Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sorry to end my blogging silence on a sad note, but I am feeling weirdly affected by the death of Michael Jackson and I just want to talk about it a little bit. Share some of my Michael Jackson memories. I'm in the middle of downloading a bunch of MJ and J5 songs to put together a mix for the Quiet Storm tomorrow. I wasn't even paying attention to how many or how much they are going to cost. (yes, I pay for my downloaded music. Amazon mostly) Oh well, I have hardly spent any money in the past two weeks.

Anyway, memory one is sitting in my kitchen in my Greenfield apartment. This is probably 1987 or 88. I've got the radion on...hard to say what station it might have been. I usually listened to WXXP but it most likely was a more pop oriented station. They played some Michael Jackson song---I think it was "Rock With You" but it might have been something (not Thriller) from Thriller. My apartment mate came in the kitchen and sat down at the table with me. There was an uncomfortable silence for about half the song, and finally one of us (I can't say for sure which) blurted out "I love this song!" and the other one immediately said "Oh me TOO!" this was a major bonding moment for us. We never mentioned it again.

Memory #2 is really a series of memories, for it seems like this happened at every dance party I either had or attended througout the end of the 90s until now. What this is, is, dirty dancing to something off of Thriller (PYT most of the time) with Jim Mueller. I remember one party in particular (at Julie Chill's Regent Square place) where the dancing got really dirty. In general, I don't think I've ever had or attended a dance party where some MJ jam didn't bring everyone to the dance floor.

Memory #3 goes all the way back to childhood. My sister and I had the J5 album above (Lookin Through the Windows) and we listened to it almost as much as the Donny and Marie album. I am listening to some of those songs right now and they are the ones that are really making me tear up. I'm pretty sure that record got cracked...but I replaced it at a yard sale recently.

I don't have a memory of watching the iconic "Billie Jean" performance (in 1983 I was begining my new wave odyssey and I probably wouldn't be caught dead watching Michael Jackson with anything but disdain.) I was definitely in the camp of being totally pissed off at Eddie Van Halen for performing with him on "Beat It." It took me quite a while to get over the hipster snobbishness to realize that dance music is IMPORTANT. Getting people to move their bodies and have a good time is important. No body did it like Michael.

I'm not going to say anything about the weirdness. Except the Lisa Marie Presley thing. That was weirdness that kind of affected me. The rest of it...I don't look forward to the merciless dissection of his personal life that is inevitable in our celebrity obsessed culture. I kind of want to hide under a rock till it blows over.

But mostly, I want to dance around my kitchen to "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough."
That's what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oh goodness. Just got a call from rebby that she is going to Atlanta on Sunday for TWO WEEKS. At which point she will return and DRIVE TO CHICAGO for another couple weeks. Cripes. I guess I need to get used to being a single girl. I guess I need to get a basket for my bicycle so I can haul some groceries around. I guess I should really get a cat so I don't talk to myself.
So, last night we went downtown to see Meshell Ndegeocello. It was a really wonderful show--I only really knew a couple of the songs she did, but her performance was so full of life and joy and yep, sex, that I couldn't stop moving the whole time. Her band is super tight and jazzy, and for the most part she didn't play the bass. Every once in a while though she would get really excited and pick it up and just wail. It was really awesome and I'm so glad we went.
It was also the premier event at the August Wilson Center, which is looking really good. They still have a lot of work to do on the building but the theater is amazing. There was a little reception before the concert and I discovered a new favorite thing that I never would have expected: Barefoot Wines Muscato. I'm not usually one to pick up a glass of white wine on purpose, but for some reason I reached for this (maybe because I was hot and it looked refreshing) and man, is it good! It is really sweet, so I wouldn't want it with a heavy meal, but with a nice crisp salad I think it would be perfect. I'm gonna go look for it at the Wine Store for sure.
Before the little wine reception, rebby and I stopped in to what now seems to be called the 941 Saloon(formerly Liberty Ave Saloon) for a beer. For some reason which I can't begin to explain, we NEVER go to gay bars in Pittsburgh, even though we like to check them out when travelling. The Saloon did not disappoint..they played MIA and JT and there were lots of flirty boys there. It made us both wish we could go to a dance party.
Even before the gay bar, we went down to check out the installation of our friend Colin which is part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. He made some amazing post apocalyptic mermaids out of barbies, and really gorgeous prints and mirror pieces and altar pieces. Apparently, a performance artist from San Fracisco wants to bring his work out there--awesome! I'll just be glad to have him back in Pittsburgh soon.
Today is still technically staycation, but I actually need to go in to work to do some stuff for the Mattress Factory tonight and brunch on Sunday. I am hoping I can get in there and do my stuff without having to deal with what is going on in the kitchen--wish me luck.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today has been a very productive day so far. I've got most of the playlist together for Pride Brunch! and I've spent several more hours digging through stuff in my room. One more big leaf bag of old papers. Almost an entire file box full of empty file folders now! Also, an entire file box full of camera related stuff. Probably 10 old rolls of film I never got developed, my old joycam (sniff!) my old 3-D camera (sniff!) two broken film cameras, four or five disposable cameras(I think they're all exposed, so I need to get those developed too) video camera tapes, accessories for my old digital camera. I think I'm just going to start getting two rolls developed a week to see what's on these old rolls and cameras. I have no idea! One of them is from Provincetown, I think. It'll be fun!
So the gay playlist has been really fun to create. I have a stack of CDs I still need to rip for a couple more songs--this CD burner, just like my old one, gets tired after about 5 CDs and I have to give it a rest. I downloaded a ton of stuff from emusic and itunes this morning--the classics, you know. Village People, Gloria Gaynor, Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Melissa Ferrick (the dirtiest song I've ever heard, I think!) Right Said Fred. Ha! Also I ended up downloading the entire Pink Steel album, Out at the Devil. HA! It's so great. I've got to retrieve my Cher, Erasure, and Barry Manilow Cds from the Quizzle before I can finalize it, but I've got almost three hours worth ready.
Oh dear....that Melissa Ferrick song just came up in random rotation. It's even the album version which less dirty than the live one. Yikes.
I've got another couple hours before I head out for downtown to try to catch some arts festival action before Meshell Ndegeocello. Yikes again. It's gonna be one of those nights, I think.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well now, it's the halfway point in my staycation today. So far, so good. Today is serious smackdown on the office day---I've got the corner cleared out to move my shelving unit, after which time I will move the desk to the middle of the wall, hook up the new lamp from the media room, and start putting things back together. I have taken out two bags of trash so far, filled a big box with goodwill/yardsale/free stuff, and another big box with magazines to take downstairs and probably eventually recycle. A couple months ago I started a project of tearing pages out of magazines with recipes I liked, so I could recycle the rest of the magazine....didn't get too far with it, but it's a noble idea. It's incredibly hard for me to recycle the cooking magazines. But do I ever flip through them and cook anything out of them? No.
Another project on the agenda for today (and I have a fighting chance--it's only 10:30!) is doing some major harvesting in the garden. Last night while I was gathering leaves for a salad I pulled up a few root veggies to see what I have to work with for the kimchee I want to get started today. Answer: nothin. The root veggies I pulled (carrots, beet, daikon) were so pathetically small I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture. Really, it's sad. I am a total failure at root crops. Well, maybe the potatoes did alright--one of the plants is completely yellow so I'm gonna dig that one up today. I think next year we'll have to mix some sand into the soil so it doesn't compact so much--the dirt gets rock solid between watering/rains and the poor root veggies just don't have a chance. We're good with leaves, and seem to do okay with fruits (tomatoes, peppers, peas, squashes) but the roots are just gonna be a no go this year, I think. I did pull a couple of decent sized radishes earlier, so maybe I can have some more success with them. Plus, I can try again in the fall. It's just a little disheartening to wait SO LONG for something and watch it grow massive leaves and then find only a tiny little root underneath. Bummer.
Still, turnip leaves will be nice in the kimchee even if I don't get any turnips to speak of. I've got some carrots in the fridge so those can go in the kimchee, and maybe I can find a radish that's ready. I've really got to get the three sisters in the ground soon--corn, pattypan squash, and black beans. Maybe tomorrow. The weather has still been a little spotty even though it's been 80+degrees in the afternoons...but I don't want to wait too much longer.
I've been staying in all week so far, but this afternoon I'll be venturing out at least to pick up Donovan from daycare with Jennie. Tomorrow I plan to go to the strip, check out some arts festival stuff, and then go see Meshell Ndegeocello in the evening. It's the official grand opening of the August Wilson Center. I'm really excited to check it out.
Ok! back to the grind. Oh! yesterday morning I spent a couple hours on the ole computerbox doing research for our vacation in the Land of Enchantment. Check out the del. icio. us links under newmex for some of my must sees.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What I've Learned

When you are melting marshmallows in the microwave to put on top of your girlfriend's birthday cupcakes, do not step away to check facebook. Not even for one second.
This was a mistake, clearly. I ended up melting them on the stove with hershey bars and some whipping cream. It was sticky but turned out really good! I put it on top of some very simple devil's food cupcakes I made from a cupcake bakeshop recipe. They turned out really good.
So I made the cupcakes Sunday night, while listening to my new favorite DeeGay Classic Internet Radio. It's a station from Italy that plays "the songs who gay people loves." So cute! There's a lot of international dance music mixed with stuff you might expect (Erasure) and stuff that's a big surprise (Phil Collins?) Anyway, the cupcake project was painless. I even managed to finish the laundry and dishes while they were baking.
Monday was a pretty chill day at work. It was my first Monday of exclusive prep, with Steve opening the line. I spent most of the morning walking him through how to make a good prep list very, very patiently, so hopefully I won't have any more of those Thursday mornings where I just want to kill everybody. The plan was after work I would stop at the farmer's market, then head home to top the cupcakes and wait for my birthdaygirl's return. At which point we would get gussied up and go somewhere nice for dinner and beers.
Unfortunately, as I was getting ready to head out to the farmer's market, I got a text from her that she was delayed in york and probably wouldn't be home till almost 10pm. Bummer! I felt really bad for her, as the delay was due to someone else's techincal oopsies and she had to spend an extra 4 hours working it out.
Our dinner plans squashed, I started walking toward the farmer's market and realized "hey! I haven't eaten since that rye toast at 8am!" And plus, "I had chips and salsa for dinner last night at 9pm!" Clearly, something had to happen. So I changed my course and went to the Sharp Edge. It was the kind of hungry that called out for Guiness and Hop Devil Cheese Soup in a breadbowl. So I shelled out the insane $7 for it, but I gotta say it was super good. I missed it. The Salmon BLT was not as good, and $11. Sharp Edge really is overpriced! I mean, if everything on the menu was locally sourced/organic/sustainable, I would have no problem paying those prices. But for Sysco stuff? Nah. So it has become a really infrequent stop. Anyway, I took a chance and contacted Jennie to see if she had filled her Monday night babyfree dance card yet, and she had not. So I packed up a 6 pack of expensive beer for rebby's later return, and hoofed it over to Kelly's to meet Jen. Bar hopper! That's me! I had two East End Monkey Boys and by the time we left, I was LOOPED! We had a really nice talk though. It felt like summer to me. For some reason going out for drinks is so much more of a summer social activity for me. I guess going out at all is more of a summer activity. As I stumbled to the bus stop, I passed by the progress on what is possibly the most exciting thing happening in walking distance to my home: Paris 66 Bistro. It's gonna be a crepes place/coffee place and they are really putting a lot of love into making it gorgeous. I kinda want to work there. Really, maybe part time evenings? Or maybe it will be enough just to hang out. In any case, they've got spices and plates in there so I am guessing as soon as the last of the fascade work is done it will be good to go. I can't wait!
I finally got home and got the beers in the fridge and got my stinky work/drinking clothes off, and set to work frosting the cupcakes. Which is when the marshmallow explosion happened. I was still drunk enough to nearly pee my panties laughing at myself. I got them done and frosted, though, then settled in to some internet to wait for rebby. She got home around 9:30pm, with pizza. I beered her up and she told me she was only home for one night---had a surprise drive to Washington DC this morning! Poor thing. I gave her a DVD of avant garde films from the 20s and 30s but of course that won't do her any good till she has an evening at home. And here I am alone again, with a bunch of beer and cupcakes. Sigh.
Today's big projects are all cerebral--I have to finalize menus for the mattress factory garden party, the pride brunch, and the father's day prix fixe dinner. Yikes! I just spent an hour and a half going through wikipedia's list of famous GLBT people. I think I've settled on the kitchy punny naming random things after celebrities method of menu creation. Like the Harvey Milkshake, The William S Burrito, and the couldn't be more perfect Genesis P-Orridge. Ha! I've got a huge list to mine for comedy gold. Did you know Johnny Mathis is gay? I didn't.
For father's day dinner, we're going to vegetarian and vegan versions of the "men's favorites" recipes from old betty crocker cookbooks. It should be really fun! But believe it or not, all this creativity is HARD WORK. Better get going.