Archive for August 2007


Bread recipe

August 30th, 2007 — 6:30pm

If only I’d remembered to take my benadryl last night, I would have slept great, ’cause Dan turned off the AC! As it was, I woke up at 6:30, wide awake, but because the room was so nice and quiet I was able to go back to semi-sleep till after 8am!

Last week I got a book called “No Need to Knead” from the library and it taught me how to make fantastic Italian-style bread. You really and truly don’t need to knead if you make a nice wet dough and let it sit around for a while. And the bread has a fantastic texture, light and chewy with a perfect crumb and crust.

Here’s the basic idea, my own slight variation that creates a loaf just the right size for my family to eat in one day:

Take a cup and a half of warm water. Whisk in a package of yeast. Stir in almost three cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt. This will make a very sticky wet dough that will just barely want to creep away from the edges of the bowl and almost form a ball. It’s completely un-kneadable, so don’t even try. You don’t have to!

Now, cover the bowl with a plate and refrigerate overnight or leave it alone for an hour or two on the counter. With the fridge method, take the dough out in the morning and let it come to room temperature. Smack the dough with the back of a spoon till it deflates somewhat, then let it rise again. After the dough has again risen in its bowl for a while, pre-heat the oven to 500F and then pour the dough into some kind of pan (I use my smaller cast-iron skillet, greased). You don’t have to worry about forming the dough in any particular way, just glop it gently into your pan and pop it into the oven. Turn the oven down to 450F and bake until the bread smells heavenly. Sorry, I don’t know how long, maybe half an hour or so. But check it when it starts to smell really good. The crust should be golden brown. Take it out of the oven, turn it out of the pan, and let it cool before cutting. Don’t give in to temptation! You really do need to wait or it’ll be a gummy mess.

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I prefer the rise-on-the-counter method. I mix up the dough in the morning and bake it in the early afternoon. The fridge method lets the yeast develop a bit more of a tangy flavor. Try it both ways and see which you prefer!

I have baked a lot of bread in my life, but never never never have I made anything this good with so little work. It’s just as good as the fancy Italian bread from Trader Joe’s! You can learn lots more variations and techniques from the book, so run out and beg/borrow/buy a copy right now!

15 comments » | Blog, Recipes

Presents!

August 29th, 2007 — 4:42pm

At last, photos of my birthday presents!

Books, cds, a new Moleskine notebook (my favorite kind), and a magnetic Chart Keeper:

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Yarn, Yarn, Yarn! All from knitpicks.com. (click and mouseover for notes on which kinds of yarn exactly):

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Whoops, this guy was hiding in my backpack and didn’t make it into the group photo! Great book:

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4 comments » | Blog

Interweave Knits Fall 2007!!!

August 29th, 2007 — 10:25am

First: The theme will not change. It’s too much of a pain in the neck to figure out how I customized my current theme. Also Dan loves the way my blog looks now :)

Second: I had a fantastic birthday! I hope, later today, to get all of my loot into a pile and take a photo to post.

Third: I bought the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits a few days ago. ZOMG! (Yes, it deserves my rarely-awarded ZOMG!)

fall 2007

The textures! The colorwork! The interesting and inspirational designs!

I’m in love with the Tilted Duster on the cover, and it just occured to me that my bright red Brown Sheep worsted (which used to be a BPT cardigan) might be suitable if I can get gauge. It sure would be nice to get gauge and not have to redesign the thing. I’d rather not knit a sweater in bits and sew them up — but this one, sensibly, has the bodice knit in bits and then the skirt knit all in one from the waist down. I think I could juuuuust put up with that.

The article on Cables looks interesting. I skimmed it and look forward to reading the whole thing soon. I’m a BIG FAN of cables, as you have probably figured out.

The Hedgerow Coat is luscious and is on my make-it-someday list.

The simple and elegant Placed Cable Aran would be beautiful with a different neck treatment — an easy modification.

The Minimalist Cardigan — another make-it-someday project. Love the texture, love the shape.

Nomad Hat and Scarf: Cute and strange and interesting.

Cinnibar Pullover — yum! Not one I’d probably make, but still, yum!

Luna Dress and Little Red Dress — both need better necks and sleeves (ewww!), but great for inspiration.

Cobblestone Pullover — another yum! Simple but unique and interesting.

Snowflake socks — fun!

Composed mitts — fun!

Toe-up staff socks — lots of inspiration to be had there. Better photos would be nice.

Elfin Hat — darling!

And even the patterns which I don’t find so appealing are far from yuck, unlike the last issue. Hooray for Interweave Knits and their new editor, Eunny Jang!

2 comments » | Blog

librivox in top 100 undiscovered sites!

August 28th, 2007 — 5:08pm

PC magazine lists us in their Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites. Librivox is in the left column, about halfway down. Cool! Lots of other good sites on that list, especially kiva.org and the extremely useful ZAMZAR (you just have to capitalize a name like that).

They even wrote a nice blurb about us:

Audiobooks are ridiculously expensive: The latest “Harry Potter” title lists at $80 on CD. Librivox, however, provides pod fodder for free. The site features a collection of public-domain books read by volunteers—and anyone can volunteer. The audio quality is good (MP3s at 64 or 128 Kbps, as well as OGG Vorbis files). Some narrators are better than others—some may have listened to a little too much NPR—but almost everything is at least decent, and some performances are quite good. The collection (a bit more than 800 Project Gutenberg works so far) is a bit of a hodgepodge, with everything from Walt Whitman to Edgar Rice Burroughs. You’ll have to wait about a hundred years for The Deathly Hallows, though.

Thanks, PC Mag!

3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog, Tech

fiddling with theme

August 27th, 2007 — 12:17pm

spotted this nice ultra-plain theme today… still fiddling, bear with me.

Problem: I can’t remember how I fixed my old theme to suit me, especially the sidebar. I remember that it was a TON of work. Also, I can’t remember how my old theme looks without turning it on again. So, until I either finish tweaking this theme or give up and go back to the old one, this blog will be bouncing around between themes.

Gah. It’s almost not worth it, but I suppose it’s good for my brain.

2 comments » | Blog

LV Community Podcast for Aug 18th

August 27th, 2007 — 9:52am

The most recent LibriVox Community Podcast is great!

This week’s show is hosted by Sean McGaughey (ductapeguy). The theme of this week’s show is Plumbing or Unsung Heroes: The Librivox Technical Team.

1. An interview? with Senator Ted Stevens
2. A Series of Tubes by Joey Patterson featuring Senator Ted Stevens
3. In the Spotlight: Kara (kayray) interviews Dan (digisage)
4. Chris Goringe (tis)
5. Thanks to all the unsung heroes of the Librivox technical team

Click here to listen (right-click to download)

Here we are recording our interview:

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Oh, you might also enjoy our New Releases podcast! I sure do!
New Releases, August 18th 2007

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

cylon models

August 23rd, 2007 — 9:15am

Aaron’s comment in the below post reminded me that we made a list on the whiteboard in our bedroom of Known Cylon Models. We call them:

  • Sharpdresser
  • Sweaty Guy
  • Xena
  • Al
  • Black Man
  • Hot Blonde (or Number 6)
  • Sharon

Sweaty Guy creeps me out. No wonder I had anxiety dreams last night.

And now for something completely different: some Finnish men in shorty shorts and tube socks. Don’t miss the keyboard player’s eyebrow move:

2 comments » | Blog

Thursday morning

August 23rd, 2007 — 8:34am

We watched the first two episodes of BSG season 3 last night, so of course I had anxiety dreams all night and woke up too early. Bah.

Here are some photos:

I turned the heels on both of the gray penny sock mods a couple of days ago:

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Heel detail:

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Also made ten more morsbags over the last few days. The eight green ones are from an old fitted queen-size sheet that Mom didn’t want, and the polka-dotted ones are some scarps that Margaret gave me:

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4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Go

August 20th, 2007 — 9:02pm

Henry brought a Go set home yesterday and we played a lot today. Fun! Read about it on his blog.

Also did a mega-super-grocery shopping together.

Um, we did lots of other stuff today but too tired to think so that is all for now.

2 comments » | Blog

Sunday night

August 19th, 2007 — 10:17pm

Things I did this weekend:

  • Turned the heels on both top-down Penny Socks
  • Played music with Dan. Kashmir was too hard, Sunday Bloody Sunday is ok, Free Four is super-fun. I need to practice!
  • With Dan’s help, migrated ALL of our mp3s to my iMac (Strangelove). Am now working on removing duplicates, adding proper tags and album art, fixing genres, etc.
  • Ate tamales
  • Read half of The Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer. Excellent kids’ historical fiction, takes place in the 8th century!
  • Moved my recording setup upstairs to a more comfortable place
  • Recorded a poem and a chapter of More William for LibriVox
  • Interviewed Dan for the LibriVox community Podcast
  • Started sewing another 8 morsbags
  • Picked ants off of myself — the sofa is their new favorite place
  • Watched three bad episodes of BSG and two good ones

Bedtime!

1 comment » | Blog

I love OK GO

August 17th, 2007 — 2:07pm

A few months ago, Damian Kulash was a guest on Loveline. He sounded unusually intelligent and was a great guest. They mentioned something called “the treadmill video” which sounded intriguing so I found it on youtube and watched it. Again and again and again. Then I found several more OK GO videos on Youtube, and liked every song. I set up a Pandora station based on OK GO and have realized that, while a lot of the stuff pandora picks for me is perfectly pleasant, every time an OK GO song comes on it’s something special! They have a great sound, beautiful vocal harmonies, good crunchy guitar, hard drums, interesting bass, intelligent lyrics, and their songs are not all identical to one another. I’ve never heard an OK GO song that I didn’t at least like a little bit, and they tend to grow on me more and more. Hooray for OK GO! I put their special release collector’s edition dvd/cd on my birthday list :)

Since Hugh is out of town and probably won’t be posting his Friday Youtube Music Video Mixtape, I’ll do one for OK GO. (edit: Hugh is back and he’s pissed off at Bell Canada — for good reason!)

Song: “Oh lately it’s so quiet”. Here’s an adorable fan-made video. I love the hand-clap/guitar bit for the solo, and the creeping girl!

Here’s a live version of the same song! <3 <3 <3!!!

Here’s Do What You Want, the wallpaper version:

And, for those who have been living in a cave, here’s their backyard dance video and the treadmill video:

Thanks, OK GO, for not suing people for posting (and making) videos! You rock!

2 comments » | Blog

Oh, snap!

August 17th, 2007 — 9:50am

From boingboing:

oh, snap!

Oh, how I love pop culture flow charts!

Comment » | Blog

quicksilver magic

August 16th, 2007 — 7:05pm

While I was writing the previous post, I found myself once again wishing for some way to keep a few snippets of text on a permanent clipboard. I type the same strings over and over and over, especially when doing LibriVox work or setting up blog posts full of photos.

So, on a whim, I googled “permanent clipboard” and the very top link pointed to a way to use my beloved quicksilver for just this purpose!!

It took a bit of poking about to make it work, so I thought I’d document it and save you some time.

  1. Go to quicksilver -> plugins -> recommended and enable “shelf”
  2. Go to quicksilver -> prefs -> actions and scroll down to “put on shelf” and enable it
  3. Invoke quicksilver. Type “.” and type or paste your text string into the window. Press tab, then down-arrow until you see “put on shelf” and hit “enter”
  4. invoke quicksilver, type “shelf” (choose “shelf”, not the “shelf & clipboard catalog” thing), hit “enter”, then down-arrow until you see your shelved item. Drag it into your document (or whatever). Voila!!

Oh, wonderful wonderful quicksilver! No mac should be without it. Did I mention that it’s free?

Comment » | Blog, Tech

It’s photo time!

August 16th, 2007 — 6:52pm

The Penny Socks, take two, from the top. I cast on 70 st and worked the ribbing for four cable crosses. On the fifth cross, I converted the 2×2 ribbing to 5-st Coin Cables by k2tog in the middle of the cross, so it’s hidden:

Penny Socks, take two

Henry doing archery yesterday at Margaret’s:

Henry shooting arrows

Henry at the beach on Tuesday:

Henry at the beach

Henry at the beach

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

random stuff

August 15th, 2007 — 8:45pm

Tired and headachy today. Here’s a post full of random thoughts and a small amount of griping.

I like BoingBoing a lot, and a few days ago I realized one reason why (besides the general wonderfulness of the items they post): no reader comments! Therefore, no posturing know-it-alls and flame wars to irritate me. Just links that the boingboing team finds interesting, take them or leave them. Nice.

Finished Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey, this afternoon. Marvelous book. I first read it years and years ago, when I was about Henry’s age. My sister Kathy recommended Tey to me, so every time I read a Tey novel I think of her!

Lying in bed listening to my “Benny and Fred” pandora station. Some of the songs I’ve heard this afternoon:

Artie Shaw, “These Foolish Things”
Glenn Miller, “Fools Rush In”
Benny Goodman, “I Know That You Know”
Count Basie, “Moten Swing”
Fred Astaire, “Cheek to Cheek”

I had to thumbs-down just a few drippy things. How I do love pandora.com.

Henry had a great time at Margaret’s park day today! He wanted to start up archery again so we got there early for the archery session. He, um, arched, for a solid hour and never once complained about the heat, AND said he loved it. Yay! Margaret is so awesome. She provides all the necessary equipment, careful supervision, and a bit of instruction for only $5/hour. And then Henry asked the big boys if he could join in on their RPG session, which always takes place on a big table in the shade while the younger kids play, and he had a fantastic time playing with them for two and a half hours while I read and rested and listened to Loveline on my iPod in the car. The rest of the moms sit in the shade and chat but I’d rather sit by myself in the quiet.

Travian is fun: http://travian.us/. Work on your resources first, before building or improving other things. You’ll need more wood, clay, and grain than iron at first, so focus on improving those resources.

I have a lot of photos to upload — Henry at the beach, Henry and Dan playing Starcraft, Henry shooting arrows, the beginning of a new pair of socks, but I don’t feel like dealing with them right now so you’ll have to wait.

I gave mom a computer help session today. Virtuous daughter, me. Now she knows how to download, find (!), and open a pdf. Yay mom!

I’m minding the LibriVox email while Hugh is out of town. I don’t know how he does it full-time and keeps his sanity. People sure do feel entitled to complain about any little thing that doesn’t suit them. Keep in mind that our audiobooks are entirely, 100% free, created by volunteers who pour their hearts into making recordings for anyone who wants to listen. We get complain after complaint — “I don’t like Reader X, why on earth do you let her read?” “I don’t like readers with foreign accents.” “Books written by English authors should only be read by English readers” “Books written by men should only be read by male readers” “Recording X has background noise, don’t you have any kind of quality control?” “I don’t like your catalog search page, it doesn’t work at all!” (The user was typing the author’s name into the title box. Oops!)

However — we also get some wonderfully kind and thoughtful email from listeners. A fellow thanking us for giving his 80-year-old visually-impaired dad books to listen to. Lots of people saying they can’t believe they’ve found such a great resource. Thank you, kind people, your email really helps counteract the complainers :) And of course we do want to know when files are chopped short in the middle or have permissions problems that make their tags uneditable!

What do the ants want? WHAT DO THEY WANT?????? They seem to just wander aimlessly around looking for the Ants’ Holy Grail, whatever that might be. I’m so used to picking them off of myself while I’m sleeping that it doesn’t even bother me anymore.

I like WebbAlert. It took me a little while to get used to her, um, enthusiasm, but now I like her just fine and enjoy the content!

9 comments » | Blog, Books, Tech

Beach video

August 14th, 2007 — 4:10pm

We went to the beach for an hour this morning. I finally remembered to take my camera! Sorry the voice-over is so quiet. We’ll do better next time :)

7 comments » | Blog

Penny socks, abandoned

August 12th, 2007 — 10:56pm

I turned the heel on one of the Penny Socks tonight. Ugh. Not a good heel for my foot. So I’ve ripped them out. I really loved the cable pattern, though, so I’ll probably start a top-down pair using those cables and a good Dutch heel :)

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

comment subscription

August 12th, 2007 — 8:09pm

I’ve just installed Subscribe to Comments 2.1. If you leave a comment, you should be able to check the “subscribe to comments” box and be notified of follow-up comments on that post. Handy for extended discussions of knitting and books :) Give it a try and let me know if it works!

8 comments » | Blog, Tech

profound incompetence?

August 11th, 2007 — 2:51pm

Jon Stewart. Rofl.
Daily Show explores mysteries of missing stuff in Iraq

1 comment » | Blog

Hamlet

August 11th, 2007 — 2:45pm

On Thursday night, Mom and I went to see Hamlet at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa park. It was just wonderful! I thought Polonius was especially good; his timing was exquisite, and, while he was rather muddled he never seemed stupid. Um, I could go on and on but you might as well just read this glowing review. And I do agree with the review about Ophelia’s “two gestures that reduce the mystery of her madness”. Those gestures (heck, no one who reads this is going to mind spoilers — she cradles her obviously pregnant belly in the Mad Scene) felt false and unnecessary to me. But really, that was the only part of the entire show that bothered me. It was a magical performance.

Here’s a picture of the theater (though our show was in the other, less impressive building, heh):

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And the nearby Museum of Man:

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Mom, looking exactly like Grandpa:

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And me:

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3 comments » | Blog

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