Category Archives: 30Hz Bl-g

Ramblings at the frequency of 30Hz

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 Record Store Day 2013 Primer

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Record Store Day 2013 is upon us. Even if you aren’t participating in the vinyl resurgence, RSD offers more for music fans than just vinyl. Artists release vinyl, CD and sometimes even cassette tapes for the occasion. But you don’t even need to spend money to participate. Record Store Day isn’t about vinyl or digital; it’s about music lovers of all ages and flavors coming together to celebrate the independent music merchants. The stores I’ve visited during the last few Record Store Days become hangouts, just like they used to be. Many serve food and drink and encourage everyone to stay, chat about music and just enjoy the company of complete strangers as crazy (and often crazier) about music than you. On Saturday, April 20th (or Friday night even!), go forth, be one with  the obsessive music lovers. I bet you’ll have a good conversation or two.

For those new to RSD, I’ll share a few of my tips for enjoying the festivities.

As I mentioned, artists release RECORD STORE DAY ONLY EXCLUSIVES to catalyze the merrymaking and commerce.

A complete list of the RSD-only titles can be found here on the RSD13 website. Or download the handy .pdf for reference during your shopping.

If you’re pining over a particular RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE, find a store opening at midnight.

Many of these RSD releases are quite-to-extremely limited. Some are regional only. A rare and/or popular release will sell fast. The only way to be sure is get your butt out to a participating record store on Friday evening and know what you want. Get there before midnight because there will be a line. Also, most people working a Record Store Day midnight event will be happy to point you in the direction of a particular disc. If you’re familiar with record store filing methods, a clerk’s assistance might prove invaluable.

Even if you don’t care about the exclusives (or your store doesn’t participate in selling exclusives), many stores have specials, sales and still participate in the festivities.

Stores that only carry used vinyl often offer sales or grab bag crates of random vinyl. I can almost guarantee that your favorite local record store will participate in some fashion. When in doubt, give ’em a call. Or just use the day as a good reason to show up and browse the racks.

Here’s a preview video to get you excited.

Record Store Day 2013 Preview 2 from Record Store Day on Vimeo.

In case you were wondering, here’s my list of titles I’m interested in. And yes, I’ll be out Friday night to share the midnight madness.

This is just a quick sampling of the titles I’ll be looking for. I won’t get them all. I’ll get some that aren’t listed here… (because this list doesn’t even include regional stuff)… but this is my gameplan that will surely change when faced with the piles and piles of vinyl. I believe they call this freeballin’. And if they don’t, that’s a shame.

At The Drive-In Relationship of Command RSD Exclusive Re-issue
The Avett Brothers and Randy Travis Music From CMT Crossroads
Brendan Benson Diamond
Cheech & Chong featuring Alice Bowie Earache My Eye & Turn That Thing Down (Green 45 RPM Vinyl/Picture Sleeve
The Cure Kiss me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Calexico Spiritoso
Cut Copy Bright Like Neon Love
The Dave Brubeck Trio Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals (Fantasy 3-2)
Hanni El Khatib Skinny Little Girl / Pay No Mind
Herman Dune Monument Park
Fitz & The Tantrums Out Of My League
Foals Holy Fire
Grouplove/Frightened Rabbit/Manchester Orchestra Architech/Make It To Me
Imagine Dragons Live at Independent Records
The Joy Formidable A Minute’s Silence
Tift Merritt Markings
Mumford & Sons Live at Bull Moose
Portugal. The Man Church Mouth
Garbage Because The Night 10 inch
Frightened Rabbit Midnight Organ Fight Special RSD Edition Reissue
Miles Davis Round About Midnight

The Roots Things Fall Apart 12 inch LP (2)

Have fun! And if you go out, tweet me (@30hertzrumble) your hauls and/or experience.

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.

The Next Big Thing(s)

The Next Big Thing is a meme, like “Rick-Rolling” or “McKayla is not impressed.” As Malcolm Gladwell wrote, “A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus—that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects.” The Next Big Thing is a circle of writers answering variations on the same questions about their next writing project. Mary Harwood tagged me in her blog, Deer Apples, which is also the title of her novel in progress. In my entry, I answer questions about two of my many ongoing projects (including a novel and a 007 essay series/Twitter film festival). All of my James Bond essays will appear here on my bl-g and on Sundog Lit Mag. Feel free to share with anyone you know! Virus and all.

 

PROJECT 1: MALE SECRETARY

What is your working title of your book?
The novel in progress is called Male Secretary. Normally I like to be cagey with my titles but this one hits right at the core of the thing.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I couldn’t get a job when I first moved to Boston. I’d been a gainfully employed copyeditor before the move. Going from full employment at a well paying job to nothing was a blow to my ego. I ended up working for a temp agency that placed me at the MIT Sloan School of Management. I was told that I was chosen because prior temps “had not lasted.” I knew that didn’t sound good, but it paid well (for a temp position) and I’d already had my share of terrible bosses. What could be so bad? I was called a “Professor’s Assistant,” but I was a secretary. And I was the only male secretary in the building and probably only one of five or six in the entire Sloan School. After only a few weeks I realized exactly why other temps and secretaries had not lasted. The job was to cater to the whims of four very different but brilliant (and often temperamental) professors. One of these professors made it his hobby to test his secretary by being intentionally, well, let’s say “candid.” I was picked for the job because my staffing contact at MIT thought my personality was strong enough to handle the cast of characters that had turned the position into a revolving door. As I told my stories about this job to friends and family, they all, unanimously, told me to write down these stories of eccentric academia. Which I did.

What genre does your book fall under?
I suppose this goes under Creative Non-fiction / memoir. My first draft fell pretty solidly on the memoir side of the fence, but I think, in order to get at some of the greater truths about gender in academia, I’m going to need to take some more creative liberties. The best part of it is that the most absurd elements of the story are 100% true.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is too much fun. First you’re asking me who I want to play myself. And then who I want to play five insane MIT professors.
First the MIT professors, who I name by initial only.

S. is Australian, gregarious but highly intellectual. I want to say Guy Pearce, but worry the studio will overrule me and pick Hugh Jackman.

A. is tough. He’s the “difficult” professor. He’s also too smart to function and has no time for chit-chat, emailing or, really, explaining anything. Joaquin Phoenix.

Assistant Professor F.’s office hours are booked by nubile young post-grads. They laugh at his awkward jokes and pretend to understand all of the statistics spouts ad infinitum. I like Ryan Reynolds here, because we need someone to nail the attractive guy angle. But he’s got to be oblivious.

Dept. Head W. doesn’t really teach anymore, he merely writes books in his office and takes walks around the office to monitor progress. Easy. Alan Arkin.

Responding to the university-wide call to hire more female professors, the department hires B., played by Rachel Weisz. She is a British flibberdigibit with a ton of nervous energy and not enough time in the day.

And now, me. At the time I was 26. Can I use John Krasinski from eight years ago? We are roughly same age. If not him, then we’d have to choose to play up the comedic insecurity angle (Michael Cera) or the out of place, over-educated writer part… perhaps Anton Yelchin, as long as he can pull off disheveled.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An over-educated twenty-something who can’t yet manage his own life and laments his current stagnation is forced to manage the academic lives of five brilliant lunatics and come to terms with his current identity: a male secretary.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? (if this applies – otherwise, make up another question to answer!)
This is the novel I hope finds representation. I’ve started but not finished other novels that never really offered much hope for broader appeal.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first draft in a month (approximately 80,000 words) but much was already composed in notes and ideas jotted down while I was working at MIT. So that’s a little misleading. I’ve just recently come back to this after three years on the shelf. The ideas are on the page. That’s the important part. Editing is fun, right?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Uh. It’s hard to admit, but I don’t particularly like reading books of this nature. I’m not naturally drawn to them. If we’re talking about borrowing tone and pace, I’ve looked to fiction, especially books set in university. Most recently, Harbach’s The Art of Fielding inspired me in its treatment of university life. I liked the way it handled the balance of characters living under the academic umbrella.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Everyone who told me I wasn’t crazy… that the escapades of these professors really were insane – it’s just that at MIT, they’re just a few intellectual nuts in a sea of eccentrics. The advantage I had, however, was that as all this was going on, I struggled on my own with my notions of “self” and identity. I had no idea who I was anymore. Two years before these stories, I was on my way to film school before deciding it just wasn’t for me. I was lost inside myself when I first started working there. When I left, I was still lost, but much less so.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the feeling of being lost within yourself is a pretty universal emotion. We’ve all reached a point in our lives, some sooner rather than later, when we realize that nothing is going to plan, when we question what we’re doing and how we got here. I wanted to focus in on that while telling these stories from the inside of a segment of elite academia that most of us never get to witness.

PROJECT 2: Of [In]human Bond[age]

What is your working title of your essay series?
The 007 essay series is called Of [In]human Bond[age].

Where did the idea come for the essay series?
In the days before Skyfall was released I was talking James Bond on Twitter with a few Tweeples. One of them runs an online literary magazine. He suggested, perhaps facetiously, that I write a series of essays on the James Bond movies, one for each of the 23 films. After returning from Skyfall I asked him if he was serious, and if so, could I over-intellectualize to my heart’s content. He said yes. So I said I’d do it.

What genre does your book fall under?
Irreverent analysis of minutiae. Is that a genre?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
N/A

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I do hope to turn these 23 essays into a collection when all is said and done. I want it to be “Bondage from all different angles.” Is that too risqué?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? (if this applies – otherwise, make up another question to answer!)
While I love the idea of publishing a book about James Bond nonsense, I doubt this will catch on. So much has been written about 007, it would be nearly impossible to catch someone’s eye. I might self publish if I like the way it turns out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I write one essay per week for 23 weeks. (We’re on week 6 now.) After that I’ll revise and add to the essays when necessary. While some of these essays are casual and rely on irreverence, I just wrote one on subtext and sexual politics in Goldfinger that would benefit from a more thorough conversation.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films is what I’m aiming for on the intellectual side. But I go lowbrow far too often with these essays to be taken all that seriously.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted a new challenge. Every Wednesday I host a live tweetalong. By next Wednesday I need a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay on the last movie. The people that have latched on to the series hold me accountable. I like that. I like that some of the same people tune in every week because they just love talking James Bond.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
First of all, the tweetalongs are just fun. Many people haven’t seen these movies before. They’re experiencing them for the first time. As someone who’d seen all of these movies as a kid, I love seeing what people pick up on, what they latch onto. The Connery Bond films especially have come to us from a different time and place, a time and place that was free of our modern cynicism. I don’t think these essays are necessarily just for James Bond fans. I think they’re about our ever-shifting sense of decorum and intense seriousness. We’re not headed in a good direction, and I want to show that through the ways in which the Bond movies have course-corrected through the years to entertain modern audiences and remain relevant.

—-

Phew. That was a lot of thinking about two things at once. I hope I kept my thoughts straight. I also hope some more people join us for the Bond tweetalongs (every Wednesday at 9PM! Follow my Bond twitter annex at @007hertzrumble. I also expect you to all purchase a copy of Male Secretary. By reading this, you are now obligated. If it never gets published, buy me a drink to drown my sorrows.

Here are some of my writer friends (all TBD), who are all working on this and that and some of the other. I’m sure whatever it is, it’s brilliant.

Oh, and remember…

…McKayla is not impressed.

 

The #TeamAntiOxford Mission Statement

I posted this in response to one of the regular Oxford comma circle jerks that appeared on my Facebook wall. I find it’s the best thing I’ve ever said on the topic of the Oxford comma. Thus, I am sharing it with you.

“Pro-Oxfords seem to think that every comma sequence is unintelligible without the serial comma. Which isn’t true. You pick out absurd examples that clearly require an Oxford for clarity and use that to champion why every sentence in the history of the world -EVAR- requires an Oxford comma for clarity. Frankly, it’s like watching Fox News up in here. For most serial comma sentences, an Oxford just isn’t necessary for you to understand what that sentence intends to say. If it’s because you can’t handle disorder, fess up and own your OCD. I’d understand that at least. The aesthete in me will always be #TeamAntiOxford. A sentence that does not require the Oxford for clarify just looks better. It smells better. And yes, it even feels better in braille. A comma, by its nature, breaks the flow of writing. It is a pause. Without that Oxford, a sentence transitions better to the next. Your prose becomes less red light, more greens and yellow. Coast through that stale yellow, fine reader, because you have no Oxford comma standing in the way of this otherwise fine and eloquent sentence.”

In  closing, I took this from a blog called The Language Hippie.