onefixedstar: (mystery)
It's been a bit of an eventful past week in my household, in ways both good and bad. The bad came primarily in the form of more than a week without hot water. We've been running on unmetered hot water for quite some time--one of the side effects of any old house and old electrical system--and Hydro finally demanded that we switch over. So we did. Or rather, we tried. Shortly after the electrician departed, we discovered that we had no longer had hot water of any sort. We called. He came back a couple of days later, tried something, and told us that if it still wasn't working, he'd come back again. It didn't work. We called him. He promised to come over the next day. He didn't show up. We called again. He promised to come over the following day. He didn't show up. In the end, it took him five days to finally show up, and when he did, he concluded that it wasn't his work at all--our hot water tank had broken! So we called the hot water tank repair people, who managed to send someone over the very day we called! (Hurray for prompt service!) Only...it wasn't a problem with our hot water tank after all. No, the electrician had installed the wrong breakers.

The electrician came back the next day. We had hot water that evening.

If the guy hadn't done good work for us in the past, I'd definitely never use him again. As it is...I'm not sure yet. It's not so much the mistake that gets me as the lack of urgency in fixing it. It's not as if we had one light out--no hot water for a week+ is kind of a big deal. And yes, there was a time when there was no such things as running water. But that period (i.e., most of human history) also didn't demand daily showers.

On the brighter side... )
onefixedstar: (academic)
Winter is slowly returning here, after the unseasonably warm weather we returned to last week. We got a little snow on Sunday, and a little more yesterday--enough to lightly coat the ground, but not enough to create huge piles of snow and slush to wade through. The perfect amount, in other words. January and February are always the time when I really feel the length of winter; there's nothing to do but hunker down against the cold and endure. But it's not too bad right now.

I decided to take on a second TA job this term. I got through last term on just one, but only because I had savings from the previous year, and those are pretty well depleted. The new job is for a Soc of Work course, which is an area I've never studied. I'll have to do a bit of catching up, but hopefully it will be interesting. I've been asked to attend class since I don't know the field, but that will have to wait another week as this week and next, I'm guest lecturing a course on the mass media at the Scarborough campus. That particular course has proven to be a bit of a bad luck course--the original instructor went on sick leave at the beginning of the term, and the replacement instructor had to head home to Europe because of a death in the family. Happily, my only bad luck has been not being able to show my slides during the first lecture because I couldn't get the key to open the computer cabinet. (Happily, I don't believe in bad luck, and I do believe in coincidence.)

I may also have some RA work coming my way this term; it doesn't pay as well as TA work, but the experience can be useful. I may get a chance to edit a book coming from conference proceedings, but that isn't certain yet. I may also get to help with another book, though nothing that would get my name on it. It will be a bit more of a challenge to carve out space to work on my dissertation and my own publications, but maybe being busy will force me to be more efficient, something I usually only accomplish in short spurts, right before deadlines.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
My (roommate's) cat has developed a strange fondness for a small plastic suction cup that she found somewhere. She has also apparently decided that the best place to keep this suction cup safe is in with her food. In the beginning, we tried taking it out of the bowl, mistakenly assuming that it was there by accident. However, we quickly realized that every time we took it out, it would mysteriously end up back in the bowl. So now we pour the food on top of it and the cat eats around it, and she's apparently quite happy with that.

Yeah, my life? Not so exciting right now. A little stressful, but not exciting. Although there's going to be a party this weekend for which I get to cook--I'm looking forward to that.
onefixedstar: (Default)
I made chocolate profiteroles last weekend, subbing in pastry cream for the whipped cream called for in the recipe. Actually, to be fair, B made chocolate profiteroles last weekend, while I read out the directions. About the only work I did was separating the egg yolks for the pastry cream and holding the pastry shells while B filled them using the old ziploc bag trick [livejournal.com profile] semiotic_trader reminded me of. We were a little doubtful about the pastry cream, which on its own had a rather unappetizing texture, but it turned out to be quite good when served with pastry as intended. And now that I've witnessed the making of pâte à choux, perhaps some day I'll try doing it myself. Perhaps when I have guests who can help eat the result.

It was actually quite a social weekend for us, though since we did all of our socializing elsewhere, that was no help in consuming the profiteroles. On Friday night we had a movie night with a friend and his 40-something inch television (or was it 50-something inch?) so that we could all admire the clarity of Blu-ray. On Saturday we saw The Bourne Ultimatum with [livejournal.com profile] semiotic_trader and [livejournal.com profile] a_just_society and then went down to the Distillery District for (a rather mediocre for the money) supper. [livejournal.com profile] semiotic_trader and [livejournal.com profile] a_just_society are on vacation right now, which sounds like a lovely idea. It's something I'd like to try again, sometime in the future.

On a completely unrelated note, our regular mail carrier seems to have vanished, leaving behind a rather careless replacement. The replacement carrier apparently hasn't noticed yet that there are mailboxes for the individual apartments inside the side door of the house, so she or he has been leaving piles of mail outside. On Monday, the carrier left the mail outside of the side door. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I found the mail outside of the front door, which serves as a private entrance to one of the apartments. The building has an odd set-up, I admit, and perhaps it's not surprising that the carrier hasn't taken the time to look around, but I'm not enjoying the new daily hunt for the mail. What really worries me is that I didn't discover the new delivery system until Monday, but as we didn't get any mail last Thursday or Friday, there's a possibility that some letters and packages have simply been lost.

Mmm...pie

Aug. 9th, 2007 01:18 pm
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I've been on a pie kick lately.

It started with Taste T.O.'s review of Madeleines, Cherry Pie, and Ice Cream. I'm sadly afflicted with a prominent sweet-tooth, and the thought of a hitherto undiscovered dessert shop in my neighbourhood was very exciting, so B and I paid them a visit one Sunday evening. Unfortunately, it turned out that their website is out-of-date and so we arrived well within the website hours but an hour after they had actually closed for the day. Disappointing, to say the least, but our disappointment was mostly rectified by a quick trip to the supermarket for an apple pie and some whipping cream.

The apple pie was good. Perhaps not as good as a pie from Madeleines would have been, but you have to take pie where you can get it, and Sobeys is open 24 hours.

The next weekend, B pointed out that we were being overrun with strawberries, and suggested that a pie might be an excellent way to cope with that situation. So I went on the hunt and came up with what looked like a fairly decent strawberry pie recipe. As hot as it was, I didn't want to try making the pastry myself, so we bought a frozen pie shell and mixed up the very easy filling. That pie also turned out very well, though I do recommend cutting back on the sugar as many of the commenters suggest.

Today, on my breaks between working on my proposal, I've been reading about how to make different kinds of pastry. It's possible that acknowledging the fat content may be enough to prevent me from ever eating pie again. If not, then I fear that a successful attempt at making pie crust may lead into other pastry-making ventures. (Danishes! Cream puffs!) It could be bad. But very tasty.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
The Art Gallery of Ontario currently has an Emily Carr exhibit on display. I've been meaning to go for a while, having heard from my roommate that it's fabulous, but kept putting it off for later. Yesterday, however, I realized that it closes on Sunday, and so tonight B and I finally made the time to go. My roommate was right--it is indeed fabulous, with enough paintings to give a real sense of the changes her in style over time (including the influence of the Group of Seven). I was particularly interested in a couple of rugs that she did, which were apparently originally displayed under a different name. The exhibit didn't say why, but I suspect it was because she didn't want to detract from her artistic reputation by becoming known for art in the form of women's crafts. I suppose it takes someone like Joyce Wieland--and a few decades of time--to begin to garner some respect for that kind of work.

I think the rest of the evening will be spent on pop culture, specifically watching season 5 of Gilmore Girls.
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
Last week, while I was away, I got a letter from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care telling me that it's time for me to get a photo health card. (These were introduced a few years ago, replacing the old red-and-white non-photo cards, in an effort to combat fraud.) I rather like my red-and-white card, which up until now has never needed to be replaced because it has no photo, but I want continued access to health care, and so I decide to call and set up an appointment to get a new card.

According to the letter I received, the best times to call are between 10:00 and 4:00, Tuesday to Friday. So this morning at 10:30, I dutifully called the toll-free number. And got a busy signal. Called again at 10:45, 11:00, 11:15, 11:30, 11:45, 12:00, and 12:15. All busy signals. Went out to return some library books and run errands. Got home at 2:15 and called again. It rang! But oh wait, there was no one on the other end. Just some clicks, and then a dial tone. Rapidly hit redial--busy! I'm beginning to think they only have one person answering all of the calls.

This is pretty bad customer service. (Yes, yes, it's the government. I've worked for the government. It doesn't have to be this inefficient.) They're telling me to do something I don't really want to do anyway, and then they're making it as hard as possible for me to do. (And you ought to see the list of documentation I have to bring in to get a new health card!) Bah.
onefixedstar: (cherry blossoms)
I'm back safe and sound from San Francisco, having seen almost nothing of the city itself. We got in one good day of touristing before getting sick, and ended up spending the rest of the trip (once we were able to leave the hotel bathroom) in the suburb's visiting B's brother. Not a bad way to spend the time, I suppose, but I'm sorry I didn't get to see more of the city itself. I did get to watch a tremendous amount of Ultimate Fighting Championship, so I suppose I can add that to my cultural repetoire now. I'm actually rather curious who comprises the main audience for UFC--in what context is knowledge of UFC valuable cultural capital? Mind you, I'm not curious enough to do any actual research on it, but maybe one of my culture students will write a paper about it. (Last year, two people wrote about wrestling, so it's certainly possible.)

In other news, I passed my theory comp. Yay me! Frankly, I'm a bit surprised, as I thought my answer to the last question (of three) was terrible. But I'll take it. Even if it wasn't unanimous, I'll take it.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I'm on Day 4 in San Francisco. B and I spent the first day hanging out with B's brother at his place, and the second day wandering around the city, hitting such tourist highlights as the sea lions, and a good chunk of Market St. We ended the day at Zuni Cafe, on the recommendation of my brother, and shortly after that, I was hit with food poisoning. (B blames Zuni, but I think I got sick too fast for that, and the burritos we ate for lunch are a more likely culprit.) Fortunately, we'd planned to stay in a hotel that night anyway, so I didn't have to worry about returning to the suburbs, and was able to spend most of the night on the floor of the hotel bathroom. Twelve hours later, just as I was starting to feel a little better, B came down with the same thing. We booked an extra night in the hotel, and spent the rest of the day in bed, watching the Law & Order marathon on TNT. (Sadly for me, the hotel only had about 20 channels, and there really wasn't much on during the day. B was too sick to care.)

We're still recovering today, so we've mostly been watching TV at B's brother's place. I'm hoping that by tomorrow, we'll actually feel up to doing something again.

Whining

Dec. 5th, 2006 03:38 pm
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
I hate it when coffee shops get my order wrong. A minor complaint, I know, but it's an issue that's been reoccurring for me lately. Last week, Starbucks gave me peppermint hot chocolate instead of the peppermint mocha that I ordered (and paid for), and today Second Cup gave me a plain latte instead of the maple latte that I ordered (and paid for). Notice how they always give a cheaper drink than the one ordered? The hot chocolate wasn't a big deal--I like that well enough, and it was fairly similar to what I had ordered. But I don't drink plain lattes (I find coffee undrinkable without massive amounts of sugary flavouring), so today the whole latte is going down the drain, and I'm out $3.50 and the caffeine that I was hoping would enable me to do work.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I'm oddly excited about the new James Bond film. I'm not usually a huge fan of James Bond--I like action movies well enough, so I'll sit through 'em, but I don't usually them out on my own--but I am a sucker for "how people came to be who they are" movies, and this one seems to qualify. So I decided to go see this one on opening night. Unfortunately, the individual I was with scoffed when I said we should buy our tickets at least two hours in advance, before we went out for dinner. By the time we got back to the theatre after dinner, the rest of the shows for that evening were sold out. So we went to see The Prestige instead. An entertaining movie, but a bit disturbing.

Sadly, that incident set the tone for the rest of the weekend. My entire weekend has involved little things going wrong. All very minor things. Too small to even complain about, really. Unimportant in the grand scheme of things, absolutely. Nothing I'll post here, because I'd laugh at myself doing it. It's really the accumulation that's troubling, and even that I wouldn't have noticed if not for the first thing. Ah well, the weekend is almost over and I should be able to slip out to see Casino Royale later this week.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I spent Halloween at B's, watching Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake), and waiting to hand out candy to the kids. Unfortunately, all of the trick-or-treaters passed us by. It wasn't that they weren't any--we saw several groups stop next door. I guess they just didn't see his place as one to stop at, despite the jack-o-lantern we had sitting on the step. I suspect it might be because his apartment door is right next to the store door, and so people assume the whole house is a commercial property. Oh well--more chocolate for us!
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Hmm, you'd think after finishing my comp, I'd have more time to post. But of course, now I'm not trying to desperately to procrastinate, and so I'm less motivated. Instead, I've been trying to catch up with things I let slide over the summer. The past two weeks have mostly been errands and housework: fall cleaning (finally!) and taking in pants to be hemmed and unpacking boxes that have been sitting in my room for two years now...things like that. I updated, backed up, and sychronized my computers today, which is why I'm here again. Tomorrow I might even try backing up my laptop to a location that isn't located in my apartment just in case I don't have time to grab my laptop on the night when the space heater finally sets fire to our living room. I even have an external hard drive waiting in my office for this very purpose, but I haven't backed anything up on it in about six months.

Oh, I've also been reading. Mostly at the gym, on the bike, but occasionally I'll finish the book when I get home. (The inability to stop in the middle of a work of fiction, even if it's three in the morning and I have to get up at eight, is a problem of mine.) Most recently I've been reading Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which is dense and depressing enough that even I don't want to read it all in one go, and Dropped Threads 3, which I found a little disappointing. There were a few good pieces in there, but a lot more fluffy feel-good pieces. Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul, but in advice form rather than story form. I picked up a couple more books at the library this afternoon; maybe one of them will be better. In the mean time, I think today was my last catch up day. From now on, catching up will be done in the evening, and my days will be spent planning my second comp.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
There's nothing like sitting down in your warm, cozy house ten minutes after finishing running all of your errands for the day, and looking out the window to see it start pouring rain.
onefixedstar: (academic)
Wow, my blog is dull these days. I read, I read, and I read some more. The lively life of a graduate student! And then sometimes I curse my broken graphics card (I'm definitely taking it in for repairs this week), and I read a bit of the news or check if my flist has been updated, and then I go back to reading theory. I suppose I could post book reviews...anyone want a review of Blumer's Symbolic Interactionism?

I do occasionally take breaks, mind you. Last night, for example, we watched The Return of the King, and B laughed his way the through the ending, decreeing that it was too long to be touching. Tonight I think the big adventure is going to be my first attempt at making pesto. We have a thriving basil plant that's just crying out to be used, so it seemed the logical choice. But for now, it's back to reading.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Happy Canada Day! (Or happy Dominion Day for the old timers.)

I'm not being very Canadian today: no red-and-white clothing, no vacation at a lakeside cottage, no Canadian flag on the balcony, and I was thinking of trying Phil's southern barbeque for supper. And then maybe going to see Superman. Or possibly the fireworks.

Although essentially ignoring Canada Day, I did decide to celebrate summer yesterday by making my first batch of banana granita. The (completely artificial) banana flavour worked quite well, mimicking nicely the (completely artificial) banana flavour we had in Little Italy last week. It's too sweet, however, and the texture was more slushie than granita, so I'm going to try reducing the sugar in the next batch. This time I used a little over 2:1, so next time I'll probably go a little under and see if that helps. I'm also hoping that reducing the sugar will help it freeze faster, because it took about 18 hours with the current mix. (B's currently experimenting by diluting some of the existing slushie-substance with water, so we'll see how that goes too.)

My hard drive suffered some sort of crash last night. Two blue screens of death, and then a long chkdsk which resulted in many repairs of indices and reassigning of orphaned files. And now some programs don't work. I had to uninstall ZoneAlarm because it was blocking all of my browsers and never loading properly so that I could fix things (I plan to reinstall eventually), reinstall some Firefox extensions, and it looks like I'll need to reinstall WinDVD once I find the installation DVDs. Bah! And yet the computer still works, so I can't take it down to be repaired. Yet.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I woke up this morning to find little notes scattered around the house, saying things like "pancakes are yummy" and "pinch me, I want pancakes." So I mixed up the batter, which is sitting in the kitchen (wet and dry still separate, of course), and now I'm waiting for the person who wrote those notes to wake up. Unfortunately, I'm not hearing any movement. If he doesn't wake soon, I'm going to start cooking the pancakes to see if the smell wakes him. Or maybe I'll do what he asked and pinch him...

Hey, does anyone know of any good B&Bs in Ottawa or Montréal? (Unfortunately, the people most likely to know of some are on the road today, but maybe they'll see this when they settle in somewhere.)

Links

May. 4th, 2006 06:27 pm
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I've been rather negligent about updating my journal for...well, the past few months, at least. Rather than try to actually write up a proper, essay-style post, I'm going to post a list of facts instead. I may even try to relate them.

1. I've decided to try to finish my theory comp before B's family comes to visit in June. It's not looking terribly good right now, but I'm trying to remain optimistic. (Not looking terribly good = haven't read one word in three days.)

2. Even if I get my comp done, I'm not sure I'll be able to go to Ottawa with them (if that's where they end up going) because I have agreed to TA for 101 yet again this summer. I'll probably end up in a tutorial position, which is fine--better than marking in many ways--but it ties me to the city for 3+ months since I'll have to be here every Monday and Wednesday evening.

3. That's all assuming the funding for the position comes through.

4. It probably will, because the Undergrad Chair had a great deal of trouble finding someone to teach 101 this summer, and one of the incentives she ended up offering was extra TA support.

5. On the plus side, a return to Wednesday night tutorials could also mean a return of Quesadilla Night.

6. I need a TA position, because it looks like my RA job is pretty much over, apart from the possibility of being called in for occasional work. Our last meeting was interesting--it was supposed to be a wrap-up meeting as most of the team is no longer being paid (they were on salary for the term), and yet somehow it ended with all of us being assigned more work: collect more email addresses, write a cover letter, follow up with more analysis...

7. I've recently started watching "House." The plot structure is terribly predictable, but the characters are entertaining, and I think I may try to catch up on it this summer. As long as it's not airing on Monday or Wednesday nights.

8. Something else I'd like to do this summer is starting reading recent issues of the top journals, to get a sense of what's being done in the field, and to seek inspiration for a dissertation topic, because it's getting kind of ridiculous that I don't have one. (I did, but then the person I came here to work with said he didn't have time to be my primary advisor, and the person he sent me to instead said it wasn't a topic he felt he could properly supervisor. I could find a new advisor, but I really like the person I was sent to and think he'd make a good advisor, so I've decided to find a new topic instead.)

9. My lack of dissertation topic is one of my main reasons for not wanting to attend the department potluck tomorrow: I don't want to explain to the faculty who are there why I don't know what I'm doing. Roommate is organizing it, so she's really pushing me to go, but I may refuse anyway. I haven't committed to bringing anything, and we're holding a houseparty here for the graduate students after the potluck, so I won't be completely left out.

10. I'm getting small red dots all over my screen. They show up in multiple programs, on white backgrounds, but they aren't always there. I'm not sure what's causing them, but they have me somewhat concerned.

11. I wonder when they're going to turn on the a/c in my building.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I had another slightly dull, work-filled, and productive weekend. Non-work highlights included a very good steak on Friday, courtesy of B, and three games of Clue on Saturday, all of which I lost. I also made some good headway on my TA and RA work, and got some comp reading done, all of which made me happy.

Now I'm up at my parents' place, hanging out with my sister, who's currently on spring break. So far I've been plied with homeade maple-peacan scones, homemade chocolate fudge, and a homemade cupcake, courtesy of my sister's pre-spring break weekend baking spree. Tomorrow we're making biscotti, and probably some more scones.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
After the last couple of weekends of nothing but work, this one is turning into a dizzying whirl of socialization. Last night, B and I drove out to Whitby to visit a couple of friends of mine from undergrad. It was our first visit since their wedding six months earlier, and my first opportunity to hear about their honeymoon and see their house of two years. Yeah, I apparently need to keep in better touch with them.

This afternoon, realizing that we still had time left on the Autoshare car and B still had gift certificates left from Christmas, we went shopping. Among our purchases: a dictionary, so that we can finally stop arguing over what constitutes a word in Scrabble. We could look it up online, of course, but it's dangerous for us to turn on a computer in the middle of a Scrabble game. We might never pry ourselves away.

Tomorrow evening it looks like we'll be joining some friends to watch the Oscars, which ought to be fun. I had wanted to see all of the Best Picture nominees so that I could make an informed guess about which might win, but I think the only one I ended up seeing in time was Brokeback Mountain. Maybe next year.

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