31 December 2008

in spite of it being a great year.

new year's resolutions.

A couple of years ago, while enjoying the fruits of full time labor in my own place and a particularly violent case of pink eye, my best friend and I made the most basic of New Year's resolutions: we assured each other that we would do something amazing that year.  It was not particularly difficult as I had, in a most resigned and desperate fashion, already mailed off an application to one graduate school.  So to be amazing was not too difficult considering I felt my acceptance was assured and quitting your job and filling your car with crap to move to another state is not so hard once you somebody gives you the go-ahead to do so.

This year, well I don't know about this year.  Maybe it's because the thoughts can't get through the background din of a cooing baby and Potato Head playing children-- that's what I'd like to blame it on-- but doing applications this time around things feel much less assured and I feel like resolutions presuppose-- and even require-- a certainly amount of stability to ensure follow through.  So I am mystified as to what to resolve to do.  Of course I will graduate; but making goals to do the inevitable seems kind of redundant.  Having no clue as to where I will wind up by July puts a kink in the great garden hose of my life plans, complicated by the vagaries of what one does with a master's degree in the humanities.  

And maybe it's not the noise or my own circumstantial instability.  Perhaps it is the unsure nature of our times (of course, historian, blame it on context!), but I don't feel resolute on this dreary gray New Year's Eve.  2009 looks as cloudy as this Washington morning, and my inclination is to do nothing more than immerse myself in the fleeting pleasures of Potato Heads and to wait and see what happens with everything else/

big brother thinks this is funny after drinking a forty.

30 December 2008

what i have been doing lately.

Don't think that I've forgotten about you lately!  I've been home living as my alter-ego, Auntie Mel.  As Auntie Mel I find myself getting up before nine, reading stories, trying to placate the baby, partaking in auntie-niece tooth-brushing sessions, supervising the clean-up "game," indulging in the occasional snuggle and getting nibbled by Frankie the Dog.  And drinking.  

It's nice to get in touch with all of the variety that is so easily accessible here in Tacoma.  Between Trader Joe's, Metropolitan Market and the seeming endless number of available draft beers, I have been filled with holiday cheer.  Here's what I've sampled since I got here:

Cook's mimosa, beloved adopted family's house
Big Horn Brewing's Big Red Amber Ale, growler, beloved adopted family's house
Livingston Blush, wine, Grami's house
Boring German white wine, mom stash, Grami's house
Lovely German Pfalz ice wine, mom stash, Grami's house 
Yellowtail Shiraz/Cabernet mix, Grami's house 
Rainier Beer, can, Brother's house
Rogue Dead Guy Ale, forty, brother's house
Dick's Cream Ale, draft, Parkway Tavern
Mac & Jack's Serengheti Wheat, draft, Parkway Tavern
New Belgium Mothership Wit, draft, Parkway Tavern
Trader Joe's Honey Moon viognier wine, brother's house
Charles Shaw ("two buck Chuck") cabernet savignon, brother's house 
more lovely German Pfalz ice wine, mom stash, brother's house
Brown's Point Porter, draft, The Hub

On tap:
Frontier Red wine
Snoqualmie Avalanche winter ale
Pyramid Snowcap Winter Ale
Schloss Biebrich champagne (New Year's)

25 December 2008

giving the brothers grimm a run for their money.

The past few nights that I've been here I've had the privilege of getting to help Niece One get ready for bed.  I cherish those mellower, quiet moments with her as she moves from the intensity of play into relaxation and sleep.  The other night after reading a couple of books to her I asked her to tell me a story.  She is a precocious little person who enjoys books and the oral tradition of her grandmother's "when I was a little girl" stories-- not to mention constant interaction with her gifted storyteller of a father.  After I told my brother the story she told me, he suggested I share it here on my blog.  So here it is, as best as I can remember it:

Once upon a time there was a family, a mother and a father and a little boy and a little girl.  One day some bad guys broke into their house and wouldn't leave.  So the family fled to the beach where they bought a tent to stay in from the lightbulb store.  The bad guys turned into foxes and they tore the mother and father's sheets and they still wouldn't leave. The family wanted to come back to their house so they caught one of the foxes and cut him up into little pieces.  (at this point she seemed satisfied that the story was over, so I asked for a happy ending).  But the other fox still wouldn't leave.  Then that fox destroyed the little boy's sheets and the little girl's sheets, so the family used magic on the fox.  Then the fox went like this (she put a finger in each of her cheeks and pulled her mouth into a smile) and that's the happy ending.  The family got to move back into their house again.

Extraordinary for a three year old, isn't it?  I love that kid!

24 December 2008

good tidings to you.

Big Brother castigated me for not updating even though I, the source of this blog, was sitting five feet away. Eggamuffin.

So, for the holidays, I have a story about breast reconstruction (you have a choice) an obligatory Paul Kruger puff piece and a video about people who do the Iditarod route by bike.  

I'll end this post with a Christmas classic:

Happy Christmas to you and yours!

20 December 2008

greeeeeaaat.

I can't tell you how excited I am to trade the blizzardlike conditions of a place that can handle snow for the blizzardlike conditions of a place that can't. Looks like I will be finishing all my Christmas shopping before I get home after all. Yeesh. I'm supposed to get in on Sunday night but that seems oh so iffy.


p.s. see here's the benefit of the stretch blog format: we can enjoy this picture how it's meant to be enjoyed!

19 December 2008

snowed in.

Lordy! It's been snowing literally since the second I got home from an appointment at noon and has not stopped snowing since. They sent all the University employees home which means plowing services will be reduced to nothing and I will be forgoing a Christmas party in order to stay safe and cozy up on the hill.


It's pretty isn't it? There should be some foothills in the background but they are hidden by the clouds.

Fortunately I was able to hit up the little convenience store at campus housing before it closed so I could stock up on nutritious non-perishables to see me through the storm. It was the perfect day for The Dark Knight to come from Netflix. Can't wait to party by myself tonight! Technically only three pages of thesis left to write!

(no, they do not sell Bacardi at the student store... but it's just too cold for gimlets so rum and cokes will have to do!)

p.s. I changed the layout to a stretch format to benefit those of us with widescreen computers-- feedback?

so depressingly true to life.

17 December 2008

finals week math.

Today's been a good day on the school front-- turned in a big paper, got a paper back with a very nice compliment, had a productive chat with a lady who cleared up some questions on my thesis.

That

+

Hot Buttered Rum (if you spill it on yourself, you'll smell like Christmas)

+

NYT talks to Julian Zelizer (I read this for pleasure)
+

This:



= a pretty good Wednesday!

a picture post, because i am fast losing my ability to write.

Badass.
Portrait of the Barack as a Young Man. Also badass.*

Bike badassness.


Bwhahahahaha! That is not badass at all! Poor guy.

Oh snap! I thought I was clicking on a preview and it's really the whole episode of the new Flight of the Conchords! Go Wednesday!

*COTGB sez: smoking is bad, kidz! Also, if you are the world's best swimmer and somebody tells you to wear clothes in a picture, you just tell them that this aggression will not stand!!

16 December 2008

as a blogger and a liberal, i am obligated to post this.

Say what you will about George Bush, but that guy's got the reflexes of a cat.

just in case you wondered about my future.

I played MASH online tonight while I was eating my dinner. Here were my results with interpretive commentary:

Your husband's name is Clive Owen (you don't have to twist my arm) and you have 4 children (good lord!). You're a Public Historian who drives to work every day in a Red Dutch Bike (fancy that).

It's truly a wonderful life when you consider the countless romantic nights you have spent with Clive Owen in your shack in Washington (indeed!).

Well, that takes care of things.

15 December 2008

oh snap.

Dang. Today was one of those interview experiences that really transformed what it means to me to be an oral historian. I spent two hours with her in a drafty library basement and came away with an interview released only to me, rather than the library for public use, and the release was further edited to limit the interview's use to the topic for which I contacted her. That's fine, I go with what works for the narrator.

But it's funny, in the midst of all that I have to do, two hours is a lot of time to come away with only ten minutes of actual usable material. What do I make of that, a second instance in which few of my questions were answered? I concluded that really the whole of the two hours, regardless of content, was so much more than just doing oral history research-- it was sharing in this profound, intangible human experience that I don't even think I can start to describe. I love that my research puts me in touch with people that I would never otherwise meet.


Today I think I finally realized how sublime it is to just listen, and how much people appreciate the small gesture of someone listening to them with an open mind.
I can't even tell you what it is like to be in a completely quiet room just listening to someone interpret their life. I came away from the interview with a higher respect for the opportunity I have. I don't know that the end result of preserving people's contributions to history is number one for me anymore; I think there is something to be said for giving people the opportunity for telling their stories and embracing the value of those stories to that person. I think the process is more important than the product. I think history is less about understanding the world and more about understanding each other. I think regardless of what happens with my applications and my life long term, I can really appreciate the education I'm getting in the moment and what it does for how I think about what it means to be human and to be alive.

fired up and ready to go.

I interrupt this regularly scheduled finals week programming of bitching and moaning to tell you that there is really nothing I enjoy more in the work that I'm doing than preparing for an oral history interview. I'm sure I've talked about this before, but as it has been four months since I last sat down with a stranger to ask them probing questions about their life, I am getting stoked! Making all of the little comprehensive neurotic lists of directions and things not to forget... and then the questions! Just making the list of questions embodies so much possibility! And then you get to go back and listen to them, and find that even the most soul crushing of interviews provides some neat bits and creates a record where there wasn't one before. And what's awesome is that tomorrow is the first of two interviews this week. My cup runneth over. And there should be some interviews in the future because today I registered for the 2009 state Eagle Forum conference. That's right, TWELVE STRAIGHT HOURS OF CONSERVATISM! That'll make a blog post you'll never forget.

And you know what? I am starting to have a damn good time writing my thesis too. As I start to realize that I am getting very close to my chair's very firm 30 page limit and as I rediscover really cool stuff in my notecards from St. Louis-- remember St. Louis??-- I am getting kind of stoked. It took me twenty-odd pages that I have to go back and revisereviserevise, but I am finally feeling some flow! I am writing a history that has never been written before! This is pretty bad ass.

You know what else is bad ass? The video I'm posting. We all need these kinds of kumbaya lovey feelings this time of the semester, and I feel so fortunate that people that people have been sending them my way that I want to put more of those feelings into the universe. And of course, I love Whitney Houston. Also-- I dedicate this one to all the Arrested Development fans out there.

13 December 2008

in which i realized that my ability to panic had disappeared.


This morning I found a nice way to cope with a mild hangover*: a nice protracted meandering through the Life photo archive in my bed. This was of course great until, being in bed and everything, my laptop overheated and shut down. I didn't realize that was why it happened and felt pretty convinced that it would never turn back on.

As it failed to come back on after several attempts, and I saw my thesis draft flash before my eyes, it occurred to me that in the past, such an incident would have freaked me out a lot more.
But the panic that I would've felt-- perhaps accompanied by some tears and frantic phone calls-- just wasn't there. There was even a moment where I was kinda glad, since it would mean taking the day off to order another computer and maybe actually getting my act together on my projects.

But alas, t
he computer came back on with a big SHAME ON YOU FOR LETTING ME GET TOO HOT message. As soon as it did, I backed everything up, and of course heaved a huge sigh of relief while I continued to entertain thoughts about getting a new computer in time to write it off. It was a very mellow little crisis.

I daresay, in the process of growing up and getting hormonally regulated, I have become completely uninteresting and entirely unfamiliar.


*don't have Imperial Stout and Outlaw Red in the same evening, ok?

10 December 2008

my pretty city.

While I'm hard at work on school stuff, it's nice to know that Dooce is out taking the kind of pictures I'd like to take. Click here and here to see.

using them is big and clever.

This video is fascinating. I particularly like the condom washing machines.

it's that time of the year again.


Annotated so you know what you're looking at.

08 December 2008

my love for tacky, vulgar animated gifs knows no bounds.

effing winter finally shows up.

After much anticipation, it snowed for the first time in over a month.


Some cute little boys built this snowman this afternoon.

And just in case you wondered, I still exist.

Happy winter, finally.

07 December 2008

mark kozelek week big finish.







And you can take a hit off of his forthcoming cover album here. Exquisite.

06 December 2008

discovering what makes westerns worthwhile.

Had to watch a bunch of westerns for class this week and I have to say, I was unprepared for what I've found. Namely,


that Robert Redford was one of the sexiest men to ever grace the silver screen. Seriously, out of the blue I was like, "Good lord, please bring mustaches BACK!" (really?!) It's like you think you know who you are and what you want and then Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid waltz in and turn it all upside down.

05 December 2008

pure magic matador.

Per yesterday's dismissive Trek bike post, I will qualify it by saying that I think better design thought has been put into their Gary Fisher Simple City line. Though I don't know that it will get you conversation with a cute guy parking his Bianchi (with a Brooks saddle, no less)... that was nice.

Here's is a dark but intriguing slideshow of Cuba. Castro wants to talk with Obama, and I really hope Barack will take him up on the offer. Our policy on Cuba requires reevaluation and I will be deeply disappointed if the embargo is still hanging on in four years.

For Mark Kozelek week, here's a really lovely live version of Salvador Sanchez.

who doesn't love a musical.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

04 December 2008

or you could just get yourself a dutch bike with a chain guard.

Trek's coming out with chainless bikes. Yawn. For the same price you can get a finely equipped steel hottie.

i wonder if bicycle jesus had a hand in this.

Ugh! I feel like today is taking a big dump right on my head. It's cloudy but it won't snow, but it's cold enough to make one's lungs exhausted from riding the bike. The bike elevator is broken down, yay delightful carrying of the ODT down and up three flights of stairs. I wrote down the wrong deadline to one of my schools, so I missed it, which I found out from one of my recommenders incidentally, which filled me with embarrassment and self loathing. My computer continues to gradually manifest its assholeness by growing slower, which probably portends its imminent death. Not to mention I have a billion things to do that aren't getting done because I just feel so tortured by the day.

So I found it almost annoying when I saw this picture. Ugh! I hate it when the positive energy of the universe speaks to me in my own language, right down to the bottle dynamo. I want to be negative, dangit!


Sounds like a challenge to me. I think I'll have a Peppermint Patty and engage in some intensive rewriting.

UPDATE: I went to check the mail and it is spitting snow (yay!) and my Bicycle Jesus shirt arrived. Redemption is nigh, perhaps?

03 December 2008

you are a cynic.

Piece related to Russia: Sarah Palin poetry!!! She gives Donald Rumsfeld a run for his money. This was my favorite:

"Challenge to a Cynic"

You are a cynic.
Because show me where
I have ever said
That there's absolute proof
That nothing that man
Has ever conducted
Or engaged in,
Has had any effect,
Or no effect,
On climate change.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)

Piece related to coffee
.

Piece tying coffee and Russia together, more or less
: The increasing popularity of White Russians is tied to The Big Lebowski. It reminded me that the only time I've ever had a White Russian, which was while watching The Big Lebowski. It knocked me out pretty early in the movie and as a result of this story, I am not qualified to be an alcoholic nor a hipster.

02 December 2008

you're the promise that i found.

These pictures of the Venice flood kind of blew my mind, and sent me into a whirl of "I've got to get back..."

I think it's turning into Mark Kozelek week here at COTGB, which is alright by me. Click here for "Revelation Big Sur." It's lovely.

Thank Bicycle Jesus that we have Chris Buttars to save Christmas.

i'm feeling festive.

01 December 2008

a little more mark kozelek for you.

Link: Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten



It's already clear that it's going to be one of those kinds of weeks. Cranking the soothing music and enjoying some Coca-cola, trying to muddle through.

bicycle commuting reimbursement.

This news by way of Velo Orange is too good to not post:
Bike commuters get tax breaks via the bailout!

I'm not entirely sure how it works, but for 20 bucks a month I am definitely on board. Though lucky for me, the ODT doesn't require much maintenance.

almost famous.

One of the great coup d'etats for the long weekend-- beyond the satisfaction of reading a couple o' books and making progress on my thesis draft-- was scoring Almost Famous for 5 bucks on Thanksgiving. I *might* have watched it twice in the same night. The soundtrack is perhaps the best ever. It has been in my head all weekend.







I like that scene because it features lots of Mark Kozelek. Watching that movie totally reignited my Sun Kill Moon / Red House Painters love. This song is not connected to the movie at all:



Ah. That was nice.

28 November 2008

bicycle jesus sends his blessings.

Did I just buy a t-shirt with a picture of Jesus riding a bike on it?

Yes, yes I did.

I could not resist the allure of Bicycle Jesus.

There is nothing more appropriate to wear when I ride my bike to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, methinks.

27 November 2008

the 2008 super ultimate list of things i'm grateful for, in no particular order.

I'm grateful for Vicks Chloroseptic Sore Throat spray, even if it makes me feel like my dad-- or maybe because it makes me feel connected to my dad.

I'm grateful for my humidifier, sweats, scarf, Netflix instant movies and soft sweater, all of which make being sick a little less lame.

I'm grateful that I have a great friend who invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. That means a lot to me.

I'm grateful to be in Salt Lake even though it is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I'm grateful for all of the opportunities that I have.

I'm grateful that my future is probably more forgiving than I think it is, and that even though I haven't done everything--or anything-- perfectly, I'm grateful that I'm getting to wherever I'm supposed to be.

I'm grateful that I don't feel regret.

I'm grateful to have a good job-- to work for good people and to work with good people is rare.

I'm grateful to be an Aunt, and that just thinking about what that means to me makes me cry.

I'm grateful to be the sum of my parts, which is to say that I am so grateful to be a little piece of everyone in my family.

I'm grateful that I have changed-- or maybe just that I am being more true to who I am. Something to that effect.

I'm grateful for my plane ticket that will get me home in 24 days.

I'm grateful that I have 24 days to get everything done.

I'm grateful that I have much left to learn.

I'm grateful that I encounter so many passionate people because of what I study.

I'm grateful that I have new car tires for winter and a bike that keeps me fit.

I'm grateful that I still have friends that I grew up with, friends I only just met and friends I have yet to meet.

Thanks for reading my blog, and Happy Thanksgiving!

26 November 2008

the beginning of the i'm grateful fors.

This is the most heartwarming story. Especially because it includes heartwarming pictures of little children trying to get a piece of the President-Elect. Isn't this the kind of guy you want at the helm? I'm grateful for Barack.

ch-ch-changes.

I was inspired earlier to make over my blog header. I used the 'sketch rockwell' font that I downloaded earlier today. Answer the poll in the form of a question:


25 November 2008

something for everybody.

For the health issues folks: A very interesting story about how abortion providers are trained.

For the design people: FONTS! The 'Aller Sans' font is really nice for an every day font, I think it's going to replace 'Corbel' as my default font.

For the history and juvenile lit nerds out there: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Twitter account.

For the bike riders: Speculation on whether or not Obama's transportation secretary will be a bike proponent. Survey says probably not.

Something for everyone:
Only two days left until we get past the biggest barrier to wholesale Christmas obsession (although the whole 'being a grad student' thing may cramp my style a bit). The fact that Thanksgiving has not yet happened is not stopping me from listening to Christmas music. Not even my pumpkin-pie-free state of being could keep me away from wishing I was one of Mariah's backup dancers.

23 November 2008

magic happens.

I would just like to note that there is a price to be paid for trash talking in The Paper. For example, look at what happened to Max Hall, BYU quarterback. Before the Holy War, he said:
“We have sort of a swagger. If you want to win a conference championship, you’ve got to come through us. We feel like it’s ours to lose.

Well, it was Max's game to lose. As the Trib notes:
"BYU quarterback Max Hall was intercepted five times and lost a critical fumble in the third quarter when BYU trailed only 27-24."

Utah went on to win, 48-24. I'll leave you with this lovely quote from the Times story so you can truly appreciate the tension of the rivalry and the douchey-ness of the BYU team.

The most dramatic [game finish] came two years ago, when B.Y.U. quarterback John Beck scrambled around from the Utah 11-yard line as the clock ran out. He eventually threw across the field to a wide-open Jonny Harline, who sank to his knees to make a catch that delivered a 33-31 victory.

The symbolism of seeing Harline go to his knees to receive Beck’s prayer was not lost on many. But in case it was, B.Y.U. receiver Austin Collie gave it an accompanying sound bite last year after he caught a 49-yard pass on fourth-and-18 to set up a last-minute touchdown in a 17-10 come-from-behind win.

“Obviously, if you do what’s right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it,” said Collie, the Cougars’ leading receiver this season. “Magic happens.”

That comment has not been forgotten by the Utes.

“It definitely rubs guys the wrong way,” said Utah defensive end Paul Kruger, who is Mormon. “We’ve got guys who go to chapel every day after practice, people who are doing good things up here. People think that just because they go to a religious school, God’s blessed them with success.”

Oh, and speaking of Paul Kruger, I will use this opportunity to post a picture of him (with the amazing QB Brian Johnson). I saw him on the field after the game (you know it's a big win when the fans storm the field with 29 seconds still left on the clock) and he is an Adonis (who knows something about being blessed by God beyond the realm of his awe inspiring hotness).


Conference champs and headed to the BCS! Go Utes!

o tannebaum.

I put up my Christmas tree three days ago.
Pre
tty classy for white tinsel, methinks.

What more can I say? Amidst the trauma of being so busy and continuously sick, this glowing fake conifer is my Paxil.

21 November 2008

yearning.

As if my case of wanderlust wasn't already out of control, the Smithsonian opened its remodeled National Museum of American History today. I can't tell you how badly these pictures make me want to hop on a plane and be a tourist over Thanksgiving rather than a thesis writing PhD applicant. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

20 November 2008

salmon croquettes.

When I was a wee lass, I remember me mum frying up salmon croquettes in the trailer we lived in by the river. They were served with ketchup. So when I saw this story about ways to repurpose your leftover mashed potatoes, I jumped at the chance to channel culinary memories, to recreate the cuisine of the first Bush presidency, to make the limp white mass in my refrigerator into something meaningful.

It took a damn while, but it was worth it. This is the best dinner I've made since I roasted the cornish game hen and red potatoes about a month ago. I have included the recipe here, reworked with my own commentary and tips as usual. (original can be found here) I found the dill cream to be a little thick for my taste-- to be quite honest, I think you could dumb these down by throwing some dill in with the patty mix and dipping these bad boys in ranch and be no less happy. I personally am going to go pass out because that dinner was just too awesome. Can't wait to reheat these in the oven all weekend!

Potato, Salmon and Spinach Patties With Garlicky Dill Cream

Time: 45 minutes plus at least 30 minutes’ chilling

FOR THE POTATO SALMON PATTIES:

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled (I don't think I had quite that much)

6-8 ounces salmon-- the original recipe called for "cooked flaked salmon" but I don't have time for that shit, I used pouches. I used less because salmon is probably the only food on the planet that I find to be too rich for my pallet.

2 cups panko (it's in the Asian foods section)

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

FOR THE GARLICKY DILL CREAM:

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I buy mine prechopped, no shame)

1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (mine came from a cannister, bite me) (I think I used about a tablespoon, it was fine)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Olive or vegetable oil for frying.

1. Squeeze as much water from spinach as possible (use your hands and squeeeeeze). Place in a bowl and add potatoes, salmon, 1 cup panko, 2 eggs, salt and pepper; mix well to combine.

2. Place remaining bread crumbs in a wide, shallow bowl. Place remaining eggs in a second bowl and beat lightly. Place flour in a third bowl.

3. Form spinach mixture into 3-inch patties, about 3/4-inch thick (mine were smaller, and to make them again I would make them even smaller--easier, faster frying). Dip each patty into flour, tapping off excess, then the egg, letting excess drip into bowl. Coat evenly with panko crumbs. I recommend doing allof them in the flour, then all in the egg, then all in the panko. Otherwise you get this otherworldly clumps of creation on the ends of your fingers that will not quit. Even then, this part is so messy. Don't let it break your spirit. Transfer patties to a large baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

4. Meanwhile, make dill cream: In a mortar and pestle or with the back of a knife, mash garlic and salt together to make a paste. (yah right) Stir it into the sour cream or yogurt. Add dill and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Chill until ready to serve.

5. Heat 1/4-inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; if using olive oil, you don’t need to use good extra virgin oil (oh snobby NYT, how I love you). Cook patties in batches, turning once halfway through, until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve hot, with a dollop of dill cream.

Yield: 14 patties.

in further observance of rivalry week.

Dear Jason Chaffetz, thank you for making Utahns look like a bunch of cot-toting slack jawed yokels. We appreciate this. Glad to know that you'll be test driving materials for that tent cities concept in the House.
Rivalry Week aside: All a BYU education gets you is a bag of stinky underwear and a cot from Smith's. Noted.

So glad that somebody is speaking out about what a piece of shit the Electoral College is; so sad that our country has MUCH BIGGER PROBLEMS than what would inevitably be a protracted awful nasty amendment attempt.
Rivalry Week aside:
Cosmo the Cougar's dumb outfit is made from the skin of recently shot rhinos. Cosmo the Cougar is also stupid. (zing!)

On a more positive note, I love this package design website and I really appreciate the art of Frank Plant.
Rivalry Week aside: BYU doesn't even like art.

You know what else I appreciate? GQ made Jon Hamm a man of the year. Of the four, he tops my list! Heh heh heh.
Rivalry Week aside: Jon Hamm won't even make appearances in your dreams if you go to BYU because BYU sucks and Jon Hamm hates BYU and he hopes that they lose lose lose on Saturday because they are losing losers who lose.

What, that was too much for you? Fine. Then I'll leave you with an image of something really fantastic, something I'm going to make out of my leftover mashed potatoes.
Rivalry Week aside: It's something almost as good as watching BYU suffer at the hands of the Utes. Close, but not quite.

we couldn't afford a puppy.

I never get tired of Tracy Morgan terrifying people on morning shows.


19 November 2008

byu sucks.


Happy Rivalry Week... May the #7 Utes continue in their undefeatedness!

(and may BYU continue to suck!)

18 November 2008

positive energy.

Today has been a good day. My writing sample is coming together, I incredulously shouted at a kid for loving The Book I Recently Hated So Much that I Almost Destroyed it (in a friendly, good-natured way), I got some little baby steps things done that make me feel very ahead of the game, I realized how much I appreciate my funny and awesome coworkers, and I celebrated the day with my favorite takeout drug of choice, chicken tikka masala from Bombay House. And then, THEN, Blogging via Typewriter featured some very lovely Banksy:


Could the day get any better?! Oh wait! It could! Bill Kristol might be leaving The Times (hopefully for outer space!)! Mittens had interesting things to say in The Times! Ted Stevens lost! Thanks for keeping felons out of the Senate, Alaskans.I would say my faith in democracy is restored, but really, this is the country that elected Barack Obama two weeks ago. My faith in democracy is sustained.

17 November 2008

dance biscuits.

I think it can seldom be said that the best part of SNL was the musical performance, but last night Beyonce' really stole the show. The song is full of pop goodness and she looks like she is genuinely enjoying herself.

Video


I also love the fact that they spoofed it. (can't find it on the interwebs, sorry)

Not the funniest thing in the world maybe, but I do love that Andy Samberg.

Yay Gawker for beating Hulu to the punch!

15 November 2008

i can't wait to see this movie.

weekly barack.

I'm excited that President-Elect Obama has decided to post weekly internet addresses. I think that they will really help to bridge the disconnect between the people and the government that contributed to the extensive abuses of executive power and the sense of political powerlessness citizens felt during the previous administration. His confidence that sacrifice and unity will help to solve our problems is profound and inspiring.


hillary and tubas.

Am I getting a little excited about all of the Hillary for Secretary of State buzz? Yes. Yes. Yes. My latent inner Hillary supporter-- surely you remember her, from the spring? When healthcare was the only issue she cared about?-- has slowly been crawling out from behind the Obama car magnet and the Obama buttons and the Barack a day posts (you know I still love the Obamas, right?), bursting forth with the kind of glee that only Hillary's bepantsuitedness can inspire. Granted, I've been mulling over the possibility of the State job in terms of "But we need her to push through healthcare in the Senate" and "Colin Powell got really effed over in that job," but it's just so nice to have her back. Thankfully, Gail Collins indulged me in a little upbeat Hillary love.

Also, this is really sad. I remember Tuba Man inspiring me as a young tuba kid going to concerts at The Key. I thought it was poignant that they had a tuba ensemble play Salvation is Created at the memorial service. While there aren't any good recordings of it up, I found this one (performed at my alma mater, no less) to my liking. The tuba part in this song was always one of my favorites.


Now I'm busting out all the old band hits. Add a tuba to my fantasy Christmas list.

14 November 2008

i can't tell if this shows that i really care about what i do or whether it justs boasts about my ability to make a great sandwich.

I would just like to use this post to publicly thank the turkey-cranberry sandwich in front of me for preventing me from spontaneous combustion. You see, I turned down an invitation to a kegger in Logan (Logan? Really? Not even gas under two bucks a gallon can make driving that far seem like a good idea when I am this busy. It just occured to me that not even free beer could get me to drive that far this weekend. Who am I becoming?!) to spend the evening "getting ahead" on a paper not due FOR ANOTHER MONTH (Where is Melanie?! What have you done with her?! This is turning into Invasion of the Body Snatchers, clearly).

I say this because I think that such effort-- such devotion to my craft-- should certainly be rewarded by the magic of the text-- the six books I need to read are, after all, in my field! This should be an unending pleasure cruise of an evening! And then I opened up The Longest and Newest Book on My List that I Shall Not Name and my evening started to feel like that Office episode where they go on the cruise, only not even funny or entertaining. I have not been so enraged and annoyed by a book after reading only the introduction EVER. I already hate this book more than any book I've ever read, and I mean come on, I finished... no, nothing even compares. My sensibilities have been so assaulted. I feel so wounded, injured, insulted, and aghast that somebody entered my subject area, injected this nasty, biased, bourgeois consensus liberal intellectual elitism into it and then, THEN, called it OBJECTIVITY! The children of post-modernism weep at the very existence of such a book.

So I just wanted to thank artisan bread, mayonnaise, red leaf lettuce, salt and pepper, rosemary infused roasted turkey breast, homemade whole cranberry sauce and whipped cream cheese for settling down the bustling atoms that make up my body. I very nearly exploded.

fantasy christmas list.

Just listening to the Harry Connick Jr. christmas album tonight (it's one of the best!) triggered an instaneous online Christmas shopping reaction. For somebody else. But if I were buying for myself, I might head in this direction:

This Eleanor Grosh print on canvas. Pretty much sums up my favored aesthetic, and would look good with my fantasy brown modern couch (with cute Japanese pillows) in my fantasy PhD apartment where I have my fantasy queen sized bed, my fantasy docile pet and my fantasy freezer that doesn't stank.


These cutie slippers by Simple. My awesome felted wool slippers are beyond repair. :(

A roof rack and carrier to ease the stress of moving all these G-D books next summer.

Oh wtf, this is fantasy. Somebody find me a road bike, stat! And hey, I want to build a Muppet too!

13 November 2008

here's to art, which gives us perspective and reminds us how to live.

It occured to me tonight as I was coming home that my bike rides are different than they used to be. Whereas before they were tranquil, slow, with my thoughts kind of flittering about my mind, completely unconcious of body, they have become effecient, fast, quads pushing down hard, shoulders tight, pulling myself up the hill, sentences moving through my head with equal, pounding force forming precis, sanding off the grit of concepts to reach the door of my building with a smooth sentence worth putting down on a notecard for later use.

I noticed this only after a pronounced juxtoposition just minutes earlier. I had gone down to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts for a lecture-- a lecture about the history of libraries-- a lecture that though interesting and engaging but at the same time, embodied the hues of graduate school-- black, gray, cream, white-- words a page (literally, talking about the history of books as well), words in the air, expressions of concepts and insights and interpretations. It was nice then, after the talk, after the reception, to wander off alone into the gallery.

While I liked the works of Shauna Cook Clinger, I was struck by an exhibit of 1960s paintings-- bright, vibrant colors, punchy, in your face, a black circle on a yellow square, a bevy of acrylic colors arranged in perfectly straight lines, So that what you see in the painting is what it is, the painting has no life outside itself, the descriptive card said, or something to that effect. It was like being in a tunnel and suddenly reaching a window. A moment of clarity. A moment of feeling something. A moment of being outside of my self-- outside the realm of my satisfying yet lonely, absorbing life-- and having no life but that sensory one of experiencing the painting. It was revitalizing, exhilerating, and sad all at once-- the joy of existance and being fused with the unaknowledged exhaustion from the consuming scholarly habits of a life of the mind.

Walking back afterwards to where I had parked my bike, before I realized that even my bike rides have changed, I allowed myself to do what I have not done lately. I left the present, the demands of writing and applying and doing, and allowed myself to enjoy what it might feel like when the work is done, when I can play with the kids and meander through foreign lands and overload my mind with superficial movies like The Terminator, to know what my path will be but to momentarily have all the work I can do done. I actually daydreamed rather than press my mind towards what I must do to meet the rapidly coming deadlines. It was marvelous.

I am resolving to reclaim my time on the ODT as something peaceful and restive, to be my little window in my daily tunnel.

11 November 2008

love is... never having to equate equal rights with shoveling poo.

I submitted myself to a few hours of mindnumbing microfilmery today and the only things keeping me interested were the number of Love is... cartoons dispersed throughout the paper (1975 Ogden Standard-Examiner!), the fashion trends as manifest through the ads (very similar to what you'd see right now actually) and puff pieces like this:

Having equal rights really is like shoveling shit all the time! Somebody make this lady a candidate for vice-president, stat!, and for goodness sakes, make feminism stop!

a little public health for ya.

A neat article about Google's new service Flu Trends. The service is purported to be able to track flu outbreaks faster than the CDC. The class and age bias is problematic, as people without regular access to computers tend (at least I would think) to be poor or old.

happy veteran's day.

10 November 2008

another chinese dinner.

Knock knock knock.

For fifteen minutes I had been listening to the gathering rally of Chinese voices in the kitchen. I had hoped I had been forgotten so that I might immerse myself in my professor's latest essay, or that book about Central Texas, or maybe a browsing of some must-read book on my list (how am I going to move them all in six months?!). Alas, I was not forgotten. Met by Miss Nigh's slender form clad entirely in green, I excused myself noting that I had much studying to do and might join them later. I was surprised as she said forcefully that the food would not be good if I waited and that, as she grabbed my wrist, I should come join them. It's hard to say no to someone who's got a grip you, so I joined the celebration.

And wouldn't you know, I shared in debates about which is bigger-- America or China (I dissented from the women in that gendered debate and came out on top, China, of course), and whether or not the Utes are actually better than TCU (debatable). If anything, the Chinese love me because I can, without flinching, suck down two room temperature Heinekens (strangely complimentary taste to the regional fair of Schzwan, Dombe and Hainan) (most of them share them between styrofoam cups). I ate tofu, chicken and napa cabbage, brocolli and sausage, 'old air' fungus and get this- I found out what that mystery meat was-- pig's ear! It tastes good, classic pork flavor with a bit of crunch, served parched, with a sauce-- but a little too intimate for me, nibbling on Wilbur's ear (it makes me want to whisper sweet nothings, really).

I served them family recipe molasses cookies to mixed reviews. I think the full bodied molasses was a bit strong for the more mild Schzwan people. Miss Ling, my other roommate, seemed to like them. I like to throw them for a loop after they've served me fungus and pig's ear, it makes me feel like I'm part of the joke.

Anyways, there is nothing like a potluck dinner with the Chinese. Surrounded by jovial conversation I couldn't understand, I just had to sit back and smile. I have really great roomates, and I forget that sometimes.

it's that time of the semester again.

Problems:
-Doh! I don't really have a writing sample for my PhD applications.
-15-20 Chinese will be here in an hour to drink two cases of Heineken and feast; I really need to do some reading.
-Mistakenly wrote first thesis draft in my own voice; must write second draft in someone elses. HOW DARE I HAVE MY OWN VISION FOR MY WORK.
-My recreational reading book, Revolutionary Road, ended in a tragic and bloody fashion. Sorry for the spoiler.
-Think I may need new tires soon.
-Dunno why, I just feel like running down the hallway screaming.

Solutions:


matchy matchy.


Twinsies!

08 November 2008

what the world needs now.

There has been all this contention on the interwebs lately about politics and the involvement of certain exceptionally large churches getting involved in certain exceptionally volatile political issues in certain exceptionally large states. So to change the subject, I am going to get really, really fixated on Christmas. In fact, to show you I am committed, I am posting this Christmas themed video for your entertainment:

being an activist is more fun than studying it.

Lesson learned: never leave a protest early. I left just as the counter-protesters were crossing the street (which is some scary shit to walk through), and not long after the rally took to the streets. The rest is history. In a week when we elected a new President and the Utes won to remain undefeated, a march for equal rights on the Temple (!) of all places just adds to the energy. This is a great time to be alive.



Video Courtesy of KSL.com

07 November 2008

your last regular barack a day.

So it took me a day to recover from my one woman celebration of the most satisfying electoral victory I've ever been apart of, but I think Michaele provided a nice way to wrap up the "Barack a day" feature with this great gallery of pictures from President-Elect Obama's campaign. This one was my favorite, I think because having children living in the White House provides a poignant symbol to remind people of the hope and the possibilities that this presidency has to offer. And I think those girls are cutie-pa-tooties.

It has been really nice to talk to people around campus who voted for McCain and have acknowledged that no matter the outcome, democracy has done its job and the people have spoken, and they'll support Obama. I think that people can get past the loss and see that we all have to move forward and solve the problems our country is facing really shows that regardless of who is at the helm, we all have to rise to meet the time that we live in. It's nice to feel unity again.