December 2007 Archives

comics can make you more literate!


Or… less.

it ain't what you know


My new Critical Browser column is up over at the New Republic’s site!

roundup time


If it’s the second half of December, it must be time for every site and periodical on the planet to publish its best-of-the-year roundups. I’ve participated in a few of them, and here we go:

Some 2007 graphic novels & other comics-related projects I really enjoyed. (At Salon; gotta watch an ad first.) Note that it’s not my “best-of-the-year-in-order” list, just a lot of books I thought were good.

PItchfork’s top 100 tracks of 2007. I wrote up three of them. I particularly like the “download or stream almost everything” feature.

And… Pitchfork’s top 50 albums of 2007. I wrote up a couple of these, too.

Meanwhile, Paper Thin Walls’ 2007 mixtape is up; I wrote about Farah’s “Law of Life” for it.

I’ve been doing so much rounding up I feel like a cowboy or an accountant or something, but I did still manage to get my hands on this cookbook and make seitan piccata with green bean and mashed potatoes last night. Came out really well, I thought.

in the snow and ice; so cold

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I was on All Things Considered yesterday, talking about Jandek!

thousand and hundred

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Specifically, the party today: for 100 years of our house and 1000 days of this guy. I really do have some fantastic friends, you know. And, as a hundredth birthday present, we gave our house a name: it’s now known as the Mint. (Why? Because Lisa, Sterling and Douglas live there—and that abbreviation leads, conceptually, straight back to a name we love. Also, mint goes really well with fruit, and there are some serious fructivores in the house. And a mint can be a symbol of hospitality. And so on.)

For the party, I attempted to make latkes from a recipe which I will not link here, since it failed utterly. Attempt #1, admittedly, used frozen shredded potatoes from Costco. Nix. Attempt #2 used baking potatoes that I shredded with the food processor instead of by hand. Didn’t cohere either, despite using twice the amount of eggs the recipe called for. Attempt #3 used the rest of batch #2, minced up further in the food-processor bowl. Still no coherency. At this point, I decided the hell with it, I had perfectly good hash browns, stuck them in a bowl and called them “deconstructed latkes,” inspired by the “postmodern pancakes” at this excellent joint.

Getting out a bit more at last—I went to see Robyn Hitchcock and the 3/5 of R.E.M.s or whatever they’re called at Doug Fir last week (I wouldn’t have expected an encore at a Hitchcock show to be a 20-minute medley of “Heroin” and “The End,” but there you go), and returned to Doug Fir Friday night to see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings tear the roof off the place for two hours.

“To make Smiley Smile”: not a reference to putting on a happy face, but to having the good sense to scrap a project that has gotten out of hand, and salvage its best ideas—possibly but not at all necessarily including some of the work that’s been produced around those ideas—for a project that’s much smaller in scope but better because it actually exists.

knife skills


Note to self: when friends who want to start cooking ask for recipes, give them a short knife-skills tutorial too.

Erika is awesome, btw.