Underthecurrent


gutting
May 22, 2010, 4:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Right now I’m cleaning up my bedroom. I’ve sworn to spring clean (who are we kidding – actually clean?) one room per day during this long weekend stretch. Because I don’t purchase much lately I’ve tricked myself into buying that I don’t own anything. Not. True.

Clothes everywhere. Some of this a result of living in a relatively extreme climate requiring three seasons of layering. Some of this is having a real grown up job and still dressing like a student in my off hours (according to the lady on the plane last week, a high school student). One pile is mostly leftovers from when L.G. stayed here, a few pieces have been adopted and the rest just lurk in piles.

Tomorrow my day is sucked up in a high profile wedding. Catholic service. Attempted to give the dress I plan to wear a rinse, discovering a drunken beverage trail from its last wear about three and a half years ago. The profiles of the couple make the potential attendees interesting but potentially much older. I hope they reign in the polkas at least.

[Couscous tonight. Did not go well. Excess water, lack of veg mixed in. I remember this feta morrocan chicken take away I used to get from Woolie’s, the way couscous should be. This version? Dismay. Am going to make some late night brownies because it’s my long weekend and I say so]

I wish I was going to the lake tonight. A lake. Stars and beer and campfires. B called me last weekend while I was away to tell me we could get four perfect hours in before dark if we left the city now.

Here’s a gem from lake summers past:

Come to think of it, the verses of the song are pretty much equivalent to conversations I had with guys from fifteen to ninteen… random tangent to Paul Revere… what? (Maybe that’s why I was so confused and it took awhile to get my mack on).

Clearly the best line from the song is “steal your honey like I stole your bike.” Loaded words, son.

You can learn everything you need to know about being awesome in the summer from watching that video. Crib the tips, kids, crib the tips.



this time next year will be forevermore
May 21, 2010, 4:08 am
Filed under: unrelated thoughts

These tiny silver reminders sprout, always more visible after a winter, because winter lacks vitamins or because hair comes out of it so much darker, and it is a slow good way to come to terms.

[Aging. I’m not afraid of aging, I’m afraid of aging badly.]

Another week down, this one went crazy fast. The supreme irony is how much I’m doing to shape the future of the workplace right now. Sitting on committees. Attending lunches and offering opinions, though the final opinion is, perhaps, I was not to be trusted.

Today we had a downpour, so much so fast the scent crept into the tower. Workers paused. It takes so much for nature to direct us up in there, we’re immune to the constraints of daylight or mid-afternoon temperatures.

Life should be directed by weather and seasons. Air should not be trapped and efficiently heated and circulated, at least not so much.

When L.G. came he marvelled at how we control our environments. The temperature of our tap water and our rooms in cold weather. When it’s cold there, the wind blows through your home and rattles your windows. You adjust. You sleep with more blankets, or maybe with someone else. You embrace an electric kettle and drink endless cups of tea.

The other day, in an airport terminal, impulsively, sort of flirtatiously, smiled at the little elderly guy with the cleaning cart, who hoarsely called out “beautiful!” And I like to think we were both, briefly, a little more alive.

Friendly Fires – Paris (Aeroplane Remix feat Au Revoir Simone)



timeline
May 20, 2010, 2:57 am
Filed under: when I grow up

Late 2007 – meet in a party city, I call him on using The Game, we have a competition to see who can pick up a target, both aiding the other to a reasonable degree. I win. Earlier in the night he’d done blow off a prostitute’s derriere to cross it off his bucket list, he’d never encountered a prostitute or done hard drugs before, but the opportunity presented. I like people who can tell the truth about sketchy things.

I figure out he’s almost five years younger than me sometime after we make out, sometime before he asks for my contact information. We’re messed up kindred spirits.

2008 – a few messages, mostly along the lines of “hey how’s it going you’re insane lets do that again when geography intersects”

Early 2009 – his relationship status goes engaged.

Summer 2009 – his relationship status is single, and angry.

September 2009 – counting back, approximate conception.

Late October 2009 – the kind of winking message a single guy sends a girl he’s made out with in a foreign country. He didn’t know yet. Maybe she didn’t know yet.

January 2010 – his relationship status is married.

May 2010 – a family photo appears, two dogs, a baby bump, him. She’s a couple of years younger than him, and would have been just out of higschool at the relevant date.

I think he might just be crazy enough to make it work.



we’re going to party, karamu, fiesta, forever
May 19, 2010, 2:38 am
Filed under: voyageur

Agggh so much to write about so little cognitive ability.

Good trip. Good to see so many people.

The wedding was perfect. Seriously, perfect. It gave me faith in weddings again. And not just because it was open bar, but because my friend from college sang (he mouthed the girl part) to their very obscure first dance, because she thanked her parents for immigrating so she could meet him, because the speeches were heartwarming and yet brief, because everything was precisely organized to nod to their respective cultures and families. The dance floor was full by the second song. They served a soup and then just let people hit the buffet as they finished – probably the best plan I have ever seen for orderly service of a couple hundred people. Everything was easy, yet precise. My friends looked better than either have ever looked.

Everything else was great. So much time walking around both cities, semi purposelessly. Delivery of the good pad thai, which I should have somehow stored in my seven stomachs and brought home, thinking about it now. Late night wanders and small adventures.

A lot of people I know are happier than expected right now, mostly classmates. This is good, happy endings are really, really good, especially since some weren’t so great a while back. The kids are allright.

Unofficial Roadtrip Jam:

The only slight disappointment is my friend who is having his second successive relationship with someone he knows he’s probably leaving for reasons of convenience. Old habits. I wanted to tell him to get the guts to do it alone, sleep alone, for a bit, but it never got to that honest (and maybe drunk) point. Or maybe because I know he knows and it’s best to let it just work itself out even if a third party gets hurt? Morals and ethics, morals and ethics.

Also, my former roommate showed up to the festivities and was an amplified version of the person I distinctly disliked two years ago and a fly in the champagne. We returned to old habits – me ignoring her, her getting increasingly insecure about my unwillingness to engage and odd. Old habits, indeed.

At the airport the new issue of Monocle was waiting along with a trashy paperback. I never end up reading what I bring with me because I never seem to know what I will feel like reading, except for Monocle, which used to be an airports only sort of thing but has become more available and tragically less exciting. Transit home was painful and exhaustion hit sometime late Sunday afternoon as we walked around eating popsicles and looking at historic buildings.

*

Recently I had the funniest incident of jealousy which was useful as a clear cue towards something I didn’t even know I wanted. This obvious emotional reaction felt strange because it’s, honestly, sort of rare for me.



late night pack attack
May 12, 2010, 5:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I somehow locked my phone in my office and will have to go by and get it tomorrow before leaving. Of course, my phone is my alarm clock so it’s sort of a fun game to see how much time I’ll actually have when I wake up.

I semi laid out clothes I thought I might want to wear in a separate heap last night, which revealed I would not have sufficient clean underthings to make the trip if I didn’t do laundry, necessitating 11pm laundry.

Over the week, I had been piling things to remember to take (digital camera? Packet of pecans? Bus fare?) on the table in the kitchen. This was actually a good strategy given that it’s now 11:00 pm and I still have to empty my roll-y of the summer clothes I’ve been storing in it.

The thing is, I know in my head it’s not a big deal no matter what as long as I make the flight. And have some kind of plastic card that people accept in the place of cash.

The wedding has turned out to be a mini-reunion, with four of my close friends from college in attendance in addition to the groom. I’m so glad I’m going.

I think I just bought a wedding present online. I actually have no idea what it is but it seemed to go with other stuff people had purchased by the three syllable abbreviated descriptions and hopefully avoided duplication. And they can just pick it up when they want as opposed to schlepping it to the ceremony and wherever else.

Wedding registries are such a strange thing, especially knowing the couple. I started to think about what would actually last. Flatware. What suited them, sight unseen. Highballs. If anyone would fail to notice the two rice cookers on the list. An itemized list of grown up wishes.

I don’t have grown up wishes yet, but I will certainly order you something on line in support of yours.



cooking & booking
May 10, 2010, 4:29 am
Filed under: gastronomy, nomadisms, voyageur

I can actually feel how good that last layover may be, already. Imagine it. Taste it.

I’ll leave New York at 11 pm and try to sleep for most of the 13 hours. There will be a couple hours layover time before the next 11 1/2 hour leg. Finally, familiar territory. Morning coffee at a familiar chain, browsing my favorite newsstand, waiting a few hours for a short commuter flight that will take me to L.G. and the only airport that always feels like I’m coming home.

NYC is mostly a visit of convenience. It began as a one night layover waiting for shoulder season and turned into a family holiday. I’m more than content to shuttle between Broadway shows and Central Park with my parents, especially when I’ll be otherwise homeless and can crash in their conveniently located hotel room that will be much nicer than whatever budget dorm I was going to suss out. My mom is excited and planning.

For my last trip home, Canada Day Weekend, I’m going by train. My days of North American bus trips over three hours may be done. It’s been a minute since a good train trip and the idea of rolling along these fields as a sort of goodbye, for awhile, is pleasing.

All of this goes a long way towards breaking up the monotony. Being a student for so long, I’m best at four months and done by eight.

*

The lentils with bacon were outstanding. I ended up dumping the lentils into some miso onion soup I’d made yesterday for a hard, fast boil. Meanwhile, I started to fry the bacon. When it began to turn clear, I added roughly sliced carrots and more onions, cooking until the onions were clear. In retrospect, there could have been more carrots and – sacrément! – less bacon (the French inflection being in honor of the French lentils themselves and the great service done to elevate the lentil). I was working with about 100 grams to two cups of lentils and a cup of carrots and onions, maybe a third of a cup of white miso.

Anyways, when the bacon and vegetables were ready, I added them to the watered down onion soup lentil mixture and simmered the whole thing for just over an hour. All the liquid was just gone when I checked and the bacon (well, the fat mostly) made the lentils soft and delicious. It’s actually better cooled, the whole thing is the stuff of memories and was incredibly easy.

Miso and onions (fry in a little oil and then deglaze the pot bottom with water or wine) by far make the best “stock”. I’m less satisfied with the white miso than the thick dark brown stuff I’d had my hands on last summer, but the same effect is possible. The key seems to be taste testing and not adding too much or too little – mostly because it’s salty stuff. I like to get the miso mixing into the onions before deglazing but I’m not really sure it makes a difference. I’ve had a lot of carnivorous guys declare this “the best soup I’ve ever had.”

Yesterday, portabellas were ridiculously on sale, I think they must have overstocked. I had a grilled portabella panini last night (with sundried tomatos, two year Quebec cheddar, a running favorite right now for value/flavor, and olive tapenade I’m trying to use up now that I’m cream cheese free). I clearly need to work on my mushrooms, as it was edible but not satisfying. I suspect the remaining portabellas are destined for a little pasta this week as I take another run at mushrooms.

Discovered one of the groceries is stocking really good strawberry gelato tubes. It’s been surprisingly easy to let ice cream go, but the craving for something rich and frozen remains. The little bit of lemon juice make these a current favorite, followed by the cupcakes down the street with their slightly salty buttercream icing…



Warm Weather Libertines
May 8, 2010, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There’s nothing like having a guy whip out a zoom Nikon at a traffic light to take a picture of you on a street corner to make you feel a little odd. He waved sheepishly when the light changed and they drove by. It’s been that kind of day.

Strawberry gelato tubes. Drunken hat shopping. Spring.

Blind item. I have a close straight friend who is flying (first class) in a couple of weeks to a popular far flung vacation spot to act as a bodyguard for a well-known competitive drag queen who is presently sponsored by a porn company He disclosed this yesterday, before the drunken hat shopping, and I was like: this is so why we are friends. He has no experience as a bodyguard, but figures the drag queen himself could probably take out anyone who really made a move for it because he’s the toughest of the four guys going.

Second blind item. Another friend who has just gone through a break up is being threatened with naked pictures. Is there anyone out there without some form of provacative picture floating around? My vote was that while it’s relevant if in the naked picture you’re making sweet love to a farm animal, a little nudity generally hurts no one. Think to yourself: hell, I look good naked. And relax.

Why are guys always dropping that “she was a model” line and then you see a shot of said girl and think “as in, for Old Navy or Sears? Or nailpolish?” I’ve never heard a guy talk about dating models, having seen the picture, and thought wow. And, on the flipside, guys who actually date model-esque women don’t seem to dwell on this preoccupation so much. It’s all very confusing.

I’m cracking Season 3 of The Wire today. I have a new routine that involves dried meat products, The Wire, and a bottle of some heavy local ale. It would probably be more useful if I had a new routine involving doing the dishes and not piling my clothes in a giant heap, but we work with what we can.

Tomorrow, big plans for french lentils with bacon (and, likely, onion and carrot). The bacon is sitting wrapped in a magical little brown packet from the deli and it is taking all my resolve not to just fry it up and eat it au naturale right now.