Lazy Luddite Log

26.6.08

Pita Chips

Well a long week makes for a short blog entry so here is a recipe for a dish I re-invented recently (e.g. these things exist commercially I just improvised for moreorless the same effect)...

Ingredients

Pita Bread, Cooking Oil, Butter or Margarine, Minced Garlic, Herbs and Spices

Preparation

The number pitas one uses will depend on how many you want to serve. So far I have used two or three to serve a handful of friends. This is also as many as will fit in a pan. Take the pita bread and cut it into finger-sized portions. It is okay for it two be twin-layered and indeed it is okay for them to all be different shapes and sizes. Some may even curl in on themselves but that is okay too - it will just result in a mix of pita chips that vary from crunchy to chewy...

Put the pita pieces into a bowl and then sprinkle herbs and spices liberally into the pile. I have been using a jar of 'Spicy Italian' mix which combines the usual Italian herbs with some spices like chili. I have sometimes also thrown in some finely chopped chives just to add a pretence of freshness to the snack. Now move over to the stove...

Moisten a frying pan with cooking oil then whack in a generous lump of butter or margarine. Mush the yellow stuff together with a kindly dollop of minced garlic. Now apply heat and watch the concoction melt. Once it starts bubbling throw the pita in. Stir regularly so that the pita gets well infused with the garlic-goop. The herbs and spices may well have settled to the bottom of the bowl so just tip them in over the pita as you go.

Keep stirring. It will seem as if the chips will never become crisp (and some of them never will entirely) but keep at it and go with your own feel. Check the odd chip now-and-then for crispness. Eventually the right moment will arrive to remove the heat and tip the chips back into a bowl for serving. They are rather nice once done - you will have to just trust me on that.

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19.6.08

Passing Time (Reprise)

At the time of writing the original Passing Time entry I was seeking to provide explanation for how a person with lots of spare time can fill it. Now in this entry I am hoping to describe how I intend to fit too much into a working week. My desire to do the latter is in a sense the product of the former - I have a particular set of expectations that I am hoping to still fulfil while working in an office five days a week.

In seeking to have a full and well-rounded week I have formed in my mind a model of standard week. Naturally this is a bit ambitious, as life never conforms entirely to even the best of plans. Circumstances and family and friends all complicate things. The long-distance relationship I am conducting does likewise. Things happen. And as a result I am yet to have even one week that confirms my model despite having been in the new job for over a month now. But onto my imaginary standard week...

Sunday: This is a day of celebrated sleeping in. It is both a luxury and frequently also a necessity if I have had too much fun the preceding night. Then it is also a day of visiting Clayton shops for both swimming at the new pool (housed along with a new library in a rather impressive new rust-toned community facility). This has become a way for me to see my Dad and for him to revive his old passion for swimming. I will do my biggest grocery shopping at this time. Then in the evening I can see the new Doctor Who. I will also have a lovely long phone conversation with Petra (we may well do so at other times too but this is like the guaranteed time of the week for it).

Monday: In the evening following work is a time for resting at home and possibly watching satirical cartoons on SBS with housemates. I am deliberately including slack nights into my routine and this is one such time.

Tuesday: In the evening following work I travel directly to Campus for dinner and rehearsal with MonUCS. I will have to decide on a case-by-case (aka 'concert-by-concert') basis just how much I can commit to staying all evening (including post-rehearsal pub or coffee) on a weeknight. Just starting on a new program now so I will see what I think of the music and my energy levels.

Wednesday: In the evening following work is a time for resting at home and possibly attending to things like blogging or writing letters-to-the-editor or making new playlists.

Thursday: In the evening following work I can spend some time at home then go onto a small local gathering of friends who bring arts and craft projects and gossip.

Friday: In the evening following work I think I have the inclination (like many many others) to go get me some fun despite my overall tiredness. And thankfully one group or another of friends are likely to provide just that in the form of visiting a restaurant or cinema or whatever. And even if I am free I may even do my own thing - such things as fast food and movies can be fun even if one is alone. And my work location puts me even closer to the City than to home so one way or the other I can find some colour and movement.

Saturday: This is a day of celebrated sleeping in. It may then be one of taking a long walk along the local Scotchman's Creek or of visiting Mum and taking a similar walk along her local Yarraman Creek. And then it is very likely that I will have a party of some kind to attend in the evening...


In putting all this together I have made an effort to get the balance right. There are both solitary and collaborative forms of recreation. There is rest. There is both creativity and exercise. And there is something to look forward to in every day. There are plenty of other things that fit into the routine but are too mundane to warrant naming (like all those chores that both work and life necessitate).

And then there are also things absent that were present in that older entry - things like attending meetings of the ADs or NFA or SESFC. It would be very difficult to fit these things in now even if I wanted to so for now my holding of voluntary positions or making a face-to-face contribution to civic life is a thing of the past for me. For some time I have been pulling back from such things and it seems now the space has been filled as I had half-hoped and half-planned for it to.

So this entry describes how work has affected my non-working life. Some aspects of the new job has been affecting my perceptions of competence and confidence. With any luck I will both get on top of the job and keep that 'work-life balance' thing happening...

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11.6.08

Crocodile Wot?

I remember when rock was young...

So Elton John sings in Crocodile Rock, originally released in 1972. I have listened to this song many times but the most recent time my iPod randomly throw it at me I just happend to notice and ponder that line. Just how old was Rock & Roll then anyway? The song specifically refers to Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley from 1954, one of the songs that popularised the injecting or urban blues into popular music. So, in other words, the youth of a musical genre was passed by the time it was eighteen? Is that right? Do genres age quicker than humans? And if they age quicker then do they have a shorter life expectancy too? That last one - whether Rock & Roll still lives - is a topic for another time. For now I will just muse on the aging of the thing even in its teens.

By the time Elton was singing it seems that a lot had changed in music from the mid-50s. And so too for me it seems that, looking back at that time, a time in which I never existed, since I too was produced in 1972, that a lot had changed. The characteristics that define (say) 1954 and distinguish it from 1972 seem significant. The music, movies, fashions, designs, political and cultural developments all seem to present to us two very different eras. However, if I look back to 1990, also a distance of eighteen years, then do I get the same sense of difference? For me in many ways 1990 and 2008 feel much more akind to one another than do 1954 and 1972. Life in a lot of ways seems similar. Of course my own circumstances have changed from then till now but still there are many things uniting these two times in my life.

But then that is the key to this whole discussion. I can compare my personal experiences of 1990 and 2008 because I have lived those times - been a young adult in those times - which is something I cannot do for comparing 1954 with 1972. For those past times that I never experienced I rely on history and in doing so I draw on and compare those things that popular history thrives on. The big things like pop culture icons and major events. While in comparing times I have experienced I am much more likely to draw on the things that define ones personal life from day-to-day. And it is because of this that I am likely to see greater difference in the older times and greater sameness in the newer times. History focuses on differences and on defining moments. Life however focuses on the things that stay the same like sleep and food and friends and family. With all that in mind I may overlook big changes like (say) the replacing of the Cold War bipolar world with a multipolar world and its half-arsed War on Terror or (also say) the proliferation of all sorts of electronic music.

Does the pace of change alter speed from decade to decade? How would one ever assess that anyway? I wonder if others feel the same or differently...

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