Friday, October 31, 2008

First Fortune-Reading

I saw my new friend Cindy earlier today at the Krankster, who had a crystal ball by her side and a book on interpretation... apparently she will be on duty giving fortunes tonight at the DADA Community Center tonight for their Halloween festivities. I asked her if she could give me a reading and she agreed.

"What you need to do is count backwards from 20, and then ask me something you want to know from your future or past."

I did this, and then asked if she could give me some insight about who I would find myself with in my next relationship.

She asked me what colors I could see in the crystal ball. "I see some yellow, a little orange... And over here I can see some pink."

"Yellow has to do with work and business. So I would guess that you'll meet someone while you're doing something work-related. The pink indicates that there will be a lot of love and affection."

"Hmm... There are a couple conferences coming up I guess."

Then we noticed that the crystal ball was actually steaming. "What does it mean when the crystal ball is steaming?" I asked. She had no idea. I searched the internet for "steaming crystal ball" and found nothing. So we never figured that one out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot!

I located a list from my friend Michelle of the things she thought I should buy after my housewarming party:
- hot pads
- serving bowls
- baking sheet
- pizza stone
- grill utensils
- Swiffer
- chopping knives
This was all well and good, and I was working my way down the list just fine, until I realized only too late that the first item was actually "Hot Pads" and not "Hot Pants". The pictures from this misunderstanding are not shown. Instead, and as a little prelude to Halloween, I have posted a couple pictures of Bret buzzing around in B.F.F.'s fairy wings and generally looking pretty after Pumpkin Party #1 last weekend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Carving in the West End

Yesterday I showed up at a friend's pumpkin carving party in the West End. This ended up being my second pumpkin carving party in about three days (after being to a sum total of about zero in the last... two decades or so?) and I was so tired from carving the last one that I decided to just spectate and snap this photo of everyone else's fine work.

At the earlier party, I discovered that the downside of having an extremely large pumpkin with cool warty skin is that trying to cut things into it with those little pumpkin carving tools is something like trying to cut leather with a butter knife. Luckily however, there were a bunch of kids that were willing to pick up the slack on the carving duties at Pumpkin Party #2.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trouble Brewin' at the Krankster

Krankies recently started offering $2 off their wonderful & impressive selection of Belgian beers about two or three weeks ago and apparently will continue the deal... "till the offer ends." Naturally, upon discovering this momentous event I celebrated by drinking three Chimay's (clocking in at 7 to 9% alcohol) in about an hour.

I'll just note in closing that this particular reaction was not the best idea I've ever had...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Patio Art #2: The Skull of Love

I was intrigued by Esbee's suggestion of following up my first contribution to patio art (Have a Nice Day on Dirty Concrete) with a power-wash drawing of "calaveras" (the Spanish word for "skulls"). Interesting... I could draw the bad-ass tattoo that I never gave myself on my patio! Sort of like vicarious wish fulfillment.

In any case, I drew this one yesterday:

Title: La Calavera de Amor
("The Skull of Love")
There was some intention of making this more bad-ass, but in the end I decided to draw lots of hearts around the skull, in the hopes that these happy, friendly touches would make my neighbors less scared/concerned about why I was drawing skulls on the patio.

...Epilogue/Coda: What now? I have learned some interesting techniques for drawing on concrete with water since the first sketch, and it has been an exciting journey. Unfortunately my patio now looks something like a page of doodles and scribbles created by an 8-year-old, and it is time to clean the slate. Unfortunately, I am now learning that removing patio art is harder than creating it. Next step: Learning How to Remove Patio Art!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Drinkin' with the Commonfolk

Between songs at Jenn and Andy's wedding reception in Bryson City, the bass-player from Commonfolk walked up to us and offered us a sip from his bottle of homemade moonshine. I was a little reluctant -- can't that stuff make you go blind? -- but this was the good corn stuff, and man, it was tasty. It tasted a lot like whiskey but had a nice subtle sweetness.

The next day, I was itching to get some moonshine for myself on the way out of town, but the moment was gone. I discovered only too late that you can't really get that stuff in stores, and I don't think it's legal to buy it from folks, either. If you want moonshine, you gotta have friends in the right places. I'm working some angles right now...

The Commonfolk play as Chauncey takes a hit from the bottle.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Patio Art #1

As I was washing old paint off a wicker chair with a power washer on my back patio, I discovered that I could use it to "draw" on the ground. A couple days later, I drew this:

Title: "Have a Nice Day" on Dirty Concrete

Amazing but true! --The "i" on the word "nice" was originally undotted. The dot is a final touch added by a bird a day later.

What should I do for Patio Art #2?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coffee Search in Crunchytown

My friend C.C.B. and I had but a short time in Asheville, and our mission was simple: find iced coffee. The search started at The Cupcake Corner, where I asked the girl at the counter "What kind of iced coffee do you got?" She responded, "We got mocha java... Columbian..." And I interrupted with the really important question: "No no -- that's not what I meant at all. Ahem. Is your iced coffee cold-brewed?" (Yes, I am officially a iced coffee snob.)

Anyway, the girlwas very pleasant and pointed me to a place that sold cold-brewed iced coffee: The Green Sage Coffee House. We headed there, and yes, they advertised cold-brewed coffee on their menu. But I thought that it was a bit bitter. And C.C.B., who also cut her cold-brewed teeth on Cafe Kopi's wonderful iced coffee in Champaign agreed... it was not really The Stuff.

A shot of the Double-Decker Coffee Company taken on the way out of town. Man, this place was beautiful... I don't care what the coffee's like. If I lived in Asheville I would be at this place every sunny day.
Then I remembered a previous visit to Asheville where I had found WONDERFUL cold-brewed iced coffee. I arrived late one Saturday night with a friend to The Dripolator Coffeehouse. The place was packed and so we were forced to park next to a big garbage dumpster, which we weren't sure was a spot. When we got in, I found what I was looking for: The Dripolator served the finest iced coffee I've experienced in a coffee shop. It was absolutely terrific, and I sipped and enjoyed it in a state of pure bliss. However, when we got outside less than an hour later, we discovered that the car had been towed. Why?!? As I came to understand it from talking to a Dripolator server, it was because the owner of the Dripolator's building lived in eyeshot of the coffee shop and was a bitter, pathetic old man who had nothing better to do with his time than to look outside and call the towing company (presumably on speed-dial) when any towable infraction came around.

Ah, yes. Such good iced coffee, and ultimately such an unpleasant experience. So the next time you're in Crunchytown, you might try the Dripolator to meet your iced coffee needs. And while you're there, you might also leave some flaming poo on the landlord's doorstep. For me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wending Our Way Through Crunchytown

A couple friends and I recently drove from Winston to the Smokies to see our friend Jenn get married (congrats! -- & more on the wedding later). Since my iPod was dead, we were reduced to listening to North Carolina radio for the entire trip. Which is awful... just awful. It seems like 95% of the stations are Christian Contemporary, or Pop-Country. Blech.

Luckily, a small oasis of music goodness was found when we passed through Asheville. We found a station there that was playing the Bluegrass Music Awards, and heard a couple gems. The one that really stuck out was Del McCoury's "Moneyland." I just thought it was awesome (here's a link).

We had enough time to make a lightning tour of Asheville before continuing to the wedding. We bought some cupcakes at "The Cupcake Corner" (a store which pretty much just sells... um... I can't remember), and then I got to the all-important task of seeing if I could locate some cold-brewed iced coffee for the road. We were on a tight schedule, so I wasn't quite able to find what I was looking for (more on this later also), but in half an hour we passed enough strange-looking people to convince me that Asheville truly was the great Granola Paradise I had heard so much about. Yes my friends: The legend is real.

In turn, this inspired me to write my own lyrics to be sung to the tune of "Moneyland."

Now it seems crunchy to me
When the people you see
Are reakin' of patchouli
As you wend your way through town

If you score some pot
Then you got a shot
To make more friends than not

If you pass that stuff around

You can go hikin' the Blue Ridge
Or catch a show at the Orange Peel

Spend some time at Malaprop's Books

Or find yourself a vegan meal

It's a crunchy nirvana
Stocked with marijuana

And its home to head shops

And white boys with dreadlocks

Its Crunchytown

Oh it might seem phony

'Til you're drunk and stoney

Its Crunchytown

Aaawooooooh, crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy
Oooooh, hippie hippie hippie hippie hippie

Woooooooh, crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy

Your clothes are made of hemp and you're chompin' on tempeh in Crunchytown

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kingergarten Teaching in Korea

My sister Doodles sent me a little how-to guide on teaching kindergarten kids from her current station in Korea [click to enlarge]. I especially like the implication in the last panel that she is thinking wistfully about those golden days of corporal punishment. What have those kids done to you, Doodles?!?!

And also: "Hmm... " you ask. "What is a post on teaching Korean kindergarteners doing on a blog about living in the South," you ask? Well, rest assured, she is living in South Korea. (I would double-underline the word "South" if I knew how, for extra emphasis.) So count it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thai Sawatdee Lives!

I talked to SarahSouth a week or two ago where she threw down this terrible piece of news: Thai Sawatdee -- the take-out Thai place in the Cloverdale Harris Teeter -- was closed! Gone! I was devastated.

But I soon discovered that the usually reliable SarahSouth had provided me with some unreliable info. Thai Sawatee was still there, still serving some of the best Thai food in town for the lowest prices around. In fact, it was never gone. Perhaps she was telling vicious lies. Perhaps she was delusional after a sugar high created by eating 12 donuts for $1.99, available just a few paces away from the take-out place in Harris Teeter's produce section. I know she drinks a lot of wine, so perhaps she was drunk. I don't know. But it is not important: I just wanted to get back to my Thai Sawatdee.

My friends Liz and Meghan were visiting from out of town, and and so we celebrated this by ordering amazing amounts of Thai food to bring back to my back porch. Afterwards, we erected a tower from the leftovers. I'll work through each level:

After lunch, Liz looks affectionately at our tribute to Thai food.
Level 1: Red Curry. Meghan ordered this, and it was very good. I didn't get the full experience because Meghan picked out all the pieces of eggplant for herself before I could try a single one. She said that these bits were the best of all, and that she was not interested in sharing.

Level 2: Green Curry. I ordered this, and specified that I wanted it at Spice Level 3 (is there a more elegant way to write this? Dunno...). The one complaint I have with Thai Sawatdee is that their food is usually underspiced by default, probably because of the local palette. Of course, they will make it as spicy as you like if you ask, but I have a tendency to forget this little detail.

Level 3: Tom Kha Soup. We all split two containers of this soup, made with coconut milk, mushrooms, tomatoes, and lemongrass. As you can see, almost all of it was gone at the end of the meal.

Level 4: Spicy Noodles. OK, you can't see in the box, but what's in there was delicious. Liz picked this one out per my suggestion... I order this entree all the time. The amount of food they give you with this is ridiculous (the box starts filled to the brim)!

Levels 5 and 6: Rice. The foundation of the Thai meal, and now the finishing touch on my Tasty Thai Tower.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This just in...

I was pleased to discover today that my last entry on tacos can now be found on the very first page of results from a "taco de ojo" Google search. As you can see from the photograph, my link is about the 8th entry down or so, just a couple entries down from the scantily-clad, occasionally pornographic pictures that come up from the "taco de ojo" image results.

This is big time, folks! I am so pleased... I feel like the prettiest girl at the dance!