Sunday, 19 July 2015

Bubbles, Bands and Bacon

The word of the week is commensurate.

And: this is my 400th post - huzzah! 

Happy blog-er-versary to me! 

July 13 – Tick-toc?

Time these days is a strange thing for me.

I find myself thinking ahead now several weeks in advance, planning each day to try and souse out what I'm going to do with my time after work or on the weekends.

It's funny how fast things fill up for me now. I can't imagine would it be like for me if I had a second job or a young family to take care of… and I have a good imagination!

Between my day job, my girlfriend, my writing group and my social circles, things are pretty full up for me now. My weekdays can be pretty hectic, though I am finding of late that I'm getting tired earlier and getting up earlier, so that’s something to be explored, at least in terms of finding some spare time. My weekends for the last few months have been completely booked up with my girlfriend, whichhas been fantastic for my state of mind. I also can't begin to describe how good it feels to know that my Muse is waiting for me each day without depressed distraction or a tsunami of stress from my day job. Sure, I may have some bad or busy days at work, but the job itself and the people I work with most often make it bearable, if not easy to deal with.

The next five or six months will probably see more changes, as I move towards finishing my second book. It's been educational to see how my priorities have become flexible in terms of time in the last few months and I'm uncertain as to how fixed things will become in the near future.

It's going to be interesting, that's for certain!

July 14 – Bacon!

It’s good to have astute readers, if you blog.

This week, it was pointed out to me that my blog has been seriously lacking in bacony content for a while now. Looking at the blog, I realized I haven’t had a bacon-centric posting in some time.

This bothers me, for some odd reason.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I still love bacon as much as I ever have, but for some reason, it hasn’t seemed as important to share that love on a regular basis, here in my blog.

That also bothers me, for other odd reasons.

Rather than dwell on it, I thought I’d simply post a nice informational video about the wonders of bacon and consider later the ramifications of returning to the well of All Things Bacon:

July 15 – Bloom’s Back!

Ack! They’re back!

News that Berkeley Breathed is writing Bloom County again hit the internet like a match in a fireworks factory: explosions of joy resounded across the digital ether. Look:

For those of you who don't know, Bloom County is( formerly was? )a comic strip that ran from 1980 to 1989, focusing on the mythical inhabitants of a small town in the USA were a blank slate for political commentary. It's extraordinarily strange that I like strip so much ,given that politics were at its core, but the characters won me over.

My first experience with Bloom County was with a copy of Billy and the Boingers Bootleg that was laying around the lounge in the English department in university in the early 1990s. Once I picked up the book and started paging through it, I couldn't put it down and that was it: I was hooked. The wild and wacky-weird fun that the character's antics exuded really spoke to me, along the lines of Monty Python and the ridiculous antics of people like Robin Williams. I adore the funny when combined with the bizarre and Bloom County had it in spades, with the additional layers of intellectualism that raised it above simple slapstick or episodic comedy strips. It also has the virtue of having won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989, which is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Something else I didn't know about Bloom County until this very week was that Berkeley was a friend of Douglas Adams, which only elevates him even further in my eyes. One can’t get better credentials than that.

July 16 – A Perfect Birthday

I’m using the word perfect a lot lately, but it certainly applied to today.

Taking the day off work wasn't in the cards, mainly in that I still prefer to earn money whenever I can and since I don't write on my birthday( a personal thing )and I didn't want to sit around all day( just had a vacation a little while ago )I decided to work. As it turns out, that was a good decision, as the entire day went extraordinarily smoothly without any stress whatsoever. I was most grateful for that!

Once I was home, I had just enough time to get ready for dinner. My parents and sister were taking me out to 10 Acres restaurant, which I'd picked because I love their wonderful all-season outdoor patio:

My girlfriend joined us there, her first dinner with my family and the first time she had met my dad. Everyone got along and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely for a few hours, with the weather cooperating by having the cool wind die down enough so that none of us had goosebumps by the time we left. My lady and I ended up going over to Garrick's Head Pub nearby, where we spent so another few enchanted hours sitting at a back table, watching the sun set and the world go by.

What a perfect day.

 July 17 – Adams and 42

This is my year of Life, the Universe and Everything. It's something that I've been looking forward to, well, all my life.

For those of you don't know the reference, it's from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, a science fiction series written by Douglas Adams in the 1980s. It was a formative part of my childhood: I remember all of the books and the BBC television series vividly to this day. The number 42 figures prominently in the series and if you haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you by saying anything here, apart from this:

Go read and/or the books/series right now. I'll wait.

For those of you who do know what I'm talking about, I'm hoping to get some answers to my life’s questions during my 42nd year The funny part is, I feel like I have had a few this year already, a wonderful girlfriend being one and the steady progress on my novel trilogy being another - both major points in my life.

20 years ago, I honestly wondered what my life would be like when I was 42: I had no idea and as I didn't like to compare myself to others, it was a little strange to think that I had no clue as to where I would be today. Yet here I am, dictating this blog using voice recognition software, making living at a guaranteed won't-be-let-go-randomly day job while writing my novel series whenever I can make the time day-to-day. My family’s doing well, I’m feeling far more fulfilled in the company of someone who adores me for me and last, I daily now have the impression that I can make an impression on the world, should I so choose( and work hard )to do so.

As for those other elusive answers, I think they’re here, in some form, already. My facing each day with passion and positivity might make a few more reveal themselves, if I pay attention… who knows?

I'll keep you updated right here, you can be certain.

July 18 – Hawt!

That’s some weather we’re having here in Victoria.

It was time for capture the flag in a park today with my coworkers, which promised to be fun. By the time we got there around noon, the day was already incredibly hot. There was no shade to be had initially, as we were in the middle of a soccer field: cool green grass does not count, though it was a welcome change from the savanna-like dead grass of most other places on Vancouver Island in the summer. Fortunately, another coworker showed up with a pavilion and many of us crowded into the shade underneath quite gratefully… until it was time to play.

I found a hat for myselt.

We separated into men's and women's teams, with nine players each and had a great time. I quickly realized that although I had dressed properly in shorts and a sweat-wicking shirt, I hadn't thought things through as my sandals had little grip or running characteristics.

Especially stopping power. On one run towards the men’s Jail, I overshot as I dodged and barely managed to stop myself before plowing through a crowd of onlookers: that could have ended badly, whoa! Fortunately, that was the only near-miss of the day and everyone else only suffered from too much effort expended under too hot a sun. My girlfriend and I left after about an hour, heading for cooler climes and leaving others to enjoy their barbecue in whatever shade they could find.

We went to see the newly-released Minions, thinking that the local theater would be a great spot to cool off in the air conditioning, but for some reason the theater was warm rather than cool so that didn't work out. A turn around the aisles of a nearby grocery store allowed us to simultaneously cool down while shopping for ingredients for a pasta dinner: yum!

We then headed back to my place to eat, which was a lot cooler and watched Meet The Robinsons, which she had never seen. For those of you who haven't watched the film, I recommend you see it at least once, for several reasons. It's a good story for one, about believing in yourself and your dreams of the future. It's also a well-executed film, visually pleasing with a good story and a very memorable cast of characters.

My favorite part of the film is the villain, who I find to be a fascinating creation. At once tragic and villainously passionate, Bowler Hat Guy seems like a stereotypical villain with some odd motivations and serious character flaws. His lack of imagination or common sense make him a sympathetic character at the same time and I adored the way that he was portrayed.

You just don't see a lot of good villains in films these days...

July 19 – A Day With A View

Wonder of wonders: I was treated to a birthday lunch today!

After we'd only been dating for a month, my girlfriend( who is very forward-thinking )had purchased a pair of tickets to Bands, Bubbles and Bennies, a food event taking place at Vista18 to celebrate my birthday. The restaurant is located on the 18th floor of one of the tallest buildings in Victoria, giving a stunning view of the city. I've never been there during the day, so this was to be a new experience for me. As well, we had the dulcet jazz tones of the Lust For Life trio playing live during the entirety of our meal, which only added to the stellar ambiance.

The brunch was served from a menu, three courses plus dessert. Our first dish had three different items: blueberry scones, blueberry tart and a blueberry danish. Each was incredibly fresh and delicious when paired with a Rocky Creek sparkling wine containing blackberry liqueur.

The appetizer was brioche French toast, topped with goat tartar, lavender jelly and shaved goat’s milk-ice on the side. I wasn't sure how shaving the goat improves the taste, but everything certainly was perfectly matched with the prosecco sparkling wine. The whole time, the staff was coming around to chat briefly with us, along with the representatives of the wineries to tell us about the wines. I have little more than generalized knowledge of wines( hi Lucas! )so my conversation was limited; however my girlfriend has a more refined palate and she was quite impressed with how perfectly suited all the wines were to the foods.

The main course consisted of eggs benny: my girlfriend ordered the house-smoked slow-roasted pork shoulder, while I had the Moroccan carrot. The dishes looked spectacularly scrumptious, but we had no idea that they tasted even better. The pork had been marinated for eight hours, then slow-roasted for eight hours, and the look on my girlfriend's face as she took her first bite was one of rapture. I was pretty impressed with my own dish, but when I had a taste of hers, I understood: WOW! Melt-in-your-mouth flavours: subtle perfection!

This was truly inspired cooking and we both savoured every single bite. The expressions of delight on both our faces were almost comical, and I wish we’d thought to take a picture… but we were too busy enjoying the flavours to even think of that. After the main course, dessert was almost anticlimactic, which is unfair to the dish as the rhubarb trio( mousse, sponge and jelly )was excellent.

It was a wonderful, magical experience and I am again stunned that I could be so lucky as to have gained the attentions of such a special lady as my girlfriend.

The rest of the day couldn't compare, but that's all right because I was feeling rather worn out from the last few days. A combination of heat, a few too many glasses of beer / wine overall and a little too much exercise yesterday meant I was happy to spend the rest the day at home catching up on things while staying cool. I did pop out in the evening for an hour to have a brief dinner with my friends Courtenay and Jordan( and their new baby Ella )but it was back to blog writing fairly soon after. I had thought I'd get done the blog earlier, but a few unfinished weekend tasks here and there added up to my not being done until close to midnight again, which is well past my target of 11 PM these days.

Early to bed and early to rise and all that.

For some reason, the recognition rate of Dragon and last few weeks hasn’t been all that great. You may have noticed some small grammatical errors in the blog, which are another reason why I'm trying to finish earlier every Sunday night so that I can see any misrecognized words and not miss too many due to fatigue. Hopefully I'll get more words trained as I go along and these little errors will disappear. Have a great week!