Friday, June 20, 2008

Derek Burrow, HBA

I graduated today. 3.1 GPA, Honors Bachelor of Arts with a double Major in Classical Civilizations and English.

It was *AWESOME*. Long procession, robes, etc. I...lack words at the moment to describe it, save to quote Kung Fu Panda by stating that there is no price for awesomeness.

More tomorrow, perhaps. When I'm feeling more articulate.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Overheard in Toronto

Guy in a business suit, standing out the Revenue Canada offices, talking to his other buddies in suits: "...I like girls who like girls."

Two women walking past: "So do we!"

Not now, son, I'm making CAKE!!!

I made cake last night. At around 10pm. No, I really don't know why.

But at least it wasn't stolen by Lex Luthor. That would be terrible.

I just decided I was going to make a cake. Truthfully, I'd been considering it the day before anyway. I was thinking maybe a peach, apricot, and nectarine upside down cake, but I lacked brown sugar and was too much of a cheap bastard to go out and buy some. Also, I was low on flour, so only had enough to make the recipe half sized. Which turned out to be a good thing...becuase jesus christ is that a huge recipe! Holy fuck.


Basic recipe was an orange chiffon cake (being a cake made using oil and beaten egg whites rather than anywhere near as girly as it sounds) out of a huge Good Housekeeping recipe book that I got as a gift a while back. I made half the recipe, and substituted fresh apple cider in place of the orange juice, as well as adding a bit of cinnamon. I finished it off by placing a thin layer of batter around the bottom, and then layering it over with slices of apricots.

Holy shit did that thing rise. I'd forgotten just how much chiffon cakes rise in the oven (it rose to form a dome approximately that was twice as high as the pan). It smelled *incredible*, though, and cooked all the way through without incident. Turned out nice, tall, and quite moist and fluffy inside. Apricots didn't turn out so great, though, and I was disappointed by their performance in the cake. Next time I really *should* invest in the brown sugar to do a proper upside down caramel cake...and also use LOTS more fruit.

Taste is a little on the bland side, but that's pretty normal for chiffon cakes, since they don't have any butter in them. Apple taste carries through somewhat, though, as does the flavor of the orange zest. Cinnamon doesn't add much flavor here, but gives it a nice aroma.

For a spontaneous cake that I made from adapting a recipe at 10pm on a Tuesday night, though, its pretty damn good! Also not bad for the first cake I've made in 5 months.

I'd post a picture, but as soon as it cooled I cut it up, wrapped it up, and stuck two individual quarters in the freezer, whilst keeping the other half to eat. Errr...which is now mostly eaten. I think next time I do this recipe I may skip the apricots (or put in a variety of fruit and the proper caramel base), slice it through the middle, add some jam, and then cover the whole thing with frosting.

I hereby dub this "the poor boy's cake" (as I could get about 8 decent servings from it at a total cost of *maybe* $4 for the whole cake, so about 50 cents per serving).


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tales From the Waydown, part 1

Yes, I'm finally posting the damn things. I need to get back into writing. Haven't written anything non-Cam based in months. Been burnt out on the job search, distracted by all sorts of things. Lost discipline, lost will, need to begin fresh. let us begin. Excelsior.

Tales from the Waydown
Chapter 1. In Which Our Protagonist Fails To Eat Lunch

I’d been hit by a car on my way to lunch. Lying there in the gutter, my face pressed down into the muddy runoff, I took a minute to consider how many bones I had probably just broken. It was around that time that the men in the car got out and decided to make my life a little less pleasant.

Normally when a PI gets beat up this early in a case, it means he’s on to something. My problem was that I I didn’t have a case…I just wanted a sandwich. So I wasn’t really sure why someone had driven a car into me. But I was sure on one thing: The fact that they were stopping to get out probably wasn’t a good thing.

You don’t stop after you hit someone in Necropolis. Rule of thumb. There are too many things abroad in the night. You don’t stop. Chances are good that its just some poor human schlub who had the bad taste to wander out into oncoming traffic. But there’s also a chance that its something that crawled down to the darkest hole in the world, the city at the centre of decay, looking for a bite to eat. You can understand why Necropolis’ travel agents make a good business in one-way trips. So generally when someone DOES stop after they hit you, they’re up to no good.

Up to no good, like the trenchcoat clad man who lifted me dripping out of the gutter. He was bald, overweight, with a double chin and rheumy eyes that squinted out from behind tiny spectacles. He was marked on the neck with the small black silhouette of a half moon tattoo, identifying him as one Papa Moon’s hired thugs. Papa Moon ran one of the biggest illegal important businesses in town. I hadn’t seen Papa in a while, not since I’d made the mistake of taking a missing persons that led right to his front door.

The man held me by the collar of my own trenchcoat, muscles rippling under the fat, and threw me down on my knees on the pavement. The fact that my knees held my weight told me they weren’t broken, or at least were holding together well enough to fake it. My chest wasn’t so lucky. I gasped as my ribs reminded me that they didn’t like being hit by half a ton of Detroit steel.

“Ow,” was all I could think of saying.

“Get up, Mister Fetch. Papa Moon wants a few words with you.”

“You didn’t have to hit me with the car,” I said, slowly standing, holding my side, “We could have just talked…like normal people.”

My trenchcoat was soaked with the cold water from the gutter, and it helped a little with the giant bruise that seemed to be covering my body from head to toe. It didn’t help the ribs, though, and I resisted the urge to prod my chest just to see if anything was broken. I spotted my rumpled, much abused hat sitting in the water, and painfully bent down to pick it up, almost falling over when my ribs complained. I felt better with it on, though, and at least my knees seemed to be recovering.

It was times like this that I wished I looked a bit more impressive. Its hard to look impressive when you’ve been thrown down in a gutter full of rain water, but I knew people who could pull it off. But average height, balding PIs in shabby trench coats and second rate suits rarely inspire confidence or fear. At least the hat covered the bald spot on the back of my head, and shaded the receding hairline in the front, but the fact that it too was soaked with gutter water and street dirt ruined the effect.

The thug opened the door of the car, a great black sedan in one of the older styles, and ushered me in. I trudged along, dripping all the way, and collapsed into the car’s plush back seat. Any chances of me relaxing were undone when I saw who was sitting beside me, sipping a martini. He wore a white linen suit and white panama hat, his skin black as ink, but worked over with tribal scarring that showed darkly under the shadow cast by his hat. The hand holding the martini had the scars around the odd shape just beside his little finger, the place where his sixth finger had been removed well after birth. Papa Moon, the Baron of Midnight himself, the man who rivaled the mafia in his reach.

“You don’t look so good, Fetch,” he said as the thug closed the door. Moon still had that heavy French accent, slurred a little by the weird design of his lips. They’d been sewn shut once, sewn shut to shut him up, and forever after he’d always had that weird sound that was all his own. “I think next time maybe I just have Milo rough you up a little. But I always wanted to see how much the great Adelaide Fetch can survive.”

“I’d have thought that shooting me in the chest would have proven something,” I replied with a grimace. I spared a poke at my chest. The ribs didn’t feel broken, though considering how I work, they could have been shattered and still felt solid. I am very hard to kill. “If you don’t mind me asking…you got anymore of those martinis? I missed lunch.”

Papa Moon laughed and poured me a drink. I took the fact that, the car aside, he hadn’t tried to kill me yet as a good sign. Hope springs eternal.