23 September 2009

Camping ... in Pennsylvania

A couple of years ago, when I was working on Taking Leave, I would have dinner after rehearsals with a friend. We'd chat about this and that and I don't really remember how much of my Markland experience peppered my conversation but apparently enough because one day he said something along the lines of "This camping you mentioned: did it happen ... in Pennsylvania?"

Why, yes. Yes, it did. I used to go to the Pennsic Wars every August and be all medieval surrounded by hundreds of other people being all medieval, too. There was very little that was modern as far as the eye could eye could see. Well, except for the coolers.* And the sunglasses. And the paperback science fiction.

Every Pennsic had its own character but certain things seemed to be a given: There would be at least one torrential rainstorm during the week which would teach excellent lessons about the inadvisability of having one's blankets touching the edge of one's canvas tent and about how efficient a process "wicking" can really be; at least one person would get what everyone else called the Plague but more literal me called a flux,** although thankfully not a bloody flux; and at least one someone would hook-up with one someone else with said hook-up turning out to rather regretable and a fruitful source of mockery in the future.

I haven't been to a Pennsic in years, so imagine of my delight when I found this post on Medieval News.***

Ahhh, good times.

* We used coolers for our food because food poisoning is no fun no matter what century you are currently inhabiting. And it's even less fun when you are a modern person sleeping in a tent and sharing a port-a-potty.

** See the reason for the use of achronistic coolers, supra.

***I should note, however, that even though the "Voice of America" video says that the winner of the Pennsic War receives the title to Pittsburgh, them of us what were there, know that it's the loser who takes possession. See? Even those strangers on Wikipedia agree with that.

21 September 2009

Beets - the worst vegetable ever

Quinn and I are quite different in someways, I'm extroverted and like Facebook; she's introverted and likes Twitter, but there's one way in which we are soulmates.

I despise beets in any form. Canned, baked, precious little heirloom ones on a fancy salad, they all taste like iron filings to me. I’d sooner lick a handrail; same flavor and you’re done faster. But beets are very good for you and I’ve always felt badly that I hadn’t given them more of a chance, when I wasn’t shooing them off to the corner of my plate. I’d eat a jar-egg and it would taste in some way of beets and even if I never did another brave thing in my life, I’d have that. If Daughter flinches at the sight of a Brussels sprout, I can lean over to her and say knowingly, “At least it’s not marinated in beets.”

A few years ago when some friends and I participated in CSA*, Stacey and I had half share each**. When the food arrived each week, Stace and I would divvy up our share and try to figure out what we had. Our general fall-back was that if we didn't recognize a vegetable, it couldn't hurt to roast it. This is a very good rule. Well, for everything except lettuce. Just don't even roast lettuce.

Anyway, for a while there we were getting ourselves some beets. We tried all kinds of ways to prepare them and no matter what we did, they remained beets. Roasted beets? They are beets with a slightly less horrible than usual exterior.

So if Quinn is willing to eat a beet-marinated jar-egg in order to set a good example for her daughter (or at least not lose too much of the moral high ground), I can but admire her. Would that I had the same strength of character. Because while I would get up at dawn if I had to in order to provide a good example, I am not eating anything marinated in beets.

*Community Supported Agriculture, or Tree Hugger Food.

**There are four people at Stacey's house. My house is me and the not-very-vegetable-eating cat. Even a half share resulted in much soup being made from the left-overs of each week's bounty.

***Don't know what a jar-egg is?
Read her post. But not, perhaps, over lunch.

05 September 2009

Of course it does

I am enjoying Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma*, but this bit made me laugh:

"Angelo called it rapini, and said the young leaves were delicious sautéed in olive oil and garlic."

Because, really, aren't most things delicious when they are sautéed in olive oil and garlic?

*As I was typing this my fingers really, really wanted me to misspell "dilemma." Which meant that I kept seeing "The Omnivore's Deli." And you know? That sounds pretty good. I know I'd stop in.

03 September 2009

Time to buy some rap

Bill Forman wrote such an interesting piece about Busdriver that I'm going to have to pick up a couple of his songs. Because even if they don't sound entirely like G&S, it's hard to resist someone this engaging. And it will add another entry to the list of stuff that people wouldn't suspect that I have on MyPod.*

As on previous albums, he employs a rapid-fire delivery and convoluted rhyme schemes, like some unholy offspring of Jamaican dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and light opera savants Gilbert and Sullivan. Asked which he found more influential, Busdriver says he appreciates rap's debt to "old-school Jamaican toasters, but I never really sought that out. So I would have to say the latter. Unfortunately, I don't spend enough time with [Gilbert and Sullivan's work], but I know what you're talking about and I do shoot for things like that."

*Or in my bookcase. Unflattering f'rinstance: "You? Like Mamet? You? Really?"

The Birds of New York

Sometimes of late years I find myself thinking the most beautiful sight in the world might be the birds taking over New York after the last man has run away to the hills. I will never live to see it, of course, but I know just how it will sound because I've lived up high and I know the sort of watch birds keep on us. I've listened to sparrows tapping tentatively on the outside of air conditioners when they thought no one was listening, and I know how other birds test the vibrations that come up to them through the television aerials. 'Is he gone?' they ask, and the vibrations come up from below, 'Not yet, not yet.'

Loren Eiseley (via The Writer's Almanac)

01 September 2009

It pays to have smart assy friends

Because then you don't get in trouble for saying stuff like I did yesterday. I would probably never say anything so snarky to my very nice and not Smart Assy Friends.

Smart Assy Friend: So how's your Mom doing?*
Me: Oh, pretty well. She was pretty incoherent there for a while but she's recovering nicely.
SAF: Yeah, I spent some of the weekend incoherent, too.
Me: Yes, but with my mother, we can tell the difference.

*Mom spent a few days in the hospital with the UTI. Between the infection and the dehydration, she was not very lucid for a couple of days, scaring the bejeebers out of me. Yay both for anti-biotics and Mom's dislike of superbug-creating anti-bacterial everything.