My favorite funny part is the "increasingly adorable" part at 6:30. My favorite not funny part is that Tina Fey's nonsensical answer at 4:00 is exactly what Palin actually said in real life.

AND LATER: I just had a moment where I became incredibly emotional over the fact that the next president of the USA could be a black man. That would be amazing.   




I've changed my setup so many times, I'm putting this up here so that if I get to the venue and can't remember how to put my equipment (!) back together, here is the diagram.

ALSO: That is not a skull decal or sticker or any kind of pansy skate-boy shit like that on the guitar in the center. That is a wind-up plastic skull that, when wound and released, goes "ayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeayeya" for about 30 seconds. 

AND LATER: It hardly seems possible but Double Headphones Comes Alive actually came alive last night. The best thing about digital technology in 2008? Leaving the venue with an audio file of your performance so you can take it home and quickly make a loop of the rapturous post-performance applause for use as the soundtrack for your impending and much much much-needed peaceful slumber. 




I really want to be a 7th grader building my own guitar.



t’long mee la ngor skor.

I accidentally made some Cambodian-ish food today. As you may recall, I'm devoting as little time as possible to cooking this week, so I'm looking for things that I can just throw in the oven and forget about, with a minimum of prep. 

The first step in this process is to assess the "on-hand inventory" as QuickBooks would say. There was a bag of defrosted catfish that definitely needed to move on to the next step in its evolution. And during one of my recent Avondmarkt visits, I picked up a can of yucca because it was....anyone? Yis, it was on sale. 

So, I picked up the Googlephone and called 411, they pointed me at some yucca recipes, and one of the first non-Cuban ones was a Khmer recipe featuring yucca, sesame, coconut, and sugar. OK, since we know that fish and root vegetables can go together, and my catfish comes from Vietnam, basically right next door to Cambodia. So I put my catfish and yucca in a baking dish, sprinkle with sesame oil and, near the end, coconut and palm sugar (later on I felt really experimental and added a squirt or two of lime juice...also good). 

And what do you know? About 572 million times better than my chicken leg disaster from the other night. Interesting while being comforting. Hmm. I guess Cambodia does Rock




Ever wonder if you are? 

You probably are. I may even be. Tonight, just now in fact, I punted the memory of last night's Dinner Abomination over the border of and directly into the heart of Anomalyland. 

In other words, tonight's dinner was easier, quicker, and roughly 1.3 trillion times better. I roasted another chicken, because they're only 2.99 at the Dirk and because the last one was so caveman-good. 

My goal this time was to see if a less fussy recipe would work anywhere near as well as the Dean & Deluca bird-flipping spectacular (they had you flipping and basting the bird every 15 minutes, which basically means that I wasted 90 minutes because I can't multitask creative endeavors and cooking...creatively I'm single-threaded). Remember, I'm new to this whole chicken thing. 

And lo, my Sunday Bird was even better than the last one and only required one bird flip. I used one of the variations for Claudia Roden's djaj fil forn, an Egyptian recipe. Basically, rub the bird with olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. I threw some carrots in the roasting pan halfway through and baked at 190C for 90 minutes. Keeper!

Photo: Mara. She's at her parents' place, coming across old photos, like one does, and tormenting this lonely duck with them, like one does. 


swing and a miss.

When was the last time you made something completely inedible? It had been a while for me before tonight, I mean like a solid 3 years or so. Tonight: I can barely even think about it at the moment, I...really did not enjoy it. It was supposed to be some sort of Persian chicken, but yeah...there are some cuisines I shouldn't really attempt without a recipe in front of me. Plus I was using an unfamiliar ingredient (chicken legs... we don't eat chicken really). 

All is can say is ewww. It was like Sour Soylent Green. I mean the texture of the chicken was nas-teeeee, rubbery, flaccid, fatty, gag, ulp. The only way to purge the experience from my mind was to bake two sweet potatoes with cinnamon and sugar (it was my dinner! C'mon, I didn't use any butter. They're vegetables!) They smelled so good I thought someone had snuck a batch of cookies into the oven. I was working on something and then suddenly I looked up and said "Damn, who's baking up a dang ol' batch of cookies* in heah?" Mmm.

* That's an old Donald Barthelme trick, the "bad patois". Any clumsy-sounding dialect that the author knows isn't authentic-sounding. Try it, it's fun! 




Maybe I'm amazed...well, no. Nope, I'm totally amazed at how good a body can feel when it hasn't been drinking and smoking and staying out late like a dullard...when it gets up early and goes to the gym and gets some sun, etc. I'm going to go ahead and recommend that I continue to do this. I still look like Keith Richards, but I feel like, I don't know...Prince? k.d. lang? Hopefully not. I don't have any idea, let me think about it.

So, what with the past couple few several weeks being devoted to the psychedelic drone abstract country rock 'n' roll lifestyle and the stress of family medical emergencies, the grocery budget has taken a back seat. The back seat, actually, there's only one.

So we now return to the budget lifestyle. After today. Here's something I don't think you see in America, or do you? At the grocery store, this is the way you buy a kilo of mussels:

Which I haven't done very often here because well I just haven't. But this week mussels showed up at the Dirk for a good price, and while I didn't buy them, I've been thinking about them. And thus today while I was at Albert Heiniehole and I saw these bitches I grabbed them.

In addition to thinking about food as little as possible, another of the week's goals is to use up leftovers or abandoned condiments in the fridge. Yesterday's ancho ketchup was part of this initiative, as was the Brazilian shrimp with tomatos, onions, and hearts of palm that I made on Friday...it was comforting and good without being exactly exciting, kind of like Cuban food.

But now I'm getting down to the point where there's not much left to work with except pickles, cheese, and mindblowingly hot sambals. Oh, and an open can of Italian tomatoes. Maybe we'll take our mussels in a Spanish direction.

UPDATE: "We" took them in an Italian direction, for a number of reasons. I had no salt in the house, but I did have some extremely salty Kalamata olives that needed something useful to do. I also had a few salted capers left, an open can of tomatoes, etc...it's plain that it was "in the cards", as they say. Basically a mussels fra diavolo, with bulgur (Our Grain of Choice) replacing the linguini. Excessively edible, very good.

Oh yeah, remind me to tell you the very funny thing that Joost said after he accidentally cut the tip of his finger off.



true confessions.

I'm not even supposed to be blogging today, but I just had to tell someone: today I did something I've never ever done before. And I'm almost 40 years old. 

I roasted a chicken. Can you believe I've never roasted a chicken? I know, I couldn't either. So I did it. The mangled photo above is from after I ripped the legs off to see if it was done. But it came out utterly perfect thanks to Dean & Deluca's recipe. I stuffed it with walnuts, prunes, and garlic and used some leftover ancho sauce to make an ancho ketchup for dipping. I'm so sophisticated! And gay!



food, thought, medicine.

Ike looks alarming, wouldn't you say?


I'm trying a little experiment this weekend wherein I attempt to not do all of my little procrastinatory habits, most of which revolve around food or this blog or both. See, this weekend is the first and last time I'll have even the tiniest bit of breathing room for a few weeks, and I can already feel myself wanting to do nothing but breathe until there's no room left.

If that makes any sense. What I'm saying is, I often find it hard to work unless a deadline is standing on my neck, or pinching the bridge of my nose, or any other mean thing a deadline might do, but at the moment? I'm kind of tired of my deadline self. Like Carly Simon, I Haven't Got Time For The Pain.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if this time, just as a crazy experiment not completely unlike the Large Hadron Collider, I worked consistently and methodically every day, anticipating and subsequently avoiding my endearing tendency to wander off down other semi-related lanes of inquiry (those hours I spent recording solos on my new PostcardWeevil were totally well-spent, though, I'm not talking about that).

OK, like just now. I went looking for a video of the PostcardWeevil and I found this:

Which led to several other things, and I was in a Googhole for 20 minutes. That's what I'm talking about! Here's the PostcardWeevil by the way. In this demo it sounds tiny, but imagine if you ran the output through a humongous bass amp...total destruction. I accidentally blew a basketball-sized hole in the dining room wall this morning during my extended Weevil solo (not really...we don't have a dining room!):

OK, I used up all my food-talking time looking for information on how to fuck up children's toys. I guess that's all for today. But you see my point. Oh, and Pitts? Please make sure Erica doesn't throw away any of the twins' sound-making toys...I'll be bringing my soldering iron with me this Xmas.



more gauze, this time with feeling.

Any idea what this is? In this photo it reminds me very much of Italian hospital equipment.

How about this view from above?

OK, maybe if I show you the nurse's station:

Why...those aren't nurses, you fiend! Those could only be....my God, no--vinyl mastering technicians!!! Actually one vinyl mastering technician (right) and the man who is on the A-side of the soon-to-be-pressed Double Headphone Project (he runs the label, so...of course, he gets the A-side. Just kidding, Ivo!!!!).

So, yes, they take your finely-crafted, agonizingly overconsidered, lovingly-rendered audio file and play it through a bunch of amazingly expensive vintage Italian hospital equipment that I don't understand at all (in fact, one of the weirdest things about today was being surrounded by technology about which I knew absolutely nothing), and it somehow gets etched/burned into this copper disc which becomes the, eh...master? I don't even know what it's called (Wikipedia does, though).

This copper disc then gets on down to an actual assembly line, where warm gobs of raw vinyl are mechanically fed into something that looks like a sandwich press (ah...the food connection, finally!), and pwong!!! Piping-hot records come out!

Crazy. So then I went home to my laboratory/kitchen table to continue figuring out how to turn this pile of wires and boxes I 've accumulated into Double Headphones Comes Alive! (two weeks away), but I had some sort of bug in my system:

A big, gross caterpillar of some sort as far as I can tell. Completely obscuring my work surface with its writhing, invasive, fuzzy bulk.

How'd she get so big? Too many omelets maybe.



balm, me.

As the title of the last post said, "OK!" Which means, among other things, OK, I'm back. I haven't been feeling, eh, "100%" for the past few days, and haven't been eating much other than imaginary sandwiches (also see previous post). That ham, avocado, tomato sandwich was real, though, but it didn't fix whatever badness lurked inside me.

So today I went outside thinking "what's the healthiest possible food I could eat?" This is a pretty tough question to answer definitively, but lots of things came to mind: vegetables of course, dark leafy greens and bright orange things and stinky cruciferous things. But I was also craving protein, so I picked up the "sale tilapia" at the Dirk (frozen, don't worry...that's the only kind of "sale fish" I buy) and a big head of cabbage, thinking I'd make some kind of zuppa di pesce thing.

But my mind is still in the tropics. So we turn to the great tradition of tropical cabbage dishes. Don't laugh, there probably is one, I just can't think of anything except that wickedly spicy cabbage from Jamaican Foods in Athens, GA. I'll have time to use the InterGoogle eventually, and I'll return triumphant, you'll see.

I basically took a recipe for Surinamese cabbage (half of a cabbage) with masala (1 tbsp or so of Nandan brand Hindustani masala) and added 1 jar of "No-E" chicken broth (as in no additives), maybe a cup of sliced leeks, and 500 gr fish. I felt like I was channeling some Portugese influence via the ol' Mystic Pipeline (which I haven't used in some time, so bear with me) until I added some ginger.

Portugese-Surinamese? Or is it just Chinese with some Indian spices? I'll sort out the lineage later...right now it smells very good and will hopefully set my insides right.

UPDATE: This was totally delicious, especially after I added some adjoema and a sprinkling of seroendeng. Why do these flavors go together? I don't get it. I'll totally make this again, but it's so ugly I can't imagine ever serving it to anyone.




Word on the street is that Big Dog is "out of the woods", which is very good news for everyone. But please don't stop sending those Healing Rays of InterGoogle Love...


All I can really muster today is some food pr0n with the unlikely title of Metro Detroit's Best Sandwiches. That's it. I'll take a Reuben, please.

OK, that's not it, here's Serious Eats' sandwich feature. Apparently everyone is hungry for sandwiches, myself included. This morning's was ham, avocado, and tomato.

Oh, and the photo above is from De Witte Aap in Rotterdam, because I am mentally clinging to my absent white monkey much like the pair above. And she probably has the same look on her face, because she's in Cobb County, Georgia.



big dog down.

Mara's dad, aka The Big Dog, has hit a bit of a speed bump. He's in the hospital at the moment. Let's all send him some powerful healing love transmissions via this here Internet thing, and Little Dog too. Mara's heading to the ATL first thing in the morning, so she'll be bringing some with her, but heck you never can have too much.



doctor malanga.

As usual, better pictures of this evening elsewhere: Abra managed to make my sausage look edible (please hold your applause) and Klary makes my hands look a bit sinister. There's a craigslist personal in there somewhere, I'm sure of it.


"Your Internet friends." This is the semi-derogatory term that my "non-Internet friends" use to refer to people with whom I have become acquainted via the Internet. Maybe derogatory's not the right word. They just can't relate.

It is a bit of a weird thing, communicating solely through text and pictures, not having any idea what someone's voice sounds like, high, low, accented, not, loud, quiet, I think you get what I'm saying. But once you hear the voices in question traveling across the space of a room and landing in your actual ear, I don't think the Internet side of your interaction is ever the same again...you're just "friends", right? That you "found" via the Internet, and might not have otherwise.

Why so serious, VDuck? Above: pom and Klary's hand. Below: poffertjes and Klary's hand. The pom was good, an 82% successful effort. It reminded me of the second pom I ever tried, after tasting the Tokoman's first. Good, but yes...not as good as The Tokoman's, and thus slightly disappointing.

Unfortunately I can't quite pinpoint what would've improved things. The texture was a wee bit dry and gummy, and I don't know if this was because of our higher than specified cooking temperature (necessary because after the pom was assembled and ready to go in the oven, we all took a couple of snapshots of it and then promptly forgot to put it in the oven. Oh, you bloggers! And who says taking pictures of food is more important than eating it???), or due to an underbuttering.

The latter seems unlikely, but really...this isn't like analyzing a ravioli or brisket recipe, where you're familiar with the source components: malanga is a foreign substance with bizarre physical properties, and I've cooked with it a mere five times now, which doesn't quite earn me the title of Doctor Malanga. But that's a really good title to shoot for. Guess we'll just have to make some more pom again soon....