Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Like the name of a girl I used to teach.
A sausage I love so dearly pronounced in such a screwy way that it quite literally chaps my completely-dead-from-sitting-here-all-afternoon ass.
This is all I have to say:
You, sir, can suck it.
Oh the things that peeve me.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Someone writes a blog with seven random facts about him/herself. Then, at the end of the blog, he/she tags seven people by listing their names. These people then need to write their own blogs with seven facts about themselves and these rules stated clearly. It is also required that you leave a comment on the new tag-ees pages, telling them they have been tagged and that they should read your blog (though I'm sure they do already).
1 - I wrote a book when I was 14. It was a religious thriller. Something akin to an R.L. Stine/Frank Peretti love child. Scary indeed (take that any way you like).
2 - As part of a writing assignment in 3rd grade, I had to write a letter pretending to be a soldier. I wrote this faux letter to my cousin Kevin. It made my mom and teacher cry.
3 - I keep a "bullshit book" in which I jot down paper ideas, strokes of inspiration, scenes for novels I might write someday, and passages of fantabulous quotes from books I like. Right now the bullshit book is a plain red journal, but as soon as I fill this one up, I'm moving on to a journal Amanda A. sent me that says "Trailor camp tramp" on the front (pulp-inspired).
4 - I like writing at night. I'm always a loon at night, so those pages tend to be the best.
5 - I just wanna get published!!! And, according to every writer's advice, that is a horrible, pointless goal that will get me nowhere.
6 - I have trouble writing something focused and decent every day, but I do write *something* every day. According to every writer's advice, that is a very healthy and fruitful practice.
7 - I hardly ever back up my work (on a CD, jump drive, etc.). It will certainly bite me in the ass one day.
Bookfool, Heather F, Amanda A., Courtney, and three more people who want to play with this meme.
P.S. There's a new post at Estella Scribbles with a link to a very interesting article about a group of successful authors who can't live off their writing. Depressing, but surprisingly upbeat given the focus on writing as community.
The long weekend was full of writing, reading and quite a bit of driving (although, technically, I was just a passenger). While I need to be writing...a lot...I've been reading a lot instead. I finished Poe Ballantine's book of personal essays, 501 Minutes to Christ. On the heels of that fantabulous book (review forthcoming), I took the time to dive back into Philip Roth's The Human Stain, which I've neglected for far too long. I got it half-read last summer, and for some reason I never picked it back up, even though I LOVE the writing. I'm happy to say that I'm almost finished with it now, and I love it just as much as I thought I would.
I'm not sure what I'll read next. I have an ARC of a young adult novel called Marie, Dancing, and I'm eyeing Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy.
In the meantime, enjoy the pics I took of our fish pond. B. and I (easy on the "I") built this pond about three years ago. The fish are the ones we originally put in all that time ago, and they've gotten BIG since I was here last. I need to get a better pic of our really big orange koi. I'll add that to today's to-do list.
Click for a bigger version and you'll be able to see some of the fish. This pond is right off of the front porch, so I often perch on the railing and watch the fish and the frog fountain.
I was really excited to see this white water lily pop up last week. The year we built the pond and planted the pretties, nothing grew. I was a little bummed to see that this cute little flower had disappeared when I stepped outside to go get breakfast this morning. B. says they only last about a week.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
In other news, I've now gotten 2 freelance gigs!!! Woot! Here's to hoping for more in the future.
I'm off for now. I might be around later in the weekend, but if not, happy Memorial Day, everyone!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday I tripped off to Wilmington for a visit to downtown to take pictures for the June "Book Tour" feature at Estella's Revenge. Be sure to give it a look when the new issue comes out on June 1st because I found some freakin' fantastic independent bookstores. That's one thing I love about Wilmington as opposed to Dallas or another metropolitan city, it's small, it's artsy, it's progressive, it's a university town, and indie booksellers can actually survive there. I was delighted by the places I found and the people I met, and I think I might've found some new hangouts.
Today has been filled with blowin' and goin'. I woke up at a leisurely 8:30, but since then I've grocery shopped for tonight's Moroccan Chicken and Lentils (recipe below), mailed a bunch of review books for ER, cleaned the bathroom, did my 30 minutes of cardio, weeded the whiskey barrels out front and planted some flowers, cleaned the kitchen, scoured the freelance ads for new gigs, and finally I'm nestled back in bed with the laptop catching up on my bloggy reading and getting ready to apply for some of those freelance gigs I found this morning.
In an attempt to supplement my nonexistent income, I'm writing A LOT. I just finished a flash fiction piece for a writing contest, and I'm getting ready to whip out some more short fiction for contests. Not to mention the aforementioned freelancing. I've gotten one gig, and I'm waiting to hear from some others.
I suppose I've bored you long enough, so here's the good stuff: pics I shot in Wilmington and a recipe for that Moroccan Chicken and Lentils that I mentioned earlier.
One thing I love about downtown Wilmington is all the little marketplaces on the main drag. This one is called Chandler's Wharf. It has several shops inside, but my favorites are a great art gallery and a kickass shoe store. Unfortunately I can't afford any of the shoes they sell inside.
This cute little courtyard is part of the Cotton Exchange, eight historic buildings converted into a multi-story shopping and dining extravaganza. There's a hippie store, bookstores, a shop dealing in everything Celtic, and did I mention the food (German, American, seafood, etc.)?
I spent most of my time in the bookstore and browsing in the hippie store, but I will certainly go back and pilfer their goodies again. I would've loved to try the German cafe on the Water Street side, but I was there on Monday and it was closed.
And finally, all of this gorgeous goodness is located right on the Cape Fear River. This is one of my favorite views, and this one actually came from my car. I parked at a meter on Water Street and got 2 hours for a buck. Given my penchant for bookstores, I was able to hit up two of them for pictures, browse for myself, and walk Front and Water Street. I hit up some of my favorite shops:
Out of Eden Soaps - This is an amazing little store with THE best-smelling soaps and lotion bars I've ever found. I bought the Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap and lotion bar, and I cannot stop smelling myself. It's a little awkward in social situations, but if they smell me then they understand, too. Out of Eden was featured in the March issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine, but I'm proud to say, I FOUND 'EM FIRST!!!!
I'm also a fan of Ladybugs, a store inside one of the cute little markets I showed earlier. While I can't find a web site for them, if you're ever on Front Street in Wilmington, check 'em out. Their entrance is right off of the street. They sell lots of cute little house things and they have THE BEST candles I've ever tried. They're just little votives, but they last forever and smell amazing.
Moroccan Chicken and Lentils
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cans of lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I used tenders) chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (garnish)
1. Dressing: Add the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, garlic, cinnamon, and salt to a blender bottle or jar with a tight lid. Shake until ingredients are well combined. Set aside.
2. Chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add onion and sauté until dark brown and soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and sauté 2 minutes. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Add lentils at the last minute, just to heat through.
3. I pour the "dressing" over the chicken while it's still in the pan and let it sit for a few minutes to soak of the flavors. Plate, top with parsley for garnish, and you're ready to go!
I make a few changes to this recipe when I make it.
- I'm not a huge fan of cinammon, so I put it in the dressing but don't use it in the chicken mixture.
- I make the dressing as far ahead of time as possible so the flavors marry nicely.
- I use canned lentils instead of dried (that the recipe originally called for) so that I don't have to go through the whole boiling process. It cuts the cooking time down by probably half.
- I'm also not a huge fan of using all of the dressing called for in this recipe, so I half the dressing recipe. That adds just enough of a sweet, vinegary kick for me.
Monday, May 21, 2007
The little town where I live looks much the same as it did when I left. Pictured above is Front Street. Not sure when that particular pic was taken...1800s I'm guessing. Anywho, it still looks much the same. There are more gas stations and traffic lights, but the bones are there!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
- Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
- People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
- At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
- My mom worked in accounting for a Fortune 500 company for 24 years. I need a calculator to figure out what day it is.
- I hate sweating more than almost anything I can think of in the world. Which makes it terribly ironic and somewhat stupid that I've lived in Texas and North Carolina all my life. Both are hot and sticky.
- When I'm sad or incredibly bummed, one of my first instincts is to buy a birthday cake. Because I love cake, and birthday cakes are synonymous with happiness.
- My eye has been itching since lunch yesterday. I'm almost ready to pluck it out.
- My favorite typo ever was to an ex boyfriend when I was in college. I tried to type "kiss on the nose," but it came out "kiss on the hose." Oops.
- In elementary school I once tried to get my friends to stop calling me Andi and call me Nikki...since my middle name is Nicole and it sounded much cooler at the time.
- When I worked at a grocery store in high school a drunk man asked me to "come home and cook this pizza for me, baby." I threw the pizza at him and told him to have a nice day. My boss just giggled.
- After almost two and a half years of blogging, I may be running out of random facts about me.
If you'd like to do the meme, leave me a comment and lemme know so I can go over and read your answers!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
My original post has been wiped away because it was so boring I drooled on my keyboard and electrocuted myself. A few bits about me and my day so far:
- I got up early and worked out. Afterwards I got right back into my jammies and I haven't left my bed since.
- I have an afro.
- I'm writing a chick lit short story for a new site I found (that pays). The story has a duck in it.
- I'm waiting patiently (yeah right) to hear from community colleges to which I applied.
- I bought the new Avril Lavigne CD yesterday in a fit of buyers pissedoffedness as a result of their not having the Incubus or Maroon 5 CDs I wanted. That's $15 I'll never get back.
- My reader's block seems to have passed. Review of The New Yorkers coming up in the June Estella's Revenge.
- I like cheese.
Thank you, and good day.
If you're interested in the comment about the short story and the duck, click HERE and read my latest Estella Scribbles entry.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
*Note: Pictured above, the ever-so-square secretary from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But you, cool reader, already knew that, I'm sure. She looks stunned by indecision doesn't she?
Friday, May 11, 2007
Booked By 3 Meme:
Name up to three characters...
1. ....You wish were real so you could meet them:
Hmmm, hard one....
Parvana from Parvana's Journey, by Deborah Ellis. The young Afghan girl in this book was so brave and delightful. I'm sure there are far too many just like her who have endured more tragedy than anyone should ever see. I enjoyed teaching this book in particular as a way to examine the other side of war--the one the media doesn't want us to see. The one in which civilians bear the brunt of senseless fighting.
Liesel Meminger of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, (stole this from Bookfool). She's a book addict, and what's not to like about that? Not to mention, she's unique and brave and all-round wonderful.
Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. He's dreamy. 'Nuff said.
2. ....You would like to be:
Bella from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight...except slightly less ditzy and clutzy. She gets to snuggle up with Edward. Rawwrrr.
Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, but only if Mr. Darcy looked like Colin Firth. (Stole this one from Bookfool.)
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. So, she's a little uptight, but she's smart and gets to do cool magic.
3. ....Who scares you:
Damon, one bad mofo vampire from L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries.
Anyone from Pet Semetery, by Stephen King. I quite literally could not read it all the way through because it freaked me out SO bad.
The house from House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski), it was bigger on the inside than on the outside, it was cavernous, it grew and moved and ate people.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
While the bulk of the horror is over, I still have a few odds and ends to wrap up:
- Guest lecture about comics in two of Bethany's high school classes tomorrow (looking forward to this one)
- Finish the paper for DO's class (almost done)
- Go to the stupid writing "science fair" today at 4:30 (decidedly not excited about this task)
- Finish the very few revisions required on my thesis before I send it to my committee tomorrow (did half last night)
- Sometime I need to clean out my office and my storage building and decide what's staying here and what's going to NC (likely later in the week this week or next)
- Housesit for DO this weekend (also known as take care of her 3 sweet puppies and swim in her very accommodating pool)
Other than that, there isn't much going on, and I fear my brain is becoming a bit mushy. I stood for a good 10 minutes gazing into my closet this morning largely unsure of whether or not I even wanted to leave the house. I had errands to run, missions to accomplish, checks to deposit (yay!), but I stood, and I stared, and I called B. to tell him that I was standing and staring, and then I cooked a yummy lunch, and I'm right back here in bed because I don't HAVE to be anywhere until 3:45 or so. I have books to read--yummy nummy books--jobs to apply for and some napping to do. I'd much rather do the latter 3 than the formers before them.
Procrastination much? Oh yeah. I'm the queen.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
My computer has become more of a journal than any bound volume could've ever hoped. I can type much faster than I write. In light of this simultanous compulsion to write and total lack of consistency, my computer has lots of little bits of me floating around in it. I write snatches...thoughts that seem particularly poetic or promising. Blips of frustration. Collections of mild insanity. Since I can't sleep, I was reading through some of my niblets and found a diatribe on writing short stories.....
I don’t particularly like short stories. They’re premature novels…brain puffs that never got loved into life. They’re the angsty teenagers of the literary world standing bold and defiant amidst authorities but really longing for love and maturity. Maybe I’m just bitter because I’m no Flannery O’Connor or Annie Proulx. I’m not even a second-rate John Grisham or Dan Brown. Maybe I’m just mad because I don’t think I have a good short story in me. A friend says we all have one novel in us. I happen to know I have four novels in me, but short stories…I don’t feel those knocking on the inside of my head antsy to be loosed upon the world. The novels are insistent. Bratty even. They claw and scratch and scramble. Short stories don’t whip themselves up in my head. They don’t jump around like magic beans..
I feel like I should write short stories. Shouldn’t I crawl before I walk? And that’s a cliché I wouldn’t put into a short story unless it was a particularly naughty one that I felt needed punishing. If I wrote a short story I’d want it to be gritty. Completely unlike me in every visible way. I would step half out of myself. I would put the academian aside and embrace my past. The one I don’t think about too often. I would embrace my upbringing. The one that most “refined” people would hope I’d find embarrassing. The Texas’ness in me. The street dances and the rodeos. The smell of cow shit globbed on the foot rail at the stockyards. Grease and rocks and fried fish. Baby rabbits in shoe boxes—a surprise from my grandpa. Crawfishing with bacon on a string, my grandmother chasing my cousin around with a cigarette in one hand and a flyswatter in the other. “Y’all” and “yesterdy night” and horses and trail rides and thunderstorms. The dirtiest, most precious station wagon on the planet. Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Sr., and Big Red soda. My ancestors would kick my country girl ass for calling it soda.
And then I went back to work on a short story that I've left languishing, loveless for a year or more.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
In its place we are entering a period of consequences."
-Sir Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936
To locate your nearest recycling or Household Hazardous Waste Collection center, as well as electronics recycling, to find out beach water quality, tips for preventing air pollution, and simple things you can do to save energy (among many other resources), visit Earth911.org.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
First, the restaurant one:
The rules:1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you.
Include the city/state and country you’re in.
Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.
3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.
The Tip of the Top!
If you're in Texas, you have to have bbq, right? The best bbq around can be found at Ernie's Pit Barbecue in Greenville, TX . This little joint is about 7 miles from my house and with convenience comes a big ass because I could eat this stuff for-e-ver. Ernie's is a simple place with brisket, brisket, brisket and sides. And if you drop off a brisket and $9 they'll smoke it for you for a holiday gathering and even provide the sauce. We've done this for a number of family functions, and they're meat is always amazing.
As many of you know, if you've been here for more than about 5 minutes, I love Indian food. Love actually doesn't even begin to cover it. The Clay Pit (locations in Dallas and Austin) was the restaurant that got it all started. It's contemporary Indian cuisine and has a great atmosphere. My favorite thing to eat there is the seafood grill, a mixture of grilled salmon, white fish, and prawns over a bed of roasted onions served along with basmati rice. Everything is served family-style, so it's a great place to go with friends, order a mountain of food, and share off of each other's plates.
If you're in Texas you also have to eat the obligatory Tex-Mex cuisine, my favorite of which comes from a small now-chain that started in Texarkana, TX--TaMolly's. One of its first locations, once it branched out, was Greenville, TX (again, right down the road). They have THE best Mexican food around, and it's where I take all of my friends who might be having Tex-Mex for the first time. TaMolly's has a large menu with all the staples: flautas, enchiladas, quesadillas, and nachos that will blow your socks off. No wonder it became a chain!
Another favorite place, also located in Dallas and Houston is Fadi's Mediterranean Grill. First, I have to just say, they have the best baba ghanouge I've ever wrapped my lips around. I even like it better than the hummus, and that's sayin' a lot. It's a gorgeous but still casual restaurant where everything is served up cafeteria-style, and it's not even scary! I like to order the big sampler which is, literally, a little of everything. Dips, breads, every veggie on the line (and it's an extensive line) and a hefty serving of the day's meat specialty (usually a choice of beef or chicken). Fadi's is the only restaurant that ever made me think I could be a vegetarian. Their veggies are just that damn good.
Last, but certainly not least, is one more Texas favorite...catfish! Ole Whiskers is a buffet that started small and has now ballooned into a chain. For about $10 you get all-you-can-eat fried catfish, grilled catfish, chicken, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, salad, soup, bread, onion rings, fries, baked potatoes, etc. Everything on the buffet, in other words. It's just a huuuuge selection. And to keep costs low, they're only open Thursday-Saturday. It's certainly busy when the doors are open, but it's worth fighting the crowd!
With these luscious goodies in mind, I tag:
One book meme comin' up!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
And, of course, all I need is another blog. I started one to chronicle the ups and downs of this writing thing. It certainly won't be taking over the role of this blog, but it does have far fewer uses of the word "fuck" and fewer embarrassing stories about bodily fluids, running around in my underwear and other tomfoolery.
In other words, I can let people I know read it!
HERE it is.
I had a real post in mind, but I'm starving (damn South Beach) and I have a shrimp and spinach salad on the way from Applebee's, so I'll be back in a bit.
Oh, and if you see mistakes, just don't tell me. The site hasn't been unleashed upon the world yet, so I still have time to edit it, but right now I'm tired and beginning to wilt.