Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Damn. I went right ahead and made a meatloaf tonight and completely fucking forgot to blog about it.


Here is a picture of it after I already had some and the leftovers were sitting the fridge for about half an hour:

Honestly it's not really that pink. Sweet jesus that looks awful.

It was extra greasy. I was going to use this ground turkey I had, but it turns out it had gone bad. I already had an egg, some onion, green pepper and a piece of bread in a bowl, and fuck all if I'm gonna waste some food, so I got the cheapest pile of ground meat I could find. Man oh man was that greasy.

I chopped the green pepper & onion too coarsely. But it was decent. After I drained it...twice.


Close your eyes. No, not tight, just...relax. Close your eyes. Do you feel it? The heat from the sun-soaked grass wrapping around you? The cool breeze of the dusk on a balmy July night tracing the curves of your face? No?

Listen. Take a deep breath. Listen. Can you hear it? The sound of a mosquito near by, ice clinking in a glass on the night stand, the sound of your lover's heart beating next to your ear. The sheets stick to you, the summer heat makes sleeping hard. The lights from passing cars race across the walls and ceilings and peek through the blinds while you study your lover's sleeping profile. Do you hear it? No?

Breathe. Can you smell the grass around you? The distinct summer smells of fresh air and hot concrete that waft in through the window? Maybe the warm breeze that traipses across the woods and cools down the front porch as you spend the afternoon swapping stories and gossip with the people who know you best, and love you anyway.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday's Feast

(Play along with Friday's Feasts here.)

How many times per day do you usually laugh?

Depends on the day. I laugh more at work than anywhere else. My job sucks, don't get me wrong, but I can chat online all day with Scottie and Rachel, and sling witty banter back and forth with Ed & Tasha. Sometimes I make myself laugh, like with that poem I wrote yesterday. That made me giggle.

If I'm low on laughs, though, I'll go watch this.

What do your sunglasses look like?

They look like whatever $2 will buy at the gas station when I'm in a really bad mood. I only buy them when the sun is in my eyes and giving me a headache, and I hate spending money on them because I always lose them.

You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?

South! It's -4 here right now. Of course if I'm going to go south on the train, it's better to do that in the spring or summer when everything is in bloom.

Main Course
Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.

Just one? Holy shit. I like that we're the Second City. Nobody pays us any attention, and we can just do what we want. But we're not the third or tenth or 50th city. I've never been to NYC, but I've been to other cities and none of them holds a candle to Chicago. They're all tiny little things with depressing streets and morose citizens. The skylines aren't impressive and the sight-seeing is nothing at all to brag about. Chicago's not so big that every asshole on the planet is coming in to fuck it up, and it's not so small that I'm left dreaming about someplace big like NYC. I love it. It's home.

If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?

Another color? Oh no, no, that wouldn't do. All the colors that the sky takes on in a day - the early morning gray that greets the glorious, golden dawn. The technicolor dusk that grabs every warm color you could dream of and flings it out across the heavens, giving us one last magnificent light show before the horizon greedily gobbles orange flames and purple waves from the clouds and leaves us with a proud, stoic, dreamy blue that oozes into the sultry, slippery night.

And all of this is wrapped around the ordinary blue daytime sky. The kind of blue that when you stop and look - really look - you're reminded of what it's like to feel hope and wonder, what it's like to feel infinite.

What other colors are there? Green, I suppose. I hear that right before a tornado the sky turns green. You can keep that for your sky, I like to keep my green on the ground to lay on and climb in, where I can sit back, relax, and watch the sunset.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sappy love poem

The day ticks slowly by with no word from you,
and the minutes slither across my desk like so many ants marching uphill.
You are somewhere, dreaming of adventure and glory days gone by,
and I'm sure you're not dreaming of me but I can have dreams of my own.

The air outside is well below zero, and
the space you've left in my heart is even colder.
I gleefully await the day we meet, the day I can
trace my fingers over every lovely crevice, the day we're finally
together as we always were meant to be.
I'll hold that hope and dream this dream,
and until that day I'll keep your picture
right here,
my love,
so you'll know that you've found me and
know that you're home.

Hurry, dear - adventure awaits!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday's Feast

What is your favorite beverage?

Diet Coke.

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work

At home: My ukulele, my camera, my fake iPod (charging).

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

8. And I'll save the other two points for white lies to get a job, refrain from making someone cry, and keep my mom from worrying too much about me.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

I would call Gary, Indiana "Stinkerton" for reasons obvious to anybody who's driven through it.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Stress: family, money, school, my car

Relax: Play my uke, play a game online with Rachel, go for a stroll, go on a photo spree (taking pictures...usually only calms me down when I'm with other photo addicts and/or taking pictures of inatimate objects), and dancing in my living room to anything my little heart desires.

Sun Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken

I was wandering through the grocery store trying to find something better for dinner than mac & cheese or frozen pizza when I found this package of Knorr French Onion Recipe Mix. There were two recipes on the back. One seemed kind of long and involved, the other one was Sun Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken. And so:

I forgot to put the olive oil in this picture. Such is life:

I put all the stuff in, but because it's hard to walk with these glasses on I had them perched on my head when I was reading the instructions. I am going to use that as the excuse for draining the artichokes when the recipe said to not do that. After I realized my mistake, I added some water and extra olive oil. That was basically just to make the mixture more liquid, since the directions said to pour the mixture on the chicken.

It still wasn't very liquidy:

I smeared it all over the chicken, even tucking it between the pieces. It was a sun dried tomato extravaganza all over that chicken. I'm never going to eat four pieces of chicken, but that's what the recipe called for. I'm horrid with numbers so it's easier to just do the whole recipe than to try to figure out the math of just one serving.

I threw it in the oven, crossed my fingers and wandered off to practice my ukulele. With five minutes left to go on the baking, my neighbor dropped by for some chit-chat so when I took the chicken out of the oven I didn't get to inspect like I usually do with chicken. I'm always worried about under-cooking it. After my neighbor left, I cut open a piece to check it and it seemed fine. That was a relief because I didn't want to put it back in after it was sitting out. I don't know why, but it seemed like a bad idea. I don't understand chicken, so maybe it's an unreasonable worry.

I had some rice on the side. Thank goodness because holy shit was this stuff gross. It just tasted like the sun dried tomatoes. And they didn't taste that great. Until I had this dish, I loved sun-dried tomatoes. Now I'm not a fan.

Here's the thing about chicken: when I make it, it never takes on the flavor of whatever I'm cooking it in. I tried twice to make this orange chicken dish, and it was bland and tasted like plain chicken. Plain, sad, tragic chicken. What's the haps with this? The last time I made that dish I marinated the chicken overnight, and still it tasted awful. Should I, I don't know, poke holes in the chicken to get the flavored dressing or whatever in there? Am I not baking it long enough? Is the chicken angry that I'm a chicken snob and won't eat chicken off the bone? I don't understand.

And for this recipe it didn't really matter since I didn't like it anyhow. Maybe I'll scrape off the sun-dried tomato topping, cut up the chicken and put it on a sandwich or something. Damn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Four eyes!

So you know how you go to the pharmacy or other places where they have those spinning racks of barely prescription glasses?

I was bored today and I tried some on. And I could see better. Well, to read, anyhow. So this is being thirty, eh? The joke is on me, I guess. I digress. I got the frames for free (long story), and I think they're a little too wide. Maybe I could use that optometry insurance I have and go get some decent specs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wheat Bread

Man oh man, my grandma made the best bread. I mean, her bread was so good that getting a loaf of her bread was like getting a little loaf of gramma love. That sounds cheesy. Fuck you if you don't like it.

Anyway, I emailed my brother up in Alaska for Grandma's bread recipe, but he's trying to raise four young kids and can't be arsed to get back to me. So I had to make do with the recipe from the Better Homes cookbook.

And so, wheat bread. I thought there would be more ingredients:

That's not double vision there, that's two different kinds of flour:

So anyway, mix some flour and yeast in a bowl. Real exciting. Then I had to mix all the wet stuff and cook it just til it was warm, 110 or so, in a sauce pan. I'm no good at knowing how hot stuff is without a thermometer, so I just kind of guessed. Then I poured it in with the flour/yeast mix. Mmmmmm doesn't that look tasty?

This is right about where I started to mentally kick myself for not reading the whole recipe through before starting it. Turns out I was supposed to have my hand mixer all ready. Oops. Anyhow, got it mixed, added the wheat flour, and got ready to wrestle that ball of dough down. This was not going to be walnut-filled bread part 2. I got ready this time: old towel near by to scrape dough off my fingers, some warm water for the same reason, and a small bowl of "fuck you" flour. As in, "fuck you, dough. You're gonna do what I tell you to do, and you're not gonna turn into glue and make it impossible to scratch my head when it itches. Have some damn flour, dough! You're my bitch now."

As you can see, the dough came around to my way of thinking:

So anyhow, let it rise to twice the size. I have one of those things on my stove that carries heat from the oven up to the stove top, so I had the oven on warm and set the bowl right by the, um, oven heat vent thing. It rose pretty nicely, and punching it down was much easier than when I had to deal with the walnut bread.

I kicked myself again here for not reading the directions all the way through. Turns out I needed two loaf pans, not just the one that I have. So when it came time to divide the dough, I put one loaf in the pan and the other loaf got balled up and put in a cake pan:

Let it rise a bit more and threw it in the oven. The book said to let it cook for 40-45 minutes, but since the walnut bread was such a bitch and cooked so fast, I set the timer for half an hour. I tapped the loaves after half an hour, they sounded kind of hollow. I took 'em out.

Mmmmm that looks pretty good!

So I had a little bread smorgasboard. A very little one. I was kind of sleepy.

Mmmmmm marmalade. Mmmmmm apple butter. Oh hell yes.

Well, the crust was done. It was crunchy and if had been in there much longer it would have burned. The middle of the bread wasn't as light and fluffy as it should have been. I don't know if this is from under cooking or if I fucked up the part where I was heating up the liquids in the sauce pan. It's edible, though, so whatever.

Oh, a few weeks ago somebody posted a comment asking why the little black flashlight is in a lot of the cooking shots. I hit the wrong button and deleted it. Oh dear.

Anyway, the wiring in my apartment is shit. I'm always blowing a fuse by doing crazy insane shit like making some toast while brewing some coffee while watching the news. Since I have to go out the back door to get to the circuit breaker, I leave the flash light by the toaster oven so I can always find it. It's a mini Mag light, and it fits in that area well, so that's where I keep it.

What, that answer isn't sexy enough for you? Fine. It's in all of my shots because I am a giant and I want to show you how big my possessions are in comparison to a damn serious police-baton-size Mag light. You puny people could not handle the splendor and vast flatware in my kitchen, so I put a Mag light in my pictures to remind you of my awesome powers of being 100x bigger than you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday's Feast

The fest from today kind of sucked. I didn't like it. So I went back in the archives and got one from 2005. And so:

What is a word that your family uses that would not be considered common?

Onomonopiea. It's a real word, and it's not considered common.

What theme of calendar do you have on your wall this year?

None yet, but I still have last year's calendar of old maps up because I like it.

Name 3 people you speak with on a daily basis.

Ed, Scottie, and...um...well, I don't even talk to the two of them on a daily basis. Nearly, but not exactly. Marie, maybe. Or Brandi.

Main Course
If you could put a new tattoo on someone you know - who would it be, what would the tattoo be of, and where would you put it on them?

I guess I'd give my big sister a cute little dolphin on her ankle.

What is the last beverage you drank out of a glass bottle?

Probably a Snapple.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday's Feast 1/4/08


When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it? A few weeks ago a friend back east sent me a box with various things including a framed photo of her baby. A few months before that, she sent me a box with various things, including a monkey that does flips.


If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?

Someplace beautiful, probably down south. Savannah maybe.

Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.

hahaha. What, in general? Pineapple. Fuck I love me some pineapple.

Main Course
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.

A have a dress that I've never worn. It's pretty nice. I have some nice tops. All of my shoes are shit, though.

If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?

Well, it's been 15 minutes of trying to think of one, and I haven't come up with anything yet, so I'm going to have to pass on this one. I mean, yeah, there have been bad days, but I learned from them, so I'll keep 'em.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

We wouldn't have it any other way

It started snowing sometime on New Year's Eve, probably in the afternoon. It kept snowing all night and on into dawn. I was going to walk home from my friend's house and get some nice shots, but I was offered a ride. These are what I got before I got in the car:

More here, and more to come. It's 12 degrees outside right now. Fuck photography on a day like this.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy anniversary!

Last January first, I was walking home from a friend's party. It was after midnight, I was drunk and happy, walking down the street with my headphones on. Somebody behind me started shouting, I took an earbud out and turned around. It was some shady looking guy, he wanted a cigarette. I told him I was out and promptly put my earbud back in my ear. I turned off the mp3 player, though, so I could hear where he was and what he was up to.

I ran into the same guy two more times, each time asking for a cigarette. Once I was trying to get on the el to get to work, and he was standing there asking for a smoke.

I: You know, it seems every time I walk down the street you're there asking for a cigarette.
He: You want some of my donut?
I: No, I don't want your donut.
He (shrugging and smirking): Well, whaddya want me to do? I'm homeless.
I: You look pretty smug for a homeless guy.

So the year went on, and I see him up and down the street begging for change and bothering people. He's in his late twenties or early thirties, though his cockiness hints that he's a young guy who just looks like he's lived every day twice. He wearns nicer clothes than I, and he always has a haircut and a trimmed beard. His clothes aren't filthy and he doesn't smell, but there's an air of the homeless life on him. A quiet, carefree desperation that comes with a life where you don't have to stress over work and bills, but you do have to wonder where your next meal is coming from.

He met up with another regular guy on our street who always claims to be collecting for an AIDS walk. Well, really, they met each other one day when they were both hitting up my block for money, and they shook hands and introduced themselves. I haven't seen the AIDS walk guy since.

Today at the laundromat, a woman walked up to me (there were two other people there) and said, "Do you have a cell phone?" Turns out there was some guy who had been in the bathroom for about an hour. He looked, in her words, "Homeless. Matted hair. Dirty clothes."

I said, "He's probably getting high, or he passed out or something." I went back to taking my laundry out of the washer, unconcerned.

She seemed pretty pissed that I wasn't leaping up to take care of the guy in the bathroom. She insisted that we should call someone. "Who do you suggest we call?" I asked. She had no answer. She was getting quietly upset that I was so nonchalant. My good deed for the day was not telling her about the incredible amount of coke being snorted in the bars nearby.

She kept buzzing around, flapping her mouth about the situation. I asked where the employee was for the place. She said the employees had left. I shrugged. I didn't care. If I needed to pee, my apartment wasn't too far away. I went back to my laundry.

She said something to the effect of, "I live in this area and if there's someone shooting up in the bathroom I want something done about it." I don't know why I didn't tell her to go home and call the cops if she was so fucking concerned. I didn't point out that it was dumb to say she lived in the area, it's not like she's going to drive her clothes two miles to go wash them at this shitty laundromat. I'm off my game today, I guess. A bad way to start the new year.

I don't know why this woman walked up to me to solve her problem. As you might have heard, I'm sick of calling the police. I guess she didn't get the memo. I ignored her, decided to let her and the other lady sort it out. I didn't care. I am that kind of person now, it seems.

So half an hour goes by, and surprise, surprise - there's my old friend with the donut. He can barely stand. I'm on the phone with a friend who knows all about this guy and the situation at the laundromat, and I start laughing at the guy while I'm telling my friend who it is. The donut guy is swaying, his eyes are rolling in his head and his day seems to be off to a good start. Well, in his definition of good.

The other woman who had also bristled at my disinterest had decided to sit out in the car rather than stand around listening to me talk on my cell phone, asking what the fuck they expected me to do about it. Right now the only people there are a woman who won't stop using her speaker phone, the donut guy, and yours truly. I look him right in the eye and laugh low enough that he knows it's at him, but not enough to get him too riled up. In his drugged out haze he knows I'm there, and he knows I'm laughing at him. He gives me a sneer, lights a cigarette, and leaves.

Half an hour later, waiting for the last ten minutes to pass on my dryer, I'm standing by the back door to the place watching the snow fall. I'm right by the bathroom and I nearly choke on the stench of cigarettes. (I'm a smoke snob now, it seems.) I turn, and the donut guy has left his arm tie on the floor, with some wet toilet paper. I go back and stand by my dryer, and it occurs to me that today is January first again, and I met the donut guy a year ago today.

I get home and hear sirens. Maybe they've found him in an alley, splayed out in the snow, overdosed and done for. I doubt it, though. Guys like him don't get off that lucky.