Saturday, September 30, 2023

(UPDATED) S.W.A.T. Team Meatball #1!!

 Holy crap, folks, I GOT THE SQUIRREL!

This really happened just the way I'm going to tell it. 

As it turns out, hate steadies the arm. 

I can't hit the broad side of a barn and never could.  I mean, don't rob me because I'll wound you in the foot (as long as you're standing within a meter of me) and nobody wants that. But I hit this...


...little bastard three times, tracking him as he scampered along the fence out back.  I REALLY DID!!!

The first time I hit him he just looked at me and kept scampering. 

The second time I hit him he slowed his scamper and looked at me again.

The third time I hit him he had stopped and was sitting up. He watched me struggle with the slide, watched me take aim, and watched as the pellet floated over, hit him square in the chest, stuck in his fur for a moment and then fell out.  

UPDATE Then he scampered away.  I'll bet he was pissed.


I read this:

Check it out. Compiled by Mary Ann Piccard. Hm?  Coincidence? American spelling perhaps?      

And it was extremely good!  Even extraordinary, given the complexity of some of these recipes.  A lot of fan-love went into this, but blessedly, not the kind of basement-dwelling fanaticism that Trekkies were known for back then.  

OK FINE then and now. 

To continue.

Because this book ranges from $50.00 to $444.00 per vintage paper copy - and let me pause here to say WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK?!?!???   

... I read it online at The Internet Archives. G'head, hit the link! It should go right to the book. Or maybe not if you're Jon.  Jon, I don't know what my links have against you but let's hope for the best. 

Anyway.  I plan to cook some of these recipes - and I'll post the results!!!

Hell yeah Star Trek Recipes!         
thilingan maH. taHjaj. !!!!!!!!!      


I just posted a review on a popular book site, and spent the rest of the evening congratulation myself on how awesome it was. And yeah, it was that good.  But then I went back over my previous reviews, and....

There's books that you just shouldn't review, like say, The Old Testament.  

Which I reviewed.

Honestly what is wrong with me.



The squirrel was sitting in my potted oregano preparing to send medium flying all over Hells half acre when I eased the patio door open. The squirrel paused, sat up, and watched me rack the slide. He watched me take careful aim at his little squirrely self.  Then he decided that now was not the time to be dipshitting around with my potted plants and ambled away. 

I sent a plastic pellet lancing toward his retreating form and hit the grass a milimeter behind his little squirrely heels. Made him jump FO SHO.

Hell yeah.     

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

All Class All Day Long

The Biker is a surprisingly sentimental guy, particularly when you consider how he was brought up (near the Arctic Circle, ran traplines, shot moose, climbed mountains, rode along with the 81. You know, Alaskan shit.)  

An average American man living an unassuming life      

Another thing that always surprises me is how RIGHT he gets it.  I am not somebody anyone wants to try and buy for, but the Biker always nails it.

 Remember this?  He bought me this. "It looked like something you'd like," is what he said. I love this thing. I've had it since 1989!

This fantastic still from the movie 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'. Just on a whim. "You've seen the movie forty times," he shrugged.  It went right up on my bedroom wall.  I love this picture. Klaatu barada nicto!

This amazing silver rock that looks like a metal rock from a robot world.  I love this rock. I've been carrying it around for 30 years. It is the coolest rock ever.

This UTTERLY ASTOUNDING 3-D printed Spock Buddha! I cried, people! 

And then... 

...then there's this most recent gift.

"Oh damn she's trippin' now," says a horrified Internet!


 - NO!  HAHAHAHAHA!  Only kidding!  See the barely visible little orange dealie on the barrel? That's there to let the world know that this isn't a real gun!  This is an airsoft gun!  It shoots little plastic pellets!

...except it's not even halfway legal to own because of the level of detail.  

"WHAT THE FUCK!" I said, once I'd opened the package.

"You said you didn't like the squirrel," he said.

"Some crackhead is going to see me sneaking around in the shrubs with this thing and kill me," I exclaimed. "What the fuck. This little orange dealie is ridiculous. I could break it off with the side of my thumb. I think that's the point, in fact. This is too real looking.  I'm gonna get dead."

No talk of not using it, of course, because I really hate that squirrel.  Not enough to kill it, but definitely enough to try and hit it with a plastic pellet. 

"I'm going to spray paint this thing orange," I decided.

"Nobody's going to care," he sighed.  

"No, not if it was you, but it's me.  Sure as shit, somebody will call the cops on the old lady in the armadillo t-shirt waving around a gun, and there I'll be in an armadillo t-shirt with this thing and I'LL GET HAULED IN MAN."

Meanwhile I am forbidden to spray paint the airsoft gun. Why? Because the person who's used it nonstop since it arrived doesn't want me to 'ruin' it.

So yeah. Four out of five. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

There Are More Tears Wept Over Answered Prayers...

 Oh, Ms. Scarlet. 

Ms. Scarlet. Recent polaroid.      

You dear woman.  You made the mistake of wanting to know more about my study projects.

Oh sweetheart....

My early curiosity was sparked by my grandmother and her friends, who yarned the Summers through over jelly glasses of home-made hard cider under the apple trees, telling each other stories of the way things used to be.  I used to run at large among them, and little pitchers have big ears. I could get away with maybe two questions before I was sent off to 'Go play now', so I learned early on to keep my fat yap shut and just listen and mull it all over later.  It began my lifelong love of what's disparagingly called Microhistory - which is the history of the average person.  

All events begin at the middle, kids.

1. Leonardo Da Vinci

I have been in love with DaVinci since I was 13 and saw an exhibit of his designs when it was touring the world.  It was this one. You can turn off the sound and skip ahead to the display models. That's what lit the spark.

Enjoy this southbound view of a northbound Francesco Melzi.    

The fascination was instant, obsessive, and has lasted until this day. The proof is that in searching for the picture above, I was stalled for three days reading about all the recent breakthroughs made in the study of DaVinci and his work.  I spent ten hours in front of the screen and didn't even notice the time go by.

My DaVinci project was my first big, organized 'formal' project; and the study of his life, work and times has lead me on a wonderful tour through the most surprising byways. Everything from flood control to controlling decomposition in a warm climate, from making gesso sottile to designing the world's longest bridge. Along the road I learned how to read Italian, (kinda) was introduced to the famous male prostitutes of Olde Florence...learned how to make cantarella...and you never know when those skills will come in handy. Particularly the cantarella.

This lead to

2. Albrecht Durer and the Northern Renaissance. Well, basically The Renaissance and how inspiration and learning was transmitted back and forth across Europe from the 1300's to 1519. 

And Albrecht Durer. 

Because Albrecht Durer. He breaks my heart.

3, 4, 5.   Oregon History/Portland History/Milwaukie History

 Sadly not a joke.     

Every word the truth. 


Home of the largest dogwood tree in North America, under which my ass used to get high after a hard day at school.   

...and here it is. This is a cornus nuttalii, folks. Common Dogwood. They don't get any taller than say nine feet.  But this one?  There's a two-story house at the far bottom right of this photo for scale.  We in Milwaukie were all very proud of this glorious tree. 

Being my home state, its principal city, and my hometown. Why?  Because my family were original pioneer settlers, and my immediate family used to be the caretakers of the Pioneer Cemetery in Milwaukie. We had the records that helped people locate the graves of their predecessors, and the people who came to our house to consult them told us many interesting stories of the lives and times of their dead, which to little grade school FirstNations was riveting stuff because I was a super weird kid. Much of that early history is history that my father's family helped make. Time and time again I come across the names of relatives, people I've met, places I knew, and the confirmations of stories my grandmother told. And it is absolutely wonderful to me. 

7. Folktales, monsters, ghosts and UFOS and how boojum tales begin and change over time.  

Slenderman is one that really caught my fancy.  I've got this fuckers' NUMBER. Mix Beetlejuice with Jack Skellington and add a whole lotta puberty with access to the internet and Slenderman is what you get. You're welcome.    

My mom got me into this shit without realizing it.  At first I was drug along in the wake of her obsession with all things supernatural, and then I was drug along in the wake of her obsession with all things...more acceptably supernatural. By which I mean Christianity.  I never told her that her angle on those things and mine were wildly divergent, of course. This isn't something that I'm obsessed with (any more) but I do follow it, and have been since the 1970's.

7. Bog Bodies and ancient preserved dead people.  

Kind of...dead, sure, but he seems content.    

I am your source for all things Tollund Man and Utzi.  I actually cried when they found that poor frozen dude, thinking of him all alone up there on the mountaintop for centuries. It still gets to me. From baby mammoths to Ancient Egypt, if it was once a living thing and is now all dried out and crunchy, or leathery and maybe slippery, or gooey, I am THERE.

7.  Old cookbooks, appliances, and kitchen design

It all started with the gift of one battered glass measuring cup.

Still got the fucker too.      

This, somehow, gave rise to a kind of frightening obsession with all things Vintage Cooking and Kitchens.

 I was steadily filling my house with everything from old appliances to eggbeaters back in the late 1980s, when we were selling at swap meets. Most prominently I had vintage Foley cooking utensils all displayed on my kitchen walls.  Well over sixty different objects as I recall.  Then I finished collecting the entire Foley catalogue of kitchen gadgets and interest waned. Now I'm back in black and ready to rock, and currently reading-

-The Star Trek Cooking Manual, 1978  (It's fanlore-canon!)
-A Bachelors Cupboard, Containing Crumbs Culled From The Cupboards Of the Great Unwedded
-The Cult Of The Chafing Dish
-The Fireless Cookbook, 1869
-Country Commune Cooking, 1972
-West Oakland Soul Food Cookbook, 1963
-The Web Foot Cookbook, Portland, 1885
-...and, um...five more that I just bought online. 

All at the same time.  And this works for me quite nicely. It's how I approach all my projects.

You see, most people think like this:

A flow chart. If/then, yes/no. Nice. Linear. Logical.

This is how I think:


A tumbleweed tornado.  Chaotic, peripatetic, eventually ends up tangled together in a solid mass and catches on fire.      

And I like my tumbleweed tornado. Everything travels along wherever it will, and it all makes unforeseen connections and ends up in fascinating places until finally it becomes a giant shitpile of learning. 

That catches on fire.

So there ya go.  I am a wild and wacky party hero.  Woo baby.

Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno bids you buon giorno.    


Monday, September 18, 2023



The upstairs neighbor has moved out!  Of course she took her damn time about it; a whole month in fact, while we glimpsed her and her funky bunch sauntering up and down the stairs with a box here and a lamp there, all the while hoping to Christ they were actually leaving.  

Did I go upstairs and check the place out once it was empty?  Yes I absolutely did.  Wonder of wonders, it was pristine.  And I was happy about that. Well done, annoying neighbor. And while I am generally a sociable and tolerant old lady, good motherfucking riddance you skanky goddamn ghetto RAT.

Too harsh? 


The raccoons have moved on!  Why did the raccoons move their communal outhouse, you ask?  Because the Biker took a shovel and scattered their haystack of crap out in the weeds, and kept doing that until the nasty animals got tired of anally re-establishing their shit collection and opted for other locales. 

Aren't you glad you know this?  Didn't you come here specifically to read about people flinging raccoon shit? I know you did. That's why I wrote about it.


I have started another study project, which makes eight now.  This study project is about old, weird, rare cookbooks. I have been online typing my fingers to the damn bone digging this stuff out; and making folders and organizing the information so that it slots in with other study projects I have going - hence my absence from your personal blogospheres.  

Yes. This is what I do for fun. Obsessively.

I hate to tell you how many ongoing study projects I've been pursuing. OK eight. OK fine there's one I've been engaged in for fifty-one years. 

Seriously. It's what I do for fun.

The Internet has been my fondest dream come true. You'd be surprised at how much amazing stuff is out there is in the public domain, for FREE! - and by just how many 'public domains' there are!  Any title I might be interested in has a 90% chance of being on Hathi Trust, Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg or JSTOR - but there are thousands of other open sources! This is why another project of mine consists of amassing a folder full of those links and an explanatory blurb for each one. God I love tabulation. 

The worst side effect of all this study is Needing Desperately To Own Source Volumes.  

There I am in front of the screen, and looky at that - there's Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and all the other sales platforms, and me with a PayPal account. WHAM a package hits the door, and I scuttle out and grab it, unwrap it, gloat over the contents, then dispose of the wrapping in the dumpster lest the Biker see it and sigh that sigh he does.

So on the one hand I'm a bitter vengeful old harridan who glories in the absence of my young, ignorant and sadly obsessed with sleaze upstairs neighbor; and on the other I am an ivory tower self-isolating nerd who loves obscure shit and is an obsessive organizer.

I fart in your general direction. Sue me.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Tiny Kitchen VEGETAL action 3000 DANGER

(NOTE: Updated to remove the serrano peppers from the recipe  below.)


If you have to lose part of a finger, you could do it in worse causes than frying up a bunch of Veggie Fritters!

  Just me, cast iron, and Raw Heat.   And a few spatters. Sue me.

Here is a staged shot of some super sexy fritters.  Offensive mug? Check!  Random cream sherry bottle?  Check!  Awesome fritters that you wish you had?  All present and accounted for!

I have ventured out into the County, I have gone North; I have traversed the dairylands and the broad plains of America and reaped the bounty of the Rural Northwest!

This is all farm bought and locally grown, just up the way on Alm Hill, two miles down the road from Sumas.
I am going to make my.....

Read all the way through before attempting. Once you commit, it's on.

Ten orange harbanero peppers
-yes, ten.

-Two mild red bell peppers (they don't need to be red, that's just for prettiness' sake.)
Stem, seed, halve, and run peppers under broiler until the skins char. You want them more toward the burned 'Oh God No' side than just a few specks of black. That done?  Straight into the blender, char and all!
-One whole white onion, chopped to fit into a blender
-One tblsp. white pepper
-2 tablespoons fresh garlic
-Five Brightly colored Nasturtium Blossoms
-Lime juice/Grapefruit juice/Lemon Juice/Rice Wine Vinegar- pick one or all, just so long as you have that acid in there to help preserve things. (I used lime juice and rice wine vinegar.)

No charring required. Dump it all in the blender! 

Fresh Cilantro - not everybody's cup of tea. (I used 1/4 cup.)
Sugar/orange marmelade, or if you're feeling frisky, one carrot  (I used orange marmelade)
Super Secret Ingredient - see below WOW it's citric acid shhhhhhh

You get to decide how much or how little!

-Blend all ingredients to a liquid, or as close as you can manage. Yes, char and all.
-Taste - carefully.
-Add lemon juice or the acid of your preference until you notice the flavor distinctly 
-Taste - carefully.
-Add salt to taste
-Add the sweetener of your choice - or skip altogether. I used orange marmelade.
Taste - carefully.
---SUPER SECRET INGREDIENT!!!  One level teaspoonful of Citric Acid, and perhaps a bit more, to taste. (I used the teaspoonful. It makes the sauce.)  SHH TELL NO ONE
Taste - carefully.
--Bottle and refrigerate and let it sit for three months. This type of thick sauce will stick to ribs, wings, infants; whatever.
-For a Tabasco-style runny sauce, put the ingredients through a juicer instead of the blender, or strain out the pulp by pressing through a sieve, squishing in a ricer, or hanging in a cheesecloth, then bottle and refrigerate the collected juice for three months.

-This isn't just hot. It's also delicious - AND hot. 
Really, really hot.

I dare ya.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

I Am Attacked By A Squirrel

....and other August encounters with Nature.


This is the mighty Canadian Black Squirrel!  Gaze at its glory!!

But what ho?  This little rascal looks...sable. Distinctly sable. That's because the Mighty Canadian Black Squirrel has been sneaking down from Canada and playing Jody here in Washington State.  The result is a rather more attractive squirrel, frankly.

Here at the El Apartmento we have a particular sable squirrel that's been hand tamed by some moron and is now bold as hell.  It digs in my potted plants.  It climbs up on the barbecue and stares in at me through the patio door in an expectant manner.  It even whams its paws on the screen door, as if to say "Bitch, where's my PEANUTS??" 

Yesterday it freakin' attacked me.

Well fine, it just jumped on me. 

Actually it was chasing another squirrel, and I happened to be walking past, and in its headlong flight it used me to ramp off of, and I screamed so loud people stopped what they were doing and stared.

It just ran up into a tree and sat there looking at me.

I did not appreciate this.


I was standing in line at the checkout chatting with a couple of people. One was an older man, and the other was a billowing elderly hippie lady. And it was casual. 

The older man was complaining about his feet, and I drifted away the instant he mentioned going to a wound care clinic, because ew. He continued on, and as I was loading my groceries onto the belt the hippie lady was commiserating with him.  Finally she pipes up with "Have you tried using honey?"

And I got this feeling. This 'Oh damn I know where this is headed' feeling. 

I'm loading food. I am organizing food. I am alphabetizing my groceries and arranging them by size, praying for that line to move ahead. PLEASE GOD.

And sure enough. Out pops the inevitable.  

"Or," she says, "If you don't want to use you have a dog?"

"OH FUCK NO," I exclaimed aloud.

I have been doing this in stores a lot lately. 

 Here's the thing. My grandmother was a nurse.  

And this was on the frontier, in the Wild West. She was pulling arrows out of people and sewing scalps back on!  She saw some shit. She also had to keep up with all the literature or else lose her license to practice, so she did that over the years until she retired.  She knew from Joseph Lister, is what I'm saying.

    All the neighborhood geriatrics would gather in her yard under the apple trees when the weather was nice, and eventually the old days would come up and people would swap stories about gory accidents, mysterious occurrences and old-time beliefs. Home remedies was a common topic, and I heard tales from those old folks that would gag a pig, although at the time I found this stuff endlessly fascinating. 

    The crazy things people used to believe! 

Things like putting hot tar on a stab wound (I always wondered who just had hot tar, you know, at hand like that.  And why so many people were getting stabbed.)  Or bundling people in wet wool blankets and forcing them to drink hot whiskey every time they ran a temperature.  The well-chewed quid was used on everything from bee stings and boils to eczema and skin cancers, and I remember my granddad chasing me around the yard with one when I ran a splinter into my hand. He of course thought this was jolly fun. I on the other hand was freaked the fuck out, this nasty grizzled old twist running at me with a big drippy quid pinched between his fingers, bellowing in Finnish. 

Inevitably these conversations would turn to letting the dog lick a sore.  It was Biblical, people claimed. Why, you ever seen a dog around a sore?  They're drawn to it!  They want to lick it!  They're trying to help! 

They're mans best friend!    

Nothing!!! got my Grandmother more up in arms than this one thing. Nothing. She would rant. She would lecture! And the funny thing was that it didn't make a difference. Those people would stand their ground ferociously.  I never understood it.  If you can't trust a woman who was hardy enough to nurse people through cholera, diptheria and the Spanish Influenza, you've got to have decided to be stupid and stay stupid somewhere along the line. 

This is how I knew that the honey remedy would inevitably lead to the dog thing.  And this is why the bare mention of same drug a heartfelt, audible OH FUCK NO up from my very youth, right there in the middle of WinCo.


August here in Washington is the month for hornets. Around midmonth their population suddenly explodes and they come raging forth like Vandal hordes high on PCP. They chew up wood siding, tuck themselves in your laundry; I've had them land on me and then sting me for the hell of it, they've bitten bloody pieces out of the Biker, and built nests in our cars - inside, outside, hanging from the wheel well, in the door gaps, in the engine compartment - and these are daily drivers, mind! They are fat and shiny and absolutely insane, and do not give one single fuck.

Years back I devised a concoction fort use as a spray-on cleaner, and it really works too. It's a mixture of three tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid and 1/4 cup isopropyl alcohol in a pint of plain water, put into a spray bottle and mixed. So fine. One day a hornet got to bothering me while I was doing chores, and I turned the spray on the little fucker.


Holy shit.

You know how when you use a can of insecticide on hornets and it just pisses them off worse?  Not this stuff!  One squirt and they immediately stop and ponder their life choices. Give it a four-count and maybe another spray just for giggles, and they're dead. Yes I've counted. So remember that, folks. Three tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid and 1/4 cup isopropyl alcohol in a pint of plain water, put into a spray bottle and mixed. Don't visit a hot outhouse without it!