Captain America

Oh happy day!!!!!!! Finally, Captain America made it to Morris, mystifyingly after all the students have left town, so there won’t be much of a crowd at each show. (I just don’t understand that decision. There hasn’t exactly been the most compelling schedule in town since the film’s debut.) Anyway, I enjoyed it greatly and am actually contemplating seeing it again. The plot line kept my brain engaged and I did not fall asleep once, which I take as a good sign. There weren’t too many surprises but I found the set pieces moved the story along at a nice clip.

Black Widow definitely needs her own movie. She rocks like woah!!!

Current temperature: here 75F/24C, there 17C/63F

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Books 2014

My plan for this post is to keep track of the books I read this year. Being the slowest reader on Earth it will likely be a very short list. Part of my problem is that I tend to be reading multiple books at the same time and that does not encourage completion.

Here’s the first entry. More will be added as, or when, I actually finish another book. *fingers crossed*

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman.

Bought myself. A great, fast read and would definitely be worth rereading if I had the time to invest in that sort of thing.

The Smartest Kids in the World and how they got that way by Amanda Ripley. (+ 16/4/14)

Christmas gift from Mutti and Mac. A quick, easy read, definitely intended for a general audience. A reasonable introduction to the subject but I would have liked something a little more substantive. Fortunately, there’s a substantial bibliography to explore.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. (+ 20/5/14)

Bought myself. Brilliant novel that I would recommend be added to anyone’s must read list. Disturbing as heck but reverberates with reality, especially every time a piece of legislation regulating the use women’s bodies hits the law books. My only quibble is with the Historical Notes, the last chapter seemed incongruous with the rest of the book. There was something about the tone of that section that felt off.

Call the Midwife. A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (Originally published as The Midwife.) by Jennifer Worth. (+ 3/6/14)

Bought myself. A wonderful read. It really opens your eyes to the conditions people were living under back then and makes obvious just how important the founding of the NHS was to the improvement in people’s well being. (Plus it makes clear home births are entirely feasible with properly trained midwives, even in this day and age.) I would also recommend the tv show, Call The Midwife, on PBS and Netflix in the US, it really captures the emotional tone and detail of the book very well.

The Diet Myth. America’s Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous To Your Health by Paul Campos. (+ 10/6/14)

Bought myself. A depressing read. Time and again it becomes clear that facts are not necessarily a significant factor when it comes to human behaviour. Even when ‘experts’ know the truth about the lack of efficacy of dieting, they continue to push them as a solution to who knows what problem. I’d definitely recommend this book as a starting point to informing yourself on the issues related to the current obesity hysteria as seen in the media. The issues are complex and can’t be answered with simple platitudes. We need a well-informed health policy, perhaps those responsible should read more books like this.

Orange is the New Black. My Year in a Woman’s Prison. by Piper Kerman. (+ 19/7/14)

Bought myself. A glimpse inside the US federal penal system. Once again here is evidence that imprisoning women for mostly non-violent crimes is a waste of human potential and damaging to the prisoners and their families. The complete lack of educational opportunities and vocational training that might facilitate a successful reentry into society seems senseless.

The book was a good read though I got the impression that the author went a little easy on herself to make a better impression. I think this undercuts her story which would have benefitted from a little more honesty. I would also have liked to have heard more from some of the other inmates as to what they thought about their experiences.

The only people who seem to benefit from the ‘justice system’ appear to be the shareholders of the businesses who operate it. The rest of us lose.

From here on I’ll be posting reviews on Goodreads and linking to them here.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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Out of the frying pan …

So we just received this message from the local emergency warning relay.

A Red Flag Warning for Critical Fire Weather Conditions, remains in effect until 8:00 PM this evening. Strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Listen to your local weather station for updates to this alert.

Gulp.

Snow last fell not that long ago and we’re now fearing for flames?

And Global Climate Change is a commie plot to destroy capitalism!!!!!!

Yeah, right. Sheesh.

Current temperature: here 91F/33C, there 13C/55F

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Other Dessert Cities at the Guthrie

Phi says it all here.

Brilliant except for the last couple of minutes which were trite and weak. Well worth the price of admission for sure.

Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 1C/34F

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Ravioli Rumble

After the euphoria of my first pasta making success I experimented with making ravioli. Now, because of my out-of-wack digestive system, I had to begin by exercising some google-fu in order to find a ravioli filling I could eat. After rooting around I found this recipe from which I was able to canabalise the following filling.

1.5 cups roasted pumpkin, (I had these in the freezer from last summer’s CSA)
2 small heads of garlic, roasted
3-4 dashes turmeric
Salt and pepper

Using eggs, semolina and a splash of olive oil, I made a batch of dough which I had to bin due to its awfulness (way to much semolina somehow) and begin again. (Same recipe but more attention to consistency.)

After rolling each sheet of pasta, laying out the filling and covering with a second sheet of pasta, I used my handy dandy square cutter (available here) to shape the ravioli. This was a little messy at first because I began with too much filling. By the end I managed to achieve enough filling and a balance of pasta covering to make some very happy ravioli squares.

The ravioli was left to dry for 15 minutes, but could have done with longer as the underside wasn’t as dry as the top side, before dropping in boiling water for 4 minutes to cook.

As a sauce we smothered the ravioli with pesto paste from a tube. A short cut, I know, but it was still delish. Now I just need to find alternate fillings as there’s only so much pumpkin I want to eat in a winter.

Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 1C/34F

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Administrivia:Comment Annihilation

So it looks like comments have not been working here for a while. (Understatement of the year!!!!!) My techmonkey, aka Phi, assures me it’s all fixed. If you are the wonderful person whose comment/s were so ingloriously squished, my humble apologies.

If anyone runs into commenting problems here please feel free to tweet me @weathergrrrl and I’ll ask my tame* code hacker to check into it.

Also on the horizon is the possibility of my very own art web page, where I can show case all the amazing pieces I’ve been generating recently and talk about some of the numerous ideas I’ve been exploring with tea stains, human hair, ort manipulation and baldheadedness. (Be still my beating heart!!!) Techmonkey is working on it in his spare time, which given the demands on an academic comp sci nerd is not as often as he, or I, would like.

Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 3/37

*Top Gear reference if you didn’t spot it.

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Postcard-a-palooza

I participated in a postcard exhibit last month at Colorado Mesa University which you can read about here. They were using it as a fund raiser for a variety of art department programmes. I used this as an opportunity to experiment a little with the tea stains I am creating as part of my, “MyTeaObsession” project. The tea stains I create are 3in by 4in and are made every time I consume a cup of tea. Participating in this exhibit meant doubling the size of the image generated and considering the finished product, or stain, as an image in it’s own right able to stand up to consideration as a work of art rather than as a quantification of a momentary act.

As part of this exhibit a catalog has been created of all the submissions and it is available for purchase. (You can thumb through it here on Blurb.) The variety of images/media is quite impressive. You can find the first of my images eight clicks in and the other three on the following page. Below is one of the stains I created.

This was a great opportunity to experiment with an ongoing process and benefit future artists is their development.

ETA:Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 3/37

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Kidlet as Monkey

The play is Words, Words, Words by David Ives, directed by Mike Lion, a fellow Hampshire student. Kidlet is way cool!!!!! Great monkey body posture. Very effective location. Definitely earned the requisite number of laughs to be considered successful.

Current temperature: here 7F/-14C, there 6C/43F

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Oz The Great and Powerful

Okayish. Yeah, there were problems but there were also highlights too. My two favourite characters were Finley (Zach Braff) and China Girl (Joey King). I’ve got to say I thought Zach Braff was great and I can’t say I’ve liked much else he’s done but he was perfect as the the winged monkey, Finley. Just the right mixture of humour and humanity. Joey King was a wonderful mix of bravery and sweetness.

The print I saw was 2D but it was really marred by the 3Dness of the production. Special effects became more obvious and less immersive, and it was definitely irritating when you could tell some, so called, 3D ‘magic’ was happening but the image became flatter and less interesting. For example, when Oz danced with Theodora, it was really obvious when they were actually dancing versus being swung round and around. The Wicked Witch of the West’s make up was pretty plastic, as were many of the townfolks, which was not bewitching but rather irritating.

Definitely would no pay to see it again but might watch as sequel entitled Finley and China Girl’s Adventures in Oz.

Current Temperature: here 21F/-6, there 4C/39F

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Adventures in Weather

Weather has definitely been happening in this part of the world. Even after living out on the prairie for more than 20 years it is still possible to see something new. Morris covered in a sheet of ice rubble is definitely a new one for me. Driving in town feels like off-roading in a 4 wheel drive vehicle, even in our tiny Honda Fit. Walking on the pavement is a nightmare for staying vertical. Our penguin shuffles are well developed at this point. This morning I drove Nic to work to ensure a broken boneless arrival on campus.

It’s hard to guess how long the ice rubble will remain. Temperatures don’t look like they are going to warm that much, though if it’s sunny during the day slush may ensue.

Fingers crossed for remaining upright.

Current temperature: here 16F/-9C, there 12/28F

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