Monday, November 29, 2010

day 52: i knew you were comin' so i baked a pie

Like yoga, baking is rather zen. While calculating recipes, kneading dough, and mixing crap in bowls in hopes it will come to resemble something edible, it’s possible to tune out all of the bullshit and focus only on the task at hand.

And as with everything (except maybe riding a bike), wine also helps.

Among my many not-so-fine qualities, I tend to learn things the hard way. When common logic determines something to be a really bad idea, odds are I'll go ahead with it anyway. It's how I learned what type of men not to date, that you shouldn't hassle traffic cops, and that I shouldn't go bar-hopping alone on St. Patrick's Day.

It's also how I decided at 10 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving that I absolutely had to bake a pie for the first time ever.

While wandering the aisles of Sunfresh with countless other last-minute shoppers, Jason and I looked up "blackberry sour cream pie" on his i-phone and began hunting down the ingredients. We quickly discovered that buying enough fresh blackberries for two pies would cost upwards of $20 (an unreasonable investment for a culinary experiment that may end up in the trash), so we subbed half the berries with canned tart cherries. We also found an empty shelf where the frozen pre-made pie crusts should be, so our next google search was to find out how to make our own.

Among the cooking supplies I discovered I don't have: a flour sifter, a pizza cutter, a rolling pin (we used a water glass, pictured above right), and an oven that doesn't draw its power directly from the pits of hell. Seriously - it has burned the crap out of 95 percent of the food it has touched. Fortunately casualties to our pies were minor, and though I was an hour late to my parents' Thanksgiving lunch I think they were shocked and somewhat pleasantly surprised to discover I had allegedly edible baked goods in tow.

And everyone who tried it - about nine people total - said it was good. So when it comes to pies, Jason and I are batting 1.000.

And one other thing: Crisco. What the fuck is it, because it is revolting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the 6 stages of getting a speeding ticket

1. Guilt and regret.
"Oh shit, that cop came out of nowhere. Really, there's a school zone here? I should've been paying more attention. If only I'd gotten up earlier... I shouldn't have drank all that wine last night. Shit, now I'm gonna be late. Do I have my insurance card? Fuck this; seriously, fuck this."

2. Overcompensation.
"The speed limit says 45, so I should probably go 30. I will stop at this stop sign and sit here for at least 20 seconds. Go ahead and try to tell me this stop is anything but full and complete. Oh look, a school zone. It's 10 at night, but I'd better drive through it at idle speed just to be safe."

pink elcamino
pink el camino. someday i will own this car.
 3. Indignation.
"Hey, wait a second. The speed limit says 25, and that guy just blew past me going at least 40. If I drove like that, I'd see flashing lights in my rearview. Where the fuck are the cops now, huh? How come he can get away with driving like a total asshole?"

4. Overconfidence.
"I don't see any cops around... I can probably go at least 5 over the speed limit. I'm sure it's fine. And fuck it, I'm gonna go ahead and make a U-turn here. I'm going the wrong way; what do they expect me to do? Keep driving until it's legal to turn around? Haven't they heard of carbon emissions and global warming?"

5. Panic.
"Oh shit, is that cop following me? Oh shit, he's got his lights on... oh god, here he comes. I guess I should pull over... oh god. Maybe I can tell him I have to pee... I could pee my pants right now. Maybe if I cry... oh god. I can't afford another ticket. I am fucked, so fucked."

6. Depression.
"This lawyer is going to charge me $300 to come to court for 20 minutes to get this shit reduced to a non-moving violation? And then I'm going to have to pay double the amount of the fine? This is fucking criminal. Guess I'm not going on vacation this summer. I hope I have enough left for a box of wine."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a charming reminder

...of how we're all so fucked.


by The Pogues

The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out
The ones that crawl in are lean and thin
The ones that crawl out are fat and stout
Your eyes fall in and your teeth fall out
Your brains come tumbling down your snout

Be merry my friends
Be merry

And then there's this song I used to sing in elementary school music class. It made me cry and obviously left a deep impression, as I still remember the words more than 20 years later.

Don't ever laugh when the hearse goes by
For you may be the next to die
They'll wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet
They'll put you in a big black box
And cover you up with dirt and rocks

All goes well for about a week
And then your coffin begins to leak
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
The worms play pinocchle on your snout
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose
They eat the jelly between your toes

Then a big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out your eyes
Your stomach turns a slimy green
And pus pours out like whipping cream
You spread it on a slice of bread
And that's what you eat when you are dead!


I do apologize for being morbid. I finished reading Madame Bovary last night around 2 a.m., and all of my dreams revolved around dying a painful death after chowing down handfuls of arsenic powder. I swear, I woke up with the taste of ink in my mouth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

5 reasons it's amazing my brother and i survived our childhood

  1. In our early years, rusty old farm equipment doubled as playground equipment. Our grandmother lived on a farm in Odin, Kansas, which isn't even a blip on the map but is considered a part of Claflin, pop. 705. The farmhouse was built in the mid-19th century, and over the years the yard became the final resting place of combines, tractors, and other various and terrifying wheat-harvesting implements featuring man-sized blades and jagged pieces of metal. There was also a turn-of-the-century car in the process of being swallowed by the back yard with springs poking through the seats like craggy old fingers.
  2. Our games of cops and robbers involved "jewels" that were actually broken pieces of glass we found on the ground near the spot where my grandma burned the trash. As the robber, it was my job to "steal" these bits of glass and run back to my hideout before my brother or cousin caught me. In the event of a search, I would hide the shards o' glass anywhere - tucked in my hat, rolled up in my sock, taped to my big toe. Have you ever tried running with glass in your shoe? It'll fuck you up.
  3. One winter, mired in stifling post-snowstorm boredom, we decided that instead of real sledding, which didn't happen unless my dad pulled us behind his tractor, we would go "sledding" indoors by sliding down the stairs on the beanbag. This was great fun until my brother put his foot through the wooden basement door at the bottom of the stairs. I'm pretty sure the hole is still there.
  4. Sometimes we would decide to play "restaurant," which basically involved dumping random shit from the kitchen cabinets and the fridge into a giant bowl, mixing it together, and then eating it. These cooking experiments involved everything from raw eggs to shredded cheese to bread crumbs. This was also how I discovered the cruel joke that is Baker's Chocolate. It looks and feels like real candy, but it tastes like bitter arse.
  5. Cows. During the two weeks we'd typically spend on my grandma's farm each summer, we would throw dirt clods and skip rocks near the pond in the cow pasture. From a distance or while passing on the highway, cows appear docile and harmless, but that is not always the case. Up close, they're rather large and terrifying, especially when you're ten years old, and especially when they chase you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

hey douchebags: your stupid, trendy hair might be holding you back

In what local douchebags are calling a "dick move," NBC Action News reported last night that trendy hairstyles such as the faux-hawk may create a disadvantage for those seeking employment in a tight job market.

To paraphrase the report, your hair can tell potential employers whether you're an entitled, vain asshole who will drink too much tequila and sleep through his alarm three days a week.

"Whatever, man," says J.N., an Overland Park douchecanoe rocking a bleach blonde faux-hawk and a fitted white t-shirt with the word "sacrifice" emblazoned across the chest. "Silencing the haters is a full-time job."