Going Organic.

William Alexander's guest op-ed on trying to grow an organic garden is fascinating (so is this story about Iran's president trying to consolidate power; is it just me, or has the Times gotten sharper in the last few months?), especially when he discusses genetically modified organisms and the environmentalists' mostly* -- it looks like the fear may be justified if resistances develop) oxymoronic/hypocritical fear of them:

"...And if a little pesticide in the backyard is acceptable, tons of pesticides, running into rivers and streams, moving up the food chain, are not. Which brings us to the next quandary. There is, in fact, a technology available today that can drastically reduce if not eliminate the use of pesticides, natural or manufactured: genetically modified organisms.

Such plants are engineered with natural insect resistance and offer substantial reductions in pesticide use without the increased costs associated with conventional organic crops. Monsanto, for example, claims that over the last 10 years, use of its genetically modified seeds has reduced the application of pesticides by 172,000 metric tons. Yet such "Frankenfood" is anathema to the very people who are the strongest proponents of organic food..."

*It looks like the fear may be justified if insects develop resistances to the naturally occuring bacteria that would be present in every GMO

05-28-2006 10:27 AM - comments (0)

Everyone Else Was Doing It.

While watching the AMC "pre-show" for "The Da Vinci Code," Michael and I were subjected to three (THREE!) previews for the new Adam Sandler movie, a film presumably about a guy who ends up in possesion of a magical remote control. (I honestly don't remember what it was called, and I don't want anyone thinking I care to know, hence the not-Googling-it-up-and-typing-the-title-here. I seriously would love to interject a joke here, like, "I liked it better when it was called 'Billy Madison,'" because I absolutely adored "Billy Madison." This, my friends, is no "Billy Madison.")

The one redeeming part of the trailer/most likely the whole movie is the part where Sandler's girlfriend/fiancee/wife asks if he remembers what their song is. He rewinds to their first date and discovers that it's "Linger" by the Cranberries. I'm not sure what it is about the song -- I have a feeling it much to do with the fact that I was 13 when it came out -- but it really does make me feel the best kind of radiant.

It's sad and sweet and utterly innocent, and I sort of miss that about myself. We find old journals and want to burn them when we inevitably get to the pages that remind us of our teenage inadequacies, and maybe I'm being needlessly nostalgic because I've had 1.5 glasses of Wrongo Dongo, courtesy of Dave, but whenever I hear this song, I remember that there was something very honest about being an awkward eighth-grader at a silly little middle school in Spring, Texas. (I guess where you went to school was OK, too. I assume you don't hold it against me that I spent my formative years in Texas, so I should be graceful about this, right?)

Back to the point, sort of. (Writing about music in a non-critical way may be the most futile exercise anyone could hope to attempt, but it's a worthy goal.) "Linger," this most perfect of songs, with its soaring lilts and softly delivered intimations of heartbreak, reminds me of the dreamer I used to be.

Of course, we'll all try to sweep under the rug the part about me spending roughly 80 percent of my time as a "dreamer" thinking about boys in flannel shirts who loved Pearl Jam's "Leash" and
honest-to-God liked "Siamese Dream." Specifically, boys whose names started with "T" and ended with "ravis." (To be fair, he did play a very seductive version of "Hummer" for me a few years later.)

05-23-2006 9:05 PM - comments (3)

Three Degrees.

I just found out Chase is friends with the actress who plays Madison Sinclair on "Veronica Mars." This leads me to believe Chase, an incredible actor who now knows the sheer awesomeness that is "Veronica Mars" after watching the first season on DVD, may just have a shot at a recurring role on the show. This leads me to believe that I will be three degrees from the other actors.* This leads me to believe that I will do anything Chase wants (a month's worth of laundry, tax preparation, daily mix CDs, sexual favors**, etc.) if he is somehow able to arrange a meeting between the egregiously talented Jason Dohring and myself, egregiously untalented as I may be.

The same deal holds for an autograph on a cocktail napkin. Or if he meets Jason and reports back to me on what he's like in person. Or if he asks his friend who plays Madison to tell Jason I love his work and she forgets to tell him but I never find out, or if I do, I pretend it happened anyway.

*Right before the first season of VM, I interviewed Enrico Colantoni for the parenting magazine I used to be editor of. If I had seen the show before I interviewed him, my questions would have been far more...Jason Dohring-centered. So yeah, stalkier.

**Chase lives in Los Angeles. I'm pretty sure there are skinnier, blonder and richer girls to his liking there. Scratch that. Skinny, blond, rich girls. But I had to throw it in.

05-22-2006 2:57 PM - comments (2)

Emphasis Mine, But Craziness All Yahoo!'s.

Dear Yahoo!:
Can you really count the seconds between lightning and thunder to figure how far away a storm is?
N. Lighten Mee

Dear N. Lighten Mee:
Thunder is the sound of rapidly heated air expanding and vibrating, and shock waves. Light travels faster than sound, so we see the lightning before we hear the resulting thunder. Using the speeds of light and sound as well as the atmospheric conditions, you could calculate exactly how far away the storm is.

Chances are you're not going to have a calculator handy during a storm. However you can approximate the storm's distance in miles by counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder and dividing by five. It takes about five seconds for the sonic boom to travel one mile, so if you see the sky illuminated by a streak of lightning and count 10 seconds until you hear the low rumble of the thunder, the storm is about two miles away.

Of course, lightning is dangerous, so it's always a good idea to seek shelter before you stop to count seconds. Otherwise, it might be your final countdown.

05-22-2006 8:31 AM - comments (0)

"Private Eyes Are Watching You."

I'm always disarmed when I see auxiliary actors from "Dawson's Creek" on other shows. I just saw a promo for the NBC show "Conviction," which looks to star the dude who played nutty Oliver in Seasons 5-6. He seemed very...lawyerly, which is such a change from his days on DC. The guy who played Blossom in Jack's fraternity in Season 5 now plays Coop on "Guiding Light," which was not too much of a transition, I suppose. Jack's gentle boyfriend David in Season 6 is now disturbed Kevin on the "Young and the Restless."

But the weirdest has to be Professor Wilder, the brilliant, sexy object of Joey's freshman-year affection, who now plays Hawaiian-shirted, totally lame private detective Vinnie Vanlowe on "Veronica Mars." I suppose Ken Marino is what's known as a character actor.

05-12-2006 12:17 PM - comments (1)

Have You Met Baroness Cynical von Self-Doubt Yet?

From April 24, 2002:

I am sadly aware that our relationship will have to end at some point. Nothing lasts forever. He's told me before that no matter what happens, I'll always have a piece of his heart, that we'll always love each other, and that's comforting. Usually. But I haven't come to terms with the fact that there will be someone to replace me, someone he'll look at adoringly, someone he'll hold in bed, someone he'll tell how much he loves. I don't want there to be someone else. I want there to be me.

It's scary how much you can love one person, I think. It's even scarier to know that there's no guarantee that comes along with it. This is all one big risk you take, hoping against extraordinary odds that it will be the one relationship that works out. So are we idealistic or just stupid? Or too in love to know the difference?

05-11-2006 3:53 PM - comments (0)

I Want a Caramelaserized Glass of Wine.

Before I die, I will eat at Wylie Dufresne's WD-50 in NYC. I've been obsessed with the idea since Jeffrey Steingarten's article in Vogue a couple of years ago. This article confirms it all. And judging by all the chemistry involved in the cooking/bartending process, I think Michael would love it, too.

05-11-2006 9:24 AM - comments (1)

I Grew Tired of Fishmongering.

I've decided to learn all I can about cheese. For Christmas, I received two terrific books on the subject -- Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, written by the maitre fromager of NYC's Artisanal Cheese Center, and the more populist Steven Jenkins' Cheese Primer, and I'm finally ready to delve in.

I've always been a cheese person. As a child, I loved all things mozzarella, and while it's still on the top of my list, my taste has matured and broadened to include types like gorgonzola, pecorino romano, America's own Maytag blue and gruyere, cheeses I would have dismissed due to their pungent smell alone a mere five years ago. But I'm still so entirely unaware of how cheese is made -- I watched the "Good Eats" episode, so I know it was invented accidentally (as a lot of food seems to be), and that it involves milk, whey, enzymes, aging and the like. That's the extent of my knowledge, so this should be fun.

When I started reading the first of the two books, I was overwhelmed by the terminology alone: soft, firm, hard, moist, runny, crumbly, granular, creamy, buttery, rubbery, waxy, oily, chalky, spreadable (texture); sweet, mild, milky, buttery, delicate, salty, sharp, acidic, tart, tangy, lemony, bitter, nutty, piquant, smoky, yeasty (taste); mild, delicate, milky, fresh, creamy, salty, sweet, strong, pungent, earthy, moldy (aroma); and runny, hard, crumbly, dry, moist, smooth, rough, crusty, moldy, white, yellow, ivory, orange (appearance).

But then I started getting excited. As a writer struggling for inspiration in this exasperatingly contented existence and a coming-of-age, financially strapped foodie, learning about cheese may be exactly what I need to round things out. Quietly circling the pseudo-fromagerie at Whole Foods, I lust over the piles of strange, veiny triangles and the penicillium-coated wheels of cheese as soft as half-baked dough. I inadvertently shudder when I lift a wedge of stilton to my nose. I squeal at the sight of curiously colored sage derby. I say a quick prayer of thanks to the Whole Foods buyers when I see that they carry queso chihuahua, which makes enchiladas taste like they'd be worth doing jail time for, and queso fresco, which miraculously goes unmelted in tortilla soup, much like Indian paneer.

The real barrier to giving myself a proper education isn't time or cost but rather my inability to retain any significant amount of information on a given subject. I could watch Alton Brown explain the aging process a dozen times and not be able to relay the information back to you. It's why I haven't been able to become a wine connoisseur (as Dave has become, and as my parents are); I'm still at the stage where I choose a bottle by how artistic its label is. I avoid merlot because of "Sideways" and stick with pinot noirs, chardonnays and other varietals I can pronounce. I fell in love with Bonny Doon after a wine dinner with Amy and Sara, so I know those are safe and satisfying bets. But when it comes down to it, I don't know enough about wine to have the luxury of being selective.

I'm hoping I'll be more successful in this venture. At the very least, no cheese journey of mine can be complete without a taste test of buffalo versus cow mozzarella sticks. (All in the name of education, of course.)

05-09-2006 12:14 PM - comments (1)

So Much.

I want to spit everything out, but I feel paralyzed.

When is it going to come back?

05-05-2006 10:38 PM - comments (0)

I'm (Not Quite) Ready for My Close-Up.

Believe it or not, I was asked to be interviewed for this story.

It's probably a blessing in disguise that the reporter didn't follow up. After all, do I really want my first mention in the Times to be about my love/hate relationship with Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" (see May 7, 2003 entry, and no, I have no idea how to link to it)?

Last week:
hiddeninput: are you going to make her quote your web address?
hiddeninput: rake in the hits?
princesskashmir6: hardly
princesskashmir6: i really don't want my blog out there any more than it is
hiddeninput: no desire to be the riverfront times' blog 'o the week?
princesskashmir6: for one, it would be pretty unprofessional. for two, and more importantly, i'd have to start posting more often than once a month ... the only problem with me being quoted in the new york times is, do i really want to be in the most respected newspaper in the country talking about justin timberlake?
hiddeninput: I don't think you want to be in any publication talking about justin timberlake
hiddeninput: but lance bass, maybe.
hiddeninput: perhaps its time to tweak your post
hiddeninput: to present yourself in a more positive light
princesskashmir6: it's not a bad idea
princesskashmir6: but the reporter has already read it
princesskashmir6: i have to start thinking of other songs that make me think my phone is ringing
princesskashmir6: like, really cool songs
hiddeninput: yes, just what I was thinking
princesskashmir6: not a lot of indie songs feature cell phone-sounding noises, unfortunately
princesskashmir6: and i don't want to lie to the new york times
princesskashmir6: ...or do i?
hiddeninput: perhaps if you just make up a band, you can persuade her that it is so indie that no else has heard of it
princesskashmir6: ah, like Oso Peligroso
princesskashmir6: which is my new band
princesskashmir6: our album is dropping soon
hiddeninput: what do you play?
princesskashmir6: the cell phone

05-04-2006 2:02 PM - comments (1)