Month: July 2008

Brain food, body food

Two recent reads that I heartily enjoyed and recommend:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life: I believe I found this one via the WPL‘s website recommendations. It’s by Barbara Kingsolver, but is not fiction like her usual efforts. It also seemed a good complement to The 100-Mile Diet, which I have on the hold list.

Having grown up in the country, many things in this book made me smile, and it made me jones for a garden something fierce… which kinda sucks when you live in an apartment. 🙂 It did, however, make me grateful for my most excellent local farmers’ market (well, we have two, but I almost exclusively go to St. Jacobs). It was also nice to read such an evocative, positive, personal level book — books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma are excellent and everyone should read them, but the scale addressed can be a bit overwhelming.

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina: This was a recommendation by Violet. Chris Rose is a journalist in New Orleans, and this is a compilation of his columns for the Times-Picayune after Hurricane Katrina. They illustrate what the city and the people have gone through and continue to go through, but there is also his personal story interwoven, which contains plenty of demons. He is post-hurricane New Orleans in microcosm.

I’ve never been to the city, but one of my first thoughts post-Katrina was an acute regret that I hadn’t been “before”. And I don’t think it’ll ever be the same, but despite the upheaval and despair inherent in the stories, there is still the inkling that one day it will still be okay to go. Bruised and battered though the city and its remaining or returned inhabitants are, they are still New Orleans, and there is only one.

And on screen…

SharkWater: I saw this documentary recommended online somewhere, though the source escapes me (of, course, it is currently the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week). The description was something like, “Like An Inconvenient Truth, but for sharks”. And it’s very true.

The filmmaker, Rob Stewart, is the narrator, and honestly, he shouldn’t be (though at the same time he kind of has to be…) His voice and modulation aren’t right, and are distracting, though eventually you kind of get used to it. The visuals are stunning, however, with plenty of amazing underwater footage.

A lot of the out of water footage, however, is utterly disgusting. Globally, shark populations are estimated to have declined 90% (yes, NINETY) in recent years, and the documentary illustrates why, focusing a lot on the shark fin industry (they’re a delicacy in soup in Asia). I knew what shark finning was prior to watching this, but watching hooked sharks yanked from the water, have all their fins sliced off and tossed in buckets, then get the sharks get thrown back overboard to sink to the bottom and die of asphyxiation and blood loss is enraging and pretty much makes you want to throw up.

At a number of points they explain the differences between land-based and ocean conservation — how it’s so much easier to “sell” for cute and cuddly mammals than for sharks, which we’ve been trained to fear. (Sharks kill, on average, five (yes, FIVE) people a year globally, less than… oh, just about everything else.) All in all, an excellent piece, and certainly worthy of the many awards it’s won so far.

And switching gears to food for the tummy, Andrew and I tried out S.O.S. BBQ last evening, which is a welcome addition to the local victuals scene. It’s located on Lobsinger Line, which is the road jutting left off Wagner’s Corners at King St. between the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and St. Jacobs. (It takes you to Heidelberg.)

The place is a trailer with attached BBQ equipment, and is located off to the side of the parking lot at Bast Tire (you have to turn right onto Bast’s side street and then go around the front of their parking lot). The place is open 11am to 7pm, and I’m sure he’ll do a brisk lunch business. If weekend Market-goers hear about him, he’s money.

Though we were there quite close to closing, the meals were still quite good. We had piled brisket and pulled pork, and Andrew and I agree we want to try the ribs. (They need eight hours’ notice for orders.) I quite like the tangy Carolina-style sauce, which I’ve never had before. (Though overall, sweet-ish rib sauce is my favourite.)

The sides are typical — corn, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, etc. — and nothing special, really, but honestly, who’s there for anything but the meat? I look forward to going back during the meatier (hah!) part of business hours and sampling more of the menu. Will also have to take my parents. Recommended — give him a try, have some delicious BBQ, and support local business!

Dear Sobeys…

It’s July. You were aware of this, yes?

Just checking, seeing as, when I was there this evening, there was a large and prominently displayed mountain of Hallowe’en candy available for purchase.

You are familiar with the celebration of Hallowe’en, yes?

It takes place in October.

At the end of October, actually.

Which is not July.

Clearly we need to have a bit of a chat about how the calendar works.

Which we’ll do as soon as I finished my Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

Damn you.

Damn you, Muppets

So this must be what they mean re. “parenting is hard”. Like when your dadgum kid posts a link to an epic tale (in the real sense of epic, not the douchey current one), and you are COMPELLED to read. And read. And read. And then go drink wine. Sheesh.

Man, there’s just WAY too much familiarity in that story, though, blessedly, not all from one relationship (that poor woman), and not recently (bless). The initial part with the online stuffs, though… crikey, I hadn’t remembered how that felt in a long, long time. (Hey, there’s gotta be something big goin’ on if it’s enough to ship a girl off to Australia.)

Let that be a lesson to us all — avoid internet Americans! (Surely there can’t be that many out there…) 🙂

And all my best to Ms. McDimple, though she’s a couple years out from the end of that tale now (still…). Been there, sister. Been there.

Got away, okay.

The guy I had a monster crush on all through high school and into university (we went to the same one; I wasn’t a stalker) got married this weekend. This news flash courtesy of his sister’s Facebook comments and photos.

I was expecting a little twinge or something, that “one that got away” recognition, or just that “yup, I’d totally still hit that” moment. But… not so much. I noted how he’s changed, wonder where most of his neck went (hazards of a football player build and wearing a suit, I guess…), and shook my head at the bride’s taste in dress and those of her attendants (note: taupe and bubble skirts flatter no one).

Added to the assorted engagements I’ve heard about and friends’ weddings this summer, I got another little twinge of the “crazy cat lady dies alone” fear, but not traumatically enough that I had to go drown my sorrows in a bottle of cooking sherry or something.

It was odd, too, how in some of the pictures I’d recognize faces, but not names, or names, but not faces. This happens with some regularity given the number of friends my brother still has from back home, but it doesn’t so much happen within what was my own sphere.

Then I pondered my current sphere, such as it is. All these people I half-remember are/were real. Tangible. We saw each other regularly, whether or not we interacted. Now? I know more people I’ve never met and interact virtually even with my best friends more often than I actually see them. It’s just how we roll (and yet there are plenty of folks I can’t even begin to explain this culture to).

All in all, a useful bit of nostalgia, I guess. Where people have come from and come to is always interesting to ponder. To the past, the present, and the future, then: mazel tov.

It wasn’t funny until the very last moment…

This evening I needed to return some library books, so I saddled up with backpack and iPod and headed out. As I was crossing Weber on Erb, I noticed a person lying on the asphalt beside the sidewalk on Erb (the far end of the parking lot by Hakim Optical).

Now, I’ve seen runners doing some pretty funky stretches on the sidewalk, but as I got closer I could tell that this dude was no runner, and certainly wasn’t stretching. I also quickly noticed that he was bleeding like a mofo. Uh oh.

So I headed over and saw he was conscious and moving a bit — that was good. I told him he looked like he could use a bit of help, and he agreed. So I handed him half a pack of Kleenex and told him to hold it on the gash across the bridge of his nose. (Seriously, the amount he was bleeding it was hard to tell how many gashes there were and if he was bleeding from inside his nose or not, too.)

I called 911 and told him an ambulance would be there to fix him up momentarily. He was conscious and talking and whatnot, but clearly not having the best day. Couple minutes on the phone with dispatch and they were on their way. While we were waiting, he bled through the Kleenex, so I handed him the rest of the packet. At that point the bleeding seemed to be slowing down, and the stream of blood running down the asphalt was coagulating. He rolled over a bit, and I saw that it looked like he had a pretty ugly cut above one eyebrow, too. Really, had he been a UFC fighter, I’d have been impressed…

Then we waited and I talked to him a bit to make sure he wasn’t fading out or anything, and he grasped my hand a couple times. (The cop gave me some alcohol gel before I left to help clean up the blood all over my hands, just in case.)

A police cruiser pulled up first, asked what was up (as a number of motorists had prior), and then spoke into the radio for a moment before coming over. Seconds after that a fire truck came zooming up, lights a-blazin’ and siren going (fun!) As per regulations, the cop and all the firemen (umm, did we actually need FOUR of them?) were smokin’ hot. Dammit, why can’t I be the one needing a little serving and protecting?

Anyway, I let the cop know the gentlemen appeared to have enjoyed a few too many beverages, which I suspected initially based on the condition of his nose — it was a bit wrecked and gin blossomy even without the copious blood — and the fact that he seemed fuzzy on a few details. And just as the fire truck was arriving he mentioned he was really drunk, too. So… yeah.

As the EMT got to work, I leaned down and told the gentleman he was in more than capable hands, wished him a much improved evening and said I needed to get going. He grasped my hand one last time and thanked me again.

And then reached up with his other hand and patted me on the ass. 🙂

I think he’ll be okay…