Tagged: experiment
proposal for a Pugetopolis-area WisCon-inspired book group
chris. | 7 August 2014 | 9:00 pm | biblios & syllabi | No comments

About 3-1/2 years ago there was some effort toward starting a WisCon-related book group in the Puget Sound area.  Emails were exchanged, but eventually things just sort of fizzled out.  I blame the ~holidays~.

But i’d really like to see this happen!  I came home from WisCon this year rejuvenated and inspired, and despite WisCon’s (current) problems i am still very interested in trying to get a book group inspired by WisCon going.  So let’s try it!!

I’m going to make a few concrete proposals to grow from:

  1. Meet only 4-6 times a year.  A monthly book group is hard to keep up with — my current monthly book group12 sometimes can’t meet because people have conflicts crop up, and a few years ago we finally just gave up trying to meet in the summer at all because what’s the point of regularly cancelling those 2 meetings.
  2. Read at least the Tiptree, Parallax, and Kindred award winners.  Plus 1-3 books selected from book group member suggestions.  Always, however, keeping an eye on selecting books that are available via libraries, used book stores, or intra-member loan.
  3. Try to keep meetings:
    • Accessible via public transit.
    • In public, non-commercial spaces (e.g., library community rooms, rather than cafes) if possible — OR
    • In member homes that are smoke- and pet-free (for allergies) if possible.
  4. Bring your own snacks/beverages, so there’s no pressure on any one host to prepare food for everyone and no awkwardness when a member can’t eat the snacks provided.

How do we get this going?!

Well, 1st, sign up at the Yahoo group if you’re interested — the group has open, unmoderated membership at the moment3.  If you need help signing up, or if you’re interested but have questions/concerns, contact me at this temporary email: bookgroup @ wrdnrd.net

2nd, i’d like to propose that we just go ahead and get the 1st meeting on the table so we have a fixed point to start planning around.  I suggest a weekend (because i already know of people in Olympia who are interested in coming up to Seattle for the book group) in either late August or early September — we can hammer out the exact date/time via the discussion list.

(Discussions for “1st meeting”: set reading list for 1st few meetings, set meeting dates and locations, generate ideas for naming the book group, random chit-chat)

And, also, i’m offering my place in Seattle’s UDistrict to host the inaugural meeting.  We do have cats, but we also have a large deck where the group can meet so that we’re out of the allergy zone.  My place also has accessibility issues because there are 19 stairs up to the front door, so if this is a problem then obviously we can move elsewhere.  I offer my place simply because it’s flexible scheduling-wise and we cut out the extra step of having to book a time at a library or something.

Possible book list based on my suggestion in #2 above:

  • Rupetta by N. A. Sulway.  Which, unfortunately, isn’t available at Seattle Public Library4.  We could start with last year’s winners — The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan and Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam are both available at SPL.  (Checking SPL because it’s my local library.)
  • Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson.  Available at SPL.
  • Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.  Available at SPL.

Edited to add:  Also!  Personally, i am definitely interested in including readings that aren’t just novels or fiction.  I’d love to read some non-fiction (who wants to read Marx with me??), or go wild and read some fic, occasionally dissect a movie or TV series.  Let’s think big!  Mostly i want to engage with speculative fictions thru’ a feminist/social justice framework.

So, what do you think — shall we try it??

  1. We’re 12 years old!  Go us!! []
  2. Good grief, i am really really far behind in putting up our book lists. []
  3. The use of a Yahoo group is open to negotiation.  This is how the book group i’m currently in organizes, so i’m familiar with the system and thought this would work for the time being. []
  4. Yet!  Let’s all request it! []
boast in rhyming verse {audio}
chris. | 28 August 2013 | 10:25 pm | (culture) transforming, Radio Free Wrdnrd | Comments closed

Back in the spring i saw this amazing post on Tumblr.  The Twitter @ShakespeareSong had attempted Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”, only to be soundly (and quite correctly!) criticized by Tumblr for not doing it in iambic pentameter, dammit.  So, Tumblr being Tumblr, someone quickly fixed it:

These tags I’ll pop, and boast in rhyming verse
that what I wear puts swagger in my gait;
though twenty shillings have I in my purse,
my self-esteem and manhood both inflate
when lofty furs I purchase for a cent.
Thy grandpa’s clothes are worthy salvage, though
they smell a trifle musty. Still, I spent
much less to dress myself from head to toe.

To save or not to save? The question’s moot.
I’ll never give my coin to high-street crooks.
These dusty shelves will yield their hidden loot
to those, like me, more frugal in their looks.
Like ancient coins washed up on distant shores,
I’ll find my treasures in these thrifty stores.

By Tumblr user reading-thoughts.

But Shakespearean-esque verse is so much more satisfying if you’re able to hear it.  I read it aloud and Andy said, “Oh, that makes much more sense!”

So.  Here you go.  (Apologies if the sound file doesn’t come thru’ on the RSS feeds.)

Comments welcome, but be kind!  This is actually my 1st recording — well, this is the billionth (est.) recording of this, but this whole endeavor is my first attempt at recording/publishing.  Things are a little rough.  I’m still not sure i’ve gotten the input sound at the best level.  I need to learn how to edit.  Blah blah blah.  Constructive comments are welcome, but don’t be a freakin’ asshole.  I mean, OBVIOUSLY i’ve never done any acting, voice or otherwise.  :P

ETA 8/29:  A few more details i should have noted (i said i was new to this!):

  • length:  This is only 50 seconds long!
  • download:  Here’s an MP3 if you’d rather download that shit –  Thrift_Shoppe
why Andy is the cook in our house
chris. | 28 November 2011 | 3:43 pm | glosses, gustatory | Comments closed

We were preparing our grocery list last night.

me:  “Should we get more veggie burgers?”
Andy:  “You have a hankering for veggie burgers?”
me:  “Not especially right now, they’re just handy to have on-hand for when one of us is hungry and we can’t think of anything else to make.  They don’t exactly take up lots of freezer space, and they’re easy to make and are pretty filling.”
Andy:  “I suppose we can get a box then.  Tho’ i was kind of thinking of making my vegan sausage recipe and trying them in our hamburger press.”
me:  [amazed pause]  “You, sir, are a genius.”

food experiments: dehydrator! (soup edition)
chris. | 25 October 2010 | 10:28 pm | food | 6 Comments

We’re getting into drying things with an eye toward using them in soup bases.  Currently in the dehydrator:

  • celery
  • onion
  • mustard greens
  • beet greens

I’m especially excited about the greens because we often have them leftover from the CSA share by the time the next week’s share is rolling around.  I’m not really a big fan of wilted greens, tho’ i’m not totally against the idea (Andy’s infamous saag paneer springs to mind).  I’m also not a huge fan of greens in soups, unless it’s a pureed soup in which case you can barely tell they’re there.  (I just know that someone reading this loves greens in all manner of preparation and is absolutely cringing right now.  Sorry!)  But even tho’ i love, for example, Andy’s chard/lentil soup, we still usually have greens at the end of the week — you can only eat chard/lentil soup so often thru’-out the winter.  Possible answer?  Drying the greens to a sort of crumbly-herb consistency to be added to soups later.  We’ve never tried this so i don’t know how it will go.  Will try to remember to report back.  ;)

And a note to myself (because i often remember having seen a tasty/useful recipe but am lousy at remembering where):

  • cilantro pesto:  At Joe’s Garden (p. 76)
  • mashed fava peans: Joy of Cooking (p. 255) [This looks like it will be a kind of fava bean hummus.]
food experiments: soup; dehydrator; couscous & mushrooms
chris. | 23 October 2010 | 6:08 pm | diary, food | 7 Comments

This week we’ve tried a few food experiments, some more successful than others.

miso soup with soba

Andy makes a great home-made miso soup, usually with reconstituted dried shiitake.  Often, he also puts in udon noodles.  (If i’m really lucky, he’ll put in deep-fried tofu.  Mmmmmmm.)  Right now we have soba (buckwheat) noodles on hand, so we decided to try those.

Well, we shouldn’t have.  I just didn’t like them — rather bland to my palate.  I’ll need to find something else to do with them.  Maybe try the dipping sauce recipe that’s on the back of the package.

Noted:  We definitely need to pick up some ramen noodles to try in Andy’s soup, but until we do i’m certainly sticking with the udon noodles.

dehydrator: dried apples, kale chips

We made some really delicious dried apples back in august for our scooter road trip.  Naturally, we forgot to write down what variety they were.  Argh.  Last week we picked up some Fuji apples at the market and dried them.  This time i’m remembering to note them!  They were okay, but not as strongly-flavored as the previous apples, whatever they were — so sweet and tangy.

I also grabbed this recipe for dehydrator kale chips from my friend Holly over at LiveJournal (who got it from “Vegetarian Times”).  So delicious!!!

Take a big bunch of kale.  Preferably as fresh as possible.  Take out stems and rip into big pieces.  Put in bowl.

Pour in 1-2 T of olive oil, 1 T lemon juice (preferable fresh squeezed) and 1/2 t salt.  Use your hands to rub all over the kale.

Sprinkle on 3 T of nutritional yeast and stir in…you’ll probably want to use a utensil for that!

Place on baking sheet and try not to let the kale pieces touch.  I put mine in the oven (I have a gas oven) overnight.  The pilot light keeps it just warm enough to act like a dehydrator.  If you have a dehydrator, the recipe said to put it in 1-2 hours.  You could probably use an electric stove it you turn it so it just turns on for a little bit, then turn it off and put in the tray.  It takes awhile and for a bit it really looks like its not going to work, so be patient!

The leaves will crisp us nicely and the lemon kind of “cooks” the kale.  Store in an airtight container, though I’m guessing they won’t last very long.

Andy used vinegar instead of lemon juice (the principle is the same).  Very, very tasty!!! We might try this with chard, too, since we often have a hard time deciding what to do with chard.

couscous & lobster mushrooms

We tried this tonight with dinner.  It was pretty good, but not as flavorful as i thought it might get.  I don’t remember what we used the lobster mushrooms for last time we got them (probably last autumn), but i remembered them as having more flavor.  This dish turned out disappointingly bland.  Taste aside, we did love this dish as having lots of possibilities.  I just sprinkled salt and pepper on it, which usually saves almost any boring dish for me.

How would you spice a couscous and lobster mushroom?

skirt for a word nerd
chris. | 7 August 2010 | 9:44 pm | sewing | Comments closed

Today was “Copy Your Favorite Garment” class:

Make a pattern without taking your garment apart. Pattern–making experience is not necessary, but you must have sewn clothes, know garment construction plus sewing/pattern terminology. This class is for those who cannot find a pattern or can’t fit patterns but own a garment that fits (and not mind pinning it and getting some wash–away ink on it). I’ve taught this class for 15+ years at local stores and since 2004 at the Experimental College.

It’s thru’ the Experimental College at the UW (it’s a student group), which is a great resource if you’re in the Seattle area.

GothLoli PA Dutch mystery skirt

GothLoli PA Dutch mystery skirt

I wanted to take the class because i have this fabulous skirt which never fails to receive compliments — but for which i have no pattern.  The awesome things about this skirt are:  #1, it has sixteen gores.  #2, the fabric is weird and quirky.  I tend to think of it as a GothLoli Pennsylvania Dutch skirt.  Can you imagine how fabulous this thing would be over layers upon layers of tulle??

The weird thing about this skirt is that Mom and i aren’t sure where it came from.  We found it in my grandmother’s sewing things when we were cleaning out her sewing room.  The gores were sewn together and the zipper was hand-basted in.  But all it took was one flip to the inside of the skirt and Mom and i knew instantly that my grandmother had not put it together — the seams were shockingly uneven and rough.  But the skirt mysteriously fit my waist, so i brought it home.  Put in the zipper, fitted it with my usual band-less waist, and sewed up the hem.

The more i wear it the more i love it.  (Tho’ i don’t wear it often because the ironing of it is a pain.)  The more i wear it, the more i want more skirts in the same pattern (okay, ironing be damned).  But there are no patterns for mystery skirts!  And so today i learned the basics of making a pattern from the garment itself.

And now, i shall make more and more skirts just like it.  First up, a skirt in this:

alphabet: red-lime

alphabet: red-lime (by applesandorange, @ Spoonflower.com)

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  Word. I loved this fabric the instant i saw it.  Yes, it’s a Spoonflower fabric — and, yes, that means that 1 yard of cotton will cost about $18.  I would normally not pay that much for fabric if i were buying it at a local store.  (The most i’ve ever paid for fabric was $15 a yard, but it was Japanese fabric in an adorable owl pattern and the drape and feel of the cloth was absolutely divine.  And that is the careful-est sewing i have ever done on any garment.  You bet i didn’t want to mess it up.)  But i think, for a design that i absolutely adore and at a cost that will go to support an independent designer, i might be willing to make an exception to my upper-limit for fabric cost and buy this one.