I made a nice meal for 'em, too. Sort of a shrimp and linguine dish with a garlic, cream cheese and spinach sauce. Tried the recipe for the first time - very yummm!
And for desert? RUMBALLS!!! Imagine some highly decadent profiteroles... liberally laced with rummy goodness. :D (Okay, I didn't make those: they came from a family bakery that operates out of the market I went to today.)
And have the Dead touched a single bite? 'Course not! Must've spoiled their appetites before coming to dinner. Ah, well! I'll leave it out for tonight and they can pick on what they want. Whatever is left over in the morning goes out the natual world.
I lit some candles for the honored Dead. Amongst them my grandmother, though I strongly suspect she's probably already on her next turn of the Wheel. I also honored an old acquantance, Wolfie, from my Lycos Pagan Horde days. She finally lost her battle to cancer this year. Her wild tales of her life as a trucker will be missed. Keep on truckin', Wolfie!
And to the living, BLESSED SAMHAIN!!! (or HAPPY HALLOWEEN, if you are thus inclined! :D )
The wheel in the sky keeps on turning...
Today after work, I finally got to business. After a little bit of fiddling with partitions, I've finally got XP up and running on the lappy, as well as AVG installed. I still have a whole host of drivers and such to install, but I at least have a working internet connection. Yay me!
In other news, I got about 90 minutes off for a paid lunch today, as I was part of the winning team for a competion at work. Had me a damn fine Angus burger and plenty o' laughs. Meanwhile, the rest of the department was dealing with the queue that arose when our team left the floor. *evil chuckle*
Whilst getting the 'puter sorted out, I watched a moderately spooky film, "The Unborn," and lots and lots of the first season of the cartoon series "Shaolin Showdown." (Yes, I'm a big kid at heart. *chuckle*) All in all, a good day. : )
Healthwise, much weight has come off since starting again with Aikido. My back is also quite happy, too. It appears that getting slammed to the mats via a good breakfall or two acts as DIY chiropracty.
I'm even slowly moving back into art production; I've picked up some oven-bake modelling material to work with so I can get my sculpting groove back on.
For now, life is good. I suppose at some point I'll have to toddle off to the shower and then to bed. Thankfully, I was able to purchase and install an airconditioner for my bedroom. Elsewise, the last few nights would have been absolutely brutal with this heat.
Well, it turns out that when my cousin informed me that "The Watchmen" was playing at the theatre, it was actually just for the one night prior to the DVD release. Guess who didn't find this out until we go there.
Instead, we watched "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," which turned out to be quite enjoyable, despite a certain key critical character incident (or, perhaps even, because of it).
I did eventually get to see "The Watchmen," albeit on DVD. As promised by some, it was, indeed, very true to the graphic novel. However, I suspect that this was, perhaps, a disappointment for many of the unitiated, who were expecting an action packed superhero adventure, as opposed to the gritty and cynical exploration of human character that it was.
All features of the film were brilliant, but one thing I was particularly pleased by was the music choices. Although I had expected to hear some Smashing Pumpkins based on the initial trailers (and sadly, there wasn't any in the film), I was at least rewarded by a number of Philip Glass pieces from Koyaanisqatsi that I had heard in other trailers. Furthermore, the film featured Leonard Cohen, Jimmi Hendrix, and a wealth of other songs and artists demonstrating multiple eras of protest and cynicism in response to the ingrained madness of the human condition.
All in all, I was quite pleased with the film and will be purchasing the DVD when the Collector's Edition comes out.
In other news, I came to the end of a (minor) era. I was in the DVD rental place on a hot summer day and found myself thirsting for something cold and tasty. Looking through the drink cooler, I spied a number of bottles of Barq's, my all-time favourite rootbeer. I hadn't had any in quite some time, as I've been cutting back quite a bit on pop and other sugary drinks, drinking mostly water instead. With nigh child-like eagerness, I purchased a bottle and set to drinking.
I was shocked and saddened to discover that Barq's was now just far too sweet for me to drink and I only managed a third of the bottle before tossing the rest away. *sigh*
Thankfully, I had tried a bottle of Dad's Rootbeer the other day, and that was actually quite enjoyable, so that may be supplanting Barq's for the the position of my favourite.
I've been eagerly awaiting the release of "The Watchmen" on DVD whilst lamenting the fact that I had missed it in the theatres. My cousin just called and asked me if I wanted to go see a film. It was then that it was revealed that "The Watchmen" has been making a return appearance to one of the theatres! I'm gonna go see "The Watchmen" on the Big Screen afterall! Yay!!!!!
In other news, the back is healing. I may begin running again sometimes this week. I tried a short fifteen minute run last week, but was rewarded only by a massive ache/cramp in my side that wouldn't release for the entire freakin' evening! ARGH!!! I did set back the healing a wee bit this afternoon, I rode over to the local liquor store and biked home with a somewhat burdensome backpack of boozy bounty. 'Twas a worthy sacrifice, however! A previously empty liquor larder is now stocked with some Peach Schnapps, Disaronno and *dreamy sigh* a bottle of good ole' Cap' Morgan's Spiced Rum. The can of Gaymer's cider (too sweet for my liking) and the single serving bottle of Smirnoff's (so that I have something to compare to when I finally crack open that bottle of Crystal Head Vodka my brother gave me for my birthday) have already been consumed.
Speaking of crystal heads, I finally got to watch "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". I was surprised by just how entertaining that film. Sure, it was formulaic, but, damn, what a good formula!
Other than that, life is reasonable.
Meanwhile, I'm getting odds and sods done around the flat, including picking up a pine board shelving kit from which I created a small table for my lap top and my new altar (finally!). I'm not so happy with the furniture additions, as the pine turned out to be really crappy wood that I paid far too much for, but one makes do with one has. I can always replace 'em later when the opportunity presents itself.
I've also replanted the tomato plant that my mother gave me. It sits in the window sill in a planter designed to fit nicely into a corner. Between that and the two plants I'm looking after for my mother (a small aloe vera plant and the tall whatever-the-heck-it-is that 1grl_revolution gave her), my flat is actually looking rather green.
I've also begun rearranging my meager bits of furniture so now my flat looks a bit less 'bachelor'. *grin*
Saturday was fairly productive in that I managed to get up early enough to go to the market, chat with a new friend, pick up a substantial amount of cider (some of which, if it was just a bit more sparkly, would be a damn good match for my beloved Scrumpy Jack), did another Haidong Gumdo lesson, and then went off to work.
Finally, this week I've also repaired my didgebox, after it got a hole knocked into it during the move. I'm actually considering hosting an introductory didjeridoo workshop for the group of pagan contacts I've recently made, though, if it happens, it'll be a little later in the future. I'd have to acquire some decent bits of pvc from which to contstruct some cheap didges from. It would certainly be a fun excuse for a party! *grin*
My current conundrum involves the upcoming shift bid, where I'm thinking of trying for some regular day-like hours. It would be nice to actually have my evenings free to pursue my budding social life, as well as get in more martial arts, but that would also knock off about $160 per month that I normally earn in shift premiums for working late nights. Yep, it again comes down to money versus quality of life. 'Course, recent experience suggests that going with QoL may be a good idea.
And my shift has just ended! Later, gators!
In this case, much like my first Thanksgiving in the UK, it was simply a matter that I was unable to locate a restaurant that was serving turkey. (Ah, the parallels!) This is rather sad, though, as not only is Thanksgiving celebrated here, but I had actually scouted out a restaurant serving turkey the previous evening. Was this restaurant open tonight? Of course not. Such is my luck sometimes.
I've taken one bite of the sub, thus far. That'll probably be all I'll manage for tonight. That's mostly on account of my decision, in lieu of a proper turkey dinner, stuffing my face with some awesome Mexican cuisine at a restaurant I had been meaning to return to for quite some time. This evening's fare consisted of one well prepared and generously stuffed beef chimichanga, along with rice and refried beans, with a small appetizer of truly decent tortilla chips and salsa. Gaps were filled in with some truly delicious churros with butterscotch sauce. Muy bueno! And all that was washed back with a brace of double frozen margaritas, one banana, one mango, both freakin' YUMMM. I may follow that up with some peach schnapps I happen to have kicking around.
As for Thanksgiving, I'm first and foremost glad to be celebrating it back in Canada! I'm also grateful for a wonderful girlfriend and great friends and family for having seen me through thus far. The decent job and great apartment are further reasons to be thankful to the Universe.
On Thanksgiving, though, I also try to be mindful of my food, offering thanks to those animals and plants whose lives have ended so that mine can continue. To them, I offer my thanks for the gift of their life and I renew my vow to make my life worthy of their sacrifice.
Getting back to turkeys, you can read interesting stuff about them here: http://the-vulture.livejournal.com/
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF MY CANADIAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!!!
I'll begin with the ring tone poll I posted some time earlier (http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=
Kung Fu Fighting, by Carl Douglas, is a really fun song that appeals to an innate appreciation of both martial arts an silliness. Certain parts of the song could be cut and repeated to make a reasonable ring tone without too much difficulty and it certainly would be distinctive, if perhaps revealing more of my inner geek than perhaps I should.
The Imperial March, by John Williams, was guessed by two of you. Whilst the ominous overtones may not seem in keeping with my character, it does reflect my elevated annorak factor. It is also very distinctive and cuts perfectly for a loopable ring tone.
The Highwayman, by The Highwaymen, is, as has been recently revealed, a very spiritual song of deep meaning for me. Unfortunately, it doesn't really have much in the way of a repeatable segment.
Big Bad John, by Johnny Cash, has some easily repeatable segments that could be made into ring tones. Why would I select it? Well, I have a closet appreciation of Johnny Cash ballads and I worked with this song extensively as part of an introduction to poetry analysis I ran for some some year 8s (grade 7s) that we all had a lot of fun with.
Red Sun Rising by Lost Witness, Saltwater by Chicane, and Forca by Nelly Furtado are all power songs for me. These are the kind of tunes that keep the feet racing along the ground. All have repeatable segments that would make great ring tones. The latter has special meaning for me as Nelly is from my hometown and her music served as a connection to home during my stay in the UK. It was also one of your guesses.
What really needs to be said about The Muppet Show theme song? As two you have guessed, it strongly appeals to both my inner child and my sense of quirky fun. It also has repeatable segments that could be made into ring tones.
So which one was it? alias_chick and queen_dream both take this competition by correctly guessing that The Imperial March makes a damn freakin' awesome ring tone, especially given that it's exceptionally distinctive repeatable segment is just the right length. Goodonya both!
Meanwhile, I was finally able to sampe one of the bottles of 'cider' that I picked up earlier today. In reality, it was crab-apple wine and bore little resemblance to the scrumpy jack that it was touted as being close to. Whoever told these guys it was were completely off their heads. It tasted more like home made wine with some fruity overtones than a cider. Ah well, at least it had an alcohol content. And I suppose it did bear a closer resemblance to a true cider than that Okanagan brand that I used to think was a cider. I've still the other two bottles to try, as well.
Finally, just to appeal to my sense of weird (and inspired by a recent viewing of I Am Legend), I've assessed my current apartment's ability to resist invasion by a horde of zombies. Now while it does have three large windows in separate rooms, they're double glazed and, more importantly, about six feet off the ground, making them very difficult for the average Romero style zombie to storm (though the more agile and aggressive zombies from the Resident Evil series would still prove a serious threat). I would also be able to escape from just about any room in the apartment save the bathroom. Moving one floor up would bring an even greater measure of security, minus the easy escape routes. The outer walls of the buidling and apartments, being brick, are very solid, as are both inner and, surprisingly, inner doors. Sadly, the inner corridor doors, though stout with reinforced glass (it's a converted school building afterall), would not be readily securable unless one happened to have keys for them. Still, this flat, overall, would prove to be far more resistant to zombie invasion than the last three places I have resided.
Now, whilst I no longer have access to the mighty arsenal I had back at the ranch (com'on, how can you beat a gas fueled power scythe?!?), I do have at least one large kitchen knife and a sturdy wooden practice sword with which to inflict some serious structural damage upon the metabolically challenged.
So, yeah, I'm in a reasonable position to at least temporarily avoid having my brains eaten. *silly grin*
Of course, that may not have been entirely my fault; I have reason to suspect that my phone isn't ringing as it should be. I shall have to actually test it, which means putting money on my pay-as-you-go. Blech. A call has to go to tech support anyhow, as I'm getting long distance charges on calls that should've been free as they should've gone through wi-fi. Grrrr....
The suckage continued as my back was still too buggered to go to martial arts class, but, if given lemons, I attempted to make lemon juice and finally made it to the Farmer's Market. At first i was still pretty glum about the whole morning thus far and I wasn't really taking in any of the energetic atmosphere of the market fair. As I cast further and further about for the pagan friendly stand that karibu had told me about, but wasn't finding, I began thinking that I was going to leave the market with nothing in hand save more disappointment. Fortunately, I did finally find the stand in the furthest portion of the mall and made very pleasant acquaintance with the proprietress who was not only able to offer a variety of pagan oriented offerings (I purchased some incence, essential oil, and an oil burner with pentacle designs), but also provide some muchly desired information on local pagan associations, as well as the current whereabouts of a pagan friendly store that I thought had permanently disappeared. Afterwards, I was much cheered up and indulged in odd bits of food, including a honey and garlic sausage bun and purchased what was promised to be a close resemblance to scrumpy jack. Sadly, I am stymied by the lack of a %$#*ing bottle opener and will have to dig the cork out with a knife or somesuch (yerg!). I even got a bead on where I could get some pottery lessons and, more importantly, access to a pottery studio!
So, all in all, today has had a rough start, but seems to be getting much better. (Yay!)
I began remedying that by eating an entire tin of flaked ham with a can of tomato, bean and pasta soup I had last night (it was very yummm!) and continued by picking up a large container of whey isolate protein powder shake mix. Yes, I did talk to the clerk about which would best suit my needs and I'm satisfied with her explanation of why this stuff is going for me.
On her advice, I drank a shake about twenty minutes before I head out for Haidong Gumdo class (well, was supposed to be half an hour, but oh well...). I ran to class, as I was running late (err... bad pun, sorry), enjoyed a reasonable workout there, and then, 'cause I was feeling good, ran back home (about a mile, methinks). So far, no muscle ache! (Yay!) Granted, my limbs were beat ass tired by the end of it, but they weren't sore. Furthermore, I didn't have any trace of the ache in my right knee that's been plaguing me the last week or so (silly Runner's Knee).
Yes, I must be certain to give my protein intake a LOT more consideration.
PS: I saw a couple class members testing for yellow belt; I reckon it won't take very long for me to achieve the same. Some of the upper level stuff, though? That looks just plain WICKED!!! Can't wait to learn it!
In amongst the treasures found within the plastic crate of stuff my uncle donated to the cause of furnishing my new flat was this little doodad:
It is the Express Hot Pot by Rival, a 32 ounce offshoot of electric kettle technology that is designed to not only boil water, which it claims it can do 60% faster than a microwave, but can also be used for soups, veggies, noodles, etc.
When I first found it, I thought that it might come in handy, living the life of a bachelor as I am.
I tried it for the first time tonight with a large can (540 ml) of chicken and pasta soup. When they say it's fast, THEY ARE NOT SHITTING YOU. The thing got that whole huge can of soup and noodles boiling hot in about half the time it takes my Betty Crocker Jug Kettle to boil the same amount of water.
... I counted my last truck. Yay!
'Tis the long weekend after which I begin my job as a technical support rep. Yep. I'z soon to begin my call centre monkey training. I probably would be looking forward to it more if it wasn't going to be from 4:30 PM to 1:00 AM, but I knew I'd have to get used to those hours eventually, anyhow. I'm not entirely thrilled with the idea of biking home at 1 in the morning, but I'll manage.
At some point within the next few months, I'll have to do one of two things, either purchase a car or move into an apartment that's within walking distance of my workplace. Said simply, bikes don't ride so well in the midst of a full on Canadian winter. (This ain't the south of England anymore, me buckies!)
Meanwhile, it has been a very active week, all truck counting aside. The household has undergone successive waves of invasion by assorted relatives from both sides of the family. Being the introvert that I am, this has strained my social muscles some, and it ain't over yet! Still, we've been enjoying the company, especially my mother. I had a blast whilst my favourite aunt with her two teens showed up; it was a riot! All three have a wicked sense of humour that I appreciate immensely. The presence of my two younger cousins also provided sufficient excuse to do activities such as: visit tourist attractions, wandered through a zoo, watched 'Wanted' (NOT recommended for the faint of heart, btw), did a bit of go-carting (though that was a bit disappointing as I found the farm's utility jeep to have much more speed), indulged in some video games, and even engaged in a bit of shopping. Lots of fun all around!
Last night was especially hedonistic as we had BBQd steak for dinner. Not just any steak, mind you, but a ginormous Angus beef steak from BC, cooked to just the right level of rare. It was perfect. *bliss* Said steak, of course, was accompanied by a lovely red and many other tasty food items, including baked potatoes and my mother's baby carrots sweetened with maple syrup (very yummm!).
Aside from picking up another aunt from the airport tomorrow (and sorting out a new bank account into which to deposit my pay), I'm not yet sure what this weekend holds. At least another movie, I suspect... *grin*
Life is good!
Yep, that's what I think I'm gonna have to eat for breakfast; I need the protein. My thigh muscles (mostly) are currently screaming at me. They shouldn't be, but they are. The day before yesterday, I did 3.5 miles of intermittent running (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking) mostly so I could keep up the running whilst minimizing grumbling from my right knee. That seems to be fine. However, the run was absolutely brutal; my legs were burning fiercely. Now, yes, granted I've just come off a period of sloth, but that was far from my longest break in training and even at my worst, I could still manage that kind of distance well enough. Heck, my lungs still had crap in them from the nasty flu of the last couple weeks but my cardio performance kept up to the job easy enough. I'm still kinda stunned at how much they're aching TWO days later. Yergh! With that much grief from my muscles, it's pretty clear they're gonna need extra protein to pull themselves together.
I probably didn't help them with all the walking I did yesterday. I caught a ride into town and walked about, getting a few things done, like a haircut, picking up applications, talking to a few folk here and there, and, basically trying to get a job for substistence purposes whilst I build up the substitute teaching. Yep, get a haircut and get a real job... *chuckle*
Still, the walking shouldn't have had that adverse an effect on me. I mean, crikey!, I'm so used to being on my feet all the time.
So, I'm gonna lay blame firmly on the bike ride earlier this week. I'm not sure how it works that biking puts more demand on the leg muscles, though less of a cardio workout, but there ya have it. Oh well, at least I've dropped 3/4 of an inch in waist size over the last week.
No steak, no BBQ, no cider, NO PARTY. I've celebrated Canada Day better in the UK than I did my first one back! Bloody hell! The folks and I WERE invited out, by my uncle, to a party at a riverside cabin. THAT would've been entertaining, but Mom refused on grounds I've still yet to understand. So we had pizza; that's okay. Now, though, everyone else is watching TV.
If I had bloody access to a bloody vehicle, I could have gone out and ensured that we had the required BBQ stuff (along with sufficient booze) to at least have had a decent BBQ. But I can only carry so much on a bicycle, especially given it's a half hour ride through hot weather from town to home.
My folks don't seem to realize that it's important for me to celebrate these kind of things. To them, it was just another day with very little important to it. *sigh*
To me, having spent nearly four years away in a land where I endured so many hardships, Canada Day had extra special significance and I couldn't celebrate that as I truly wanted to.
Well, I've got one hard lemonade left. I may as well go drink it.
Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks!
I hope your celebrations go better than mine.
Ah well, my need to escape is still great. The other day, whilst shopping in another town for appropriately sized boxes and questing for a postal tube long enough for my didges (I will have to resort to buying two smaller ones and putting them end to end), I was chased back into a train station by a large (and ugly) pack of thuggish yobs, some of which I recognized as scum associated with the worst we've permanently excluded from my school in recent years.
They were carrying large piles of fresh snow (a novelty in southern England) and decided I'd make a great target for snowballs. There was about seven or eight of them, in their late teens. Many of 'em were large enough to be a substantial threat to me (and I only just now thought about how many of them were probably carrying a knife) and they were behaving in an aggressive and malevolent fashion. Sensing that a confrontation could get very ugly very quickly (these were yobs of the lowest order), I ducked back into the train station, not realizing that some of them would actually throw INTO the station itself and, whilst I tried to get a train staff member to phone the police, a number of forcefully hurled snowballs followed me. I would say that, fortunately, the English have lousy aim with a snowball, as I was never struck, but sadly, an older woman got struck in the head.
Fortunately, the presence of CCTV cameras in the station (which they seemed highly aware of (previous experience?)), as well as my rather loud demand for the attendent to phone the police, seemed to deter them from further nastiness and the thugs moved on. I last saw them in the high street near the station, where they proceeded to hurl snowballs at cars and whatever else they could terrorize. The train police were phoned, but I didn't stick around to see if they showed up or were able to do anything about them. I left the station in the opposite direction and went about my business whilst I still had time remaining. I completed my box shopping without further incident, but was glad to make it back to my own village.
Ya know, I should have talked about the dinner after the unpleasantness that preceded it. I could then have ended this post with a pleasant thought. *sigh*
Oh well, nothing to be done for it but to get on with my preparations.
I should be, but I'm strangely melancholic. This is odd, as I tend to try and mark this particular holiday in a special way, but, this year, I feel too apathetic and down to try.
Now, I've little real reason to feel this way. Afterall, I've just begun five days (four day weekend plus one day inset) away from the little wretches who've been really getting me down. This has also reduced the length of my final weeks with them. Furthermore, when it comes to the theme of rebirth, I think my life will greatly reflect that when, in just about a month's time, I finally emerge from the 'winter' that has been my time teaching in the UK (or at least trying to), to return to my homeland for a spring spent recuperating and rejoicing in vast natural splendor.
Ya know, just typing that out made me feel a whole lot better! Okay, whinge mode = off. I think a number of reasons why I was feeling down include the fact that I've little planned in the way to celebrate the Spring Equinox (I really should be out burying an egg somewhere), I can't really do any running yet (as my back is still bothering me some), missing a phone call from my dear one, and, likely the most influential of the four, I was probably just emotionally decompressing from the terrors of the last few weeks.
I think I'm gonna get bundled up and wander out anyhow, Easter hours, bad back, and nasty wind be damned. Gonna see if I can find me some Easter chockies. Maybe I might even climb a hill somewhere and spend a little time gazing at the green returning to the land.
Blessed Ostara to all!
This is sufficiently Easter-eggy, innit?