A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Finally, a little food talk

But only a little.

Just got back from a lovely long trip to Southeast Asia, and it was a joy to munch our way through the local food. Durian - it's really amazing what people get up to with durian - cakes and pastries and jams and of course, the old standby, kueh dodol. That was mostly the Unit (Spousal) - I think over the course of my life, I've eaten enough durian to last me till I pop my clogs. I comforted myself with bak kua, and bak chang, onde onde, kueh lapis, pulut intisari, ikan bilis, pineapple jam tarts, kai chok, and a salted duck egg that I purchased and carried around for a couple of days. Of course, a trip back is not complete without a visit to Rendezvous Nasi Padang, and this time I think I actually managed to taste the difference between the Sumatran "hand" with spicing and the commoner Javanese, Malay, and Indian, in the Rendezvous' delicious ayam kari rendang. I longed for some ayam buah keluak, but regrettably there's only so much you can stuff in your stomach before it bursts. That's OK, I did bring back a ton of buah keluak (amusingly referred to in various culinary publications as "black candlenut," which it assuredly is not. Now if I can figure out how to cook it, I can make my own ayam buah keluak.
I think I'll post the recipe for Ayam Masak Golek. The folks over at Steve Gilliard's blog seem to be foodaholic, and there's a rumour that New York might actually have a halfway decent restaurant from my part of the world - a rumour I fully intend to investigate, when next we visit.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bin Lazen

Okay, okay, things got a little tough there. It's been a couple of months (really!) since I last put claw to keyboard.
But between work, work, work and the house falling down around our ears, it's been unbearable. First we noticed the musty smell in the living room. Must be the books, we thought. We have so many of them. No, really so many. Four floor to ceiling bookshelves in the LR, with books crammed and packed in stacks in 'em. We really need more shelves. Course, we haven't any room for them, but.
After forcing the spousal unit to get rid of quite a few books, we managed to move some of the mess in the corner, only to notice that the floor near the fireplace was ... wet. Icky eugh. Blackish and rotting, even. Water seeping up under it, and mold on the wall. So we tried to find someone to come in and look at it and tell us what to do.
They came, all right. In droves. With ridiculous quotes. I mean, we'd have to sell the children into lifelong slavery to afford what most of these people were quoting us. (The children, having tails, long hair, and fleas, ain't worth much in the slavery market, but that's another story.)
So we refi'd the house. Always good for a few weeks of stomach-churning tension, as we root through the files to find the financial statements we must append to our application, entertain the appraiser, the loan company, the title company, the insurance guy (who came to look at the damage), all interspersed with interviewing contractors, soliciting names and recommendations, finding engineers, researching city policies as best we could online and sweating buckets at the thought of having the house rehabbed while we continue to live in it with five cats ranging from totally psycho to mildly neurotic to somewhat, uh, Speshul.
More to follow as the tragedy unfolds, no doubt. At least we found a guy who'd do it for a reasonable amount, seems to know what he's doing, seems to be trustworthy, and specializes in (i) old houses; (ii) hydraulic engineering; (iii) foundation work. Oh, yeah, plus he's both an engineer and a contractor. And did I mention, he seems nice?
Course, he could always turn out to be a total fucking psychopath, like the guy who took down the trees on the hill, but a person has a right to hope. And all that yaya.

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