20.4.14

stalker/STD/unwanted pregnancy hunt 2014.


















So yes shit has been happening that I haven't been writing about. Nothing at all bad, just yeah taking a break I guess maybe whothefuckknows.

One new development that seems to be worth at least thinking about writing about is this: in a conversation with my still pretty great therapist a few weeks ago, I was lamenting the fact that my current social/work situation doesn't make it very easy to meet unattached members of the fairer sex. I pretty much see the same 50 people all the time, and (at least) 48 of them are dudes.

He said, in all seriousness, "Have you thought about internet dating?" And in all seriousness, I had to say "Dude, fuck no." He smiled politely/sadly, and then in an well-designed attempt to soothe my inflamed sense of pride, he said something like, "Well it's actually become a pretty completely normal thing to do for people in your situation, who work from home, don't go to school, or have an otherwise limited social circle, or are just hopelessly awkward with people they don't know (he didn't really say the last one). There are lots of advantages to it: weeding out people you don't have anything in common with, being able to converse without having to shout over a crowd or pay for expensive drinks and food just to find out you never should have been talking to this person in the first place", etc.etc.etc.

This went on for some time. Eventually I kind of saw his point, and by the end of the session, he'd given me an assignment: sign up for at least one internet dating site before our next session. Fucker.

I'm writing about this scary-as-shit assignment here b/c well in reality I'm finding it pretty funny and educational so far, and I haven't found enough funny and educational things to write about lately, and well I think maybe my nine readers might also think it's at least a little funny, because for starters 1) I might not seem like the ideal candidate for internet dating, or at least I know that perhaps six of you nine people are chuckling to yourselves at the idea of showing up on a blind date and being faced with the prospect of me silently blinking at you from across the table. and 2) my first 48 hours of contact with the whole phenomenon have revealed to me a modest wealth of information that seems to want to bear some scrutiny, scrutiny being a word I have not typed nearly enough in my life thus far. Scrutiny.

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Our story begins with questions. Lots of questions. I'm only dealing with one very popular dating website at the moment b/c 1) I can't imagine dealing with more than one, and because 2) this one seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about things (example here). More on this soon.

Upon beginning the signup process, unfortunately your first task is to choose a username. Not easy. I have many personal rules about usernames, such as not including numbers (unless I'm logging in as my cat Jo3n, which I totally just wrote without realizing at all how Crazy Cat Man it sounds, I swear there's a reasonable explanation), and usually using my IRL name, but in this particular case I thought it wise to not include one molecule of information that could be traced back to the real world me. I mean why would you.

The whole enterprise nearly ended here. I spent almost an entire day trying to come up with a non-creepy, non-emo, non-man-geek, non-committal, non-pervy, non-pretentious and generally non-personal-detail-revealing username. I wish I could tell you what name I sort of submitted to out of sheer exhaustion, but let me just say that I ended up going with something totally clinical, semi-meta, and hopefully mysterious in its profound unsexiness.

OK so then the site starts asking you questions, in order to "improve your matches". I thought maybe it would be like 20 or so questions. But they kept going. And going. Turns out there are 275,294 of them, I'm not kidding (I stopped at 600). There will be at least one entire post dedicated to the awesomeness of these questions.

But for now, one completely awesome side effect of answering these questions is something called "% Enemy". As you answer questions, the site starts figuring out whether womens in your area are potential "matches" or potential "enemies", or more accurately, what percentage of each they are. At first I thought this taxonomy was a bit unnecessarily hostile, until I realized/remembered that, hold everything, some people enjoy dating/having sex with people that they don't even remotely like. A moment of silence please. 

But back to me. Once you've answered a certain number of questions, you're able to search for women based not only on how compatible you seem to be (% Match), but also how much you profoundly disagree about things (% Enemy), and by default the site will show you both. So for example, when you log in, it says "Hey UnsexyClinicalMetaName, check out BigBoobMarge from Buiksloot (25% Match/67% Enemy)."

This is utterly, morbidly fascinating. The 200x more nihilistic me from twenty years ago would've loved the idea of a series of dates with women who I knew for certain I had absolutely nothing in common with, although come to think of it the me from back then didn't really need a website for that did we.

Luckily, the modern me can turn on a filter in this website that specifies "only show me womens that I have shit in common with", so after that I get "Hey UnsexyClinicalMetaName, check out Maaike1970 in Amsterdam (74% Match/9% Enemy)". And then it displays how both of y'all answered the same 481 questions (or however many of the same questions you answered), and after seeing this data you start to think, wow how nicely efficient this whole thing could be.

OK, more soon as they say around here. One of the more obtrusive/addictive elements of this site so far is that it tells you the moment someone starts looking at your profile (you can turn it off, but how much fun is that). A few minutes ago someone just visited my profile who is a "4% Match" for me. IMAGINE THIS DATE.

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17.4.14

gray matter.























Today's lunch, based on David Lebovitz's version of this, it was super and somehow ready in 25 minutes start to finish. As Mr. Lebovitz says: "The fennel isn’t necessary (well, neither are shoes)".

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warm du puy lentils with mustard vinaigrette.

1¼ cup (250 gr) French green lentilles du Puy
1 bay leaf
a few springs of fresh thyme
pinch coarse salt

2 or 3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 bulb of fennel (optional), finely diced
freshly-ground pepper

1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 scallion, minced

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It was so good we had it again for dinner plus some shrimp, a bunch of complementary things going on.



9.4.14

khichdi.

Ja so I'm making the same thing for dinner I made last night, not something that happens much around here unless we've purchased an Econosize something from somewhere. And thus I figure this recipe might be worth jotting down.

It sounds like hippie food, but it has a surprisingly complex thing happening: the surprise ingredient is the split yellow lentils, they have a very pleasant toothsomeness if you don't overcook them. Well also the fennel seed, it's an ingredient that has really grown on me over the past year or so. OK wow all very exciting yes.

Supposedly this is Ayurveda food, extremely thrilling for your digestion: I didn't notice anything startling myself this morning, but maybe two days of it will prove educational and/or stimulating. I'm really just likee how it TASTEE (though it looks like, well, only slightly less gross than this ill-advised serving option).

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kichadi.

1 cup yellow split mung beans
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp coconut

2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 liter boiling water
2 large carrots, sliced into rounds or whatever shape floats your boat
1 sweet potato, skin on, diced medium
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup to 1 cup kale or spinach, chopped

1 cup cooked basmati rice

cilantro, chopped
lime juice, squozen

So I didn't follow the original recipe's instructions except for the part where you take your (in my case unsoaked) mung beans and coat them in the oil, then add fennel, cumin and turmeric and fry for 5 minutes or so, taking care not to burn your seeds. Then I added the water and ginger and cooked for 25 minutes or so until lentils were almost done. Then I added sweet potato and carrot and cooked for another 20 minutes. Then I added the cooked rice at the end and re-seasoned. Then I et it. 

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6.4.14

bony tuck.

















Social and professional obligations have been a bit on overload, so much so that this above picture is from two Sundays ago, that's the kind of backlog we're dealing with. This the BIMhuis, just before The Necks' second set and our reunification with good ol' Tony, with whom we closed the damn place down, a rare extra-late night hang that was, well, "worth it".

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31.3.14

gummint do take a bite.

















Above: 't Blauwe Theehuis, last Thursday, the first Springish day of 2014.

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So I'm on the phone with The Obamacare People because I just figured out this morning at 5am: hey, you're an American citizen and The Gummint will be wondering why your ass isn't all signed up for this shit. Of course I realized this on the last day of open enrollment, so there's no telling how long I'll be on the phone with them (available Skype credit at beginning of call: €6.03).

Thus, I thought I might jot down a few notes about my experience. Note Number One has to do with the incredible hold music. It sounds like a Lee Ritenour/Dave Grusin record that has been left out in the sun for nine days, transmitted to my Skype headphones via shortwave radio, shot through with bursts of static. 

How does one even get music to sound this destroyed in 2014? It is obviously not that they have a record player sitting there on repeat with one busted-ass GRP record dropping the needle on itself over and over: so how is this happening? It is just about the least-reassuring hold music I've ever heard, in terms of making you think that the people you're about to talk to might be able to help you solve whatever problem you're having. 

35 MINUTES LATER:  The hold music is not only completely obliterated-sounding, it's the same 45-second loop over and over (although slightly different every time b/c of warping), punctuated by "Please stay on the line, our next available representative will assist you" every 90 seconds. Quite something. Skype credit still €6.03, the only redeeming part of this experience thus far.

AFTER 51 MINUTES: The whole thing is slightly less entertaining now. To combat this decline in enthusiasm I have picked up the guitar and am now playing along with hold music. 

AFTER 67 MINUTES: Human contact. Told me he was pretty sure that if I wasn't "lawfully present" that I probably didn't have anything to worry about. But he'd have to check. Cue more hold music, different but just as distressed-sounding. But hey, more than one song so that's something. 

72 MINUTES: We're supposedly exempt since we live in another country. Frankly, I don't believe that they're not going to penalize us come tax time, and then we'll have to contest it, but I guess we'll find out yo. 

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26.3.14

ambienkitchen.

Interesting evolution of Ambien usage: this morning featured inexplicable pots and pans and vanished leftovers. At some point in the night I'd made a complicated dish of leftover home fries, leftover frittata, and rice noodles, no actual memories of it, I thought it was a dream.

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18.3.14

wheels, steel, etc.

















Awwww yeah, I am back behind the DJ console or whatever the newfangled kids of today are calling the place where you stand and play records for other people to try and talk over top of. But seriously, what a thing to get paid for.

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