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Jul. 23rd, 2009


Cooking Pictures!

I made two recipes last night from Cookthink. One was for a Green Onion Beer Bread, and the other for a Pumpkin, Ham, and Swiss Chard soup .

The bread turned out more or less ok. The recipe called for five packets (1.25 oz) of Active Dry Yeast, but then gave no time for the bread to rise. It also required no kneading. I have never made bread before, but that seemed a bit odd to me. Indeed, when we tasted the bread, it was incredibly yeast-y. I think I want to make it again, but this time I want to knead it a little (I think if I knead it less, it will be denser, which I like) and see if it rises. For the beer, I used 12 oz of Smith's Nut Brown Ale. I also added some pecorino romano. Next time, I will try a different beer, not because I didn't like this one, but because I'm curious as to how different it will taste.

pictures under the cutCollapse )

The soup, however, was fantastic. And it should be, with two tablespoons of butter, a cup and a half of half and half, pumpkin, spices, and a handful of other delicious components. I added some chili flakes and oregano, and substituted apple cider vinegar for white wine vinegar and beet chard for swiss chard. For the white wine, I used some 2 buck chuck sauvignon blanc. G. and R. both responded very positively. We had some Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon with the bread and soup on a hot July night and watched Kill Bill volume 2, everything lending itself to an experience which was wholly incongruous, but still fun and delicious. G. and I ended the night with a little bit of The Glenlivet.

more! pictures under the cutCollapse )

In short, I had fun. Tonight, G. is planning on making fish tacos. I am so excited. :)

Jul. 22nd, 2009

Camp Site!


Found this on the poetry lj that I sometimes read:

“Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice”
Ogden Nash

There is one thing that ought to be taught in all the colleges,
Which is that people ought to be taught not to go around always making apologies.
I don't mean the kind of apologies people make when they run over you or borrow five dollars or step on your feet,
Because I think that is sort of sweet;
No, I object to one kind of apology alone,
Which is when people spend their time and yours apologizing for everything they own.
You go to their house for a meal,
And they apologize because the anchovies aren't caviar or the partridge is veal;
They apologize privately for the crudeness of the other guests,
And they apologzie publicly for their wife's housekeeping or their husband's jests;
If they give you a book by Dickens they apologize because it isn't by Scott,
And if they take you to the theater, they apologize for the acting and the dialogue and the plot;
They contain more milk of human kindness than the most capacious diary can,
But if you are from out of town they apologize for everything local and if you are a foreigner they apologize for everything American.
I dread these apologizers even as I am depicting them,
I shudder as I think of the hours that must be spent in contradicting them,
Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious,
And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious,
And what particularly bores me with them,
Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them,
So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the comb and nail file and bicarbonate and aromatic spirits on a handy shelf,
Which is don't spoil the denouement by telling the guests everything is terrible, but let them have the thrill of finding it out for themselves.

I do this sometimes. And I know it's not good. And I should probably get rid of it as a habit. Thanks Ogden Nash. It's not a little narcissistic to think that everything going wrong is your fault. And, as Taltal's Dad has said, and as I need to remember more often, perfection is the enemy of possibility.

Jul. 19th, 2009

Camp Site!

too distracted to write something real

but have a Billy Collins poem?

Forgetfulness - Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

A version animated and read outloud!

G. gardened a lot this weekend and last (I think last?) and almost everything is planted or repotted now. We still need to plant seeds for:
a) Nasturtium (orange and pretty and edible - G. says these are what we make capers from)
b) Tomatillos
c) Several Varieties of Basil

The passion flower vine she chose is beautiful.Collapse )

Tonight, she's making cheese and corn enchiladas with a tomato sauce for dinner, and she just made coleslaw with red cabbage, caraway seeds, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, chili flakes, black pepper and salt, and maybe some sunflower seeds later. Needless to say, I am excited for dinner. I am also excited to cook on Tuesday. I am going to try my hand at making some Green Onion Beer Bread and some creamy Pumpkin soup with Ham and Beet Chard. Later in the week, I'm thinking about making some spicy corn and shrimp fritters with green curry aioli, a crab salad with wheat (wheat berries? I bought this stuff in France, it's called blé précuit, or pre-cooked wheat) and corn and a tasty goat cheese dressing.

Now we need to go to a hardware store (unless Ralph's magically has what we need) to get a wrench in order to put together the incredibly ugly but incredibly functional GORM basic shelving unit. Oy. Today, we also purchased a little table for $2 from fellow linguists having a garage sale. It is now home for the router, modem, speakers, and (sort of) Ryan's giant pile of awesome video games that we are babysitting. And I picked up two books: The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Score.

Yoga later, hopefully. 5:30-6:30. I need to be not a baby and just go do it. It's only an hour, and I do feel good afterward. And it's my last free class opportunity.

Sending love to you all
- B

PS - also, our kitty-corner neighbors got robbed yesterday, while we were home, even, I might have heard them. They had their window open and unlocked, and the screen was pushed in. Scary. We are strongly considering renter's insurance.

Jun. 21st, 2009

Camp Site!

Moving is taking forever...

But I have a link to share, just in case you were looking for a something curious with which to waste a few moments:


Because I like swimming in a wet suit + garbage bag.

Love to you all.

- B

Jun. 15th, 2009

Metz, Cathédrale

It's been a while...

I am done with one year of graduate school. It was wonderful, and also terrifying and monumentally stressful. I will have to post again about that specifically. At the moment, I have little spare time because I am packing all of my stuff (how do we always end up with so many *things*?) to transfer to the apartment my girlfriend, Gwen, and I are moving into. It is relatively close to where I am living currently, but it's nicer, and only $7 more (for each of us) a month than what I'm currently paying. It also has a pool on-site, an in-unit washer and dryer and dishwasher, a designated parking space, and it is within walking distance to three grocery stores and a CVS. It's maybe a mile from campus, so, definitely within biking distance.

I am posting now as a little break from packing, but also in order to save these quotations I found on a piece of paper that was wedged somewhere in one of the mountains of papers and receipts and old handouts that have been decorating(read: obstructing walkways in) my room. I copied these quotations down on a spare sheet of paper when I visited the San Diego Museum of Art . They accompanied descriptions of certain artists or works of art.

To show your true ability is always, in a sense, to surpass the limits of your ability, to go a little beyond them, to dare, to seek, to invent; it is at such a moment that new talents are revealed, discovered, and realized.
-Simone de Beauvoir

Art is made to disturb. Science reassures. There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.
- George Braque

Found under Petite Solitude au milieu des soleils by Francis Picabia, "Tableau peint pour raconter, non pour prouver."

Piece to remember: No. 12 Special by Georgia O'Keefe

Finally, I wanted to say that I'm sorry I abandoned this journal for so long, and especially that in doing so I stopped communicating more regularly with many of you. I miss you all, and I hope to be better with the more-regular communication this summer. <3 <3 <3
- B.

Mar. 16th, 2009

Camp Site!

Essaying, but something to remember for later:

"desirable phonological property"

coming from:

"For example, Kisseberth (1970) noted that in
generative phonology particular rules are postulated to predict certain
alternations and distributional patterns, but observed that a variety of
different rules might in some sense “conspire” to yield outputs that have
some desirable phonological property." (from Optimal Domains Theory and Bantu Tonology by Kisseberth and Cassimjee)

Why do what appear to be "conspiracies" emerge? Can we really know whether something is a conspiracy? Why is a particular phonological property desirable? --> ease of articulation? perceptual distinguishability? There's possibly a better word for that.

Can I read about this instead of writing my essay please?

Jan. 23rd, 2009

Camp Site!


The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
What I create will be just for you.
It'll be done this year. (NB: That gives me a lot of time...)
You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry. I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well. We all can make stuff!

Dec. 30th, 2008

Camp Site!

I must have

the WORST luck with mass transportation. I think this is one reason I love cars so much. They give you freedom and control. Guess where I am? In LA! Guess where I'm supposed to be? San Diego is the correct answer to this question. Why am I in LA? Because of The Fog (every day, fuckin' fog everywhere, as Eddie Izzard might say). The Fog forced us to land in LA and I am now waiting here to be picked up by Angel, who is friggin' awesome.

I don't think I could count the number of times I have had massive travel hiccups or delays using mass transportation on (ooo, security officer on a segway...) my digits unless I included toes. Even then, I'm not so sure I would make it.

They had buses for us, but there were not enough for the 5 planeloads of people that needed to head South. They were waiting for more (hopefully to arrive in an hour and a half) when I decided to take Angel up on her offer to come get me. I realized as I was walking toward the International Terminal that I have been in two bus accidents in my life, both in foreign countries where I have lived for a given amount of time. The first was in New Zealand. Our bus was traveling to the North of the South Island, and we were going through some really beautiful hilly land with pine trees everywhere and the sun was shining and the trees were bathed in gold and then we hit a car that was backing out of someone's driveway. Two girls were visiting a farm to get a kitten to take home, and we hit them broadside, like a T with a tiny tiny top line. Amazingly, no one was hurt. Their car was in bad shape, and the front of the bus was in bad shape, too, so much so that they sent another one to take us the rest of the way to our destination.

The other accident happened in Metz. C and I were taking the bus home from teaching at Montigny, and the bus was stopped at a stop. As people were boarding, a woman looked at the bus, and then at her car which was parked right next to us. She looked back, and then went to open her door to get something out of her car. At that moment, the bus decided it was time to move. I don't know whose fault it was, probably both of them were to blame. The bus driver did not check carefully enough, and the woman made the poor decision to prop her door open against the bus which was making a brief stop. The door was nearly ripped off her car, and the bus had a scratch all along the right side.

There was also that time when Court and Perrin and I went to New York on the Chinatown bus, and it overheated and bottle after bottle of the passengers' water was used to try and make the bus functional again.

I don't think I like buses...

To be continued, perhaps, later.

Dec. 29th, 2008

Camp Site!

That was the year that was...

In the shower I spent some time reflecting on the year that is nearly over, and I realized that I am frustrated, and disappointed. I feel like I have done nothing of any importance whatsoever. I have not felt intellectually engaged, and it is my fault for not seeking this out when I know it's been missing from my life. I suppose, perhaps, it is that I have not been engaging myself. I feel lethargic. I feel like I'm thinking through mud, as if, if I could only remove this weighty, continuous sludge melting over my brain, then I could think clearly, and engage, and see things clearly, and not drown. I feel like I'm missing half of what's going on. Part of this is due, perhaps, to needlessly overthinking things, and not trying harder to engage with the outside world.

Biggest Regrets/Changes that need to be made:
- I haven't pushed myself intellectually, and that's just dumb. What am I doing?
- I have not changed my pattern of poor correspondence, and for this I am truly sorry. I need to find some way to get myself into the habit of talking to people who aren't immediately physically available in my day-to-day life.
- I've let myself get overwhelmed far too easily.
- I need to take care of myself, to retrain myself to be active. This has given me so much energy in the past, I just need to get over the difficulty of the plunge and do it.

-- I think what most of this boils down to, in my mind, is that I just need to stop overthinking, and act. While in France, I wrote nearly thirty pages of observations, and more on random bits of paper, and never did anything with them. Most of this is still in my Dreaded Mass Email folder, placed helpfully on my desktop as if I'm still going to do something with it. I stopped writing notes to myself about sending DME halfway into the quarter. The number of cards I've begun and never sent makes me sad.

Less-Important-But-Still-Annoying Regret:
- My itunes library is at 18 and a half GB, and is totally disorganized. I downloaded artwork for some of my pirated stuff recently, but that was just the tip of the iceberg, and I feel overwhelmed in this project. It's a little silly, but I want it to be tidy, accessible. One less ball I'm juggling.

Stuff I didn't do at home Regrets:
- I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to
- I didn't get my hair cut
- I still haven't found that friggin' cd.

This year, maybe, was a year for perceiving, for observing. Maybe I am in a barren period of creativity. I hope that with the beginning of a new year that I can wake myself up, that I can find some interesting question I want to spend time thinking about, and not just thinking about but working on, that I can take whatever is happening inside my head and do something with it. I think I have lost whole worlds in my mind, simply because I don't feel comfortable ... with what? I feel like I have to convert whatever is going on in there so that it makes sense outside. "How can you stay outside? There's a beautiful mess inside." Maybe the reason I feel lonely so often is because I isolate myself, most of the time without intending to do so? Just get over it. "The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard, dies young."

This is what I want:

Don't let me drown in silence
All pious and polite
Let's make a lot of noise!
A different kind of light
Will fill the room.
I want my death to wake you up
And clean you out
And as I end
I'll hear you shout

I want to wake up, feeling new, centered, strong, focused, endlessly curious, capable, alive.

Dec. 27th, 2008

Camp Site!


We are visiting my Dad's family in Audubon today. Part of the reason we are going (aside from it being the holiday season, is that my Uncle (Dad's brother-in-law) had cancer and this was probably one of the last chances, if not the last chance, for us to see him. We got a call this morning from his wife, my Dad's sister, to say that he had died during the night. We're sad. The boys don't really understand, I don't think, which is maybe a good thing. He was a good man, intelligent and sharp and inquisitive and kind, with a great sense of humor, and the world is a little darker without him.

A problem: there is an ice storm moving east across the state. It is currently where we are going, and is heading toward us. We will be driving straight through it. It is probably not safe to drive, yet we are going anyway. I understand why Dad is pushing so hard for us to go now, but I am a little worried. I really, really hope we don't get into an accident. So, wish us luck?

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