nalohop's blog

Cooking up a storm

I'm trying to use up as many of the perishables as I can before I head from Riverside to Toronto for the summer. Dovetails nicely with my need to carry food with me on plane trips; most of the food available in airports either makes me sick or tastes like wet paste with cheese on top.

I made gluten-free cheese straws based on this recipe from The Art of Gluten-Free Baking. Really easy recipe. The hardest part is the tedium of rolling out each straw by hand. There's gotta be some kind of extruder or something that could do that job. I used the cheese I had on hand -- ends of farmer's cheese, "melting" cheese and jack -- and I added to the recipe 1/2 tsp clove powder, 1/2 tsp curry powder (you could use turmeric; it's just for colour) and 1 tsp dried, flaked chilis;

They were so good that I'd eaten half of them before they'd properly cooled. The rest I've packed into a tin winsomely labelled by the talented Ellen Klages;

So that's used up all the cheese, some of the milk, some of the butter, and some of the eggs. Yesterday I made a gluten-free version of Stone Soup's self-saucing ginger puddings. That used up most of the ginger, some of the milk, some of the eggs, some of the butter. Those aren't travelling with me; too messy. Besides, who could wait? I took some for the staff in the Creative Writing Department, and the rest I had for dessert.

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Best way to get back at the athletic-looking guy at the gym who's been hogging the chest press machine? When you finally get his attention and he gets off the machine, go over, glance at the weight he's been straining through, nod, sit down, and bang out your set. (It was a teensy bit too heavy, but totally worth it for the startle he did when he saw me pressing the same weight that he had been). Booyaka.

BTW; anyone else think of Neal Stephenson when they look at the image above?

Science fiction, non-Newtonian fluids, and cassava pone

Tonight I'm going to take a break from marking and writing to attend a small party to welcome Dr. Sherryl Vint to Riverside. She's the newest member of the science fiction research cluster at the University of California Riverside. The other two are myself in Creative Writing, and Dr. Rob Latham in English. I'm baking cassava pone for dessert. The apartment smells glorious right now as the vanilla heats up and the sugars in the dessert caramelize in the oven.

The pone recipe I'm using contains grated cassava and coconut. It usually has raisins. I tossed in dried cranberries instead, to balance out the sweetness of the pone with a bit of sour taste.

Say what now?

I think my non-verbal brain may have just communicated with me. I'd forgotten yet again this morning to take a pain-killer for the perpetually spasmed lat muscle on my right side. And I was about to sit down to a few hours of writing. Since my right hand is currently my mousing hand -- I change it up every few months to fight RSI -- the right side of my upper body is taking an especial beating at the moment.

Just before I sat down, I had a mental flash of this quip from the TV sitcom "Scrubs".

I think that message was pretty clear, don't you? Right down to the bit at the end about no talking, just in case I wasn't sure which part of my cognition was trying to get my attention. So I thanked my brain, then went and took the painkiller already. (The correct dosage.) Now it's back to working on the twins novel.

Retail therapy

I have just written a brand new scene for Sister Mine, to the tune of 766 words. And now I will go buy a mop and try to figure out how and where that new scene fits into the book.

Some of today's words, unedited;

I pushed myself to my feet. All my joints hurt. Dully, I tottered to my little bathroom, where I washed my face. Someone knocked on my door. I didn’t feel like talking to Brian right now. I waited silently, hoping he’d think I wasn’t home and he’d go away.

The knock came again. Of course; he could hear the water running. He knew I was here. I turned the tap off and grabbed a towel to dry my face. The door of my unit was barely two steps outside the bathroom. I got to it by the third knock and opened it. It was Michelline. Today, her hair was tiger-striped in pink and green.

“Hi!” she said brightly. “Thin walls, you know how it is. Sound carries.”

“You could hear me crying.”

She nodded.

“Which means other people heard it, too.”

She nodded again. I was too wrung out to feel the shame right now, but I could tell that it was waiting in the wings for its cue.

Michelline said, “I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’ve come to offer sympathy, company, and retail therapy. Wanna come to the fabric store with me?”

Sister Mine rewrite; 5 1/2 down, 1 1/2 to go

So, I've finished and handed in Chapters 1 through 5, and I'm well into Chapter 6 of 7 chapters. Bed now. Back at it tomorrow. Must remember to put in smells of dessert and of ice cream carts.

Sister Mine rewrite, Chapter 4

I just finished chapter four, scene three of seven chapters. This damned novel's plot is yielding itself up millimetre by millimetre while my past due deadline retreats into the distance. I hate this, it may cost me my advance, and it's not shoring up my rep with my publisher, but there's nothing to do but plod on. I do like what the novel is becoming. Just hope I still have a publisher by the time it yields. Repaying that advance could send me careening back into destitution when I've only just begun dragging myself out of it.

1,864 new words in total today. Some of the scene on which I'm working;

Chapter one finished

I've just put the final spit polish on chapter one of Sister Mine. (There are currently seven chapters in all.) On to chapter two now, then a break for lunch. Some words;

"Yoplait here just wandered in off the street one day. Got into the kitchen, was helping himself to our bacon when I caught him. He was nothing but fur and bones. I let him finish the bacon, and he just stayed. Finally let me get close enough to him to touch him. Nowadays I have to watch where I put my feet when I roll out of bed in the mornings. Yoplait has a way of leaving four or five still-bleeding mouse torsos right where I'll step."
I grimaced. "Gross."
"I know. Scared me shitless the first time it happened. Maybe it's his way of paying rent, I dunno. He arranges them neatly in a row for me. Just their front halves. Their heads and their little front legs. I guess the back halves are meatier. I think he eats those. At least, I've never found any hairy mouse butts hanging around."
“My dad used to bring live mice into the house. I mean, they would come looking for him.” I realized my slip-up when I saw Brie’s startled face. I tried to think up a reasonable explanation.
"Brie!" yelled a voice from outside. "We're starting up again!"
Brie called out, “Okay, just a second!” He stood up.
Whew. Saved by the bellow. I was going to have keep a close watch on what I said.

Word geek and proud

I just used the word hemi-demi-semiquaver in a sentence. In the plural. Along with concatenation. And "hyena." It may all be too much for one sentence to carry, but I'm so tickled with it that I'll let it stand for now.