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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Books. I won't let you die.

I heard on NPR today that IKEA is changing their best selling bookcase into a storage unit (with doors) in response to the fact that books are starting to go the way of the 8 track with the popularity of the Kindle, Nook and all the other gadgetry.


I'm sorry, this is not a question. Books will not die. If you need to have 550,000 books in your silly, hipster record bag...then buy an e-reader. Fine. But understand, that in doing so, you are directly contributing to the collective, intellectual and cultural decline of our world community. Books are art. A delicately and intricately designed jacket cover is made to be touched, smelled and realized for it's complete and complex essence. The pages of a book are meant to yellow and age with time spent in your loving care. I have hundreds of books in my house that I have never read, here simply for the fact that they are beautiful. I am a bibliophile, and not in anyway ashamed of that fact.

If we let books go electronic, it will just be the latest in a series of social nuances that have been inexorably bastardized, never to be pure again:

Dating: eharmony,, okcupid...simple, caring, efficient ideas in their genesis; tragic in their effects. I get it. We are now busier as a people than we have ever been. Meeting "the one" has become nearly impossible, and at least, the path has become overgrown and unnavigable. But, the "solution" proliferates a new problem. There is nothing organic about meeting someone online. First of all, the user sits behind their computer, mixed drink in hand, and unfurls their master list of everything that is required in their "perfect match." Then, this is applied to the hundreds of thumbnails that come across their screen; all of which are brands, attempting to ply their wares. Both parties are entering the endeavor with unrealistic expectations, as well as representations. The basic premise is love. The path is commerce. While love and lust fill the participants, advertisements are scrolling in their periphery, "The Bachelor" is Hulu-ing on Tab 3 and the futility of meeting a flesh, soul and bone person should be obvious. Not so. Online dating is like any internet ordering experience: the variety is amazing, the price is attractive, but ultimately, what arrives on your porch is the wrong hue of green and half a size too small.

Music: I love music. I look for records that I will be excited by, and that will become the soundtracks to my life. Though, I steal music. I don't do it because I can't come up with the money for an album; I do it because I can. If you put a beer fountain in the park, while I'm running, next to the water fountain, I think I'll probably drink the beer. Why? Because, fuck you, thats why. Humans have a natural tendency, (I might be tempted to say Humans of the United States of America, but I'll generalize it so that I am not a self hating American) to do what they should not, or sin, or break the rules. Music, in its most natural state SHOULD be available to everyone. Though, it is a commodity. The internet and the new media system has taken it to become a house paint of sorts, simply tinting a moment in time and therefore, leading to a degradation in not only the quality of music, but the respect for it in general. Music has become a breath mint, making a seemingly boring, malodorous moment palpable. (FYI...I have never been so impressed by those making music as much as now, I think people are making amazing music in reaction to this vicious capital-homogenization of music. Thank you.)

Food: Our world is instant. We expect everything to be available to us five minutes ago and year round. Our food system has inevitably followed this trend and created food that has no seasonal soul, is efficient and effective, and, ultimately, requires very little emotional attachment. When I can spend 1/4 of the price on something that is also ready in 2 minutes, why would I buy vegetables, meat and spend full price and full cooking time preparing them? But alas, the "model of efficiency" is not indeed the path to health or happiness. The joy is in the journey, in the process and communal nature of preparing the food, getting to know it, having a relationship with it; before it becomes part of you. You are what you eat; and as Michael Pollan says, "You are what you eat, eats." I also believe that you live how what you eat lived. If you eat meat that has lived a terrible existence, been beaten to death and then delivered to you in styrofoam; you are destined to take on the negative energy of that food. No one can tell me that you feel the same when you eat a tomato from a plastic, clamshell package, as when you eat it still warm from the sun in your friends backyard. It's a completely different experience. We have to understand that the nature of plants and animals grown for food is not instant. Taking the time to let things happen organically is exactly where the intersection of conscientious consumption and a delicious meal lies.

So, eat your prepackaged, convection microwaved, Starbucks turkey bacon sandwich, while reading your Kindle and listen to your overproduced, autotuned, Kings of Leon album. You'll be fine. Or. Go buy a used book, go to the farmers market, cook a meal for your love, go see real music, or just make your own with a harmonica and some red wine.

I will always have a house full of beautiful books, they are my favorite little pieces of art, and I will begin reading them all. Soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No sweating the Wedding...

Rinne and I are planning our wedding for August of next year. I have been told (read: warned) that planning a wedding is the most stressful, sleepless, punch-yourself-in-the-face time in your life. Now, I don't doubt that we are going to have some bumps, blindsides, and cross-eyed moments, but so far, it is SO much fun! We are doing alot of the wedding ourselves, (ie. decor, invites, etc) and so we just sit and think of awesome shit that we love, and feel like everyone coming to the bash will dig too. We are compiling our playlist of favorite awesome/poppy/cheesetastic music for the boogiefloor, and constantly ripping ideas that we like out of magazines (mostly National Geographic, the native African and Inuit wedding traditions). Yes, making a list of what I feel like is about 31% of my friends that are able to come...that sucks. Yes, it is going to cost alot. Yes, its a shitload of planning. Ultimately, at the end of it all, two narcissists get to throw a huge party for themselves and then get to spend the rest of their lives staring at one another and laughing their asses off. Im down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Community. The loss there of.

Somehow the world has lost its sense of community. Lines of communication (notice that the prefixes for both words are commun, meaning "to share") have been cut by parties of staunch disagreement in a world system that simply relies on compromise on some level to exist. The "hell NO" agenda of global and domestic politics has led us to an impasse. More importantly, it is rendering the worlds ability for positive, intelligent and creative change impotent. Why should we be motivated to think of dynamic, progressive ideas while our president is castrated at every turn for making decisions that are exactly what his opponents want, and that are still being denied? In-fighting was a term that was being thrown around alot during the 2008 campaign, in regards to the conflict within the McCain/Palin camp, as well as between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Now, gracefully on display within the GOP, in-fighting is evidently an essential component of politics, social discussions and representing your constituents. The mind-numbing (or is it numb-minded) arguments between Michele "Barely containing my crazy" Bachmann and Rick "I can't find my pudding" Perry really squares the circle on completely losing control of our intelligence, and being applauded for doing so. When I have to choose between Bachmann (whose husband is conducting homophobic experiments ala Carl Vaernet, and should tried under the Nuremberg code) and Perry (who said, when asked about evolution, "It's a theory that's out there...It's got some gaps in it.") I think we need to raise the bar a bit.

The idea that sharing is wrong, and that there always has to be a winner or a dissenting opinion, will be the downfall of our society. The magnitude of polarization in our political system, is carcinogenic to say the least. The people of our world, as well as our country has entirely more things in common than we do in opposition. Money has become the stalwart in social reform, and the "keep your dirty government paws off of me" approach its partner in crime. Health Care reform isn't about the base issue of just keeping everyone healthy and cared for, it comes down to money. Money will certainly be moved out of privatized health care, and Republican pro-business whores can't have their pimps angered...or is it "Johns"? - too many penetrating parties to keep track of. The other issues on the table: Should women make the same amount of money as men for doing the same job? Of course. If you are stuck in the 50's, don't run for office. Gay marriage? Same answer. If you're a man, and don't want to marry a man; don't. It's not going to work out too well for either of you.

These are simple social justice issues. If you share, commune and aren't ignorant and afraid of those around you or the idea of change...Congrats. But don't force debate after debate after debate of baseless hearsay, medical errors (Bachmann, read a book) and thinly veiled sexism, racism and homophobia, and scare the shit out of me that you might be the next leader of my country.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Food as a friend.

When good food is in my life, I feel like an old friend has come to visit. It is calm, easy, warm and I can enjoy as much drink as I would like in its presence. I can cry onto it, or laugh with it. It will never judge me for my opinions, and will always let me know that I am loved. Food is my life long friend, and I am constantly trying to be the best companion that I can. In this vein, I am always trying to perfect my recipes and try new ones. I bring new friends to our gatherings to see how they might get along with one another. I am always careful to treat my edible friends in the way that best suits them. I love to learn about their histories. I love to help them to envision a new, and adventurous future.

Food is the best friend I have ever known...

and I love it very much.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life is toast

I am sitting in my living room. My beautiful fiance is cooking me toast and eggs. The room is filled with that familar, familial smell of browning bread grains, the sound of spattering egg butter and it just makes me think of everyone that is not eating this breakfast. Maybe its someone rushing in the drive thru for a unlovable styrofoam box full of hollow foodish gross, or someone who can't afford anything today, or even worse, someone who can afford it, but won't eat because they make actually create a curve on their body. I am so grateful for every little snap, slurp, mmm, yum, burp, rip and touch. Eating good food, with great people is simply a divine experience. Food is available for reverence. Free food is coming off trees right now. Picking a little cherry, nibbling a tomato, eating our season. Exquisite dopeness.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why to learn culinary terminology, (and why you're not a dick to use it)

I have just added an element to the blog, "Culinary Idea/Word of the Day". As you will notice on the starboard side of our little foodie adventure ship, I am going to add a random word or thought or idea or technique or food everyday. I think that if you are going to work with food, and respect it, then its always a fantastic thing to be improving your quiver of culinary diction. There are definitely some people who are snarky and condescending with culinary terminology; these people are dicks. It has less to do with the words they are using, and more the kind of shitty person that they are. We are not going to be these people. Knowledge is power. We understand that collecting a common language about food will make us all stronger and more efficient culinarians. It is not about being superior to others, but the terms and ideas used in the food world matter. Chopping is not dicing. Stock is not the same as broth. A sauteed onion will and should look different than a sweated one.

So feel free to use this daily term with those around you. There is always an appropriate time to interject with your newly found knowledge about baba ghanouj, bone marrow or Boston brown bread. Annoy your partner, co-workers, cellmate, bassist in your REO Speedwagon cover band, Shuffleboard teammate or child that you are inculcating with the love of food. Then feed them all!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

30 and "counting"...

I am 30. I am about to turn 31. Age has never really felt like a logical way for me to quantify things. I have never applied the social norms to my life, i.e.: At 24 I will marry my college sweetheart, by 25 I will have a career path, by 26 I have children, and by 30 I will hate everything that I have created.

I have vacationed within my life for what I feel like is just the right amount of time. I did the proverbial journey into "myself" and sorted out who I am on some level or another, what I need in my life and the things that I can discard and tag as clutter. Through all of this self-indulgent "searching", I always had it somewhere in my mind that things were just going to turn out fine...Strike that, turn out AWESOME. I would meet the most killer partner to share my life with. I would find a job that made me lots of money, as well as potentially famous and pretentious. I would live somewhere that felt like the most truthful me. Ok. I'm close.

I have a partner who is amazing. Silly. Gorgeous. Flamboyant. Intelligent. Loves me.

I have a job that is changing the world for the better. Literally.

I live in a place that most people dream of vacationing in: mountains, music, yippies, sun.

Im still itchy. I want to make sure that I am recognized to the fullest extent that I can be. By myself and others. I don't want to miss anything. I want to eat and drink everything, everywhere. I want to live by the ocean. I want to live in the mountains. I want to work out more. I want to eat out more. I wish that I could make tons of money and never work again. I love living simply and having a job that is fulfilling. I want to be cooler. Im pretty fucking cool for 30. I wish that everyone would pay attention to me. I wish I was the kid that could just read a book in the corner. I want my partner to know that I love her more than anything. I want to make more art. I wish I had a 9-5, predictable career job. I should have picked one thing and stuck with it. Im intensely glad I didn't do that. I wish I didn't miscount my blessings so frequently.

But, Im happy. Really Real Happy.