Blütt is having a spring cleaning sale, offering up the paintings below for $70 each (shipping included - $60 if you can pick it up directly). Here’s your chance to own a piece of Chicago’s street/urban art scene at a small price. (#11 is no longer available because it’s coming to live in my house.) Follow this link for instructions to buy.
Ginger Zing, My 2nd attempt at artisanal soda syrup
Tonight I made my 2nd (much further refined) attempt at a Ginger-based soda syrup. My first try had a very good flavor but I was wanting more ginger kick and more tartness… more ZING! I think i’m 90% there with the recipe that follows, I have only a couple of small tweaks in mind for my next attempt:
Ginger root, 1/2 cup thinly sliced, minced
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
Blueberries, a handful (if you’ve got them)
Squeeze the lemons until you’ve got roughly 1/2 cup. Add water to that until you’ve got a cup’s worth of liquid. Put that in a small pan and stir in 1 cup of sugar, then heat until it’s bubbling.
While that’s heating up, roughly peel, thinly slice, then sloppily mince a bunch of ginger root - enough to yeild around 1/2 cup when you’ve had your way with it. Add this to the pan, along with the cloves and blueberries (if you’ve got them - i have a ton of frozen blueberries left over from last summers CSA).
Simmer the whole thing for 20 minutes or so, stirring and mashing along the way. I did that tonight while i was preparing dinner for the kids so it was always just bubbling away in the background. When you’ve had enough simmering, set it aside to let it cool down to room temperature.
Now, simple strain all of the chunks out of it to yield that sweet, spicy, tart, purple wonder-juice. I used a strainer tonight, but next time i’m going to pour it through cheesecloth so that I can squeeze every last drop of gingery goodness out of it.
In the end, you’ll have about 1.5 cups of syrup. Make yourself a soda or a mixed drink with it. Enjoy!
I’ve pretty much been obsessed with James Blake’s self-titled album, released earlier this year. I’ve wanted to write about it, but I couldn’t seem to articulate everything I thought and felt about it. Lucky for me, today I found a review of the album by Joe Rivers on noripcord.com, and it says (quite elegantly) EVERYTHING I have been thinking through my countless listens to this masterpiece of a record. (I admit, the real number of listens is closer to 25). Here’s a bit from the review about my favorite song on the album, "I Never Learnt to Share"
If you were to encapsulate what James Blake is about in one song, I Never Learned to Share would be it. Blake isn’t exactly prolific with his lyric writing, and this song contains repetition of just one line - “My brother and my sister don’t speak to me, but I don’t blame them”. It begins a cappella, before a second voice accompanies, sometimes echoing the melody line, sometimes slightly discordant. Warm synths lead to a quasi-triumphant false climax, before beats enter and the layering begins in earnest. The tension is ratcheted up bar by bar, with white noise creeping in around the edges before becoming more prominent, louder, and then louder still. The track seems ready to explode, and it does, into a primal, cathartic disco riff, dripping with effects and, somehow, sounding almost magnetic. The melody line oscillates and twitches, the beats pulse and the track ends on a thrilling high.
One of the greatest things I learned during my intensive therapy stint (summer 2008) was the “ABC Exercise” (from Rational Emotive Therapy). It might be the single-most effective tool I’ve found for dealing with all the BS that life throws at me. This morning, i was looking for a description of the ABC and found this WONDERFUL blog post describing it called "The ABC of Rational Thought" at The SMART Buddhist. Here’s a small bit that describes the problem that ABC attempts to solve.
A common example used in the ABC Exercise is that someone else’s behavior is “making us angry.” This is a very common expression and we hear it often. In fact, rationally, this is a distortion of the situation it attempts to describe. A more accurate description of “someone making me angry” is to say “I feel angry about someone’s behavior.” They are not making me anything – they are simply behaving in a way that I am getting angry about. I notice their behavior and then I become angry. The responsibility for feeling anger is mine, not theirs. This may sound strange at first, but dealing with anger and frustration this way works to have a healthier and more realistic view of the world. The REBT theory says that it is generally irrational and self-defeating to get all worked up about someone else’s behavior.
I highly recommend reading the article and going through the exercise next time you’re feeling frustrated. Here’s a map of the process, again from the post.
For your health! and read that post, gosh darnit! (I promise myself I won’t get angry if you don’t).
Just saw that Bonus Saves posted this really playful street collaboration - “Year of the Rabbit” with Noitan, Itzy, Bonus Saves and newcomers Vice-Roy and EL KayMeano! Click the image above for a larger version. Fun stuff!