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Siren's calling.

I don’t know, maybe I get paranoid, but I am getting really annoyed by this town. Since it’s not winter anymore, with freezing temperatures around -15ºC, lots of people hang out in the streets. And because of the insanely high crime rate in this town, this means police sirens howling all night long. Additionally, the people from the bar downstairs hang around in front of the bar on the sidewalk to smoke (weirdly enough almost everybody smokes here, shattering my belief that the US would be a smoke-free country) and yell at each other until 2am. So it’s back to earplugs again for me. I read the press clippings from the police department the other day and there is apparently a guy walking around shooting people on their porches, mostly aiming for the legs. This is happening in a not-so-safe neighborhood, but still. When I walked back home from the train station the other night (situated in another not-so-safe-neighborhood) I saw a police car idling in every smaller street leading up to the larger one I was walking on until i got to my apartment. Hmm, if I skim my recent posts, I sound pretty grumpy and cranky, eh? Well, I’m usually not so grumpy, but at the moment I’m just a little annoyed, that’s all. But I’ll be going to NYC this week to check out the new exhibitions at the Museum of Photography and generally hang out, so there’s some fun coming up!

Some of you might remember that I live with the Chinese Guy, who does a PhD on Computer Science and spends his entire spare time sitting in front of his PC and eats take-out food. Well, he went on a vacation to visit his parents in China last February and apparently they complained about his eating habits. Now he started cooking and working out. Hey, I’m all for healthy living, etc. but I wasn’t prepared for the major changes this lifestyle change brought about. See, Chinese cooking seems to rely a lot on frying stuff. So there is a lot of frying going on right now, like every fucking day, and the entire kitchen is by now covered in a patina of oil. And don’t get me started on the condition of the oven itself. Drops of oil, all over it, on the wall, on the cupboard above it, on all my spices and ingredients… it’s crazy and I will not clean this up! Especially not as I’m leaving in a little more than a week or so. But still – major ‘bleh’ on my part.

To stay with the cooking; I got two books by Anthony Bourdain from the bargain-bin at the local bookstore for $2 each, which is a steal. I halfway expected them to have some major printing errors, like starting again with page one halfway through the book, but I’m almost through with Kitchen Confidential and everything was okay. It’s an easy read, that’s for sure, and he’s a little pretentious, which can get a little on one’s nerves, but it is a fun read, nevertheless, and he knows the nuts and bolts of writing well enough to keep you interested. Good reading for a train-ride or an international flight. Another book that I really liked was Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky, the guy who wrote that book on salt. It’s a compilation of food writing with quotes spanning 2000+ years, so you get Tacitus’ opinions of German cuisine next to James Beard, which makes a really fun read!

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