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Aug. 20th, 2013

The joy of fast food

I'm not a food worshipper, although I do bow to those who can cook like restaurant chefs.  And I enjoy eating well.  But I try to spend as little time cooking as I possibly can without compromising the eating well part.  That's where fast food comes in, and it's not what you think.  No hamburgers, hot dogs, or greasy french fries.  That's not food.

Enter vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, quinoa, and fruit.  The beauty here is that you can have a pretty standard selection of these at home and simply use them in different combinations whenever you feel like it.

Try, for example, some mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes and scallions - lightly fried and mixed with cooked quinoa.  Whip up an omelette to die for with mushrooms, eggs, spinach, onions and tomatoes.  Or fry yourself some kale - that goes nicely on top of a brie sandwich with avocado spread.  Bok choy and mushrooms, spiced up with ginger, will make for a good, light meal.  Various herbs, such as basil, coriander, and thyme, are mandatory in all cases.

A tofu and vegetable stir-fry is more time consuming, but totally worth the effort.  And a Japanese enough okonomiyaki can be made with just cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, onions, eggs and flour.  Or, if you want something a little fancier and a little less vegetarian, go for a fish fillet italiano.  That one's best with cod or haddock, and you'll need to add onions, tomatoes, olives, and a few drops of white wine.

For dessert, nothing beats the Simplest Ever Fruit Salad: bananas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, sprinkled with orange juice and cinnamon.

The best part?  Most of the above culinary opuses take 15-30 minutes to prepare.  That's what I call fast food!

This will likely be my only food-themed post.  I don't even have a tag for it.  I'll just tag it "life".  'Cause that's what it is.  And it's good.

Feb. 11th, 2013

Adams on the 11th

Today's Quote:

At that point Dirk found himself driving past the house where, that very morning, he had encountered a client of his who had had his severed head placed on a revolving record turntable by a green-eyed devil-figure waving a scythe and a blood-signed contract who had then vanished into thin air.

Is it just me, or is anyone else vaguely reminded of anything they read many years ago in their native tongue?  Not to mention a couple other "suspicious" episodes from the same book, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul, like (spoiler) a certain party of epic proportions being hosted inside a very real place, only in a different dimension; or (spoiler) an immortal man taking a mortal woman for a quick flight to the said party.  I highly doubt Adams was familiar with the novel in question, so perhaps it's just a case of great minds thinking alike. ;)

Dec. 25th, 2012

2012 in pictures

Although there may be few posts in my journal for 2012, it has been an interesting year - full of good memories, and good photos (I'd like to think!).  I got myself a new camera.  Not a DSLR, but a higher-end point-and-shoot, nevertheless.  All of my bird photos were taken with it.

This time, I've decided to post a total of 12 photos that I took with this camera and that have not yet been posted to my journal - 4 "Nature" shots, 4 "Objects" shots, and 4 "People" shots.  Hope you like them.

All the best this holiday season, and in the New Year!

** Nature **Collapse )

*** Objects ***Collapse )

*** People ***Collapse )

Dec. 5th, 2012

Air Canada Centre, December 4, 2012

(Images are clickable)

Sep. 16th, 2012

Feelguilty Fish

Here's a slight variation on the traditional Jewish dish - Feelguilty Fish.  The dish name formed in my mind this morning for no discernible reason.  And I hadn't even had breakfast yet. :)

Aug. 23rd, 2012


So, apparently, I haven't posted to my journal in eons.  And I suspect that those good old days of pensive existentialist essays are over (although I can't rule out a comeback).  Alright then, here's something light, and cheerful, and short, and full of pictures.  Yeah.  Birds.

Dec. 25th, 2011

Photo Calendar!

This year, unlike last, I was able to find a decent, hitherto unpublished picture for every month of 2011.  Each of the pictures in the calendar was taken during the month it represents.  No cheating. :)

*** The pictures ***Collapse )

Oct. 30th, 2011

Golden-crowned Kinglet

There wasn't enough light in the Beltline park, and this little birdie was way too fast, so it came out dark and blurry.  The shape of it was so cute, though, that I decided to salvage the picture by applying a watercolour filter and playing with the colours, contrast and sharpness.  I wanted to make it look like something out of those illustrated nature books I had as a child.

Also, for the bird lovers among you, here's a link to a wonderful website: http://www.whatbird.com.  I've been able to identify many a bird (including this one) using their search wizard.  Enjoy!

Oct. 27th, 2011

Lothlórien, Ontario

I felt like a little hobbit among the tall, slender trees of the mostly deciduous Awenda Provincial Park, and was half expecting some Elves to turn up and break into a song.  The trees were clad in subdued gold, with splashes of orange and red, accentuated by the afternoon sun.

Oct. 15th, 2011

"Something meaningful, progressive and just... full of love"

I tuned into CP24 a few times to see what today's Occupy Toronto was all about.  I'm not a reporter who has to keep a straight face while covering this protest, so I can openly say that those interviewed by the press sounded pretty pathetic.  A preschooler would have done a better job at articulating ideas and goals.  Nothing terribly intelligent or, indeed, intelligible was spoken into the cameras or displayed on placards, just some big vague words.  If you want to change the world order, you gotta have a better plan than sit in tents and yell out generic slogans.  Same goes for websites put together by the activists:  They're against capitalism.  They talk about the problems, albeit in vague terms, and call for a revolution.  Are they proposing an alternative system that will actually work?  Are they suggesting any real solutions?  No.  But they've got a donations page set up - to keep the revolution going.

While I do agree that there's a lot that's wrong with the world order, I do not for a second believe that it can be replaced with anything much different and wonderful without first eradicating such inherent human qualities as self-interest and greed.  Everyone has these qualities, to various extents, it's just that some people are a great deal more successful at putting them to work.  Of those who are less successful, some choose to spend their time and energy at protests.  Well, at least in Toronto it's all peaceful, and people seem to enjoy the sense of community and the opportunity to vent.  Even if some of the venting has nothing to do with capitalism, or any of the issues the protest is supposedly about.  One protester, sporting a dreamy smile, said that she was happy to be part of "something meaningful, progressive and just... full of love".  Okay then.

Oct. 11th, 2011

Adams on the 11th

This picture, which I took last year at the CNE, reminds me of an even lesser known book written by Adams (with John Lloyd).  The book is called The Meaning of Liff:

In Life*, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.  On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.  Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.

*And, indeed, in Liff.

Today's Quotes:

The sneeze which tickles but never comes. (Thought to derive from the Metropolitan Line tube station of the same name where the rails always rattle but the train never arrives.)

The single unappetising bun left in a baker's shop after four p.m.

DIDLING (participial vb.)
The process of trying to work out who did it when reading a whodunit, and trying to keep your options open so that when you find out you can allow yourself to think that you knew perfectly well who it was all along.

A few more - from GLASGOW to YESNABYCollapse )

Where in the world...?

Just don't ask Google.  Here's a couple more shots from the same place:

Number 60Collapse )

Napping time...Collapse )

Sep. 22nd, 2011

That petition business...

Every now and then I receive emails from people urging me to sign an online petition.  And every time I feel the urge to write back and explain to them my point of view.

The thing is, online petitions appear to be nothing more than a subtle form of data mining.  A legitimate way of obtaining thousands of names and email addresses on an entirely voluntary basis.  What happens to these petitions after they’ve been signed and closed and forgotten about?  Bob knows.

I signed an online petition once.  It was also signed by a few thousand other people, many of them well-known in the academic community.  After clicking the “Submit” button, I was redirected to a thank-you page on the organization’s website urging me to consider a monetary donation, because, you know, printing all those signatures was going to cost a small fortune.  That made me cringe just a tad, but – whatever.

A few months later I started getting unsolicited emails from the same organization, so I promptly followed their instructions to unsubscribe.

A few months later I received an email from them that started with these exact words: "Even though you have chosen to no longer receive the […] Faculty Forum, we feel it is necessary to contact..." and, you guessed it, asked for money.

I thought this was hilarious.  And I wrote back to let them know.  I also mentioned the thank-you page, commended them on their clever tactics, and wished them best of luck with the business.

To their credit, I never heard from them again.

Sep. 11th, 2011

Adams on the 11th

Parrots, the Universe and Everything

While searching for something unrelated, I came across this talk that Douglas Adams had given at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  In it, he essentially re-tells bits from his lesser known, but nonetheless fantastic book called Last Chance to See...  The book, according to Adams, happens to be his personal favourite, despite being lesser known, and the bits he re-tells just happen to be my own favourite bits.  Adams reads straight from the book a couple times, throws in witty commentary and shares some interesting thoughts, including those on the past, present and future of our planet.  There's a Q&A with the audience at the end, with one of the questions asked being "Do you know where your towel is?".

Today's Quote is from the talk at UCSB:

We don't have to save the world.  The world is big enough to look after itself.  What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.

Sep. 7th, 2011

How do I get to the Toronto Zoo?..

...I asked Google.  Google found a match - phone, website and all.  I clicked on "Directions", and what I saw was a little... odd:

I thought maybe I was hallucinating at the end of a busy workday, so I checked and re-checked, but Google was firm in its route recommendation.  So... I just thought I'd post a screenshot, in case someone eventually "Reports a problem".  But you're welcome to be amused by whatever it is that you may find amusing.

May. 9th, 2011

* * *

Not long ago, I found out that following the publication of Anne Frank's diary, her father Otto Frank was confronted by Holocaust deniers, former Nazis and their sympathizers, who claimed that the diary was a forgery, that it had been written by someone else, and that Anne Frank had never existed.  He took legal action against his accusers, and went as far as to seek out the Austrian officer who had arrested Anne, to get him to testify.  Despite the officer's corroborating testimony, as well as other official proof of the diary's authenticity, Otto Frank continued to be challenged and was even accused of fraud.  The allegations occurred throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, and made their way into the early nineties.

It was satisfying to learn that all of the accusers had lost their cases and some had been prosecuted, but I can't help thinking that, instead of the countless adaptations of Anne Frank's story - those over-dramatic tearjerkers starring saccharine anne-personators, - we should be seeing a film, a play, or some other work of human thought, that tells the story of a man who, having lived through hell, had to spend the rest of his life fighting this kind of residual evil.  Evil that still lurks in the present-day world.  In my humble opinion, it would be the best and most truthful memorial to Anne and others who perished during that horrible war.

May. 8th, 2011

April showers bring...

...sakura flowers!  Yes, the blossoms have finally arrived in High Park.  Yesterday I went to check them out and came back with transient global amnesia and mild oxygen poisoning.

*** 1 unit of flora + 1 unit of fauna ***Collapse )

Apr. 6th, 2011

Hello, hello!

Hello, Spring!

...Hello, Nose!.. :)Collapse )

Mar. 5th, 2011

Ballet gone to dogs...

В одно субботнее утро в моём ещё не проснувшемся сознании, совершенно непонятно, из каких глубин подсознания и по какому случаю, возникла картина: Собачка в балетном костюме танцует на задних лапах.  И подпись: СОБАКА ПАВЛОВА.  Подружка сказала: "Нарисуй!"  Рисую:

(Никак не в обиду легендарной танцовщице...)


Jan. 23rd, 2011

"Brainwashing" takes on a new meaning

When your overworked and disquieted mind keeps racing long after you left your office cubicle, nothing flushes it clean better, as it turns out, than a stroll along the lakeshore and through the Music Garden while it’s heavily and quietly snowing.  The Garden is a place where time seems to have stopped.  A place that's fairly small, yet somehow still manages to let you get lost in it.

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