random pika hotness

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm not a big one for Halloween... actually while I don't have a problem with the iconography and whatnot, I don't think it really suits us here in Australia, not least of all because the time of the year is all wrong.

Having said that, given that Halloween just happens to fall on a Thursday this year, I figured I should look into a Halloween related Random Hotness.

So when this photoset appeared on Tumblr, it seemed a perfect fit. So meet 23 year old New Yorker, John. Yes, it's not a scary or horror costume... but c'mon... cute beardy dude in a Pikachu onesie!

Too damn adorable.

pikajohnpikajohn

pikajohnpikajohn

pikajohnpikajohn

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movies: about time

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

about time - a new funny film about love. with a bit of time travel.
About Time is for all intents and purposes, a perfect movie.

It's perfect in the same way that Stranger Than Fiction was perfect... and I can honestly say that while other movies have scored as highly as that did, they haven't been the same kind of movie.

But About Time is essentially everything I want in a movie and then some. Which is saying something since it was the "oh, there's nothing else good on, let's go see this" movie choice tonight.

I didn't even know it was written and directed by Richard Curtis until the credits started to roll at the end of the movie... he's a brilliant bastard... an emotionally manipulative brilliant bastard who knows exactly how to make you fall in complete love with his characters so that he can do essentially anything he likes with them and to the audience, and you go along with them.

And he had me... I laughed, I cried... yes, another movie where I cried... but I was also heartily laughing out loud in equal measure.

Even the fact that the main character can travel backwards and forwards in time within his own life never feels ridiculous... it's not flashy or sensational, it's just part of who he is.

The cast is brilliant... Domhnall Gleeson (best known, at least to me as the eldest Weasley brother in Harry Potter) is spectacular... he's dorky enough at the beginning, but he's adorable enough so that it makes sense why she would fall in love with him, and he has fantastic comic timing.

And must be getting used to time travelling love interests, this is the third movie she's been in that involves time travel (although she does need to make a movie where she's the one moving through time)... and she's also brilliant. At first I thought, well, she's just too pretty... but about half a second later that's undercut by the fact she's a little clumsy, plus they gave her a series of slightly unflattering haircuts. So she just ends up being the perfect match for Gleeson, they work perfectly as a couple.

The supporting cast is full of brilliant, quirky, lovable characters... , , ... but is absolutely wonderful as Gleeson's dad. He's clearly having a whale of a time, he gets a number of really brilliant scenes, both comedic and dramatic.

Normally I don't notice music in movies, however I noticed the music in About Time on a number of occasions... because it was perfectly suited to the moment. It was clear that music had been selected because the lyrics had a connection to the mood of the moment or contents of the scene.

I honestly can't recommend this movie enough... it's not big and flashy, it's just a story about a guy living his life the best he can, one day at a time... even if sometimes it takes him several tries to live that particular day.

yani's rating: 10 dark spaces out of 10

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lifescouts: baking cookies

lifescouts: baking cookies
Baking Cookies

I honestly have no idea why I haven't ever made cookies from scratch before.

Over the years I've baked plenty of other things, but cookies has never been one of them. I think I've made a couple of those "cookie dough in a tube" batches, but that's it. So when the Lifescouts badge for baking cookies came along during April/Childhood month, I knew it was one that I had to do.

And I was ordering some more of the physical badges a week or so ago, and figured the incentive of getting the badge would be enough to get me to actually make some cookies.

I already had a recipe I'd found... I mean how can you go past a recipe titled "best big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookie".

Honestly though, I'm not sure how great a recipe it is... they seem okay, but it's not like the boys from Burger Theory have anything to worry about... their cookies are about a thousand times better.

It may have been my own fault... looking at the recipe again just now, I think I put slightly less butter in than it called for, and I also decided to use cooking chocolate buttons snapped into pieces (I tried chopping them, but it ended up being easier to just snap them by hand), for that bigger chunkier chocolate effect.

I also had no idea exactly when to take them out of the oven, it ended up being mostly based on guesswork and while none of them were overcooked, I think some may be more successful than others. Having said that, my oven temperature isn't great at the best of times, but I ended up leaving them in the oven for much longer at a slightly higher temperature... your mileage may vary.

The original recipe also called for the cookies to be made up of "four rounded tablespoons" of mixture. That's clearly a typo, because when I made the first batch I used a single tablespoon and the cookies were GIANT. Even making them with a single teaspoon made fairly big cookies... although given the big chocolate chunks it wasn't like I could make neat little balls of dough.

But, good or bad, here it is (with the corrected portion details)... along with the photographic proof that I made me some cookies.


Best big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies

i'm not completely sure how successful this recipe was...
250g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
200g dark brown soft sugar
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
325g chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line baking trays with parchment.

Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until well blended.

Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

Drop a heaped teaspoon of cookie dough onto the prepared baking trays. Do not flatten the dough. Cookies should be about 8cm apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.

Cool on baking trays for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

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laptop with a terminal condition

Monday, October 28, 2013

laptop not long for this world
Beast is dying...

I got the laptop thereafter known as Beast on 5 September 2009... and while he's not completely dead after four years, he's not well.

He's had some little hiccups over the past couple of months... I'm not sure whether that's because he's pretty much on for most of the day every day, but the other week I had a "blue screen"... not the dreaded Blue Screen of Death, but an unhappy blue screen never-the-less.

And then today the laptop froze and then crashed back to the same blue screen... but when it went to start again there was a message that came up saying "No Drive Detected".

That's really, really not a message you want to see at 2pm on a Monday afternoon. Or, honestly, ever.

I let the appropriate internal testing run it's course, which took at least 45 minutes... one of the longest 45 minutes of my life, at least in recent times. While I was waiting I had a look online via my iPhone and one of the messageboards I found had someone with a similar problem and once they'd let the test run and then turned the machine on and off again it started working again.

So, you know, one of the few times where the old IT department advice of "turn it off, turn it back on again" actually did some good.

But I'm completely terrified that it could just randomly stop working at any second.

Which is why, once I managed to boot Beast back up, I jumped straight in the car and headed off to Officeworks to get a bigger external hard drive. Actually, I tried using the bigger one I already have, but it wouldn't stay connected to the laptop. Possibly because it's been sitting on the shelf doing a whole lot of nothing for a good long while.

And I'd been intending to buy another one anyway, one that doesn't have to be plugged into the power like the old one.

Granted there was a fairly major sense of panic about the whole operation... thankfully they had the right size, the right brand and the right type... and cheaper than I'd seen them anywhere else recently.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon moving files from Beast to the new external drive. The majority of which were my photographs. The entire photo directory had 83.9GB worth of tiles... 127,260 files in fact. And at least 60GB of that were my photos.

I take a hell of a lot of photos.

Thankfully it didn't take the 7 hours it initially told me it was going to take... it still took about two and a half hours just to do the photos... and then just over half an hour to do everything else. Which tells you everything you need to know really.

I'm pretty sure that there's other things on Beast that I haven't found or copied across, but all the stuff that would make me very, very, very sad if I lost is now on the hard drive.

It does look like I'll be shopping for a new laptop in the not too distant future though... thankfully if Beast does fall over completely, I do have my netbook (which definitely has a name, but I can't remember what it is right now) to keep me going in the meantime.

Cross your fingers for me though... I'm not eager to have to start over again with a new laptop, even though all my files are safe now.

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checklist shopping saturday

Saturday, October 26, 2013

lottsa shopping... relatively speaking
It's been one of those days where you get to tick a whole bunch of things of your "I'll get around to that at some stage" list.

And by "you", I mean me.

I started out with sorting out some of the stuff on my kitchen bench... there's been stuff sitting on there for way to long due to my unfortunate habit of generally putting things down and not moving them until I absolutely have to. And now it's all in the cabinets.

Then after Ma got here and we headed out to the supermarket I finally got around to picking up the ingredients to make cookies (partly because there's a Lifescouts badge in it, partly because I've just never done it).

We headed down to The Good Guys to look at microwaves... for about the hundredth time recently. I thought that one of the ones we looked at the last time we were there would actually fit in the spot I have. I swear I measured it, and I swear it would have fit... but we checked it again today and it was way too tall. So it's a little bit back to the drawing board. It does seem that it's only the lower wattage microwaves that are the right kind of size, so it looks like I'll have to do that. Or at the very least take a tape measure along next time and measure every fucking microwave until I find one that will fit.

Since there's also a BBQ place right next to Good Guys and Ma had been talking about getting one of those smaller Weber Q barbecues to replace the full sized Weber we've had for a good long time. But it turns out they need a gas bottle and if you also get a stand for it, it ends up being bigger than the Weber we already have... so that's that plan scuppered. At least we know now though.

Then we headed into the city to do a few bits and pieces.

I've needed a new non-stick frypan for a while now since the one I have is very much non-non-stick these days. We had a quick look at the ones in Target, but all I got from there was a cut finger. I have no idea how the hell it happened, I think it must have been from the rim of the pan, but I didn't even feel it until I suddenly saw blood on my finger.

And oddly, Target doesn't seem to sell Band-Aids... at least not in their health and beauty section.

After a brief stop off at a chemist to buy a packet of Band-Aids we headed off to Harris Scarfes to check out their frypans. I would have been better off, and there would have been less bleeding if we'd just gone there in the first place. Their pans were half the price! Yaaay, bargain! Although I pretty much spent the savings on Bonds teeshirts, which I've also been meaning to grab for a few weeks.

Then we went to see Josh at Espionage so that Ma could see the vinyl toy she got me to buy in the flesh and she could take a look at the others. As usual we ended up hanging out there for a good long while.

I wanted to ask Josh's advice about painting one of those cheap maneki-neko waving cat figures... I'd seen some online that were painted in matt yellow paint and looked really good. So I figured I could paint the one I have in matt white and it would look equally interesting. And since Josh is very obviously the person who knows the most about spray paint from all the people I know, I figured he'd be the one to ask.

And he gave me a can of spray paint, which was very sweet of him. So I'll have to have a practice first since I've never spray painted anything. I'll also have to resist the urge to spray paint any number of things with white paint.

Eventually a couple of other people came into the gallery, so we left Josh to it and headed down the road to have lunch at Burger Theory. Which is twice in a couple of days... but Ma hadn't been to the store yet.

As always, it was a very pleasant lunch.

On the way back to the car I also picked up a copy of the Feast Festival guide... sadly, like the last few years, it was mostly disappointing... there doesn't seem to be any actual theatre... or at least nothing that I'd be interested in seeing. Which is a shame, but I'd rather save my money for Fringe anyway.

But even though I didn't get to tick all the boxes on my list, it was good to check a few things off.

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photo friday: words

Friday, October 25, 2013

latrobe levelslatrobe dome

latrobe bookslatrobe words
This week hasn't been a whole lot of anything...

I did go through all my CDs and cut the number down by at least half... although that was Sunday. I also went through a bunch of other stuff and worked out what needed to go and what needs to find a new home. I'm still working on the new home thing.

I also turned on my Playstation 3 for the first time in almost a year and a half... I hadn't played it for a little while before I hurt my back, and then I suddenly wasn't able to sit for long periods of time, and I just got out of the habit of playing it.

But it's been bouncing around in my mind for a while, especially giving Assassins Creed Brotherhood another go... and I've been enjoying it. I'm probably still not hugely great at it (Ezio keeps trying to run up the walls when he shouldn't be... and won't just sprint when I want him to), but it's still been fun.

Yesterday I headed into Espionage Gallery for the second custom vinyl toy show, Unboxed 2, this time using "The Dude" from Dudebox, which I'll admit I hadn't actually heard of before Josh showed me the blank toys a couple of weeks back. There were actually a number of really nice pieces this time around... a lot more people "respecting the form" than I think they did last time.

Even though I technically don't have an "art budget" any more, I'd still made the decision that if one of the pieces really caught my eye, I'd buy it. There were actually a few that did, but I narrowed it down to two, and honestly my final decision was mostly based on which would be easier to dust (one of them was great, but had tiny delicate pieces that would have been difficult to look after). Granted I'm a little nervous because the piece that I did buy is kinda wide and I'm just wondering if it will actually fit in the spot on my bookcase... I'm sure it will, with room left over, but my mind is just messing with me.

There was also a snowman based piece, that if I'd still had a budget of my own I may have bought for Ma, but I just sent her a photo of it with no comment and she messaged me back and asked me to put a deposit down for her.

I also had a nice chat with Josh (and a shorter chat with Charlie, who I really do enjoy talking to, and who I really want to photograph at some stage... I doubt it will ever happen, but he has that kind of face)... which is pretty much par for the course... and then I headed down the road to Burger Theory for dinner.

Fortunately it wasn't quite as busy as last time I was in there and I had a nice chat with Tom (who is usually in charge of the truck) while he made my milkshake, as well as a chat with Rob after I'd finished eating. With a burger, fries, a milkshake and three cookies (BURGER THEORY COOKIES! YES!) it wasn't a cheap dinner, but it was worth it. Also, Burger Theory cookies... just seeing them under a glass dome on the counter made me a very happy bunny... but eating them was even better.

Oh, and I have no idea why, but a tribe of council workers showed up outside my apartment building with instructions to dig up all the grass and replace it with sand/gravel... supposedly it was because "the grass was dead", but I call bullshit on that, because it was only a little bit dead since it had been given a rather harsh mow a little while back. So now we have no grass... and for no real reason. As always, even though he may have had nothing to do with it, I blame the landlord. Because, you know, he's an asshole.

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random wolf hotness

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm heading back to Beacon Hills for the second Teen Wolf themed Random Hotness in as many weeks.

Having watched all of the third season at the beginning of the week, I'm pleased to say that it held up against the first two seasons... plus the third season included a cute pair of twins whose werewolf power could only be accessed if they were shirtless. Oh, and one of the werewolf twins is gay (and has a rather hot sex scene with the other gay character).

Yeah, it's not really surprising that Jeff Davis, the creator and executive producer is a gay man... sexy shirtless werewolves as far as the eye can see.

So for today's Hotness, behold the men of Teen Wolf... from the top, Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Daniel Sharman, Charlie Carver and Max Carver.

teen wolf - tyler posey as scott mccallteen wolf - dylan o'brien as stiles stilinski

teen wolf - tyler hoechlin as derek haleteen wolf - daniel sharman as isaac lahey

teen wolf - charlie carver as ethanteen wolf - max carver as aiden

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flatpack browsing saturday

Saturday, October 19, 2013

naked bookshelf guys
Most of today's retail adventures came straight out of me putting up new bookshelves last weekend and the fact that Ma had this week off and did some tidying up of her own.

Fortunately I'd pretty much tidied the apartment last night, so I only needed to put some washing up away and I was good to go.

When Ma got here we started with the usual supermarketry... blah blah, fresh fruit and veg, groceries, blah blah.

After we were done we stopped off briefly at Officeworks on the way back to get Ma an external hard drive for her laptop, when there was the usual unpacking, etc back at my place.

Ma had been through her books and had a couple of bags to get rid of and I had a bunch of old Blue magazines that I no longer wanted... given the rigmarole we went through last time we just took it all straight to Oxfam. Makes everyone's life easier, and they been grateful to receive the donations both times, which is more than most of the other places we tried last time.

Next up was a trip to Ikea for assorted knick knacks.

The main things I wanted were another glass shelf for the Lego beach house and a bunch of those battery powered push lights. Actually that's pretty much all I bought, although Ikea had all their Christmas bit and pieces out, so we spent some time going through all of that. They had some cool little ornament racks which would work really well with my toy soldier ornament, so I grabbed a couple of those.

I also checked out the armchairs... I kinda need to replace my red chair, and I could possibly do with ditching the little red sofa, but I'm not completely convinced on what to replace them with... but there were a couple of chairs that caught my eye.

Ma picked up a few other bits and pieces and we also stopped off at the restaurant for something to drink. There were a couple of gay boys who were sitting at one of the high benches not too far away from us, and I was amused by the fact that the one with his back to us was very clearly displaying the fact he was wearing a jockstrap given the fact you could see both the waistband of his underwear AND his butt underneath it. And it didn't hurt that he was all kinds of pretty.

Anyway, once we were finished gathering any other bits and pieces we wanted, and Ma finally made a decision about a new dining table (not that she bought one, but that'll hopefully happen between now and Christmas), we headed off to The Good Guys (yet again) so I could have a look at one of the microwaves that they had on sale (too small, and kinda fugly)... I swear, before the year is out I need to have a new microwave!

And that was it. When we got back I went through and put some of the lights up... but I bought a ton of them, so I'll put the rest up once it gets dark and I can judge the positions a little better.

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photo friday: lego folks

Friday, October 18, 2013

a lego copa lego forest maiden

and a lego starletall walk into a very expensive lego bar
I'm going to keep things fairly brief since I'm feeling more than a little flat... or down, or some such. And I couldn't even tell you why, it just kinda came on this afternoon.

I had my hair did last night at Tink's place... the cut is the same but the blonde is a little blonder, at least as a trial run again. And as usual, we spent several hours talking about everything and nothing in particular.

As I mentioned yesterday, I started watching Teen Wolf, and have now made it through the first two seasons. I'll have to wait until next week for the third season as I'm running out of internets.

I've already made a few small changes to my bookcases... a couple of shelf adjustments and when I went through some of the boxes to consolidate some stuff I found additional bits and pieces to add to a few shelves, including the tops of the two wide bookcases.

And yeah... that's about it really...

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random stiles hotness

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This week's Random Hotness comes directly from the fact that I'm roughly halfway through the second season of Teen Wolf as we speak (and I only started it yesterday).

It's actually reminding me a LOT of Buffy... a much less Joss Whedony, slightly more bloody Buffy. And, like Buffy, there has to be the best friend of the main, super powered character who helps them out when things get tough.

So this week's Hotness is Dylan O'Brien who plays the one man version of the Scooby Gang, Stiles Stilinski. He's a little bit of a Willow and a little bit of a Xander, all rolled into one adorkable package.

This particular lockerroom shower inspired photoshoot comes from Troix Magazine.

wet dylan o'brienwet dylan o'brien

wet dylan o'brienwet dylan o'brien

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movies: the family

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

the family - some call it organized crime, others call it family
They're violent, they're vulgar, they're hiding out and they're not people you would want to get on the wrong side, but they are family.

The Family in fact.

This is a movie that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. I hadn't heard anything about it until a trailer appeared a few weeks back.

A mafia boss (Robert De Niro) and his family are hiding out in France under Witness Protection and have to move to a new town.

And they're clearly not coping all that well with the pressures of staying under the radar, as their first day clearly shows... with arson, assault and bribery on the menu.

For the most part, it's a very black comedy (although the ending veers into action movie territory) and even though the family are not very nice people, I was definitely on their side.

The cast is excellent... De Niro has played this kind of character a number of times before, but this is that character taken to new extreme. Michelle Pfeiffer does a great job as the family matriarch, holding the family together but not being immune to a little revenge and carnage of her own.

And the two kids, played by Dianna Agron and John D'Leo manage to hold their own against the other experienced actors and while both of the characters are pretty much sociopaths, the sibling relationship is actually really sweet and a nice change from the usual combative siblings that tend to appear in movies.

Sure the entire plot hinges on an incredibly coincidental story point, but they even make that work.

The dark nature of the comedy might not appeal to everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

yani's rating: 9 typewriters out of 10

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lego beach house

Monday, October 14, 2013

lego creator set 7346 - beach house
I've had this Lego Beach House set for a while now...

But once I put the box in the space on my bookshelf it's kind of been calling my name.

So I threw on a movie and got to it.

lego beach house - five bags of bricks and three instructionslego beach house - sorted by colour
Because this is one of the 3-in-1 sets, it comes with a set of instructions for each of the builds... a quick build, a medium build and an advanced build.

I kind of have a feeling now that it's done that I may have originally been intending to build the medium build, but I ended up doing the advanced one, and I quite like it.

While there were five different bags of bricks, they weren't labelled with numbers, so I sorted them into their respective colours, which always makes it easier to find things.

With the predominance ofthe pale blue bricks and quite a few of the sand coloured ones, it was yet again an adventure in new brick colours for me.

lego beach house - meet daxlego beach house - palm tree with gull
The set comes with it's own minifigure, even though I'd already earmarked it as a house for Little Traveller and Little Boyfriend (and possibly also the Neighbour Boys)... but I've christened him Dax (both because it's supposed to be an English name meaning 'water', but also because of the DS9 connection).

The first part of the build is the palm tree with the very cute seagull... sadly it doesn't physically attach to the finished model, but I made a slight tweak once I was finished.

lego beach house - foundationslego beach house - blue walls
The next step is putting together the foundations... I'll admit that I still have absolutely no idea what the red and yellow round bricks are supposed to be on the floor... flowers maybe, but they're just weirdly placed. And I think the little grey grills might be drains.

The black ladder is a little odd... but at least they included a way to get to the top floor... there's even a hole in the floor of the upper level.

lego beach house - the outdoor showerlego beach house - lots of big windows
You have to love a beach house with an outdoor shower...especially one complete with a brick of soap and a rather stiff towel.

And with lots of windows to take advantage of the view.

lego beach house - the ground floorlego beach house - red roof
The whole upper floor is designed so that it's only held in place with a couple of studs which allows it to be removed for playability.

There's also a nice use of telescope pieces to make torch lights on the upper balcony, and curved blue bricks to make a little wave (for use with the surfboard that gets added later).

The sandcastle is a nice touch, even if it's a little close to the house.

I also like the addition of the clear blocks on either side of the yellow doorway, and the clear yellow plates that are used to make a light over the door.

lego beach house - skylightlego beach house - thunderbirds are go
But my favourite playability feature is the fact that the sloped windows on the back of the upper level are on an axle and swing all the way up.

And I think the blue block is supposed to be a bed... possibly.

lego beach house - top floor in placelego beach house - grilling up some silver fish
Once the top level is completed it gets clicked into place.

The last part of the build is the portably little BBQ... I love that the coals are represented by bright orange clear round bricks, although that fact that the fish doesn't stay in place on it's own, and the whole BBQ can't be attached to any of the bricks.

It is as cute as all hell though.

lego beach house - the completed build
The last parts of the build are adding the crab, the life preserver to one of the pillars and the white surfboard to another.

I then connected the palm tree to the side and added Little Traveller and Little Boyfriend. Oh, and I added a little black kitten brick that I found in amongst my things (I think it was from a Castle set that contained a witch).

lego beach house - the beauty shot
I may have to look into getting some sort of clear box for the set... but it looks good on display.

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