Lauds and Libs: they’re back, and this time, it’s personal.

Yes, that’s right. It’s time again for laudations and libations, that happy feature of this blog where I discuss all things great and small, some imbibable, some not at all. Enjoy.

Elizabeth Bishop brownies, via Paper and Salt

These were bizarre. I think someone (maybe P & S) described them as “more fudgy” if you made them in a square instead of a cake pan, and since I cannot resist any fudge knownst or unbeknownst to man, I used the little 8 x 8 pan A. and I found in the yard. (Yeah, this was about three months ago and yeah, we washed it first. MAYBE. Come have brownies at my house, yo!) Anyhoo, when I pulled the pan out of the oven the brownies had expanded into a giant fluffy pillow. I put it on the counter and started washing dishes. A. came over and said, “Wow, they’re huge!” and I said, “Yeah, weird, huh!” and then I heard a quiet putt, putt sound, and then A. said, “Oh. Shit. Sorry.” I turned around to see the brownie pillow: cratered and collapsed in upon itself. Said A.: “I was poking at the bubbles.”

Although Christmas was ruined, the brownies tasted amazing.


I’ve discovered that my gut does not like lentils. My gut has “issues” with a lot of things, but normally I can shame it into eating and digesting them anyway. A dinner with lentils, however, make the UC grumble in its sleep. Two dinners with lentils make the UC roll over. Three, four, five wake that nasty blaggard up and hence woe, woe, woe was me last week. Luckily A. and I finished the leftovers, so I’ll wait a month or two before trying them again. But I’d like to get me some more protein on a regular basis, so I’m currently boiling up a pot of pinto beans. (If you don’t make your beans from dry, you should try it; beans smell wonderful and earthy when they’re cooking.) Mark Bittman from the NYT and How to Cook Everything says that it’s possible to get your body more used to beans (ahem: less gas) if you eat them more regularly, so we’ll see.* But to quote the Kids, none of my furniture has any resale value anymore, so it’s a moot point.

The Wire/Wallander

A. and I have been switching it up on Masterpiece Sundays. Inspector Lewis was getting awfully predictable: is there an attractive young lady in the thick of it? She’ll be dead by the end of the second act. Plus A. and I have started doing voices – he’s Lewis, and I’m Hathaway – and everyone knows that’s a nail in the coffin for taking a show seriously, so we started watching Wallander instead. We just finished season 2, which I enjoyed more than season 1. What the show has really made me want to watch, though, is the original Swedish version. Roger Ebert does a review of the movie/mini Revenge here, but as with most Ebert reviews (these days?), you’ll need to beware of too much information if you click through. My preferred mode for seeing movies and TV these days is to avoid all reviews and then check them out afterwards, which is kind of ridiculous given my dual laud to the first season of The Wire, originally airing back in 2001? 2002? Yeah. And speaking of spoilers:

Judge John Hodgman: a Quashed Plot Never Spoils

This episode of JJH cracked me up. It’s important to note that laughing like a bastard in one’s work cube is no way to keep your boss off your back.

The Boogens

A. and I watched this with friends recently – mostly because I cataloged it at work and none of us had ever heard of it. (I thought the DVDBlu-ray case said “The Boogers” at first.) For me, it was worth it for the dialogue and the old dude creeping around (see 00:27 of the trailer for the ominous close-up), but overall it was giggle-inducing and not scary at all.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

I am having some serious trouble with this book. By which I mean I am hard, hard pressed indeed to put it down at night. Nor am I able to stop thinking about the plot and characters and my god, what the hell is Kvothe going to get into by the next page. It’s frustrating as hell, so I recommend you do not read. Really. Don’t pick this one up. You’ll be sorry. Your soul won’t be your own any more. I am WARNING YOU. DON’T DO IT. Okay?

But seriously now. This is book number two of the Kingkiller chronicles, which Wiki and the author’s website tell me is a trilogy. And it’s good. I’m bothered by how good it is and how deeply it claims my attention – mostly because I’m jealous and it’s a debut novel (the second volume has a blurb on the back from Ursula K. Le Guin, for god’s sake! The swoons! The dream of dreams! Eaargh! Er, suffice to say that if I were this dude, I’d have had several heart attacks by now) – but also because it’s been a while since anything I’ve read has engrossed me so, and without the use of cliffhanger chapter endings! I am shocked, shocked, to say the least.

I think my favorite thing about it is that Rothfuss has already revealed a great many things about the main character and the plot by jumping around in time in the telling; for example, we know certain things have happened to Kvothe in his youth because he references them as an older man, and yet when we dive back into his story, I’m still in suspense.

Anyhoo. If you like fantasy, give this a try. If you don’t, give this a try. And don’t be fooled by the slow start of book one. It’s a damned lie.


I’ve been enjoying some Alaskan brewing company beers, particularly the Summer kolsch. Also recommended: the Hedgeline Vineyards riesling. It’s cheap and not terrible.

* Although I don’t know if I can trust him; so far HTCE is turning out to be a book I use only for looking up definitions, meat temperatures, possible cooking times, etc., because all the recipes out of it I’ve tried have run the short gamut of uninspiring to awful. Okay. Only the pancake recipe was awful. I don’t fancy myself Julia Child, but I won’t be straying from my own pancake recipe from now on.

2 thoughts on “Lauds and Libs: they’re back, and this time, it’s personal.

  1. I'm bothered by how good it is and how deeply it claims my attention – mostly because I'm jealous and it's a debut novel (the second volume has a blurb on the back from Ursula K. Le Guin, for god's sake! The swoons! The dream of dreams! Eaargh!

    Tell me about it. I tore through that thing in about five days, it was brutal but soooo much fun. Can't wait for the third one. He's now hosting some very fun interactive online panel discussions on writing, see here for the first one, on Urban Fantasy.


  2. Ack! That looks fantastic, thanks for the link. I need to do a write-up of all the fabulous youtube panels/shows that have popped up lately thanks to Geek and Sundry.

    I sort of wish I'd waited to start these books till the third one was finished. TV on DVD has ruined my fannish patience levels.


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