18, 2011

like i got a choice


i probably meant to write about something else today, but i got a link to a cute little flash game that i wasted too much time on, and it's one of those little links that once sitting open on your desktop will make noise for as long as it's sitting open on your desktop.

it's cute noise i rather like, but only while i'm playing the game,  so i have to get that tab closed which means i can't save it for another day.

it's about as cute a little logic game as can be, so if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go play some more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

worn out

things have not been going well for me.

i spin around and around, one foot in this life and one foot not.

on the upside, i make precious little cookies and soup and ice cream and roasted vegetables and excellent sandwiches and write music and words and take pictures

...and then i'm too crushed to get out of bed or take a shower. nothing seems worth the trouble, but yet i buy more groceries for another round of holding the wolves at bay.

mostly i don't feel like talking about it, much less leaving a written record.

the body is strong. it fights even after you pass out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

pssst, over here ------------>

all right.

as promised, i went back through allllll my blog posts looking for links to games and toys that you may or may not be interested in. on the off chance you want to play with them or find them without having to page through everything i've written, i've made a page on which i list them, with links.

i did not go so far as to comment on them, or to link you to the blog posts in which i talk about them.

anyway, the list is there, and i'll update it as i go from now on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

you'll be glad to know

too much; it's too much.

wednesday afternoon and thursday during the day i was all weepy and crying a little and at one point i said to cr "i'm crying and i don't know why!"

and i needed a nap. and my back hurt WAY too mcuh even though i'd shoveled more than i should have and i remember saying to cr that i had NO idea why my back and hips hurt as much as they did and i thnk i may have cried a little more and you all will be relieved to know that at least we know that i'm not pregnant.


(like it was a possibility.)

anyway, today i still needed a nap and i was weepy and super moody and crampy but at least i'm not walking around not knowing why. forty-six years old and i still get surprised and can't figure out what's going on.

anyway, i was feeling really grumpy, so to take my mind off of it i worked on that list of things i promised you but i'm not finished and i worked on the new music i'm writing and i worked on another project but then i saw some news stories and between the earthquake news and a few stories (ok, a lot of stories) about greedy bastards and the rise of poverty and homelessness and the privatization of public libraries and the corporate takeovers of entire municipalites and nevermind elected officials or civil rights and in my state we're cutting social programs that pay for assistance to the mentally ill and disabled people we promised to take care of in the community thirty years ago when we closed down the state hospital and the brandon training school because community care is soo much better and more cost effective, only NOW we're letting rich bastards have tax breaks but we're going to pay for that by cutting social services to the people who can least advocate for themselves and what NOBODY'S talking about too loudly is that we're still paying for that obscenity of a never-ending war and the armed forces are sponsoring NASCAR and NBA events and IF you can make a case for that giant money-sucker of a war because it's necessary, how the hell do you justify sponsoring athletic events? how much does THAT cost? how is THAT necessary?

you think the soviet union fell apart because they lost the cold war?

the soviet union fell apart because they bankrupted themselves in a war in afghanistan, THAT'S what happened to the soviet union. it's ok, though, because even though regular people went homeless, the rich bastards got to keep all of their money.

wall street bankers run the economy into the ground with criminally greedy fiscal irresponsibility and not a one of 'em loses his fat bonus because that would be a disaster not to honor their contracts, but firemen and schoolteachers who haven't ruined the economy and can barely feed their families have to have their contracts abrogated because that's shared sacrifice.

and at some point it was all way too much for me and instead of thinking about it, i roasted some beets that later on i put under a nice balsamic glaze and while i was waiting for the beets to cook i made creamed chipped beef on mashed potatoes and started to salt-cure some salmon and i made split pea soup because i've never done any of those things before and after the beets came out of the oven i made two fresh hot cookies to eat and now i feel better.



Friday, March 11, 2011

lemon fresh


more shoveling than is good for me.


frozen roads.

in other news, i saw a nifty recipe for lemon curd and thought: that's just the thing!

and it was, too.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

just TRY to be decent.

so today i had a doctor's appointment. well, first i had lunch with my mom, at the waterman grill. the guy (glenn) who makes the sandwiches at the grill (basically just a university snack bar) is a bona-fide chef and it doesn't matter what today's special is; it's fabulous. there's always something new and it's always good.

today, for me, that was a fish taco. fresh-fried tilapia in flour tortillas with just the right blend of "stuff".


THEN i went to my appointment.

and people are idiots.

oh, no, there's snow on the ground! we no longer know how to park our cars! we don't have TIME to pull out once and straighten up so we're not taking up two whole parking places. we're too important to take the trouble to park properly, and hey, we're already parked, so we don't care that only a third of the people who park in this lot are going to be able to park here.

and then i was at the grocery store, and i notice lately that people are idiots there, too. you know that little blue-painted space left next to the handicapped space? that's not a cart return, hatwipe! that's there so people can get their chairs out of their vans. and if you drop your cart in the handicap spot, they can't put the van there, either.

could you just walk the cart the extra twenty feet to a cart return?

i mean, often the actual handicapped people leave carts there and store staff comes and picks them up. if you need a wheelchair and a van spot, i don't expect you to return your shopping cart. but you able-bodied hatwipes who can't take the trouble?

i'm sorry, but a moral handicap does not entitle you to make parking inaccessible.

so when i go to the store, i clean a cart or two out of there. and today as i was coming by this broad comes and dumps her cart there bold as brass. so what did i do? i gave her a bad look, that's what i did. and i kept giving her that bad look as i collected her cart and two others and returned them to the store.

she saw me do it, but her face did not betray what she might have been thinking. she was still watching when i got into my car and drove off.

hey, lady! that is not a cart return. you are a hatwipe. i hope you are embarrassed to have other people clean up after you. probably not, but i can hope.

Monday, March 07, 2011

snow biggie

ha. i think i'm funny.

in addition to all the usual activities, today i watched the snow come down.

i have a new added benefit in that if i want to walk around nude, i don't have to pull the blinds. i have new window coverings.

just to catch you up to speed, here are two pictures: one is the view from my desk on a regular day (this one obviously summer) and one is the view from my desk today.

you will note the extreme lack of an outside to look at.

since i'm a big fan of snow, i am happier about this than most of my neighbors, who are NOT looking forward to the snow that's supposed to fall later in the week.

me, i'm like, boo-yah! ski season goes past easter this year!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

thirteen september

the changeover in the storm between rain and snow came this morning around ten-thirty as forecast. because i've been down with a cold since thursday night and because of the weather, i decided not to go to church, which is just as well since the changeover came just about as i would have been leaving church.

there are no good ways to get from there to here in bad weather, not even if you go around the long way. and ever since the changeover, it's been snowing like a sonofagun and we're expecting over a foot of heavy wet snow.

i like shoveling more than the average person, but even i have my limits.
so today i finished clocking the september pictures, put up a new design or two in my zazzle store, and worked with my january data trying to learn how to use the spreadsheet and figure out what i want to do.

i'm also working on writing that new benedictus, which is really a reworking of an old alleluia, which was a reworking of an older benedictus, which was a reworking of a little tune i made up a long time ago to sing in a stairwell.

hey, it's my material; i can rework it however i want. i used to think that once i was done writing a tune i was done with it, but as i get older i realize that i can take the good material and make it into as many new things as i want.


oh, and as long as i was done clocking september, i went ahead and assembled the video. there are some other things, but that's the précis.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

toys and the end of childhood

a (really) long time ago at summer camp, i had some friends who came to the camp from syracuse. well, not exactly syracuse; they came from fayetteville-manlius, a suburb of syracuse, and one where i ended up doing my senior student teaching, at their old high school. cute coincidence.

anyway, this one girl said that when she was asked what she would do under imminent threat of nuclear strikes, where she would go to be safe, she picked burlington, vermont, which is where i was from (i still live pretty close to there).

you have to remember it was along time ago, and "where would you go if you thought there was going to be a nuclear war?" was the kind of question that people thought was perfectly reasonable to ask children and the sort of question that children asked each other.

you've got to be kidding, i told her. burlington? that's one of the places that will be vaporized in the first strike.

"my childhood is over!" she exclaimed.

anyway, this week i saw a map showing the target areas of soviet-era nuclear strikes in the US and their fallout zones.


that little red dot up there in new england? burlington, vt. new hampshire didn't have its own strike zone. we were IMPORTANT, boo-yah, important enough to kill first.

so. completely unrelated: i promised you toys.

here's a fun little evolution simulator you can run, and a screen shot of my game running.

oooh! it looks like they've updated the program! awesome. now i have something else to wast prodigious amounts of time doing!

and here's an awesome little flash game to play, as if you don't have enough time to waste. oh! and this little thing is awesome. it's kind of like the tone generator i posted about earlier, but it's more kid friendly and comes in brighter colors. it also has different timbres, so that's fun to play with.

maybe i'll make you a little list of the toys i've recommended to you over time so you can find them easier. maybe i'll put it in the sidebar, or on a side page or something. while i'm at it, maybe i'll make a list of the recipes i've posted about, too.

yeah. on a day when i have nothing else to do, right?

i gotta go.

Friday, March 04, 2011


so i was all ready to go skiing today and the weather and conditions were prefect and they're not going to be so nice again until sometime next week, but if i haven't caught cr's cold, i have some low-level grunge and i just don't feel good.

it's possible that if i'd gotten dressed and gone out i'd feel better, but my throat's just a little swollen and my chest feels just a little nasty the way they do when you're doing pretty well at fighting the thing off and while some exercise and sunshine might have been in order, i just had a hunch that it would be better to lay low and keep warm.

i did have the energy to toss in some laundry and clean the upstairs bathroom.

in the meantime i clocked half of the september photos, and i also managed to put up a new design at my zazzle store. i'm not selling a lot of stuff, but hey, you never know. i also managed to lay out a little spreadsheet and enter data about how i'm spending my life according to the snapshot life of the thirteen project, so although i have no cool visualizations of that data yet and no concrete idea of how i'm going to play with that data, i at least have the first month entered in a table that i can mess with.

i think i'm going to rework an old theme into a new piece suitable for lent, which then maybe i can do with donna-sue and cr, who are awesome to work with. it was the last idea before i went to bed last night, and i haven't done much with it, but it's in here somewhere.

in the blogosphere the latest news is that the drawing is complete, thanks to peg and mybabyjohn:

it's kind of a fun game and i think i want to play more of it.

i may never catch up with the gigantic story, or even news from my kitchen, but it's naptime for me.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

hey, that looks good.

so i was reading this post and the number two on that list caught my attention and i've been keeping it open on my desktop just to remind me that it sounded good and that i intended to make it sometime soon or something like it so yesterday after i was done grocery shopping i made a generic roast of some sweet potatoes and some mushrooms and some beets (the beets i used later for something i'll tell you about later) and i made this wrap, thinking that i would take it to church as my bag lunch for the meeting.

i had caramelized onions already. did you know that you can caramelize a whole bunch of onions at once and they keep nicely in the fridge a while, or in the freezer indefinitely?

handy to know.

anyway, i roasted the veggies separately and generically; a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. i slathered pesto on a warmed-up wrapper (spinach) and piled on the roasted veggies and warmed-up onions and oh, my goodness! this thing is good. you should run right out and make yourself one.

beats tuna salad any day.

and unrelated, if for some reason you decide to follow me on twitter, what you're going to get is mostly the odd thing i find that's worth mentioning, but i'm not going to write a blog about it. today i'm interested in harper collins' ridiculous announcement that they're going to destruct the ebooks libraries purchase after twenty-six checkouts.

i am not sure why they're doing that, except to make librarians think that their acquisition dollars might be spent in better ways beside buying harper collins ebooks.

greedy hatwipes.

drawing update

peg very gamely drew a part for me, and sent it back to me to draw, so now someone should please have a whack at the next part and we'll see what we get.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

help me out.

i'm testing a new little online toy and i need a volunteer or two to play.

i drew a head. you draw the next part.

and send it to someone else. we'll see what we get. it's an interesting concept, brought to you by the campaign for drawing, whose work i am in favor of.

could be fun.

meantime, i feel lethargic today. i took cr to the airport and i'm roasting some vegetables, but i haven't worked on anything "real". i haven't processed photos, or finished the reading i'm supposed to do, or worked on snohaus, although i did do the grocery shopping, and like i said, i have things in the oven.

still, when i settle to do quiet work, i feel too sleepy.

early bedtime for me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

dark and strong

today it was fantastic skiing. and i know it's childish, but when i got on the lift i noticed right away that i was in chair 70 on the #1 line, so i went ahead and took a picture.

and i skied longer than i should have, so i'm tired and weepy and i hurt.

but it was still good.

the thing i want to tell you about, though, is the ice cream. saturday i made dark chocolate ice cream and never you mind why. it's awesome, though, if you like your chocolate dark. i used only enough sugar to take the astringent feeling out of it. and because i'm working by feel and not from a recipe, my instructions here are only an approximation, but you can probably replicate my results without trying too hard.

of course you should use the best quality chocolate available to you. and they always say to use fresh-brewed coffee in recipes, but since i never make coffee, i use instant. it's probably be better with an equivalent of high-quality fresh brewed, but i use what i have.they say coffee intensifies the taste of chocolate.

and my eggs come from a guy i know and not the store, so blast if i know what size they are. kind of smallish, but regular-size looking yolks. there's so much chocolate in the recipe that you need egg yolks to stabilize it. quite frankly, there's just enough cream to hold the chocolate and that's about it.

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar more or less according to taste
a tablespoon or two instant coffee

3 egg yolks, whisked

about 2 cups cream. add enough so that the chocolate stays in the mixture without falling out. you kind of have to do this by feel.

heat the everything but the eggs and cream on low heat until the chocolate melts in completely, whisking frequently. if you need to turn the heat up to let it simmer, you can do that. when it just about comes to a simmer, add a little of the mixture to the whisked egg yolks to temper them and then add them into the mix. when that's just below a simmer, add the cream and whisk it until it's smooth.

this is the part that requires the most guesswork: there's a good custardy consistency you're looking for where the yolks thicken and smooth the mix but not too thick and there's enough cream to carry the chocolate in emulsion.

then chill the mix and when it's cold, either toss it in the blender or use an immersion blender until it's really, really smooth. or if you like little flecks of unsweetened chocolate, until it's almost smooth. both ways are good.

then toss it in the tank of your ice cream maker and do whatever you usually do. it'll be awesome. no, you don't have to share if you don't want.


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