Friday, November 27, 2015

Food Flavored Video: No Weaknesses by The Dirty Nil

I might've mentioned it a couple hundred times before, people who eat meat are super concerned with my perceived lack of protein. They ask me all sorts of prying questions about where my protein comes from. Up until this point, I've given them a small run down of my protein sources and even offer up the information that meat eaters usually have an excess of protein. Too much protein can actually have adverse effects like weight gain, extra body fat and a helluva lot of stress on the kidneys. Some meat eaters find this information interesting for a few seconds and then they go back to inquiring about my intake. I've always wished that I had a video or something that I could direct them too so that they could get the real story on protein. With the release of the Dirty Nil's new video "No Weaknesses," I've now got the video I've long desired.

The concept is pretty simple. Put three bandmates into a workout house, have them lift drum kits and amps, practice punching a banana colored punching bag and do thigh workouts with Suzanne Somer's exercise product of choice. After the workouts, feed said band way too much protein. They down raw egg and protein powder shakes, double fist hamburgers and, my personal favorite, deep throat protein bars. They totally overdose. This excess protein leads to an all out band brawl. Blood splatters everywhere, mouths ooze, noses leak. The final scene shows the band walking out all bruised and bloodied from their fourteen hour workout/protein binge/fighting session. 

Now, protein eaters, I ask you, does this look like fun to you? As I mentioned before, excess protein has been proven to put a lot of stress on your kidneys. So if you step back for a second and imagine that the band members in "No Weaknesses" are your kidneys, I think you might start to see things a bit clearer.

The Dirty Nil have a debut album on the way (finally!). Higher Power hits the streets in February. You can bet that I will be one of the first in line to get it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Click (Food): Jesse Eisenberg's Thanksliving, Football Players Need Their Protein, Speak Vegan in Any Language, Pumpkin Tots and a Sticky Bun Crown

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's what caught my eye in the land of food and agave leading up to this gluttonous holiday:

  • Just in time for New Year's Eve, Duval-Leroy Champagne has announced that it's product is now completely vegan. Now more casein, gelatin or egg whites needed to fine the process, instead they just let it sit for an additional three months. I thought this simple solution would work on other things so I decided to try making meringue from vegan egg replacers again. I beat them vigorously for a bit and then let them sit for three months. My final product was definitely more solid than previous attempts. Unfortunately it was also more discolored and more attractive to the flies that were circulating around it. 
  • So I am on a bus traveling to the airport the other day and these two fifty something, overweight men and their ladies were discussing football. Naturally Arian Foster comes up and all his injury problems. One of the guys says it is because he is "vegan." The lady who was not married to him suggested that it should be a requirement for all macho men, like football players, to eat meat. Get your protein boys! I'm wondering if she'd make that same statement staring down the barrel of whatever these men and women are packing. Go ahead lady, tell them they're soft. I dare you...
  • My worst nightmare of the last three years featured me, stuck in Sri Lanka, surrounded by a bunch of bloody meat carcasses. A woman comes and serves me one of those nasty pieces of flesh. I try to tell her I'm vegan but I can't get the words out because I don't speak her language. Have no fear people, this nightmare will not be coming to a dream state near you. Thanks to the veganagogo app, we can all speak vegan in whatever language we need.

  • Jesse Eisenberg's family just became the coolest ones on the block (not my block, of course, I reside in a much lower income area than they probably do). They celebrate Thanksliving instead of Thanksgiving, eat completely vegan and post pictures of the turkeys they saved by eating tofu? Sign me up.

Ginger Pumpkin Tart with Maple-Pecan Crust by Oh Ladycakes

Uncle Ned has celiac disease, Cousin Dagger is dairy intolerant, you are just so over the whole traditional pumpkin pie thing and your mother approaches you about making this year's family dessert. What are you going to do? Oh Ladycakes has the answer. Spice up that traditional pumpkin pie with some ginger and then plop it on a maple-pecan crust. Uncle Ned and Cousin Dagger will both be on board because this dessert is vegan and gluten free. Who knew that satisfying your family could be so damn easy?

Vegan Sticky Bun Crown by Emmy Lous Kitchen

There was this sportswriter for the Philly Inquirer who used to begin his Sunday articles with the line "When I'm king of the world...". He would then fill in his thoughts about what happened that week/night/day in sports. They were pretty boring reads, I usually skipped over the meat of his stuff, but I noticed enough to get the gist of what he was trying to do. That beginning line popped into my head when I saw these Sticky Bun Crowns from Emmy Lous Kitchen. Because when I'm king of the world, I want to wear a crown made of sticky buns. And when I feel the urge, I want to eat that crown. Then I want someone to bring me another. That sounds just about perfect. For those of you who aren't kings of the world (hey, there can only be one of us) maybe try these out for Thanksgiving morning. It'll make you feel a bit royal before dashing to the kitchen for a seven hour cook fest.

Vegan Mini Pot Pie Jars from the Colorful Kitchen

I'm a big fan of pies in a jar. Those little desserts seem to have just the right mixture of crust to filling and are already packed in single servings. They are super easy to freeze so that you can have fresh pie anytime of year. I never even contemplated that the same pie in the jar treatment could be given to a savory version like a pot pie. The Colorful Kitchen showed me that not only can they get that same treatment but they can also be topped with those criss cross pieces of dough that look so fancy. In hopes that I don't miss out on something so spectacular again, I've been sitting here generating a list of all the pies that I can think of and deciding whether or not they would work in a jar. So far, here's what I have: Magpie, Cowpie, Pieface

Not having much luck.

Homemade Pumpkin Tots from Savory Nothings

Never in my life did I utter the phrase "Man I wish I had some pumpkin that was cooked like a tater tot right now." I did come close, once, when I told a lady at the store, "Man I wish I had some vegan cherry turnovers right now." Yeah, once I said it out loud I realized how not close it actually was.

Enjoy your holiday! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Listen: Popped Tracks from Salad Days, Red House Glory and Holy Esque

If you can time it just right, think Pink Floyd and the Wizard of Oz, popping quinoa sounds a lot like:

Since its release in mid September, I've been doing a weekly run through of Salad Boys' debut album Metalmania. Based on the album title, you might think that this album features a lot of highly amplified distortion, long guitar solos, masculinity and brute force. You wouldn't be completely off base, I mean there are some decent guitar solos. In reality, Metalmania is a fabulous piece of guitar rock that is more comparable to REM or the Replacements than Black Sabbath, Motorhead or any other metal band you can name. While I enjoy a lot of the early part of the album my favorite track, outside of this one, has got to be "No Taste Bomber." I love the backwoods urgency of the guitar, the gravelly vocals and the catchy delivery. I like the breaks from reality, the escapism into psychedelic spaces. About the only thing that gets me is the guitar solo at the end. I'm not a big instrumental fan as it is and when it does come into the track, I haven't yet exhausted it for all its worth. A simple return at the end to everything I love about "No Taste Bomber" would've left me with a better...taste.

I'm not sure what Red House Glory's past entails. What I do know is that one of their "longtime listeners" called them out on Soundcloud saying that their new stuff doesn't have the same soul as the old stuff. I've got some a-dvice for you buddy. Back off, take some sips of that coke, grab the nearest "Hooker with a Penis" and let these guys do their thing. "Pray Now" has got all the pieces that a successful pop song needs. There's the catchy, repetitive chorus, bouts of squalling guitars, some stop all the action and just hear me sing moments, the taking more than I need theme and the sexual tension that exists in an is it or isn't it a love song dichotomy. "Pray Now" is the band's first single from their upcoming All Out of Love EP (due out December 11th). The song has garnered some attention from Radio 1 and the BBC and I can certainly see why. Even if EoR is blind to it.

Let's take a few moments of Double A "Silences" to remember that salad that we just polished off. It is what Holy Esque would've wanted.

Cook: Apple-Walnut Salad With Popped Quinoa and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

I'm walking around Denver this weekend, cold as f*** because I forgot to bring a damn winter jacket, and I spot this thrift shop. I duck inside trying to muster up the cajones to actually eat ice cream in 40 degree weather. I mean normally I'd pass, but this is vegan ice cream at its creamiest and dreamiest and I have no idea when I'll be returning to Denver so I gotta roll with it while I can. I start walking the aisles of this thrift shop and quickly realize it is like no other thrift shop I've ever visited (from here on out I will refer to it as a "thrift shop" with the quotes signifying my extreme skepticism of its legitness). There were designer jeans that still had the tags on them, hand knitted taxidermic animals hanging from the walls, clothes WITHOUT STAINS on them and plates that didn't look like they came from a recently deceased older couple. To go along with the product, the prices, phew, those were simply outrageous. I could get stuff cheaper from Target than I could here. That definitely does not fit my definition of a "thrift shop."

Somewhere around the heirloom quinoa (food? and they call this a "thrift shop"), Macklemore came into my head and I seriously thought about, amongst other things, popping some tags. Let's take a trip into my brain to see just how it all played out... *thought bubbles float by* Heirloom quinoa? What kind of human hating savage donates that to a "thrift shop?" And why doesn't my local grocer carry some of that? I totally should just pop it but it is located right next to the cashier with the big eyes. And she keeps staring at me. I think she sees me eyeing the quinoa and knows what I'm thinking. Wait. Backup. Did I suggest popping quinoa? That's f**king brilliant man. Not only are you good looking, but you are so super...*thought bubble float away* Well, that's enough of that. The "thrift shop" experience did lead me to popping some quinoa and throwing it on a salad. So there's that.

Apple-Walnut Salad with Popped Quinoa and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the salad:
-Granny Smith Apple, sliced thinly
-1/4 cup of walnuts, crushed
-6 ounces of mixed greens
-4 Tbs. of quinoa rinsed

For the dressing:
-1/4 cup of olive oil (the good stuff)
-2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp. Dijon mustard
-1 Tbs. maple syrup
-salt and pepper (to taste)

1. To pop the quinoa: heat a pan with a lid over medium high heat. When the pan is warm, toss a tablespoon of rinsed and dried quinoa into the pan and place the lid on top. When it starts popping, that means the pan is ready. All the quinoa to pop. When it slows down, just like with popcorn, remove it from the heat and set aside. Place the remaining quinoa into the pan and repeat the popping process.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar with a lid. Shake that baby until it is mixed.

3. Place the greens on a plate (or two or three). Top them with apples and crushed walnuts. Sprinkle the popped quinoa overtop. Pour the dressing on. Eat it.

If you navigate the popping at just the right angle, this salad sounds like...

Click (Music): Downward Facing Dog, Death Goes on Vacation, Arizona and Breaking My Phone

Music doesn't get any better than this (at least in the last few weeks):


"Strangers" by The Rebel Light

If "Strangers" by the Rebel Light was an actual stranger you ran into on the street, they would be the kind that offered you a ride in a limousine full of hot grandmas and oatmeal cream pies.

Dear Mom,

I know you told me never to get into a car with strangers but this guy had a limousine full of hot grandmas and oatmeal cream pies. I apologize for being weak and concerned only with matters of the flesh. I hope to see you again.

Your Son

"Where I Wanna Be" by Arizona

About a month and a day ago I finished up two days straight of no sleep. One of the hot grandmas that I surround myself with asked me if I was tired. I told her no, I'm still a young whippersnapper. I closed my eyes for a second. Next thing I know a month has passed. During that time Arizona's "Where I Wanna Be" went from zero plays to 59,000+. I literally slept on this one. For that, I have sworn off any contact with grandmas for seven one days. That's too bad because "Where I Wanna Be" is the type of song that girls of any age would be able to get down to.

"Tunnel Vision" by Forever Cult

"Tunnel Vision" is the opposite of what happens when you pull too many jokes from the same well. It's like listening to Outkast while your little brother continues to make ur momma remarks even though that ship has sailed. Oh, and the fact that your mom is his mom? Totally lost on him.

"Ride" by Pollimer

I swore to myself that I would never again stay up for two days straight. But f**k if Pollimer's "Ride" doesn't make that a hard statement to stand by. This is the type of song that makes you want to just ride public transit all night long looking for that epic party that only a working class party goer like yourself could ever discover. See that's the thing that people seem to not realize. Getting into all the coolest parties isn't about popularity, it's about working hard, picking yourself up by the party hat string and going out into the world and making a party life for yourself. Don't believe me? I give you this as evidence.


"Breaking My Phone" by Oscar

I can't help but think that some inventor, after seeing this video, is hard at work creating the world's first absolutely indestructable cell phone. After he/she invents it? Oscar is gonna get paid.

"Prisons to Purify" by Sundara Karma featuring Marika Hackman

Rumor has it that this video is exactly what Kevin Costner intended to make when he started directing Water World. Everything else you saw (or didn't see) in Water World was because Costner had extra money to spend.

"Make Me Wanna Die" by White Reaper

I really really hope that when it comes my time...the Grim Reaper is too busy tripping and riding fluffy dogs to notice.

"Until You Were Gone" by Tritonal and The Chainsmokers featuring Emily Warren

Oh those spin instructors. They draw you in with their motivational exuberance, downward dogs and always happy demeanor only to drop your ass once you start making photo collages from their Facebook pictures. Not cool. Not cool at all.

 Get All of 2015's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Listen: Musical Drones from Sunflower Bean, Everywhere and My Gold Mask

In a world where drones protect my salads to ensure they continue to exist in the future, these are the tracks with the strongest BBQ taste:

Before their recent pairing with disease sniffing dogs, avocado drones lived a lonely life. These unmanned crafts meandered through the air as if controlled by some unseen force. This same idea, existing in a lonely world, is the theme of Sunflower Bean's new track "Wall Watcher." "Wall Watcher" plays out like a rock song that could've come from your mom or dad's record collection (as long as they were cool enough to enjoy the likes of Black Sabbath and the Velvet Underground).  Psychedelic waves pulsate beneath heavy metal guitar strums, punchy drums and new wave pop claps. It is all tied together by bassist Julia Cumming's vocals which cover the spectrum from near falsetto highs to growly lows. "Wall Watcher" is the first single from the band's forthcoming debut album. Human Ceremony has a February 5th release set via Fat Possum. Until that time, it is perfectly acceptable to just hang out in the corner by yourself.

"Shades at Night" by Swedish band Everywhere is at its best and most memorable when it explores the concept of relationships through the lens of fashion. The song starts with a few lines about wearing clothes so tight that it hurts you and in turn these tight ass clothes succeed at covering up your virtues. A simple drone flight or two around your local Wednesday night church meeting and Saturday night club experience reveal firsthand exactly what the band is talking about. Now if we could just get those church dudes to hook up with those club girls, we could eventually breed loose fitting clothing completely out of existence. But that's a master plan for another day. Even more memorable is when Everywhere gets to their lines about wearing shades at night. Ever since Corey Hart put out his ridiculous homage to English weather, everyone thinks it is just so cool to wear sunglasses at night. But Everywhere has news for all you night shade wearers. What ends up happening with night shades is that you become blind to how hard the person in front of you falls. Sunglasses become just another disconnect in our already disconnected society.

Alright dude, take the shades off. It's time to reconnect with each other. My Gold Mask's new track "Connect" is about just that. As Jack Armondo writes "In a time when so many people seem connected through social media and all that, we're really pulling away from each other in other ways (ahem, sunglasses). This is about feelings that come from meeting someone more like you and finding the courage to reach out no matter what anyone else might think." The power of "Connect" comes from My Gold Mask's ability to take a situation that is brimming with anxiety and turn it into an artistic statement memorable for its beauty. But the beauty does not come at the cost of losing the original feelings associated with it. "Connect" masterfully grows from a place of darkness towards the light proving that, once and for all, my fourth grade science teacher was wrong when he said it couldn't be done. "Connect" is the first track from the band's just announced sophomore album which will be hitting the streets March 4th via Moon Sounds Records. An album kick off show will be taking place the following day at Chicago's Lincoln Hall.

Cook: BBQ Chickpea Salad with Dronevocado Ranch

Back in January of 2010 the Parrot AR. Drone, a flying machine that streams video to iPhones, won the CES Innovation Award for Gaming Hardware. My fifteen and a half second Google search doesn't tell me whether this is a big deal or not, although I might've turned something up if I hadn't gotten sidetracked looking at drone porn for seven of those seconds, but, hey, an award is an award. You want something to sound legit? Just say that it has won an award. At the time, this little drone victory didn't register with me one bit. It was so far off my radar that, well, I can't even think of a good analogy. But the Parrot AR. Drone obviously registered with some people as it sold 300,000 units within two years of winning the CES award. Drones were no longer just for the military. They were a futuristic force to be reckoned with. Recognizing their value, Amazon, Domino's and Google are just some of the companies that have announced that they would begin drone testing for future corporate use.

Speaking of drones and the future, subsequent versions of the BBQ Chickpea Salad with Avocado Ranch that is pictured above may have drones to thank for their existence. Avocado trees in the region have been under attack by laurel wilt disease since 2009. This disease is caused by a fungus that is carried by redbay ambrosia beetles. Researchers have been working with farmers to try and devise a strategy to combat laurel wilt disease. One of the latest efforts? A drone/disease sniffing dog tandem being tested out by researchers at FIU. While the project is currently still in the piloting stages, it certainly is one worth keeping an eye on especially if you are as fond of the avocado as I am.

BBQ Chickpea Salad with Dronevocado Ranch (adapted slightly from the Garden Grazer)

For the salad:
-2 cups chickpeas
-2/3 cup Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce
-1 head of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
-1 cup of corn cut from the cob
-1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
-1 cup shredded carrots
-2-3 green onions

For the Dronevocado Ranch:
-1 avocado
-1 cup soy milk
-juice of one lemon
-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-1/2 tsp. dried dill
-1/2 tsp. onion powder

1. Mix all the ingredients for the ranch in a food processor. Process until smooth. 

2. Mix all of the salad vegetables in a large metal bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce overtop. Stir to coat the veggies. 

3. Place the veggies on a plate. Spoon the ranch overtop. Attach the plate to a drone, fly it to your table and eat at once.

Drone salads sound like a bunch of this.