yrmencyn: (food)
I feel like today was shockingly productive, without being overwhelming.  Really a great balance; if I could get that to happen everyday, I'd be so far ahead of the game.

Kevin and I got up at a reasonable hour this morning (like... 11? we have a skewed view of 'reasonable'), and decided to go to Whole World for their Sunday brunch.  Always a fine choice, I think.  Whole World (roughly across from Cornerstone Cafe at High & Como) is a delicious vegetarian restaurant that I wouldn't have any qualms about taking meativores to-- everything is hearty and delicious, and very reasonably priced.  Kevin had the Big Breakfast (two eggs any style -- or scrambled tofu, which he got; veggie hash, for which Whole World is justifiably famous; two 'sausage' patties whose recipe I really need to figure out, because they're great; and toast.  I had a tasty southwestern quiche chock full of black beans, peppers, jack cheese, etc, along with a cup of Irish bean soup.  So filling and wonderful.

Back at the ranch, I worked on setting up the images for my art project.  I had taken a screen capture of some text, but had foolishly not noticed that it included some squiggly underlines from MS Word, so had to redo those.  Also had to do a large amount of work with my hand-scripted calligraphy; I was changing it from black to ochre, and doing some reduplication of the initial capital to do a multi-colored illumination.  Unfortunately, I had to teach myself the basics of the GIMP in the process, which really lengthened the time required.  And required installing the GIMP, which I hadn't yet done on this new computer.  And then the best part: I had printed the squiggly images before I realized they were, you know, squiggly, so that necessitated a trip back out to the Meijer later in the day to buy more transfer paper, sigh.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, because before that I did some work requesting sources for my Medieval paper.  Did you know that Dissertation Abstracts often will give you full text of the indexed dissertations?  I certainly didn't, but I was immensely excited to be able to get a hold of Ed Eleazer's PhD diss. from Florida State back in 1984, since everybody (and their dog) seems to think it's pretty spiffy for work on The Gast of Gy (which does make sense, given that his diss. was an edition of the quatrain MSS with critical commentary).

And then there was the joyous Meijer trip.  Sawmill Rd. is really ridiculously far away -- the drive takes longer than I think it should, every bloody time.  But whatever, I got my paper, and a bottle of Pickapeppa sauce (which is delicious in and of itself, and also happens to be an excellent vegetarian substitute for Worcestershire sauce -- I keep learning new things), among other random things (you know, if you're at Meijer anyway...).

Watched The Dresden Files and Battlestar Galactica with Liz and Molly while eating the Oyaku Don they made, and now have been doing random internet stuff and laundry.  And making some barbecue sauce on the stove, on the suspicion I might use it tomorrow.  I this really the last week?  Jesus, how the time has flown.
yrmencyn: (Default)
My camera's sick :(  The most annoying thing is that I honestly don't know why.  It worked fine in Columbus, and then today I tried to take some pictures of Phoebs and general outdoorsy stuff, and... the LCD screen is wacked.  It just displays pure white, no matter what I do.  Luckily it's still under warranty, so I just have to pay to ship it to (of all places) Laredo, but it's still annoying.  Bah.

Anyway, I've been moderately productive today.  Made some frijoles a la charra, which really could have been better... the pintos have been languishing in their container for multiple years now, so they're a little less than wonderful.  I mean, yes, dried beans will keep for ever, and will stay edible.  They won't however, be at their prime.  In addition, these beans were a little darker than I like for frijoles a la charra; I like the nice, light, pink beans.  They have a more appropriate flavor and color for the dish.  And I should probably have used salt pork or ham, not bacon (or maybe in addition to bacon, in the case of ham).  I dunno, I'll keep experimenting.  The current batch is still quite tasty, just not perfect.  [Sorry, no food porn today, thanks to sad panda camera.]  Also cleaned my room, which has been pretty much a shambles since I finished up my committee draft, like, 3 weeks ago.
yrmencyn: (Default)
It is an absolutely gorgeous day today.  The sky is completely clear and blue, the sun shines strong and bright, and the temperature is coming slightly down now from its mid-afternoon high of around 75.  I decided to take my lunch outside (leftover green onion soup, French bread, and fresh-brewed Assam iced tea), and on the basis of that experience decided to completely disregard my plans to get some hard-core work done on the thesis in the early afternoon.  It's a Friday, it's beautiful out, the jasmine is starting to bloom on the trellis, and I checked out Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must Have Been Something I Ate from the library yesterday.

Instead on working on translations, I sat in the sun and read the Steingarten.  Since it was so pleasantly hot, I changed into my lounging shorts (light nylon ones) and took off my shirt to bask.  Yes, like a lizard.  It's really quite strange, I don't think of myself as a sunbather, yet I do it more and more.  As I was doing an extensive clean of the kitchen earlier, I got to thinking about that.  I always thought of sunbathing as a rather vain activity, but I don't think of myself as a vain person; how to draw the distinction and form a rationale that prevents my brain from hemorrhaging?

I came up with a two-pronged attack.  First, I enjoy the sensation of the sun on my bare skin.  I was lucky enough to be born with pretty dark skin for a white guy, so sunburns are only an issue for me in extreme situations (river rafting for multiple days, high altitudes, etc).  Therefore I feel quite free to indulge in a hearty bath of radiation.  Furthermore, it's a question of self-image.  I see myself as a deeply tanned person.  I've actually been relatively pale for the last few years (about 2000 on, intrinsically linked to no longer directly supervising children in swimming pools every day for six to eight weeks in the summer), but when I was growing up I was dark in the summer.  DARK.  People occasionally thought I was Mexican, which is strange, since my facial features don't really reflect that, but I can't account for other people's inability to discern ethnic heritage.  So now, with my current paleness (relatively speaking), I've got a bit of a disjunct between my internal and external appearances, and it gets to me.  It's one of the reasons I cut off my long hair: my mental self-image has short hair.  I feel more comfortable in my skin when I get darker, hence closer to what I think I should look like.

Of course, I'm not going to be so obtuse as to completely deny the social conditioning factors inherent here.  As a culture, we like tanned people.  We constantly celebrate the hue of sundrenched bodies.  We think it gives people a healthy glow (although skin cancer specialists rightly hold a differing opinion).  And frankly, I'm willing to buy into the hype.  Cause you know what?  Even after just today, I feel hot.
yrmencyn: (food)
I have *got* to get out of the funk I'm in.  I managed to force myself to work on the thesis today for about three hours, and it was actually reasonably enjoyable, but my heart wasn't in it to start.  Yesterday was almost a complete wash.  I did finish up my taxes (two months before deadline!), got my federal e-filed and sent off my Louisiana in the mail today, so there was that mild note of productivity (even had to leave the house to go to Office Depot; my printer ran out of ink, completely and utterly, and it's hard to print out the forms H&R Block provides without ink).  Still, for the past two days I have... three hours of work to show for myself.  That's inexcusable.  Hell, I should have been productive over the weekend, but I'll let that slide, it being the weekend.  Nonetheless, I certainly could have spent time reading something needful, like Le Roman de Flamenca or the Giant Notebooks of ACA Standards instead of Mark Kurlansky's A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry, enjoyable though it's been so far.  I will be more productive.  I've got too much to get done, too much riding on various things to just coast through.

In other news, I'm experimenting culinarily again.  This time it's brought on by necessity, since I accidentally let some chicken sit in the fridge too long, and now it's on the cusp of scariness.  Damn that fancy chicken without antibiotics.  So I coated it with kosher salt and some other spices and left it to sit overnight in the fridge.  It's the same process that's used to (basically) sterilize the meat that goes into a confit, so I'm hoping it'll be effective here... I did use some a few days ago and threw the rest (of which this current portion) in the freezer, and that dish came out ok, so even if the salt has no effect antibiotically I still probably won't die of anything gross.  Plus it will season and tenderize the meat, which is always good.  Tomorrow I shall poach it and make some noodles.  I'm adapting a Canadian recipe I found for (I shit you not) Noodles and Sliders, and I think it will be tasty.  Assuming it's not made of ptomaine. 

Also tonight I made myself a quick salad, with a lovely dressing made of fresh-squeezed lime juice, honey, and a dash of sesame and chili oils.  It was good, although it ended up being a bit astringent by the end of the salad.  I thought about maybe adding some peanut butter or coconut milk next time to cut the sourness without making it too sweet, but I'm also trying to come up with something that isn't quite so aggressively Thai.  Ideas?

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yrmencyn

December 2009

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