If New Slow Cooker Recipes Were Pitched the Same Way as Television Programs

beef-stewINT. OFFICE – DAY

A swell office, if you like IKEA furniture and clear glass awards. Oh, and posters of old, classic slow cooker recipes that the person sitting behind the desk wishes he was involved in developing.

Speaking of, a slim and nerdy type sits behind the desk, chewing on an arm of his glasses while he flips through recipe cards: this is BLAINE, our Recipe Development Executive.

Sitting in front of him is ERNEST, the Recipe Writer, a pathetic wastrel of a chef, chewing his nails and tapping his feet.

BLAINE

Meh…I don’t know. Is this based on a previously existing recipe?

ERNEST

Nope. One hundred percent original!

BLAINE

Too bad. It would really help us if there was already an established audience for this.

ERNEST

The last time we spoke, you said the world needed a new beef stew recipe. It was time, you said.

BLAINE

But, really—beef stew? Doesn’t Campbell’s already have a beef stew?

ERNEST

Surely there’s room for more than just one—

BLAINE

Have you thought about cumin?

ERNEST

I’m sorry?

BLAINE

OK, maybe ginger. Or how about ras el hanout? People like spicy.

ERNEST

I guess I could consider—

BLAINE

You know what, if you take out the beef and put in a root vegetable, we might be able to sell to a younger demo of chefs. Vegan is so hot right now.

ERNEST

I don’t know if roots are really part of my vision.

BLAINE

How about lamb? Lamb is skewing younger these days.

Blaine drops the recipe cards on his desk top and puts his glasses backs on. Leans forward on his elbow, serious now.

BLAINE

I’d like to think that my MBA leaves me uniquely qualified to tell you how to best cook food. Even though I’ve never been in a kitchen in my life.

Ernest considers.

ERNEST

Maybe something kind of Moroccan?

BLAINE

Sounds kind of spicy. People don’t like spicy. Also: do we have to tell people you’re from Toronto? That plays like shit across the country.

ERNEST

When I was growing up, I had a cousin who lived in Fenlon Falls.

BLAINE

(pensive)

Small town. Plays to the hicks. I like it. But, I’m going to have to pass. I just feel as if your recipe lacks focus. It’s all over the place.

ERNEST

Oh. I felt pretty confident about it before I came in here.

BLAINE

Sure you did. You’re an artist! By the way, we have a few chicken noodle recipes we’re having trouble cracking. Do you want to take a run at those? For no money, of course.

ERNEST

Come on. I have some self-respect.

Blaine gives Ernest a knowing glare.

ERNEST

OK. It’s just nice to get email from a recipe company. Makes me feel important.

BLAINE

That’s the spirit!

Ernest rises and exits. Blaine leans back and puts his feet up on the desk.

BLAINE

(smiling)

I’m an awful human being.

FADE TO BLACK


The Yawning Gulf

My old uni-hued friend...

My old uni-hued friend…

 

On days like today, when I can’t get my shit together and string together a reasonable sentence on single thing that I’m working on, I realize how much computer screens these days are engulfed in white. After staring at that ocean of a blank slate for a short while (one hour? six?), my eyes hurt. I blink and walk away and the ghost of the white screen follows me into the living room where I cuddle with the dog or the kitchen where I cuddle with a bag of cookies.

The first computer I had was a generic PC clone. My parents bought it for me so I could transcribe my first novel onto a floppy disc for easier transport and use in any Frisbee-related emergencies.

I say “novel” but it was too short for that. A 26, 000 word coming-of-age piece that fairly burst with all the accrued wisdom you could expect from a fifteen year-old virgin with braces and headgear that slung around his face like a broken spoke from a grocery cart and the delightful grace-note of a sweat-stained neck strap.

I wrote that first draft on a manual typewriter I still own and on the only paper in the house that was even remotely appropriate–blank but with three-holes punched out. Thinking back on it, I must have had a mortal fear of margins because I crowded letters on the entire page, from the top left corner to the bottom right, even deftly squeezing an adjective or two on the left-hand side of the holes.

The summer of 1986, I spent my vacation transferring those pages onto disc and scanning the radio dial for the Michael MacDonald’s “Sweet Freedom” from my favourite movie of the year Running Scared (the older I get, the more I look to my historically shitty taste in music and wince). Kids, you won’t understand the fun of hunting the airwaves for a song in your instant-gratification YouTube era, but back then you could spend days without hearing your wanted song but when you did, Jesus, it was like winning the lottery. But with an unavoidably catchy melody.

Other than the comforting, dulcet tones of a certain ex-Doobie Brother, I remember the screen on that computer’s monitor. The amber text hovered on a black screen, somehow keeping straight lines in what should have looked like (in my mind at least) the alphabet in zero gravity.

Even though I was transcribing existing text, there were enough times that I spent staring at a blank screen (likely pondering what the next John Hughes movie was going to be like and if I had enough money to see Running Scared again).

I experienced enjoyment at those moments, a strange warmth that the white screens of today do not provide. At least in those days, even after I had finished tapping out my novel and started an ill-advised tango with poetry, I could sit in front of the screen and not know what was going to happen, like falling at night and not being able to see the ground flying up to flatten me.

And if you’re going to say “Go thee and find a monochrome monitor emulator”, I’m going to say that not only are you stiff-necked jerk, you’ve missed the point.


Story Ideas Of Mine That Didn’t Make It Past The Title Stage

  1. Dude, Where’s Your Tsar? (historical romp)
  2. Hello My Name is Lorne Ipsum
  3. Been Drunk in the Wheat So Long, It Looks like Chaff to Me
  4. Mister Perfectt
  5. Namaste, Bitches!
  6. The Dorothy Parker Character Assassination and Vinegar Pie Club Meets at The Broken Arrow Cafe
  7. Another Shit Day in Asstown
  8. This Metaphor is Condemned
  9. Dead Men Knit No Cardigans
  10. Michael Corleone-Type Metamorphosis from Unwilling Participant to Head of the Crime Family But With a Middle Eastern Setting (shelved after a certain FX show hit the air)
  11. From Hair to Eternity: My Battle with Male-Pattern Baldness and Terrible Puns
  12. Who Ate My Parachute?
  13. No Big Deal, But I Think The Work of Carlos Castaneda Is a Bunch of Hooey
  14. Sex Is a Four Letter Word If You Spell it With Two X’s
  15. White Privilege Doesn’t Exist: Dispatches from the Penthouse

 

 

 


Distracting Thoughts I’ve Had When I Should Be Writing

Image

 

  1. Is that someone at the door?
  2. My elbows sure are dry. I should probably moisturise before that gets out of hand.
  3. How many litres of Coke Zero is too much?
  4. “Windows Configuring Update for Your Computer”? Guess that’s it for the day then.
  5. That has to be someone at the door. Can a strong wind press the door chime?
  6. If I started working out, would a trainer think me wimpy for wanting more repetitions versus heavier weights?
  7. It would be horrible if my tinnitus became full-blown deafness. I hope that it won’t happen all-of-a-sudden and that I have many, many years to avoid having my hearing checked by a doctor.
  8. Is it wrong that I laugh so much at misspelling “shenanigans” as “shenanigangs”? Couldn’t an improve troupe rightly be called a “shenanigang”?
  9. Whatever happened to Fountains of Wayne? Are they still recording stuff? I loved “Hackensack”.
  10. Why didn’t I get a trade under my belt, like plumbing? That was poor planning on my part.