Jan. 23rd, 2010

yaramaz: (Default)
I've been on and off work for the past two weeks- at ECNU last week for the two days of Pro D; at Tongji for one madcap day of invigilation and marking/submitting everything this week. On my off days, I've been wrestling with that VPN that D's colleague couldn't get going (FAIL), making really really cozy celery rice soup, toasting up flaky oily chewy Xinjiang flatbreads and rolling them into crepy rolls stuffed with peanut putter and jam, brewing tons of espresso in my poor old stovetop whoosher using a gas stove fit for holding woks and other large vessels that like big flames (plastic handle: kinda melty at the bottom) and mixing the double shot produced with nuked melamine milk infused with a stick of cinnamon and a stick of vanilla. I've been reading a lot, both book and interweb. For two days, I have been as immobile as possible, wrapped in shawls on the sofa, trying to feel rested and calm again. My sleeping has been just awful and insufficient. Late to bed and early to rise makes for an unfocused day.

I've been slowly working on my non existent new years resolutions (the non existent ones are the easiest to keep because they don't really exist).  I think they really just boil down to trying to make my life a happier and better place, by any means possible. I've been working on my new clearinghouse website (the sticky), adding to the list of things that I like about where I'm at.  It gives me focus and an excuse to take photos with my phone in the supermarket and in noodle shops and all.  I'm trying very hard to feel positive and not so frustrated. I spent much of last year kicking at my cage. I don't fancy bruising my toes again for another year so I'm trying to rewire my brain.

Last night we went to our happy Hunan place up Maoming Lu, where they have the lovely Belgian beer to go with the chilis and cumin. We ordered our usual: green beans with eggplant strips and chilis, bangbang chicken (cold, shredded, drenched in a chili flake/soy marinade), chili-cumin coated thin thin sauteed beef slices, cabbagey dumplings with a chili garlic sauce, and the best ever garlic broccoli. Something went very wrong in the point-to-the-picture ordering though, and instead of bringing the broccoli, we were presented with a steaming hot clay pot of grey jellified preserved eggs and heaps of mushrooms and assorted fungus. I think there may have been some broccoli at the bottom of this, but it should be noted that 1. eggs make D. puke on the best of days and 2. mushrooms and fungus make me puke on the best of days. A more inappropriate mix up couldn't have been possible. It was almost hilarious how utterly wrong it was.  The waitresses were adamant that we had ordered it and there was a stream of other waitresses coming to our table to point to the menu item that we most certainly did not point to in our ordering (the menu picture shows the grey, jellied eggs and piles of wet fungus very clearly in technicolor). After several rounds of arguing in mutually unintelligible languages, it was established that we had indeed ordered the garlic broccoli (which was on the following page) and that someone, somewhere had accidentally passed on the message that we wanted the Grey, Jellied Egg with Lots of Fungus and Broccoli.  The nice thing about it all? They did take it off the bill. Often here, if something goes wrong or if the wrong thing is served or if what's served is really nasty, it's too bad. We once received a pizza delivery that was not only extremely late and cold but also charred black on the bottom.  No apology, no refund, no offer to send a new one.  You just learn to suck it up. 

Anyway, the mushroom-scary-egg thing was kind of funny in its utter wrongness.
yaramaz: (Default)
I've spent a lot of the afternoon here. I really oughtn't as it's driving me crazy. Ever since I've been living Away (if not before) I have been searching for my own little home and have failed miserably in this quest. I tend to move every year, from flat to flat to flat, never particularly satisfied with what I've found, always searching for that elusive perfect fit. This website is fucking killing me.

That, and we watched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations in Istanbul today.  It made me very very sad and very very hungry.

ETA: I really really really want to live in a 1949 train caboose in the forest! I do!


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