Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hi! (with udon)

I haven't been posting for a while. I was getting sick of blogging about food. I thought about changing my blog's focus to "things that piss Insomniac off", but I thought no, that's not a good idea.

So back to food. And assorted other things...

Last night I made a psuedo-vegetarian udon. I say pseudo because I used chicken dashi as a broth.

I went with my coworker to the Asian market her dad works at. She was useful to help translate things. And then we went to Beard Papas and I had my first object filled with cream. Usually I bypass objects with cream after one bite as they are often cloyingly sweet (or I separate the cream from the pastery), but the Beard Papas cream puff was surprisingly good.

I purchased the following for $20 at the market:
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Radish Sprouts
  • Green Onions
  • Miso paste
  • Tofu
  • Chicken soup stock
  • A large pack of frozen udon
  • Package of dried seaweed
  • And a large can of lychees (not for udon, but for martini making)

The frozen udon were pretty neat. They looked like this. All you have to do is drop them in boiling water and you're good to go.

Here was my homemade recipe:

1. Fill pot with water. Set to boil
2. Throw in chopped up baby bok choy. I added a leek I had leftover from a previous recipe
3. Season water with chicken dashi
4. Chop up mushrooms, throw in pot.
5. Throw udon in pot.
6. Chop up tofu, throw in pot.
7. Check seasonings - add salt and pepper if needed
8. What else is left? Seaweed, radish sprouts? Throw that in the pot too.
9. Let simmer.
10. Pour in bowl, eat with spoon and chopstocks (fork, in my case) to trap wayward udon.

My coworker was so impressed with my results, she has decided that I should get some sort of Japanese name. I suggested something that can be loosely translated as "maker of fine udon".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valentine's Day for All!

Like pretty much everyone else, I'm not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day. The stampede at the florists, the crowded restaurants, the saccharine Hallmark cards that always have the word "sweetheart" or "darling", the boxes of Russell Stover's chocolates... thanks, but no thanks.

I have an alternative for you folks who live in Southern California.

How would you like to celebrate romantic love by working along LGBT folk and straight allies to persuade support for marriage equality by talking directly with voters face-to-face?

I did this last week in Pasadena and let me tell you, it was quite the experience. We talked with voters and although most of them remained fairly unchanged in their views, I was able to change someone who had previously voted YES on Prop 8 to someone who is undecided. I recognize that as a straight female, these conversations are "easier" for me. My canvassing partner would come out to people as a transgendered male even in the face of hostility. Talk about courageous.

When Prop 8 passed, so many people were outraged and baffled at the result. Time has passed since Nov. 4, but we still need to harness that energy to create some social change. Chances are this issue will be voted on again in a couple of years. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved.

Consider this your official invitation!

(below is an excerpt of an email that was sent out from VFE. If you're interested in signing up, click on the link below or send me an email. We can canvass together - it'll be fun. And I'll show up with a Valentine just for you!)


Proposition 8 passed by 600,000 votes last November.

California may see another marriage-related ballot initiative in as little as 24 months.

We have a lot of work to do to change the hearts and minds of thousands of voters.

What better way to start than a Valentine’s Day canvass for marriage equality?

Join Vote for Equality’s


Saturday, February 14th

10:00am – 2:30pm

Location TBD

We will be going to areas of LA where Proposition 8 passed by a narrow margin – and we need your help!

There will be a full training, lunch, and you will canvass in pairs.

Bring friends – the more voters we talk to, the closer we get to winning marriage back in California!

We also need your help before the 14th!

To get involved in:

  • Canvass prep (materials, turf cutting (email me at nest.insomniac@gmail.com for Al's contact info)
  • Building a bigger team of volunteers …email Laura (email me for her contact info)

For general questions about VFE and our 2009 plan of action, email me and I'll connect you with the actual person that can answer them.

Vote for Equality (VFE) is the organizing arm of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. VFE works to advance marriage equality and build the political power of LGBT people and allies in Los Angeles County through grassroots action, leadership development, and public/voter education. VFE is currently developing organizing models and systems to persuade previously unsupportive voters in Los Angeles County to support marriage equality. With our side needing approximately 300,000 more votes statewide to win the next time around, Los Angeles will be responsible for at least one-fourth - or 70,000 - of those votes. VFE is proactively engaging voters in conversation now through door-to-door canvasses and phone banks to continue the work of changing the hearts and minds of Californians.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For children of the 80s

For some reason, after opening presents on Christmas morning, my brother and I got into a heated discussion about which artist sang the first bar of "We Are the World". After it became apparent that no resolution was imminent, I proclaimed with a flourish- "to the internets!"

Through the magic of youtube we got our answer. Plus we laughed hysterically at all the young looking stars. Bruce with his raspy constipatedesque delivery ; Kenny Loggins and Daryl Hall, the two guys that never really made it out of the 80s, Mike when he still had a nose and was the epitome of asexual cuteness... Why are they all holding sheet music? They couldn't remember 8 words? Could LaToya's shoulder pads be any bigger? Who's the dude that looks like Dwight Schrute standing next to who I think is Harry Belafonte?

It's worth a view. And can you tell me who the white woman is who sings immediately after Cyndi?

(Look at John Oates - I had a major crush on him. That mustache just screamed sexy masculinity. lol)

Monday, January 5, 2009

No on Prop 8 -> Vote for Equality

So during the holiday break, staff and volunteers who worked on the No on Prop 8 campaign have been meeting to determine next steps for pushing our agenda forward. The group name has changed to Vote for Equality, as Prop 8 is said and done.

Although Proposition 8 passed, it did so by about 600,000 votes - a huge improvement over the margin for Prop 22 a few years back. We want to keep the momentum going. We want to show folks that LGBT folks are still here and put a face to the cause. We want to have conversations with people who voted Yes - we want to listen to them and share our stories/views to achieve our ultimate goal - changing hearts and minds.

We spent the first meeting dissecting the shortcomings of the No on Prop 8 campaign - not grassroots enough, didn't make inroads into communities of color, didn't spend enough time in unsupportive areas, didn't allow individuals to tell their stories, limited avenues for volunteering, etc.

The next step was figuring out what we're going to do next. The decision was made to do canvassing and phone banking . I've signed up for the canvassing team because I think it is important to have face-to-face conversations with folks. We will start out in swing precincts and eventually travel to less supportive areas. We'll do a pilot run Jan 17 and then recruit volunteers (expect some phone calls/emails!) for a Feb 14 Valentine's Day canvass.

One team is working on turf cutting for the walks and figuring out logistics. I'm on the team that will be crafting the messaging and data coding. This is proving to be more challenging than I had anticipated. Because we don't have a specific goal in mind (votes on a particular proposition or initiative), what will be the measure of our success? How do you walk the fine line between listening/acknowledging people's views with respect and advancing our agenda of progressiveness? How do you address some of the issues non-supporters might have (don't want children taught about same-sex marriage in school, marriage has always been between one man and one woman, domestic partnerships are enough, etc.)? We talked about a lot of this stuff at our last meeting on Saturday and tonight we're actually going to work on a script. I'm supposed to be drafting a response to the argument that Californians have voted on this issue twice already - why can't we accept the rule of the people?

If you have any thoughts that you'd like me to bring to the table, I'd be happy to hear them!