lundi 5 octobre 2009

School Daze, Veggies and Indian Summer

Eat your vegetables!

I was asked last week how the vegetarian challenge was going. Well, it's going pretty well considering I live amongst carnivores. Neko has communicated in no uncertain terms that she vastly prefers steak, cooked on the outdoor grill, to all other forms of animal flesh. Okay, got that. The Big Carnivore is getting his meat on the fly and playing along with the vegetarian thing. I have some kind of meat (usually chicken or fish) at least once a week. It's all good.

Last week, TBC made his fabulous marinara sauce on one of the nights I had to teach. It was wonderful to come home to the aroma of lovingly braised garlic and those pungent San Marzano tomatoes, bubbling away. I made a tofu stir-fry one night (flavored with chorizo sausage for TBC) and butternut squash tacos another night. I had some leftover squash, which I had cut into cubes and roasted with olive oil, salt and a spice mixture (cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes and other flavors) for the tacos, so I used it as the central ingredient of a soup. The secret to good soup is in the vegetables. I braised crisp celery, organic carrots, onion and parsnips in a little butter and olive oil before simmering them, and added the squash at the end.

The only meat night was after the great Mariner's game on Tuesday night. We went to Circa and I had the BBQ chicken salad. But they make it a special way for me, with the chicken grilled instead of marinated in the BBQ sauce, with the sauce served on the side. On Saturday night, we were invited to the neighbors for an evening of pizza and pool. We got two pizzas: a veggie pizza for the ladies and a meat-laden carnivore pizza for the men.

I'm soaking some black beans right now, but haven't decided what to do with them yet.

Do your homework!

School started last week. I love being back on the UW campus, and fall quarter is especially intense and exciting. Okay, so I'm older than the professor by at least a decade. And most of the students are a quarter of a century younger than I am, except for one fellow graduate student who seems to be in her 30's. I would sit in a classroom with adolescents if it meant being allowed to read Victor Hugo AND the Wall Street Journal. The subject is, roughly speaking, the first new media, which was print, and its social, cultural and political effects on France and Europe. We will be focusing on the notions of authorship, intellectual property and censorship. We begin with Victor Hugo's famous text, Ceci tuera cela, which in fact is a chapter in Notre Dame de Paris that was added in 1837. Basically, Hugo argues that the book will replace the cathedral. The implications are huge.

Carpe diem!

For now, the Indian summer is holding in the Pacific Northwest Temperatures are dropping, but the sun continues to prevail. Yesterday, we went for a long walk in West Seattle that took us along Sunset Avenue, down Bonair and up Admiral. The justly named Sunset Avenue features exceptional views of Puget Sound. There are many old "estates" that were built in the 1920's. One for sale right now has a 1.5 million dollar price tag. And a million dollar view. There is one vacant lot for sale - the last one on Sunset - and it is offered at a million dollars. The lot measures 7,300 square feet.

On the Seattle side of Sunset, a modern, sleek structure just sold for 3.6 million dollars.

It must be nice to have an unobstructed, glorious view of downtown Seattle, but it that worth 3.6 million dollars? I don't think I would want to live in a house like that. I would spend all my time feeling guilty about the lack of affordable housing for hard-working people and foreclosures on subprime loans.