Old journals and fried chicken.

Good fried chicken is an art. Clearly I'm still a novice- most of my chicken ended up with a darker than desired shell- but 2 pieces did turn out beautifully. In fact even the stuff that got a bit overdone was delicious and moist once you removed the outer coating. I think the deliciousness of the chicken had to do with two factors:
1. Start with good chicken. Cheap crappy chicken will lead to a poor tasting final product.
2. Brine your chicken for 24 hours in a salt and water solution. I know a lot of people do this for thanksgiving turkeys but it is just as genius for chicken.

I also made cornbread and corn with chili lime butter. A very fantastic meal in my opinion. Plus the cold chicken was excellent to come home to after being at the bar for a bit.

I booked my tickets last night for my trip to New York and now I'm in search of a hotel room. Of course in my dreams I'd love to stay in posh 3 star-4 star hotel but I don't feel like dropping $400 on a room per night. I'm trying the priceline thing but I'm not having much success. I'm going to give it another go tonight and see if I can get better results. I just might have to suck it up and drop more cash than I wanted on a hotel room. Damnit.

I'm trying to figure out how much the taxi ride will cost between LaGuardia and Manhattan and if it will be cheaper to hire a car service. The one I've found online is $28 from LaGuardia to Manhattan and then $31 from Manhattan to LaGuardia. A couple of years ago I remember there was a set fee for airport rides but I'm not sure how that has changed.

All of this New York excitment made me pull out my my old journal from my time in New York. I have to say that after reading it I'm completely amazed at how many details I've forgotten over the years. I remember the italian guy I worked with who was in love with me, asked me to be his green card wife and how misogynistic he was. One afternoon after I'd had just enough of his comments and wildly inappropriate touching I told him I was seeing someone back in Athens. I wasn't. I lied. I'm a big liar. I gave him a specific name of a friend of mine and told him to bugger off.

Now I'm blushing because I'm all embarrassed that I pulled the ''I'm seeing someone card". For some reason it makes me feel wildly stupid, probably because I never told my friend for a moment he was my mock boyfriend/get out of jail free card. It was because I had a wee crush on him.

Reading those passages I wrote made me cringe at my words/feelings/thoughts. Hell, I cringe when I think about things I thought about yesterday. Maybe I'm just someone who is perpetually embarrassed?

I'm right behind you.

This is shaping up to be a fantastic week-I just got word that at the end of September I will get to go to New York and attend a taping of The Colbert Report (wheee!!!!). I feel giddy at the the thought of returning to my old stomping grounds, and I plan on eating at Corner Bistro at least twice, hitting up my old neighborhood in Brooklyn and hanging out in Central Park for a few hours. Seriously, I cannot stop smiling. Big, huge, ear to ear grin.

How I wish I was Charlene:

I bang.

I did it. I was bored and needed a change, and thus I've banged it out. Everyone keeps telling me it makes me look radically different in a good way.

Jesus, I hope they mean in a good way.
]Next Monday (Aug. 21 at 10pm) my favorite travel guide and chef Anthony Bourdain is doing a show on Beirut. Tony was in Beirut when the bombs started falling filming a show for the Travel channel (if you haven't caught it please try to. He is the reason I want to travel to Asia.) He wrote a brilliant piece for Salon.com and now they have put together the footage they shot from that trip to Beirut. I think it should be required watching for everyone- so do it up people.

Here is the promo for next week's show:
Bourdain in Beirut

Soup it up

I made Marianne's Roasted Zucchini Soup last week and it was fabulous. I high recommend it since it is light and not heavy at all-the perfect summer soup. The crispy shallots are a must though, so do not forget to leave them out.

Light, room temp or cold soups is all I've been able to handle lately because I just can't eat in the heat. Although the heat here has broken I still can't force myself to eat much more.

I get to leave today for a mini-break to my parents house. I'm quite excited since I've not been home since Christmas- we've got several fun things planned. Plus I get to go shopping at a real life mall! OH JOY! Hello makeup counter, Hello Gap, Hello shoe store!

Weekend Ramblings

Yesterday I took an 11 mile bike ride in the stifling heat (97 degrees-yikes). I regretted it deeply for the rest of the day because I ended up getting the most annoying headache ever plus my bottom and other delicate parts are sore from the bicycle seat.

I'm still sore this morning and I feel like it might be making me walk funny. Sweet.

On Saturday I spent some time shooting flowers and such and this is the one I'm most happy with:

I was also compelled to pull out my old camera bag with my very expensive but non-digital medium format camera. I have a plethora of undeveloped film in there. Seriously. I counted 8 rolls. WTF? It will be like an adventure getting them developed. I hope it isn't just crap- but I fear that it may be crap.

Back to regularly scheduled programming:

On Friday night I hosted a poker party that eventually lead to darts at local bar. It was Team Unicorn vs. Team Ninja and Team Ninja kicked some 4 legged ass.

Oh Catholicism.

As a former Catholic I have lots of things to say about the religion. Some of them are not so nice.

For background I should disclose that I went to Catholic school from the very start (pre-school) and continued right up until graduation from high school. I'd made the purposeful decision as a senior in high school to attend a public university. At that point in my life I was well on my way to seeing flaws in the church. Coming to the public university was great for many reasons- I was able to fully form my own opinions about things and secondly I was able to make decisions all by myself without having to justify it to my religion teacher or my parents.

In high school I was very involved with the church. I was a member of the LifeTeen group- which for me was more about socializing with my friends on a school night than about searching for divinity. Looking back, I'm more than a little embarrassed because of my membership with this group. Again, when I was Senior I quit. Things just started clicking for me, especially when my friend came back from a Lifeteen retreat and said that she spoke in tongues. I'm sorry, I believe a lot of that has to do with a sort of mass hysteria. I had attended the previous year's retreat and the entire thing was basic one giant abstinence commercial. And the whole time all I could think about was getting back home so I could blow my boyfriend.

HA! I guess I have the devil inside.

I was also a Eucharistic minister, which for a Catholic is a pretty damn big deal. I attended several classes in order to distribute the body of Christ to my fellow Catholics.

Senior year is also the year we learned about sex. In. Religion. Class.

They waited until we were 17 and 18 years old to talk to us about sex (except for the 2 weeks our sophomore year were we had an abstinence chapter in our books). Science class had no section on the female or male reproductive system. The pages where either entirely removed or glued together. Fuck people. Isn't that totally fucked up?

In my senior religion class we learned that birth control was evil, abortions are evil, sex before marriage is evil (which is hilarious considering that half the class was already fucking each other). I'm sorry God, if science gives me a way to not have a litter of children I'm going to take it. I don't think He wants us to pop out kids every year just because we can. I know there is no way I could possibly hope to support 10 kids, regardless of how much money I'm making every year.

Also, I find the church's stance on gays horrifying.

And really, I've no need to discuss at length the sex abuse scandal. It sickens me and makes me hate the church more than all of the other things combined.

I've long struggled with my feelings about the church. I hate them for what they have done. Yet, I miss the ritual and the fond memories I had of when I was younger and going to mass/the church picnic/etc.

The reason I decided to bring this up is because I read a brilliant article in Salon today about the ordination of women into the priesthood. Yesterday, 12 women took up the cloth in a rogue ceremony performed at sea. These women will likely be excommunicated for wanting to serve God fully in the tradition of their faith. The article brought to light that there were ancient women who served as priests and bishops-these facts were covered up by the church by changing their names in religious texts, they deny these women were really in the priesthood and call these statements by scholars a DaVinci Code pipe dream.

I don't believe in God in the way the church puts things forth, but part of me believes in something. I can't put my finger on it, maybe it is a remnant of faith left over from 15+ years of Catholic schooling but it is there. I wish I could articulate what I believe in, but I can't- there just are no words. I don't believe I'll ever return to the church, there are just too many fundamental differences in my beliefs vs. their beliefs.

And truthfully that makes me more than a little sad.