gummint do take a bite.

Above: 't Blauwe Theehuis, last Thursday, the first Springish day of 2014.


So I'm on the phone with The Obamacare People because I just figured out this morning at 5am: hey, you're an American citizen and The Gummint will be wondering why your ass isn't all signed up for this shit. Of course I realized this on the last day of open enrollment, so there's no telling how long I'll be on the phone with them (available Skype credit at beginning of call: €6.03).

Thus, I thought I might jot down a few notes about my experience. Note Number One has to do with the incredible hold music. It sounds like a Lee Ritenour/Dave Grusin record that has been left out in the sun for nine days, transmitted to my Skype headphones via shortwave radio, shot through with bursts of static. 

How does one even get music to sound this destroyed in 2014? It is obviously not that they have a record player sitting there on repeat with one busted-ass GRP record dropping the needle on itself over and over: so how is this happening? It is just about the least-reassuring hold music I've ever heard, in terms of making you think that the people you're about to talk to might be able to help you solve whatever problem you're having. 

35 MINUTES LATER:  The hold music is not only completely obliterated-sounding, it's the same 45-second loop over and over (although slightly different every time b/c of warping), punctuated by "Please stay on the line, our next available representative will assist you" every 90 seconds. Quite something. Skype credit still €6.03, the only redeeming part of this experience thus far.

AFTER 51 MINUTES: The whole thing is slightly less entertaining now. To combat this decline in enthusiasm I have picked up the guitar and am now playing along with hold music. 

AFTER 67 MINUTES: Human contact. Told me he was pretty sure that if I wasn't "lawfully present" that I probably didn't have anything to worry about. But he'd have to check. Cue more hold music, different but just as distressed-sounding. But hey, more than one song so that's something. 

72 MINUTES: We're supposedly exempt since we live in another country. Frankly, I don't believe that they're not going to penalize us come tax time, and then we'll have to contest it, but I guess we'll find out yo. 




Interesting evolution of Ambien usage: this morning featured inexplicable pots and pans and vanished leftovers. At some point in the night I'd made a complicated dish of leftover home fries, leftover frittata, and rice noodles, no actual memories of it, I thought it was a dream.



wheels, steel, etc.

Awwww yeah, I am back behind the DJ console or whatever the newfangled kids of today are calling the place where you stand and play records for other people to try and talk over top of. But seriously, what a thing to get paid for.



there's a tear in my beer.

Gig: over, successful, yay. Now back to cooking.




I bought some today, it was on sale (€2). The Dutch name sounds better than the English to me I suppose b/c many American kids of my generation have horrible memories of either real or threatened medicinal applications of cod liver oil.

But it's either a different story as adults or because we're in Cod Country. I had a taste tonight, I'll try to post an appetizing pic tomorrow, but basically: it tastes very oceanic and only very mildly livery, I think if you like fish pâtés and did something like the following with it you would be pleasantly surprised. I liked it.


cod liver pâté. 

120g cod liver
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped fine
1 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine
2 tbsp chopped red onion
2 tbsp watercress, chopped fine
2 tbsp chives, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Basically mash the first ingredients well with a fork, or process gently with some kind of chopper thing. Add everything else and salt and pepper to taste. Eat on something crispy, like cucumbers or hmm, maybe even a deluxe potato chip.



sigemuchi namul.

My picture doesn't do it justice, but basically following this recipe exactly resulted in a simply perfect room temperature Korean/Japanese side dish.


sesame and garlic spinach.

1 big bag of spinach, washed
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 scallions, chopped fine
1 tbsp soy sauce, or more, to taste
2 tsp sesame oil, or more to taste
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted



So this post is going to be an official home base for a legendary apple rum cake recipe. First question is, what variety/-ies of apples? Seems like a mix of Granny Smith and Royal Gala may be the way to go, with adjustments based on increasing/decreasing the Grannies to achieve tartness without pucker.

Below, a running tally of apple tasting notes, yes, it's just that geeky around here.


Elstar: a really nice red apple. A little bigger than medium. Firm, sweet, a little tart.


talk it out.

Well hi "everyone". I was just thinking about therapy. Not about getting some, I'm already doing that. And getting a lot out of it, I think for the first time ever. What I'm saying is that I highly recommend my brain man.

But anyway my not totally interesting point is: seeing a good therapist in action is kind of like a masterclass in conversation. I mean i like to think i'm a decent talker and a sympathetic ear/shoulder, so it's revealing to watch a true professional at work.

And I say watch b/c some of the best moments are watching him plan his next question. He has one look that happens before he's figured out what to say, and then another one for when he is fishing around to see if he knows what he's talking about, and a third one for when he is about to get you to say something incriminating about that you really should have seen coming. In fact we've developed a slight pause for when he's asked me something for which he already knows the answer and for which i am not knowing the answer until it is coming out of my mouth. The whole thing is quite educational.

So in case you're wondering, my issues revolve around certain mortality, miscalibrated ego, imagined responsibility, and a lifelong dedication to a love. How unique of me.