Taking photographs at a Convention, plus a recipe; Bacon Quesadillas.

I’m an amateur photographer and technology has let me down. I like to take photographs at science fiction and steampunk conventions. I take a lot pictures, close to 400 photographs at the last convention. See the previous three blogs for a sample of the ones that turned out good. Yes, just like in writing they don’t all turn out good. But in photography you don’t get to do a rewrite, maybe a little editing in the developer program.

I don’t like to use a flash. It annoys the people at panels and a flash in the face distresses some people. But I have no choice.You may not realize how much better the human eye is compared to a camera. Even new expensive cameras. Indoors, at the convention, it may look brightly lit, but it’s dark to the camera.

My indoor camera setting are 1/60 of a second for the shutter, f 5.6 for the aperture, and an ISO of 3200. What’s that mean. 1/60 of a second means the person I’m photographing can’t move and I have to hold the camera very steady. An aperture of f 5.6 means I should buy a better lens because f 5.6 is the biggest the lens I have will open up (f 5.6 is how much light the lens let get to the camera sensor, and it’s not much). And a senor speed of ISO 3200 means the pictures are grainy (they look blurry and noisy if you blow them up). For posting on the web the pictures are OK. But if you want a 5 by 7 print it’s a lot of work to get rid of the grain and you can’t get rid of all of it.

Outside, in the day time, the camera takes great photographs.

So, if you see me using a flash, forgive me. I’m driven to get a decent photographs. I try to keep the flash usage down and use it only before and after the presentation, but there are times I have to get that special shot.

I have been using the little built in flash on the camera. The professionals use the big honking flashes mounted above the camera. Watch out world, I got my big flash out and I’m going to use it. I missed several shots, at the last convention, because the pictures had too much grain in them. Or it could have been camera shake. Using the big flash will fix that. I may even get a new lens. It will cost over thousand dollars. You have to really love your hobby to spend that kind of money. The lens will cost more than the camera, the two lens that came with the camera, the flash and a bunch of accessory that I got when I bought the camera.

Stay strong, write on, and smile, you always look better when you smile. Have you ever noticed that when you photograph three people at once, one of them always blinks (you end up with a photo with one person’s eyes closed)?
Professor Hyram Voltage

Nothing says breakfast better than bacon.

Bacon Quesadillas

2 slices turkey bacon
1/4 tsp. powered garlic or 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced (can use one green onion)
1 tbsp. Taco Seasoning
2 tbsp. tomato paste
8 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, pitted and diced
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 large flour tortilla or small flour tortilla or corn tortilla if your out of flour tortillas
8 oz. or half a cup or a small hand full of shredded cheese white, yellow, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or Mexican
1 lime, cut into wedges


In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon with garlic and onion until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Add taco seasoning, tomato paste, 1 tbsp water; cook on medium-low for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Warm a large non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 teaspoon oil. Place a flour tortilla in the pan and sprinkle half with cheese, beef mixture and more cheese. Fold tortilla over and lightly toast on both sides until cheese is melted.
Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with lime wedges and sour cream.

Taco Seasoning, home made,
1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Gaslight Expo 2019, more photographs II

Well I haven’t blown up the web site yet with all the photos.

Who says that elephants are the only things that fly.

Gaslight Expo 2019, more photographs

After squeezing every second out of the last four days to work on the photographs I took at the Expo here is the second batch.

Gaslight Steampunk Expo 2019 pictures

I had a blast. Here are a couple of pictures I took. More pictures will be added as I get them developed in the digital darkroom.

Guest of honor in one of her many turbans
Got the Con Crud

The Introvert and Word Count. Plus, Bacon Foo Young.

As an introvert I try to get the point across in as few words as possible. That doesn’t do much for my word count.

My third book is getting close to 70,000 words. That is amazing.
My first book I had to struggle, slave, and take long cuts to make it to 50,000 words. I needed 50,000 words to call it a novel. I ignored repeats, excessive descriptions and other bad writing tropes to get it to 50K words. And if you have ever seen my writing you know I will repeat words, groups of words and the character’s name over and over again, often in the same sentence. It comes naturally to me.

During the latest re-edit of the third book I am cutting words, redundancies left and right. I’m also cutting cliches, but I don’t think I’m making much of a dent in them. Still the word count is going up. I must be doing something right.

They tell writers, again and again, that you have to kill your darlings. Do you know what that does to my word count? Doing that could turn my novel into a short story. And it hurts, and not just my word count. It’s hurts so bad. I don’t know where the darlings come from, but they sound so good and the words that replace them sound so flat. I want my darlings. But I warn you, they bred, like crickets, and sound about as bad.

Recipe of the week
Bacon Egg Foo Young
What means breakfast more than bacon. Egg Foo Young is eaten for breakfast in China. This fusion recipe makes for a great omelet or burrito.


2 eggs
1/2 Pound bean sprouts (a small hand full) course chopped
1 or 2 green onions chopped
1/2 cup of bell pepper (or 1/4 of bell pepper) chopped
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 strips of turkey bacon chopped


  1. Add eggs to bowl, beat. Add bean sprouts, green onions, bell pepper, and soy sauce to bowl. Mix well.
  2. In a skillet cook bacon a little. Add egg mixture. Cook till eggs brown on bottom and fill over. Cook till done.

You can add to mixture, before cooking;
Brown Onions
Sesame oil

Stay strong, write on, and have a good breakfast. Your writing depends on it.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Home made chocolate chip cookies are not that unhealthy. They are not loaded with extra chemicals. But they do contain lots of sugar and fat (butter). But that’s what makes them taste so good.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Professor Voltage style


1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened*
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (plus a little bit)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (regular oats (rolled) not instant)
1 cup nuts (Walnuts or Pecans)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Tools needed;

Medium bowl
Electric mixer with large bowl
Measuring spoons set
Measuring cups; 1 and 1/2 cup sizes
Spatula with wooden handle*****
3 Cookie sheets (make sure they fit in oven)
Gallon size plastic food bags
Dry Measuring cups


Pre-soften* the butter, take the sticks out of the ice box at least an hour before starting. You can let the butter sit on the table over night.**
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (Before turning oven on check inside of oven for baked potato or other odds and ends from last night. Check oven temperature, the knob marking are often way off.)
Line a medium bowl with a one gallon plastic food bag.

Place flour******, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bag. Close and secure top of bag leaving large air space at top of bag. Message and shake bag to mix ingredients. Set bag aside. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer in large mixing bowl. That’s cook speak for beating the butter until air is mixed in and then slowly adding the sugar.

Add eggs one at a time without getting any egg shells in the mix.

Add vanilla; beat well.

Add flour mixture, slowly and gently or flour will be billowing everywhere**** and mix well. Remove mixing bowl from electric mixer.

Using spatula stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips; mix until there are nuts and chips in very spoon full.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet. That means scoop up a spoon full and turn the spoon over and dough falls onto the cookie sheet, most of the time the stuff acts like it is part super glue. Use spatula to scrape dough off spoon and try dipping teaspoon in cold water after each drop to keep dough from sticking.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, measured with timer not smoke alarm, until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove cookies to paper plate.
Makes about 4 dozen.

  • * Soften means late butter warm up till a finger pressed in middle of bar will easily leave a dent.
    **Long distance backpackers carry butter for days without refrigeration.
    ***Old cook book term. Butter will turn a lighter color and be fluffy. 3 to 5 minutes in mixer.
    ****pour carefully, making flour angels on the kitchen floor is not cool. If added to quickly the electric mixer will blow flour all over kitchen.
    *****banging metal handle of spatula to knock stuff off on the rim of a glass bowl will break the bowl.
    ******Use dry measuring cup and using the flat back of butter knife strike off (run the knife across the top of the cup scraping the excess flour back into the flour container) the top of the cup. Do not pack the flour in the cup, keep it lose and fluffy.

To make one huge cookie, press dough into bottom of un-greased 9×13-inch metal baking pan. Or make huge cookie shape on baking pan. Make cookie shape one half inch thick. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Stay strong, write on, and bake well.
Professor Hyram Voltage

The Author and Social Media

At CoKoCon I attended a panel on Branding. It was not what I expected.

It boiled down to showing videos of your cat (or dog) on your blog. One author on the panel was a fan of The Great British Baking Show and her blog is about cookies and other bake goods.

So as a bribe to get you to visit this site here is an old family chocolate chip cookie recipe.

From; Professor Voltage’s Book of extraordinarily DANGEROUS Cooking

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Old family recipe


2 1/4 cups all-purpose floor (un-shifted, just scoop it out without compressing the flour and strike off with back side of butter knife so the flour is level with the top of the cup).
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter (two sticks)(softened, see tips)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (check oven temperature with thermometer).
  2. Place gallon sized plastic bag in small, steep sided, bowl. A metal bowl with a 6 and 1/4 to 6 and 3/8 mouth works great.
  3. In plastic bag place; flour, baking soda, and salt. Close end of bag, take bag out of bowl and mix well (think shake and bake). Set bag aside.
  4. Place butter in a large mixer bowl. Start mixer and beat butter.
  5. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar to mixer bowl. Beat until butter and sugar are creamed. See tips on creaming butter (it takes about 5 to 10 minutes in an electric mixer, mixture will be light colored and fluffy).
  6. Add Vanilla and beat till well mixed.
  7. Add eggs and beat well.
  8. Add flour gently or there will be a flour explosion and flour will be everywhere. I told you this was dangerous. Don’t get plastic bag caught in mixer.
  9. When well mixed turn off mixer. Raise mixer head and clean off beaters.
  10. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts with spatula, by hand.
  11. Spoon rounded lumps (I use a ordinary tablespoon) onto ungreased baking/cookie sheet.
  12. Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Let baking sheet stand in cool place for five minutes.
  14. Remove cookies from baking sheet.
  15. Store cookies in an air tight container. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. Tips;
    Make sure cookie sheets fit in oven and oven door will close.
    Place oven rack in middle of oven.
    Preheat oven.
    Make sure baking soda is good. If in doubt get a new can.
    Softened butter means let butter sit at room temperature until you can press on butter and leave a impression in the butter.
    Creaming butter is an old baking term. It means beating butter until air is trapped inside the butter mixture. It makes for a thick cookie (airy, chewy).
    Don’t skip the salt.
    Keep the dough cool. Place dough in refrigerator if it starts to get warm. Warm dough makes flat cookies.
    Using melted butter makes flat cookies. Some people like flat, thin, hard, cookies (with coffee).
    Use three large baking/cookie sheets. One in the oven, one being loaded, and one cooling.
    Make sure baking/cookie sheet is cool before placing cookie dough on sheet. Cookie dough can be frozen. Works great. It can also be refrigerated for several days. Make a log out of the dough and wrap/roll the dough in a gallon plastic bag. When you want a cookie or two, unroll the dough and cut a half inch to three quarter of an inch off roll. Reseal the dough by warping the dough in the plastic bag and return to refrigerator. Cook the dough before eating.
    Do not grease cookie sheets. It will fry the bottom of the cookies and over cook them. The cookies have enough butter in them they don’t need grease.

CoKoCon Science Fiction Convention, Second Batch of Pictures

Guest of honor artist Gilead. Took a lazy line and turned it into a dragon.

Steampunk Panel

Steampunk Audience

Guests of Honor

Alexander James Adams, Ernst Hogan, Emily Devenport, and Mr.Ed doing the MCing
Professor Sparks and Gilead

From Professor Sparks show

As seen in the original Frankenstein movie
Also in the original movie and many afterwards

Not so old Tesla Coil

But it makes good sparks.

CoKoCon science fiction convention 2019, Bolg post with pictures

It was a great convention. Of course Phoenix was hot, it is this time of year. We did get some rain and strong wind Sunday afternoon.

I went to many of the writing panels. Didn’t do so well with the page that I submitted to the editor’s panel. I repeat myself, I don’t handle characters well, and keep repeating their names over and over, and they wanted the location of the warehouse closer to the front.

The trouble is I’ve heard this before, on the same piece, from my critique partner.

I’ve tried to do better, and fix the piece and other pieces, but I’m not getting them fixed.

Then I went to the panel on Critiques and one author mentioned that there writers out there that never get better or fix their problems. Now I’m worried that I’m one of those writers. Doomed, doomed, I tell you, to make the same mistakes over and over again.

The show put on by Doctor Sparks was worth it. He had some of the props from the original horror movies. Sparks with ozone, in person.

Phoenix traffic was as bad as I remembered it. No one does the speed limit on I 17 through Phoenix. If I wanted traffic this bad I would’ve stayed in Los Angeles.

We did take some time out to visit Bookmans used book store. Not that far from the convention. Also went through the Brass Armadillo. It is also only a couple of blocks from the convention hotel.

There were panels on moon exploration, bad movies, Filking, AIs, Star Parties, and poison gas.

Pictures starting with Authors

Beth Cato
Judith Staskston
Diana Terrill Clark
Ernest Hogan
Avily Jerome
Arabella Thorne and Ross B. Lampert
In grumpy cat mode
Beth Cato and Gary W. Babb

Voice actor and author
Stepanie Weipport, T. L. Smith, Avily Jerome

Book Sellers and good people

Writing Like It’s 1895

My heroine needs a flashlight. And she needs one bad. It’s 1895 and they don’t exist. After 1900 I could get away with it.

Why didn’t they exist. Not because of batteries. Usable batteries had been developed by 1802 and telegraphs had been using batteries since the 1830s. But dry cells, cheap enough for flashlights would not come along until 1910.

Edison had carbon filaments light bulbs by 1880. But they were delicate and not good for banging around in flashlights. They also needed 90 or so volts and that would take a lot of batteries. Edison thought that tungsten would make a good filament, but the equipment to make fine tungsten wire would not be developed until 1906.

Also there was the problem of vacuum equipment. In 1895 it wasn’t good enough. Any oxygen in the light bulb would react with the filament and shorten its life. That equipment would not be available until after 1900.

People were not setting around. Paid and unpaid inventors, scientist and engineers were working on the light bulb, not just Edison and his lab. There was not just one thing for a mad genius to overcome to make a flashlight in 1895.

How about a carbide miner’s lamp? Carbide is made with electricity. Lots of electricity. The power plant at Niagara Falls would have to be finished before carbide became readily available. That wasn’t until after 1900.

So my heroine can’t just cobble a flashlight up out of things lying around the airship. Also there would be patents fights if she did come up with a flashlight. Just because a idea documented on a patent would never work, that has never stopped an inventor and his lawyers from suing, suing, suing.

There were platinum filament light bulbs. They worked, but they were very expensive. Not practicable, but whoever said the heroine had to be practicable?

Stay strong, write on, and have you checked the batteries in your flashlight lately. Replace them once a year.

Professor Hyram Voltage