Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holidays 2011.

Rule(s): Love yourself. Love others. Eat some things. Find meaning in your relationships. Renew your passion for life. Make these dark days radiant. Don't worry too much about the reason for the season. Think more about the reason for love.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The "diet" advice I follow.

I talk about eating food and making food a lot. Let's talk about the other side of this coin.

This is possibly the simplest, good argument for the type of eating habits I strive to follow. I'd like to say this is the one thing everyone should strive to follow too, but honestly, everyones' body/mental state/priorities are different. However, it does leave a lot of room for flexibility. I think flexibility is important because somehow as humans we've turned "diet" into a verb, as opposed to a noun, like it used to be.

If you think in a biologist way, and talk about the diet of the pygmy shrew, you're not going to say something like, "The pygmy shrew diets on dew and half a grass blade because she read that on a health site somewhere and she's already lost .5 ounces!" You're going to say that the pygmy shrew has a diet consisting of x, y, and occasionally z when she can find it in these climates. That's because what you're gonna eat is what you're gonna eat. Rigid guidelines that radically change that are always going to be a phase because that's not your diet. That's not what you eat.

Not sure if any of that made sense, so read this by someone who actually gets paid to write, okay?

"If I was smarter when I was young health journalist, I probably would have eaten more cake. It’s tasty, I like it, and the infrequent indulgence could have served as the personal experiment I needed to better understand what it takes to be healthy."

Rule: Eat cake. Eat pie. Read Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Dan Barber, Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver. No, seriously, read them (they have less to do with dieting, but a lot to do with putting good fuel in your body).

Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food

Most anything by Marion Nestle

Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Wendell Berry's essays. Here are some.

Dan Barber writes things and is in a few videos.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I love the way mushroom caps bump and bumble in the pan, like unformed rubber duckies in a tub.

Rule: Making ridiculous similes is fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Been reading a lot of HBR recently

This is actually one of the better articles I've ever read on how to encourage creativity and spark. Of course, your mileage may vary, but rarely is there ever an article that both gives specific, easily-achieved actions as well as room for personal interpretation. I wish it were a little longer and contained a bit more science or explanations as to why this works for the author, but oh well.

Here is the exercise/thought-process:

Is this similar to what you do, creative folks? Or does something different work better for you? I find when I can get into the rhythm (or "wave" as he calls it), I am feeling my most satisfied creatively. More often than not, life interrupts though.

Rule: Always get out of bed and write that thought down. You know the one. The brilliant one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Looking instead of writing

Hey guys, I've been doing a lot of looking instead of writing. I've been completely addicted to It's an online pinboard/tearsheet box. I hate tumblr. I'd rather have real posts with real writing (HAHA OOPS THIS POST SUCKS) or art pieces versus an un-trackable, mishmash of stream-of-consciousness journal-y stuff (which is often affected since it's public, so there's gotta be some mental edit of "how do i want people to perceive my stream-of-consciousness" which negates the activity), BUT (oh geez clauses) if you want to check out just a bunch of things I find pretty, check this out.

As far as I am aware, you don't need to be a member in order to look at my pins. Let me know if that's not the case.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I can't convince you never to use Comic Sans MS

Rule: I can't convince you never to use Comic Sans, but DO NOT ever, EVER use it on your resume or cover letter. I don't care how "fun" you are or want to seem. This is not the place. Don't do it. I will go to your parents' house, pose your childhood toys in offensive positions, set fire to the whole thing, then photoshop your face on a picture of your parents having nasty sex and send it to you and all your friends. It is at that point that I will come find you and punch you straight in the reproductive organs, step over your groaning face, open up your email, and attach that picture to an email to your girlfriend/boyfriend asking if we can "try this next time."

Don't do it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Visit The Frick Collection

No Title

I'm alone, but it's okay
All around me are inky memories
But the cows, the cows are real.

They low and their calls
Are like blotches absorbing into canvas
Like the way you forget:

Fibers take fluid
Distort and pull apart
Dark reaching out, out
Thoughts spreading into the blank

Maybe I could press my face against the trees
Press my eyes against the sky

Maybe I could vaporize,
Soak the air like the low, lowing of cows.

The Lake by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot from The Frick Collection

Rule: Visit The Frick. You just should. Lots of things to inspire.

I really, really thought about titling this "Cows Cows Cows," or "Ink-Cow-Memory Jam," but then I had a bratwurst and I realized that would be absolutely horrible and would drive people to claw their faces off and then try to find me and set me on fire.

Extra rule: Once you've eaten all the bratwurst, there is no more bratwurst. This makes Sandy sad. Like, really sad. Sad enough to create a rule about it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is how I feel sometimes about writing

Photo credit.

Rule: Sometimes you are saying "AUGH!" about writing and thinking about writing. This is okay, because it is intimidating.

You're putting your thoughts somewhere kinda permanent (or maybe really permanent - the internet is forever). One day you're going to come back and say to yourself, "Oh my god, that was so tacky/cheesy/awful/incomprehensible/dumb." And as much as you revise it, you can't scrub yourself of that feeling of "Why did I do that? I put my thoughts on paper and this came out? EW MY BRAINS ARE GROSS AND HORRIBLE."

And you know what? They were gross and horrible. I'm not going to give some life-affirming speech about how you're too hard on yourself, you've heard that and you know that. The thing is, it's okay that your brain was gross and horrible. I mean, have you seen the damn thing? Pretty gross. But you recognize it produced something you don't like. So fix it. Improve. Strive for excellence... or in my case, something marginally better than what you had before and add some secret prayer that nobody will notice how hacky your paragraphs are.

So if you are feeling "AUGH!" about writing, you should. Feel the paralysis, the petrification. Then, write something. It will be terrible. Then, THEN make that terrible writing beat on you until you are limber. You are tough meat, and your own bad writing will tenderize you. Brutally. This is ok. You'll loosen up, and words better than the words you had before will come out.

(Hopefully. AUGH!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time for another random piece.

I'm just as scared as you are. Sometimes, when you hand me that cigarette, I worry about what I'm breathing in.

We smoke behind things, in front of things. We're rarely ever even in the place we paid cover to get into. I hear muffled music inside. The air is so much less stifling outside, though ice-cold. I feel crystals form on my cheeks. You squint at the sky.

"Brian is such a little bitch," you say.

"Yeah, I know."

"Think you'll still go home with him?"

"Ha! Well, he's fun to have around."

"Yeah, I'd still go too," you say through the smoke.

I look at your clothes. I think you're more stylish than me.

You squint into the street now. "You know, one of these days, your tits are just going to float you away like balloons."

I turn the lighter over and over in my hand. Start to put it in my pocket, but decide the muffle-song doesn't sound that great, and we both light up another cigarette.

"Yeah, well, what does that make yours? Anchors?" I try to see which blinking light you're staring at.

"That doesn't really make me feel better," you say.

"Yeah, me neither," I say.

You pace a tiny trail and duck your face in your scarf while you stub out the butt along the wall. I think I've located what light you were looking at.

"Do you want to go in?"

"Not really, but we should," You're in a squinting mood tonight. Either that or it's so cold your eyeballs are freezing.

"We don't have to," I say, slipping the lighter in my pocket.

"Eh, it's fucking cold."

"Yeah," I look at the door. You look at the door.

"Think I'll find some asshole to buy me a drink?"

"As usual, but then you'll have to deal with an asshole." I hold my pockets to my body to warm my hands.

"Yeah, but it's not a huge deal." You reach for the door and we head inside.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cranking it out

I've decided that once I get an idea for a blog post, I should just type it up and push it out like I'm aggressive mom-to-be past the due date and I just want it all to be over (angry comments soon?).

Rule: If you are writing something - anything - online and you want it to be useful, one of the most basic things you can do is include the date. Yes, there was an article without a date and it annoyed me so much that I had to write a rule about it. There was also the time when I got excited about a band coming into my town... two years ago. Well that would be awesome if I had a frickin' TARDIS, but I DON'T! (ooh, watch my page hits increase now)

See here's the deal: you are on the internet. Ideas are flying around all the time. There are all sorts of cross-references. New technology/software comes out. Things are moving so fast, that yes, something you posted two months ago could become mildly irrelevant (or really irrelevant). I'm sorry if that scares you; that's what it means to be on the internet. But guess what! What's helpful to your readership (and folks using search engines) is a DATE! If I look up the top 10 iPhone photo applications, I want to know they're the top 10 RIGHT NOW. Not the top 10 applications that are now seen as feature-poor, sad pandas.

You think you can hide the irrelevance by hiding the date? Nope. What if somebody wants to give a "history of iPhone photo applications?" Your easily-searched site without a date could easily have been a good reference point, but nope, no date, so you've eliminated THAT use for your page too.

Please. Please, just include a date with your postings, folks. It doesn't hurt anything, and adds so much value to the reader. Even if they can't appreciate it consciously/immediately, they will once they look for it.

Also in other news, I've had a bout of inspired, productivity/self-improvement fever. In this regard, Ze Frank is still relevant even from 2006 (and just pretty damn amusing):

Psst... this is another example where including the date is good. If you're still relevant years later, it can only be impressive to see the date.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How do you survive as a text-based blog?

A little
is all
you have
of your attention

Rule: (at least it seems like a rule) Blog posts without photos rarely get read.

Sometimes I stare at the ceiling trying to figure out if my blog posts are interesting/useful enough to carry a reader's attention to the very end. Anyone have any thoughts on how to keep attention as a text/writing-based blog? Saw someone's blog had categorized posts by the time it takes to read them. Kind of neat.

Photo by me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If you've never had dim sum, you need to do it.

I was having dim sum with my mom in Taiwan. The dim sum in Taiwan is some of the best anywhere, even rivaling Hong Kong. We had gotten up early, and not too many other people were in the restaurant. The sky was light, but cloudy and weak. She and I only spoke to order or discuss what we wanted next.

We ate and ate, and it was very quiet, and the only other sounds were the carts rolling, plates, clinking, and occasional low talking. Something was odd in the air, but at the table, it was a safe place.

I remember being in a tall building, and the curtains had been drawn open. Why were there so few other patrons? But all we needed was the food and our own fragile company. We ate in the milky morning light as silhouettes. I ate warm, soft, savory things. I dribbled soy sauce and red vinegar on my plate. I bit into shatteringly crisp things. Steam and fragrance rose from steam trays. I wiped silky grease from my lips.

It was like I had died, and the afterlife was calm, watery light, hushed shadows, and the stars were really twinkling plates and chopsticks making some cryptic, tired music.

Rule: Always get the egg tarts at dim sum.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pretty things!

I love glass as a material. So pretty.

Specifically, I've always had a love of cups, glasses, and bottles in all sorts of shapes and sizes. How pretty are these coupes?

Photo credit: BHLDN Website

Rule: Once you've identified your favorite materials, don't go nutso and surround yourself with an unruly mass of it. If you must collect, you must also learn to arrange. This is what prevents "Hoarders" from knocking at your door.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I have been wandering around amazed

That is what I have been doing this whole time instead of blogging. There's a ton to be amazed at out there.

Here are some of them:
- Everything being really dark during a rain shower except the neon green new leaves
- How long people are willing to wait in line for free cone day at Ben and Jerry's
- How quickly the weather can turn
- This amazing strainer/steamer thing. What an example of great design.

More wandering to come, but I promise more posts too. I need to feed my instagram to this blog. I'm too lazy to Google it. Someone wanna tell me an easy way to do it?

Rule: If you're going to walk slowly, walk slowly in order to observe the world around you. Otherwise, get outta my way!

Outta my way, peas! Photo credit: Dreamfarm website

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is not an amazing poem.

I am gearing myself up for my birthday, for which I am going to attempt to make a craaaaazy cake. (It's probably not that crazy, I'm just new to baking) Emboldened by assisting my boyfriend in making croissants, I feel ready for challenges!

So here is my anthem for taking this project on.

If you're having crumb problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a cake ain't one.

I got fat contol on silpat patrol
Foes that wanna make sure my oven's closed
Cake critics they say she's "Yolks, sugar, fold"
I'm from the kitchen, stupid, what type of recipes are those
If you grew up with holes in ya fondant rolled
You'd be celebrating the minute you was havin' dough
I'm like cut critics you can kiss my donut hole
If you don't like my pastries you can eat a dinner roll
I got beef with potatoes if i don't cook they cold
They make a good meal, but they're not desserts SO
Food blogs try and use my bundt pan
So readers can give 'em more hits for comments, suckers
I don't know why you're not a fan,
Or understand the tastebuds that Yellow Thunder has
I'm from easy bake to croissants, bitches I ain't dumb
I got 99 problems but a cake ain't one
Hit me

99 problems but the cake aint one
If you're havin' crumb problems, I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a cake ain't one
Hit me

And here is the cake that I am hoping to make (it has 15 egg yolks! holy balls!):

Photo credit and recipe:

Rule: Don't make two rules in one day. Shit.

Another amazing poem

(Reprinted WITHOUT permission... I hope I don't get sued one of these days)


by Dorianne Laux

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook, not
the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication, not
the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punch line, the door or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don't regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You've walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the window.
Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied of expectation.
Relax. Don't bother remembering any of it. Let's stop here,
under the lit sign on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

"Antilamentation" by Dorianne Laux, from The Book of Men. © W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.

Rule: Okay, this isn't really a rule, but I'm getting my daily dose of poetry from "The Writer's Almanac," which is the e-newsletter from Garrison Keillor, of "A Prairie Home Companion" fame. I highly recommend subscribing to it, to get more reading of awesome stuff into your life. Then again, you might be reading that week's post from me. Oh well. My favorite lines are "You were meant to inhale those smoky nights / over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings / across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed / coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hi readers. It's been a while.

Photo credit: PenelopesPorch

Isn't this awesome?

Rule: Either on Saturday or Sunday - or both days if you can swing it - have a very slow start to the day. Don't shower until you feel like it. Have a leisurely breakfast. Make yourself tea or coffee. Eat something really yummy. Look outside a lot. Timidly go out and breathe the air. Spring yet? Wear sunglasses. Wear comfy clothes. Play some music. Shake your ass. Get back in bed with a book. Maybe fall asleep again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What do you want on your tombstone?

I want to smell like earl grey and sandalwood. I want to be found dead surrounded by the coziest of sweaters, the comfiest of blankets, the dessicated skeletons of my bosom buddies, my favorite tea, a bowl of blueberries, and a steady stream of books and art. There would be glade anemones and ranunculous woven in my hair. Fluffy hills of whipped cream in colorful footed bowls on the shelves. Glass bottles of every shape and color would hang from the ceiling and clink with the breeze. The walls would echo with my last vulgar obscenities. I would be holding a single spoon. There would be a claw-footed bathtub filled with shimmering, gold-green olive oil.

Keep the party going. I want dance music to be played at my funeral. I want everyone to eat well, and drink even better. I want people to light sparklers and bottle rockets off my funeral pyre. I want to glow in the dark, to shoot screaming high into the sky at the trembling hands of my friends. I want them to forget everything for a moment but the taste of clean, cold fruit in their mouths, and the tilting, wheeling sensation that comes from looking up for a long time.

My idea of heaven

Rule: It is occasionally proper to be a diva. It is less okay to be emo. Figure out the fine line regarding your eventual return to wherever it is you believe you came from.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Holy crap wow

Zero Holding

by Robyn Sarah

I grow to like the bare
trees and the snow, the bones and fur
of winter. Even the greyness
of the nunneries, they are so grey,
walled all around with grey stones —
and the snow piled up on ledges
of wall and sill, those grey
planes for holding snow: this is how
it will be, months now, all so still,
sunk in itself, only the cold alive,
vibrant, like a wire — and all the
busy chimneys — their ghost-breath,
a rumour of lives warmed within,
rising, rising, and blowing away.

"Zero Holding," by Robyn Sarah, from The Touchstone. © House of Anansi Press, 1992. Reprinted WITHOUT permission.

No rule this week, I have a massive amount of germs attacking my body. Just enjoy the lovely writing of this lady.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year thoughts for 2011

On my desk there is a clementine and a hard-boiled egg.

The clementine has a delicate, fragrant peel and bright, juicy segments all following each other in an endless radial loop. To consume, we peel the segments off the whole one by one and pop them into our mouths. Each one bursts with citrus freshness and the sweetness that comes from all things wholesome, simple, and natural.

The egg has always been the symbol of beginning. It is an oval capsule of life yet dormant. The smooth shell - still unblemished - will be cracked, destroyed: a jagged discard. But something animate comes out. It is blinking, peeping, stumbly. The fluff we see is the cushiony buffer of promise and potential.

Happy new year.

Rule: Get a little dreamy about the new year.