Sean M Puckett

Portrait and fine-art photographer. Radical programmer. Culture activist. Passionate & opinionated, yet kindly. Mind the froth.

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The usual scum and mouldy bits of detritus on the surface of the water to spoon away. The mould is aerobic, that's why you have to submerge the pickles, so only the anaerobic fermentation bacteria can eat them. A few bins needed topping up water. A couple had white snowflake colonies instead of the usual green mold. I dunno what that is, but I just spoon some of it out and make sure the pickles are underwater.

So far so good.

the white snowflake colonies are how you make the Invasion of the Body Snatchers doppelgängers.

It's been a crap couple of days. Breakthrough anxiety, indecisiveness, gloom, and exhaustion. Coupled with having my studio in pieces pending a trip to IKEA for some shelves for a new workstation, so there's no art happening.

I've given myself permission to take the day off of feeling bad about not doing anything hugely productive (like go to IKEA alone on transit to bring shelves home on a dolly) so maybe I can reset energy levels and expectations. 

High functioning but sometimes crash hard.

Yes, I've been taking my meds. I still think my dose is right because some days I feel over medicated and other days I have crashes so it's probably a good balance overall? Though I will probably talk to my doctor about being able to self regulate between 10mg and 20mg when I next see her. I think I have the self awareness (and the daily mood log habit) to manage my dose a little. We'll see.

I did a lot of volunteering with the SummerWorks performance festival earlier in the week and at the end of last week and it was great fun and I got a lot of positive feedback. But also it was pretty exhausting, mostly standing, and with all the walking to/from (about 4km each way). So there's a plausible reason for the exhaustion. 

Still, it sucks to wake up and have breakfast and want to go right back to bed. Instead I'm having coffee, typing this, and probably read or game later.

Self care.

Dude. I don't think that IKEA has really packed stuff for reasonable human transit since the 1990s. I think, since they opened the store in Elizabeth, NJ, they decided that a significant enough portion of their target market is taking the bus back and forth from NYC and wants delivery anyway, why keep making and selling furniture that really can fit in the back of a Prius?
Well, just as one size doesn't fit all, one day doesn't fit all, either. I think it would be great if you could self regulate your dosage up and down a bit. I hope your doctor agrees.

I love your approach to self care, the very first step being giving yourself permission to have an off day and a day off.

So hey, we made pickles again today.

Last weekend, d had reserved a half bushel of #2 cukes from the farmer's market vendor who also has all the delicious herbs (including dill), price $30. We picked it up this morning, along with some dill flowers. Instead of buying garlic from the market, I got pre-peeled cloves from the Korean grocer. Easy that way to be sure they weren't moldy.

So for each 3 litres of pickles (we made 7+) I used

  • 6-8 dill stalks
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 aniseed star
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bag of cheap black tea (for tannins)

One batch had a couple hot chiles chopped up and tossed in. Another han double the garlic. Another had double mustard.

These are submerged in 5% brine and sitting in the closet. I also saved some brine from the last batch and "started" them with a splash of that culture.

It was a team effort. K did a lot of cuke trimming and washing, and also cut down the plastic trays we're using to push the cukes under water. D cut and trimmed and ran to the store for more mustard. All I really did was pack the bins, and do a little washing. It's so much easier with a team. And everyone has an investment in the food they'll later enjoy.

With better process and ingredients that aren't mouldy, I'm reasonably sure we won't lose any to infection this year but I guess we'll find out!

Yay! And, pickle pics please?
Karen 8/11
When's the tasting party? :)
Last time I said they weren't done for 3-4 months. This year they've got a starter culture so probably before the frost.
[Gazing into the mid-distance, thinking to self: What does one bring to a pickle-tasting party to complement the flavors...?]
Anne Mollo 8/11edited
I gave away all of my jars. :( I have pickle envy.

There's quite a bit about life that could be improved, and where we're able, we're working on it, but I am very happy to be sharing it with the person to whom I've been officially married for sixteen years today. SCHMOOP.

I feel reasonably confident we'll make it to the next power of 2, thirty-two thanks to good health and a stable living situation. If we make it to sixty-four, I'll just state my wish that it not be with significantly lessened quality of life.

If we actually hit one hundred and twenty eight, I will assume we've been at some point uploaded into solar-powered robotic carapaces clattering around the searingly hot, wind-scoured remains of human civilization, making a living wrenching the last few bits of rare earths required to keep ourselves alive. I wonder what kind of sex we'll have?

It'll likely involve a lot of electrical zapping, clanking noises, and mechanical giggles as you trade various armoring back and forth and model it for each other. Don't forget your oil cans.
Something like peacock spiders, but the size of a Doberman. Picking up old YIELD signs, bending them into clever hats, and leering with telescopic eye-stalks.
My ass is not so shiny, except metaphorically speaking.

I need to learn more twerk. Spider twerk.
So now I need to DuckDuckGo what it means to have a metaphorically shiny ass.
Is DuckDuckGo really where it's at now? Asking for a friend. <3
Karen 7/26
Well, it's less dollars and data for the Goog-el monstrosity. DDG's search is usually adequate though might require a little more scrolling. The big thing is they don't keep a file on you. I've switched all my browsers and devices to DDG.
Sean M Puckett 7/27edited
Thank you for the info!
Karen 7/27
I had to <strike>google</strike> DuckDuckGo peacock spiders. Pretty!!!
Anne Mollo 7/26edited
They dance! So cute!
Hey, that is awesome. Congrats!
Karen 7/26
Congrats! That's something (I feel) to be proud of.

There's no flour or dairy in this cornbread recipe.

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups nut milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbs bacon grease
  • 1 tsp each baking soda & baking powder
  • 10" crockery or cast iron pan

How do

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Put the cooking vessel in to pre-heat for about five minutes.
  2. Add milk and bacon grease to mixing bowl & heat (microwave, e.g.) until grease melts
  3. Add other ingredients and fold gently until uniform.
  4. Remove vessel from oven and gingerly coat with grease.
  5. Pour batter into vessel, return to oven
  6. Bake 18-25 minutes until nicely browned and toothpick comes clean
  7. Let it cool on a rack 5-10 minutes at least before cutting in.

This is a good "substrate" cornbread. It holds together well when cooled, and wants stuff added to it, like gravy or butter or honey or jam or what-have-you. I used nut milk + lemon juice because I didn't want to pay for buttermilk and we have a house mate who can't do lactose; we have a nut milk maker here so it's easy enough to produce for cheap.

I imagine you could start by substituting a vegan shortening for the bacon grease to make it 100% hippie-safe, but you'd also need to do something with the eggs which provide the glue to hold it all together.

Yummy looking recipe! A little bit of bacon fat can be magic. And I haven't cooked cornbread in a cast iron skillet in ages. :)

In place of the nut milk/lemon juice combo, another nice ingredient to sub is lactose-free kefir. I like to buy it not because I'm lactose intolerant but because I like the flavor—and it does seem easy on the gut. I also use it sometimes for pancakes or muffins. Of course, it's not available everywhere, but there's a VT farm that makes it somewhere around here.
I've heard of kefir but never tried it! Thanks for the tipperoo.
You can also make it yourself if you can find someone with a culture/scobie.

Also, I wasn't clear. Kefir in general is widely available; it's the lactose-free version that is harder to fine.

Also also, kefir is by nature pretty lactose-free to begin with. The active cultures gobble up most of the milk sugar.
Anne Mollo 5/12edited
IHNJ, IJLS “hippie-safe”

Enya's still making the same kinda music she made, what, 30 years ago. Not just song patterns, down to the same synth patches and chord changes. Pretty impressive. Most musicians evolve, but if you find a niche that makes bank it's kinda hard to abandon it. Especially when you own a castle.

Yes, Orinoco Flow was 1989. We're OLD, people.
I was on a catamaran snorkeling cruise in Key West in 1997. As we pulled away from the dock, the crew put on their fun-times-for-the-tourists music. Orinoco Flow came on, and was so abruptly cut off that everyone on the boat cracked up laughing.
I think when you're Enya, people just expect to get Enya on an Enya record... and if Enya gave them anything but Enya, there'd be worldwide revolt.

I don't know if I admire the hell out of her for being able to repackage the same breathy vocals and synth patches into "new"(?) ways for over 30 years, or if I feel bad.

What if she's a prog-head at heart?
As a starving artist myself, if I found a niche with a small gear shaft on it that I could apply a handle to, turn it once a day, and a bag of money would fall out of the wall, I would do it, though I would ALSO pursue other projects. I might get really tired of turning that crank but there's a lotta people who have to do much less pleasant things for their living.
I wholeheartedly empathize. Maybe Enya has a secret band somewhere that plays hardcore feminist polka.
Who can say where the road goes? Where the day flows? Only time. And a good solid business model.
Karen 4/5edited
Crank, thud, crank, thud, crank, thud....
Is Dark Sky Island the album we're talking about, or is she releasing something newer?
I listened to Dark Sky Island and had to check several times to see when it was made.

I had my wisdom teeth removed today.

I opted for twilight sedation, because why would I want to be awake for that if I had a safe alternative.

They put me on nitrous first. It did nothing for me. Annoying.

Then put an IV in my hand and started me on Fentanyl for pain, telling me I'd feel a hot flash. Which I didn't. Getting a little more annoyed. Dentistry without pain relief is kind of a nightmare for me.

Five minutes later I poked myself with a finger nail and didn't feel much so at least there was that.

Then they started me on Versed. I was having conversations like I don't feel anything, should I feel something? And they said Well you should feel like you've had a drink or two. And I'm like, nope. And they said, well, you get more before the procedure starts. And I'm like, I hope so!

Surgeon shows up at some point and says, "okay let's get started" and they up the sedation, finally I'm feeling a little less like I'm staring at a ceiling for 20 minutes and more like minutes are kind of sliding into each other. I still feel dude freezing up my gums though. 

And at some points there was a lot of yanking and whatever, but it is not very concerning, which is pretty much when I accept that I am going to get the sedation I paid for.

Time stops telescoping around when they remove the IV, and I get sat up and walked to the recovery room for a review of Teh Rulez which include not drinking hot fluids until the freezing is gone -- that one I am ignoring, like seriously, I need my fugging coffee. Also gauze pads to chew on until I stop bleeding so much. Which I have changed a few times. 

And now I'm having oatmeal, just pouring it down my throat, because the last food I had was about 24 hours ago with one thing and another.

There's antibiotics and Tylenol-3 to pick up at the pharmacy later. Apparently I will look like I got in a fight and lost in a day or two.  Whatever.

So that's how I spent my early afternoon. I'll probably spend the rest of the day reading or whatever. I'm sure the pain will kick in at some point, but if it never really does that's fine with me. 

Be well!
Dude. Rest more than you think you need to. When I had mine out I rested less than I needed to and I regretted it.
I am impressed that thus far I am feeling no pain on just a couple ibuprofen. I've got an acet/caff/codeine cocktail pill, but unless something blows up I don't see needing it. There are four dark red clots, which is perfect, unless I fuck them up somehow. I'm hoping healing is fast. Fingers crossed.
My horror story is opting into a medication study, which randomized assignment of new-fangled study medication, old-fangled proven medication, or non-fangled placebo medication. Guess which one I got?

Another false fire alarm last night. According to our condo newsletter, it's caused by people seeking refuge from the cold in the parking garage stairwells and smoking / lighting fires to stay warm. I mean, understandable to take refuge, but it's not like one can stay if the alarm goes off. So not ideal.

So I guess we'll probably have another one or two over the weekend as temps drop to -20.

The board says they've gotten approval from the city to instal maglocks on the doors so they can't be forced at night. Certainly have mixed feelings about it, but apparently every time fire trucks roll it costs us a not insignificant amount of money so...

As someone who is easily disturbed by something as simple as even car doors slamming, this would drive me crazy. Hope it improves.

Stay warm this weekend. PA is getting a bit of snow after a fairly mild winter. (And now I've gone and jinxed us. )
Karen 1/18
Everything is really quiet here, despite being in the middle of Toronto. Poured concrete walls and floor, triple glazed windows. It's quieter than any house I've lived in, that's for sure. Except for the spurious fire alarms. Sigh. Being awakened by them is really tedious.

Temps here are predicted to fall to -20C over the weekend. We'll be warm inside, but going out is going to be fraught. Y'all stay warm too!