Monday, September 27 2021

Quote of the Day

Behind me Loveland Castle was whole again, albeit a dumpy little building falling apart–one man’s dream of nobility crumbling from neglect. Noble ideas tended to do that when left alone.

Kim Harrison, Ever After

You disappoint me, technology

While I had my doubts about lab-grown meat (how could it possibly have the same micronutrients? also organs and bones are are super good for us), It still sounded like a reasonable alternative for part of the time, at least. Except, I guess it’s not really an alternative at all.

Lab-grown meat is supposed to be inevitable. The science tells a different story.

A trick that might work

So a few months ago, I bought heirloom masa harina to use as a substitute for cornmeal. It didn’t actually work all that great, because the masa harina is ground super fine. So I bought some posole to grind into cornmeal for the coarser texture. Which I haven’t tried yet–basically I want the nixtimalization but I also want tasty cornbread and jonnycakes.

Since my nutritionist has suggested that I do a gluten-free trial for 2 weeks, this has come back around again. And I think this time I have a new, better, strategy, based on recipes like this one:

Masa Harina Cornbread

I can buy regular heirloom cornmeal from the East Coast, then mix it in with the masa harina. This feels like it will go much better than the 1:1 swap I was attempting.

Of course, a lot of these recipes have some added wheat flour, but maybe if I find a 100% cornmeal recipe and switch out half for masa harina that will go better. But I’m eager to try and see what the results are.

Being inspired

I’ve found a couple of solarpunk references that I’m going to be exploring this week, just digging into the genre and getting a feel for its conventions. I found this article with lots of references:

Solarpunk Is Not About Pretty Aesthetics. It’s About the End of Capitalism

I also found this YouTube video, which will lead me to lots of interesting ideas:

Why This Gives Me Hope for the Future (ft. @Saint Andrewism)

Thanks to Our Changing Climate for crediting art and resources in his video, that makes my job much easier.

Solarpunk seems to be having a little bit of a moment, which is exciting!

Monday, September 20 2021

Quote of the Day

You need a new hobby, Rachel. Something other than nasty little men with visions of world domination. 

Kim Harrison, Pale Demon

Omega-3 fats are really really great

So my nutritionist says. And mine seem to be low. I eat seafood, but apparently not enough. I was cooking with walnut oil for a while, because that is supposed to be a good source of omega-3s. But there are types, my friends. There are types.

Why The Omega-3s In Walnuts Are Not The Same As The Ones In Fish And Algae

And I just bought a whole new bottle of walnut oil. Sigh.

Downgraded humans

This phrase is astounding.

The result of all this is what Harris calls “human downgrading”: A decade of evidence now suggests that digital tech is eroding our attention, which is eroding our moral attention, which is eroding our empathy.

 Sigal Samuel, It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder.,

There aren’t exactly any big surprises in this article, but I’ve noticed the lack of empathy out in the Real World, not just online. It’s…interesting knowing it is partly technology to blame.

Starting to find the ways

I stumbled over the idea of solarpunk a number of years ago, and it intrigued me because while I had loved cyberpunk in the 90s, watching the present turn into the future of cyberpunk was a lot less fun in reality than in novels. I was annoyed that sci-fi wasn’t moving beyond cyberpunk to the next vision for most of the 2000s. A couple years ago I heard of solarpunk, and realized that finally, we had.

I know I want to write about hope mostly because I’m sick of despair. Also despair is about as motivating as a traffic jam. We need to be moved to act, I feel, not moved to give up. But that was just me appreciating the idea of solarpunk, not really trying to be in it to write about it.

Now I’m trying to be in it to write about it. And I found these things:

From Afrofuturism to ecotopia: A climate-fiction glossary

Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Hope for Science Fiction?

The more we talk about tea, the more Chambers and I realize we’re circling a fundamental truth about the genre: Tea—cross-cultural and civilizing; steeped in historical trade; revealing, in the leaves it leaves behind, of possible futures—might be the most science-fictional of all beverages. Long before Star Trek’s Captain Picard asked for “tea, Earl Grey, hot,” the Infinite Improbability Drive in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was being powered, Douglas Adams wrote, by “a fresh cup of really hot tea.” More recently, there’s Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta, about a tea master in a water-scarce dystopia, and novellas like The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard. Ann Leckie made tea, its rituals and its trade, central to her Imperial Radch books, one of the more important trilogies in modern times. Even Yoda, in swampy exile, enjoys steaming mugs of things. As does Baby Yoda, his serene sippingmemorialized in a thousand memes.

Dreamforge: A Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

A few of what I’m sure will be many more….

Wednesday, September 15 2021

Quote of the Day

Mistress Coyle agreed, and Simone set to work, planning the whole thing with the absolute focus on capturing a Spackle and sending it back with a message of peace.

Which seems strange after we’ve killed so many of them to do it, but it’s been obvious since the beginning that wars make no sense. You kill people to tell them you want to stop killing them.

Monsters of men, I think. And women.

Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men


There’s not much more to say that that. My arm has been sore for a month. It’s slowly getting better but the constant pain is tiring.

The tiredness is teaching me, however, that I can’t work on more than one thing a day. I keep thinking I can do research in the morning and writing in the afternoon or something, but no, over and over again I get to the end of the day and I’ve been able to work on exactly one thing. Maybe that will change in the future when I am less tired, but for now, it stands. Maybe I can work on more than one project at one, but not all in the same day.

Living the solarpunk dream

It’s finally occurred to me what a solarpunk audience wants to see of a solarpunk writer–all the ways the writer is working (beyond writing) to realize the dream of solarpunk itself. This should have been obvious, but I seem to only just now be getting it.

This decision to write short stories has been having interesting effects all over my work.

No links today, just a sore arm, achy back, and the overwhelming desire for a nap. I think another Epsom salt bath is in order this evening.

Tuesday, September 14 2021

Quote of the Day

Doing what’s right should be easy.

It shouldn’t be just another big mess like everything else.

Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

What games can do when they’re awesome

The Artful Escape

I hope this one comes to GeForce Now because I’d love to play it.

On the eve of his first performance, Francis Vendetti battles with the legacy of a dead folk legend and the cosmic wanderings of his own imagination. Francis, a teenage guitar prodigy, sets out on a psychedelic, multidimensional journey to inspire his stage persona.

Who wouldn’t want to go on this ride?

Solarpunk solarpunk solarpunk

So earlier this year, I was working on reviving an old story from 2015. It revived itself into a cute Romance short story. I stopped working on it, because I had gotten far enough to prove my process worked and it wasn’t in the genre I really want to commit myself to. Well, it wasn’t in one of the genres I want to commit myself to.

Now that I want to add working on some shorts to the mix instead of focusing exclusively on this magnum opus of a novel, I’m realizing that if I want to write solarpunk, I need to start figuring out the genre conventions of it.

So adding on to my study list of The Uninhabitable Earth and MasterClass writing classes is now reading and re-reading solarpunk short stories to get a good handle on what makes a solarpunk story solarpunk.

Oh and I just started working with a nutritionist, who has an entire course to go through as you work with her.

I love research, but wow why is it all that I do, it seems? Surely there’s a point where I know enough to take a stab at writing something….right?

Sunday, June 13 2021

Quote of the Day

Artists spend more of their lives making bad practice pieces than they do masterworks, particularly at the start. And even when an artist becomes a master, some pieces don’t work out. Still others are somehow just wrong until the last stroke.

You learn more from bad art than you do from good art, as your mistakes are more important than your successes. Plus, good art usually evokes the same emotions in people–most good art is the same kind of good. But bad pieces can each be bad in their own unique way. So I’m glad we have bad art, and I’m sure the Almighty agrees.

Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

Building without expansion

Terra Nil is a “reverse city builder” where you restore an ecosystem

In Terra Nil, your goal is twofold. Your first task is to reclaim a barren wasteland, finding ways to reintroduce plants and wildlife into an ecologically devastated area…Once your ecosystem is up and running again, your job shifts: now you’ll need to up stakes and leave, removing any traces of your presence in the area, and completing your work to restore the area to its former natural glory.

PC Games

It’s not out yet, but I can’t wait to play it. This is the kind of art that I love to hear about existing in the world, the kind that gives us a vision of a future where we thrive. As much fun as dystopian endtimes are to read about and watch, living through one is becoming less and less fun.

Are there native Rhode Island plants that are similar to native Pacific Northwest plants?

RI Native Plant Guide

I don’t know, but I found this link that is at least a bit of a start to finding out. This is more research for my new obsession of eating like my ancestors. The Guide will filter by edible plants.

I like cranberries–are they native to RI? And how did the Narragansetts eat them if so?

Native Fruit: Cranberry for all Seasons

Called sasemineash by the Narragansett and sassamenesh by the Algonquin and Wampanoag tribes, the tart berries were an important food source, as early European settlers came to discover. To make pemmican, the fruit (or another berry) was incorporated with pulverized dried fish or meat and melted tallow, and formed into cakes baked by the sun. An endurance athlete of today knows that a proper combination of fat and carbohydrates is necessary to fuel the body. Pemmican was the original power food as this provision provided energy, lasted for months, and was easily portable on long journeys. 

The Indians and English use them [cranberries] much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meate, and it is a delicate sauce…

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), wild in only certain parts of the Northeast and Pacific Northwest…

Julia Blakely, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

Well, some of the recipes to try are going to be interesting, for sure. But cranberries are easy to get on both sides of the country at least.