You were the fighter, I was the kid against the world

Posted by Cory , Saturday, February 27, 2010 5:12 PM

I guess blogging, at least in its original form, was all about the activities of one's day-to-day life. Right? Okay, it is in my mind. I know that it's evolved into a much broader spectrum and all that, but my blog has no other purpose than for me to write down the stupid stuff that happens to me and hope that anyone might care enough to read it. Inspired in part by Mo's latest post (welcome back to the interhighway, friend!), here's a rundown of a Saturday in the life of a wannabe domestic, self-professed semi-hermit:

6:44 am: Wake up, anxious to weigh in for the day (yes, I am that person). I've been tracking what I eat for about a month and a half now, recording exercise and all that, and I've lost about 12 pounds so far. Weighing in has become part of the daily ritual: wake up, pray for client's parent to call and say he/she is sick, resign myself to the fact that yes, I do, in fact, have to go to work today, stumble downstairs to start coffee, stumble back upstairs (more often that not managing to clip my hip bone on the hall closet door knob at least once during that trip, since I'm too stubborn to TURN ON THE LIGHT, FOR THE LOVE), and step on my shiny red scale (seriously, as scales go, it's pretty damn cute). Of course, half of that daily ritual does not apply to Saturdays, and I was actually more irritated than anything that I woke up at 6:44 on my one day of guaranteed sleeping in.
6:45 am: Discover I'm down a pound and a half. Do a very tired happy dance.
6:46 am: Get back in bed, hoping to fall back to sleep till 9, which was the original plan.
7 am: Begrudgingly accept the fact that I'm pretty much up for the day. Turn on the light and continue reading the book that I'm currently too embarrassed to admit that I'm reading. Try to ignore growling stomach.
7:15 am: Put book aside and go downstairs to get some cereal.
7:20 am: Get back in bed, cereal bowl in hand. Log into Facebook, check e-mail, etc.
7:40 am: Return to book.
8 am: Decide to turn on TV and flip channels.
8:30 am: Learn of earthquake in Chile. Begin Hail Mary-ing as I try to figure out a. where the quake hit, b. how bad it was, and c. where Needy is currently located in Chile. She moved down there several months ago. She's safe and sound!
9 am: Try to motivate myself to get out of bed and get dressed to go to the gym.
9:04 am: Decide to watch just a few minutes of E! News.
10 am: Actually get out of bed and get dressed. Opt to run outside instead of driving to the gym, since the weather is toying with us and actually promises to be somewhat nice today.
10:15-10:40 am Enjoy the sunshine.
11:10 am: After a quick shower and a mini Clif bar, I get in the car and head to Old Navy for a quick trip. All their jeans are on sale, so I figured I'd stop by and get a pair or two, since I'm running low on pants that actually fit me.
11:35-12:15 pm Remember that I don't like the way Old Navy's jeans fit. Do not leave empty-handed, however. 2 t-shirts and a terribly adorable cardigan later, I'm out the door. Consider venturing into the mall, but at this point the fact that I haven't had any coffee yet today (HOW DID I MISS THAT?) is starting to catch up to me. Stop in at Target briefly, then decide to head home as I'm no longer in the mood to shop.
12:30 pm: Arrive back home. Put towels in wash and make lunch. Crack open a Diet Coke and savor the glorious caffeine of it all.
1 pm: Gather things to take to recycling bins around the corner. Man, I am quite the magazine pack-rat.
1:13 pm: Sit down to wait for washer to finish its cycle. Decide to watch E! Investigates: Too Young to Kill (clearly, in this, I take after my grandmother, who never met a true crime novel she didn't like). You know, just for a few minutes.
3 pm: Load items to be recycled into the back seat of my car.
3:15 pm: Make a snack. Being productive is hard work!
3:40 pm: Clear the floor of the living room to vacuum. Sweep entryway and kitchen floors in preparation for the mopping that will commence shortly.
4 pm: Turn off the TV at the end of E! Investigates: Crime on Campus. I think I have a sickness.
4:05-4:45 pm: Vacuum, mop, admire my handiwork. Putz around on the interweb until-
5 pm: Decide to write a blog post about what I accomplished today. Recognize that this does, in fact, make me a loser.

This ship of fools I'm on will sink

Posted by Cory , Saturday, February 20, 2010 8:51 PM

I went on a bit of an iTunes bender this morning, I have to admit. Some time during my senior year of college, I made a playlist of several songs that I was really digging at the moment. Since then, I've periodically updated it, erasing songs that I was getting tired of and adding new ones. It's been a bit skimpy as of late, but over the last week or two I've been padding it out while simultaneously clearing out the songs that I've tagged with Shazaam. ANYWAY, I thought I'd share a few of the songs that are on repeat right now.

"Just Breathe", Pearl Jam
There's something about Eddie Vedder's voice in a stripped-down song like this that just gets me. I've never been a huge PJ fan; they were just a bit too before my time to really hook me. I think, though, that if I was the age I am now, then, I'd have been hooked immediately. Simply put, this song is lovely.

"I and Love and You", The Avett Brothers
I have a confession to make: I watch One Tree Hill. I've lost a bit of interest in the show as of late, but I still consider it a guilty pleasure. For as long as I've watched, I've loved the variety and styles of music used in each episode. Several weeks ago, I noticed this song in an episode. I thought it was beautiful, and then promptly forgot about it. Not long after, I heard it again on the radio (not remembering that I had heard it before), and was so intrigued that I pulled out my iPhone to tag it. I recently got around to downloading it, and I am absolutely smitten.

"Lucky Clover Coin", Rocky Votolato
This is another OTH find. Rocky Votolato sings a gorgeous song called "White Daisy Passing", which I've loved for years, since a dear college friend introduced me. "Lucky Clover Coin" is at once both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I can't say much more than that; you have to hear it for yourself.

"All the Pretty Girls", Fun.
Fun is another recent discovery, though also not quite. The group is fronted by Nate Ruess, the former lead singer of The Format. Fail and I saw them open for Jack's Mannequin a few weeks ago, unaware of the connection. I remember seeing them perform this song at the show, and I even took a brief video clip of it, but the full audio clip is probably better for a first-time listen. It is, indeed, a fun song (no pun intended).

FOODIE ALERT!: Asparagus Penne

Posted by Cory , Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:04 PM

As a general rule, I can handle Rachael Ray approximately once or twice a month. If Food Network is my crack, RR and her pack-a-day-smoker voice are my Kryptonite (I know I just mixed metaphors; just let it fly on by, please). I'll give her this though: some of her recipes are pretty damn tasty.

When Schmoopy came to town last weekend, we decided to cook dinner Saturday night rather than going out again. I pulled out Ina, Giada and The Pioneer Woman for inspiration and we started poring through recipes. After some debate, Rachael Ray's Asparagus Penne was, surprisingly, our winner. Main selling point: I already had most of the ingredients. Also, involved a very small amount of actual work.

Asparagus Penne
by Rachael Ray

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 lb penne
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¾ cup vegetable stock (we used chicken stock)
¾ cup half & half
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon zest
black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water. Drop the asparagus in for 2 minutes, then remove, drain and chop into 2-inch pieces. Add the pasta to the water and cook to al dente.

To a skillet placed over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the garlic and gently cook for 2-3 minutes, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for one minute, stirring. Whisk in the stock, half & half, mustard and lemon zest. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Add the lemon juice, and gently toss the asparagus and pasta with the sauce to coat. Turn off the heat and adjust the salt and pepper to taste, then top with grated cheese and serve.

*Note: the original recipe calls for fresh tarragon stirred into the sauce along with the salt and pepper, but I wasn't about to buy a bunch of tarragon when I have absolutely no plans to use it any time soon. Additionally, we added some pre-cooked chicken at the very end, stirring it in to warm it through before eating.

*Served with simple bruschetta and green salad.

The freeway is just like veins without a heart

Posted by Cory , Tuesday, February 9, 2010 7:04 PM

SINUSITIS2010: Super fun so far. I've been entirely stuffed up for over a week now, and the sinus pressure became too intense to ignore today, so I finally broke down and went to urgent care. I entered the reception area second in line, behind a man who evidently had some kind of motorcycle/bicycle accident and had dislocated his shoulder and proceeded to shout at the receptionist that he needed to be seen RIGHT AWAY. Now, I understand that a dislocated shoulder is a pretty painful injury, but I can't imagine screaming at the poor receptionist like that. Anyway, rather than tell him to SETTLE DOWN, which is what I probably would have done, she took him back to talk to the doctor. Not two minutes later, he comes storming back through the door as his wife was walking in from parking the car. He griped to her that they had to go to the emergency room, because no one who was working at urgent care tonight was strong enough to put his shoulder back in place. Karmic justice? Perhaps. Did I giggle a little (inwardly)? I did.

The Schmoopy Reunification Project has come and gone. It was 99% spectacular (it lost the remaining one percent because Fail ended up having to fly out a day early for a funeral), and now I suppose it's my turn to make the trip east. The Jack's Mannequin show was A. MAZING (more on that in a bit), but the best part of the weekend was getting to hang out with my best friend (in the same time zone, even!). We put on a fantastic display of domesticity Saturday night, making dinner instead of going out. There were pictures involved, but they were taken with her camera, so I don't have access to them at the moment. Perhaps I'll get my hands on them soon and post them here, further fueling my delusion that I could be even a part-time food blogger.

So, like I said, the show Sunday night was superb. I love seeing bands that have impacted my life so much live, and it's even better that their live show is fantastic. The Knitting Factory is a great little venue. After a quick dinner downtown and wandering through River Park Square for a while to pass the time, we walked into the main doors of the club to get in line. The security guy stopped us and asked if we were 21. We said that we were, and he told us that if we went around the block and entered through the bar, we could get in before the younger crowd. We ended up sitting on a level of the the club that was dry, anyway, but it was worth it to not have to stand in line with a ton of 15-year-old kids.

We sat at a high table on a couple of bar stools, just across a railing from the VIP area. It was a great vantage point, both in terms of seeing the stage and for people-watching. We laughed at all the kids standing in little clumps, each texting away while they carried on a conversation with their friends. When the show started, it was actually a little bittersweet for me. There was a day when I could stand for a whole show without any problems, but that night I was grateful to have a place to sit down. However, I missed being down in the thick of things, surrounded by other kids who understood how the music can shape you, kids who just got it. I fully recognize that, at 24, it might be time for me to cede that position to the younger crowd, but as I looked down at the kids on the floor, I got a little nostalgic; I used to BE one of those kids.

The first opening act was called Vedera. Don't bother committing it to memory; they were entirely meh. Second opener was Fun. As in, the band is called Fun. They were interesting, to say the least. A song or two into their set, I started to notice something familiar in their sound. I leaned over to Fail and mentioned that I thought they sounded a lot like The Format. Ever curious, I pulled up iTunes on my phone and looked up their album. As I was reading user reviews, I came to find out that Fun is fronted by the former lead singer of the Format. Who knew? Anyway, Fun wasn't bad; I may have to give them another listen one of these days.

Not to make a grand, all-encompassing statement, but Jack's Mannequin may put on the best live show I've ever seen. Every member of the band looked like they were having the best time; I don't think I saw the drummer without a smile on his face throughout their entire set. They played a lot of my favorite songs and just generally amazed me. The rest of my photos are on Flickr, and here's a video I took during my favorite song, "Swim".