Vegan Birthday Cake

So our 7yo’s birthday party is tomorrow, and I decided to actually bake the cake at home. Most likely because I’m still unemployed from my layoff last November, so money’s tight but time is not. And I wanted to make it something spectacular. I’m not what I would call an accomplished baker, but I can definitely follow directions. I’ve baked cakes before, but I don’t think I’ve ever iced one, and I’ve certainly never made a frozen buttercream transfer.

I went with this recipe for a vegan cake. My housemate baked one a couple months ago, and it was pretty darn great. I made two of these, one with soy milk, apple cider vinegar, plain vegetable oil, and no almond extract. The other I used almond milk, rice vinegar, peanut oil, and half/half almond/vanilla extract. One I put a bunch of blue color in, the other a bunch of red. Then I cut the cakes in half laterally. The soy cake did not do so well. It was sticky, and a little collapsy. The almond cake was beautiful.

cake in progress

For the filling between each layer, I made a double batch of this strawberry filling. Well, except instead of five cups I just emptied two one-pound cartons. I alternated flavor/color layers, on a home-made cake board that I threw together from boxes and parchment paper.

I iced the cake with this buttercream frosting recipe. I made one and a half times the recipe, and added green color. That website has recipes for vegan butters, but I saw Earth Balance had sticks so I just grabbed those. I set the cake on our lazy Susan, which made the whole process much simpler.

final cake

And then the really neat part? I basically just watched a bunch of YouTube videos before even attempting my frozen buttercream transfer. I traced over the Mario picture just by draping parchment paper over my laptop screen and lightly penciling over the image. It ended up looking… better than I’d feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I didn’t really mix enough of his skin tone, so he ended up… really swarthy?

I’ll update this tomorrow with a picture of how the cake looks cut.

When did I know?

I’ve tried in vain thumbing through my archives the last couple days to find an essay I wrote for a writing class 14 years ago. It chronicled over half a dozen distinct moments when I’d questioned or confirmed my gender and/or sexuality. I read it out loud to my classmates, who were super accepting (Santa Cruz does get some things right). For the record, coming out shows up on privilege checklists – cishets never face coming out at all; I’ve done it a couple dozen times.

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Coming out

Hi everyone. I’m a transgender woman.

This is not a surprise to most people who’ve known me 8+ years. I was much more open about it then. I think I’m going to frame this post like a question/answer. Which may be awkward, so I’ll drop any TMI stuff at the end, with a warning. Some of these questions are things you should never ask a trans person, unless they volunteer the information. Basically, think of it this way. If you have a question in mind, and you would think it tremendously rude to ask of a cisgender person, don’t ask it of a trans person. Continue reading

Legend of Zelda: the RPG

Seriously, why haven’t I heard more about Nintendo licencing their properties for RPGs? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Anyway. This is sort of a continuation of my previous post, 13th Cortex Accelerated Kids—my son’s almost five, and his social and improv skills are in pretty good shape. (we’re currently at a playground, and his ability to make up stories with other kids is phenomenal) We’ve played a few one-shot sessions of FFG’s Star Wars RPG, with and without other players, and I think he’s ready. Ready for a campaign.

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Roskilde: Iron Edda Flash Fiction

Here’s a little bit of flash fiction to help establish more of the feel Heroes of Metal and Bone is intended to invoke.

The deck rocked almost imperceptively as Eloni guided the Roskilde through the debris-ridden waters of New York. A vague glow had started to fill the horizon to the east – time was running thin. I could smell the stress and apprehension of everyone on board as I paced back and forth like a trapped animal. Our resident techie Grace was tap-tapping away at her laptop in the cabin, keeping watch on the sensors. Mitch was sitting cross-legged on the roof of the tophouse, completely motionless and calm. No clue how he could do that – this morning depended on him. And the… thing we were dragging behind us.

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Heroes of Metal and Bone

So when the end of the world started, it wasn’t exactly like those guys on street corners holding signs in New York would have you believe. (not that there are street corners in New York any more, but that’s another story) It wasn’t Armageddon. The dead haven’t risen, and the skies never opened up. It wasn’t the Apocalypse. There aren’t dire horsemen spreading disease and famine. (though the Jotnar and the Destroyers have done a good job of that) Nobody expected what it really was. Ragnarok.

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Edge of the Empire: Kids!

So yesterday was Father’s Day, right? Right. Had a decent day – got an enjoyable breakfast at Biscuits, grabbed new shoes, and dropped by our FLGS to see if I was interested in anything. Of course… I’m interested in pretty much everything, but who has that kind of budget? Wrath of Ashardalon? Game of Thrones LCG? Lots of options, but not the most free time. So I grabbed a dish of static grass (which looks badass on the figure I used it on, btw) and FFG’s Edge of the Empire Beginner Game.

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Edge of the Dungeon Part 5

You know what helps a lot of people “get” a system? Actual play. I love podcasts for this (I have a fairly long commute – they fit nicely into my schedule), and it’s my main exposure to some of the systems that I’ve studied for this project.

But, nobody’s played Edge of the Dungeon yet, have they? I’ll just have to make something up. But before that, let’s get some terms straight. Unless you’re totally confident with either your familiarity with the multiple games I’m using as inspiration, or with your abilities to read my mind, check out the Edge of the Dungeon Glossary.

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