Shut Your Mouth, Biznatch!

Ann Coulter.

Ooookay.

This is one of  those times where I have to be careful, because I am very prone to letting things ‘get’ to me a little too much. Part of being crazy or something, but whatever. This woman pisses me off.

I’m not going to say much about her, and I probably don’t need to. I could rant and rave and be all witty, but I seriously doubt I could say anything to fully explain how much this woman makes me want to spit. I kind of lack the ability to turn off that GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! feeling once it really gets going – I’ll end up getting mad at something completely unrelated and equally retarded, like gravity. (Don’t worry, I’m still a ranter, it’s just not a good idea to let it fly when something *actually* gets to me on a level deeper than the flesh wound that is subway rudeness.) So I recommend Google, it’s pretty easy to use.

Go on, take a peek.

Seriously, go now. I’ll wait.

*Jeopardy Theme*

Did you?

I know, right? Could you just die?

Look, I’m all for opposing views, ok? Josh and I have some outrageously different view points, but we’re able to converse and know when to just agree to disagree. And of course ones morals and values may change over time with life events, but have you ever actually met someone who, after a lively debate, said something like “Oh, you’re right, pro-life is the way to be!” Or vice versa?

Having a logical platform for your views is necessary – nobody wants to talk to an airhead who doesn’t know why she’s voting or even talking, nor a jackass who just goes along with his peers. But I have a problem with people who essentially sit on my lap and scream their views at me, who are absolutely unwavering and intolerant of the possibility of another opinion.

You’re simply not going to change people’s minds on certain issues, at least not after a single screaming match. At a certain point, you’re just spewing out more anger and intolerance into the universe and wreaking cosmic havoc on the rest of us. Stop it already.

Anyways, the only reason I brought the whole thing up is that I just heard she had her jaw wired shut. I still don’t know why, and don’t care. Probably some kind of legitimate surgery. Whatever.

I just wanted to celebrate.

God, Karma, Luck, Chaos, whatever you want to call it, I appreciate the newfound sense of irony. Thanks.

Delicious and Nutritious (Sort of…)

So it’s winter. How the hell did that happen? Seriously, the last thing I remember I was roasting on a back porch in North Carolina waiting for seven layer nacho dip to be ready. I hate winter. Josh is looking forward to the snow, and I’m sure I’ll have much more fun when I’ve got his enthusiasm to get me out of the house and out to some of the awesome Toronto winter fun there is to be had. It’s just that on my own I’d far rather stay in and complain.

One good thing that comes out of cold weather is that I’m less motivated to go outside and spend all my money on Thai food and sangrias. I’m more likely to stay inside and start cooking up some feel good soups that I can freeze and heat up again easily for my lazy, bitchy days.

Cauliflower is one of my favourite soups to make, because it’s easy to make it thick without adding potatoes (I do try to keep starch to a minimum). But it can get kind of bland, so I spruced up an impromptu recipe with a fun twist.

First I started with your basic Bechamel sauce.

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You start by melting a stick of butter (1/2 cup) in a large pot, and heating it until it browns slightly.

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When it’s bubbling, turn the heat low and whisk in a half cup of flour.

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Whisk away any lumps.

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Add one cup of milk.

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Continue whisking until evenly heated and blended. Allow to thicken but not curdle. Remove from heat if necessary.

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And thus you have your basic white sauce, your base for most thick soups or sauces. From this point you can pretty much wing it and have fun with different variations of what you like. I often throw in whatever is in my fridge. What I had this time was cauliflower, onions, celery and garlic.

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Onions are a great way to thicken up a soup without adding a ton of flour or starchy potatoes. If you don’t want too strong an onion flavour, add them thinly sliced right at the beginning. For a more prominent flavour, add them later in the recipe or try sauteeing them first, depending on what kind of texture you’re going for. Personally I like my soups thick enough to lay bricks with, but that’s just me.

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I added one cup of water and four cups of vegetable stock for the broth. You can adjust this to your preferences. I also added two cubes of frozen basil, equivalent to about two teaspoons of chopped fresh basil.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about half an hour or until veggies are tender.

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Now this is where I have the electronic advantage, because this is the point where you’d ordinarily have to ladle the soup into a blender and whir it smooth bit by bit. I’m far too lazy for that, and so I have a hand held blender that I just plug in, turn on, and stir around until I’m happy with the result.

Kind of like this one, except not as pretty.

If you don’t have one of these, I highly recommend them. Who wants to wash a blender? Not me, I value my fingers greatly.

Anyways, if you’re anything like me, a delicious thick soup is simply not enough without a ton of cheese.

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When all is nice and melted, spoon into your favourite cold-weather feel good bowl.

And now for my favourite soup twist as of late:

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Delicious, delicious pesto!!! Yay pesto! Stir a spoonfull into your soup, top with an extra bit of shredded cheese and voila!

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It is totally delicious and you have my permission to hit people who want you to ‘share’.

In other news, I am having better luck with my lace knitting. It’s fuzzy lace knitting, but still going well. Peep the begginings of a fuzzy winter stole.

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It will be much more exciting when it’s finished and blocked, but that’s how it looks for now.

As for right now, I think I’m going to start chipping away at the bottle of Southern Comfort that Talea got me for my birthday (among other, less alcoholic things). I’ll be back…at some point this week.

Fuckity!

So it’s not like I don’t have scarves to churn out for Christmas or anything. Oh no, I totally have the time to sit here on my couch for an entire evening, knitting and ripping, knitting and ripping, knitting and ripping.

Just in case you’ve wondered where I am, I’m trying to knit lace and it’s not going very well. If I were knitting a standard width scarf it would be easy: a row doesn’t turn out right, just undo it and start again. But when you’re knitting a shawl about four times the width of a scarf, one row is a hell of a commitment. And then you get to the end of the row and think “Where did this extra stitch come from???”

Grrrrrrrrrr!!!

In more positive news, peep my new little widget to the left, linking to my Flickr page! All crafty things for sale will be posted up there until the website is up and running. For now there’s just a few pairs of earrings, but I’ll let you know when new things go up. I gots paypal yo, so just send me a note if you see something that catches your fancy 😉

Should my fingers ever remember how to knit again, you may see some scarves and other fun things up shortly.

Stupid fingers.

Stupid lace.

Also, it’s apparently winter here in Toronto. When the hell did that happen? I feel so unprepared! Ugh. Screw fashion, I’m getting me some ugly ass hiking boots for the thirty feet of sidewalk between me and the bus stop. One good thing about winter means more staying in and less temptation to go out for dinner. That means more home cooking!

Next week: I will show you how to make Cauliflower Pesto Soup, Broccoli Asparagus Soup, and Goat’s Cheese Pasta. Mmmmmmmmm.

For now, back to the knitty, knitty grind.

The Douchebag Story

Ok folks, here it is.

The other week, I had a seriously, seriously good day. A magical twist of karma and come-uppance. It was fucking fantastic. Why? Because I am terribly vengeful.

It’s a fault, I know. Excuse me for having issues I don’t work on.

This is really part two of an earlier story, but here it is: Before Talea, my best friend was Ami. I didn’t know her for very long and she kind of sucked, and she drank too much. Through an odd series of events involving mutual poverty and her two-year seniority advantage in the shitty telemarketing industry, Ami ended up as my manager at an appropriately shitty energy company.

I was a phone monkey. Ami was our manager, or coordinator, or whatever the hell. Turns out she spent most of her days looking at kittens and reapplying her lipstick. Talea was the office manager/receptionist, who later became my best friend and had me bumped up to reception when she became overworked. Scott was the recruiting manager. And by recruiting manager I mean sole, overpaid recruiter. By the very nature of the job at hand, you kind of have to be a soulless fucker to be a recruiter.

But I liked Scott (this was about two years ago, well before Josh, please recall.) And he was friends with Ami. We all hung out together, and eventually Scott and I had, well, a fling I guess. Then Ami’s boyfriend of two years dumped her, and she didn’t take it very well. Not the kind to ever handle being single, you know? Within a few weeks, her crazy (literally, and this is coming from another crazy) ex boyfriend moved to Toronto from Montreal to move back in with her. That lasted about a week, during which Scott and I spent most nights together mulling over what the hell our friend was doing.

Yeah, seriously. It’s a hell of a story.

We’re all hanging out one evening after Ami’s second breakup in as many months. I’m tipsy, Scott is drunk, Ami is near passed out in the next room. Scott turns to me and says “Yeah, so I’m probably going to end up with Ami now, but we can be friends, right? You’re a really cool chick.”

Douchebag.

Crazy ends up living with me for six months, because I do completely stupid spontaneous things like that. Kind of like how I spontaneously decided to drop out of university in favour of private makeup school that put me ten grand in debt because I couldn’t figure out the UofT course schedules one afternoon. Needless to say, I needed what little rent money Crazy contributed. It kind of sucked.

Oh, but my predicament was a sunny, sunny day compared to Scott and Ami. Oh yes, they moved in together. Within a few weeks of holding hands, they were signing a lease on a nifty little townhouse in the far north regions of not-quite-Toronto. Within a few months, our company went under. Scott quit in a huff, and Ami in all her ineptitude, had a no-hire written on her interdepartment resume. Everyone else was given a new job within the parent company. Talea and I, best pals by now, quickly regained employment together elsewhere.

Scott and Ami? Fucked.

I take this as a pretty decent ending in and of itself. I move on, get a fantastic job, meet my wonderfully incredible totally ridiculously amazing boyfriend, and get many aspects of my life so very on track. I run into Ami with not-Scott and hurry away snickering at her obvious unemploy.

It’s mean, I know. But I would do anything and everything for my friends, I really am an overall very nice person. Once on my bad side, however, I will laugh at your misfortune. I donate to charity, leave me alone.

So imagine my surprise then, when I get a message from Ami asking what I’m up to, and that Scott wants to get a hold of me. I ignore it. Imagine my further surprise when Scott calls me.

“I’m so sorry” was mentioned a few times. There was the standard “I just wanted to tell you” followed by “I made a huge mistake,” then a series of expletives essentially translating into “Ami was a psycho hose beast” and other similar niceties.

But since I am trying to be a nicer person and get over things like, oh, revenge and all that jazz, I think ‘Shouldn’t I be able to forgive and forget? If I’ve really moved on, shouldn’t I be able to hang out with someone whose company I once enjoyed?’ Okay, sure, why not? Josh is fine with it, he knows he has nothing to worry about, so I call up Scott and say “okay, sure, lets hang out – you can tell me all the details.” Of course I mention right away that I am in a serious relationship so as not to give any wrong impressions – the proper thing to do. We make plans to touch base later that week.

Two days later, he asks me to come over to hang out. Odd. Not so much, says I. Let’s go out somewhere, grab a beer, coffee, wherever. I really don’t feel like trekking all the way up to your new not-quite-downtown location. Nah, he says, just come over. I got a buddy coming by, I’ll make margueritas.

Are you serious? Did you not hear me mention the boyfriend? My slight sense of propriety? The fact that I haven’t seen you in over a year and have no idea what kind of loonie you might possibly be? A buddy coming by? I don’t think so, no. I’m not going to be ‘hanging out’ at your place. You want to catch up, but you won’t leave your apartment?

“Okay, well call me if you change your mind.”

“Whuu – *snicker* Uh, okay.” Click.

What the hell just happened? Change my mind? What mind? You called me!!!

Dear Scott: Thank you for calling me to validate my feelings of superiority over your drunkard ex. It had been kind of a shitty day, and the ego boost was much appreciated. I’m going to go back to having a conversation with my non-delusional boyfriend now, thanks for playing. I’m sorry you feel you made the wrong decision in choosing Ami over me.

Actually, you know what? I’m not sorry. Not one little bit.

Douchebag.

Aw Crap

Sorry guys, I just accidentally deleted half of you from my blogroll while trying to figure out why the hell it keeps putting people in some bizarre blogroll called 1356. I still love you, I’ll find you again when I get home from work!

Stupid blogroll technical jargon, grar grar grar!

Don’t worry, Story of a Douchebag is coming this weekend!

A Very Crafty Update

Word to my internet peeps, yo!

So what’s been going on with my crafty endeavours that I was oh so gung-ho about? I haven’t forgotten! Remember my lime green basket weave scarf? That miserable cotton yarn that turned out so pretty but wreaked havoc on my poor fingers? Yeah, that one. Well someone at work bought it to give as a Christmas gift! He just so happened to be looking for a lime green accessory for someone who is very into lime this season. Worked out well for me! Take that cotton yarn! Not to be outdone, I picked up a robin’s egg blue version of the same yarn and have been proceeding to kick its ass just as hard as the first project kicked mine.

I present, my weeks-in-the-making attempt (and fairly succesful I think) at a lacey twist on entrellac. I got the pattern here and just had to make it. It’s also inspired me to try my own hand at writing a pattern, hopefully you’ll see it soon. As for this number, I am a little beyond ridiculously excited to wear it around Christmas shopping cause it looks fan-fricking-tastic.

Pretty!

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Seriously, once I finish this thing, I’m going to be known across the city as “that crazy girl who keeps talking to strangers about how she knitted that goddamned scarf.” I care not. I love it.

In other news, I did not have time or real desire to do anything crazy creative for Hallowe’en. I’ll save that for next year, when I’ll – fingers crossed! – be with Josh. Dudes, can you just imagine what sick creations the two of us will come up with? But as for this year, I was quite thrilled to go trick-or-treating with Talea, May, and the wee ones.

Check out the rad pumpkins I carved for them!

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Hehe, that’s my signature.

Next up on the crafty agenda:

A stockinette stitch scarf made of this very pretty stuff:

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A seedstitch scarf made out of this yarn, and I’m going to try to figure out a way to do star-shaped cutouts. A perfect Christmas scarf! Woot!

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I wish I could knit faster!

Less typing, more knitting! I’m off to get crafty folks, I’ll be back in a few days with a story about a douchebag. It’s a good one! Mahahaha, suspense.

Nuit Blanche in Toronto! Yeah, yeah, plenty late, whatever.

In case you haven’t noticed, I LOVE my city. While I am looking forward to moving for a little bit – I hate winter, and I think a slower pace in a small southern suburb could do my hectic brain some good – I must say that Toronto is one of the best damn cities in the world. Josh isn’t too sure if he’s going to like the hustle and bustle when we eventually move back, but I think he’ll find his own favourite places and spaces and come to love it in his own way.

One of the best things around here is the culture and access to all sorts of global ideas. Our film festival is well known, as well as our film industry (May once got startled by a zombie walking around downtown – “Sure, there were movie trailors around, but it’s not like that means anything in Toronto in the summer.”) In fact, they’re filming on my block this weekend. We’ve got a fantastic theatre culture – Chicago was actually filmed here in favour of our strong local theatery goodness. And of course some fantastic museums, widely discussed architecture, and arts galore. Our culture is so important to us that a proposed end to tax benefits for the arts was met with enough public outcry to have the whole idea removed from Stephen Harper’s election campaign (America…we have elections too.)

Anyways, we love our arts!

A recent installment cropped up three years ago from its origins in Paris, a fantastic repertoire of local, expressive, provocative, and often interactive artistic installments in the form of what is referred to as “a free, all-night contemporary art thing”: Nuit Blanche (noo-EE blawnsh = ‘White Night’ or ‘All Nighter’.) An all night event, the city is lit up with a sprawl of dozens of installations celebrating all forms of art and thought. It’s fun, it’s interactive, and if nothing else, a great way to see what other people do with their time, and an excuse to grab a friend, her kids, and a hell of a lot of coffee.

I’ll admit, I did not make it through the night. I actually crashed ridiculously early, but if I’m around for next years event, I’ll be pulling a well-planned all nighter. I missed the Horroridor this year, boo!

Here’s what I did see!

A stretch of Church street in The Village (aka The Gaybourhood and it’s fabulous!) was dotted with trees, lighting and fog machines to create an Ethereal Forest. A collection of bizarre medieval dancers pranced around the top end of the street, accompanied by a flutist. Yes, the Gaybourhood, but that probably has less to do with the prancey type theme than you probably think.

Anyway, I met up with May and her kids here, and we were quickly joined by the illustrious Lindsay. They are not as frequent characters as Talea, but Talea was not in an outside mood, especially in prime touristy-crowd territory.

May did the prep work and came prepared with a list of things to check out. Linds brought energy and a general goal to meet up with friends of hers later on at the art gallery. So off we went!

This piece was called Conversation #2. No, I don’t know what it means or why there are mushrooms, other than for what I believe was an ‘organic’ sort of feel. But it was neat! Also, I love books, hardcover books especially. I just love the feel of them. I covet them.

This display was called Time-Piece, and showed the rapidly shifting phases of the moon on a translucent screen. I’m not quite sure why, though.

Zombies! In Condoland! There is a particularly swanky area downtown known as College Park: a rather dashing collection of exclusive, costly, and all around desireable condominiums along a tree lined path through a lantern lit park on the edge of a neat little pond. Posh. We filled it with zombies, because Toronto is that awesome. May’s littlest one spent most of the night leading up to this display calling up from her stroller “Monshers? We go monshers?” Yes, yes, we’re going to the monshers. “Monshers!”

This display even had the option of getting dressed up and made up with a five-minute zombie makeover station. Alas, the lineup was far more frightening than the results. We did not partake.

Instead we wandered farther south towards Yonge Dundas Square.

Josh’s reaction to this photo: That’s a big ass city, yo. And it is, and I love it. It’s a pain in the ass that a big city comes with lots of people, with the crowding and the noise, and the shoving and the lack of hygiene, but it’s the price one pays. Unfortunately, the square itself didn’t have anything more intriguing than a wandering, blinding spotlight out to give random passerby their fifteen seconds of fame, as well as an OBNOXIOUS motherfucker who stopped his SUV right at the corner. Um, hi, the busiest intersection in the city and “Oh hey, don’t mind my gas guzzling suburban ass – I don’t feel like parking this monstrosity, so I’m just going to put my hazards on and sit here holding up about seven city blocks worth of traffic while my poorly highlighted wife comes waddling across the street trying not to touch anything.”

Dickwad.

Beyond that was Ryerson University with their “Sitting Ducks” display.

Yes, they’re fake, but we’ve all seen ducks swimming around a pond. Have we all seen an odd assortment of floating decoys placed around a man-made fountain by overzelous artsy folk, eerily night-lit with smoke and strobes? I have. It was pretty cool.

On the other side of Ryerson was the House of Leaves (not necessarily any relation to the very brilliant novel – if you can call it that – by Mark Z. Danielewski)

Just pages and pages stuck to the walls, crawling over window panes and rustling in the outdoor narrow pathway between two buildings, and for no real purpose other than it looks utterly fantastic and feels definitely surreal to walk through.

I don’t know who Pat is, but I thought this picture was cool enough for everyone to see.

At this point, both the kids and myself and probably everybody else were getting very tired, very quickly. We made it to the Art Gallery of Ontario, still under construction and with no obvious art installation in sight. Rather than searching, we headed back north instead, back towards College . Not up Yonge St. to Zombie filled Condoland, but up University Ave., through the hospitals, schools, institutes and research facilities that make up the Toronto Discovery District.

Along the way, we did manage to make one last stop at the Ontario Power Generation building, with their quite awesome waterfall display – made entirely of plastic bottles. Makes you think twice about where all the water comes from.

At this point, especially after fighting the crowd that you can only get a brief glimpse of here, we were pretty much done. A night well spent, and there is a subway entrance right at this intersection anyways. Linds and her friends bid us adieu and carried along on their merry way, while May and I took the kids down into the station for the short ride home. My transfer was before theirs, and I still nearly fell asleep – it’s amazing how a night of walking around the city will exhaust you, and I was asleep about five minutes after I got in the door.

Speaking of walking, this chick was doing it wrong. I leave you with one last photo, quite possibly the best of the night.

Haha, she’s been walking around so long on those ridiculous little shoes that her toes are on the pavement! Oh, such a blister she will have!

Noob.