Any others we should know about? Any of the main services -- IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, others I'm sure I've never heard of but are out there.
This entry was originally posted at http://filkertom.dreamwidth.org/1620747.h
I am exceedingly more comfortable with sunglasses on. As in maybe that's why I have been getting so many headaches uncomfortable.The appointment with the cataract specialist is already set, so there really isn't anything to be done with this realization other than regret not going in six months earlier. It's just funny how something can creep up so stealthily while also having such an effect.
This is how it looks outside; overcast, not a lot of glare, not really that bright.
Posted via LiveJournal app for Android. (which apparently ate the picture. No idea how to fix that at the moment.)
Just like stranded colorwork and being able to do cables is the apex of knitting competence in my mind, being able to make a good, crusty loaf of sourdough bread with no added yeast (cheating!) is the apex of bread making for me.
I didn’t think sourdough really was all that difficult when I first heard of it. Laura Ingalls Wilder described it in On the Shores of Silver Lake as being simple enough.
“When you haven’t milk enough to have sour milk, however do you make such delicious biscuits, Laura?” she asked.
“Why, you just use sour dough,” Laura said.
Mrs. Boast had never made sour-dough biscuits! It was fun to show her. Laura measured out the cups of sour dough, put in the soda and salt and flour, and rolled out the biscuits on the board.
“But how do you make the sour dough?” Mrs. Boast asked.
“You start it,” said Ma, “by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours.”
“Then when you use it, always leave a little,” said Laura. “And put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water,” Laura put in the warm water, “and cover it,” she put the clean cloth and the plate on the jar, “and just set it in a warm place,” she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. “And it’s always ready to use, whenever you want it.”
“I never tasted better biscuits,” said Mrs. Boast.
Now, this is accurate as far as it goes. You do combine flour and water somewhere warm and wait for it to start smelling sour. But the process is a bit more involved than that. She leaves out the feeding process. You see, to get a good sourdough really bubbling, you do need to feed it frequently as you’re moving along. Once it starts to bubble, you really should discard about a cup of the starter every day and then feed it with a fresh 1:1 flour and water mixture. It seems to work best for me at a cup each. You’ll know that it’s good and strong because it will start to grow and be a bit thick – like a really hearty pancake batter.
Now, throwing away all that flour offends me. If I had local friends who liked to bake a lot, I could give some of it away to let them get their own starter going.* However, I did something a little different.
At first, I thought that the starter was done after starting to bubble a few days and getting that sour, yeasty smell. I made a loaf of bread from it. But the dough hadn’t risen nearly enough even after 15 hours, and the resultant loaf was a bit too dense and chewy. Because I use a method where I bake it in a Dutch Oven inside my oven, I did get some steam proofing, but it wasn’t up to the standard I like for bread.
Not wanting to give up, I “cheated” and used the starter in making my bread, while adding a little yeast to the dough. Even though the starter wasn’t as strong as it could be, it still added some texture and character to the bread, and allowed me to feed the starter without having to discard a cup of the stuff every day. You have to discard some after you feed it to keep the growth balance right. Don’t just get bigger container. It weakens the strain.
Yesterday, Horace (yes, I named my starter) decided to start partying. He grew so much he bubbled up over the top and soaked into the cloth I had covering him.
So I decided to take a little risk and try making “real” sourdough break without any added baker’s yeast. I mixed up the dough late at night and when I came down the next morning, I saw that Horace had really been flexing his muscles. That’s a better rise than I usually get out of the dough I make this way with baker’s yeast.
Because I make a very slow-rise artisan type bread, it’s really ideal for sourdough. I poured this out on a floured surface, sprinkled it with some flour and set it up to rise for another couple of hours on my pastry board.
And Horace was still as active as ever. I got a nice second rise out of the dough.
As you can see, Horace really did his job on this loaf. That’s as fine a sourdough loaf as ever I did see. I just took this out of the oven and haven’t tasted it yet (other than breaking off a bit of crust), but this looks like the real thing. Well-risen, crusty and delicious.
I’ve included the recipes for the sourdough starter and the bread I make. They’re really pretty easy. Hope you enjoy.
(Horace is pictured on the right. He was fed last night and transferred to a clean jar this morning.)
1c. warm water (Baby bath warm, not Japanese bath hot)
1c. unbleached flour. (I use King Arthur flour as my basic go-to flour and have for years. It’s cheaper than specialty flours and works great for bread. No, it’s not because I live near the local headquarters. I started using it years before I moved up here.)
(optional)1/8 tsp dry baker’s yeast
Combine the water and the flour in a glass or ceramic container that is at least four cups in volume. I use a quart Mason jar. Stir until smooth and let sit. You can, if you are impatient, put in a bit of baker’s yeast. If you’ve been doing a fair amount of bread baking in your kitchen, or it is in the fall, you really don’t need to bother. The wild yeast is enough.
Cover with a clean cloth and let sit. When you pass by or think about it, give the mixture a stir. When the mixture starts to bubble and get a kind of yeasty smell (this may take anywhere from 24-72 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is and how much wild yeast you have) discard a cup of the mixture and add a cup of water and a cup of flour. If you can’t stand to throw the mixture away, you can use it in pancakes, waffles, muffins or even “normal” bread.
You’ll know your starter is a good and strong with a robust yeast colony when it grows 50-100% in size when you feed it. Then, it’s ready for baking bread.
I bake a loaf just about every day, so I do not bother to refrigerate my starter. When it gets too hot to use the oven, yes, Horace is going into the fridge to be fed once a week and revived in the fall for serious baking. If you bake less often, you can put this in the fridge, too. Just take it out to come to room temperature and feed it about 12 hours before you’re going to bake.
3 c flour
1 ½ t salt
¼ t yeast (if you’re in the “cheating” phase. Don’t bother if you have a really strong starter)
1 ½ c. warm water
1c. sourdough starter
Mix in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 12-16 hours. Turn out on generously floured board. Sprinkle top with flour, cover with plastic wrap and towel and let sit for two hours.
Put dutch oven in oven for ½ hour at 450. Gather up dough, add (carefully!) to dutch oven, cover and cook for ½ hour. Remove top, and cook for another 15 minutes.
Let rest. Enjoy!
* And if you’re local and want some, gimme a mason jar and I’ll be delighted to give you a cup of starter.
My poly bureaucracy creeps slow. Very slow. This is for my wife and girlfriend’s protection, because I am a dumbass.
See, I have a tendency of assuming that emotional intimacy == compatibility. Yes, it feels wonderfully cozy that we share all of these fears and concerns and relationship patterns, and finding your most sensitive feelings reflected in someone else is a beautiful thing.
The problem is that I’m fucking crazy. So finding someone I really resonate with immediately? It usually means they’re as bad as I am, and that we’re actually going to exacerbate each others’ issues.
I’ve been known to dive head-first into relationships without checking for compatibility first, just sort of assuming that because we have A Connection it’s going to work out. Then, after months of daily fights, me wringing my hands 24/7 about WHY WON’T SHE UNDERSTAND, and an eventual slow death by slices, I’ve learned that I need to spend more time getting to know people before I start getting committed…. if only so my wife isn’t obligated to play psychotherapist for me when things turn sideways.
So there’s a six-month cooldown time in place, where we can make out but not have Teh Sexx0r… and usually that cooldown time stretches to nine months, or even a year, as we just take it slow and not rush getting permissions.
The big question is, why don’t I find this limitation confining?
Part of it is, of course, is that I chose this lifestyle. This isn’t an externally-produced ruleset, created in a process tantamount to blackmail; it’s one I helped shape, because after a series of four disastrous relationships that imploded messily across my poly web, I took an honest look and said, “Okay, that’s a bad pattern, what’s a potential fix?”
But more importantly, sex is the least important bit for me.
Don’t get me wrong; anyone who’s ever made out with me will tell you that I’m passionate as hell. But sex is something that’s common; particularly in the kink communities, it’s not particularly difficult to get. If you’re open about your desires, reasonably personable, and are sapiosexual as I am, you’ll have a lot of options.
What I can’t get elsewhere is you.
Sure, maybe I’ll spend nine months hanging out with you on our once-a-month dates, getting to know each other… but that’s the best part. For me, “getting to know people” is an activity I find desirable in and of itself. Chatting, snuggling, dining out… that’s all stuff I like. And the level of flirtation/innuendo is a beautiful spice for that.
If and when we eventually hook up, that’s gonna be a wondrous new layer to what we share, and not the entirety of it. So I’m perfectly okay waiting for that to happen, since that is far from the whole reason I’m here.
I’m in no rush.
So yeah, it’s a long time. It’s not a process I’d recommend as standard for most poly groups. But that’s the glory of poly relationships: there’s no objective set of rules. What would be insanely restrictive for one set of people is actually a wise and stabilizing force in ours, just as what would be joyous freedom for some couples would actually cause harm if I tried it at this time in my life.
But does it matter if my rules would work for you? Lemme repeat: if it’s working for you and the people you’re dating, then it’s great.
This glacial proceeding helps me to choose better partners, and keeps my wife and girlfriend happier (even as neither of them are bound by this six-month rule), and hopefully the people I’m dating in this slow process are still happy to see me even if I’m not whipping out Little Elvis yet.
It’s an approach. Because there’s no the approach. And there never will be a the approach as long as humans are varied creatures with differing needs.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/303286.h
Eventually, if you’re trying to make it as a writer, you’re going to despair. You can’t write well enough. This story will never sell. If you do sell it, it’ll never be popular.
This terrible feeling like you’re just wasting your time and nobody cares happens, absurdly enough, to very popular writers. It happens to nobodys. It happens to writers, period. If you’re putting words down and trying to get people to read them, there will be times you’ll want to take everything you wrote, set it on fire, and then fling yourself in to burn with it.
Here is what you do when those down days come: you write more.
Took a nasty rejection straight to the sternum? Write more.
Had a confidence-shredding bad review? Write more.
This grand story in your head is completely beyond your ability to commit it to the page? Write more.
This terrible book you’re reading made millions, and your better work can’t find a home? Write more.
Feel like you’re a fraud who’s somehow lucked out when better writers languish behind you? Write more.
Your favorite author just told you he abhorred what you wrote? Write more.
The thing about writing is that so much of it comes down to tenacity. The most popular writers in the world can all tell you about this fellow they knew when they were starting out, a colleague who could write stories that would charm the petals from a rose… and yet these natural geniuses didn’t stick with it. They either let life swamp them, or couldn’t stand the rejections, or didn’t feel like it. And these magnificently talented people never became Writers, because for whatever reason they never pushed through.
It’s not that they weren’t very good. It’s just that they stopped knocking on doors. While the writer you’ve heard of kept ringing doorbells until she got an answer.
So pushing through is what you need to do. Write when you’re sad. Write when you’re busy. Write when you’re uninspired. Write when you’re utterly consumed with the idea that you cannot do this. Learn to take all of that despondence and to transform it into beauty, for writing in the throes of despair will do two things: when you are writing sad scenes, you will have so many more emotions to cram into it, and when you are writing happy scenes, you will be forced to emulate joy. One will make for better writing, the other will elevate your mood.
The truth is, though I’ve written in both despair and elation, I can’t really tell which mood I was in when I go back to revise. You must learn to write without hope. Keep creating through those dry spells, keep sending out stories during the rejections; decouple your personal contentment from your creative muse and make that bitch dance for you. She’ll be clumsy at first, foolish… but with time, you can make her do the most elaborate pirouettes when you’re barely able to move off the couch.
In fiction, there’s often a plot sequence: Try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed. In real life, there may be a hundred try/fails before you get to that succeed. But you’ll never know unless you stay in that execution loop.
And then write more still.
(Inspired by Catherine Schaff-Stump’s Writers and Despair.)
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/303034.h
Just discovered: I could pretty much ruin any woman’s day when she’s about to leave the house by asking, “Oh, you’re going out like that?” and then muttering that it’s fine, it’s fine.
I just said that to Erin hypothetically, and she knows I didn’t even mean it, and she’s still itching to change her clothes.
(Cue tides of women saying that they’re above that. You may thank me for making you feel superior.)
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/302666.h
If you’re into the whole old-school SF idea of planned/constructed societies and all that -and if you haven’t read much SF of the 30s though early 60s, you’ve missed out – you really need to read about Synco (a.k.a. Project Cybersyn) in Chile during the Allende administration, before the Pinochet coup d’etat. Because they tried it, for industrial production.
The Opsroom or Operations Room: a physical location where [nationalised industry] information was to be received and stored and made available for speedy decision-making. It was designed in accordance with Gestalt principles, in order to give users a platform that would give them a chance to absorb information in a simple and comprehensive way.
They didn’t get finished before the coup d’etat – the screens were used, but they had to have slides prepared each day rather than getting the data straight from the computer. But they were using the data – successfully, in many cases. All the major production facilities were, in fact, connected, via a massive network of telex machines, and data was flowing to the central computer, which was modelling and predicting based on daily data, and heuristic decisions were being made and acted upon and everything.
The goal was to have it all be realtime, as their computer capabilities ramped up. Keep in mind: this was in an era when moving this kind of data around and collating it within a single company in most countries could take took weeks, and decision-making could take even longer. They were doing it daily, with an eye towards continuously.
The difference between this and the Soviet and Chinese experiments is that it was intentionally decentralised. They were specifically avoiding those systems and trying to come up with something both socialist and rationalist and distributed – some of the factories had started setting up their own mini-facilities like this central one.
I’m fascinated by what they might’ve come up with, without Pinochet and his military dictatorship. They had the entire system destroyed – Pinochet was about authoritarianism, and had no time for this distributed-authority bullshit.
Apologies for being a bit late in getting this posted, folks–I’ve been fighting a head cold this week, so I’m not entirely up to speed. Nevertheless, here you go, part 2 of my thoughts on self-publishing. Hope y’all find this helpful! This post focuses in particular on beta reading and editing, things that, in my opinion, are things that need to happen to your book once you’re done with it.
Now, beta reading is not the same thing as editing, so I’m going to talk about each in turn.
Mirrored from angelahighland.com.
In the end, this Star Trek is... not that Star Trekky. The old Star Trek wrestled mightily with matters of theme and morality: the reason Star Trek II was so popular was because it asked, "What happens when you can't win the Kobayashi Maru? What happens when you're old?" This new Star Trek asks, "What happens when a violent terrorist - oh, wait, PLOT TWIST! Oh, look at that! Boom! Cool! And... hey, duty, isn't it great?" It just moves too fast to really actually ask or answer any questions. It is, like The Avengers, utilizing clever one-liners in lieu of actual characterization, which is witty and fun and does not lend itself to anything more than cartoon characters.
Which isn't a big ding. I mean, it's a big-ass summer movie. But the Star Trek concept has been watered down to fit in our popcorn, and it's satisfying enough. This may actually be a better thing on the whole, as the failure mode of Star Trek is BLAH BLAH MORALITY, and when Star Trek fails it becomes sludgy and preachy. This new Star Trek may fail at some point, at which point it'll basically degrade to Transformers... which, from a Hollywood perspective, is actually preferable.
(Fun Fact: Damon Lindehoff actually wanted to call it Star Trek: Transformers 4, which as he noted "Was technically available." He was joking, but I think there's more than a little acknowledgement that this new Star Trek is intended to be a blockbuster first, Star Trek second.)
I'm not saying that Into Darkness is bad. It's a notch below Iron Man 3, which I loved. It's a fun movie, and I'd encourage you to go see it. If you're a Star Trek fan, well, it's Star Trek Lite, and that's still a big hoopla, and they even throw in old references to make it work.
In short: it works. You'll probably be happy if you go see it. Benedict Cumberbatch is very Benedict Cumberbatchy, and Chris Pine does an excellent job channeling Kirk. And there's no need to stay through the credits, as there is no Shwarma.
This is all you need to know. Now go buy your tickets.