Monday, November 16, 2009


We joined a winter Community Supported Agriculture a couple weeks ago. I had heard about it back in the spring from some friends and it sounded like a really neat idea. You pay a lump sum up front to a participating local farm and then every week you get a certain amount of fresh produce/eggs/meat for a period of weeks. I believe ours is ten weeks and we are two weeks into it. So far it's been great! We are getting to try a lot of veggies that neither of us have eaten before or pretty much strayed away from. So far we've gotten a hubbard and acorn squash, kale, collards, spinach, kohlrabi, variety of lettuces, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, and whole wheat flour. The kohlrabi was the weirdest veggie we've gotten so far, followed closely by this baked hubbard.. green alien egg anyone?

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with it yet, you are supposed to be able to use it like pumpkin.. we'll see. The acorn squash was really yummy though. I found a recipe in Joy of Cooking and it turned out really well. This was definitely the first time either of us had acorn squash and Glenn who is leary of winter squash, loved this combination of baked squash stuffed with apples, dried cherries, orange zest, apple cider, a little brandy and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I think my favorite thing so far has been the kohlrabi, probably cause it was delicious simply sauteed in a little butter. I think it would be good just plain raw too.

Another reason to love fall.. strange veggies!

Monday, November 9, 2009

MACE 2009 (warning, geekery)

This past weekend I went to MACE (Mid-Atlantic Convention Expo, a backronym if ever I saw one...), the "largest gaming convention in the Carolinas." I have no idea if that claim is true, but it was certainly a good-sized event, with a whole lot of gaming going on. My past gaming convention experience consists of only two extremes - Dragon*Con, attendance about 30,000 (!), and a one-day event put on by the UGA Gamer's Association, attendance about 30. So this event was, obviously, somewhere in the middle size-wise - I'd guess about 300 people were there, more or less.

As I see it, a con like this is a chance to try new games that I've never played before, so I consciously avoided any games that I'm already familiar with. As a result, I got to try five different game systems: Call of Cthulhu, Dark Heresy, Changeling: the Lost, Kobolds Ate My Baby!, and Savage Worlds. Conveniently, this also let me play in five different genres as well: 1920s supernatural horror, science-fiction Spanish Inquisition, modern urban fantasy, silly fantasy, and weird Wild West.

I quite enjoyed all five games - the people running the games at this con were clearly very good at this, and everyone I met seemed easy to get along with, which was a pleasant surprise. (Obviously, when you sit down at a gaming table with five strangers to play a game that half of you haven't ever played, you're taking quite a gamble...) The most impressive by far was the Call of Cthulhu game - the game master had detailed floor plans of the haunted house we were investigating, plus individual "newspaper clippings" that he handed out as we did our research in the town archives, and the journal entries from a madman that we found genuinely gave me chills, which I wouldn't have thought was possible in a convention environment (i.e., sitting at a table in a hotel ballroom with a half dozen other games going on around me.)

There were a few minor glitches - the gaming areas were all massively over-air-conditioned, while the hotel rooms themselves were overly warm, and two of my games were double-booked with other games at the same table - but that sort of thing is to be expected. All in all, I had a great time, and schedule permitting, I will definitely try and go again next year.

Anyone still reading this? Wow, brownie points for you! Now, go and read something more interesting! :-)