Oh [Meat]balls!   1 comment

I heart Tyler Florence  because of his meatballs.  Seriously.  I made this last night and I swear I felt peace on earth and the end of global warming. Join Tyler’s Meatball Coalition and you too will experience nirvana.

This is not the first dish I’ve made from Tyler’s Ultimate big teevee show. The fishcakes were also a big hit, but did not make the angels sing the way these meatballs did. Gloating side note: my polenta rocks.

Here’s my apology to Mr. Florence: Normally when I make a recipe for the first time I follow it to the “t,” but I couldn’t get chantrelles and I had the most beautiful eggplant and zucchini in the garden.  Here’s my apology to everyone else: I’m the world’s worst photographer using the world’s worst phone cam so the photo is unworthy of the ambrosial nature of this dish.  Make it anyway.

Just do it.

Posted July 17, 2011 by oceangal in Journal

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Drinking and Driving   Leave a comment

Last week I dumped a can of diet pepsi into my emergency brake well (accidentally). Yesterday I emptied 600ml of water into the same (I only have the one car) emergency brake well (also accidentally). Does the last accident cancel out the first? Do I need to look into a car that doesn’t have the emergency brake in the same spot that I set my beverages?

Poor little (Fjord) Focus.

 

Mood: Parenthetical :-~

 

 

Posted June 30, 2011 by oceangal in Journal

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Attention: Wilson Tennis Ball Co.   1 comment

If you should wish to use this photo in an advertising campaign, Poppie and I would consider allowing you to use this for a small fee and a sack of kibble.

Posted May 4, 2011 by oceangal in Journal

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Existential Crisis Level: Ennui   Leave a comment

Which is better than yesterday’s level which was “overwhelmed by meaninglessness.”

Posted May 4, 2011 by oceangal in Journal

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I had a dream the other night the I presume was about monkeys as I woke with The Specials “Monkey Man” earworm and had recently watched Jumanji on the teevee (Monkeys!).

Which of course reminded me of this:

If you don’t know how I got from one to the other, google Terry Hall, my fave 80’s pretty boy.

In case don’t want The Specials earworming you, here’s another Monkey Man:

Posted May 4, 2011 by oceangal in Journal

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Collecting, Using, or Both?   Leave a comment

supersoundcollection1A dear friend of mine, who shares my interest in music, shared this interesting article from the BBC. It’s about a fellow named Guy McKenzie who collects guitars and bought a collection of rare, British made guitars that had been stored in a basement for ages. First of all, the article confuses me. Is the fellow who said this, the current owner of the guitars, or the collector who had them in the basement: “I don’t actually play,” he said “but I just love them in the same way that people collect old paintings even though they can’t paint.”
I guessed the first, and after further research, found that I am right. The analogy doesn’t make sense. Isn’t it more akin to a non-artist collecting paintbrushes, rather than the paintings? Paintings weren’t made to do anything, other than be viewed. Guitars are an instrument by which one creates music.  A second friend said ” Wow! Who buys all those and doesn’t play them? I hope the new guy gets them into the hands of guitarists. Good looking instruments too.” Yes, they do look good, but it doesn’t sound like those guitars are going to be played.  The friend who originally posted the article responded, ” Same kind of person who buys a library of books that are never read? I hope they are played, too, otherwise what a waste of such fine instruments.” Even Jimmy Page, who once reportedly had a collection of over 1200 guitars, reduced his collection, reportedly because who can play that many guitars? And the dude can play guitar!

Doesn’t a person who buys a library full of books want to present an image of a)being smart enough to have read all these books, or b)having high enough status to have a ‘library’ in one’s mansion. He’s blown the first notion by fessing up that he doesn’t play guitar, so maybe he has a ‘music’ room in his mansion and is decorating it. Now that makes sense. But after rifling through Mr. McKenzies website have decided the real reason is closer to ‘c’. This fellow has a f*ing serious guitar collection. More of a museum really. That is pretty high status.

My other obsession  is books. Recently the Valmadonna Trust Library was offered for sale at Sotheby’s in New York.  It is private collection of Hebrew books, collected by Jack Lunzer, who is getting old and wants the collection to go into the right hands so they “they are well kept and respected.” The reserve is $40 million, so I unless Bill Gates wants it, or Oprah, it will be bought by a museum. In which case anyone who goes to the museum can view the books as works of art. They will never be read, as many of them would crumble if they were handled by a ham-fisted reader such as myself.

But one of Mr. McKenzies guitars is not going to fall apart if I play Mary Had A Little Lamb on it. Just ask Pete Townshend. In fact, if you get a bit rough with one, it’ll damage you, Krist Novoselic will testify to that. I’m different than him, if I owned a library full of books, I would be reading them. If I owned a music room full of instruments I would take lessons so I could at least play Mary Has A Little Lamb on most of them (maybe he can).

maybelle-banjo-uke-012Which brings me to my ukelele banjo. Belonged to my great-grandmother who played it and the violin (I have that too, but it’s not in playable condition) and piano (which I don’t have). I’ve dug the uke out of the garage and have managed to tune it, and learn a note (C) and a chord (G7). Now I need to put my pith helmet on and hunt out Mary Had A Little Lamb. Also need more bookshelves so the piles of books that litter every flat surface in my home (and yes I’ve read most of them, and fully intend to read all of them) can have their own special place.

Anyways (heh), nice collection Guy!

Posted April 16, 2009 by oceangal in My Humble Opinion

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Reading and Writing   Leave a comment

A couple of years ago bunch of book-worms at my place of employment got a book club together, and while some may tease us about being a wine and gourmet food club, we do read the book and discuss it for at least five minutes. Them’s the rules. Book Club was epic last night, stuffed myself with great food and a delightful Riesling. The highlights were beet and onion salad , cheddar and beer soup , and “Better Than Sex” cake. The pork sampler with fruited sauerkraut was delicious with grainy mustard and brought back memories of dining out in Munich. The book was Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian, which was good to read if light in character development, heavy in subject matter.  Set in Eastern Germany at the ending of WWII, it follows a German family in their trek to get away from the invading Russians, and a group of female Jewish concentration camp prisoners being moved to another camp. The two groups finally intersect at the end to a quasi-Hollywood ending. Of the two war novels we read, I preferred Atonement, better characters and no false redemption or Hollywood ending. I’m an appreciator of well-written tragedy and pathos. That said, I’m ready for something light and perky, to go with my new-found spring is in the air/happiness and light/rainbows and unicorns attitude. Any reccies?

As opposed to the stories I like to read, the stories I write are light humor; bawdy and fun are how most of them could be described. I’m not sure it’s that I’m afraid to turn my hand to drama or that I truly can’t write it. I keep throwing out hints to one of my friends, who has a way with the deep stuff, of a story I would like to read. The dratted woman just ignores my hints. I’m going to have to figure out if tragedy truly is beyond my capabilities or if it’s just fear, and try writing it myself. I read something recently that summed up how I feel: ” Human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when all the time we are longing to move the stars to pity.” – Gustav Flaubert – Madame Bovary (Gerard Hopkins’s translation)

I long to move the stars to pity.

Oceangal is twitterpated   Leave a comment

This was me. I had no intention of being cheerful and optimistic. After all, teh world is coming to an end and we’re all going to die. And my doggie got skunked. What do I have to be happy about?

barreleye1-3502Then I read about a strange fish called Barreleye.  It has a transparent head. How amazing is that? A six-inch long fish that lives at 2,000 feet under the ocean has a see-through head. They look up though their heads to find prey above them. Nature is truly wondrous.

But it gets even better. A clever little octopus fiddled with a valve in her tank and flooded an aquarium with 200 gallons of salt water. You’re not supposed to encourage mischievous children and animals. But this Two Spotted Octopus made my day.

While listening to me rhapsodize about these things, a friend gave me a link to the Psychedelic fish. A wildly patterned piscis from Indonesia, its fins have evolved into a limb like appendage that it uses to bounce from coral to coral, looking for goodies. I’ve watched the video several times now, and every viewing elicits laughter and smiles. Check it out, it has the grumpiest expression on it’s face and bounces around like a drunken college student trying to get to the next bar. It doesn’t get any better than this.

vesseywetamermaid1Wrong. The Weta Studio is renowned for making film props like Hobbit feet and Ork faces, but that’s not all.  Nadya Vessey lost both her legs as a child, and wrote to Weta telling them about herself and her life long desire to be a mermaid.  In between film projects, the people at Weta worked on the mermaid suit and fulfilled Nadya’s dream. Before setting her free in the ocean, they tested the suit in a pool, it worked perfectly. And it looks incredible. Being an Oceangal, you might guess that I am a swimmer.  And you would be correct. But not only do I swim like a fish, I used to play mermaid as a child. Clamping my legs  together, I flapped them like I  had a tail instead of legs. And now Nadya can swim like a mermaid too. I hope it is as wonderful for her to be a mermaid, as it was for me.

All of these things have conspired to remind me that we live in a pretty cool world. And I may be biased, but the ocean is, by far, the most amazing thing about it. My cynical, blasé heart is unfreezing. I am becoming twitterpated and I can’t open my mouth without a song jumping out of it.

Ranting   Leave a comment

Robert and Alison with Grammys in hand

Robert and Alison with Grammys in hand

Not one of my popular opinions, and I’ve caught a lot of flak from it on several forums that I belong to but I don’t get why Raising Sand is getting so much recognition and really don’t get all the acclaim it and Robert are getting for it. It’s not groundbreaking at all, nor do I find it stirring or passionate or any of the other superlatives being heaped on it. I did buy the album and listen to it. The first few listenings I enjoyed it in a mild way, it was pleasant. But after repeated listening I found it dull in the extreme. If Robert is so jazzed about the American Roots music he’s being turned onto by Miss Alison and Top Sirloin Burnout, why is he agreeing to smoothing it out and prettying it up into complete blandness? To broaden its appeal of course, get the most people to buy the records and attend concerts. I’m not going to say that I listen to bluegrass all the time or that I am an expert but I’ve been to several bluegrass concerts put on by the Old Time Fiddlers of Washington with my mom and grandma when they were alive. Once I got past the whole amateur production values and lapses into redneckedness, I really enjoyed the music. If you ever see something advertising an Old Time Fiddlers Festival (or contest) in your neighborhood, go! There OTF branches all over the country and if they get around as much down there as they do up here there should be something going on not too far from you. Up here it’ll be put on in a high-school gymnasium or a similar venue,  a very homemade affair. Not everyone is going to love it, but it is real, honest, old time music and you’ll understand why Raising Sand is really not worthy of the attention it’s getting. Or you’ll hate it and keep listening to the musical equivalent of  skim-milk.

Despite Robert’s occasional lapses into mass-appeal music, he’s done stuff that he’s knows won’t appeal to everyone, ie. Priory of Brian and Strange Sensation and hasn’t given a fig. So why now? Is he that desperate for dollars? Maybe the Led Zeppelin cash cow maintained by Jimmy Page isn’t generating what it should. After all the last gig was for charity. Is it for attention? Can’t be, I have it on good authority that people were screaming and shouting their love at Strange Sensation concerts, and the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert on December 10, 2007 (aka the reunion concert and O2) was well received if the bootlegs floating around are any indication (plz gimme an official release Jimmy!). So I’m going to say ‘no’ to the attention factor. So it must be for the music which I’ve already discussed in the above paragraph. Vicious circle.

The next Old Time Fiddlers event in my area is on Valentines Day. I have the day off. I should go. I enjoyed the music the other times I went, and my sentimental streak would be appeased. My mom and grandma would be pleased.

Posted February 10, 2009 by oceangal in My Humble Opinion

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Apology to Jonathan Carroll   Leave a comment

Apologies to Jonathan Carroll: I am a terrible ambassador for your books.

Have been telling my friends about a novel I just finished that I loved. It’s called Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll. For some reason, I have not effectively communicated the wonderfulness of this book. One friend, who reads Vampire Slut Novels, told me (very snootily) that if he wasn’t reading VSN, he only read very good science fiction novels. The women in my book club (ok, wine and gourmet dinner club) said oh, sounds interesting, and then chose to read some other book, that I had dismissed ages ago as crap. Then I have a conversation with my trusty sidekick (ala Ren and Stimpy) via Yahoo Messenger™ and tell her all about it:

(I, Oceangal, am ‘O’, my friend is ‘H’, for Honey )
O: Have just finished a book I liked very much called Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll.
H: The moon has bones?
O: In Rondua they do
H: Is that an island?
O: Better
It’s a dream world
H: Ah.
a bony dream world?
O: No- A wonderful dream world in which whoever possessessesess the five bones of the moon will rule Rondua
A kid named Pepsi is Rondua’s next ruler
H: So a handsome lad and ?? sets out to collect plot coupons?
And meet tribulation on the way?
?? = plucky dog?
Pet hen?
O: Lad is 5 years old and is accompanied by his mum
H: Magic hairpiece?
Oh, magic mum.
O: a giant dog wearing a bowler hat is one companion. His name is Mr. Tracy
H: Did you make that Up?
hang on…
O: Nope Jonathan Carroll did.
N: Okay, so plucky woman accompanied by magic boy and bowler hatted dog set off to gather five plot coupons.
It sounds very nice, but not my sort of thing.
(I’m back)
O: Only she’s not very plucky, and she’s dreaming about a world that when she was a child, she almost ruled, but didn’t because she wasn’t brave enough.
It’s got a great villain….
H: Darth Maul?
O: Jack Chili
H: The opposite of Jack Frost?
O: Mean as hell, I tell you.
H: I like good villains.
O: The dream world spills over into her real life of being a New York housewife with an infant daughter. Frightening things happen
H: That’s too scary.
O: There is a very terrifying bit that I couldn’t read fully, and the end made me cry.
I love a good ending
H: The dog lost his bowler?
O: Yes amongst other things
H: Did it have a razor’s edge like Steed’s, so he could throw it and disembowel or disemhead the baddie?
Or was that James Bond?
O: That was from a James Bond flick, bowler belonged to one of the baddies
H: It’s a good trick though.
O: Been done though.

The conversation then disintegrated into discussions on hats as weapons and implements of giants. It was fascinating to us, but only us, I won’t bore you with it. She probably won’t read it off my recommendation, but she would like it. I’m sure of it.

Sorry Mr. Carroll, I loved Bones of the Moon. Your playfulness with words, your imagery, made me laugh and sigh. The absurdity and tension and warm fuzzies you created thrilled me. But evidently I suck at telling people what made this book great so I’ll stop talking about it.

Posted December 1, 2008 by oceangal in Journal

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