Friday, May 22, 2020

Crank up those Brits

I can't resist, they have my number. I love to listen to those smart and snarky Brits tell me about ...whatever they want to.

Comedy nerds talking about stuff I've mostly never heard of: . I started following Matt Lucas (Little Britain) on twitter and listening to all the different versions of Thank You, Baked Potato. That is my quarantine anthem. He was interviewed on Rule of Three and I followed those breadcrumbs. The two-parter with Eddie Izzard is my kind of ear candy (link to Part I). The thought that there is an underground UK cult love of Third Rock From the Sun amuses me greatly.

Travel Man is Richard Ayodade taking quick trips to various world destinations. On beyond Finnish salty licorice he offers us some lovely sights for the eye and some hacky tourist facts and plenty of odd enthusiasm. He's allergic to horses which made the carriage ride in Vienna very uncomfortable! Chris O'Dowd is his companion for that trip, a mini IT Crowd reunion.

Charlie Booker recaps the pandemic from the UK perspective. It's long, 44 minutes, in a good way. I laughed a lot while watching it this morning in my solo office.

The Expanse on prime is not British but hooked me anyway. Canadian Syfy series with excellent actors mostly new to me. I get the feeling that there's a significant percentage of Canada's drama jobs devoted to space opera. Bless. The Danish gets the hat tip for that one too. Nod and I are basically counting the minutes til the next episode.

The semester wraps today for my job. Next fiscal year, which starts July 1, the university expects to lose at least a quarter of its current operating budget. Into the Unknown indeed. Oldest finished her last two AP tests today and is truly done with high school.

Peonies opened triumphantly for my birthday. Dark red, white with yellow centers (fried eggs), double pinks and pale pinks. I really enjoyed watching them. Too bad that one clump is right by our bins, we don't have another good place for them. I looked up transplanting peonies and I don't think I will try that. I'll just crop out the garbage cans from the photos. Nod's spinach and peas are doing well. He also strung a clothesline between our two sheds. He's got quite a to do list and I'm enjoying the results.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Ears and eyes

I've found a podcast and am happily swimming through the past episodes. Somehow I missed John Moe's The Hilarious World of Depression, interviews with comedians (and others) who have depression. Lots of my faves here with Peter Sagal, Maria Bamford and Rhett Miller who even wrote the theme song. <3 div="">
I'm not able to listen to NPR without my blood pressure spiking or yelling epithets at sound bites from the GOP. So I have been looking for other things to let my ears/brain enjoy while I'm doing manual tasks. I still am working my way through the MBMBAM back catalog. I'm in 2011 episodes right now and don't expect to get current... well, at all. Part of the appeal is listening to these goofballs riffing from so long ago. 

I'm also giving jazz a try. Jazz will definitely be flattered by my attention. I like a nice piano and brushes number like Grant Green's Idle Moments - ooh there's even some vibraphone action in this one. One of the CDs I checked out from the library right before it shut down was a Lester Young album. The upbeat numbers are good for washing and dressing. But the slow ones just make me want to lie down and watch a thin thread of cigarette smoke rise to the ceiling.  

Yesterday I found the yutub channel ContraPoints and I may never recover. Philosophy studies, beauty aesthetic, characters and more. Ominous, smart to 11, funny with sharp edges, sexy, this woman has it going on. I couldn't follow everything I was hearing in the first episode I watched, but that just made me want more. Interview here with context for why she makes anti fascist videos look so good. I have fallen under a spell.    

Monday, May 4, 2020

Writing, songs and bread

Meta filter post with links to online archive projects anyone can participate in. Lots of opportunities to transcribe cursive writing.

From the live-pandemic-remote-from-home-fundraiser performances for Sondheim's 90th birthday my favorite performance was Melissa Errico's 'Children and Art' from Sunday in the Park with George. So quiet and sweet and entirely assured. It's at about 40 min. in the full show. Here's a cabaret recording.

Next is Aaron Tveit's 'Marry Me a Little' from Company.

NYT review of the event.

Bread, man
I just made another no-knead loaf but this time I used a bare bones recipe: 3 cups flour, 1.75 t salt, .5 t yeast, 1.5 cups water. Mix and let rise 12-18 hours. Tuck in a ball, bake in hot iron pot at 450, covered for 30 min, uncovered for 15. I liked that it uses much less yeast than my normal recipe. But the dough was so wet and gloopy this morning. I had to mix in a bunch more flour and still kind of poured it into the parchment paper lined pot. It baked up fine but I will have to do some more experimentation. 

Renee's Oatmeal Bread
Savoury bread made w porridge oats (just oatmeal for my American friends) when you run out of flour. I added raisins this time but you can leave them out.

400g oats (Little less than 4 1/2cups)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
500g plain yogurt (2cups)
50 ml milk or water (1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons mixed seeds

For reference, here are ingredients and technique from
100% Oat Bread

4 cups porridge oats
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 cup walnuts crushed
1 egg beaten
1/2  cup milk
1/4 cup water
500 g natural yoghurt

In a large bowl, combine the porridge oats with the bicarb of soda and mix
Add the crushed walnuts and mix further
In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, milk, water and natural yoghurt and whisk together
Combine the dry with the wet ingredients
Place in a baking tin
Bake at 375° for about an hour
Cool on a wire rack

And in my search I found this which I want to eat right now. Not sure I'll get around to baking it but it's not impossible.


1 1/2 cups (177g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups (170g) King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup (71g) oat flour or ground oatmeal
1/3 cup (32g) golden flax meal*
1/4 cup (35g) Baker's Special Dry Milk
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (397g) lukewarm water
*Or substitute 1/3 cup additional whole wheat flour + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.


1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Artisan Bread Topping, or the seeds of your choice

Combine all of the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, sticky dough.

Cover the dough, and let it rise for about an hour; it should become puffy.

Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a 10" oval loaf. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the pan, and allow the loaves to rise for about 90 minutes, or until they've increased in size by about one-third.

Just before baking, brush with a lightly beaten egg white, then sprinkle with seeds. Slash each loaf diagonally three times.

Bake the loaves in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the interior registers 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool. Store fully cooled bread at room temperature, well-wrapped, for several days; freeze for longer storage.