Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Le sigh

Lots of stuff has gone on and more will be going on. Overall, good times. Lots of social stuff, not so much with the crafting lately. Minor cooking here and there. Less minor cooking last Sunday when I went to a friend's Science Dinner party. Sous vide fish? Awesome. Sous vide pork? Best ever. Sous vide egg yokes that are then breaded and deep fried? !!!!

A kind co-worker from our far distant office flung (via the US postal service) tasty Amish Friendship Bread starter in my direction. Turns out following a recipe produces optimal bread. Adam was pleased, but I didn't let it sway me from my path towards... something....paved with random experiments! The animated gif above is the starter over a period of 6-7 hours... Good thing I worked from home last Thursday- it was like a baby, needing all that attention and burping...

Lack of crafting is in part due to reading and consumption of media. Some of it has been amazing, some of it has gotten me a little down...

  • The Cabin in the Woods? Best film all year. I'm buying the DVD when it comes out. If you did not watch it in the theater I WILL MAKE YOU WATCH IT. So good. Can't summarize a word of it though, for fear of ruining it. Just go see it, if you can.
  • Shades of Milk and Honey was fantastic read! I devoured it in nearly one sitting. Grab the Kindle sample- you'll be able to tell from that whether it's meant for you or not. Light fluffly reading material. Jane Austin/Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell mashup (favoring Austin)
  • Game Of Mother Fucken' Thrones. Yo.
  • The Testament of Jessie Lamb (P.S.) was... depressing. Very very good. And written in such a way that I was really able to relate to it. The author was really able to get inside the head of a confused 16 year old girl... and I get the impression almost anyone with a uterus knows what it's like to be inside the head of a confused 16 year old girl and therefor could find the book moving. Children of Men/YA mashup (favoring CoM)
  • God Bless America was, presumably meant to just be a straight comedy as well as, perhaps, a really heavy handed social commentary. It just made me depressed (saw it mid-Jessie Lamb book so there were no doubt outside influences on my opinion). If you catch me in person, I'll go off on a long rant about Jedi Knights and the Dark Side of the force to explain how this movie made me feel. Basically it boils down to "it sucks to be a liberal" and that you can never act out your frustration with others without becoming as bad as they are. Even in escapist fictional works where people go on humorous shooting rampages, the guilt will be there... drives home how truly taxing (and important!) the freedom of speech is. Also- don't let the way other people live their lives get you down.
It also is hard to be crafty when you're far from your crafts! Went camping last weekend! Big Sur! There was camping, there was cooking, there was hiking, there was eating, there were hammocks, there were hookahs (tobacco!), there were waterfalls, there were friend! There was, however, no singing or music. Boo to that.
Drinken' Big Sur Camp Site #130
Turns out Adam is much better then Trisha at holding still for night shots...

Heading to Spiritualized show now with Adam... It will be fun! (except that I've got this song stuck in my head... which doesn't really sound like what I'm in for tonight...)

In closing, I'm still around and doing stuff. I have coding projects to post soon. Just found out I can host web pages from my Dropbox account so expect to see something there. Have been working on my bread calculator-- though it looks massively janky, I've already started to use it and find it to be of great help. See below. No recipe! Tasted just fine! (kinda' spongy- I liked it!) Notes on formula on Flickr page...

Even more bread

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More with the trial, less with the error

Artsy art shot
To follow advice given in my previous post, I bought another book off of Amazon. Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food! Am (again) very happy with my purchase! This book is massive and with lovely details! Haven't been able to make much of a dent in it, but I've started...

Okay, backing up... rewind the week.... Went to Carina Round show! She had opened for the Puscifer show I saw last month. Tiny venue & fun! Played a bit of Polaris- a tabletop game which kicked my butt. Hung out at Golden Gate park- always more awesome then one expects it to be.

And then! And then, when going back far enough, you'd find me on top of a hill at night with my friend Trisha taking mooooooon photos! Well, actually, more like "light graffiti" photos because we got up there too late for the moon to be very photogenic. Trisha had done it before, but not I. The new tripod proved to be most useful (btw, Trish, my remote was at the bottom of the bag the entire time!) and setting the camera's shutter/thing for 30 second shots made for apple time to goof off.

San Francisco Night Set
All the photos can be found over on Trisha's flickr page!. We only had a bike-light for our "pen"... next time, I'm bringing more firepower...
San Francisco Night Set

Jumping back to my opening topic- Cooking for Geeks! Reading stuff is helping (also using bread flour). I made spinach & rosemary bread this evening- 2 loaves, one of which was quickly snapped up. More "fluffy" then the "chewy" I desire, but at least Adam likes it more then my earlier "dense" ones. I made some more cream 'o vegetable soup this evening as well with misc things. I then used a tiny bit soup plus a tiny bit of agar from my Modernist Pantry order I made last month... the results were.... Odd. I can't tell if the flavor changed much, the look was so overwhelming. Will try again tomorrow with something sweet.

Spinach & Rosemary Bread + Crazy!

Avocado & too much mintOne last food photo- avocado & mint things: cookies, crackers, and bread. The cookies were great but ugh- the bread? Me and mint need to take a break from each other... the avocado was heavenly- Adam said it tasted like vegan brioche.... but that damn mint! Last time I got carried away with a mortar and pestle. This time I was seduced by a vial of peppermint extract. Turns out that stuff is potent... yeah... and now I know. Take away: + avocado, - extracts, and I still don't know how to make crackers... damnit

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Money sometimes leads to joy

Image lifted from Google+... I doubt they're very reliable long term... animated image of green stuffed monster Money can't buy you love or happiness. But it can buy you things to make you happy, especially while your loved one is away all week watching movies and you've nothing to do but hang out at home and craft and craft some more.

Decided to splurge and throw money at random interests last week. Results were wildly successful. This suggests I should buy things more often. Hmmm...

Recently I have purchased:

  • A camera tripod and a wireless remote for the camera! This has turned out to be very useful. It improves the quality of images I photograph, especially in the evening. It allows me to do stop-motion stuff which I am sorely out of practice with but have longed for many years to try my hand at again. And while I wasn't expecting to find this helpful- it lets me practice taking mildly flattering photos of myself. I'm not very photogenic and I've never really met anyone who has offered any help on the matter. So far I've found I'm much improved if I don't point my head directly at the lens- or at least as long my chin and neck don't line up... Sure, awkward looking, but at least I look less blob-y. Also, shoulders not just back up also down. Dooown.
    Google+ hosted, who knows how reliable that is... animated gif of purple curl monster

  • A piping foot for my machine! (Actually, I think it was called an adjustable zipper foot). Makes sewing feel so much more delightful and I feel I might have a better chance with straight lines! Turns out piping makes things look classy! Hmmm... maybe classy isn't the right word... professional?

  • Fabric! I really strained myself here and strove to put together fabrics that didn't scream "Rebecca makes clothing out of curtains!" and stepped outside the blue/brown color pallet. Grabbed bright colors, for that is what one makes aprons out of. With my new surge of cooking, it turns out I actually do need an apron... actually need a full-length one, but this was a warm up. Again I am reminded of how much sewing follows similar thought-patterns as programming. Unlike many other crafts I do, I feel like if you just thought hard enough about a sewing problem, really thought every step through, you could achieve the optimal outcome... as opposed to many of my other attempts at craft which feel far more fickle and/or skill based (crochet, sketching). Pattern was un documented and made up on the fly based off these two images [1][2]
    New ApronNew ApronNew Apron
  • Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking : I desire more freedom then I've found Googling recipes on the Internet, so I grabbed a book to liberate myself. The parts of it I'm interested are only a fraction of a book and it doesn't have all the information I want, but it's not bad. I am happy with my purchase. If anyone has suggestions for books about the science of cooking (well, more so baking), I'm all ears.

  • Lauren Ipsum : nabbed on a whim. Originally saw it on Kickstarter and couldn't stop thinking about it. Am happy, will probably read it again. Only got.... ~75% of the references in first pass, I'm so ashamed! It's a quick read, if anyone wants to borrow it. I'm interested in a child's opinion of it- it's written as if for kids, but... I don't know how well they'd take to it/how amused they'd be... But I liked it!!

I would like to say that money wasn't the only source of happiness. I just "won" (2nd place, 2nd time in a row) the sketch contest at Dr. Sketchy's. I have awesome friends, some of which came up to visit in the city, one who is visiting from out of town, and many others with whom I shared an excellent dinner with this Sunday. Adam has been very good about taking at least one weekend day off from SFIFF to hang out with me. He even made rhubarb crisp this weekend!
Rhubarb Crisp

Life for Rebecca is pretty good right now.