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Archive for August, 2010

how I hate you, jiggly milk

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I am Italian and I am proud of it. I love being Italian. I love throwing around any possible Mafia heritage when it’s worth a laugh and I love feeling like I’m doing justice to my DNA when I eat too much pasta.

What I don’t love is panna cotta.

If you’ve never had it, panna cotta is sort of a custard. It’s not thickened with eggs, like the creme in a creme brulee, and it’s not thickened with air, like sabayon.

It’s thickened with gelatin.

Let me walk you through this. The Italians had some bad ass food. Hell, they had ricotta, a cheese so delicious it’s practically a dessert in and of itself. When they started seeing custards coming out of France, they thought ‘hm, that looks tasty’. However, rather than mastering the rather intense prevention of curdling that such custards require, they thought, ‘what the hell, let’s just use fish bones’.

The fish bones were a source of gelatin, and they certainly did thicken the sweet milk.

Leading to MILK JELLO.

MILK JELLO, people. Say that out loud. Think about it. Take it into your soul. Do whatever you need to do to realize that MILK JELLO is not a good idea.

Milk Jello is disgusting. It’s sure as hell not custard. It’s jiggly milk.

Milk should not jiggle. Milk that jiggles has expired and needs to be thrown out.

Panna cotta? You’re ruining my pride in being Italian.

Don't be fooled by its pretty exterior. It's JIGGLY MILK, people.

in other news, musicians are motherfucking sexy

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

On Saturday night Crockett and I went to see Gregory Alan Isakov.

I have no words with which to describe for you how truly amazing that musician is. He’s not hugely handsome – unless, of course, you like your men short and balding.

However? When he’s on stage?

I would hit that.

Except? I have dated musicians. Until Crockett, actually, I dated mostly musicians. I understand the appeal, and I’m going to break it down for you and then tell you why it’s pretty much bullshit.

The appeal

When musicians are on stage, they are effectively having partnerless sex. Lest you be concerned that I mean they’re … ahem… pleasuring themselves, rest assured that it’s not the same. Musicians are having two person sex minus a specific partner. They’re beyond happy – they’re joyous. They have an energy that comes from an internal place, and non-performers never bring that energy to a public place. They do, however, bring it to bed.

Basically? The privacy and gladness that most of us feel when we’re being intimate are on display in musicians, and as audience members we pick up on that. We feel that we’re sharing something confidential and that, almost without exception, makes us feel closer to the musicians themselves. It’s like the first time you have sex with someone new, except without them actually knowing your name. (For some of you that may be the case with new sex partners anyway. Rest assured that I’m not judging you – although I do hope that if you are sleeping with anonymous partners you’re giving them hilarious nicknames. Without knowing anything about them, can I suggest Pale Baldy, Slightly to the Left, and Redheaded Stranger?)

The reality

This is one of those things that people say about movie stars all the time, but I’m going to reiterate it in this case because I feel it’s applicable.

Musicians are regular people.

I don’t mean this the way that people who say ‘Robert Pattinson puts his pants on one leg at a time’ mean it. Unless those people are Kristen Stewart, they don’t actually know how Mr. Pattinson puts his pants on.

The musicians that you see in real life – those ones in bars and local clubs and headlining at fall festivals? They are normal people. I have dated a few (some)(ok most)(no really just some) of them, and I can tell you for sure.

The life of a band girlfriend is not dancing then kissing your man on stage with jealous groupies watching.

The life of a band girlfriend is hauling guitars into bars at 6 pm and then carrying them back to the car at 2 am. It’s dancing all night to get the crowd riled up and then letting one of said crowd hit on your man because it’s good for his tee shirt sales. It’s only going to dinner on weeknights because weekend nights are saved for ‘gigs’. It’s hawking CDs while someone else gets on stage and shakes her breasts in your man’s face.

As the retired lead singer of a local band, I can tell you that the life of a band boyfriend is similar. Replace ‘guitars’ with ‘amps’ and ‘dancing all night’ with ‘standing stoically against the wall and drinking beer all night’ and you’re just about there. (The breasts thing? That still totally happens.)

The outcome

If you’re going to be out dancing anyway and you’re not the jealous type? Follow those lustful feelings. Just be aware than when you leave the bar after seeing that one band for the first time, feeling that you and that drummer really had a connection? That musician was having sex with the music. Not you.

Cotton and Under, sitting in a tree

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Did I mention I’m writing a romance novel? Despite the fact that I have never read one?

This, to me, somehow seems like a practically guaranteed source of income.

Romance Fiction Sales from 2005–2008

(source: Simba Information)

  • 2005: $1.4 billion
  • 2006: $1.37 billion
  • 2007: $1.375 billion
  • 2008: $1.37 billion

See? Someone must be writing a lot of damn books, seeing as how the average romance novel sells for about 50 cents.

Surprisingly, I’m not concerned about the feminist (or otherwise) statement made by such a genre. I think that a large portion of the people who judge such things don’t like that an entire category of books is written for and about women and love, but that in and of itself doesn’t make it a non feminist pursuit.

What I’ve decided is that my book is going to have to pass the Emma test. The Emma test is a variation of the Bechdel test, which gives a movie a thumbs up or down based on the answer to three simple questions.

  1. Are there two women in the movie?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. When they talk, is it about something other than a man?

The Emma test adds a fourth question.

4.  Can the same be said for men?

Now that that’s out of the way, all I need to decide is what to name my heroes. At some point I decided that I wanted my female hero to be named Cotton (please don’t ask me to explain, because I have no idea. Perhaps it has to do with Crockett, or the cottonwood tree in his backyard, or what I was wearing that day. My mind boggles … my mind sometimes.) I asked Crockett for non-traditional name suggestions for my male hero, and he suggested….


Cotton and Under.

He didn’t know I’d chosen Cotton at the time, so there was no subconscious underwear reference on his part. I wasn’t going to use it, but it’s actually sort of growing on me – and what’s the downside of using names that make people think of underclothing in a romance novel?

No downside that I can see.

Cotton and Under it is.


Thursday, August 19th, 2010

You know those goofy movies where someone can wiggle time around? Hermione in Harry Potter* had her egg timer thingy. Adam Sandler in Click had his remote control. Bill and Ted had their phone booth. Those guys in Primer had… that thing they had.

I would like one of those, and it’s not because I would like more hours in the day to be productive. It’s because I would like more hours in the day in which to slack off.

There is so much fun stuff to do! I don’t know how I ever actually got any work done… perhaps it was that someone was paying me and I found that motivating, although I find that less likely than you might expect. Seriously, between the internet, books, and creative pursuits like writing and painting and stuff, I would make the best retired person.

Here’s what I would do if I had all of the above time traveller dohickies.

  • I would use Hermione’s to nap. It’s perfect because you aren’t messing with other people’s timelines, you’re just doubling up yourself and can therefore sneak into a closet and snooze while the other you goes about your business.
  • I would use Adam Sandler’s to fast forward through headaches, and that only. Using it for more than that didn’t work out well for him, and never let it be said that I don’t know how to take advice from movies. Particularly movies that are most famous for an Academy Award nomination for best makeup.
  • I would use the phone booth to visit historical folks, because that’s how Bill and Ted would have wanted it. I’d start with Napoleon, because I’ve always thought that guy seemed like he probably had a secret sense of humor. That hand in the shirt thing had to be a joke.
  • Finally, I’d use the Primer machine for two things. First, I’d go back in time to watch Primer until I understood the whole thing, beginning to end. After the several years that would take, I’d become a day trader. What? How did you think I would finance all this napping/movie watching/Napoleon visiting?

What would you do?

*I know, it was a book first. If you’re going to be this picky you should probably go have a drink before finishing this post.

Is it oversharing if you don’t know you’re doing it?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

  1. Creepy?
  2. Awesome?
  3. Both?

(If you can’t or choose not to follow the link, it’s a bookstore that shows you, on a world map, what books are being bought in what areas. There are no details beyond that (To Kill a Mockingbird, California) so personal data isn’t being shared.)

I’m going to go with C. I have spent the last 5 minutes (plus or minus 45) doing nothing but watching these little boxes pop up.

Does that make me creepy, or the website?

*shaking it off*

I have discovered some categories of books that I wasn’t previously aware existed. For example, books that provide instruction on making polymer jewelry that looks like food.

It’s fun. It’s like being a spy without the guilt, work, or threat of deportation.