I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a cranberry sweet potato marshmallow muffin recipe to make you thankful

Not feeling thankful? I invented a muffin to cure you. With spices, cranberries, and marshmallow yams, this muffin embodies thanksgiving dinner (but without the turkey, because that would be disgusting).

(Also, don't be fooled by the marshmallows, this is a true, wholegrain, healthful muffin you can take hiking, not one of your cupcakes-in-muffin's-clothing muffins.)

The dry ingredients are two and three quarter cups of King Arthur's white whole wheat flour, half a cup of sugar, 5 tsp of baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, and 1 tsp each of clove and nutmeg.

Wet ingredients are half a stick of butter (4 tbsp), two lightly beaten eggs, 4 tbsp canola, and half a cup of whatever milk is on hand including rice or soy.

You'll also need one yam which should be partially baked, or microwaved 3 to 4 minutes till it's yielding but not squishy. Dice the yam. I microwaved the cranberries half a minute but wonder if this is necessary. Mix the berries and diced yam into the batter, stick the marshmallows on top. The mini marshmallows need no preparation, being perfect just as they are.

Last step before baking: Just to make sure the heavy, whole wheat dough rises I proof one packet of Hodgson Mill yeast, let it bubble for five minutes, then pound and knead it into the dough just like I was making pizza. Is this step necessary? Maybe not if I had aluminum-free double-acting baking powder on hand, but I only had the regular baking powder and wasn't taking any chances.

Bake them 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees, and you will cure the most implacable ingrate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

toward a new swishiness

santa cruz 065

Conformity is more respected than difference, and male is more respected than female, so when we describe a man as swishy he takes on connotations of frivolousness, weakness, and moral idiocy.

This is unjust all round, but let's focus on the swishy man.

I refrained from describing someone as swishy recently, because I worried it was insulting. This troubles me: swishy should be complimentary. This man's swish had sweetness and bite, and was bracing, like a good artisanal ginger ale.

I learned that swishy is onomatopoeic in origin, expressing the sound of ostentatiously stylish clothes in motion. (I thought it specifically denoted a man with a mincing walk, probably because an art history professor with a mincing walk was the first man I heard described as swishy).

Swishy, mincing, lisping: Why is sibilance a marker for effeminate male queerness in our culture? Loads of other consonant sounds could be equally queer. Do they feel left out?

And couldn't the sibilance of swishy be as easily associated with dashing, or swashbuckling (also onomatopoeic in origin)? We often run across the smart, swishy man of action, and are charmed, and we hear him on NPR in the person of the accomplished correspondent and parkour-enthusiast Ari Shapiro... but in the narratives of our culture, we can only look to the heroes of Ellen Kushner's ahead-of-their-time Riverside novels for a smart, swishy hero, and...

and...?

(Jack Sparrow doesn't count, being, so far as we know, straight, and not entirely on the level.)

Fictional liberators Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel veiled their swash behind a facade of swish, but I dream of a day when swish is understood to connote smarts, celerity, competence, and heroism.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the exquisite demurrals of Sufjan Stevens flee before jubilant resolve at Philly's Academy of Music

wilted knight

Sufjan Stevens is absent in photos the way Garbo or Matthew Barney are absent in photos. In his music he hesitates before the threshold of action or grieves the aftermath of action and depicts robust action only through DayGlo surrogates like Superman, Santa, or zombies.

But last night at our cavernous Academy of Music, Sufjan Stevens warned that his focus would be less the end of time or the dawn of time and more the middle of time: where we are, right now, here. He was gabby and sassy, and busy with important, lyrical hand signals that suggested semaphore for poetic aliens.

Then he put on a big flashy rock and roll science fiction stage show that had me thinking of Bowie, the Flaming Lips, and Tron.

Some will torture the question of whether this was ironic. Let me settle the matter. It was ironic. It was not ironic. I choose to think of Sufjan Stevens as that type of artist who is most sincere in irony, most ironic in sincerity. Like Mel Brooks. We know that the things we love are ridiculous.

I may have more to say about this as I figure it all out. I have been listening to Sufjan Steven's symphonic tribute to the Brooklyn-Queens expressway The BQE and did not realize he put out an album of bombastic synth pop last month, The Age of Adz. I love bombastic synth pop and I love Sufjan Stevens, so you must imagine me numb with excitement, almost unable to appreciate the enormity of the advent of this album--like Mary Magdelene meeting the resurrected Christ in the graveyard, and insisting that he must be the groundskeeper.

resurrection

Thursday, November 04, 2010

the trouble with zombies

DSCF0011

What a cute zombie! I am posting him because he was my favorite zombie at Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls last year. I stopped by this year, and though I did not see him, I thought I heard his high musical giggle--like lunatic panpipes. If all zombies could be as smooth-skinned and towheaded as this one, I might welcome the invasion.

But zombies, though I enjoy you, and have been fascinated to see you become more popular, I have a caveat or two.

Or three. The trouble with zombies is threefold.

ONE: You have effectively upstaged Frankenstein's monster as the archetypal reanimated corpse! Vampires and werewolves are holding their own, but you zombies have edged Mary Shelley's morose flat-topped green guy off the halloween paper plate.

TWO: Zombies have lost their mystique! The deep weirdness and pseudo-ethnographic patina you guys had in the days of White Zombie and I Walked with a Zombie has been worn away by familiarity and sheer numbers. Careful, zombies! Do not squander your chic!

THREE: Zombie methodology is fundamentally misguided! Animated corpses stumbling around with limbs flailing, this is scary? If you want to unnerve someone, zombies of the world, don't move at all.

Bram Stoker said the dead travel fast, and he meant it for menace--but the most disquieting quality of the dead is not motion, but stillness.

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