Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween Dreams...

Halloween is a bizarre time of year. We didn't bother with it this year, as we don't really know anyone this end of the country. So we had a nice treat of a big Chinese dinner instead! Look at it this way. These crocodiles weren't impressed. (Thailand has "panda fever" and is painting other animals to make a point that they're also endangered, not just pandas.)

Mind you, here's something I discovered a few weeks ago: Hereward Carrington wrote a peculiar book, ‘Death: Its Causes and Phenomena’, in which he reported body of a boy radiating a blue glow after his death of acute indigestion. It turns out this glow is quite normal (if an extreme version) even in live people, as Japanese researchers have discovered that the human body actually glimmers! The light we emit is about 1000 times lower than the naked eye can see and is brightest in the afternoon; interestingly, the skin around your mouth lightens most around this time of day too. Anna Monaro had asthma and for several weeks, a blue glow would emit from her chest while she slept... Which makes sense, as it seems certain chemical reactions and metabolic shifts cause a higher ratio of free radicals to be released and this is what they believe causes the glowing.

But it got me to thinking. Life is a pretty weird thing - and sometimes death can be a bit weirder still. But isn't the theory, it isn't what caused it - sometimes it's what happens after.

Mind you, even after you're gone, you have an ever-expanding range of options nowdays. Personally, I'd like to give a few of them a go if there's enough left after medical science has had anything it could find useful.

I've known for some time that you can be turned into a diamond, (and quite honestly, I'd love to be a warm red stone like this one - you can even do family plans!) and

I heard that you could be sent up as a firework but now you can even go up in a REAL rocket for a space burial! If being so far from home is a bit daunting and you want something more down-to-earth, you can even give something back and become a "reef ball". What a wonderful idea, to give safe homes to sea creatures and support corals with a sturdy anchoring.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Writing's Working!

I just LOVE getting this message: "Thank you for submitting to the Neopian Times. Currently your submission (Inserted name of current article by me) is being held over and may be considered for future publication in the Neopian Times. There is no need to submit your submission again, as it is saved by the editor."

I've discovered this to mean that the first staff member to read it, liked it, and has handed it on up to the editor for approval - and so far I haven't had any of my articles rejected. Each one is another feather in my cap - or should I say quill feather? Hehehe. I also won this trophy finally for winning the biggest Go! Go! Go! tournament.

Five more articles in production, and I'll link up my new one once it's released.

QOTD: "]#'9009?.,?.;,lp[]][plkmn mp[--[='/" - Whoops - just poured tea on my laptop! Shouldn't get so enthusiastic when I win a good hand!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

NOM!

Hah! Meme made mainstream! I gotta say, these look really rather nice too. They appear to be basically Muller yogurts, made in Shropshire. I will keep my eyes open for these down at the supermarket to give them a try, purely for the "Nom" theme and the useage of "phenomenomanom" in a televised advert campaign.

We had a wonderfully nommable meal at Garthy's again, as a special treat, what with it being 2for1 grill night. Pea and ham soup so shockingly green I could have painted spring grass on a canvas and sold it for a fortune, and a rump steak done to perfection. I swear that chef psychically knows how I like my steak - medium rare, but more rare than medium. His Lordship likes his more medium than rare. He tried creme brulee and declared it as "nommity - exactly what I wanted!", whilst I enjoyed an extraordinary chocolate orange tart, with white chocolate and Bailey's sauce. As always, deeply impressed! If I had an unlimited budget, we'd eat there every week - the food is spectacular...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Herp-a-derpppp.

Kyle's still a pain in the ass. I bought her a basil plant. She looked at it and said "That's very pretty." I picked a leaf and she went "oooh, my favourite!" NOMNOMNOM!

"Can I have another?" I point and say to her that the entire plant is right next to her. She says "Yes, and it's very pretty - can I have another leaf now?" So I had to pick another one and she happily nommed it. I ended up picking about a dozen leaves; apparently they taste better individually.

Total derp: "Oh, I like that comedian, he's funny!" Uhh... duh?

ScottishRose: "I swear if she doesn't turn off the aircon I'm going to die of phenomena." Topped only by the response from my colleague's sister: "Yeah, we're going to end up with homophobia!"

Nederlander: " I said to the doctor, whenever I harvest our cornfields, I get a really bad headache. It's a migraine, he explained. No it's not, it's mine! And why have you started talking with an Italian accent?"

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Caleb the Weather Dog

Holy crap! I was just this minute saying to His Lordship that I'll go out now and get the shopping - when suddenly... BLAM! WEATHER! Rain pounding down, causing instant rivers in the carpark, instantly followed by piercing hailstones, roaring thunder, blasts of lightning that whack his computer offline (thank goodness for batteries - the laptop's still running) - the hailstones are pounding down now as big as marbles.

Just as suddenly as it started, it's gone again. The big black clouds have vanished, blue skies and sunshine. And great big holes through my rhubarb plant. Thank goodness I took my rare cosmoses in yesterday, they'd never have withstood the onslaught - the downdraught from the storm was extraordinary, we could even feel it inside the house. (Pic: rivers of ice in the yard!)

Caleb the Weather Dog - "It will be a barking good day today with a bit a of bite to the wind. Make no bones about it: weather like this is something to woof about, as it's very nippy. People everywhere will be yapping about the ruff weather coming from the South. Mind you, I could be barking up the wrong tree!" Caleb is J's hearing dog - and he has a startlingly accurate ability to predict the weather a good two-three hours before it hits, allowing J to take her medicine before the barometric shifts make her dizzy and sick.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

One Night at the Octagon

What an utterly bizarre evening.

I got home to discover that we're getting a lovely burgundy-plum leather suite for the living room (His Lordship's folks want to go for something different) and that we were going out to the theatre. Needless to say I was quite pleased, though a little wary as the show was "That'll be the Day."

As far I could see, it was going to be a cheesy oldies Rock'n'Roll show. From what we actually saw, it WAS a cheesy oldies Rock'n'Roll show, with comedy thrown in. And it was GREAT! The first half, I admit I didn't know some of the acts - but then they had a ... well, not a grand finale, because it was for the intermission, but a pretty stunning Beatles blend. The second half leapt straight in with the Blues Brothers. It's one of my favourite movies and the cast did a superb rendition.

But it was the intermission that really made me laugh. I went out the front with His Lordship Senior to get icecreams and was amused by him asking for "One of that, that, that and that - in fact, two of everything. Don't look at me like I'm an idiot, I want these icecreams. I have a fiver, that should cover it, yes? Oh, and I'd like two ice lollies too." The vendor looked bewildered and stacked the whole lot in the box - 14 tubs of various icecream flavours (the chocolate is fabulous BTW - this is one of the few we had left over and had to put in the freezer). She then counted them up, "2, 4, 6, 8..." and came to a conclusion. "£2.60."

I'd been giggling at HLSenior's requests of multiple icecreams anyway, but I nearly died laughing as he looked somewhat puzzled and handed her a £20... and she gave back £17.40 in change.

"Are you sure that's right?" So, she counted them over again - "£2.60!" Her colleague leaned in and looked concerned, counted them over for herself. "No... that's 14 tubs and 2 ice lollies - £30." We went away with our stacks of frozen dairy and HLS goes "Should have offered her £20 for the whole damn trolley, shouldn't I!"

I swear on absolutely ANYTHING that it happened - it was like something from a Derren Brown show. I wish I'd have filmed it because no-one's going to believe me!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Faster Pasta and Pie

You know what - I didn't mind when I nearly got ran over today. For a change, it was a dark, British Racing Green 2, Bentley Continental Series 51 (a truly unique car - unmistakeable features!) and he was very polite about it. One of those smiles that was at once apologetic, slightly embarrassed of his wealth and delighted that I thought it was a nice car. One of my favourites in fact - I'm on the mailing list with Bentley to see their new cars. Mmmmmm. Here's some Bentley "off the peg" Colours.

Fusilli - the arcade penny machine of the pasta world. Scoop it with a fork and it looks like "yeah, that's a LOAD of pasta". Get it high enough to put in your mouth and discover you only actually have one on the fork. Stabbing it is not much better either - the swirls compress and don't slide up the tines, so you still only end up with a few pieces of pasta. If you're a real pasta pro like me, you can get seven on the tines and two on the "bowl" - but that's only with years of practise. We need to design a proper fork for dealing with this awkward dish.

I'm happily eating my pie. His Lordship is complaining because only the pastry can be sliced and the rest of the pie is basically a caramel sauce and bananas. But I think it's GREAT! :D Who needs traditional sliceable pie when you have a plate full of yum? He is licking the plate though... But in fairness, you kind of need to.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Bleh

Too sleepy to blog. Need food. Come back later. What do you want on blog?

Saturday, 16 October 2010

BOOM! Back on TNT

Hurray! Another article has been published by The Neopian Times!

As promised Danny, I got the word "seahorse" in there. "You .. I mean ... wow. I AM impressed. And not just at the amount of free time you have. But seriously, I am gobsmacked, good work. Now can you help Loulou get an article containing the word 'minions' printed in the New York Times?"

Thanks! And yes, possibly, if she already has connections.

Big thanks to Knight_Blade for his first person account! I couldn't have written this one without your help.

That's my fourth piece written and accepted - so what's my next article to be about? All suggestions, ideas and jokes welcomed. If you'd like to give me a word (preferably not adult in context - it is a kid's site after all) I'll manage to fit it into my next article somehow. After all, I'm a master at playing "word in conversation with customers" at my big branch. They were impressed when I managed to have a conversation about ostrich steak (too easy) as today's task - and I worked "supercalifragalisticexpealidotious" into a sentence as if it were perfectly normal. Customer didn't notice a thing!

The fun you can have, selling savings accounts!

Friday, 15 October 2010

WordsWorth1000

"I wandered lonely as a cloud-based storage facility,
That floats high o'er server and 'nets
Awesome accessibility,
Like the GoldenCasino bets;
Beside the lolcatz, beneath the meme,
Hampsterdance and strutting on my screen.

As fabulous as the Chocolate Rain,
And double memed by Tay Zonday,
They stretched over the Viral plane.
Whilst we're buying things on e- Bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Brand new pairs of Hammer pants.

The back-up dancers danced; and they
Out-did Technoviking in glee.
A blogger could not be but gay,
in Chuck Norris's company:
I gazed - and surfed - but little thought
What wealth these clips to me had brought:

When, in the Lying-Down Game I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
With FailBlog on that inward eye
Which is the home of many screwed;
And then my heart with laughter screams,
And chuckles with the online memes."





























Click for full size image.
And if that wasn't enough for you - try THIS for size!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Lovin' Language

I'm writing something a little bit special - and I'll have it released in the next day or two. Keep watching this space, because I'm going to need your help to send it viral. (Img: Pixdaus.com. Clue.)

Terry has developed a rather sweet little voice. He pips and squeaks quite a bit for various reasons, usually when he's fallen off something... We also get a distinct "PAWP!" when he's had enough of being fussed around - a little like a higher, shorter version of Juno's voice.

In the meantime, have some fun with this: http://www.conveythis.com/translation.php "I love His Lordship" turns into: "Love rules." Also, "This is fun!" converts to: "Very interesting!"

Also, teach yourself some cool new words: http://listverse.com/2010/09/23/10-words-that-cant-be-translated-to-english/ It will give you a great sense of hygge.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Quote of the Day: "jo9mkjhnim yuijlkmvhj nkihjm gkm gbhkl" - Nan testing out her new MSN

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Horrible Hedge!

Being as I'm slightly taller (and sturdier) than Himself, it means I have to hold the ladder. Our garden is a funny shape so the carpark is much lower on the other side of the fence, which makes it quite difficult to cut the top of the hedge. It also means I'm going to get two inch long thorns and hefty branches dropped on me again. I swear, you could hang pictures with those gits! Last time we cut the hedge, I got one of those thorns in my foot: it punched right through my shoe and fully into my heel - I had a twig quite literally nailed to me! (Img: wrong species of pyrocantha. Imagine this with 2" needles.)

If I had my way, I'd have the sodding thing killed off, dug out and replaced with something gentle, like a cluster of great big passion flower bushes - but it's nearly impossible to destroy. I had to dig out the little one in the front garden, self seeded from one of the BILLIONS of berries these bushes put out. The blackbird that eats them can barely take off once he's done nomming the red and yellow things. I ended up digging down about 4 feet then taking an axe and extreme violence to the massive root stalk. That one was about 3 foot tall. The back hedge is about 9.

I wouldn't mind if it had any useful defensive properties, but as we have no back gate... Mind you, it does discourage the cats from bothering my sparrows.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Traaaaaaaaaaains. Must ... Have .... Traaaaiiiiiiiins.

My brain has melted: 00:33, and we're finally home. Two hours late and to top it off, we found an interesting life form in a glass of juice His Lordship forgot.

Slept. Woke up very disoriented. Went shopping, appalled by sheer amount of people. It's a FRIDAY people, why aren't you all at WORK? You can't ALL be on holiday like me, surely... Seriously, that's just not what a disorientated person needs on a day like this. Cup of hot chocolate and my mental state might start recovering.

There, that's better - much closer to human. On my shopping trip, the Nice Bloke in Tesco's tried to convince me to buy a £200 DVD player, because ours sadly ate itself and ate a disk. I smiled politely and went "Nah, cheapest and smallest. Oooh, £20 - that's more like it! Thanks!" Poor Bloke, I understand he was trying to help, but I really didn't need to spend £200. I can't even work out WHY it's £200.

Delays

There will be a delay in bloggage - I'm testing Ubuntu on my computer and all my pictures and notes are stuck on my external hard drive which I currently can't access!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tribulations on the Train

Spec-crapular. Utterly crap-tastic. Our initial change was 30 minutes late (breakdown of other train on a line). The second one we then had to connect to was also 25 minutes late (failure of signal on a line) and I'm currently sat on the floor in Bristol Temple Meads, having given up on the stupid blue sloped bench affair.

There are about a dozen of us displaced, weary souls at the arse end of nowhere (platform 13 would you believe) hiding from the bitter air blowing in the open station side. At least this waiting room has an electric heater, if not sensible benches. We were supposed to be home by 10. Looks like it's going to be midnight. And a long night at that...

One of the ticket masters agreed that it would certainly be faster to go by car, not to mention possibly cheaper "and certainly more reliable, but I didn't say that!" We passed the time by eating our dinner; ham sammiches, cake and crisps kindly provided by Nan. Had to giggle at the "SnackRite" crisps (ownbrand Aldi's) Nan won in a raffle - they were "salt your own".


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Chocolate Lounge

Looks great, sounds great - I was expecting a proper chocolatier, a boutique dedicated to chocolate galore, if you will. I discovered a coffee shop serving only one kind of hot chocolate, but 5 menu's worth of coffee and tea (seriously, FIVE). With all those syrups and flavours, you would have thought, as a chocolatier supposedly, that they could have expanded the range a little. The hot chocolate was nice enough, sweet, with a fairly well rounded flavour, but sadly bitty - evidence of a cheap chocolate powder instead of PROPER hot chocolate. Properly burst my bubble, I can tell you! (Pic: Hornoxe.com)

I was even more frustrated by the fact that some idiot put a table and chairs in front of the chocolate counter, perfectly obscuring the view of both product and information when a pair of equally unobservant customers deposited themselves upon it.

We weren't offered cake or chocolates with our drinks, which I was surprised by - you're missing vital sales there! Whilst friendly, the staff weren't exactly at their most attentive...

The sweets themselves were passable, but nothing to really get excited about, and certainly not justifiable to the price at £3.60 per 100g when Thorntons is only £2.99 for a 100g bag of Continentals. Needless to say, I was both underwhelmed and unimpressed; it looked great, until you look closer - a bit like this garage.

Dinner at Mum's more than made up for it though. Muhmummah's enchiladas were grand. I mean that in all senses of the word; sensationally tasty and BIG. Apparently the trick is to steam all the contents - the mushrooms in a covered pan with a wee touch of proper butter for flavour, and the chicken in lemon and lime juice with fresh ground pepper. They were rockawesomely good.

Monday, 4 October 2010

No-Mona Lisa at Da Vinci's

I always like to try and go here to eat when I'm home - simply because I love their pasta dishes - heck, I love Italian food full stop. (Pic: MetaPizza - source unknown.) Da Vinci's is a strange restaurant at the best of times; having spent a small fortune on beautiful smooth black and red granite table tops, they have cheap hollow knife handles - it always makes me chuckle.

For a change, we went with starters: I had soft, plump field mushrooms in a creamy smooth garlic and white wine sauce finished with sweet wilted spinach. His Lordship went for something a little different, but non-the-less delicious, "Asparagus Provincale". Four stems of firm, tasty asparagus, wrapped in fine parma ham baked in a pomodoro sauce topped with cheese. I was well impressed with the combination of flavour and texture and it's definitely a recipe we're bringing home with us.

I always end up having the Pollo della casa, as it's my favourite dish and a good measure of a restaurant - I expect large, succulent chicken pieces with my mushrooms, and a thick cheese sauce. DV's has never disappointed me yet. The sprinkling of parlsey over the baked cheese finish was a nice touch! He went for the Penne Salmone and was delighted by the texture of the fish and surprised by the accompanying mushrooms - a bold but brilliant move, adding firmness to the soft textures of the dish.

We gave it 20 minutes and finished off our meal with a shared plate of profiteroles - and regretted it. Sharing a plate I mean. They were fabulous! The chef makes a wonderful bittersweet chocolate sauce which manages to avoid being sickly whilst having a sumptuous richness. The sour touch to the edge of the bitter flavour was perfectly offset by the sweetened cream in the choux pastries themselves. All round, a true spectacle of a dish as it looks as good as it tastes. Tesco's, eat your heart out.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Chips and Carrots

Chip in a Bottle update: My darling littlest brother brought his bizarre project down for us to have a look at. 18 months on, and the KFC chip is still in surprisingly good condition, especially considering he keeps shaking it up. It's still chip shaped, though in three large chunks. He must NOT open the bottle, as I suspect he's likely to give us botulism on the first toxic, reeking "psssht" of gasses releasing from under the cap.

I do miss my Mum's cooking, so I'm always delighted when she puts together something tasty when we visit. This time we had a delicious chicken dinner and she even did cooked carrots for us - a great honour, as normally carrots are served raw. Saffron, honey and orange carrots - they're honest to goodness amazing, sweet and juicy, full of texture and flavour. I'm told they make a wonderful soup if you cook them in a little extra orange juice and then blend into a smooth soup. I can see it looking sumptuously thick and orange with a swirl of sour cream in the middle...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Bogle Bumps

Saturday was marvellously complicated. I'm still sure my stepdad said before 4, but he swears blind he said after 4.30. But meh, either way, we turned up before 4. My sister was told to return around 4.30 and swears blind that no-one said any such thing - so she managed to be 2 hours late. She defended this because she missed the bus by seconds. Except there's 3 different buses every 15 minutes that go thataway to here. (Pic: Dogs, Deif and Stottie, waiting for The Bogle.)

In the meantime my stepfather decided now was the perfect time to pitch and tar the peeling roof without changing his clothes or checking there was any white spirit. Thankfully Mum has wonderful neighbours whom lent us some to clean the oily black marks he'd left in the kitchen and the fascias as he progressed to mowing the lawn. Meanwhile, their son had a great time following Kyle up the driveway as she decided to go for a jog.

Either way, we were somewhat late going out for dinner. Mind you, dinner made up for it - it was fab. (And no, there wasn't a table booked. Apparently someone else should have looked up the number and done it! Heh!) It's a damned shame we don't have a Bug and Jottle near us in Somerset; the glazed gammon was marvellous and the vegetables perfect. His Lordship didn't have any troubles with red hot peanesses this time, but he did choke on an unusually large one. Bless him.

Getting back home again was interesting, as Himself and Myself were supposed to be meeting friends in the Barge, middle of town, at 7.30. So we solved it by bunging my sister in the boot. (Yes, the same gullible one that we stuffed into the cushion covers. You'd have thought, after similar treatment over the years, that she'd have learned by now.)

We had a great time even if Bogle didn't, as we were whipping round tight corners, swinging wide around roundabouts, flinging sharply round bends and finding the speed-bumpiest road possible. We managed to make it home and to town only 30 minutes late - just in time to catch the start of a good round of beers and plenty of bruises for my sister.