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