Do Only Fuddy-Duddies Question Comedians and Interstellar?

Little house and old books

How many times have I been that teacher in the front of the room when the kids are supposed to be working quietly, but wave after wave of suppressed giggles come forward? Does it even matter whether someone really cut the cheese or he was falsely accused when these giggles lift the veil of boredom for scant moments, breaking up the day, and what’s wrong with a little fun, anyway?

Have I entered the old fuddy-duddy phase of my life?

When I stood over my husband’s shoulder to watch Christian comedian Tim Hawkins make fun of atheists, should I have lightened up? Don’t I always love a man with a guitar? Did I just imagine that the whooping laughter from the audience was tinged with hatred for those pathetic atheists who go around thinking they’re so superior?

Am I the only one who sees lyrics like “Reason why, reason why, we exist, but there’s no reason why” as refreshing?

Is it wrong to want to live in reality? Isn’t it good to raise children in the here and now, to show them there is no wizard behind the curtain, and we have all the brains, heart, and courage we need, right here?

Don’t I get it, that people ache to wonder, “Is that all there is?” Don’t I too want a payout after a long investment of time and energy? Wasn’t I the one who watched six seasons of Lost, expecting a finale that would tie it all together, even though it was apparent for ages that there was no way? Were they just making it up as they went along, though?

Do only fuddy-duddies complain when the music’s too loud?

When I got home from seeing Interstellar, why did I jump into a debate about theoretical physics that I couldn’t quite grasp? Why did I bother, when my biggest impression was nausea over how ridiculously loud it was, an assault on not just my ears but my psyche? If someone needs to cause me physical pain to make his movie dramatic, then shouldn’t he have workshopped the script a little more?

Would the kids in the back of the class stop giggling, please? Don’t you know that people are trying to focus on their quizzes, for Christ’s sake?

Posted in Et Cetera | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spinning Yarns

Knitting needles bokeh

My favorite storytellers have a zest for life, and they weave their enthusiasm into the smallest of details. Even if they are griping about an annoyance, their wonder at life’s inanities comes through loud and clear. So whether they make me want to laugh or want to cry, they also make me marvel at those little moments that others would miss.

This capacity comes through in some of my favorite books:

  • Ken Kesey in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath
  • John Updike in Rabbit, Run
  • Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart
  • Jack Kerouac in On the Road
  • Norman Mailer in The Naked and the Dead

All of those books have different styles, but they all spun a tale that tuned me into a world I hadn’t known.

  • Linking up today with The Daily Post: Spinning Yarns (What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion?)
  • Please join me next Sunday at a new multimedia link party: MultiMEDIA Splice
Posted in Books | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Join me in a new link party: MultiMEDIA Splice

Multimedia Splice Link Party

Bloggers! Please join me

Join me in a new link party starting next week: MultiMEDIA Splice

The first week’s theme: Meat
(Starting Sunday, November 30.)

I invite you to link up every Sunday with your multimedia exploration of the week’s theme. Then, visit the blogs that link up. Hopefully, we’ll all get some new visitors and meet some new bloggers, or at least we’ll all marvel at our multimedia posts.

What is MultiMEDIA Splice?

Basically, pick 3 (or more) ways to explore each week’s theme, such as with a mix of text, photos, and video.

Some multimedia ideas:

  • Text
  • Video (video blog or other embedded video)
  • Music (an embedded song or other audio)
  • Photograph (new or from your archives)
  • Quotation
  • Gif (animated gif or comic on the theme)
  • Timeline (or infographic)
  • Embedded tweet
  • Other ideas?

I hope to see you next week!

Check out the Daily Post multimedia challenge for some great information about multimedia posts.

An embedded video:

(Video link)

An embedded song:

(If there is no mp3 player embedded above, try here and click the attachment.)

Any suggestions for a future theme? Let me know in the comments or at marcy@tootimidandsqueamish.com

Posted in MultiMEDIA Splice | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Get mine

Once, he revealed his true core: “Get mine–
God gave dominion over the Earth and animals.”

Speechless, I sputtered empty words: “Shame on you,”
deeply serious, but he laughed.

Later, I was just another pawn to use and discard.
Shame on me.

Elephants painting in Thailand

Posted in Et Cetera | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Travel theme: Arches

{Linking up with Travel theme: Arches}

Floating Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Arch on floating island Lake Titicaca Peru

One of the more unusual places I’ve visited was a floating island in Lake Titicaca. The ground was spongy under my feet. Visitors were welcomed by walking through this arch, made of the same reeds that made the island, the huts, and the boats.

Elk Antler Arches, Jackson Hole, WY

Elk Antler Arches Jackson Hole WY

Each of the corners of this park featured an arch made from Elk antlers. Don’t worry–they are shed naturally by the elk.

Roman Ruins, Volubilis, Morocco

Arch Roman ruins Volubilis Morocco

It was about 140 degrees F when I toured the ancient Roman ruins in Volubilis, Morocco. The arches were beautiful, but how about some shade?

The Wooster Street Arch, New Haven, CT

Gateway to pizza: The Wooster Street arch

You know how you know you’re about to get some of the best pizza in the world? You spot the Wooster Street Arch. New Haven aPizza: Pepe’s vs. Sally’s

Natural Arch, Inca Trail, Peru

Inca Trail

Hiking the Inca Trail was breathtaking, literally and figuratively. Day 3 of the hike offered the most varied terrain and ecology. Hiking the Inca Trail, Day 3: The Long and Winding Road

Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

I was thrilled to walk under the Brooklyn Bridge’s famous arches on a gorgeous spring day. Birthday on the Brooklyn Bridge

View of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

Golden Arches, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

McDonald's Amsterdam

The architecture in Amsterdam is stunning. They even make McDonald’s look beautiful.

 Have you seen any great arches? Feel free to share a link in the comments.

Posted in Travel | Tagged , | 4 Comments

What I Ate in Thailand: The Best Food in the World

Thailand map itinerary

{This is part of an occasional series, “What I Ate In …”}

Thai Food

Thai food is delightful–an amazing variety of intensely flavorful fruits and vegetables, seafood, curries, soups with complex broths, noodles, rice, and spices, spices, spices.

Giant prawns Thailand

Giant prawns

I visited Thailand with my family in 2009. All of the food was prepared fresh, and it was usually cut into bite-sized pieces. Food was very inexpensive compared to America. There was so much variety, and we saw changes in the cuisine as we moved from Bangkok to the “Golden Triangle,” the region where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) meet, to a tropical island. For most of our trip, we were on a tour with G Adventures.

Whole fish Thailand

Whole fish with vegetables

Papaya salad Thailand

Papaya Salad

Curries and Noodles

Curries and noodles Thailand

Curries and noodles, from sweet to spicy

Five curries sweet to spicy Thailand

Five curries, from sweet to spicy

One of my most fun food experiences was when my guide, “Tommy on Tour,” brought our small group to a noodle restaurant for lunch.

Tommy lined up the curries from least to most spicy and told us a little about each one as we sampled them.

We also had Pad Thai at this restaurant.

 

Pad Thai Thailand

Pad Thai

Curry and rice Thailand

Curry and rice

Hot pot Thailand

Thai hot pot

Curried rice Thailand

Curried rice with egg

Street Food

Street food Bangkok Thailand Chicken and vegetables spicy chilies

Melt your face off chilies accompanied this chicken and vegetables dish. I bought it for 60 cents on the street in Bangkok, Thailand.

There were many cheap, delicious choices of quick snacks or full meals on the streets of Thailand.

The chicken and vegetable dish pictured above was delicious, but I ignorantly added a generous spoonful of a chili condiment. It was the most spicy thing I ever ate in my life! I think in the restaurants, the owners knew that most tourists could not handle spiciness like the locals, and they would serve tourists food that was relatively mild even if they ordered it spicy. That little bowl of chilies was definitely for the locals.

Streetfood Thailand chestnuts

Street food: hot chestnuts

Streetfood Thailand dumplings

Street food: dumplings

Street food Bangkok Thailand Squeasel Balls

Lost in translation: My son David had squeasel balls on the street in Bangkok, Thailand

My son David had squeasel balls on the street in Bangkok. Don’t know what squeasel is? We didn’t either. (Years later, I saw an Anthony Bourdain episode where he was served a “forest creature” called squeasel in Vietnam, and it turned out to be porcupine.)

Bangkok, Thailand

Freshly squeezed dragon fruit juice and orange juice from a street vendor in Bangkok, Thailand

Hilltribe Village

Northern Thailand hilltribe village guesthouse

A village guesthouse in northern Thailand

We hiked to a hilltribe village where we spent the night in a rural guesthouse. The cooks put us to work wrapping spring rolls while they prepared an amazing meal that we ate gathered in a circle on the floor. They also kindly prepared some “KFC,” fried chicken drumsticks for my younger son, the picky eater (not in the picture below).

Make springrolls northern hill tribe village Thailand

Wrapping spring rolls in northern Thailand

Rural village feast northern Thailand

Village feast in northern Thailand

Restaurant on street Singha beer Thailand

Singha, an inexpensive local beer, enjoyed at a restaurant with tables on the street, Thailand

Smelly Fruit

I had to try durian, a notoriously smelly fruit. It was smelly, but I have an oddly weak sense of smell, and it really didn’t bother me as much as it bothers others. It had a mild flavor and a creamy texture.

Durian in Bangkok Thailand

The notoriously smelly fruit durian

Night market fruit vendor Thailand durian

A fruit vendor at a night market in Thailand

Barracuda on the Beach

Food choices on the beach Thailand

Food choices on the beach, Ko Samet, Thailand

On Ko Samet, a small island a few hours from Bangkok, fresh ingredients for various dishes were assembled and wrapped in plastic. I would point to my selection, and the chef would barbeque it right on the beach. I was able to fulfill my decades-long desire to have “barracuda on the beach.” (It’s a long story. I wrote about it here: Barracuda on the Beach.)

Barracuda on the Beach

Barracuda on the beach, Ko Samet, Thailand

Ko Samet, Thailand

Barbecuing on the beach, Ko Samet, Thailand

 The World’s Best Bus Depot Food

Thai soup at a bus stop

Thai “fast food”–a delicious soup from a bus depot

Even the “fast food” was delicious. We stopped in a bus depot for a quick bite. My kids headed for American fast food, but my husband and I chose one of the most delicious soups I have ever had. We pointed to the noodles and meat that we wanted, and before we knew it a steaming bowl of rich, flavorful soup was being slurped down by us. If only they had fast food like this in American bus depots.

American Fried Rice?

American fried rice in Thailand

American Fried Rice in Bangkok, Thailand

One of the stranger meals I saw was called “American Fried Rice,” a dish my husband ordered out of curiosity at our Bangkok hotel. (I wrote about it here: American Fried Rice and Mother’s Day Brunch.)

Breakfast

Breakfast porriage Bangkok Thailand Chok

Jok, a thin rice porridge, in Thailand

During my first few days in Thailand, I had a traditional breakfast of jok, a thin rice porridge topped with a variety of condiments. It was delicious, but I was eating a lot of adventurous meals, and I ended up giving my system a little break by eating a simple American-style breakfast at each hotel. (I did, though, make a savory oatmeal inspired by jok when I got home.)

Snake Whiskey: Chok De!

Snake whiskey

Getting the strength of a cobra in Laos: Snake whiskey

Finally, I had to summon up my courage, but I was excited to try snake whiskey when I went across the Mekong River into Laos for a quick visit to a tourist shop. (I wrote about it here: Getting the Strength of a Cobra in Laos.)

I’ve had some incredible meals all over the world, but if I had to pick my favorite cuisine during my travels, Thailand’s was the best.

What was your favorite meal while traveling?

Related Thailand Posts:

What I Ate In…:

Temple in Bangkok Thailand

Timid No More front cover Read about my quest to complete 101 things in 1001 days: Timid No More.

Posted in Food, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Elephant Ride

Elephant ride Thailand 09

Our elephants are headed
for dense jungle at dawn.
Although they know the path well,
the old man goads them on.

And yet more than elephants
go on this steamy day.
My boys leave for adulthood,
while I goad them to stay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

{Note: I revised this after receiving a “love letter” about why it didn’t qualify for the yeah write grid.}

Posted in Et Cetera | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Make Caramel Milk Candies

Making caramel candy collage

While Google knows my sons are on their electronic devices day and night, I can still get my younger son to join me for a cooking project from time to time. Even though he was deep into a game of Team Fortress 2, I asked if he could help me make something in the kitchen.

I had him at “sweetened condensed milk.”

I came across the recipe for caramel milk candies from Sasha Martin’s blog, Global Table Adventures, about cooking meals from every country in the world. I was reading about Costa Rica, one of the places I’ve traveled where I loved the food. (OK, I’ve loved the food just about everywhere, but still.)

Sasha had tried to make the candies by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for many hours, but the candy didn’t form the way she wished. Her readers helped her to troubleshoot, and maybe she shouldn’t have vented the can. At the risk of the can possibly exploding, though, I didn’t want to try it that way, and I tried another suggestion that cooks it in a microwave.

I cooked sweetened condensed milk in a bowl in the microwave for two minutes at a time, whisking it smooth in between each round of cooking.

It worked like a charm, and we had our candies ready to eat within about 15 minutes. My son took one into the other room to enjoy with Team Fortress 2.

Related post: What I Ate in Costa Rica

101 things in 1001 days Make caramel milk candies.

Posted in Food | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Soaring

We ran off the cliff.
A thermal caught us and we soared,

tight
circles
up
on
a
column
of
air.

I landed, shaking,
never so close to death,
never so alive,
my first time hang gliding off a cliff –

and my last.

Marcy hang gliding Switzerland 1987

Lost in a Funhouse collage

Posted in Et Cetera | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Oh My Garlic: The Garlic & Harvest Festival

(Video link)

I got my fill and then some of beloved garlic today at the Garlic & Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, CT.

Garlic ice cream … garlic pickles … whole roasted garlic cloves …garlic vinegar … garlic pesto … garlic cannoli…. Yes, you heard that right: garlic cannoli.

Garlic and Harvest Festival, Bethlehem, CT

Garlic and Harvest Festival, Bethlehem, CT

I loved her garlic earrings and garlic wand, not to mention her garlic outfit and garlic hat

I didn’t care for the garlic ice cream, but one of my favorite things was actually the garlic cannoli. All the sweet, creamy, and crispy goodness of a regular cannoli, touched with a subtle savory hint of garlic.

It was fun to walk around at this celebration of all things garlic.

I experimented with interviewing people for the above video.

Editing the video, I quickly spotted my weakness as an on-camera commentator.

My only description of the food was the comment, “That’s garlicky!” (But, yes, it was garlicky.)

Marcy with garlic ice cream

Connecticut garlic festival

Garlic and Harvest Festival, Bethlehem, CT

What’s your favorite garlicky food?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP.S. I also completed a mini-challenge to interview some strangers and hand them my new blog business card. I felt more shy than I imagined I would be, but still managed to interview some people.

Some other Connecticut food posts:

Posted in Connecticut, Food, Video | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments