Wednesday, February 25, 2009

: on half-birthdays

Today is my half-birthday. Today I am 23 and one-half.

Do y'all remember half-birthday-parties? They were an invention of elementary-school teachers for all of us poor suckers who had summer birthdays. And how grateful we were. Do you know how upset this little girl would have been if I hadn't had my birthday marked each year? The trauma may have made me a different person. So then, it's good that those teachers were such sharp-thinkers.

It's February 25, and the temperature is currently 73 degrees. And thank goodness. I hate the cold. I really really hate the cold. Especially that awful whistle of Arctic wind that comes through my bedroom window to blast on my face. Like one of those high-pressured compressed-air keyboard cleaners. On my face. So yeah, that's awesome. Even better? WARMTH!

Lucinda, our house cat, peed right in front of me this morning, while I was making toast. About the rudest thing that's ever happened to me. Only ruder was that couple on the airplane from Seattle to Denver (Seriously. How do they sleep at night?) I think I was about as upset with her as I would have been about not getting my birthday recognized in elementary school.

Oh, and I bet you're all wondering about how the murderous cuisine turned out last night. Well: to my IMMENSE relief, they were already cooked when I bought them. That, though, didn't save me from the horror of having to dismember them. Like I said, I've had crawfish before. But in the South. I think there must be something to that when-in-Rome philosophy. (I mean, I was persuaded to eat something that resembled pink mayonnaise in a foreign country once. And that's about as bad as it gets, right?) So, the last time I had crawfish it was sitting at a newspaper-covered picnic table surrounded by locals, shell and guts everywhere; there was something just right about that whole scene. It wasn't hard to snap critters in half and suck their brains out. So then, it was another thing entirely to be standing in my kitchen in the Midwest, still in my office-attire, manhandling crustaceans; something very different indeed. The whole ordeal was pretty bad. I won't go into too many of the gruesome details, but I will tell you that at one point I started screaming "Oh no! Oh NO! That's brains! Yellow-brains! Brain-smears! On my hand!" And I was so on-edge about the whole thing that when Dane knocked I thought the bits had reassembled and come back to life to have their vengeance. It was bad, babies, pretty bad.

The food, however, turned out AWESOME. Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee? SUCCESS! Crabcakes? DUH! I think I may just go to Jazz in the future, but I think I met the challenge head-on.

The finished product:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

: on cooking crawfish

Well, Happy Mardi Gras everyone.

Mardi Gras means all kinds of things: bright colors, extravagant parades, wanton debauchery, and OF COURSE, delicious food.

In honor of my friend Dane's departure to Nashville, TN, I'm making a Creole-feast for dinner tonight. And what Creole-feast would be complete without, you guessed it: crawfish?.

Now, I've had crawfish several times. Mostly the tails, and it always arrives cooked. On my plate, and usually simmering in buttery goodness. And being the adventerous cook that I am, I didn't really worry too much about the prospect of cooking them myself. So I called up Whole Foods, ordered a couple of pounds, and proceeded to search for recipes on the internet. Much to my horror, the directions kept saying things like "they must be alive when you boil them" and "discard the dead ones." Oh, Lord, forgive me. For I am about to murder.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

: on six-hour classes.

Seriously? Seriously. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Seriously! 

Like, come on, people. I think the grad-school planners must have figured a way to manage the monotony of teaching the same material year after year: mean-spirited nastiness. Because frankly, I can't think of any other way to describe a six-hour long class. Painful? Mind-numbing? Abysmal? Any of those would work too, I suppose. The fact that the material is actually interesting is negated on an inverse correlation to time-spent in the same seat.

But anyway. So here I am: numb-butted from sitting in the same chair for four-and-half-hours, when it's announced that we will be doing group-work. Ah, what joy is mine. This means listening to people who like to listen to themselves give irrelevant judgements on strategic board management; specifically, board-education planning. The next 30 minutes was spent counting backwards from ten in my head over and over again to calm my irritation as I listened to my groupmates try to yell over each other about anything and everything that they thought would best showcase themselves whilst mostly ignoring the scope of the assignment. For reals: I find your resume wholly useless to this task. I'm sure you are incredibly experienced in your various areas, and do your jobs very well, and stuff and things. But pleaseeeeeeeeee. So what happens? I every-so-gently try to steer back to the assignment, and get lectured like a kindergartner. So I work out the presentation by my lonesome while they take turns interrupting one another, which I read off to them three minutes before deadline and then they SERIOUSLY all say, "Wow! You nailed that. You need to be on a board, NOW." This statement was followed by a soft 'POP'- the sound of my head exploding.

Ahhh, grad school. I love you, but I don't have to like you right now.

Other things that are just AWFUL:
1) Having to google-search terms that my professor drops like acceptable English, during lecture, while taking notes.
2) 50-page reading assignments emailed the day before class.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

bologna sandwich.

I don't like bologna anyway. It's like the hot-dog of lunchmeats.

Here's how lunch played out today:

Co-worker #1 brings a bologna sandwich in a wonderbread container.

Co-worker #2 and I have already finished our burgers.

3 minutes later we are greeted with a rancid wave of smell like onions and cheetos marinated in mayonaisse.

Co-worker #3 walks in and says "What IS that?"

10 minutes later: The fan is on. I've covered my face with a scarf. I've gagged.

Co-worker #2 to Co-worker #1 "Your stale lunchmeat smells like a trail of tears [another term for crop-dusting, apparently]. And it's just not giving up."