I have a photo dump from our trip still in the hopper, and I must commit pen to paper for the story of the first time I got drunk, which will be part of a week of "and then I got drunk" stories.
There was also a birthday dinner, where we went to New Scenic and I ate my weight in Bahn Mi. (Word to Whiskey Marie: Yup. Damn good).
Oh. And Chuck and I are now vegans. Vegans who eat meat and cheese and eggs, but Vegans, nonetheless.
But until then, here is what I've been making, reading, and watching for the past few weeks.
Orzo Lentil Pilaf with Feta: This is one of those too easy to be this good. A can of brown lentils, chopped up onion, and orzo cooked together until the orzo soaks up the water. Top with Feta. Easy awesome peasey. This is like an awesome go-round with cupboard roulette, except that it came as a real live recipe from Vegetarian Times. (Thanks, stranger, for writing up the recipe).
Pappardelle with Artichokes and Arugula: This one comes from Vegetarian Times, too. I didn't use Pappardelle. It's artichokes and sun dried tomatoes, then wilt arugula, then toss it with pasta. Except I accidentally used roasted red peppers because I didn't read the label and didn't even notice when I was chopping up the roasted red pepper that I was using the wrong food. All I could taste when I finally ate it was: Wrong ingredient. Although it was still pretty good. (Thanks, different stranger, for writing up this recipe).
Roasted Pepper & Asiago Chicken Sausage Ragu over Pumpkin Polenta: This is so lame, but I actually took a recipe from an advertisement in Eating Well magazine. They had me at Pumpkin Polenta. This is just a mix of sausage, black beans, onions and tomatoes, served on pumpkin polenta, which is made like normal polenta with pumpkin puree and asiago cheese. It was pretty good. I can't wait to just make pumpkin puree and eat it with roasted root vegetables. THAT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING!!!
Doc Hollywood: I guess the most confusing period of my life would be the one where I actively sought out photographs of Michael J. Fox for various voodoo-like collages.
The Joneses: Chuck told me the basic plot of this film, and I thought he was talking about something that actually happened: A "perfect" family with all the latest gadgets infiltrates a suburban community with the job of making their neighbors covet their golf clubs, clothes, video games, and foods. A lot hokey, but, whatevs.
Vanity Fair (Widescreen): Just once, I would like to have heaving breasts. I'm going to need a Halloween costume that requires a bodice.
Audition: Collector's Edition: This Japanese cult horror film based on a novel by Ryu Murakami has exactly the most terrible torture scene. Reading it, which I did (see below), is a far cry than the visual. The last 10 minutes of this film are epic. EPIC.There just aren't enough scenes in modern films where someone uses a sophisticated cooking tool to sever an Achilles Tendon. I mean, really get in there and saw away at it.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith: Zadie Smith is so so good at building a story, forming characters, and developing a mix of honesty, realism and humor. Although this might be to a fault: It is so genuine, that I’m not sure I’ll remember this one any better than I remember White Teeth. But it is a fantastic ride when you’re nose deep in it.
Full review here.
Blankets by Craig Thompson: I feel like a dick for not liking this book more. It’s certainly something that is relate-able, considering the Midwest setting, and all-consuming young love. The familial relationships, and Raina singing a Cure song in bed. That this is a memoir-y novel type thing, that religion shaped who he was socially and sexually as a teen. A disinterest in the foundation of the plot represents a taste preference, of course. I guess if I’d done my homework better, I wouldn’t be dissing this book. I just wouldn’t have been interested in it to start with, and so I wouldn’t have read it.
Full review here.
Piercing by Ryu Murakami: Delicious and visual words, but the apex of the novel is long with frequent perspective shifts that make it a little clunky. So it’s good. It’s just no Miso Soup.
Full review here.
PISTA NOTE: I've, um ... kind of gone off the rails with all of my reading lately. So, the rest of these reviews are like a retaining wall right now in the Minnesota Reads queue. So watch for them in the coming weeks. But go to the site three times a day because Jodi just did a redesign that makes me want to inappropriately caress my computer screen when I look at it.
In other news, I'm now reading Jonathan Franzan's "Freedom," which should take me awhile.
Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley: I've seemingly forgotten the hair tugging, weeping, Trapper Keeper graffiti, poetry-fueled insomnia associated with the late teen years. Because the last two things I've read have starred shoe-gazing teens, and I'm completely unable to muster any empathy for them. In fact, I've rolled my eyes so hard that I swear I've caught a glimpse of my own gray brain matter eroding.
"Lost at Sea," a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley -- who I love! Scott Pilgrim! Wee! -- is emo bullshit.
The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel by Brady Udall. Brady Udall's novel "The Lonely Polygamist" is one of those pieces of fiction where you stare at the jacket summary and think: "Okay, Big Shot. You mean to tell me that you have written a story about a man, his four wives, 28 children and mistress? I dare you to pull off this circus stunt without burying me beneath a 2 ton clown car filled with the note cards I'll be forced to keep to differentiate these characters."
Auditionby Ryu Murakami: This novel is short at less than 200 pages, and it never lags, bogged down by fatty excess. Murakami opens with intrigue and continues to build toward a grisly finale that literally ends on the last page. It's not as sick as Murakami has been known to go, but it is sick enough to remind you of where he has taken his work. And once again, like the most memorable scene in his novel "In the Miso Soup," he has created a scene that will definitely leave an aftertaste long after the story ends.