Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A view from the fridge

This is my fridge. Well, truthfully, it doesn't belong to me: it comes with the apartment. It stands in an alcove in my "eat-in kitchen", which I almost never eat in - I prefer to take my meals in the living room. When Phil comes over, we spread a tablecloth on the living room floor and have a picnic. When my parents come over, I clean off the kitchen table and pull it away from the wall and we crouch between the fridge and the stove.

The ceiling is only that low in that part of the apartment, by the way - there's a duct running through there and it's all boxed in.

Here is my cobalt,blue and amethyst glass collection, which is on top of the fridge, collecting dust. I have about 20 pieces, including Bromo Seltzer bottles, Phillips Milk of Magnesia bottles, Vick's Vapo-Rub jars, a bottle from an old Toronto pharmacy ("Tamblyn"), Tynant, Aqua della Madonna, and Blu Botol mineral water bottles, a Royalty Vodka bottle, and a Arizona Iced Tea bottle that my old boss gave me when I said I liked it.

And here is the fridge door. Yes, that's Phil there on the right-hand side, but that's an old picture of him, from before I knew him even. I need to update that. The cats belong to my sister Andrea - their names are Fimo and Raindrop. The drawings are from Alex - "FROMALEX", see? The orange one is supposed to be me, and the green one is about how much Alex loves me - those "B" shapes are hearts. The drawing on the lower door says, "To Jennifer, Thank you for helping me to prepare for my First Communion" and is from a boy named Stewart. The postcard is for Pure Print Studio and Darkroom - I've not yet been. And the big magnets are from the Dollarama on Ste Catherine Street West at Fort in Montreal, from my undergrad days at Concordia. They've hit the floor more than a few times so they're a little worse for the wear. Aren't they tacky?

OK, so here's what's in the fridge. This is the top of the Door of Shame:

I have a confession to make: apart from the garlic, nothing in the picture above has been used in over a year. The little jar is some homemade salad dressing that I forgot about until literally this minute. The mayo and the two mustards - one just plain Dijon, one Honey Dijon date from August 2003. The sesame oil is from my 2002 Stir Fry Obsession, and I don't even want to think about the salsa.

Moving on: the lower half of the door sees a lot more action, although the butter hasn't been touched in ages because I prefer to dip my bread in and to cook with extra-virgin olive oil. There are two bottles of chardonnay in this picture, one almost-finished Australian (Lindeman's Bin 65) and one as-yet-unopened Italian (Farnese). The Canada Dry dates from my last fighting-a-virus-off-and-feeling-lousy period, in early September. It's probably flat now.

OK, now the piece de resistance, the fridge! Behold!

OK, whadda we got in here? First shelf: President's Choice Pulp-Free Orange Juice - still good. 12 grain bread, almost untouched - going on two weeks old, hopefully still good. Organic milk - good till the fifteenth. Non-organic milk - expired a week ago. Van Houtte coffee hiding behind the milk. Brita water. Somewhere back there is organic smooth peanut butter, garlic dill pickles, and raspberry-wine vinegar.

Second shelf: vanilla yogurt, homemade salad dressing (in the coffee cups), left-over pasta e faglioli soup.

My perfume - that's Crabtree and Evelyn's Nantucket Briar, Guerlain's Shalimar, and a tiny bottle of Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps, and some random samples from my last visit to the fragrance counter. Perfume keeps better in the fridge. That stuff in the plastic bag? That's left-over Thanksgiving turkey. I think it's time to pitch that now.

The bottom shelf. Oh, mon dieu. Two heads of romaine lettuce, one dead, one dying. German sparkling water. Under the lettuce is a bottle of champagne, unopened, from New Year's Eve 2002. And those sherbet containers hold pasta sauce and pasta - the bowl holds grated romano cheese. All past their use-by date.

Lastly, the vegetable crisper:

An emergency bottle of spring water. You can never have too much.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Blogger Flu, or, the Virus That Would Not Die

So I'm sick again. Although, more accurately, I have probably been sick since my mysterious "Blogger Flu" after Thanksgiving. It's just been lingering - I can't shake it off.

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat. Not the scratchy sore throat that announces a cold but the real deal: a tender, swollen throat. But I gamely went about my day because hey, I have a life to live. I managed until about 2.30PM, then I gave up and went home.

This morning I woke up at 4.50 AM. My throat so sore I was having trouble swallowing. I drifted in and out of consciousness until it was a good time to call in sick to work, then gave into sleep.

I had a horrible dream that I was in hospital, that I had been in hospital for months, and that nobody knew what I had. And there was some unpleasantness about a food bill - at this hospital, we had to pay for our food and we were only allowed to spend $3 a day, and I was spending $4 so I was getting better food than everybody else and this wasn't fair to the other patients.

When I woke up, my pillow was soaked. I thought that one of the cats had peed on it. But it didn't smell like pee. It wasn't pee. It was my own sweat. My sheets and duvet were damp too.

It's kind of scary. What's the matter with me? Why am I so sick? I never get sick. I guess I'll drag my sorry hide down to the clinic again - I know my own doctor won't be able to see me until next week, that's just the way it is. So I'll go to the walk-in, wait and wait to see whoever I can see, have my throat swabbed again, maybe some more blood drawn. But I'm feeling kind of cynical about the whole thing. I'll do all this, for what? So that they can not call me when they get the results, like they did last time? To be told that it's a virus, so there's nothing they can do - no drugs they can prescribe, just rest and liquids. Well, rest and liquids are fine for those who can afford them, and thank Christ I have a permanent full-time job with a company that gives me access to things like Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability programs. But I just want this fucking thing GONE. I want it out of my system. I want my life back.

You know, I used to work with this guy. The nicest guy. Sam. 40, married, two kids, a 1920s era house he was restoring, a passion for mid-century modern furniture. One January day, he had this funny feeling in his ear. Like fluid, building up there. He went to the doctor. The doctor ordered a biopsy from another doctor, and when he went to get the results of the biopsy, yet another doctor delievered the results. Which were bad. It was a malignancy. It was cancer.

After that, he was bounced from doctor to doctor to doctor. He never seemed to see the same one more than twice. He worked until about April or May, then he had to go on medical leave. He did come to our summer picnic, very thin, frail, not doing good at all. I had just started dating Phil then - I remember introducing them, at this picnic. He and Phil were the same age, in fact.

By November, Sam was dead.

I know I probably don't have a terminal illness, but stories like that - they scare me. Your health is your wealth, that's for damn sure.

Take care.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Post 301

Live, from the library...

I'm taking a break from working on my assignment. I do my homework at the office because by the time I get home, all I want to do is zone out in front of the TV. And I don't have cable! So I stay to work on my assignments and then I "reward" myself with a workout in the gym. Yes, I actually look forward to working out. I never thought the day would come where I would write that. I hated gym in high school, I was completely uncoordinated and unfit and always got the "Participation" ranking in the annual track'n'field events. The "Thanks-for-showing-up-and-breathing" ranking.

Anyway. Not much to report, really. Just checking in.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

So much to do.....

The fatigue is mounting up today.

Working on my flat last night all went a bit wrong, these are the clear sign of me being tired:

Whilst taking the doors down to trim them a bit, I managed to get grease on my nice new ivory carpets, thankfully I had vanish to hand.
Whilst re-installing the heaters I managed to slice my knee open and not notice. Cue drips of blood all over my nice new ivory carpets. Thankfully I had a plaster and kitchen towel to hand.
Whilst putting the kick board back under the oven, I managed to re-open my skin flap on my left middle finger. My emergency plaster was already being used on my knee and a quick examination revealed that it need to stay there and definitely could not multi-task between the two wounds. Thankfully, next door had a spare plaster and I managed to have a nose around to see what the other flats look like.

Arse flaps. Most people pop next door for sugar or coffee (or so those media execs would have me believe). Me? I go for emergency medical assistance.
If Carlsberg did neighbours……? I think I’ll have tonight off, perhaps go to Sainsburys, after all, how wrong can it go whilst buying veg? Oooooohhh, Friday night excitement at its best!

Lager, lager, lager, lager

I’ve just read one of Housse’s first posts and I resisted the urge to go completely against the grain of it and the comment thread. It’s not that I have anything against Housse (that is Witho’s job!) or the people that commented, it’s just that I have a different point of view.

Essentially, Housse went on a Stag weekend, didn’t want to do the Weaselling (boulder climbing) and absailing, didn’t want to drink to excess and didn’t enjoy the lap dancing club. Fair enough, he didn’t want to do it, stood up for himself and didn’t go with the flow. Good on him, it’s a tricky thing to do in heavily testosterone influenced environments, I just think it’s a pity he felt obligated to enjoy these things. I realise that is usually people like me who make people like him feel obligated to do these things.....

The thing is, if put in the same situation I would have done completely the opposite: I love getting mucky and dirty, I love climbing things, I love competition, I especially love abseiling and the huge adrenalin rush you get as you start to lean back over the edge and let the rope take your weight, I love drinking to excess with a group of mates and hey, I love going to strip clubs – I appreciate that the ladies are in charge, but I enjoy it. I enjoy being a lad, I enjoy the games that can ensue when surrounded by other lads, if someone says slow down during a big night out I tend to speed up. The number of times I have downed pints when Underworld "Born slippy" is played in the pubs is untrue (see post title for a clue to the chorus). It’s a bit self-destructive, but I know when I’ve had enough/am being a right twat and call time when due. And yes, having been the instigator, calling time is hard to do and I get a lot of deserved stick for it. But you reap what you sow.

I don’t do it because people are pressuring me, I’m not doing it to impress my peers, I’m doing it because I enjoy it. I think it’s fair to say that when I go out with my mates, I do tend to ring-lead and encourage over the top behaviour. That is just the kind of person I am, I’m enjoying it and I want everyone else to enjoy it too. Also, nothing sucks more than sober people reminding you of what you did the night before.

Of course, every now and then you come across some resistance to certain ideas, such as flaming sambuca, streaking, setting fire to your chest hair etc. But usually some cajoling does the trick and people start to lighten up. I don’t see it so much as bullying, I see it as providing a consultation service - suggesting the best way to have my version of a good time. Unfortunately, after one large company bar bill where our users saw my consultation services in full swing, I now have a little bit of a reputation when down the pub with them. Occasionally it can be a real arse, as people expect a certain level, occasionally it can be a great excuse and thankfully I don’t have to try.

On reading Housse’s post, my initial reaction was stereotypical, Lord Flashhart’s voice came into my head with a thundering, “What a POOF, WOOF!” but perhaps I should start to think twice before giving people a hard time. Just because I enjoy getting dirty, drunk and having a complete stranger’s boobies thrust in my face and then her turning around to give herself a good spanking whilst she wears nothing but a skimpy thong, doesn’t mean that the next man will enjoy it (and I do enjoy it, it's not a macho thing). Maybe I should let people get on with it. Or maybe people just need some motivation to get horrifically drunk and I‘m doing God’s work brother?

I think that is why I enjoy Doug, Joe and Mav’s company, we’re all alike. If one of us slows down, the others give him shit until he’s a lap ahead, effectively the bullying is reciprocated. Mav isn’t called two-sips for nothing…….

Huh, full circle, how did that happen?

Aitkins and Tilesey

One of my particular interests is sports nutrition. Due to my quite sporty based life style and high calorie usage, I do have to watch what I eat in order to keep myself healthy - something I’ve neglected to do of late due to the house and now I have my first cold in 8 months. I am a lot more conscious now of what I’m eating than I was a few years ago and my body is thanking me for it. I’ve also lost a stone in excess weight and have bulked up, grrr manly.

Anyway, Hannabella is now going on the Aitkins diet.

This really fucks me off.

1.) The Aitkins diet may make you lose weight (mainly water), but you also lose a lot of the good bits of your body and can really fuck yourself up.

2.) We all know and regularly tell Han, if she cut down on the beer intake then she'd lose weight. You have to cut out beer on Aitkins, so she will lose weight - but she'll thank Aitkins and not us!

Han does so much exercise, even more than me (although she does have a lot more spare time, student!), and she has lost a lot of weight but obviously feels she needs to lose more.

Aitkins is SO not the way for her to lose weight. She is a student who drinks a lot, she also does a lot of sport. Both of these together mean she:

Hurts her kidneys and liver due to excess alcohol intake
Is permanently fighting off dehydration due to sports + hangovers
Needs to have a higher calorific intake than normal people
Puts a lot more pressure on high bones and joints
And because she does (small!) weights and lots of running, she needs protein to help repair and replace the muscle.

And in a nicely ordered list, the side effects of Aitkins:

Possible kidney problems
Ketosis (high levels of blood acids)
Potassium and calcium depletion,
Muscle weakening

I can draw you pictures if you like...!

Hannabella, please stop being so stupid (and filling up the fridge with cream and other crap) and just cut out beer from your diet. Each pint you consume contains as many calories as a mars bar, just cut out beer (which you have to do for Aitkins anyway!) and I promise you’ll lose weight.

Fucking Aitkins, fucking bollocks. Simple equation for weight loss: If Calories In is less than Calories used then you'll lose weight.

Weekender rehashed

Last weekend was a great laugh.

Saturday I got a few more things done on the flat, including replacing a P-trap (that’s U-bend to you lot) which is an entirely unpleasant experience and put me off ever becoming a plumber. Mario, I got you through all of Donkey Kong and Wario’s temper tantrums, damned if I’m going to help you with the day job.

Then over to Mr Bergh’s house for a braai….. We found that lighting the fire was thirsty work and so had to crack open the beers by 2PM. 5 hours of cooking later: 2 beer can chickens, 2 pork shoulders, 1 lump of beef, all roasted in my Weber and then we bbq’d several million sausages, 2 steaks etc, etc, and I was knackered.

And then I drank a lot.

And then the JD and lime shooters came out.

9AM on Sunday I’m driving to the rugby sevens and feeling like absolute poo. Thankfully Mav, who organised this effort, had a few ticket disasters to cheer me up:

He had to return the tickets because they were the wrong colour
He then had to go back to work on Saturday to pick the new ones up from his desk due to Friday lunch time beer related memory loss.
He accidentally bought the more expensive tickets
On the wrong side of the pitch (shadey side)
Where there were NO women
And plenty of fat chuffers

So, we drank the watered down awful tasting bitter, then tried the lager to find it equally awful and then moved onto coke so at least we’d sugar rush. I don’t get it, prime rugby stadium, crap beer. Awful. At least the rugby was good.

The best bits:
I got asked for my autograph as did the other boys.
We played rugby with the Italian team
Mav got a Fijian autograph.
The Kiwis did the Haka for us.

Monday and I headed back to Southampton at a leisurely pace. Put up the shower, decided on a shower screen rather than a curtain, put up my clock and generally cleaned up. Tonight I’ll be sorting out a cover for the big ugly heater and will paint the tiles in the bathroom….. oh the excitement. So much excitement, I’m even dragging along a little helper in the form of a Hannabella……