Saturday, November 13, 2010

Food

For some reason, wintry weather makes me feel like cooking. Last year I became pretty dedicated to regularly making my own veggie broth and seitan, and to cooking big potfuls of tasty food for the whole house (eggplant and peanut soup, some dal-like thing, delicious miso soup, chickpea noodle soup, chili, some other stuff). Maybe it's because cooking is a comforting, warm activity in the Minnesota winter, getting  to stand over the stove and and thaw. Maybe it's because I get really excited to cook for Thanksgiving and it carries on from there. Maybe it's because I get bored more easily. Maybe it's because our yellow kitchen looks nice in that snowy, white-gray winter light. Whatever it is, I'm getting that feeling again.

I've started out the season with a few mini-inspiration dishes over the past week. Just now I finished off the last of a pasta dish I made; I used up the last of my acorn squash and tomatoes from my garden by roasting them up all tender (roasted some garlic for good measure), and threw that all in the pot with lots of salt, olive oil, black pepper. Super simple and tasty. Then today Joe made a delicious rendition of his ever-delightful beans and rice. We ate it with a perfectly ripened avocado and celebrated the snow by cracking open a jar of the salsa my mom and I made out of garden tomatoes and peppers (we canned it ourselves!).


My family never leaves town for Thanksgiving anymore, and this year it looks like I'll have a few good friends around to share the holiday with too--unfortunately Anya might be included here since she broke her foot and probably can't go to New York, but I will try my best to heal her with scones, chickpea gravy, and squash soup.

For good measure, here's some stuff I from my kitchen that I like.

For instance, my totally awesome vintage blender. I had a cheap blender for a while that was light and flimsy, and the screw-on part on the bottom kept cracking. Stupid! But I found this lovely baby at the antique store up the street from my house, and it's really sturdy. Even better, it's a great kind of pukey-green retro color that this photo does not do justice. I love my blender.

Then there's my beloved pink electric mixer. This little guy came from the vintage store next to Eclipse, and not only is it adorable but it works like a charm!
And while I'm at it, here's a picture of the cats being cute.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Well, a week ago was the day that Wilfred Owen died. I love him and feel bad that I'm seven days late to the game, but I think this is about as good a reason as any for me to give a tip of my hat to Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 8, 2010



This is what I did last weekend! At this show I had one beer poured down my back, another one poured all over my head, I was almost smothered by 20-30 something fanboys in the front, and I got a kiss from Mitch Mitchell. Not a bad night! I am buried somewhere in this pile of drunk dudes.



And this appears to have been filmed directly over my head.
What an amazing weekend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

File under "masochistic things I love to do"

Reading the most ridiculous anti-feminist or conservative-with-Christian-or-Tea-Party-bent websites and editing them in my head, writing lab style. The best are the ones that look like they were made in 1997 and are full of lengthy screeds wherein the writer tries as hard as they can to use big words to prove that they're an underground mastermind patiently waiting to bowl over the matriarchal liberal establishment. LOVE IT. Ego stroking fun that doesn't make me feel the last bit guilty.

Update: Reading Kanye's Twitter feed is also included in this category, but that's more awesome and silly than totally depressing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have I posted this before?

SO AMAZING.

Also this. Best music video ever (except for maybe "November Spawned a Monster").


How I'm feeling today--cloudy, Smiths-y.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My preliminary top fictional feminist icons list to make up for this kind of stupid one.

Lutie Johnson, The Street by Ann Petry
Lyra Belacqua, Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series
Hermione Granger, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
Esperanza Cordero, The House on Mango Street  by Sandra Cisneros
Lily Bart, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Esther Greenwood, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Anne Shirley, Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love how the tiniest little things can change how I see my day. I woke up this morning feeling really sick and awful, and I couldn't sleep so I just tried to read in bed for a while. When this didn't make me feel any better and I was still tired, I wandered downstairs to feed the cats so they would stop crawling all over me. Dan and Elliot were getting up as I was puttering around, and for about fifteen minutes the three of us wandered in and out of the kitchen, putting together breakfasts, making pleasant morning small talk, and drinking the super-strong coffee Anya had made before she left the house. I experimented a little and made myself a delicious, greasy breakfast--a vegan grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mushrooms and onions. The boys left, I finished my sandwich, and now with food, sun, conversation, and caffeine to sustain me I'm feeling so much better.

SUPER UPDATE


WE'RE FUCKING GOING!


We bought our tickets, now I just have to get through the next eleven days. I grin every time I start thinking about it. My tendency in these kind of situations is to go into hyper-planning-mode, but I think it's for the better that Ezra is pretty much decidedly anti-plan and is keeping my type-A tendencies in check. He pretty much summed up the whole thing last week when we were trying to work out the Columbus trip, and he sent me a text that said, "Do want this pretty bad; the adventure, the camaraderie, being a part of something bigger, the ability to actually feel/see/hear music as the greatest thing there is (as embodied by a phenomenal band). Is that what we've always wanted?!"

Well, yeah. It is.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plan B

After spending all morning frantically trying to find a way to make our mini-journey to Columbus possible, it turned out that we just couldn't do it this weekend. I spent a few hours during the afternoon cruising the delightfully awful GBV website in a lethargic state of despair, until I discovered something wonderful. We couldn't make it work this weekend, but two weeks from now there's another show in Detroit.

Fingers crossed, y'all. I am just a big stupid sucker for a road trip, and I can't think of a band more hyper-American and perfect for the occasion than these dudes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Craving an adventure lately. Should Ezra and I go to Columbus, OH this weekend to see GBV again? Freaking out!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Update

How did I not mention this here already? Such an awesome discovery, and I love that the people who found it were from la Musee d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris because that is one of my favorite places on earth (and I saw an amazing whale exhibit there a few years ago!). 

In other news, I had my first big cooking day in a while. Over the course of the evening I made seitan, two different kinds of tofu, and raspberry scones. I don't know if it's because I really felt like cooking or if I was just trying to avoid doing homework, but it worked out pretty well; the seitan turned out to be one of my best batches yet, and my newest room mate, Dan, has never had my scones before. Now I'm just bummin' around, making pathetic attempts at revising my French composition before I go to Joe's parent's house for the 10 o'clock Mad Men, though I'd rather continue reading "Richard II" for Shakespeare class. It's so good! I think I'm going to like the histories best.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AAAAAAAAHHHH

I am drowning in homework. Obviously this is exactly what I deserve after whining about how much I missed school all summer but HOLY GOD I have a sick amount of work to do. I know that the academic affairs people say that there really is enough time to eat, sleep, work, do schoolwork, and exercise in a day (or even in a week), but I am definitely starting to feel like they're lying. French is going to be the death of me, I'm sure; class is nice because I just get to listen to my professor speak, but the homework is going to put me under. And I have met very few people who love literature class as much as I do, but I'm starting to feel pretty stupid for jumping into two really hard ones at the same time. AAAHHHH!

Just had to get that out of my system.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Since I really don't think I have the energy to cope with the serious rage I know I'm going to experience as I read this horrible, condescending, pointless, petty, and resentful article in full, suffice it to say that I hate it more than just about anything on planet earth. And I hate a lot of shit. For now I'll let Amanda Marcotte do the talking, and see if I can come back to this later without my brain exploding. But I really am curious about why the New York Times is so determined to undermine young people at every chance (based on bogus research and made-up theories) they get. Stop it, guys. We actually are smart enough to find and read newspapers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Since I was a little disappointed to discover that the ship found buried under the World Trade Center site probably wasn't a whaling ship, this is a welcome bit of cool whaling ship news. I was also pleased to discover this rock on Lake Superior while I was camping earlier this week, which I think slightly resembles a sperm whale.


I'm getting antsier to start school again every single day. I can't wait to be back to working hard, reading and writing a lot, and starting my two new jobs.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ATTN: Stupid People on the Internet

I was pleased to see this post turn up on Jezebel today, because as someone who had similar experiences  several times over the course of my life as a teenage girl I know that it's absolute bullshit to be shamed for your body when all you're doing is trying to be comfortable. However, I was not pleased to read the slew of shamey-victim-blamey comments that followed the piece. Are you serious Wendy? When a young woman decides to open up to you about the first time she's ever felt ashamed of her sexuality, it is not the appropriate time (as if there's ever an appropriate time!) to suggest that she's overreacting or deserved what she got.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

While all the fool-assed-fools in the US continue to get hyped over Norman Rockwell's cheesy white person made-up-America nonsense, (trying to stay cool after reading some extremely stupid internet comments related to a very innocent post on Harpyness) I'll be over here enjoying Kehinde Wiley.



 Baroque-inspired portraits of young black men and hip hop personalities, employing rich colors and "traditional" decorative floral patterns; an interesting, fun, and engaging take on portraiture for the 21st century, if you ask me. I first came across Wiley unwittingly, when my roommate Elliot put this painting up as the background on our communal computer. I loved it because it was fresh and unexpected, using a traditional medium and florid Baroque details to elevate young black men to an almost regal status. Then, a few weeks ago, Joe and I visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art and came across this room, where a painting of Wiley's was hung amongst the actual 18th century that he draws from.




His subjects look confident (defiant?) and comfortable, and stare right at you out of the canvas. I've always loved those qualities in portraits of women, so maybe it's just something I enjoy about paintings that depict people who have historically been kept out of the "art world," or who are usually supposed to show deference and obedience to the assumed white, male viewer.

Point being, boo to Norman Rockwell and his trite garbage, yay to Kehinde Wiley and his empowering contemporary interpretation of an old style I'm not usually that into.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Herman Melville
by W.H. Auden

Towards the end he sailed into an extraordinary
     mildness,
And anchored in his home and reached his wife
And rode within the harbour of her hand,
And went across each morning to an office
As though his occupation were another island.

Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge
His terror had to blow itself quite out
To let him see it; but it was the gale had blown him
Paste the Cape Harn of sensible success
Which cries: 'This rock is Eden. Shipwreck here.'
But deafened him with thunder and confused with
    lightning:
--The maniac hero hunting like a jewel
The rare ambiguous monster that had maimed his sex,
The unexplained survivor breaking off the nightmare--
All that was intricate and false; the truth was simple.

Evil is unspectacular and always human,
And shares our bed and eats at our own table,
And we are introduced to Goodness every day.
Even in drawing-rooms among a crowd of faults;
he has a name like Billy and is almost perfect
But wears a stammer like decoration:
And every time they meet the same thing has to happen;
It is the Evil that is helpless like a lover
And has to pick a quarrel and succeeds,
And both are openly destroyed before our eyes.

For now he was awake and knew
No one is ever spared except in dreams;
But there was something else the nightmare had distorted--
Even the punishment was human and a form of love:
The howling storm had been his father's presence
And all the time he had been carried on his father's breast.

Who now had set him gently down and left him.
He stood upon the narrow balcony and listened:
And all the stars above him sang as in his childhood
'All, all is vanity,' but it was not the same;
For now the words descended like the calm of mountains--
--Nathaniel had been shy because his love was selfish--
But now he cried in exultation and surrender
'The Godhead is broken like bread. We are the pieces.'

And sat down at his desk and wrote a story.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've been back around Eclipse Records lately, and I have basically no self control when faced with a bunch of music I want to buy, so over the past few days I've picked up a few things that I may talk about in the relatively near future.
  • Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate
  • Bonnie Prince Billy, I See a Darkness
  • Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones
  • Jawbox, Novelty
  • Some kind of Nuggets II promo CD
  • M.I.A., Kala
  • Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, to revisit my 6th grade self
  • Staring at the Sea, a compilation of singles by the Cure that was mysteriously abandoned at the store, so I gave it a good home.
  • Nick Cave, From Her to Eternity
In 100% different news, I'm still thinking about Moby-Dick almost constantly. It's weird--I started reading it almost a year ago, and since then it's never really left my mind. I'm still amazed that something I had such low expectations for ended up kind of changing my life (at least in a literary sort of way). I'm getting a little hung up on the idea of re-reading it soon, but I can't be distracted from my goal of reading Ulysses before the summer is over. A goal that, unfortunately, keeps getting more complicated and lengthy.
I was able to talk to my adviser about this plan the other day, and he was kind enough to tell me all the things I'll need to do/read before I even start the book as well as a few things I should be reading while reading Ulysses. Obviously it was very cool of him to help me out, but blaaaaah that just added like, 6 books to my reading list, and those 6 books are only extensions of the Ulysses project! I am going to be so pissed off if this book turns out to suck.

Like

Tonight I'm really enjoying the spacey, kind of spooky garage-rock-girl-group thing these ladies have going on.



I like finding good bands with women in them, and good bands made up entirely of women is extra points!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I sort of wish I had more interesting things to say about Stranger Than Paradise, having just watched it, but all I can really think about is how baby John Lurie is kind of foxy.


"Birthdales"

I turned 20 years old today. It doesn't feel that weird now that the day is actually here, but in the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about what this age means for me. I remember Joe saying of his 20th birthday, "Now all the things I do and I like aren't exceptional for me anymore. Now they're just normal 20-something things." That's a little how I'm feeling too--for the past 8 years or so, I've strongly identified with the feeling of being an older person trapped in a younger person's life. I've fought hard to prove my worth and my intelligence to the (adult) world around me, and now that I'm about to enter that world I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I've been feeling so ambitious lately--I'm constantly thinking about what kind of apartment I'd like to live in, what college courses I'll be taking in 2 years, where to travel, where I'll go to graduate school, what sort of internships I need to have to get the jobs I want, what I want my kitchen to look like. I fantasize about being a "real adult" all the time, but I still get find myself passionately defending teenagers just like I did when I was 16. Being a young person has been a huge part of how I think about myself and my position in the world up until now; it's played a role in my personal relationships, my attitude towards school, developing my politics, and everything else. I know that 20 isn't over the hill exactly, but I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of no one telling me "you're so _____ for you age" any more. This is all admittedly superficial and selfish, but hey, I can be that way on my birthday right?

So far today I've woken up late to a hot sunny day, hung out on the patio, eaten a delicious Japanese lunch at Midori's, and donned my new bathing suit to lie out in my backyard and read my whale book. Now I'm on my newly built bed, listening to the awesome women's soul mix tape Calvin Johnson traded me for some cupcakes a year ago (it's SO. FREAKING. GOOD.). In a few minutes I'll be back with my parents, probably off to get pizza and then to eat the sure-to-be-amazing red velvet birthday cake from Cake Eater. Not bad.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some things that I am fond of:

Canyonlands National Park, probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I felt like I could sit there on a rock forever and never leave, content to just smell the cliffrose and lay across the slickrock. It's weird, lovely and peaceful.


The Gateway District. Awesome, fun, slightly melancholy, sometimes twangy Midwestern pop punk. They remind me of how great Minneapolis is and how much I love Minnesota (plus I'm listening to them right now!)

My goofy old camera. It's cheap and beat up, but it's always taken good photos. It was the camera I used when I started to learn how much I loved taking pictures, and I'm so glad that I still have it. I hope to use it more this summer!


The Bean Factory patio in the summer. It's always sunny and pleasant, my perfect place to relax and drink something tasty. Or more realistically, my perfect place to read the newspaper and have my head explode with anger. But you know. It's nice anyway.

My bike! It's a little beast--heavy, especially with my big ol' baskets on the back, but I can haul about three weeks worth of groceries up a hill with it. Sometimes the clunkiness bugs me, but it's a trooper and I love it.


Can't stop listening to this. So, so strange and creepy and amazing. LOVE IT.

Art and artists. My girl Sonia Delaunay for instance, totally workin' her own clothing designs at her own art show.

All things whale related, but especially art and literature.

Joe and bookstores, combined! I can't think of anything better, personally.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Harpies take on Pollan's bullshit

God I love this blog. The Pursuit of Harpyness is full of super thoughtful, intelligent, funny women with enviably sharp critical thinking skills, and now they're the latest "ladyblog" to call out Michael Pollan for his nonsense and point out the overall weirdness that is the new food movement's attitude about women. All I can really say about that right now (supposed to be awake for work in 5.5 hours, aaaah) is WORD.

A big fat DISLIKE post

Getting hit on always makes me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable--it pretty much never strikes me as a flattering or pleasant experience. No matter how nice dude-in-question is about it, I always come away feeling weird. Sometimes even ashamed. I think it's because I don't like the reminder that because of who I am and how I look, I'm seen as being sexually available. I think this is also why I'm so creeped out by the concept of "dating." To me, the ideal relationship, sexual or otherwise, comes first from friendship or at least good conversation. But here I am today, squirming at the thought of someone coming into my workplace and spending a few days assessing my physical attractiveness while only speaking to me enough to order a cup of coffee. Spending a few days looking at me before deciding that I'm worth his time or inquiry.
I feel like these situations ruin nice people for me. Dude-in-question seemed like a perfectly nice, quiet person, who I would have been more than happy to exchange friendly small talk with or whatever. Navigating other peoples' flirtation is sometimes just part of my job, and that's usually not so bad because it's not exactly personal. It's easier to shrug off. But then this particular dude had to go and ask if I had a boyfriend and about how old I was and about what I was studying (all to determine whether or not I was available/desireable), making me feel vulnerable and small and stupid. Making me feel like a piece of scenery--an object. And then of course, because just being awkward wasn't enough, he had to tell me that because I'm a student I'm not even living in the "real world" yet. Two of my least favorite kind of dude-interactions combined--hitting on me and condescending to me at the same time. And this was the first conversation I had today.

Just now I tried to tell a male friend of mine about it, in the (misguided) hope that he would commiserate with me or at least find the story funny. Instead, he just told me that I need to get used to this kind of shit because I work "in a public place." Now I just feel worse. There are some things I'm willing to get used to in order to do my job effectively (see: dealing with flirtatious customers, getting yelled at, having people make comments about how I'm dressed and my hair color and my piercings, earning thousands of dollars below the poverty line, cleaning up other peoples' garbage, deflecting rudeness, etc.), but I refuse to accept that interactions that make me feel like my safe space and my bodily autonomy have been ignored or violated are something I should just accept. The thing is, I have to deal with that kind of interaction constantly, be it sexual harassment on the bus or nice guys asking about my relationship status at the coffee shop, and it always makes me feel like shit. It's not just something I'm expected to deal with at work, but it's something I'm expected to deal with in every aspect of my life, in every space I occupy...and I don't want to. Why should I have to? My friend that said this to me didn't mean to be a jerk and he didn't mean to make me feel bad. He just lives in a world where, as a man, unwanted sexual advances (which are probably less frequent for him than they are for me, if I may venture a guess) don't involve the same weird power dynamics, the ones that make it okay to suggest I'm immature even while expressing interest in me, the same ones that make it okay for strangers to ask me questions about my personal relationships to what they hope is their own benefit. The dynamic that allows "what do you study" to come after asking me if I have a boyfriend.

Now I'm just comforting myself by thinking that maybe dude-in-question is secretly a pickup artist enthusiast who was just talking about to real world to "neg" me for "The Game." That would actually take this from crappy to hilarious in no time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oh hi

Today:
Bike, work, food, Joe, nap, kitties, Gaga videos, blogs. Now I've got some popcorn with salt and pepper and nutritional yeast (you don't even know how good this is!) and I'm watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Somehow I've never seen this before? Anyway, it turned out to be a pleasant, uneventful sort of day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apropos of absolutely nothing, Tavi is so damn smart. Makes me feel good about the young folks/jealous that I was not that cool of a 13 year old.

Michael Pollan and I Are Offcially Breaking Up

Michael Pollan. Seriously. Stop it right now. I want to like you! I want to believe everyone who says you're the savior of food in America! That would make my life so easy. But instead I keep noticing that you have a hard time wrapping your head around feminism's role in the U.S.'s approach towards food over the past 50 years, and you don't seem to be all that interested in the complexities of women's relationship to food either. Other people have called you out about this, thankfully. Plus you seem to have some freaky grudge against vegetarians, who you claim are naive and sentimental. Just shut up and eat the $10 local grass fed burger you guys!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Landscape Take II

Georgia O'Keeffe on the Southwest: "Such a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the 'Faraway'."

My trip to the desert was wonderful, poignant experience. I didn't quite expect to enjoy it as much as I did when I was a little kid, but it turns out that I'm only more in love with it now. The way O'Keeffe described it is perfect, and I like that Edward Abbey  says that the desert is "clean". Even with all the colors of red and the persistent dust, the Southwest remains a stark, strange and bone-dry landscape. Ancient but elusive. You'll die of thirst or exhaustion out there before you find even one good word to pin it down with. Maybe someday I'll come up with a good way to explain my feelings about the desert (I never expect to explain the place itself), but for now I'm satisfied letting older, smarter, and sometimes deader people do it for me (O'Keeffe, Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams). But I love it. I really do.

Right now I'm looking into getting an internship with the SCA sometime in the next few years at a national park in Utah or Arizona (Canyonlands please!!). Maybe I'll try to do it while I'm in school for credit, maybe I'll try to do it after I graduate, or maybe I'll try to do it instead of studying abroad. I don't know. But it seems like an opportunity I would be sick to pass up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ugh

Can we seriously never have a conversation (on the internet or in a group of people in person) about female genital mutilation/cutting/circumcision without SOME fool-ass-fool jumping in with "But what about male circumcision?!" Stop it. Actually, this applies across the board to all conversations about terrible things that happen to women. Is it really so frightening that sometimes we take a few minutes to not talk about dudes and/or their penises?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recipe time!

Yum. After a couple nights of uninspired cooking, this meal was a great treat. This is a recipe adapted from a chili-lime shrimp recipe my roommate Nora found on the internet--she didn't have all the right ingredients, so she did her own thing with it. She makes it with shrimp all the time and I am always jealous because the marinade smells so damn good, so we set a goal to make the recipe using tempeh sometime before she moves across the country. Today was the day, and it was awesome.

Nora's Chili Lime Marinade with Tempeh
2-3 avocados
1 package tempeh

Marinade:
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
2 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp lime juice (lemon works too)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp olive oil

Avocado Dressing:
4 tsp lime juice (or lemon)
4 tsp olive oil (less would be fine)
salt and pepper to taste


Cut the tempeh into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Bring a small pot of water to boil, and simmer the tempeh pieces for about 10 minutes to make them tender and ready to soak up marinade. While the tempeh simmers, mix all the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish. Use tongs to transfer tempeh to the dish when it's done simmering, and let marinate for 15-30 minutes--you will have to turn it two or three times.
While the tempeh marinates, prepare the avocados. Cut the avocados into bite-sized chunks, and place in another shallow bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the avocados. Allow to sit while the tempeh cooks.
Heat about 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan at medium high heat. Place a few pieces of tempeh in at a time, pouring spoonfuls of marinade over the pieces. Cook until the tempeh is tender and glazed with marinade, about 5-8 minutes.
Once all the tempeh is cooked, load up a plate with tempeh and avocado, sprinkling a little lemon or lime juice on top, then eat!

Monday, May 10, 2010

College, first year.

!!!
I just got to see my grades from this past semester for the first time. 3.875 GPA. Best of my whole life. 4.0 in everything but Ceramics.
Eeee!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My landscape, somehow

WOW. Earlier today my parents insisted that I come up with a list of places I would like to go over the course of our trip West, so that we can determine our routes there and back and spend our time accordingly. So for the past half hour I've been looking through all the different national parks out in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. I'm looking at Alaska, Wyoming and Montana too, not for this trip but for my possible road trip next summer. I don't come by "proud to be an American" moments often, but right now I feel incredibly lucky to live in a country with so many vastly different, beautiful and strange landscapes somehow all packed together between one ocean and another. I want to go everywhere! It's so overwhelming.
My list so far is:
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Arches National Park
  • Grand Canyon
  • Capitol Reef
  • Mesa Verde
  • Petrified Forest
  • Zion Nation Park
I don't expect to get to all of them on this one trip (though that would be so, SO great!), but they're all so amazing I don't know how I'll ever choose. I'm a little startled by how desperately I want to go to these places and how deeply connected to them I feel; I don't know if it's just because I spent time there as a little kid or if it's something else, but I know that there is nowhere else in the world that I find as beautiful or as compelling as the desert and I can hardly wait another day to get there.

Recent stuff, summer plans

I made really good scones the other night! Anya and Patrick thought they were my best, but I still just barely prefer the ones I've talked about here before. These just had cranberries and Trader Joe's orange-flavored cranberries in them, but I made an icing for them with orange zest and cinnamon that made them exceptional (if I may say so myself). The icing ended up tasting kind of like that stuff that comes with the cinnamon rolls in a tube, except better and with less suspicious ingredients. Proud of these!

I also made a good batch of lasagna rolls last night, helped in no small part by the fresh basil that is finally available at the co-op. It was hydroponic so I imagine it's just been growing inside all winter, but it was still so good. Mmmm, that smell. The other residents of the FP and myself devoured the lasagna over the course of our designated roommate night, which was delightful. We just hung out in the den and sang to music videos--Patrick insisted on TLC, Anya and I were all about Destiny's Child and Beyonce, Brendan (honorary roommate) reqeusted old Usher singles and there was some Lady Gaga thrown in. Ha! It was great.

In spite of my really unfortunate bout of nausea this morning, I went out to brunch with my mom at the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the food, it was so good! I had the Grilled Tofu and Spring Vegetable Hash: wild ramps, asparagus, nettles, zucchini, fennel and yukon gold potatoes with preserved lemon and fennel coulis, accompanied by mixed freens with orange champagne vinaigrette. It sounds like a lot going on, but all the flavors were actually very simple and totally delicious, and I'm excited to go back soon--it's a pleasant bike ride's distance from my house, and I can't see any reason not to go eat wonderful local grub.


And I'm making more plans for the summer. If I ever get up the energy to go talk to someone in Financial Aid I may still take a summer class. There's literally no way I can get my double major in English and Art History and my Women's Studies minor and three years of French if I don't take summer classes, so I may as well start now I guess. Probably with Math or my stupid non-credit fitness requirement. I may also plan a few fun rendez-vous for me and Joe over the summer, like spending a few days in Red Wing at this really nice B&B. I've never been to Red Wing before but it's supposed to be beautiful, and the rooms here and lovely and inexpensive. Last summer we basically just spent all of our time watching Homicide in Joe's parents' attic because I was stuck in the weird situation of not being able to move into my house, so this year I would like to have adventures. 
For good measure, I bring you cats.



Friday, May 7, 2010

Lessons!

I'm learning more than I ever really hoped or expected to about just how tightly people cling to privilege. The situations I've been dealing with lately have mostly been about white privilege, but in confronting these ugly little debacles male privilege has come up too. I've questioned a few people lately on comments they have made, and more than one of them has taken the "you are just too emotional to argue with" approach--obviously as a confident woman I have no grasp of rationality. And then of course there's the flare of anger, the instant defensiveness, the "why don't you mind your own business." Because you see, women can be such nosy bitches, and somehow when you posted that Facebook status you didn't really mean for anyone to comment on it, let alone challenge your problematic ideas expressed therein.
These people know that the tactics they use to respond to me will shut down any real attempts at conversation. I really think they know that they're wrong, somehow. When they get called out, somewhere in there they know that they've said something fucked up and don't know how to justify it, so they skirt the issue. They make it about me. They make it about me because they convince themselves that I'm attacking them, that I'm trying to be rude or to hurt them or to make them look stupid. I couldn't care less about any of that. What it's really about is the world we live in that normalizes and encourages white privilege and male privilege, and a whole host of other unsavory attitudes that systemically contribute to the abuse and oppression of others. I hate that world. I hate seeing it reflected back at me in people I know. Teachers of mine have told me that the most important part is planting that first seed of consciousness, the thing you say that pierces the surface and gets carried around, turned over, periodically examined, occasionally making its presence obvious and uncomfortable. That's when it starts to make a difference.
For now maybe I'm clumsy. I don't always express myself like I want to, though the words come easier now in conversation and in type. I'm getting better at controlling my anger, but I still feel the heat in my face and the shiver in my voice when I know I'm about to go somewhere ugly. But I've decided I can deal with a little extra anger and discomfort--it's worth it. And you know what, white dudes in my life? You could stand to be a little more uncomfortable too. Think of how shitty it can feel when you're being challenged, or getting called on your nasty comments, or being asked to check your privilege, and I can guarantee you that the people you trample on every day without ever noticing feel a lot worse than you do in that moment when you realize you're wrong.
So I'm trying. I'm trying to be a better advocate for myself and ally for others, and someday maybe I'll actually get to consider myself an activist. But I'm still learning, and it's still hard.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's All In the Game

I pity anyone who watches The Wire without having first watched Homicide: Life on the Street. You can consult Wikipedia if you need more technical info here, but suffice it to say that Homicide is a show from the '90s that ran 7 seasons (6 of which I have seen in their entirety and am terribly obsessed with) and is based off of the book of the same name by David Simon. The Wire is winning me over in large part because of its HLOTS connections and how similar the shows are, except one has actual swearing and violence.

I've only seen the first season of The Wire so far, but seriously, half of the extras in the show used to be characters on Homicide and the writers throw in all of their own little HLOTS inside jokes into the episodes. One of the actors from Homicide directed the first few episodes of the show, and apparently Detective John Munch of Homicide (who you may recognize from the perpetually shitty Homicide wannabe, Law & Order...I think he does SVU? Gross) makes a cameo appearance as the same character on The Wire. My list could go on for ages (based only off of Season 1!) and I imagine it only gets better from here. Luther Mahoney, my favorite villain/drug dealer from HLOTS plays an ME on The Wire and I'm excited to see more of him, especially to contrast him to my new favorite compelling-but-technically-bad-guy Omar Little. Both have huge smiles and are smooth with cops. Apparently that is my criteria for "excellent character."

A few sleepy judgments before I go to bed: The Wire is probably better written and sometimes better acted than Homicide, and it doesn't have to have the occasional really stupid plot line to cater to a prime time audience with a fidgety-at-best attention span. But with The Wire, its freedom from the constraints of network TV have lead to its worst parts as well as its best.

For instance, The Wire's numerous depictions of naked, dead, and blank faced black women are severely creepy and definitely in bad taste. I really, really wish this didn't happen. Obviously male characters are shown as dead victims of violence too, but not totally unclothed; it makes it seem like these women's bodies are being displayed for the sole purpose of being looked/gawked at, totally divorced from their personalities or humanity since they were never important or even peripheral characters on the show. The depiction of WOC's bodies as objects to be subjected to nasty voyeurism and violence for entertainment (in this case the entertainment of white people who can afford HBO) is nothing new, and the writers/producers/directors should all know better than to perpetuate that ugly tradition even as they confront so many other complex issues head on.

Homicide, on the other hand, did a good job directly discussing the different roles of women at home and in the workplace through some of the shows prominent characters, but this only seemed to happen with regards to the detectives or other women in the police force. The women outside the office, the ones who were parts of cases, were hardly ever treated with this same respect or given this degree of analysis. I get that this could be (in part) chalked up to the fact that Homicide is a workplace drama about the detectives themselves, but it still seems problematic. HLOTS also was less of a "dude show" than The Wire, based on Season 1; the number of woman characters on Homicide changed from season to season, but usually there were several and they occupied important, authoritative positions on the show. The first season of The Wire had a few good woman characters, but the cast is overwhelmingly male and as a result the show gives priority to the male characters' perspectives and experiences.

Another weird thing: I am not a fan of the state of the U.S. police force, broadly speaking, but these shows obviously make me love cops as characters. Moral conundrum! I guess they also make me love drug dealers as characters, so...whatever. You're a crafty bastard, David Simon.
I will probably have more to say about this when I'm not half asleep.

Monday, May 3, 2010



Okay I couldn't resist another Modern Lovers song. This one is still precious, but more punk! Yeah!

Indicative of my mood lately, my post-school confusion, or my life/tastes in general (who knows--any or all of the above?), the movies I have out of Netflix right now are A Bout de Souffle, Blanc (White), and  Dirty Dancing. Yeah. Don't hate. Tomorrow is my 4th day in a row of work--a sort of surprise Bean Factory mini-marathon--and then hopefully I will get to watch them all in the next few days. Now that I finished knitting my scarf I don't know what to do while I watch movies! I'm weirdly tempted to make a foray into quilting because I loved the album quilts we looked at in art history so much, but that seems a little ridiculous for right now. Then again, maybe that's exactly why I should do it.

These quilts were such a fun discovery for me. I love how they're very organized but allow so much room for creativity and the specific design choices of the women who make them. They're colorful, engaging, functional, and lovely.  The best question I've ever been asked on a test was on my Women & Art final this year, the course that lead me to these quilts and a wealth of other amazing artists and information; I hope this doesn't give away anything for future Augsburg students, but the question was such that I got to respond saying that if I were to make a particular themed album quilt I would include a square depicting Holofernes's disembodied head. One of those moments when I feel sure that my double major was a good idea.
I also realized recently that I haven't blogged about my new kitty cats at all! Heinous of me, really. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Sophie and Beauregard.



They started out pretty skittish and nervous, and still are some of the time, but I'm happy to note that as I type this post I have Beau sleeping on my feet and little tiny Sophie curled up near my right elbow. They are brother and sister from the same litter (even though Sophie is about a third of Beau's size), and they are best friends--they curl up and sleep together, and if they get separated Sophie cries! Ms. Midway is not pleased at all, but in spite of all of her hissing bravado I think she's coping. She's moving to Alaska with Jordan very soon now and I will miss her terribly (my first cat!) but the new cats are wonderful and I'm so happy to have them.

To be fair, here is an adorable picture of Mid, who puts up with all the crazy things I do to her.

/crazy cat lady post.

Update/Likes



Oh my god! Jonathan Richman has such dance moves! Awesome. I love this song, and everything else on this album, especially side one. What a weird, wonderful, goofy group of people, and what a great band.

I started Leviathan today, and 30 pages in it's so good! Philip Hoare bounces a lot of his own great insight off of already good ideas from Moby-Dick, and he does it in a way that's sensitive and exciting rather than just redundant or unimaginative.

I also have been productive in the kitchen again recently; no pictures, but in the past two days I've made a good pasta sauce, homemade seitan, chocolate chip and walnut cookies (to go in the cat shaped cookie jar I made in Ceramics this past semester!), seitan steak sandwiches which involved homemade steak sauce, veggie burgers, and a roasted red pepper and sundried tomato spread. I've also discovered that avocado with Annie's Goddess Dressing is the best thing on planet earth. I've been putting that damn dressing on EVERYTHING lately, and hopefully Jordan and I are going to try to make it before she goes back to Alaska in a few weeks.

Also, did I mention the butter sauce? Oh. Oh wow. I guess maybe I've been on a fat kick lately (remember what I say about dressing on avocados?) but man, this stuff is so good. I came across the recipe on Yummy Vegan Dinners, and have made it a few times in the past month or so. It is amazing. Like, probably the best sauce I have ever made. I dice my onions, mince my garlic and just leave them in the sauce 'cause I roll like that, I cut down the amount of Earth Balance by a tablespoon or so, and I actually like mine better with just Hunt's canned tomatoes rather than the fancy schmancy organic ones from the co-op. For some reason the fancy tomatoes taste kind of bitter or something? Maybe I'm just unsophisticated. But anyway, this stuff is the best.

That's all for now. I can be more blog-productive now that I am out of school for the summer!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

List

Some semblance of a reading list for this summer. I don't expect to get all of this in (an almost superhuman feat, surely), but I definitely need to finish the first five before school starts again.

- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Leviathan, or the Whale by Philip Hoare
I just have to say I'm so, SO excited to read this book. I nearly lost my damn mind when Joe (thank heavens for Joe!) pointed it out to me in Oxford. I keep feeling like I should check the dedication page to make sure my name isn't on it. It's like this person got inside my brain, picked up everything I'd been stirring around in there since September and turned it into an amazing book.

- Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas
- The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
- Short fiction by Jorge Luis Borges
- My big fat collection of 17th-19th century American Lit that I snatched up at Shakespeare & Co. for ten euro
- Realism by Linda Nochlin
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
- Any good poetry I come across

Like


By Jenny Holzer.
I bought a postcard of this at the Tate Modern when I was 17, and got to see it at the Pompidou last month. Still love it.

Like/Dislike

Coming across a thread full of "Bob Dylan is so stupid his voice sucks!" comments while listening to Bob Dylan. Awkward, kind of funny, so infuriating.



On that note, I hear a little snippet of Bob Dylan's radio show when I was at Treehouse Records last week, and it sounded amazing! His voice now is just so perfect for radio it's almost painful--it sounds like molasses and gravel and butter all stirred together in a big pot of dark, black coffee. So awesome. I'm adding "listening to that" to my list of things to do this summer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Like

Wish for a Young Wife

My lizard, my lively writher,
May your limbs never wither,
May the eyes in your face
Survive the green ice
Of envy’s mean gaze;
May you live out your life
Without hate, without grief,
And your hair ever blaze,
In the sun, in the sun,
When I am undone,
When I am no one.

--Theodore Roethke


Recently discovered thanks to my lovely and totally insane advisor/professor extraordinaire, who always has something exciting to teach me. He has sent a lot of good poetry my way lately.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Photos


This is a helmet with a mustache.










A few snapshots of our spring break adventure.