Archive for May 2011

LISTEN: MAY ROUNDUP

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 § 0

Here is an amalgamation of music I've been listening to, have discovered, rediscovered, and have been introduced to by friends and blogs in the month of May. I began a project at the beginning of the year involving music and playing around with photoshop that never took off. This is a much better alternative. (Only because it's much easier and less time-consuming.) Some of the tracks were downloaded free off of RCRDLBL or SoundCloud, so I've linked the free stuff (or alternative versions available for free) below. 
2. Tennis - Marathon
3. The Coasters - Down In Mexico (SEE: Sparklemotion's first mix!) 
5. Amy Winehouse - Valerie (Slowed Down version)
7. Thieves Like Us - Shyness
9. Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer
10. Foals - The Forked Road (I only know of this thanks to Ilora!)
11. Friendly Fires - Live Those Days Tonight
12. Paul Anka - Adam & Eve
13. The Kills - DNA

DOWNLOAD: Niki & The Dove

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 § 0


Niki And The Dove - The Fox by subpop

If you haven't already, listen to and download (for free!) Niki & The Dove's newest track, The Fox, courtesy of Sub Pop, who seem to be churning out gold. (Click the arrow in the embedded soundcloud player above.)

15 of the 25 spots in my "Top 25 Most Played" mix are currently occupied by Foals, who are also signed by Sub Pop (GOLD, I TELL YOU!). However, Niki & The Dove are quickly creeping up and into this playlist. Radiating a Bat For Lashes-esque eeriness, choruses that blow up into delightful symphonies much like Florence and the Machine, and smooth, but yearning vocals comparable to Lykke Li, Niki & The Dove have definitely secured a spot on my measly 14gb of iPhone space.

Their EP is set to be released on June 14th, so get stoked. In the meantime, I'll be listening to the new Wild Beasts album, Smother, and Friendly Fires' freshly released Pala (which has been considered "aural candy" by Foals' Ed Congreave - I am completely biased towards anything he says, because he is a genius on many different fronts, but I'll leave the swooning for another post).

HOLY CRAP, DEEP DISH COOKIES

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 § 0

These are the best vegan chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. I'm going to go out there and say they're also the best vegan chocolate chip cookies I've ever consumed. They're soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, not too doughy, and are the closest you'll get to a Mrs. Fields cookie.

AND THEY'RE DEEP DISH! EVERYTHING SOUNDS BETTER WHEN YOU PUT THE WORDS "DEEP DISH" IN FRONT OF IT.


...However, these are bars. I didn't use a dish since I don't own any cool ramekins (Read: too asian for cool ramekins), so that's why they're cut up as bars. I'd just hit the link below for better photos and an actual deep dish. The benefit of not using a single serving dish is that you won't stuff yr face with an entire dish full of cookie in one night.

The photos I took really don't do them justice, so I'm only posting one to save myself from the embarrassment. I got the recipe off foodgawker, and the blogger who submitted it got it from Vive le Vegan.

INGREDIENTS

DRY:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (or any other dry sweetener)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

WET:
1/4 (heaping) cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup (agave would work too)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon molasses
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

+ as many freaking chocolate chips as you want (a 1/2 cup is perfect)

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat yr oven to 350. If you're doing a deep dish thing, you'll probably only need yr small toaster oven.
2) Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside.
3) Wisk all yr wet ingredients together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. (Measure out yr oil first, so yr measuring cup is greased. The maple syrup will slide right out.)
4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with the chocolate chips. Mix until just combined, overmixing will make yr batter too elastic-y, and yr cookies will come out dense. Which will suck a lot, so don't screw this up. Once almost all all the flour is incorporated, just stop.
5) Bake for 18 minutes if you're doing a deep dish thing, or 11 minutes if you're doing actual cookies (makes about 10).

Note: Make sure you're not overbaking them either. It's better to underbake these because they'll continue to cook a little when they're out of the oven. They'll also set once they're cooled, and the inside will be nice and chewy, which is good. Otherwise, you'll get crumbly, dry cookies. (But if you do end up with that, nuke them and they'll probably be pretty awesome too.)


OH, and prep time only takes 10 minutes! 15 if yr molasses is uncooperative. You now have no excuse to not make these.

COMIC BOOKS FOR LUNCH

Monday, May 9, 2011 § 0

If the days following my 20th were any indication of my future as an adult, I'm going to have an extremely promising adulthood. (One in which I fully regress to adolescence.)

May 7th: free comic book day, sweets and fries for dinner

Any time I go to a comic book store, I get an overwhelming sense of intimidation and n00bnicity. I was shocked at how many free comic books there were at Golden Age. To be honest, I had no idea what most of the titles were, so I picked the ones that looked the funniest and went back to work, judging completely by cover. The FCBD table was insane. A naked woman could've walked by and no one would've noticed.

After work, I was delightfully surprised with fuzzy peaches and oreos, and treated to a fancy plate o' fries for dinner. My friends are delightful, just delightful!

May 8th: I play a record for the first time


My grandparents gave me their old record player for my birthday. Listened to Paul Anka's Diana for the first time on vinyl. This is easily the coolest thing I've ever owned. Currently listening to Edith Piaf, and it's killing me. All I want to do is swoon over how beautiful her voice is.




RCRD HAUL, MONTREAL

Thursday, May 5, 2011 § 0

I'm posting another blog because I've already watched Glee, walked Kiki, and I'm already bored of Vancouver. Also, I really want to talk about a small record shop Mel told me about called Paul's Boutique.

Paul's Boutique is a small vintage record shop on Avenue du Mont-Royal that looks vaguely like the house from Up. Inside, vintage records, organized neatly, line the perimeter of the store and every space in between. There is little room for movement, but with all the records to sift through, you won't be moving a lot anyway. At first I was intimidated by the store. A record player in the back played unknown (but probably classics, what do I know?) records loudly, and I was the only customer in the store. Relative to the only sales associate there, I felt like a n00b (I am, however, l33t). After being consumed with searching for certain records from the 50s, the music seemed to mellow out and blend into my surroundings. Only when the record stopped to be turned over did I realize how comfortable I was in a vintage record store, seeing that I do not actually own a record player.

I was delightfully overwhelmed by all the milk crates stuffed with records of all genres dating from the 80s and beyond, but especially so with the wide selection they had of records from the 50s and 60s. They also carry a lot of old VHSs and CDs from the 90s, but I was in a record store, so I was going to look at records, and not 90s media I probably already own.

I walked in expecting to browse the albums, gawk a the overpriced, used records, and leave with nothing. Instead, I found 3 records I was going to buy as CDs from HMV anyway for about 6 bucks each, as well as more records I wanted to buy but knew I shouldn't.

I abstained from buying all of the Bobby Darin records (none of them interested me, and by then, 8$ seemed like too much), the Edith Piaf record with the track Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (I thought about how self-conscious I would've been if people thought I only bought it because of Inception), a random record with Girl from Ipanema and Other Jazz Classics ("for people who think they like jazz but aren't sure", which I regret not buying for only 3$), and a record with a cat on it entitled ALLEY CAT.

These were my purchases of the day, (and my entire trip, actually) save for the FOALS album I bought at their gig at Le National.

Bobby Rydell - Bobby Swings // 6$ // Song that convinced me to buy it: Volare
Paul Anka - Paul Anka's 21 Golden Hits// 5$ // Song that convinced me to buy it: ALL OF THEM.
Edith Piaf - The Great Edith Piaf // 5$ // Song that convinced me to buy it: Padam Padam
Frankie Avalon - Best of Frankie Avalon // 8$ // Song that convinced me to buy it: none, he's just a freaking babe, and I bought it because he's a babe. That is all.

In retrospect, I guess I could've gotten a Bobby Darin album for 8$, instead of choosing Frankie Avalon for being a babe. But still, I'm sure this "All American boyfriend" with "his clean cut, teddy bear cuddly good looks and sweet pop hit records" is going to impress me no matter what. I'm biased now anyway. Besides, like the album cover says, "These are his biggest hit recordings. They are as sweet and naive as the era they symbolize.". Don't judge me for enjoying the wholesomeness of the 50s! Being sweet and naive is my niche, anyway.


POST MONTREAL DEPRESSION

§ 0

I'm going to continue with the list. I contemplated doing a list of pros and cons about subways and mostly improbable scenarios in which being in a subway would suck, but that's for another time.
List of Things That Make Montreal Cooler Than Vancouver pt. 2

4. Tap Water

Tastes like freedom and bottled water. No chemical taste! No need to boil it to drink it, or let it sit to evaporate the chlorine (if that's even possible? My knowledge of the elements only goes as far as 12th grade chemistry.). (My knowledge of how to use brackets and the combination of periods within a bracket followed by another period is also limited.)

5. Fast Food Fries




Fries that taste like potatoes, and not deep fried and salted mush with a crunchy exterior.
In the 8th grade, I did a project on Qu├ębec, and brought a poutine from the cafeteria as a demonstrative prop. Upon planning my trip to Montreal back in February, I was crushed to realize that I wouldn't be able to eat two out of three of the only components of a poutine in the very province it originated from due to my finicky dietary needs. However, that pile of fries only cost 2 bucks my friends. Cheap Steph is pleased.

6. Breakfast



I haven't been a vegan for very long. In fact, I haven't been a vegan at all considering I have yet to kick my abnormal addiction to honey lemon Strepsils. I broke my "veganism" on my first day in Montreal, when I accidentally ordered (and ate) sushi with mayo in it. I decided that if I was going to break my veganism while on vacation, I might as well do what I did during my vegetarianism, which was allowing milk ingredients, but laying off the eggs.

Here at Chez Cora (The healthier, more wholesome, and less American version of iHop), they make French toast, otherwise known as eggy bread, but done without eggs. Then they top it with a pile of fresh fruit. Psuedo-Vegan Steph is pleased.

7. Marketing



Kevin's marketing plan is impenetrable, just solid.

That's good for now I suppose. I could go on, but I'd rather talk about the thrift stores I couldn't find and the records I bought for my nonexistent record player.

MTL

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 § 0

I've been in Montreal for 5 days now. I've been trying to stop myself from drawing parallels to Vancouver, but it's second nature for me to mold a new environment into something I'm familiar with. While it may seem to defeat the purpose of going on a vacation, it does decrease the constant fear that has been drilled deep into the crevices of my head of being kidnapped and killed.

Much like how I've created a secret list of clones of my old and new friends and acquaintances, I've been taking mental notes of places in Montreal that have similarities to areas in Vancouver.

None of this, however, is interesting or even concerns anyone else but
me, so I'll keep the carbon copy revelations to a minimum (so as not to offend anyone, or any place -- can you even offend a place?).

BUT, with all the similarities and parallels, there are many areas in which Montreal far exceeds Vancouver in, and thus begins my List of Things That Make Montreal Cooler Than Vancouver.

1. Architecture
I tried to be stealth while taking this photo, so as not to look like a tourist. I failed.


"Quaint" and "d'awww" are probably the best ways to describe the spiral-staircased, teal green-painted, tiny-balconied neighbourhoods of Montreal.

2. Squirrels



NO FEAR. (Actually, only momentarily. It ran away into a tiny hole in the tree.)

3. Subways


Controlled by human beings, not robots. (The only thing wrong with Subways is the lack of cellular tower signals, and the fact that no one can hear you scream down there. Good thing there's a human in control.)

In my attempt to beat this OCD (by power of suggestion), I will end this list at 3 items instead of four, and continue sometime soon. (Probably tomorrow.)