mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
No flowers or bugs involved, I promise.  Not in the actual recipe, anyway.

In the midst of my space geeking, I grabbed a can of Hearts of Palm from the local market, mainly because hearts of palm feature prominently in the account of "jungle survival training" as written by Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins.  It's a bad damned day in the jungle when you finally machete that palm tree to death, only to find some ant colony already ate the good parts.  I was going to serve my hearts of palm with the official NASA can of soup I picked up in Florida (made from the recipe used on Apollo 16), but it's not soup weather.

Instead, I made this salad:

Palmito del Verde Salad

Five hearts of palm, rinsed and drained (the 14.4 oz can offered by Haddon House works nicely)
One ovoline-sized ball of fresh mozzarella
One half a Haas avocado, ripe but still firm enough to slice
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Two tablespoons black olive paste
Agrumato olive oil (expensive secret ingredient!)
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Slice the hearts of palm on an angle (it looks better); each heart should yield 5-6 discs.  Chop the mozzarella into bite-sized chunks.  Peel and dice the avocado half.  Shred the basil leaves.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss lightly for even distribution.
In a small bowl, combine the olive paste with enough olive oil to make it the desired texture (a couple of teaspoons, I think) for your dressing.  

Divide the salad into two equal servings; top each serving with a dollop of dressing.  Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.  Toss lightly to coat the ingredients evenly.  Serves two.

Don't ask about the name.  It's a Central American slant on a bad pun my husband wanted to use for the name.  I could've run with the space theme and called it Green Cheese Moon Salad, but that would just be strange.

PS: Regular extra-virgin olive oil would work, I'm sure, but then you might want to add a spritz of lemon to the dressing.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
Atlantis touched down safety just before six AM (EDT) this morning.  The space shuttle era is officially over.


I think one reason I'm so hell-bent on working on "Starchild" is that the level of intrigue at work has dulled my appetite for "Sleep of the Just"/"Another Piece of Blue" political machinations.  Too close to home, man.  The behind-the-scenes action in "Starchild" doesn't feel personal to me and it ain't keeping me up at night.  I tried to work on "Ghosts," an Archanea 'fic dealing with the ramifications of the two arguable canonical suicides, and that just was too heavy for me right now.  Do not want.

I did work on a glossary for "Starchild," with the historical reference points sketched out, but I accidentally deleted a chunk of it and then saved the deletions by mistake.  Whoops.  Maybe next time I'm bored...  

Anyway, here's Chapter Seventeen.  We've cracked the 30K-word boundary, and we've finally on the verge of an answer as to what this entire charade is about.  Hint: it's not about collecting moon rocks.


This weather is awful.  The Blue Angels were practicing at the airfield by my workplace, and it was too damned hot to go out and enjoy them.


Had some plans for a post about crit and literary reviews-- not in a fandom sense, but of possible interest to fellow fan-writers.  Too sleepy right now.  Zzz.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
It's still the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing... for another twelve minutes.  In my time zone.

So, here you go.


Jul. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, I decided to take pop in at the amateur spaceflight history community's go-to reference site,, to see if anything new had gone up in the last few weeks.

Fuckdammit.  That site was indispensable.  There's a ten-year-old version still floating around, but in terms of sheer amount of information lost, this is devastating.  Ah, the computer age, where everything is a mouse-click away... until it isn't.

ETA: Thank goodness for the Wayback Machine...
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Surprise, surprise.

Mind you, this doesn't exactly incorporate anything from my STS-135 jaunt, but the experience did give me a kick in the tail.  I so want to write a sequel that's all about Ephraim, but I keep talking myself out of it, because sequels to AUs are so often fucked up and pointless (not talking about this fandom, just in general).

Speaking of Ephraim, I finally took his name off the description field of the story.  It wasn't getting me any more readers.

Oh yeah.  At Kennedy Space Center, the parking lots are numbered 1-7, each one given the name of a Project Mercury astronaut.  If you're in Al Shepherd's Numero Uno parking lot, you're special, and if you're in Deke Slayton's #7 lot, you have a hell of a walk.  This made me giggle, as I wasn't aware of the parking lot issue until last Wednesday.


Jul. 9th, 2011 11:04 am
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
I can see a dozen picture-perfect blue sky launches on TV, video and postcards.

But none of that can replicate the moment when red-orange tongues of flame erupted from the base of the solid rocket boosters and Atlantis went sailing up into the clouds. None of those can capture the sound.  And the cameras cut away, never showing you the apocalyptic clouds of smoke that billow around the launch site long after the shuttle is out of sight, or the way the vapor trail twists as it drifts downwind, like a helical stairway to the stars.

I love you, OV-104.  That final flight always should've been yours.  I hope you have a safe flight home to KSC, where you belong.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This is kind of cool. "First Orbit" is a film that recreates what Yuri Gagarin might have seen out his window fifty years ago today (OK, yesterday). It combines vintage sound clips with new footage of earth from the ISS and has a pleasant Philip Glass-y score. (Though, to keep the audio rolling, they combine sound clips from the 10-minute ascent phase of the rocket with the first twenty minutes of orbital footage.)  Even if you don't care about the space geeking, some of the pictures are very pretty.  :)

Oh, yeah.  Uploaded chapter ten of "Starchild," which has stabilized as a twenty-chapter 'fic because I split up a few chapters for thematic integrity.

Anyway, halfway mark means it's time for a world-building dump.  

Read more... )
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
For those of you who don't know why I'm shouting in Russian, it's because we've made it to Cosmonautics Day, or Yuri's Night as it's been re-branded for everyone's enjoyment (think Dance Party, not Communist Party). Google is celebrating with one of their doodles, because fifty years ago today, a human being breached the atmosphere and orbited the earth for the very first time.

[Also, thirty years ago today, the late and lamented shuttle Columbia took off on her maiden voyage with the venerable John Young at her helm. But shuttles are old news, and Young is just old and unnerving, whereas Yuri is youthful and endearing forever. This is what a fatal encounter with a weather balloon will do for your image.]

Both LJ and FFNet have been intermittently broken today, but I did manage to upload a "holiday" double shot of 'Starchild" chapters-- one long, one short. We're not quite halfway done with it, at least in terms of chapter count.

OK. Better go to bed. Cosmonautics Day isn't a recognized holiday at MY workplace, no sir.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Damn, Ben Marley is sexy.  

I don't want to use the term scene-stealer, because everything about his acting is designed to NOT steal the scenes from Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and the other guys with their names on the marquee, but hot damn does he have an impact.  But I guess this fangirl sums it up better than I can.

I am not a cinephile.  I am, among other things, an Apollo Program geek, and I was re-watching the film to hear how everybody's names were pronounced and to see what film-created myths I need to debunk for my presentation on Thursday.  Frex: Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) were not on the verge of killing one another.  And since astronaut extraordinaire John Young is a key part of my presentation, I paid attention to Marley's performance as Young in Apollo 13.  With pleasure.  Because Marley's John Young is whip-smart, sexy, adorable, and deadpan funny ("Good.  You're not dead.").  The real John Young is a hilarious guy, not to mention an intelligent one, but his humor circa the early 1970s was more "sly country bumpkin," as in the time he announced his return to space by proclaiming that "Br'er Rabbit" was back in the briar patch.  Yeah.  

Ben Marley also caught my eye because he looked way familiar, and only after cross-referencing the name did I realize that he was in the other Ron Howard/Tom Hanks astronaut epic, From the Earth to the Moon.  Only that time, Marley was playing Roger Chaffee, a role that consists of showing up to be sweet and hapless and likable and then dying horribly.  I always did have a crush on poor Roger Chaffee.

Actually, watching Apollo 13 and FtEttM in close proximity does weird things to the brain because a lot of actors are re-used.  A lot.  Like, in Apollo 13, there's this guy who announces himself as Apollo XII commander Pete Conrad, but in FtEttM he has a large role as Apollo VIII commander Frank Borman.  And the guy playing Jack Lousma (aka "Cap Com") in Apollo 13 played Apollo XV commander Dave Scott in FtEttM, which induced some real cognitive dissonance in me because, well, in terms of astronaut hierarchy, Dave Scott and Jack Lousma are not interchangeable.  [I dunno.  Think casting a Seth lookalike to play "Franz" in a dramatization of FE8.  Something like that.] 

Um, this probably means nothing to any of y'all.  But really, Ben Marley is sexy and adorable.  Yum.


mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

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