Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Blog

Just wanted to let you know that I've switched over to WordPress, so you will now find my blog over here. I don't expect to be posting here anymore, so I hope to see you over at http://alymcf.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seeking the Perfect Potato Chip

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with potato chips.

On the down side, potato chips mess up my blood sugar balance, requiring me to consume some protein after eating them. They are also greasy as pepperoni pizza swimming in its own glop.

On the up side, they are addictive little yumsters.

So one of my more mundane goals of late has been to try to find the perfect potato chip. This goal has led me to do strange things like order a sampler pack of Popchips.

Popchips have a peculiar texture, different from others on the market. But they’ve got some interesting flavors. like chili lime, which tastes strangely like a tortilla chip even though it is made of potato not corn.

And then there are Lay’s potato chips.Their parent company is against GMO labeling and this stance normally disqualify their products from taking up valuable space in my kitchen. But darn if their Limon potato chips aren’t a piece of cracked up heaven. When I have them around, my daughter and I go through these things faster than poop through a goose.

Next let’s examine Kettle chips. These things, in their normal incarnation, are too greasy for any human being to eat safely. But they’ve got these evil good flavors that are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Nasty stuff, but when you need it, you need it.

But when I’m not feeling unbalanced enough to need the flavor addiction grease fest, I get either the reduced fat Kettle chips

or the Baked ones, which they call “Bakes” because apparently someone who works for them has a degree in Marketing but not in Grammar.

The plain Baked ones are best with some kind of dip because frankly they are short on flavor.

One issue with Kettle chips (to be fair, a lot of snack foods have this problem) is they can’t seem to decide which oil they are using in their chips.

This sort of indecisiveness is a problem for any person who, like my neighbor, cannot eat canola oil without ill consequences.

So which is the perfect potato chip? I have not yet found it. I welcome your suggestions.

So far the perfect chip is not a potato chip at all. It’s this:

Please comment and tell me your thoughts about snack chips!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Poem: I Said a Prayer

I said a prayer
to benefit the dead
then saw the prayer was actually
for myself.
For we are connected –
the dead and the living –
by a strand slimmer than spider silk.
It’s invisible, even –
the tethers that bind us.
Words are inadequate
but still I try to say – to weave –
the spinnings of my mind
and mesh with the webs of others.
Prayers are inadequate
but still I strive to change the world,
one word, one soul, at a time.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lazy Lip Balms

I was lying in bed a while ago and reached for the lip balm I keep next to my bed. I thought about it for a moment. I have a lip balm tube by my bed, in my purse, next to my computer, and downstairs in the living room. Do I really need all these lip balms? 

I remembered a time when I had one (1) lip balm to my name. Wherever I was, if I needed lip balm, I had to go get that one tube. Now what…am I just lazy? I need a lip balm on every floor and in every room or something? 

Well, I reflected, it is not that bad. When I am in bed, of course I don't want to get out of bed. And it makes sense to carry one in my purse. Since I acquired an extra couple of lip balms at some point, it made sense to have one in my living room and computer room as well, since I spend time in both places. So that's how it happened.

Still, that's a lot of lazy lip balms. The least excusable one is probably the computer room lip balm. Because I need excuses to get off my ass when I'm at that infernal machine. How hard would it be for me to just walk into the bedroom when my lips need moisturizing? Not hard. I should toss these (wait…I have three lip balms next to my computer?) tubes and make myself get up. It's the same principle when it comes to snacks. I should never keep snacks and candy next to my computer. Otherwise I will eat them mindlessly, and not even burn enough calories for the trip to the kitchen (which I'm not taking when the snacks are by my desk).

And speaking of lip balm, I keep it until it smells rancid. Which usually takes one to two years. Haven't you ever put on lip balm and thought, "Yuck! This stuff just turned between now and the last time I used it." Into the trash it goes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Merging vs. Observing: Concerts!

Perhaps you remember the old days when people in the audience at concerts would hold up a cigarette lighter. I always interpreted that as the fans saying, "Oh great Rock Star, you are like the sun, and this small flame is my way of showing my desire to merge with your great light." (Ok I know they were probably just high and doing the lighter thing because it seemed cool, but I'm a mystic and a poet, so there.)

In more recent years, you go to a rock concert and instead of lighters, you see the virtual "flame" from hundreds of smartphones instead. The meaning-making part of my brain wants to understand this shift in cultural consciousness. And the way I read it is, "Oh wow I'm in the presence of something awesome right now and I need to record it in some way." 

I've done that myself. I've snapped crappy, blurry photos of the performers. I've attempted to bootleg part of the show with Voice Recorder (doesn't work, volume is too loud). And I've tweeted and Facebooked about the show while it is happening.

In fact, I've been recording shows for posterity since I first started going to concerts in the 1980s. I was a photography major, and I use to plunk my ass down on the stage at the 930 Club in D.C. and take photos of the bands I was seeing. I was well aware that I was choosing to step back and protect myself from the intensity of the experience by hiding behind a camera.

What's a little strange for me is that now everyone else is doing it, too. And I'm not sure what to make of it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seeking patterns: Music, movies and poetry.

Years ago I read an article positing a question about movie critics Siskel and Ebert. Why would they rave over some obscure, hard-to-relate-to film, while panning the latest feel good Robin Williams family fare? The article went on to answer its own question. In a nutshell, Siskel and Ebert have seen so many movies that they require something more from their celluloidesque entertainment than the average moviegoer.

I've mentally returned to the ideas stirred up by this article many times, mainly when seeking to understand why I can barely tolerate most of the music on the radio, while my own music tastes are "torture" to my friends' ears. Looking back on my history, I've spent time working in a record store and also as a volunteer disc jockey and music director for a college radio station. I've had a music zine, and my record reviews and music articles were published by an entertainment newspaper as well. (Oh and I've also written songs, recorded them, and played briefly with a band, but that almost doesn't matter).  Does all this put me into that Siskel and Ebert zone, where I'm so familiar with music that I am bored to tears by the mainstream fare and need some serious weirdness to wake my neurons?

Contrast this with my experience with poetry. Two and a half decades ago I was very involved in the Newark, Delaware poetry scene. I met regularly with local poets and we critiqued each others' work. Many of us also read our work aloud, and occasionally even got paid for doing so. But other than the work of other local poets, I was not much of a poetry reader. Fast forward to now, and I'm even less involved with poetry than ever. In an attempt to find some new poetry to enjoy, I've discovered the work of Mary Oliver, which speaks to me more clearly than a lot of other stuff that's out there. And guess what? Mary Oliver is apparently America's best selling poet. So following the thought pattern, I am apparently not enough of a poet connoisseur to have obscure tastes in rhyme and verse. And that's fine with me. A bit of a relief actually.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It's summer and that means the dome goes up in the backyard and I take up painting again. I've been working on a series called "Fruit Voodoodles" since before my kid was born. The past two summers I've made some good progress. 

Here's a sample of some recent work:

I'm also blogging a bit about art and what I've learned from doing it. I'll write and post more as I get closer to the finish of this project. In the meantime, you can see a close up of my first painting in this series.