photo saturday: in the pink

pink octopuspink anarchy

pink catdogthingfeathers on pink
This week has been really, really busy. But on the up side, while I might not have had quite enough week to get absolutely everything done, it did mean that the week went incredibly quickly.

And I was also very thankful to have Newbie taking over a lot of the simple stuff to let me concentrate on the other stuff... she's still no Pixie, and sometimes the questions she asks just confuse the living crap out of me... but she had just ploughed on through the job list doing whatever she can.

But, yeah, mostly I didn't really have time to scratch my butt all week. That's a slight exaggeration, but there were definitely moments where it was true.

My soup this week was a complete and total success! The Indian Mulligatawny soup was so full of flavour it was ridiculous. And while I did my usual trick of an on-the-fly reinterpretation of the recipe... in this case adding much, much more vegetable content beyond the single carrot, plus I doubled all the quantities... it was brilliant. Spicy and hot to be sure, and I'm pretty sure I filled the whole office up with tasty Indian flavours, it was definitely something I would do again... even if I only make use of the spice mixture to flavour a chicken soup or something.

Thursday was also Haircut Night... so I took myself off to Tink's place. I may have gone a little too far in the development of this particular haircut though... I realised after the last one that the two shaved sides weren't actually even, although not necessarily a problem because of the way I wear it. But the lower side is the bit that regularly gives me trouble when I go to fix my hair in the morning... so that bit is now gone... but now I worry that I actually took it too far. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad... it's just a little more extreme, and I haven't quite got the hang of styling it yet.

Beyond that, we had the usual general chat, which turned into a little bit of a soapbox rant for me when we got onto the subjects of internet piracy, GST on overseas internet purchases and Target's range of clothing for the larger gentleman.

Speaking of rants... The Network Ten sibling channel Eleven decided to pull So You Think You Can Dance from Friday nights without a word of warning... I'm guessing that the ratings weren't great and they've now moved it to Saturday afternoon... or rather just made the Saturday repeat the only version.

Fuck that shit... and seriously, people wonder why Australian's pirate the most teevee shows in the world. This is why, when the networks pull this crap.

Ma was getting her hair did this morning (and as it turned out, cut and coloured which always takes forever) so I was on my own. And thankfully Ma did take longer than usual, because I was a little tardy in getting myself organised. Not horribly, but I was generally just running later.

Fortunately shopping on my own always takes less time than shopping with Ma, so by the time I was done I was all caught up.

I'm going with a revisit to the potato, bacon and leek soup this week, although I'm going to add some celeriac, which I haven't used before, and some smoked garlic, which I also haven't used, but which smells A-MAH-ZING!

Then I came back here, put stuff away, did some tidying up and pottered about a bit until Ma arrived.

After we were all caught up on SYTYCD news we headed into the city so that I could pick up some stuff for Sugarmonkey's birthday party tonight. Yes, shockingly, I'm going to a social engagement... granted it's mostly because quite a few of the people will be work people.

Anyway, I had a couple of ideas, which were most easily served at the Central Market, and ended up doing both, because you don't turn 40 all the time.

Once we'd done those couple of errands we had a bit of a wander around the markets, dodging the seemingly neverending stream of inconsiderate people who stop in the middle of already restricted walkways. On the up side, it's been quite a while since I actually set foot in the markets, so I got to visit all my favourite places and buy things I've been buying since Lownee and I used to go to the markets in the late Jurassic period.

What I couldn't find anywhere was one of the matcha green tea bamboo whisks... so I came home and ordered one on eBay... granted I'll have to wait to get it delivered, but it saves me having to go all over everywhere looking for one.

And that was about it really... Ma also has plans tonight, and a birthday to go to no less which is weird, so she didn't want to stay too late.

But now I have to go and get ready and work out what the hell to wear to this party...

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photo saturday: beach body parts

beach happysand freckles

surf backbondi trail
Weighing up all the pluses and minuses... this week was generally better than the last couple of weeks.

First off, the soup I made with the sweet potato and red curry paste was excellent... I more or less made the recipe up on the fly... I was going to partially follow a recipe I already had, or adapt the leek and potato soup one, but in the end I essentially just threw everything in a pot and went for it. And once it was all blended smooth, it was really, really good. The coconut milk also worked beautifully... gave it the same consistency as cream and didn't give an overwhelming coconut flavour (in fact there was hardly any coconut taste to it at all). I need to write up the recipe to add to all the other good soup ones I've pulled together and post them some time next week.

I'm trying something different this week... a Mulligatawny soup which required much spice buying, but more on that later.

As a slightly cryptic future note to myself (which when I reread it later will more than likely make no sense to me)... you do get what you pay for... but sometimes even then you don't get everything all at once, as has been my general experience... there's always something that doesn't quite work.

But sometimes it's enough... and the other stuff more than makes up for the stuff that doesn't work.

On the work front, while I've pretty much decided that Newbie is a little bit on the "suburban" side, she's doing pretty well at the end of her second week. She's still not Pixie... and she never will be... but I finally had to abandon my usual reticence about new members of my team and at a certain point this week I had to just throw a bunch of work at her otherwise she would have been twiddling her thumbs and I would have been drowning. And, you know what, she coped pretty well. Sure, she screwed up a few things, and she asks questions that are often more confusing than they should be, but like I said, it's still her second week.

Herschel also came back to work from her European vacation this week... it was very good to see her again, and catch up on everything she did and whatnot. We also had a few chats about video games, which is always fun.

Oh and my need for a new tattoo has been raising it's little coloured head again... I wish I had a stronger idea of what I want the final thing to look like. I know most of the elements, but some of the minor details keep changing as I go, so it's hard to really pin something down, which in turn means that it's hard to then describe it to an artist. And I keep having second thoughts about the artist. Arghhhh.... 

Beyond that there wasn't really much else of an exciting nature that happened this week. Although occasionally it's a little confronting to realise how the people you work with view you... especially when it's slightly different to how you view yourself. Or at least you don't think it's the defining feature of your character. But clearly it must be.

Today was fairly standard... fortunately I'd really tidied the apartment up on Thursday night, so all I had to do this morning was some dishes and I was good to go.

It was a very grey and awful morning... technically I think there was fog, but it felt more like very low cloud or just lazy rain which couldn't be bothered to fall.

We did the usual supermarket thing... and like I said earlier I bought a bunch of spices... weirdly I haven't really had or used spices properly in years... sure I have garlic and chili which I use all the time, but actual spices are a rarity. So this soup is going to definitely be something different... hopefully good different.

After we came back and I'd unpacked, we wasted a little time here and then decided to head down to Marion and have a wander.

That's mostly what we did... our usual wander loop from one end to the other, then all the back back again. I did stop off at Tea2, not with the intention of buying anything, more because I wanted to try their Matcha tea, which I've been interested in for a while, but it's always seemed overly complicated and the kits are stupidly expensive. But the nice girl showed me that it's really easy, and it tastes interesting (which doesn't seem like a recommendation, but it was a flavour that held an appeal, I just can't put it into words properly)... and I ended up buying a little container. Now all I need is a little bamboo whisk... which will mean either a trip to Chinatown or a visit to eBay.

We had some lunch at Salsa... our usual default option when we're at Marion... but it's always tasty. Then we headed back to my place.

So not a bad day all in all.

Oh, and yes, I know the post title needs some more thought... I'd like something alliterative like "Photo Friday", but "Snapshot Saturday" doesn't really work given that the photos really aren't snapshots... I'll mull it over and see if I can come up with something better before next weekend.

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movies: the man from u.n.c.l.e.

the man from u.n.c.l.e. - saving the world never goes out of style
I'll admit that I wasn't necessarily expecting a whole lot from The Man from U.N.C.L.E... the trailer did look interesting, but trailers are often very deceptive... but it turned out to be a brilliant movie.

I've never seen the original TV series, so I can't say how faithful it is, but Guy Ritchie's direction and his script with Lionel Wigram (who also worked on a number of the later Harry Potter movies) it really well written. It's full of humour, but it's done with a fantastically light touch and the humour comes from the situations, not from intentionally "funny" lines.

And the fact that they've set the movie in the 60's really allows for fantastic production design, costumes and music... and makes the movie it's own thing rather than being a pale copy of any other contemporary spy movie.

Editing is not usually something I notice, but Ritchie's choices to use a multiple split screen edit during the action sequences works really well. And unlike some action movies, he also gives you that sense of space and position so that you always know where you are.

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin respectively are both really good... not to mention very handsome (Cavill in those dapper 60's suits especially). And Alicia Vikander, who I last saw doing excellent work in Ex Machina definitely holds her own against the boys.

The only real weakness is that this is an origin story... and the villains lack a little bit of motivation... although Elizabeth Debicki is suitably over the top without taking it too far.

I did thoroughly enjoy the movie though... everything it did, it did very well.

yani's rating: 5 engagement rings out of 5

by the numbers saturday shopping

Today was a fairly by the numbers shopping excursion...

We did the usual supermarket thing... no real surprises there. I decided on making a variation of the potato soup I really like but made with sweet potato... although now I realise that I have a recipe that's for pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot, but with red curry paste and coconut milk... so maybe I might go with that. Maybe. The last few weeks I've been kind of making up the soup as I go, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

After the supermarket we did a wander around Target... and that was pretty much exactly what it was... just a wander around. But that's what happens sometimes.

Then it was back here to unpack everything and work out what was next for the day.

I'd see something on Twitter about the Ink Crush Market... and given that it was on Flinders Street I should have assumed that it was actually at the Flinders Street Market... but clearly I was having a "bear of little brain" moment and thought they were two different things (the stuff I saw online wasn't particularly helpful). In any event it was interesting. Not interesting enough for me to actually buy anything, but Ma did start the collection of greeting cards for La Cousina and Princess T's Christmas presents as there were artists/designers there that we haven't run across before.

From there it was a brief detour to Oxfam Books so Ma could drop off some things she'd read and didn't want to keep and look for some new stuff. I have to say that the way I used to feel about second hand bookshops and the way I feel about them now is very, very different. It's partly because I don't read novels the way I used to... while I keep a book on my desk at work to read during lunch, but my collection of books is now smaller than I think at any other time in at least the last twenty years. And so going into second hand bookstores doesn't interest me in the way it used to. So I mostly just wandered around waiting for Ma to finish looking at things.

Then we headed over to Rundle Street to visit T2... and that was Ma's idea not mine... although it turns out that my T2 "girlfriend" was working, and she's very good at getting me to spend money in there... but only when I like the flavour of something.

Anyway, I walked out the door with one box of tea and three free samples...

Ma wanted to check for a DVD in Kmart, so we wandered up the Mall in the rain only to discover that as with just about anything interesting we go to look for in the Kmart city store, they don't actually stock DVDs.

Then we took a quick trip to check out the new Zing store next to EB Games and all their pop culture lootz... I stopped off there yesterday on my way home from work and it's a good looking store full of a range of interesting things that are very pretty and that for the most part I have no place for or need of. But some of them would be lovely to own.

So basically it's a very dangerous shop for me to spend any time in even though I didn't buy anything today.

From there we headed to Burger Theory for some lunch and the very meatorfic Burger of the Month.

Because we hadn't had any luck with the DVD, we headed off to the next nearest Kmart to look for it. And of course because nobody knows anything any more, they'd filed a perfectly legitimate grownup movie with the children's movies. But I found it eventually.

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photo friday: grey and wet

gothic rooftopwater lines

water dropstemple of the wind
This may be my last Photo Friday post... I've been thinking for a little while about merging this post and the Saturday shopping post into one mega post, a little like I used to do with Montage Mondays... one big fat roundup post. And I'll probably merge the photo part of Photo Friday into the Saturday post... instead of stealing shopping related photos off the internet.

We'll see...

This week has been incredibly stressful... my sidekick/partner in crime at work, Pixie, got reassigned to a different project, so I've been doing the two of both of us this week (to be honest I was doing the same thing last week when she was doing a lot of meetings about the project), and then on top of that they decided to give me a newbie to replace Pixie.

The problem there is that Pixie is without doubt one of a kind, and I've seen a lot of people come and go in The Nut House in the last decade or so... and she is without doubt the best and brightest we've ever had. Which of course means that she's going to be in demand... but goddamnit, I bloody want her back.

And the newbie is fine... she's just new. And she's not Pixie. Fortunately several people stepped in to train her to give me the space to be able to actually do work otherwise I would have been a wreck by the end of the week.

Newbie also reminds me of someone... but it hasn't clicked into place who that someone is yet.

I've also spent a big chunk of this week working my way through the last season of RuPaul's Drag Race... and while I don't want to be seen to be reading the contestants of this season, there are a lot of needy, broken bitches, many of whom do an incredibly shitty job of their eye makeup... but mentioning no names specifically. I still have a couple of episodes to go but I am feeling that unlike last year where I didn't care who won the finale because I loved all three contestants, I don't think I'm going to care this season because I'm fairly certain all three contestants are going to be annoying.

Beyond that there's not a lot to report.

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literally nothing of note

Okay, literally I have nothing to report today...

I got up, did the dishes I've been avoiding essentially all week long, got ready, Ma arrived, we went to the supermarket.

Based on my purchases this week's soup is going to be some weird tomato/leek/potato/bacon hybrid... most likely with Asian flavoured stock and maybe some coconut milk.

Then we came back here, pottered about for a bit, realised we had absolutely nothing we wanted/needed to do out in the world, and Ma went home. At 11am.

I then proceeded to spend the day doing nothing especially constructive.

That is all.

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photo friday: street faces

bright faceback street muscle

dredd facesgreen girl

blue happinessnewtown dexter
It's been a bit of a stressful week this week...

Things started out well on Sunday with my "made up from out of my brain" chicken soup... and I now realise the secret to a good quality chicken soup... lots of black pepper. That and shredding the chicken with forks and fingers.

And I started Assassin's Creed Rogue... which I'm already going to suggest isn't going to be a particularly good or memorable game, and I'm only a couple of hours into it... it's essentially a continuation from Black Flag with a large amount of AC3 thrown in. Like literally thrown in... they've just taken the assets from both Black Flag and ACIII and put a slightly updated skin on some of them. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed Black Flag, I have to say that I'm kind of over the whole sailing ship thing now... and this looks like it's essentially more of the same. But I'll keep playing it anyway, it might improve once I get into the proper meat of the story.

Unfortunately Monday went downhill pretty damn quickly. There were a whole bunch of meetings I had to extricate myself from, which was much easier than I thought it was going to be, and I ended up with a perfectly valid excuse beyond "I really don't feel the need to be at these meetings". But when I got home on Monday night I turned on my laptop and that was when the real fun started. I don't know if I tried to get it to do something before it was ready or what the deal was, but it wouldn't load any of my desktop icons and kept flicking between the empty desktop and a blank grey screen. I tried rebooting, nothing... I tried unplugging my wireless mouse, mild improvement for a moment, then nothing... and Google was being no help with what was actually going wrong. Eventually I managed to find how to get to Safe Mode in Windows 8, but when I got into that menu I noticed a command for "Refresh your PC" which promised to revert my computer but keep all my files.

There really is no feeling of stomach sinking abject terror like the terror of technology that completely fails to work the way it's supposed to... I know it's one of the high level First World Problems... but it does generally make me want to throw up.

And that's how I spent the majority of Monday evening... I didn't eat anything because every time I thought about it I also wanted to throw up, and a large chunk of time was spent firstly waiting for my laptop to go through the refresh process and then secondly me trying to install all the programs the refresh process had removed. And then finding the settings for things like Firefox and Thunderbird in the backup data left behind by the refresh process so that I wasn't starting from a completely blank slate.

I still haven't reinstalled everything... like iTunes and Photoshop Elements for example... and I have a sense of complete and total dread every single time I boot up the laptop that it's going to fall over again. Doubly so because I have no fucking idea what actually happened to make it fall over in the first place. And for reasons that defy logic, there seem to be all these little things that my laptop was doing perfectly fine before that don't work the same way anymore. Weird and frustrating.

The tinfoil hat wearing portion of my brain is pretty damn sure that it all has way too much to do with the launch of Windows 10... It's a conspiracy I tells ya!

Anyway, on a normal week I would have spent the week pottering around getting the laptop back to normal... but not this week. Tuesday was Movie Night and then Thursday was Haircut Night.

My hair was seriously in need of a cut (and a colour) though... the grey is definitely starting to show on the sides, and I felt like I was just at that scruffy stage. But Tink sorted me out. We're still refining the overall cut for my current style, I think this one is more a developmental cut rather than a finished product... but overall it works okay. I did suggest to Tink that we take it from four weeks to three just because that last week my hair is generally a mess, so hopefully that will work better. Other than that we chatted about this, that and the other before I took myself home.

Oh and I managed to leave my umbrella on the bus on Thursday morning... I have no idea how, it was attached to the back of my bag (kind of) and I'd already dropped it and picked it back up again once, so I have no idea how I managed to drop it, not hear it fall or realise it was gone until it was too damn late. I wouldn't have minded if it hadn't been the decent mid-sized umbrella... partly because I have no idea where the hell I got that one from, and partly because all my other umbrellas are either much smaller and therefore infinitely useless or gigantic.

Fortunately I've been feeling better this week than I was last week, so at least I didn't have to contend with feeling sick on top of everything else.

I finished off the week with my monthly chiro visit and a nice dose of So You Think You Can Dance... and of course, next week is a whole new beast....

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movies: mr holmes

mr holmes - the man beyond the myth
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was real and was coming to the end of his life and the thing he'd always relied on, his memory and intellect, was failing him. And imagine that he's trying to remember the details of his very last case... the one that caused him to give up life as a detective and live in relative seclusion on the Dover coast.

That's essentially Mr Holmes in a nutshell.

And it's the amazing skills of Ian McKellen that makes this movie what it is... he's brilliant both as the very elderly Holmes but also as the Holmes on his last case. There's also some fantastic makeup work to get him to look so very, very old, but a lot of it just comes down to his amazing ability to control his face.

Managing to hold their own up against Sir Ian are Laura Linney as his housekeeper, Mrs Munro and young Milo Parker as her son Roger who forms a bond with Mr Holmes. Parker is actually amazingly good... other than the odd moment of precociousness, which I think was more about the script than his performance, he's a great young actor.

It's a simple story, although well told, and full of just enough moments of Mr Holmes doing "the thing" as Roger calls it... where he tells a character exactly what they've been doing, which is always what you want in a Holmes story.

yani's rating: 3 apiary out of 5

week's roundup and saturday shopping

Okay, first things first, a brief roundup of last week...

The soup I made last Sunday was successful as far as it being soup on Sunday was concerned, however by the time it came it Monday it was decidedly no longer soup and was in fact just pasta and sauce. Overall it was fairly nice, but given that my head was all over the place this week, I kind of lost interest in it about halfway through the week.

This week I'm making chicken soup, because that's what you do when you're sick... eat chicken soup I mean.

And yes, I've been sick pretty much all week. Thankfully the runny nose portion of the week was mostly confined to Monday and Tuesday... however the elevated temperature and general feeling of blah extended for the whole damn week. I even went to see the doctor on Tuesday, more to get some ventolin to prevent the gasping cough I had the last time I got sick like this. Granted the cough hasn't been as bad this time, but it only got really bad after the cold was finished last time, so I'd rather be ready and prepared.

It was a different doctor this time, although still at the same practice, and he was very nice... I think I still prefer the other guy, but it's good to have options.

I am officially sick and tired of being sick and tired though... just the general fever and blocked up head feeling is making everything harder than it otherwise needs to be.

I also finished Red Dead Redemption on Thursday... without giving away any spoilers I will say that the way they deal with the "story's done but you can still run all over the game world and finish up whatever you like" mechanic is incredibly original and one of the nicest ways I've seen it handled. Having said that I was very glad to finally be finished and didn't really feel much need to run around and complete some of the additional quests and things. I just felt like it dragged on a tiny bit too long. It was good, but yeah, I was done with it a little while before the game itself was actually done.

Next up will be a return to Assassin's Creed with Rogue.

Finally last night after a whole day of being stuck in one long meeting doing something I really had no interest in and minimal aptitude for I headed down to the Capri after work for Joshua Smith and Hanna Newman's "A Feature Presentation" exhibition. I would have liked to stick around for the screening of the trailer and then a classic Hammer horror movie, but I really wasn't up for it, so after paying my respects, checking out the art and whatnot, I called it a night, came home, got a pizza and caught up on So You Think You Can Dance (hence the lack of a post yesterday).

Which brings us all the way around to today.

It's been a decidedly wet and woolly day I have to say. But we also managed to avoid the worst of it.

I should have gotten up earlier than I did this morning, but I just didn't want to get out of my nice warm cocoon and into the cold morning air. But I did eventually, even if I had to leave the bedding halfway through being changed in order to be ready when Ma got here.

Our supermarket adventure was probably slightly quicker than usual, partly because we only went to Foodland and then a really quick wander around Target... so we were back at my place reasonably early.

We decided to head off to IKEA, partially for another frame, but also just to do a general wander around.

It turned out to be a good, if slightly dangerous idea since they'd reorganised the kitchenware department and had a bunch of new stuff around... so Ma and I bought a few bits and pieces, although mostly kitchen stuff.

From there we headed down to Harbourtown, just for a quick look in the Bonds store because I wanted more hooded sweatshirts, sadly Bonds don't seem to be doing them at the moment, so I was all out of luck... on the up side I did get a new pair of trackpants, doubly good because they were 30% off.

Then we detoured around to the Capri so that Ma could see the exhibition... it didn't take a whole lot of time, but at least she got to see it.

And that was pretty much it, other than a detour on the way back to my place to pick up some lunch from Perrymans.

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