Wednesday, March 19, 2008

dinner time!

I'm not much of a cook - in fact I'm pretty sure that the only thing I really, truly know how to create is ramen. Other than that, anything I try to create from a recipe in a cookbook always turns out strangely unlike what I think it probably should be. Nevertheless, this weekend is Easter - and while the meaning of the holiday holds no religious bearing upon my soul - I find it's a time when family can get together and enjoy some delicious food.

My brother will be home from college and as a family we'll enjoy going out to some nice restaurants, and ultimately capping the weekend off with a nice Easter Sunday dinner at home. I've decided this year that I will take some initiative and put together a recipe that I can help cook and we can (hopefully) enjoy. I've done a little research and will be concocting some grilled lamb chops with tzaziki, a summer salad and minted couscous.

Meat & Marinade

3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsely
2 tbsps dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
2 racks of lamb, each cut into 6 chops
1 lemon, squeezed for juice
course sea salt

1. To prepare lamb combine garlic, parsley, dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper together in medium mixing bowl and smear on chops. Cover and let marinade for at least an hour.
2. Just before grilling, season lamb generously with course sea salt. Grill on high heat, 2-3 minutes on each side, including fat side. Squeeze lemon juice over chops while cooking. Remove from heat and let rest.

Summer Salad

2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
1 bunch asparagus, stringy ends peeled
1/2 pt grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin and soaked in cold water.
olive oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut asparagus into 1 1/2 inch lengths.
2. Add asparagus to boiling water, cook until spears are crisp, about a minute. Add zucchini and cook for only one minute.
3. Strain asparagus and zucchini; plunge immediately into ice water or rinse under cold running water.
4. Transfer to medium mixing bowl; add tomatoes, sliced red onion, olive oil and salt to taste. Set aside.

Minted Couscous

1 cup couscous
1 cup water
2 tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup chopped mint
3 tbsps flaked almonds, toasted
juice and zest of half a lemon
salt and papper to taste

1. Bring water to a boil. Pour over couscous; cover and let stand 5 minutes
2. Fluff with a fork and stir in mint, almonds, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.


2 cups greek or whole milk yogurt, drained
1/2 medium english cucumber, peeled and grated
pinch of salt
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
handful chopped fresh mint
coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Hang yogurt in sieve or fine mesh strainer over medium bowl. Let stand for at least one hour, letting excess liquid drain away.
2. Very lightly salt grated cucumber and let hang in same manner.
3. Combine thickened yogurt, cucumber, garlic and mint in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

And there you have it! Here's what it *should* look like...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

preamble ramble

I woke up today feeling good - like in a good mood. I actually sang in the shower. It's sort of a rarity these days, mostly related to a lack of interest in my current job. And by lack of interest I mean I want to get the fuck out of here ASAP. But this post won't be a rant about what exactly it is about my job I hate so much. That won't get me anywhere.

Instead, I'm going to use the time that I should be getting shit done at work to put down a short top 10 of those things that are currently giving me hope, or that I'm looking forward to, or simply make me smile. Let's begin.

1. The Rockets. We're on a 22-game winning streak. Best in the West. I have kickass seats to the game tonight against the Celtics. Awesome.
2. Tornados. Now I know that sounds weird - but I like them. I doubt I would like having one destroy my house, but they bring excitement into my life.
3. Sandwiches. I love sandwiches - probably all types. I had a roast beef and horseradish one at Brown Bag Deli today for lunch. It was delicious.
4. The prospect of getting a new car. It might be happening. Soon.
5. St. Patty's Day. Yes, it was yesterday but for me St. Patty's Day lasts an entire week. I still have green on today. And I will tomorrow.
6. My new puppy. I think he was birthed by the Devil, but I still love him. He's really cute.
7. Radar Detector Deterrent Detector Deterrent Detector Detector Deterrent...Detector............Deterrents. So much technology.
8. Television. In general - because to name off my shows this season would take a while. Here's a few. LOST. The Riches. John Adams. The Soup. Well, actually maybe that's it.
9. The Fam. Cause they're always there for me and don't ask questions.
10. Obama. An embodiment of the direction I want for our country.

In closing, I submit to you some of my favorite mc, Slug

Friday, March 14, 2008

new ink

Felt spontaneous this week and went to get some new ink at Scorpion. Check it:

Obviously played off the Coca-Cola logo, but designed this myself. I'm digging it.
Will post more pictures when I actually have time to use a real camera instead of a crappy phone one.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

i've got love for the french

mostly within non-mainstream music and the european club scene, the french have emereged as leaders of a new electronica revolution. paris seems to be producing some of the most innovative and experimental artists in the world. i've compiled a brief introduction to the french invasion below, via youtube of course...

DJ Mehdi feat. Chromeo "I am Somebody"

Justice "DVNO"

TTC "Travellier"

Kavinsky "Testarossa Autodrive"

Mr. Oizo "Flat Beat"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

what's going on here?

sure, fashion can be strange or exciting or different or inspring or any other adjective you can think of... but i came across these photos from some recent Galliano runway show and, dear god please don't tell me this is the future of women's clothing...

unless of course this is a tribute to Dr. Seuss's The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins in which case, bravo.

ghostland deliciousness, please? maybe not

perhaps my favorite series of shows in a while has been the 6 or 7 ghostland observatory performances i've stumbled upon in select cities around the south. this band puts on a damn good show - i mean spectacular.

so for all the hype over the past year or so, it's no surprise that their follow-up to the first two amazing albums Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat. and Paparrazzi Lightning would probably not live up to expectations. and in fact the assumption were true. this third album, Robotique Majestique, is lacking, well, anything original.

recently, Pitchfork called Aaron Behrens - Ghostland's pigtailed and besunglassed lead singer - "the latest in a long line of supplicants to Freddie Mercury's throne" - a jab at Behren's high-pitched wails and, well, lack of anything else. as a fan of Ghostland's work, when i first listened to Robotique Majestique i could tell that they were really, really trying. like really hard. too hard. much of the album - nearly a third in fact - are awkwardly-composed instrumentals that seem to try and emulate the reinvention of daft punk, the 2006/2007 french electronica movement, and conjure up all things Ed Banger (Justice, DJ Mehdi, SebastiAn, DSL, etc.). all innovative and interesting - last year. previous albums have been lyrically focused - incorporating the necessary dance beats and soul-blazing rhythms that make them a good listen and a great show. Robotique just didn't hit the mark. honestly, the track Club Soda on Ghostland's new album sounds almost exactly like Busy P's "Rainbow Man." come on - not only did Busy P do that first - but he's also Daft Punk's manager, garnering slightly more credibility that a disco-pop band out of Austin.

i guess every band needs a "sophmore slump" album of sorts. still, i'll go see them live any chance i get.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Post primary reaction / cough drop hell

Hillary Clinton is a waste of space.

I was elected as a delegate to the senatorial district something or other convention on march 29th

It could be 80 degrees or snowing outside for all I know because I've been holed up in a conference room without windows all day.

It's probably not good to eat 47 cough drops in one day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Get ready, Texas

Throughout the past six months or so I have been feeling a deep passion towards politics, as I'm sure much of the country has as well. Living in Texas we don't usually hear the words "swing state" or "important" in reference to our nationwide political sway. We are a red state. We've always been a red state, and for the most part will always be a red state -- but I see a little purple creeping in.

The primaries -- an oft-forgotten and overlooked pre-election election that only those truly committed politicos actually exercise their voting rights for. I personally had never voted in a primary until this year, and I imagine that 80-90% of Texans are in my same position. And on top of that I don't think I had even heard the word caucus since my U.S. Government class my senior year in high school - and even then it meant nothing to me.

As Texans we do most things differently and I would propose BETTER. Now don't start blaming all Texans for George W. or big oil or mexicans - there are too many of us to make a generalization. We're an incredibly diverse populous - but we all have one thing in common - WE LOVE TEXAS.

However, one thing we do NOT do a good job of is the primary. I'm pretty positive that we haven't changed our rules and guidelines on voting since the Alamo. It's an incredible confusing and intricate process that basically takes someone of great patience and intelligence to explain, let along understand.

Let's break it down real quick.... and by quick i mean welcome to confusion....

The Texas Democratic Party sends 228 total delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Of those delegates, 193 are pledged and 35 are unpledged (superdelegates). The Party uses a combination of two processes to select delegates and determine how they will be allocated to each presidential candidate. The Party uses the results of the primary process to determine how 126 of its 193 pledged delegates will be allocated to each candidate. The Party uses the caucus process to select its delegates and also to determine how many of the remaining 67 pledged delegates will be allocated to each candidate. Many states require that candidates receive at least 15% of the total votes to receive delegates. The Texas Democratic Party only applies this requirement to the primary process and the final step of the caucus process since those are the only two occasions in which the Party allocates delegates to candidates.

Recap: Welcome to the "Texas 2-Step" - First you vote in the primary and then you caucus. However, no one has any idea what a caucus means let alone why you would need to do it. Let's continue...

The Texas Presidential Primary is an open primary - which permits participants to vote for candidates in any one party, regardless of voters' party affiliations.

Recap: A common misconception is that in Texas you affiliate yourself with a specific party when you register to vote. False. You become affiliated with a party when you vote in a primary. You are then affiliated with this party for 2 years - meaning that you must vote within that party during subsequent primaries in that 2 year period. However, you can still vote outside your party during a general election - such as the election in November.

The Primary (for 2008) takes place on March 4th. Polling places are open from 7am - 7pm. Once the last person in line at 7pm has voted in the primary, the caucus (or precinct convention) begins - normally around 7:15pm. Participation is open to anyone who voted in the primary. You sign in and provide proof that you in fact voted in the primary by signing an affidavit. Then you vote for the candidate of your choice.

Recap: You're basically voting twice. This may seem like a huge inconvenience and you may miss the beginning of American Idol, but this is the way our system works. Now if that's not strange enough, get ready for the confusion!!

At each caucus (there are 8,247 total in Texas), participants choose precinct delegates that will go to the county and state district conventions. The Party allocates one precinct delegate to each precinct for every 15 votes that were case in the previous election - in this case it's the 2006 gubernatorial election starring Chris Bell (he didn't win).

Recap: During the caucus you are picking some people to attend another election-type thing at the end of the month. However, you're not picking people based on this year's election - you're picking people based on an election that happened 2 YEARS AGO - where there probably wasn't a very high voter turnout. So, if you're living in a small town in Texas and you've gotten every single person to come out and vote because you feel so passionate about it - you're only going to be able to have as much say in the county and state conventions as your peers had initiative to come out and vote in the last election - which probably wasn't very much.

OK - well that was my attempt at making our crazy election process a little easier to understand. I'm looking forward to tonights results after I caucus! Go Obama!

here's to you, internet!

Yes, the time has come.

I'm giving up and starting a blog.

While I haven't actually decided the theme, concept or purpose of my pontifications, it's all happening nevertheless. Initially I would find great pleasure in crafting my blog around my love of music. But I'm easily bored and often lack the stamina to keep up with the daily influx of the new post-punk or brit-rock or underground hip-hop phenomenon who was just discovered in some dingy after hours nightclub in LA or Paris or Berlin. Plus, I have a job.

Granted, I'm at my job right now penning the first entry of my new online journal - completely unrelated to the work that I actually get paid to do.

So before I go back to slaving away in the underpaid, high-stress, corporate rat race jungle be on the lookout for this blog to capture my prowess of cultural commentary, essential mind-altering youtube discoveries, and basic tomfoolery.

I leave you with my favorite piece of modern cinematic genius ever produced.