Saturday, March 31, 2007

And a lovely day it is

Today has been fantastic. Malka, my old roommate, is in town and we had breakfast at the indoor winter farmer's market. My "kid's portion" was just the right size and for just $3.50, I ate wine-braised oyster mushrooms, Bleu Mont Dairy nutty swiss and caramelized onions on brick oven-baked french bread, a mixed spring greens breakfast salad w/ raspberry honey vinaigrette, apple hickory nut coffeecake with maple cream glaze, cranberry juice, and locally roasted, fair trade, organic coffee. Wisconsin feeds me so well.

This kind of thing is so my scene. I am at my absolute happiest at farmer's markets and food co-ops and any place that focuses on fresh, local food. Everyone there was so wholesome and friendly and kind and the food was amazing and there was live music and it was just lovely. I know that I will miss this most when I move to New York and I suspect that Wisconsin will eventually be my home.

After breakfast, Malka and I took a long walk around downtown and then for lunch I made pasta with goat milk cheddar, garlic, sundried tomato, bell pepper, asparagus, and italian breadcrumbs. It was a completely impromptu meal, thrown together with things I happened to have on hand, and it was delicious. Good food, good company, and a good walk. What a lovely Saturday.

How are you?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Russell Made This Music Video

Um, Russell is awesome. FYI.



You know what else is awesome? That our house smells like summer.

You know what's not that awesome? Cajun red beans and rice with peanut sauce on top.

IT IS 77 DEGREES OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW OMG

That is all. Carry on.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Best Day Ever


OMG I WANT HIM TO SLEEP IN MY BED AND CUDDLE WITH ME.

In other news, my hair is now the color of orange soda mixed with pink cotton candy. It looks a bit like a clown wig and has approximately the same texture. It's cute, I think, but kind of shocking.



My roommate made chocolate chip pancakes for us this morning and now I have all the doors and windows open and my bedroom is filled with sunlight and the music is turned up and I'm cleaning and it is the best day ever. I love weekends.

New Toy for Music Geeks

This is literally the coolest thing I've ever seen in my entire life (thanks for sending it to me, Russell!). You can compose music by arranging and editing loops using a Wii wireless remote. As an added bonus, this dude is totally cute.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pale Young Gentlemen

My roommate just gave me the new Pale Young Gentlemen album, which came out yesterday. I've been listening to it all day, while driving, while cooking, while bleaching my hair (more on that in another post).

This album is equal parts classical music recital and wild west saloon drinking game. It's swaggering and grandiose and it's fucking beautiful. On a few tracks, they sound sort of like Coldplay except if Chris Martin was a pirate. They also remind me of Regina Spektor in this piano-as-time-machine way. The lead singer is theatrical sort of in the way that Rufus Wainwright is theatrical, but less campy I think. They're like a couple that is doing the tango very sincerely but the man has a rose between his lips and it's held at a certain jaunty angle that says, We're in on the joke.

Anyway, you should listen to them here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"You don't need the internet for your life to be, like, completed... I mean, it helps."


I LOVE THIS KID.

"It's made the world smaller as they say... well, not literally."

Oh, also, Shut Down Day 2007. Can you do it?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where I'll Be in August

Dear fellow citizens of Awesome Land,

I have absolutely, irrevocably, once-and-for-all, DON'T-EVEN-TRY- TO-STOP-ME decided to move to New York in August for law school. I realize that many of you will be like, "But Laurie, I thought you absolutely, irrevocably, once-and-for-all decided not to go to-- ?"

And I will be like: "Shut it."

Because, dudes, this decision has been totally hard. This is probably the most major (can something be "most" major?) life decision I've had to make so far and I've been working y'all like spectators at a ping pong match. And I'm sorry.

Anyway, I've finally made my decision (I think) and I feel really good about it. I'm excited about moving to New York, I'm excited about studying law, I'm excited about working and studying on a global level (that sounds like a phrase lifted from one of the university's brochures), I'm excited about working toward something concrete and substantial, and I'm excited about doing good things for people and for the environment (right now, I'm most interested in studying international human rights and environmental law).

I'm not excited about the stress of moving and trying to find an apartment in New York, I'm not excited about going $100-150k in debt, and I'm not excited about spending three years hanging out with people who want to be lawyers when they grow up. Oh, and I'm not excited about the scary amount of work that I will allegedly have to do. Well, maybe a little bit.

For awhile, I was feeling that the risk of failure was too great and the cost of that failure too high and I felt like I still wanted a few more years to be young and free and irresponsible. But then I realized that sometimes great risks are the unpleasant side effects of great opportunities and I was starting to suspect that being "free and irresponsible" may not be all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, I was having trouble coming up with ideas of what I wanted to do with all of my free and irresponsible time-- all of my ideas seemed either expensive or short-sighted or both.

This is definitely a risk and it's definitely going to be a lot of hard work but I feel confident (at this moment) that I'm making the right decision.

The Moral of the Story

Today I made biscuits and gravy. The biscuits turned out amazing. The gravy turned out disgusting. Moral of the story: There isn't one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to...

A few days ago, a friend of mine commented that I've been backsliding lately. I told him that I know myself well enough to know that everything with me is just a phase. He said, "That's impressively self-aware of you, Laurie." I insisted that the phase thing was true and he said, "Oh, no, I know. I've seen you through several of them."

It's a mixed blessing when people know you well.

As far as life, I wish sometimes that someone would just write me a prescription. Or perhaps a how-to manual.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Undone

Today, I took an impromptu road trip to Boscobel, Wisconsin.

I think a big part of the reason that I've been driving so much lately is the promise of escape. A jerk of the wheel, a wrong turn, a missed exit, and I could be halfway to Mexico before anyone noticed I was gone. For the first time since I moved here, I'm really profoundly unhappy. In the past few months, I've lost six friends to airplanes and u-hauls and my voice is hoarse from saying good-bye.

I am ready to go, too.

My grandfather is from Boscobel or, at least, I think he is. Maybe I just have family there. Or maybe my grandfather visited there once. Or maybe I just bought cheese from there and got the name mixed up with something else. I suppose it doesn't matter; truth is illusion and illusion is truth and my grandfather is from Boscobel and I went there today to try to find some piece of myself that I either lost or maybe never had to begin with.

It's a few hours from here to there and it was just me and Josh Ritter in the car, me: quiet, thoughtful, him: turned up loud. I couldn't have picked a prettier drive or a better soundtrack. His spare, haunting twang sounds best when drifting across sun-baked corn fields, curling up like a cat on a farmhouse porch.

My landmarks were windmills and rustic barns, grazing cows and sleepy towns, gravel roads and a crisp blue sky that belied the freon-cold air, still in the grip of a tenacious winter.

Boscobel is a tired little town, all clapboard and burned-out neon. I walked the length of downtown and ate lunch at an empty little diner where I devoured a cinnamon roll as big as my head and drank the best cup of coffee I've ever had.

I asked my waiter if he'd lived there long. He shrugged as if to say 'not really' and then seemed to be counting in his head.

"Fifty-two years," he said.

I asked him if he knew anyone in town who shared my last name. He said he didn't. He told me that about 3,000 people live in Boscobel. "I reckon I'd know your folks if they lived here," he said. "But, then again, people come and go."

I said, yes, they do.

When we lose certain people, or when we are dispossessed from a place, or a community, we may simply feel that we are undergoing something temporary, that mourning will be over and some restoration of prior order will be achieved.

But maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are, ties or bonds that compose us. It is not as if an 'I' exists independently over here and then simply loses a 'you' over there, especially if the attachment to 'you' composes who 'I' am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself...

Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something.


- Judith Butler, Precarious Life



Simply cutting off ties entirely is almost a godsend in some cases. What's worse is that intimate relationship that, displaced by time and distance, devolves into those two coldest words in the English language:

Take care.

Those words are a shower that's run prematurely cold, they're a cyanide nightcap, they're the door that hits you on your way out. They're part of growing up and moving on, or so it seems.

The closer I drew to Madison, I felt my chest tightening, my stomach knotting. A jerk of the wheel, I thought, a wrong turn, a missed exit.

I could be halfway to Mexico before anyone noticed I was gone.

Two Years

Oh, I just noticed that today marks two years for me in Madison. On what I think is an unrelated note, I am outrageously grumpy today. Like, I will punch you in the face.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vegan Truffles

I'm going to a St. Patrick's Day themed potluck tonight and didn't want to make anything green, sort of on principle. I mean, I wasn't going to make steamed spinach and cover it with blue food coloring or anything but I'd already planned to make truffles before I realized the food was supposed to be green and I didn't want to change my plans.

My dad's actually half-Irish but I'm not a big fan of St. Patrick's Day. I have no doubt that it has some sort of actual meaning to someone out there but, for 99% of its celebrants, I suspect it's just a reason to get drunk and I also feel like it's sort of this weird holiday that celebrates whiteness (under the guise of "Irish-ness") and I'm kind of uncomfortable with that. I'm sure there are like 12 zillion people out there who would vehemently disagree with me about this and get disproportionately worked up about it but eh. It's not like I hate the holiday or I'm going to organize some protest against it, it's more of a generalized indifference with a small side salad of scrunched-up-nose.

It's worth noting that it's different to me if you're like FOR REAL Irish and you, like, feel this super strong connection to that heritage. I can totally get behind that. But I don't think that's what it's about for most folks.

Oh, recipe, right.

I found this recipe on vegweb.com (which is a GREAT resource for vegan recipes and I've been a regular visitor to that site for the past several years).

Vegan Truffles

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler. You can makeshift a double-boiler pretty easily with a large pot and a smaller pot inside it. Be sure to stir the chips often (it makes them melt much faster). You can also use a microwave but don't tell me if you do because I'll totally judge you.
  3. Mix the chocolate with the cream cheese and sugar.
  4. Separate into different sections and add small amounts of extracts or liqueurs (I used frangelico, creme de menthe, and coconut rum) to each section and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate the chocolate for about an hour until it hardens somewhat and then roll the chocolate into balls. You can then roll them in powdered sugar, sprinkles, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or cocoa powder. Yum.

p.s. In case, like me, you didn't actually know what St. Patrick's Day is about, it's apparently just celebrating some dude who converted all of Ireland's "native pagans" to Christianity. Uh, sweet. Pass the green beer.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

These scones were an experiment based on my favorite biscuit recipe. They turned out pretty yummy but I'd like to experiment with them more (or you can experiment with them and then tell me about it). I wonder if powdered sugar would work better than the coarsely granulated kind that I used.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 2 heaping tbsp pumpkin puree
  • soy milk
  • chocolate chips


DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 (maybe it should be lower actually, I'm not sure).
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Blend in the butter and pumpkin.
  4. Add the soy milk very slowly while mixing with your hands or a spatula of some sort (not a mixer, you don't want to over-mix these). Make sure you don't make the batter too wet-- add just enough soy milk to combine all of the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for like 10 minutes or so?

p.s. These are great if you freeze them and then wrap them in aluminum foil and heat them up in the oven or toaster oven. You can have delicious scones for breakfast anytime you want!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mock Duck Curry

Tonight, I attempted to make panang curry without the use of a recipe. The curry came out surprisingly well. Unfortunately, like nearly every curry I've ever made (this is my first attempt from scratch), it smells delicious but tastes pretty bland. Does anyone know the secret to making the curry more flavorful?

Mock Duck Curry
CURRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cans coconut milk (1 "lite")
  • a whole bunch of peanut butter
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • a couple dashes of ground ginger
  • a pinch of powdered star anise
  • a shitload of curry powder
  • a crapload of turmeric (this is quite a bit less than a "shitload")
  • a crapload of garlic powder
  • a little sea salt
  • a few good shakes of chili powder
  • a tablespoon-ish of lemongrass
OTHER INGREDIENTS
  • lots of broccoli
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots
  • 2 cans cha'i pow yu
  • jasmine rice
DIRECTIONS
  1. Cook the curry ingredients.
  2. Stir fry the cha'i pow yu and vegetables. Mix with the curry.
  3. Cook rice and serve with curry.

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

This afternoon, as I was snoozing my way through a particularly ho-hum meeting (as a side note, I remember when I actually enjoyed meetings-- oh for those halcyon months of youthful exuberance!), I experienced a minor epiphany. It's useful to realize that I experience epiphanies, both minor and major, on a fairly regular basis and they mostly tend to cancel each other out.

Anyway, this epiphany was pretty sweet because it related to some sort of "life focus" which has, thus far, been a fairly elusive concept for me. My last day with my current employer is tentatively scheduled for July 31 and my lease is up August 14. I know that I'm ready for my life as a paper-pusher to fade into Distant Memory Land but the question is: What next? Do I throw on a backpack and ramble aimlessly across the vast and exotic regions of privileged western european countries? Do I embroil myself in the conventionally-structured yawnfest that is modern academia? Do I move back in with Mom and Dad?

Oh, questions... questions that will plague me no longer!

Well, at least for the next ten minutes which is the length of time I calculate that it will take my latest epiphany to lose its luster. Oh, sad.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dimestore Philosophies, Part II

Driving on the highway this morning, I had a moment when I was surrounded on all sides by "extended cab" this and "Hemi engine" that, my tiny car dwarfed by these speeding vessels of testosterone.

I thought, "Well, it could be worse. I could be driving a Suburban."

And of course it could be worse. But couldn't it always be worse? Couldn't any person, no matter how unethically and thoughtlessly he lives his life, find a shining example of something Worse? I suspect this type of comparison, this 'keeping down with the Joneses', isn't terribly productive. Shouldn't I, surrounded by no less than six foreign-oil-hogging, baby-seal-killing monster trucks, feel compelled to do my part to offset their effects?

Isn't it true that "radical" compassion is required to counteract this sort of "radical" selfishness (ironically derided by the very people who create its necessity)?

Loosely related: I came up with a new philosophy a few days ago. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I stole it from the Girl Scouts but they probably won't mind. I'm really big on having a guiding principle that helps inform my daily ethical decisions (and every decision has an ethical dimension when you live inside my crazy little head).

Anyway, my old philosophy was: "Do all things out of love." That's a pretty good one and it's helped me through some sticky situations but there's a lot of room for loopholes there, I think. For one thing, people do some pretty messed up shit "out of love" whether it be love for their children, love for their country, or love for their god(s). And what happens when you have love for multiple, oppositional forces? How do you choose which love is purest?

So here's my new philosophy, which I think is better (and which I stole from the Girl Scouts, who are makers of delicious cookies as well as wise adages): "Leave it better than you found it."

I like this one because it's pretty straightforward and I think it's widely applicable. I mean, it's a bit much to say "Leave this world better than you found it" because, at the end of the day, how do I tally up all my petty crimes and pure intentions? How do I calculate the sum of all my selfish acts and my labors of love? I'd hope the grand total falls on the side of Good but it's tough to keep track.

Instead, I prefer the idea of, like, you go in the break room at work and somebody spilled some coffee and you're not the one who spilled it but you clean it up anyway.

And maybe you go to the grocery store and someone left their shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot and you're not going to use it but you take it up with you just because.

And you take a walk in the park and maybe you didn't go around with a trash bag and pick up every stray McDonalds bag but you see a candy bar wrapper next to the trash can and you throw it away just because you can.

Leave it better than you found it.

Maybe you eat less factory-farmed food. Maybe you drive less and take the bus more. Maybe you start a non-profit or maybe you join one. Maybe you're a good mom to some cool ass kid who's gonna make the world a better place. Maybe you do nice things for strangers. Maybe you give food to homeless folks sometimes and adopt a mutt from the pound and donate your old clothes and call your grandma on her birthday and don't honk your horn at people so much. Maybe you recycle. Maybe you smile at people.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all did this all the time?

It would be pretty sweet, that's what.

First Impressions

It's interesting how my concept of identity has evolved over the past few years, even over the past few months. Gone are the days that I see someone with funky glasses and Chuck Taylors and say, "I bet we'd be friends." Actually, those days aren't wholly gone but I've at least learned not to be disappointed when the person is less compatible with me than I'd hoped.

Similarly, gone are the days that I meet someone who is vegetarian or who doesn't own a car or who votes third party and I say, "I bet we'd be friends." Actually, those days aren't wholly gone either but I've learned that politics and values don't always correlate the way I'd expect.

I know plenty of folks who have radically liberal politics but the heart of a salesman glad-handing on a golf course and I know plenty of peace-loving simplifiers who wear cardigan sweaters from Ann Taylor and drive mid-sized sedans.

People are complicated and I guess that's a good thing but it makes them harder to squeeze into neat little boxes, which is inconvenient.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Private Conversation

A private conversation, held in public.

There's a link to the full transcript at the end. It's worth reading.

p.s. If you speak Spanish, you can download past episodes of the show or, if you're like me, you might have an easier time reading the transcripts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lemongrass-Ginger Cupcakes

I based these cupcakes on this recipe but modified it a bit.

And by 'modified' I mean 'accidentally used way too much soy milk and ended up dumping in random amounts of flour and sugar to fix it'. I also added ground ginger to the dry ingredients, used lemongrass from a jar, and substituted soy milk and vegan butter for their dairy counterparts.

The cupcakes turned out quite delicious.

The frosting, however, was a disaster due to the fact that cornstarch and powdered sugar are actually not the same thing (who knew?).

Musical Prodigies


Did you know that Joanna Newsom is only 24-years-old? Holy cow.





Next, you're gonna tell me that Mozart wrote his first composition when he was five.


photo courtesy of caffeine headache

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mini Bean & Rice Burritos

I broke my roommate's candle tonight (actually, the glass spontaneously combusted but I think it was my fault) so I went to the grocery store to buy him a new one. My plan was to just pick up a new candle and be on my merry way but I ended up with an armload of groceries and, for some reason, most of it was completely random stuff that I never buy.

tequila-lime salsa ($1.89)
mini flour tortillas ($1.09)
wisconsin aged cheddar mac & cheese (organic) ($0.99)
vegetarian tuna noodle casserole in a box (organic) ($1.89)
blueberry-flavored coffee ($1.44)
spicy kung pao noodles ($1.69)
roasted peanut noodles (contains anchovy extract) ($1.69)
sweet basil pesto mix (organic) ($1.19)
alfredo sauce mix (organic) ($1.19)
15 oz. canned spanish rice ($0.89) (canned rice??)
15 oz. canned cajun red beans & rice (organic) ($1.79)
low-sodium soy sauce ($1.79) (um, seriously, click that link)
pickled jalapenos, sliced ($0.59)
lemongrass ($1.69)
chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($0.89)
cha'i pow yu ($1.49)
spaghetti ($0.29)

I was inspired to buy the spanish rice, chipotle peppers, jalapenos, salsa and tortillas so that I could finally use a can of refried beans that had been living in my cabinet for like 17 years. I got home and remembered that I'd actually already used that can so I had to steal one from my roommate. Aaaaand we've come full circle.

Mini Bean & Rice Burritos
INGREDIENTS

  • refried beans
  • spanish rice (comes with some kind of enchilada sauce)
  • salsa (not really necessary if the rice comes with enchilada sauce)
  • sliced jalapenos
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (diced)
  • cumin (to taste)
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • flour tortillas

DIRECTIONS
  1. Mix rice and refried beans in a pan on low heat.
  2. Add the sliced and diced peppers (some slicing and dicing may be required).
  3. Add garlic and cumin (and salt, optionally).
  4. Heat up tortillas on the stove (or make your own from scratch!) and add a little of the bean mixture to the center of each tortilla.
  5. Top with vegan sour cream and a jalapeno slice. Cheese would be good, too.

This entire meal cost about $5-7 and will serve about four people (or four meals for one person) with plenty of leftover peppers.

Forgive Me, Father, For I Have Sinned

I have a confession to make. This is difficult for me to admit so please hold your stones until the end... it wasn't just the beef fat biscuits.

I went to Starbucks today.

Not only did I go to Starbucks, but I waited in a very long drive-thru line during the course of which I probably burned at least three new holes in the ozone layer. Not only did I start off my morning supporting a multi-national corporation and killing Mother Nature but, worst of all, I ordered the princessiest princess drink in all the land ("grande soy latte with one pump sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup") (I refrained from requesting an extra shot of espresso because I was too embarrassed) (don't ask me how I know to say "one pump" DON'T ASK ME).

For shame.

Oh, and speaking of the ozone layer? In the past few days, I have randomly become THE WORLD'S BIGGEST FAN OF DRIVING. I've only owned a car for about 50% of my time in Madison and I am a huge proponent of public transportation. I do own a car currently but in the past four months, I've used exactly half a tank of gas.

I've used the other half in the past four days.

In the past few days, I have become a DRIVING ADDICT. I drive to work. I drive to the store. I drive to places that are actually easier to access by bus. I would drive to the kitchen to get a glass of water if I could find the parking. I HAVE GONE INSANE.

I'm hoping this is just a phase.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness

Several years ago, I was an active member of this community for awhile and it is the loveliest thing ever, ever.

You click a button and you see a random address, sometimes a name, sometimes a little scrap of information about the person ("loves bridges, kerouac, and mixtapes"). And you send them something. Maybe it's a funny postcard from your favorite coffeeshop, maybe it's a bag of your favorite tea, maybe it's a collage of images from your favorite magazine. Maybe it's a handmade card.

And that's it.

Reciprocation isn't the point and, in fact, it isn't even encouraged. You're simply touched by some stranger in maybe Iceland or maybe Gary, Indiana and then you simply touch someone else.

It's better than anti-depressants. It's fucking amazing.

An Art Project Even I Could (Probably) Do

What a cool idea from The Purl Bee (via the ReadyMade blog). For awhile now, I've been hankering to do something with this fabric but was limited by my stunning incompetency with needle and thread. No longer will my relationship with fabric be hindered by my fear of sewing! Swatch portraits for everyone!



I love an easy, inexpensive art project.


photo courtesy of readymade

My Trip to the Asian Grocery

On my way home from the movie theatre today, I decided to stop at Yue Wah which is the only Asian grocery store I know of in this city. I'd been dreaming about Yue Wah since I moved here two years ago but it's on the south side of town, where I seldom find myself*, so I hadn't made it over there before today.

Back in Florida, I did probably 60-70% of my grocery shopping at Asian groceries and I've been missing them. They are a great source for bulk rice, cheap tofu, and delicious spices, sauces, and vegetarian delicacies (such as vegan fish balls which are AMAZING). As a result, I've spent the past two years building up Yue Wah to be some kind of heaven with a neon sign.

Well, it does have a neon sign but I was otherwise pretty disappointed. First of all, Yue Wah seems to focus mostly on Japanese food which really surprised me. This means that a good third of the store was devoted to Cephalopods and vegetarian options were scarce.

My second surprise at Yue Wah is that everything was amazingly expensive. I have never before uttered the words "expensive" and "Asian grocery" in the same sentence unless there was a "not" somewhere between them. The food wasn't just expensive for an Asian grocery store, it was expensive period. A tiny bowl of cooked rice was almost $3, I saw a bag (albeit a fairly large bag) of frozen vegetable dumplings for $10, and a small package of mushrooms was almost $5.

I ended up leaving with just a single serving walnut ice cream bar ($1) but my was it ever delicious.



The company who makes that ice cream bar, by the way, has very interesting slogans for its products. For example, the slogan for the walnut ice cream bar is "Enjoy the rich taste of walnuts. Any time, any place." If I wanted to enjoy the rich taste of walnuts, wouldn't I just eat walnuts? I would argue that walnuts are actually much easier to enjoy "any time, any place" than an ice cream bar.

Then I saw this quote in their Company Overview section and suddenly it all made sense:

Bravo Cone, which was first launched in 1970, has become a leading ice cream brand through the commercial music song “Let’s meet at 12. Bravo Cone!”

Ok, I just youtubed that commercial and Bravo Cone is THE MOST MELODRAMATIC ICE CREAM EVER.



It's also interesting to me that Bravo Cone, which was introduced in 1970, is in the Korean Guinness Book of Records as the oldest ice cream product in Korea. That seems really recent to me and I assume it's related to the predominance of lactose intolerance in Asia.

I couldn't find any information in the online Guinness World Records database about the oldest ice cream product in the United States but Answers.com tells me that it's Breyers who apparently began making ice cream in 1866. That's before the invention of the telephone, folks.

Well, I'm glad we've got our priorities straight anyway.

* When I say that Yue Wah is on the "south side" of town, I should clarify that it is less than five miles from my house. I have somehow adopted the bizarre spatial perceptions of this city's inhabitants.

2006 Academy Award Nominated Shorts

Today I went to see the five short films that were nominated in this year's Academy Awards. The winner, West Bank Story, is a musical comedy about forbidden love and competing falafel stands in the West Bank. It was pretty funny but it was very over-the-top and I actually liked some of the other films better. I was particularly enamored with Binta y la Gran Idea, a sweet, whimsical film set in Senegal and told from the perspective of an adorable little girl. The movie's a bit cheesey but I'm pretty sure you'd have to have a heart made of concrete to not find yourself endeared to it.

I also really loved Éramos Pocos from Madrid. This is a subtle comedy about a man who invites his mother-in-law to live with him and his son when his wife leaves them. I think this may have been the best film in terms of acting and depth, in my opinion. It was very subtle and nuanced and very funny. The Saviour is a quirky Australian comedy about a church elder who becomes obsessed with a married woman when she ends their illicit relationship. This film probably got the most laughs of any of them, it was very funny and the acting was superb. The last film, Helmer & Søn is a Danish comedy about a man who is called to a nursing home with his sister and her sullen daughter when their father locks himself in a closet. This one definitely got some laughs but I think it was my least favorite. The pacing was kind of off; it had a slow build and then the ending felt a little rushed.

You can download any of these films (as well as the animated shorts and some of the films that were short-listed) on iTunes for $1.99 each.

Ethical Quandary

In today's episode of Your Ill-fitting Overcoat, Laurie faces an ethical quandary!

So, here's the backstory. Someone gave me a package of biscuit mix for Christmas (in the context of the gift, this actually made sense). The mix is not vegetarian (it contains beef fat). It has been sitting in my cupboard for almost three months and every time I open my cupboard, I find myself facing this moral dilemma.

I've been vegetarian for almost six years (well, to be fair, I've been pescetarian on and off for part of that) and I would never buy biscuit mix that contains lard or beef fat. I considered giving it away to a non-vegetarian friend but from an environmental or animal rights perspective, what difference does it make if I eat the biscuits or if someone else does? For me to transfer the onus to someone else seems more selfish than responsible.

There are two points at which my personal ethical code has been violated with regard to this package of biscuit mix: (1) when it was produced and (2) when it was purchased, thereby supporting its continued production. Who eats the biscuits doesn't actually make a difference to me but if the biscuits were not consumed and were instead thrown away, that would actually be a third violation of my personal ethics.

So.

Following much deliberation, I mixed the biscuit mix with some organic soy milk and ate them with vegetarian sausage and delicious homemade miso gravy. And you know what? The biscuits were totally not good at all. I much prefer the super easy homemade vegan biscuits that I usually make.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Two Things I Did Today at Work

  1. Put sugar on my hard-boiled egg (I thought it was salt).
  2. Cut my hair in the supply closet (that's where they keep the scissors).

Thursday, March 8, 2007

iRoll

I still love my iBook and I doubt I'll ever buy a computer that's not a Mac but I am seriously so over Apple. Like, so over them.

I should clarify that my condemnation of Apple is not intended as implicit support for its competitors. Just about everybody who sells shit is found guilty in the article linked above. I'm just sick of the smarm.

Stop being smarmy, Apple.

Last night, a friend was talking about how the U.S. Department of Treasury wants us to start using dollar coins instead of dollar bills because paper money is more expensive. They're trying to figure out ways to make dollar coins more desirable to the public. I said, 'Why don't they just get Apple to make them?'

And they sing!

This isn't a pop culture blog so I'm going to keep this brief. I just wanted to say that Scarlett Johansson is releasing an album of Tom Waits covers. Did you already know that? Because I didn't know that. I kind of wish I still didn't know that.

Also, it somehow makes me feel better about life that she isn't the world's Sexiest Woman Alive by nature.

In related news, did you know that Jena Malone sings now? I keep listening to her songs and trying to figure out if I like them.

... oh, I just noticed that her official website is called "Dancing Circus Hamsters." I think that's my answer.

p.s. It turns out that I actually really like Scarlett Johansson's voice but I'm still not feeling a whole album of Tom Waits covers.

photo courtesy of stereogum

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

New Song

I haven't written lyrics for this one yet. I'm not sure if I will. You probably can't even tell but this is the most complex song I've made so far, in terms of composition (which, granted, is not saying all that much). GarageBand, like Photoshop and I guess a lot of other similar applications, has a pretty steep learning curve, at least for me. It takes awhile to get the hang of it but once you do, it kind of snowballs.

Untitled.mp3


Saturday, March 3, 2007

brooklyn / nyc



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