mirrorshard: (Default)
Tasty vegan rocket-fuel autumn food. All the quantities are approximate, because it doesn't matter at all if you don't do it the same way as I do. When I say "250g", I mean "about half a 500g packet, more or less". Serves 6 or so hungry people.

If you're keen on de-veganizing it, add bacon in the first stage.

1. Dice a couple of medium-sized onions, and set them to sautee in sunflower oil (rapeseed oil or vegetable oil also work well - olive is usually too strong) until soft & golden. While they're cooking, chop two or three carrots and toss those in immediately. If you like garlic (and who doesn't?) then throw in half a dozen cloves to sautee too, roughly chopped.

2. When that mixture's done (ie. soft and golden and not dry - keep an eye on it and add more oil if you need to) then pour in two tins of chopped tomatoes. Add a generous helping of Scarborough Fair herbs (about a heaped teaspoon of each), sea salt & black pepper. Don't season it to taste at this stage - make it ridiculously strong and intense. If your taste buds & budget feel like it, then a couple of glassfuls of red wine won't go at all amiss - before you put the tomatoes in, turn up the heat to full, splash the wine in, stir it around, and let it bubble off. (This removes the alcohol, leaving the flavour.)

3. Toss in about 250g of lentilhas verdes (Puy lentils or lentilles vertes - to be carefully distinguished from green lentils), 250g of pearl barley, and two tins of chickpeas, drained & rinsed. You can quite happily substitute other pulses (black beans work very well) for the chickpeas, or green or brown lentils for the lentilhas verdes, or mix & match.

4. Add some vegetables: potato, swede, fennel, and aubergine all work well. You'll want roughly the equivalent of two large vegetables, or the size of four clenched fists.

5. Add a couple of teaspoons of vegan stock powder and top up with water till everything's covered, then another inch or so on top. Bring it to the boil, then leave to simmer for a while - it'll take at least half an hour, but might be more depending on the pulses. If you're using pre-soaked dried beans, boil them for at least ten minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

6. Make the dumplings. The reason this is called One Dumpling Stew is that I always make rather a lot of dumpling mixture, and they join up in the pan. Four tablespoons of flour (wholemeal bread flour works well, especially if it has seeds & grains in), two of vegetable suet, a heaped teaspoon of baking powder. Salt & pepper, and a teaspoon of herbs - I usually use tarragon, but caraway seeds work really well too. Mix them all around, put in about a wine-glass worth of cold water, and mix it all up till there's no loose flour and the mixture can be lifted up in a large wet glob clinging to the spoon. (You might want to put the water in a bit at a time - it's easy to go too far, and adding more flour is boring.) Drop the large wet globs into your simmering pan, one at a time, as far away from each other as possible. When all the mixture is in, stick the lid back on and leave it to cook for five or ten minutes.

Other good things to put in it include leeks, chestnuts, mushrooms, and garden peas.

Doctor Who

Sep. 11th, 2012 08:51 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
OK, so Asylum of the Daleks was appallingly bad, but Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was actually pretty good apart from Matt Smith. (I don't have anything much against him, but he was just eclipsed here.)

I especially liked the way Queen Nefertiti followed the annoying hunter dude back to his own time with a dinosaur trank rifle. Ten minutes after the credits end, a half-dozen underpaid & underappreciated local blokes will find him unconscious with his trousers pulled down and some scornful comments in hieroglyphics painted on his arse.


Jul. 21st, 2012 05:42 pm
mirrorshard: (Elly)
Taken by [personal profile] merrythebard, because I asked for one to show off the barrette I made & have been wearing for the last few days. (Layered & varnished art paper, calligraphy ink, spring clip.) The sheer messiness of my hair annoys me, but I love the reflections.

Self, barrette, Elly
mirrorshard: (Default)
Once upon a time a young girl dreamt of a playground. It was filled with beautiful men and handsome women. They told stories not just with their voices but with the whole of their bodies. With fire, water, ice and a nipple tassel or two. Now, for one night only, she has taken over a beautiful, Victorian town hall to make it happen.

Alchemist Dreams present a narrative extravaganza at Limehouse Town Hall, with operatic circus skill performances, boylesque, "the myth of Medea... with a naughty twist", delightfully complex & unusual games run by [livejournal.com profile] spiker_uk, and their own artisan spirits & unique cocktails.

I'll be there with a stall (and with [personal profile] merrythebard as my beautiful assistant), selling jewellery, art prints, cards, and miscellanea, all at very reasonable prices and many with a storytelling theme.

I'm told the other stalls will involve delicious baked goods, fine corsetry, and interesting brass jewellery, but I don't have names or links yet.

Tickets are £10 early-on, £20 in advance, and £30 on the door if there are any - last time, everything went very fast, so I recommend getting in early!

[If you're on Facebook, there's an event here too.]
mirrorshard: Photo of a small leather-bound notebook, filled with mirror writing (WIP)
Dear people who wear fascinators (specifically, but not solely, the kind which consist of extremely small hats) and other things in their hair:

Do you prefer the kind mounted on small combs, the kind mounted on Alice bands, or the kind mounted on those unnecessarily-complicated-looking metal clips?

Or some other method?

Thank you!
mirrorshard: (Default)
So, I got some rather entertainingly creepy Twitter spam yesterday.

@Bravenewventure: @Eithin Good afternoon. A study of your profile has determined you to be a possible candidate for a role at #BraveNewVentures. Interested?

Turns out this is some sort of Shoreditchy ARG-cinema-thing run by Fabien Riggall, who does Secret Cinema (warning: website plays noise at you). So this is almost certainly very badly directed please-please-buy-a-£35-ticket-and-join-our-game marketing spam, but I wanted to see how far it went, so gave them a standard "sure, email me details of the role and we'll see" response.

Turns out it's not just marketing spam, but fractally stupid marketing spam! Somehow, they picked me, of all people, to offer an unpaid "job" posting spam on their behalf, presumably trying to recruit people to post spam and buy absurdly expensive tickets to their events. Also, apparently, they're offering everyone the "Chief Information Officer" title, which is a bit crap in itself. 30 seconds' research found four people claiming to be Chief Information Officer for Brave New Venture, which is just comedic. Also, once you've paid for your ticket, you get inside and get the opportunity to pay more for in-game money, buy drinks, and pay for food. Definitely only an evening for rich people!

Of course, I wouldn't be nearly so annoyed about this if it weren't for the catastrophic mistargeting (who pitches expensive event tickets to people who tweet about disability benefits?) and the fake "job" thing. As far as spam goes, "We have a job for you" is the new "You may already have won £10 million". I'm not about to fall for it, but that doesn't mean I enjoy having my poor-disabled-working-class nose rubbed in the fact that people who can afford to pay £35 for a ticket to a mysterious, undetailed event think that a) I'll do their advertising for the vague promise of a treat after I've paid up myself, and b) jobs and employment are something to play games around.

In fact, it's not just employment generally: what they're specifically "offering", within the game context (which I didn't agree to join, so having people try to talk to me within it is irritating in itself) is unpaid and stringently assessed tasks, with further "work" depending on performance. As advertising goes, this is really quite spectacularly mistimed. I'm trying very hard to avoid workfare in real life, so being offered it as an "opportunity" to pay for in a game (giving the organisers a real-life benefit at that) is pretty offensive. If something sounds interesting, I'll tweet about it; if I've been there and liked it, I'll encourage others; but as far as publicity on the basis of one generic, not-even-slightly-personalised email goes, this post is all they're getting. The good news is that I'm not going to invoice them for it.
email below )
mirrorshard: (Default)
Recipe by [personal profile] merrythebard's suggestion, after I invented it to feed them the other day. Makes a very thick soup to serve 4, more or less.

Take 4 largish onions (I used two red & two yellow, because that's what I had): chop & sautee them until soft & tasty.
Open & drain a tin of black beans (black turtle beans) and make up 500ml or so of stock. I used gluten-free veg stock, but if you don't need that then beef stock works very well indeed.
Scatter thyme liberally. Turn up the heat, & slosh a generous, er, slosh of brandy in. When it's bubbled off and smelling lovely, tip in the beans and the stock, and top up with about 200 or 300ml of beer. I used Bombardier, but anything on the darkish end of bitter works well, or stout.
Cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes or so.
Put in noodles, let them cook, and it's ready!

If you want to eat it the traditional way, put a slice of soft white bread and some mature cheddar in the bottom of the bowl before pouring the soup over.
mirrorshard: A book growing from a tree branch, captioned "Books where fruit should be". (Books where fruit should be)
It's been nearly ten years since I disposed of books in any quantity (ie. anything approaching 5% or so of the collection) so it's time for another cull. They come in three main categories, and if any of you want any of them, sing out now! Otherwise, they'll go to a charity shop when I have the spoons. I don't want anything for them (unless it's really valuable to you for some odd reason, in which case mine's a pint of IPA) but I can't do postage. Happy to meet up and hand things over, if you're within range or we're going to be meeting anyway in the next month or two.

First, actual decent books I have duplicates of, or know I can find again in the unlikely event of actually wanting to re-read them. Read more... )
Second, half-decent tat and books I don't want but someone might. Read more... )
Third, there's a crate or so of things I have trouble imagining anyone, anywhere, ever wanting to read. (Not exhaustive, mostly listed for comedic effect.) Read more... )
mirrorshard: Photo of a small leather-bound notebook, filled with mirror writing (Da Vinci)
I went to a talk by Vinay Gupta last night, and have written up my notes over on Eithin. It's long, so I'm not going to copy it all here, but it was absolutely fascinating.

Important question to ask: whether the future actually is amenable to analysis. Strict rationality and utilitarianism will inevitably fail, so at some point you will have to make decisions on moral grounds instead (is it better to save young people, or older people, or families? People here, or people there? To consider QALY, local priorities, or ripple effects?) And the thing which informs the moral frameworks we use to make those decisions is aesthetics. Quert: choice of beauty. Also, EO Wilson’s use of “concinnity”. That’s how we get the title of this series: truth and beauty. “I’m an engineer, and I think have a pretty good handle on truth by now, but I’m getting to level 80 and it’s full of artists! My artist friends are laughing at me, finally asking lots of questions. Join the club, white boy. …Beige boy.”

(read more)
mirrorshard: (Default)
Joss Whedon is making a film of Much Ado About Nothing. With the people you'd expect to be involved. I expect a prevailing south-westerly Awesome, with occasional brief mizzlings of Fail. Also, women running barefoot through the gardens.

I can't find a proper DP online, but looking at the website, here's what I'd expect. Please feel free to disagree and provide alternate castings!

Amy Acker: Beatrice
Alexis Denisof: Benedict (These two are given top billing, so I think it's a Safe Bet.)

Nathan Fillion and Reed Diamond: Don Pedro and Don John.
Clark Gregg and Fran Kranz: Leonato and Antonio
Sean Maher: Claudio (yes, I know, too old, but just gay enough)
Tom Lenk: Dogberry (please)

I have no idea who any of the rest of these people are, beyond a brief look over IMDB.

Spencer Treat Clark
Nick Kocher
Brian McElhaney
Paul M. Meston
Joshua Zar

Jillian Morgese
Emma Bates (From their positions in the list, one of these two is almost certainly Hero, and the other Ursula)
Ashley Johnson
Riki Lindhome
Romy Rosemont
mirrorshard: (Ink & Paper)
As many of you know, I make & sell Christmas cards, and these are some of last year's designs; I'll be doing some new ones, but the holly leaf and at least one of the carols will be staying in the mix. (For those of you who got some, or one, last year these won't look precisely the same; I need to re-do the images for the professional print process, since I designed them to go through my own photo printer.)
Christmas cards, 2010
The cards are A6, made from matte white 100% recycled stock. The backs have my logo on, and the insides are blank for your own message. Since I do fine art printmaking, this disclaimer is important: these are not original art, like linocuts or giclee prints. They're just pieces of coloured paper like any other non-handmade Christmas card.

Since costs have gone up a bit, I'll be asking £1.20 per card (no minimum order) or 20 for £20, with £1.50 p&p if we can't meet up to hand them over in person. Unlike last year, I'll also include appropriately coloured recycled envelopes at no extra charge.

I'm entirely happy to do custom artwork, so long as you don't mind those being offered to other people too; if you want one with your name on it or something similar, I'd probably ask a bit extra. As regards licensing, all the digital artwork will be going up under CC:BY, but I reserve the rights to the finished print-ready files made from it.

What I'll also be doing for the first time this year is offering digital downloads - £5 will get you a print-quality PDF with two different card designs on (your choice from the standard range), for you to print out at home or take to a printer in your area, and you can print & send as many as you like from that. (If you want, you can even colour them in or add glitter and sparkles!)

I accept payment by PayPal, bank transfer, cash, artwork, food, or good beer.


Aug. 31st, 2011 05:02 pm
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
So, that went well. Very well, in fact.

I was in charge of the lighting board for the 1400-capacity Concert Stage (a large blackout marquee) and [personal profile] mostlyacat was my deputy, which worked well for both of us. He picked up board op skills very quickly - it helps that he's an engineer, used to computer equipment, and has a pretty good eye for visual arts.

I was seriously impressed by how casual and trusting the organisers were with us - basically, the Stage Electrics contractors (Rebecca and Suzi) programmed in a few presets and showed us what was where, and left us to decide how to light everything entirely for ourselves. I'd been expecting a more formal setup, with cues programmed in for particular artists & songs, so this was a pleasant surprise.

People & groups I lit over the weekend, whom I'd already heard of: Home Service; Spiers & Boden (who performed New York Girls as their encore!); the Spooky Men's Chorale; Coope, Boyes, & Simpson; Emily Portman; Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick.

Ditto, whom I'd never heard of but can recommend: Tyde; Red Hippo; Moore, Moss, Rutter; David Ferrard (Scottish/American singer-songwriter); Kate Rowe (kooky, melodic, catchy Australian singer-songwriter); Saltfishforty. (More details about all of those can be found linked from here.)
more, including some videos )
mirrorshard: (Heart's Desire)
I've been thinking a lot recently about Uncivilisation, the Dark Mountain project, activism in general, the bardic tradition, and the imperatives of religion.

My feeling is that the way into this is mostly down to looking at the concept of doom in more detail, and decomposing it—working out what we mean by it, what social baggage comes with it, and what's actually going to happen.
long )
mirrorshard: Grass stalks against a summer sky (Summer grass)
I'm fine - the riots have not affected me personally, thank goodness. I've looked out some old clothes & bedding (that I had completely forgotten I had) and will be taking them along to donate.

Stay safe, all of you in London.

Two Things

Aug. 7th, 2011 05:02 pm
mirrorshard: (Ink & Paper)

This is one of the rowan trees along my road; I took a photo, used Gimp to make it clearer & starker, chose a small section of the interlacing branches, and added a frame. Inkscape let me turn it into vector graphics, smoothing off the edges and eliminating speckles and inconvenient bits, and then exporting that as a DXF file let me feed it straight into the London Hackspace laser cutter. That worked to outline the image onto a piece of reclaimed hardwood (skip-dived, though not by me), and then I carved it out with my normal woodcarving tools; the laser lets me use a much more complex design than I've managed in the past.

It's now basically ready to print, or at least if I need to do any more work on it then I won't know until after I've inked it up and pulled a proof.

Veined nettle earrings 1

These are made from 300gsm recycled paper; the design is a vectorised & messed-about-with scan of an actual nettle leaf, from my garden. If you click through to Flickr, there are a lot of WIP images of the leaf in various stages; I'm entirely happy to let any of you have the SVGs if you fancy playing around with them.

I already have a customer for this pair, which makes me extremely happy! I've got two others on my worktable too, and they're quite quick to reify now I have the completed digital file. It may have taken me 8-10 hours of vector art to get the design right, but now I can just print off a dozen pairs, get out the scalpel, and apply a few layers of ink & glue. It's an interesting inversion of the printmaking technique, and it makes me very happy.
mirrorshard: (Rose Theatre)
[personal profile] merrythebard and I watched this last night, and I've posted a review as part of Fae Awareness Month. The short version is that I'd love to show it to all of you! You can read the long version here.
mirrorshard: A book growing from a tree branch, captioned "Books where fruit should be". (Books where fruit should be)
From [livejournal.com profile] sabethea

1. Science Fiction or Fantasy - which do you prefer/where do you make the separation/what do you like about them both. (*cheats with a three-in-one question* The general gist is, please ramble on about them.)

Let's see!

I rarely draw a hard line between SF & fantasy - I'm starting to prefer the catchall term "fantastika". When I do separate them, it's usually a contrast between what Darko Suvin referred to as a "novum", ie. the new thing which makes SF SF, and what I've started to think of as a diversa, a change in the metaphysical or moral way the world works, a way of narrativising the universe and justifying the Gods' ways to humanity. Whether that's "good will win out in the end", "the world rewards hard work and trust in your friends", "it's everyone for himself and all things will eventually decay and die", or "face it, everyone is a bastard deep down" that's... how fantasy seems to work. If we're talking about a change in physics or mechanics, or a new invention, that's a novum, but they can often overlap, as with universes where the Ptolemaic model of astronomy is real (since that's to do with the nature & importance of the world) or as with Valente's Habitation of the Blessed, which starts with an inversion of a classic Greek science text.

2. Photography or jewellry/other things making - which do you prefer?

The latter. I like photography, but I don't have enough... handles on it, I suppose... to be able to get the same level of absorbtion and complexity that I do with physical craftsmanship. I know it does have that level of complexity, and can be a fascinating analogue process, but I'm nowhere near that good. Whilst I can get good results, it's not from anything complex.

3. I gather you're coming up to three years dating [info]mirabehn. Congratulations, and how did you two get together?

We both played Satan in a readthrough of the radio series "Old Harry's Game" organised by [livejournal.com profile] midnightmelody.

4. Favourite Diana Wynne Jones book?

It's a tossup between Archer's Goon (the first one I read) and The Dark Lord of Derkholm.

5. Do you play instruments/sing? If so what?

I drum, though not with any great proficiency, and [personal profile] merrythebard is teaching me to sing.

I may or may not provide some questions to people who ask for them in the comments.
mirrorshard: (Ink & Paper)
1. I had my MRI results the other day: apparently, my brain is nice and healthy, with no shadows, atrophy, or reduction in brain mass. This is very good. When I get the copies I've asked for, I shall make them available.

2. I really need to finish more artwork, including getting back to printmaking properly. Part of the reason I haven't been able to do nearly as much as I'd like is lack of space. I'm considering setting up at the Hackspace for a studio session, but if I'm using proper ink then that means leaving a dozen or two prints to dry overnight/two nights there. Another part of the reason is that I don't have a reliable channel for disposing of the blessed stuff afterwards, other than letting it accumulate around the flat.

3. I really need to get more into permaculture, sustainability, and ninja hippy engineering. It makes me happy and saves me money and gets me better food, and does a lot to counteract the sense of worthlessness and irrelevance that the world often gives me. Part of the problem there, though, is a) that I'm a congenital generalist—I can do some of everything, and there's usually someone around who's better at any given thing than I am; and b) that I'm shy and nervous around strangers, and find it very hard to put myself forward.

Incidentally, I plan on visiting What will the harvest be? near Stratford on Saturday, if health & weather hold up. They have an open day, from 13:00. Anyone else interested in joining me, if you're not Slutwalking? ("Why I'm not doing that" would be an entire other post which I don't currently feel up to making. Suffice it to say that I'm strongly in favour of the event.)
mirrorshard: (Default)
Peel potatoes (a mash variety) and a couple of turnips, chop them into small pieces, and boil them. While that's bubbling away, cook some leeks (steaming for preference; I boiled them lightly), chop a medium-sized onion into pieces about half an inch square, and grate some cheese. I used about 200g of firm white goat's cheese, but with the quantities I was making (based on about a kilo of potatoes) I really should have used more, perhaps twice as much.

At this point, it's also a good idea to start making the pastry. (I had the invaluable help of [livejournal.com profile] randomchris, so doing all these things at once was actually possible.) My pastry recipes are a bit slapdash, so if you're not confident then you probably want to look up a pie crust recipe and use that instead. Six large spoonfuls of wholemeal strong bread flour; a hefty shake of sea salt; a teaspoonful or so of whatever herbs look tasty; mix it all up, dump in a couple of large spoonfuls of butter or margarine (soya margarine in this case, since I was feeding it to [personal profile] merrythebard) and a hefty slosh of olive oil, plunge your hands in and mix it up till it's a nice uniform crumbly texture and barely sticks to your hands at all, and then slosh in some soy milk, squish it up, toss it around, whatever, till you get a squishy elastic ball which doesn't leave any mess on your hands.

Drain the root vegetables, and mash the cheese in with them - it doesn't need any extra milk or cream, but there's nothing to stop you putting it in if you like a creamier texture. Dump it into the pot you're going to use for the pie, and mix in the cooked leeks & raw onion. I added a splash of white wine too, because I had an opened bottle handy, but there's no need to worry about the non-liquidity of the filling.

Roll out the pie crust into a suitably sized thinnish blob, and drape it over the pie contents in a crust-like manner. Cut off the spare bits around the edge, make sure it's sealed down pretty well, decorate the crust in a semi-random and haphazard fashion, poke a hole in the middle to let some steam out (it doesn't have to be a big hole) and then shove it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180 celsius or so.

Fed four, with everyone getting seconds and my cunning plan for leftovers-for-breakfast getting thoroughly thwarted, hurrah.


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