Thursday, April 27, 2006

you can always depend on the kindness of strangers

According to my website traffic tracker, the majority of the people who arrive here at felix's daily starfish and waffles by accident via Google or Yahoo! are actually in search of pictures of starfish. However, we've never posted any starfish pics before, which has always made me feel like kind of a fraud. Happily, though, tonight this all changes.

Finally, what you've all been clamouring for: a starfish. Look how happy the girl is in the picture above about finding her starfish. I love that.

At the risk of making this blog sound like, well, a blog (which generally goes against the style favoured by my editor), I nevertheless pose the following for our readers to ponder ...

Say, hypothetically-speaking, you're a twentysomething professional who's successful by most accounts. You have a well-paying job on a career track you've worked hard to get on, and it allows you to do stuff like, say, travel to faraway places like Iceland. However, say, depending on what side of the bed you fell out of this morning, there are some days where you feel like there's something missing, like you haven't found your starfish yet, so to speak.

So, let's say - hypothetically of course - on one of these said mornings you began looking at other options like, say, applying to do some graduate school here, in a program which, in a logical world, you would have no business being accepted into and is in no way linked to, or helpful in advancing, the career you're in now.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, it isn't, in fact, a logical world and by some fluke of circumstance, four months after you applied, they hypothetically informed you that ... you got in!

Hypothetically, it would seem that you have a big decision to make. Because trying to decide on risking what you know, however imperfect that it is, to look for a starfish that might not even exist, can keep you up far too late at night. Say, kind of like right now.

So ... what would you do? (Hypothetically-speaking, of course).

In a related story, I could really use a plate of waffles right about now. Mmmm, waffles.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

my simulated reality tv life: episode thirteen

Thirteen episodes strong and still counting, My Simulated Reality TV Life has become one your life's guilty pleasures. Don't even pretend that it's not. And, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, we've done it once again ... now that My Simulated Reality TV Life is made with zero trans fat, you can indulge, repeatedly and guilt-free, in as many old episodes as you want! Miss the last one? Click here for a rerun. Want to start at the very beginning so you can re-live all of your favourite moments? Click here. Tricadecaphobia be damned, I say, because lucky Episode 13 begins ... now!

Wife Bridgette plays with toddler Felicia by tossing her high into the air. Lest you be concerned of Felicia falling, note that Bridgette's grotesquely webbed right hand - which sort of resembles a catcher's mitt - will ensure that the playful little tot is securely caught.

Episode Thirteen
Being the energetic little (and, apparently, Asian) toddler that she's become, Felicia sure is keeping Bridgette and the simulated me on our toes. Which is probably a good thing because it means we're getting more practice at this whole parenting gig and former misadventures are now being kept to a minimum.

And, even though they can be a bit of trouble, toddlers are just more fun. They're more responsive to the world around them and they learn so quickly. Kind of like when me and Bridgette are teaching Felicia how to walk. Before you know it, they're running around like little people!

Hey, all of you new parents out there ... join the newest craze that's sweeping the nation - feeding your child radioactive milk! Studies show that plutonium-infused milk enhances motor skill development and capacity for spacial thought. Disclaimer: linkages between plutonium milk and increased rates of leukemia are for the courts to decide.

Simulated Felix and Bridgette teach a glowing Felicia how to walk. Felicia is proving to be a quick study. That radioactive milk is turning her into some kind of mutant superchild! Cool!

So I guess you could say our simulated life is coming along quite swimmingly once again ... things are nice and comfortable and not much exciting is really happening. This is boring, you say? Well, maybe. But as past history has shown, every time things seemed to be getting a little too easy for simulated Felix and Bridgette, a nasty surprise was always waiting just around the corner. Will this time be any different? Make sure to tune in to the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life and find out!

Awww, isn't that sweet? Bridgette dreams about simulated Felix while she sleeps ...

... and who does simulated Felix dream of? Why, simulated Felix, of course.

Felicia's outspoken teddy bear, who always seems to have a whip-smart opinion ready, finally finds himself rendered speechless during an awkward moment when he walks in on simulated Felix and his exposed doodle. Nice banana, simulated Felix!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

in search of björk

Work is sending me to Boston in May. Being the highly logical thinker that I am (haha, right), I figured it would be wrong for me to go all the way to Boston without also making a stop in ... Iceland. So I booked a non-refundable ticket to Reykjavík last night. Yes! I'm going to Iceland, people!

The rumours are true: I'm going on assignment to Iceland. Trip to be financed by the usurious sharks at Visa.

I'm not exactly sure why I felt the need to announce this on starfish and waffles but, hey, I'm excited. These days, it seems like I work only to travel ... and I haven't done any of that since Sweden last November.

First order of business when I get to Reykjavík: find Björk and convince her to open for our new band in Singapore. So ... does anyone have her number?

Monday, April 17, 2006

deep-end duck

So you like to call yourself a deep-end diner. Because there was that night, six years ago in Shinjuku, when you boldly shovelled down some 10,000-yen fugu, the deadly globefish, and you lived to tell about it. Then, of course, there was Christmas brunch three Decembers ago in Oslo when, on a half-drunken dare from your distant cousin Katrine, you swallowed a plateful of putrid lutefisk, lye-soaked cod, and you did it with a smile. And, in perhaps the most startling exhibit of your epicurean triumphs, there was last summer in Phoenix, when you took McDonald's 99-cent Big Mac promotion to heart and you ordered - and finished - five greasy Big Macs in one sitting, somehow managing to keep myocardial infarction at bay.

Live dangerously. Defy the H5N1 virus and the avian flu by trying my Deep-End Duck with Chianti, Sun-Dried Tomato and Crimini Mushroom Sauce. To really impress that special someone with a complete, exquisite meal, serve with equally dangerous sides of Palestinian couscous (suicide bombers), baby carrots (post-Easter, deranged rabbits), and asparagus spears (pointy, might take an eye out). Bon appétit!

But let me tell you something: I'm really not all that impressed by any of that. Because, in my opinion, you haven't done anything until you've directly defied the H5N1 virus and the avian flu by trying my dangerous Deep-End Duck with Chianti, Sun-Dried Tomato and Crimini Mushroom Sauce. Yes, folks, it's time for another original recipe from the dingobear kitchen. What you'll find is a rich, flavourful entrée divinely accented with the bursting revelation that is sun-dried tomatoes, which is altogether perfect for a delicious dinner that dares to be a little different. Try it; you won't regret it.

Although long-time readers of this website know that turkey is generally the poultry of choice around here, sometimes it doesn't hurt to diversify a bit. So how about a little duck? "Quack, quack," I say. But remember, there is an important rule when preparing duck: ensure that you make enough for two. Why? Because according to the Chinese, ducks are considered a universal symbol for love since they are always seen swimming in pairs. Therefore, if you only cook enough for one, you'll be making a widow of some poor duck. And if you do that, you're a heartless, widow-making ass, which really isn't very becoming. Here at felix's daily starfish and waffles, we encourage our readers not to be heartless, widow-making asses. So if you're going to eat one duck, make sure you eat his or her mate, too! That way, they can continue to be together, in love, in animal heaven.

Deep-End Duck with Chianti, Sun-Dried Tomato and Crimini Mushroom Sauce
2 boneless, duck breasts with the skin
75mL sodium-reduced chicken broth
75mL Tuscan Chianti
25mL freshly-squeezed lemon juice
10 crimini mushrooms, sliced
7-8 sun-dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil, reserving 1-2 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon (or so) salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4-5 fresh sage leaves

Start by making the sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the Chianti, chicken broth, lemon juice, and thyme. Lightly stir. Set aside. See how easy that was?

Next, take the duck breasts and pound them to take out the extra moisture and flatten them somewhat. (Pounding also good for venting frustration). Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil you've reserved in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (but not quite smoking), place the duck breasts in the pan, skin-side down, using a pair of tongs. You'll know that the pan is hot enough if you hear a sizzling sound. Sear for about 3 minutes then flip 'em over. The side you just cooked should have a nice, brown crust. Throw in the crimini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Sear the duck breasts for another 3 minutes. Using a wooden spatula, frequently toss your mushrooms and tomatoes so they don't burn.

Remove the duck breasts from the heat and temporarily set aside on a plate. Pour the Chianti sauce you've prepared into the pan. You should hear an enormous sizzle! With your wooden spatula, scrape the brown bits from the bottom of your pan - it is these brown bits that'll give your dish spectacular flavour. Return the duck breasts to the pan. Season with basil, sage leaves and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the duck is properly cooked through. By this time, the Chianti sauce should have thickened quite nicely.

Using your tongs, transfer the duck to a platter. Pour the sauce over the duck. I recommend serving the dish with a side of couscous and steamed asparagus spears and baby carrots. Eat and enjoy!

(Quack, quack!)

Monday, April 10, 2006

celebrating one year of starfish and waffles ...

Ironically, though, with very little in the way of either starfish or waffles. We do, however, have cupcakes. With sprinkles. Fuck, yeah!

felix's daily starfish and waffles' distinguished Editor-in-Chief celebrates one year of spreading our unique brand of propaganda to the five corners of the world. We sincerely thank our readers for being bored, bored people.

Friday, April 07, 2006

singapore rock city

I was at the office late again tonight, working to churn out yet another investment report for yet another client who will inevitably point out that we didn't make them enough money this past quarter. What can I say? The institutional money management business is a shallow business, and more and more these days, I find myself daydreaming of something with a little more depth.

Cruising down the muddy, typhoid-infested waters of the Singapore River, Singapore (2000). Actually, I don't know that the Singapore River is typhoid-infested but it sounds like it should be. I got a coupon for a free ride in one of those rickety boats you see in the picture above, courtesy of the good people at Singapore Airlines. Photo taken with my old, el-cheapo Kodak APS F300.

So, tonight, there I was ... chained to my generic desk in my drab cubicle ... working but, truthfully, not really working but rather dying just a little bit inside ... when, in a flash of epiphanous lucidity, it suddenly became clear to me that with my university education, years of financial industry experience, and sincere desire to have my life's work profoundly impact all of humankind, there could only be one career that would ever be right for me ...

Rock Star!

I think I would want to be lead guitar because, well, chicks dig guys who play guitar. But that still leaves me a lead singer, bass player and drummer short of a rock band. This is where you come in. I know for a fact that there are at least a few of you out there who have contemplated this very career path, so this is your big opportunity to do the right thing and opt in. Just think of all of the sex, groupies, drugs, alcohol, and rehab! If that isn't cool, I don't know what is. So who's on board?

Oh, one last thing ... we're going to kick off our world tour in Singapore. It was revealed to me as such in my vision. Therefore, it must be true.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

my simulated reality tv life: episode twelve

Although My Simulated Reality TV Life is already your favourite simulated reality series, you've asked us for more. For example, you've asked for more conflict. More scandal. More adult situations. More sex. And more birthdays. So I'm happy to say, tonight, we're going to deliver. Why? Because we love all of you loyal My Simulated Reality TV Life fans. And when we say we "love," we totally mean it in a romantic, sexified - yes, that's right, sexified - way. Oh baby! Miss the last episode? Click here for a rerun. Don't know what the hell we're talking about? Point your mouse here to start at the very beginning. Now don't go anywhere, lov-er, because tonight's episode begins now!

Simulated Felix interviews Kaylynn as a potential new maid. Check out simulated Felix's tight, apple-like ass!

Episode Twelve
If you're a long-time viewer of My Simulated Reality TV Life, you already know that the simulated me is some kind of cheeky bugger. So maybe it doesn't come as a surprise to you that when it's time to interview potential new maids to clean our increasingly-chaotic simulated home, the simulated me somehow decides it's appopriate to conduct the interviews in nothing but my silk, turquoise boxers. Simulated Felix, you sly dog!

Enter maid candidate Kaylynn, a leggy, attractive, raven-haired beauty. The simulated me goes through his list of questions and then summarizes the interview as follows:

"Hmmm, so let's see, Kaylynn. You say you don't really know how to clean, don't have any references, don't always like show up for work on time and you're not very smart. I guess I really have no choice but to tell you ... you're hired!"

Bridgette and simulated Felix, in the midst of an argument. Bridgette looks kinda cute when she's mad.

Naturally, when wife Bridgette finds out about my hiring decision later on that night, she isn't too pleased. With her arms akimbo and an angry look on her face, she really gives the simulated me a piece of her mind. Uh oh, simulated Felix, better pull out that famous charm of yours!

So, with my best, sad puppy dog face, the simulated me humbly apologizes. Bridgette's face softens slightly ... and then she gives me a hug. Phew, apology accepted!

The simulated me and Bridgette stand staring at each other for a few minutes without much happening. And then, the simulated me cracks a little smile on his face. Bridgette smiles back. Yes! There's going to be some hot, simulated make-up sex tonight! Oh baby!

It begins ...

... 9 seconds (literally) of hot, dirty, make-up sex! Outstanding job, simulated Felix and Bridgette - you've made the Easter Bunny proud!

The next day, we wake up to a glorious morning. It's glorious not only because of the 9 seconds of simulated make-up sex the night before, but also because today is baby Felicia's birthday! There's no time to waste. While the simulated me whips up a cake, Bridgette straightens out around the house before the guests arrive. It's a fantastic day for a party - a birthday party!

Surrounded by family, friends, balloons, music, dancing, and birthday cake, everyone - including Felicia, everyone's favourite birthday girl - is having a great time. Now folks, this is a party - too bad you couldn't make it. But don't look now because it's time for the big moment ... the ceremonial blowing out of the birthday candles. And, just like that, in a blink of an eye, Felicia suddenly grows into a full-fledged toddler! Only in My Simulated Reality TV Life. Make sure you remember to tune in to the next episode!

Some of Felicia's birthday party guests are more crass than others. Felicia's teddy bear to Bridgette, Bridgette's best friend, Erin, and simulated Felix: "For 20 bucks, I can simultaneously do things to you girls and the guy who currently has his hand on my furry ass ... things that'll completely blow your minds! Only 20 bucks - now who's in?"

With the help of Bridgette, Felicia gets ready to blow out the candles on her birthday cake while simulated Felix and Erin cheer her on ...

... and, in a blink of an eye, Felicia grows up into a toddler!