mrsbrown: (Default)
I had a terrible time at the meeting last night.  It was inevitable, but I could have prepared better.

I want the Stormhold website to be moved to a wordpress site (from Drupal), I want the currant admin to change and I'll take the job myself if I have to.

Doing that is fraught, as the current admin has had the job for the past 20 years (at least) and is emotionally attached to the job. 

I did a lot of work with the current admin about 8 years ago, when he was just as attached to the job.  I spent a lot of time and energy carefully making the drupal website look and have the best functionality I could.  It was a place I was happy to send newcomers to and I would regularly check what was going on and I had a person lined up who updated the events pages regularly.  I stopped being Baroness and attending council meetings and then, either  the main server crashed or he updated the version of drupal we were using and he lost the lot and had to rebuild.  Some of the pages I had carefully written and coded could only be retrieved from the wayback machine.

The new version of the website looks dreadful, it's not mobile responsive and the regular event updates are gone.  Also, I no longer have admin access and even if I did, now that I know wordpress I would rather use that.  The current website is too difficult  annoying for anyone to use.

Anyway, after a very confrontational discussion (with no control exercised by the meeting chair) it was agreed that we would prepare a pros and cons paper for the next meeting.  This is a typical approach to solving these sorts of conflicts - put it off until next time.  The problem is, the real problem is the current admin - he needs to go.  Hmmm maybe that's why I can't have a reasonable discussion with him about improving the website experience for the Barony - all of my language and posture show what I really think.

Maybe there's another way?  Can I get the Masonry team to ban drupal from the server?

Goals for the Baronial website:
  1. Provide useful meeting and event info for members and newcomers
  2. Be a place that gets people to visit regularly
  3. Includes enough information for newcomers to be attracted and motivated to come to a meeting/event
  4. Can have information added by any of our event stewards
  5. Is easily updated by any of our officers
  6. Is updated often enough that people don't have to rely on facebook for group information
  7. Has a level of automation for event updates - google calendar feed
  8. Can be used by local groups to plan their events around ours.
  9. Can be used to contact us by the media etc
  10. Provides useful resources for members
  11. Encourages traffic to our members blogs
  12. Looks good enough that people get the impression we know what we're doing
Here's a simple table version of a comparison between drupal, joomla and wordpress.

I'm convinced that drupal is too complicated for us to get a site which works for our weird community based organisation.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Watching stuff going on in the Barony and remembering my own problems with harassment and difficult people I was motivated to find out some stuff and I'm saving the links here with my comments so I can find them again later.

I started with the Lochac dispute resolution document here . It's changed a fair bit since I last looked and has some good stuff on timelines and who should do what. I can't help feeling though that it doesn't quite address the consequences to the harasser that I'm looking for and also doesn't seem to be very good at some of the social group management that I think needs to happen.

Some of what's happening almost feels like some of the tech and fan conference harassment issues that I've read about both here, and through the geek feminism blog. (These sorts of things)

So I went and found the conference harassment policy resources prepared by the Ada Initiative. It has some things in common with the dispute resolution stuff, but obviously has a bit more about proactively discouraging bad behaviour and what to do about harassers and their impact on the conference. I like the stuff about making the reporting process really obvious and making the actions taken transparent to the whole community.

One of the interesting comments that comes up in the SCA community is that we are so used to dealing with people who have poor social skills that we make allowances for bad behaviour.  From my reading tonight I think we should stop doing that.

I think the SCA needs to
1. have a code of conduct
2. publicise it
3. provide dispute mentors so if you're not sure what to do, you know who to ask.
4. Be a bit more transparent about sanctions

not bad

Nov. 7th, 2013 11:13 pm
mrsbrown: (Default)


I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


mrsbrown: (Default)
I haven't always been thoughtful about posting online.

The first time I posted to a mailing list, I suffered a flaming that hurt my soul and is still remembered. I didn't write what that person thought I wrote, and most of my emails are now read several times, and occasionally checked by my husband, before I send them. Does that say what I mean? What's the emotional state of the person reading this? How will they twist this? Is this the right forum? How many other people will read this? Depending on the email/message I could agonise over these for 20min or so. Although I think I've developed a set of rules that keep my natural social anxiety in check and make this process a bit faster than it was immediately following my mailing list incident.

There was also that other time, when someone had committed suicide from the Westgate Bridge and for some inexplicable reason I allowed myself to be my nasty self who send a lashing of thoughtless, flame ridden words to a mailing list (actually I think it was a usenet group) complaining about the insensitivity of this bloke who had tied up traffic in my city. It felt good at the time, but I think the guilt hurt my soul too, I certainly remember it as vividly as the mailing list email.

And then we come to the latest storm in a teacup. The moderator of a male dominated group I'm on posted some pictures that were in poor taste and I blinked. Then others posted comments on those pictures and I saw some ineffective attempts by people to suggest that the comments and original post were not ok. I ignored it thinking that people would stop soon and the group would get back to core business. The moderator deleted them and then the comment'ers came back to ask more about them and make some more blokey comments. Then someone posted a picture of Xena with her barely there armour, referencing the previous posts and "jokes". It looked like the behaviour was not going to go away and could turn into a more permanent feature of the group. So I spoke up.

I have a lot of practise at speaking up. I was the person who stood up in the train carriage and tram and asked the menacing guy to put out his cigarette. I was the person who called her teenage peers on their sexism and racism. I was the only woman in a group of male engineering students. I've been called lots of names, I've been gaslighted and I've been ostracised. For a long time I stopped speaking up about racism and sexism when I observed them and then I realised that what other people think or do in response to my words is irrelevant, the important thing is that I speak up.

Speaking up is hard and it makes you feel awful, but not as awful as if you don't speak up. Interestingly, many people receiving your words also have a very emotional response that is not their normal behaviour. They feel awful too. These days I imagine my children's emotional response when they've had their bad behaviour pointed out to them. They know what the rules are and are embarrassed at being caught wrongdoing, and they often lash out angrily and incoherently.

I might be an apologist for them, but in my experience of being the only woman in a group of men, when men are being blokey, they don't realise they're excluding women. They don't necessarily consciously do it and they won't do it when there are a significant number of women around. To stop them you usually just need to tell them you're there. The incurably sexist of them will then attack you, some of the others will be like the children I mentioned earlier and respond in an obviously juvenile, slightly incoherent way.

You can't change the incurable ones and the others don't need you keep telling them they're being dicks - they already know. So there is no point in continuing to engage with them. The important thing is that you said something and maybe next time they will remember this awful feeling you made them have and avoid it. Incidently, this is also my approach to parenting - I don't need my kids to make amends or agree with me when I tell them off, they don't like having arguments with me and will modify their behaviour to avoid arguments, even while they think my rule is unreasonable.

I also need to manage my own awful feelings in stepping over normal polite society boundaries, so I have developed a process that minimises the aggression opportunities available:

1. Tell the people/person how you feel - it's a statement of fact they can't argue with.
"I think what you're saying is racist" or I'm letting you know that I'm getting progressively more uncomfortable with the blokey, sexist banter on this page.
Often, I leave it at that. I've done what I needed to maintain my sense of self respect, and what they choose to do about it is their business.

2. If it's an action or activity that has an impact on me, I also need to tell them what that impact is. If they care about the impact they will also be more likely to modify their behaviour over the long term.
I like to think of myself as a member of this group,, but I can't be one if I have to look at pictures of nearly nude women and participate in posts making fun of other people's appearance in order to fit in.

3. Online,  I then tend to try to walk away from the computer for an hour or two.  My emotions/anxiety mean that I'm unlikely to respond to any responses in a thoughtful and measured way.  Even if I don't walk away from the computer, I don't allow myself to post while feeling emotional.  
Offline, it's a lot harder but certainly when telling strangers to stop smoking on the train  it's easier if you don't talk to them again - even if they're yelling in your face they will get bored and go away. (Yes, there's a lot of adrenaline in this sort of incident). The other option is to quietly keep saying the same thing, Go away, I don't like you doing that. Go away, I don't like you doing that. The quiet voice is important to keep your own adrenaline in check.

4. When reading the responses of others I remember that they are likely to be feeling embarassed.  They're human beings with all the same anxieties and difficulties of communicating on the page that I have. If what they're saying is close to appropriate, I will choose to read it as completely appropriate.  It seems to be better to accept that they're making an attempt than to keep making them more ashamed of their behaviour, leading to even more emotional responses. If what they're saying is inappropriate I may choose to restate my position, or go back to the start of the process and tell them how  their comment makes me feel and what impact that has on something that is probably important to them.  But I'm just as likely to leave them to their own prejudices.

I choose to avoid the emotional toll that continuing to engage in arguing with someone will have on me.  But it's important that I tell people how I feel about their actions, or how will they change?






pig notes

Aug. 23rd, 2013 08:20 pm
mrsbrown: (domestic goddess)
I finally hung the Bresaola today.  It's been in the fridge since Monday 13 Aug when it got its second cure coating.  It got the first on Monday 5 August after it was killed on Sat 3 August.  there are no additional

The bacon and pancetta was hung on Thursday 15 August after sitting in cure since Monday 5 August.  It was kept in an esky with regular icepack changes until the last day.  Today I smelled it and it was fine but squeaked when I squeezed it. 

The other bacon was put on a rack in the fridge on Thursday.

Today I found this charcuterie blog that includes instructions to modify a fridge for temperature and humidity control.  Tempting, as the temp in the kitchen got as high as 20degrees today.  otoh, it will get down to 11 overnight.

mrsbrown: (cake!)
On Sunday.  And this year I would like presents, 'cos we have no money.  This is a list of the stuff I have wanted lately and haven't bought for myself;

a stainless steel cheese making thermometer with a clip to attach to the pot.
a  second cheese mold with pressing plate, although bigger would also be good.
Now I'm looking at cheesemaking stuff, I also want this draining mat
And this book is better than the one I have.

I'm also told that Bunnings has a temperature display that also shows humidity - that would be useful if I want to set up a cheese fridge.

And my bright idea this week is that I should plant 3 blueberry bushes in my front garden and pull out the silly white flowered tree and the old grapevine.  So I would like blueberry bushes to do that with.

New things

Aug. 8th, 2013 09:28 am
mrsbrown: (Default)
I'm a bit about the bright, new and shiny.

when I have to be especially productive when working at home, I have to go and find a new place to work.  It needs to be somewhere I don't associate with sitting around reading the internet.  So far in my working at home regime, I have worked; on my bed, at the kitchen table, standing at the laundry bench (that was pretty good) on the far couch and on the near couch.  I have also worked with beanies, scarves and blankets for heating.

I've been getting sick of making bread.  It helped for a little while when I had finally finished off the wholemeal spelt flour and could start on the atta flour.  But unfortunately, 4 months is too long to store atta flour and it had gone rancid.  Does anyone else want to join me in an order from Hindustan Imports?  Or will I just head to the D'souza's at Preston Market?

Yesterday I found a new video on making bread and it might be the bright, shiny and new thing I need to get me going.  It's an almost no knead method where you make a wet dough and leave it for ten minutes.  then you cover the top with olive oil and form the dough into a ball, pushing the olive oil surface to the underside of the ball.  You give it a few kneads and you have beautiful, springy dough that's not sticky.  I'm giving it a second proving because I don't quite have enough sourdough for a good flavour and then I'll put it into a tin.  the other new thing is cooking it when it has only increased in size by 50%.  Yesterday's loaf rose to it's expect height with no problems.  I need a better dough slashing device though - maybe for my birthday?

While I'm on birthday wishes, I'd also like a new set of kitchen scales to hang on my wall.  My mum's old tupperware ones have a stretched spring and I don't trust them anymore.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Rose was hungry this afternoon and Sneetch had eaten the last two slices of pineapple pizza.  She was very disappointed so I suggested we make some and could go to the supermarket to buy bread to make pizza with.  She refused and requested that I make flat bread.  Thinking about it later I realised that the pizza was one of my slow food recipes and I had to share.

To make flat bread pineapple pizza;

7 days early - buy pineapple and leave in fruit bowl.  Occasionally look at it and think, "I should cut that up so people will eat it".
4 days early - tip out the previous batch of ignored sourdough starter and refresh with new flour and water.  Look at it 24 hours later and think, "I should either make bread or refresh that starter.
On the day - chop the mouldy and brown bits off the pineapple and put in the fridge.
Scrape the black tinged bits off the top of the starter and put in the compost.  Use 1/2 cup of remaining starter and 1/2 cup flour to make dough.  Leave for 10min then divide into 4 and roll out flat.  Cook both sides in the cast iron pan.
Put bread onto griller, spread with tomato paste from the back of the fridge (scrape white mould from the top of the jar and put into compost, make sure none of the eaters notice.  Only take non-mouldy paste from jar.)  Chop pineapple bits smaller and add to pizza.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top (reject the mouldy cheese, but leave in fridge because it might be useful for something else).  Grill until brown and feed to man and small child.
mrsbrown: (Default)
Ooops.

someone talked about offering face painting at Festival.

I said I thought it was a bad idea  - I don't want to have an argument with Rose telling her she can't have her face painted because it's not medieval, and I don't want to see a bunch of face painted kids.

I've been stomped on and now I'm wondering if I did the right thing.   Other parents are saying the face painting IS period because people would have been painted for plays.

No, She's just posted pictures of the sorts of pictures she' s planning to paint and they don't invoke a medieval play.  They just look modern. 

So...should I just lighten up?

Hmm, I still don't think I'll be letting Rose get her face painted.
mrsbrown: (Default)
This was going to be a class outline for one breadmaking class, but I think there's too much I want to share to fit just one class. Here's what I can tell people about;
  • Ovens - history, construction, how to fire, how to cook stuff other than bread.
  • Bread - process, routines at home and at Festival, sourdough and yeast
  • Cooking bread without an oven - flat bread recipes, cooking techniques

And, now I think about it, I can also run;
  • Currant buns - tour of community bakery and watch currant buns come out of oven.  Eat currant buns, materials charge of $2 per bun
  • Making faggots - kid friendly class on fuel for the bakery.  Faggot makers will receive a currant bun.
  • Bread making with children - mucking around with dough.

Bread making -about 10am on Friday

Discuss flour - wholemeal, spelt, white
Discuss routines - sourdough and yeast, at home and at Festival
Make sourdough and shape loaves
Make sponge for next day  (enough for current buns at current bun eating class on Sat)

Charge for materials - 0.5kg flour per person - $2 each?

Ovens/Bakeries
- Friday about 3pm

How to fire - practical demonstration while talking
types of ovens - brick, wicker, cob
How used in period - central bakery, household bakery, communal bakery
Tools and equipment in the bakery

Cooking bread without an oven
- in the morning sometime, 9am so the fire is still going?
 
Make the following breads
  • sourdough in dutch oven and on flat plate
  • flat bread - with yeast
  • flat bread - with shortening
Plan:

pre-make bread dough for playing with, shape half into loaf
pre-heat dutch oven (tiny or borrow one) (5min)
mix yeast flat bread - leave to rise (20 min)
mix shortening flat bread (20min)
roll out some sourdough bread

put loaf into cook in dutch oven (30min)
cook yeast flat bread on lid of saxburger/pizza stone (15min)
cook shortening flat bread (15min)
pull out bread

eat and enjoy!


mrsbrown: (tent)
In France the communal bread ovens are called four banal and, based on the memory of people who have used them, they are operated by each family in turn. I'm a bit confused by the concept that people would only have access once every three weeks - does that mean they would cook bread to last three weeks?

Here's what I'm thinking about for Festival;

Build an oven in close proximity to the Abbotsford campsite
Oven to fit at least 10 loaves, maybe 15 - kissing ok
Build a heavy weight (100mm x 100mm timbers) base to hold the oven off the ground
Fire the oven once or twice a day
Get people to bring firewood (the right sort- faggots!) in payment
Set up the roster based on the number of participants
Make a wooden peel
bring door, suitable mop, and hoe like implement. Also some way to safely transport coals (brazier on wheels?)
Encourage people to get a basket and some cloth to rise and transport bread. Try to find suitable baskets in op-shops etc.

Floured boards are also OK, but terracotta plant pot bases aren't because you can't fit as much bread into the oven.
organise kneading suitable table or trough on legs?
sort out flour storage suitable for 3 loaves per day for 5 days, 4 cups flour per loaf at 150g per cup = 9kg plus a bit, say 12kg.
Maybe this? could also solve the dough trough issue!
It would be great to do buns for sale on Sat morning (pay for extra bricks?) but may need registration for this and I'm not sure I can be arsed. (Just asked market coordinator, they're "non hazardous" food and will be cooked and eaten immediately so may not need to comply with all this)




foodage

Jan. 6th, 2013 09:59 pm
mrsbrown: (domestic goddess)
Some evenings we say "oh my god" and have a tin of tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner.

I'm a bit proud of this evening's incarnation; 

the tomato soup was made with a can of tinned tomatoes and real onion, garlic, sugar and herbs.

the toasted cheese sandwiches were yeasty pancake/drop scones (no egg) with cheese put between them as they came out of the fry pan.

That's what you do when you can't even be bothered going to the supermarket to buy bread and tinned soup.  Tasted quite good too.

funerals

Jan. 4th, 2013 10:02 am
mrsbrown: (Default)
I'm off to a memorial service today.  I'm glad the family is having a private ceremony and then sharing the experience with all of the many people who will wish to be there.

Funerals remind me of Rachel Lynde.  She made a point of going to funerals in her community and would come home and critique them and the lives of the people who had died.

I have Rachel Lynde tendencies.  I think funerals are an important part of the development of community and an affirmation of the importance of the person in the life of the community.  I like it when funerals have lots of attendees. I like to think that the family does too and so my attendance is a gift to them.

Otoh, the family have scheduled this memorial quickly (giving interstate travellers a challenge to get here in time),  on one of the hottest days of the year, in a space described as "small" - does that mean they would prefer people to stay away? (It's ok, I just checked, I've been there before and it's not that small)

The saddest funeral I ever went to had only 8 people and the celebrant had never met the deceased.  The ceremony spoke only of his work life and made almost no mention of his relationships with his wife, children or community.  I was horrified.

I hope there are lots of people at my funeral. 





mrsbrown: (Default)
I've been making a dress and I'm quite concerned that it won't suit me. You don't get to try on dresses before you make them.

Last week I thought I had the skirt for the dress sorted out. I'd carefully measured my fabric and worked out how much skirt I could fit into it. Then I made a prototype and finished it (except for the hem which doesn't count) yesterday. It's a 2 circle circular skirt, and it looks fine. If I squint and get rid of my belly, it even looks awesome.

So last night I finished off the patterning of the dress bodice and cut out the lining for the last test fit. Yay, that all worked and then I measured how much fabric I have left after cutting out the bodice in the dress fabric. Damn! I have less fabric than I thought so I need to rethink the skirt and I don't have time to make a prototype again. I just need to make a decision and go for it.

This site talks about body shape and the best skirts for what body shape. According to it, "the full circle skirt is almost one-shape-suits-all" and I do have enough fabric for a single circle.

Then I had another look at the dresses I liked from the Vintage Pattern wiki.  In particular, this one.  It looks like a circular skirt with pleats and the description in the entry calls it a "full, four-gore skirt with unpressed pleats".  So I went looking for the back of the pattern. to try to understand what a four gore skirt is.  The back of the pattern packet includes a picture of the pattern pieces.  The skirt is actually a rectangular skirt with a hem to waist ratio of 4-5:1.  Wow, that would be so easy to make!

This morning I was struck with indecision.  The full circle skirt has more potential for problems, but is possibly more flattering.  The full gathered skirt will be easier but might just result in over-emphasising the shelf of my hips.  Thanks to this blogging, and re-finding Gertie's version of the full gathered skirt  - Gertie is not too far from my shape and I like the look of the skirt she made, I've decided to go with the easy option.  I may need to make a petticoat too, but I'll see how stiff my cotton sateen will be, especially with a deep hem.





a new feed

Nov. 13th, 2012 11:47 am
mrsbrown: (Default)
Today I added a new feed to my dreamwidth reading page - http://khovenga-feed.dreamwidth.org/

dresses

Nov. 13th, 2012 10:04 am
mrsbrown: (Default)
I've had these links open for a few days and I should make sure I don't lose them, so I'll save them here.

the main page

I like the back shape of this one

This is the basic shape I like - I like the sleeves too.

This one has a nice cummerbund



mrsbrown: (Default)
is on.  It's in a food safe 20L bucket that I'll put flour in when I'm finished.

These are my quantities;

2.7kg rhubarb
2.7sugar
3lemons
2.2cups cider vinegar
15.4litres water

From the recipe here - http://www.abc.net.au/tasmania/stories/s1866132.htm

Amusingly, the quantity is based on how much rhubarb I was able to harvest from my garden, but it only just fits in the container I have.

Ooops! forgot the lemons, off to do that now.

mrsbrown: (Default)
I finally found an online recipe for hand kneaded spelt bread - http://www.sourdoughbaker.com.au/recipes/wholemeal-spelt-sourdough.html

I made it yesterday and I'm still waiting for it to rise some more before I bake it.
mrsbrown: (Default)
I've been quite bread obsessed this year and I've been trying to work out how to include it in my Festival experience.  Here are my thoughts;

I like the idea of a community bakery.  A place where people can come and have their baking done.  I imagine organising a group of subscribers before Festival, and then use the subscribers to make the oven and fire it each day.  I guess people wouldn't only use it for bread - pastry could also happen as the oven cools.

The oven would need to be big enough for the number of subscribers, but not too big.  It would be good to work out how many loaves can fit in a larger oven and how long it takes to heat up enough for a baking.  Also, how much fuel.  Maybe I could use tenbears oven as the basis for testing/ limits of subscribers.

Thinking a bit further, maybe it could be incorporated into the wine bar and get used in the evening too? No, I need it close to where I'm camping so I don't start hating it.

teehee!  Perhaps I could make dough forms so people can easily carry their loaves to the oven?  Need to check that they're period and in what form.  They're called Brotform or Banneton.  I think I like the fabric style best  - you can use any basket and wash the cloth.

If the fire were started at 8am, assuming a two hour firing time we could all have bread by 10.30.  I could put a table and sunshade over/next to the oven and people could drop off their bread dough in the morning and pick it up later.  Also, I wouldn't have to change my morning routine too much.   If someone got enthusiastic, the oven could be refired for a short time and buns produced at about 12.  People would need to make their bread the night before and leave it for the final rise overnight.

If there were enough subscribers, it could also be fired at 3pm, for bread at 5.30pm.  Bread for this firing could be made in the morning - first thing for sourdough, or lunchtime for yeast.

I also want to run some sourdough breadmaking workshops - including advice on how to fit bread into a Festival routine, period breadmaking equipment and how to use it.  Maybe that could happen first thing Friday morning - making bread and then how to fire the oven could happen at 3pm.  We could make more bread then too, for the next day.



mrsbrown: (Default)
I've been living in this area for the past (nearly) 25 years and, as I walk and drive the local streets, I find pieces of my history disappearing. Of course, some of it was self inflicted, but I regularly see the landscape change and houses disappear overnight.

The first house I owned had a tiny kitchen, with no sink and the bathroom had a lime green bath and the walls were lemon coloured weatherboards.  The bathroom door was a gate style, with boards and angled braces.  It's the house where I joyfully prepared for my first baby, washing nappies in the wringer washing machine left by the previous tenant and hanging them out in the shade of the enormous apricot tree.

The washing machine lasted only 3 weeks of G's life when my dad gave me his old one.  He installed the gas heater and storage hot water service the same day.  That was a pretty good day.

The bathroom and kitchen were demolished to make way for the renovation folly, that we camped in unfinished until we bought another house and had to finish it so we could sell the place.  With only the two front rooms left, there was no access to the story of all the other people who had lived there - how they cooked and washed and used the outside laundry anyway. 

I consoled myself by knowing that the house next door had been built by the same builder and had the same original floor plan.  The man who sold it to us was the son of the family who had owned both houses for 60 years.  Our house had been rented to the same family for that time too.  I think the two families were close, and then the last tenant died, so he sold our house to pay for the renovations to his.  But all he did was removed the bath and install a shower and toilet and fix up the plaster, roof and electrics.  He continued to live there as he had all his life and my story was still there.

He was/is a grumpy bugger who told us that he regretted selling us the house when we told him of our renovation plans (I guess he was mourning the loss of his history too).  He also hated that we didn't look after the front garden.  Maybe he also didn't think our children should have run up and down the street naked, although I think that was mostly my mother.

And now it's for sale.  And within a year or two, that kitchen and bathroom will be gone.  Which, honestly, is the right thing to do - they block the living room access to the north, but it's still sad.  And it's another piece of evidence for my story that's gone.

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