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Things I've Written

Moon Head, or How Not to Write Comic Books

A few years back, I decided to create a series of heroes and villains and write some sort of cheesy comic book featuring them. The heroes would be flawed of course. And the villains would have quirky powers of destruction. All of the characters, in fact, would have bizarre powers that seemed rather dubious when put into action. I found this relic from that (wisely) abandoned project.

Ah Moonhead. What a hero. On the left are his “powers,” including striped bellbottoms, the ability to dance well, and a monocle. Given his asymmetrical face, conventional eyewear was clearly not an option. I guess the razor-sharp hand constitutes an effective weapon.

Somehow I reversed the debit side and credit side on my hero ledger, even though I was briefly an accounting major at what at the time was the number one university in the country for that major. Luckily I changed my major and dropped intermediate accounting.

Incorrect recording aside, the column listing my hero’s weaknesses is more interesting. Most of his head is missing, since his archenemy Canonpants rendered him a waning crescent. Always the fashionista, Moonhead has put style ahead of comfort as well as common sense by wearing a massive, sharp belt buckle capable of eviscerating or castrating our hero should he ever attempt to sit down. As if that’s not bad enough, his own weapon is a liability. He must leave his highball and cigarette behind whenever he needs to relieve himself. Of course he could let his smoke dangle from his lips and hold his highball after unzipping.

I guess the lesson is, even your best traits can be your own undoing. Shakespearian motif or tired cliché? Either way, it’s a good thing Moonhead never saw the light of day. But what ever happened to Canonpants anyway?

Modern Love Omaha

We finally got to go to Modern Love Omaha! It was worth the wait, that’s for sure. And we’re already dreaming of when we’ll get to go back. Last night after dinner we joked that we should monitor the menu and fly to Omaha every time it changes. That’s not exactly part of our “too rich and too thin” plan, though, so we’ll have to content ourselves with making the recipes from Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s cookbooks for now.

Read what Patrick wrote about our experience over on the Vegan Drunkard blog: Modern Love Omaha.

Buy any of Isa’s books you don’t already have:

Mangia Italiano’s Infused Spirits on RFT’s Gut Check Drunken Vegan Column

This week on Drunken Vegan on the Riverfront Times Gut Check blog, Patrick talks about Mangia Italiano’s infused spirits. We tried four of them in four different cocktails. All very nice. One we wanted to try was a strawberry and basil infused vodka in — I don’t remember what the drink was called. Shoot. It sounded really good, though. Unfortunately, the infusion wasn’t quite ready. Guess we’ll just have to go back!

Florida Crystals in Vegan Simple Syrup… the Drunken Vegan on RFT’s Gut Check Blog

Yep, yep, yep, it’s Wednesday! You know what that means…. time for another Drunken Vegan Gut Check post from Patrick on the Riverfront Times. This time, learn about why most sugar is not vegetarian-friendly, and how to use one that is (we like Florida Crystals) to make a delightful mint and lime infused simple syrup to use in your mojitos. MMMMMMMM. Drink up!

Cheap Bourbon

Patrick’s latest Riverfront Times Drunken Vegan Gut Check post is up! He tasted three cheap bourbons: Three Potable Bourbons for Less Than $20 at Starr’s, Schnucks and Randall’s. I’ve had two of them. The Schnucks was excellent in a mint julep, and the Four Roses very fine over ice. Alas, I wasn’t invited to the Old Bardstown tasting party… Oh well. I’d always been an Irish fan anyway…. but, seriously, these two bourbons have opened my eyes and expanded my palate. Yipee!

Inventive Cocktails at Mission Taco Joint

We love tacos. I mean, we have a taco party for breakfast nearly every day. I’m serious! Not making this @#$! up.

Mission Taco Joint Mofu Tacos

Anyway, last Saturday, instead of having our taco party at home, we had it at Mission Taco Joint in University City, so Patrick could do some R&D for his newest Riverfront Times Drunken Vegan Gut Check post, Mission Taco Joint’s Inventive Cocktail List Goes Beyond the Margarita. The food and drink were great, and so is his article!

And bonus… Their location in Soulard is really close to opening! We won’t have to drive so far, yipee!

Drunken Vegan and Vegan Drunkard

Hello, there, all you lovelies! I just want to update you on a couple other projects Patrick has going on: he’s Drunken Vegan on RFT’s Gut Check Blog and also Vegan Drunkard on his own blog and on twitter.

Drunken Vegan is primarily concerned with cocktails and includes a bit of veganism where appropriate. You don’t have to be a vegan—or even like vegans—to love the Drunken Vegan! So far, he’s written about Bloody Marys, herbs to grow and use in cocktails, tweaking cocktails that typically contain egg whites with help from Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House, the new Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s, Vermouth, Campari cocktails, the French 75, and, most recently, alternatives to standard brunch cocktails. If you like his writing… or if you like cocktails… or, better still, if you like both, you should really follow his column. His posts usually go up every Wednesday or Thursday.

Vegan Drunkard will be a little more irreverent and definitely more personal than Drunken Vegan. In addition to cocktails, he’ll talk about cooking, eating, and other lifestyle issues from the vegan’s perspective; hopefully, just like the best cocktails, the balance will be perfect. On the drinking side, he’ll cover beer and wine as well as spirits. You can read about how he was baptized from a whiskey flask, a great restaurant we went to in L.A., Mohawk Bend, one of the Vegan Drunkard’s go-to hangover foods: French fries and some delicious fries we had at 5-Star Burgers, brunch, the Vegan Drunkard’s main go-to hangover remedy: the taco party, and Negroni Week.

I typically announce the Drunken Vegan’s and Vegan Drunkard’s posts on our Hurley House Facebook page and often on our Plant-based Patree Facebook page and we both tweet about them, but I’ll also try to remember to post something here as well.

Pynchonary

When I was finishing my Ph.D., I thought a great deal about the kind of dissertation-length project that would hold my interest … and even be fun. I had done my master’s thesis on Tom Robbins. That was a topic that made it a little easier to write my first long paper. But a dissertation might be five times the length of my thesis. First I thought about Nabokov, who I had been spending much of my time reading and studying. By the time I found a suitable topic (something about the philosophical treatment of time in his novels as I recall), I realized it had already been written by someone else. And in retrospect, that seems like a good way to make some great novels seem pretty boring.

I settled on Thomas Pynchon, a long-time favorite. I was always taken with the strange character names. So I decided to compile a dictionary of all of them. I brought together as many readings as I could find and offered my own interpretations and ideas. Overall, the process was pretty fun … well, as fun as writing a dissertation can be. While I tried to get it published, I added all the names from Against the Day,* which had been published in the meantime. Finally, McFarland brought it out in 2008 as a slim and somewhat pricey paperback. You should buy it just the same. I have lots of new notes and names, and now there is another novel, Inherent Vice.* Someday, I really should prepare a new edition. Don’t look for it in the near future, though.