Category Archives: Television

Pressure Canning, Doctor Who, etc

A friend lent me her pressure canner, so I was able to give canning green beans a go!  Once I realized I was not actually going to blow the kitchen up, it was just as easy (or easier) than the water bath method.  Definitely slower, though – the annoying bit is waiting for the pressure canner to cool down before you can open it up and start another batch.

This jar *just* came out of the canner – so it’s still boiling and bubbling inside.  I liked doing it well enough, that I went onto Amazon, and bought my own pressure canner.  It was cheap enough, since I can’t get one of the really nice ones because of my glass top stove.  The Presto one I bought is really the only one that will work with my kind of stove.  I hate that stove, btw.  It’s been nothing but an annoyance since the day it came.  Glass top stoves definitely suck.

I think I’ll can some greens, corn, and beets when my new canner comes…plus more beans.  I planted some bush beans a few weeks ago, planning for a fall crop.

Speaking of corn, my teeny little corn patch is doing wonderfully.  I have actual ears now!

And the plants themselves are so cool and ornamental, growing just beside the back door as they are.  I love looking at them through the kitchen window!

The biggest Blacktail Watermelon is full-size, I think, and nearly ready to pick.  The underside is starting to yellow.  I’m so excited about this.

I’m harvesting several kinds of dry beans.  This is a test year, to see what grows well, and which ones we prefer the taste of.  Next year, I’ll put in a whole bunch of whichever variety turns out to be our favorite.  These are called “Bumblebee”.  They are so pretty!

And the last bit of gardening news is that the Tromboncino squash is ready to harvest.  Look at this crazy shape! My vegetable garden is in the front yard, so yes, it was slightly embarrassing to carry this past the neighbors….  😉

It’s supposed to be one of the best tasting summer squash around, but I still prefer my Englischer Custard Squash.  I thought the tromboncino tasted a little bit like a spaghetti squash…only without the spaghetti.  It was good, though, and the vine appears to be very resistant to mildew, and well as being a great climber.  It has earned a place in my garden next year.

When I was a work, one of my patron/friends heard I was planning a trip to Egypt next year, so he brought me in some Egyptian money left over from his trip!

I love foreign money.  And it’s cool to think that Steve brought this money from Egypt years ago, and now I’ll be taking it back.

Lastly, what do you all think of the new Doctor?

I was not a fan of Matt Smith (although he got a lot more bearable once The Terrible Amy left) so pretty much anyone would have been an improvement in my mind.

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But as it turns out, I’m pretty thrilled with Capaldi.  He’s interesting, and so far, he’s shaping up to be my second-favorite Doctor.  Capaldi is just a terrific actor, and this role is so perfect for him.

Plus, you know, Scottish accent.

 

 

On the Nature of Geeks

So apparently, the Seahawks won the Superbowl.  This is something I know only because my facebook wouldn’t let me not know it.  I am most decidedly not a Seahawk, football, or other team-organized-sports fan.  The only time I like sports is during the Olympics (individual sports only, like Snowcross or Ice Skating) or if it’s played on a broom.

I don’t have a problem with that.  To each her own, right?

What I do find…interesting…is that this is not considered geeky:

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Or this:

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While this:

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And also this, are:

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They are all cosplays.  They are all worn in support of a fandom, they all cost money/time to make, and they are all worn out in public.

Why is it socially acceptable to know (and be able to quote from memory) all the stats for your favorite sports team, but not acceptable to know Klingon or Elvish?

The tide is turning a little in favor of the geeks, and Comic Con is the New Cool Thing, but there’s still a feeling of geeky/not geeky among the general public.  My aunt, for instance, burst out laughing when she heard I’d gone to see the Doctor Who special in the theater in 3D.  I doubt she would have the same reaction had I paid big bucks for fancy seats at a football game.

I don’t get it. People who like football are football nerds, and they are just as nerdy as people who are nerdy about other things.  If you doubt that, just check my facebook feed.  Nerdy little geeks, the lot of them.  And that’s cool.  It just would be cooler if my ‘sport’ got the same positive reception from the world.

Personally, I think I’ve got the cooler fandom(s), but that’s just me.  😉

Whoo!!!!!  Way to go Downton Abbey!!!!  Grab that…er…tea cup!!!  And here comes the Dowager for the goal!!!!  Can you believe that save by Mr. Bates????

On Birthdays, Projects, and Ducks

I had another birthday a couple of days ago, which allowed me to practice my second annual birthday tradition: learn a new skill.

Last year, I learned to knit.  Well, I learned the basic knit stitch, which is all I want at this point.  I don’t want to fuss about with reading patterns, or counting stitches (heavens knows I get enough of that with my other handiwork).  No, all I wanted was to have a mindless activity for my hands while I watch tv.   In a year, I’ve made (I think) eight scarves, and six pairs of mitts.  Most of these scarves are super long, too, as I do love a loooong scarf, and ones I find in the store are rarely long enough!  The scarf I just finished has a crocheted trim and pockets.  I’m loving the pockets.

This year, I learned two new things, actually.  The official thing was learning how to hand spin, using a drop spindle.  I bought a basic spindle and some prepared alpaca roving off Etsy.

And…I’m getting the hang of it.  My yarn is extremely uneven, but considering my favorite purchased yarn is almost as uneven, I kind of hope I never get so expert that I lose the ability to make uneven yarn!  Uneven yarn is super fun to knit.

I’ll spin out the entire 4oz of roving I purchased before I say whether spinning will become a lasting interest for me.  Right now I’m enjoying it, though.  After I’ve made the yarn, I plan to hand-dye it, using plants I’ve grown in my garden, then knit it into something.  A pair of mitts, probably, since I doubt there will be enough for a scarf.  It will be cool to say I made them myself from (almost) start to finish!

Also for my birthday, I cooked my first duck.  I’d never even tasted duck before, but I’d always been curious.  People say it’s difficult to cook well, but I have to say it was simple enough – as long as you find a good set of directions and follow it.  I decided to slow roast mine, as I’m a big believer in slow roasting meat until it’s so tender it falls off the bone.  Most meat, I find, is generally undercooked.  Meat should either be rare (as in a good steak) or cooked for a really long time on a really low temperature to be really good.  I used this recipe for my duck, and it turned out brilliantly.

Wow.  I am such a duck convert!  This was absolutely the best tasting meat I’ve ever had.  It was not greasy at all, just really tender and flavorful, and the skin?  So crispy!  Plus, I had about a cup of duck fat left in the pan, which we saved to render.  Soon, I’ll use it to fry some potatoes, as I hear that makes the best tasting potatoes ever!

Because of this duck experiment, I’m now delving into the idea of raising ducks for meat.  I never even considered that before, because I love ducks alive and quacking…I thought I’d never want to use them as meat animals.

But the taste of that duck!!!!!  Seriously, the best meat I’ve ever put in my mouth.

I did some research, and discovered a lot of people raise Muscovies for meat.  They are considered not only the best tasting duck, but also a contender for the best tasting meat overall.  Some describe it as more like veal, with several saying that the breast meat is almost indistinguishable from sirloin steak.  You can even grind it, and use it for hamburger.  It is the Cadillac of meats.

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And then, I did even more research on the Muscovy ducks themselves, and discovered that the females are natural mothers, hatching and raising up to 80 ducklings per year.  Muscovies also catch and eat mosquitoes and flies out of the air; they are so brilliant at controlling flying pests that people purposely keep them around barns just for that purpose.  People say that once they get Muscovies, mosquitoes are a thing of the past.  While I don’t have a huge problem with flies or mosquitoes, I’d love to be rid of the ones I do have!

muscovy_ducklingsOddly, they are actually more of a goose than a true duck.  They can breed with a duck, but the offspring will be “mules”: infertile.  Another point in their favor is that they are extremely quiet.  The males “whisper” or hiss, and the females have a “trilling coo”.  They have very…interesting faces, as well.  A little reminiscent of a turkey?  I always though they were ugly, but after watching a bunch of youtube videos, they are starting to grow on me.  Perhaps it’s the way they wag their tales like puppies?

I’ve got more research to do, but I kind of think I’m going to end up with a few Muscovy ducks.  And the perfect option would be to find someone willing to do the slaughtering for a share of the meat.  Even though I’m totally a convert to duck meat, I still don’t think I could kill a duck.  😦

And here.  I can’t resist.  You’ve seen the first episode of Sherlock, season three?  If you haven’t, minor spoilers.

This kiss.

Just…this kiss.

Merry Christmas!!!

Here’s a couple of gifts for you.

For fellow chicken lovers:

And this for everyone else. If you aren’t a fan of this version of Sherlock Holmes, I despair of you.

Television

I was going to post a quail update, but then I realized that all my current photos are on my *other* camera.  And I’m too lazy to go outside to the studio and get it, so instead, I’ll do the *other* post I’ve been thinking about.

The new tv shows I’m watching.

I’m so pleased, honestly.  There are three stand-out good ones this season, and my absolute favorite looks like it’s in absolutely no danger of being cancelled – which is what normally happens to me and the tv I absolutely love.  Seriously, it happens all the time.  To brilliant shows, including two that I will never get over losing:

HBO’s Rome.  I fell in love instantly, and it’s still my favorite show I’ve ever watched, old or new.  At least I have the consolation of knowing that HBO knows they made a big mistake.

And my second favorite among non-current shows: Firefly.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE FOR NOT WATCHING THIS AND KEEPING IT ON THE AIR?

Sigh.  Okay, okay, moving on from the angst.

My new favorite among this season’s offerings is Blacklist.  James Spader.  I love him to death, he is just so cool.  And his character is equally cool, and I haven’t figured him out yet, and I love the show for actually keeping me guessing.

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Second favorite: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.   I’m not sure this one will survive, and I understand if it doesn’t, because it does have some problems.  The “young hot guy” is boring, the “young hot girl” is boring.  The “hot scientists” are cute, but a little…meh.  I’m using code names, because in spite of having watching this show for a few months now, I’m only actually sure of what 50% of their character names are.  So why is it my second favorite new show?

Because of this guy.

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Agent Coulson, you have my heart always, and I will watch this show and love it just because you are on it.  You sir, are brilliant and gorgeous and if Loki weren’t so intriguing awesome (and also brilliant and gorgeous) I would never have been able to get past him killing you in The Avengers.

Bad Loki.

(Okay, fine: I forgive you.  Even if Coulson did return on a somewhat mediocre show, he’s still back.)

The third favorite show is Sleepy Hollow.  If it has a fault, it’s just that it has so much going on.  But I do absolutely love Ichabod Crane’s struggles to understand the modern life, and his wardrobe is fantastic.

sh-06-tom-publicity-singles_1803_lyThat coat!  That grey shirt!

I’m also quite fond of the Headless Horseman’s ensemble.  I scoured the internet looking for a clear picture, but failed to find the perfect one.  I love Hessian uniforms.  They are beautiful, even if they come sans head.

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So add those to my previous favorite (and still-airing) shows: The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Justified, The Big Bang Theory, and Supernatural,  and I’m quite the happy little geek.

Oh – and Revolution.  I want to talk about that one, even though this is its second season.  It is another kind of mediocre show that I will never stop watching.  Even though I really hate most of the characters (Charlie, will you just DIE?) I still watch.  Because I absolutely love Monroe and Miles, and the relationship they have.  It is so well written, and so well acted.

I love this scene.

And I wish whoever uploaded that clip hadn’t cut it off where they did, because it goes on into the most badass two-handed sword fighting scene I have ever seen.  Sexy stuff, that fight.

If only they didn’t need to waste so much time with Charlie’s anger management and mother issues, and Aaron’s wacky new superpowers.  I don’t care those guys, Powers That Be.  Just let me see Monroe and Miles back together again…but not until after they’ve had a few more awesome fights.

YES.

We have a new Doctor, and he is JUST what I ordered.  Moffat must read my facebook comments!  🙂

Older, British (well, Scottish, but it’s all Great Britain!), male, and attractive.

A perfect Twelve, on all counts!

Gallifrey One 2013

A few of my friends took a trip to Los Angeles for Gallifrey One (a Doctor Who convention) and also to shop the fabric district.

The fabric district is jaw-dropping AMAZING.  And over three days, we almost literally shopping until we dropped.  I came home with one suitcase completely packed with fabric and trim!  Really, it was so great that I could have come home directly after the shopping and been satisfied.  We stayed at the Hotel Figueroa which was the perfect choice.  It’s so gorgeous, just like staying in Morocco.

And it’s an easy walk to the fabric district (although the walk didn’t feel quite so easy when we were walking home with massive heavy bags of wonderful things!

The hotel also had gorgeous curtains, which we coveted….

One of my friends, Arte, was running just a little bit behind in her costuming, so we actually sewed an entire 18th century gown in the evening after we shopping.  I say ‘evenings’ but we were actually up until around 2am.

It was actually really fun, though, and I was able to learn from our draping expert, Laura, exactly how those francaise gowns are put together!  And the dress turned out beautifully.

In case you can’t tell, Arte is an 18th century version of River Song!

After we bought all the fabric we could stuff into our luggage, we left the Figueroa for the Marriot LAX, and joined our other friend Glynnis at Gallifrey One.  The first day we all wore different versions of River Song, and tormented our ‘mother’ Amy Pond (Grace).

We also visited the TARDIS.  I wore my Frost Fair Victorian River Song.

That evening, was the Masquerade, and we entered as a group: The Doctor Presents His Fall Collection.

The idea was that Doctor had created a fashion line was available ‘anywhere and anytime’.  From left to right, we had: Arte as an Elizabethan Dalek, me as a German Saxon TARDIS, Glynnis as an 18th century Fifth Doctor, Laura as a 1800s River Song, and Grace as a 1920s Weeping Angel.

I love the cape Laura made from a trench coat!

Much hijinks ensued in the green room.  Angel met angel…

Angel had a chat with angel…

And then Jack entered the room, and everything just went slightly insane…

Despite his many admirers, our Dalek queen soon captured him and brought him over to our corner.  Who said Daleks were evil?  Not me!

And a totally gratuitous shoe shot happened…

And we won two Master class awards in the Masquerade!  The Project Gallifrey Award for Workmanship, and Best Interpretation.

Afterward, Arte met a kindred soul in the hallway…

The daleks roaming the halls are almost my favorite part of Gally.  They are so cool.

The last day I wore my Steampunk River Song costume.

Grace wore her 18th century Reinette costume.

Laura wore her Fourth Doctor costume with the completely fabulous knitted bustle.

And Arte wore her awesomely tailored Victorian Eleventh Doctor.

Some other awesome costumes I saw:

I got close to two celebrities:

Freeman Agyeman

And Mark Sheppard!

I finally met up with my Doctor! (I’d been wanting to get a shot of this costume with a Ten.)

And right at the end of the con, we met professional photographer Scott Sebring, who took the most lovely shots of us!  And without charge.

It was an absolutely delightful trip.

And then I came home, and all my purchases exploded from my luggage:

Shawls, and masks, and tiaras, and beads, and silk, and velvet, and taffeta, and sequined net, and….oh my.