Signal boost of the week goes to you, my readers, who’ve stuck with me for yet another year of Clockwork Game — five years so far, going to be six by the time it’s done. Thanks so much, everyone.
Hey, look! It’s a post that’s not a weekly update!
I do a whole lot of home cooking, but it’s so routine that I’ve pretty much given up on blogging about it. Today, however, I made a wonderful pot of gumbo whose ingredients were almost entirely thanks to the generosity of others, and that’s definitely blogworthy.
It started last Thursday, at the 17th annual Biggs|Gilmore Thanksgiving feast. The accounting team cooked three huge turkeys, everyone brought a dish to pass, and we all ate like kings. Afterwards, there were turkey carcasses. Turkey carcasses that were headed into the garbage. Heresy, I say! I grabbed an empty aluminum dish and made off with a giant pile of bones and wings and drippings. That same night I boiled the bones up into a gallon of glorious, wobbly turkey stock (Paul always has to watch me shake the pot the morning after: “Look, honey! WOOBLY WOOBLY WOOBLY”. I am so easily amused.) which went into the freezer to await the arrival of… sossidge.
There’s a certain someone who loves me and Paul very much. So much so that she FedExed us a box of home-ground, home-smoked sausage.
Real genuine andouille made my real genuine Louisiana folks. It arrived this morning, to much joy, and stabbing. Seriously, you guys, it tasted so good that it’s a miracle any of it made it into the pot.
Ten minutes after its arrival, I started thawing the turkey stock and the shrimp, and made a quick trip to the store for more rice. Got in the door, set the rice to soak, started the oven roux (R.O.U.Xes? I don’t believe they exist.) peeled the shrimp and started boiling the shrimp shells for seafood stock.
Then the hallway smoke alarm went off. Then the basement smoke alarm went off. Alas, I didn’t stir enough, and the roux was burned (nooooooo) which sent poor Paul back to the store to buy more flour — I’d had exactly enough left to make the roux, but no more, of course. In the meantime I chopped and got everything else mised in its place. Paul returned from the store, I set the new roux to cooking — this time on the stovetop, like a smart person — and watched it like a hawk, stopping just short of a brick roux and finishing it in the stewpot with the veg (no okra, alas. Paul can’t stand the stuff, so we use filé instead).
As soon as the veg were soft, in went the shrimp stock and the turkey stock, and the andouille followed shortly after.
Now it’s burbling away, and in another hour or so I’ll add the shrimp. You guys, I so wish you could smell how good my kitchen smells right now.
I love Gumbo so much. I never had it growing up, but it’s such an fantastic thing — you take all this stuff that folks would otherwise throw away, add some veg and sausage, and get the most delicious meal from it. It always amazes me how some of the best-tasting recipes from every culture are the ones born out of frugality and necessity — and in this case, generosity. I’ll be bringing some in to work on Monday to complete the circle.
Another boost: The Lakota Sioux are getting close to being able to purchase back Pe’Sla, but need to raise another million dollars. Are you one of those folks who asks for people to donate to charity rather than getting a holiday present? Consider making this your choice for the year; it’s a really amazing opportunity to bring some good to an otherwise awful situation.
It’s 52 pages, and retails for $12 US. It collects all of the Freebird strips from 2006-2008, the ones that ran in the now-defunct Fairbanks entertainment paper fbx square plus the online ones that I did after square died. There are also new strips (bringing the story to the conclusion that it was originally supposed to have) and two backup stories, plus extra sketches and previously unseen strips from the development process.
Buy your copy from Amazon, or Layla’s own online store — unfortunately, this is one of the few times you can’t buy an indie comic from your local comics store, unless you live in Fairbanks, Alaska and can visit The Comic Shop there.
Signal boost of the week goes to Doodle Alley, a really nice comics blog by illustrator Stephen McCranie about “sustainable creativity” — in other words, learning how to keep creating despite the roadblocks life — and your own brain — throw at you. I’m always looking for new ways to lifehack my own habits and ways of thinking to improve my art, and personal outlook on life, and this site looks like it’ll be a nice addition to my reading. Hat tip to J. Kevin Carrier for the introduction to the site!
This week’s Signal boost is a bit late, but still worthy: Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day, the annual celebration of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, aka “STEM fields”. Though the window appears to be closed for sharing stories this year, we can still read stories that other women around the world have posted, and there are several upcoming worldwide events. Yay, Ada Day, and yay Sydney Padua, for the great graphics!
Signal boost of the week goes to Voter registration deadlines. Are you a US Citizen over 18? Do you know if you’re registered to vote? If not, check CanIVote.org, which will take you to your state’s voter registration page. Sadly, the deadline for Michigan registration was Tuesday, but there are still many other states that are still open. Also, be sure to check your polling place: mine just changed, after being in the same location for eight years.
I’m an unapologetic Obama voter (as anyone who’s ever read my blog should know), and this election is going to be one of the most important in decades. Regardless of who you’re voting for, get out, get registered, and go do your civic duty.
It’s Banned Books Week, so the Signal boost of the week goes to these lists of frequently challenged books from the ALA. It’s terrifying that we still need to defend the freedom of speech as frequently and as strongly as we do, and there’s no one closer to the front lines than librarians. Huge thanks go to the ALA for their continuing work against censorship — and if you’d like to help them out, go check out the Banned Books Week support page. The always-vigilant CBLDF is supporting the cause as well, and if you’re a comics reader, and aren’t yet a member, now’d be a great time to amend that.
Have you read this essay by Dylan Meconis? If not, you really should, because it’s brilliant. I foresee myself linking to it many, many times.
The Signal boost of the week goes to Layla Lawlor, who just announced that at long last, she will be releasing print editions of her books Freebird and Kismet: Hunter’s Moon! I’ve been waiting for this news for literal years, and am really looking forward to finally holding them in my hands. There’s something so satisfying about print. Yay, Layla!
The Signal boosts of the week go to two Kalamazoo artists —
First to my husband Paul Sizer, who’s got a show of his posters up at The Bureau during this Friday’s Art Hop. The Bureau is a co-working office on the Kalamazoo Mall, where entrepreneurs and freelancers can rent professional space. It’s a great asset to downtown Kalamazoo, and we’re really happy that they invited Paul to show his work. If you’re in the area this Friday, stop by and have a look!
The second signal boost goes to Judy Sarkozy of Sarkozy Bakery, who just announced that she’s re-opening after the tragic fire that wiped out her business earlier this year. The new space will be right downtown (hooray!) in the Columbia Plaza, just down the street from Bimbo’s Pizza, and only a couple blocks from her old location. This is such good news, and I’m so excited that we’ll have Judy and her staff of wonderful bakers back where they belong, with brand new ovens, and the same great recipes. I can’t wait to buy my first loaf of Brewer’s Bread — but in the meantime, if you want to help, you can attend one of their fundraisers — including visiting them at the Art Hop! — or, soon, you can buy your bread ahead!
The Signal boost of the week goes to Storycorps, who are trying to Kickstart an Animated movie! If you’re unfamiliar with Storycorps, head over to their website and listen to some of the amazing stories they’ve collected, and then watch the animated shorts they’ve already produced. I’m a big fan of their work from hearing it on NPR’s Morning Edition, and remember when they brought their portable recording studio to Bronson Park so they could capture stories from the citizens of Kalamazoo.
Projects like these remind me of why I got into comics in the first place — there’s no better storytelling than someone’s best personal story. Everyone’s got one. Here’s your chance to make sure more of these intensely human stories get a wider audience!
Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the finest living American writers, and this is one of his best pieces. Do yourself a favor and read this article:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/fear-of-a-black-president/309064/
I filled my third 48-slot portfolio tonight with my 144th page of Clockwork Game. About 43 pages left to go.
The Signal boost of the week goes to the Lakota Sioux, who are trying to raise a million dollars to buy two thousand acres of the Black Hills, before developers put a highway through the heart of their most sacred place.
Pe’ Sla is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota (just west of Rapid City) that is considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of our creation story. It is a sacred place. We perform certain ceremonies at Pe’ Sla which sustain the Lakota way of life and keep the universe in harmony. This area is currently owned by the Reynolds family. They plan to auction off almost 2,000 acres on August 25, 2012 to the highest bidder. It is likely that the state of South Dakota will put a road directly through Pe’ Sla and open up this sacred place for development. The seven bands of the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people) aka Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) have a collective effort to buy as much of Pe’Sla as we can at this auction (although we also believe that the land cannot be owned and that our sacred places were illegally taken by the United States). Yet we are trying to work within the current U.S. laws to regain custody of our sacred sites and prevent future road and industrial development. Our sacred ways must be protected and passed on to our future generations so that our children may live.
and from the Black Hills Wikipedia entry:
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills, which became central to their culture. In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when European Americans discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer’s Black Hills Expedition, erstwhile miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government re-assigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to other reservations in western South Dakota.
Got a couple bucks to help try to right a century-old wrong?
I swear, this is the awesomest thing I’ve seen in a very long time.
The Signal boost of the week goes to Adam Withers and Comfort Love, who are up for another Harvey Award, this time for Best Cartoonist. Adam and Comfort are two of the hardest working folks in comics, and are keeping the spirit of indie self-publishing alive and well. You can also show some love for Kate Beaton, if you’re so inclined. Go vote!