Sunday, December 30, 2007

recipes for the not-so-food-savvy bachelor: tacos

in 2005 when i first designed the 17 point scale, i described the blog as "an excuse for [me] to ramble, feign perspicacity, and post pictures; possible topics might include art, quirky observations, and cooking tips." as the blog took shape, i refined the description a bit, proclaiming it "the world wide web's home for cooking recipes, travel pictures, and random thoughts on life, grammar, and that other thing you're really interested in." the descriptions were my attempt to promote and summarize the disparate inklings that i posted in this odd corner of cyberspace. they also amused me.

i am not much of a cook, and i certainly haven't use the blog for sharing
cooking tips or recipes. in fact, over the last few years, the closest i've come to a 17 point scale recipe is the caption on a photo of guacamole. and when i was experimenting with blogger's features, i even posted some text at the bottom of the blog that read: "by the way, i lied. there are no recipes on this website. if it's cooking you want, take a bowl, a spoon, a box of cap'n crunchberries, and some milk; mix 'em all together; and voila! cereal du jour." i kept the text there because, again, it made me laugh. and although i may be the only living soul to scroll to the blog's bottom and read this confession, i don't feel that my lie is an act of malice--while googlers may reach the 17 point scale in search of "blood meridian chickens" or lewd sexual phrases (to name some of the last 100 searches), i can't recall seeing a single hit for cooking or recipes.

now, however, i find myself at a strange precipice. i've decided to post a recipe. and not just one recipe, perhaps several. i think this means that i may need to revise the 17 point scale mission statement:


mini tacos

4 mini beef tacos (trader joes brand), a handful of shredded medium cheddar cheese (gen), pace chunky salsa (gen)microwave tacos in paper towel (30 s) and thaw cheese on counter (1 m), add cheese and microwave for 45 s
less than
7 m

tasty, simple; requires a side dish (e.g., christmas cookies, satsumas)

as you can see, these recipes will not be fancy. they will merely chart the learnings of a lazy, cooking-challenged kid with some blog space to spare.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

back page: blood meridian or the evening redness in the west


blood meridian or the evening redness in the west by cormac mccarthy**

according to, jack bauer, the protagonist of 24, has killed 185 people over the course of six seasons. yet the glanton gang of mccarthy's blood meridian could teach bauer some things about killing; they eclipse this feat without the benefit of automatic weapons, and because mccarthy writes so matter-of-factly of violence and brutality (not because of the sheer number of murders), these indian scalpers make bauer seem like a harmless saint nick. biblical commentators speak of the earth groaning as it awaits the expulsion of darkness, and no novel offers a grimmer account of the pulsing menace of humanity (and our complicity with satan and, for that matter, nature) than blood meridian (not even the road). read it if you dare.

14 out of 17*

*the 17 point scale panel of experts--andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, and, yes, andrew--rated blood meridian between 13 and 16 and have yet to formally declare their rating tried and true. they still have some thinking to do.

**i think the cormac mccarthy lemonade is flooding hollywood. i just read that ridley scott will be directing blood meridian. i can't imagine how this could be filmed tastefully yet with profundity. do dark, dark, bloody epics translate well to film?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

backstreet's back!

after the demise of my sufjan stevens cover band, i ceased to practice the piano and began to experiment with some new musical talents: voice and dance. therefore, i was ecstatic when sean invited me to join his boy band.

here is our first live karaoke performance:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

last-minute xmas needs? try beth's book!

buy this amazing book, god with us: rediscovering the meaning of christmas, and do it now. god with us features profound christian authors like beth bevis, scott cairns, emilie griffin, richard john neuhaus, kathleen norris, eugene peterson, and luci shaw--did you catch that? beth bevis! yes, beth wrote descriptions of each of the advent feast days, and i've already seen examples of random web-folk admiring her work.

but what is god with us? as one five-star amazon review proclaims, "We started using this book at the recommendation of a friend and whole-heartedly recommend it to you. We are being prepared this Advent and this book has much to do with it. The paintings, Scripture verses, discussions and prayers have been a great help to us . . . "

i haven't had a chance to pore over the text closely yet--my copy just arrived--but the art work is spectacular.

Monday, December 17, 2007

tell me your favorite writers and poets!

maps are a simple metaphor for almost anything. i recently wrote an article that discussed some new findings regarding alzheimer's disease and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and what did i use as the article's primary conceit? a map.

and now that i have a few dozen pictures of steve and his map, what better way to solicit advice than to reapply the map metaphor?

i'm looking for some amazing writers that tackle issues of faith and redemption in their work, and i'm hoping that you can be my map. i'm looking for big names and small names, novelists and poets--anyone that writes powerfully and writes well.

i'm particularly interested in writers that might creatively engage topics of atheism (i.e., faith, doubt, superstition, and science) and education (learning, growth, self-ization), but any literary scribe will do.

i'm gathering these names as part of a list of potential writers and interviewees for upcoming issues of the other journal.

if you think of someone, please let me know, and if you peruse my tentative list (including such longshots as david james duncan and marilynne robinson), and are in agreement or disagreement with my inclusion of some particular writers, be sure to tell me.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

obama on faith

here's a clip of barack obama speaking of the separation of church and state, the way in which faith could and should inform politics, and his own conversion to christianity. it's a long speech, but i think it's worth a listen.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

blogging hiatus and my novella

in addition to work, christmas shopping, my part-time editing gig, classes at the UW, caring for my ailing house, and rereading the road, i've decided to try and write a novella. therefore, i have even less time for the 17 point scale. historically, however, i've found that the minute i declare a prolonged absence from blogging, i come roaring back with more posts, so i expect that i'll be posting some tidbits in the near future.

(what do you think, should i have written "i've decided to try
to write a novella"? the and seemed to flow better, but to strikes me as a better grammatical choice.)