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September 21, 2012

Conjuring a New Logo for kitchenMage


Allow me a momentary bit of self-indulgence but this logo has been a long time in the making. There is a pile of wands made from maple, alder, magnolia and other branches my trees have sacrificed in my studio. Photographing the fireballs while casting them, however, well that is work for a mightier mage than I.

While playing with Photoshop and contemplating the summer of my discontent (illness, injuries, and other general WTFery) I rediscovered that I am, at my core, a long-form writer. Fact-checking amuses me and I am happy when I find a new side to an argument. My need for willy-nilly babble is well met on twitter and I find myself with little patience for creating more off-the-cuff content here.

I sense changes in the offing.

There is actual writing going on behind the scenes, late at night when the house is quiet save a distant guitar and the coo-purr of a very happy cat. Thousands of words on a single topic even.


Bullet lists...

NESTED bullet lists...

Those things will start showing up here soon, I promise. The logo victory has energized me. I mean "energized" in a theoretical's 3am and sleep beckons for now.

May 07, 2012

Reflections and Shades Upon an Anniversary...

Seven years ago, kitchenMage was born into a rather small and snuggly online food'verse. Quirky sites like Belly-Timber (now sadly in eternal hiatus) could tell the tale of the Mighty Cheese Warriors (cached) to a crowd that was sufficiently inside to get the joke and Food Blog S'cool meant we didn't need no stinkin' conventions.

In 2005, agents and publishers had not yet begun to demand that their writers start a weblog. This is fortunate for me since I might have ended up writing about nothing but esoteric technical topics, government compliance, training and other things that, as one reader said, "makes your brain hurt." I still do that work but I have also written a cookbook and having food as an additional focus has been sanity-saving.

Anniversaries are time for reflection and renewal and this one is true to form. kitchenMage is undergoing a serious makeover behind the scenes; one that has been near-eternal, largely because a few months ago I decided that I needed to rework the structure and content as opposed to simply the look and feel.

For a variety of reasons, the last few years has left me reading a lot more than writing and it's been interesting. The food'verse has been utterly transformed since way back in 2005 and not always for the better. While there are a lot of really great web sites, they are increasingly hard to find amongst the self-promotional noise and assemblages of food-like substances.

Just today a twitter conversation led me to discover that "pie inside cake" gets 13.5k hits on The Google. Fortunately, fewer than 500 are images. On the other hand, most involve frozen pies and cakes from a box. The more ridiculous the combination, the more likely it is to garner attention and page views. I have found myself sighing a lot as I read.

Continue reading "Reflections and Shades Upon an Anniversary..." »

January 03, 2012

Join me on Facebook?

I may not make New Year's resolutions but my web sites do. This one is determined to get a Facebook page up and running this year. I made one for it but it is very lonely. Downright sad, in fact.

We can't have that—an idle Facebook page is the Devil's workshop or something—so I posted a question designed to inspire rowdy conversation, which will require you to like my page to discuss. Devious, huh?

Come on over and give me someone to talk to. Pretty please?

Join kitchenMage on Facebook.

October 04, 2010

A New Look

Finally rolled out the new design and while I have beaten on it for many, many months I am sure it will have broken bits. If you find any of them, please let me know.

There are a few things not yet done but they will filter out in the next few days. Until then, I'd say more but I really, really need a drink.

September 20, 2010

Venn Diagram of kitchenMage ~ now with Badges!

Venn diagram of kitchenMage

Someone said to me recently, "I don't read, can't trust, sites without an 'About' page." (paraphrased and in quotes to annoy the editors) Once I got over sputtering to myself about having a very public real name, not to mention a link to my cookbook right there at the top of every page, I decided I'd use it as a nudge to actually write one.

Then I ran headlong into my inability to write about myself. Painfully. Repeatedly. Ouch!

At one point, I turned to my writer buds on twitter for consolation and discovered that logobiophobia (my new word for fear of writing about your own life) is as common as drinking. (There is a business there, but I am guessing few writers would want to do it.)

Failing to come up with words, well coherent ones anyway, I turned to avoidance doodling  illustrations as a way to simplify my explanation of what this site is about.

Good idea. Being a geek, I lean towards the scientific/mathematical representations so I not have a folder full of pie charts, graphs and this: my Venn diagram of kitchenMage.

I found the exercise of making a graphical presentation of the site - not to mention paring it down to three words - helped me sort out some of the noise in my brain about my current/future direction here. Starting with the new design which will be out by next week. The rest? Stay tuned. I'll let you know as I figure it out.

The one thing I know: there will be a real About page. Not because I agree that you can't trust sites without one, but because now I think I can write one that might even be worth reading.

Edited to add: The most common response to this post is a tweet saying, "You stole my Venn!" After a few such, @jeters and I decided that a badge was in order and here it is.

If it fits you, please feel free to snag a copy and post on your site. I'd appreciate if you linked the image back to this post so your readers can get the context. I'll add a list to this post of everyone who lets me now they have joined the Snarky Geeky Foodie cabal.

Download 450px wide image
Download 160px wide image

What would a Venn diagram of your site look like? I would love for you to make one and you might find it interesting. If you do, please come back and share the link with me.

September 08, 2010

Go Ahead, Make My Blogroll

The eternal/infernal site redesign is almost done but it is currently lacking a list of sites I love. I'm not calling it a blogroll for real - only in my SEO-friendly title - because I respect you all more than that. I'd like my list to include something other than the typical ten sites that everyone lists in hopes of some Google juice so I am turning to you to help me make my list interesting and fun.

Do you have a site you think might fit in a list of places I should be reading? Tell me why in a comment and I'll take a look. (I am planning on rotating the sites on my list so comments on this article will stay open forever.)

Here are my basic requirements:

  • Focus on food, culture, science or some other broad interest topic. (Narrowly-focused niche sites aren't really a good fit for here)
  • Humor is a plus. Huge plus.
  • Comments must be uncensored. You can moderate for spam, but if you delete comments that you don't like, please don't put your site into the hopper.

Think your site fits? Please leave a comment with a link and one paragraph (max) telling me why I'd like it. I especially encourage people with new/small sites to jump in.

October 09, 2008

ouch! posts will be thin...


...for a bit.

December 27, 2005

not exactly New Year's resolutions

While reading Dawn's admirable New Year's Resolutions, I was inspired to make a few of my own although, being me, I am going to have to modify the terms a bit. To wit:

First, a year is entirely too long. Maybe I spent one too many afternoons in a meeting at behemothSoft but I want a much shorter cycle on this.

Next, let's examine the whole "resolution" concept — it's so officious sounding — something which I doubt I'd pass as, even at my most corporate. It also sounds like it takes a meeting to get a resolution appproved, or at least an ad hoc committee. Way too much work. Way too much.

Metrics are another issue. New Year's Resolutions are usually assessed on a pass/fail system, while most people operate on an incremental scale. Black and white v. shades of gray — or maybe even actual colors —  I vote colors! Well, adults deserve as much of a grading scale as schoolkids, plus style points. Gotta have style points.

Continue reading "not exactly New Year's resolutions" »

September 04, 2005

I've been slashfooded!

Okay so my life is very boring, but I am excited. Sarah Gilbert, another confessed rosemary thief, saw my Saucy article and wrote about it at slashfood!

What I am really curious about is the rosemary thievery--is this a Pacific Northwet phenomenon? Does our greenery grow in such abundance that we feel free to pinch a bit of our neighbor's? I know that anyone who visits me in my fog valley is likely to leave with a box of small plants with which to start their herb garden. And I even have lots of rosemary, one of the apprentices has made it his calling to propagate thousands of them (in one little flower bed at the moment) and an acre or two of amazingly peppery, pungent Greek oregano.

Sarah, if you're reading this, come visit and I'll give you your very own rosemary. Or two.

May 11, 2005

Is it here yet, is it here yet???

The Kitchenmage is, by nature, a semi-nocturnal creature, being at her best between dusk and some dark hour that can be counted on one hand. So why, you may ask yourself, is she awake before the dreaded alarm went off today? And more than that, happily restless, like an eleven year old waiting for the latest Harry Potter tome. Well, faithful reader--hmmm, this blog is new enough that the singular may be accurate--it's all for you. Yes, you!

How could this be you ask?

Continue reading "Is it here yet, is it here yet???" »

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