Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
HB Iced TeaIngredients:WaterTwinings English Breakfast teabagsTwinings Earl Grey teabagsiceDirections:Brew tea. Pour over ice. Proceed to go insane.. with flavor.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Ranger CookiesFrom Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook1/2 cup butter, softened1/2 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup packed brown sugar1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1 egg1 teaspoon vanilla1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour1 cup rolled oats1 cup coconut1 cup raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries or mixed dried fruit bits.1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats, coconut, and fruit.2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Today I am presenting an overlooked vegetable's recipe that will make your head explode.
The sucky part is that when I made these on Wednesday, I totally should have taken pictures. I've only got a couple befores. So lame. Sorry. I'm sure I'll make these again but for now here is the recipe:
Roasted Brussels Sproutswww.allrecipes.comhttp://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Roasted-Brussels-Sprouts/Detail.aspxIngredients1 and 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed3 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperDirections1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.2. Place trimmed Brussels Sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet and place on center oven rack.3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels Sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary.4. Serve immediately.
Here is a photo of our Sprouts going into a Ziplock. They were still nekked, but not for long. This is also where I wandered off with the camera and stopped taking photos. :( Boo.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Anthropology 189: Celebrity and Power
Professor L. Hubbard
Image Analysis: Lauren Conrad
04 October 2007
"Pandering Farce: How a single image can undermine women."
The Drunken Threesome
The drunken threesome, Sean Redmond, Stuart Hall and Joshua Gamson, ring my doorbell on a Saturday night after the Cal Game. After kisses hello, they push past me, making themselves comfortable and screaming for "spirits!" Those academic bitches never have any money and raid my house regularly for hootch. Now they are screaming about something else, the picture of Lauren Conrad, "LC", that I left up on my laptop.
The thing I like most about The Hills star Lauren Conrad is _______.
"Jo! What the hell is this?" they demand. "It's for a paper I have to write, I have to analyze a celebrity image," at this they start rolling with laughter. Now I realize that I don't know a thing about pop culture. I'm a student, a mediocre, half-assed student. I live under a rock and, until this course, had never heard of The Hills and thought people were saying Ellsie, not LC. "What's your thesis?" Gamson asks. "I'm going to argue that this picture of Lauren Conrad--Stuart, close the door if you're doing number two!!--is slanderous to women. It's a nice, neat, commercial niche to fall face first into, really," I say. "The standardization of beauty," I say uncertainly. They all look at each other, rolling their eyes. "Stop being jerks! Use your smarts for good, and tell me what I should write!" I cry nodding. I always get my way. Sean asks, "Why would anyone care about that?" Frustrated, I quip, "Seanie, don't try and be all holier-than-thou with me. This picture represents a societal slice of what women are expected to be, and I guess I could argue that, in a way, what women expect themselves to be. Because collectively the ladies determine what is popular and what will be marketed to, um, us." Looking bored, Sean says, "Stuart, maybe you should take this one..."
"Of course I'll help you. Fill up my glass first. There, now. That's a good girl. Okay, so first, acknowledge the meaning of this image doesn't exist until it's represented. It is represented visually, which I usually refer to as the saturating medium. There isn't a fixed meaning to the image, because collective and individual experiences are framed differently. However, because of shared cultural maps of meaning people will have a
similar understanding of the meaning represented. Just remember that there will never be simply one, true, fixed meaning. So, you need to acknowledge that however you analyze this picture of LC, its meaning is understood through your understanding of the world.
"Then, decipher the image's content; LC's clothes: what they‘re made from, how they‘re sewn, any visible logos; her body language, the technology of the image, any writing, who she's with... etc. You see two young, blonde, white women and a third white elbow (holding a champagne, no less). No racial or ethnic diversity is represented. Essentially, no other genders are represented. These women could be lesbians, in the real world, but in the celeb world these women communicate a stereotype of heterosexuality. The women you can see are blonde: blondes have more fun, dumb blondes but there are also the incredible sexy, super stylish and totally rad professor type blondes, so be careful with that interpretation. It's easy to list what is in the picture: two coiffed, champagne swilling women seated in a curtained and cushioned room.
"What is not pictured communicates volumes as well. Because it's just us, I can say plainly, there are no poor people, no children. That’s a cock drawn on the image, not an axe wound. They are drinking champagne, not coffee, or Hennessy, or water, or orange juice, all of which would change the meaning associated with this image. The fact that someone snapped a photo under someone's elbow gives the viewers a sense of interaction with the image, yet still being outside it. I mean outside in the literal sense, that we weren't there and the figurative sense, that we do not have that celebrity lifestyle and are situated outside the image.
"The technology of a photograph also communicates what this image represents. This isn't a piece of Yanomamo propaganda. It is a photo, probably digital, that you pulled off of perezhilton.com. This may not be an advertisement in the traditional sense, but it does advertise LC and a champagne filled, designer clothes, gold necklace, propped up on pillows lifestyle. That’s an identity claim. Advertisements only work when we identify with what is represented in the images. Advertising tries to construct a position of identification for the viewer in relation to what is depicted in the images. The image only has power, to subvert diversified beauty as you claim, if you give it power. The image and what it represents only has power if people believe that meaning is fixed. Fixing the meaning creates a foundation to build ideologies concerning dumb blondes, champagne and frivolity. Stereotyping fixes the meanings that are given to rich blondes. Limited images of rich blondes effect how society perceives rich blondes in the 'real world'. Through shared cultural maps we have a concept of what beauty is, and sadly for you and your thesis, there will always be a cultural consensus."
"Stuart is right. Shut up Stuart, that’s the first and last time you’ll ever hear me say that. But what you might add, to his great foundation for you essay, is more about the inner workings of fame, add it to your 'map' so to speak. I think it is important to point out that the space between ordinary (you) and extraordinary (a celebrity) seems smaller. Gams brings up in his work the idea of the celebrity being easier to handle in a television size and brought right to your living room. So yeah, that's good ol' LC, and she's famous.
You can look like her, you can act like her. Are you going to see her at Andronico's on University? Probably not. Images like this make celeb life more accessible to see and to imitate; you perceive a heightened level of intimacy with LC in this image.
"And this picture totally is a great example to delve into. She's making a silly face to one of her friends. There is a playful voyeurism to the picture, as if someone snapped it under the arm of this person in the foreground. The Perez Hilton penis and spooge are great too. Could you imagine someone drawing a penis on a snapshot of you? Either LC or someone who is a part of her team, props to Gams again, probably orchestrated this playful opportunity, where there just happened to be photographers. Viewers get to see her marked spontaneity and openness. Her 'willingness to be just like us, even if this warts-and-all authenticity is a strategy to propel [her] to greater celebrification, far, far away from such ordinariness' (damn I'm so good I have to quote myself). Her warts are: the silly face and the penis/spooge. Keep up girly!
"Let me take you just a bit further. This dude Chris Rojek talks about how consumers get their ideas for consumption by seeing celebrities consumptive choices. Abstract desire he calls it. We idolize these consumptive celebrities and start representing the joys of capitalism. 'They play out, in fantasized form, the material and symbolic rewards of working for a living.' So the next time you plan for a party you might choose the bubbly over this crappy cabernet, because LC is obviously cool, she's totally in this picture on perezhilton.com and you want to be cool too. And what's great here is that this is totally reciprocal. LC gets to feel stoked because she's famous and you get to feel stoked because you are living a righteous life vicariously through LC. Bill and
Ted righteous, duh. Stop making those gagging noises. Gamson, have you anything to add old chum?"
"Sean, when you are around Stuart too much you start thinking your British. Do we have more wine? There's a dear. I'm bored talking about this. Let's watch porn! I love celebrity porn. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yeah... LC's fame has naught to do with achievement. Unless you call fame itself an achievement. Say you don't know anything about LC or The Hills, this picture still communicates through the person represented. The more famous they make LC, the more important she will become. Jo, you are a market and LC is now a commodity. The better you recognize her, the more you recognize her as a celebrity--Beef Curtains he he--you will be more likely to value what she wears, where she chooses to live, you'll want to watch the morning show that has her as a guest. What you will find most relevant to your paper is what this image means as far a representation. There is a market niche for LC. That means a whole lot of people want to look up to her. Shudder. The team behind a stars image, personal publicist(s), manager(s) and usually the hopeful aspirant, will do almost anything to maintain this consumer/commodity relationship for commercial exploitation. Sean brought up my point already about television, and print media, create greater feelings of intimacy between the fan and the celebrity. The fact that you can see LC in your darkened apartment, in the middle of the night, that you can print this image out and hold it in your hand, that is intimate. You will relate to this image and you will be affected as
a consumer. Like I began, fame doesn't have to do with great deeds. One almost doesn't need to have talent. LC has commercial marketability and no matter how contrived this situation may or may not have been the point is to create recognition, desire and ultimately to sell something. *Hiccup*. 'Scuse me."
The Pandering Farce or My Thesis
"Anyway, what are you calling this monstrosity of a paper? Um, that we just wrote for you, by the way..." Sean asked. "A Pandering Farce," I sing. I receive looks of utter horror. "Pandering as in 'to cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses'... and farce. You know. Farce. Like fake. Sham. Whatever, shut up you drunken assholes. My title rules. Aaaahhhh, Gams, don't wipe up that wine with my bra!" I sigh, "So, the slander thing, doesn't really work, but the idea of pigeonholing a standardized model of beauty is true. After hearing you all talk about your work, LC was chosen to make into a marketable commodity because she appeals to a consumer audience. Stuart told us what that audience isn't. And then Gams and Seanie-poo told us about the marketing machine behind the image. And we care because if we can identify these processes that are inherently imbedded in images, like this one of Lauren Conrad, then we will be able to influence eventual diversification of future images. I guess I would also talk more about how each facet of the image is processed to understand the message being communicated. So, what do you guys think?" Sean says, "We think you
should shut up and write your paper while we continue being fabulous and drink all your alcohol. Oh, wait, I think Stuart wants to make out with you now."
Masterminds, I freakin' salute you. :)
Monday, April 19, 2010
Amish White Breadwww.allrecipes.com2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)2/3 cup white sugar1 and 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 cup vegetable oil6 cups bread flour1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar into warm water. Stir in yeast and allow to proof until mixture resembles a creamy foam.2. Mix in salt and oil with yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Place dough into a large greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let the dough rise for an hour.3. Punch down. Knead for a few minutes, then divide in half. Place each half into well greased 9 x 5 " glass loaf pans; let rise 30 more minutes.4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Makes two loaves.
A close up of the loaf that went home with Esperanza. I don't have a photo of the other out of the pan because I may have accidentally eaten it. Oopsiedoodles.
Ah, I almost forgot the most important part: it freaking tastes great! The 2/3 cup sugar sounds like a lot but it is divided between the two loaves, making it only half as bad. :) And, you end up with a soft, sweet bread. YAY!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Anthropology 138Ethnographic FilmPersonal Statement12 September 2007Dadisms, that's what my brother and I call them. Dad sayings. "Always carry cash." Words to live by. "Always be positive about red." Advice from electricity, to common sense to death. Some were shameful. "Any problem can be solved by throwing enough money at it." Some carried the weight of a sadness I never understood, from a lifetime before, until now. "Someday I won't be around... and you'll wish you had more time."Horrific things have happened on Tuesdays: the infamous Dresden air raids in 1945, the September 11th terrorist attacks. It's such an inconspicuous day. This particular Tuesday I drove into the depths of Pennsylvania Dutch country; I shrieked delightedly when I saw a horse-drawn buggy. I ate my first cheese-steak. After a meandering drive back, to my brother's new house outside of Philadelphia, I was so tired. I finally went downstairs to go to bed. A few minutes later my brother walked in. "Chica, wake up, Mom is on the phone." It was 11:43PM. He set the phone down on the side table to my left, my mother's electronic disembodied voice seemed small and unnatural in the room. I'll never forget what she said, it was such a strange thing, not prefaced by any pleasantry or question of our doings."Your dad had a heart attack. He died today."But I already knew. I knew before she spoke, before he opened the door, before she called. I always knew. It was Tuesday, March 27, 2007 and my dad had died.* * *It was not until I was a young woman that I realized he did it on purpose. Somehow he'd contrive a reason for me to go somewhere with him and he'd have a "dad-talk" with me in the car. I think he liked the car because we were alone and he didn't have to look at me straight in the face. But there, there we'd (I'd) be trapped. I'd always cry. He'd say whatever it was that he needed to impart to me, tell me that he only told me because he loved me and then he'd say something that may seem so curious to the outsider. "You know, someday you won't have me around to tell you these things and you'll wish you had more time." I can only imagine this was residue left from when his own father died, my grandfather, when Dad was 13. Goddamn it Dad, why did you have to be right about everything?* * *My brother, Robert, said, "Oh my God!" almost before she had finished speaking. I don't remember what I said to her. My brother hugged me, I don't remember if I cried or not. I do distinctly remember picking up my cellular phone and trying to change my flight right then. I needed to get back to California and look into my mother's eyes. I needed to sit at her feet and make her tea. Somehow we were suddenly upstairs. Raymond, my brother's partner, was arranging flights for the three of us. I paced. I could not sit down. I smoked and smoked. Robert poured us all drinks. It tasted terrible. Nothing could allay what I was feeling. In fact it only got worse. And as the hours passed into the darkest part of the night I was only dimly aware of what was going on. I had no clue what the news meant.I'm not sure what made me think to call his voicemail. I wanted to hear his voice, I wished that he wasn't dead. "Hello this is Bob. I'm sorry I can't get to the phone right now, leave a message and I'll get back to you quick as I can." Not as soon as he can. As quick as he can. He always called rollercoasters rollycoasters. He could do almost anything with a wire coat hanger. His hands would get so dry that they would crack and bleed. He worked around cars, but never came home with grease under his fingernails instead washing his hands until they dried, cracked and bled. My mom bought him surgical gloves to work in. I used to love to visit him at work. Tires and grease make me think of him and I can't go into a Firestone, for instance, without feeling so completely happy and so completely sad at the same time. It's the smell. New rubber. Along this same line, I feel like he's somewhere nearby when I smell an engine "running rich." He would be so mad at this description, my father did not die a grease monkey. The 10 years before he died he was a catch-all vice president at a huge paving and grading company. He engineered wash bays and fuel tanks. He did the math and the drawings that made them into actual structures. He did not understand why I wanted to go to college. "I have the equivalent of an engineering degree," he'd said more than once. "You know I can get you a job running a compactor." Sure Dad, I just love bright orange and a fine layer of powdered dust on me at all times. I hang up and press his number on my speed dial again. "Hello this is Bob..."* * *Everything was working mechanically as the three of us boarded the plane. I smiled warmly at the flight attendant. "No, no, I'm fine really." The closest we could get to my mom was a flight into Sacramento. We drove for about an hour and a half south from the airport. After flying for six hours. After driving thirty minutes to the airport. After waiting up the night. After hearing that he had died. My heart just pounded the whole time, in my chest and in my ears. My mom met us outside, we were the last to be there. She was crying like she'd been crying for hours. A cheerful, spring sun lit our little scene, the four of us standing in front of my parent's peach-colored suburban home. My dad's brother and his wife were there. So was my brother Chris. My uncle sobbed audibly when he saw Robert who resembles our father so much. Raymond started doing things in the kitchen. I knelt at my mother's feet with my head in her lap. I studied the pattern in the beige carpet while she sat in my father's leather chair and led the family for the first time in her life. Men crying was more than I could bear but I bowed my head as if in prayer and listened to what my mother told us. It was just too heavy to hold up.A few days later, we traded Dad stories. My mom revealed that even as non-religious as she was, she truly had always believed that Dad had lived before. "I could never figure out how he knew everything." The best of these stories was one from around 1985. A couple families had rented a commuter van and were driving all of us honyocks* to sunny Southern California. My dad was driving and a pickup truck passed us, he said to my mother, "See that right, rear tire? It's going to blow out in twenty seconds." Dad started to count backward and sure enough when he said "zero" the tire blew. This was not the first nor the last time he amazed us all with his knowledge, it certainly seemed like the man knew everything. He used to tell me, "You know, I was wrong once. I thought I was wrong... but I was really right." Six months later, after that inconspicuous Tuesday, it seems clear to me that I would forever miss having that absolute knowledge around. So many times I have just wanted to know what he would have done.This has been such a major change for me and my family. It has made us so much closer. I feel sick with the idea that one day I'll get another call, for my mom or one of my brothers. I think about him all the time, it hasn't even begun to go away. I still call his voicemail. There is no way to really know me, and understand the person I am, without knowing this story. I want to live and have a good life. I want to be respectful and have the grace to understand that the people in my life are not to be taken for granted. This is my personal statement. In loving memory of my dad 04/24/52-03/27/07, he was 54 years old.