Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seriously y'all (plus banana nut bread)

Save Chuck.

I love this show and the season (series?) finale is this coming Monday and NBC still hasn't committed to renewing it. And so the fans are mobilizing. And it's getting lots of press. Lots and lots and lots. (And apparently this is all Jay Leno's fault for eating up 5 hours of primetime television, and from here going forward, no one under the age of 60 will watch NBC at 10/9 central.)

So this is the wee part I'm doing. If you're a fan, blog or twitter or send a good old fashioned letter or whatever it is you feel moved to do. And if you're not, if it gets renewed, promise you'll start watching this fall. It will be the bee's knees. I mean, the last couple of episodes have featured Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula. Scott Bakula folks!! You know, Quantum Leap? Dr. Sam Becket?? Hoping that each leap would be the leap home? Oh, the little 12-year-old me just lived for that show. And now you can watch old episodes on Hulu. Yay!

As for the blog name change situation, I didn't get a lot of feedback (as expected). And what little I did get was pretty much 'keep it as is,' so I suppose I will, for now. If it begins to seem as though I will always and forever be keeping Austin weird from afar (as it already does), then I'll change it. Maybe I'll give it another six months.

Wanted to finally share the banana nut bread recipe. I did make one for Easter, which stayed at my aunt and uncle's house, so I made another one last weekend and brought half to the office, where it was happily received.

You might remember the previous attempt to make banana nut bread with an unfamiliar recipe. Which prompted my seeking out this old family favorite. Like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Maw Maw's Banana Nut Bread

¾ cup butter-flavored Crisco (no one ever said this was good for you)
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cup mashed ripe bananas
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
¾ cup nuts (we prefer pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Pour into a greased and floured bread pan. Bake in 350 degree oven 45 to 50 minutes or until bread springs back when touched (or toothpick comes out dry).

It's strange, making this as many times as I have over the last six months, how many questions I have. I wish I could just watch her make it once, you know? How ripe did she like the bananas? When mixing, is there a certain order she likes things added in? How well should it be mixed? Just til it comes together? Or beaten for a bit? How much does she pack the brown sugar? And etc. Unfortunately, I was 11 when she died, and didn't share her love of baking as much then. But now I think we'd enjoy a day of baking and crocheting together. Perhaps someday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh my

I let myself just dip a toe into Etsy this morning. Never a good idea in my current financial state, to be sure. It had been far too long since I'd visited Berkley Illustration's store (I was a verified stalker of it last year, when I bought three prints). There are many new creatures both large and small that Ryan has drawn, but oh this one tempts me more than any:

Oh my. Polar bears are obviously at the top of my list of animals I am inexplicably attached to. But lions and horses are quite close behind them. (Although, despite my joy at the sight, that would be one hot, bloody mess if you got all three of them in a room together. Yeesh.)

I may have to add this to the wish list. He would look quite fine alongside my polar bear print. Even better, Ryan should draw a lioness to go along with him. And then my life would be complete. Sigh.

Also, I just discovered something quite strange. When I first started this blog about a year ago, I was living in Austin, obvs, and chose the name. And at one point I tried to find it via google and it was just near impossible (the phrase "Keep Austin Weird" is quite popular, you see). So just this morning, I googled the blog name without thinking (usually I just type the address in) and it was on the first page of google. Wha?? So I think in some highly technical internets way, that is a good thing.

However, I was just recently considering finally changing this over to Keeping Dallas Weird, since it's been almost 6 months now that I've been up here. But I dunno, should I just keep it as is? I'm not sure there's any way to move all the previous entries over to the new address, which is a drag. And the google development is sorta cool.

Meanwhile, I keep thinking that people are stumbling upon this blog and start looking around thinking this is an Austin person's blog and then they're like, "Yo, this bitch lives in Dallas! I'm out." I feel like it's a bit misleading that way. I do still love Austin, and hope in this wee little corner of my heart that I'll return someday, but maybe it is time to let go and devote myself anew to weirdifying Dallas. (Tho regardless of outcome, rest assured I'm still keeping my 512 cell phone number.)

Suggestions? I think there's only 10 people reading at the most, so perhaps am giving this too much thought..

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sugar explosion

Every year, soon as lent is over, I go nuts with the sugar. While I am going without, I stockpile Easter candy, and the inevitable Girl Scout cookies that come in during that time. And then once Easter rolls around, I bury my face in it (much to my tummy's dismay). Mmmm.

Yesterday, some PR lady came by the office to bring us some of this:

I'd never heard of Graeter's before, but apparently it's an Ohio-based ice cream company, and this is the first time their stuff has been available in Texas (but only in Kroger stores in Houston and Dallas it seems). They brought us three flavors, which we all promptly tried. My favorite was the Blueberry Pie flavor. Swoon. I love ice cream on pie, but pie in ice cream, well that's just fabulous.

I love regional goods. It feels exclusive when you get to buy them, like you're in a special club. But since they're everywhere in "the region," they are often taken for granted. Which I discovered during those long five years in New York without Blue Bell ice cream. And Braum's. And Sonic Cherry Limeades (though I wouldn't necessarily consider Sonic "regional," but they are sorta absent from the northeast). Yeah, that was painful. What's your favorite regional treat?

I was at Krogers, as it happens, after work and saw the Graeter's. Five dollars a pint! Yeesh. I'll wait for a sale. So instead I perused the new flavors of Ben & Jerry's, which were on sale, and spied this one.

Had to try it. I only had a few bites last night, but it was nice. Some people really don't like marzipan, and if that's the case, then this is not for you. But I thought the almond cookies in there were delish. Of course my favorite B&J flavor ever is Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. To die for.

Also it looks like they have brought back Triple Caramel Chunk and are hailing it as new although I can remember eating that flavor in college. I'm just sayin'.

Okay, I'll stop prattling on about ice cream now. New Music Spring '09 continues with the latest from Camera Obscura. NPR is doing their sneak peek again (like they did for Andrew Bird), so I've been listening to it non-stop at my desk. I love when they do that. Thanks NPR, for being so awesome.

Back during my music magazine days, I interviewed the lead singer after their last album came out. I just loved it and begged to do a story on them. I'm a total FAIL at music writing, and it was the most in-depth thing I wrote while I was there, which isn't saying much since it was short and only ran on their website. But I was quite proud of it.

Lastly, yesterday was my nephew's birthday (yep, he was born on tax day). I can't believe WillBaby is already 7. How did that happen? What a fine-looking chap he is growing up to be.

And for this birthday, my present arrived on time. Score!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A dresser

I has one.

Just waiting for it to be delivered. Hooray!

It's not big enough to hold all my clothes but I think that just means I need to get rid of some clothes. Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I'm getting a spring cleaning twitch. And someday when I get a big one, it'll work nice as a buffet or credenza or whatever. It's versatile like that. I'm excited. One down, two more pieces to go.

I'm busting out some banana nut bread on Saturday to bring to my Aunt and Uncle's place for Easter snacking. It's the really good recipe, the one that belonged to my Maw Maw. Have I shared that recipe yet? Really? I thought I had? Hrm, maybe that will be forthcoming this weekend. It involves butter-flavored Crisco, so you know it has to be good.

Last year I was at another Aunt and Uncle's house for Easter, and we had my grandmother's pound cake. Yeah. That was a good day. A really good day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Get excited

Yay. I whole-heartedly agree. Go forth.

Spotted on 20x200 today. Design by Matt Jones benefiting Creative Commons.

Album of the week this week is Blind Pilot. It's one I've been poking at for the last couple of months but only just got into it full throttle now (Andrew, Neko, and others have been postponing).

This morning on NPR, I heard that a good bit of the album was written in Astoria, Oregon, which made me think immediately of the post Alicia wrote all about Astoria, and how mystical and lovely and eerily evocative it is. Suddenly the album made perfect sense. Enjoy! And I'll get back to doing research on boring stuff I no longer care about. Yaaaay...?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Deep thoughts

Once upon a time, I expounded at length (in a former iteration of this blog) about my favorite Henry David Thoreau quote:

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success in unexpected and uncommon hours."

Yeah, it's one of several of his that I like. I'm a fan. At lunch today, while listening to NPR, I heard a few bits of an interview with Robert Sullivan, author of a new book on Mr. Thoreau. He commented that in Thoreau's time, the word "career" didn't exist. One didn't build a "career" in those days, they built a "life."

So while revisiting this quote, I realized that I read it as "career" in place of "life/dreams," (as in, in my own life, my career = my dreams) which is sad, and sucks, and wasn't what Thoreau intended. Therefore:

1. As Mr. Sullivan suggests, I too shall try to avoid using the word "career" and focusing on building one, but instead on building a life.
2. In that context, I still love this quote the mostest, and will be applying it in a new way to my own endeavors. Yay!

Considering the current state of the economy and, for you magazine folk, the media industry, I think we should all focus on this. That is all.

Pretty picture: