Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Citizen Steff: Bringing Photography to the Masses!
I might get to teach a photography camp this summer!
How fucking cool would that be? Apparently the cash is sickeningly good.
I can't write. I've been mortally wounded! I was redoing the bulletin board... sexin' it up with nice new backing paper and redesigning posters and stuff when I STABBED my finger with a tack.
That fucker went a half-inch deep! Oh, it hurts! It HUUUURTS. Boo-hoo. Wah.
Monday, February 26, 2007
From my new camera! Giggle! Twitter!
I've stayed up too late. I'm not right in the head. Sick in the head! But happy about it.
Here. Two shots out of twenty.
A derelict shipping bay on the Fraser river on a moody February evening.
French press before I've had a cup. The wonders of manual focus in a digital world. :)
Quote of the Day
"Sid Vicious was not a doomed lost soul, (nor) a society or sub-cultural casualty... just a mediocre asshole."
A better writer would've written it better, but that's what editors are for, so blame the editor and the writer both. Shoot 'em. I liked the sentiment, though.
See, my stab would've been more of "Sid Vicious wasn't a doomed, lost soul. He wasn't a casualty of his times. He was just another mediocre asshole. (With a microphone.)"
Still. Good bones. Something to work with. Mediocre asshole.
You're not even a good asshole. Mediocre. Cut-rate. You're in the bargain bin at the dollar store, baby. You and your fucking swastika t-shirt.
(Oh, and there's a fickle pickle: What of this drive to reclaim the swastika? Oy vey!)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Fucked Up! Guatemalan Sinkhole Kills Two
This is crazy. Found a good selection of photos here. We had a 30-foot sinkhole open in downtown Van on Boxing day a couple years back, but jesus, eh? This one's 330 feet! GADS. We love to think our cities are based on solid ground, but let's hear it for plate tectonics and an ever-evolving planet, hmm?
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Laundry and ragu. This is my night. I'm making a pot of beef ragu. It's delicious so far. I'll have dinner soon. It's got a lot of zip and flavour. I'm excited. Dinner will be fabulous.
I picked up my new camera today. Holy smokes. It lacks only one feature I wish it had off the old camera, but has SEVERAL that the old camera lacked. Namely:
Old one? 7.1 megapixels. This one? Ho! 10.0 megapixels!
Old one? Adjustable focal point. This one? Manual focus!
Old one? Half dozen settings, including manual. This one? All the old settings, plus the "Scenes" scenarios. For example, "Indoors" or "Fireworks" or "Foliage" or "Kids and Pets" and "Underwater". (They all have different colour and lighting settings. Very cool!)
This thing's a coolies little gizmo. I'm truly looking forwards to tooling around my work 'hood after work on Monday and Tuesday, getting a few shots of the local heritage sites that are walking distance from my offices.
And and and and and and and and and! Future Shop has a TWO GIG memory card on for $49.99, regularly $119. I'll never have to empty it! Score! I'll be picking one of those up on payday night, that's for damned sure!
So. Things are looking up. Cameras have
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
"Everything's Comin' Up Rooooooses!"
'scuse me while I stuff Ethel Merman back into the closet she crawled out of.
Things are looking up. I was really optimistic on the weekend, liking the job, but still bitter it doesn't pay as much as the old one (money comes with proven on-the-job experience; gimme time, baby) as I conjured a wishlist of things I wanted, et al.
Yeah, yeah, gimme, gimme, gimme. I wants what I wants when I wants it, dammit.
And I want glasses! I want my scooter to go VROOM and sound more like a bike than a lawnmower! I want a new camera!
Oh, WAIT. I have a new camera! The fuckers turfed my old one by rejecting the warranty, causing me grief and sorrow this past week, and someone forgot to mention they're giving me a NEW camera that I can buy yet ANOTHER 3-year warranty for, for $60. Fucking A! I'm goin' PICTURE-TAKIN' on da weekend.
And this weekend I'm working OT at Ze Olde Jobbie for spending cash to stuff in my piggy bank for new glasses. Know why? Tension headaches behind the eyes are WEARING PRETTY FUCKING THIN. Yeah! That too!
Plus, y'know, I wanna be a cutie ex-librarian hottie or something. I WAS a librarian, you know. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
But, yeah, I'd love me some new glasses and want some clip-on prescription shades. I'm going back to A&P Optical here in Vancouver because I treat my glasses like shit and their lenses have STILL failed to scratch after FIVE years. Fucking amazing quality. The "guaranteed" ones from Factory Optical have scratched way too easily. Though, I did ride my scooter's back tire over these. Long story. Not too bad, considering. I don't play nice.
But A&P's are phenomenal. And they have "free lenses" with any frame purchase right now, except they also have free anti-scratch, anti-glare, anti-UV, and anti-something-that's-slipped-my-mind.
Holy bargoon, Batman. I generally don't name companies I frequent in my blog, but they did awesome work and they're on Cambie Street, where construction's really bad from the RAV line being built. Go see Amy at A&P Optical at Cambie and 18th! They need bizness, and I need to keep my good glasses people for longer! :)
And then... THEN I'm souping up the scooter! I couldn't remember my scooter's name when GayBoy was pestering me the other day (his is Matilda) but then I remembered when I was on a hill a couple days ago: Pussycat. So when I'm going up a hill I always mutter "Faster, Pussycat! Faster!"
My ride's a 49cc two-stroke Japanese import (Yamaha! WOOT!)knocked off to reminisce the old Italian rides from the '60s. It's cute. Needs some love. It goes about 60 clicks. I want to shop it up to a 70cc ride. You can take them as high as 90ccs, but that's asking too much of little wheels like those. I want to have mine go as much as 80 clicks or so, because I do like to get around on it. I've done a lot of day trips. I'd love to take it down to Whidbey Island or Port Townsend in the States sometime soonish. Being able to hit about 80km would mean I could ride on more roads. It'd also empower me on bridges and in fast-moving traffic, both places I sometimes am left feeling a little too much like a victim in the making. Empower me!
I'd love to restore my scooter this fall. It's only a 2003, but the leg shield has cracked along the bottom, it's been knocked over, there're scratches, the seat's all faded out from the sun and scratched up from someone else's cheap fucking nylon rain pants, and more.
I'd need only about $550 before the seat, $700 with the seat?? (maybe, I dunno how much, really, to recover it, unless I can salvage one from a scrapyard), and I could completely paint it up and even swap out the spedometer for one that could read my speed. Know what I'd paint it? Army green, but metallic. I'd replace any rusted chrome, and I'd get the seat done in chocolate leather.
But that depends how much money I have for travel and stuff. Tricking out the ride's good enough. Aesthetics are for prissy mod bitches who can't find their friggin' Siouxie and the Banshees tape collection. Bite me. Hard. (Snicker, said like someone just jealous 'cos they ain't got the cash, right? Ha! But I think I look tuffer for not caring how fancy my bike's looking, and the political stickers help for credibility, right? :P)
And I want to tile the top of my kitchen table. I'm thinking either I'll cover it in green river rock with a slate-coloured grout, or I'll do some funky translucent green subway tile and grout that. This is the fourth incarnation for this table, which began its life as a $149 Ikea table my father put together after scoffing at what Ikea was suggesting could be called "screws". Size, it seems, does matter.
So, he drilled it with two inch screws and the thing hasn't moved yet in seven years. Great stuff. So, fuck it, let's take it up a notch. Rock, tile, whatever. It'll be the cat's ass.
That's it, Bertha. I'm done like dinner.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
That's IT? It's OVER?
Ah, the weekend has flown past. I slept late, watched a movie, did some writing, then I rode around about 70 or so kilometres on the scooter today. Beautiful out there. Very nearly almost spring. I mean, hey, the crocuses are springing up.
Tonight's a bit of a treat. Somehow the price of asparagus has plummeted from $6.99 to $2.49 in my hood, and that's still from California. Clearly the produce/finance ramifications of the recent deep freeze is starting to subside.
So, tonight: A whole bunch of asparagus, grilled, with a barbecued steak, some cheap red wine, and too much bread broiled with butter and grana padano.
Something simple yet decadent -- 'cos I've been craving asparagus ever since it skyrocketed to $6.99 a pound. Yeesh. But I'm doing the slow-but-decadent treatment elsewhere in the kitchen. I'm taking my first stab at making homemade demi-glace.
I'm sort of pissed off at Anthony Bourdain now because he only briefly suggests how to do demi-glace sans sauce Espagnole, which apparently "no one does anymore". But I've tried finding more detailed instructions on ratios of wine to beef stock for the "faker's" take on demi-glace, but I seem to be screwing the pooch. I've found only one site that gives a relatively good look at how to proceed.
1. Sauté a chopped shallot or small onion in one ounce of butter (1/4 stick) for 1-2 minutes until translucent in a saute pan.
2. Deglaze with 1/2-cup red wine and reduce to an essence (approximately one tablespoon of remaining liquid). Be sure to remove the pan from the heat before deglazing.
3. Add 8 ounces of demi-glace.
4. Reduce the sauce until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.
5. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.
The adding-pepper-at-the-end thing makes the skeptic in me scoff. Why would you strain the shit out of your stock only to add grainy bits of pepper at the end? Nah, I'll throw a couple peppercorns into the reduction instead.
When it's all said and done, I should have a couple cups of demi glace to work with. Then I'll need recipes to use it with. But I'm betting the combination of grilled duck breast, risotto, and demi-glace would be pretty out of this world. Then there's the ritualistic fancy-ass tenderloin grilled and served with a drizzle or two. Whatever. I'll the bones of some pretty amazing meals now, and I'll just need to figure 'em out from here.
The only problem with this demi-glace is that I'm using cheap-ass wine, and I'll know the difference, I'm sure. Whatever. It's what I can afford right now. It's still demi-glace, no matter how you slice it, and it's all from about $6 worth of bones and veggies, and about $5 worth of wine. $11 for enough stock to make demi-glace and an entire batch of what will be incredible onion soup is hardly much to gripe about!
A note on process: My stock is basically Anthony Bourdain's rather abrupt recipe in his Brasserie Les Halles cookbook. However, having a small onion and being limited space-wise does have its advantages when it comes to processes. Instead of roasting my beef bones and veggies at the same time in separate pans, I had to do it at different times in the same pan. So, I did the beef bones first, and brushed them with slightly-diluted tomato paste and flour, then roasted them. When done, I transferred my beef bones to the stock pot and carefully strained the oil/beef drippings from the pan into another dish. Then I tossed my veggies for roasting in the beef drippings, and went ahead and roasted them, too. They smelled incredible by the time they went into the stockpot. All the drippings rise to the surface of the stock when you refrigerate it overnight anyhow. Good stuff.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Citizen Steff: El Guerrilla Culinario!
About eight or nine years ago, I helped one of my mom's friends pull off her New Year's Day afternoon brunch thingie (for $75).
She made this awesome stuff, chicken curry with veggies and she baked them in phyllo, like samosas, but wetter. Well, in the years since, the "wraps" phenomena got wack and all that, so I've vamped up the recipe. I think it's ironically more traditional/ethnic now, and she's East Indian, and I'm white on rice.
Now, it's a whole wheat tortilla wrap, Thai red rice cooked scented with cinnamon, a cumin yogurt I made, and the chicken curry. It's pretty wicked. Really, there are moments, if you're someone like myself -- an appreciator of all things foodie, and a pretty snazzy cook, to boot -- who happens to like "inventing" foods, when you realize "fuck, I'm on to something here!"
Dad, if you remember, I made you about 30 of these wraps when you had your leg surgery. :) But they're WAY funkier now, and healthier! No potato anymore, broccoli instead, and peaches'n'cream corn, and red pepper, and,and,and.
So, I want to share! Here're the recipes.
Dice 8 boneless-skinless chicken thighs into 1/2 cubes or strips. Put 2 tbsps of peanut oil into large wok. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add one 400-mil can coconut milk. Get it up to medium heat and keep it there. Add 1/2 cup of madras curry powder (or more, or less if you're a wuss) and three teaspoons of chili powder. Don't worry, there's yogurt to come, and the veggies absorb a lot of the bite.
Finely chop two red peppers, one large sweet onion, and one small bunch baby carrots, add it all to the curry mix. Then, add 2 cups of frozen peaches'n'cream corn. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, divide and conquer a large crown of broccoli. (Make it into smaller bits, and feel free to julienne the stalk and throw it in as well.) After 15 minutes, add the broccoli to the curry. Add 2 cups of green peas as well, and one to two tablespoons of sea salt. Let it get happy. Turn the heat down a bit and simmer for an hour.
Either make Thai red rice in your rice cooker or a pot, but it'll take 45-50 minutes. It's worth it, it's really nice and nutty. I made 2.5 cups of the Thai red rice (with 5 cups water) with one stick of cinnamon and a dot of butter and salt. There was a little leftover, but I might make a raisin-rice pudding with it.
At any time during the simmering process, add 2 cups of yogurt to the curry and continue simmering for a bit. Check the seasoning. I added another teaspoon or two of chili powder.
Take a cup and a half of Balkan style or even the strained Greek yogurt, and mix 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar, with just a bit of coarse cracked black pepper. (I just thought it'd taste nice together. Now I want to put it in chicken pita sandwiches with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, funky cheese, and other goodies!)
THE WRAPS BEGIN.
On a large work surface (I use my kitchen table), spread out 10 or 12 10-inch whole wheat tortillas. (I saw some spicy chipotle ones that would be nice.) For each wrap:
- Put 1/2 cup of the rice.
- Put a strip of 2 tablespoons of the yogurt up the centre of each pile of rice.
- Smother it with about 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup of the curry mix.
- Crack some black pepper over each, and then roll them up.
I tend to do this while watching telly. The first bit, the curry, takes 45 minutes to get going. Then I have an hour of mixing it here or there. Then I need to let it cool down for 20 minutes or so. After that, I use the commercials to do things in steps:
- Lay out the tortillas.
- Scoop out the rice.
- Mix cumin yogurt.
- Stripe it down each rice mound.
- Smother mounds with curry sauce.
- Then let sit 1/2 hour. The sauces will absorb into the rice a bit and will not be as messy to eat. Don't let 'em sit too long or your tortillas will dry out. An hour, tops.
- In commercials, roll up the wraps, then wrap in cellophane.
Lunch is looking up!
Next time I might drizzle some honey into the yogurt and more pepper.
But now I have a dozen lunches in my freezer. Next on the horizon... hmm. Something to ponder. This weekend, though, I'm going to attempt Anthony Bourdain's beef stock, and then I'll make a reduction with half, which I might use in the making of risotto soon. I bought three pounds of soup bones from a delishus Granville Island butcher, and the helpful man cut it into 2-3" diameter pieces. Lotsa marrow there. This is good! I'll apparently be simmering this for 12 hours Saturday. Then there's the reduction. Oy.
But then there's the bounty:
True French Onion Soup. I will purchase cheese from the cheese shop, croutons, and a loaf of Ecco Il Pane bread. Soup, bread. Nothing else. Vidalia onions, butter, thyme, rye whiskey, (maybe port?) my stock, a bay leaf, and nothing more. Then cheese and bread. Whee! I bet this will be THE best soup I've ever made. Homemade beef stock? Wow. And the bones only cost $4, the veggies about $2-3, and a can of tomato paste, $0.50. It costs $9 a litre at G.I.'s Stock Market. This will make 3-4 litres. My chicken stock's as good as theirs these days, all thanks to the wisdom of Bourdain and their silly necessity of listing their ingredients. I will peruse what their beef stock has in it, too, this weekend. ;) I will report. Maybe I'll share that recipe, too.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
A Writer on Writing: Orwell
In Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote what is essentially a selection of queries a writer should make before committing to their work. I should probably incorporate some of these. :P
I'm starting to use this blog as a chronicle of my life, more or less, and I think I will try to do a series of picking bits I love that writers have written about writing. I have so many anthologies on the craft. It's a wonderful thing.
I've been getting re-indoctrinated on the love children have for their passions, for art. It's rejuvenating writing for me. Not that I'm doing anything good with it yet, but I expect I'll have that creative frenzy I've been wanting to have, and soon.
Unfortunately, there's no photography in the future. I need to phone about the warranty tomorrow. The extended warranty people are rejecting the claim. I should ask what it will cost to repair, but I'm under the impression it's the single most expensive error that can occur with a camera. In short, I'm probably fucked. I already know what camera I'll buy when I can scrape some pennies together later on, towards summer. It's a... Panasonic. No, really. But it's a Leica lens, and throwing a Leica lens on a digital camera's a serious sign of commitment to the craft, so I'm overlooking the Panasonic thing. Besides, it's rated quite high. And under $400, and still 5 megapixels.
On with the Orwell thing:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
- What am I trying to say?
- What words will express it?
- What image or idiom will make it clearer?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
- Could I put it more shortly?
- Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Day The Third
Welp, I'm three days into the new job, and I'm liking it. Holy learning curve, Batman. And it turns out I'm the office manager, not just an administrator. There's an office assistant and she's been there longer than me. But I'm the manager. COOL. That's wicked cool.
It's really cool being in close proximity with kiddies and parents, though. I'm a natural with kids and great with parents, so it's like returning to my roots. I managed a toy store for a couple years, so I used to be terrific in that capacity, and it's just a matter of firing the old synapses again.
I think it'll be good for the writing thing, too, but right now I'm a little overwhelmed and need to reestablish my place in the world, creatively and otherwise. I will. I always do. (It's nice that I'm beginning to get confident about that. This recent "laid off and had a new job in nine days!" accomplishment certainly didn't hurt with the "wow, I reestablish okay" epiphany.)
The job's very public. Talking more with people will give me good fodder for writing. I could've written earlier today after a farewell luncheon as I had a million thoughts rushing through my head, but hey.
By the end of the week, I'll be more comfortable. In a month, I'll be a pro. They claim there's a one-year learning curve, but I doubt it'll be that harsh. Instead, I look at every job as always being on a learning curve. You always have new conundrums that need solving, situations that are entirely unique on a day-to-day basis. No one's ever going to know everything, but you can certainly learn processes for simplifying some of the situations that will likely have factors in common with other happenstances. So, you roll with it.
And, hey, I roll well.
So, anyhow. Life is going well. Money's going to be tight for a while because of how they stagger cheques, so I'll be hurting somewhat until the 15th of next month, but I'll figure it out. Don't I always? I tell ya, if I weren't as resourceful as I be, I'd be one troubled duckling.
Fortunately, resourcefullness is all it's quacked up to be. ;)
I have to get writing for the sex blog again. I had my highest hits total since, what, last August or so the other day? About 2,000, which means I'm back on track with my old URL, and that means I'm back on track towards my goals, too. Over the next week or so, I'll get a lot tied up with the blog, and I'll be down to only needing to maintain postings and finally get a fucking podcast on the go. OBVIOUSLY the podcast went right out the window when shit came down before Christmas -- Dad got sick, the season loomed, hours went nuts, I was worried about money, I had bad mojo after losing the job I thought was a lock, I had lay-off looming, blah, blah, blah! If there's one thing I can't do, it's PRETEND I'm happy or that I have energy, and recording the podcast became virtually impossible.
But the best thing about this job? Built-in time management! When I had a flex schedule for, oh, say SEVEN years, I became impossibly scattered. Time was my enemy.
Now, I'm fuckin' home, in the house, warmed up, in my lazy clothes, refreshed, and more, and it's not even 6pm! Holy SHIT. Beats the hell out of slacking off around the house for 2.5 hours after waking at 8:30 and not getting home until 9pm. Yeesh!
Maybe I'll start getting more done! Actually, no "maybe" about it.
Either way, that's all the news fit to print. I'm rocking the new job and looking forwards to seeing how it cleans up some of the messes in other parts of my life. I forgot how good I am with the public, how well I connect. It's really fucking nice to be reminded of that. :)
Sunday, February 11, 2007
My Kick-Ass Oven-Fried Chicken
I get my sexy, meaty legs down at the Granville Island Public Market, which I just happened to do yesterday with the inimitable GayBoy.
Here's how I dress 'em purty.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In three separate shallow dishes:
- Dish 1: Put one cup all-purpose flour
- Dish 2: Beat 2 eggs
- Dish 3: Put one cup bread crumbs
Into EACH of the three shallow dishes, add:
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix each shallow dish well -- the eggs, the flour, the breadcrumbs -- with the just-added spices.
Having prepared your chicken legs,* dip each chicken leg first into the seasoned flour, and cover well, patting the flour onto the leg. Then, dredge in the seasoned egg mixture. Let excess egg drip off before coating the eggy chicken leg in the spiced bread crumbs. Pat the crumbs onto the chicken, ensuring it's fully coated.
Put breaded chicken legs onto a greased cookie sheet. Spray each chicken leg lightly with your choice of non-stick cooking spray. (Olive oil in a spritzer works, Pam, whatever.) But lightly spray 'em as this is what gets you that "Shit, you BAKED this chicken?" crispy skin. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 40 to 50 minutes, until done. Turn occasionally to ensure an even crust.
It's finger-lickin' good. I'm restraining myself, having made some today. Damn!
Now, a note to the purists: *I buy my chicken from a poultry man. He puts them in a pile in an itty bitty plastic bag, none of these fancy-ass supermarket trays with bleed bags on 'em. They've got chicken juice on 'em but they're fresh-killed 'cos it's a public market and all. So, I just rinse 'em quick and go ahead and dip them in flour. If you wanted to be all purist and fussy-britches about it, you could rinse 'em and then dip 'em in milk. I think that's fancy-pants. But if it's buttermilk, I'm so there for you! We loves the buttermilk. Me, I have no buttermilk... but if I did! Buttermilk + Breaded coating = Bliss!
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I was in a terrible mood earlier. I'm still sort of blue. I love the new job. It's awesome, and I think that's why I'm depressed.
I mean, I was laid off and found a job in nine days, and was working within 14 days. Who does that, huh? And it's a good job. It's the kind of job that one could stand back, scratch their chin, and ponder "What would be the most perfectest job for Steff right now?" and it'd be what I'm doing. No problem.
And so I get totally depressed right afterwards. What's that about?
It's a dead mom thing. I'm so frickin' high on what I've accomplished and how right it is for me and what crazy ass luck of timing and circumstance it all is that I wish like all hell Mom was around to have a "I'm so proud of you, honey!" moment, you know? I'm sure Dad's bragging and stuff, but I just miss my mom a lot right now. I'm glad I've figured it out. She's always on my mind in February, anyhow. Birthdays and bad anniversaries, y'know.
But it'll fade away in a day or so. I like my new job, I really do. I think I've just hit a wall of emotion -- a lot of pride, being unable to share it, lots of childhood memories in a place I used to spend a lot of time as a toddler, where I now work with kids, and all that. It's a heady week. But good accomplishments. I just need time to adjust.
Talk about your February blahs, though. I'll be happier in March when I'm not staring at the reality that I'm now riding my scooter FURTHER in winter weather. Ack. :P Still. Blue, but not for long. Lots to be grateful for these days.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Siezing the Moment!
I'm taking the starting-a-new-job thing as the opportunity to change a few old bad habits. I've always been awful at paying bills on time, for a starter. Organization is the bane of my existence at home. As a paid employee, I'm great at keeping shit tackled in a timely way. At home? Pfft. Ni cigar.
But that's in the works to be changed. I just tackled my filing cabinet and removed everything from 2005 and beyond, choosing to put them (via subject) in manila envelopes for "deep" filing.
I found a budget book. I'm going to make an effort to stick to one. You know, the old living within means thing. God.
My priorities have always been wrong, financially, and I'm old enough now to be screwing my head on straight about it. Besides, I've been doing a good job of catching up this winter, despite missing an entire pay period and all. That's a promising sign. But I've cut it a little too close for comfort, so that's part of the motivation now. I'm broke off my ass for three more weeks, and then I'll be stable and ready for routine.
It's kind of exciting, all the little personal challenges I've put in place for the upcoming weeks and months. When I start yielding results, I'll be pleased as punch. Now comes the hard part, getting started with the discipline. Ew. :P
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I am mere minutes away from Irish Soda Bread.
I am now contemplating making on-the-fly onion soup. I could use a mix of old cheddar and gradano on the soup, if I'm so inclined. The stock is mine, my fabulous dark turkey stock.
And, yep, that's all that's fit to report.
Okay, no, no it's not.
I went into the offices today and got to say g'bye to the coworkers. I found out two have now quit. I expected one to quit long ago, so I'm surprised he only got around to it now. But, GEE, I know just what it's like. It's kind of hard to leave a place that doesn't fulfill you when it's a good place to be. The people are awesome. Check. The job is fun. Check. The stress is temporary. Check. These are good attributes. One could come to love a job that offers only THAT for a long time.
But then there are those of us who, deep down inside, would like our work to matter a bit more. You know, you feel like you truly accomplished something by the day's end. And that's not something a workplace can manufacture. For a while, I felt that about the old job. But after a while, it gets a little routine.
They say that in Hollywood you get 32 basic plots, and every story is a variation of that prime 32. You watch shows day in day out on the job and you can pretty much confirm that reality. I don't get surprised much anymore.
But I was sorry to see there's some upheaval at the office. It's too bad. Things can change so quickly, and that's a hard job to train folk for. I'm still glad I'm moving on, tho. It's the right thing for me. I need a new challenge, a fun one. Something to push myself with.
Saying goodbye is weird. It's really weird.
It's strange being alone tonight. A big chapter of my life just came to a close and it only hit me when I was about to sign off about. I thought I had nothing to say, but then I realized it was a day of goodbyes.
There were a few other goodbyes for me during the day today, too, but they're not for sharing.
I'm 33 and I'm sort of starting out fresh right now. It feels really good. New things are on my horizon, and I'm really, really ready for them.
It's still kind of bittersweet moving on. It's too bad. I think, in a way, that there's too much of the old me still left at that old job. I was a very different person when I started out there. I had no confidence, no faith in myself. I thought I was lucky to have a job and sooner or later they'd see through my sham. I was reeling from my mother's death and for much of my first year there, was drunk nightly on red wine I'd u-brew. And I worked through all my shit there, and I was trusted with responsibilities and learned to prove myself time and time again, and I just totally came into my own because I was in the kind of environment where the corporate agenda is really to find everyone's best game. Work's always gonna brainwash you one way or the other, but some of that brainwashing's a great thing to get.
But off I go, and this place looks like an INCREDIBLY positive place. My god! It looks alive with energy and excitement, bubbling with innocence and awe. It's kids mixed with art! How cool is that? Gorgeous building. Pretty sweet stuff. In a super-cool neighbourhood, close to the ocean and childhood memories.
I always regret that I feel I lost a lot of innocence at several points in my life -- when I was terribly sick in Sick Children's Hospital, when my folks divorced, when my mother attempted to kill herself, when I got my heart broke real bad, when Mom died, when I nearly died a couple times in a row there... I mean, it can really leave you a little worse for wear when life's such an endless volley of struggles, you know?
But I struggle better these days, and I live better during them. I think there comes a point when you just grasp that: Life is hard, but it's sometimes fun, and when it's hard, count on the fact that the fun will come. And when it's fun, live for the moment 'cos the focus will make it easier to remember what it was like when times were good, when the times actually are bad. And learn from it, either way.
And, shit, man. I believe in karma. I know my karmic check's gonna be a big baddy when it finally does get cashed. I know I'm gonna get my just rewards. Hell, hard work needs to get repaid sooner or later, don't it?
But all in all, this is a good night. And it was a good day. Things are, it seems, looking infinitely up right now.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
And It's a Hail Mary Pass for the WIN, Sports Fans!
Looks like I have a new job. :)
I just need my references to say I'm simply incredible, and then I'm in like a dirty shirt!
And that would mean I've gotten a job NINE DAYS after getting laid off. STICK THAT IN YER PIPE AND SMOKE IT, BUDDY BOY!
When I applied at my film job that I was at the last seven years, I'd put out THREE resumes for three jobs and was hired for two of 'em. That I had to look as hard as I did last year for work was a crushing blow to my ego -- especially when I wound up with a job I fucking hated from the get-go.
THIS job will be FUN all hours, every day, 'cos it's with kids!
And it took me nine days!
Tee hee. Just what I needed to get more of in my diet: PUFFERY.
As opposed to puffed pastry. ;)
Monday, February 05, 2007
The Wordler Fumbed*
I have these phases where I'm totally dyslexic. I get people's phone numbers wrong periodically, even after knowing them for years. The other day, GayBoy and I were out shopping for food and I was talking about my recipe I was on the verge of making, and I was talking about the ingredients. "...gotta get some parslo and cilantry--"
"Um. Parslo and cilantry?" I muttered again, intrigued by the sound. I would up saying it about four times, and the "relatively new to the shore" (because I hate the phrase "fresh off the boat") cashier was as confused as all fuck 'cos we were laughing to beat all, so she just stood there punching in items and smiling politely. Ha-ha, yes. Mm-hmm.
But, parlso and cilantry! Which I never did use, and can't remember why I bought it. What fucking recipe was that?
(A moment later...)
BEAN SALAD! THAT'S IT! Yay. Now I can make some.
*(If you still don't get it: "The Word Fumbler"! Guh.)
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Off To An Interview I Go
I have a couple minutes before I have to de-funk in the shower, get dressed, and head out in the pouring rain across the city of Richmond (a 25-minute ride) for a JOB INTERVIEW smack-dab in the middle of the Superbowl!
How lame. On the UPSIDE, I think it's an interview I should be able to easily ace. It'd be a fun, neat job for me, working in a children's private art academy. That'd be cute and entertaining. It'd be nice to be around enthusiastic, inspired kids all the time, especially since I want to remain childless but I like kids.
I've spent the weekend being the UBER domestic goddess. Yesterday, I made a monster batch of beef samosas, a pot of chicken stock, and some homemade bread. I got my stovetop cleaner than it's been in five or so years. (I thought I'd have to buy new chrome fittings for the elements, but was given this industrial-strength stuff that made 'em look like new!) I tackled my cupboards under my counter -- something I procrastinated about for the past four years 'cos I hate bugs and had this fear they'd be there. A few dead silverfish, but nothing freaky. Woot.
The only thing left to do is to strain my stock and clean my oven. THEN I move on. Tomorrow: Broom closet, sideboard, china cabinet, and bathroom.
I figure I'll probably get a job this week, and I want everything cleaned and organized for when that comes to fruition, then I can just focus on my job, my writing, my life, and ENJOY my home. Smart, eh?
I'm going to tell everyone I can start work on the 15th. That way I'll have a long weekend this weekend before I return to employment. Yes, I'm visualizing getting a job and all that. Should be an exciting week on a few levels. I'm looking forwards to it. I'm not as freaked out as I suspected I would be. I'm actually getting somewhat confident. All the job interviews I've had so far have been ones I've accepted because I need a job, not because I saw myself as being happy working there. The three I have this week, they all fit the happy-there category, I think, so I'm enthused that I've not only got interviews, but interviews I covet. Yay me.
On the more serious side, I took the step of calling the Food Bank of Vancouver on Friday. My money's pretty fucking tight and if I don't get a job, I MIGHT have enough to pay for rent. That's it. And I've given to the Food Bank every season of every year, and I've never called upon them. Now I may have to, but at least I know that option is there.
But I'm gonna get a job this week. So, moot point, right? ;)
Friday, February 02, 2007
And That's a Wrap! The Week Ends.
Fuckin' Bush, man. New reports allege the White House is willfully tampering with evidence regarding the climate change. Who fucking does this? It's like the governmental equivalent to an 8-year-old shattering Mom's prized cookie jar and figuring that if he sweeps up the damage, takes it to a NEIGHBOUR's garbage can, and pretends it never happened, he'll never face the consequences.
But this goddamned American administration -- the leaders of the greatest polluters in the world -- want to alter findings so they can save face and protect the interest of, what, big oil?
Ha. I mean, what the hell else is there to say? I can't fucking believe this government. You know, I don't think Bush LIED to go to Iraq, but he sure as hell wasn't looking to dig deep anywhere. The lie thing is arguable. But this takes the cake. If it's true, it's just unbelievable. Watergate, okay, I get that. Political motives, yada, yada. The Intern Scandal, why, it'll never amaze me what men will do for blowjobs, but impeaching? Whatever. But this? Let's veto science so we don't have to inconvenience big business with silly things like emissions control, because it's okay to keep pushing the atmospheric envelope?
Ah, whatever. It's late. I don't care. Fuck 'em all.
Hockey! Was good. Saw the arch-nemesis Van Giants v. the Kelowna Rockets. We won. 4-3, overtime. Gorgeous popped shot for the winning goal. Big yelling thing ensued with wild fans.
Sadly, no sexy men to behold. I was crushed. Shattered. Smooshed, if you will.
But I got a free beer out of it. Woo-hoo! And some good laughs.
My daily hits on my other blog are up almost 400 per day from the start of the month, and I have 140ish subscribers to my feed, about 100 or so more than a month ago. That's a lot of peoples jonesing for a fix of me! Coolies. If you don't understand "subscribing to feeds", it means people are notified whenever I have a new thingie, and they can go and read it, but their reading is not tracked by my hits counter. The hits counter reflects people who physically visit my page. Their traffic converts to potential visits to my advertisers, and advertisers expect at least 4 or 5 clicks on their ads for every 1,000 page hits. My advertisers are getting consistently about 10 clicks per thousand. Pretty decent.
But then, for every subscriber who gets an RSS feed, there's someone else who subscribes in other organizations, like Bloglines, where 39 people are subscribing to me. Right there is potentially 200+ daily readers, let alone the ones who check in manually. Kinda cool!
So, yeah, from about 1100 hits a day at the start of the month to 1500 hits a day average this week. That's about where I was last February when things took off very quickly for a short bit there. Thing is, I'm getting some of that mojo back, writing-wise, and I think I'm about to have a good phase with it.
Couldn't be a better month to get my first paycheck from my ads -- should be about $120 Canadian. That's something, at least!
It can only go up from here. Well, it could start to suck, but I don't think so. I think I'm going to have fun blogging over the next bit. The unemployment gives me more chance to write, too, and the spring makes me more creative.
I finally took my broken camera in for repair. I'm believing they're not going to repair it, as "99% of the E18 ERROR messages are a result of owner dropping camera". Fuckers. But I'm sweet and nice and all, and BELIEVABLE. So, I said the only time I'd ever dropped it was in the first four days when a rude lady pushed me off a curb at the Chinese New Years' parade.
I mean, hey. It worked for a LONG time after being dropped.
But I'm still kinda pessimistic. Took me forever to take it in for repairs. I just kept forgetting!
I really, really, really hope they'll fix it. I'll call next week and see what the verdict is. And they'll tell me they won't know for a while or something dumb like that. :P
I need to exercise. I'm a very lethargic unemployed person. Oy vey. I did have a couple bike rides, but nothing too intense. This week, more! MORE MORE MORE.
It's weird. I get these very epic reader emails once in a blue (or as it happens, full) moon. You can tell they've composed it in Word because there's three blank lines where there ought to only be one between paragraphs. One of the weird Word-to-HTML conundrums you have to watch for in blogging and such. Gmail doesn't catch it yet.
Got one tonight. Weird. The crap people tell me. I don't get it. This whole thing about some whatever hundred daily, whatever thousand weekly readers who actually give a shit about what I have to say just periodically freak me out. And it's when I get letters like THESE that it happens.
You know the old adage, "Careful what you wish for; you just might get it"? Yeah. Well. Sometimes I sort of recheck just what it is I think I'm asking for.
I just had a strange and terrifying thought: Fill a large room with all my regular readers. How weird would it be? Would they be oddballs? Relatively normal? HIP, even? Would they look like they belong together, or would it be like a Village People high school reunion?
Yeah, it's a good thing I never did acid. I might just be able to imagine that if I had.
Weirdweirdweird. I'm just lil' ol' me. Kid that read in one too many lunchbreaks, getting too much joy out of well-spun words. But, you know what, I could've waited to read that email till daylight. I mean, really. But no one sends those ones by day. Grr. Strange conundrum. I'll need coffee before I reface that!