Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Poem for February 2012: In Praise of my Bed.

You can read this month's poem here.

I love this poem. Of late, I've not been working very hard at anything, but I can recall times in my life when nothing was better than climbing into bed at the end of a long day. "The labor of being fully human" indeed.

And with that, so my poetry project goes on hiatus. I've enjoyed memorizing poems over the past few years. However, I'm not reading a lot of poetry right now and so I don't come across poems I feel compelled to memorize. Perhaps when I make space in my life for poetry, I can begin this project again.

I hope to soon have a poetry post outside my house so I can display my favorite poems that are not quite right for memorizing. In the meantime, I will revisit my memorized poems now and then to keep them in my brain.

Books read in February 2012

Four "grown up" books and five young adult books read this month. Apparently, I should have become a youth librarian. Darn you, early twenties ill-thought choices.

Private Life
Jane Smiley
I'm not sure why I bothered finishing this book as it seemed as if nothing ever happened throughout the entire story. On reflection, things happened and I'm still thinking about them, but during the actual reading it was rather boring. Which is kind of interesting, after the fact. And for that I'll bump it up a star.

The Power of Six
Pittacus Lore
Book two branches out to introduce us to more of the six remaining Lorian Legacies. A lot more of them. I feel this this unnecessarily overwhelmed the plot, especially because there are probably going to be many books in the series. However, there was a lot of action and I was interested, so I find this book to be just fine.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Tom Stoppard
Matt and I read aloud.
When I was in high school, a friend of a friend was cast in a local production of this play. I remember being enchanted by the title, even if I had no idea who Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were. I seemed to have missed out on Hamlet in English class somehow. But the play's title has delighted me for years. It's not the best read aloud, due to its absurdist plot, but I'm happy to connect title to plot and I wouldn't mind seeing a production of it, should one appear.

Rainbow Valley
L.M. Montgomery
This is mostly about the absent-minded, widowed minister next door's children, though regular Anne characters populate the story. After reading it, I lent it to a friend who was absolutely horrified about the level of neglect of the children and the fact that no one in the congregation (not even Anne or Susan) did anything about it. It's true, they were starved, ill-clothed and completely without adult guidance. Were it today and they students at my school, I would be on the phone to Social Services within a week, but since they were children from long-ago, I took their neglect in stride.

My favorite part of the book came on page 155 when someone exclaimed "Bismillah!" which I had only ever seen in reference to the band Queen's song Bohemian Rhapsody, but which the internet tells me I have completely missed the meaning of, it being a collective name of a recurring Islamic phrase sometimes translated as "In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful." Internet, you are quite helpful. The best sentence in the book was "Carl must dree his weird alone." No one writes sentences like that anymore. I guess they are too busy looking after neglected children.

This book had the usual problem of "very good character development, not so good plot development" but it was better than most. I look forward to reading Rilla of Ingleside and closing out the Anne series. Although there is also a new book, The Blythes are Quoted edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, which I recommend you do not go and read about on the author's web site as he begins by immediately spoiling the plot of Rilla of Ingleside. I may read the Blythes are Quoted, we shall see how Rilla goes down.

I bought this book for cheap, so if any friends are interested in reading, speak up and I'll send it to you.

The Way
Kristen Wolf
An alternate version of the Jesus story that I found interesting in some places, but I think the fact that I know the Jesus story made it uninteresting in others.

Let it Snow
Green, Johnson, Myracle
Three interconnected stories by three YA authors. All were good and Maureen Johnson was particularly funny.

The Descendants
Kaui Hart Hemmings
I read this after I watched the movie. Sometimes it works to do that because the book is the same story as the movie, but so incredibly different (The Town/Prince of Thieves) or because reading the book is like getting a DVD extra of the movie, with more plot and more character development (In Her Shoes.) In this case, the movie was such a faithful adaptation of the book and I had so recently seen it, it was hard to divorce the two. I think the movie was very well done and I have the exact same thing to say about the book. Choose one or the other and enjoy yourself.

ps. I didn't know anything about the author and with the name Kaui Hart Hemmings, I pictured someone like Beau Bridges, an old white guy who grew up in Hawaii. Imagine my surprise to see the author picture and find out that the old white guy was actually a woman, and a fairly young one at that.

Why We Broke Up
Daniel Handler
I'm going to have to read this absolutely fabulous book again, the reason being that I was so eager to find out exactly why the breakup occurred that I read faster and faster as the book progressed, thus missing the delight of chewing over Daniel Handler's very long and labyrinth sentences and paragraphs. I am a great fan of the dense text and Handler has such a handle on description that I want to go back and savor them. Perhaps this will be my next read aloud choice with Matt. This is another YA book that I can heartily recommend to the non-YA crowd. Also, it's pretty, what with the illustrations and the heavy paper and whatnot.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
Great flight of fun which can be devoured in a night. If you are willing to forgo the evening chores.

Paul and blue skies

Grey skies all around with a just a bit of blue peeking through at Paul.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sabbath report February Sundays

February 5
Lovely, lovely, LOVELY day! There was reading and napping in bed. There was watching a movie. There was walking to the park, sitting in the sun and writing a letter. There was idly reading email. And then, because I felt so rested, I happily ended my Sabbath and cooked the vegetables I didn't have time to cook yesterday, so I would have something to eat this week.

February 12
I was lazy on Saturday and didn't get anything done and so it was a struggle to have a rest day today. But the last time I tried this Sabbath thing that was exactly what sunk the project: I would be lazy on Saturday and then feel like I had to work on Sunday to make up for it. Today I read in bed for a long time then went for a walk and had a delicious lunch at Saraveza and walked home for more reading.

February 19
I had a volunteer work shift at church today during the second service and so I went to that. The rest of the day (both before and after) I spent reading. Which is not exciting for you to read about, but was quite nice for me.

February 26
Good, I think. I apparently forgot to report and here it is March and I remember nothing.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just one thing: Weeks of February 2012

Week of Jan 29-Feb 4
Clean out three ring binder of recipes.
Did it. There were two binders and now there are one. Also when I was cleaning I found a lot of recipes I had forgotten about. So I will be visiting this binder now and then for direction/inspiration.

Week of Feb 5-Feb 11
Shift around bookshelves so I can clear off the top of the filing cabinet.
Didn't do it.

Week of Feb 12 to Feb 18
Move cat litter boxes to their new place in the closet.
Did it.

Week of Feb 19 to Feb 25
Tape up cord that provides me Internet
Did it! Though to be truthful, I did it, then assigned myself the task just so I could say it got done.

Week of Feb 26 to March 3
Clean off the edges around the doors. Condensation due to previous, ineffective clothes dryer, built up on the windows, settled there and got a bit moldy. We need to put a stop to that!
Did it! We are mold free!

Three sentence movie reviews: My Week with Marilyn

This is one of those movies that makes me quite glad I don't know any movie stars as they seem--as portrayed by Hollywood--incredibly exhausting, not to mention completely self-involved. I found the plot overall a bit "eh" but it was an incredibly gorgeous movie to watch: costumes, sets, actors. I think this would be a good movie for a plane ride, or a quiet night at home.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Possibly the dumbest diagram I've ever seen.

If one is purchasing a door stop, does one really need a line drawing illustrating its use? Is its name not direction enough?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Essay: So you are going to see the movie adaptation of a book you have read.

Brace yourself. What you are about to see on the screen will be different than what you read on the page. The book world is limited only by the author’s imagination, has only one puppet master (the author), and the narrative is not hemmed in by the pesky human need to go to the bathroom, thus can extend longer than two hours. Movies? They are limited by what computers and movie magic can create, have many puppet masters and must tell their story comprehensively, succinctly and briefly. They are two different animals. Here are three tips for successful viewing of your book-to-movie adaptation.

Let go of the book. Though it is rare, movies sometimes use novels as a jumping off point to tell an entirely different story. So the story you read might not be the story you watch. Movies also need to condense narratives, eliminate characters and change endings. What you read will not be what you see, so just let it go right now.

Realize that these are two mediums. A book where we mostly live in the character’s head will probably not make a very good movie. (A-hem Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) Books are a medium of “telling.” They use words to let us into their world and the words can be used in a variety of ways: jumping into various characters’ heads to capture their thoughts, giving hefty background plot using a narrator, painting elaborate portraits of families, landscapes, careers. Movies tell by showing. Sometimes we get a voice over, to varying success, but mostly movies reveal things by showing us things: through dialogue, through action, through picture or the classic montage. Remember that how you learned about things in the book might not be revealed in the same way in the movie. It can be frustrating, but it’s necessary and sometimes the movie can explain things better than the book did.

Stop keeping score. It’s hard, but the more you forget you ever read the book, the more you can lose yourself in the movie. Sure, the movie people may have eliminated several characters, including your favorite, but just let it go. What have they done in place of those characters? Were those characters necessary to the plot of the story the movie is telling? The time for comparing the book movie format is after you have watched the movie. If you are too caught up in the fact that the main character is driving the wrong car, you might miss an extra detail the movie brings out that was skimmed over in the book.

As someone who loves both books and movies, I can say that I nearly always find the book a superior method of storytelling than the movie adaptation. But consuming both the book and the movie allows for interesting contrast. It also tends to be a nice commentary about society and allows for a juicy discussion of just what is up with Hollywood that they would have made exactly the movie they did. And once in a great while a movie will elevate your book into something really marvelous. All of those are reasons to take in both the book and the movie.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mississippi corner

It looks like something is in the works here, as the run-down taco stand that used to mark this corner is now missing. So here's a picture of what it used to look like, for that future date when it doesn't look like this anymore.
What could it be?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: The Iron Lady

I feel uneasy about portraying a powerful political woman through the lens of dementia, especially given that (as Friend Kelly observed) this will not be the way they frame the Ronald Reagan story whenever they get around to telling it. The acting is fabulous, and for that you should watch this, but the story didn't seem to have a common thrust to carry it through. Also, Margaret Thatcher's politics aren't my politics, so it was at times, difficult to root for her.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

That's right. Stay away!

Oh, but for a want of a space between words:
It sounds like a pyramid scheme and probably is, so it's good that the sign makers are keeping us apart from it.

Three sentence movie reviews: Flight of the Conchords Season 1

My brother recommended this series several years ago and I finally got around to watching it, even though he properly sold it to me, telling me "And there's singing!" And he was right about how much I would enjoy it because this is a very funny TV show. Perhaps next time I will seek out his recommendations in a more timely manner.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Essay: Growing your first garden

Depending on where you live, spring is around the corner. The excitement is building because winter is nearly over and this spring you will plant your first garden. I am excited for you too. And here is some unsolicited advice for you to digest while it is still too cold to muck in the yard.

1. Start very small

It is very tempting, when looking through the seeds catalogs, or spinning through the rack at your hardware or home improvement store, to purchase a grocery store's worth of vegetable seeds and bring them home. I did this my first year, and still struggle with not buying too much seed. In January and February there is so much potential that it is easy to overdo your plans. But if this is your very first year, I recommend choosing one item (yes one!) that you would like to grow. For many people that will be tomatoes and those are a great choice, but given our cold summers the past two years, I would warn residents of Portland away from the tomato as a monocrop. Maybe get one plant (thus breaking my first rule right off) and then choosing another item for your main crop. My suggestion: kale. It’s delicious and nutritious and retains much of its weedy “I will grow anywhere” roots, which increases your chance of success.

2. Pay attention to soil quality

If you want a good crop, you need good soil. This was something I had absolutely no understanding of when I first entered into gardening. I thought dirt was dirt. However, unless you are particularly blessed, the soil where you want to plant your garden is probably lacking. Grab a handful of soil and make a ball in your fist. Then press your thumb into that ball. Does it fall apart into a lovely mound of humus? You have won the soil lottery. Did it stay in a ball? You’ve got too much clay. Did it never make a ball in the first place? You’ve got too much sand. You need to fix your soil. How do you do that? You:

3. Read a lot

My advice is to find your local gardening guru and read their book. In the Portland area, that guy is Steve Solomon and I recommend Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, as well as his other books. In it, you will learn that living in Portland, you will most likely never produce an abundant eggplant crop. But he does point you in the right direction (kale! Among other things.) You can stick with just one book, or you can dip your nose into any of the following recommendations.

If you’ve ignored advice point number one and are growing more than one thing, I recommend One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein. She emphasizes you start small, with one four-foot-by-four-foot square, but she has many “recipes” for squares that provide a complete salad. If you are looking to survive, Steve Solomon’s Gardening When it Counts is an excellent book, because its focus is on spending as little money as possible when gardening. I believe in a closed loop system so I recommend The Sustainable Garden for beginners (if you follow this plan you will be not following my advice about starting small) and How to Grow More Vegetables for the next year. Both are by John Jeavons. For those interested in growing food for survival, Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener focuses on five crops: beans, corn, squash, potatoes and ducks. She’s a wealth of information and full of good advice. Ideally you could start with one crop and add a new one each year.

4. Pay more for high quality materials.

Buy your tools from local toolmakers (if they exist, and if they are quality) and your seed from small local seed houses, not the big box home improvement centers. Local seed houses (if they exist in your area) will have seed that fits your climate better than others. I buy from Nichol’s Garden Nursery, Territorial Seed, Carol Deppe’s Fertile Valley Seed (tiny seed breeder and producer) and Bountiful Gardens (not local, but full of heirloom, open pollinated seed).

If you are buying your soil or buying amendments, buy it from your local garden center, not your local big box home improvement center. Seek out your local Master Gardeners for advice about supplies. They usually have hot lines you can call with questions.

5. Remember that if you have success, you will have to eat all that produce.

The lesson I learn every year is that I’ve got to deal with what I grow. Last year it was the 35 heads of lettuce that all matured and were ready for eating at the same time. I ate a lot of salads over two weeks, gave a lot away, and let much too much bolt. Bear in mind that the produce you grow will most likely have to go through a bit of processing to look like the produce you buy at the market. The kale grown in your yard will not be rinsed of all dirt and bugs and bound in a neat twist tie. You get to do that. There are days when buying the same item at the store seems much, much easier than walking into the backyard to harvest. In addition, some things always want to ripen at the most inconvenient times. I would love for tomatoes to peak in early August, as that is the time I could best process them, but here, if they ripen at all, it is in the thick of September, which is a crazy busy time for me. I haven’t processed tomatoes in several years for just that reason. So I minimize my tomato efforts and maximize my kale, collard and beet efforts, all of which can sit happily waiting for me to get around to them. Which brings me back to my original point:

6. Start small.

If you don’t over-plant, you won’t get overwhelmed which means you won’t be overburdened at the end of the season, allowing you to expand (or maintain) your gardening empire next year.

Happy dirt!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thanks Learning Center

As the office manager of a school, I spend a lot of time throwing unwanted catalogs into the recycling bin. I also receive all manner of boxes and large envelopes filled with catalogs and a message for me to distribute them to all the teachers, etc. These also go into the recycling bin. So today, when I opened the box from the Learning Center I groaned because not only was a it a fairly large box of catalogs, it also included a plastic door hanger advertisement for the Learning Center. None of which we had requested.

After grumbling about this, and taking pictures so I could write a grumpy blog post, I noticed there was a piece of paper that instructed me to send the whole shebang back if we weren't interested! Postage paid! So I packed it all up, wrote a happy "Thank you" to the Learning Center for giving me the option and back it went.
If only all companies hawking things worked that way.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Walk

I wanted to get out of the house today and the sun was also about, so on a walk I went. I stopped to take pictures of a lot/house I've always had my eye on. It's been unoccupied for some time, and I suspect that it will be torn down soon and several houses will be built in its place. I had the idea to put a tiny house in this corner, rent out the bigger house and use the rest of the lot for an expansive garden, but I am lacking the capital to do any of those things. So here are some pictures instead.

From the alley corner. There was a large hedge along the alleyway which has been cut down. This was my first clue that perhaps this lot is due for some changes. In my world, the backyard would have the bulk of the garden beds. Where that shed is would be the tiny house.

Side yard. In my plan that parking would be severely reduced and berries would be planted along this side of the house.

From the front. I would remove the beech tree and a lot of the overgrown foundation plantings and put in an edible, permaculture landscape in the front yard.

As someone who gardens in a small space and thus needs access to all the sunlight I can get, I'm not the biggest fan of planting Douglas Firs in residential backyards. Aside from the sun issue, in most cases their height is out of scale with the house, the yard, and in general with the neighborhood. However, on this street of storybook houses, I love the effect of the Douglas Firs planted behind the houses. It completes the "enchanted forest" effect.

Here's a nice house with a good-sized yard. Both need a bit of tending.

But look at those great shingles!


My walk took me to Killingsworth, a street I enjoy because it hasn't much gentrified. In places, it reminds me a bit of the South Boston I lived in during the late 90s. Of course, I never came across the likes of the Jubilee Tabernacle in South Boston, but I delight in its presence here.

Full view of the Jubilee Tabernacle.

See? Gifts with Style? How could I not love Killingsworth?
Finding myself hungry, I ate at the Saraveza Bottle Shop and Pasty Tavern. I had a pasty and soup and went along with the regulars and had some beer. They were having a Valentine's-themed tasting and I greatly enjoyed my choice of a Cherry Farmers Beer whose name escapes me. Oh wait, they have helpfully listed it on the web site. It was: Upright’s “Blend Edmunds” Cherry Farmhouse“Barrel aged wheaten ‘Four’ with tart cherries & barrel aged ‘Six’ with dark sweet cherries” Right. What they said. It was good. I enjoyed it.

Light-headed from the beer, I wandered over to the Max stop and rode home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dishcloth finished

Here we have dishcloth #4 in the series. I love this pattern because it looks cool and the repeat was in segments that I could follow, being neither too small to drop stitches or too big to lose my place. If you look closely you will see that I went off track at points, but still managed to muddle through.

I'm such a fan of the checkerboard!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Essay: In praise of Darlene

I watched the television show Roseanne for a few seasons and enjoyed it for its irreverent humor and the fact that the cast of characters didn’t have entirely new outfits every single episode. (The regular appearance of wardrobe items made the show more “real” to me than non-décor “décor” or the factory Rosanne worked in.) I have not seen the show since the early 90s, but the other day I was thinking about Darlene and how much she meant to me as an adolescent.

Becky, the Connor family’s older daughter, was the girl I knew I was supposed to be. Becky spent hours on her hair, fashion and makeup and did what she could to fit in with the popular people and to get boys to like her. She was “typical American girl” right down to the –y ending of her name, so popular with girls in the 80s.

Darlene was just Darlene. Not only did she sport that out-of-fashion first name, she was a tomboy, flopped onto the couch in her jeans and lacked any accessories or hairstyles to perk up her personality. Darlene really just wanted to be Darlene. She was flip and funny and found most of the things her sister did ridiculous. I will forget Darlene asking Becky about kissing.

“Why do you have your mouth open?” Darlene asked in response to Becky’s illustrative pose.

“So he can put his tongue in my mouth,” Becky replied to Darlene’s disgust. As someone who at that point had never been kissed, I related to her reaction.

Though Darlene’s life appealed to me, I followed the Becky path by reading Teen Magazines for several years of my adolescence. I stopped when I realized that every other month I was treated to an article describing how to give myself a manicure. I did my best to make myself attractive, though I always felt—much like Becky—that I never had quite the right clothing. My name even ended with the appropriate –y ending. I wasn’t overtly trying to fit in and run with the popular people, but I certainly didn’t want to stray far enough from the norm to draw attention to myself as being weird.

Adolescent culture promotes conformity so strongly—in your own crowd, at the very least, and ideally the greater group. I had many examples from television of how I should act and the message was generally the same: do what you can to fit in; boys won’t like you if you are too different. But there were beacons of hope scattered here and there on the landscape. Darlene was one.

To this day I have incredibly warm feelings for Sara Gilbert, perking up whenever she appears on screen. Like many people, I got through adolescence as best I could. Under my thin adolescent veneer of self-confidence I looked everywhere for examples of how to be. I got lessons from the usual: friends, family, teachers, books. It was nice, every once in a while, to see examples in the media of who I might be.

Postscript. My time watching Roseanne was short, lasting only a few years until I got my first job or possibly my first boyfriend. But the show was on for quite some time and I have no idea how Darlene turned out. Did she stay cool? I hope so, but I’m not willing to watch the entire series to find out.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: Hamlet (2000)

It was a mistake to follow along with my copy of Hamlet as I watched this movie as vast parts of the play (including, most egregiously, the scene including the famous lines "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio"!!!!) are not in this version of the movie. Ethan Hawk has those great brooding eyes and he made a pretty good Hamlet, but I found Julia Styles' (and I know this was not her fault, but still) rave-inspired clothing to be overly distracting to her performance. The New York City setting worked, though I found the "corporation"rather than "country" setting to be a bit off.*

*Fun fact for Casey Affleck fans: It is Casey Affleck himself who plays Fortinbras, the eventual "winner" of it all. Though we only see his picture, never the actor himself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: The Artist

I loved this movie and have enthusiastically recommended it to many people. Their reaction is similar to my own before I saw it, namely: "Isn't that the one where they don't talk AT ALL?" And yes, it is, but it is also a wonderful movie, full of humor and drama and complex characters and a delightful dog; which means that you should go and see it, despite the fact that there is NO TALKING AT ALL.

ps. It's a good one to take your church-going grandmother too. She will like it a lot.

A Walk to Vancouver

A sunny day and an afternoon movie date in Vancouver. How best to get there? I could drive, but the traffic will be awful. I could ride, but then would have to get the bike back somehow and post-movie plans complicate this. Or! I could walk! Friend Kelly agreed to drive me back (we had another event to go to after our movie) and so I walked.

One of my favorite signs. How many miles of Interstate 5 are in Oregon? Why 308.

I could see all three mountains. Here, a shining Mount Hood.

A tiny view of Mount St. Helens peeking over Vancouver.

Mt. Adams was somewhere there, it just wouldn't show up for its picture.
Thanks to Kelly for making my nice walk possible.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Essay: Nerdfighters!

Matt and I are Nerdfighters, and we were with our people for a few hours on Sunday. Nerdfighters are fans of John and Hank Green, two brothers who post video logs weekly on their YouTube channel. If I posted a regular video log people would have exciting insights to my laundry processes and the fact that I go through long stages of avoiding housework. But John Green is a writer of young adult books and Hank Green—among other things—plays guitar and writes funny songs and so their video posts are fun and funny and they have tons of fans.

The Vlogbrothers (it seems odd to call them the Green Brothers) are unapologetically smart and embrace their intelligence in a way I don't often see on the Internet. Their full-on embrace of all their nerdy passions attract other nerds. There's a vocabulary all its own (Nerdfighters, Nerdfiteria, French the Llama, etc.) and a hand signal and t-shirts and challenges to do good things in the world. John Green's book tour (with special guest Hank Green) was our first chance to see other Nerdfighters. I had been warned by a friend who saw an earlier show in Virginia that the audience consisted of people much younger than themselves and indeed the majority of our audience looked to be in high school and the rest looked to be in college. The other people were the parents of the high schoolers and a smattering of people like Matt and myself, "actual adult" Nerdfighters.

The show was a mish-mash: a visit from a sock puppet voiced by Hank, a section from John Green's new book, Hank playing a few songs. After his second song, an audience member yelled "encore" and Hank nicely explained that he was just getting started and that the encore would come at the end of the show. John Green talked about how he came to write his latest book, emphasizing that we have a limited amount of time on earth and using it to follow the lives and romances of the cast members of the Jersey Shore might not be the best use of that limited time.

In some ways it was not at all like a book reading or a concert. During one song Hank stopped abruptly, apologized and explained about the "panic bubble" that sometimes emerges when he plays live for people. There was also a question and answer session where the brother still talking when the time ran out was given a slight shock, something the audience found hilarious

The people attending? Nerds. I just watched a video of the encore song and someone observed that Nerdfighters have something of a "look." They weren't sure what it was, but there was one. I would have to agree. People had clearly dressed up for the show, but in a way that struck me as vaguely Canadian in that if the outfit was fun, the colors were off. Or perhaps the colors were great, but the hair was greasy, and not in a “hip” greasy way. I eavesdropped on conversations and found them significantly nerdy. And everyone was so nice. The lines were long and people just patiently waited to get to whatever they were getting to. No one danced during the songs until the very end when someone yelled, "Can we dance?" loud enough so Hank could hear it. Hank gave his blessing and people leaped to their feet. Did you miss that? The audience was so polite that they waited for permission to dance at their own concert.

I watched people throughout the show. There was a skinny high-school looking guy with a haircut and clothes-matching ability that pointed toward a possible homosexual identity. He stood to the side of the theater and danced with himself during every song. There was a somewhat large girl so overcome by the final song she squealed and danced to the front of the venue, her curly hair streaming behind her, tamed by a shiny scarf. There was the girl behind me who was a fan of John Green's book Paper Towns and knew every word to every song. There was the woman in the front row who happily held the video camera for the final number and then patiently waited for someone to collect it. There were the four girls, spotty and a bit awkward wearing jeans and red shirts emblazoned with John Green's face on a pizza.

I've had enough years to enjoy what makes me nerdy and embrace it rather than wishing I was cooler. But during my years in high school and college I would have loved to have a worldwide group of fellow Nerds to hang with, even if our hanging was mostly virtual. Thank you Vlogbrothers for making nerdy fun.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Requiem: Tempeh Pizza Burgers Recipe

In going through my recipe three-ring binder, I was resistant to throwing out this recipe, even though I haven't made it since the mid-90s. I think it is because this was the first thing I remember making with tempeh and it was delicious and filling, something that a lot of my vegetarian recipes hadn't been supplying. It was a recipe that took a lot of steps though, so I don't think I made it ever again, preferring to pan-fry my tempeh and season it with soy sauce.

Should you so desire to make tempeh pizza burgers of your own you can squint at that picture or seek out the cookbook.

Requiem: Jar

Okay, I find this ridiculous, but I couldn't just recycle this jar without first taking a picture. This is a glass Miracle Whip jar, from the era when all condiments came in jars, not plastic bottles.

It also has masking tape and the remains of a label in my grandmother's handwriting. This was the reason it was hard to let go of. I have many other examples of her handwriting, but I liked the link of the jar across generations.

I've added my own label.
Whew. Pictures taken, now jar can be recycled.