November 9th, 2006

bear by san

all my changes were there--

I have achieved stuck. Or, not really stuck, because I kind of have ideas, but there comes an inevitable point in any mystery story where the writer must figure out whodunit and why, and then go back and put the clues in, and possibly, you know, introduce the character who did the dirty deed at some point before the big reveal.

Which in this case, means adding a subplot. But that's okay, because the first 39 pages of this story currently have a surfeit of interesting character dynamics and angst, and not a lot of actual, you know, stuff that happens. And I've got plenty of room to do it in, as this thing *is* supposed to be a novelette or a long novella, and I only just cracked 9000 words. And the structure is open enough that there are plenty of places to put the subplot.

Still, it takes some thinking about. And scribbling of notes. And revising of existing text. And adding of scenes. So I think I will go make coffee and something for breakfast, and then I will sit on the sofa and noodle with the guitar and stare at the ceiling and then later I may juggle for a while and then go for a walk. Because there's a story in my head--I can feel it in there (which is a much better sensation than the horrible feeling that there's nothing down there and that one is just making it up without rhyme or reason to get some words on the page)--and if I can just get my fingers under an edge I can haul the thing up and have a look at it.

If I was a smoking woman, it would be time, in other words, for sitting and smoking. Since I don't smoke, it's time to fidget and sulk.

And figure out what eats rentboys.

Actually, I have a pretty good idea what eats the rentboys. What's puzzling me now is why. know, the more I learn about writing, the less linear my craft becomes?
bear by san

An open letter to Rachael Ray

Dear Ms. Ray;

While I realize that you are the famous person with a cooking show, and I am some jerk who writes science fiction novels, I feel it is nevertheless incumbent upon me to draw your attention to a shameful misappropriation of our common language, the great and flexible English tongue. I am not an afficionado of your program, but I do occasionally catch a few moments of it because it happens to be on before Alton. And I was recently shocked and horrified to hear you use the term "stoup," and then explain that it is sort of halfway between a stew and a soup.

Now. Please cease and desist from spreading this horrible, twee, and trendy miscegenation as soon as possible.

Wikipedia informs us: a stew is a common dish made of vegetables, meat, poultry, or seafood cooked in some sort of broth or sauce. The line between stew and soup is a fine one, but generally a stew's ingredients are cut in larger pieces and retain some of their individual flavours, a stew may have thicker broth, and a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is more like a soup.

Other sources discuss stewing as a subcategory of braising, which is to say, boiling or simmering of foods in liquid until tender. offers a definition based off the Random House Unabridged Dictionary:

1. to cook (food) by simmering or slow boiling.
–verb (used without object)
2. to undergo cooking by simmering or slow boiling.

5. a preparation of meat, fish, or other food cooked by stewing, esp. a mixture of meat and vegetables.

Which confirms the Wikipedia entry.

On soup, Wikipedia offers the following: The language may have shifted over time, but the modern definitions of soup and stew were established in the 18th century: soups usually are more liquid; stews are thicker, containing more solid ingredients. Stews are cooked in covered containers for longer periods of time, at a gentle boil with less water and at a lower heat.

Again, confirms:

1. a liquid food made by boiling or simmering meat, fish, or vegetables with various added ingredients.

In other words, soups are boiled, and stews are braised. Soups are liquid, and stews are not necessarily so.

Or, to put it more plainly, there's no such thing as a "stoup." Now quit it. You hurt my ears with your crazy talk.



P.S. As Alton Brown said: "Of soup and love, the first is best."

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bear by san

because mevennen did it....

The Bear Method to Inauthentic Borscht. Here's a recipe from the last time I did it. This time, I did something different. It starts the same way, though:

First, get some beets and a shirt you don't like very much....

I got three red beets and three golden beets, three carrots, two purple-top turnips (the little tender ones you can eat raw if you are so minded), a parsnip, a head of garlic, three celery stalks, and a big white onion. I also got two pounds of stew beef (cubed chuck roast.)

I scrubbed all the underground veg and cut it in one inch cubes, not bothering to peel anything, though I did stem and end it. Then I tossed everything in a little olive oil and sea salt and vinegar (vinegar keeps the beets red) and put it in the oven on 350 for an hour in my big cast iron skillet to roast and sweeten.

While that was doing its thing, I seared the beef in the big stock pot in a little avocado oil. There wasn't enough fat on this stuff for self-cooking. I took it out and set it aside while still quite rare but heavily browned (except for three or four or five pieces that got salted and put inside the Bear, for lunch) and then I added the (now chopped onion) to the stock pot and sauteed it a bit. When it was smelling good, I added bay leaves and dill and chicken stock, though beef stock would have worked fine too. I put the crushed up garlic and the chopped up celery on top, and then the roasted root vegetables, and then the meat and its juices. And then I cooked it on low until the meat was tender, and cleaned up the beet-related bloodbath in the kitchen.

It did not come out as vividly scarlet as it does when you grate the beets and add canned beets and the tinning juice, but it's quite tasty. Could probably use a bit more vinegar. Best served with slivered salted raw garlic sprinkled on top, and a spoonful of sour cream, and the blackest crustiest rye bread you can find.

It made about seven pints. I will have borscht for a while.

Oh, and I went for a long walk and mostly figured out "Chatoyant." Now I just have to write it. But I may give myself the weekend off.

bear by san

Perhaps more a band of merry men than a posse, really.... I had a pretty good night at archery practice:

Bear, with bondage gear archery strap on thingies.

Yes, I split an arrow. Inside the smallest ring of the target, just to really make my day complete.

Here, have a closeup:

You can't quite see it in that photo, but the nock end of the broken arrow looks rather like Elmer Fudd's shotgun after Bugs sticks his finger in the barrel...

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