pedanther: (cheerful)
Achievement Unlocked: Preheated the Oven
Achievement Unlocked: Heated the Frozen Dinner
Achievement Unlocked: Lesson Learned - the Picture On the Packet Means Nothing
pedanther: (cheerful)
In the past fortnight I have twice cooked dinner for myself in the frying pan I bought months ago for the purpose and then never got around to using. The results of the first attempt were... not encouraging, but I figured the principle of getting back on the horse you fell off applied, and the second attempt was much more successful. I believe I have increased the number of cooking-related things I don't believe myself to be incapable of.

The first attempt came about because I'd received medical advice that I should be eating more fish (and less deep-fried food, which meant that my standing method of obtaining fish in the form of -and-chips wasn't going to cut it). I figured that pan-frying fish ought to be fairly easy, especially once I discovered that the supermarket sold fish ready-to-go with instructions on the wrapper and everything.

The result of the first attempt was charred, unpleasantly textured, and accompanied by remarkable amounts of smoke. Consultation of cooking authorities, on the internet and in the form of my parents, led to the conclusion that I'd used too much heat and not enough oil. (I also realised, when I went back for the second attempt, that I'd neglected to remove the barcode label from the underside of the pan. I haven't decided yet whether to tell my parents about this discovery.)

The second attempt went without a hitch, and produced a nice meal and a complete absence of unpleasant smokey haze. There may be something to this cooking lark after all...
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. We won our division again, and retained the title of National D Grade Champions. I gather this means that if we contest again next year, we'll be required to move up to C Grade and give someone else a shot. I also gather that we're probably not going to be contesting next year; the expense in time and money is not sustainable for many years running. (Of the two, the time cost is perhaps the more important. Over the past few months, the amount of time we've spent preparing for the contest has meant that we've done hardly any performances locally, and those we have done have sometimes suffered for our attention being elsewhere. That's no way to carry on.)


2. The flying turned out to be no problem. It was actually a lot like being on the train, except that it's been years since the train had a meal service included in the price of the ticket. (And the view out the windows, of course. One striking moment there was when I realised that not only were we flying above the clouds, we were so far above that they seemed to be almost on the ground themselves.)


3. Brisbane continued the theme by being a lot like Perth. The details varied, but the only time I got a visceral sense of unfamiliarity was on the second day, when I was walking down the street at twilight and heard an utterly strange bird call out of the gathering darkness.


4. Saw quite a bit of the South Bank while I was in Brisbane, it being on the route between the hotel and the contest venue, as well as the Botanical Gardens, Australia Zoo, and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. At the latter two, I kept wanting to tweet a running commentary of the animals I had now seen in the flesh ("Have now seen a real live komodo dragon. It was asleep."), but since I don't have Twitter I settled for texting my observations to [livejournal.com profile] poinketh instead. ("Giant African tortoise: on close inspection, probably awake.") I didn't take many photos myself, since I'm not much of a photographer generally and anyway the whole point of the experience was about seeing the animals without a camera acting as intermediary, but I did decide I might as well shell out for the official Portrait of Tourist and Koala.


5. At one of the ANZAC Day services yesterday, in between a hymn and the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, a choir sang "Imagine". I think this means "Imagine" has now reached that point of comfortable familiarity where the words go straight through the listener without slowing down.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. We leave tomorrow for Brisbane to defend our title at the Australian National Band Championships. After tonight's rehearsal, we're feeling pretty confident.

More importantly, it'll be a fun trip full of new and interesting things to see, even if we don't actually win.


[1a. It's a sign of how focussed I've lately been on the upcoming Championships that I'd completely forgotten, until I saw what this post was next to on my friendslist, how annoyed I was when I realized it would mean missing Swancon. It would happen in a year when the Guest of Honor was somebody I particularly wanted to meet. I hope those of you who are going have a good time.]


2. After poring over various lists of new and interesting things to see in Brisbane, the one I really have my heart set on is the Lone Pine Koala Santuary. (More for the platypodes than the koalas, if I'm honest, though I expect I'll also look at the koalas while I'm there.)


3. Another new and interesting thing is that it'll be my first experience with commercial air travel: several hours in a Boeing, with all the attendant luggage hassles and waiting-around-between-connecting-flights and so on, when my only previous experience with air travel was a brief sightseeing trip in a plane that seated about eight people. That wasn't too bad, except when something happened that reminded me there wasn't anything solid holding us up, but it remains to be seen what kind of force multiplier will come into play when the time stretches in hours.


4. The Brisbane trip turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back (that's kind of a violent image, come to think of it; are there any less unpleasant alternatives?), and I have bought my first mobile phone. Yes, my first. The shop assistant, who is about my age, was appalled when I told her. It's actually not been that much of an adjustment; I've owned personal digital assistants of various kinds for many years, it's just that this one also makes phone calls and does text messages.


5. Despite the mobile phone, I don't expect to be on the interwebs much while I'm away, so this is probably the last you'll be hearing from me until I get back.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. I wear a bow tie now.

No, let me rephrase that: I am wearing a bow tie now. Which I tied with my own hands, unlike the clip-on in the wardrobe.

It's a skill I had to learn for the play, because there's a scene in which my character takes his tie off and lends it to someone else, and more importantly a subsequent scene in which the tie is returned and he puts it back on in full view of the audience. Consequent of which, having learned to tie a bow tie, I need to practice until I can do it quickly, without a mirror, while carrying on a conversation. Now that I've got the basic skill down, I actually don't think it's going to be the most difficult thing I'll have had to do for this play.


2. [livejournal.com profile] musesfool's post about Star Trek Into Darkness says a lot of the things that I might have said if I could have been bothered to write at length about it.


3. Just when I decided I was done with Arkham City, they've started releasing trailers for the prequel, Arkham Origins. And I'm... not all that interested, actually? I enjoyed Arkham Asylum, but City bumped me in sensitive places that Asylum had managed to avoid, and the trailer makes me suspect Origins will do the same.

I do like what they've done with Deathstroke's outfit, though.


4. Pretty much everyone on my friendslist with a space in the Archive Of Our Own has done the "randomly pick one of my works and I'll tell you three things about it" meme by now. I don't think I'll bother; I've only got 5 works on AO3, and only one of them is over 200 words long, so I don't think I've got much to talk about.


5. The way we count seasons here, Winter is still a week away, but it's definitely on the doorstep: we've already had the First I-Don't-Want-To-Get-Out-Of-My-Nice-Warm-Bed of Winter (followed by the First I-Don't-Want-To-Get-Out-Of-My-Nice-Warm-Shower of Winter), and I've started making use of the heating capabilities of the air conditioner in the office.

Which led to me having to go back into the office on Friday night to turn the air conditioner off, so it wouldn't be running all weekend. It wasn't that I'd forgotten; it was that the batteries in the remote control died just as I was about to press the Off button, and I needed to go get some new ones...
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Okay, let's see: That was the last Riddler puzzle, and it unlocked the last bit of backstory. Still not 100% Complete, but there's no more story left: the only things left to do are demonstrate-your-speed-and-agility tests, which I don't care about in themselves, and all they unlock are concept art, which I can live without. I think I'm done here.

*swoops out of Arkham City*


2. Also done with: This collection of Murray Leinster stories. Which is a relief, unfortunately. I wish it weren't, because there are times when Leinster is a really good writer -- but oh, the race and gender issues. I had three stories left to get through. Two of them at least managed to avoid gender unpleasantness, though only by not having any women in them at all. The third (actually the first of the three, so fortunately it wasn't left as my final impression of the collection) had some gender essentialism that I mostly just rolled my eyes at, and an enslaved alien race whose depiction (and the protagonist's reacton to whom) would be a field day for someone who enjoys picking apart depictions of racial otherness and disempowerment. The cherry on the top is that literally the first thing we're told about these aliens, and the thing that seems to be the go-to adjective whenever the author wants to emphasize their strangeness and inhumanity... is that they're black. *sigh*


3. In happier classic-sci-fi news: There's a Kickstarter running for a collection of Henry Kuttner's Hogben stories, with a foreword by Neil Gaiman and new illustrations by Steve Parkhouse. I've been wanting to get my hands on these stories ever since I first heard about them, years ago. The publishers are planning a range of editions, from an e-book through a basic paperback to a limited-edition signed leatherbound hardcover. There's about a week left on the pledge period.


4. From the "we're all living in science fiction now" department: Canadian astronaut and video blogger Chris Hadfield commemorates the end of his stint on the International Space Station with a performance of David Bowie's "A Space Oddity" (with appropriately tweaked lyrics), filmed on location in a tin can far above the world.


5. I can touch my toes!
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Wreck-It Ralph is a wonderful, wonderful movie. It hits a lot of familiar plot beats for a children's movie about the outsider who just wants friends (not that children are likely to notice or care) but it hits them really well, with a lot of humour and warmth and heart.

"Paperman", the short film that runs in front of it, is also really good.


2. I still haven't seen The Hobbit or Les Mis yet.


3. [livejournal.com profile] scarfman, a cartoonist whose hobbies include mapping periods of time onto other periods of time, is marking Doctor Who's 50th anniversary year thus: He has mapped the show's 50-year history onto a single year, and on each date corresponding to a milestone like "first appearance of the Daleks" or "first companion departure" is blogging a series of one-panel cartoons marking the event.


4. Not going to do the fanfic year-in-review meme this year; it hardly seems worth it when I finished exactly one fanfic this year. (A definite winner for the "What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January?" question, though.)

Once again, all the unfinished stories I had the first year I did the meme remain unfinished, though some of them did stir in their sleep. (One has actually progressed from "This needs completely rewriting but I have no idea where to start" to "I have a pretty good idea of what is needed now". Not that that means it's going get done any time soon.)


5. If anyone asks me if I did anything noteworthy this weekend, I may mention that the most noteworthy thing was something that I didn't do. (In fact, I'm not doing it right this moment. I'm not feeling any great sense of occasion about not doing it, which tends to confirm my feeling that it was the right thing to not do.) I probably won't be inclined to go into detail about it, though.
pedanther: (Default)
After I graduated from university, I took a job that kinda-sorta matched my skills and interests, just to keep me going until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. Today I was informed that I've qualified for long service leave.

I'm really not sure what to think about that.

(I'm not sure what to do about it, either. Going off to see the world seems like an obvious one, but my reaction to famous landmarks tends to be "Yeah, that's interesting, I guess, can we go now?" I've occasionally thought it might be nice to go and properly meet some of the people I only know through the internet, but then I start worrying about whether they'd like me in person. I've got time to think about it, anyway; with my Rep Club commitments, I'm not going anywhere until September at the earliest.)
pedanther: (Default)
The pair of trousers I'm wearing now has been hanging at the back of my closet for months, nearly new. It's one of two pairs I bought last time I lost weight, and I only got to wear it a couple of times before it didn't fit me any more.

I've started an entry like that before; this is the other pair. That means I've achieved most of my getting-slimmer goals, and now just need to work on not letting things slip to the point of having to achieve them all again.

My getting-up-earlier turned out to be more fragile than I thought, and disappeared, taking the morning exercise with it, when winter rolled in. But I am eating more sensibly than I used to, if still not as sensibly as I might like.

One of the interesting effects of eating sensibly is that it seems to make it easier to eat sensibly. The frequency with which I impulsively add a chocolate bar or packet of crisps to my groceries is way down, and it's not just because I'm keeping myself on a tighter rein; I'm actually not feeling the impulse in the first place. (And one of the items in the Swancon report I still haven't finished is an observation on the urge to splurge in the context of hotel breakfast buffets, and specifically the fact that it didn't manifest this year.)

----

While I'm providing updates on old posts: When I moved into this office, I mentioned that it had an old and stupid air conditioner that didn't really do anything between "sweltering" and "penguin weather". I said at the time that I thought I was getting the hang of it, but in the end I mostly just left it off except when the weather was extreme enough to balance it.

Well, last week the office building replaced the last of its old and stupid air conditioners with newer and smarter ones. It's a considerable improvement.

One thing that's worrying me, though, is that once it's heated the room up to the required temperature, the air conditioner sometimes seems to be actually switching to cool air, as if to say "Too hot, now I'm going to cool it down a bit". I may be misinterpreting, though - another possibility is that it's maintaining the temperature with a stream of air that seems cool because it's only warm instead of full-bore hot (it's definitely not as cold as the air outside, anyway).
pedanther: (Default)
The pair of trousers I'm wearing now has been hanging at the back of my closet for months, nearly new. It's one of two pairs I bought last time I lost weight, and I only got to wear it a couple of times before it didn't fit me any more.

The other pair, which is nominally the same size, I still don't fit into without holding my breath - but that's a considerable improvement on a while ago when I couldn't get the fasteners shut even when I did hold my breath.
pedanther: (Default)
Bought myself a new belt, to celebrate being too narrow now for the old one.

Got home, and realised I still have the older belt I stopped using because I'd become too wide for it.

The new belt will still be useful for dressy occasions; the old belt is a bit... old.
pedanther: (Default)
My first lead role in a full-length play!

And it's in the club's anniversary production, with the special guest director - who tells us, by the by, that we've got one of Irish literature's most glorious love scenes.

No pressure...
pedanther: (Default)
Another one for the life milestones file: first time I got a pair of shoes re-soled.

(First time I had a pair of shoes that was worth getting re-soled, really. Most of my life has been spent in shoes that could be bought new for the price of getting them re-soled, and by the time the soles were an issue the rest of the shoe wasn't worth keeping either.)

To hear the shoe repairer tell it, it turned into a small epic: first they'd run out of the material, and had to wait for it to come in, then it turned out that this pair of shoes was very solidly constructed - which is a good thing, of course, but meant they ended up having to order in new heavy-duty tools as well, because the standard ones weren't making a dent.

I figure I'll give them a week to recover before I mention the other pair of shoes (different colour, but same make and model) that also need re-soling...
pedanther: (Default)
I have boiled an egg. It came out quite well.

(And I don't just mean that, unlike the last cooking milestone I posted about, this time the saucepan survived.)
pedanther: (teevee)
I originally got a Livejournal account only to make it more convenient to keep track of my friends and comment on their posts, never intending to make posts of my own.

My first post was about Cranford, because there was somebody on my friendslist I thought would be interested. (I later realised that I wasn't on her friendslist, so she probably never saw it anyway. C'est la vie.)

That was a year, five months, and a day ago, which is too awkward to be a proper anniversary, so I only mention it because the first episode of Return to Cranford aired here tonight.

(Return to Cranford. Hmm. "Conductor, I'll have a return to Cranford, please.")

----

In other TV news, this week's episode of Collectors had a segment on Norman Hetherington's collection of bits from his classic TV show Mr Squiggle. It's on iView for the next week and a bit.
pedanther: (Default)
I've finished Batman: Arkham Asylum. I think. I completed the main plot a while back (take that, Joker!), and after the credits rolled it went into extra time free exploration mode where I could wander around and finish finding all the little hidden bonus wossnames and complete the find-the-Riddler subplot. Got the last one yesterday, and the Riddler has been duly carted off by the authorities, and I was kind of expecting the game to end then, but it hasn't. Anybody else got this far? Is there something I need to do to properly finish, or does extra time free exploration mode just continue indefinitely?

***

The game I've started playing now is called Moonbase Commander. Three days ago I hadn't heard of it. Two days ago, I happened to read a newspost on Penny Arcade where Tycho said glowing things about it. Yesterday, I wandered into EB Games on a whim, and there it was, going cheap. Today, I decided I'd play a quick round before I got started on the other stuff that needed doing this evening, and surfaced two hours later.

***

They say you learn something new every day. Today, I learned that it's possible to say to Adobe Photoshop, "Do this command, not just on this image, but on every image I have open." Very handy if you have a few dozen images that all need to be shrunk to a standard size. Not that this is the first time that option would have saved me a lot of time and annoyance, far from it, but for some reason today was the day I wondered whether it existed.
pedanther: (glee)
Today, I learned how to change the colour of a rasterised anti-aliased image without turning it into a jagged-edged blob.
pedanther: (Default)
Sitting here eating what is, to the best of my recollection, the first meal I ever cooked all by myself, not counting simple stuff like toasted sandwiches. (Whether it's a true first or not, it's significant that I had to postpone the attempt for a couple of days when I realised that I didn't own half the equipment called for in the instructions. Including a proper-sized saucepan.) Like so many things one puts off doing for a long time, it was much more easy and painless than I had vaguely expected.


...

Honesty requires me to admit that the meal came out of one of those packets where most of the work has been done for you already. But I still think it counts - if only because I spent too long re-reading Step Two, and it caught on the bottom of the pan. Burnt bits automatically make a meal more authentic, right?

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