Monthly Archives: February 2011

One step at a time

I’ve been filling my head with not so happy thoughts lately. I’ve been questioning people’s motivations, setting standards and expectations that inevitably lead to disappointment and dismissal. There’s been a time in my life where cynicism and bitterness surrounded my everyday and there are moments when those thoughts and feelings come back with a fury. The last six months have been a tumultuous period, completely losing my grounding and steady hold in life. I’m not sure where all these community events and projects are leading in the long run, I’m impatient and want them to lead to successful money making endeavors NOW, continue to build whatever skills I need to build to take me to happy places NOW, and calm the hyperactive storm to a balanced level of happiness, enjoyment, peace and contentment. At times I’m successful at reminding myself to be grateful and relaxed, and to take things as they come and ride the wave til I wash up on shore again. I wish this were one of those moments, one of those moments where I tell myself to shut my trap and just breathe. Take all my ideas and thoughts and To Do’s…

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Musings: 6

Chronic sensitivity to inclusion

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Reader: February 21, 2011

– Cute wedding.

– Drawing all the buildings in New York.

– The zero waste family.

– Armory arts week is coming to town next week, there hasn’t been much buzz about it. What do folks expect to see this year?

– The splendiferous array of culinary tools.

Where have all the good men gone? “Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.”

Work of Art riles up the art world.

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Reader: February 10, 2011

– The power of remix videos.

– Outdated but still funny: The worst thing about Valentine’s day. And dirty rotten flowers.

– A grocery delivery service.

Tracy Emin: “I promised myself I wouldn’t start making art or making things again until I could justify it, parallel, alongside my life. Which I do now.”

Technological revolution, social revolution, and books to explain it all.

– More on the coca cola recipe.

– The 7 day social media cleanse.

Food + Tech on Grubwithus, a new social networking site that allows you to book restaurant meals and share with others.

The Sun. I missed this on my birthday.

– Dumb & Dumber: Inception Style

– All the potholes filled in the city.

– 8 reasons you can’t stop eating.

Atavist: longform nonfiction platform.

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Reader: February 16, 2011

– He’s a bald and otherwise hairless Korean guy but he has long ass hair growing out of his anus.

How to be sick: “There’s something about being sick that makes everyone revert back to being a two-year-old brat, and it’s always your mother who you want.” Except I NEVER wanted my mother to come anywhere near me.

How to be a good spouse

Grandparents on photobooth. I can’t stop laughcoughing.

Ways you are better than me: “You can focus on intellectual tasks if you haven’t masturbated today…You have something more professional-looking than a Blogger blog. You don’t feel lost and floundering in a sea of computer programming acronyms. You don’t constantly check your @replies and retweets…In approaching your writing, you don’t, with every breath, think about how your writing serves, in some inarticulable way, as revenge for all the times girls were mean to you or ostracized you in your school days.”

– Can you tell I love Thought Catalog?

– Why you’re not married. “Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit…Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin — it doesn’t stay recreational for long…You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training…Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something — it’s about giving it.”

– I want a circus wedding.

– Coca-cola’s recipe, maybe.

– I would like to work for mashable please.

404 pages. What does 404 mean??

– Hipster approved strip club. barf.

– Why crowd-sourced shows fail. This is extremely interesting and can/should be further developed had I the brain cells to do so. I love the idea of art actually being nothing BUT democratic, as well as curatorial approach/concept/execution. As much as I agree with the gist of this article I’d taken on the challenge of exploring the possibility for a well integrated and meaning crowd-sourced exhibition, or more importantly, an art experience that is accessible and relevant to every chapter within and outside of the art world.

– The new Brooklyn Brewery. I learned here that Markowitz and Bloomberg are both aquarians like me.

– Changing menus seem to be a growing trend.

– I am glad my wedding reception will be here.

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Chicken Soup, Vitamin Cocktails, and an Attentive Fiance Cures the Flu

So I’m going on two weeks of sickness now, which is a bit hard to believe considering I’m superwoman. Be it a cold, a fever, a flu, an eye infection, or all the above it preoccupied my time, my thoughts, and my energy completely, wholeheartedly. It was paralyzing, demoralizing, distracting, and completely useless. I was pretty fascinated by how my body’s dysfunction and ailment controlled my entire life, especially when it hit its peak over the weekend and I was bound to the couch, immobile and unproductive. Suffering a fever for two days is the worst feeling in the world: the heat, the pounding, the congestion is particularly intolerable. It didn’t help much that I’m paranoid about medication and refused to take correct dosages of dayquil and the like, in the case it would give me panic attacks.

And poor Angel had to tend to my sick ass all weekend, so tolerant and patience was he, so understanding of my tantrums and whining. He also made it totally acceptable that I was blowing the shit out of my nose til it was red and rashy, and I was the most unsightly thing you can ever lay eyes on. But he still held me, and took too well care of me and fed me vitamin cocktails. What a gentleman.

On Saturday I mucked up enough energy to make chicken soup from scratch. It took an entire day but took little effort and was well worth waiting around for. I’ve never made chicken stock before and had I known it was this simple, albeit a bit long, I would’ve done it long time ago. Shredding chicken is an inexplicably gratifying task and adding fresh collard greens to the mix makes it all the more a healthy well rounded cure to a cold. I wish there would’ve been more stock and less stuff, especially when rice is added which absorbs all the broth. Top this off with some kimchi and a spurt of sriracha and you’re all set to go. Boom.

Chicken Soup with Rice

Adapted from this recipe

6 servings

 

Chicken Stock

4 lb whole chicken

1 onion chopped to 4 pieces

2 celery stalks

1 head of garlic

1 Tbsp whole peppercorn

8 cups of water (although I’d toy with adding a cup more)

Soup

Olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 sliced carrot (although I’d toy with adding 2 more)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1 bunch chopped collard greens

Shredded chicken

Salt & pepper

White rice

Toppings

Chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, avocado, kimchi, sriracha sauce

 

To make stock: Combine all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Add water, cover with lid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer for an hour or until chicken legs are on the verge of falling off. Remove chicken and shred. Drain stock in sieve, discard vegetables. Let stock cool and chill until you can easily remove the fat floating on top.

To make soup: Saute onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil in large pot for 2 minutes over medium high heat. Add stock and boil then reduce heat to medium low. Add corn, collard greens, and chicken shreds. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes til vegetables are tender. Season with salt & pepper.

To serve: Scoop hot rice in a bowl, top with soup and sprinkle toppings to your liking. So hearty, so good!

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On Writing Well: Part I

Despite it being the medium of choice, writing has never been easy for me. Doubt, criticism, mulling self-consciousness, useless distractions and unproductive idleness are the bane of my existence. Writing in diaries as a kid was the only way I knew how to share my feelings, escape my world, and fantasize about boys. Writing paper after paper on Flaubert and Rembrandt (double majored in lit and art history) adjusted my vocabulary to that of academic art jargon. And now with all the blogging, freelance writing, press releasing, and journaling I attempt to do I’ve somehow somewhere fallen behind and am experiencing an empty rut. Art writing is intimidating and requires exhausting levels of focus and determination and encouragement. Food writing is formulaic and predictable, much easier but not as gratifying as finishing an review. Documenting everything else between this blog and a private journal is difficult, not well recorded, seemingly frivolous and not very interesting.

I am clearly overwhelmed, call it monkey thoughts, ADD, mindless clutter, what have you. Whatever it may be I need to step out of it STAT. I got shit to do, places to go, things to get done.

With that in mind I gratefully received this book as a gift. It’s a classic, a bit outdated (author marvels at the typewriter, then eventually the internet and email), but very useful. Having read the first section I learned the importance of taking on writing as a job, as a daily task that needs to be done, a skill and craft that can be improved upon with relentless practice.

On Writing Well is a bit graceless; blunt and patronizing at times and as I mentioned, outdated. He preaches at times, rambling on about Nixon and Vietnam, and how “clutter is the ponderous euphemism that turns a slum into a depressed socioeconomic area, garbage collectors into waste-disposal personnel and the town dump into the volume reduction unit”. There are moments of self-helpy advice and warnings but overall it’s finely structured and clearly written. One thing I realized is that I MUST approach writing as a survival tactic. I need it everything as much as I need food, sleep, and sex. OK maybe not sex, but, I mean, why not right?

I’d be curious to know what his thoughts and reactions would be with the oncoming of blogs and social media. I was thinking the other day how academics, intellectuals, and linguists the world around must be APPALLED at how consumers, the public, the individual, the writer just straight up BUTCHERS language and grammar with every writing tool we are provided. When you write an email on your iphone you excuse yourself for abbreviations and brevity, no? When you post something on twitter it’s usually coded with shortened phrases and vocabulary, there’s symbolic blabber everywhere and it’s the English language at its most grotesque, no? And blogging must be inexcusable with its relentless self-publishing mechanisms, putting out ugly unwanted clutter out into the world. I mean, what does it mean to read and write now? With the ipad and the kindle and everyone suffering for info overload and ADD and having up 200 tabs up on firefox and subscribing to a gazillion blogs and such, how do we cope with the changes in readership and readability in such a way that history, structure, culture, and significance is not lost?? So that the basics of good writing and meaningful reading experience is not lost??

Anyway, the first section of the book is broken down by seven factors to consider when writing. Here’s a summary and some quotes of each:

– Transaction: Rewriting is the essence of writing, which obviously is not done enough in this blogging over-published world of ours. Consider why and how you write, establish a daily schedule, and accept the fact that “professional writers are solitary drudges who seldom see other writers”.

– Simplicity: “Clutter is the disease of American writing”, with our “national tendency to inflate”. He then starts rambling about political correctness and junk. Useful self-helpy part is when he declares “the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components” and “clear our head of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing.” I can certainly use some brain clearing.

– Clutter: Be super conscious of every word put on paper and get rid of all jargon, cliche, and clutter. Great quote: “ every profession has its growing arsenal of jargon to throw dust in the eyes of the populace.” This book is full of pretentious euphemisms like these. It’s great.

– Style: Be yourself, strip down then build up. Relax and have confidence, breathe and go. “Sell yourself, and your subject will exert its own appeal. Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing  is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going.”

– The Audience: You write to please yourself, so enjoy it and naturally others will follow. “Simplify, prune and strive for order.”

– Words: “Develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive.” Make the thesaurus your new best friend. I don’t think I’ve ever opened one.

– Usage: Separate usage from jargon. “Laws of usage are relative, bending with the taste of the lawmaker.” So basically be conscious of who your audience is and write accordingly. Verbalize the interpersonal.

We’ll return to this book after I finish the remaining section. Is any of this helpful to you?

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