Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow in Louisiana!

You thought you'd never see it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Intro Paragraphs, Suckas!

Yo yo yo, post your rough introduction paragraphs for the Issues essay here! Do it now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's election night and it's time to dye icing! I called some blue state friends, who said "you chose to move to Louisiana." I said, "I know, I'm not complaining, I'm just saying.." Anyways, fingers crossed that anti gay marriage prop 8 gets defeated in Cali--other than the biggie.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay in Barou

This is a picture of our front yard taken a few hours ago and it's still raining. Fay must be a REALLY depressed tropical depression.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sensual Eggplant

Likes: misty mornings, fresh air, sunbathing, pondering growth cycles. Not interested in crazy salads or too much grease. Just looking for like-minded food to share a few herb-enhanced saute sessions. Legumes, meats welcome.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

California, Here I Come

3 days til I'm off to California! My mom and I are visiting Yosemite first. Anyone visited and have recommendations on hikes or certain spots to see?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Terrifying... Good or Bad?

Never sweat again! Finally:

Exercise in Pill Form

Unless you're diabetic or have some medical condition that could be greatly eased with this, I hope they don't open it up to the general public. If and when.

In related news, I just bought a new pair of running shoes. Gonna test them out now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Boot, A Tiny Whittled Rocking Chair, and Jewelry Made of Hair

Yes! I finally made Dr. Mudd's house, a stop on the famed escape route that John Wilkes Booth made on the night he murdered President Lincoln. Dr Mudd served less than five years of a life sentence off the coast of Florida for aiding the assassin, who he claimed was too well disguised in a fake mustache to recognize the night he cut his boot off to set his broken leg at his house. (Oh, those wily confederate sympathizers! Always with the uber-convincing mustaches!)

Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation understated just how fascinating it is to visit a museum run entirely by various descendents of the subject, rummaging (at one point stumbling) through a century's worth of dusty, ill-preserved antiques (sad, really) and to constantly try to read a framed text only to be interrupted because the framer cut off the important part. What drives a family to do this? The evidence clearing Dr. Mudd's name is scant--it's generally confirmed he was a conspirator or a confederate sympathizer of conspiracy. So where is the motivation? If Dr. Mudd, confederate sympathizer, conspirator to aid Lincoln assassins, were your great great great grand-uncle, as he is to some docent(s), what would be your gain to display how much stuff your family had? Wouldn't you be tempted to chalk him up to a humiliating bad egg? To forget him? It gives a sense of identity, and a common struggle, I guess, to unite around a house full of stuff and photos that people pay $5 to see.

I want to make fun of old stuff, like the dusty couch Booth sat on that still sits up in the drawing room in the house, or the jewelry made out of braided hair that someone in the 19th century Mudd family tree made, but something is stopping me. Maybe it's that I'm realizing that in the whole county down there only one person voted for Lincoln, and only around 13 in the whole state--exactly what that means. That people in the state where I'm from tried four times to kidnap and/or assassinate him, and all to maintain a really f-ed up situation that made some of them rich and others of them just steeped in racial hatred and poverty. It stops being funny at weird moments, and then starts being funny when I think of the tiny wooden rocking chair that one of the conspirators whittled is in a glass case in the house. Not funny, just sad. Confusing. Funny. And so I return to wondering about the descendents and why they're doing this.

So conspirators like Ed Spangler are seen as people, too?

Whittlers of rocking chairs? I wonder.
Look at him, and then, next to assassination conspirator, think, whittler. of _tiny_ rocking chairs.

I'm glad that the Dr Mudd house is there. It's conflicted, disgusting at times, effusively materialistic, and definitely a place I wouldn't feel comfortable alone. They don't sell Sarah Vowell's book in their store, but the Surratt Tavern 30 minutes away stocks two copies, and I am glad for that.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lovin' Tha Carter III

For lines like this:

"swagger tighter than a yeast infection
fly, go hard like geese erections"

Also, the shout-out he gives to Blue Bayou.

Back To School Discussion: What Lil Wayne Says About Mariah Carey

"I have never done nothing with Mariah Carey, and I would like to, because I love older women."

Reactions? Feelings? Pictures of Mariah being a rebound badass? How would one go about planning a theme party around BET music awards?

Social Hour: Meet 4th Graders

Ways teaching summer camp to 4th Graders in D.C. is like Living in Baton Rouge

1. you should leave your sarcasm at home unless you are a glutton for frustration
1.5 ditto deadpan monotone mimicry
2. you need to say things emphatically and smile
3. you should always bring extra water to drink
4. nothing really is surprising; anyone can come up to you at any time and tell you that their mom grows potatoes or has a rooster as a pet
5. clapping rhythmically, wearing brightly colored clothes and holding hands all "grease the wheels" so to speak, in your effort to get things done, like getting people to sit down, be quiet, or give you an extra key to your office in allen hall
6. an appreciation for the fact that just about anything can be called a "celebration"

ways d.c. is like baton rouge:

1. khaki pants
2. pastel shirts
3. sweat mist

Friday, July 18, 2008

Social Hour - the Watsons

Please meet Betty and Bob Watson.

Bob Watson was one of the founding editors of The Greensboro Review. He also helped to start the MFA program at UNC-G. Here is one of his poetry books from LSU Press. Here is a poetry contest in his name and on this page are some poems of his when he was featured on the NC Arts Council page.

Betty is a painter. She has painted and shown her paintings all over the country for five decades, most recently the Green Hill gallery in Greensboro where she lives. She painted a portrait of Randall Jarrell that is in the RJ special collection at the UNC-G library, and several dramatic portraits of LSU Press poet Kelly Cherry. She has also done an exquisite series of aerial paintings.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things to Bring to Baton Rouge...

...when you move down for the first time.

1) Baby powder. No one is proud of swamp balls.
2) Umbrella, waterproof shoes/boots. Save yourself some winter misery.
3) Season tickets. Football Saturdays are something to remember/piece together the next day.
4) A healthy appreciation for Miller High Life. One dollar bottles at the Happy Note ease the pre-payday strain.
5) If you have a cat, all its claws. Stray cats, packs of wild dogs, foot-long cockroaches. Some neighborhoods are better than others. Those wild dogs do tour a pretty wide area though.
6) Flea medicine (not Frontline) for pets. Fuzzy animals WILL get fleas, especially in Spanish Town, where you can count the stray cats in regiments.
7) Road patience/tactical driving skills. At rush hours, the 110/10/12 is a curdled, flash-frozen mess. In the summer heat, when everyone's IQ/concern for humanity on the roads dwindle to nil, people may choose to run you over the railing and into neighborhood/lake/restaurants beneath said highways rather than let you merge from the on-ramp. Jet pack would be the preferred way to travel.
8) White undershirts as outerwear. Everyone sweats. It just feels better not seeing your pitstains creeping down to your hip bones.
9) Bell's beer for Soyka. To befriend the beast, you must feed the beast. Bell's.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How To Throw A Party, Part I: What Kind of Party?

The first thing you need to know about throwing parties is that it is an artform, and not a science.  You can get all of the variables right and shit could still go wrong.  Even if Dionysus does show up, he might just end up breaking all your corning ware.  But there are a few time-tested ways to cut back on the possibility of disaster, or worse, boredom, and here, for the first time in print, I would like to share them with you. 

Before you start inviting people over to your house, it is important to decide what kind of party you want to have. Here are a few kinds of parties you could consider:

1. Intimate Gourmet Cocktail Party 
Not only should the food at this event be chosen with discernment, so should the guests. This is not the party to invite a random stranger to, unless said random stranger is walking down the street in a Viktor & Rolf tuxedo carrying a plate of Humbolt Fog and a bottle of Cristal. This party is characterized by conversations about art and trips abroad, rich foods, and threesomes . It is usually expensive to throw, but a quick clean-up (except the threesome, which can not only get messy, but emotionally complicated).

2. Raging Stranger Rail Drink Bash 

This can be considered the opposite of the previous party, but should only be attempted if you a) live in a frat house or 2) don’t give a shit about your home or belongings. This type of party is characterized by low-quality alcohol and drugs, date rape, frequent vomiting, and ang
ry neighbors. For this type of party, you can invite anyone you want. including people you don’t know or like. If you get enough people together drunk, there will be someone for everyone to know and like.

3. Medium-sized Theme Party

This is the kind of party that I usually throw, because it allows me to invite most, but not all, of the people that I know and like and even some of their friends. It can be messy, depending on your age and socioeconomic status, but is generally less disgusting than the Rail Drink Bash. It is not crucial to have a theme, but in my opinion, it gives a smaller group of people something to rally around. This kind of party is characterized by mid-priced liquor, hydroponic weed, sexual experimentation with members of the same sex, booty dancing in living rooms, and loud conversation.

Great, but how do you decide which kind of party to throw? Well, how much money do you have? An intimate, gourmet gathering will cost you a couple hundred bucks, because even if you request that guests brings something, you still have to have a seed table of lovely wines, cheeses, etc. You will have little left after this party because everything will be amazing and people will gorge themselves. But since people will conduct themselves with dignity, you won’t have much to clean up and you will get to go to bed still drunk.

A rail drink bash is the cheapest, but you could end up paying for it in property damage. You can start with basically a case of beer and an empty space and tell everyone to bring their own shit or go home sober. Other than your own booze, you don’t need to provide anything but music, but you might want to stock up on paper towels. There will be little left after this party, including things you want and need. Be prepared for the loss of appliances, furniture, your integrity, and maybe your girlfriend.

A medium-sized party can cost as much or as little as you’d like, starting at about $150. You can ask people to bring alcohol, but you will need to provide mixers. You should make sure that you have some high-carbohydrate food around to soothe your guests pickled tummies. I usually go with rice and beans (cheap in bulk), bread, and perhaps some sort of cookie. These will be civilized folk, so while you won’t have to break out the white tablecloth, you will have to provide disposable cups and utensils. You will more than break even in the end. You might even have enough, beer, liquor, and captain’s hats for your next shindig.

*A note about theme parties: If you are going to go with a theme, then fucking go with it. Do not half-ass your playlist or your outfit. I usually spend $50-$100 on music for a theme party, $50 on a costume, and maybe $20 to $100 for other theme-related stuff.
If you aren’t into the theme of your party, no one else will be, either. And, this is the hard part, but you must INSIST that guests follow through with the theme. I usually tell people that if they aren’t going to wear a costume then they have to bring an eightball. I can count on one hand all the people who did not dress to impress for my last party, and you better believe that they have a big, fat question mark next to their names on the guestlist for the next throwdown (see HTTAP, part III: Who to Invite). When people tell you that they are tired of listening to bluegrass, just tell them to leave. I accepted a non-theme related request at my last party and it is what I think of as my own personal low- point for the night (even considering the two-day hangover). My self-esteem has recovered, but I will never do it again.

Clamming : A Brief Guide and Photomentary

Have you ever been clamming?

I have and I love it.

I have been going clamming since I was about 5, when I thought that the tiny snail shells everywhere were tiny, dainty horse poops (Chincoteague ponies, perhaps) left by early Native Americans and original colonists who had magically survived into the 20th century and were riding these horse-ponies across the marsh. Perhaps it was because the marsh was so quiet and seemed so mysterious to me.
Back then, my job was to follow my dad for up to half a mile across the mud and through the knee to waist-deep water and then dig where I was told. That is actually more or less still my job, except now I carry a bucket and my own rake. I thought I'd make a little photo-documentary of the recent clamming trip I took with my dad. Maybe those of you who have never clammed will develop a taste for it and the confidence to go to it. Maybe those of you who have clammed before will decide that I am a more ridiculous person than you thought because who would do this year after year for "fun?" Or maybe you won't. Maybe you like clams, maybe you don't. It's not my job to tell you what to eat or how to get your food. Except that I'm going to here.

When you go clamming, you go to a place that looks like this:

A marsh. We go to a place called "The Point" at the end of Oak Island, NC, where the beach and the intracoastal waterway meet. The water is very calm and you go at low tide. You walk across the water to find some undiscovered area (or, at least where the clams are undiscovered.)

Here is a picture of my dad bravely crossing the perfectly calm waist-deep water. (You actually do have to be a little brave; there are all kinds of creatures in that water! But they're harmless. It depends on how phobic you are.)

(You will see that my dad is headed back toward civilization, the beach houses. This photo is actually from the way back. I just wanted to put in one of somebody crossing the water.)

So this is what it looks like to clam.

And this is what it looks like when you find a clam!

What happens is that you dig, dig, dig, not very deep, but you try to cover a large area. And then you hear a faint scraping sound and you feel it in your rake. You dig a little more and you strike something, you feel the weight of the clam as you pry it from the mud with your rake, and then, ta da! clam.

This time, we found a lot of clams within a very short period of time; 3 or 4 dozen in 45 minutes, I'd say. But, there is a price to pay for all this free food. Your shoes get very dirty.

Here's a picture of our bounty.

And here's our bounty partying.

And here's a member of our bounty partying with a crab claw.

From a fancy homemade (and homecaught) paella.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's Lactofermenting in my Kitchen?

Ahh Summer. Nothing like a 100 degree kitchen to bend bacteria to my will to make my food more digestible. Right now I've just got some Smith Dairy kefir going. So here's a question: what do you think make a good party? I know its some alchemy of people music and Dionysus's blessings, but seriously, why do some parties work and some flop? I have to say DTD seems to have the magic combo down, but what the combo is, I don't know.

In other news it was hot today in Baton Rouge. It was also hot yesterday. It will also be hot until October, at which time someone should have a party. The number of mosquito bites on my legs hovers around ten.


The only way to allow you guys to post instead of just comment on my posts is if I allow you in as a "team member", which requires that you have a Google account. If you'd like to be a teammate (high-fives and butt slaps also required) just say so.


Why a stupid blog? Ooh, I like this font. Anyway, for those of us scattered to the winds this summer, here's a techno-savvy way to keep up/prod/harangue each other for the next couple of months. Welcome to 2008, suckas.