Thursday, March 31, 2005

On the road again

to fitness... I've been working out 3x a week at least and started the tofu diet again, I've made great progress as I've already lost about 3 lbs; however, today I'm craving a big serving of Curry Fries. You know a basketful of golden-fried nirvana blanketed with spicy curry goodness. Mmmmmmm. It's a good thing that curry fries or at least good ones aren't easily accessible around here. Why am I dieting? Confession: vanity. Pure vanity. That and other reasons. Plus I'm actually travelling to a warm destination for vacation in a month and a half and I would like to loose a little before enjoying myself in a more scantilly clad setting.

More, my family history has been worrying me lately, and that's why I've changed my diet to restrict my intake of red meat and salt. Both of my grandparents on my mother's side died before they reached 50 from heart-related illness. It probably didn't help either that they most likely ate a lot of sodium rich foods required by the need to preserve foodstuffs in the tropical third-world where refrigeration was rare or expensive.

I guess I've been trying to re-evaluate my relationship with and view of food for comfort. Though I enjoy getting lost in what I eat and even spending time and care preparing food and goodies for myself and others, I guess age has pointed out that there are some restrictions to how I much I can enjoy the things I once loved so dearly: buttery pastas, bacon-goodness, custardy sweet love. I joked with a co-worker not too long ago that there's a reason why skinny older women (or women of any age) can be kinda nasty: " ... It's cause they don't get much to eat, hon. "You'd be ready to bite someone's head off if you've been deprived of good nourishing sustinance over a long period of time. And if deprivation doesn't transform you into a bitch on wheels it will make a ding-bat of you. I met a girl once who at the time subsisted on a diet of olives and water (which might have made her some sort of Orthodox saint) who really couldn't reason her way out of a paper bag, but she drove men crazy with her cute little figure and huge doe-eyes. Later, I realized how little self-esteem she really had and more that she had an 'inflated' image of herself in the sense that she always perceived that her butt was expanding by the minute. Though maybe this was just a hallucination resulting from her protein deprived diet.

I'm not saying farewell to my cherished comfort foods forever. I'm just going to see them on a limited basis and when I can enjoy better quality renditions in smaller portions at places like this:

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Samurai Champloo rules! God, I feel like I'm 12 years old.

The DVD version came out 3/16 found it while I was shopping at Uwajimaya. The wonderful thing about Shinichiro Watanabe's stories in Anime is that they have endings. No sequels... nothing monstrous like "Land Before Time After Time." Really, I think that sequels, franchises and dynasties deaden us into zombies addicted to the same damn formula over and over again.

Monday, March 28, 2005

If only I had said these things...

But I guess I've been thinking them all along. I read this person's "Letter to their younger self" today and I was amazed.

I have never read such a thorough and compassionate epistle that addresses one's evaluation of faith and belief. I was so thrilled to find this as it seems that of late there's been a great deal of anger and condemnation surrounding faith especially from Fundamentalists. All of the judgement that seems to be passing on It just seems to me that the zealots who have hijacked the media and turned it into their moral pulpit stand for a world where judgement upon others is condoned. This idea has hung over me since the election like an oppressive cloud. More, what bothers me about the whole idea that out government is being pushed to a more Christian/religiously oriented stance by individuals who believe that they are clearly and infallibly in the right. Can we really expect such individuals to embody fairness? I cannot believe some of the outwardly brash actions and words made and spoken by individuals such as Tom DeLay (and our President)? I wonder do they really believe that they can succeed in breaking down the separation of Church and State. My question to them is "Whose church will run the state?" Did the Christian sects and religions suddenly ban together and resolve their doctrinal differences? Considering the 2000 year history of bloody conflict that has plagued Christianity I suppose if it's true they've all united, then this is quite a feat. So who will call the shots in the New American Theocracy? The Mormons? After all aren't they the richer of the the sects?

But something in me believes that this desire to unify Church and State is NOT shared by the majority in our country. I'm beginning to think that the world and more and more of America is sick of the inflated illusion of support behind this shameful administration and it's destructive ploys. What can you say about a President who doesn't make public appearances without barracades that stretch far beyond the camera's gaze so that the non-approved disgruntled's can't be heard? What can you say about his cronies who deny any impropriety when the evidence is so clearly documented? What was it 70-82 percent of Americans believe that the government (president & congress) should wash their hands of the whole Schaivo matter?

Okay, none of this has anything to do with cooking and food, but I cannot help but address this notion that we live in judgemental and oppressive times, as it has been one of the things that I've found to be very upsetting lately, and it seems that no one addresses this adequately in the Media (of course because we know who has control over most of it). Frankly, I'm just tired of the lies, the deceit, the pompous audacity, the fact that ignorance is subtly or not being upheld as a value in this country. I'm tired of hearing that 'that' government is trying to re-shape History via careful omissions. I don't want to hear about these disturbing things anymore. I want to read a poem, listen to my favorite aria. I want to dream of warmer and more comforting times and think of cooking something wholesome and comforting... like of Chicken Soup and Homemade Noodles on a cold rainy day, or maybe some ginger custard or a mug of hot milk with a little Almond syrup. I don't want to be bothered with these ugly and intrusive thoughts. Aren't there others like me who just want to get on with living instead of battling over these things?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

"I wish I had six arms..."

I rented a whole season of the "Young Ones" not long ago. I've been in sort of a disheveled mood lately and the show seemed to fit. In honor of Neil I cooked a pot of lentils and some brown rice to match. I did omit the part about spilling them on the floor.

3 c.* lentils soaked at least 8 hours (pour them in the pot and cover them with water before you drag your stinkin' arse to work)
2 tbsp canola oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion chopped
1 4 inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp garam marsala
2 tsp hot curry
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard
3 cinnamon sticks
1 large lemon washed well

Rinse the lentils. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the garlic and onion until tender. Add the spices and salt. Then add the lentils and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly and adding a little liquid (broth or water) to make sure they don't dry out. Cut the lemon in half and juice it into the lentils. Throw the lemon peel and the cinnamon sticks into the lentils. Pour enough water into the pot so that you have a little under a half an inch extra water above the lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes stirring regularly. Add more water if needed. Serve over hot rice.

By the way these taste fabulous the next day. And if you've gotten sick of them before their gone you can make fried lentil cakes. If I have the time, I'll explain later.

*Actually I think it was about 3 cups. I'm not sure I was sort of in a hurry.

Watching the Young Ones reminded me of my early 20s and living in a shithole with a handful of other poor struggling recent college graduates. Mak put up a post about creating a soundtrack for one's life, I was tempted to create my own list, but you know I have to admit my musical taste was stunted for a dark period in my early adolescence because I was shamed by some tart in junior high who decided that it was "stupid" to listen to whatever I was listening to at the time. Of course, when one grows older one realizes the error of one's ways. Regardless, here's my shot:

Adolescent moodswing: In My Room - Yaz or How Soon Is Now - Smiths
First Date: Book of Love - Elvis Costello
Falling In Love in the 80's: Rama Lama Lama - Paul Derrick
Love Scene: Too Drunk to Fuck - Dead Kennedys
Fight Scene: Battle Scene from Conan the Barbarian soundtrack
Dork Moment: Heart and Soul - played on a flat key
Breaking up: Why'd You Do It? - Marianne Faithful
3- 6 months after Breaking Up: She's a Brick House - Commodores
Nothing can stop me now: Sing, Sing Sing - Benny Goodman
Secret Love: Having a secret love is a pain in the ass.
Average Day: Lost in the Supermarket - The Clash
I'm in that kick your ass sort of mood day: My Way - Sid Vicious Version
Mental Breakdown: March of the Pigs - Nine Inch Nails
Driving to work: Highway to Hell - ACDC
Learning A Lesson: That crappy piano piece the main character played in the Joy Luck Club when she embarrassed herself in front of a whole audience because she kept flubbing up - This actually happened to me too, and I freaked out and ran out of the auditorium and out the door of the piano store, down a few blocks before my dad caught me. I was seven.
Flashback: My brain is so fried I don't have flashbacks
Regretting: Eyes of Lucy Jordan - Marianne Faithful or Don't We Hate It When Our Friends Are Successful Morrissey/Smiths
Happy Dance: Conversazione - Zerosospiro or Dipsy Doodle - Ella Fitzgerald
Long Night Alone: Stars Fell on Alabama - Billie Holliday version

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bunny Balls

Posted by Hello

We were in the bulk aisle in the store stocking up on beans and lentils when J pointed out the labelling on the tubs of Easter candy. A top a barrel of foil-wrapped chocolate balls was a sign with a rabbit holding two balls in his hands or paws or whatever slightly below the mid-section of his body. "Nice cahones," J commented. Right next to this barrel was another tub labled "Nut's and Fluff." I lost it right then and there.

Everyone needs to update their resume every now and then

Updated from my "Dumbed Down" resume. I guess I've come a long way, baby. From a Secretary (Admin) to Flash Monkey in less than five years time, so I can't really complain about that. I'm still struggling with what I will do outside of this environment. Like the Republicans insist... there's always eBay.

Imogene Hallogene
2345 N Crosstracks Blvd.
Portland, OR 97215 (not a real address... at least not associated with me)

Flash Monkey (07/2004 - Present)
Still here
Learning a lot about databases and three letter web building languages. Maybe picking up a thing or two about theory which with some night classes might actually be my ticket out of here to another corporate job in another company in another suburban hell. Who the hell am I kidding? Re-applying to another graduate program now that I've finally paid off my student loans.

Project Supervisor (06/2004 -07/2004>
Guess where?
Given nominal promotion as a result of management's fears that I would be among the several desperate fuckers to leave once there were open positions in another part of the company.
Quit smoking again. Started drinking.

Project Coordinator (05/2003 - 6/2004)
Nameless large corporation in Suburban American Hell
Coordinated projects. Typed a lot. Smoking only on festive occasions (such as 5 minutes after exiting work).

Office Coordinator (10/2001- 05/2003)
Nameless large corporation in Suburban American Hell
General planning. Looked really busy. Started smoking again.

Administrative Assistant Coordinator (7/2000- 10/2001)
Nameless large corporation in Suburban American Hell
Managed group schedules and calendars. Held manager's hand through Windows 2000 upgrade. Quit smoking.

Microsoft FrontPage.
Stealing other people's Flash files and modifying them with my own images and content.

EDUCATION Official Sea Monkey Rancher Certificate Holder - Mail orderLiberal Arts Education - from Southern Idaho school of Horticulture and Molds.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Frequenting Batting Cages

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Slow Food, Rich Food, Healthy Fat Food.

I've come to believe that the by product of good, healthy and pleasurable foods is a healthy and happy individual bodily, mentally, and spiritually. Coming from a Catholic background, I was raised under the tradition of Lent in which one is expected to go without something for that period of forty days before Easter Sunday. More the values of ascetism and sacrifice are hard-wired into we former and current Catholics because our superheroes are Saints who built their fame on their anorexic habits, or the denial of their bodily desires.

While I've discovered that abstaining from pound cake certainly makes me quite fond of it when I actually get to eat a piece, I don't think that there's any value in actually forgoing the eating of pound cake for the rest of my life. I think I would actually side with the Fat Friars on the subject of eating and ascetism.

I don't believe that healthy options in eating have to be fancy or so fat-free that they are devoid of any pleasure or taste, nor do they have to take up my time to make. A few months back I saw a newstory on a chain of stores (started by corporate mom's who had it) which focused on allowing busy families time to pre-prepare the ingredients for healthy home-cooked meals which could be easily stored, refrigerated and frozen for use later in the week. Dishes include Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Sesame Pork or Roasted Garlic Chicken in a Skillet. The preparation of the meals can be done at the store location with friends, so the activity actually becomes a time for social connections and fun.

Zorba & Vito Go South

(A little bacon goes a long way)
1/2 lb. mini penne
2 strips of bacon, chopped
1 c. ham (Quality stuff no hormonelle) chopped or prosciutto if you'd like instead
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1/4 c. dry sherry
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp low-fat milk
1/2 c. chopped Italian parsley
3/4 c. mizythra cheese shredded

Boil the penne. Drain and toss with a little olive oil.

In a med-high pan fry the bacon until done and add the onions. Cook until onions are tender. Add the ham or proscuitto and saute for a few minutes. Add the penne and toss to combine ingredients in pan. Sprinkle the sherry all over the penne and mix to combine. Add your egg with milk and heat for a few additional minutes until the egg is cooked. Remove from heat and toss in the parsley and cheese.

Enjoy with a nice salad or healthy plate of sauteed greens.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Support your local family owned restaurants - screw the chains

I will never move to Phoenix, AZ as long as I live. I came home on Friday and nearly kissed the damp moldy ground as I stepped out of the airport. After weeks of uncommonly dry weather we'd finally received a few days of rain, and the dampness welcomed me home on the day I returned.

I have nothing against the Arizona desert, the majesty, the rock formations, the canyons, and the beautiful and alien fauna and flora native to the state. I found the desert to be a tranquil and at times a wonderfully unsettling place, but most of my stay found me in the suburban outskirts of town surrounded by long stretches of shopping malls and chain restaurants punctuated occasionally with a golf course or industrial park. Houses and apartment complexes mimicked the look of the Alamo in suburban developments that all stand in uniform and replicated styles. The developers didn't even disguise this fact with slighly different colored facades. I wanted to find one restaurant that did not remind me of an SnappleMees or at least an ethnic or themepark rendition of one. I suppose that's a step though... that people are now exposed to ethnicized versions of food outside of Mexican and Chinese. Maybe there was less diversity of choices in the past, but at least "Eat at Joes" was actually owned by a Joe, or a Carl, or an Edith and not a company listed on Salomon Smith Barney's Restaurant Composite. A favorite place frequented by my co-workers was the Cheesecake Factory, which I initially mistook for a male strip bar, as it apparently featured endless servings and a dessert menu that included 30 different types of cheesecake. As the mere mention of 30 kinds of cheesecake nearly clogged my arteries on the spot, I voted not to go instead dining at some chain Mexican restaurant instead. Of course, we all had to focus on convenience and location instead. Most disturbing of all, was the fact that there seemed to be very few storefronts which belonged to small businesses or individuals. Maybe I just wasn't seeing the real town? I regretted the fact that I didn't rent my own car so that I could explore outside of the suburban plain. Next time, if I do travel here, I will make it a point to do so.

The first night I was there I had a nightmare that I was lost in the mall and being chased by Dalek robots. Exterminate! Exterminate any form of self-ownership or individuality. Laugh, if you will, but I guess there is something nightmarish about suburbia that will always freak me out. I am a child of suburbia, chewed up and spit out because it didn't like the way I tasted: slightly tangy, a little too spicy and somewhat well-done. In this day and age Suburbia and all the values that built it reign king. Suburban Arizona is an exaggerated example of what has happened to most of America. The general populus is appeased by adequate and easily accessible, easily duplicable and cheap consumer objects. They are content to swallow a daily diet of adulterated uniformity in their culture and existence as long as it's fluffed up a bit with an illusion of choice and freedom packaged in clever ways or in theme-styled restaurants (all owned by the same corporations). While I was in AZ, it really felt like I was experiencing some plot in one of the old campy Star Treks. And why has it become so politically incorrect to say these things? Conservatives like to play anyone down who criticizes the state of consumerism today as being snotty or hoity-toity? Is it so classist to insist that people have to right to many choices when it comes to consumerism? Freedom to buy from whomever they please? Freedom to own a business that does not have to compete with a Meglo-Mart.

Am I being pessimistic?
Commie-Pinko Bitch.
Am I a freak for saying and thinking these things?
Why can't you just fit in, instead of complaining like a real pain in the ass? Why can't you just eat your "Just in Quesedillas" or your "TONS OF FUN BURGER" without pointing out how inane or ironic the menu titles are? Why can't you just get in line at the buffet and pick all the croutons and carbs out of your food just like everyone else?

Am I wrong for feeling that this sort of atmosphere isn't exactly conducive to true individualism? (Think about it -Suburbia spawned the Mod (black wearing)/Goth Movements in which youth declares to be different and non-confirmist, yet they remain confirmist in their non-conformity, even to the extent that counter-culture had become pre-packaged for sale in the Mall at shops like "Fat Topic." (Ooops... I meant Hot Topic))

I will never criticize my hometown again. I love the crazy street I live next to with the neon motel signs (which insinuate a little shadiness), the MAX stops. I love the neighborhoods with little novelty and gift shops, the privately owned restaurants where the owner chooses the menu and the specials. We have our Hawthorne and Mississipppi Streets here in Portland. Maybe I just wasn't exposed to the Phoenix equivalent.

Articles and other Rants:

"More Local Restaurants Struggle As Big Chains Eat Their Lunch"

"Death to Chain Restaurants"

For those who want to fight the scourge of Fast food here's an idea - "Slow Food"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I'm a little backlogged on recipes because I haven't had a lot of time to write. It's Irish week this week and as I live with a person of Irish descent, we could not escape the customary prep of corned beef and cabbage. It takes a great deal of time and the knowledge of a decent butcher to make proper corned beef. On Sunday, We went over to J's aunt's for a barbeque and I figured I'd fix up a faux Irish treat called Blarney Stones. I believe I have the recipe somewhere in my archives, but I didn't have the time here to link to it. Basically if you take a good white cake recipe, bake it in a 13 x 9" pan and cut into equal-sized squares. Frost with the icing recipe below on all sides and roll each piece in a mixture of finely ground roasted pecans and peanuts. If you're really lazy you can actually purchase a quality poundcake from your local bakery and substitute it for the white cake.

Blarney Stone Icing:
3/4 c evaporated milk scaled and set to cool a bit
2 tbsp melted butter
As much powdered sugar to form a thin but spreadable icing.
(Note, do not make the icing too thick or thin.)

Basically, after construction is complete you have tasty little cakes covered with a hardened coating of icing and roasted nuts. It took me years and the internet to be able to crack the "Barney Stone" (which was the name I had for them as a child) mystery. My one connection to the the tasty cakes when I was a child was a church woman who refused to part with the recipe. Of course, if I'd correctly applied my culinary smarts to solving the problem, I'd have probably figured it out eventually.

On another not so Irish note, here's a snacky item if you love liver and even if you don't. This is one of the few ways that I'll actually eat the stuff. P.S. marsala works just as great as port. I'd use a quality sourdough for the toast.

Deviled Chicken Livers on Toast
1/2 lbs chicken livers
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large shallots chopped fine
2 tbsp chicken broth
4 tbsp port or marsala wine
2 tsp Dijon or stone ground mustard
2 dashes (or more) of hot Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp sour cream
Sea salt and Freshly Ground pepper to taste

Six large slices of sourdough bread cut up into quarters and toasted.
Choppped fresh parsley

Chop the livers. If you're not so crazy about the overall texture, which most people who are reluctant lovers of liver are, then chop them somewhat fine. The finer the liver is chopped, the more likely you are to have more of a spread-like consistency. Melt the butter on a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots for several minutes until tender. Add the liver and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Port and broth and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Allow most of the liquid to reduce 0r become absorbed in the liver and shallots. Add the mustard, paprika, and sour cream. Combine well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat for a minute more. Set aside for a few moments to cool.

Top each piece of sourdough toast with the liver. Add a small dollop of sour cream and garnish with a generous amount of parsley. You've got to combat the liver breath in some way shape or form :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I wanted to cry

Because I'd never been recognized with such a reward... no REALLY. I attended a recognition function yesterday for all the hardwork we'd accomplished in a multi-project expansive release. The food was pretty good at least not Costco quality, and we were given a choice of several nicely diverse activities to participate in afterwards from wine tasting, golf, shopping, and a faux-casino. And the best part... I received a beautiful stainless-steel thermos. Though through out most of the lunch I had that song from the Jerk running through my head:

What else can I buy so that on me you'll rely...
A rear-end thermometer too!

I'm not being facetious when I say that this is the best reward I've received while working at this company, and I truly appreciate the care that was taken to provide the event. Having organized these types of events in tha past, I realize what a complete and utter pain it is to make sure that everything or at least 95% of the details are executed without failure. You know how I feel about the phrase, "flawless execution." Regardless, I am quite pleased with my thermos as it's something that I definitely put to use.

I think it's actually about time that they rewarded folks around here. Actual recognitions and celebrations are few and far between. It's the least they can do as I found out today that we are no longer allowed to watch movies at work (for legal reasons). Our group did this on a quarterly basis (with the option of course of reading and answering e-mail during the movie). Originally, we used this as a cost-free alternative to employee teambuilding or 'fun' events. However, now the corporate powers that be have decided to take this option away from us. I suggested that perhaps we actually have shadow puppet plays and read the scripts to our favorite movies. However, considering the copyright extension laws this would leave our options mainly in the realm of silent movies. We might as well play charades.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I’m trying to work here, but I hate this. I hate feeling as if I’m being watched. I have a hard enough time working in a cubicle. I’m sitting in the waiting rooom at the courthouse for jury duty selection. I’ve already been called up for the screening process and I was not chosen. Big surprise. They most likely will not select me as I don’t fit the average profile of a typical juror. The woman who was our neighbor when I was a kid served on a jury at least three times that I know of. She’s a housewife, mother of six (or was it five?), may not have completed her college education, and she was very Catholic. Not that I have anything against Catholic housewives, but that woman and her sanctimonious and patronizing attitude made me feel as comfortable as a pair of polyester shorts with all the tags still attached.

She insulted my mother by rejecting us from the school carpool, but I was secretly relieved that I didn’t have to ride to school in a Wagoneer filled with her brood. Namely her eldest son who attacked me on one occasion with the garden hose on full pressure, taking care to aim directly at my glasses. The little freak once knocked a birdsnest down in our yard and gleefully smashed the eggs without restraint. Someone like that cannot be from good people. Years later when I was visiting home from college Mrs. R approached me and asked me a number of nosy questions including whether or not I had a boyfriend. I wanted to tell her that I did not. I wanted to tell her that I actually engaged in meaningless yet satisfying sexual encounters, indiscriminate of the sex of my partners on a regular, no daily basis, and that I was, in fact, a nymphomaniac who could not exactly recall the actual numbers of sexual partners or abortions I had had. Of course, some sense of well beaten in decorum took a hold of me.

“He’s actually living in New York right now,” I replied.
“Well you know you should follow him where ever he is. It’s important that you support him you know.”
She looked as if her mouth was poised to motor on for at least several more minutes. I nodded and quietly evaded her before she could ask if we had any intention of getting married.

If they picked this woman to be a juror at least three times. I didn’t have a chance. Not that I would reject the opportunity.

As I sat in the courtroom during the interview process, and listened to both the thoroughness and clarity of the questions and styles of the public defender/state attorney and the privately hired lawyer. I finally had solid evidence of what I had suspected and known. You really are at a disadvantage if you cannot hire good counsel. In our society you’re basically screwed if you have little or no money. If you’re accused of a crime, and you’re innocent but poor you may be innocent before proven guilty, but unless you have someone sharp working on the jury selection process, your chances are to say the least dismal.

Listening to the responses of my fellow prospective jurors, I learned today that whom I would want to sit on my jury if I was ever convicted of a crime: Those people who honestly voiced their opinion or asked questions regarding the definition of reasonable doubt; those people who thoroughly explained their views and situations; those people who were not afraid to speak out. In most cases, these are the people who are rejected from jury participation.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Stories to Exercise by

It's a known fact that as you grow older you grow hairier and fatter, literally a Ball of Fat. While my solution to the former is to pluck more frequently, I've come to the grim realization that if I don't want to balloon into a lyra denim beachball, I must visit the gym at least three to four times a week. Screw those "One-A-Day" commercials that tell me that I need to take their damn pills to stay thinner. Do I really need a commerical to tell me that my ass is getting bigger or that I cannot eat a whole piece of cheesecake after dinner as frequently as I once did in my 20's?

I came upon this understanding that my body is changing on my own, and I gradually began to accept the nature of my own metabolism along with the periodic bouts with mild arthritis. More, I'm aware that I not longer work in a profession where I'm constantly on my feet, so I need to balance my sedentary day with motion. I'm not the sort who needs or wants a partner to work out with because depending upon my mood I might be in I might stay longer or cut my workout short. In order to combat the tedium I usually read a short story or article while riding the cycle or on the earlier phase of the treadmill. This week I've been reading more of Guy de Maupassant's stories. Other than the "Necklace" and the "Ball of Fat," I had not read Maupassant since my highschool reading of the stories mentioned above. During my routine, I usually get through about two or three during my time on the bike excepting the last 5 minutes when I turn up the rigor.

In my quest to find more stories I actually came upon the Gutenberg Project, which is a wonderful on-line source of (out of print) literature. Most of Maupassant's stories are posted here. More, there's a wealth of literature available to you. When I owned a Mac with SimpleText I used to pop a chapter or two in a document and let the text reader speak it out loud while I was straightening out my apartment. Hence, I'd developed a cheap version of a book on tape. Of course the voice might sound a little tinny as it didn't exactly sound as if Glen Close was reading the text, and the pronunciation at times was terribly off, but I got by just fine.

On-line version of the stories of Guy de Maupassant:

Gutenberg Project Catalog:

Another gym reading suggestion Short Stories by Anton Chekov.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tiki Heads mentioned in earlier post. Yes, I've figured out how to post pictures. Posted by Hello I'm no interior decorator so my skills with arrangement need some help. I aspire to excel in that leave the junk on the shelf as I find it sort of style. And yes, I'm one of those poor souls who buys picture frames and then leaves them empty because they don't actually take pictures. The white frame pictured here was actually a gift from a good friend. I like the frame, I'm just not the nostalgic sort who takes photos. I prefer to keep the images of my loved ones safely tucked in my mind.

And that is the Pope hiding in the background.

Close up Posted by Hello

Homemade Finger Puppet Project

Puppers based on the pattern on Posted by Hello These were pretty darn easy to make and construct. The duck is made from scrap of fuzzy yellow boucle yarn (sorry, I don't remember the brand). His bill is a small knitted strip made from the following pattern:

CO 3
Row 1 - inc 1 - knit to the end of the row
Knit three more rows
Dec 1 and bind off stitches
Fold the bill in half then sew on the duckie's face.

The finger puppet pattern can be found here:

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Homemade Lava Lamp

I thought this was an interesting idea. Again, I wouldn't do it myself, but mainly because I'm just not a lava lamp kind of gal. Too Greg Brady for me. I think when that episode where he got his own pad aired it just whacked the nail into the coffin for that look and style.

What kind of gal am I? I took a quiz today and found out and unfortunately the answer rings somewhat true. Everything except the coffeeshopthing. I usually get crowded out of a seat by all the other posers who are hanging out in there. Personally, I'd rather be reborn as Karen Blixen before her husband gave her syphillis. I think I've grown past the moping days of listening to the Smiths and lamenting about how unique I am. I know that in many ways I'm not. I'm just a product of this consumer culture jungle we all live in. "I get myself," and that's all that really matters.

Bars and whiskey (good whiskey), that's more my speed. Though since I'm no longer a smoker I find myself hanging in the more yuppie type bars lately. If I can't deal with the fuckers in there, I just drink at home. You think that they would have more hipster (non-smoking) bars around here. But I think that it's easier to get the Irish and the Italians to quit smoking in bars than to pry a cigarette out of the hand of a future PDX log lady.
You can always tell the caliber of the wierdoes you have in a town by the kinds of smegheads* you find on the local public access T.V. stations.

I hate it when people tell me, "You know when you're drinking, your consuming empty calories."
"Empty calories my ass! This stuff's doing its job."**

You're the Tortured Intellectual!
You're the Tortured Intellectual!
Take What sort of Hipster are you? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You're sensitive, you're emotional, and you wonder why everyone else in the world exists on a different plane. You cannot eat, breathe, or sleep without analyzing each action to death. You're usually sombre, depressed, lethargic, but you can be nearly glad from time to time. You wear whatever you can find on your cluttered bedroom floor. You carry books, notepads, reading glasses with you wherever you go. You have friends, but only a few who truly get where you're coming from. You frequent coffee shops, libraries, and the less crowded bars. You're obsessed with past people, past ideas, past lives. You wish you could die and be reborn as Jack Kerouac.

Gawhd, that picture is AWWWFUL. That guy's just trying too hard to look like he's reading that book. It may be my perspective, but his arms look terribly short and stubby. Maybe he's not a full-sized adult. The book looks like it's actually blank. The girl? She looks like she's been misplaced from a Lubriderm ad.

* Nothing says dork more than ordering a boxed set of Red Dwarf on

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Speaking of Kitchen Kitsch Posted by Hello

Celebrating Kitchen Kitsch

Everyone, well almost everyone has some guilty pleasure either from their childhood or that one dish that their mother made that just sends them back to the good times. Mine: Franco American Macaroni and Cheese from the can baked with tunafish and potato chips on top. I'll never eat the stuff again, last time I had it was when I lived as a starving student in NY and it made me downright ill. But in the spirit of nostalgia, I'm keeping the recipe as a sort of food relic. Honestly, I'm sure it it was around with all the preservatives in it it would probably qualify as an actual relic object.

I'm trying to collect a bunch of really BAD, bad campy recipes... If you're game and you've got a real hum-dinger, e-mail me or post on you site and send me the link.

Chili Cheese Cake:
Someone needs to explain to this woman that the concept of a cheesecake and chili just don't jive. Sort of like taco pie.

Twinkie Torte:
This is classic. I used to have a twinkie in my lunch everyday between the ages of 7-11. I wonder if this means that my intestines will be preserved for posterity. This recipe calls for improvised use of green toothpaste as a decorative icing. Hmmm... preservatives and carcinogens...Yum-yum- YUMMMMY.

White Trash Mint Julep:
From here. This is genius.

Ingredients: cheap bourbon, peppermint tic tac.
preparation: put tic tac in mouth. throw back bourbon.

John Beresford Tipton Bars:
I guess John Beresford Tipton is the creator of this confection. Sounds like he should be making something more along the lines with Beef Wellington or Lobster Thermidore (which I would not know what the latter is without the help of Mr. Belvedere).

With the extra colors in Froot Loops now a days this treat is just technicolor terrific.

1 lb Golden Almond Bars; (5 bars)
1 c Froot Loops Cereal
1 c Rice Krispies
1 c Miniature Marshmallows

NOTE: One pound of almond bark can be substituted for the candy bars if they are not available. Melt candy bars in a double boiler. Remove from heat, add cerals, mix until coated, then add marshmallows. Mix well. Pour into a buttered pan about 7 by 10 inches. Let cool until set. Cut into 20 to 30 small squares.

Some Additional Goodies:
Check out the possum with chestnuts.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Happy Daffodils

I was looking up flowers and their meanings and I found out that daffodils symbolize "deceitful hopes." Who comes up with these meanings? I found that there's a story attached to all of this posted on the same site. All the pretty daffodils that have bloomed in my garden have stirred up memories of women fixing "Daffodil Cakes" in the spring. Of course, no one does this anymore. I'm sure Brini Maxwell would though :)

Daffodil Cake:
I was actually thinking of having a kitschy little dinner party for some friends, and naturally I thought of the Domestic Diva of Drag. We were at the beach last year and had the opportunity to watch 'rich folks' cable and we ran across her show on the Style network while waiting for the "Venture Brothers" to come on. Brini demonstrated how to create a Finger Sandwich Cake. I'll have to find the recipe and post it.

The official Brini Maxwell Site didn't have any recipies posted, but I dug around and found a few that I might try out.

This cocktail recipe can be pre-measured in a pitcher and then shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker to add drama to the Cake and Cocktails soiree.6 ounces BACARDI RAZZ1 ounce sweet & sour1 ounce triple sec1 ounce Chambord1/2 ounce fresh lime juiceShake and strain all ingredients into a chilled 10 ounce MARTINI glass.Garnish with 3 skewered raspberries and a fresh sprig of mint.
This cocktail recipe can be pre-measured in a pitcher and then shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker to add drama to the Cake and Cocktails soiree.
6 ounces BACARDI RAZZ1 ounce sweet & sour1 ounce triple sec1 ounce Chambord1/2 ounce fresh lime juiceShake and strain all ingredients into a chilled 10 ounce MARTINI glass.Garnish with 3 skewered raspberries and a fresh sprig of mint.

Also, She did have an interesting little project for creating a mirror decorated with pills. Hmmm... don't invite anyone with substance abuse issues (past or present) to use your powder room.

How to Make Art with Pills

Materials:1 12-by-12-inch Plexiglass mirror6 1-by-12-inch clear Plexiglass strips about ¼-inch thickCollection of small, round, colorful objects, such as pills and buttonsWhite glueMethylene chloride (a solvent that bonds to Plexiglass; available at most hobby stores)

Instructions:Clamp a shelf in place on the Plexiglass mirror, and bond it to the face of the surface using the methylene chloride. To do so, place a corner of the mirror on the table so the clamped shelf is on a slight incline, and put the needle applicator of the agent at the top of the shelf, at the very crux of the two pieces of acrylic. (The needle directs the flow of the bonding agent more precisely than the tip of the bottle could.) The bonding agent will run down the crack to the bottom, bonding the shelf instantly. Now remove the clamps, and the piece should be bonded firmly in place. (The bond is immediate, so be sure the shelf is exactly where you want it before you apply the solvent.) Repeat this process with all six shelves.
Now it's time to affix your decorative elements. (We used pills, but you can use any other colorful objects.) Apply a small drop of glue to the shelf where you will place the item, then set the item into the glue. If using pills, make sure any printing is upright.
Now your piece is ready to hang; you can do that by attaching tab hangers on the back. Try experimenting with other objects that pique your interest--beauty supplies, sewing notions, etc. Let your imagination go wild!

Safety Tip:Sure, pills make for a very retro Valley of the Dolls art project. But our legal folks still want us to remind you: This is for amusement purposes only. E! strongly opposes the inappropriate consumption of illegal drugs. Gluing them to shelves? Good. Abusing them? Bad. These projects are strictly for adults. Got that?