Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cleanse Thyself

Whilst enjoying the tail end of the holiday seasoning by shoving Michael Symon's chili-cheese fries in my mouth as quickly as I possibly could I coerced my buddy into going to Trader Joe's after our cotton-top early dinner. I've never been and their devotees are akin to Juggalos in both style and loyalty so I thought we should probably check out the hype.

However, despite being finished with dinner by 6:30 Trader Joe's was closed, it was, in it's defense, New Year's Eve, but I was not happy, and as a result will never, ever give them my business. (probably not true) Blessedly we were in an affluent suburb and there was a Whole Foods 3 blocks away, which was still open!!!

As we stood in line waiting to buy chicken and Jeni's Splendid ice cream (if your WF doesn't carry it you need to lobby to have it added to the shelves IMMEDIATELY) I got sucked into a Martha publication called Whole Living. I'm trying to gradually move myself to being a better human being, which includes taking care of my body and stuff. Living wholly, wholly living. Hippie crap.

On our couch hours later, basking in the diabetic coma brought on by my meat covered fries and multiple trips to BSpot's pickle bar I began to read my new mag. About midway through is the outline for a 21 day cleanse, which I obviously need and want to do.

This isn't a starve yourself and drink only honey and cucumber water for 5 days jobbie. This is a roast some beets and juice some carrots and julliene a sweet potato to toss with tahini dressing outfit. It's hard work getting prepped and it is a lot of things I don't eat. Things I think most people don't eat. I mean, let's be serious here, who actually eats beets? Great-Aunt Nevis doesn't count.

Anyway, I'm one smoothie (mango and coconut water- thumbs down) and one soup (butternut squash and apple- two thumbs up) into this thing and I'm super amped about it. I'm hungry, to be sure, but that's my fault because I didn't print any of the snack recipes off, but excited to excise my body of all of the delightfully tasty but horrifically terrible things I have shoved down my gullet. Do you know how they make foie gras these days? They take a beer bong and fill it full of grain and shove it down a goose's neck and force feed it until it dies with a basketball sized liver. I tell you this for two reasons:
1) you should not eat foie gras, it's mean
2) that's how full and gross and terrible I am right now

This cleanse is vital. It needs to happen. I am hopeful that I will make it, I've already told my buddy to not try to distract me, and that I'll come out the other end feeling like a 101 million dollars.

Tonight I get to roast some broccoli and toss it with some lettuce, red cabbage and tahini dressing. That sounds nice right? I might have to put a portobella (portabella, I can't find a definitive spelling on the googs) in it too. I'm pretty hungles right now.

So, here's to a new year, it's going to be a big one for me, going to start it off right.

if you want to play along too go here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Makin' Lemonade

Before you begin: Something I noted as I was typing, I use a lot of forward slashes in this. I'm owning it, I just wanted you to know this was intentional, or at the very least I recognize that it's a few too many.

So my buddy is a hyper-obsessed audiophile, a condition/trait/sickness which has led to many a road trip to feed his addiction.

Notably, spending the weekend of MLKjr Day driving from Oklahoma to Indiana to pick up some speakers, the first of our sound adventures. It was that trip that set the precedent of always always doing something other than just buying speakers. We took a minor-ish detour on our way to Memphis for some BBQ at Corky's, one of two uber-famous joints that are must stops.

Well this weekend was to prove no exception. We were driving to Sayre, PA to check out some La Scalas, which are my favorite speakers ever. Google 'em. We buy vintage, not new, so it is always fun to meet their former owners, see where they(speakers not the owners) live and learn about the their provenance.

Our route took us through Corning, NY, never heard of it? I hadn't either. However, while driving through it we saw signs for their glass museum. This led to much debate about what Corningware was/is made of. Thank the dear sweet baby Jesus for iPhones and Google. Turns out it is made of glass, which makes the whole Corning/glass museum thing come full circle. I feel like my buddy would probably want it noted that he made that Grand Canyon sized leap of logic and I did not. I thought Corningware was ceramic. Turns out we are both right.

We drove through, but not before deciding that Corning would be our side bar, the event that made this drive an adventure and not just a shopping trip. A glass museum, how could I not?! It was only about 40 miles outside of Sayre so we were going to do business first and then attend to our fun.

The speakers were terrible.* Their owner was kind of creeptastic and borderline hostile. The cute toy fox terrier that belonged to the speaker's owner urinated all over me. It wasn't fun. *they looked terrible and had sub-par parts and finish, they sounded fine (but we have a much nicer pair already)

We decided to take a lap in Lois and discuss. The discussion ended with us leaving Sayre sans speakers. It was a good choice. We were using our noggins for real that day. But, one of us was a little dejected to have an empty cargo area and we really needed something to turn that frown upside down.

Once again reaping the blessings bestowed on us by the technology gods we searched Yelp for good pizza in Corning. Turns out they have two legendary pizzerias. We picked Aniello's, which had the best/most reviews and headed that way (thanks google maps!). Aniello's, it turns out, is in the heart of Corning on their fabulously historic/restored/thriving main street, which is right up my alley. Boon! (it's like boom, but funnier because a boon is a timely benefit!)

We ordered our pizza, 1/2 cheese 1/2 chicken wing (weird right? that's what all the reviews said to do) and sat down to wait. There was a super silly Leather and Lace store across the street so while my buddy stewed on his semi-loss I went to check it out. Bizarrely, and yet not, it was just what the name implied. Bondage, super ornate dildos (did i just type that in a blog my mother reads?), and low quality lingerie. They did have a fabulous skirt made of feathers. It was lovely.

As soon as I wrapped up my experience at Leather and Lace my buddy called to let me know our pie was ready. It was massive. It was fantastic. It was all but gone within about 15 minutes. I fully recommend this joint and the chicken wing pizza. Now, some of the reviews claim the chicken is dry, and I will admit it looks it, but come on guys, it was in a billion degree pizza oven for 20 minutes, it's gonna crisp. It didn't taste dry at all. It tasted like wings, without the mess and the bone. The cheese pizza was outstanding as well.

After we ate (and ate and ate and ate) we decided we should probably walk it off for a while. Fortunately the weather was divine so we set off to see what Corning had for us.

Sigh. I already want to go back.

They have a jewelry store which makes its own jewelry. I found, with the quickness, something we could spend that speaker money on... but we didn't. Sad face. I made my buddy go into the cutest little fabric and notions shop. They had a billion vintage handkerchiefs in a bucket by the door, would that I had a project for them, and tons of fabric, and trim and lampshades and all sorts of wonder and glory. The fabulously hep and cool-kid girl running the store was listening to Adele, who was singing To Make You Feel my Love, I tell you this because that was the tone and mood of the store encapsulated in the clerk and song. Deep contented sigh. We spent a good deal of time there. Next time I go I will be spending a good deal of money there. Maybe. Probably. Definitely.

There was a super fab/modern/high end baby store, a theatre, a little hotdog/milkshake/diner joint, a billion restaurants, a million bars, a thousand different glass galleries and so many fun stores. We didn't get to go to them all; had to get home to our errant children that had broken out while we were gone. And by children I mean child, and by child I mean our basset with a penchant for chewing through wood and a wanderlust that knows no match.

We didn't go to the glass museum. We didn't go to the Rockwell either, Corning's art museum which is currently featuring a Warhol exhibit entitled Cowboys and Indians. We did however find an inn above one of the billion restaurants and made firm plans to come back this summer, have a romantical weekend (probably just a night) see both museums, visit all the shops, eat yummy foods and drink heavily. Don't judge me, or do, it's not going to change my plans.

It started off like a super long drive for nothing, but it turns out it was one of our best adventures and Saturdays to date.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Total Devastation

I finally, finally, finally got some film for my new toy and much anticipated Christmas present (thanks buddy!), just in time for a sunny day in Ohio. I didn't know this before I got here, so I shall assume that you don't either, sun is about as elusive as a decent radio station in Ohio, that is to say pretty hard to find.

I was amped, we were headed to Hudson for the day, the most beautiful and fabulous small-ish town in the world (little to no research has been done to back up that statement, but it is really epic, you'll just have to trust me).

Now, Holgas are "toy" cameras, they aren't fancy, they are cheap and plastic and faulty by nature. That's the charm of it, the imperfection and inconsistency in production allow light leaks, which in turn make for unique and unexpected photos. Knowing that, my first roll of film was just to see what my Holga did, how it reacted, what it made.

Would that I had pictures to show you. But, I don't. Not one. Total devastation.

When I showed up at Walgreens (don't judge me, I've been here for less than six months, I have yet to look for/find an independent and local photography store) there was a crowd (3) of employees surrounding the photo processing machine, one of whom was on the phone with tech support. Well, needless to say that wasn't a good sign.

My negatives were all but white.

Nothing could be done with them. Total devastation.

Several forum pages later I now know that I have joined the ranks of amateur photographers that have enjoyed the heartbreak and letdown that the Holga offers. I am armed with information and comfort that many/most people have useless rolls of film compliments of that temperamental master called Holga.

There isn't much sun in my immediate future, but when it returns I shall try again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


One of my oldest and dearest friends has lived in New York for years, my mother and I took a trip up there ages ago, but I hadn't been back since.
My buddy and I went up there a few weeks ago with one item on our agenda, a picture in front of the tree at the Rockefeller Center, however, aside from that we just wanted to hang out.

We couldn't have had better hosts! My friend and his super deluxe wonderful wife are residents of Brooklyn. I have to be honest, I thought Brooklyn was gross and scary and blegh before I went. Well, there is no way I could have been more wrong.

I'm fully obsessed now. My friends took us to meet their friends and to check out some of their favorite bars, restaurants, and shops. Oh, so much fun.

Saturday we flew in and met up with a big group of Sooners to watch the OU/Nebraska game. We had a near crisis as the bar we chose initially had some super spotty cable and the game came in spurts. My buddy is a rabid OU fan and that was obviously not going to work. So, we lit out onto the streets and literally stumbled upon a bar that had a sandwich board sign advertising the game. Turns out the owner was a Sooner! It was so much fun. Obviously the game was great, and the company was great; it was also fun because there was a hoard of Santas there! So funny.

Afterward we all went back to my friends' house for a rooftop dance party! Icy cold, but a blast.

Sunday, we were paying for what we had done the night before. My friends, however, go hard all the time. We were up for a lovely, if poorly served breakfast at a cute little place with a great bloody mary (once I could get it down!). That set the pace, we went to a tea shop, a malt shop, several bars and a community sale inside of a school. Ridiculous and fabulous.

Monday my buddy and I went to Manhattan for our picture and some Frrrrrrrozen Hot Chocolates (yes, plural). It was a good/bad idea. We had a really fantastic day, we started at the Museum of Natural History and then walked through Central Park to get to Serendipity. That said, I love Brooklyn so much more than I love Manhattan.

Then it was time to go home. Boo.

It was incredible, so much fun to hang out with my friends, so amazing to see, eat and drink at all of those unique places. Ready to start planning our return trip... if they'll have us again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week O' Concerts!

This photo really sums it up.

Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start:

Sunday: fun.
Grog Spot- Cleveland Heights

This tiny little venue couldn't hold much more than 300 people which made for a lovely intimate little show.

The opening acts were wonderful. Jarrod Gorbel (weird huh?) sang with little fanfare than his female companion, a guitar, and violin. His lyrics were intense and gut wrenching and I really liked it.

Steel Train followed. They had a much different vibe, sound and presence. Lots of band members, lots of instruments, lots of over the top, borderline try-hard, crowd interaction. They weren't bad, not even a little, just kind of hyper intense.

And then it was time for fun. And they were. The crowd, average age 21, were fully into the band, though not so much their former incarnation The Format. Nevertheless, for a Sunday night everyone was super amped for them.

They sounded really good, record good.

I may or may not have cried during The Gambler. Don't judge me until you've heard it. And then once you've listened to it, if you didn't cry you are clearly either a) a bad person b) have never loved someone enough. That is all.

Monday: Band of Horses
House of Blues, Cleveland

Opening acts made me want to leave, stab out my ear drums, claw out my eyes, and cry. SO BAD. What were you thinking BoH?

Josh Roberts needs Prozac, he sat on the stage with his guitar and droned on and on and on. The only relief we got was when Ben (lead singer of BoH) came onstage and sang a duet. During one of Roberts' songs he repeated a lyric 16 times in the row. 16. It wasn't a good lyric.

Also, something to note, if you have to apologize to the audience for how slow and awful your songs are, then maybe just don't sing them... I'm just saying.

It was bad. We used that opportunity to leave our super deluxe close seats in the pit to go up to the balcony. Someone was feeling a little crowded and didn't want to stand for the next few hours.

We got upstairs just in time for Brad to take the stage. I want you to try to picture in your head the sidekick from My Name is Earl, put a long long long black stringy wig on him, and a black fedora. Then picture him dancing like the lead singer from Mighty Mighty Bosstones. And then sitting at a piano and singing a desperate attempt at mimicking the great Meatloaf.


This is what he really looks like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Smith

It was actually worse than the first act, I really didn't realize that was possible, and yet, it was.

After a lengthy pause for all of the audience to wrap up their facebooking, texting, reading, vomming, anything to distract them from the unpalatable opening bands the Horses took the stage.

As bad as the first acts were they were twice as amazing and wonderful in every way.

It's a like Cinderella, she is pretty and nice and great on her own, but when you compare her to her harridan step sisters she ends up angelic in nature and beauty. This was kind of like the effect the craptastic Josh and Brad did for the Horses.

We had managed to secure a stool against the railing of the House of Blues' balcony so one of us was sitting and the other stood behind with an unobstructed view of the glory and wonder that was before us.

They sounded so sick. This is why I don't listen to the crap on the radio, real bands have musicians. People with real talent that sound great in their living room, the studio and the stage. It was such a great show.

They were super funny, bringing out a local competitive yo-yo artist (?) to do his thing during two of their songs, and again, sounded so so so good. I finally got to listen to them as loud as I always want to.

Thursday: The Temper Trap
Newport Music Hall, Columbus

The opening acts were odd... not really the music we listen to.

The Hundred in Hands reminded me of Jarrod Gorbel, only in that it was a male female duo on stage. HiH featured a female vocalist that was beautiful and had a ridiculous voice, but the most affected dancing and stage presence, it made me want to kick her in the shins. The guitarist was sick though, and they did sound great, it was just tough to watch her to convulse.

Then was Delphic. Oh, they are good. Again, nothing I'd typically listen to, but man, they were really good. I got a little confused when I asked the merch guy what their name was and was fully convinced for a hour or so they were called Delphonic and almost bought their cd because Delphonic doesn't have their album on iTunes (because they were a band from the 60s that didn't do too much), but fortunately my buddy fixed that one for me in my head.

We had a bit of an issue with being really tired from work and thinking that sitting in one of the six chairs ringing the pit was a good idea. It wasn't. There was a minorly negative interaction with a terribly annoying pair of humans, but that didn't affect the awesomeness that was The Temper Trap.

They are very polished, very professional. They aren't much one for interacting with the audience, they just play and play and play, but they sounded really good.

We ended up behind the sound guy with a very unobstructed view of the stage for the super deluxe highlight of the show when the lead singer poured water on his drum and then just tore into it during the big musical crescendo with strobe lights flashing. It sound small and cheesy. It wasn't, they were so non-flashy, non-interactive, this was a really big change and really cool. Jaw dropping even.

Friday: Guster
Newport Music Hall, Columbus

The opening act was okay, I was super exhausted from walking all over Columbus and might have fallen asleep while they were playing, not because they were bad or particularly sleep inducing, I was just really tired. It was all guys, they were in plaid flannel, they played rock or something.

Now, before we go any further I need to talk to you about the first time I saw Guster. It was April of last year, in Austin, we were 2 people away from the stage. It was warm out, and we were fully surrounded by Gusteroids that were having a fantastic time. It was easily one of the best nights and trips of my life.

So, I was a little nervous. How could they possibly compare to that?

I'm a silly little rabbit though. They came out and played and we sang from our perches in the balcony along the railing and had a super tremendous time.

They may be my favorite, I'm not going to say anything definitively, but they play such an excellent show. Really amazing songs, that sound good no matter if you are listening to them at home or at a show. I love them so much.

It was a long and tiring week, but I am thrilled to death that we had this opportunity and took it.

Now get thyself to iTunes and get some of this super hot music I just told you about!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lazy Lion

I have been terribly busy. And terribly lazy.

For those of you that are bombarded by my FB status updates and Gowalla check-ins you'll know that I have been working. A lot.

6 and 7 day work weeks for the two months that I have been here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We came up here to make and save money, so this is all helping to that end, but it leaves little time for much else.

That said, we took our first weekend off together!

OU was playing the Cincinnati Binturongs in Cincinnati so we drove down to watch the game. We had planned on hitting the road bright and early at 8 am. That didn't happen. Not even close. Between getting dog food and taking the kids to overnight camp and packing, showering and taking early morning bubble baths we didn't get on the highway until very close to 10.

We wanted to make some southward progress before stopping for break-feast so we hopped on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. (proverbially speaking mother, no speed limits were broken) We exited a short while later, after all, breakfast is only served until 10:30 at McDonald's, to an epic road block of fire engines and fire trucks and whatnot. It looked as if there were a chemical spill in Nowhere, Ohio.

Nope, just a parade. Come on guys, we just want a burrito here.

Back on the highway and we were really starting to push the far side of 10:30 at that point...within a couple of miles the golden arches beckoned again, and none too soon, because there was a serious build up of traffic all of a sudden.

Burritos ordered, but not eaten (somebody had ants in his sweatpants), we loaded back up. Then came decision time, do we patiently sit through the cleanup and rubbernecking of the rollover accident or do we employ our iphone's map skills and take rural routes... And the winner is, better to go 50 mph through tiny little towns than sit for any length of time on the interstate. Which shouldn't that be intra-state?

But I digress.

Ohio is interesting in that their towns don't bleed into each other like they do in Oklahoma. OKC basically engulfs Moore, even stretches all the way down to Norman. You can't not be in a city for a long, long time in the metro. Here, there are medium to big cities/towns and then nothing in between. Very strange.

That said, it sets the stage for lots and lots of rural routes and state highways and well maintained two-lane roads.

I can't begin to express how much fun that was for me. We were off the interstate for 45 minutes-ish, meandering through the countryside. We saw apple orchards, in fact the apple orchard that was featured at our fancy Cleveland restaurant The Flying Fig, corn fields, soy bean fields, legion of vertical gas wells, old barns, farmhouses, hills, plains, trees, and trees, and trees.

Views that made me want to get out and walk that entire route with a camera in hand.

No traffic, no road rage, no frustration for other drivers, the 14 year old driving the tractor notwithstanding, no jockeying for position on the road. Just laughs, smiles and wide eyes.

The highlight had to have been cresting a little hill/curve to be greeted with the only oncoming traffic we encountered- ye olde horse and buggy! A lovely little Amish mother with her under five Amish-ette. Obviously I have seen loads of Amish in NE Ohio, and at the Ag Fair there were some buggies hither and yon, but to see one on a road as we zoomed by in a Passat was somehow a little bit more magical for me.

We finally got back on the disgustingly grey, concrete and anti-magical highway and made it to Cinci, which a lovely little city, like New York, but smaller, cleaner and with fewer pedestrians, and had a super deluxe, fabulous time at the game.

Can't wait for our next adventure.
Best life ever.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Life is good; then again, I do have the best life ever...

That said, it is not without bumps in ye olde road (I really love superfluous Es at the ends of words). Three major-minor or minor-major incidents include (in order of occurence) Chief Wampum, Explorocat and That's What You Get.

Chief Wampum- One, of the legion, of the things that has to be done when moving cross country is to find new services; such as a new salon/barber. I started where anyone my age starts: google. Salon E (terrible name=red flag?) had an excellent review and has been around for several decades and it is a father/daughter business; good idea, right?


Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I arrive home after a self-induced annoyingly impotent attempt to set up natural gas service to find my buddy freshly- and closely- shorn. As he turned to flee my yuck, that had resulted from driving to the wrong address (oddly, Salon E's) I saw the scalping of 2010. Ernie's daughter, remember owner/operator father/daughter team, hereafter to be known as Chief Wampum is, how shall I say it... oh, I know: TERRIBLE at her job.

Rather than cutting his hair- like Calley did, with actual scissors- she, Chief Wampum used electric trimmers. Think about what Ron Artest did to his hair in the playoffs, the razor designs. Now think about how that looks when it is unintentionally done.

My angst and yuck was such that I told my buddy to saddle up, as we were immediately and directly heading to Salon E. He had no idea there was a problem, Chief Wampum had neglected to show him the back of his head. RED FLAG!

Upon entering the receptionist had a curiously confused face to see my buddy so soon after his haircut, a word which here means scalping, until I spun him around to show her the hack job and explained that he hadn't seen the damage yet. Receptionist takes us back to Chief Wampum, Chief Wampum shows him his brutally bad cut (meanwhile receptionist has already pulled cash for his full refund), trying to explain "that's where the bones are." No, that is where your lack of ability and integrity are. See ya Salon E!

Explorocat- Cats don't like change. The really don't like being drugged two days in a row and driven cross country to be plopped down in a creaky, old house that has had a barrage of activity in it. Mali really doesn't like that. In the interest of her safety we kept this indoor/outdoor feline friend confined to the innards of 1733. Then last Saturday she snuck out the slow-to-close back door, but came back within 20 minutes. So when she wanted out later that evening I happily complied. And when we left for dinner (walking trip) and she was posted up on Jeepy we thought, good work Mali!

But then she was gone.

The next day she was gone. All told she was MIA for about 30 hours. Maybe more, I haven't really done the math on that. Monday morning she appeared before we went to work, which is good because my internal panic meter was beginning to rise like Shuttle Endeavour. Hopefully that was a one-off and we'll not lose her again.

That's What You Get- Super cute little house came with stove and mickey mike, but no fridge. Craigslist, which is where we found super cute little house, found us a fridge for $200 (including delivery). It is used, big, white and ugly. The antithesis of what we had at the manse, but it keeps food cold and arrived day 2 of Ohio and those were both high on the priority list.

So, I was placing the lodge skillets and stainless steel pan on top of the fridge when the stainless lid slipped off, fell behind the fridge, hitting lord knows what (I know what it hit- I'm just trying to build suspense) just as the fridge sparked and died.

I called Jon, fridge salesman, and he informed me that as it was an as-is sale, he didn't know what the problem was nor did he care. It's fine. I called Terry instead. I don't know Terry, at least I didnt' at the time, but we had a good chat as I was preparing dinner for my buddy and myself and he was fixing the chill chest. Turns out the lid slid between the plug and outlet causing it to trip the breaker. No worries there.

However, Terry did point out several fridge offenses. Ranging from annoying, lazy, improper and illegal. Great. Oh well, it was a $200 fridge, and it isn't actually broken- yet.

These minor-major or major-minor (I can't decide which more accurately describes the semi-severity of the aforementioned scenarios) moments are the taxes in my paycheck. Unavoidable, yucky, but a small part of the best life ever.