Wednesday, February 24, 2010


1) Hook and I are starting a band real soon. Name: TBD. Instrument assignments: TBD. I'll sing mostly falsetto.
2) Lately I've taken to wearing large, windchimey hippie earrings. Who knows why, but the trend seems on course to stick around. Next, I'm gonna buy some Chacos.
3) Now more than ever, I resemble Chloe Sevigny. This is true: this is not just something I'm saying because that one facebook meme from a month ago caused me to start thinking a lot about which celebrities (if any) I resemble. I don't have any pictures to support this contention*, but the next time you see me, bear in mind this assertion and pay especial attention to my eyelashes, which are very, very defined.

*I do have one picture, but my face is real shiny in it and I don't want to clean it up (the picture, that is: my face right now is totally clean).

Music that I listen to might be classified as "classic rock."

Hook and I went to Amoeba tonight so that I could pick up a copy of "Cherry Peel," which I had years ago and loved, but which I lost when I ditched my last laptop. (This is one argument against buying all your albums from iTunes/stealing music: when you're as lazy as I am re: backing up music, you lose everything when you lose a computer. Most people aren't as lazy as I (in this regard; in most other regards, they are lazier), but the threat remains.) I can't say why I had the sudden urge to hear this album again, but last night I was so tempted just to download it and let the nostalgia wash over me. Hook urged me to resist and I did (though I caved and downloaded "Tanglewood Numbers") in favor of getting the actual CD, so that when this computer dies, I won't have to buy the album a third time. Foresight, man: it's what separates us from the animals.

I was first introduced to "Cherry Peel" in 2003 when I received a mix CD (from Hook, coincidentally) with "Springtime is the Season" as the first track. Also in '03, a few pals of mine loved listening to "Tim, I Wish You Were Born a Girl" while swigging Arbor Mist straight from the bottle. The album didn't realize its emotional-nostalgic potential until 2007ish, though, when I was in my second year of grad school. Nights that spring, I'd drive along Route 9 in the beige Toyota that is no longer mine, reveling in the balminess of the air, the waft of lilacs, the peculiar, constrained brand of freedom common to grad students everywhere. The album came to represent, for me, the contentment that can result from isolation - or, if not contentment, then familiarity. I had "Montreal" on repeat as I drove back from that namesake city, stilled by Vermont's tree-to-human ratio, the remoteness of my traveling companion. "I Can't Stop Your Memory" recalls my inadequately-heated tenement of an apartment, the paint peeling from the floorboards of my room; drive-thrus at McDonald's long after bar time; heartache of the brand that should have run its course years earlier. "Cherry Peel," in short, is the album that reminds me why I'm obsessed with certain albums in the first place: its personal contexts are so thickly sedimented that a full listen brings to mind two distinct and distinctly formative times in my life. I love that, that songs can become psychic shorthand and shuttle us back to what we sometimes think of as gentler times, but what were really times of equal indifference viewed with naivete and longing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Because I haven't updated in a while, I'm just going to post this picture of an awesome ring shaped like a stump:

This piece (and multitudes of other excellent rings, pendants, earrings, and so forth) are available here. Go to it! (Real update coming soon.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Like beating a dead horse.

I'm sure you all have facebook friends with whom you were never really well-acquainted in real life: people you know (or knew, or sort-of know, or sort-of knew) and added just because, hey, why in egalitarianism's name not? But have you ever had the experience of realizing that one of these people has really good personal style, and wanting to tell said person, but not being able to because you were never really friends with them in actual, oxygen-sustained reality?
Didn't think so.

This was a weekend of awesomeness, not only because of the sunshine (bright! sustained!) and the prodigious amounts of candy H. and I bought/consumed, but because Hook completed his first half marathon on Sunday. I got up early to see him off at the start, walked down to the ocean to try to catch a glimpse of him as he ran along the Great Highway*, and was there at the finish line to take some profile pics. Hook, I am ueber-proud of you: 13.1 miles is hella impressive!

In other news, I've been having oddly realistic, very disconcerting dreams lately. A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was accompanying Gaby's class on a field trip to a racehorse rescue farm - you know, where old horses go to die natural, unrelated-to-glue-or-dogfood deaths. Within my dream world, all horses were severely lactose-intolerant; knowing this, one of the students mixed a ton of butter in with the horses' feed and killed all the racehorses. The opening image of this dream was an aerial view of the rescue, the horses streaming in through the gate of a fenced pasture, waiting - an image not unlike slaughterhouse footage.
Last night's dream was slightly less menacing: first, Ali (who was visiting me in SF) kept wearing my clothes, despite my requests that she stop. Then, I found myself at a Jonas Brothers' show being held at a dilapidated farmhouse. I went to use the ladies' room before the Brothers began their set, only to find that the toilet didn't work! Naturally, the management asked me to fix it, and I got toilet water all over my coat with the fur collar. Siiiiiiiigh.

*This attempt was an epic fail: I either got there a few minutes too late, or was in the port-a-john when Hook ran by. Ooops.

Are we really so stupid?

This article discusses the FDA's efforts to reevaluate the serving sizes of some foods, thereby alerting consumers that these foods are more caloric than we (the collective we of the American consumer base) have been led to believe. Or, more accurately, as we've led ourselves to believe. I appreciate that the FDA is trying to keep current, but come on: does anyone really believe that, "If the serving size for cookies rose to two ounces, from one ounce, for instance, some consumers might think the government was telling them it was fine to eat more." The government is telling me it's fine to eat more? Let me just scarf a whole box of Triscuit!

Americans may be fat, but they're not [all] stupid. Most people know (I think?) that chips aren't healthy: that a serving of chips, as defined by the FDA, is about one ounce. Whether people choose to eat an ounce of chips or whether they defer to the "handful" method of measurement is a different issue. The bottom line is that people know what's good for them, but they don't always put this knowledge into action.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I was told there'd be culturally-relevant observations

I'll be damned if I end my 25th year without knowing how to make non-instant [i.e., "traditional"] rice.

As mentioned, Reading Program 2010 is going well. Working on Sloane Crosley's "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" and while it's not terrible, neither will it become a favorite (or even a volume to return to, infrequently). Since my completion of an M.F.A. in fiction writing, I've become increasingly more interested in genres other than fiction; I've turned to memoirs, cookbooks, magazines widely varying in quality and content, volumes of poetry, collections of essays. Crosley's collection I discovered via Goodreads and, based on the title (who the hell doesn't love cake?) and the glib combo of the cover photo/sans-serif font in which the title is printed, I decided to give it a go. [Aside: I realize that the preceding statement critically undermines whatever "cred" I have as a reader, if there is such a thing as "reader's cred."] Yes: so, the point. The point I'm getting at is that I can neither like nor dislike Crosley's essays because said essays are insubstantial: they don't give me enough to (dis)agree with. Addressing topics such as one's youthful envisioning of "Oregon Trail" as a means of gaining power over individuals who, in life, control and vex one, the essays are funnyish, cuteish, and short enough to be read during in-between bits of time [i.e., lunch breaks, the ten minutes between packing my lunch and having to leave for work]. I'll finish reading "Cake," but only because I'm 100 pages in and because I rarely, rarely quit a book.

Update: the rice burned. Again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


If you guessed "macaroons," you're not even close - though I understand your logic. No: my new love is spinning. (!!!!). I'd gone a few times last summer [in MN], but never got into it; back then, during that less-enlightened time, I considered the arc trainer the ultimate piece of equipment. Recently, though - perhaps because the instructors here are better, or perhaps because I can't run, due to my sloooooowly-healing knee - I just can't get enough of this class. Or, rather, I didn't get enough until tonight [i.e., my third spin class in as many days]. Tonight, I am bone tired. Tonight, I'm going to sleep the sleep of kings!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I have earned the title of Cookie Monster

...or cookie maestro: take your pick. As I mentioned, this weekend was a snickerdoodle bake-a-thon, and what a -thon it was! I made two batches (so that I could give a bunch to friends...and also freeze some), and both turned out superbly. Here's the recipe I used:


* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 eggs
* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

(and for the topping)

* 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups white sugar, butter or margarine, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
3. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Blend well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Roll dough in sugar/cinnamon mixture and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.


I will definitely be making these again; not too soon, mind you - there's a huge Tupperware of cookies atop Hook's fridge - but soon enough. In the meantime, I may try to master the art of vegan chocolate cake...