For you, the dress code is casual.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ooh, Another New Movie to See

Oprah's got Denzel Washington and Forrest Whittaker on the show (on my tape) and they're talking about the movie they have releasing on Christmas Day, The Great Debaters.

It's another teacher/mentor type movie. I am *so* a sucker for teacher/mentor movies. Everything from To Sir with Love on down is just awesome. I have to see this one. :)

I was never on the debate team. Too bad. Should've been. We need adult debate teams. That'd be cool.

Ahhh. I'll never know my true power with being argumentative. Sigh. I'll just have to continue pissing off my friends by being right, then. Heh heh. Most of the time, anyhow. I'm periodically wrong. I blame it on my DNA. It happens.

Anyhow. This year there's no family around for Christmas and I'm pretty stoked. I could use some quiet time, for sure. I'm thinking definitely a movie on Christmas day. Very cool. :) Been a while since I've caught one on the holiday proper. That'll be a nice change of pace.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So there's this island in the Aleutians dubbed Rat Island. The rats landed aboard a ship in 1780 and stuck around to decimate the habitat. Rat Island is haunting for its lack of birds. Silence falls over the waves. Few, if any, small mammals wander the land as rats
Rats have been the scourge of islands worldwide. According to the California-based group Island Conservation, rats are to blame for between 40 percent and 60 percent of all seabirds and reptile extinctions, with 90 percent of those occurring on islands.
In speaking of the Aleutians, the article I read goes on to say of the islands around the infamous Rat Island:
Rats have all but wiped out the seabirds on about a dozen large islands and many smaller islands in the refuge, which is home to an estimated 40 million nesting seabirds. Puffins, auklets and storm petrels are most at risk because they leave their eggs and young for extended periods while foraging.
Ooooh. Rat Island, you evil little piece of land. Creepy.

So the scientists are gonna wipe out the rats. Read more on it here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wow! A Great Calling Plan AND it Explodes!

I have a habit of keeping my cellphone in the back pocket of my jeans when I'm wandering around. At work, it's either in my bag or on my desk. But this story creeps me out! Like there's not enough to worry about in life, now we gotta worry about exploding cellphones. It's bad enough that they're melting our minds (heh, I'm a sci-fi conspiracy theorist type) but now they're blowing up.

I mean, come on! "He was found at his workplace with a melted battery in his shirt pocket and punctured lungs and heart."

Monday, November 26, 2007


GayBoy opens the box of the DVD and approaches me. "So, I bought Hairspray and I opened it up thinking there'd be a chapter list, and what is there?" He holds out a piece of paper.

"$5 off KFC."

"Weird." I comment.

"Yeah, I guess because the lead star is big and everyone else is black..."


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bad China, Bad

Rebels in Darfur have demanded the Chinese peacekeepers leave, basically accusing China of being hypocrites who are merely interested in Sudan's oil, not people.

It's the same argument many opponents of the Beijing game make, demanding China cease its oil dealings with Sudan because the proceeds from that trade are being used to perpetuate the civil unrest and, arguably, genocide. (Depending on just how many "acts" of genocide constitute a genocide, of course.)

Ibrahim, the leader of the JEM rebels in Sudan, had this to say about the dubious "peace"keepers.

"We oppose them coming because China is not interested in human rights. It is just interested in Sudan's resources," he said.

"I am not saying I will attack them. I will not say I will not attack them," he said. "What I am saying is that they are taking our oil for blood."

Well, I think I'll give sleep another try. Just loving the insomnia. (But have taken all three sleeplessness moves and sleep is all but guaranteed: changed my sheets, flipped the mattress over, and had a shower. Whoo. )

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Posting Before the Fray

There's a box of Noodle Box Spicy Peanut on Rice sitting in my fridge, keeping happy until I'm hungry enough later to eat. I've been having one of those "slow starting" Saturdays and slept in till about 10:30 (heh heh... all the pet owners and parents hate me now) and finally headed out into the world early this afternoon after ensuring all my shit on my desktop is backed up. I stole the RAM thingie and went shopping for computer storage and speed. Woohoo. A 320-gig hard drive and two gigs of RAM.

Don't I feel all grown up.

Oh, yeah, and I got an Airport Card for my iBook, so now I'll have wireless computing and the gift of blogging and surfing from the couch. Oh, sweet, sweet, sweet.

But there will be a week or two of hell as I get everything set up over the next couple of weeks, and then it'll mean I can finally start doing some web design for a) extra cash and b) the right to claim home as an expense -- cable bill, computer gear, etc etc. :)

I want to get memory and a hard drive for my iBook, too, and hopefully before the end of the year because I really would love to have the tax writeoff. I figure there's $500 more of Stuff I need to buy for my computing needs, including external storage.

After this, I can finally move on and start onto some of the other projects I want to accomplish in the coming months, including some painting around the home to brighten things up. Ambitions, ambitions. Quite fun making things happen, y'know.

Looking forward to having the computer issues resolved. What a fantastic thing to finally get done. I've been wanting a nice, fast computer for a long, long time, and this will really encourage me to do the one thing I NEVER do that is absolutely crucial to me being a blogger of any financial potential -- reading the fucking web!

I never surf the web! I'm so uninformed! Why? Because surfing SUCKS ASS with too little RAM!

And even if my iBook's slow... it'll be slow from the couch while I can watch movies. My ADHD will never have felt as doted on as it's about to feel now. Ha. And I can be informed and write about cooler shit. Good. About time.

But my day went incredibly well. Took me less than 10 minutes in both computer shops, even though they were packed with people. It was like a shining beacon of service light was beaming down upon me. And there was no lineup at the Noodle Box. The liquor store was annoyingly full and, yep, no line up. What the fuck? The gods like me. Correction, they love me. And I didn't even realize until I got to my designated shopping area that, not only were my two computer stores right across the street from each other, but so was the best hot dog stand in town (ooh, turkey smokey with onions, how doth I love you) and the best drug store and the liquor store and my noodle shop, all within 10 blocks of each other.

I know it's stupid, little shit, but sometimes the littlest bits of goodness are the best ones. I really wanted an easy day today and expect much worse. Lucky Steff!

Well, back to my oddly motivated desire to have a clean house.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I think the time's coming where Nobel's going to have to consider awarding prestigious things like their Peace Prizes to web-based people. It's one thing for a thinktank kinda economics guy to come up with the notion of small loans to Third World people with ambitions and plans as a way of fighting poverty, but it's a whole other thing for a couple of university students to come up with a way to not only make it happen, but make it fun and involving for society at large... and accessible to everyone to be a part of the movement with loans (that you can withdraw once repaid) as small as $25. I mean, how fucking brilliant are these kids, anyhow?

I can't wait to see what happens with this. Someone's made charity FUN. What a thought.

Know what I say?

Beats the shit out of a Tamagotchi.

Holy crap! My woman on got her entire loan sponsored today! WICKED! :)

Giving = Getting

I'm sort of really considering myself a big work in progress right now. There are a lot of little goals I have set in mind about what I want to achieve over the next year in all different capacities. One of them is to practice gratitude more and to become a better citizen on planet Earth by being generous with others.

One of the things I've never been altogether proud of is my lack of respect for money. I'm getting much better with it but there are certainly areas I can improve. I'm thinking of two ways to make myself more conscious of how a little money can really go a long way... 1) I want to adopt an AIDS orphan in 2008, and 2) I want to set up a small business loan for $50 or 100 on Forty bucks a month for saving the life of an AIDS orphan strikes me as a great way to feel good about myself and to feel like I'm starting to be a little less shallow.

Being charitable's a pretty selfish thing. You feel great when you're doing it. If that contributes to making the world a better place, then there's a big, big bonus.

I've wanted to adopt a kid through World Vision for years, actually, specifically AIDS orphans in Africa. I've been thinking a lot about it this weekend, and it strikes me as the right thing to do to set the tone for my year to come. I think my biological clock is ticking but instead of it making me want to have a kid, it's making me want to help kids. Weird. :) I'm adopting a girl, when I do go ahead with it, though.

And the other one, doing a small biz loan through, is something I've just heard about and blows my mind. I can't remember his name, but there was that economics dude in the last year or so who won a Nobel or something for his plan to radically affect global poverty by doing ridiculous little loans of $20 or more that people not only used to change their lives (and those around them), but also repaid in full as a matter of pride. Apparently 99.7% of the loans given by Kiva get repaid, and you can either take your money back or use it as "Kiva credit" to help someone else. You can read their stories, email them, and watch how their lives change as they use this one brilliant shot at achieving their life dreams. Awesome.

Both, adopting AIDS orphans and changing poverty one small loan at a time, are things that I've believed in for a while and consider myself pretty blessed to finally be in the position where I think I can afford to give away $40 or 50 a month if it means making someone's life better. I could use the self-satisfaction that comes from knowing I'm making a bigger ripple in my little pond.

I think I'll give a $25 Kiva loan today and see what happens. :) I shall chronicle my recipient's successes, too. How fun!

(OOh! FIVE minutes later and I have gotten the ball rolling, doing just a $25 loan to a woman in Nigeria trying to get her soft drink-selling company off the ground. How cool! I'm her first lender. :) Let's see what happens. Awesome. And so easy to do! What a great way to get my day started. Small change = big change potential! Click on her name below this and help me to change her life! It's so easy. You know you want to!!!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Week That Was

Yawn. I'm fucking exhausted. I could've left work after 8 hours and not felt guilty at all, but instead stayed for 10 and finished the show I was working on, one of my favourites to do which disclosure agreements forbid me to mention, but suffice to say, melikesalot, and I don't think it airs in this country, so I consider myself fortunate and the office was quiet, so what the hell. And, oh, right, I get paid, which helps, too.

But even if it's only been a four-day week, pushing nearly full-time despite four days, I've still fit in two good workouts on my workdays, and I'm pretty proud of managing to at least do that.

I'm going to have a too-busy, too-convoluted weekend, but it is what it is, and when Monday rolls around, I'll have finally not just gotten, but thrown HARD against a fucking wall, at least two monkeys off my back. This is good. Or, it will be good.

Bad monkeys. Bad!

Another week, probably, maybe two, and I might finally have some continuity in my weeks. Soon.

Tomorrow I have to wander off and be self-employed, which I'm not looking forwards to for a few reasons, mostly because I'm tired and I have too many things that need doing, but it's one of my monkeys that needs a little feeding and beating, so at least I'll get somewhere with that.

Right now, though, a bottle of wine is breathing and I'm about to have a glass and enjoy watching TV that I don't need to work on.

If, however, I get one or two of the things I don't think I can get done this weekend done, AND I get at least one good workout in, *I* will be so proud and happy and thrilled. I'm SO wanting it to work that way that when I get up tomorrow and make a beautiful breakfast before I organize my projects for "self-employed" workday out in the burbs, I'm making a to-do list. Yep! A real, live (well, inanimate, but still) to-do list.

How's that for a shocking turn of events? On it, exciting things like housecleaning, scooter estimates, lobotomies, and, ooh, drinking, but still! The possibilities are endless!

Have a great Friday, kids.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bah! Where's the Motherf'in' Heat Anyhow?

I'm bloody cold! It's fucking winter out there!

And the autumn was going along just soooo nicely. Thanks, Old Man Winter. You suck.

Okay, so I'm not quite adjusted now. But I'm inside, at HOME, and I'm cold! Not fair. Cold out there? I can live with it. Keep the frost to a minimum, please, but okay.

Anyhow. Perhaps scootering home after work and swimming when it's almost December might not be rocket-science smart, but what's a girl to do? And I bundled up. I'll have a hot bath now, but br-r-r-r!

As I've gotten fond of saying, it's just downright nipply!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Great Culinary Challenge!

I'm going to be doing a lot of research on SAMOSAS this week. One of my fave restaurants, the Afghan Horseman, makes these awesome "sambosas" -- which are samosas done with more fragrant seasonings. I swear, I get hints of cinnamon in their take on it.

Samosas and their variants are eaten throughout Africa and the Middle East. The seasonings are what makes it different depending on the region you're making it in the tradition of. For instance, garam masala is the big ingredient in India, whereas coriander and cumin might be the ingredients elsewhere.

So... I need to really try to find all these regional variations and guess at which combination sends my culinary heart aflutter.

I'll be baking mine... no deep frying in this household, thanks... and using spring roll wrappers. Cheating, but it's gonna work.

And since the web's so scattered with these stupid recipes, I'm gonna put a big posting with all the info I've gleaned on The Quest for the Perfect Samosa.

(I'm also annoyed there's apparently 30 ways to spell "samosa" too. Sigh.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is Anybody Out There? ...izzat you, Spidey?

Goddamn it! Now I'm all paranoid.

Gayboy and I have shared far, far too much red wine tonight. Just before he's about to leave for the night, he goes to the washroom. He comes out, "I don't know how to tell you this, but you have a spider behind your epsom salts."

"How big?" I ask.

He holds his finger-thumb an inch in diameter. "About so."

"Simple. Go get your shoes on and stomp on him."

"Fuck no! I hate spiders."

"Ah. Sissy man." I get up, stumblewalk over to my sneakers, slip 'em on. Off to the john we went.

On the floor, next to the tub and wall, is a big-ass jug of epsom salts. I'm gonna ask London Drugs to change the name "Big Ass Jug of Epsom Salts" because I think it's what's responsible for bending the frame on my scooter.

So, it's large enough for a spider to hide behind.

But in front of it was: a rag and a spray bottle of cleaner. Beside it: cedar box with an intelligent array of reading material, both in short and long form.

Modus operandi: When hunting bathroom spiders, remove the exterior hiding locales 'cos the critters like to pull back and are inclined to move away... so, leave the corner for last, and eliminate the bullshit between you and soon-to-be-squashed spidey.

Which is what I did as GayBoy cowered and eeped behind me. But... no spidey. Hmm. I moved the cloth. Then the spray cleaner. Booted the reading materials aside. I shook the towel out. "Eep!" a small voice beside me said. "I'm outta here."

Probably wise. All that stood between us now was the epsom salts. I would've jumped ship earlier, but since I'm the storyteller and historians are often the victorious, well. I moved the trash can, every single thing in that bathroom, and no spider. None. Di nada. Zilch.

And while I mostly think GayBoy is just being paranoid after drinking too much of the "flying coach again" class of red wine, I can't be entirely dismissive that maybe, just maybe, there really is a wanna-be-wolf spider lurching evilly in some corner or crevice of my character apartment.

It could be there.


The spider equivalent of carpe diem.

So, I'm wearing my sneakers.

In my apartment.

At 10:44pm.

And for the forseeable future.

Then, socks.

And in other news: I love it. This article here is basically saying I get debilitating headaches because, yes, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am thickheaded.

It's Before 8! The Horror, The Horror!

I'm off in a mad panic shortly, to try and save a schwack of cash at the consignment superstore, Value Village. It's the annual half-off-everything sale, and I'm keen to buy a huge amount... if I can find everything worth buying.

But it's before 8, and the store opens at 8. Ugh! I hate early mornings, and on Monday, no less! Here's hoping my shopping karma's good and there's at least a few items worth having.

Fun, fun.


Okay, 2.5 hours later and I'm back from Sales Hell... with little to show for it. Got a good, useful warm coat for walking around and waiting for buses in Frigid Winter Weather, for all of $6 or 7, which rocks. Bought a leather blazer I was thrilled about until I got home and saw the gaping rip I somehow missed, but that's all right... it could be salvageable. I bought a coat one size too small that's rawhide leather and totally something I love, but will serve as motivation to sculpt away some of my fat ass -- maybe by Christmas or New Years I'll fit it. In any case, a great reward for hard work is gonna be what that one is.

There's a shirt that's a little too big but still looks good for the time being, and that's spiffy, and two sweaters -- one that'll look better when I'm 20 lbs lighter but looks okay now, and a nice chocolate chenille turtleneck I think looks pretty decent -- in as much as big puffy sweaters can look decent on people who are already heavy, but fuck it... I need warm clothes this year after freezing my ass off the last couple.

Oh, and a pair of slacks, and a shirt I'm wondering why I bought, aside from the "Yay, it fits!" momentary happiness I experienced. Hmm. Hindsight. All in all, it's all right of a haul, but nothing like I'd hoped for, which is how it goes when you're shopping for bargains at a used clothing store, right?

Anyhow, all of $49 later, I'm off to work. Somewhere there's a big fucking cup of coffee to help me through my troubles. Yeehaw. Oh well. It's a start. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Steff's Thai Peanut Salad Dressing

In regards to my eating, I need to do better. I'm getting there, though! Last night I made spring rolls for the first time ever, baked ones. Not bad, but I know how to improve them next time. And I made a Thai peanut sauce for dipping them, which I'm quite smitten with. I more or less used this recipe here, and it takes less than five minutes to make. Just awesome.

Here's the thing, though. For supper tonight and tomorrow night, spring rolls with an Oriental-style salad. Mixed greens, bean sprouts, pea shoots, grated carrot, peppers, red onions, etc... and here's the AWESOME little dressing I've come up with, that I am *so* putting into rotation as of now:

3 tablespoons homemade Thai peanut sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Mix, and get happy. You could even kick it up with some hot sauce in there, if you like.

So tasty, and a source of protein. Love that.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Of Knees and Needs

My weekend lightened up a lot last night when I found out a friend (and his wife) was sick, so we've postponed gutting my PC until next weekend. Now I just have one full day, not two, and I'm as chipper as can be about it.

I stayed up until three or so in the morning, and slept in till just shy of noon... yay. :)

I'm thrilled. Last night I went to the gym before the movie, and for the first time ever, I could do more than five minutes on the elliptical trainer (aka crosstrainer). No, my cardio isn't THAT bad, thank you very kindly. It's a knee thing. My knee always felt highly unstable on the trainer, like it'd pop without much notice. It's always been pretty disconcerting. I'd never do the elliptical trainer in my pre-four years ago fat life, so I don't know what it might've been like when my knee was good.

Until now. :) Last night was no problem. I'd already done 20 minutes on the bike and five minutes rowing, so I kept the trainer to 10 minutes, but now that I know it feels GREAT, I'm going to make the trainer my first priority at the gym. Excellent. Very, very good.

And that's huge. You've no fucking idea. I've been highly conscious of my right knee not being the same (albeit still able to take a good beating) in the stability department, and I'm still conscious of it... but being able to do the crosstrainer will be huge in getting my legs strong in the inside and out so that my right kneecap finally stabilizes and acts as it should.

Four years plus of this... this "not able to do" certain things. Bullshit. Maybe kickstarting things with the highrise down the street makes the difference on the knee. What a splendid thing. Anyhow. I am at one with my gym pass.

Thinking of hitting the gym again this afternoon and tomorrow morning, then a day or so of rest. But I think this little "ohmigod icanfinallydoit!" epiphany moment thingie is going to play huge in being that one cementing event that makes me get all my struggles under control, or at least a focus that'll let me get past certain obstacles.

And unlike the old days and even recent days, my headspace is continually becoming more of one that's inviting change and, more importantly, challenge. Older, wiser, more willing to take chances than I am willing to lose opportunity, I think.

Anyhoo. Yay for the knee. Yay, yay, yay. I would love to be able to get my knee back. Looks like that's a possibility finally.

Into the Wild: Movie Review

I finally saw Into the Wild tonight. Worked till 7:30ish, headed to the gym, and caught the late show after a decent workout.

I really liked the book but never had that awe-struck sense of who Chris McCandless was. Instead, I had that "what the hell would he go and do that for" sense about many of his more hardcore actions.

Short and sweet for those unaware of what I'm talking about: Christopher Johnson McCandless graduated college and decided to be a tramp. After giving away $24,000, he travelled the country for the next two years, eventually walking into the Alaskan wilderness and never coming back out. He died after three months in the wild, of starvation, after successfully living off the land throughout the continent until his failed Great Alaskan Adventure.

Where the movie works and the book fails, though, is in really presenting the awe-inspiring wonders this kid lived and experienced for two solid years, living more in those months than most people live in a lifetime.

But he spent his time trying to run from something that inevitably followed him into the wilderness. In reading a passage in Tolstoy, he realized that he couldn't be truly happy if he was alone, and decided to try and get back to civilization. The visuals of his struggles and his failures, the beauty of the world around him, and all that, it really brought home for me what the kid was trying to achieve, and now I finally do get it.

I still think he was an idiot to wander in the back woods of Alaska without really knowing the incredible power that that nature has to snuff you like a church candle. You don't fuck with Alaska. The wilderness isn't something you walk into, flip a switch, and leave because the whim strikes. There are real obstacles, many physically insurmountable. The kid found out the hard way.

There's nature, and then there's the North. The only thing different about the Yukon versus Alaska is, there's one person in the Yukon for every 10 to 15 in Alaska. I had no problem remembering that far better people than me had died in the wild when I lived up north.

But I have my little moments akin to Chris McCandless's poignant Man Alone moments out back there. I know what it's like to sit in the middle of nothing for as far as the eye can see, and to have your own little reckoning with God. I've never done it hardcore like he had, but I have an inkling.

And now, having seen the movie, the methods to his madness make some sense... and the true tragedy of his death is so bare for all to see. Man, the person he would've become had he survived that. What a contribution he could've made.

Funny thing is, it's only 15 years later, but today, a kid like McCandless would be watching Survivor Man and shows like that, learning how to live off the land because he has 77 channels and a remote. He'd probably make it out alive this time 'round.

Anyhow. The movie's too long. It's very, very good, and given the eye candy and the experiences, the overlong bit tends to be somewhat wearable. Also, I think Sean Penn was a little too self-indulgent as a director at times, focusing on beauty and abstracts, etc, much the way Terrence Malick did and pissed me off in Thin Red Line, but it sort of works for Penn... still kinda annoying, though. I'm trying to ignore it because this is the movie he's wanted to make for 12 years, and finally got to do. Naturally he'll get a little indulgent.

If you liked the book, you really ought to see the movie. Krakauer's probably pretty happy with the spin Penn made on his book. Very well done. I'm surprised the real-life sister contributed to the narration... I think Penn did a great job adapting it. Really great treatment for the book.

I'm rambling now and I need to go stretch the stiffness of the gym-meets-theatre out of me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Trials and Tribulations of Thursdays

I have to jet for work pretty damn quick, but I slept in today... which was awesome. Slept till nearly 9, so it's not like I've been lazing around for three hours or anything.

I'm making rice. It's not even 10, and I'm making rice. I only eat brown and whole grain rice, so it takes forever to cook, and if I'm not getting home till 8, the earliest I eat is 9... next thing you know, I'm sleeping till 9 too.

So. Yes. One small attempt to right my ever-listing universe. Goodness. I'm dreading the weekend already: I have to reckon with my computer. Thrilled is what I'll be when it's all said and done, but between here and there is Shopping with Geeks as I buy the parts needed, then having to try (and probably fail) to back everything up, get it all installed, etc. I fucking hate monkeying around with computers. I'm good at it, surprisingly so, but I hate it. Passionately.

I'm thinking this whole week is one I'd like to turf and do anew. It's just a very weird week fraught with a lot of strange frustrations. It's like the stars are aligned badly or something's stirring the cosmos into a frenzy. Next week's looking about the same, too.

But then... then the computer will have been sorted out, I would have caught up in some of my work with my one "client" and I'd be looking forward to a more normalized life. Yay for small miracles.

Yeah, I think I'm in a weird, weird phase where everything's an effort, but it's kind of coming to an end. Things are good, just... weird. Odd. Strange, strange times.

Soon, though. :) Anyhow. Rice must be nearly done. Must head off to be a worker bee now, then.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Facebook Status Angst: That pissed-at-world feeling you get from looking at people's status only to find it laden with bad grammar, and crime of crimes, bad verb conjugation.

It truly is the end of the English language. Well, cellphone texting is, to be more specific, but that's another rant for another day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vietnamese Chicken... with Lemon Grass, Ginger, Chili, and Peanut Sauce

I'm entering a new culinary phase. I'm trying on Asian cooking for a size. Tonight I made a variation of something I found in the Vietnam section of the Essential Asian cookbook.

Stir-fried chicken with lemon grass, ginger, chili, and peanut sauce. Lotsa garlic, too. Great stuff, and I really totally lucked out with getting still-moist uber-fresh young ginger. Wowza. I can still taste the after-ginger in the back of my mouth. I served it on a bed of steamed brown basmati, which was nice.

So, how it shakes down:

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 (roughly chopped) medium yellow onions
4 gloves minced fresh garlic
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 stems lemon grass, finely chopped (pale part only)
2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely chopped

And put 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a preheated wok. Add the fragrant onion mix to the medium-hot wok and stir often as you saute for 3-5 minutes.

Then, add:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into fine strips

And sprinkle chicken with 1 tablespoon palm or golden sugar.

Saute for 5 or 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked, stirring often. Add:

4-6 tablespoons peanut sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews

Cook for 3 minutes. Add:

1/4 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons fish sauce

Stir well, remove from heat, and serve on a bed of rice or noodles. If you like, a teaspoon of hot sauce ups the ante nicely.

Mm mm good.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lemme Be Your Pilot. Some Musings on Work.

It's nearly the end of a long week and it's a three-day weekend. Praise be! Insert Hallelujah chorus here.

Actually, it's been a good week. I've been working hard and it apparently shows. Apparently Le Cheeses that Be are happy with the output, and this in turn makes me happy.

It's funny. It's had me thinking all day, why good, why now, why so late in the game do I feel so well-put in this job? Why couldn't I have been more on the ball and more confident about it sooner?

And it occurs to me that the answer's a pretty complicated one.

See, I've noticed parallels in my brother's life of late with my own life the last three years. After I had that severe head injury, I went through a lot of interesting phases. Truth be told, intellectually, I felt like I wasn't myself for at least 18 months, maybe even all the last three years, to be honest.

I may have gone on anti-depressants last year, but I really needed to be on them a long time ago. Ironically I only got off my anti-depressants a few weeks before my head injury and it occured to neither myself nor my doctor that going back on them immediately was probably a wise choice.

Then, yes, I did go on them starting August of last year, but we only increased the dosage by 50% this August, and I've only really started feeling like myself of late.

Plus, one of the workings of this drug I'm on is that it helps steady the focus and makes my mind less scattered. I've always had a hard time focusing on the work... it's so quiet and mind-numbingly constant that I always got bored and really sought to distract myself. I never really realized that that may have been symptomatic of my depression, a depression I suspect has existed for far more years than I'd like to really admit to. (The not-wanting-to-admit thing is interesting; it's not out of shame, it's out of this wanting to pretend that I haven't lost as many years as I have to being needlessly depressed if, really, the majority of it is chemical. Who wants to admit to that kind of a lack, for such an inane reason?)

But, yeah, I have the focus now, I guess. And I'm surprisingly more creative at solving the conundrums one faces when trying to convey subtleties and sound, and the challenges posed by that constant battle of time versus space. I don't know. Everything just computes better, faster, and with more consistency than it has before.

Another thing I think is important is that I've kind of stopped wondering "how much" I should do of any one thing, and I've finally realized that, as a hearing-impaired viewer, I pretty well know exactly as much as is required by my job. My standards are probably better than anybody else's, and not only am I getting more comfortable with that, I'm also getting pretty confident as a result of it. A little clarity goes a long ways, it seems, especially when you know that what you expect of yourself is greater than what anyone else probably expects of you.

I have to wonder whether it's just a golden period or if it can all come undone. But I have already considered the possibility of going off the drug now that I feel under control, more or less, and I've decided I'm not ready yet, and I have some proving to do for myself. I won't stay on it forever, but I think a little longer is warranted.

Anyhow. It's been an interesting day of internal dialoguing. I've had a lot to think about. A lot of wondering. But I'm pretty pleased with things. There's a point where you have to decide that questioning just isn't making sense, and maybe it's time to just enjoy the moment until it becomes something else, and then the cycle begins anew.

Fun, this little life thing, eh?

Best description of a face I've read in a long time:

"You'd think it was a leather purse with teeth."

Written by Jim Crace in the Gift of Stone.

(If you haven't read Crace, he's brilliant. Dark and beautiful and brilliant. He wrote a new and different and sin-laden account of Jesus' 40 days in the desert, written from the point of view from some merchants living in the area, called Quarantine. Jesus is a bit character in the background and it's more a dark foray into morality and business, ie: the merchants. Then he also wrote a brilliant very literary forensic biology mystery-tragedy called Being Dead. His books are very, very hard to nutshell, but they're all reasonably short, easy, but sophisticated reads. Do yourself a favour. One of the great modern British writers that needs more readership over here. When it comes to descriptive prose, too, he numbers among the best.)

But, c'mon... a leather purse with teeth? I actually laughed out loud at the image I conjured. Great stuff. I gotta take a look at his bio and see if he's got much else available these days. Been a few years.

Oh! His newest is getting compared to Cormac McCarthy. Huh. There ya go. I find McCarthy a bit more abstract, but yeah, same vein I guess. A critic from the TLS says "Crace builds his effects from the bottom up with careful details." Yep. I concur.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Am Woman, Hear me Roar (Again)

All these financial bigwigs are freaking out about the Bank of Canada's decision to not cut interest rates in an attempt to bring the dollar back into the stratosphere, now that it's hit $1.10 US... Never mind this 22.3% increase in the past year... how's about freaking out about the nickel gained in just a few days? Either way, cutting interest to stop what seems somewhat unstoppable seems something akin to throwing a bandage on an amputation-to-be. Who's kidding who? The fit's been aimed squarely at the shan for quite some time now; that it should actually be finally hitting it is certainly no surprise.

Anyhow, whatever. All my concerns about the economy have no place in my noggin afore me bedtime.

Besides, I've had an accomplished day. I did well at work today, got lots accomplished. I faced my dreaded Nemesis, The Stairs, but I pared it back a bit. I figured there's no sense killing myself and then pissing and moaning for the next few days as I enter a world of hurt, so I chopped a few flights off, and I'm stiff tonight but I think I'll be liveable tomorrow, which is good, because the plan is to do the same tomorrow, but with one more storey added back in. By the end of next week, I'll be back to doing the whole thing, but this time I'll be acclimatized, so to speak, without murdering myself.

Add to that this evening's preparing and rolling of 18 wraps for lunches, and there's enough for four more to do tomorrow, if not five. So, that's potentially 23 lunches, definitely 22, for the whopping price of... hmm, $11 in chicken, $3 in yogurt $4.50 in veggies (mixed frozen, brocolli, onion), $3 in tortillas, $3 in rice, and, oh, that's it. $24.50. Each wrap works out to roughly 475-500 calories, with about seven grams of fibre, and no saturated fat at all. Curried chicken wraps with brown basmati rice and a madras curry yogurt sauce.

I'm thinking of trying a few sometime with black-eyed beans instead of rice, for that double-whammy of fibre and protein. I'll need to ponder that a bit. I mean, shit. Beans would be even cheaper, and it's already only $1.06 each.

I so rock. I feel so grown up. Not to mention it's nice to know some money will be staying in my wallet. That's huge.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oh, Look, A Random Blog Entry. I'll Take Two!

Gasp! Takezo Kensei lives! Holy Heroes spoiler, Batman, but omg!

Ah, I love Heroes. Love! Too fun.

Tonight's curry night, and tomorrow is assembly. I will prepare and roll 20 curried chicken wraps. Then, lunches are taken care of in a low-fat, fibre-filled, currilicious lunch concoction. Some seriously good stuff. I've amped up the hot sauce this time out. I think this bodes well for the coming weeks. Tomorrow is the assembly line. Mindless drone-filled work. Whee, fun. Yeah, that.

I had a nice day at work. Something surprising greeted me, followed by one of my favourite shows. It was a darned good Monday, as far as things go.

Plus the greenlight was given for a little extra work. We likes the money. Is pressscious.

I really shouldn't have had this much wine. I don't get why I feel like such a lush tonight when I drank the same amount last Monday and wound up jim-dandy with it. This week, I am at one with the backspace. It's shpooky somethin' fierce. 'Tis, too.

Well, it's nigh bedtime anyhow. :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jumping Jesus On a Pogo Stick, Will You Put that Credit Card Down Already?

Forget Halloween. This here's some serious spookishness.

And what irks me most about that bizness is that those are the bitches who send me mail twice a month trying to get me to take out $7,000 in credit when I'm just getting by as it is. Learn much? Anyone? Anyone?

This whole capitalist experiment thingie is getting a little out of hand. I think bringing back the socialism in socialism might be just the cure that ails ya. Let's limit banks' abilities to suck up loans from people least able to make them work. Let's not reward them for making terms so unreasonable as to have people miss two or three during one bad period and then have the interest rates hike so much as to make payments punitive and not productive.

Things just aren't fair out there and it doesn't matter that much of it chalks up to a) people's unwillingness to read before they sign, b) refusal to buy from a position of knowledge rather than motivated by want, and c) just dumb-ass impulse shit people need to get over.

You make it too easy and you're bound to run into an inevitable patch of cosmic resetting of balances when things get a smidge outta whack. I mean, I recall this period of "too much, too soon" syndrome followed by market upheavals, losses of jobs, a reduced gnp, bankruptcies and loan defaults by the bunches. Roaring Twenties and the Dirty Thirties, no?

Just saying, the lining up of all these dominoes is a little spooky, and having George Bush and his butterfingers budgets in control when the fit's hitting the shan is just a little uninspiring. Hillary Clinton's looking damn sexy now in those button-down suits, now, isn't she?

I mean, I can't possibly be the only person who knows people who've celebrated going bankrupt like it was a license to be totally free of all responsibility. Like they're fucking owed free shit for the little they've managed to contribute to society. Like they're entitled. Man. Some have gone on shopping sprees days before submitting their paperwork. Am I wrong to think things are a little suspect when people can get away with such flagrant disrespect towards personal responsibility? I'm tired of living in a society where everyone gets away with being a selfish dick. Let's have a little communal love going on, all right? After all, we ARE all in it together.

Fuck, man. I'm so sick of the what's-in-it-for-me-itis that's going on with 70% of the society out there. Wow. And if one more asshole on a cellphone cuts me off on my scooter in the rain when all I'm trying to do is preserve a bit of personal space without buying a monster gas-spewing car when it's only my own little ol' ass that needs transporting, well, I think you could GIVE ME MY FOUR FUCKING FEET. Thanks. Smooches.

Ahh, I disgress.

I long for the good ol' days, back when banks said no 'cos you were young, you were poor, you were black, you were woman, you were single, you were Jewish, you were anything else but rich. Let's save credit for the people who can comfortably say today looks good for payment, so does tomorrow. Most people don't understand credit. Let's make people get educated about how to make credit work for them, then when they graduate, they get a shiny plastic card and a note that says "don't forget all that stuff you learned to get your ass here".

'Cos, you know, the alternative is this. The alternative is that someone like me, getting by with only minimal, almost non-existent debt levels is having to pay the price with a dodgy economy because a bunch of suits wanted to earn commission and more people than there oughta have been are sitting with well-padded credit accounts and payments that are so low the principals almost never whittle away.

It's dumb. And irritating. And, yes, spooky. Curse you, fascism. Err, capitalism.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

How to Be a Lucky Reader!

I'm pretty excited. My nephew's staying the night tonight. At first I wasn't thrilled, but only because I was planning to go to the monthly scooter club brunch for the first time ever tomorrow in a bid to meet new people, etc, so now I'll have to wait until December and who knows if I'll be similarly motivated then, or if time is on my hands.

But I've decided that I'm lucky to have the kid coming over. He and I haven't had a night by ourselves in probably three years or more. The parents are split now, and his sleepovers are at his dad's. I don't get to see him on his own very often at all, so this is really quite a treat for both he and I. I guess it's our "new normal" in the divorced-kid's life, y'know, just another sacrifice made.

And it's his birthday, too, next week, but he's too old and too cool now to do family birthdays. Now it's him and his friends. But that's all right. I'd rather sleep in on my long weekend, so we're even on that score.

Since it's his birthday, though, I am absolutely elated that where I thought there was only one new book in the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III's How To... series, there are THREE! (click the link for plot summaries on all the books in the series on Wikipedia.)

And unlike SOME children's books series with boy protagonists who overcome the jeers, mockery, and expectations to win incredibly tests of courage, you don't need to save money up to buy 'em! They're only $9.99 each, in paper.

I fucking LOVE the Hiccup Haddock series! It's SO fun. It's definitely in the realm of Harry Potter, for me, and it's about time he gets more readership!

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a scrawny 11-year-old redheaded Viking chief's son who lives on the Northern island of Berk. His best friend, Fishlegs, can't swim, and his soon-to-be-caught dragon (in the first book) is named Toothless. The first book is called "How to Train Your Dragon", the second is "How to Be a Pirate", the third is "How to Speak Dragonese", the fourth is "How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse" and the fifth is "How to Twist a Dragon's Tale".

My nephew hated reading. When pressed to defend that incredibly stupid position, he said "It takes too long!" and I then had to explain rather nicely that, well, that's just idiotic, child.

However, I put my money where my mouth is. On New Year's Eve 2003, he stayed the night and I decided to read How to Train Your Dragon to him that night -- the whole 210 pages. I did. He loved it. He tried reading it, but he was only 7 or so at the time. *I* loved it and kept laughing so hard I had to stop reading for bits.

He didn't shake that mentality about reading then, which greatly disappointed me, but hey. Last January, so when he was just a bit over 9, I decided to tackle the "So, why is it you don't like reading?" argument again, and he came up with the same not-so-bright argument. Heh. Hey, c'mon!

So I explained that books have much more happen in them than movies do, and there are more books than there will ever be movies, and as a reader, you get to control how it all plays out in your mind, instead of having some director create a vision for ya. "Whatever" was more or less the response I got. So, I said, "Well, you love the Harry Potter movies, why not the books?" "They're the same", he muttered.

"NUH-UH" was my highly evolved response. So, I grabbed book one, and while he sat there playing World of Warcraft on the computer, I read to him.

I got through 130 pages of the first book that day. By page 20, the game's volume had been turned completely off. Slowly but surely, he kept pressing pause so he could turn his attention entirely to the book as I read.

Within six weeks, he'd read all six existing Harry Potter books. :) Then he was into reading as a whole -- Captain Underpants and everyone else.

But I think he'll be pretty ecstatic to get three books at once... provided he hasn't gotten them already. Fingers crossed!

If I'm lucky, he'll let me read some of it to him. There is no greater voice to play in reading than that of the dreaded Viking teacher, Gobber the Belch. Gobber the Belch tends to speak in ALL CAPS. He's not a nice guy. But he's funny. After his students return in book 3, just a random page I've flipped to, and claim that their boat "sort of sank", Gobber has this to say:

"Saltwater brings out my eczema," mumbled Fishlegs.


Despite being at a loss for words, Gobber yelled at them for the next ten minutes, telling them they were a disgrace to their Tribe and the worst recruits he had ever had. He put them on limpet rations for the next three weeks...
Needless to say, it goes on. Stoick the Vast is Hiccup's father and chief of the isle of Berk. The teaser on the back of book three says "Toothless has been captured, the nanodragon is about to be gobbled, and sharkworms are on the loose! Once again, we're relying on Hiccup to be a hero!"

Just like how Rowling creates a whole strange little world for the Potter antics, this too is a great look at Viking life, and every bit as outrageous as some passages in Potter are for their sheer silly brilliance and ability to really tape into the headspace of kids and teens everywhere.

And if you need any further swaying, know that Pixar is hard at work bringing book one to life as a feature-length blockbuster animation movie, naturally called How to Train Your Dragon, aiming for theatres in 2009.

I know *I* can't wait. :)

*Their tribe is called the Hooligan Tribe as they're from Hooligan village on Berk.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Party like it's 1974!

In addition to our buck being stronger than it has in four decades, our national jobless rate has fallen to a 33 year low of 5.8%. WICKED.

I would like to go on record as saying I think it's dumb luck the Conservative party have gotten such a good financial foundation to build on for our economy. They're doing some good things, surprisingly more than I thought they would, being led by a Bush wanna-be who's a better "politician" than his colleague to the south, meaning he knows how to toe the line well. They're lucky to be in power while the rest of the world's clueing in to the staggering amount of natural resources we really have here.

STILL. It's soooooo good to see our economy getting stronger not only in BC but throughout the country. Gee, couldn't happen to nicer people. Really.