Monday, January 02, 2012

End of 2011

I have not abandoned my blog! It's just more time-consuming to post here than to do anything social from my phone. But I want to record and share a few things that took place since the last post.

Robin Thicke & Luke James @ The Mid (12/12)

Robin Thicke released the album "Love After War" at the beginning of December and went on a mini-tour, stopping by the clubby venue The Mid, here in Chicago. The Mid is completely unmarked in a building adjacent to a fish market, in the vicinity of Oprah's studio. There were some administrative issues that the venue should have taken care of, and there were people getting pretty irate, but it's not worth dwelling on. What made me upset was that they tweeted the time change along with an announcement of the opening act. At first, I was like, really? This man is going to open for Robin Thicke? When it seemed like things were getting going, a young black man appeared alone on stage. I was like, THIS IS NOT @LUKEJAMESLIVE!!! The carelessness of The Mid to tweet some garbage lies angered me greatly. The Mid also had some trashy sound quality at the beginning of Luke James' (@whoisLukeJames) performance, but thankfully, they ameliorated the situation over time. If I can tell the sound is muffled, you've got problems. Anyway, the most important thing is, I don't really listen to a lot of music and especially new music, but I was in love with Luke James' voice from the start, even over technical difficulties. It's just raw talent and, it turns out, elite production. I've since been stalking him online, and managed to score a hard copy of his pre-album/mixtape "#Luke" through Twitter. I love how he uses Twitter and Google culture to introduce himself, even if it'll be an outdated concept soon enough. I don't know what else to say about his music except that it's produced by Danja, a protege-like entity of Timbaland (my musical hero of my late adolescent life), so there's a lot going on in each song musically, if you're into this kind of thing.

At one point, I said aloud to Mordecai, Luke James might be better than Robin Thicke, but Robin Thicke was a riot. He is a character, and may seem too foolish for some, but I'm persuaded that he doesn't just intend good, but actually is good as a person and musically. I know some people might have issues with his style, but when I heard the man belt out Jodeci's "Come and Talk To Me" a capella (however habitual and actually planned this might be based on the ubiquity of YouTube videos of him doing this in many live shows), I thought, this is the kind of voice for which one pays money to hear live. It reminds me of how my grandma differentiates my baked goods by saying "This is something I'd pay money for" and not saying that of other things I make. And then I am reminded of how so many Japanese pop singers, who demand a lot of money for CDs (i.e. beautiful packaging and lyrics with liner notes), live shows, and so on, disappoint me with their weak, flimsy voices that might sound okay in a karaoke booth but not live on Music Station or not even pre-recorded on Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ. Anyway, Robin Thicke and Luke James were both really good. You should check out "Love After War" (first half of the album > second half except for "Full Time Believer," which sounds like a Broadway-ish tune to me and so is a nice and funny change from the "Lost Without You" type filler-ballads) and "#Luke" which is available to stream or somehow download for free here. Don't know why "I Want You" is truncated and fades away, but the full song is available on the YouTubes. You can join me in cyber-stalking him on Tumblr and request an invite to follow his private account on Instagram. I'm so creepy!

Baked Goods
I acquired a jelly roll pan, mostly because Emily has one and also because the label-cover thingie on the pan I got had a pretty picture of a jelly roll that made me want to make them. Emily then said to me, You could make these! and I was like "Oh, maybe..." and then that became a "Yes I can!" My pan is kind of on the smaller side so I decided to make two logs. And then I get to make the French language joke of, I don't know if "Bûche de Noël" is feminine or masculine, so I dunno if it's "un" or "une," so instead of learning which, I say I made deux! I first heard the joke from Alan Schrift except he was talking about ordering croissants in France. The logs were a little more fun to make than to eat, but I thought this recipe came out pretty well. I like how there's chocolate whipped cream inside and mocha buttercream on the outside, and the roll itself reminded me of Japanese castella. I didn't make meringue mushrooms this time; I thought that this would be a rather easy holiday tradition to continue and I could dress it up in the future.

My mom requested that I make a pear tart for our early Christmas dinner, so I made a pear-almond tart from a Maida Heatter recipe. Her tarts are not more fun to make than to eat. I ruined the first crust and brunt my wrist, which made me look like a failed cutter. But I tried again and made a pretty good tart. I think the flavor might be something that one would pay some money for, but I might have to lay out the pears better to really impress my grandma.
And then just last week, I made these cake pop things. I wasn't really into them, but I was gifted a kit. I was looking online for recipes and pictures and such, and I found myself getting more and more absorbed by them. I searched for "Shiba Inu cake pop" and came across this, which seems too involved and not that cute. But then I saw these cake toppers, which are cute, and became inspired to make Shiba cake pops. I don't know how realistic this project is, but if any project involves  preaching the Gospel of Mitsu, I just might try to realize it.

Some time ago, I went to a meeting with Mordecai about the Bloomingdale Trail, which his office has been working on. I quietly suggested to him that there be Mitsu-incorporated stop signs, and this was the best I could do to convey my vision. And then a bunch of people started to make comments about the trail as it has been proposed now, and I became angered by the many selfish comments. "I live next to the trail and my wife works at night and sleeps during the day; I don't want all this noise bothering her." "The trail is too narrow for my kids to walk on and for bicyclists to use; why are my tax dollars going towards this?" Seriously? I propose an exchange: these people don't have to have their income taxed as long as they never speak at community meetings again.

Holiday Travels
Photo by Maddi
The rest of the month went towards preparing for the holidays and traveling to New York. Mitsu seems to be just a little too big to travel in the cabins with us, and I don't want to know what happens to animals in cargo or whatever, so we decided to drive. She just sleeps in the car anyway; I've been telling people that she seems to think of the car as giant, mobile crate that humans also get into. We stopped in Youngstown, Ohio, for a break, and then continued on to Lewisburg the next day to see almost everyone of Mordecai's uncle's immediate family (we missed Sarah and Matt), and then we trekked on to Long Island. While we were there, we took Mitsu to the beach to sniff the Long Island Sound (I'm afraid she won't ever get to experience the Pacific Ocean); we went to the city to support the global flagship Uniqlo store and checked out the Highline (sans Mitsu; she would probably have been welcomed in the former location but not the latter); we took Mitsu with us to New Jersey to visit Mordecai's grandfather and aunt; and the next day we picked up Jenni at the airport and later drove her back to Brooklyn. We took Jenni and Mitsu to Harborfields High School, Mariah Carey's alma mater, and then we went to Cow Harbor in Northport so that Mitsu could mark her territory. And then we drove Jenni back to Brooklyn, which was fun when we got off the wrong exit and found ourselves completely surrounded by graves. On our way back home to Chicago, we realized that it is worth ~$30 or whatever to stay at Comfort Inn & Suites over Super 8 Motel, and I reaffirmed my faith in Cracker Barrel's eggs in a basket.

And now, a new year, and next week, a new semester. Introductory logic, anyone? 

1 comment:

Jade said...

glad you wrote something! was going to send you an e-mail asking when the next update would be. i love road trip adventures and will put comfort in on the differential if we ever do a long drive. also loved the pic of you + mordecai.

when i told raj about your trip he asked if you guys went to see the 'mordeclan' :)