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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in simonepdx's LiveJournal:

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    Sunday, April 8th, 2012
    5:46 pm
    Zombies are all up in my business
    Hello! Long time no see. And happy whatever-holiday-you're-celebrating, or just happy sleeping-late Sunday!

    I have a lot of writing to do, but it took me a while to start this morning. I woke up a bit early, and while trying to get back to sleep I had a vivid dream. Then I had to get up immediately and share it with my friend Kath by IM, because she was in it:

    (09:02:01) simonepdx: So, you and I were driving in an SUV. We took a turn past a crumbling wall into an amphitheater, where a small crowd was attending a political rally. Apparently, Kissinger and Nixon were secretly running for president.
    (09:02:59) Kath: O.O
    (09:03:20) simonepdx: The entire crowd was made up of MILFs wearing Chanel-like '50's dress suits.
    (09:03:38) simonepdx: One woman excitedly shouted, "I'm going to live longer!"
    (09:04:38) simonepdx: We pulled over near her and I leaned out the window. Someone brought her a microphone. She had blonde hair. She was very nervous.
    (09:06:02) simonepdx: I asked her, "So, why will you live longer?"
    She said, "Um ... Obama is going to kill me."

    (09:12:02) Kath: Excellent question.
    (09:12:07) Kath: To the crazy lady.
    (09:13:07) simonepdx: "Um ...."
    "How would Obama kill you? Will he come to your house?"
    "Um ... the army?" She looked to the people near her for reassurance.
    "The President of the United States is going to send the Army to kill you. American soldiers will kill you."
    "He thinks ... I'm a traitor. For not supporting him."
    "Are you a traitor? Are you a spy?"
    I reached for the microphone. Very politely she handed it to me. Into it, I asked, "How many of you are spies?" I held up my hand in demonstration. Happy to be approved of, the woman held up her hand, too. "Come on, how many of you are spies?"
    Everyone held up their hands. Enthusiastic whoops and spontaneous clapping ensued.
    "Awesome," I said. You elbowed me. "Keep gathering intelligence. You're going to need it." I handed the microphone back to the now ecstatic blond woman, and I rolled up the window.
    You drove us away. You said, "Henry Kissinger?"
    "I know, right? Nixon and Kissinger? I thought they were dead."
    Out the other end of the amphitheater was a pock-marked road. We were driving in the zombie apocalypse.

    (09:13:21) simonepdx: So... yeah. That's my brain on ... I don't know what.
    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
    7:48 pm
    Best lamb I've ever cooked. Srsly.
    pulse in Cuisinart:
    two fresh tomatoes
    the flesh of 1 large orange
    2 cloves garlic
    three medium sprigs of mint
    1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    tsp red pepper flakes
    tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp allspice
    sm amt salt

    Marinate deboned shoulder of lamb (4.2 lbs) in the above sauce for 1 hr.

    Remove from
    fridge to come to room temp about 45 mins.

    Scoop off
    most of the marinade, heat to simmering, and reserve.

    Put lamb, fell-side-up, on roasting pan in HOT preheated oven (475) 5 mins. Turn down (350) for 30 mins / lb.

    Remove lamb from oven and let rest on rack 20 mins.

    I served it with orzo pasta tossed with lemon and olive oil, and with the marinade heated through as a sauce. Topped the pasta and lamb slices with coarsely chopped dates, black olives, and feta cheese.
    Served it all on top of blanched hard lettuce (I don't know what kind it was. It looked like frisee, but it was purplish green and really tough. I blanched it in lightly salted boiling water for maybe ... 10 seconds.).
    Friday, February 18th, 2011
    12:25 pm
    Too many ingredients bread :-)
    I find making bread to be an interesting process of chemistry, food science, and blind luck.

    I have just accidentally invented Chocolate cinnamon-chip whole-wheat oatmeal cornmeal sourdough bread.

    It is perhaps the Perfect Food. 

    I'm sure you can make this using a dough hook and regular baking, but I used my Zojirushi breadmaker, set to 3 rises and 1hr 10min baking time (at approximately 340 degrees F).

    Put into bread machine in this order:

    1 cup sourdough starter
    2 cups cooked oatmeal--mine was made with too much water, hence it being "leftover":
    -- 1/2 cup oats in 2 cups water
    3 oz water
    3 tbsp medium or finer cornmeal
    1 cup white flour
    2 cup whole wheat flour with 2 tsp bread improver
    3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
    3 tbsp sugar
    2 tbsp milk powder
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp cinnamon
    2 tbsp cold butter cut up
    2 1/2 tsp yeast

    during "add" cycle, add 1/3 cup cinnamon chips

    use on whole wheat cycle or "long 1st knead" custom cycle with maximum (1 hr 10 min) bake time.

    I had too much dough with this, and had to take out a roll's worth during the 3rd rise.  I baked it separately in the oven and just ate it NOW.

    Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
    1:06 pm
    For CORWIN77
    Follow @MecumHaiku (Ryan Mecum) on Twitter for a new zombie haiku every day. For example, today I read:

    Is it bad manners / if elbows on a table / aren’t attached to arms?

    Happy Holidays!
    Monday, September 27th, 2010
    7:06 am
    AmberCon NW Game Book Open!
    The ACNW 2010 Game Book is open for selections!

    The deadline for selections is October 4th, but please make your selections as soon as possible.

    Note that there is currently an error in the form that we have fixed but been unable to update: In Slot 7, when you select the "Girl Genius" game, the form results show "A Hero's Welcome." If you wish to select Girl Genius, please let us know in the Notes section of your form.

    With more than 15 games per event slot, the book is brought to you by dozens and dozens of our wonderful volunteer GMs, and by the Herculean efforts of Amber Cook in organizing it and Jeremy Zimmerman in posting it.
    Saturday, August 28th, 2010
    3:15 pm
    Thursday, August 26th, 2010
    4:42 pm
    AmberCon NW hotel FULLY BOOKED
    Wow.  EDGEFIELD IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.  We only have two "double queen" rooms remaining in our regular block, plus two "family" rooms that we can use:  the family rooms are large, 3rd floor rooms that sleep up to 6 people.  They contain a King bed and 4 bunk beds.  I believe the rate is $150 Sunday-Thursday, and $175 Friday and Saturday.  THESE ARE THE ONLY REMAINING KINDS OF ROOMS.

    If anyone is in a Queen room and is willing to pair up with someone else in a double queen, please let me know ASAP.

    I guess our jump to 116 people pushed us to capacity.  Yes, there are other groups in the hotel, but we've filled our entire block!

    Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
    9:13 am
    AmberCon NW is coming up ... even while I work on my novel!
    The AmberCon NW XIV game submission deadline is August 28th!

    The game and event submission deadline for ACNW is less than three weeks away, and as usual we need all the games we can get. Please, if you're one of the people who waits until after the deadline to "see if they need me."  Trust me, we need you. Please respect our hard-working volunteers and the time-line of the convention, and get your game ideas to us ASAP!

    I can't wait to see the game book :-D

    For those of you who have balances remaining to pay on your memberships, or who have not registered, remember that deadline is also the 28th.

    I'm looking forward to seeing everyone for our fourteenth year!

    Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
    9:01 am
    Just posted to LJ and Facebook ...
    The AmberCon NW XIII game submission deadline is August 28th!

    The game and event submission deadline for ACNW is less than two weeks away, and as usual we need all the games we can get. Please, if you're one of the people who waits until after the deadline to "see if they need me," trust me, we need you. Please respect our hard-working volunteers and the time-line of the convention, and get your game ideas to us ASAP!

    I can't wait to see the game book :-D

    Also, if you haven't see our fabulous t-shirt art by Lee Moyer, check it out on our webpage at
    T-shirt ordering details will be posted as soon as we get the prices back from our printer.

    Finally, for those of you who have balances remaining to pay on your memberships, that deadline is also the 28th.

    I'm looking forward to seeing everyone for our thirteenth year!

    Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
    4:26 pm
    we can haz gamebook!
    The ACUS game book and game selection forms have been published! On the website! To use!

    May I just say, iterations of edits are my sworn enemy.

    I will now adjourn to SQUEE!
    Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
    6:40 pm
    From mkhobson (by way of peaseblossom)

    "The world needs more cookies."

    "So, the first five people who respond to this post will get a batch of cookies made by me and brought (or sent) to their house sometime in 2009... as long as they repost this in their journal.

    "Those of you who don't bake could still participate by promising on your journal to order cookies online or ship a box of Milanos or something.

    "Because the world needs more cookies."

    Amen, sistah. I've got the new mixer and I know how to use it. Who needs cookies?

    I needed cookies, and I need to make cookies!!!! Who wants some? (Please tell me if you have allergies or anything when you post.)
    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
    10:02 pm
    What am I running...
    I've only got a month to plan, write up and submit my AmberCon games for ACUS.

    I will probably run another Grendel installment for returning players and possibly a new Traveling the Black Road game for all new players. I have been asked by a few people to start a second thread of Grendel games, so that new and returning players can mix it up more. I'd almost rather have two smaller games than one maxxed out game...

    On the other hand I'm thinking through some Amber games, and even a Knights of the Old Republic era Star Wars game.

    Decisions, decisions.

    If anyone has any input on these, or ideas, or thoughts on other old games I should re-run or continue, let me know. Your inspirations or votes are most welcome!
    Sunday, January 4th, 2009
    10:40 am
    For AmberCon posts and other Amber stuff...

    please subscribe to the ADRPG community here on LJ! Alternatively, all the announcements also go to the Amber Mailing list.

    For example, I just posted the following in both of those places, but in future I won't re-post these here...

    ACUS '09 Site Open for Registration!
    Hi everyone!

    The new AmberCon site is now open and accepting registrations for ACUS XX
    April 16-19, 2009, at the Embassy Suites Livonia, Michigan.

    --The deadline for early-bird registration discounts is January 23, 2009.
    --The deadline for submitting games is February 6, 2009.

    More bells and whistles are coming, along with graphic content. Meanwhile, we would be happy to receive any feedback about the site or registration forms and process.

    Many thanks for your patience while we got the new site details squared away. The rest of the committee and I look forward to seeing you at ACUS XX!

    Happy New Year!

    Saturday, December 6th, 2008
    5:06 pm
    It's all the fault of Towhomdoihum...
    Thanksgiving recipes
    --here you go, as requested, as best I can remember... If you see anything missing, please let me know!

    Steamer clams with wine and lemon-grass stock
    Too easy! Rinsed and picked through, we steamed these over a pot containing a half-bottle of viognier, a handful of chopped lemongrass, a dollop* of olive oil and some Penzey's seafood stock.
    Wafer crackers with two pates and quince paste
    All store-bought, though I've made homemade pate before...
    Seared Pekin duck breast glazed in vermouth and rum
    • 1 half boneless duck breast per person
    • tbsp high-temperature oil like canola
    • 1/4 cup? dry vermouth and a dash of 151 rum to flash the pan
    • black pepper
    • 1/4 cup cream
    • 1 tsp Wondra or flour made into thin water-paste 
      • Pat dry the duck breasts and slit the skin side with 4 parallel cuts. Put a small amount of black pepper on them. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet, and lay the duck breasts in skin-side down. Cook about five minutes without disturbing, or until there is some browning of the skin and the breasts have started to cook into the meat. Pour in the dry vermouth; it should sizzle up. Move the duck around in it. When it's half dry, flip the duck breasts over and put in the dash of rum to sizzle. Move everything around, cooking another three to five minutes or until the breasts are cooked on both sides, but still rare inside (about a third of the middle thickness should be rare. Turn up the heat and use the flour and cream to deglaze the pan, but don't let it burn! It only makes about a large spoonful if sauce per duck breast if you did four, but it is more than moist enough with that.
      • I forgot, but we sprinkled on some pomegranite pips, too. They added a nice touch.
    Kale with leeks and sesame seeds
    • Large bunch of fresh kale, washed, large stems removed, and chopped into about 1-inch pieces
    • The white and pale green part of one large leek, washed, and chopped quite fine
    • Tsp brown mustard seeds
    • Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    • lemon
    • olive oil
      • Heat maybe a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan (I use a sort of wok-like pan with a flattened bottom). Cook the leeks with the brown mustard seeds until they are quite soft and slightly browned. Add the kale, sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and let sit about three minutes or so until the kale starts to steam and the bottom layer gets soft. Gently keep turning the kale over and over, bringing the softened part to the top, until it is all dark green and relatively soft. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto it and turn the heat way down and cover, letting it cook at least another ten minutes.
    Parsnips and sunchokes simmered to dry in beef stock
    • Parsnips and sunchokes all peeled and sliced into about a quarter inch pieces or finer\
    • Tbsp chopped parsley
    • tsp red pepper flakes
    • olive oil (is this starting to sound familiar?)
    • beef stock
      • Spray on or barely coat a heavy-bottomed frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. Mix the parsnip and sunchoke slices up with the parsley and red pepper. Spread the mixed parsnip and sunchoke slices in an even layer all over the bottom of the pan. They should be about two to three slices thick everywhere. Let them sit over medium-low to medium heat until they start to sizzle a bit. Add about 1/2 cup of the beef stock and let cook down. When dry and sizzling again, flip over the sections of slices, add more beef stock, and cook dry again. Keep doing that until they are all tender! (And remember: sunchokes give most people gas, so stock Beano!)
    Chestnut and pear compote
    • I used dried, reconstituted chestnuts. They are miraculous!
    • two pears, peeled, seeded and sliced
    • Tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Tbsp butter
    • lemon
    • cinnamon
    • nutmeg
    • ginger
      • Put the chestnuts and pears and butter in a saucepan over low heat with the juice of one lemon and about a cup of either chestnut liquid (if you have it from reconstituting them) or slightly sweetened water. Stir and let cook until the pears are soft and starting to break apart. Add the spices and the vinegar. Cook more, stirring occasionally, at least ten or fifteen minutes more, but definitely until the vinegar smell is gone. We had this sitting on the stove during most of the other cooking--about an hour and a half, total)
    *I tend to use a lot of precise measurements like this in my cooking. My other favorite measurement is "the right amount."
    Monday, December 1st, 2008
    10:36 am
    A Thanksgiving Day Menu
    Steamer clams with wine and lemon-grass stock
    Baguette with olive oil and fig-balsamic vinegar

    Wafer crackers with two pates and quince paste

    Seared Pekin duck breast glazed in vermouth and rum
    Kale with leeks and sesame seeds
    Parsnips and sunchokes simmered to dry in beef stock
    Chestnut and pear compote

    Pumpkin pie with ginger shortbread crust

    Simmer good friends in all day cooking frenzy, three bottles of wine, and one bottle of champagne. Laugh a lot. Raise a lot of toasts.

    Collapse and watch Burn Notice. Giggle madly.
    Friday, February 15th, 2008
    3:46 pm
    Games 'n' stuff
    Okay, the ACUS game schedule thingy...

    Slot 1: "ShadowWorld" by Edwin Voskamp
    Slot 2: "Once Upon a Time in the West - Dead Man's Hand" by Tymen VanDyk
    Slot 3: "Random Gambling - Family Values" by David Vandenabeele
    Slot 4: "Murder and Mystery in the Dreaming City" by James Arnoldi
    Slot 5: GM
    Slot 6: GM
    Slot 7: "Force 10 from Avalon: "The Eregnor Sanction"" by Kit Kindred
    Slot 8: "To Live and Die in Texorami: Kings High" by Doc Kindred

    5 returning characters, 2 GM slots. I usually try to do more new stuff, but still, Squeeness!

    Though I am sad that some players I really hoped to see are missing from my Slots 5 and 6 games... I just need to be able to run 3 sessions of each game at the same time! Still, many others are in there so... Squee!
    Friday, January 18th, 2008
    8:36 am
    The AmberCon games thingy
    Behind the cut, the two games I'm running for AmberCon...

    Slot 5 and Slot 6...Collapse )
    Sunday, January 6th, 2008
    3:35 pm

    --this poster created by Lee Moyer with references to Blue Sun "Travel Poster" art and to Serenity comic art by John Cassaday

    a_belletrist, one of the fantastic minds behind the "Detroit Institute of Art: Death in a Museum" game (at has been running a side-game off her "Firefly: Blue Star Rising" ftf campaign for me. I'm using a modified character I originally developed for Dave deJonge's excellent ACUS game, "Kontroll," in turn based on the Hungarian film of the same name.

    The poster above was created for me by Lee Moyer; Csanyi Sandor, the actor whose image is photoshopped into the above poster, is one of the main actors from the film Kontroll.
    Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
    6:47 pm
    Things I have known for a little while...
    ...but now they are on a website, so I can share with you.

    My friend Erick Wujcik has cancer.

    I've been kind of in shock for a week, trying to get my thoughts into writing, trying to figure out what I can do that expresses my grief without burdening my friend while he goes through treatments and travel and all the things an ever-energetic soul like Erick will go through.

    If you only know Erick through gaming, brilliant and maddening and fascinating as that is, you should know there is another side, where he is a friend and a travel writer and a student of humans and a person of endless curiosity. He is one of the most constantly stimulating houseguests, travelmates, and creativity generators I know.

    Of course I "love" Amber; I "love" the games I've played with him (and really griped at some of them!). But I love Erick Wujcik as a friend. He is a bigger person even than his ideas. I guess that covers it.
    Saturday, July 21st, 2007
    9:06 am
    Glasses for the gloom...
    I know the last thing anyone needs is another political blog. But the first thing one always needs is a good dose of reason.

    If you've ever wondered how the feds do--and don't--calculate the budget deficit, check out athenian_abroad's great post here:
    Gem: "So the total Fiscal Gap between the taxes we did collect in 2006, and the amount we should have collected, given our spending and our debt level, was $828 billion.
    Is that a lot?"
    He goes on to explain why, yes, Virginia, it just might be.

    Or how about how much tax revenues could be raised by various means?
    Gem: "The first problem, of course, is agreeing upon a definition of 'the rich.'"

    Or how much we could save by eliminating those pesky government departments that interfere with all our lives?
    Gem: "We're talking here about eliminating entire programs, agencies, even whole departments of the Federal government: real tough choices. Second, all of our slashing has resulted in a total savings of $602.9 billion, closing only 73% of the gap. Just $225.1 billion to go." It's very perky!

    Anyway, I know, I know, it's not fun. But it is cool in a kind of it's-dissection-week-in-high-school-science-class way.
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