Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Poem for Monday, 12/22/08


by Dan Gerber

You return home
to find your house no longer there.
The trees have grown back
and the toe of a boot you received for Christmas
protrudes through the loam of your floor.
The door you locked in the morning
is the space between twilight
and the serialized stars,
and your wife and children,
their wings extended,
circle the treetops
and sing indifferently of what you were.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

roast beast

preheat oven to 325.

wash two baking apples (I used Honeycrisp), core, and slice into half dollar sized pieces. mince 4-5 shallots or one small purple onion. mince or press one large clove garlic. combine in bowl with 1 tb dijon mustard, 2 tsp balsamic or cider vinegar, 1 tb each dried rosemary and dried sage, and 3 tb olive oil or bacon fat. add lots of fresh ground black pepper and a pinch or so of salt.
apples, shallots, garlic, herbs, dijon, bacon fat

rinse and pat dry the pork loin. pull off a large sheet of foil and lay it shiny side up in a large baking dish, then place the meat on top. sprinkle with salt and pepper.
use a very sharp knife to cut slits in the meat about an inch apart, a few inches deep. stuff the apple mixture into these slits and then pack the rest around the meat. pull the foil over and fold the ends so it stays sealed.
stuffed with apples

roast covered for about 90 minutes, then open up the foil and roast another hour or until the meat is at 165 degrees with a meat thermometer. I left it in too long, about 3 hours, but it didn't get too dry.
pork loin with honeycrisp apples, garlic and shallots

for gravy:
pour off all the juices and apple pieces into a saucepan and boil until it is reduced to about 2 cups. in a small bowl add a few spoonfuls of the juices to 2 tb cornstarch and blend til it is smooth. pour into the saucepan, add a few spoonfuls of bacon fat or butter, and boil until it thickens.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

exceptionally dorky post

I've been Back Home at my parents' house since Saturday, after a night of pre-travel insomnia and grueling flight with my cat. Since then, I've mostly been living the same way I do Up North; I read, drink tea, watch tv via the internet and my laptop's magic ability to connect to a telemovision. and I read.

So far:

I'm feeling pretty ambivalent towards OSC. it's not that I didn't enjoy the book, it's more the same thing I felt on reading the fourth and fifth books in Asimov's Foundation "trilogy." The novelty just gets more and more dilute. hard to explain, exactly. plus, dude is a Mormon and I get way too caught up trying to suss out his evil LDS anti-gay agenda.

this, however, was effing brilliant. ever since high school, when I read the Name of the Rose, I've been partial to any novel that takes place in a medieval monastery. or hell, anything remotely related to that millenium. for the first 5 or so pages, I just figured I was reading a historical-type novel about medieval monks that takes place in a in a parallel universe. except then I realized that in this particular universe, they've had rocket ships for 3000 years. there was some sort of self-inflicted technological mass destruction and since then, all the philosophers and physicists and tech wonk geniuses have been shunted into a monasteries called "Concents." like concentrations camps, I guess. the plot and backstory just get more and more mindbogglingly convoluted and brilliant til at the end you've got alien ships from parallel universes, time traveling, and of course, a rather adorable love story.

I know Christopher Paolini is a prodigy who wrote the first novel in this series at the age of 15, but I can't stand his style. he's just completely unoriginal. there's very little in his novels that can't be traced to Tolkien or Robert Jordan or Terry Brooks or other, less talented authors (anyone who writes a series with a TM in the series title, for example, like those godawful Dragonlance books. might as well just play D&D, FFS.).

and yet I keep reading. they aren't awful, just rather ponderously written and entirely too predictable. I imagine that if I were between the ages or 8 and 11 or so, I'd find them every bit as enthralling as I did Brian Jacque's books about intrepid warrior mice and *gasp* medieval-type monasteries run by good-hearted woodland creatures.

So, three books in 4 days. next up, post-apocalyptic teens with magical powers join forces with elves to flee evil into another dimension...

good times.

Monday, December 15, 2008

it might storm ice tonight and I actually want it to so I can just hang out with my parents tomorrow. I find that pretty telling. it's hard to resent anyone who has put so much effort into making things better for me. sure, they are still bigoted evangelical bible-thumpers, but they are also sweet, goofy cat-lovers who donate blood and volunteer to tutor inner city kids.

the older I get, the less things are black and white.

Poem for Monday, December 15, 2008


by Thomas R. Smith

In my dream I was the first to arrive
at the old home from church. Wind
and night had forced through the cracks.
I pushed inside, turned on lamps,
lit a fire in the stove. Frozen oak
logs stung my fingers; it was good
pain, my hands reddening on the icy
broom-handle as I swept away snow.
On Christmas Eve, I prepared a warm
place for my mother and father, sister
and brothers, grandparents, all my relatives,
none dead, none missing, none angry
with another, all coming through the woods.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Sunday, December 07, 2008

still, pretty good year

last year.
birthday self-portrait
same outfit.
different person entirely.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Poem for Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow: II

by C. K. Williams

It's very cold, Catherine is bundled in a coat, a poncho on top of
that, high boots, gloves,
a scarf around her neck, and she's sauntering up the middle of the
snowed-in street,
eating, of all things, an apple, the blazing redness of which shocks
against the world of white.
No traffic yet, the crisp crisp of her footsteps keeps reaching me
until she turns the corner.
I write it down years later, and the picture still holds perfectly,
precise, unwanting,
and so too does the sense of being suddenly bereft as she passes
abruptly from my sight,
the quick wash of desolation, the release again into the memory of
affection, and then affection,
as the first trucks blundered past, chains pounding, the first
delighted children rushed out with sleds.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484