Not so much kicking the jams out as nudging them with a toe and asking politely if they’d mind leaving…

It’s been an inauspicious start to my April of getting things done – slept through the alarm this morning, managed to fritter away two hours without getting started on the (very low-key) to-do list of writing and cleaning-projects needed to make the house ready for the Dungeons and Dragons game on Sunday.  Not a surprise, really – both brain and body are used to an afternoon start at the moment, working late into the evening, but I’m trying to break that habit over the coming month. Still, there is a list of six things that need doing today, and I have managed but one (and that one was basically checking a website). I will be rectifying that…well, not shortly, but sometime after 2 PM when I get back from renewing the lease on my flat, paying bills, and feeding a friend’s cats.

i guess that i could get crazy now baby

I’ve spent most of the afternoon rushing around the house, MC5’s Kick Out the Jams buzzing through my head. I imagine it’s going to be something of a theme song during April – it’s certainly what I plan on listening to every morning this week (although I’ll probably cheat and cycle through the innumerable cover versions out there for variety). I’ve been looking forward to April since the start of the year – one way or another, it’s been the month where I get to try and reclaim my groove as a writer of fiction rather than theory.

The current plan for the coming month:

Do a whole mess of rewrites that have been piling up, then get the stories submitted
The problem with coordinating thesis writing and everything else isn’t finding the time to get drafts done – it’s finding the time to do the polishes and redrafting that transform those first drafts into something worthwhile. Over the last five months I’ve stacked up about six stories in this state, just waiting for me to revise and submit them.

Finish Claw…
Because there’s lots of stuff happening on Horn at the moment, so it makes sense to try and finish the next Miriam Aster novella while I’m all excited. Besides, it’s talking cats, a hard-boiled detective, a burned out actress from an eighties SF cop drama, and a oozing puddle of cat foetii in embryonic fluid – every time I look at the notes I sit there thinking “My god, I want to write this now,” so it’ll be nice to actually, you know, be able to do that.

Finish the next chapter in the thesis
Because work needs to continue, even if I’ve got the space to do other writing now.

Alas, poor schnitzels, I knew them

It’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting here listening to Chibo Matto and Regina Spektor, trying not to regret last night’s culinary adventure. This is what I ate:


Actually before I start, it’s probably worth pointing out that I have this obsession with bad fast-food from places that do their best to try and replicate the fast-food experience of a McDonalds but just don’t quite get it. Show me someone’s random idea to try and revolutionize the franchise fast-food industry or a local take-away doing something odd and I’m there with a couple of bucks in my pocket and a desire to see their worst. It’s a sickness, I know, but it’s mine and I’ve come to grips with it. It’s like those people you know who are obsessed with bad movies and love them for their flaws – I’m obsessed with bad fast-food and love it despite the stomach pains and added kilograms that result. Call it a desire to savor the culinary camp.

Which brings us, then, to Snitzl – a fast-food restaurant I discovered while driving home yesterday built around the theme of doing very bad things to the chicken schnitzel. How bad, you ask? Well, alongside such traditional meals as the schnitzel with gravy and cheese or the schnitzel with salsa, they also offer such delicacies as the Thai Schnitzel (Schnitzel with coconut curry sauce, Thai vegetables, cheese and sweet chilli sauce), the Swag Schnitzel (BBW sauce, bacon, fried onions, cheese), and the Chine-eze (mixed vegetables with sweet & sour sauce, plus pineapple and the inevitable cheese). I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which I was eating above (suffice to say, it bore only a vague resemblance to what I was expecting).

There’s more, of course – pick a nationality and they’re adopting their cuisine to schnitzel form, plus the inevitable variants on the meal deal, happy meal, and seniors meal. The best part was, of course, discovering that they home-delivered – you could get schnitzel abominations delivered to *to your door* if you were sufficiently interested. As dodgy fast-food places go, it was a veritable cornucopia of awesomeness; they had the flashy logo on the outside, all polished up and well-lit to suggest their legitimacy; they had the weird and wonderful mix of gimmick foods; and they had the lingo down as you walked in. Someone had put thought into the appearance and marketing of this. Sadly, however, it ended there – once you actually got inside it looked much like your local fish-and-chippery and thus the temptations of their exotic schnitzel variations was something to be met with suspicion rather than joy.

I’d like to say this ended well, but that goes against the spirit of trying such places out. Mostly you go to them to revel in the complete cognitive dissonance of seeing the basics of marketing and the capitalist impulse go awry, and in that respect Snitz doesn’t disappoint. I mean, I can now have a schnitzel covered in satay sauce, carrot, onion, coriander and cheese delivered to my house (dubbed the Indo D’Lite, though I’ll lay even money on the fact that it’s neither) and that’s worth more than little things like taste.

In fact, were it not for the Styrofoam containers used away, I could almost come to like the place. Compared with previous experiences, it’s actually okay. I’ve definitely had worse – South East Queenslanders who were out late on a Saturday night a lot in the 90’s may remember the short-lived 24-hour Brodies chain, which remains the lower echelon of such places I’ve experienced (and in recent years I delighted to discover that one still existed out in Warwick, and I immediately ate there upon discovering its existence).

Tonight, though, is devoted to recovering to yesterdays experience – I’ll steam myself a chicken breast with ginger and a handful of vegetables and eat like a sensible person. And I’ll dream of the upcoming trip to Adelaide in June, upon which I will be convincing Jason to take me in search of a Pea Floater.

This Post in Bullet Points

  • Off to the Gold Coast again today, in order to learn how to be a PhD student. One might think that after so many years I’d have worked out how by now, but one would be mistaken (said without snark – there’s been a gear-shift in the process recently, and I’m the kind of driver who grinds gears until someone points out the various ways that’s a bad idea).
  • Finally made it to the post-office during work hours yesterday, which meant I could pick up some of the packages of awesomeness waiting for me (a copy of Couch, courtesy of Ben Francisco, and copies of both Cory Doctrow’s Overclocked and a collection of Hugo award winners courtesy of Jason Fischer – thanks to both of you, for they were awesome things to discover).
  • Reason my thesis leaves me a funk #29: I haven’t actually finished and submitted a *new* story (as opposed to resubmitting something that’s already been out) since November of last year.
  • Fortunately I have a half-dozen stories that have gone through multiple drafts and critiques just waiting for me to have the time to work on them. I feel the need to do something about that, rather powerfully. This evening I will come up with a plan, pending possible distractions following the PhD workshops (to whit, I need to mark some assignments at some point).
  • If I promise wit and lucid commentary on the world tomorrow, would you think me a liar? Yes? Well, that’s very wise of you…

My week

For a week now I’ve been sitting down at the computer thinking “must write a blog post soon” without ever getting around to it. I open a post, stare at it for a few seconds, then put it off until later. I can see only two ways out of this deadlock – youtube or lolcats. Thus, I choose youtube and Gilmore Girls references: