Strange and unlikely things happen all the time, but usually they're either obviously bad (kidney in his KFC! KIDNEY IN HIS KFC!) or kind of nice (I've been sitting here for a good five minutes trying to think of good stranger-created surprises I've heard about recently, but all I could come up with was that "pay for the coffee the guy behind you is buying" thing at Tim Horton's and I found that depressingly uninspiring when I read about it—so I've got nothing).

And when the strange and unlikely things that happen are the result of strange and unlikely people trying to scare or disgust people they don't know, I can generally figure out what they were intended to achieve (usually the creation of fear or disgust), because my experience of crime drama profilers has taught me a great deal about abnormal psychology (mostly that anyone who likes Blake or Poe should immediately be arrested).

But I simply do not know what to think about what my father found recently in his cereal box. He did not find a dead rat, a turd, or a manifesto in crabbed handwriting all about how Poe thought there was nothing more beautiful than the death of a beautiful woman--instead, he found:

1) Variable Winds at Jalna, by Mazo de la Roche (I had never before heard of the Jalna books, but just last week I found one in my building's laundry room, and the back cover informed me that they were "among the greatest literary accomplishments of the century." So that's something.)
2) The UCLA Story
3) a guidebook to Ontario ("includes Michigan, Quebec, and Western New York")
4) a photo of Lyle Lovett's head
5) a page with the words "your children's quarrels" and a picture of what I can only assume is one of those orange-y line-drawn 70s children.

And I when I say "found in his cereal box," I mean "found securely and professionally packaged inside his cereal box." Someone actually collected these things and managed to put them in whatever machine is used to seal cereal all up and then sealed them all up. And then went to the Hogg's Hollow Loblaws and put this on the shelf.

And, of course, when my father brought the box back to the Loblaws, the manager gave him many skeptical sidelong "we both know you put all these things in this box, sir" glances. The Loblaws manager declared that no one associated with Loblaws had ever read Jalna, and the people at Kellogg's also insisted no one there had ever heard of Jalna, but Kellogg's at least ended up giving him some vouchers.

I would almost be happier if my father had opened the box and found a turd covered in passages from Blake and grand claims about the reach and power of the Illuminati, because at least that I could understand.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
This is going to be one of the most boring things I have ever written. I know this because it is one of the most boring things I have ever thought about writing (of course, I'm assuming I'm capable of assessing the boring-ness of my own thoughts, which is probably a stupid assumption.)

It might be one of the most boring things I have ever thought about writing—but never have I been more emotionally affected by and invested in my topic.

I made such a terrible dinner. It was genuinely awful. It was so awful, I feel as though it has spread a yucky layer of disappointment over my whole evening.

It's not even a dramatic and interesting failure. It's just that I've run out of tamari, and at some point, tamari appears to have become the foundation for all of my varied baked tofu dishes. So I keep thinking, for some reason, that because I'm now savvy enough to actually have ingredients I use for things, and recipes I've learned about those ingredients from, I can be one of those people who "improvises," and does things like substitute binder clips for capers, or inadvertently aged alcoholic cider for panko.

There's a delicious salad dressing I enjoy (that involves miso and tahini and mustard), and I thought "my background in the not-having of resourceful and successful food-related ideas makes me confident that baking tofu in this dressing would result in deliciousness." I only had medium-firm tofu, which I've used before and thought would be fine, and I just bought some cheap miso, which I was confident would not be disgusting at all, and so I used that too.

I baked it all up for a good forty minutes—I kept thinking the tofu would "firm up" given another five minutes, and yet it kept dissolving further into a giant puddle of squished grey-ish sloppiness. Aha! I thought (convinced that the one thing that would undo one misguided food plan was another food plan that would surely not turn out to have been misguided)—what this unsightly muck needs is to become fried unsightly muck.

So I fried up the tofu, and voilà! It had shape! And now also had an odd and unpleasant mealy texture!

I could have made three normal meals in the time it took to prepare this one, and I don't think I've ever eaten anything simultaneously so mushy and so salty.

I was indeed wise to stock up on frozen breaded mozzarella sticks: I will need them tonight.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
2012 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year--although as my father and I agreed just before the end of it, it's always possible 2013 will be worse, so best not to trumpet 2012's passing too showily. That said, 2012 will likely never come around again, and that's something.

I had an emphatically homebody-ish New Year's Eve, which I am going to describe because I am not the least ashamed of it. Not everyone goes out to discotheques or is unable to go to a discotheque only because it's impossible to leave the new baby.

My parents came over. We kicked off the night by driving to a Future Shop (I needed a longer audio cord), which was closed. We came back to my apartment, ordered some pizza, and then watched a good half hour of something called something like Senior Star, a Hamilton talent competition featuring aged lady fiddlers in sparkling lounge pants being assessed by a panel of judges who all appeared to be drunk.

Then my parents convinced me that Midsomer Murders is no longer quite so precious now that the first Inspector Barnaby is gone, and so we watched an episode. It featured a man's bare bum, so obviously I will not be watching that filth again.

For no apparent reason, I then forced my parents to watch a rerun of Psych, a show which, if I were an even slightly different person, would drive me nuts, but instead makes me feel delighted.

My parents left at 11:45, leaving me with a critical decision: Would I watch the Toshiba ball drop on Pepsi Anderson Cooper, or would I defiantly not care about midnight and read defiantly in bed? Would I be all "Oh...midnight? Is that when the new year began? (lazy laugh) I'm afraid I'd already turned in." Or would I decide it's more annoying to not care about midnight and defiantly watch one of those guys I think might have originally fronted a Christian rock band get John Lennon lyrics wrong?

As it happened, I made no conscious decision at all, because at about five minutes to midnight, George the cat rushed into the room and demanded attention, and so when the ball dropped and tragically crushed Kathy Griffin, I was busy lying on the floor being head-butted by a merciless purring tabby and missed the whole thing entirely (as did Stabler,
who was busy rolling about in her first hay tribute of 2013).

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.