stevenpiziks: (Default)
Darwin is City Manager of Ypsilanti, but we don't live there.  For city managers, this is problematic.  Whenever a city manager makes a decision that affects residents (including tax policy), the residents like to say, "You don't really care--you don't live here and this doesn't affect you."

However, we aren't portable right now.  Maksim is in high school, and we don't want to uproot him.  Also, much as I love Ypsilanti, I'm living in a place where I have a short commute after 15 years of a 45 minute commute.  I'm not willing to move back right now.

Hence The Condo.

A while ago, I called our old realtor, the one who brokered our houses in Ypsilanti before, and the search began.  We were basically looking for a condominium to be a rental property, with the rent going to pay the mortgage.  That way, Darwin would be a homeowner in Ypsilanti and could rightfully say, "I own a home here, and these policies affect me, too."

Since I know Ypsilanti, though, most of the searching fell to me.  I wanted something close to Eastern Michigan University for the simple reason that it would be easy to rent out and the resale would be higher later.  But there aren't many, and when one does show up, it goes fast!

And then we learned about one.  It's right across the street from the University.  I wasn't able to get out to see it, but Darwin was, and it was exactly what we were looking for.  Except it's occupied by tenants--the people selling it are the landlords.  Apparently the tenants had no idea the landlords were selling it, and they were moire than a little shocked when the realtor called to arrange a showing.  (Their lease ends this fall.)  The landlord did give them the option to buy first, but they didn't want to.

Anyway, we put an offer in.  After the usual wrangling, it was accepted. 

And then there was the mortgage application.  After a 20% down payment (required by the type of mortgage you can get on a rental property), the amount we'd be borrowing for the mortgage fell below what Quicken wanted to loan us.  In other words, we wouldn't be borrowing enough money and paying enough interest.  Quicken compensated by offering us the scandalously high rate of 6% over 30 years.  Darwin was shocked.  Not only was 6% way, way higher than what our credit rating should have given us--or any other human being in America--they were requiring 30 years, and we wanted 15.  Darwin went back and forth with the loan officer for about half an hour on this, and finally snarled that we'd find someone else.  He snapped the connection shut and ended the relationship.

The next day, he talked Marj, our realtor, who said, "Oh my!  You need to talk to =these= people."  And Darwin did, and they trotted us right through a proper mortgage.  Sheesh.

So we're looking to close soon, and we'll be property owners in Ypsilanti again!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
This past week, I made a menu that came out heavy on the meat.  We had ribs, ham, hamburgers, and chicken.  It wasn't on purpose--I just wasn't paying attention.

Maksim asked about some vegetarian dishes, and I said I can easily make some vegetarian dishes.  And Darwin said some salads as a supper main dish would be good.  (By "salad" he means "tossed salad," not "chicken salad.") 

I'm not an experienced salad maker, really, but now that spring has arrived, we'll have greens and other good stuff available.  A light supper of salad and bread and maybe a little cheese would be really good.

But I need good salad recipes.

So I'm throwing it open here.  I know you veggie people are lurking.  What are your favorite salad recipes?  Hit me up!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
Don't worry--she didn't die.

Yesterday evening, I texted the contact at the cat agency and told them what happened to Ceiling Cat.  This brought up some back-and-forth, as you might imagine.  N---, the cat agency lady, asked if she could come out and try to trap Ceiling Cat, on the chance CC was still hanging around.  I said she could.  I told her I had a humane trap for raccoons (I didn't mention I'd already used it to snag CC earlier), but that I didn't want to use it outside because we have skunks, and I was unwilling to trap one.  She allowed that she had a trap that was safer for cats anyway and she would bring it.  I wasn't sure how a trap that was human for wildlife would be somehow be unsafe for cats, especially since the one I bought specifically mentioned that it was useful for cats, but hey--she wanted to do it.  I wasn't all that sure CC was catchable, even if she was still around.

She came out this afternoon with a friend and with Ceiling Cat's brother, who she had lived with until she came to us.  They put Brother in a pen near the bathroom window, along with a baited cage trap that looked like an older version of mine.  I had already put her litter box and the bed she came with on the front porch, hoping she might come back to them, and they arranged these out there as well.

Then they disseminated flyers all about the neighborhood, and searched everywhere, including the woods behind our house.  I think they even recruited our subdivision animal lady, the one who always sounds the alert whenever someone sees a coyote, because they had three people out looking for a while. 

It began to rain, and I don't know if that helped or hindered matters.  It might have made Ceiling Cat more willing to seek shelter, but it definitely made the ladies miserable.  I didn't go out and help--I'd already scoured the neighborhood for CC, despite the fact that I knew CC would avoid me as the person who kept locking her up.

N--- and her friend left the neighborhood for an hour, then came back and looked again, then left, then came back.  This pattern went on for several hours.  You had to admire their dedication, though I was also annoyed that any of it had to happen at all.  I didn't want any harm to come to Ceiling Cat, and was trying to make her a part of the household, but she was clearly freaked out and wanted no part of it--and it seems like the cat agency should have warned me she was so badly skittish.  I wouldn't have taken her if I'd known.

At one point, the cat ladies packed up Brother and took him away, but left his pen and the trap.

At about 10:00, I noticed a flashlight bobbing outside my window.  I was a little startled--the cat lady was still here?  I thought she had gone home for the night.  I slid the window open a tiny bit, and heard her talking in a coaxing voice to "baby girl."  Had she found Ceiling Cat?

I waited a bit, not wanting to go outside and startle CC into running away.  When I saw the flashlight had gone out, I went out to check and found the cat lady near the trap and pen.

"Did you find her?" I called.

"Yes," N--- called back shortly, and this was accompanied by an echoing yowl.  She had Ceiling Cat in Brother's pen.

"Did you trap her, or did she come to you?"

"She came to me."

I have to say I was impressed as well as relieved.  Ceiling Cat was safe! 

Here's where things got a little strange.  N--- didn't acknowledge me any further, and instead just took Ceiling Cat to her car, where her friend was waiting.  She bundled CC into the car without a word to me.  Darwin and I had already decided that if Ceiling Cat showed up again, we were going to ask the cat agency to take her back--integrating her into the household was clearly going to take a LOT of work, and I didn't think she'd ever adjust.  However, she was legally our cat, and N--- didn't even ask what we wanted to do.  She seemed intent on taking CC, whether I was willing to allow it or not.

N--- seemed pretty upset, and I don't blame her for being grumpy after searching a strange neighborhood in the rain for six hours for a cat.  However, she seemed to take the position that this was my fault, and I was somehow a terrible pet owner.  Well, no.  We hadn't done anything wrong with CC.  We worked with her quite a lot, and I used every trick I knew to help her.  I feel the cat agency misled me and took my money, and now they have the temerity to be upset with me over something I had no way to control?

As N--- and her friend climbed into the car, I stiffly said, "Good night."

"Good night," she replied.

It was on the tip of my tongue to say, "I was talking to the cat, not you," but I forbore and instead strode into the house.

At least I don't have to think about Ceiling Cat anymore.
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This morning when Darwin looked in on Ceiling Cat, he met a strange sight.  The small, high bathroom window above the shower was wide open.  The screen behind it was open.  Ceiling Cat was nowhere in the room.  He dashed back into the bedroom, where I was getting dressed.

"Did you leave the bathroom window open?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said.  "About an inch, for ventilation.  The litter box and the cat made it really close in there."

"The cat got out through it."

I thought he was joking, playing on Ceiling Cat's previous escape.  But no.  When I checked, the bathroom window had indeed been slid all the way open, and the screen too.  Ceiling Cat was gone.  Somehow, she had OPENED THE FREAKING WINDOW.  It slides, and not easily so.  But she not only figured out that the window would open farther, she pushed it open ALL THE WAY.  She could have gotten out with just four inches or so, but went the distance.  Then she slid the screen open.  The screen wasn't initially open at all.  This means she must have figured out how to hook her claws into it so it would slide sideways.  She didn't damage the screen in any way, in fact.  And then she jumped for it.

There's no sign of her anywhere in the area.  Not that she'd come to us even if we found her.  I can't put the trap out for her, either.  A trap baited with cat food would attract raccoons, possums, or--worse--skunks as easily as it would a cat.

Clearly Ceiling Cat was more frightened and unhappy than we thought.  I also think she was more feral than the cat agency let on.

I'm done with more cats.  If one falls into my lap, I won't turn it away, but I'm not seeking out any others.  Dinah will have to survive as a single cat.
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This morning when I went downstairs to check the animal trap, the door was shut and a pissed-off Ceiling Cat crouched inside.  The bait bowl was flipped upside-down, so I'm guessing there was a frantic moment when the door snapped shut.

She yowled all the way upstairs to the bathroom.  I shut the bathroom door, set the cage in the tub, and opened it. 

Ceiling Cat eeled out of the trap and zipped around the bathroom, looking for an escape route.  She spotted the window and jumped straight at it, expecting to go through.  BOP!  That confused her mightily.  Then she dove in the sink and curled up.

I petted her for a while, and she finally decided that was all right.  I had to leave for work.

Later, when I got home, I found her still curled up in the sink.  I petted her again, and she finally started to purr.  Then I scratched her back.  This she liked quite a lot.  She licked my hand, and batted at me when I tried to stop.  Eventually I had to leave her again.  When I came back, she was hiding in the litter box.  Ew!

The plan is to keep her in there for at least a week.
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New Kitty, now tentatively known as Ceiling Cat, has gotten up into the basement drop ceiling and refuses to come down.  She sneaks down at night to eat and use the litter box, but that's it.  We can't get to her--she retreats to the plastered ceiling over Aran's room or over the bathroom, where there are no drop tiles to pop. 

This is getting serious.  Ceiling Cat clearly intends to stay up there forever.  Up there, she has no way to acclimate to us or the rest of the house, and since she has food and litter, she has no reason to overcome her shyness.  I think she would live up there for the rest of her life if we let her.

I thought about this long and hard.  Then it occurred to me that I've run into this problem before, more or less.  Back when I was renting a townhouse, we got a raccoon in the attic crawlspace.  The landlord called a critter removal company, who came out and set humane traps for the animal.  Within a few hours, the raccoon was trapped in the cage and whisked away.  Why not do the same thing for a cat?

And I also thought, why hire a company?  The humane traps can't be that hard to use.  Why not buy one and trap the cat myself?

A bit of web searching turned up the fact that my local hardware store does indeed sell humane cage traps for less than $50.  The raccoon size would do nicely.  I popped out and bought one, assembled it with minimal fuss, and put it in the basement with Ceiling Cat's food dish in the bait section:



Now we wait . . .


stevenpiziks: (Default)
Maksim has his learner's permit now.  The youngest is now driving.

He run hot and cold about it, actually.  One moment he's snatching the keys from my hand, the next he flatly refuses to take the wheel.  The road that winds past the lake makes him nervous--he feels like he's going to drop into the water.  He's not wild about highway driving, either, but who is?

He didn't go to school Monday because he was sick with my cold.  Tuesday was his first day back, and he drove us to school in the truck.  For various reasons, the seniors had that day off, so traffic was light, which made it easier.  He did perfectly fine, including the parking.

I'm keeping track of his time with a driving app made just for this purpose.  It's very handy!

Sometimes people ask if it's strange being driven around by my youngest, but it isn't.  This is the third time I've gone through it, and out of all three of the boys, Maksim has been the easiest to deal with in this arena.

New Kitty

Apr. 13th, 2017 08:06 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
While I was dealing with the Great Spring Break Plague, the cat lady announced that we had passed her background check and were qualified to own an actual cat.  Gasp with amazement and clap your paws with glee, everyone!

She was willing to bring the cat to us on Tuesday evening.  All rightie, then.  The cat lady showed up--a 45 minute drive for her--and we brought New Kitty into the house.  She's 10 months old, all black, short hair.  We put her in the bathroom with a litter box and food dishes.

After the cat lady left, we left the cat mostly alone except to peek in on her and pet her a little.  She was unhappy and only the petting with bad grace.  We let Dinah in for a quick look.  She sniffed about, hissed once at New Kitty, and stalked out, her dominance established.

We left New Kitty in the bathroom for the next day and a half.  She mostly stayed in the cat bed she came with.  I petted her extensively, and she started licking my hand and purring.  She didn't like being picked up, though.  I let her out of the bathroom, and she vanished into the house.

For two days.  We saw nothing of her.  Not one hair of her.  We thought she must have somehow gotten out.  I've had more than a dozen cats over the years, and I've never seen one vanish like this.

At last we turned the house upside-down and finally found her huddling in a dark basement corner. I put her back in the bathrooms alone for a couple more days, with occasional peaking in on her, and she finally let me pet her again, but later she got out of the bathroom and vanished completely and has not been seen since.

When I first met her, I noticed her right ear was clipped. I recognized this as part of the catch-spay-mark-release program for feral cats and asked the cat agency about it. The cat lady said New Kitty and her brother were found outdoors and caught, but they were clearly used to humans, so they weren't put into the barn cat category. Both New Kitty and her brother (who was taken by someone else) let me pet and hold them at the cat event, though they were both nervous about it, which I expected in a strange cat stuck in a weird environment.

However, after nearly a week in her new home, New Kitty still hides obsessively. I've had more than a dozen cats of all stripes in my life, and I've never seen this--except among the feral barn cats we (unsuccessfully) brought into the house and tried to tame. New Kitty never, ever comes out of hiding on her own. Ever. She hasn't eaten that I can tell. The litter is stirred around, but that might be from Dinah.

Every other cat I've had hides for a while, but eventually creeps out for cautious exploring, and eventually gives the humans some wary sniffing. Not New Kitty.

Today we're going to hunt her down again and put her in the bathroom and make double-sure she stays in there until she's completely calm, even if it's a week.

 



stevenpiziks: (Default)
Last week was spring break--and I was sick.

I got home Friday, ready to enjoy a week of relaxation.  But on Saturday, it became clear I was heading for trouble, and Sunday morning I was full-blown sick.

Not only did this derail most of spring break, I had to cancel plans with my mother, who was supposed to come down that Sunday for a nice visit.  I wasn't up to it, and she didn't want to catch it, so we canceled.

I spent the week in misery, hoping each day I would get better.  Monday--nope.  Tuesday--nope.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday--nope.  Saturday I was finally sort-of functional, and I had to drive up to Lansing to speak at a conference that had booked me months ago.  I couldn't back out.  Speaking and being "on" as a writer wiped me out completely, and I came home sick again.

Sunday I more-or-less recovered, and Monday I was back at school.

How much did that suck?
stevenpiziks: (Default)
Hey, Dreamwidth peeps--

Back at LiveJournal, you could write an entry and change the date to a future one so the entry would go up later. This let me write blog entries in advance when I had time, but space them so they showed up throughout the week.

I tried doing this on Dreamwidth by changing the date of the post, but all that happened was that the entry was immediately posted, but with the future date at the top.

Is there a way to delay post?  I searched the FAQs but couldn't find anything.  Help!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
Okay, peeps--what's your experience here? New Kitty is having some problems. She arrived last Tuesday, and now nearly a week later, she's still extremely sky and skittish. In fact, she vanishes to the point where we thought she must have gotten out and run away. A few days ago, we turned the house upside-down and finally found her huddling in a dark basement corner. I put her in one of the bathrooms alone for a couple more days, with occasional peaking in on her, and she finally let me pet her and even purred and licked my hand, but the moment she got out of the bathroom, she vanished completely and has not been seen once in two more days.

When I first met her, I noticed her right ear was clipped. I recognized this as part of the catch-spay-mark-release program for feral cats and asked the cat agency about it. The cat lady said New Kitty and her brother were found outdoors and caught, but they were clearly used to humans, so they weren't put into the barn cat category. Both New Kitty and her brother let me pet and hold them, though they were both nervous about it, which I expected in a strange cat stuck in a weird environment.

However, after nearly a week in her new home, New Kitty still hides obsessively. I've had more than a dozen cats of all stripes in my life, and I've never seen this--except among the feral barn cats we (unsuccessfully) brought into the house and tried to tame. New Kitty never, ever comes out of hiding on her own. Ever. She hasn't eaten that I can tell. The litter is stirred around, but that might be from Dinah.

Every other cat I've had hides for a while, but eventually creeps out for cautious exploring, and eventually gives the humans some wary sniffing. Not New Kitty.

Has she gone feral? Did the shock of rehoming freak her out too badly? Will she eventually come around? Has anyone else seen this before? Or should I call the cat people and tell them they gave me a feral cat?

New Cat

Apr. 8th, 2017 08:40 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
We finally have a new cat.

It was an unexpectedly laborious process.  The cat rehousing people (I don't like calling it an adoption--adoption is for human beings) wanted three references, the name of my veterinarian, and a signed contract stating, among other things, that they could enter my house to inspect it any time over the next four years.  What are you, the Gestapo?  Seriously, people--it's a cat.  It's not a human child.  It's a freakin' cat.  I changed the inspection clause to remove its teeth and crossed out a few other clauses.  (One read, "I understand cats are animals and that they do not react the same way human beings do."  No, really?)

I also had to promise to send them vet records showing I did regular vet visits for the next four years.  Sure.  I'll get right on that.

In reality, though, I think they'll forget about it.  Lots of other cats to rescue, you know.

Anyway, we now have a new kitty.  She's a black shorthair, about 10 months old, and extremely shy.  We put her in one of the bathrooms with her own litter box, food dishes, and a cat bed the cat lady said she used a lot.  We put the cat bed in the tub.  The first day, new kitty refused to leave her cat bed.  She let us pet her, but she didn't respond.  After a couple hours, we let Dinah into the bathroom.  Dinah sniffed her way up to the tub, peeked over the edge, hissed once, and stalked away.

The second night, we left the bathroom door cracked open.  In the morning, new kitty had vanished.  Later, we found her in various hiding places--under the bed, behind the dryer.  Each time we found her, she moved to a different hiding place.

Dinah's personality instantly changed, which I find interesting.  When she's the lone cat in the house, she's Needy Kitty, Greedy Kitty, demanding attention and petting, to the point where it gets annoying.  You can have her on your lap for an entire two-hour movie or a three-hour nap, and the moment you get up, she demands more attention.  But whenever there's a second cat in the house, she becomes quiet and reserved.  Right now, she's sitting on top of the cat tree, surveying the house.  Watching.  That other cat is here somewhere, and damned if she's going to let it get away with anything!

We're thinking of names.  The cat's original name was Little Black, which we don't like.  Darwin has plumped for "Fraidy," since she's so shy, but I don't know.  We'll have to think some more.



stevenpiziks: (Default)
The reason I haven't posted much here lately is that I got the Spring Break Plague.  How much does that bite?  Saturday evening I started coughing and feeling a little off.  By Sunday morning, I was full-blown sick.  I have been all week.

What's worse is that my mother was supposed to come down for a nice visit, and we had to cancel.  Not only was I not up to it, we didn't want her catching it as well.

So I've been slouching around the house, watching TV, reading, and sleeping all week.  At least the weather has been crappy, too.  It would be even worse to have great weather and be too sick to enjoy it!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
I make a Ukrainian dish which is wildly popular in our little household. It's just sausage crumbled into a big pan and fried up with onions, garlic, chopped peppers, and a whole pot full of potatoes (boiled, drained, and cubed), spiced with salt and paprika. I call it Ukrainian stir fry, and it's everyone's favorite food, even Darwin. The latter is most surprising, since Darwin generally dislikes foods that are mixed together. This, however, he likes.

Thing is, it doesn't matter how much I make--it always gets eaten. I mean, ALL of it. I noticed this trend, and started experimenting. At first, I was putting in one large potato for each person at the table. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Then I tried one and a half potatoes per person. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Then I tried two potatoes per person. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Today, I used two potatoes per person again, except I forgot Darwin had a council meeting and wouldn't be home for dinner. Then Aran got home from work when I was halfway through dinner prep and announced he'd stopped at McDonald's for supper already, so he wasn't hungry.

CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! All gone.

Geez.

Migrating

Apr. 4th, 2017 08:58 pm
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I was reluctant to give up LiveJournal. I've been there for years and years. It's easy to use, has a nice community, and has many convenient features I like.

But then it was bought out by Mother Russia. Since I didn't feel comfortable handing over my credit information to someone named Boris in Moskow, I stopped using my credit card to pay for my account and started making one-shot payments with PayPal instead. But then we got the new "privacy" statement that basically said, "This new statement lets us do anything we want, and since we're in Russia, what are you going to do about it?"

So now I'm over here: https://stevenpiziks.dreamwidth.org/ Come subscribe to me!

I'll mirror here at LJ for a little bit longer, but Dreamwidth is my home now. It needs some paint and new carpeting and a different kitchen, but I'm good!

Pull up a chair and join the conversation.

I'm Here!

Apr. 4th, 2017 08:45 pm
stevenpiziks: (Default)
I was reluctant to give up LiveJournal. I've been there for years and years. It's easy to use, has a nice community, and has many convenient features I like.

But then it was bought out by Mother Russia. Since I didn't feel comfortable handing over my credit information to someone named Boris in Moskow, I stopped using my credit card to pay for my account and started making one-shot payments with PayPal instead. But then we got the new "privacy" statement that basically said, "This new statement lets us do anything we want, and since we're in Russia, what are you going to do about it?"

So now I'm over here. Hi, there!

I'll mirror over at LJ for a little bit longer, but this is my home now. It needs some paint and new carpeting and a different kitchen, but I'm good!

Pull up a chair and join the conversation.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
This Saturday, I'll be speaking twice at the Rally of Writers conference for their 30th anniversary (!). It's gonna be awesome!

Escaped!

Mar. 29th, 2017 08:03 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Over the weekend, Darwin and I went to another escape room.  This one had a steampunk theme to it.  The "room" was actually an Airstream trailer furnished and decorated with antiques from the late 1800s.  What fun!  There were six of us in all.  We solved puzzles and unlocked locks.  I found a fiendishly-hidden key.  The minutes ticked down.  At ten minutes left, we started to get nervous, and at five minutes, we were panicking.  With two minutes left, we got the final lock open.  Success!

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Darwin and I finally saw BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  My thoughts:

--Emma Watson isn't a great singer. Her voice is quite weak compared to Paige O'Hara. Come to that, none of the cast members has a standout voice, except the opera singer lady. I don't really want the album, as a result.

--They plugged a number of plot holes in this version, including why the villagers seem to have no idea an enchanted castle inhabited by a monstrous beast is within easy walking distance of their village; why the enchantress punished the castle's inhabitants as well as the prince; and why the village seems to enjoy summer weather, but the castle lives in winter.

--They used more material from the original fairy tale, including Belle's father cutting a rose from the Beast's garden.

--LeFou was clearly in love with Gaston throughout this movie.  I'm still not happy with Disney for handing us a villain as our first LGBT character, despite the fact that (SPOILER) LeFou redeems himself by the end. The final scene ticked me off all over again.  All the media outlets reported that LeFou would dance for a moment with a man, and he does--but first he dances with TWO women.

--We had a moment of gay panic mixed with a transgender moment.  During the seige of the castle, the wardrobe attacks three of the villagers by stuffing them into elaborate women's outfits.  (This happens in the original movie as well, but with just one man.)  Two of the villagers are so freaked out by being men in dresses that they run away.  (Gay panic!)  The third man realizes he likes the look and sashays away instead.  I wasn't as happy about that aspect as I should have been because the whole thing was played for laughs.  Trans people are played as objects of comedy and ridicule, you see.  I'm surprised the right-wing nutbags didn't say anything about this--the scene actually lasts longer than LeFou's dance with another man.

--This movie's version of "Gaston" is actually superior to the original.

--The French Renaissance baroque style of decoration for Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Lumiere are intricate and incredibly detailed, but ultimately it's difficult to make out details because facial features--eyes, mouths, noses, etc.--are so tiny.  And Mrs. Potts reminded me of that toy plastic phone from Toy Story 3.  She seems more like a windup toy.  It's cute, though, they way have Chip use his saucer like a skateboard.

--They definitely didn't change the main theme of the movie: it's a woman's responsibility to rehabilitate an abusive man by loving him so much that he'll change from a beast into a kind, handsome prince.  It made me squirm in my seat to watch Emma Watson start to fawn on the guy who, moments ago, screamed at her, pounded on her door, and ordered her locked in her room to starve.  Let the wolves have him, girl!

Overall?  The movie was done well, but I can't recommend it because of the themes and its poor treatment of LGBT people. Try harder, Disney.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Every so often I'll see a TV show or movie that mentions a food I've never heard of.  Since I'm Adventure Chef, I get intrigued and wonder how to make the food and what it tastes like.  Back in the Old Days, this would take considerable research.  I'd have to ask friends if any of them had made it, or go to the library and look up cookbooks from the culture.  It would take hours or even days.

Nowadays?  Easy!  The Internet is the biggest cookbook in the whole wide world.

Recently, for example, I heard a reference to tres leches cake (three-milk cake), an hispanic treat.  The name sounded interesting, and I wanted to see what it was about, so I just checked Google.  I found several recipes that ranged from overly simple ("take one box of yellow cake mix...") to foolishly complicated ("after the custard has cooled for at least three hours in the dry ice, slice all six cake layers in half with a silver-plated knife sharpened under a full moon...")

Basically, tres leches cake is made with three kinds of milk: regular mlk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk.  The first two milks go into the cake batter.  The third is used to make a pseudo custard that your pour over the baked cake, which soaks it up like a sponge to make everything rich and moist.  Whipped cream, technically a fourth milk, is used to frost it.  The great debate about tres leches cake is whether or not it's worth the effort to separate the eggs and beat them separately or not.

I grabbed a middle-of-the road recipe, complexity-wise, and went to work.  Yes, I separated the eggs.  I baked the cake in a square pan and then realized if I poured the soaking filling over it, the filling would overflow.  What to do, what to do?  I finally removed the cake from the pan, put it in a 9x12 pan, and poured the filling over it.  To ensure the filling wouldn't pudde in the vacant half of the pan, I set the pan on a tilt with a trivet and left the whole thing on the back porch for chilling.  Then I whipped some whipping cream and sugar and frosted it.

Whoo, it was good.  But rich!  A small piece is plenty!  Maksim and Aran loved it and ate it steadily for snacks until it had vanished.

All thanks to the biggest cookbook in the whole wide world!

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