Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Away-From-Things Time

Once again, hard to craft or code when I am not at home.

For one weekend I went berry picking with friends. On one hand it felt odd to pay for the privilege to pick berries- something I grew up doing in our back yard- and on the other it was so fun to be picking berries again! I delighted in all the blackberries I brought home. Pulled some of my Amish Bread Starter, mixed some things into it and got myself some dough. Rolled it out, laid out the super fresh berries, and rolled it up. Most tasty bread so far! (rather sweet)

That was one weekend, no time for crafting. Next up was my first trip to Yosemite ever. Went with a bunch of friends, interesting times. Forest MonsterSpent a lot of time reading. I recently stumbled across two new Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood books that I'd missed! Am caught up now on the book series (stopped watching the show mid season 3 and have no intention of resuming it) There is something immensely pleasing in those Stackhouse books... I think it has to do with how grounded the main character is and the amount of mundane life/detail describing her actions when she's not being hassled by vampires, weres, witches, and fairies.
Adam brought along his new guitar and he spent some time playing on it. Our friend Vince also played a number of tunes which was rather awesome.

The highlight, for me, of the trip was my first stab at camp baking. I brought 2 bags of starter (one sweet, one not), flour, some yeast, salt, oats, and dried fruit. I also picked up a Dutch Oven on the way out of town (What camping trip is complete without a final stop at REI?) I love my new Dutch Oven-- I actually greatly enjoy boiling water in it. I look forward to making some sort of soup thing next trip. This trip was bread though.
Camp fire bread!
It was... enlightening. I knew when we moved the *entire* fire onto the oven that it was a bad idea. But whatever. No regrets! After approx. 30 min I pulled it out to find the fruits of my labor. Once you got past the centimeter + thick crust of char there was some really tasty bread in there!
There was bread in there, somewhere
We also made bread-on-a-stick which turned out much better. In fact (since I used the sweet starter) it wound up standing in for the marshmallows that night. Took longer to toast, but it browned all nice like, just like a marshmallow. I was too impatient (no surprise) so mine was burnt outside and undercooked inside. Yaron however mastered it on his first attempt and made several rounds of tasty real (if tiny amounts) bread.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Micro projects & things

I'm terrible at finishing things. The bigger the task, the less likely it is to get done. So lets focus on some of the tiny things I've managed to do recently :
More Egg Monsters
Having purchased a sweet Paderno World Cuisine Stainless-Steel Egg Topper , I now have a small collection of very usable shells for my planter projects. Tried my hand at soldering again-- am way out of practice. Also, I apparently have forgotten what is and is-not solderable in my collection of junk. Wasted a lot of time with the wrong type of wire.

Sadly both of these are a pinch too large to sit on the actual window frame edge- which was the initial intention. They're on the hallway sill for now... the tan shell holds sprouted basil seedlings at this point, but the white one's mint hasn't shown sign of life yet... Neither egg is fixed to its frame... am going to make some needle-legged hanging ones next. Easter Egg

Speaking of which... I haven't killed the Easter one yet... though frequently it wilts due to lack of water. Am using my flavor injector to water them all. Surprisingly useful device, that syringe.

Baking has decreased due to increase in tasty resturant visits. I did however make something for the 4th. America Bread!
America Bread!
Click image for details about bread.

Managed to make it to both Dr. Sketchy's this month here in SF. First time in a long time. Also managed to place in the contest both times this month- first for the pregnant lady session [Theme : Fertility Goddess], and second for the Roller Derby Girl session [Theme : True Blood vs The Walking Dead].
Dr Sketchy's : June 2012 Derby Girls
Not sure if that says more about me or those attending... but it makes me happy! I think about sketching a lot. A lot. But I sketch oh-so very little these days... aside from Sketchy's I've only doodled a picture or two relating to my new table-top character... Young Rebecca would be ashamed of me if she could see me now...
Dr Sketchy's : Une 2012 Pregnant Ladies
Sorry for the terrible photos- I've still not yet set up the scanner situation...

Life goes on. I've been having extreme difficulty sleeping lately due to new upstairs neighbors. My usual 8-9 has been reduced to fitful 6-8 every night and I've not been able to sleep in on a weekend for a month. That, combined with some stressful stuff at work, has made my moods erratic and it definitely has affected my ability to craft/make stuff. The bedroom and craftroom are going to get switched in attempt to address the sleeping situation... hopefully it helps. (we're also looking for a new really awesome place... if you know of a top-floor, 2 bedroom, pets ok, parking included apartment in the Mission, let me know!) It also means I get to re-decorate a new craft-room... so more on that soon. In-Progress : Lava Llama

In closing, am working on a new random monster... it's restful to just put hook to yarn and be like "whatevs". No idea how I'll finish him, but I'll get there eventually.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kindle & Code

Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle? Because I love it a lot, if I haven't mentioned it yet.

Reading is one of the good things in life. Always loved reading, always loved sketching. Two of the most constant facts of my life. Reading however had always been a very passive activity for me pre-Kindle... I would read a book, love it or hate it, think about it, talk to folks later about it.

The Kindle added a new layer, a new relationship I could have with my books. It has that lovely little keyboard that lets me... I don't know what... "talk" back to the book? Talk to myself? I don't know what exactly I'm doing with it when I use it, but I love it now too. Never before could I bring myself to mark/deface a page in the book but boy howdy do I love to leave a snarky mark in the Kindle "margins".

These snarkisms were mostly just for the pleasure of commenting at the time. I'd mark it and poof- off into the Kindle either it would go. I've opened that dreaded clippings.txt file a couple times but the site of it revolted me. Quotes, highlights, comments... scattered about, hard to read, not related to one another.

Project this week has been several-fold and is still very much in progress.
  • Get a Google App Engine server up and running. I'm not in love with app engine, but it's free... so... that's why I'm using it (long long ago I thought to set up a python one but I gave up on that ridiculous idea.. phh... python! Ha!)
  • Start poking at some open/public APIs-- notably the GoodReads one, maybe find something Google related I can use... just.. you know, practice
  • MAKE A USEFUL TOOL (I'm sure there are already other Kindle clipping processors out there, I don't care)
I felt like sharing a fragment of the fruits of my labor, so happy have I been with the work... not that it's complicated, or that it looks good yet (heavens no! I'm talking to a designer friend this weekend to hopefully come up with a good UI flow) but that I have liberated my comments! Yay! (merging of comments & quotes is still a bit buggy)

I've included below the clippings from The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson... a book that had lots of great ideas but toooooootally rubbed me the wrong way. It's book 2 in a 3 book series and book 1 & 3 I read in hardcover... so much criticism was never written down...

Anyway, here's my typical behavior with a book. Highlighted physical descriptions (in case I ever want to sketch characters later) and random comments.... (I've no idea what the un-commented bookmarks are for... I've stopped doing that these days)

Spoiler alert!

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson 34 entries
Location : 1957
03/01/10 12:43 AM
bookmarked location
Location : 1973-75
03/01/10 12:53 AM
" “I do have to say, however,” Breeze continued, chatting along in his normal way, protected from the ash by a parasol attached to the back of his saddle, “the ash is a tad unimaginative.” "
cute discription
Location : 1982-84
03/01/10 12:53 AM
" Black is so monotonous that you can forget about it, but red—you’d always be thinking, ‘Why, look at that. That hill is red. That evil force of doom trying to destroy me certainly has style.’ ” "
something Trisha would say for sure. sounds like her writting style
Location : 2028
03/01/10 12:52 AM
bookmarked location
Location : 2045
03/01/10 12:56 AM
hoooooow many times will we cover the same ground again and again :(
Location : 2060-63
03/01/10 12:57 AM
" The bobbing figure resolved into a young woman with golden hair, wearing a bright pink dress—one that made her look younger than her twenty-something years. Allrianne had a fondness for lace and frills, and she tended to wear colors that made her stand out. Sazed might have expected someone like her to be a poor equestrian. Allrianne, however, rode with easy mastery, something one would need in order to remain on the back of a galloping horse while wearing such a frivolous dress. "
Location : 2065
03/01/10 12:58 AM
" spinning the animal in a flurry of ruffled fabric and golden hair. "
Location : 2078-80
03/01/10 12:59 AM
" She didn’t quite “scamper”—instead, she held up her dress in a rather unladylike fashion. It would have been immodest if she hadn’t been wearing what appeared to be several layers of lace petticoats underneath. "
Location : 2103
03/01/10 01:01 AM
this whole Sazed abandoning his multi faith irritates me and makes me focus on the moromness of the author.
Location : 2105-6
03/01/10 01:02 AM
" He dried his face with a clean towel, then took out his razor and mirror so that he could shave his head properly. "
sazed description....
Location : 2111-12
03/01/10 01:03 AM
" She wore her standard shirt and trousers, after male fashion, though during the last two years she had grown her raven hair to a feminine shoulder length. "
blaaaah.... feminine hair... vin desc
Location : 2205-7
04/01/10 06:51 PM
" Most disturbingly, the First Contract contained a provision which, if invoked, would require the mass suicide of the entire kandra people. 11 "
if they all kill themselves then they release enough power to capture the Ruin. They release the power used to create them. The will do this. My theory
Location : 2218
04/01/10 06:53 PM
they are all naked though... why bother saying it?
Location : 2218
04/01/10 06:52 PM
" cold and naked on the platform. "
Location : 2291-93
04/01/10 11:39 PM
" Vin hadn’t been TenSoon’s master—TenSoon had killed her kandra and taken his place, spying on Vin at Zane’s order. Zane. He had been TenSoon’s master. He had held TenSoon’s Contract. "
oh my god. shut up already. we know this. why say it again damnit!
Location : 2335-36
04/01/10 11:43 PM
" Without her, we have nothing. We cannot create new Blessings, or new kandra, on our own! The Trust is hers, now! We should go to her. If this truly is the end of all things, then the Resolution will soon come. She will—” "
Location : 2471-72
04/01/10 11:51 PM
" Ham asked. As always, he wore simple trousers and a vest. He was a Thug, and could burn pewter—which made him resistant to heat and cold. He’d cheerfully walk around sleeveless on a day that would send most men running for "
Location : 2848-49
05/01/10 08:06 AM
" Tin helped an Allomancer pierce the mists, and Spook’s increasingly sensitive eyes were even better at this. He brushed through the mists, barely noticing them. "
we knooooooooow!!!
Location : 2876
05/01/10 08:09 AM
I'm theeditor now and I say cut this line.
Location : 2876
05/01/10 08:09 AM
" His sense of smell, like his other senses, was incredibly sensitive. So "
Location : 2988
05/01/10 08:25 AM
way too much jessu for me.... blah....
Location : 4046-48
05/01/10 07:07 PM
" We’re thieves, he’d said. And we’re extraordinarily good ones. We can rob the unrobbable and fool the unfoolable. We know how to take an incredibly large task and break it down to manageable pieces, then deal with each of those pieces. "
Location : 4258-63
06/01/10 09:49 PM
" Noorden said, looking a bit shaken. “But . . . what if it’s not a coincidence? What does it mean?” “I don’t know,” Elend said. It means consequence, Vin thought. It means that there are laws, even if we don’t understand them. Sixteen. Why sixteen "
Location : 4282-84
10/01/10 02:34 PM
" Each slave who hadn’t been able to find at least one geode a week had been executed. There were likely still hundreds, perhaps thousands, of corpses pinned beneath the ground, lost in deep caverns, dead without anyone knowing or caring. "
omg! we know already! whats with the stupid trivial details repeating all the time
Location : 4384-85
10/01/10 02:43 PM
" “Wasing the where of what?” Spook demanded. "
this is only here, back in the past so that we can hear this style of speach agan. the author is way too in love with his concepts.
Location : 4603
12/01/10 08:26 AM
it seems like all he knows off warfair re sieges and sneak attacks. this sounds so childish when i read it... but only because ive heard it so many times before from him.
Location : 4603
12/01/10 08:24 AM
" and to endure a longer siege without running out of supplies.” "
Location : 5299-5302
12/01/10 05:54 PM
" Plus, you’ve managed—in our short three years together—to kill not only my god, but my father, my brother, and my fiancĂ©e. That’s kind of like a homicidal hat trick. It’s a strange foundation for a relationship, wouldn’t you say?” Vin just rolled her eyes. "
Location : 5547-48
12/01/10 10:28 PM
" The priests who had filled them had mostly been bureaucrats and clerks—but, then, that had been the real power of the Final Empire. Its control of resources and management of people. "
i want to stab my eyes out. we know this already!
Location : 5709-13
12/01/10 10:38 PM
" Vin stood in the doorway wearing a stunning black gown with silver trim, cut after a modern fashion. Somehow, it managed to look sleek despite the bell-shaped skirt, which fanned out with petticoats. Her pure black hair, which she often wore pulled back in a tail, was down, and it now reached to her collarbone, neatly trimmed and curling just slightly. The only jewelry she wore was her simple earring, the one she’d gotten from her mother when she was just a child. "
Location : 6751-52
13/01/10 08:21 AM
" The man was a Smoker, a Misting who could create copperclouds, "
really? do we really need to say that again 40 % of theway through the book?
Location : 7637-38
20/01/10 07:27 PM
" Ash rained down like shards of a broken sky, floating, making the very air look pocked and sickly. "
what the hell? shards ash floating? wtf?
Location : 8985-89
24/01/10 11:58 PM
" Sure enough, as he read about the religion, he saw the holes in its doctrines. True, the Nelazan had known a great deal about astronomy, but their teachings on the afterlife were sketchy—almost whimsical. Their doctrine was purposefully vague, they’d taught, allowing all men to discover truth for themselves. Reading this, however, left Sazed frustrated. What good was a religion without answers? Why believe in something if the response to half of his questions was “Ask Trell, and he will answer”? "
dig at unitarians?
Location : 9558-59
26/01/10 08:15 AM
" The power in the Well was of Preservation, and an Inquisitor could only have taken it by first removing his Hemalurgic spikes. That, of course, would have killed him. "
nut vin removed it and she has that earing...