Saturday, August 24, 2013

Third and Delaware

Okay so why have we not talked about Roseanne on this blog yet? I don't need to tell you how god damn important this show is. You already know. It's the real deal, y'all. Loose meat sandwiches and failed motorcycle repair shops and the Cloone, abusive boyfriends and mental health issues. Multiple queer characters! In the NINETIES. Working class folks. Shitty parents and a nana that drinks way too much beer. It's all so important. I say that a lot. But really, this one is like, SO IMPORTANT.

With everyone abuzz about the feminist superhero creation that is Orange is the New Black, I have been thinking about other prominent female characters from television's past. The female characters on Roseanne were stellar: Bev, Roseanne and Jackie's mother, with her shrill voice and the conservative agenda to match, a recovering alcoholic who survived a terrible marriage to an adulterous abuser; Jackie, the pillar of independence, former police officer, a victim of domestic abuse, and single mom who chose to leave her nothing burger beardo husband; Nancy, the bold and occasionally narcissistic bisexual who is always confidently wearing tight pants; and Darlene, the depressed goth that wanted to turn her graphic novel into a career in art school. I don't even need to talk about Roseanne. You just know.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You stay the hell away from underprivileged chimpanzees in Congo!

Oh Suzy. I really want to tell you that getting into university is difficult, and that for most people getting into an Ivy in America is equivalent to being struck by lightning (and if you're from Canada, you might as well be struck twice). I really want to tell you that many brilliant, bright women go on to do totally important things even though they didn't get into the school they wanted. But instead, all I can think of is how I want to punch you in the face.

That's like, really crass of me and like, so aggressive. It must be because I was lucky enough to be raised by such an angry and strict tiger mom who made me play a piano so I can be one step ahead of mediocre racist folks like yourself. What I really want to tell you, dear, stupid Suzy, is that you are like, totally right. Your lack of diversity is surely what prevented you from getting into the college of your dreams. Because you know, diverse applicants are just, like, totally encumbered by these throwaway spots at colleges and law firms and hospitals and oh I don't know, EVERYTHING ELSE IN LIFE in which white people dominate and you can just sit pretty because you just published an article in the Wall Street Journal as if it was some wordpress site you made up for the sole purpose of complaining.

Oh Suzy. It's not your fault. You can't be blamed for being a teen who thinks affirmative action is racial bias. You probably listen to Rihanna and there is at least one secondary African American character in all of your favourite television shows  so surely we must live in a post-racist world. For as long as you've known, non-white people have been getting all kinds of opportunities simply because of the privilege of their difference.

Actually, I take it back. It's totally your fault. You are the worst.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Day of Perfect Meals

On a recent episode of Spilled Milk, Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton described what would be their day of perfect meals, if waistbands and wallets were not a factor. What an exciting prospect, to spend the entire day indulging in only your favourite things! It feels almost impossible to devise a list of my own, considering what I was preoccupied with yesterday (leeks and parsnips) is not necessarily what I am obsessed with today (sumac and dates) and it may not be what be I will love tomorrow (bulgar and barberries?). Setting rules for such an endeavour feels necessary - while it would be possible to compose a list of the most decadent, inaccessible, or sublime dishes from around the world, it seems easier to limit this to a perfect but attainable day, one that is based upon the way we really eat, rather than some form of aspirational consumption.

An ideal morning would begin with some oatmeal banana pancakes, made at home, served with maple syrup and fresh strawberries and blueberries. The pancakes are tender but with crispy edges, a wholesome but decadent start to the day. Perhaps the meal would end with a mug of Mariage Freres tea, while reading the New York Times.

It's difficult for me to decide on a proper mid-morning snack. A handful of homemade olive oil granola with almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and maybe a few slivers of dark chocolate would be quite lovely. As would a couple of multigrain crackers and a mini-wheel of Babybel (perfect can really be defined as humble and comforting in this example). But if we're really talking about the best of the best, I would probably say a pain au chocolat with another mug of Mariage Freres tea is the only answer.

Lunch! Nutritionists are always recommending individuals eat heavier meals during lunch rather than dinner, to allow the body more time to metabolize. For the most part, I do not believe in such things because a large meal during the day means I am more compelled to nap in the afternoon, and who could a) afford to do that during the work day, or b) would want to nap during a sunny afternoon in my perfect day? Nevertheless, in order to fit in as many of the things I love to eat as possible in one day, I would embrace the heavier lunch recommendation in this case and either eat a delicious plate of pappardelle (tossed in a bright pomodoro or a glorious slow-cooked bolognese sauce), or, to enter into pure childhood bliss, an order of black bean chow mein with the greenest gai lan and an even ratio of crunchy and saucy noodles.

The late afternoon snack would satisfy the sweet tooth with likely a Chez Panisse gingersnap and another mug of tea.

What to do about dinner? I have spent a disproportionate amount of my birthdays eating sushi, which would lead you to believe that what is good enough for my day of birth would be good enough for the best day of eating ever, but somehow it doesn't seem quite right. Considering I derive such great pleasure from cooking my own meals, it would make the most sense to choose something that I love to make, and what I love is often what feels reassuring and familiar. In this case, I would choose roast chicken, something I have devoted countless Sunday dinners to. I often dream of Yotam Ottolenghi's version of the Zuni Cafe's chicken and bread salad, but in a pinch (a discount perfect day, if you will), I would settle for just an organic chicken roasted with lemon, fresh herbs, and whole cloves of garlic. Served with the dated but ultimately so delicious strawberry, goat cheese, and pecan salad.

On the perfect day, there is most certainly room for dessert. A roasted strawberry and vanilla ice cream made with my trusty hand-crank ice cream maker sounds kind of delightful. Or a warm slice of apple pie. I love a slice of cake but surprisingly it doesn't call to me on a day that isn't my birthday, so it's not in the mix. Instead, I will settle (I use this word so very loosely) for two chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven. Made with feves or discs rather than chocolate chips though, for slashes of chocolate melted through the caramel-flavoured dough.

If you want to get down to the company, the dinner may also include David Chang, Thomas Mars, Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hersheimer, Okwui Enwezor, and a trio of TADL (totally awesome dead ladies) Louise Bourgeois, Susan Sontag, and Nora Ephron.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Great Outdoors

Have spent a lot of time outside this winter, hiking and thinking. We're pretty lucky here in B.C., I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Lynn Canyon

Lighthouse Park

Stanley Park

Wreck Beach

Forest above Spanish Banks

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everyone's back!

Recently I have been watching a great deal of Parenthood, developed by Friday Night Lights writer and producer Jason Katims. Getting into a new series after it's been on the air for four seasons is really the best, it's just one episode after the other until you are unbearably addicted. In the case of Parenthood, the attraction also lies in its ensemble cast. Lorelai Gilmore, Coach, Swimfan, and Ann are all one big happy family! Is that Lyla Garrity and Luke Cafferty? Is that Wallace and Vince all grown up and running a soup kitchen?

Most importantly though you have Peter Krause (once again) playing the eldest son in a complicated family, and, for a brief moment, it's like we have Nathaniel Fisher back again.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bye, Ridge!

The Ridge was probably the first theatre I went to after moving to Vancouver thirteen years ago - it was right up the street from my first apartment and used to show two second-run movies a night for something like seven bucks. I saw Salman Rushdie read there in 2005.

I saw two final movies there this weekend, as part of the last film festival (Searching for Sugar Man and Argo - both fantastic! Argo is so reminiscent of some classic '70s-Sydney-Pollack-Three-Days-of-the-Condor shit, I loved it!).

The Ridge on Friday night

But on Sunday the Ridge went the way of the Hollywood (which inexplicably has turned into a church!?!) Soon it (and ALSO, the wonderful Varsity Ridge Bowling Lanes, home to a ton of now homeless bowling leagues) will be bulldozed and replaced by condos with some lame "tribute to the Ridge" kind of name, like Nouveau Ridge or Basquiat Ridge. This is depressing, but not surprising. Also, the Ridge was in Twilight - how can you tear that kind of history down? Way to go Vancouver.