Tuesday, October 31, 2006

what I got for my birthday...

SICK!!! Annoyingly sick! My first bad cold in maybe 3 years. I am lucky that I don't actually get sick that often because boy oh boy do I HATE IT.

Actually, I did get some cool stuff, lots of well wishes and so on. More on that later. I'm woefully behind thanks to being SICK.

One thing I will post today: Neil Gaiman has done the entire creative community a great service by doing this. Noting the lack of thought most creators have given to the disposition of their intellectual property, he's had a template will drawn up for writers (easily modified for artists and so on I'm sure) that you can freely download and use to cover yourself.

This is actually a subject close to my heart. I've heard several stories of people who died leaving their creations in the hands of family who absolutely should not have had control over their work (and either over-exploited it or supressed it). And while there was no intellectual property involved, I learned a valuable lesson when my uncle died leaving no will, a wife he'd never bother to divorce even though they'd split up a decade earlier, and a live-in partner who was absolutely screwed over by the wife. Very nasty all around. I've since had discussions on many occasions with creators who honestly never even thought about what would happen to their work if they died leaving no will. Think about it for a minute -- if you're very lucky, the law passes your work into the hands of a family member who loves and respects what you do. If you're like most people, it does not.

Anyway, enough of that! If you have intellectual property of any sort to protect (no matter how big or small), go download the will template and get that on your to-do list today!

Friday, October 20, 2006

cutie tezuka!


Okay, seriously, how cute is that? We came across some photos of this new "Tezuka Moderno" line yesterday -- 6 Tezuka characters so far (Astro Boy, Unico, Leo, Pheoniz, Pinoco, and "Sharaku" who I'm not familiar with) have gotten the Cutie treatment from a company called playset procuts. There seems to have been a big art show to launch the line, and a set of capsule toys rolling out this month. Hopefully these will be easy to get, because they are seriously sugar-drenched cuteness! And I, I mean, Emily needs them!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

get more flexible the ultraman way!

No, seriously! Use the classic Ultraman transformation move to get in better shape. I am so doing it right now. Seen in Boost Your Life the Urawaza Way on wired. Also note the bandaid tip -- I saw that one a few months back and have been using it ever since!

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Holiday Hostessing meme

So, the second apron swap is underway, and I'm squeaking my meme answers in under the wire! Mystery partner, I hope they help you out!

1. what kind of holiday party food do you like best? finger food buffet or sit down multi-course style?
Truthfully, while I love the sit-down dinner, I would have to go with finger food -- and baked goods, I like cookies and brownies and things year-round, but especially during the holidays!

2. do you make/use those little name cards for your table seating or is that just another little something that magazines are trying to add to our already long holiday to-do list?
I probably did that as a kid. And it always seems like a good idea. But no.

3. do you miss sitting at the "kid's table"?
Depends on which kid's table! Growing up, the kid's table was the place to be, where my brother and I could totally goof around with friends. I have been at much less fun "kid's tables" though. Funny, no-one seems to do the kid's table anymore.

4. any particular holiday party traditions that you like to do every year?
The holiday season can't start without fast forwarding through Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (we mainly just like the balloons and the "real" Santa); we also must watch A Christmas Story at least once, we drive to see lights, we listen every night to an episode of The Cinnamon Bear...and I'm really looking forward to developing new traditions with the baby! (Okay, I just realized that was supposed to be party traditions, oops!)

5. Which is your favorite winter holiday?
The whole season, although (our thouroughly secular) Xmas wins for gifts and the trees. I love the trees. (Just have to say, nothing beats Halloween though!)

6. do you make or have you tasted any good egg nog recipes...whether using it in a dish or as a drink?
I have never made eggnog but I like the flavor of it -- I can drink the crappiest eggnog and be happy, I swear!

7. fruit cake .... do you love it or think it should be used as a door stop?
I am always seeing recipes for "real" fruitcake that look tempting, but I've been so grossed out by the traditional brick-style that I just can't bring myself to try them.

8. What do you like to do to get yourself in the holiday sprit (ie. certain music, visiting certain seasonal sites, enjoying winter weather, ect.)
Um, all the stuff in question 4; plus wrapping gifts, and I like planning and doing a holiday card! And let's not forget watching the Rankin-Bass specials (especially Rudolph -- we love the misfit toys!), although we usually miss most of them.

9. What is your favorite holiday song and who sings it best?
Hmm, that's a rough one, I like the idea of holiday music better than the reality of it. As much as I might like any song, by the time I've heard it for 3 weeks straight I never want to hear it again. The Cocteau Twin's "Winter Wonderland" is a big favorite.

10. Any ideas for interesting holiday themed parties? (Even if it's really out there -- like renting a snow machine and having everyone build snowmen if you live in a no-snow areas!)
Hmmm, well, I have one but I'm keeping it a secret!! Bwahahahaha!!

Also, on the subject of trees, I am big into the artificial tree. Our main tree is white, and I decorate it in red and white, mostly (see it here!); then the 2nd tree (much smaller) is pink, decorated in red, white and silver (see here!). Also I have a tiny silver one that lights up on it's own that's decorated in blue (no photo).

Saturday, October 7, 2006

cookie fun

maple sugar cookies

Last week I wanted to make some cookies, but discovered I'd forgotten to put an egg aside to do so (when we boiled eggs for miso soup). I'd promised Emily that she could help me bake, and since she loves to help cook (I should say, "help", although she can do some basic things pretty well) she was pretty excited about it. Finding eggless cookie recipes was harder than I thought, but I did finally find this recipe for Maple Sugar Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c softened butter in large mixer bowl, beat at medium speed until creamy (2-3 minutes). Add 3 T maple syrup* and continue beating until well-mixed. On low speed add 1-1/2 c flour and 1/4 t salt. Shape dough into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet 2-3" apart, flatten with bottom of tumbler or with small toddler's (clean!) hands. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
*the original recipe I based this on called for maple-flavored pancake syrup, so you'll be fine using that I'm sure!

Incredibly easy to make. I scooped the dough with my cookie scoop and put the blobs of dough on a sheet, then helped Emily flatten each one with her hands (note the finger marks!) before baking. I think I baked them a minute too long -- watch them closely! They did not burn or get too dark, but they were on the crisp side.

A few days later I decided to try this eggless cookie:

scotch teas
Scotch Teas
Preheat oven to 350. Combine 1/2 c butter and 1 c (light!) brown sugar in saucepan, stir over medium heat until butter melts. Add 2 c rolled oats, 1/4 t salt and 1 t baking powder, mix well and pour into a greased 8"x8" pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool and then cut into squares.

These are weird. For one thing, I have dark brown sugar, and I'm thinking from the photo in the book that they mean for you to use light brown sugar. Evan and I ate them all, but the whole time we were going "do we like these? I'm not sure!". Very much like a very good granola bar -- which gives me some idea how much sugar must be in a granola bar!! I might try them again with light brown sugar just to see how they turn out, but I don't think they'll be making regular appearances in the cookie jar here. Not that we actually have a cookie jar, but....you know what I mean. But the maple cookies will definitely be coming back soon!

Friday, October 6, 2006

bib in action

emily at mitsuwa

And here's my etsy bib in action at Mitsuwa's food court (Emily's waiting nicely for her miso there) -- like I said, it folds up tiny and can be tucked into a bag and taken anywhere. Yay!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

counting down to halloween!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday (I think partly because October is also my birthday month; and also, where I grew up in Florida it was the month it finally cooled off!) and it seems like more and more people agree these days. So every year we're always excited when the new Halloween decorations and stuff roll out, even though we rarely buy much of anything. (Target is always the big one -- even if the merchandise isn't awesome, the store is decorated fantastically.) This year I actually came across something totally new to me -- a Halloween "countdown" calendar! Basically, it's just like an advent calendar, but counting down to Halloween. I feel sure I saw a different one somewhere too, but I didn't note which catalog it was and it's long gone. And the possibilities for making your own are endless -- I think this is a project in my future!

In other news, the new kitchen faucet landed on our doorstep today (the pull-out spray broke off the old one, plus it was kind of nasty). I am actually going to attempt to replace it myself later this week, although with our goofy sink set-up it may be too much for me. Wish me luck!

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