Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Paula Deen + Dumpster Diving = My End of Month Cooking

Because I'm arbitrarily trying to stay within my monthly budget, my cooking at the end of the month is always especially fun and innovative. I just tossed a fried egg on top of garlic rice, black beans, and grilled zucchini, onions, and tofu with a ridiculous amount of cayenne pepper on top of them. That was pretty much the end of what was in my cupboards. So! My choices tomorrow are either to throw some vegetables and tofu and pasta sauce into what might potentially pass as a pie or calzone, or to make sandwiches out of Pop Tarts, dried cherries, and leftover chocolate from Valentine's Day. I am so sick of vegetables that I'm actually leaning toward the latter.

UPDATE: I was looking for recipes for pies like the kind in the UK, but ended up finding a recipe for a pie with a rice, egg, and cheese crust and grilled vegetables, olives, tomatoes, and cheese for the top. I don't have olives, tomatoes, and cheese, so I'm attempting to make a vegan pie out of the brown rice, tofu, and leftover vegetables in my fridge. The prognosis is not looking that great - the crust almost slid out of the pan when I showed it to Brady, and I'm kind of concerned that the pan is too big and it will become rock solid when I bake it for an hour. It helps that we are also raiding the dregs of our wine collection, which is why I'm drinking something that I described as carbonated grape juice but Brady immediately identified as cheap communion wine. And it is. And I'm now passing the time looking for bulk communion wine for our kitchen.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Endearingly Awkward Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

So although I've periodically backed up and purged my archives on this blog, my first blog - from 2003-2004 - has just been kind of languishing on the internet for the past seven years. I just reread it, and it was actually kind of cute - I fairly obsessively documented my first year of college and adjusting to life in Boston, my first friendships, my first kiss with my first boyfriend, my first time leaving the country, etc. (It is remarkable that I was not expelled, ostracized, Nexted, or killed in at any one of these firsts.) It was also kind of embarrassing, because I was 19, and also because I don't think I was quite aware that blogs were, you know, available at any time to anyone with a computer. And that you should think about that before you describe Larry Summers dancing.

Still, between this and all of my other archives, if I ever want to read 1,500 pages about my life between the ages of 19 and 25, I've got myself covered. I can also sum these years up by saying that I am as clumsy and prone to writing extensively about baked goods as I have ever been. Some things are just not going to change.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Three Shower Days

R: "I probably smell clean because I've showered three times today."
D: "You know you're doing fun things when it becomes a three shower day."

Friday, 26 March 2010

Phone Calls I Only Need to Hear Half Of

A: "Are you going to meet up with Ryan and I for dinner? You should come into town... No, I didn't even know a bottle of wine could explode in a hot car."

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Furniture Bonanza!

While I was in San Francisco, Lee apparently ditched his old couch with us. By "old," I mean approximately six months old, but now Lee is picking out furniture which is "attractive" and "coordinated" and we put dibs on the interim couch. I'm a big fan of inheriting furniture with memories, especially when those involve major holidays with all of my nearest and dearest and/or gin.

The tricky thing is that we haven't had time to get rid of any of the existing furniture, which means that we have enough seating for eight in our tiny, tiny living room. The upside is that we can now throw dinner parties. The downside is that there will be like playing Tetris, and if there is any kind of kitchen fire, everyone will almost certainly be killed. But still! We have a couch!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

In Which I Consider Cloning Myself

Yawn, I just got back from my week in San Francisco, which was pretty much everything I hoped it would be and more. As luck would have it, I got to spend chunks of quality time with my brother (who lives approximately a mile from my apartment, but happened to be in Palo Alto over his birthday last week), did a ton of really helpful and necessary fieldwork for my DPhil, and caught up with Aviva, Brian, Chase, and other people who are totally familiar if you remember last year in Oxford, or when I went to visit Mexico, or way back in the day when Aviva and I worked at MTV together and realized that we are soulmates. (Basically, a lot of people who could lay legitimate claims to being recurring characters on this blog over the years, and who are some of the most quality people I know.)

It was nice for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I tried to expose myself to direct sunlight to keep up the light tan I got in Miami and shake off Scandinavian Winter Mortuary Pallor, which tends to stay with me until mid-April every year. But I also think part of it might be that this year has been about my fieldwork and work first and foremost, and I miss being in an academic community where everyone is doing their own crazy interesting projects. Hanging out with my favorite modern thinker and linguist and population biologist and experimental psychologist and other friends who are working at HIV/AIDS non-profits and tech start-ups and planning their lives totally reminded me why I kind of love that universe and want to keep at least one foot in it.

It does not hurt when they are crazy brilliant but also super-excited about Not Another Teen Movie, experimenting with ChatRoulette, or splitting a tub of Thin Mints ice cream together in front of a party of people that is fairly clearly judging the two of us as we refuse seats to remain standing by the dessert table. So now I am trying to figure out how many grad degrees I could accumulate and how long I can keep this going to hang out with people for the next ten years.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

San Francisco!

I’m in San Francisco for our gala fundraiser today. It's warm enough that I'm wandering around in a tee shirt and my gigantic sunglasses. Yesterday, I saw my brother and spent the morning tanning and reading legal theory by a rooftop pool. Afterwards, I spent the better chunk of my afternoon in sunny cafes in the Mission catching up on reading over iced coffee and vegan scones. I'm probably less stressed than I have been for about a year, which keeps making me wonder why I live in New York.

(And then I think about going out walking in search of coffee in Palo Alto and ending up looking around and seeing nothing but highway in any direction and settling for drip coffee from a Chevron, and then I remember why I live in New York.)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

My Big Wet Feminist Saturday

So Emma and I finally made plans to see the reportedly underwhelming Kiki Smith exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, which was not as exciting as the one we saw with all of the blood and hair and sperm way back when, but did have a couple of good mobiles with crows or ravens or something exploding through some kind of window. It had something to do with the Anunciation or something. I don't know.

But nobody told me that Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party" is permanently installed at the Brooklyn Museum, or else I probably would have been there back in September. It was so much more beautiful than I expected, and was totally worth the trip there, in the icy, driving rain, without an umbrella, in gale-force winds. In the very unlikely event that I become surreally wealthy, the first thing that I am going to do is order a full set of replicas of all 39 floral/vulvic place settings from the installation. Somebody mark my words.

And then Emma and I went out and caught up over coffee and scones at Trois Pommes in Park Slope before I slogged all the way home in the actually pouring rain, to the point that I came in and my roommate's parents took a picture of me because I looked so sad and bedraggled. My clothes are literally drenched, still. On the bright side, I apparently clean obsessively when I'm trapped indoors, and you can now do surgery off of our floor. (I wouldn't actually let you. If you got blood on that floor, I would be furious.)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Lady Gaga Stream of Consciousness!

So I obviously watched the Telephone video immediately after it came out and I want to say that she is a genius but I am so confused and I'm a little too scared to watch it again. So, breathless and panicked thoughts in stream of consciousness format.

I would not have set this like it was Chicago. Plus Beetlejuice. Plus that rejected web-only spin-off of the L Word. I love that the women in prison closely resemble some of my closest friends. I would get smoldering tobacco glasses but I think they'd violate my boyfriend's no smoking rule. I'm realizing that all of Lady Gaga's videos involve violence against women and sexual exploitation, but I guess that most contemporary music videos involve some form of sexual exploitation in ways that are less thematically relevant and eventually avenged and now I'm having a lot of very complex feelings about the culture I live in. Is my computer broken or is this blinking dance supposed to happen? The lyrics make no sense for this video. Now she's naked and I am so overwhelmed. I am positive they do not let you Bedazzle prison clothes. STOMP DANCE. This is sexy and exploitative all at the same time and I am having so many complicated queer feminist male feelings right now. What is she eating? It kind of seems like a churro? It's Bonnie and Clyde! Is it Dreamgirls? (Everyone who nominated Jennifer Hudson and gave Beyonce the shaft is now certain that they made the right decision.) I love how they are inventing cryptic aphorisms like they are real. Nobody says that line about the cow and deep down I know that this will go viral as a phrase and that makes me so depressed. Ditto for the mirror. KUK? What radio station has four letters, Jesus, try a little harder. And now it is a Polaroid commercial. What is happening? These lyrics do not even make sense in the video - you are in the same car together. And now there are subtitles? And poison with a combination of The Sims icons and Batman sound effects? And, of course, a dance number in a kitchen and Beyonce dressed like a bandleader in a shitty motel room. This sandwich dance is terrible. Who follows up a zombie bathhouse with a poison sandwich dance? Also, who puts honey on pancakes? And how did this turn into a snuff film about Middle America? Is this some sort of commentary on the Tea Party? Is the telephone supposed to be a metaphor? (Okay, Jai Rodriguez is on television. If Jai Rodriguez is employed, this is clearly fictional and that makes me feel better.) I almost missed the puma. And now they're dressed like two distant relatives who have escaped from Grey Gardens. Is it Thelma and Louise? Charlie's Angels? I am so upset right now.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I'm Trying Not To Panic About This Because I Cannot Afford High Blood Pressure Right Now

I thought I took care of this in December, but I got an email today saying that I haven't had health insurance since the end of 2009 because I forgot to sign the check. I sometimes feel like my life is just me thwarting natural selection, over and over again.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

And If You Threw A Party, Invited Everyone You Knew

I'm normally very difficult to pry away from my work, and nobody knows this better than my long-suffering partner, who is normally good about this but sometimes puts his foot down. About a month ago, he asked me to be his plus one at a small beach wedding for two of his friends in Miami, and I was like, "but that's during the Commission on the Status of Women!" and he was like, "apologies, but my foot is down." And so I bought tickets for a long weekend in Miami.

Basically, my take on Miami is that it is like the perpetual 1980s and sort of threadbare and slow, which more or less adds up to make it totally excellent. We got to the hotel and David was like, "they say they're at some restaurant called 'Denny's'" and I was like, "WE ARE GETTING GRAND SLAMS FOR LUNCH." You wouldn't think that introducing someone to a Grand Slam could be romantic, but I felt like I was giving him a really meaningful and lasting gift. And then we literally crossed the street to our hotel, threw on shorts, and went and sprawled out on the beach for an hour before getting dressed for the wedding, and I was like, I can see why this is the perfect setting to retire in a house with other elderly women and have madcap romantic and professional adventures together.

The wedding was beautiful - it was about fifty people, on the beach, with bits of it in Russian, French, and English, and then a reception and dinner up at a nearby hotel. Lydia wore a scarlet satin wedding dress with an ivory sash around the middle that was about the most gorgeous wedding dress I've ever seen. (The groom wore an ivory tux, and with no prompting whatsoever, about 75% of the male guests wore lavender. It made for good photos.) We ended up staying with the party and the afterparty and the after-afterparty until we finally got out of someone else's hot tub and crashed into our own beds at about 3am, where we barely caught up on sleep before rolling out of bed for the wedding brunch at a Peruvian restaurant nearby. We spent the next two days at our hotel in Sunny Isles and then down in South Beach, where David's militant insistence on sunscreen means that (for once) I escaped with my sunburn limited to the top of my ears and an inexplicable purple patch on my chest that looks like I was paintballed in the clavicle. Between attending a perfect wedding with your boyfriend and spending at least three hours a day on the beach and being able to comfortably drink iced coffee in early March and inventing a hashtag (#woo!) to collaboratively document the weekend on Twitter, it was a pretty perfect break from everything. I should let myself be talked into this kind of thing more often.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


My day started with the Judith Butler Symposium at Columbia Law, which was great because legal criticism and free breakfast pastries are in very close competition for my favorite things and they are unstoppable when combined. My day ended with what I thought was a meeting with a couple of visiting Israeli activists but ended up being a whole two hour gay Shabbat ceremony where I sat trying not to look extremely confused and more or less failing miserably. That said, progressive faith traditions and free challah are close enough to my favorite things that I called this a wash.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


It's been a long week shuttling between the office and panels up at the UN for CSW, which clearly took its toll on me yesterday when I got lost in Bed, Bath and Beyond for nearly an hour looking for sponges, and then may or may not have accidentally stolen a bag of groceries when I stopped to get stuff to make dinner. I still maintain that this was not my fault, because the woman at the counter yelled at me for being in the way and I panicked and grabbed all of the bags in front of me and left. And then I got home and I was like, "what, why would I buy ten bananas when I'm going to Miami in 72 hours?" and then I was like "...oh dear."

The upside is that I now own a pepper grinder, and I'm eating so much fruit that I am pretty much immune from scurvy for the month of March. Regardless, this is not my finest moment.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Broken Glass!

R: "The most exciting part of my day was going to a UNAIDS panel and finding out that Annie Lennox was it."
B: "I hope you asked her if unprotected sex is more or less dangerous than walking on broken glass."
R: "Strangely, nobody asked that question."

Musical Monday's Quote of the Night

After a catch-up dinner with Brady and Emma at the surprisingly spacious Chelsea branch of Grey Dog, the three of us went to Splash and met Leah, Jami, and Mark for Musical Monday. (We also ran into the Twins, which is not actually that surprising.) I didn't see this until tonight, which still baffles me:

The color commentary is always the best part of Musical Mondays, but Leah wins quote of the night for this one:

R: "I'm not really sure about her dress."
L: "It makes you realize that Susan Boyle kind of looks like Grimace."

Monday, 1 March 2010

Time Just Flies

WHAT ACK HOW IS IT MARCH. March 1 means that I have three more months of (field)work before I have to figure out whether I'm staying in NYC or going somewhere else this summer before going back to Oxford to hunker down in a library this fall. (It is officially the point where I should stop ordering books at approximately quadruple the rate that I can read them.) The last couple of months are going to fly by extra fast because I'm supposed to go to Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, and DC on six of the weekends, which means that I have very few weekends to putter around the apartment reading novels and disabling the smoke detectors to try cooking new things. I'm badly going to miss that - it's been seven years since I've lived in one place for more than nine months, and I very much like the set-up I've got in NYC. I'm torn between anticipation and being like, ugh, my kingdom for a permanent address and possessions that cannot be rapidly collapsed into two suitcases and a carry-on bag.

Speaking of mobility, I'm currently really into two of my friend's blogs - Mike's in New York and Magali's in Vanuatu. We all talked about Magali's today at Teaism in DC when it came up and we all agreed that we should send her shampoo and we hope she is still alive.