Friday, December 7, 2007


I like cooking to the point that I cook in my head almost as often as anything else. I think the average person, when creating fantasy scenarios in a daydream, is either dying/fighting, having sex, or arguing. I do all those things and I cook as well. I think about what I want to eat, how I want to make it, and who I can convince to help me out. People like Ray are a complete fucking let down because they very rarely have "time" to eat, or claim to not be hungry (which makes no sense and is an outright lie).

So, as posted before, I do not cook as often as I would like. It's truly a bitch to research a recipe, buy the ingredients, do the prep and cook work, and then clean up. Especially when your roommate is prone to bouts of ignoring the dishes completely.

The last time I tried to do something big was a mediocre success. I invited a few people over for dinner, and the game plan was duck with a port wine reduction. No one in Cortland had fresh duck, and the frozen was about twice as expensive as I expected (from experiences back home in civilization). So I went with game hen, which was also frozen. However, as they are very small, I expected them to thaw quickly. No such luck.

The reduction took longer than expected. We didn't have a potato masher. The game hens refused to cook thoroughly. By the time the main entree was finished, we were already stuffed with potatoes (mashed by hand with a whisk), beans, and stuffing. So while we waited, we downed a few bottles of wine and played a few games. By the time the chickens were finished we were half drunk and full. Not good timing on my part.


I just thought about it, and I should probably expand on what I think about school.

Now, I'm not sure what sort of degree my cousin Kevin has (it might be a 2 year, it might have somethign to do with his time in the military) but I believe I am the first male Kelly to have graduated from College (assuming I do not fail my French final or Writing in Cyberspace, which I do not see happening). This doesn't really make me feel important or special, considering the degree of success members of my family have experienced without formal education. For instance my father is the manager of Radiation Control and Protection, Health and Safety, and Enivronmentals for General Dynamics Electric Boat. I think he wanted to get a degree in anthropology.

Does this mean I don't value education? No, but I do abhor schools. I can count on one hand (maybe one and a half) the number of teachers I've found truly valuable- and considering one or two teachers a year for K-6, and 5 or 6 teachers a year for 7-12, and numerous teachers per semester for four and a half years of college...Well, the track record for teachers is pretty bad. Maybe I'm a tough audience. Or maybe they're not as heroic as they're always claiming.

Now this doesn't mean that all the other teachers were incompetent. I just feel that as individuals they offered very little that could not be had elsewhere. I remember in eleventh grade I skipped school for a day to read a Stephen Hawking book (Brief History of the Universe). What I want out of a teacher is an experience and a lesson that I can't be getting somewhere else, or even by myself.

I will miss Cortland, but for very specific reasons. Raquette Lake, meetings with my writing teachers to workshop pieces, workshops in general, putting together the magazine. All good things. I won't miss attendance policies, bullshit busy work, bureaucrats, poorly ventilated buildings, or really anything else.


Today is Friday, as I'm sure you've noticed. What is special about this particular Friday is that it was my last day of classes ever.


Unless I go to Graduate school, I am now offically done with being in school. I can finish my wiki entries, my reader responses, study for my French final, and consider myself a fully educated human. Not fully learned, but fully educated (quite a difference).

And I can honestly say: Fuck school.

In good news, UPD randomly called me and told that they "still" had my flash drive. I was unaware that they had it in the first place, but what a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Theme III, Cooking

I'm not sure why I didn't think fo this before. I love to cook, I do it quite often, and I'm good at it. I'm not sure how many cooking blogs are out there: I assume many. Since I am not a professional chef, it would probably be more of a journal of learning experiences.

I haven't cooked as much as I would like to this semester. My roommate is rarely around for meals, and we don't go shopping together. Part of the reason I enjoy making food is to share it; since he isn't here, that sort of destroys my motivation. It's a lot of work to cook decent meals for one person, and almost cheaper to grab something for take out. In college, forget getting a large group of people over for dinner.

Part of the reason is, simply put, most people assume you're full of shit. No one believes you can cook. They're shocked when you do. The second is, perhaps this is just me, most of my friends are flakes. They would more than likely back out at the last minute, and there I am with 50 dollars worth of food and no one to feed.

Here's something simple:

Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet.

Place a steak (preferably rib eye) in pan and sear on both sides until cooked to your liking. Remove steak, cover in foil, and set aside. Keeping the pan hot, but discarding the oil, add one cup of good red wine. I use a chriaz for this.

Boil the wine and reduce by half. Add any juices accumulated in the foil packet from the cooked steak, one half cup of beef stock, and two dashes of soy sauce. Once again, reduce by half.

Remove from heat. Slowly add three tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Pour sauce over steak and enjoy. A lot of people who assume they knwo everything about steak are hesitant to pan fry a steak. However, when combined with a good simple pan sauce, you really don't lose anything. In fact, with a hot, heavy skillet, you can get a really perfect crust and sear on the meat this way. Don't worry.

God on the Radio

I'm the sort of person who might believe in God, depending on what time of day you get me. I rarely blame him for my problems. Oddly though, I've noticed I usually give him a nod and a thanks for my good fortunes.

The other day I was sitting on my porch smoking a cigar. A beautiful girl that lives in the apartment above me walked down the steps by me and across the street. Her boyfriend lives there. She went inside, and I kept puffing on my Rocky Patel (I think that's what I was having). I couldn't help but notice that her boyfriend's blinds were open, as suddenly she appeared there in the window. Almost immediately she slid her pants down, bent over with her ass facing someone out of view, and started spanking herself. Her panties were bright blue boyshorts. I tilted my head to grey sky above Cortland and gave Him one firm nod of thanks.

Lots of these things seem to happen to me. I'll go to a bar which is in fact a shitty dance club, hating myself for paying the cover charge, only to find that I have been compensated. The bartender forgot the price of Guinness. She only charges me three dollars a pint. And I give Him credit, though I know in a cold scientific way that the ditz with the big tits behind the bar is probably stupid all the time, not just with me. (I'm sure she has a beautiful soul).

However, this playful relationship He seems to have taken with me takes, at times, a rather sinister tone. Recently my iPod stopped working. I know, they're supposed to be invincible. My Nano (dubbed El Naño) simply refuses to turn on. I have tried using the restart command by pressing two buttons simultaneously, I have plugged it into three different chargers, I have turned myself into a backlit silhouette dancing wildly out of rhythm, and none of it has worked.

You think God broke your iPod?

No. Not really. But because the fucking thing broke, I've had to listen to the radio when driving. In upstate New York this is practically a death sentence. Every Nickelback song is just as awful and clumsy as the last. The Fray squeels and rasps over their shitty pianos, mumbling noodlehead lyrics about noodlehead problems. Fergie thinks she can sing a ballad. This is music for people who do not like music, the way Titanic was a movie for people who do not like movies. Wildly successful, rarely worthwhile.

I drive three hours each way when I want to go home from school. The reach of these shitty radio stations seems to be about, I don't know, thirty five feet or so, because every five minutes I find myself scrambling to find a new station. I'll almost catch the tail end of a song I find tolerable when static prevails and I am forced to jam my finger into the scan button.

On the way home for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago I once again felt the presence of God having a laugh. Static filled my car as I yet again began my search for something to listen to, anything to keep me focused on the road (I get very stir crazy in cars). Suddenly, Everlong by Foo Fighters came on. Not a band I enjoy by any means, but somehow in the early nineties they managed to create a perfect song. It is easily one of my favorites. I couldn't believe my luck and turned the radio up.

Ah, I said, thank you. Five minutes of happiness.

And then the song ended. Immediately, another began: Black by Pearl Jam. Another perfect song. This is strange, I thought. Two good songs in a row? I hadn't heard a listenable tune in two hours, and suddenly, walled in on the right and the front by two tractor trailers, I was being handed a play list straight off my dead Naño. I stopped and really gave that some thought. A logging truck was directly in front of the nose of my car. A gigantic Freihoffer's vehicle all but filled the view out the right side of my tiny silver Saturn. And this is when it struck me that perhaps God was not laughing with me, but at me.

I'm about to fucking die. He's decided to take me now. The logs will come spilling from the behemoth before me. Entire tree trunks will bury themselves through the front glass of my windshield, crushing my skull, while the death machine to my right will swerve to avoid the fallen lumber. He's going to grind my car right into the guard rail and there won't even be dental records.

God is about to fucking kill me and as compensation he's decided to send me out with a good soundtrack. I step on the brakes and do everything I can to avoid the trucks. I silence the radio for the rest of the trip. I have begun operating under the assumption that He is a kid with an ant farm, and everything has become an omen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Theme II, Comics/Writing

I love comic books. This began when I was a kid, although back then I mainly went for the cover and characters I'd recognize. I rarely actually read the things, instead being more interested in the penciller's linework. This isn't because I was illiterate or lazy (I've been reading for quite a while), but rather because my trips to the comic store were erratic. Because of this I was never really able to get a grasp for plotlines and longer story arcs.

Comics are probably the reason I had such an interest in drawing. For quite a while (up until, say, senior year of high school) I wanted nothing more than to be a comic penciller. This is the guy that does the initial drawings in pencil, which are then sent to the inker, colorist, and letterer (although some artists do more than one of these jobs). Consider yourself one of my closer friends if you actually knew before this post that I can draw. It's not something I do for attention or even really to show anyone else.

Obviously comic artists want and need other people to see their work- but the spirit of the art is what I'm getting at here. Comic pencilling is art without pretense. Some might argue that it therefor becomes art without much meaning, but an amazing artist (Cary Nord, John Buscema, John Romita Jr) can really put the reader directly into the character's space with his pencils. When I took art history and studio art, my favorite ieces of art were never goofy installations or postmodern bullshit. I like drawings, I like seeing the pencil movements. More than anythign I actually just like sketchbooks. Leonardo Davinci's sketches of anatomical studies are actually my favorite pieces of art; perhaps I am shallow. Perhaps I just like feeling the artist's actual creative presence rather than some implied, inferred, or taught "meaning."

Nowadays I read comics from front to back. I gather entire series, but not enough that I'd call myself a "collector"; I'm actually very narrow in my tastes. I'll read Invincible from Image, Conan from Dark Horse (and the old Marvels, of course), and a few other titles. This is actually the reason Comic books might not work for my blog focus: I'm nto very deep into the industry. I'm not a collector, I'm not a fanboy, I'm not even an artist anymore.

Perhaps I should expand the theme into reading in general? Writing? Influences? What do you think?*


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Theme, Part I: Cigars

I've decided to explore each of the themes I mentioned in my previous post. Each theme will get its own "test run" so to speak. Here is Part I of IV* for your reading pleasure.

I should be having a cigar right now.

It's a snow day, and there's always been something wonderful about that. It isn't that I'm overjoyed at not going to class: today isn't my heavy day. I only have one class on Tuesday (Creative Nonfiction). I like this class. Still, hearing that the responsibility of going to class has been called off seems to herald in a magic moment where possibilities suddenly pop like champagne, and all other responsibilities seem lessened. Days off are a cause for celebration. In fact, in the moment when Pat burst in my room to trumpet the arrival of the famed (and, in college, superbly rare) Snow Day, my mind ran wild.

I should go have a cigar. This was my first instinct. It seems like the thing to do when congratulating oneself on good fortune. Right now in my lacquered humidor I have: 1 Astral Grand Reserve 96, 1 Rocky Patel Sun Grown, 2 small box pressed Fonseca, 1 Macanudo Maduro, 3 Acid Krush Morado Maduro, and 2 Acid Krush Blue Connecticut.

The Rocky Patel Sun Grown is the only one I haven't tried yet. However, if it's anything like the consistent, delicious, carefully crafted Rocky Patels I've had in the past, I won't be disappointed. But it doesn't matter which one I want: I really can't have one right now.

It's snowing like fuck. Before I got even halfway through a Churchill sized smoke I'd be frozen dead and blue. A Saint Bernard would paw uselessly at my klondike flesh, trying to live up to its name of beatification. I wouldn't risk ruining a cigar today by having to stub it out in order to escape the bitter Cortland weather.

So instead I have taken to rearranging my cigars. I line them in the humidor according to size. The Rocky dominates its space, dark brown, wrapped in the simple crimson and gold banner. The light tan Blue Connecticuts, the color of warm sand, sit at the opposite of the spectrum: small, friendly, familiar. And suddenly I miss summer.

*This is how Romans wrote their numbers in an effort to be impossible.