I hate cooking.

I eat out a lot, or stick a box in the microwave (though I've sworn off of that). Occasionally I make an effort to cook dinner, but it doesn't last very long. I don't want to put a lot of time or effort into it, so it's usually just some meat and vegetables thrown in a skillet for a bit.

A while ago, I remembered an image from my childhood, lo those thirty five years ago or so. A brand new, burnt-orange cylindrical appliance with a glass top. My mother had bought a crock pot, as had half of the rest of the country. I don't know if they were a new invention, but they certainly were a fad. My memories of that crock pot were of a modern day miracle: throw stuff in in the morning, go off to (work|school). Come back that evening and dinner was ready: mmmmm, mmmmm, good . It all tended to be similar, but it was all good. And there was some recollection that it made even the cheapest meat come out tender and succulent.

So I bought one. In the morning, I put in chopped zucchini, crookneck squash, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and stew beef. Dumped a packet of "beef stew seasoning" on top and poured in some water, and left the house.

Well, last night's dinner was no grand cuisine. The meat was tender for the most part, but also very dry. Perhaps I need to marinate. The squashes were flavorless, and as far as I could tell, most of the onion disappeared through a rift in the spacetime continuum. So much for the miracle appliance. The small cookbook that came with it even talked about pre-cooking some of the ingredients. That defeats the whole purpose!

I also have childhood memories of pressure cookers, which were in the store right next to the crock pots. Two memories, actually: one of an older day miracle, that cooked things much faster, and made even the cheapest meat come out tender and succulent. And the other, when I used it one day to cook some ribs (came out fine, I think) and my mother lectured me on how I shouldn't touch the pressure cooker because it might just up and explode in my face.

Oh well, salad's not bad if you make twenty quarts at a time.

Update: try #2, October 13, 2005. This time I tried a bag of frozen pearl onions, my last few Brussels Sprouts, mushrooms, a can of yellow Roma tomatoes, and some skinned chicken breasts. And a splash of cheap blackberry-flavored red wine. Two splashes.

It came out a little better. I stayed late at work, so it had a total of eleven hours to cook on the low setting. The chicken was a bit dry, not so much as the beef was before, and it came off the bone at the slightest touch. The onions were okay. A crock pot turns Brussels Sprouts into little packages of mush. As before, the mushrooms were fine.

Sir Norris continues to Not Smoke.

Day one - Day two - Day three - Day four

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 09:24 AM

So I still haven't smoked. In fact, I've been not smoking. I spent all yesterday evening not smoking. I spent the walk to work this morning not smoking. Currently, I am sitting at my desk at work not smoking. In fact, as it turns out, not smoking is a full time occupation. Not smoking requires concentration. If you're not carefull you can find yourself walking out the door in an attempt to not not smoke for a bit.

Whilst I was a smoker, there were times when it felt like I was in a tiny oppressed minority group; huddled into dodgy smoking shelters in the pissing rain sucking on a Marlboro Red angry at being treated like an outcast. Now, however, the tables have turned on me: everybody in the entire world smokes. My cow-orkers routinely go out for cigarettes, huge gangs of students congregate outside the building and smoke in unison whilst I pass by strenuously not smoking.

I did pop in to see the college nurse to reveal to her my new-found skills at not smoking before she came in to the office and spilled the beans to everyone. She was almost patronisingly pleased, but seemed, underneath it all quite genuine. Anyway, it's coming up to the time when I would generally have a cigarette break so I'm going to stand outside and not smoke furiously.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 10:11 AM

So actually, I didn't go out to Not Smoke. Instead, I went upstairs and bought myself a toasted teacake, then I came down, ate my teacake and not smokeed as much as possible. This seems like a good way of not smoking although I suspect that replacing smoking solely with eating toasted teacakes would not be good, either for my wallet or my health.

Most of my time is still being taken up with not smoking although I am now able to occasionally play resist the craving. This pretty much involves staring directly at the wall and not smoking as hard as possible for about five minutes whilst everything that happens around you becomes impressively annoying; sounds become loud and cross over each other, and people talking to you sounds like that teacher from peanuts - but with a megaphone - and babies with revolving heads crawl across the ceiling. Well, not, obviously, but you get the point.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 11:08AM

You know, I've never known a day at work go so s-l-o-w-l-e-y. I've only been here for just over two hours and it feels like I should be going home. Time has slowed in a ridiculous manner. I really can't think about anything, either. Except, of course, not smoking. I'm tempted to go up for another toasted teacake. Or something. I'm gonna have to get up and do something.

It's odd how my mind is frantically attempting to rationalise my need for a cigarette. Thoughts keep popping into my head like: "I don't want to be a non-smoker," or "I could just cut down a lot. I could still go out for a fag now, but not have another one today." Right. I need to find something else to eat.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 11:25AM

I have discovered polos. And I have discovered running to the top floor of the building and then back again.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 12:19PM

You know what I could really do with at the moment? A cigarette. Actually it's quite odd. I have been through all sorts this morning: headaches with buzzing and poppings, feeling dizzy, hungry, thirsty and just generally feeling like shit. I'm constantly not smoking and constantly thinking about not smoking and begin constantly unable to think about anything else except not smoking but none of this is actually making it hard to not smoke. It's just annoying. Very very annoying.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 1:34PM

A good way to take your mind off needing a cigarette during lunchtime is writing a node. Especially a node what you don't know type node, where you have to get involved do some research and forget about the constant not smoking which is taking over your life. If I carry that on every lunchtime, I'll be chinging by the end of next week :)

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 2:47PM

So, according to this booklet I've got, my body should, by now, have removed all the carbon monoxide from my blood. That seems pretty good. If my, admittedly limited, knowledge of the human body is correct, this means I should be able to carry more oxygen round my body and should already be feeling better in many ways. If it weren't for the headaches and the fact I feel like utter crap, maybe I'd be able to agree.

In fact I am still having to desperately not smoke at all times. I am on my third packet of polos, have drunk nearly two litres of Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper and am on my seventh large cup of coffee. From what I've read I shouldn't expect too much sleep tonight - I had very little last night - and I should expect things to get worse for two more days before they start to get better again. I'm still staying positive.

Tue Oct 11 2005 at 4:27PM

So I'm getting towards the end of my first nicotine-free day at work for a very long time. I have managed to rearrange my desk - which now, in accordance with my alter ego's node on the subject is facing away from the wall. I have eaten and drunk more sugar-filled stuff than ever before (and that's up against some serious competition). I have also consumed so much caffeine that I am shaking as I type; am I going top simply replace one addiction with another? Who cares. I'm on a roll.

Day one - Day two - Day three - Day four

Oof! What a week.

Upon entering my new place of employment, the wheels of corporate brainwashing immediately began to turn. Unbeknownst to me at the time, behind the scenes the corporation was setting in motion its perfectly choreographed presentation to make me think I had gotten quite a decent job; look, iis, reasonable pay! Come with us, we're your friends now, we offer flexible hours. Of course we're alright, free coffee machine priveleges.. but what about that giant crab?... don't worry about that, free coffee machine priveleges...freeee coffeeee.....

When I awoke, I discovered that I had signed up for a lifetime contract. Well, I was worried about that, but my colleagues seemed to lead more a bleak existence than a violent one, so that calmed me down a little.

I then discovered what my job was. Now, while on my 'tour' of the store, I had been worried by a giant crab that was suspended from the ceiling. Now this crab was not just 'bloody big', like those cheap crustaceans you see in Next or Gap, no, this crab is best described as 'wtf wtf wtfff massive!' Suspended about twenty metres above the shop floor, it was nearly as large lengthways as the entire building. The store is quite a sizable one, so that must give you some idea of its size.

Still in the blur of sleep, I was winched to the top of the crab. There I was given some cleaning implements, and told of my job. I must clean the 'roof' of the crab (fortunately, the force of gravity prevented dirt accumulating on the 'beneath', which would otherwise have doubled my workload.) My manager told me that a quick once over just would not do; the crab tended to get a bit manky, and so required a thorough four-day cleaning regime. Its back was divided into quadrants, and I was told to clean one quadrant per day.

Now, while I had nothing to do from Monday to Thursday except sponge shell, I had ample oppurtunity to investigate the 'crab'. It was in fact still alive, and tended to cause a slight wobble factor as it tried to escape its intricate net of supporting cables. Occasionaly the wobble factor would push 5 or even 6, and it was during these moments that I began to think of the crab's feelings. Then I rationalised that since the humble crab was one of the stupidest creatures known to man, had an IQ of roughly 'drunken irishman', and so of course was hardly aware of its plight. In much the same way, it is morally acceptable to rob and rape the stupid, eg the unemployed, since they can hardly understand what you are doing.

Now the biggest mystery was 'why is the crab here?' I just couldn't figure it out. Perhaps I should explain the environs of the crab's roof. As well as me and my cleaning equipment, there was also a system of weights and pulleys to send goods to and from the crab, a small office cubicle for me to manage the adminstrative side of things, men's knitwear (strangely deserted), and a working trebuchet (a medieval seige catapult), which seemed to serve a purely ornamental purpose.

On Wednesday I discovered that I had made a miscalculation of its intelligence, when the crab tried to telepathically communicate with me. It, of course, had a giant brain, giving it magical powers. But it was still a mystery as to what these magical powers actually were. I, of course, blocked the crab off from my mind and continued to work.

It wasn't until 7pm on Thursday that I realised the true powers of the 'crab'. As soon as I cleaned up the last bit of muck from quadrant 4, a strange hum came from the crab, and a high-pitched vibration appeared that built up in intensity. The vibrations caused the crab's steel cables to vibrate in D flat, attracting the attention of the entire store. Suddenly, the crab opened its mouth wide, and a beam of golden light shot out from within. This enticed customers from miles around, and it was then that I realised that the crab had amazing marketing powers. Well, that's another mystery solved.

On Friday, I was given a different job, officialy titled as 'Cockateel Motivator.' Now, this was a very important job, as those cockateels had been reading existential philosophy and felt that life was bleak and pointless. Many of them preferred to pack it all in by flying into the crab's mouth and be eaten. And the crab didn't give a thought to its own responsibility, but just ate all the cockateels it could. However, I don't think it had been fed for a while. Anyway, management said that we couldn't afford to lose five hundred pounds worth of cockateel, and so I was tasked with giving them something to live for. I tried all the usual things; balloon modelling, playing Cluedo, or 'the Silly Hat game', but nothing worked. In fact, cockateel suicide seemed to be steadily increasing in frequency, then I had a brainwave. I decided to earn a few points by using my initiative, and put together some plans for a cockateel disco. The cockateels helped out in all aspects of putting the party together, from sending out the invites to calling in the DJ. Anyway, we got the disco ready for that same night.

Oh, the cockateels loved it.

The morning after, management called with some news; the crab's back was now covered in comdoms, needles, and a liberal coating of cockateel droppings. Well, I don't know who to blame, but it looks like I have to start the whole Sisyphean task again on Monday.

Some context should probably be provided. I wrote this shortly before starting work at a popular discount clothing warehouse. I wish T K Maxx had been this fun. Avoid. I know you should learn the meaning of a hard day's work and all that, but in this day and age, there are many ways a bright sixteen-year-old can earn £4.75 an hour with significantly less effort.

I would reccomend shopping there, however, they really do stock designer clothes at bargain prices.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.