Powaqqatsi

The last time I started watching the Qatsi trilogy I was hunkered down in a bottomless couch in a pitch black room with an intense sound setup wishing for some edibles, but just as quickly not-wishing, the opposite of wishing, because should previous wish had been granted, my head might have exploded. Fun to have been reminded of that experience while watching Alt-J’s video for “Taro,” which repurposes shots from Powaqqatsi, the second in the series.

Alt-J (∆) – Taro from David Dean Burkhart on Vimeo.

Haven’t had enough time to absorb the album to call out favorite songs, so you might as well download the whole shebang and throw on the noise-cancellers.

An Alternative to “Southie Rules”

Ford

I get it. Long day at work, or studying, or taking care of itty bitty babes. Traffic was bad, the lingering cough is getting worse, dinner was something scraped together from the cabinets and (gah!) the freezer is devoid of treats. The couch is calling, and nothing sounds better than tuning in and quieting down your headspace.

So tune in! But maybe just for tonight, if it’s your usual habit, exchange the reality cotton-candy fluff for something a little more substantial, a little more thought-provoking. Trade the manufactured drama that has all the fizz and excitement of a half-liter of flat soda for the real, historically documented stuff that molded and shaped eras and people.

I’ve got to confess an ulterior motive – the documentary I’m pushing tonight is one that took up the better part of a year of my working life. A stellar team created it – director, writer, editor, producers and assistants of all levels. I think the music and sound design are great. The old film footage and photographs are unreal. And the parts of the story about the life of one of the most familiar names in American industrial and automotive history might surprise you. So instead of giving your hard-earned free evening time over to “Southie Rules” or a re-run of “Real Housewives,” please tune in to “Henry Ford” on PBS tonight, 9-11 p.m. EST. You can always DVR the fluff!

P.S. If you watch and have feedback, I’d love to hear it. Friendly critiques make all of us better.

roasting fire

Reader, rejoice!  Destiny’s Child will reunite and release (croon? ooze?) what is sure to be another melismatic album this month.  News good enough to rocket this site from a too-long radio silence?  Probably not.  But maybe if you remix and drop their oldies a few octaves:

 

On the docket for Winter 2013, and upcoming  posts:
Reading: In the Garden of Beasts, Toast, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Watching: The Hour, Henry Ford (he would approve this bit of shameless self-promotion),the Oscar nominees
Eating and cooking: beans, cabbage (sauerkraut or bust!), bundt cake, bread pudding with whiskey sauce (this is winter after all, even if global warming promises that January will average out at 45 degrees), salads that involve celery and parsley
Drinking: a lot less booze than ol’ Freddie and Hector; a lot more tea. This, if we can find it. And we’ve been throwing whole peeled and de-pithed lemons in the juicer with the regular mix which has really amped things up.
Going: ICA; Lake Dunmore, VT; yoga classes; Puritan & Company; and a Bruins game

It’s a thrilling life we lead. We’re sort of like the couple in the Portlandia “Motorcycle” episode, pre-motorcycles. But I like it. Happy New Year!

Cranberry Pecan Bread

A good alternative to raiding grocery store shelves for things one may not ordinarily buy in bulk but that are imperative to have on-hand during a weather semi-emergency – bottled water, bagged bread, peanut butter, hot dogs (maybe, maybe not), big clear plastic gallons of milk – is to host a baking marathon. Attendees: the baker, a TV show or movie that requires only intermittent attention to follow the plot line (say, Con Air with commercial breaks, or Burn Notice, or Best in Show — but only if you’ve seen it a few times already), and maybe someone to eat up all the finished products.  Should this storm really ratchet up, I might regret buying pastry flour, sticks of butter, and lemons instead of edible staples. Ice cream somehow found its way into the grocery bag too, so if the power goes out, please join us for a freezer par-tay. All joking aside, with lots of family and friends living up and down the coast, we’re hoping for a quick turnaround and a lesser impact than what is predicted for this storm that just so happens to share my opposite-of-destructive mother’s name.

Thanks to a few episodes of season 3 of Nikita, we’ve got a loaf of pecan and cranberry-studded bread cooling next to a pear and apple crisp that also is…cranberry-studded. Nikita herself probably doesn’t eat anything baked, or anything with fat, salt, or sugar for that matter, but she might be enticed to chow down on a slice of this bread before she heads off to ride motorcycles and karate-chop bad guys. It’s got the texture of a good banana bread with a slightly crunchy top due to a sprinkling of sugar, and the usual blah-blah-blah about how the tartness of the cranberries nicely offsets the sweetness of the bread. They really do, though. As soon as I can get my hands on more fresh cranberries, I’m making this again.

Cranberry Pecan Bread
(Very slightly adapted from Martha Stewards recipe found here)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
12 ounces fresh cranberries (if buying in the store, 1 bag is typically 12 oz.)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for topping (I used regular sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a loaf pan (I use coconut oil spray, but Martha says butter and flour, and she is Martha).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, mix together butter, egg, milk, and extracts. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined, then fold in cranberries and pecans.

Pour batter into your loaf pan; sprinkle top with turbinado sugar if desired.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 minutes. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up to cool completely.