When Wade Tried to Save the World

And finally, Hyperliterature Presents “When Wade Tried to Save the World.” This podcast is the third and final part of the “When We Tried to Trilogy Trilogy.” The first part of the trilogy is “When Thomas Tried to be a Graverobber,” and the second is “When Ronald Tried to be a Private Investigator.” Please make sure you listen to the first two episodes before you listen to this one.

The other two parts have all been leading up to this episode, and things get apocalyptically bonkers pretty quick.

The “When We Tried to Trilogy Trilogy” is a collaboration between me, my wife Leigh, my good friend Todd Wright, and musician Richard Hall. Todd and I are writing the stories and providing narration, Leigh voices the female character, and Ricky is scoring and adding the FX to our narration.

I apologize for the delay in getting this one out, but let me tell you, it’s been worth the wait. Out of all the creative projects of which I’ve been a part, this is the most proud I’ve ever been about something I helped to create. I couldn’t have designed a better writing partner than Todd. I love the story, and it’s been a load of fun to write, and I owe all of that enjoyment to Todd. Thanks, man. It was a blast.

I also want to publicly thank Leigh for recording the female character. Leigh’s character didn’t have a lot to do in part II, but she was pivotal in part III, and my girl knocked it outta the park. Thanks, babe.

And finally, I need to thank Ricky. In the interest of full disclosure, Ricky and I have yet to meet face-to-face, but he’s become such an integral part of this podcast that I feel as if we’ve become fast friends. His music and sound FX have rocketed our little story into a completely different universe. The music is so good that even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was still moved emotionally. So thanks, Ricky. We couldn’t have done it without you.

So sit down, crank up the volume, and prepare yourself for “When Wade Tried to Save the World.” It’s gonna be one helluva ride. And if you enjoy this podcast, and honestly, even if you didn’t, do me a favor and share it on Facebook and Twitter. We all worked super hard on this project, and I want to get as many people to hear it as we can.

If you have an iOS device, you can download the podcast from iTunes here. Please subscribe to the podcast to automatically receive updates of new episodes.

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When Ronald Tried To Be A Private Investigator

And now, Hyperliterature Presents “When Ronald Tried To Be A Private Investigator.” This is the second part of a three part series, so if you haven’t listened to “When Thomas Tried To Be A Graverobber,” you should really do that now.

This series is a collaboration between me, my wife Leigh, my good friend Todd Wright, and musician Richard Hall. Todd and I are writing the stories and providing narration, and Ricky is scoring and adding the FX to them.

I’m really proud of this series. The story Todd and I wrote is really fun, and I recorded this one (Todd did the last one). And just like last time, Richard’s score and sound effects really take this whole thing to another level. I got chill bumps the first time I heard the final mixdown, and I knew what was coming because I helped write the damn thing.

Like last time, this one ends on a cliffhanger just as everything is going sideways. We’ll wrap up this story in part three.

I hope you enjoy this one, and if you do, please share it all over the web. I wanna see this thing trending on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have an iOS device, you can download the podcast from iTunes here. Please subscribe to receive updates of new episodes.

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When Thomas Tried To Be A Graverobber

For this episode of Hyperliterature Presents, I collaborated with my good friend Todd Wright and musician Richard Hall, and we recorded a short story called “When Thomas Tried to be a Graverobber.”

I’m really proud of this podcast. The story Todd and I wrote is really fun, Todd does a magnificent job performing it, and Richard’s score and sound effects really knock the whole thing outta the park. This is the first part of a trilogy, so don’t get aggravated when it ends on a cliffhanger. We’ll pick it up in a month with part 2.

I hope you enjoy this one, and if you do, please share it all over the web. I wanna see this thing trending on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have an iOS device, you can download the podcast from iTunes here. Please subscribe to receive updates of new episodes.

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Three Bad Brothers

Two years ago today we lost Adam “MCA” Yauch to cancer. His death hit me pretty hard. If I had to create a soundtrack of my youth, the Beastie Boys would feature quite prominently. I wrote a blog post after he passed, and since this is the two year anniversary of his death, I decided to record that post as a podcast. It’s only about 8 minutes long, and it’s filled with vertigo, water balloons, and a nymphomaniac with a penchant for fist fights.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it and cutting it.

RIP MCA

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Ty Wolosin & David Barrow

In this episode of Hyperliterature Presents, I sit down with Ty Wolosin and David Barrow for an excellent conversation about local farming, farmer’s markets, and sustainable foods. You can listen to it below, or click here to download it at the iTunes store. We also discuss David’s new film Farm-City, State, which will be premiering in Austin in a few weeks. Ty and David are great guys, and we had a lot of fun recording this episode.

Couple of things: In the podcast, I mention an article at the Freakonomics blog by Steven Sexton, and during the intro, I reference another article by Tom Philpott. Click those hyperlinks to read the articles.

If you’d like to catch up with Ty you can find him every Sunday at the HOPE farmers market at east 5th & Comal from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. Everything he sells is quality, but do yourself a favor and try some of the goat. If you’ve never cooked it before, ask Ty for tips. He’ll be glad to help you out. You can also visit the Windy Hill Farm website where Ty has an excellent list of all the places you can find his wonderful products.

Also, if you’re in the Austin area, be sure to visit the website for David’s film Farm-City, State. He doesn’t have a date yet for the premiere of the film, but when he does, I’ll update this post.

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Washing the Stress Away at Ojo Caliente

Two days punishing our bodies on the exhilarating slopes at Taos ski village. Another day traversing the Rio Grande Gorge from Pilar to the Gorge Bridge on mountain bikes. Nearly 40 miles for a round-trip of muscle-straining cycling.  And finally, a day of white-water rafting the Rio Grande from Razorblades to The Box to to The Racecourse.

We’d taken our minds and bodies past the point of no return, and finding a way to refresh our souls and process our experiences had become priority number one.

Beautiful Flowers

Beautiful Flowers

Before we’d booked our trip to New Mexico, Matt Gontram, the owner of New Mexico River Adventures, recommended we stay at Ojo Caliente after our week of skiing, biking, and rafting. He tried to emphasize how important it would be to relax after such a trip, and he stressed that the arid grandeur of Ojo would be just what we needed after such a physically demanding vacation. My wife and I had never stayed at a spa like Ojo, but we took his advice and hesitantly booked our stay, not knowing what to expect.

When we finally arrived at Ojo, exhausted from our adventures, we were eager to rejuvenate our minds and bodies. We wandered into the lobby, dusty and dirty, two weary souls in need of solace. The wonderful folks at the front desk greeted us warmly, and they pointed us toward our room.

Muddy Mark

Muddy Mark

As anyone who has ever had the distinct pleasure of staying at Ojo can probably attest, simply walking onto the gorgeous property sets the mind at ease. The landscaping. The beautiful New Mexico flora. The remote location. The whole ambience of Ojo Caliente simply encourages peaceful contemplation, and as we walked through the property, marveling at the various hot springs fed pools and the luxury that awaited us, any lingering doubts about our stay vanished.

Muddy Leigh

Muddy Leigh

We dropped our things off in our spacious and homey room and, like most people, immediately headed off to the mud bath.

How to describe the sensation of bathing in mud? Imagine slathering yourself with a velvety, satiny, substance that feels like liquid chocolate, and you might get close to the feeling of scooping handfuls of red mud onto your body at the mud pool at Ojo Caliente. The viscous liquid envelopes your body like a lover, holding you close and keeping you warm. Lie back on a reclining chair and let the warm, New Mexico sun bake and harden the mud onto your body, pulling your skin taught in the process. The mud will tighten on your skin, causing a child-like playfulness in even the dourest personality. You can’t help but smile at the feeling created by the mud hardening on your face, and each time you smile, the mud cracks a bit more, which in turn, makes you smile even more.

Private, Please

Private, Please

When we’d booked our stay, we’d also included a massage, and my wife pointed out that we were in danger of missing our appointment. So we reluctantly rinsed off and left the luxuriousness of the mud bath and headed to the masseuses. For nearly an hour, two talented masseuses massaged and manipulated our tired muscles with their slippery, strong fingers, loosening knots and relaxing our tired bodies.

We ended our night in one of the private baths. As my wife and I sank into the warm, spring-fed waters, our private and enclosed bathing area illuminated by the dancing flames of a log fire in our mini kiva, we held each other and watched the moon rise from behind the cliff-face. All the tension in our muscles had vanished as if by magic, and our spirits had also calmed from the excitement of the past week of adventures.

Private Bath

Private Bath

We’ve been back to Ojo Caliente many times since then, but that first trip was revelatory and truly magical. The warm waters of the springs, the luxurious mud bath, the deft fingers of the masseuses, and the intimacy of the private bath provided my wife and I with the opportunity to calm our souls and reconnect with one another intimately and spiritually.

 

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A Midsummer’s Night Picnic

While the date may vary slightly from year to year, the summer solstice, also known as midsummer, officially marks the first day of the summer season. The summer solstice occurs when the orbit and axial tilt of the planet positions our hemisphere closer to the sun than at any other point during our yearly trek around the big ‘ole fusion-furnace we sometimes call Sol. As a result of this cosmic positioning, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and ancient cultures have long recognized this neat little piece of astronomical trivia. Traditionally, the solstice has been a time to celebrate the coming of the crops, light bonfires, and, until the Church ruined it, engage in merry-making.

One of the reasons ancient cultures, specifically the Gaelic ones, stayed up late, partied, and lit bonfires on Midsummer’s Eve was because they thought it was a time when Faerie folk wandered the countryside freely, and they hoped the big fires and revelry would scare them off. Those of us literary types will recall that this is exactly what happens in Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.”

Mmmm,spicy

Mmmm,spicy

It was in this rich tradition of celebrating nature and the verdant bounty she provides that, instead of the normal, sit-down affair that characterize most of The Homegrown Revival dinners, The HGR Team decided to hold its final event of the spring season as a picnic in Butler Park on Midsummer’s Eve.

When we arrived at the park, The HGR Team had already set up a serving table on top of a small, grassy hill, and several of the Revivalists had laid their picnic blankets on the ground. The HGR Team greeted us warmly, and then they set about mixing up our aperitifs, which they called “Spicy Greyhounds.” For the uninitiated, a “Greyhound” consists of vodka and grapefruit juice. A “Spicy Greyhound,” as The HGR Team jovially explained, contains a muddled slice of jalapeno, which definitely kicked the whole thing up a notch. The final product contained Texas grapefruit, Dripping Springs vodka, and slices of muddled jalapenos from Springdale Farm.

Muddle it up, Tink

Muddle it up, Tink

Since a line of thirsty Revivialists had begun to form, Tink Pinkard decided to join in and help make the drinks. Noticing that the singular muddler was currently in use, Tink decided to improvise, just as any outdoorsman worth his salt would do. So he grabbed an unopened beer bottle, flipped it upside down, and proceeded to use the cap to muddle away like a madman.

You can't repeat the past? Of course you can!

You can’t repeat the past? Of course you can!

We took our drinks and sat on our blankets, and before too long, The HGR Team brought us our dinner in a beautiful picnic basket. The picnic baskets had come from Shuford Alexander, a vintage luggage restorer in East Austin. I have to say, those cases were magnificent. One of our friends said our basket made him feel like Gatsby, and I had to agree. Just having it on our blanket brimming with food upped my gentleman quotient by an order of magnitude. Just look at that thing. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Since this dinner didn’t have service, we got to choose the order in which we ate our dishes. We started with the potato salad that the chefs had made with potatoes from Springdale Farm and Urban Roots. Four egg halves rested on top of the salad, and we greedily spooned it onto our plates. Next we moved to the squash salad that had also been sourced from Urban Roots. The tangy crispiness of the squash dish did a nice job of complimenting the smooth taste of the potato salad. We also had a mason jar filled with a cool and crisp shredded cucumber salad that I simply couldn’t get enough of.

No Joking! These are serious business!

No Joking! These are serious business!

After exploring the veggies, we moved to the proteins. We each had an entire sausage to ourselves, and we were told they had been made with wild Texas boar and cold smoked by The HGR Team specially for the picnic. Sometimes I find the smokiness of smoked meats overwhelming, but it was perfectly balanced, and when combined with the homemade mustard sauce, the sausages almost made me think the meal couldn’t get any better.

Plate of Deliciousness

Plate of Deliciousness

Then we opened the bag of fried chicken, and that thought quickly flew from my mind. The chicken, which was sourced locally, was absolutely delicious. It was full of flavor and perfectly juicy, and the breading was unlike any I’ve ever had. It was crispy with just a hint of sweetness.

For dessert we had mini angel food cakes topped with blackberry jam made from Springdale berries. By this point in the evening it was fairly dark out, and I couldn’t resist swiping a second cake.

Aos Sí

Aos Sí

 

We reclined on our blankets, bellies full and hungers satiated, and basked in the cool night and the soft glow of the lights of downtown Austin. And since APD would have likely frowned on us lighting a huge bonfire in Butler Park, The HGR Team passed out glow sticks. We laughed and waved them manically in the air to usher in the solstice, to say good-bye to the spring, and to scare away any Faire Folk who may have been lurking in the bushes nearby.

 

EDIT: Just a quick update. The HGR Team kindly posted the recipes for several of the dishes. But there’s one caveat if you wanna successfully make these dishes: You have to eat them with friends.

 

 

Categories: Austin Life, Homegrown Revival | Comments

I, Biscuit

I, Biscuit

I, Biscuit

In this podcast, Hyperliterature Presents “I, Biscuit,” which is the audio version of a short story I wrote several months ago. You can download it from iTunes here.

This short story was inspired by a couple of things. First, it’s obviously a play on Isaac Asimov’s classic I, Robot, and the story does make use of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. But don’t worry. You certainly don’t have to know anything about sci/fi to enjoy the story.

The other inspiration for this story comes from my habit of verbifying nouns. Specifically, converting “biscuit” into a verb. As in, this morning I biscuited. Or, I can’t get the phone right now. I’m biscuiting.

One of my co-workers called me out on this silly little habit in my Facebook album “You biscuit.” It was an imperative title, you see. I was commanding the audience to make biscuits.

Seemed reasonable at the time.

In any case, this is the story. I tried to read it with some panache. I hope you enjoy it.

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A Night With The Homegrown Revival: Food, Conversation, & Community

Leigh and I have been attending The Homegrown Revival’s dinners for nearly two years now. We’ve only missed a couple during that time, and I start to get a little antsy if too many days tick by without seeing The Homegrown Revival Team and the Revivalists.

The friends. The food. The conversations. Breaking bread and sharing drinks with farmers, foragers, and foodies. Sharing a meal with the wonderful chefs who prepared it.

There’s just something special about attending The Homegrown Revival’s dinners.

Table's ready to go. All we need are people.

Table’s ready to go. All we need are people.

The last dinner we attended took place way back in January, and that’s entirely too long.

The Homegrown Team members had planned to hold the dinner in the garden area at in.gredients, but because of the looming threat of thunderstorms, they had to abruptly move the dinner to the warehouse at Reclaimed Space. I love in.gredients, but the warehouse at Reclaimed Spaced provided a perfect location. When the thunderstorms finally rolled over Austin, the clattering rain on the tin roof provided our soundtrack, and the breeze brought in by the cold front helped cool us down.

Last night’s meal was a special one because The Homegrown Revival is currently in the process of creating a television show based on its mission statement, and during last night’s dinner the camera crew floated around and filmed the action.

Duck Season

Duck Season

The meal itself couldn’t have been more amazing. The menu came together as the result of a collaboration between Sonya Cote, Tink Pinkard, and Paige Hill. Tink provided the proteins, which were duck and yellow catfish. Paige foraged and sourced the produce, and Sonya created the dishes.

Look at that color. So Beautiful.

Look at that color. So Beautiful.

We started with duck confit, served with beets and onions. Chef Cote had poached the duck in its own fat, and the result was nothing short of amazing. After the duck confit, we had a bright red radicchio soup. Thinly sliced cucumber graced the middle of the bowl, and the soup had just a naughty little hint of spice that played well with the coolness of the cucumber. Along with the soup, we had a dish of potato salad made with several varieties of potatoes and beautiful hard boiled eggs. The fourth course was a huge mound of salad with fresh veggies from local Austin farms, and right on the top sat a pile of candied pecans.

Catfish Ceviche FTW

Catfish Ceviche FTW

And the coup de grâce was a ceviche made with yellow catfish, mango, and jalapenos. Before last night, catfish would have been waaaaaay down on my list of fish I want as ceviche, but man oh man was that ceviche good. Really just sublime. I could have easily mistaken it for something like grouper. But nope. Good ol’ Texas catfish.

Mmmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmmm

And for dessert? Fresh strawberries and chocolate ganache. The chocolate was just lovely–rich and creamy. I’m glad they didn’t give us a spoon. I would’ve eaten it right out of the bowl.

I mentioned earlier that a film crew was on hand, but what I didn’t mention at the beginning of this post was that I had the distinct honor of sitting in on a roundtable discussion about local food for the shoot. In fact, I sat at the head table with Tink Pinkard from The Homegrown Revival, Cameron Molberg from Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill and Farm, Judith McGeary from Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Paige Hill from Urban Patchwork, Dorsey Barger from HausBar Farms, and Renee Rangel from RRR Farms.

I have to admit, I felt a little outta my league. Those wonderful ladies and gracious gentlemen were so knowledgeable and passionate about the Austin local food movement that I had to internally remind myself that I was there to talk and not listen.

TV stars in the making

TV stars in the making

One of the things that we kept coming back to during our discussion was the importance of community and the communal act of sharing information. Changing the way we view food in this country will take a real paradigm shift, and for that to happen, many people have to enter into this conversation. So talk to people about local foods. Go to farmer’s markets and actually talk to the vendors. Check out the web pages I linked above, and then visit those farms and try their produce and proteins.

Above all else, become involved with your food and the artistry that’s required to prepare it. The ability to create food that sustains us nutritionally is easy. Thousands of species of animals have figured out how to create or gather food for sustenance. But as far as I know, we’re one of the only species capable of creating delicious, transcendent meals that not only sustain us, but that bring us emotional and life-affirming pleasure. We should take pride in that aspect of our species and celebrate it.

It’s special.

It’s unique.

It’s what makes us human.

Categories: Austin Life, Homegrown Revival | Comments

Tales from the GAM: Little Bucky Edition

In this podcast, Hyperliterature Presents Tales from the GAM Little Bucky Edition. Click here to download it from iTunes.

During Tales from the GAM episodes I sit down with old friends, and we discuss what it was like growing up in Gholson and Aquilla, two small Texas towns. Returning this episode is Jason Olson, whom I typically call JRO (it’s pronounced jay-row) and joining me for the first time is Bucky McAdams. I’ve known JRO and Bucky for nearly 30 years, and there’s not a lot that we don’t know about each other.

Our discussion goes off the rails pretty quick, and if you’re offended by juvenile discussions of parties, sex, alcohol, and drugs, then this episode is not for you. Consider yourself warned.

Seriously. I warned you.

Also, the music that you hear in the new intro is from Noise Problem Selections. If you’re a musician and want your music on the podcast, send me an email.

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