Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wedding Plans!

Some progress! We're seriously considering having our engagement party at a local, family-run spot known locally as "the metal bar" and possessed of a great, vintage bierhaus-like party room and the free homemade buffet served during halftimes on Mondays during football season. We had some of the buffet yesterday night - ziti and meatballs in gravy - and it was really good. As you know, I like a measure of squalor and decay in every major epoch, so this would suit us well.

Guess what? The Metal Bar reminds me - because they have a poster up for it - the Greenpoint Square Dance is taking place this Saturday at the Lutheran Church! We're obviously going; Slim may even break down and buy a contra dance shirt, even though he feels that style of shirt as a rule "belongs to an earlier time" in his life, now over.

P.S. Good Blog

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bad Times

My grandpa threw in the towel out of general malaise and depression three years ago; I almost wish he'd lived to see us all teetering on the brink of economic collapse, as the Bad Times was the apocalyptic vision with which in mind he built his compound of sheds, deep freezes, buried gold and guns.

Slim has been talking since our first date about laying in rice and bottled water. GK4, former fiance, is the only one I know who has an actual shotgun.

I don't much care for...

TV on the Radio.

Am once again between books! Just finished Angelica Garnett's Deceived By Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood. Angelica was the daughter of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, although she believed Clive Bell to be her father until she was 17. Anyway, when she was 18 and very beautiful she was seduced by Duncan's ex, Bunny Garnett, old enough to be her father, and married him. The memoir's full of her unresolved anger at her upbringing, especially the permissive yet remote Vanessa, and the the emotional neglect she feels she suffered.She comes across as very self-absorbed, but the Bloomsbury details are of course interesting, distressing and appealing in equal part and Virginia Woolf comes off as suprisingly warm and fun, rather than arch or overly cerebral.
Hm. That movie got very peculiar. It seems The Glue Man had to dump glue in girls' hair to create awareness of the destruction of the Kentish countryside and its history. Oh, and so soldiers wouldn't be tempted by local girls being faithless to their sweethearts. Everyone seems to accept this as a reasonable explanation.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Slim and I are watching Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale and it's splendid. Well, so far; Matt had to go get the laundry. It's a bit like I Know Where I'm Going in that it involves stranded travelers and bucolic parochials, but has a lot of the same charm. Plus, this Land Girl character wears her hair up in this good scarf style which I just replicated in front of my own mirror. Here is a description:

"A cut between a medieval hawk and a WWII Spitfire right at the start of A Canterbury Tale, immediately signals the essential English qualities of this early film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, a film once almost lost to obscurity, but rediscovered in the 1970s. In a leap of 600 years the jump cut links the historic mystical quality of a part of England that in olden time would draw pilgrims from all over the country with a new kind of pilgrimage that draws people to there on account of the war.

Three of these new pilgrims displaced by the war find themselves meeting at the train station of Chillingbourne, a sleepy little village in East Kent. Alison Smith (Sheila Sim) has moved out to be a land girl on the estate of the local magistrate Mr Colpeper (Eric Portman), helping the war effort by doing vital work in the country. Bob Johnson (John Sweet) is a US sergeant, on his way to London via Canterbury to meet an army colleague, but he has alighted at the wrong station. Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price) is a British soldier, also a sergeant, down to join-up with the large number of troops amassing there for a secret military manoeuvre. Despite having the company of two soldiers, Alison is however assaulted by a strange character who takes advantage of the blackout to smear glue into her hair, before making an escape in the direction of the town hall. On their brief stay in the village, they are determined to uncover the identity of the notorious Glue Man, who has attacked many other young girls in the area, and also understand the mystery behind his strange behaviour."

NB, I made some cakes from the leftover risotto, but I floured them in advance and as a result the flour was sort of absorbed and a good portion of the crust stuck to the pan, despite generous applications of butter. They were okay; we also had a beet, avocado and arugula salad. Altogether Matt seemed to find it inadequate.

Wild day at the shop, which is of course good.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've been a recluse of late, but this weekend have roused myself to attend two birthday parties; one for a dear old friend who's sort of Michael Cera-like, and the other for one of those rare creatures who manages to be both very fabulous and very nice at the same time. The former was at a bar in South Slope and involved much conversation; the latter was on a rooftop in Bushwick and involved much dancing. I wore a goofy-lookin' outfit tonight but enjoyed myself tremendously.I dread going out to an almost pathological degree, but am beginning to think it's the subconscious knowledge of the energy I invariably expend once I am out. Residual shyness still makes for an adrenaline rush, I guess.

Now, as it's effectively a school night for me, I'm waiting for a Tylenol Simply Sleep to kick in, with a pound-and-a-half-of-cream-upon-my-face.

What's to tell, beyond domestic disturbances, money worries, dreadful family feuds and a general philosphical confusion about certain aspects of life right now?

Well, I made a good risotto tonight.

And, I never cease to be amazed by the variety of experiences Oreo-eating affords. One pack can be divine; the next can have a peculiarly graham-like flavor.

On Trend

Everyone's doing this "Omnivore's 100" list that this British food blogger put together. Half of it's pretty self-evident if one's a Yank, but why not?

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (Have had alligator - ed)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (not sure)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini

81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Friday, September 19, 2008

By Popular Demand

Okay, no, but I HAVE started a new blog, gruckimish, along with Maeve (Bevin.) It's designed to illustrate the concept of "gruckimish" which fills a gaping void in the English language and is somewhere between "funny","sinister", "grotesque" and "cute." Well, you'll see.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elder Chic? Hmm...

On the one hand, Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen's "Sartorialist but everybody's old" blog is terrific and I wish I'd done it first. (Just yesterday I followed my favorite 5'8" Polish lady three blocks out of my way to try to assimilate every detail of her typically amazing ensemble - purple print dress w/matching earring, gloves, white bag) but I was a bit concerned that the results would be patronizing or overly conceptual ("Proof from the wizened and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age"?!) - after all, why can't elderly folks just be lumped in with the rest of street fashion? Also, he was pictured with Mimi Weddell, who's essentially the Kate Moss of the over-80 set and hardly reps street fashion, however divine she might be. Luckily it seems like he's being respectful and also giving some background, etc. on each "model." I'm cautiously optimistic but will be monitoring closely.

In general I hate to think of this kind of silly fetishization (also see: Miranda July in You And Me And Everyone We Know) being the only alternative for the elderly; it smacks of Erin Wasson-style obliviousness. I hate the sense that they are interesting insofar as they can influence us, inspire us, impress us on our own shallow terms when the reality of the situation, while more proasic, is more interesting than just the superficials. Older people whose clothing intrigues me are not wearing what they do to be bold or transgressive or even to express themselves. Rather, it's because they come from a time when things were governed by custom and order and there were certain conventions you observed out of respect for yourself and society. Clothing was only one part of this, but not a small one. I'm not saying the demise of this sort of thing is uniformly tragic - of course not, given its attendant ramifications. But it's certainly wherein the fascination lies, at least for me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things I Want

I want...to go to Kewpie Lunch in Racine Wisconsin. World Peace would, I suppose, be an acceptable substitute.

"Hamburger, pickle on top, makes your heart go flippety-flop."

What to Serve?

I should be working but am consumed with anxiety since my friend Mike is coming over for dinner and I don't know what to make and I hate not knowing what to make. If worse comes to worse I'll do one of my standard menus:

A butterflied chicken "smothering" red potatoes and onions, rosemary, garlic, all roasted high

Arugula Salad

Fruit Crostata (just the one from Barefoot Contessa At Home, maybe with prune plums)

...but that feels dull. Plus, whither starters???

The Couple Who Blogs Together...

Slim has started a blog. A highly idiosyncratic and personal financial blog, which is long overdue, even if his first six name choices were taken by people who posted once in 2002.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Parents Met!

After much long and painful debate, I decided upon a cotton frock in Moroccan blue and met my boyfriend's parents. Well, that's a bit misleading; I'd in fact met his mother briefly early on but obviously things are far more weighted now.

The day (which I'd taken off from the store) dawned hazy and humid. We chartered a Northsider and picked the folks up from some relative's pied a terre in the East 30s, then hightailed it to Barney Greengrass, which struck me, in its Jewishness, brusqueness and iconic UWS Woody Allen-ness generally as a suitably exotic jumping-off point.

Of course I was odd; "he's been loved by many a worse woman" and many, many bits of trivia about my family's comprehensive history of mental illness may have issued from my lips. No matter; it was well. From there (eggs and novie, OJ coffee, toasted bagels - I recc'd, also defined "bialy") we walked the Reservoir, hit the Turner show at the Met, took the obligatory rooftop picture, headed up to Sabarsky for strudel and Wiener Melange, perused the Schieles, went back to the pad so his mom could change shoes, met my parents downtown at the West Village trattoria recc'd by Chowhound in response to my query (the whole day was very by committee), dined amicably, went to the White Horse (next door) to watch the USC game (blowout) and parted ways on mutually satisfied terms. All glibness aside, my feelings about the whole thing, philosophically and otherwise, transcend relief into real happiness.

What else...? Well, there's the possibility of legit employment, never a bad thing in an economy that I'm told is precarious. I have launched into my fall look - Early 80's Harlequin Romance Heroine Pre-Makeover, crossed with Kewpie Librarian - in earnest. Obviously this incorporates the glasses chain. Need to take a really comprehensive look at what I have with my inspiration folder in front of me. Vanity, vanity, all etc.

(Slim's friend Jim, an aesthete, has hit town. Last night they came around so I whipped up a tomato pie and some bacon. I attempted to acquaint him with the self-perpetuating Barbie Dream House that is The Scene, but since I'm not in The Scene I saved him some time be sending along that essay Jessica Roy did on The Scene that got picked up by The Scene.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

GK4 Former Fiance

...just had a birthday. Yes, he was somewhat wicked. I gave him A Time For Great Silence, Patrick Leigh Fermor's travelogue about monasteries. That's us. Creepy, no?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I have scored a quite amazing 50s cashmere cardigan. Normally I avoid all those sorts of borderline-campy of things as I think they can be a bit obvious and costumey - shortcut-vintage. But this one was too good to pass up: it's kind of pale lime and appliqued with a velvet bull on the hem and a velvet bear near the neckline; the bear is in the process of posting a ticker-tape of stocks! I can't wait to post a picture of it!

On My Shelf

I finished The Dud Avocado and, while I found it entertaining and there were several funny, keen obersvations that I dog-eared, I didn't love it. In fact, I loathed the narrator. I know she's supposed to be a callow flibberdigibit, but I found that there was an unconscious entitlement and lack of self-awareness to the author's tone that I found most unappealing. (Sure she's a privileged character, but see: Holden Caulfield.) Then too, there were several devolutions into farce which I found gratuitous and unwelcome.

Now I'm reading The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes and while I'm enjoying it, I'm braced for the appearance of Hitler a as a character (as threatened by the blurb) since I particularly dislike historical figures just popping up in fictional narratives. Sort of the same way I feel about fake governments, really.