Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Olympics, a few words...

In the spirit of athleticism, I spent most of the last four days on the couch watching the Olympics.  Too bad I had to go back to work.  Well, there was a break long enough for a trip to the theatre to see Up in the Air.

Thank God we got a gold medal.  I was sick of hearing that we had never won on home soil.  It was as if that was all the reporters could find to talk about.  The media kind of sucks, when you think about it.  The media pumps up medal hopes to a point of hysteria.  How is that fair to the athletes?  You would have thought that gold in the men's downhill and men's 500m speed skating were guaranteed.  Give it a rest.

And, a word to Brian Williams about math.  He suggested that Canada has gone 33 years (or so) without winning a gold.  That is stupid.  The Olympics have not been running continuously in Canada since 1976.

What else?  Dale Begg-Smith is a loser, a loser who made a fortune creating malware that might have infected your computer.  I have never seen someone so upset with a silver medal.  What a suck.  Stay in Australia.

More later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympics: Opening Ceremonies

Boring, boring, boring.
Olympics: Opening Ceremonies

I wonder if Ashley MacIsaac is wearing underwear.
Olympics: Opening Ceremonies

The song sung by Nellie & Bryan is lame!  It sucks.
Olympics: Opening Ceremony: Anthem

Who the hell came up with this arrangement for the National Anthem?  I think it sucks.
Trip Recap, Part 5

Skipping ahead to Zurich, here's something you would never see in Toronto: a bar under a freeway.  It worked.  It's really difficult to explain why this worked and I am not sure how such a thing would be received in Toronto. I tried to imagine such a place under the  Gardiner, and I couldn't.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Look at my CD Collection, part 7: Aidan Baker, including ARC

Several years ago, I picked up a copy of ARC's Feral and was really impressed.  Later, I made sure that I checked them out when they played at C'est What? (on August 19th, 2003).  My CD collection contains:

ARC/Aidan Baker  -  Repercussion (Piehead Records 2002 Series – Volume 1) 
ARC  -  Feral
Aidan Baker  -  Concretion
Aidan Baker  -  Cicatrice
Aidan Baker  -  Within the Final Circle
Aidan Baker  -  Ichneumon
Aidan Baker  -  Tense Surfaces
Aidan Baker  -  Dance of Lonely Molecules

A couple of these were free downloads.  It's Thursday, but it really feels like Friday because I am taking tomorrow off and Monday is Family Day, so I am looking ahead to a four day weekend.  What I am trying to say is that I have not the energy to try to describe the music.  Also, I just got back from an hour of lunchtime yoga, and I feel all bendy and relaxed.  My fingers are not responding well to the task of typing.  But, here is a good review of Feral.

Baker likes to use looping techniques on various instruments, notably the guitar, but also the flute, for example.  If you like this kind of treatment, you might like it, but this is not the kind of music you would sing along to or dance around the bedroom to while putting away laundry.  It's more complex than that.

Oddly, everyone I spoke to at the Ambient Ping that evening assumed that I was a musician.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps ARC is musicians' music or perhaps it's that musicians seem to have more of an open mind when it comes to music than your average iTunes shopper.  It really kills me, as I have often said, that people only want to buy a song or two from a CD.  I have always been an album man.  If there are only one or two good songs on an album, I wouldn't buy it.  I still listen to albums, rather than songs, but I do occasionally put the iPod on shuffle to see what kind of magic might happen.

Why, just yesterday as I was walking with the iPod, I heard European Son by the Velvet Underground followed by Bowie's Queen Bitch and then Bauhaus covering Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.  That was quite the playlist.  Sometimes, the shuffle seems to be possessed and every other song is from the same artist, which is odd.

Baker is a poet too, and has published a few volumes.  I am not familiar with his writing.  He has an extensive discography.  Check out his Wikipedia entry for those details.

Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

Monday, February 08, 2010

ZF's Perfect Frittata Recipe

The perfect frittata starts with a chicken.  Oh, and if you don't have any idea what a frittata is, let me enlighten you. It's evidently of Italian origin and normally made with eggs and chopped vegetables or meat.  It's probably best just to look up a few recipes, and then try this one as it is the best one.

So, as I was saying, the perfect frittata recipe commences with a chicken.  So, first you buy a nice chicken and take it home.  You will want a dead chicken, unless you are fond of killing things. Slather some olive oil and sea salt on the chicken and set the bird aside.  (If you have a preferred chicken recipe, please follow it. Alert: don't put potatoes in with your chicken because they don't belong there.  If you really want potatoes, roast them in a separate pan. And, for the love of God, don't put plain white potatoes in the frittata!).

Step two: cut up lots vegetables.  And, by this I mean parsnips (remember to cut out the woody cores), carrots, sweet potatoes (yams), one or two onions, and squash.  Alert: please use butternut squash.  Most other types of squash are inferior.

Put the vegetables in a large roasting pan.  Remember I said to cut up lots of vegetables?  We need extra for part two of the recipe, so cut up lots and use a large roasting pan.  I use a pan large enough for a turkey or a medium penguin.  Throw in the vegetables along with sea salt and olive oil.

I like to give the vegetables a head start, so pop them into the oven for ten minutes or so at 375 and then throw the bird on top and cook until done.  When I was a younger man, I hated recipes that said "cook until done."  How the hell are you supposed to know what that means  if you have never cooked before?  I am so over that now, so I can say things like "cook until done" and laugh at those who have no idea what it means.

Now, eat your chicken and vegetables, but remember that we have to save some for the frittata that you will make the next day.

After dinner, go to bed.  Well, I suppose that you will have to clean up the kitchen first, and put the leftovers in the fridge.  Get out of bed the next day.  Now, you can either have the frittata for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Yes, it is that versatile.  If you are having it for breakfast or brunch, start making it when you get out of bed.  Otherwise, cook up some bacon and eggs for breakfast and do this later.

OK, so here is the recipe.

Chop up some bacon.  Use half a package or a third of a package.  This all depends on how many leftover vegetables you have and how big of a frittata you plan to make.  Throw the pieces of bacon into a cast iron pan and cook until crisp. Once crisp, remove from pan and place the bacon on a paper towel.

Retain some or all of the bacon grease in the pan and add a sliced onion and garlic.  When these have partially cooked, add a zucchini (cut in rounds) and a red or orange or yellow pepper (cut in slices).  Alert: please do not use green peppers.  This is an inferior pepper.  And, remember a green bell pepper is simply an immature red pepper.  It's like eating a green banana. You want a ripe red bell pepper or its luscious cousins, the yellow or the orange.  Oh, and you could add broccoli, but I only do that if I have no zucchini. It's OK, but I think it's not as good as using a zucchini.  You could also use asparagus.

Once the vegetables are nicely on their way, add the leftover vegetables from the chicken.  Stir it up and  let it all warm through.  Beat some eggs in a bowl.  The size of your pan and the amount of vegetables will determine the number of eggs.  It could be 5, 6, or 7 or more.  Don't include the shells.  Add a bit of milk (soy milk, please) and some pepper.  You won't need any salt.

Pour this over the contents of the pan.  You may find that you will need an extra egg.  If so, beat one up and pour it in.  It's probably best to cover the pan with a lid to help it cook through the middle.  When it looks cooked on top, just stick a knife in to make sure you don't have any gooey egginess inside.

Now, you will stick the pan under the broiler in your oven.  I put in in for a short time, and then sprinkle the bacon over the top.  Some of you people who are addicted to cheese may want to add  the congealed breast milk of a hairy 2000 pound animal, or even parmesan.  Feel free to ruin it, but I would prefer if you didn't.   Don't burn it.

Cut it and serve it, perhaps with a salad on the side, if this is a lunch menu item.

And, there you have an easy recipe.

By the way, you can use the leftover chicken in any number of ways.  I like to make chicken salad.  Mmmmn, mayo...