It’s time for a day off. My brain is getting fuzzy, and I’m making so many silly, sloppy mistakes at work. Luckily, I’ve got a day of no students on Friday (meaning yoga pants) and a birthday trip to Chicago next week.

It was a pretty mellow week: I cooked like a mofo, had a lunch date with an old friend at the very-delicious Hola Arepa (the yuca fries are crazy-good) and had what is maybe my new favorite donut from Glam Doll, which was tragically only a weekly special (the pecan pie.)

So, I dunno, my boyfriend and I were talking about Gogol Bordello for reasons I don’t remember, and we talked about WHY HAVE NEITHER OF US EVER SEEN THIS BAND? And then he went home for Gamer Geek Night, and I listened to Gogol Bordello the rest of the day.



Here are some important facts.

1) Macaulay Culkin is in a band.

2) It’s a Velvet Underground tribute band.

3) It’s pizza-themed.

4) I saw them with Har Mar Superstar on Saturday.

5) The crowd reaction was mixed, but I had the weirdest, most fun time.

6) Har Mar brought Macaulay back during his set. They covered a song by the Association. They slow danced. Har Mar lifted up Macaulay and spun him around, “Dirty Dancing” style. And they frenched.

7) The crowd reaction to that was NOT mixed.

When I was a little kid watching "Home Alone" for the billionth time, I just never imagined my life would never come to this.

When I was a little kid watching “Home Alone” for the billionth time, I just never imagined my life would never come to this.

This being said, I did NOT download any Pizza Underground. I don’t think I want to listen to them unless they’re standing right in front of me.

Is the fact that I’m on a Leonard Cohen kick anticlimactic now? Blame The Holy and the Broken for that.

There’s more to life than books…

By the end of October, I should have been up to 95 books, and I was at 94. The end is in sight, friends. I think next year I’m not going to try to read 115 books. But damn, I feel pretty smug knowing that I read almost as much in a month as the average American reads in a year.

The October reading list:

86. That “10 hours of catcalling” video came during a month where I was already predisposed toward some man-hating because of Class Action. I saw the movie (North Country) a long time ago and I only remember that a) there was a bar scene where they played “Lay, Lady, Lay” and b) I was angry about how the Minnesotan accents came off. Again. (If it had taken place anywhere else I wouldn’t have missed the point.) The book made me very squeamish and disgusted with humanity. Again.

87. I finally hitched up with the zeitgeist of 2009 and read The Hunger Games. None of my students were even impressed, because they’ve moved like three dystopia trilogies past.

88. I find Elizabeth Wurtzel insufferable, so I’m always kind of disappointed by not hating her books. Prozac Nation.

89. Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell is about Bowie, Iggy, and Lou, so you can probably surmise what I thought of it.

90. I LOVE GARY SHTEYNGART. My Shteyngart-sighting cylinders are all on go whenever I go to NYC. (It’s never paid off.) Publisher’s Weekly named Little Failure one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2014. Good job, PW.

91. After you’ve read The Road to Wellville, you’re never going to look at a box of Corn Flakes like you did before.

92. When I bought Tenth of December the clerk got really excited and told me how much she’d loved it. She was right. I adore short stories, and should read them more. “Victory Lap,” the first story, instantly catapulted its way onto my list of all-time favorite short stories.

93. I’ve read all of Mary Karr’s memoirs now, with Cherry. I just did it crazy out of order. I think I would have liked Mary Karr if we had been in high school together.

94. I felt kind of like I was reading a doctoral dissertation when I read The Holy or the Broken. How many pages can one fill on the topic of a single song? I did not listen to “Hallelujah” a single time while I read this, and now I alternate between wanting to listen to every single version mentioned in the book, and never wanting to hear it again.


I have been working so many 50 hour weeks lately, and my brain is so consistently asdfpgouh;rk that I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

Pretty sure it’s not Tuesday, though. Anyway.


This is my hometown. My boyfriend and I were there to see my parents over the weekend. Suffice it to say, it is precisely the opposite of New York City, especially New York City in the ’70s. BUT I’ve been reading a lot about NYC lately, specifically about the Factory and glam rock. (My Amazon order today included a biography of Edie Sedgwick.) There’s been a lot of Velvet Underground in my house, and a lot of Stooges.

Last summer when I went to the Bowie tribute concert someone played “White Light White Heat” and I was kind of confused until about halfway through, because I was pretty sure that wasn’t a Bowie song. It was not, originally. It was another thing he stole from the Velvet Underground, which sounds very pejorative, but I don’t mean it that way, because, you know, David Bowie makes no false decisions.

The original is awesome. The cover is equally awesome. And you need more Ziggy in your day.

Salmon chili

I don’t think I’ve ever made white chili before. I guess I still haven’t. The co-op was out of the eggplant called for in the Passionate Vegetarian recipe I was attempting to make, so I invented this instead. To call it by its color would make it seem like an entirely different dish than it was: peach chili, or salmon chili. It included neither of those things.

Chili isn't a photogenic food.

Chili isn’t a photogenic food.

However, it turned out to be pretty awesome, and so I’m going to post my first, tremendously unscientific, recipe.

Salmon (The Color, Not the Fish) Chili

Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

For about 5 minutes, sauté in a tablespoon of oil until slightly brown:

  • 2 onions, chopped

Then add:

  • 2 tablespoons of garlic, minced (you could use less, but I’m not sure why you’d want to)
  • 3 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

Sauté this all together for 3 more minutes, or until the peppers start to soften. Then add:

  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano

And cook for another minute.

Dump in some navy beans. I had some in the freezer that I’d cooked before; you could use 2 cans, drained and rinsed. Also add a can of vegetable broth. I didn’t have that, so I put in 2 cups of water and a vegetable bouillon cube. Bring to a boil to let the beans soften up a little, then lower the heat and let it simmer.

Scoop 3-4 ladlefuls of this mixture into a blender (or a food processor, if you’re fancy.) Add a can of diced tomatoes—I used a can of Muir Glen that was fire-roasted with chipotles. I also had half a tomato in the fridge that wasn’t going to last much longer, so I chopped that up, too. I also threw in a little more garlic, because garlic is the best. Puree that, and add it back to your bean pot. Then add:

  • A can of hominy (mine was a big one, like 25 ounces)
  • 1 package of soy chorizo (I used Tofurky brand)

I let the mixture simmer about 10 minutes. Just before you serve it, grate in some Monterey Jack. I used a chunk from the co-op that I think was about 1/3 pound—I wish I could remember who made it, because it was fantastic, but the wrapper is now buried in the trash under some cauliflower that went bad, so just use whatever Jack you’ve got around. Pepper Jack would, of course, be boss.

I think you’re supposed to let chili sit for as long as you can before you eat it, so the flavors can marry. I lasted about 15 minutes. If you were contemplating using it as a dip for some Frontera tortilla chips, I endorse your plan.


Gah, I’d gotten so consistent. It’s been a punishing week.

I was thinking about how, in the fall, I really love lady singers. I’m not sure if this is a new phenomenon. Maybe it’s not a phenomenon at all and I was just really feeling it for a day and then extrapolated it.

Then I started thinking about Mirah.

I was introduced to Mirah about 10 years ago, when somebody put “Cold Cold Water” on a mix CD. I was hooked. I love her resonant voice, and how well she uses orchestration, and how she writes some dirrrrty lyrics. (Around 10 years ago I also listened to a lot of Princess Superstar.) Also she has a voice that’s easy for me to sing along with, which always makes me happy.

“What happened to Mirah?” I thought as I sat at home, eating a soba noodle bowl that I haven’t convinced myself to eat much of since. What happened is that she released a new album last spring. Presumably she toured and I missed it. I’ve only downloaded one of the new songs so far, “Goat Shepherd,” which I picked because: goats.

YouTube doesn’t have a lot of Mirah, and not this song. This one is a Mirah song, and Thao from the Get-Down Stay-Down is in on it. It’s at Thao’s house, and she has a picture of Ron Swanson on one of her shelves (you can see it at the very beginning of the clip) and it made me multiply my Thao fandom x100.

Sammich I Ammich

The weather did not cooperate, and I had a lovely clear fall night for grilled cheese sandwiches and board games (and too much wine.) At least it was crisp–three weeks ago the weather in Minneapolis found out what the date was and got all “Oh, it’s fall? Let’s do this” and it’s been puffy vest-wearingly chilly since.

As such, it was a good night for grilled cheeses, tomato soup that I fucked up but was still edible (I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “Shit! I forgot to add water! No wonder it was so pasty!) and broccoli salad that went over quite well.

And pineapple upside down cake, which I'd always been scared to make, but is really easy and looks like the 1970s in a good way.

And pineapple upside down cake, which I’d always been scared to make, but is really easy and looks like the 1970s in a good way.

We played The World Needs a Jetpack Unicorn (which it obviously does) and I kicked ass because I am a wonderful bullshitter. If you like games like Balderdash, this one is for you.

Having a night of “grown up fun” that devolves into drinking way too much wine and remembering your age when you’re inexplicably hung over the next day? 5 songs for your playlist:

1. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” Father John Misty (weather be damned)

2. “Spanish Bombs,” the Clash

3. “Chips Ahoy!” the Hold Steady (“a song about a boy, a girl, and a horse,” is how Craig Finn introduced it last month)

4. “3, 6, 9,” Cat Power (an apropos song if there ever was one)

5. “Carpetbaggers,” Jenny Lewis