Noise and Pylons, Call of Duty and Springrolls

This has been a fairly busy week. Mr. 761 is home, and quite diverting company. The sound track to the week has been the construction going on right outside the house. The

That used to be my driveway

town is replacing sewer mains or something, and it’s a big job.  The road is blocked off with pylons, and I’ve striven to be nice to the Pylon Guys. When this all started, the Pylon Guys were pretty eager and perky on the job. As time passes, they become less so. When it rains, they don’t even bother with the middle pylon — they mostly just sit in their trucks and smoke. Sometimes they put the middle pylon in and jump to get it so you can drive by. Other times they wait until you stop and then they lumber over, to make sure you have a purpose to go past the pylons. Living here counts.

So, Mr. 761 and I had Erica in the car and… well, I’ll let his facebook entry tell the story:

Mark Hey, guy at the end my street who’s job it is to move the traffic cone at the “local traffic only” sign during the sewer construction: could you pick up the pace a bit? Yes, your lawn chair in the shade looks mighty comfy but when you see me driving towards you (for the 3rd time that day), you can assume I want to get …to my god damn house and get up off your ass before I come to a complete stop.

[…] I just figure if you’re going to be a cone mover, you should try to be the best damn cone mover you can.

Perhaps Mr. 761 takes these things too personally?

Aside from the Cone Guy’s lack of professional pride, the other issue is the noise.  At first, they were at the far end of my road, and it was kind of lovely — only local traffic coming through during the day, so no loud trucks etc. Then it got closer. They blocked my driveway (without telling me before hand by the way — Mr. 761 drove across our lawn to get out), they dug a giant hole, they filled the hole. Then the next day they unfilled the hole, did more work, and moved down the road a bit. It’s all very complicated and I’m sure they know what they’re doing but the only really quiet time is when they’re all having lunch (seems to start at precisely 12:05 every day).

So, the din is considerable. And dust, oh lots of dust. As I said, though, the noise abates at 12:05. Or does it? What I get once the infernal groaning, creaking, back-up-beeping and digging stops is this weird background noise. What is it?

Xbox.  Call of Duty. That’s what.

Mr. 761 is now the proud owner of very expensive but very much appreciated wireless

Ah, the sweet sound of silence!

headphones that allow him to kill people and be killed in peace. My peace. I love him, I’m very happy he’s home. But if I hear that annoying game one more time I’m going to… um, well, I don’t know what I’ll do.  But I won’t be happy.

I don't get it. Really I don't (note the blood splatter on the top right hand corner of the screen). Blech.

There’s a whole crazy process to Call of Duty (COD) in our house. There are rules if there are two players (no screen watching!), and it takes at least 4 hours at a sitting. I find the whole thing repellant — the blood splattering, the cheers when they “kill” someone…. the hyper-reality of the look of the thing. Mr. 761 plays it laying down, for some reason.  There is a total focus when they are playing the game, which can go on for hours — many hours — at a time. It appears that by sitting in a room together and playing this (on separate parts of the screen), staring forward, my husband and daughter are having some sort of quality time.

I don’t get it.

Spring Rolls

Today I made my take on Vietnamese style spring rolls for lunch.  I was at the store looking for curry paste, and my daughter saw the rice paper that you need for the rolls on the shelf. I’ve never seen them like that, and fell in love with the packaging. This happens a lot, especially with asian food products for some reason.

They’re in the “foreign food” section of my local Superstore, and aren’t expensive. There are a lot of them in the package (enough to make 60 rolls). They’re low calorie, gluten free, and don’t require cooking.

I love food that’s wrapped in something, and was bored with pita, and tortillas, etc. so this is a great alternative. It’s dead easy to do — drop one paper in warm water for 4 minutes or so, take it out, wrap your filling in it, and cover with damp towel until all completed.

Ours were made with left over slaw from the night before (kholrabi/cabbage/onion/red pepper/radish with sesame seeds and almonds… see previous post from 24 July 2010), some pre-cooked shrimp, bean sprouts and some cilantro.

Loaded, but not rolled yet. It's on a red tea towel, hence the funny color.


If you can roll a tortilla, you can do this. Try to use fillings that have contrast, because you can see through the paper once it’s wrapped.

Vermicelli would be good, and I kicked myself once I realized I had a bunch of tabouli salad that I could have put in there too.

These were generously filled, and we each had only 2 or 3 and were full. You want generous ones, because otherwise the all important food-to-wrap ratio would be off.

We dipped these in peanut sauce that Erica created. It will be impossible to replicate that sauce (in a pinch you can mix hoisin sauce with peanut butter, and add a pinch of crushed peppers).

I loved these. They were bright and refreshing, but filling. They’re pretty, like little  jewels wrapped in Isadora Duncan’s white scarf.

They are the opposite of Call of Duty.