Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Gina Myers listed Diary of When Being With Friends Feels Like Watching TV as one of her best books of 2011.
And Joshua Ware was lovely enough to list Laked, Fielded, Blanked by Brooklyn Copeland, just out from my very own alice blue books.
And then Nathan Logan listed Your Trouble is Ballooning as one of his best books of 2011, alongside A Minetta Gould's Arousing Notoriety and Brooklyn Copeland's Laked, Fielded, Blanked.
It's an honor and a privilege and a whole lotta flattery. Thank you all!
Monday, December 19, 2011
This gave me the opportunity to try the many and varied kinds of fried fish options available. We tried the cod, catfish, and salmon. They were out of the halibut (for which I've been told I needs must return) and I half wish we'd tried the oysters (because oysters are freaking awesome).
Let me just say this: Hands down the best Fish & Chips so far. And what's more? It wasn't the catfish, which was good but the fishy flavor overpowered the batter. It wasn't the salmon, because the post-battering, the whole experience was just a bit rich. It was, to my surprise, the less adventurous cod. But the fish was fresh. The batter was fried to a perfect, goldeny crisp that left a slightly oily residue on your fingers, even as it burned a little (fresh from the fryer). The batter was also lightly seasoned. Something so simple, and yet it made for absolute deliciousness--that slight touch of salt.
Their fries are also hand cut and fried. Real, mother bleeping french fries. Just as hot and fresh as the fish.
And what's more! You have a bunch of sauces to choose from. We got the lemon aioli, traditional tartar, and curry ketchep. I must say that the plain ol tartar was my favorite, chalk full of fresh dill and thus, bright tasting. But the lemon aioli was certainly a close second, I think made with lemon zest.
What I will say I was sad about: the fish wasn't served with a lemon.
It seems kinda gripey, I know, but I'm much more likely to eat my fish with just a touch of fresh lemon than, say, vinegar.
Still, if that's the biggest complaint... I don't know... I just didn't have many complaints.
And who knows, maybe the halibut is better. I know I'll be back.
From what I've heard, pretty much the only places I really, really need to check out are Sunfish in West Seattle, the Red Mill Totem House in Ballard (who kept the original Totem House fish & chips on lock), and I think Anthony's Home Port & Ray's Boathouse.
Not a big list. But one I look forward to immensely.
ps, (I have one from Old Town Alehouse to post too. It was up there on my favorite overall experience...that is until I had Pike Street)
pps, I'm ditching the old format. It's easier for me to write about food without those kinds of restrictions.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
It's been a long time since I ate there. The picture has been sitting on my camera for so long. I just don't feel confident enough to elucidate its various factors, but I remember liking it. Though it certainly wasn't mind blowing enough to make the top of my list. Kind of boring fries as I recall, and nothing special tartar, but I remember the fish & batter being better.
Still, enjoy the picture. Mmmm. Fish & Chips.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Candied Sweet Potatoes:
1/3 c butter, chilled, cubed
¼ c brown sugar
3-4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, chilled, cubed
½ c rolled oats
¼ c butter, chilled, cubed
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c crushed pecans
Preheat the oven to 375. Place sweet potatoes in pie plate or casserole dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and butter. Cook in oven for approximately 35 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are carmelized. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, combine the crisp ingredients in a bowl and fork together until evenly combined. When the sweet potatoes have candied, spread the crisp topping over the top and cook for approximately 10 more minutes or until the butter has melted and the oats have become golden and crisp.
I also suggest getting a thing of local whipping cream and whipping up some whipped cream. Don't add sugar, however. It's all the better without.
(Sorry for forgetting a picture. I'll add one later as I plan to make it again for Thanksgiving.)
Monday, October 24, 2011
Batter: Again, traditional Fish & Chips. But definitely the best so far. Crispy and not too greasy. A fairly light batter. I have no doubt that this is fish from a bag, but I feel like I must still take into account the preparation, and the Sloop, in all of its divey glory, still did it better than plenty of other places.
Fries: I was at the Sloop with a friend. He was certain that the fries were from a bag, but they seasoned them at the pub. I disagreed. That they were most certainly entirely delivered, and they just dumped them in the fryer. We asked our bartender/server, and he was on my side. And you know what? I didn't mind. They were pretty tasty. And asking for anything more at The Sloop, a sailing bar that prides itself on not being pretentious, well then you're asking too much.
Tartar: This was the most dill pickley tartar I think I've ever had. My companion said: "Oh! I might like it then."
and Slaw (if available): It was ok. Not overdressed. Not particularly stunning either.
The food at the Sloop is all under $8 or something. Priced ridiculously low. And even given that, I think this was one of my most enjoyable Fish & Chips experiences. The company was good, first of all, and we were watching awesome football. Ok. Maybe not totally awesome football because I watched the Seahawks lose. Again. But still, for the price, I'd totally get their F&C again, which I probably wouldn't say about most of the other places on the tour to-date. Sloop wasn't my favorite, but it was a plenty enjoyable experience for some basic, no nonsense, Fish & Chips.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Batter: Double eh with a touch of too greasy.
Fries: I started going to P&P for their sweet potato fries, but let me tell you, their standard fries are kinda gross. Straight from a bag, potato mush in the center, and blah blah blah. What a waste.
Tartar: I tried it. I remember thinking that it wasn't terrible. But I don't remember finding it particularly memorable.
and Slaw (if available): I actually liked their slaw. It was alright. But maybe that was only in comparison to the rest of it.
I guess you could say that I found it altogether unmemorable. But oh well, it is all about the Pies & Pints at Pies & Pints. Their savory pies are soooo good.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Fish: When it came out, quickly, steaming, a bit glistening, looking crispy and light, I was pretty goddamned excited. I can't lie about that. I mean look at it. It looks glorious, right? Unfortunately, the fish just kind of disappeared inside the batter. It's not that it was bad, just that it wasn't great.
Batter: Like I said, it looks glorious. Unfortunately, it turned out not quite how it looks. Rather than light, heavy and greasy. Rather than crisp, soggy. And what's more, the batter was just kind of bland.
Fries: Let me say one thing to start this off: Beer Batter. Whaaaa??? Yeah, that's right. They beer batter their french fries. And that was a damned fine idea. It offered the fries that little something extra, something subtle, a kick. I would totally go back for the fries.
Tartar: I remember saying, "Hm. Pickles." Which I kind of like in a tartar sauce. But I wouldn't say it was outstanding. I'm pretty sure it's like any other tartar you could get at the store. Maybe a high-end store-bought tartar sauce.
and Slaw (if available): I think I liked their slaw better than any yet. It was light, not sopping, and let the cabbage flavor come through over its dressing. I say: Huzzah!
I have avoided going to The Loft since my first experience, when I walked in on Football Sunday and found HORDES of people. And not just people, those douchey frat boy types that I hate watching football with. In one instant, I thought I had the place figured out. However, coming back at brunch time, for college football, I thought my mind had been changed. (That was, until the WAZZU game started and brought in the exact kind of riffraff I was trying to avoid).
My point being, I probably wouldn't come back for the Fish. I probably wouldn't come back for the ambiance. I might come back for the french fries and their somewhat killer happy hour.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
"The wordplay, even letterplay, of "someone's anemone" is part of a complex score that spans the entire chapbook."
Read Gregg Murray's complete review of Brooklyn Copeland's "Laked, Fielded, Blanked" here: http://coldfrontmag.com/reviews/chap-nook-5-lerner-copeland-goetz
The chapbook is, of course, available at alice blue books.
much love, my people
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Anyway... the point of this little tale (besides rubbing in how awesome my life is), is that the Elysian Brewery was a recommended stop on my Seattle Fish & Chips Tour. Unfortunately, I forgot to snag a pic. Still, here are the stats:
Fish: It was a little heavier than I would like, and very mild flavored. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly striking either.
Batter: Golden, crispy, not too greasy, but bland. I mean, I tried this fish in waves. There was an initial bite, which left little to be desired. Again, not to say it was unpleasant, it just wasn't particularly desirous. So then I squeezed the lemon, which did little to persuade me. So then I tried it with the vinegar, and still nothing. The tartar (which I will get to in a moment) was the saving grace. Ultimately, it was just like the fish needed some seasoning. or, it's the perfect pallat for a tartar lover.
Fries: So. Good. These are like the "joe" style fry, again, or as my friends' called them: steak fries. I wouldn't call them the traditional steak fry since they were more wedge shaped than what I would consider a steak fry. But these were flavorful, not too greasy, crispy on the outside with light potato-y goodness on the inside. I think these fries with the Hale's fish would make the ultimate fish & chips. Maybe they should work together?
Tartar: Ok, so I will admit that I am not the biggest tartar fan. In fact, pretty much the only time I dig into tartar sauce is with the Fish & Chips, but in that instance, I love tartar sauce. Elysian's tartar sauce, however, was delicious on it's own merits. I wouldn't say it was particularly dill-y, no strong lemon or vinegar flavors, but it was creamy and it was not bland at all. The flavors all subtly combined--some dill, some lemon & vinegar, but perfectly blended.
and Slaw (if available): No slaw offered.
Perhaps one day I'll go back and take a picture. But honestly, their pulled pork sandwich with horseradish slaw looked more inspiring.
On a more exciting note, the beers that I had while there (despite missing the Rhubarbarella), were awesome. I had the Idiot Sauvin, made from New Zealand Nelson Sauvin Hopps. It was nice, citrusy, fragrant. And then I had the Jasmine IPA, which had a light floral taste, but not too strong. Good for me because floral flavors can often overpower for me.
Altogether a productive adventure.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
When thinking of my brunch options, tons of places came to mind, but I wanted my friend to have her choice. I suggested some of my favorites: Cafe Presse (for the croque madame), Cafe Flora, Toulouse Petit, the Hi-Life. I sent her to their websites, to their menus. In the end, she chose Toulouse Petit, and who was I to argue? It was a weekday and their menu is half-off for weekday brunch. She got the salmon & asparagus omelett with gruyere.
I got the Duck & Pistachio Benedict:
It's even better than it looks, I'll tell you. The duck wasn't greasy, but was light, spicy, rich. The holindaise sauce was awesome. The potatoes crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside--their spice nicely balanced. I've been there before, a couple times. I've always done the Pork Cheek Confit (which is excellent). This was too. The Omelett, which I got to try, was also fantastic. I think I'll have to keep expanding on my Toulouse tasting.
It was a bit heavy, so we walked about 15 miles through downtown Seattle, to Pike Place Market, and then along Elliot Bay, the SAM's Sculpture Garden. We didn't want anything too snappy for dinner that day, but she did want Fish & Chips before she left. So I took her to Hale's Ales where I think, so far, live Seattle's Best Fish & Chips.
Parmesan & Panko Crusted Rock Fish with Seasoned Potatos. Also witness the Hale's Amber Cream Ale, and the Snoqualmie Stout Cream Ale.
I have to say that these Fish & Chips were much better than the Fish & Chips at the Lockspot Cafe, which were named the Best Fish & Chips in Seattle. Lockspot had good fish, no doubt. But the breading was falvorless and a little mushy, the fries were nothing special, and the tartar sauce was actually so boring I wouldn't eat it. It did nothing for the fish.
This little experiment has inspired me to commence a Fish & Chips of Seattle Tour with the flavor, freshness, and consistency of the following items taken into consideration: Fish, Batter, Fries, Tartar, and Slaw (if available).
Fish--it was light, but not bland, and sort of fell apart and melted in your mouth. Outstanding.
Batter-- excellent flavor from the parmesan & panko crust, but it didn't stick to the fish as much as I would have liked letting the fish sort of fall apart on the plate. But totally worth it for the taste. You didn't need, or really even want, to tamper it with tartar or vinegar. Nice with a touch of lemon.
Fries--I'm not going to lie, these aren't mindblowing. The seasoning is good, but not great. They are more like Joes than fries.
Tartar--Really good, sweet and tart dill flavor.
Slaw--Not mindblowing, but ignorable.
Ultimately, I think it's worth it just for the fish.
PS, we earned the Fish & Chips with another long day of walking, this time around the zoo. See the adorable Sloth Bear:
Training was a bit of a maelstrom. As often happens to me, it seemed as though the universe was conspiring against me. My bike broke down on two long rides. I got really sick for about 1.5 weeks right before the actual ride, thereby not getting a chance to do the 75 mile ride I was suppsoed to do. On ride day, I was super nervous. I felt unprepared. And looking around the site, I felt like my equipment was all wrong. I did not have a 3000 bike, clip pedals, and I was rocking full saddle bags instead of a tiny underseat pouch.
But, you know, you do what you do. And the first 50 miles flew by--I mean, literally. 3.5 hours of rolling hills and beautiful vistas. Every 12 miles, a rest stop with PB&J and water refills and fruit. A total cinch! Plus, the 50 mile marker ended at a rest stop with fresh, local pie, next to a big open farm of baby Alpacas! The picture didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped...but it was hard to get a good pic with the sun and the giant distance I had to cover. Still. Baby Alpacas!
Unfortunately, the first 50 was the easy 50. Rolling hills be damned. At least the weather was still cool, and the hills were rolling instead of vertical.
After pie, shit got real.
You ride, unprotected from the blazing sun, on windy roads through horse, cow, and goat fields. Pretty? Yes. But man was it hot. And immediately after that, you start your first real hill. The introduction isn't too bad, but it does take you to decision time. Do you go straight and do 85 miles? Or do you turn left for the 15 mile loop to Snoqualmie Falls. I have to say, I considered taking the easy route, but thankfully I was riding with a nice guy who basically told me to buck up. And I'm glad I did. It was pretty easy at first, slight downhill most of the way until you hit the monster climb up to Snoqualmie Falls. It brought me a lot of joy to know that my first time to the falls I rode my bike:
Twin Peaks, yo!
But the hill climb tanked my legs. I stopped, drank water, stretched lightly. But after a short, but fun downhill, I still had that slight incline back to the fork in the road. And, what's worse, the hill that follows. I had to stop to stretch before I got to the fork in the road. And then I turned left, my legs like weighted hams below me trying to pedal. And this is where the biggest hill in the whole ride happens. I can't say I mastered this climb. I did crest it, eventually. And I did it faster than the people I started it with. But I had to stop a few times to drink water and stretch. There was one point where I considered crying it hurt so much. But I didn't. I didn't walk up any of it. I didn't give up. I got to the top and made it to the next rest stop where I took a long, long break. I stopped for about 30 minutes, drinking lots and lots of water, stretching, eating, stretching, water, etc. And after that I felt great. After that I finished strong. The last 25 miles were almost easier than the first 50. Partly because a lot of it was downhill, and then a lot of it was flat.
The moment of pride came at the last rest stop, where they had refreshing strawberry shortcake. I engaged in some rest stop chatter with two people who I had basically kept pace with the whole day (I saw them at most of the rest stops). And they couldn't believe how fast I was having never done a ride like this before, and in converse! Apparently they saw me ahead of them in the front 50 and were trying to catch up but just couldn't. And I finished strong and then I drank some beer, and then I went home and passed out on my couch. A total success.
Next challenge? Fiddle lessons. I got the violin and the bow sitting next to me as we speak.
Monday, August 8, 2011
"Nelson's half, in turn, folds and unfolds language in a long poem-series of eight numbered sections of four parts each, testing reasoned argument against colloquial play..."
You can read the full review HERE.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
A quick snapshot of the delicious smoothie, previously mentioned:
This sunday, to celebrate Sarah's completion of the GRE, and my 75 miles on the bike (over 2 days), we went to the Noble Fir to drink our favorite dry cider, the Julien, and devour some small plates. Pictured here, from left: Seasalt & Honey Cheddar, St Andre Triple Cream, Marinated Artichokes, Lentil-Sage Field Roast, & Duck Pate.
Not kidding when we say it's our favorite cider. For three people, we left with two growlers full, and then a growler of one of my favorite beers (Russian River's Damnation):
And finally, the best Mac I've ever had, let alone made:
If you want to try it at home (and I think you do):
Boiled the shells in salted water until done, and put pan baking pan. Toss with olive oil.
In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Put diced onions and minced garlic into the pan and soften. Toss in sliced mushrooms til they soften. Add broccoli florets and cook briefly, until al dente. Then add sliced prociutto.
For the kicker, you add chevre into the saucepan. Stir, on heat, until the chevre melts into a cream concoction, coating the veggeis. Pour the whole filling over the noodles. Mix it in with the noodles so the filling and noodles have even dispersal. Then top with shredded Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago (or some other such cheese). Bake in oven at 350 for approximately 10 minutes. (I used this time to do the dishes, of which there were very few. )
After it's done baking, scoop some onto a plate, and sprinkle a little cracked black pepper.
This meal, meant to simultaneously fuel me up the week before the century, and be super cheap after spending too much money at The Noble Fir, ended up being not only the best Mac N Cheese that I've ever made, but that I've ever had. On top of it all, it cost $18 to make for about 6 servings. $3/meal=awesome.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I should mention, here, that I have never been one to grill. I've eaten what others have grilled, but my experience is super-limited.
Anyway, I subscribe to this pork blog because pig is awesome and they had this recipe that sounded amazing. So when my friend Sarah tells me that she's craving ribs, I think to myself "self... it's time to make some ribs."
Starting with their recipe, I did some modifications.
Instead of spare ribs, I got a rack of regular old pork ribs. I smothere the ribs with my own dry rub was an ad-hoc but spicy concoction. I used Cayenne, Chili Powder, Seasalt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper. It was pretty heavy on the Cayenne & Chili Powder and it had some serious kick when I licked it off my finger.
I let the ribs sit in the fridge for a bit longer than a day, letting all the dry rub flavors really dig their talons into the meat.
For the most part, I followed the bbq sauce recipe to a T... 1 c. Ketchup, some maple syrup, I used a red chili pepper hot sauce--but I threw in a bit more than was suggested. Maybe 1 or 2 tbsp... and I put in a whole tsp of the cayenne. I also skipped the smoke flavoring because I don't much care for smoke flavored things (with the exception of smoked salmon and smoked trout...and the naturally occuring smoky flavor from charcoal grilling).
For the cooking, I skipped the suggested baking time. (Mostly because I thought the ribs were only cooked in the oven and I really wanted mine grilled.) I put them on the grill without any bbq sauce for a while, with the lid on, letting them cook pretty slowly, further fementing those dry rubs flavors. then I put the bbq sauce on and let them cook a bit more quickly.
They turned out delicious. Tender, juicy, spicy. I wouldn't change a thing.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Most weeks, at least once a week (usually Thursdays), I go over to a friend's house to eat, drink, and watch something--usually ridiculous. We started with Riff Trax. And then when Game of Thrones happened, we watched that. Now we've moved onto Rome.
When Game of Thrones started, we started making food from the Game of Thrones blog. With Rome, we have been eating and drinking Italian. But this week we decided to skip the theme since one of our peeps was out of town. I've been wanting to try something I got from Bread and Jam for Frances with some slight modifications. Here is her version.
Now here's mine:
Endives with Egg Salad & Smoked Trout
3 Eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
Mayo (I used homemade-- 2 egg yolks, 3/4 cup veg oil, 1/5 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
Fresh Dill, chopped
1 Can Smoked Trout
Scoop Egg Salad into the Endives. Cover with chunks of smoked trout.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Anyway, with the Seattle Century around the corner, I've been focusing my diet on things rich in protein, lean, etc. So I've been eating a lot of smoothies for dinner. I have to say that I have mastered the smoothie (finally). First, you put the ice in (I use about 6-8 cubes) and crush. Then I had 1/4 cup juice and blend. Then 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1-2 spoonfulls of peanut butter. Then half a frozen banana and some frozen berries. You can use any fruit you like a smoothie flavored after. I like blackberry. It's sort of like a peanut butter and jelly smoothie. Delish!
But I haven't been eating smoothies every day and despite the crappy weather, the Ballard Market has managed to provide me with greens and radishes and beats and other delightful things. And Seafood Fest gave me a whole salmon at $2/pound. Ridiculous pricing. I wish I had gotten pictures of the whole deboning process (which I mangled). But all of these things together have given me some super fresh dinners.
After deboning the salmon, I marinated it in a dressing made with lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, thyme, salt & pepper. I cooked at low heat in the oven. The fish turned out super tender but I kind of overdid it with the lime. Still, doesn't it look pretty? The medjool dates were a wonderful addition. But I kind of think they always are.
The salmon being too tart ended up being kind of glorious because I turned some of the salmon into magnificent salmon salad sandwiches. I used a small amount of tartar in place of mayo, and then diced up radishes, carrots, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes, and threw in a pinch of my mom's zuchini relish. It was pretty much in my top 5 sandwiches of all time. And I wish I had a picture of that too.
A couple weeks ago, I house/dog sat for my parents. With the Century coming up, I didn't want to give up a weekend training ride so I brought my bike down with me. I sought out a ride with at least one big hill that would be about 40-45 miles. It turned out to be the most beautiful ride I have yet to do. The weather cooperated. And it was so smooth on a beautiful bike path, I rode through farm land, prairie, and right up the base of Mount Rainier. Almost the whole ride, I could see it shiny in the distance.
Then I got to feast off of strawberries from my mom's garden and a veggie pasta tossed lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.
It was simple, light, and totally rejuvenating after a long ride.
While I've been having my usual egg on toast for breakfast, and most often a smoothie for dinner of late, I have still be trying to cook something big each week to take for lunch. This week it was fried rice. I had one of those days where it just sounded so damned good. And I almost never cook rice (usually subbing quinoa for any situation where it would be appropriate). But I really wanted rice.
I started with jasmine rice (which I had to go out and buy since I don't keep it on hand). I put two cups in my steamer and let it go. Then let it sit for two nights. When the rice was ready, I pulled out my big frying pan (because I haven't yet bought a stinking wok) and put some olive oil in at medium heat and let it warm up. Then I tossed a diced walla walla onion and a mashed and chopped giant clove of garlic in the pan. I let them brown and soften slowly. Then I tossed in some diced mixed peppers (some red, yellow, and orange). I don't like it when my peppers get all mushy so I didn't leave them in too long. Then I doused them in hot chili sauce and soy sauce. I wanted to make sure there was a nice flavorful sauce. Here I added some baked tofu. I made sure they were nicely coated and warm and then, finally, tossed in the rice. I mixed and mixed until my arms were sore. That was a lot of rice. I mixed until the rice was fully coated and warm. Then I added peas and mixed. Then, I made a hole in the rice, dropped in an egg, and mixed until it was mixed and cooked.
It's maybe not the best fried rice I've ever made. Mostly because I really didn't care for the Trader Joes Baked Tofu. I really wanted the protein but I've picked around it and it's still pretty damned good.
I've also had a few failed attempts at homemade mayo. It turned out like mayo, but I haven't gotten the vinegar ratio like I like it. And I also made meringue because you only use the yolks when you make mayo, so you have to do something with the whites. What better than meringue, eh? Soon I might try my hand at marshmallow though.
Up next, and soon, tales of pork ribs on the barbie. Yum!
Monday, June 27, 2011
You can read it here: Lit Pub.
I also read an excerpt from Stacy Doris' new book, The Cake Part, available from Publication Studio. She's an amazing poet. Also check out her other books, like Paramour and Conference. Her new book, The Cake Part, is available from Publication Studio.
You can see some other totally awesome people read excerpts from the book as well.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to tell you that those spring rolls were awesome. You know, the ones I was talking about a couple weeks ago.
Shred (probably easiest in the food processor):
1 Sweet Potato
Chop: cucumbers, basil, fennel
stuff into rice paper and roll.
For the chili lime sauce: mix juice of fresh lime, bit o sriracha (to taste), bit o sugar (to taste)
I didn't use any vinegar in that chili lime sauce, but I would mos def put some seasoned rice vinegar in there to make it a bit more dressing like.
Still, they were fresh and delicious. Perfect for the oncoming warmer weather.
Monday, May 2, 2011
At one point, after eating the divine pez gato, I got up to go to the bathroom...which was just past the bar. Returning, twin flat screens divulged the news: Osama Bin Laden is dead. I return to the table, before sitting, and announce it to the table. "So... Osama Bin Laden is dead."
Everyone pulls out their smart phones-- I Phones, Androids, etc. "But it hasn't come up on my breaking news alert. Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Just saw Obama talking about it."
We discuss this matter briefly. People keep asking me if I'm sure. Finally, the breaking news alerts beep on their phones. Oh wow.
We are walking to the pub. There are singer-songwriters showcasing their wares. There are photos of Osama on the tv, Obama speaking. It's on closed captioning. Everyone else is talking about everything else.
Then we all see the footage of people celebrating at the capitol. Celebrating at Ground Zero-- all alight. It's like Mardi Gras. It's horrifying to witness. Hundreds of Thousands of people drinking vodka, miller high life, totally wasted...beads and cheering. How garish. How disturbing.
We talk about this briefly, too.
I can't stop turning around to watch the news. I feel bad for not feeling celebratory. It's my friend's birthday. He has gotten older. He exists, and I'm glad of that.
But I leave, early. I go home and read the news. I wake up and stream the news. I am in shock. I see facebook. Some people are celebrating a death. Some people are questioning this type of celebration.
I see these missives:
"Even in victory there is no beauty, and who boasts of victory is one who delights in slaughter. Who delights in slaughter will not succeed in unifying nations." -Lao TzuAfter witnessing so much joy in slaughter after Bin Laden's death, I was glad to see some people echo my own concerns. I take no delight in another man's death, no matter the atrocities he committed.
"I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee." - Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-5
I'm not sure if the right decision, when faced with the realities of the world, is to go home and face them alone, in your living room, reading the news. Or to stay out, with friends, and drink and celebrate what is good in life. Friends, music, life. But for now, I'm reading the news. Writing this post. And looking forward to my evening, where I'll sit with a friend, drink tea, and laugh.
Monday, April 25, 2011
It's the last day of Passover for Reform, so I had the blessed opportunity of sleeping in and leisurely sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee. Soon I'll head to the gym and then I think I'll spend the rest of the day at home reading. It's raining and a perfect day for such things. Plus I haven't been home much and Frankie has been clearly annoyed by that fact.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I have been going. And going. Thank you Slash Pine Festival for letting me read. For introducing me to new people who also happen to write poems. For your book table where I spent more than I made. And thanks, also, to If Not For Kidnap, in Portland, and its beautiful hosts for hosting me, and The Tumblers and their guitars, and the people from Boise who skyped in. Reading there was a great joy.
Now it's April. And if I see that it's "the cruelest month" in one more blog...gah...
Anyway... I've written a poem a day for the month of April for the last 3 years and this year I am doing it again. Sort of.
I'm writing fragments. Everyday. Sometimes just one. Sometimes multiple. In a notebook.
Usually, I do NaPoWriMo publicly. On this blog.
Usually, I write poems, whole.
Now, fragments. I think it's a product of the way I'm existing in time.
And that time is spent always going from one place to another.
My space is in motion.
I am also preparing to prepare for STP-- otherwise known as Seattle to Portland-- a long, long bike ride. Or, at least, that's a long bike ride for me. Now I'm preparing to regularly bike 2 hrs a day. And then even longer bike rides on the weekend. I'm most definitely not in shape for this.
Most definitely not.
But I'm looking forward to that shapeliness.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Both Your Trouble is Ballooning, and Diary of When Being With Friends Feels Like Watching TV are in print and available for purchase. Which is rad.
Brooklyn Copeland was kind enough to publish a poem of mine in her beautiful, hand-made lit chap Taiga which is available for purchase here. And you can read a short interview with me here. (And see a giant picture of my face.)
Also, I was interviewed for the poetry podcast "The Moe Green Discussion" and you can listen to it here. Or you can get it off itunes.
And finally, a selection from my sequence "Dutch Baby Combo" is being featured on No Tell Motel this week and I am super excited about it.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
from "The First Sally (A) OR Trurl's Electronic Bard"
by Stanislaw Lem
"Trurl had once had the misfortune to build an enormous calculating machine that was capable of only one operation, namely the addition of two and two, and that it did incorrectly. As is related earlier in this volume, the machine also proved to be extremely stubborn, and the quarrel that ensued between it and its creator almost cost the latter his life. From that time on Klapaucius teased Trurl unmercifully, making comments at every opportunity, until Trurl decided to silence him once and for all by building a machine that could write poetry. First Trurl collected eight hundred and twenty tons of books on cybernetics and twelve thousand tons of the finest poetry, then sat down to read it all. Whenever he felt he just couldn't take another chart or equation, he would switch over to verse, and vice versa. After a while it became clear to him that the construction of the machine itself was child's play in comparison with the writing of the program. The program found in the head of an average poet, after all, was written by the poet's civilization, and that civilization was in turn programmed by the civilization that preceded it, and so on to the very Dawn of Time, when those bits of information that concerned the poet-to-be were still swirling about in the primordial chaos of the cosmic deep. Hence in order to program a poetry machine, one would first have to repeat the entire Universe from the beginning—or at least a good piece of it."
"During the next two weeks Trurl fed general instructions into his future electropoet, then set up all the necessary logic circuits, emotive elements, semantic centers. He was about to invite Klapaucius to attend a trial run, but thought better of it and started the machine himself. It immediately proceeded to deliver a lecture on the grinding of crystallo-graphical surfaces as an introduction to the study of sub-molecular magnetic anomalies. Trurl bypassed half the logic circuits and made the emotive more electromotive; the machine sobbed, went into hysterics, then finally said, blubbering terribly, what a cruel, cruel world this was. Trurl intensified the semantic fields and attached a strength of character component; the machine informed him that from now on he would carry out its every wish and to begin with add six floors to the nine it already had, so it could better meditate upon the meaning of existence. Trurl installed a philosophical throttle instead; the machine fell silent and sulked. Only after endless pleading and cajoling was he able to get it to recite something: "I had a little froggy." That appeared to exhaust its repertoire. Trurl adjusted, modulated, expostulated, disconnected, ran checks, reconnected, reset, did everything he could think of, and the machine presented him with a poem that made him thank heaven Klapaucius wasn't there to laugh—imagine, simulating the whole Universe from scratch, not to mention Civilization in every particular, and to end up with such dreadful doggerel! Trurl put in six cliche filters, but they snapped like matches; he had to make them out of pure corundum steel. This seemed to work, so he jacked the semanticity up all the way, plugged in an alternating rhyme generator—which nearly ruined everything, since the machine resolved to become a missionary among destitute tribes on far-flung planets. But at the very last minute, just as he was ready to give up and take a hammer to it, Trurl was struck by an inspiration; tossing out all the logic circuits, he replaced them with self-regulating egocentripetal narcissistors. The machine simpered a little, whimpered a little, laughed bitterly, complained of an awful pain on its third floor, said that in general it was fed up, through, life was beautiful but men were such beasts and how sorry they'd all be when it was dead and gone. Then it asked for pen and paper."
... and so it continues.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
thomas patrick levy
dana guthrie martin
trey jordan harris
jenn marie nunes
P R O S E
katie jean shinkle
michael k meyers
Monday, February 7, 2011
See... I'm torn. And I think nobody has it quite right.
I agree that it sucks. The numbers are clear. More men are published. Not because there are more men writers. But they are.
But I think it's also possible that a lot of editors are simply choosing the work that they prefer.
However, how did they decide what they prefer?
Who decided what qualifies as "good?"
It's hard to deny that the standards for "quality" were decided by a patriarchy.
To deny that is to be kind of ignorant.
Does being a "good writer" by society standards mean writing "like a man"? And what does that mean?
I can't deny that I've noticed that, while not across the board, men and women write differently.
I don't necessarily know how to define that relationship.
I can't deny that I think it's rare for a man to write a certain kind of "pretty" poem. I would call them girl poems.
I am not saying that guys cannot or do not write pretty poems. They do. Often.
I think of my friend who got her MFA in Fiction. She frequently complained about the workshop. Her teachers were men. She was often the only female in the room. Occasionally one of two females in the room. She wrote in vignettes. They talked about "traditional narrative structure--introduction, complications, climax, denoument" and "craft" as though a story told in vignettes could not be crafted. They had a framework they were working from, a tradition, a set of hard and fast rules about what makes a story a "good" story. She talked about the female narrative structure-- like the female orgasm-- in waves.
I wrote a paper about a female writer line... in terms of Alice Notley, HD, Plath. We have a history too. It's often told in relational terms. (Notley in terms of Berrigan, HD in terms of Pound or Eliot or Freud, Plath in terms of Hughes). Female writers have patrons.
Yet I've been published. And most of my favorite living writers are women. And I know this to be true of many people. Man and woman alike.
As an editor, with another female editor, I find myself in constant battle. Forced to think about balance when we are making final decisions. Yet, I've rarely had to work to hard to come to a gender evenness in the poetry we publish. It's not always perfect, but it's usually quite balanced.
In prose, we have to work harder. Literally soliciting women writers we like because we can't find a piece by a woman in our submissions that we like. (What is the definition of "good" again... who defined what it means to be "good")
We get less prose submissions by women as well. That's simply a fact.
My fellow editor often complains that I ask her to try to find at least some female writing we would want to publish. "Do I have to?" she sighs. "Why do I have to?"
I feel like, as a feminist, we have to try to publish women. But also, it feels weirdly wrong to seek women out.
I don't even know how to begin making sure LBGTQ or various ethnic groups. I could be making the whitest magazine in the world and not even know it.
Perhaps editors should start asking for headshots with their submissions.
I'm going to start publishing only beautiful people. (What is beautiful? Is that what I see in magazines? Who "determined" beauty?)
I was talking to a few girlfriends the other day... we all agreed that Crispin Glover is among our favorite celebrity crushes. I remember him in that Charlie's Angels remake described as the "creepy thin man" or something like that.
Did you know that, etymologically, author stems from "to father."
I always wish I was the kind of person who automatically called somebody's partner their "partner"... but I usually call them husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend first... and then think, in my head, that I should have said partner. It is work, conscious work, for me to make that distinction.
But really, what I want, is a partner. Not a boyfriend. Not a husband. A partner.
What I really want from a piece of writing is a rising moment. Under my skin. In my organs. Something I can feel. Something that makes me breathe, or stop breathing. Something that makes me wait or stop or not be able to wait or stop. It should change me.
I want that from a partner too.
That's if it's great. Most things are probably just sort of good, or competent, and sometimes just plain good.
What makes a thing good?
I know it's not the gender/race/sexual preference of the one writing it.
But I know that still matters too.
If only because our gender/race/sexual preference changes the way we view the world.
Some of that, probably, has to do with language.
I think of my friend Kim Philley's article in the New York Times about love. She is an american white girl who got an MFA. Her boyfriend was a Nigerian professional soccer player. Language defined their relationship.
Do you speak differently to the different people you speak to? I do.
I read an article recently that said you can tell if the person you are talking to is sexually interested in you because they start to match their speech patterns and language choices.
My favorite poet of all time is a gay man. Does that make me better somehow? Does it matter that he's also white?
I know these are complicated issues.
I like to read delirious hem. I like them better for having also done delirious lapel.
Perhaps all the publishers in all the world should read everything without any indication on the piece who wrote it. Every editor should have 3 filters before the piece gets to them.
Or perhaps they should just be thoughtful. Or at least ask the question.
But people keep asking the question and it hasn't changed. This whole conversation happened already with Spahr and Young's "Number Trouble"-- and all the conversations that happened then. VIDA is doing the same thing. The numbers aren't really changing.
But it's true... I don't feel like I've struggled much as a writer due to being a woman.
Is it wrong to admit that I'm tired of poems about being a mom?
I might change my mind with the right poem.
Then again, I don't want to be a mom at all.
Does that make it different?
I have to admit that I think the most important thing as an editor is to publish the work that you like.
I just don't think it means that the other stuff doesn't matter. Meaning: who you choose to publish. That says something about a journal. (Or magazine, or whathave you.)
I want to be the kind of person who thinks about it. Not as a way of deciding what goes into an issue, but after the issue is decided. What is it that brought these authors to me? What is it that brought these pieces out from the slush pile and into my journal? What made them "good"?
Do I like writing by women? By men? By a wide swath of the human population? Do I like writing in a variety of styles?
I think I do.
I read every issue I publish after it's out in the world. I try to see if my view of these pieces change. If I still love them like I did in my inbox. What does the rest of the world see?
There is a definite vision for alice blue, I think. A single issue seems to exude a "style"... like smelling eucalyptus if you walk near it's tree. But if you read it from Issue 1 I think it moves. I hope it's open, and opens--
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
It takes two buses to get to work in the morning. From my sleeply little neighborhood, I go to UW where I pick up my next bus. The people who ride this particular bus are traveling to Woodinville, right in the neighborhood of all those software moguls (ie, Microsoft). I get off well before that. My bus driver, however, cracks me up. Most days he’s rather quiet but sometimes he ends up chatting with a fellow passenger. One morning, I heard him discussing language paradigms. This morning, he waxed philosophical about “intention” because a college aged girl had gotten on the bus, and then it turned out her bus pass was expired. Her words “Yes, but I’m going to get a new sticker once I get on campus.” (We were, by the way, leaving campus.) The Bus Driver: “Well, ok. But you don’t have it yet. You must pay the fare.” The girl: “But I’m going to go get it now. It will cover this entire quarter, including today.” The Bus Driver: “But I don’t know that you will. See. I don’t know what your intentions are.”
It went this way for several minutes. Then the bus driver went on to lecture on knowledge… what he’s learned and knows after he attended “the You of Double You” (which nobody says… it’s “YouDub”). Turns out, the man studied linguistics. While he was a metro bus driver. And now he is still a metro bus driver. Who, in his lecture on knowledge, basically said that people who don’t believe in the bible have no way of having more knowledge because their understanding of knowledge is based on the finite measure of man. He believes in the bible so his ability to reach knowledge is limitless. He forgot about creativity. Man’s shape as god. To create. To imagine. To seek what is outside the bounds of quantitative measure.
Oh well. He’s smart. And fun to listen to. That’s real bus entertainment right there.
I also like that, by taking my bike on the bus in to work, I can then ride home. That makes 1 hour of reading in the morning and 40 minutes of aerobic exercise in the afternoon. My commute is totally useable time.
Last night, I started two books. The first was Moby Dick, which I have probably started 80 times. But, I think it will stick this time. I made it preface + three chapters in (this was right before bed) and realized, maybe for the first time, how absolutely beautifully written it was. I read the first chapter wanting nothing other than to excerpt these exquisite passages. I’m excited to get home and read some more before bed.
The second book I started was Time of Sky & Castles in Air by Ayane Kawata (trans by Sawako Nakayasu). These poems are beautiful. And they remind me of Lorine Niedecker in certain ways. The first book is slim, tiny poems, highly imagistic. The second is a bit more surreal, as they were written from dreams. And a bit more lush than Niedecker. But I skipped ahead to a note about the author, and even in life she was a bit Niedecker-esque. Avoiding the sort of standard poetic culture.
I’m also working on the next
I’ve been working on this long poem. Well. I’ve been working on these long poems. When I was 20 years old and at Evergreen and for this one class we had to do a “project” I made it my goal to write “the long poem.” I didn’t really succeed. I wrote a “sequence” instead. And suddenly, last summer, I could do it. The first is now out from Slash Pine Press as a chapbook. Or, it will be in the next week or so. There have been 3 or 4 more since then. They are maybe too grandiose but they feel so right now. So of the moment. So what I need to be working on.
Then there is cooking. Which I love. But right now it seems more like I love the “idea” of cooking than the actual act. Mostly because of time. I am never home. Or, hardly ever home. So tonight I’m going to an expensive restaurant (How to Cook a Wolf) because I still love to eat an nice meal.
And apparently, Maya Angelou wrote a cookbook. Maybe I should write a cookbook. Bringing your comfort food and asian cuisine together in one delicious dish.
I went to dinner at a friend’s house this week. Her and her husband made this phenomenal soft taco bar where everything was done from scratch. I watched them make corn tortillas and wondered why I had never made tortillas from scratch. It’s wildly simple. And makes every other tortilla I have ever made seem somewhat criminal.
I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions. I’d like to not be hung over every time I go out with friends. And I’d like to get back into riding my bike all the time, even though it’s harder to motivate myself when it’s cold out and the bus is so convenient. And I’d probably like to write more than I do, read more than I have been doing, grow some kind of plant. None of that will probably happen. And partially because, as it is right now, life is pretty goddamn good.
Ok. Here’s a New Year’s Resolution: I want to make chevre, mascarpone, and ricotta from scratch.
Happy New Year!