Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Saturday Evening Post: Akiko's

The Saturday Evening Post was/is a bimonthly magazine that finds its roots in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette. As one of the nations first magazines, the Post surely reviewed things that magazines review--shows, restaurants, celebrity love triangles, etc.--and we hope to carry on with that sort of tradition, reviewing some icon of Louisville culture that we've experienced during the week. 

Akiko's: Akiko's, commonly referred to as Kinko's, is a Karaoke bar on the corner of Grinstead and Bardstown road. As the setting for both of our first experiences with Karaoke, it will forever live in our memories as a magical place, for all of these reasons:
1. It is very hot
2. Only three people seem to work there (Akiko herself, someone who is probably her son, and a young man from India or Bangledesh who DJs the actual Karaokeing and talks like a rapper.
3. The place is filled with any number of flamboyant types (men in sparkle shirts, bachelorette parties, rocky horror picture show singers) and stoic people-watchers (frat boys, groups of would-be rappers trying to decide if they are too cool to sing)
4. One of our friends (who wouldn't want his name in print) sat with a girl on stage as she sang "I'll make love to you," and loved every minute of it...even though he was determined to hate karaoke.
5.  Ben sang Wonderwall in all sincerity to Molly as the last song of the night.
6. There are black lights.
7. You can leave Akiko's, having sung two songs and consumed two drinks, for less than 10 dollars.
8. Everyone there sucks and it is the perfect place to cut your karaoke teeth/ get over your fear of the stage.
9. White people always sing either current hip-hop or 70s ballads and it is awesome.
10. The dance floor is always open but BEWARE! there are experienced gropers walking around...just ask Carol Anne.

Friday, July 29, 2011

By-the-way-Friday: Stuff White People Like

By-The-Way-Fridays will usually look like every other blog out there. For instance, you may often find random lists of things we want to buy, pictures of our most recent latte art experiences, rants about the government, or movie reviews written as if we are the hipster version of Robert Ebert....actually probably not. These are just normal blog posts.

We are White people and this blog strikes several chords.

wherethewildthingsareposterIt is a guarantee that whenever it is announced that a popular book is being turned into a movie, white people will get upset. This is partly due to their fear that something they love will be made accessible to more people and thus enjoyed by more people which immediately decreases the amount of joy a white person can feel towards the original property. Yes, it’s complicated.
The other problem is that these announcements create a ticking time bomb where by a white person must read the book in ADVANCE of the release of the movie. This is done partly so that they can engage in the popular activity of complaining about how the movie failed to capture the essence of the book. But more importantly, once a book has been made into a movie, a white person can no longer read that book. To have read the book after the movie is one of the great crimes in white culture, and under no circumstances should you ever admit to doing this. Literally dozens of white friendships have imploded when it was revealed that someone read Fight Club after 1999.
So when it was announced that Where the Wild Things Are was being turned into a feature film, white people didn’t immediately get excited at the prospect of this film, in fact a great number of white people cringed when they first heard it was being turned into a movie. This was merely instinct. Immediately, those concerns quickly turned into an opiate-like peace when they found out that the film is being directed by white person favorite Spike Jonze and adapted for the screen by legendary white writer Dave Eggers.
Though the talent and the material has white people in a tizzy, the real excitement comes from the fact that this film is based off a book that is 48 pages long and made up mostly of illustrations. This means that white people do not have to re-read the book until the day they head to the movie theater. Thus freeing them up to watch The Director’s Series: The Work of Spike Jonze DVD which they bought years ago but only watched once.
Finally, and perhaps of most value to you is that the film has generously provided you with an excellent way to test out how many white friends you have. When the trailer was released a few months ago, you should have been inundated with emails, instant messages, and Facebook wall posts about how you need to see the trailer immediately. If you received no word that the trailer was available, then you currently are in possession of no white friends. If you received multiple notices, you should take note about who sent it to you first.

#128 Camping

wilderness_loadingIf you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a “nightmare” or “a worse case scenario like after plane crash or something.” White people refer to it as “camping.”
When white people begin talking to you about camping they will do their best to tell you that it’s very easy and it allows them to escape the pressures and troubles of the urban lifestyle for a more natural, simplified, relaxing time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.
Camping is a multi-day, multi-step, potentially lethal activity that will cost you a large amount of both time and money. Unless you are in some sort of position where you absolutely need the friendship of a white person, you should avoid camping at all costs.
The first stage of camping always involves a trip to an outdoor equipment store like REI (or in Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-Op). These stores are well known for their abundance of white customers and their extensive inventory of things for white people to buy and only use once. If you are ever tricked into going to one of these stores, you can make white people like you by saying things like “man, this Kayak is only $1200, if I use it 35 times I’ve already saved money over renting.” Note: do not actually buy the kayak.
Next, white people will then take this new equipment and load it into an SUV or Subaru Outback with a Thule or Yakima Roof Rack. Then they will drive for an extended period of time to a national park or campsite where they will pay an entrance fee and begin their journey. It is worth noting that white people are unaware of the irony of using a gas burning car to bring them closer to nature and it is not recommended that you point this out. It will ruin their weekend.
Once in the camp area, white people will walk around for a while, set up a tent, have a horrible night of sleep, walk around some more. Then get in the car and go home. This, of course, is a best case scenario. Worst case scenarios include: getting lost, poisoned, killed by an animal, and encountering an RV. Of these outcomes, the latter is seen by white people as the worst since it involves an encounter with the wrong kind of white people.
Conversely, any camping trip that ends in death at the hands of nature or requires the use of valuable government resources for a rescue is seen as relatively positive in white culture. This is because both situations might eventually lead to a book deal or documentary film about the experience.
Ultimately the best way to escape a camping trip with white people is to say that you have allergies. Since white people and their children are allergic to almost everything, they will understand and ask no further questions. You should not say something like “looking at history, the instances of my people encountering white people in the woods have not worked out very well for us.”

#6 Organic Food

whitedecision.jpgBecause of the balance of global wealth and power, there is a general assumption that white people are pretty shrewd. And for the most part, history has proven this to be true. But white people have one great weakness: organic food.
As seen by the image on the left – when faced with eating food that has been processed and loaded with nitrates, sodium and saturated fat, or organic rat poison, 10/10 they will take the rat poison.
Just like with farmers markets, white people believe that organic food is grown by farmers who wear overalls, drive tractors, and don’t use pesticide. In spite of the fact that most organic food is made by major agribusiness, and they just use it as an excuse to jack up prices, white people will always lose their mind for organic anything. Never mind the fact that if the world were to switch to 100% organic food tomorow, half the earth would die of starvation.
But white people don’t care, just so long as they aren’t eating pesticides they are pretty sure they can live forever.
It’s almost guaranteed that if some Columbian drug lord can start offering “organic” cocaine, he’ll be the richest guy ever.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

B.R.R.'s Days: Age 4

Disclaimer: B.R.R.'s Days (pronounced brrrrrr'sdays to rhyme with thursdays) are basically Molly's effort to give me some reason to write things and she is sweet for indulging me. I am of the opinion that writers are some of the most arrogant wind-bags that exist in world, because they invariably assume that anyone would want to know what is in their minds, so as a disclaimer I ask that whoever reads this forgive me beforehand and realize that I am just having fun/pleasing my wife--which is also fun. 

Second Disclaimer: the following--for how many weeks I don't know yet--is part of an idea I've been tossing around that uses many sections of flash fiction (poetic, train-of-thought, flash images in prose) each representing a different year in a person's life. The main goal would be to put them all together (maybe not in order) to present an interesting and realistic, if disjointed, picture of humanity complete with the characters and characteristics of an identifiable main character's life. Bear with me, but the project was inspired by a quote from On the Road which reads "our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life." Here, I think, it would be more appropriate to argue that life is the road, and that is the sort of thinking that has inspired me to do something so weird. 

Age 4: outside the blanket Daddy pushes his hands under me like he is scooping water from a bucket and I think he has too much hair on his arms. in my dreams he has the same face as God but I know he is just him even though the Bible says he is made in God’s image so I don’t know. Daddy says he would cut off his arm for me if it would save my life but I don’t understand what he means—only that it means he loves me more.  when the covers are all tucked Daddy lays down next to me after he turns on the tape and I put my nose against his nose and try to breathe through my nose at the same time he breathes. I wonder if he is already asleep and if he is pretending so that I will fall asleep first and then I watch the fan and try to see just one wing of it instead of the whole spinning circle. i am too warm but I don’t move much because I am tucked in. i try not to but I think about what if Daddy and the whole world are robots and I am the only real kid and I can’t get married because they aren’t the same as me and I can’t have kids either I don’t think. I pretend I am only imagining because I feel his soft nose and his foot touching my foot but except for that dream about being stuck in a giant house with no doors, I dream it all the time and it scares me because I feel alone, but also like the hero of the world. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remember Whensdays: Paris

Remember Whensdays is an opportunity to reminisce on fun memories throughout our marriage! 

Remember when we were in Paris and we wrote this blog entry for our family & friends...
Bonjour, comment allez-vous...everyone...

So yesterday we left England (and I can't say I was sad to kiss the snobs at our hostel goodbye), and to do so, splurged on a metro ticket (remember our looong hike the day before?). We went through Victoria train station in the center of London, on a two hour train ride to Dover--famous for its white cliffs and being the traditional port for crossing to France. After finding an amazing deal on the ferry, thanks to our Eurail passes, we boarded the ferry...think small cruise boat complete with casino games, a restaurant, duty free shopping, etc. We ate apples from breakfast and fell fast asleep instead of indulging. After the ferry ride, we found ourselves in Calais France, a port town on the north shore, and proceeded to the train station--not by bus, as would have been the smart choice--but guessed it...FOOT! We walked for about thirty minutes and finally found Gare du Calais (we thought it was a movie theater the first time we passed it) and boarded the train that left three minutes later, to Lille.  We are in Paris as of last night and have spent an amazing 36 hrs experiencing what it is to be French, or at least in France. We've had French Fries, spoken French, and French has been tres bon!
From Lille train station we made our way to Paris, and now the real action of the day started. By this point, it was about 8:00 and we were both exhausted, starving, and thirsty. Due to the walking fiasco in Calais, we decided to spend the 3 euro to ride the subway to our hostel--st. christopher's. On the subway, I'm sorry to admit, I got a bit touchy and slightly nudged...Ok pushed..a frenchman (gold chain on neck and baguette in hand). He bellowed a few choice words (excuse HIS french) and then proceeded to hock a loogy at me, right there in the station! Of course I was all politeness and Christian demeanor because I've been raised right...really the nerve! Finally, we made it to the hostel, had an expensive cheeseburger each and retired to our room full of one very stinky asian, one very snory asian, one asian who screams in her sleep (no kidding) and a very nice aussie who has cool tatoos.

After a night of screaming, snoring, and stench (as I mentioned), we were happy to leave the room a bit early and load up on free carbs thanks to St. Christophers bar breakfast. While we ate, we discovered this package that looked like peach jelly on the outside but was really Chocolate heaven spread on the inside...a baguette never tasted so perfect. Of course, we stuffed several of these packages into our bag (along with several baguettes for lunch) and left on another free tour (as in previous locales). The tour was great! We were led around by Fraser from Scotland, a smoking swearing skinny man, who knew suprisingly a lot about Paris. We were able to see the Seine River, Notre Dame cathedral (I think I saw our favorite hunchback on the roof), the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and even the Louvre (which we are planning on walking through on wednesday). After our tour, Molly and I fell asleep in the shade of a statue of Winston Churchill and stayed that way until around 3:30 when we decided to see some of those wonderful monuments up close. Our first stop was the eiffel tower and we got several amazing pictures (one actually French Kissing) in front of the icon of Paris. From there, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe--a monument that Napoleon built for himself after conquering somewhere (short man syndrome if you ask Fraser)--and took several more pictures..some of which are very triumphant. 

Finally, we made our way to this computer by walking...that's right we walked...I know you're suprised. It was the longest walk I have ever experienced, so long that it took a good 3 hours and brought us from one end of France's biggest city to the other. We were famished about half way and happened to find this questionable thai restaurant selling pork raviollis cooked in a microwave from the 80s with orange rice...for only 4 euros! So we split it, and although I'm sure I ate some paper and dragon skin somewhere in there, we are full and the hot sauce made it taste good...or at least spicy. We finished our walk and are now a bit slap-happy as I'm sure you can tell. Our night is about to be concluded on the banks of the Seine wearing barets and drinking champagne! au revoir mes amies.
Quote for the Day:
Have you ever been to France?... I have travelled through several of its provinces. In some of which half the population are lunatics, whereas in others they are too cunning by half; in some parts they are quite good-natured and rather simple-minded, while in others they cultivate their wits. But wherever you go, the principal occupation is love, the second is spreading scandal, and the third is talking nonsense. --Voltaire

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chewsday: Food interview with Mimi

 This is an interview I did with my "Mimi" Dorothy Queenan (age 94) in 2010 as research for a paper on food. Keep in mind that although I am somewhat obsessed with the farm-to-table movement, my Grandmother has never heard of such a thing, has no clue who Micheal Pollan is, thinks "foodie" is a slang term for snacks, and is 20 years older than Wendell try to tell me healthy eating and conscious nutritional choices are a fad! These are her exact words from a cell phone recording (imagine several loving sighs and giggles, and the warmest/wrinkliest old voice ever). -Molly 

Q: Does Fast Food have an effect on the society?
A: I think if it is abused it definitely does and they might have a weight problem. It can effect a well balance diet because fried foods are not good to eat all of the time. You always need meat, potatoes, a vegetable (greens), and fruit. It effects your family. The way to relate to your family is around the dining table. Discussion time is important, it is not a time to complain but to enjoy and be around a table. With fast food you don’t get any pluses your just filling a gap in your diet. It is fast and easy but it hurts you in the end. Growing up I had a nicely set table. Everyday my mom would leave me a note: “Peel the Potatoes and set the table”. I had nice dishes and nice silverware and without my mom how would I have known how to set a pretty table? Some of that is lost with fast food. You lose the gathering. Fast food is like eating off of the stove! If you grow up that way then that is what you do when your older and that is what you will teach your children. Eating at the dinner table with other people is how you learn your manners, dress nicely, and you behave appropriately in society. People have left the kitchen table! People act inappropriately because they are not learning their manners at the table. You’re grandfather’s father worked on the railroad so he didn’t have the family gatherings like I did growing up. It makes a difference as you grow. It is important to sit down and have a pleasant meal! People are not having the surrounding family influence and it was unheard of to eat on the fly – you sat down to the table and you ate! 

Photos by Molly at Woodland Farm

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monster Monday: Kola

Name: Kola Bear Roberson
Birthday: 1/2/10
Breed: Adopted Mut- probably part Australian Shepherd/ Pit Bull Terrier...possibly Coyote

Story: We found Kola on while still living in our last apartment. Her litter was left on I-71 and was being called the "Cardboard Crew" because they were found in a box. In addition to being labeled like a 90s rap group, each pup was named after a character from FRIENDS...Kola, ironically, was named after the controlling, meticulous, if beautiful and lovable Monica (a name that would have fit, had we only known). We decided the situation was tragic, the name was dorky, and our apartment was a bit too empty, so we adopted her and named her "Kola," the Lakota word for "friend" and the Spanish word for "tail."

Hobbies: Sprinting at lightning speed in pursuit of fleeing squirrels, birds, or cats (always to no avail except for once); Laying under cars; Riding in cars with her nose in the wind and her mouth open; Eating bugs out of mid-air.

Pet-Peeves: Ryder's bad behavior (Punishments include bared teeth, throaty growls, biting of the perpetrator's back ankles); Vacuum cleaners; Yelling of any kind.

Favorite Foods: Cheese (except Gorgonzola), Kiwi (including the peel), and Beneful (all other dog food makes her throw up).

Sleeping Places: In her beloved Crate/Den, in front of an air vent, burrowed into the covers of a bed or sleeping bag with her head covered completely.

Nicknames: KoKo, Kola-Nut (only Paul), Kola-con-pooch

Quirks: Normally Kola smells like Cheerios but her neck smells like moth balls and gets crusty once a month, she could be trusted to babysit a newborn infant without worry of damage or danger.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Palm Sunday: Peach Jam

Well its peach season and the time to make my favorite jam is finally here! Last year I had the opportunity to work on my professor's farm. We picked blueberries, I bared my soul, got advice, & learned how to make homemade fresh blueberry jam. Ben's grandparents lived next to Reid's Orchard in Owensboro, and every year I get so excited waiting for a fresh batch of peaches! After learning about the joys of jam last year, I decided to give it a go, so when Momma Iva and Poppa called with this year's bushel of fuzzy fruit, we quickly gathered supplies & invited friends (Chels & Morg) over to have a jam session. Its a new year and a new flavor but the experience was much the same & I wanted to share it!
Ben peeling the ripe the skin just fell off! YUM.
Mash peaches, add pectin, bring to a boil, add sugar, & stir.
The finished product.
"Geez Mom, hurry up! I need some attention!"-Ryder