Why Does a Character Invent and Why Bacon Bits

Why does your steampunk main character invent. Many stories I’ve read treat the inventor as a genetic freak. It’s in their blood to invent, their parents were inventors.

Think about Marconi. His father was an aristocrat. Now some minor royalty did dabble in the sciences but that was considered below the dignity of many of the upper levels of society.

Or take Thomas Edison. His father was a exiled political activist, a lighthouse keeper, and a carpenter. Not an inventor.

Inventors have to eat. They would have to have other jobs, or a sponsor. There was no well fare in the late 1800s. The most complex things at the time were the railroad, the telegraph, and guns.

Railroads and telegraphs were tied together. They needed the telegraph to signal down the rail line to prevent trans from running into each other.

To make things for the rail road you needed a big foundry. Not something a single person could do. The world of telegraph was a hot bed of activity. Back stabbing was common. And Western telegraph companies were ruthless.

Weapons were another hot bed of change in the 1800s. Look at some old Remington catalogs and it looks like there were new versions of rifles and hand guns each year. There were also lots of independent inventors.

What you don’t see is a lot of inventors working on clocks.

Your main character could start out as a gun smith and then work his way into a gun maker. There is a difference. Things like fast firing guns would appeal to soldiers. The finance guys in the government hated them. They cost too much money for all the ammo the guns used. That’s one reason they used muzzle loaders in the civil war.

The search for an Editor and a Spin on Bacon and Eggs

On writing Steampunk

Writing is hard. Even little things like finding an editor are more difficult than they should be.

It’s not that there are not editors out there. There are thousands of editors and people who call themselves editors out there. I ‘m looking for a good one. It would help if the editor doesn’t cost much. I’ve asked other authors, I’ve looked in steampunk books for the names of editors, I’ve gone to editor sites.

I don’t want just anyone. I want an editor I can communicate with. I don’t want a service where they assign an editor from a stable of editors they have on tap. Done that, got a usable edit out of them, but that was all. I got no reason why the editor did what she did. I don’t even know the name of the editor.

I’m going to pay $2000.00 to $3500.00 for the edit. Why does it have to feel like I’m dealing with a dating service. Or worst like an escort service. OK, that was cruel. But it’s so hard.

I’ve started to reach out to others (people advertising writing courses) but that’s going no where.

Am I being too picky asking for an editor with a name, someone I can talk to? $2,000.00 for what I’m told is a weeks work should buy me some slack or email time.

Or am I just jealous of the writers I talk to that go on about how they work with their editors and how the editors helped them?

Should I just except that all I’m ever going to get is a package deal from a no name editor? Or should I risk getting taken by an unexperienced person who just decided to become an editor, but comes off as a great editor?

Writing is a lonely job, business, or hobby. Does every step have to be this hard. Do I have to get taken every time I turn around?

Recipe follows add;

Buy my book

Recipe

Bacon and eggs
Eggs and Bacon
Bacon, Eggs and Bacon
Bacon Eggs, bacon and bacon
(You know where this is going)
Bacon
Bacon
Bacon
Waffles topped with eggs benedick and bacon
bacon
bacon
wonderful bacon

2 eggs
2 strips of bacon
onion
bell pepper
Cheese

Heat skillet on stove to medium heat. Add a dash of oil (olive).
Place bacon on one side of pan.
Crack eggs and let them drop into pan on other side of bacon.
Cook the way you like.
How boring.

Try this.

In small bowl beat eggs until no egg white shows. Do more than just break yokes.
Chop bacon cross wise into one third inch wide strips.
Chop a little bit of onion into quarter inch squares.
Chop a little bit of Bell Pepper into quarter inch cubes.

Heat a little oil in skillet at medium high heat.
Add bacon, onion, and bell pepper to skillet.
Cook until onion and bell pepper are soft. (once you add the eggs the vegetables stop cooking).
Add eggs. Make sure meat and vegetables are well distributed.
After a minute add cheese.
Cook until eggs are firm not runny (done).
Fold in half.
Serve.

You can make this will just bacon, but the vegetables add color and taste.

Stay strong, write on, and have a healthy breakfast with bacon.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Finding an editor, Beta Readers and Grilled Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

After several months of dealing with family issues I’m back to looking for an editor. My experience with editors is approaching the experiences I’ve had with software programmers. To find an editor I dug out a bunch of Steampunk books and looked to see who edited them. About half were edited by a publisher, so that is no help. Most of the rest did not give credit to the editor, even if the book cited the formatter and cover artist. I got the feeling that the author didn’t think much of the editor.

I have found a copy editing service that is cheap. But I am looking for an editor that I can establish a relationship with. I don’t want a service where I get an editor that they have taken away the editor’s name and given her a number and I will never know the editor’s name. Also I would have no guarantee that I would get the same editor for the next book. I want a human being I can talk to, but knows what they are doing. I would also like an editor that has helped the authors that she has worked go on to earn an award with the book she edited. I guess I’m just dreaming and about to get stiffed again.

Beta Readers

For years I have been looking for Beta Readers. Other authors say go to Facebook or writers groups. Facebook is a big place. The other day I found a blog that listed several places to find Beta Readers. Email me and I will send you a copy of the blog or direct you to the blog.

I joined the Facebook; Beta readers and critique partners, group. Watch it there are two other groups that have names that are almost identical. I have gotten three authors who volunteered to Beta Reader my second book. Now if I don’t terrify them with the violence in my story I will get some needed feed back. I have been working on this book for a long time, but I know there are things I can’t see that need fixing. At least I spell checked the book twice before I sent the book to them.

All this time I was looking for Beta Readers and there were dozen of places to find them. It’s just the authors I talked to said they were out there. I needed a map.

Recipe is below add;

Grill Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

Ingredients

Bread (I like the boraro rolls I get from the local Mexican grocery store)
Butter
Bacon (I like turkey bacon, meatier, bigger after cooked)
Cheese (I like mild cheddar cheese, long horn is good to. American cheese may not even be cheese.)

Directions
Take two slices of bread, or slice the roll in half. Butter one side of bread.
Cook bacon in skillet. Cover plate with paper towel. Place cooked bacon on plate to drain.
Wipe skillet clean with another paper towel.
Grill the buttered side of one piece of bread. Place cooked bread to one side.
Grill the buttered side of the other piece of bread.
While the second piece of bread is cooking place cheese on grilled side of bread. Then place bacon on top of cheese.
When second piece of bread is done Place the grilled side on the bacon.
Lower heat under skillet to medium.
Place sandwich on skillet. Cover sandwich. (I use a deep lid from a big pot. This helps the cheese melt without over cooking.)
When that side is browned flip sandwich over and recover.
When other side is brown remove from skillet and eat.

Stay strong, write on, and have some comfort food.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Square Space Ships and Tuna and Bacon Sandwich; Failure

I am a recovering engineer and sometimes the absurdness of writers and artist (I write and muddle art) get to me. You’ll have to forgive me.

There’s a new book out by a writer I read. On the cover of the book is a space ship that has square parts. It’s not going to happen. And it’s not going to happen for the same reasons that there are not any square airships. With that statement, any writer that reads this blog is going to have a square airship on his next cover, and that cover will be unique. So send him to this blog. I need the readers.

The reasons there are no square airships are the same reasons there are no square children’s balloons. The reason is air pressure. You want the balloon to be as light as possible and cheap. The gas inside the balloon has to push against the material of the balloon to counter air pressure. Standard air pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch or 101.325 kiloPascals.

That much pressure spread over a square foot (rough estimate of the surface of the balloon) or one third of a square meter would require a thick material for the balloon for it to maintain a square shape. Thick strong material would make the balloon heavy. A heavy balloon will not go as high or as fast, it may sink to the ground it would be so heavy. That’s not what the child wants. Even if you add thin reinforcing threads inside the balloon to give it a square shape you still have added weight and cost.

If your space ship is hauling something from one star to another, then the lighter your space ship is the less fuel you have to use and the more your profit is. If your space ship is a war ship then the lighter your ship is the more weapons you can carry. If you try to build a battleship with thick armor then the ship will use a lot of fuel. The enemy will just send in the light very fast ships (think torpedo boats or the space opera equivalent of torpedo carrying airplanes) that would either directly attack the battleship or make it run. If the ship runs it will need fuel soon. Then the enemy will stage an attack on the ship while it’s refueling.

I know, I know in space opera the guns never need reloading and the ships never run out of fuel. (unless they need a plot device)

One one ever thinks that it would take all the resources of ten to twenty planets to build one Deathstar. That’s people, food, raw material, almost everything from 20 planets (strip them bare) to build one Deathstar. Stripping planets bare of life and resources is enough to cause a rebellion.

Think about the star ship Enterprise. It has its engines sticking out on long poles. If the engines can accelerate the ship to light speed in seconds wouldn’t the engines break off. If the material of the poles or supports is super strong then why can’t they make super good insulating material so the engines don’t need to be suck out on long supports? The reaction and momentum would be terrible. Try to figure out the center of rotation (center of mass) of the ship. You would have to vector the thrust down to get the ship to fly straight. That’s wasted thrust and wasted fuel. And if one engine fails the ship would go around its center of mass (go in circles at light speed, very small circles).

And the bumps. Look at all the useless bumps on the Deathstar or an Imperial cruiser. I’ve worked on warships. There’s not a bump on the ship unless it has a reason. Each bump adds cost, big cost, the bumps add drag. The bumps do look nice, but if they’re not needed they shouldn’t be there. Each bump cost fuel and slows the ship down. It’s even worst for a space ship. And square corners, those corners make great radar reflectors. Radar reflectors make you a great target.

Windows, why ate there windows on a space ship? They are a weak spots. On a war ship you don’t have a window unless you have to.

To see where you are going you would have sensors (radar or sonar). It would be in front to see where you are going. Some air planes have a radar in the rear looking back to see if someone is coming up from behind. The radar is more important than a window with a pretty view, and radar or sonar can see a lot farther than a human eye can see.

What would a deep-space space ship look like. It would look like a submarine with a lump in the middle. Everything would be in line with the engines to keep the ship from going in circles. That’s physic, not visual. The bump in the middle would be for spin to simulate gravity. If you have artificial gravity of one Gee, that means the ship has the mass of one earth size planet to push through space. That’s going to take a lot of fuel and fuel is not free. Why not just use the earth for a space ship? (It’s been done)

The front of a submarine is where they mount the sonar. To the side sonar are the torpedo tubes. The hull is the shape it is to take the outside pressure. A space ship would be the same shape to take the inside pressure.

It’s efficiency and fuel cost.

Recipe is below add.

The Daemon Boat: The Education of a Steampunk Spy by [Voltage, Professor Hyram]
https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1580250374&sr=8-1

Recipe

Tuna Fish and Bacon sandwich

I feel there are two types of cooks that publish recipes. The ones that copy someone else’s recipes and changes it a little and calls it their own. Then there are the ones that try new things and generate a recipe no one else has every done.

When you do that you often fail. And a tuna fish and bacon sandwich is a failure.

Adding tomato, onion, lettuce, and olives helped, but it would be an acquired taste at best. Like a peanut butter and banana sandwich. No a Tuna Fish and Bacon sandwich is like a PBBP sandwich (that’s peanut butter and bell pepper sandwich) just doesn’t work. With time I will try a peanut and watercress sandwich, or a peanut and celery sandwich. Making a new recipe is not easy and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Stay strong, write on and when experimenting keep the antacid tablets handy.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Value and a Tuna Fish Sandwich

I recently watched a YouTube video of a guy talking about a HackRF one radio. I use the HackRF radio. I have a lot of trouble with the software that I need to use with the radio and am always looking for help in using the radio.

This guy irked me. He complained that he could not afford a HF radio (a radio that could receive and transmit in the frequency range of 3 to 30 mega Hertz). Now a HF radio he was talking about could cost between four thousand to twelve thousand dollars, new. But, that is not what upset me. Behind him was test equipment, new looking, and expensive looking test equipment. Some of that test equipment looked like it would cost four thousand dollars apiece. The work shop he was filming in did not look like a commercial shop. It looked like a personnel home shop.

Now a HackRF one cost about three hundred dollars. That’s a lot less than four thousand dollars. Still, he could have gotten a used radio that would have given him a lot of good service for a lot less than four thousand dollars. Could he have gotten a HF radio for three hundred dollars. Maybe. It might have been an older radio, a radio that still used tubes. The radio would have worked. When someone hears you on the air how are they going to know you are using a used radio? Or that the radio is 1970s technology.

A used radio would not have the fancy display of a HackRF one, but it would have a much higher power output. A higher power output would mean the ability to talk to more radio stations.

It reminds me of a writer in the past that asked for a copy of my screen writing software. She had a new looking iPhone, an iPad, and was wearing two hundred dollar shoes. I turned her down.

On the other hand I’m not that cold hearted. Recently I offered an old laptop of mine to a fellow writer who’s computer died. He turned me down and waited for a couple of weeks until he could save enough money to buy his own laptop to replace the one his daughter damaged.

This guy is going places, even while supporting a family, a broken down car and working a lot of hours. He writes a lot, even if it’s just with a pencil and paper.

So get out there and write. Even if writing is like the lottery, there might be something it the saying the more you write the more chances you have of getting your book or screenplay bought, and that is winning.

Recipe is below add.

Think about buying my book;

Tuna Fish Sandwich

A good reasonably healthy lunch

Ingredients

1 can tuna
1 bottle Thousand Island dressing (you're not going to use the whole bottle, but have you tried buying two tablespoons of dressing?)
A dab or two of butter
2 slices of bread or a roll
lettuce

Equipment
Butter knife
Mixing Bowls
Medium skillet
pancake turner
Mixing spoon or tablespoon

Instructions

Place relish and Tuna in bowl.

Add dressing, mix well.

Toast bread or roll (sliced in half first) in skillet. Butter one side of bread or roll first if desired.

Cover one side of one piece of bread (buttered side is best) with tuna mix. Add lettuce. Cover with second slice of bread.

Serve

It’s cheaper that the sandwich shop and taste better.

Stay strong, write on, and remember you don’t need the greatest of tools to do great work.

Professor Hyram Voltage

RollBot and Valentine’s Day Cookies

I recently stumbled across an article about a toilet paper company that was displaying at CES in Las Vegas. Now why would Charmin be at the Consumer Electronics Show? Toilet paper is very not electronic.

They were show casing RollBot, a robot that would bring you a roll of toilet paper. It’s smart phone controlled. If they are smart it would be connected to the Internet and would order replacement rolls if you run low.

How would this impact Steampunk? Well back in the day a saloon or pub would have a man standing at the entrance to the restroom holding towels for the patron to wipe their hands after using the facilities.

A steam powered mechanical man could do that. But could the machine wash and dry the towels, and if it did would it get rusty? Could the mechanical man be programmed to clean the restroom every couple of hours? Would patrons get upset if the mechanical man came in to clean if they were using the facilities?

On the plus side you would not have to worry about a mechanical man getting free drinks from the bar tender. The mechanical man would always be sober. Would the mechanical man cost less to feed in coal than what the human would cost? You would never have to worry about the mechanical man goofing off. Would you have to worry about the mechanical man getting into the bar’s kerosene lamp supply and getting drunk on the fuel?

A robot to fetch a roll of toilet paper is not much of an idea. A robot vacuum cleaner could be modified to do that. Now if the toilet paper robot could clean the commode then you have something I would buy. If it could also vacuum the floors that would be a plus. That would take it from a novelty to something really useful.

Recipe is below add.

Think about buying my book;

Valentine Day Cookies

Ingredients
Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (226g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract²
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315g)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Sugar Cookie Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted (375g)
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
red food coloring

Equipment
Heart shaped cookie cutter
2 Mixing Bowls
Gallon plastic bag
measuring spoons
Rolling pin
Mixer or mixing spoon
Spatula or spreading knife
Parchment

Instructions
Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

In mixing bowl combine butter and sugar. Beat until creamy (in electric mixer will save a lot of effort). Creamy means there is air blended in and the mix will change color. See Goggle or Youtube about Creaming Butter. It very important for the texture of the cookies.
Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.
Line a separate, medium-sized bowl, with a gallon plastic bag. Into bag add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Close top of bag and shake until flour mixture is well combined.
While mixing wet ingredients gradually add dry ingredients until completely combined.
Cover work area (part of table top) with a piece of plastic wrap.
Dump out half of the dough onto the wrap, be careful the dough will be sticky.
Cover with more wrap and mold into a disk. Repeat with remaining cookie dough in another piece of plastic wrap.
Place dough in refrigerator. Chill for at least 2-3 hours.
15 minutes before dough has finished chilling, preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cover part of table top with plastic wrap. Dust wrap with flour. Dump dough onto plastic wrap covered floured table top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll out until about 1/8 inch thick. If you want thicker and softer cookies roll dough out until only 1/4 inch thick. As you’re rolling out dough add flour to top and bottom of dough to prevent sticking.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Then transfer shapes to parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake on 350F (175C) for 9-10 minutes. Don’t let edges get to brown, just lightly golden brown.
Cool cookies completely on cookie sheet before removing.

Sugar Cookie Frosting

In small bowl combine sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time. You want frosting to hold it’s shape and not run, but it should be pipeable. If frosting is to thin add powdered sugar.

Add red food coloring
Coat top of cookies with frosting.
Let frosting harden before serving.
You can store cookies in a sealed bag at room temperature.

New Years Eve Celebrations in the 1890s and New Year’s Day recipes

In all the science fiction I’ve read I can remember only one story that mentioned a new years eve party. The story called it a year end day party, but that’s a different blog post.
If you’re looking for a story idea for your steampunk book then mention a new years eve party. No one else has. Better yet make it a central part of the story. The world is going to be destroyed by the villain at midnight new years eve. Or at least he’ll blow up the city, town, castle, laboratory, or airship.
Does the lack of steampunk stories mentioning new years eve parties mean that there weren’t any parties. No, there were New Year Eve’s parties in the 1890s, but they were different. In the 1890s family were bigger and a more important part of life. Children were a source of income for the family. There are many real life stories of boys who had to drop out of school and work to support the family when the father died.
Children were also the retirement plan for many. You supported the children as they grew up, they supported you when you could no longer work. Many families had grand parents living with them and they helped in any way they could.


Being a single woman in the 1890s was a drag. If you had money and went to a party you had to have a chaperone. The host would not let you in if you did not. An unmarried lady without a chaperone would bring shame on the host if he let such a woman in.
Married women and men wore black clothes, it was being much easier to see than a ring on a finger under a glove, and if they were of German heritage they wore a frown. Only unmarried children could wear colored clothing. Bright colored clothing was becoming common as modern production and dyes came into use. Remember flour sacks were printed in bright patterns to entice women to buy their flour because the manufacturers knew that the women made clothes out of the sacks.
Rich people did have parties. They had people to take care of the children. The parties were small. By today’s standards they were tiny. Mostly a dance. Of course there was drinking, but there was also chaperones and gossip to keep the drinking from getting out of hand.
The common people had to work the next day. Remember they worked six days a week. The rich did not get rich by giving the workers days off. Besides it was tradition.
There were no big party in times square until 1903 and they did not drop the ball until 1907.
A farmer had it even rougher. The cows have to be milked seven days a week. The animals have to be feed, morning and evening seven days a week. Wood had to be chopped or food could not be cooked. Water had to be hauled. The evening entertainment would often be reading from the bible or news paper, the family playing musical interments. There was no TV, radio, or iPods.
There was loneliness. Heart breaking loneliness.
The above are all reason your heroine would want to break the cycle work and loneliness. The chance to make the world a better place could drive many different types to step over the bounds of society.
Where are the stories of the mechanical farm hand? The self driving plow? These things, even if they were simpler than what we have now could make life so much better than it was.
I saw an early horse drawn mechanical planter. A framer or boy would sit on this seat, inches away form the ground. He would place a seedling in the mechanical planter. This was very high tech. Each part on the planter had a number molded/cast into it. If a part broke you could mail or telegraph the maker and he would send the part out. Sometimes by rider on horse back. Planting could not wait. It might not be over night express, but have you ever seen a story where parts where gotten to the person who needed it in a hurry. They did not have warehouses all over the country to hold parts (it would be considered a waste of money). But the manufacturers knew that if they got the repair part to the farmer in time the word would get around and they would sell more equipment. Put something like that in your story.

Recipes Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread
I don’t know where the tradition for having Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread on New Years day came from, but mother was from Oklahoma and Dad was from Texas.

Corn bread
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 box of mix

Read and follow directions on box. Bake and enjoy. It’s good with a little butter. I like the plain mix. The stuff with honey in it is OK for every once and a while, but the plain stuff is a great way to start the new year.

Black Eyed Peas
1 can of black eyed peas

Open can and dump in pot. Heat and eat.
It’s good and it’s close to magic.

Stay strong, write on. And you don’t have to make all traditions from scratch.
Professor Hyram Voltage

The Great Green LED Christmas Light Shortage plus The Best Light Fruit Cake Recipe

I visited my friend from high school the week before Christmas. Last year I had given him two strings of green LED Christmas lights last year to compliment the multicolored lights that he had put up. He’s not much into Christmas displays and he needed the help.

Looking at the lights this year I found them to be unbalanced. He needed more green lights. So we went off to the local big box store that starts with a W. It was the 20th of December and they were very picked over. Just a few white lights and they were mostly old style incandescents. So we went to the drug store. They were cleaned out except for some white lights. On to the big box hardware store. It had pallets of white incandescent mini Christmas lights and some white LED mini lights. On to the next big box hardware store. They had more forklift pallets fulls of white incandescent mini lights (they were cheap) and a couple of strings of blue LED mini lights. He found one string of green incandescent lights so my friend bought them. We really needed two strings of green LED lights.

He put the lights up and plugged them in. They were dim compared to the LED lights. What a disappointment. Driving around I did not see any houses with green LED mini light hanging off them. Putting green lights on a green tree is not the best color choice.

If people are using LED lights and passing up the incandescent lights, that is good for the environment. ON top of that the LED lights are much brighter than the incandescent lights.

What does this have to do with Steampunk? It shows that people will buy something new over the traditional device even if the purchase price for the new device is more than the old device. As I have mentioned the automobile replaced the horse very quickly, even though the horse had been a part of human culture for thousands of years. You don’t have to feed a car every day whether you use it or not. Cars don’t get sick or refuse to work on a whim. Nor do they step on your foot.

Unabashed plug for my book The Daemon Boat. It’s a Steampunk spy story. https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1577328155&sr=8-1

Try a good Fruit Cake and you’ll never go back to the old brick. I got the recipe from John Carter’s wife.

Best White Fruit Cake
5 large eggs
1 cup butter (2 sticks or 1/2 lb. butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 lb. glazed cherries, 1/2 red-1/2 green
1 lb. glazed pineapple
4 cups shelled pecans
1/2 oz. bottle vanilla (1 Tablespoon)
1/2 oz. bottle lemon (1 Tablespoon)

  1. Cream butter, add sugar gradually, creaming well until fluffy. Add eggs, which have been beaten well, and blend.
  2. Mix chopped fruits and nuts; and mix with part of flour.
  3. Sift remaining flour and baking powder together into creamed mix.
  4. Add flavorings and mix well; then fold in nuts and fruits. Pour
    into greased, paper lined tube pan. Place into cold oven and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours.

Stay strong, write on, and the cake is really good. It has to be, the recipe is from Mars.

A Steampunk Christmas and a Christmas Cookie Recipe

I’m tied up in a lot of things right now and I’m not getting a lot of writing done. At times life is hard. Year end day is almost here, but life will go on.

One way of writing Steampunk is to take what is happening today and imagine what it would be like if it happened in the past.

Example, the Japanese celebrate Christmas. They get extravagant. Being Shinto or Buddhist doesn’t even slow them down.

Now set your story on the west coast. There is friction (lynching and the usual mayhem between the Chinese laborers and the immigrant locals, i.e. anyone not Chinese and not an Amerindian (indigenous sounds so demeaning)).

Next have a fad hit. Everyone is excited by the engraving from the 1850 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book showing a family (a doctored image of the British royal family) celebrating around a Bohemian Christmas tree.

The local Rail Road Magnet then sets up a tree outside his mansion. It’s too big to go inside and he wants to show off and rub every ones nose in it.

Then have the town people get together and pool their funds and set up an even bigger tree in the town square.

The Chinese see everyone having fun and set a smaller tree. There are fireworks. What’s Christmas without firecrackers.

In a saloon two old miners are arguing. One claims that the Christmas tree is a Tannenbaum. The other claims that Tannenbaum means fir tree and that a Christmas tree is a Weihnachtsbaum, and I should know by grandmother was from the old country Holland.

A fight breaks out. Do miners need a reason to fight, no. The Christmas trees get damaged. Everyone gets thrown in jail.

The children are bummed out and get together and set up their own Christmas tree.

The usual plug. Buy my book; The Daemon Boat https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1576517423&sr=8-1

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Just add a little white and red frosting (in a Christmas design) to the top of the cookie and you have Christmas cookies.

Ingredients

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) (OK, so I like a lot of nuts)
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)
Timer
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

Christmas Lights, Shoppings Done, and the Best Cookies

The annual untangling of lights went better than last year. Still need to make a map of where the lights go. Some of the light strings are custom configured to go around gates and objects. The strings have to be orientatedk towards the controller and mount on hooks so they go only one way.

The lights are several years old and they don’t make the types of lights I use anymore. I have to hand make replacements.

The lights are connected with Molex connectors that are no longer popular. I still can not find the box that has the spare connectors in it. I did find a small box of electronic repair parts with a couple of new connectors in it. That’s enough to tie me over until Amazon can come through with an order.

I don’t know about young people, but I like buying others presents. My brother just wants gift cards so he can buy books through out the year.

To satisfy my need to buy others presents I got a club I belong to to fund me a little bit of cash so I could buy mystery gifts for everyone that is attending our club’s annual holiday dinner. I got forty gifts bought and with the help of the club president we got them gift wrapped.

Try buying gifts for someone you barely know. Now try it for a bunch of people you vaguely know. Now try it for a bunch of grouchy old people.

The usual plug to buy my book at https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+boat&qid=1575953934&sr=8-1

My mother’s best cookie recipe

No gluten, can be made without nuts, and people with egg allergies can sometimes eat a little egg white without trouble.

From Professor Voltage’s Book of Extraordinarily Dangerous Cooking

Angel Kisses (no wheat cookies).

Ingredients;

3 Large egg whites or 5 medium egg whites at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pecans (chopped) (you can place whole pecans on top of the cookies)

Directions;

  1. Tip; leave eggs out overnight, they have to be room temperature. Egg whites are easier to separate if the eggs are cold but the egg whites will be difficult to get to peak if cold.
  2. Place first oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  3. Optional; set the second rack below the first rack and place a pizza stone on second rack. This helps keep the temperature stable.
  4. Set oven to 200 degrees. Check oven temperature with thermometer.
  5. In a clean, dry (very important) measuring cup or small bowl separate one egg white.
  6. Inspect egg white for egg shell pieces and remove any pieces of shell. If any egg yolk gets into the egg white discard (or save for breakfast tomorrow) egg white, wash and thoroughly dry measuring cup. Try again.
  7. Transfer egg white to large mixing bowl. Mixing bowl must be clean and dry (no oil or water).
  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for remaining eggs, one egg at a time.
  9. Spread sugar over egg whites, then let stand, at room temp, for 30 minutes if not already at room temperature.
  10. Line 3 cookie sheets with wax paper.
  11. Beat egg whites mixture using electric mixer till very stiff (will stand in peaks, this can take 5 to 20 minutes, use a quarter of an inch of the tip of a knife to dip into batter and rise a little of the batter. If the batter stands stiffly at attention,(without flowing over) it’s ready.
  12. Add vanilla, beat a few seconds to a couple of minutes. You may need to scrape sides of mixing bowl with spatula to get vanilla to mix well.
  13. Remove electric mixer beaters.
  14. Add nuts, fold in gently. For a more decorative approach the nuts can be sprinkled or pressed into the top of the cookies. This will also slightly toast the nuts.
  15. Drop teaspoonful of batter on wax paper for each cookie. Use spatula to scrape off mixture/batter from spoon. The cookies will not melt or flow in the oven, they will look just like they did when dropped onto cookie sheet.
  16. Bake at 200 degrees 45 minutes. Make a test batch of 4 to 6 cookies first. Variations in eggs, humidly and oven temperature can cause results to vary. Let cookies cool at least ten minutes and taste. See below for suggestions to problems.
  17. Let cool 20 minutes before removing cookies from wax paper.
  18. Store in air tight container.
  19. These cookies are very sensitive to water, too much or too little. Make sure bowl and utensils are dry. If cracks form or if brown drips or streaks appear, the sugar has not been absorbed by the egg whites. A teaspoon of water added to the remaining mixture will help dissolve the excess sugar. Use a mister or try to spread water over batter. Be very careful adding water. Too much water will cause sugar to let go of egg white and leave brown streaks.
    If cookies are brown on the bottom or shades of brown show on the top the oven temperature is too high.
  20. Danger; eggs may contain salmonella, even on the outside of the egg shell. Wash hands with soap and warm water after touching or handling eggs.
  21. Use big cookie sheets.

Equipment needed:
A. cookie sheet (use three or more; so one can be cooking while the another is cooling and another is being loaded)
B. measuring spoons,
C. measuring cup, or small bowl
D. mixer and large mixing bowl,
E. spoon for dropping cookies,
F. spatula
G. wax paper,
H. roll of paper towels,
I. knife for chopping nuts,
J. dry measuring cup (1 cup size),
L. oven thermometer for checking temperature of oven,
M. oven, with known good temperature,
N. hot pad,
O. cooling rack