Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Steampunk Workshop

I've added a link to this site over there in my Good Links because it's a fun place to look around. I found the Steampunk Workshop about a week or so ago; just stumbled on it while surfing. It's one of those serendipitous finds. I guess it's a "modder's" kind of place... this fella Heironymous aka Jake takes modern things like computers and electric guitars and even the wonderful already Altoids tin and does some pretty magickal looking things with 'em.

As a girl growing up, I loved things like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. Geeked right out on that stuff; to this day, I'm a tech-forward kinda gal. But at the same time, I also get off on the design aesthetics of things about as much as I get off on Fine Art. Jake over there pays marvelous homage to the machine age as he not only modified a computer keyboard and monitor, but styled them to look like things you'd have seen in your grandparent's or great-grandparents parlor somewhere between the late 1800s and the 1920s.

The beauty of his work includes his employment of techniques like galvanic engraving, and electrolytic machining of gears, pins, wheels, cogs and more onto brass sheets -- and he shows the process of it as it goes along. I'm a sucker for this kind of craftsmanship. My grandpa from Hungary was an engineer and machines provided a living for his family including my Da and being a May/December child, I still have a foot stuck in another era where these tangible things, these machines drove material, social and economic progress forward in Europe and the States at an amazing pace.

So do me a favor and go on over to The Steampunk Workshop and have a look around. Whether you're a modder, or dig design, or think Popular Science is cool, it's a dandy place to spend part of your day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fleeting Time

For those of you past a "certain age", have you noticed how time now seems to fly? You wake up Monday morning, have your coffee and go through your day and the next thing you know it's Thursday and you really need it it be Friday? After work? So you can get outta Dodge, head up to the mountains and go camping?

DH has just left the house with the van loaded up with our camping gear and is heading up to the Jemez to set up camp and spend the night. I go up after work tomorrow. I figure my day will probably go like molasses instead, because I need it to be Friday, now!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Marvelous Rice

Over the last several months, I've been changing some of my diet to incorporate more whole grains & good things in order to lower cholesterol. But I also like food to taste good, rich or hearty. This fills the bill on all levels:


1 C brown rice
3 Tbsp Wild Rice (about as much as will fit in the palm of your hand)
4 Tbsp lentils
2/3 C frozen mixed vegies (or peas & carrots)
1/3 C chopped fresh spinich
2.5 C water
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 Heaping Tsp chicken or vegetable/mushroom boullion (or base for extra richness) (I prefer using low-sodium boullion*)
1 Tsp Smart Balance (tm) light margarine OR butter (if you're not on a lower-fat diet)

Putting it together:

Put the rice, wild rice and lentils in the same bowl as you measure them.

Put the water on to boil and add the salt, margarine or butter and boullion. When the water is at a rolling boil add the mixed rice and lentils, stir and let it return to the boil. Then reduce heat to a medium-low simmer and cover the pot with a lid.

Set the timer for 45 to 50** minutes and go do something else.

After the timer goes off, check the rice to see if the water has been fully absorbed. Put the chopped spinich on top and then add the mixed vegies. Put the lid back on, turn the heat off and let the residual heat steam the added spinich and vegies for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use a spoon to mix the vegies evenly into the rice.

This makes a great side dish when served with fresh grilled salmon, grilled or baked chicken, or steak as well as fresh grilled zuchinni, asparagus and eggplant.

I've also made it into a 1 bowl dish by adding @ 2 ounces of flaked alder smoked salmon, or adding a 1/2 to 3/4 C shredded chicken to a cup of the cooked rice, warming it up in the microwave and giving it with a nice drizzle of low-sodium tamari sauce.

I also made the recipe twice to feed up to 12 people for potlucks at work, using the mushroom base to make it a vegetarian dish, and went home both times with an empty dish.

* As you see, I'm using relatively little salt and fat in the recipe itself because a lot of people like to add more salt or butter to taste at the table but there are still others who like or need lesser amounts of them. Proportionally, the amount I came up with was the best 'happy medium' given that prepared bouillon or bases have their own added salt.

** I'm cooking at 5,000 ft. which is high altitude, so you may need to adjust your cooking time for your elevation.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'd Like To See A New National Service Corps

I want to stop politicians from pork projects like that one up in Alaska where their congresscritter wanted to build a new bridge to an island with barely 100 people on it. Seems they were doing fine getting back and forth with small boats and didn't much want it anyway.

The reality is that a lot of the US's infrastructure is really decaying and in need of everything from maintenance to outright rebuilding. That levee failure in New Orleans following Katrina, bridge collapse in Minnesota last week and the flooding of New York's subways yesterday all highlight that problem.

So I'd like to see a new National Infrastructure Service Corp dedicated to serving the infrastructure needs of the country, providing a large pool of people to work in everything labor up to civil, mechanical and electrical engineering and it should have career tracking available. This would take the old CCC concept and expand on exponentially. People could enlist for 3-4 years and they could re-up regularly and make a career out of it.

As a service corp. it could be the most flexible in that could take men and women from 18 years all the way up into their 60s as long as they're in good general health. And because of the range of work that would need to be done and supported older workers could bring their past job skills to the Infrastructure Corps.

Funding for this service would come out of the funds previously diverted to pork projects. Also, it could help stop outsourcing as some of our infrastructure maintenance has been given to companies not tied to the US.

Just a plan...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Cheney Motorcade Ties Up My Commute

That's right folks. Dick Cheney, Vice President of War Profiteering screwed up my drive into work this morning. It started just like any other day. Sleep til 8:15, get up.

Do the morning ablutions (nifty word, huh?), pour coffee, get dressed. Make breakfast, read the news, read a few blogs here and there. Post a blog and off to work, kiss DH bye & zip out the door by 10:00.

Ziggy on down to the freeway.


Cop cars are blocking the freeway entrance. Alternate route time. I know my alternate routes for sure. Got 'em down pat.

So I ziggy off and hit my alternates...Down Avenida Cesar Chavez to Broadway, up Coal to Oak hang a left. Oh man! That ramp's closed too. On it goes, going north and each one of their freeway entries were blocked by still more cops.

Four ramps closed! Four!

F*** me to tears... C'mon its only supposed to be a 12 minute drive fer pete's sake! And I'm stuck in traffic on the frontage road which is moving at a snail's pace. So I call in to work that I might be late. Smart move. Glad I got a bluetooth headset.

Finally, I see a line of cars racing north on the freeway then veering east. Sure the heck looked like a motorcade and I'm wondering who the hell it would be for. Nothing in the news about anything important locally last night. I watched. Stop at the light near Menaul and there's a cop, so I ask him what's up.

"The Vice President," he says.

"F***!" says I.

He nods.

Later, on the evening news, local stations all have stories about the Veep going to some meeting with old retired Marines to get support for the Surge.


That wanker Cheney made me late for work!

I haven't been late for work in 8 years!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Ah'm doing the happy dance this morning!

Stepped on my bathroom scale this morning and the dial read 170lbs! Allowing for a 2lb deviation, it means that I have dropped from 192 to 172! Joy! I got stuck at 173/174 for a bit. Those fat cells are stubborn! Now my weight is including muscle weight and that's a good thing!

Fun thing: Jim even went on a powerwalk with me last night before the rain cut is short. We still managed to get in 1.2 miles in 15 minutes, so I'd say that we rocked!

pic is from the Tsuchiura Fireworks Competition in Japan in 2004