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Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe”

Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe” published on No Comments on Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe”

Recaito, the star of Tarah’s chili recipe, is apparently four syllables, not three. It’s also pronounced “reh cah EE toe,” not “reh KAY toe.” No wonder the worker in Shaw’s gave me a really weird look when I asked for “reh KAY toe.” I’m going to blame my mispronunciation on a) the fact that I’ve never heard this word spoken aloud, b) the fact that I don’t know any Spanish, and c) the proliferation of names like Caitlyn [“cah EET lin”? :p].

Tarah’s chicken chili revised

Tarah’s chicken chili revised published on No Comments on Tarah’s chicken chili revised

Tonight’s permutation of the recipe follows:


2 chicken breasts, cooked in recaito
2 1/2 med carrots, shredded
2 1/2 tbsp recaito
honey [1 tsp?]
16 oz salsa verde
1 envelope Herbox
1 cup water
29 oz cannellini, rinsed and drained
16 oz red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 white onion, chopped
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp + 1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 head garlic, minced
frozen peas
frozen corn

Thaw chicken breasts. Slash. Place in glass baking dish in two layers of tin foil. Moosh recaito into the slashes and over the top of the breasts — a total of 1 to 2 tbsp. Wrap tin foil around them so they are covered. Cook at 450 degrees for at least 25 minutes. Shred.

Put all the ingredients except frozen veggies together in slow cooker. Fill the rest of the space in slow cooker with peas and corn. Stir thoroughly, making sure recaito and spices distribute evenly through ingredients. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. Check at least once to stir and make sure there’s enough liquid.


Cooking chicken in recaito is my attempt to make it more flavorful. Also recaito seems like garlic — you can pretty much never have enough. There’s a lot of recaito in this version…

Carrots added per my previous notes.

Amount of honey was not measured — just enough to cut any heartburn-producing acidity.

I’m not a particular connoisseur of beans, but I’ll see if the cannellini make a difference in the taste.

White onions are nice and crunchy and juicy — good cooking onions!

Double the cumin from last time because cumin is the shit!

Increased amount of paprika, just for the hell of it.

Whoops, forgot the chili powder. I don’t feel like it was doing anything important last time, though.

Plus cilantro because cilantro is the shit, although not the the extent of garlic and cumin.

Salt to tie things together and highlight the flavors. I tend to skip salt, assuming that there’s enough sodium in everything else, but a judiciously applied amount of salt can have significant and subtle effects on the cohesion of a dish. Also it just tastes good, even if it is not as much of the shit as garlic, cumin, recaito, cilantro, etc.

The frozen veggies bulk up the chili and make it a one-pot meal, very appealing for us lazy people.

I’ve discovered that I follow recipes best when I discover why ingredients are being used. For example, if I read my recipe above and saw honey and salt, I would immediately assume that the two would cancel each other out. Thus I wouldn’t see the point of either, and I’d skip both. Knowing that honey mollifies the acidity of the salsa, while salt highlights other flavors, gives me the reason I need to add these ingredients. Also once I know the reasons for ingredients, I can get to the fun part — substitutions and experiments. Obviously, though, I clearly do substitutions and experiments even if I don’t know why certain ingredients are included.

December doll update: Novella gets new faceup and half a new body

December doll update: Novella gets new faceup and half a new body published on No Comments on December doll update: Novella gets new faceup and half a new body

In other news, I finished a body mod on Novella and got her back from the faceup artist with a new paint job!Continue reading December doll update: Novella gets new faceup and half a new body

December doll update 2: Fritillaria!!!!!

December doll update 2: Fritillaria!!!!! published on No Comments on December doll update 2: Fritillaria!!!!!

Fritillaria, my Withdoll Adriana, arrived on December 19th! Well packaged and very tightly strung, she poses solidly and stands on her own right out of the box. In fact, she was so tightly strung that her wrist S hooks and I had a fight; they drew blood when I was swapping out her hands. [You know you’re a hardcore doll enthusiast when you bleed in the course of a doll project, wipe it up casually, and consider your project officially christened. :p ] Nice creamy “cream white” resin with even coloration, no bubbles, no seam lines. Overall, I had a good experience with Withdoll, though I had to poke them when two months passed and they had yet to ship, despite promising that they would. A few pictures below.Continue reading December doll update 2: Fritillaria!!!!!

December doll update 1: more dolls for dolls

December doll update 1: more dolls for dolls published on No Comments on December doll update 1: more dolls for dolls

I’m cleaning off my memory card before the end of the year, and I have quite a few photos on it that I have yet to blog. Les voici.

At Vermont Doll Lovers on December 12th, I purchased some gachapon minifigures from Lyrajean. They represent cutesy versions of some Japanese airline’s stewards’ uniforms throughout the airline’s history. Lyrajean, who picked them up in Japan a few years ago, says that they came as promotional items with different kinds of soda. [I think she was buying the soda just for the minifigs…] Continue reading December doll update 1: more dolls for dolls

The Force Awakens and Smug White People Feminism

The Force Awakens and Smug White People Feminism published on No Comments on The Force Awakens and Smug White People Feminism

While many media outlets are covering Star Wars: The Force Awakens with glee, one reason for the excitement is the way in which female characters and characters of color are treated. Rey, a white woman, seizes a primary protagonist role, kicks general ass, fights her first cousin to a standstill despite no formal training, avoids a metal bikini, and [surprisingly enough] doesn’t get railroaded into a bullshit romantic subplot with Finn — awesome! Finn, a black man, also features as a protagonist and gets to be goofy and heroic, and no one makes a stink about his skin color — yippee! Poe, an arguable secondary protagonist and brown man, is a totally hot dude whose origins on a Guatemela-like planet seem to pay homage to the actor’s own nationality — nifty! Princess Leia, a white woman, is a general now, leading the Resistance — finally! Captain Phasma, a white woman, intimidates everyone, also avoiding metal bikini — aw yes! Maz Kanata, an alien voiced by a black woman, does a wise, wry, insightful female Yoda impression — woo hoo! There’s a female Resistance pilot [I think she’s Asian] with lines — and she doesn’t die — party party! There are actual women, including Asian women, African women, and women of color, in bit parts and extra roles — sometimes they too have lines, and sometimes they don’t die either — ZOMG1111! From the way that general media interpretations are reacting, you’d think that this film was a historic landmark in progressive portrayals of women and/or people of color.


Mmmm…nah. It’s only a stupendous achievement if you’re looking at it from the limited lens of Smug White People Feminism. Otherwise, it’s not.


You see — if we were really going to have a super cool Force Awakens with novel and progressive treatment of its female characters and/or characters of colors other than pasty, the movie would address these aspects of characters’ identities in their stories. I do not care how irrelevant one’s sex and/or one’s race are supposed to be in the sci-fi universe of Star Wars; in the present day, on this planet, these highly salient characteristics inflect pretty much every aspect of one’s daily existence. Thus, The Force Awakens, as a movie that was created in the present day, on this planet, must reckon with the cultural truths that sex and race significantly define our lives.

What might such a realistic consideration of the characters’ sex and race look like in The Force Awakens? Perhaps Rey, having heard so many “myths” about the predominantly dude-based Jedis, could have some serious questions about her ability to use the Force like them. Maybe Finn’s revulsion at serving the Empire could include his unwillingness to support an overwhelmingly Aryan elite that sends brown people to do their dirty work. Maybe Maz could attribute her watering hole’s thousand-year tenure to the toughness she’s had to develop as a single woman running a huge business. Maybe the whole movie could stop gendering its primary conflict as “sons and their extremely boring Daddy Issues” and reconceptualize it as “people and their struggles with legacies, broadly construed.” In any event, a truly insightful treatment of sex and race in The Force Awakens would have the characters actively discussing such salient traits from which many aspects of their identities arise.


So…does The Force Awakens contain any self-consciousness for its characters about the sex they were assigned, the color of their skin, how these traits are negotiated in their cultures of origin, anything, anything? No! Of course not! Then we wouldn’t have enough time for Daddy Issues Part VII: A Lost Hope!


Seriously, though, The Force Awakens tries to update itself for modern liberal interests, but its treatment of female characters and characters of color shows the update as superficial at best. For example, let’s look at Captain Phasma, storm trooper leader of Finn’s regiment [and apparently the only woman in any position of power anywhere in the Empire]. Her character was originally male, explains Force Awakens cowriter Lawrence Kasden, but then was changed to female at the last minute. The Vulture article in which Kasden was quoted strongly implies that this change occurred in response to fan disappointment with the lack of women in the movie. The ecstasy with which actress Gwendoline Christie, who plays Phasma, receives this information — “…For that evolved thinking to be in a Star Wars movie, I think people love that!” [also from the Vulture article] — seems to represent the general joy with which The Force Awakens’ “evolved thinking” has been received.


A closer look at the example of Captain Phasma, however, reveals absolutely no “evolved thinking” of any kind. As Kasden explains, she was originally thought up as a man, but then her sex was swapped out as almost an afterthought. In other words, nothing changed about the character except that she would be played by a woman, rather than a man. In practice, this means that no one in the movie notices the novelty of a female storm trooper captain, despite the fact that they’ve been male in all previous films. I’m not asking for a soliloquy in which Captain Phasma reveals that she has impostor syndrome [although it could be really cool if done right, which it wouldn’t be]; I’m just saying that a truly progressive and insightful portrayal of a female character doesn’t just slot her in where a male character would have been. Instead, it considers how her experience, perspective, and personality are shaped because she’s a woman and, more specifically, a woman in a society dominated by men. In the same way, Finn’s story does him no justice as a black man because it refuses to let him engage with the reality of being a black man in a society dominated by people who look like the upper echelons of the Empire.

For further proof of lack of “evolved thinking,” let’s consider the example of Maz Kanata. Her character, who presides over a bar where characters go to get Luke’s light saber, is a small, four-fingered, hairless orange humanoid with super-powered glasses. She is played by actress Lupita Nyong’o, who identifies as Mexican-Kenyan. She has also won an Oscar, as well as acclaim in 2014 as one of People’s Most Beautiful. In other words, she’s an extremely skilled and talented performer who considers her embodiment as a brown-skinned woman with kinky hair important. In fact, in her commentary on being chosen as one of the magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful, Nyong’o implicitly contrasts her own features with the “light skin and long, flowing, straight hair” that formed her template for attractiveness when she was growing up. Force Awakens, take note — Nyong’o’s self-consciousness is just one example of the way that sex and race impinge on one’s self-concept and development.

The Force Awakens may give a brown woman a strong, crucial role, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. In fact, it’s pretty racist. This Entertainment Weekly article points out why: “Maz is one of the few creatures in her court who is not a real-life, practical effect…” In other words, there were plenty of people and puppets in Maz’s set, but the director specifically decided to omit Nyong’o bodily and entirely, her presence only available as mediated through motion capture. While Nyong’o is performing in the movie, she’s not performing as a brown-skinned woman with kinky hair. She is instead performing as an orange-skinned alien with [unlike most of the bar patrons] no tangible presence. The Force Awakens literally disembodies Nyong’o, whose body and beauty are inseparable from her personality, identity, acting style and success, and public reception. The long [white, male] colonial project of reducing, distorting, and suppressing the [brown, female] Other continues unabated.

Anyone who thinks that The Force Awakens is an amazing win for representation of women and/or people of color should temper this analysis with two observations. First, representation is more than just a superficial numbers game. Authentic representation requires an engagement with the ways in which sex and race affect one’s life, especially if one isn’t white and/or male. Unfortunately, The Force Awakens lacks such character development. Second, we can’t just take as our measure of success, for example, Lupita Nyong’o playing a character who actually does stuff and performs integral, interesting plot functions. We have to examine how such a character is portrayed. And, if she’s not only deprived of a backstory that addresses her experiences as a person of a non-dominant sex and non-dominant race, but she’s also deprived of physical, bodily presence, then we have to recognize the sexism and racism at play here. Then we have to call it out, criticize it, and work against it, ’cause that’s the only way anything will change.

P.S. I actually really liked this movie.

It’s “Let’s complain about Hot Toys!” time again.

It’s “Let’s complain about Hot Toys!” time again. published on No Comments on It’s “Let’s complain about Hot Toys!” time again.

Hot Toys has a real hard time doing likenesses of women, which makes me downgrade their vaunted verisimilitude. Who cares if they can do decent dudes if they can’t be arsed to bring the same accuracy and realism to their women?

Case in point: There’s something off about their attempt at Daisy Ridley as Rey. Pictures show that she has a squarer jaw, narrower face, narrower eyes, more angularity around her lips, and just overall more character. Also none of the pictures of the doll show her from the rear, so we can’t see if her hair has been accurately duplicated.

Meanwhile, over on the other branch of the family tree, I have no idea how the likeness of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is because his mask won’t come off! [And we know how I feel about that… >_> ] I can understand Captain Phasma or your standard issue storm troopers with molded-on masks, but c’mon, HT — Darth Vader Jr. Jr. dispenses with the mask for key segments of the movie. In fact, I’d argue that the whole point of this character is the tension between the mask and the face underneath, but I guess the doll doesn’t have tension because he doesn’t even have a face. Did they just not want to do a portrait? Why not? Driver’s distinctive features would probably make for a really cool portrait.


Okay, guess we’ll have to wait to see who they reissue for the sequel and the sequel to the sequel.  It is my fond hope that Captain Phasma starts running around without her helmet on and maybe even has a last, desperate, sweaty, maskless duel [like Rey and Kylo] so we can get a doll of her with an actual face. If she doesn’t, I’m at least holding out for her continual treatment as a non-sexualized individual and eventual survival — she already has to deal with enough crap as the token Nazi Empire woman with any significant lines. I do not want her to end up like Irina Spalko in Indiana Jones and the Unnecessarily Confusing Jump Cuts. [Seriously, could anyone follow the chase scenes in that movie?] If the choice ends up being between a) permanent masked badassery and b) unmasked sexualization [which it probably will end up being], I vote for a).


Okay, well, I guess I had more feelings about that than I expected. :p

First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard

First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard published on No Comments on First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard

Inspired by Tarah’s green chicken chili, I made my own version of the following:

2 chicken breasts, precooked and chopped
16 oz. frozen corn
14 oz. frozen peas
2 cloves elephant garlic, minced
1/3 head regular garlic, minced
1 packet Herbox
1 cup water
~16 oz. salsa verde [used Goya]
~30 oz. light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
~15 oz. dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp. racaito [used Goya]
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chili powder

Prepare individual ingredients as directed in ingredients list. Put everything in slow cooker; stir thoroughly. Cook on high for a while, stirring sporadically.

Notes: As you can see by my adaptations from the original recipe, I told the peppers, both green and jalapeno, to fuck right off, as peppers give me indigestion. [Also I’m sure there are plenty of peppers in the salsa verde and racaito.] I also increased the amount of garlic and precooked the chicken. Tarah didn’t specify if the chicken was supposed to be cooked beforehand, but I just wanted to make sure. Frozen veggies make it more like a hearty stew!

Next time I make this [and there will be a next time, if only to improve on this attempt], I’m shredding a carrot or two in there. I may also add some honey if the chili proves particularly acidic.

More work on Never the Less and a mock-up

More work on Never the Less and a mock-up published on No Comments on More work on Never the Less and a mock-up

I filled in Never the Less’ original mouth slit, recarved it, sanded her forehead and eye sockets, then stuck her on Thalia’s body to get an idea of how she will look when done.

Conclusion: She’s going to look creepy when done. For some reason I find her inner mask, with its crude, mostly erased features, immensely disturbing. In contrast to her beautiful, eye-catching outer mask, her inner mask looks like a hasty fill-in job. She looks like her inner mask is engulfing her, especially because it adheres directly to her head. Fortunately I can hide it so I don’t have to look at it all the time.

Never the Less’ head looks way too small on Thalia’s body. I’m glad that I’m getting her a 60cm Angel of Dream girl body with small chest [ordered two days ago from Alice’s Collections!], with an overall slimmer build similar to Araminthe’s. Never the Less’ head already seems small because of her masks, which act as focal points and do not take up her entire head. Thus I think a more slightly built body will be more proportional.
Continue reading More work on Never the Less and a mock-up

Never the Less: probably some conservative BJD purist’s worst nightmare

Never the Less: probably some conservative BJD purist’s worst nightmare published on No Comments on Never the Less: probably some conservative BJD purist’s worst nightmare

Because I use permanent marker and colored pencils on my BJDs, hold them together with hot glue and swears, modify them with a hacksaw, and regularly take them outside in the sun, all to make resin versions of characters with an, ahem, unique aesthetic sensibility, I suspect — no, in fact, I know — that my BJDs make certain conservative BJD purists revolt. They’re over there, meticulously layering subtly blended pastels on their limited edition dolls, only using imported Japanese sealant, keeping all their outfits fullset and pristine, and maintaining their investments in climate-controlled cases where the curtains are always drawn, and I’m over here, experimenting with enthusiasm, undeterred by lack of skill, splicing together REALLY LARGE ACTION FIGURES!!!

Anyway, I’ve been working on Never the Less’ head recently. Shocking pictures, guaranteed to give someone the vapors for the inelegant liberties taken with such expensive materials, follow. Continue reading Never the Less: probably some conservative BJD purist’s worst nightmare

Plots of favorite books in six words

Plots of favorite books in six words published on No Comments on Plots of favorite books in six words

Saw this on Facebook as a challenge for people to guess the title and author of books based on six-word summaries. In no particular order, here are some of my faves:

Anorexic city girl proves excruciatingly introspective. [Rebecca Josephs’ Early Disorder]

Clare escapes becoming Niall’s kinky doll. [Sarban’s Doll Maker]

Laura learns magic and rescues brother. [Margaret Mahy’s Changeover]

Dead lesbian seeks ingenues for dinner. [Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla]

Being royal makes growing up complicated. [Maria Gripe’s In The Time of the Bells]

Enemies bang each other into “love.” [This works for both Johanna Lindsey’s Warrior’s Woman and E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Alice keeps her cool amidst bullshit. [Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures Underground and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There]

Self-absorbed language experiments obscure the plot. [Greer Gilman’s Moonwise]

And some short stories:

Princess knows she’s in a fairy tale. [A.S. Byatt’s Tale of the Eldest Princess]

Valley Girl totally kicks vampire butt. [Esther Friesner’s Blood-Ghoul of Scarsdale]

BJDs old and new

BJDs old and new published on No Comments on BJDs old and new

Just out of curiosity, I ran through the current list of BJDs who bug me [that is, BJDs that live in my universe, as opposed to fictional universes like Me and my Muses or Zombieville] to see who was oldest and who was newest. Judgment of their ages is complicated by the fact that several of them were inresinated in other forms before their current ones. Thus the characters may be old, though the doll forms representing them may be younger. This comparison of my BJDs’ ages calculates from their current inresinations only, though information about past forms is included in brackets.

This comparison also uses the date on which the doll arrived to me in the mail as its birthday, except in the case of hybrid dolls. For hybrids, I use the arrival date of the doll’s head as its birthday. The only exception to this is Polly, whose head, an Elfdoll Doona Kathlen faceplate, lay around, unused, until I saw Asleep Eidolon’s 1:6 scale mature mermaids and ordered one for her body. Because I made up the character only when I had the body, I count the arrival of the Asleep Eidolon body as Polly’s birthday.

So, from oldest to newest, here are the BJDs who bug me:

1. Sardonix: [Version 1 arrived January, 2005. Sold December, 2005.] Version 2 arrived January 24, 2007.

2. Araminthe: Arrived February 7, 2011.

3. Jujube: Arrived December, 2011.

4. Flower: Arrived March 19, 2012.

5. Mellifer: Arrived June 22, 2012.

6. Jareth: [Version 1 arrived February 9, 2006. Sold in summer, 2009.] Version 2 arrived October 15, 2012.

7. Timonium: Arrived February 27, 2013.

8. Yamarrah: Arrived July 13, 2013.

9. Polly: Arrived March, 2014.

10. Thalia: Arrived November 5, 2014.

11. Dorothy: [Version 1 arrived March, 2011. Sold August, 2012.] Version 2 arrived September 29, 2015.

12. Jeff: Arrived September 29, 2015.

13. Delmar: Arrived October 13, 2015.

14. Honorine: Arrived October, 2015.

15. Submit: [Version 1 arrived March, 2007. Sold May, 2007. Version 2 arrived November, 2007. Disassembled November, 2015.] Version 3 arrived November 9, 2015.

16. Never the Less: Arrived December, 2015.

17. Touralyn: Arrived December 12, 2015.

18. Fritillaria: Arrived December, 2015.

If calculated by age of characters, BJDs who bug me would be, in order from oldest to youngest: Jareth [of course!], Sardonix, Submit, Araminthe, Dorothy, Jujube, Flower, Mellifer, Timonium, Yamarrah, Polly, Thalia, Jeff, Delmar, Honorine, Never the Less, Touralyn, Fritillaria. If Jareth, a character who existed long before his BJD form, is excluded, the oldest character first inresinated as a BJD that bugs me is Sardonix. She’s also my oldest BJD by a long shot — soon approaching her 9th [!] birthday, while the next oldest, Araminthe, will only be 5 at the beginning of next year.

My current crop of BJDs who bug me does not reflect the entire length of my interest in this type of doll, though. I got my first, Zephque, a Customhouse Gene, in May, 2004 [and sold him in November, 2005]. My interest in BJDs thus goes back more than a decade.

I saw the queer coding and transmisogyny before I had the vocabulary to call it out.

I saw the queer coding and transmisogyny before I had the vocabulary to call it out. published on No Comments on I saw the queer coding and transmisogyny before I had the vocabulary to call it out.

Digging back through past blog entries, I came across a chat with author Alex Potter about the attractiveness of antagonist characters. I excerpted our thoughts in an entry with the subject line “Why villains are cool and gay villains even cooler.” In the chat, we clearly picked up on the characterization of many villains as evil and
attractive and queer. We focused less on their presentation as villainous and more on their irresistible and transgressive sexiness. We really liked them and agreed that they were pretty cool.


I see that I recognized queer coding back than — the clustering of evilness, sexiness, and queerness — even though I didn’t know the term. I also didn’t really recognize the negative connotations of queer coding. I was mostly happy just to have found characters that I thought were cool role models; I focused more on them being attractive and queer than on their villainy. I was so happy to have role models of any kind [finally, people in the media whose portrayals I could identify with!] that I didn’t think critically about how they were presented as evil because queer and failures because misogynistly presented as femme. I kind of skipped over the persistent link between, first, queerness and villainy and, second, queerness and transmisogyny. Of course, now I can look back and see how the queer coding and transmisogyny that I swallowed along with all my aspirational desire really messed things up, so blargh.

Tarah’s chicken chili recipe

Tarah’s chicken chili recipe published on No Comments on Tarah’s chicken chili recipe

From Tarah. I’m a little disturbed by the presence of jalapeno, but I think the addition of salsa verde and racaito is a genius maneuver!


1 med onion (valencia), chopped
1/2 lg jalapeño, seeded chopped
1 med green bell pepper, seeded chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 t salt
1 t flour
1 c. Chicken broth
1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde
2.3 lb chicken breasts
2 T racaito
2 cans cannellini beans
1 can small white beans
(1 T) cumin, paprika, chili/cajun powder. 1 T each (I had cajun, not chili and no paprika on hand – didn’t want to use smoked paprika, which I did have)

Saute flour, onion, peppers, garlic, and salt until tender (aromatic roux). Put all ingredients in crock pot 5-7 hours on low. Chicken can be shredded an hour before complete.

Do NOT use more chicken… less will make it soupier, if you like that; 2-2.5 lbs makes it super thick and easily reheatable with a bit of water.

Modern Wizard’s chili yet again

Modern Wizard’s chili yet again published on No Comments on Modern Wizard’s chili yet again

2 pounds ground beef
~32 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
~32 oz diced tomatoes with chilies and garlic
~16 oz tomato sauce
~16 oz salsa with garlic
2 grated carrots
1 big white onion, chopped
7 cloves fresh regular garlic, minced
1 1/2 heads roasted regular garlic
1 clove fresh elephant garlic, minced
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
miscellaneous amounts of salt
miscellaneous amounts of grated cheese

Mix garlic in with beef; brown; drain.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook for about 4 hours on high.

Put grated cheese on the chili if you want.

I think I’ve finally hit on a good chili recipe. One of the keys is to put the garlic in with the beef so that it distributes its flavor into the meat, but does not get lost in all the rest of the ingredients. Another key is to let the salsa do the rest of the heavy lifting flavor-wise. Cayenne pepper and chili powder are just there for the burn. Another key is to add as much garlic as you can possibly stand, not just with the beef, but with the diced tomatoes and the salsa. The roasted garlic seems to punch up the fresh garlic, giving it a foundation so that the taste of the latter is more apparent.

In future iterations, I will not be using elephant garlic; it’s too mild, but I was just trying to get rid of it. Looks like the final garlic count will be 5 to 7 regular cloves and 1 head regular roasted. Maybe fewer fresh cloves. Dare I say that was almost too much garlic?! GASP! Hopefully the chili will mellow over time.

Chase Holfelder and Kurt Schneider do Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” in a minor key

Chase Holfelder and Kurt Schneider do Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” in a minor key published on No Comments on Chase Holfelder and Kurt Schneider do Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” in a minor key

As a result, I hate it 85% less than the original. The key change, the slowing of tempo, and the change from pop to smash make it much more enjoyable to listen to, as well as just all-around interesting. But it’s still a Christmas song, and I hate pretty much all Christmas songs, so it’s not a full rehabilitation.


That being said, I could totally get behind a serious metal version of We Three Kings — not an instrumental, as I’ve been finding on Youtube, but the actual song, with all the lyrics, including my favorite verse, which is pretty metal anyway:


Myrrh is mine

Its bitter perfume

Breathes a sign

Of gathering gloom

Sorrowing, sighing

Bleeding, dying

Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Vermont Doll Lovers December meetup, 12/12/2015

Vermont Doll Lovers December meetup, 12/12/2015 published on No Comments on Vermont Doll Lovers December meetup, 12/12/2015

Araminthe, Honorine, Sardonix, and Submit went to VTDL today, along with a crapload of Christmas props. While there, I swapped a Lumedoll Arine for Touralyn, DragonGems’ second scratch-built BJD ever. Because I found a crack in her torso, Megan is redoing her body, so I actually came home with just her head. I did, however, get some photos of her hanging around Submit, the other 1:6 scale doll of mine in attendance. Pictures are on the VTDL blog, as usual.

I’m just over here watching Michael Jackson dance.

I’m just over here watching Michael Jackson dance. published on No Comments on I’m just over here watching Michael Jackson dance.

This is very hot. I am going to watch this many many many times on repeat. There’s also a song in there that’s not too bad to listen to…but damn — that individual can move. [A little concerned about the bruise-colored eyeshadow, though…]

You’re bad? Okay. You can call yourself anything you want — just do that pelvic thrust again!!!

I wonder if the jingling chains were just taped along with the singing or if they were put on a separate track that was added in later. In any case, they’re my favorite part of the song aside from Michael Jackson’s pelvic girdle dancing.

Facial hair cues categorization

Facial hair cues categorization published on No Comments on Facial hair cues categorization

That is what I learned from this article about a bearded woman. Bodily distribution of hair seems to be one of the most visible and salient characteristics upon which people make assumptions about someone’s gender identity. I have no profound observations on this subject, except to state that my personal experience, in which people have clocked me as a dude because of my shaven head, supports this.


In other news that no one except me cares about, my attitude toward facial hair has slowly shifted from general repugnance to almost one of neutrality. It’s not an automatic incitement of lust for me, but it’s not an instant buzzkill either. I’ve stopped caring violently about it, except in the following cases. 1) I don’t want any, thank you very much. 2) Soul spots and goatees are silly. 3) Lightning-shaped sideburns will always be hella cool!

My hair models receive some mild acclaim!

My hair models receive some mild acclaim! published on No Comments on My hair models receive some mild acclaim!

I started making freebie digital hairstyles last September. Using primarily PhilC’s Hair Designer [and a little bit of Alabone LLC’s Hair Shop beta, now folded into Head Shop], I constructed models that no one else was making. Hair Designer contains various hair figures, already rigged for Poser and UV mapped, such as single- and double-ponytail skullcaps, straight hair pieces, wavy hair pieces, and various accessories, from which to build one’s own creations. This is great for me, as I have not yet learned how to model anything from scratch. Thus my forays into digital hairstyling consist mostly of kitbashing elaborate updos from pre-existing pieces.

My first attempt at hair was Aliza, a multi-layered reproduction of Jareth’s ‘do in Labyrinth, still my most popular hair model to date. After a few Rococo pompadours and some more subdued modern-day styles, I took a hiatus of about 10 months, then turned my attention to historical women’s hairstyles. My first bundle was relatively simple, but my most recent release features 4 complicated, high-poly models with layers of cascading curls. I seem to have an affinity for complex styles!

My freebies have always received grateful thanks from people who bother to comment, but I consider that par for the course. The Poser/Daz community encourages and promotes creation of freely downloadable digital assets from anyone at any skill level. Every freebie garners accolades because downloaders not only like free stuff, but they also appreciate the generosity and skill of the freebie creators. Thus, while comments like “Thanks!” and “Nice!” certainly motivate me to continue making and offering my stuff, I consider them as general applause, not as specific compliments.

Public response has changed, though, with the issue of the 1820s G2F Hair Bundle 2. I first sensed that something was up when Arcadium69 commented on ShareCG, “It’s hard to believe your [sic] offering this kind of quality for free, but it’s very noble.” Over on the Daz boards, my post announcing the hairstyles actually generated some excited chatter, including jpb06t requesting 1870s styles [with pictures provided] and Tako Yakida asking when I would start making content for G3F. timmins.william posted some Iray renders of my freebies and, in a PM, even offered to do a promo render or two for me. SaphireWild had trouble loading the freebies, so the thread might offer some troubleshooting too.

I’m thrilled at the implications here. Arcadium69’s ShareCG comment indicates that they consider my efforts worth paying money for. Of course, I, being the critical creator, see many flaws in my freebies that I would never countenance if I had paid money for them, but I rejoice to hear that someone likes what I do enough to willingly part with money for it. jpb06t and Tako Yakida’s Daz board comments show they they like my models so much that they wish I would apply my skills to their chosen areas of interest [1870s hairdos and G3F respectively]. In summary, I have satisfied fans who eagerly await my next freebie. It’s like having avid readers of my photostories, only in a different realm!

Never the Less’ head

Never the Less’ head published on No Comments on Never the Less’ head

Decided last night to use Janvier Jett’s head for Never the Less, assuming that Never the Less’ mask scales well with it. Also decided that Never the Less’ creepy-deepy-doo face will be mostly built up with Aves Apoxie Sculpt, as sanding down is a pain in the rear.

Today’s chili recipe

Today’s chili recipe published on No Comments on Today’s chili recipe

Today’s version of slow cooker chili is an experiment in a) compensating for half the required amount of ground beef and b) cooking from memory. I was on the right track when I decided to put six grated carrots in for more bulk, but I don’t think the chili needs three cans of water; I think I was confusing it with the chicken tomato veggie stew. I hope I put in enough garlic… Find out tomorrow!!!

1 pound ground beef, browned in garlic and drained

2 cans [~30 oz] black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans [~30 oz] diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

3 diced tomato cans’ worth of water

5 cloves regular garlic, minced

2 cloves elephant garlic, minced

1 big yellow onion, chopped

6 carrots, grated

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 tbsp chili powder

miscellaneous amounts of salt and parsley flakes

Mince garlic. Put in with beef; brown beef; drain. Put beef and all other ingredients in slow cooker. Add preferred amount of salt and parsley. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

EDIT: Way too much water makes this soupy and seems to dilute the flavor. There’s a lot of burn from the cayenne and chili powder, but the garlic seems to be lost in the confusion. I like the addition of the carrots, but I think this really needs another pound of beef to support the amount of fresh garlic I put in. Edible but really boring. 


Never the Less’ mask has been acquired!

Never the Less’ mask has been acquired! published on No Comments on Never the Less’ mask has been acquired!

I just spent more on a single BJD outfit than I ever have for one in my size: ~$335.00 for Souldoll’s Eve-ZF. [Thanks to the Doll Peddlar, which had this outfit in stock Stateside so I only had to pay domestic s/h.] Well, technically, I paid that much for the mask and happened to get a dress along with it. I sure hope I can sell the dress…

Last night I decided that the un/masked doll’s name is Never, but her full name is Never the Less. I think of “the Less” as her cognomen. There’s a whole family of Nevers, including More, Do Well, Mind, Ending…and the Less, who I have. Even though “the Less” is the closest thing she has to a personal name, she goes by Never the Less, although her closest associates may be permitted to call her Natheless, an archaic form of “nevertheless.”

I picked her name because I was thinking of it as a tripartite word made of “never,” “the,” and “less.” The first is an absolute denial, the second a definite article, and the third a comparative adverb. You can’t have a greater or lesser amount of an absolute absence of something, and it certainly isn’t a definite article itself; in fact, it’s an anti-article. The competing concepts hidden in the parts of “nevertheless” make it an ambivalent, riddlesome word, especially to a language lover like me.

Never the Less has an ambivalent riddle for a name because she’s an ambivalent riddle of a character, playing with the concept of “doll.” Resin BJDs in particular are generally thought of as lifelike [despite the proliferation of fantastic anatomies] because their materials [resin, glass eyes, fiber wigs] can mimic the appearance of human skin, eyeballs, and hair to a more realistic degree than, say, a playline fashion doll. But what if Never the Less flouts the expectation of lifelikeness by clearly having no face? Is she still a traditional doll? Or is she more of a floating signifier?

Of course, there’s a whole line of questions about the relationship between her head, her mask, and her identity. She has a head, but her head doesn’t have a face. Her mask has a face, though. Is her mask her face? If her mask is her face, then is it really a mask anymore? Is she her mask? Insert stack of questions about the relationships between masks, personae, personalities, characters, inner selves, outer selves, and representations of selves here. :p

Another burning question is…what the hell else is Never the Less going to wear besides her mask? I’m thinking jeans and a T-shirt and canvas sneakers — i.e., the most realistically bourgeois and undifferentiated casual outfit I can think of. She’s operating on the same principle as the Terrible Trivium from Norman Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth, who creeped me right the fuck out because he was described as a perfectly ordinary man wearing a perfectly ordinary suit, except for he had no face, just a blank head.

She also needs a doll too. I mean — I have her mask, but I need something to put it on.

Robert Dear, domestic terrorist and “gentle loner”

Robert Dear, domestic terrorist and “gentle loner” published on No Comments on Robert Dear, domestic terrorist and “gentle loner”

I’m really late to the party here, but I see that a New York Times article described Planned Parenthood terrorist Robert Dear as “a gentle loner who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.” After criticism online from numerous sources pointing out that this was basically white straight cis male apologism [especially when black male victims of white male violence receive vilification when described posthumously — hat tip to Chaedria LaBouvier], the NYT made some cosmetic changes to the article, but, to date, has made no direct acknowledgment of the multiple levels of bullshit involved in its portrayal of Dear. This reminds me of the 2012 coverage of the death of Lorena Escalera, trans woman of color, wherein the NYT’s confluence of racism, sexism, classism, and transmisogyny led me to cancel my subscription.

I think I’m going to start writing like the NYT.  In fact, I’m now going to characterize the paper itself as “an objective, trustworthy, fair-minded, egalitarian news source that occasionally unleashes bigotry toward anyone who’s not a straight white cis bourgeois male.” That’s accurate, right? :p

Just in case the article isn’t enough of a cesspool already, two other threads in it piss me off. First, there’s the strong assumption that anyone who lives by themselves, doesn’t socialize much with the locals, and keeps mostly to themselves is automatically up to no good. They must be like that because they’re hiding skeletons in their closet.

Second, there’s the strong implication that Dear’s interest in bdsm correlates to his recent murders. In the sixth paragraph of the profile, the topic sentence discusses “sporadic brushes with the law, neighbors, and relatives,” while the last sentence notes that Dear looked for bdsm partners online. The position of the sentence about Dear’s online profile thus groups it in with “brushes with the law,” suggesting that kinky sex and domestic terrorism are on a continuum. Apparently the slippery slope argument is alive and well in supposedly reputable news sources.


I’m really surprised that there’s nothing in this profile proposing that Dear is mentally ill and that his mental illness correlates to his criminality.



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