For one pizza, we made persian eggplant dip to use as a base, and topped with roasted red peppers. For vegan half, added walnuts; for non-vegan half, shredded cheddar.
For another pizza, we used a variant on a Grilled mushroom and white bean dip for the base, and topped with baby spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and caramelized onions.
For the final pizza, I did my best version of butternut squash pizza yet! ( detailed instructions behind the cut )
There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall: (which is free right now!) a short, unabashedly silly but goodhearted steampunk m/m/f romance. Had basically no plot, it was just a lot of the central dude going "So I really like you and you are obviously miserable let's have amazing sex and be happy" and both other LIs going "But you are common and I just CAN'T" and him sighing manfully before they realise the error of their ways and everyone lives happily ever after. Felt very fanfic-ish, I found myself thinking of it as teen!Viviene/Iron Bull/Dorian minus all the kink and political complexity (and with everyone white and human). Various conflicts etc are glossed over in favour of like 2 chapters at the end of pure cuddles and sex and found family fluff. The characters were slightly different from romance novel norms, the woman was genuinely kind of a jerk in a way only men usually get to be, and while the central dude was Super Manly And Large of the "even men want him" variety he was SUCH A SWEETIE deep down, his main flaw was feeling more like wish fulfilment for readers identifying with the two more prickly LIs than a real character in his own right. Note: the gay male LI experiences some pretty intense internal and external homophobia. Also, this is the 5th in a series, the world building could be confusing but I was happy just to let it wash over me, all you really need to know is that the central guy made his money as some kind of miner and the other two are upper class. I'm pondering reading some of the others but apparently they have phonetically spelled dialect and look a bit twee.
Trade Me by Courtney Milan: Poor, bitter Chinese American woman finds herself swapping lives with charming billionaire fellow college student. I liked this as a drama about two 20 somethings figuring out themselves and their families (the complicated relationship between the main character and her activist immigrant mother was REALLY well drawn) which explored class and stuff, but it didn't entirely click for me as a romance, I'm not sure why. Still it's been cool watching Courtney Milan push the boundaries of inclusiveness in romance novels more and more, the next book in this series is about the main character of "Trade Me"s trans woman best friend which sounds great.
Hatoful Boyfriend: finally finished this, I read a Lets Play a few years ago so knew the ending was intense and was kind of putting it off. Overall a great game for what it is: an increasingly cracky, bizarre, but surprisingly heartfelt parody of dating sims where all the love interests are birds. ALLLL about the dudes in the end but I mind less when it's pigeons. Has a lot more death and darkness and Weirdness About Illness than you might expect from the genre!
Agent Carter: The season finished in a pretty satisfying way. Not perfect (POC men largely exist to say one line then have something awful happen to them), but a fun 40s spy thriller/drama with some nice continuity within the larger MCU. I was happily surprised that they didn't go anywhere really awful with the canonically disabled character! They overdid people saying "you know Peggy will never date a cripple" but mostly he got to just be a flawed but mostly decent and competent guy whose disability was not his only defining feature. Would have been nice to cast an actual disabled person but I'm pretty happy with "neither evil nor faking".
(The other panel I decided on was Hanako Games, which fits into 10 minutes nicely)
Fingers crossed, knock wood, all of that. Cautiously hopeful.
Super behind on all writing, need to get that together, but mostly I'm sleeping a lot; I guess my body is doing some catching up or something. Need to get on the stick tomorrow, though, March 1 seems like a good day for trying again for a daily process.
Psych and dental appointments in March, need to make an eye appointment for April. Replace one caffeinated beverage with water or lemonade daily.
Tiny little bits of growth, little green shoots and leaves, maybe.
What beautiful/amazing/fantastic outdoor places should people visit in New Zealand? —holyschist on redsnake05's Frequently (or not so frequently) asked questions - Aotearoa New Zealand post
It's nearly four years on, so I will keep this brief and picture-y.
My husband and I spent two weeks on the South Island in 2008. We drove from Christchurch to Twizel, Twizel to Queenstown, Queenstown to Te Anau, had a bus trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound, then Te Anau to Queenstown, Queenstown to Greymouth via Wanaka and SH6, Greymouth to Picton and then the ferry to Wellington, and then back on the ferry and down to Christchurch. Here's a map.
Based on this, I would recommend… the South Island of New Zealand!
Our one-sentence summary of our trip was a running gag we had, where every time the car was approaching a corner — frequently, as the South Island is mountainous and we did a few trips over and through the middle — one of us would say "Gosh, I wonder what could be around this corner?" and the other would answer "hrm, I am going to go right out there and guess… maybe a mountain? and a lake?" and we'd turn the corner: "YOU WIN AGAIN!!!!"
I put off this entry partly because I'd never imported the photos into Flickr, but last year, I finally did so. Here's some highlights:
( Lakes and mountains )
So, that's all very nice, but my recommendation for the west coast of the South Island is even stronger.
Milford Sound is very well known, and justifiably so:
( Milford Sound and surrounds )
But to get a feel for the West Coast as a whole, here's what greets you off the pass on SH6:
We had a very foolish itinerary: we were driving from Queenstown to Greymouth in a single day, and that was bad and wrong of us, because it's all like that. You should look at that picture regularly if ever reading karenhealey's novel The Shattering and just imagine an entire cost that looks like that (the details differ obviously, sure, but basically that) and then you will understand that it has to be due to supernatural forces. We managed to stop to take that photo and then at the Franz Josef glacier viewing point, and that's it. Some day I will go back and give the West Coast the time it properly deserves. Probably about three hundred years. And then I'd have to go visit some lakes and mountains too… see you in a bit.
My full set of NZ pics from 2008.
I'd be interested in hearing you talk about toddlers/young kids and food —transcendancing
Feeding toddlers and young kids is something I'm not very good at, frankly, and I'd like this to not descend into a defensive spiral, so, I'm going to keep it factual and avoid feeling like I need to defend myself from all the things.
I'm also going to cut this, because childhood eating is an unpleasant memory for many people.
( Discussion of feeding children, and childhood eating )
A caution on advice. Advice is OK, but what I'm going to avoid is the Internet-advice-whirlpool of "hey, how about X?" "well, X won't work for me because something" and then "well how about other-X, not-X, quasi-X, and maybe-X? Also, there's a spectrum of things to try over in the Y and Z space!" and I feel bad and defensive that I haven't tried the 20 incoming suggestions and you get annoyed that I've tried nothing and yet am complaining that nothing works. How I'll deal with this: probably by not giving you a lot of feedback on your advice, so that neither of us feels like we have to debug the advice.
Shorter caution: I'm open to advice… but I may not respond to it, discuss it or implement it. Advise at that risk ☺
Bonus: if you're interested in parenting stories and kid pics, follow incrementum (or the main site it is a mirror of).
Ever since I saw Valleyviolet’s Pony Pattern collections, I’ve wanted to make one. I finally bought the collection in order to make the Pink Fluffy Unicorn mascot for Quelab (who is apparently MIA right now, likely stolen by the same person who vandalized the room sign; much sadness. She was a lot of work!), but I didn’t want to jump right into fighting with fun fur, and I’m fortunate enough to know a little girl of around the right age to enjoy a pony, so…
I went with blue and stars not out of any particular reason other than I liked the way the two fabrics looked together. The recipient’s young and lives far away from me, so I don’t know much about her preferences yet! However, I *do* know that her mom’s a mathematician and that her dad would like me to be a science role model for her. So the pony came with a book:
The book, as you can’t quite see in that photo, is “The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős.” I was super excited when I first heard of it, as it’s a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a rather famous mathematician. One of the things he did was travel the world, collaborating with mathematicans all over the place. Mathematicians sometimes talk about their Erdős Number, which indicates degrees of collaborators on your published papers leading back to the man himself. (I published a paper with someone who’s number is 2, so mine is 3, a number worthy of bragging about at math parties!). My Calculus prof, an excellent storyteller, used to tell us tales of Erdős at the end of class sometime, and I was totally enchanted to hear more of them through the book. And the art works a lot of careful math and real people into the story, which is amazing. I also love that it doesn’t shy away from the fact that he was a man who couldn’t do his own laundry but helped do so much math that people were willing to welcome him into their homes.
I highly recommend it, especially if you’ve got a kid in your life who could use a gift!
It’s also a kind of funny pairing with this pony, as some folk have this theory that one of the My Little Ponies with somewhat similar colouring also really likes math. Not an intentional joke on my part, but I’ll take it!
So back to the pony construction…
Much like how representations of humans can have an uncanny valley effect if things are close but a little off, my experience is that this is a pattern that can go kind of horribly wrong if you don’t pay attention to the details. I originally sewed her head on in a weird way and was totally disappointed with the end result. I wasn’t even going to give it to V, it was so awful. I didn’t even take pictures (which is a shame in hindsight because the comparison was so striking). But after ruminating a while, I tried again, and with her nose tipped up just so, she got the curious look I was hoping for.
Valleyviolet’s instructions are very detailed and clear, and there’s a lot of work put into the shaping that really shows in the final product. There’s also just a lot of thought put into the instructions. I’ve actually never worked with a pattern that was so careful about explaining things, and I’ve got to say the patterns are worth every penny as a result. You can can buy her pony patterns here, and I promise you can make much more polished ponies than I did!
I think when I do my next one, I’ll have to be a bit more careful about marking the notches and just generally careful about the stitching. I also need to invest in some heavier weighting for her legs since, as you can see, she doesn’t quite keep all four feet on the floor sometimes. (This was right after she came out of my suitcase from my flight to Ottawa, though, so I can’t blame her for looking a bit disheveled!)
I don’t know how much the recipient cared for the pony, and to be honest she’s a bit young for the book yet, so I didn’t win any gift giving awards here, but it was fun to do and I really loved the pattern.
I think I’m going to try out the shoulder pony pattern next, once I find some suitable beanbag filling!
i remember in elementary school the pressure
of ideals: 'No Tolerance For Intolerance'
posted in the halls, carefully copied in our blue-ruled
notebooks, brought up to hammer down on friction when we milled
around at recess, teachers determined wrong would have no allowance
but I've since learned no tolerance is where things break
if you try to press-
fit one part into another without sufficient allowance
its integrity snaps —! forget ideal, you need tolerance
so real is good enough to mill
life varies, as a rule
( Read more... )
DJ Torres, the dyslexic werewolf Marine, and Echo, the genetically engineered assassin who is probably not a platypus shifter, return! Can they take on a shady government agency armed only with a playlist of the world's worst songs, the dubious assistance of a pack of dysfunctional made wolves, the power of love, and a whole lot of stolen weapons?
Features banter, movie and music references, about two bingo cards worth of hurt-comfort, PTSD and other mental illnesses (warning: suicide attempt), Russian meat jello, adventure, comedy, and way more sex than in the first book.
If you contributed to the posts requesting songs with odd subjects or terrible songs, some of your nominees appear in the book.
Echo has devoted her life to protecting her sister.
In all her years as a genetically engineered assassin, Echo never met anyone like DJ Torres before. The captured werewolf Marine offered her trust, friendship, love, and the hope of freedom— not only for herself, but for the frail clone-sister she won’t leave behind. But will Echo’s dark secret destroy their hopes for the future?
DJ Torres would give his life to save his buddy.
DJ has spent his life accomplishing the impossible. But now he’s faced with a dilemma that threatens to crush even his bright spirit. DJ can’t rescue his captured buddy without fleeing the lab. Echo can’t flee the lab without abandoning her hostage sister. Will DJ be forced to choose between his best friend and the woman he loves?
Will love keep them together or tear them apart?
Still held captive by the shady government agency running Wildfire Base, DJ and Echo are forced to go on a series of missions, from undercover escapades at an excruciatingly elegant diplomatic party to a desperate battle in a terrorist compound. Their relationship grows stronger under fire… until they are confronted with a terrible choice.
Partner has a happy ending and no cliffhanger.
You can get Partner as a $3.99 ebook here: Amazon. Amazon UK. Barnes and Noble. Kobo. Apple.
The paper version will come out later. You can also get it direct from me by Paypaling the cover price to Rphoenix2 at hotmail (NOT gmail.) If you feel so moved, you may add a tip/patron gift, but that is absolutely not necessary. I only mention it because several of you have mentioned thinking that the prices of my self-pubbed books are excessively cheap.
Please consider reviewing it. If you do, please mention that it's a sequel and the first book is free.
Laura's Wolf by Lia Silver: Pleasantly tropey but fairly smart with it contemporary paranormal werewolf romance. It doesn't have any of gross alpha wolf business, plus it has some good hurt/comfort with accurate depictions of PTSD. If you're in the mood for that sort of thing, you could do a hell of a lot worse. Laura and Roy are likable protagonists who I can believe will be able to build a life together.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty: Fascinating memoir of a young woman who ended up working at a crematory and pursuing a career as a mortician after graduating with a degree in medieval history. This is a good mix of memoir and an exploration of modern funerary practices, written very engagingly. Despite the grim subject matter, it never feels like a depressing slog.
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant: The newly widowed Martha Russell needs to have a baby in order to secure her estate and all its tenants and dependents, so she propositions recent London exile Theophilus Mirkwood for baby-making sex. What follows is an interesting twist on the marriage of convenience trope. A goodly portion of the sex is pointedly un-hot, with Martha determined to keep it a business arrangement only. But Martha and Theo manage to build a lovely friendship and partnership that made their romance feel very earned. I liked the slower pacing, and how they had a lot more than insta-attraction going for them.
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry: Sort of a take on Orpheus and Eurydice, set in mid to late-90s Seattle. The setting is lovingly rendered, full of nice details about the music scene and the landscape of the city. The core friendship between the unnamed narrator and her almost-sister Aurora is also nicely intense. Unfortunately, I would have preferred it if the novel were more genre and less literary. The prose is lovely, but the paranormal/supernatural elements just don't mesh well with the more literary tone, and the ending didn't work well for me. I wanted to like it more than I did.
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlife by David Eagleman: Forty little vignettes of possible afterlives. Not all of them work, and taken as a whole, they're sort of lacking in imagination. But when the vignettes work, they really work and stay with you. The vignettes are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes unsettling, and it's such a quick read it's worth reading even if all of them don't land.
Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney: This was a lot better than I expected a romance between a scientist's daughter and a feral wild man to be. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise, it's laudably not that creepy given the premise, and there's no weird he's a wild alpha male! nonsense. Heroine Sydney Darrow didn't quite work for me though. It's a good romance, it's just not really my thing.
Death by Silver by Melissa Scott: A mystery set in an alternate London with magic, featuring a M/M couple. A pleasant enough read with an understated M/M romance.
And okay, I have more books to blog about, but that's enough for now. I'll catch up with the rest eventually.
What Kind of Man Joins the Men's Rights Movement? Fascinating and disturbing.
The Beautiful Game Igor Larianov writes about hockey, the late Soviet style vs. the modern American style, and what they mean.
Young, Attractive, and Totally Not Into Having Sex Mainstream press discovers asexuality; blames it on Tumblr.
Caffeine Can Really Mess With Your Head Ha ha cry.
Queens of the West On rodeo queens.
On Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe and race.