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Thursday, August 28, 2014

you don't even know

I'm sick of people saying that "Fancy" is the Song of the Summer.  "Fancy" is a fine song, but there is a certain sound, or mix of sounds, that make a song Song of the Summer-worthy, and "Fancy" is missing some of those elements.  Just like last year, even though a lot of people liked the bland, repetitive "Get Lucky," it still wasn't the Song of the Summer, the catchy, retrograde "Blurred Lines" was.  On this all reasonable minds agree.   But in the cases where they admit that not everybody is grooving on "Fancy" they are all like, "But the only other choice is 'Rude' and nobody wants that," which is true because it is a steaming pile.  But those are not the only two choices!  It makes me ever so cross that nobody is talking about what the actual Song of the Summer is, or should be--the only real choice:  "Classic," by MKTO.  It is the best of all the offerings; punchy, bouncy, fun.  Summer in a box.  I can't vouch for the awesomeness or lack thereof of the video--upon first glance it seems that there are some twelve-year-olds playing poker and drinking?  And hitting on their friends' sexy moms and older sisters?  The white one makes weird growly faces while he sings which is off-putting.  When he's not making stupid faces he looks like my cousin Max's secret younger brother (compliment--Max is handsome). 

It's too late now anyway, because we're closing in on September.  Too bad for all the people who've listened to the wrong song all summer.


Remember "Starry-eyed Surprise?"  That was a summer song that merited its title.  I just wish more people would consult me before they just hand out "Song of the Summer" cards all willy-nilly.  There needs to be order and reason to this process, folks. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

and they all have pretty children and the children go to school

OKAY OKAY OKAY.  I have so much to tell you.  First:  for our Start of Term Feast last night I made some frozen butterbeer and it was amazing (said in David Allen Grier's voice from that episode of Bones, or Dave Kroll's voice from his PubLIZity sketches).  Do you want the recipe?  I'll put it at the bottom.

Second:  the county? state? not sure, but whoever it is came and widened the road in front of our house to make a turning lane, and I'm interested to see if it actually makes the road safer, because it looks a little bit like it might exacerbate the limited-vision dog-leg problem, but I am not a road person and am therefore not a trustworthy source.  Anyway, they ripped a big chunk out of our driveway for some reason, even though the road didn't even come any further into our driveway than before, and yesterday they came and poured cement, so one part of our driveway is super nice and smooth, and the rest of it is still like an old lady lives here and doesn't have money to pay for a new driveway.  This actually describes what is really happening, only replace "old lady" with "my family." 


Oh man, I just fell down the internet rabbit hole on Dave Kroll, and I am weeping about his Cats are the Worst bit.  I don't know why, maybe I'm just in a good mood--TRICK QUESTION I AM IN A GOOD MOOD because I had the best day at the D.I. today while I was waiting for my car to get serviced.  I found a skirt and a dress and a shirt and they are all HAWT and also I found two of the Pyrex mixing bowls that came so highly recommended in the recent Cook's Illustrated

Third:  The children started school today and they all got up on time and looked handsome/lovely and were ready for the bus with time to spare, and ever since then it has been so blissfully quiet, and I have done two loads of dishes, plus the car servicing and D.I. successes I mentioned earlier, and a guitar lesson, and I ate proper portions for my lunch and I LOVE THIS DAY.  The end. 

But before you go, here's the butterbeer recipe:

Frozen Butterbeer
serves 4

Butterbeer:  
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C water
1/2 t butterscotch flavoring
1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt

Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar in the water until it has completely dissolved, then let it cool completely.  Add the butterscotch and vanilla and the salt.  Once the syrup is chilled, fill a blender with ice and pour the syrup over it.  Blend until smooth, then pour into glasses.

Topping:
1 pint heavy cream
1 7 oz. container marshmallow creme
vanilla
sugar

Pour the cream and marshmallow creme into a bowl and whip to desired stiffness, adding vanilla and sugar to taste.  When the topping is ready, spoon it onto the top of each glass of butterbeer.  Serve and enjoy. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

come and knock on our door, we'll be waiting for you

My cookies got a red ribbon at the fair.  Frowny face.  The kids all got blue ribbons on their pickles, the chickens had a mix of blue, red and white ribbons, and Karl the rabbit got "4th" written on her tag.  Willa really wants to show a goat next year, so I suppose I should support her in her farmerly pursuits.  But that means walking and training and whatnot, which requires consistency and patient continuance in well-doing.  That's a drag, but it's hard to overlook the fact that our goats would SMOKE the competition.  There are some sad critters bumping around in that barn, most of them obvious mixes and it's like, what kind of rinky-dink popsicle stand are we running here?  Sally would clean house if we took her, if only we could get her to walk on a leash.  We might have to start with a baby because Sally is just too cuckoopants to perform. 

We ate some very good brisket from one of the food huts for lunch--do you find that it's almost impossible to find good brisket?  Everybody says they make great brisket, but so far I've only found two people who aren't lying.  Why do they have to lie?  Why don't they just stop making brisket?  There's no shame in admitting that you don't know how to do something.

I like the idea of yoga very much, but every time I try it I feel simultaneously bored and hopelessly inept.  I think that shows that my body desperately needs the flexibility and stamina that yoga would give me, but boy is that ever a steep learning curve.  But even more than the physical aspect I think my mental state would benefit greatly from regular doses of yoga.  I feel somewhat frenetic and unbalanced.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin

What's happening in Ferguson is so bizarre and horrifying I don't even know how to talk about it.  Then why bring it up, Layne? you might ask.  I guess just to show that I read the news and I don't like tragedy and I don't trust authority.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine (a friend who, knowing my affection for the poop emoji, gave me a blob of glowing fake poo for my birthday, so you know she's cool).  We were talking about her brother-in-law, who is currently on a trip to meet his girlfriend's father and ask for her hand in marriage.  I guess the girl is very traditional, so this is important to her, but man.  I am uncomfortable with this tradition.  I recently read a great excoriation of the dumb, terrible song "Rude" in which the author describes asking-for-her-hand as "the retrograde plight of a young man requesting a title transfer." BOOM.  Exactly.  You knock that right off.  Something I am okay with:  both parties approaching both sets of parents and saying, "We have decided to get married, and we would love to have your blessing."  Something I am not okay with:  the boy approaching the girl's dad and saying, "Your daughter is a thing you own, and I would like to own her now." 

There was a great piece on The Takeaway yesterday about "The Black Album," the fictional/real album Ethan Hawke created for his movie son/actual daughter, and I wish so much that this album really existed.  In the letter the dad writes to the son he says this wise, necessary thing:  "I listen to this music and for some reason (maybe the ongoing, metamorphosing pain of my divorce from your mother) I am filled with sadness that John & Paul’s friendship turned so bitter. I know, I know, I know, it has nothing to do with me, but damn it, tell me again why love can’t last. Why do we give in to pettiness? Why did they? Why do we so often see gifts as threats? Differences as shortcomings? Why can we not see that our friction could be used to polish one another?"  Testify, fake movie dad.  

But on the bright side, the people on Youtube who have uploaded the songs that appear on the Black Album are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.  Monetize the crap out of that, ladies and gentlemen!  Ooh, suddenly I feel very patriotic.

John and I took Emmett to the recent Paul McCartney concert, and it was all we could have hoped for.  None of my children are as passionate about the Beatles as I am, which makes me sad.  They like them okay, but they'd usually rather listen to something else.  I've found that sometimes telling them the background to the song helps.  Anyway, Paul McCartney is such a fabulous performer that Emmett was finally able to see the light.  He has watched his shaky, hand-held video of the fire jets in "Live and Let Die" about fifty times.  You can hear me in the background going "WOO!  FIRE!"  This man is 72 and he jumped around and played a bunch of different instruments and performed for nearly three straight hours and it was my favorite thing.  I LOVE PAUL MCCARTNEY SO MUCH.

One of the things we were talking about while waiting to get into the concert was how which Beatle is your favorite is a personality test and says something about what kind of a person you are, much like what Hogwarts house you belong to.  And I think that the Beatles can be loosely correlated with Hogwarts houses--Paul is Gryffindor, John is Slytherin, George is Ravenclaw, and Ringo is Hufflepuff.  Would you agree?  Or would Paul be Hufflepuff?  I think we should have a cross-test that determines which Beatles correspond with which Hogwarts houses to test my theory.  Someone computery:  go do that. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

who wants respect from a ten-year-old kid?

Brothers and sisters, it is so hot in Florida.  There was a shooting at an outlet mall while we were there, and I think it's because it is so hot there that it addles people's brains.  Someone probably snuck in and poached a parking spot that someone else had been waiting for, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know here comes the ambulance.  I think there are places in the world where maybe people just aren't meant to live.  Arizona comes to mind.  Also Greenland.  But what do I know?  Probably nothing.

John and I were the nerdy adults with no children who were tooling around in the Harry Potter theme park, and also I was pushing him in a wheelchair because his knee is still all messed up from his surgery.  If any of you were thinking of renting a disabled person to skip the lines at a theme park, know this:  it is not worth it.  You still have to wait, so you'll have become a garbage person for nothing.  But we had fun, and once again I was reminded how boring our normal, non-magical world is.  Even though the theme park does not have the immersive quality of the books, it's enough to remind you of how captivating they are.  And I am annoyed by people who think that adults should be ashamed to read Harry Potter--it reminds me of this weird guy who was attempting to date my youngest sister last year who said he can't read Harry Potter anymore unless he reads it in Spanish, because it's just too easy, and I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck.  Whatever, dude.  We bow before your superior intellect and so forth.

Did any of you read any of the Borrowers books when you were young?  I loved them so very much, and now I'm reading the first book to my kids and they're all like "meh."  What is their problem?  Aren't the Borrowers actually a super cool idea?  What's the matter with kids today?  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

they took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum

I had a whole big thing typed about how I stopped eating dessert a couple of weeks ago, but people who go on sugar fasts, even weak ones like I'm doing, are usually insufferable.  So never mind.

I finally milked Hazel and Sally last week, and felt very virtuous and provident living-y.  I decided not to get that beautiful blue roan goat.  What with the goats being even more pet than asset than usual this year, I just couldn't justify it.  This also made me feel virtuous and provident.  Also mature.  One of the problems with me is that I have to do so little to feel incredibly self-congratulatory.  Like I ever do anything that's actually challenging or commendable!  But I also frequently feel ashamed at my sheer uselessness, so I think it balances out in the end.  

The thing about Joan Baez is that she has such a gorgeous voice, but she is kind of a downer.  It's like listening to the Civil Wars--you can only take so much before you start eating your feelings. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

leave me the birds and the bees

Should I get another goat?  It is true what you're saying, that I don't need one.  But she is a blue roan!  I know I already have a blue roan, but Minerva is standoffish and I want a friendly one.  I will think about this. 

How do all of you do with difficult intra-familial conversations?  My results are mixed.  I like that my family doesn't yell and fight, but we also tend to avoid talking about Important Topics unless we already know we're in agreement.  And who wants to be in a echo chamber all the time?  Conversely, who wants to be with a bunch of self-important windbags who only want to discuss Important Topics anyway?  Best to not talk at all I guess.  Or only talk like Mayor Quimby's bodyguards: 
Ernie:  "Is there anything fluffier than a cloud?"
Big Tom:  "If there is, I don't want to see it." 
There's an innocuous conversation for you. 

I've got my half-gallon jar of beet kvass fermenting on the counter.  It should be ready by now, but it still tastes pretty bland.  I'm going to give it another twelve hours I think.  Last week we went to Lagoon and during the afternoon when we were all hot and thirsty and whiny Willa asked if she could drink some pickle juice, and I thought, "That sounds sick . . . wait a minute, that sounds great."  So I drank some pickle juice and it cheered me right up.  It's surprisingly refreshing when you're sweating like a musk ox.  Beet kvass is the same way--sometimes it just hits the spot. 

Earlier this week I went to the pawn shop looking for a snare drum for Emmett.  They didn't have one, but they did have a beautiful Seagull guitar that I itched for just a little bit.  I love the pawn shop.  It's such a great slice of humanity in there.  You can get so many wonderful things, and every one of those wonderful things will serve as a constant reminder of the folly of living beyond your means and that you're only one step removed from the pawn shop yourself.  The ciiiiiircle of liiiiiiiife!