Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I filmed Kansas.

While most of my fun and not-so-moody videos can be seen here, on my minorheroine Vimeo account, pieces - like the one below - that I spend some time editing or conceiving can be viewed on my grown-up, professional Vimeo here, searchable under Danica Complex.

This is one of those pieces that serendipitously came together from the hodge-podge, thoughtless snippets of video I collected over the course a Christmas visitation to my parents who were on a vicarage in Kansas in 2008.

This first video was the product of listening to the piece Gymnopédie No.1 (featured in the piece). Whether or not I ever heard the music before didn't make it any less nostalgic and it conjured up images from my most recent adventure: a train ride across the country. On thinking on trains I remembered my habit of running out to watch the trains pass behind the school from my job as a clerk in college. One of the cinema professors caught me during one of my escapes and stopped to stare with me at the beast chugging by. Before trotting off he turned to me and said, "Wow... let's make a movie about trains!"

I think I am particularly fond of the "time" theme that accidentally presented itself throughout the film. We see young faces and old hands, old-fashioned words in the cards and new ones being scribbled down - all the while the train moves forward through landscapes, days, and nights.

I meant to create three video pieces to mirror a tradition style of composition that is the sum of three movements usually with a pattern of brisk, ballad, and ending long & lively. I just didn't have enough video to fulfill this pattern, so I satisfied myself with two contrasting paces in the different videos using the same piece of music. In addressing this limitation, other interesting contrasts arose - I found that the first piece which utilized the ballad was more tightly themed, but very loose in structure. This second piece has a distinct narrative that seems to follow the imagination of a protagonist into a whimsical world separated by images of fire. We also see a train again, tying it back to the first film.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Cooked Chili! Without Chili...

9 weeks ago my mother bought a very expensive plane ticket to come see me three days earlier than her previously purchased plane ticket because Petra decided to be uncharacteristically Sheean/Northend and get borned early. A few weeks later my dad joined us and, with my mom, stocked our fridge and freezer with all kinds of food! One of these food items was a pound of ground turkey that, until last night, went unused.

In the past I have used ground turkey in a pseudo-Kenyan dish that my friend who dated a young Mossi man briefly described helping prepare at his home. That's not simply the most interesting way to put my original encounter with ground turkey - it's actually that vague... I remember her saying something about tomatoes and other vegetables simmering on top of the cooking turkey meat, and then later adding a bunch of seasoning and a lot of curry powder...
Anyway, it was different every time I made it, but this post is about CHILI!

I don't follow recipes very well, but I love them and, thus, have the app on my phone. I don't grocery shop very well either, and, thus don't use the app all the well. But this time I managed to get all the ingredients missing from my kitchen for our Black Bean Turkey Chili dinner! Unfortunately, I had mistaken one of my three bottles of Paprika for Chili Powder - a discover I made after having already begun cooking.... in any event, my last ditch effort to make a somewhat southwestern chili for the mouth-watering, fresh Whole Foods Bakery corn bread I had just bought resulted in, what Matt says, is the best chili he's ever had:

Chili without Chili


2 Tbs vegetable oil (we use olive oil for everything, in truth)
1 yellow chopped yellow onion
3-4 sliced fresh tomatoes
4 large cloves of garlic
1/2 lemon
1 lb of ground turkey
2 cans of black beans
1/2 Tbs of Paprika
1 Tbs of basil
1 Tbs of crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1/2 Tbs of ground Black Pepper
(and I bet you could add bell pepper in and that would taaaa-sty!)


in a fairly large pan, heat oil on medium and stir in onions and garlic until they become translucent (if desire, bell pepper can be cooked with the onions at this time). turn the heat up to medium-high and add in the turkey, stir until it browns. when it has mostly cooked, add all spices, stirring them into the turkey evenly.* drain 1 of the 2 cans of black beans. add the contents of the undrained can and mix over medium (medium-low it needed).

next (here is the kenyan cooking influence) add the drained can of black beans to the top of the mixture spreading it evenly, and as thinly as possible over the top. do the same with the sliced tomatoes, using enough tomatoes to cover the surface.

cover and let simmer for 30 minutes
remove the cover, squeeze fresh lemon juice into the mixtures and stir in all the ingredients, mixing the tomatoes and the beans into the rest of the chili.

return cover and let simmer for another 15-25 minutes, until ingredients have become pasty.

remove from heat and serve hot with cornbread, butter and honey!

*at this time, I should have added some kind of vinegar or wine (preferable red vinegar) to help slow the cooking process down while the more fresh ingredients simmered. Instead, I basically just burned and lost the bottom layer of turkey, which wasn't too much of a loss!
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