Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Madonnas Of Leningrad

I finished reading The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean and I thought mostly good thoughts. The book's main character is Marina, a woman suffering from Alzheimers. Throughout the book Marina flashes back to her experiences in Leningrad during World War II. The majority of these experiences are, imagine, pretty bad. Starving people, extreme cold, constant Nazi bombing etc etc. The present story line follows Marina's daughtercoming to terms with the extent of her mother's illness while attending a family wedding. This subject matter could become pretty trite or saccharine. I think Dean did a good job of keeping it from becoming a made for tv movie kind of book.

Wiine Night A Drinkable, Edible Treat

Wine night was lovely last night. Our hosts had quite the spread...zuchini bread, grapes, cheese etc. Yum yum yum.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Neighbor Cupcakes

We have new downstairs neighbors...I didn't know this until one of the girls knocked on our door and asked if we had eggs. I think they may have just moved in. Either way, I gave her three eggs and she came back with six cupcakes. Two are gone because I ate one and the boyfriend ate one. They were chocolate with vanilla frosting and the one I ate was still warm! Yummy. I hope they borrow eggs from us all the time.

Notice A Trend?

I like me a chunky salad. Whole cubes of tomatoes fat black olives quartered artichoke hearts...that kind of thing. No wispy waspy slivers of red onion for me, I'd much rather have chunks of spicy radish. Yeah. I'm hard core. You love it.


Grey's Anatomy was a little less than overly dramatic tonight.

I Love Cooking Vegetables In My Cast Iron Skillet

Yup. Lime ginger vegetables...vegetables like asparagus, baby bella mushrooms and snap peas.

I'm too lazy to center this picture.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

In Her Shoes

Yeah. I liked it. I cried. I'm a girl and I watch the olympics and cry at movies like this. I didn't break down and sob or anything. But the tears rolled. Whatever. I'm not ashamed. God.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mac N Cheese

Last night I hosted a little get together dedicated to Trivial Pursuit (Pop Culture Edition) and macaroni and cheese. We played valiantly but who won, exactly, is a little unclear.

Then I went to a bar called John Barleycorn where one of the young men with me was told that he was not allowed to wear a hat inside. We never got an exact reason for this. This was a black hat, not of the baseball variety, and rather innocuous. Who knows. We stayed there for one drink and then turned around and went home. Woo hoo!

Boom Goes The Dynamite

This guy was David Letterman show audience member and got to show this video of him screwing up in journalism school to all of us who watch Letterman...this was at least a year ago. I like when he says 'boom goes the dynamite'. The quality is crap but boy howdy it's still funny.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I'm watching a movie and a guy just proposed to his girlfriend.
He put the ring in her diaphragm container.
How romantic.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is what Scott Hamilton does

Here's what Scott Hamilton does...this is it right here:

He says ambiguously dramatic things just before someone does a jump. He does this in such a way that it works whether the girl lands it or falls on her ass. Like with a slow delivery with the punch line just as the girl makes her attempt.

And Dick Button is always commenting on how pretty the girls are and how unseemly laces are.

My goodness.

Tiffin Restaurant

Yesterday two intrepid MFA(W)ers and I went to Tiffin Restaurant to get our eat on.
We shared a sample appetizer plate then went our own ways in terms of entrees.
I had the lamb masala. It was creamy and full of spices, but not so many spices that I felt like dying. I even have left overs...which I will be eating...in about fifteen minutes.

Carmel, New York? I Think Not

Yesterday I decided it would be a good idea to caramelize some onions and mushrooms then eat them with leftover takeout rice. I was right, it was a pretty good idea.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Boyfriend Strikes Back

The boyfriend, thousands of miles away, responds to the note writer and parking questioners a little like this (this is so exciting):

Please post this to your blog so that all readers can get my opinion on what series of events might have led to such baseless slander of my parking skills.
Fact: I parked when the block was full.
Fact: I rarely use the car, so after I parked, the block emptied and then filled numerous times over the course of several days.
Hypotheis: One of the new parking configurations left me appearing to parked in a space able to fit two cars in such a manner that occupied portions of both spaces, angering someone looking for a spot.
Fact: A note was left declaring that "[I] park like an asshole."
Hypothesis: The parking configuration changed once again, making my parking job appear perfectly acceptable in CC's eyes.
That's my theory.


Dick Button and James Lipton...separated at birth? Hmmmm.
I think they keep Dick Button around simply because he's such a grump.

The Secret's Out

To read my latest piece (and learn the secret to my super fabulous macaroni and cheese) for Chicagoist, go here. I'm still trying out, but another tryer outer seems to have been accepted...eek!

Love Note

So I woke up today knowing full well that there wasn't any milk in the refrigerator (not to mention food). I'm a lover of Earl Grey tea with milk so I did the sensible thing and got ready to go to the grocery store. The boyfriend is out of town, so this was going to be a solo journey resulting in many bags of foodstuffs, because of this I decided to drive (the boyfriend would not approve). As I approached the boyfriend's car I saw something stuck under one of its wipers. I worried it was a ticket but couldn't think why, the car was parked on a non-emergency street, there is no snow and it wasn't five feet away from the curb. Once I got to the car this is what I found:

It seems someone didn't like the boyfriend's parking job. It was after picking up this note that I realized I had forgotten the keys to the car. So I turned around and went back to the apartment and got them, the entire time looking furtively about, hoping whoever wrote the note wasn't taking photographs of me.

I mean, I didn't even do the parking.

Who Doesn't Love Cats?

If Meowcat was an actress, this would be her brooding head shot. Nice day outside. Not too cold and sunny. Very nice change of pace...I declare.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I watched this movie. The ending was so ominous...or lame.

Dim Sum c/o Furama Part 18

Well, I've spent the majority of my morning and afternoon sitting in front of the computer, hoping. When sitting and hoping don't end with any results, I walk to the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea. Then I go back to the computer and read stories I wrote three years ago and wonder how I did it. Then I smoke a cigarette. Then I open a new document and stare at the whiteness. Then I make a cup of tea.

Obviously this is getting me nowhere. So I will blog instead. Dim sum was satisfying as usual. There were four of us and we each ate our fill.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Really I do like Sara Paretsky's msyteries. Thanks Dad for introducing the series to me.

Long Underwear

As I mentioned it was freaky deaky cold yesterday. But you know what? Thanks to the silk long underwear for my legs and the under 33 long underwear top I hardly felt it. So I thought I would write just for a second about the wonders of long underwear. I mean really, it was well below freezing yesterday and though I was shocked by how cold it was, I wasn't dying on the inside from it. I googled 'long underwear' and these were my favorite two images. Feast upon them.

And Another

Bob Saget fascinates me. How can he do things like America's Funniest Home Videos or Full House when he can make such dirty, dirty jokes.

Yesterday Was Cold and Yes I Am A Glutton For Laziness

Yesterday it was cold and I am not at all (a little bit) ashamed of how I spent it. How did I spend my day? Well it started early enough with some eggs and that was followed with a quick walk to my local video store. I spent a number of minutes perusing the aisles before deciding on one million different dvds and renting them all. In addition to the million rented movies I also had one Netflix movie to take care of. The Netflix movie in question was a documentary about the photographic work of Shelby Lee Adams called The True Meaning of Pictures. It was a relatively interesting film investigating the people Adams photographs and whether or not the work is exploitative of its subjects. The subjects being poor families living in Appalachia. The photographs aren't pure documentary photographs nor are they completely allegorical. Most of the 'experts' interviewed talked about how the photographs could, potentially, reenforce negative stereotypes of this unique community of people. I think they might have a point. Though the film also had interviews with Adams and many of the family members he photographs. With one exception all the people didn't think he was doing anything wrong. It was interesting, could have had a little stronger opinion on the matter but all and all pretty good.

Breakfast Does The Body Good

I made scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday. Often I add a little garlic to the precooked egg mix, along with a drop or two of milk (for fluffiness) but yesterday it was only milk and some shredded mozarella cheese. I was impressed with myself, very fluffy if not overly spiced eggs...a little chipotle tabasco made up the difference.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Up and Down and Up Again...Then Down

My yesterday started at 7 in the morning. The red line was constantly stopping unneccessarily but I still arrived downtown with a few minutes before my 9 o'clock class. I managed to lose my mind while waiting for the elevator...by this I mean that there were about twenty of us waiting for the elevators and in my head I suddenly realized none of us had pressed the button to alert the elevators to our needs. So I separated from the crowd and pressed the button...then realized that I had pressed the down button. You know, because, like, I lost my mind. Class was full of periodic and running sentences. This was a sentence I made up from the prompt of 'The Moon Rose':

The moon rose, on the eve of her twentieth birthday, low and full like her mother's breasts on a cloudy day.
Oh yeah. I am totally brilliant.

Then after a very so-so meal at Under 55 cafeteria crazy land, I had another class. I was totally brilliant in that class as well. Seriously. I am so smart. Then a few of us went to Exchequer Pub and had some beer and fries...their fries are very good I do declare. Blah blah.

Came home and ate the Spanish Rice the boyfriend made from scratch and watched another episode of Foyle's War. The show continues to illuminate the social ramifications of World War II in England while simultaneously giving the viewer (me) an engaging mystery to figure out. Love it.

The night ended with meeting up with a friend at Simon's Pub and then returning home with said friend and her friend for some late night Spanish Rice. This is a photograph of some of that Spanish Rice.

Rioja Restaurant

On Thursday the boyfriend and I went to Rioja Restaurant for some Tapas goodness. We had the ensalada de mariscos surtidos (seafood salad, see below).
Also the jamon serrano.
Queso de Cabra. And scallops that were absolutely amazing, though technically not what we ordered.
For dessert we shared bread pudding. I had an expensive martini made up of raspberry vodka, pineapple juice, champagne and some other things. It looked nothing like I thought it would.
I want to address the issue of lighting in restaurants and how it effects my life. I like a bar to be dimly lit but when it comes to restaurants I don't think it needs to be so damn dark. I get that it's to add a 'mood' to one's dining experience but really they're doing themselves a disservice. Food photographed with a flash never, not ever, looks as good as it may actually be. It makes me clumsy and not really that interested in framing the photograph, because I know no matter how carefully I approach the dish it's only going to look blown out and unappealing. Yeah. So. Right. Restaurants should stop trying to be so romantic/moody/cozy and start using regular light bulbs. The end.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Birthday Pizza And Turrible

Last night was one of our own's 24th birthday...I would link her blog, but she doesn't have one. So we gathered together, regardless of the sky spitting glass at our cheeks, noses and eyes, and ate pizza and played trivia games. I was the question asker and I was very tickled by the experience. The pizzas were: one stuffed pizza with spinach (weirded me out a little, I admit) and one thick or thin (I'm not quite sure) with black olives and mushrooms. The hovering hand belongs to this guy. He also won the trivia hullabaloo in a sudden death round...his question's answer? S'mores.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Breakfast And Lunch

Breakfast/lunch...sauteed portobello mushrooms, two fried eggs and bacon. The eggs had, respectively, Muenster and cheddar cheese for oozy gooey goodness. Filling. Made our apartment smell funny and me (according to the boyfriend) smell like French toast.

Curse Of The Were-Rabbit

The bunnies! Oh the bunnies. God bless the clay bunnies.

Lost In La Mancha

A few nights back, the boyfriend and I watched Lost In La Mancha. A documentary chronicling Terry Gilliam's attempt to make Don Quixote into a movie. It was okay. I was interested then I wasn't and then I was again. The number of things that go wrong in their first four days of shooting is incredible: fighter jets flying overhead making it impossible to record sound, a torrential downpour that washes away equipment and completely changes a desert landscape into one of mud and then the main actor not being able to get on a horse.

I read a book a while back that had a similar plot. I wondered if the author got the idea from this movie/series of events. I had never seen Terry Gilliam before and realized that I had a completely different picture of him in my head.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dinner With The Olympians

A rather ordinary dinner tonight. Crackers, left over Brie with apple slices. And leftover mashed potatoes mixed with sliced turkey (I thought this was a rather odd thing to do, it was the boyfriend's idea, but it tasted just fine) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

The Other Day I Ate lunch

The other day I ate lunch...a mix of steamed brussels sprouts, corn, brown rice and beets...little butter, little salt. Nothin' fancy.

This Peter Weir, male figure skater guy, sure has a lot of attitude. I kind of hope he falls...but he didn't so I guess he's alright.


You can read my second Chicagoist try-out article here. We shall see. Time will tell. And all that sort of thing.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dim Sum c/o Furama Part 18

Four of us for dim sum yesterday. Stuffed ourselves good and proper. There seemed to be a larger selection of dumplings than in times past. And they were fresh and hot. Mmm. I kind of want more right now.
I've been a bit sick the last few days. Being sick is never fun. Though that's not entirely true. If you're sick and you have no responsibilities and a mother who will bring you tasty hot things and rent you lots of movies then it isn't so bad. So what I really mean is: being sick as a pseudo-adult is never fun. Which is too bad, because I'm never going to be anything other than a pseudo-adult...maybe one day I'll be a real grown up, but I don't see that in my immediate future.

I'm feeling a bit ooky about writing as well. The things I've been excited about/working on are getting a little stale. This is probably because I've elicited too many different opinions about them and have found myself at a loss as to which opinions to listen to and which to ignore. But I have no lightning strikes of brilliance for different approaches to the work. And more importantly, I have no pressing obvious story I can write instead. It will pass. But soon I hope.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dueling Pianos?

Last night the boyfriend, a non-SAIC friend and I went out on the town. Briefly. We met up with some MFAers at the Town Hall Pub on Halstead. But we left almost as soon as we arrived. The next place we went was Slugger's near Wrigley Stadium. The appeal of Slugger's was the Dueling Pianos on the second floor. For a five dollar cover we got to see two men sit opposite each other and play a drunken crowd's song requests.
It kind of made me feel uncomfortable. Girls would get on top of the pianos and dance around the pole. Then the piano player on the right would pick up a flashlight and shine it up their skirts. It was gross. He was gross. We left before everyone else.

And they weren't dueling, they were dueting. I thought it would be cool if each piano key corrolated with a sharp sword or blade of some kind so that the men really had something to lose/something better to do than shine lights up drunk girls' skirts. Eh.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Imagine, Sushi

Another lovely sushi feeding care of House Of Sushi & Noodles. Though a few pieces had a funny taste to them...the boyfriend didn't notice so I think we can blame it on my mild sickness (can't quite breathe out of my left nostril like a normal person). Only two rounds...doesn't look as impressive as it does when there's four people buffet-ing.

p.s. the youngest Chinese pairs team used an instrumental version of a Led Zeppelin song for their short program. and they say communists have no imagination.

do they say that?

Just Like Heaven

Mmm, romatic comedies are like chocolate covered pecans and sleeping late rolled into celluloid. And Just Like Heaven is no exception.
Full of cheesiness, impossibility and always changing rules about being dead.

Case in point:
Reese Witherspoon, as a spirit separated from her comatose body, can sit on a bed but cannot pick up a phone. Interesting...very interesting.

If you're like me and like feeling slightly nauseated by impossible plots and floofly love stories then you should totally watch this. Napoleon Dynamite may have a future in movies like this, as the weird sidekick.

Yay! Olympics!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Rememberance Of Bands Past

As I was walking around downtown, my ipod shuffled onto a song by the reindeer section. It was nice. I had forgotten how sweet some of their music is.

Foyle's War

Foyle's War is my newest British mystery series pleasure. Foyle is a detective during World War II. It seems that being a detective during World War II is harder than it would otherwise be. This is because emotions are running high and, well, there's a war. This is a series and the other night the boyfriend and I watched the first episode, in which the German wife of a rich Englishman is cruelly murdered.
Mmm. British Mysteries!

Though I have been to England a few times in my life, I still have this secret tendency to think that it's stuck in the nineteen forties...shiny cars, tailored dresses, bombs, pristine countryside chock full of suspicious working class fathers and the posh irresponsible young men that drive them crazy....I don't know, there's some specific nineteen forties aesthetic that appeals to me, not the whole bombs falling on people's cottages thing as much as the cottages without the bombs? What?

My favorite book in third grade was Good Night Mr. Tom, but I'm not going to get into that...so why mention it, I wonder?

Don't Look Back...At Bob Dylan Cuz He'll Only Talk Trash About You

The boyfriend and I watched the documentary (if that's what you want to call it) Don't Look Back last night. We saw Bob Dylan and Donavan have a cock fight through music--seriously, Bob Dylan was like 'hey Donovan let's hear you play one of your songs' and Donovan was all 'okay Bobby'. While Donovan was playing Dylan simply couldn't stop shaking and looking around with the aura of nervousness and false bravado (I think he was thinking something along the lines of: shit, this guy is just as good as I am. And he's a whole lot nicer. And damn, he has a better voice too. Crap, this guy is so lame because he could, potentially, be better than me). Then, Dylan's all 'okay, alright, that was pretty nice. Hey! Here's an idea, why don't I play a song!'. Reluctantly Donovan hands Dylan the guitar and while Dylan is plays Donovan is hugging himself in a self-preservationist's way. And I think I should stop trying to do the play by play of the scene and conclude that:

I lost patience with Dylan at some point and stopped watching. I mean, he knew how cool everybody thought he was and acted like a jerk because of it.
It's not forty four percent off here, only at amazon.com. Sorry.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pub Fare c/o Red Lion Pub

Welsh Rarebit as a shared appetizer.

And Irish Stew for dinner.

I began having existential questions about the nature of English cuisine. I'm hoping to figure out the answers in my chicagoist article...we'll see.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Franny & Zooey

When I was a freshmen in high school we had to read Catcher In The Rye by, well you know who it's by. I must admit, I didn't care for the book. I cared for it even less when my teacher gave us a little bit of her interpretation of the book. Here is a taste:

So Holden Caulfield is the name of the main character, right?
Okay well, Holden sounds a lot like 'hold on'. And caul means the head covering embryo kind of thing of a fetus. And well, field means field.

Okay so then Holden Caulfield's name really means:
Hold on the field of fetus head coverings
Hold on to youth

Hmm. I thought that was crap. And maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's what everyone with any kind of IQ thinks. But if that's the case, or if that's the logic they use to get to that conclusion, I'm glad to be in the same class as Forrest Gump.

All this to say that I finished reading Franny and Zooey today. The other day one of the freshmen I'm TAing told me it was a good book, and I believe he said it would change my life.
I don't think that it changed my life. But I did like it more than The Catcher. I liked the first twenty pages and then the last, hmm, ten.

Me and Forrest are best buddies.

Salmon Croquettes

For dinner we used some of the salmon I poached a while back and turned them into bite sized tasties...also known as croquettes. The boyfriend did most of the work for this. The only thing I did, in fact, was cook them in a skillet. Props to the boyfriend. We ate them with lemon, ketchup and mustard.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yes Mom, That Is A Lot Of Cheese

Eggplant Parmagiana for dinner. Pretty standard. Pretty cheesy. Pretty good.

Lunch In The Sun

Lunch was snap peas, mushrooms and orange pepper stir fried with sesame oil, cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Nourishing.

Lulu Dark

The other day, while stairmastering my way to heaven, I finished reading Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison. This book was given to me for Christmas as a bit of a joke, you see I went to middle school with the author. Or, more accurately, he and I shared our sixth grade year together then he got moved to the smarty school. We weren't really friends...though he is my friend on friendster.

Anyways, the book tells the story of Lulu Dark, a seventeen year old high schooler living in 'Halo City'. This is a mystery and the mystery revolves around a)who stole Lulu's purse b)who is the crazy girl following her c)where is the weird girl she accidentally dissed and d)is she really going to start dating her best friend. It's funny and references Nancy Drew a fair amount. I will probably read the next one, if there is a next one.

Wine Night Cha Cha Cha Cha

Last night the boyfriend and I hosted wine night. The boyfriend made three different kinds of salsa and empanadillas! The empanadillas were filled with cream cheese and guava jelly. I thought I'd get a little experimental and put some salmon, tomatoes and cream cheese in one, you know, just to mix it up a bit...alas, the salmon was a little too much.
We also got another Seven Sisters coffeecake from The Swedish Bakery. I think it pleased the crowd a fair amount...I could be wrong. And, of course, we had cheese--Brie, Roquefort, Chevre etc.

My golly. I do enjoy putting neat little eatables on the table and watching people I like eat them.

Monday, February 06, 2006


So if you wanna see more writing by me, you can go here and learn a little more about one of my favorite past times.

This was my first attempt for Chicagoist...and I'm embarassed they found errors...even more so because I'm not sure exactly what they are ( the broccoli part seems awkward and maybe i did end a sentence with a parentheses?). Either way, I'm pretty psyched by this opportunity and will do my darnedest to improve.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl Sunday

Ah Superbowl Sunday. Cheese, chips, salsa etc.
The boyfriend made 6 layer dip...I heard a few rave reviews...it was good in my mouth.
Superbowl. Yup. Seattle Seahawks versus Pittsburgh Steelers. Close game...The Steelers won and their coach cried, I was touched.
Half time show? Rolling Stones. Good? No, not really. I said 'oh my' a dozen times, but never with a catch in my voice.
Occasionally we would check in with Puppy Bowl II.
I expect great things from this little guy in future playoffs...he was a little green this time around, but raw talent is raw talent...and this guy has it.