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Interests: Waiting for departures. Digging for books. Being a pirate.
Expertise: Speaking to strangers. Gesturing excessively.
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So sleepy I am writing another weblog entry??
I slept pretty well on the overnight flight from Toronto to Rome, due primarily to the myseterious presence of business seats in the first 5 rows of economy class. What? A comfy chair at low cost? It was fantastic - because there really is no tangible benefit of eating business class food (protein-devoid and over-steamed vgml food is underwhelming) and having more movies just keeps me up late. So I had the nothing-to-do-but-sleep effects of economy, and leg room.
And a grandmother next to me who is also bound for Sora. What are the odds? The only Tatangelo she knew was the pop singer, of course.
We were 2 hours late arriving, and so I headed directly for the conference, or as directly as I could considering its insanely remote location in the hills of suburban rome. I could have stayed on the premesis, and thought about it (out of laziness) but after setting up my poster and taking a gander at the talks, I headed via shuttle and subway to my hostel.
Surroundings = bohemian-bourgoisie outskirts of rome, pretty apartment buildings, expensive gelato places (they always have the best non-dairy selections). It is 5 stories up, of course, and there was nobody but one lone resident when I rang the bell. He let me in, now I wait (I have had nothing to eat all day, and no water until now) until somebody checks me in so I can be sure I am staying here tonight.
Hardly enough to complain about, I know. I am sure more things will arise.
|Maybe I should try a post-weekend weblog entry?|
Friday night Melissa and I went to an event at the Australia New Zealand Association (ANZA) club house. We were promised: beer, burlesque and bands. Melissa had very few details beyond that to offer, so I went on faith and looking forward to some much-needed Melissa time.
The ANZA event was hilarious - the burlesque show was ending when we got there and the band was a hokey
reggae-style motley crew. The theme of the evening, as it turned out to
be a fundraiser for a cyclist who was in an accident, was biking,
bikers, and bikes (referring to the non-motorized sort). I recognize
the type - they work a the bike coop, they bike everywhere, they fix
their own bikes, and their clothes an be relegated to two piles 1)
things they wear biking in the rain and 2) things they have not yet
worn biking in the rain. Everybody was wearing clothes out of pile #1,
so they looked scruffy but happy. Now I know what the bike types do
with their spare time.
Note: since I have 2 bikes, I fix my own bikes, and when I do it's at
the bike coop, the question needs to be asked- how is it I don't
consider myself to be a member of the above reggae-dancing, scruffy-clothed category?
Answer: I think it really comes down to what I do when it starts raining. I wuss out and take the bus, but these people keep biking. This makes them heroic, in my eyes. I feel the need to consider more of my clothes "play-clothes" and join the ranks of wet wheeled hoodlums.
All in good time.
Other things I am currently waiting for:
1) The virus in my pharynx to leave so I can talk and swallow food normally.
2) Wednesday's trip to Carmel, California (never been there!) to a conference, and then subsequently flying to Montreal for another conference. It's going to be very, very hard to pack for this triangular journey.
3) Later on today, once I get an appreciable amount of homework conquered, I'm going to go and do some yoga... very poorly, because of the aforementioned virus.
4) To find out what I'm doing with my program here at UBC.
5) The day when I remember all the nerve tracts in the central nervous system.
6) Deciding on a magazine subscription. Melissa may have been able to go cold turkey on her glossy pages addiction, but I find myself more and more enjoying the virtues of the printed word in magazine format. Five already gets Quill & Quire delivered (I love the new format!) so it may have to be The Walrus. Discover magazine was fun to have as a subscription last year (thanks, Josette!) but I don't know if I can handle any more of the anxiety-inducing "YOU ONLY HAVE 4 ISSUES LEFT RENEW NOW" flyers that come as soon as the first half of the year is over. I might also need more Can Con.
I had my cousin Alice over for dinner. Alice is 2 years younger than I am, and she moved to Vancouver just over a month ago to undertake an intensive 2 year music production program. She's living with a Croatian family just East of here (a little bit further than walking distance) and they seem to be taking good care of her, which is nice to know. Her program keeps her very busy, so I imagine there's some comfort in knowing you can come home and somebody else will have made dinner. (Can't imagine what that's like..)
Last night we made Alice act as guinea pig to a few more recipes for the vegan cookbook. Appetizers were good - Afghan flat bread with a vegan cucumber-free tzatziki, alongside pate that Five pronounced "weird" and some spicy olives.
Lemonade all round. Somebody teach me how to use a citrus reamer so I don't get pits everywhere?
Main course probably needs some more fine tuning - it started with a pasta (bavette con funghi di porcini) which is similar to tagliatelli except doesn't contain eggs. The flavour of the porcini in this pasta is kindof subtle, but without trying the non porcini version it's hard to say. This type of flat pasta goes well with creamy sauces, so I adapted a recipe for pumpkin and italian sausage bavette and made a creamy butternut squash sauce with vegan italian sausage and zucchini.
It worked and yet it didn't. It was hard for me to tell what was missing (Extra! Extra! Taste Buds Blunted By Virus!) but I could tell, and Alice agreed, that the sauce needed a bit more "kick." Plus, I accidentally ended up hogging all the soy sausage, which was the ingredient meant to spice up the dish, so I may have lost supporters by that behaviour alone.
On the side? Arugula salad with blood oranges and toasted pine nuts, topped with a citrus-basil vinaigrette. Not too shabby.
Everything was saved by dessert.
I'm not going to turn this into a food blog (others have done much better), but I will boast about the dessert last night:
Vegan Bananas Foster
A spoiler for the upcoming cookbook (it will definitely be an included item!) so you can set your own kitchen aflame, here's the unedited recipe: (Served 3 who all wanted more)
1) Melt 3 Tbsp soy margarine in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
2) Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, stir until sugar has melted into butter.
3) Peel 3 bananas and slice lengthwise. Place cut-side down in skillet. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup (the recipe normally calls for banana liqueur instead, but who has that? If you do, I'll not ask why, just add it instead of maple syrup and you can be one step closer to getting it out of your pantry.)
4) Cook on med-high heat, tilting the pan to coat the bananas, for 3 minutes or until bananas are soft and sauce is well-combined.
5) Add 1/2 cup dark (Cuban or Caribbean) rum to middle of pan. To flame the rum, either gently slide the pan back and forth (the rum may ignite when it touches the hot sides of the pan) or use a long-handled match or BBQ lighter to set the whole thing on fire.
6) Realize you forgot to turn on the fan above the range of your stove. Turn on the fan (you probably won't set off the smoke detector anyway) and watch as the rum burns away. Slide the pan back and forth as it burns to encourage the fire to continue. Impress your friends, but don't spill the sauce.
7) Wonder if you're still, in your mid 20's, too young to be playing with fire and what your parents would say if they knew.
8) Serve bananas on top of soy vanilla ice cream in the middle of big, pre-chilled plates with sauce poured all around - like the ocean around a delicious island.
9) Enjoy, and wonder why you don't light all your food on fire.
|Thanks for a wonderful x-mas.|
More updates to follow once inspiration returneth.
I just took an online career quiz (I'm hunting down good
ones to show the high school student I'm mentoring in her career
decisions - this one at Tickle isn't bad, and it's free). Here's
how it decided to describe me after 65 questions:
Claire, you're a Detective!
The mysteries of man and nature stretch out before you, just waiting
for your inquisitive mind. In your undying quest for the truth, you're
best at finding solutions to complex problems. As a passionate and
determined detective, you don't have time for a deputy.
It's just as well really, since you work best alone, perhaps pondering
the clues from your library or lab. You thrive on the problem-solving
process, you could trouble shoot for NASA, and you won't rest until the
questions are answered. The world could use a few more like you.
Who's like you:
Margaret Mead (famous American anthropologist)
Detective, FBI agent, mathematician, philosopher, financial analyst, intelligence officer.
Not a bad guess I would say. Seems I'm always trying to puzzle
things. Like, how to get more sleep. Why biking to school
both ways seems uphill. How it can rain for 2 weeks and nobody drowns.
Waste time with quizzes yourself at Tickle.
Depending on the condition, medical types move your ailment from
"acute" to "chronic" after either a few weeks, months, or years of its
onset if it's still around. Don't confuse acute with cute, that's
a Med I mistake.
When a backpacking voyage idea "pops" into my head, it also can be
categorized depending on its persistence. I once wanted to go to
Moscow. That idea didn't last. Last year I thought "Christmas in
ireland.. sounds cool!" - actually, cold. Nixed that one too. Want to
go to India but haven't got the time. When Libia opened its
borders, I almost grabbed for my passport, but let it slide.
A month ago I presented acutely with a desire to go to the southermost
tip of Argentina. One month later (sorry about the sad lack of
weblog entries! October was HARD!) I still like the idea, like the
price, like the timing, etc. And I like the place, or at least my
mind's eye view of it. That means my condition has progressed to
It's all downhill from here - or down south.
As always, conditions remain to determine the reality of this option:
1) Money needs to be in supply - and that literally means
more than this year. Which menas getting a major award, and budgeting
what I already make, not aquiring a pricy hobby, and not having to pay
off any mob boss.
2) Timing of research - my fearless leader has to get by
without me for that time. How long? 3 weeks, 4 weeks tops. It
takes time to get there and I certainly can't validate flying that FAR
away just to turn round and come back without scoping the joint.
(If time is lacking - trip may be modified. I've heard costa rica is fantastic!)
3) School always takes the fun out of everthing. Trip
must happen between end of December term and start of January
term. This is possible: there's enough time there if I'm not
taking grad courses in the fall (not planning to).
4) Travel partner. Ask him yourself.
That sounds dull. Penguins are fun. There are lots of penguins in southern Argentina.
(unable to downsize wild fantasies)