Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recommended Listening: Telekinesis on NPR's First Listen series

I love podcasts. Especially the ones that give you free music every day (KEXP, KCRW, and MPR, I love you all.). But, what I like even more, being a budding literature critic, is the All Songs Considered podcast, where experts and critics get together to talk about music, make recommendations, and argue good-naturedly about Carrie Brownstein's love for metal, or Bob Boilen's dedication to quiet indie-folk sounds. And, since I started listening to this podcast and learning more about the bands they feature, I've also wandered over to the NPR site for All Songs Considered. On the podcast, Bob Boilen had mentioned the First Listen series NPR started, and since I've gotten kind of bored with my own music lately, I decided to check out the NPR media player and see what new stuff I could listen to. Now, apparently we've entered into a new era of The Single -- after all, with most people buying their music in mp3 form, and the CD dying, many are declaring that The Album is D-E-A-D, Dead. But the great things about the First Listen series is that it totally ignores the nay-sayers and determinedly offers up full, brand-new albums for listening. They stream such fantastic releases as The Decemberists' The King is Dead in full for a limited period of time right before the album goes on sale. It's a fantastic way to get beyond The Single, especially for bands that really do make albums that tell a story or build in a careful way. For me, it's a nice way to balance the podcasts I download that deliver only singles, with no context. And I get to try a new album out without committing financially, which is a huge plus, considering my distinct lack of extra money.

Today I listened to the excellent new Bright Eyes record The People's Key -- it's an odd one, but there's gems in it. Now, Bright Eyes I had heard of before, though I don't think I've ever listened to a whole album of their music, as I am very much one of those who listens to her whole ipod on shuffle about 99% of the time. But after that I listened to another album, which was even more to my taste, and from a band I had never heard of: Telekinesis is the band, and 12 Desperate Straight Lines is their album.

So, if you want to be all retro and actually listen to albums, check it out! Then buy the album on vinyl..... and mp3, so you can mix it in with the other 1000 songs on your ipod.
Our turntable.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Clicking Away

I am trying to improve my photography skills so that I can make my items in my etsy shop more attractive. So, I am having fun taking pictures of random things in my life, and trying to manipulate my cheap digital point-and-shoot into imitating something more expensive. And working, very, very slowly, on understanding the many ways in which one can use photoshop to improve a picture without over-doing it.

So, here are some pics I was taking of things in my garden, breakfast -- whatever!

Ms. E's dwarf lemon tree

Our lavender and succulents

home made spicy sausage rolls with leeks and celery

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If wishes were horses....

If I could just pull it together and look more put together more often, I'd like to think I could at least try to pull these looks off. Thanks to The Sartorialist for the inspiration.

I love the nipped-in waist, the cloche, the oxfords, and the RED.


I blame my mom for my love of slim, high-waisted, '70s looks. When I was little and in high school, her closet still featured lots of the gorgeous stuff she wore when she was in college and grad school. I purloined some of them, but damn it, was her waist tiny. That flat hair is never going to happen, though.

I love a full skirt, '50s style. And that hair looks like something mine would do if left out in a windstorm. Love it.

Ohhh, my leather jacket! This reminds me of a ridiculously awesome leather jacket I inherited/borrowed/stole from my mom in high school. I had it through college and through the second year of grad school. And then I left it in a classroom and someone took it. I have never been able to find a jacket quite as perfect as the one I lost.... but this one might do as a temporary substitute.

...And lastly...

PDK is already quite dapper, but I would love to see him in try out this sharp, man-about-town-70-years-ago look. He would look so good in a fedora!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My 'Route to Adventure' treasury picked for Etsy's front page!

My taste test reveals that I'm feeling restless.... time to set out for places unknown. Should I sail by ship, float by balloon, or just walk til I reach the edge of the earth?

Woohoo! I loved this collection and I am so glad the Etsy editors did too.

Last weekend -- mushrooms, pizza, celebration!

So Saturday we took a break and drove up to Los Alamos with our friends Justin and Cat. Los Alamos is a tiny, tiny town about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, and all the storefronts on its main street look like they were originally built by the prospectors who came to California for gold in '49. Bedford Winery was having a wine tasting in which they served their wines alongside fresh picked, local wild mushrooms. All of it was so delicious, and the day was so, so beautiful -- pure blue skies, no wind, and balmy. My favorite wines were Bedford's Chardonnay, which wasn't oaked and so had a much lighter taste than most chardonnays, and their Reisling. Generally, I would say I preferred Bedford's whites to their reds. And the food was awesome! The winemaker and his friends were cooking out behind the winery and new food kept coming out through the whole three hours of the wine-tasting: brie baked with mushrooms in a pastry shell, flatbread topped with yellow foot mushrooms or with black trumpets, and chanterelles, chanterelles, chanterelles everywhere.

After ten different wines and heaps of mushrooms, we walked down the street to the legendary Full of Life Flatbreads restaurant. On the way we must have passed five antique stores, plus the only gas station I will ever describe as "cute."

All the flatbreads that Full of Life serves are handmade, totally local in all ingredients, and baked in a wood-fired oven right in the room you eat. We were still so full from the tasting, but we dug seep and managed to eat delicious pizza(s). I don't know how we did it.

This is what we had (we did half-and-half on each of 2 flatbreads, so we got to try 4 toppings):
  • Oven Roasted Santa Barbara Squid and Chorizo
  • Wild-Gathered Chanterelle Flatbread (can you really ever have enough chanterelles? No, I didn't think so.)
  • Brett’s Chili Verde Flatbread
  • Central Coast Sausage Flatbread
  • Smoke-Dried Tomato and Mushroom Flatbread (ok, this mushroom obsession is admittedly getting a bit ridiculous)
The very nice man baking our pizza.

Aaaaaaand..... then on Sunday, PDK finished his dissertation! Much celebration ensued. I, on the other hand, almost finished a first run of editing an interview I conducted with a poet about two years ago. Small steps.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beginning at the beginning

I do things with words. This has always been the beginning, for me. My professional life is a word-heavy occupation -- being a hopeful academic and all -- and for me, that is always a good thing. But I learned in my printing and book-making class back in college that words are not just carriers for ideas -- they are either embodied in our mouths or materialized in ink pressed on paper (or, here, in pixels lighting up on your screen). In other words, saying something and making something -- both are vital.

So, I am starting this space as a personal space, not entirely separate from my public academic life, but full of all the other delights (and perhaps sorrows -- fingers crossed they won't be so bad) in my life.

And now, to begin at the end: tonight I came home to find a sniffly, sick boyfriend in bed, taking a well-deserved nap. I then took this opportunity to make him a lovely, Indian-spiced lentil curry full of spice and fragrance, and planned to pull out all the stops with turmeric-scented potatoes and spicy kale on the side.

But, understandably groggy at 8 p.m., PDK was not so hungry, so I happily turned instead to the brown bag of gorgeous chanterelles picked up at only $15/lb at the Santa Barbara farmers' market yesterday! Quickly simmered and browned in butter and served on garlic toast, they were a perfect dinner, accompanied as they were by red wine and good conversation with our dear roommate Ms. E.

Tomorrow is sure to be much spicier, since those lentils will be sitting in their juices, slowly creating even more heat from the chilis. And I'll be back to the dissertation, since I'm already 4 days behind on my chapter draft, promised to writing partner Kevin last Sunday (damn...... here comes all that workaday life hurtling back in again).
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