Friday, October 30, 2009

To Simon On the Anniversary of Her Birth

Dearest Simon: (on this, your 27th year, I give you a birthday ode in 140 characters or less)

I was alembic-- cogware to you! enringed! expedite! magazine-- morisco!


mimsy, peridot.


(much happiness to my bestest bucket)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ultimate Autumn Weekend: The Livestock Edition

I don't know why but everywhere I go now, I run into alpacas. Frankly, it's wonderful. This is Carhart, hereafter known by Ivan's suggested name: Warm Fuzzy Clothing. Warm Fuzzy Clothing thought he might be interested in his owner's oatmeal cookie, but in the end he realized he was mistaken and preferred to eat the hedge. Whatever makes you happy, Warm Fuzzy Clothing. Just as long as I get to pet you.

I'm not sure snakes are technically livestock, but here's one anyway. I screamed when I saw it, but only because I narrowly missed stepping on it and I don't like the idea of snake guts on my shoes. After I didn't kill it, I stood around and took pictures of it, and we made friends.

This is a picture of donkey's ears. I had a whole bit on "donkey's ears" being cockney rhyming slang for "years" (ex. "I haven't been to a movie in donkey's ears" = "I haven't been to a movie in years") but in the process of looking for a better sample sentence I came across some terrible terrible misunderstandings of this phrase on the internet and I was so horrified I forgot how to be funny. On WikiAnswers, someone asks "Is it donkey's ears or donkey's years?" and the only answer is "Donkey's ears. The ears of a donkey look really long, indeed." Right answer, wrong reason. Some other website I won't name says "donkey's years" is "a pun on donkey’s ears, they being long." Wrong answer, wrong reason. True, you could make sense of "donkey's years" by reasoning since that donkeys have a long lifespan, the saying must refer to a long period of time. But that's like Joey from Friends mishearing "moot point" as "moo point" and coming up with the alternative meaning that a moo point is like "a cow's opinion, it just doesn't matter." It gets the same point across, sure. But it's wrong. Same with "donkey's years." The saying is DONKEY'S EARS and it's COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG for YEARS and that is ALL THERE IS TO IT.

Ah. Nice to have that off my chest. Let's move on to chickens.

I always thought multicolored chickens were dyed after being hatched but it turns out they hatch that way after you inject their eggs with dye. To me this is akin to making cats glow in the dark, which I do not approve of. Why I would instead approve of putting animals through the traumatic process of being bodily dunked in dye, I can't quite say. Possibly because dyed chicks are more likely to carry salmonella and, well, kill you; or possibly because Lord Berners, a British composer whose biography I made many flyers for during my time as a marketeer, used to dye the pigeons at his house, and I always thought it would have been funny to watch someone named "Lord Berners" try to dye birds. Lord Berners also apparently had a giraffe. Sometime I should really read that biography.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Eye is Watching: Fall Beverage Edition

Along with my since putrefied pumpkin, I dressed up some apples for our carving party. It's important to have the right sort of ambiance at a fall get together, and the fact that we live next to a graveyard just wasn't creepy enough. So, inspired by this I made shrunken heads in cider. Digging out their little eyes and mouths was great fun.

But ultimately, I'm with Simon-- it is hard to cook when the food is watching you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It was all yellow... and slightly brown, with a bit of rusty orange.

Here follow photos (probably best viewed large) from my Ultimate Autumn Weekend, wherein you will see I spent a lot of time with trees.

I almost drove past this, and then my car involuntarily turned and I got out and involuntarily took pictures.

It was an exceptionally pleasant day.

Devil's Bathtub: everyone's favorite kettle pond from middle school field trips. What they should tell you first on those field trips is that the devil never lived here, but strangely, I don't believe the question of the devil's involvement was ever addressed.

This body of water is called Deep Pond, which, compared to Devil's Bathtub, is a disappointing name. There is another pond in this park called Round Pond, which is not round, and Lost Pond, which is clearly no longer lost as I got the name off a map. Obviously everything went downhill after Devil's Bathtub.

If you put your ear up to the bark you can hear the tree chewing.

I really think this could be an Anthropologie ad if it had a red velvet sofa next to a dining room table lavishly set for eight.

Next time: Livestock! Plus my newest alpaca friend, Carhart, who I can only assume was named by the same person who is responsible for Deep Pond.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I got home this morning and it's actually oozing. The horrors of a warm fall.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Possible explanations for why I do not excel at cooking:

I seem to get distracted.

Also, when The Eye is watching, it makes me nervous.

Too Far

I'm all for a few Halloween decorations-- we have some cobwebs on the porch and an assortment of decorative gourds around the apartment, but I have to draw the line at 17th and 6th, where someone has installed a life sized Freddy Kreuger holding a severed head on their very shadowy porch. Walking home at 4am is bad enough, but that special moment you think you've met a serial killer makes it so much worse.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Night Shift

I got the best package in the mail yesterday-- a 4am subway survival kit. It consists of a ray gun:

temporal alarm warning decals:and a rape whistle with a compass.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Which We Briefly Quote Paradise Lost in Support of Eve

I went apple-picking last weekend. You know what apples mean to an English major. That's right. Paradise. Oh, and the curse of the Black Pearl. But it all comes to the same thing.

Queen of this universe, do not believe
Those rigid threats of death: ye shall not die:
How should you? by the fruit? it gives you life
To knowledge; by the threatener? look on me,
Me, who have touched and tasted; yet both live,
And life more perfect have attained than Fate
Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot.
Shall that be shut to Man, which to the Beast
Is open? or will God incense his ire
For such a petty trespass? and not praise
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain
Of death denounced, whatever thing death be,
Deterred not from achieving what might lead
To happier life, knowledge of good and evil;
Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil
Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?
God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just . . .
(Book IX, lines 683-699)

Call me crazy, but I find this to be sound logic. Sure, you've got to question it when a snake starts talking to you, but what does Eve know? This is the first evil snake ever, and she doesn't even know what evil is. Why does everyone think she should have seen through this? Milton makes me so mad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zoom Feature

Interesting fact: Goats have horizontal pupils. This serves two purposes. It helps with peripheral depth perception and it freaks people out which is probably fun for the goats.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Word to the Wise

You might someday think it is a good idea to clean out your shower drain.

Don't do it.

Do not



That's all I will say on this matter.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My Hood

Ivan: So where do you sell your scones?
Bread Man: oh you know, Southside... Cafe Grumpy.
Ivan: Cafe Grumpy, I think I've walked by that-- is that the one with no sign?
Bread Man: yeah, no sign. Just a frown painted on the window.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


You might have thought my stories about Canada were over, but there's one more. To set the scene: my friend and I had just seen five plays in two and a half days, walked about eight hundred miles, and due to the early morning shenanigans in the hall outside the door of our room, and the shenanigans in the pool in the courtyard outside our window, we were somewhat under-rested. Right before leaving we'd been subjected to the most depressing play on earth. After driving three hours in a foreign country on unfamiliar roads in the dark, we had finally reached the American border. We handed our passports to the guy at in the booth, and proceeded to have the following conversation with him.

Where did you go in Canada?

What were you doing in Stratford?
Seeing plays at the Shakespeare festival.

You're actors?
No. We were seeing the plays, not performing them.

What do you do?
I work at a publishing company.

What about you?
I'm a writer.

A waiter?
A writer.

A what?

Where did you stay in Stratford?
The Nurse's Residence.

You're nurses?

But you were staying at the Nurse's Residence?
It's like a hotel.

The Nurse's Residence is a hotel? And you were seeing plays?

Could you pop your trunk please?

I couldn't tell whether he was very good at flustering potential nurse-actor-waiter criminal duos, or whether he truly had the poor listening comprehensions skills that he seemed to. All I can say is that even though I think he overreacted a bit, I still liked him more than the Canadian border guard, who gave us the dirtiest look I have ever seen and then heaved the biggest sigh I have ever heard before letting us into her country. Being suspected of criminal activity by the American guard honestly seemed more welcoming.

to do:

It's always nice to cross something off the list.
The Brooklyn Superhero Supply is my new favorite store.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Canada Has Awesome Stuff In It

Exhibit A: Marzipan in pleasing shapes

Exhibit B: Well-timed agricultural festivals

Exhibit C: Apples in sugar, fried (officially called Brit's Apple Frits)

Exhibit D: Interesting metalwork
This is from a large gate by the street which has a sign on it that says "Welcome to tir na nOg (Land of Youth)." After a bit of Wikipediaing I have learned that the Land of Youth is one of the Otherworlds in Celtic mythology. It seems to me like one of those places where you go thinking you'll have a fine time and then those tricksy leprechauns never let you come back and you end up leading a life of endless despair and misery because mortals aren't really supposed to be there. I guess Stratford lives on the wild side and thought a gateway to the Otherworld would be fun. I would be interested to see their Missing Persons file.

Exhibit E: Street performers
When a street performer has a good crowd, they're really fun to watch, and this guy was lucky enough to have a good crowd. I liked him, in spite of the fact that all street performers seem to share 65% of their jokes, until he put a balloon up one nostril and made it come out the other. I cannot handle that kind of thing. Gross. Now that I think about it I should have filed him under the "Weird" post.

Exhibit F: An entire shop devoted to tea and tea-related implements.
I have been looking everywhere for a simple tea strainer like they have in tea houses and where do I finally find one? London? Edinburgh? No. Stratford, Ontario.

Exhibit G: Designer cloud cover

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Canada Has Weird Stuff In It

Okay guys, the truth about Canada and the internet is that Canada doesn't NEED the internet because it has so much weird stuff ALREADY.

Exhibit A: Shipwreck by side of highway

Exhibit B: Dinosaurs by side of highway

Exhibit C: Black squirrels

Exhibit D: Deformed geese
Actually, this is a completely normal Brown Chinese Goose, in case you were wondering. The internet seems to be confused as to whether it is a male or female, which is why I should have bought that beautiful bird book I saw in that nice bookstore. Drat.

Exhibit E: Metal sheep with decorative ribbons
Sheep's milk cheese, incidentally, is quite good.

Exhibit F: Pavlova
Pavlova is a meringue dessert, served here with raspberry syrup. It is very fluffy, very sweet, and is approximately the size of your face. I ate about a third of it. This picture, incidentally, was poor to begin with, and then I inadvertently Photoshopped it to make it look like a grainy illustration from a yellowing 1959 issue of Good Housekeeping. Oops!

Exhibit G: Grievous misuse of punctuation, which is, after all, the internet's chief export
I'm seriously considering sending this to The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. To be fair to the signmaker, the floor was actually not slippery at all, so perhaps the quotation marks were ironic.

Tune in next time for the things Canada has in it that are awesome.