I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

11 June 2008

I've Moved!

Yep, I got tired of the nonexistant Blogger support. Writing a blog should not create grief for the blogger, so please come to my new home:


And don't forget to change your bloglines/google reader/links!

10 June 2008

Can't Blog...

I meeeeeeeellllllttttiiiiinnngg.

When I commented to the Consort that in the past, it was only hot here in NH for about 2 weeks in August, he replied,

"Well, it's summer!"

Who the hell is this apologist? And where is my spouse?!

06 June 2008

Alphabet Soup: A PSA, Followed by Some TMI

"A [City name] woman was killed when her vehicle was hit in a head-on collision on Highway 28 Tuesday evening."

We read or hear these short announcements when visiting a local newspaper's Web site or when listening to the local news on the radio. Often, we don't even feel bad. It's too removed, and the idea of a car death too abstract for it to cause more than a brief, "Boy, car travel can be dangerous" reaction.

On Tuesday evening, a woman who is part of our circle of friends in Iowa was killed when an 18-year-old driver overcompensated as his car swerved onto the shoulder of the road. She was 44. Her husband was her high-school sweetheart. She has three daughters, ages 17, 16 and 8. I didn't know her as well as the others in our group, but she always had a smile on her face, and it was always a pleasure chatting with her when we did see each other. She had that calmness about her of self-confident people. She was happy in her life.

Go tell your friends that you love them. Make sure your family knows that even if you bicker, they are special to you. Look your kids in the eye and tell them that you do love them (and you know they love you), even if sometimes there's more arguing than laughing. Go do it now.

Blog friends, even though I haven't met most of you, I really appreciate your comments here. You make my space the Internet a happy place for me to be. I thank you.


Last night, we went out to eat at a local Italian restaurant. I figured that I'd give in and stimulate the economy by ordering a Mafiatini (a vodka martini with a gorgonzola-stuffed olive). I don't know why I picked it -- I don't really like vodka; I haven't liked it since college, when I got really sick on Seabreezes once, and for years blamed it on the cranberry juice (silly Imperatrix). I should have picked just a plain old (yet delicious) Cosmopolitan, but the gorgonzola-stuffed olive caught my eye.

The olive was tasty. The drink? It had the trademark bitterness of vodka, with an extra hit of saltiness that hit me at the back of the throat.

"How's the Mafiatini?" asked the Consort.

"I don't like it. The taste reminds me of another salty fluid, and now I just can't drink any more of it."

"Oh, I see."

"No, this is one fluid I don't think you do see."




"You see, it---"

"I get it! I get it!!"

It was a family dinner, after all. And this is not that type of blog.

04 June 2008

The Fable of the Baby Sweater (Or: Me and Hubris, Once Again)

Once upon a time, I had some sock yarn, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.

Cateling suggested I use it to make the famous Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. What a great idea! My cousin was pregnant, and she had knit some baby things for my girls when they were little, so I knew she would appreciate the time and effort in knitting a baby garment.


Her baby was due in May. Not an ideal time to wear a knitted sweater!

"That's OK," I thought.. "I'll just make a larger size, for him to wear next winter. There are so many beautiful examples of BSJs for bigger babies!"

"But I won't make it blue, because I don't like to play into silly cultural expectations. I'll make it in shades of brown and eggplant, doesn't that sound nice?"


I wanted to make it in a washable wool (this is for a baby, after all; and for a new mother, who won't have time to handwash her baby's clothing). The yarn store didn't have my chosen colors in washable wool of the correct weight. In fact, the store owner mocked me a little bit (yes, it was that chi-chi poo-poo store, I admit -- I happened to be in that part of town when the urge to get the yarn struck me). The teasing flustered me. Also, the only colors that fit my wool specifications were girly colors, and blue.

*Sigh*. "Fine. I'll make it in blues" ...

... "but I will not" ...

... "finish it with" ...

... "traditional and completely overdone nautical-themed buttons."


That's really the only kind of button that went well with the sweater colors.


03 June 2008

Food Challenge, Two Ways

I decided to participate in One Local Summer this year. Silly, huh? The one year I don't have access to a large garden. The one year the only food plant growing in our backyard are two pots of basil and cilantro. But I have faith in our local farmers market. As the season progresses, I'm sure we'll be able to create fantabulous meals of local produce!

And this week? The first week? I've already failed. See, we always buy eggs from our favorite farmer, Geo of Hurricane Flats Farm, at the farmers market. We always have two dozen eggs in our fridge. Except, by the time today (Tuesday!) came along, we only had four eggs left. Sheesh. So the Consort went out and bought me some free range "local" eggs from the food co-op. Since I can't confirm they come from within 100 miles of here, I can't really take credit for it.

I made asparagus and cheese fritatta, with 40% of the eggs from Geo's farm. The asparagus comes from his farm as well (100% of it, of course). The cheese is Ascutney Mountain cheese from Cobb Hill farm (another weekly stall at the farmers market). The salad mix comes from Geo as well. Until local tomatoes are ready, we have our salad without adornments other than homemade vinaigrette. We like it that way. Although it isn't made from local ingredients, the Consort and I had some Long Trail beer (local company, though).

Mmm, tasty tasty!

Doesn't that fritatta look good? Here, have a closer look:

Oooh, fluffy! And in a cast-iron pan!

You'll also notice some bread in our supper picture. Although the flour is from the local (yet nationally famous) King Arthur Flour, the wheat is grown out west. That's OK, because tonight was also the first of two Home Breadmaking Smackdowns.

I've been making sourdough weekly since January, when I got some King Arthur sourdough starter, a pizza stone, and a pizza peel for my birthday. Just last week, though, I took out Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day from the library. This was after requesting it three weeks ago (someone else had it out), and then going to the Amazon site and reading the seven less-than-stellar reviews (out of 123 reviews). Big mistake. By the time I had the book in my hands, those negative reviews had tainted any excitement I may have had about trying this book.

I figured the only way to know if this bread works for us is to compare it with the two other breads we've made recently. Tonight, it was the sourdough.

Five-minute bread on the left, traditional sourdough on the right

Sourdough takes a bit more planning than the 5-minute bread (the starter needs to be fed overnight, the sponge has to do its bubbly thing for 3 hours, then there's 2 hours of rising after the kneading and 2 hours of rising after shaping), but I use my Kitchenaid to knead the dough (sourdough is notoriously sticky dough, a pain to work with by hand), and most of the rest of the time the dough is just "resting," so it isn't a time sink for a home-based freelancer like me.

Do you like airy and "custard-like" crumb, or dense and more bread-like?

After the initial taste, it was 2 to 2. Trixie and the Consort preferred the 5-minute bread ("This tastes much more like European bread!" they said). Impera found it "too wine-y" and I thought that the crumb was too sticky. Also, I thought the crust had a bitter taste, probably from over-cooking (this loaf was 30 minutes in the oven, vs. 20 minutes for the sourdough -- but I think if I had taken it out sooner than called for in the recipe, the center wouldn't have cooked through).

By the end of the meal, Trixie had joined Impera and I on the Pro Sourdough side, and the Consort (stubbornly) remained with the 5-minute bread.

Soon, I'll make another of these loaves (the recipe makes enough batter for 4 loaves, and the dough can stay in the fridge for 14 days) and compare it to one of those no-knead loaves that have become so popular in the past year or so. I'll keep you informed!

02 June 2008

What I Wanted to Tell You

  • We just watched Seven Up/ 7 Plus Seven. It is a British documentary film project begun in 1964. Fourteen English seven-year-olds, from very different social and economic backgrounds, are followed, to get a sense of what English life is like for them. it has been followed by filmed interviews every seven years, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, and 49 (so far). The first disc has the age 7 and 14 interviews on it. All four of us enjoyed it immensely and we plan to keep the subsequent films in our queue (you probably don’t want to watch these all in a row, as they pull previous footage over and over to remind watchers of what had gone on in previous years).
  • For all that I support local video stores (and I know I’ve raved about our Best Place Ever in Des Moines), services like Netflix are useful when one wants to watch a more dated movie, or an esoteric film that wouldn’t necessarily be economically feasible for a smaller shop to own.

    I would have written this in more detail and with lots of prose exuberance, except that my soul has been drained by unpleasant encounters with European bureaucrats who relish in the power provided by their petty fiefdoms, and by the eye-rolling ineptitude of US Postal Service employees.