O Brave New Year

Some general goals to kick off 2015:

  1. Exercise more. (Ah, so say we all.) Specifically, try running again, and try to regain more flexibility.
  2. Write more. Specifically, work on fiction every day.
  3. See more theatre (and write more reviews).
  4. Read more books and fewer social media feeds. Specifically, read more SFF and genre fiction by people who aren’t white men and/or more SFF with leads who aren’t white or aren’t men or aren’t white men. (And write more reviews.)
  5. Stay woke.

What are your goals, denizens of the Internet? How do you keep yourself honest? Do you have any great book recommendations?

From suttonhoo.blogspot.com

25 Things I Learned On The Way to 25

In 2013, I turned 25, which means I am now old enough to rent a car, old enough to generally be considered an adult of some kind, and old enough to have made a lot of mistakes. I’ve tried to learn from them — tried to improve from them. And at the ripe old age of 25, I have just enough sense of self-importance to feel like I can make a post full of advice and most of it won’t suck. I mean, I don’t have a lot of things figured out, but there are at least a few things I feel pretty sure of.

So here, as we head into 2014, are some of the bits and bobs I’ve learned along my way. I hope at least one of them proves useful to you, whoever you are.

Open Bar sign

Not your friend.

1. Only get drunk on booze you buy yourself. I can’t think of a single situation I’ve been in where getting drunk on free alcohol was a good idea. If people are providing you with free liquor, it probably means you’re at a conference, where you need to behave professionally, or a wedding, where you need to behave in such a way that will get you invited to future weddings. Overindulge on your own dime.

Continue reading

Self-indulgent food post

image

While I am normally not the kind of person who takes pictures of food, this is delicious and beautiful and I made it. Spinach, red onion, strawberries, and fake Chik’n, topped with raspberry vinaigrette and paired with Deschutes Brewerystout.

Most stuff I cook is about at this level of complexity — sautee, mix, put on plate, put in face — but I’m really proud of it because for a long time, the level of cooking I could do topped out at “boil water, put in instant soup.” And now, via a careful curated combination of being addicted to Chopped on the Food Network and drawing inspiration from restaurants (thanks for this salad, Bear Tooth!), plus a couple of inpspirational friends (like Jessica D-G and Rachel H), I cook meals for myself more days a week than I don’t, on average. Like an adult! Or something.

Next step: cooking for other people?…

I have, at long last, met my nemesis.

A red whistling kettle.

You. You . . .

Earlier in the summer we had serious fruit fly problems, so I concocted a very effective fruit fly trap: I took a mug, put a sliced strawberry and a little red wine in it, and covered it with plastic wrap that I poked holes in. The flies got in and couldn’t get out. It was great!

It was also really gross, because fruit flies are gross, and as you probably know they breed pretty quickly, so when you leave a fruit fly trap out for more than a couple of days, uh . . . life . . . happens. So after disposing of the flies and the bait, I decided to sanitize the mug with vinegar and then with boiling water.

First time I did this, no problem. At the end of June, after another successful fruit fly catching endeavor and right before I left for Alaska for two weeks, I decided to sanitize the cup again. I put the kettle on, flipped up the cap, because the kettle sounds like a Nazgul that’s stubbed its toe when the water boils, and went to play video games.

Something like an hour later I went “What’s that smell?”

Did you know you can not only melt rubber but also burn metal with an ordinary electric stove? It’s true!

The more you know! ★

The melting point of rubber is 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and the melting point of various plastics is between 200 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit! ★

This happened less than an hour before I had to go the airport, so I threw some money at one roommate and texted the other to let her know that EVERYTHING’S OKAY uh I’M SO SORRY the kitchen kind of smells like carcinogens, and then I fled the state.

And so I learned a very important lesson about burning water!

Which brings us to tonight.

Tonight I decided to finally sterilize that cup, since it was still sitting in the sink, so I put our new kettle on — conscientiously putting the cap down so it would shriek like a tortured soul burning in the fires of hell at me if I forgot about it, instead of actually burning like an etc etc — and turned around to clean up from dinner.

When I turned back to the stove, I saw smoke. No biggie — I figured some kind of crud had probably gotten on the kettle and was smoking off so oh my god the burner is on fire.

While I would like to tell you I calmly and competently put out the (small. SMALL, Mom, it was small!) fire, I actually just kind of stood there and stared at it while it burned itself out. Well after there were no more visible flames, I got a cup of water from the sink and gingerly poured it onto the burner. You know, so I could feel like I contributed. Yeah. Well done, me.

I guess the moral of this story is that I should not be allowed near boiling water. Hot oil? Sure. Toasters? No problem. Heavy machinery? Bring it on.

But the kettles are out to get me.

(Also, kids, clean your stove.)