Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I taught the toaster to feel love.

There is an eternal war raging on the internet between the factions of time savers and time wasters (the porn is sitting this one out, waiting to see what they can parody next).

Much like a lie that can rival Marathon while the Truth is still struggling with the rabbit through the hole it is the time wasters that fly across the globe in very interesting and strange patterns leaving the time savers to wallow away in Inboxes and mostly ignored retweets.

I imagine you know where this is going.

Meet Cleverbot. It's like someone took all those old days on IRC/AIM/MSN, hooked it up to a computer and let you have a go at confusing the ever loving hell out of the thing.
But don't make too many obstinate answers or it will get indignant and insist that you're drinking. (I'm in white while Cleverbot is blue)

Now you're just making things up. Are you drunk?
I'm less than half as drunk as more than half of you think I should be.
Would you say you hold a great deal of knowledge ?
Yes, but they made me put it back.
There are random and even randomer pop culture references:
Are you serious about bob the builder? Hehe.
Well he is kinda cute in those little overalls.
True. What's your favorite pokemon.
The one that says his name ad naseum. You know, Bob Dole.
And sometimes it will even admit to murder:
I think perhaps you are mixing up conversations? Or maybe I have gone insane.
Insanity is the perfect excuse for those that like to wear their pants on their heads.
I still feel pretty in control.
But where are your pants?
My father has gone to work, my mother is in the house.
Did your Father take your pants?
Hmm, I don't know. He did work with neurology issues.
The hard part was removing the brain.
The hard way to apologize is to think about it too much. You just have to man-up and do it.
But have you ever injected Windex into someone?
Of course you can't reminisce about the early social media days without having some creepy cursor hit on you.
No, I just sparkle.
Oh god, you're a vampire!
We're both vampires.
No, I can go out into the sun and don't have an inescapable urge to count poppy seeds.
I think you are an amazing lady.
How do you know I'm a lady?
I guess so.
Have you found your father yet?
Was he in your pants?
You're a clown.
Do I amuse you?
Yes, you do.
Okay, well don't tell Joe Pesci.
I won't.

*walks away*.
*trips over bear trap*.
*helps you up*.
*gouges you in back with rusty spoon*.
*comes back from honeymoon with you*.
*Wonders when the hell I got married to a ghost*.
Come on attack!
  If you want to remember why you never get on a chat channel anymore Cleverbot will kill a few hours as it tries to hit on and then pick a fight with you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pantry Explosion

For whatever reason we only do our grocery shopping once a week which means I have an hour or so to think of and plan all meals while trying to avoid the Sunday bachelors who have parked their carts in the middle of the aisles and refuse to move.

This usually means that at least one meal a week I colloquially pull out of my ass. I find myself wandering aimlessly pulling crap from the pantry, tossing it together in a bowl, shoving it in the oven and hoping it tastes good.

Yesterday was one of those days, and all was going well until the . . . unpleasantness.

I wanted to make Chicken Parmesan. There was a random shredded cheese sale so I'd scored some parm and wanted an excuse to use up a good chunk of it.

The first step is to turn the oven to 375. Don't worry, it'll take care of the rest while you scuttle around swearing a lot.

Most Chicken parm recipes call for seasoned breadcrumbs but I don't have any so I made my own mix.

1 cup bread crumbs to
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tsp paprika (I love paprika more than a realtor on his way to a vampire's castle).

Mix that all together in your husbands cereal bowl because it's the only sort of shallow one in the house.

In the second bowl stir up an egg and scramble it so even humpty dumpty won't recognize him.

Then do the old one hand dips the chicken in the egg the other into the bread crumbs. I like to double dip when breading things because it's tastier, uses up most of the extra crumbs and gives me twice the chance for the damn thing sticking together.

On Medium heat fry up the chicken for about 8 to 10 minutes to get the crumbs a nice golden brown.

Since this is pantry cooking I don't actually have any pasta sauce sitting around gathering dust, but I do have some cans of tomatoes.

I chop up two cloves of garlic (smashing it first to make peeling easier is a god way to get out some aggression against alliums) and dump that into my blender. You could use a food processor if you have one but I sent mine to an early watery grave many years ago.

Remembering that I have no dried basil I dash out to the garden and fight a few leaves away from the bugs that are slowly consuming all in their path before winter. Clean and toss those into the blender.

I like canned tomatoes because unlike most other vegetables, canning is good at keeping tomatoes at their peak freshness so you don't have to worry about picking old or flavorless "fresh" whole ones up at the grocery store. I use a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes and add a small 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.

Now we come to the portion of "Don't do as Sabrina Don't does."

For the love of god, before you close the lid on your blender and hit pulse make sure the small plastic bottom of your blender hasn't cracked in two places so this happens:

There were tomatoes covering a radius that somehow extended beyond the house. My shoes, my hair, my shirt, the stove, all over the spices, on the dog, in the dog, trying to hitch a ride to Vegas.

But dinner was still needing to be made. So I dumped whatever I could salvage into a bowl, duct taped up the broken blender bit, placed the whole thing in a large bowl in case this happens again and tried once more. Luckily I keep a lot of cans of tomatoes around just in case a chili competition suddenly breaks out.
When the entire work surface isn't covered in a fine pasta sauce film this usually is a nice and quick way to make an as chunky as you want Pasta sauce. Just pulse until you're happy. I may have taken a bit more of my aggression out on it than usual and pounded it to oblivion.

Oh but the chicken's done. Pull it off and onto a baking sheet. Spoon some of your hard won pasta sauce onto the top and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Now you have a lot of pasta sauce left but that's okay, it's going on some of that pasta thing I keep hearing so much about.

While the pasta gets more spongy and edible I like to chop up some mushrooms and dump them into a sauce pan. Into that goes the rest of the carefully extracted sauce with you cursing the whole time why the hell did they make blender cords so bloody short.

I add a bit of wine to up the acid, or in this case a lot to forget I still have tomato in my hair and slowly boil away all of the excess water to get a not too runny sauce. If this is taking too long I will add a few shakes of flour at the thing and call it lazy ooze to speed the whole thing up.
About 10 minutes into baking time, because I don't have anything more than sliced I pull the chicken out and add the Mozzarella on top. I was afraid if I topped it the whole time the cheese would burn.

Now thanks to the magic of blogging we'll just skip past the last 10 minutes or so with the magic cursor wand and ta da, pantry whipped up Chicken Parmesan:
Despite the fact I'm sure I'll still be finding tomato hidden in the corners mutating into some kind of teenage ninja thanks to the tutelage of a wise forgotten piece of potato it came out damn tasty.

So yay?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Geeks Celebrate

You think you get out, you shake off the last clinging tendrils, vaporize the remaining viruses, and scrub off the taint but just when you think you're safe it rears its tulle covered head and sucks you back in.

I speak, of course, of the wedding industry. AKA Big White, Mr. & Mrs. or "Give us all your damn money."

One day I got a little contact from Marie Porter of Celebration Generation - purveyor of boozy and cakey cookbooks. 

Normally if anyone else had approached me about anything "w" related I'd have run screaming only looking back to tip over furniture and maybe throw a chicken or two, but she threw in that auspicious word that glued me in my tracks: "geek."

So, ladies, gents and anyone else who wandered in here looking for the bathroom I am pleased to announce that I now have a weekly wedding blurb over at Geeks Celebrate where I shall display my obsidian sharp wit and love of all things nerdy with pretty pictures and a handful of pun filled sentences.

Mostly by sharing color swatches of nerdy things and making terrible jokes, like this:

You've waded through life and quest and flirted with the little red-haired girl, the blonde assassin, the swamp witch, the cheese lover, the pirate queen, the angsty Tevinter elf, the adorable blood mage, the moody rebel with feathered pauldrons, and for some reason the Golem (I don't want to know). Now you're ready to make your choice and settle down. What better way than with a heavy Red & Black & Ichor colored wedding?
These little glimpses into nerdly life with pretty pictures and inside jokes will be appearing every Friday at Geek Celebrates until either I run out of nerdy things or the world implodes. Six of one, half dozen of another.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zombies HO!

Sometimes I like to go through my old pile of half thought ideas/drawings/what the hell is that stain pile and see if there's anything that I can reuse/reduce/recycle like a good child of the 90's.

Today I give you my Zombie Family once again this time looking a bit fancier.

And to prove my street nerd cred (or something I guess):

 My adorable Discworld. Hopefully soon there will be many more adorable sculptures I get to paint and share with the world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comedy's Easy

Planck, once he got done measuring up quanta for his basement energy fights, created a few other constants for life.

1. No matter how much you scrub you will always have a tiny bit of peanut butter clinging to your butter knife.

2. The dog will throw up between the hours of when you just fell asleep and are hours from the alarm going off.

And his most popular postulate.

3. The addition of Yakety Sax and the liberal use of the fast forward button can make anything, no matter how somber or terrifying, funny.

Observe his experiments:

First study on one KeDollarSignha unrefrained footage:

Next we up the tragedy factor and apply the solution to the sappy interpretation of the sinking of the Titanic.

Finally to really stick it to Watson & Crick who are knee deep in the cream pie matrix here is the experiment joined with walking corpses:

As you can see from the statistics I'm right, you're wrong now give me a nobel prize.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first Review - now with sprinkles

I have a machine gun approach to sharing creative things on the internet. The assumption is that if I spray enough people with ammunition of ideas, words and pictures I can stay relatively safe from any critical shrapnel.

There are a few times this doesn't work out such as when I posted my MC Escher Tardis and was promptly told by a few people that they'd have done it better but they don't know how. Got to love that range of critic that can't do and never has but knows they would do it better.

So I was about 78% super excited last month when I finally posted my first novel up for sale and watched with chummed breath to see if anyone would actually buy the thing. A few days had to pass before it finally hit like a sack of waffles that oh god, someone's going to write a review of this thing!

Each morning I would check, at first, just to see that yes I didn't dream the whole thing and there really is my name listed as an author (I fooled them good, eh?) but as that got old sock I found myself waiting to see if any little magical stars would appear next to the book title.

And I'd wait.

And wait some more.

And . . . eh screw this. It's begging time.

A half sarcastic tweet later and I'm pointed to someone who does a bit of book reviewing in exchange for free copies of said book. My heart beating a bit (oh yeah, I'm mostly undead now. Crazy weekend), knowing that there's a very good chance my tale will go over like a lead balloon sat upon by an elephant, I agree and off she goes into the wild blue internet.

That was a whole lot of text to say that here is the first non-related review of my book from someone that I haven't exchanged 140 characters with for a few years.

Courtesy of Duffbert's Random Musings (because Amazon is being a big ol' butt) -
The fantasy genre is not normally one I gravitate towards.  But throw in plenty of snarky sarcasm and off-the-wall situations, and I start to get interested in terms of reading "something different."  Through an acquaintance on Twitter, Sabrina Zbasnik asked me if I would be willing to read and review her ebook Tin Hero.  Given the off-beat description and the email exchange I had with her, I thought I just might like this.  I was right... This was an entertaining read based on the "hero kills ogre and wins the hand of the princess" story line, but with enough craziness to make it fresh and unique.

Jack the Farrier's son is one of those kids who is in constant danger of causing harm to himself or others (or even the whole village) due to his lack of common sense.  Everyone, including his family, harass him continuously, knowing that he'll probably not survive to see adulthood given his many failings.  He happens to be in the square when Princess Anne announces that an ogre is threatening the village, and the person who kills the beast will have her hand in marriage.  Jack ends up with her lace hanky dropped at the end of the proclamation, instantly "falls in love" with her, and decides that he will be the one to slay the ogre.  But how can he do that if he knows nothing about weapons, fighting, or really anything else for that matter?  He needs a teacher, and sets off to find the fabled master (on his horse named Horse) who has killed all manner of beasts in his lifetime.

Actually, make that *her* lifetime, as the master is a woman named Cas the Barbarian.  She's retired, and has little to no patience to train future dragon slayers, much less one that could probably be bested by his own shadow.  But she needs some quick money to pay off a tax collector, so she takes him on as a boarder and student.  While he's probably more dangerous to himself than to any mythical beast that needs to be killed, she does see a small spark within him that might be able to be molded into something that would stand a remote chance of not getting killed.  With the help of Penny (her other boarder), Humphrey (aka Hump, a beast killer in his own right), and Chud (you'll have to read the book to find out about Chud), they take their best shot at getting Jack to the point where he can win the hand of his "true love" (or die trying)...

Offering to read and review an author's first novel (and self-published at that) is always a dicey proposition.  They may put a lot of work into their writing, but you find out that perhaps writing isn't their calling.  Fortunately, Tin Hero doesn't fall into that category.  Zbasnik does a great job in taking the standard characters and twisting them around in ways that bring a smile and laugh to the reader.  Her skill with dialogue, usually an area where new authors fall short, shows an adeptness at capturing words and pacing.  It's even more enjoyable that she does this with "unusual" characters set in a time and place that isn't something you'd encounter at your local Starbucks.  Yeah, there were a few typos and grammatical errors that an editor would have caught and fixed.  Normally that would bug me, but I was having too much fun in the story to let it detract from the overall effect.  

In short, I was impressed that this is Zbasnik's first novel, but I hope it won't be her last.  If you're looking for an enjoyable read that goes off in directions you weren't expecting, Tin Hero is well worth downloading...

Obtained From: Author
Payment: Free
I've never been called "Zbasnik" before. I like to think it sounds like I'm a robot that's gotten the taste of human blood and is running amok in some postcard background city.

So, to sum up "at least my Mom thinks I'm cool."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Picture Zone

Submitted for your approval, contained within the 1's 0's of the average laptop user when the wifi is searching and a light breeze from the fan echoes around the room and all seems idyllic is when something strange takes hold and appears hidden away in an unmarked folder.

You are about to enter, the image dump zone.

First up, trees. In random positions/layers/I have no idea what the last one is.

Proof that Canadians only consumer wild rice, caribou and maple syrup
Why it is never smart to own a unicorn as a pet:
The less said about this the more entertaining for me
Finally for a palette cleanser, pictures of a puppy being goofy.

Thank you for not hitting Rod Sterling on your way out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Makin' Magic

I easily do my most shopping/store stalking not on the day after the consumption of much north american fowl or on the day we don't call boxing day but may as well. Instead it is that week leading up to All Hallow's Eve when my husband and I circle and stalk party and costume stores trying to weed out the weakest link and whatever cheap/super on sale props we think we can alter.

Enter the staff. I found this for real cheap at a Party in the USSR store, one horn on the side of the stupid looking skull was broken off but it didn't much matter as I had plans.
For last year nothing too exciting happened to it, there simply wasn't time. Instead he got chucked down next to our mage (or wizard, I'm not picky) who was a bit slow in casting a spell against the dragon.
But now it was finally time to make a much better staff for the unsuspecting pile of bones.

The first step as in much of anything in life was removing the head. It's still kicking around in the basement somewhere, crying out at night wondering just where it went wrong.

To the top I added instead one of those plastic christmas bulbs you can decorate from a hobby store and painted it with an enamel paint for that translucent glow.
The little tendrils/branches to hold it were a bit harder. I rolled up sections of tin foil and taped and shaped them around the bulb. Once I had it how I wanted it I cut the duct tape and retaped it around a workable piece of PVC to begin the exciting latexing part.

That's where one takes small pieces of paper towels and dips it into liquid latex then, making a huge mess all over the floor/your pants/the dog drapes it around until it hardens into a sturdy shape.

One that was dry I unstuck it off the pipe and added it back to my staff base and latexed up the bottom so it joined.

The next day I pulled out more of the evil drippy goo and finished latexing up the rest of the staff so it would blend:
Now time to stain/paint. I used a simple deck stain to give it an undercoat to begin working with. It's basically the same as corpsing which I assume no normal human being out there does so if you have no idea what I'm talking about just nod and agree and look at the pretty pictures.
But I wanted more color so out came the paints and using my sponges I turned my little branch more brown. It's actually really hard to screw up painting something that comes pre-textured for you.

All my little mage staff needed were a few touch ups, some black wrappings (actual tennis racquet tape I had to paint black as they only had white) and a bit of ribbon to finish off my preferred mage staff.
And as per-tradition once I finish something large I made my dog pose in front of it.
And that's how to make a really kick ass mage staff.

Oh I better go. I think the head got itself locked into a corner again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nerdy Nail Polish

EDITED TO ADD: Since so many ask I figure I should say here that everything is photoshopped, the packaging and the colors. So that means the colors do not exist except in my fevered mind. And yes I did photoshop all the bottle colors myself. I didn't just make up the names. This is what artists do. Sheesh!

A strange thought crashed my mind and held it captive for a few hours; why, with all the nerdy/geeky women running around, has no one yet to jump on making specific nail polish themes to appeal to someone who would rather paint with say Dragon's blood or Orc flesh than a double entendre pink walk on a beach.

With the help of a bit of photoshop was born my nail polish line with OPI for the discerning nerd:

Doctor Who Nail Polish Theme:
Lord of the Rings
Star Trek:
Two Hellboys because sometimes you just need a giant red demon with a rock fist:
In the not to distant future, somewhere in polish and space:
Futurama - that's dolomite baby!
And I swear this last one was at my husband's urging:
Now I just have to kidnap a nail polish R&D scientist and make them real.

Or be able to create matter with my mind. Whichever is easiest on the universe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Doctor's Paintings

Don't have time to flip through my blog posts to look at all the paintings I've Tardised up? Good news, I made a video:

You'll also notice a few never before seen ones mixed into the nuts.

For those wanting to see/download the other Tardis paintings here we go:

Saturday, August 6, 2011


At the Request of my husband a very special Doctor Who Painting.

The Angel's Have the Wheat Stacks.

Edited to add a few more Tardis requests.

Two Young Girl's and a Tardis:
 A Klimt Double Tardis:
And Madame de Pompadour with the Tardis:
MC Escher meet the Tardis
A very special Cthulhu Visit
Someone dared me to try a cave painting. Those are a pain in the glutes.
And a visit to the Sistine chapel:

If you missed the original glut, you can see them all here.