Monday, October 29, 2007

Bands with Beards


Sharing my previously mentioned Band of Horses earwig with y'all. Seriously, I'm not going down alone.

And on that note I'm debating whether or not to get tickets to see Band of Horses on Sunday. You know what? Maybe I will go to Band of Horses if tickets are still available. I mean I don't know what's really holding me back...oh Well, screw that, I can starve or live off of canned beans for a week to make this coming weekend officially "SUPER SUPER FACIAL HAIR DOUBLE-HEADER!!" what, with me seeing Gogol Bordello on Saturday and all. The beard enthusiast in me is super excited just at the mere thought of such a weekend of glorious face fuzz overload. Hell, since I'm probably going to see The Teeth in December with the High Strung, so if Chad from the High Strung still has his beard along with Peter and Brian from The Teeth (especially Brian), we might as well make it the Cold Weather Face Warmerthon.

(Bridwell vs. Hutz! It's the South Carolina Grizzly Adams vs. the Ukrainian Walrus/Handlebar! Who will wind up the mustachioed victor? It's a fierce two-day event! Find out, this weekend on SUPER SUPER SATURDAY AND SUNDAY!)

*sighs* I remember the days when I'd recoil in horror when my friend Steve would call me a "beardie", but you know what? I'm going to embrace it. I really should've seen it coming. I don't know why I denied it for so long. These roots (HA!) go deep, especially when you consider how one of my favorite cartoons/comics as a kid was the absurdist "Sugoiyo! Masaru-san". For those of you who don't know, the main character Masaru, and his Sexy Commando Club Manager Tomoe "Moemoe" Kitahara are both "hige-mania." Moemoe's own father dying and succumbing to the "evil mustache" that grew instead of the legendary blue one he was trying to grow. The only reason she joins the Sexy Commando Club is because she thinks it's a Mustache Club. I'm dead serious. Don't believe me? Watch the episode below.

Anyway, I don't care anymore, because I can't help but admire a lovingly cultivated 'tache, flavor saver, or full-blown chin carpet, but I do have tastes. Rule one, not everyone looks good with a beard. It's true, some people should just go clean-shaven. Don't force it. So Steve's "beardie" label is a slight misnomer since I don't just love all beards indiscriminately. If you've got like a sparse ronnie going on...I don't know. Well, then again, there's John Waters and his ronnie even if he does fill it in with pencil. However, the man works that thin bit of lip 'tache. Which brings us to rule two, you wear the beard, it's not the beard that wears you. There's a huuuuggeee difference between the luxurious facial plumage grown by a proud beard afficionado and the scraggliness grown simply out of laziness or tangle on that on a homeless guy who has no shaving equipment.

That does not mean there are not exceptions. Sometimes facial hair that has its roots in laziness is rescued when its owner realizes the potential in the mustache and believes it. Also "found facial hair art" should not be dismissed. The glorious bramble patch sported by a local habitat-challenged person might have the natural, regal and flowing lines that makes one think of Odin. Curls and undulating waves that simply cannot be compared to the cleanly manicured and maintained topiary used to trimmings and waxes.

Wait, where was I? Oh, oh yea. So the conclusion is beards are fuckin' awesome. I don't care how weird that makes me sound and how many guys I creep out when I compliment their facial hair and ask about upkeep, though I have a feeling that's making me sound like some creepy guy who walks up to girls with long flowing hair and tells them how soft and shiny it is and asks them how they take care of it with a weird maniacal gleam in his eye. I do not do that. It's a very professional compliment. Really, I'm not objectifying the beard in any way. I never ask to touch it or anything like that, nor do I have the desire to. It's really respectful.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why I really need to start wearing pants in the house (besides it now being a bit too cold for that shit)

Well, my home was invaded by a palmetto bug. Cockroach on radiation. Anyway, I was at my computer when I felt a force. I slowly turned only to see one of these monstrosities clambering over a pile of laundry I had set aside for tomorrow.

My first logical reaction? To scream of course. Well, I didn't really scream like the shower scene from "Psycho," more like I squeaked/squealed. I jumped up from my seat and frantically tried to figure out how to get rid of it knowing full well these things can fucking FLY.

Why didn't I just squash it? Well, a) I'm not leaning in that close on the off chance this might crawl up my arm or nay, even JUMP INTO MY GODDAMN FACE. b) The last time I killed one of these things in the apartment, I threw a whole newspaper on it and jumped up and down, only to have a mess of legs, carapace and guts that I had to cleaned off with liberal amounts of Fantastik. c) For some weird reason, I'm always afraid to kill one of these things because I imagine that it'll be like something out of John Carpenter's "The Thing" and it'll die in like a hail of tentacles and flagellum flailing about or it's like the snake out of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" where as soon as I crush it a torrent of smaller bugs or baby roaches come clambering out. Weird, I know.

Anyhow, my brain somehow concludes that I should use a shoebox lid to trap it. Bad news is the particular shoebox lid I chose was kinda old and flimsy. I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I caught it under the box, only to scream/squeal again as it managed to crawl out from a corner that wasn't making full contact with the floor. And there were a couple of times where I thought I caught it but in fact I hadn't and it'd crawl back out and I'd scream/squeal again. This happened more times than I would have liked for it to.

I finally managed to trap it, and held it down with my foot as I scanned the room for something to scoop the underside with. I finally managed to use a recent drawing I wasn't too hung up on, made sure the corners were folded up and secure so it wouldn't come crawling out of one of the unsecured corners and crawl up my arm, hurriedly slipped on some flip fops, sprinted like a hunted springbok to the door, opened the door, violently shook out the bug into the hallway, and saw it land on its back in front of the neighbor's door.

At this point I was tempted to run back into the house and just lock the door behind me. But I was a little guilty that it'd decide to crawl into my neighbor's house and even more afraid that it'd crawl back into my place. I stood there for a couple of seconds contemplating the consequences, and coming to my decision I stepped on the motherfucker once with the swiftness of a Shaolin monk and hurriedly ran back into my apartment.

All this was accomplished with me clad only in my underwear and an old D.A.R.E. t-shirt. This is the second time I had to be out in the hallway only in my underwear. Thank goodness both times were when hallway traffic is at a minimum, but seriously, one of these days I'm going to find myself hurriedly running out into the hall with some other ridiculous emergency and I'll run into a neighbor while I'm unpantsed.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Song I'm playing 50 million times at the moment

Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You."

This song's like a delicious confection of Toto+Chicago+The Flaming Lips...I can't stop.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Halloween

No costume this year. I thought I had an idea for one, but couldn't get it together in time.

Anyhow, since yesterday's illness quarantine had me almost going a bit stir crazy I busted out some paper and pencils and jumped back into the weekly art jam forum I used to contribute a bit more regularly to (though honestly, it still wasn't that much).

Saw that one of the themes were redesigning Little Red Riding Hood. I could've gone with plenty of angles. Make her hot and buxom. Do a little bad ass Bulleta from Darkstalkers-esque thing. I played up qualities for the latter, and borrowing how in some incarnations it became this cautionary tale for young ladies against "wolves," turned it around and did a "Well, what if 'Little Red Riding Hood' started out as a cautionary tale for young male wolves just beginning to learn how to hunt?"

For one thing, it kind of is, since some versions dreadful things do happen to the wolf in the end. At the same time I decided to make Little Red Riding Hood more like the wolf bogeyman. Sort of 'If you don't do what the pack says and go off on your own, Little Red Riding Hood is going to come get ya!' type of thing?

Anyway, I even adapted Perrault's moral at the end of story, citing an "original" overheard by a village fool who fell asleep behind a haystack out in the fields after a drunken bender, only to wake up in the middle of the night to hear an old wolf scold a young one with a parable of sorts:

"From this story one learns that wolf cubs, especially young males, proud, brash and quick to prove, do very wrong to stalk strange prey on their own, And it is not an unheard thing if what they deem to be a young human lass is thereby provided with her dinner. I say young human lass, for all girls are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition — neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, allowing themselves to be stalked in the woods, and being ignorant when on cold winter nights a young wolf follows it to their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle girls are of all such creatures the most dangerous for they may not be little girls at all!" (snagged and rewritten from the Wikipedia version)

I even hinted that Little Red Riding Hood's hood was red not because it came that way, but becase it was more a rusty and ragged head covering, "dyed" in the dried and new blood of wolves.

It's not a fantastically well-executed one. I only had large pieces of paper left, so it's bigger than how I usually work and ADD set it pretty early on because of that. I got pretty into it until I couldn't handle all the detailing anymore and the Sudafed and the fever and there was just only so much I could do when the paper's too damn big to work with mechanical pencil and the only other pencils I had were from 2B and up for some goddamn reason and, no, I didn't want to use goddamn charcoal. Just what I need when I'm sick, breathing in miniscule powdered pieces of fucking charcoal, and like, just, just fucking everything made me sort of throw it across the room signaling that I was done with it. Then I had to scan it, in pieces...and stitch it together. You see the stitching. I really couldn't care less at this point.

Anyway, click to see the larger version. ::WARNING:: Not for those squicked out by blood and wolf pelts. I wouldn't be surprised if I get some angry letters from wolf lovers from this one. So to head them off: People! RED RIDING HOOD IS THE VILLAIN!!

Update: It looks like someone at imageshack did not like the image because it's been deleted or something. Oh well, gonna upload it directly here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Outbreak update

So I'm home, living off of spiced tea. I usually don't really eat canned soup, so I don't have any around the house and may have to venture out to the store to grab some. Of course, luck has it that my cold should line up with some of the worst weather to (finally) hit this fall.

I've been living off of spiced tea. Actually got the idea from some Patak's recipe thing I got a while back. Throw some green cardamom pods, a stick of cinnamon, and cloves (I only had ground cloves, not whole), cook it up, add tea, strain, add boiled milk, sugar, and you had some good damn tea.

I had some star anise lying around (because, you know, that's how the majority of people find star anise, just sorta lying around in the back of the cupboard along with the green cardamom) and tossed one in. Didn't have an orange peel, but didn't really worry about that. I didn't have any orange pekoe tea and my good Ceylon was back at the office so I figured since Irish breakfast was a blend of some black teas, there had to be some orange pekoe or Ceylon in that, right? So in went two bags of Barry's.

Though does it really matter since I can't even really taste anything I'm so backed up right now? All the subtleties of that spice and crap is really lost on my deadened senses. Last night I had some tomato basil soup and I swear all I could taste was salt with a slight tinny aftertaste. That is some straight up bullshit. I'm fuckin' gutted because a) I really like tomato basil (though more of a tomato bisque person) and 2) I can't fucking taste anything!! You don't understand, me and my sense of taste and smell? We have a thing. As a kid I used to smell my food before I ate it. Seriously, I'd give it a pretty deep precursory sniff, then dig in. Always. Because you could guess what something generally tasted like before you ate it from the smell. At least I felt like I could. Then when you really ate it the smell kind of aligned with the flavors and it was like "Hmmm, intriguing..." and you could compare and contrast and stuff. Now my nose is gone and my taste with it. The bastards.

I need to go lie down a bit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Feed a cold; starve a fever."

Or so the saying goes.

But pray tell, what is to be done when one is afflicted with both? I'm thinking about doing both...not eating for a long interval then eating quite a bit in a short period of time. We'll see if that works.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pitiful CMJ-ing

This morning my monthly Metrocard ran out. You'd think that I'd keep better track of things like this, but no. I usually don't find out until I'm rushing to work in the morning and I realize that no matter how many times I swipe my card I can't seem to get through and I hear the train slowly leaving the station.

Well, as usual I found that I couldn't get past and as I went to dump my card into the little used card bin someone called out, "Hey!"

I turned around and a dude just coming out asked if I needed a swipe. I was still a little groggy and I thought he was trying to sell me a swipe, but I mumbled something like, "Uh, sure..."

He swiped his card and stepped aside. I was in shock and barely let out a "Thanks" as I passed through and barely caught the train that was just pulled into the station. A couple of stops down it seems I was lucky to have been able to hop on that train since it seemed like there was some craziness going down on the track behind us. In fact it was announced that we were being held at one station because of "a delay behind us." How fucked up of a delay does it have to be that you somehow affect the trains in front of you? It's like you fucked up at the speed of light and fucked up the future or something.

What does this long drawn out exposition have to do with anything? Well, nothing quite honestly. Then again, maybe kind of? I guess since it's all about you never know what happens until you go out and do it.

I didn't do much for CMJ. I don't know, it always hits me when I have a ton of work and I feel like I should go just for posterity's sake. I will do a more thorough crawl one of these days.

I ended up being able to attend only one show on Saturday. I was going to go to another to see Colin and his friends' band play (as well as check out some more Irish bands) on Sunday, but ended up being straddled with work guilt and stayed home to do some work only to come down with some sort of cold. I don't know, I'm thinking I should've gone, but then again I know I would've hated myself this morning if I came in tired with a lot of work to do.

On Saturday I went to go see The Photo Atlas with Marc. I'd never heard of them until Marc said he was going and it ended up being a good set and it was a nice little break out of my day. Got outside, got some fresh air. Good live act. Actually I think I prefer them live. I remember afterwards when talking to the drummer Devon he mentioned something about how he played different on recorded tracks so it makes you wonder if they all play differently when they play live.

They played loud, and it was a good kind of loud. The venue itself is smallish and intimate. VERY intimate. I was practically standing between two of the mic stands on stage...and there wasn't a stage. It was just the performance ground. I liked it very much actually. You always have that awkwardness at venues where you find yourself either too far from the stage, or if you're close it's elevated up into the sky or some ridiculousness like that. Or sometimes there's just that gap? Where you're just thinking, "Oh, come on." This was good.

I (supposedly) got a guitar named after me by being a total nerd and asking the guitarist Bill if he named his guitar. Marc likes this band he got a chance to talk about Colorado and previous gigs he'd seen them at. What do I contribute to the conversation? Well, I asked him what kind of guitar he played, just so I could follow up with a:

"It's real pretty..."

I don't know a lot about guitars, but I do like pretty ones.

"Thanks, I think so too," he answered.

"Do you name your guitar?"

No, I never do," Bill said. "But since you're the first to ask I think I'm going to have to name it after you."

I don't know, it just seemed like it was pretty enough to have a name in my head at the time. I vowed that I'd show up the next time they were in town to check up on whether or not the name stuck. I mean come on, it's kind a cool to be an instrument's namesake, no? Ha, at least it's the thought that counts.

We ran into the drummer outside.

"You bought our album!" he said spotting me still holding onto the CD, "You're awesome!"

"You guys were great," I said, then added. "And may I say? You have awesome drumface."

And it wasn't an idle complement. He indeed had great drumface. I personally think drumface is awesome. It just is. I mean say you're getting into a song and you lock onto someone performing and they're into it too? It's just an awesome moment. And drumface totally guarantees that moment. He was killing it on the drums too. Practically beating the shit out of his kit. At one point I saw his drum kit key fly off.

Oh, so for once of those, "You can't make this up" comedic moments. This must be recorded.

Devon seemed like an affable chap and caught up the moment of just talking with us he said, "Wow, you bought our CD and you gave me a cigarette. You're like my favorite person in the world right now. It's like what else could you do for me?"

OK I knew exactly what he meant, but come on. COME ON. It's funny! I looked at him then looked at Marc and just went, "Uuuuuuummmmmmmm..." and just laughed.

Actually at that exact moment it was like my brain was going a mile a minute with all the comebacks that could've been. I had to reign myself in and my head almost exploded from sheer comedic possibilities.

And the biggest dick move by my subconscious for 2007 goes too...

This morning at 6:30 am. So in my sleep I was dreaming (obviously). And in this dream I was snuggling into bed. Doing that sort of nesting thing? Anyhow, in the dream I reached that real contented point. You're not falling asleep, you're not asleep, just you're awake, but you've settled into a comfortable position. Everything's calm and quiet and you're finally relishing the fact that you're in bed. Whatever you've been worrying about you've basically taken a, "fuck it" attitude to. It's that split second before you gird yourself to fall asleep and right after you're settled in where you almost let out a little contented/resigned sigh. Hell, it's that moment, if you're in bed with someone, where you sort of talk until the both of you lose the thread of conversation into sleep.

So, in what feels like literally a second after I let out that sigh in the dream world my alarm goes off in the real world. I mean, it felt like a second. For all I know maybe an hour had passed, but COME ON. You just can't do that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I don't care if you're a saint, any job's gotta suck if it's for all eternity

"Did you know that Saint Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of the internet?" Kelly asked over AIM, the beginning of many ill-advised conversation threads.

"I didn't know the name of the saint but I did know such a thing existed," I answered, glad that something else popped up to interrupt me from doing work that I needed done before Monday morning. I always manage to channel forces that I should be using for work into random (clarification: non-paying) areas so I had a feeling this would get good.

"There's like... 10,000 saints, so, if you're ever in need of internet assistance, pray to him. That's his job," Kelly said and added, "He does that for eternity."

"Hahah, seriously, I bet he gets some shitty ass prayer requests, man," I said.

"A lot of MySpace prayers," Kelly opined.

"I imagine prayer to saints working like an office message system," I started. "Like, as long as someone says a trigger word or to it gets filed over to them automatically."

"Seriously, God gets to hang on the compound's golf course and the saints are inside doing paper work," Kelly agreed.

I don't know if it's the fact that I've been working in a cubicle farm that's given me a decidedly cynical look on how saintdhood works, but I continued, "So someone might be looking at horsey porn and is yankin' it and he just goes, 'Oh God, oh God, oh Goooooooddd...Jesus, fuck, fuck!!' and it still gets forwarded to Isidore because 'Oh God' and 'Jesus' is in it?"

"Nah, I think the secretaries know that's spam pray," Kelly said.

I begged to differ, "I just imagine Isidore at his desk with one of those headsets on and he's in a particularly exasperating conversation with the department number crunchers and he's all, 'Yea, I know Marge...well, I'm sorry the numbers aren't good enough but do you know how BIG the fucking internets is?? Well, I'm trying the best I can, I...wait...wait a second, here's another one right now.'

"He flips on the switch on his computer where he can get an audio and visual connection for prayer request so of course as soon as he hits the button it comes in right when this guy's having his orgasm to bestiality porn.

"And Isidore is all, 'JESUS CHRIST! Fuck, no matter how many times that fuckin' happens...Marge? You still on? See? This is the bullshit I gotta wade through. How many of these do you think I get in a day? Think about THAT the next time you bitch at me about how the numbers are too low.'"

Saturday, October 20, 2007



My new jam

OK, seriously folks, J. Holiday's "Bed." It's almost old-school 90s R&B in that "baby, this is what I'm gonna do to you explicitly because I appreciate you, but I'm gonna keep it around PG-13 and maybe R-rated, but not NC-17" way. Love it. Like Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You," or...or yea, even like LL Cool J when he's working is topless, lip-licking, rapper-for-the-ladies Romeo thing. It's fantastic. Seriously, I don't know, but there have not been enough "I'll do you right" type of slow jams coming out lately.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Update on the meatloaf sitch

I am burping meatloaf-flavored burps.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Adventures in stuffing my face continues

I go through phases where I'll eat mostly homecooked meals for a while, then hit a patch where I never want to see another pot, pan or spatula ever again and "detox" on McDonald's and Taco Bell.

There was the beef burger phase when I was obsessed with making fatass burgers with regular ground beef or ground sirloin. The patties were all hand-formed and stuffed with garlic and would fry in a pan splitting and spitting angry grease. Then there was the um, "healthy" phase, where I tucked into all sorts of elaborate salads and sandwiches. After a particular mixed greens, roasted peppers and shaved parmesan salad topped with sliced and perfectly cooked to medium rare steak and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, I kind of got sick of that too.

Currently, I seem to be in a comfort food phase. I "stole" the smothered pork chop from a West Village restaurant. And by stealing, I mean having tasted and enjoyed then copying it at home based on what I tasted. It was a pretty simple; pork chop served with red wine and beef broth reduction crammed with sliced onions and button mushrooms. I ate it all with my own garlic mashed potatoes and some tasty-looking asparagus I stumbled across at Whole Foods.

It actually took me two tries to get the pork chop right, not because I had deduced how to make it incorrectly the first time, but because I was too lazy to buy beef broth and actually reduce the sauce when I first made it. It was yet another lesson in why sometimes cooking short cuts don't work. I figured, "Well, it's already got good flavor, why don't I just thicken it with a roux?"

I'll tell you why you don't. While it tasted fine, it definitely wasn't as rich a flavor as it would've been if I hadn't been lazy and made an actual reduction with the broth. And more importantly, adding roux turns the sauce into a disconcerting lavender color. It'll send conflicting messages to your brain from your tongue, which is telling you it tastes good, while your eyes will be mildly grossed out looking at your thistle-colored pork chop.

Anyhow, I manned up the second go round and did it right. It was all the same as the first try. I salted and peppered, then lightly floured the thick-cut chop and browned it in a skillet with some olive oil (just to brown!). I set the chop aside on a plate, then dumped a pad of butter, sliced onions and mushrooms into the skillet. I poured in some wine, scraped the bottom of the pan as I cooked the alcohol off a bit. This time around, instead of the roux I added low-sodium beef broth and allowed that to cook for a bit. As it started getting a bit "thicker" I put the chop back in and let it continue to cook until it almost reduced down to a third of its original volume.

Right now I'm thinking of making meatloaf. It has a warm spot in my heart because it was one of the first entree endeavour I had made (not counting scrambled eggs made at 8). I was at the tender age of 11 and saw a recipe for it in a special cooking edition of Encyclopedia Brown. It was also from this book **SPOILER ALERT IN CASE YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW HE SOLVED THE CASE OF THE MISSING GOOSE**that I first learned that duck and geese are all dark meat**END SPOILER ALERT**.

So meatloaf it is tonight. With super tasty tomato glaze! I'm debating whether or not to make my tasty baked mac and cheese with it while I'm on this comfort foods kick. It's a take on the brick-like baked mac and cheese my Mississippian dad makes. Same ingredients (I might get fancy with the cheese sometimes), but by laziness and accident one day, the way I combined the binder of milk and eggs somehow lent the whole dish a flan-like layer of texture.

And the coming of cold weather is making me want to cook up a big pot of chili so that's on the list of things to cook. On top of that while reading one of my favorite weekly cooking blog/comics "Double P's Simple Cooking," I got an intense desire to make the featured curry udon. It also reminded me I needed to stock up on udon and Korean curry.

...I'm going to explode with food before December hits. The old Korean saying about fall is right: It's when the skies are high and the horses get fat. Seriously, I'm not making that up. Everyone sort of expects the "Autumn 15" to happen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I guess it's sort of a mixed blessing

You know, it's nice to be the proud owner of a monthly unlimited Metrocard, because, oh, I don't know, one day you might come home after a long day at work. You might wearily climb the steps to exit the subway stop after another particularly soul-sucking commute only to realize you left your coat at work. Oh well, no biggie as long as it's not nuts-freezing cold tomorrow, right?

You may start walking towards your apartment when you might remember where the keys to your apartment are then turn back around to get back on the subway.

Yea, you know, hypothetically and shit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Half-ass paella

Editor's note: This recipe was actually tested a little over a week ago, but it took me a while to upload the photos, so here it is now.

Last night, while picking up some pineapple Jarritos (and a bottle of grapefruit Jarritos, with all intention of getting blitzed on Palomas one lazy weekend), I wandered down the rest of the where it's all Goya and Abuela drinking chocolate. Seeing a pack of Vigo's yellow Spanish-style rice, I picked it up because a) I like yellow rice and b) I just love rice, man. Yea, I know, half-Asian? Loves rice? No way? Yea, haha, fuck you too.

Anyway, whilst reading the packet, I was made to understand that it came with all the seasoning necessary. While debating what I'd eat with the yellow rice, it dawned on me...why not make paella?

You may have previously read my instructions on how to make kimchi soup, New Year's rice cake and dumplings soup, etc. In another installment of "Just because you live alone doesn't mean you have to eat like shit," feature I decided to share my Half-ass Paella experiment with you. Upfront I can assure you it came out good. I was a little worried since I came up with the recipe in the 15 minutes I was wandering around the supermarket today to pick up extra ingredients on a tight budget.

Anyhow, here are the ingredients.

- 1 packet of Vigo's yellow rice
- 2 cloves of garlic (to be minced)
- 1 or 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced (depending on the size)
- 2 chorizo diced
- 1/2 or 1/4 of an onion diced (also depending on size). I know you see the picture. It doesn't have to be red. I used a red onion because that's all I had in the fridge and I wasn't buying another damn onion since the red one's just fine.
- 1/2 pound of shrimp
- some random veggies. I chose peas and corn because they're super cheap frozen and it also adds some color. This is optional though and obviously you can put in whatever veggie you want. We're not making "real" paella here folks, go nuts.

So I first started off by cutting up the chorizo, bell pepper and onion. I'm going to start these off first to bring out some flavor since I'm not going to be boiling them to all hell, just for that 20-25 minutes required on the back of the rice packet. I'm not gong too far off from the instructions already provided with the rice, just adding in some extra steps.

The instruction on the packet already suggest adding a little oil and/or margarine(yuck) in step two, so I'm just going to use some olive oil here for the chorizo and veggies. Just gonna kind of sweat them a bit. And not too much oil too since that chorizo's pretty fatty and cooking it will bring some of the porky grease out of it.

I turned it around a bit with the red pepper and the onions, then added the garlic in for a couple of more turns.

I put in the same amount of water as indicated in the directions. So while that comes to a boil like the packet instructs, let's see what else do I have. Oh, OK. So I got some shrimp at the neighborhood fishmonger. Half-pound of medium shrimp for 3 bucks, so good deal. I'm not gonna peel them since I want all that shrimp shell flavor, but I am going to devein them.

I forgot where I learned this trick, but if you have a toothpick, deveining is easy. You pop a toothpick in on the top of the shrimp, around where the first and second shell meets (in between, into the flesh), and poke it out like you're threading it, then just rip that sucker out. If you go in deep enough, the top part of the vein should pop right out with it. You just grab it and pull, et voila, the vein comes out.

I don't have any toothpicks around...but you know what toothpicks also work as? Well, you can poke them into cakes to see if they're done. Well, what do you know, I just happen to have a cake tester. Tests cakes, and deveins shrimp. Fabulous.

Why do I own one? I bake sometimes...what?

Anyhow, here's kind of a visual of how it should look.

Those of you saying "GROSS!" you need to give up on cooking. You can't be squeamish about stuff like this. I mean if you plan on eating shrimp anyway, you gotta be able to at least do stuff like this. Have you ever seen the underside of a shrimp? It looks like the underside of a goddamn roach/waterbug/palmetto bug. Seriously, you were gonna put this in your mouth anyway. The disconnect some people have with their food nowadays is ridiculous.

But I'm getting off track. We also need some more "veggies." I'm going to use that term very loosely since I'm using generic brand frozen peas and corn.

Now this isn't really necessary. I'm just adding these for a bit of variety in flavor as well as color.

Dump the rice in, per the instructions.

Next the shrimp.

The peas and corn. I didn't really measure it out. I just poured them out into another receptacle first because I didn't want a whole block of frozen peas dropping into the paella.

Stirring it a bit like the packet instructs.

Cover it like the packet instructs, and just let the whole thing simmer for about 20-25 the packet instructs. Like I said, not really straying far from the actual directions.

I really can't do much but just watch at this point. Would everything have been for naught? I looked into the saucepan at the half-way mark and it seemed to be doing OK so far.

I really couldn't determine anything except that it smelled pretty damn good.

All done!! OK, so let's look at it.

Hmm, can't really tell anything from this, let's fluff it a bit.


Well, it looks good and tastes good. I ate it with some broccoli.

Um, I like broccoli.

So there you go. Half-assed paella.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Random observation

If one were to draw up a description of Virginia based solely on the signs one saw along the highway, it'd probably be something like, "Virginia: Home of fireworks, country cured ham/bacon/sausages, and discount cigarettes (get 'em before you cross over to Maryland!!)."

Seriously, there seemed to be a sign for all of the above -- along with pecans or preserves -- every couple of yards or so.

Also, it seems that some people still deem lawn jockeys to be appropriate front yard decoration.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

JUST got back from Virginia

Super tired, and need to get ready for work tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm peacing out for an extra long weekend. Oh, and before you all panic, obviously I'm not driving; I don't have a license. I'm just along for the ride.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

10/03/07, Bloc Party @WAMU Theater, Madison Square Garden

tl;dr: Awesome show, hung out with cool peeps, spotted Syd Butler, met Kele and Gordon(!!!), and totally creeped out my future husband as well as some little girls.

The full story: (No photos because I had severe electronic equipment brain fart that day and not only did I forget to bring my camera, but I forgot to recharge my phone)

After work I rushed over to meet the group at Madison Square Garden to see Bloc Party. It took me a while to figure out which entrance they were at and since my phone was officially dead I could barely get in 3-5 seconds-long conversations with Kelly to pinpoint where they would be. Before catching up with them, I was amused to notice that the electronic marquee proudly announced that "Block Party" would be playing that evening.

I'd never been to a show at Madison Square Garden. In fact, I'd never gone on principle because a) I hate seated venues unless I'm watching ballet or opera or som such, and b) tickets for shows at MSG are usually pretty pricey. But this gig was at the WAMU Theater, which has a GA standing pit in it. I don't know if they do that for other parts of MSG or how those other parts look, but I was game after hearing that.

We were pretty much the front of the line and got in without any trouble and proceeded to walk what seemed like several miles to get to the venue. We took up front and center, excited for what was to come.

I must say, that I was a little embarrassed since I had no idea who would be opening. Long before I had the notion in my head I would not be going to this show, and the decision wasn't made until pretty much as late in the game as possible so I hadn't been keeping track of what would be going down. However, I was delighted as Smoosh took the stage first. The delight was soon replaced with appreciation and even dread.

"Jesus, I remember first hearing about them in COLLEGE. That was like 2-3 fucking years ago. And they're STILL so young!" I thought.

Not my cup of tea musically, but they really are talented and totally...TOTALLY cute. I almost died when their pint-sized bass player came out. Girl bass player+pint-sized bass player=practically dying from cute overload. The thing was easily taller than she was and I wouldn't be surprised if it weighed more than her too.

"Guys, I want to take her home. I want to take her home and give her milk and cookies and just ask her how her day was and listen to everything she says with my chin resting on my hands and a blissed out look on my face," I blurted out.

Rsponse from the group, "Yea...that would be stealing, so no, I don't think you should do that."

It was especially cute when the girls did a cover of "This Modern Love."

The second act was Tokyo Police Club. Alright, so I'd *heard* of them, but I hadn't bothered to really follow them hardcore. I think I heard one song and really that was as far as I had gone in exploring their musical library. Needless to say I was impressed. Nay, I think as a group we were all impressed (except for Alex, since he was totally a big fan of theirs, already saw them before and knows all the lyrics and everything). The general consensus among those of us who had just been enlightened by their performance was that we were all particularly impressed by their keyboardist/vocalist/shoutist Graham Wright. He was making the keyboards rue the day they were created as he stomped and shouted away. Not to mention he could bang the shit out of a tambourine.

"Did you see him? Did you see him stomp and play that thing??" Josh asked incredulously afterwards. We all agreed in awe that Graham was our favorite and we cheered him on uproariously as they left the stage.

Hmm, bespectacled, cute in that kinda "aw, shucks" way, AND earnest? A deadly combination (for meeeeeeeee). He is now officially future husband material.*

*The title future husband does not denote any serious intentions of marriage, it is merely a formality of designating those guys who have escaped the bonds of being "cute" or "hot" and has impressed the writer in some way beyond the superficial and is not based in reality in anyway (eg. former future husband Nikola Tesla). Future husband status is not a permanent distinction and may be passed on to a new candidate, but former future husbands can always be reinstated.

If you go and check out their discography it's all EPs and LPs.

"The set is going to go like that," Alex warned, and he was very correct.

It's basically a handful of songs that were enough to fill what I thought was a 30-40 minute set. And they sort of do a drive-by on you with it, just not as scary or with deadly consequences. I mean it comes fast and hard but I don't mean like speed metal hard and fast. Lots lovely of energy is how I'd describe it. I really don't want to label some of their songs with "anthem," because when people describe something as being "anthem" it makes me think of either those songs that are all big and no substance that you really can't imagine listening to for your leisure and/or gets played a lot at sports games or in a car commercial; or it just make makes me think of fist-pumping electronic/dance music. Nothing inherently bad with either of those, but just not something I want to saddle these guys with. It's tough, with all the shouting and clap alongs, and easy to dance to rhythm with its catchy, crisp drumming skipping over the blunt, fat and heavily rhythmic basslines. I guess they have all the anthem-like components for sure. I mean, for Pete's sake, one of the songs on "A Lesson In Crime" is "Cheer it On," and it's chock full of that bop along/clap along to beat AND the chorus calls out their name. And yes, people were screaming it out at the show.

At the same time, it just isn't. You could totally just sit down and listen to it and just enjoy it in a non-arena setting. Though you may bop your head along to it. This shit will make you want to dance. And I mean 80s white kids in a teen movie dancing. Hoppin' back and forth giddily and doing something a little too reminescent of The Carlton.

Anyway, "Box" is very much kind of what I mean when I say it's one of those songs that had all the anthem-like qualities while being...not so? Also I just happen to like the remixed version of "Be Good." It totally makes me want to get up and dance around the room for some reason.


So Bloc Party takes the stage. Savage show as always. Even Kele noticed the "Block Party" signage and told a story about how when earlier in the day, as they exited their bus, a woman came up to ask them if they were in a band or something. He answered affirmative and the woman went on to berate him about how they were blocking traffic. "People need to get to work you know," she scolded, then proceeded to say she was going to report them to all the papers in the city.

"Good thing there's another band playing here tonight...So if you see anything about 'Block Party,' that's just a secret between us."

They played "Flux," and did two encores. For the second encore, they played "Helicopter" and Smoosh came out and danced and it was fun and cute and everything. A feel-good cap to a great show.

Folks, this is not the amazing part of this tale. Before we go on, let me pause to let you know that Kelly love Matt Tong. LOVES HIM. Now she had come to this performance in a Polvo t-shirt. For those of you who don't know, Matt Tong lists Polvo as one of his influences.

Details are fuzzy and I forget if this was during the first or second encore, but all of the sudden, at the end of a song, Matt Tong rises from behind his drum set. He starts walking towards the crowd. All of the fucking sudden it's all in slowmo. It's as if everyone sensed he was walking towards Kelly. I looked at her. I almost wanted to say something to her, but it was like in a nightmare you know? Where you can't yell no matter how much you want to and how loud you think you're yelling? Except in this case I was being drowned out by all the people in the audience. She was frozen like a deer caught in the headlights, staring at Matt Tong as he approached closer and closer with a drumstick clutched in his hand.

I swear, the song from "Chariots of Fire" started playing in my head. Matt reached down and shook her hand. Of course the crowd around us surged to get to him. He held out the drumstick to her and other hands reached and grabbed for it. Kelly was almost hesitant to take it. At this point Matt actually PHYSICALLY batted the other hands away and said, "No, HER." and handed the drumstick directly to Kelly. She was on the verge of tears.

As we started filing out towards the exit I was just bouncing off the walls. From the adrenaline of the show as well as just being so excited about what had happened.

"Holy shit, Kelly, you're not going to cry are you?" I asked half-joking and half-serious.

But as we were about to exit, another random, yet AWESOME thing happened. The whole time Kelly was in shock, cradling the drumstick like a little baby, practically talking to the thing, but all of the sudden she snapped to and cried out in disbelief, "SYD BUTLER!"

My head jerks up and I go, "WHAT?"

Sure enough, it was Les Savy Fav's Syd Butler barely a foot away from us talking to some people. Now it's the both of us in shock. We didn't want to walk up and bother him since he seemed like he was with friends, but we had to do something.

"Syd! Syd!!!" we yelled as we waved maniacally. He looked in our direction and waved back with a puzzled smile. The look on his face said that he wasn't expecting to be recognized so he assumed it was someone he knew calling out his name.

As we continued to be carried away by the tide of people going out the door I turned back one last time and cried out, "Syd Butler fucking rules!!!"

He turned back to us and smiled and it looked like he chuckled a bit as if he finally realized that it wasn't anybody he knew but just some crazy kids who really liked Les Savy Fav.

Outside Kelly latched onto Josh, "You're good luck, man. We're sticking with you."

Josh (from DA BRONX, baby. People who live above 125 represent!), had previously met Bloc Party when they played United Palace Theater and now Kelly was certain he was a Bloc Party good luck totem. She was standing next to him when Matt Tong gave her his drumstick, now wasn't she?

After all that had happened, we weren't just going back home. Well, three from the group had dropped out, but the four of us remaining were on a mission. Hell, I was too pumped to just go home and go to sleep at this point. I decided I'd go along to see how far this evening would go.

"This isn't good," Josh said as he paced around a bit. He'd already walked around to find out possible points of exit. "There's just too many exits..."

I declared that this had now seriously turned into some straight up Metal Gear Solid shit.

Anyhow, with some scouting and interviewing of staff we'd decided to camp out at one particular exit. As we did this we ended up walking past Smoosh.

"SMOOSH!!!" we shouted, scaring the poor girls.

"You guys are sooo cute. OMG and so good too!" we kept saying variations of both.

I added in a voice like a proud aunt, "Man...I remember first hearing you kids in college..." I stopped myself before I added, "Now you're all grownsed up!!"

They shyly thanked us as they attempted to load their gear into waiting taxi with the help of a dude that looked like their sound guy, but was way too young to be a dad.

"I think we scared them," Kelly said.

"I think they looked a little surprised we liked them," Josh added.

"What I want to know is, where are their parents??" Monique asked.

We waited a bit more when GORDON emerged. I was kind of going along with the "will we see them or won't we?" mood, but at that moment even I had to admit, "Damn...that's really him."

Josh said hi and Gordon instantly recognized him from before and said, "Hey, you're the guy from the Bronx!"

Gordon seemed bushed, but affably chatted with us, signed tickets/setlists and took pictures. Let me just say. His wife is totally chill. She is SOOO nice. When we tried to get in on a picture Monique asked if she wanted to be in it and she laughed and declined saying, "No, no...let me take it for you guys. I don't need to be in the picture." When she took a picture with Kelly's camera, the flash was off and she handed it back to her saying, "Maybe you want to turn the flash on and I'll take another one. It came out blurry I think."

I was almost verklempt at how cool she was. Here we were badgering her visibly tired husband. They probably wanted to go out and have some alone time after a long tour where she might've not seen him much, yet she was so awesomely gracious to his fans. I wanted to be her best friend right then and there.

While photos were being taken Gordon looked at Kelly and said, "Oh yea, Matt was talking about you." He then asked, "Is that really a proper Polvo shirt?"

As the two walked away we regrouped only to have Monique interrupted us with a, "Hey, aren't those the, um...Tokyo Police Club guys?"

Sure enough, they were crossing the street walking away from us.

"What was the name of the keyboard guy again?" Josh asked.

The four of us started shouting, "GRAHAM! GRAAAHHHAAM!!! You ROCK!"

First, we realized that probably was not the smartest thing to do since they were CROSSING THE STREET, and second we then realized the other guys might've felt like chopped liver at that point. I just wanted to clarify that you guys ALL rock.

Anyway, they came back around with their van and we got to talk to Graham a bit.

THEN we spotted Kele. People. People. Listen. Kele Okereke is the chillest mofo EVER. He seriously is. He actually sustained a conversation rather than brush us off after some autographs or something. He had his friends waiting for him, but the only comment he made regarding that was "Oh, they're gonna be a bit annoyed," and continued to talk with us. We talked about how cute and awesome Smoosh was. And we entreated that Bloc Party must play Bowery again. Just an absolutely lovely man.

I gave him my ticket so he could sign it, but I had it resting on my planner since I took it out of there and was planning on putting it back in. Besides, it was a hard surface to make it easier to sign the ticket. Little did my planner anticipate what was in store for it. After signing my ticket, Kele looked at my planner and said apropos of nothing, "Want me to sign this too?"

I kind of looked at him for a split second. I don't, I really wasn't considering that possibility so I was thinking, "Uh...suuure why not?" I mean it was funny that he asked like I'd actually answer "NO!!!!!" or something, but it was kind of amusing to me also because it's a ratty old day planner. But he gave me a fantastic idea. Since it *is* so old and busted looking I might just start having bands sign the shit out of it.

Anyhow, that was my evening. Sorry it takes up so much real estate, but you know, it was eventful and it was fun. Not much more you can ask for.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Preview of a post to come

I quite bushed since I didn't get in until 4 am this morning and still dragged myself to work. I'm little sore and hoarse, but here's a little taste of what happened since I'm still trying to gather my thoughts of all the awesomeness that occurred.

Also, I realized I didn't include a video or something of Malajube when I was talking about them in a previous post, so to make up for it, here's two:

"Le Metronome"

"Pate Filo"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Still giving "At the Feet of my Rival" a heavy rotation. However I must say that now I'm digging "Ex's and Oh's" very much after having given it a good solid several listens. Again, I think I'm lovin' the alt-country sound with the lap steel and then you got a bit of horns in the background, but it's also such a rockin' "We're over, fuck you" song. At first it starts off a little emo-ish, with lines like the opener of, "Got a faded photograph, burn out one edge. Lit that fire when you thought love was dead," but then it kicks the "I can't believe we're over, baby. Why you leaving me for him?" type of song right in the head. It's beat and rhythm is jaunty and the lyrics while bemoaning the death of a relationship ("White like a wedding gown, just dye it black, gifts from the registry, guess we'll give it back. I burnt a picture of a then blushing bride, but I guess there's nothing but a house to divide.") at the same time stay smart and snappy. I want to say angry, but it's not even really angry, it's just so delightfully wry, and I do love wry.

I really like how one line can totally flip around the sentiment of a previous. Where the song goes. It's like you've walked in on an argument that's still going on. It's not at the throwing things at each other and yelling level anymore, but it's the very under the surface simmering type of argument that you make in the last stages of the relationship once the breakup has already happened and you're just picking up the pieces. You say things so you can hurt the person as much as you can and get in a last laugh. Like you think there can be a resolution, but you immediately take it back when you remember how bad they messed up. Being a jerk? Yes, but justifiably so. I especially love the ending of, "Tell me that you love another but you still love me. You can go to hell, it'll suit you well, it'll melt your cold, black heart." It's so prickly and sour, and almost old-fashioned in a way because of the latter part of that seems so classic and I've felt like I've heard it before, but put differently. I can almost feel the relish that someone would say it with after the end of a relationship when the other person messed up, and they know they messed up so you rub it in their face.

Anyhow, I've been listening to a bit more of Malajube after getting a chance to hear a newer song from them and liking it a lot. Once again thanks to a certain across-the-ponder for getting my musical tastes off its fat and bloated ass after a long period of not really actively checking out new stuff like I used to. That is, if they see this of course...either way, I'll have to remember to thank to them later on. But seriously, who has the time when you're a cubicle dweller chained to your desk? And new music is just so fun to find. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough anymore, so that's going to have to change.

Talking to Dianne about this, she stopped me and said, "Whoa...were they the guys that sang that "Le Robot Sexy" song? Because that kind of sucked."

Me:*crossing arms* "Yea...well, I'm listening to them now, so what?"

In my head: =(

While looking at upcoming shows in the city, I found out that they were playing a gig in November at the Bowery Ballroom. I'm thinking it's time to apply my live show test on them. We can put "Le Robot Sexy" in the past if they manage to blow me away with a live set and I'm liking so far what I've been listening to of their album "Trompe-l'œil". Ugh, to think that came out in February of 2006. Time goes by WAY too fast after you hit 21, but that's an entirely different topic.

All I'm saying is that it's harder than you think it would be to convince people to go see a francophone Québécois band.


I had to sell my ticket for The National (booo), but I don't know, I had an opportunity come up that seemed interesting in a "Well, when else are you going to do this in life?" kind of way, so I decided to go with that. But there are others!

Weakerthans at the end of the month! Woo!
Gogol Bordello at the beginning of November! I'm making a sign directed at Eugene Hutz! He might be creeped out and horrified, but it's all in good jest...right?
I'm debating whether or not to go see the New Amsterdams, but I might have to decide soon since the last time I dawdled and tickets sold out and I kind of want to see Eric on upright again because I really like his upright bass (Yay for Gretchen!) and I really like how they sound with it.

Seeing Bloc Party tonight. More for the company than for the show since I've already seen them twice in a row earlier this year, though they do put on an electrifying show.

Saw Colbert taping earlier this week. He is more handsome in person. Also, he likes to dance along to songs that play during the "breaks." His hand brushed against mine and I almost swooned. I got back home in time to watch the episode that taped and you can totally see the back of my head as I clap enthusiastically and Kelly doin' a "YOU DA MAN!" hand motion as he goes over to interview his guest.