Not A Leg

by wjw on March 1, 2021


I asked the market to give me a leg of lamb, but they gave me a pork roast instead.  So when life gives you a pork roast . . . I’m sure you can finish this sentence on your own.

I decided to cook it sous vide, because sous vide cooks the food exactly the way you want it, and because it melts the collagen and makes everything tender.  So I went looking for a recipe, and found one in Tina Baker’s Sous Vide Cookbook, for what she calls Chinatown Braised Pork, essentially an attempt to re-create those crimson, shimmering slabs of pork you see in restaurant windows in Chinese neighborhoods.

I’m not sure that’s exactly what I got, but what I got was choice.  I started with a spice rub of salt, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and ground fennel (which I didn’t have), then added a sauce of hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, sherry, and sesame oil, with some garlic, star anise, and ginger thrown in.  I cooked it for 24 hours at 134 degrees F, then browned the exterior in a skillet and carved it up.  The interior was tender and pleasantly (and safely) pink, and extremely flavorful with the sauce on it.  Kathy wanted acorn squash, so that’s what we had with it, along with peas.

Cooking raises the morale in lockdown, which is why I cooked elaborate meals even when I was alone for three months.

After all, I’ve got the time, don’t I?


It’s Here! (Apparently)

by wjw on February 28, 2021


I’m told that The Best of Walter Jon Williams has started shipping after being delayed a few months by problems at the printer.  It was originally supposed to be out in time for the holidays, and when it was delayed to February I thought it might do very well for a Valentine’s present, but Valentine’s has slipped by, so now . . .

Begorrah!  ‘Tis after a fine gift to celebrate St. Paddy’s day, sure!

You can order it from your favorite bookstore or dealer, or find it at Barnes & Noble and Amazon


Statuette Time

by wjw on February 27, 2021

Fleet-Elements-by-Walter-Jon-Williams-ReviewHey, wanna give me an award?

Nominations for the Hugo are open, though you have to be a member of either this year’s Worldcon or last year’s New Zealand world con in order to vote.

Nominations for the Nebula are also open, though only for the next 24 hours or so, and you can nominate only if you’re a SFWA member.

In any case, nominating me is easy, because I only had one piece out in 2020, my novel Fleet Elements.

While Fleet Elements is eligible to be nominated for Novel if you’re talking Nebula, it’s eligible for two Hugo awards.  It can be nominated for Novel, and as it’s the latest in a series, the series itself is eligible for Best Series.  So you can nominate the Praxis series (or Dread Empire’s Fall, and I’m sure the administrators will know what you’re talking about), with Fleet Elements as the most recent publication.

There.  Easy-peasy, Hugo breezy.  Vote as your conscience dictates, and I’m sure your conscience will want me on the ballot.


Another Shot

by wjw on February 26, 2021

We are now a mixed family.  I have the Pfizer shot, and Kathy’s got the Moderna.

This morning I was involved in a lengthy series of texts with a friend, and the home phone rang, with SOCORRO MEDICAL very large in the Caller ID slot, so I answered.

Was I Kathleen Hedges? they wanted to know.  I said I was not, but could take a message.

“Ask her if she would like a COVID vaccination,” the nice lady said.

“I think the answer to that would be, ‘Hell, yes!'” I replied.  They happened to have the vaccine right in the office, so we set an appointment for 2pm.

Coincidentally enough Kathy was in the other direction, in Albuquerque having a COVID test, since after our trip across country Kathy wanted to make sure she wasn’t infected before going out in public again.

So I drove Kathy to Socorro, and hung around in the parking lot for an hour while she filled out forms, waited in a series of offices, got her shot, then waited in yet another office for side effects, of which there were none that mattered.  On the drive home we stopped by a bird sanctuary, but its population was down to a pair of ducks and two snow geese.  Still, it was nice to get out in nature on a pleasant warm, sunny afternoon.

As for myself, I’m suffering no ill effects from yesterday’s jab.  Yesterday I was feeling kind of mopey and lethargic, but it’s hard to put that down to the vaccination, because I’m capable of feeling mopey and lethargic entirely on my own.

Happy vaccinations, everybody!

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I Am Shot

by wjw on February 25, 2021

Got my first COVID shot today. It was a drive-through, all I had to do was hang my shoulder out the car window to get my jab.

Then I was obliged to wait 15 minutes in the parking lot to see whether or not I passed out. I didn’t, and so got on the road heading home, only to come very close to passing out a short distance down the road. Fortunately I recovered before crashing the car, after which I drove home very slowly and carefully and had no further trouble.

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My Mask Policy

February 25, 2021

We had no sooner crossed the New Mexico border than a text appeared on my phone telling me that my COVID vaccine awaited me.  So tomorrow I get Jab #1, which I expect will reduce my sense of anxiety. Since returning home I’ve mainly been trying to get my head into the right time zone. […]

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Peace and Pest

February 22, 2021

A photo taken from the front porch of our AirBnB near Lonoke (rhymes with Polk), AK.  It was a two-bedroom farmhouse with a generously-sized living room, a working kitchen, and a round King Arthur-sized dining table.  And we had it all to ourselves! And there was Internet.  There is nothing better than a farmhouse with […]

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Desperate Journey

February 21, 2021

Here you see the Parthenon in snow. If you’ve been paying attention to the international news, you’ll know that Greece and many parts of the Mediterranean have been hit with arctic cold this season about the same time that Texas was, and you may have seen pictures of the Parthenon standing there in a snowfield. […]

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Sixty Years

February 17, 2021

In preparation for this year’s Chinese and American landings, the BBC offers an enlightening video of the last 60 years of Mars landings.

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February 15, 2021

Hey, it’s Mardi Gras time, and there’s no better way to lighten your lockdown spirits than to get down with some fine New Orleans music! First up, get your buzz on with “If You’re a Viper” by Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, part of the Jam in the Van series. Next up, it’s Trombone Shorty […]

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