I’ve got it. The way past the roadblock here in chapter twelve of Apocalypse Pictures Presents. I’ve really got it.
I mean, I’m pretty sure I’ve got it.
I even made some word count. See?
Magic Meter doesn’t lie, folks. I’m moving forward, finally. I’m gonna get out of this chapter yet, and then into the rest of this rewrite.
OK, yeah, I’m not 100% sure about how this new direction will impact one of my subplots. But I’ve never let a little thing like total uncertainty stop me in the past, and I’m not letting it stop me now.
Hell, I even have a snippet:
Gil felt the moment slipping away from him, felt the warmth of the sunlight streaming through the windows, reminding him how much shooting time they were losing.
“Do you hear how paranoid you sound?” he said. “Seriously? Come on, guys. Conspiracy theories make for great movies, but they don’t hold up in real life.”
A while ago, I complained that the Beef Stew Stroganoff recipe in the 3-in1 cookbook turned out to be soup and not stew. For my Science of Haute Cuisine final project, I experimented with the recipe and ended up with a good stew recipe.
For my first attempt, I: * Seared the meat by making sure that the oil was over 120c. The outside of the meat must reach 120c for the Maillard reaction, which causes browning, to occur. * Increased the viscosity by changing the quantity of ingredients
This time, I: * Seared the meat better by heating the oil to a higher temperature. I also increased the temperature of the meat, so that it wouldn't lower the temperature of the oil. * Further increased the viscosity (and the creaminess) by adding a corn starch and almond milk paste at the end.
Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 1.5 pounds lean boneless beef, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 14 oz beef broth 2 cups sliced mushrooms 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots 18 ounces baby red potatoes, quartered 1 tablespoon corn starch 3 tablespoons almond milk
Procedure At least 8 hours before cooking the stew, put the beef cubes into a large sealable bag or container, along with the salt. Shake well to coat evenly.
Two hours before cooking the stew, remove the beef from the refrigerator. You must bring the beef up to room temperature, so that the oil does not get cold. Just before cooking, blot the beef with a paper towel.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat to 188c. Add beef. Cook, stirring, until outer layer of meat is seared.
Add pepper and thyme. Pour in broth, stirring to get up all the browned bits. Bring to a boil.
Add mushrooms, peppers, and carrots. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Mix corn starch with almond milk. Turn up heat on the stew. Add a ladle of hot stew liquid to the corn starch paste and mix well. Make a well in the middle of the stew. Add the paste mixture to the stew liquid and mix for 30 seconds. Mix the thickened sauce with the stew. Remove from heat and serve.
Results The meat took a couple of minutes to sear and after 5 minutes was well-seared. I even used stewing beef this time, and the melting fat did not cool the oil much. The almond milk corn starch paste added the creaminess that was missing and also thickened the stew. The original recipe called for sour cream, but we cannot use dairy.
This stew is very mild, and I'm thinking the some onion would turn this into a great stew.
If you’ve been wondering when you were going to get a chance to read for yourself the short story I real aloud at the 2012 Worldcon, that time is now!
The Monkey’s Other Paw: Revived Classic Stories of Dread and the Dead has begun to ship from NonStop Press, and for a limited time, the shipping cost is on them.
So if you’d like to read my semi-sequel to Saki’s “The Open Window,” plus other homages from the likes of Don Webb, Barry N. Malzberg, Paul Di Filippo, Damien Broderick, and Steve Rasnic Tem—and save on the postage as well—here’s how to get the trade paperback or the hardcover.
For today the long-awaited office cabinet arrived.
hrm. The cherry finish is a bit darker than I was expecting from the website/other things I've ordered from them, but not out of line with some of my other pieces, so let's roll with it...
Lower shelf for laptop storage, tech and assorted cords, middle shelf for various and sundry common-but-not-everyday desk supplies, and the top shelf for All The Papers, so they no longer become cat toys.
The dragon on top is Nate.
100% hardwood, so it should last forever. Or at least a decade.
...because the good news is, there isn't much to update.
Trust me, when it comes to medical stuff and kids, it is BORING that you want, and we have been deeply grateful to be in the land of boring for the past couple of weeks.
Caitlin has been healing up nicely. She had a follow up appointment with her surgeon at the end of February, where he noted that he was really pleased with how good everything looked.
She's off of her pain medications. She has begun to roll to her side when lying down under her own power. We're still working on getting her to keep stretching and using her legs. She is slowly building up her stamina for sitting up, both in her chair and, say, on the couch. We were able to solve the barfing problem with a new medication that limits her secretions, which means that her breathing has been getting better.
She has made it through the ENTIRE SERIES of Full House, which she enjoyed very much. (Her dad, not so much.) She's also watching a ton of other stuff, including Cosmos last night.
This is the period where we just slowly wait for bone to grow. We're working on getting her wheelchair adjusted for her new back, which is one of the last steps before she can go back to school, possibly some time in April maybe? We're playing it by ear, but we are very happy with her current progress. Michael has been doing an amazing job caregiving for her, and I've been back at work and getting back into the swing of things, spelling him as I can on nights and weekends. We make a great team.
So far, so good.
We are deeply grateful for everyone who has visited, brought us food, sent Cait notes and gifts and silly pictures and all manner of things. Your support has meant the world to us.
The snow is beginning to melt. Now we look forward to spring.
In the recent interview with Comic Book Resources about the Witchfinder comic book I’m co-writing with Kim Newman for Dark Horse Comics I mentioned that I love monsters – the likes of the classic Universal film monsters, or Godzilla, etc. Writing monsters, and seeing an artist bring them to life, is a thrill.
I stated that I even had the t-shirt. I wasn’t joking. I decided to take a photo of me in it after that interview.
It’s a beloved top. I’ve bought it in Dublin maybe a decade ago, and I have to be careful not to wear it out.
The handy thing about monsters is that they don’t fade or shrink, and they’re always in style.
The Lives of Tao[Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], is Wesley Chu’s first novel, and I kind of hate him a little bit for that. I picked up and started reading the book because I had met Wesley a while back, and he seemed like a pretty cool person. I finished reading it because it’s such a fun read.
Tao is basically a symbiotic life form, one who requires a human or animal host to survive on Earth. His people crash landed on our planet ages ago, and are now at war. Tao and the Prophus want to peacefully encourage humanity’s evolution until our technology is advanced enough to help them get home. The Genjix are believed to have similar goals … minus the “peacefully” part.
After a mission gone wrong results in the death of Tao’s human host, he’s forced into the body of an unambitious, insecure IT technician named Roen. This is the time, when he’s stuck in an untrained host, that Tao is most vulnerable. He has to keep Roen alive long enough to get him trained, and eventually to try to figure out what the Genjix are really up to this time.
Like I said, the book is a lot of fun. Tao is a great character, one who has existed in some of the greatest hosts in human history. (Genghis Khan, for example.) Tao tells Roen dream-stories about some of his past lives at the start of each chapter, which gives him (and us) the background of both Tao and his people.
Tao has tons of experience and knowledge, but upgrading Roen to superspy status isn’t as easy as simply plugging him in. There’s plenty of banter, entertaining training scenes, lots of action, and characters you want to keep reading about.
The only real complaint I have isn’t about the writing so much as it is one of the tropes Chu uses in the book. He’s created a world in which many of the wars and tragedies of human history were actually engineered by the Genjix. While it makes sense in the context of the book, I’ve never liked that particular trope, since it would seem to excuse us for our own atrocities. I know it’s fiction, but it still bugs me. Humans are capable of amazing things. We’re also capable of horrible, evil things. Pretending otherwise feels like lying about human nature.
Like I said, it’s a personal peeve.
There’s a twist in the ending that I saw coming pretty early on, but overall, it’s a good ending, one that wraps up the events of this book while making it clear there’s more to come in the series.
You can read an excerpt of the book at Tor.com. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, The Deaths of Tao.