131 posts tagged writing
Why so many food posts lately?! I have no idea. Deal with it. Today: Fried rice, but you know, minus the gut bomb and growing regret part afterwards, and with way more veggies than the few wrinkly peas you see sometimes.
Fried rice always feels like a.) kind of a cop-out to order takeout and b.) the unhealthiest thing ever to eat, and attempts to make it at home (at least for me) always seem to end in…. a greasy disgusting mess of overly-salty rice mush. Gross.
HOWEVER. This is not always how it has to be! You are totally allowed to mess with concepts, like “what fried rice is.” Forget your notions of $3 greasy takeout and failed attempts to re-create it! Fried rice can totally be a meal in and of itself.
Like that huge coconut lentil stew I posted last week, wok-fried rice with plenty of tofu and veggies is another great, cheap way to feed a shit-ton of hungry people or just yourself for a week straight. And honestly, it’s surprisingly healthy, especially if you add a ton of veggies, use brown/wild rice, and keep the oil and sugary/salty sauces to a minimum. (Garlic and ginger go a long way for flavor, seriously.) And once you’ve stocked up on the seasonings (most people might not always have soy sauce and sesame oil and cilantro on hand, but, uh, I do) it’s super cheap and easy. It’s also really easy to adapt to vegan or gluten-free diets, or you can replace the tofu with shrimp, chicken, pork, or steak for your meat-eating friends.
The secret is all in the prep, which is also super easy and fast once you get the hang of it. As usual, sharp knives (and a perverse enjoyment of, say, “julienning peppers”) help a ton, and a really awesome nonstick/well-seasoned wok is absolutely necessary.
You’re gonna need:
- Rice (preferably leftover/a lil stale - mine was fresh, hence the sorta sticky appearance in above photo, but I kinda like it that way too.) Long grain white is probably what you’re expecting, but I find wild rice/brown rice blends work really nicely here, or even brown basmati. Different rice will yield different texture — sushi rice, for example, will likely become a nightmare risotto-esque mess, but firmer varieties will get all nice and firm and crispy.
- Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
- Eggs (if you eat them)
- Veggies of your choice that require cooking (mushrooms, onions, zucchini/squash, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli)
- Veggies of your choice that are tastier almost-raw (bell peppers, carrots, bok choy, sugar snap peas, soybeans)
- Pineapple, if you want. Canned and chopped or fresh and chopped is fine.
- Nuts, if you like them (cashews, peanuts, or almonds are nice)
- Enough garlic to kill an army of vampires
- Green onions
- Cilantro, if you are, like me, of the “no such thing as too much cilantro” school of cooking
- Sesame oil
- Hot sauce (SRIRACHA 4LYFE)
- Some sort of marinade (either pre-made teriyaki type sauce, or just use the recipe below.)
Ready? OK, cool. Let’s go.
Y’all, my (internet) friend Jenny who I’ve e-known since, like, the days of Livejournal is seriously one of the most amazing people I know (I mean, read this and poke around her blog/tumblr and all then tell me she isn’t fucking incredible as a queer feminist lady and survivor and organizer of awesome things and all around badass gorgeous babe.) So I was crazy honored to have that rambly-ass essay I wrote about lady antiheroes a while back included in the zine she made for her thesis at UCSC, which she just finished, especially considering the awesomeness of so many of the other contributors and the variety of their experiences and my comparative ho-hum privileged little existence. You can read a scan of the whole zine on her Tumblr or just download the whole thing here. Jenny, I’m so proud of you and so flattered that you let me be a part of this!
I like to pretend like every day I plan some amazing meal and go all-out to cook it, but the truth is most of the time I’m excruciatingly lazy and like, whip something together out of whatever is in my house. (Or just eat omelettes. I eat a lot of breakfast for dinner. I won’t tell if you won’t.) I was a little low on basics last week and as I desolately stared at the leftover vegetables, lentils, and coconut milk in my pantry, I remembered that Caroline posted a tasty-sounding lentil curry soup recipe a while ago, and I’d been all about some really tasty curried lentils I had at a dinner party a few weeks ago. I was also craving Indian or Thai takeout, but all the options that deliver to my house are super oily and not great. I figured I’d wing it and try to come up with something similar to all those things, with whatever I had in the house. Miraculously, it turned out to be maybe one of the tastiest things I’ve ever made (despite the rather unflattering photo) and is definitely going to become a staple.
It’s also vegan, for those of you who care about that kind of stuff, and is super healthy and full of protein and fiber and other good stuff, and even my super-carnivorous other half (“Meg, all the food you make is basically vegetable mush, I want a steak”) admitted that it was damn good. It’s also relatively cheap, and the huge pot that this recipe yielded fed me for like a week.
SO! Onward! You will need:
- Lentils (I cheat sometimes and get the already cooked ones from Trader Joe’s, so either those, or dry ones that you’ve already prepared/soaked.)
- 1 piece fresh ginger root
- 2 onions
- lots of garlic (about half a bulb, or a whole one if it’s small)
- 1 can coconut milk
- spices you like: curry, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, garam masala, etc
- vegetables: I used zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, and spinach.
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
How Melissa manages to consistently find the best things on the internet ever is totally beyond me, but she’s done it again. Apparently there was a Playboy club in the weird hills of northern New Jersey?! What?
I have been a bad “fashion blogger” lately because I have been Writing Other Things, one of which is this Thing that I wrote, for Sarah’s blog, about Jonathan Franzen’s horrifying New Yorker piece on Edith Wharton. Here is some of it:
To be honest, I felt hysterical: that Victorian word for the tantrums of unstable estrogen-addled women, but that I know actually describes a rage forcibly contained, the hot burn of the involuntary tears, the snap in your composure when you are told for the millionth time that what you feel or think or say or do does not matter. I thought that complex, nuanced, funny, difficult, despicably lovable characters were the emblem of a good writer, not evidence of the insecure woman thieving our sympathies through sneaky writer-succubus tricks. And yet one hundred and fifty years after Edith Wharton wrote a number of canonical, excellent books, some rich white straight dude gets paid—what does the New Yorker pay for that kind of piece, like ten grand?—gets paid like ten grand to come to the riveting, breathtaking conclusion that she might be human, and maybe even A Writer, like him?
But you can also go read the rest of it at Sarah’s blog if you are so inclined, which is a blog you should be reading anyhow because she rules. Cool!
“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. Because under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, all parties agree that Proposition 8 had one effect only. It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain from the State, or any other authorized party, an important right — the right to obtain and use the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less. Proposition 8 therefore could not have been enacted to advance California’s interests in childrearing or responsible procreation, for it had no effect on the rights of same-sex couples to raise children or on the procreative practices of other couples. Nor did Proposition 8 have any effect on religious freedom or on parents’ rights to control their children’s eduction; it could not have been enacted to safeguard these liberties. All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of “marriage,” which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort.””
— United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [via Autostraddle]
In the lull between Lana-gate and NYFW-death, MIA flipped America off during that big sportsball game the other day and the internet can’t stop talking about it, but thankfully Sasha Frere-Jones already said everything that needs to be said so now we can move on, right? Cool.
The outrage is tiresome and deeply hypocritical, in all the tiresome ways you’ve been tired out by before. M.I.A. was illustrating her line, acting out the attitude of the words: performing. Fine, it may not be legal to flip the bird on television, but that’s simply a remnant of the fifties we haven’t shaken. Unless somebody was handing out Xanax with the foam fingers, Lucas Oil Stadium was ringing with the music of profanities last night. More to the point, television viewers were submitted to ad after ad that likened women—negatively—to sofas, cars, and candy. Mr. Winter didn’t have anything to say about that, so I’d like to raise both of my middle fingers to him and anyone who thinks profanity is somehow more harmful to our children than images of violence and misogyny. (My two sons, fourteen and eleven, thought the Fiat ad was corny, so I guess they will be safe without Mr. Winter’s intervention.) I say we get out of The Pretending To Be Moral game altogether and use the Internet for important things like posting pictures of cats looking at croissants and PDFs of sensitive government documents.
This whole Planned Parenthood/Komen thing keeps irritating me again at random points throughout my day, which is pretty crappy because it’s seriously ruined basically the past seventy two hours of my life in a pretty major way. Right when I think I’ve forgotten it or managed to distract myself, some little part of me flares up in rage again (“But what the FUCK! It’s like they’re TRYING to PROVE that Planned Parenthood is only a baby-killing machine by taking away some of its other super valuable services! And like they only care about curing breast cancer in rich white ladies who will give them more money! What the fuck is humanity COMING TO? This is HORRIBLE!”) I think I physicallycannotstop being pissed off about it, and so instead of writing nine thousand more words on how utterly infuriating this entire situation is, here, instead, are some links!
• Lest we forget, a year ago when that whole defunding debacle happened I wrote a thing about how much and why I love Planned Parenthood, and none of my feelings have changed.
• Salon has a great piece with a good analysis of the Komen Foundation and how it’s actually symptomatic of wider problems with the org:
It’s worth noting that while breast cancer rates are dipping, an October report from the American Cancer Society warned that they are declining more slowly among low-income women, and that “Poor women are now at greater risk for breast cancer death because of less access to screening and better treatments. This continued disparity is impeding real progress against breast cancer.” You know who loses when Komen backs away from Planned Parenthood? Probably not those nice, pink-clad ladies who attend Susan Komen wine-tasting events.
• This post does a great job of explaining the insidious ways in which pro-lifers are not so much anti-abortion as anti women’s freedom and anti-sex in general, which is an excellent point
If pro-life activists really cared about public health and stopping abortion and saving the precious widdle babies, if they were truly pro-life, then they would support policies and scientific advancements that prevent abortion and, you know, actually save lives. They would promote the use of contraceptives, and fight to make them as cheap and accessible as possible…………. They would support financial assistance for women who cannot afford pre and postnatal care. They would support organizations like Planned Parenthood. But they don’t. They virulently oppose all of these things with a vicious, fiery passion because it’s not about the babies and it’s not about health - it’s about the sex and the women who have it.
• The Planned Parenthood Saved My Life tumblr is full of stories from women who received excellent and often life-saving care at their local PP, which is nothing knew but really serves to drive home the point that, you know, it rules?
• Here’s a link where you can donate to PP, or if you aren’t able to donate, you can always actually support them by, you know, utilizing their services — go ahead and book yourself a pap smear or whatevz like, right now, since you’ve probably been putting it off anyhow. You can also add your name to the letter declaring that you still stand with PP, or you can check out the PPAction site for more news and updates and calls to action.
Lately I’ve been really into weird concepts of something like failed, desperate, self-conscious deliberate performative femininity? Part of this is evidenced by the fact that I’ve been doing my hair in big curls with my kinda-crappy-blonde-dye-job and wearing a ridiculous faux-leopard coat with ripped tights and messy eyeliner, and part of it comes together more in at least 47 different e-mail conversations about books and movies with “unrepentantly fucked up” lady characters that I’ve been having with at least 5 different people of late. Some of these ideas have been written very eloquently by other folks already, and some of it is obvious and some of it is still vague, and all of it is definitely not “complete,” so, like, go at it in the comments, y’all, I wanna know what you’re thinking.
It begins, I think, with my ongoing frustration that when we are presented with male characters (or personas, or even real persons) who are basically bad people with one redeeming quality (still sleeps with a teddy bear, is a brilliant filmmaker) we let that one redeeming quality, you know, redeem them, and are collectively charmed by their fucked-up-ness. But I have a really hard time coming up with similar female examples: all of the ones I can think of we have opted to either lambast or concern-troll instead. And we always need to redeem them. They always need to learn something or be rescued, which we all know is basically the opposite of how the world really works. Kids, I am a hot mess, and almost all of the women I admire and love and am fascinated by are also hot fucking messes, and I so rarely see that represented in a real, nuanced, and fascinating way. To simplify: I am eternally tearing my hair out over the fact that I desperately want more female antiheroes. In books, film, pop culture personas, whatever. And I’ve been seeing this idea come up again and again lately.
As a brief list of some of what I’m referencing: There’s this Lana Del Rey album review, which is kind of the most astute thing I’ve read on her yet, and which hit the nail on the head of my bizarre, obsessive preoccupation with her and her aesthetic — though it condemned her where I obviously am fascinated instead. There was that Marie Calloway brouhaha, and the fantastic response to it all from Kate Zambreno, which also lead to The Rejectionist’s interview with her here. There were a bunch of folks over at Emily Books who managed to somehow misread a lot of lesbian moralism into Eileen Myles’ Inferno, when I thought it was just a book about, like, someone very funny and intelligent and unapologetic, who also lived a life that reminds me an awful lot of my life now. There was Charlize Theron in Young Adult, who would have been way fascinating if not for Diablo Cody’s frustrating insistence on de-nuancing her characters in favor of twee trope-tastic banter. There’s Cat Marnell at XOJane and the no-nonsense-it’s-okay-to-be-human writing at Rookie. Sarah’s and my Rayanne Project (which sort of fizzled out probably partially because I am a little bit too much of a whacked-out womanchild to coordinate and motivate folks to write me things like that, but the stuff that’s up there is still amazeballs!) The Amy-Winehouse-inspired couture collection that Gaultier showed yesterday. Courtney Love, like, in general.
I am really into this, you guys.
Sarah and I have been e-mailing way too much about this goddamned Lisbeth Salander collection, which I’ve mentioned before? Yes? Anyhow she wrote a good thing about it so I don’t need to write another thing since it’s all the things I would think anyhow (we’re serious about the intern), but I am still e-mailing about it and wringing my hands becuase GODDAMNIT I WANT IT I HATE IT BUT IT’S SO CHEAP AND IT LOOKS CUTE WHY AM I HAVING SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT STUPID FUCKING HOODIES WITH THUMBHOLES. And then I found a bunch of photos of the actual collection pieces, and then I realized something.
OKAY KIDS. Makeup tutorial, part two time! So you did that nice classy cat-eye with the orange lipstick thing earlier in the day, right? And now you just got home from work and are going to, I don’t know, something FABULOUS and you want to look like a grungy alien witch mermaid goth from space in the 90’s or something, yeah? But like you don’t actually want to pull out the blue lipstick like Meg does sometimes because you still want to look sort of like a presentable human, just with rad eye makeup? Like this?
Tumblr has also informed me that I have “partial heterochromia.” Cool!
Cool. So you’re gonna go home, wipe off the rest of that lipstick, and dust a little loose powder over your face to negate any shininess that happened during the day, and maybe fix your brows a bit. And then we’re gonna get started. You’re going to go into the bowels of your makeup box/bin/bag/Kaboodle/whatevz and get:
- Black waterproof pencil or gel (not liquid) eyeliner
- Grey or dark purple waterproof pencil or gel eyeliner
- A matte black eyeshadow
- A shimmery, sheer metallic eyeshadow or pigment (white, silver, gold, or bronze)
- Black mascara
- Lip balm
- A little bit of a neutral darker lipstick
- A sheer black lip gloss
Russian-born Nina Leen was one of the first female photographers to shoot for LIFE magazine, which, fortunately for us, means there’s a ton of her work available on the Google LIFE photo archives. While mostly known for her work with animals (including a dog named Lucky that she adopted and apparently put hats on), it’s Leen’s photographs of women that I find most fascinating. Admittedly, to some extent the period of time in which she was working for LIFE — the late 40s through the 1950s — dictated that bizarre style of “it’s totally not posed, I swear, I just stand this awkwardly and grin with a box of kitchen supplies all the time, not to mention we are all white and very happy all the time” photography. (The original “woman laughing alone with salad?”)
But when juxtaposed with her more candid shots (a girl falling down at a skating rink, a woman on the phone in an office, women trying on shoes, cleaning their living rooms, browsing stores) they provide a surprising amount of insight into the expectations versus reality of being a young woman in that era. Exposé photoessays on the work of housewives or of young working girls (like we know from Mad Men, most of them are either secretaries or models) ran in contrast to Upper East Side socialites walking their dogs or glamorous women in evening gowns posed like mannequins. Intentionally or otherwise, her work as a whole provides an interesting study on idealized femininity and the public versus private lives of women and the world, separate from that of men, in which they were forced to exist.
More photos after the jump.
So you guys all comment or ask me for a makeup tutorial like once a goddamned week, I swear, and I finally did it! For some reason this felt super awkward? Like way more awkward than taking photos of my outfits? It’s really weird to do one step of your makeup and then take a picture and then after like eighteen photos I’m all “ew god that is WAY TOO MUCH OF MY FACE this is so embarrassing what am I doing ew, wait shit I shouldn’t have worn this tube top now it looks like I’m NAKED too, someone SEND HELP PLZ” but anyhow, whatever, MOVING ON.
This is pretty much my daily makeup routine, more or less: the whole thing takes me less than ten minutes at this point and relies basically on a simple bold cat-eye and a bright lipstick colour. This is basically what I do in the morning, for work or ordinary daytime things, and later in the week (I did TWO!) I’ll post the second half of this to show you what I do at the end of the day, with this stuff basically already on my face, to go from “daytime appropriate” to “super gothy 90s club kid editorial black eyeliner new sparkly Gareth Pugh pigment and greyish purple lips whatever I don’t even know” that I guess is more what my face usually looks like after 9 PM. It’s the Jekyll and Hyde of makeup tutorials or something? I DON’T KNOW. Let’s get started. Three steps only, I promise!
- Highlighting powder
- A good waterproof liquid eyeliner
- Matte black eyeshadow, or whatever you like to use on your brows
- A big fluffy blush brush and a small angled brush
- Lip balm
- A bright or bold lip colour of your choice — I’m using my usual orangey-red.
Deets after the jump!
FOOD POST TIME Y’ALL. Mixing sweet and savory is kind of my jam, and while my usual breakfast is pretty modest (yogurt with some almonds, fruit and a protein bar, toast with peanut butter and honey, etc) I actually have a huge weakness for breakfast pastries and muffins and sweetbreads and so on. These muffins — with no butter but full of omega-3’s from olive oil, and fiber from apples and whole wheat flour — let me pretend that there’s some sort of vague nutritional value in something so tasty. These seriously are delicious — you’ll be amazed at how light and fluffy they are and at how well the flavor of the olive oil comes through. They’re amazing right out of the oven spread with some fig jam or mascarpone cheese or apple butter, but keep pretty well wrapped in foil for a few days as well.
BLACK PEPPER AND OLIVE OIL APPLE MUFFINS
recipe after the jump, adapted from here
This post is about the fact that I am more than halfway through my twenties and have just started to learn how to use a curling iron. Look! I am learning!
american apparel + sharpie shirt, h+m skirt, LOTS OF HAIRSPRAY.
In general I am pretty good at girl things: I can apply liquid eyeliner perfectly in a moving taxi, and I hardly even blink at five inch heels. But one thing has always eluded me: CURLING IRONS. How do those torturous implements which I recall being forced to submit to as a child for maximum curled-under bangs give people everything from loose waves to Hollywood ringlets without weird bumps in their hair and burns all over their face? IT’S A TWELVE INCH ROD OF FOUR HUNDRED DEGREE CERAMIC-COATED METAL. That is a device capable of a good deal of bodily harm.
But the grass is always greener when it comes to hair texture, and I’ve spent much of my life trying to make my thick wiry pin straight hair (for reference, this is “air dried and slept on”) somehow not straight. It has been a long and expensive journey, but I think I am finally learning! HERE I WILL SHOW YOU HOW.