Week 17: Fun, finance and freebies

An odd week this week, reflective of my lightly confused state of mind at the moment. I really don’t know where to start, so before I do, here’s a picture of Buddha for you to enjoy.

the big buddha

Now, let’s start with the fun. I went to see Avenue Q on Tuesday night. Got a couple of tickets for the bargain price of £45 from the Tkts Booth in Leicester Square. Good seats too: Stalls, row H, just off centre.

Now this is only my second musical, after going to see Legally Blonde for my birthday, but it didn’t disappoint. The part human/part puppet cast worked well – even though the actors were just walking around with the puppets on their hands, not trying to hide or anything, so you spent as much time looking at them as at the puppets – and the songs were good – though I couldn’t sing you one if I tried, unlike when I left legally Blonde – so over all it was well worth going to see, but there was one or two sticking points for me.

Personally I would have liked to have seen them work the puppets a little bit more. Often they’d be singing their heads off, doing all sorts of expressive head movements themselves, but just opening and closing the mouthes of the puppets, not really putting much life into the performance at all. What’s the point of having puppets if you’re not going to use them to their full potential? That said, the guy with the beard who played Trekkie Monster and one of the Bad Idea Bears really put his back into it, and gave us some of the funniest bits of the whole show, so hats off to him for that.

Also, and this is just weird, there was a Chinese character in the show (a person, not a puppet) played by some woman who very obviously wasn’t Chinese. Every time she was on stage I kept thinking “Couldn’t they find a Chinese woman to play that part? Are there no singing Chinese actors in London these days?” And who knows, maybe there aren’t; but I doubt it. In fact I bet you a fiver I could find one inside of a week.

day 3 - this is your life

I have an announcement to make. I am now officially old! Why? Because I’ve joined the pension scheme at work. Now I know what some of you are thinking, big whup, but for me it’s symbolic of something; a fundamental alteration of intent. By signing up I’ve finally admitted that maybe I’m not going to make it big in Hollywood, or invent something amazing, or just plain old win the Lotto (which I’ve bought tickets for twice this week). I’ve chosen to “not put my eggs in one basket” as the adviser said, but to hedge my bets, in my opinion, on the side of ‘failure’.

I know, I know, I’m being overly dramatic, but there is a real point here. I want to stop worrying about the future, not give in to those fears and start planning for it. After all, tomorrow never comes, there is only the now, so what am I planning for?

And I’ll tell you what else, I don’t like how that money, once it’s paid in, is gone for good. I won’t see any return on it until I retire. I can’t get it back at any point, it’s in there for life. This seems wrong to me. It’s my money, it’s not spent, if I want it back I should get it back, shouldn’t I? I’m telling you man, pensions, like insurance, is just one big racket. But hopefully I’ll have the last laugh. They say when I retire they’ll work out from what I’ve put in how much I’ll get each year for the rest of my life, based on how long they think I’ll live. What they don’t realise is, if i keep on with the Tai Chi, I’m going to live a hell of a lot longer than they think.

comrade kiki

Still, I shouldn’t complain financially speak this week. I’ve enjoyed a shed load of freebies recently. I’ve had free massages from the lovely Sarah (Hi Sarah! *wave*) which were very relaxing, got a free physio check up (detailed previously) which helped me figure out what’s wrong with my legs/back, and I even got a free hair cut the other day (which included a wash, dry, and go in the vibrating chair) so over all I’m a bit ahead of the game… which is nice. However, we must remember: TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Life has a way of balancing out, whether we like it or not. I just hope these were returns on previous ‘investments’, and not something I’ll have to pay for later. 🙂

TTFN

Report 3 – A little Chinesey (Spring rolls and Garlic cucumber)

It’s Chinese night in the House of Kiki. Had a go at spring rolls for the first time ever. Turned out ok actually.

Here’s how I did it.

Spring Rolls

Splash of Oil

1 Carrot

5-6 Spring onions

6 Shitake mushrooms

1 tsp Cornflour

2 tsp Cold water

1 tsp Light soy sauce

1/4 tsp Sugar

pinch of Salt

1/3 of a bottle of Corn oil

1 pack Blue Dragon Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers

Slice the carrot, spring onion and mushrooms into really thin, short strips.

Mix the cornflour with the cold water in a bowl, then add the soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside for now.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the carrots, mushrooms and spring onion until soft. Add the seasoning mixture from the bowl, heat for about 30 secs, then place on a plate in the fridge to cool completely.

Wash the wok, then fill with about an inch of oil and heat until hot enough to shallow fry (ie: quite hot). Meanwhile, prepare wrappers as per instructions – place in hot water for 15-20 secs until soft, pat dry until sticky – then fill with cooled filling and roll up. Place on plate ready for frying. NB: Be sure to get rid of large air pockets, otherwise they’ll balloon up when you put them in the oil. Trust me, I know!

When oil is up to heat stick in the spring rolls for a few minutes, turning occasionally (if you can, mine kept turning back over again) until cooked. Should only take 2-3 minutes ’til they’re done.

Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Garlic Cucumber

1 Cucumber, chopped

4-5 Cloves of Garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Rice vinegar

1 tsp Sugar

Slice the cucumber lengthways, into 4 long sections, then cut out the seedy bit in the middle. Chop roughly into bit sized chunks.

Mix the other ingredients in a large bowl, then add the cucumber.

Mix, the refrigerate for a few hours – overnight if possible – until needed.

The spring rolls were easier than I expected them to be. Ok, so I had a few ‘blow outs’ (air pockets), and they stuck together when I tossed them in the oil – plus, I ended up with a wok full of used, slightly dirty, oil which I just had to decant back into it’s bottle (when cold of course) for future stir-fry use – but all things considered they were damn tasty and well worth the effort.

The garlic cucumber is something I came across in Hong Kong, and boy is it tasty! We don’t have a tradition of cold starters in the west, but let me tell you, we are missing out. Give this one a go and you won’t regret it. You can’t have too much garlic, and it benefits form a good stir now and then.

Other than that, here’s how this week has gone.

Recipes done: Spring rolls and Garlic cucumber

Writing done: None; again! I know, it’s rubbish, but I refuse to give up. One of these days my shaming myself online will result in some work. The more rubbish films I see – Avatar, Surrogates and Gamer, to name the most recent – the more I know that what I’ve got is needed and will get made; I just need to commit it to paper.

New thing done: Become a youTube star!!! Ok, not really, but I have gone online being interviewed about being a vegan (see previous post). It’s already illicited the odd comment but I won’t be replying. I’m not into having a big ol’ phisolophical (yes I know it’s spelt wrong) debate on the rights and wrongs of this, that and the other. It’s very much my thing that I don’t tell people what to do and I expect them not to tell me what to do. People get themselves all tied up in knots because they think they know what other people should do with their lives. All I know is that I know nothing, and until I do I’m dealing with my own karma and nothing else. The rest is somebody else’s problem (if they want it that is).

Ciao for now my little neolites. TTFN.