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Monthly Archives: February 2010

i’m really enjoying realism. it’s been in the car for a couple of weeks now, and i’m not yet ready to change it. the magnetic fields have produced another synth free album, in fact it’s the opposite of synth. realism has a folky appalachian sound, exchanging the cello for the fiddle. except for “painted flower” that sounds like it could be song that didn’t make into peach blossom fan, a chinese opera that stephin merrit adapted. stephin’s simple for simple’s sake songwrighting style is always so deceptive. i’m never sure if i should be looking for meanings in metaphors or just find pleasure in the wit of his word play. it’s that ambiguity that appeals to me.

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while living here in portland i’ve stumbled into the career as a school cook. the school has always had an organic, all natural menu. last summer i convinced my bosses that we needed to do better, we started getting as local as possible. i started doing weekly menus based what’s available, local farmers deliver right to center. the produce distributor i use delivers by bicycle. i spend a lot of time thinking about food choices.

about a week ago on the local news there was as story about thrifty shopping. the reporter followed “expert shopper” julie parrish as she took a student through the grocery store and shows her the methods for the cheapest meat, some highly processed food, and poor quality vegetables.  you can watch it here. it made me sad. they may be saving money now, but they’ll pay for it later.

the TED conference was last week. TED is a foundation that organizes events where people they chose talk for eighteen minutes about “ideas worth spreading”. this year a couple of foodies i admire were there, they made me feel better about the future of food.

jamie oliver‘s talked about children and the modern american diet. i’ve alway been a fan of jamie oliver’s approach to food. he understands that people need to learn what to do with ingredients, think less of dishes, more of food. he also is a huge backer of the local/sustainable movement. this talk is centers on a television show that jamie currently filming, so it comes off a little like a commercial, the message still very relevant.

mark bittman was also there. to be honest i’m not a big fan of  his cookbooks, i find them a little off. i still have huge respect for bittman, as an author and food writer for the new york times he uses his perspective on the state of food today to help guide people to sensible and sustainable choices.

this next one was suggested to me because i watched the other two. ann cooper (the renegade lunch lady) is the head of nutrition for the berkeley  school systems. She has proven that using organic, locally sourced food in schools can work.

i do believe that the future of food is in making smart choices. think about where your food is coming from, how it got there, and what was affected by its production or processing.

this is a different kind of david sedaris book, this is not a hilarious collection of musings. i was disappointed and a little confused with the lack of humor or  maybe i just didn’t get the joke. while  reading i realized he gets a bit more introspective with when you are engulfed in flames than his previous books. once i started reading it more as a memoir than a collection, i started enjoying it more. there are still funny moments, they’re just a lot less of them. engulfed shows us david sedaris seeming lost and trying to find a way or, possibly, trying to find something to write about.  it will be hard for david sedaris to match the comic quality his earlier work, they are witty genius. engulfed is better than dress your family in corduroy and denim. corduroy had me worried.

portland center stage’s snow falling on cedars was a masterpiece. i haven’t read the book,  and from what i heard while waiting in line, i was lucky enough not to see the movie. i went in knowing the story was about a murder trial involving a japanese american shortly after world war two. set on a strawberry farming island near the san juans, the back story often takes us to an internment camp in california. honestly, in today’s world of overexposed crime dramas, the plot were a little familiar. it was the production that made snow falling so memorable. watching it was like peeking at a snapshot of a different times. as always pcs’s staging was faultless,  boats and courthouses coexisted seamlessly. the strong cast projected the tension of a small island dealing with huge issues. at the end of act one i realized i was holding my breath. most of the cast watery eyes during the last scene of the second act. when the stage lights went dark there was a pregnant pause, that could almost be felt, before the applause and everyone was on their feet. excellent theater.

a couple of months ago i downloaded bookworm onto our dsi, together morgan and i have logged in hundreds of hours playing it. it’s similar to boggle with a dash of tetris, and hard to put down. it’s available for most phones and computers here. easily one of the best time killing games around.