My Grandmother’s Macaroons

Around this time of year I find myself remembering my Grandmother.  It was the cherry blossoms that really drove it home this year.  One of my clearest memories of my Grandma is of her cookies.  I’m reasonably certain that the instant you become a grandmother, you are granted some arcane knowledge in the area of cookie making.  There are no cookies quite like those made by a grandma.  Continue reading

Paradoxes Of George Silver: Judgement Call

I made something of an ironic point last week when talking about the rapier.  And now I’m going to spoil any hint of cleverness by calling attention to it.  You see, if George Silver is known for anything these days it’s for hating the “Italianated” Rapier yet I used his Universal Governors as a reason to teach it.

George Silver's Open Guard

George Silver’s Open Guard

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Spring Time Ice Cream

Spring has arrived and in Vancouver that means two things.  First is that summer is on the way and second is an entirely unnecessary amount of rain.  But summer, right?  That’s a good thing.  The thing about summer is I still get excited for ice cream trucks.  I even don’t mind the tune they play.  That annoying little ear-worm song that gets stuck in your brain for hours.  You know the one, right?  The one you are possibly hearing in your head right now?  Since we sadly have some time to wait and ice cream is good any season, I think it’s time to make some. Continue reading

The First Sword

It’s not often these days that you’ll see me practicing Italian Rapier.  Lately, though, I find myself drawn to it and feeling the need to study my Capoferro once again.  A big part of that is that I have been giving much thought to the ideal sword to first pick up.  I often consider what sword style is the best to teach someone who has no previous training and for a multitude of reasons I keep turning to Capoferro’s Rapier.  I have no doubt that there as many opinions on this subject as there are instructors, but I thought I would lay out my reasons for starting new students on this particular brand of swordplay.seclunge Continue reading

100 Days of Pie

Yesterday, March 14th, was pi day.  A palindromic pi day, in fact.  So to celebrate and provide myself with a mental challenge I propose 100 Days of Pie.  The idea is to conceptualize and write a brief “menu” style description of a new pie every single day for 100 days.  I plan to avoid overly simple and common pies on their own, but instead to add to them.  Now I am not, for what are hopefully obvious reasons, going to bake a pie each day, though I do plan to make some of them and occasionally provide my readership with a recipe.  Not all of these idea will be good ones, some may turn out to be quite awful in execution.  That’s not the point, though.  No, the point is to train my brain to think better about flavours and combinations.  Besides, I trust my palate enough to say that pretty much all of them will work for the better.  For this there will be an extra post each Wednesday detailing the previous week of pie.  Because today is the first day of this venture, I will of course make a pie for you and get things kicked off properly.  First though a little terminology in crust (the most important part of the pie). Continue reading

The Stoic Path to Buddhist Enlightenment

I had thought that I might continue my analysis of the Stoic virtues, but I find myself traveling down a different avenue of thought.  You see, when looking over the virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice I noticed that when placed in that order they seem to dictate a clear path to will power.  With Prudence we learn to halt our impulses and consider our action carefully.  Temperance requires slightly more will power to moderate ourselves and not give in to passions.  Fortitude needs still more will which grants us the ability to ignore mental and physical discomfort and finally Justice, which i feel is the most challenging aspect of will power and requires us to always do the right thing, regardless of perceived cost. So in this way Stoicism can be seen as a path to Ultimate Self Control Continue reading

The Many Macaron Myths

Let me first start things off by saying that, unlike what I usually do, I will not be providing a recipe for today.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First the recipe I used for this little experiment is too close to the ones found in Pierre Hermé’s excellent book on the subject and secondly because I’m not wholly happy with the final result.  Most pastry chefs work for years on their own macaron recipe and mine is still in its infancy.  Besides which, the recipe is not the point of this particular excursion.  My purpose here is to examine the making of these mysterious confections to see if they are truly as complicated as you may have heard. Continue reading

Slinging in the Rain

The weather has been wet and cold (in Vancouver, shocking I know) and not terribly good for the care and feeding of swords.  Since I’m not allowed to swing them around in the house (I have no idea how that light got broken, I swear) that means I haven’t been able to keep up practice as much as I would like. Fortunately, there are other arts I can work with regardless of weather. As an added bonus it’s a great way to make sure the dogs get a good run. Continue reading