WNYC’s Radiolab is one of my very favorite radio programs, one which I used to hear every week while at work until Northstate Public Radio decided it wasn’t worth keeping in their Saturday morning lineup. Luckily Radiolab has a wonderful blog and podcast. Here’s a short video they recently released to go along with their latest episode.
The rest of the episode, “Yellow Fluff & Other Curious Encounters”, can be found here.
I’ve been enjoying the blog Daily Routines lately. Without commentary, it collects accounts of “How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days.” I’m glad the site doesn’t update more than once or twice a week, or I would feel bad when I’d have to ignore its RSS feed. Reading about the creative routines of others is pretty interesting to me, and has led me to think about my own writing habits.
When I have time to spare I really like getting to sit down and work a post through one or two drafts, and I actually feel like I’m writing something. Increasingly as of late I’ll take down a few scattered notes of something I’d like to write about, and by the time I am able to come back to it I’ve lost interest, the notes don’t make sense anymore, or the subject has lost relevance.
I feel like each post on this blog needs to meet a certain standard of depth, or at least novelty. If I can’t squeeze a few paragraphs out of an idea, then it must be too fleeting to be of note, and what is this blog for if not to record ideas of note? Part of this problem may lie in the relatively open format of this blog.
With Things I’ve Eaten I tried to create a much more strict environment to write in. I didn’t have to search for something to write about, it was on my plate. I didn’t have to worry that I wasn’t writing often enough, I’m a very hungry person. With support for posting via SMS messages, I didn’t even need to be in front of my computer in order to write.
As a result, I began to think more about what I was eating. It hasn’t really caused me to change my eating habits, but it makes me wonder what my diet looks like from the second person perspective. Conversely, I don’t really worry so much about the quality or content of the posts, because who cares what I’ve eaten?
What I like so much about posting on Things I’ve Eaten is that it brings me closer to writing as part of my daily routine. Ideally I would like to fit this longer kind of exposition into my day (or every other), but doing so may require more discipline and/or free time then I have at my disposal. Then again, I think most people would benefit from more discipline and time in which to practice it.
This morning I was going to fry up two eggs as per usual, but decided instead to make french toast with them using some Tin Roof ciabatta bread.
I went to the market a little before noon and picked up some more breads from Tin Roof, some naan and artichoke spread from Guzzetti’s, a handful of bok choy, and some medjool dates (“the cadiallac of dates”).
For lunch I had some nachos from Cocina Economica. I was kind of bummed that they raised the price from three to five dollars.
Near the end of work I went to Shubert’s and got a double scoop of strawberry and vanilla on a sugar cone. Not too exciting.
For dinner tonight I’ve eaten some naan with dip, some dates, and might eat more.
This morning I took my time making and eating a nice breakfast. Two fried eggs easy over, two pieces of buttered and friend french sourdough from Tin Roof, and a bowl of granola with raisins and blackberries.
Yesterday: omlette with swiss, gouda, and parmesan cheese, jelly donut, mushroom soup, garlic naan and hummus, a veggie burrito, half of a banana-split, and some pasta shell with cheese sauce and broccoli.
I’m lucky enough to have a stable of bikes from which to pick and choose, and presently I’m deeply into my Atala. After spending the last few months hanging wheelless in the basement, then being built up as a a fully-fendered single-speed that got little use in a relatively dry winter, and finally having the shims mating 25.4 bars to a 26.0 stem fail, it just ended up sitting in the back of the bike shop, not getting enough love.
All that’s changed now.
I didn’t plan to stay up all night overhauling the bike, but these kinds of things just happen. The original Campy headset had been indexing for a little while, and finally got replaced with an inexpensive but not crummy Tange. The new rear wheel (a prototype 5-speed Paul hub laced to a deep DT RR1.2 rim) brings back the anachronistic pleasure of having a true 10-speed (2x5) bike, and a new Technomic 120mm stem helps with the fact that this frame is one or two sizes too small for me. Fresh blue cork tape is just pretty and makes me happy. The original Campy downtube shifters and derailleurs went back on, and the Atala was reborn, again.
So I went for a ride yesterday up to Paradise. Climbing Honey Run road is a always a good metric for fitness. After rolling around on my 26lb+ Soma with 700x35c tires day after day, the 20lb Atala just climbs so easily. This bike makes me feel fast, or at least it makes me feel like I could be much faster if I was in better shape.
By the time I got home on Sunday, I had probably ridden about 65 miles. I’d like to get back into the rhythm of at least 75 miles on the weekends, and an hour in the early morning or evening spent spinning through the park. Come Spring break, I want to be ready to tour.
While slow and easy-going touring appeals to me, so does the idea of an absurdly fast and miserable multi-state race. Call it a rando-cat, call it an asshole’s penance, call it a terrible idea. I just want to ride my bike as fast as I can all day long, fall asleep on the side of the road, and wake the next day asking for more.
Last night for dinner I had a vegeterian especial burrito from Amigos De Acapulco.
This morning for breakfast I had one vegetarian tomal and one sweet pineapple tomal at the farmer’s market, along with a cup of warm soy chai lattte from Chico Chai.
For lunch it was extra spicy nachos and half a bottle of honey-sweetened ginger ale.
Earlier tonight I snacked a little on some orange, some chocolate, and some cheese puffs.
The last thing I ate tonight was a few slices of olive batard from Tin Roof bakery, some of them dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and some of them spread with suncrest peach jam from Chaffin Orchards.
Traveling back in time through meal recollections:
Right now I am munching on some bok choy and broccoli that I quickly stir fried in some olive oil, rice vinegar, salt, sesame seeds, and garlic powder. I would’ve used some real garlic but my fridge is bereft. Bok choy is very delicious I have discovered! I am happy that it is so plentiful at the farmer’s market.
I ate the last of the oatmeal cookies when I got home from work this evening.
For lunch today I had a wrap from Chico Natural Foods, it contained some kind of mango chutney. It was spicier than I expected, and all the tastier for it. I also ate a pink lady apple that was very delicious. Whenever I bite into an apple that is shockingly good, I am reminded of “super apple” from Into The Wild. While at work today I also munched on corn tortilla chips from time to time.
For breakfast I had a bowl of coconut almond granola, with a handful of raisins thrown in. I also had a navel orange before running out the door. Once I got to work I was tempted to get a donut, but I didn’t have any cash with which to buy it.
Yesterday I had an oatmeal cookie before going to bed.
In between lots of snacking on an almond pastry I had stuck in my bike-shirt’s back pocket, I had a big veggie burger for lunch. There were also onion rings, milkshake, and the tasting of two terrible beers.
For breakfast yesterday I made the usual, two fried eggs and two pieces of fried buttered bread with jam. That day the jam was orange-ginger.
I’ve been busy lately. I haven’t been too busy to blog, but I’ve been having trouble writing anything that doesn’t come out reading awful, but that’s beside the point. Instead of blogging I’ve been recording music.
Last year I planned to release a new Meat Machine album which was originally going to be titled 20 under 2, then High-Five Lo-Fi, and finally just Year Two. But the end of the year rolled around predictably and the album, no matter the title, wasn’t done. I had recorded 12 songs in as many months, but wasn’t completely happy with any of them. The longer it took to finish working on new songs the less satisfied I was with ones recorded earlier.
With some unwitting motivating from another songwriting friend though, I’ve decided to start anew. The album will be titled The Carrot and The Microphone and will feature many new songs, along with new versions of older tracks not on Interstate 80. In the past few days I’ve already recorded 6 of the 28 (oh wow!) planned songs, and am so far quite happy with the results. This is a new kind of thing for me, being able to record a song and not instantly loathe the way it sounds.
In some kind of attempt to avoid jinxing myself from completing yet another hypothetical album, I’m not going to post any of the new songs until they’re all done, at least for now. Instead, I’ll leave you with two covers I’ve recorded recently.
I made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies today -the first I’ve ever done on my own- and they came out great, if not a lot bigger and a little bit drier than I’d hope. Bake and learn, eh? Here’s the recipe I used:
3/4 cups of unsalted butter (that’s one and a half sticks)
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup of raisins (can be replaced with nuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, etc.)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix 3/4 cups of butter & 1 cup of brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer really helps, and it should take about 2 or 3 minutes of constant mixing to get the two ingredients fully incorporated.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 large egg to the mixture, and stir in completely.
4. In a separate smaller bowl mix together 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
5. Pour the flour/soda/salt/cinnamon into the butter/sugar/vanilla/egg bowl, and mix the two together.
6. Now add 3 cups of rolled oats and 1 cup of raisins, and mix well.
7. Scoop the cookie dough into ice-cream scoop size balls on a baking sheet, and press them down until they are about 1/2” thick. They should be about an inch apart.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown slightly.
Last night my friend Amber made a delicious spread for dinner; cheese and onion pie, sweet potatoes and yams, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and sautéed brussels sprouts. Dessert seemed endless, fudge with nuts, toffee, chocolate covered peanut-butter cookies, jam thumbprints, and sweet pear crisp.
I woke up a little before noon today and made myself a bowl of granola.
For dinner I had couscous cooked with sliced zucchini in it, and fried up some blue potatoes in olive oil and rosemary.