Friday, November 30, 2007

Computer Hell

So maybe you remember two weeks ago when my computer was in mortal peril, threatened by some malignant and all-consuming disk error? After performing three hours of symbolic surgery I thought our problems were over. How naive! The freezing, stalling, restarting cycle has continued. Today the disk utility said:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking HFS Plus volume.
Checking Extents Overflow file.
Checking Catalog file.
Invalid sibling link
The volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired.

Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit

1 HFS volume checked
Volume needs repair

Terrible! "Invalid," "failure" and "repair" all seem like the sorts of things you don't want your disks to do or need. Greg and Brian (and Brian's girlfriend Marissa) are all very knowledgeable computer types and they saw the way my computer was working during my lunch shift at Aroma today and said it was absolutely super serious. So now I am on a fifteen minute wait line with Apple Care Support services since going to the Apple Store on a Friday during the holiday shopping season would be like entering the gates of hell. I am pretty sure this is going to end with my needing to send poor little computer to California for intensive Apple Care.

In some ways I guess this is perfect timing, the last day of my month long pledge to post everyday. I don't think such a commitment would be possible without a personal computer. But I really had planned to continue. Because eventhough no one ever really comments or particularly reads what I write, I really like it. Even though it's something so small, creating a product (a post in my case) everyday is very fulfilling. So come back, dear readers! Once this crazy computer problem is fixed it should be an awesome December on Eating Pie Elsewhere.

Alert!: Blog Attack!

I was just reading the internet when I happened upon a fascinating comment by a person with an eerily familiar name:

"November 26th,
11:43 am

Is this news or editorial? I hope the latter, but it’s VERY BAD JOURNALISM to not indicate one or the other.

Now in terms of accuracy…

The AP reported 6 incidences in the US AND Cananda, not just the US as you imply. Calling the Taser ad campaign “weird” is editorializing. And finally, Taser agrees with AI’s finding that more intensive training is needed, but you brush it off as though it’s lip service (”more easily said than done”).

And I’m sort of unclear as to why Taser’s own site would use the word “torture” on their site. It’s an advertising site, why would they want to advertise it could be used as a “torture” device? Is that what you’d prefer?

I have mixed feelings about the Taser — I wish there were better 3rd party studies, and don’t feel I can make an informed decision without that. But this article just sparks as anti-Taser propaganda, and I find that an irresponsible use of your position as a journalist.


Thanks for that correction — it is six all together. And Taser’s Web site addresses much of the criticism against its weapons, but not the torture question. That was the point. –Mike

— Posted by EatingPie"

Fucking Crazy, right??? What to do now? Do I continue the thread? Is this a subvert, Interwebbed overture of love? My mind is racing with possiblilites...

Weighing In: New Schedules

Oh but I work so hard! It is late, I know. But forgive me, dear internet! I am simply on a different time table than other people.

You know how people talk about how Thursday is the new Friday or even Monday is the new Wednesday (a completely meaningless proposition which more than one person has told me of)? Basically there are so many reasons to perceive your week as other than the norm. But when it comes right down to it, everyone has a different week. Some people party hardest on Thursdays and spend the rest of the weekend chilling. Some people wake up early on Saturdays and Sundays to go on adventures or shopping or to the moon. (Can you tell that I have no idea what goes on in the morning hours on weekends?)

In the immortal words of a t-shirt Ryan Runstadler once bought at the Gap and later gave to me: Time is an invention. And if you aren't ready to accept that, than at least admit that the construction of the week is an invention. And a shoddy one at that. It seems like a nice idea that everyone would be able to work and rest at the same time, but it's not plausible in modern society. Who would serve us brunch? Who would pour us drinks and sell us movie tickets? Who would pump our stomachs of alcohol and other toxins?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Cooking Diary: Chili

Chili is absolutely the easiest thing to cook. Ben, my roommate when I was nineteen taught me how to make it. I am pretty sure that his dad just told him over the phone to dump a bunch of cans into a pot and cook it with chili powder. Over the course of that year, when I was as poor as I ever plan to be, we tried putting lots of different things into the pot. Mostly it always tastes good, but now I have settled on a pretty good method:

-I start with a small yellow onion and three medium sized garlic cloves, all diced.

-I saute this with a pound of ground turkey until there aren't any pink parts left (this is a post-Philly addition. I could not afford luxuries like ground turkey that year).

-I add some diced up green pepper, a little bit of red bell pepper (little sweetness, little color), a can of whole kernel corn, a can of beans (kidney tonight, but often black) and a large can of diced tomatoes in juice (not with basil). Sometimes I add some diced jalepeno. HEAT!

-Add three heavy dashes of cumin, a dash of cinnamon, three heavy dashes of chili powder... When I want it spicy, I do some cayenne. Longer cooking time is better for maximizing flavor, so tonight it's going to simmer for close to an hour.

My favorite thing with chili is cornbread and so I often do the Jiffy boxed kind. It's really tasty, really easy. Which is good because I am so tired.

There's not real cooking time necessary on this. You want it to be soft, you want it to be flavorful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


1) Goulash night at Cafe Steinhof: What a deal! Every Monday this Austrian restaurant in Park Slope serves generous bowls of goulash for only six bucks. They also have fried trout for same price but it's a little less reliable. Also they have Gaffel Kolsch on tap and I think that's one of my favorite beers ever. It's on the corner of 14th St. and 7th Ave.

2)No Country for Old Men: I admit that I covered my eyes a lot, but the movie is really great. It's very suspenseful and has an awesome ending, but the performances are really worth going for. Also, wide angle lenses never looked so good.

3)The Time of the Wolf: This movie is intensely tense if that even means anything. The director, Michael Haneke is incredibly adept at creating a narrative with convincing characters but not so much extra stuff that you get bogged down in the details. There's a really interesting analysis of his work in last month's Harper's. Also the young woman who plays the daughter is incredibly good and nuanced and beyond her years as they say. It's really worth seeing.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Becca arrived in New York a couple hours ago and will be staying through Thursday or Friday morning. This is really thrilling since she normally lives clear across the country and is visiting for the first time since I started living with Richard. I'll be working lots as I normally do on Tuesday through Thursdays, but it's still going to be very exciting. I even took Wednesday night off to hang out. Let this be a lesson to all of you far away friends. I love guests. Come visit!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weighing In On: Guitar Hero

Is not so great, actually.

Other things that aren't so great are bong hits and staying up until five in the morning eating stuffing and pie.

This weekend has left me exhausted.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Turkey Cooking Diary, Photos

My dad called them "the girls." Which is also what he calls me and my sister. Weird.

Working my magic.


An example of how crowded it was.

Fifteen cousins (missing Stephanie).


Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pie Report: Thanksgiving Recap

Perhaps you thought I was going to go through Thanksgiving without a single mention of pie. Of course you would be DEAD WRONG. One of the benefits of having thirty-nine people over is the volume of pies accumulated. We basically had every major pie group (within seasonal limit).

The Pecan Pie: I was so full by dessert that this is the only pie I had immediately after dinner (other pies were sampled mostly by hand, in front of the fridge at three in the morning). The crust was particularly crumbly, I would guess an all butter, no shortening recipe. But I think this works well with pecan pie. I do like it to be a little gooier but I think that was mostly a function of pan size. For me pecan pie should always be on the crispy side (because of the glorious nut caramelization effect). This one was a strong example of the form.

The Pumpkin Pie: It was not until the Great Leftover Distribution that I realized that my aunt Marian, who has five children and works nights as an ICU nurse, made BOTH this and the pecan pie. Wow. Anyhow I have no agenda against canned pumpkin. In fact the opposite might be true. I would say it's one of my favorite canned vegetables. I am pretty sure the filling started in a can, but the texture was very good. The crust was definitely the same as the pecan, but not as crispy and so not as crumbly. I do like a little whipped cream with my pumpkin, but generally our desserts were without garnish, so it is forgiven.

The Creative Pie: There's usually one dessert made each Thanksgiving that breaks with tradition. My family is pretty big on tradition so it's never anything too crazy. This year my mom's cousin Joanie made a cranberry apple pie. The filling was really quite tasty. It might have been a bit more tart, but with a group like this you probably want to play it safe (to my shock and dismay the chocolate birthday cake was significantly more popular than any pie in attendance). My major critiques were pan depth (too shallow) and crispness of crust. Although the sugary, pale crust can be quite tasty and is certainly typical in recipes involving strawberry-rubarb fillings, I am always in favor of a more golden, more flakey crust.

The Family Tradition: Since I was a child the swiss chocolate pie has been a staple of the Thanksgiving stable. My uncle John's birthday is the 22 of November and it's his favorite so usually my grandmother makes it. My grandmother isn't particularly interested in the tedium of making crusts so normally the pie consists of a chocolate filling in a pre-made graham cracker crust with whipped cream topping. My aunt Allie made the pie this year and did a cookie crust from scratch. It was stilling very gooey (the pie needs to be served at near freezing and we were low on freezer room yesterday) but quite tasty nonetheless. I am obviously more partial to the spiced offerings (apple, pumpkin) but this was the only dessert to yield no leftovers.

The Apple: My mom makes amazing apple pie. This is actually a proven fact. She brought one to Maine when we went with Josh, Ryan and Alex and they still talk about it. And honestly I didn't even have any yesterday. Because while apple pie with a little melting scoop of vanilla ice cream (we didn't even have ice cream yesterday) may taste pretty fantastic after a meal, nothing compares with a breakfast slice with some bacon or chicken apple sausages on the side. And that is the thing I am truly thankful for.

*In addition to the briefly mentioned chocolate fudge birthday cake there was also a cheesecake and pie crust cookies called "zizis" in the dessert spread.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Cooking Diary

So I did it. Well... apparently I under did it and it had to be done more but I pretty much cooked a turkey today. It was remarkably smooth going compared to my mother's process. Whenever I felt like there was a lot to do I just looked over and saw her cursing the stove or her potholders or the ironing board. Calm by comparison, that's the ticket. I would like to recommend that should you choose to cook a turkey, it's probably not a good idea to get drunk the night before. Should you try this you might find that the very sight of raw poultry skin could make those awful nauseous chills go up and down your arms. Not to mention the awfulness of standing next to a bowl of cherries and apricots soaking in brandy. So gross.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I thought I was getting a ride from Park Slope at one but I am actually getting a ride from Manhattan at noon.... I slept until ten! I haven't packed or showered! I planned to bring a case of wine and all my laundry! How am I ever going to make it??

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mary J.

Yesterday I was sitting in my living room when suddenly a song began as though someone had pressed play on a tape deck in the very next room. It was the first verse of my elementary school favorite "Real Love" by Ms. Mary J. Blige. In retrospect I am pretty sure it was coming from a person making her way up 12th street very slowly, but the car stereo was balanced in such a way that the instruments and beat were totally gone and all that you heard was voice. Guys, I was basically transported. The weirdest thing is that it started and ended right with the verse. I never heard the chorus. Anyhow, I think it's best for me to take it as a sign. Perhaps a sign that I should dig up some of those early 90's classics (I know I am ready for a little more En Vogue in my life). Perhaps merely a sign that my little plaid hat with the brim (so much like Mary J.'s signature!) is in fact the right fashion choice for the moment. Regardless, I just wanted to tell you, Madame Blige, that I am, as always, listening.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Most Perfect Video

My obsession with the Muppets is pretty well known. Josh and I often fall asleep to the melodious strains of season two of the Muppet Show. Perhaps slightly less well known is my love/hate fascination with Liza Manelli. It's so captivating/horrifying how she is always so ridiculous and over the top but also never anyone besides herself. I would hazard to guess that only Leila and maybe Tommy really know the depth of my affinity for the Copa Cabana Song. And who but the Internet could deliver such a magical synthesis? Only Liza could deliver the maudlin undertones of this heartbreaking story song with six foot furry co-stars. Bravo. No. Brava!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Preparing Turkey

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my thoughts naturally turn to flaky crusts and gooey fillings. This year, however, I will also be taking on a new and somewhat stressful responsibility. I am going to make a turkey. Mind you it won't be THE turkey. My parent's are hosting an intimate Thanksgiving for forty; there are soup kitchens that will be serving fewer people than my mother on Thursday. One turkey simply will not suffice for that many people. And so, my mom is making two "little" turkeys, her cousin is making one and my grandma is making a turkey breast. In this situation "little" means fourteen pounds, so really there's going to be tons of meat. I suggested to my mom yesterday that she try this tasty lemon and thyme roasting preparation I used on a chicken a few weeks ago. And somehow this suggestion led to my agreeing to prepare one of my mother's two allotted turkeys. So now, rather than the backseat helpful position I normally take at Thanksgiving (or any other occasion for my mother to spend seven or more hours in the kitchen), I will be right in the middle of things. Lovingly basting my bird with a paste of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and thyme. Surrounded by shrieks offset by burning pot holders and dropped pies. Happy holidays indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weighing in on Holiday Songs

This year musical and commercial manifestations of the Christmas season started immediately after Halloween. To be fair, I wasn't in the country at this time last year, but in my memory there was a lag period of at least a week. I started noticing lights in trees and on sign posts around Columbus Day. They weren't lit, but it was so early I wondered whether they were premature or left over from last year. On November 3 I heard Christmas carols in the lobby of a movie theater. Really it's too much. I am already entering retail stores in fear of hearing that awful Chipmunk's Christmas Song ("Huuuuuula hooooooop!").

My friend Jess has begun a correspondence with Boston radio station WROR addressing their plan to play ONLY Christmas music between last Monday and December 25. The producer who responded to her very reasonable letter basically said, "You're no fun." But really, making the Christmas season eight weeks long seems like a sure way to drain all of the fun from it. Even my mother, who normally is a pretty level headed person, has fallen victim to this marketing scheme. She is going Christmas shopping today with a bunch of lady friends (and many of them are Jewish!). The madness must stop. Just as the presidential campaign should not begin two years before the election, the Christmas season should not begin two months before the holiday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why So Hateful, Internet?

Do you remember how I used to make those ridiculous videos when I was in Amsterdam? Well the only way I could make them appear on the internet was to upload them to a video site to host them. So those videos, mostly forgotten by myself and the people I intended them for (that's you, dear readers), have been collecting dust on YouTube for over a year now.

Recently I received a notification that someone had commented on one of my videos. Actually I received two notifications of two comments in the same day. Confusing, really since I hadn't looked at my YouTube account in over six months. The comments were from some dude in Michigan telling my I suck. Twice. In one day. Today I got another comment on a different video from a charmer in San Diego calling me gay.

Let's be real now people. If you are looking through YouTube and came across a video that looked like one of mine, why would you even watch it, let alone take the time to comment on it? I'm not trying to whine about people being mean on the Internet because it's a tiresome topic, but it seems a person must be blinded by malice to take the time to tear apart such poorly made, ridiculous stuff. I mean, maybe my friend from Michigan is a big fan of the often forgotten musical Mame and feels personally offended by my treatment of one of its beloved songs? I mean I doubt it, but maybe.

Clean slate.

My computer is all better!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Live from the Apple Store!

Bad news, EPE fans. My computer is very very sick. I just consulted with Francis, an awkward, blunt Genius who has told me that at any point everything on my computer might be erased and gone forever! My only option is to back everything up, wipe the computer and reinstall the operating system. Apple thinks this is simple and something I can easily do myself. I am not so sure. I am going to attempt this technological miracle working this evening but should I fail (or fall asleep or whatever) this blogging everyday thing could become quite tricky. I'm not making excuses (yet). Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with the freshest, cleanest computer of all time. For now, pray for my poor computer as she is about to go under the digital knife.

Tasting Notes: Bitch Barossa Grenache

So in case anyone wasn't aware, tonight was the premiere of Project Runway. And it also coincided with my getting off work early. Sometimes the gods smile upon you! So Richard and Cathy were here when I got home and I stopped by the liquor store I was drawn to this bottle. Maybe it was the name (basically) or the pink label, but I chose this wine called "Bitch." I figured that if there's any night for a girly wine, this was it (we also do Gossip Girl, so...). I've already told you about my grenache, garancha, connonau or whatever phase. When I went to the register I was embarrassed and said so. But the saleswoman (from behind bullet proof glass) was like, "This is my favorite wine. It is so good." There was something about her black lip-liner made me pause. You know how when you drink a lot of red wine it sort of your lips? I have bought many lip glosses with names like "merlot" or "burgundy" to mask this issue, but this woman seemed to have gone the opposite way. She was embracing it. She continued, "I take a bottle home every night, but tonight i"m gonnna take two because I always want to drink more of it." Yeah, I could use another. Damn. It is really delicious.

*So I had actually consumed this bottle of wine when I first wrote this post. So I had to edit it a little. You know, to make it coherent.

** Also 2006 is the current vintage not the 04 pictured. It's really young and light.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Photocopier

I have been photocopying for about seven years now. Of course I dabbled before then. A couple of pictures for a school project. A literary "magazine" in fifth grade. Nothing really serious though. I actually can't remember the specific circumstances surrounding my first serious copying job. But it was definitely at Latin. I am pretty sure I was a senior. And I was making lots of copies either as a detention or to get community service hours. Alternatively I might have been illegally copying scripts for the drama club. Whichever way, the circumstances were ridiculous. And because I was clearly not a teacher, teachers almost always felt entitled to cut in front of me.

I am pretty much in the situation now. Generally being a publicity intern is the very bottom of the pecking order. When an editorial assistant or someone from accounting needs to make a quick copy they are usually apologetic and ask nicely. But editors and other senior or important people just jump right in. I know making five copies of a two sentence blurb about an appearance Paul Krugman made in Chicago over a week ago is ultimately not the priority for ANY part of the company. But it's what I have to do.
So yeah I know it's not that important, but be a little bit nice when putting someone's menial job on hold.

Tasting Notes: Fruity Wines, also excuses

Fuck. Technically I did not post on November 13. But since it has been November 14 for exactly eleven minutes and since I have already demonstrated the blogosphere's (ugh... actually the worst word I will ever use on this site) bias against service professionals, I consider myself forgiven. And while I was considering making this post about excuses for not posting earlier, instead I am going to write about wine which I never do even though it's a pretty big part of my life between my job and all the time that I am not working. But briefly:

I didn't post on November 13 (technically) because...

-I had to make a super great impression at my internship today because everyone was out of the office and I was in charge of the phones and handling emergencies. I mean, no emergencies happened, but I talked to an art history professor at Penn State about how he could access information on a book that was never even published in 1943.

-My computer is hopelessly ill. I was going to have Mac geniuses suckle her to health today but I had to be at the work that pays me annoyingly early and the work that doesn't pay me annoyingly late (see below and above respectively).

-I worked tonight. And even though I was only there for six hours, I contend that those six hours 4:30 to 11:30 are really prime blogging time.

And by way of transition... While I was at work tonight I tried a few new wines. This is actually a pretty frequent occurrence since I work at a wine bar and we have a terrifically lax drinking policy for staff. But tonight we were doing this ridiculous tasting for a party (I mean, thirty people who were drunk before they started have six different wines while STANDING??? Fuck that), and they were having some pretty good wines. Of course when we do tastings we are pouring smaller glasses and they are priced according to the number of people not the number of bottles. So basically there was some really good stuff left over.

Anyhow, one of the bottles was a wine called Sulleria (which normally has an accent over the I but I don't know how to make my computer say that), which is a 2003 sangiovese/nero d'avola blend from Sicily. Actually I am not certain of the year which is bad. But this is like the Polaner All Fruit (the kind you can't call jelly) of wine. It's rich and deep with fruit, chocolate, some hazelnut elements. The shit is off the chain. And they were having it with these shortbread cookies topped with a hazelnut and chocolate panna cotta. Wow. It's packed with so much fruit but with these other elements, it balances. It's ridiculously rich, but it's so good.

So after the shift I was sitting at the bar having a snack or dinner, depending on your perspective, and I tried this cabernet that we are doing by the glass. It was also pretty fruit driven. But while in the Sicilian wine the fruit tasted like it was super ripe and still warm from the sun (Sicily is, like, hotter than most places in Italy), this cabernet from Alto Adige (which sort of snuggles up against Austria) has a bright cherry thing happening. And that probably has a lot to do with the climate. It finished almost spicy too, which somehow seemed off balance. That's pretty strange for me since I am into spicy wines and am maybe going through a particular phase with them (see the bottles of garancha in my recycling). But the thing that really made this wine just lose in my book was the damn new oak. Yuck. It is so bad.

Basically I haven't mentioned that the Sicilian wine is on our list for $80 a bottle and we sell the cabernet for $10 a glass ($36 a bottle). So that should be considered in the comparison. But I have never really tried to write about wine before and it's good. It makes me think about it more clearly and see where my biases are. And I'm sorry to subject you to my snobbery. But really, no one is making you read this.

*I don't know this guy. But he looks like an old professor of mine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reviewed: Torchwood

I have been living with crazy-fancy cable for three months now. But it was only two weeks ago when I was sick that I discovered BBC America On Demand. And with this discovery I also found Torchwood. How can I begin to explain? The show isn't particularly well produced. Special effects tend to come out of nowhere. Characters often remain undeveloped for countless episodes before taking center stage. Story lines almost always end completely cleanly at the end of each episode. But, but, but... I have always had such a soft spot for science fiction and they approach the subject soooo broadly. Fairies, aliens, time travel... everything. And they have that exuberant BBC approach to sexuality. Practically no one is straight. And there's basically no such thing as fidelity. And when they do finally get around to developing characters, they have a fairly subtle approach. What more do you want from television? I swear, watch a few episodes and you'll be hooked.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Cooking Diary: Magical Rainbow Curry!

So tonight is the first installment of the new Pot Luck Club I am joining. I am making a meat dish this month. Which is sort of surprisingly hard because I love the veg. So this morning I decided to make this herb stuffed, spice rubbed turkey breast that Rachel Ray made for her 60 minute Thanksgiving. On a side note, in an earlier time Rachel Ray's speed and skill with the yum-o factor would certainly engender accusations of witchcraft. Anywho, I printed the recipe and went to brunch with Arjun and Anthony thinking that I would stop by Whole Foods on the way home.

Apparently I didn't bring the recipe with me. Fortunately, the ever resourceful Anthony had a magical internet phone and found the recipe for me. Unfortunately, Whole Foods did not have any fresh thyme. Or cilantro. I mean, what kind of sham of a supermarket are they running? Frustrated and nervous about the time frame for the pot luck club, I desperately sought inspiration. Suddenly, a bright purple bulb caught my eye. And it was cauliflower! Purple cauliflower!

Arjun had the good idea to make it into curry (and not just because he's Indian, if that's what you're thinking). And so I quickly bought a yam, some carrots and some chicken legs. When I was chopping, I realized that all the colors were so bright and vibrant, I ought to call it rainbow curry. I also added some kale for green.
And for a while it was looking really lovely. Sort of liquid-y but really nice. This was not meant to be. The curry I just put into a tupperware is pretty much brown. I cooked it way too long and all of the cauliflower broke down and bleached out. It is easily the least appealing looking thing I have cooked in a long time. Boo-hoo.

So I have developed a back-up plan. I am going to wow everyone with 64 delicious oz. of Six Point Sweet Action beer. That's right, I bought bulk beer. And the bottle is refillable. Good plan, right?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Games!: Mystery Photo

So basically the name of the game is guess what the photo says about me today. Unfortunately I am off to work.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hover Car Solutions: Brooklyn, north and south

Because I work on Saturdays, Friday nights are my only chance to do weekend things with my normie, day-jobbing friends. For me Fridays are more like Thursdays, since I work the next day, but generally I try to go out and do social things. Tonight I am confronting the common problem of where to go. Since I moved to Park Slope in July I have had to negotiate the divide between northern and southern Brooklyn. As manifest by my move, I prefer the south. But Josh and many of my friends still reside up north. And so, I am faced with a forty-five minute G train trip before even eating dinner. Times like this make me question what all of this technology in our lives is really for. I mean, maybe I am going to press the "publish post" button in a few minutes and you, my world-wide friends, will be able to instantly soak in my words, but I will still languish on a rickety subway car for near to an hour to travel only five miles. I mean, I might as well take a stagecoach. Actually that would be faster.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A List: Things I Have Cut with My Wine Key

Various types of sales labels out of clothing.

Limes for gin and tonics while sitting on a park bench.

Packing tape on boxes.

Badly tangled parts of my hair (gross).

My hands.

My coworkers (accidents!).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Word Association

Do you ever find yourself thinking about the Aztec god Xipe Totec when typing in the web address for my blog? Xipe Totec was worshipped mainly by flaying the skin of live human sacrifices. Something about the pieelsewhere or, more specifically the "pieel" portion of the url always makes me think of the this image of the god. I think it can mostly be attributed to my studies of spanish (piel= skin, right?) and the verb to peel. So if any of you have been similarly reminded of human sacrific by this website, I assure you this was not a conscious part of naming my blog. Sorry

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Reviewed: Lunch Meetings

As an intern I am not afforded many opportunities to go to meetings. I am even less likely to be invited to meetings with a meal included. Happily today was rare occassion wherein my presence was requested, nay REQUIRED, at a lunch meeting. To be perfectly honest, the meeting was expressly designed to address the concerns of interns in the publicity department, so the circumstances were a little unusual. But the moral of the story is, I got free lunch. Which really makes me wonder about that recent New York Time article about how annoying it is to meet with people over a meal. I know the article mostly described breakfast, but it seems like a particularly upper-class position to take to me. A person in my economic position pretty much always benefits from a lunch meeting:

1) The lunch is paid for by some larger corporate entity which saves you money.
2) You are "working" during lunch and therefore logging hours, but still

3) getting to spend a good deal of time outside of the office in the middle of the day while the sun is still shining. And let's face it, the sun is not shining nearly enough these days.

4) It promotes a sort of conviviality so often missing normal office interactions. For example, maybe you hadn't seen your co-workers purse before and now you know that her mother is a handbag salesperson!

A person disinterested in these obvious benefits is most likely:

1) Unconcerned about the cost of lunch due to a high salary.

2) Unconcerned about how hard it seems she/he is working because her/his job is already secure.

3) Job security allows this person to take midday strolls or yoga classes or coffee breaks.

4) Heartless and uninterested in others (maybe a reach).

But screw the richies. I say lunch meetings are great. And they allowed me to have a delicious curry chicken sandwhich and and fluffy maccaroon rather than cold leftover kale (which I'll eat tomorrow, but still).

Lunch Meeting grade: A

Monday Cooking Diary, pt. 2: Glorious Kale!

So my kale recipe? Was fucking phenomenal! I mean, not to toot my own horn but, Jessica Seinfeld take note, this is how to make people eat vegetables. I did modify the recipe a little as per the very helpful message board. I used more curry and a combo of low sodium chicken broth and some very old apple cider that was languishing at the back of the fridge (apparently it's better for cooking that way!). Also the seven hours in the slow cooker makes for some crazy tender beef. I wish that the broth was thicker and the flavor of the parsnips had come through more, but other than that I felt pretty good about the meal.
So anyone have ideas for what I should try to cook next? I need an eggplant-free meat dish to bring to the Pot Luck Club (the name is an extremely subtly play on the title of the Amy Tan novel) on Sunday and then dinner for the boys on Monday. So let me know. What's delicious? I'm up for a challenge. Cause if I fail, you know I can just write a better blog entry about it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Cooking Diary, Pt. 1: Crock Pot, Talk Shows

Many of you may know that I am fairly new to eating mammal flesh. It's been about a year and a half now, and I have tried lots of things. But honestly I haven't cooked that many of them. So today I decided to take on beef stew. It's sort of perfect for the season, not just because it's getting chilly, but also because root vegetables are so delicious at this time of year. In a lot of ways stews are the perfect place for tubers because the other stew items lend the fleshy veggie chunks savory flavor. Reciprocally the starchiness of root veggies makes the stew thicker. My final inspiration was the fact that Josh has a crock pot (in the interest of full discourse, the crock pot belongs to his mother, he has been borrowing it since last winter).

Not to sound like a crazy TV advertisement but cooking with a crock pot is embarrassingly easy. Basically I bought a bunch of vegetables, some beef and a couple cans of Murphy's Irish Stout (I don't buy Irish stout in a bottle, it's not right). I chopped everything up and put it into the crock pot at two o'clock. It'll be ready around nine. I didn't even use a recipe!

This has left me with a lot of free time. I plan to make some kale (more on that later) but I don't need to start until eight-thirty or so. So I have basically spent the day in full domestic mode. I'm sure it would be ok to leave the crock pot a while, but it makes me nervous. An independent, heat-causing appliance left on while I leave the house??? Surely my father would climb through the phone lines from Boston to prevent such a mistake! So I have mopped, tidied, done dishes, done laundry and watched several daytime talk shows. Of course the hosts covered a variety of topics, but Ellen, through some bizarre cosmic synchronicity did a CROCK POT themed episode today! She was making some gross looking stuff like eight hour chicken breasts cooked in salsa. Which in turn makes me feel better about the delicious smells wafting from my kitchen. Yes, I think it will be alright. Look for an update later tonight!

*Did anyone catch the Tyra show today?? It was called "What's up down there?" and was awkwardly about gynecological health. I mean, has the Vagina Monologues done nothing in its eleven years of production? Does anyone want to learn about menstrual synchronicity and HPV from a woman so prone to dramatic facial expressions and self-involvement? It's embarrassing!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Worst Entry Ever

I wouldn't consider myself the neatest person around. My morning dressing routine is essentially trying on five or six bottoms and tops and depositing them all on the ground. So by the end of the week I am left with a room closely resembling the aftermath of a tornado. And so every Sunday or Monday I take on the sloth.

I think this might be my worst blog entry ever. Sorry. I'll do two tomorrow. I swear.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Quel scandaleux!

So I am back now from a very creamy croque madame and extremely cheesy music at Bellville Bistro. I wasn't intending to update again, but I was poking about the internet and noticed that my occupation on blogger was still listed as student. When trying to update it, I was SHOCKED to see that there is no option among the industry choices for restaurant work. Not food service or even service more generally. Not even culinary! What the hell? Are people who work in restaurants really so illiterate on the whole that blogger assumes they wouldn't be users? I will be sending an email to the powers that be about this. Until then, my industry is listed as "Maritime." Which is a perfectly reasonable profession for bloggers. What with all those mid-ocean Wi-Fi hot spots.


The life of a waitress has little room for Saturday night fun. It's almost always Sunday morning when work gets out. And taking Saturdays off is financially risky. When faced with hanging out with friends or making a significant portion of a month's rent in a few hours, practicality almost always wins out. But not tonight. I took a chance and worked Friday instead. So here I am, faced with an expanse of time in which to relax. After four twelve-plus hour days it sure feels good. I stayed in bed till noon, had a nice long shower, made some tea. Josh and I will set out for a leisurely brunch soon. I feel like I'm one of those hardworking moms taking a "me day." It's ridiculous.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Elements of Publicity Style

It has been a little more than a month and half since I began my internship. Three days a week, four to five hours a day, I have been learning the craft of book publishing publicity. Slightly more than half of my work is boring office stuff like photocopying, filing, mass emailing, stuffing envelopes and making contact lists from a neon-colored data based (the screen literally brings tears to my eyes). The other portion is writing "snappy" emails and letters to writers, editors and producers of all ilks. Although this does require a certain level of grammatical skill, several of the tried and true rules of good writing are reversed in publicity writing. Most notably cliche and hyperbole are whole-heartedly embraced. In writing class leading off with a cliche may have aroused the scorn of instructors and peers alike, but in publishing it's a hook which will inevitably lead to high profile interviews and starred reviews in all the trades. Sort of disheartening. Vagueness is also highly valued. In the two paragraph pitch one can't be bothered with details to support claims. Adjectives run rampant. The most common edit to my emails has been the addition of the word "fantastic." And I am learning from this. I have made a concerted effort to describe the writing, story or reviews of each book as "fantastic" in my last several emails. And it's working!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And so it Begins!

Hello my loyal reader(s?)! The day you probably forgot to wait for is here. I am officially blogging every day for the whole month of November (mercifully one with thirty, not thirty-one). I have been racking my brain to come up with features and recurring themes to make this process easier on all of us. So far I have come up with the following:

1)Monday cooking recaps: Because I work at a restaurant and don't spend a lot of time at home, I really only cook dinner on Monday nights (and soon Sundays, Pot Luck Unlimited peeps!). So I am planning to recap each of these endeavors. You can expect recipes, hilarious tales of what I spilled or broke and my top comments from the Epicurious message board that inevitably inspired the meal.

2)Reviews: And not just the normal things! While I do intend to share my opinion of books, movies, restaurants and television programs, I'll also be undertaking reviews of clothing, food stuffs, beauty products.... really anything. I may even review people, so watch out!

3)Formatting Experiments: If I am going to become a for-serious-blogger, I will need to be consistent in matters of style and formatting. I could really use your help on this. Should I capitalize my titles (see above conundrum)? Should I change my layout? What about punctuation? Should I put commas before the "and" in lists of three or more items (I don't like to, but it's an interesting debate!)? Too many adverbs? Too many parentheticals? These are important issues!

And that's only the begining! Well I am excited. See you for more topical blogging tomorrow!