Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brown noise and green soup ...

From the Great Idea Files: We were shopping Sleep Machines. Those little smoke alarm-looking devices that can make white noise, brown noise, rainforest sounds and thunder storm crashes. We take our sleep very seriously here, even more so now that we actually have a bed. So we shopped and read and compared and played MP3 samples trying to find the right one. Then:

1. Chuck took stereo we have been ignoring since introducing a better speaker system that connects to the TV, record player and to our computers, and put it in the bedroom.
2. He downloaded a white noise, etc. app to an old unused iPhone.
3. He connected the iPhone to the stereo and Viola! Homemade brown noise sleep machine. It sounds enough like a fan or space heater that I actually expect to feel a change of temperature when I walk into the bedroom.

Totally free. Best sleeps ever.

In other news: Here is what I've been making, watching and reading.

FOODS

Cheesy Corny Chowder: Once again, the power of nutritional yeast. Learn it, live it, love it. This was really, really good and tastes like it should be terrible for you.


Butter Bean Stew: This was quick, easy and fine. We used canned butter beans because no one around here plans far enough in advance to not used canned beans. (This is shaping up to be a New Year's Resolution). Anyway, this is pictured with tofu that is crusted in wasabi pea dust.


Vegetable Split Pea Feel Better Soup: Whoa. I'm not sure what I've had against split pea soup in the past, but if this is what it tastes like I would like a do-over for the past 36 years. Ho. Lee. In deciding to make this I completely ignored the part that said "split pea" and zeroed in on the "Feel Better" part because I feel like someone packed cinder blocks into my sinuses.

I'm not sure how this tastes the way it tastes. All I can think is that it has to do with the one ingredient with which I wasn't familiar: Summer Savory. Regardless, step away from your computer and make this now.

Also: I liked the part where I went up to the cashier to buy the ingredients and he said "$4.65."

MOVIES
Sophie's Choice: There are no words. Meryl Streep. Amazing. "Sophie's Choice" is up for both best book and best movie of the 2011 consumption period.

Page Eight: I made a fun rule that we were going to start watching "Masterpiece Contemporary" on Sunday nights after watching this super-exciting political thriller starring that one British actor-you know the one. Then we tried it a second weekend. Alan Richman meets up with an old flame for lunch all while running a super unlikable inner monologue because he works in the publishing biz and so he is writerly and thinks in these complete descriptive sentences with really embarrassing cliches. I think we hit the 30 minute point and ditched out on that new hobby.

BOOKS
Blue Nightsby Joan Didion: How to spend six hours worrying about Joan Didion's emergency contact. I like this, but I love Joan Didion when she's being awesome Joan Didion.

NOW READING
I'm reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami which I had kind of promised myself I wouldn't read because it is 900-plus pages long. But as soon as I touched the book at Barnes & Noble I got full body goose bumps and couldn't set it down. So now I'm reading it in a very slow, very deliberate way. Not much more than a chapter a night and right before bed so that I'll have the same kind of wicked dreams I had when I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel. It is so gah-damn good so far.

In the meantime I'm also reading The New Yorker Stories a collection of short stories by Ann Beattie which feels exactly like staring at the cover of the Barbra Streisand Kris Kristofferson album "A Star is Born." In a good way. I think that Ann Beattie is my spirit animal writer.



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