Archive for February, 2009

Unsafe At Home

Did I mention that I’m still writing at the Atlanta Metblog? Well, I am. Now and again. Yesterday I posted a bit about issues surrounding the perception of safety in town right now: “Is It Enough to Feel Unsafe?”

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Meh, Etc.

Yesterday, John Hodgman, in all his @hodgman-liness, cunningly broke apart the word meh, practically pantsing it in front of the whole school. Waxy.org has his multi-tweet sermon up for you in not-reverse order. Go there if you want the links to work — I reproduce it here just to show off my coffee ring in there. (Update: And now BoingBoing’s got it too: “John Hodgman explains whats wrong with ‘meh’”)

Hodgman on Meh via Waxy

He calls meh “a rejection of joy” and that’s the killing blow, to my mind. Too much joy gets rejected. I like joy. I like to celebrate things. Let’s.

I’m guilty of using meh, for sure, because this language is the only language I have. We may want to virginize her, but she’s a universal whore in the meantime. So with meh in reach, I’m going to grab it now and again. But with visibility being the treasure of the Internet — where dropping a name can be like dropping coins in its guitar case — every post or comment spent on a meh is time that could be spent promoting a friend’s work or offering actual criticism somewhere else. Meh is so often the whiff of a passionless bore.

But Hodgman put it better in a couple of tweets that didn’t get caught up in the Waxy or BoingBoing posts:

Honestly, the idea that there is a smart, passionate person out there who can’t be bothered is far scarier [...] …than knowing the actual Internet handle of one malcontent jerk who took the time to write “meh.”

Anti-meh to that, @hodgman.

Englishish Breakfast

I wouldn’t say I’m an Angle, but I’m Anglish. Our Anglophile streak continued this past weekend with an attempt to create the kind of English breakfast we never got around to on this trip.

We ate on the run most mornings. Most of my breakfasts were coffee and WiFi at Starbucks followed by a sandwich from Pret A Manger — the All-Day Breakfast and Mature Cheddar and Pret Pickle were favorites of ours. (I love Pret A Manger to a stupid degree.)

So this is what I made the Saturday morning after we got back:

English Breakfast

That’s fried eggs served on herb-garlic toast, vine-ripened tomatoes, fried mini sausage patties, baked beans with ginger and brown sugar, plus a dash of rocket (arugula). For the second plate I put the tomatoes through the still-warm frying pan, over no heat, just to snag some of the fried-egg flavors. They turned out great.

English Breakfast

(There are a couple more pictures of these at Flickr, if you just can’t get enough.)

The night of the crisp party we made Coronation Chicken for everybody, starting from the original 1953 recipe, which uses mayo and whipping cream and no raisins. (Added the raisins anyway.) Now, listen: I’m not a fan of chicken salad. I’ve pretty much cut mayo out of my life and mixing it with the worst chicken in your sandwich shop isn’t going to change my mind about it. Coronation chicken, though, sings a siren song.

The day after this, I ritually returned us to the American South with a full chub’s worth of sausage for biscuits & gravy with red pepper and fennel. I had pictures, but I think I mistook them for more sausage and gravy and ate them.

The Crisp Party

It was Sara’s idea. We brought back seven oddball flavors of British crisps and turned them into a little game.

Six of the flavors were odd even to the Brits, offered up in bundles by Walkers as part of a promotion to vote-in the next weird snack food for the United Kingdom. Obviously, we had to bring them home and share them with people, but we weren’t sure how to get folks to actually, you know, eat them. Answer: a game.

Crisp Lineup

The seven flavors were dispersed into anonymous cups, each marked on the bottom with a number written in black Sharpie. Two cups for each flavor yielded fourteen cups. Every player got a note card on which to record their guesses. Once everyone had made their guesses — and eaten however many chips it took to make up their minds, bounded only by their tolerance for the taste — I revealed the answers from my master card:

  1. Onion Bhaji
  2. Builder’s Breakfast
  3. Crispy Duck & Hoisin
  4. Prawn Cocktail
  5. Fish & Chips
  6. Cajun Squirrel
  7. Chilli & Chocolate

Winning scores were a couple of ties, at four right answers. You’d be surprised how little Cajun Squirrel tastes like squirrel (or cajun) when you don’t know what it is.

We didn’t get any kind of consensus on the best or worst flavor. The fake-egg savor of Builder’s Breakfast (with its sausage and spicy tomato back-up flavors) was so peculiarly rank that it made my hands shake — and still I had to taste it three or four times to get over my fascination with it. Some liked the Fish & Chips flavor just fine. Sara declared, “It tastes like under a bridge!”

I have audio for that, but Vimeo’s having a smoke, so that’ll wait. Here’s a clip:


Crisp Party Excerpt from Wordwill on Vimeo.

There’s a handful of pictures under the “crispparty” tag at Flickr, though.

BSG: No Exit From Your Family

As this exposition drama unfolded, you could watch a phenomenon in action: answers shrink the universe. The grand backdrop of BSG seems to have shrunk from a galactic epic about the nature of the universe and the existence of God and purpose of humanity into a dynastic family saga about Oedipal robots. Given that the story of humanity’s 50,000 ragtag survivors was told as the sordid saga of an extended military-political family, this seems fitting.

It’s all spoilers after the jump.

// And… Jump!

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