Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7/23/12 - The Day Before Vacation

Things really came together in a good way. I'd been really wanting to see "The Dark Knight Rises" and to make peach gazpacho. When Helene messaged me to see if I wanted to see a movie and have a picnic in Barnsdall Park, all of a sudden I had a perfect opportunity to do both. It was kind of last minute, so I had to throw it together in a hurry, but I finally had some good ripe peaches, so I had a good feeling it would come out well. I looked at a few recipes for inspiration, but I definitely did my own thing. I would say I most closely followed this recipe,  http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com/2012/06/peach-gazpacho-and-ginger-peach-sorbet.html although it's hardly recognizable. I took a few peaches and blanched them to get the skins off.

Then I blended them with a couple of incredibly ripe heirloom tomatoes and a peeled cucumber. I added some raw garlic and onion, but I used very little since those things can be a bit powerful. I had so many jalapenos left over, I went ahead and threw one of them in. I also used a little bit of the dried ~nora pepper I got at La Espanola. The recipe called for balsamic vinegar. In the future, I think I'll use white balsamic, just because the dark stuff really affects the color in a not-so-nice way. After adding a left-over roasted red pepper and some ground almonds, I decided it was done. I garnished it with some avocado, and plated it up nice in a tupperware container to go.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

7/21/12 - A Birthday in Burbank

I went to yoga for the first time in a couple weeks. It was wonderful! But hot!

After that I went to the Silverlake farmers' market for peaches and tomatoes. I'm totes making that peach gazpacho before I leave for Virginia!

Then I went to the Edendale Library to feed my addiction to Spanish movies. The fun thing about the public library is that there's usually at least one homeless indigent hanging out outside, and yesterday was no exception. The fun thing about Echo Park is that I usually run into someone I know, and again, yesterday was no exception. I ran into none other than Geordie McElroy of  Blackwater Jukebox fame, and we chatted for a good while about music and related topics.

I went home for a bit to work on Sunken Ships material until my voice lesson. My upper register has been so f-ed up for the last couple weeks because of this lingering not-quite-sickness. It's super annoying. But Carla helped me work it out a bit. Next to my car, I found this:

Probably left by one of the homeless guys from the library. I'm pretty sure that's their personal motto.

Afterward, Alex came over, looking like he was going to a party on a yacht, and we had pie and coffee. Then we did something that will shock you: we went to Burbank, and not to shop at a chain store, we went there to hang out on a Saturday night! My friend Jason turned 30 yesterday, and his chosen venue was Burbank Bar and Grille. This makes sense. He's a red-blooded American. It was actually a lot of fun, and I took the opportunity to eat a sinfully cheesy plate of nachos. Then came the drama. Our waitress was confusing the bejesus out of us by demanding a credit card per 4 people, but not to pay the bill, just for security or something. I've never had to do that before. So we asked if we could just go ahead and pay. I don't even know how long this took because I left cash and bounced after a half hour. By this time the absurd cover band had taken the stage, and were playing disco hits with synchronized dance moves. It was just too much. Did I mention this place had a bathroom attendant? I can pump my own soap and get my own paper towels, thank you. I'm not tipping you for monopolizing them. Sorry.

That had should be a crime

Ah Burbank, I haven't missed you.

7/20/12 - Life's a Beach

Not much to tell about Friday, other than I had a great time, once again, with my girl Becky, down in the South Bay. I went down around noon, and we rode bikes up to Hermosa, where there was a volleyball tournament, and coincidentally lots of tall muscular guys strolling around. We took a look around, but decided we shouldn't ogle on an empty stomach. We had tasty arugula and quinoa salads at American Junkie, which sounds more like a place to buy jeans than greens, but the salad was good. We resolved to come back during happy hour.

We went back to the volleyball tournament, where games were underway. We watched a couple of matches, but wearied of the guy who kept loudly swearing every time the other team scored. It just so happened to be after 3 by that point. Oh look, it's happy hour! So we went back to American Junkie and took full advantage of their $3 dollar well drinks. I think I had three vodka lemonades. And grilled corn with cotija cheese and chile powder. I love elote! We probably could have called it quits at three drinks, but where's the fun in that? Becky knows everybody at Silvio's, so we went there for 1/2 price caiproskas. A watermelon mint caiproska really hits the spot on a hot day. JT, the bartender, had the most amazing color eyes I've ever seen occur naturally. I kind of couldn't stop staring because he was such a curiosity. Is that rude? Probably. 

Silvio, the owner, was there hanging out with some pals, and he came over and complimented me on my tattoo. My first unsolicited tattoo commentary! He hooked us up with some free Silvio's beer coozies. Go us.

After 1 1/2 caiproskas we were well tipsy and the tournament was over, so we BUI'd (that's Biked Under the Influence) back to Becky's where we chatted about work and boys and dreams for the future until I was in a condition more suitable for driving back to LA.

Nothing's wrong when you're at the beach.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

7/19/12 - If you forget to blog about it, does that mean it never happened?

I realized with alarm just now that I'd forgotten to write my blog yesterday. So there was no entry for Thursday. I was so confused. "Wait a minute, today's the 21st, and my last entry is the 18th? What happened to Thursday, OH MY GOD!" It's traumatic, thinking you've been abducted by aliens, or perhaps glamoured by vampires into forgetting an entire day of your life. But then I remembered that I went to Jessie's on Thursday, where there were no vampires, only cute things like cats and a baby and Jessie.

Bebeh! This little dude fell asleep in my arms for about 20 minutes like a drunken koala. Cute!

That evening Rickett and I paid a visit to Raymond Richards, the guy who produced Local Natives' "Gorilla Manor." We drank bourbon, played his amazing guitars, and talked music. I tried playing upright bass for the first time! Not as hard as I thought! That guy has some seriously drool-worthy gear: plate reverb and tape echo and a Marxaphone and and and yeah...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7/18/12 - Cherry Pie and a Hangover

I woke up with a hangover. Too much fun with April the night before. I grabbed a coconut water, a scone, and my laptop and got back into bed, until, ehem, 11:30-ish. I chatted with Becky for while, then I made myself some tea and cleaned the kitchen. I spent a good long time going through my little song journal, playing my guitar and singing in my hoarse end-of-cold voice, revisiting a bunch of songs I've been neglecting for a while. I write some good shit.

A song I wrote in February. I was sad. Maybe you can tell.

I had to do something to get "Hot Knife" out of my head. Seriously, I'm obsessed with that song. It really grows on you.

My travelogue of Spain is taking a little longer than expected. I have the book now. I printed out the photos from Madrid - this time editing more carefully - and weeded through the ones from Barcelona. Otherwise, this book is going to end up wedge-shaped.

Just you wait. I haven't gotten out the ticket stubs and ephemera yet!

I've had 3 pounds of cherries in the fridge, just waiting to be made into something wonderful. So I finally got around to making them into a pie.

The lattice looks a little sad. I didn't have quite enough dough left, but I didn't let that stop me.

We had a Sunken Ships band meeting at 9 at Public House. It turned out to be trivia night, so perhaps not the quietest environment to talk business, but we are a band. We're kind of used to loud noises.

I was hoping Alex would be out of work by then so I could load him up with scones, but alas, more scones for me. There are worse things :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

7/17/12 - Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

The direction of my day started with a misheard song lyric. I was listening to KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic while doing some errands. I love it when Jason Bentley is on vacation. Gary Calamar was filling in, and just killin' it with the playlist. So Fiona Apple's new song came on, and it took me a minute to decide if I like it or not. I decided I do. It's called "Hot Knife," and it starts, "If I'm butter/If I'm butter/ If I'm butter than he's a hot knife. He makes my a heart a ____________/something something bird of paradise." Now that blank sounded a whole lot like "cinnamon scone" to me. Maybe it's the connection with butter. Anyway, there I was, in my car driving through the construction on Rowena, and I started fantasizing about dense buttery scones dusted with cinnamon and sugar. So Fatty McGee here just had to make this manifest.

I settled on this recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/03/sweet-cinnamon-scones/. She calls for 3 cups of flour, which I had to substitute. I used 1 cup almond meal, 1 cup brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup each potato and tapioca starches. The joys of gluten-free baking. It gets colorful.

Wet and Dry

You want to roll your dough out into a disk. This is a big recipe. That's a big disk!

Your supposed to cut it into pie slices, but it was so huge, I had to get creative. I like my little pattern. It looks like something you'd see on a quilt.

See you in 20 minutes!

Scone + Earl Grey = BLISS

I was also inspired to listen to more Fiona Apple, and thanks to Spotify, I listened to her entire discography, including "Extraordinary Machine," which I had never bothered with before. Check out "Hot Knife" though. For real.

By the way, according to elyrics.com, the lyric is not "cinnamon scone," but "cinemaSCOPE." Whatever.

After cleaning up my scone mess, I made an attempt to do a little yoga, but I wasn't at 100% energy yet, so I abandoned the effort halfway through. I played my bass a little bit and did some goofy sounding vocal exercises. It feels funny, but it works!

I took the Metro Downtown to go to a talk at the Central Library. I love Downtown. It feels like a real city! And the Central Library is so beautiful. The event was a panel of chefs with restaurants Downtown, moderated by Evan Kleiman (who I love!). I showed up and swaggered on over to the door, only to have one of the staff ask if I had a reservation. I looked at the website (http://www.lfla.org/event-detail/747/Flavor-Forward-A-Taste-of-Downtown-LA- by the way) loads of times, and I never saw anything about reservations! And I was looking for that! She put me on the standby list at number 26. I figured it was a bust, but I hung around anyway, just in case. While I waited, I looked at the little exhibit in the lobby. They had all these cool old maps of LA. This one was my favorite.

I know it's a terrible photo, but it's so fun and colorful. There were all different kinds of maps from different times; from the 1870s through the 50s. It's interesting to see what's still around, and what's gone (RIP Ambassador Hotel).

As luck would have it, I did get into the talk, which made me very happy. Evan asks great questions. The chefs were all very different in their background, but seemed to share an enthusiasm for local seasonal food. John Rivera Sedlar was saying that his restaurant has just installed an aeroponic garden on their roof. How cool is that? Ricardo Zarate was very funny and cute. His story about working at a Benihana in London, speaking almost no English was great. I've been wanting to try his restaurant Mo-chica for a while. I guess I'm going to have to make that happen. In fact, his was definitely the cuisine I felt most interested in. Ilan Hall, chef/owner of The Gorbals, was interesting and funny as well. I've always thought the hype around his restaurant was a bit gimmicky. Bacon-wrapped matzo balls - good one, Ilan. I get it, you're turning the culinary world on its head with your diverse influences. I have to say though, after hearing him talk, I have altered my opinion. I'm not into the whole nose to tail meat thing, but I respect it, and I respect that he's doing something kind of adventurous and new. Not to mention, he was an early adopter as far as opening a high end restaurant in Downtown.

My favorite part of the talk was actually a question from an audience member: "What was the most memorable meal you've ever had?" The answers were so emotional and unexpected. Ilan Hall's was in the Phillipines, a numerous course tasting menu prepared for him and one other chef by a man who owns a chain of fast food restaurants. Judy Han's was at a small restaurant in the Horse Ear mountains in Korea with her family with trillions of fresh vegetable banchan. Patricia Zarate remembered getting a bowl of hot chocolate from a mercado in Oaxaca when she was backpacking as a young woman. Ricardo Zarate (no relation, by the way) told another great story of getting Soroche or altitude sickness hiking in the mountains in Peru when he was 16. A little kid took him to his mother, who fed him this transcendent soup that he can still taste in his mind, but has never been able to recreate. Evan Kleiman said it was the seafood from a little shack in Ensenada that she had on a recent trip with friends. This is why I love food. It's so much more than sustenance. It's love, it's memories, it's discovery, it's comfort. It was wonderful to hear what these well-known well-heeled chefs found most memorable. John Rivera Sedlar was not specific, but he said Tijuana for him is THE gastronomic destination. He later said Spain is the new Tijuana. Ironic? He's a funny guy.

Following the panel, they had an opportunity to taste something from each of the panelists' restaurants. Mendocino Farms was a sandwich, so I skipped that. So was Homegirl, skipped that. Mo-chica offered a little montadito with I think quail egg and some kind of salsa verde. It was delish!

Rivera had a little bite of shrimp on a potato chip with some kind of spicy salsa/relish which was also really tasty.

I skipped The Gorbals offering - well for one thing it wasn't ready, but - mostly because Ilan had mentioned it involved bone marrow. I'm not down with that. Here's Ilan and his empty plates.

Feeding frenzy!

Above the fray

I love the city at night

After that, I walked down the the Library Bar, where I met up with April, and a gentleman who's name I don't recall who very generously shared his chorizo sliders and edamame with us. He was perhaps excessively flirtatious, but we let him buy us a glass of wine, and then we boogied out of there to get to the show. Yes, there's more. I'm a busy woman.

We rode the Metro up to Hollywood and Western. I'm glad the train is handicap accessible and all, but did the guy in the wheelchair really need to carry one of those catheter jugs of his own urine around unconcealed? Ah, public transit.

Turns out Harvard and Stone is awesome. What a great place to hang out on a Tuesday night. Yes it's full of hipsters, but those are my people, and I'm not ashamed of that. And the band was wicked good. Do yourself a favor and check out Herbert Bail Orchestra. It's like Arcade Fire meets Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes meets Devotchka. Yes!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7/16/12 - Sick day

Even the unemployed take sick days. I felt like garbage, so I slept in, checked out another Almodovar film from the library, and stayed home in my pajamas all day. You're jealous. I know. Alex inspired me by example to make a physical travelogue/photo album/scrapbook of my trip to Spain, so I spent a long time printing pictures. Two thoughts on this: 1) I hate the connotation that "Scrapbook" has now that "scrapbooking" is an obnoxiously commercial pseudo-hobby. 2) I don't know if there's something wrong with my printer, or if digital cameras nowadays calibrate their color for computer screens, rather than prints. I printed tons of pictures, trying to edit, and I still only got through Barcelona. I also realized I didn't have a suitable book to bind it all up in.Well that just had to wait because I was not leaving the house.

In between all this printing, I came upon a recipe for peach gazpacho. The recipe itself didn't seem quite on the mark, but I very much like the prospect of peach gazpacho, so I'll be trying that just as soon as I get my hands on some good peaches. Yummers!

I did do something in the kitchen (besides the dishes). I got a wild hair to try making some almond milk, so I blanched some almonds and put them in some water to soak until the next day.

I spent some quality time with my Hofner. I'm so happy to have it back, fully strung and unbuzzing. The G-string is ever-so-slightly different in texture than the others, but that instrument is still just so beautifully easy to play. I feel like I'm really crystallizing the new song. I've been messing around with the piano part at Alex's over the last few days, and I'm really excited about what's coming together. I was messing around with the preset instrument sounds on his keyboard, and I've decided the song may need strings as well. I'm out of control, I know. I can't wait to record it!

My loafing was interrupted by Alex around 6:30. He was home from work and wanted me to come over for dinner (aka make dinner). I was really loathe to get out of my PJs, but I decided maybe it was worth it. We walked to Trader Joe's and got a couple things. We saw this on the way home.

Yikes! What do you think their circulation is like? Better than LA Times? I'm surprised "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" would choose to advertise with them. Seems a little controversial. Seriously though, I hope this sign isn't a harbinger of the second coming of the Son of Sam.

Safely back at Alex's, I made some GF pasta with leftover Cantimpalo and romesco sauce, plus some baby zucchini heirloom tomato.

It was pretty good, but the Cantimpalo and romesco together tasted a little like mustard. Meh, not bad for a quick and easy dinner. And it was a pretty good companion for "Los Abrazos Rotos," yet another Almodovar film. I love them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Flashback! Jessie's Baby Shower

Going to April's bridal shower yesterday reminded me of another shower for a special lady I know. In late April, about a week after I returned from Europe, Rachel and I threw a baby shower for my BFF, Jessie. We went for an afternoon tea theme, sophisticated and super-girly. It was a bit of a challenge because Jess was not only pregnant, but is also diabetic. So no alcohol, no caffeine, very little sugar; those things were obvious, but there were some other things I never would have dreamed of. Non-pasteurized cheeses, agave nectar, way more herbal teas than you'd think, even cold cuts and cured meat! The cake was a real puzzle. Turns out there's just no good way to substitute sugar for a pregnant diabetic. Artificial sweeteners are no good, and agave could hurt the baby. Palm sugar, coconut sugar, and their ilk are still sugar. What's a girl to do?

A little careful label-reading and a Google search or two sorted it all out. There's plenty of safe teas and pasteurized cheeses. We decided to forgo the charcuterie for plentyof veggies and fruit. Then there were the scones with clotted cream, lemon curd, strawberry jam, or marmalade. Those were not low sugar. Neither was the cake. Turns out just a little sugar is ok for special occasions :)

I love a chance to get out my dishes!

The tea station

A little champers for the un-pregnant!



We had a couple activities besides eating. Jake and Rachel made up a cute little "Guess the Baby Daddy" game. In case this sounds distasteful to you, understand that the choices were between the baby's actual father, Indiana Jones, Cookie Monster, and various other fictional characters. We each got a dossier of a potential daddy, and had to describe him, make him sound like the best choice, but not reveal his identity. Jessie had to pick the one that sounded like the most desirable candidate. She, of course, correctly identified Drew, and picked him, but for the sake of fun, we had her choose a runner up. I'm happy to say, she chose my candidate, Nathan Drake: video game hero and inspiration for the baby's middle name. Go me.

My favorite thing (besides eating) was decorating onesies. I bought a bunch of different onesies and some fabric paint, and had everyone personalize their own. I was so happy with the results!


During. There's me!

After! My favorite one is Alyssa's at the top right. I did the two in the top left. I was going to write "Ahoy Motherf*#ker, but I decided maybe that was in bad taste.


I did a really bad job at taking pictures, so thank goodness for Liz, who took some of these (the good ones!). 

We Skyped with Jessie's mom while she opened her presents, which was fun. It was a little buggy with my semi-dysfunctional laptop, but I was glad she got to be there for part of the festivities anyway. My mom was actually there in person, coincidentally. I was really happy with how it turned out. I'm ready to throw another one. Who's next?

7/15/12 - Cleaning up

The unfortunate thing about making a wonderful dinner is that eventually you have to clean up after yourself. Usually I wait til the next morning, although it's always a nasty shock to sleepily stroll into a filthy kitchen when all you want is a cup of tea.


Luckily, I have an Alex. I patiently waited for him to sleep off his hangover, then I put him to work.

He did a beautiful job on what was truly a herculean task. He's the best. I made coffee and pan con tomate. And I dried.

After finishing the best coffee ever made, he skipped off somewhere, and I got dolled up to go to my friend April's bridal shower. 

The shower was absolutely lovely. April's sister, Allie, sure knows how to throw a good party. She made up a couple little games: April trivia bingo and "What's in April's Purse." I thought that was so cute and clever. My favorite part was that April wasn't sure about some of the answers to the bingo questions about her...well that, and the Babycakes cupcakes :)

I would have loved to go to Family Dinner, especially because it was the observance of Drew's 30th birthday, but alas, I have a cold. The last thing I want to do is get the baby or either of his tired parents sick, so I had to sit it out. Alex isn't afraid of my cooties though, so I went to his place, and we ate leftover Spanish cheese and Cantimpalo and watched "La Mala Educacion." It was a good movie, but whew, it earned its NC-17. I love Almodovar though. I feel like watching his movies is helping me learn Spanish. La buena educacion!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7/14/12 - Preparo La Cena

I didn't do much of note for most of the day. I went to the Silverlake farmers' market and got some lovely heirloom tomatoes from Tutti Frutti Farms. I impulse-bought a head of elephant garlic. I had to! It was just so big!
Then I went home and cleaned the house. That's the trouble with having guests - you have to clean up before they come, and then again after they leave. I guess it's worth it in the end. It did feel pretty good to have the place looking so ship shape.

I was running a little behind getting dinner ready, so I laid out some aperitivos: tetilla and manchego cheese with dulce de membrillo (aka quince paste), sliced Cantimpalo sausage, and jamon Iberico with crostini. It was a nice little spread of goodies from La Espanola. I was particularly excited about the jamon Iberico, a cured ham made from acorn-fed Black Foot pigs. It's expensive, but I sprung for a small amount just to try it. It's pretty tasty, but I think next time I'll stick to the Serrano. It's not so different.

For dinner, I made tortilla de papa y chorizo with romesco sauce, Catalan-style spinach, and pan con tomate.
Turns out tortilla Espanola is pretty easy to make. I may have let it cook too long on one side, but other than that, it was a breeze. I followed this recipe (kind of), but I felt like their directions made it seem difficult, when it was actually anything but. http://spanishfood.about.com/od/tapas/r/tortilla.htm

The romesco sausce turned out awesome. That's another thing that kind of sounds complicated, but isn't. You basically just put all the ingredients in a food processor. Done. If you want to follow a procedure though, here's the recipe I used. http://spanishfood.about.com/od/sidedishes/r/romescosauce.htm  I will say that some other recipes call for smoked paprika and/or nora (I wish I could get the ~ over the n) pepper, and I heartily suggest adding both, to taste. Forget measurements. Some even say the nora pepper is the secret to perfect romesco. I used piquillo peppers to supplement the roasted red pepper, but that's probably not necessary. I just figured since I had aquired them, I might as well go for it.

Espinaca Catalana is spinach with apples, pine nuts, raisins, and shallots. http://spanishfood.about.com/od/sidedishes/r/romescosauce.htm It's pretty good, but I think next time it needs a little citrus or perhaps a more flavorful green to add some kind of contrast to the sweetness.

As for the pan con Tomate, it's hard to go wrong with bread browned in olive oil, spread with delicious ripe tomato.
Brice with the spread before him, soaking in the ambience.

So the meal was great and all, but the part I was really excited about was dessert. I think I may have mentioned yesterday how over-the-moon I was to find mato del Pirineu at La Espanola. I discovered this exotic little dairy wonder when I was in Barcelona at a diner called La Granja Viader. They serve mel i mato, Catalan for "mato and honey." 
That's me in Barcelona with a hefty slice of mel i mato for breakfast. I'm a little overwhelmed.

So here we go, the highlight of my evening, my very own mel i mato, with fresh fig.

Hot. Damn. 

We finished off the evening with some bourbon. Some of us more than others. In fact, Alex is still sleeping. A good time was had by all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

7/13/13 - Knocking it Out of the Park

It was a big day. I harassed Rickett into getting out of bed and going downtown with me to see Thao and the Get Down Stay Down play for free in California Plaza at noon.

We were going to grab lunch at Starry Kitchen, but they make all their noodle dishes with linguine noodles, so that kind of knocked out all the options for me. Seriously, what kind of Asian restaurant uses Italian pasta? Kind of disappointing, really. We got salads from Mixt instead. Their salads sound good, but boy are they stingy with the goodies. Lots of greens, not much of anything else. Thao was great though. I really enjoyed her and her band.

After that I kidnapped Rickett away to Harbor City, where I was finally to visit the Shangri-La of Spanish food in Los Angeles: La Espanola.

What? Doesn't that look like Shangri-La to you? Ok, so it looks like an industrial park. That's mostly because it is, but inside...

Inside is this charming little market with all manner of olive oils, wines, olives, almonds, and cheeses from Spain, as well as a huge selection of Spanish-style sausage made right there in the building under the label Dona Juana.  It almost brought tears to my eyes, I swear. I was greeted in Spanish, which tickled me pink. I'm such a sucker. 

I was sorely tempted to buy a lot of things, but I edited myself. I ended up with a modest haul of jamon iberico, crushed nora pepper, cantimpalo, queso de tetilla, and the thing I'm the most thrilled about: mato!

I was so thrilled about mato, that I bought two. You may wonder what mato is. Hell, the guy at The Cheese Shoppe next to Trader Joe's didn't know what it was. It's not easy to find. Mato is a soft Catalan farmers cheese with no salt, no tanginess, just the natural creamy sweetness of the milk. In Cataluna, they put honey on it (mel i mato), and I'm telling you, it's to die for. I cannot wait. Tetilla cheese is kinda fun, mostly because its name means "little breast," referring to the shape. The top right of the above photo shows about an 1/8th of said breast. I am very very excited to make Saturday night's dinner.

To tide myself over/wallow in my Spain-o-filia, I watched "Volver." I still love that film. Alex doesn't like it, and I just don't understand. Have I mentioned how much I love the production design? I enjoyed trying to understand without reading the subtitles. I'm just going to have to watch more Spanish movies. Maybe it will improve my language skills.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, Alex and I went to the Skirball Center for Into the Night: Playtime, a sort of grown-up game night. It was really fun. We met up with Franco and Helene. There was a craft area where we took silly photos, then decorated frames for them.
 There was a video game lounge with games created by UCLA students. There were also some people walking around with arcade game consoles on their backs. There was an over-sized board game area with big Jenga, Connect Four, Chinese and regular checkers, and Twister (which was actually regular sized). My favorite thing though was Sea Wolf. I love that band. They played a couple of new songs, and that made me a happy happy girl. Geographer was good too, but they can't beat Alex Brown Church. ABC, you're my FBD.

Friday, July 13, 2012

7/12/12 - A Game-changer

The day started out ordinary. I listened to the mix of "Are You Really Gonna Be Mine" on my computer, then through my headphones, then through an external speaker. It sounded good except for my vocal performance. I could definitely do better. That was kind of bumming me out, and I was already feeling a bit low. But no time to dwell on these things. I had to get on the road to Fullerton.

What on Earth would I go there for? Well, my cousin, Ben, is coaching a soccer camp there, and since he can't really get off campus, I decided I'd just come to him. The drive wasn't bad. It was smooth sailing right up until the exit before on the 57. I listened to the song on repeat in the car. Definitely not digging my vocals. My mood started to take a nose dive. Fortunately, as I was waiting for Ben's group to break for lunch, I got a call for work! Now these things are nevercfor sure until you sign a deal memo, but I have a start date, and that makes me very happy! Game-changer! With my outlook much improved, I went on an unusual culinary adventure: a college dining hall. Cal State Fullerton calls their's The Gastronome. It was pretty decent. The salad bar was solid. There was green and Earl Grey tea available. The dessert station had a very tasty coconut pudding and some fully ripe plums. I noticed an impressive waffle station, and felt nostalgia for my days at William Paterson when I ate waffles for almost every meal, because everything else at Wayne Hall was gross.

It was wonderful to see Ben, and get a chance to catch up. We talked soccer, politics, music, movies, and chatted about his wedding plans. His will make my 4th wedding in Wisconsin in about as many years! We went into the dorm, and I met a couple of the other coaches. Then we took my car off res to a convenience store for Vitamin Water, Gatorade, and various other specialty beverages. It was about time for Ben to get back to the kids, so I headed back to LA.

I picked up my basses at The Fretted Frog. The fiscal damage was mitigated somewhat by the discovery of a lone flatwound G string that meant I didn't have to buy a whole new set. Fixing the intonation on my Danelectro proved to be a bigger job, and the bridge had to be modified, but my new pal Colin didn't charge me extra for it, bless him.

I was right next to the Edendale Library, so I decided to pop in and check out a couple of DVDs. You'll never guess what I got: "Volver" and "La Mala Educacion," both Almodovar films, both in Spanish. I'm on a kick, what can I say?

My friend, Bowling, is moving and getting rid of some stuff, so I took his microwave off his hands. I've been assured this microwave's dedicated popcorn button is perfectly calibrated. I'm sure it's better than my current model, which has a knob...and that's it. The trip was made even more worthwhile by this photo opportunity.

David poses in front of the Decepticon Ambulance

That was about it for the night. I was going to go to the KCRW thing at the Hammer Museum, but everyone I know has a "job," aka "somewhere to be at 7pm on a Thursday." It was (strangely) raining anyway, so I just went to Alex's and watched him make an omelet. I promise the next day will be more interesting.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7/11/12 - More rock'n'roll

I got up kind of early (for a bum), and went to yoga class - my last one in my Groupon. Serious sad face. I love going there so much. After yoga, I went by The Fretted Frog with both of my basses. You may recall a couple weeks ago that I broke brand new string on my brand new Hofner. Fortunately, I knew my local music store had the strings because a human being called and told me so. Unfortunately, for some reason they were closed for two weeks, so I couldn't get it taken care of until now. My Danelectro just needed some intonation adjustment. It's weird to have both instruments in the shop. It's not like I have a show in the next couple days, but it still makes me nervous. Like, what if there's some sort of bass emergency? I can't imagine what that would be, but you never know. You never know. Maybe it just feels weird to have that chair in my living room actually available for sitting in.

There she is! The bass, I mean.

I played some guitar and thought about vocal melodies for "Are You Really Gonna Be Mine," since we had studio time booked later. I looked into a couple of music licensing companies, then decided I better get a lawyer's opinion on the contract before agreeing, so I sent it to Anna. I'm still on a Spain kick, and I'm really in the mood to cook some Spanish food, so I looked around a bit for recipes. I think maybe I'll do a Spanish meal for my next cooking video.

I showered and did some vocal exercises (which I'm sure my neighbors really enjoyed). Then Rickett came over and we went to our recording session. We ended up doing a lot of mixing, comping my vocals, and figuring out the texture of the various guitar parts. Christian, who's studio we were using, was super nice and accommodating. And he has some really cool toys. Anyone ever play a Moog Taurus? Awesome!

After consuming about 1/2 a pound of almonds between us, we got down to recording back-up vocals. It didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but I think we ultimately got something good. We finally left around 12:30. Poor Rickett had to work early, but you know, that's rock'n'roll, baby. Sometimes you gotta go to work tired.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7/10/12 - Ups and Downs

It was a low-energy day. I was in the grips of some serious inertia, and then I got some kinda bad news, and it just really set me in a bad state of mind. I decided hiding in my apartment all day was the best way to handle it. I had my last piece of clafoutis for breakfast with a scoop of my apricot ice cream. Sometimes food therapy is a good thing.

I spent a long time looking at pictures from my trip to Spain and thinking about how wonderful it was, and how much I want to do more traveling. I was going to write one blog entry about my whole trip, but I realized that was crazy, and I narrowed it down. Check it out: http://rosehastimeonherhands.blogspot.com/2012/07/7912-flashback-culinary-adventures-in.html 
I was feeling so inspired by my little trip down memory lane, that I figured I'd just better write another for good measure. 

I watched the finale of Season 9 of "Project Runway." It made me cry a little, I admit. I know this is old news, but my favorite designer won! I made some more flax crackers. This time I added pepitas, smoked paprika, and lime. They turned out really tasty!

I also took my second stab at plum butter. This time I used much sweeter pluots. I bought them ripe, but I've been ripening them even more in a paper bag on the counter. They are juicy!

Again, I blanched them, and removed their skins.

Again, I put them in a saucepan. This time I didn't need to use a knife. I just sort of squeezed them off the pit. I didn't even need to add water!

I ended up adding about a 1/4 cup of agave because it was still just a little too tart. Then I let it simmer and simmer and simmer.

This time it ended up a gorgeous deep burgundy. I had enough for two and a half small jars, so I canned 2 and kept the half to eat now.


Now I'm going to brag for a minute.  Not only did I make some kick-ass plum butter, but I have the best boyfriend in the world. I was watching "True Blood," waiting for my jam to finish cooking down, and feeling a little sorry for myself, when Alex called. "I'm home," he said. "How would you like to come over? I can draw you a bubble bath, pour you a glass of scotch, and read you poems while you relax." Truth be told, I had been in my pajamas all day, and was feeling a little attached to my sofa, but really, who can resist an offer like that? So when the plum butter business was all wrapped up, I put some real clothes on and drove my butt over to Alex's place. He greeted me with a glass of Ardbeg, neat, and had already drawn the bath, complete with lavender bubble bath. Then he said the sweetest words ever: "Want to order gluten-free pizza from Lucifer's?" My boyfriend read me the "Tao Te Ching" while I soaked in a bathtub and drank scotch by candlelight. Then we ate pizza. Life is good.