Monday, July 18, 2016

Wisconsin Fish Boil: A Recipe

(Crosspost on For Health's Sake)

4 small red potatoes, scrubbed
2 small white onions, pealed
2 whole Lake Michigan whitefish, cleaned and heads removed
Salt, pepper, rye bread slices, good coleslaw
--
Boil a pot of salted water. Drop in potato and onion and cook until just tender. Add whitefish, cut into hunks. Boil until fish is flaky. Drain. Serve potato and onion in a bowl with lots of butter. Lay fish on a plate with rye bread and butter. The butter is important. Salt and pepper to taste





Sunday, July 17, 2016

Beer Review: Hop Nosh Tangerine

Hop Nosh Tangerine, from Uinta Brewery out of Utah, had little or no tangerine taste to speak of. It was a pretty tangerine color, with an average head of creamy off-white foam. The body was sparkling but the aroma heavy with hints of resin and leaves (my companion noted "bug spray").
Drinking it was challenging, with a sticky mix of malt and hops, lively carbonation, and an unpleasant astringent finish. Overall I gave it 3 out of 5 but do not think I would drink it again.

AVB = 7.3%


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A They Might Be Giants Top 10 Factual Countdown

1. Both John's have released their own non-TMBG albums; and they're pretty good: They Might Be Giant's (TMBG) two original members are John Flansburgh and John Linnell. Their side projects have included an album called "State Songs" (John L. - here's a fan video of "Maine"). Mono Puff is John F.'s (Flans, Flansy) band - check out the album "Unsupervised,"  including the song "I hit my head".
2. John Linnell was voted the 9th most beautiful person by People Magazine online voters: This is on his Wikipedia page but bears noting: in a People magazine online poll "The Most Beautiful People of 1998" – John Linnell finished ninth. He used this incident as a chance to write an opp ed about online voting in which he notes, "(i)f my experience is any guide, though, it appears there are still a few bugs to be worked out before you'll be able to elect the next President while sitting at home in your underwear."

3. Prolific and with staying power: TMBG has created 19 studio albums in the past 34 years, but the full discography is over 40.
4. Opening bands: Some of the more famous opening bands for TMBG have included OK Go and Jonathan Coulton.
5. Fun for the whole family: They Might Be Giant released "No!" in 2002, an album aimed at kids. After that, they played a number of all-ages concerts and released a "Here Come..." series over the next few years:
- "Here Come the ABCs"
- "Here Come the 123s"
- "Here Comes Science"
On the "Here Come's Science" album, there is a cover song from the 1950s called "Why Does The Sun Shine" - which it turned out contained a number of inaccuracies. They released a follow-up correction song and called it "Why does the sun really shine?"
They released another family friendly album in late 2015 called "Why?".
6. But some of their stuff is not suitable for children: The album after "Here Come's Science" was a decidedly adult affair. "Join Us" featured a monster truck style hearse on the cover and had songs with names like "Old Pine Box" and "When Will You Die". In a countdown of top 10 They Might Be Giants songs on StereoGum, the first track, "Can't Keep Johnny Down", was noted as “... fucking grim. It shouldn’t work as a fast power-pop song.”

7. They collapsed a stage in 1992 while playing polka music in Wisconsin: Here is audio of the event. And here is an article about the theater it happened at which just went through a multi-year renovation:
Modjeska Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.
8. They covered "Bills, Bills, Bills": They have participated twice in the AV Club’s Underground concert series, where bands come in and must choose from a list of songs to cover. Here are links to their versions of Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" and Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping".
And here is a link to another band covering them.
9. Did you know The Daily Show W/ John Steward theme song is called “Dog on Fire”: and oh yea, was performed by TMBG (written by Bob Mould).
10. You can download their March 2016 album Phone Power for free: Totally. Go here and “pay what you want” - It is set up for “pay what we want” ($9) but $0 is completely acceptable amount of dollars to pay for the download.
BONUS! The end of the tour?? In 2016 during what was said to be their final tour for a while (possibly until 2018), they sold out most if not all of their venues. In Denver, CO, they sold out their first venue and moved to a second larger location, before having to cancel due to a March snowstorm. That concert was rescheduled for July.
Here they are playing their first of two encores in Milwaukee:


And the band handing out stickers after the concert:


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Eating through the Carr Valley Cheese list

I’ve never met the man, but Sid Cook seems to be a real nut, and I mean that in a good way. Master cheese maker for Carr Valley, his experimentation tends to the fantastical: “let’s mix up a bunch of milk and make it into cheese. Let’s add cranberries and cure it in olive oil – why not? Let’s put it in a cave and see what happens! And hell, while we’re at it, why not smoke it!?”
I can’t fault him his process, as he has won more top national and international awards than any other cheese maker in North America, according to the Carr Valley website.  Nor can I deny the fact that I am a big enough cheese fiend (I prefer it, vice-wise, over chocolate, wine, candy, or chips) that, when a few years ago a Carr Valley cheese store opened up just blocks from my home with possibly hundreds of different types of cheese to try, I decided to attempt to try them all.
I’m close.

(click for larger version)
They have a huge selection of cheddar as well as their artisan weirdo cheeses, and best of all, they offer many “adorable cheese orphans” in packages small enough that one doesn’t feel like a glutton for tasting hundreds of cheeses. And lucky for me, they publish a veritable tome of all the choices in the form of their brochure.
So here it is – my chosen favorite Carr Valley cheeses, as well as brief tasting notes for all of the cheeses that were listed in this version of the brochure (this is the third one I have acquired, having to transfer my scribbles each time). In the Other’s section, there may be cheeses not created by Carr Valley (I don’t think Dancing goat is, for instance) but I included those I tasted.
BEST OF THE BEST
Big Mutton Button – The first cheese I remember absolutely loving, so much so, I had to mark it down so I wouldn’t forget. While I am more of a goat fan, I do like a good sheep cheese. This is yummy and not sharp, rather earthy. To quote the brochure “Made in 3 lb. wheels, hard but unpressed cheese made similar to Brick Cheese. The flavor is bright and sweet with lemony tartness and will stand with any red wine. Took 2nd place at 2013 us championship cheese contest, 2nd place at 2014 American Cheese Society (ACS) competition, Bronze metal at 2011 world cheese awards.”
Benedictine – Yummy, creamy but curd-y cheese that is not too sour. “Cellar cured and hand rubbed for 12 weeks, has a creamy, intense flavored washed-rind finish. 2nd place at 2010 ACS competition and 3rd at World Championship contest”
Mobay – Just delicious. “Sid’s take on a French Morbier. It features a layer of sheep milk cheese and a layer of goat milk cheese separated by a layer of grape vine ash. Taste each layer separately and then together for three different flavor profiles in one great cheese. Took 1st place at the 2007 AVS competition, 2nd at the 2011 US championship cheese competition.”
Cave aged Marissa – Yum! Creamy, good cheese flavor. “This natural-rind variety gets its complex, sweet and slightly rambunctious flavors from open air cave aging. Best of show grand master award, 2005 Wisconsin state fair, 2nd best of show and 1 place at 2008 ACS competition. 1st place and 2nd best of show at 2011 ACS competition, 1st place 2012 and 3rd place 2014 world championship cheese contest. 1st place 2013 US championship cheese contest.”
Sweet Vanilla Cardona – The second cheese I remember having to make a note of. Pretty much tastes exactly likes what it says. If ever anyone doubted cheese with dessert, they need to taste this. “A delicious and unique sweet, vanilla goat milk cheese with hints of caramel, coconut, and nutmeg. 1st pave 2011 US championship cheese contest, 3rd place 2011 ACS competition.
Beer cheddar – OK so nothing super fancy about this cheese, but damn, some times you just want really good aged cheddar, and this one has a hint of beer to boot. Would make a killer beer cheese soup, tastes delicious on any salty sandwich. Smooth and sharp at the same time.
Garlic cheddar – fantastic cheddar, with the addition of a fragrant, savory garlic. Not bitter but full flavored. Really good.
Gurneys cheddar – Great midway cheese – not too sharp, not too mild. Pretty white and yellow, salty, good body without being rubbery or too crumbly. Great for everyday.
Smoked rope cheese – I was so surprised I liked this! I’m not a big overall fan of smoked cheese – which can range from overpoweringly bacon-y to “this is really gilding the lily”. This was salty and creamy and the smoke did not overwhelm but instead added a comforting toasty campfire taste.
…and the rest!
CHEDDARS
Squeaky fresh cheddar curds – good but not the best I’ve ever had (and I live in Wisconsin, so I’ve had my fair share). Seemed lacking in salt, and the texture was too rubbery.
Fresh day old cheddar – just like eating a block of curd. Rubbery.
Baby cheddar – I liked the baby better than the curd. It was squeaky, salty and sweet.
Mild cheddar – Ok. A little sharper than expected, soft.
Medium cheddar – Very commercial tasting.
Yearling – Good, but baby is better.
1 year aged cheddar – Is there a difference between Yearling and 1 year? I don’t know and didn’t taste them at the same time. This is good, with a long finish and pretty cheddary.
2 year aged cheddar – OK but not great.
3 year aged cheddar – Softer, sharper. Tastes old.
4 year aged cheddar – Actually tasted a little alcoholic. Starting to get sharper and less cheese taste.
6 year aged cheddar – Strong and creamy.
10 year aged cheddar – Good. Dark and strong. Very crumbly and has those little calcium nibbles.
Autumn harvest (seasonal) – Good solid cheese. Easy to eat.
Cranberry hickory nut cheddar (seasonal) – OK. Sorta clashes, but the cheddar was nice.
Horseradish cheddar – pretty strong. Would have to taste again to remember what I meant.
Irish valley cheddar (seasonal) – Plain, not strong enough.
Organic cheddar – Too parmesan-y and not cheddary enough.
Pinconning cheddar – if you think that all of these cheddars are the same with just different labels, try this one. And then let me know if you like it. I found it to be almost medicinal.
Wildflower cheddar (seasonal) – Very nice.
Winter solstice cheddar (seasonal) – I may have the wool pulled over my eyes, and these are probably all the same cheese, but out of the seasonal cheddars, I like this one the best. It’s a good solid cheddar with a nice milky taste.

SHEEP
Montan - Mild, flaky, tasty. Very hard.
Ba Ba blue -Super creamy, very blue and very soft. Almost catches in your throat with pungentness.
Black sheep truffle – Rather sour and dusty with a milky tone.
Marisa – Very good with yummy nibbles.
Smoked Marisa – Warm and sheepy.
Virgin pine native sheep blue – Really not very blue at all. Strong.

COW
Apple smoked cheddar – Not as smoky as some. Rich and good.
Apple smoked garlic cheddar – Smelly! Cheddary and acidic.
Bread cheese – Buttery, toasty but a little plasticy.
Cave aged cheddar – Sharp and musty, deep. Not crumbly. “Wisconsin’s only cave aged cheddar.”
Cranberry chipotle cheddar – Exactly what it says. White cheddar.
Crema kasa – Dull. A little sharp. Soft.
Glacier wildfire - Not too blue. Not too soft. Kinda hot. Pretty tasty.
Maunster – Effervescent. Sharp.
Virgin-pine native blue – Musty. Really un-blue! Nutty.
Glacier blue – Cow. Very strong and salty.

GOAT
Bandaged Billy – Cave aged, musty and goaty. Did not like. May have had too small a sample that contained too much rind.
Baraboo blue – Sweet, not very moldy. Like an aged feta.
Smoked Billy blue – Smooth, somewhat goaty. The smoking was not necessary – too complex to make sense.
Black goat truffle – Mild and interesting.
Cardona – Mild, smooth, very light goatness.
Aged cardona – A touch of must. Lots of nibbles. Strong.
Cave aged cardona – Good mustiness, soft and goaty.
Cocoa cardona – OK. Gouda-like, strong.
Goat cheddar – So mild, and hardly goaty.
River bend goat – Smelly. Sweet.
Snow white goat cheddar – Moldy.

MIXED MILK CHEESE
Airco – Like the smoked skin on a skin-on hotdog.
Bessie’s blend – Soft, parmesan-y.
Carnaria – Strong and musty.
Casa bolo mellage – Firm, creamy, flavorful.
Cave aged mellage – Flavors of mushroom. Salty and creamy.
Gran carnaria – Lemony. Grassy. Creamy.
Menage – Spanish. Easy to eat. Gouda-y.
Shepard blend – Soft, sharp, sour.

OTHER
Colby – I’m very picky towards my Colby. I like it crumbly, mild, milky and salty. Texture is too moist with this one, and not salty enough.
Monterrey jack – Pretty sharp, very soft.
Veggie jack – Super oniony and soft.
Ba ba blue smoked – Soft and salty. Sausage cheese.
Bread cheese – chipotle – Like a smoky spicy eraser.
Chevre au lait – Gouda soft, strong. Good. Not goaty.
Cured brick - Tastes (and smells) like you shouldn't eat it.
Double Gloucester – Like a sharp, soft cheddar.
Edam – Good and snacky.
Feta cow – Salty, cheddary. Not very feta.
Feta sheep – Too milky.
Feta goat – Fresh, salty, slightly goaty. Cheesy.
Fondella – Wine cheese, smooth.
Fontina - Jackish. Smooth.
French fontina – Quite smooth.
Glacier penta crema – Cow, creamy, salty.
Mammoth cheddar – Delicious. Crunchy bits.
Mellage – Crumbly, sharp, Gouda.
Monastery – Creamy, sharp, nibbly.
Native sheep – Sharp, crumbly, almost mealy.
Native sheep smoked – OK. Wiener casing, creamy.
Organic baby Swiss – Moist. Very few holes. Not too sharp.
Port salue – Soft, creamy, sharp.
River bend sheep – Sour, socky yet interesting.
Sid Bahl baby smoked – Warm and smoky.
Sid Bahl baby Swiss – Mild and a little off.
Tom's Swiss - Crumbly. Not Swiss like but good.
Swiss - Normal! Full bodied.
Fresh goat – v. good!
Aged Swiss 2yr + - Pungent taste, good Swiss flavor.
Asiago – Dry, strong, good, sour.
Baby Swiss loaves – Smooth and flavorful.
Medium brick – No taste.
Butter kase – Very creamy, mild, mild, Velvetaesque.
Chocolate cheese – Fudge with nuts.
Dancing goat Gouda – Very fresh milk taste.
Dancing sheep – Very smooth, cheddary.
Mozzarella whips – Good.
Provolone – Pungent, soft.
Romano – A good, hard cheese.
Rope cheese plain – Good.
Wunderbar – Rubbery, mild, good amount of salt.



I have yet to taste the following (some of these I have not seen in the store, some are not made by Carr Valley but are listed in their brochure, whereas others I may have tasted, but forgot to write them down, so they didn’t count!): Cow – Carr Valley Blue, Hot Pepper Jack, Smoked Hot Pepper Jack. General – sharp cheddar, x sharp cheddar, 5 year cheddar, 8 year cheddar, apple smoked goat cheddar, cranberry hickory nut cheddar, hickory nut cheddar, smoked cheddar, garlic bread cheese, jalapeno bread cheese, cheddar (like, really? just plain cheddar? ok...), smoked crema casa, smoked fontina, gouda, smoked gouda, aged gouda, havarti, Aged Marisa, Swedish farmer, beer kase, mild brick, caraway brick, brie, co-jack, farmer low fat, Gruyere, Limburger, mozzarella, Parmesan 3 year, smoked provolone, Romano, string and Swiss lace.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Snowidow Report - Tyrol Basin, Mt Horeb, WI

Who: The Who is me, Sarah B.
But in wintertime, I am the happy Snowidow, free as a bird, or whatever animal finds happiness in the chilly white wonderland, to cozy up into any chalet bar, content to slurp hot cocoa (or something harder) and let my computer dine on free wi-fi while my significant other cuts through the slopes of fresh powder, or whatever.
This is the introductory posting of the Snowidow Report. I hope to visit all the major ski hills in Wisconsin and report out not on the condition of the hills, nor necessarily the level of expertise needed to challenge the black diamond. No, my focus will be on what I find important; namely, the resort bar and amenities. So lets get the inauguration going!
NOTE: These reports will be dated, and amended as I revisit or gain new information. Please let me know of any requests, errors, or updates, thanks!
What: Tyrol Basin
Tyrol Basin is a relatively small but reliable ski resort in the rural farmlands of Wisconsin. It consists of 16 runs over 30 acres and a chalet located in a renovated barn from the 1900s.

The hill stretches out from a base elevation of 870 feet to a top elevation of 1,130ft (per Wikipedia). It has one of the top 5 terrain Parks in the Midwest according to Snowboarding Transworld. There is no attached resort for hotels, but it’s not far from Mt Horeb, Verona, or Madison, WI. They host a number of ski and snowboard races throughout the season. Like most places in Wisconsin, it is family friendly (and they serve beer).

Where: 3487 Bohn Road, Mount Horeb (Troll capital of the world) WI
Google map
When: 3/6/2015 – at the end of the very loooong cooooold season that also brought very little snow to the Midwest.
The details:
Cafe-
“Our cafe offers cooked to order burgers, hotdogs, loaded nachos, breakfast and much more!” – from website
Little cafeteria downstairs from the bar.
Bar-
In a nutshell: “The Tyrol bar is home to the Tyrol Bloody Mary.  We also offer beer buckets, plenty of Wisconsin craft beers and our Tyrol Punch.” – from website
This is the bar with the wall of skis.

We came on a Friday afternoon – not quite in time for the late night rate that really draws ‘em in, but not at the peak rate either. I found myself a seat next to the line of other like-minded brunettes and logged into the wi-fi.

There is all but zero cell reception, and the wi-fi was also weak and somewhat spotty, but I was able to watch some videos and listen to music.
The beer selection was pretty good, and I ordered the Winter Skal on nitro. http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/good-beer-gas-nitro-beers-explained Wasn’t quite sure how that was gonna go, but it was as smooth as silk.

At the bar, I saw a tally list on a chalkboard labeled “Wall of Fall” - the bartender had been keeping track of how many skiers, with their preposterous Frankenstein boots, ate it on the hardwood floor. Apparently he eventually convinced those in charge of such things to purchase some safety rugs.
I counted 1 TV, 1 juke box and 1 pinball machine (South Park).

Overall Snowidow score: 3 of 5 - dandy use of a day off







Sunday, February 07, 2016

Exploding kittens and goats

(crosspost at http://goatmaiden.com/ )
So perhaps you have heard of a certain card game Kickstarter that has gone balistic.
I have enjoyed reading this crowd-funding-that-could story from a marketing and fundraising viewpoint. The people involved (two designers and a famous comic artist) were very smart to focus on very few but very clear perks (donate $20 bux to make this card game, and you get a copy of this card game.) They may have set their initial sights too low ($10,000) and didn't plan out enough "stretch goals" (in case, like it did, the campaign surpassed it's goal.)
  • Apparently, they reached their initial goal in 8 minutes.
  • Then, over 120,000 donors broke a Kickstarter record.
  • And they have now made over $5M.
I have also enjoyed watching from a goat supporter's standpoint. Goats have been in it to win it from the beginning, with an all-seeing Goat wizard able to help you, and later, the release of a goat butt that lets you see into the future.
(Granted, that is a mountain goat, not a true goat, but who's counting.)
The group was taking suggestions for other cards on Facebook recently, and I added a few caprine ideas. Who wants to bet if there will be more goaty magic to come?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Super-GOAT-Bowl!

Goats take over the Superbowl.
(crosspost at http://goatmaiden.com/ )
First off, in the Alternative Offering of Puppybowl, five goats served as the cheerleaders.
From Puppybowl Facebook
According to this article, "...four of the baby goats; Charlie, Murphy, Speckles and Sammy, were
born and raised at Molasses Hill Farm here (in New Jersey). The other baby goat, Cookie,
was born at the Guenther Farm, also in Clinton Township."
Then, the main reason people watch the actual game, as most people know, is for the commercials, and goats were to be had there as well:
Also, T Mobile's subteranian petting zoo:
Anyone see any other goat sightings? Share them!




Sunday, January 17, 2016

2015 - Year of the Goat - or is it?

(crosspost at http://goatmaiden.com/ )
Greetings fellow followers and friends of all things capra. We are gearing up for a great year, with plenty more posts and hopefully a huge influx of mainstream goat articles. Already, I have spotted some goat-themed ads and goats appearing more and more often in mainstream media and gotten some great tips from fans. Keep it up!
For now, though, I have a question, which was brought up by this photograph and caption in this month's Country Living -- is it the year of the SHEEP (boo! no!) or is it the year of the GOAT? (Yaaa! Yeah!!!)
This is of course in reference to the Lunar or Chinese New Year, which happens Thursday, February 19, 2015 this year (it moves around due to the nature of the calendar it is based on, which is not the Gregorian calendar.)
Wikipedia states it is the Year of the Goat but elsewhere mentions it could be the Year of the Ram or the Year of the Sheep (shudder.)
So what do you think?

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Happy Birthday J.R.R.! 5 fun Hobbity tidbits

Today is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's bday. Born in South Africa in 1892, he wrote the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Silmarillion.
This being his birthday, a lot of people will be doing a toast to him at 9 p.m. with a declaration of "The Professor".
I may as well. However, I did also want to share some quite interesting and hilarious things I found on the internet while researching this toast (I was inspired by the attached New Year image which was posted to my Facebook page this a.m.).
1. Did you know that the elvish translation of "cheers" is Almien (literally "to good fortune")?
2. J.R.R. never described what Sauron looked like. Yet he spent paragraphs talking about Hobbit feet. He did do a watercolor sketch of the baddie, and made many references to his eye.

Eye of Sauron, Wikipedia, Peter Jackson LOTR films
3. Denny's had a Hobbit-inspired menu. Hopefully Buzzfeed doesn't take down this awesome article any time soon, which includes reviews of the Build your own Hobbit slam ("would a Hobbit shred potatoes instead of dicing them? Hopefully the movie will answer this pressing question.") and, I kid you not, Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies.
4. Again, hoping the owner of this page doesn't take this post down; what if the dwarves never went to get Bilbo? You would get The Hobbit Improved - "It is my belief that The Hobbit, while excellent, would have been vastly improved had the bit with the dwarves been edited out and Tolkien had stuck to 200 pages of Bilbo making cozy-ass meals and going to bed early." And includes:
Chapter Seven: Is It Raining?
Was it raining? It might have been. There was a gentle thud against the roof, but Bilbo couldn’t be sure. He turned over in bed.
5. If Denny's didn't satisfy your taste buds, mayhaps the Middle Earth Foodie will. Find a running recipe list for your Ring's marathon here.


 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Jack-a-napes and Moldiwarps (or, great discoveries in Lithuanian heraldic research)

Last year my uncle discovered our family coat of arms. It's called Zadora and was used by many families of Polish/Lithuanian heritage.  I have always had an interest in symbolism and heraldry and the discovery of this shield inspired me to research the elements of the design.

Blue field = loyalty and strength
Lion head = courage

*yawn*

The interesting stuff was among the lesser-used symbols (mostly found on this Wikipedia page), such as:
Jessant-de-lys - a leopard barfing up a fleur de lis.
Jack-a-nape - monkey
Moldiwarp - mole
Urcheon - hedgehog
Coneys - rabbits (did you know this is why Coney Island was so named? Lots of bunnies. And did you know the word "bunny" comes from "bun" the Scots Gaelic word for "bottom" in reference to where the cottontail resides? And do you realize my curiosity is why it takes me 6 hours to do anything?)
Biscione - serpent eating someone
Barnicle geese - birds that grow from trees over water until they are ripe and fall into the water
Allocamelus - ass-camel

I actually never found out what just the head of a lion means, nor why it is breathing fire and if there is any reason there are 5 flames, so if anyone has a hot lead on meaning, please post below!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The bush just is


Photo taken outside of a hotel on January 1, 2015. Does it invoke some sort of feeling in you? Do you think it is dead? Is the bush in hibernation? Is it pretty? Is it ugly?

Attempt to withhold judgement. This bush is just being. It is being right now. It has been for a while now, and before that, it was a seed so it was still being. And if someone rips it up and throws it away, it will still be. Either in decay or in a plastic bag under tons of refuse. It will just continue to be.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holy Moly! SB's Blogging Again?



2014 Belle the Cat recap:

View from Ishnala
I started this year in the same way I've started pretty much every other page in my adult life - reflecting on the past, forecasting the future, shoring myself up with good words and inspiration in the form of quotes from great people, ("Help others. - D. Lama)... and getting it all wrong.

By the end of 2014, I told myself, I wanted to have a professional head shot. I wanted to have an IMBD credit.

I actually had three head shots taken. None turned out looking anything like me.

I embarked on a path to help a friend with a personal creative endeavor. In January we met for coffee and a first discussion. In April we started fundraising. In June we started shooting. We continued filming in July, August, then on into September, October and November, and despite having this in my head as a "summer project" we are still not done. (So no credit, yet.) 

I thought I wanted to run charity races: the Zoo run, the Depot to Depot, the Fruit Loop. I wanted to learn to bow hunt - to harvest my own meat.
Maybe I should have tried the walk.

I wanted to make songs with my husband in a silly band we called Kittens On Roombas. I wanted to have more backyard parties. I wanted to go to the State Fair. I wanted to go to conventions.

I did none of this.

I did garden, very lackadaisically, which is how I think I am going to garden from now on. Whatever grows, grows. I spent a lot on the water, which was nice, although I will think twice before floating an 11 ft. rowboat 25 miles downstream again (even in summer, it gets dark eventually). I donated to places I believed in, and set out a plan for 2015 donations.



As much as I plan as much as I think as much as I pontificate, I realized I will never have "extra" time.

I get high off of being the master of my own destiny, so I will be content with the enjoyment of deciding not to go to the state fair other than rearranging my schedule or sacrificing another event (in this case, a film shoot in the fabled Pabst brewery tunnels) to have the experience of going.

I tried some new restaurants: Sardine, Ishnala, Samba.

I ate a lot of fish fry.

I watched a lot of football.

I attended Fireball with the remnants of the Dane101 crew, a house burn, Scaryland, a 75th bday party, Fruitsfest, Irishfest, Focus on Goats, The Wisconsin Film Fest, a Roller Derby bout, a hockey game, the Zoo (2x in Madison, 1 in Chicago), Vegan Fest, a 5th bday party for twins at a pizza place, a Hawaiian BBQ work picnic, and The Amazing Acrocats.

I volunteered for the local library's 115th anniversary.

I wrote a blog post for a friend's blog.

I visited Cleveland, Disneyland, Sybaris, Portland, Aldo Leopald's shack, listened to Honky Tonk at the Shitty Barn with my aunt.

I made a reflective vest.

Got new car ties.

My cat Jackie chan died.

My sister's friend Danny was murdered by someone he was trying to sell his Playstation to.

I didn't go to APT.

I saw Warhorse, Naked in Amazo, Dorthy in Wonderland, The Dixie Swim Club and How to Train Your Dragon 2.


I visited my 102 year old great aunt (she was only 101 then).

I swam a lot - at the Y, at the gym, in the ocean, at hotel pools.

Ocean took my glasses; got new glasses

Got Lance.
Lancelot


Got a new job.

I ate John West Kippers.

I updated my passport.


So what am I doing now? Reflecting on the past, forecasting the future, shoring myself up with good words and inspirationin the form of quotes from great people ("Make good art." - N.Gaiman)... in preparation for getting it all wrong again. Apparently it's what I do.


R.I.P, Jackie.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Wisconsin Film Fest 2014


Back on March 7, we had a little get together for former Dane101 contributors. That was one day after the Wisconsin Film Fest schedule came out. Since 2010, I have blanket-covered the festival, seeking out trailer-a-days, tweeting my p.o.v.s, interviewing, podcasting and pre- and re-viewing everything from Feeding Fish to Bellboys. With the loss of the D101 outlet, I struggle to figure out exactly what to do with my time this coming weekend.

First off, I thought I would share the movies I'm interested in attending:

Friday 4/4 --
To Be Takei - 4:30pm - Union South
R100 - 9:15pm - Sundance 6

Saturday 4/5 --
Tricked - 5:30 - Union South
Wisconsin Own shorts (rush) - 6:15- :LVM
Bucket of Blood - 9:30 - Union South

Sunday 4/6--
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter - 5:30 - Sundance 6
The Congress - 6pm - Oventure

Monday 4/7 --
The Congress - 6pm - Sundance 6

Secondly, here are some other movies I could be talked into:
Food Patriots
Rent a Family
Stray Dogs
Domestic
Cannibal
Burt's Buzz
Wisconsin Rising
The Lumberjack at 100
Domestic
Dostoevsky behind bars
Approaching the Elephant
Le Weekend
Coherence
The Sacrament
The Overnighters
Cheetin'

And finally, things seem to have come full circle, as it were. I am currently spending most of my free time promoting and helping produce The New World Horror, and upcoming Wisconsin-based, progressive-minded zombie flick staring some of my friends and yours from Madison and the surrounding area. Watch for our fliers at the fest!




Sunday, March 09, 2014

So a zombie walks into a bar... and throws a party

Somehow I find myself, along with 5 other brave souls, in the midst of producing an independent horror movie.


The synopsis: 

"The New World Horror tells the story of eight strangers who find life turned upside down when a group of tea party protesters release a zombie virus from hell. It’s Night of the Living Dead-meets-Evil Dead as the survivors band together to fend off the approaching End Times."

There will be many people involved - actors, costumers, makeup artists, editors - BUT FIRST, and foremost, and most importantly of all, is YOU! Yes, you. 

Do you support crazy jerks who go out in sub zero Wisconsin weather in short sleeves to shoot a teaser trailer?

Are you glad that there are people in the world who spend their weekends perfecting realistic cuts, bites and blisters (without applying knives, teeth or blowtorches to actual flesh)?





Do you want more of this in your life?! 

Also, do you like rock music?







If any of this rings true to you, then you, yes YOU! should get ready for two things:

1. The New World Horror  will soon launch an IndiGoGo campaign. Watch the website for details and check it out to see if you can spare a few bucks for this devoted crew. Just a few samples of perks that will be revealed: for $5, you can become a "blood donor," get your name in the credits, and help assure the above special FX will continue to weep, spew and spurt throughout production. For a little more, become an actual zombie in the film, kill off a character, or for the ultimate experience, bring the director to your Wisconsin home or business to screen the movie! 

2. If you are in the Madison, Wisconsin area, The New World Horror Happy Hour Launch Party kicks off on Tuesday, March 25. Come out to The High Noon Saloon for drinky-treats, the above-mentioned bands, as well as other musical interludes by Harris Lemburg (who among other things, is the organist for the Madison Mallards baseball team): 



If nothing else, please LIKE us on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Twitter. Your support is extremely important and I thank you for the bottom of my heart for anything you can do for us! Thank you!!