Archive | February, 2010

[Video] In Soviet Russia, Music Sings You

28 Feb

A trippy introduction, bare-bones set, fashionable suit and questionable lip-syncing ability join forces to make this one of the greatest cultural happenings of all time.

[Video] Frontier Ruckus – Mona and Emmy (live)

27 Feb

Frontier Ruckus is a delightfully folksy band from the Detroit area of all places. I first heard this song on Daytrotter last week while I was doing research at the public library for my honors thesis. I proceeded to listen to it over and over again, and it is now decidedly my favorite song of February. Check them out. Plus their website is really cool in a minimalist artsy sort of way (even if it is well nigh impossible to use).

[Odds and Ends] Making the Jump

21 Feb

I’m fully aware that I’ve gotten complacent in regards to good ol’ CFB of late, so I figured that the blog would be best served by me either stopping it entirely (smells like defeat) or migrating it over to WordPress (to shake things up, plus I’ve heard some good things). After some admittedly hasty deliberation I’ve decided that I’m going to bite the bullet and make a fresh start over on WordPress, even though they just had an “epic” 110 minute service outage two days ago (hey, I work in IT, this stuff happens sometimes). Mostly, I’m just tired of wonky formatting things happening when I’m writing posts.

Depending on the number of inevitable snags I hit during the migration process, it’ll probably take a week or two to get everything fully up and running over at confoundedfretbuzz.wordpress.com. I’m also presently digging through a backlog of new music to review so I’ll be getting back to that when I have some reasonably free time.

[Resisted the urge to embed Van Halen’s “Jump” music video here; it’s so abhorrent that it goes far beyond ironic]

[Review] How Do We Jump This High? – Deep Stationary

20 Feb

Straight ahead punk-tinged rock that leans toward the mid-tempo. It’s occasionally plodding, with sometimes emotive guitar picking. I wasn’t a huge fan of the vocals. These guys sound sort of like an unhappy Latterman. This EP didn’t quite click for me; but it was awful close to doing so. It’s certainly worth a listen; someone with more refined tastes than mine would probably like it a lot.

I enjoyed the tracks that bookend the EP the most: “See Ya In The Funny Papers” and “Four Day Weekend.”

Also, the cover art looks pretty delicious.

Available for donation-based download on If You Make It.

[Odds and Ends] Worcester Regional Transit

13 Feb

I recently took my first unaccompanied ride on a city bus (I’m pretty old at this point, it’s not like a need a guardian, Rivers). Still, I had always been with wise compatriots who knew the routes, whether in New York or Boston or any number cities in France. I needed to do research for my honors thesis at the public library and given the hardscrabble stretch that lies between my apartment and the library, I figured I was better off not walking, especially after dark.

You may think it sad that it is only in the final semester of my four years at Clark that I am finally flying solo on the city buses. And you would, of course, be completely right. The first few years I spent at Clark I was pretty content to not go explore the wider world far beyond campus, with the exception of that hill over at Elm Park which is my favorite spot in the whole city. Living in Worcester last summer was a great experience, and the extra daylight gave me more time to get a better flavor of the city on foot. By and large, Worcester is delightfully sketchy apart from the happy shiny bubble of the university. Various attempts have been made at classing up blocks of desolation with the odd renovated structure that ends up creating a sort of combover effect–it doesn’t make you look like a guy with more hair, it just makes you look like a guy with a combover. The problems of this over-the-hill city run too deep to be fixed by a few spruced-up buildings poking up from a sea of decay.

History lesson that ties in with my honors thesis (I will probably find a way to sneak this in, especially if the Worcester Regional Transit Authority was established in part with Federal dollars): The WRTA was founded in 1974, much to the benefit of those in the city who could not afford their own vehicle. Providing improved mobility for those of lesser means was a fairly egalitarian move that at least in theory allowed for wider job opportunities for these folks. Back around 1900 Worcester had a thriving trolley system, but that had long since been abandoned by mid-century.

My experience avec les buses: Half hour wait to hop on a bus downtown. Apparently by mid-afternoon the route schedule is pretty much shot to hell, which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me, but I was just a bit irked. It was a nice enough day, but it’s February so that’s all relative. I don’t deal well with waiting for long periods for stuff (I eschew lines), so this was difficult, even if I was texting people most of the time. After three hours of feverish research at the public library, I only had a ten minute wait to hop on a bus back to campus. Total cost three dollars. Pretty reasonable, especially compared to the cost of a cab or getting jumped. Seating was surprisingly ample and the cabin was well-heated, which was really all I could have asked for.

I can tell this is the start of what will be a long and dysfunctional relationship.

[Food] Collegiate Cuisine, Volume Two: Faux-Meaty Burrito

6 Feb

Sometimes, I’m not so desperate for supplies that I have to break down and make the aforementioned Broke Toast. It is at these rare times of plenty that I am apt to make my standby manna, which left to my own devices I will consume on a daily basis. It’s meaty and substantial, but also vegetarian friendly, for those of you who lean that way.

What You’re Going to Need:

  • a tortilla (the bigger the better, you’re going to want to stuff this until it’s practically bursting; also, you can go the whole wheat route if you want to be a touch healthier and add some extra flavor)
  • fake meat crumbles
  • black bean and corn salsa (Newman’s Own is pretty good. It’s not the cheapest but they give their profits to charity, though I’m pretty sure you can’t use the salsa as a tax deduction.)
  • shredded cheese (I prefer Mexican blend or Cheddar; be sure to buy the two-pound store brand bags, because that will save you a ton of money in the long run, as well as allow you to be very generous with the addition of cheese)
  • a piece of paper towel
  • a microwave
  • about 5 minutes of prep, 3 minutes of patiently waiting

Step One: Pour out a hamburger patty-sized amount of crumbles onto a plate with a piece of paper towel on it. Nuke ’em for about 45 seconds. If you do it for much longer than that, they’ll start exploding and just generally make a mess of your microwave, and you don’t want that.

Step Two: Lift up the paper towel with the crumbles on top from two ends. Slide tortilla underneath. Pour crumbles onto center of tortilla. You’ll probably have some stragglers that stick to the paper towel, but since being poor AND wasteful is a dangerous combination, be sure to get as much of those crumbles off the paper towel and onto the tortilla (or alternatively, you could just pick them off the paper towel and eat them to tide you over).

Step Three: Pour a generous amount of salsa on top of the crumbles. If you want to get fancy you can use a tablespoon to dish it out in dollops, but you should just pour it out of the jar liberally. Salsa is really a miracle food. It’s not all that bad for you and you can even count it as a serving of produce that helps stave off the scurvy.

Step Four: Throw at least two good handfuls of cheese on top. Really go to town with it. However, you should be mindful that you want to be able to fold this burrito up eventually, unless you’re into consuming the south-of-the-border cousin of the open-faced sandwich (if you have any common sense at all, you’ll fold that thing up and save your microwave from becoming a shrine to filth). [Bonus points if you throw in sauteed peppers and onions, but who are we kidding, if you’re reading this recipe you’re probably not going to go to that kind of trouble.]

Step Five: Fold that tortilla up. Pull two sides towards each other, with one folding over the other (make sure there’s at least a solid inch of overlap, or this burrito is going to fall apart very, very quickly). Then fold each remaining end so that there’s at least an inch and a half or two inches of overlap. Flip burrito over while grasping the ends so that it doesn’t fall apart. If the burrito is as stuffed with fillings as it rightly should, this should be a delicate, borderline arduous process.

Step Six: Almost there, slugger! Microwave for around a minute, especially if the salsa was in the fridge. If it wasn’t, you probably won’t have to microwave it for nearly so long. Keep in mind that the longer you microwave the burrito, the hotter it’s going to be when it comes time to eat it.

Step Seven: Give that thing a few minutes to cool off, or you’re going to burn the bejeezus out of your mouth. And neither of us wants that, right?

Step Eight: Dig in. If you didn’t follow my instructions well enough and the burrito falls apart mid-consumption, use a fork to salvage the remains. But you should be striving to keep the plate as clean as possible. It’s a labor-saving policy, really.

Buen apetito!

Rumbleseat – California Burritos