freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
This house smells of cake. Lots of cake. Really rather a lot of different cake, because I am (finally!) having a housewarming tomorrow, and the exigencies of space being what they are, have advertised myself as being At Home to visitors from 2 to 7pm, drop by when convenient, tea and cake if afternoon, booze if evening. This morning was very full of cake. I think I entered a sort of cake-baking fugue state, actually. I got into a rhythm. I looked up after a blurred and indeterminate amount of time and there was cake on every surface in the kitchen. There is blackcurrant jam in my hair, butter adorning my front, and a rather delectable Guinness/chocolate batter mix down what for want of a better word we'll call my cleavage. I am more than somewhat vanilla-scented and feeling astonishingly happy.

The laser-focus baking spree was partially motivated by fear, because in addition to the usual concerns (will anyone come? will there be enough food? enough glasses? enough things for them to sit on? will they all fit?) we currently face the merry South African challenge of whether or not Eskom, in its infinite inefficiency, will suddenly hit us with load shedding. They say not, but I don't trust them an inch. It would be just my luck to have something delicate in the oven when the lights die. The inscrutable gods of power are mostly quite good at pulling the plug punctually within their stipulated times, but only mostly.

You can also deduce from context that I'm on leave, calloo callay, and contemplate with joy three and a half weeks in which students can't get at me in person. Tomorrow is also one of those mad random South African public holidays, which is why I can plonk a housewarming onto it. Fittingly, my car system launched into Franz Ferdinand (inevitably, having gone from Eurythmics to Fleet Foxes) on my way home from work on Friday, my last day for the year. "It's always better on holiday!", it warbled. Hence my subject line. I hear you, Cosmic Wossnames.

Randomly, my At Home card for tomorrow. Because I had fun making it, and there's an offchance I left someone vital off the To: list, because it's the end of the year and I'm exhausted, so what little brain I have at the best of times has trickled sadly out of my ears. If you didn't receive this and are a Cape Town realspace friend who wishes to assist in celebrating my state of domicile, please email me!



Art evilly nicked from Brian Kesinger, whose Otto and Victoria are a whimsical steampunky delight. I hope he doesn't mind.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
This is mostly for [livejournal.com profile] wolverine_nun and [livejournal.com profile] noirzette, although any of you witterers with a musical background I wot not of are free to enjoy it as well :>. Musical notation as described by cats. This has just made me giggle for five minutes straight.

In additional to felinious musical notation, the dreary grey cactus desert that is work is currently being enlivened by (a) teaching third-years internet eroticism, with added Powerpoint, Secret Diaries and clips from Avenue Q, (b) the memory of an excellent girls' night at Fork last night with the Jo and the aforementioned [livejournal.com profile] noirzette (tapas and that Black Pearl cabernet/shiraz blend), (c) the joyous contemplation of the metric buttload of public holidays infesting the next few weeks (if I play my cards right I can have a four-day weekend followed by a four-day week followed by a three-day weekend followed by a two-day week followed by a five-day weekend, score!) and (d) the next in the Chocolate Digestive Biscuit saga, which this week is the miniature Woolworths ones. These are generally a pleasing thing, although slightly chewier and less melty in the biscuit region than the larger versions, and surprisingly difficult to eat neatly. Even if you consume the whole thing in one bite you still end up with chocolatey fingers. I'm going to have to extend the experiment to find the optimal eating position. Darn.

Further to the Fork experience (Fork is great! lovely food and only very slightly hipster, as befits a Long Street joint), I note with some alarm that my driving skills have a serious deficiency. I'm significantly bad at driving a social expedition into town, which in hindsight is perfectly logical, since it's not something I've ever done. I've driven small/old cars for long enough that I'm never actually designated driver for social groups, someone else with a larger car always drives. I'm thus really bad at (a) navigating into town from friends' houses, and (b) concentrating on the road while chatting. Given that the Great DVT Debacle and associated Warfarin seems to have permanently shrunken my booze capacity, I end up drinking a lot less than most of my compatriots, which means it's only logical for me to be designated driver a lot of the time, which means I'll get lots of practice in. Score!

The subject line, as is only inevitable, is from the musical Cats, specifically the Jellicle variety. Jellicle cats sing jellicle chants.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Aargh. Technically I love structure, I'm a genre theorist and administer degree rules for a living. But this new boss exemplifies the particular kind of adherence to structure which is all about systems for their own sake, and which manages to divorce itself entirely from the human realities they're supposed to shape. She works in a weird management-speak idiom which I suspect is rooted in the British system where she's been working, and which doesn't really seem to connect in any meaningful way with the realities of our degree structures. She's going gung-ho into giant descriptive structural projects which seem, from where I'm sitting, to simply duplicate, in an esoteric and not entirely accessible form, what we have already. I contemplate the time-suck this is going to mean, and quail in my boots. While eating chocolate digestives, which helps.

Chocolate Digestive Biscuit watch! I'm still addicted, only partially as a coping mechanism for my Troublesome Boss. McVitie's are still my favourite, although they have the drawback (other than the excessive price) that their delectably crumbly biscuit is very messy and sprays crumbs in a wide area. (Note how I cunningly blame the self-propelled biscuit crumbs rather than my own careless munching). I am desolated to report that the Baker's Bettasnack oat and dark chocolate ones have changed their chocolate formula, and it now tastes Really Odd. This is a pity, because I rather like the dense, crunchy texture of the oat-infused biscuit. Next up to try: those miniature Woolworths ones.

The holes in my leg are apparently healing well, although they don't much like me to wear jeans, which seem to chafe enough for the wound sites to actually ache a bit in a way they haven't done at all up until now. Also, apparently sleeping habits are ingrained on a subliminal level which causes some quite distinct angsts if they're disrupted. I sleep on my side, slightly curled up. During the night, and particularly during the hour or so it takes me to fall asleep when I first get into bed, I switch between my right side and my left side fairly frequently and with an approximately equal distribution. Since I have an eight-stitch wound just under my left hip at the point of maximum pressure for a body sleeping on its side, I can't currently sleep on my left side at all. I actually wake myself up with aborted attempts to turn over, and while lying awake trying to drift off I suffer from these weird compulsions to turn over which I have to resist, and which I feel almost like a physical itch which I can't scratch. I don't know how much this is affected by actual physiological pressures - i.e. whether my heart is up or down, or which organs are pressing on each other - but it's a very strange feeling. We are creatures of habit. Strange habit.

My subject line is quoting Air Supply, more or less by random association. I am a child of the 80s, and unrepentant. Also, Air Supply, like a lot of ballady 80s pop, is incredibly good fun to render lushly on the piano.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I wish to report the following, in mitigation of a really long post hiatus:

  • The complete inability of the campus network to load an LJ post page, suggesting I have to flee this sinking LJ ship sometime soon, this is ridiculous.
  • A return to work after two days at home battling the sinusitis/glandular fever/chronic fatigue Trifecta Of Doom, which finally caught up with me after the reg/orientation hellperiod.
  • Three separate students in tears in my office today over my inability to wave a magic wand and cause the rules to cease to apply to them. This is a representative sample of the last few weeks.
  • An addiction to chocolate digestives. (The Woolies ones have lovely crumbly biscuits with substandard limp pale chocolate coating. The McVities biscuits are chewier and not quite as good, but they have a dark chocolate version which is my current favourite. The weather is still hot enough that chocolate digestives are somewhat messy and can only be eaten in pairs, sandwiched together. This is my story and I’m sticking to it. Further dispatches from the Chocolate Digestive Addiction Front to follow.)
  • A retreat into a Skyrim replay, or to be more accurate a re-re-re-replay. This is a traditional summer escape from (a) orientation/registration woes and (b) the heat. All that snow is very soothing, although I still can’t tactically outface frost mages worth a damn and end up filled full of ice spikes and immobilised shortly before being dead. Then again, on a re-re-re-replay I’m playing on Expert level, so there’s that.
  • The conviction, over the last week of car music, that the Fratellis exhibit possibly unhealthy fixations with (a) romancing slightly demented and dysfunctional ladies, (b) romancing older women and (c) sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, or at the very least sex, booze and rock’n’roll. Figures. Also, memo to self, must acquire their new album.
  • A fast-developing fear of the house-hunting process.
  • Exhaustion.

The subject line is from the Fratellis, "Whistle for the Choir", one of my favourites of theirs - they actually write lovely ballady things. In honour of the two-hour load shedding power cut this afternoon, which was a slightly demented mix of frustrating beyond belief, and curiously restful.
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I am a sad fangirl. I still get an unholy kick out of sharing a birthday with Joss, who is 50 this year and still comfortingly older than I am, and who moreover validates my fangirling utterly not only by intelligently being born on the same date I was, but by producing things like The Avengers, thus neatly conflating several of my personal fixations. (I shall leave identifying the exact fixations as an exercise for the reader).

I have had a lovely birthday, doing not much in an entirely self-indulgent way - playing computer games (which is no different to a lot of other days, then, but without the guilt), eating chocolate, chatting to random lovely friends who dropped by for one reason or another, and going out to dinner with the usual crew to La Mouette, whose winter special tasting menu is a damn fine thing. There is still a ridiculous amount of chocolate in the house.

The computer games have not been materially assisted by the affectionate nature of the Hobbit, whose favoured position is recorded for posterity below. I need my right hand in Amalur for moving forward, parrying, swapping weapons and chugging healing potions, so it's not an entirely felicitous confluence of cat and gamer. The aching wrist from the heavy Hobbit-head, however, neatly balances the aching wrist on the mouse hand from clicking "attack" and clenching all my muscles while I swear.



I should point out that the weird brown box/paper thing behind Hobbit's left ear is my Evil Landlord's idea of a good birthday present, which is to wander into Tomes, the larney chocolate place in the Waterfront, and request two of every kind of dark chocolate they have except the ones with coconut. He is a civilised man and knows me well. Have also scored tea and chocolate biscuits, groovy clothes, cute cat-toys, interesting plants and umpteen wishes from people all over the show, for which my happy, grateful thanks.
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It's the last two days of term. Students are flocking like confused gazelles, starting and trembling and dashing around all over. I must have seen thirty of them today. I'm very under the weather, what with the sinuses and the sneezing and the happy hormonal troubles (menstrual cycle all wayward and random for no adequately defined reason), and I consider it to be a significant achievement on my part that I haven't actually bludgeoned any of them to death with the staple remover. I also have a solution. It's in two parts.

  1. Chocolate. One of my co-workers is going all mad with charity Christmas shoeboxes full of goodies for underprivileged kiddies. (I hate the word "underprivileged". It's all politically correct for "uneducated and poverty-stricken and neglected and unhappy". Weasel word.) Anyway. I went forth and bought a bunch of toys and stationery and socks and stuff to donate to boxes, including about three giant packets of mini chocolate bars, only to re-read the instructions and realise the organisers didn't want chocolate. Why, I don't know. Chocolate makes the world go round, and can only help, even if only in momentary and superficial ways, if you're uneducated and poverty-stricken and neglected and unhappy. Anyway, I now have a massive supply of mini-chocolate-bars which, if I don't stage a direct intervention, I shall completely eat myself. I'm going to stick them in a giant jar on my desk and force them on students at the start of any consultation. I figure it'll make them feel better and less quivering, which will probably make me feel better and less homicidal. Also, I can eat them at intervals (the chocolate bars, not the students), which means I'll be soothed, but if I do happen to crack, any assaults with the staple-remover will be particularly energetic.

  2. Nonsense poetry. I nearly bit someone just now, and then had occasion to open up The Jumblies in a browser tag, and I feel much better. That's a particularly lovely, gentle, poetic piece of nonsense writing: the quest ambles happily off in the direction of wherever, no goal, no practicality whatsoever, its participants green-headed and blue-handed and off to sea in their sieve with a sort of dreamy implacability you have to respect. Since early childhood I have derived enormous happiness from the lovely inevitability of their response to the sea-worthiness of sieves: when the water comes in, as of course it does, they "wrap their feet / In a pinky paper all folded neat". Because of course they do. Always keep your feet dry when adventuring. If Bilbo Baggins didn't take extra socks, he certainly should have. I also love the images of the places they visit, and their simple joy as they drift along, whistling and warbling "a moony song / To the echoing sound of a coppery gong / In the shade of the mountains brown." As a kid I was always particularly charmed by the "dumplings made of beautiful yeast" when they get back. So satisfying.
Simple pleasures. The gentle, naive, dreamy inevitability of nonsense, and escaping from reality into it, possibly makes the world go round even more than chocolate does.

melodious twang

Friday, 29 January 2010 02:05 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Right, well, then. That seems to be it: the official length of contiguous time during which I can handle the degree of stress occasioned by orientation and registration in evil-minded tandem is, in fact, four and a half days. At around lunchtime, when yet another crisis reared its ugly head, there was a sort of audible snapping noise in the key of F#, and I gave up. Cancelled the activity. Ignored OL meeps of complaint. Made unilateral decision to save self, and all else concerned, additional stress, and simply opted out. It was a silly part of the programme anyway, and I was planning to ditch it next year come what may. I am become ruthless in the pursuit of my own sanity, which incidentally was materially assisted in the last two days by (a) random chocolate from [livejournal.com profile] wolverine_nun and (b) random chocolate from [livejournal.com profile] herne_kzn. I am now hermitted in my office with the door locked, defiantly blogging, and let the rest of the bloody programme go hang.

My sanity is also being materially assisted not only by the haven of the jo&stv abode, but by Supernatural. The above image of an evil-minded tandem has irresistibly recalled the particularly goofy Season 5 episode I just watched, which features whole chunks of Sam & Dean mugging for the camera in a sort of 50s zany sitcom setting, including above-mentioned bicycle made for two. David M complains that whenever the Supernatural writers run out of ideas they fling in a meta episode. My known proclivities in the direction of narrative self-consciousness being what they are, I acknowledge the justice of his statement and joyously celebrate its truth. The meta episodes tickle me no end. The convention one cracked me up completely. This series is actually beautifully layered.

I am led to believe, via my daily ELB (Evil Landlord Bulletin), that the house is currently without a functioning toilet bar the smelly chemical toilet near the gate, and will moreover be without water for several days while plumbers plumb merrily. I clutch my temporary haven close to my chest in devout thankfulness, and shudder.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
So, totally buggered at the moment, but in fact surprisingly upbeat despite all the orientation panic, student angst and what have you. An anti-rant-list is apparently called for. Today, the following things are making me happy:

  1. Holidays. Yesterday was a public holiday, for which I thank the saints fasting. I'm in that stage of mental shut-down which says that energy-wise I'm pretty much at the end of my tether - I did sweet bugger-all all day yesterday, it was luvverly. I have two weeks off from Friday, which is a half day owing to the staff party. I figure I'll just about survive, having carefully paced myself to this point.
  2. Chocolate brownies. For my birthday this year sven&tanya gave me this incredible book called Chocolate Chocolate, full of recipes which require untold and unlikely quantities of the eponymous ingredient, and which are uniformly and unashamedly decadent and bad for you. (Eighteen different chocolate brownie recipes! good grief!) As a result of this I've actually learned to make decent brownies, which has mostly been a matter of subtracting 50o from the temperature, fifteen minutes from the cooking time, and flinging into the recipe whatever the hell happens to occur to me in the way of extra chocolate, extra Lindt dark chocolate, extra cocoa, extra chocolate chips, extra vanilla, or extra random nuts or flavourings. The last batch was exceptionally edible, and I have three of them in a tin on my desk. The morning will be somewhat sugar-powered in addition to its usual Earl Grey fuel.
  3. Recession. Yes, really. No-one has any money, everyone is doing the "ooh let's not do big presents this year!" thing, the shops are comparatively empty, and consequently Christmas is not bringing out my inner homicidal misanthrope quite as much as it usually does.
  4. Supernatural. Season three is both darker and goofier (rabbit's-foot physical humour ftw), angsty!boys are angstier, but mostly I'm happy because last night's episode about fairy tale got the fairy tale bit absolutely right. Bonus accurate "Grimms' fairy tales were dark, twisty, violent and sexy" references from Sam, my current favourite geek in the whole wide world. Also, pleasingly perverse Christmas episode featuring caricatured 50s-style cheery suburban couples with a charnel house in the cellar.
  5. My mother. She's in town. Life is better.
  6. Cthulhoid wossnames. My Tor.com mailing list signup just gave me a totally unexpected early gift of the new Charlie Stross Laundry story, also with additional Cthulhoid Christmas perversion (the Filler of Stockings!). It'll go up on Tor.com next week, but if anyone really wants to read it earlier, mail me!
  7. First trailer for Iron Man 2. 'Nuff said.
Now I go to herd academics, hand-hold devastated students and wrangle orientation photocopying. I wave a chocolate brownie mystically at them all.
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I seem to have spent a lot of last night arguing with the head of department while trying to sign up for the correct Psychology courses to complete my major, with the intention of doing Honours and actually becoming a psychologist. The outstanding courses involve a lot of stats, so it's probably fortunate that at this point the unspecified saboteurs did their evil stuff and tinkered with the giant baroque fountain to connect it with the volcanic subterranean river so it spewed an enormous geyser of boiling water about a kilometre into the air, showering Cape Town with hot rain. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something about my job. Also, I blame the comparative tameness of the imagery on the fact that I didn't actually get to see the Harry Potter film yesterday, since my mother was involved in baby-sitting duties and she wants to see it too. Maybe tonight.

I was for some reason in a very good mood for most of yesterday, as evinced by my tendency to wander around the faculty singing Belle and Sebastian to myself, while students and admin gave me funny looks. Today I'm wrestling with the labyrinthine improbabilities of Music degrees and am monumentally grumpy. On the upside, Sven&Tanya gave me an amazing giant book of chocolate recipes for my birthday, and I finally stopped vacillating between the 14 different versions of chocolate brownies sufficiently to actually try one out over the weekend. Music degree hair-tearing thus nicely leavened by copious application of Earl Grey and occasional interludes of chocolatey goodness (lovely recipe, but I have to learn the precise skill of undercooking brownies to leave them all moist in the middle. More practice clearly indicated.). Next up: the chocolate torte with swirled cream cheese topping, and the brownie recipe with bits of embedded nougat. Damn.

damn fine coffee

Monday, 22 December 2008 05:31 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Oops. I just gave free reign to self-indulgence and bought myself the boxed set of the complete Twin Peaks TV series for Christmas. Possibly this is because my will-power is doing its usual thing, which is to curl up in a small, fluffy ball somewhere in my backbrain and decline to be stirred; alternatively, the fact that I've been fighting off Sid the Sinus Headache for two days may have caused me to feel entitled. New Year's Resolution: books, CDs and DVDs will be confined to a R200 per month budget for the duration of 2009. Unless, of course, they're necessary for academic wossnames, such as the complete works of Anne Radcliffe which arrived a few days ago (there's this Masters thesis I have to mark ...). Academia is a cloak under which I can conceal a multitude of crimes, in the manner of the Far Side cartoon with the gentleman smuggling a grand piano under his coat.

The rampagings of Sid have made the last couple of days a bit surreal, particularly since I'm still trying to finish the last few curriculum reports for work - a task made the more difficult not just because of the pounding head, but because the campus database has been having fainting fits all weekend. The last of the headache finally vanished this afternoon, something I'm inclined to attribute to the consumption of the French hot chocolate at the Kirstenbosch tearoom. It's a dark, thick, creamy sludge, bitter rather than sweet, not only perfectly suited to Cape Town's day of musing, retrospective rain but productive of a serious endorphin rush clearly sufficient to see off the persistently sadistic gnomes of sinus. I should see if my nice doctor will write me a prescription.
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Actual time to post! Owing, mostly, to waking up ungodly early and wandering up to campus at 6.45am. The rest of the day is solid curriculum advice and wrangling academics, the new sport.

This made my morning. Teh Internets unleash random anarchic meme-activity on Scientology. In V-masks!

Also, because you're all very sweet and supportive of my narcissistic maunderings:


BUBBLING CHOCOLATE TAR-PIT DEATH!

Cake:
250ml flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
180ml brown sugar
2 heaped tblsp cocoa
200ml milk
2 tblsp oil
100g chopped pecans or walnuts
100g chopped dark chocolate

Sauce:
250ml brown sugar
60 ml cocoa
350 ml boiling water
100 ml sherry or rum

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cocoa; stir in sugar. Mix in milk, oil, fresh ginger, nuts, chocolate. Spread cake mix in oven-proof dish (I use a large, flat, squarish pyrex about 25cm across). Mix the brown sugar and cocoa for sauce, and sprinkle over the top of the cake mix. Pour sherry or rum over, and then boiling water. Bake at 350o for about 45 mins, or until it resembles a chunk of cake floating in a pit of bubbling black chocolate tar. Eat, cautiously, in smallish servings, with cream or ice-cream.

You can also mess quite nicely with this recipe - for example, it works rather well to substitute grated orange peel for the ginger/ginger, and substitute orange juice and/or cointreau for some of the boiling water/booze.

Last Night I Dreamed: I was having a baby, by caesarian section, in a beautiful bedroom in a mansion somewhere, with the assistance of a nice doctor. No pain or anything, but halfway through I had the sudden thought that hell, I was going to have to share my bedroom with the baby, I really hadn't thought this through at all. Then I thought, no, wait, there's no way I'd randomly have a baby on my own given my circumstances, this is clearly a dream, upon which I woke up in considerable relief.
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Eep! I shouldn't have raved so enthusiastically to jo about the motivating effect of the dinkly1 little shaded boxes on a blog calendar, since now she's posting more frequently than I am. I have no idea why this engenders in me a vague sense of competitive wossname - possibly because I currently have nothing better to do. Also, weird dreams about jo last night - see below. I may feel a subliminal sense of ownership of her techno-jinx.

The Bowie-fixation has received a momentary check as I haven't acquired any new albums for a week or so, and am thus unable to indulge my impulse towards further contextualisation. Diamond Dogs should get here from Amazon this week, though. In the meantime I'm consoling myself with Duke Special, which makes me realise that quite possibly the Bowie-fixation is simply a manifestation of pervy piano-fancying.

V. tired today, not sure if this is the result of living it up with frog and mort last night (lots of excellent wine, made chocolate mousse, recipe here, mort; also forced the Evil Landlord to eat vegetarian food, heh) or random post-glandular wossnames again. It could also be the after-effects of being confronted this morning with the evidence that I hopelessly misadvised a student in a perfectly obvious way about six months ago. Depressing.

Last Night I Dreamed: I had to rescue the jo from the house next door (except it was just a garden, no house), and spirit her, several suitcases and all her children away in the dead of night before unspecified evil forces caught on. This entailed helping her pack the suitcases, which were all laid out on the bare earth and full of orange frilly costumes. I also had to evade and later attempt to run over the tall, thin, evil monkeys in the road outside, since they were the agents of the unspecified evil. I was driving a 4x4, somewhat inexpertly, and the monkeys were good at dodging. The loading-up process took forever, I'm not sure if we ever escaped.


1 This was actually a typo for "dinky", but on mature reflection I think I like the portmanteau implications - "dinky" and "twinkly".

freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Today's discovery: Danish chocolate has long, skinny divisions instead of the more familiar A4-proportioned rectangles. I find this curiously disturbing. Only Toblerone has the right to funny shapes in a chocolate bar.

Courtesy of Neil Gaiman's inimitable nose for the weird, Iggy Pop's concert rider. I am enlightened to discover that a concert rider is the addendum to the legal contract with the venue which governs a band's performance: the rider tends to include details such as the number of bottles of Evian which shall be provided in the dressing room. The whole idea confirms my suspicion that rock stars need a dedicated aide whose job is to take the star's ego out back and shoot it when it gets too monstrous, but Iggy Pop's rider-writer is (a) extremely articulate, (b) extremely funny and (c) insane.

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Spring in Cape Town is this sort of widely idiosyncratic vernal choir. Some of the oaks are shouting "GREEN!" quite loudly now, as opposed to their slower brethren, who state "Green!" quietly, but with conviction. A few die-hards are diffidently suggesting "green!" in a pale mist or scum, not unlike the top of the Evil Landlord's giant mutant jar of olives. Then there's always the small, mad, spindly tree by our front gate, which gives an excellent impression of being dead until about two months after everything else has broken into choral foliage, at which point it'll yawn, stretch and remark "Green..." in a sort of dark, lazy baritone.

I have not yet poisoned any pigeons or done in any squirrels, but given the frustrations of the week, it's been close.

I propose to draw a veil over the network of incompatibilities, misunderstandings, misleading documentation, trips to the computer shop and cuss words which have finally, a week later, resulted in me being able to type this on my very own computer, albeit one which still refuses to recognise a mouse of any sort. Cultural highlight: after an involved series of discussions about DDR RAM speed* with the computer shop, I innocently let fall the name of my Evil Landlord, who has been prodding various non-functional computer bits on my behalf, and who bought a new system at the same shop a couple of months ago. The nice oriental gentleman behind the counter immediately perked up and demanded whether the computer under discussion, which they'd just eventually upgraded and for which I had paid, belonged to the EL. Subtext: women can't own computers, really. They just hold them for their natural overlords.

In other news, this weekend I learned the arcane construction techniques of tiramisu. I was, of course, unable to contemplate the actual consumption of more than a bread roll and a small piece of chicken, but I'm told the concoction passed muster. I am still in that tragic and suicidal state where the contemplation of actual chocolate, or anything else actually fun to eat, makes me feel queasy. Next on my list of system upgrades: my body. (Except the arms, which are getting nicely muscular from lugging computers. It would be a pity to waste all that exercise).

* does RAM have speed? 200 vs 333? or is that power, or work, or energy, or something?
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'Tis the season for random recipes. Ye gods, 'tis July. I cannot condone this helter-skelter promiscuity of the months, just lately, even if my Star Wars calender has just flipped over from June's images of Anakin Skywalker being petulant (new trilogy, ptooey) into the far more acceptable July collage of Luke and Han. But, since Scroob asked, and because I bear her no malice for her unaccountable alien marzipan fondness, there shall be culinary distraction from the wanton passing of time. Chocolate Pear Tart recipe lurks decadently within. )

Jo&stv came round last night and wantonly cooked a large Thai meal in our kitchen, a process auxilliary to the main point of the evening, which was getting our Friendly Psychologist drunk. (She's stressed about the immanent arrival from overseas of the other half of an internet relationship). Much fun was had, except that I seem to be labouring under some kind of weird virus which means I became heavily nauseous, with extreme room-spinnage, on two G&Ts. (This is absurd. I can hold my gin, usually in a large bottle cradled protectively to my chest.) I'm still feeling faintly ick, tired and achey today, which is annoying since this evening sees Part 2 of the FP Distraction Program, which is more gin, and Indian take-out, at her place. I may be a small, pale, quiet presence in a corner.

Despite quasi-viroid ickness, I did this day finally and utterly kill not only the 2500 words on Disney (with a stake through its heart, at a crossroad, with a rude inscription about consumerist manipulation on its headstone) but an additional 250+ on John Crowley (this one buried beneath a gallows in an alternate universe, with a small, enigmatic hieroglyph). How the hell my Nice Editor Man expects me to be definitive on Crowley in 250 words is utterly beyond me. Crowley's writing is dense, weird, literary, intellectual and rife with reference to folklore, mythology, fable and gods know what else. I'm still reeling from Aegypt and that was months ago, not to mention the complete quasi-Victorian folkloric rehash that is Little, Big. 250 words, tchah, I say! He got 317, and cheap at the price.

(Actually, the Nice Editor has just mailed me back to thank me for the entries, with a sweet little punning riff on the fact that they're "outstanding" - indeed, he says, outstanding in quality, not lateness. I preen.)

simple pleasures

Wednesday, 28 June 2006 11:20 pm
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Today an unexpected number of things made me happy:
  • Mike & Nikki came to dinner, bringing with them Mike's massive, 10cm-thick collection of Uncanny X-Men on extended loan. Too tired to crack it tonight, but am experiencing hopelessly fangirly eager anticipation. Dinner was fun, too, and entailed Thelma Chardonnay.
  • I made a new, extremely decadent chocolate pear custard dessert thingy with chocolate pastry. And chocolate. It looked exactly like the picture in the recipe book. Am gratified.
  • The nice gardener man washed my car. Go colonialism.
  • The Shire political meltdown is showing signs of firming up and rediscovering the realm of sense-inspired adult interactions.
  • Jo's game tomorrow, after more delays and put-offs than one would have believed possible.
  • My headache stopped.
Simple pleasures are the best, after all.

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