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If you're in the Chicago area and can scrape up some dough for a good cause, you will be here:

Reason 1:  Animal shelter fundraiser

Reason 2:  Berghoff food

Reason 3:  Open bar

Reason 4:  This is FitzGerald's

Reason 5:  That keyboard player is My Son

The Animal Care League is R. Cosmo Brown's alma mater and the place where Onyx and Obsidian had some work done.  Which means three of the six residents in my house have close ties to the place.  Rather closer than Nick and Sid would have liked.
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If you had a tavern and it needed a name, then The Duck and Turtle is not an unreasonable choice.  In which case, while circumnavigating Herrick Lake today, I captured the source image for the painting on your tavern sign:

No gentleman mallard was in sight, which makes me wonder about this relationship.  After the cut, a photo of a dragon and a photo of a real prince.  This obsolete pocket camera with the 20x optical zoom sure is fun.  clicky... )
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Burglars hit a friend's home over the weekend.  If you catch wind of anyone selling a sitar, a dilruba, or two acacia-wood Kala Travel Tenor ukuleles with cracks on the face under the bridge, call the Chicago Heights, IL, Police Department at (708) 756-6400.  The ukes are expendable, but they might lead to the Rikhi Ram electric studio sitar which is priceless.

My friends are working musicians and this is, as you can imagine, very hard on them.  So if you can spread the word and share the flyer, much obliged.  Flyer is here in PDF format.
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Musecon this weekend, Itasca, IL

Moebius Theatre show: Friday 9:00 p.m. This year we are not opposite the Singing Tesla Coils.  I would, incidentally, like to apologize in advance to any fiber artists in attendance: a certain sketch I happen to have written is of course about other people and not you.

Improv Workshop: Saturday 1:30 p.m. We are back in the Lakeshore Ballroom this year so we'll have the space to run 30 people through body movement exercises without accidentally killing anyone.  Killing them on purpose is a different matter.

The 4th Annual Musecon Ukulele Summit: Sunday 1:30 p.m. I Got The Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Blues has two chords.  Need I say more?
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If you were expecting, say, a meteor shower and if you lived in the Chicago area and did not want to drive all to heck and gone, where would you go to find reasonably dark sky to the North?

And where's the nearest 24-hour diner, preferably with cherry pie and coffee?

I should have asked this two days ago.  But clear sky, who knew?
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I have neglected to mention...

Nick (l) and Sid (r) joined our household in February.  Because who doesn't need three almost-identical black boycats running around underfoot in the dark?  More here:

Sorry about the blown highlights on Sid's face, but he's sort of a wirehair and the sun reflections get crazy (as does Sid).  Shooting a good double portrait of two 9-month-old black kittens during a mostly gloomy overcast Spring has been an elusive goal.


Apr. 10th, 2014 01:21 pm
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I suppose there are people who do not love spending an hour or two (or more...) studying maps.  This is not for them.  For the rest of us, the New York Public Library put a collection of 20,000 maps online, free to download under a Creative Commons public domain license.  Have fun:

This is just a low-resolution preview resized for LJ.
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Beatrice "Beetle" Silvergirl, age 16, office assistant and Warrior Princess of the 2nd Floor, quietly took leave during the wee hours Sunday morning, January 26th.  On her terms as always. Her anxiety about veterinary visits and stubborn refusal to take thyroid meds (except by subterfuge or violence) undoubtedly accelerated her demise, but we are confident she preferred it this way.

You never saw Beatrice, not even if you've been to our house a hundred times. Here's why... )
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In which I make good on the shortcomings of my previous post.
Read more... )
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In which a dozen* discrete baking events are cataloged with observations and research findings, a new cookbook is briefly reviewed, and a recipe is supplied for an oatmeal-chocolate-ginger cake that you should MAKE RIGHT NOW.

* Ironically, not a baker's dozen.Read more... )
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My children, in the days before Instagram and GIMP filters, we had film cameras given away free by car dealerships.  Embrace the chaos of light leaks and unreliable film advance wheels.  Some of you will recognize what we were trying to accomplish here, and why several cameras were required including my magic plastic POS camera. Circa 1990:

My 2014 resolutions include finally scanning the rest of our pre-digital photos.  So brace yourselves. 
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Well, honestly, if an Ukulele Club in Chicago is doing Susie Snowflake, doesn't it stand to reason that they have to step up to the plate, take their medicine, roll up their sleeves and suck it up with Hardrock, Coco and Joe? I have no second thoughts about that.  But the part where I agreed to write up an arrangement and lead the group, that I should have thought better of.  I have now watched The Video about a dozen times in a row and my cognitive functions may never recover.  There's more to the story, and a PDF, here...
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Field research, cruel mistress!  Shall you never cease in testing me? Once again the Kitchen and its familiar massive oval crockpot are a wellspring of discovery and vexation in equal measure.

I feel a moral obligation to act as a loyal companion to "Mama" while nonetheless maintaining my objective reasoning as an embedded anthropologist. Hence I assist "Mama" in those many endeavours which gain from the unique talents of a feline adventurer. I do not allow myself to nap on the radiator when she needs me on the Kitchen counter. Nay, I do not! And yet, the difficulties!

In the first place, onions.  <sneef>

In the second place, in the name of all that is holy, could someone please elucidate to me the purpose of potatoes? It seems to me they exist only to take up space that would be better filled with meat. Omnivores! Bah!

In the third place, and it is a heartbreaking tale I must now tell, my responsibilities as Back Porch Supervisor require me to venture outdoors -- where The Humans have lately forgotten to turn on the heat despite my reminding them at every opportunity. Thus preoccupied outside in the bitter cold, a closed door barring me from the warmth and hidden mice of the Kitchen, I could do nothing while "Mama," clearly in a fit of madness, chose that exact time to remove two (!) chuck steaks from the icebox, trim them, and brown them magnificently. By the time I captured her attention and the door was opened, said glorious meat was already sequestered in the oval pot and covered by a lid. Yet I could have helped her. 

By God, woman, this is not a job you should be doing alone.

I am now dutifully guarding said oval pot from the mice I know to be hiding under the stove. I shall serve here for five to seven hours or until the meat is fork-tender and the potatoes are done, my only reward being the odd scrap of pot roast and the sure knowledge that someday, somehow, "Mama" will forget to close the porch door behind me. Thus ever are the hopes and tribulations of those who love Science.

I remain your humble correspondent to the Geographic Society,

-- R.C.B.
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How I spent (part of) Chambanacon weekend.  Not that anybody asked, but this seems like a good way to test the service as a site for hosting photo essays.  What do you think?

It pleases me to see that Tackk is based in my old hometown of Cleveland, a city that is way cooler than most people realize.  
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The holiday season begins.  Happy holidays and best of luck to everyone.  Now I must go bake some pumpkin pies...
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In my adult life, I have cohabited with three black cats.  All of them beautiful, and all of them too cowardly to sit on the front porch with me and greet trick-or-treaters.  So I can only put Cosmo to use in photographs.  Ah well...
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Lab coats and safety glasses, check.
Agency logo to affix to lab coats, check (see below).
A variety of small toy frogs and salamanders, check.
20-oz Diet Coke bottles and packs of Mentos, TBD (stop at 7-11)
Twine for affixing said frogs and salamanders to Diet Coke bottles, check.
Spiel about how this is all we have the budget for these days, check.

Almost ready for the party tonight.  Some have accused us of writing our costumes.  Well, hey.

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Max Bialystock's 1st Law of Producing:  Never put your own money into a show.
Max Bialystock's 2nd Law of Producing:  NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY INTO A SHOW!!!

I am pleased to say that Moebius Theatre broke both laws last week and came out ahead.  Reply turned a profit and nobody died -- in storefront theater that counts as great success.  The audience feedback was good and we've established a good relationship with the venue.  Congratulations to director Katharine Zoe Graham and the entire cast and crew.  Now we have to figure out what's next...

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One show down, one to go. Ticket sales already in the black.  Of course, I won't relax until after strike on Sunday night.  Tickets are still available for Saturday and the Sunday matinee, but advance purchase highly recommended:

With water on Mars (yay!) and Voyager 1 exiting the solar system (again) the play is topical.  When an alien makes contact, naturally it gets picked up by all the magazines.  All of them.

Hmm... I am not happy with Flickr's automatic LJ upload.  But the Flickr terms of agreement require a linkback and do not provide instructions for doing so otherwise.  Grmph.  Flickr got the 1T storage, Google+ got the interface that makes sense (barely).  Grmph.
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