we at kidchamp labs find it most heartening that, in his newborn blog, zyzzyva's howard junker discusses both robert mapplethorpe's ass (enraged the nea) and his lunch (tepid, near a rat). so very many bloggers hit you with what they think or what they eat. high/low, huzzah! and welcome to The Internets, howard.

good things happen when the wedding registry gets cleared out.* i was worried that we'd end up with his-and-hers nighties or bride and groom outfits for the cats,** but phil hooked us up with seasons 1 and 2 of veronica mars. i'm so excited about my upcoming utterly sedentary weekend*** that i just don't know what to tell you.

*good things, that is, in addition to our getting all of the fun stuff on it. i still find that kind of shocking.

**that's a lie - bride and groom cat outfits would be awesome. [aerosmith] jude looks like a lady... [/aerosmith]

***i won't just be watching television, mind - there's a new needlepoint project afoot.


domesticity strikes again. this time i was compelled to teach myself to make cheap, healthy ethnic food. trial #1 (borscht) was going pretty well until i started admiring the gory pile of beet shavings in my sink and, distracted, took a hunk out of my index finger (my last thought before that, ironically, was "hee, fargo!"). then i puréed everything at the end, which turned out to be a terrible idea. in russia, borscht purées you!

trial #2 (baked falafel) was much more satisfying. i found an online recipe* that didn't even call for my year-old can of tahini - in fact, its most exotic ingredient was soy sauce. tweaked for our heat-addicted tastebuds, may i present

falafel for whitey

- 2 cans chickpeas (drained)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp peanut butter (i used chunky organic)
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped (medium fine)
- 1 egg
- handful (about 1/8 cup) of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (i used tamari)
- sesame seeds

pulverize garbanzo beans in a manner of your choosing (unable to find the food processor lid, i tried pulsing them in the blender with the egg and soy sauce and then squished the resulting paste between my fingers to get the giant lumps out - were i you, i would not choose this manner); in a large bowl, combine and mix all ingredients except sesame seeds. roll resulting paste between your hands to create spheres the size of golf balls; roll these in sesame seeds (i placed a few tbsp at a time in the bottom of an empty margerine container, which seemed to work well) and place a few inches apart on a cookie sheet (or a brownie pan, which takes care of the occasional fugitive falafel ball). if you're feeling zesty, sprinkle a bit more cayenne on top of each ball. bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes (ie until they're paper bag brown; the sesame seeds don't seem to change color). served with halved pita bread (toast if you like, but go easy - brittle pitas make a HUGE mess), fresh arugula, sliced tomato, tzatziki (or plain greek yogurt, which is pretty common out here), hummus, hot sauce (we used cholula, which was great) - whatever blows your hair back.

joe, george, and i all liked this; i think the key was the tzatziki** and the hot sauce, which made up for the dryness of the falafel balls. i also think the dish worked because i wasn't expecting it to taste like authentic falafel; i expected, and got, a tasty, vaguely mediterranean sandwich. it's a start, no?

*i didn't realize until i was walking around the amish market with a printout that said recipe comes from a site called "modern wife." aaugh, wife!

**admittedly, total brand tzatziki or yoghurt would make most anything edible. the greeks are not fooling around with that stuff.


101 in 1001: 059 score at least 3 bylines in national magazines (mine counts) [ongoing]
the weeks of work hell just before and after the wedding are paying off, a little - i wrote two pieces that will be in the november issue of the ladymag. it's difficult to talk about them without being annoyingly cryptic (more so than usual, that is) or too candid for my own good,* so i'll just say that it feels good to have full pages in my clip binder (which, 'til now, was mostly 50-word book reviews and a paragraph about brain research**). i'll need a lot more of them if i'm to start pitching other magazines (which is an eventual goal, both because i have other demographics in mind and because my in-house work is unpaid), but this is a solid beginning. thanks for the motivation, online '101 in 1001' list!


Your parents look like movie stars!

Your husband looks like Hugh Grant.

You guys look alike.

*translation: ask me in person about why i've grown a separate ego to deal with collaborative commercial publishing.

**and that list in mountain man dance moves, which is now in stores (woo!), though getting additional work on the strength of a boob joke is unlikely. the rest of the book, by the way, is funny - i'd say at least two thirds of the other lists are better than mine, which is right about where i like to be.


just in time for our one month anniversary,* we have wedding photos! never before has my head been so big - literally, as we have these giant portraits that would take up entire walls of our apartment. this is the only 'public' photo in the flickr set; if you'd like to see others, drop me a line and i'll mark you as a contact/friend in the system (flickr signup - which is free and easy, like so few things - required).

ze officiant (aunt diana), ze marrieds,

*which joe does not recognize. screw joe; i've heard plenty of guys talk about their anniversaries in increments other than years.


jen's take on chicago's edition of the renegade craft fair got me thinking about craft and spending. jen sez (in part):
fortunately for my pocketbook, i'm just crafty enough myself that when i go to craft fairs like this i'm prevented from buying things because i keep thinking, "i could make that!" of course, i probably won't ever have the time, but it helps keep the cash in my wallet. so do the prices, actually. i don't begrudge any of the artists their right to make a profit (or at the very least support their crafty habit), but $35 for a t-shirt is sadly out of my price range. for the sake of all DIY designers out there today hopefully not all the shoppers were as poor (and potentially crafty) as i am.

i have analogous reactions to a lot of craft (as many people do - "i can do that!" is the bane of a vendor's existence).* the catch-22 in do-it-yourselfing for profit is its ostensible emphasis on technique rather than innovation; until one's skill level gets wa-ay up there, it's difficult to generate a really singular project with technique alone. that's why, i think, you have to give crafters credit for sheer labor (as jen also notes), and why it's important to award points for design - for, i guess, craft that crosses into that murky 'art' area. learning to generate needlepoint like mine, for example, would take about forty five minutes of practice (an hour if you're clumsy), and my image manipulation techniques are pathetic (ye olde xerox machine's enlarge and darken features - and i use them badly), but i like to think that i deserve a tip of the hat for design as well as for elbow grease (as i recall, the debbie harry portrait took me about six months to finish).**

shelling out to a crafter was one of the really enjoyable aspects of wedding planning; getting married was the perfect excuse to throw around funds i wouldn't normally have at my disposal. i knew that i wanted handmade soy candles for favors at the reception; technically i could have learned to pour them myself and researched a wholesale supplier for materials, but a) unless you're a cyborg bride, taking on more than one or two labor-intensive projects in addition to the rest of your wedding planning is just asking for a nervous breakdown, b) the candlemaker i found on etsy had much more experience and better supplies than i would have had, and c) it just felt good to be that candlemaker's first big order. she asked me afterward if she could use pictures of our order as examples of her work for future clients, and she started actively soliciting bigger projects online; i loved having had a little to do with that.

i have no huge point here, but i do believe that crafters should (when possible) compensate each other for inspiration. when i can afford to say "good on you for making a knitted ms. pac man cuff! here's $20!", i do - and when i can't, i let them know i'm impressed. that won't buy supplies, but it's still worth something.

*on a related note, i find open source art like cory arcangel's super mario clouds really interesting. i can't imagine feeling secure enough in my own originality that i'd want to encourage people to replicate my projects.

**i'm not calling my stuff art, mind you - i simply know more about my own skills (or lack thereof) than i do about others'.


joe and i got to see my boyfriend james carville* at a preview screening of all the king's men last night. the movie itself was decent (though i have issues with the john woo-ish final scene, and the accents are a bit touch and go), and i'd be shocked if sean penn isn't nominated for an academy award (i'd imagine there are a few supporting nods coming, too - i'm not saying i agree, mind you, but i smell oscars). the brief q&a with carville, a production guy, and a studio head was more entertaining, if predictable: carville noted that while the main character was based on huey long, looking to the movie for information on him would be like watching the abc special on 9/11 for information about the attacks (hee). he also kept mentioning that he had been in old school, which - well, yes, but we got our invitation to the screen via the congresswoman; it's safe to assume that we and everyone else would rather have heard about the war room (the documentary that made carville my boyfriend). ah, well.

in other political news, i finally (praise god!) finished clinton's my life. i am glad that i read it, and i'm even okay with the fact that he rambled (i got at least three decent book recommendations - the serpent and the rainbow, the russia hand, and the cobra event* - out of him), but i still feel that i've just finished a marathon. if you'd like to read it, or to have a liberal doorstop, lemme know - this thing hogs a lot of shelf.


Kirk Cameron latches onto him and slows him down.

Nicole Ritchie gains a pound!

A bolt of lightning arcs out of Gwyneth Paltrow and strikes your opponent for 17 damage.

Strobe Talbott shouts "Yarr!" and battens your opponent's hatches for him. Violently. For 40 damage.

Fidel Castro butts him for 4 (+10) damage.

Ann Coulter feasts on the corpse, then touches you gently on the cheek.

*marriage is so convenient! now i can name drop my fake boyfriends (carville, gus hansen, andrew bird, etc) without mixing them up with my ex-boyfriend (the missus).

**on a totally unrelated note, i noticed in looking that up that preston has another book called the demon in the freezer; imagine my disappointment when i found out it was just about bioterror.


i wasn't prepared for the storm surge of domesticity that attends coming back from one's honeymoon. it started slowly enough - we cleaned like fiends last sunday, did a little grocery shopping, bought some new pillows* - but by ten in the morning on labor day i was making chili for an army, and over this weekend we lofted the bed, painted the bedroom,** cleaned again, and, um, arranged flowers. is this how the yuppie landslide begins? the roses, it must be said, are very satisfying.

i remember my first 9/11 in new york simply because it was my first. the bagpipers in the subway were a bit odd, but the day was otherwise unremarkable. i watched the reading of victims' names at ground zero for the first time in years this morning, on the other hand, and teared up; even as a local, it's easy to forget that the attacks were more than a national disaster for some people, that this is the anniversary of family members' and friends' deaths. i feel a bit ashamed of myself for wishing the survivors' groups would quit bickering over details of the memorials. it can't be fun to be reminded of, say, your husband being killed every time you see a teaser for one of the commemorative tv specials.

*this was actually the first time we've purchased pillows for ourselves; the others just materialized, probably from our parents. if you think about just how long we've been living together, this is pretty gross.

**yes, the incredible hulk green is no more. i was really fond of it - and it did make the room look larger than café-au-lait beige does - but the new walls are definitely more restful, and much easier to decorate.


sweet christ, that was a lot of image processing. but it is done, and the world will know of our vacationing! behold the mighty honeymoon photo set!

i want a bowl of soup


as of the wee hours on saturday night / sunday morning (thank you, jamaican human shield in the international baggage claim), we is stateside once more.* i'm pleased to report that my first day back at the office has been relatively painless; as a matter of fact, i'm still so jet lagged that i leapt from bed and into my cube an hour early this morning. this was valuable time in which to prepare for the onslaught of post-wedding ladymag well-wishing that followed (i'm told that i'll be thrown a retroactive shower sometime later this week). it would have been valuable time in which to upload the honeymoon photos, but i cleverly locked all of my cube cabinets (including the one full of camera cables) before going away and then took the keys...somewhere. i'm hoping they're under the sofa and not, say, in glasgow. in lieu of photos, then, you get...wedding facts-at-a-glance!

no. of times lauren has dropped the h bomb ("husband"): 3

no. of times joe has said "wife": 1

total weight gained by lauren, joe, and cats since we left for oxford (in lbs):12**

first twelve songs played at our reception:

somebody's baby - yo la tengo
sweet jane - the velvet underground
the chemistry between us - suede
more than this - roxy music
try a little tenderness - otis redding
graceland - the new pornographers
love love love - the mountain goats
100,000 fireflies - the magnetic fields
just like honey - the jesus and mary chain
you are the light - jens lekman
do ya - elo
let's dance*** - david bowie

no. of times we played omd's "if you leave": 4 (est.)

*i should have implemented the aforementioned wearing-the-wedding-dress-once-a-week thing instead of sending it home with my mom - on four flights, we didn't get a single cute newlyweds first-class upgrade. it wasn't that big of a deal on the domestic legs of the trip - or the trip from new york, even - but getting to jump the three hour line for the metal detectors at heathrow would have been huge. at least we got to suffer with stewart and hodge, who got caught in the same hell on the way to boston from ireland and were bumped right next to us in line.

**one pound per cat, five for each of us. pretty impressive, when you consider that they each weighed about ten pounds total beforehand.

***there was no actual dancing, at least not until everyone discovered the fancy bar and joe killed the playlist in favor of snoop dogg.