Friday, October 8, 2010

Stargate Universe epic fail, SGU ratings tank, kill them all and start all over,season 2 episode 2 review, Bye bye Stargate,

For years I've been a big ole stargate fan.  What does this have to do with artisan lifestyle? Nothing. I just like the shows... until now. Stargate Universe.... is an epic fail.Why do I care? Because I enjoyed the first ten years of the  'franchise'.  If this had been a brand new  show,  I wouldn't have bothered with it past season 1 episode 4. But because they slapped the moniker stargate on it, I watched  it a lot longer than I would have.  Jimmy and I sat there last night and sighed heavily as the tedious characters on this show yammered away about tedious topics.  The situational opportunities  to be deep and profound were completely lost in the bad writing. Seriously.... is anyone on the writing staff of this show over 17?  And the crying?  jesus with the crying.... stop it already.  I don't like any of you enough to care! ( Just so you know this critique is not aimed at the actors, They are doing an amazing job with some truly crappy writing.)    The only good thing about last nights episode was the absence of sobbing inanities from the senators daughter. The drawback ?.... one or two episodes from now will be a whole hour of sobbing, babbling senators daughter.   The premise of this show is" these are the wrong people  in the wrong place". You are right about that SG producers.  It could have worked if you had followed through with what really happens to people who are untried, untrained, immature, completely self absorbed and have no self mastery at all.  They either learn fast and grow up quick or they die.   The only way to save this show now is to start killing off the main characters each week until only the strong, capable and willing to learn are still standing. Start by killing off Telford and Young. That will give Scott a chance for personal growth.  Then choose... Rush or Ely... cant have them both. I recommend  keeping Ely because he has the  potential to grow into himself.  Kill or ascend Chloe, she is a useless distraction and brought zero skills with her. Keep Greer, he's the only one who gets it. Then give his leash to Scott to keep a little control on his anger issues.  Put TJ in the infirmary and don't let her out. Jettison the stones and the Aleutian alliance (why did you need to introduce more extraneous characters when you already have a ship full of people you don't know what to do with?) Then start slapping anyone who sheds a tear because after a while.... crying is just self indulgent and gets really old and stale. Especially when its a daily occurance.  That said , Mallozzi already told fans "if you don't like it, don't watch it."  So , I guess I will do what he suggested and not watch it.  A lot of other fans must be taking his statement to heart as well cuz sgu is tanking in the ratings game........ Bye Bye stargate (sigh)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feng Shui, art studio, bagua map, fountain, new wall lights, everything in its proper place, steven halpern, great results

I Feng Shui-ed the studio a few weeks ago. Actually I'm still doing it. Its an ongoing process. Its so much better out here (I'm doing this in the studio today cuz jimmy worked from noon yesterday til 5 am and I'm trying to keep everything as quiet as possible). I surfed up a bagua map ........ had great advice and help from feral Jane and the Good typist.and  tore up the studio for 2 days to make it match up.   My Studio door faces the east which is a good thing.  Straight across from the door is the very open entrance to the garage and all kinds of piles of crap.  I closed that off using just plain cardboard and painted with leftover white paint  from when I painted the studio. (I felt this change immediately). I put a huge painting over it.  After advice from good typist I put some tubed white string lights over it. I was storing finished work and extra  supplies in the relationship corner.... I moved the finished work into the wealth corner and organised it (also good typist advice). This was the corner I previously had work tables and  an easel in.  I also have two built in corner shelves in this corner that were piled with  "stuff I might need" cans of new brushes, shop towels pencils,   and just general crap that had found its way there including a coffee cup in the way back that could have been sitting there for up to a year (sheesh). How long? Long enough to have fossilized contents. So , removed the trash and  and everything else and  beautified this  corner with plants , a fountain  a small painting, some special stones (special to me, not magic or anything....... one I picked up  in a river in the redwood forest... sort of thing), a beautiful block of oak I bought for a project 4 years ago and never got around to, and a mojo bag...  I followed the classic feng shui advice and put a succulent there and a NOT pointy plant.
I put my easel and paints and brushes in the creativity area with a spillover into the career sector  which is in the middle of the room, where I I also placed a work table.  In the knowledge and wisdom corner I put tools and the laptop and  the stereo which I have recently been inspired  to fill with steven halpern subliminals.  I put a lovely  pinkish picture in the relationship corner and will work on this sector more because Jimmy often feels neglected when I'm out here working. I'm inspired to do a simple painting of mandarin ducks (not my usual thing) and put it there on advice of classic feng shui, so he will feel better about the times I shut myself in here.  I still need to work on the helpful people corner because right now it is a wall full of shelves that hold all my art supplies. They are built in and work perfect for their purpose and cant really be moved so I'm looking for advice on what to do there. and lastly Feral Jane said the space was too functional and sterile and that I needed to display my work gallery-esque.  I did the best I could and it looks nice, but I need her to come back over and take a look at it.....feel the energy so to speak.
I have had some great results since the change around, cool job offers, enhanced creativity, more focus, way fewer interruptions when I'm working and what interruptions there are... are not as jarring.   I no longer feel like I'm slogging through mud up to knees while being  zapped with a stun gun at every step. That alone is worth the effort. All the other stuff is Icing after that.
I burned massive incense  the whole time I was cleaning and rearranging, so it smells great in here too.
Yep altogether  a  great project and  a comforting work in progress.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Southern chow chow recipe, 100 year old recipes and how to get them, taking hostages, pluot cranberry jam, canning, preserving, modern techniques, hand grinder, grannys process, beignets,

Busy busy week. Yesterday Jimmy, T-bird and I produced 20 pint  jars of southern chow-chow, 24 jars of spiced pluot cranberry jam and 1 big pot of chicken and dumplings, and.......... by the time we crawled into bed the kitchen was clean and ready for this mornings breakfast which will be beignets with the great jam we made and scrambled eggs. Yep!..... altogether  a very productive day.
Southern chow chow is an interesting thing. It is a very  'old'  food item. It tends to vary from state to state and recipes can get very complicated.'   It is also an  'end of the garden' recipe. Meaning the ingredients (as explained to me by my grandmother)  are the things in your garden that have not ripened green tomatoes and peppers.  For northerners who don't know what chow chow is.... its a green tomato .......well...... relish....  commonly served with beans and cornbread, bar b que, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy.... and just about any other way  southerners can get it into their diet. It took pretty close to 3 hours on the phone with granny  (who is 90 this year) to get it out of her because she says its  NOT a recipe... its a process.  3 hours is not unusual when trying to get  a recipe that is over 100 years old and that morphs slightly with every years harvest.  I also think its Granny's way of keeping me on the phone  long enough to tell me all the family gossip and what her neighbors are doing and which politico is the most evil and various conspiracies she is aware of ( I come by my paranoia honestly). She only gives me 1 useful piece of information about every twenty minutes. So out of respect for her years and everything she has taught me  I will pass on the 'process' but for simplicity will call it a recipe.  And I will give it all to you at once without holding you hostage for the info.

hot southern chow chow

6 pounds or so green tomatoes (remove all seeds and juice)
5 pounds or so green (bell) peppers
two- ish medium heads of cabbage
6 or 8 large onions
a handful of garlic
several hot peppers  to taste (this year we used hot cherry peppers last year jalapenos) 
1/4 or so  cup mccormicks pickling spices (ground.... this is important cuz one year I just threw it in and had crunchy chow chow )
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 cup sugar to taste
2 or so tbsps salt to taste
1/2 gallon apple cider vinegar ( I finally figured out that you put the veggies in the pot and fill to about 3/4  with vinegar)
 Chop all ingredients finely.  Granny used to do this with a metal hand grinder.  I use my kitchen aid food processor. Granny spent about 4 hours prepping and chopping...... It takes about 45 minutes with the kitchen aid. ( I don't even want to think how long it took great granny to chop it all by hand)
Put all ingredients in pot and let simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, tasting and adding   peppers,sugar,salt until you get the flavor you are looking for. Put into sterilized jars, put on sterilized lids and water bath for about 20 minutes. Let cure ( put them in a cool dark place) for 6 weeks and enjoy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homemade wine recipe, artisan wine, organic wine, wine making season, surplus fruit, quintessential artisan product, secret family recipe, high alcohol content

Hand made wine is the quintessential artisan product.  Last fall I shared my secret family recipe for homemade wine.  Here it is.... wine making season again.  Lots of fruit  sitting in freezers  and folks wondering what to do with it (cuz you can only make so much jam before you have to get a commercial license).  So, I am reposting for those who may have missed it.  This recipe is as organic as it gets. No sulphites, no added chemicals, just..... nature at its best.
So, please enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Make your own wine.

To do this you will need:


1 five gallon plastic bucket with lid

1 five gallon glass water jug (called a carboy)

1 plastic airlock

1 cork for carboy with whole bored for airlock to fit

Large stew pot

Potato masher

Sterile siphon hose

Cheese clothe or old Pillow case


2 oz ‘s of pectic enzyme

1 lemon

10 pounds of sugar

1 small packet of wine yeast

10 pounds of fruit (plum is the easiest to start with)

1 packet campden tablets

All items on this list can be purchased either online or at your local brew store

Step 1. Sterilize all equipment

2. Pit ( no need to peal) and cut up fruit and put in plastic bucket.

3. In a large stew pot put 2 ½ gallons of water, juice of half a lemon, 5 pounds of sugar and 2 oz of pectic enzyme. Heat to just under boiling, making sure all the sugar is dissolved.

4. Pour sugar solution over fruit in five gallon bucket.

5. Wait one hour or until solution and fruit have cooled to room temperature and then add the packet of yeast and stir lightly.

6. Put lid on bucket and let sit over night

7. Each day for 7 days , remove lid and mash fruit with a potato masher.

8 .Day Seven , strain juice from fruit through cheese cloth

9. Put juice into Five gallon carboy

10 Put 2 gallons of water in stew pot and heat to just under boiling

11. Put remaining 5 pounds of sugar in hot water and dissolve thoroughly

12. Wait until sugar water cools to room temperature and add to juice in carboy

13. Slide airlock into bored cork and place in opening of carboy

14. Add 1 campden tablet to airlock and 2 tablespoons of water

15. It is wise at this point to seal cork with wax from a candle

16. Put carboy in a warm place and walk away for 1 month

17. At the end of one month you will notice a heavy sediment on the bottom of the carboy….siphon the now ‘working ‘wine back into the sterilized plastic bucket leaving the sediment behind.

18. Pour sediment down drain and clean carboy well

19. Put wine back into carboy and re-seal as before

20. Repeat siphoning process (called racking) every couple of months or so until no sediment forms on bottom

21. When sediment ceases to form, your wine is done and ready to bottle

22. The fermenting process could take from 6 months to a year but it is well worth the wait!

Don’t forget to treat yourself to a glass every time you rack the wine…….. You will be able to taste the changes as nature makes its bounty.

Just a few notes. Wine made with this recipe will be higher in alcohol content than commercially produced. There are no sulphites in this wine. You should get 2 1/2 cases of wine per carboy (give or take). Bottles fished out of recycling, de-labeled and sterilized will keep costs down. Try to use real cork when it is available and never never never use a screw cap for homemade wine. Once you have made a batch of this wine you can add specific herbs to make it medicinal. When winter weather arrives I will post a mulling recipe that will make the holidays oh-so-much easier to tolerate!
For those of you who would like to read the original blog... here is the link