Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The most enjoyable pastime

Alright, admittedly the second most enjoyable pastime, but cooking definitely is unimpeachably on place two.

As I'm currently in the situation most people may call «unemployed», however which I prefer to dub «extended application period» [1], I have plenty of time for (a) applications [2] and (b) the creation and refinement of dishes. By the time I eventually get my studentship I could probably hire as a chef.

So yesterday's dinner was *ahem* «Pork chops in a mustard-white wine sauce severed with fresh parsley potatoes and seasonal vegetables [3]». As far as one can refer to anything shopped in Sainsbury's as «fresh» - well, the temperatures are for sure «fresh» [4].

To the recipe. We need: Pork loin steaks (preferably with bones, as it keeps the meat juicy), salt, pepper, flour, thyme, marjoram, white wine, Dijon mustard, cream, waxy potatoes, butter, parsley, carrots and leak (our «seasonal» vegetables).

Pork chops and white wine sauce:

  • Season the pork chops from both sides with salt and pepper, then flour one side. Start frying at high heat in some oil with the floury side down until nicely golden. Depending on the thickness of your steaks this takes 2 to 3 minutes per side. You should have a close eye on it, as heated flour tends to stick even to non-stick pans.
  • Put the steaks on an ovenproof plate, cover with tin-foil and transfer to a preheated oven (80-100 centigrade will do).
  • Now pour a glass of white wine into your frying pan (do not clean in between!), add a tea-spoon of mustard, some thyme and marjoram. Let it simmer until the alcohol is evaporated, then pour in a small cup of cream and leave with an occasional stir at low heat until the sauce thickens.

And our side-dishes:

  • Peel the potatoes (unless you want to make mash you should use a waxy brand), cut into reasonable chunks, place in a pressure cooker with a tiny amount of water (5-10mm high) and heat until the pressure-meter reaches the second ring. Turn down the heat and leave at high pressure for seven minutes. Since I've never boiled potatoes normally, I'm afraid I can't advise you on this. I suppose if the boiled potato slides off a fork easily it's done.
  • In a pan/pot melt some butter, add chopped parsley and sway the potatoes gently in the mixture until they are covered in a tasty butter-parsley coat (they shouldn't be green though!). Season with salt.
  • The rest is even easier: Chop carrots and leak into little wafers and rings respectively and fry gently in some butter until soft-ish.
  • If you are eager, also boil some green-beans in salted water. Alternatively, peas, sugar-snap or any imaginable vegetable will do as well (okay, I wouldn't recommend aubergines as they tend to sponge up all the grease).

Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery. You'll have to use your imagination for the looks of the dish.

[1] My BHF application failed on the project, so I'm on the market once again.
[2] Cover letter or CV anyone? I am a pro by now!
[3] Hooray for globalisation! Wonder where they are in season right now.
[4] For anyone who's now confused due to a lack of delightful British shopping experience: the refrigerating units don't have doors and thus supermarkets turn into a cold-distribution centres.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some more responses to «Pretty girl wants to marry rich guy» - still a bad trade

In response to my post about a (apparently extremely gorgious) girl with the wish to marry a rich guy someone dropped a comment I found worthy to be republished and I also found one more in an email. Enjoy

Dear Whore;

I appreciate the honesty in accessing your true occupational purpose. At 500K a year, you've tagged your coochie at an astonishing $1369 a day! Quite modest, aren't we! But I admit, I'm still intrigued at what such an astonishing figure might offer, and would hate to miss out on what must be the best lay in the world. So I'd like to go for the daily rental plan to satisfy my curiosity before taking the big plunge on a nominal lease plan.

But before I commit to a rental though, a few questions, dear.

Having seduced and rented an embarrassingly large number of women, I must say you really need to explain your pricing. You humbly find yourself spectacularly beautiful, but really now, that's just your opinion. Just last month at the Novahotel disco in Bangkok, I had 25 different Russian Anna Kournikova look-a-likes offer a rental price of $150 a night.

As a man, I imagine my beautiful meter is far more subjective than yours. Since you're American, the odds are miniscule you're even close to as beautiful as them, let alone ten times more beautiful to justify $1369 a day!

So is it your sexual performance? Just last month in Thailand and the Philippines I've donated $30 a night to at least half a dozen girls who could star in porn today. Are you 45 times better to command $1369? Hmmmm.

Is your snapper gold plated and does it shoot fire? If it only shoots darts and smoke cigars, I've already seen that for free at Long Gun in Bangkok.

Maybe you have some magical pink taco that changes transmission fluid, carries my golf bag, baits my hooks, and morphs into a different 21 year old every night? That might be worth something, I imagine. $1369? Well...

Also, you seem naive to the game. Men don't pay for sex, we pay for the women to leave. It sounds like you expect to come back every day! Good grief!! The excitement of newness fades quickly, sometimes in an afternoon, so surely there must be some decelerating price scale as the days add up. Please advise.

Lastly, you don't speak do you? I don't like to talk to whores, and avoid cocky ones like the plague, which you clearly are.

Maybe you're actually some package deal. Do you have a fleet of hot girlfriends that give great BJs or something? When it's not free, I pay just $60 in Thailand for threesomes, and some of those girls sucked it so hard my ears wiggled and the bed sheets went up my butt. So what does a $1369 hummer feel like? Really. I'd like to know.

Geez, prostitution can be so difficult at times. This is hard work.

Warm regards, Brett Tate

Response number two has a slightly more cultivated choice of words.

I also came across your posting with great interest. I am a 28 year old Wall Street trader who qualifies as an eligible suitor under your $500k/yr rule. In fact, I make over a million and can usher a woman into a comfortable, true middle class lifestyle (not like those 500k lower-middle class chumps who have to make do with the junior two-bedroom).

I am sympathetic to your goal in finding a rich man to marry. The milk needs to be sold by the expiration date. But since this is premium milk, why would you settle for less than premium prices? I would like to address some of the questions that were previously missed by the other gentleman and provide constructive advice on where to find your match.

I also do believe in the efficient market theory, and am surprised that $500k hasn't found you yet. There are plenty of rich lawyers, investment bankers and hedgies to go around in this city. What gives? I think the problem might be that you have not been sufficiently focused in your search efforts.

The culprit, I believe, may be that you are also looking for qualities aside from money - such as looks, personality, and a sense of humor. However, men who have those qualities learn at an early age that they do not need money to attract quality women. As the saying goes, if you can get the milk for free, why pay up for the cow?

What you need to look for is someone who is long money, and short the other aspects. They are not easy to spot, since you are biologically wired to overlook and ignore them. However, the next time that you are at a expensive black tie event, and you are introduced to the short, bald, overweight man who fidgets nervously whilst making conversation with you, pay special attention to him.

Here's an inspirational story for you. An acquaintance of mine who was also an classy and articulate woman as yourself was able to land that guy - who also happens to be one of the top ten guys at Google. This is the type of stuff that gold-digging moms read to their gold-digging daughters at bedtime. Perhaps you need to make a location change to Silicon Valley - miracles like these happen almost everyday in a land where you can randomly throw a rock and hit a rich nerd squarely in his Kim-jong Il glasses.

And as far as his deficiencies go, they turned out to be not so bad. With hundreds of millions in the bank, she's been able to clean him up and give him a little sophistication. Think of it as a fixer-upper project with a massive budget (and yourself as a visionary real estate developer!). Although, I must warn you, it is a fine line you are flirting with - you must not overdo it lest he begins to attract younger women who are hotter than yourself. The trick is, you need build him up enough to be presentable, while simultaneously manipulate him into believing you are the best that he will ever do! That and having kids will be your insurance against your depreciation (or as I prefer to use the term, milk going sour).

I wish the best of luck on your sales project. As for me, I am also available for a short-term lease. However, for marriage I wouldn't consider a woman unless she can bring beauty, brains and self-motivation to the table. I do not want to dilute my gene pool and end up raising a bunch of Paris Hiltons.


Employee evaluations

I love it when I get things like these per email.

These are actual quotes taken from Government employee performance evaluations: [1]

  1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."
  2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."
  3. "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."
  4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."
  5. "When he opens his mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."
  6. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."
  7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
  8. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."
  9. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."
  10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic things to hold it all together."
  11. "A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
  12. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."
  13. "I would like to go hunting with him ."
  14. "He's been working with glue too much."
  15. "He would argue with a signpost."
  16. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."
  17. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
  18. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."
  19. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
  20. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."
  21. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
  22. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming."
  23. "He's got two brains cells, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."
  24. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."
  25. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
  26. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."
  27. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."
  28. "One neuron short of a synapse."
  29. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."
  30. "Takes him 2 hours to watch 60-minutes."
  31. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

[1] No idea which government, I'm just passing on an email which has probably circuited the world roughly two million times.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Random phone call

Someone just called me for a ticket enquiry. First I was bewildered and wondered whether one of my flatmates had ordered some tickets and they called to get some more information. So both of us were asking questions the other person couldn't answer. Reminded me about that radio sketch where the moderators connected two take-away Chinese restaurants and asked one of them beforehand to repeat the order. «So when are you commin' to pick up?» «Pick up? You pick up, we are take-away!»

Best of luck for the random caller, may you find your ticket-hotline number.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Pretty girl wants to marry rich guy = bad trade (a banker's perspective)

Something I picked up from the ether. The original source is some networking portal called Craiglist (such as Xing).

The question

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York . I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

  • Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms
  • What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings
  • Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?
  • Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?
  • Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?
  • How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

The answer

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a cr@ppy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. Classic "pump and dump."

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Mike is a demonstrator

Tomorrow I'll be looking after second year undergraduates in their molecular biology practicals. Unexperienced students have the tendency to make all kind of embarrassing, yet amusing, mistakes, such as using piston stroke pipettes without tips [1], or trying to punch DNA solutions - still in their plastic vials - into the wells of an agarose gel whilst wondering why they float in the buffer.

Let's see what the students in my designated supervision area have in peto.

[1] Proudly stating that they put «the little blue hat» back on after usage.