The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sex in the City Syndrome

I've just realized something . . . that no matter how inane your blog might be, if you end it with a series of questions, you sound smart and introspective. I think of this as the Sex in the City syndrome: Carrie Bradshaw pecks away at her computer after some life crisis, and what does she come up with? A series of rhetorical questions for her audience. She never actually asserts anything. Yet we are all stuck with our hands on our chins going "Hmmmm, this show is amazing. It is funny, sexy, and wise. I must watch more of it."

Boy have I been fucking this up.

My inane blog could be so much cooler. With a few well-place rhetorical questions, I could even rate a bucket list or at least some readers.

I've decided to battle everything that was taught to me (and that I taught for four years) in rhetoric and composition: namely, don't EVER use a question. Express yourself ONLY in statements because questions allow the reader to intrude into YOUR argument.

But now I ask myself, why fear the reader intrusion? (see look at me go--a question already--sort of) If my reader is hella smart, then he or she is going to project his or her hella smartness on my writing as long as I don't ever state an actual opinion.

However, something in me wants to rebel against this trend (more in another post on how if you disagree with everything that is mainstreaming, you will seem that much cooler . . . and then another post on how if you are disagreeing ironically with all that is mainstream then you are so cool that you kick way ass). Relegating my writing and opinions to a series of questions is like only following the prefabricated, safe PS book club guide at the end of a trade paperback without adding any analysis and synthesis and relevance to your life. You won't own anything you read unless you mentally do the work to engage with it. Prefab questions are a cop-out, used to assuage the latent sense of intellectual inferiority that runs through our culture.

Should I have phrased that last bit in the form of a question?

I don't want to be too perverse. Deep breath. I am going to do it. Or am I going to it? Lots of questions. Lots of questions?

Why is it that we engage more readily if invited to intrude into a conversation via a series of questions (no matter how scripted and shallow they may be)?

Why don't we recognize that all writing is predicated on dialogue and needs it to thrive?

Why can't we see that we are fools to forget the above and allow an author free reign in influencing our thoughts?

Why don't we work anymore as readers to claim the text as ours?

Are we too fearful of asserting our own opinion when another is speaking with confidence?

Or is it like Taylor Mali says, it is now just uncool to actually have a real opinion?

Why did the convenience store fail to stock Cheez-Its today?

Why do I always buy the bad coffee there?

Will I ever finish The Interrogative Mood?

Why didn't Padgett Powell at least incorporate some sort of narrative into the question(able) story?

Why don't we think back at authors? Why do we need a question to make us understand that we already contain the answer?

Let me rephrase.

We do not need prefabricated PS questions. We can think on our own.

Any questions?

My weekend (in a list)

a girl and her goat

Between Thursday and Sunday the following happened at least once but sometimes more:

Drank beer and ate free popcorn at the Lucky 13 (discovered that they had a back patio and a black and white photo booth)

Bought a waffle maker

Drove to Oakland to retrieve and drop off my cooking club ladies (the Divas)

Received a stuffed goat

Got up between 5am and 530am every morning because we couldn't figure out how to turn off the alarm clock

Watched the sunrise over the hills of Napa

Had coffee by 6am

Had champagne and/or (but mostly and) a bloody mary by 7am

Made caramelized onion and jalapeno waffles

Rode around Napa in a limo with the Divas and previously gifted stuffed goat

Took said goat to every winery we visited

Drank wine at chichi Napa wineries for free because "I'm in the industry"

Spent $250 on two (2) bottles of wine at one of the above wineries

Watched more TV than I've ever seen in my life which included but was not limited to Bring it On Again and three (3) hours of "Yes to the Dress"

Macerated strawberries

Laughed so hard that I peed my pants (in public)


Watched Bridesmaids

Ate about a zillion pounds of buttered popcorn even though I was completely and painfully stuffed from the above waffles

Ate brie baked with caramelized onion jam

Ate a pasta dinner followed by macerated strawberries with basil

Never stopped drinking

Found a water glass from Tyler Florence's Rotisserie & Wine restaurant in my purse on Saturday morning (one of the Diva's also found a jalapeno from Florence's store in hers--Sorry Tyler)

Went to a scary train and dollhouse store

Drove over the Bay Bridge for the first time

Attempted to park my giant-ass truck for an hour in San Francisco

Purchased Invisible by Paul Auster at City Lights Books

Read the above at Vesuvio's

Walked to the Ferry Building because I really wanted a samosa from the farmers' market there

Found out the market was closed

Bought a coffee at Starbucks even though I wanted a coffee at Blue Bottle or Caffe Trieste more because I needed the free wifi to find a place that sold samosas.

Walked to an Irish bar that sold Indian food

Ate Samosas back in my car while frustrated people waited for me to pull out so that they could take my parking spot

Drove south from San Francisco to Monterey on the 1

On my way out of San Francisco, drove by the Blue Bottle coffee shop on Jessie street and cried a little because there was no parking

Made regular waffles for a hungry small child as soon as I got home

Made a fava bean soup for the hell of it

It's amazing what you can get done in a day if you get up at 5am.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Broccoli Lemon Spinach Lasagne

Just so I remember this awesome dinner I just made up after stealing a magazine (fine, it was Martha Stewart Living) from the hospital yesterday (didn't really need the magazine because I didn't follow the recipe anyway, so I sort of feel bad about the stealing part--my alien baby made me do it). I couldn't follow the other recipe because I needed to get rid of the shit-ton of broccoli my CSA is giving me. But I did steal the lemon idea from it. But really, I promise, this recipe is all me me me mine myown myself me:

1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic (skins on, whole)

1 container of ricotta
1/2 c Kefir, plain
spinach leaves
basil leaves

broccoli, finely chopped

2 lemons

No-boil noodles
mozzarella, grated
parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss onion slices with oil. Roast onion and garlic for 30min.

Meanwhile, thinly slice lemons, put in a pot of water. Bring to a boil. Boil 7min. Take out of water and lay on paper towels to drain (take seeds out of lemons).

When onions and garlic are done, reduce oven heat to 350F. Combine onions, garlic (squeeze out of skins), ricotta, Kefir, spinach, and basil in a food processor. Puree.

Oil casarole pan, spread the puree on the lasagna noodles and layer as follows:

Repeat layers two more times (3 total).

Bake covered for 30 min. Then uncover and broil on high for 5 min (okay, so I also stole the bake time).

Broccoli will be crunchy.

This is good. I promise.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

If I Had a Bucket List . . .

Putting a lock on this bridge in Germany would be on it.
Photo by Louisa Osorio

As would post-it noting someone's car like this.
Photo by Marian Cristina Debenedetti

And I just like this one . . . hey, it's reading! And reading in Amsterdam! For sure on my retroactive bucket list.
Photo by Peter Leeuwerink

From GOOD.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Putting this Here Because I am Definitely Going to Want to Find It Later

So there:

Covers of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah”

I may have a bit of an obsession . . . as apparently does everyone else.