Geological Time

Look at this, a fascinating map and discussion explaining how the ocean levels during the Cretaceous period influenced the Presidential Election. Incredibly cool stuff.

While researching that I came across this, a map claiming to use the availability of Sweet Tea as a menu option at McDonalds locations in Virginia as a new way to map the divide between North and South. Unfortunately it turns out to be a fiction created as part of a graphic design class assignment on information graphics, but still, a very cool idea, and one that could probably have been turned into reality prior to McD's current addition of "Southern Style" items to their nationwide menu.

Photo Phriday

The Final Menu

Fried wontons with goat cheese and butternut filling
Pumpernickel toasts with olives and cheese

Main Courses:
Mushroom/Nut loaf
Mac and cheese
Butternut Lasagna
Spicy green beans with kale and Parmesan
Chile Lime Sweet potatoes
Spicy chickpeas in tomato sauce
3 kinds of stuffing
mashed potatoes
rice and grain salad with dried fruit
Maple brussel sprouts with walnuts
Homemade rolls

Chocolate pumpkin pie
strawberry/pear pie
Cherry cheesecake

God, I love my friends!

I hope everyone had a happy and successful Thanksgiving.


I love to cook. I love reading food blogs and collecting recipes and testing spices and foods from other countries. I love visiting the ethnic groceries in New York and smelling garam masala and picking from 20 varieties of rice. I love seeing the weird imported fruits and trying to determine which sauces might be nice, and to guess what something is in a bottle with only a foreign language on it.

My first memory of cooking is blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffin mix actually, those crappy Betty Crocker mixes with the little chemical balls of blueberry-esque flavor in them. For some reason I remember being obsessed with those in my pre-teen years. I remember running the mix through a sifter to remove all of the blueberry bits then sprinkling them back on top of the batter. For some reason I always cooked them in 8" cake pans instead of a muffin tin. I really don't know why, or where I got the idea to do it that way. I recall a few times even stacking them and frosting them like an actual cake.

My next culinary mountain was the grilled cheese. I remember traying so desperately to perfect the grilled the cheese, and to figure out how it was cooked. Of course at the time, in my mind, the perfect grilled cheese was white bread and processed cheese slices, but we all have to start somewhere. I do remember setting off the smoke detector in my grandmother's kitchen several times during the process of learning this. The idea of "low and slow" was certainly not in my repertoire at the time!

Now of course I try and tackle some bigger projects and foods. I don't really consider myself a "foodie" or even a cook of much note. I always tend to overcook things a bit, and my portions always end up being HUGE no matter what the cale of the recipe seems to be. But the whole idea is to have fun I guess, and I certainly do that.

This of course is the time of year to have tons of fun cooking. For Thanksgiving I am making Chile Lime Sweet Potatoes, a recipe that I made a few weeks back and loved, Butternut and Coconut Jam, and a wild rice and barley salad with dried fruit. And of course I am making a mac and cheese, that Southern Thanksgiving staple. Kid Flash is turning out a Cherry Cheesecake and homemade rolls.

I hope you all have a happy and tasty Thanksgiving!!

The Chinatown Project

I've been collecting these Re-Ment figures, right? I've used lots of them as caching swag, but I still have a big pile of scale vegetables and things that really serve no purpose. (Other than making me happy.) So I've decided to combine this with my love of making miniatures and models, and make a model to use some of the items. The "Farmer's Market" set is one that I actually like quite a bit, so I decided to focus on that one.

I went down to Chinatown and scouted some of the fantastic vegetable and fish markets that set up on the sidewalks along Mulberry and Mott Streets, snapped a ton of research and reference photos. I am attracted to the age and grime on everything, the layer of dirty and history that covers Chinatown, and gives it its edge. My goal in the next few weeks is to recreate one of the vegetable stalls, modelling a lot of it myself, but also mixing in the Re-Ment elements, a few dollhouse elements, and a few other things.

My new hobby I guess... look for process photos soon.

Subway Sketches

Yes, this was my first thought too.

Photo Phriday: Phog

Figured for once I'd try to get my Photo Phriday pick up before 10 til midnight so that it would actually be... you know... on Friday. Snapped this earlier this week when NYC was completely blanketed in a huge fog bank.


If you aren't aware Google has gained access to the complete archive of Time/Life photography and added the ability to search it to through Google Images. Life is well known for having some of the best photography to ever appear in a family magazine, and this archive is a treasure trove og imagery and history. Go and peruse it, little gems like the one I posted above are studded all through it.


This weekend I made a Cherry Cobbler using the classic Southern recipe of a cup of sugar, a cup of self-rising floor, a cup of milk, a stick of butter, and fruit. (Melt the butter in a 9x13 pan, mix the sugar, milk and flour and pour in, add the fruit, bake. Easy peasy.) Kid Flash was a bit taken aback at how thin my batter was, and I didn't really understand that until later, when we were eating it. He remarked that it was more cake-like than he was expecting, and that to him cobbler suggested something with a more crumbly-crumb type topping. We discussed it a bit and figured out that he meant another recipe entirely, cold butter creamed with sugar and flour and spread over fruit, then baked. To me that is a Crumble, or a Crisp, not a cobbler. I also noted that if there had been oatmeal in the topping it would have been a "Brown Betty." So... is this a regional difference? What does cobbler evoke to you?

Chicken Police?

Our cats have been having a touch of trouble lately. They seem to be getting into far more squabbles than they were a few months ago, though admittedly it is beginning to calm down again. Maybe they were just riled up because of the change of seasons? Regardless, Kid Flash and I have been searching for a solution to the problem. I think that this video may hold the answer (though KF disagrees.) Just imagine instead of two rabbits, two cats:


My love of models and miniatures is well established by now I believe. For months I've been shopping at Toy Tokyo and picking up random assortments of goodies from a Japanese company called Re-Ment who makes 1:6 scale miniatures that are blind packed (you don't know what's in the box before you buy it.) Their most recent assortment though tweaks all sorts of cuteness genes that really make me want to give them my money until I have a complete set. These are the cutest little kitten toys I've ever seen.

Look at the white and yellow cat in #8. He has clearly been caught licking his balls. And the kitty in #7 hasn't fared much better in the privacy department. If you aren't enamored of these, then you clearly aren't a cat owner, or at least a cat lover.

Photo Phriday: Phinal Dress

Subway Sketches

Nov 12 of 12

It's the 12th, so it's time for the 12 of 12. Created by Chad Darnell as a way to document the 12th of each month with 12 photos. You can see other participants here.

I woke to a dead battery in my camera. I'm working on a show this week, besides my regular job, so I've been getting home between 2 and 3 every night, so I forgot to check the camera yesterday. So I was late getting started on photos this month. My theme popped up right away though, which I'm sure will become obvious soon. This is the lobby of the building where I work.

At my desk. Since this office was assembled prior to the internet there is a treasure trove of photo books and reference books all over the office. These are some of the ones above my work space.

Out to lunch I spotted a cool shot that fit in with my already emerged theme.

Scanning, scanning, scanning. I spent a good deal of my day sitting here watching that scanning bar move back and forth. This computer isn't quite powerful enough to handle this scanner so it scans in segments rather than one long sweep which REALLY slows the process down.

Union Square on my way to the subway to head to rehearsal. The sun was just setting and the sky was a gorgeous purple blue.

Spotted a way to get in both my theme, and my traditional subway photo.

At rehearsal. I posted a sketch of this set a while back, so it's nice to start to see it coming together. It opens Saturday morning, so just a few nights left to get it finished.

After the actors leave it is down to work doing finishing touches and detail on the set.

While above me the lights get focused and adjusted.

Backstage in the dressing rooms.

A quick break and I run out for a cup of coffee. This week of late nights is starting to wear on me a bit.

All right... my night is through, and it is time to head home. This shop is just around the corner from the theatre and gave me a perfect opportunity to cap off my theme, and this months 12 of 12. See you next month.

Subway Sketches

Photo Phriday

Subway Sketches

My sketchbook has been returned!! It arrived in my mailbox safe and sound this morning with a very kind note. I was frankly a bit scared when the woman who had contacted me refused to meet me and insisted to mail me the book, but here it is. Thanks so much Marianne!

The Map of Hope

I promise I'll get off the politics soon, but the New York Times has some really rather fascinating features on their coverage map of the election. On of the things they have is a slider that allows you to see the voting shift over the last four elections. You can look at the US map broken down by county and as you move the slider you can see the relative shift of voters loyalties comparing this election to the previous four. Here is a screen grab of the four maps:

Look how much more Republican we seem as a nation when we compare yesterday and 1992, (that first map up there) the first Clinton election. But then look at how much more of a Democratic nation we seem than 4 years ago. Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are the only real areas that increased their Republican votes compared to last time.

I've been living with KF too long... he's turning me into a stats geek...

And Washington Heights Goes Nuts

All I can hear is car horns and people screaming. My whole neighborhood is in the street dancing, and I mean that very literally.

Congratulations America.


An hour and 15 minutes in line. 3 minutes in the booth (mostly spent trying to decipher the Prop we had to vote on). I witnessed one arrest (a man who tried to get into a booth after he had been told that he wasn't registered and knocked down an older lady in order to do it.) I saw one woman pass out while in line. When I arrived there were maybe 200 people in line, across the school auditorium and onto the street. When I left the line was a block and a half long outside the building. Now I get to sit back and watch what the rest of you yahoos do all day... (please do the right thing.... please?)

For The Love of God


I won't go into the presidential election again, but if you'll indulge me one last time...

If you live in California I hope you'll consider voting NO on Prop 8. None of the nastiness that has been advertised about Prop 8 is true. Think about it this way... a NO vote on 8 means that there will be NO change in state law. NO change to educational law, NO change to law regarding religion, NO change in law regarding discrimination. A NO vote leaves something that is already law in your state just as it is and keeps the forces of bigotry and discrimination at bay. A yes vote ADDS discriminatory language to your state constitution. Consider this:

If you are from Florida please consider voting NO on Prop 2. The way that law is written it not only strips away the rights of gay couples, but it strips away the rights of anyone who has a domestic partnership or a civil union in the state of Florida, even straight couples. This is a bad, bad law.

I hope everyone will vote, and if you do don't forget to collect your free coffee, your free donut, your free ice cream, and your free vibrator.

See you at the polls.

2000, 2004, 2008

About this time in 2000 I was attending Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah, GA, working on my second undergrad degree and watching that historic election very closely. At the time I was taking an American History class, and after having stayed up all night watching election returns, watching the networks first declare Gore the winner, then Bush, then announcing that Florida was still in play, and had fewer than 2000 votes separating the candidates. My American history teacher spoke to us at length during every class while the recount was going on, talking about how important this election was, how historic the events we were witnessing were going to be, how in the years to come this election would be marked as a turning point for the country in one way or another. She of course didn't know how prophetic she was being. At the time the only things that seemed to be at stake in the election were the standard issues and the standard lines of liberalism, versus conservatism. In hindsight we know just how much was at stake, and how different our world might have been if those handful of votes had gone a different way, or had been counted a different way.

4 years ago I was in New York, but my residence was Connecticut. It was the only Presidential election that was held while I was in that state. With 4 years of Bush in power we had a much clearer picture of what was at stake, and what was happening to the country, but perhaps still not clear enough. I can at least sympathize with those who couldn't "switch horses mid-stream" or still couldn't see the bigger picture of where we were headed. That election I had three choices, New York, Connecticut, or, through a quirk of law, I was still eligible to vote absentee in Georgia, which was the choice I made. New York and Connecticut weren't in play that year, they were going Democratic and all I could do was throw my vote in to help make the mandate clearer. Georgia on the other hand was a place where my vote might make a difference, so I obtained an absentee ballot and voted. I'm happy to say that Chatham county, were my vote was counted went blue that year, though the rest of the state didn't follow suit. Again in 2004 that election had the feeling of being enormously important, maybe even more so than in 2000 since some of the reasons for that importance were readily obvious. And after Florida the feeling that every single vote really does matter was stronger than ever.

I may be speaking from political bias, but this year I just can't see how anyone doesn't see clearly where we are, and what we need to do. My candidate didn't make it out of the primaries, (though I am actually thankful for that since I was backing John Edwards, and his affair would have ended his campaign VERY poorly), but I am still happy and proud to have the choice that I have. The historical importance of this campaign has grown even past the previous two and it is impossible not to feel the weight of history, and the eyes of future generations bearing on us as we prepare to vote. 8 years of a party whose deep fear of science and reason has left us enormously vulnerable, and possibly well past the point of saving our planet and our selves. 8 years of a party whose fear of change, and hatred for any culture not their own has led us not only to wars with outside influences, but to a cultural war within our own borders. 8 years of disdain for the fact that there are other people on this planet, and that our actions have considerable impact on them too. 8 years of ignoring the international laws that we helped put in place to prevent exactly the types of acts that we ourselves are perpetrating. 8 years of distrust. 8 years of rule bending and breaking and convincing us that it is in our best interest. 8 years of allowing corporate ideals to be put ahead of... well... everything. 8 years of lies. 8 years of breaking the spirit of the American public and teaching us that it is okay that we are being surveilled and recorded and watched from every lamp post and street corner. 8 years of dwindling American freedoms. 8 years of us blindly accepting all of that.

THIS is the most important election that I have ever voted in, and I can't wait to actually do it.