kitchen_kink: (Default)
Folks, maybe you can help me out.  I've been trying to get a hold of about 100 yards of clean fill for our swimming pool, which we want to make into a garden bed.  The trick?  A ten-wheeler dump truck simply will not fit up our driveway.  (Trust me: we tried.)  Anyone have connections, wisdom, or anything else to offer about getting free (or free-ish) dirt?
kitchen_kink: (conrade)
I seem to be directing another show.   Auditions are next week; I hope you'll come out!

Link to info and auditions signup here!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Guys, the concert coming up this Sunday is going to be electrifying.

First, the new oratorio by Mohammed Fairouz, Anything Can Happen, which combines three Seamus Heaney poems with similarly apocalyptic texts from the Arabic Injeel. See more about it here or here.

The piece is giving me chills, especially now that we're working with the violist (Roger Tapping) and the soloist (David Kravitz - squee!). Come get your hair stood on end...

...And after that, hear us knock the Mozart Requiem out of the park. You know you wanna.

Get your tickets here, and use my last name as the discount code!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hey all,

1. If I wanted to make my blog posts appear in a feed on LJ without my having to worry about it, is there an easy way to do that? My blog is on Wordpress.

2. Are you someone, or do you know someone, who would be willing to be an ASL coach for a play? It's minor - like, not Children of a Lesser God - but you need to be able to coach three actors to make them believable to varying levels of fluency.

Books, 2012

Jan. 1st, 2013 07:30 pm
kitchen_kink: (words)
I'm going to try to do better this year than I did the last at reading books. 14, or whatever it was, is a rather pathetic number for an entire year.

1. Fudoki (started in 2011), by Kij Johnson. This, like all of her work, was a jewel of a thing. Every detail beautifully and simply crafted; emotional moments touched with the lightest of brushes. Lovely.

2. Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins. I really enjoyed this book, but it kind of feels like Robbins was careless in places, here. Like the speech of Pan and his nymphs wasn't correct usage of archaic second person familiars in English, which kind of drove me nuts. Overall it was as delightful as he always is even when he's not at his best.

3. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre. I think I've finally decided that however much [livejournal.com profile] imlad loves this story, I do not. At first I thought it was just that I find spy stories confusing, which is true. But no; I think it's just boring. The miniseries from the 70s, in spite of starring Alec Guinness, also isn't doing a hell of a lot for me.

4. Sandman, Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, by Neil Gaiman. How wonderful. It's so exciting to read this for so many reasons, not least of which is watching Gaiman be young and epically emo and getting his feet wet with this character, and knowing how much better it's going to get.

5. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Fantastic. I've been recommending this to everyone, as its insights are fabulous.

6. Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem (reread, aloud to [livejournal.com profile] imlad). I loved this book the first time around, and I still really enjoyed it; reading it aloud was especially fun. But after a second go through I see its deep flaws; it really is a bit too clever for its own good.

7. A Game of Thrones, Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. Yes, I could no longer resist, since my entire freaking household is reading these, and the TV series is so, so, so good. However, so far I'm finding that the writing isn't quite where I need it to be to keep my interest. I think Martin is a television writer for a reason: he's great at world creation and character arc, but he needs great actors to flesh it out. Finished it, finally; while I'm tempted to keep reading, I'm told that the books get even more drawn out, and the show is doing some fabulous condensing that really works. Also recognizing that I want to be reading only extraordinary things.

8. Magic For Beginners, by Kelly Link. Speaking of extraordinary things. I loved this so, so much. Just one strange, mysteriously touching, gem of a thing after another.

9. The Fortunate Fall, by Raphael Carter. [livejournal.com profile] rhya lent this to me; it's little-known and I think out of print, but it's his favorite, and I see why. Reminds me of The Sparrow in many ways: a spec fic written by a scientist who'd never written a novel before, yet came up with brilliance. Finished it and had my heart stomped a bit; it's a difficult one, oy. But so worth it.

10. Sandman, Volume 2: A Doll's House, by Neil Gaiman. The creeptacularity continues. It's neat to see how each one gives a sense of what's to come and how good it's going to get.

11. House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski. I've been wanting to read this since [livejournal.com profile] imlad did a few years back, but I've been kind of avoiding it at the same time because of its ambitious appearance. Infinite Jest took a long time to get me to read it, too. But [livejournal.com profile] rhya brought it up as a favorite and called it one of the most terrifying books he's ever read, and he's a horror fan. So I finally picked it up (and was shocked by how heavy it was). I'm about halfway through and it's...phenomenal. Literally. It feels less like something I'm reading and more like something that's happening to me...which is kind of the point. ETA: Finally finished this and still sort of processing. The ending felt...inconclusive, like the book is meant to keep going even after it feels like you're done. Which I think is also part of the point. Also wow.

12. Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamott. I borrowed this from [livejournal.com profile] quinnclub ages ago, and never gave it back. (There's a single word in Russian for doing exactly this: borrowing a book with no intention of returning it. Of course this word is only ever used by the person who has irrevocably lost the book, not by the person borrowing it.) Anyway, it is a magnificent little volume which took me only a few hours to read, about writing and how to do it. It has given me a little kick in the pants to get some writing discipline on again, and it also made me laugh out loud, a lot.

13. In The Night Garden - Part 1 of The Orphan's Tales, by Cathrynne M. Valente. I loved this pretty unreservedly. Such a delicious twisty thing; reading it felt like savoring a great feast over many hours.

14. In The Cities of Coin and Spice - Part 2 of The Orphan's Tales, by Cathrynne M. Valente. I loved this less unreservedly. The beginning was extremely dark and creepy and difficult, in a way that felt a bit like a slog rather than like a horror I couldn't look away from. It got better as it went along, but it feels a bit to me like the second book is lacking something the first book has; I can't say exactly what. I was pretty satisfied with how it all wrapped up, and really appreciated the return of many characters from the whole of the series in unexpected ways. The way she plays with perspective, and how we as readers decide what and who is important, and who is the good guy or the bad guy, and so on, is very, very nice indeed.

15. Gate of Ivrel, by C.J. Cheryyh (in process). I started this when I was way too tired, and found it unbelievably boring. I returned to it when I was less tired and started to get interested. I'll see if it holds my interest; it's short (unlike her Cyteen which I tried to read for a class years ago and simply could not get into at all), and is a book [livejournal.com profile] rhya likes a lot.
kitchen_kink: (hawaii sign)
So, our household got a hive in May this year. We started with a nucleus hive, but we have a theory that the queen died at some point early on, and they had to build up an establish a new one. Or something. Point is, they didn't build up as strong and in as much force as we expected in this first season. We had put a super on; we ended up taking it off again as they weren't using it at all, and the hive body still isn't completely full, though there are many more bees than when we started.

My question is: what tips do you have for wintering them over, particularly if they have no storage honey? I know they'll need to be fed, but how much, and pollen as well as sugar? And how can we be sure they're fed and safe through the months where we won't want to open the hive at all lest they lose precious heat?

We have a hive-top feeder, a styrofoam box shaped like the hive itself into which they can climb without leaving the hive, though refilling it means taking the lid off.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Here's the link for tickets to the Providence, Salem, and New York City shows!

Clicky. You know you wanna.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hey everyone!

So, this summer, 2010: Our Hideous Future: The Musical! starring yours truly as Kate Brick will be making the circuit of the Northeast! The show has been rewritten to be tighter, funnier, and more emotionally involving. The inimitable Alex Nemiroski is on board as choreographer and movement coach. Emily Taradash is back from her southern adventures to reprise the role of Dehnise, and [livejournal.com profile] usernamenumber will be joining us as the Narrator!

We'll be hitting Providence, Salem MA, and, for the kicker, Brooklyn, NY!

Our tour dates are as follows:

Wednesday, July 11 at 8pm, in Providence, RI at 95 Empire - tickets available soon!
Saturday, July 21 at 8pm, in Salem, MA at the Griffen Theatre. Tickets here!
Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4 at 8pm, at Triskellion Arts in Brooklyn, NY! Tickets here!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hey all -

Anyone in need of a nifty apartment right in Harvard Square, on Dana St? [livejournal.com profile] neuroliz's condo is up for rent again!

This is a beautiful little studio with high ceilings, a working fireplace, laundry in the building, and a storage unit included. $1100 a month, negotiable.

Let me know!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hey all,

I started writing at the Examiner again, mainly because if I didn't, they'd take my column away and give it to someone else. :) I figure I can probably do one a week and keep it relatively current.

Check it out, if you like!
kitchen_kink: (cat-tini)
So yesterday, I decided to make ice cream from this recipe by David Lebowitz. (He doesn't tend to fail me.) I chose, however, to sweeten my ice cream with honey rather than sugar.

Well, did you know that honey is acidic? To borrow a page from [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster, WHO KNEW

Turns out if you heat up good milk and good raw honey in a pan together, you will get MELTED HONEY AND CURDLED MILK.

I let the gross-looking mess sit there with the vanilla in it and steep anyway, because dude, 3/4 cup of local raw honey is expensive and I wanted to see if I could salvage it.

Turns out I was in luck. I did the custard Very Carefully and it actually sort of reconstituted, and when I strained it into the cream, most of the tiny solid bits stayed behind. I churned it this morning, and whoa, it's amazingly tasty. So, not a total fail. Still, I think next time I'll try this recipe, which was developed with honey in mind. (Pro tip: apparently you add the honey at the end. WHO KNEW)
kitchen_kink: (feathers)
Folks, I'm excited to report that the BBC is singing Brahms' Requiem with the Boston Youth Symphony this Sunday at 3pm at Symphony (freakin') Hall. This is very exciting to me; the symphony of insanely talented kids is, well, insanely talented; singing in Symphony Hall is thrilling, and the Brahms is just an outstanding, gorgeous piece of music.

We won't be led by Scott this time, but by Federico Cortese, the maestro of the BYSO and assistant conductor of the BSO for 7 years.


Tickets are available through the BSO's website
.

Please do come - it should be very exciting!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hey all. I've started a blog about my experiences and thoughts with RSM. Oddly enough, the post I made today is about choral singing.

Please check it out, comment, and tell people if you like it!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Anyone need an apartment in Roxbury? My good friend [livejournal.com profile] queenofhalves and her partner [livejournal.com profile] barodar are renting a nice 2-bed. They'll be awesome landlords, I promise. :)
kitchen_kink: (laughing)
Me (seeing the tall and lovely double-bass player who usually plays with us entering): I just love that gorgeous double-bass player.

Really Cool Retired Minister Lady: Oo, yes he is, isn't he!? It's also great that he has that enormous instrument.

Me: *practically sits on her own tongue to avoid speaking*
kitchen_kink: (Default)
So I finally finished going through the confessional post this year; there went my week. ;) I'm still not entirely sure why I let myself get caught up in it every year. It has this incredibly compelling quality I can't define, even if I skip the parts that contain ugly drama.

The thing that struck me, though, was this. I'm usually mentioned in the confessional, if only once or twice, and so far, always favorably. But I notice that what people usually have to say is that I'm sexy (about which I cannot complain), and further, that I have some kind of untouchable/mysterious/sensual/powerful quality that makes them afraid to talk to me.

And all I can think is, really? Still? I know I don't spend as much time as I could in the company of the core group that tends to most participate in the confessional. But I feel like I am out there to a certain degree, I'm very public about who I am, and I try to be friendly when I'm not feeling too introverted or crazed. I guess it keeps surprising me that there are people who think I'm scary. The encouraging thing, I guess, is that I figure the people whom I find intimidating probably feel the same way about themselves: i.e., I shouldn't really be afraid to approach them. :)

But I guess I wish that if I were going to get mentioned, someone would say, "I love her writing," or "Her show was really good," or "She really helped me this one time." I mean, I know it's ultimately a crush meme, but somebody started this "fan letters" trend of suggesting people to say nice things about, and it was neat to see the kinds of nice things that people noticed about each other. It took such a long time in my life for me to feel as though I were seen at all; it's a very special gift to be seen accurately, and it's one of my favorite things when it happens.
kitchen_kink: (theatre)
Hey all,

The Back Bay Chorale spring concert season is nearly upon us! In March, we have not one but two major concerts coming up! Preparation for this has been interesting, let me tell you. The St. John Passion is yet another long and intensely difficult piece by Bach, with all of the rewards that that tends to entail. And the Brahms Requiem is simply one of the most luscious pieces of music ever. Come enjoy one or both, bring your friends!

First up!
Bach's St. John Passion
Directed by Scott Allen Jarrett
March 10, 2012 at 8pm
Sanders Theatre, Harvard University

with:
Dann Coakwell, Evangelist
Paul Max Tipton, Jesus
Margot Rood, soprano
Emily Marvosh, mezzo-soprano
Aaron Sheehan, tenor
Sumner Thompson, baritone

Tickets here!


Next, in a new turn for the BBC, we'll be singing as the guest choir with the Boston Youth Symphony on Brahms' German Requiem. This means singing at Symphony Hall!

Brahms' German Requiem
with the Boston Youth Symphony
Directed by Federico Cortese
Sunday, March 25, 2012, 3pm
Symphony Hall

Purchase your tickets for this concert here.
kitchen_kink: (breadmonster)
One of the things that was remarkable about moving into our new place was making a new sourdough starter. We began with flour that had come from our three disparate houses, and that thing bubbled into an absolute sourdough monster in no time at all. Between that, the awesome oven we have, and still more trial and error, I've gotten pretty damn good at making beautiful, tasty white sourdough bread.

A whole grain bread, though, has eluded me for some time. I tried an all-rye recipe a few times, but the loaves were always, if not brick-like, at least somewhat too dense. 100% whole wheat loaves proved equally difficult, even with super-long overnight retards and proofing times, even with added fat. The bread would be dense, grainy, with very little spring if any, and would fall apart when you sliced it or handled it too much.

Finally this weekend I tried this recipe, being careful to watch especially the second video and learn how to properly handle rye flour. I changed a few things - I used white whole wheat flour in place of bread flour, omitted the seeds and the zest, and substituted maple syrup for molasses. I just wanted a tasty whole grain loaf without all the fancy stuff.

Not having a stone cloche baker, I decided to experiment with a technique I picked up from glancing over [livejournal.com profile] meristem's gorgeous Tartine book: baking in a closed cast iron Dutch oven.

The results:












This bread is thick-crusted, with a delicious spongy crumb and a balanced flavor. I am so psyched to make it part of my regular repertoire.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Going to actually try to really, truly keep track of this this time. Because dude, I'm curious. Now therefore, a list of books I read in 2011, with very brief reviews.

1. [Started in 2010] Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams. Strange and beautiful.

2. The Bed of Procrustes, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A book of aphorisms largely serving to prove what a cranky, egotistical douche Taleb is. Maybe. In reality, I still can't decide whether I hate it or not.

3. Faust, by Goethe (in progress) I stopped this, because the translation was silly. Anyone know of a really good one?

4. Delta of Venus, by Anais Nin. Wacky, sort of wonderful early-century erotica, no-holds-barred, so quite disturbing in places (underage homosexual prep school gang rape, anyone??). I'm tickled by her clear obsession with Freud.

5. Bloodsucking Fiends, A Love Story by Christopher Moore. Wonderfully silly, as he always is. Mildly offensive in places, in ways I've come to expect. Also, a few gorgeous places where his grasp of emotion and story really shines.

6. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. I loved this book unreasonably. It feels to me like Stephenson here has finally gotten the hang of making his own geekery, which in other books can get tedious to some readers, be essential to the plot and characterization. Also, I cried and laughed a bunch, which really, is most of what makes me love a book.

7. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. Yes, I'm having fun reading Moore these days. This edition is leatherbound in black with gold lettering and edging and a red ribbon bookmark, like a Bible. Awesome. I really loved this book, more than I expected to. It's a surprisingly respectful and heartbreaking retelling of the story of Christ, with a lot of laughs and a lot of those deep, emotionally resonant moments that Moore is so good at amidst the comedy.

8. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. I've been meaning to read Mieville for a while now, since everybody's talking about him. I'm only a little way in and it's fascinating, but really, really dark and gross, like Chuck Palahniuk without the humor. Not sure I'll be willing to deal with it. [EDIT: Finished; review here.

9. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I didn't necessarily expect to like this book, but was pleasantly surprised, especially by the section narrated by the monster, which is the book's heart. The rest of it is actually rather weak, especially on the character-development front, but the pacing and relentless horror of it is astonishing.

10. Babel-17, by Samuel R. Delaney. I absolutely loved this book; I was astonished to finally read a book by a sci-fi writer in the early '60s who could write women sensitively, deal with race complexly, be exquisitely aware of emotional communication and intuition, and know something deep about trauma. Of course, Delaney was a gay, black writer working in that world, so I can't imagine how his work couldn't be different from his contemporaries. A lovely little book; the story is only so-so, but the journey is worth it.

11. Story of O, by Pauline Reage

12. Healing Through the Dark Emotions, by Miriam Greenspan

13. Fool, by Christopher Moore

14. Fudoki, by Kij Johnson (in progress)

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dietrich

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