Some thoughts about cooking

April 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm (Dan)

I’m a pretty confident cook. I don’t cook very often, these days, because I’m also a pretty lazy cook, but I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. I’m quite happy tinkering with recipes or inventing things entirely from scratch. I’ve made lasagne from the pasta up – the only thing I didn’t do was mince the meat, that’s because I asked my nice butcher man to do it for me.

When I’m making something I’ve never made before, I look at a few recipies for the same thing, and then forget about them all and do whatever seems right. I can pick flavour combinations that seem outlandish and horrifying, that I think will be good together, and I am rarely wrong.

I can’t bake, though. When I’m making something that needs to rise, I need recipes, and I have to follow them. This is because I don’t really eat bread or cake very often, so I don’t cook them very often, so I’m scared to make them in case they break.

Except pizza dough. I can make delicious pizza dough at any time without any reference materials – it’s easy, why would you need to look at a recipe?

The above is only a little bit so I can brag about how awesome I am (I’m pretty awesome, guys), it’s also to show that even confident cook-types can have areas where they’re uncomfortable, and those areas don’t necessarily make any sense, but they’re scary and will be avoided, or walked through carefully.

In my family, while growing up, all of us kids (me, my brother and sister) were involved in cooking meals. There are pictures of us with wooden spoons as big as we are, blue cake batter in our hair, delightedly stirring our cake monstrosities that we were allowed to put anything we wanted in, with some guidance from mum. The cakes were probably awful but we were involved in the process.

We wouldn’t be involved in chopping vegetables or boiling anything, but we’d get stuff from the fridge and the pantry, and when we were big enough to do it without making enormous messes, we’d measure and pour things, mix them, lay them out, whatever.

A great deal of this stopped, however, as we progressively hit school age. So when I was at school, the others were less involved in cooking because mum was doing other stuff as well, and by the time all of us were in school it didn’t happen often at all.

This means that I was the most exposed to cooking as a young child, and my sister, the youngest, the least. And while my brother and I have had family-adjudicated pizza-from-scratch competitions, with various styles of pizza each, in the past, he’s less of a generalist cook than I am, and my sister claimed to be unable to cook for a long time, but in the last two years or so has been doing so more and more, and is now more confident. But the general cooking skills gradient matches our ages, and also our exposure to the processes of cooking as tiny children.

Now, one family isn’t data, but it is an interesting counterpoint to the gender-essentialist view that men can’t cook and ladies can. First of all, no-one can’t cook. Cooking is easy but it’s definitely a matter of confidence, to some degree. Experience with the processes is also important, so you know, for instance, to start the rice earlier if you’re going with stovetop absorption rather than a rice-cooker for your whatever it is rice dish, but barring massive inattention or accidental use of the wrong measures for things, basically anyone can cook from a recipe and it’ll turn out.

It may, currently, be the case that more men than women claim not to be able to cook, which I think is more a fear of failure than a scientifically tested viewpoint, but I’m reasonably certain that more girls than boys are involved in the processes of cooking as children, at the moment (or 20 years ago – might not be the case for kids who are kids now, and if it’s not, the “can’t!” divide will probably vanish as they move out and start being adults).

A lady I lived with once, despite coming from a very much food-oriented culture, wasn’t really comfortable doing more than cooking rice and some vegetables, and attributes this to not being involved with the cooking side of food much as a kid. Food just appeared at the table, and you ate it (if said lady is reading this and being misrepresented in terms of skillset or upbringing, I apologise, but this is how I recall it from our discussions).

A lady I live with right now is much less comfortable with experimenting with food than I am, or at least was initially. Heather still likes to cook from the recipe but she does throw changes in, now, when she feels like it, and this is directly due to her increased familiarity with cooking in general (and also because she’s had to put up with me going “ooh! let’s put this in there, too!” for so long that it’s become part of her kitchen habits?).

So, yeah. Being uncomfortable with cooking isn’t a guy thing for any non-cultural reasons. There’re ladies who “can’t” cook and there’re guys who cook all the time. There are people who are masters of a few particular dishes that they know inside out, and there’re people who will give anything a shot based on a vague description someone gave them of a meal they ate when they were drunk, 19, and in Burma somewhere. They all exist in every gender and the only reason that there’s different numbers of each gender in these classes is because different genders are brought up with different expectations and experience in cooking in general.

Science fact. So there.

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it’s been a while, baby

April 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm (Dan) (, , , , , , )

Hi, guys. It is: not Saturday. It is also not several weeks ago, which is when I was supposed to be writing some stuff.

But whatever, here’s my blog post, it is about food, check me out.

(I have been moving, and working, and busy all the time. Also I have no internets, except borrowed work USB 3G adaptor internets, which is not so fast as one would hope for, for internets usage in the modern age)

Today I am cooking two things, and neither of them are being cooked on my bbq.

“What!?” some of you might say, making good use of the interrobang, “not on the BBQ?! Madness!”. I mean, actually probably only Heather would say this, because she is probably the only one who is aware that, since Rudd Money Day I have had a BBQ and I have cooked something on it every day since. I mean, this is only like three days at this point but three days BBQ in a row is still pretty epic.

But today it is raining, and I cannot be bothered going outside in the rain to cook things, when I can just cook them inside.
Also they’re both a bit easier to do inside for various reasons.

Here is thing one:

Speck and Potatoes in Peach Sauce

Basically, you get some speck, from your butcher/smokehouse/franklins. You also get some small potatoes. You get a cast iron cooking vessel with a lid, or any other cooking vessel with a lid you have that will go in an oven. You put some brandymel, if you have it, and some peach juice, in the vessel, along with the speck and the potatoes. You jam a fork in the potatoes a couple times so there’s holes for the delicious peach juice to go into. Then you put it in the oven at about 140 degrees or so.

Later, you take it out, and turn over the potatoes and the speck. Because the peach juice and honeybooze sauce will not have evaporated enough with the lid on, take the lid off and leave it off. Turn the oven up a bit to help evaporate.

Even more later, take the potatoes out and put them on a plate or something. Smash them up a bit, but not too much, just kind of rough them up. Make sure they know that you were there, you know, and that if they try that shit again, they’ll have to deal with you. Punch them in the snout to establish superiority.

Once you’ve got a beaten up but still recognisable potato, put some butter and white pepper on the top of it, and put it back in the cooking vessel. Do this until you have no potatos which are not in your cooking vessel.

Later, the juice+honeybooze should have reduced to a thickish sauceish thing. This will also have delicious flavours of delicious speck in it. Relish it, people. The potatoes will be moist and tender, but where you beat them up and covered them with butter and pepper, they will be crispycrunchy and delicious.

As I write this I am somewhere between beating the potatoes up and the sauce being reduced enough to count as a sauce. But I know it will be delicious because the sauce already tastes delicious, the potatoes cannot fail to be delicious, and speck is basically GIANT SIZED BACON, so how is there a problem there?

I might provide photos later, but probably I won’t, because a) I haven’t taken any, b) it’s not going to look that pretty.
But it will be delicious, that is for damn sure.

The other thing I am cooking is:

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Getcherself a crock pot. If you do not have a crock pot, do not make this recipie. Unless you have a BBQ you can get to sit at really quite low temperatures reliably for hours and hours and hours on end.
if (crockpot){
Get a big chunk of pork, for roasting. I got a way-too-large bit of pork leg, with the bone in it still, because that was all I could get from my shops at the time. Then I cut it in half and froze the bone half, and used the non-bone half.
Get some spices and stuff if you’re into that, and some nice sea-salt. Rub the spices and sea-salt into the pork roast, giving it as even and complete a coverage as you can. This doesn’t really matter but it makes you look like a pro. …Fessional. Chef Guy.
Put the big chunk of meat in the crock pot, then cover it with BBQ sauce. I would personally recommend to anyone that, instead of plain old BBQ sauce, you use this stunning example of condiment engineering, as, really, it’s the best thing ever.
Also put in some water, and other stuff if you think it will help the FLAVOUR FORCE or whatever flavour-rating system you use. In my crock pot was: a bunch of the worcestershire steak sauce, some celtic sea salt (fancy!), some woolworths all-purpose seasoning (surprisingly efficacious!), and some white pepper. I think that is probably all.

Then turn the crock pot on to low and leave it alone for ten hours.

Ten hours, at least!

Actually you could probably succeed ok after 5 or 6, but making this overnight seems easier.

This is the stage I am up to now. Tomorrow, in the morning, I will, using my hands and a fork, rip the pork to shreds. Then I will put the porkshreds back in the crockpot with the bbq sauce/water/etc juice, and smoosh it around a bit. Then I will take some of that and put it in a frypan, fry it up, then put it on a breadroll with some smoked cheddar cheese, and eat the goddamn hell out of it.
Then I will put the rest in the fridge, and go to work.
It’ll be great.
}

Hopefully, by next week, I will have proper internets, and less crazy stuff going on, so I should be ready to get back into DISCIPLINE again.

DISCIPLINE

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daa-da-da-da, da-da da-da dada, dada, dada, dadadadadadadadaaaa

March 28, 2009 at 7:33 pm (Dan) (, , , , , , , , , )

The above, though you would not recognise it to read it, is a visual representation of the Sonic the Hedgehog (invincibility) theme music. This is an important sound for me, and, though it is not a sound I actually make out loud (unlike the Mario theme, which I will sing or whistle at the drop of a hat), it is often going through my head.

So I was going to write an extension of my last footnote in this post, but then I listened to a lot of sonic music, trying to find the theme I was after, and then it seemed like a good idea to talk about videogame music.

Then I had a great big shitfight with my family and maybe now I’ll do something else.

So!
Castle Adventure

Castle Adventure!

This is the first videogame I remember playing. I must have played it on several different machines, because I clearly remember playing it in bright green text on a black background, bright orange text on a 8″ monitor, and on our TV, on the Sega Super Control Station 7000:
Super Control Station
That sticker, under the IO in station, says $599.00c, which is an absolutely incredible amount, given that this was bought in probably 1985 or something. I have absolutely no idea how my dad managed to afford it. But I do know that now, it is mine, and no-one will take it from me unless they are prepared to give a whole bunch of money!

The SCS is basically unheard of, as a console, so a little history: it was released at about the same time as the Master System, and had basically the same internal hardware, but it came with a GWBASIC compiler built in, so you could use it to program things. Castle Adventure was never one of the games that we had code for, because it wasn’t ever released, but we had a book of 1001 BASIC games, where we’d type in the code, line by line, and make ourselves some games to play.

We also got to learn to program at the same time, though I then forgot all of it and had to re-learn it later.

Castle Adventure, as games go, is pretty shit. You are trapped in the castle, it is full of treasure and monsters, and you need to get out.
Sometimes there’s a hole in the wall in the north east corner, and if you can walk all the way to the front of the castle without the game crashing, for some reason, you win.
Most of the time there is not.
You fight people by pressing the arrow key towards them. However, the key-resend time of the keyboard is usually slower than the clock speed of your computer, so the snake (almost always the first enemy you encounter) will pretty much kill you. The ogre in the throne room will always kill you. This is pretty much unavoidable. This is why I never finished that game.

But it was my first game, as far as I remember. Certainly my first PC game.

We bought a Master System when I was in junior school. I’m not sure what year it was, but we bought it from some friends of ours, and they used the money to buy a Mega Drive. Damnit!
But we had Sonic, and a bunch of other stuff. Sonic is the only one that counts, though.

The decision to buy the Master System was fateful. It was the first time an object contributed to my identity in any way I was aware of – because, see, I had a Sega system, which meant that Sonic was cool, and Mario was a dumb game. Also, that the SNES was rubbish, etc etc.

I played SNES intermittently at friends houses, but I didn’t own one personally until well after they were dead (2002 or something? I found one in Cash Converters for $35 bucks. I still have it, but I don’t know if it works anymore), which meant that I missed out on, basically, the flower of videogame experience, as it happened. The SNES was not a better machine than the Mega Drive, in terms of hardware (well, from memory – I am pretty sure that Sonic 2 on MegaDrive was designed to show off how damn fast their processor was. Can you imagine it, showing processor speed by how fast your main character moves on screen? Madness), but the sheer number of developers pumping out amazing games for it means that, still, to this day, there’s more games on the SNES that I want to play than on any other system.

I should look into a SNES emulator for my DS, actually. That’d be shit hot.

But I missed out on CRPGs in the meantime – all we played were platformers. There might have been a couple of top-down action games, and a few flight sims (G-LOCK, I think I am thinking of), and a puzzler or two (Fantastic Dizzy Adventures!), but there weren’t any RPGs. There weren’t many on the SMS or the MD, especially compared to the SNES – and since they were the SNES’s genre, I couldn’t really be interested in them.
I am not sure that, if I had been a Nintendo kid, not a Sega kid, that I’d have played RPGs anyway. We certainly had the attention span for it, back then. We hammered away at Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Sonic, etc. There were lots of games we never finished, but we knew the first three levels inside out, man.

Speaking of Alex Kidd, I recently played an emulated copy of it, and it is: astoundingly more easy to play on an emulator. I mean, especially since you can just go and save state, and not die immediately every time you fly near an overhang, and accidentally land on a fish in the water. Goddamn fishes. But I missed a thing and I can’t be bothered finishing it without it – my damn dad sicced a ghost on me! That shit don’t play.

Anyway, so the point is that I didn’t discover my favourite genre until I was in highschool, when I should have been in year 9. Instead of teaching myself the maths I was supposed to catch up on, I would play emulated copies of FF5 and 6, and then my friend Yun brought FF7 to school… And it was on from there.

But I wish I’d been a Nintendo kid, so I could have got my CRPG on earlier.

Short post today, as now I’m gonna go to Heather’s place, get XP set up on her machine, and maaaybe set up that MegaDrive we found the other day!

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TF2, BRB

March 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm (Dan) (, , )

I was gonna post, but I have the, hehe, burning need, hehe, to burn some people.

later!

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What even happened there?

March 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm (Dan) (, , , , , )

So, it is sunday. Sunday is not the day I post, that day is saturday.
But I did not post on saturday! I must have been doing something else.

And I was!

I went to inspector some houses. They were crap. It was rubbish. Then I had lunch with my sister and her boyfriend. He is called Daniel, which is very close to my name, and a bit creepy. But he is a pretty cool guy in general so it’s not so bad.

(help)

For lunch we went and actually ate at Petersham Charcoal Chicken as though it was a restaurant. They gave me a beer! And some chicken and some pork belly and some chips. It was: epic overeating. I still have some chicken and pork belly in my fridge, later I will eat it. Om nom nom.

Then we went to Summer Hill, to drop me off at a cafe, and so they could go look at a house I already looked at this one time, to see if it was as good as I had made it out to be (hint: yes).

We already have an application in on that place, but because we liked it we decided to bump our rent offer up some, because, I guess, we can afford it, and also awesome places are awesome.

I could put pictures here but I won’t because it’s not like I live there yet.

On the other hand, when I live there, there will be so much space, you guys! I will also have a BBQ. I may have mentioned the BBQ? It is important. For my lifestyle. That there is a BBQ.

Then, from the cafe, I went to the brand new Chez Heather, about which I will also not speak as I do not live there. And it’s Heather’s job to speak to it, anyway.

We hung out there some, then a Finn came! it was a glorious time. We went to an IKEA (thanks Finn! it’s much appreciated!).

It was a glorious time.

For a given value of glorious – I can see how shopping could wear on a person, for instance.
On the other hand, impulse arm chairs and shiny, shiny homewares? That’s what I’m talking about.

Also, daim bars.

Daim bars, guys. Daim Bars.

It is currently my goal to make Daim Milkshakes and Daim McFlurry.

In fact, if a plan goes ahead tonight, there will be smashDaim in a gelato and everyone will be like ‘oh shit, this is heavenly’.

Which reminds me! I gots to link you people to a video. It is a video about making foie gras out of a duck’s liver. I don’t know if maybe you’re not down with organmeats, or what, but I think you should probably watch this video anyway, just to see how enthusiastic this guy is about food. He is a Swiss dude, and as far as I can tell, he travels around the world, eating things and buying knives and cooking stuff, for his website, and that’s all he does. Goddamn, I wish I had a rich Swiss banker in the family who was prepared to bankroll such activities.

So, anyway, a video:

Foie Gras Terrine By Francois Xavier
View in HD  Download 720p HD Version  Visit Francois Xavier’s ExposureRoom Videos Page

That guy, man.

Also, I want a terrine. And the liver of a duck. Anyone?

anyway! I have been playing Team Fortress 2. This is the first time in, literally, 10 years, that I have played an FPS on the PC. The last one was the original Unreal Tournament. Do you remember that?

Actually since it came out in ’99 it’s probably been 8 or 9 years since I last played an fps on the pc, but that’s not really the point, the point is skill atrophy. I am rubbish at FPSen, and it is taking me some time to get my groove on.
On the other hand, I got my first unlock today (not sure how! I signed into steam and it realised I’d killed some spies, killed them with fire, and it gave me a flare gun. Why I did not get this when I, say, finished burning the 10th invisible spy, I don’t know), so I am doing things and becoming an achiever! GG, valve, for putting achievements in things so I feel like I am learning and not just sucking up the place.

So, anyway, now it is time for me to run up behind some dudes and totally set them on fire. So much fire. Then maybe there’ll be a minigun, that’ll be good times. And then I will get gelato! And that will be good times too.

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Fantastic Damage; or, last night in words

February 28, 2009 at 11:05 am (Dan) (, , , )

Hi guys! As part of my semi-resolution to, you know, get out more, stop being an hermit, and utilise the resources that living in Sydney offers me, last night I went out and saw an El-P show.

This post is not about the show, it is about the peoples I met there.

The first dudes I met were from Newcastle. I didn’t really meet them, what happened was they were next to me in line and they irritated me a bit with their stupid stories. Because their stories were dumb. Hey, it happens to everyone sometimes, it is nothing to be ashamed of. But as we got in they were talking about having to make the 11:15 train, so I talked to them a bit about the awesome limitations placed on a person by having transport stop at 11:30 or so.

Turns out, if you live in Newcastle, there’s another train at like 1:45, which is practically cheating. Not like living in the outer west, where, once that ship has sailed, it’s sailed for good.
Or, I guess, until about 5:30. Whatever.

Around this time it came to me (as though in a dream) that I required some chewing gum. So I went out and I got some chewing gum! At the seven-eleven, there were two folk who were kind of semi-standing in line, but not really, so I stood behind them, for politeness sakes. The girl told me she wasn’t in line, and the guy did too, but he pushed in front of me to ask the counterman where the Gaelic club was, at which point I informed them that I would escort them to said club in a short while, after I had finished buying my gum.

Their names were Jaime and, I think, Lisa. They were from Canada, in Australia for a couple weeks, rocking out at shows because, once you are a tourist, you are already mostly over the ‘man, guys, going to shows is hard’ thing. Because, check it out: you already in another country! So it’s not such a big deal to go out and see things, I guess? Also, what else you gonna do? Sit on the internet at home? Implausible!

So we talked a bit about the respective hip-hop scenes of our respective towns. Calgary, guys, it’s a place. It’s got… snow, and dudes with mics. I think that’s about it? That’s all Jaime told me about, anyway.

I don’t know anything about the hip-hop scene in Sydney, so who knows what I told him? Probably a tissue of lies!

It’s how I roll.

At this point there were maybe 40 people in the venue, so there was a lot of space and it was a bit depressing to think of some guy coming from over the ocean to perform there. How would that be, on part of your world tour, looking out at the gaelic club and seeing 40 loosely clumped, mostly disinterested people?

Not super-great, is my understanding.

So anyway! I watched some dudes drunkdance with the hippity-hopstyle, for a while, which was pretty entertainment. Then a guy called Scott Burns came on stage, and I seriously thought it was a guy I knew, a guy called Dave. Because basically they are the same person? Only one of them rocks out on stage, I guess. And Dave… I guess he rocks out all the time. He’s a pretty cool guy.

Anyway! Scotty Burns had songs, and in every single one of them, there was a reference to something which made me laugh. This is a good scheme to make me interested in your music. Also, random references to Trevor Chappell and the underarm bowl, good times. I have, somewhere, a tiny, tiny cricket bat, signed by Greg and Trevor Chappell. This is not relevant, but trivia is awesome (guys, let’s get some trivia going).

Later, as the show unfolded, and the venue became actually occupied, I was right up the front. Next to me was a girl who had previously been drunkdancing in the open spaces offered by not having any people around, but who was now also kind of wedged up against the stage. She was from Wollongong. I know only two things about her, one that she’s from wollongong, and two that she’s got an extra-large Public Enemy singlet top, which was the only size they had left when she got to the merch stand, which she will only wear when she is pregnant.

Which I didn’t really know how to respond to, as a conversational opener. So I guess I told her her baby would be awesome.

I mean, probably that kind of environment would be awesome for a baby? Public Enemy has some words to say, about some things, which instill the appropriate attitudes in our youth from Wollongong?

Yeah.

I dunno.

Then, someone I did not meet: El-P. He was surprisingly not involved with the fans who were, like, right there up at the stage. It was a bit disappointing, though I guess eventually he shook my hand. Hmm.
The show was pretty awesome, though, so that was good.

Scott Burns had mentioned in one of his songs that he was going to the Strawberry Hills hotel after the show, so I went there, for, maybe lols, maybe nothing. I ended up sitting on a table with a man from Kiwistan, an Islander dude, and his girlfriend. They were pretty cool, we talked about music (as I had just come from a show and they are going to the future music festival today), and languages (the kiwistani guy was threatening to teach the islander guy kiwanese), and other stuff. But it was also awkward because, what the hell, sitting at a table drinking and chatting with people you don’t know?

I mean, that is part of my no-hermit (no hermo?) plan, to be able to speak more to whoever without it being a thing, and I think I reasonably executed it, but also it is straight up weird.

So then I went to shorthaus, and some people were there, and it was good times. There was cake (oh man! such cake!) and cakesoup (oh man! such cakesoup!) which I spilled all over the place (Sorry Tab!), and talking about stuff and things. So that was good, I think I prefer to hang out with people I actually know, rather than randoms, on balance.

Then I came home! Then I talked to the internets! Now I am awake again and I am sore, goddamn.

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Things I will buy, when the Revolution comes

February 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm (Dan) (, , , , , , )

ok, a list of things I want is probably a bad thing to post, because: seriously who cares about this crap I want to buy? And if I have enough money to buy these things then I am already a bad person and a horrible member of the bourgeois (incidentally, I have invented a colour: bourgeoise, the weird shade of purple/blue a plutocrat turns when their platinum amex gets rejected), and so my ideas are bad and I should feel bad.

My (pathetic, useless) justification[1] is that inspiring needless wants in others is, like, practically a public service, due to STIMULUS RESPONSE[2]. So, check out all my civic duties, right here:

NUMBAR ONE!
A motherfuckin’ barbequeue!

But not just any barbequeue. I am constrained by many things in my BBQ purchasing habits. The primary constraint is, hey, I live in a flat, man, this shit don’t conduce to a BBQ. There is no storage place I could put a BBQ which is not in my flat, which would not result in me being sans BBQ in, like, a couple of days. That’d suck, because a BBQ is not a minor investment, and some dudes who racked my BBQ enjoying the fruits of my government-mandated money from nowhere is not the kind of system I can support.

I would be forced to vote Liberal, for fuck’s sakes, due to this travesterial (it is like a ministerial, only you put Alexander Downer in as well.) process. And, well, no. I’d rather burn my money over my puny, pitiful stovetop than ever have that happen.

So! Space constraints! Also portability is a thing, because a BBQ must come with me, wheresoever I go. I cannot be moving in a year or so and leaving my BBQ behind. That way also lies madness, and fits of rage.

Also, this terrible desire I have to individuate myself through the purchasing of mass-produced objects means that I need to get a BBQ that no-one else is going to have (this also helps later, after some dudes nick off with it, to identify it as my own sweet BBQ, and bring them to Justice [he is a guy I know who frowns, amongst other things, on people who steal BBQs. Actually, on reflection he probably doesn’t frown. He enjoys his work.]).

Also I would like to be able to cook things that I currently cannot cook due to my oven being an unpredictable beast, barely caged by its white enameled walls. Sometimes, it is hot as fuck. Sometimes I might as well briskly rub whatever it is I am trying to cook against the wall, or apply matches to its surface, in order to induce the chemical reactions I require. This makes making things like bread or cakes pretty much impossible. I can make cheesecake, however (man, can I make cheesecake!). I don’t know why. It treats them right. But I cannot make a roast and have correctly cooked meat and vegetables. It is an impossibility, an impossibility which leaves me sad, lonely and heartbroken on many a Sunday evening.

So whatever, enough backstory, here is the BBQ I am gonna buy when I have money, guys: The Small Kamado as featured on that page. Secretly it is a Grill Dome, from the states, but we will pretend, as they do, that it is an Australian product.

This BBQ! It will allow me to cook things! At all temperatures! From 100c (seriously! maintaining 100c for like 20 hours is something you can do with this BBQ which lets you do crazy slow roasts which, oh man, I cannot even talk about it it will be so delicious) to like 600 (I will be able to properly cook a pizza! this is important to me, for reasons. Also, properly cook at pizza in like 40 seconds[3]).

Anyway it will be great and I will cook a cake on my BBQ and people will come from miles around to marvel at the finely smoked aroma of my chocolate mudcake, and wonder how I have produced such a prodigy. Hells yes.

NUMBAR TWO
Some running shoes.

I don’t know what kind because to research shoes on the internet, when what you are interested in is the opinion of a learned professional shoeist, is a game for mugs, and fools. I need a professional shoeist becase my feet are kind of prone to fear, histrionics and arch failure, which I would rather avoid as I attempt to get myself able to run far enough to survive the zombie hordes without being so out of breath that I cannot scream, either for help, or that I am a human still, don’t taze me bro, oh shit that is an assault rifle.

Either of those things are things I can conceivably need to scream, as I run from the zombies towards the waiting ranks of the Armed Forces of Australia. You know.

So yeah. I need shoes in which I can run without developing a club foot, a shin splint, or a… thigh…. I cannot think of the reasonable progression from club to splint to…

Paddle-pop stick. Yes.

I do not want a paddle-pop stick in my thigh so I require shoes which are suitable for my feet. And for that I need a professional and to hire a professional I need money, so that he does not fit me for shoes and then look on, forlorn, as I excercise my new-found fleetness of foot to fuck off. Fast. As that would be kind of sad.

But this is important, probably even more important than the BBQ (Which is very important!), because my whole goddamn life depends on it. Not just because of zombies, though that is, as always, a highly salient feature, but because I am unhealthy and that needs to stop. Right now! Or, at least, very soon, because otherwise it might be too late.

Zombies can strike without warning.

NUMBAR THREE
One Hundred of the cheapest thing on DealExtreme.

Now, you need to know about DealExtreme. This is not optional, this is a critical part of your internet.

DX is the place you go when you need that thing which you could probably buy from paddys market, or somewhere in Chinatown, anyway, for about $20, only you don’t need it RIGHT NOW, and you need it for maybe two bucks.

Alternately it is the place you go when you are planning a life of high-tech crime interspersed with Ninja Hijinks, and thus need to lay in significant supplies of blank RFID fobs, RFID cloners, lockpicks, cell-phone and GPS jammers, shuriken, weaponised fans (just in case) and, I dunno, some “Soft Wrapped Fluffly[4] Romantic Love-Cuff Stainless Steel Handcuffs”. In case, of course, of stunningly attractive counter-spy. It is important to be prepared[5].

Yes so anyway. The most beautiful thing about DX, more beautiful even than the fact that they add new miscellaneous products to their range every day, is that there is free shipping.

On everything.

Everything ships, to your door, for free.
It doesn’t matter what it is, it goes in the parcel and it comes to your house, for not one cent more than the price of the original gadget.

That, my friends and colleagues, is a beautiful thing (actually I think some of the more expensive things make you use the paid shipping, but I think they all include that in their price, and they auto-bump all the other things you buy up to expensive shipping for no money, too).

So, because DealExtreme has brought so much joy to my life, because their shipping policies are so unrelentingly generous, because they deliver things to my work address by default due to paypal…

I am forced into action.

I am forced to buy, not one, not twenty, but one hundred of whatever the cheapest thing is on their site (I will look this up in a minute if I can!).

But I am forced, by inescapable laws of comedy, to buy them one at a time.

100 separate orders = 100 separate packages.

They’ll ship the same day.

They will arrive in two lots, probably, at work.

In a giant mail sack.

All of the mail in the mail sack will be for me.

I will also order one thing about the same size that I really want, so I have to open an inordinate number of packages to get my thing that I want.

I predict that this will cause moral outrage and intense amusement at my place of work, and that everyone in the building will be pleased to get, for themselves, a flashlight shaped like a pig.

Fuck yeah.

NUMBAR FOUR!
The reissued Paul’s Boutique.

So, this is basically one of the best albums of all time. I do not care if you do not like the rap, or hip-hops, or the flibberty-gibberts. It doesn’t matter.

This album invented modern music. And also the mash-up. So you should buy it with your cashdollars, because you never did spend no money for that Best of Bootie album, did ya?

(I know it is not actually possible to pay for that album in a meaningful way. Shh.)

Plus, you know, the Beastie Boys? They are getting old, now. Old, with families. Their families need to be STIMULATED, you know, ECONOMICALLY[6]. So that they can unstrap themselves from gurneys, and shamble into the studio for one last hurrah (before the next last hurrah). But mostly you should own this album because it is TOTALLY GREAT. I would like to re-own this album so that the bass could, if I had one frozen testicle, shatter it.

This is not a condition from which I suffer, but I like to know that, if I did, there’s an answer, and that answer is within my grasp.

Plus! Eight foot poster! Vinyl! (actually I think I own Paul’s Boutique on vinyl already, but I don’t have a record player so this should not be an inducement for me. But look how much it is anyway! Weird.

NUMBAR FIVE OR LOWAR
I don’t know. A bunch of things from Ikea, for organising spaces, and places.

NO MORE KITCHENWARE DAN YOU HAVE ENOUGH KITCHENWARE SERIOUSLY (no I do not, shut up capsdan).

Hefty storage lockers! Which I will use as incidental furniture, like chairs, for people.

Some beanbags!

Maybe another freezer, so there’s enough room for me to keep all the food things I want to have in my freezer at any given time, like stock, so I can make soups and stews and rice more delicious than one can even imagine, in one’s pre-stock-rice state. Risotto, also. These are things I would like to have because I would like to have, on hand, and easily accessed, the accountrements and core components of simple healthy meals, because I would like, as mentioned above, to be less unhealthy than I am currently.

Because of the zombies, of course.

SPEAKING OF WHICH GUYS
A weapon! Or, actually, small-arms training.

I think I would prefer to know how to shoot a pistol at things and not get scared and drop the gun or shoot things which are not the things I was aiming at, nominally.

This is also a zombie-preparedness move, because, if the world does succumb to the inevitable processes of the Zombocalypse, and should I turn out to be, as seems logical from my lived experience, the protagonist, or at least someone who hangs out with the protagonist, I will inevitably end up with either a chainsaw, a shotgun, a pistol, or some combination of the aforementioned.

I can deal with chainsaws because I grew up 40 metres from a rural area (no, seriously. Across the road was rural. Where I lived? Not rural. You have no idea how much this pissed me off when it came to talking to CentreLink. Fuckers). But because I did not actually grow up in a rural area, I never got around to learning to shoot small rifles, shotguns, etc.

In the grim future where there is only war, people of my type will be looked on favourably as an easy source of meat which won’t put up too much of a fight.

So I’d like to learn that. And/or some kind of martial art but let’s not get too crazy here. Possibly it is crazy (but I do not wish to possess a firearm, just be proficient. It can be my extra human feat that I have just in case).

Plus man I have this terrible need to know things, it is destroying my life and might make me do a Master of International Relations or some shit.

Anyway!

So that’s what I will buy. Things to help me eat, things to help me run, things to help me… well, make a mockery of at least one working day, things to… help me eat, again, and then things to help me hunt the weak. I mean, uh, defend self against other.

I don’t know if any of my life plans are revealed in these purchasing plans, but I fear that, if they have, they are terrible plans from a terrible person who should be avoided as he could snap at any time.

Hmm.

On the other hand, I hope to have stoked within each of you, my dear readers, the unconquerable fires of capitalism, so you, too, will do your part to support the state and support your mate.

Credit cards to the ready! NGO[7]!

[1]
also, my plan, at this point in my post, is to cunningly reveal the circumstances of my life, and the direction I plan to take it in, through RAMPANT CONSUMERISM. Let’s see how that pans out.

[2]
Seriously, check out this video. It is fucking mental. I cannot get my head around the kind of mind that chooses that picture, to sit there, doing NOTHING, for this whole song. Man.

[3]
40 seconds? I want it now!

[4]
Fluffly. Just think about that word. And yes, I mean fluffly, though I don’t actually know what fluffly means. That is what these handcuffs are. Would you (would anyone?) be comfortable having fluffly things involved in their romantic life? I am unsure!

[5]
It might also be important to have the most awful thing you can think of, and actively consider yourself being involved in, on hand, as a sort of test. You whip out the fluffly handcuffs, but kind of ha-ha, like a joke, and play it by ear from there.

Or! Probably that should never be done, ever. Christ.

[6]
There are nearly 100,000 comments on this video. Holy crap.

[7]
ngo is a meme now.

P.S. the Revolution, in this case, is three months of back-pay. Aww yeah. Coming at me, like, next Thursday! Until then, I am: so fucking broke, man.

Permalink 10 Comments

oh crap, timetabling!

February 15, 2009 at 11:31 am (Dan) (, , )

Yeah, hi.
I was going to write a post about kaballa and gnosticism as pre-scientific models of the big bang and evolution, but check out how much I’m not doing that, now: 100%. That is how much I am not writing that post.

For various reasons, including, argh, first year religious studies was a long time ago and I’ve conflated a bunch of things which, if true, would make the post a lot easier to write, but they’re not true, which makes it much harder.

So, whatever. I will talk about telephones.

I fucking hate phones.

I have a weird relationship with things that annoy me – mostly, I can put up with things, as long as they’re not happening all the time. But if some critical threshold is reached, and breached, I lose the ability to deal with it at all, for some time, and have to take some time entirely away from that thing.

This is also how I am about people, but ‘annoy’ isn’t the right word there. I really like hanging out with people, and I miss seeing my friends on a regular basis, but occasionally it is too much and I need to hide away and not see anyone for some time. If I do see people during the hermit times, it kind of resets the hermit-time-clock, which is bad and inconvenient. So if I disappear for a month or three, that’s why. Don’t send search parties.

This is a problematic way to relate to people because I shut down any overtures towards doing stuff with people during these times. So people stop asking me to go to things. Then, later, when I am ok with people, again, I fail to call people and organise things and so I am a hermit again. Good times!

Anyway, so, I hate talking on the phone, but most of the time it is ok. I find it difficult to focus on what the person is saying, rather than, for instance, any text which might be in front of me (I can’t not read something if I am looking near it). I don’t like the real-time nature of the conversation, because small distractions can entirely derail it. Also, if you miss something, you can’t check what it was, like you could with, say, IM windows.

To counteract my tendency to pay attention to the visual world, not the audio one, I have to sit with my eyes closed if I am trying to talk to someone on the phone about anything important. This is occasionally impractical and sometimes a terrible idea.

Interestingly, I don’t really mind talking on the phone at work. I think it’s because, there, I’m expected to be looking at some other text, and there’s a different register and… various other things. but basically I can ask people to repeat things as often as I need to and they expect that.

This kind of makes me sound like I don’t hear things on the phone at all, which is not true. I am listening, really. But I’d probably rather IM you.

IM is a much less rich mode of conversation, so it’s kind of strange to prefer it, maybe? But it’s also a less invested mode of conversation. Pauses (most of the time) aren’t critical, and it’s ok if you’re reading other things at the same time (most of the time). Because the text is there, as an artifact, not as a memory trace, it is amenable to analysis in a different way. Positing readings of other people’s text helps me tremendously to maintain my not-craziness. Sometimes it’s difficult to get over a first impression, if something is phrased in a way which seems to imply something negative, but often the space afforded by IM allows you to re-assess something and not instantly get upset at the person, and cause trouble? Even though you lack communication cues like intonation and body language, you’ve got a better-developed set of tools for coping with language in text, I think.

Also, because it is a richer mode of communications, I think we think we can relate to it as though it was a face-to-face conversation, which is also fraught with danger. If you can’t see that I’m making a stupid face, you can’t really understand what I am saying (or, not as easily/in as much detail?). So telephones are kind of a crippled actual talk, rather than an enhanced text conversation? And text is text is text is how I like things?

There is: no point to this post, except maybe send me smses for a while because right now I can’t be having with telephones for whatever reason?

But also, we should do some things, guys, let’s go to a place or something, soon.

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The Internet: An Learning Device; The Make Good Teachings Superhighway

February 7, 2009 at 4:20 am (Dan) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Or: Things I have learned from the Internet today; a short and incomplete list:

1) Superman will save the day

Actually I didn’t learn this from the internets. Except, uh, I guess, as a delivery mechanism. We won’t talk about that. How I, uh, “ordered” some comics. On the Internet. Then I read them. And they taught me all about how Superman will save the day.

So really, Superman, usually I don’t care about Superman, you know? I think this might be a smartgeek default position, as Superman occupies a kind of jock-resonant position in the, the, fuck I am going to say ideosphere again, the ideosphere. You know. He’s big and tough and punches things to solve his problems.

I’m not really down with that. I am more of a Batman guy, despite the fact that in the final analysis, Batman is big and tough and punches things to solve his problems. The difference, of course, is that Batman punches things with his brain, and that makes it ok.

Plus, he’s not superpowered, and so everyone gets to think “If I dedicated my life to this, went and lived in a monastery for a while, learned some mad skills, got my science on, I could be Batman”.

Except, no, you can’t. Batman has two superpowers, neither of which you have:

1) Money, motherfucker.
I will illustrate this point with another timely interjection from Most Excellent Superbat, probably the coolest character who has only ever been drawn like six times ever, uh, ever:money-unleashed
Haha, you tell ’em, Superbat.

2) Guy, like, never, and for reals I mean never gives up.
This is not a character trait. This is a superpower. No-one doesn’t give up when a maniacal doctor, pretending to be your dead father, wearing the costume which inspired everything you do, everything you live for, tells you you’re a bad boy, doses you up with meth and heroin and dumps you on the street to hallucinate magical negroes who may or may not give you superpowered radios from beyond space and time. No fucker doesn’t give up, then. Especially when, before the dosing, the doctor rocks a hypnotic command he implanted in a learned helplessness test many years ago which entirely erases your personality. No, you give up. Oh, and later the lady you love is all like ‘sorry, guy, it was a ploy!’ and then they hit you really hard, in the face, with the Joker, and also bury you, at a crossroads, at midnight. You give up.

You’ve given up, here, several times. You have died at least twice. The Batman didn’t die because the Batman didn’t give up. The Batman didn’t need his personality, he had a spare one, in his Utility Belt, motherfucker, and he’s not gonna give up, not even when the world is ending and a black hole is forming at the centre of existence and the personification of decay and death and futility has turned most of the planet into zombies that only want you to give up, just a little bit, whereupon it becomes easy to do, whatever, anti-life justifies my lack of expository dialog. And this guy, this personification of death and fail, he’s got you strapped to a machine where the god of torture (I have spoken about this before! bear with me. I have a point, a point about Batman) is fucking with you, like, so hard and this is maybe two days after all the shit with the doctor and the madness went down, so it’s not like you’re in top condition, or anything? Anyway. The Batman doesn’t give up in this circumstance where the cosmic embodiment of Seriously, dude, just pack it in is there, whinging at him. You would. But the Batman pulls a God-bullet out of his Utility Belt and he fucking shoots him, right? In the shoulder. And then he saves the fucking day. Then Superman, like, super-saves it, but that’s the paragraph after the next one.

You would give up.

Like me. Like every other person who isn’t the Batman, which is everyone. Because you can’t be the Batman and it is absurd to base your overweening love of the character on the slim glimmerings of the idea that maybe you could be him. You gots to base your love on the fact that he is impossibly bad-ass, and just deal with it. Did I tell you I might get a Batman tattoo? I might get a Batman tattoo.

Oh, ignore the thing about the paragraph after the next one, up there, I am going to import a paragraph in, right here, and call it item 3 on this two-item list:
3) He’s got a Utility Belt, and you don’t.
You are not prepared, at any point, to be transported back through time to the dawning of humanity. Batman is. Impossibly bad-ass.

Superman! So, yeah, by default I don’t really like Superman for a host of poorly-examined reasons about how basically it is boring to be invincible. This is true. Superman is invincible and this is boring. So, the things you do with Superman which do not depend on him being impervious to damage for their interest, those are good times. I recently gave to Heather a copy of the first All-Star Superman trade paperback, because that was the thing that began to teach me about how awesome Superman is. I mean, the fact that he’s pretty hellaciously stoned on the front cover is pretty good, too. Heh. But I strongly recommend that anyone who might even think sideways that maybe they might enjoy to read comic, reads All-Star Superman. You will learn some things about mythic resonance and how important it is to have people to look up to, even if they are only imaginary, and how even if Superman wasn’t real, we’d have to make him up, and how he’s actually, probably, the King of the Universe by virtue of being the Nicest Dude Ever, but that is a weaksauce way to put it and I expect you to ignore it. Don’t pay any attention to what I am writing, here, except the part where you maintain a strange urge to read All-Star Superman.

Ok! And then, after I read All-Star Superman, I read all of Final Crisis. It’s this whole thing. It’s pretty epic, actually, and I had a good time. We rocked out, me and these comics. There was laughing, and sometimes nearly tears, but don’t tell anyone that, I cannot be seen as weak or my position will become vulnerable. But yeah, it’s also not everyone’s cup of tea. By which I mean that it actually seems to actively offend people who read comics. Not, like, everyone who enjoys to make comics reading time, but the guys, who, what they do, see, is Read. Comics. Those guys got a bit of a hate-on for this fucker because it is Different and Other? Also a bit complicated, kind of, in that not all of the things which make up the story are there? Some of them are implied. What is a much more effective way to build, oh man, words, a mythopoetic space, innit, than, say, an conventional narrative.

But fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. Any two year old can read stories with holes in them[1] now. It’s the modern condition and if you can’t hack it, the internet is gonna chew your head up in a couple years. It’s all the post-modernism the kids get injected with in the womb these days, parents playing the Ramones at their soon-to-be-baby, but not out of love, but like, ironically. Baby trucker caps with “Love it or Don’t. Whatever.” written on them (shit, I would buy that). I have no idea what I am talking about! I like to make words. Also the Faint are constantly saying ‘erection’ right now, it is kind of weird, and there’s a big, swelling (no, it’s ok) bass-swirl-thing, and it’s ok, really, what they’re doing here.

Anyway the point is that Final Crisis is pretty good but it’s not the easiest thing to read if you’re not prepared to engage with your media. Also, half of the story happens outside Final Crisis, in Superman Beyond 3D!

This isn’t, like you might think, “Superman Beyond” in 3D. It is Superman, being Beyond the Third Dimension.

Also, it’s in 3D some of the time.

It is hot as fuck, guys, you should read this. So, Superman Beyond 3D, All-Star Superman, and then the end of Final Crisis. Not only does it make Superman the cornerstone of all the universes in the multiverse, in a way which does not make me irritated that an overgrown moralist has been promoted to a position of power, he wins the (first) big fight like this:You'll Believe A Man Can Sing
Things that this is:
1) Not punching your problems away;
2) awesome;
3) other.

So, that’s good. That makes me feel good about thinking that Superman is awesome. Additionally, the magic of the Prismatic Age makes me feel good about thinking Superman is awesome. I am not going to spoil this, just open the link, ok?

Thank you, Internet Jesus.

Ok, that is way more than enough about comics. I will not talk about comics anymore. Nor will I post any more pictures which may or may not have been sourced from the Internets Pira-sea.

You know, this week.

2) How to do an FFT

This is important for me, because it is important for my job. It is also important for my brain, to find and figure on some things which previously have not figured, in my brainings. There are exciting properties of signals which defy common sense! And make analysis difficult! There are times when adding noise to something makes it easier to understand! That’s all good times.

I, actually, you don’t want me to talk about how it is that an FFT is important to my job. There are dry mathematical details. And there are things I can’t talk about on the internet in case later it is a problem if someone wants to write a paper and that someone is me. And also there is incomprehensible reasons for doing things, anyway. And, I dunno, I can’t think of a way to talk about it engagingly without spilling all my beans. I need those beans, them shits is magical and if I hoard them right, later, there will be a shining ladder to a land of golden opportunity? I am unclear on the specifics, really, but I think that’s pretty much how it goes. That or a giant tries to… chase me? with a goose? I have to stop taking the special hypno-induction-sessions, I think, even though they are much more interesting! … I think.

Anyway the point is that I can implement an FFT now, and I can port that implementation, maybe, into a microprocessor, and then gold will fall from the skies and mum won’t be mad at me for trading the cow.

But I will probably have to learn weird ways to fake floating-point maths using bit-level operators on things that look like integers. This is a bit sad, but will probably, in the future, contribute to my awesome levels, but only in ways that pure compsci nerds will appreciate. Also, probably, I will learn it enough to use it in this project then forget everything about it, which is pretty much how I roll whenever there’s something hard but interesting around.

Ask me about statistics, go on.

I’ve done courses, and everything.

3) that I cannot keep my shit together, Georgiiiiee Giiiiirl.

That, right there, is a classical reference, and that makes me cooler than most of the hipsters on the internet.

It is not really a classical reference, it is a lyric from a song.

A Beastie Boys song.

And, I mean, it’s not really even a lyric from a song, it’s more a half-arsed pass at a reference, you know?

Shut up, it’s seminal, you guys.

Look, I’ma drop some knowledge on you brother[2]:

aww, forgit it. You wouldn’t understand.

4) seriously man I cannot even keep my focus on one thing for like, 100 words.

I was going to talk, above, in point three, about how there is a post in my head, and a little bit in my hard drive, about … questioning the working class through the medium of Pulp songs, I guess, maybe, and why is it like that and why does it keep happening like that and will it maybe change. But I can’t keep my focus on so I can’t write it, plus I get all conflicted talking about the working class (like, I took out a thing about The Faint that was my original point 1, about the guy and his reflections on, I dunno, hookers and why are they doing that and why don’t they stop, also institutionalised gang violence in areas where the only institutions are gangs. I took it out because I was uncomfortable talking about this guy, who I assumed to be a middle-class white guy like me, talking about those kind of things. Plus I looked him up on Wikipedia and he never went to uni [or at least it is not part of his official bio[3]] so I felt like I was unfairly characterising him as a middle-class wanna-be guy, and, oh, what? Why am I even talking about this? That’s why it’s gone), because self-exposure by examining the Other is hard and dangerous.

The song that started it was called Sex is Personal[4]. Instead, I have learned that class is personal. Oho! An revelation.

But, actually, I am working class, or was, certainly. So surely I can talk about it. Now that I have improved my lot. But why is my life improved? My dudes from highschool are, generally, having a pretty good time. You know. This sort of thing is hard, and waa waa waa. So that post is probably never going to happen, but I will take one line of it out and put it here, and that will be the end of things:

Holy shit, Help the Aged Jarvis is the same as Black Books Dylan Moran.

[1]
Why is this not already a thing, eh? We’ve got people constructing narratives out of any fucking thing they please, these days, and calling it art, basing it on all sorts of esoteric shit. We have comics which are supposed to be widescreen, and movie-esque, cinematic games and literature, we have taken the language of the movies and applied it to everything in our lives! Why has no-one ever tried to write a zoetrope story? Or, I mean, probably they have, I will explain what it is in a second, but why has no-one appropriated the term zoetrope for their narrative art? I think I might do it. I am inventing a discipline right now: zoetrope narrative. It is a story composed entirely of descriptions of things which are not moving, static scenes. Let me beta test it right here:
He is standing at the door.
She is sitting in the bedroom.
He is standing at the stairs.
She is sitting in the bedroom.
He is at the top of the stairs.
She is sitting in the bedroom.
He is at the door.
She is standing up.
They are standing together.
She is lying on the floor.
He is standing at the door.
She is lying on the floor.

It seems like it could be a thing that could work, but I am envisaging long and detailed descriptions of these static scenes, maybe that would be tedious. But describing the people with equal importance to the contents of the room could be cool. Whatever!

[2]
This is also a classical reference, but I’m not gonna explain this one.

[3]
In my words I had been meanly predicting he was a rich white boy who dropped out of uni in his final year of business, or maybe fine arts, to pursue his artistic side. I don’t know why. Don’t judge me.

[4]
But actually while I was not really listening and was writing a post, I was thinking about Worked Up So Sexual (note this video is terrifying and hilarious), which is a whole other song, but is actually guy going ‘how you gonna play me that way, strippers?’ as far as I can see. A little bit, anyway. Don’t judge me.

Permalink 10 Comments

Things I have eaten today, a short and incomplete list:

January 31, 2009 at 2:42 pm (Dan) (, , , , , )

No pictures, one link. This shit? The way we are kicking it? Oldschool. That is the method by which it is kicked.

So!

Things I have eaten today, a short and incomplete list:

1) Bacon Rice Crispies, motherfuckers.

Inspired by the fine work of the Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York, today I made me some goddamn rice crispies, mit also the bacon. Let’s get down to brass tacks, here:

  • Six cups of rice bubbles
  • four slices of delicious smoked bacon from my local butcher
  • 200gm packet of No Frills pink and white marshmallows
  • a little bit of butter

Also I used two slicepans (though one is for actual reals a pie dish, not a slice tray) and a mixing bowl, but you don’t need the mixing bowl. And really you only need one slice tray. And you probably need more bacon.

Allow me to explain my methods, here:

I sliced the rind off the bacon, and chucked it in a pretty small frying pan, with a cover, to render out the delicious fats held within the rind. While it was frying up, I cut the bacon into pretty small chunks, the better to get a mix on with the rice bubbles.

Once I’d cut up the bacons, I took the rind out of the pan and fried the little baconbits up until they were supercrispygood (because if they weren’t, that’d be a bit weird later, probably). Usually I would use a sandwich press to make supercrisp bacon, but I wanted the bacon fat left over for the melting of marshmallows in.

Yes, this is a perfectly sensible idea. Shut your mouth.

I took the pan off the heat, and set it on an angle, so the fat ran out of the corner-piled baconbits. After a while, I put the baconbits in a mixing bowl to cool down, but I could have put them straight in the slicepan, really, had I been thinking that shit through.

Then! Marshmallows.

First I checked to see if the bacon fat tasted like bacon (sometimes it does!), but it didn’t, so that was ok. I chucked a bit of butter in the pan with the baconfat (seriously, this is delicious, shut up!), and put it over a very low heat. While the butter melted down, I got the rice bubbles out, and put two cups in the pie dish, mixed up with the bacons, and four in the slice tray, baconless.

Once the rice bubbles were arranged, and the butter was melted, I got my marshmallow on, put them all into the pan with the baconbutter. Marshmallows melt weird, it’s kind of disconcerting. They stay big for ages, then all of a sudden they’re not, anymore, they’re liquid marshmallow goodness. I did this over a fairly low heat, because I didn’t want to burn any sugar, you know?

I put about a third of the mixture into the pie dish, and left the rest of the marshmallows on a (really, really) low heat. There was just about a flame, but not enough to burn anything.

Mixing marshmallowbaconbutter into baconbubbles is weird and messy. The marshmallow starts to turn to, like, sugar-ropes, almost immediately, and this is not helpful. I am just saying: get your mix on fast. Use two utensils. I used the rice spatula from my rice cooker, and also a spoon, but if I’d had another small spatula, I would have used that.
But eventually I got most of the ricebubblebaconios attached to the marshmallowmix, and it was good.

While I had not been paying attention, the marshmallow mix in the pan had kind of shrunk down, and was threatening to caramelise, so I hastily tipped it into the slice tray.

It was at this point that I realised that you should not use a slotted spatula to mix marshmallows and butter, because that shit does not come out of the holes. Not ever.

So I was a bit short of marshmallows (my packet was 200 grams, I had wanted 250, but you can’t always get what you want), but still, enough of the rice bubbles were incorporated. This is not as supersweet as I recall them being as a kid, probably due to the higher rice/sugar ratio. That kind of makes them healthy, right?

Anyway! If I was going to do this again, I’d use three times as much bacon, and I wouldn’t bother making any non-bacon rice crispies.

And I will tell you why:

They are fucking delicious, that’s why.

Don’t even joke about ‘eww’, and ‘gross’, it’s not cool. You are disrespecting a beautiful thing, you disrespecter of beautiful things. I will have no truck with it.

So, thanks, internets! You have learned me up some valuable lessons today!

(those lessons being that anything that you’d be happy to cook on a stick, over a fire, will taste delicious with anything else you’d be happy to cook on a stick, over a fire. And rice bubbles. Also that you can trust the internet to feed you, because everything there is the truth)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some delicious treats to consume.

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