Saturday, May 31, 2008

this is officially one of my favourite dishes ever, just something i threw together last night. i'm calling it a ragù for lack of a better word, though it's not technically because i use fish and not red meat, so if anyone has a better word for this, do tell. also, feel free to try different kinds of fish or pasta or grains with this recipe. i used linguine, but i suspect it'd be wicked with something like couscous or quinoa as well.

linguine with pseudo-italian (kinda) fish ragù

2-3 glugs olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 to 2/3 cup crushed tomato, give or take
a small handful of fresh basil leaves, ripped or chopped into small bits
1 dried thai chile or other small chile, crumbled
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tilapia filets, or other similar white fish, defrosted if frozen and cut into smallish pieces
generous pinch of salt
3 good handfuls linguine, broken

in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. add the pepper and continue cooking for a few minutes, until peppers begin to soften. meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, and drain. set aside. add the crushed tomato and fish and cover, cooking for another few minutes. add the basil and chile and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until fish becomes opaque, breaking up a few bits of fish as you go. you want there to be some chunks remaining, but much of it should fall apart, almost melting into the sauce. at this point you might want to check and see if the sauce is sufficiently thickened. squeeze the lemon over the sauce and stir, and cover again for a few minutes. add the salt, stir, check seasoning and adjust if necessary. serve the ragù over a small portion of linguine. and you're done. brilliant. give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, and have a nice glass of red wine.

serves 4

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Copyright deal could toughen rules governing info on iPods, computers

uhh, and this is enforceable how? i mean, i know that the whole "downloading" thing is perceived as a terrible threat to the music industry (and i won't get into my rant about that now or we'll be here until we're all flying hovercars and wearing matching silver v-stripe jumpsuits) but really, is there even a way to tell that i bought the music on my ipod? i mean, what if the songs come from a cd that *gasp* i borrowed from a friend and then transferred to my ipod? or one from the library? there is also the school of crazy governmentman thought that argues that copies made of purchased music, even if only for personal use, are illegal, in which case anything on your ipod would be considered as such, but i mean come on, that's ludicrous. i'm surprised i'm not hearing more from apple and their mp3-player colleagues raising more of a stink over this kind of crap.

i guess, however, if they raised too much of a stink, they could be seen as condoning the illegal download of music and film, despite their lucrative itunes store and other such paid-download developments on sites like amazon.

damned if you do, damned if you don't.

it's stupid.

Friday, May 16, 2008

i'd like to offer a little sartorial advice to some of my fellow old goths.

(and i say this out of the kindness of my heart) if you're over 40, i don't care how much of an affinity for the darkness you have, you should really give up the goth makeup. i've seen many an otherwise good looking middle-aged person RUIN EVERYTHING by thinking they can still pull off the eyeliner and crap. you can't.

this doesn't mean you can't still be all about the darkness and stuff, it just means finding new ways to be all about the darkness. leave the crazy makeup for the kids these days, unless you really want to look like robert smith, who has gone from avant-garde hotness:

to slightly mental:

simply by insisting upon rocking the same look for 25 years.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

you what i want?

i want that rogers wireless should stop calling me on my mobile phone, while i'm at the office, with exciting new offers about my phone. especially not from weird-ass long distance numbers that i'm pretty sure cost me money. what the fuck is that shit? and while i'm at it, since nobody ever wants to hear about exciting new offers about shit over the phone, why do they bother? do they just hope that some people will take them up on their offers just to get rid of them or something?

also, i want that companies and charities and all that stop trying to give me free previews of shit. because when the first two weeks of some exciting new program are free, or i don't have to decide whether to donate now, the people talking to me are SO INCREDULOUS that i don't even want to try their new thing ABSOLUTELY FREE! for the first whatever. you know why it's free of course: they assume that by the time they start billing you, it's too much of a hassle for you to cancel and you'll just keep paying for it. or, in the case of charities, that you'll find it in your heart to donate that cup of coffee's worth of money per day to little so-and-so in an impoverished nation. i'm a member of greenpeace and i invest in small businesses worldwide through i make like $20,000 a year. don't make me feel shitty about not feeding and clothing all the orphans of the world. i do what i can, but i just don't have the budget for widespread philanthropy. not to mention the fact that i don't trust that these organizations don't have a religious agenda, and i'm certainly not interested in funding missionaries.
it's strangely often that i get the song "i feel pretty" stuck in my head. and it's usually when i'm at my most unsexy, feeling all gross and sluggish and barfy. and it's always stuck in my head sung by none other than miss piggy:

which is awesome, because miss piggy is pretty much my hero.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

when does something become everybody's business?

i just wonder this because i've been hearing a lot of rights and freedoms talk lately about how whatever a person does is nobody else's business, and to be honest i find that knee-jerk freedom view very narrow-minded and poorly thought-out. indeed, perhaps it's less a cornerstone of my particular ideology, but the way i see it, it's easy enough to say that my actions are nobody else's business, but this is only true if they truly affect no one but me. arguing, therefore, that i live in a free country and therefore it's nobody's business whether i choose to recycle or not is erroneous, and this is an argument i've heard from numerous individuals whose judgement i had always otherwise considered to be sound. however, if we consider that not recycling has a negative impact on the environment, and that no one person and their material consumption habits exist in a microcosm, but rather as part of a planet with loads of other people and things living on it, can we really still say that the decision not to recycle affects no-one? if it affects everyone, can we really still say that such a decision is nobody's business?

i constantly see and hear so many people defending their rights to do horribly thoughtless and irresponsible things, because they consider it their "right" to do so. but if, say, driving a fuel-inefficient vehicle and creating an excessive amount of waste and, heck, leaving the faucet running while brushing one's teeth actually cause strain on the earth's environment (you know, the place where we all live that kind of sustains us) shouldn't the rest of the world have a say? it's like turning up your stereo so loud that it disturbs the neighbours: is it all right to continue to do so because it's a free country? don't your neighbours have the right not to be disturbed? don't the planet's resources have the right not to be overexploited? doesn't everybody else in the world, not to mention generations to come, have the right to a planet still capable of supporting human life?

seriously people, get past the knee-jerk "freedom" crap and THINK.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

my personal relationship to food is extremely wonky and tumultuous at best, i admit.

i know this article is from a little while ago, but it's still i think one of the best ones i've read on how we view what we eat:

read me, i love you!

personally, i find that while i also take great joy in the act of both cooking and eating, and exploring tastes and smells and textures of foods, i also find myself often preoccupied with thoughts of how much of this or that i'm getting in my diet. have i had too many calories? enough fiber? and so forth. so much so is this a concern that i'll find myself making numerous obsessive calculations throughout the day, theorizing that if i eat this and this, and then have that for dinner, i'll have had such-and-such calories and such-and-such protein, and so forth, instead of simply allowing myself to eat and enjoy an abundance of simple, fresh food every day without worrying that it doesn't adhere to a ludicrous and arbitrary number i have for some reason determined is how much i need in a day. i think in part it gives me something to focus on, so i don't have a chance to worry about how my courses are going, or whether i'll get the living room tidied in time for my dinner party, or whether i'll ever manage to get a PhD and a decent teaching job, and whether i'm wholly repellant to other people and that's why they always seem to get sick or busy after one or two dates.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

cruciferous veg and their starchy buddies, OH

i mean, if you're going to do cauliflower, and it's pretty much one of my favourite vegetables ever (and i like many, and many of them are fellow crucifers, like cabbage) and you should really do cauliflower all the time when it's in season and all gorgeous, it just seems a horrid shame to steam or mash the crap out of it and then just drown it in cheese, or worse yet, force it down plain like that, when it's utterly, utterly UTTERLY orgasm-inducing roasted. i'm amazed that nobody i know seems to know about roasting cauliflower. heck, when i do aloo gobi soup, i actually like to let the cauliflower and potato get a bit brown before adding stock and everything to the soup; even though i whizz it all into a puree anyway, roasting the cauliflower brings out a bit of sweetness in it which is really magnificent. so here's what i do, and it's so stupidly basic that i'm pretty sure i can't even call it a "recipe":

preheat oven to 350 degrees. peel and cut two potatoes into chunks, then boil on the stove in salted water until just a little softer than raw. meanwhile, cut cauliflower into florets roughly the same size as the potato bits, and wash thoroughly. drain potatoes and chuck them into a roasting pan along with the cauliflower. drizzle over a few good glugs of extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle over a generous pinch of salt and just a teensy weensy bit of freshly ground pepper. chuck it in the oven, checking occasionally to flip over vegetables and make sure nothing gets too stuck, until everything's nice and brown and crispy and FREAKING AWESOME.