Friday, July 24, 2009


I really miss the band Luna. I've been listening to a lot of their music recently, and enjoying it so, so very much. Just wanted to share some of my favorites for those who might not know of them.

(This one is my favorite song of theirs - "23 Minutes in Brussels")

("Chinatown" - great song, although the lyrics here are hard to make out...)

("Moon Palace" - awesome recording)

("Beggar's Bliss")


Have you yet watched the new show Tosh.0 on Comedy Central?

Go ahead. Give it a try.

I'll admit it's not for everyone. But IMHO I think it's hysterical.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Emotional Landscapes, They Puzzle Me

So I'm sitting here toward the end of a fantastic Sunday, wishing that I was doing anything in the world other than accounting homework (um, maybe something like blogging?). So I decide to throw on some motivating music.

I'm flipping through the artists on my iPod, looking for something I haven't listened to in awhile. And you know what I land on?

Hard to believe this is from 1997. How has twelve years passed so quickly? It's still one of my favorite songs.

OK, back to the schoolwork...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Reading

So my love affair with books continues... No surprise there, right? It's quickly becoming apparent to me that the Boston Public Library needs to hurry up and get my name to the top of the waiting list for the 10 or so books I've requested in the past couple of months... Buying new books is getting expensive!

Anyway, I just finished Columbine, by David Cullen. And all I can say is it was one of my favorite books (thus far) of 2009. I highly recommend it. The survivor depictions of what occurred were both disturbing and insightful, and moving to say the least.

Next up, this morning on the subway while heading in to work I started The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, by Justin Fox. I saw him as a guest on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and couldn't resist picking this one up. Probably not every one's cup of tea, but I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it.

Then, NPR had a special On Point with Tom Ashbrook this week, in which a guest spoke about a book he's written that details the impact of methamphetamine on his small Iowa hometown. I don't know why I find both meth and heroin such fascinating drugs - maybe because they're each so scarily addictive. In any event, whenever I come across a book or a documentary concerned with either substance, I just have to go with it.

Thus, I found myself going to my favorite independent bookstore today, specifically to ask for the new work by journalist Nick Reding called Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town. If you're interested, and have the time, I highly recommend following this link and listening to the 45 minute story that was presented on NPR. Nick Reding reads a portion of the book, and it sounds frighteningly good.

Methland was unfortunately sold out, so I placed a special order for it. And while I was there, I started browsing the aisles and I came across two other books I ended up buying.

The first is called Black Postcards: A Rock and Roll Romance, by Dean Wareham. Wareham was the lead singer of and guitarist in one of my favorite bands of all time, Luna. Luna unfortunately disbanded a few years ago, but not before releasing some really great albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s. (Before Luna, he fronted Galaxie 500 - they were also a really great band...) This book, I believe, is a memoir of his years in those bands. I remember reading a review of it in either Rolling Stone, or maybe the NY Times, when it came out. I happened to come across it today, marked down to $5.99 no less, so I just had to pick it up.

I also stumbled across what I hope will be a little gem: Pieces for the Left Hand, by J. Robert Lennon.

Given all of this, I can only say that while I love grad school, I can't wait for the day that I can start voraciously reading again. For a while there I was reading at least a book per week. I just love it sooooo much - soaking up stories and knowledge like a sponge.

On a regular basis I just stop Gary in his tracks and say to him, "Listen to this..." and then I read him a passage from whatever it is that's caught my attention. I can't help myself - I'm sure it might be annoying to him sometimes, although I hope not. I just find such great pleasure in reading, and sharing, even one paragraph that's been written extremely well.

Which brings me right to this passage about dieting:

"For lunch on most days I had tuna salad. Mom tried to make it seem more special and eventful by presenting it in geometrically interesting and colorful ways. She used the largest dinner plate she could find. She covered the plate with several overlapping leaves of iceberg lettuce. She molded the tuna salad — always Bumble Bee solid white tuna, never chunk light, never Chicken of the Sea — into three large scoops, which she put over the lettuce, within a ring of cherry
tomatoes. Three scoops looked prettier than one or two. Besides, there wasn’t any doubt I would be able to finish that many.

“Aren’t you going to have some?” I would ask.

“Maybe later,” she’d say, and then I’d hear the crunch-whoosh of the metal peel coming off another bright pink can of Tab, the worst diet cola ever made, the diet cola Mom never betrayed, her diet cola, its distance from sweetness and its metallic taste a way of patting herself on the back. When it came to beverages, was anyone more virtuous and penitential than she? Tab was her rosary, and she said it as many as eight times a day."

How fucking amazing is that passage? Every word is just perfect! It's an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released memoir of NY Times food critic Frank Bruni, called "Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater." The Times Magazine has an 8-page excerpt available here, and I cannot recommend it enough. When this book comes out, it's going right to the top of my to-be-read pile.

Anyway, I think the perfect ending to this post is to show the sticker that I bought and applied to my new laptop this week. As Gary says, "It's just so John..."

I think so too :)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miscellaney, V12 I37

I had an exhausting day at work today, but somehow got fired up at school tonight (maybe it was the Energy Vitamin Water?) and now I can't sleep even though it's 12:15am and I have to be up in about six-and-a-half hours.

What to do?

1. Think about how enjoyable cost accounting is. Already took the class last summer through the Harvard Extension School, but UMB wouldn't waive it for me so I have to take it again. I really love this material. I love digging down into the pennies when it comes to analyzing how to price services/products appropriately. Makes me wonder if I should be working for a manufacturing organization (cough cough... a car company...)

2. Ponder my bizarre dream(s) last night. Without getting into specifics, my most vivid dream combined the town of Roslindale's ever-classy Pleasant Cafe restaurant, Port-a-potties, ghetto fabulous females with giant be-jeweled nails, and intricate, involved, difficult hairstyles. Yeah, you can do the Freudian math on that one.

3. Failblog. Love it!

OK, time to sign off on this. A&E just started another re-run of Intervention that I'm now going to have to watch (it's one of those shows that just pulls me in...). I'll close by eating my own words, wherein I always said I would never be a Mac person, and I'll just state that while I will always need a PC-based computer for my job (Excel, etc), having a Mac for web-browsing etc and personal use has been amazing for the past couple of weeks. I really do love it. So there, Gary, you were right -- and I'm happy to have joined the dark side :)

Even better? I started decorating my new laptop with some funky stickers. I'll post a picture soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Oh my effin' god. I don't care that some critics have been giving it so-so reviews. Bruno is HYSTERICAL. Go see it :-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Well today ended up being the day. When you combine in the layoffs that happened today with the handful of people who took the early retirement package that the organization had been offering, we ended up losing about 10% of our workforce.

I'm feeling really conflicted about the whole thing. Lots of stuff I won't write about online. But I'm feeling a little unsettled. More people in my direct area of the organization were impacted than I had anticipated, which was tough. And more reorganization of the work unit (not layoffs, just changes in structure) are coming shortly. It could turn out to be pretty great if things go in one direction there, pretty crap if they go in another.

For now, I'm going to just keep doing what I do, being the rock star overachiever that my boss knows and loves. I'm grateful to have him on my side because he is an important ally, but gratefulness doesn't pay the bills, you know what I mean?

In any event, fuck it all anyway, because tomorrow Gary comes home from his trip to Rwanda. And that, my friends, is way more important than any work bullshit that might be running through my mind at the moment. Can I get an Amen?

Monday, June 29, 2009


So with Gary gone on a business trip for the past week, I've pretty much been nutritionally subsisting on chips and hummus, pizza, salads, and veggie burgers.

But last night I was feeling culinary, so I did some grocery shopping and busted out some of my cooking know-how.

And the result?


Spinach-Basil-Roasted Garlic Pesto

Start out by making the pesto sauce. Chop the top off of one head of garlic. Place in a small glass baking dish with about 1 cup of veggie broth, a drizzle of olive oil, and smother the top of the garlic with oregano and a little dill. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 425 for one hour. Let cool.

Next, in your food processor, blend a quarter cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of grated parmesan cheese, an entire 4-oz package of fresh basil, about one-quarter to one-third of a package of spinach, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Blend until it's a nice smooth consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the food processor and give it one last whirl to work that in. Mmmmmmmmmmm, it's looking good already, huh?


From here on out, you could toss this pesto with any kind of pasta you'd like, or use it as a pizza base. But here's what I decided to do:

Onions, peppers, (soy) sausage, and potato gnocchi!

I browned up some soy sausage, the kind that comes in the Jimmy Dean-like tube. While that was cooking, I diced up some red and green peppers and some onion, and added that in with a good helping of black pepper. Cooked long enough for the onions to start to caramelize but not so long that the peppers got mushy.


Next, I boiled some frozen potato gnocchi. When that was done, I mixed together the potato gnocchi, the sausage and veggies, and the pesto sauce. I liberally added more olive oil and grated parmesan cheese. Then, at the very end, I mixed in more spinach so that it would just start to wilt.

For some final color, when plating I added some diced cherry tomatoes and dusted again with a bit of parmesan cheese.



Friday, June 26, 2009

SATC - Huh What?

Sometimes I think that there's a definite inverse relationship between the amount of actual cerebral, intellectual work I have to do here at work and/or at school, and the type of mindless entertainment crap that I'll willingly sit through at home.

Case in point. Right now things are taking off for me here at work in an exponential way. I am being challenged more than I ever have, taking on more and more responsibilities, and stretching myself to achieve objectives I before could not have imagined. (Shame there isn't a raise to go along with all of that! But given the layoffs around here, I'm honestly satisfied with having solid employment and a great benefits package.)

Additionally, I'm now well into my second semester of grad school.

All of this culminated last night when I got home from a challenging work-day and spent three-and-a-half hours sitting at my dining room table working on a take-home accounting exam.

By the time 9:30 rolled around, I was so numb and exhausted that I barely had the will to make myself a salad and a small bowl of pasta for dinner.

And what did I do for the rest of the night? I spent two hours flipping back and forth from the Food Network to E and MTV for news about the death of Michael Jackson. But here's the kicker. After all of that, from 11:30pm - 1:30am I sat on the couch watching the friggin Sex and the City movie. SATC! I never even liked the show! WTF!? And I was stone cold sober!

Like I said, I suspect there is some kind of inverse relationship thing going on here. And if that's the case, I'd better watch out. Two more semesters of school and I might find myself sitting on the couch some Saturday night, drooling all over myself like a special child while giggling to the sounds of a Sandra Bullock rom-com.

Thriller night, indeed, Mr. Jackson.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Imposed Single-dom

Gary left today for a business trip to Rwanda. (Yes, you read that right. His work requires him to travel to places like Rwanda... Don't ask.)

Anyway, that means that I'm on my own for the next 10 days, just twiddlin' my thumbs and wondering what to do with myself. Needless to say, I'm going to miss the guy terribly (already do, only 4 hours in!). So how to appease the longing?

I think cheese and veggies make a decent substitute, food-wise, at least. (If a single Ryan Reynolds wants to make an appearance later this evening while I'm here on my own, that would be fine too...)

So, here I am, making a veggie lasagna:


All the whilst, listening to the music of one of my favorite groups, Cut Copy.

What do you suggest I do in the next 10 days? Keeping in mind I'm married, working full time, and going to school in the evening for my master's in accounting?