what i had for lunch

the following conversation, more or less, occurred recently:

friend of helen: you should blog more.
helen: no thank you.
foh: why not?
h: i have nothing interesting to say right now. and my strict code of blogging ethics means that if i don't have anything interesting to say, or a noninteresting thing to say but an interesting way in which to say it, or a noninteresting thing to say and a noninteresting way to say it but an unshakeable obsession with the thing despite its eveident lack of interestingness, i don't blog about it. people don't want to know what i had for lunch. in fact, no one cares.*
foh: i would care a little.

i have nothing interesting to say. even if i blogged about my personal life, i would have nothing interesting to say, because my personal life is sort of chugging along at this nice pace of enjoyable-yet-boring, which is actually pretty great.

but you know what? my random friend cares about what i had for lunch. and i consider myself equivalent to a congressperson, in the sense that i view one constituent communication as indicative of the governance preferences of approximately 20,000 constituents. so 20,000 of you will find the following sentence really really really fascinating, and i expect there to be rejoicing of the much variety. are you ready?

raw string beans
baby carrots
a cup of chicken-orzo soup
a dinner roll

you just wait until tomorrow. on fridays i go wild.

*i speak in hypertext, fyi.


fun fact

a little happy-thursday tidbit for the new-york-dwelling of all y'all (keepin' y'all in health): you can go see fantastic classical music performances at juilliard for astonishingly little cash outlay. today i picked up two tickets to a student composer recital, two tickets to the commencement concert (a very big deal, the graduates really pull out all the stops), and two tickets to mozart's opera la finta giardiniera, at a total cost of $40.

for those of us who are poor and snobbish, this is like manna from heaven. eat it up.


in which we go plural

we went to the gap during our lunch break to check out their new collaborations with up-and-coming designers, and promptly upon returning to our desks we dashed off a breathless, ungrammatical email to A Lady, who has uploaded it to Lacquer as a special dispatch. we have also fallen (perhaps irrevocably?!) into Lacquer's first-person-plural mode de l'écriture.

we also are serious about making good on our resolutions, and so are delighted to present the following double-whammy of otterdom. please to enjoy:


rsgo: in the future!

in honor of this, rsgo's 200th post, some resolutions for the next 200:

  • i will attempt to capitalize with more consistency.

  • i will invest in a pair of running shoes for more effective cameraphone stalking.

  • to that same end, i will learn how to turn off the *click* noise on said cameraphone.

  • more otters.

  • i will link to things and people more.

  • i will not share stupid details about my daily life unless they really are relevant.

  • i will strategically mention my boyfriend whenever i feel like the wild orgy that is my comment section is becoming un peu suggere.

  • i will stop randomly inserting phrases from nonenglish languages just for the hell of it.

  • i will be more sarcastic.

anything else you think i ought to endeavor to achieve? let me know via the orgy button.


r you paying attention?

what's wrong with this picture?

the ad's got a point. some things should take longer than a new york minute. like, for example, copyediting.

chipotle wants you to be beautiful

i suspect i'm not alone in my addiction to chipotle. my poison of choice is a salad with chicken, fresh tomato salsa, and their so-good-it-should-be-illegal honey-chipotle vinaigrette and a couple of wedges' worth of lime juice.

yum yum. but i am sort of calorie-obsessed (especially now that summer is realistically approaching) and the delicious-food-purveyors at chipotle are also nutrition-information-withholding bastardos (for which they have come under fire, which warms the extremely tiny part of my heart that is not concerned with ugly people, bad grammar, or whether grass-fed beef is worth the credit card debt, and instead pays attention to stuff like consumers' rights).

but Newton's fifth law of infodynamics states that for every incidence of bastardoism there is an equal and opposite act of internet vigilantism, which has resulted in this incredibly wonderful thing that google gave me: a chipotle meal calorie calculator, which has enabled me to while away approximately one-twentieth of an hour entering various combinations of toppings in order to see precisely how much arterial damage the flat-ironed gumsnappers in line in front of me are wreaking upon their hypercardio'd selves (answer: much), and also taught me that the nutritional breakdown of my preferred combination of foods is as follows:

update: my god, this cut-and-pasted html is atrocious. relevant info reproduced ersatzly here:
Chipotle Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Burrito Bol
Amount Per Serving
Calories 531 Calories from Fat 335
% DV*
Total Fat 37g
Saturated Fat 5.2g
Cholesterol 113mg
Sodium 2516mg
Total Carbohydrate 17g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 3g
Protein 30g
Vitamin A 92%
Vitamin C 46%
Calcium 3%
Iron 4%

i also did some more research on the site and discovered that the real culprit of my quasicaloric salad (perhaps more like semicaloric, really, since the vast majority of frequent combinations tip the scales at over 1000 calories) is the oh-god-orgasm dressing, a 2-ounce serving of which packs 282 calories (for comparison purposes, 2 ounces of nondiet coke has 27). sadness. weeping. le sigh. les plentiful sighs.

but then - oh, friends, but then! - i realized something wonderful. the dressing is served to you on the side, in a 2-ounce cup that seems to be designed for jello shots. if it were full to the brim, you'd be coating your lettuce with all 282 calories of tangy goodness. but this is not the case!!! chipotle rarely gives you even a half full jello shot of dressing, saving me - a discerning, thigh-circumference aware consumer - one hundred and forty one calories per salad.

look at that. isn't that nice of them? thank you, chipotle, for saving me from myself. i - and my waistline - thank you.


the ones that got away

yesterday i chased a woman through the union square subway station wearing kitten heels (not an easy task, i assure you) entirely because she had the most astonishing cankles i have ever seen.

i was egged on by mia g., who stayed at a safe distance while i walk-ran, cameraphone out, from the R train all the way to the exit by D'Agostino's. for those of you who aren't New York-based, that is a long freaking way to chase the world's most perfect pair of cankles.

For those of you who don't know what cankles are, they are when a person's legs, which normally taper from calf to ankle and then flare out again at the foot, run straight down from knee to sole. it's not terribly attractive. it's quite unfortunate.

speaking of quite unfortunate, no pictures ultimately ensued. the woman in question was walking way too briskly for me to get anything nonblurry, and i gave up in frustration when she went through the turnstile to leave the station. documenting perfect cankles is worth something, but it's not quite worth another $2 subway fare.


fiddles and morels and ramps, oh my

for most food-obsessed people - especially in New York - their first spring as a foodie is an incredibly magical experience. it's like being handed the golden key to the secret club: one week you've never even heard of a fiddlehead fern, and the next week - one wikipedia-by-way-of-the-babbo-menu jaunt later - your awareness of the crunchy, slightly sour, spiral-shaped plant gives you entree into this amazing world. you run around saying "holy crap! i am one of THEM! i am the girl who buys the obscure produce!" you revel in your vegetable-awareness and you're so into your foodie-ness, buying mud-covered fiddleheads by the boatload ("it washes right off," you'll say - stirring the sautee pan with one hand and chicly holding a glass of flinty pinot gris in the other. "and what stays on adds depth. i believe in eating a little dirt, you know.") and shelling out half a week's pay for a bag of precious fresh morel mushrooms to sautee in butter (plugra sets you back another half-day) and glazing baby ramps* to wilt languidly on the side of a plate, waiting to knock your socks off with their mild garlicky bite.

and then your next spring as a foodie is pretty great. you get to impress your friends by predicting the menu:

*checks watch* oh it's april? i'm sure we'll see asparagus capuccino and morel mashed potatoes and probably some ramps or fiddleheads on the side.

you call them "fiddleheads," now, not "fiddlehead ferns." it's like when men from Queens refer to Robert DeNiro as "Bobby." and your friends, who are not yet on the foodie bandwagon, are totally impressed: "you are like a fucking farmer, man. how do you know!?" you shrug. you're a foodie. you know this stuff. you might preen a little, but a real foodie doesn't let it show.

but then the earth does that going-around-the-sun thing one more time, and it's the NEXT spring, and one of the Toms (Colicchio? Valenti?) is waxing poetic in New York magazine or in the Times food section about the fresh earthy taste of the fiddlehead or the ramp or whatever, or gushing orgasmically about the tiniest, most slender baby asparagus that he delicately hand-selected from the Union Square greenmarket (you're over that, you go to Whole Foods now, at a civilized hour like 4pm) and you stare at your magazine and say, out loud, to Nature: "fuck it. please invent a new vegetable. i am tired of ramps, asparagus, morels, and fiddleheads."

anyway, it is April again. asparagus and morels and fiddleheads and ramps are everywhere, and i've been (technically) a foodie for going on my eighth year. yawn. wake me when it's tomato season.

*when introduced to the notion of a baby ramp, my boyfriend said he imagined herds of inclined planes roaming across the african savannah, hunting herds of spheres. the noble wild ramp! and its babies!



i didn't post yesterday, and yet my blog's traffic still spiked to the head-exploding number of Somewhere Over 100. so i checked out sitemeter to find out why, and apparently the astonishing majority of these visitors were doing google image searches for words like "pea" and "pe" and "peac" and this led them to find an image of a peace sign that i used on an old old old post, which has somehow managed to lose the image anyway. tres wtf.

anyway i'm going to pretend that's not true, and convince myself that literally hundreds of people per day think i am brilliant and witty. even if i do come up with inane arbitrage schemes which are unlikely to pay out.

speaking of paying out, the brilliant and witty person i was mentioning in the above paragraph is going to be in las vegas (where she has never been, and about which she is feeling sort of nervous) for a couple of days starting tomorrow, and has no guarantee of internet access. undoubtedly the city of sin will provide me with rich fodder: fat tourists, skinny unattractive tourists, and the fun & foibles of legalized addictive behaviors all seem like likely targets. then again, i promised to make fun of europe when i spent a week in spain, and all i managed to do was get caught in a terrorist attack.

update: some more housekeeping - i've added a few new & excited folks to my links sidebar. one of them promised that if i added him, he would consider me a full-on genius. this means that i am, in reality, a full-on genius, and henceforth expect to be treated as such.


cookbook arbitrage

sadly for us all there were no hilarious kitchen hijinx surrounding last night's (very delicious) dinner (of seared lamb, potatoes boulangère, and this amazing peas-mint-and-wilted-butter-lettuce thing), but i did do some prep for tonight's quasilegitimate semi-seder. this prep largely involved going to barnes & noble to buy a copy of this month's Martha Stewart Living, which contains a recipe for a flourless strawberry tart that eoihjozicdj this is uninteresting.

what's interesting is that i saw a copy of this cookbook, Breakfast Lunch Tea, which is pretty and well-designed and which, on the back, lists the price in pounds, dollars, and euros:

the non-visually-impaired among you will notice that this book has an identical cost, whether you are spending dollars or euros. but according to today's exchange rates, a euro is equivalent to ~1.34 american dollars.

what does this mean?!?! funny you should ask. it means that if i were to buy one of these books in the US, jaunt off to paris on one of my infamous whims with it along for light reading, decide upon arrival in the city of light that it wasn't quite to my liking, and return it to a lenient bookstore for a credit of €29.95, after conversion back to US dollars i'd be pocketing a cool $40.05 - more then a hamilton more than my initial outlay. (we shall, for purposes of this gedankenexperiment, ignore the transaction costs inherent in e.g. getting to paris.)

anyway if i enact this on a large scale i will make a bazillion dollars. this is an utterly brilliant investment strategy that, so long as the dollar continues to suck goat, takes us tremendously far.

it's also worth noting that at today's rates, the £19.95 UK price would return us $39.47 - itself not quite sneezeworthy, but not nearly as mindblowingly amazing as the additional $0.58 that the euro brings to the table. pennies add up to dollars, you know. and dollars add up to happiness.

i am ignoring canada and australia because, ugh, colonies.


it ain't what you do

it's a slow day 'round here, what with obsessively reading recipes in order to make some semblance of a passover-friendly dinner for my nonjew boyfriend and my nonobservant self. with luck there will be some sort of major only-hilarious-in-retrospect kitchen disaster this evening, but for today i would like to give you something so brilliant that when i encountered it (courtesy of the inimitably bitter marcin) i got a little hyperventilatory and hopped up and down in my chair a bit.

song titles (and other things) in the form of venn diagrams might just be my new best friend.

a shiny american dollar to anyone who comes up with a brilliant idea for a new one and posts it in the comments.* and by "the comments" i mean my comments, not his. pshaw.

*hereby marking the beginning of my new personal quest: more comments, plzkthx. of course, dear readers, my success or failure hinges on your participation. i'm looking at you, little miss i-dont-click-out-of-my-rss-reader. do me proud?