New(-ish) Seattleite. Obsessed with food, music, books, trivia nights, recipes, KEXP, and bad television.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
It's after 4:30, and I've left the bed exactly 3 times today. I woke up this morning around 8:30 and couldn't figure out why I felt so sick. And why was I still fully dressed in my Halloween costume?
Apparently I drank too much last night.
Here are the things I don't remember from last night (Nate filled me in): Some kind of flaming head sculpture (?) in my neighbor's front yard. Losing Nate's fancy magnetic nametag (I was using it for my "Joanna" nametag after repeatedly promising him that I'd take care of it and I wouldn't lose it in a drunken stupor). Posing for nearly all of the pictures I saw on the digital camera this morning. Walking home from the party. Going to QFC to buy Gatorade. And, um, throwing up.
Yeah. So today has been fun. I know I say this every time, but I have never been this hungover. Even re-watching episodes of Laguna Beach that I've already seen 3 times isn't helping. Clearly, it's really bad.
First place, again! Luckily, we had a jazz aficionado for the jazz category, and we had a team member who knew that the Houston Astros used to be called the Colt 45s. And as I learned, that's not referring to the malt liquor, that's referring to the gun.
The best question: on what plant did Mendel conduct genetic experiments? PEAS! My favorite food! I also got to use my extremely limited chemistry knowledge: oxidation involves loss of electrons, reduction involves gain of electrons. (OIL RIG!)
Also, we had the best team name EVER this week: "I just ate an M.R.E. and crapped in the hallway with 30,000 other people." If you don't get that, you need to watch more television. (Or, um, read the actual news. But everyone gets their news from Jon Stewart, right?)
The trivia question-asker expressed concern that a critique of his questions was being blogged every week, but I have my doubts that he actually reads this. So, folks--critique away in the comments! (How annoying was that spoken word lyrics music category?)
In keeping with last time's virtual prize (ie, what I'd award if I had sponsorship/money to burn/a really well-paying job) of an Octodog, Rotorglow "wins" this t-shirt from Threadless. It's a pun, get it? Like the birds?
Well, I'm back. What a fantastic (if sleepless) weekend. I'll give you the breakdown.
Friday: Got in around 9 and Eric (ahem, "Captain Inappropriate") and I went to my favorite NYC place, Pommes Frites. I had the fries with rosemary garlic mayo. Twice-fried potatoes and mayonnaise, really, how could you go wrong (of course I had ketchup too)? Then we went to a bar (where the rest of the wedding crowd eventually trickled in) and I consumed several pints of Magic Hat #9, a beer I really missed (you can't get it in Seattle) until I had it on Friday. It was good, but nothing special. Oh, how time can change things...! Went home around 3 AM.
Saturday: The wedding! SO, so nice. It was fantastic, from the ceremony (short, but still really meaningful/touching), to the food (delicious and WAY more than I could eat, which is saying a lot), to the atmosphere (and by "atmosphere" I mean a bunch of my best friends from college all getting drunk at 1 PM on the wide-open bar). Since the wedding ended around 6 PM, we met up later that night. We started at a really crowded wine bar, then we went to a diner (where I had some pretty terrible french fries), and then we went to a strangely empty bar (where the bartenders were thrilled with a crowd of 20 people buying rounds of shots). But THEN we went to karaoke. We got a private room, a first for me. It was SO much fun. Highlights included Kristen and I dueting on "Hit Me Baby One More Time," the group's "Motownphilly," and of course, Adam's masterful "Patience." The evening ended with falafel around 4:30 AM.
Sunday: On Sunday morning, my grandma and her boyfriend (seriously, they are SO CUTE together: she cooks him food and he drives her around to her doctor appointments, and when she nags him about his driving he jokingly threatens to drop her by the side of the road) picked me up and took me back to my grandma's place in Brooklyn. There, we feasted on challah, salad, matzo ball soup, roast chicken, potato kugel, zucchini, and pickles. In true Jewish-grandmother fashion, she kept insisting that I wasn't eating enough. Highlights of the plane trip home (Song is really great!) included a delicious grilled chicken salad (food designed by Dave Lieberman!), satellite TV, and INTERACTIVE TRIVIA. You play against other people on the plane, and they tell you your competitors' seat numbers! (Um, not to brag or anything, but I totally kicked everyone else's ass, so I was a little embarrassed when I found out a guy directly behind me was playing, too. Did he think I was a total dork?)
First place! I can honestly say that I contributed pretty much nothing to our win. Sure, I helped out a bit by confirming a few answers, but when faced with categories like "Pokemon" and "identify the country based on its outline," I'm useless. (I guess Denmark really is shaped like that, huh?) In somewhat of a reprise of my egregious "Making OF the Band" error, I mis-identified the Backstreet Boys as the boy band who sang "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You." It's *NSYNC!
Of course, our team (with not one but TWO Canadians!) rocked the "Canada, eh?" category.
And now, I'm off to bake cookies. (I seem to be suffering from a bout of insomnia--that timestamp is correct!--perhaps I am still consumed with guilt over the *NSYNC thing.)
Last night before bed, I started reading Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. I knew I couldn't read too much, since it's due back at the library today (I can't renew it because someone else has requested it), but I wanted to see if I should re-request the book.
So, wow. Within the first 10 pages, Mr. Klosterman has single-handedly refuted many tenets of our "this is what love is/should be" philosophy (I'm assuming here about the rest of you, but I think there's a certain collective generational ideal about these kinds of things). I'm still kind of reeling.
Let's review some of his thoughts.
On John Cusack/Lloyd Dobler: "I cannot fathom how he isn't the number-one box-office star in America, because every straight girl I know would sell her soul to share a milkshake with this motherfucker. ... But here's what none of these upwardly mobile women seem to realize: They don't love John Cusack. They love Lloyd Dobler. ... We all convince ourselves of things like this--not necessarily about Say Anything, but about any fictionalized portrayals of romance that happen to hit us in the right place, at the right time."
On Coldplay-type emo music: "Coldplay songs deliver an amorphous, irrefutable interpretation of how being in love is supposed to feel, and people find themselves wanting that feeling for real. They want men to adore them like Lloyd Dobler would, and they want women to think like Aimee Mann, and they expect all their arguments to sound like Sam Malone and Diane Chambers. They think everything will work out perfectly in the end (just like it did for Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones and Nick Hornby's Rob Fleming)..."
On witty banter: "...people assume there is something profound about having a relationship based on witty conversation and intellectual discourse. There isn't. It's just another gimmick, and it's no different than wanting to be with someone because they're thin or rich or the former lead singer of Whiskeytown. And it actually might be worse, because an intellectual relationship isn't real at all. My witty banter and cerebral discourse is almost completely contrived."
On When Harry Met Sally-type relationships: "The problem is that the Harry-Met-Sally situation is almost always tragically unbalanced. Most of the time, the two involved parties are not really 'best friends.' Inevitably, one of the people has been in love with the other from the first day they met, while the other person is either (a) wracked with guilt and pressure, or (b) completely oblivious to the espoused attraction. Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less."
So, despite graduating from a very respectable university and accumulating more than a quarter century of life experience, I am apparently incapable of programming a VCR. The sad thing is, I thought I did everything right! I pushed all of the correct buttons and everything!
I think the VCR hates me.
Tonight's videorecording casualty was the new episode of Gilmore Girls. Can I get this on the internet or something? Can't people post episodes and I can download them?
The FG came over this afternoon and we made soups. That's right, soup plural. See, Nate and I are in this vegetable co-op, and as part of the "storage share" for winter, we got approximately 40 heads of garlic (I'm not exaggerating). So the FG helped find some soup recipes involving LOTS of garlic--not normally a criteria I use when searching for recipes.
The first one we made was this roasted garlic soup recipe from Epicurious. (Please note that we doubled the recipe--so we used 88 cloves of garlic.) Oh man, is this good. The garlic really mellows out and becomes almost sweet. And the cheese and the cream! Delicious.
Our second soup was one of Mark Bittman's recipes from How to Cook Everything: Roasted Garlic Soup with Arborio Rice and Peas. We doubled this one, too, but even that only used 16 cloves of garlic. I'll give you the doubled recipe, along with some "modifications" (ie, "not reading the recipe correctly") I made during cooking (ALL my fault--the FG was working on the Epicurious soup).
Roasted Garlic Soup with Arborio Rice and Peas Place 8 T. olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add 16 peeled cloves of garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pot and set aside. Add 1 c. arborio rice to the pan and stir for 30 seconds. Add 8 c. vegetable stock, 1 T. ground cumin, and 1 t. chili powder. Stir, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Chop the garlic coarsely and return to the pot, along with 1 c. thawed frozen peas. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I haven't tried it yet, but I think this would be really good with shrimp added.
And then later this evening I made a Belgian chicken stew (with a beer broth!). This was DELICIOUS. If you want the recipe, let me know, and I'll send it to you. I am all cooked out at this point and I don't feel like thinking about food anymore.
What I'm about to admit is incredibly embarrassing.
It's particularly embarrassing in light of the FG's post about crying women. But, I watched Three Wishes tonight (oh, don't ask why, I was cooking dinner and reading and it was just ON, okay?) and I was crying throughout the entire thing.
There was the woman who got her dream of dancing in NYC with a professional company (after she practically raised herself when her father committed suicide). There was the couple who got their dairy farm rebuilt (after a devastating fire). And then there was the girl who was paralyzed by a car crash (on homecoming weekend, after she was just elected to the homecoming court) who realized her dream of graduating from high school. She walked for the FIRST TIME since the accident across the stage to get her diploma, people. And before the ceremony there was a terrible thunderstorm that ended in a rainbow. You couldn't make this up if you tried.
Still, I cried during a show featuring AMY GRANT. My indie cred is so out the window here.
Here are the rules. I've written 6 haiku about album covers--you have to figure out the artist and album. If you only know the artist, but not the album, or vice versa, write it down. You might get partial credit. Post your answers in the comments but DON'T LOOK AT THE COMMENTS until you've decided on your answers (because then you'll see everyone else's responses). Honor system, people! I'll post the answers in a few days, so don't worry about answering immediately.
My disclaimer is that I tried to make these somewhat accessible for everyone, but I have a feeling that some people might have an unfair advantage, due to our overlapping musical tastes. Plus, I have no idea if these are hard or easy or what, so I'm sorry if they skew one way or the other.
(Also, I REALLY dislike spelling a word wrong solely for alliterative purposes. I have no idea why I did it the first time, but it seems to have stuck, so "kontest" it is.)
Bring on the haiku!
1. Bright aqua background. Four dorky-looking guys and No one wears sweaters.
2. Is that refraction? Light plus prism yields rainbow? I forget physics.
3. Very crowded scene. You examine it for clues-- Maybe he is dead!
4. It's Andy Warhol, But not Campbell's soup cans. This Attracts the monkeys.
5. Michael's offering-- Dan Rather was not amused. Orange beast glares out.
6. A little story About a brand-new airline. Girls, 40s on board.
Second place for the second week in a row! Tonight's questions featured what I originally called "the greatest category ever": movie haiku. An example: "Maggie's one big shot/Paralyzed in Las Vegas/Frankie at the end." And the answer is...Million Dollar Baby! I say that I "originally" called that the best category ever, because the trivia guru/maestro/dude who asks the questions told us that he once wrote a category of album cover haiku. Now THAT would be the greatest category EVER.
Shall I attempt an album cover haiku? Oh, all right, since you asked nicely: Swim, naked baby Don't wear clothes--come as you are Grasp the dollar bill
Tonight's trivia night at the Hopvine brought us third place and a huge amount of Tic-Tacs as a prize. I mean, the first-place cash would have been better, but hey, a large supply of the 2.5 calorie breath mint is good too.
The "Kate's an embarrassing team member" moment came when the question, "For a psychiatrist, what does PTSD stand for?" was asked, and I squealed, "Oooh!" ...you know, in one of those moments when the entire bar is silent and everyone can hear you. Yeah, just like that. But really, how could I not know that? I'm a medical writer! Or, as the other Hopvine patrons probably think, I was in Desert Storm or something and I'm happy that my condition is getting the recognition it deserves.
The really exciting thing came when I got home and checked the mail, and I saw that I had a letter from Jess. A letter--like with a stamp, and an envelope, and a piece of paper with handwritten text inside. I remember when we lived together she'd write these "letters" to people who lived far away, but I never imagined that I'd get one. So SO cool. Thank you Jess!
AND he has anagram t-shirts. (I've been listening to Haughty Melodic for months, and I just now realized it's an anagram for "Michael Doughty.") Oh, how I love anagrams. (And haiku, but that's a post for another day.) My only complaint is that the shirts aren't available in girl sizes.
* In case you're a bit disturbed/confused by the title, it's an anagram.
(Of course I couldn't let Monday go by without mentioning Laguna Beach. For anyone who saw tonight's episode, all I have to say is that I want someone in a gorilla suit to ask me to the prom by holding up a big cardboard banana. Seriously.)
In case you think I only watch hot girl-based reality shows.
Today I watched In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-Wai's film. I was told that I should see this before 2046, and after about 2 months on the library waiting list, I finally got it. I really liked it--it was sad (I like sad), pretty simple (ie, no huge plot twists--I mean "simple" as a compliment), and beautifully shot. Maggie Cheung's wardrobe is one of the best parts of the movie.
One issue I have with subtitled movies is that I can't resort to my usual ADD-esque tendency of reading (reading as in a book, not the subtitles) while watching tv. I guess that was good in this case, because it forced me to really pay attention to the movie, unlike, say, Laguna Beach, which doesn't necessarily require a ton of concentration. (Except in last week's episode, when Kristin was kissing that guy Jessica liked...)
Is anyone surprised that these all involve eating?
I didn't think so.
[Edited to add a non-food item: The time Jack White looked right at me when he was singing "Apple Blossom"--specifically, the line "I'll fall in love with you." While I was sitting in my front row, center seat at the Orpheum in Boston. And yes, of COURSE he was looking at me.]
Second place! After a run-off, of course, but still impressive for only 4 team members. But, um, out of only 6 teams. Highlights included entire categories on Chemistry (thank you!) and beer. Lowlights included the Michael Jordan category. (The only one we got correct from the Michael Jordan category was the question about Wilt Chamberlain, and we got that because I knew he had a lot of sex, but also had lots of baskets.)
I guess I can't be too critical of the questions, because the trivia guru himself might be reading this.
(Full disclosure: Hers was almost the first blog I ever read. The first was a guy from my most favorite college a cappella group, who you know, I was sort of stalking. But whatever. E-stalking, it's totally okay.)
Another one of Cunningham's books, The Hours, featured 3 interrelated, interwoven stories that all involved Mrs. Dalloway. Specimen Days is slightly different in that the stories are separated in the book. This book revolves around Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass--I haven't read Leaves of Grass, and I have read Mrs. Dalloway, but that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. One note of caution is that Specimen Days is CREEPY. I had to stop reading it before bed after 2 nights of scary dreams involving industrial era factory machinery and burglars with guns.
I like to use whole wheat penne instead of rigatoni, but it's not a big deal. Whatever you do, please use fresh ricotta (it's definitely available at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and probably most nicer supermarkets [not with the pre-sliced cheese, but with the cheese blocks like brie, etc]). And the fresh basil is a really nice addition too.