Monday, March 23, 2009

Danke Schoen

According to Wikipedia Danke Schoen translates loosely as "Thank you very much". I find it strange that I've never questioned the meaning before this. I've heard the Wayne Newton song a zillion times and watched Ferris Bueller at least once a month for about a decade spanning the late 80s and early 90s.

After last Friday night I can add one more viewing of it to the tally. This time around even topped seeing it in the theater in 1986. The tribe rented the local civic center for a showing in honor of the lovely Gina-Louise who had a birthday last week (and once confessed that FB was her favorite film). We had cupcakes (lots of cupcakes), popcorn and some of us even did the Twist.

Traci and I have a tendency to get a bit excessive when planning parties. I think we had close to 100 cupcakes - 4 varieties - all with quotes or pictures from the movie topping them.

I think these were my favorites. Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes from an old issue of Cooking Light. Kind of a pain to make, but yummy.

There was much excitement over popcorn. Those of us who lived through (and discarded) many changes in popcorn technology (jiffy pop, those dome shaped ones that plugged in and were too big to store anywhere, the air popper, and microwave popcorn) forget how exciting it is. When you live with a popcorn purist like Audrey's dad, you never see the popcorn popping because it is cooking in oil in a covered pot on the stove.

Tom and Tina don't mess around when it comes to party food either. They can provide popcorn for a small army if needed.

This photo did not come out as well as I'd hoped. If you squint you can see Mr. Broderick on the screen singing Danke Schoen in the parade scene from FB.

The rest of the weekend was lovely - the weather cooperated well with the ushering in of spring. One of my new favorite things on the interwebs is The Big Picture from the Boston Globe where every couple of days a series of amazing photographs on one topic are collected together.

Check out today's posting "Signs of Spring" to find out what is going on in this photo.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to cure a geek hangover

Super Extra Geeky Game Night went off with out a hitch. Bob (the D&D expert that Pete somehow convinced to spend an evening with a bunch of adult novices who very easily might have spent the entire evening mocking the game he loves so much) was a patient and thorough instructor. All in all it was enjoyable, but it's not a game I feel the need to play on a regular basis. Some of the tribe are hooked and I suspect there will be some blogging going on soon about the night from their perspective. I think I may just be slightly too competitive for cooperative gaming.

What do you do after an evening involving a 5 hour role-playing game, lots of snacks and definitely too much wine? If it's spring in New England, you roll out of bed and head to a sugar shack for mapley goodness.

Steve's Sugar Shack in Westhampton was mecca for Pete, Traci, Audrey, Tom, Tina and I on Saturday morning. I get all nostalgic for my Vermont childhood when I go to a place like this. When I was little, we tapped the maple trees in our yard with old fashioned metal taps and buckets like the ones below. After school each day, we would go around and dump all the buckets of sap into a big bin. My father built a wood stove out of an old metal barrel and a stove pipe that he fitted a big deep tray on the top of. We'd spend a whole weekend cooking down the sap on that stove. (I say WE, but mostly my siblings and I played in the mud while Dad kept the fire burning and continually added sap as what was in the tray boiled down.)

These old style metal buckets are just for show around the shack. Most sugaring operations (including Steve's) use hose that connects from tree to tree and empties into one large bin. More efficient, but less picturesque.

All of that steam coming out of the roof comes from this - a great big vat of boiling maple sap:

The roof is wide open to let the steam out.
Steve's is not a fancy place - which made me all the more nostalgic I have to say. They sell the syrup in plain old mason jars.

While waiting for our breakfast to come, Audrey and I did a little meta-photographing.

Pancakes, french toast, bacon and home fries, smothered in maple syrup and washed down with mediocre coffee. Just what the doctor ordered.

The rest of the weekend was spent working on a new project. This is maybe the most complicated knitting I've ever done (geek knitting really). It's entrelac and lace and completely insane. I can't say much about what it will be when it is finished, because the person it is intended for might read this blog (She's going to be related to me in a few months so she really should...). I'm on a deadline with this one and it might kill me before it's finished, but I'm enjoying it so far.

I also remembered to take a photo of these cute little slippers I made in October and wear around the house on weekend mornings. They're the Pleated Ballet Flats from Cocoknits. Really quick knit done with closeout Chunky Cashmerino picked up at Webs last fall. The little pleats are ingenious.

Finally, on Sunday morning there was evidence that spring is on the way. I'm rooting for these little daffodils so much I feel like I'm coaxing them out of the ground.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Geek Week

This Friday Pete and Traci are hosting Extreme Ultra-Geeky Game night. So geeky it requires me to make a trip to a comic book store to buy special dice before I can participate.

To kick off this Week of Geek I thought I'd share the new Star Trek trailer. I had my doubts about this movie when I first heard about it, but I have faith in JJ Abrams (except for my issues with one of his television shows) and from the looks of this it is going to be awesome. I grew up watching reruns of the original show (and, later, the Next Generation) after dinner most evenings. There's a special place in my heart for William Shatner's brand of campiness.

And have you noticed Star Trek is everywhere in the news this week?

The first story I noticed was this one about the new Star Trek inspired perfumes. Three scents: Tiberius inspired by Captain Kirk; Red Shirt which celebrates the nameless ensigns from on the Starship Enterprise; and Ponn Far, for the ladies, named for the Vulcan mating ritual. To quote Jaz, "I do not want to smell an aggressively horny Vulcan, thank you."

Then I saw this story about Canadian scientists who have developed a crop that was first discussed on a 1966 episode of Star Trek. I guess that's not surprising. If I had to make crazy stereotypical generalizations, I would assume that grown up scientists paid very close attention to Star Trek as children.

The crafting world is also joining in the geeky fun. I'm crafty and I've made some pretty dorky things, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to knit my own Vulcan ears or do Star Trek cross-stitch. I might just be tempted to knit a full Star Trek uniform for a baby, but I don't know any soon-to-be parents who are geeky enough to appreciate it (and I know some pretty geeky soon-to-be parents...). In case you're interested in trying your hand at more detailed Trekky knits, there are knitting charts for all of the original characters available.

A quick search on Etsy reveals all sorts of items recently posted. After looking at all of this stuff, I have an irrational need to own these earrings from Studiohalo.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My dad is doing Good Things

My father went to Bolivia in January on a scouting trip for the newly formed chapter of Engineers Without Borders at the university where he teaches. I love this photo he took of a little girl, an older woman and a chicken. The trip was planned by another professor, my childhood playmate, Adam Sevi. There's a nice write up here, with more photos, about what they did there and their plans to bring clean drinking water to a small village.