memnus: Zombie on fire, screenshot from Half-Life 2 (I HAZ A FEVR)
[personal profile] memnus
I recently received the brand new MACHINE OF DEATH card game, and would love to have folks to play it with, so will be hosting a game day at the Attic! January 19th, starting at noon, going until people get bored and/or hungry.

For those not familiar with MoD, it started with a throwaway joke in Dinosaur Comics, then grew into two collections of short stories based around a machine that can predict, with 100% accuracy, how a subject will die, given only a blood sample. In the card game, players are a team of assassins that have their targets' predictions and are simply tasked with making them come true.

I will also have RoboRally, Dominion, and whatever else fits in my bag. Feel free to bring other games as well.

If the Seahawks win today (scores so far point to a good chance of that), there will be a football game at 3:30, so travel accordingly. It may be wise to wrap up early to avoid the rush leaving town.

This event is open to the public. Directions on our website.
memnus: Pink cat face jumping out of a toaster, animated (Toast! Animated! (S*P))
[personal profile] memnus
Chocolate chip cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven

When I moved to my most recent apartment, I picked up a Kitchenaid stand mixer. They seem to go for about $200 on Craigslist (or $400 new), are built like tanks and have a life expectancy in the decades. I was surprised at how easy it is to bake bread or other things. This recipe in particular has been one of my favorites and uses the mixer for just about everything.


Adapted from DOUGH: Simple Contemporary Bread, by Richard Bertinet

  • .25 ounces yeast
  • 8.75 ounces white bread flour
  • .75 ounces white sugar
  • 1 ounce softened unsalted butter
  • 4.5 ounces milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
Combine the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl and let it run a bit to mix them, then add the butter. While that mixes in, microwave the milk 25-30 seconds to bring it to a bit above room temperature, then add the egg to it and beat to break up the yolk. Pour the egg and milk into the mixer, and stir with the dough hook: 2 minutes on setting 1, then 6 minutes on setting 2. Scrape the dough out into a lightly-oiled mixing bowl, cover with a cloth, and let rest 50 minutes.

UPDATE: Gluten-Free variant

Instead of white bread flour, use 11.3 ounces of gluten-free flour mix (I used the King Arthur all-purpose blend because I couldn't find their bread blend) and 1 teaspoon of xantham gum. The dough won't rise nearly as much but will still be delicious.


While the dough is first rising:

  • 1 ounce softened unsalted butter
  • .5 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup something with texture: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, whatever you want
  • Spices to taste: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, whatever you want
With the mixer paddle, combine the butter, brown sugar, and spices until fully homogenized. Add the texture component slowly while mixing. The goal is to have the pieces coated well with sugar mixture and not too much excess.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board - it should come out of the bowl reluctantly but cleanly. It doesn't require much aggressive kneading, just squish it flat then fold the edges to the center and repeat, 10-15 times. Once it stiffens up a bit, stretch or roll it out to a rectangle about 8" by 14". It will take some coaxing to get it to stay there, and the edges will be thicker than the center, and that's okay. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, then roll up, starting with a long edge. Stretch the dough a bit as you roll, and seal it by squishing the edge into the outside of the roll.

Slice the roll into 2" slices (I can't stress enough how much the sharpness of the knife matters here) and arrange in the pan, leaving at least a little gap for them to grow into each other. I find that seven rolls fit nicely in a Pyrex pie pan. Cover again with a cloth and let rise 50 minutes.

Bake at 425F for 20-23 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Eat fresh out of the oven, or let cool and cover with your favorite frosting. I prefer cream cheese or buttercream, but go wild.

memnus: Dave Davenport and Lovelace with quotes from Alice In Wonderland (We're All Mad Here (Narbonic))
[personal profile] memnus
(Click on images to enlarge.)

There are several fabrics or chain weaves referred to as "scale mail", including scales sewed or riveted onto a backing. The weaves I'm referring to here all have the scales as an integral component - each scale is structurally load-bearing and the rings alone will not hold the piece together.

Reverse view of standard scalemaille Front view of standard scalemaille The most common scale weave has each scale linked directly to the scales above and below. This is a straightforward pattern to knit, but the resulting fabric has some properties I don't particularly like. It has a strong curl toward the back of the fabric, and very little flexibility to bend toward the front. The scales along the edges also tend to rest differently than scales in the middle, or get out of alignment with each other.

Reverse view of extended weave scale Front view of extended weave scale To try to fix those problems, I moved to smaller rings and added an extra row of rings between each two rows of scales. Now, each scale is linked to the three rings above and three rings below. This requires three times as many rings as regular scale, so nearly three times as much time to knit, but the resulting fabric is much more flexible. It still has a curl toward the back due to the shape of the scales, but is more forgiving of being bent against it.

In-progress view of feathermaille Front view of feathermaille with small colored scales Even with smaller rings, the extended weave drapes farther than common scale, enough so that gaps become visible in the fabric. To cover those, I replace the rings directly above the scales with smaller scales. The openings in the scales are smaller than the rings, so this contracts the weave slightly, but hides the openings nicely. The smaller scales also give an opportunity to add color more subtly than in the larger pattern. I call this weave feathermaille.


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The Attic Community Workshop

August 2015

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