Monday, June 23, 2008

recharged

if you had asked me ten years ago, whether i would ever imagine a teeny tiny village in upstate new york being one of my favorite vacation destinations, i would have said something along the lines of: "twenty dollars?!? get outta here...*dissolves into incoherent mumbles*" but now, a trip down to the finger lakes region is guaranteed to recharge, refresh and refuel my not-so-in-need-of-any-of-the-above batteries (what can i say? i rarely succumb to the forces of stress and in fact, thrive when my to-do list features more than 20 items of varying lengths and duration). it's so so nice to be able to visit with my sister and outlaw bro and spend time with the kids and eat and laze about on her epically proportioned couches and watch m-tod to my hearts' content (i watched EVERY SINGLE MOVIE PREVIEW. some, like the "dark knight" trailer, we watched thrice!). so far it's been a little sluggish as far as the summer movie season goes. except for "iron man", there hasn't been anything that i've felt compelled to see. here's what's on my upcoming list (thanks, m-tod! you the best, mang!):

- "american teen" (documentary about title)
- "australia" (probably a renter, but it seems grandiose in scope and very "out of africa"-y and the old-fashioned movie trailer is tugging at my love of sprawling stories in film form)
- "dark knight" (been looking forward to this since the ending credits of "batman begins" rolled)
- "pineapple express" (james franco!!! this looks hilarious)
- "pride and glory" (this one is one that i feel like i *should* see because it's obvious oscar bait...but i'm not inherently inclined to see flicks about conflicted irish cops)
- "sisterhood of the travelling pants 2" (my sister recommended "sisterhood 1" which i didn't see, but it looks like entertaining enough teen fluff for a rainy day)
- "step brothers" (trailer looks funny, but they might have shown all the funny bits already)
- "the house bunny" (i've kind of got a soft spot for anna faris' googly-eyed, pouty, pratfalls)
- "tropic thunder" (worth it for robert downey jr's performance alone)

we watched this documentary called "resolved" while we were there. we freakin' fell in love with it and the dotytron is clamoring to own it. it's so inspiring! it follows two debate teams, one from a privileged, affluent, mostly white school, and one from a mostly visible minority, inner-city, public high school. now, you may *think* you know what goes on in high school debating, but you'd be DEAD WRONG. sometime in the 70s (as explained in the film), some dude cottoned onto the fact that if you spoke faster, you could cram more facts into your allotted time. this lead to what's known as "spread" (contraction of "speed reading") where these kids go up there and talk like the micromachine guys and barf out laundry lists of facts at this freakish rate, stopping to take heaving, gasping breaths so that they don't pass out. it's as far from what you imagine debate to be as you could possibly get. it emphasizes rote memorization and the repetition of facts over context and listening. anyway, the two inner-city kids, inspired by the writings of paulo freire (a philosopher of education who has also inspired the dotytron), go on to challenge this form of debate from within, on the grounds that it is racist, sexist, and classist. it was so inspiring! and what an illuminating look at a sub-culture i knew nothing about! it was amazing...it made me want to join a high school debate team, or wish that i had been as motivated to act on my beliefs when i was in high school (as opposed to, you know, chasing boys and whatnot). having been that dissenting voice in all levels of the education system, it's really cool to see kids going to town and expanding their minds and working towards a politicized praxis. it was so unbelievably frustrating to go to a discipline like information studies FROM cultural studies, which is all about peeling back the layers.

in semi-related news, i received an email from my faculty breathlessly proclaiming the name change from "faculty of information studies" to "faculty of information" replete with instructions on how they hope that the faculty will be come to be known as simply, "information" like "medecine" or "law". ai-yi-yi. i kind of feel like the term "information" is considerably more loaded than "medecine" or "law" and those two are already pretty contestable/contested. what idiots. why is the library field full of idiots? it almost makes me want to join the professional associations so that i can pwn n00bs.

we ate like kings. our first night in, my sis bought us slices from the cheesecake factory. the vanilla cheesecake almost had me crying tears of joy, it was so vanilla-y and moussey and soft and sweet. i also tasted the key lime cheesecake, which was awesome. the thing that makes the cheesecake factory so insane, is that even if you're a goof like the dotytron and don't like cheesecake, and want a slice of chocolate cake. the chocolate cake has a layer of cheesecake in it. BANANAS! i made bastardized huevos rancheros for breakkie one morning, which was easy and tasty. i also made dinner that night before the concert. we had littleneck clams steamed with a red pepper, tomato, onion, garlic sofrito and chorizo (as an aside, the comprehensiveness of a single wegman's is staggering and way more impressive than one of our super loblaws...i'm willing to bet that you can't get chorizo and dulce de leche at one of our super loblaws). then i seared some pacific salmon filets and served that and roasted asparagus with hollandaise, alongside wegman's version of a batard for dipping in the clam juices. i will say that wegman's is sorely lacking in the bread department...with even the "artisanal" loaves having a boringly consistent mie, spongy, soft texture and relying on commercial yeast. for dessert we did a very merry unbirthday celebration with wegman's birthday cake with whipped cream frosting. i really can't say enough how much i love wegman's birthday cake with whipped cream frosting. it's like airy, sweet, creamy, magic. love it.

the next day, my sis took us to breakfast at "brian's u.s.a. diner" where i split the belt buster (corned beef hash breakfast) and a regular breakfast (2 pancakes !!! eggs, toast, bacon, hash browns!!!) with my mom. look at the size of those plates! look at how crusty they get that canned corned beef (my kingdom for a flattop griddle in my own home!). it was AMAZING. predictably, we were all laid out with the itis after, which is when we trundled home and napped on the couch and watched m-tod and "30-rock". for dinner we went to dinosaur bbq. i had the traditional sampler plate, which comes with a quarter chicken, 1/4 rack of ribs, and texas brisket. for my sides i picked mashed potatoes and gravy and some of the most sinfully rich mac'n'cheese i've ever tasted. washed down with cold glasses of saranac root beer. bliss. for dessert we had key lime pie and their chocolate pudding pie. my sis gave me their recipe for chocolate pudding pie once, but it was too buckshot for me. they make the crust using GROUND UP OREOS. not just OREO WAFER COOKIES, oh no. THE WHOLE COOKIE, FROSTING AND ALL. that's insanity! although i recently read about a bbq staple in the south, deep fried oreos, and i've been pining for a taste of one ever since.

medeski was great! it was lovely being in downtown rochester and supporting the jazz fest on the longest day of the year. the sound needed to be bumped up, and there was a shortage of actual medeski fans which kind of put a damper on the vibe. people were more interested in the opportunity to drink outside, which is a shame, because medeski is one of those bands where when people feel it, it's a firecracker of a good time. i also missed out on eating one of rochester's fabled "garbage plates". next time, my friend, next time (that's a pic of one that i grabbed from the net. it's a thing of beauty, isn't it???). ahhh, regional, small-town america, you sure know how to woo a gal. the dotytron is pestering me to move down there, considering that you can get a 3 bedroom house on an acre+ lot for under 100 grand. what a steal! but i know they pay their librarians s**t, and i just got a raise (the whole job category got bumped up) here and i think i'm willing to sacrifice most things for public health care.

i sure do love visiting though. i'm already anxiously looking forward to my next trip there in august.

it's raining like the dickens in toronto at the moment. cracks and booms of lightning and thunder reminding us how pitiful our shelters truly are in the face of mater nature. for dinner tonight i made that braised chorizo, tilapia, arugala and grape tomato dish, spooned over orzo, with a lemony and bean-y endive and radicchio salad with olive oil and lemon juice.

fin.

7 comments:

steph said...

I also love Wegmans. New York State is alright, it gets a bad wrap, but I love it after schooling there.

kitsch:in:sync said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitsch:in:sync said...

sometimes i allow myself the fantasy of being trapped in a wegmans for an inordinate amount of time. heady!

*edit

dr. rei said...

wow - i love reading about what you eat in rochester.....my god, i need to go to dinosaur bbq one day. some people need to go to Jerusalem, some people need to do that crazy 30 day pilgrimage in spain....but for me, it's a trip to dinosaur bbq.

Chris said...

you'll find garbage plates all over the usa, in big cities too. and crappy diner worth its salt will feature garbage plate on the menu. if i recall, the price was like $3 or something crazy cheap.

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

dude. the garbage plate is a rochester specialty. that's like saying you find "philly cheesesteaks" all over the usa too. well maybe, but it's not the real deal.

Chris said...

maybe the plate is just so infectious that it quickly spread. All i was saying is that you find them all over USA. But out of curiosity i looked it up, and Rochester definitely seems to be ground zero for its origins.

And btw, some places in Philly do a real shit-ass cheese steak. But the places that are tops are definitely aces.