Monday, October 31, 2005


This weekend I went to a library book sale and I picked up some terrifying cookbooks. To the Queen’s Taste by Helen Train Hilles was published in 1937 and the “revised edition” that I picked up was from 1950. Frankly, it kind of amazes me that the book was ever revised and republished. It’s…something else. Look people, you may mock my love of tofu and I may sit at my Thanksgiving table alone, sadly eating my tofurkey, but I promise you I will never do this to you:
Serve Ancora green turtle soup cold, instead of hot. It will jell by itself. It seems to give the little pieces of turtle added flavor this way.
I also will never do this to you:
1. Serve ice cold clam broth (plain) in cups.
2. Semi-freeze and serve with salted whipped cream.

Oh, I could go on and on about the fact that cold, jelled turtle soup somehow taste more…turtlely…or I could just say the words “salted whipped cream” and watch you cry. But no, I am a good friend and I won’t.

These are only two examples of the horrors of To the Queen’s Taste, and the other book that I picked up The Art of Serving Food Attracively. Please stay tuned for more tasty nightmares.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Big Green Love

I kind of know the Hulk. He's a good guy, even if he is green. Or, perhaps maybe BECAUSE he is green! Either way, I, too, love kitties and the story of Savannah Kitty made me feel really bad. But then I felt really good at the response. Maybe, if you've got a spare $2 you can help out. But even if you can't, give a kitty or a doggie a little extra love today. We need them and they need us. It's just the way of the world. And give a little love to the Incredible Hulk too.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nothing Interesting...

Reading: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde, Ulysses by James Joyce (still and forever) and poetry wise, at red lights in the car, Some Ether by Nick Flynn. (OOPS! I just opened my bag and discovered that I have never actually finished reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I have to confess that I was getting annoyed with it though. I probably stopped reading it because I found it to be kind of preachy and snobby. But that’s just me).

Comics: Well, I haven’t actually been reading my comics lately but I have been carrying around Long Hot Summer and Secret of the Swamp Thing in my bag.

Listening to: John Vanderslice . He’s got a lot of mp3s available on his site. The one I particularly like though (Dance Dance Revolution) is NOT there. Also he runs an analog recording studio, that’s gotta be pretty cool if you are into audio stuff.

Watching: Well, I finally saw Wallace and Grommit Curse of the Wererabbit and I loved, loved, loved it. Brilliant. Aardman rocks. I’ve also been kind of obsessing over Green Wing. Excellent show. Hugely crushing on Stephen Mangan . And…hmm…well not actually watching much TV, although I am trying to catch up on episodes of Veronica Mars .

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

January Shivers

Despite my love for poetry, there are the only two poems I can recite from memory. One is, as previously mentioned, How Doth The Little Crocodile and the other is a poem I learned in first grade and it goes a little something like this (cue the upright bass)…

January shivers,
February shines.
March blows off the winter ice.
April makes the morning nice.
May is hopscotch lines.
June is deep blue swimming,
Picnics are July.
August is my birthday.
September whistles by.
October is for roller skates,
November is the fireplace.
December is the best because,
Of sleds and snow and Santa Claus.

Thank you! Thank you very much! Good night.

Oh, wait, I would like to mention that August is NOT my birthday, it is actually in November. And December is not the best precisely because of snow. Also, when reciting the above poem please do not whistle as you say “September whistles by”, it apparently annoys the teacher and gets you a time out or something. Not that I would know. Heh.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Know What Girls Like.

Arrrgh! I just read this article and I have to say it annoyed the hell out of me. Not because she’s wrong or anything but hey…here’s the big secret, boys…wanna get girls to read your comics? WRITE GOOD COMICS! Yeah, yeah, I can see the points she makes, they are all completely valid but you know what? I look inside the book too; I ask people who their favorite writers and artists are. I don’t know why this annoys me so much…well, actually, I do. I think this argument needs to be retired. I work in the comic book industry and I see the women at comic conventions and you know what? They are buying the books they like, not the ones their “fellas” like, not the ones that have the purtiest cover or the most “normal” looking woman or whatever. They are buying the books that interest them. And there seem to be plenty of books that do just that. And some of them have big-busted heroines on them and some of them have Wolverine and some of them are artsy-fartsy and some of them are shoot-em-ups.

I like to believe that there is a comic out there for every person who has ever said, “Oh, I don’t like comic books.” I believe that you just need to find the right match. And I suspect that the general difference between boys and girls and their comic reading habits is that girls (and women) are less willing to sift through the crap to get to the good stuff when they know where to get the exact novels, or cds or movies that they like because the information is more readily available. I know that I am more likely to take a chance on a book that has a blurb on it from an author I like and I am more willing to see a movie based on one actor than I am to pick up a comic that I know very little about. Fortunately, I do read comic reviews and I do have friends who know about comics and can make educated recommendations.

Sequential Tart has a recommended reading list that I think can help out a lot. It’s a little dated now but it’s a good place to start when looking for something that might appeal. Personally, I will go to the comic book store and look around until I find something that interests me. I have never really been intimidated or bothered by the geeks. But then again, I am my own geek and I can geek out with the best of them (just not on superhero stuff).

This was a much longer rant about how I am tired of the “girls don’t like comics” argument. Girls do like comics but when was the last time anyone handed you one? When was the last time you handed one to any other girl? If you know a woman who likes history, gift her with a copy of Age of Bronze, if she likes fairytales, try Fables. Horror? We got that. Sci-Fi? We got that too.

I think we need to start looking at comics like we do music. If you don’t like one song do you stop listening to music forever? I doubt it. I’m guessing you change the channel, buy a new cd, ask your friends what they are listening to. Did you never read another book when you decided that The Corrections sucked? Nah, there are plenty of other things to read. Move on.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Burden of the Bard

image "borrowed" from Toothpaste for Dinner

One of the other things I have been thinking about a lot lately is William Shakespeare’s plays. I am a pretty big fan of Shakespeare, although I haven’t always been. I think the first time I ever read any I was pretty annoyed. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how “Romeo and Juliet” could possibly be relevant to whatever the hell I was doing as a freshman in high school. And it was hard to read too! Not to mention the iambic pentameter, what the heck was that all about? But with a little guidance (and oh how important that is for the Shakespeare reader), I came to see the value and the pleasure of his plays. And oh, yeah, I also found out that Romeo and Juliet were just about the same age as I was when I was first reading it.

One of the most important things I have learned about appreciating Shakespeare is that it’s not nearly as tough as it seems. Shakespeare, by most accounts (and please, I could get into all the theories about how he never lived, about who actually wrote Shakespeare’s stuff, about how Shakespeare himself was not smart enough to have created all that and how it must have been Bacon or Marlowe or, my personal favorite, Queen Elizabeth (there’s a new contender now but at the moment his name escapes me)) was a pretty simple guy. And the stuff he wrote was pretty…simple. He wrote about the universal themes in life that we all deal with because they are…universal. Tell me you don’t think about life and death (MacBeth), cheating and honesty (ooh, MacBeth again and Much Ado About Nothing) your relationships with your parents (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, King Lear), the evil guy at work (Oooh, how about Richard III or Julius Caesar?) and race relations (Othello) or even a bad travel experience (The Tempest) on an almost daily basis (can you tell I much prefer the tragedies to the comedies?)? It’s all there in black and white to be read (See, what’s black and white and read all over? SHAKESPEARE!). (Who uses too may parenthesis and with no real rhyme or reason? REN!)

And Shakespeare, he was good to the ladies, even if he was writing the parts for men. Actually, he was better to the women in the comedies than he was to the women in the tragedies or histories but I’m sure I’ll get to that later. Bridget Jones may long for the end of her days as a singleton but Katherina (of Taming of the Shrew) was quite content on her own. While this was not necessarily unheard of during Shakespeare’s time, it certainly was, much like today, uncommon for a woman to be content with her own company and council. But he even created Beatrice from Much Ado about nothing and she is one heck of a tough, sassy kind of gal! Shakespeare knew the deal. Men can be fools over women and money and power and the women…well, they gotta get it done on their own…ok, like I said, at least in the comedies. Once you get to the tragedies you get an awful lot of chicks dying for their men and that certainly is a tragedy.

For me, the key to falling in love with Shakespeare was learning how to read him. In the end I figured out that I understand it best when I read it aloud, which is hardly surprising since they are plays, they were meant to be spoken. If you catch me reading and muttering under my breath as I do, chances are you have found me with some Shakespeare and I am just trying to sort out a bit of word order. But for me, it’s totally worth it.

Hail to the Chief!
He's a Chief and He Needs Hailing!

So, the President of the United States came to Los Angeles. Los Angeles, a city renowned for it’s transportation problems. The city with the most trafficked and traffic heavy freeways in the United States. The city where he SHUT DOWN THE MAJOR THRUWAYS AT RUSH HOUR LAST NIGHT! Yeah, jerk…OH, wait… HE DID IT AGAIN THIS MORNING!

Fine, the most important man in the United States, whatever. But I don’t get paid if I don’t get to work. And that’s just me. What about the gazillion other people that I was on the road with? Jeez, if you want me to spend money to boost the flagging economy, let me get to work and make money so I can spend it!

Anyway, so, while stuck in traffic I was thinking about the first female president. And the implications, they scared me. Not because she will be a she. I think that’s just fine. In fact, I am not sure it will make that big a difference as the political landscape will still weigh heavily towards male and although the president gets to do a lot of special important things, it still takes a bunch of other people to get it done…and most of them are boys.

What scared me is that, well…some things are just easier for boys. I mean, yeah, people said that John Kerry looked like Frankenstein. But they also said he was “ruggedly handsome”. But remember when Hillary was first lady? Remember how the newspapers, ALL the newspapers, even the respected ones followed her every haircut? Look, a guy has a bad hair day and he can pretty much rub some gel in it and look boyish and tousled. A woman has a bad hair day and she looks unkempt. A guy, well, he can wear a blue suit and yeah, maybe he makes a bad tie choice but he’s a guy, they don’t do fashion. But will a female president ever be able to go out of the White House in jeans? And mind you, the women that will be stepping up to the plate, while very intelligent, are also not hip young things. They aren’t even suburban soccer moms (you should see the soccer moms around here, HOOTCHIE MAMAS!). So we’re not talking the kind of woman who can wear low-slung flairs from the gap with a cute little v-neck sweater. We’re talking mom jeans and one of those shiny patterened track suits, aren't we?

It’s one thing to wear Dolce and Gabbana at a State Function but for the day-to-day drudgery of government work it’s pretty much the basic suit for women, which we all know is not really all that flattering no matter what fabulous designer makes it for you. Look, when it comes to clothes and hair, dudes just have it easier. We give them a pass on it too. Oh look, he’s all rumpled…he must be busy! But are we going to give that same pass to a woman? Oh hell no! She better look pressed and perfect if she’s going to be our president! She's better not only bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, she better look good doing it! You know what would be cool though? Like a total June Cleaver look for the president. Let’s see the conservatives complain about that one!

OK, so I’ve gotten a little off topic, yeah, whatever. It just occurred to me that the first female president (well, you know, the first ACKNOWLEDGED female president, you know there have been plenty of first ladies that were running the show from behind the curtains…oh, you know it's true!) is going to have to contend with so much more stupid stuff than any male. Not that that is different from any other woman, but no one has to see my bad hair day on the front page. Or those really bad shoes I wore yesterday, what was I thinking?

But all I really want is a president who is smarter than me. How hard can that really be? Because you know full well I would not have closed the 405 for a single second today, especially when I have my own helicopter. And hey, I’m the president; they aren’t going to start anything without me! Yeah. I’m still mad. Whatever.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Better than a tofu turkey?

Schwee bought be a cuppycake. I only ate half today (I'll eat the rest tomorrow) but man was it a nice surprise. THANK YOU, SCHWEE!

Come on over for dinner!

I found a new recipe for tofu turkey! I found a new recipe for tofu turkey! Who wants to have Thanksgiving dinner at my house?

No one? Really? C’mon!

Yeah, that’s what I figured .

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


A little linkage for the nerd in you:

You know it’s bad when you are laughing at sewing patterns and crafts gone wrong …but you WILL laugh.

An online novel that is keeping me entertained and engaged.

A “sort of” poem that made me laugh out loud. Heh…I think Stan done it.

And for a the really big nerds …yeah, this makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Now We're Cookin'!

I got ten questions on COOKING (one of my favorite subjects!!!) from Jodi-odi-odi:

1) What is an early memory of cooking or helping your mom in the kitchen?
I don’t have an actual memory of it. I have seen pictures of myself with a mixer and a big grin on my face and I know I did help around the kitchen a lot. But I don’t really remember much of it. I do know that my mother taught me what her mother taught her about not being wasteful so until recently, I always scraped the inside of an eggshell with my finger to get all the eggy goodness out. It is only within the last few years that I decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore and stopped. That’s me, super wasteful.

2) Did you have a "specialty" as a kid?
Again, I don’t really remember much of my childhood. Maybe it was those several concussions or something. I know I made a lot of cakes, I baked beer bread, I made my own bagels and pretzels, and I helped with dinner and all that kind of stuff. But I don’t think I really had a specialty until I was a teenager. Then I became very fond of a chocolate cake that was actually made from mix. In fact, I have the recipe memorized. It was originally called “Peggy Lennon’s Christmas Cake” when I found the recipe in a magazine but over the years it has be called, “Karen’s Chocolate cake” and sometimes “Dan’s cake” after a guy who really liked it. Here it is in all its high fat glory:
Mix one box of the darkest chocolate cake mix (no pudding in the mix) that you can find with 1 package chocolate pudding (I have used instant and non-instant, they both seem to work), 4 eggs, 1/2 cup oil. 1/2 cup water and large container sour cream. Mix that nicely and then add one bag of chocolate chips. Put the whole lot in a greased and floured (use a little cocoa instead of flour if you want) bundt pan. Chuck it in the oven at about 350° for 45 or so minutes. You can’t really do the toothpick test on this one because it will always be too moist but makes sure it’s not jiggly in the middle. Let cool and then sprinkle with a little confectioners sugar. You really don’t want to ice this cake, it’s just overkill. I have made a lower fat version of this and it’s good but not as good. But it can be done! Choose your own poison.

3) I know you love to bake cupcakes. Do you have a favorite that you make?
The cupcake thing is actually a rather new thing for me. I have made them before but it is only since they became trendy that I really started experimenting with them. The thing is, you should be able to use just any old recipe, but I have found that it really doesn’t work as well as you would expect. Because of the small size of the cakes, I am finding that you really need a rich recipe to keep them moist. So far I have found a good peanut butter cupcake recipe and a good yellow one called “Golden Butter Cupcakes”. I haven’t found a chocolate one that I like yet. But I will cheerfully continue the experimentation.

4) Are there any non-baked foods you enjoy making?
I like cooking in general. I like to make pretty much anything but I am not terribly fond of frying food. Too much mess and danger for me. I do it on occasion but I really avoid anything that takes more than a light coating of oil in the bottom of a skillet. I do especially like to experiment with vegetarian dishes though. I like to try and make it taste good…which, as we all know, can be something of a challenge. Oh! I like making soup too! In the past month or so I have made chicken noodle, New England Clam Chowder (lo-fat version) and Tomato soup. All of them were at the very least, edible.

5) What is your favorite market to shop in for your ingredients?
Hmmm…well, I usually end up in three markets, Albertson’s for staples, like flour and sugar, Trader Joe’s for eggs and dairy and pre-prepared stuff and Whole Foods for the slightly more exotic stuff like whole wheat pastry flour and flax seeds and stuff like that. I really like buying my vegetables and fruits at farmer’s markets but I tend to not use what I buy fast enough so I usually only go there when I know I am making something special. I had the same problem when I used to order my fruits and veggies online from Organic Express. They have a great service and excellent food but I found I couldn’t use it fast enough.

6) Will you be cooking for Thanksgiving this year?
Ah, I don’t know yet. I’m sure I will be cooking SOMETHING, but we haven’t made firm plans yet.
Will you cook a turkey?
One way or another I am sure I will make a turkey, even if I don’t cook it for the actual Thanksgiving dinner. The whole big Thanksgiving deal is probably my favorite meal of the year. I don’t really need it more than at Thanksgiving and Christmas but I really, really like it. Someday though, I do intend to try a Tofurkey. I made some homemade tofu turkey slices once and they were…not good. But I really want to try a good one…ok, well…I really want to try one…I don’t know how good it will be.

7) Do you help relatives cook when you go home for holidays?
A bit. Probably not as much as I could. I help a bit with Christmas dinner, usually by stirring the gravy and Christmas breakfast by making toast. Last year I carved the turkey for the first time (my dad usually does it but he didn’t feel like it). Sometimes when I go home I make Deviled Clams for my family or I help my mom make whatever it is she is making but I don’t really do any baking or anything. My nephews like to make cookies with their Grammy so they take care of that. And my mom has what she likes down pretty well. I do take some stuff with me though; usually I give my family homemade candy at Christmas time, Guinness Truffles, Caramel Flur De Sal Truffles and Bourbon Balls. I don’t much care for them but they seem to like them. Maybe this year I will introduce them to scrambled tofu!

8) You may have mentioned this before, but do you have a favorite TV chef and/or cooking show?
It might be easier to say whom I don’t like. But…well that seems mean. I am fond of Ina Garten who has a show called “Barefoot Contessa” and I love Nigella Lawson, she makes great British-y food. I think what I like best about both of them is that they look like kind of elegant, lovely posh women but they both mix stuff with their hands and say “Hey, if you don’t feel like making stock from scratch, buy it from a can!”. They have a more realistic and relaxed attitude than someone like Martha Stewart, who I also like to watch but I don’t very often. I still enjoy watching Emeril Lagasse although I don’t feel like I learn very much from him, I just think he’s kind of cute. I am a long time fan of Julia Child and I am kind of currently obsessed with two PBS cooking shows, One Plate Mexico with Rick Bayless and New Scandanavian Cooking. Which I think I may have mentioned before.

9) Do you cook from recipes or do you improvise?
I read recipes but I rarely follow them to the letter. I love reading cookbooks but I almost never do exactly what a recipe says. I guess sometimes I should but I tend to know what I like as far as spices and textures and adjust accordingly. For example, I know that I like my cakes to have a pronounced vanilla flavor so I usually double the amount of vanilla called for, and I don’t care for the underlying taste of coffee with chocolate, even though they say it enhances the chocolate, so I don’t add it. Also, anyone that calls for an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper is just crazy so I add to taste, which is probably more like a teaspoon for me, maybe more.

10) Do you like mushy peas? Someone in England sent me a recipe, but I'm not even sure where to get the ingredients. Would you be willing to at least consult?
I like mushy peas just fine but I think I have only had them once or twice. I’m betting it’s the marrowfat peas that you are concerned about finding and I have no idea where you would get those, but I suspect one of the British stores can help. And I would be more than happy to help you make them or even make them for you.

Friday, October 14, 2005

This One Goes to Eleven

I asked Jules what I should write about today and she said:

WXPN had people write in & they compiled the top 885 albums of all time - they are up to the 20s today - there has been much debate and people have been picking their top 10 albums.

I thought about it and thought about it but I had a lot of trouble deciding what the top ten are for me. So I went the wimpy way and decided to instead list the ten “go to” albums for me. What I listen to when I don’t know what I want to listen to, what I listen to over and over again. The music that I can rely on in a crisis and never tell me “I love you, just not that way.”

Here they are in no special order:

Buffalo Tom Smitten
Elvis CostelloMy Aim is True
David Bowie Aladdin Sane
The Bangles All Over the Place
Hoodoo Gurus Mars Needs Guitars
Rolling Stones Some Girls
QueenA Night at the Opera
Cake Fashion Nugget
Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack
T Rex Electric Warrior
The Jayhawks Hollywood Town Hall

I’m not saying that these are the most brilliant albums ever made or the best bands that ever existed. I love them all but hey WHERE ARE THE BEATLES? See, love the Beatles but I don’t run for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when I am sad. I don’t know why, I just don’t. You know I have unnatural fondnesses for Boy George, Cyndi Lauper, The Clash and The Ramones. You know that I like all kinds of music. That Ella Fitzgerald is my joy, Nina Simone is my rock and that I have been in love with the memory of Chet Baker since the beginning of time. You know that I like dance music, and pop music and punk music and classical music. I even willingly listen to country and opera. But time and time again it comes down to these eleven.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girlfriend Website

This picture has been driving me crazy on Yahoo. I just...look, it's all breasts here. And sure, they are nice but really...I don't need to see this.


I came across this on a randomly generated blog and I have no idea why I find the "gift ideas for teenage girlfriend website" line so funny but I do.


This one...well...c'mon! You're not using them! Make some dreams come true. Maybe this is a good gift idea for teenage girlfriend?


Finally, proof that we all really do need a nap.


Can I just say, this morning was not great? Well, I'm saying it. This morning was not great. Deep breath, try again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ramble on...

A combination of an email from an old friend and an article about poetry has got me thinking today about…poetry. I am a fan. I have been for a very long time but it seems to me that most people find this a dated affectation. In a way, I suppose, a fondness for anything is an affectation. We tend to define ourselves by what we like, do we not? But that’s not really the point here.

Poetry isn’t something we think about but it surrounds us. We THINK we hear it in advertising jingles and rap music and yet we don’t notice it in tv shows like “Deadwood.” We regularly pick up novels but almost never pick up poetry. Every once in a while we come across something in the newspaper that MIGHT be poetry, if you squint really hard. But in the end, rhyming is not enough, meter is not enough, emotion is not enough. Somewhere along the way the importance of discipline in poetry was lost.

Hey, you could string some words together, match some rhyme scheme and throw in a reference to…oh I don’t know, how the darkness envelopes you like the womb and you could call it a poem. You could! I’ve seen it done. But does that really get the job done?

Or, you could be Eminem and rhyme no with no and her with competitor..with…”cheddar’s incredda’”? Yikes, I’m going to risk being branded a snob and just flat out say that this is not poetry. It might make for a catchy song but…yeah. Seriously, here’s a bit from one of his songs…

Niggaz that take no for an answer, get told no
Yeah I been told no but it was more like, "No, no, no!!!"
Life a bitch that'll fuck you if you let her
Better come better than better to be a competitor
this vet is ahead of, the shit is all redder, you deader and deader
A medic instead-a the cheddar's incredda'

I can’t say it’s bad, I don’t have the background in rap rhyme schemes to assert that. But I am pretty comfortable saying…not poetry. Then again, I certainly wouldn’t say that about all rap or even song lyrics. Very often they stand alone just fine.

Hey, I might even argue that poetry is a pretty basic urge. Generally children learn to read by rhyme. Consider that one of the most common first words that a child learns to read is cat. Suddenly the vocabulary is increased significantly by rhyming. As long as the kid gets “cat” and knows the alphabet, she suddenly has rat, bat, sat, fat, hat, mat, pat, and vat with very little effort, start adding letter combinations and the list goes on…chat, frat (ok, they won’t really learn this one until later but still…I didn’t want to have to go with shat either…heh).

Anyway, I guess in thinking about poetry today I’m thinking that it’s something that has become a…well, kind of an educational cliché. Generally I think people only think about it in school and then only because they have to. Sadly, I also think that you miss out when you don’t explore it a little. There’s a lot to like in poetry, unfortunately, there’s a lot to hate too (and I am not going to link anything to “hate” because I think you have to decide that one for yourself).

Hmm…I don’t think I’m done on this subject but I think have been boring enough for one day. I still have things to say on the subject and I want to talk about why “Howl” is a great poem, even if you don’t like it. But please, read a poem this week. Just one. Just a short one. It’s good for you and it’s better than eating brussel sprouts (yes, I know, I know, you LIKE brussel sprouts…freak).

Yeah, I am boring like that…what can I say?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Stuff...and Junk

This weekend was nice. I did a bit of cooking, went to a party and spent Sunday on the couch. Nary a bathroom was cleaned and it was good.

I did make Golden Butter Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, Deep Dish Chocolate Brownies, Non-vegan Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Low-Fat New England Clam Chowder(ish).

The muffin recipe was totally vegan but I wasn’t in the mood to grind flax seeds so…sorry PETA but they’ve got eggs in them. They are good though and I will try them next time as a totally vegan recipe. If it helps any they were probably free-range eggs.

The clam chowder(ish) was a bid to get rid of two cans of chopped clams that I’ve had in my cabinet for…forever. I think Steffie gave them to me before she moved out of town six months ago. The chowder(ish) wasn’t really very chowdery but it was ok. I would use fresh clams next time but that only makes sense since I did finally get rid of those chopped clams.

At the party I tried a new whisky called Cragganmore. It was pretty good. But I think I do have a new favorite whisky (click to see).“Aromas of complex ripe fruit (golden raisins, marmalade, cherries, apples), toffee, treacle, and hint of mint. Full, rich texture and body—almost chewy. Flavors of lush fruit drenched with honey and caramel.” Um…wow. How can I resist that?

And finally…stupid things I am proud of for no real reason…
I am proud that:

  • I am the kind of girl who owns a flask and drinks whisky.
  • I dictated poetry to my mother before I could write (It’s not good though, nothing to be proud of).
  • I have a fairly extensive and useless amount of knowledge about modern british televison comedy.
  • I can make bread.
  • I know how to hem my own pants (but not very well).
  • I know which fork to use.
  • I can name all of the New Kids on the Block (but only their first names).
  • I know all the words to “One Night in Bangkok.”
  • I eat raw oysters (Hey, a lot of people won’t eat them!).
  • I can make a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy (ok, bad joke, but I can!).

Oh wait, finally, finally…I do not know nor do I understand why Jules’ computer now believes that it is 1904. She told me I should write about that. So I did.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Officially Outed

I have been officially outed. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, "Ren has a blog-like thing." It's no longer a secret. It is, however, really, really embarrassing.

Anyway, I added some more linky-poos for when you are bored.

And this made me laugh and I am really not sure why...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TV Rots the Brain!

Here’s another one for Jules. She said I hadn’t written in a while and I asked what I should write about. She said maybe the new fall programming…

But I haven’t been watching all the new shows so I will instead tell you what I do watch…

Monday nights we’ve been kind of watching and kind of taping. I had high hopes for “How I Met Your Mother” and I decided it’s…OK…just OK. There are a few good jokes here and there but it’s just another sit-com really. I do like the lead actor though. I think he manages the awkward funny thing quite well and hey, DOOGIE. But yeah, I don’t really care about this one and if I am bored I will watch it and if I am busy I will not worry. After that we watch “Two and a Half Men” which I am a little surprised that I find so funny. I have always ADORED Jon Cryer, so that’s worth the price of admission right there. Although I really, really, really despise the theme song and force my husband to mute it before that one voice hits the high note. Then we watch “Medium” which I really do like. It’s not so much the medium aspect of it though. I really like the way they show the family interacting on that show. It’s really honest and believable. Even if you can’t get behind her physic abilities I think that the husband’s responses to her and her work and how they both deal with their children are pretty honest and funny.

Tuesday, I would normally watch “House” but lately we have been watching “My Name is Earl” and then the second half of “House”. I will confess that I don’t think “House” is that innovative a show but I do think that Hugh Laurie is a great actor, a brilliant comedian and just a lot of fun to watch. Omar Epps doesn’t hurt my eyes either. So there. “My Name is Earl” is…OK. I like it. I wanted not to like it but I like it. Maybe not so much that I can’t miss it but it’s good entertainment and I am pleased to see Jason Lee doing such a fine job. I will say that I don’t care much for the redneck/white trash humor but this show has kept pretty pleasant about it all and I really can’t say anything about it. I do watch “Boston Legal” and I do like it but again it’s a matter of enjoying the actors more than anything else. And it’s another of those, “Hey, I’ll watch this if I don’t have something else to do” kind of shows.

Wednesday is going to prove to be difficult in our house. He likes “Lost” I do not. I like “Criminal Minds” he is “eh” on that but we both really like “Veronica Mars” and THEYARE ALL ON AT THE SAME TIME AND NO WE DO NOT HAVE TIVO OR A DECENT VCR!! Crap.

Thursday we have been watching “CSI” for years and then we added “Without a Trace” to the mix. I find that I don’t care about either of them anymore and I only watch them because they have pretty men on the cast. Yay! for pretty men but Meh! for the shows. I did watch “Everybody Hates Chris” even though I don’t much care for Chris Rock and I thought it was a good show with one problem…Chris Rock. I don’t really think that the show needs his narration but I understand WHY they have it. Love the parents though. And the writing was quite good. I also took a look at “Love, Inc.” because a friend of the husband created it. It was fine. Good natured, cute enough. Busy Phillips was very funny and I would say it made me laugh out loud a few times but, in the end, it’s just another show that I will watch if I am around and watching TV but not really think about otherwise.

On Friday I have been watching the show that nobody else likes and LOVING IT! I like “Threshold”. I like the actors. I like the idea of the crisis plan management; I like the fact that there is a linguistics expert on the show. I like that the mystery is not “Are they aliens” but rather “Holy Shit! Aliens! How are we going to deal with this?” This show just totally does it for me the most as far as new shows go. I know that there are very few people who like it but hey, I am one of them (Jules is another). I will continue to watch this as long as it on. I do try to catch “Battlestar Galactica” on Fridays too but I miss it fairly often so I’ve been taping them so I can catch up.

Saturday, there is nothing on that I am interested in.

Sunday I watch “King of the Hill”, “The Simpsons” and “Rome”. I do love “Rome”. I was first intrigued because it stars one of my favorite actors, Ciaran Hinds but it has turned into a very entertaining soap opera with the added benefit of a little bit of history. Beautiful men and women, often nekkid and political intrigue. A little something for everyone.

That’s what I’ve been watching. It seems like a lot of TV when I write it down and that really bothers me. But I will note that since the end of “Buffy” I don’t watch anything religiously. I do tape things and watch them later…but mostly I just ignore the tapes and never catch up.

OH! It did just occur to me that there are two things I ALWAYS watch on Saturday afternoons…”Mexico, One Plate at a Time” which is a sort of cooking/travel show with chef Rick Bayless and “Scandinavian Cooking” which is about…Scandinavian cooking. I also very often watch “Mystery!” I particularly like “Foyle’s War” and “Mrs. Bradley Mysteries”. But those are the kind of thing I usually stumble across and then think “Oh crud! I could have been watching GOOD TV!”

OK, Jules. Is that enough? What shall I write about tomorrow?

If All My Exes Lived in Texas...

...well, it would be a pretty depressing state. Oh...wait...

Jules seemed to express some concern that I wasn’t writing enough. Since she and Jodi-odi-odi are the only people who actually read this blog I am trying to deliver on more entries. I cannot promise quality, only slightly more quantity.

I was thinking about ex-boyfriends today, in a general sense. I don’t have much to say about them but if I did I realized that I would have to give them aliases…

“Slightly Gay First Boyfriend With Too Many Teeth Who Was Such A Bad French Kisser That I Decided French Kissing Was Gross” seems a little too long. Perhaps he could just be called…”Toothy”?
or what about…
“Totally Gay Boyfriend Who Decided To Come Out At A Friends Wedding”? How do I shorten that one?
Then there is…
“Pompous Ex-Boy Friend Who Was Defensive About Not Going To College And So Tried To Make Up For It By Being Snobby”
“Bad Ass. Leather-Wearing Ex-Boyfriend Who Wasn’t A Bad Ass At And And Was Really A Pretty Nice Guy Who Actually Played The Trombone”
Later there would be…
“Nice But Slightly Overbearing Ex-Boyfriend Who Constantly Compared Me To His Far Hotter Ex-Girlfriend And Who's Mother Didn’t Like Me At All”
and then
“Lovely Ex-Boyfriend Who Had And Ex-Girlfriend Who Had His Baby But Was Dealing With That And Was Pretty Ok Until He Started Taking Me For Granted and I Did the Same to Him”
Oh and one of my personal favorites…
“Only Dated Briefly Ex-Boyfriend Who Was Smart Enough That When He Didn’t Understand Something I Said Would Respond With “Now Say It Again And Pretend I’m Stupid”…I always appreciated that.
Jodi-odi-odi wrote today about her love for Halloween. I..uh…can’t do that. I really don’t like Halloween. Not at all. I have never been really fond of it. I like fall a lot. And I am a bit of a pagan and I like to make costumes so you’d think this would be right up my alley (huhuhuh…I said, “up my alley”). I’m even the slightest bit goth so it seems like a match made in heaven, or I guess it’s more appropriate to say hell here but either way, it just don’t fly with me.

I don’t like to be scared. I hate haunted houses and I despise rubber masks. I don’t care that much for candy either…ok, well that’s not true, I do like candy but you know how Halloween candy can be, all Necco wafers and candy corn. Ugh!

When I was a kid I often stayed with friends while my parents were out of town for business. On more than one occasion this occurred on Halloween. One year, Nancy Huettner’s mother decided to take us all to a haunted house at the local mall. Oh it was bad. I freaked just a little bit and told her I couldn’t go in. Thankfully she didn’t force the issue and I sat outside and waited while the rest of the kids went through. I can still remember the guy outside that was kind of carnival barking to get people to come in. He wore a long black robe, a really creepy devil mask and he yelled (over and over again) “Come into my house…(he would pause here)….and you shall see…(another pause)…NOTHING BUT DEATH!”. Dude, I was scared. Really, really scared. I had nightmares for weeks.

I always liked the costume aspect of it though. I don’t think I had any scary costumes though. I know I was at one time or another:

  • A bunny
  • Raggedy Ann
  • A ballerina
  • A Mexican Fiesta Dancer
  • An Italian Fiesta Dancer (um, yeah, I went to dancing school and had a lot of leftover costumes)
  • A Lady Ghost (with pearls and a hat and handbag)
  • Robin Hood
  • Peter Pan (same costume as Robin Hood)
  • A Hershey’s Kiss
  • A Hobo
  • ----then there is a big blank, like maybe I didn’t dress up in high school, I don’t remember.
  • In college I know I dressed as a classmate once
  • A gypsy
  • Earth (the element, but I did go with Wind and Fire to a party)
  • The Rainforest
  • A spiderweb
  • I once went to a party where the theme was “Under the Sea” so I wore the letter “c” on a band over my head…that was pretty lame.
  • OH OH! My favorite ever! I went to a space themed party as Arthur Dent. I wore flannel pajamas, a flannel robe and I carried my towel. I had a fish in my ear and a copy of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy in my pocket.

Illustration Friday: Float

illustration friday: float

I like this one ok. Someone told me that they didn’t like the nostril and neither do I but…well, two things. I don’t like the word “nostril” at all and also, I do set myself a time limit when I do these Illustration Friday illustrations. I might go back and tinker with this one a bit more because I do agree, the whole face is pretty sketchy but I wanted to concentrate on the dandelion itself.

When I do these I try to keep the time to about an hour (on and off). I don’t just do the picture straight through, I make a few lines, do something else, come back to it. I also make an effort to use as few lines as possible and keep the image generally more suggestive than realistic. Adobe Illustrator is great for that kind of thing.

When I first started working in Illustrator, I worked with and artist who I think was named Boris (but it might have been Ivan). He did amazing illustrations with an absolute minimum of shapes and lines. But they were very clean, very clear and very beautiful. We worked on an astronomy book together (although I never met him and I don’t think I even spoke to him on the phone, it was all digital) and his illustrations were generally of people looking at constellations and they were amazing. In the back of my mind I have always strived to make my illustrations as simple and crisp as his.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Celebrity Life

Living in Los Angeles, it is not uncommon to think you recognize the guy in front of you in line at the grocery store and then suddenly realize that it’s…um…well…usually it’s a character actor that you don’t know the name of and you can’t figure out where you may have seen him. That happens a lot. But,,,my point is, there are a lot of actors out here and from time to time I catch myself staring at Nestor Carbonell in the line at Ralph’s (no, really, I did. Schwee said “Hey, look! It’s that guy from Suddenly Susan!" and I said “Do you mean… BATMANUEL ?!”

I guess I have seen my fair share of “celebrities.” I was particularly thrilled to see Colm Meaney because I have a crush on him but was also slightly distressed to discover that he has a very large head. Not that it doesn’t totally work for him though. He’s a cutie anyway. I see Gary Grubbs all the time. He’s a very good character actor but I can never place him. I always think that he’s someone I actually know and that I should speak to, like maybe I worked in the same office with him or something. I think he’s used to me staring by now because he’s very nice to me. He always gives me his huge, beautiful smile (really, he’s got an amazing smile) and says hello. I swear it’s happened like 10 times now.

It amuses me. I like the occasional star sighting and I always report them to my dad, who finds them hilarious for some reason. But I really have nothing to say to these people (except Gary Grubbs, I always say hello to him because he is so damn nice…and he has a pretty smile). I think even if I saw my favoritest favorite actor in the world in the Albertson’s, I wouldn’t say anything. I am terribly shy but even so, what would I possibly have to say to Alan Rickman (who is my favoritest favorite ever!)? “Um…hey, I think you’re really cool . Wanna make out?” I’m pretty sure that will only get me arrested. But I do always think that if I run into him in my favorite coffee shop, ordering the same tea I drink and reading the same book I am reading, or better yet, the same comic book I am reading. And he’s sitting all alone…then I might walk up to him and tell him that it’s a great book and oh, hey is that lavender mint green tea? It’s good isn’t it? Try it iced, it’s even better. It goes great with the brioche. Maybe then he’ll want to make out with me. Heee!

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's Monday again.
Why does that always happen?

I like to cook, I always have. I like to experiment and if there are any god given talents, the kind that you have no idea where they come from, I suspect that any I might have concern cooking.

My mom is a fine cook but it was never something she really cared about. Both of my grandmothers were good cooks but they too had other things to do. I don’t remember any of them spending a whole Saturday in the kitchen trying out new recipes. But that’s what I do. And I enjoy it.

Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I decide that I have to perfect a recipe. I did that with bean soup, with bread, cookies, brownies…right now I am trying to learn how to make the perfect biscuits.

Biscuits are tricky. Unlike bread, they require that you don’t handle them very much. When I was learning how to make bread it took me a while to understand how much kneading it actually needed (a lot! Usually about 10 minutes which is an awful long time to knead bread). So the biscuits are a challenge to not touch the dough.

So far I am not doing very well. I did find a recipe that gives me a little more flexibility (it has an egg white in it) and seemed to work ok. But the traditional biscuit recipes…I have not mastered them yet.

I am also very interested in vegetarian and vegan food. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, (although I have considered it in the past) but I am interested in making nutritious, healthful food THAT TASTES GOOD! And I emphasize that because my friends and family often tease me for my fondness of vegetarian cooking, saying that it tastes like rabbit food. Puh-leeze, would I seriously eat something that didn’t taste good?

So this morning I was reading about a new vegan cookbook which I am interested in checking out (how could I resist any cookbook that features “Fronch Toast”? I only hope they say to serve it with “Peru”(And if you got that joke you are obviously a friend of mine). So I went to the website to look around a bit. I noticed a recipe for scrambled tofu which is one of my very favorite comfort foods (go figure!) and I was a little shocked to see in the comments that a lot of people had never tried it. People who are, presumably, vegetarians! How is it that I make this all the time and I’m not a vegetarian but people who are have never tried it?

I know, I know…scrambled tofu, right? But I decided to try it because…well, because I had never had it. And now I love it. Very much. I think it’s important to try new foods. I realize that it can be scary and there can be allergy issues involved and everything but heck! It’s worth a try! Especially if you are newly vegetarian and tend to limit your choices.

So here is what I do…heat some olive oil in pan, toss in some cracker crumbs and just sauté until they start to brown, add crumbled, drained tofu (I like it less firm but you can use what ever kind you like), toss in some chopped green onions, salt, garlic and lots of pepper and stir it around until it’s hot. Serve on toast. YUM! No, really, it’s good.

So, there you go. I tried something new, and found a new favorite.

Also, I saw that Harvey Danger was offering downloads of their new album for free. I only know that one kind of obnoxious but certainly catchy song “Flagpole Sitta” from them but I support any band that wants me to listen to their music for free so I downloaded it. I’m not saying it’s genius but hey, they mention drinking wine from boxes! That’s what I do! They must be just like me! And “Wine, Women and Song” has enough Queen influence to make me happy. Also, I gotta admit that I really love the title “Cream and Bastards Rise.” It’s an entertaining listen. Well worth the money I spent on it.

Speaking of music, Jodi-odi-odi and I went to see The New Pornographers the other night. They rocked very nicely, thank you. Happy sort of music. I had a really nice time despite the one crappy band on the line up and the couple that insisted on standing too damn close to me. I tried really hard to cough on his neck enough to gross him out but he would not be moved!

By the way, happy (belated) birthday Jodi-odi-odi! Thanks for being my friend for one more year!