Sometimes All We Have is Music

Oh hey, are you reading this?  Then my guess is you, too, are no stranger to disappointment or depression.  Are you human?  Alright then.  We’ve all been there – you got some less-than-good news, you had a bit of a soul-crushing defeat, someone you love has left you in one way or another – your friends see that you’ve put on a fucking smile anyway and then you know, you still gotta pay the stupid car insurance and go to work and buy toilet paper.  How do we keep going?  There are many answers to this complex question, and while I am a big fan in recent years of really feeling all the feels and figuring out why I feel the way I do and what, if any, action I can take, there are days when you just have to slap a motherfucking band-aid on that shit and say to life “WHAT ELSE.”

While you may really need that band-aid, I propose the theory that there is one thing that is that, but maybe more:  Music.

Music can get you out of a mood, put you in a mood, cause you to explore that mood, or shut out everything in your life that is just not a thing you can deal with right the fuck now.  As I blasted The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” on the way to work this morning, I followed it with Deftones, Marilyn Manson, and Pantera just to get some fucking anger out of the way.  We all have our own thing.  There will be a moment in the next 48 hours in which I will probably sit bawling in my car to OH YOU FUCKING NAME IT, because my Spotify is filled with shit that will make you cry.  (Of course, when the dance-able joy of New Order’s “1963” makes me get teary, it doesn’t take much. Lyrics can hit me in the breadbasket.)

What I am trying to say is that for me, music is a key that can unlock numerous doors, or lock them back up if need be.  Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you need until that perfect song hits you.  There are other times where you know that if you roll all the windows down and turn up the volume, you’ll be allowed, in that space, to feel exactly what you need to feel.

Turn up the volume.  Either way, that guy next to you at the light totally wins.

 

 

 

 

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LISTEN UP VEGETARIANS: This Casserole is Your Holy Grail

Tori Amos’ brilliant Boys for Pele is 20 years old this month.  Which means a few things:  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to verify the truth of whether or not the pope indeed has a rubber robe, and I’m really fucking old.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  I lived in another state.  I had a different everything.  But this album holds up.  Tori holds up, I don’t care what anyone says.  I know she’s weird.  Sometimes weird is pretty fucking rad.  Anyway, her lyrics are insane, and as I listened to this album after a too-long hiatus from it, I did what I always do when good music is on and I have time:  I cook.  Meanwhile, since I’ve recently lost my beloved Mister Wallace dog, my cat Fawkes has turned into a total attention whore.  It’s wonderful and snuggly, unless I’m not snuggling and trying to do other shit.  Like cook.  While I have been listening to this album and making this dish, he has been howling at the top of his lungs.  Maybe he just likes Tori.

So I have spent the last month or so trying to perfect this cabbage roll recipe.  Finally after making it three times and being pleased with it each time more than the last, I said FUCK IT NO MORE ROLLING CABBAGE IMMA DECONSTRUCT THIS BITCH INTO A CASSEROLE.  While I got them to totally look like cabbage rolls, it’s just too hard not to break, and honestly, they’re difficult to eat like that.  I’d much rather just pile shit in a bowl and eat it.   America has spoken.  I like vegetables.  I’m guessing if you are reading this, you do too.  I present:

STARFUCKER CABBAGE CASSEROLE 

It’s so fucking good I want to share it with you.

SHIT YOU WILL NEED:

1 head cabbage, chopped and steamed
3 sweet potatoes, baked, skin off
1-1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
4 c. quinoa/brown rice blend, cooked
2 med. zucchini, sauteed (optional)
1 med. onion, sauteed (optional)
2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
1 jar Marinara sauce (or whatever.  Make your own.  I’m lazy.)
thyme, fresh or otherwise
basil, fresh or otherwise
oregano, same
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
(all seasoning to taste)

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Mash the sweet potatoes WITH YOUR HANDS.

SHIT YOU WILL DO:

Have the cabbage cut up and steamed, just chop it kind of roughly.  Discard the weird center.  Bake your sweet potatoes the night before or something, because that takes an hour.  You don’t want to waste precious time.  In a bowl, mix the chopped mushrooms, 1 cup of Parmesan, the cooked quinoa/rice blend, and the sweet potato meat together.  I just squeezed the potatoes with my hands.  Satisfying.  Mush it all up so it’s like a delicious paste.  Saute your onion and zucchini, have it sitting off to the side.  I actually add the thyme, oregano, basil, some salt and pepper, and minced garlic cloves to this saute.  But you could really add all that at any time.

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Cabbage/zucchini layer #1.

Preheat oven to 350.  Take a 9×11 casserole dish, put a layer of cabbage and zucchini/onion (about 1/2 of it) on the bottom.  then sploch the sweet potato mixture on top of that.  Kind of spread it out so it makes a layer.  Add another layer of the cabbage/zucchini/onion.  Then cover with 3/4 of the jar of marinara sauce (about 2 cups?  Maybe a little more?)  Get it nice and saucy.  Spread the other 1 cup of Parmesan on top.  Scatter the bread crumbs on top if you want.  I did.  And it rocked.

Cook it for about 30-40 minutes.  Everything is already cooked, all you’re doing is making it hot and cooking it all together.

Try not to punch me in the face next time you see me, because this is so good you’ll want to.  ENJOY, MY VEGETABLE-EATING FRIENDS.

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No Pappy, it’s not a lasagna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Just About What He Meant to Me

I had no idea how impacted I would be upon hearing the news that a great light has ceased to shine in this universe.  But now, even writing that sentence, I question it:  Will his light ever cease to shine?

I read somewhere among the thousands of words already written today that the connection with Bowie and his music is so personal for each and every one of us that grew up feeling weird, out of place, knowing we didn’t belong.  The appeal was instant, and didn’t only fill our need for far-reaching and fantastic (in the true sense of the word) music – it filled a need for style, for grace, for acceptance, for morphing the things we secretly hated about ourselves into things we could love.

I could tell you about my personal connection with David Bowie’s music, but it would be just so many words on a screen that can be told far better and more eloquently by those of far greater stature in this world than I.  But it was personal.  It has endured through decades.  His words, art, and passion for his craft will continue to inspire long after I’m gone.

Dammit, Starman.  I wasn’t fucking ready to say goodbye, even if you were.  You have blanketed the universe with the magic you’ve given us, and I am so grateful to be the smallest of recipients.


 

  “As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?”

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I Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans

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I am not a native.  I did not grow up there.  I have never lived there.  I have never, for that matter, lived in Louisiana.  But you know how you go somewhere and you feel like you’ve been there all your life?  That’s how I feel about New Orleans, and I am sure I’m not the only person who has felt that way.  There’s a certain allure about the French Quarter – the steeped-in-history feeling, the grunge, the funk, the quaintness, the overall vibe is exactly what millions of people fall in love with over and over and over again.  Every time I am there, I feel a weird, other-worldly feeling – like I am supposed to be there.  Like I have been there already.  Like the city is waiting for me, breathlessly, until I return.

And of course, it is.  Waiting for me with its endless balconies of weathered wrought iron; with its music that fills every corner – sometimes the jazz or blues it is famous for, other times drunken karaoke sung by a tourist.  Waiting for me with gallons of coffee and alcohol, if I wanted it.  It was something I worried about on this last trip – this was my first trip sober, and I was a little anxious to find out if New Orleans still held all the same mystery it did for me when I was drinking.  It of course did, because somehow I always knew that even though drankin’ is a huge part of the essence of the city, there’s a heartbeat that echoes subtly underneath the booze.  It’s the people, the whispered and passed-down tales, the food (good god almighty the food) and the desperate beauty that is New Orleans.  There’s absolutely no escape from it, at least not for me.

Have I seen absolutely crazy shit there?  Yes.  Hasn’t everyone?  More often than not, however, I find myself walking the streets of the Quarter or any of the surrounding neighborhoods in awe of the care people take with their plants, their porches – as if this is where life is centered, unlike anywhere else in the country.  I can imagine nothing more perfect than to lounge on a plant-filled porch with a book or a pen or some music, watching the neighborhood, watching the sunset, watching all the vibrant colors that New Orleans is.  Watching the night come alive, listening to the sounds of people cooking, laughing, drinking, and luxuriating – yes, that – the way only this one culture does.

I’m not a Christian, but I’m filled with reverence for the dead in this city.  Being among the graves in St. Louis # 1 fills me with not only the sense of “damn I best gather these rosebuds right the fuck now” but also with a stillness and a longing to know more, to learn all I can about the people who have lived here and made New Orleans what it is.  When I visit the small church that is next to the cemetery, it’s perfect and new to me every time I go.  The mosaics, the grotto, the room that is heated with a thousand silent prayers on the wicks of candles – it is gorgeous, it is tragedy, it is human.

New Orleans is faith.  It is us.

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Eating Like a Toddler, or How Not to Diet

I don’t care what anyone says.  I was done with trying to lose weight because it seemed like the harder I kept trying, the worse it got and the more I totally did NOT lose weight.  AND THEN, a friend had me read this book:

I EAT WHUT I WANT
OR, I EAT WHUT I WANT, SHUT UPP

 

So far, it is working like a champ in that I have stopped the following actions:

1) Obsessing every day about what the scale reads

2) Weighing at all pretty much, for that matter

3) Without weighing, my day cannot be ruined

4) Only eating certain foods.  There are no more red light foods.  Awesome.

5) Eating when I’m not really hungry

6) (and most importantly) GIVING THAT MUCH OF A SHIT WHAT EVERYONE THINKS

 

Yeah, I am eating apple pie for dinner.  Oh, and some hummus.  And maybe I had some breakfast sausage.  Whatever.  I feel fucking great, have lost 6 pounds, and actually am getting better at realizing what “hey ok ok ok you’re full stop eating” feels like.

 

My lunch today was mini-pancakes and some rice with broccoli.

 

I CAN’T WAIT FOR TOMORROW.

But the big news is this:  There’s just nothing fucking wrong with me, despite what society tells me, despite what people I know tell me, and despite what I tell me.  My doctor has confirmed that all my fancy blood work is STELLAR and MAGNIFICENT and lots of other words like that.

So suck it.  I’m technically overweight.  I jog around my kitchen.  I eat weird food combos.  And I AM ACTUALLY AWESOME JUST THE WAY I AM.

Life’s too short to be miserable about who or what you think you’re supposed to be.  Go out and be what you are, right this minute.  And only this minute.  Because the last one is over, and the next one, well, it will be along directly.

 

DINNER IS FOR PIE
DINNER IS FOR PIE

 

Misadventures in Unexpected Happiness, vol. 1

So as I was driving home this evening after finally figuring out how the Spotify and the Bluetooth and my car stereo and my Galaxy s4 can all work harmoniously together once more, I didn’t recognize one of my 3900 starred songs that started playing.   I said aloud to myself, is it Siouxsie?  The Cure?  Bauhaus?  It took me an eternal 45 seconds to remember who it was.

It was Cocteau Twins.

And now you either get to lock me in a very dark room and make me listen to nothing but 80 ‘s darkwave or take my clad-in-blacker card away.

It is a sad day. 
Happiness.  It’s ruining my cred.

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Sadness reigns supreme. Like a burrito.

Foat Wuth I Luv You but GOTTAMN

Dudes.  I am here on business.  “But you live in Dallas, Stoney.  Why is it such a big deal to be in Fort Worth?”

I WILL TELL YOU.

FIrst, the roads are colossally fucked, so why drive to Dallas only to sleep for less than 4 hours?  Stupid.

It is 12:04am on what is technically a FrIday morning.  I have spent my entire day in a 55-degree room.  I ate lunch at 1pm.  I AM STARVING.  After arriving at my hotel that rhymes with something like “Sheridan” I am not only confronted with the bar having last call at 11:45, but more importantly and discovered after the fact, ALL THINGS IN TOWN STOP DELIVERY AT MIDNIGHT.

areeeeeeee you kidddddddding meeeeeeeee

 

I am very hungry and tired and cold.  God bless the lobby, from which I extruded a turkey wrap after calling every pizza joint in town.

 

NEVER AGAIN, FORT WORTH!!!  I will bring snax next time.

 

love,

IAMCOLDANDHUNGRUANDWORKINGONTHEWEEKENDSUCKADICK