SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

I’m An Adult Now, Dammit

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve figured it out.  I know my brain hasn’t progressed much past the mental age of 16, and the body has kept going.  That happens to everyone.  Some things never change.  One of them is my sense of rebellion.  The thing is, I’m no longer rebelling against my parents… well not too much anyway.  Instead, the authority figure in my life who is now the target for my need to break the rules, is my doctor.

Every six months, she marches me into the nurse’s office, get said nusre to stick a hole in me, and then a week later, tells me my cholesterol is too high.  What do I do?  I go and eat more hamburgers.

Surely there must be some balancing effect here.  R & R is benefitial.  Whether it comes from massage, yoga, chocolate, or burgers, has to be good for you, right?  Granted the last two back there can be bad for you if you eat too much of them, but a little sure relieves the stress.

That’s my story, and I don’t care if I’m deluding myself, I’m sticking to it.

 

The Big Facebook Cleanup

As I write this, I have 4353 friends on Facebook.  I reckon only a small percentage of those are people I actually know,  or correspond with, with any regularity.  So, I’m making a list of people to stay friends with.  Everyone I message or chat with, everyone who posts something I like, or likes something I post, plus a few actual friends and family, will go onto this list.  Then, come March 24 2018, everyone else will be unfriended.

I’m not doing this to be an asshole.  I’m not doing this to follow the hipster trend of dumping FB.  I’m doing this for money, boys and girls.  It’s that simple.

In the past few months of selling plants, planters and garden beds, I haven’t made more than I have by writing, but I have made it faster.  So, I’m going to keep my friends list below the 5k limit between now and March 2018.  I’m also going to only accept friend requests from people I know, or Melbournians who may wish to buy stuff from me.  Then, come March 24, 2018, I’m taking a razor to my friends list.

So, if you want to stay in touch, like this, or any other post, between now and this time next year.  If this has rubbed you the wrong way, unfriend me.  I won’t mind.  You’ll be saving me some time.

The Classic Beef Burger From Burger Bliss And Why I’m In No Rush To Return

You know the feeling.  That craving you get that can’t be satisfied with any substitute?  I had to have a burger.  I needed it.  So, over to Burger Bliss I went.  They’re just accross the street from my work, which is a shame.  I don’t like giving my neighbours bad reviews, but this is the second time I’ve been there, and the second time I’ve left disappointed.

I ordered the Classic Beef Combo Meal.  It comes with a burger, fries, and a drink – either water, a can (no diet), or iced tea.

 

I asked for iced tea, but was told there was none yet.  HUH?  It was 12:30.  If ever there was time to have it ready, you’d think it would have been then.  So, I got a Fanta.  The wait for the meal was pleasant enough.  I sat down with a highlighter and a manuscript and got some proofing done.  Then the food came out, and evidently this was the cue to rupture my eardrums with Europop.

Normally, I’m in the “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” camp, but jeez, that music noise was awful.  When I asked them to turn it down, I got a grunt and they turned if off completely.  Apparrently there’s no middle ground with these guys.   That’s not the only thing about which they’re inflexible.  Most of the classice flavours of milkshake just don’t exist there.  Want a chocolate shake?  The closest you’ll get is either Nutella or Home Made Salted Caramel.  What about Strawberry?  Well, there is Strawberries and Cream, but it just aint the same thing.

As for the food itself?  The fries were fine, and that was about the only good thing.  The burger bun was cold.  The patty was too small and off centre, and there was way too much slaw.  That meant the first two bites got me nothing but slop and slaw between two cold yet odly greasy slices of bun.  When I did get to the meat, it wasn’t the medium rare they promised to deliver.  It was rare.  Too rare.  I’m talking cool in the middle, falling apart rare.

Sorry Burger Bliss.  I’m afraid you’re not winning me over.  If you read this, here are a few pointers which may help you improve business, and I should point out that while I was there – the peak of lunchtime – there were only two other customers in the joint.  You can’t be making money with your current formula.

  • Cook your burgers more thoroughly, and try to get the patties the right size.
  • Go easy on the slaw.
  • Give customers what they want.  Sure it’s nice to offer some different flavours of shakes, but how about offering some classic favourites as well?  Nobody likes being forced to eat or drink their 2nd choice.
  • Smile, and don’t grunt.

I’ll give you guys 1 Star, and that’s just because the fries were nice.  Everything else needs work, and I suggest you do it quickly, or you’re probably not going to turn a profit any time soon.

I think from now on, when I need a burger, and really I only get this absolute craving about once every other month, I’ll probably trek over to Carnegie to go to Grill’d.  The music is loud there too, but not so loud I can’t hear myself think.  They smile, and while they don’t do shakes at all, their drink selection is a helluva lot better than what’s on offer at Burger Bliss.

 

 

Writing Mode

Sometimes, I feel like I’m a number of Sams all rolled into one.  One’s just a simple husband and dad who works in retail.  One’s a writer.  Another’s a hobby gardener, trying to bring in a few extra dollars by selling herbs and planter boxes.  The trouble is, I can only switch between these modes one at a time.  I can, on rare occasions, run Family Sam with Writer Sam, or Gardener Sam, but not for long.

Writer Sam is the most anti-social of all three.  He needs large chunks of unbroken time, and discipline.  Annoyingly, since he takes medication to help stabilise his moods, the discipline is very important, especially since he’s always been a pantser*.  He can’t just sit down at a keyboard while he’s on an up-swing and write for hours, or sometimes even days at a time.  He needs bum-glue.

And, there’s always the financial side.  Gardener Sam is making more money, more regularly, than Writer Sam.

So, Gardener Sam is gazumping Writer Sam a lot these days.  But, Writer Sam has got a message to all his fans:  Don’t Panic!!!  There is more copming; it’s just going to be coming more slowly than before.  In fact, I’m writing a bit today, which is nice, so stay tuned!

*A pantser writer writes by the seat of his or her pants, while a plotter is more disciplined, and maps their story out much more clearly before and during the writing process.

 

 

 

My New Half Price Herbs Group!

There’s a saying in retail: “Raising prices opens an umbrella for your competitors.”

When I first started selling my herbs, I set the price at $0.50 for small pots, $0.75 for large pots, and $0.25 for Tomatoes Of Mystery (all self-seeded, none of which I could identify as this variety or that, so they really were a lucky dip!).  I sold out pretty quickly.  So, I raised myt price to $0.75, and sold out almost as fast.

Now, at the urging of Superwife, and encouragement from some customers, I’ve raised it again to $1.00.  That’s double my original price, and it made me feel edgy.  So, I created a way for savvy customers and my precious repeat customers, to get them at my original price of $0.50 for small pots of herbs, and $0.75 for large pots.  All they have to do is join my Bandannasam’s Half Price Herbs Facebook group, and they’re eligibale for the reduced price.

Right now I have small pots of Common Mint, Vientamese Mint, and Basil – all listed elsewhere ar $1.00, but for group members, just $0.50. Also, I have large pots of Common Mint, normally $1.50, but just $0.75 to group members.

Take that, Bunnings!

Also, I just got some pics from a local childcare centre, to which I sold my first batch of raised planter boxes.  Look pretty good, don’t they?!?

If you’d like some, I knock them together for $50 a box.  They’re made out of repurposed wood from forklift pallets.

I also sell vertical wall planters like this one:

Small: ≤ 80cm² $15
Medium: ≤ 100cm² $20
Large: ≥ 120cm² $25

These too are made from forkilft pallets, and come lined with plastic so your plants won’t dry out.  Me, a gardener.  Who’d have thunk it???

 

 

 

What I’ve Learned From Pintrest

I’ve been active on Pintrest for a few weeks now, and so far I’ve learned a few things:

  • There’s a chart for everything.  From diets, to gardening layouts, to exercise, to what you should before, during and after sex, to what to wear with what.
  • People will believe almost anything if it’s on the internet.  One pin even espoused the crushing of watermelon seeds, boiling them, then drinking the water as a way of dieting, while another told me to eat nothing but one hard-boiled egg a day for a month and “be amazed” and my weight loss.  Oh man, what a load of crap.
  • People love to pin and re-pin delicious-looking recipes in the hope others will think they’re masterchefs.  My mac ‘n cheese never looks anything like the touched-up little masterpieces on Pintrest, but the kids wolf it down like there’s no tomorrow.

One day, there’ll be a real-life version of PIntrest that will launch spectactularly, run for a short while until the users realise how mundane their lives are, then it will fall in a heap as those users swing back to perving vicariously at things they could, but will never, do.

Sam

 

 

If Stephen Hawking Said It, It Must Be True, Right???

So Professor Stephen Hawking has a message for anyone who has suffered depression.  Ain’t that nice?  He likens depression to black holes and reminds us to look at things around us to see the beauty of it all, and to wonder about the creation of the universe.  That’s nice too.  Thanks Steve.  I appreciate the gesture.  Thing is, I’d warrant any depression you’re likely to have suffered has had a lot to do with your physical state, not a bad mix of chemicals in your brain, over which you have no control.

This leads us to one tiny problem.  It’s the same goddamn message I’ve heard for years from people who don’t get it.  “You’ll get over it,”  “It’s all in your head,”  and my personal favourite (that it came from good Hawkes, only makes it that much more special, “Look on the bright side.”

Umm, no.   When you’re in a black hole of depression, (which, by the way Prof says, can be escaped from – and yes, I know that’s bad grammar – ), you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is impossible to look around to see the beauty of everything et cetera, BECAUSE YOU’RE IN A FUCKING PITCH BLACK BLACK HOLE!

finger

There.  Rant over.  Move along.  Move along.

Sam

 

I Get Where Veganism Starts, But Where Does It End?

Okay, now before I begin, just let me point out I’m not attacking vegans.  Not in slightest.  I don’t agree with them, but that has bugger all to do with this little piece.  I don’t agree with socialists, or just about every form of organised religion in which fanatical zealots are groomed either, but, like I said, I’m not attacking them.  Vegans, zealots, pinko commie bastards…  … they can all go their merry way and I’ll not lift a finger against them unless they try to shove their point of view down my throat.  Then we’d have a problem, but I digress…

Vegans used to be fringe dwellers.  Now, they’re pretty-much mainstream.  That’s fine.  I think I get veganism as a general ethic; don’t eat anything that was once a living animal, or came from an animal.  No meat, poultry, or seafood.  No dairy.  Okay, that’s cool.  But these can all be seen with the naked eye.

What if we look though a lens?  Take bread and beer.  They both use yeast.  Wine also uses a fermentation process where a living organism turns sugar to alcohol, and then dies in the process.  And don’t even start me on tofu or soy yoghurts.  The whole process is riddled with bacteria.

See the bubbles in the gunk in that jar?  (It’s not my jar, by the way.  I found the pic online, and pinched it for this post.).  That’s the gaseous byproduct (basically yeast farts), of yeast bacteria consuming flour, while living in the mixture of flour and water.  It’s a living thing, guys.  I have a similar, through less photogenic, container of gunk in my fridge.  We call it Walter.  I can tell by his smell, and viscosity how his health is.  I feed him every few days with more water and more flour.  He gets a mix of rye, wholemeal, and white flour.   Then, on weekends, I bake sourdough bread, and sometimes pizza bases for home-made pizza night.

theperfectloaf_starter-1

Why do we call him Walter?  Well, one day I was describing how he lives, my youngest daughter, who had just recently been reading the series of books by William Kotzwinkle and  Glenn Murray, about a flatulent dog called Walter.  Miss5’s  (now6,), eyes lit up and she exclaimed ‘Like Walter The Farting Dog!’   Here’s another pic I nicked for this post:
yeast
Now, if wanted really not eat animals, or animal bi-products, I think I’d have tough decision to make when it comes to yeast.  It’s certainly not a plant.  Sure, it’s only a very simple organism, but it’s alive, and usually killed in the process of making some our foods like this:

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I baked these loaves of light rye on Sunday.  They’re my lunch bread for this week.  Just food for thought…

Sam

 

So Far, So Good…

Remember those New Years’ Resolutions I made?  Well the gardening & exercise bits seem to have merged into one.  In the past few weeks, I’ve dropped a couple of kilograms, and there’s a noticable difference in my muscle tone (not that I’m bragging, mind you,), but I can definitely feel it.  Must be all that hammering and prying apart of forklift pallets to make planter boxes like these:

img_0148 img_0149

Not bad, eh?  I sold ’em to a local day-care joint for a song – they were prototypes after all.  Now I know what I’m doing and just how long it takes me to make them, I’ve got a better idea of what to charge, and that’s $50 a pop plus $20 per ute-load delivery.  They’re all made out of re-purposed forklift pallets, and roughly 100 cm X 100 cm X 50 cm.  If you’re interested, you know how to get me.

Sam

My New Gym

There’s something vety satisfying about being destructive.  Last night, I bashed and pried apart a couple of forklift pallets – I need the lumber for some box planters I’ve been comissioned to make for a local day care centre.  Once I’d done that for about half an hour, I’d worked up quite a sweat.  Then, I took a break for dinner, then went out and did it again for another hour.

My arms and shoulders hurt.  In fact, just about everything hurts.  But, it’s a good hurt, and I know if I keep going at this rate, it can only be a good thing.  Now all I need to do is just sit down with Superwife and figure out what days I can ride to work to burn off even more calories.

Sam