Sunday, November 12, 2006

Musings on Leisure and Productivity

Ok, so as you all know, I had a rockin' - NOT - Friday night in which I worked on syllabi.

But the rest of the weekend was pretty much a wash, work-wise, until about 6:00 tonight. Yesterday, my major accomplishments were going to the gym (which I thought would help with the rage at human beings but it turns out, no, going to the gym just made me more pissed off - I blame the guy who was flying through the parking lot in his pickup truck and almost hit me for the rage not being decreased) and I made one of my favorite meals - haluska, a.k.a. cabbage and noodles. I modified the recipe (for no, I did not use an ENTIRE stick of BUTTER - or even any butter at all - but it still was yummy yummy). I also finally began reading the first in Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy (verdict's still out on how I feel about it) and took a nice relaxing bath. Today, I had many big plans, but when I realized that by noon I would not actually do anything, I called up BFF and moved up our plans to go to see Borat - which is b-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t and I've not laughed so hard at anything in a very long time. All should go and see it. And we got dinner, and then I came home, fed the cat, called my parents to tell them to go see Borat, talked to my best friend from high school on the phone, and here I am.

Since that point I have:
  1. filled out 4 EEOC things and addressed/stamped those that required it.
  2. loaded the dishwasher and straightened up in the kitchen.
  3. straightened up the living room. (All the straightening was done in a multi-tasking while on the phone fashion.)
  4. Took out the trash.
  5. Composed a handout for a talk I'm giving at a local library this week.
  6. Looked at my to-do list for the coming week and updated it (this list is HUGE).
  7. Begun thinking about introducing research writing in my comp. class.
  8. Made a cup of tea.
What I think I've managed, which I can't always do, is that I gave myself permission to have quality relaxation time this weekend, and the fact that I gave myself this permission has upped my productivity in a huge way over the past couple of hours. BFF and I talked about this over dinner - the way that one can tell oneself that one "can't" do anything fun because one "has to" work, but then what ends up happening is that one just spends like 18 hours watching a Flavor of Love marathon or something, and thus at the end of it all just ends up feeling vaguely sick and hating oneself. I've known since graduate school that this isn't healthy, but it's very difficult to give oneself permission to take time for oneself when one is in a self-motivated job. (I imagine this is not unlike what it must be for stay-at-home moms or for people who run their own businesses.) One of the most difficult things for me as an academic is allowing myself to be the me who isn't an academic - to allow myself to decompress. But this weekend, I achieved that. And it is an achievement, and it is necessary, in the end, to doing good work.

Also, I think it's necessary to figuring out what one wants in one's life and who one wants in one's life. I may write about this more later, but when I was on the phone with my mom this morning, I think I had a kind of break-through about one aspect of my life that I've been kind of clueless about. My mom is so awesome. I love that I am as close to her as I am and that I can talk about real things with her. So that's me on this sunday night. I don't have the angst-y sunday feeling and I actually am feeling positive about heading into this work-week, even though it promises to kick my butt. But now I need to go and watch the Iron Chef America battle between Giada DeLaurentis and Rachel Ray, in part because I really am hoping to see Rachel Ray crash and burn because I think that she makes nasty food and I want confirmation of this. (I never make her recipes because they all look lame to me, but I do watch her show religiously as it inspires me to cook. I mean, if she can make the crap that she makes - "stoup" anyone? or how about "sammies"? I mean, come on. Giving something a dumb name does not at all make it something edible - I certainly can make something decent in 30 minutes.

(I'm not necessarily a huge fan of Giada, but whatever. Rachel Ray must go down.)

Edited to Add: Ok, the battle is almost complete. First of all, I am disappointed because in the commercials for ICA, they did not adequately communicate to me that RR and GL would be working as a team with Mario Battali and Bobby Flay. First, I am totally annoyed that they didn't just let them have at it on their own. Why did they need the "big boy real chefs" to assist? Throughout the show, I was really annoyed by how both of the "ladies" acted like they were totally out of their depth, with RR acting like she was totally intimidated by being with the "real chefs" and deferring to MB and GL running around like a frazzled beautiful mess. Annoying.

But who will win? Which chef(s) will reign supreme in the battle of the cranberry?

RR and MB. I'm not sure I even care.


AAYOR said...

I find Rachel Ray to be hugely annoying, but for some reason, I am totally addicted to 30 Minute Meals. I don't care about her 40 other shows, but I LOVE that one. And I've made some of the recipes, from memory shortly after watching her make them, and I usually modify some stuff, but the one's I've copied have been pretty good. I have one of her 30MM cookbooks, too, and I'm mostly just inspired by the short-cuts that she takes. I agree that "stoup" and "sammies" are "stupid" names. But, dude, I've made a couple of her stoups... and they were good!

Speaking of shortcuts... have you every seen that loco "Semi-Homemade" woman on the Food Network?? WTF is she about?! I could figure out to use a tube of crescent rolls to wrap shit in myself. Who gave this woman a show?

I can't stand Giada. She's WAAAAY too LA for me. I kind of like the Barefoot Contessa, but her food is really, super unhealthy so I've never made any. I also kind of hate Nigella Lawson. She bugs. My fave is Michael Chiarello.

Seriously... all I did when I was on maternity leave was nurse the baby while watching the Food Network. It isn't obvious, is it?

Dr. Crazy said...

I'm glad somebody spoke in defense of RR - and also that some of her food is good. I suppose the problem I have with her mainly is that I don't feel like I learn much from her. Yes, some of the short-cuts are inspiring (which is why I continue to watch 30 MM in spite of my hatred for the Ray) but I don't think it takes a genius to make a thicker soup, you know? That said, she is better than that Semi-Homade person, who basically presents weird recipes from church cookbooks. (I swear, one of these days she'll make one of my faves - saussage balls made with cheddar cheese, jimmy dean saussage, and bisquick.) The only thing I can say on her behalf is that at least she does make a cocktail with all of her dumb "semi-homemade" creations.

Giada's ok, but they use the same filming technique with her that they use with Nigella - the whole, "let's make it look really erotic when she washes the germs from her chicken-hands" shot. And I do find her annoying.

That said, I really hate the Barefoot Contessa and Michael Chiarello. I think it has something to do with the fact that they're all about entertaining and being sort of yuppified and it rubs me the wrong way.

Do I like anybody on the food network? Well, Alton Brown is cool. But nah, I think I watch the food network just to be critical :)

(That said, I've never been on maternity leave, so what is my excuse for watching so much? There is none....)

AAYOR said...

I was going to delete my comment because I put an apostrophe in the wrong place, but I decided to write something in reply instead. Who gives a shit about an apostrophe, right? ;-)

Boo that you hate Michael Chiarello! He bugs me a little, but his food is wicked good. I've printed a bunch of recipes of his and they've all been super good. Especially his margarita recipe. Its the only one I use these days! I've also learned techniques from him (cooking, not enteraining) that I have found useful.

I think that I like the Barefoot Contessa a little because she's so ridiculously smug and snotty. It sort of cracks me up. That said, I wouldn't want to be in a room with her.

And RR is so overexposed that even people who did like her before probably won't for long.

OH, last thing... I literally laughed out loud when I read the thing about the camera techniques. God! It is SO ANNOYING! I watched Giada today and she was watching her hands and I thought, "Do they tell her to touch the handle with her fingertips and rub her hands together like that in a way that a person NEVER WOULD when they were washing raw turkey slime off of their hands?!" Major ick.

k8 said...

I LOVE Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Yeah, the last book gets a little didactic, but the whole trilogy is sooo rich. And, it is such a fabulous feminist response to C.S. Lewis' condemnation of Susan in The Last Battle. Enjoy your adventures with Lyra - and later, Will. I'm still trying to decide what my daemon would be. What is yours?

Seeking Solace said...

OK, I am ready to be ripped up here, but I really like Rachael Ray. I have found some great stuff on 30 Minute Meals and $40 a Day. What people forget is that she does not proclaim to be a chef, but a cook. Many of the "chefs" on Food Network do not have realistic recipies that allow you to make stuff that you probably have at home. Every one I have tried is good.

I also like Paula Dean because she reminds me of growing up with soul food!

Jamie Oliver is just too cute.

OK, I am ready for my ripping now!

Dr. Crazy said...

K8 - I'm not sure about a daemon yet ... nor am I convinced that The Golden Compass is my cup of tea. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, and so far (I'm only like 40 pages in) a lot of the things tht bug me about fantasy are bugging me about the book. That said, I'm not giving up. I think that perhaps as I get more into the book I'll be on board. (I should also note that I've only come to CS Lewis as an adult, and only have read a couple of the stories in the Chronicles.) I do like the idea of having a daemon, though. I must think on what mine would be, if I were to have one. Hmmmm.

SS - I'm not going to rip you for liking RR! I'm glad if people watch her and feel like they make good food as a result. But here's the thing: I don't expect her to be a chef, i.e., lots of complicated ingredients and techniques that are just unrealistic for every day. And I do like that she demonstrates that you can make a homemade meal quickly. That said, having watched her lo these many years now, I feel like she makes the same thing over and over and over again. Perhaps the problem is that I tend to gravitate toward more ethnic dishes, and what she makes seems kind of boring to me. Also, I guess I kind of don't see the point of making a 30-minute version of, say, meatloaf. If I want meatloaf, I want meatloaf - and in truth, to make a real meatloaf it only takes about 20 minutes of actual attentive cooking time - the rest is just in the oven. Why is that such an impossibility? (Yes, for many it would be an impossibility during the week, but isn't that what weekends are for?) And actually, since you bring up Jamie Oliver, I think he's actually a good example of somebody who does interesting food that's not terribly complicated. The whole chef/cook distinction doesn't make a bit of difference to me. It's just that when I watch a cooking show, I want to see more at the end of it than something I could have made up on my own without having watched the show. I mean, I don't need a show to demonstrate how to make a cheeseburger, to give just one example.

As for Paula Dean, I find her entertaining (though I don't think I'd ever make most of what she makes on the show), but I hate how her sons now have their own dumb spin-off show.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I'm totally laughing b/c I think "beautiful frazzled mess" is such an apt description of Giada! (Whom LDH and I call Giardia. We're so mature.) LDH was telling me he saw somewhere people talking about "the reach" - that in every Giada episode there's one moment when she reeeeeeaches across to pick something up and you get a great shot down her invariably-v-necked-shirt...

I don't actually mind Giada too much, though, b/c I like the look of her food. (never actually made any of it, though.) The Barefoot Contessa drives me batty - she is so rich Hamptons-y it makes me nuts. Similar with Nigella, who is way. too. posh.

Sandra Lee - the semi-homemade woman - is just insane! LDH and I watch in horror to see what weirdness she'll come up with next. And to see what weird get-up she'll be wearing next. And how much booze she can put in her cocktails (some of which are truly scary!). And how much money she can throw away on her "tablescape." Eeek!

I kind of like RR's $40/day shows. Michael Chiarello leaves me pretty flat.

I love Paula Deen, because I love the way she brings the water to a "ball," and that everything she makes has a stick of butter in it (though that's the reason I never make any of it!). But my true love is Alton Brown. I've watched every Good Eats like three times by now!

(Umm, yes, I DO watch way too much Food Network, why do you ask?)

And about the idea of leisure: it's funny, b/c until just recently I didn't realize how little time I actually did allow myself for leisure, because I knew I wasn't spending all that much time working, but I didn't realize how big a difference there is between when you spend your time doing something lame because you're "going to start working any minute now, really," and really taking time off. I told myself a few weekends ago (when LDH wasn't here) that I could NOT work on Saturday, and I honestly wasn't sure what the hell to do with myself - there was so much TIME!

Anonymous said...

i HATE rachel ray with a passion. sorry ss. i dont know much about her food b/c as i watch i cannot help but thinking over and over again how annoying she is. her voice, everything.

in other news, i loved micheal chiarello when he was on pbs. but now he's gone corporate and changed.

my favorite cooking show is America's Test Kitchen, on PBS. But I don't know if that counts since its not FN.

Dr. Crazy said...

America's Test Kitchen is AWESOME.

k8 said...

Pullman also writes some really great children's/young adult historical fiction - specifically, The Sally Lockhart mysteries feature a teenage girl detective in Victorian London.

AAYOR said...

Every. Single. Time. I see the name "Giada" I think "Giardia."