Forecast for the Future

"Every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself. The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late. 

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not that far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Ja, Das ist so cool": Updates From Deutschland on Slang Editorial

Father chasing after son in Julie Mehretu Studios

Berlin Photos and nonsense here:

And in a few days, much more here:

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Greetings from Deutschland!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Yum

I celebrated my re-entry into meat world with a feast for the ages on Sunday, as Amy and I brought some of our friends together for a wonderful Easter dinner.

We at: bourbon-glazed ham, gruyere-asparagus tart, scalloped potatoes, candied carrots, string bean-bleu cheese-walnut-cranberry salad, and herbed potatoes, plus a dessert of carrot cake and cupcakes. It was absolutely wonderful. YUMMMMM.

Neither of us had ever baked a ham before, so we were surprised how well it came out. The ham was a fully-cooked butt end and t glaze Amy used was mixture of bourbon, dijon, orange juice, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder and honey. The ham took about two hours to cook and Amy had to take it and re-glaze every 30 min over the two hours. But, wow, was it worth it!

Here are some photographs (more available on Flick here):

Amy and Kathleen peel and slice potatos.

Amy readies the scallop scream as the carrots simmer.

I prepare the surprise hit gruyere-asparagus tart

Surveying the landscape

I attempt to carve a ham for the first time in my life (minor FAIL)


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meatfree Week End... Meat On The Horizon

So I finished up my last two days of vegetarianism with relatively little fanfare.

I brought my lunch to work on Friday: peanut butter and jelly, cucumber with sesame dressing, leftover cous cous. Healthy/cheap/meatless. Yum. For dinner I had two slices of pizza and that was that.

Saturday was kind of a sad day, at least in the beginning. Eating-wise it was fine--I had a banana, some oatmeal and pizza. A not very dramatic way to end a week without meat, but that's fine. Human-wise, however, Saturday began in shit as I went on the most pathetic ill-fated bike ride with my bro Mike. As late as Friday night, the weather report kept telling us that it was going to rain late Friday night and early Saturday, but be wrapped up by 10am, so Mike and I thought we'd be good to go for a decent day of great riding--we were even getting all hopeful we could do a full 70 and ride to Nyack.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be: when I got up at 8 it was raining lightly and the weather report was now saying to expect rain until 4pm or so. We went out anyway, with the thought of maybe just doing a few Prospect Park loops to see how we were feeling, but it just began to rain harder as we left and get colder and windier. After one loop we both gave up in disgust and headed home, sopping wet and freezing cold. It was a sad let-down, and I felt so miserable that I opted to do nothing for the rest of the day. The sun did finally come out around 5 and warmed things up, but by then it was too late. I could have gone out for a ride this morning to make up for it, but we ended up hosting an after-party at Casa 604 following the Pants Yell/Knight School show at Dead Herring and I got incredibly wasted and didn't go to sleep until 6am or so. And since it was Easter today and we planned to have people over for dinner in the afternoon my window was closed. Oh well. But. Meat. On. The. Horizon....

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday: Eggplant & Artichoke Extraordinaire

Baked artichoke hearts and dill-mayo dip

Today I finally brought my lunch with me, happily both saving me dollars and bringing me food joy. I brought some leftover portobello-asparagus pasta and some arugula with a small amount of dressing stored in a tincture jar formerly containing stepdad's homemade Elderberry extract. A healthy and frugal 'yum'.

Far more exciting than that though was dinner tonight, which was prepared largely by Amy and shared with our colleague and joymaker Jayson Greene.

As you can see from the photo above, dinner consisted of: grilled eggplant, steamed chard with white beans and red pepper flakes, peppered cucumber slices, and grilled pitas (seasoned with olive oil and pepper).

I continually marvel at the creativity and general excellence of my sister as a cook. Mom, you did a pretty great job. A .500 average ain't the worst thing in the world, right?

It will be a curious way to wrap this week up by eating a secular Easter ham on Sunday.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday: Pesto Perfection

Last night we followed up the great meals of Monday and Tuesday with another delicious one, this time prepared by Lil Beaumont with help from our two dads:

Stepdad Rick's pesto on spaghetti, with grilled asparagus, and salad featuring Real Dad's balsamic vinaigrette/dijon mustard/agave nectar** simple dressing.

As you can see on the left, a handful of the asparagus are wrapped and skewered in something pink--yep, that's some nice hot cappicola! Which I'm sure tasted great, though I wouldn't know it since I consumed only the "naked" asparagus below. Really. 

And there we are. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top and add some fresh italian bread with butter and pepper and you've got a table of "yum".

Deep Thoughts With Jack Handey...
The constant satisfaction I've experienced in eating this week sans meat serves as a reminder of the great difference (to me) between being vegan and being vegetarian. 

During last year's Hyperliving week of veganism (almost exactly one year ago, actually), I felt like every meal I consumed was some kind of grand compromise: a tactile exercise is maximizing potential flavor quotients while working on more or less "stone soup" principles... As if each meal were a mile marker on a journey toward the freedom of eventually being able to eat animal products again. 

For me, vegetarianism is nothing like that--it's simply an absence of a group of products from an otherwise normal diet. Other than occasionally going, "Oh, guess I can't eat that cappy", I feel like life is only minimally impacted. I'm sure in any kind of long haul I would miss bacon and burgers, but no where nearthe sense of loss, sadness, and emptiness I would feel over eliminating pizza, cheese, yogurt/ice cream/shakes and so forth. Or at least, so I think.

Anyway, onward march.

** Normally you would use maple syrup rather than agave, which would make this dressing that much better, but I killed the last of the maple at the end of my fast

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Tuesday: Portobello-Asparagus Penne Salad

Again, as I stated for Monday's entry, I forgot to make my lunch on Tuesday and so I ate greasy pizza for lunch. Oh well.

But for dinner it was another story--I invited Cabbie M over and made a lovely Portobello-Asparagus Penne Salad consisting only of the following items:

* 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
* 1 bunch fresh asparagus, tough ends removed
* 2 tomatoes, quartered
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 pound penne pasta, cooked
** Seasoning, recipe follows
** 1 teaspoon salt
** 2 teaspoons dried oregano
** 1 onion sliced
** 2 cloves garlic powder
** 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
** 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

It was a great meal and we were all satisfied. I followed it up with some Espresso Chip ice cream for dessert.

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Monday: Falafel

I lead off by saying that unfortunately I have forgetten to make my lunch each day this week (like i said, really annoying week) so each day I have eaten two slices of pizza for lunch. Not all that healthy, but at least obeying the rules.

And as far as dinner goes, I've stayed relatively on track. After Sunday's uber-blah and unnecessarily eaten gluten-free pasta dinner, I knew I needed some real food satiation on Monday night, and thankfully Lil Beaumont was ready to bring it with some mediterranean food.

Homemade falafel and tzadziki, cous cous, salad, and pita... wow. Amy did a great job and it tasted so amazingly good. Her falafel was very impressive and the tzadziki reminded me of how much I love the cool mix of cucumbers and yogurt.

And how about cucumbers solo for that matter! For whatever reason I hated cucumbers as a kid--despite loving dill pickles--and it was only three or four years ago before I finally started enjoying them. But now, man, sliced cukes in a bowl with a little vinaigrette and some cracked black pepper--yum! I followed up dinner with a snack of this nature (to be repeated later in the week as well).

I then topped it all off with some freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice. When Amy moved in last year, she brought along her depression-style juicer. Lately I have been buying grapefruits and just squeezing them with the juicer and then drinking the freshness. One grapefruit usually yields one 8-10 oz. glass or so of some very thick and rich juice--you could surely cut it with some water too to stretch it out a bit. It's kind of an expensive way to drink juice, but it tastes GREAT, is natural and is also just kinda fun to put a little elbowgrease into working for food.

Not missing meat yet at all actually.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Meat / Life Wedgie

So, yes, I have continued upholding the "rules" and have gone meatless this week... and perhaps just coincidentally I'm also having a grumble-grumble week for the ages.

Right now it feels like just about everything sucks, and I feel like I'm sucking at just about everything. Beyond feeling out of sorts, there are a great many things on my plate that I need to accomplish and I feel like I'm unable to concentrate enough to make headway on any of them. If you happen to someone I'm leading down right now, sorry bro/dude/darling--I'm working on it.

In a strange way, I realize that what it all really amounts to is a silly kind of "life wedgie"--I'm struggling to focus on the tasks at hand because I feel uncomfortable and discontented with some aspect of my life and brain is choosing to focus on the distraction rather than step back, take a deep breath, and just keep on doing what needs to be done. My brain is unfortunately frustratingly well-trained in these arts, and this is a problematic state of mind that I've encountered before (though I do not believe I've considered the wedgie analogy before now). But I know that it is ultimately up to me to re-map a new course for better success, and I'm trying.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

"Seek a recipe antidote poke g, ebony"

Yes, Food month.

This week I am vegetarian. I will write more in reporting over the next few days when I have time, but I am looking forward to this week a lot and hope to cook a few nice new things. Yum.

Note: avoid rice spaghetti unless you have a gluten allergy.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Is Here: First Real Sunburn of 2009

The years may change, but one thing always stays the same: I am a fair-ass motherfucker with constant farmer's tan.

Oh yes. Just woke up from a three hour, exhaustion-and-excessive-sun induced nap. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL today, mid 60s and sunny, and my bikebro Mike and I went out for a 62 mile ride to Piermont, NY; arriving there via 59 St bridge to Geo. Washington Bridge, plus one loop around the Edgewater state park, and then back home via the same route minus Edgewater loop.

It was great, the first "real" ride of the year. I'm happiest to report that, despite waking up this morning with sore thighs and feeling like I could hardly imagine riding more than 10 miles today, by forcing myself to get out there on the open road and let go, I ended up getting loose and feeling truly great. I felt like I could have gone another 10 miles before calling it quits even.

But of course, it was a lot of work and coupled with five hours of sun, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home. And Oh, the sun! As you can see from the photo above, five hours of riding in the sun without sunblock lead to one gnarly-ass sunburn on my arms. In the vanity department, I at least tried to roll up the sleeves of my shirt but clearly that mostly did not accomplish much other than to make my soon-to-be-farmer's tan somewhat odd and patchy. But whatever! It was a great great day and I am feeling holla-tastic.

Also, on the "Goal to 1500" front: I have now ridden 340 miles in the threee weeks since March 14 (120/week), and at close to this pace I should hit 1500 before July I think. Looking forward to revising that goal to something more as the months approach.



Note: below you can see "HOME" and "Piermont, NY" as part of today's ride.

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