Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Household Hints From Dave

In my new housesitting gig, I've been temporarily rooming with a delightful British woman (a friend of my friend) who is meticulous in all things, and seems to know her way around a needle and thread. As a result, my usual way of living, which seems just fine when I'm all alone and no one is watching, starts to look a little blunt-edged and dodgy. I honestly don't know if I'm normally this maladroit all the time and simply don't notice it, or if the presence of this calm professional woman is unmanning me and turning me unduly inept.

What I do know is that over the last few days I've come up with some bits of advice I'd like to share.

* When you're cooking brown rice in a rice cooker, and you think, "Gee, it'd be nice to have some butter with this rice," but the butter is in the refrigerator and really really hard, one thing you might want to do is simply set this stiff bar of butter on the lid of the rice cooker, since the lid gets hot and that will soften the butter.

If you do this, however, don't leave to check your email and then get distracted by a quick Wikipedia search, or you'll return to find the butter completely melted and the rice itself boiling in a yellow margarinal equivalent of ghee. (Note: Don't actually eat this rice, since it stopped being healthy the second the butter formed a glistening crust along the bottom. Also, it tastes really salty.)

*You should also be aware that if your rice cooker has a vent through which hot air escapes, that vent should not be placed under a glass cabinet, since the steam contains little rice particles that stick to the glass and have to be cleaned off. (Soap and hot water is fine, but see below.) Isn't it surprising where stains can turn up?

* If you have a pot or a lid or a rice cooker that has somehow become encrusted with molten butter, if you simply leave it soaking overnight, the problem will not actually go away. Your best bet the following morning is to rinse the offending kitchenware with hot water, which will presumably melt the butter into harmlessness. Note, however, that if the water you're pouring was hot, then turns cold, and stays cold for the next five minutes, you may have actually turned on the "cold" tap. Perhaps you should make your own labels.

* When ironing, try to iron in a wide-open area. (Since this is difficult to accomplish in New York, my roommate suggests, "Try moving to the country.") If you can't avoid ironing in, say, a wardrobe area, at least try to avoid having any stray dry-cleaner bags hanging from nearby hooks. But if you do have those around, you should certainly not try, in the middle of ironing, to free the iron's tangled cord with an extravagant gesture. You may find that you've swung this hot iron right through a gossmer spiderweb of plastic. Your first hint will be an unpleasant odor.

* If you find yourself with plastic melting on the surface of your iron, stop ironing. You might think that it's wise to scrub the surface with the nearest paper towel. This will simply leave paper stuck to the plastic stuck to the iron. You might also think it's a good idea to clean while the iron is still hot, so that the plastic will be malleable. Don't do this, as you will almost certainly burn your goddamn fingers. (Do this where there are no children to hear you.)

*The best way to get plastic wrap off the surface of your iron is to unplug the iron and wait for it to cool down. This may take some time. Then grab a scrubby sponge and go at it. (A little sizzling is normal; it's not your fingers again.) When you are done, towel everything off and you're ready to start again! You have just lost ten minutes of your life forever.

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Blogger Joshua Kosman said...

You might also think it's a good idea to clean while the iron is still hot...

There's something you're supposed to do while the iron is hot, but I don't think it's clean.

4/03/2008 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

you still owe me an iron.

5/11/2008 11:55 PM  

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