happiest of 'weens to you, fine friends! in the classic tradition of people with too much time on their hands, i have been cooking and sewing in preparation for the holiday.

spicy roasted pumpkin seeds

- ~2 c raw seeds (or whatever you can scoop from your jack o'lantern - mine was wee and fairly simple, but paul and jessie did fine work on theirs in berkeley)
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 tsp tabasco
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper

toss seeds, butter and tabasco in sealed tupperware container; combine spices, add to seeds, and toss again. spread seeds in single layer on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring once, until crisp and golden brown. serve with big-ass glasses of ice water.

hummus for sarah and judd's swanky halloween eve party

(adapted from a mom-recipe)

- 2 cans (15 oz each?) chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced (i used home-grown blue, which is a bit mild)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 c water
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 tsp tabasco
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper

throw chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, water, olive oil and tabasco in food processor; liquefy. add more water if mixture isn't smooth enough. stir in tahini and spices; add extra kick (NOT cumin) to taste. drizzle with olive oil and minced parsley. curse grocer for selling you way more parsley than you could ever use. serve with chips, raw veggies, hershey's miniatures - whatever blows your hair back.


blood gnome (1/2). at long last i've concluded what should have been obvious: B movies with awesome titles are really just excuses for soft-core porn. don't get me wrong, blood gnomes really are evil - in addition to lusting for human blood, they spoil expensive film, rewind and tape over important videocassettes, and send annoying instant messages full of all-caps threats. the problem is that they prey on members of the BDSM community, so almost every scene of gnome mayhem is coupled with fat cops getting play-whipped or bettie page's bargain basement cousins licking plastic daggers (aside to nathan: this was definitely shot in the valley). unquestionably superior to generic attempts like delta delta DIE! and slumber party massacre 3, but for pint-sized horror i'll always come home to the leprechaun franchise.


::outside scoop on the sox, cont'd::

mark bellhorn, erstwhile strikeout king. judd and sarah claim MB has an inner woody allen voice that second-guesses and withers his every move. if that wasn't already so after his league-leading crapulence in the regular season, it must be now: despite key hits in games 1 and 2, he's riding the pine an awful lot. don't let the guy go on long walks alone, is all i'm saying.

pitching for jesus. as baseball's answer to kerri strug, curt schilling has earned the right to say whatever he wants in interviews: he could fart into the FOX microphones for all i care. that said, his shout-outs to the lord are getting a bit redundant. that said (and speaking of kerri strug), i suspect he's voting for bush and i sure as hell don't want him mentioned. god it is, then!

preteen girls in the stands wearing face paint beards to look like johnny damon. unequivocally weird. please stop that.


look, i can say it without shame: i've been following the red sox like a freak. a poorly timed nap on sunday kept me up for all of game 4 that night, and i would argue that anyone who can sit through five hours of tortured boston fan reaction shots without feeling something for their team is made of stone. compound that with the fact that two of my best friends would trade their limbs for a series win, and you've got my attention. for tom and the rest of the Nation, then, kidchamp presents

::amateur reactions to the ALCS::

the a-rod slap. this is where baseball needs to be more like soccer: in randy marsh's shoes, i'd have thrown his ass out of the game. given that marsh called him safe before he hit first base, though, i'm guessing a red card would have stayed in his pocket no matter what. pity.

the curse of the bambino. seems at least crippled after the sox took the league in the bronx on mickey mantle's birthday, no? i worry that the franchise's appeal will wane if they take the world series - i for one might have to start rooting for the cubs (if someone can explain the goat thing to me). it's bad luck to talk that way, of course. if the baseball gods are listening, we still fear You.

pedro's little friend. maybe the only thing about martinez that interests me. nearly throwing game 7 because terry francona wanted you to share the win: lame. throwing a tiny man from your home town for good luck: creepy. but unique!

more to follow.


shower song #714, "damn peter yarrow / or hung over?":

jake is alive!
or is he alive?
he left at one a.m. when the red sox game was over
then i read all about bill o'reilly and falafel
now it's twelve fifteen and the cell phone isn't ringing
don't make me thrift shop alone
no one should thrift shop alone


in belated honor of columbus day, i shall present an existing thing and pretend i discovered it: cello rock lovers, melora creager the bobble-head is upon you. accounts vary as to when the rasputina knitting factory dvd, in turn, will materialize.

feeling guilty (as i do every year) about replacing kirk cameron as the coolest person born on october 12, i followed a link to the "are you a good person?" quiz on his spooky evangelical website. to my surprise, i've broken all Ten Commandments (including murder - holding a feisty amount of hate in one's heart is apparently analogous). KC, then, can be the coolest 10/12 kid in heaven. but no bobble-head for him.

finally got around to an (anaemic) about / faq section - suggestions and questions would rock my world. how about it?


i'm now wearing this, by the way. it's more than a promise ring, not an engagement ring, exciting-scary anyway.


notaries are not only inexpensive (unless you have them come to your house or office, which costs $50 and up), they will tell you wild stories as they validate the transfer of "your" property back to your grandmother (for example). my encounter began badly - i was told yet again that i should grow my hair out in order to resemble my driver's license photo - but took an unexpected turn as i was wondering about the sort of person who would pay for a mobile visit: well, Notary 1 said and gestured to Notary 2, this guy was once called out to authenticate a woman's signature for the con artists who murdered her. in that case it made sense.


so unemployment is turning me into martha stewart - what of it? nature abhors a vacuum. i tinkered with the pumpkin pie = debate victory formula that worked so well for kerry/bush #1 and edwards/cheney and think i broke even: though kerry didn't dominate and bush reined in his facial tics (except for winking while talking about abortion - what?), i discovered a fine new recipe for 'death by chocolate' cake. i also discovered that walking around hell's kitchen with a big-ass cake is deeply weird.


tonight's wilco show at radio city did a fine job of washing last year's rockette christmas spectacular out of my mouth. it would be ungrateful to fault the venue for clashing with the band's aesthetic: i confess that i didn't hear of the gig at all until ticketmaster sent me a reminder. a skanky club would have been sold out before i woke up.

and, honestly, wilco seemed like they wanted to do a big genteel thing. a ghost is born is short on the foot-stompers i loved on summerteeth and yankee hotel foxtrot: "handshake drugs" is a keeper for the insistent beat and classic jeff tweedy enunciation, but the rest of the album has yet to grow on me.


good things about listening to ethan frome while working: i'd forgotten how relaxing it is to hear someone else read, i get to be a supereffective multitasker, and having a male narrator read mattie silver's lines in a drag queen voice adds a frisson of gender confusion to the literary experience. bad things: i'm almost finished already (whoops, short novel) and joining an online audiobook club is eighteen times more expensive than, say, netflix (unless you qualify for, no joke, the trucker discount). i found a free 15-day trial membership that promises to send me things like big sur and ulysses before they start asking me for $19/title - we'll see if i can get a little culture and get out prior to that.

found adam gopnik's tribute to richard avedon (in this week's new yorker) quite moving: now that i no longer work for The Corporation, i have the freedom to mourn people like him without worrying about how to pillage his legacy for a press release. PR is not an entirely evil business - i did get to promote people and events who deserved attention every now and again - but it did pressure me to think about grief and tragedy in a predatory way. yay for getting fired before i had to do that, eh?


spent saturday afternoon at a one-room tour of the brooklyn brewery in williamsburg, a gritty and cavernous factory space that came into being with the help of a former AP reporter who, while stationed in iran, learned to make beer in his hotel bathtub. was utterly charmed by monster, a fat and happy 'working' cat who may or may not have inspired a particularly strong microbrew of the same name. from time to time i share joe's fascination with williamsburg: overhyped and haughty or no, it attracts people with a warm and fuzzy dedication to making things.

at the other end of the spectrum, we aimed today for the cooper-hewitt national design museum on the upper east side. space was at a premium - andrew carnegie's mansion, though intricate and elegant and generally desirable, doesn't sprawl - but i got a kick out of the bedroom, where contemporary pieces were arranged to recall the original layout of mrs. c's living area. agoraphobe that i am, i also loved futureshack (designed to provide elementary but tenable transitional housing for refugees) in the yard.


pumpkin pie update: unequivocal success - i've since baked another and three miniatures. if i can learn to make my own crust (thus far i've been cheating with keebler's cheap and ready-made graham cracker variety) we might have a new skill on our hands.

mannequin update: judd and sarah brought over a bleeds-when-it-burns severed finger candle that will rest nicely on the lower torso stump. i hope to have a thoroughly gross body part sculpture by halloween.

debate update: chris's print media rundown surveys result coverage in swing state papers. i read lead stories in the new york times, the new york daily news, the chicago sun-times, the new york post and usa today: the last two gave kerry an edge, while everyone else called a draw. my personal bias prompted me to give up on neutral analysis a long time ago, but i'm encouraged by reports that kerry had an eensy-weensy effect on some undecided focus groups. i wish he'd mentioned that china actually wants us to hold bilateral talks with north korea - bush's refrain about how that would dissolve extant negotiation plans chapped my hide. then again, how many undecideds will bother to look past iraq and afghanistan when considering foreign policy? a medianstrip commenter wanted him to look straight at the camera and say I WON'T SEND YOU OFF TO DIE TO MAKE MY FRIENDS RICH, and that would have pleased me as well.

i think kerry did what he could without sounding mean or disengaged, and that's the most we could have expected. i've vacillated between thinking he had a fighting chance and thinking he'd get slaughtered; neither hope nor despondency seems particularly useful at this point. hunt down and brainwash some swing voters if you can, friends; wear a feisty shirt if you can't; practice crossing fingers and toes.