- 1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 14.5 oz can of petite cut diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Please note that if you haven’t read the other books some of the review may contain vague spoilers.
This one was Book 9 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. In this book, the Were-animals join the vampires in coming out of hiding, Sookie gets in deeper with her Grandfather Niall and the politics of the Fairies, and Jason Stackhouse is once again a suspect for murder, this time the victim is his unfaithful wife.
Dead and Gone was a quick and easy read, though this book was a bit less fun than some of the other books from the same series because it was darker with its focus on the Fairy War. The direction that the romance between Eric and Sookie was interesting, however Sookie’s reaction though mostly effective lasted overlong and took on a whining undertone for me. I appreciated that she did I thought that the final fight scene was well-written and it and the final chapter wrapped most things up quite nicely. The loose end that is left is clearly a tie-in to the next book (or at the very least a thread left for a future book) which I will look forward to reading, when it comes out in paperback.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Skimming the comments, someone brought up that something they didn't get about Steampunk was the tendency towards the non-functional.
"Steampunk tends to be pure aesthetic value under a thin veil of pseudo-technology. It's sort of contradictory in its nature. A love of old style technology while lacking it completely (for the most part).
Again, I understand the point you're making. It's for looks only, I get it. Still, again, if that were my interest I'd probably insist my stuff works (perhaps like that one fellow who makes steampunk style computer keyboards. Style that actually DOES something at the same time.)"
This started me thinking about the nature of Steampunk. Is Steampunk just for show? How much of Steampunk styling is purely aesthetic? Due to the Do-It-Yourself and individual nature of Steampunk, the answer probably varies completely from person to person. Personally, I do find myself drawn more to the functional aspects of Steampunk. Here are some examples of Steampunk gear that have caught my eye recently:
Photoshoot with the Prosthetic Leg
More Goodies from the Same Artist (Mostly Non-functional pieces but still very cool.)
Computer Case - The flicker link is to an album with a full variety of shots including close-ups and in progress shots.
Steampunk Guitar- The site linked to is the project page with step by step photographs. Very neat!
Victorian Organ Command Desk- The link has a few more close up shots that make it clear that this is pretty much the coolest desk ever.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The War of the Worlds is a classic science fiction novel that is one scientist’s account of the Martian invasion of Earth that began in his home county and the events that followed. Even though, The War of the Worlds was written and set at the end of the 19th century it maintains a timeless nature. I think that part of what give The War of the Worlds its timeless nature is that Wells focuses less on the technological aspects of the story and more on the human emotional reactions to the crisis. The nature of humanity is one that never changes whether the humans in question are driving horses and carriages or cars.
Some of the philosophical issues presented by Wells are particularly fascinating. The Martians themselves are presented as a representation of a fully intellectualized species. The Martians have evolved into just large brains and hand-like tentacles and create machines to accomplish each purpose. At one point, using the Martians as a case study, Wells seems to warn against over reliance on machines.
I found this book to be thoroughly engrossing. It was an interesting look into the beginnings of the modern science fiction genre.
As an additional bit of interest, check out the 1938 radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds that aired the day before Halloween and caused mass panic.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Changeless is the sequel to Soulless, and it maintains the same fun, and witty air of its predecessor. Changeless features Alexia as a married woman dealing with a strange phenomenon that has the supernatural community in a tizzy as Ghosts are spontaneously exorcised, Vampires are living and breathing, and Werewolves have only their human form. As part of the small advisory council to the Queen, Alexia decides to look into the matter for herself, which takes her and an uncontrollably growing entourage on marvelous adventures involving: Werewolves in Kilts, Inappropriate Emotional Attachments, and travel via Airship.
I definitely enjoyed reading Changeless. Changeless introduces some new and fascinating characters especially Madame Lefoux, French milliner and inventor, also the creator of The Parasol, a wonder of modern technology if slightly less fashionable than preferable. Madame Lefoux while having an integral role in the investigation of also makes for some awkward scenes in which the Frenchwoman flirts with Alexia and results in mixed feelings. With the addition of more characters and Alexia’s venture out of London, some of my favorite characters from Soulless were given far less attention than I would like: In particular, Professor Lyall and Lord Akeldama. It was however, fascinating to get a more in depth look at one of Alexia’s sisters, Felicity, and her dear friend Ivy, even though by the end of the novel I was ready to dump both of them in a lake because I can only take so much empty frivolity. Alexia’s relationship with her husband, Lord Maccon still has the same passion that characterized their relationship and if anything has become more tempestuous now that they are married.
In Changeless, Gail Carriger’s Steampunk influences are seen in full force with Dirigibles, Communicators and Gadget Laden Parasols. I loved the scenes on the dirigible especially the fight scene! Changeless also revealed a bit more of what it means for Alexia to be a preternatural and not all of the revelations are precisely positive or easy. It was also a nice touch to introduce figures from Lord Maccon’s past and to see the shift in perspective that it granted Alexia. I thought that the conclusion of Changeless was well wrought with enough loose threads to keep my interest piqued even without the massive cliffhanger. In the end, Changeless only succeeded whetting my taste for more of the same and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the release of Blameless in September.
For a detailed diagram of Alexia's Parasol, check out this Blog Post by Gail Carriger.
4834 Division St
Portland, OR 97206
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
- Science Fiction
- Religious Fiction
- Religious Non-Fiction
- Classic Literature
Spellwright is part of a new generation of epic fantasy novels. Charlton painstakingly crafts a world with a fresh inventive magic system, a myriad of languages, and a prophecy that every faction is interpreting for their own purposes. Nicodemus is a cacographer and the apprentice to a great wizard. His cacography is the magical equivalent of dyslexia and motivates him to search for the solution to his difficulties with magic.
I found this novel to have a slow start which is common with novels that require lots of background and world-building, however it took awhile into the book to really build that connection with the characters. I will definitely say though, that once I reached a certain point Spellwright transformed into one of those books that you can’t put down even though you should have gone to bed two hours ago. I definitely enjoyed the innovative approach to the magic system and how language influenced the spell work. I’m definitely intrigued by Language Prime and I can’t wait to see how it continues to change and effect Nicodemus in the books to come.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I’ve been hovering on the edge of Steampunk for awhile following the adventures of an Old Friend, but I didn’t really get what it was all about.
Recently though a strange series of events involving Twitter, newly published High Fantasy Author and medical student, Blake Charlton, and obsessive link clicking I discovered the blog of Gail Carriger, Steampunk Author and fashionista. I originally drawn in by her post on Book Readings/Signings and The Importance of Proper Dress (Meant for Conventions, mixers and the like but is good advice in general), and moved on to read more (and buy her books, Soulless and Changeless). She also had a very helpful page on her website that answered most of my questions about Steampunk, including the ones I didn't know enough to have yet. Linked here for anyone who wants to know more. I will finish off my fangirling of Gail Carriger with one last link to a blog post that I found very interesting and well thought out: What Makes Steampunk Sexy?
Friday, April 16, 2010
This recipe is an old favorite that takes me back to my sophomore year in college where we had loaves of Friendship bread around the house regularly.
This starter makes use of the natural yeasts that remain in the flour and the kitchen. You can tell that you have a successful starter after the first twenty-four hours when there should be bubbles from the yeast's metabolic processes. The hardest part of this recipe for me is remembering to stir the starter.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter and Bread
- 3 cups Milk (Divided)
- 3 cups Flour (Divided)
- 3 cups Sugar (Divided)
Day 1: Combine 1 cup Flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk in a 1 gallon plastic bag or a non-metal container of a similar size.
Day 2: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 3: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 4: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 5: Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.
Day 6: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 7: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 8: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 9: Mash/Stir the Starter
Day 10: Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Measure out 4 or 5 – 1 cup portions of starter into 1 gallon Ziploc bags. Use 1 portion to make bread for yourself, 1 portion to start the cycle over at Day 1, and freeze or give away the rest of the portions. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.
- 1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 (9x5 inch) loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine the Amish bread starter with oil, eggs, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
“Remember that the passion of Christ ends always in the joy of Resurrection, so when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the Resurrection has to come, the joy of Easter has to dawn. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ!” - Teresa of Calcutta
Unfortunately, I found the writing style of the author to be one that didn’t mesh well with my reading style. One of the biggest issues I had with the book was that it wasn’t until halfway through that Murray established that his intimate knowledge of Mother Teresa’s struggles came from his time as the Father Confessor at the convent. I had a hard time getting through the book but overall I don’t regret the time that I spent reading it.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Spellwright by Blake Charlton
So far, I love it. The magic system is a unique work of art. All I can say is that he better write the sequel quickly.
I Loved Jesus in the Night: Teresa of Calcutta by Paul Murray
I'm finding the insights into Mother Teresa's life and faith fascinating but I don't really enjoy his writing style at all.
I picked up a copy of Changeless by Gail Carriger and I can't wait to get started reading!