Not Now, I'm Busy
Oh, bother. I have an article to write.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until next week.
There is nothing like the panic you feel when you know that you have absolutely nothing of interest to say. Here's what I did recently when faced with Empty-Head Syndrome:
- Wrote a Guide Entry called 'The Buzzards of Hinckley, Ohio. USA'1 and put it into Peer Review. (Yeah, go figure. Apparently my head wasn't completely empty.)
- Read h2g2 Talking Point about sweets. Wrote and posted a Sonnet to Sweeties. Decided I was hungry and made a batch of fudge (see recipe below). Hmmm. Got some momentum here; time to write a Running with Scissors article?... Nope!
- Surfed the Web while eating fudge and checked out the latest news from Mars. Read scientists' announcement that Mars once had plenty of liquid water, which holds out the possibility for life having once existed on another planet. Did the Happy Martian Dance.2
- Cleaned chocolate smears off keyboard.
- Surfed the Web some more. Found out that when actor Johnny Depp was unable to get himself out of his 21 Jump Street3 contract, he set his underwear on fire. Decided I like the cut of that man's jib. Considered the possible ramifications of our politicians doing something similar when things don't go according to plan. Got a good case of the whim-whams.
- Went to the ice rink to practice and work off some of the fudge. Got sidetracked because they were showing 'Pirates of the Caribbean' in the rink's lobby. Decided that Disney will never create a touring ice show called 'Pirates of the Caribbean on Ice.' Briefly contemplated lost opportunities and the rise and fall of civilizations.
- Came home and did my taxes. Considered setting my underwear on fire.
- Redid my h2g2 personal page. Sort of.
- Started reading Jasper Fforde's latest Tuesday Next novel, The Well of Lost Plots (an excellent series, by the way).
- Attempted to sort out my life. Gave up and set my underwear on fire.
Hard work may pay off eventually. Laziness pays off now.
Bother. I still have an article to write.
Philosophical question: when you write an article about writing an article, does that make the result a meta-article? And what exactly does 'meta' mean, anyway? A quick visit to our handy-dandy dictionary tells us:
1. A prefix meaning between, with, after, behind, over, about, reversely; as, metachronism, the error of placing after the correct time; metaphor, lit, a carrying over; metathesis, a placing reversely.
2. (Chem.) Other; duplicate, corresponding to; resembling; hence, metameric; as, meta-arabinic, metaldehyde.
3. A prefix meaning at a level above, as in metaphysics, metalanguage.
And I still don't have an article. Let's go see what's happening with Martha Stewart.
When I get the feeling I ought to do something, I lie down until the feeling goes away.
For those who don't live in the United States and may not have heard of her, Martha Stewart is the quintessential Domestic Goddess. She has built a media empire while becoming Homemaker to the Nation; she has her own television programme, publishes magazines and cookbooks, and designs towels, bedding, and the like for K-Mart4. In short, she has raised housework to an art form, inspiring awe, loathing, and not a few snide jokes in the process. Of course, those of us who hate housework think it's all hooey.
Anyway, Martha got herself into trouble a couple years ago when she sold some shares of ImClone Systems stock. Unfortunately, she did so just before news surfaced that a new cancer drug the company was testing had not won approval by the FDA5 and the stock price plummeted. The superb timing of her sale caught the attention of various industry watchdogs - it's illegal to trade stock based on insider information and the penalties for doing so are stiff - and after several months of questioning, she was slapped with charges related to the stock sale and subsequent investigations.
On 5 March, Martha was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to the government. The sad thing is that, because of dumping about $228,000 worth of stock6, this wealthy woman is now a convicted felon, facing a huge fine and a prison sentence, and her media empire faces an uncertain future. Which just goes to show, even the Princess of Perfect can be a complete idiot about money. No word on whether she set her underwear on fire.
(If Martha Stewart were making this recipe - not that she would, it's way too simple - she would grow her own cocoa beans and walnuts, milk her own cow, churn her own butter, and make her own sweetened condensed milk beforehand. The rest of us can find these items in the food store.)
12 oz (340 gm) semi-sweet chocolate
8 oz (¼ lb, 8 Tablespoons, 225 gm) butter
1 11-oz can (325 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
chopped nuts, if desired
Butter an 8-inch x 8-inch (20-cm x 20-cm) baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until blended. Add nuts if desired. Pour into buttered pan and chill fudge until firm. Store fudge in refrigerator or freezer.
Contains no calories if eaten directly from pan while standing by the kitchen counter.
Do I have an article yet?