I still have a job.
It’s rather surreal. Here it is Wednesday, and I still am not sure what the situation is. On Monday some announcers were let go, but not as many as I expected, and (critically for purposes of my continued existence) not me. Our entire sports department was jettisoned.
Some announcers jumped ship proactively after they saw the writing on the wall. A few even defected to the new company.
On the other hand, a number of announcers who found themselves with no radio stations left were kept on. What the company did was, they pulled a station or two off everyone else’s schedule and gave them to those guys in order to justify keeping them employed.
I have to say that was a very heartening move, although at the same time it makes for a rather bizarre situation overall. Many of us, myself included, now have insanely light schedules. In fact, they took so many stations from me that I have an entire hour in the middle of my shift where I have nothing to do. Nada. Zip. Ugatz.
Not doing anything is the most stressful thing I’ve ever been paid to do. Seriously, I know it’s what THEY TOLD ME TO DO, but I still have this nagging fear that “they’re gonna see me just sitting here not doing any work and my ass is gonna be gone!” So even though I’m doing what THEY TOLD ME TO DO, I still pretend to work during that hour just in case someone in authority pokes their heads in. I put on headphones and give fake newscasts that are broadcast nowhere. I write stories, edit sound, engage in banter with nonexistent co-hosts. It’s crazy.
But not when you’re panicking on the inside imagining that sooner or later they HAVE to wise up to the fact that they’re paying 3 people to do the job of one, and let’s see, who have we seen doing the least around here that we should let go….
No. Then it’s not crazy.
To add to the maddening, ulcerating uncertainty: after Monday’s bloodletting and reshuffling we all thought it was done with. So on Tuesday those of us who were left started to breathe again. But then today two more announcers were shown the door. Two who thought they were safe.
So now none of us think we’re safe again. Was that the last firing? Or will the hammer fall again? A girl I know there told me she thinks that’s it, because the company has already budgeted for the number of announcers we have left, regardless how much work each one is assigned. But next year when they write the new budget, will they…?
Still, the wolf at the door has at least been pushed to the end of our driveway for the time being. He’s still slavering at the sight of me and NewWifey(tm), but he’s being held – however tenuously – at bay for the moment. I actually bought real groceries on the way home from work today – not the clearance stuff that normally would be turned down by even the poorer shelters around here.
Ok, that’s enough. I hate writing downer entries, and this is the third in a row. I didn’t even write TWO in a row when my mom died. And she was like a mother to me! (Even my dog’s death only warranted one dolorous entry. And I arguably loved him more than my mom.)
From now on, then, unless I get concrete news one way or the other, I’m jumping off this ship. I’m going back to food, sex, and ridiculous adventure stories. The kind I’ve championed since I began blogging in 1973 (according to Wikipedia).
To that end, then, I present you with tonight’s dinner:
I intend this to be an instructive bit of food bragging, by the way.
It’s not so much that my technique was (as always) flawless, or this dish featured some genius twist which elevated it above its more plebeian cousins.
No. What I would love to impart to you is this (he said, filled (as always) with overweening hubris): STOP BEING AN IDIOT WHEN YOU COOK!
Wait. That came out wrong.
Oh well. I stand by it.
No, seriously, here’s the thing. When I came home from work today all I saw in the fridge was a lone carrot, an onion, a couple of asparagus spears I’d forgotten about, a half a red bell pepper, and the last breast from a family pack I’d purchased on sale last Sunday. A lot of my friends, and I suspect a lot of you, would look at that mess and say, “Ok, I’ll saute the chicken breast and throw the veggies on…ah, fuck it. I’m calling for a pizza.”
DON’T DO THAT!
When you’re faced with a pile of seeming disparate ingredients, think outside the box. Use your imagination. Have fun! Or at the very least, don’t panic.
One good go-to to keep in your bag of culinary tricks is…dum dum dummm...battering! Almost anything can be dunked into batter and either deep or shallow fried to great effect. In fact, there’s a restaurant in Brooklyn that’s built its entire business around this very concept. I took NewWifey(tm) there for her birthday a couple of years ago because she’d developed a fixation on their deep fried mac ‘n cheese, and it was every bit as disgusting and wonderful and stupid and brilliant as you’d imagine. I had the deep fried pizza.
Sorry. Got off track there. The point is, learn to make a simple batter. I won’t give you a recipe – you gotta show SOME effort here. I mean, what am I, YouTube? – but trust me, you can do it. And once you learn that meager skill, you have a serious option for probably 90% the leftovers you’ll ever come across.
(AAAAAAAAAAAnnd shut up. It is NOT fattening. Not if you do it right. Make sure the oil is hot enough, and it will crust the outside without soaking in. Then dump the finished lump onto a rack or a wad of paper towels. That way most of the oil clinging to the outside will slough off also. Deep frying, done properly – AND THAT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO DO, YES EVEN YOU – puts remarkably little oil in your mouth. For godsake, don’t believe the Food Nazis!)
So that’s what I did here, although because I’m me I made it more special than you. I made the Japanese version of “dump stuff in a batter and fry it”, called “Kakiage”. It’s slivered veggies that you mix into tempura batter and shallow fry like patties. Sometimes shrimp or other seafood is added, but all I had was that chicken breast, so…chicken breast. Home cookin’, yo.
Now…and I’m gritting my teeth as I’m typing this…if any of you out there are of Japanese extract, you might be frowning at that picture and saying to the monitor, “Um, Danger, those kakiage look a little…flat.”
Shut up. I know.
Tempura batter, I don’t need to tell you (*cough*) really has only one cardinal rule: DON’T OVER MIX IT, JERK! When you pour the ice water into the flour, you basically just swirl it a few swirls with a chopstick and then stop. It should look like a lumpy mess. If you stir – or god forbid whisk – until the batter is smooth, you are guaranteed to come back as one of those beetles that lives on bat guano in your next life. And you’ll eat shitty tempura.
So I was careful to just give 2 or 3 swirls of the ol’ chopsticks after adding the ice water. I hate eating guano.
And as soon as I did my doorbell rang.
Stupidly, I answered the door.
It was Jehovah’s Witnesses. Again. Two very nice, very prim, young ladies with pamphlets and smiles. NewWifey(tm) was out for the afternoon, so I was left to dislodge them myself. Which I did, but it took a good 5 minutes. They’re like ticks.
But 5 minutes was 5 minutes too much. When I returned to the kitchen I saw my batter had turned to sludge. I had to add more water to loosen it, and that meant…stirring.
Fucking cult zombie parasites! It’s bad enough they prey on the desperate and feeble minded, but do they have to destroy people’s batter with their lies too?
So yes. The kakiage is flatter than it should be. Blame god.
Still, it tasted like heaven. When NewWifey(tm) got home a few minutes later, that’s where it took her, too.
And the dipping sauce was perfect, as was the sake. So there.
Ok, gotta go pack up the remains. I wonder what I can make with leftover kakiage? Hmmmm. I wonder what would happen if I made a batter…….