Friday, October 31, 2008

A glorious, cloudy (even slightly rainy) day!

1- Random remembrance: my only memory of ever watching Ms. Universe (kind of an odd title considering only Earth participates in it) is the end of one ceremony years ago where the three remaining contestants have to answer a random question. Misses America, Venezuela (I think), and some other country were left, and their question was something along the lines of, “If you had a day where you could do anything- absolutely anything- what would you do and why?” The answers absolutely astounded me, and that’s why I wanted to share them. ;) Miss Venezuela was first, and through her translator (poor old chap) she talked about how she would fly to different countries and spend time with children and go to hospitals and bring cheer and happiness to those who were suffering and that, since it would be a magic day, she would be able to go to all the countries and do this. Next was Miss…we’ll say Brazil, though I really can’t remember which country she represented. She also had a translator (poor chap), and responded to the question by saying that she would declare that all people go naked on this day, because we are all beautiful and shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies. Yeah…Well, finally, Miss America had a go at it. She thought about it for a second before replying, “I would eat. I would just eat, and eat, and eat.”

Cut to commercial break, during which the poor judges had to decide which poor woman “deserved” the title of Miss Universe- would it be the somewhat delusional one? The one who wanted us all to get naked? Or the starved one? (see #5 for the answer!)

2- Eleanor is having some cronies over for hors d’oeuvres (stupid French word) and discussion of some book. They’re really cute, and you can always tell when she’s having friends over because they all drive white or beige cars (Eleanor included) :)

3- Walking is a community-building activity! I’ve had several short conversations with people in the neighborhood that begin with them saying, “I see you walking all the time!”

4- I don’t really want to do this, but maybe it’s a good idea. What I mean is, encouraging you folks to buy gifts for the holidays from artists on etsy (or just to buy hand-made in general). there are lots of very reasonably priced items for sale there, and besides, wouldn’t you rather support a human being and a community rather than a giant corporation (which, besides, is probably located in a foreign country)?
This brings me to another important issue: What does “reasonable” mean, in terms of pricing? It’s true that you can buy an “artsy” blank book from target for $15, while a seemingly similar item on etsy, one of my journals, for example, is around $30. Well, allow me to let you in on a little secret- the target journal is crap. If you want to give crap for Christmas, fine, then give quantity rather than quality. I, for one, will be doing my shopping on etsy, as much as I can!
Speaking of target, which I really do like, I have to say that it and other trendy places like it are similar in many ways to whole foods. Just as “industrial organic” is a contradiction in terms to many people who value the organic foods movement, so is “industrial indie/artsy” a glaring oxymoron to most artists (artists who aren’t punks, basically). Anything claiming to be unique and original can’t be mass-produced or mass-marketed.
I am going to end this tirade by repeating, buy from etsy! Thanks :)

5- and now let’s return to item 1: who do you think the winner of the Miss Universe pageant was? I am going to tell you now: it was Miss America…hooray?

6- next week’s cupamacake flavor may have been decided by a discussion last night in which we conversed on the flavor “yellow” and compared other flavors that are also colors. Yellow cake came up, of course, and it was agreed that yellow, though generally associated with lemon, was its own distinct flavor when it comes to cake and corn pops. So what about orange, then? Does it qualify as a color that is a flavor because it is the name of a fruit, or is it disqualified because it is the name of a fruit, and is therefore inseparable from that fruit’s flavor? Someone mentioned orange cake- how would you make it orangey tasting? Would it even taste good? Mmmm- maybe, I thought, with dark chocolate icing! Could be a fun challenge- use orange juice concentrate and orange peel, some spices to make it more like a spice/tea cake, crank out some chocolaty frosting to top them off…could be ok ;)

7- figgy cupamacakes: a success…I think. The cake is very muffiny- spongy and chewy. It’s good, but not super figgy. I made the honeyed cream cheese frosting, but it’s not suuuper honey-y. I guess that’s alright. I got some walnuts to put on top of the frosting, but I haven’t tried the whole ensemble yet because I need to add some figgy filling to the ‘cakes. Which means I need to go simmer/reduce some fig goo…sigh- so much work! ;)

8- this just in: yum. I made figgy filling, which maybe isn’t quite as figgy as I was hoping (but I don’t really know what I was going for), cut little holes in the cupcakes, filled with figgoo, iced, topped with walnuts :D see photos.

9- buy from etsy and have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

untitled #1

1- i've decided that i will make cupcakes tomorrow, though it was a close call because nothing, you know, inspired me flavor-wise. a foodie blog i like a lot (foodbeam), had a couple special cupcake posts with around a hundred photos of crazy and traditional types, but nothin' was jiving, ya know?? but then i remembered this amazing ingredient i have stored in the freezer in pulpy-goo form: figs. so it's going to be figgy cupamacakes, and i am currently open to ideas for frosting. i'm thinkin' honeyed cream cheese frosting (with local honey hooray!). since figs and honey are both kinda greekish, they "match". maybe i'll incorporate some walnuts in there somehow, too. MMMMM. that sounds dangerously delicious.

2- halloween = yuck. aside from cute little kids dressed up as princesses, firemen and boogers*, and free candy hooray, it is yuck. and nothing will convince me otherwise.

3- hmmmm...what is a third thing i can post about? it snowed piles in northern new york recently. it's kinda funny how opposite socal and nony (?) are. i remember yeeearning for a day above 15F in march one year in high school, and now i yeeeearn for a day below 80F in practically november. yep, kinda funny.

*yes, i do happen to know someone who dressed up as a booger for halloween. don't know if i can/should tell y'all who, though....

Monday, October 27, 2008

things and stuff!

1. cupamacake photos!

they were good, but i got totally showed up by another woman (pretty much a pro chef, i think) who made chocolate cupcakes with white sugar frosting and....hand-made dark chocolate butterflies. ye gods they were good! and i don't even like chocolate cake.

2. i think my camera has repented of its habit of taking lousy photos. i just got back from taking pictures of things i made for my etsy shop, and they don't look half bad. you'll have to check my etsy shop over these next several days to see them ;)

3. i met another homeless person, steven/stephen, who was camped out near whole foods this morning. i bought him some groceries (barely enough to get him through the day...sigh) and chatted with him for a while. that was hard for me, but God cares about the poor, and Jesus was the friend of society's outcasts, so my discomfort/shyness isn't an excuse. the homeless you meet who seem "with it" are more disconcerting than those who don't, and steve was one of the former. heh- we were next to vroman's (booksellers) and he asked me what my favorite books were, saying that his were the fountainhead, grapes of wrath, and two others, complete with mentioning their authors. i am embarrassed to say that i haven't read any of those. that made me think about how some people are simply lambasted by terrible circumstances and are then forced onto the streets. what in the world would make me feel like i'm somehow better than them, more "together" and more of a hard worker? steve had had jobs- he told me about one he'd had at a ski resort. i told him i was from upstate new york, and he responded (appropriately) that he'd heard it was beautiful there. there were some other things he mentioned that confused me, and he sort of mumbled and it was hard to understand him, but still, why is it that having conversations with the homeless is so shocking? maybe that's just a sign of my arrogance/obliviousness, but i think it also spears my conscience and makes me ache with the desire to really help them. maybe that's why it's so much easier to throw them an apologetic glance as you glide by, or just ignore them completely. the most awkward part of the conversation was the very end, when he told me "have a nice day." "...You, too?"

4. i promise to not gush about wedding planning, but i have to say that i am relieved to announce that the ball is finally starting to roll. hopefully, in the right direction. YAY. ok. ahem.

5. and now for something completely pointless: ohmygosh, you guys- the office! what is going on?!?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


i want to quit my job and become a foodie blogger. can i, please??

i just made apple cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting- a fairly original creation, from what i could (or couldn't) find on google. i've been wanting the make ("eat" also works well) cupcakes ever since they exploded into popularity a year and a half-ish ago. and i denied myself the desire to make them, much less buy them,....until today! actually, yesterday, when i decided that i would make them for becca's bridal shower on friday. the caramel-apple flavor combo has been bouncing aroun in my head since last week, and when the thought of cream cheese popped in there with the others....mmmmmmmmdrrrrooooll....

the wee cakes came out pretty darn well! they look great- a very tan color (owing to the sucanat and whole wheat flour), but smooth and not at all muffiny despite these rustic ingredients and decently-sized chunks of apple. i will use a culinary term that i don't understand and propose that they have a "very delicate crumb" (?). the cake is good by itself, and the frosting pairs nicely with it. unfortuantely, trader joe's light cream cheese doesn't blend well, so (horror of horrors, oh the shame and all that), the frosting is lumpy. also, it's hard to melt caramels. it didn't dawn on me until this second to use a sauce rather than the candy. oh well!

maybe i will post my recipe (because i can almost never submit to using someone else's recipe without changing it considerably) at some point, but for now i will just tell you two ingredients that are not in these cupcakes: oil and butter. so HA.

oh, and did i mention that these were merely a trial run? and that i plan to make another batch tomorrow? hmmmm...maybe i shouldn't mention it- i think i might prefer that the world believes i only made ONE batch of cupcakes ;)

mmmm...cupcakes. like the piece of fun-fetti cake that summer gave me earlier this week, i'm not sure i can remember the last time i had a cupcake. possibly not since my birthday a year ago when ellen (the woman i rented a room from) made me chocolate-orange cupcakes. no, i'm sure i've had one since then- over a year since my last cupcake? no way. that just sounds absurd.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eegads that green banner of mine is ugly.

I should change it!

Here are some other brief but brilliant observations (and one observation not quite so brief):

1) the theory is that my five-year-old wireless card is senile, which explains why it wasn't doing it's job consistently (or at all). so i am borrowing a cable from b(art) to connect to ye holy beloved internets through the modem (?). no more of that silly magic wireless fairy stuff.

2) in other news of things that are breaking, my shift key is working part-time now, which is half the reason that i've given up the use of capitalization for this post (other half of the reason: laziness).

3) i like making stuff, but how i do hate photographing it, writing endearing little blurbs, and posting the whole mess on etsy. speaking of which, i think i have some new stuff there; you should go check it out.

4) it's supposed to get back up into the 90's again this week?!!??! nooooooooooooooo...

5) pitas are on the menu for dinner tonight! yay!

6) i know of at least three little baby boys have been/will be (lord willing) born this month!! i want to buy
these for all of them (though it would be a little more fun if they'd been girls...sheesh). i know, i know, tiny shoes are hardly necessary for something that can't even roll, much less walk, but that's not the point!

7) with my internet newly restored, i can now go back to combing amazon song by agonizing song for more sweet klezmer techno!

8) books on cd from the library- some opinions from recent "readings": "the host" (by stephanie meyers) was neither well-written nor well-narrated. i don't particularly recommend it. "cloud atlas" (by david mitchell, i think) was strange and highly enjoyable. i really liked the style of writing. there were six narrators, and four of them did a marvelous job. i wasn't thrilled with the two women who narrated (this has been a trend, oddly enough- i think it's partly because when men imitate women's voices, it generally sounds ok, but when women imitate men's voices, it sounds silly. also, i just feel like the women try too hard and are too self-conscious.) the narrator of the sixth book (of "cloud atlas") was, in particular, superb- and i cannot imagine how difficult his task must've been. i mean, i don't think it would've been easy to speak convincingly as a native pidgin-english speaker on his hawaiian island in a post-apocolyptic age.

at some point i will blog about specific audiobooks i have enjoyed. so many books are (or can be imagined to be) much, much better than their tree-pulp counterparts, and i've learned that professional narrators (?) are often better at doing their job than the default narrating-voice i have in my head. without going into too much detail, this is absolutely the case with the lord of the rings series. soooooo much better when listened to rather than read.

ok- bis spaeter, mes amis.