giovedì, agosto 25, 2011

Entente corporeale

I didn't write anything about it earlier because I didn't want to jinx it, and I am aware that the plural of anecdote isn't data, and even if I wasn't, it's not even multiple anecdotes, it's just one . . . which is that my seasonal, environmental and animal allergies don't bug me NEARLY as much as they used to when I get my hour of cardio a day.

I don't think it's just generally improved health (although last night when I was procrastinating from studying for my Mandarin exam tomorrow I did a chin-up for the first time in my life, and then two more just to make sure the first one wasn't some sort of fluke). Some mornings I still wake up with the familiar runny nose and whistly breathing. But then if I go for a run or a paddle, it disappears, and I'm fine for the rest of the day. It's pretty great, because I don't like having a crappy nose, and I don't like taking anti-histamines because they interfere with my drinking habit. And while nettle tea helps me, possibly psychosomatically, you can't get nettle tea everywhere. Running, however - well, that's easy.

Anyhoo. I forgot my watch at Magnum's after taking it off to use the hot tub (good Lord, a hot tub on a chilly night in the middle of a spruce forest is one of life's great pleasures) so today, for the first serious time, I ran based on distance instead of time. I have no real idea how fast I run anymore, except that it's slow, since I always just run for an hour, and the times I've measured my distances afterwards have varied from around 7 km to around 12 km without me really noticing the difference in terms of effort.

So today I mapped a 10 km route, and ran it. It was a pretty route, but running to distance was somehow a little bit more tedious than running to time, possibly because I'm stressed because today is a Thursday, which means I have a shitload of shit to do, and tomorrow is my Mandarin exam, so that's even more shit to do (so of course I go for a 10 km run and of course now I'm blogging because that will really help me with my workload). It was nice, though.

I'm starting to grasp - and it's starting to scare me - what people, especially women, mean when they talk about "controlling their bodies". My body and I have always had an entente cordiale, and I've done pretty much whatever it's wanted, and it's done pretty much whatever I've wanted, and frankly what I'm doing now by getting an hour of cardio every day and eating a little less shit than usual still feels like what my body wants. But there's no doubt that so much exercise is having a rather sculpting effect, and while I've always looked in the mirror and thought I'd make a pass at myself if I was someone else, now, well, I'd probably propose a nicer restaurant. And there's the cause and effect - the cardio and the nice body. I think it could create an illusion of control.

And I do think it's an illusion of control. I think that if I overdid it, or stopped eating dairy or yummy carbs or other things my body likes, my body would take the reigns and fuck me up and send me to the couch and break out the s'mores. But I can imagine that if women had a more antagonistic relationship with their bodies - an antagonism I think our culture really encourages - they would underestimate what their body would be willing to do to get what it wants, which fundamentally is probably a comfortable stability, with any increases in exercising or decreases in food consumption having to be quite a gradual, gentle process if your body is going to tolerate, let alone enjoy it.

mercoledì, agosto 24, 2011

If you can't say anything nice, write a fucking blog

Readers, I like you. I like that you read this blog. It’s really touching. I've been raised to believe nobody is interested in all of my fucking whining - to just not say anything if I can't say anything nice, etc. - and as such am actually quite a quiet person in the flesh as most of the thoughts that are manifestable in vocabulary in my brain run along the "fuck you!" lines. I'm given to responding to questions like "so how do you like Australia?" with some brief, rather guarded positive, like "we enjoy our lifestyles there, and we have a lot of good friends in the expatriate community" instead of a more specific, more negative statement - "the weather's good and we have jobs that give us a lot of time to work out and have sex, but Australians make me and all our friends want to puke and I can't wait to leave."

So the fact you read this blog when it's almost 90% whining is really nice, and I like you for it. And as a token of my liking you, I’m about to improve your life. You can use a commercial pie crust for the following, or make your own, or get fancy – just make sure it’s something that will stand about 30 minutes of baking, and is about the size of a standard pie, if you catch my drift.

Take two cups of ricotta. Put them in a bowl and grate the zest of an orange or lemon or some other citrus fruit into it. Put in a couple of tablespoons of the sort of sugar you like: I use evaporated cane juice, being a hippie. You could use anything on down to icing sugar, which would probably be the most “authentic” as far as that goes. Put in little pieces of chocolate. You can please yourself here with how much you put in, but this doesn’t have to be a very sweet dessert, so no need to lose your shit; a little goes a long way.

Put in a couple of spoonfuls of a liqueur of your choice, probably a fruity one. Even limoncello will do. Mix it up, exhaustively. Beat a couple of eggs, and then mix them up exhaustively into your ricotta mixture. Dump the mixture into the pie shell, and bake it at 200° C for about 25 minutes, or until it looks, you know, hearty. Sort of a lovely pale gold. Let it cool down, and then comes the most important step – eat it.

The process is simple and the product is simply bewildering. The first forkful, and for all but the piles of garbage, the stray cats, the Mediterranean, the gypsies with their noses sliced off, the slightly sickening Baroque churches, and actually a lot of other things besides the ricotta desserts, I was back in Naples.

I’m particularly pleased with this recipe because in the Australian countryside so many Italian cheeses are impossible to come by in anything like a pleasing form.We have (and if you told me we’d even consider such a step a year ago, I’d have laughed in your face) given up on the shit pecorino romano and reggiano and parmigiano and whatnot that gets flogged there in favour of very old cheddar as a condiment for our pasta. What the fuck! Even in England, the Netherlands, Scandi-fucking-navia, I’ve never been driven to such a fucking extremity as that. But in Australia it seems like the only decent cheese they can produce domestically is cheddar, and European exporters only seem to deign to send their shittiest products to us on the end of the Earth.

Luckily, LUCKILY, though, the other exception is ricotta. Fresh, decent-enough ricotta, we can snag even in the sticks. Maybe I will be able to make it through – yurgh – six or seven years there.

martedì, agosto 23, 2011

The F-word responds to being missed

Image courtesy of my old man . . .

The bigness of the world, the Timness of Australia

The schizoid conscious being continues to be schizoid. I'm over my emotional indigestion and embracing life here again, but missing the F-word so bad my ovaries are threatening to punch their way out of my tummy and try to hitchhike back to him. This is what they're acting like right now, complete with backup singers and dancers:

Patience, ladies.

Also, last night someone asked how long I plan to stay in Australia, and when I responded as I always do "six or seven years, unless I get fired" - suddenly I heard myself for the first time. SIX OR SEVEN YEARS? What the FUCK makes me think I can do that? What the fuck makes me think I can stay on the opposite side of this twisting sphere of bizarre from everybody I love, except the F-word, especially when the F-word himself is gagging not to be in Australia anymore? Whaaaaaaaa?

The thing is, Australia - well - I've never seen that movie Tim, where Mel Gibson plays a hot gardener with a developmental disability, but I imagine living in Australia is something like fucking Tim. He's really beautiful and has a really exciting whang, but then you roll off of him or vice versa and try to start talking about books or something and just get an "derrrr, I'm Tim, climate change is all made up, and Muslims are the devil." And then he goes outside and starts trying to throw rocks at the ozone layer while listening to radio personalities talk about how refugees are ruining the country. And actually he doesn't have a developmental disability, he's just Australian.

By which I mean to say, Australia is really beautiful. But it's almost by virtue of its beauty that it annoys me more. It's a fragile and lovely landscape, most of it already teetering on the edge of moonscape, and the dumb bastards who live there are pissing it up a wall.

Well, my guess is if procreation comes soon we'll be too sleep-deprived and stressed out to even think about moving country for a long time, so that will probably help. But of course, our hitherto-imaginary offspring are one of the reasons I don't want to stay in Australia. A) I don't want Australian children, an Australian husband or old man or whatever the F-word is is quite enough for the family and B) I don't want my children to be so far away from the rest of my family. I had really underestimated how far away Australia would feel. Oh well. At least my golden handcuffs are keeping me chained to a place with such lovely birds and trees and beaches - while they last.

domenica, agosto 21, 2011

Modern Standard Fuck Me That's Tough

The thing I'm finding about Mandarin or Standard Chinese or whatever the fuck you want to call it (a good warning sign that a language is going to be a massive pain in the ass for an Anglo to learn is that Anglos haven't even settled on what to call the fucker yet) is that getting it into my head is reasonably okay - no less okay than, say, cramming Italian or French into my head was once upon a time. The problem is getting the cunt to stay there. In Vancouver I stopped studying for my nice downtime week of R&R and everything just fell out of my head. And my bastard of an exam is on Friday.

With Italian and French there were hooks keeping it there - still are - the hooks of phrases learnt from the paternal side as a child, the hooks of bilingual writing on a cereal box, and most importantly, I realize now, the hooks of English vocabulary being chock full of Romance vocabulary. English may not seem like a Romance language but when your brain is spasming around trying to process Mandarin and all the little connections in your head are firing as wildly as the popo after the levies break, desperately seeking any, even the most obscure or strangest connection that can be found, between the words you're learning and the words you already know, and it comes up with sweet fuck all - you realize, Anglos learning a fucking Romance language should not be any sort of fucking stretch.

Anyways, I'm pottymouthing, but I'm enjoying it. Also enjoyed going for a canoe this morning with my doublecousin, and also enjoyed seeing her happier than I've ever seen her before. And enjoying being here, enjoying being with Lexie, enjoying all the rest of it. Just not enjoying realizing I'm just two and a bit weeks in here and already getting overwhelmed with lusty nostalgia for the F-word. Emotionally this trip is whizzing by to the point where my heart wants to stop time, but from the point of view of my pantsjungle it's crawling to the point where my poon is ready to hijack a plane and fly into the arms of my old man. I wish my conscious being didn't have to be so fucking schizo about everything.