Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My first music blog-type post

So I bought this violin... and tonight Niyati came over and taught me part of a new song, so I thought I'd use it for my first music blog post. It's in Raga Ashamand, and is a piece that she learned in UofA Indian Music Ensemble. Warning: I can't play in tune yet, but I'm getting better every day!

raga ashamand at Muziboo.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tattoo and Fiddle

This week I made two big purchases: a tattoo and a fiddle. I'm so happy with them both!

I got the tattoo on Tuesday from a great artist named Nelson at Pinz N Needlz on U st in DC. It took him 3 hours to free-hand the art onto my body, then another 3.5 hours to do the actual tattoo. Man, it hurt so bad, but it was definitely worth it. Now it's almost healed and it's so beautiful! I'll be going back in August to have some more shading added to it, but that will be considerably less painful than the lettering was.

On Friday I got the fiddle from House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park. It's got a beautiful sound and I've been practicing a lot this weekend. I named it Chloe. It got a lot of action on Friday night at her going-away party, so it seemed only fair. I'm looking forward to becoming an old-timey fiddler and I can already scratch out a few songs! I have happy blisters on my fingers that make me smile every time I look at them.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Soup and Poetry

I've spent this evening on my front porch with Ophelia the cat, the fireflies, and the fog under the terrifying hum of the cicadas eating soup and reading Lorca. Here is the pantry recipe I used tonight, which turned out quite to be delicious, and one of the poems from his set of Ghazals that I read over and over. I love all eleven of them, and it was hard to choose just one to share.

Bean Soup

2 cups stock
1 big clove garlic
2 shallots
3 carrots
1 can black beans
1 cup soy beans (but I think 2 cans of black beans would be better)
handful cilantro
2 bay leaves
1 dry red chili, whole with seeds removed
zest of one lemon (but lime would be better)
salt to taste

Sautee onions and garlic. Add stock and bring to a gentle boil. Add carrots and beans and seasonings. Cook until everything is soft. Remove the bay leaves and chili and blend until smooth. I added some juice from the lemon when I served it, maybe garnish with more cilantro.

IX. Ghazal of Flight
by Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca (transl. Catherine Brown)

I have often been lost on the sea
with my ear full of fresh-cut flowers
with my tongue full of agony and love.
Often I have been lost on the sea,
as I am lost in the heart of certain children.

There is no one who can kiss
without feeling the smile of those without faces;
there is no one who can touch
an infant and forget the immobile skulls of horses.

Because roses search the forehead
for a hard landscape of bone,
and human hands have no more sense
than to mimic roots beneath the soil.

As I am lost in the heart of certain children,
I have often been lost on the sea.
Not knowing water, I keep looking
to be consumed in luminous death.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Park Hunters

On the way home from the metro today, two young girls ran in front of me on the path through the park and yelled, "YOU CAN'T PASS!!"

"Are you monsters?" I replied.

"Naw, we're hunters. We're hunting the squirrels and the birds. We live in the park over by that tree there."

"What do you do with the animals after you hunt them?"

"We eat them, of course."

"How do you cook them?"

"With fire." She pointed to a small pile of sticks a little ways away. "See, you rub them sticks together until they make smoke, and then you get fire."

"Ah yes," I answered knowingly. "I've tried that before. It's hard."

The look of wonder spread across her face and her eyes opened wide. "Have you did it?"

"Nope! Like I said, it's hard. But I bet you could do it."

Then they took me for a tour of park, pointing out all the special trees--one was a couch, a shower, a TV, a refrigerator--and told me all about being squirrel hunters in the park. Then I thanked them and wished them luck, and came home to cook non-make-believe food for dinner.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

To celebrate today, I went to the Canadian embassy for the party there. I waited in line for a long time to get in, and as far as parties go, it was a little bit lame. However, I can't express how fulfilling it was to spend an hour surrounded by people from my home going through a similar experience of dislocation as me. We sang the anthem and made small talk in English and French. There was free poutine and beer for everyone, and an inflatable hockey game for the kids. Red and white and people with little Canada flags temporary-tattooed on their faces abounded, and we all got miniature flags to wave enthusiastically.

After work I went with Chloe and Matt to meet with my tattoo artist and discuss the design I'm getting. I made an appointment for next Tuesday! I'll post pics asap. Afterwards we went to Ben's Chili Bowl and I had my first chilidog. Oh man oh man, it had to be one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. And we got the added pleasure of making all sorts of innuendos as we ate.

Now I've spent the evening chatting about boys with my roommates, photoshopping and listening to music. A fun and relaxing Canada day, all in all.