Not Martha

15th Birthday

This site is 15 years old today. Thank you, dear readers, for making that time seem like a short and exciting stretch. I know it’s been slow around here lately but I have no plans to go anywhere.

I’d pour you all champagne if I could!

· comments [16] · 05-22-2016 · categories:uncategorized ·

links: the home

Outdoor DIY Wine Cooler Idea: A Picnic Table with a Gutter! — Ingenious Ideas | The Kitchn. This is neat.

The Jealous Curator /// curated contemporary art /// kurt pio. Gorgeous paintings of giant diamonds, I really dig these.

Wood Rails 36″, at Parabo Press. For hanging really big posters, perfect for an Engineer Print. Via Swissmiss.

The mudroom: It begins! | Door Sixteen. An excellent list of all the products Anna uses, this is one I’ll refer to before our next house project.

Stud Thud Magnetic Stud Finder | Cool Tools. “Dual magnets create a “thud” when passed over a screw or nail”. Our house is old and has any number of mysteries behind the drywall. We once hit a water pipe trying to put up a curtain rod.

This Graphic Shows the Best Air-Cleaning Plants, According to NASA, at Lifehacker.

The Best Plants for Bedrooms and Bathrooms, by The Sill | Parachute Blog. Via The Wirecutter.

How to Make Vinegar Cleaning Spray (That Smells Good!) | The Kitchn.

· comments [1] · 04-29-2016 · categories:links · the home ·

links: food

Bon Appétempt: Carrot Ginger Showstopper a.k.a. Grain Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing (and a Fried Egg).

Star Wars Recipe: Rey’s Portion Bread | StarWars.com.

A Four-Story Leap Day Birthday Cake at Food 52. This is delightful.

Banh Tieu Recipe: The Vietnamese Donuts You Never Knew You Loved · i am a food blog.

Toasted Almond Cake, Stewed Rhubarb, Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting – Not Without Salt. The rhubarb rosettes on this cake are really charming.

Beer is Good For Your Health | Wellness | Purewow. “Even more interesting, the hops and flavonoids in beer can actually slow the release of calcium from the bones.”

The Best Easter Traditions Come from Germany | The Kitchn. This is a reminder to myself to make braided breads like the glorious chicken in the last photo.

Chewable Coffee Is Your New Morning Pick-Me-Up | Brit + Co. Gummy coffee cubes, count me in.

· comments [0] · 04-15-2016 · categories:food · links ·

links: misc

Forget Sea Monkeys, the Dino Sphere Is the Novelty Bio-Kit of the Future, at Gizmodo. Awwwww, I want some!

The Amazing 4 Corners Project / Boing Boing. A planet sized work of art, amazing.

My Uncle Works for Nintendo — The Campo Santo Quarterly Review — Medium.

What smells like almonds in the forest? | Ask MetaFilter. Millipedes?! Millipedes!!

The latest His Dark Materials spin-off is a dark and mysterious audiobook | The Verge. I encountered the His Dark Materials series only in audiobook format and fell in love, so I’m enthusiastic to hear that the newest spin-off is audio only. (And narrated by Bill Nighy!)

· comments [3] · 04-11-2016 · categories:links · misc ·

links: technology

Song of the Deep Wants You To Feel Small | WIRED. I think this game is going to be greatly appealing.

An Hour With The Solus Project, A Survival Game With An Actual Story, at Kotaku.

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Love You To Bits’ | TouchArcade. Tiny Thief is broken on iOS 9 (RIP) but this game is it’s spiritual successor, and shares a few devs.

Obduction, The Spiritual Successor to Myst, at Laughing Squid. I. Am. So. Happy.

The Gallery, VR and a fear of falling | Polygon. This game looks pretty ideal.

15 Tricks Every iPhone User Should Know How to Do | Apartment Therapy. These are pretty helpful.

Hidden Folks is a Hidden Object Game with Interactive Scenery – Gamezebo.

· comments [4] · 03-31-2016 · categories:links · technology ·

links: misc

Get Lost Inside a Dystopian L.A. Cake Maze | Mental Floss. Oh my god a maze made of cake. Dreams do come true. Via Girls of a Certain Age.

What is the plot of Lost, like what happened? | Ask MetaFilter. Some good concise explanations, should anybody ever ask just what happened on that show. Answers from “the writers painted themselves into a corner” to a patient explanation of the bifurcated timelines.

The Latest Nail Art Trend Is Apparently Only for People Who Don’t Have to Use Their Hands for Anything But Modeling Nail Art, Must Be Nice. I’m waiting for Nails by Faberge.

Filmmakers Make an Interesting Discovery Made Behind a Loose Brick in a Pub in Norwich, England, at Laughing Squid.

Shamrock Shakes, and their cult following, explained – Vox.

· comments [0] · 03-18-2016 · categories:links · misc ·

links: shopping

3D printed pendants at Shapeways: Lucky Heart by Phits, Asteroid Pendant by quantitativeDesign, Droplet Pendant by LIFIC.

Extremely convenient keychain key holder from brown by TIZART and the Corder Leather Bottle Hook that hangs off a belt loop. Bot via Ask Metafilter and courtesy of my friend Phixion.

What can I wear under a sheer blouse that won’t make me miserably warm? | Ask MetaFilter. More and more Uniqlo seems to be the answer.

Seriously, These are the Best Affordable Ear Bud Headphones You Can Buy | Man Made DIY. I go through earbuds pretty quickly too, these are a solid recommendation.

Lighthouse Lounge – Ladies T-shirt | Last Exit to Nowhere. This shop sells goods using the logos of fake businesses from movies and television, this one is from Goonies. See also: Winchester Tavern from Shaun of the Dead.

“30 Rock – Music Band” T-Shirts & Hoodies by Skulltech | Redbubble. A joke from 30 Rock.

This Irish Store Is About to Become Your New Forever 21 | Brit + Co. Primark is coming to the US! I have my own favorite Primark moment.

Cool Tools – Tom Bihn Travel Tray. I’m getting one of these for Scott, the detritus that he scatters around hotel rooms makes me grumpy.

Meet the Designers Crafting High End Undergarments for the Transgender Community | GOOD.

· comments [2] · 03-4-2016 · categories:links · shopping ·

links: food

Rainbow Steam Cake Recipe – HowToCookThat. How to make a layered rainbow cake that doesn’t involve cutting and stacking.

Giant Ravioli with Egg Yolk, Spinach, and Ricotta. Recipe lookup inspired by Salty Seattle’s Instagram. Yum.

dubosc | Colossal. Edible zoetropes!

Orangette: While you’re not looking. A technique for cooking dried beans, I’ve got to try this because my previous dried bean trials weren’t worth the time put in.

Scientists Say Psychopathic People Really Like Bitter Food | MUNCHIES. Uh oh.

Cooking with Manuela: Rose Shaped Eggplant Parmigiana.

The Politics and Cultishness of Hops – The Sauce – The Stranger. A primer on Washington hops.

Best Value in Booze: What’s the Best Single Malt Scotch Under $30? | Man Made DIY.

Why Cookbook Clubs Should Be the New Way We Entertain | Serious Eats. Yes! (Also, full disclosure, my trusty red dutch oven can be seen in one of these photos.)

The Cocktail at the End of the Universe – Eater. “In search of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, an imaginary 1970’s cocktail from space.” A delightfully thorough look at bars then and now.

This Coconut Cake Is Better Than Your Grandmother’s Recipe | MUNCHIES.

Pulled Pork and Cornbread Make This Slow-Cooker Chili a New Favorite | Serious Eats.

ChefSteps Guide to Pike Place Market – Eater Seattle.

The Cool Way to Brew Good Coffee – The Awl. Oh gosh I had nearly forgotten about Clover machines! Anyhow, this is a good history of coffee hype from pre-aughts to now. Via Kottke.

The Food Lab: Introducing Vegetables Wellington, the Plant-Based Vegan Roast Even Meat Eaters Will Want | Serious Eats.

IDEAS IN FOOD: Sandy (Pretzel) Sticks.

Lumberjack cake: tartan batter? / Boing Boing. This is neato.

15 Edible Cocktail Garnishes to Snack on During Happy Hour | Brit + Co. Some good ideas in here, I like the pretzel stick as an option.

A Cadbury Creme Egg Cafe is Coming to London | Nerdist.

The Crazy History Of Your Cocktail Cherry – The Daily Beast. I got to watch as Scott discovered the superiority of Luxardo cherries this year.

The Best No-Carb Cloud Rosemary Bread with only 4 Ingredients. While I’m not looking for a no-carb thing, these do look good as a party appetizer for my celiac friends.

spaghetti pie with pecorino and black pepper | smitten kitchen. This is perfection.

Smoke Signals – Bon Appétit. All about Tara Jenson and her amazing pies and loaves of bread.

A Dozen Rose Cupcakes | Sprinkle Bakes. A cookie cutter that makes creating a sugar rose more like assembling a paper flower, very clever.

The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner | Cool Tools. It’s a square of chain mail!

Play Food « bakerella.com. I’m bookmarking this because the recipe doesn’t need to be chilled before rolling, but also because the tiny cookies are absolutely adorable.

Make Matchstick Cookies This Valentine’s Day | The Etsy Blog.

Valentine’s Magic Heart Dessert – HowToCookThat. A hidden heart in the lid, really clever. Does anybody know where this idea originated?

· comments [2] · 02-9-2016 · categories:food · links ·

links: misc

David Chang Calls Out Starbucks. As somebody whose edible creations have become popular, used for marketing for large companies and sold in major stores without even so much as credit I can feel this pain.

Happy 20th Birthday To This American Life, Which Is Way Darker Than You Think. Via The Morning News.

The clog post — Medium. “I’ve fallen off sidewalks from Brooklyn to San Francisco, disappearing mid-sentence wherever I go.” One of my internet Old Ones is posting on Medium every day through December and it’s making me giddy.

Hatton Garden robbery drill-hole necklace | The Guardian. A fine pendant in the shape of the hole drilled to pull off a multi million pound heist in London.

Establishing a Peace Accord Between Parents and Their Childless Friends – The Everywhereist.

The 24 Most Insane Theories About Who Rey’s Parents Are. #24 is the author’s crazy theory and it’s awesome.

Hired Hand — The California Sunday Magazine. Via The Morning News.

· comments [2] · 02-4-2016 · categories:links · misc ·

links: technology

When Two Best Friends Make Video Games (And Only One Sells). A good examination of what’s going on in the indie market.

Beyond ‘Serial': The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015 – The Atlantic. See also: additional 10 Great Podcast Episodes from 2015 from Matt Thompson.

Waiting for Serial? Try Some of These, Our Favorite Podcasts | WIRED.

Nathan Grayson’s Top 10 Games Of 2015.

Take a Video Crash Course in Beginner Electronics, at Make.

Data Atsume. Tons of data for the Neko Atsume game on what to use to attract the rare cats and get the greatest fish return. Via Waxy.

Stick a pin in it! — Postlight Posts — Medium. The Pinterest Chrome plug-in is taking over your website, but only the users can see it so you might not know. If you manage a website you should know this is going on, and they offer code to stop it.

Steam VR Stealth Game Looks Like A More Violent Portal, at Kotaku. I got to try the Vive last year and part of that was a Portal demo. Scott and I spent some time wondering how you’d make a Portal game for the Vive played at home and our theories were a lot like the way this game is described.

· comments [0] · 01-18-2016 · categories:links · technology ·

links: Christmas food edition

chocolate peanut and pretzel brittle | smitten kitchen.

What’s the Right Way To Make A Hot Toddy? | Mental Floss.

Cocktail Party Gingerbread Folk | Sprinkle Bakes. They include little foil wrapped booze filled chocolate bottles, what a splendid idea. See also: Gift This! Santa’s Candy Bark.

Brunch Cocktails- Cranberry Ramos Gin Fizz – Craft and Cocktails. Via Design Crush.

SANDY OLD MAN ON X’MAS | Lady and Pups – an angry food blog.

eggnog waffles + a few favorite kitchen things | smitten kitchen. I’m bookmarking this for #4: a deeply dark Dutched cocoa that has an Oreo taste. Interesting!

The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Recipe | The Kitchn. See also: Roll Out Sugar Cookie Dough Before Chilling It.

Everything Bagel Bombs, at the Amateur Gourmet. I used Adam’s instructions for Momofuku’s bagel bombs last year and it became an instant tradition. You can freeze these before baking and put them into the oven right from the freezer, perfect for a low fuss fancy breakfast option when the focus is on opening presents.

How to: Hanging Twig Christmas Tree » Curbly.

NORAD’s Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport : NPR. This is an amazing story.

· comments [1] · 12-23-2015 · categories:christmas · food ·

Mobile Games To Keep You Happily Distracted

Here are some mobile/tablet games that I recommend for keeping you distracted during long stretches of travel or just during the dark winter nights. (I played all of these on iOS but I’ve linked to the developers websites for each game and noted what platforms they are available on.) They aren’t new but these are the ones that I found memorable and keep around for replaying in the future. At the bottom of this post is a list of little puzzle games that keep me happily distracted while waiting in lines at the airport. Happy travels everybody!

Long Mobile Puzzle and Adventure Games

Tetrobot and Co
I am very, very obsessed with this game. This is a cute and stylish puzzle game that hits all the right spots – the controls are easy to pick up, there aren’t any Running Against The Clock levels, there is a rewind button that will take you back one step at a time, and the puzzles are just difficult enough to make you feel like a GENIUS when you solve them but never quite get frustrating. There are plenty of elements to make completionists happy including some play-it-again challenges that make early levels that much more challenging. In Tetrobo and Co. you pilot a tiny robot through each level moving and arranging blocks to make your way to the exit. The blocks have different properties (magnetic, reflective, impervious to fire, stick to the walls). These are all very familiar game concepts but the levels here are especially clever, often requiring a bit of extra discovery on your part to solve. As you go along new physics are introduced so the puzzles never get repetitive. I found the clicky/whirry/buzzy sounds in this game particularly appealing and the soundtrack changes for each set of levels. There is a sweet little background story that is revealed as you solve things that is safe to ignore if that’s not your thing, it’s a continuation of story behind Swing Swing Submarine’s previous game, Blocks That Matter.

What else? The main protagonist in this game, the one who built the tiny robot, is a girl. The game is completely safe for kids (but please don’t tell me if your seven year old found the whole game really easy, my ego will be crushed). It was originally built for PC and is available on Steam, but it was clearly designed with touch screen in mind. I’ve played the predecessor to this game, Blocks That Matter, on my laptop and found the levels just as clever but occasionally more dependent on frustrating time elements (for example, a series of crates catching on fire, a constantly oncoming boss monster). I was able to get through all of the main levels without rage quitting and can definitely recommend playing it.

I’ve been trying to describe to friends why I like Tetrobot and Co so much and I’ve been comparing it to the Portal games because of how smart it makes me feel when I solve a level. I’m currently giving this game a rest in the hopes that I forget all the tricks and solutions so I can play it all over again. Save for kids? Yes. App Store/Steam/Google Play/Humble Store/GOG.

Oceanhorn
Reviewers compare this to a Zelda game (Wind Walker era) and they aren’t wrong. In this game you play a young boy who explores islands, swings a sword, shoots arrows at monsters, finds hidden caves and, yes, defeats a few boss monsters all in the effort to save the world and find his long lost father. I’m not partial to console-like games on the iPad but this one won me over in a big way and I’ve played all the way through it twice. The monsters that you encounter as you explore the world aren’t difficult to defeat (though they do respawn the moment you leave each area) and I had less trouble with the boss monsters than I feared (with a little help from some walkthroughs, I admit, because ugh boss monsters ugh). While you do encounter plenty of monsters the game is well balanced with lots of time for exploration on each new island, and a few towns where you can stock up. There are lots of hidden areas, completionist elements and reasons to revisit old areas (like magic boots that allow you to cross gaps). Despite the usual meters for health/money/arrows/bombs I never found myself stuck. There has been a nice update to the game this year so I’m ready to play through it again. Safe for kids? Yes. App Store/Steam/GOG/Humble Store.

Broken Age
Disclosure: I played this on PC because I was a Kickstarter backer and that was the option available. Having played it and carefully scoured reviews for the touch screen version of the game I’m pretty sure that you won’t miss having a mouse and keyboard when playing this game.

Broken Age is a brand new retro style point and click adventure game of the sort I grew up playing. It’s more about the story and a bit less about the puzzles and I absolutely loved it. The graphics looks like watercolors, the characters are all voiced incredibly well (and by lots of names you’ll recognize) and I absolutely fell in love with all the characters. There is humor and heart and randomness and a little bit of “I have a bucket, a skirt and a mirror and I need to convince a sentient vine to let me jump into the pit” that you’ll recognize if you’ve played these sorts of games before.

The world of the game is split between two characters/worlds that you can switch between if you are feeling stuck with one storyline or the other and I bet you’ve already guessed that at some point the storylines cross. For as much as I love the world that Doublefine has created and I love this sort of game, there isn’t a lot of puzzling or defeating going on here and after a while it becomes clear that no matter how many amusing conversation threads there are you’ll eventually be lead towards the only one that counts. This didn’t make me love the game any less, but if you’re not a fan of the King’s Quest era games this isn’t one that will change your mind. Safe for kids? Yes. App Store/Steam/PS4/PS Vita/Google Play.

Murder Files
Everything about this game seems geared towards a younger version of me but it managed to completely delight my old self. It’s a little bit cartoonish and it’s interspersed with the style of logic puzzles that I remember being given to pass the time during long car trips. (Kids, this was before we had iPads or even, shudder, portable DVD players. Car trips were boring, grim and probably account for 95% of my lateral thinking ability.) The real star here is the narrator who manages a humorously dramatic tone and does all the character voices. Half of the game are the aforementioned logic puzzles and half is listening intently to the answers that possible suspects give which I found surprisingly tricky since my brain is so likely to tune out at the wrong moments. This whodunnit/logic puzzle combination is something I’ve seen in a few games but it’s executed perfectly here and I recall the story as fondly as the puzzles. Safe for kids? Yes. Except, you know, it’s about murder. Kid safe? Yes, but murder is a thing. App Store/PS3/Steam/Kindle Fire/Google Chrome.

The Trace
This is a murder scene investigation game with controls similar to The Room. You can move around, zoom in, make observations and collect clues, find codes and open drawers and uncover some hidden areas. At the end of each case you answer a series of questions and uncover the guilty party. Safe for kids? No, there are some dead bodies lying around. Not gruesome but definitely grim. App Store/Google Play/Kindle Fire.

Agent A
A stylish point and click adventure where you play a secret agent who needs to work her way through the hideout of a villain, Ruby LaRouge. The game is full of tropes – keys and locks and passcodes, hidden panels, getting a clue out of a fish tank that contains sharks, trying to get the cat to move. The game play felt slow at times (go all the way outside to get that thing, now come all the way back, now go outside again) but the puzzles and storyline kept me entertained the whole way through. Bonus points for both the secret agent and the villain being female. Safe for kids: yes but violence is implied. App Store only.

Tiny Bang
I’ve been a little hesitant to recommend this game here. The game has beautiful Samorset-like hand drawn visuals, a relaxing soundtrack, and a charming story. The elements of the gameplay involve hidden object hunting, logic puzzles, jigsaw assembly, some Simon Says (ugh), a couple of constantly moving 8-bit style mini games (which I find frustrating and overly long) and a few puzzles that just require that you put the things in the right place that are somehow simple and difficult at the same time. I don’t find any of these elements particularly swoon worthy on their own but they’ve all been brought together into a game that is (most of the time) relaxing despite all my protestations. Kid friendly? Yes. App Store/Steam/Google Play.

Quick Puzzle Games

These are easy to learn, quick to play games that are perfect for when you need something you can pick up and put down just to fill the time spent waiting in a long line. Or, you know, while on your couch watching reruns of Scandal.

Patchmania – App Store
Logic Dots – App Store/Android
1010! – App Store/Google Play/Amazon Apps
Hex FRVR – App Store/Android Apps
Infinite Loop – App Store/Android
Quetzalcoatl – App Store

Games I’ve got to carve some time for but love so far: The Wolf Among Us, Seek (swivel chair is helpful, go try it out), Lifeline, Walking Mars, Heroki and The Room 3. What have you been playing? Let us know if you have any gems!

· comments [8] · 12-22-2015 · categories:dailyphoto · uncategorized ·

Buy Handmade in Seattle This Weekend

There are lots of chances to buy delightful handmade gifts in and around the Seattle area this December but there are three going on this weekend that are of particular interest to me, and maybe you. These events are run by or feature people who I have worked with and dearly love because they make Seattle a more amazing city.

Urban Craft Uprising
Dec. 5th 10am – 6pm & Dec. 6th 10am – 5pm, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. This is bustling and packed full of options for everybody on your list. (Seriously, I always leave here with a perfect gift or seven.)

King Street Makers Market
Dec. 3rd – 5th, 11am to 7pm, 666 King St. “A 4-day gift-centric pop-up shop featuring the handcrafted work of PNW makers.” Lovely curated collection filled with things to eat, bake with, wear and display.

The Handmade Showroom Pop-up Shops at Pacific Place
Open every day through Dec. 31st, in Pacific Place Mall. Ok, so this one isn’t exclusive to this weekend but check it out while you’re downtown (and before they go back to a weekend only schedule). The shop features goods from artists and makers in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho).

· comments [0] · 12-4-2015 · categories:seattle ·

links: misc

Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study | Irish Examiner.

A 3D-Printed Chess Set Made of Pieces That Are Individual Mini Planters, at Laughing Squid. This is pretty darn charming.

Alison Bechdel Would Like You to Call It the “Bechdel-Wallace Test,” | The Mary Sue. This comes from an interview with Alison Bechdel on Fresh Air.

Emily V. Gordon’s book Super You is available for preorder! She is a hero of mine and I’m so looking forward to her book.

Disney’s Artemis Fowl adaptation moving forward with Kenneth Branagh · Newswire · The A.V. Club. The Artemis Fowl books are great because of the secret code running along the pages, but I listened to the audiobooks and was impressed with how cinematic they were. I like the names attached to this movie so here is to hoping it’s great.

The 100 TV Dramas Everyone Should Watch — Vulture. I love that all the Bryan Fuller shows are high on this list. On Dead Like Me: “it’s one of very few coming-of-age stories about a girl that isn’t a story about falling in love.” Yes.

Here’s what one year in space does to your body | The Verge. “Your feces will not be shooting stars.”

The Problem With Trillian: Hitchhiker’s Guide and Me – The Toast.

Jerry the Bear – Off Topic – Cooking For Engineers. A plush bear that teaches kids how to manage their own chronic health conditions by caring for Jerry the Bear. This looks pretty amazing.

Remove Odors from Your Entire Home by Simmering Vinegar, at Life Hacker.

The One Podcast to Start With, Across 24 Topics — Vulture.

VR Interface Design Pre-Visualisation Methods on Vimeo on Vimeo.

Music to Sleep By – The New Yorker. “The composer Max Richter has written an eight-hour-long piece that he hopes listeners will sleep through.” I lived in a noisy apartment in college and would put on an album by The October Project. Training myself that way was incredibly effective, I still get heavily drowsy at the second song on that record.

Ermahgerddon: The Untold Story of the Ermahgerd Girl | Vanity Fair. I dig meme origin stories.

SunsetWx. A sunset quality predictor, via Kottke.

· comments [8] · 11-30-2015 · categories:links · misc ·

links: technology

The next game from the creators of Monument Valley is going to be a virtual reality experience, at Kotaku. I’m getting excited about VR.

Sorry Ello, the Real Anti-Facebook Is Good Old Email | WIRED. They call out the old fashioned newsletter, specifically Tiny Letter, here and I have to agree — I’ve signed up for a few newsletters in the past months and it’s like getting my journal-blog days back.

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Dust: An Elysian Tail’ | TouchArcade.

Little Inferno creator’s new game is about programming people | Polygon. Tablet version coming soon. Yes!

The 50 Best Free Games On PC | Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Knytt is in the top ten!

Cool Tools – The Best Factual Podcasts.

At last, a handy storage solution for your phone! | Sugru. Easy, cheap, removable DIY for an iPhone holder, awesome. Via Swissmiss.

· comments [0] · 11-3-2015 · categories:links · technology ·