Thirty Hertz Rumble

A bl-g about movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick

Category: Life @ 30Hz (Page 2 of 5)

The “Green Smoothie” – a 30Hz Recipe

That’s right. I said recipe.

I was in the middle of writing my OCTOPUSSY essay for #Bond_age_ and needed a break. And I figured what better way to break from writing about Bond than to clutter this page with more nonsense. Off the top of my head I had nothing music-related to share so I figured I might branch out a bit into the realm of food. Food blogging is all the rage. And then I figured everyone food blogs, but does anyone food bl-g? I thought not.

As parents my wife and I have struggled with how to get green vegetables into our daughters without tying them down and force feeding them with a tube. If you’re thinking foie gras, you’re on the same page. Our oldest ate vegetables of all kinds for good awhile, unforced and unprovoked, and then one morning realized that in the world of 4yo cuisine she was totally off-base. More than likely when she went to pre-school someone told her about these things called Happy Meals and now she’s on strike. And since the 1yo just imitates the 4yo, she was going to join the picket line sooner or later.

We’re in our third summer of receiving weekly boxes from our local CSA (community supported agriculture). In these boxes we always receive many many many leafy green vegetables. Our response to the tidal wave of greens is to sautee them in olive oil and garlic. This only works for so long. And Kale, in particular, had always been a curiosity. We knew people loved Kale and we were supposed to eat kale. But damn if we weren’t yet on board the Kale parade. One night my wife decided to look up “green smoothie” recipes. We call these smoothies “green” because calling them “kale smoothies” tips off the little people. If they’re just “green,” they’re a color. Not a vegetable. My wife spent a week just throwing green things in a blender with only a rudimentary memory of the recipes she’d read. This came to a head one morning when I came downstairs for breakfast and she handed me a green smoothie. I tasted it and felt like I’d gotten kicked in the testicles. “Dandelion greens,” she said. After that, I took the matter into my own hands. And by that I mean I spent way too much time searching for and assembling a tasting menu of smoothies containing green things. Not vegetables. Again, we have to refrain from tipping off the little people.

The result of my recipe search and my own tinkering is the following culinary delight. Proof: the 4yo even once asked for a refill. And the 1yo will really just drink anything in liquid form, so she’s not exactly a good gauge.

THE “GREEN SMOOTHIE”

green kale smoothie

Put the following in the blender (liquids at the bottom):

1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 banana
6oz (1 container) Trader Joe’s Vanilla Cultured Coconut Milk (or 6-10oz of vanilla Greek yogurt)
1 1/2-2 cups frozen pineapple (fresh is also good, but I find the smoothies taste better when colder, hence the frozen pineapple)
roughly 2 cups chopped, stemmed Kale (I say chopped but I just tear the leaves off the stems, then tear again by hand)

Turn the blender on low for awhile and then high for a longer while. You want the kale to be sufficiently pulverized. There’s something off-putting about large bits of kale stuck in your teeth during breakfast. Also when we first started these smoothies, we were told to use the leafy kale rather than the curly. But we found that the curly blended better than the leafy. But you know, whatever floats your boat. Likewise with the yogurt. The cultured coconut milk adds some extra sweetness but the Greek yogurt obviously provides more of nutritional balance, because, well, the cultured coconut milk isn’t really yogurt. I don’t recommend the plain yogurt in smoothies for little people as they seem to require that small hint of sweetness that comes in the vanilla.

Enjoy.

A Short History of Brave New Bonds

We recently renegotiated our relationship with our living room furniture. Mostly we just moved a bookcase, but it looks like a drastic change. The bookcase was essentially a room divider and swapping it from one side of the room to the other flipped everything on its head. This move also had the effect of making more of my books visible. Two books in particular now stand out in the room that had previously been obscured by the other bookcase.

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

and

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

I can’t exactly put my finger on why these two books are linked, other than their newfound visibility in the room, but it seems like there’s something portentous there. There has to be right?

One is about a brave, new “World” and one seeks to explain nearly everything in this old, damn world. One has the word “world” in the title and the other has a big ass picture of the world. We’re told that there are no such things as simple coincidence and so I must infer meaning in the supposed coincidence. I’m more than willing to conjecture wildly, as I think I’ve established in prior posts on this damned bl-g. So, let’s do that.

I’ve reached a point in my adulthood that the things to which I clung to as a young man are fading. I’m not even speaking here of nostalgia. Nostalgia is a chronic virus that can never truly be escaped. Every time we long for a measure of our youth, of the way things used to be, that’s nostalgia chipping away at your heart with a tiny, but painful, rock hammer. I’m thinking again about identity. (Yes, again.) I’m thinking about the way we face the world, the ways in which we divide our personalities to conquer the days and weeks and months that slip the cracks in our trembling hands.

I’ve got James Bond on the mind lately, if you hadn’t noticed (#Bond_age_ project going in full swing now) and so the imagery from the title-sequence from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service sticks in my head as I discuss the passing of “time.”

Of course, if you’ve seen OHMSS lately you’ll recall the final line from the film, uttered by James Bond (George Lazenby) as he watches he newly wedded wife die in his arms, murdered by Blofeld’s assassins. “There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.”

If you haven’t seen this film, it’s a profoundly moving scene in the context of a Bond film. James Bond. He who supposedly has no personal feelings but love for queen and country, mourns. Lazenby is not an actor per say (he’d only done one chocolate commercial prior to this fleeing gig as Bond) but the way he plays this role — happy accident or not — speaks to how we mourn the inevitable passage of our own time and our own worlds. With distance. Bond is out of body here, removed from the horror he’s experiencing. The repetition of the time motif in OHMSS sets this James Bond movie apart from all the rest and thus, perhaps, makes this moment that much more powerful.

Does it speak to me because there’s a timelessness to James Bond? A timelessness that this scene interrupts? 50 years after Dr. No, James Bond is still jumping motorcycles onto trains. At the same time isn’t that why many of us are fans of 007? Interminable youth? Yet, here we are in OHMSS taking that notion and just stomping all over it. In terms of Bond, OHMSS should have represented a “brave, new world.” The first new Bond. A new, more personal direction in the series. But audiences did not warm to new Bond. They didn’t take to the more somber, personal tone of the film.

Isn’t that natural? To avoid our reality? I’m getting a little glum here. And I apologize. But I’m spewing notes and ideas culled from the intersection of James Bond, Bill Bryson and Aldous Huxley. Something weird was bound to happen. The producers of the Bond series of films immediately abandoned the James Bond burdened by feelings and retreated to pure escapism. They brought back Sean Connery (at GREAT expense) and ventured forward, undaunted by the brave, frightening new world of the 1970’s. Audiences agreed. They flocked back to Bond, making Diamonds Are Forever (a certifiable stinker of a motion picture) a great success compared to the lackluster return from the much better OHMSS.

So, with all that said, I’m looking at these things in front of me and I’m noticing a change in myself. For the first time in many years. I’ve always feared the moment that I took stock of my life and said, “Well, that’s what it is.” But just recently I looked around and said that very same thing. House. Wife. Two kids. But I wasn’t afraid of recognizing limbo. I wasn’t afraid, not right now anyway. Because I’m looking at everything and I’m thinking “I have all the time in the world” with equal measure James Bond-inspired melancholy and hope.

Are you ready for the deus ex machina wrap up of this mindless ramble? Here goes.

I’m looking forward, but not with pervasive fear. And now that I’ve come to terms with where I am in this world. I indeed see the potential of the time I have, the “brave, new world” at my fingertips. Nothing will ever be the same, but, at the time time, my short history of nearly everything suggests that I don’t necessarily want it to be. I’ve struggled with mental health and doubt and misplaced anxiety. I want not to do that again. I want to embrace time. Because as James Bond has taught us, the time we have left is all the time in our world. I might slip back into depression, succumb to my fears and anxieties tomorrow. I never really know. But I never did. I just know that I’d always prefer to watch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service rather than Diamonds Are Forever. And that, clearly, means something.

Our Amorphous Identities

I’ve been thinking about identities lately. The way we see ourselves. The way others see us.

It all used to be so much easier. Back in high school, we were assigned particular descriptors that we, in turn, also stuffed into our sack like snow globes from Jackson Hole and called them our own. But they were no more, or no less unique than any other snow globe from Jackson Hole. We liked these identities because they were as much prescribed as they were chosen by our own known strengths and fears.

For example:

On my very first day of middle school I was the “kid from Kalamazoo that lived in a motel.” That’s all anyone knew about me. I also happened to be the tallest kid in class. Which made me stand out, if just a bit.

On my very first day of high school I was “the baseball kid from Detroit.” That’s all anyone knew about me. I played baseball and I hailed from Detroit. How they knew this about me without ever having spoke to me I’ll never know.

These initial impressions may or may not endure. Until the day I left middle school and moved to Pittsburgh, most people remembered that I’d lived in a motel. My house was closing, whatever. But the thing stuck. In addition to being the dorky jock that got along with most everyone.

High school was more cruel. People became more cruel. And I became more cruel to myself as a result. I hung out with the “stoners,” but I wasn’t a stoner. I wasn’t a jock because although I was good at sports, my best sport wasn’t until the spring. Plus the jocks were punks and slackers and I didn’t want to hang out with them. The preps and cool kids didn’t accept new applications. Therefore I settled into a wonderful little circle of friends connecting the geeks and the stoners. Life is just one big Venn Diagram. Labels are wonderful, aren’t they? The way we can corral everyone in our lives into neat packages.

Point is, I went from being a dorky, amiable jock to being a guy that didn’t fit. As a result I was an angry, out of sorts, depressed teenager.

So I switched schools. I went back to a private school with fewer kids and genres of people became microgenres. I was the baseball and movie guy. I wrote movie reviews for the paper and a friend and I started an early movies reviews website on that spanking new internet. We even had a feature in a Sunday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Movie guys. I watched a lot of movies. And I know a crapton too. Mandel and Patrick’s Movie Corner. We were featured on MTV’s Adam Curry’s entertainment page. True story. People used to consider my knowledge about movies extensive. Some might have called me an expert (though, it’s all relative to other 16-19 year olds).

The point of the rumble is this. Who are we now? Out in the real world? Do we even get to choose anymore? We could be twenty different things to twenty different people.

To one group I’m the dad that takes his daughter to school. And some of those people that know more about me might probably consider me the barely employed dad that takes his daughter to school because the wife has the big job. Oy. Others consider me a graphic designer because I do pro-bono stuff for a local non-profit. I’m sure some people consider me a writer. Others consider me a writer about music because of this site and my Twitter feed. If I’m lucky, my friends just see me as Jay.

But how do I see myself anymore? Father? Writer? Slacker? Coffee addict? Procrastinator? Compulsive smartphone checker? How far down the rabbit hole do we go before we just don’t like what we see anymore? I’d like to be “the prolific writer with two kids and a wife.” I think that might be nice. And I do write a lot. But I’m everywhere and nowhere at once. I’m churning out music reviews, Bond essays, fiction and creative non-fiction here and there. I’m copyediting and copywriting.

At heart, I know who I am, but do I have the courage to be that person in the real world? Or will it forever be a character that I’m more comfortable writing about, expressing on the page than I am living it. But then again, I suppose that’s a plight many writers must face. The notion that writing about regrets is easier than initiating real change. That writing more and more without ever really writing towards a goal is just another way to avoid the hard stuff. The stuff that, in your mind, really matters. If you’re even lucky to know what that is.

Then again, maybe I’ll just go back to being a movie guy. It was all just so much easier then. Let’s all do it for a week. Let’s go back to being that “guy” or “girl” we were in high school. As an experiment. I’m going to do nothing but watch movies and hit in the batting cage. This time we’ll do it without the teenage neurosis.

Will we find relief, knowing that we fit again?

 

 

Hell hath lukewarmed

I’m not prepared to say that Hell has frozen over, but there’s definitely been some cooling, some arctic caps have melted and it’s no longer the fire and brimstone it once was. It’s more equatorial.

By the way, shout out to the good people of Hell, Michigan, who probably have to put up with a lot of “Hell has frozen over” jokes every winter. That’s got to wear on a person.

Hell, Michigan

But to the point of the rumble. Those few stalkers that keep up with my tweets know that I purchased a Macbook Pro recently to replace my four-year-old Dell laptop. Some backstory. Ten years ago, I was a huge Dell supporter. I wouldn’t have dreamed of ordering a computer anywhere else. I rolled my eyes at Mac people who told me that I needed to spend twice as much on a computer with roughly the same innards. For what I needed, writing, editing, web browsing, I didn’t need the half-step forward. I paid $600 for my laptops. And that was how it was going to be.

Fast forward ten years. My wife has a bricked Dell laptop with a screen hardware problem that I can’t bring myself to fix. My former Dell has required three wipes in four years and it shut down permanently when I bumped the front left wrist pad with my elbow (this happened before, but after a couple of weeks, it miraculously started again). I’ve had two faulty HPs (one desktop, one laptop) and another Dell desktop at work, functions more consistently, as a boat anchor. The fucking facts of the matter are thus. I am perfectly capable of repairing and fixing software flaws. But it takes time. And every single one of these machines failed before the natural life span (permanently or temporarily) because of hardware. It’s aggravating. I used words to describe these machines that I never knew existed. The ones I had in my lexicon weren’t harsh enough.

With two kids, I hardly have any time to myself. The last thing I want to do is spend it returning my computer situation to the status quo. A computer’s only job is to work when I need it to work. Am I asking too much here?

So after months of deliberation, literally months — two weeks without a laptop at all — I bought a Macbook. Something I swore I’d never do for a number of reasons. The foremost of which was my assertion that you can get a better computer for less money. I still believe this. HOWEVER, I must add a caveat. You can get a better computer (speaking in terms of power under the hood) for less money, but the PC you’d be getting has probably pretended to be a Macbook anyway. Everyone wants to make the Mac and sell a brand like Apple. They are, after all the master of marketing. I didn’t buy all of these PCs because I secretly wanted a Mac. I wanted PCs.

Or did I?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5skuYPa_fY[/tube]

An open letter to PC manufacturers: Stop making multi-touch pads that don’t work. Stop off-centering the touchpad so that you can fit more crap on the keyboard. If I’m typing and my palm is resting on your touchpad and making it bounce all over the screen that’s a design flaw. Make the keys responsive but not stiff or, conversely, without any response whatsoever. Bottom line: just make your computer pleasant to use: a very nice keyboard and touchpad is an excellent start. And a start that would have allowed me to remain a PC user.

So here I am, with my overpriced laptop (almost three times more than I’d ever paid for a laptop)… writing a bl-g post at a coffee shop. I’m such a fucking caricature it makes me sick. But just a little… and a little less each day. I set up my Macbook to run Windows through BootCamp for some necessary Windows programs. I thought I’d still live in Windows land. I’d planned to put a Windows ’95 sticker on the back of this thing as a last act of defiance. But I started to look at myself more closely. I have two iPods, an iPad and a Macbook. It would be pretty hard to stage a resistance against the institution when you’re bathing in their propaganda. It’s just hypocritical.

So you know what?

Fuck it.

I’m a goddamn Apple guy now, indoctrinated into the empire. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid with cookies, I’ve got my earmuffs on and I right click with two m’f’ing fingers.

The Slide Into Meh

I doubt that you’ve read this bl-g from the beginning. So to recap. I began writing about music and life and everything else because my therapist recommended that I journal. I started journaling but just didn’t keep up. The bl-g went up because by posting these entries, there were good people out there to hold me accountable. Well, you might be good people (wholly debatable) but you haven’t held me accountable. So it goes. The bl-g morphed into something more about music than therapy as I grew “healthier.”

Pi, the man with the drill

The problem with mental health is that it’s not entirely unlike physical health. Mental health waxes and wanes with much less predictability. My daughter comes home with hellfire disease from preschool, physical illness is just around the corner. Guaranteed. Mental illness is tricky and always in flux. Some days are better than others, some weeks are better than others. Only now I’m more aware of these little slides up to the edge of a “funk.” We’ll call it “funk” in lieu of “depression” because I have been clinically depressed and I no longer throw that word around lightly.

Lately I find myself looking over into that pit. And I’m becoming tired, tired of preventing myself from falling in.

It was two years ago when I first slipped into depression proper. I remember coming home after watching Black Swan, a shell of myself. Movies seemed to have affected me more deeply in recent months. Inception had caused a panic attack. Black Swan forced me to recognize that what I was feeling was not normal. I’m not prepared to draw connections between the content of this movie and my own revelation, but I’m sure there’s plenty of material. Sappy movies induced real emotional pain. I experienced similar results from dark, depressing lyrics. Instead of observing from the outside looking in, I was on the inside looking out. In the thick of it.

These feelings are flowing again. But I’m able to confront them because I’m aware of the possibility of what lies below. For me, it was six months of pervasive emptiness. It’s extraordinarily hard to put into words. I no longer found joy in the things that I loved. I could get out of bed and I could take care of my daughter, go through the motions. I didn’t care to watch movies and music had lost its joy. These activities just seemed so frivolous. After getting my daughter to bed I just wanted to go back to sleep. I had no energy to write or enjoy my wife’s company. Or anyone’s company, really.

This rumble has no point. I have no great revelation to impart. I’m merely journaling because it’s what I need to do. And I’m not doing enough of it. I’m turning to consuming myself in writing and work and movies and music and video games and Twitter because I see these activities as guardians of the fortress, but they’re terrible guardians. They’re probably drunk and take just about any bribe you offer them. I’m taking a weekend with a friend at the end of this month to get away for a bit. A nice Sears mail order home (heck yes) on the Chesapeake. I’m taking my typewriter and my computer and a lot of beverages. Lots and lots of beverage. I see two possible outcomes. I’m looking forward to both.

THIS:

The Shining, Jack Nicholson happy

OR THIS:

The Shining, Jack Nicholson CRAZY

BUT EITHER ONE IS BETTER THAN THIS:

Jack Nicholson, The Shining

 

 

Page 2 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Pin It on Pinterest