Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! (Now let's eat.)

For those of you who need something to do to stay out of the kitchen while Thanksgiving dinner is in progress, I have an interesting distraction.

Check out this great graphic slideshow from the New York Times; it maps the relative occurrence of 50 Thanksgiving food recipe searches on yesterday, state by state. I found it particularly interesting to discover which foods are traditional in the Midwest (corn casserole, peanut butter pie) vs. the South (macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie) vs. the Northeast (butternut squash) vs. the Great Plains (cherry pie) vs. the West (yams), etc.

Funny, slider stuffing was nowhere to be found among the top 50 search terms. Strange.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oxford University Press Word of the Year

I got an e-mail this morning informing me that the Oxford University Press has compiled it's list of new and popular words from 2009, culminating in their selection of the 2009 word of the year:


I understand the timeliness and social relevance of "unfriend," but it's kind of a downer of the word. Lexically, isn't the selection of "unfriend" as word of the year basically summing up 2009 as a year of variable friendships? Not so positive an idea.

Let's hope 2010 brings us words with more positive connotations.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2012: The Movie

By now, it's pretty much common knowledge that I love the movie Independence Day. I love it for many reasons: Bill Pullman as the President; Jeff Goldblum's cheeky geekiness; the idea of world unity; the pre-battle Independence Day speech that makes me get all teary-eyed every. single. time.

I also, despite the sardonic disapproval of some others, love Armageddon. Despite the fact that some people somehow find it campy and silly, I always enjoy watching it. Even though I know substantial parts of it by heart. I mean, come on! Billy Bob Thornton as a NASA genius? Bruce Willis as a guy who shoots a gun on an oil rig? The biggest bunch of misfits who are the only people who can save the Earth from destruction? And (again) a speech that inevitably makes me cry?

My love for these two movies should have indicated that I'd love 2012, as well. I was still a bit skeptical, though, right up until the movie started. Once it had gotten going, I knew I was going to love it, too.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of conspiracies (middle school Amy, however, was a totally different story), and I find all of this 2012 Apocalypse hoopla to be nonsense. But let me tell you, it makes a great premise for a disaster movie.

2012 got everything right as far as disaster movies go: it gave proper explanation for the disaster at hand, gave said disaster impressive (but not over-the-top) special effects, but at the same time did not treat the disaster as the main character. It has all of the different, appealing, and ultimately intertwined relationships as ID4. It has all the last minute heroics of Armageddon. It has suspense and intrigue and questions about humanity and, ultimately, that all-important sense of we're all in this together.

And, yes, it made me cry.

Surprise, surprise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th of November

Today is my momma's 50th birthday. How exciting is that?

I'm heading home to the Region today to celebrate her birthday weekend with her (obviously) and pretty much the whole family. I can't wait to see everyone, and to give my mom a big hug especially!

**Interesting fact: Today, her 50th birthday, is Friday the 13th. She was, apparently, also born on Friday the 13th. What to make of that?


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cloud-Watching, Drawing, and Haikus

Once upon a time, there was a land in which everything was strange and wonderful. All of the people in this land always had fun -- ALWAYS.

And it shouldn't be hard to imagine why, because their days were full of adventures in the trees, building sandcastles of ancient cities on the sandy shore, and reclining near the mulberry trees to cloud-watch, draw, and write haikus. In this land, every cloud looked like something spectacular; every drawing was worthy of being in the Louvre; and every haiku was perfect, regardless of whether it contained exact 5-7-5 structure.

In this land, the nights were full of songs and happy shouts and wonderfully sticky cooked-over-the-fire concoctions. Even the worst of storms was an excuse for singing.

And in this land, birthdays were an occasion for a jolly good catch-up with an old, furry friend or two.

Who could not be always having fun?

This land existed. Exists. It is where we carry it. The people of this land cannot miss it, because it is always with them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ode to a Library Card

From the original post:

Ode To A Library Card

by Anne Waldman

Ah modest microcosm-
gateway to vast diamond worlds
vital imaginations!
An admission ticket, a permission
You are so much more satisfying
than television, and quieter
We want to unplug & sign up now!
O library card
You connect us to outer space,
ancient histories, modern too,
engrossing fiction, wild poetry
diverse languages, tantalizing cultures,
deep politics, traveling from the Jurassic along unfathomable future neural pathways
You, marvelous library card
Friend to the citizen, unlocking the universe
Endless source of panoramic knowledge
Panacea to all ignorance & ill!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A chicken in Amy's pot

Today I roasted my first chicken.

I guess that might sound rather anticlimactic when one considers that I roasted my family's Thanksgiving turkey last year, but that feat was achieved well within the supervision of my extremely cooking-savvy mother. This chicken was roasted all on my own.

Right now I'm feeling incredibly satisfied, having enjoyed the juicy wonderment of a Nigella-style chicken (it's so simple, really!) with a healthy helping of creamy homemade mashed potatoes. The broccoli that was meant to give color and more vitamins to the meal ended up being a bit too old to eat, but that really didn't affect the overall caliber of the meal. Nothing could, when the chicken was this good.

There's just something satisfying in knowing that I have the chicken-roasting skill in my kitchen arsenal. And now I'm working on the chicken-soup-from-roast-chicken skill, too.