Boston To-Do List – Updated with completion

I’m heading to Boston on 3/6 for the AWP Conference. I’ve been lucky enough to find a free place to stay, which means I’ll have a wee bit o cash left in me pot of gold to spend in and around the city. Here’s what’s on my list of things to do:

Pizza at ‘Nochs in Harvard Square DONE
Beers at Queen’s Head (aka LOKER COMMONS) DONE
Walk through Harvard Yard; visit Mather House DONE
– Check the pile of remainders at Harvard Bookstore DONE
– Peruse tea options in Chinatown (Anyone know any good stores for loose leaf or cheap bagged tea? Also on the lookout for puerh of any kind.)
– Cannoli at Mike’s Pastries
Drinks at Bukowski Tavern DONE
Beers at Lord Hobo DONE
– Beers at Meadhall
– Drinks at Brick and Mortar

What am I missing? I’ll be adding to this list.

Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft

Fantasy Blog Header - Final Rowling Cropped

Because I don’t have enough blogging platforms already, I went and offered up my services to the Boston-based literary magazine Ploughshares, and they were foolhardy bold enough to take me up on my offer. I’ll be blogging for them this year. The first installment of my Fantasy Blog Draft is online today. Here’s the main idea:

For too long, fantasy sports have been confined to—well, actual sports. Whether it’s historical fantasy sports or contemporary fantasy sports, the literary world has watched from the sidelines as number crunchers and keg tappers compete for glory in an imaginary world of teams with puntasticnames like “Sproles Royce,” “Apocalypse Noah,” “Austin Rivers Runs Through It,” “My Dinner With Andrus,” and “In the Garden of Wheeden.”

No longer. This year the Ploughshares blog will be hosting the first ever (as far as we’re aware) Fantasy Blog Draft. Imagine having all your favorite writers, dead or alive, from across multiple genres, eras, and continents, writing for a single blog—curating the news, popular culture, art, Art, and everything in between. Who would man the helm of your Fantasy Blog? What strategy would you use to draft your bloggers?

They’ve convinced six folks to help me with the endeavor, and these “Fantasy Blog Managers” have put together some great team names and draft strategies, which we’ll introduce in two weeks. We will eventually match the teams in a bracket-style competition, and you’ll be able to vote on the winners. Follow me as I do this ridiculous thing!

Creationism

I’m a firm believer in creationism. In my version of creationism, I am the god, and I create things, not people. This website is one of those things, so are my other websites and all the writing I’ve done. The sheer act of creation—those first few minutes of bringing something new into the world—is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes.

So it’s not surprising (at least to me) that when I learned my mom had moved out of the house and wanted a divorce from my dad, one of my first thoughts was “I have to make kombucha.”

Kombucha is, loosely, “fermented tea.” It has a sour, vinegar-like bite, and I love it. It got popular in the US (or at least accessible in New Orleans) at some point between 2008 and 2010, and I only started drinking it when I returned in June, 2010.

I brewed beer in college, but I’ve been living at home during grad school and haven’t really had the space to collect brewing equipment. Kombucha making, however, requires less equipment, less space, and less of a financial investment.

I went out to Target last week and bought two gallon-sized glass jars in which to grow a SCOBY, and I followed the directions on Total Kombucha to grow a SCOBY mushroom from two bottles of commercial grog.

SCOBY1

SCOBY2

SCOBY3

SCOBY4

SCOBY5

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So far, I have a wee little thing growing. At least I think it’s growing.

SCOBY7

This has taught me another important lesson of creationism: While there is an initial high in those first minutes when the web is rent, the seed often requires time and fuel to grow.