Thursday, October 8, 2015


1 medium onion
1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded & cubed)
1 tbsp. ground fenugreek
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 small carrot (scrubbed)
1 small potato (peeled)
1 thumb-sized nub ginger root (peeled)
1 bunch chopped scallions
Optional: 1 cup diced cooked chicken (I used leftover breasts)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the onion and saute in oil in a stock pot. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add fenugreek and toast with the onions on medium heat for about a minute. Add squash and garlic powder, stir to coat squash and add water to cover at least 2" above the squash and allow to cook on medium until squash is fork tender.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in food processor or blender and return to pot) and continue cooking on medium low heat. It should be on the very thin side, but not as thin as broth. Grate the carrot, potato and ginger coarsely with a box grater, add to soup and stir. If you choose to add chicken, it should go in at the same time. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes on medium low heat, salt and pepper to taste. I used white pepper because I had it on hand. Serve with scallions sprinkled on top.

Friday, July 3, 2015

City of Stairs by Robert J. Bennett

City of StairsCity of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book on the recommendations of other authors, so I can't pretend to long anticipation (although I did pre-order it). Imagine my delight when the story hooked me thoroughly by the end of the first chapter. The book comes across like an historical mystery set in a mythical world, and the imagery is vivid without taking over the story's narrative. This makes me want to read other works by Bennett. If you're a fan of Paula Volsky and Roger Zelazny, I urge you read this book.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The NBA, Donald Sterling

In part of the Donald Sterling rant tape, he says the following to his girlfriend:

“I’ve known [Magic] well and he should be admired … I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. Admire him, bring him here, feed him, fuck him, but don’t put [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

Interesting, that above all else that he's concerned about what other people think of his girlfriend's activities, is whining about people calling him to comment. And that he'd rather she schtupp Magic (one of my heroes, personally), who is HIV-positive, than be seen with him in public. What a sad, sorry, pathetic creature this wealthy old man is!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hang Wire by Adam Christopher

Hang WireHang Wire by Adam Christopher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by comparing it to a cross between Tim Powers and Erin Morganstern. Well, other than an unorthodox circus being a part of the story I don't see the Erin Morganstern comparison. But the Tim Powers comparison is right on - this book is like Powers-lite. I loved the mystery of whose body Highwire was inhabiting, and not knowing for a while whether he was the killer. The slowly evolving story of Joel, and of "Bob", as well as the contemporary story of the group of friends/co-workers in San Francisco, unfolded gracefully and naturally. A blend of urban fantasy and word mythology, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to any of my circle of reading enthusiasts.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Color of Light

The Color of LightThe Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am torn in my opinion of this book. The characters are immensely compelling and the story is a whopper of a tale with multiple climactic events. But there are problems with the writing: certain aspects of the story are downright implausible and transitions between scenes are often confusing. For example, Rafe (the vampire/love interest of the main character) tells multiple people that a single ray of sunlight will turn him into a pile of ashes. But he frequently attends board meetings during daylight hours without any explanation as to how he avoided destruction. The bond formed between the group of students who become Tessa's (the main character) friends is portrayed as extremely tight, but as they part after graduation there is no discussion of keeping in touch and their farewells seem permanent. And of course, the final nail in the coffin is that the female protagonist gives up her dream and the prize she worked so hard for because her guy won't budge and go to Paris with her but does want to take her traveling around the world. These are only a few of the points with which I took exception, there are many more. But overall I loved the characters, enjoyed the setting and the story, and especially appreciated what I learned about art during the reading of this book.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Drowning Girl

The Drowning GirlThe Drowning Girl by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the most difficult book for me to read maybe ever. So much of the book could have been me in spirit: I had an Abalyn and an Eva in my life. I am mermaid-obsessed. I have struggled with depression and have had crisis events and periods in which my inner dialog, my perception of the world, and my struggle to distinguish fact from truth were much like Imp's. Reading this book was like visiting, as a tourist, a place where I was once held captive. Not only is the writing brilliant, but Caitlin Kiernan is an incredibly brave author to have written this book and I salute her with both hands. I don't think I could record those periods in my life with as much articulate and beautiful prose as she has done here.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Whole butternut squash
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cut squash in half lengthways, scrape out seeds. Lightly drizzle olive oil over exposed flesh, place on a baking sheet cut side up and roast in oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a stock pot, sweat onion, carrots and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When they have begun to soften and turn slightly brown, add curry powder, fenugreek and ginger. Continue to cook for about a minute to toast the spices. Add stock and bring to a simmer.

Scrape flesh from squash skin, mash with a potato masher or ricer and add to soup pot. I use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth, but it isn't required. If additional liquid is needed to smooth out consistency of soup, add water.  When the mixture has begun to simmer again, add garlic, salt and pepper.