November 2009


Phew!  Finally!  Kinlea Keeper was released at Drollerie Press last week.  Yes, I know I said it would be released in June, September, and October respectively, but this is an honest to goodness sure thing!  I’ve seen it!  It’s true, I tell you!  Now we can all wait with bated breath for Curse (the sequel), which by contract must be released before early March of 2010.  If you are at all interested in mixed-myth folklore fantasy, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the series, and I would be more than a little grateful if you give the excerpt a shot even if you aren’t.  It’s free, after all, and I promise it won’t take up too much of your time.  Much obliged! -EGD

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Ok, so I have parts of three different pumpkin pies in my fridge at the moment, and all three were made by yours truly in the little-bit-less-than-a-week.  Crazy, I know.  The first one, I made on my self-declared “Pumpkin Pie Day” last Tuesday.  I wanted to buy pumpkin, so I got my butt down to Walmart and I bought pumpkin, gosh darn it!  While I was there, because they were cheap, I also grabbed a couple of graham cracker crusts and a box of vanilla pudding.  Inspiration struck when I got home and was fishing through my mind and the sides of packaging for a pie recipe while thinking of how dang hot it still is around here.  I didn’t want to turn on the oven or the stove, so I invented the recipe for two of those partial-pies hanging out in my fridge.  I call it (you’re going to love this): THE EXTREMELY LAZY CHEF PUMPKIN PIE!  Ok, so here’s what you do.  You get a cheap-o pre-made graham cracker crust.  Then, you start following the directions on the side of your box of Jello-brand instant vanilla pudding until the part where it tells you to let it set in the fridge.  Instead of letting it set in the fridge, whisk in a quarter cup of brown sugar and 1.5 tbsp of pumpkin pie seasoning.  Once those are whisked in, stir in the contents of one 15 oz can  of Libby’s Pumpkin.  Then dump it all into the pie crust, stick it in the fridge, and in 5 minutes you have pumpkin pie.  No kidding.  It really is incredibly good, and everyone who’s tried it thus far has loved it.  I brought the second LazyPie to the jingju cast Halloween party on Saturday, and even the teachers from China loved it, despite the fact the only utensils we had to eat it with were chopsticks.

Now, about the controversial pie I mentioned: As you all likely know, I spend my Sunday nights with the Hawaii Gagaku Society (see “Rum’s Favorite Cookie”, if you need a reference post).  Last week, I promised the gang that I would bake a pumpkin pie.  I used the recipe on the side of the can of Libby’s Pumpkin more or less, but I left out the eggs, added a tablespoon of butter and a half cup of flour.  I also added some ginger along with the pumpkin spice.  The resultant pie was quite nice, and I liked it, and it made the weirdest stir at the Gagaku society.  More or less simultaneously, Evelin across from me made a face and said there was too much spice, Chow to my left turned to me and said “next time, more spice,” and Yuka and Yoko to my right were holding a conversation in Japanese about how they’d never tasted a more perfect blend of spices in a pumpkin pie.  Polly agreed that the spices were perfect, and Yuka and Polly decided between them that their tastes matter more than Chow and Evelin’s because they’ve been in the society for longer.  Yuka claims it was the best pumpkin pie she has ever tasted.  Chow said the crust was too hard.  The rest of the society, I am sure, had an opinion, but they kept it to themselves.

I’m going to eat what’s left of that particular pie for breakfast in the morning.  There’s not much of it left.  The only person who left some on his or her plate was Evelin (who thought it was too heavy as well as over-spiced).  All in all, I’d say it went over well.  If I decide to bring pumpkin pie again, I think I’ll use exactly the same recipe.

Rocks.  Totally rocks.  Oh… my… gosh.  So, I went to the Ben Vereen and Honolulu Symphony concert at the end of last month, and woah.  Seriously.  I almost can’t describe.  The symphony opened (they played the first half hour sans Ben Vereen), and they were pretty good.  It was excellent as symphony pops concerts go, actually.  They called that half hour the “first half,” though, and this strikes me as silly because Ben Vereen performed for two hours straight.  And get this: he only got better as the night flew by.  He performed excerpts from a musical about his career (he’d been working on it with the Honolulu Symphony’s conductor, you see), he performed tributes to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., he sang songs about Hawaii, shared anecdotes about times he spent hanging out with Don Ho (same for Bob Fosse), and did a ton of the the signature Ben Vereen stuff like “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” and “Jesus Christ Super Star,” and “Defying Gravity.”  He danced, he sang songs that featured various instrumentalists, and he generally charmed the daylights out of the audience.  Let’s just say, if you get a chance to see this man in performance, by all means, find a way to go.  I doubt anybody in his or her right mind (erm… who likes song and dance) would regret it.

And seriously, TWO HOURS!  ONE MAN GOING FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT!  That’s a real showman for you.  40 years from now, I hope I’m still going that strong.  Wow.  -EGD

(P.S. if you don’t know who Ben Vereen is, SHAME ON YOU!  Go get your hands on the first season of the Muppet Show or on the movie version of Pippin and get back to me later)