Monday, March 31, 2008

Baked Chicken

with mustard and garlic; brown rice; roasted cauliflower. Highly delicious, all.

Friday, March 28, 2008


grilled. With brown rice and roof-lettuce salad. I went up to my long-neglected roof garden the other day to check on a potted tree we have just put outside again, and lo! Pots full of perfect heads of lettuce, obviously doing just fine without my care. Yum.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Inside Man (2006)

Sometimes On Demand turns up trumps. I vaguely remember when this Denzel Washington/Jodie Foster/Clive Owen thriller came out, but never seriously considered seeing it. What I forgot was that I should always see a Spike Lee movie if I can. The thing that's so great about Lee is that he clearly loves making movies. He is apparently only worried that each one will be his last; at least, that's how I explain the exuberance with which he stuffs them full of everything he can think of. In this case he takes what would, in any other hands, have been a slick, sort of interesting heist picture, and turns it into a wild tapestry. Lee's faults are his virtues. Sure, lots of stuff doesn't really cohere or go anywhere, but I don't begrudge a director a little messiness in the service of a fascination with people. The cop describing being shot by a twelve year old? Has nothing to do with the plot, illuminates a character with no particular relevance to the story, and meanders into a little dance about who is allowed to use what words in talking about race—and thank goodness! Lee has time for that cop and his story and his context and I couldn't be happier about it. At the end of the movie he puts together a montage of "The Players" which includes not only the leads but every last person the movie showed us; it's just marvelous. Also, Clive Owen is totally dreamy.


with shitake mushrooms, spinach, and tarragon. I don't remember if it was last summer or the one before when I discovered tarragon, but it is my herb. My usual procedure is to put it in something I'm making and then later, when I take a bite, think "good heavens! What is that extraordinary flavor?" and then remember: it's tarragon. We also had undercooked and oversalted quinoa.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lamb Chops

broiled, with rosemary and garlic. Accompanied by brown rice and broccoli.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TV Junkie (2006)

Friends, this is the end of my addiction film series. This documentary is put together from thousands of hours of video footage shot by a guy whose name I am struggling to forget. He documented more or less his entire life, including a career on TV, marriage, two children, and a crack addiction. Does one of those elements sound like a bad idea? It's hard to overstate how bad an idea it was. I was doing ok until, toward the end, we watch a fight (not the first, to say the least) between him and his wife, carried out in front of their weeping three-year-old, who is asking questions like, "why did you hit mommy, daddy?" To which the reply, "don't worry about it, she's probably gonna shoot me now." If you like pain you're going to love the child's eyes as he cries, "Why? I don't want to!" I finally got smart enough to fast-forward. The thing is, this is a man who really, truly, loves his family, which makes not the smallest difference as he puts them through hell. He ends up clean, lecturing high school students on the dangers of if that too, is likely to make even the smallest difference.


I know you'd never know it from this blog, but we have in fact been having dinner all along. But let's start where we are, shall we? Last night we had grilled cod (yum), brown rice, and sauteed shredded brussels sprouts. I'm not sure how adequately to praise that last; just slice the sprouts up thin and sautee in olive oil until they are pervaded with dark brown pieces, salt, and see for yourself.

Friday, March 21, 2008


It has been asked if socks are all I ever think about. The answer is no! I also think about brooches. Stay tuned.

Bernard and Doris

A request has been made for a non-knitting Enthusiast post (a request from a non-knitter, obviously; the guild of the pointy sticks can never, ever have enough knitting posts). And so grateful am I to have any readers at all, let alone ones with desires in re the blog, that I am cheerfully obliging! Here's what On Demand has brought to my life lately:

"The Interpreter": Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman in a draggy and predictable thriller.
"God Said Ha!": Early nineties Julia Sweeney one-woman-show about her brother dying of cancer right after her own divorce and diagnosis of cancer. Surprisingly funny!
"Postcards from the Edge": Meryl Streep playing Carrie Fisher post-rehab. Weird. Not terrible.
"28 Days": Sandra Bullock in rehab. Shut up! I love this movie.
"Bernard and Doris": Absolutley wonderful movie about how attractive money is, and how two addicts can be equally destructive and supportive of one another. Love the yummy Ralph Fiennes, even if we have learned he's a the ladies.

All these rehab stories led to Netflixing HBO's four-disc special on addiction, in all of its aspects. I recommend it, though it is tough to watch people struggle so desperately and fail so often.

OK, Naunihal?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Serendipity Socks

All in all a benign-enough looking pair of socks, yes? Ha! Technical challenges abounded and in the end, although they look fine, I can't bear to look at them any more. I have sent them off as a gift. C'est la knit.

Friday, March 14, 2008


See how the colors in the skein of yarn gather into long, downward-sloping bands of dark and light color? And how the same yarn, knit into a sock, assumes neat, narrow horizontal bands of color? What the yarn in the skein is doing is called "pooling;" avoiding that in the sock is a matter of achieving proper gauge, or number of stitches per inch. This is the first project on which I really understood that, and actively got it under control. Like most knitters I hate pooling (chiefly because the color pattern it creates looks ugly to me, and also totally obscures any stitch patterning you might be doing) but never knew what to do about it. Now I do. Problem solved.

Monday, March 10, 2008

An Apology to Michael Mann

Honesty compels me to admit that after trashing Miami Vice I couldn't get it out of my head and watched part of it again.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman & No Country for Old Men

How many people can say they saw those two on the same day? As for DMBW, what struck me most was that the nature of the heroine's dilemma (being left destitute when her wealthy husband walks out on her) doesn't have much to do with race. Good thing she immediately meets a handsome, loving, honest welder who teaches her to love again. The most racially charged part, I thought, was the movie's treatment of the church, which is integral to the lives and choices of all the main characters. I'd be surprised to see a movie with a white cast have religion play such a prominent role and yet not mark the movie as Christian in all of its marketing. Also, Madea was funny, particularly in the scene where she calculates what the heroine is owed for eighteen years of a difficult marriage. In re: NCOM—well, what do you think someone like me thought of it? I loved it with all the fervor of someone learning all over again what makes the Coen brothers the Coen brothers.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Miami Vice

An On Demand selection. A movie that boldly asks what "Miami Vice" would have been like sucked of every drop of camp and given license to curse. In a daring artistic choice, anticipating Mel Gibson's decision to film a movie in ancient Aramaic, the screenwriter chose to script the whole thing in contemporary Testoteronic. This language relies heavily on the near-grunt and springs to life mainly when there is technology to be discussed or threats to be issued while staring murderously into the eyes of one's enemies. It has no words for "humor" or "irony." Oops! Yes it does: "gay." The women of Miami speak it fluently, though their role in the movie is mostly limited to being put in grave peril so their boyfriends can show emotion by turning away and clutching their guns a little tighter. Rumor has it that Jaime Foxx and Colin Farrell weren't exactly acting when it came to the macho posturing, and it's clear that their role-preparation consisted mainly of staring lovingly at themselves in weight-room mirrors as their pecs swelled to lactative proportions.

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco's "The Cool" is the best album I've heard since "Hail to the Thief." It's thematically coherent, musically various, beautifully written, and performed by an absolute natural. I first heard Lupe on Kanye West's last record, I forget which song; but I don't forget hearing him. Lupe's part lasted maybe four lines, but I remember besieging a hip-hop savvy student the next day to find who that guy was. Apparently he was a Chicago unknown who accosted Jay Z on the street, demanding an audition right then (this must happen to Jay Z hourly, so who knows how much urban legend is involved here), and impressing him so much that he got signed. I don't know. But I do know that his album, which owes a lot to Kanye, is better than Kanye's—grasshopper has snatched that pebble and is off to the races.

Though I kinda hate to say publicly that I liked it this much, since the fanship of someone like me has to be the kiss of death for his record sales.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Orange Shoes

I made these after seeing the “Willow Lace” socks in the Church of Schurch group on Ravelry. (Ravelry! Don't even get me started. Imagine Facebook for knitters, only more sophisticated and less annoying.) The ribbed lace pattern never attracted me in the book, but it looked beautiful in the Willow Lace project, so I gave it a whirl in these socks for my daughter. Children’s socks are a wonderful way to, essentially, swatch a stitch you’re interested in, but (as here) the bigger stitch patterns really get lost. The color doesn’t help either, but I didn’t pick that. I always let my daughter pick the color in the usually-disappointed hope that she’ll actually wear what I make. These socks are historic, however, despite their flaws: they are the project on which I finally learned kitchener stitch. After trying and failing to learn it from multiple books I got smart and went to “” Two viewings of their perfect little video later and I can’t see why I ever thought it was difficult! (Though I am still a loyal fan of Lucy Neatby’s sock-toe chimney method.)

The excellent shoes are a gift from Grandma.