Friday, December 26, 2008

From now until February, read the Two Sensitive Guys blog.

I'm probably not going to post anything here while I'm on the road because I'll be posting to the Two Sensitive Guys blog instead. So go there for video blogs, road mixes, and the occasional old-fashioned word-style weblog entry.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Latkes

Okay, I just made latkes. I mixed up:

- 8 potatoes, grated
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- 1 tsp baking powder

They fried up nicely, but the cornstarch made them too gummy, so I called my Grandma for advice. After a little back-and-forth about how I don't eat eggs anymore, she suggested I add a little oil into the mix, and if that didn't work, put in a drop of milk.

The oil did the trick, but I tried some soymilk too for the last couple of batches just to see what that did. It all worked out pretty well.

When I made latkes with my friend Raya last Saturday, we used egg replacer instead of cornstarch, which worked perfectly, but I wanted to show my parents that vegan cooking didn't necessarily require a bunch of weird stuff you wouldn't ever have to buy otherwise.

We also used three tablespoons of flour instead of the matzo meal. I just used matzo meal this time because we happened to have some lying around (this happens most often when you are Jewish).

We also used chives instead of onions, and that was really good. Have them with applesauce. Hell yes.

Happy holidays, everybody.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This is why I keep going to open mics that aren't at Cantab on Wednesdays.

Tonight, I went up to The Space in Hamden. Tuesdays is their open mic night, and when I used to spend more time in Connecticut it was one of my main hangouts. I only saw some of the people I had hoped to see--Steve Rogers, Rob Messore, and a bunch of the other staffers and regulars were M.I.A.--but I did see one open mic-er who made the trip completely worth it.

She had to be younger than 13. Her name was Elizabeth (Browning? I think? I wanted to get her last name, but I didn't know how to do it without looking creepy). She did two songs on the piano, which she played minimally but proficiently. Her melodies were natural, elegant, and catchy, which would have been impressive enough, but her lyrics were the really striking part.

The two lines I can remember were "I'll need my boots to walk in the rain" and "I am into your war." She actually made me wish I had brought more seriously good songs. I just did my Batman song and "Fossilized Love Letter" and walked away feeling somewhat inadequate but happy that at least I was bested by extremely fresh and young talent.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brownies

I made these brownies for a party on Friday, which was supposed to be pretty big but due to the weather turned out to be just four guys getting drunk and playing Rock Band (it turns out that you don't have to sing the right lyrics in order to get a high score--knowing this makes Rock Band a lot more fun. This also applies to regular karaoke).

Basically, I was out of soy butter and wanted to make something, so I found this recipe and changed it up to be more of a culinary risk. The risk paid off. Try making this for a party this season, if you're going to one.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (trust me, they won't be spicy, just delicious)
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce
    (for texture and moisture--more makes them breadier, less makes them gooier. It can be left out.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • some chopped walnuts (if you want)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the moist ingredients (and the walnuts if you decided to use them).
  4. Pour the batter into a baking pan and bake it for about half an hour. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.


Not to be a dick, but why are brownies ever non-vegan? This is just easier and I think cheaper. Eggs are messy. I am legitimately asking this question, so someone please make these brownies and then tell me why eggs are better to use so that I can experiment and make a vegan alternative.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2. Short Prose

Consumers frequently send us letters (sometimes several pages long!) thanking us forproviding the perfect sentiment to help them begin, enhance, or mend relationships.Often that sentiment is short prose, which may include one or more of the following: casual tone, word play, powerful imagery, fresh insight, humor, whimsy, and surprising(yet relevant) word choices.

Examples
Sometimes the best thing to do is just look in the mirror and say,
"What shoes go with this stress?"

It's your day!
So don't even pretend
you're not the center of attention.

Necessary things in life- Lip gloss Coffee Speed dial Perfect jeans Shoe sales Friends like you
Sometimes when we're hanging out together, I'll just look at you and think to myself,
"Is there anything better than this?!"
(There isn't.)

Write a short prose sentiment for each of the following three situations:

1. Keeping in touch with a college friend at Christmas

I'll be missing you over the break, pal,
but when I sit down to Christmas dinner,
my family gathered around, our heads bowed,
you'll be right there with me--
I'll see your face on the glorious body dangling from that big wooden "t."
You know I would kill for you just as quickly.

2. Helping a co-worker cope with trouble at work

A word about your boss:
he is not the invisible hand that deals Solitaire;
he's the secretly anxious smiley face on the top of Minesweeper.
So click. Drag. Blow up whatever.

3. Teasing a relative who's having a milestone birthday

Here's just one more reminder
that life's a rat race
and you're a few laps ahead of the rest of us.
A quick word about the finish line:
It's a trap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

about the poems in Textured Vegetable Protein-Based Miracle Subsitute

The Buzzing Searchlight of Responsibility (0.3 pg): This poem is about wanting to stay in bed instead of participating in the world. Its main character is Batman.

Graduating the Weekend (1.1 pgs): This poem is about graduating college and still living in an apartment that your parents are paying for, and not knowing what to do and being scared of your landlord. I costar in it with my roommate's cat, Butch. read it here

Decorative Squash (2.3 pgs): This poem is about those little squashes that you see in store windows around Thanksgiving time, and how they make me angry. read it here (it comes second)

Four Greeting Cards (0.6 pg each): I wrote these four poems in the style of Hallmark greeting cards (more on that here).

The Buzzing Heat Lamp of Romance (0.8 pg): This poem is about how complicated sex lives can get, and how boring that is even though pop media makes it out to be a big deal. It stars Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Julia Roberts.

We've Been Calling Him No-Name (1 pg): This is a flash fiction about a stray cat.

Kwansaba for Dennis the Wayward Manatee (0.3 pg): This poem is about this.

Meat Joke (0.4 pg): This poem is about how non-vegetarians sometimes stigmatize vegetarians and vegans, and how uncomfortable that can be for everybody. read it here

Poem Written via Text Message (1.3 pgs): This is one of three form poems in this book. Each line is 20 characters long and each stanza is 160 characters long, except for the last stanza, which can be shorter, like an envoy.

After Watching the Detectives (1.2 pgs): This poem is about a very tense and difficult evening I shared with someone I really loved.

My Heart is a Professional Hurricane (0.6 pg): This is the book's second form poem--it's a ghazal. The title comes from a poem by my friend Carlos Williams. read it here / listen to the song

To Imitate Their Natural Habitat (0.3 pg): This poem is weird.

My Eagles Adieu (1.3 pg): In this poem, I speculate on how Napoleon must have gotten pretty depressed when he was in exile.

One-Boy Post Post Punk Band Behind The Music (0.4 pg): This is the final form poem in the book--it's a "13 ways," which is where you write 13 sentences that say the same thing, which I interpret very liberally. It's about being 13 years old and pretty depressed. listen to the song (it comes second)

How to Invest in the Future of Teenagers (0.8 pg): This poem is about this.

Going-Away Party (1.2 pgs): This poem is about how my friend Artie is going through a divorce, but most of my other friends and I are a little younger and mostly just drink and flirt. It takes place at my friend Jess's house.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

my chapbook is experiencing technical difficulties

The first 100 copies of Textured Vegetable Protein-Based Miracle Substitute came out of Hampshire College's printing center with what I feel are some substantial issues. Basically, the font is huge, which screwed up the line breaks in ways that make me uncomfortable, and the page numbers are wrong and on the spine side of the page. This is largely my fault for designing it in Microsoft Word and then not asking Sam for a proof. Sam's the one who handed this in, but he's been having a very bad week, so I'm cutting him some slack.

It was recycled paper, so that makes it slightly less awful from an ecological stand point, doesn't it?

Anyway, I'm still excited to get copies of this book to people. I'll be giving you a play-by-play of the chapbook a la Tao Lin soon. For now, I'm off to New Jersey.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I made a blog for Two Sensitive Guys

It's here. We'll be vlogging on it, and posting tracklists from our mixes, and maybe regular-blogging a little too.

The Providence show is tonight! I'm excited to do this. Simone tells me that the venue is a vegan bar and grille. I'm like, "Yes."

Here's a thing I would like to do with my life: open a vegan bar and grille, and then start a weekly open mic in it. I don't have anything approaching business know-how though, so I'd need someone to help me a lot.

UPDATE: It turned out that the venue was Ryk McIntyre's venue, which is a non-vegan cafe, and not Jared Paul's venue, which is the vegan one. So now I've got egg on my face, so to speak.

Heh. Egg. Veganism. Ryk would like that one.

Friday, December 5, 2008

a pencil drawing and a ghazal

This poem is going to be in my chapbook, which will be out very soon. I also made it into a song and put it on myspace. I accompany it here with a drawing of my heart getting drunk:





My Heart is a Professional Hurricane

after a poem by Carlos Williams

He tells me the job is seven days on, twelve days off.
He doesn't get paid much but insists that the work is rewarding.

He steals my food and sleeps on my floor; he spends his pay on booze.
He had been prowling monster.com for months when he met you.

But then he heard your voice and said, "Hallelujah! Let's get whiskeyed."
And he peeked at your ear and threw his chair at my sternum,

and he felt you walk upstairs, and the place went dark,
and my ribs stopped moving for seven seconds, then shook for twelve,

and he felt you walk back down, wearing your hair like a heavy crown,
and my lungs' echoey hallways got used as the town evacuation center.

He is remorseless. He must have had four years of desensitivity training.
You cannot stop him by predicting him, or by looking at the floor.

You cannot stop him from drunkenly shouting about your rocky whisper.
He is convinced--I guess by shadowplay--that you've got these really big eyes.

new book by Matthew Klane

Matthew Klane has a new book. The significance of this is mainly that Matthew Klane is a very clever wordsmith and this book is probably unlike pretty much anything you've seen. It's probably something like if Dadaism happened now but intentionally made sense. Word(s).

A second Hallmark writing exercise is forthcoming. I'll probably be reading from that whole mishigas on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

1. Meeting Consumer Needs (Sendability)

At Hallmark, one of our goals is to provide a variety of products that meet a variety of consumer needs. Greeting cards, for example, provide a range of suitable messages for occasions ranging from celebrating the birth of a child to mourning the death of a grandparent. [...]

First, consider this consumer need: A single woman wants to send a card to her 32-year-old friend from church whose husband has just died tragically.

Next, write a brief evaluation of each of the following six sentiments’ sendability for this situation.

Finally, choose the one you consider most appropriate for the situation above. Or, if none of them seem quite right, create a sentiment of your own.

Sentiment 1:

Saying “we’re so sorry”
seems insignificant
in the face of your loss.

Please know we’re keeping you close
in thought and prayer.

[...]


Sentiment 6:

This bright young life
was a light in the world…
a candle of hope,
warmth, and laughter.
This bright young life
has departed too soon
but will shine in our hearts
ever after.


Sentiment 7:

When I try to imagine what you’re going through,
I imagine us going on a long camping trip,
and we start climbing on trees,
and then you fall off of your tree
and land with your right leg in a bear trap.

I know that I don’t know what you’re going through,
but I think I know why you climbed that tree—
we tend to spend so long on the ground,
and up there you can stop and really look around,
though now you must feel like you’re minus one knee.

If a husband is what I have come to understand,
your tree’s apple, your hole’s poultice,
you’ll have some trouble standing up now,
and I would love to be your crutch,

but I know that if your husband was your leg
then surely I am closer to a fingernail,
and so I urge you to pick me
if you feel that urge,
and know that urges come

not from extremities, but from the heart,
and when you feel it beating,
you are your heart,
and when you breathe,
you are your lungs,
and though breathing and heartbeats are boring things,
you need them both if you want to go camping.

And if now is the long, disastrous camping trip
of your life, then let us find you a seat—
you could probably use a seat.
We’ll find you a bench.
Sometimes life is a picnic,
and this morning you stood
at the kitchen counter.
I watched you make us sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Spoken Word Poetry in Forsyth Chapel

Sunday, December 7th at 2 pm

featuring Sam Cha, April Ranger, Steve Subrizi, and Nicole Terez

As the burial place of poets Anne Sexton and e.e. cummings, Forest Hills Cemetery presents an afternoon of spoken word poetry, to honor the progressive, experimental work of its legendary residents. Spoken word poets bring a vitality to reading their poetry, using rhythm, intonation, and expression to engage the audience and enliven their words. Hear four young poets from Boston's Slam Poetry circuit perform their work. Poets include members of the 2008 Boston Cantab slam team. April Ranger, Sam Cha, Nicole Terez, and Steve Subrizi will perform.

Admission: $5

Directions to Forest Hills

Sunday, November 30, 2008

James Caroline at the 11/5 Prop 8 protest



I'm disappointed that there aren't more crowd pops, but maybe it's the sound. Pay special attention to his use of the words "defend," shield," and "safety." Damn.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hallmark emailed me back!

Dear Steve Subrizi,

Thank you for your interest in a Creative Writer/Editor position with Hallmark Cards.

This sounds like they're taking me seriously. It's obviously a form letter.

All writing roles at Hallmark are full time and are at our headquarters in Kansas City, MO.

This takes care of whatever sincere interest I had. I don't want to have to keep explaining to people that I don't live in the "Kansas City" Kansas City. But let's just read on a little bit...

To evaluate your writing style, we would like for you to complete a short writing assignment (attached).

Jackpot.

So I now have a page worth of sentimental writing prompts, the results of which I will post here at the estimated rate of one per week. My goal here is not to land the job.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2SG kick-off

WELL, the Two Sensitive Guys tour is officially underway (I'll be linking that once we start our video blog). We had our basement show at Kevin's and it was a really good time. He had a bunch of stuffed cardboard boxes from his work set up as chairs, and blue Christmas lights all around, and Sam's friend Nicole (who drew the cover for our just-about-done chapbook) hung up some paintings that were very graphic and disturbing in a good way (I'd link to her, but I couldn't find her on Google). We filled the room, which is to say that there were twenty-odd people down there, including some of my favorite Hampshirites.

Sam and I traded off poems for an hour, with Kevin doing a two-poem spotlight in the middle. I opened with "Meat Joke," we broke in the middle for Kevin, and then Sam opened back up with a poem called "Psalm" about street preachers, and I closed with my "serious poem," which concerns a friend of mine who wanted to kill herself, but the end of the poem is uplifting I think.

This is going to be a really good tour. Sam and I feel that we balance each other out very well. He does very intense confessional work, and I'm usually ironic and/or goofy (except when I'm begging my friend to keep on living).

Most of the time, I feel like humor and irony are the most effective tools for expressing my thoughts on depression and media and other socio-political topics. But other times I feel like I'm locked in a room with a polar bear with earmuffs and a deer with two eyepatches and two talking muffins and a sunburned zebra, and we all just want out.

But then I write another poem about dinosaurs. It's just what happens, and I'm becoming more and more okay with it.

*

Anyway, I ended up staying at Hampshire for about three days. On one hand, going to bars and shooting billiards with Sam, Charley, and Kevin (can't find him either for some reason) was an extremely good time. On the other hand, this is my idea of a self-destructive day: waking up hungover, drinking a cup of black coffee, going on a long car ride to comic book shop (even if Adam Stone is there watching The Muppet Show), eating greasy Chinese food and drinking a Dr. Pepper, showering and rushing off (into the cold cold night) to perform poetry with your slam team at Emerson to open up the room for Jared Paul.

My body felt like one of those Mech Warriors, and my brain was this stupid kid who just barely knew how to work the controls, and my friend who owns the game was like, "You're doing it wrong! Give me the controller!" But I just wanted to finish the game and go home. Which is what I finally did, and now I'm all well-rested, which I'm enjoying a lot. The road is going to be interesting...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Sensitive Guys get the fuck on the fucking road

T-Bird and I start our tour tonight at Kevin Devaney's house. If you want to go but don't know how you'll get to Northampton, I'm really sorry, but it's probably too late for you. You could try calling people? I don't know, it's a long shot. But don't worry, there will be lots of other opportunities to see us.

The Emerson Poetry Project on December 1st for example. About that show: no, we still don't know where it's going to take place, but! I've decided to have a special limited edition "EPP EP" ready. My album is/will be called Soy Replacer, and there are already seven tracks in the works that will be done and on a disc by then. What will happen is that you will give me $3 and in return I will give you a CD in an intricately folded piece of paper with the track listing on it and before I give it to you I will draw a picture on the front, special and just for you.

I feel really good about these recordings. They may be my best accomplishment of my life so far, which isn't saying that much, but still.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

recording recording recording

As I've mentioned, I've been doing some recording lately. Actually, I've been doing a lot of recording lately--I laid down two tracks just today! I'm hoping to have an album done by January that will be a sort of an audio-companion to my chapbook (Textured Vegetable Protein-Based Miracle Substitute, which will definitely be out by then).

Three tracks are done, and you can listen to two of them here. There's a fourth track that's almost done, which is the one about Batman that I was talking about. I need two people, preferably women (not to be sexist, but, you know, women's voices usually sound different, and that's the sound I need) to do backup vocals. It's a pretty simple part, which I prerecorded in a model track. If you'd like to help me out on this, let me know. We could do it before Cantab or EPP or something.

Monday, November 17, 2008

tour dates

My friend Sam Teitel and I are going on a poetry tour. We call our tour Two Sensitive Guys because we are very deep and have feelings and shit.

These are all the shows we have so far:


November 22: Basement show at Kevin's house in Northampton
(doors at 7:30, show at 8:00; 12 Union Street, Northhampton, MA)

December 1: Emerson Poetry Project, Boston, MA
(same night as the "prom slam," in which slammers perform the lyrics of pop songs; time and location TBA.)

December 6: Sam's Living Room at Hampshire, Amherst, MA
(tentative; door at 7:00, show at 7:30; Enfield, mod 57, 893 West Street.)

December 9: Gotpoetry Live, Providence, RI
(doors at 7:30, show at 8; 300 Thayer Street.)

December 11: LoserSlam at Inkwell, Long Branch, NJ
(show at 9, suggested $5 donation; 665 Second Avenue.)

December 12: The Bridge Café, Manchester, NH
(show at 7, $3; 1117 Elm Street.)

December 16: Port Veritas at North Star Café, Portland, ME
(show at 7; 225 Congress Street.)

December 18: The Ship, Worcester, MA
(show at 8; 1 Millbury Street.)

December 21: Worcester Poets Asylum, Worcester, MA
(doors at 5:30, show at 6; 335 Chandler Street.)

January 3: The Mercury Café, Denver, CO
(showtime TBA; 2199 California Street.)

January 4: Denver Youth Slam Workshop, Denver, CO

January 5: Pretty Boys School For Public Speaking, Denver, CO
(show at 7; 17th and Wazee.)

January 11: The Green Mill Uptown Poetry Slam, Chicago, IL
(showtime TBA; 4802 North Broadway Avenue.)

January 13: Safe Smiles at The Trace, Chicago, IL
(show at 10, $3; 3714 North Clark Street.)

January 30: Philadelphia, PA
(details forthcoming)

February 10: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
(show at 9; 415 South Street.)

There might be a gig in Indiana too, and after all of this, we'll be doing a reading at Stone Soup. I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

recording

I was over at my friend Adam's tonight, and I mentioned that I've been recording a song about Batman having an existential crisis. Then Emily mentioned that that's pretty much what Batman is "all about." So I guess my idea wasn't very original, in the grand scheme of things.

And then I remembered that that's pretty much what having ideas is "all about," since there's been more than enough time for genuine originality to die in all of these years of humanity. So now I'm the one having an existential crisis. Again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

emailing Hallmark

I just applied for a job with Hallmark so that I could send them my greeting cards and see what they think (you can read an example of one here if you scroll down a ways). This was my cover letter:

Hello.

My name is Steve, and I am a young writer who has recently become interested in greeting cards. I believe that greeting cards say what people have trouble saying because sometimes it's really difficult to say the right thing at the right time.

What is the right thing to say? When and how do you say it? Is "the right thing to say" always the right thing to say? I struggle with these questions.

I hope that you will read over my attempts and let me know if I'm on the right track.

Sincerely,
Steve Subrizi

*

I'm really curious to see if I get a response. It would be a pretty great relief to see that someone who works in a managerial position for a big company like Hallmark has a sense of humor about what they do. I wonder if any of them are poets outside of the office.

I know it's pretty obvious of me to believe this, but Poet really should be a salaried position. Even mediocre poets help people think about how they feel, which is at least as productive as working for Hallmark, and writing can be at least as difficult as making presentations on PowerPoint and whatnot. Service rendered, hours devoted. But fine, I'll keep on applying at cafes. People who help bring food to people are probably the most valuable members of society.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sean Conlon's One-Man Show: How Multimedia Artistry and Understanding of Loneliness Totally Kills Ass

(This is a rough draft, so please grade on some kind of curve.)

Thesis: Sean Conlon wants to make you cry, and you should let him.

Synopsis: Last night I went up to Amherst with some friends to see The Pornography Diaries, Sean Conlon's Division 3 project for Hampshire College. We all know Sean well enough that we expected emotional catharsis, disturbingly sharp metaphorical and literal imagery, and splashes of dark humor sweetening but never overpowering his heartbreaking sincerity. We knew that there would be songs. We knew that there would be recordings of Sean's friends sharing their views on and experiences with sex, and that there would be projections of early 20th century television advertisements and pornography, and that we weren't going to know the difference between them (this we were told). We still weren't ready when it all hit us.

The Pornography Diaries attacks sex from every angle. We know that sex leads to love, and that love hurts, and that sex and love are both caused by chemical reactions, and that neither one is necessary to our survival, and that we still always want sex even though we're never satisfied, and that we still always want love even though it hurts, and that advertisements subvert our desire for sex and love so that we desire cheap crap that we need even less, and that sex can make life feel worth it, and that love can make sex feel the opposite of cheap--

but Sean takes all of these things that we know and are still unable to transcend, and he looks at all of them, and he cries, but he keeps looking, and then he makes you look too, and then you feel just as lost as you did the last time you loved somebody, and the only thing Sean does to comfort you is show you how lost he is too, but that's totally enough and everything seems worth it and stupid at the same time. It's a good feeling. Sean Conlon wants to make you cry, but it will feel good, so you should let him.

<3

In less exciting news, I'm working on a pizza cheese alternative. What I did, after watching The Food Network in a hotel lobby this morning, was I grilled a banana (Food network says this is a good dessert with strawberries and cream); then I ground some walnuts, and mixed those together with basil, oregano, red pepper, and flour. It tasted pretty good, and it was at least squishy enough to resemble mozzarella. I think I'll mix in some almond milk next time (so it doesn't dry up in the oven) and pair it with a wine-rich sauce (so as to counterbalance the sweetness of banana).

Special thanks to Sarah, who recommended the almond milk.

Friday, November 7, 2008

cover art's done!

Yesterday I drew the cover art for my upcoming chapbook, Textured Vegetable Protein-Based Miracle Substitute. I thought I'd share it with you, along with the poem that inspired it.







Meat Joke

Two steaks walk into a grille. One orders
textured vegetable protein. The other
orders a rack of ribs. The first steak
says, “How can you eat that? It comes
from where you come from.” The second
steak says, “This place serves pork ribs.”
The second steak offers the first a rib.

The first steak says, “I don’t eat pork.”
The second steak asks, “Why not?”
The first steak says, “Ethical reasons.”
And then it gets pretty quiet. The steaks
don’t know how to talk to each other
about this. Their friendship suffers.

*

Also yesterday, a guy was talking to me outside the T. He was oldish, had a stoner-y air to him. He said "Hi" and nodded his head a lot. I said hello back, and he said I had nice hair, and I said thanks, and then he said I was really cute, and I said thanks and walked away, and as I was walking away he said I had a "nice ass."

So that made me feel pretty sick inside. I started looking at my own sexuality through a lens I would never have asked for. I correctly predicted that sound clip popping into my head the next time I was in the shower, also predicted it popping into my head and stopping me the next time I masturbated (yet untested, won't let you know about it).

I think it sometimes must be very difficult to be a woman. I feel that having the experience of being catcalled might have brought me at least a little closer to genuine sympathy to that experience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

and they're getting a puppy!

I am literally going to go dance in the streets today to celebrate Barack Obama winning the election. Okay, that's probably not true. But it's "story truth," as Tim O'Brien might say.

I watched the election results come in with my recently-exed girlfriend. It was a pretty good time. It was an especially good time when the results came in for Ohio. When the win was locked, she called her parents but they didn't pick up, and she said they were probably having sex and she was happy about that, but I didn't want to think about it, especially since I've met her parents, and I don't really like to think about anyone I know having sex.

And then Carlos called, and he said that he was calling everyone he knew, and that the Gringos and I were second on his list right after his parents, and that made me happy, but it also made me a little sad to think that I couldn't share this moment of history with my parents, since they almost definitely both voted for McCain. I'm afraid to even ask my sister.

It makes me a little sick to think that while I was watching Obama address that huge crowd in Chicago, tears welling in everybody's eyes, marvelling at how much everything had just changed, my parents were rolling their eyes and sighing, thinking about how their taxes were going to go up (which, unless I've been mislead by the Obama platform or by the level of my family's wealth, isn't even true).

We were talking about this: how much of our beliefs are just a personal and selfish reaction to our upbringing?

I remember a time that my family was eating at Bennigan's, and we were talking about politics for some reason. I was thirteen--just old enough to care, and just old enough to really enjoy disagreeing with my father. Canada came up. I mentioned that I thought socialized medicine sounded like a good idea and wondered why we didn't have it. My father asked me, without a trace of irony about him, why I hated America so much. The argument lasted well past the time we got home, my father closing us into the office, lecturing me about the principles of capitalism and conservatism. I got a really big headache and played a lot of guitar that night.

Would punk exist without disco? Maybe it's okay that good things primarily exist in response to not-so-good things. I don't know.


Anyway, last night I baked those sugar cookies for me and my ex to eat while we worried and then celebrated. Instead of brandy, I muddled a bunch of leftover mint leaves with some sugar and soymilk, then spooned in a lot of the soymilk. (I skipped the cinnamon and just coated them in sugar.) They came out pretty tasty--my only regret is that I didn't put more of the actual mint leaves into the batter.

I also mixed us what I called "reverse creamsicles," which were a shot of triple-sec in soymilk (because that's what I had around). Don't do it. It's a reckless idea.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

uncontrolled experiments in fooding

Casey's feature was excellent. Duh.


Carrie had a potluck on Sunday, which I guess was kind of spur-of-the-moment, but a lot of people were there, but they were mostly Emerson film students who wanted to talk about film shoots and Lost, so it was kind of a wash for me.

But! The potluck was Autumn Harvest-themed, and I did some cooking for it that went pretty well.

I worked (yet again) out of Veganomicon, this time a recipe called Grilled Yuca Tortillas, preparing a recommended variation using a mixture of sweet potatoes and black beans instead of the fancypants yuca. Basically, you mash the sweet potatoes and beans, and you stir-fry garlic, diced yellow bell pepper, and jalapeno with some lime, you mix all that shit together, and you grill it in a tortilla.

All of this I did, BUT ALSO, I chopped up some tomato and onion, and I threw in some lime and coarsely chopped mint. Mint pico de gallo, ladies and gentlemen (yes I know it usually has chile too, but I worked with what I had left. The mint was leftover from some mint juleps I made for another party).

It went with the sweet potato so well. I actually had some leftovers with guacamole instead, and it wasn't nearly as good.

Seasonal food, I'm telling you. It's the way to go. If you have money, you can have whatever you want all the time in this country, but I submit to you that that is not what good eating is about. Someone who knows food (possibly Simone) once told me: good food is fresh ingredients in the right order.


I hope you're voting today. I told my parents and sister that if they don't vote for Barack Obama, I'm going to get really drunk on Thanksgiving and embarrass everybody.

Who am I kidding though, I'll probably do that either way.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Casey Rocheteau's new album and chapbook (!)

Casey L. Rocheteau, very possibly the best politically-geared voice in New England performance poetry, has just released a short chapbook called List of American Rituals and an album called Pump Your Concrete (OH WORD! the Album).

I'm going to try to lay out this analogy that I thought of about two-thirds of the way into listening to this album:

Imagine that you take your kids to a puppet show at a little theater two towns over. The theater is called The Whitehaus. The puppets are extremely colorful and look homemade: there are a couple of very elaborate sock puppets, one large wooden puppet with the knobs of branches sticking out, and several taxedermied chipmunks that act as the play's "chorus." The songs are folksy and extremely catchy. The kids love it.

But as you listen to the dialogue, you notice something different. The characters aren't talking about baking cookies and visiting Grandma; they're discussing the horrors of American capitalism and the dark history of its racial tension. They're not frolicking through the woods; they're diving through dumpsters. In short: this is some subversive shit.

A lot of the other parents make their kids get up and they leave, muttering. But you stay. You stay because you get it. And the kids have fun, and everyone who stays learns something about themselves and each other.

Or, as Brian (who appears on the album) put it, "It's very good, but it's very real."

The CD offers a lot more than the chapbook in terms of quantity and depth, but I strongly recommend getting both, if only so that you can fully appreciate "Refuse," which might be frustrating to listen to without a libretto, and which is too good of a poem not to receive clearly.

UPDATED

Casey will be the feature for the Emerson Poetry Project tomorrow night (November 3rd) in Room 202 at 120 Boylston Street. Doors open at 7:30, mic starts at 8.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a delicious Autumn sandwich

I made a sandwich today that was so good that I began to think, "I might need to get a real 9-5 job in my life so that I can afford to eat this kind of shit all the time." It was kind of a fancypants sandwich, and I don't expect you to have the ingredients just lying around like I did.

I was lucky in that my friends and I had gone to a farm on Saturday, and I had pumpkin butter and apples leftover from that. Plus, when I was at Trader Joe's last week, I decided to buy arugula to show my support for Barack Obama.

So here's all I did:

- I made a tofu salad out of:
  • extra-firm tofu
  • vegenaise
  • an onion
  • a McIntosh apple
  • paprika
  • a little salt and pepper

- I toasted some Canadian white bread

- I put the tofu salad on a slice of toast

- I put arugula on top of the tofu salad. (Note: Locally Known has some crazy-good arugula this season.)

- I spread delicious pumpkin butter on the other slice of toast

- I ate that sandwich and memories of Autumns past flashed before my eyes. Like I was in Grandma's yard in Pomona New York playing in a big pile of leaves with my brother and sister and hot cocoa was waiting for us inside but we just weren't done frolicking yet, I mean seriously this was that good.

Good pumpkin butter tastes like the inside of a pumpkin pie but less whippy. It's just mashed-up pumpkin and spices, plus maybe some lemon juice. Maybe we could just socialize pumpkin butter, so that everybody could have some. I think that would be a step in the right direction for this country.

Sorry. I didn't mean to get political. Good Sandwiches '08. Crap. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

April Ranger at Emerson

I saw my friend and esteemed colleague April Ranger feature at Emerson Poetry Project last night. I was pretty disappointed at the turnout--I think it was the first time we've had fewer than 30 people at an EPP open mic--but of course she rocked the uglies out of all twenty of us.

April made the 2008 Cantab slam team that went to Nationals and went to Finals, and she's the current NorthBEAST Champion (took me out in the second round), and let me tell you that that those were no accidents. She really knows when to stomp the distortion petal and when to go acoustic and let the words do the work. More importantly, she's got words that do a lot of work. I'm going to misquote this, but there's a poem she did that used to be called "The Boy Makes Love to the Girl Who Cuts Herself," which she now calls "Hero." There's a line that goes something like, "you looked like an old elm tree, carved up by some stupid kids." And then this time she added this really good Civil War analogy that gave it the new title.

She brought Brian with her. He read a Patricia Smith poem on the mic, and then he even hosted the slam. What a guy. Earlier in the evening, he gave me seven cents, just because he 'didn't want it in his pockets.' I even mentioned that I still owed him 15 dollars for his book, and he was like "No. No," and then walked away.

Actually, I had given him a dollar to buy a drink even earlier in the evening. Anyway.

I sacrificed for the slam. I performed a short and pretty low key poem about depression that used Batman as its protagonist. One judge gave it a 4, and the other scores were 6's and a 7 I think (scores for the rest of the evening generally ranged between 6 and 8.5), which I thought was unfair, but generally when I reflect deeply enough on slam scores, I think, "Whatever." I will not let slam judges make me write long theatrical poems about horrible injustice. Those will come only after I experience horrible injustice, and only if I am feeling theatrical.

I say this not as a reflection on the poets I heard last night, but as a reflection on what I often see score well at a slam--although I also often see April and Brian and other similarly awesome poets score well at slams, and I think, "Cantab is a pretty awesome place, and I'm glad we exist as a community." It was a small slam and mic last night, but in general, I believe that Emerson is becoming a similarly unique and valuable space for performance poetry, and this pleases me.

It's just too bad the Emerson Student Government didn't take EPP's constitution because it was a few hours late, and now they probably won't have enough money to go to College Nationals or pay their features appropriately. Sorry to end on a negative note, but that is just an awful thing that sucks.

Beaurocracy: Can't live with it, can't shake the feeling that you would like to stop living every time you have to deal with it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

dreams

I don't usually have dreams, but I had some last night, and since Charley blogs his dreams and it works out pretty well, I thought I'd try it too. So let's see:

It's my birthday. I go to Cantab, and there's a plastic bag at "my seat" (I guess Simone made assigned seats because we had been too rowdy last time). The bag has a frozen vegan pizza, a bunch of notebooks, a collection of poems by Dustin Pedroia (whom I understand to be a contemporary of Lorca and not a baseball player), and a large stick that I could see using as a walking stick with a scarf tied to the "handle" and a piece of paper dangling from it that says "Salt the moon."

I initially assume that Jamie got all of this for me, but then I find a note from Tom Daley. I think, "This is way more than I would expect Tom to give me for my birthday, but I must remember to thank him."

*

At the end of a long day of school, I come home just knowing that my friends have thrown me a surprise party. Sure enough, I open the door and there's Adam and Lauren, the Gringos, and a smattering of Cantabbers and Emersonians. I have a ridiculously positive interaction with the girl I had a huge crush on through most of college, and after we kiss, she turns into a completely different person, who wears makeup and jewelry and has long hair and I think Ugg boots. I don't feel any differently about her, but she has to go catch the bus so I tell her I'll call, or she can call, or whatever. I feel weird about going back to the party after that, so I just walk around the city for the rest of this dream.

*

I'm at the cafeteria of my new school, sitting at a long table across from Sarka, my first girlfriend who has since gone vegan and inspired me also to go vegan (her real name is Sarah, but I'll use her nickname to avoid confusion).

It's dessert time, and at this school they manage dessert much the way that a summer camp might--teachers walk around with big boxes of the day's dessert and give us each one item. Sarah Palin is coming down the row with a box of ice cream cones. Sarka makes a snark about her that I don't quite hear but laugh at anyway (I thought I heard "lipstick" and "pig" in there somewhere).

When Sarah Palin gets to me, she hands me my ice cream and I say "thank you" and start to unwrap it. I'm very close to eating it when I realize that it's not vegan. I look at Sarka disappointedly and she says, "You should try these popsicles. These popsicles, they're pretty great." She hands me one--she's got a whole crayon box of them--and I try it and say, "These are vegan? Wow." It's french toast-flavored.

Friday, October 24, 2008

a new chapbook mostly constisting of poetry

Today I started putting together a new chapbook. I want to have it ready for my tour with Sam. I want to share some of its potential content with you, but a lot of it is "off-limits" until the end of 30/30.

Here are some ideas for names that I thought of while scrolling through the poems:


  • Eating Eating Eating
  • Drafts Of Suicide Letters That Became Knock-Knock Jokes
  • Blue Agave Nectar
  • Textured Vegetable Protein-Based Miracle Substitute

Here are a few poems that might give you some idea of why I would think of these titles:



Graduating the Weekend

My housemate’s cat doesn’t have a job. He spends
his hours sniffing chairs and discovering new ways
to lie down. Once, he stood on the living room
windowsill and stared at a sparrow on the telephone
wire, his eyes and calves figuring the crosshairs,
but smoothly, lazily, aware of his occupation
even then. He didn’t watch the bird fly off. Instead,
he hopped over the couch to his tuna bowl. I asked
him, “Butch, what are you doing with your life?”
but he kept staring into the loveseat, then said,
“Go ahead and scratch my chin.” I obliged, but
I knew he meant to say, “I’m saving up for a nice, satisfying
death.” My housemate has a smart cat. He helps me think:

I’ve decided I cannot commit suicide until I’ve recorded
at least two more albums and written at least a book’s worth
of suicide letters. But I just keep writing knock-
knock jokes, even though the only time I answer
our door, it’s the landlord, and he wants to talk
to somebody who’s in charge. I tell him we all
live here, and we’ve been trying to call a meeting
to discuss the lease, and he says, “What is there
to discuss?” and I say, “The lease,” and then, “Oh!
That sounded sarcastic. I’m so sorry. Please let me live
here still.” He shakes my hand and leaves and Wow,
I have had so few real life experiences. I hop over
to the kitchen to try not to ruin a sandwich, but

the fridge ran out of tofu, and before I can find hummus,
Butch starts circling my legs. He’s not a black cat,
and I have no path; there’s nothing to worry about,
so I tell a knock-knock joke:

Knock-knock.

(Who’s there?)

The landlord.

(“The landlord” who?)

The land and its lord need you
to make a decision
and they can’t wait
another day, so
what’s your call,
Butch?




-----------------------------------------------



Decorative Squash

The decorative
squash.

They sit behind store windows.
They sit beside scarves on hooks
and cell phones on columns,
beside mannequins with hats
and shirts and pants and scarves
and cell phones.

The decorative squash
wear friendly colors,
like French yellow
and fireplace orange
and hospice green.

I hate the decorative squash.
They are not my friends. I hate them.

The decorative squash does not make me want to buy a hat.
The decorative squash does not make me want to buy a shirt.
The decorative squash does not make me want to buy a scarf.

I already have a cell phone.
The cell phone store cannot understand this.

The decorative squash cannot
understand cell phones.

I cannot understand
how cell phones kill the bees.

The bees would eat the decorative squash
if you let them.

Fourteen-year-old kids would smash
the decorative squash, or throw them
if you let them.

Let’s attack!
Let’s smash the decorative squash!
Let’s feed them to the bees!
Let’s throw them at fourteen-year-old kids!

We don’t have to do that;
I’m sorry. I’m being rude.

I just want to go for a walk through Harvard Square
without buying a scarf
or a cell phone.

I just want to cut the decorative squash
into pieces too small to see
because they are so useless.

Parsley sits around and is useless
until someone cuts it
into pieces too small to see,
then it’s part of food.

No one finds it rude
when you cut a chicken or a duck or a cow
into pieces too small to see,
except for vegans,
who might feel suspicious
that you’ll sneak animals
into their soup.

I am a vegan,
and this is something you can remember about me,
like a special scarf.

I am thinking today about decorative squash.

Actually, I’m lying.
I’m thinking about butternut squash,
how I’ll eat a bowl of butternut squash soup
with my friends,
and Max will think I’m putting honey into our soups,
but it will actually be agave nectar.

Actually, I’m lying.
I will eat my soup by myself.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the decorative squash.
I sit by a window
in a shirt and pants
and a scarf
beside my cell phone.
I lie down and there are bumps all over my body.


--------------------------------------------------


(this is a greeting card that I'm considering sending to Hallmark)

On the morning of your first shave…

You’ll know, in years to come, that your father
encouraged you to leave the moustache
as a private joke to himself, that your neighbor
wrote you up in her diary only this once,

and only, unwittingly, to share this joke,
and to complain about her mother nagging
her towards you before the bus stop. But
this moustache, feathery and pixie-

small, holds magic today, holds it gently
in thin, up-curved claws, a secret forest
teeming with great beasts you may suspect
of stealing the girlfriends you never get—

such a scarily magical forest, these dreams
of manhood, even though the goatee for which
you’ve sewn those seeds can only grow
into a deeper mimicry of the adult male

by the adult male, when one day, as you now
hope, you will eat a hearty dinner, then retire,
brewski-handed, to half-sleep in the soft infomercial
glow, continuously dreaming of waking up.


--------------------------------------------------------


Please tell me if you have any other ideas for this chapbook's name. I might figure out a way to sell it online, but chances are that I won't figure it out and will eventually forget.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brandy-Spiked Sugar Cookies

I've made these cookies three times, and I've been asked for the recipe at least five times. If you have these things:

- access to an oven

- 10 tablespoons of margarine
(not to be all brand-loyal, but Earth Balance's "buttery spread" works very well and Veganomicon swears by that stuff in general.)

- 1/2 a cup of sugar

- 1 1/2 cups of flour

- 1/2 of a banana
(best if the banana is kind of on its way out)

- 1 tablespoon of vanilla

- 1 tablespoon of brandy
(the vanilla and the brandy are flexible; the original recipe that I based this on used almond extract instead of brandy, but I didn't feel like going to Whole Foods and Amy had some brandy leftover from the sangria she made)

- 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda

- 1/2 a teaspoon of salt

- a tablespoon each of cinnamon and sugar, mixed together in a bowl


here is what I need you to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
  • Cream together the margarine and the sugar. (It's easier if the margarine is already room temperature, but I've never bothered waiting.)
  • Mix in the vanilla and the brandy (or whatever liquid flavoring you've decided to use).
  • Mix in all of the dry ingredients except for the cinnamon-and-sugar.
  • Mash up the banana and mix that in (it's pretending to be an egg, so try not to leave any chunks).
  • Roll the dough into little balls, and roll them in the cinnamon-and-sugar.
  • Place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake those sheets for 10-12 minutes.
  • Share.

Thank you. The world is a better place now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

searching for a purpose...

If you are one of the two (two?) readers of this blog, you may have noticed that there has only been one post, and that post was mainly about how I was going to start this blog.

This is mainly because I've been pretty unsure about what this blog's "purpose" should be. I don't want to use this to kvetch out into the inter-waves about how angry or sad or stressed or bored I happen to be on a given day. But I do want it to be a "personal affair," and not just a site devoted to, say, every time I see a poetry show or read a chapbook, either with idle gossip or some pseudointellectual attempt at serious criticism. What I have decided is that I should "strike a balance" between these extremes, and that the best way to do this is to "actually write things here."

So, let's try this:

Okay, first, I would like to institute a "section" of this blog, which I will call The Most Boring Thing. Here, I will tell you about something that I believe will be kind of boring to you, but which I want to share for some reason.


The Most Boring Thing

Today I made myself milktoast. Milktoast is made by boiling milk and then pouring it on a slice of toast. It's a charmingly boring food. The word "milquetoast" (n) describes a person who is timid and nebbishy (this originates from a cartoon character called Caspar Milquetoast, who was named after this boring boring dish). It is soothing to upset stomachs, and I have an upset stomach today because I did an unusual amount of drinking and late-nighting last weekend.

To make the milktoast, I used Canadian white bread, which I "toasted" by baking it in my toaster oven because the toast button is broken; I used soymilk because I'm a vegan.


I've been really good about observing the veganism over the past month, but I just got an email from my Grandma saying that she's sending me a package of mondel bret (delicious treat that my friend Max Goldberg once aptly called "Jew-scotti"). Mondel bret, of course, has got butter and eggs.

My Grandma (bless her sweet loving heart) doesn't know I've gone from plain veggie to full-on serious Vegan Face. I don't know how to tell my extended family about this without getting into a series of really uncomfortable ethical conversations. It's bad enough when politics comes up.

Thanksgiving is coming. I think that's why so much of my poetry has concerned veganism lately.

By the way, the only reason I haven't been sharing my poetry on this thinger is that I'm doing this thing called "The 30/30 All Stars." A bunch of poets, mostly from the Greater Boston Area, are writing a poem a day throughout October (we started on the 2nd). I'd link to the blog, but it's "members only" and we're not allowed to publish outside of it. Maybe I'll post some of mine after it's done. We 30/30-ers will be doing some readings around town, which I will tell you about.


Okay, so that should give you some idea of how things will be here. Deal? Deal.

<3 Steve

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I may or may not be "the prettiest girl in school,"

but this is what my new girlfriend keeps calling me, so I'm naming my new blog after it, even though I might regret that later. To grow as a person, one has to commit acts and then regret them.

Which is maybe why I've shied from having a blog for so long. I had one at the beginning of college, but as I became a less repulsive person, I started remembering repulsive monologues that I had posted onto my blog and got really self-conscious and wanted to delete them, which I did, and then I stopped making a journal that other people could read. Actually, I stopped making any kind of journal, which was a bad idea since I'm supposed to be a writer.

I went to Emerson College to learn to be a writer. Then I graduated last spring, which I guess means that I'm completely a "writer" now, especially since I don't have a "real job." This fall, I'm teaching advanced ESL at the school down the street from me, but that's just two nights a week; I'm also the intern for Rose Metal Press, but that mostly means I check their PO box in Brookline; mainly I am unemployed and mooching off of my parents while living in a duplex in Lower Allston, and no one will hate me more than I hate myself, if only because there is peace of mind to be found in superlatives.

The following items might or might not prove that I am allowed to call myself a writer as my main identity:
  • I go to Cantab's open mic on Wednesdays and usually read.
  • I will do a poetry feature at Stone Soup on the October 6th.
  • I'm going on poetry tour with my friend Sam Teitel next year.
  • I am disappointed that all four of these lines did not end up being the same length.

Anyway, the best part of me calling myself a writer is not that you get to see that I am a little pretentious and then feel like you're a little better than me; it's that there's a distinct possibility that some of my posts will be poems/short stories/interesting to read, and not just longish journal entries like this one.

In closing, I refer you to Tao Lin's blog, which is the website that led me to making this blog.