22 June 2008

What to use my birthday money for? Pot rack, new chef's knife, pizza peel to go with the stone maybe, classy shoes and silly shoes. A haircut.

Saturday I spent some hours at the C-U Potters' Club's massive booth at the Taste of Champaign, where someone donated a 100-gallon propane tank and we did on-site raku firings. We did one about every half-hour, and they drew a great crowd. Selling people non-food-safe pieces is hard, though. Still I got two good pinch pots, the first pots I've made since 2005.

Noah's commissioned me to throw some ramen bowls with notches in the rim for chopsticks. Ramen bowls need to be extra-deep and large enough for a whole pack of ramen. I see some Christmas gifts in my future ... I've also seen bowls with holes near the rim, in the walls, for chopsticks, but that seems more dangerous.

Of course, to make bowls like that I need to be able to prep clay for throwing well enough to keep it on the wheel, figure out how to throw on this sitting kick wheel they have, figure out if I can attach the splash pans like I want to ... Why doesn't everyone embrace how great standing kick wheels with built-in splash guards are? I miss mine from Iowa. Hey Doug ... I can't even find it online. I'll keep looking. Creepy, though: my blog comes up in my own searches ...

My wild yeast whole-grain starter is nearly done. There will be excellent bread this week.

Brother Zak wants to buy me a tattoo. I only like rivers and trees enough to have tattoos of them. Ideas?

17 June 2008

What if This Was a Want Ad

Migraneur, MWF (not mon/wed/fri, married white female), seeking no more migraine.

I don't want to admit this, but these things could be triggered by red wine, and I should be more aware of that. Damn it.

Also I have wonderful friends, some of whom cook amazing food, others of whom sneakily ask what candy bars I like and buy them for me at work, others of whom leave unintelligible Facebook messages (!! !), and yet still others of whom who kind of lurk in a reassuring way. I don't always see the lurkers much, but they're comforting.

And I am older.

More on all this later.

11 June 2008

I Feel So Justified

Jack White is in The Raconteurs!

Ha! This band I thought I had a silly obsession with (the obsession is mostly with the opening bass and guitar lines of "Steady As She Goes"), which MADE ME UNCOOL in the eyes of many, actually makes me cool because Jack White of The White Stripes is playing guitar and singing!

\insert T Rex of qwantz.com here, with his open-mouthed second frame\

And if you're an editor, you get why the backslashes are so funny. Ha, ha ha.

Poor officemate Kyle, who has now officially lost the "are The Raconteurs a good band or are they lame" debate, who has suffered (or 'suffered') through my incessant blaring of their bass lines -- Kyle is WRONG because they are not lame. They can't be. It's the same as the Beatles' inability to be classified as lame.

So yes, this is news to me, and yes, I am that behind the times, though not on quinoa. I am also lately like "oh this Amy Winehouse is nice, too bad about the rehab and that "Rehab" song of hers, I like "Back in Black" as an album title."

Yet in other areas I am SO FAR AHEAD of everyone that it is hard to explain to the masses. That's right, masses. I mean things like Wyoming (read Annie Proulx's Bad Dirt collection of stories; they are good), and things like giving up on functionality, and other things like cowboy boots. Just trust me. I am a trendsetter.

I am not a trendsetter. As poor officemate Kyle says, I am falsehood embodied and should wear a shirt, or hat, with an upside-down capital T on it.

10 June 2008

Salt Goes With Everything

Like this amazing quinoa toss.

Maybe you have yet to hop on the quinoa bandwagon, but honestly, just hop on it already. COMPLETE PROTEIN.

The recipe relies on salt. Salt is not something I am too familiar with, the use of it being quite limited in my youth. For no particular reason, either, and I like it that way. Things taste good enough, most of the time; if you're cooking a mix of American Italian, tex-mex, cajun, and whatever else goes with black beans, you use a lot of other spices and salt doesn't need to be so prominent. There was a time I was shocked to learn that 1) not all recipes start with "saute onion and garlic in olive oil in your large, deep-walled saute pan" and 2) sometimes salt is necessary.

But this quinoa toss. It needs it. The one I just made consists only of quinoa, onions, garlic, sauteed asparagus, and chopped almonds ... and olive oil ... and salt. And pepper and lemon juice in a remake of Heidi Swanson's citrus parmesan dressing. But it is the salt that I almost always skimp on, and here, I taste before serving and exclaim, "oh yeah salt!"

Olive oil also goes with everything. So does black, so does relativism, so does, I don't know, red wine? Maybe dark beer is a better choice.

I think about locavores these days, and I think, if I could make my own tofu, I could do that. And I would get sick of squash and pumpkin sometime in February, and canned tomatoes too, but hey. Maybe a heavy rotation of tofu/squash/corn/tomatoes would work?

04 June 2008

My New Ideal Life

It has presuppositions, like affordable (to me and to the world) fuel, time, less debt, less need for health insurance.

Pots, new studios, textiles, new textile people, reading materials science texts, seeing old friends, getting better at gardening, driving a lot. A lot of West.

Want to hang out? I can leave anytime. I need a second cat carrier and harness/leash, though.

I should be writing. Or continuing the debate about determinism and free will I've had three times today with three different people. Don't they both fail, but at the same time, aren't they both only complete systems in the extreme? (I don't know where this 'complete system' jargon is from, but I'm using it.) And aren't incomplete systems structurally instable enough to warrant one's resistance to them? I mean, why believe in something that already is falling apart?

And can determinism free us from concern? If everything is determined, then nothing matters; if everything is determined, though, we have no way of knowing either what has been determined already or the fact that things ARE determined already.

And free will is just lame. You can't actually make any choice you want. Ask a sociologist.

And isn't overeducation kind of lame, too? When do I give back to the work force for real? When does my balance go positive? I take and take and I leave with no marketable skills. I do have lots of tricks for alphabetizing, I am increasing my proficiency in PowerPoint (hate), Access (hate), and Excel (ambivalence). Less paper cuts these days.

Maybe I need to ... go for a drive in the south fields, get into the clay studio once the flooding is gone (it flooded, yes, a CLAY studio where moisture is our enemy and for whatever reason, clay is stored in cardboard boxes on the floor of a basement), make some new food to eat tomorrow. Make that "warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa with raspberries," that "red lentil and cauliflower curry," some more bread. Some more hummus for Noah's Triumphant Return.

Have I told you the story of my pinch pot and pit fire project, the one I did for my advisor's nature writing class in college? I brought clay I'd dug to some wild place and make a pinch pot. Good-looking pots. I dug a pit. I put pots in it and lit a fire.

All the pots exploded in the first three minutes.

But maybe, minus the pit fire, it's worth repeating.