Friday, October 31, 2008

Every week, the same again

Reading list:
  1. Hey, you! Cell-phone zombie! Get off the road!

  2. Earliest reference describes Christ as 'magician'

  3. How did "in the tank" come to mean "supportive"?

  4. Does the Language I Speak Influence the Way I Think?

  5. Another look at a mistake babies make

  6. The rise & fall of the prefrontal lobotomy

  7. The Enigma of Op Art


Hallowe'en Treat!

OMFG, this might be the coolest thing EVAR.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Other things I've been up to

While grocery shopping today, I noticed several packages of various cuts of beef which had been reduced to 50% off for quick sale by Tuesday's "sell by" date. Grabbing two cuts of grilling steak, I returned home, ground them up in the food processor with the whites of green onions (the greens of which I'll be using later in the week) and four cloves of garlic. I was able to get four-and-a-half burgers out of two steaks! I made a decent pan gravy with the drippings, and had myself a hot hamburger plate as my early-afternoon brunch. I froze the remaining burgers and gravy for later use.

I've also spent two of the past three work weeks on a self-imposed all-produce diet, getting as much organic food in as possible, in an attempt to appease my finicky digestive tract, and to eat more in accordance with the prescribed reduced-carb diet my doctors would like to see me on. To that end, my first all-produce week resulted in me raiding the local Loblaws' produce section, as well as Ambrosia. The second week's goal was greatly aided by a weekend trip to St. Lawrence Market's Harbourfront Organic Foods, a trip I'm likely to make again on future produce-heavy endeavours.

Some highlights included homemade ratatouille, Thai green vegetable curry (no rice), mashed sweet potato with roasted garlic, Greek-inspired wilted spinach mix, and kiwi, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry fruit salad. My allowed vices: potato chips and dark chocolate (both in moderation, of course).

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I've made versions of this previously — mostly memorably the iteration that resulted in me forgetting that the sauté pan of ingredients gets hot enough in the oven to result in a very serious burn — but this is the first version which I've been able to use duck confit in. This one is easily the yummiest iteration I've created.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you guess what I'm cooking tonight?

I've got organic navy beans soaking on the stove, two yellow onions waiting to be chopped, peeled garlic in my fridge, organic baby carrots, fresh thyme, some leftover chorizo sausage, a package of Andouille sausage and a bowl full of homemade duck confit waiting for me when I get home from work tonight.

Update: forgot to mention that I've also got two cans of organic tomatoes.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The list

Think You're Multitasking? Think Again

Neurobiology of a hallucination

Colossal Black Holes Common in the Early Universe

The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever

New York and the Panic of 1873

Where has all the money gone?

Tom Ricks's Inbox

The Things He Carried

Dog Found


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Contender for the throne

Required viewing.


The new reading list wet/dry

Filipino Flavors

The $700+ Billion Bailout

Seeking sufficient capital

The world is at severe risk of a global systemic financial meltdown and a severe global depression

An Economy You Can Bank On

Venice, But Without the Gondolas

$1,000 Lap Dance Defies the Market Slide

Dreams of leaving

Slice and Dice: How Poster Boy Turns Subway Ads into Political Art

The Rorschach Test


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This week's compulsory reading

The Rise and Fall of the Monster
Gay porn star Michael Brandon goes from meth addict to antidrug poster boy and, tragically, back to meth addict.


Life in Purgatory

This Thursday, I will have been at Pareto for 3 months. My probationary review was yesterday, during which I was told that my manager had expected more enthusiasm from me. The reasons she cited were:
  1. She had to speak to me, early on, about my tardiness. My response then, as now, was that the days on which I am late are due to the irregular scheduling of buses from the nearby subway station, as I leave home during a consistent time frame in the morning. Leaving 10 minutes earlier never results in me arriving 10 minutes earlier, so I give myself 45 minutes to get to work (admittedly, giving myself way less time than the average person would, but I work closer to home than the average person). Additionally, I've always been firmly of the opinion that it doesn't actually matter if a person gets to work 5 minutes late, and have always harboured silent resentment towards the managers I've had who think otherwise.

  2. My manager has also had to speak to me about the frequency with which she sees me on the internet or on a personal call. My response then, and now, is that I'm only ever engaging in such activities when my computer's running time-consuming, processor-hogging tasks, so there's very little else for me to do. I don't believe that I use the internet or phone excessively at all, and have actually noted that she's got an uncanny ability to walk in just as I'm making a call or opening a browser window. Regardless, she said she's seen an improvement since speaking to me about it.

  3. During my first few weeks of work, I requested two days off, well in advance of when I wanted to take them. I was given one. My manager's opinion was that someone who'd just come from the world of freelancing ought to be well-rested enough to not require vacation time so early on into their probationary period. I stated that the reason I requested that time was because I wasn't of the opinion that just because I started work in the summer meant I wasn't going to be able to take any summer vacation time. Additionally, I was requesting the time off, not demanding it, hoping that it would be an acceptable request. If I had known it would cause her to deem me somehow unsuitable for my role, I obviously wouldn't have made the request.

I went on to explain that I had an utterly miserable week, in terms of workload, the week before I took two sick days, and that the work pace during that time caused me to have some misgivings about continuing with the company, should it occur very frequently (which it hasn't, yet). Some unaired "dirty laundry" is that I am under the impression that my manager didn't believe me when I initially called in sick for two days. It wasn't until I returned to work and looked and behaved run-down that I feel that my time off was taken as being for perfectly valid reasons.

In good news, my manager says I have a very professional business manner, get along well with the account managers, get my work done, and get it done accurately. To me, that means that I do everything I'm supposed to, so I give myself an A. :P

At the end of the review, my manager opined that she'd like to have me on for another 2 months in a probationary role, and I agreed to it. Frankly, I don't mind the freedom that being able to walk away at a moment's notice gives me, especially if the workload gets particularly overbearing again, and it doesn't much matter to me if I'm officially full-time or not — it just means I have to wait longer until my benefits kick in, and I've heard that they're less than stellar any way.