Thursday, January 24, 2008

Now available on video!

It used to be that live Lila interactions were limited to the range of the audible. No longer shall Lila be limited! I am now skypeable by audio and video.

Of course, time-lagged interactions are still available in a variety of print media (email, proper mail, some blogs).

This post's theme video: Michael Jackson's "Thriller." It's marvelous.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Misc. for MLK

Today's not a holiday here in Canada, but it's on my calendar so it was on my mind. Also on my mind:
I have had to adjust my watch band one notch tighter recently. Is this because I've switched to doing pushups on my fists, rather than my palms? I've never heard of "slimming and toning" wrists, but perhaps that's because we don't focus on them as indicators of beauty.
I caught sight of myself in a mirror today and it evoked this thought: I don't think I'd recognize myself in a crowd. Would you recognize yourself? I certainly know what I look like, but I don't spend a lot of time staring at my own image. I don't talk to myself in the mirror, and so I don't really know what I look like "in action." What does my walk look like? What are my mannerisms? I know what they feel like to make, but not the final result of moving all those muscles. Is it weird for actors to see themselves on film for the first time?
In the course of some leisure reading:
The starred and stately nights seemed haughty dames in jewelled velvets, nursing at home in lonely pride, the memory of their absent conquering Earls, the golden helmeted suns! For sleeping man, 'twas hard to choose between such winsome days and such seducing nights. (Moby Dick 242)
I haven't come across such poetic prose in any of my other recent reading. (That meter is amazing. Hear the iambs!) Are modern authors just too conceited for it? When they try, it comes across as condescending, IMHO. But the above is just so... earnest. I wonder if such delights, such experiences, are totally in the past for us.

But this is passing strange. I'll be back to my common, sarcastic self soon enough.

This post's theme literary device: personification.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Cooking is a mix of prayer and alchemy.

Last week I took my first independent test-drive of my new pressure cooker. (What a great Christmas gift!) I had read and re-read the safety instructions, knew the four (four!) different safety mechanisms, and thus avoided exploding my kitchen.

I made dahl, a delicious lentil dish (perhaps a stew?) that I associate with utter gustatory delight. It doesn't look like much (no pictures, sorry), but it has many different blended tastes: deliciousness, scrumption, flavorfulness, tastifullity, yum, etc. And it's slightly spicy. I actually have no idea what the tastes are, or what half the spices are. Two (two!) separate forays were required to collect the many spices specified in the recipe.

One of these ingredients was a chili, dry or fresh. I found some fresh ones. The recipe specified "one chili" as the required amount, but I put in four. Now, this might seem like a recipe for disaster, the kind of flaming disaster that results in sucking on ice and eating bland oatmeal for a week while one's tastebuds grow back. I put in four anyway.

(1) Chilis naturally vary in size, and mine were rather small.
(2) I recalled that, at home, we often added a very large chili, with total chili-mass approximately four of my little chilis.
(3) I like spicy food. Even to the point of crying. So I figured I could handle it.

Man, was I wrong.

Nostrils all a-tinglin' with the delicious olfactory anticipation of the meal to come, I served myself a bowl of my dahl on rice. (And counted my fingers to make sure that none of the pressure cooker's many newfangled safety systems had snatched them.) And the first bite was delicious. Lila-made dahl! How delightful. A few bites later, as my lips went numb and my tongue ceased to register texture, I allowed that I had -- perhaps -- overdone the chilis. A bit.

To my shame, I was unable to finish my single serving of dahl, reasoning that I should probably avoid a trip to the emergency room during my first week back. If this episode were an argument with a person, I'd now have to eat my words. But since it's a cooking venture, I just have to eat... my creation. A little bit at a time. Every day. For the past week.

Where did I go wrong?
(1) My chilis were small, but also bright red. Fire-engine red. This was nature's warning sign, saying, "use these as decoration, but for goodness' sake don't smell them, cut them open or ingest them!"
(2) In a follow-up call with my mother, I discovered that at home we make a double batch of dahl. So my memory-based estimate was twice as hot as usual.
(3) These chilis bypassed the crying stage of pain and went straight to the numbing stage. I bet that in nature, animals that eat them just fall over in a stupor and are instantly assailed by predators who camp near the sites of toxically spicy plants for exactly that purpose.

This post's theme song: "World on Fire" by Sarah McLachlan.