Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sugar sweats ...

* I had the best night of sleep in a long time. I need nine hours, and usually I try to cram 9 hours-worth into six hours because I'm reading/writing/watching/refreshing and blow past my bedtime with nary a depression to the brakes. Last night I slept so well, I expected to wake to applause. Golf claps. I'm not kidding. I could almost hear them.

* Almost without fail, whenever I hear a song I like and then investigate who is making this awesome noise, it turns out to be a Swedish pop duo. Or a Swedish pop something at least. It happened again last night, when I stumbled onto Miike Snow. I use the phrase "stumble" loosely. Like you, I enjoy watching television for teenagers. There was a Miike Snow song on "Gossip Girl." I managed to get to iTunes just as the song was cracking the top of the most-popular list. I also *discovered* a band while watching "The Hills" tonight. I'm Nancy Effing Drew with earbuds.

As for Miike Snow, I told Chuck this morning that I'd found my new favorite band. He sampled a bit on emusic, looked at me all seriously-like and said "It's dance music."

We obviously need to spend more time together.

* I received an email from the rock star Amy Abts, which she signed "Write Soon." I'm going to steal that. I laughed for three minutes straight.

* I ate about 9 finger loads of chocolate frosting tonight. It was all super fun until I walked away and realized I had the sugar sweats. True story.

* So I almost ran over nun today. That was weird. I'm going to try not to make it a habit. Ha! [What's the point of a pun if you don't point out that you did it on purpose?]

Monday, September 28, 2009

The wheels on this bus ...

I use the adult locker room at the Y. Not the fancy schmancy one the water aerobics aficionados spring for, where I imagine the finest in ruffled swim skirts line the lockers, and there is a decorative fountain that emits Ben Gay.

This one is inset in a large locker room, with a door that barely muffles the delighted squeals of that toddler in the shower who already has Mariah Carey-ian aspirations. There is actually a sign on this noneffective door that says "All ye who enter must be older than 18." One would sense the difference between the general locker room and the adult locker room immediately: In my locker room, women talk about Pampered Chef. In the other locker room, filled with mommies, the "-ed Chef" part is silent.

There is a reason for this segregation.

Today I walked into the big-girl locker room to find that clearly we had stopped carding at the door. There, piddling around naked and squeaking, was a 3 year old girl and her obviously illiterate mom. For the 12 minutes it took me to figure out how my new bangs will negatively impact my workout and change into something from GI Jane's fall collection, the toddler sang "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round." All 27 verses. And she was encouraged to do so by her mother, who even helped her when she couldn't remember what the horn on the bus says, instead of saying what I would have said in her situation:

"Hey wait a minute, Missy. You're not 18. If you were, you'd know this shit. It's 'Beep-beep-beep.' Alright, c'mon. Off to the shower. We'll work on 'Always be my Baby' instead."

I'm a nice-ish person. I think kids are cute. I schooled my friend T's tot at soccer this past weekend, and held my friend Dude's baby for about 10 very pleasant minutes. I wouldn't mind having my own at some point, I just hope my urges explode before my girl-parts give their last sad little cough.

But this was really annoying. When I walk into a room that assures me I will only encounter people older than 18, I expect that to be true. I don't expect to see something 2-feet tall inspecting my purse, then hiding in a locker singing "whoosh-whoosh-whoosh." What if I had some sort of sports bra as a sling shot malfunction? I don't want that on my conscience.

Can you imagine how much of an asshole I would have sounded like if I'd said "Can you get her out of here? Her little squeaky Lollipop Guild voice is making my brain bleed."

I tried to think of how to combat this situation. Maybe speak this mama's language so she understands. My counterattack: The next time it happens, I'm going to Kids Club and performing the karaoke version of Liz Phair's "Fuck and Run." Like "The Wheels on the Bus," it's catchy. The kiddies will love it.

I'll show that Mommy inappropriate.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rawr ...



This is my favorite photograph from last week. I have no idea what Chuck was singing. We were at an event that occurs weekly, which is unofficially called "Jody's Keg Party." Bonnie Tyler and all-you-can drink Grain Belt for $6. If last week is any indication, the youngsters have caught on to this place, but don't yet understand that $6 beer night doesn't grow on trees. One fancy-face opted for wine. Yeah, it probably looks classier than a keg glass. But what it really says to me is that she still gets an allowance.

This past week I picked up the book Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine with the intent of starting something at our house called "Raw Food Monday." But I was too excited to wait a day, so I made two things ahead of schedule. And so far, so good.

In other news:

GETTING MOUTHY

Lentil Soup: I'm starting to see that if you've have one red lentil soup, you've had them all. And they are all good. They are not, however, attractive. And for some reason I can't remember where I got the recipe. But, like I said ...


What you can't see here, but what I assure you is here, is a square of bread like substance beneath a gravy-like substance.
Vegetable Pot Pie: My favorite part of this was when, after cooking up a sort of veggie gravy and pouring it into the dish, I rolled out some dough and thwapped it across the top of everything. Chuck's eyes went wide and he said "Oh. This is going to be good." The next time I looked at it, after it had baked awhile, the doughy crust was floating on the top and the gravy was bubbling around it. Sort of like a floating dock in the middle of a hot spring.

This was awesome.


Fresh Tuna Souvlaki: I sort of made this without the grilling part. We have a grill. One of us is afraid it will explode if we use it. The other one of us is afraid of it even if it doesn't explode. So I made the marinade, but baked it instead -- covered in foil for half, open for the other half. So good. We had it with couscous and roasted beats and greens with an awesome feta sprinkled over the whole meal.

I was never a feta snob until recently. A dude at the Co-op put feta in my hand, said "It's expensive, but I guarantee that is the best feta." He was right. Trust the hippie in the white coat, stocking the cheese.



Zucchini "Pasta" with tomato and basil sauce: Here is the first meal from the raw food cookbook. Why the "pasta" in quotes, you ask? Because the "pasta" is actually just shaved zucchini slivers. And the sauce is a mix of lots of tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and olive oil mixed in a blender, with basil added. Add thin strips of peppers to the zuccs, top with the sauce (and lots of salt and pepper) and stuff your face.

This is probably a better summer dinner, but it was pretty damn delish. I'll make this again.



Chocolate Chia Pudding
: Another from the raw foods cook book. The chia seeds get this tapioca consistency. I wouldn't feed this to someone who didn't know what they were eating, and try to pass it as dessert. But I really liked it. It tasted like chocolate Malt o'Meal.

BOOKS
Homer & Langley: A Novel by EL Doctorow: How fortuitous. E.L. Doctorow’s novel Homer & Langley was released just as hoarding has become the OCD d’jour. In this novelette, Doctorow tweaks the legend of the Collyer brothers, two New York City, right-side-of-the-park eccentrics living together in a somewhat spousal situation.

Full review here. Spoiler alert: Totally loved this book.

Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens: The story starts with Andy Dunne, a weatherman on satellite radio, on the day that his wife is stripping him of all of their mutual worldly goods. She's been cheating on him with at least two of her clients. Andy is watching some young dudes load furniture into a moving truck and pouring beer into his face. Meanwhile, he's on year two of a debilitating crush on his married friend Hillary, who works in his building and has a hobby that includes curling up with a bottle of wine and talking to Andy on the phone late into the night when her husband isn't home. Sighing, asking Andy what he's wearing, hinting that she's interested in him.

I actually did not like a single character in this book, but not as violently as I usually don't like characters in books where I don't like any of the characters.

Full review will be here.

FALL TV
I would just like to say that my favorite new show is "Modern Family."

WRAPPING MY EARS AROUND
Pacha Massive: If You Want It: Sometimes, very rarely, music falls into my "I could run to it, and I could listen to it when I'm not running and still like it" category. This is a new release for this Bronx-based Electro Latin band. I really liked them a few years ago when they had a catchy song called "Don't Let Go." Unfortunately, that was many computers ago, and is lost to me until I download it again. I'm really diggin' this one.

Remember when you were young ...

Chuck and I were plodding down a dark avenue tonight. He was carrying 5 pounds of garlic in a paper bag, and I was internally congratulating myself on having set a precedent early in our relationship that I don't like to carry things.

Four young dudes bounced out of a sedan. Festive. Jocular.

"Migrating?" one of the dudes asked us.
The brown bag suggested a makeshift beer cooler, I'm assuming. Saturday night. Rental neighborhood. Walking.
"Where you migrating?" he asked.
This must be a party synonym on post-2007 SATs.

By then we were close enough to the dudes that they could tell we weren't their kind. Namely, neither of us had the whacked and slurry look that comes from mixing energy drinks with booze. No, they could tell we were older folks.

Another guy in the group took that moment to act as a translator. To bridge the gap between our generations. The proverbial "Hola como estas?" and a hand shake to show a friendliness between our cultures.

He simply yelled "PINK FLOYD!"

I was still cackling a half a block later when Chuck said under his breath: "We're not that old."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More bangs for your buck ...

BEFORE


AFTER


Look Tyra, I'm smizing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Essences of Zima ...

While boating on Gull Lake on Saturday afternoon, I noticed that Fannie's sharp little chicken knees fit perfectly into my mouth. As soon as I noticed that, biting her knee became a compulsion. I approached her hinge joint like it was a bacon cheese burger; I left tiny front teeth marks in her skin. It looked like a scar.

That night we all showered and washed the essence of Zima out of our pores. We were in the car, in clothes-clothes instead of summer costumes. Going to an actual restaurant to eat instead of making meals out of things and the things you dip the things into.

I leaned over and took a bite of Fannie's shoulder, sort of the White Castle version of her knee, forgetting that I had just applied a great-tasting berry layer of brownish red lip gloss.

"Gah," I thought. "I hope that didn't leave a mark. My old friend might get in a snit if I wreck her shirt."

We settled into the restaurant, and I found myself sitting across from fancy Fannie. And sure enough, there on the back shoulder of a cute white shirt, was a steak of great-tasting berry. Crap. Fannie dresses well. She fluctuates between boho whimsy and professional whimsy. She sometimes shops at stores that I've only seen the likes of online. That shirt might be from Target ($24.99) or it might be from Anthropologie ($59.99). And I had just left a skid mark on it.

The night unfolded a bit like the Edgar Allen Poe story "The Tell Tale Heart." I could hear the streak bleating. It pulsed. It went neon. It got bigger. Other people, I was sure, could hear it. I kept wondering if she'd notice. Granted, she'd have to give her head the kind of spin that typically leads to an exorcism ... But she might see it. And she was going to be peee-ised. I sent Princess Linda, who was sitting on my right, a text message.

"I accidentally got lipstick on Fannie's shirt. I can't stop looking at it. Don't tell her."

She never actually noticed the stain, as far as I know. Maybe she saw it later. Or maybe she will see it when she launders the shirt. And maybe it wouldn't even occur to her that the mark came from me. I guess we'll never know.

In other things I did the past week:

FOOD

Chickpea Croquettes with Greek Salad: This may look like Iams cat barf, but it was good. Little patties of chick peas, chick pea flour, red peppers, onions, garlic ... blah blah blah. Topped with cucs, feta, onions ... It was good. BTW this isn't the recipe I used.


Philly Cheesesteaks: We had this to celebrate "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" kick off night. Hot damn. I could eat this every day. The good news: Neither Chuck nor I knew where they hide the Cheez Whiz at the grocery store. The bad news: Now I know where they hide the Cheez Whiz at the grocery store. The worse news, there is still some in the refrigerator. The super good news: It will last forever, technically. Unless I crack into it.

READING
Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater: Frank Bruni was a looming presence in a book published in 2007 chronicling the Manhattan restaurant Per Se’s hopes for a four-star review from the New York Times tough-ass food critic. The writer, Phoebe Damrosch, was a hostess-turned-server, and one of her story’s central conflicts and obsessions was spotting Bruni when he came into the restaurant, and making sure he had the best possible experience. That crumbs were swept up correctly; plates were pretty; the check presented to the correct diner.

Now, two years later, Bruni has written just the sort of book that Damrosch and her coworkers — and not to mention anyone associated with upscale dining in New York City — probably would have loved to snag a glimpse of during the five years in which he traveled the city fork load by fork load.

Full review here.

MOVIES
Never Cry Werewolf So this may be the final werewolf movie we watch. I mean, we have an entire werewolf movie-a-thon TiVo'd,but I think the genre has been exhausted. This telefilm, however, was pure hokey comedy. It was a lot like Twilight and a few other teeny flicks with a few Ripley from Aliens moments.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I saw the sign ...

I spent the weekend near Brainerd, Minn., at a cabin with some friends I've known for 27ish years. That makes me shudder a bit. It's crazy too look at the graphic designer making a Bloody Mary at 11 a.m., gnawing on a mini pickle, and think: Huh. You were one of the naughtiest Brownies in the whole troop.

My friends have been going to Gull Lake for years. This is the first summer in my adult life that I've been able to leave town on the weekends. I rarely leave town. I hate being in the car for more than 3 consecutive miles. I go car crazy. I'll fade out, then shake myself into consciousness after an indiscernible chunk of time has passed, and wonder aloud: "Wait. If I'm painting my toenails, who's driving this thing?"

I got there late Friday night. I was within a 3-mile radius of the cabin for about an hour, according to my iPhone's GPS. Unfortunately, the navigation system assumes that you can read street signs. By the time I got there, the group was a little lit and taking turns dancing to the Ace of Base song "I Saw the Sign."


Fannie dances with e-RJ


Princess Linda and her husband Z.

Of course, with all this dancing, something glass was bound to break. Here Fannie cleans up the mess. In the almost-year that I lived with Fannie, I learned that she is a person who cleans while she's drinking and the second she wakes up from drinking.


Fannie probably brought that vacuum cleaner along for the weekend.

We spent all day Saturday on a pontoon or at various bars with dock parking. I'm not much of a day drinker. It worries me. Nothing good can come from starting the day with a Bloody Mary. Eventually I gave in, and cracked a beer. From there it was like this: Build buzz. Crap, I'm hammered and it's only 2 p.m. Drink water. Get tired. More water. Still tired. Drink beer. Crap I'm hammered again. Drink water for the rest of the day.


"Do you want a Bloody Mary?" Fannie asks. I looked at the clock. It was 11 a.m.


The Princess and the Z.


Polish and his wife Fry-baby.


Finally I get to try Jonna from the Real World's hair du away from the judgment of shoppers at Miller Hill Mall.


Peace be with you, three.


Polish looks suspiciously like GB Leighton when he takes his hat off. We thought maybe we'd get free stuff because of that. No dice.


Body of Christa.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lies my boyfriend tells me, Vol. 1 ...

Me: As soon as you leave this room, I'm cranking that fan up to 12.
Chuck: You're going to catch swine flu.
Me: From sleeping in a cold room?
Chuck: That's how you get it.

*Lies My Boyfriend Tells Me will be an ongoing series.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lion eyes ...

So this was probably the most surreal part of my day: I was running late to vote in the local primary. I pulled up in front of a place of public prayer, wandered inside and didn't recognize anything. Meh, well, whatever. I have a new polling place now, and I'd only voted there once.

I walked around a corner, and instead of finding a pod of blue hairs cackling over dixie cups of coffee sledge, rich in pens and red stickers, I found a man holding a lion's head, and three other people that I naturally assumed were the cast of this church's production of "The Wizard of Oz*."

"Don't I vote here?" I asked them.

They said no, and directed me to a synagogue about six blocks away. Oh, yeah. The synagogue. I knew I voted at a synagogue. In fact, that's all I remembered about the place where I put my votes. I'm not sure why the Jesus banners didn't alert me to my error. No. I require the subtleties of a man dressed as a lion.

Sure enough. I found the blue hairs cackling over dixie cups of coffee sledge at the synagogue.

* It now occurs to me that they were more likely doing a production of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" which kind of makes more sense. But what if I'd opened those doors to Pink Floyd cranked to 10 on the boom box, and the Lollipop Guild nipping at my ankles. I'd probably still be there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lifted ...

There was an old guy with Einstein hair standing outside of my worst-favorite grocery store today. He was watching the automatic double doors open and close. A group came out, and he pressed through them to an Old Dutch display just inside the door. He grabbed a bag of, I believe, Sour Cream and Onion. He turned and casually strolled out, pinching open he bag as he left.

Unfortunately for him, if I know that store, that bag is two years expired and probably has a family of rats bunked down near the crumbs. The scientific anomaly: moldy potato chips. If it can happen, it would happen there.

This made me think of a few things:

1. How some people are invisible;
2. How he should have grabbed a PowerAde to go with it;
3a. How I totally did not care that he did that;
3b. Would I have responded differently -- that is to say, at all -- if I'd seen him in the store, stuffing peaches into the front of his pants?;
4. How much better pickle chips are;
5. How I've never shoplifted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Green concentrate ...

I always sit here on Sunday nights, fresh from an episode of Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, and I cannot remember a lick of what happened in the past week. It's like someone stole my cell phone and took a bunch of photos of meatless entrees, which were suspiciously placed on our plates, with instructions to put said photos on the internet.

I do know that today I was at the laundromat and almost barfed when a college kid wearing sandals walked past. There wasn't anything even necessarily wrong with his feet. I mean, his toenails were kind of gross, but beyond that I just got a strong shiver of ick. This misanthropy is getting more and more powerful.

In other news:

FOODS


One Skillet Bean and Broccoli Rabe: I couldn't find broccoli rabe, so I used turnip greens in this beany-eggy mix. It was okay. Turnip greens are so strong. It's like green-concentrate. Chuck noted that it tasted best if your fork included every one of the ingredients. He was right.



Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers and Peanuts: About midway through making this, I thought "This is going to be gross." It totally wasn't. Note to self, more peanuts in food. Chuck called the tofu, which sops up a bunch of soy sauce and lime juice, "Flavor slabs." In other pleasant news, I've broken my wok ban. Wok on!



Fennel-Scented Spinach and Potato Samosas
with Spicy Mint Chutney: These were good little pockets of food, poorly triangularized by me. potato, spinach, Indian spices, onions, etc., wrapped in phyllo. I served them with a spicy mint chutney. All good. Different. An F for aesthetics.


Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole: Awesome. Pinto beans and quinoa, onions, garlic, cilantro and stuff smooshed together into burger patties, coated with some corn meal and cooked up. Yum. Kind of mushy innards, but I thought they were fan-freaking-tastic. Like. The guac was a nice flavory touch.

I also made this crustless tomato-ricotta pie this week. Again. But it's super good and it bears repeating.

MOVIES
Adventureland: This is like the awful amateur drivel that two kids in your senior class make over the summer for extra credit. I think that it was supposed to be funny, but I only remember laughing once when a character whose name I can't remember, but she looked like a nontraditional college student, if we're supposed to believe she was a college student. And to add to the mess, Ryan Reynolds plays it straight. He has one of those faces that only looks good when he's being funny. I give this an F minus.

State of Play: They should have just called this The Pelican Brief.

BOOKS
Insomnia by Stephen King: My first Stephen King since that time in elementary school when I wrapped a copy of Pet Semetary in a grocery bag as makeshift cover so no one would tell me I was too young to be reading such a book.

So ... Insomnia is good. Full review will be here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When life mimics art ...

I was still dusting my face for stray tears in the moments after the finale of "The Real World: Cancun" last night when I was roused from the couch by activity on the street in front out our house.

To the left was a gaggle of college boys, bumping and slurring down the street. To the right, a lone partier, holding his own in a game akin to "We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do." My instincts say that these two factions had started the night at the same party on the corner. In fact, I vaguely recall seeing about six dudes sitting in a boat that was parked in a driveway early in the evening. It was that sort of vision -- like seeing a monkey with a frilly neck dickie riding a bike -- that didn't register until later. I saw it, didn't acknowledge it, remembered it and rued the missed opportunity to observe the spectacle. I've obviously become desensitized to antics.

Unlike some people who live here, I love when the college kids move back to Duluth. As long as they don't spill Ice House concentrated whiz onto anything I have to wear, eat, or drive, I say "Welcome." They've been back for a few weeks, and I hadn't heard a peep. I worried that maybe our street wasn't fashionable anymore in world of droopy drawers, backward baseball caps, and unfocused eyeballs.

To the left, Captain Dipshit was obviously feeling slighted over something that had happened at the party. To the right, Admiral Assface was defending himself, his party.

CD: I know people who could buy this whole block.
AA: Eff you.
CD: Good luck getting a job.
AA: Well, enjoy your job at Wells Fargo, Mr. UMD business major.
CD: I know people who could buy this whole city!

And as CD disappeared with his posse down the avenue, AA went off on a rhythmic tirade that should be a Top 40 hip-hop hit. He gestured and gyrated for an audience of just-me, the other boys long out of ear shot range.

AA: F-you, F-your mom, F-your people, F-Duluth, F-your degree, F-your sister, F-your money, F-your title, F-your grandma ... All I wanna do is smoke it.

F-your dad, F-your degree, F-your stupid Twin Cities.

It was beautiful. I wish I'd written it down. Later in the night, 15-or-so kids gathered under a street light on the corner, sloshing and swearing and laughing. And across the street, a dozen co-eds smoked cigarettes, listened to country music, and talked about text messaging.

Sometimes real life is better than the Real World.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Presents ...



On my mom's birthday, here are a few things she would want, but won't be getting.

1. Me, engaged.
2. An excited phone call from Chuck, screaming the word "CROWNING!"
3. For me to write a nice novel about nice people who don't swear, that gets nice reviews, makes a nice chunk of money, and does not include a character that bears any likeness to her. Especially not a caricature that bears a likeness to her.
4. Special council with the pope.
5. For me to move back to Rochester. Or at least consider driving south of Mesaba Avenue.
6. For me to wear something clean, fitted to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negatives of my body, from the women's department. It counts as a Christmas gift, too, if it doesn't have a hood. A life gift pass if I'm also wearing a bra.
7. A handwritten letter from a Roman Catholic priest telling her that they have been pleased to add me to the congregation. That I sing like a lark, and never eat an hour before taking communion. That I handled Lent with Olympic-levels of deprivation, and always have coins for the collection plate.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Almost off the grid ...


One of the best things about traveling west of 27th Avenue is that the beer mugs bloat. Your standard 22 ouncer nearly doubles to a trough of swill that makes a pitcher seem like an adorable fixture in at a child's tea party. And a 12-ounce glass? Damn near adorable.

"Whenever I drink out of one of these, I feel like I'm in 'The Lord of the Rings,'" Chuck said Sunday night, holding a grand mug.

Last night we went to the North Pole Bar, which is about the furthest place from our front door that we could possibly go without falling off the grid. It was a fun mess of people, including friends who had spent the afternoon on the Pride Fest Fruit Float, fans of Tuska who wanted to see her get a year older before their very eyes. And Hot Rod, a guy who wears sunglasses tucked into the collar of his T'shirt, who alternated between calling the bartender "barkeep," and "soda jerk."

"What? He likes it," Hot Rod said of the poor man.

Then there was Cork1, who seemed to think that it had been divine intervention that we had ended up at this bar.

"You know where I'm from, right?" he asked.
"North Pole, Alaska," I answered.
"That should be good for at least one free drink, right?" he asked. Twice.

We stuck around until we were physically removed from the bar, then Chuck tried to find a cab company that would travel this far. One $25 fare later, we were back at home, splitting flavorless Amy's brand burritos and listening to 80s era records from the shoe gazer genre.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How I spent my week ...

I'm skipping the formalities. This is what I did last week:



Catalan Sauteed Butter Beans and Polenta: Sweet mother of yum, this was good. But you might not believe it until you try it. Just onions, garlic, red pepper, paprika, butter beans, spinach and veggie broth on top of sauteed polenta. Oh, also with just a touch of Monterey jack cheese melted into it.



Herb and Orzo Stuffed Zucchini: This is a recipe I solicited from VNick after he posted photos of his meal on Twitter. He sort-of invented it, following a general idea. I'm envious of that. I don't invent meals, I just read them, like them, do them.

Take the innards of a round zucchini, sautee it with olive oil, garlic and shallots, and herbs like oregano and marjoram and rosemary and whatever. Sundried tomatoes. Mix this with prepared orzo, and stuff the mess back into the zucchini, adding a super surprise bit of feta cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes. VNick roasted his with a sprinkling of Parmesan afterward, I did not.

This is really good and really easy.

Chipotle Bean Burritos: So this is a little like taking a recipe from the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle. The main feature, and the tastiest feature, is bits of bite-sized pieces of Morningstar Black Bean Burgers. That, some mushy pinto beans, salsa, chili powder, cheddar, and green onions make a burrito filler that is baked in a tortilla shell for like 15 minutes. It's surprisingly good. And easy.

MOVIES
White (Three Colors Trilogy)
: This is the second of the French Three Colors trilogy, and a bit of a dark comedy about a Polish man whose French wife (You know her. She always plays the beautiful French girl) divorces him and leaves him broke and without anything but his hairdressing tools. He makes a friend, and stuffs himself into a suitcase to get back home. Somehow, he wrangles himself into a rich man. Very cute and funny. Although the protagonist is far more attractive as a poor man. Why do comb marks and hair product have to represent the wealthy?

BOOKS
Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments by Dominick Dunne: How does that old saying go: “Every time a writer dies, Christa buys one of his books?” Dominick Dunne’s death was like a magnet to the True Crime section, where I yanked the only Dunne in the store, Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments. His body was barely cold when I scanned my debit card.

Full review here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Purified ...

I was standing in a very long line, waiting to rent some movies, when two college-aged guys came spilling into Blockbuster, tripping over each other and bubbling with giggles. They busted to the front of the line and asked the girl at the register if she could tell them if they had a few movies in stock.

She looked at the line. Looked at the guys. Hemmed, hawed, and finally said okay.

"Do you have 'PURPLE RAIN!?'" the skinnier, more annoying one asked. His words were like bubbles of acne bursting out of his pubescent face.
"I'm not sure we have that anymore ..." she said, typing it into her computer.
"ANYMORE!" he screamed. This was hilarious. Watching a movie from 1984! Oh. My. God. Life is good.
"No ..." she said, staring at the screen. "Oh, wait. We have it for sale in the previously-viewed movies section."
"How much?" the kid asked.
"Um ... $3.99," she said.

And that's when the sky opened and a marching band fell through, playing something quirky and victorious.

"OHMYGOD!" he cackled. "Dude. Dude. Dude. For 4 dollars, I'll BUY 'Purple Rain.' For 4 dollars? I'll BUY 'PURPLE RAIN!'"

The two bumbled through the store like they were in a three-legged race. From various pockets of the store, Pimply's mantra would be repeated: I'll BUY "Purple Rain!"

I rolled my eyes at the woman in front of me. Then I imagined a sign similar to that behind bars: You must have been born on this date in 19xx or before to rent the movie Purple Rain. (Wherein xx= < 80.)

The whole thing seemed like a kind of lack of respect. I wanted to go all sharp pointy finger on these idiots and say: "Listen, Shitlets. You don't see me desecrating Anime, or whatever the hell it is you geeks hold sacred from your teen years, do you? What's next? You gonna ironically adopt a Cabbage Patch Kid?"

I fumed a solid six minutes.

"I don't think you should let those guys buy Purple Rain," I said when it was my turn at the register. "They don't understand it. ... They can't handle it."
"They won't be able to find it, anyway," the girl assured me. "It's a mess over there."
"Still," I said. "What a shame."
"You want me to confiscate it if I see it?" she asked.

I nodded sadly, and left.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cacti ...

Scene: In the kitchen, Chuck is in the pantry.

Me: What are you doing?
Chuck: Watering plants.
Me: We have plants?

I didn't think this was quite as funny as when he said my belly button felt like it was breaded like fried chicken. But some things are private. Especially the part where he mentioned Shake n Bake.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Japanese fashions ...



This is Bubbles, my 20th-something friend to move away from Duluth in nearly 10 years of living here. I used to know the exact number, but then I would wake up and remember an exodus of like six consecutive friends that I forgot to count. So for awhile I just said 15. But I'm pretty sure it's more than 20.

Although there is no threat that the number of movers will grow much higher. I've stopped making friends, aside from the ones who are Internet-exclusive friends. The Internet never moves.

I know, I know. What about JCrew? What if JCrew moved? Nonsense. I've set up an appointment to have her body sown to mine, so I can wear her like one of those koala backpacks that are all the rage in Japan. Then we can be together forever.