Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Nervous Chef Nervously Returns: She's a Meagan!

I wrote today on Hello Giggles about my waffling about secondhand fur and the issues therein. I mentioned my going-back-and-forth on the issue of eating meat, which I have only recently begun to cook with.

However, after becoming a vegetarian recidivist, I moved in with a vegan. So, at home, I mostly cook vegan and eat vegan. Thus, no sooner did my lifestyle start to shift towards cooking meat then it did a double-back to the consideration of veganism. 

Basically, I now consider myself to be a lucky, lucky cheater. I get the benefits of a vegan lifestlye -- a big chunk of what I consume and pretty much everything I cook is vegan (as well as mostly preservative and chemical-free, which is my vegan roomie's main concern), BUT I never took a vow of NEVER EVER WILL I EVER AGAIN EAT MEAT, FISH, OR DAIRY. And as I've discussed, it's the putting a food item totally "off-limits" that messes with my eating-disorder-inclined brain. So I can still eat meat, fish, or dairy as a treat when out of the house, but I eat mostly vegan most of the time. I get the best of both worlds. 

So now I'm a meagan -- a vegan that eats meat. I spend a great deal of my time considering vegan ways to cook, including making a vegan Rice Krispie Snowman for Christmas: 

Those are vegan jello shots, too. Seriously!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reasons I Love This Blog Very Much

  • The ads google is currently displaying by my blog are for Wayne's World merchandise. HOW DID THEY KNOW????
  • I finally made $100 dollars from ads on this blog (after several years of blogging), which I reinvested in another writing project (details to come!). So thank you, anyone who has read this blog and/or clicked on the ads. You are awesome; you enable my babbling here, and support my babbling elsewhere.
  • Someone apparently found my blog by googling "I spilled buck urine on my phone." I love knowing that I'm the go-to place for urine plus electronic equipment queries!
  • Also, someone found my blog by googling "accidentally." Just "accidentally." 
Here's a picture of me making a kissy-face while trying to raise one eyebrow: 

Here's a picture of me making a kissy-face but LOOKING ANGRY ABOUT IT:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Narcissism Will Save You When You Forget Things

I was invited to two parties last night: this is a situation that sounds awesome in theory, but is stressful in actuality. Inevitably a) at the first party, I'm worried I'll be too late for the next party/if it's worth it to leave and go to the next party; b) at the second party, I'm worried that I left the first party too early and seemed rude. You always end up wishing you could switch the order you attended them in, or that you'd stayed at one party longer than you did. 

There was an added challenge to the this one, as one party was a costume party (come dressed as a character from a Quentin Tarantino movie) and one wasn't. So I had to manage two outfits. And clearly the costume party had to come second -- so at least that decision was pretty simple. 

I once tried to be Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction for Halloween, because the basic costume (white dress shirt and black leggings) is so freakin' easy.

However, I left wig-buying till the last minute and all the black wigs were sold out at the costume store -- I could only find a long red wig. So I didn't look much like Mia Wallace at all. I was like some weird Little Mermaid/Mia Wallace hybrid.

This time, I decided to redeem myself and actually buy a black wig. Plus, I figured the Mia Wallace costume was easy to change into; I'd wear leggings under a skirt for the first party, and bring the wig and white dress shirt in the car. Then I could pop on the wig and change easily in the car, simply shedding the skirt and sliding on the dress shirt. It was kind of a fun idea -- changing identities mid-evening! Like a spy or something! 

Because I'm a big ol' narcissist, I decided to document both costumes before I left for the evening:

Look at me! I look normal and hopefully respectable! 

Boom! Secret identity!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My shoulders hurt: Ow! Ow!

Edited to add: Never, never will I be this lady. I know this. It's just that a writer is simply a reader who has been moved to emulation (thanks for the quote, Saul Bellow!). 

To continue:

I went for a massage last week and experienced my usual mixed-emotions massage experience. This is because massage always feels so amazing, but there's a usually a blow to my self-esteem after the massage, when the masseuse makes some sort of comment. 

To wit: once, after what I thought was a relaxing hour of massage from which I emerged blissfully soup-like, the masseuse said to me, "Um, so future? You could, like, learn to relax your body?" 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Edible Portmanteau

I have a strange fondness for "foods that shouldn't be"; last Thanksgiving, I was all delighted because my parents made a Turducken. A friend of the family ate Thanksgiving with us and afterwards sent me and my mom a link to an article about the Turducken of desserts: the Cherpumple.

"That sounds disgusting," my mom wrote back.

"Disgustingly awesome!" I countered.

So I've wanted to make a Cherpumple ever since.

A Cherpumple is:

Cherry pie baked in white cake 

on top of an

Pumpkin pie baked in yellow cake

on top of an

Apple pie baked in spice cake. 

Frosted all over with cream cheese frosting.

This Thanksgiving, I was invited to a big potluck and I am totally on picking up my dishes that I totally left there sorry about that. and I figured this was the ideal moment: if it was a weird disaster, there'd be other desserts; people could laugh about the cherpumple and still eat real pumpkin pie.

So: first you bake a pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cherry pie.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Strange Clouds 2: Old Pictures of All Soul's

Edited to add some awesome videos from Jason! 

While I wait for my cherpumple to cool so that I can frost it, I thought I'd post some pictures from All Soul's. 

I hadn't been to the parade in years, and I had never dressed up. But thanks to my friend Natalie, who is actually artistically talented, I had access to lots of make-up and glitter and supplies.

I looked at some examples of what people did for make-up online, and then got started, sure I was basically just going to make a mess of my face.

First, I drew big circles around my eyes in eyeliner; then smeared on some generic body glitter. Then onto that I put on actual glitter from Michael's. So I learned something: When you want to put on body glitter that will actually last, use...actual glitter. You can keep it attached with the body glitter, but the real glitter looks so much better! Who knew?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hello, Hello Giggles

Hello and welcome there, anyone reading this who came over from Hello Giggles. I have Julia Gazdag to thank for hooking me up there (the beautiful story of our meeting is documented here). Anyway, I'm writing a column there called "Adventures in Thrifting," in which I document (mis)adventures in the glorious seedy underbelly of secondhand shopping. My last column was about winter coats; I caused some very minor controversy by suggesting that warmth shouldn't be your #1 concern while picking out winter coats. As an "outtake," here's a picture of me in one of my winter coats that didn't make it into the post:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Shenanigans: Strange Clouds

So I actually put in some effort into Halloween this year -- me and Bad Cholla spent an afternoon at Savers creating Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding costumes. 

For those wondering if the costumes were a little outdated (Jason: "Timely. What you going to be next year? Judge Ito?"), they were originally conceived of for a roller skating party. But then--ironically--the Tonya Harding to my Nancy Kerrigan suffered an injury, and we didn't go roller skating. While we eventually wore the costumes on Actual Halloween and I think they were successful, when I told people, "Originally, they were gonna be worn roller skating," the person always went from "polite about costumes" to "Oh! That WOULD HAVE been really clever!" So the true epic awesomeness potential was never fully unlocked, but I think we still did good. See?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Supernatural 7.02 and 7.03: Everything Was So Awesome and Then Everything Sucked

Alrighty-roo, so obviously I'm waaaaay behind on Supernatural recaps. I'm going to do a compressed recap of 7.02 and 7.03, which is basically going to be a recap of just 7.02 because I REFUSE to do a full recap of the third episode. 

My reactions to the two episodes can be summed up by: 

Monday, October 24, 2011

More self-promotional tooling around....

My review of Charles Frazier's new book, Nightwoods, up at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Over on The Review Review I reviewed the literary journal Hayden's Ferry Review (Arizona pride, what what! Even though they are based out of....Phoenix. Sorry, superiority of Tucson to Phoenix in all things, blah blah blah Arizona in-joke etc. etc. etc. shut up you're stupid). And Hayden's Ferry Review was pleased!

Also, today I made banana bread muffins. 

I know, my darlings, sometimes I find myself very impressive as well. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gonzo Non-Journalism

As I stated below, last weekend I flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul (mostly St. Paul, lowertown St. Paul to be precise) where the lovely Gonzo Group Theater kicked off their workshop series by doing a staged reading of my play about fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. The play is called The Most Incredible Thing (it's the title of one of his fairy tales, okay? I'm not that conceited. Although the play is rather, come to think of it, am I...huh. Interesting.) 

One of the participants in the workshop, Tyler Olsen, blogged about it here. As he writes, the experience went like this: I met with the actors that Jen Harrington and Luke Weber, my friends -- er, professional acquaintances -- who run Gonzo, had selected and cast. The actors were all pretty amazing -- some were newer to the scene and some were kinda crazy qualified and experienced (in a "oh, I run my own theater group" kinda of a way) but they all did an excellent job and had been cast very well for their roles. The actors and Gonzo folk gave me lots of feedback, which is like manna to my raging ego, and I went home and made revisions. Tyler gives me a lot of credit in the blog entry above for being open to suggestions, but I'm basically just happy when people are paying attention to me and the initial draft was criminally long -- cutting it was easy as cutting a really easy pie. 

We did another reading/suggestion session and I made some MORE changes, and then angelic Jen Harrington printed out the changed pages and brought them to the space and then the angelic actors did not punch me in the face when I gave them new pages twenty minutes before the reading and was like "Okay, so pages 1-9 and are now new. Begin on old page 10 and continue halfway till old page number 34, which will then repeat to new pages 34-36 and being again halfway through old page 38..." They went with it and barely missed a beat in performance. 

The evening reading was the in Gonzo's new space, The Baroque Room, which is a beautiful room full of harpsichords (hence the name, I s'pose). I got to see some old friends at the reading, including this Food Junta lady, Claire, which was lovely. Then there was a reading the next morning at Golden's Deli (downstairs from the Baroque room), where I took some pictures! 

It's a very particular kind of thrilling to hear your work read out loud by well-suited actors. Especially so when you get to hear the changes you've made take effect so soon (in my fiction writing and most of the process of writing the play, I've been left to the echo chamber of my own mind, which is not nearly as fun).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That's so...Theatrical

Got various news in theater end of things. I'm very lucky to have become one of the theater reviewers for the Tucson Weekly. 

And...this weekend The Gonzo Group Theater is doing a reading of my play, "The Most Incredible Thing" about fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen.

There's a reading Saturday, October 15th at 7:30 pm at the Baroque Room in lowertown St. Paul. And a reading Sunday, October 16th at 11:00 am at Golden's Deli (also in lowertown St. Paul). 

For your entertainment, here's Danny Kaye as Hans Christian Andersen: 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Birthday things!

So this is most definitely an edition of "really old pictures of food" since my birthday was back in early September. How old did I turn? Well, the lady at the grocery story today said, "You an old lady! I thought you were so much younger!" when looking at my I.D. So I hope that answers your question. [Side note: I think people just forget that late twenties looks a lot like mid twenties? Your face doesn't collapse right before your thirtieth birthday. I dunno -- I've just been getting a lot of that "YOU LOOK SO YOUNG" recently and while I'd like to think it's my excellent skin care regime, I don't think so...I've always looked pretty much the age I am. I think people just expect my age to look different, or something? Or maybe I just lack gravitas? I'm also a teacher -- a pseudo-college-professor of sorts -- and I don't think that helps. People expect college professors to look old, I guess? I was clearing out my classroom the other day while another class entered and a student said, 'Are you the teacher?...I mean, did you just get out of undergrad or something? I'm sorry, you just look so young' and then when I told him my actual age HE LOOKED EMBARRASSED. However, the ultimate cluster of age awkwardness occurred when my orthodontist's assistant figured out I taught at the same college her daughter attended -- the struggle to reconcile the fact that the surly often-late-for-appointments girl who didn't wear her retainer was responsible for teaching her offspring played out in beautiful conflict across her face. Yes, adults get orthodontia, too. Suck it.]

Anywhoodle, what was I talking about? Oh, yes, how mature I am. I decided to have a birthday party and invite a motley, multi-generational crew, most of whom showed up, which was was awesome. I decided that the theme for my birthday would be "Laura's Blue and White Wonder bread Birthday." I was asked what a "blue and white" party was, and I replied that those are my favorite colors. Nothing more complicated than that. I also decided to make recipes from this book. Why? Because it exists, that's why. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Supernatural 7.01 Recap PART TWO: Villains That Will Kill You But Are Adorable

We then transition extremely subtly from Crowley's scotch glass to the cup of a blind beggar. A burn-y hand put money in the cup, so we guess that it's Cas, who earlier seemed to have had an Uncomfortable Burning Sensation in his hand.

Cas explains that the beggar is a true believer. "People say I'm wrathful, but I
only punish liars and those who forsake me. I am a just God." He then grants the beggar his sight.

Cas comes into focus, and the beggar spends a split second rejoicing over his miraculous restoration of sight before getting all judge-y on Cas, saying, "Your face! What's wrong with you?"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Favorite Things!

Every time I saw the title to this blog entry, I'd get this song stuck in my head:

Yeah, that's Jane Horrocks! From Ab Fab! On this classic British television programme, she plays my Soul Twin, Bubble:

Here's a picture of me dressed up as Bubble for an Ab Fab themed party in college:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An alarmingly large chunk of the average day

Okay, so, like I said -- Imma try and do Supernatural recaps when the new season starts up. We'll see. There's like eighty billion things I could say about Supernatural but I think it's vital to the success of this endeavor that I not say as much as I'd ideally want to. Nick Hornby has this great moment in Fever Pitch -- he's says, when you're really obsessed with something (in his case soccer, or "football"), often when you're asked, "What are you thinking?" you have to lie:

At this point I lie. I wasn't thinking about Martin Amis or Gerard Depardieu or the Labour party at all. But then, obsessives have no choice; they have to lie on occasions...If we told the truth every time, then we would be unable to maintain relationships with anyone from the real word. We would be left to rot with our Aresenal programmes or our collection of original blue-label Stax records or King Charles spaniels, and our two-minute daydreams would become longer and longer and longer until we lost our jobs and stopped bathing and shaving and eating, and would lie on the floor in our own filth rewinding the video again and again in an attempt to memorize by heart the whole of the commentary including David Pleat's expert analysis, for the night of 26th of May 1989 (You think I had to look that date up? Ha!) The truth is this: for alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.
Substitute "Season 2 DVD commentary" in there and you get the picture.

For instance: complaining. I could do a lot of that; for instance, about Season Six. But there's already plenty of complaining out there, some of which I agree with and some of which makes me feel like this.

So, I'm going to limit myself. For instance, in this blog entry I'm only going to complain about promotional materials! No biggie. Everybody thinks about that stuff, right?

Monday, September 12, 2011


So forever ago, I was like "Here are all the things my next blog post will include!" And since then I've been blocked, because I realized I wanted to write about a bunch of things that...didn't really relate together so well. So I thought I'd talk you through my thought process. 

Okay, here goes, deep breath, etc. etc. etc.

I'm trying to get used to Blogger's new interface and not feel all old-fogey-y and resistant to change. Dude, Blogger, I use Blogger! I'm probably not exactly quick on the uptake in the ol' technology/web department, ya know?

I mean, I've pretty much just discovered gifs! Have a gif!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Awesome Things My Next Blog Post Will Include

Received a text from Jason, saying, "Also stop reading this text and update your damn blog, slacker. Surely you could post about the wedding! Or weddings in general!"

I have indeed been to TWO awesome weddings recently. And I do have a long blog entry planned, which will include many awesome things: recipes, my ex-vegetarian back story, thoughts on leather jackets, bacon cupcakes, Julia Gazdag, who I met at the Portland wedding and who writes for Hello Giggles, which Pamela Ribon whom I have stalked written about writes for omg world so small etc etc etc. and more!

That's right. Bacon cupcakes:

But right now I'm busy blah blah blah grading book reviews novel revisions articles about weddings interviews etc etc etc. It's not like I'm sitting around in a Twilight t-shirt putting a Storm Trooper helmet on my head.

Oh wait.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Signs of Life: Politics in Arizona

Awwww! I miss my blog. I haven't updated in FOREVER. I miss being unemployed.

[This is hardly a revolutionary theory, but I'm pretty sure there's a direct relationship between "underemployment" and "amount of time spent blogging." Similarly, I'm pretty sure there's a inverse relationship between "amount of sex someone is having" and "amount of time spent blogging." No, I don't mean to say that bloggers are underemployed and sexless. I think they're underemployed AND/OR sexless]*.**

*Don't hate! Imma blogger! This applies to me too!
**Also, obviously doesn't apply to professional bloggers, who, like, blog for food and shelter.

Anyway, I've got a backlog of blogs I wanna post, but most are of the long/ambitious variety.  So I decided to go with a Signs of Life Photo Essay. Presented largely without comment, Politics in Arizona: A Photo Essay.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Okay, so lately I've been actually "busy," which is totally annoying. And personally, I hate it when a blogger I like to read is all, "Sorry I've been too busy to post!" because it produces a vast swell of existential angst inside of me, like, "Well, why haven't I been too busy to check the blog? Should I be busier? IS THEIR LIFE MORE BUSY AND IMPORTANT THAN MINE??"

Of course, 1) It doesn't take a great deal to produce a vast swell of existential angst inside of me; 2) This is very conceited and assuming lots of people are going to be sad/annoyed that I haven't been posting as much/am apologizing for not posting. OH MY GOD MAYBE NO ONE CARES EXISTENTIAL ANGST!

So in the spirit of being busy (WHICH I PROMISE IS NOT FOR INTERESTING OR IMPORTANT REASONS), I decided to post Really Old Pictures of Food: Five-Minute Ice Cream.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reader Request Winner: The Time That the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on My Computer

Okay, so I nagged y'all via poll and you voted. The winner was probably predetermined because "The Time That the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on my Computer" has the phrases "pee" and "Apple company" and "accused" in it.

Let's begin.

Part I: In Which We Introduce the $1200 bottle of Three-Buck Chuck.

Monday, June 27, 2011

We Have A Winner!

Okay, so "The Time that the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on My Computer" won decisively, which was to be expected--I mean, the title is just so weird.

I think the only reason I was hesitant to post that story was because I'd told that story in person so many times. If you were a friend of mine who lived in Minneapolis around 2007-2008, you not only had to live through stages of the story with me, but you got to hear the story, like, more times than you probably wanted to. But but but! There are others out there who haven't heard it! AND SO I WILL TELL AGAIN AND HOPEFULLY TELL WELL.

But I want to put a decent amount of energy into the post (yes, the story involves urine--well, no, actually, the story involves no urine that I knew about, ONLY THE ACCUSATION OF URINE) but to give you the full context would probably take awhile, although the punchline is sort of spoiled in the title.

And right now I am sick. "I'll baby-sit your sick child!" I said. "I never get sick!" I said. "Okay, I'm sick, I can still do stuff!" I said. "I'll just take some cold medicine!" I said. "I can still drink!" I said.

This cold or whatever it is--it's the Terminator of colds. It's the Terminator paparazzi robots in Britney Spear's "I Wanna Go" video:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Awww, people on YouTube are so sweet!

I used to be on the board of a lovely little theatre company in Minneapolis: Off-Leash Area. As part of my brief stint on the Marketing committee, I uploaded some clips of their old shows onto YouTube, under my account. Almost immediately, I actually got some nice comments about a clip, which was actually the first show I ever saw by Off-Leash Area. It's a little show about the artist Philip Guston, called "Philip Guston Standing on His Head Standing Philip Guston on His Head."  Now, of course, someone has added to the nice comments, "Guston is rolling in his grave." Awww, sweet!

Watch the clip here.

The other day, I woke up, checked my email, and discovered that someone had commented on a clip of the show "Border Crossing" -- "the worst video ive seen on youtube by a long way."

What a nice way to wake up!

And...really dude? This is the worst thing? On YouTube?

I think the part where they form the spider-creature is pretty cool.

I love the internet, but I think Zach Galifianakis gets it right a little.

Anyway, Off-Leash area now has their own channel, with lots of interviews about the shows they put together in garages (their own car garage and other peoples' garages as well -- they do a tour, now). It's definetly not the worst thing on YouTube, by far.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I aggregate Writing is Hard stuff

Becky Tuch, of The Review Review (to which I contribute; you know, just FULL DISCLOSURE and everythin') recently wrote a post called "Writing. It's Hard." I really liked it. In the comments, I wrote "I'm share this on facebook, blog, etc. IMMEDIATELY"--apparently so excited over the post that I typo'd (I meant to write, "IMMA SHARE this").

Anyway, as a wriiiiiiter I of course have a special fondness for "Writing. It's hard" posts/articles, because they make one feel a little less alone/crazy. So I thought I'd aggregate of a few of my recent and/or easily accessible via web favorites.

1. "Writing. It's hard."  This is, like, so true for me! Except for the part about "For years, you've been getting up at six-thirty." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

2. "Peter Bognanni writes a blog post." Sample quote: "But then I couldn’t help thinking about how I actually work when I write. And how random and strange and totally un-process-like it is in every sense."

3. pamie, "Eyes on the Prize." Sample quote:
"One time I had gotten out of the shower having finally figured out an ending to a chapter, and the only thing I had to write on was an ATM receipt that was in the pocket of the clothes I’d been wearing before I got into the shower, and the only implement I had was my index finger, dipped in my own blood from a cut I’d given my shin with my razor in the shower.
It had better be the best damn chapter in the novel, because I wrote it in shinblood."

Sort of gives a new meaning to that oft-repeated quote about "Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." In this case, "Writing is easy. You just cut yourself shaving, get struck with a good idea, and write out said idea on an ATM receipt in shinblood."

Speaking of typewriters. 

5. Referenced previously, Zadie Smith "That Crafty Feeling."

6. I had to. Yes, I have a problem. Even though this clip doesn't have my favorite lines: "If I'd known it was real, I would have done another pass" and "If I were a psychic, do you think I'd be writing? Writing is hard." (No worries: I transcribed that on my facebook page.)

7. Holy crap, I almost forgot this

8. ETA: continuing in the funny vein, Jason showed me this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

For the record

So, I've solicited YOUSE GUYS opinions on what my next blog post should be. Here's what I can gather about what folks seems interested in, so far:

Here are the most popular posts, in order of popularity. Unsurprisingly, the post Pamela Ribon tweeted comes in at a clear number one. The others are a little more puzzling.

Really Real Inspector Hound

Wot I Wrote about Wot I Didn't Write: Minneapolis Star-Tribune book review of the The Free World by David Bezmozgis.

I also fulfilled a long-held dream last night and finally saw Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. I'd read the play before and even suggested it to my college's summer stock company, UNCO (which I think, sadly, doesn't exist anymore. Am I wrong about this? I hope so) -- as  a friend of mine was going to be directing and was looking for suggestions. And they actually did a production of it! Which I did not get to see, as I never got to be around for/participate in UNCO, as I always had a summer conflict. (This has always made me sad).

So, despite my fannishness of the play, and the fact that I was extremely indirectly and casually responsible for a production of it coming into being, I'd never seen it performed.

And it was well worth the wait! As funny as the play is to read, it's much, much funnier performed (obviously); anything confusing about the script makes perfect (albeit, absurdist, dream-like) sense in production; AND it was done very well by The Rogue Theater company, who have a great track record and put up this extremely cool-looking sign on the Historic Y building:

If you're in the Tucson area, see this immediately! The also open with another (very short) Stoppard play called New-Found-Land.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things That Are Sad and Signs of Life in Norway to Cheer You up

Hey, I reviewed the Spring 2011 Virginia Quarterly Review for The Review Review. 

Here, I detail my feeling-y feelings about reviewing literary reviews and problems I sometimes encounter therein.

After the review was all done and published, I found about this, which I had had no idea of before. It makes things in my review echo uncomfortably -- but also, not really. Blergh. I'm glad I didn't know about any of that beforehand. THINGS THAT ARE SAD.

I guess, for once my obliviousness helped me out.

To cheer you

Monday, June 13, 2011

Signs of Life: Montreal Edition (Really Old Pictures of Not-Food)

I made another (terrible) attempt at Paintbrushing some pictures, with all due acknowledgment of my rip off inspiration by my girl crush fellow blogger hyperbole and a half.

This is a building near(ish) this guy's apartment in Montreal:

Seems fairly inoffensive. But let's look more closely at the French, shall we?

Sauna mixte = Sexy times!

Extermination = BUGS!

So let's look at this picture again:

Um, I dunno?

Blogger -- after briefly deciding that my Cee-Lo/Fiddy Cent post "didn't exist" -- has now decided that I posted it yesterday, instead of a month ago. 

I don't know. I'm sorry.
I've been fiddling with the blog -- the layout, the fonts, etc. -- so this is apparently the consequence. 

I eloquently, cyber-ly shrug.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

50 Cent Gets it Right

Way back in the summer of 2010 (we sure wore some embarrassing outfits back then, huh?), sjculver sent me a link to Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You" -- in the spirit of, "Hey, if you're in a bad mood, this will cheer you up!" She even reviewed the song and her feelings about it here.
Of course, we all know how this story ends: Cee-Lo releases a cleaned-up version of the song called "Forget You"; Gwyneth Paltrow covers the song on Glee; they perform it at the Grammys; Cee-Loo Green goes on to be a judge on NBC's The Voice*. A law is passed, whereby radio stations are required to play "Forget You" every ten minutes. The song is still a top-selling song on iTunes.

*I'm super-aware of this, as I watch NBC's Thursday comedy night, because I am a pretentious twenty-something. NBC knows that I'm sneaky and that I fast-forward through the commercials, so they even pop ads for The Voice at the bottom of the screen, so that I cannot possibly avoid them -- and even if you're as sneaky and accurate with the fast-forward as possible, you're still going to catch a little bit of a last ad before the show comes back, which is inevitably for The Voice. I feel like writing NBC some kind of letter saying, 'I respect how important advertising is [er, obviously, I have adsense on my own blog and I'm going to see how it works and how I feel about it; the jury is still out] and that you as a network are hurting right now and need ratings; I'm a total fan of your comedy programs and want you to have other, highly rated shows to make more money for you so that Parks and Recreation can stay on. But I am never going to watch The Voice. This is no offense to the show; I'm sure it's fine. But reality-show talent contests are maybe the one form of debased entertainment I don't get into. No judgment! It's just not my thing! And it's never going to be! So can I sign some kind of contract attesting to the fact that I've seen X number of ads and they have had no effect on me, and that I promise to be a good consumer and watch or buy something else? And then maybe I don't have to see the judges of The Voice giving my the "V" sign on the bottom of my screen?'

Anyway, on The Colbert Report, Colbert questioned Cee-Lo about the lyrics of "Forget You", asking some questions I'd wondered, too. Is the song addressing the man who has taken the "girl you love" away from you ("I see you driving 'round town with the girl I love and I'm like, 'Forget You' ") because it seems to change from that initial form of address to addressing the actual object of the love herself ("I guess he's an X-box and I'm more like Atari, but the way you play your game ain't fair"). Anyway, Cee-lo didn't seem to have the answers to these questions, explaining that the song wasn't in any way autobiographical (so who it is addressing is sort of a moot point).

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Cee Lo Green
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And indeed Bruno Mars came out and said that he and Cee-Lo Green wrote the song in two hours, which goes a long way to explain the incoherence in the point of view in the song and the fact that Cee-Lo Green doesn't seem particularly emotionally attached the lyrics.

So, I get that we're not supposed to take the lyrics very seriously. We're supposed to shout "FUCK YOU!" at the top of our lungs and enjoy the consonance of "I'm sorry I don't own a Ferrari" with the saucy twist of "But that don't mean I can't get you there!"

But the lyrics still bug.

I'm a Simple girl

My mom said she found my last blog "excessively moralistic." Keep in my mind that my mother is a professional moralist who believes in moral realism. So a moralist told me I was being excessively moralistic.

The last blog is also very long; I know! I put some stuff behind a jump and cleaned it up a bit and cut a little. So hopefully it's a little easier to read.

I also tagged all the posts -- so if for some reason you want to read only The Nervous Chef entries, you can now do so easily.

And I changed the blog layout to -- wait for it -- "SIMPLE."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rage Distorts Creative Title Abilities: The Eurovision Song Contest Entry

Some time ago -- actually, (gulp!) this was nearly a year ago -- my parents were both highly amused over a New Yorker article on the Eurovision song contest and kept pressing me to read it.

I think my parents simply enjoyed the article as they had not thought about the Eurovision song contest in a long time, and it made them nostalgic about living in Europe/being European. Which is fine. But I simply couldn't stand this particular article, though I didn't take the time to deeply analyze why.

For your reference, most famous product of said contest:

When my parents asked what I found so objectionable about the article, all I could articulate was that I found it too condescending. It's all very well to write about something you affectionately find tacky or awful, but there's a fine line being light-heartedly snarky and simply being a patronizing ass.

Recently, a few things have brought the Eurovision song contest to my attention again, and I decided to write a blog about these new perspectives. But in order to do so, I had to go back and read the article online (bless you for your amazing online archives, New Yorker).

Reading the article again, I got so angry that a) my jaw actually popped, due to my unconscious clenching of it; b) at one point, I grabbed two chunks of my hair and pulled, causing myself physical pain. This article actually made me try to pull my hair out.

Anyway, here it is. It was so anger-making that it derailed my entire post, which was simply going to be a few links to different perspectives on the Eurovision contest. Instead, the other articles and links and perspective will be incorporated within this rant. You've been warned: it's a rant. I'm about to get all polemical up in here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Signs of Life: Window Display Fail

1) I know they were going for a "set up for a proposal" but it just looks, at a glance, like the window display is for a regular old pair of house keys. This is confusing. I genuinely expected the post-it to read, "Sorry for the mess, we've had a break-in and the thief tauntingly left the keys to the store behind."

2) The big set of keys kind of make the ring -- no slouch in the sparkly department -- look tiny in comparison. The reaction to this potential proposal set-up would be, I feel: "Ooooh, keys! -- Wait, look, a ring! Oh. It's kind of small. No, no -- I mean, it's nice. But not as big as these keys, you know?"

3) Wait, is this imaginary person proposing to SOMEONE THEY HAVE NOT YET SWAPPED KEYS WITH? This seems like a bad idea. Someone tell them they are rushing things!

4) Again, I don't mean to be so picky, but -- any important announcement/question: a break-up, a proposal, a firing, a declaration of terminal illness, whatever, should not be declared via post-it. "Hey, there's half a Subway sandwich in the fridge": sure. "Let's be together always?": Not so much. Not a case where you want to say it with office supplies.

5) The message on the post-it itself: "Come and go as you please but stay with me always." This is confusing. Do they want me to come and go as I please or stay with them always? WHICH ONE IS IT?

6) For example: What if I left for Bulgaria for like several years? Would that be okay? "Hey, I'm back!" "But you were gone for several years!" "Yeah, I went to Bulgaria. You said to come and go as I pleased." "But I've married and had children with another in the meantime." "But I said I'd stay with you always!" "But you left." "But you said come and go as I pleased! Jeeeez, mixed signals, much?"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Montreal, Part Deux!

My basic reaction to Montreal:

These hearts are outside the Fine Arts (sorry "Beaux Arts") Museum (Musee des) where this guy and I saw an exhibition of contemporary surrealist art called "The world is blue like an orange" (which we went to full of skepticism but it turned out to be awesome).

So I'm doing post #2 about Montreal, even though this guy claims not to read anybody's blog, as they are all "masturbatory." I tried to explain that my blog is not masturbatory but rather narcissistic and insecure. Subtle but distinct difference.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It Lives!

I have a short story up on The Fiddleback. It's called "Witness My Hand and Seal" and you can read it here.

And because you should never say that I didn't give you nothin', here's some pictures of Montreal Food.

It's Poutine! This type of Poutine is called L'eau a la Bush. I don't know if that means it subscribes to the Bush Doctrine or what. This Poutine comes with steak, oignons, and champignons. That's steak, onions, and mushrooms, for those not familiar with all that Frenchy Froggy Montrealy funny business:

Poutine is now such A Thing that they serve it at Burger King all over Canada. I saw this sign in at the bus station in Barrie, Ontario:

This is Poutine a la Mexican, and it is not from Burger King, but rather from the Secret Menu at Frite Alors:

Yeah, that's Salsa. Viva la Mexican et la Poutine!*
*I'm from everywhere.

Poutine looks really gross, huh? And I went to eat it after 1) Eating a smoked meat sandwich; 2) Then going to hot yoga. So I was like, "Non! Non! Le Gravy and le cheese curds on les frites make me sick! I desire only le side salad!"

Then I took a bite and discovered that it was, as this guy puts it, "Not un-tasty." Quite the reverse, actually.

More on smoked meat sandwiches, Montreal, thoughts, and sunshiney mornings, coming soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The O

Awww, Go Fug Yourself, along with all the other things we have in common, we both hate cockroaches! See, I hate them, too! (You know, as opposed to all those folks that love them). Seriously though, that entry is kind of the best.

I also want to believe that the title is a reference to Misha Barton's role in this movie, which is an underrated gem (largely not to due to Misha Barton, however).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I write about Nick Hornby too much, I think

ETA: Ha! That totally read "I write about Nick Horny too much, I think." I fixed it now. Also: Nick Hornby is SO lucky he did not grow up in the US. He would have been tortured over that name.

Here's a review I wrote for The Minneapolis Star Tribune that went up ages ago: The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy (not to be confused with Kate Spindler nee Kennedy). Anyway, I compared Kennedy's writing to Nick Hornby's and I realized I did this, too, when I interviewed Peter Bognanni for the dislocate blog.
It's odd because I don't think of Nick Hornby as being particularly relevant to me as a writer. Like, if you asked me, "Who are your favorite/most influential/whatever/whatever writers?" I'd never think to say "Nick Hornby." But he seems to come up almost immediately as a reference point for me when trying to discuss/articulate something about the writing of others, particularly if they are at all: a) funny; b) contemporary and set in contemporary times; c) write in a more-or-less "realist" mode; d) streak in larger social issues/concerns with small-scale, contemporary, funny stories.

And, really, maybe I wouldn't say "Nick Hornby" when asked about my influences because -- I dunno. Because he's an older British dude, because he writes a lot about masculinity, and maybe because he's so popular and I want more street-cred or something. But really, Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, and About a Boy*, not to mention his series of essays on reading for The Believer and some of his other non-fiction, are a tremendous influence.

*But there you go -- all these books have become big Hollywood movies. And High Fidelity and About a Boy were pretty good movies (Fever Pitch, not so much). But when you mention them as favorite books, you feel a bit silly, like you're someone who only reads novelizations of popular TV shows or movies.

"But what is wrong with popular TV shows and movies, Easy O?" you might ask. "Do not you love these things? Are you not committed to the Fusion of High and Low--or, less problematically, Popular and Literary (this phrasing is still problematic, but let's move on) forms of art? Did you not write a novel fusing in the structure and themes of popular Romance Novels with a literary style and plot? Isn't that, in a phrase, Sort of Your Bag?"

Well, yes, I would reply. But--But--

....But I still want to sound smart at intellectual cocktail parties! And answering "Marilynne Robinson" when some impressive person dressed in hipster-chic peers at me over their plastic cup of cheap wine just makes me feel more impressive than saying "Nick Hornby." And it's not untrue! I DO like Marilynne Robinson!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Really Old Pictures of Food: How in the Who and the What Now?

Someone sent me this article about "how and why" photos of food are shared online. Probably because I eagerly snap photos of anything I come close to "making."

The upshot seems to be that most photos of food come from:

Keeping a Food Diary: 25% this lends itself to the self-tracking trend we have covered before.
Documenting the Process of Cooking: Driven by the motivation to show their creation, 22% of food photography is people self-documenting their proud foodie creation.
ETA: All this talk of food-documenting reminded me of Food Junta, which is currently under construction but a great source--in contrast to me--of professionally-presented foodie documentation. Although it is not food, I do need to make this when I get back to Arizona, because we have actual rattlesnakes there.

Self-Documenting My Proud Foodie Creation

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ha ha! Bonus Post! Signs of Life, Part III

In town:

We could all use more of this:

Want to wear a bear?
Yeah, I wear a bear:
That's a bear-skin rug, my friends. And relax: that bear has been dead for a very, very long time. And you know what? I'm with Stephen Colbert on this one: bears are vicious killers and it's us or them. I don't invite bears to THE COTTAGE.

And thanks to Jason, here are some search keywords that lead to my blog:

Signs of Life, Part II

It's funny to be up in Canada, the place the blog was born. This post is also sort of a sequel to this.

Sometimes it's hard to find things:

Here is an odd case of emphasis:

I would understand if it read:

Don't invite BEARS to the cottage.

Or: DON'T INVITE Bears to the cottage.

But why: Don't invite bears to THE COTTAGE?

It makes it sound as if THE COTTAGE is the ominous part of the sentence, when, really, isn't it BEARS or DON'T INVITE?

THE COTTAGE isn't, in and of itself, particularly scary. I mean, you wouldn't say, Hope you have a nice time without bears at THE COTTAGE! Or, Be safe from bears while you're up at THE COTTAGE! I hope your time at THE COTTAGE is very relaxing with no bears.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nature Taunts Me

Hey, I'm up at my family's cabin in Canada, so I'll probably be out of touch for a bit, as we really like to rough it when we're up here--ha ha, I'm just kidding, there's high-speed internet. It's actually nicer than any apartment I've ever lived in on my own.

My brain failed to process the fact that May in Canada does not = warm. I also didn't check the weather because I don't do things like "check" the "weather." I optimistically packed:

1) Two swimsuits
2) Two pairs of sandals and a nice pair of dress shoes (?).
3) A bunch of tank tops.
4) Several skirts and light dresses.

So I've been going around in sweatpants, a sweatshirt I found here, and old fuzzy slippers.

I also just wanted to share:

The night before I left for my trip, I dreamed that my bedroom had a swimming pool in it. Cockroaches started coming into my room and took over, draining the swimming pool and filling it up with their gross little bodies. Cockroaches were everywhere: flying through the air, wriggling on the ground, writhing in a huge mass in the pool. Then the King of the Cockroaches (which manifested as some sort of voice emanating from all the roaches in the pool), taunted me and said I had lost to the cockroaches because I had not given them sufficient respect.

Yes, a pool full of cockroaches. Taunting cockroaches. Why, brain, why? Why would you think such a thought?

A pool full of cockroaches. That image was in my head. Now it's in yours, too! You're welcome.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I try to draw. I put icing inside things.

I told you I'd give you some advice on how to put icing inside of cupcakes! I even made helpful drawings.

I'd like to say upfront this is totally ripped off from, er, inspired by, Hyperbole and a Half, the Old Skewl posts. But she says right here in her FAQs:

If I draw picture with MS Paint on my blog, will you think I'm copying you?

Probably not. Unless you steal my work directly or redraw/rewrite my stuff, you are good to go. I love that more people are getting interested in adding artwork to their blogs!
I even used Paintbrush (JUST LIKE HER CREEPY STARS IN EYES).

Here are some NFAQs (Not Frequently Asked Questions):

How did you get your handwriting to be so ironically and hilariously bad?

I didn't. That's just what my handwriting looks like.

But it looks like a mentally deficient five-year-old chicken wrote that stuff.

I know.

How do you function in the real world with handwriting as profoundly terribly as that?

By avoiding writing by hand whenever possible. Occasionally, I have to fill in a form by hand and people laugh at me.

Will you make me cupcakes?

No. No after you just insulted my handwriting.

First things first: I want to share what inspired my to put icing inside of cupcakes in the first place.
In the magazine section of Barnes and Noble, I saw this:
Leaving aside the sheer awesome of a magazine devoted to breakfast, let's look closely on all the various awesomeness going on in this picture:

French Toast Chocolate Sandwiches! With Bacon! And a random berry! (to keep it healthy)! For dinner!