Comment to this post and, if you ask, I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.
silverstones32 gave me: rats, costuming, recipes, flowers, weather, clocks, art.
As I said before, I identify with rats. I cannot point to any particular reason why. It has simply always been the case.
Rats are fascinating creatures and, in their way, beautiful. They are efficient and clever. Rats are one of the few mammals that live on six continents. A rat did briefly get to Antartica as part of an expedition though I don’t suspect it survived to count as a living population. The nearest wild rodents are some grass mice that live among the rocks and ice on an island off the tip of South America -- halfway to Antarctica but not counted due to how the island is geographically grouped.
Rats, in particular the brown rat (rattus norvegicus) is a relatively recent partner of man, spreading out from central Asia in the middle ages. This is reflected etymologically in that most languages’ word for “rat” is similar while the word “mouse” shows more drift, dating from antiquity in the indo-european languages.
Despite mankind’s extermination attempts, the rat still flourishes and follows along. I wonder if some of the ill will toward rats is due to the fact that they are such adaptable and competitive creatures? Are we secretly envious? :)
I’ve found that my focus has shifted a bit in costume projects. When I was in the Bay Area, I did more community and charity appearances so I built more “parade style” suits. (e.g. Cy Coon, Remy)
Now my common venues for suiting are cons and I’m experimenting more. (e.g. Malice Coyote, Hazrat) It’s more for my furry side and personal expression than a public concept of character.
I’m also more open to commissions, I find. Though I still prefer “unusual” projects rather than the more predictable fandom suits. (Nothing wrong with those, don’t get me wrong! I like ‘em. But since I have the luxury of choosing to accept only a few commissions, they’re going to be ones that explore new techniques or concepts for me.)
I also want to branch out more into puppets, plush, and non-furry costumes. Maybe even make some clothes.
I do use recipes when I cook some things. Baking, particularly, where you need to be careful about measurements. It’s also good for learning a dish. With most cooking, though, once I get a feel for a dish I go without a recipe. The exception would be if I’m trying to create something “authentically” and want to ensure I am using exactly the right things in the right balance.
My pet peeve is poorly written recipes. They can be more confusing than helpful! It’s best if a recipe clearly lays out the ingredients and equipment needed, without assuming things are always “on hand.” Because even if you have them, you may end up scrabbling in the back of a cabinet while something is cooking over onto the stovetop. :P
Well, having talked about my connection to rats, let’s have a cheese-based sample recipe! This is actually one that I owe to Miss Eli. I invented and cooked this for our last Thanksgiving get together. I’m leaving out exact proportions since you can scale this widely depending on how much you want and level of cheesiness. Also, I’m doing this from memory while commuting. :)
”Furry Forest Thanksgiving” Macaroni and Cheese
- Elbow macaroni (0.5 - 1 bag)
- Milk or cream (1.5 - 2 cups)
- Flour (1 cup)
- Butter (3-4 tbsp)
- Cheeses, grated (2-4 cups) -- I recommend 2 parts cheddar, 1 part fontina, 1 part mozzarella or jack
- Allspice (powdered) -- the “secret ingredient”!
- Paprika (sweet or smoky, but quality paprika)
- Nutmeg (powdered) -- optional, for extra woody/spicy note
- Breadcrumbs -- for baking option
- Pot for pasta
- Saucepan for sauce
- Skillet or sauté pan for roux
- Casserole dish -- for baking option
- Strainer or colander.
- Put water in pasta pot and start heating it to a boil. Add salt.
- Prepare a blond roux in the saucepan (melt 3-4 tbsp butter, incorporate 1 cup flour, cook over low until it takes on an almond color and the flour is cooked through, don’t let butter separate).
- Drain pasta when it’s just done (al dente)
- In the skillet, warm some milk or cream (say, 1.5-2 cup) but do not simmer; keep it on low heat.
- Add cheeses to milk or cream, doing a bit at a time, so it melts down. Sauce should be loose at this point.
- Add spices (a good 1-2 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp allspice, a pinch of nutmeg if desired)
- Add roux to thicken cheese sauce. Incorporate a tbsp at a time into the cheese, stirring for a minute, until you have a pretty thick texture. Not a paste or grainy but definitely firm.
- Combine pasta and sauce (in whichever pot is best) and stir well to coat the pasta. The roux and lingering starch on the pasta will help things continue to firm up. If you’re not baking, you’re done!
- Pour into casserole and lightly press it down so it fills.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs across the top. If they’re unseasoned breadcrumbs, add a little oregano, garlic powder, and celery seed to spice things up. You’ll probably need 1-2 cups, depending on the size of your casserole.
- Broil until top takes on a little color and cooks together. (May have a few dark spots but shouldn’t get dark brown/black over any large areas; that’s too long.)
A curious choice of topic for me. I can’t say I have a great affinity for flowers. They can be beautiful but I never was good at gardening or botany.
I also, much to my wife’s dismay, consider flowers to be a wasteful gift. Though pretty, they are so fleeting! Hospital rooms are perhaps an exception, since flowers are generally permissible items and those rooms so need the additional color.
I try to make it up to my wife with either jewelry or chocolate, both of which have pleasing and direct applications.
When we told friends in California that we were moving to Seattle the reaction was almost always, “You know, it rains a lot up there.”
Truth is, I don’t mind the weather up here. In part, I think this is because I have migraines. Let me explain…
Since I was young I’ve suffered from headaches, sometimes coming in long spells. One symptom of migraines is sensitivity to light which was certainly the case with me.
You come to hate those bright sunny afternoons where the sunlight is glinting off the bright clouds. The sun causes pain. Evening and night don’t present these issues, which added to my natural night owl (night rat?) tendency.
So moving to a place where the weather is often gray, the light is diffuse and not too bright… It’s such a relief!
Unlike some of my relations, I think I have anti-seasonal-affective-disorder. Though not a fan of walking in the rain, I otherwise welcome the dark weather and the dim foggy days where I can scurry about without the sun burning into my eyes.
Clocks are fascinating little things. And it’s interesting to see that this is widespread; even with the prevalence of cheap (essentially free) digital clock functions being embedded into everything, there are still dedicated “clocks” and a pool of mechanical devices. They have a romantic quality.
I would like to get a pocketwatch someday. I look at them now and then but always decide not to purchase one since I can’t justify the price for something which is purely an affectation. (In contrast, I just purchased a new fountain pen, which is also a throwback but does make a difference in one’s writing and serves a definite purpose -- I need to carry a pen so an investment in a good one is worthwhile.)
And, since I have it, a poem I composed a few years back on the subject:
As a kid, I was given an old mantle clock.
With engineering curiosity and efficiency
I dismantled it.
I killed the clock.
Spreading the gears and wires before me
On the blue carpet, to prod at pieces
And grasp at the motor and mechanism,
Never reassembling it the same way
or fitting all the clockwork parts back in.
In retrospect, I must say,
It's a damn good thing I didn't become a doctor.
I dabble in different media but don’t really consider myself an “artist” as such. I do a bit of drawing and painting, though mostly it’s ink sketches on loose paper as I’m working out fursuit designs.
Fursuits are definitely my “art”. Though I am working on writing as well, which should certainly qualify.
For “traditional” art, I like a variety of styles. One of my favorites is straightforward pen work. I’d point to the book “Maze” as a wonderful artistic creation. (And it’s a maze! Bonus!)
I tend to like cartoon/comic styles (Ozy and Millie, Bear Nuts, Exterminatus Now, Newshounds) as well as more “realistic” rendering (Blotch, Dark Natasha) and some surreal colorful stuff (Ocelot, Kigeni, Jonas). It’s hard to specify exactly what my “taste” is…
One of the amazing things about the fandom is the artistic variety. As a group, we celebrate self-expression, which is fantastic! And there are artistic needs unique to the furry fandom (con badges, drawings of “moments” in place of photos) to capture the collective alternate reality we have. Lots of artists, lots of ways in which art is used, and also a lot of encouragement for experimentation.
Sorry if that was all a bit wordy but they were good topics and I wanted to really share something of substance. And fill up your “dead” LJ friends page. :)