Steve’s Update 7/20/2014

Yes, an update and recipes?  As you may of guessed I realized need to do more here.  What can I say, the last few months have been insane.

So what’s up?

The Writing Prompt Generator is being slowly improved.  I think it’ll probably be done in a month or two – I’ve got a few more ideas to develop in the mean time.  You can see a larger update at The Codex.

I’m still working on Way With Worlds, and took a break from discussing Sex and Worldbuilding to focus on skills.  Next i’ll return to the rewrites.  At this rate I think it may be up to a year before I’m finished with this, seriously.

At MuseHack we’ve got a lot of interviews coming, and I’m moving to doing things in a more “projectized” manner.  My first is my “Geek Catalog,” listing ways for people to get involved as Geek Citizens.  I’ve also got some posts coming on how we can make people aware of good works.

I’ve got no definite speaking engagements the next month or so, but we’ll see more near the fall.  I’m also reviewing my con schedule and planning to broaden out a bit.

So that’s it!  What about you?

 

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Japanese Curry, Healthy Variant

Remember when I said I was trying to make a faster, healthier version of Japanese Curry?  Here’s one of my attempts.  Really you puree a few things,cook, and then combine a few things.  That’s it.

Now is it good?  Well . . .it’s mediocre.  Thats’ not bad for a first time, but it just doesn’t have the depth of my other versions.  On the other hand it’s healthier and a lot faster.

I’m thinking that the arrowroot is actually a mistake and that I need the oat flour from my old recipe. Continue reading

Japanese Curry – Final Version (With More To Come)

Well this is it.  I have reached my goal of creating a Japanese Curry that was homey, enjyoable, that is reasonably healthy,  and that can be made and frozen without too much trouble.

I actually considered it done when a visitor gave it their stamp of approval.  You kinda want that outside opinion.

So I’m “locking” this recipe as officially done.  Now I am still experimenting with trying to make it a bit healthier (namely cutting the spread and possibly replacing the tomato paste), and am working on a super-fast, super-healthy version.  But this, as far as I concern is not just a milestone, but a complete, legitimate recipe that meets my goals

Makes 3 servings.  It scales up rather well – you can cook two or three batches at once without taking too much time.

Continue reading

Steve’s Update 7/15/2014

Hey gang, what’s up?

Well first, as you saw the Writing Prompt Generator at Seventh Sanctum is in a crude Alpha, and I am taking feedback.  I’m improving it slowly but surely, though it’s going to take time.

At Muse Hack you can expect to see a spate of interviews and a new, more series-oriented take from me as I try tackling various issues with a less regular format and more a focus on addressing certain issues or following certain focuses.  Just stay tuned for now ;)

Otherwise, actually not much going on.  Work has me busy.

What about you?

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Steve’s Update 7/6/2014

Well I just had a week off, and of course that means . . . OK I didn’t do much.  I really collapsed and relaxed.  But what you’ll want to know is . . .

  • I have the crude Alpha of my Writing Prompt Generator up – and I need feedback!  Go there and start trying it out and suggesting your favorite lines!
  • I’ve also gotten most of my recipes compiled into one document and plan to release it when I’m done.  And yes, I have to post more here anyway.  The last few months were crazy.

About it for me.  As the summer comes around I need to get back to my con plans, with Celesticon and Con-Volution coming up . . .

You?

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Steve’s Update 6/25/2014

Pretty wiped out, but I am working on a Writing Prompt generator at Seventh Sanctum.  Wanted to share some results!

  • She lived for fame, but would die for knowledge, which was really annoying.
  • This is a story about unemployment and a tactical officer.
  • This is a story that concerns evil, drug addiction, and an astronomer.
  • It was Monday, the day of hate.
  • Around here, everyone has a story about injustice and a manager.
  • On Saturday I become a medical officer.
  • I have a story about ambition and a time traveller – a story everyone knows.
  • I have a tale about getting old and a nanotechnologist – my story.
  • Abigail knew that good requires fame.
  • It was Wednesday, the day of authority.

I also plan to release it in Alpha so people can give feedback.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Blasts From The Past For Me

My group was talking online and they found some resources that just take me back . . .

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Disney’s Descendants . . . No

I can’t say I’m a fan or not a fan of Disney.  Disney’s omnipresent enough it sort of doesn’t make sense.  But their upcoming show Descendents, which is a school drama where the children of four villains experience (?) redemption among the children of heroes sounded sort of like Ever After High envy . . . and the first picture isn’t promising.

DESCENDANTS_IMAGE

Now I won’t cast aspersions on the young actors.  If Disney taps you for some big, if insane, effort, you go. You get to play a Disney Villain, which almost without exception are a heck of a lot of fun.  But as for the characters:

  • Jay, Jafar’s son doesn’t look like the descendent of any kind of wizard.  He looks a bit too generic thug-bad-boy.  Could someone give him something wizardly looking?
  • Carlos, son of Cruella De Ville is definitely rocking the retro-80′s hair look with his mom’s signature color scheme, and his clothing color scheme is also appropriate.  I kinda dig the semi-Billy Idol.  It’s just this is not the son of a fashion icon – in his case “did your mom dress you this morning” should be a compliment.
  • Mal, Malefecent’s daughter needs some kind of horn getup.  She’s not even Maleficent-like (take a hint from Carlos).  Also we’re not exactly talking “sorceress” here.
  • Evie, the Evil Queen’s daughter  . . . well not sure on this one either, costume-wise.  Needs something more like mom.

So really it looks like Generic Punks causing trouble.  I’m still figuring out how the descendent of a world famous fashion icon ends up in a magical world.  Maybe mom got a taste for dragon skin dresses and things went terrible wrong.  Which is probably better than this plot.

Go look at Disney Characters As Warriors.  Far more awesome.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

 

On The Oregon Shooter

As you probably heard, the shooter apparently was on a campaign to kill sinners according to his diary.  It shocked his church and family, and it seems fairly obvious he was pretty troubled.

The thing is everyone is talking about how they were surprised.

I think by now, we’ve heard so many times that “oh, he shouldn’t have done that” or heard how “how surprising this is” to think that maybe we should stop being surprised.  It’s clear that when people miss someone is on the way to a violent breakdown missing it is no surprise because it happens all the time.

It’s up to us to watch out for each other.  Not keep watch on each other, we don’t need some panopticon police state in our heads (we’ve got enough would-be’s in the world).  We need to make sure we’re there to ensure our friends and family and neighbors don’t fall into the darkness.

It’s up to us to pay attention for when things look like they’ll fall apart.  It may not be a mass shooting (and for all of you I hope it never is), but it’s realizing someone may have a drinking problem, or is losing their way and falling in with radicals, and so on.

It’s up to us to actually care about each other as opposed to expect people to follow some rote behavior that will inevitably cause them to snap or snap worse.

When someone snaps and there’s surprise, that’s no surprise.  That’s a problem.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Saving Time With Mass Cooking

Around Christmas I was starting to loose my enthusiasm for cooking – which shocks you I know.  Maybe it was as I was trying to relax more, and planning weekly cooking was really just becoming annoying.  I had to balance time, what I had in the freezer, and experimenting.  Worse, one bad experiment would throw off my plans and it’d be back to one of my default quick meals (tofu, fusion salad, or breakfast for dinner if you must know).

At the same time I wanted to plan my cooking.  I didn’t want to waste food.  I wanted to make sure I used my time wisely.  I wanted room to experiment without wrecking my schedule.  Also at some point I might be cooking for a full household again, so I wanted to keep some order.

After doing some research, I came up with a method I’ve been using for a few months that is pretty successful in saving time, making cooking fun, giving me diversity – as well as giving me time to experiment without screwing up my carefully-crafted plans.

The Problem Analyzed

So let’s break the problem into the nutshell.

  • I want to plan my cooking to schedule it.
  • I want to minimize waste.
  • I want cooking to remain fun.
  • I want cooking to be time efficient.
  • I want to experiment without throwing off my plans.
  • I want to scale.

After some brainstorming and research I came up with a method that is basically a mix of cooking ahead, outright experimenting, and – this is interesting – limiting “forced cook” times.  In short, making it both more organized and more fun.

I started cooking ahead.

The Method

So basically what I do, in a nutshell, is cook a mass of main courses every 2 weeks, and then once a week I try an experiment.  Side dishes are taken care of by keeping a mixed selection of fresh and frozen vegetables on hand to use as needed and occasional experiments and making it part of “mass cooking.”  I’d like to scale back my trips to the store but I live in walking distance of one so I’m spoiled.

Now to explain the thing in detail:

  • Every two weeks I cook a diverse series of dishes that are main courses (and maybe a few side dishes), then freeze or refrigerate them.  This is usually 3-5 different mains making about twenty courses (lunches or dinners are interchangeable)  These are “reliable” mains or experiments on things that are already good but may need some tweaking, so I work in a bit of experimentation.
  • I alternate the mains by planning meals for the next day and setting things out in the refrigerator.  This means I do plan meals (and work around any lacks) but do it daily and quickly by basically going “what have I got and what do I want to eat.”  This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule so at times I wing it or miss it, which doesn’t matter – hey someday you just want chili for lunch after all.
  • I check my various foodstuffs as I set meals aside, and keep a list of what I need at the store.
  • About once a week I do an experimental cooking and try something either completely new or a tweak of a dish I’m not sure about.  This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule again, but the idea is to keep experimenting but not be so hard on myself.  So if I skip a week, it’s fine, if I do two it’s fine.
  • I do keep around ingredients for “filler” meals or grab them as I need if I get sick of something.  Usually it’s either one of my salads or Breakfast For Dinner (yogurt, oat bran, and an orange)
  • Sometimes the “experimental cooking” is more a “I’m craving this or want this what the heck” like curry.  Because curry.
  • During the two week period as my reviews, cooking readings, etc. strike me I get ideas for what I want for the next two weeks and write them down.  So far it seems that I literally create a menu by accident – “hey I should do this” or “I miss this” or “damn did I use a lot of tomatoes last time.”  It’s fun as it’s like a brainstorming exercise.
  • * Side dishes are usually some pre-made, or composed of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.  I’m the kind of guy who’s happy with some quick-steamed broccoli with lemon juice, carrot sticks, or green beans.
  • I also make snacks as needed – but I think my next step is to make them in a more organized fashion.

How Has It Worked

I’ve done this some nine times and it’s worked really well.

First of all, cooking and planning is much less stressful.  I know I save money, know I’ve always got food, know I’m eating healthy, and know I’m always improving my cooking.  This mixture of bundle-and-do-whenever really is effective.  The only challenge is organizing the block of time (we’re talking 2-3 hours here).

Secondly, I’m actually bored with food less.  Between the mixes of new stuff, stuff leftover from the last time, and experiments it seems it’s actually more interesting.  I think the “cook en masse” plan actually makes me look at my cooking as a whole for two weeks as opposed to a few dishes in a week where I focus on one at a time.

Third, the time management is fantastic.  By doing a lot of cooking at once I save a great deal of time because preparation, cleanup, waiting, etc. are all condensed.  I’m still getting my prep time and coordination down, but it’s getting there – I can start baked beans in the oven, while they cook I start some chili, and while both are cooking I make hummus, etc.

Fourth, it’s adaptable.  I’m not locked into something or finding I’ve just screwed up a experiment and have noting to eat.

Fifth, I can see this scaling easily.  I could jack it up to make more food, or more dishes, or cook for more people as needed.

The benefits are pretty obvious.

Conclusion

This is pretty much a success.  So I’m going to keep doing it.

I do think anyone could adapt this idea, and probably scale it up as well for large timeframes and groups – though in general I find most food doesn’t stay that fresh past a month in the fridge (edible, but less enjoyable).  Also you could scale up to cook more food, but that will obviously add to the timeframe.

- Steven Savage