Random (but not really)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Association of Words on Wednesday

And this weeks word is…

harbor

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (26)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Read a Banned Book!

It’s banned books week again, the time when we recognize that individuals throughout the country attempt to stifle free thought and intellectual freedom by keeping books out of the hands of children.

Here are the top 10 most challenged books of 2008:

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper

(more…)

Written by Michelle at 8:26 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Politics  

Monday, September 28, 2009

Baltimore

I had a lovely time in Baltimore during Michael’s conference. I even got to see Neurondoc and her family, however, the venue of our meeting wasn’t really suitable for taking pictures, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Also, I can’t apparently shoot a straight picture to save my life. I’ll hope they’re a little better after some time in Photoshop. Whenever it is I have time do to that.

Baltimore

(more…)

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,Photos  

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Photos

I’m a little frustrated, because none of the rechargable batteries I have seem to want to hold a charge, so I wasn’t able to get many pictures yesterday, despite the fact that the weather was perfect (for taking pictures that is: overcast).

Fells Point

(more…)

Written by Michelle at 12:29 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: History,Photos  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Kit and Kat

Kat has shoved himself into the corner, so it looks like we’ve placed him in time out.

Kit and Kat

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Cats,Photos  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What You Should Be Reading: Sean Russell

I was first introduced to Sean Russell when a friend loaned me a copy of The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds. Except that it ended up being a trade. I had loaned him a volume of The Year’s Best in Fantasy and Horror (Volume 6 perhaps?) and then he moved and that was it. So I still have his copies of The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds.

I’m pretty sure I got the better end of the deal.

Sean Russell is fabulous at world building. His worlds are not full of dragons or demons or fairies or vampires. The worlds he builds are lush and beautiful. The are akin to our world, but somehow at right angles, and with a subtle magic throughout.

Even better, he has also written several duologies, which I have always preferred to trilogies.

When I read a Sean Russell book, I read unusually slowly (for me). I am drawn into the stories and enjoy the details and the scenery and the journeys. His characters are complex and there is never simply good versus evil–in fact sometimes it’s hard to see who is acting for good and who is acting for evil.

He reminds me somewhat of Guy Gavriel Kay, who also writes amazing stories with complex stories that are often classified as fantasy simply because they occur in a world that is not ours.

He has also written two mysteries with Ian Russell under the pseudonym TF Banks, about the Bow Street Runners–the precursors to Scotland Yard. Unfortunately, there are only the two books, and as the last was written in 2003, it doesn’t look like there will be any more coming, which is unfortunate.

I love just plain love Sean Russell’s writing, and if you’re looking for something different to read, I highly recommend checking out something by Sean Russell.

The Initiate Brother (1991) and Gatherer of Clouds (1992)
Moontide and Magic Rise: World Without End (1994) Sea Without a Shore (1996)
The River into Darkness: Beneath the Vaulted Hills (1997), The Compass of the Soul (1999)
The Swans War: The One Kingdom (2001), The Isle of Battle (2002), The Shadow Roads (2004)

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ready? Set? Associate!

It’s Wednesday!

Today’s word: sausage

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (23)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Apple Crumble

Got some apples from the farmer’s market, but just didn’t feel up to making a pie. Or more accurately, didn’t feel up to making a pie crust. I have got to start freezing pie dough for situations such as these.

So I browsed some recipes and found an apple crumble recipe that looked pretty good.

Apple Crumble
Filling:
3 pounds apples*
1/4 cup apple cider
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp rum
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg **
1/4 ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour

Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats ***
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick cold butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large casserole dish or a square cake pan.

Apple Crumble

Peel, core, and slice apples. **** While peeling and coring the apples, I place the slices in a large bowl of cold water with lemon juice.

Apple Crumble

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the apples and the other filling ingredients. Mix until the apples are well coated, then pour into the baking pan.

Apple Crumble

Stir together the dry ingredients for the topping. Cut in the butter (you don’t want to use a food processor here, since it would affect the oats).

Sprinkle the topping over the filling.

Apple Crumble

Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 F. Let stand until it has cooled slightly.

Apple Crumble

If only we hadn’t run out of vanilla ice cream.

apple crumble

* Look for pie apples, such as Granny Smith, McIntosh, Courtland, Northern Spy, etc
** Fresh. Seriously, invest in a spice grater and always use fresh nutmeg.
*** Rolled oats, though you can use instant oats in a pinch, it’s worth having rolled oats on hand for baking
**** Get an apple peeler and corer.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Food,Photos  

Monday, September 21, 2009

Health and Politics in These United States

When I was listening to the news Sunday night, they played an interview with Ron Paul. I know people who think Ron Paul is the best thing since buttered bread, but after this interview I have even less of a clue as to why.

What stopped me in my tracks was Paul’s instance that “health care is not a right.”

Additionally, he said that insurance companies have every right to deny people on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

Over at Eric‘s place, we once jokingly referred to the conservative Republican policy as, “Fuck you, I’ve got mine,” after a conservative made the comment that he was perfectly happy with his health care and didn’t want the government to screw things up for him.

I cannot even wrap my mind around this mindset, because it is wrong on so many levels.

First and foremost, it boggles my mind that conservatives–most of whom claim to be Christians–believe so strongly in karma. According to conservatives, if someone doesn’t have health care (or a job, or whatever) it’s because they are lazy, or they don’t work hard enough, or they did something bad to cause their current state.

Second, that attitude–fuck you, I’ve got mine–pretty much goes against the New Testament. I don’t think the take of the Good Samaritan implied that if someone can’t afford health insurance they don’t deserve medical care. My understanding is that we are expected to help others, regardless of who we are, who they are, and what they have done.

Third, such a policy is narrow-minded in the extreme. No just on a financial level, but on a public health level. The fact this attitude is concurrent with a possible flu pandemic shows just how incapable some of these people are of seeing beyond their own noses.

The fact these individuals can hold such mutually exclusive ideas in mind (Christianity and refusal to accept the need to universal health care) leads me to wonder about the mental strain that is required to keep such mutually exclusive ideas in the same brain.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Flower Pr0n: End of Summer

Yes, summer ends this week. I’ve neglected posting pictures recently, because since I was sick, I’ve been badly neglecting my garden. Apparently, Michael (bless his heart) is unable to water plants or even mow the lawn when I’m feeling crappy.

So I don’t have a lot blooming right now; the lack of watering kept my Stella d’Oros from reblooming. But I do have a couple things. Of course.

Rose

I love roses. I love their smell. But I don’t much care for hybrid tea roses, that require a lot of water and work. So I have a couple of hardy bushes that don’t require much more than a watering when its dry.

Sedum

Sedum

Sedum, given to me by a friend.

Written by Michelle at 7:42 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  
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