Archive for May 2014

The Meat I Eat #26

Instead of going and playing Ultimate Frisbee today (like we would’ve done had we won on Tuesday), a few of us decided to go over to Fremont Brewing Company for some sunny, almost-summertime drinks on the patio. It was warm and festive and we had a lovely time.

Danni+Andrew+Fremont BrewingCheers! With a black bean burger and a saison.

They don’t actually serve food at Fremont Brewing, but they do allow/encourage folks to bring in anything they wanna eat. With this in mind, Stephanie and I stopped at Paseo, which is a happenin’ Caribbean sandwich spot just a few blocks north of the bar. Stephanie got a tasty lookin’ tofu sandwich, but I opted to go for their most popular sandwich: the Caribbean Roast. This sandwich comes on a lightly toasted baguette and has slow-roasted/marinated pork shoulder in addition to fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce, caramelized onions, and a garlic aoili sauce. It was delicious.

Andrew+sandwich Fremont BrewingBailey at Fremont Brewing

SANDWICH! (left) and lil’ pup Bailey, whose presence necessitated going to a bar with a patio (right).

I probably would’ve rather been playing some Frisbee, but hanging out and eating/drinking in the sun with a bunch of friends is certainly a great way to spend an evening.

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Miles run in 2014: 142.3
Books read in 2014: 34

Ultimate Frisbee and (Lack of) Running

The observant blog-follower will likely have noticed that I haven’t been running much over the past five or six weeks. This is due in large part to the fact that my left knee feels kinda wonky after I run sometimes. It doesn’t hurt, but it does feel kind of… sensitive? This has led me to become almost hyper-aware about the smallest little knee pain/twinge, and I feel fairly anxious when I’m running. I don’t want to explode my leg so I’ve been trying to take things a bit slower and limit my runnin’ until my knee decides to stop being dumb. I also bought a small knee brace, which I think has helped. In any case, I’ve felt much better on my runs lately.

The other reason I’ve stopped running three times a week is that I’ve been playing Ultimate since the beginning of April. We have games every week, and I’ve essentially been substituting a Frisbee game for a run. Unfortunately, our last game of the season was today (sad).

Seven on the line UltimateIt was very bright today. Here we are waiting for a pull and staring right into the sun.

Despite playing quite well during the regular season and earning a #6 seed (out of 30 teams), we got a tough draw in the second round of the playoffs. We were matched up against the champions from last year, and they beat us tonight. This is particularly frustrating because they were also the team that knocked us out of the postseason a year ago! Boo. We didn’t play particularly well (people looked kinda tired), but it was still fun.

Ultimate Frisbee Deep HuckAction shot! I’m about to throw it super far to the guy runnin’ deep all the way on the right.

Anyway, now that Frisbee is over and my knee is feelin’ ~better I reckon I’ll start running more consistently. Hooray!

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Miles run in 2014: 142.3
Books read in 2014: 34

The Meat I Eat #24 and #25

Thursday, May 15th, 8:30pm:

As I’ve done for the past four or five years, I’ve been playing on a co-rec intramural Ultimate Frisbee team this spring. Our regular season finished last week, and our first playoff game was Thursday at 6:15 pm. It was pretty hot out (~83 °F), so I didn’t eat much food during the day because my stomach is fairly sensitive to eating+exertion and I didn’t want to feel gross while I was runnin’ around. Because I’d had such a light lunch, I was super hungry once the game was over (we won 14-6!). I didn’t feel like fixing dinner, so we just went to Subway and got sandwiches. Instead of my usual veggie sub, I opted to get the Subway Melt (which has turkey, black forest ham, and bacon). It was good and filling, but probably only about 10% better than the meat-free sandwich.

Saturday, May 17th, 7:30pm:

One of our friends is celebrating her golden birthday this year (she turns 25 on May 25th) so she threw a party on Saturday to commemorate the occasion. Folks were encouraged/instructed to dress up a little bit and to incorporate something gold into their attire. (I went to Goodwill and picked up a swanky, golden, $4 tie.) At the party, there were also tons of golden balloons and origami cranes folded from metallic golden paper and marigold (maybe?) flowers and Werther’s candies in shiny golden wrappers… the theme was artfully embraced and helped make things feel particularly festive. Our hostess cooked up a big ol’ slow cooker full of carnitas and we stuffed ourselves with tasty tacos. There were also tons of handmade desserts on hand including an apple-crepe birthday cake, sriracha+orange+chocolate truffles, cupcakes, and so much more. Everything looked and tasted delicious! It was a truly wonderful birthday party for truly wonderful individual. Hooray!

Golden Birthday dessertsAndrew Golden Birthday Party
Fancy dessert spread (left) and enjoying some delicious carnitas nachos (right).

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Miles run in 2014: 139.1
Books read in 2014: 31

Mariners Matinée

Earlier today, Stephanie and I went to another Mariners game. The weather has been amazing in Seattle this week (75-83 °F and super sunny), and I was able to find some very cheap seats on StubHub; we figured it’d be imprudent not to buy tickets. The game started at 12:40 pm and it was actually a little roasty-toasty sitting on the aluminum bleachers which were directly in the sun. Thankfully, there was a pretty persistent breeze coming in off the water so it wasn’t uncomfortably hot.

May152014_SafecoField_AndrewPlay ball! A sunny, breezy day at Safeco Field.

For lunch, we went to the “The Natural” concession stand where they serve a variety of vegetarian entrées. Stephanie got their veggie burger (which she rated as “meh”), and I got the veggie chilli dog. I’m not sure what kind of non-meats were used to make the hot dog, but it was nicely spiced and had a good texture. And the chilli that they dumped on top was thick and well-seasoned and had carrots and corn and chickpeas and kidney beans and lots of other veggies mixed in. On top of this, I piled a bunch of mustard and ketchup and sauerkraut. It was super messy. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of my hot dog before I snarfed it down. Or maybe that’s not really so unfortunate? I suppose a chilli dog probably isn’t the most photogenic type of dog… in any case, it was delicious! And filling. I would definitely get one again.

SeatView_May152014Our view from the left field bleachers.

Unfortunately, the baseball-related performance of the Mariners was nowhere near as good as the lunchtime-related performance of my chilli dog. Seattle managed exactly two hits. They did not score any runs, losing 2-0. If it hadn’t been so nice out this would have been a fairly miserable baseball game. Oh well. There are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon!

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Miles run in 2014: 139.1
Books read in 2014: 31

A Book Review: Pepperpot – Best New Stories from the Caribbean (assorted authors)

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a book review. Let’s change that!

Preface: I’m part of the Early Reviewers group over on librarything.com; every month, tens of copies of ~100 new books are listed and given away to potential reviewers. Group members can go through this list and select/apply for a book that they think sounds interesting. Then, publishers go through the applicants, look at a person’s profile to examine their previous reviews and reading habits/tastes, and select the “winners” who they think seem most likely to write a thoughtful review for their book. There are usually 10-20 times as many applicants as there are copies of books, so while the odds of winning aren’t terribly low, it’s still exciting to be chosen as a “winner”. So far, I’ve selected a book 15 times and have won 8! times, suggesting that I’ve been exceedingly lucky. (Either that, or publisher’s must think that I have impeccable book reviewin’ capabilities.) And then, if you win, you’re supposed to write a review for the book.

PepperpotLast week, I received an advanced reader’s copy of Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. This collection includes 13 shorts and is the first in a new series of planned yearly releases which aim to introduce Caribbean literature to a much broader audience. I really do enjoy reading short stories a lot, and anthologies like this one are a perfect way to experience a bunch of new writers without needing to invest a big chunk of time in any single author (in case you encounter someone who isn’t to your liking). This collection was doubly appealing because I really hadn’t had much/any exposure to Caribbean literature, and I was excited to try reading something different.

As I made my way through this collection, I noticed that there were a few themes that many of the stories seemed to share. 1) Warm, humid weather pervades most aspects of the characters’ lives and largely influences their habits and behaviors; 2) the idea that islands, even larger islands like Jamaica, are essentially small communities where secrets are scarce and it is difficult to distance yourself from your past; 3) the fact that a large portion of the population is highly marginalized and subsists on very little; and 4) individuals who deviate from socially accepted behavior are generally swiftly/harshly punished. These similarities between stories really helped to tie things together and made the collection feel very cohesive. I also felt like these shared themes did a wonderful job of highlighting some of the issues/conflicts that are likely central to life in the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, I ended up finding parts of this collection to be fairly underwhelming. I do not mean to suggest that any of the writing was bad, but many of these stories seemed a little underdeveloped. Or overly straightforward? Depending or your tastes, this isn’t even necessarily a bad thing; sometimes a nice, simple story is what you’re in the mood for. However, I was unable to get into/connect with a lot of these stories. That being said, I did enjoy some of them a lot. Below, I’ve mentioned three of my favorites.

Waywardness by Ezekel Alan – This was easily my favorite story of the bunch. Like many of the other stories in this collection, it recounts (in graphic detail) the daily lives of people who are forced to live on the margins of society. It is not a nice story (regularly trivializing rape and equating homosexuality to sexual abuse/bestiality), but I really loved the writing style and the method of storytelling that was used. So much grit! After looking up the author, I noticed that he has written a novel as well… I think I might have to check that out.

Mango Summer by Janice Lynn Mather- Another tragic story, this recounts the disappearance of a young girl (Theresa) from the viewpoint of her older sister (Brenda). Over the course of a summer, several children in a close-knit community slowly begin to disappear. Although many of the adults are wracked with grief and worry, Brenda and Theresa remain largely untouched and naively continue with their summertime activities. And then Theresa disappears. While Brenda recognizes that her sister is almost certainly dead and gone, she prefers to think of her as away on an epic boat journey with all of the other missing girls. “It’s a shame to think of them any other way. It would waste them. And why waste little girls? They are, they can be, such nice things.” This story was very poignant, providing a strikingly sharp contrast between the innocence of childhood and the sometimes horrible harshness of reality.

All the Secret Things No One Ever Knows by Sharon Leach – “Ten years ago, I found out that I wasn’t my father’s only girlfriend.” This is the opening sentence, quickly setting the tone for a very heavy, traumatic story that details the continued sexual and psychological abuse of a daughter by her father. Again, this is an awful, terrible story (I don’t think there is a single story in this collection that is remotely happy…), but it is written in such an artful, compelling fashion. It was not easy to read, but I am glad that I read it.

I also liked Amelia at Devil’s Bridge and The Monkey Trap. If you really enjoy short story collections, or are interested in checkin’ out writing from a new region/area, I don’t think you’d regret perusing these stories. This was a quick read and some of the writing is quite remarkable. However, I would not classify this collection as a “must read”. Overall, I’d give it 3.5 stars (out of 5).

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Miles run in 2014: 132.7
Books read in 2014: 30