I left the house this morning at 9:50 to walk the GF down to the bus stop and head over to the library. The sky was beautiful, a thin layer of white film over a radiant sun. Like over-easy eggs. My throat was still feeling kind of scratchy, but I dint mind as we walked down to St. Clair, mostly in silence. When we got to St. Clair, the streetcar was pulling up to the spot right then. I was hoping the light would change and stop the streetcar so she could get on. Sure enough it did, the 'walk' light came on and so we hurried over to the platform. As we stepped out into the street, HOOONNNNK!, we were almost hit by this car coming around the corner through the red light. I looked at the driver with a heavy scowl. I saw her, a middle aged woman, and I flipped her off and held it. The GF and I made our way to the platform, she got ready to get on the streetcar. Suddenly I heard shouting. It was the driver. She hadn't moved. She'd rolled down her window to yell at me. "You should practice watching where you're going!" I was totally incensed, "Ya fucking twat! What the fuck!" I shouted at her. "You weren't looking! I was trying to brake when you jumped out, I didn't have room to stop!" For a second, I felt bad about calling this middle aged woman the t word. Yes, she nearly ran me over and now she was shouting at me, but in this exchange, I had taken the low road. I wanted to reclaim some dignity, so I yelled "Have a nice day, ma'am." She drove off. I realized my last comment must have come out completely sarcastic. I gave my girlfriend a sort-of hug and tried to grasp some nice goodbye message to her, but I think I just mumbled.
I walked to the library, actually passing the streetcar for a while, which was dealing with the traffic problems out there. I was pretty shaken up. The anger at the driver subsided pretty quickly and I felt bad for how I'd handled the situation. Not particularly because I felt bad for the driver, but because I had not presented myself well. If I hadn't flipped her off, she wouldn't have yelled at me. If I'd collected myself an instant longer when she started yelling at me, I would have realized that she was just giving me her side of things. If I felt the need to yell back, I could have pointed out she was running a red and we had the walk symbol on, etc... I probably could have bitten my tongue if there was a 200-lb man behind the wheel.
What got to me, though, was that I was shouting profanities at a total stranger when I had almost no voice. It was a total waste of energy. I was distracted from saying goodbye to my girlfriend because I had just finished the screaming. And say I had restrained myself. Her story would have been, "Some young man jumped out into the street, completely out of nowhere and I nearly hit him." Now her story is, "Some young man jumped out into the middle of the street, gave me the finger and then shouted profanities at me."
When I got to the library, the librarian was a middle-aged woman with short hair, too. She made some friendly comment about navigating the slushy weather. I told her that I was just nearly run-over and I screamed at the driver and I could have handled it better. I was seeking some kind of psychic reconciliation with all the anger between me and the driver.
So if we remember Rule # 4 from "Jux" I suppose we can ammend it to say do not fuck with strangers. It's obvious enough to point out that nothing good is going to come out of a confrontation like this. And the more you can force all your willpower into turning the other cheek, the better for everyone.
Well, snow-shoveling season is now upon us. This weekend we were at my grandparents in Gravenhurst. We drove home with the snow. The drive usually takes us about two hours, yesterday it took four.
The other international volunteers in South Africa asked me what winters are like in Canada. They were appalled when I told them it is often around -10 or -20 degrees and that in some cities, like Winter-peg and Edmonton, it's not unusual for the temperature to get to -40. I don't make a very good promoter for the country. I tried to reassure them that Toronto is generally milder than 99% of the country, but I'm not sure they believed me. They didn't like the sound of cities where the weather is so uninviting that we build a subterranean network of pedestrian tunnels so people who work downtown don't have to venture outside for 6 months of the year. Then again the other volunteers were from England, Denmark and Australia. Wimps.
I hope everyone doesn't have to do too much digging out today.
Whenever I see snowfall of this magnitude, I am always puzzled that North America is the car capital of the world. Seriously. How much easier is it to clear a couple train tracks than all these roads? And to think of all those automobiles from the 'teens and 'twenties that weren't nearly as robust as what we have now, to imagine them all being made in Michigan, which is practically Canada. They wouldn't even be driveable 5 months of the year in the state they were built in.
I have had my own adventures in the snow today that began at 8:00 a.m. When I got home, my face was sure red, man. Got home, showered up and changed, but there are more horrorventures over the horrorizon.
I think my reply post on Jacob's is longer than my own post.
So one of the interesting things about this year is its been the first year I've really been cooking regularly for myself. I had a meal plan throughout university– which meant I was cooking for myself 3 times a week at most. I actually like it though. I generally go shopping every two weeks or so and I have a nice reserve of bulk staples my parents brought up. Which prompted this conversation:
Me: Hey mom. Listen, I’m calling to thank you for bringing up the rice–
Mom: Oh you’re welcome.
Me: –but it has… bugs in it.
Mom: Oh yes, the weevils.
Me: The weevils?
Mom: Yes, turns out that rice we got had weevils in it.
Me: So… so, how do I get rid of the weevils?
Mom: Oh just put it in the freezer, that’ll kill them.
Me: So then won’t the rice still be full of dead weevils?
Mom: Oh it’s just extra protein, honey.
So that's probably not the best segue into talking about eating food but what you going to do. I mainly cook from recipes adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home and Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I also check out some Food blogs The Paupered Chef is probably my favourite– I loved the Risotto-style pasta.
Curried Chickpeas with Tofu
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
dash of oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
pinch of caynenne
1/2 cake tofu, cubed
1 cup cooked chickpeas (about 1/2 can)
1 cup tomatoes
Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil, stir in all the spices. Add the tofu and cook for a minute. Add the chickpeas and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then throw in the tomatoes at the end and serve over rice.
This is probably the workhorse of my meals (in the sense that I have it a lot, not that it's akin to horse meat). I probably have it about once a week. It's simple and doesn't require a lot of attention
Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes
x baking potatoes
x garlic cloves minced
x/10 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
x/2 teaspoon olive oil
x cups minced broccoli
x/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and bake with the cut side down for about 45 minutes.
About half an hour after you put in the potatoes sauté the garlic and hot pepper flakes in the oil for a minute. Add the broccoli and water and simmer – covered – for about 15 minutes. When the potato halves are cool scoop out the centres (leave a little bit of pulp on the skin) and mash the potato pulp. Stir it into the stuffing. Refill the potato skins and bake for 30 minutes.
I only made this once but I really liked it. I had bought a 10 lb sack of potatoes for a buck so I had a lot of potaotes for a while. A lot of potato related disasters as well. I decided to make gnocchi cause all I needed was potatoes, eggs and flour. It was a mistake. The gnocchi stuck to my hands no matter how much flour I dipped them in, the water from the pot scalded me as I tossed in gnocchi and the gnocchi themselves were bland and mishappen (kinda like my ex-wife!). All in all gnocchi are not that expensive or for the labour invovled it just wasn't worth it.
This is actually a pretty atypical image of the pizza I eat because–
1) It's just a cheese pizza (I was out of vegatables by this point and
2) The crust is a pita. Normally I do the Steam Whistle beer bread as a crust. I pop it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes and then take it out and put on the tomato sauce, cheese, vegatables etc. and put it back in for another 10-15 minutes. Also I've realized that I just don't like Basil on pizza– oregano all the way. Maybe I just have bad Basil.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cake tofu, cubed
1 head broccoli, floreted
1 can baby corn
1 carrot, sliced
Combine the soy sauce, water, cumin, cayenne and cornstarch in a bowl. Pour some oil into 2 frying pans.
Pan #1 add garlic and chile, stir-fry for 30 seconds before adding the tofu. Stir fry for 4 minutes.
Pan #2 add the broccoli, carrots and baby corn stir-fry for 4 minutes (add some water midway through, more if it starts to scorch).
Now that both pans are done pour the stuff in the smaller pan into the bigger pan and add the sauce. Stir and bring to the simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then serve over rice or noddles.
I like to use 2 pans but you can use 1 wok and just remove the tofu. But this shaves 5 minutes off the time.
When I had this I thought it was the best stir-fry I ever made. I decided to Leo – as he's the resident foodie – if there was anything in it that would make it this way. Turns out that the cornstarch makes a huge difference– it helps the garlic to the stick to the vegatables among other things.
I think my mainstays are probably pasta (I go through a lot of canned tomatoes for sauce– I find that chopped carrots mixed and cooked with tomatoes then put in a blender give a great sauce) and various lentil things (nb– the "chickpeas with lentils" thing I mentioned in my previous post was just the curried chickpeas with tofu with 1/3 cup of lentils mixed in instead of rice for weevil-related reasons). I think I'll probably continue doing what I'm doing but at some point I want to make Kung Pao Tofu (hat-tip: Ezra Klein).