Category: grab bag

I love listicles and they’re easy to post. Enjoy!

Right now here’s what I’m into:

HalfBaked Harvest  I have to admit, this website inspired me to start this weekly (lofty goal…weekly…we’ll see) post of “oh how I love thee’s” – but seriously y’all I adore this cooking site, so many luscious recipes to try. Next up for me is the Crockpot Creamy Cashew Chicken. Ummmmm.

Vieux Farka Toure Live Sometimes I can’t handle the overload of my giant itunes library, so I throw on the iHeartRADIO website. No ads, and plenty of free music. My favorite station right now is inspired by Ayub Ogada, a genius in his own right, but recently a track from Toure’s mindblowing live album got tossed into the mix and I am in love. Which reminds me…I love this song too by Baaba Maal.

River  Netflix, you just keep comin’ at me with some amazing original shows, and this is one of your finest. Yes, I love a British police procedural, but this is….well…River is phenomenal.

Bone Tomahawk  Richard Jenkins, that’s what I have to say. Richard Jenkins, people.

2 Poems by Maggie Woodward at The Fem  Woooosh – these knocked me sideways.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown  Last week I got together with a bunch of friends for our semi-irregular Insane-in-the-Bourdain viewing nights, and we watched the Ethiopia episode. There is so much here to sink into deliciously, whether you’re new to the Bourdainverse or a veteran foodie. The foooood. Marcus Samuelsson, whose book Yes, Chef I’m now listening to on audiobook (Samuelsson himself reads it…so wonderful). And the music of Mahmoud Ahmed, perfect.

My Taxes  Okay so no, I’m not bananas about this at all; doing my taxes this year sure made me go nuts. High five if you’re on my wavelength.

Two banana recipes Well of course, this post is about going bananas. Cookies and cake, oh yeahhhh. I am always looking for recipes to deal with overripe brown-spotted oogey bananas that I refuse to peel-n-eat but won’t throw out. Here’s one for cookies and here’s one for double chocolate banana bread (let’s just say it, this is cake, not banana bread – no complaints).

Featured Photo By Matt Reinbold from Bismarck, ND, USA – Monkeys on a Banana, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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CHEESE. No, I’m not talking about my sense of humor. Or maybe I am? (We’ll see). Lately I’ve become obsessed by three different cheeses. I say “different”….now, but that might be inaccurate – at least two are from Spain.  Allow me to do a bit ‘o cheesearch; I mean, research, and enlighten you.

First, I love cheese. I’m sorry if you’re a vegan and I hope you won’t hold this post against me, (please feel free to hold a wedge or cube or slice of cheese against me, though – I will gladly take that cheese and eat it). I was actually vegan for a full year, my favorite cookbook ever (EVER) is Veganomicon, and I LOVE nut cheeses like cashew ricotta, but alas I probably do not share most nondairy convictions.

Anyway back to cheese, dairy cheese, goat or sheep or cow milk cheese. I am currently going into debt buying several cheeses and devouring them almost weekly: Manchego, Welsh Cheddar, and Drunken Goat. Let’s break it down cheese by cheese.

Manchego  The Cheese From La Mancha. Almost everybody loves them some Manchego, right? Nutty, buttery, grassy. It’s like if a wedge of Romano and a stick of butter rolled around in a spring field and made a baby. Sheep’s milk – I had no idea I loved it! I’m partial to the Curado age, not too soft, not too dry. Sometimes I get out the Manchego and attempt to set up a fancy cheeseboard with a glass of wine, but usually I just hack off a big chunk and gobble it standing at my kitchen counter.

Drunken Goat Queso de Cabra al Vino! I first discovered this cheese at Cartel in Tucson. What is this magnificence? You say someone soaked a wheel of this luscious goat cheese in a vat of wine? And a small wedge costs as much as my monthly subscription to Daily Burn? Fine, fine, give it to me. Give me the drunken goat cheese! I’ll burn off the fat doing HIIT workouts in the morning.

Collier’s Welsh Cheddar Actually it’s Collier’s POWERFUL Welsh Cheddar, and that’s no lie. This cheese is like a kick in the face. A kick in the face that you will enjoy, my friends. It’s sharp, it’s a knockout, it’s dry but creamy, it’s tangy but toasty. The miners of Wales – the colliers – know what cheddar should be. And the best part? There’s wee crunchy salt crystals in this cheese. How does it get any better? Salt crystals in the cheese.

All these fromages are in your grocery store’s fancy deli section and if they’re not, then I’m really sorry. You should probably stop saving up for a new car or paying off your credit card debt and find a way to buy these cheeses right now. Oh I’m kidding! Do not even get started – you won’t be able to stop. Excuse me I think I still have a piece of Manchego left over from last night’s cheese binge.


“Weichkaese SoftCheese” by Eva K. / Eva K. – Eva K. / Eva K.. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

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So I didn’t forget to do a June documentary review. I am rebelling. I confess I have never been much of a documentary-watcher (did I already confess to that before? is this old news?). It’s true – sometimes I do not love the Real World. (Except I do love this Real World). I don’t listen to talk radio. Not even NPR really. I have enough voices in my head talking at me, I don’t need extra. I have failed numerous times listening to podcasts – the only ones I love right now are Welcome to Night Vale and The Coode Street Podcast, and oh hey – the former is fiction (or IS IT) and the latter is (pretty much) about fiction. As I’ve said, watching/reading/listening to News makes me barf in despair. So – don’t worry, I just need a bit of anarchy and she-lives-in-her-own-world right now and then maybe I’ll do a double feature documentary review later this month. Cuz it’s July! I know this because I am constantly sweating and the garden is growing too fast and threatening to go to seed. Also I just Stand Up Paddleboarded for the first time ever.  Summer, huzzah!

I’m looking at these possibilities for July documentaries. (Feel free to post a Comment and vote.)

Dreamcatcher (no, not the horribly ridiculous Stephen King film adaptation) but THIS incredible woman.

The Overnighters Simply because the viewer comments on Netflix are so wildly differing – what the hell is this about? I will see.

Cartel Land Because I just read this review.

Mainly I’ve been reading books like a mother-effer. I am 5 books behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge but I am gritting my teeth and gonna catch back up. I just read a Jonathan Maberry book in 24 hours. (This is not much of a brag, but still).

I decided to read a book about writing poetry – Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town – because it’s got a low page count (ha! cheating) and it’s been on my list for a while. AND because I recently attended two separate poetry workshops that varied so astoundingly in their respective teachings that I’m feeling a need for some familiar ground.

I don’t like to be told that poetry should never contain fragments, should always have proper punctuation and complete sentences, should contain exceedingly perfect line breaks.  Doesn’t this, Do that, Don’t do this. EXCUSE ME. Rules? Maybe if I’m rocking Terza rima Dante-style (NO. This will never happen). Otherwise…where I’m going I don’t need any rules.

Enter Richard Hugo, whose happy, knowing, conversational book stirs up all kinds of poet-y magical feelings in me. I am enjoying his anecdotes and lessons about “that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems.” He says: “I don’t know why we do it. We must be crazy.” Preach, Richard.


Photo of the Tetons from the Bar B C Ranch Road by me.

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Oh, kids. I have been so busy balancing day-job, poem-writing, and summer-celebrating that I’ve neglected this blog for a couple weeks. In my spare moments, though, I have been doing a lot of sciencey essay and article reading, so I thought hhmmm…until I can finish some new deep, wacky, joyous blog posts for this month, I can share with you links to my favorite sites of late. They are collectively aesthetically beautiful, challenging, geeky websites with fascinating content, in my humble opinion. I recommend subscribing to all of them – most have a free weekly email of articles published.

This is dedicated to all the awesome female scientists who tweeted hilariously about being #distractinglysexy in response to Tim Hunt’s comments regarding the “trouble with girls” in science labs.


The Last Word on Nothing

Virginia Hughes



BBC future



Wired Science 

I Fucking Love Science      (because right???!!)


“NautilusCutawayLogarithmicSpiral” by Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Well, I’m on Twitter.

Yes, I don’t know how this happened, but this is happening.  I have put it off for as long as I could, assuming that it would be annoying, time-consuming, stressful, ridiculous, whatever.  But it’s not!  I’m tweeting!

I’m having a great time, actually.  Connecting with writers, artists, musicians, journals and even a whiskey distillery here in Wyoming.  I get to share all the crazy fun bits and bobs I encounter on the web every day while researching and writing (or pretending I’m researching and writing).  And I can follow the peeps I really dig, like @caryannhearst, @feliciaday, @DavidQuammen, and @BitchMedia.

Sometimes people even follow ME!  You should follow me!

Photo “Willow Flats area and Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park” by I, Michael Gäbler. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Happy New Year’s Eve, people!  

It’s that time when every website on the internets is banging out a “Best Of” list and yammering at you to make resolutions.  So while I’m still trying to wrap up my 2014 To Do list and write something coherent about my recent trip to New Orleans, I thought I would share some of my own favorite fun bits of the past year.  Have a safe and happy night!

Noon Pacific’s Space Jams  By far my favorite weekly treat is the music playlist that Clark Dinnison publishes every Monday at – yep – noon Pacific Standard Time.  Here’s a compilation of his picks for 2014’s best spaced out jams.

Jay Sizemore  Absolutely my new favorite poet.  I discovered his work after Rattle published his poem ‘how to remove a hazmat suit.’   It blew my mind.  Just go read it.

io9  Great gobs of geekiness, I am so glad I found this website.  Always something interesting for me here, and frequent contributor Charlie Jane Anders is now one of my favorite bloggers.

The Leftovers  I admit I haven’t watched the final episodes because I don’t have cable TV, but this HBO series about life in a small town post-Rapture was freakin’ badass.  So many unexpected twists and turns, so much to ponder, and also Carrie Coon.  I can’t wait to watch the finale.  Don’t tell me what happens.

Luna Station Quarterly  So happy to be part of this wonderful women’s speculative fiction website.  My first audiobook review comes out January 6th!

Maplecroft  My one-night stand read of the year!  Couldn’t put down this Cherie Priest novel, so I didn’t!  Read it in one day.

Why do I study Physics?  I love this short animated documentary by Xiangjun Shi – I re-watch it constantly, like a daily affirmation.

book reviews get reel grab bag mixtapes

Well, I did it!  I completed my 4th (5th?) National Novel Writing Month!  50,000 words in 30 days.  Viva NaNoWriMo!!

I am just about halfway through finishing the second book in my trilogy.  Woo!  Now, to harness this power and keep going at this rate.

I know lots of writers take on National Novel Writing Month because it’s a way to finally “write that novel.”  For me, sometimes it seems like the kick in the pants I need to “finish those novels.”   I should call it NaNoFinishMo like Elizabeth Bear does.

What’s ahead in 2015?  I’m thinking about NaPoWriMo, in April.  30 Poems in 30 Days.  There may be a chapbook in my publishing future.


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This week’s roundup of random links I learned from and enjoyed!



Studying the evolution of a virus can help find a cure.  This time, it’s of course Ebola.


Here’s a classic sci-fi short story, one of my favorites because it’s all dialogue.


Climate change is no lie, and it affects us all.  Climate change means we need to change.  I’m trying.


A little science about spiders, just in time for Halloween.


Here’s an excerpt from a new book I’m very keen to read.


Spider photograph courtesy of Pixabay.


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RANDOM   adjective  1. chosen without method or conscious decision    2. odd, unusual, or unexpected

origin:  Middle English  ‘impetuous headlong rush’: Old French randon – ‘great speed’ from Germanic root rand/randir – ‘gallop’

Here’s this week’s random collection of links from my Newsfeed:

io9   Why are many of today’s hottest authors writing post-apocalyptic books?

Read any of these best sellers?  I want to know your reactions.  What makes them literary?

New Scientist   Could this bee love?  Rekindling our affection for bees

Right now I’m reading everything I can about bees.  You don’t know what you got until it may bee gone.

BBC  DR Congo doctor Denis Mukwege wins Sakharov prize

This man is a hero, albeit for the saddest reasons.  Thank you, Dr. Mukwege.

Wired   A bold vision for the future of the postage stamp

I love ideas that reimagine outdated concepts and redevelop existing frameworks.

Mother Jones  I worked in a strip club in a North Dakota fracking boomtown

Field reports on controversial topics – always entertaining and informative.

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It may not be fair to say that the sci fi, fantasy and horror genres aren’t taken seriously, no matter what the medium.  Well, actually it is fair to say that – but maybe the playing field is changing.  I’ve never been more aware of this than I am when I’m watching some of the brilliant speculative TV of the last five years.  Still, I wish the women who carry the shows would receive MORE recognition.  Here’s my list of seven incredible actresses who are so fantastic, they should have awards not simply bestowed upon them, but created in their honor.
Tatiana Maslany
What rock are you living under, that you haven’t seen this amazing and versatile actress portray multiple clones so well, you’ll forget she’s only one woman.
Jaime Murray
I loved Ms. Murray as HG Wells on Warehouse 13, but on Defiance, she is like no creature on earth – literally.  Her fierce portrayal of Stahma Tarr is breathtaking in its otherworldliness – frightening and poignant all at once.
Nicole Beharie
You can’t watch this show without falling for Lt. Abbie Mills – kickass cop with a troubled childhood ready to battle demons – I love her resilience and sly humor, and Beharie’s fantastically controlled facial expressions.
Carrie Coon
Nora Durst – wow, what a role, and Coon really chews it up.  Every scene she’s in is a revelation – pun intended.
Keeley Hawes
Keeley Hawes can do anything better than anybody, and with a stellar Brit accent.  It doesn’t get much better than watching Bolly Kecks square off against Gene Hunt.
Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo
These two ladies are so inseparable and so wonderful as BFF’s that I had to nominate them as a pair.  Sure, Lost Girl is thrilling and funny and all about the fey underground, but at its heart, the real story is the friendship between Kenzi and Bo.

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