I had lunch with Lily in the Village today, first time I've seen her in a bit. She was a little insane with an internship this summer. She is just burning her way through a really smart education plan. She wants to be a librarian with a specialty in museums, so she just took her M.S.L.S. (Master's of Science in Library Science -- a lot of schools just call it an M.L.S., but I guess Pratt likes the long way). In August, she's starting an M.A. in Art History at Hunter. Smart, smart, smart. Smart plan and smart woman. I'm not saying she doesn't sweat her way through it -- she certainly does, and gets stressed out, and all that. I've never asked her about grades, though I'm sure they're excellent. I admire her unwavering focus. Even in the toughest times, I doubt she ever considered changing course. And I've worked with her, and have rarely seen that kind of work ethic. Everyone likes her. When I was temping at Penguin in another department, she was probably the friendliest person I encountered, even though we had no work connection at all. (Coincidentally, in my third stint as a temp at Penguin, she was my supervisor.) I'm really lucky, because it's often hard to make new close friends after 40 or 45 or whatever, but I've made two wonderful friends in the past ten years (Jannah's the other).
We ate at a place called Otarian, which I'd read about in a food blog. It's a vegetarian place (Lily's veg), and kind of leads with its conscious effort to leave a low carbon footprint and then tell everyone about it, over and over. I like that it's locavore, for non-carbon-footprint reasons. There have been some complaints that the food isn't too good or that the prices are too high. It's about the most upscale, sparkling clean, friendly fast-food place you'll ever see. It makes Chipotle look like McDonalds...oh, wait, Chipotle is McDonald's... anyway, I had a vegetable biryani and a creme brulee (no egg in the creme, though), and they were just fine, and with a bottle of water (perhaps too big a carbon footprint), it ran me around fifteen bucks, no tip required. I liked the fact that the portions were not enormous, because you could get two (even three) things without getting stuffed. Lily had a portabello burger and a tomato/mozzarella/avocado salad. The biryani tasted good and was mildly spicy. I'm getting adventurous about hot spices lately. The creme brulee was actually bruleed, but the non-custard custard was a little weird, maybe because I *always* have brulee and custard. (Forget that I should be eating none of this.)
Here's the healthier part: after lunch, I went to the Union Square Greenmarket. I love that place, but it always seems like such a schlep from home, especially since I can't possibly carry everything I'd like to buy. But if I'm going to Manhattan for something else, and it happens to be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, I'll bring a tote bag or two. Let's see if I can remember everything I bought (only one tote bag today): many heirloom tomatoes. pea sprouts. cucumbers the size of almonds (their cuteness compelled me). watermelons the size of grapefruits. a bag of teeny plums. a couple of not-too-hot hot peppers. three heads of garlic. and, yay, Beth's Farm Kitchen was there with their jams and chutneys! I'd forgotten that they always have open jars of many of the products, popsicle sticks in each, and little its of bread to try them on. I bought a jar of Zapricot Chutney (mainly apricots, with chipotle), and Cranberry Horseradish (Beth ought to get a Nobel Prize for that one).
I had taken out ground meat for dinner tonight, which is something we call "Sloppy Spoots." Please don't make me tell you "Spoot" signifies, but Sloppy Spoots began as a personalized version of Sloppy Joes. Barry made them with ground meat and salsa, or maybe ketchup, or maybe both, and usually ate it on a roll. (Around here, "ground meat" can be turkey, beef, veal or pork, but mostly turkey, followed by veal; ground lamb would also be in rotation if I could ever find it anywhere. Jannah once made burgers that were half-beef and half-lamb, and I nearly swooned. I'm a bit of a lamb slut. And don't get me started on lobster.) Anyway, on my watch, Sloppy Spoots were eaten with rice instead of on a roll, and of course seasoned with a little more effort than opening a can of salsa (though I admit, not bad if it's good salsa, and I have a jar-of-salsa chicken dish, so I shouldn't point fingers).
So this is what I did tonight: half beef, half turkey. Softened onions, shallots, garlic, bell pepper, and hot pepper in vegetable oil (all Greenmarket stuff). Boiled some red potatoes (non Greenmarket, alas), drained and diced them. Added the meat to the vegetables, added recaito (Latin-American seasoning paste, mostly cilantro), basil (opal basil from the Greenmarket that I dried myself), salt and pepper, and cooked until the meat had lost most of its color, then added the potatoes and cooked a bit more. Then I decided it needed a can of tomato sauce, so I put that in. Since I put in the potatoes no other starch was needed. Barry ate it with ketchup; I ate it with both chutneys. It was good. I guess it's something of a homemade Hamburger Helper. It's a relatively plain dish but you can do a lot with it.
My jar of salsa chicken recipe: brown four boneless skinless chicken breasts in a skillet. Add a jar of salsa. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes. Eat with rice. This is a nice way to make boneless skinless chicken breasts that are not dry.
There was a job nibble the other day...but then I was told that the hiring was on hold, and I'd be recontacted if anything changed. So I'm just plowing on. I still get a fair number of scams in response to ads I answer on Craigslist; I've pretty much figured out the signs of scam-fishing in the ads, but I don't catch all of them. But when the scams come, I always know just what they are. If I have the time, I usually like to screw with the person a little.
I got a really bizarre one today, purportedly from a woman who signed herself as working at something like JobSearch.com (that's not the exact name). She said the job I had applied for had been filled, but I was invited to look for more jobs on -- and here there were two links I was supposed to click. I moused over them, and the domain names sounded like job search sites (though none was JobSearch.com), but they were also not home pages of these sites. The web addresses were something like administrative job dot com blackslash name backslash +78 backslash -- and so on. I also punched up JobSearch.com, and that looked like an employment site of some sort, but it actually said nothing. One page of it had a kind of boilerplate "how to have a successful resume" thing, but nowhere did it have anything like a list of clients, places to click "for employers" or "for job seekers," certainly no list of openings or application or services. There was a contact e-mail, which was info at Jobsearch.com, and a phone number and street address in Hicksville, New York. (No reason for an employment agency in Hicksville.) It also seemed weird that the e-mail didn't have a link to the "JobSearch" site. Also that it came from the "HR Director" of JobSearch.
ALSO...there was a file attached called something like "Jennifer_Resume_something," which I did not open. For one thing, that's not the name of my resume file, and for another, why would an employment counselor be sending me my own resume?
Last point: the woman's e-mail had two "P.S."es. One said something like, "I see it is 77 degrees in New York. It is 77 degrees here in our offices in Hicksville, New York. Nice weather." The other one said, "What do Hulk Hogan, someone else, and someone else have in common? Today is their birthday!" WTF, right?
So I did write back and screwed with her/him/it a bit. Said that I'd like to know what company she represents, since the websites she asked me to click on were not JobSearch.com websites. Asked why she had sent me my own resume. Asked her about the JobSearch.com website, and what kind of employers they represent, and what kind of jobs they specialize in. And then I said that I thought her P.S.es were extremely inappropriate, that I've never seen anything like that from an employment agency, especially at first contact; I actually wrote, "Is that how you would want me to behave at an interview?"
I'm not sure what the scam is there -- a virusy or scam website when you click, a virus or trojan in the attachment, or both.
I'm also not sure why I'm not using the actual name of the alleged job site; on the off-chance that it's not as insanely illegitimate and fraudful (new word) as it seems, I don't want to buy myself the headache it could be if anyone actually read this blog.
Yesterday, I researched all of the CUNY and private colleges in New York, went to their websites, looked at all the jobs, and applied to the ones that seemed possibilities. This was a useful piece of research, since I'd really only been looking at NYU and occasionally at CUNY (though the administrative employees there probably had to be dragged out feet-first, since I imagine it to be something of a civil service-type paradise). I'm not bothering with Columbia, firstly because it's easily the most competitive of all of the city's private universities (most offer free tuition, but only one offers free tuition at Columbia); the other reason is that the commute is just too ridiculous from south Brooklyn. But I've now dropped a few applications at places like Julliard and The New School. Considering that so much of my work experience was at universities (mainly NYU, plus a short stint at Fordham-Lincoln Center, and a long-term temp job at Columbia), I could possibly be an attractive candidate for a university job. Let's hope.
Oh -- three more TV shows that I forgot because they're out of season. 30 Rock. Easily the best network sitcom since Seinfeld. Brilliant cast. Big Love. An hour-long drama on HBO about a Morman-fundamentalist family that practices polygamy. Sounds awful but it's great, wonderful acting. Also, Fringe, which is kind of X-File-ish, but benefits from some superb acting, including a wonderful Australian actor named John Noble, who plays a somewhat eccentric professor; Lance Reddick (taller and skinnier than I generally like my men, but still extremely hot); Blair Brown (always Molly Dodd to me); and the occasionally appearance by the *real* Mr. Spock. (That whore Shatner will take any job, but Nimoy is discerning and clearly picks and chooses his roles with care. Just kidding about calling Shatner a whore. Which he is.) there's a fourth show, The Human Target, which is actually a pretty stupid-ass show, but I watch it solely for Jackie Earle Haley. In case I haven't mentioned it, Barry refers to him as Jackie Pearl Bailey. I had an ex-boyfriend who had silly names for everything, way more than Barry. Annoyingly so. Barry's not that bad.
Hey. I just figured out how to put pictures and stuff on here! Apparently the New Post button defaults to the HTML view, and I've just discovered the much more attractive Compose view, where you can do things like post pictures. Now I have to decide if I really want to do that.