Sunday, 30 September 2012

In which the Meaning of Life is Ruminated Upon

I was chatting to M yesterday when we started talking about the hokey cokey.

M: thats what its all aboutt HEEEEEY

Me: what if the hokey cokey really IS what it's all about?

M: we've been wasting our time haven't we - lets get cokeying

Me: rah rah rah. There are worse things to be the meaning of life

M: like 42?

Me: that's not too bad either... though a little less fun, I feel

M: yes a bit less engaging

Me: ...but more cryptic, which probably gives us more to do philosophically

M: but where to start

Me: divisions of 42?

M: the 42nd entry in the dictionary.  What is the 42nd entry in the dictionary?

Me: depends on the dictionary, maybe

M: give me an answer !! I need to know !!!

Me: the arbitrary nature of meaning - I can't take it anymore!

M: oh flip what to do! I think I'll go to bed and be done with it

Me: we can hokey cokey tomorrow and our life will have meaning again

M: thank heavens... and 42

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In Which I Discover that my Car has More Discerning Music Taste than Me (Which is Not That Hard)

So it turns out that my car, Tabitha, has really particular taste in music. At first I thought it was just certain discs, but actually, sometimes she plays some things and sometimes not.  And sometimes nothing at all. Sometimes Billie Holiday is just the thing.  But other days, it's Hey Ocean or nothing.  She quite likes First Aid Kit, but very rarely Pet Shop Boys.  And she'll play Foo Fighters for Middle B, but not for me. It's all quite whimsical (though probably not that surprising that she is quirky since she is mine). Middle B took drove her home to visit her parents and when she came back she exclaimed, 'she's quite an indie kid, isn't she?'.

One day I was giving my flatmate a lift across town and a 1960's mod mix was playing quite happily, we were cruising along just fine and all of a sudden, mid song, the CD ejects. Both of us looked at the radio and then at each other and shrugged. She pushed the CD back in the slot but the car just wasn't having any of it.  More recently the car has taken to thinking about it for a bit before she plays, so the result is that I'll be going along for a few minutes convinced there will be no music when suddenly it starts up, usually mid song, and scares the living daylights out of me! And let's face it, you don't want to be jumping a foot in the air while driving.

So today, I was driving back from the class I teach on a Tuesday night, it was dark, a bit chilly, the weather is turning now for sure.  I tried a few discs before I set off, but the car wasn't playing nice so I just had them on the seat next to me and tried each of them a few times when I was at the traffic lights and such like.  I honestly went through all of them at least twice and in the end I didn't even know what I was putting in there, I was just trying random CDs to see if she would play anything, anything at all.  Anyway, after what seemed like an aeon, but was probably only about 10 minutes, the car could see that I was just going to keep trying discs, so finally suddenly she obliged with a bit of Van Morrison. A few minutes from home there was some splendid lightning, and by the time I was on the home stretch it had started raining.  A few minutes from home the rain suddenly started tipping it down, which was about the time 'And It Stoned Me' came on.... oh the water, oh the water indeed.

I have gotten a CD head cleaner type thing to see if it all just needs a good clean.  There's part of me that quite likes the idea of some serendipity, so it will be a shame to fix it.  But on the other hand, those drives home are going to get darker and colder, and since I'm alone with no company, I'd quite like something to sing to at least.  Here's hoping at least some of her whimsical ways continue.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Short Cuts and Side Roads

Sometimes, I don't like the hustle bustle of the main road into town; I'd rather take the back alleys and dirt paths....

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In Which we Encounter an Unexpected Visitor

Whatever I was expecting to happen today, I did not expect this.
My flatmate had just left the house when she came back into the office: 'Change of plan, you're not doing designwork, you're babysitting.' Someone left a yowling cat in a basket out the front with some cat food and a note. It turns out she is called Tinkerbell, she's a pretty small, healthy tabby. It looks like her owners took good care of her but the note said that her circumstances have changed and she needs a new home. She was pretty scared to begin with, but I kept her on my lap for a bit and let her roam around the kitchen and get used to the smells and she's now jumping all over the place and licking my fingers and rubbing her nose against mine.


Tinkerbell 'helps' me on the computer

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Words on the Street

This weekend was the opening of the Beaney (which used to be known as the library before it was renovated). There were lots of happenings around the place in celebration.  The Beaney itself had a grand opening which involved lots of people creating art and participating in activities. I was happy to see that it still has a lot of the old collections what were housed in the library, but still has lots of new and exciting exhibits, including a Cabinet of Curiosities. I was also happy to see that they kept lots of the original features of the building, like the magnificent doors and the tiled floor in the entrance, and yet also managed to make it feel modern and airy. I really like the renovations so far. I celebrated all this by getting out two library books. Hooray.

Cabinet of Curiosities at the Beaney

As part of the weekend, the Wise Words Festival was happening all round town: there were people in random historical costumes gracing the streets, a teepee in the Dane John with poetry and story telling, poetry slams in the middle of the high street, living libraries and lots more excitingness. It was such a lovely atmosphere in town. To round it all off, M and I went to the outdoor cinema set up in the Greyfriars garden powered by bikes. Yes, bikes! They had to have three people cycling throughout the film or the power would fail.  People were very graceful and took turns cycling so the power stayed on for the film, and long enough to power to mic for the Q & A with the director.

bike power!

Outdoor cinema in the Greyfriars

Lucky for us the organisers provided blankets, and luckily for me, M provided a big, warm jumper, because it was like a sauna when I left the house and I couldn't imagine getting cold, and so obvioulsy had not dressed for the occasion. Unfortunately the weather was not with me on this one cause not only did it get cold it also got a bit windy and they had to rescue the screen from falling over. Once that technical hitch was resolved, it was a fun little screening. Afterwards, we went into Ask for a coffee to warm up and then for a stroll into the star-strewn night. M very gallantly let me keep his jumper to walk home in, so I stayed snug all the way home.

It seems to have been a summer for street happenings, I hope this beautiful community spirity carries on through the rest of the year.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Comfort Food

I've had a ridiculously lazy day today that involved yoga this morning and then spending hours reading. Literally. So I decided to redeem it somewhat by cooking something new, because at least then I've accomplished something today, at least that's what I'm telling myself. Recently one of the girls at the wholefood shop gave me her recipe for Lentil and Peanut Butter Stew. I had some fresh coriander lying about the place so I gave it a go. Totally yummy, even if I do say so myself.

Cindy's Lentil and Peanut Butter Stew

Some garlic, onions, chillis
A handful of coriander
Peanut butter, water

Chop some garlic, onions and chillis and fry them for a bit til the onions are translucent.
In the meantime, cook the lentils according to the instructions on the packet (I'd recommend brown lentils as they are easiest to cook, but any will do) and add a handful of coriander halfway through.
Add peanut butter to the lentils in the last few minutes of cookingKeep an eye on the water levels, the peanut butter will make the stew thicken up while it's cooking, so add a bit of water if it looks like it's going to burn. Stir in the onions, etc., and leave to cook for a few minutes.

I dished this up with some couscous, but I think it would be good with any grain.  I added more chilli as a garnish - it cuts through the gloopy-ness of the peanut butter quite nicely. Also, this is pretty filling, so you don't need too much in the way of accompaniment, but I reckon a bit of fresh salad would be lovely. I think next time, I might experiment a bit with some spices at the beginning and maybe add some ginger. Yum!