Sunday, September 30, 2007

G-- D--- P---y P--n.

I was all set to feel honored, or if not honored, then just damned cool: I just noticed I had a couple of site visits from Iceland, which is just a few steps removed in my mind from other top-of-cool places like Greenland and Antarctica ("Top-of-cold," I can hear some of you saying).

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! They were Googling that unfortunate piano-playing kid with the suggestive name I mentioned months back. I swear, my blog would have half the traffic it does if I hadn't picked up on the tale of Poor Dear P---y P--n (henceforward PDPP, since "The One Who Shall Who Shall Not Be Named" is already taken).

Oh, well. Guess I'll just have to become a more interesting blogger. Or give up and become the repository for information about PDPP. She does live in New Jersey, after all.

The Book I'm Not Reading: various excerpts of Marx's work.

Bold Gull

...this from BBC News Scotland--thanks to Qwags for pointing it out. (Yes, it's a slow news weekend--I have been reading all weekend, and have hardly left the house...and am still exhausted. Ah, grad student life. Definitely not funburn.)

Seagull becomes crisp shoplifter

A seagull has turned shoplifter by wandering into a shop and helping itself to crisps.

The bird walks into the RS McColl newsagents in Aberdeen when the door is open and makes off with cheese Doritos.

The seagull, nicknamed Sam, has now become so popular that locals have started paying for his crisps.

Shop assistant Sriaram Nagarajan said: "Everyone is amazed by the seagull. For some reason he only takes that one particular kind of crisps."

The bird first swooped in Aberdeen's Castlegate earlier this month and made off with the 55p crisps, and is now a regular.

Once outside, the crisps are ripped open and the seagull is joined by other birds.

'Fine art'

Mr Nagarajan said: "He's got it down to a fine art. He waits until there are no customers around and I'm standing behind the till, then he raids the place.

"At first I didn't believe a seagull was capable of stealing crisps. But I saw it with my own eyes and I was surprised. He's very good at it.

"He's becoming a bit of a celebrity. Seagulls are usually not that popular but Sam is a star because he's so funny."

A spokesman for RSPB Scotland said: "I've never heard of anything like this before.

"Perhaps it tried some crisps in a shiny packet in the street, and was just opportunistic one day at the shop when it saw what was inside.

"As everyone knows, gulls can be very quick and fearless, and clearly this one is no exception."

He added: "We'd discourage people from feeding gulls though, as gulls in towns generate lots of complaints every year, and the availability of food is the only reason they live in urban settings."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

T: "What am I going to say about our soup?"
J: "It was orange. It was orange, and it was awesome."

Y'all would think that we haven't been eating, or we haven't been cooking, for the amount I've been blogging about it lately. Not so--but by the time we've cooked and eaten, there's no time to talk about it--it's been back to work, or alternately, time for a quick bout of the train game. But I've been meaning to write about roasted red pepper soup for a while, so tonight is the night.

The first time I made it I looked at several recipes online, and decided not to follow any of them. Here's what I did tonight:

3 red peppers, roasted under the broiler & skins removed (obviously)
2 medium-sized potatoes
3 skinny carrots
1 largeish onion
2 cups vegetable stock (from bouillon, alas)
about 1 cup water
a little salt
a little black pepper

I sauteed the onions in a combo of olive oil and butter, added the carrots, peppers, and potatoes briefly, and then the stock & water, and let it simmer for--hmmm, maybe half an hour or 45 minutes? Then I pressed the whooshy thing into service and pureed the whole thing. Jenny chopped some fresh cilantro for garnish.

It wasn't the best roasted red pepper I've made--I think the last time was better. Here's what I'd have changed this time:

1. During the onion phase, I meant to put a few hot red pepper flakes in, but I was a little tipsy, thanks to a delicious Stone IPA on a mostly empty stomach (thanks to Rob for turning us on to that!).

2. Ditto some dried oregano--just a pinch. I think a tiny bit of dried basil would have been nice, too.

3. An extra red pepper would have boosted the flavor--or, alternately, fresh local peppers would have been tastier (I used Fresh Direct peppers that weren't as ripe as the ones I'd been getting at the Grand Army Plaza farmers' market).

Still, it was delicious, even if it wasn't life-changing the way our dinner Monday night was. After nearly a year, we returned to our favorite Indian restaurant in Brooklyn: Joy. And it was indeed joyful. We had our usual Joy haul: chicken tikka masala, chana masala, a side order of aloo gobi, vegetarian samosas, poppadums, garlic naan, and rice. But seriously: this isn't some little Brooklyn restaurant where we eat when we don't feel like going into Manhattan. If this says anything, I even prefer it to Madhur Jaffrey's restaurant Dawat, although the tandoori oven there is all it's cracked up to be. Now, we haven't explored Jackson Heights, so I can't compare Joy with the best of Queens, but J & I both were doing the happy food dance the other night.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And Think of All the Vitamins

This is shameless, but I'm going to deny y'all a substantial post--and instead, implore everyone to trot over to Rob's blog Vaca Estupenda, where his most recent post includes a clip of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. Check it out!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And I thought *my* baking was strange sometimes....

I usually avoid baking. I find it much less satisfying to have to measure ingredients than to feck a bunch of random items into a pot--which is perhaps why I love cooking soup so much. Nonetheless, I'm a pretty big fan of goods others have baked, as John can attest! Not these, though, over at the Real Thai blog....

(photo shamelessly lifted from Austin Bush's blog, Real Thai. There's more where this one came from!

The Book I'm Not (Re)Reading: Joan Scott's Feminism and History

Good Job, Tom Cruise

(Top Gun was on tv this morning...I couldn't help but think of this video....)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thug Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Alas! They killed U-Turn, who delivered one of the best line I've heard in a while, quoted above.

I suspect most of you, my dedicated readers, don't watch "Weeds," but for those of you who are keeping up with this season, you'll understand, and might enjoy this post on TV Squad. For the rest of you, I promise something with wider appeal soon--or at least, with different appeal.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Thought My Life Was Complete...

...and then I saw this:

Kitty Strategy

I think someone else is getting hooked on the train game....

(n.b. We weren't actually watching football--this was a commercial during, I believe, an episode of Survivorman!)

This was right before Maddie swatted my piece off the board, I believe.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Paltry Excuses

I'd like to say that the school year has been busy so far, kicking my ass so hard I haven't got time to blog, but that wouldn't be entirely true. More accurate would be to say that yes, school has started, and I have had a surprising number of places to be this week--but more to the point, a few other things have come in the way of blogging:

1. Television. Sad but true. Our L Word marathon somehow whetted J's and my tastes for reruns of Survivorman on The Science Channel, despite the recurrent threat of poisonous spiders and snakes on screen.

2. The Train Game arrived! J is hooked,and I'm recapturing the magic. Rotors to Berlin, anyone? We welcome third or fourth players--let us know.

3. The Cloffice. I'm continuing to set up the kitchen closet as my office, and am on the final (long-put-off) task: filing. Today? Maybe....

4. Playing on the Internet. I just linked to a new blog: a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) is now blogging about her experiences learning how to cook Asian food. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Life in Glencolumcille, Part 1

During my time in Gleann, I kept wishing for enough internet access to blog, but alas--the only public computer in the village is dial-up, extremely expensive, and most critical, never available. So I've been saving up thoughts, and I've had several requests to blog about spending most of the summer in rural Donegal, so--here goes!

Gleann Cholm Cille, or Glencolumcille, is a village of roughly 700, according to some census figure or other. I figure this number includes people living in the general area, because there's no way in hell there are as many as 700 in the village--so perhaps this count refers to the parish? Anyway, the village has several fine establishments, and I'll do my best to remember each of them. There aren't many.

1. Pubs: Biddy's, Roarty's (where I mostly hung out), and the Glen Head (where the locals retreat when all the "Gabh Mo Leisceals" arrive for the summer (this, apparently, is what they call us language students--it means "I'm sorry" and supposedly refers to overeager non-local Irish speakers making their way through crowded pubs).

2. Byrne's Food Store, which is about the size of a small convenience store here.

3. The post office and the small shop next to it, which carries only postcards, chocolate, Tayto, and things of that nature.

4. The weird shop, which seems to try to cater to tourists? I never went in, which is surprising, since the jumble of wares in the window was puzzling in its variety--fishing rods, tupperware, plush sheep toys, etc.

5. Some sort of shop that seemed to sell paint, although I never saw it open.

6. Two churches: Catholic and the Church of Ireland

7. The chipper van (usually open only on weekend nights)

Then, away from the village toward the strand but still within walking distance:

1. The laundrette--I believe the proprietor's name is Mary, and she seems to be--like many of the locals--ambivalent toward the students, who really do overrun the village in the summer. I expect she sees the knickers of nearly every person who comes through town, so if I were her, I suppose I would be wary of strangers, too.

2. An Stasiún Tine--the fire station. It's the size of a one-car garage.

3. The John Molloy Woolen Shop, which had for-sale signs up but did open sometime in July for a few weeks. I imagine they have a range of tourist crap, but never went in.

4. Oideas Gael (the school), and its rather basic restaurant, An Cistin ("the kitchen"). Oh, yes, and the bookstore inside, which not surprisingly sells mostly books in Irish, including translations of Harry Potter and other such books!

5. The Folk Village & its shop (more tourist stuff for sale here).

I think that's it for human-made public establishments. And then, of course, is the strand--which leaves me a great opportunity to post a gratuitous picture or two. Bear in mind that the weather seen here is not representative of the weather I, er, enjoyed during most of the summer.