foodish experiment one
I tired one of Alton Brown's recipies last night. My results were mixed. As were my followings of the recipie, so, you know, fair enough.
I made peanut brittle according to his recipie, though I used both less of and a different type of pepper (see I don't always pepper things as much as humanly possible) and less cinnamon than he called for. I also apparently heated it about 4-5 degrees higher than he called for. I should have stuck to the color test instead of using our thermometer.
The result was a nicely complex flavore in my peanut brittle with more long chain pseudo sugars than the recipie calls for. Unfortunately, the added complexity clashes with the complexity added by the additon of the cinnamon and the pepper. Either Brittle with additives or brittle cooked hot, not both. It is still quite eddible though.

oh tannenbaum...

So, I surrealed up the lives of some of the locals today. I went and bought a christmas tree. I considered walking home with it, but then I decided that not only would that take a long time, it would also be difficult. So I biked with it. Initially I slung it over my shoulder, but after a couple of blocks I decided that I would just strap it to the back of my bike and be happy.

2008 was a good year for my book reading.But this next year is going to be awesome. I'm friggin ecstatic about the upcomming year.

Elizabeth Bear is putting the finishing touches to the sequel to Dust, which was itself packed with about as much awesome as anything I've read in the last year (It has a strong aspect of homage to both Amber and Universe, though with more skill than Universe and a tone and thematic underlayer that blows Amber out of the water. Don't get me wrong. I love me some Amber, but EB's best works are among the best things being written these days) (Dust is why All the Windwracked Stars wasn't my favorite book of the year.)

The next book in the Ravarin series by Kelly McCullough is due out next year. (It also has a strong aspect of Amber Homage to it. This has been my year for reading books by people who grew up reading the authors I grew up reading.)

Butcher's Dresden 11 is due out in 09. So I like Bear's writing better, but Harry Dresden is my Hero. (Sorry Matthew) As much as I enjoy the Caldorn series, I will be glad when it is concluded so that (hopefully) the Dresden books come out faster.

Tammy Pierce's Beka Cooper series gets a new entry, Bloodhound. I've got friends who complain that she is uneven in her writing. I have to admit to having not read everything she's written yet, but I agree that there have been some highs and lows in what I've read. That said, Terrier was some of the best writing that I've read by her. Which is saying a lot.

Scott Lynch's 3rd Locke Lamorra book is due out. Wherein, hopefully, both our Hero and our Protagonist find a way out of the dire predicament that he left them at the end of Red Seas over Read Skies. (I liked The Lies of Locke Lamorra better, but "not quite as good as TLoLL" is something that most authors should strive to achieve.

Diane Duane's A wizard of Mars should be out in 2009. She has shown a very uncommon talent for maintaining tension in a setting where characters gain in skill and talent as the books progress without having to ratchet up the scale of the consequences of failure. (While characters have had to save the entirety of reality in at least one of the books, the book after it wasn't a letdown even though the scope of the conflict was much much smaller.) (There are a bunch of genre cliches that she managed to avoid in the early books that made me incredibly happy.)

In theory, Martin's A Dance With Dragons is due out next year. I wouldn't hold my breath. Alas, this one will probably have even more PoV time dedicated to fucking Daenerys Targaryen, my least favorite character still living.

I know I'm missing books, things that I didn't even think to look to see if they were due out.

mutter mutter, internet is full of idiots
Okay, so some of you may have figured out that I am a left-centrist. I generally like the people on the left more than the people on the right, they are generally more compasionate, more decent, and more grounded in the real world. That is not to say that they are all like that, just that the majority are more so than the majority of the folks on the right. (And while the left has its own black hats, they've never been given the sort of power and influence, the sheer ability to direct the Left's agenda as say a Delay, a Rove, or a Regan have for the right.) This is why, by the way, I like Obama. He's a left centrist too. He's openly a left centrist. If you read The Audacity of Hope, there is no surprise for you that he's not some wonder-leftist, that he likes some aspects of the right and has some bones to pick with his own camp. He's got one of the more amicable scuyzzball preachers doing his inauguration, a guy who, while decent as his set gets is still anti-gay and anti-woman. He's also popular with the less extremist members of the religious right branch of the Blackhat party. Obama intends to be the President of America, not the president of the American Left. This is called meeting that part of the population half way. Sure, they are badly and deeply wrong, and we have to fight their agendas if we wish to consider ourselves decent human beings and furthermore, we must win that fight if we wish to consider our country a decent country, but excluding them from the dialog, alienating them and further fracturing our society? Not the way to do it. The left's big thing for the next 60 or so years needs to be undermining the division in America that the Right has created in the last 30 years. (Always harder to build than destroy *sigh*)
I read feministing. I love the articles mostly. Occasionally, I have a stupid moment and read the comments.
"Ok, this does it for me. I'm officially anti-Obama and would support his impeachment on day one if it were an option. Nothing short of a totally, 100% feminist president is acceptable anymore. Fuck his bigot pastor, fuck his inauguration, fuck the "christian" political agenda of hate, fuck his rhetoric and lies, and most of all FUCK OBAMA."

(About the above scuzzball pastor)
The thread following that is sort of special too. So glad that the left has to build coalitions instead of being strongly centralized like the right. Keeps this person's spiritual brethren and sisteren out of dangerously powerful positions.

(My take on Obama's political position is that he is a solid conservative in the rest of the world. In America, he's to the left of our current political process and a little bit to the right of our actual population. Americans are generally conservative, though less so than their politicians would indicate. There is a disconnect (engineered by the RR and the NeoCons) between our political beliefs and our political landscape. A few wedge issues, some effort to bring about voluntary disenfrachisement and disenchantment with the process, and wham, you've shifted politics way over to the evil side without having to shift the populace. Of course the Blackhats have occasionally forgotten that they didn't shift our memetics, just our voting patterns and over reach themselves.

My body my sel... er what the hell?

So my hair is turning white/grey. Been happening for more than a few years now. I'm not particularly bothered by or opposed to this. On the other hand, my eyebrow is turning blonde. That's just not right.

Harry Dresden is my Wizard

I really like Harry Dresden, especially in the later books after he's had the chance to gain some control over his life:

"I struggled to find the right words. “There are a lot of things I can’t control. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few days. I don’t know what I’m going to face, what kind of choices I’m going to have to make. I can’t predict it. I can’t control it. It’s too big.” I nodded at my shovel. “But that, I can predict. I know that if I pick up that shovel and clear the snow from the walkways, it’s going to make my neighbors safer and happier.” I glanced at him and shrugged. “It’s worthwhile to me. Give me a minute to shower.”

cut cut
I bought myself a cheap santoku. Even the cheap ones are fun to use.

So, some days I just do it to myself.
I mean seriously, have you ever made a series of choices, each in a row, each the one you knew was wrong, until you finally just had a horrible mess on your hands?
Guess who did that?
Yeah. Me.

I left work today a little late, I'd stopped to read for a bit, since I had a place to be at 7, and work ended at about 5:10 and while I had a few errands to run but plenty of time.
I had grabbed a final refill on my soda at work before I walked out the door. Since my front breaks are fubared (yeah I need to fix that) I didn't even hesitate to carry it in my left hand since that break wasn't going to do me any good. I took off, and it was chilly, but my first stop was only a block or three away, I didn't bother grabbing my gloves out of my backpack. I took off singing along with my new MP3 player, and headed down the road. I avoided catastrophe via the use of my flintstones breaks and got to the first block of my goal. Now, I was headed to the good will and their setup is annoying. They have a bike rack in front of their door, but there are only two points of access to their curb, the driveway at the far end of the building from the bike racks, and one from inside their parking lot. I usually take the sidewalk from the driveway to the racks. Today was no different. So I coasted down the sidewalk, one cold had steering the bike and distacted by singing. Went right off the sidewalk into the grass beside it. wheel jerked hard in a thin little crevice and wham, up and over the front went I.
Caught myself on my hands and my knees. On the concrete sidewalk. Bent my front fender thing a bit (regular occurence really) cracked my knee something good (same damned knee I always hurt. I think it is ok, but we'll see tomorrow, and now I get to be careful with it all winter.)

So recap,
I was riding a bike on a sidewalk, distracted, with one cold and numb hand on the handle bars and then crashed. Welcome to the "well duh moron" club. (seriously, on the road I wouldn't have hit the crevice. Not distracted I would have stayed on the sidewalk, two hands or one not numb hand and I could have corrected for the sudden jerk of the handlebars.

Made the rest of the evening a pain, and the thing I wanted to do at 7, apparently was canceled (or since I was 20 minutes late, maybe it just ended early, though the person I ran into getting there had been 15 minutes late and nothing.)

you spend a decade without listening to pop and it gets all weitd
Been listening to some current pop.
Rap wants its memetics back.
R&B wants its music back.
The 80s want their vocal distortion modules back.
And techno wants its beat back.

a poem
Oh how sublime,
the words that tear and strain to rhyme,
a fare with lost loves living there,
isolation and writing on the walls,
silence and islands,
I do recall,
a time when lyricism and music was all.

Not a party?
If you have to dress for it, it isn't a party.
It may be fun, it may be an enjoyable event, but it isn't a party.

never did write that post...
So I wasn't going to write my next blog post. But then I thought about my evening, and realized that this next post is entirely in tune with my night.
See, I went to the FMLA fundraiser tonight and I had a realization. I don't have work tomorrow. I mused a little outloud along the lines of "Hey, no work tomorrow, I should do something tonight." The woman sitting next to me suggested that I should make something, then she suggested that I should make a website. Not exactly what I meant, but I realized that I didn't have any better ideas for the evening. (Jessica has a somewhat skewed view of what I do for fun I think.)
Then I got home and Eva had posted a reply to my request for a theme for a numbers post with a suggestion that I make a numbers post out of synopses of the previous numbers posts and ask the question again. I'm hoping that she is meaning something different by numbers post than I do since I can't come up with any interesting way to do numbers stuff with an overview of what numbers stuff I've done before. Also, since I don't tag my posts mostly, doing this would be a huge undertaking (I envy you folks who organize your blog sensibly) So in a comment, I sort of said "no" but then I thought for a bit and realized it was as good as anything else I was going to do tonight.

FMLA Fund Raiser
Okay, so if you are in Bloomington this afternoon between 4:00 and Midnight, you should print off one of these vouchers and come to the college mall (eastside) Steak n'Shake. The FMLA is planning on being there at around 7:30 if you want to come and hang out with yours truly and a bunch of other awesomeness.


my frog is astonishingly lazy.
My tree frog remember.
Last night I dumped the remainder of the crickets in its cage.
I forgot to put the access strip back on.
Meaning that there has been an inch and a half gap across one side of said cage all day.
And all night.
Yet, there is still a frog in the cage.

A question for the crowd

Hey, it has been a while since I've done a numbers post, and I was wondering if anyone had anything along those lines they'd like to see me tackle. (Numbers posts are things like the "random generation of proteins" post.)

Since my to blog blog is fairly comment driven, and numbers posts tend to get relatively good comment counts, this would also tend to increase my likelyhood of actually blogging other things.

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane. via matociquala

Put your music player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first song is the title.

Media player has an incredibly bad randomizer.

Listen as the wind blows, from across the great divide.
I often wonder what makes it so difficult for politicians to talk about values in ways that don't appear calculated or phony.
I'm making this one special evening.
A rabbit and a top hat, a handkerchief and ring.
And you don't seem to understand,
I feel your love
If I had the chance, love
Your lights are on, but you're not home
It's time we acknowledge a few simple truths.
It was the fearful night of December 8th.
Excuse me If I may Turn your attention My way One moment
I feel uptight on a saturday night
Hearts are worn in these dark ages
I love the time and in between
Out through the foggy window there
Under a blackened sky
Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
To the sea to the sea, let me follow.
Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
Hey your glass is empty.