I’m cutting down on my screen time, but this is a worthwhile exception. 

John Leguizamo is insane and hilarious, the show is rooted in heartfelt familial relationships, and includes a viable bibliography and a lot of dancing. 100% worth your time. It’s not just about history, it’s more about integrity. 

we watched that the other day! It was awesome.
Rabbit 11/20
Yaaas. I also watched it the other day. Second the recommendation. So worth it!
I didn’t like how he made Montezuma gay, but I can see that somebody wanted him to do his drag character. So I’ll forgive it.

I find this recipe necessary because most home-prepared syrup recipes rely on baker's chocolate or chocolate chips, and not only are those more expensive than cocoa powder, they add unnecessary fat. This recipe has little fat and yet won't granulate or set up in the fridge because of the corn syrup and xanthan gum.

I am not down on fat, but I don't see that it's necessary here; the xanthan gum in addition to helping avert crystallization adds a nice bit of unctuousness to the texture. This is really good on ice cream, which is what it was designed for.

Chocolate Syrup (cocoa powder base)

  • 2 C white sugar
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/16 tsp Xanthan gum (seriously do not add too much)

​​​​​​​Stir dry ingredients thoroughly together in a saucepan, then add

  • 1.5 C water
  • 1 Tbs corn syrup

And bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, over medium heat and clip on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat when temperature passes 220F and let cool somewhat. To finish, Stir in: 

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Then decant into a serving container, e.g. squeeze bottle or glass jar, whatever. Refrigerate. Will keep at least a week in the refrigerator without granulating.


Life in the entertianment world must be passing strange. The world is your stage at a certain level. And it's not uncommon to be an expatriate in another country, no matter what country you are from. It must say something very strong about America that at an advanced age, Billy Idol chose to become an American citizen. 

But I guess the look on his face says all it needs to say.

Photo courtesy of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Twitter feed.

It's a nice day to start again.
What you did there? I see it.
Made my day.
Karen 11/17

I was going to write a cynical, one sentence blurb about Florida's election TARFU situation. But, I realized that A) I wouldn't be adding anything positive to the situation. B) I have already resolved to sit back and enjoy the sound and fury signifying nothing. C) There is nothing I can do on the world stage. I've just got to make my little corner of it better and worry about me, my friends and family.

Carry on.

Oh, this. So much this. So many hands-poised-above-the-keyboard moments as current events set my mind reeling. And then I think, nope.

And a funny thing happens: I redirect my energies to all things local, and I begin to spark some of the most amazing and fruitful conversations with people around me. Conversations about race and representation, about democracy and economics, about how to be a better person enlisted in making a better (local) world. Ideas for inclusion, expressions of gratitude, opportunities for service.

It doesn't make what's happening on the national or global stage any less... frightening or awful. But it both keeps me from existing in an insulated/isolated bubble, and it's soothing and directly helpful.
Very well put, Anne. I like this. A lot.
Karen 11/17

The thing I teach is this thing called "ITIL" which is basically a set of books that give you ideas on how to make your IT department suck less.  When I teach what's known as an "ITIL Foundation" class, I'm basically giving a 3-day lecture on the highlights of these books (kinda like a live-action Cliffs Notes), and then I proctor the official Certification Exam that "proves" that people remember the highlights and major plot points of these books. 

When these books first came out in 1989-ish, they were a set of 31 books. They were revised in 1999 and they shrunk down to 8 books (though they added a 9th one later) -- that was called "ITIL v2," and then in 2007 it became 5 books ("ITIL V3"). In 2011, they did a teeny little update to the five ITIL V3 books and there was confusion in the industry as to whether it was still called "ITIL V3" or if it was called "ITIL 2011" or just plain ol' "ITIL." But it stayed five books.

A new version just sorta came out in beta, and only instructors have access to this draft version (called "ITIL 4"). Instructors have to be certified in it before we're allowed to teach it, obviously.  The new version won't be officially released until February-ish, and the new ITIL 4 Foundation exams will go live around then.

I'm heading down to Washington DC today because the ITIL Mothership is holding a  Train the Trainer Class on Thursday and Friday... and then Friday afternoon I'll also take the Foundation Exam.  This new version is soooooooooo fundamentally different than any of its predecessors that I am worried I'm gonna fail this exam on Friday... and boy howdy won't that be embarrassing. 

I know when ITIL V2 moved to ITIL V3 in 2007, I was convinced I'd never ever be comfy or fluent in the V3 material... and hey, look at me, I'm considered a fancy-pants subject matter expert and I haven't had an in-person student flunk the exam on my watch since 2009, and people buy access to my online instructional videos and send me fan-mail thanking me for helping them nail the exam. So maybe I'm not as dumb as I think. 

But this new version... man. I read it, and it means nothing to me... and I channel Matt Lichtenwalner ​​​​​​'s friend Don and kinda giggle because all I see are "worrrrrrrrds..."  O_o

In other news, a few weeks ago I had two root canals and one of them turned to the dark side and got infected (yum) so my face blew up and it hurt... so I jumped on 10 days of antibiotics. Those ended on November 5th.

On Monday of this week they had to do more dental work, and now the *other* root-canaled tooth has turned to the dark side. So I'll be on yet another stupid round of antibiotics starting in an hour or so. Sick of this, you guys.  (I swear I brush and floss! I even have a Sonicare and a WaterPik that I use religiously!)  And my dentist is awesome... so I don't know why my teef rebel like this. It hurts, and I look like an idiot with my face all lopsided yet again.  (Perfect for meeting new people!)

It's supposed to be a wintry mix of blecch from DC to NYC for the next few days, and the hotel I'm staying in is about 1/2 mile from the Sofitel hotel where the training is at. (As much as I wanted to stay at the Sofitel, I couldn't justify $800/night. So it'll be $400/night instead at the Hampton Inn... ouch.) I'm not looking forward to walking 1/2 mile in the icy snow to/from class, but I also know that 1/2 mile is just not far enough to justify calling an Uber/Lyft.  So I will comfort and warm my heart by flipping the bird at The White House as I walk directly past it on the walk to/from class each day. 

I am looking forward to meeting my friend Dan for dinner tonight since he lives in DC. He's been my pal since Kindergarten, and he's fucking awesome. We were in punk band in high school together and he is one of those "touchstone" people in my life. Stoked to see him. 

This will be my first work-trip (or any trip, really) in forever where Matt isn't coming with me. I haz a sad. But honestly, I'm gonna be studying each night, so I wouldn't be that much fun to hang around anyway.

In other news, this Saturday night we are playing in a big-ol' tribute to The Who, and I am pretty excited about it.  Good lordy, the song "Slip Kid" is so much fun to play. Plus I'm getting to play trumpet on "5:15," "Drowned," and "The Real Me," and it's a blast.  I can't remember if I've ever performed on The Grand Opera House stage before... it's a 1200-seat theater. I feel like I would have remembered that. *shrug*

Ok, time to get out of bed. (I've been up since 8, but I just like being in bed.)

I can't imagine that it's possible that you haven't performed at the Grande. Maybe at the Baby Grande? Dunno.

Anywho - sounds like you're pretty slammed over the next couple of days, but I will be working in DC (or nearby) both days (weather permitting) so ping me if you want to grab coffee.
I gather you’ll have little time, but if you do, pop into the Renwick? (right around the corner from the White House) Also, Air Canada has a pop up Poutine restaurant in DC this season. Also also, Thursday evening Local 16 DC bar has a Broadway singalong. Pop pop pop.
Ursula Sadiq 11/14edited
I’m stressed out for you, just reading this. I have a feeling that once you figure out the pattern, you’ll triumph.
I never have figured out what ITIL is except that "we don't have it" and "we need it."

And you've already taught me something, as now I know it is "ideas on how to make your IT department suck less."
Take a whole bunch of really smart IT managers and come up with a very long list of their best practices for running IT organizations (big and small). Put it through the 'common language' filter so that everyone understands everyone else.

Now distill all that stuff down into something that doesn't take a lifetime to learn.

Voila! ITIL
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/21edited
ETA: ITIL CAN take a lifetime to master, of course - like anything. Ms. Knapp seems to have an uncanny ability in that department. Smart one, she.

It's a sad day for me. I don't normally care much for talk of celebrities and I often feel there's a 'falseness' to people discussing the deaths of those same celebrities. Maybe that's too harsh. I believe that those people are sad, but I'm always struck by the thought "It's not like you knew them or anything."

And it's true to say that I didn't know Stan. Never had the chance to meet him. But the things he created and the characters and worlds he developed were, in a word, significant in my life.

I've always been a Marvel guy when it came to the Marvel / DC divide. You could fairly easilly argue that Stan was the reason for that. Back at the dawn of the comic book era, people created characters that were like gods. Powers well beyond those of us mere mortals. And then, along came Stan.

When he (and Jack Kirby) created a character named Peter Parker, he made a bridge between we mortals and those gods. Peter had problems that we normal folks face. School work had to be done. He couldn't talk to girls. He was bullied. He was like... me.

Peter faced those challenges. Often, it required making realistic and terrible decisions. He suffered like the rest of us, and often worse than most of us.

But he fought on, and would rise above.

Stan created a new form of mythology. One that we saw ourselves in.

He gave us Hope.

I never met you Stan, but I feel I owe you something I can't even really put into words. So I thank you - as deeply as I can - and I hope I can one day help even one person a fraction of the way you helped me.


I thought of you as soon as Rog told me. RIP Stan Lee.
Karen 11/13
Thanks hon. Yeah, we'll miss him.
Sorry to see him go.

Modern media is created with a considerable knowledge of myth and how archetypes work... it is intentional magic, it is Bene Gesserit stuff. So I try never to look down on people for feeling personally connected to characters that were always intended to inspire that. I do sympathize when celebrities want to carve out some privacy, of course.
I agree when it comes to modern media. And yeah - I couldn't be a celeb in the modern era. I feel so much frustration on their behalf the minute someone turns on Entertainment Tonight in my proximity.
That is a GREAT drawing. You've outdone yourself.
Aww - thanks! I'm sure I will hate it by this time next year, but...
Stan Lee as a member of the Signal Corps of the US Army during World War 2. Yet he hardly ever spoke of his service.
Yeah - there's some good info on his service on his Wikipedia page. I suspect there may be some revisionist history (on his part) but he claims his title was 'playwright'. In any event, he worked with training manuals an even did some cartooning which just seems appropriate.
I love this.

A rare moment: Mahoney is tolerating Sassafrass’ advances.

Mahoney is well aware that when Sass says, “please be my friend,” it inevitably turns into a game of “chomp your neck,” so this moment of cuteness didn’t last long. 

Last night I dreamt that Chris Herdt and I were attending a black-tie gala fundraiser at the building that keeps showing up in my dreams. It’s a combination shopping mall, hospital, and transportation hub, and very easy to get lost in. Chris was totally prepared for this, he had his tux all ready to go, of course. I wasn’t. I walked into some department store, handed them my wallet and said, “I’m going to this gala fundraiser, it’s black tie, I have nothing, make me look appropriate for this.” 

I ended up in a black or navy sleeveless sheath dress with a chiffon cape and my hair was all Sophia Loren, so I looked good and I trusted these people. The shoes were light blue faux crocodile stilettos. They said, “Okay, we’re going to do your makeup, trust us, this is the style that everyone at the party will be wearing.” I said okay. I liked the shoes, so what could go wrong? 

The right half of my face was covered in glitter, with a fin of pink and orange wired ribbon flames in a line from my forehead to my chin. The left half was made up like Peter Criss from Kiss. It was as if Peter Criss’ cat face were exploding into flames. They said it was perfect for a black tie gala fundraiser because it was a tribute to the California wildfires. 

Damn if there weren’t other people at the party with glitter and ribbon flames glued to their faces. 

Edited to add: still sick. It's 100% fatigue, feels like a fever. I managed to shower, dress, practice piano for half an hour and eat dinner. I'm hoping that going to bed early will solve things. Or at least provide interesting dreams. 

Wow. I want a photo of your dreamself.
I think I have to try to draw this. I also think that all dreams are collages. Most of mine are, anyway.
The face makeup sounds like something out of The Hunger Games!
You just inspired me to look up "who created The Hunger Games makeup?" and it's Ve Neill. Wow, what a treasure trove of crazy ideas..
So basically, some people dream in color. You dream in Ve Neill.
Sorry to hear you are still sick. You are not alone in the fatigue-y fever-y feeling thing. I slept all day, barely could get dressed and eat, and then getting back into pajamas later required actual help. Maybe there is a case of the creeping crud going around. I hope it's not your flu shot, still. Either way, feel better soon.
Karen 11/13edited
Thank you. It seems to be stepping back in the fatigue part, but the sneezing part increased.

Just 100 years and several minutes ago, World War 1 ended. Every single person who served in that war has passed away.

"...They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them." - Lawrence Binyon, For the Fallen

My grandfather was one of the men who served in that war. Thankfully he did grow old, so my father and I could live in this world that has yet to end all wars.
For all of the technical innovations that WW1 introduced, it must have seemed to the contemporaries that future wars were impossible.