Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Rob!
I'm celebrating with homemade pork fried rice, ODD NOTION summer 09, and a Judas Priest soundtrack. Life is good.
Rebby is home for the time being...well, she's not HOME right now, she's working a late shift, but she is not out of town. In fact, we actually got to spend the ENTIRE DAY TOGETHER yesterday! We celebrated that fact by driving out Rt 51 and buying a new mattress. Yes indeedy. I would like to send a special shout out to Dan at Mattress World for being so delightfully nonplussed about it. He was a little bit nervous, like brand new sales guy nervous, but the fact that we were two ladies buying a mattress didn't seem to phase him at all. In fact, he really seemed to like us and got a little excited to show us features of a lot of different mattresses. He invited us to lie on all of them if we wanted to. Hee hee! We settled on a Sealy Courtland Square Firm mattress. We did lay on a bunch of them...including a Tempur-pedic which freaked me out completely. Those things feel like they are ALIVE. I felt a little bit like I was being swallowed. Not cool. Our Sealy is nice and firm but with a pillow top. I am hoping they'll deliver it tomorrow, but I might have to leave work early some day this week. I also need to do some important rearranging of some items in the bedroom before I invite strangers in. :)
Besides the mattress shopping, we stopped at the Goodwill where I got 5 alcohol themed teeshirts for work. I actually found a Magic Hat shirt, a Guinness shirt, a shirt for Barefoot Wines, and one that simply says KEG KILLER. That I find Hi-la-rious. Oh, the fifth one isn't actually alcohol just says Hawaii. Also got a really large stoneware bowl for bread dough, a pile of butterknives for the restaurant, and some presents for rebby: a coffee thermos and a little ipod carrying case with built in speakers. All in all a very good trip to the goodwill.
Oh yeah, we also stopped at Best Buy for Mighty Boosh. Unfortunately they didn't have season #2 but I got season one and three. Oh yeah, and we stopped at the Dormont Record Exchange where I found season 3 of Aqua Teens. I've got a lot of comedy to watch.
We were out Dormont way to have breakfast with Dad and the siblings and nephews and Aunt Sandy who was in town for Shannon's baby shower. The breakfast was a little out of control: biscuits with eggs, sausage, sausage gravy, chocolate gravy (yes, you read that right---tasted like pudding) blackberry gravy (delicious!) wild honey, apple butter, blueberry jam, and lots and lots of coffee. Unfortunately the biscuits came out of a can---if I had known that was happening I definitely would have offered to bake them. But there was such an array of stuff to put on top that it didn't really matter. We hung out with them for a while and then headed out on our adventures.
Tomorrow I have the day off, besides having to go to the strip and maybe meeting Alan for coffee. I'll try to get a little review of our dinner at the casino together....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wow, I totally dropped the ball there. Can't believe I didn't manage to throw up an Alice review. Oh this point it seems a little ridiculous, but I also feel like I should do it for my own sense of completion and so I can look back on it later. Maybe tomorrow.
What I am DEFINITELY doing tomorrow, though, is going to an introductory lecture on Zazen and THEN going to see How to Cook Your Life and afterwards to a reception where the subject of that film will be present. This is one of those "most thrilling/most terrifying" moments of your life kind of things. Edward Espe Brown made me into the cook I am today, which if you know me or have been following this blog at all, you know is pretty much how I define myself. I'm really not much of a rock star anymore. I'm certainly not much of a writer. But I am a fierce cook and a fierce gardener and I am extremely PASSIONATE about food, and the first spark of this passion was ignited by Tassajara Cooking. This edition came out in 1986 and I am pretty sure I got it then, at the hippie co-op grocery store under my hippie co-op dorm. Here is my favorite passage from the book:
"Whatever is done will not make a cucumber more of a cucumber or a radish more of a radish. Cucumber is cucumber, radish is radish. What is done may make a vegetable more suitable to some particular taste--that's the usual way, to see what taste we want. But why not ask the cucumber, why not ask the radish? What is the taste it would like to express?"
Seriously hippie talk, but I have tried to keep it in the back of my mind in all my cooking. I think the simplest recipes are usually the best. I think molecular gastronomy and all that ilk is interesting, but I don't really think it is about nourishing. What I want to do is definitely nourish, and I first learned about the difference in reading through Edward's cookbooks.
So tomorrow I will go to a reception where he will be, and I will have the chance to meet him, and what will that be like? Is there something to say? Is it weird to ask a Zen priest to autograph your mildewy, broken spined, tomato splashed cookbook?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Blue Oyster Cult/Alice Cooper August 1st 2009
Ohio State Fair Celeste Center

Wow, I started this blog years ago as a concert review blog! And here I am reviewing a concert again. It's been a long time Pittsburgh.
So anyway, as soon as this show was announced like four months ago I ordered tickets. Still managed to get somewhat crappy seats over to the extreme right side of the stage. When ordering I kept trying to maybe get second tier seats in the middle but the bot wouldn't allow it. :( In any case, it was nice to have a great view of the SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER. Oh yes---she comes with every show at the Celeste Center.
Rebby and I hit the road at about noon and made it into Columbus at about 3:30pm (after a few construction delays.) It was a nice road trip, and we got to yell "Hare Krishna" into the canyon as we passed Moundsville WVA. Our Holiday Inn Express was just off the highway and we arrived without incident. Got to the room, unpacked the snack bag into the mini fridge, and immediately jumped in the jacuzzi. Ah.
Unfortunately this hotel did not carry VH1 Classic so we had to settle for some dance off show featuring troupes dancing to the works of Michael Jackson. Ho hum.
The jacuzzi was nice and we wilted ourselves for over an hour. Then got dressed and headed out for the fair.
The fair was right around the corner on the other side of the highway. By the time we actually got to our parking spot, though, we were practically back at the hotel. (I don't think it would have been possible to walk there, though, as it is a divided highway.) We parked and hiked across the muddy parking area to the fair entrance.
By this time we were both starving. Oh, and I realized I had forgotten my fair program back at the hotel. I had a map, but it proved useless. The upshot being the only agricultural displays we found were the sheep. We also didn't read the map carefully and ended up settling for some half decent cheesesteaks when we could have gone a few more feet and gotten some fantastic barbecue, or amish food, or something from the Taste of Ohio Cafe. Sigh. It's not that the cheesesteaks were BAD by any means. They just were not as good as something else might have been had we understood what all the fair had to offer. Sometimes being TOO HUNGRY clouds your judgement.
So after finishing our passable fair food we continued on to the MUTTON BUSTIN arena. I am not going to go into great detail about the MUTTON BUSTIN because the more I think about it the more it creeps me the hell out. Go and watch a youtube video about it. The youngest participant we saw was THREE YEARS OLD. I just think it's wrong.
From the Mutton Bustin we walked around the sheep show a bit, then checked out more of the food vendors, looking in vain for a bona fide apple fritter. No luck. Maybe it's just a northern Ohio thing. In the end I settled for an elephant ear but there was so much cinnamon sugar on it I could only manage half. So much for going buck wild on the fair food! rebby had a chocolate covered frozen banana and seemed to really enjoy it. We walked past the venue and saw lots of people already queued up, and the very cool LED marquee they had scrolling Alice's spider face and ALICE COOPER in big red letters. I started to get really excited--too excited to eat my elephant ear.
We finished up our treats and headed into the venue. Surprisingly, the venue itself was DRY as well as the fair. I think many people in the audience were surprised at that. I was more thrilled than anything at the thought of not having people getting up out of their seats every 20 minutes for beer, and no stupid drunk person behaviors. It was a nice change.
We walked all the way around the perimeter of the theater looking for the merch, and finally had to ask a security guard. Again surprisingly, they had the merch table set up INSIDE the concert hall! Never seen that before. We got in the very long line in front of a little girl in a top hat and big spider necklace with her parents. Saw several other folks with Alice eyes, but only one dude in ill fitting vinyl pants. A new record :) We finally got to the front of the line and the possibilities were endless. There were at least 5 different Alice t shirt designs, a couple of BOC shirts, stickers, bandanas, keychains, buttons, CDs....rebby and I each picked one of the Theatre of Death T Shirt designs, she got a bandana, I got a keychain, and we got a sticker set to share. There were a couple of other tshirt designs I really liked and if I end up getting to the Erie show I am definitely getting another one. Probably the trashes the world version.
So we gathered our merch and went back to our seats (luckily at the end of a row) to get ready for BOC. The stage was set with Alice's backdrop already, so we got a good look at the eyes. It looked a lot like the Eyes from the "Eyes" tour, only they didn't flash any lights. That's alright, there was plenty else to make up for it.
People watching at an Alice Cooper show is a lot of fun. I spotted a t shirt from the Elyria Harley Davidson store, several vintage Alice shirts, some BOC shirts, and the usual inexplicable ones like Paul McCartney and Heart. Huh? I saw one fellow wearing the Will Ferrel "more cowbell" t-shirt. Ha. One guy a couple rows up had a shirt proclaiming him to be a member of some hardcore BOC fan club. I wonder what he thought of the show....
Finally the lights went down and the BOC opening music montage started. It included, I kid you not, a clip from the "more cowbell" sketch. I found this very troublesome and immediately drifted into a consideration of the possibility that there could be folks in the audience who ONLY KNEW BOC FROM THIS SKETCH. Shudder. That can't be possible, right? Even if you didn't KNOW BOC, you at least have heard "Don't Fear the Reaper" on the radio before seeing this comedy sketch, right? Luckily, they came out on stage and launched into "The Red and the Black" and took my mind off of the philosophical problem.
Only, they played a sort of funk/blues version of the song, and Eric Bloom was being a real dorkwad. He wore a t shirt with a demonic poodle on it, and a leather vest over that. He was really, really trying too hard. Thankfully, Buck Dharma is awesome in direct proportion to Eric Bloom's doucheyness. Buck wore a white button down shirt, a black vest, his shades, and a guitar that appeared to be made out of swiss cheese. The other guys in the band are all hired guns (as I suppose most of BOC has been over the past 20 years judging from their website) including Rudy Sarzo on bass who seems to have played at least once in every band in existance since 1976. They played Before The Kiss (A Redcap)another weirdly bluesy version, and then Buck sang
Burnin' for You and I relaxed. Buck is just so cool. And his guitar is one of those standout guitar sounds no one else can do. Love it.
Next up was Cities on Flame, which was spectacularly sign language interpreted. If I see you in person, please ask me to demonstrate the sign language interpretation of this song. It got the crowd all pumped up and even I let my cynicism drop and danced around. Next up was a mind blower: Shooting Shark. Buck introduced it as "a patti smith song" which made it even more awesome. I had not thought of that song since the late 80s and wow, it's beautiful. Definitely my favorite moment of the BOC show.
Godzilla was next, and I was SO BORED that I left to get a sprite. Seriously, I have to say that BOC suffers for lack of beer. When I got back everyone was doing tedious instrumental solos. I started to get a headache, but I sucked down my sprite and got through it. Really? solos in a 45 minute set? Waste of my time. They finished with
(Don't Fear) The Reaper, of course, complete with some joker stationed behind the speaker stack wailing on the cowbell. It made me pretty sad to think that BOC is not just a nostalgia act, but a self consciously jokey nostalgia act. It was way better seeing them at the Mansfield rib fest.
(back with Alice in a moment...)