Friday, February 29, 2008

Where do you get these songs?

(Soundboard at Salve's Radio station, 2/27/08.
Home of the Bleacher Preachers radio show.)
When I'm playing dj for the night, Chris often says "Where do you get these songs?" We have similar tastes, which is bound to happen after 6 - 7 years. The question comes when we finish belting out Edith Piaff and what follows is our bouncing along to Usher's "Yeah." I don't see the problem, but "Where" do I find this music? -- that's a good question...
These days I find music from the blogs I read. Sometimes Elsie, over at A Beautiful Mess, asks for recs to make a new mix for the gym. And I've picked up a few songs from Sarah Parrot's review of her favorite albums of the year (Part I and Part II) -- Joanna Newsom (odd/beautiful vocals) and Rilo Kiley for a little alt-rock. Sarah's list was a great way to hear new music, so I thought I'd share some of my most played from 2007 as well. The artists may not have released this music in 2007, but they're in my Most Played Artists/Albums List for 2007:

1. Regina Spektor. I stumbled onto Regina & the song "Samson" after reading The Red Tent with my we-only-read-one-book-together book club in nyc. "Samson" speaks of the women forgotten by the authors of the bible, similar to the story told in The Red Tent.
Spektor's uniqueness is found in her vocal surprises. She's a classically trained musician, which can make a world of difference in how an artist puts a song together. She's become much more well-known this past year (alas) but, according to my iTunes, she was my most played artist and will probably remain the top choice for kitchen music (chopping veggies to "Loveology" = extreme happiness). My favorite video: "Us." Intro songs: "Fidelity" or "On the Radio," Going Die-hard: "Back of a Truck"

2. Rufus Wainwright. Album: Want One (as opposed to Want Two). What can I say about Rufus? His voice can be emotionally crushing. Seeing him at Carnegie was unforgettable. We also saw him in Boston at the Avalon, but his piano ballads are meant to be enjoyed in a cocktail lounge, whilst drinking dry martinis. Again, Wainwright knows what he's doing with his voice, with the piano, and in the layering process of composition. While Chris was in Germany ('06), I sent him a few cd mixes that included "In my Arms" (from Rufus Wainwright) and a few songs from Poses. Since then, Wainwright has become a favorite. Songs: "Hallelujah" and "Art Teacher" are among my personal favorites.

3. Coconut Records. Album: Nighttiming. Jason Schwartzman, is one of my absolute favorite films, Rushmore. But I can see why Schwartzman might annoy some people. When I heard that his band, Coconut Records, was about to release an album in his band, however, I didn't hesitate to track down whatever songs I could find. Song: "West Coast."

4. Hellogoodbye. Album: Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! The band may be a little tweenie for me. The bouncy techno dance songs, like "Homewrecker" and "Here (in your arms)," are fun, but I'm obsessed with "Baby, Its Fact." And the video warms my heart: "Baby, Its Fact. The Video."

5. Kanye West. I adore so many of the songs on Kanye West's last few albums (College Dropout and Graduation, esp.). They also work well for meal prep chopping, but mostly they're high on my most-played list because they make me want to shake my ass while I'm on the elliptical machine at Bally's. Kanye and the Blackeyed Peas--the perfect dance-party tracks.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Providence in Color, Part 3 (of 3)

Way back in November, in much warmer weather, I took shots of the neighborhood. Somehow I overlooked this last batch. Homes on Parade St., Providence.

Dexter Training Grounds on Parade St., Providence. 11/2007
On Parade Street, Providence.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Snowy Providence (Hasselblad pics)

Street-cleaning Snow Truck.
Taken with the Hasselblad, 12/2007.Street-Cleaning Roomie.
Taken with the Hasselblad, 12/2007.
(These were taken during one of our first Providence snow storms, but I just got this roll of Hasselblad film back from the shop, during one of our first snows of the season. The first shot is my favorite, with Dexter Training Grounds and the Armory building in the background.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Thought I'd share these before February ends. Neither Chris nor I are big Valentine's Day people, as you may know. But, we had tickets to see Rufus Wainwright in nyc on 2/14, so we gave in and made a night of it. That evening we stumbled onto the best sushi EVER (at the Haru in midtown).
The trip wasn't perfect. We drove into the city late, grabbed dinner quickly, ran to the concert, met up with Anne & Ashley, crashed in midtown, woke up before dawn, and headed back so that I could teach in Providence the next morning. We're not as young as we used to be and we won't be doing that again.
Our visit included a celebratory evening with Anne & Ashley. Anne had been hoping to hear back about a job at Creighton University in Omaha. She was offered the job earlier that day and announced it to us when we arrived. I couldn't be more happy for her. Selfishly, I'm sad that she'll be moving futher away, but *so* happy that she's headed off to, what sounds like, the perfect job.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

...more labels

Mod Podge may be the most brilliant thing ever invented. I always thought it was Modge Podge.
Matches from Chris' six months in Germany.
Red Rice? I feel kind of funny about this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You might think I'm going to wax philosophical about how labeling people is bad...or something like that. No worries. I refuse to be thoughtful via this medium. No preaching here. Bleacher Preachers has monopolized the preaching venue. Last night's Bleacher Preachers show included the following quote: "I imagine [McNamee] to be sitting at the Jolly Tinker, and we all hope he keeps his teeth in his mouth. ...he has an unsavory look about him…a gangly creature” --The Drake.
...more labels:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jennifer's "Tuna" Tempeh Spread

Last week I made Jennifer Jacobs' Quinoa Salad. This week, her "Tuna" Tempeh Spread.... I used 8 oz. of 'Three Grain' tempeh. You can pick up tempeh at Stop & Shop! They carry the same brand that I've seen at Whole Foods. Steam the crap out of it. 20 minutes. Add a bit of water, mash it, and let it cool.Then add parsley, celery, white onion, and thyme. I went fresh with everything. Add mustard & light mayo.
The results: a very tasty sandwich spread. Will definitely make it again.

Jennifer Jacobs' "Tuna" Tempeh Spread

8oz tempeh, diced
1/3 C mayo
2T minced onion
2T minced celery
1/4 t sea salt
2 t prepared mustard
2T minced fresh parsley
2T minced fresh dill (or 2t dried)

Steam tempeh for 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and immediately add 1 1/2T water. Mash thoroughly while tempeh is still hot. Cool to room temperature, then add mayo - dill. Mix well. This is good in a sandwich with olive, dill pickle, tomato, etc. *Jennifer just told me that this recipe is from The Natural Health Cookbook.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pedro does it Clean

Ahhh, Pedro. As he explains, "I did it clean"
"...I have a small frame and when I hurt all I could do was take a couple of Aleve or Advil, a cup of coffee and a little mango and an egg -- and let it go!" he said. Hysterical.
(Espn removed the Pedro video.)

Picinic Table

Taken January 27, 2008. Dexter Training Grounds, Providence, RI.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One of those Days

Today was one of those days. Upon leaving the house this morning, I find that it is raining like crazy & sleeting at times. That is not why it was one of those days.

1. First, my umbrella broke on the way back from class. My MWF class is approximately the farthest distance possible from my office.

2. I headed home early today, to change (translate: I had to make an unplanned stop at the house, to ring out my pants in the bathtub, and put on new work clothes before going to meet my new/second boss at another school).

3. On the way out, whilst packing my bag, I get a paper cut in the palm of my hand. FROM A THICK YELLOW FILE FOLDER. I realize that I'm going to be shaking a lot of hands in the next few hours. I curse loudly.

4. I'm being responsible today, so I head to my meeting early, to make sure that I can find parking. There is no parking. I drive around for 30 minutes and have to call the department secretary, who tells me that there is a pay-lot 3 blocks away. I park there. I make a mental note that it is going to cost me between $10-20.

5. I head to my meeting and walk 4 blocks in the rain, holding a broken and so, collapsed, umbrella on top of my head.

6. My meeting goes swimmingly. I am warmly welcomed and there is talk of teaching future classes...of my own design. But I need an ID. So, we walk two blocks (uphill, which means I'm about to die) in the torrential rain, so that I can get my photo taken. Umbrella is dripping on both sides and has thus become a joke. ID will prove that I am part-aquatic.

7. On the walk back to the department, heaviest rains will be between 2-5pm today in Providence..., I give up on the umbrella. New boss is very nice. Walking tour of campus begins. The what? Here is where you'll find the coffee shop...This is the museum....let's go in. Museum guard crinkles his nose at the trail of water I'm leaving behind, as we stroll past the Picasso, Monet, John Singer Sargeant, and a 25 foot giant wooden Buddha....

8. I now walk 6 blocks back to the parking garage, sans umbrella and drenched, where I pay but cannot afford to tip, which I'm sure I was supposed to do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sports Radio & Quinoa Salads

For the last seven years! we've watched the superbowl game at our Craig & Rosie's place. They always always throw a great party and they're good people and good friends. This year was quite a bash. More so than usual, since they're Giants fans. The party closed with cheers of glee and the delerious jubilatory running of laps around the house. I'm also happy to announce that Craig & Rosie have just started their own sports radio show, the Bleacher Preachers, which airs from 5-7 pm, Eastern time. Rosie has set up a blog for the Bleacher Preachers--a place to submit questions and to discuss all things related to sports. Pitchers and Catchers report tomorrow!! Go Mets!

On to food-talk. Everyone brought great dishes to the Superbowl party. We brought our homemade jalepeno poppers. I cleaned the peppers too well this time, they weren't as hot as I like 'em. Someone brought a very delicious, and unusual quinoa salad. Luckily, it's creator, Jennifer, was willing to share the recipe with me (see below). Chris & I whipped up a batch this week and *loved* it. We added too much lemon juice (organic lemon juice = super strong) & used canned lentils, but the kick of the garlic & tasty quinoa made this something we'll definitely repeat. This weekend, we'll be investigating the possibilities of cooking with tempeh, with Jennifer's guidance.

Jennifer Jacobs' Quinoa Salad
3 C cooked quinoa (1C dried will make about 3 cups cooked)
2 C cooked green or french lentils (1C dried)
1 C chopped carrots
1/4-1/2 C. cilantro (alternatively, you could use parsley)
1 C sunflower seeds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C blend of olive oil and toasted sesame oil (i use mostly olive oil, then add a bit of sesame, but you could also just stick to olive oil)
1/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C lemon juice
Cook the quinoa and lentils separately, then cool to room temperature. Mix them together along with the carrots - garlic. Combine liquids, pour over quinoa mixture and toss well. Voila.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Kirkwood, Missouri

My hometown of Kirkwood, MO lost 6 people in a tragic shooting at Kirkwood's City Hall last night. Our family & friends were unharmed, but Kirkwood is in shock and in mourning.
My thoughts and condolences are with everyone back home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Another Dish from Giada

A few weeks ago we made a version of Giada's Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella. I don't have a final picture of the salad in its complete and beautiful 'Form'. But I'll walk you through the recipe here. I think its the tastiest salad I've ever had.
**Note: We use our stove top grill for all the grilling (my friend Rosie turning me on to this grill!). I guess you could do something similar with a baking sheet in the oven, but you'll miss the pretty/smoky-flavored grill marks.
First, grill up a can or two of artichokes. Take your time. Have a glass of wine.

Then grill up cubes of bread (we used a 9-grain) until crispy. Toss with artichokes. Mmmm.

Add diced tomatos. (I was traumatized by the "tomato wedge" while living in Little Italy of the Bronx. I don't like to talk about it.)
Also add chopped (and pited) black olives. These are oil-cured Kalamata olives -- my favorite.

Julienne & add a bunch of basil leaves.

Add pepper, olive oil, & white wine vinegar (the bitterness of the latter works really well in this salad, but if you don't have it on hand, you could use any vinegar). Depending on the kind of olives you use, you may want to add salt as a finishing touch (I added very little, since kalamatas are very salty).
Giada's final product is below. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Are you Serious?

This past December, my cousin's daughter Khloe turned two. I missed her birthday party, since I was in Providence, but thought I'd share this funny picture of her. It looks like it was taken with a fish-eye lens, but it wasn't! She's just that cute.