Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crafters Regret

A funny thing happened on my way to the internet.

Despite having created the horde of Doctor Who paintings, the Nerdy Nail Polish, the first set of RPG Barbies, and all the other little random jokes here and there it was the rise of the Elder God that caught the little subset of Internet Nerds who get to decide what is and is not worth mentioning.

My little Cthulhu Barbie got a mention on the holiday dump day on io9.

Normally I'd be jumping up and down like a rabbit free basing espresso, but in the 24 hours or so since I found out I had enough time to get beaten down by what every single person who ever has something shared on a large forum of the internet must suffer.
Out came the armchair critics in full force.

It seemed for every person in the comments, as she streaked across the internet tubes like a prom queen that got blitzed on ever clear, there was one who got the joke and thought it was fun there was another who decided it was their nerdly civic duty to point out how they didn't like it.

Not in any helpful or even constructive way, it was just "I don't like this. That's poorly made. Why can't people I have never interacted with create exactly what I want to see?"

That's how the internet armchair critic survives, by assuming that every thing that is ever put in front of him was created solely with his pleasure in mind. It's a fascinating race of hedonists who exist solely in front of a small screen.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, bitch about how they'd do it better.

I've accepted that I shall never convince anyone that it is actually a person behind that picture you see, that bit of text you read, that quote you share. It wasn't formed in space by a committee of robots (well except for Horse e_books). Someone had to put in work, blood, sweat, tears and skittles to create what is at best sneered at in a few seconds.

This happened once before with my M.C. Escher Tardis painting.

What was perhaps the most telling commentary on the whole thing, because this took place on my g+ wall (remember that heady month when everyone was plussing with wild abandon?) the second I challenged them to do it better they both backed down, bowing and scraping because they didn't realize I'd created it.

So you got called out on your shit by the cobbler of the image. Big, fucking what. Even if I'd found it lurking in the bowels of the net it still had to be created by someone.

Someone with a vision different than yours, who did not fucking create it to appease you. Who had their own artistic vision and wanted to put it out there.

For every 1 artist there are a 1000 critics, and that's why there are so few artists who even pick up a brush.

My Tardis paintings were born of the idea of The Doctor having such an influence on the greats they'd include her in their famous work.

And Cthulhu Barbie was born from the idea of creating one of those Collector Barbies but for Lovecraft. I had no intention of creating an actual Cthulhu figure with Barbie as the base (because that's just fucking stupid) and I specifically wanted to keep her dress.

I did not create it to impress some fucking trolls who will deign it with a passing glance then close the tab with their cheetos stained fingers.

It took me a long time to arrive at this stage.

I had to go through the stages of troll grief: anger, sadness, regret, rage, HULK then finally SHOW THOSE BASTARD'S HOW FUCKING WRONG THEY ARE! 

And after wiping the dirt from my knees (I used my Hulk powers to attack some triffid roots who took hold a good four feet down), coating my sunburned back in aloe, I came back fighting already working to figure out how to construct my own set of Barbie chainmail.

So fuck you trolls, I'd say you're just jealous but you're not even worth that bullying excuse. You're simple, sad pathetic people who shall never create anything in your life, preferring to attempt to castrate anyone who does.

I know which side I prefer to be on.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cthulhu Barbie

Ideas are curious creatures, flitting about near invisible taunting just out of reach anyone that could really use it.

And are just as likely to sink their fangs deep into someone who wasn't paying any attention and now has to deal with idea guts splattered all over the back of their leg and palm.

My unexpected idea bite came in the form of none other than a Cthulhu Barbie (hence the title of the post).

Now what follows is the long, meandering explanation for how I went about creating this monster and maybe I'll figure out why as I go. Crazier shit's happened.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tandoori Chicken and/or Salad

It's hot. Boil a few eggs on the sidewalk while you watch squirrels burst into flames, kind of hot.

And it doesn't show many signs of slowing down.

Since it's early Summer (or still late Spring, oh god we're all gonna die!) I've been subsisting mainly upon salads in just about any form I can think of. (The salad stuffed inside another salad, got a bit too meta and created a culinary black hole)

So I'm open to just about anything that can cut the creeping doldrums of "It's hot, I don't want to eat, but I have to or I'll die."

For the first part of this recipe you'll need:


  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
In a bowl plop down the yogurt, then whisk in the garlic, 1 teaspoon garam masala (a little tricky to find but worth it if you want to do any Indian cooking, it also adds a depth to beef dishes), coriander, turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt. I also like to mix in a whiff of Vindaloo and cardamom but that is optional.

Put your skinless thighs into a bag and attempt to pour the yogurt mixture in, while covering your counter, hands, dog, laptop and doomsday device in yellow staining marinade.

That goes in the fridge for 24 or so of your mortal hours. You can do less, but I don't see the point.

Delicious right? What do you mean no? Fine.

Get your grill a humming and oil the racks. Plop the chicken down about 6-8 minutes per side and grill, baby grill.

I am so sorry, I'll go sit in the corner for that right now and think about what I've done.

 Chicken's done. Now if you wanted you could just eat it like this, perhaps with some saffron rice. But I promised a Salad and a Salad you shall have!

Dicing the chicken off the bone takes time, so I like to make little tin foil pouches on the side so the chicken doesn't cool down into untasty town.

Once that's done now you get to make your own salad dressing. Bet you weren't expecting that one, eh?

Mix together 1/2 cup of that yogurt again (I swear by Dannon's plain. Every other plain we've ever tried has been far to sweet or completely nonfat which does not hold the spice well at all) with 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp coriander, a dash of turmeric and cardamom, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Whisk in 3 table spoons of vinegar (it calls for white wine, but I just used regular. Don't tell the vinegar police!) and 2 spoons of the table of olive oil (up to you how slutty you'd prefer).
Now just chop up a head of whatever lettuce you'd prefer, maybe some tomatoes, carrots, or whatever vegetables are getting a bit too uppity in your crisper drawer.

Combine, toss, and throw against the wall until a Salad appears.

Ta da! Tandoori Chicken in salad form.

Now, if you'll excuse me, thanks to all this heat the ants have mutated to work together to form some kind of super giant ant.

You're going down, Pym!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garlic Chicken

If I could, I would find some way to reduce all of my cooking down to one pot even if it means washing in between, starting earlier, or altering the fabric of time and space. But all of those one pot meal recipes are always so, shall we say, crap tastic with a side of blah.

So if I find one that reads tasty I'm tempted to try it, when it calls for probably the cheapest cut of chicken I get all the more excited and run around in circles wagging things (I may have also accidentally combined my DNA with a dog, oops).

Anyway, to the Garlic Chicken.


  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated (Yeah, I use less than half of that.)
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I use 3 instead)
Add the oil to a pan and dump in the garlic cloves on medium heat. Let those brown up for a few minutes, but watch them like a hawk. Garlic loves to go from tasty to crispified death on a plate in the blink of an eye.

Remove the garlic to a plate when it's brown enough. I aim for slightly under Jersey Shore tan.

Salt and pepper the drumsticks (which I don't remove the skin from because I have yet to meet an easy peel chicken leg) then drop those into the pan with the now garlicy flavored oil.

Let those brown up for four minutes. This is when I like to chop up mushrooms. I know the recipe doesn't call for it, but they really capture the flavor of the sauce and oh you'll see.

Are the drumsticks nice and brown and hissing like a Madagascar cockroach that stepped on a cat's tail? Add the garlic pack to the pan and the wine and mushrooms.

Due to a lack of planning (and always doing our grocery shopping when blue laws are in effect) I've used red wine both times I've made this. So if that's all you have, it works well too, though the sauce is a bit richer.

Anyway, let that go for a minute. In the mean time whisk together the broth, the mustard, and the flour. The original recipe called for only 2 tsp of flour but I've never had the sauce set up with that so I tried 3 instead and it worked much better.

Dump the broth mixture into the pan, bring to a boil then back down to a simmer and do-si-do, promenade in the corner.

Cover the pan and let it go for 8-10 minutes.

Has it already been 10 minutes? Wow, time flies when you're an inconsequential byte in the data stream of life.

Pull off the chicken. At this point the sauce wasn't thick enough for me, your mileage and the fact you keep a car in the kitchen may vary. So I crank up the heat and stir, baby stir until it's a thick consistency.

Now just plate, hopefully far better than I ever do.

The sauce would work really well with mashed potatoes if anyone ever wanted to eat mashed potatoes when it's OHGODTHESUNEXPLODED!!! outside. It's savory with a nice acid kick from the wine and mustard and the mushrooms soak all that golden goodness up.

Oddly, despite being drumsticks (the red headed step child of the cannibalistic chicken experience) this meal feels kind of fancy for being a little over a half hours worth of work.

And that's my cheap, one pot drumstick extravaganza.

No cats were harmed in the making of this recipe.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fuck You Farmers

It's been almost two months since this happened:
When an asshole decided it'd be great fun to try to flee from the cop chasing him, flew off the road, hit a transformer, went through our fence then our shed then got stopped by our tree.

In that time Jack-all has changed.
 First our shitty shitty insurance at Farmers tried to dick us around by saying our flattened shed had depreciated so much that for the total destruction of that, the fence, and our tree's branch was only worth $400. Not that they were going to cut a check.

Then, a month and a half later (probably after the motorcyclist got out of his coma and on bail) Mr. Knievel's insurance company finally gets in contact with us.

Things finally seemed to start looking up from that late March morning when a motorcycle tried to fly and blanketed our backyard in shrapnel and tacky black plastic covered in Ed Hardy knockoff decals.

Any guesses where this is going?

Farmers, which should really change it's tagline to "We Know How To Fuck You Over," decided that our daring to take out two claims in three years was far too needy for their tastes and they needed some space from daring to give back to us a tiny percentage of the money we give them every month.

Yes, they fucking dropped us for taking out a claim for a motorcyclist driving through OUR BACKYARD!

And a claim for which they were going to fork us over 0 dollars and 0 cents. Because we dared to put in a claim because how were we to know that the kind of guy who would flee from the cops and drive a motorcycle into a building would have full coverage?

Apparently we forced them to actually get off their widening cheap suited asses more than once a decade so we're not worth insuring.

And that other claim? 

That was all the way back in 2010, on my birthday no less, when the wind (God, mayhem, whatever the fuck you want to call it) knocked down our fence.

And like the foolish, wide eyed new homeowners we were we actually dared to think that the high winds crashing our neighbors pear tree branch into our fence would be covered by our insurance and filed a claim.

Just how much were they willing to shill out for that act of vengeful Marvel Superhero? $700.

So, after taking our money for three years they fucking dropped us for daring to file two claims that cost them less than one thousand dollars.

Let me say that again, Farmers Insurance will kick you out for daring to take less than one thousand dollars from their stockholders.

 That's how little they give a shit about their clients, all those people they like to claim they're there to work for. You dare to flag down their attention more than once and they will fuck you over for the rest of your life.

Whatever you do, run from Farmers. I'm telling that Farmers Insurance want's nothing more than to screw you over while the stockholders watch and drool onto a giant pile of money.

Get out while you can before they can drop you for a little more than the cost of an iPad and screw over your chances for insurance for the rest of your life.

Fuck Farmers, and their lazy fucking asses.

They are Farmers, and they will fuck you over. Bah bum bum bum bum bum.