Archive for December, 2007

Resolution

Yeah, yeah. It’s that time of year.

I have one resolution that I would really like to achieve in 2008. It probably sounds small and trifling to anyone else, but it’s a ridiculously big thing for me. I’d like to have my family round for a meal. No idea when. Just sometime in 2008.

I’ve been king (okay queen) of my little castle for almost 11 years and not once have I had family round for more than a cup of coffee.  Not even the aunt and uncle that live in the same town as me.

It’s getting to the point where it’s really, really, REALLY embarrassing.

It’s truly not that I don’t want them round or anything. It’s 100% a confidence thing. I actually got upset about it earlier on. Tears were shed and everything. Pathetic I know. 

I am not a very good cook at all. There are many stories that amuse or even produce tears of mirth when told the right way. (For example, once I managed annihilate a pot noodle.) Although I can see the funny side of such stories, they do nothing for the confidence stakes.

Trust me – when it comes to the kitchen, I’m as useless as this stile:

The slightly pointless stile

The rellies that live in the same town as me are great providers of fabulous, tasty, nourishing and (to me) exotic food. Lots of veggies out the garden, interesting herbs and spices, home baked bread etc. To a culinary loser like me, the thought of catering for them is hugely intimidating. I imagine lots of sniggers behind hands (or possibly to my face) were I to suggest such a ridiculous notion as having them round for a meal.

It’s not just family. It’s friends too. If they come round, we get a chinese takeaway. None of my friends is exactly into dinner parties or anything though. We tend to go out for meals rather than entertain each other. Or when we are entertaining each other, we don’t get any more adventurous than oven pizzas and things you can dip.

I obviously manage for just me but, although I try not to eat too much junk, it’s never anything terribly exciting and definitely not complicated. (Lots of jacket potatoes etc.) When it comes to even thinking about cooking for other people I come out in a cold sweat and feel completely inadequate. 

I’m not sure if the following are reasons or excuses. It depends on your viewpoint I suppose.

I don’t enjoy cooking  – I never have. I was never one of those kids who used to pester mum to bake cakes together or anything. It probably doesn’t help that my mum wasn’t a particularly adventurous cook herself. I never even ate rice or pasta until I went to university. I kid you not.

I’m also a bit fussy (which may be something my mum unintentionally fostered in me). I’m not as fussy as I was as a kid, but I still can’t bring myself to eat fish or seafood. To me, the thought is like eating a slug out of the garden.

As well as my general complete lack of experience of cooking something ‘special’ (or ordinary) for other people, I haven’t a clue about sizes of portions or anything which adds to the whole stress of the thing. It would be pointless attempting to judge by my own appetite. I weigh about about 7 and a half stone (I am only 5ft and 1/2 inch though!) and have had eating issues in the past when some sort of depression caused me to drop to just under 6 stone.

On the whole, cookery programmes don’t interest me. Delia Smith may as well be speaking a foreign language, and every time Nigella is on I end up wanting to slap her. There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel though – Saturday Morning Kitchen on BBC1. That’s actually okay. I need to start paying more attention to it though. I normally watch, think “mmm tasty”, then instantly forget what they did.

I’ve had the idea of perhaps starting by having a go at baking the odd cake or two. If I produce something edible, I can take it around to said aunt and uncle for sampling, and maybe gradually move onto something more challenging.

Before I embark on this “adventure” I think I need to get one or two bits of “equipment”. Most importantly, I need a radio in the kitchen (I like to get my priorities straight). This will increase the likelihood of me actually staying in the kitchen long enough to produce something that may or may not pass as edible. I also need some kitchen scales, and possibly a mixing bowl or two.

While I’m out acquiring these essentials, if anyone has any ideas or can recommend a cook-book that may be good for my level of competence (i.e. none) I’d be very interested to hear.

Please help. I have to get past this pitiful and woeful embarrassment.

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Seasonal Greetings

Happy Christmas. I wish everyone a lovely day celebrating or not-celebrating in whichever way suits you best.

If anyone is interested in magical christmas e-cards I recommend you visit www.jacquielawson.com. You won’t be disappointed. (Or if you are, there is something wrong with you!)

Happy Flickriffic Christmas

We are not amused

In August I was told I was swapping jobs with someone else. I was also told that, while I didn’t have a choice about it, I was not being forced. (I still haven’t worked that one out.) I was not, and am still not, impressed with this whole thing and cannot summon up any interest for the new role. (I won’t go into details because I’ve already done that rant.)

I am afraid (and a little embarrassed) to say I have consequently spent the last few months with a rather noticeable chip on my shoulder – possibly visible from outer space. I’ve gone round in circles in my head and ended up thoroughly confused. Half the time I think I’m justified to feel upset and the rest of the time I wonder if I’m actually just being a spoilt brat.

At first the change was due to happen at the beginning of September, then it was October, and so on. It still hasn’t happened yet but it’s been hanging around like a bad smell that you can’t quite get rid of. (It’s resting on a big systems thing at work finally going through when the other person will become ‘free’.) When it finally happens it involves desk moves. The latest was that these would happen the beginning of January.

I had yesterday afternoon off work to finish off Christmas shopping and before I left at lunchtime I jokingly said, “So will I come in tomorrow morning to find us all moved?” I was told “no”.

I suppose, strictly speaking, this answer was correct because when I arrived at work this morning everyone else’s desks looked as they usually do, but my desk was strangely lacking a computer. In my absence I had been moved to the other side of the office.

If this had been the usual sort of move where the whole team is moving together I wouldn’t have minded because I know we would have all ended up together. But to me, this move symbolises being moved on to my new unwanted role and I found the way it was done just a tad insensitive. I wouldn’t even have minded so much if the rest of my team had moved to their new desks on the same day. At least we would all have moved on at the same time.

By half past ten my former desk had become a sort of Christmas larder with a large Stollen cake and paper plates on it and, save for one accidentally abandoned post-it note containing a reminder to myself, you wouldn’t have known I’d ever ‘lived’ there at all.

So, I was not amused today. I’ll get over it, and I’m well aware worse things happen and sea and stuff (and it’s not like I’ve been made redundant)  but I need to vent a little.

Christmas Card update

I just finished scribbling the last one!

*cheers*

Now I just have the wrapping to sort out.

 *groans*

Anyone know of any sellotaping seagulls?

Thief of Time

I was going to finish writing my Christmas cards this evening.

Whoops.

Damn pesky internet with it’s interesting blogs and things.

Ah well….

Deck the halls…

Christmas and me (or “Christmas and I” if you want to be grammatically correct) don’t always get on particularly well, but in an attempt to feel a little bit festive I ventured up into the loft to retrieve the Christmas tree. Getting my box of decorations out is always an interesting experience since it’s a bit of a tight squeeze to get both me and the box back down the loft ladder at the same time (and I’m not large believe me).

Anyway, the tree went up, the twinkly lights came out, the decorations went on and then I amused myself for the next couple of hours trying to take fancy artistic photos of the tree without using a flash so as to get nice “cosy” colours. Unless you have a tripod this is practically impossible. Still…it kept me off the streets and out of trouble. Here’s my best (i.e. least blurry*) effort.


Deck the halls...

I’m due to start a digital photography class in the New Year. I really hope I learn some tricks…

* since I wrote the above I’ve been to bed, fallen asleep (eventually), got up again, realised (despite my claims to the contrary) that the picture is actually very blurry, so I thought I should qualify what I meant. This sort of blurry is deliberate. Since I’ve been a member of flickr, I gather the fancy term for deliberate out of focus blurriness is ‘bokeh’. I am by no means a bokeh master though, and should you care to have a look around flickr you will find some absolutely brilliant examples. So by ‘not blurry’ I meant that I hadn’t wobbled the camera.

Not wobbling the camera is fiendishly difficult in dim light without a flash because the shutter needs to stay open a bit longer to capture the scene. This is why camera tripods were invented. I don’t possess one of those though and had to resort to alternative means to limit wobble. The tree is on a table, and for this shot I think I was ‘lying’ on a chair (like an upsidedown beetle), with my head jammed against the chair-back to keep still, my feet jammed against the table edge to keep them still, and my knees up on my stomach as a ‘tripod’ to keep the camera still. It possibly would have worked better if hadn’t kept on laughing though.

If you do go and have a look around flickr, beware – it’s the sort of fascinating site that, if you’re not careful, will steal whole hours and days from your life.

What am I going to do now?

Disaster. “Flight of the Conchords” has finished… *bawls*

The one shining light in the gloom of an otherwise entirely mediocre Tuesday evening.

“What?” I hear you say.

You mean, you’ve never heard of New Zealand’s fourth most popular dig-folk paradists?  You know – Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie?

Still none the wiser? What have you been doing?

Here’s a few tasters then. I hope you enjoy them. It’s either sort of stuff you either like or you don’t. (It’s a bit fatuous to say that I suppose, since that’s the case with all comedy.)

Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (from 8dkid on youtube)

(I think this was from the episode where they were mugged for their camera phone which was literally an oldish mobile phone taped to an oldish camera.)

Possibly my favourite – The David Bowie Song (from theguyotc on youtube)

Or perhaps some of their “Stand up”. This is Jenny:(from asianscoin on youtube)

Enjoy. I do hope you do.

Lyrics for Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros from whatthefolk.net

I’m the mother flippin’ Rhymenocerous
My beats are fat and the birds are on my back
And I’m horny
I’m horny
If you choose to proceed you will indeed concede
Cos I hit you with my flow
The Wild Rhino Stampede.
I’m not just wild, I’m trained,
Domesticated
I was raised by a rapper and rhino that dated
And subsequently procreated
That’s how it goes
Here’s the Hiphopopotamus
The hip hop hippo
They call me the Hiphopopotamus
My lyrics are bottomless
They call me the Hiphopopotamus
Flows that glow like phosphorous
Poppin’ off the top of this esophagus
Rockin’ this metropolis
I’m not a large water-dwelling mammal
Where did you get that preposterous hypothesis?
Did Steve tell you that, perchance?
Steve.
My rhymes and records they don’t get played
Because my records and rhymes they don’t get made
And if you rap like me you don’t get paid
And if you roll like me you don’t get laid.
My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment
I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant
Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this.
Other rappers dis me
Say my rhymes are sissy.
Why? Why? Why?
What?
Why exactly?
What? Why?
Be more constructive with your feedback, please. Why?
Why?
Why, because I rap about reality?
Like me and my grandma drinking a cup of tea?
There ain’t no party like my nanna’s tea party.
Hey! Ho!
I’m the motherflippin’
I’m the motherflippin’
I’m the motherflippin’
Who’s the motherflippin?
I’m the motherflippin’
I’m the motherflippin’
I’m the motherflippin’
Motherflippin’