Wednesday, April 1, 2009

they laugh, they say your treasures are fake, but don't throw it away

Spring is finally here, and I'm delighted that the birds are back and there are tulips in my yard. Lately I've been pestering TM to take me for long drives in the country on Sundays; I've become like some kind of pet that needs to be walked. Last weekend we went north to Benton and poked around in some antique stores downtown. In one seemingly standard crap-peddling dustbucket we wandered up a couple flights of rickety stairs and found ourselves in the incredible, loft-like third floor. In addition to all the truly cool stuff strewn haphazardly about the gigantic main area, there were dark hallways along the front and sides leading to several small crumbly rooms looking out over the square and the side alleys. Some of the rooms had stood empty for so long that nature had begun to take them over, and we found evidence of life among the odd solitary wing chair. The building reminded me of a lot of the old converted factories in New York, and I immediately decided I wanted to move in.













We had a good laugh at this Ronald McDonald lookin' goofball. I just realized his parents dedicated this plaque after he died at the age of twenty. Boy, do I feel like a jerk.



Tater Day is next weekend. Don't think we're not going. TM nixed my Lil' Miss Tater aspirations, but we'll just see who wins the tater eating contest. No, probably not me.



Oh yeah, we had '80s night at work a few weeks ago. I was off, so I got to dress up, get boozy and cut a rug in my cheap plastic stilettos. I was proud to be the only one of the ladies who didn't go all day-glo cheeze; instead I did big-haired rocker skid and I think it worked out great.



=:=

In other news, we've booked our tickets for a trip to Florida and are both looking forward to a little relaxing and a bunch of new experiences. We already have plans to do a few arty-type things with friends in West Palm Beach, as well as some family stuff in Fort Pierce, but any suggestions for new or interesting non-booze-related activities are welcome.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

i smoke a lot but can't get laid

Got accepted to Murray State University, good for me eh? They accept ninety percent of the people who apply. But hey, not to discount it, I'm finally going back so this whole life thing is looking good.

Today I go shopping for '80s attire for the party at work tonight, should be fun. Before that, I get the spooky electrical problems in my car fixed, not so fun.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

tired, schmired

Throughout the year preceding this past Presidential election, I received a lot of politically-themed e-mails, most from or authored by Republicans or at least expressing some sort of anti-liberal, anti-Obama sentiment. That's been fine with me; I'm all for open discussion and as I've said here before, having a political debate with people who only agree with you turns out to be pretty boring. My problem is when somebody shows up to such a roundtable armed with nothing but rhetoric and sweeping generalizations.

Today I was forwarded in an e-mail a diatribe from one Robert A. Hall who blogs at: http://www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com/ . I won't reprint his entire text here, as it can be found on his own blog and also, inexplicably, at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, here: http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2009/03/im-tired-by-robert-hall.html . The e-mail was sent to me by someone I've had an ongoing political discussion (argument) with, and as I wrote my admittedly half-hearted response -- I say half-hearted because I'm just so tired of getting these e-mails that are nothing but a bunch of hooey -- I thought I'd post these thoughts here. Although I was tempted to, I didn't respond to every statement I disagreed with, simply because I actually have some things to do today and didn't see any benefit in taking the time. The e-mail and the essay by Mr. Hall were titled, "I'm Tired" and this was my response (you might want to take a quick look at the original piece at one of the above links, or this won't all make sense):


Well, I read it all the way to the end. While there are some good, logical points that I completely agree with, I think that most of what this Mr. Hall wrote are sweeping generalizations and/or opinions -- not necessarily based on fact. I can appreciate that it bothers him that while he has been working hard his entire life, he's been paying taxes to support a lot of other people who don't want to work so hard. I agree that the welfare system is flawed, but until the administrators can find better ways to differentiate between those who are sick or unable to work, and those who are just plain lazy (sometimes they look awfully similar on paper), we'll have to deal with the fact that some people are going to take advantage of the weaknesses in the process. And on that note, what about health care? Is this Hall fellow okay with the fact that most medical care -- even basic preventative care like checkups -- is out of reach for a great portion of the population? The fact that medical care is privatized and runs on a capitalist model is great for those who are profiting from it financially -- doctors and hospitals can charge as much as they like for procedures and supplies so long as they remain "competitive," but the prices are now up to a level that makes treatment a luxury for people like me. If I were diagnosed with cancer right now, I would DIE because I do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for treatment. I can't even pay for a one-night stay in a hospital, and beyond immediate emergency treatment, I won't get help even if I have a terminal disease. There are no provisions for lower-middle class working people who can't pay the doctors.

By the way, I don't believe that either the Republican or the Democratic Party are doing everything right; my beliefs fall somewhere in the middle. I don't know what the answers are to our social or financial problems, but as a journalist I plan to explore them in as fair and open-minded manner as possible. I will say that if this Robert A. Hall is going to trash the left wing while unequivocally supporting George W. Bush's administration, he might want to keep in mind that W. didn't seem to know where the answers lie, either. George W. Bush's administration made the most socialist-leaning moves this country has ever seen, by effectively nationalizing the banking system, and by introducing a bill that would provide prescription drugs to the elderly. If you ask me, we should start taking some cues from Canada, where they have one of the most stable banking systems in the world.

I'll tell you what I'm tired of: people talking about tolerance and fairness while, in the same breath, they're proclaiming that Muslims (not just some Muslims or a few Muslims, but Muslims in general) are violent and are "using our oil money to preach hate of America" here on our soil. Sure, some are committing atrocities, but most aren't. Some Christians commit violent acts in the name of God, too. His obvious distaste for Muslims certainly isn't helping to bridge the gap. What happened to treating people as individuals? What happened to believing in the goodness of your fellow man? I refuse to hold hatred for an entire country, race, or religious group because of the actions or beliefs of a small number of its members. I'm tired of people like this Robert A. Hall guy who complain about everything from "latte liberals" to the media to John Kerry right down to the religious freedom and opportunities for wealth this country has to offer, while claiming to be patriotic. Does he really love this country? It doesn't sound like it. Complaining is a waste of time and negativity doesn't help anything, so why doesn't he suggest some solutions?


What do you think?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

if there was a problem, yo i'll solve it


Here's the report on Ice Age '09:  Five days with no power or running water, baby wipes in lieu of baths, chopping firewood in the daylight, hazy herb-y games of Trivial Pursuit in front of the fireplace at night, nothing but NPR on the battery-powered radio and us grilling ham-and-cheese sammies over the fire.  




Woke up to this view of the backyard. "Look how pretty it is from inside the house where it's not fifteen degrees! I love ice storms!"



None of these branches are ordinarily curved like this; most of them broke off over the next few days from the weight of the ice. 








My new favorite word, accretion: "Growth of precipitation particles by collision of ice crystals with supercooled liquid droplets which freeze on impact." Meteorologists use it to describe the buildup of ice on objects, i.e. "we have a half inch of accretion on branches and power lines."


The accretion on my truck prevented me from opening the doors for two days.  



Hash Brown, trying to keep warm.  It was forty degrees inside our house with a fire going, fifteen to twenty degrees outside.  






Hey, thanks Garmin, not exactly the 7-11 I was expecting, but the gas is as good as any, even though it comes out of a pump from 1962 that takes forty-five minutes to deliver ten gallons.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

pull out ya phone, picture that

The other day I was terrorizing TM with my cell phone camera, trying to get a photo of him doing something dorky while we were lying around on the couch, and when I showed him afterward he asked why the hell I have over a hundred photos stored on my phone. Well, that's because I'm lazy and a procrastinator and there's really been no reason to get rid of them. Until now.  So here it is, cameraphone clearance.



Professionally hand-drawn "DOCTOR" sign on Fire Island.   See the deer in the background?




My balcony in Ocean Beach.  



Another from the Summer of 2006 on Fire Island.  My buddy PK and I watched the sun come up more than a few times, not necessarily intentionally.  




I don't know if you can tell from looking at this photo, but that's the coolest cat that ever lived.




This six-year-old kid walking down the street on five-foot stilts knocked me out.  In Brooklyn.




Another one from when I lived in Park Slope. I really like this photo, except for the fact that the stupid wood-paneled minivan is the only thing in focus, feh.




The Mr. Youth mascot. Basically you're looking at the Uncle Buck of advertising.





That's my arm.   I don't know what I was doing, something mysterious as usual, I'm sure.




Ween at Terminal 5 in New York, most irksome venue ever.




Cash Cab was filming outside the bar where I worked. A couple of our customers got on the show (hammered) and bombed miserably. 




Ad for a new apartment building, posted in the bathroom at Bull McCabe's on St. Marks. Some joker wrote, "I already live in a room this small." Sigh. I miss New York. Remember the Manhattan Mini Storage subway ads? "You closet's so narrow it makes Cheney look liberal."  "Your closet's so shallow it makes Paris look deep."   "Your closet's scarier than Bush's agenda." Ha.

I guess that wraps up the New York segment of cameraphone closeout, more soon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

she said "if love is a poison cup, then drink it up"

Okay, I'm a total sucker for those self-help articles featured on various websites -- you know the ones, if it has a headline like any of these, I'm all over it:

"When it's OK to not be OK"
"How close is too close?  When to draw the line"
"How to make anal sex more pleasurable"

and the latest gem from iVillage.com:

"Is your brain broken?"


One of the articles I recently read featured a list of "interesting" facts (some more interesting than others) about love.  I had some pretty strong responses to a few of them, so I thought I'd share my impressions.  Here you go:


1. Men who kiss their wives in the morning live five years longer than those who don't.

This is a feel-good fact, I love it.  I feel sorry for all the men who don't kiss their wives in the morning, and the wives too.  Being in a boring, loveless relationship would be unbearable.  

In related news, I'm hoping this little perk will help make up for all the cigarettes we smoke.  Wait, does this count for those who are practically married, and does it work the same for the kissee as well as the kisser?

2. People are more likely to tilt their heads to the right when kissing instead of the left (65 percent of people go to the right!)

Well, whatever.  Missionary is the most popular position for intercourse, too, did you know that?  Me, I mix it up.

3. When it comes to doing the deed early in the relationship, 78 percent of women would decline an intimate rendezvous if they had not shaved their legs or underarms.

Pretty much anybody I've ever slept with knows I'm a 22 percenter.  Why pass up a prime opportunity just because of a little hair?  What do you think, the guy is under the impression you're hairless, like one of those dogs?  Believe me, he isn't looking as the stubble on your shins anyway.   

4. Feminist women are more likely than other females to be in a romantic relationship. 

But with whom?

5. Two-thirds of people report that they fall in love with someone they've known for some time vs. someone that they just met. 

Well, no shit.  At least give 'em time to give you a reason to fall in love.

6. There's a reason why office romances occur: The single biggest predictor of love is proximity.

Not in my case, I had to move nine hundred miles to bumfuck to get the real thing (totally worth it, by the way).

7. Falling in love can induce a calming effect on the body and mind and raises levels of nerve growth factor for about a year, which helps to restore the nervous system and improves the lover's memory.

Certainly sounds nice, but I'm still waiting for this so-called memory improvement.   

8. Love can also exert the same stress on your body as deep fear. You see the same physiological responses — pupil dilation, sweaty palms, and increased heart rate. 

Now that's more like it.

9. Brain scans show that people who view photos of a beloved experience an activation of the caudate — the part of the brain involving cravings. 

True story, I've tried it.  But who could blame me?

10. The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.

...and thank God, because getting an appointment with the planner over there is just impossible!  har har.

11. The "Love Detector" service from Korean cell phone operator KTF uses technology that is supposed to analyze voice patterns to see if a lover is speaking honestly and with affection. Users later receive an analysis of the conversation delivered through text message that breaks down the amount of affection, surprise, concentration and honesty of the other speaker.

Fucking shoot me now.  This is the worst idea ever, second only to that shitty "party game" that my misguided friends broke out when we were all over at their house wasted a couple weeks ago.  I don't remember what it was called, but it was one of those "getting to know you" question-answer games for couples that TM sagely referred to as, "Everything your partner does NOT want to hear, ever."  What was your biggest problem in your last relationship and how has that carried over into your current relationship?  WHAT?  Yeah, great idea, let's get drunk and talk about your ex-girlfriend, that'll make you and me both feel fantastic.  Maybe later you can ask me to lick it just like Karen did, and then I can mention how you make me feel insecure, just like when I was with Johnny.  Afterwards we'll throw each others' belongings out into the yard.  Great game, Hasbro, no other product has single-handedly ruined so many blossoming relationships.

12. Eleven percent of women have gone online and done research on a person they were dating or were about to meet, versus seven percent of men. 

And the other eighty-nine percent are either total idiots or big, fat liars.  Same for the supposed ninety-three percent of men who claimed they hadn't Googled somebody.  Yeah fucking right.  If you used the internet to get the date, I guarantee you looked for some info. on the person beyond their crappy Match.com profile -- you gonna tell me you didn't at least try and find them on Facebook or MySpace?  I call bullshit on this one. 

13. Couples' personalities converge over time to make partners more and more similar.

I don't know if I like this idea.  I have seen how people develop their own "in-jokes" and start to laugh at the same things and enjoy similar activities, that's just natural.  But I like to think that my personality -- the core of my being -- remains the same.  If I'm with a guy for several years, I'll probably learn a lot, but I won't emerge from the relationship a completely different person.  

14. The oldest known love song was written 4,000 years ago and comes from an area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. 

Okay, this and the next one I'm gonna have to just take at face value and leave it at that.  

15. The tradition of the diamond engagement ring comes from Archduke Maximillian of Austria who, in the 15th century, gave a diamond ring to his fiancĂ©e, Mary of Burgundy. 

. . .

16. Forty-three percent of women prefer their partners never sign "love" to a card unless they are ready for commitment. 

I guess if you're the kind of person who over-analyzes the bejeez out of everything, or if you are so hollow and/or in need of affirmation that you are desperately searching for ANY sign that he's as into you as you are into him, then go ahead, employ rules like this.  And know that you are  never getting a card (or anything else) from that man again, after you have the "but you signed 'love, John'" discussion.  What, you want him to sign it "sincerely" or "yours truly?" 

"Oh look, he wrote 'yours truly,' he must mean that he's MINE."  Yikes.  

Realize that people rarely say exactly what they really mean, and that if we went around speaking solely in facts life would be dull and loveless and gray.  And as a side note -- girls, stop trying so hard to snare a man, relax and enjoy yourself, it'll happen.  

17. People who are newly in love produce decreased levels of the hormone serotonin — as low as levels seen in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Perhaps that's why it's so easy to feel obsessed when you're smitten. 

I need more time to digest this.  I'm not sure how I feel about either of these statements.

18. Philadelphia International Airport finished as the No. 1 best airport for making a love connection, according to an online survey. 

If I had heard that three years ago, I'd have arranged to have a lot more layovers there, believe me. 

19. According to mathematical theory, we should date a dozen people before choosing a long-term partner; that provides the best chance that you'll make a love match. 

TM:  "No problem."
me:  "Done."

20. A man's beard grows fastest when he anticipates sex. 

TM says that's silly, he's always anticipating sex.  If you aren't actually in the act, then you at least know there's some right around the corner.  

I guess this little factoid applies more to people who aren't currently in live-in relationships, eh?

21. Every Valentine's Day, Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet took place, receives around 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

I'm not willing to delve into the collective psyche of the lunatics who are writing these letters.  At least write a letter to someone who actually exists.  Stalk a celebrity, they love that shit.

21. When we get dumped, for a period of time we love the person who rejected us even more, says Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University and author of Why We Love. The brain regions that lit up when we were in a happy union continue to be active. 

See, this is why you have to be the dumper, not the dumpee.

22. People telling the story of how they fell in love overwhelmingly believe the process is out of their control. 

If you want to get technical, it is -- but not in the way they are alluding to.  You're only in charge of one side of things; if the other person weren't holding up their end, you wouldn't have anyone to be in love with.  

In all seriousness, I do understand where  going with the "out of their control" business and it's all very romantic, but I have to say I think my and TM's relationship was pretty well orchestrated on both sides.  Doesn't make it any less thrilling, I promise.  

23. Familiarity breeds comfort and closeness … and romance. 

Something about your farts reverberating off the tile. . .

24. One in five long-term love relationships began with one or both partners being involved with others. 

No comment.  

25. One in eight couples married in the U.S. last year met online.

Hallelujah.  Maybe someday I'll add this one to the list of useless facts on my "It's not so bad being weird, after all" banner.  



=:=

"It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, '08"  coming soon. . . 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

nerd version

1. The Lame Game is a new website from the Brandspankin' dynasty: "the first and only online game devoted to the art of spotting lame stuff in life, calling it out, and pitting it against another lame thing for ultimate judgment." In other words, it's this decade's version of the mullet hunt, except you probably don't have a mullet, and you definitely are guilty of at least one lame thing featured in the lame game.

2. Google Chrome is out of beta, and they've fixed the audio/video bugs. Also, it's faster than fuck.

3. A few years ago my hard drive bit it and I had to get a new one. The guy at the repair place installed a basic version of Windows XP with my new hard drive, but without all the superfluous software that comes installed on any pre-built PC. On the downside, I also lost the not-so-superfluous stuff like the Microsoft Office Suite, which means that I've been using WordPad for all of my word processing needs ever since. Well, that isn't working for me anymore. I need PowerPoint. I need Excel. And I really need Word. But I'm poor, and I can't afford to lay down four hundred bucks for a licensed version of Office (and even if I had $400. to spend on software, I wouldn't want to give it to Microsoft). That's where OpenOffice.org comes in. It's an open source software package designed to be completely compatible with MS Office -- but it's (duh) FREE. Hallelujah.

4. I almost hate to give away the secret, but Mental Floss rocks. Did you know that the martini began in 19th-century California as the Martinez: one shot of gin, two shots of dry vermouth, cherry juice and a lemon slice. Thanks, Mental Floss. You've helped transform my painful social awkwardness into scintillating party conversation!

5. I'm not being paid to plug any of these products, but I just realized that I probably should be. I guess that comes after I get a real job, eh?

Friday, November 21, 2008

predictable errors and no identity

The software/browser wars are giving me the shits this week. The latest annoyance (compliments of that godforsaken bloody running dog Microsoft) is my inability to reply to e-mails or even compose new messages in Hotmail. Yes, Microsoft, I know you want to crush Google like a bug and you don't want me using their sweet new browser but you didn't have to fuck up my e-mail. All this does is make me want to finally switch to gmail, which I should have done years ago anyway and would have if switching email addresses wasn't such a pain in the ass. In any case, I'm not going to stop using Chrome (which combines my favorite features from Firefox and Opera and is faster than the speed of light times a bagrizzilion). . . so you've just lost a Hotmail customer. One day I'll get myself a mac and my life will be (nearly) blissfully Microsoft-free. Keep trying, Microsoft, you've had your day. Assholes. By the way, the only reason I still use your stupid platform is because I know how to fix it when the goddamn thing crashes, and there's a lot more p.c. software available for me to rip off.

If anybody is wondering why it takes me forfuckingever to reply to e-mails lately, this is why.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

they were on to my circumstantial slide

I don't know if this blog has gone where I want it to go. When I started it last year it was kind of a lark and I didn't have any idea what shape it would eventually take. I justified doing it because if nothing else, it would be an outlet for my writing where I could even receive some feedback if anybody was willing to slog through my flaccid drivel. I never meant for you to come here just for the pictures and I certainly didn't intend to become one of those "lifeblogger" people. For a while I had a few other creative projects tentatively hanging around, but lately I haven't been productive and it's starting to get to me. I've been sloth-like and cranky, restless and frustrated, and frankly, I feel like shit.

So. Here's the plan: more content. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I am going to figure it out. I think I'm going to take it easy with the concrete goals (I am fickle and don't like rules, even when I make them), but I hope to get at least one creative piece up here every week. The personal stuff will keep coming too, at least for a while, so don't get your panties in a pickle. Thanks for your patience while I pull myself together.

Oh, and one last thing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

on the range of the buffalo

Last Sunday TM and I drove out to Land Between the Lakes for a romantic/snooty afternooon picnic, complete with:

-A sun-dappled patch of grass near a lake
-A rustic loaf of bread, some prosciutto, a hunk of asiago cheese, and a pocket knife with deer etched on the handle with which to hack at the cheese
-Half the contents of the Kroger olive bar (my new favorite grocery store feature, surpassing extended hours and self check-out)
-Three varieties of grapes and one spiky alien piece of fruit marketed as a "Kiwano," which claimed to have a "banana-cucumber like flavor" (this was not entirely true).
-One million gnats and flies
-A digital camera and a great deal of enthusiasm




That yellow thing in the middle is the "Kiwano." Kiwano is a copyrighted name, by the way, so don't you go trying to name your newest inedible genetically-engineered hybrid "food product" a Kiwano. Better name it a Cucunana or a Banumber or a Kimora or something.


The inside was a marvel of bright green gelatinous pods encapsulating cucumber-like seeds. These pods were impossible to separate from the seeds, impossible to chew, and very probably impossible to digest. I am pretty sure this disqualifies the Kiwano from being classified as food.



Better than cheese. Crazy but true.

=:=

After picnicking we headed back toward the Elk & Bison Prairie in hopes that we might spot a few of the beasts during their favored feeding hour, at dusk. Since there are no buffalo in either South Florida or New York City, I was nearly pissing myself with anticipation.


I decided to take an unmarked "scenic-looking" route back to the park's entrance. This sign appeared approximately four and a half miles into our trek down a rutted one-way path through the woods. We were not deterred.


We made it to the prairie, and good mother of god, did we hit the jackpot. It was incredible, they were everywhere, at times so close we could have reached out and touched their fur.


I don't know if you know this, but buffalo are awesome.


The elk were also majestic and all that, but we didn't get close enough to really appreciate their size or their beauty. You can hear this sexy guy below, though.


We filmed a rogue nature documentary on the Elk & Bison Prairie. Here it is:
video

Friday, October 17, 2008

I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that.

Wrong again, Oscar Wilde!

Even though I hated the place, I used to go into the Houston's down the block from where I worked in New York, just for the strangely delicious veggie burgers and the side of pan-roasted cauliflower with capers and golden raisins. A couple of the girls I worked with were vegetarians and we got to talking about how great it would be if we could just make the Houston's veggie burger at home instead of paying fifteen bucks for it in their vapid faux-upscale corporate atmosphere. So one day I did some poking around online and found a "copycat" recipe for the veggie burgers. I've been holding onto it for about a year now, and I finally got around to making it the other day. TM and I both decided the burgers were a smashing success. I preferred mine the Houston's way, with just the cheese, some thinly sliced red onion, lettuce and sweet soy sauce; TM said he thought it would lend itself nicely to regular burger toppings like ketchup and mustard.

Here's the recipe:

SWEET SOY GLAZE:

1 tablespoon hickory barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

*These quantities are all approximate. I didn't actually measure anything. In the "copycat" recipe I found, the person used only barbeque sauce and molasses, but then I found a note from a guy who used to make the veggie burgers at Houston's and he said it was honey, molasses, soy, and hoisin. I just winged it and kept tasting until I decided it was right.

BURGER PATTIES:

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tablespoon oat bran (I used regular old Quaker Oats)
2 Tablespoon onions, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon finely chopped canned beets
1 teaspoon beet juice (this gives it that "rare meat" appearance)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 egg white (I used 2)
flour or oat bran as needed to bind (1 - 3 teaspoons)
a couple tablespoons of the soy glaze


*This is the recipe exactly as I found it online. I followed it pretty closely except for a few things; all the people who had tried it said the patties didn't hold together at all, and some had suggestions for binding them a little better which I made attempts to incorporate. As I noted, instead of oat bran I used regular Quaker Oats -- between two and three tablespoons. I also used two egg whites instead of one, and I threw in a couple teaspoons of all-purpose flour because the mixture seemed pretty wet.

Because I like things spicy I added a little extra jalapeno and onion; I also sauteed the onions first. The directions say to mash the beans in a bowl and then mix in everything else by hand, but I threw it all in the Cuisinart and it worked out fine and was a lot easier. Don't forget to add a few tablespoons of the soy glaze to the burger mix.

I formed the patties and flipped them around on a plate with some of the soy glaze to coat them, then I microwaved them for a minute and a half on medium just to help the egg start cooking (I was really paranoid about these things falling apart for some reason). Then I grilled them in a nonstick pan for about three minutes on each side, topped them with some shredded monterey jack cheese, and grilled whole-wheat hamburger buns in a little butter. While that was going on I shredded romaine lettuce and sliced some Bermuda onion as thinly as possible. I threw the burgers on the grilled buns, topped mine with onion, lettuce and a drizzle of the leftover soy glaze, and voila!

I actually had a hard time putting this thing down so I could go get my camera. Just sayin.



Some further notes: I refrigerated the leftover "burger" mixture overnight, and it was a lot easier to work with the next day -- the patties held together and didn't need to be microwaved prior to grilling. I just grilled them a bit slower. You'll need to watch the heat because the soy glaze is full of sugar and will burn like crazy. Also, I got tired of burgers so last night I cooked the burger mix with some diced peppers and onions and threw it in a tortilla with salsa, cheese and sour cream like a burrito. Turns out this stuff works pretty well as an all-around meat substitute.

=:=

As for the side dish of cauliflower with parmesan, etc.:

Pan-roast some cauliflower florets in a skillet with olive oil and minced fresh garlic until the cauliflower is browned around the edges, then add a handful of golden raisins and capers (don't skimp on these -- the flavor combination is what makes this dish), season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and top with shaved parmesan cheese. There you go.

Monday, October 13, 2008

if i had ever been here before on another time around the wheel, i would probably know just how to deal with all of you

There are thousands of songs -- dating back from the time I was eight or nine (earlier if you count my Grammy singing "Mairzey Doats" when I was just a little kid) -- that bring to life very specific moments in time. . . not just a memory, but a smell, a touch, a feeling. It's more than deja vu, I'm actually there, you know? I can't escape it, not that I'd want to anyway. Music is such an integral part of my life and has been for so long, I can't imagine not being able to put on a song and immediately recall the feel of the moist Florida Winter air on my arms as I ride my bike across the bridge to the beach ("Caught in the Rain" - Preston School of Industry). . . or the sun on my shoulders as I ride home to our little house in our little neighborhood on a crystalline Spring day ("I'm Always in Love" - Wilco).

What's strange is when it catches me by surprise -- when I'm at work in a new place, in a new town, surrounded by new people, and suddenly I'm back in Fort Pierce thanks to the Talking Heads. I didn't put this on, I didn't ask for this, not now. And always, always, I'm compelled to tell the story to whomever is with me. Tell my current boyfriend why this song reminds me of the guy who broke my heart when I was eighteen? Sure. Tell my little sister about listening to this one while waiting for the dope man? I can't help it. ("Bed for the Scraping" - Fugazi, and "Passat Dream" - Pavement, respectively) It's like I'm suddenly on The Couch, barfing up big buckets full of lurid details -- the ones nobody wants to hear, the ones beyond juicy. I've mentioned this here before; sometimes I don't realize when I've said too much until it's much too late. I suppose that doesn't only apply to music-induced memories, though; it's more a general observation on the way I approach life.

Fortunately, most of the memories I carry with me are good ones, and I feel lucky that I can instantly lift my mood with the push of a button (though I have to admit I sometimes succumb to a sort of teary nostalgia). I hear "Imaginary War" by Jawbreaker and I'm back in Trav's truck with four perfect friends, on the way to western Maryland for a crash-bang-blur of a ski trip. Pretty much anything by Band of Horses inevitably reminds me of Jesse and my first whiskey-hazy Fall in New York, all sweaters and sidewalks. Give me Mark Lanegan and I'm back at the blue box ("Ya'll remember when the drummer from Anthrax broke his leg skateboarding?"). Put on Redman or Sunny Day Real Estate and I'm eating a Schlotzky's Deluxe Original in Gainesville with Whitey, but if it's the Magnetic Fields I'll be in Kendall with Luis, who was always, always taking pictures.

Then there are the new ones. When I acquire new music I often wonder what feelings and events the songs will eventually be attached to; new situations and new friends get their own songs -- often the new songs and new experiences will become old memories together. But sometimes things overlap in surprising ways. At first Kentucky felt like My Morning Jacket, and it's true - I'll never be able to separate my first weeks here from "The Tennessee Fire." But then Band of Horses started creeping in, and Neutral Milk Hotel, and I started getting scared that new memories would replace the old familiar ones, and I'd lose those precious slices of time-travel, so I began grieving for them, like they were old friends who had slipped away. But maybe they've just gone on to a better place.

"I just can't find the time to write my mind the way I want it to read."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

time to take cover in a wishing well

Last night TM and I went to a couple art openings at the school: our adorable roommate's, and his lovely girlfriend's. Both were beautiful and impressive and obviously the work of very talented young artists. We didn't get the bunny-shaped cookies we were looking forward to, but we did get paper masks, which turned out to be the source of a lot more fun than you'd think.





Later on we met a bunch of folks at the local Mexican restaurant/bar/den of iniquity and got good-n-boozy on tequila and enormous cups of Dos Equis while a funny/bizarre girl repeatedly slapped a bunch of bewildered dudes for no apparent reason (I think TM got whacked in the face twice).

Today I feel like crap; I didn't sleep much (or well) last night, and I'm not happy about the fact that I have to go to work in forty-five minutes. In fact my desperate desire for procrastination is the only reason this post exists. Anyway, even though it was forty-four degrees yesterday morning, these guys are suddenly blooming in our front yard, so I guess life isn't all bad.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

know your enemy

Having political discussions is great, but if you're only talking to people who agree with you, it doesn't make for a very interesting conversation. And regardless of whom I'm talking with, I like to be informed on both sides so that I can at least feel like I have a fairly solid basis for my opinions.

These last few months The Man and I have been following the election pretty closely, and in an effort to provide ourselves the most complete (read: unbiased) view, we've been gathering our information from a variety of sources, including the standards (NY Times, CNN, The Daily Show), several foreign papers/sites (BBC, CBC, that Irish paper that keeps coming up in Google searches), and even some pretty right-leaning papers like the Christian Science Monitor and the Murray Times-Ledger. Until now we've stayed away from Fox News, but we thought in order to really understand the other half we ought to give it a whirl just to see what those crazy folk are saying.

Some asshole on Fox News just said, in all seriousness, that Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama and that he would have no problem with her running the country should McCain suffer another bout with melanoma and disappear from the scene.

I guess that's why I don't watch Fox News.

For a totally unbiased piece that pretty much sums it all up, check out this article: Report: 60 Million People You'd Never Talk To Voting For Other Guy

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cerebrovascular accident, part III

I don't know who wrote the song, but it is FUNKY.

i know where it came from: a bubble in a moment


Last week The Man and I woke up to find that during the night someone had placed this bizarre selection of books on our porch:



The titles included Death Reach, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a tourist's guide to "Scenic Oregon," John Saul's The Darkness, a Canadian book on basic karate techniques, and the beloved classic White Fang. Even though waking up to a few books on one's porch probably isn't frightening by most peoples' standards, it did kind of weird us out. Once we got over that, we put our considerable forensic investigatory skills to work and came up with several half-cocked theories. Before I tell you what they were, I invite you to use the comments section and share your own insight into this baffling phenomenon.

pay attention, gremlin face.

As Part II in the new Stroke Series here at the Dinghy, here's some pretty solid advice on what to do if you're actually having a stroke:


video

I was rather aghast when this fella told me he was sure he'd had a stroke -- and claimed to have "enjoyed" it -- but according to the experts, over 10% of middle-aged adults examined were found to have brain injuries consistent with stroke, even though they had no recollection of the actual event. Hmm. I always thought having a stroke was a pretty big deal, I can't imagine not knowing it's happening to you. Too bad this business doesn't extend to things like childbirth and the passing of kidney stones. I guess that's where drugs come in.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

turpentine and dandelion wine

Sorry I've been away so long, guys. I have been busily exploring my new hometown, its surrounding areas, and most enthusiastically, its bars. Amazing how much boozin' these folks manage to do in a place where you can't even walk into a 7-11 and buy yourself a beer. But drinking isn't all I've been doing. There's more. . .

Last weekend The Man and I went down to the Peddler's Mall -- kind of an upbeat craphole of a flea market, housed in a strip mall and populated by the kind of people who would put up this sign, quoting the 8th Commandment, and then sell a t-shirt that reads, "ASS. The other vagina." (There was also a shirt that said, "Blonde: The other white meat," right next to one that said "SOCCER MOM" in a cutesy font surrounded by daisies and butterflies and puppies.) Go figure.

And speaking of weird fundamentalist zealots. . . I have to say I haven't been exposed to them a whole lot since my arrival here, as The Man's art department cohorts tend to be pretty liberal folks; so when I was confronted with this horror show right around the corner from our house, it was a shocking reminder of just exactly where I am. Middle America. And sometimes, it ain't pretty. My friend KMS pointed out how they like to use pictures of full-term fetuses to protest first trimester abortions. I have an even bigger problem with the fact that a six-year-old child is being used to hold up the fucking sign.

=:=


In other, more divertive news, Brother J (a.k.a. The Outdoorsman) and I went out exploring in the woods one day last week; we caught a nice buzz and hiked to hell and back, he got poison oak and I got 5,000 lacerations from thorny plants because I am an idiot and wore shorts. As a side note, if you ever decide to go on a reckless drinking tear in the Kentucky backwoods with a fellow miscreant, Frank Black's "Dog in the Sand" is a damn good soundtrack.





We didn't have any firearms on us, but this sign made us wish we had.




The weirdest thing about this river was that it didn't have any alligators in it.




The butterflies in Kentucky are cuter. Prove me wrong.




The houses are cuter, too!

=:=


I've been teaching my new housemates how to play dominoes, and in turn they've been teaching me how to fight zombies and drink Yuengling from a can. Hey, when you have to drive 25 minutes to buy overpriced beer in the next state, you can't afford to be all choosy.

=:=

Some observations, some random declarative statements:

- I know a lot about a lot, but I don't know jack when it comes to the visual arts, which is why I'm so excited that I'm suddenly surrounded by people whose lives revolve around making, learning about and teaching art.  Seeing the intersection of art and academics is neat.  Of course, when it comes to dinner party discussion I haven't been able to contribute a whole lot, but I'm soaking up as much as my tiny pea brain can handle.  Onward!

- Coming from another relatively small town, I'm used to heavy sledding when it comes to attempting to purchase, say, some household items or an article of clothing.  There's just not much to choose from when it comes to shopping.  BUT, in Florida it was always nearby; here, there's nothing for miles and corn-filled miles.  This, in addition to the fact that I'm kind of poor these days, means that I am forced to do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart.  I'm sure I don't need to explain why this gives me the heebs on several levels.

- I think it's fair to say I've pretty much cornered the market on happiness.  I'm a lucky woman.

- "I love drinkin' beer and scrappin' metal.  Wanna date me?"