Fannish Friday Four

Doctor Who:
It’s that time of year again. The teaser before the teaser before the teaser of the new season of Doctor Who. Hurray! This time last year we were still wondering what we were going to get with a new executive producer in Moffat and a new Doctor. It could only be good for me since I loved Moffat’s episodes and was more than ready for a new Doctor. Now that it turned out so well this second season (why does it seem appropriate I reset the number?) of Moff’s Doctor Who is one where we know what to expect (awesomeness) and it more a matter of waiting for it to come back again. Tonight we got a little titillating taste of what is in store for us with a Red Nose Day special. Take a look at Part One and Part Two and tell me you aren’t ready for more Amy and the Ponds? Get ready to be Incepted.

Dark Magic: I’ve never been much of a short story reader. Short stories haunt me. Like friends you meet and love for a short time until they move off to Montana and you never see them again. *cough* They can touch you profoundly but for me it a sprint instead of a marathon and sprints used to leave me with blood pounding in my ears minus the distance running euphoria I could get. They simply hurt and I avoided them.

I like to be immersed in my fiction, thankyoumuch. It is hard enough to get me to read 500 page one-offs. I prefer a gazillion page series. My recent encounters with short stories started when I ran across C.J. Cherryh’s short story collection called Visible Light. As with many of her other books I buy them when I find them and then let them intimidate me from the shelf for upwards of a year. This one was extra broody because I was so used to extensive ‘verses from her. I finally pulled it it off the pile, read it, and loved it. Of course.

Then this past Fall CJ mentioned she did another short story for a new compilation edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders. It is a collection of short stories from the best Sword and Sorcery writers out there. I knew a few of the writers, but really I have still not recovered from the dry spell of pleasure reading I had in college. A lot of the authors were unfamiliar to me. I thought maybe this would be a good way of getting to know their writing without having to commit much. I’ve been burned in the past after all.

So far so good! I’ve only ready three of the stories, but all three had something in them I liked. As a writer I enjoyed looking at the world building and the character introductions. They only have a short amount of time to get the story started and each writer seemed to have a different speed out of the chute. I think this will be good for my writing and the entertaining aspect of it is just bonus.

Shugo Tokumaru: So many of us are heart-hurt for Japan and for good reason. Prior to the disaster I came across Shugo Tokumaro during my normal internet trolling (like in fishing, not flaming). I was immediately struck with how good his music made me feel. I have no idea what he is saying besides a few words that are all good words, but as a vocal instrument he makes me as happy as Jónsi or The Sugarcubes. If you need a pick-me-up try out his music.

Lannister: When Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was cast as Jaime Lannister I knew Game of Thrones was in good hands. I had loved him in everything else I had seen him in and he was also associated with my space suit kink. Heh. Now that I am seeing more scenes with him, especially with his sister…ok, so I was a Lannister fangirl before. Now…actually, the whole Lannister family is starting to give me warm fuzzy feelings. Sure, they are screwed up in every way possible, but I always *got* them. I can’t say that much about the Starks beyond the first book. Now not only do I appreciate the Lannisters more I think maybe they are the best cast of the whole bunch. For all that the Starks are the bloodlines of the show, the Lannisters are always nearby when the moral decisions are made. Kingslayer anyone? The more I know about what went on years ago and is going on now I am finding myself looking to them as contributors rather than simply the villains. Here is a new, general trailer that shows more Lannister as well as more of the rest of the characters. Oh, and here is one just for Jaime. As always, I warn you to avoid the comments in YouTube and elsewhere. If not spoilers there are some fanboys on there to be avoided.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I used to eat my brussels sprouts steamed and glazed with butter. Typically I got them frozen to start with. Out of habit since that was how mum did it. They seemed powerless in the frozen state. The fresh ones in the store were intimidating. Especially if they were still in a branch or whatever that is. I don’t know what the whole plant looks like and I am too afraid to look it up. This is from the girl who used to think cantaloupe grew on trees. *hides* Damn hubris catches me on the strangest topics.

Lately I have been replacing butter with olive oil more and more and recently had a friend sing the praises of fresh brussel sprouts to me. Normally I can’t find anyone who voluntarily eats the things so I’ve been isolated in the habit. Fresh, you say? Roasted even? Something that needs some of this quickly expiring, expensive bottle of olive oil I’m trying to justify blowing money on? That probably tipped me over the edge in the end.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts for 2
(measurements approximate because I am lazy and things usually work out for me)

  • about 20-25  sprouts
  • splash of olive oil
  • sea salt (not pictured because I couldn’t find it)
  • black pepper
  • lidded container big enough to shake your sprouts to
  • 400F preheated oven

Take the sprouts and cut the ends off to where you feel comfortable. I usually peal off one layer of leaf. I am not sure why but it seems morally prudent. You don’t know where it’s been. Transfer them to the container. Put a splash of olive oil in there. Lid it and shake to spread olive oil evenly. (Some people use ziplocks but I hate buying those things and wasting them on this type of thing.) Pour out onto tinfoil-ed sheet (thou I’ve got no trouble wasting foil it seems) and salt and pepper them to whatever degree you wish. Stick them in 400F oven for around 30 minutes. About half way through cooking give them a shake so they’ll turn and brown evenly.

Why do this to these poor things? Butter always used to work, right? Well, when you roast them they take on this nutty flavor I’ve never experienced with a steamed sprout. And even with steamed sprouts there was always a risk of a skunky one. This process (or perhaps using fresh sprouts…hm) has eliminated the skunky sprout. If you leave them in slightly too long the browned outer leaf might shift into the unpleasantly blackened state. If that is the case just peal as much as that off as you can. I ate it anyway and was ok. This second batch I made sure stayed clearly on the side of browned and had no experience with a weird initial taste.

Fannish Friday Four

In the span of three days I managed to marathon the Korean Drama Goong (Princess Hours) as though life itself depended on it. Goong is about a fictional Korean Democratic Monarchy (Korea doesn’t have a monarchy of any kind in reality) where the recent death of the elderly king and poor health of his son means that his grandson, the Crown Prince, must quickly become worthy of being successor to the throne. One of the main tasks is to get married since the old king’s son has health problems and the young prince might become king sooner rather than later. Normally this would be to a girl from one of the rich families, but the old king had made a promise in his youth that his grandson would marry the granddaughter of his friend in the war… a granddaughter who turns out to be a common high school girl. The girl’s family is in financial trouble (seriously, the repo men were going through their house) and while she doesn’t want to get married and doesn’t particularly care for the prince it would be a quick way of restoring the livelihood of her family. Besides that drama, the prince has a girlfriend he loves and the monarchy has a dark secret that is poised to return during this time of crisis. The show was a lot of fun and my favorite from Coffee Prince, Yoon Eun Hye, is as cute as ever in this. If you liked Coffee Prince you should try Goong out. If you already love Goong go try Coffee Prince. I found them both similarly fun. You can find Goong on Crunchyroll and Coffee Prince on hulu.

Game of Thrones: Things are starting to progress quickly as the premiere date of Game of Thrones nears. There is a new poster out (which is likely the cover of the reprinted book) and a fresher trailer. What has me particularly excited besides the new book coming out soon and the show is that HBO has set up a shop. I want a Stark shirt.

Jasper Fforde: The new book is out! One of our Thursdays is Missing. I’ve not reread any of the Thursday Next books for a while. There was a lot of “uh…but wait, oh, now I remember, and then she is, yes, that’s how it went down…” but eventually I got settled into it. There is something in Fforde’s writing that I find soothing. I was laughing out loud through much of the beginning of it. I think it is the same feeling I get when reading Terry Pratchett. He can write witty satire but throughout it all it is from the mind of someone who really does like people, warts and all. There are so many ways it can be done wrong but for me he does it exactly right.

Garfunkel & Oats: They have kept me alive this last week. They are a comedy duo, much on the same vein as Flight of the Concords, and while they toe the line of good taste at times you always get the sense it is because they’ve been there before. Often times you’ve been there too. (see: Me, You and Steve). Running with ChickenMe, You and StevePregnant Women are SmugPresent FaceDog Song from Raising Hope