Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Diversions: Brazil edition

This afternoon is sponsored by Brazil and a crazy tranny who should be an inspiration to us all.
Don't give up on your dreams, even if you have to rip the wig right off a ho to
acheive the crown.

My Heart goes out to Haiti

In the blink of an eye everything can change.
It is a delicate line that we tread with nature.

Yesterday, a Magnitude 7 earthquake rocked the very foundation of Haiti.
Killing 100,000 people, according to Haiti's prime minister.

"The largest earthquake to hit Haiti in more than 200 years rocked the Caribbean nation Tuesday, collapsing a hospital and heavily damaging other buildings. U.S. officials reported bodies lying in the streets and an aid official described "total disaster and chaos." -AP

My heart goes out to those who have died, lost loved ones, lost homes, etc.
So sad...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Currently on the turntable-
Fame Monster

As many of you know, I puchase music almost exclusively on vinyl if it is available in that format. For me, personally, I find that the sound is much warmer and less processed sounding. MP3's never really sound fully right to me, like listening to a mosaic of an image instead of a crisp clear picture.

I do not typically listen to a great deal of pop music and generally couldn't tell you what songs or artists are popular or what their songs are. There are some exeptions. I don't hate pop music. It has its place. Sometimes I want a steak and sometimes I want bubblegum.

Currently on the turntable is a xmas gift from Konstantine, Lady Gaga's Fame Monster on picture vinyl. I must say that as steak flavored bubblegum goes, I'm enjoying it.

Robert Recommends: I Like You

I got a wonderful Christmas gift from K that has brought me a great deal of joy.
It helped me to laugh while angry midwestern women with bad hair were gnashing their teeth and complaining as we sat through 2 delays that left us sitting on the runway for 2 1/2 hours during our trek home from Kansas. (more about that another time) I did almost strangle a woman with my bare hands, but thanks to the humorous musings on entertaining from the lovely Amy Sedaris, said woman triumphed to live and complain another day.

If you haven't seen Strangers with Candy, her derganged sit-com that used to be on comedy central, then you haven't lived. If you have seen it and love her off kilter brand of humor, then you will adore this book.

Don't take my word for it though.

Buy the Book
Visit Amy's Website

Pine Mouth

image randomly stolen from the internet following a google search. uncredited, so sue me.

"WHAT?"You may be asking yourself is pine mouth?

It is not some after-effect of chewing on a pinecone or a post holiday sydrome brought about by humping the Christmas tree. It may sound like a joke or a made-up phrase or some sort of sister to the dreaded pot smoker's cotton mouth, but I assure you that pine mouth is none of these things and is yet very serious business.

I will share my story with you today. Hopefully, my tale of bitter whoa will help to spare you from the agony that I suffered. Like countless others, I fell victim to this dreaded condition for almost two weeks, just in time for christmas dinner. Our stories are countless. Many of us suffer in silence, in the shadows. Today I step into the light to speak of my tribulation.

A few weeks ago, We received an early Christmas gift from my mother. It was a cuisinart griddler, a great tool in the making of panini, the Italian grilled glamour sandwich. I was so exciited that I ran to whole foods and bought a bunch of pine nuts to make pesto along with an assortment of cheeses, sun dried tomatoes and ecoutrement to immerse myself body and soul into the ancient art of panini.

I should mention that the bag of pinenuts I purchased was rather large. When I got home, I began ecstatically chopping up the garlic, basil and pine nuts for my pesto (using this recipe). I was hungry, which is a constant state for me. My pet tape worm felix requires constant attention, and I generally oblige. I shoved a handful of pinenuts into my mouth and gobbled them down. One handful led to two, led to three, led to....well, six. Ok. I'm a pig. I gorged myself on pinenuts and then ate a panini with lots of pesto on it. K and Laura did not consume the quantity of pine nuts that I did, but they did enjoy the luxurious lusciousness of my homemade pesto on their sandwiches.

In an ideal world my story would end here, with a full belly and a happily ever after and maybe a Post script titled "midnight bacon snack". Alas, dear readers, my story begins two days after my flirtation with panini and my glutenous mouth affair with the temptress known as pine nut.

On Thursday morning (2 days after panini) I woke up and grabbed my morning cup of coffee. When I took my first sip, it tasted, well, off. It was bitter and rotten tasting. I just thought perhaps my corner coffee shop had made a bad batch or something. Lunch time rolled around and I took a bight of my lunch. It tasted bitter, mettalic and rotten. I began to worry. What was wrong with me?

I contacted my doctor A.K.A. a google search of my symptoms...sudden bitter taste in mouth. Oddly enough an article about pine nuts came up. I read of the phenomenon known as pine mouth. Multiple people 1-3 days after ingesting pine nuts experienced a bitter metalic taste with all food and drink lasting for up to 2 weeks. I looked for a remedy and found that not only does no one know the cause of pine mouth but there is not cure except to just let it run its course. I also discovered that this phenomenon seemed to be specific for the most part to pine nuts grown in china.

I was confused because the pine nuts I bought were Whole Foods own brand. Surely Whole Foods with its whole organic produce philosophy would not be importing its pine nuts from a country with the most questionable farming practices in the world? right?
I called Whole Foods and was told that all their own label foods including the pine nuts were grown here in the United States. I didn't take their word for it though. I went into the store to double check this and surely enough MADE IN CHINA was on a sticker on the back of the pine nuts.

I went online and found multiple articles on pine mouth and chinese pine nuts and like the crazy cat lady that I am, I stapled and paperclipped all the articles and walked back into whole foods and asked to speak to the manager. He of course looked at me like I was crazy and I insisted that he look at my documentation on pine mouth and that the pine nuts should have a warning or be removed from the shelves. He said he would forward the information to their corporate headquarters.

Continuing on my rampage of outrage, I wrote and email to corporate Whole Foods. Almost immediately I received a form letter response that was specific to pine mouth. Whole Foods was completely aware that they were selling a product that could make everything their customer ate for up to 2 weeks taste bitter. Unsatisfied by this form letter, I sent an email of outrage and a request that they warn customers of this issue or find another source for their pine nuts. Their response was basically that I could return the pine nuts for a refund and that they were sorry.

I now have a boycott on whole foods. Any company that would knowingly sell tainted pine nuts and have a form letter prepared to fire off at angry customers is not a company that I will ever again support with my business.

My pine mouth lasted for two weeks. The only things that tasted normal were scotch and broccoli, but I forced myself to eat the bitter tasting things instead of becoming an alcoholic cruciferous vegetable addict. Actually I already am a bit of a cruciferous vegetable addict and with the many health benefits of being one, why not?

So, consider this your warning. Something strange is going on with pine nuts. The FDA is investigating it and nobody knows what causes pine mouth, but believe me, you don't want to have it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

11 and 176 days

It's 11 days since my lips have touched the sweet booze nectar, the lubricant
of conversation and the creator or casualty and miscommunication

It is 176 days since I've had a cigarette, the former object of my oral fixation.

It is too many days since I've been on a relaxing vacation.

It's about time to turn on a dime and tour the nation.


Photo of & by Carrie Thomas

Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore
She wanted to go to college
but her parents couldn't afford to send her
She went to the bank
but they didn't have money that they would lend her
so sally sells her shells in a shack by the sea
gonna save all her money
gonna move to the city...

where the cars are always beepin'
and the people are never sleepin'
and the lights are always flickerin'
in your eye eye eyes

and the sky is the limit
if you can dream it, you can have it
cuz the stars are on the street not in the sky

and even if you're starving it's romantic and it's charming
like some charlie chaplin film they used to play.
where he asks her out to dinner
but he cannot pay the waiter
and there's a fly in every soup in that cafe.

and he tells her that he loves her
and she says she'll have his babies
and they marry by the sea and then they stay.
and he builds her a little shack where she can sell her little trinkets
and it's not quite what she planned, but it's ok.

and we give up every dream we had
give up every dream we had
We give up every dream we had for love

and we give up every dream we had
give up every dream we had
gladly give up every dream we had for love


At the end of October, I travelled to Vermont and finished the final mixes on my 2nd album. I also got to spend some quality time with my very good friend Chris who lives in Burlington and to take in a couple of wonderful live shows.

After Vermont, I trekked up to Montreal Canada and did a small performance. An extremely significant consequence of my trip to Vermont and Montreal was the loss of a friend. To me this loss has felt like a death. This person with whom I took my northern trip is not dead. I think it makes it even harder, because I have never been good at letting go of people, even if those people are hurting me. I thought my sadness over this loss had passed in December, but in the last week I find myself haunted by memories. I wish I could say that the memories were bad memories of horrible things this person did, which might make sense of it all. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on my perspective, these memories are almost all good, fun, happy memories. It is this which makes it that much harder and that much more painful for me. I find myself bombarded with flashes of a nostalgic look back at a friendship that is no more. I know that this person is still walking this earth, still there, but to me now, only as a part of my memory, a frozen sketch of moments in time, mashed together in some sort of obscene impressionistic jumble. The complexities of untangling them into some sort of cohesive fashion, sadly feel rather insurmountable.

And now a word from our sponsor

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