Saturday, January 31, 2009

Velvet Elvis

Las Vegas is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, for the motivated seeker, the city can offer up some surprisingly cool things. Like my hursbin. And, more to today's point, my hursbin's Velvet Elvis, which he once deemed "The Undisputed Crown Jewel of Las Vegas, America." You may scoff at velvet paintings, and, 99.9% of the time, I join you in that. But this! This, friends, is art.

This "piece" depicts the King near the end of his run, and I think the artist manages to evoke a clear and poignant scene. Picture it: E.P. blearily slurring Love Me Tender, with what's left of his mind on a handful of prescription meds and a double-decker fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, while an ageing fan flings her saggy drawers in his direction. Just look at the sweat on his clammy brow! How, I ask you, how does one render the sheen of cold sweat on velvet?! Brilliant!

In other news, I just found out that my poor little brother has developed a pimple on his nose so prodigious in size that his eye is swollen and he is unable to don sunglasses. To make matters worse, he lives in LA and he's in sales. Think on that.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Board Games

I have mad Scrabble skillz, but I'm currently in a bit of a slump. I've lost repeatedly to n.o.c., though I will note that one loss was by mere points despite n.o.c.'s two (TWO!) seven-letter plays. Last night we had some friends over, and I didn't just not win - I lost the most. A subtle, but crucial distinction.

Hoping to recover from my pummeling, I suggested that we move on to Sniglets, which is good fun and replete with relics from a simpler time (por ejemplo: give a word for the phenomenon of becoming entangled in a phone cord during a lengthy conversation).

A few of our better rounds.

We were feeling very Belgian last night, and I am not my cleverist post-Chimays. Thankfully, neither are my opponents. I triumphed.

This morning, however, I was reminded of why fairly small people should drink fairly small amounts of fairly strong brews - particularly if they have to wake at 6am. Hence breakfast.

And despite this morning's general harrumph in the direction of all things everywhere, the sunrise was quite lovely.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Triple Ginger Cookies

Perhaps the best part of being a teacher in the Mid-Atlantic is that when it snows, you get snow days.

On snow days, you need go no farther than this:

Snow days are gifts of time. The ten hours you'd planned to spend in less interesting pursuits? Do with them as you will! States of dishabille are perfectly permissible, wine is a suitable accompaniment for breakfast, and any productivity counts double. I have had two (!) snow days this week, and I may never again be able to bear a sunny week of winter.

On Tuesday, I used some of my time to make these cookies; I'd been drooling over them for a while. The most time-consuming part is chopping the ginger, but since it was a snow day, I just considered it extra-virtuous exercise.

I didn't have any star anise, which the recipe calls for, but I substituted cardamom, and it was deeer-licious. It played beautifully off the lemon zest.

The cookies are phenomenal - sweet, spicy, crunchy and chewy. And calorie-free, since they were made on a snow day.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A few weeks ago, n.o.c. and I were in a bit of a tiff. Our spats happen rarely and tend to be about topics as ludicrous as the proper way to shuck an oyster. Anyway, post-kerfuffle, n.o.c. wanted to reinforce amends by buying me some flowers. We perused the flower selection at our local shop, and I decided on... thistles - spiky, mildly threatening, possibly dangerous. The least forgiving flower you can imagine. Funny thing is, that didn't even occur to me until much later. I honestly thought they were just cool and would probably last for a while. They're nice, see:

The individual "blooms" are an icy blue - very winter-appropriate.

But here's the weird part. The thistles are growing.

Very Feed Me Seymour. So if this is my first and last blog entry, you can assume that I was eaten by the product of my own curmudgeonly behavior. Thistles.