nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Dilbert - Hiding the dirt)
[livejournal.com profile] thesane is here. We have spent a lot of time doing handwork and talking. It's good to see her again. I also made hot cross buns (but kept most of the dough to use on Sunday).

For this winter, we ordered an entire cord (about 3.6m2) of mixed gum and pine. It arrived this evening. We spent the next hour or two stacking it in the garage. It turns out that a cord is a lot of wood - about twice what we had last winter. Admittedly, last winter we had to be somewhat frugal with it at times, but still!

I have finished level 7 of Settlers II. I feel quite pleased about this (and at the same time kinda annoyed about this level in particular because I won by capturing the gateway, rather than capturing the gateway and world domination).

Livejournal have given me an extra two weeks paid time because of the recent DDoS issues, although interestingly the time limit for my icons has not extended...
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Calvin & Hobbes - Pounce!)
Happy birthday factioncat!
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Calvin & Hobbes - Like I'm going to get)
It being ten to one in the morning and me having to get up in six hours for work tomorrow, I am very sensibly not starting any of the tail-pieces to the 185,000 word Vorkosigan fanfic I just finished reading. Because goodness knows how long they are, but they all have at least four parts.

Sometimes my life choices are better than others.

EDIT: And now with fic link Forward Momentum.

I should perhaps note that although the author catches some of Bujold's style, there were a few too many "dear"s that dropped me out of it and plotwise, it ties up a number of loose ends, but there's never quite that moment of character growth or triumph over despair (or a giant armada or something) that characterises Bujold's writing. Things went a bit too smoothly for the characters. On the other hand, interesting concept and good execution.

Vorkosigan fics I'd actually rec (all much shorter) are The Mutant Bridgegroom, Playground Rhymes, and Vorbarra's Terrier (a Pratchett crossover). These have all been tagged on my delicious (so had Forward Momentum for that matter), so you may well have seen them before.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
So it turns out that sometimes I can make chocolatey things that are too rich for eating in one go. I made a chocolate fudgy mousse from Stephanie's Cook's Companion for dessert last night (it a) not having cream, b) not needing cooling then icing, and me not having all the ingreidents for [livejournal.com profile] exiledinpn's flourless chocolate brownies). It doesn't have very many ingredients - chocolate, 4 eggs, unsalted butter and a tiny bit of sugar.

I served it in [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose's big wine glasses—the ones that hold about half a bottle of wine each. The mousse would have been maybe a quarter of the glass; none of us finished it. Done again, I would serve it in something much smaller to more people, possibly with a tiny amount of vanilla ice cream.

The mousse followed a delicious mushroom risotto. I got a half-full supermarket bag of mushrooms from one of my workmates, so I still have some to play with. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night?

And boosting the signal: LiveJournal's DDoS and Russian Politics. This is why I'm not as enraged about livejournal's outages as I would be otherwise.

If you're thinking about shifting over to dreamwidth, I have a couple of codes to give away—let me know if you're interested.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
I've been a bit distracted with non-internet things the last week or so. Last weekend, after going to play Settlers VI again, I had the bright idea to find, download and start playing Settlers II.

I never got past level 4 of the Roman campaign when I played it as a kid, and I wanted to see if I could manage it now. Sadly, once you get past how pixilated the graphics are, it's proving to be just as addictive as ever. And I have now made it to level 5, so I have already done better than I did the last time I played it. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose was going to start playing it, but it is too old for Windows 7 (and I have to fudge a little to play it on XP).

This is pretty much all I did yesterday, aside from doing laundry and cooking dinner. Salmon fillets were on special last week, so we got some when grocery shopping and I cooked it as Mum did at Christmas (did the same salad, too - chickpeas, onion, roasted kumara and potato, wilted spinach, raisins and other stuff). I still really enjoyed it but it could have probably done with five more minutes in the oven. I don't get salmon to play with very often, so next time it will be something else.

For dessert I made [livejournal.com profile] papersky's spiced peach tarts that are based off the description Bujold gives in A Civil Campaign - something else I've been wanting to try. They weren't as spiced as I imagine they should be, and I always envisage tarts as being more flan-like than cake like, but they were still good.

More sweet things today: [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler came around and made her amazing cinnamon scones that are cooked in butter and sugar. We also had comrademojo and his girl up for a bit this afternoon, too. They didn't stay for dinner though.

Tonight, since [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler requested something with cheese, I made a family friend's sloppy chicken enchilada recipe— this is essentially a chicken lasagna. It was as excellent as ever (and the taco sauce I improvised worked out well enough too). I remain disturbed by how gluggy creme of chicken and creme of mushroom soups are when taken out of the tin—the creme of chicken soup retains the shape of the tin until squashed.

The other thing that distracted me for a couple of days is now rather funny, but at the time was rather painful. Gaming was at [livejournal.com profile] stephanie_pegg's on Thursday and [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler and I went over for dinner. I must've shifted back a little far in the second-hand wooden chair, the glue broke on one of the legs, the other leg on that side of the chair snapped off and next thing I know I'm on the floor having banged my head quite hard against the wall and with a sore arm.

Banging my head against the wall meant I had a headache for a couple of days, and the sore arm actually meant I'd caught the underside of my upper left arm on the chair and I now have a bruise the size of my closed hand there. It's all rather dramatic and looks far worse than it actually feels. I figured that all this would be amusing after the headache went away and it is. Accidents happen, I bruise dramatically and it's not like I got concussion or anything from it (and if I had, there's ACC).

The entertaining part is that I can't see the giant bruise unless I'm both raising my arm and looking in a mirror. But I raise my arms to stretch in many other places and the reactions I've been getting...
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Changling 59 (hair and green))
Turns out that none of us particularly care for thai green curry made from the Continental range green curry paste. [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow found it too hot, I found it too sharp and [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose found it both too hot and too sharp. As such, if anyone local would like a mostly full jar of the paste, it's going free to a good home where it will be willingly consumed. Let me know if you want it.

Fortunately, the green curry wasn't the main part of our meal. I made the thai fishcakes that I've made many times before and decided that I should use up the remaining fish and coconut cream with a just under half mixture. I didn't mind the green curry once I got used to it, but I do prefer red curries.

Today I also made these black pepper biscuits. There's hardly any pepper in them, they were quite fun to make, and I think they would be excellent with chilli instead of black pepper. Oh, and it makes heaps. I must find where I put my print out of the recipe, because I generally try not to use my laptop as a recipe book.

Also I cooked stuff on the bbq both nights, so that makes me happy.

For all that I have managed to cook and bake and do laundry and ironing and whatnot this weekend, I have spent a remarkable amount of time napping. It's been lovely and sunny, so yesterday I napped on and off on the deck in the sun, and today I napped on and off on the floor of the lounge in the sun (until it got too hot). Had hardly any energy yesterday and only a bit more today. I just hope that it doesn't turn into the chest infection that sent one of my authors home on Thursday and kept her off on Friday (at doctor's orders).

There is nothing quite like sliding into fresh clean crisp cotton sheets, unless it's sliding into warm soft fuzzy flannel sheets, and last night I got to do the former. Clean sheets are one of the small joys in life.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Ha ha tee hee)
So whereas I surrendered to Facebook in order to be able to see pictures of my baby!nephew and stalk other relatives, the lure of videos of her nephew learning to walk is not enough to entice [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow into doing the same.

Accordingly, her sister has friended me so that she can see the videos.

I find this hilarious.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (By the prickling of my thumbs)
So, given that I've had the last few to myself, I ended up doing things instead. On Saturday, I filled in for the Cyberpunk LARP—the Ch'akta Peace Accords.

I was Moriah Beau, a xenobiologist... )

Then a group of us went out afterward (I totally bought into [livejournal.com profile] purplesparkler's assertion that Sunday is a day of rest from Lent and after midnight totally counted as Sunday), which mean after I got home at 2am and to sleep around 3am and then got up again around 8am for church since I was helping out, I kinda regretted it. Not enough that I wouldn't do it again, but I did feel somewhat delicate and had two cups of coffee and a cup of tea before lunch...

Had lunch with some of my age group from church, which was nice; I haven't seen most of them for ages, and it was good to catch up.

Then it was out to the Kilbirnie Festival, since I'd said that I would help out collecting for the Red Cross' Christchurch Appeal. [livejournal.com profile] rincewindtvd was there too, and F drove us back to Northland. We went in for a cup of tea and stayed for a bbq after S & S invited us up for dinner. Got home around 8.30, had a shower and more or less collapsed for the night.

Tonight was the regular social grade frisbee game. It was rather windy tonight, which meant for a very low-scoring game. We played Ultimowarriors (I think—Ultimo something, anyway), who are mostly new players. I swear one of the points took half the game. It was fun though, and I was happier with how I played than I have been for a while.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
But I have started German at Wellington High (it was the only one that fit my schedule and also the tutor teaches at Vic and at the Goethe Institute), and it is on a Tuesday night, 5:30 - 7:30pm, and that means I don't get home until at least 8:00pm (and that only because I cheat and taxi from the end of Lambton Quay - the extra $30 a fortnight is so worth it).

I made pancakes tonight instead. [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow and I had them for dessert an hour and a half ago; [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose went to bed instead, for she has the plague. Lemon and brown sugar, mmm.

Dinner, an hour or so before the pancakes was also very good: a green salad with a balsamic vinegar/olive oil/geranium oil dressing; boiled then barbequed corn on the cob; and barbequed pork steak with a red berry sauce. Used up the frozen raspberries from the freezer in a half receipe. It tasted good, but was a bit of a pain to make - if I do it again, I think I'd want to use a full recipe so I don't feel the need to get every single drop of berry sauce when I strain the seeds out...

Am currently reading Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, Under Heaven. Am reasonably impressed so far about half/two thirds of the way in. If he doesn't screw it up, I think it'll end up on my to-buy list.

(this entire post was an excuse to use the new icon)
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Girl with red hair)
So, of course, I have taken the opportunity to do lots of laundry, cooking and baking. I should have done some cleaning, too, but I got distracted (and there's still time).

Dinner last night was barbequed seasoned steak on a bed of boiled green beans mixed red and yellow capsicum stir-fried on the bbq hot plate, topped with a caramelised onion mixture, and boiled then barbequed corn on the cob. It was excellent, and I am finally getting the hang of doing porterhouse steak on the barbeque to our individual preferences (although I think [livejournal.com profile] tamarillow would like hers slight more well-done).

Dinner tonight will be yet more steak that has been marinading in a teriyaki sauce for most of the afternoon, on baked potato, with a side salad of roasted carrots and beetroot. I hope to have made enough of the sauce that I can heat it and pour it over with some of the meat. EDIT: Not enough sauce - in future, I will make extra and cook it on the bbq with the meat. Also, use vegetable oil instead of peanut oil. Continue to use extra pepper. It was very good regardless.

The baking included gingerbread and two batches of the molasses cookies I mentioned the other day. The gingerbread looks glorious and the second batch of the cookies looks good (not quite as amazing as the first batch where the dark brown sugar didn't mix in properly and there were bits visible in the cracks on the top of the cookie).

The first batch of cookies looks fine, but tastes somewhat odd due to my accidentally putting in 1/2c cider vinegar instead of 1/2 tsp cider vinegar (in my defence I was on the phone to my grandma at the time and most of my lactose free recipes use about 1/2c if they use vinegar). I endeavoured to save them by adding extra sugar and flour, but I don't think it worked so well.

They don't taste bad per se, but they're not good. [livejournal.com profile] maudlinrose reckons its the aftertaste. [livejournal.com profile] thesane has suggested icing them, and I might try that - maybe ginger or cinnamon? I don't know. Most likely, they'll be thrown out. Oh well, that happens sometimes.

and just because I can—photos of cicadas )
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Stars (lights on a string))
Firstly, for the gamers out there: RPG Now is offering a bundle of games here, the proceeds of which are to go to the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake relief fund.

Secondly, Wellingtonians: if you do baking at the weekend and bring it to Civic Square between (I think) 7am and 9am on Monday morning, they will truck it to Christchurch for the people there. I understand that it should be packed into ice cream containers and labelled. No links, I'm afraid, but I'll forward the email I have at work home and make sure all the information is correct. My main concern is finding a spare ice cream container or two...

In other news, I started German classes on Tuesday night in preparation for going overseas next year. Very organised of me, I know. And tonight I made the most awesome dairy-free molasses cookies and the recipe can be found here. Only difference is that I used treacle instead of molasses. They will be made again.

EDIT: Baking link is here.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Girl with red hair)
Have heard from my mother and both my cousin and his wife in Christchurch are both okay. Have also heard from [livejournal.com profile] thesane and both she and her husband are okay.

We knew by COB today that all the Christchurch staff from my firm are alive. Some of them had to be evacuated from the CBD office building after the stairwell got blocked, which is far better than the initial report of the stairs collapsing. One of the partners was at the City Council building and left sans cellphone, wallet or ID—which is causing its own set of problems.

I should possibly note that my current definitiion of 'okay' is alive and as far as I know, not injured/badly injured.

Just, Jesus Christ. The recovery wasn't over from the last one!
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (with laptop)
It is a hot sunny still summer day here. Metservice says it is 22 degrees C - I thought it was warmer, but I guess not. The cicadas are a wall of inescapable sound that almost drowns out the DVD I'm watching, and I am currently lying on the floor in the lounge on the theory that it's cooler...

We did an Amazon order recently and part of mine was a complete collection of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers DVDs. I am currently watching The Barklays of Broadway (which I had not previously been able to find) and it's in colour - I wasn't expecting that. Seems odd to watch them in colour.

Although one thing I notice about watching some of these older movies is that I'm much more aware of who the actor is, rather than the name of the character they're playing. Possibly it's because the characters are much more of a type, possibly it's because I haven't seen enough recent movies with the same actor in them to be as aware if people are being typecast and be more aware of the name than the character.

I will barbeque for dinner: pork steaks marinaded in a bit of basil pesto; corn on the cob; a salad of some sort; and something else, but I'm not sure what.

EDIT: Dinner ended up being the aforesaid pork steaks marinaded in basil pesto; a green leaf salad with yellow capsicum, corn sliced from the cob, potato, kumara and onion roasted with sweet smoked paprika and cumin and pesto and oil dressing, corn on the cob grilled on the barbeque; and a bit of sliced boiled potato also burninated. Dessert was the lemon curd and gingernut souffle that I've made a few times.

The cicadas have not yet stopped.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Green Lizard)
We had a picnic dinner on parliament ground this evening. There were lots of cicadas (but not as many as there are at home). Groceries are done, coffee is made for the morning, lunch is made for tomorrow, and I have just had hot chocolate.

Work is still pretty quiet (boring) so I am trying to enthuse myself enough to catch up on things from last year. It's sorta working.

Elizabeth Marvelly's new album comes out on Monday and she is touring in mid-April. I'm planning to go to the concert; if you're also interested, drop me a comment and we can organise something.

I am currently tired so might work on the going to bed when tired (and hopefully sleeping) thing.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Yay! (penguins))
You know you're drunk when you have to check you spelt your surname correctly in your email address. I'm just sayin'.

Also: Bushmills and Laophroig whiskey - fucking epic.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (I've seen better days (Saiyuki))
For once, we have sychronised and are all tired and grumpy. I've interacted with some people on the internet, but apart from the flatmates, haven't spoken to anyone in person, and I'm quite okay with that. I might leave the house this weekend, but if I do, it will be tomorrow, and probably only to the letterbox or the garden.

I spent most of last evening and today reading various Eloisa James Georgian or Regency romances (they're fun) and got dressed sometime after 2:00pm and had lunch around 3:00pm. Haven't left the house, which is more or less what I wanted.

Managed to do laundry and make dinner, so while I have spent all day sitting on the couch, I don't feel completely unproductive.

Didn't think I'd finish it, so rather than loose all the witing, I have backdated and posted my rightup of Kapcon without rereading, further editing or finishing. I set it for 24 January, if you're interested in reading it.
nishatalitha: image: girl doing a cartwheel on a bench.  ferns in foreground that look like koru (Cartwheel)
Link to the Stuff article here. How cool is that? They were buried in 1886 when Mt Tarawera erupted, whic coincidentally, is the year one of my great-great grandmothers was born.

Just imagine what they'd look like with the silt gone, even underwater.

I don't want disaster tourism, I want the time travel to go back and see what things looked like in their heyday. Quite happy just to look, but I want to see things at their best.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (with laptop)
I am still in the middle of writing my post-Kapcon report (it looks like this year's is going to be quite wordy) and keep getting distracted by other reports and the discussion about next year's LARP... I'm up to fourth round, so am making progress.

Managed to twist my ankle at lunchtime today. I stepped on some uneven cobbles, not actively watching my footing, my ankle rolled and I went flying downhill. I'm not badly damaged, fortunately - grazed knee and palms, sore ankle, but I'm wondering what the bruising will end up like, since I actually managed to ice it promptly and put it up. It didn't walk off, which is unusual for that level of rolling for me. Oh well.

I'm seriously considering taking German night-classes this year in preparation for travelling. The ones I'm looking at are at Wellington High on Tuesday evenings. Has anyone heard anything about them, or have others that they would recommend?

Due to various reasons (three-quarters of them my own fault) I didn't get to run The Millers' Children at Kapcon. It's a four player game - are there four people out there who would be interested in playing it once so I've run tabletop at least once? This weekend won't work, but the following would probably be fine. Let me know if you're interested or if you know of someone who might be. A suitable time can then be worked out.

It's a Little Fears game. In the Little Fears world, all the supersititions, all the monsters, everything you've heard of from fairytales and folktales, all this is true. Black cats are unlucky. Breaking a mirror will gain you seven years bad luck. If you say that you wish the goblins will take your siblings away three times... well, that will happen, too. Your mother, Mrs Miller, has gone out for the evening and you have a friend around to stay overnight for your sister's birthday. It's all fine - nothing will happen, right?
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Kapcon)
I eventually crashed out about 4.00am, but seemed to be okay on the two-and-a-half hours of sleep that I managed. Last night I got nearly seven, so while I have the larp-hangover this morning, I'm not too bad otherwise. Think I will go in earlier, have McDonalds for breakfast and be at the con on good time. We have a 9.45am start today, which feels less generous than it has in other years.

There are spoilers for all the games under the cuts, although the games on demand ones won't actually matter...

Round One: Dead Man's Chest )

Read more... )

Round Three: The Yellow Peril )

The Al-Shimir LARP )

Round Four: The Frog Princess )

I was pretty shattered at the end of all this, and so while I went to the after thing, when my ride wanted to leave early, I was more than happy to go. Lesson learned: seven rounds of gaming (including the LARP) is too many; take one off and stick to six.
nishatalitha: slightly crumpled white sheets, small text= "sleep now" (Sleep now)
That is, with me lying in bed and typing this post like some kind of crazy person because my brain won't shut up. Everything else, pretty much as planned: work, work drinks, pre-Kapcon drinks, home, read for a bit, pack stuff for tomorrow, read until tired enough to sleep. I thought I was tired enough to sleep, but clearly not. The cat is sound asleep by my feet, however.

Currently, it's skipping between thinking about costuming for the first game tomorrow (I'm the cabin boy in a small pirate larp), visualising potential scenes from the game I'm running on Sunday (first ever time running tabletop, oh God), the possibility of writing some sort of Silmarilion-based game and potential scenes or plot lines for that*, etc etc. No sooner do I switch away from one, than another starts up.

It's very bright outside, what with the size of the moon and the moreporks won't shut up.

I bought awesome workshoes this week, but they're leave-at-work shoes and I keep forgetting to take a photo, so no picture, sorry. They're patent leather, bright red, strappy, with a closed toe and a decent heel. They're comfortable, too.

Work this week was not nearly as busy as expected. I even got some filing done from late last year (not the biling filing, but random bits of paper). I think the latest I got to before getting bored was about 4.00pm; the earliest around 2.00pm. The latter occured more than the former.

I should have another go at sleeping. I have to be up again in four hours or so.

*I blame [livejournal.com profile] idiot_savant who compared the possbility of running a Vorkosigan game with its complete-feeling universe to LOTR and then when I said the Similarion would be better, said yes please. No promises, mind. But setting a game at the fall of the hidden city with the captains Glorfindel and Ecthelion could be kinda cool.

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