Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Few Bits From This Weekend

Going in here didn't have it's usual thrill for me. I mean, I was thrilled in the "look where I am" sort of way. But what really depressed me was all the water. It had poured the day before, but was clear that morning. Inside though, even on the third floor, with like at least three floors above me, there was water just pouring down the walls and collecting on the walkways. Most of the buildings I go into have already been abandoned a long time ago, and are more landscape than useful structure. But this place didn't have to be this way, if only someone would fix the roof. It will be completely unusable as anything else within the year. And I thought they were going to sell it? Or remake it? Or something. It's just a proud old building where people used to do good things, and now it's just being left to rot away under the rain. It makes me sad for it. But I'll probably go back, like some voyeuristic bone picker. The Wasteland isn't all fun and games. It's also, you know, waste.

On a happier, cheerier note, have I mentioned how much I love The Sign Guy? I suppose as long as there's always one guy like that in Tremont, we'll all stay sane there.

I'm getting the whole biking thing. I like it. But its still so painful. Here is a picture of us, or rather them, fixing their bikes, the curse of the "bringing the bike out at the end of summer" crowd. But it worked out in the end, and they didn't get too frustrated when I had to turn around because my legs were trembling after a paltry few miles. Because they are nice. My bike's name, meaning the actual name on the frame cause I don't name my modes of transport, is the Stump Jumper. I couldn't really beat that anyway. I don't feel up to that bike. It wants to go offroad, and tackle fallen logs, and be all cool and shit. I want to coast along silent and slow, maintaining my balance and trying not to freak out when passing dogs.

I was waiting for them back at the parking lot, and ran into two old ladies who told me about monkey balls, that fall off a certain tree, and will keep spiders and centipedes away if you leave them in a dish in a corner. Which prompted us to poach some, or rather prompted me to make my friends help me get some for my house, because I hate centipedes in my personal space. They should be called monkey brains, since that's what they look like, not balls. They are kind of hairy though.

Jere was missing, kidnapped? on Monday, so Charity and I went driving around the Flats. I know it looks sunny, but Monday was the first real day of Fall. Look at the clouds, you can tell.

I don't think I will ever get tired of living by the river. Or rust. I'm really partial to rust. But I wonder how many pictures of the glass factory I will take in my life. I will make a collage of all them someday. It's just endlessly fascinating to me. I keep hoping to find another huge purple glass skull of discarded melt, like the one we found a decade ago, that I think got stolen when that Chevy did.

After driving around for bit, we went to the West Side Market. We were bored. I tried to take a few shots, but the market is so utilitarian to me, and not as interesting as it was when I was a kid. It's where old Polish ladies buy blood sausage for Easter, or where that used to be. I didn't see any blood sausage there that day, but I certainly saw enough jalapeno sausage. What is the world coming too? I'm sure it was the Monday light that did it, but I searched for that raspberry yogurt I used to get, and all I found were tightly wrapped cheeses from other places not Ohio. It's good. It's just not old world good.

I bought some jerky, a few slices of Swiss, half a cheese apricot strudel, and a large kosher pickle.
Later, my headlights both went out at the same time, and today I got my first loaner car from a mechanic, who by the way constantly refers to me as married, though I'm definitely not. I don't correct him. Sometimes it's an advantage to have them think you have a husband. Winter is coming.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Bridge Project

People in Cleveland are always trying to create festivals, right? We may be a hardened artery city of pierogi eaters, but god damn if they aren't always trying to get some culture down our gullets. Every single street in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights has their own arts festival. There are beer festivals, food festivals, volleyball festivals, festivals to celebrate environmental disasters. It's impressive, and good, and very commendable.

But whoever came up with the idea to hold an arts festival in the streetcar tunnels under the Detroit Superior bridge, the ABANDONED streetcar tunnels, is a honest to god freaking genius.

So the Ingenuity folks were just sitting around brainstorming, and someone said "hey, why don't we open up this entire tunnel that spans a mile across the river, light it up all cool, and have artists create things and show stuff in all the dark corners? And we'll make it free." Slam dunk guys. You should do this every month next summer.

It was open in the daylight hours too, but I think the best time to see it had to be at night, when everybody was ogling the lights and the music echoing down the girders gave you a soundtrack for being completely tripped out by the views underneath your feet.

Yeah, cause see, there was this long section where you could walk on a grate over the Cuyahoga, and look down on all the little toy buildings. And strangers put their hands on my shoulders to gently guide me out of their way, since I was looking down the entire time, like some sort of stoned 12 yr old.

It makes sense to do this in this space. Clevelanders are bridge people, tunnel people, steel and concrete people. We belong down (up) in places like this, like ducks in water. We've been denied our natural habitat. As you know by now, I feel most comfortable in places like this, that are bigger than me, because up and in are the best directions to have. And it was so much fun to be with other people who were just as impressed as me. It was a big happy Cleveland Glow.

Every little piece of art, like the sitting rooms and the random movies on the wall, shone like little plastic gems.

Walking across the river was like a museum tour. You would be surrounded by people and sound one moment, everyone smiling, and the next moment you were completely alone, in the darkness, with the water and the lights.

And there was a 3d movie! With people in 3d glasses sitting enrapt like a scene from their own movie. And a 6 person bicycle that kept careening randomly down the walkway. And people just sitting around drumming. And kids, and fireworks from the stadium for like forty minutes, and semi trucks hurtling above you making everything shake.

It was a pretty perfect night, and besides my buildings, like the best thing I've done all summer.

More photos from the 2009 Bridge Project can be found here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I sent this around on FB yesterday, but I think it's worth repeating. So I can have it saved here for posterity.

I understand neither his point or reasoning. But how many woodland creatures does Beck have to murder before we quarantine him? All the guy's missing is a large white tent and a river.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday TV Roundup: "Do you think someone is going home?"

Remember how in the Middle Ages, puppeteers used to go around giving shows, putting their portable theaters wherever was convenient, and performing obscene slapstick plays for their superstitious, bored, generally terrified audiences?

Reality TV is the modern Punch and Judy. The characters are the same. The story is the same. The only things that change are the set and the performers.

Last night, Tyra endorsed child slavery, by bringing out her own personal baby servant from it's broom closet under the stairs, where's she's been teaching it to do tricks and swaggers. She uses it to teach the girls "runway walking", which is actually just stomping as hard as you can without looking like you're stomping. No, seriously, the guest this episode was Diva Divanna, a 4 yr old wunderkind who poses like a coke-addled Brazilian 17 yr old. She's probably only 3, and is going to sue me for libel.

So the girls all tried to pretend they had no shoulders, and the closeups on their tiny skinny disconnected legs were very disconcerting. Britany, who never stops reminding you that she knows math, wins, immediately engaging the laser eyes from the evil cabal of Ashley, Lulu, and Sundai.

First of all, Ashley? YOU ARE 22! You are too old to be building a mean little gossip empire. And you are not pretty enough to get away with it. Ashley decides to actively manipulate the girls into a nasty horde around her. LuLu plays Igor, getting really into the stabbing, but not being subtle enough to avoid cutting her own fingers. And Sundai, I've decided, is the archetypal prankster. She's just out to cause trouble for the fun of it.

These three fake furies set their sights on Bianca and Britany, the first because Bianca's attitude impedes their own, and the second because Britany is better than all of them and smarter. When Nicole, in her own compassionate simple way, decides to try and be nice to Bianca, the Furies actually build a conspiracy theory for themselves, and then attack Nicole for being hopelessly naive. Their attempt to shame Nicole into joining the ranks fails, and man I hope Nicole wins now, just for having the balls to stand up to those paranoid, gloating harpies.

There's a funny part, where the chickens have to march next to Nordic Olgas in Drapes. Then they have to pretend to be tall for the photo shoot. With all the emphasis on not looking short, I'm surprised someone hasn't build a homemade rack yet. Denise Richards wins. LuLu fails to understand what tall means and gets sent home. And Ashley ACTUALLY CRIES. Oh god, I hope the other girls slit her throat in her sleep. 22!

On Cooking with Julia, Julia Childs makes duck noises and then has an Eggstravaganza with Emeril. Of course, she's dead, so it's a rerun.

Tom Delay came out of the closet. Gays and ballroom dancers everywhere begged him to go back in.

Then Top Chef. Starts off with the invasion of the Red Army, everyone wears red flags to symbolize their solidarity with the fallen Church Mouse. Robin, who everyone knows should have gone home, has to actually ask for one, which she does, but then wears it hidden in her sleeve! The insult! Ely challenges her to a duel for his comrades honor, but she makes a salad and a fruit crisp and wins the Quickfire! Hey, I could be on this show! Ash makes custards, and goes down in history as the most clueless nice guy in Top Chef history. Repeat: custards during a quickfire.

Ely does get really class-less, and tells the nation that Robin won because having a cancer story always means you win. No Ely, it means being a good bullshitter always means you win.

Penn and Teller take a break from fighting villains and mortgage brokers to come and be guest judges. Padma is REALLY excited about this. She's more animated than she's been the whole last season. The challenge is to deconstruct a classic dish, which is a great challenge because it weeds out everyone who knows vocabulary. Stupid Mike I. gets assigned Eggs Florentine, and because he is an ignorant douche who doesn't know what that is, comes up with a catch phrase to be cute about the fact that he's an idiot "eggs Foreigntome!" Ha ha! That's so FUCKING FUNNY you lousy talentless hack. He then proceeds to ride that train for the next hour.

Some people bitch about "deconstruction", some people don't. Mostly, I don't understand the big deal. You take the ingredients. You make something else with them. But Laurine and Robin and Ron are all flabbergasted. Jennifer does a funny thing in the kitchen where she actively avoids being on television in order to get her work done. Bryan makes pastrami flavored tuna. Ashley tells us she never had pot roast cause she was poor, which I'm not buying, cause pot roast is what I eat when I'm poor. I roll like that.

Ely makes bulls testicles, and Penn (Teller?) sexually harasses Padma about it.

Kevin, Mike V, Jennifer, and Ashley all end up in the top proving a few things; 1) Ashley has hit her stride, 2) Kevin may be the winner, 3)Jennifer's worst is still better than everyone else. Oh and 4) Parmesan Jelly! means I and the rest of the world will always be suckers for anything strange made gelatinous. Bacon Jam!

Laurine proves that she may be there forever simply by always beating the judges to their punchline. "Yes, I know, it was overcooked." "Let me guess, the fish?" " I know, I'm just a bad cook and should go back to catering for rich elderly folks." But it won't last forever, because you talked shit Laurine. It's like being the first one in a horror movie to have sex, you are totally screwed and are absolutely going down in a gruesome manner. Ely, you're right there with her. Professionals keep their mouths shut. Try being more like Jennifer. I know she talks shit too, but she doesn't do it where the cameras can hear her.

Oh, and we're back to giving out Calphalon and immunity for prizes. Guess they blew through that budget pretty quick.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wilson Middle: Someone Loved You Very Much Once

The first time we approached the building, the only way in was down a rickety ladder, into a moat, through half a knocked out window. The second time was also through a knocked out window, but this time I was wearing boots. The amount of courage I have is largely dependent on my footwear.

We circled the building greedily. Its amazing how much you used to want to get out of this building, but once its empty, you can't get in fast enough. The basement, by the way, was absolutely terrifying. The things I am most afraid of were there in force: unsure footing, complete darkness, basements. Even going into a lit one, in daylight, takes a gathering of emotion. It's why I do laundry so reluctantly. I was weak, standing at that grate, but they pulled me through. There wasn't a choice. If Atlantis rises from its watery grave, you don't stand there nervous about stepping down off a bookshelf into the blackness. Right, you suck up and do it. Otherwise you sit outside for hours while other people get better pictures than you.

Once we made our way into the shallower hells, the dimly lit first floor with it's rows of dead lockers, I could not get up those stairs fast enough. To the windows! The day was beautiful; breezes blowing in from the broken glass, brightly painted rooms, and furniture everywhere. How could anything be scary in this light?

Doesn't it make you want to climb on everything?

Or roller skate?

People who go hunting in abandoned places are summer school archaeologists. They want to find evidence of what used to be there, a place is better if it is preserved. They marvel at every disused telephone or nurse's eye chart like it was unearthed at Pompeii. Broken chairs are delightful, torn posters delicious. Giant stuffed dogs are Mayan fucking calendars.

Question and answer cards on the floor are a bread crumb trail to happiness.

Going into one old middle school is going into every middle school. It makes you old, young, and grabby at the same time. Every flashcard you see belongs to you and your 3rd grade math class, and so there's no compunction in picking it up. In factories there is a sense of otherness, that you weren't part of this industrial world, and therefore a proper amount of chaste respect is due. You don't just go leafing through machinery, and throwing the bits everywhere. But here you are just collecting those lost parts of your own grade school days that you've somehow misplaced, but found again.

We maintained a bit of decorum though, and left the really cool things. Because to take them all would ruin the place. If they stay where they are long enough, they will freeze there, like exhibits, glued with dust and paint chips.

Rocket Racer Test Report is a fabulous name, Tina. Also I like your car a lot. I like that it has a tail.

I also hate to read because it makes me happy. Also I hate witches cooking frogs. Or frogs about to eat witches.

Where did this sign come from exactly? Was it an encouragement note, or a reminder? And why are there not enough vocabulary game boards in my life anymore?

This makes me want a floor made entirely of colorforms.

Giant stuffed bunny.

More memories from Wilson can be found here.

Mr. Comforts Creepy Hot List

Today I am hobbling like a pony about to be put down. Please don't let Mr. Comfort take me. I swear I'll be a good pony.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You know how some people have a special thing they visualize, when they're trying to relax or meditate? Or they have an animal they picture as the embodiment of their virtues, their totem animal or their dream guide? It's a fragment of imagination that they use to control their mental state and inspire them, something that gains tangibility with the power of their desire.

Well today I found mine.

When Exactly Did Jack Kirby Become Awesome?

thank you M.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's Up With Alice Being Everywhere?

Children's books are one of those things we forget are important. Just as important as your parents, your childhood friends, your first crush, your first big injury. Whether or not you read them determines a large part of who you are; who you'll hang out with when you're older, what kind of things will interest you or motivate you. Will you believe in good and evil? Will you be a tomboy? Will you watch every dinosaur movie made even though they are as bad for you as romantic comedies?

SciFi makes me sentimental, and I have to wake up in 5 hours, so of course I can't fall asleep, so I'm going to lay in bed and read The Curse of the Blue Figurine by Bellairs. And not think about the fact that Alice has been purposely changed from a curious, sort of spoiled child into a representation of creepy dollhouse fantasies with scary terror eyes.

Here are some things I learned, and remember as the big lessons, from my favorite children's books.

1. The universe is very very big and very very small at the same time. Thank you Magic School Bus, Wrinkle in Time series, and that book I read where the kid shrunk really small and went on a journey through someones body. Maybe his own. It kills me that I can't remember the name of that one.

2. Orphans and old people have it worse off than anybody, because it's family that helps you tolerate being poor.

3. Sometimes people will be right when they tell you not to do something. But if you listen to them all the time, you will never know when they are wrong.

4. For gods sakes, don't eat anything just sitting out. Ever.

5. All ugly little girls grow up to be beautiful, and all beautiful little girls also grow up beautiful but pug-nosed.

6. Giant animals are your friends. Mice have more interesting lives than you know. Animals are individuals, like people, and they are capable of being just as cruel and evil. I read Animal Farm really early.

7. The lives of saints really really sucked.

8. Always look behind the clocks, or in the library. All libraries have secret messages somewhere.

9. Your parents could die at anytime.

10. Old people can be friends to kids.

11. If you want to lie all the time, write instead.

12. Just because you are small does not mean you are incapable. When things go bad, you must act tall. Most adults are not any smarter than you, they just know more.

13. It's heroic to play in the woods.

14. Time travel is possible, but not controllable. It can happen anywhere, for any reason, and it's not as much fun as it sounds.

15. It's really far to get anywhere walking. But do not get on randomly appearing trains, or talk to women who smile too much.

16. You must always arrive on time for tea.

17. Never go anywhere an adult is controlling the fun (museum trip, circus, camping ect.) unless you are with another adult or a group of friends. Let someone know where you're going, just in case. Always bring a pocketknife and a small compass.

18. Don't waste time gawking about how you can't believe what you're seeing. Believe it and move on.

19. Magical things will stop happening to you as an adult, unless you become a weird and strange adult. Which means you will probably be alone, but you will have much more fun, and you will always remember to stock soda and cookies.

20. Anyone and Everyone can become a friend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday TV Sometimes Makes Me Cry: Top Chef, Top Model, TBL

Alright, so I missed the first few minutes of America's Next Top Model, and apparently those were the MOST IMPORTANT MINUTES OF THE SEASON. 'Cause Bambi got sent home? For being personality deficient? I have to believe there is some other reason they won't tell us, like she's a Cuban terrorist or used to be a figure skater, because I don't see Wilhemina kicking off a girl in the second episode just because she can't interview well. That's something usually reserved for the last couple episodes. But maybe Wilhemina is bringing the smackdown. Maybe they're out to show that they're not some wussie Ford company, and they are running the show, not Tyra and Lauren.

Speaking of, how did I miss that Lauren Conrad is now a judge? And not such a bad one as all that, though I question her credentials, but who doesn't? Her entire schtick is "look at me being paid to do something I'm entirely unqualified to do." It's kind of sweet.

So then there's weird awkward scene where Tyra coins her new term "Smies" and comes out dressed in the most boring superhero costume ever. I mean, Tyra gets a chance to dress up and that's all we get? She then makes the girls dress up like Pink Trons, play DDR, and some creepy supercomputer judges the curvature of their eyes. That computer is dangerous. We should kill it.
Oh, and the DDR arcade is called the Fortress of Fierceness.

The girls are all sold off to be jockeys, cause short girls can't get modelling jobs. And they are forced by their new Brazilian midget overlords to take off their shirts and pose in wigs. I don't understand why, if Tyra wants the focus on their eyes, she would pose them naked with horses. The best part was when Norm the Jockey told one of the girls, clutched behind him topless and terrified, to "relax girl".

Mena Suvari won. Bianca almost got sent home for being a whiner, but instead they kicked off the cripple, because she quit, and nobody is more reviled than a cripple who quits.

Then that new vampire show, the one about the models, premiered. I don't know why they made this show, except maybe to prove Mischa isn't anorexic, since she's the fattest person in that cast. And none of the vampires bite people, or do soul searching, or fight demons, or anything. They just go out a lot at night and don't eat anything.

Oh Top Chef. The world constantly reminds me how perfect you are. For the quickfire, the viewers got to vote for a secret ingredient, and it was between cactus, snake, and kangaroo. I have no idea why mealworm wasn't on that list, but cactus won. Lonesome Dove Tim Love tortured the chefs with condescending cactus knowledge and bad western shirts. Kevin made a cactus marmalade! Ashley made a cactus jelly donut! Maybe Ashley doesn't completely suck!Mike I. (the douchebaggy one) won the 15, 000, and promptly spent it on Ed Hardy and sad older hookers.

For the Elimination, they dumped the chefs in the middle of the badlands and ordered them to cook food with only the bare essentials. Which were 12 grill pits, a mountain of cast iron, piles of plates, a full bar, a smoker. One of my friends watching it with me remarked "that's so much better than my kitchen already."But first they had to sleep in special tents all night and talk about how much they loved or hated camping, something so important to whether or not you deserve to win this show. Mike I. talked about how scared he was of cougars (we all know THATS not true), and the Haitian did some of that old black magic to keep out snakes, then sat by his tent all night calling down the spirits to defeat these colonial bastards.

Ever notice how sometimes Mattin sounds like Borat when he talks? Or that priest from the Princess Bride? I'mfwomtheBasquecounwy, soIknoweweything.

Poor little Church Mouse decided to make ceviche outside in the desert. In fact, an absurd number of people decided to make fish? And no one made steak. On a ranch. For ranchers. Where was Casey when we needed her? Mattin's ceviche was so bad, Tom threw it out. Robin's prawns were made of solid cakes of urinal chlorine. Everyone else was kind of boring, and then Bryan won because he made something kind of resembling steak. Mattin got sent home, and no one was surprised. We're just waiting for the rest of the cannon fodder to book it, so we can get down to a real competition here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eagle Market - Oh Consumption My Nearest and Dearest

Remember when consumption use to be a disease people died of?

Of course, people still do die because of consumption, but not that kind. More like the "5 Patty Bacon Double Death, 15 different kinds of marmalade at the grocery store, pre-packaged chocolate, bleached sugar, corn syrup coming from your gills" kind.

Eventually we're all going to be eating algae and flavored soy proteins. Don't you read? Don't you know this deep down in your tempura battered veins, in the recesses of your broken potato chip heart? This is the future, the extinction of the cow and pig due to lack of viable grazing land and rampant disease, a soil devoid of nutrition, plants grown expensively in tanks, tomatoes as a sign of wealth. Algae and soy will be the cheaper method of food production which takes up far less resources, feeds everybody, and tastes probably awful but seriously when its all we have left, we'll get used to it. All because you fuckers couldn't learn how to regulate when we had the chance. That's why everyone can wear jumpsuits in the future, because they eat fake bacon.

I wonder if vegans think it would be better to have cows, pigs, and chickens extinct rather than used as food sources? Because they would be already if they hadn't been discovered as useful. If we had never learned to eat them, chickens might know how to fly.

So this is what the end of the world looks like. Empty trays of Bubbalicious. Signs proclaiming a 69 cent sale on boxes of nothing. Mythical creatures depicted as butchering blocks. Empty places that remind of us of where everything went wrong.

More pictures of Eagle Market Apocaplyse Cow here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Conversations in My Head

Conversation 1:

(Note: I have no idea how Mr. O’Reilly feels about companies having to provide health care, specifically. I just know he’s a douche. I apologize in advance if in fact he actually believes all companies owe it to their employees to provide health care and should be forced to by the government. I’m just pretty sure he doesn’t.)

Edit: apparently Mr. O'Reilly listened to me? We have some telepathic connection? Or he's decided to let Beck carry on the torch.

Me: So you don’t think health care should be something that companies are forced to give their employees, right?

Bill O’Reilly: Absolutely not. Socialism blah blah blah….

Me: And do you believe everyone deserves health care?

Bill O’Reilly: Blah blah blah self-determination blah hard work blah blah

Me: So people should only choose to get jobs where they get health care?

Bill O’Reilly: Corporate rights, the market place, blah blah blah

Me: So what we’re saying here is that Wal-Mart is a bad place to work, because no one would work someplace without health care if they had a choice. Right?

(Here Mr. O’Reilly’s head slowly starts to inflate and turn yellow)

Me: Of course, I’m assuming that all human beings believe everyone deserves to have an option for health care, if they are hard working and taxpayers. I mean, I believe EVERYONE should have health care, but at the very least your constituents should have it. I mean, here’s the ironic thing. Probably most of the people who watch your program DON’T have health care, if they’re so working class and blue collar and redneck and American ect. You don’t get health care by being a roofer, construction worker, gas station attendant, ect. But they’ve been raised to feel like unless they earn it by being some successful stockbroker, lawyer, or demagogue, they don’t deserve it. You are telling your listeners that unless they are rich, they are not entitled to expect anything of their government, that in fact the fight of their life is to stop the government from interfering with money they have not made, nor can realistically expect to ever make. And you’re telling them that if they are stupid enough to work at Wal-Mart, screw them.

(Completing its transformation, O’Reilly’s daffodil yellow smiling round face rotates in a circle, like a trapped balloon. It slowly starts to float in my direction, opening its black slash of a mouth to reveal great white shining teeth)

Conversation 2: (this happened to a friend of mine, and while it did not end this way, it should have.)

Abortion protester: Evil! EVAAAL! Take a picture of the sinner!

Me: But they don’t even do abortions here. I’m getting birth control.

Abortion protester: EVIL!

Me: Wait, you don’t believe in birth control either?

Abortion protester: All methods of stopping God’s holy swimmers are the work of the Devil.

Me: Is it more evil for me to prevent getting pregnant, or to get pregnant and have an abortion?

Abortion protester: It is evil to have sex outside the holy covenant of marriage.

Me: Who said I wasn’t married? How do you know? (I’m not)

Abortion protester: People who get married don’t use birth control.

Me: Listen, you’re obviously not a logical person, but try to understand this. You think I’m evil, and a bad person. So why would you want me to have kids? Why wouldn’t you want everyone who believes such bad sinful stuff to stop having children, so your kind can overpopulate the planet and have a chance at the general election?

Abortion protester: Your children are innocent, and should be raised by good Christian families.

Me: So you want me to have the child, and then give it to you?

Abortion protester: Yes, the baby deserves a chance to know God’s love.

Me: I can guarantee you that raising a bastard child who’s told not to become his sinful mother every time he does something wrong, who can’t even know his own bloodline because they were evil, is not the way to propagate your ideas. Also, Veggie Tales are secretly gay subversive.
Like you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Avocado Honeydew Milkshake

Prequel: Yes, I know, like 30 of you have stumbled across this site looking for that milkshake he made on Iron Chef. I'm sorry. All because I mentioned the damn thing in a post about other avocado delights. I know you, like me, just wanted some guidance. You kinda know how to maybe do it, but you want to know if there's any special trick or proportion or secret magical Iron Chef ingredient. It looked so impossibly good at the judges table, right?

What's even worse is that I am planning on making one tonight, and when I tried to google recipes, my own damn site kept coming up. That's ironic and unpleasant.

I've been all about avocados recently, thanks to an Iron Chef, Smitten Kitchen, and the fact that Marty and Rebecca have a countertop that spontaneously creates bags of avocados. It's a special kind of granite. So I've wanted to make this damn milkshake for like a week. But I had no idea really how to.

So the first attempt was 1 avocado, 1 half a honeydew, and about a cup of vanilla soy milk. Add some ice. Blend.

It was not good.

It was actively bland, like, a combination of flavors determined to suck out any flavor you might have had on your tongue in the past or the future.

So we added some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and some more soy milk. Which made it palatable. The cinnamon and nutmeg were perfect, it made it like an eggnog. But neither the honeydew or the avocado sang at all, or even hummed. It was green watery mud. Rebecca covered it with whipped cream, which was awfully pretty, but everyone just ate the whipped cream and stopped. I mean, I liked it well enough. I drank two glasses. Marty drank his. Allison pecked at hers. Rebecca full on stopped.

So here's what we're going to do next.

-2 avocado
-2 cup honeydew
-1 cup vanilla ice cream
-1 banana
- cinnamon

I mean, that will serve like 6 people. But I think the proportions will be better. The soy milk really didn't contribute anything and I hate adding ice because then it just becomes water. Ice cream is definitely key.

I'll let you know. I mean, my motivation is a little low right now.

On Second Thought

I'd like to propose that this is the quintessential list of things that you should never ever eat together, and also only have eaten for the day, if you would like to remain sane during slumber:

-6 shots of espresso
-1 cucumber margarita with chili salt
-1 pineapple margarita with chili salt
- a plate of chorizo, cheese, onions and peppers
- guacamole
- fried ice cream
- cafe patron with cinnamon orange slices
- coffee with cinnamon
- cigarettes

What will happen if you consume this particular grouping, in this particular order, is that while you may seemingly sleep very well, during the course of that sleep your brain will mutate into a teeming mass of black worms from an alternate evil dimension. A vortex where morality and virtue are signs of weakness and tastiness, and disgusting sounds are broadcast in the air to tune your biological systems to the most despair driven, fearful frequency you can imagine. There are giant squid who determine interest rates, with razor sharp beaks and unnatural ideas about self-worth. Houses with too many well lit, nasty raver boy attics, no haircuts and dirty carpets infested with stems and flea poop. Any and all attempts to accomplish something, like getting out the door, or making out with that guy, horrible ideas on their own, will end in humiliation and/or mutiliation. Your dream self will end up on sitting on that dirty carpet, staring at a tv you know is brainwashing you with murderous intentions, completely silent and hopeless. There will be a pet weasel somewhere in the corner, eating something you can't recognize.

And when you wake up? You will have a version of heartburn that feels more like a part of your larynx has actually burned off and is stuck, chunk like, in your throat. Which is good, because it's actually blocking the tsunami of stomach acid itching to burn out your eyeballs.

Before that though, I had a great time. Also, I found out I love SuperIndustrialLove.

Right now he has prints at Shoparooni for sale as part of their Dick and Jane show, and it's fucking fabulous. You can also buy his cards on the website or at the shop.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Night is TV Night: Top Chef, Obama, and Why are Short Girls Awful?

Wasn't there time when I used to do something else on Wednesday nights? Didn't it used to be dancing night? Or cooking night? Or...coffee shop night? I don't know. But whatever I used to do, forget it. TV night is cheaper. And I'm less likely to contract herpes.

There was a lot going on tonight. Obama's speech on Healthcare, and America's Next Top Model premiere on at the same time. The premiere of my new favorite nerdness, Glee. And of course, Top Chef.

First, I had a difficult decision. Watch awkward messed up girls get glammed up, or watch awkward messed up men applaud on cue? Tyra won initially, cause shit, it's ANTM. It's an event. I mean, I read the blogs and the papers and the Move On letters, I know what the Healthcare reform bill basically is going to end up being, and I know what I would like it to be. But I don't know which bug eyed beauty will steal Tyra's heart by the end of the show.

This season though, Tyra left out water and her house turned into a gaggle of Gremlins. I have nothing against short girls. I am a short girl. But ANTM seems desperate to prove that short girls are crazier, more obnoxious, less mature, and straight up plain sadder than tall girls who actually have chances at being models. There was the token insane Christian girl. The melodramatic foster child who has a hole in her life nothing but Top Model can fill. The Louisiana trailer girl with the terrible accent and lead in her heels. The "I'm smarter and these girls just don't understand me" girl. And my personal favorite: Bambi, who will end up playing an elf on some SyFy movie at some point. There was lots of Tyra defense rants, about how shorter girls can rule, ect. That lasted till about the time they were judging the photos, and the judges openly pondered why everyone was so hoochie, to which Tyra pointed out that short girls don't think they can be models so they practice being sluts and video models. Oh, and she tried speaking in a French accent a lot. Which, as you will see later, was a theme.

So this is about where I decided that maybe this hadn't been the right decision, so I switched to the floor of the Senate, where Pelosi openly stared her comrades down from behind our Fearless Leader, until she had them standing to give ovations every ten seconds. It was very confusing and lackluster when Obama was just outlining specific items. Even he looked visibly confounded by some of it. "What, what did I say? Taxes? What?" But then he got all Super Speech Man, and brought out the deathbed letter wishes from Teddy, and cut open his heart with a steak knife, letting it flow into every dry and wrinkled crevice of the Medicare Council. There were a couple good jabs at the previous administration, and the anticipated Tossing of the Bone ceremony in which several Republicans actually moved, or stirred a little. I mean, I know he's good. I voted for him.

Glee was wonderful, especially the shot of Squirrel Woman crying in her car and singing loudly to the radio.

But let's talk Top Chef. We all know that's what I stayed home for.

So this was the dreaded Quickfire we all saw trailers for, where the loser gets eliminated! Because apparently, the judges got real tired real fast. They all had to make snail dishes. Kevin won because he made BACON JAM. Jesse got sent home. Yawn.

But then they pulled out the big guns. And by big guns, I mean the producers dug up the mummy of a squishy faced little man who invented French cooking, and is magical. Or as Ely put it, he wanted to meet Robuchon because he thought "he didn't actually exist and might be a unicorn." All the chefs were assigned classic French dishes to cook for the Magic Unicorn Council of France and All Things French. Except for Kevin, who got to join the Council, provided he could capture a kitten with silver eyes who makes the rain come when it sniffles. Or because he made BACON JAM.

You know, French cooking is sort of disgusting. It's all snails and frogs and old chickens and rancid milk sauces. It's like every really gross idea in the world, like cheese grown in caves and rotten fruit disintegrated in bottle for years, came from France.

But they're really good with bread. Probably cause yeast is super gross too.

So the magically glowing Puppet Master Robuchon sits at the table and conveys his evil judgments only in the sacred archaic language of the culinary arts. Everyone else blushes a lot and shuts the hell up when he talks. Except for Padma who seemed visibly fed up, and was practically suckling from the wine bottle to avoid rolling her eyes.

The frog legs by that Haitian guy and Robin were a disappointment. But it made me thankful to be an American, who doesn't have actual issues in her past, like days spent drinking urine in a boat and hating the French bastards who oppressed your country for centuries, only to have to swallow your bitterness and make their damn sauces for the Overlord of Darkness/Souffle.

Bryan and Mike I. made trout with deconstructed bernaise sauce, or rather Bryan got a sous chef for the day named Mike and told him how to do stuff.

The lobster by Ely and Laurine was a failure, but not quite bad enough.

Mattin the little Church Mouse decided to be a prick and speak at the table in French. Which was funny, cause after he left, the Grand Poobah noted that he spoke french well, obviously assuming he was from America because of the ton of bacon in his sauce.

Ash and Hector fucked up. I'll tell you right now. Hector went home. It is what it is. I think Mattin should have bit it, but it'll happen eventually.

Mike V. and Jennifer created a calming symphony of flavors in their artificial love bubble of a kitchen corner, summoned up by the amazing power of putting two people together who are really good at what they do. Jennifer actually looked like she was having fun today. So good for her. I adore her.

At judges table, despite Mike I.'s repulsive attempts to take credit for their entire dish, soft spoken Bryan won. And his prize? A job in the Kindly Wizard's kitchen for a week. Something which seemed to mean a lot to him, despite the fact he already has his OWN RESTAURANT.

I'd liked to sum up this completely unnecessary summary of tv shows you probably already watched by pointing out how much I hate the commercial below. Every time I see it, I feel creepy crawly, like there are fucking bacteria crawling all over every surface of the room.

Tiny little humans waving like broccoli is NOT COOL.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Be Careful

Something came out.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Long End of the Summer, or How Avocados Will Cure Us All

Alli came back from the wars*, so today I recruited her to drive around East Cleveland with me, getting reacquainted with the home defenses so to speak. Then I took her to Tremont and blew her mind with condos. Condos condos everywhere, and not a drop of taste to spare. She's been gone for ten years. Do you remember Tremont ten years ago? When we used to live there and rent was cheap(er) and everyone drank beyond their means? She actually said, "but the projects are still down there, right?" Oh honey. Next we drove by the new old middle school, and her head exploded over my upholstery. We glued it back together with some episodes of 30 Rock, Iron Chef, and Mad Men. Oh TV, what did poor people do before you? Oh right, they fucked like bunnies and went to bed by 7.

On Iron Chef, the challenger made this avocado honeydew milkshake that 1)made me salivate like a 12 yr old at a Jonas Bros concert and 2) reminded me I wanted to share these two recipes with you.

Recipe One: Roasted Carrot and Avocados
(from Smitten Kitchen)

Are you ready for the simplest best dish ever? Alright here, do this.

- preheat the oven to 400
- chunk the carrots
- douse them with olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste)
- roast them for about 30 minutes
- toss them with avocado chunks, and drizzle with fresh lemon

This dish is so ridiculously simple, I felt embarrassed making it, like it was TOO simple. But it's so good. The carrots are sweet and salty, and the avocado buttery, and the cumin adds just enough to elevate this beyond what it looks like. Though, I don't know, I think it looks pretty good too.

Recipe 2: Bobby Flay's Crunchy Avocado Salad

-3 ripe avocadoes
-2 big tomatoes
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinse a few times
- 1/2 cup chopped olives
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white vinegar (his recipe calls for champagne vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- crumbled corn chips

When I went to grocery store to get stuff to make this for work, I was pissed off by two things. One, there were no blue corn chips to be found. At Giant Eagle. Fail. Two, there was no champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar, not even the expensive brands. Only plain old white vinegar. So I had to compromise. I was very put out. Saying something used champagne vinegar versus white vinegar is like saying, well, I can't think of an appropriate metaphor. But it's not the same.

So I made do. But I used too many olives, so I cut those down above too. I used so many, it kinda looked like my salad was covered with dirt.

Basically just chop everything, mix everything, and then add the corn chips at the end so they don't get soggy.

Brownies do not magically appear as a byproduct, they must be made by a co-worker. And you must eat three of them for breakfast. That's the new rule.

Avocados prove that dinosaur eggs are good for you. They are Nature trying to tell you that animal fats are bad, and you should just eat weird ugly fruit and fish all the time. Unfortunately, fish do not taste like avocados. So I'm only going to be able to commit halfway there. Anyway, go eat some.

Next week, avocado milkshakes for schizzle.

*metaphorically speaking.