Tuesday, April 24

GREEK ANECDOTES ANTHOLOGY

I just read one very funny post on Melusina's blog about crossing the street in greece and almost died laughing. I then skipped on over to Flubberwinkle's blog and found a very similar, in terms of style and humour, post about seat lurkers on the bus in greece... and almost died a second time.

And at that very moment, the germ of an idea sprung into my head. Within a few seconds it had blossomed, and a pretty neat idea I think it is.

Many of us blogging in Greece have written humorous, anecdotal-style posts about various aspects of modern greek life and society. These anecdotes are like 'snapshots,' if you like, perfectly conjuring some small splinter of life that is generally banal to those of us who live here, but mad-sounding to anyone who doesn't. And when we read it we, too, realise how mad it is, and that we would almost have become inured to that madness (and what a sad thing that would be) were it not for the post.

Well, I think these little anecdotes deserve more than being relegated to the dusty corners of the archives section of our blogs. I think we should start collecting them together and, once we've done so and a final selection has been made, maybe post them on a separate blog of their own, or maybe even a real collective web page - if some web savvy person is willing to come up with one - or some other clever idea I can't think up on my own. Suggestions are welcome.

So, in detail, here's what I propose:

NOMINATING:
- In the comments below this post, 'nominate' posts that you think are worthy of being anthologised.
- Please include:
1. the name of the post
2. who wrote the post
3. a brief description of the subject matter
4. a link to the post.
- Please read previous nominations and avoid nominating a post which has already been nominated once.
- Nominated posts can be written in Greek or in English.
- Feel free to nominate your own posts.
- All nominations MUST be published ANONYMOUSLY (to avoid any potential hurt feelings). (All other comments, re. the idea in general, do NOT have to be anonymous).
- Nominated posts should be similar in subject matter and style to the description above. i.e they should be:
humourous in nature
about a single EVERYDAY aspect of Greek life
something that most Greeks/foreigners living in Greece will have experienced, too.
- Nominated posts should not be purely complaints about some part of Greek society the author does not like. i.e. if it is complaining, at least it should be doing so humorously, and not be denigrating Greeks or Greece as a collective whole (or anyone else for that matter).
- If you have previous posts that almost meet these requirements but don't quite (e.g. you talked about several things in one post) it would be a good idea to re-post a modified version of the original so that it can qualify. Or write a whole new one!

VOTING:
-Once a reasonable number of posts have been nominated (do I have to specify a number in advance? I think it'll become clear when we've exhausted the supply, and can just play it by ear. What do you think?) I will, after a week's advance warning, 'offically close' the nominating period.
- From that point on, all further nominations will be rejected (ie deleted) and the voting period will begin.
- in the comments of this post again, 'vote' for the posts that you think deserve to be included in the anthology by referring to them by NAME and AUTHOR.
- Vote for as many posts as you like, several within one comment if you like, or each alone.
- Again, all votes must be ANONYMOUS.
- Please be honourable, and only vote for each post once.
- I will post a one week warning before the end of the voting period (again, I assume it'll become obvious when voting has tapered off, but if you think it should be more restricted let me know) and then voting will be closed.

At that point I will tally the results and publish a list of the chosen posts... and we can decide via comments and general consensus where to go from there.
C'est tout! Sounds fun, no?

Sunday, April 22

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE CONSPIRACY

It being my boyfriend's birthday tomorrow, I decided to bake him a birthday cake. However, not being the most experienced of cake-bakers (and, OK, being a bit lazy), in a remarkable show of foresight I stopped by my local supermarket last Friday and purchased 1 box of Betty Crocker devil's chocolate cake mix and 1 (very large-looking indeed) tub of her icing.
Past experience has sold me on the Betty Crocker icing - I can never get mine quite as thick and creamy as she does - and so I figured her mix would equally surpass mine. In that I was not disappointed. Carefully following the instructions, I mixed in the eggs, butter and water
(adding tons of bitter chocolate chunks to the mix, cause my boyfriend is a chocoholic) and poured the batter, as per the written instructions, into a TWENTY-SIX centimetre cake tin. The cake came out of the oven, and a sneaky taste off the bottom confirmed that yes, Betty makes a mean chocolate cake.
All well and good. But then came time to spread the icing on the cake. Being (as aforementioned) a bit lazy, rather than make 2 separate cakes for a layer cake I usually just slice a normal cake in half and slip a bit of extra icing in between. Well thank goodness for my laziness! Having used a very average amount of icing as filling , I slapped on the top half of the cake and started spreading the rest around to cover the sides and top. However, it soon became clear that the icing that remained in the tub was barely going to suffice for decent coverage. Intrigued, I looked at the directions and, lo and behold, in plain lettering on the side of the very large-looking tub, it was indicated that the amount of icing held within is only sufficient for a TWENTY-THREE centimetre layer cake.
OK, so this was not actually a huge problem as, for good measure, I was going to cover the icing with a thick sprinkling of chocolate shavings, thus concealing any patchy bits. BUT WHAT IF THIS WERE NOT THE CASE? What if I wanted JUST a nice, thick creamy layer of icing over a 26 centimetre layer cake? And what if I were not so lazy, and had actually made two separate cakes, thus creating a much greater side area to be covered? Well, I'll tell you what if. I would have to buy a SECOND pot of icing - a pot whose contents would largely go unused, thus prompting me to make a second cake, purchasing a THIRD tub of icing, so as not let the contents of the second tub go to waste.
Now, I'm pretty sure this is not simply an oversight on the part of Betty Crocker. After all, she's been in the business of making cakes for a quite some time now, and surely during that period someone has pointed out to her the 3 centimetre discrepancy. No, I am left with no option but to conclude that Betty is a sneaky little b**** who has come up with a clever ploy to make us bake (and eat) more cake than we want to. So given this scenario, when I slip into my little string bikini this summer and see more unsightly bulge than I'd like to, I'll know who to blame. Yes, I'm talking to you, Ms. Betty Crocker.
But now for the icing on the cake - metaphorically speaking this time. As a final touch I wanted to spike the cake with birthday candles. And, since my boyfriend inconveniently refused to stop getting older at the age of 24 (and has now reached a whopping 31) this meant buying 2 packs of candles as the largest pack available only contains 24 (leaving me with a - rather useless since I don't know any 17-year-olds - surplus of candles). But anyway, I sucked it up, bought the two packs, and went to put them on the cake - only to realise that along with each set of 24 candles only TWELVE of those little plastic candle holders-that-stop-the-wax-dripping-all-over-the-cake were included. What the %#*$??? What use to me are 24 candles if I've only got TWELVE candle holders? What am I supposed to do - whittle the ends of the candles down so that two will fit in each holder??? By my calculations, in order to have enough little candle holders to support all 31 candles on my boyfriend's birthday cake, I would have to buy not two but THREE packs of candles, leaving me with a surplus of 5 candle holders and FORTY-ONE (!!!!!) candles!
Now that this birthday cake conspiracy has been exposed, I trust we will all take up arms against Betty Crocker and the other birthday cake paraphernalia manufacturers, demanding that the amounts of things that go together, within a said package or group of packages, make some logical sense.
Otherwise, I'll just have to boycott birthdays altogether.