Zucchini rice

Found myself at a loose end last night and wondered if there was such a thing as a zucchini rice recipe. The answer is yes and very tasty it is! My variation on it was due to not having cumin seeds, just cumin powder, as well as yellow rather than black mustard seeds — otherwise went ahead and cooked it up, v. delicious. Thanks to Manjula’s Kitchen for putting up the recipe!

Another week of delays…

…occasioned by everything from the end of the school year — always hectic, this time no exception — and, over the last couple of days, a really lovely fever/cold/earache/whatever combination that left me a wreck at a couple of points. Pretty much all down to the earache now and I’ll be seeing my doctor about that but my inclination to do little but zone has proven the right one. So hopefully more later in the week, when I’m a little more active once again! (Did go out to the garden on Sunday, though, and it looked lovely.)

A first reaction to the new VNV Nation album ‘Of Faith, Power and Glory’

Of Faith, Power and Glory

I hope to have a formal review in the near future through one of my usual outlets. For now, then, simply some brief personal reflections:

As I’ve talked about on here more than once, VNV Nation has assumed particular importance for me in recent years — their song “The Farthest Star” in particular had a resonance for me at a time when I felt frustrated and burnt out on a number of fronts, and any number of songs from the Judgement album hold near equal power as well. The slew of live shows I’ve seen since have reconfirmed that, and the brief conversations I’ve been lucky to have with VNV mainman Ronan Harris have always left me thinking he’s quite a generous and friendly fellow. Meanwhile, I’ve also seen the personal impact his work has had on some friends I’ve introduced the band’s work to — it’s been refreshingly uncynical, for lack of a better term.

Of Faith, Power and Glory — which I’m well into my second listen here tonight, and I’m probably about to play it to death in the run-up to the LA show that kicks off the tour — feels like the logical progression in the run of albums starting with Futureperfect, as VNV have refined and focused their sound, at once of a larger piece and yet able to hit the individual mark nearly every single time. It’s a rare act that can constantly use familiar elements and never seem boring or repetitious about it — we all have our individual examples in other genres, I’m sure, but VNV is my current lodestone there.

As I said, more formal thoughts to be saved for a review first. Suffice to say I spent a good chunk of this evening dancing to this whole thing like a fiend, phrases are already leaping out at me from the lyrics as perfectly capturing states of mind I know or remember well, and I simply can’t wait for the show now.

Peter Murphy off in the distance…

…or so it might seem thanks to the way that I took the photo. I was actually a lot closer to the stage than that, it’s partially the iPhone camera’s way of taking things, but I was also up in the balcony, sneaking a shot over a couple of people in front of me — and the resultant effect was actually quite striking, the isolated performers under the lights, seemingly playing to nobody.

Had various things to say about the show via Twitter and Facebook but this summary later provides a sample of my thoughts:

The show was tonight and I was quite impressed….what was especially cool was how he lived up fully to what he told me was going to be a focus on obscurer or new songs — I only immediately recognized about four solo songs (and he did NOT play “Cuts You Up,” though he did do two other songs from Deep), plus a Bauhaus-themed first encore that actually started with “A Strange Kind of Love” from Deep but that turned into a self mashup with that song’s music and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”‘s lyrics — and it worked! The covers were well-chosen — Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” made me happy as hell, completely knocked it out of the park with a vocal/electric guitar arrangement of NIN’s “Hurt” and a concluding take on “Space Oddity” arranged to sound like something from Dust combined with a Space Age/shapeship rhythm track.

But all the new songs were quite enjoyable and a few were REALLY strong, and it was telling how well he carried the crowd with the strength of his performances and his band’s with all this new material. It was a very in-the-moment show, very ‘this is where I’m at.’ Not the easiest of things to do but he succeeded.

Also got to meet him briefly. Friendly, witty guy!

And he was, indeed. Thanks again to friend H. for being so kind. I’ll hope to finally have the full interview I did to run later this week on here.

Chard enchiladas

Recipe came with the latest basket so I gave it a whirl tonight — flour tortillas instead of corn but otherwise pretty much as the recipe indicated, and very nicely done, I think!

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 tb Canola oil
2 Garlic cloves
— peeled and chopped
1 Onion, peeled and chopped
4 c Chard, coarsely chopped*
1 tb Butter
1 tb Flour
1/2 c Milk
1/2 c Cheddar cheese, grated
6 Corn tortillas
1/2 c Hot salsa

*Chard can be mixed with spinach and kale and other in-season greens.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat oil; saute garlic and onion until golden. Add chard (in small
amounts) until it is cooked down. Make a bechamel sauce; melt butter,
stir in flour, add milk and cheese. Stir until thick, then mix into
cooked greens.

Fill center of each tortilla, roll up, place in lightly oiled baking
dish. Spread salsa over all; bake in hot oven for 25 minutes.

My interview with Peter Murphy is up at the OC Weekly…

…and I hope to have a full transcript up here in a couple of days! But in the meantime, here’s the link and here’s a bit of the story:

“I enjoy playing with what’s at hand, almost like found ideas, something that’s here-and-now. Most of my vocals are written in one take, they just need a bit of refining—I don’t really want to mess around with the details! Working in music somehow allows you a liberation, it allows you to speak from a less bound-up kind of perspective.”

Speaking from his adopted home country of Turkey, Peter Murphy sounds simultaneously enthused, thoughtful and joyous. The British singer has long explored those moods in his work, most famously (in America) in his chart hit “Cuts You Up.” But some people also know him for probing darker, more emotionally fraught impulses with that band he used to be in.

Sunrise over a cloudbank

The wacky weather this last week has provided a few glorious views like this. And the rain’s going to be great for the garden and the air in general, so hey! Hope everyone’s weekend goes well.

The garden continues to thrive

New batch of shots up in the Flickr site — lots of things really going to town now, plus more on the way. We all figure next year will be even more spectacular but are very pleased with things as they stand.

ILX update for June 1

I think I might need to red flag the fact that http://status.ilxor.com is where to go for more information. So, it is. Go there.

This said, Stet has posted today with this:

I still need to get more details on the sponsorship situation, but we’re definitely OK until the end of June. While we’re down some updated code and database changes are going in (and the offsite backups are being brought up to date), so when that’s finished we’ll be back. If everything goes smoothly, it’ll be days, not weeks.

We’ll hopefully be back by the time I know more about hosting, but if not I’ll post more here. Thanks to everyone who emailed so far.

And, at present at least, the site is back, though this may change for updates as Stet notes.


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