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For the love of food and geekery

Ok, so no recipe this week. (Just like last week – whoops.) Mostly because my gut’s been in all-out rebellion against anything nummy, and/or related to dairy. And the very thought of cooking makes it lurch.

(Nearly six months gluten-free, drinking lactose-free milk, and now my stomach’s all hissy because of dairy? ARRRRGH! CAPS LOCK CANNOT CONVEY THE FRUSTRATION!!)

So, while I’m on a self-imposed BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast), and eating homemade waffles and banana bread for every other meal because that’s the most that my stomach can tolerate, I have this lovely just begging me to use her.

Isn’t she pretty?

She comes from my great aunt, who was a…unique…woman. A bit shrewish at time, but an AMAZING cook. She made lefse so tender that it disintegrated on your tongue, made pies and cakes to die for, and all of it with this mixer. Even now, several years after her passing, my family still finds themselves comparing edibles to Aunt Grace’s. Even though barely half of us actually remember her anymore.

She died when I was in school (grad school? College? Who knows – my personal life at that time was/is a blur of neuroses), and when my folks helped the family clean out the estate, my mom came home with boxes of knick-knacks, a cabinet-style sewing machine from the 1920s, a bunch of chipped china, and then some. And I just so happened to be home when they came back.

Mom: Remember how you always complained about the hand-mixer? Ta-DA!

Me: …It’s nice but, where am I supposed to put it?

Mom: You’ve got a kitchen.

Me: With 24 cubic inches of counter space.*

Mom: In the cupboard then!

Me: I repeat my statement.

Mom: Then we’ll keep it here til you get enough space!

* Slight exaggeration, though not by much. That apartment was tiny!

And that’s where this old girl sat for years – collecting dust in my parents’ kitchen, occasionally getting pulled out to make whipped cream for holiday pie. Despite the chipped paint, she’s in great working order, and tackles anything that I throw into her beaters with the gusto of a high-school quarterback trying out for pro. Now that I finally have a decently-sized and -shaped kitchen, I can finally use her.

Except that I can’t eat normally right now.

*headdesk*

At least I have a few other things to keep me occupied. Like reading my stack of goodies from FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!

Free Comic Book Day is the (un)official celebration of one of the most geeky of pastimes. Every year on the first Saturday of May, the major publishing houses (DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, etc.) give away free comics to anyone who steps into a comic book store. For this geek, it’s like Christmas in May. Not only can I get stuff from major titles (like Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men, etc.) without digging through back issues, but I can also find one-shots and teasers for upcoming series that I might not touch otherwise.

Plus, since the comics are free, I have no qualms about cutting out their splash pages and turning them into wall art.

Photographed on my bed because these must have the most reflective glass known to man. Or at least to me.

A two-pack of cheap metal frames from Michael’s, some acid-free artist paper cut down to size, some photocorners, and voila! No more boring wallspace!

This particular ‘set’ came from a sample of Jake the Dreaming, a YA illustrated novel. I don’t recall the plotline, but the art is so pretty! And a bit warped, which is probably why I like it so much. I also have this soft-spot for multi-media art and found items. (If you ever want on my good side, toss me some pretties by Dave McKean, and I am yours.)

Unfortunately, this year there weren’t many free comics left when I got there, and none had artwork as pretty. However, there was this one:

Shiny!

No cutting this one up. My Captain is getting framed full binding and all. Maybe right next to the Firefly Les Hommes set, once I order it. And once I find some wall space…

(Me, a fan of Nathan Fillion? Naaaaah.)


A quiet neighborhood…

Well, no recipe experimentation this week, mostly because I spent the majority of last week out of town and out of state.

That, and I have no food in my fridge.

Add a pizza box and 12-pack of Mountain Dew, and it's my grad school fridge all over again.

So, where was I? ICFA!

No, that is not some alien profanity, it’s the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, which brings together academics, scholars, writers, and nerds of many colors under one roof. Honestly, it’s kind of amazing. I’ve been to conventions (anime and scifi), and to conferences (the Pop Culture Association, SW Texas branch and National), and each one is its own sort of beast.

At both, you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and within 30 seconds be chatting like old friends, but only at a conference (academic) can you go from discussing the latest Supernatural episode to how the show explores Marxist themes in horror, all without without losing a beat.

I love these things.

Plus, the conference sponsored its own ghost hunt.

*cue ear-to-ear grin*

Since I’m writing a series that involves ghosts, angels, demons, and grief counselors for the dead, I’ve been watching a *lot* of paranormal investigative shows, and am slowly working up the nerve to actually contact a team to join in one. Luckily, ICFA planned it’s year excursion to Greenwood cemetery, the only cemetery allowed within Orlando city limits. And I has pictures!

Okay, little less spooky, little more too-long-exposure-on-the-camera. Meh.

We wound up with three characters of tour guides (‘tour guides’ in the sense of they guided the whole herd of academics on a tour, since I completely forget their actual titles). Imagine a cemetery tour led by Bill Engvall, a quiet old Victorian undertaker, and a gardener with a penchant for ‘seeing things,’ and you’ll get a vague idea of what it was like. And I LOVED it. (Especially when the undertaker guy kept whipping out his measuring tape on people.)

(Yes, for those type of measurements. Not the other kind of ‘those’. Geez, brains out of the gutter!)

And naturally, I took a lot of pictures.

Hey, look, DUST! And spanish moss...

A mausoleum...

The grave of a guy whose face got eaten off by a lake monster...

Ooh! A light anomaly! Beside that tree in the background. (Or, just a reflection off another headstone.)

And...The tallest gravestone in the cemetery. Erected by the guy's wife. Engraved with 'a loving husband' and 'forever greatest' or somesuch. (Yeah, not going there. I'm not Freudian enough.)

Ooh, but here’s a good one!

Ghostly fingerprints!

Apparently, the gardener/groundskeeper guy was driving around the grounds one night, tooling along full speed, when he noticed these smears on the stone and screeched to a halt. He knows these stones, and those smears had not been there the night before.

The poor woman in this grave has a double indignity – she has no death date (though she is buried there), and her name is horridly misspelled. So, with those smears, it’s as if she reached up from her grave and stained her own stone.

Even better? When the guy got back to the cemetery office, he found out that the police had gotten several reports the night prior of an elderly woman roaming the grounds in that exact spot. And no one could find the gal.

Saddest part – none of the staff can do anything about it. Even if a stone falls over in the graveyard, they need permission from the families to set it upright again. And a lot of those families just don’t come around anymore.

With stories like this, I keep finding that I have more and more sympathy for the ghosts. Used to be, ghost shows fascinated me; now they just sadden me. After all, ghosts aren’t sideshow freaks or bears trapped in cages that the living should go around poking with a stick just for ‘the experience.’ Ghosts were people too.

(No, that is not the tagline for my book.)


Hello world!

Yay, another blog! On teh internets!

But this isn’t just any blog, it’s mine.

And by ‘mine’ I mean the slightly-coherent-musings-of-my-grey-matter-that-will-be-updated-in-a-more-timely-manner-than-my-wangsty-livejournal. I’ve had a personal livejournal that by now has dwindled to random hey-friends-list-I’m-still-alive! posts, but I figured it’s about time to stop hermitting myself behind shiny avatars and sporadic postings.

So, what does this mean for you?

Once a week, I shall offer up the finest of my fictional finery – be it a short story, a poem (GASP!), book/movie/media reviews, random musings, or a bunch of shiny baubles, or heck, even a recipe.

No, I am no Emeril. My cooking equipment is more likely to go Bam! than I am. With smoke. Lots of smoke…

Anyways, blogging. Riiiiight…This page will always be updated at least once a week, so every Monday there will be a bright shiny new post to kick off your work week (or wake you up after you get home). If other posts crop up during the week, consider them happy little presents from me to you.

Just don’t drown them in water. I promise, the packages won’t be ticking.


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