the state

– of halloween bah humbugs. by jgrimsrud
Friday, 31 October 2008, 20:01
Filed under: -of jgrimsrud, -of localism

(note: following post dripping with sarcasm).

while trick-or-treating we came upon a house.

when we saw the carefully manicured lawn, pristine paint job, and mccain/palin signs, we thought to ourselves, “well now, this is a house that knows how to party!”

imagine our surprise when we saw this posted on the door:

well, good for you, neighbors!  thanks for letting us know!  most people figure that a simple leaving-off-of-the-porch-light is a good enough strategy.  but not you.  you had the bravery to take it the next step.  really prove your point.  wow.


– of pumpkin seeds. by jhumphrey
Friday, 31 October 2008, 18:37
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey

we’re lame parents.

we are just now furiously completing both the halloween costume and pumpkin carving.  it’s 6:30pm.  on halloween night.

but we’re feeling in the holiday spirit and – i thought that everyone could use a recipe to turn that slimy mass of seed yuck into a delicious treat.

thanks to hogwash:

TIME: 10 minutes prep (not including seed excavation)
MAKES: 3 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds

3 1/2 cups raw fresh pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Place the seeds in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the salt and add hot water to cover. Let sit for 4 hours (or overnight), until the seeds are puffy. Scoop the seeds off the top of the water, avoiding any leftover pumpkin bits, and transfer them to a large tea towel. Use another towel to pat them mostly dry – they’ll still be a bit slimy, but do what you can.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Transfer the seeds to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the olive oil and maple syrup. Blend the remaining ingredients, plus the remaining teaspoon salt, in a small bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the seeds as you stir them. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then spread the seeds on the baking sheets in a thin layer.

Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating sheets and stirring seeds once or twice, or until browned and crisp. Remove seeds from the oven, sprinkle immediately with additional salt, and let cool on baking sheets. Break seeds apart and enjoy, alone or on salads. Store cooled seeds in an airtight container.

-of american heroes (r.i.p. studs terkel) by jgrimsrud
Friday, 31 October 2008, 18:12
Filed under: -of bios, -of jgrimsrud

we just heard the news…  one of the greatest american storytellers died today at the age of 96.

i’m sure there are many ways to revisit his work; i enjoyed his appearances on democracy now!, far ranging conversations w/ a man of startling memory and humor.

one of my favorite bits was his account of mahalia jackson standing up for his radio career:

Terkel was blacklisted for his views, and lost his show, “Stud’s Place.” Then legendary African-American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson insisted that he be hired as the host of her show. CBS demanded Terkel sign a loyalty oath. When he refused, they threatened to fire him. She told them, “Look, if you fire Studs, find another Mahalia Jackson.” CBS backed off. Studs recalled: “Do you know what happened? Nothing. You have to face them down.”

terkel’s “i tape, therefore i am” mantra highlights the shallow vulgarity of “reality” tv culture & affirms the value of real life.  it’s a great story, and i hope to hear many people retelling studs’ over the next weeks.

-of election parties.2 by jgrimsrud
Friday, 31 October 2008, 17:29
Filed under: -of eli pabs, -of localism, -of sound

¿what to do on election night?

well, we got our tix today at the downtown obama office for the blue nile party–we’ll make our rounds, of course (a nice, cold delerium tremens at clementine is a must), but i can’t wait to bask in dem. victory with my hummus & ethiopian butter!  then wash it down w/ obama’s own brew of choice: pbr ($2)

and it’ll all taste sweeter if we run around town canvassing until then.


update (via swing state project)–looks like it could well be a long night.  here’s what to expect schedule wise (hope there’s plenty of hummus):

– of latinos for obama. by vastate
Friday, 31 October 2008, 17:12
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of politik

so.  just back from an afternoon of canvassing.

we were out at chesnut ridge drive.

75% of the people we talked to were monolingual spanish speakers.

good thing we both speak passable spanish.

i had to go back to the obama headquarters to ask for a special spanish-language info sheet, because everything we had was only in english.  i was surprised they had no other literature in spanish – isn’t the hispanic population in harrisonburg HUGE?  they printed off a (really good) form from the website and made a few copies.

we ran out oh so fast.

you know how supersaturated you feel right now? how many people have talked to you about obama, about the election, about voting, about registering to vote?  how many leaflets and pamphlets have to tossed into an ever-growing pile by your door?

i don’t think that ANYONE had talked personally with any of these folks whose doors we knocked on this afternoon.  they were so happy to hear that they were registered, find out where they would be voting, get a ride to the polls.

a few had seen some tv ads like the one below in order to form their positive opinions of obama. but they hadn’t talked to anyone from the campaign.

one old woman from puerto rico invited us inside and told us how hard it is to vote in the u.s.-proper.  (although she LOVES obama and now, thanks to the campaign headquarters, has a ride next tuesday to cast her vote)  she said that in puerto rico, election day is an official holiday.  you never have to worry about a ride.  it’s like a big party all day long.  with singing. and food. and friends.

another woman, holding her baby, told us as our children played together for a moment, in spanish,  “all hispanics love obama SO much.  he cares about us.  even the ones that don’t have papers.  he cares about our children.  he knows we work hard.  i only hope with everything i have that he wins.”

i was uncertain about canvassing.  johan had to be forced to go.

we both walked away feeling elated.  hopeful, in fact – to sound cliched.

– of martin & local theater. by vastate
Friday, 31 October 2008, 11:37
Filed under: -of art, -of funny, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

so, i was hanging out at downtown wine and gourmet last night, (the happening place to be on a thursday night) and a nice guy named martin (he may have made your latte at the dodger at some point) stopped by on his way to play practice to give us all the heads up on The Playhouse’s (harrisonburg’s community theater) new comedy opening up on November 11.

it’s called “almost maine.”  (here is the nytimes review of another production, and the official website)

this is the blurb:

On a cold, clear, moonless Friday night in deepest Winter, the Northern Lights hover over the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine.  All is not quite what it seems as the residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected, unusual, and often hilarious ways.  An enchanting midwinter night’s dream, ALMOST, MAINE inventively explores the mysteries of the human heart, touching audiences with laughter, heartbreak, and hope.  Written by John Cariani.

according to a little leaflet i picked up, if you show up at court square theater at 6:30pm on Nov. 11, and pay $25 (or $20 if you are already a court square member harrisonburg downtown renaissance member – as this is a fundraiser for them) {thanks for the clarification, tina!}, you can enjoy “an evening of wine, art, desserts, and drama.”  wine and desserts donated by downtown wine and gourmet. call 540-432-8922 for reservations.  i think the ticket cost goes down closer to $10 for subsequent, not-opening-night, shows.

sounds good to me.

funny that martin stopped by with his little blue, tattered play book.  i was thinking about the state of local theater a lot yesterday after reading this great article, “Ten Things Theaters Need To Do Right Now to Save Themselves” from brenden kiley at the stranger.  a few of the points:

1. Enough with the goddamned Shakespeare already.

3. Produce dirty, fast, and often.

5. Offer child care.

7. Build bars.

9. Expect poverty.

10. Drop out of graduate school.

long live the theater!

– of saying goodbye(to luigi’s ranch dressing)& holding tight to what we have. by vastate
Thursday, 30 October 2008, 19:43
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey

word on the street (and confirmed by hburg news) is that luigi’s downtown will be closing it’s doors.


like, this coming sunday soon.

first l&s, now luigis.

to be honest, i was not impressed with the menu when i went there a few weeks ago.  i concluded that the former employees took the good food with them when they ransacked the old luigi’s.  but…

makes me hope that newbies such as blue nile and clementine can hang tight.

makes me worry about long-time favorites such as indian-american.

speaking of indian-american…i’m off to order some ponir saag (that is how they spell it…) and naan.

it’s along the lines of bush telling everyone to go out and shop after 9-11, but risking the association, i’ll encourage everyone to eat out.  and choose carefully when you decide where to eat.  chili’s and red lobster will be fine…fear not.

but indian-american, clemetine, blue nile, the little grill…they all need us to stay afloat…