Strahbary's Fields

A California Girl's Place for all things Geek Chic

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Would Not Trade Places With January 27, 2014

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 10:22 pm

toptentuesday

They say the grass is greener is on the other side but frankly the grass can’t be green enough for me to want switch places with these characters in anyway shape or form.

  1.  Yelena from Poison Study. I love food. It would ruin said love if I had to taste food for poison that would totally ruin the experience.
  2. Claire from Outlander. As much as I love the whole Jaime/Claire romance thing, give me my hot showers and steady normal life.
  3. Nora Fischer from the Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic. Because I like this reality and frankly I don’t think I would do well in a world where the women are primarily second class. Oh! And let’s not forget the creepy fairy people…yeah no.
  4. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Let’s face it, I talk a big game but when it comes down to it I am a lover not a fighter and would have folded shortly after they called my name.
  5. Any Character from A Song of Ice and Fire series. Really do I need to explain this one?
  6. Any woman in the Boleyn Inheritance. During the period of time where King Henry was completely and totally insane I would not want to be one of the women in King Henry’s line of fire.
  7. Ophelia in Hamlet. Dreary castle, crazy boyfriend that says he doesn’t love you anymore, untimely death by drowning in the pond. Yeah, that’s not a world for me.
  8. Bella in any of the Twighlight books. A world where vampires sparkle is not a world where I want to live.
  9. Eliza in the Forgotten Garden. That girl just got the bum end of the stick from the very beginning. Her story is one of tragedy.
  10. Mercy in the Rathbones. Her whole family dies right before her as she goes on a quest to discover it’s history. Though, her pet crow is pretty cool…

So for now, I will happily live vicariously through them in my cozy bed with my warm kindle.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and The Bookish. Want to play along? Check out their blog for more details.

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It’s My 111th Post!

Filed under: Diana's Craft Corner — dianatierney3 @ 12:35 pm

Well it’s my 111th post and like Bilbo Baggins, I will be giving out a present…but more on that later.

I have been keeping busy with my knitting. I put writing the book on hold between the husband just getting home, some party planning and other shenanigans I just couldn’t do it. Writing a book takes a lot more work than a blog. I also discovered I need to take a class on sock knitting, which I discovered is something I actually can’t do.

So within craft corner I am getting back to work on some items that were put on hold.  Like my 7th Doctor sweater that has yet to be finished. With Gallifrey One only weeks away, I am back to working on it. I won’t finish it in time but maybe I can debut it for Wondercon or some other convention.

I also discovered a great charity I could really get behind. It’s the Mother Bear Project. They send bears to children in Africa devastated by the Aids epidemic. Kids in general can handle a lot, but
everyone, at some time or another needs something to hug. I can’t think of a better way to use up some of my yarn.

Anyway, on to my giveaway. So in honor of my 111th   the first person to answer this trivia question correctly will get this lovely hand knit scarf that I made.

Scarf

The Question: Bilbo shared his birthday with another hobbit. Who was it?

Put your answer in the comments and good luck!

 

A Perfect Day for a Food Swap January 26, 2014

Filed under: Adventures in Diana's Kitchen — dianatierney3 @ 2:12 pm
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I am really lucky to live in Southern California, while the rest of the country is buried in snow and freezing we are enjoying warm sun. Today though felt like fall which is in California terms is a high of 71 and only partly sunny.  Perfect weather for a Central Orange County Food Swap.

Food swap 1-26-14

So for this Food Swap I brought a fairly small cache of goodies with me. I had a dozen small jars of Limón cello, which is incredibly easy to make by the way, stay tuned for my recipe. It has been aging for at least a year. To be honest I lost count how long it had been aging but I pulled it out yesterday to taste test and sweeten up.

I’ve also started experimenting with making my own seasoning salt. It’s turned out to be incredibly easy and a wonderful way to use up some left over herbs. I also had some pickled pears that were left over from my last food swap that I wanted to get rid of.

So basically my main trading item was the alcohol and I had some non-alcoholic stuff for trade just in case some “non-lushes” wanted to trade.

I was actually surprised by how fast the Limón cello went. I ended up with a pretty good haul. Pictured below is Beer and Charcoal Soaps (a gift for the husband), homemade laundry detergent, salsa, BBQ Sauce, quinoa salad, spaghetti sauce, chips, cookies and lemon syrup. Not too bad if I do say so myself.

My loot 1-26-14

So before I have even planned my next projects, I have already signed up for my next swap in Ontario, California in early March.  Time to start planning!

If you are interested in joining up with a food swap check out the Food Swap Network for a swap near you. But I warn you, food swapping can easily turn into a delicious addiction….

 

A Potluck Round Up: Where I cook outside of my Comfort Zone January 25, 2014

Filed under: Adventures in Diana's Kitchen — dianatierney3 @ 11:36 pm
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I love potlucks. They are a great way to host a party without having to make the entire meal on your own and you get to try new foods you otherwise wouldn’t make yourself. I’m happy to see this come back en vogue.

About a week ago I posted a book review of The Last Chinese Chef, which if you haven’t checked out the book review or the book itself I highly recommend doing so.  Anyway, I lamented on not knowing what to make for my Slow Food Book Club. You see, the book club gets together and makes recipes based on the books that we read that month. It brings a whole new element to the book.

My only problem with this last month’s book, I can’t make Chinese food. Totally out of my wheel house. So after much soul searching on pinterest I finally found this recipe for Cha Ye Dan (Chinese Tea Eggs). They were really easy to make and have a lovely light flavor to them. Next time I think I will need to steep them overnight to get the proper marbling

 

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Overall the potluck really great with so many different dishes from Forbidden Rice to melt in your mouth Pork Belly. (and even some decadent cream puffs).

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So I stepped ever so slightly out of my cooking comfort zone which is sometimes required to keep me on my cooking toes.

 

Cosplaying 101 January 19, 2014

Filed under: Fan Girl Awesomeness — dianatierney3 @ 9:16 pm
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Cosplaying is the art dressing up like a character in a beloved fandom. Over the last few years it’s gained quite a bit in popularity. It’s so popular that it’s spawned a network reality show.

Why Cosplay? There is just something fun and in a way therapeutic to be able to just put on a different persona for a day.

Getting started doesn’t necessarily have to be hard, expensive or 100% hand made. I am a horrible sewer. Put me in front of a sewing maching and my inner gremlin appears. Case in point, when the husband and I first started going to ren fairs I thought i needed to make everything. The bodice was way beyond my capabilities; however, I made his kilt….minus the pleats. In my defense, I’m an Italian girl. I knew very little about Celitc culture. In my head I honestly thought “men don’t wear pleats.” My poor husband however, was labeled Gopher the pleatless. He had to come with some story as to why his kilt had no pleats.

Thankfully I have since learned my lesson and just bought the husband a good kilt. When it comes to getting a cosplay outfit together, you don’t necessarily need to get it all at once. Picking up pieces here and there works as well. For the renaissance fairs, that’s often how it’s done. A bodice here, a skirt there….the used shirt from ebay. And, if you are going to make something do your research.

Fair

I have to admit that last year I got a bit tired of the renaissance scene. I was fairly bored with my outfit and with the husband being overseas it just lost its magic…then came Gallifrey One last year.

This was my first non-renaissance fair cosplaying venture. I liked all the Tardis outfits that were out there but I wanted to do something different, so I went for an Avante Guard Tardis outfit. It was adorable, I enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it but I was lost in a sea of girls dressed up like the Tardis. Lesson learned: Be aware of the trendy stuff. Seriously, my outfit had all these great little subtle details but there were so many Tardis’ out there that I was just another girl in a blue dress. I’ll admit it, I wanted my work noticed and it just didn’t happen.

Clara Tardis 1

(Me as “Clara”)                                         (The Doomed Tardis outfit)

What did happen thought was this. On Sunday I just said screw it, and put together a cute outfit (that I personally thought looked a lot like something Martha Jones would wear). Within minutes of walking into the Marriot I was asked “Hey so are you Donna?” My response: Sure! About an hour or two later “Excuse me Clara can I take your picture?” The lesson learned: you don’t necessarily have to put too much thought into something. Have fun with it. Go with the flow. If you woke up in the morning and thought hey this could be Martha outfit but by the end of the day you are being called Clara. Just go with it. The point is to have fun.

So learn from me:

  1. Don’t worry about buying everything at once, feel free to pace it out, build as you go.
  2. Do your research.
  3. Be aware of the trends, especially if you want to be a bit different.
  4. Use your imagination.
  5. Have fun!
 

Book Review: The Last Chinese Chef January 14, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 10:31 pm
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The Last Chinese Chef

 

Just when Maggie Mcelroy started to gain some semblance of a life after the death of her husband when she receives a phone call from China that will cause old wounds to reopen and up end all that she knew about her deceased husband.

“It wasn’t so much that China was crueler than the West, only more honest.”

Sam is a half American, half Chinese chef trying to reclaim his grandfather’s legacy as chef to the Chinese emperor but he can’t acceptance he needs to get his restaurant up off the ground.

Maggie travels to China to clean up the mess her husband left behind. She also decides to take on the job of writing an article for her food magazine about Sam and his restaurant. In doing so she discovers a whole new world of cuisine and life.

 

My thoughts:

 

I loved this book a lot more than I expected to. It was a pick for my slow food book club, which is a testament to the importance of book clubs because they help me extend my taste in books.

In so many of the foodie lit books you have a story and then there is the food to accentuate it. However, in this book, food is central to the story.  Not just through Sam being a chef but also with his family and it’s connection to the food of that culture.  To say that cooking is in his blood is an understatement.

Food is not just a part of the family but a way for the characters to reach out to each other. Sam was able to reach out to Maggie through food to help her cope with the situation she faced.

You know how a certain dish of pasta will make you feel all warm and cozy or a bowl of chicken soup will be just enough to pull you out of a cold. The food that Maggie experienced in China did much of the same thing, I would say going so far as to bring her back to life.

My only problem: It’s for my slowfood book club. Which means I have to bring a potluck dish based on the book. I have no idea what I am going to make.

 

How to Live with Someone of Another Fandom January 6, 2014

Filed under: Fan Girl Awesomeness — dianatierney3 @ 10:09 pm
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Not everyone enjoys the same fandom.  It’s understandable; some people just prefer the world of Star Wars to Star Trek. But what do you do when someone not in your fandom lives with you?

The husband and I have a mutual love of Star Wars, Firefly and Stargate.  However, there are a few fandoms we don’t quite see eye to eye on.  Often having two televisions is helpful. On many a night I would watch Doctor Who in the bedroom while he watched something else in the living room. Until finally one day he proclaimed that he was going to start watching Doctor Who on his own without me around because as he said it “The Doctor stole my wife, I have to get her back.” To get him to the point where he could say that he likes Doctor Who meant that he had to watch it several thousand miles away from me (quite literally, he started watching it in Afghanistan) so that I couldn’t interfere with his viewing.

Fast forward to Dinner this evening. While chatting over a shared plate of Pad Thai the subject of Outlander came up. I have been in major Outlander fan girl mode, we are in the process of getting Starz just so that I can watch the show when it finally premieres and am in the midst of reading the 4th book. So when it comes to discussing nerdy things this is number 2 on the list (because let’s face it, there is not a day that goes by where the topic of Doctor Who doesn’t come out of my mouth).

The long short of it is that he is not so very fond of the premise of the book. So our conversation didn’t really go so well, it was me defending the books and him criticizing them. Needless to say, I made sure to hit every bump on the way home and when that didn’t faze him too much I turned on the country music.

After we had a good laugh I started to wonder. How do people with different fandom interests learn to live together?

It’s not like he and I have always shared the same geeky interests he is way more into kung fu movies and World of WarCraft than I am. I do have to admit that I have not always been the most understanding of spouses when it comes World of Warcraft.

Not all of us have two televisions but in today’s day in age we have enough electronics to be able to have one person on the computer doing their thing another on the television. Or sometimes it’s just learning to tolerate and appreciate something about our significant others fandoms. Because like their quirks their fandoms are a part of who they are.