Sunday, 29 May 2011

Rainbows Forever!

Spent the day footling round on Neopets. Did a new look up profile for my lovely lovely Krawk Meglos: HERE and I bagged me a Maraquan Paint Brush for 5,076,000 NeoPoints. That's a significant saving because when I was looking for one a few weeks back, they were priced at about 9 million. It's still a bargain because the cheapest on trading currently is still 6 million.


I've squirrelled it away in my Safety Deposit Box for now, just hoping I can land me a Draik Potion of some kind, though I only have 10 million left now and they're about 18. But miracles do happen...

Some of the afternoon was spent making a Seaweed Wig for the Random Competition. I've been on Neopets 10 years and never managed to find time to do a Random Contest entry.

This entry is all recycled too - there's crisp packets, crepe paper that was waiting for the composter, bubble wrap, cling film, tin can labels, carrier bags, old vivarium plants, scraps of ribbon, sandwich bag ties, pipe cleaners, jingly bells... Even an old sock that was unravelling!

And lastly, I discovered today that I don't like gherkins after all. Normally I like pickles, but these are crunchy AND slimy. That's just wrong. Also, they're not the right kind of sour -they're sort of a chilled sour flavour. No, I do not like gherkins.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Scribbling...

I finally managed to buy something in the Almost Abandoned Attic!

This is uberwin, because stuff in the 'Attic flies out in milliseconds, even though only gamers with over 3 years experience can buy. Personally, I think they need to do a 10 year veteran's shop too as there are a surprising number of us.

Metawinnage goes to the fact that it's a rainbow item (for my large gallery of rainbow items), and it's a notepad - I like writing articles for The Neopian Times.

Talking of which, I'm back in the Times with a seriously lengthy (for me) article; 101 Negg Recipes. I've taken a delight in hiding "Easter Neggs" for those in the know: practical tips and hints for real life and even cheat codes for games in there.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Dammit, they misquoted me!

We got in the paper for quoting on the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Not only did they misspell my name (as per usual), but they didn't use either of our actual quotes.

I'm quoted as saying "I've seen all the others so far, and even though this is the fourth film it's still going quite strongly. I think Johnny Depp is key to the success of the franchise." I ACTUALLY said "Johnny Depp is one of those wonderful stars where it's OK to fancy him, even if you're a bloke." and His Lordship agreed.

They've got Him down as saying "This set of films have kept their appeal really well, I was disappointed with the Matrix sequels, but I feel the opposite about Pirates. It is action-packed and fun." Nearly, but not quite. He said: "It's impressive that they're managing to keep the quality up; in comparison, the later Matrix movies sucked."

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Takin' the Fun out of "Funeral".

I hate the way the whole thing has reduced everyone to sounding petty and materialistic. (Random photo of street lamp.)

His Lordship Senior turns out to have been a very wealthy man - literally; he was a millionaire it turned out. But he's left everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to a charitable trust he's set up (a trust for steam trains. If you're a certified heritage directly associated with steam trains in the UK, let me know - I'll send you details to apply for funding I guess).

All of the fundings from the all of houses being rented out, the factories they owned etc is all going into the trust - it'll be earning THOUSANDS every month, and not a penny is going to his children.

As far as I'm concerned his money is his, but it's a shame he didn't feel that it would have been nice to give them even a little something, a token if you will.

It's His Lordship's sister that I feel most for - she loved her dad to bits, is stuck overseas, and hasn't got anything either. I mean, all three kids are gutted, because even the PICTURES on the wall in the house are going to be listed and put to the charity - it's so sad. We stole His Lordship's Sister's birthday plate to post back to her overseas and stole some of the pictures too, hoping we don't get caught and in trouble for it - but what does the trust think it's going to get for a picture of Him and his Grandad sat on a rock? That's memories they're losing right there.

We're lucky that His Mother realised what was going to happen literally a couple of days before she died, bless her sweet and kind heart - we THINK she's managed to save our property and His Brother's house, and we think she's even managed to squirrel some away for her daughter in her will, but we have to wait and see what happens as it's all up in the air and we're not sure what's actually going to come out of it.

Even days when it isn't raining you can get rainbows. Not quite sure what the message is there, make of it as you will. (This was taken last summer on a perfectly clear day. It's above our house.)

Watch this space I guess.

This would make a great soap opera.
Not so fun to watch in real life though.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

This is NOT Dragon Ball Z - this is Dragon Ball FUN!

Tsam's Bearded Dragon Pingpong Game Fun!



Tsammy has always liked pingpong balls - we have quite a large collection now, but his favourite has always been the red one, as you can see as he plays one evening after his dinner. Tsam can quite happily play this for HOURS if he's in obsessive mode; which is why he used to have a toy cricket hanging from a slack spring in his tank. It's now on his running slope after he bit one foot off it. (Don't worry, he didn't eat it - it was too crunchy.)

I'll have to take a movie of "Dragon Fishing" at some point too - watch this space for more.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Stopping for a Sip?

We did get to the cinema in the end, as apparently the world didn't end. After, we got stopped by a chap from the papers to take our picture and get a review "snippet" from us. We gave him some cracking quotes, including: "Even blokes are allowed to fancy him. Johnny Depp is just THAT good."

We went to Frankie and Benny's for drinks:
His Lordship: "Uh... is that...?"
Me: "Yup."
HL: "I thought so."
I turned to the barman.
Me: "Did you run out of oranges?"
Barman: *blushes* "Uh, yeah. "
We both looked at it.
Him: "Sorry about the banana..."

Admittedly, it was a great solution to the problem and certainly not a fruitless effort.

Doesn't go particularly well with tequila though.

I did introduce His Lordship to the delights of a dry Martini done long with a twist of lemon peel. He's delighted to discover that Martini isn't a "girly drink", the fact that it tastes nice is just a bonus.

I had a good chuckle when I spotted this sign:
My friend Daniel Wolfe is as ginger as a carrot and he does like his Jack Daniels, so this totally has to be the drink for him.

Well, after an incident a couple of weeks back where a bloke across the road was chased around by his missus with a knife, it wasn't really a surprise to see four cop cars and an ambulance this week. I was just going into the kitchen when I spotted blue flashing lights as a police car swung up. Bunch more screeched in behind, followed by an ambulance.


I guess she finally caught up with him, as they found the dude in the alleyway, struggling to stand. The paramedics had to lay him on his front on the stretcher. Looks like he got stabbed in the back or something. It's all crimescene tape and a proper CSI van today. Quel excitemente.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The End of the World is... Now?

Apparently the world is going to end 6pm today. Shame, I wanted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean tonight.

Story has is that Harold Camping has done the research citing Jeremiah 25:32, earthquakes will continue "as the sun advances" with New York, United States to be affected at approximately at 6:00pm EDT (10:00pm UTC). The Rapture will rescue 3% of the population, but the rest of us will suffer 'til October, when the world ends. As a civil engineer, he reckons that he has plenty of biblical/mathematical citings on the "fact".


But I might get to see the movie after all -Camping got it wrong last time (1994).

Friday, 20 May 2011

Good meeting you Sir.


Enjoy the ride of your dreams, David.
More info on his favourite line here: http://www.bluebell-railway.com/

Thursday, 12 May 2011

You Don't Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But It Helps.

Going to work can actually be hell - forgive me, it's been a bit busy what with having to travel further and work longer hours. I completely forgot to say that I met Tom Holt on the 6th - but I did ring and tell my Mum that evening.

I mean, I knew he lived in Somerset (in Chard in fact, where I've been posted) but I confess to being a little overwhelmed with work to think about it. I felt like a right dink when I looked at his book, looked at him and asked the obvious: "Sorry for the silly question, but are you Tom Holt the Author?"

Bless him, he was very nice about and and confirmed this to be the case. My colleague said I should bring my books in for him to sign, but I felt this would be unprofessional - it was a delight and a pleasure to meet him as it was. He was amused by this, and I hope to catch up with him another time when we have less of a queue...

Thing is, if I were to take a book in to be signed, which one would I take?!


I think it might have to be the Dead Funny omnibus - I thought both stories were great and I particularly appreciated Lucky George Faustus's abuse of the ATM machines (so that it chewed on a tie of a customer and tried to eat him!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Chompin' the Chocolates...

Today's tasters were a trial not always full of successes I'm afraid. We started with a Crème Brulee. This was a sugar crystal coated ball of pale milk chocolate - quite tough to bite through, but rewarding as the centre was firm and sweet, a custardy texture similar to a white chocolate ganache but with a delicious eggy vanilla smoothness. It's a lovely contrast of textures as the centre is firm enough to give your tongue a sensually creamy challenge and the chocolate is gritty with sugar crystals. Very very nice. "really nice".

The second one I was completely stumped by. I forgot what it was. It was brown with a gold fleck in the middle, but that's not much help - and neither was the lack of smell. I know my sense of smell is lousy, but even His Lordship couldn't tell what it was. My sense of smell is appalling, as you all know, though my sense of taste and mouthfeel is refined!. This is why I get His Lordship to smell things properly for me, and his opinions.

Apparently it wasn't me though - this chocolate literally didn't smell of much. It's a shame because the scent of a chocolate gives you a sensation of... anticipation. The scent is a guide to the filling, and I couldn't tell what it was without biting into it - which is no good if you want to give it to someone else. Thankfully I buy two of each! Turns out it was banoffee. The base of the centre was very creme deluche, all caramelly condensed milk taste, topped with a milkshakey banana mousse. Definitely what it says on the tin, and another success.

Next comes an orange mousse. It has a cute candied orange"slice", but sadly (and oddly, considering that's an actual slice of orange) lacking in scent again. It's a large, visually possessing chocolate - a big, white chunk of a cube, with a sweet, very sweet, white coating. The centre of this one is very much like a brownie:-the squidgy middle bit and is very heavy. It's lightly flavoured with orange oil, though I'd consider this more of a "fancy" than a chocolate due to its size. It's very rich, one to be melted in the mouth rather than chewed through if you want to enjoy the orange flavour - but the texture and humungosity makes you impatient and NEED to chew it. "It's like 4 chocolates wedged together - just tooo much of it. Oh, how weird; it doesn't go well with orange juice."

I remembered what the fourth was: a lime caramel. All I can smell is sweet, but then that's been the case on all of these chocolates so far. I deferred to His Lordship's much more sensetive sense of smell, but all He picks up is "Cocoa. That's allI get. Cocoa."

Which I guess is a good thing, as it's fine quality chocolate, but as previously mentioned, it's nice to have a precursor to the main course - an amuse nez, if you will. I was hoping for a sour/sweet ZING, but they've gone for oil rather than juice, and once you bite through the bitter, salty thin shell, you encounter an artificial lime flavour, like eating a solidified mojito. It's an acrid, side of tongue bitterness a little bit like caramelised washing up liquid - sorry, but it's just not very nice at all. The white cap softens the initial blow of the lime and I'd suggest the whole thing should have been made of white chocolate and a mousse rather than a caramel. Don't get me wrong, the caramel texture is GREAT and I would like to see the caramel used in other chocs. Just... without the lime.

Finally came the champagne truffle - coated with a heavy white dome shell, it was tough to "pop". However, this was satisfying and rewarding as the shell was delicious and chunky. The centre was almost chewy, like a warmed-up dark chocolate fudge. It was very dense, quite powerful and a little gritty. "Interesting". I'd have preferred a lighter truffle, and certainly a milk version than dark as it was a touch too intense for my tastes with the champagne flavouring. (please bear in mind I like 90% cacao). I also want to know where the champ comes from - some background information would have been nice. The story of the chocolate as it were, instead of just a whoof of alcohol flavour.

Final thoughts: Meh. These ones were ok, but they could do with some improvements. I wish people wouldn't make washing up liquid flavour sweets - they have so much potential, and then taste horrific.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Decorating for Dragons.

I'm being a lizard bore again, and I apologise in advance - but I gave Tsam's house a restyle.

After years of abuse, being scratched, jumped up and attempts to dig it to move it out of the way to be more comfortable, Tsam's back wall was scraped and battered, with paint falling off and the brown underlay showing through the scars.

So I did the Blue Peter thing and grabbed the sticky-back plastic in a very Tsammy style. I found a wonderful little "Dragon Island" map from retro Action Man collections on eBay, and a nice lady sent us a small swatch of camouflage material - which Tsam has wound up dragging into his house and sleeping on. You gotta admit, it looks a whole lot better now, with Tsam Wilhelm EatdaLeaf supervising the work. (And yes, that is his full name. He's a German Giant who LOVES basil leaves.)

I managed to catch a whacking great bluebottle inside a cheesy pasta in a mug packet... I took it upstairs with me, and carefully shook it out into Tsam's tank. He was bemused and watched it fly around, but only until it got close enough so that he didn't need to move from his seat. He stretched his neck and snapped it out of mid-air. He chewed it slowly, clearly appreciating the snack - then he looked at me, looked at the packet and I swear I could hear him thinking "Hmm! I didn't know they did flies in packets. Foil packing REALLY keeps the flavour in! Got any more?" Apparently the added cheese flavouring was tasty.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Beardie Bites

I was trying not to get bitten by the new lizard today as she's discovered a love of pink "Beardie Bites" by Nature Zone. It's so cute watching her trying to grab the squidgy cube - but she hasn't yet learned the art of the perfect hit and has a tendency to miss and get my thumb instead! We also tried the other box of food cubes today; the green ones that I normally give to the bugs. Tsam willingly tried a couple - the first one vanished, but the second one was much slower as he carefully considered the feel of it on his tongue. No. He doesn't like those either, so I gave him real challenge.

You probably know, but Tsam has a major, major thing for blueberries - he's completely mental about the squidgy blue fruit. Tesco's had some "Finest" blewbs in and, I have to admit, they're pretty fine. These suckers are GINORMOUS, much to Tsam's delight. Bless him, he almost choked himself on the first one until he figured out he actually had to CHEW these ones. You've never seen a happier dragon, with his mouth rammed full of humongous fruit...

Kyle is sulking with me, because she got confused - when I was introducing little dragon properly to her out of the tank, she wasn't sure what it was. Carefully she leaned over and gave Hyphen a lick, then sat there glick glick glicking, considering the new information. She shook her head "nope, I don't know WHAT to make of that." and leaned in slowly for a proper taste - she accidentally thought little dragon in my hand might be a new food I was offering!

Thankfully she's since got over her gruffle and has accepted the weird stripy thing that MIGHT have been a new type of worm definitely ISN'T a new type of worm - so she couldn't give a figgy about it now - though Hyphen hasn't forgiven HER!

Note of the Day: The dragons are right. Those green cubes are HORRIBLE. They're like sour scented, gone off mushy soap.