I don't want to be negative about the Obama campaign.
However. I am increasingly irritated by this new Internet age marketing campaign they have going. They send me ludicrous emails on a daily basis, stuff like...
From: Joe Biden
Well, this is it. The big day! The day that Barack will stand up and challenge the nation to rise to his message of change
I'm always insulted anew.
Michelle's are the worst. They are just this side of containing smileys and multiple exclamation marks.
I am just so excited to be married to Barack! The girls and I stayed up late last night to watch his speech on TV. I baked the best cookies!
Besides the absurdity of it all, I find the pretense of immediacy unsavory.
Sometimes I consider taking a holiday from the Internet entirely.
"You know you are getting old," said Bob Hope, "when the candles cost more than the cake." This makes me wonder how old one would have to be for that to happen.
For me to buy a birthday cake, it would probably have to be from a fine American bakery such as Black Hound. They charge $79 for a large Busy Bee cake. (There is no point in buying any size other than large.) This was the cake Ethan got me on my thirtieth birthday. It was magnificent.
I like those long, skinny birthday candles. These. . .
. . .are $13.50 for twelve candles, a bit steep, but so is the cake. I can still get by with three packs, so my candle cost comes in at $40.50. Stiff. But in two years I jump to the four dozen club, with a candle cost of $54! Bob's right, it does make you feel old. With this cake-and-candle combo, you'd need to be 61 years old or over for the candles to cost more than the cake. Then again, at a certain age one usually switches to just a single candle.
Sorry it's been so long since I've done a God of the Week or Monster of the Week. Time to get back on track. But first, here's a recap of our past winners.
When a god or monster is selected the "God/Monster of the Week" by the Spiral Staircase, he/she/it receives a small scholarship toward career development and is invited to attend a special winners-only reception held every summer solstice at the Ritz-Carlton on Atlantis.
If you are a mythical creature or divine being who wishes to be featured on our blog, please send your name and CV to our attention. You just might join the ranks of our illustrious winners below!
GODS AND GODDESSES
Bumper crops abound in Prospect Park. I saw:
Mini-yellow squash, zucchini, Japanese and Italian eggplant, squash blossoms, pattypan, okra
Tomatoes of all colors and sizes
A profusion of bitter greens, herbs, and fresh lettuces
Peaches, white and yellow; nectarines, white and yellow; "the last cherries"
Blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe and watermelon
The fresh goat cheese lady (excellent)
The aged farmhouse cheese people (eh. anyone who has a cheese called "womanchego"....)
Flying Pigs with their superior chops, roasts, and snausage -- and with pasture raised chicken in season till October
Blue Moon, heavily sold as usual, but still hawking scallops, skate, blue, mackerel, tuna, and the smoked stuff
Ronnybrook Dairy (good butter and creme fraiche)
Beef, turkey, goat meat
Eggs were sold out everywhere
The market was heavily attended when I stopped by at noon. The mood was festive, with several instances of altruistic behavior. Gangs of youths darted around copping free samples of pickles and preserves. Cute dogs licked sandaled feet. Strollers were in full effect, but somehow seemed less annoying than usual. Garage sales along the route were inferior.
Nauga is very excited about our plans for the evening, which involve raie au beurre noir, a bottle of wine, and some Japanamation.
Ethan wrote a song once and asked me to help title it. He said it was like when you missed someone, but you didn't actually miss what they were like, but more what you wished they were like. It was easy for me to come up with this title, because it is an emotion I know intimately.
I have given notice at my job and finish out at the end of the month. Funny how every parting is sad, even when it's what you want. It's a tiny little bit like dying.
As Nietzsche wrote:
In celebration, I popped the first two bottles of my mixed case of wine from Chambers Street over the weekend, a Schafer-Frohlich 2006 Nahe Monz Halen Spatlese Trocken and a Pinon 2006 Sparkling Vouvray.
German wine labels are really hard for me to understand. In this case, Schafer-Frolich is the producer. 2006 is the vintage. Nahe is the region. I have no idea what "Monz Halen" means. It seems like a vineyard site, but I can't find it in my World Atlas of Wine. Spatlese is the level of ripeness, meaning that the grapes have been picked later than they would for the most basic, Kabinett-level wine. And Trocken means that it has been fermented dry. It's nice when a wine sort of blossoms as it sits open, which this one certainly did. The nose stayed a little restrained, but the palate just kept getting richer and fuller, with that nice balance of stone fruit and minerals that I really love from German riesling.
This bubbly Vouvray gets no dosage (the extra shot of sugar added to most champagnes before bottling) -- so it was sort of crisp and lean in comparison to champagne, or even to some of the other sparkling chenin blanc I've had. It was very refreshing, with good acidity and a pleasant grassy quality. The bubbles weren't that persistent, which bummed me out a little, but like lots of the stuff I get from Chambers, the wine tasted alive and natural. Nothing lasts forever, not even bubbles. Which brings me back to the nostalgia...
I believe I fixed something inside me that was a little broken when Ethan and I went back to visit the Brown University campus this weekend. We were on the way back from the Newport Jazz Festival, and we looked in the big old buildings and walked across the green and the whole thing hardly hurt at all.
Now maybe I can stop having that recurring dream that I'm back in college and that I'm going to get it right this time. Obviously impossible.
According to amazon, the hundred words I used the most frequently in my first novel are:
again always aphrodite apollo arachne ariadne athena away beautiful boy came come day door down even ever eyes face father felt filled first friends get girl go goddess gods good got great hades hair hand head helen hera husband iris king knew know left let life little long look looked love man minotaur mom moment mother mrs must name night now oh old own people poseidon psyche put rainbow really right room saw say see seemed set should side smiled something story take tell thank theseus things think thought time told took turned two voice want water woman yes zeus
I should make a poem out of them, but I'm too hot right now.
Just went down to the fabulous Chambers Street Wines and bought a mixed case of goodness. Because they are moving, they are offering 20% off all wine (except sparkling). It's an amazing deal, so check it.
Here's what I got: sparkling vouvray, biodynamic white burgundy from somewhere near chablis, two bottles of off-dry coteaux de la loire, a riesling spatlese trocken, an auslese with a little age on it, an alsatian gewurztraminer, a few bottles of some yummy beaujolais crus, two splurgy bottles of red burgundy, and a chinon that david said was really good. I will blog my way through the case.
Last night I dreamed the Egyptian god Thoth was in my closet. Although I was alarmed at the time, when I awoke I took it as an auspicious sign, since he is the god of writing and wisdom.
Rock on, Thoth!
The thing is, you can only control your actions and not the results.
Sometimes you try your best to make a beautiful cake. You spend all freaking day on it and do everything from scratch and buy the cage free eggs and toast the hazelnuts and get out the x-acto blade to cut a cake circle out of cardboard (the x-acto blade which still reminds you of her, which is nice but also sad) and even though the genoise retains its volume and you totally rock the swiss buttercream -- still, dear reader, sometimes your cake ends up looking like a turd.
But, as the Bhagavad Gita says (and I paraphrase heavily):
It is far better to bake your own cake, although it is flawed,
Than the cake of another, although it is perfect.
Better is death while baking your own cake;
To bake another's is fraught with danger.
Ethan liked it, which is the most important thing.
Here he is, recommending a book to me and looking dashing.
While I baked this cake, I finished listening to an e-book called "World War Z" by Max Brooks. As you can imagine, I was really excited, because this book is about my favorite subject in the whole world: Zombies.
Sadly, the book is mostly concerned with the logistics of the war between humans and zombies and the impact of this war upon international politics. Which all strikes me as really boring compared to my main concern: the inner life of the zombie. This might be because I'm a woman, but I'm not sure.
Perhaps Mr. Brooks would protest that the zombie has no inner life. Who can say?
As WG Sebald wrote in "Rings of Saturn":
A hundred years later, the number of herring caught annually is estimated to have been sixty billion. Given these quantities, the natural historians sought consolation in the idea that humanity was responsible for only a fraction of the endless destruction wrought in the cycle of life, and moreover in the assumption that the peculiar physiology of the fish left them free of the fear and the pains that rack the bodies and souls of higher animals in their death throes. But the truth is that we do not know what the herring feels.
Still, what can you do. It's hard to go through life without killing some fish. Even if you try your best. Everything we do has unexpected results.