giovedì, maggio 22, 2008
A few days ago a huge box arrived here by courier, full of accoutrements for a television cable set up, and accompanied by a letter in Dutch, which obviously neither of us speak - we registered with them as French speakers. Hmm. Outside of the Dutch, there were two problems with the delivery: we hadn't ordered it, and we don't have a fucking television. Triple hmmm.
The F-word had to spend a few days (seriously) getting an English speaker on the hotline, as I've been crashingly busy at the office and as their hotline is only open during business hours. Finally he reached one yesterday, who explained to him that someone at the company had illicitly 'ordered' the package for us. In the meantime, the F-word had spoken to a few of his Anglo colleagues, to whom the same mysterious wrong-language letter and box of accoutrements had arrived - to be followed by a bill for €200 three months later . . . so he was able to get suitably furious over the phone. Fine. Handled. Our complaint was registered and the order stricken off. AND THEN . . .
1. The cunt asked the F-word to bring the huge box of accoutrements back to the store himself
2. The cunt asked if we'd like to expand our package
3. The cunt asked if we'd like to renew our service contract, which is set to expire at the end of the month.
How fucking dimestore. Honestly, the whole episode, combined with a bunch of peripheral things that have been happening and I'm in too much of a rush to go into now, have left me convinced that Belgium is like Italy's younger uglier brother that got dropped on its head when it was a baby. That same intense laziness, incompetence, and graspingness at the organizational level, combined with the sort of shit-headed stupidity that's going to make you ask someone who your company has just tried to defraud to carry a big box of ripoff back to the store, and then to buy more of your shit.
The F-word very suitably refused to bring the box back, so now we wait for more shitcanery. There's something almost funny about it. Sweet motherfuck, I will not be sad to see the back of this country.
mercoledì, maggio 21, 2008
Also, her 'In My Arms' single makes me think of kinky sex every time I hear it, and it's huge in Belgium right now, so I'm thinking about kinky sex all the time, which is alright with me. There's something about the resignation of the lyrics, combined with all those whiplash sounds, and the narration of a sexual encounter in such an innocent, composed popgirl voice that makes me reflect on why I enjoyed and excelled at doing what I used to do for most of the time that I was doing it. And that can only be healthy manouevre on the road to arriving at my Integrated Self. Right? Right.
Now let me look at Kylie Minogue pretend to sing and dance. It's better than kittens.
martedì, maggio 20, 2008
I'm in a mood - worked myself into an exhausted stupor yesterday and today promises to be more of the same. Because of all the interviewing and the trying-to-make-people-tell-me-things-they-aren't-supposed-to-tell-me, my job is emotionally exhausting. Although I'm aware what a blessing it is that I'm not a 'real' journalist who has to try to interview the relatives of murder victims or Austrians who have been rescued from their batshit crazy father's basement prison. Nonetheless work exhaustion makes me feel like my life is being pulled out from under me. Which I think is combining with some elements of modern public discourse to contribute to my apocalyptic-ish angst. I really understand Christian Survivalist nutjobs a lot of the time. When your life is slipping away from you in an absolutely artificial societal contract where you need to do long hours of busy work to keep your families in the toys, when your politicians behave like monkeys and when human life is overtly not at a premium anymore, then the apocalypse really starts looking like an attractive direction for your life to take.
This is me in a room full of Peter Sellers in Bonn which somehow captures my mood at this particular moment. You can only just make out the Peter Sellerses on the wallpaper, holding a briefcase and sticking out an arm. At the moment, you could nicely encapsulate my angst by saying I feel like I'm living in a world full of Peter Sellerses, who aren't being funny.
lunedì, maggio 19, 2008
What changed all that was the F-word and not wanting to look like a pansy in front of him when he cooked mushrooms for dinner on our first 'date', I suppose you'd call it. So I ate them and they were good, and was the start of my love affair with non-magic mushrooms. The F-word and I have had rather more dramatic ups and downs than two fundamentally good hearted guinea kids deserve, but through all of the downs I nevertheless retained some tenderness for him by remembering he was the creature that had made mushrooms palatable to me.
The oyster mushrooms I picked this weekend, however, are all in the bin. I had got greedy and picked as many as I could carry, including some that were past their prime. So last night, when I was preparing about half of them for a Hungarian mushroom pie - a lovely-looking recipe from a book by wunderkind Arto der Haroutunian (fuck, Armenians have the coolest names) - I realized that there were some maggots in them. I'm not the sort of cool nature girl who can look at maggots and think 'ooo, extra protein, and anyways once it's all cooked up it'll be sterile.' No. I'm the sort of middle-class cold-climate girl who wants to puke when she even thinks about maggots. Maybe someday I won't be such a fucking pussy but last night was not that day.
So crash went my tummy and slop went the mushrooms into the bin. Lesson learned. Hunt and pick early, don't pick anything past its prime, and most of all DO NOT fucking go to church in the morning while insects reproduce in your fucking mushrooms and then come back in the fucking afternoon. Carpe diem. Carpe fungiem. Honour God by not being a bonehead.
My appetite was gone but I still needed to prepare dinner for the F-word, who was at French class, and myself, who bears too much responsibility on her stately shoulders to go as anorexic as she'd like to whenever she thinks about maggots. Also I had started preparations for the mushroom pie. I needed something that would use what I had prepared, that would tempt my appetite enough to overwhelm my nausea, and that didn't use mushrooms at all, as besides the maggoty oysters all we had in the house was a big bag of dehydrated Chinese I didn't have time to rehydrate. So I rolled myself a big fat joint, ignored my churning tummy, and did this:
1 Splash milk
dollop olive oil
2 tomatoes, seeded, cored and diced
1 cup baby spinach, minced
1 little can albacore tuna
10 anchovy-stuffed olives, halved
1 teaspoon minced basil
1 teaspoon minced oregano
1 teaspoon dried red chili
Touch of salt
Some black pepper
3 slices of old multigrain bread
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornbread breadcrumbs
Leave the slices of bread to soak up the milk. In a large seperate container, beat the eggs with the splash of milk and dollop of olive oil. Add Group 2 ingredients to the eggs and mix. After, break up the slices of bread that have soaked up the milk. Mix the little peices into the egg mixture. Evenly spread out the mixture in a pie pan that you've lined with greaseproof paper, because of course you're a lazy fuck like me and don't want to do any scrubbing when you wash up. And cover it evenly with the breadcrumbs, then cook at high-ish heat for 20 minutes until it's lovely and golden brown on top. And then eat it.
It's not the most exciting dish in the world, but it was really tasty and I ate a fair amount of it despite having desperately wanted to vomit a mere half hour earlier. I reccommend it for those days when you or your general household is recovering from some sort of stomach complaint, with a world of variations possible in the Group 2 ingredients. Eschewing a crust in favour of milk-soaked bread gives the thing a really light, special texture that's somehow friendly. With the combination I used for Group 2, it came out as a delightful sort of savoury summer pudding, but I imagine by adding an extra egg or using heavier vegetables - or even, god forbid, meat - you could make it quite substantial.