Speaking to the world

Just for funsies, I started wondering how many languages you’d have to know to be able to converse with half of the humans in the world. (This is a playdream. Proceed with carelessness, and don’t get super hung up on numbers, mk?) I’m lucky enough to natively speak the most widely-spoken language in the world (a language of the UN, of science, of the Olypmics, and so on), but I wondered what it would take to be able to speak with half of all humans in their own native languages. Turns out, not too much:

13 languages.

That’s it. So if I spoke a dozen more language, that would cover 50% of the world’s population (at least per 2010 numbers). I speak (and you’re reading) #3. Mandarin and Spanish are the first two, and luckily enough, they’re also in the UN 6 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). And I mean… if I learned half of the UN languages—which is to say, finished learning Spanish and then learned Chinese—how could I resist learning the other three?

Let’s visualize a moment what it would take to know a language someone—let’s say at least 50% of the people you’d see just walking down the road—has a chance at knowing. Here, I’ve tossed together a super rough overlay of where you could go and feel mostly certain you could speak to someone with just English, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and French:

Oh, the places you could go if you knew a few words in the language! /daydream swoon

Although Mandarin, Hindi (which I’ve learned is actually a couple of languages sort of tossed into a single bucket by maybe my Wiki resources), and Bengali top the chart in terms of how many people speak the language, they simply aren’t as widespread geographically as the other languages, so I left them off my little GIF.

And look at how much of the world that opens up: 67%.

Assuming this is correct. But it feels correct. I got it from a LJ site published in 2009. So yeah, it’s probably super up to date.

Being able to walk around 2/3rd of the Earth’s land masses and speak to just about everyone who lives there? Wow!

And then if I knew the six UN languages, I’m already up to being able to speak with more than 1 in 3 humans (by native speakers), so maybe it’s not too far of a leap to assume a lot more than that speak one of those 6 languages as a second language. Maybe you could converse with almost half the planet with only that handful of languages. And imagine what you could learn by talking with half the planet. Literally, speaking to 1 out of every 2 people you could ever possibly meet. This phrase seems appropriate here, with all sorts of good connotations: “Oh the humanity!”

I think I need to do this.


And here’s where those map images and keys come from:


Deliciousness (worth ditching a movie for)

the results!

Ok, Maudie. You and I are gonna be able to feed ourselves gluten-free and vegetarian, even vegan if you leave out the last ingredient. You ready? I made some notes for us. 


wtf is that
 Alrighty, first there is a tiny bit of prep work, but this is something you and I should have on hand anyway. I call it flavor crystals, and MBf says you can use it in any kind of stirfry. It doesn’t look like much: just a frozen chunk of green goo. But trust the results. Here is the whole recipe and I’m sure recipes to use it in: 


Ok, so we make that and then we’re armed for more goodness. 

But on to tonight’s flavor slaw: delicious green beans and tomato sauce kinda like tikka masala. MBf says it just needs fenugreek to get right to tikka masala like we like. It’s so good I preferred to come home and have MBf teach me how to make it rather than go out to a movie. Yeah. It’s good. He made a double batch for this, and I’m sure I’ll eat all of whatever we make. So cut the recipe in half if you want, but I won’t. :)


crushed tomatoes, spoon for coconut oil
miso paste and coconut oil
ghee aka fancy butter

ze onion

green beans: snip em
coconut milk, like for making piña coladas. and thats the extent of my cooking.

  •  Onion, one big old white onion. Cut it all up. 
  • Green beans, maybe 1.5 lbs. Mine filled a colander. Cut off the ends, and wash them. Check the time lapse I sent you. 
  • A big can of crushed tomatoes. MBf used one with basil because he didn’t have basil when he made the flavor crystal. 
  • Two normal sized cans of coconut milk. 
  • A spoonful of red miso paste, or if you can’t find it, red curry paste. Not powder. 
  • One to 1.5 cup of veggie broth 
  • Coconut oil
  • Ghee (which you can leave out to be vegan)
  • Rice
  • A flavor crystal
  • Lemon (juice it)
  • Salt and pepper. 

You can use just butter, the friend of the heart, in place of both the ghee and coconut oil. 

What you do: 

You should start cooking your rice first thing. 

Put the cut onions in the pot/pan you’re going to use. This makes a lot. 

Put a few teaspoons of coconut oil in there too, and cook the onions over medium heat. 

Cook the onions 5-10 minutes, then add the flavor crystals, beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, lemon juice, curry paste, and veggie broth. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. That will be to taste, so add more later if you want. 

That’s it. Now just cover it and cook it until the green beans are the right tasty texture. 

rice, Évidement. with ghee (or butter)
When the rice is finished, put chunks of ghee (or butter) into it. Stir and put that suckah on a plate!

Adventures of tiny Cthulu

Thanks to my friend Conner, I have a tiny elder god that rides in the hidden dimension of my pocket. I tend to forget he’s there until–in lonely cold moments–I put my hand into my pocket for warmth and I end up with companionship, too. Join us as he discovers the giant world he will next devour. 



Amaze your friends with your own peacock feather tiara

Amaze your friends with your own peacock feather tiara

Although I’m on a month break from my daily tiaras, I thought I’d share how I made one of them. It was my favorite so far, except maybe the skulls. Those were wicked fun, too.

This pic is NOT what I made. This is the inspiration. I don’t have rights to this pic, but I think it’s gorgeous and you should probably go buy the original, at the URL I link. But if you’re $400 short, you could try making your own. Either-or.

The inspiration for the peacock tiara came from this site, from a crazy beautiful and expensive version, probably with real crystals and unicorn tears, and definitely without hot glue. So, if you don’t have $400 bucks to shell out, and you have some feathers and hot glue and your own tears on hand, giddy up. Then again, I’m sure the four hundred bucks is worth it, if you go that route. I won’t judge. It looks amaze.

Actual items used (almost free if you reclaim the feather boutonnières from a friend’s wedding or if you have a pact with peacocks*):
*The title of my graphic novel coming out this Fall.

  • hot glue and glue gun
  • peacock feathers (9 or 11 or so)
  • shiny plastic bling crystals, preferably from the container that also houses the first 22 shell you ever fired. If you’re that klassy.
  • plastic headband
  • ribbon

So, first I used about eleven peacock feathers of any old size. I singled out the biggest one for the middle, then paired off the rest to more or less balance on each side. This ain’t a $400 rig. I didn’t obsess over the details. Stop looking at the inspiration pic now. It’s dead to you. All you know is glue gun. All you know is now. Be the craft.

I warmed up the glue gun and started tacking the feathers to a hard plastic headband I got at the dollar store. My goal was to wear it across my head, Jordie LaForge style, not Alice style.

There weren’t too many pics of the feathers as I placed them one by one, so in the pics below you can see more or less what the mess looked like as I overlapped them, working front-middle and off to each side, alternating. I wish I’d started from the back and come forward to the middle, to get the overlaps right, but I was afraid I would get off center or run out of feathers. (Ok, some details were obsessed over. By zombies. I use the passive here to absolve myself of guilt and blame the actors in any passive sentence: zombies. Fuck those guys.)

a good look at the back side, and a hint at the headband style. not that it matters
under this mess is the front and you can see one side of the band. looks like i tilted the feathers as they went around the back. probably on purpose, but who knows.

To make the overlap work out, I glued the feather in the center only, then placed a feather behind it and tried to underlap (word police?) the back feather.  Only once arranged with the proper lapping would I glue down the two feathers. Thus I worked my way around.

Then I trimmed them all. That was scary. And slippery. But fuck it, I did my best and let the haters hate. I picked a line of color on the feather and cut around it. I used the inspiration a lot here to judge how far down to trim. Peacock feathers are crazy unruly. Again, I wished I’d left a couple of antlers sticking off (like the inspiration), but then I remembered the inspiration was dead to me. This thing is fully my own now.

trimmed, mostly
the crystals hid the hot glue under the sheer ribbon

After the trimming, I hot glued a ribbon over the feather stalks (seriously, I should maybe find out what that actual word is) and folded the ribbon under the bottom of the headband. This kept things neat. Ish. Then more hot glue and some plastic crystals on top of the ribbon.

Voila. Oh except then I flew across the country and all the feathers got crushed and a few crystals succumbed to the heat of October in Texas and fell off. And then I decided it was sunny enough to need a cap, so naturally I put my tiara outside my ball cap. This is why I don’t have nice ($400) things. But then, what good is a day tiara if’n you don’t wear it for your day activities, like mocking the local Stonehenge?

Anyone with a temporary unicorn tattoo has a license to mock
Man, it’s like you can’t even tell the difference between the real picture with a professional model, and my version. This is, like, Strong Bad quality through and through. Where did I learn to make that blue-steel face? Pro!

Anyway, hope that works out for you. Leave a comment if you make one and it’s awesome (or a fail, whatever. We’ll be craft-sistahs 4-eva if you make one) and especially if you can come up with an even more professional and klassy photoshoot than mine. Perhaps with featured 22-shell casings?

Tiara break: final week until December

Tiara break: final week until December

Well, this week broke me. Figuratively and mostly literally too.

After the road trip, I had to report back to road trip ground zero for work. So back I flew, with the week’s tiaras ready to go.

Two lessons learned here: headbands are not tiaras (no matter how much I stretch the use of the word), and hot glue is not a decent adhesive.

a pic of the whole bunch. most are necklaces turned into headbands I thought to myself: I’ll take a pic of all of them before I wear them, since I find it onerous to take selfies every day. Ugh. Some days, I remembered to take pics.

Not pictured at all is a ribbon with black stones glued on, which was so ugly I was _glad_ when the stones popped off, giving me good reason to take it off.

this, i liked. this and the purple one were both broken necklaces tied as a circlet with a ribbon. this was after i hurt my back but before it told me it was hurt

a bathroom selfie is all this pink headband with beads threaded through a ribbon deserved. fail.
modelled by a wurstfest reveller. ribbon with feathers, rhinestones, and an acirn cap hotglued on. tied around my head or hat. worked well!

Not pictured individually were a strand of beads from a fake-hair attachment I got at bellydance camp, tied and hot glued to a black elastic headband, which worked pretty well actually; a leather rectangle I made at camp one year as a hair stick, but which never worked as one. Tied with elastic silver thread it made a nice headband, but my friends called it a cheater tiara (correctly). And created but never worn due to pearls popping off the hot glue is the blue ribbon one. Looked ok but it was a fail for hot glue issues.

So that brings me to yesterday. I flew home and a couple things happened. 1) I decided not to wear the ugly tiara with the failpearls. 2) My back started telling me that it was serious and this shit wasn’t going away. According to the first doc I saw, I injured a disc and sprained my SI joint. Today, I’m flat in bed, after seeing my fourth doctor/healer/physical therapist. I am realizing I have to take it easy. I am realizing I also signed up for NaNoWriMo and should really get back on that. And I am realizing that after taking pain pills and muscle relaxers Friday, the words per day dropped way way down. Like to zero.

All to say: no mas tiaras until the November novel is done and my back is cool with sitting at a work table again. Both things have to occur. I want to wear tiaras for a year, but I want to enjoy making them. I also want to write a novel this month. These are not going to happen simultaneously.