Last week I posted a goofy image of Tesseract the Goat and one of [personal profile] juli 's idea, Tess is always curious about anything she seems humans handling or doing. She's pretty sure she's people and doesn't understand why we make her live with all these weird goats and sheep.)

So far the photo has:
  • received 6885 likes or reblogs on tumblr, in large part from people with disturbingly obscene usernames
  • shown up on twitter where [personal profile] tim  saw it posted by someone who doesn't know [personal profile] juli  or I.
  • migrated to reddit at least once
  • and become an ... um ... interesting youtube video I can't honestly recommend but am listing for completeness.
Tesseract is mildly famous! Internet: still pretty weird. Neat, but weird.
[personal profile] juli requested I post this recipe, which was thrown together so she could have oreoish cookies despite the fact that she is allergic to about 80% of all puny human foods. There's not much going on in these, flavorwise, so a good cocoa powder is important.
  • .75 cup mesquite flour
  • .375 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons stevia powder (equivalent to a little over half a cup of sugar)
  • .125 teaspoons salt
  • .25 teaspoons baking powder
  • .125 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir together the dry ingredients (mesquite, cocoa powder, stevia, salt, baking powder, nutmeg). Cut the butter into pieces and rub it into the powder, like you're making a pie crust or biscuits, until the mixture is in little sand-sized crumbs, and you can pick up a handful and squeeze to stick them together. A pastry cutter would be great for that step, but we didn't have one, so I cleverly decided not to use it. Mix the yogurt, water, and vanilla together separately, then stir into the crumb mixture until the whole thing mostly holds together. 

Dump the dough onto aluminum foil and shape into a cylinder about 20 centimeters long. Wrap up in the foil and stick in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the cylinder into half-centimeter thick slices, lay the slices on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. After cooling, they are dry and crumbly, much like oreos, though with an oddly complicated taste - the mesquite flour tastes like cinnamon and fava beans, or something.

Modified from this recipe.
 It is my great pleasure to inform you all that a reporter at the Wall Street Journal called [personal profile] juli "impetuous" today. :D 

index card

Feb. 26th, 2014 09:13 pm

Today for no particular reason I cut a bunch of holes in a 3x5 card and ended up with a not-terribly-accurate version of Russian archeologist Elena Shumakova's reconstruction of a reindeer tattoo found on a 2500 year old Pazyryk woman whose body was preserved in permafrost in the Altai Mountains.

(Archeologists are divided about what the decorations on the reindeer's antlers are - either flowers or eagle heads.)

That was fun. I would like to do it again.

Today, for no particular reason, I cut a bunch of holes in a 3x5 index card. That was fun. I think I would like to do it again.

This is some excellently goofy old news footage about three platypuses, Betty, Penelope, and Cecil, brought to the Bronx Zoo in 1947. Betty died shortly thereafter, but Cecil and Penelope paired up and had a bunch of whatever passes for sweet lovin' in weird venomous duckbeaver electro-beasts. In 1957, gravid Penelope escaped from her enclosure and was never seen again, and platypuses are no longer seen in American zoos.

All I want out of life (today) is for some urban fantasy set in New York City to feature PLATYPUSES ROAMING THE SEWERS OF NEW YORK CITY. Or wereplatypuses, ghost platypuses, vampire platypuses, whatever; I'm not picky.
animation of a green aurora being rapidly covered by clouds
We saw a few minutes of aurora last night before the clouds covered it! It was a tough night for auroras - the moon was only two nights past full, and there was heavy ocean-haze, but it was pretty great anyway. :) [personal profile] juli  shot this amazing animation.

metapoll )
Tonight is a pretty good aurora night! (Kp = 6) We've given up, since it clouded over here, but we did get to see some lovely hazy sky-green before the clouds completely ate it. If you live somewhere North-ish with clear weather, take a look.

(an odd mushy poem ... story? ... catalog? ... uh, some kind of word thing ... for my beloved. An introvert describes important silences in the relationship. Bad Romantic Poetry Day has arrived a day late this year!)

Seven Silences )
I'm sure rescuing Gracie the Sheep from being stuck behind the hay feeder was the best possible use of my 2AM.

I don't understand how we ended up with a sheep without a reverse gear, so that she can walk into a dead end and be stuck there roaring all night.


Feb. 7th, 2014 07:02 pm

rainbow sheen visible in thick ice on top of a muddy pond

Apparently my old friend thin-film interference1 can operate on thin sheets of water trapped inside cracks in thick ice. Neat! I have learned a thing.

In related news, we are suffering a second freeze hard enough to block the well, the livestock are miserable, and we had to break a hole in the ice on the duckpond so some newts who thought it was spring last week and got into the pond to have dirty newt sex and lay eggs all over everything could breathe. :( I want a shower like a black hole wants a passing alpha particle.


(1) Thin film interference is the rainbow colors visible on very thin, transparent objects like soap bubbles, oxide layers on knives, and oil slicks. It is caused by lightwaves reflecting from the front of the object and the back of the object interfering with each other.
Today I ran into someone wondering why Chinese speakers who learn English use the 'incorrect' contraction "there're" for "there are." I am a native English speaker, and I say "there're" too; it rhymes with "terror". This calls for a Very Unscientific Internet Poll!

Poll #14751 There're
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 12

Do you use "there're" as a contraction for "there are"? Such as "There're ten books on that shelf."

View Answers

No, and I would consider it incorrect English.
0 (0.0%)

Not personally, but if someone said it around me, I wouldn't blink.
5 (41.7%)

Yes, in spoken but not written English.
3 (25.0%)

Yes, in both spoken and written English.
4 (33.3%)

If you don't use "there're", do you use a different contraction?

View Answers

I would say "There's ten books on that shelf."
3 (37.5%)

I would say, "There're ten books on that shelf."
3 (37.5%)

I would say, "There are ten books on that shelf," and use no contraction at all.
2 (25.0%)

Approximately what dialect of English do you speak?


Dec. 3rd, 2013 02:30 pm
 Took the feral kittens off to the spay/neuter clinic today, we finally found one in another county.

The spay/neuter clinic is across from the infamous and utterly terrifying $1 CHINESE FOOD sign. The sign was not actually associated with any establishment that I could see. I will know the hour of my death is near if that sign starts following me around, peering at me over rooftops and the slopes of mountains. Also that I will not enjoy my afterlife assignment much.

Here is the entire reason for this post: the clinic had a giant banner hanging up to advertise their special $10 holiday rate for neutering male cats, dogs, and rabbits. It said.... wait for it .....


Now you have suffered as I have suffered. :)

The feral kittens needed names for record-keeping purposes. I said we hadn't named them and suggested "Feral #1", "Feral #2", et cetera. The intake technician had a moral objection to that, and started naming them after the Beatles (the fluffy mellow white one was Ringo). For some reason, while I was perfectly happy for them to be "Feral #4" I didn't like the Beatles idea.

So now, at least on paper, they are multi-fandom wizard kitties. The sweet fluffy white one is Gandalf, the evil grey demon-kitty (who bit my thumbnail so hard this morning that blood is pooling underneath it, is that even a possible thing?) is now Voldemort, the shy grey runt is Dumbledore, and the grey kitten of no particular personality is Sauron, but I should have written down Radagast, The Wizard-Kitty Not Even Appearing In This Book. I don't think they'll be able to tell the grey kittens apart once they are sedated (and not trying to Bite The World And Every Good Thing That Is In It) anyway.

I am going to experiment with more frequent inane posts. Tremble before me!

Also, I don't think I've ever recommended a fanfic before, but I grow bored with all my existing depravities and wish to commit a new one. You should read this awesome fanfic about Anthony Bourdain In Narnia if you are familiar with the source materials; the writer very convincingly apes Bourdain's voice. Marsh-wiggle cuisine! Metaphors involving lines of coke! You need nothing more from fanfic: read it and sin no more.

I’m crammed into a burrow so small that my knees are up around my ears and the boom mike keeps slamming into my head, inhaling the potent scent of toffee-apple brandy and trying to drink a talking mouse under the table. But is it really the boom mike that’s making my head pound? I know for sure that my camera man doesn’t usually have two heads. I have to face facts. The mouse is winning.


Nov. 29th, 2013 10:34 am
[personal profile] juli  and I went nuts with the American Thanksgiving menu this year. Planning and cooking a gajillion things with my beloved was actually more fun than eating them (though that was good too.)

menu )

Awesome waterfall-shaped mushroom spotted on the traditional post-prandial hike. (Well, traditional in my family).

Hooray, we have finally trapped all threefour feral kittens living under the house!

Or possibly three feral kittens and one evil demon-possessed hellbeast, most likely some sort of octopus in a kitten suit, entirely boneless except for claws and teeth.
2 grey kittens and a fluffy white kitten curled up together in a large dog carrier.

Hooray, we have finally trapped all three feral kittens living under the house!

For a while, every time we caught a new kitten and tried to put it in the crate, the one that was already in there would bolt. We lost one of them twice; it was like those bits in Scooby Doo where the guy in the mask is chasing the gang through a long hallway of doors and they run into one door and run out another at random. Someone should have played us some clown music. We finally caught the escapologist crouched right in front of the crate, staring longingly at their siblings and/or their food.

I even petted the white one's fluffy butt and received only death glares, no actual claws, for my affrontery.

Unfortunately, the organization that used to do trap-neuter-release with ferals in our area isn't doing it anymore. Hope we can find someone else.
blurry image of a sheep sticking out its tongue

We have sheeps! They have fuzzy velvet noses and great joy at finding themselves in a climate where the grass stays green all year.

Nothing went too horribly wrong, though we did end up putting them in the backyard, where they might take a nibble of a cherry tree or quince tree, because their pasture isn't ready yet.

EDIT: Oh dear, one of the sheep has already learned that it can press its nose cutely against the back door and [personal profile] juli  will feed it. Hehehe.

We are taking a delivery of SHEEP Thursday night, which is terrifying because we need to fence a pasture for them, from scratch, before then. AAAA.

(We can just put the sheep in the goat pasture, but having been transported several thousand miles from [personal profile] juli 's grandmother's farm, I doubt they need another shock along the lines of "what are these non-sheep and why do they keep trying to climb on me and eat my ears?")

Of course, I have such a sore throat I can't speak or sleep, which all that outdoor exertion in the cold is doing wonders for! Heh.

A couple years ago, [personal profile] juli got us a matched pair of magic rocks. They are lab-grown alexandrite, a nifty crystal doped with chromium ions. Chromium doping is responsible for both the red of rubies and the green of emeralds. In alexandrite, chromium does both: they're simultaneously both red and green. Whether they look red or green at any given time depends on ambient "white" light: if there's slightly more red light (like from a light bulb), they look red, if there's more green (like from the sun) they turn green.

Ours go from red with a hint of purple to green with some grey. I looked at mine a lot when I was in NYC for my brother's wedding: it was mostly blueish greenish sea grey, and it was kind of surreal to think that thousands of miles away, under the usual heavy cloudcover, [personal profile] juli 's was probably still red.

Several of the touristy photos I took in NYC are just intriguing new colors of magic rock.

Rocks is weird. Here is a different magic rock:

I keep having these ideas for fantasy stories I want to write where the fantasy elements are just cheap plot devices to point up how weird the real world is.

I want to write a "fantasy" story about solving problems with magic rocks.

I want to write an urban fantasy story about home landscaping and how you can tell whether or not your neighbor is a vampire by whether they have planted a suspiciously large number of night-blooming flowers in their garden, or bat-pollinated flowers, or plants that bloom only once in 60 years. What to suspect if you come upon a garden of plants that are drab in visible light but amazing in uv, or plants that change colors in the presence of iron / spilled blood in the soil

I want to write a fantasy story featuring a disgruntled and sardonic chef cooking for increasingly strange mythical creatures, guided by Earth's lovely and strange culinary traditions.

I really doubt this sort of thing amuses anyone but me - I'm sure it would just come off as trying way too hard to be clever - but it would amuse me a lot. :)

And now back to the cider press, because there isn't enough craziness happening this week. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

 My apologies to those who also read my choreblog, you're about to see this twice. But more Western Washington residents follow this account than that one, so I wanted to ask here too. Anyone know what species this mystery frog is?

My best guess is a Northern Red-Legged Frog, except its legs aren't ... actually ... very red. It is northern, legged, and a frog, so I guess it's at least 75% of a correct species identification.


Sep. 16th, 2013 12:00 pm
My ongoing write-code-for-fun projects are:
  1. A smartphone app that will send a push notification (beep, buzz, whatever your phone uses) when there is a good chance the aurora borealis is going to be visible in your area in the next couple hours. There are already apps that do this, but I feel strongly there should be a free one so anyone can see it.
  2. Flashcard smartphone app for learning Mongolian and mongol bichig.
  3. I wanted to make a flow chart of cheesemaking processes and what sort of cheese you got, but it turns out to be too complex to lay out in any sort of useful form. So I am now making a Cheese Your Own Adventure Game! Which is a less useful way to convey information, but hopefully fun anyway. [personal profile] juli  thought of the title. :)
  4. The long-suffering Dream Atlas: scrape facebook for people writing status updates about their dreams, extract geographical terms (mountain, river, etc) and produce an Atlas of the Dreamlands based on what kind of geography people see in their dreams and where they live.
I'm really terrible at finishing things, I hope listing them here will inspire me. :)



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