Crushes vs Communication: A Retrospective, not a Troll

Plugging away at the article while listening to Unknown Mortal Orchestra while navel-gazing about crushes, or mostly — my history of writing crush posts on the older version of this blog and then deleting them. Elicits some chuckles from me.

For me, blog posts about crushes aren’t so much what they seem. For example, in 2014 — several horrible SFF-related things had put me in a very dark place, coupled with my work-related stress. Just posting about crushes had the effect of amusing me enough I was laughing PLUS trolling various people who keep reading my blog, esp those creepy people from SFF who were digging for dirt because they thought I was in the “inner circle” of an SFF author they hated.

Crushes are fun but they also aren’t very mature things. They’re not committed relationships. And this morning I reflected on the fact that maybe I squirrel away myself into crushes simply because I have neither the time, energy or experience to want to comprehend the kind of work that goes into relationships. Friendships, I am re-learning. They require some work. Work we take for granted with the friendships of our youth. Re-learning it as an adult? It’s something else. And for most of my time back in Malaysia I’ve just been focused on surviving on various basic levels in a toxic system. I’ve been focused a lot on self-care. Crushes were also a form of self-care so life would not feel so bleak. I am, after all, a person who lives inside her head a lot.

But I also compartmentalize. Like, I can hold crush feelings within friendship feelings, and not want to go beyond the crush. So these posts aren’t a beacon inviting affection so much as “scaring away” affection. This is the kind of thing only a fellow extreme introvert would understand.

But anyway. Being out and about, busy etc has done its job. I’ve come over the most of my extreme grief over Dad. I’m healing. Which also means that I have no more crushes again. Yahoo. I mean this year’s crush was way too long distance etc. At some point in the future if things are feasible, I’m happy to consider friendship because this year’s crush seems a lovely and interesting human being. But for right now, I’m just happy not to have those feelings so I can focus on my work. As for past crush, ahahaha. Bumped into past crush lately. Happy to report that apart from some awkwardness etc, I don’t think I’m going to be in that state again. I am safe! Maybe it’s because with this year’s crush there was actual interaction despite distance? And I’ve had plenty of great interaction with great (albeit distant) guys over the past 2-3 years that feels far more real than this crush. People with whom I’ve shared a lot more, and who have been in my corner as an author. I will never forget those kindnesses and what it means when people are REALLY there for you like that. I’m not crushing on these bros (thank God, I do not want any SFF industry crushes aiyo!!). They’re all friends in this writing thing and I see them more as “bros”. But they’ve also become a new (old) standard for me. At the bare minimum, any romantic interest should involve communication, I think — now that I am older and (we hope), more mature.

But I did have 2-3 crush-free years. So I should be okay. I was a bit worried for a moment the other day because of brush-in with past crush, but then I was okay. No fireworks, just the odd comfort of familiarity coupled with hilarity over an absurd situation.

(I may also have been trolling an eavesdropper because you know, my inner loki)

And that, as they say, is the end of that! Back to finessing this article for submission!

 

Listening to: If You’re Going to Break Yourself — Unknown Mortal Orchestra

My Social Weekend,and other stories

I went to sleep, woke up with a start and then realized my Fitbit Versa’s battery was dying. So while it charges, here’s a blog post!

The first week of the semester started midweek. We had a four-day weekend, followed by a three-day week, followed by a three-day weekend. Despite all this, I am pretty tired. The four-day weekend was heaven. I got a lot of work done in my monograph, the article I’m submitting tomorrow, my novel, wrote a bunch of poems, read storybooks, cooked, and even started drawing for a new watercolour painting.

The first week of the semester mostly consisted of academic writing/research, and coordinating course slots/timetables for what is going to be my hugest intake for creative writing this semester. Not due to any popularity or knowledge of who your humble writer is, but because students are (1) required to take this course for the TESL programme (2) trying to fulfill their liberal studies credit hours. But hey, it’s great that the TESL ppl made my course compulsory, I’m grateful for it.

I also had to do various errands and shopping stuff this week. Things that run out (like meds, toiletries etc) tend to run out in batches. Soon I really need to buy new shoes (I hate shoe-shopping with a vengeance). Then came yesterday, my social day. So social I spent most of today recuperating from it. Being me, that’s angstily recuperating.

I went for a feminist reading group w/ awesome new friend and was introduced to her old friend whom I thought was quite delightful. It was a mixed bag, the reading group. I met the moderator whom another new friend and this new friend wanted me to meet. I liked her well enough. I was at first skeptical about the selected chapter from Mohanty but then warmed up to it and wanted an in-depth discussion about it. It wasn’t helped by the fact that most people either had not read the chapter, or had not understood the chapter. It kind of disintegrated into a kind of academic-bashing which really pissed me off. I was quite vocal and punchy. Partially because I was feeling a bit protective of the moderator — I am such a mama bear and I dunno why these younger academics make me feel protective. I don’t think they’d appreciate my protectiveness at any rate, they’re grown-ups and look after themselves.

So after that we (new friend and newer friend) went to Tiffin Food Court. I’d wanted to check out the food and had asked a couple of new friends if they were interested. They were. So new friend was not so happy with the wristband system and was quite vocally unhappy about it. I probably should have rescued her but I was ranging around absorbing all the things — must remember not to be in lala land when hanging out with people, I guess. I kind of like the idea of the food court but mostly I was driving myself dizzy trying to figure out what I should eat without going waaay above my calorie maintenance level. I mean I have cheat days but they’re very mindful cheat days.┬áI was okay with the wristband system but was quite flustered about the BOOST app because I tried and tried to get the TAC and it wouldn’t work for me. The nice girls at the booth helped me figure it out and then I was ready to go. I guess like most events by this company there’s always a gimmick or thing and this one is the wristband as payment system. I sometimes wonder what came first, music festivals and food coupon systems or Burning Man. But I dig the alternate culture vibe at these festivals and I’m used to it. I probably should have explained it to friend but I think she’s giving it another go. I said I wanted to check out the food again, and apologised for not explaining stuff to her beforehand but she was all “Aiyah, small matterlah”. And that was that. ­čÖé

Speaking for me, I’m happy to see the foodcourt up and running after what happened last year when they had to shut down due to red tape (been there so many times within the academic context I couldn’t help a huge twinge of empathy) — I was also mildly bummed because I wanted to check it out last year. But last year I didn’t have people to go with me, and this year I do. That’s cool because it also means I can share food and won’t eat so much. I want to go again because there are some other popup stalls with food I wouldn’t be able to eat on ordinary days — places I’m too shy to go on my own. This time around, I really loved the iraqi falafel served up by Picha project. But the real hit for me was the truffle yakiniku by Tanuki Raw which gets two thumbs up from me. Also, that banana yogurt cake hit the spot (the coffee stuff looked real good but I am decaf girl and they don’t do decaf). My only real complaint is that I wish they hadn’t mass-plated up some of the food in advance because it meant the food was cold and I’m quite particular about that.

Other things I enjoyed: The general ambiance, and the music was spot on, though there may have been a wry laugh or two from yours truly. I also enjoyed the conversation muchly. It is nice to be around people who exist on the same level of silly as me, and with whom I can talk norty stuff. Very refreshing. I’m surrounded by people who take themselves too seriously at work and I always worry I’m going to be out of step or something, I never know when people are going to be offended. There were a couple of those offendable sorts at the reading group — youngsters who snapped at me so much my heartrate went up to 150! Gosh! Not going again, sorry. Even though I was assured that I was quite mannerly and mindful in my rebuttals, I don’t think I can say the same about a couple of those punters (who hadn’t read the set texts, mind).

ANYWAY, it’s nice just to be silly and laugh. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at a social gathering. Maybe during my PhD student days when I was also unusually social — when I finally found people to hang out with. It took me 6 months in Australia. It took me what, 7 years in Malaysia? That’s right. This month, it’s been 7 years since my return from Australia. And I’m only now having a semblance of a social life again. The year my father died. Life’s really odd like that and I wonder what Daddy would make of it. I’d like to think this pleases him. He was always so worried I was such a loner upon my return. It kept him up at night worrying about me.

I still sometimes reach out to the phone to call him out of force of habit.

#

This week, I am teaching a full week, and then there are a couple of events I haven’t decided if I am attending or not. I did say I might go for the SF talk, we’ll see. See my fatigue levels first. Also taking mother out for dinner on Friday night. Then Saturday I am crashing. Initially was going to go for a talk with friends┬á but since Sunday is our fairytale salon, have excused myself because I need an introversion crash day. Otherwise I’ll be a bear with a sore paw and no good to anyone. Also, I am still made of glass. I sometimes feel like a Victorian cliche with my delicate nerves, sigh. But if I weren’t so sensitive I wouldn’t be the poet/author that I am, I guess. For what it’s worth. Also why you won’t see me fooling around with guys even if I ever got thin enough for that to be an option. I sometimes think back in wonder — that there was a time in my early thirties that I finally dated. I was a different person in Australia. Or maybe I was just so stressed with my PhD I decided that dating would be an excellent method of procrastination.

Now, the thought of it freaks me out. I guess I’m just a nice and timid auntie now. Nevermind that ladies older than me seem to be having such happening love lives. Oh well.

Later when I wake up, I submit this psychogeography x postcolonial Gothic article. This is the one I worked on during my birthday weekend, my ridiculously expensive birthday writing retreat that should have been used for my novel. Anyway, rereading it has revealed I repeated myself too much and it reads like I wrote it drunk even though┬á I am straight edge. So, now no more mystery as to why it was rejected. It’s a sleeker and more lucid paper now and I have achieved emotional closure. Hoping to submit it in time. Then work on monograph. Next month, I submit the M&T article that got a peer review in 2015. A punishing peer review. Also need to submit the revised monograph proposal and the two sample chapters the very nice editor bro requested. Don’t want to let myself OR the editor bro down. So, must make it good.

Hey, I’m still learning to be an effective academic writer, here.

Right. I think my Versa should be charged enough now.

Back to sleep.

Listening to: Blood Red— The Colorist Orchestra, Emilliana Torrini

The Year of Stepping Back

I’m just going to post some things here about SFF communities and my act of stepping back this year. Then I’m moving on.

  1. The SFF community is far from perfect. We’ve known this for years. Year after year we are afflicted with controversy, inequities and other forms of drama. But when voiced out, people get defensive and when they get defensive, they get dangerous. This too becomes part of the drama.
  2. It’s difficult because — and I say this cautiously — it appears that how far you progress in SFF (like academia, tbh) depends on social mileage, who you know, whether your personality is a good fit or not. I say this cautiously because there are the outliers and trailblazers. These people to me I admire. They win, get nominated because simply, their works are amazing. These are the people I want to emulate. But by and far,┬á SFF depends on skills some of us simply do not possess.
  3. Conversely, being in the SFF pro or rather, neopro circles is rather stressful because so much seems to hinge on being on lists, or being nominated, or getting awards. Before, my only goal was (1) to get THREE pro publications, and (2) join SFWA so that (3) I would be better positioned to get an agent. But the waters get muddied, don’t they. I’m close to getting 20 short fiction sales (1 sale away), but I still feel like I’m a loser because, well. I’ve never been on year’s bests, or nominated for any major award. I did get nominated for the Rhysling’s but I keep feeling that was a fluke. And yes, Morning Cravings was in a BSFA award-winning anthology, but mine was never one of the favourite stories from that anthology so I don’t really feel I deserve that accolade.
  4. This year, my father passed away. I keep mentioning it because it’s like this huge unscale-able mountain in the landscape of who I am. As with most unexpected things, grief re-wired my synapses. Some things became clear. Some things are untenable. This constant pressure and feelings of shame/failure because of SFF is unhealthy. So I stepped back. And now I focus on the small things. The joy of finessing a poem, the joy of writing short stories, small unscale-able victories. Improving my quality of life, making new friends, strengthening pre-existing bonds.
  5. People took my “I’m stepping away from the SFF community”┬á as a personal insult. I’ve endured many subtweets that were defensive about that community. Most of these subtweets are from people far more privileged than me, who have and will enjoy successes I can only dream about. Except no, I don’t dream of these successes anymore. I just say, “not for the likes of me”, and understand that it’s a glass ceiling just like the glass ceiling I “enjoy” in Malaysian academia. A “jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never ever jam today” situation. I knew this truth in 2014. I know it now, even though I have come such a long way in 2018. I get only what I am allowed to have, what is allocated for me. I know this much. Just like I know in some ways I can never succeed in local academia. It doesn’t mean I’m stepping away from friends and connections made in this profession. It’s simply that I, as an undeniable SFF pro (look, I’ve got enough fiction sales to claim I’m an SFF pro now) now view SFF as a profession. And within any profession there’ll always be dramas, dodgy politics and so you’re going to need time outs. You’re going to need to step away and focus on the quality of your life. But you’ll also make friends you like, that you’ll want to hang out with, outside of work. Small pockets of community that you’re okay with. Or small pockets that you help build. That’s all. I just would rather not be part of that manic circus forever fermenting each other in a frenzy for prizes only a select few will attain. I will never get those prizes. It’s cool, man.
  6. I am a workhorse. In both of my workplaces (academia and professional SFF). I will never be the first to know things. I will never be part of the “in-crowd”. People will always gossip. Rivals who are well-placed will always tell or make up tales to ensure my pathways to better success or positions will be blocked. It’s cool, man. I’m content in my own small way. In my own way, despite this huge mountain of grief within me, I am a happier and more secure person than them. That’s my award. That I can be a person who doesn’t get chosen, who has had a lifetime of being in the cold, not being chosen, who is used to NOT getting the nice things — and still be happy, content, confident in my love for the work I do.
  7. Other good things have been happening to me this year. They help with this process of detaching.
  8. I will not be on any of the other lists I usually am on towards the end of the year. Because there will be no eligibility tweets, no posts from me. I’ve never liked doing it and I won’t do it this year. In January, I’ll likely do a tally of publications and acceptances but that’s for my own records and for the records of my readers.
  9. My readership has more than doubled in the past year. That’s also one of the small triumphs I will claim.
  10. I live for the small things now. But I will still submit works, still support the editors and publishers who publish me by plugging their works, still be professional, still make friends, still try to go for Cons. I’m hoping to be able to do this once a year. We’ll see.

And this is my last post about that for the year.

Listening to: Breaking of the Sword — Loreena McKennit

A Small Refuge

It’s amazing what I’m able to do when I don’t have to interact with other human beings or commute to work! :p

I retweeted a bunch of things on twitter to keep the algorithm from sleeping on me. Don’t want to lose my numbers there but not really in the mood to chat on twitter right now. Anyway, I have so many things I want to accomplish by year’s end so it’s good to be sparse. By Wednesday I’ll think of something safe and inane enough to tweet.

Things done today

  • Watched Masterchef Australia. Made me somewhat nostalgic.
  • Wrote a poem.
  • Started a design for a new watercolour painting.
  • Edited my Gothic article for submission. There’s a September 15th deadline but I have things I’m attending then, so I’m aiming to submit it by Friday.
  • Worked on my monograph Chapter Two AND revised my proposal yet again.
  • Wrote about 749 words in Rosemirror.
  • Did Laundry.
  • Finished reading two books from start to finish, started reading a third book.

All of this was made easier by the fact that mostly all I had to do was heat up food today. I did fancy up a dessert earlier though: pan-grilled figs w/ a small scoop of Haagen Dasz ice cream, half a teaspoon of double cream, half a teaspoon of raspberry jam and 3 medium strawberries sliced and plated fancy-like. I took a pic of it, when I feel like uploading it I’ll append it to this post. Blame Masterchef Australia for putting ideas in my head. I also added a tablespoon of low-fat coconut milk to my curry mee gravy for dinner.

What I ate today:

  • Breakfast: Oats (0.25 cup of dried oats, 0.25 cup of low fat milk, mineral water, vanilla, lakanto) + 1 Granny Smith’s apple (small). French-Pressed Illy Grani Deca Espresso Decaffeinated coffee (I grind a batch of beans every five days or so to save time).
  • Lunch: Chicken Balti w/ 1 cup of long grained basmati rice, a quick salad of diced carrots, cucumber, onion, mint leaves w/ lemon juice, lakanto, salt and pepper. Dessert: Aforementioned pangrilled figs w/ ice cream, 3 strawberries, 1 teaspoon double cream, 1/2 teaspoon raspberry jam (sugarless)
  • Tea: 1 raisin scone, 1 teaspoon double cream, 1 teaspoon raspberry jam.
  • Dinner: Curry laksa
  • Supper: 1 mug milky decaf (using the Boncafe freezedried decaf grains) sweetened w/ Lakanto, 3 hup seng crackers.

Calories: 1678

I’ve learned that it’s okay to have a cup of rice at lunchtime because it keeps me from being too hungry and I snack less. Today was optimum because I had 6 meals. Two substantial ones, while the rest were in small servings. So my blood sugar’s good.

Listening to: Under Wraps — Her’s

Losing the kgs while I sleep!

Well hell, I lost another half kg while I slept! Reached the next kg milestone. Yaaay! Gobsmacked but as I said — body changes corroborate with the results on the bloody expensive weighing scale I bought. There’s a reason why I log both morning weight and night weight. They’re both legit, btw but I count the true success when the night weight stays down.

Anyway, here are two bits of resources about why sleep is an essential component of effective weightloss!

https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2013/06/19/193556929/every-night-you-lose-more-than-a-pound-while-youre-asleep-for-the-oddest-reason

https://www.webmd.com/diet/sleep-and-weight-loss#1

 

God, I really can’t wait to get to the double digits. I haven’t been in the double digits since I was in my teens, thanks to way too much grief and trauma-related food binging.

ETA: Made another spreadsheet to log my measurements. Never got around to doing this.

What I’m Doing This Long Weekend

  1. Resting and catching up on sleep: Man, I am so exhausted. I really pushed myself this academic summer and it seems important to really rest and heal before a super hectic semester begins. I thought of swimming and working out but even the thought of it sends me to sloth mode. Okay, body. I’ll listen to you. Though I’m active enough at home because I can’t keep still. I only have sloth mode and go go go mood, haha. So I’ve been puttering about doing housework, and cooking1
  2. Cooking (and eating!): I made curry laksa tonight — a lower calorie version of last weekend’s glory. It’s therefore not as tasty but cannot be tasty all the time! I also made sardine curry, my favourite Sri Lankan eggplant dish, and cooked basmathi rice. Today I also threw in chicken thighs, a jar of M&S chicken balti paste, red onions, a skinned tomato and a green chilli into the crockpot and had that merrily cooking while I worked on the curry laksa. Nothing more soul-healing than cooking. Looking forward to eating the balti tomorrow with long-grained basmathi rice and a quick indian salad (cucumber, tomatoes, onion, salt, mint leaves and lime).
  3. Watching Television: I finally watched Infinity War which I know people loved but I found it rather clumsy storytelling and pointless, sorry. Also WTF DID THEY DO TO WAKANDA GTFO┬á WAKANDA I SWEAR TO GOD. But reserving the rest of my judgement until I watch the sequel. I did like that Thanos was a complex arch-villain, and there were some other things I enjoyed about it. But it just didn’t seem to hold well together as a story. I have also been watching cooking shows and catching up on Masterchef Australia 2018 which is quite exciting. I don’t know if the finals have finished and I don’t dare to google because I don’t want to be spoilered. I’m rooting for Sashi, obvs but bro, hold it together, man. But I could totally see myself making the same mistakes and bungling about kitchens. I could never do Masterchef, I tell you. I’m just a home cook who has problems cutting things finely.
  4. Leaving the Apartment Only To Take Out The Trash: This is quite glorious. I really badly needed the introversion downtime. But today I got my groceries delivered because I needed scones and didn’t want to steal my writing time away by making scones. Also needed taugeh and eggplant for my curry laksa. I also cancelled my cleaners for Monday because Introversion Weekend. May reschedule for Thursday, we’ll see. S’not like I don’t clean up after myself. I do like that they do a deep clean and spare my knees. Also, it’s just comforting to have people about the apartment. I caved and ordered food from that company but then cancelled it because of introversion. May try again in a couple of months or so. But I also have a lot of yummy (and lower-caloried) food to eat.
  5. Slowly cleaning and organising stuff in the apartment: Wiping down counters, reorganising the fridge etc.
  6. Singing along with Tori Amos: Cathartic, man.
  7. Writing: Poetry, short fiction (I’m still trying to write things for Clarkesworld and The Dark. The thought of having only one Clarkesworld story this year feels quite upsetting!), Rosemirror, the monograph┬áand this Gothic article I want to resubmit this week. There’s a September 15 deadline. I also am rereading Elleke Boehmer’s Postcolonial Poetics, since my Editor-in-Chief not only approved my pitch but is interested in giving me a slot. Must push myself to do this. I’m excited to do this!
  8. Reading: To be quite honest, I don’t think I’ll be able to read 100 books this year but not, I hope, from lack of trying. Currently rereading Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet — the boxed set. I love her little afterwords! Also reading various things for my articles and monograph.
  9. Apparently still losing weight!: ­čś« Lowest night-time weight! Night-time weight tends to be heavier than morning weight. I log both in an excel spreadsheet, and measure my waistline for corroboration. I lost another inch there too. Have to keep motivating myself.

Yeah, staying away from social media comes with a huge sigh of relief. I want to stay away longer but then my followers will drop off like flies :/

I could just do random retweets after this hiatus, I guess.

Listening to: Girl — Tori Amos

A Cautious List of Accomplishments for 2018 (so far)

As the year begins its gradual slide into the next quarter, I thought it would be a good idea for me to list down my accomplishments for the year. It’s easy to dwell on defeats and I’ve been feeling very defeated by life. And this has been a year of bereavement and disappointment. But, other things have been happening as well. It’s just like 2016, that other year of bereavement — and I felt I was bloody under-performing for most of it but I had publications nearly every month. I look back in awe at that year but it was also really emotionally exhausting and harrowing. I had less publications in 2017 which was my year of illness, but two of those publications were in Clarkesworld and that’s definitely something to write home about. No meteoric rise to fame, me. And I still don’t have an agent. But I haven’t done too badly, all’s said and done.

Fiction/Poetry

  • 2 pro publications, 1 semipro publication (Fiction).
  • 4 fiction acceptances┬á (2 pro, 2 semipro)
  • 3 queries for a full for Watermyth, which I finally finetuned enough to be ready to be sent out as a full.
  • Reached 80k in Rosemirror in about a fraction of the time it took me to get there with Watermyth. I’m counting that as a triumph since I’d like to be a novelist who completes a novel a year if I could just bloody get an agent argh.
  • 1 poetry acceptance
  • 16 poems written so far.
  • The most poetry submissions in a year. Pity they’ve almost all been rejected.
  • 7 new short stories drafted or partially drafted so far.
  • 2 interviews this year for me as an author: 1 podcast/radio, 1 in the national papers

Academic

  • 5 sole-authored academic articles submitted (one was rejected)
  • 2 co-authored academic articles submitted (one as corresponding author, the other submitted by the student)
  • 1 book chapter written from scratch and submitted.
  • 2 conference papers written from scratch and presented (with very positive feedback)
  • Monograph proposal submitted┬á FINALLY and now in the process of finalising sample chapters to be sent for peer review. I guess that’s an achievement even though I feel very unsure/insecure about my chances? But at least I pushed this through the door, I guess.
  • Making connections with other universities through conferences and collaborations.
  • 2 research grant proposals submitted (one rejected, one pending). I’ll likely submit another 2 before the year is done because I need to head a research grant or 2 again for academic survival.
  • 3 PhD students submitted their dissertations. This one is HUGE, I feel.

Personal

  • My 6th month of calorie-counting every day, despite sourpuss naysayers (there’ve been many!) and various temptations.
  • I have lost 13kg since last year. It’s not a constant because I might have lost more had I not had weeks when I was travelling, at buffets, or had more than 2 cheat days in a row. But I’ve learned to forgive myself for these days and just get back on that horse.
  • Weightloss has resulted in: looser clothes, blood sugars reducing to the point that I no longer need insulin, a better heartrate, regular periods (albeit scanty-ish) again after having a fright for two years. I think my days of heavy periods are drawing to a close though, and well, I’m 43 so that’s to be expected.
  • I don’t know if I want to call my most social year to date a “success” because I feel grief has made me more social and that could be me running away from sadness. But it is true that I have been able to make more connections this year because I’ve been able to let people in to a degree I haven’t been able to since my return from Australia in 2011. I don’t know if it’s because grief broke me or what. But I finally feel like I can cautiously have friendships again and don’t feel like I’m going to implode. But careful, open communication and checking in with people seems to be key — so far. Also I guess, having people understand I’ll need to go off the grid every now and then as we grizzled introverted hermits need to do from time to time. I also need to acknowledge that I am bloody paranoid and can be quite skittish and that is something I need to constantly check in myself. But I do feel that I have climbed a huge mountain in terms of interpersonal communications this year and came down on the other side. So a cautious pat on the back for that?

I suppose at some point I’m going to look back in awe at what I’ve achieved this year. But right now what I’m feeling is tired, and frustrated because I don’t have more fiction/poetry acceptances, that my academic submissions have not been accepted, that I still don’t have an agent (I’ve been querying for over a year now). I also feel like I haven’t lost enough weight but that’s good because it’s motivation to keep going. I have a lot of weight to lose. It’s not a vanity thing — it’s because I want to ensure I am taking good care of my internal organs and not putting too much of a strain on them.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Reading a bit, writing a bit, and then to bed.

Listening to: Sheherazade: Ouverture de feerie — Maurice Ravel

(short) Hiatus notice

This is basically an “”I Aten’t Dead”┬á post.

I’m slowly recalibrating after the adventures of the past two months. This four day weekend before an unusually social September/semester begins is important because I want to catch up on my sleep, my fitness and my writing goals. So I’ll be on hiatus on social media for 4-5 days.

Listening to: Little Earthquakes (live version from To Venus and Back) — Tori Amos

Herb-Crusted Salmon with Truffle-Infused Mash

I finally got this right the third time! Simplest crust turned out to be the best!

 

Crust: About 1/2 a tablespoon of panko, fresh rosemary, dried thyme (would have used fresh thyme but the Jaya Grocer branch that delivers my groceries ran out of it), salt, pepper, about 1/2 a teaspoon of extra light olive oil.

Directions: clean and dry salmon fillet. Salt and pepper on the skin side. Spread the crust gently on the flesh side. Add about 1 teaspoon of extra light olive oil onto a non-stick surface (better if you have a dutch oven because I made a makeshift one). Add the salmon on the skin side and gently cook through. Cover with another nonstick pan (I used a nonstick tefal wok for the bottom component and a nonstick tefal frying pan for the top). Optional: When the salmon is just cooked through on the outside, very very gently turn it onto the flesh side so the crust can crisp just a bit. Then flip it over again so the skin side is on the bottom. Cover the pan again and let it gently cook.

Ancillary directions: Before I added the salmon, I wilted the spinach first. I also start boiling potatoes before I prepare everything else so everything is ready at the same time. Then while I was cooking the salmon through, I added slices of red capsicum so it would get a bit charred (and yummy). Done!

I used a salmon fillet of 270 grams. When it was done, I cut it in half. So dinner was 135 grams, and tomorrow I nom another 135 grams ­čÖé

Truffle-infused mash: Basically I boiled two small potatoes, it made about 1/3 of a cup of mash. I added 1/3 a teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon truffle oil. Salt and pepper. Yummy.

 

TOTAL CALORIES: 418 calories.

That’s a pretty good dinner, I should say! Now to have some blueberries for dessert!

Monday Late Night Updates

Okay, I submitted the hauntology article, and the slides. The paper is not really finished yet but if not done on conference day I can wing it with the slides though I would rather read a finished paper. For right now, I suspect it’s more important that I pack and sleep. Yup. Yup yup.

After my conference paper is presented, I’ll work on submitting the other article. Sigh.

Also, it’s easy to ditch twitter. Slack seems impossible. Heh.

 

Listening to: Titus Alone — Aldous Harding (which seems to be today’s theme)