At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, April 07, 2014


The great advantages to being single are that your sleep patterns are not influenced by other people's strange normal habits. My erstwhile significant other, who lives on the other side of this apartment, got up at an ungodly hour so that she could be at work at seven A.M. Oppressively early!
Meanwhile I slept on, in my room, surrounded by stuffed animals.
The stuffed animals are rather like cats; they sleep all day.
In between trying to start a war.

People who sleep in the same house often get up to go pee in the middle of the night at the same time. Being a gentleman requires that you then stand outside the bathroom door fiercely clenching, while she takes a long, slow, relaxed, and altogether civilized powder break. Possibly even checking her eyebrows, or if that's a mole barely visible above the ear.
Then she brushes her teeth again.

I am aware that she pees in the middle of the night.
We both visit that little room during darkness.
But our bladder schedules have changed.
There's no conflict of interest.

She left the building sometime after six o'clock.
I got up at seven thirty, and thought I had overslept; surely it was already past ten?

I've spent the two last hours listening to Soviet-era martial music. No, not because of the Crimean crisis -- I frankly could not care less about the return of Russia's warm-water naval base to Moscow's control, no matter how dubious the legitimacy of that event -- but due entirely to research into South-East Asian dishes involving meat and soy sauce.

My reading and my listening are divergent paths. These ships do not go bump in the night. My ears trawl for different things than my eyes.
And I just realized that I have NO clue how two different windows ended up with such different search results.

When my ex and I were still together she must have wondered what was happening in my head. No doubt it frustrated her, because the connection between fresh goat and Sebastopol, though quite obvious to me, is opaque without considerable explanation.

No, I am not looking for another person to share my life. That would require too much planning and deliberation, and a degree of wishful desperation quite impossible. I do hope that at some point I'll meet a kindred spirit, but if it happens, it will happen. If not, not.
One cannot find love by frantic searching.
It takes accidental inspiration.

Someday I'll be smoking a pipe along a quiet street, when a person of the appropriate gender will pass by, pause, and ask me a question. I'll answer in too much detail, halfway between Asperger (neuro a-typical) and anal-retentive, and we'll both realize that perhaps a quick visit to a not too distant coffeeshop is in order.
There's a place we can continue the conversation on Polk.
It's not too far from a bookstore; the last one left.
Field's closed down a year ago February.
I found a book on Malay magic.
Over twenty years ago.
I had to have it.

No, not self-help. Anthropology mixed with ethno-cultural depth and detail. It's somewhere in the same case as 'Understanding Witchcraft and Sorcery in Southeast Asia', edited by C. W. Watson and Roy Ellen, and 'Het Adatrecht van Nederlandsch-Indië' (customary law of the Dutch East Indies), by Mr. C. Van Vollenhoven, professor at Leiden University, published (E. J. Bril) in 1925.

There's a lot of interesting stuff in that corner of the teevee room, much of which is hidden. My problem is that there's books in front of books, and multiple tins of tobacco occluding shelves. Two antique Indonesian blades on top of the case, as well as a decorative black betel nut container from Mindanao with a carved sarimanok on the lid, and, I just noticed, a box with my oldest calabash pipe, which I should have brought to the meeting of the pipe club in February. I had forgotten that I had put it way up there.
Some day I'll have to make order out of the madness.
It kind of grew out of hand.
I got distracted.

And speaking of distraction, here's the Russian National Anthem:


[Stupendous rendition of Russia's National anthem on Red Square during a troop review.

Splendid! Lots of stuff about rodnaya zemlya, slavsya svobodnaye what-the-evers, and B-g-m protecting the beloved otchizna.

I got distracted by the large spermatozoon at lower left in the picture, visible for four seconds starting at 56.

Anyway, the basic dish involving meat and soy sauce is darn close to a samor ('semur' or 'semor' in Indonesian, also called 'smoor' in Ceylon, derived from Dutch smoor vleesch - smothered or slowstewed meat).


One pound of chunked or sliced meat.
Four TBS soy sauce.
Three or four shallots, sliced thin.
Two or Three TBS sugar.
A very hefty squeeze of lime juice.
Dash vinegar.
Pinches of clove and cinnamon.
Garlic and ginger; sliced, smashed, or slivered.

Brown the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Put the meat in the pan to colour, add the soy sauce and sugar and a splash of water. Simmer till sticky and fragrant, on the cusp of scorching. Add the lime juice, vinegar, and chilipaste, stir to incorporate, and add a splash more water.
Simmer a little longer.
The total cooking time for the meat should be about an hour or so; less for tender white, more for dark and robust. Pork doesn't take too much time, but goat might be a while.
Lamb requires extra garlic, beef more ginger.
Make it moist enough to wet the rice.

A Dutchman might add hardboiled egg to the dish to stew along with, as well as a chunked potato. Chicken, whole chilies, and tofu can also be found in some versions, and in lieu of lime juice, tamarind may be used.

It's rice food, of course.

Without rice, it is not a meal.

Soup, krupok, and petjil on the side.

Note that the banner in the video linked for petjil is the Surinamese flag.
The "Single Guy" who discusses the dish also has a number of other recipes, mostly of Guyanese-Javanese derivation.
There is also a recipe for Pinda Brafoe.
Which is delicious!

Party food. And home cooking.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous e-kvetcher said…

    so what's your job situation - you seem somewhat free with your time. Have you become independently wealthy?

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Not fully employed - earning enough to stem bank account rupture, but scarcely more.

    Working weekends, and two days during the week.

    Not spending a lot.


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