tea flavoured saturday shopping

tea revives you
Sometimes the Universe just arranges things in the right order...

My internal clock is a little out of whack at the moment, so I didn't wake up until later than I would have liked, but I was up, showered and out the door pretty much at the same time Ma arrived. However it did mean that I forgot to pick up my wallet and take a photo of the soup recipe I wanted to make. So I had to wing it a little bit.

I ended up going with the "white soup" idea... so I got potato, swedes, parsnips, cauliflower and a couple of white onions. So, you know, white things. I might add in some corn and there will definitely be some bacon, because bacon.

So it might end up slightly chowder-like after all. I'll have to wait and see.

When we were done and got back to my place I gave Ma a present that one of the women at work had given me for her. The short version of the story that our resident Mother Hen at work also has a liking for snowmen, and she had an Olaf (from Frozen) mug... I'd asked her where she got it and she said she'd check and let me know. Then on Monday I turned up to find one wrapped in tissue paper on my desk with a note saying it was for Ma. Which was very sweet of her.

Once we were done with all the general unpacking and whatnot, Ma wanted to head into the city to visit T2, and I never object to a visit to the great land of tea... plus I had a request from Rockchick at work to pick up some tea for her.

So off we went to wander around, drink some tea and chat with the very lovely T2 girl I end up talking to every time I go in there.

It was fairly quiet, so we chatted, she made me some tea, Ma wandered around a bit, then suddenly, just as we were wrapping up a veritable flood of people appeared. It was a bit odd really, it went from literally nobody but Ma, me and the staff to a store full of people within about thirty seconds.

From there we just had a wander up the Mall. I didn't really want to spend any money, so I was happy to just follow along. Ma did want to get a little something for Mother Hen just to say thanks, and we ended up in Charlesworths to pick up some nuts and things.

Once we were done with the wandering we headed to Burger Theory for their new Burger of the Month, the Nacho Nacho Spam burger. The nacho cheese is definitely a winner!

There was only one other group of people in the restaurant, and after I'd ordered and we sat down one of their party came back from the bathroom, and I realised it was Mother Hen. Yep, the Universe decided to throw our paths together, so I got to introduce her to Ma and Ma got to say thanks and give her the nuts. So that was a nice little happenstance.

But that was pretty much it, other than a quick second visit to T2 when Ma decided to grab some more canisters.

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photo friday: tech capability

lightssilver rail

white strutsclipsal
I've definitely had issues with electronic equipment this week, mostly computers and thankfully entirely at work.

I got a new work PC on Wednesday and I think I managed to add a virus to it while downloading a perfectly valid piece of software. I'm also still waiting for them to reinstall all my additional software.

Then I downloaded a file, deleted the original data and discovered the file was corrupted. I haven't finished trying to recover the data, but that'll have to wait until next week when I'm feeling more technologically capable. Thankfully it's technically nothing vital, but I'd prefer not to have lost it.

Otherwise this week has been somewhat all over the joint.

The cream of carrot and honey soup I made on Sunday was a little bit ruined by the small amount of chilli I added, as well as the black pepper. But really, I shouldn't have expected that turning a vegetable I really don't like into soup would actually improve it.

I am undecided about the culinary adventures for next week. I was thinking a chowder... I still might go in that direction, I just need to have a look at my recipes a little later. Alternatively I'm totally going to wing it. I was thinking perhaps a white soup... potatoes, parships, turnips, that sort of thing... but that could be a little dull.

Tuesday I took myself off for an unscheduled movie adventure. It was one of those times when you realise afterwards that you should have gotten your shit together and gone to the earlier session. Partly because it was later than I was expecting by the time I got home, but also because the session was fairly crowded and I also ended up having to sit next to the worst movie-goer on the face of the earth for the first twenty minutes, until I decided to move rather than strangle her to death.

Then Wednesday was Haircut Day... yay! The haircut is perhaps a touch severe, I wanted to make the shaved side thing I've been doing for the past few haircuts extend to the other side of my head a little better, and at the same time I needed to try and tame a number of annoying bits of hair that wouldn't be controlled in the style as it stood, and the only way to really do that was to come a little bit higher up at the back... it's not quite a shaved head with a long fringe, but two more haircuts doing the same thing and it would be.

And because of my hair's overwhelming desire to throw red no matter what particular colour we dye it, we made a slight tweak to the colour this time, going for something slightly more ashy. Which, interestingly enough, although it should have been lighter actually turned out darker than it has been. I don't dislike it, but neither am I totally in love with it. It is one of those colours that actually looks like it could be my natural colour though.

Otherwise Tink and I just did the random chat thing that we usually do.

Besides that there hasn't been a hell of a lot going on, work was fairly busy at the beginning of the week, but that kind of dried up to something of a trickle by the end of the week, letting me get myself all tied in electronic knots.

And I've been slogging my way through Red Dead Redepmption.

I say slogging, because it kind of is a bit of a slog... I was very much enjoying it initially and then the Mexico portion of the story opened up and I kind of realised I was going to have to do all the same sorts of things I'd already been doing all over again, plus I'm only about a third of the way through, maybe half, given that there's a third area still to be opened. Add to that the fact that very often you ride all the way from the left side of the map all the way to the right side of the map, only to have the story element you trigger when you get there take you all the way back to the other side of the map, often even further away than you started off.

What I did realise about myself in games in general is that I'm totally NOT the close combat fighter. I'm the archer, the ranger, the sniper, the long range assassin. I knew that to some degree from Assassin's Creed (it's actually one of my major complaints that there aren't more long range weapons), but it's become very clear in this game, since I essentially use the long range rifle for EVERYTHING. Sadly, it's gotten to the stage where the rifle is so powerful that if I try and use it on close range birds, rabbits or armadillos then just go POOF and disappear entirely. It was kind of hilarious the first time it happened though.

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movies: jurassic world

jurassic world - the park is open
Jurassic World definitely feels like it's recycling much of the plot from the first two Jurassic Park movies. Okay, that may not be fair... not recycling so much as a homage.

They're just homaging all over the place in this movie. Literally so in more than a few places when things from the first movie actually show up.

But the first mistake they make is to think that we're really going to give a crap when presented with a sullen teenager (Nick Robinson) and his annoying hyper know-it-all little brother (Ty Simpkins). The most annoying and pointless part of any of the Jurassic movies has been the badly written children. And even though you eventually partially warmed up to the children in the original movie, there really isn't any point in this one where I gave a damn about what happened to the two boys.

Actually that was fairly widespread throughout the movie... it was full of stupid people doing monumentally stupid things. Even for this franchise, there were some really, really dumb things going on.

The other things that irked me was that they seemed to have gone straight to the "Big Book of Character Tropes" for all their characters... there's the sullen teenager, the precocious preteen, the person in power who views integral plot element as "numbers on a spreadsheet", the woman who is too focused on her career to make time for family, the uptight control freak (those last three are all the same character, Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire), the nefarious military aligned man, the scientist doing things he shouldn't, the token black friend (seriously I'm pretty sure he was the only black character with a speaking part), the awkward geeky guy who comes through in a crunch and last but not least the loveable rogue. Oh, and add to that parents who may or may not have been getting a divorce, because the movie falls into the "tell don't show" category for that little revelation, and honestly, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the story.

And I'll be honest, with the exception of the lovable rogue, Chris Pratt's Owen, there really wasn't another character I particularly liked.

Although when Pratt wasn't running he was staring intently at things and frequently saying "no".

Every scene he has with the velociraptors was pretty damn good though, and it's a shame that wasn't utilised more than it is in the movie.

The scenes at the end of the movie, although they don't necessarily make a lot of sense if you think about them too much, are pretty damn cool though.

Overall the visual effects are pretty spectacular, but weirdly it feels less like the movie takes the time to really highlight the dinosaurs like the previous movies did. Maybe that's part of the context of the movie world where dinosaurs have existed for the last twenty years and teenagers like Robinson have never lived in a world without dinosaurs and find the whole thing terribly dull.

But really it all just feels like stuff we've seen before, just with slightly prettier packaging.

yani's rating: 2 viable embryos out of 5

movies: minions

minions - meet stuart, kevin and bob
First there was Despicable Me, then came Despicable Me 2 and now the comic relief of those two movies gets their chance to be the stars in Minions.

This movie is actually set before the first Despicable Me movie... and runs with the theory that the Minions are somehow an immutable force of nature that has existed since life was single celled organisms.

In a lot of ways that's a slightly disappointing development in this universe. I'd always assumed that the Minions were somehow the creations of Gru himself... perhaps some kind of weird genetic experiment on bananas.

Anyway, the Minions have been around forever and this movie takes place in the years before Gru while the Minions are hiding out in a cave somewhere.

So three Minions leave the rest of the tribe and go on a hunt in search of the next great evil boss to follow.

From a story perspective, it makes the most sense to separate out these three Minions, Kevin (the tall one), Stuart (the cyclops) and Bob (the little one with one green eye and one brown eye)... otherwise there are just too many damn characters.

However this movie doesn't have the sweetness of the previous two. And the three Minion characters are the only ones that really have any definition, everybody else, even the big bad, Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock, essentially doing her regular voice) is fairly one dimensional.

The interactions of the three Minions are funny though, even if they speak a combination of English, Spanish, French and at least a couple of Asian languages (as far as I understand anyway... plus they're all voiced by the director, Pierre Coffin).

And given that the movie is set in 1968, there are a lot of in-jokes for an older audience, from faking the moon landing to The Beatles. The soundtrack is also mostly from the same era and uses a lot of really cool songs to good effect.

At the end of the day though, Minions might be the prequel to Despicable Me, but it's definitely not ahead of it in any other way.

yani's rating: 2 bananas out of 5

straightforward saturday shopping

looking at things saturday
Today was fairly straightforward...

Thankfully, because I'd done some tidying up both last night and on Thursday night, I really didn't have to do anything this morning beyond getting up and having a shower.

Ma and I then trundled off to the shops after she turned up, and did one of those lighter weight shopping sessions. I also discovered that Foodland appears to not stock frozen carrots... specifically frozen baby carrots, but I couldn't actually find any kind of frozen carrot. Very strange.

We also headed across the road so I could look for a replacement non-stick pot... it's essentially the exactly the same as the one I had, but the updated version given that the old one was six years old.

Then, after we came back here for the usual unpacking and given that I'd bought a whole stack of cans of corn given that it was on extreme special, I sat on my kitchen floor and organised the cans and things in my cupboard. Very therapeutic... plus now I know that I have about eleventhy thousand cans of tomatoes.

Yes, my life is actually this exciting... shocking, I know.

From there we headed out to Arndale for a general poke around... mostly in Big W as I needed a replacement gas cylinder for my Sodastream. Given that they also have their big toy sale on I discovered that they had Assassin's Creed: Unity for less than I've seen it anywhere else... so that's another Christmas present sorted.

We did some other general wandering and then actually went back to the car and were on our way we knew not where when I suggested that we go and see the Minions movie... given that school holidays are just around the corner it likely that while it will still be on Tuesday week, it'll probably only be on in the daytime, since we've had that happen to us before.

So we turned the car around, parked again and after stopping off for a tasty pie, we headed off to the movies.

And that was it really.

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photo friday: mono not mono

mono not mono surfermono not mono fountain

mono not mono museummono not mono sydney
As an indication of exactly what this week was like, I detoured on my way home after work to visit the bottleshop and get my preferred libation, a six pack of Strongbow. And once I got home, I pretty much opened one right away.

So, yes, this week has in fact sucked balls.

Weirdly, although we've been incredibly busy, and it's been incredibly stressful, but my team has had a number of warm fuzzies from different groups.

Which is useful given how annoyed I've been at various points this week.

Beyond that the week was fairly quiet... the mushroom and bacon soup I made last weekend, after spending the whole morning wandering around tidying things up and getting things in the right place, was incredibly successful... sadly if I make it again I might need to increase the proportions by a third, given that it only gave me enough soup for three days and not four. Also I seemed to have managed to fucked up the non-stick coating on the base of the non-stick pot I actually bought six years ago this week using the stick mixer I bought a couple of weeks ago.

Thankfully, if memory serves, the pot itself wasn't very expensive... however if I'm not able to replace it with something remarkably similar I'll be a little sad. And I'll probably keep on using it I can't use it any more.

I'm slightly undecided about which soup to make for next week. I need to have a look through the bunch of recipes I have stuck to the side of the fridge, but there is a carrot (and weirdly, honey) soup recipe that sounds pretty interesting.

So, yeah, that's really I have at this point... now I need to go and make some dinner before So You Think You Can Dance starts.

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movies: inside out

inside out - meet the little voices inside your head
Interestingly enough, given the subject matter, I really am not sure how I feel about the latest Disney Pixar release, Inside Out.

I'll go through the good points first... as always it looks absolutely beautiful, the leaps forward that these movies make in turns of effect and textures are always incredible. And in this case it's the fully human characters, particularly in terms of hair, which are really nicely refined, but also the emotion characters have an amazing look to them.

The concept is also something reasonably fresh and new... we meet the anthropomorphic personifications of Riley's emotions as she moves to a new city and starts a new school (there was the TV show Herman's Head from the 90's which covers some of the same ground)... but this does capture part of that sense of childhood where your emotions seem to come out of nowhere and be beyond your control.

Straying slightly into spoiler territory, the progression from memories that are based on a single emotion at the start of the movie to memories that are made up of multiple emotions at the end also feels pretty right for that transition out of childhood.

There were also some nice moments at the very end of the movie when we were given a chance to see inside other people's heads.

And as very often happens I did have a little teary moment at the emotional resolution of the plot.

But on the flip side, I didn't connect with this movie the way I've connected with previous Pixar movies.

Even with the way the character stories resolved, I didn't really like Amy Poehler's Joy or Phyllis Smith's Sadness who are really the major characters inside Riley's head. And because of the way Riley's character has to change throughout the movie, I found I didn't necessarily like her all that much either at times.

There were also a number of, not quite plot holes, but definitely logical blips or perhaps just cases of "well, what does that mean in the real world" concerning some of the stuff inside Riley's mind.

It's a clever movie, and one that might grow on me with further viewings but I guess I was just expecting to love it more than I did.

yani's rating: 3 core memories out of 5

driving and forking saturday

fork on the road - port metalfork on the road - port faces
Today didn't quite live up to expectations, but at least it was mostly something different from the usual.

It started in the usual way, although I did get up quite late, threw myself in the shower and then made a vague show of straightening up the kitchen before Ma arrived.

Shopping was about the usual, although neither of us bought a ton of stuff... I did buy way too many mushrooms for my mushroom soup tomorrow... and hopefully that works out okay.

We also had a wander around Target briefly, and I noticed they had some glass cloches on sale... so I grabbed one. Granted it's a bit tall and thin and I have no idea what I'm actually going to put in it... but I'll work something out, even if it means I have to reshuffle some things around.

fork on the road - forking inkfork on the road - taco trio
After we were done and had come back here for the unpacking and associated general things that go along with Saturday mornings, we headed off to pick up Ma's two artworks from the framers.

It was essentially a quick visit, and we were only there for as long as it took him to wrap both frames up in brown paper.

Since we really didn't have any other plans until the afternoon, we ended up taking the two frames back to Ma's place... which isn't the most exciting thing, but we did take the new Northern Expressway, which was kind of groovy, if only because I hadn't driven on it before today. Plus it was quicker going that way than the usual way.

We only stopped at Ma's for long enough to drop off the frames and then headed down to Port Adelaide for the first Fork on the Road in a good while.

fork on the road - amazon ricefork on the road - port neon
Whether it was the fact that we got there later than we would have previously, whether it was because it was in a different spot from the last Fork down at the Port and everything was more closely packed... or whether it was just because there hasn't been a Fork in a good while so it brought out a lot more people than usual...

Or even if it just came down to the fact that the number of trucks was slightly less than other Forks, and a number of them were what I would call "second string" vans.

But it was all a little bit m'eh.

To sum up, everything was fairly close together, which when added to the fact that there were a whole lot of people and not that many vans just meant the lines for everything were fairly nuts and the waiting times were somewhat excessive for the amount of food you got.

fork on the road - silver ripplesfork on the road - golden balls
The food itself was good, we started with a trio of tacos from Tacocat, then Ma got some sort of pumpkin and coconut soup from one of the newer vans while I waited a good twenty minutes at La Chiva for their Amazon Rice.

I did miss the lime wedge that they usually put on the top, but otherwise the rice was really nice. But by the time I got mine, Ma had order, gotten her soup and eaten it.

We finished up with a Bakers Dozen of honey puffs from the Honey Puff Ladies which are essentially just carbs, fat and honey, but damn they're tasty.

But by that point we were pretty much done.

fork on the road - drink linefork on the road - across the water
Hopefully the issues were just about the location, and Fork will be back to full strength by the next one.

And maybe it was just me having a bit of a hipster whinge... "I liked this shit before it was popular, now all the mainstreams have ruined it"... and yeah, that could also be part of it.

But at least it was something different for a Saturday.

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photo friday: wonderbacks

wonderwalls christiewonderwalls kerr

wonderwalls hughes-odgerswonderwalls smith
Rory Cochrane said it best as Lucas in Empire Records...
"What's with today today?"
Seriously, what the hell is up with not just today, but this week in general?

So far this evening I have:
  • Cried for a solid twenty minutes at the end of the last David Tennant episode of Doctor Who.
  • Discovered 90 minutes into a 120 minute show that Channel 10 have either snuck the US version of So You Think You Can Dance on or else this is a clear indication about the amount of free-to-air TV that I watch.
  • Sunk further into the obsessional pit that is Fallout Shelter on the iPhone.
But more than that, the last two days have been all manner of weirdness, mostly work related.

Because sometimes you just want to say "Because I fucking said this is how it is, and I've been doing this specific thing for longer than you and I know what fuck I'm talking about, so let's skip all of the back and forth and you just fucking believe me when I tell you this thing."

And all manner of stupidity wildfires seemed to break out this week, so much so that I feel like I spent most of the week trying to beat the stupid back.

Seriously, stop being self involved, stop being lazy and start believing that I/we know what I'm/we're talking about.

Anyway... a slight detour from regular programming... I want to talk very briefly about the games that were either announced or further explained at E3 this week.

This list looks a little something like this...
  • Assassin’s Creed Victory
    This was a given, it was announced back in May, I already have it on preorder, so what came out was just new information rather than a full reveal, but I am so genuinely excited to play this thing!
  • Fallout 4
    I've never played a Fallout game, however a month or so back I watched all of YouTuber ManyATrueNerd's excellent and twisted Kill Everything playthrough of Fallout 3, so I feel slightly invested in the world, plus this does look really, really good.
  • Dreams
    I have no idea what the hell this actually is as a game, but the trailer looks very interesting, and I want to know more.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
    FF7 was my first really real intro to the second wave of gaming... and I loved it. I didn't even know this remake was a thing, and it definitely blew my hair back. Will I play it? In all likelihood no, but I could be tempted.
  • Firewatch
    Again, not sure if I'd actually play this, but it's a great art style, and the trailer intrigued me.
  • LEGO Dimensions
    I was more than willing to resist the whole LEGO Dimensions game, although I fully expect that I may be tempted to pick up some of the game pieces depending on the price point... however then they revealed this Portal inspired trailer... and it suddenly got a little harder to resist.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
    What the serious hell? This was my favourite out of all the trailers I saw. Again, I want to know more about it, but robo-fauna and a kick-ass bow... I loved it!
Beyond all the shooty games, the one trailer that I don't understand people getting excited about is The Last Guardian. I just can't get past the fact that the creature in it is actually pretty damn unappealing... actually, worse than that, I think it's pretty damn ugly... and on top of that the sequence they showed made no damn sense.

Going to back to the Fallout universe for a second, I mentioned at the start of this that I'd been sucked into the abyss that is Fallout Shelter. It's essentially a mobile ant farm simulation genre game (probably the best description of this type of game) and I've been sucked down this particular rabbit hole before with things like Lil' Pirates, Tiny Death Star and Pixel People. But other than the game being a gigantic battery whore, it's actually one of the best examples of the genre that I've played.

Granted with all of these games there comes a certain point where it's essentially just busy work and I get bored with them. Plus it would be nice if you really could just leave it to do it's own thing a little more... maybe the resources renew automatically but your little people don't level up without assistance. And I would do with a little more in the way of instructions for certain things... plus the pregnant women really need a countdown timer.

But overall I'm enjoying all the micromanaging.

Oh, and just to keep the running log of soup choices going, this week was essentially a version of chicken noodle soup... only with a lot of vegetables, and it ended up fairly thick... plus I used powdered mustard to try and give it a little kick, and I won't lie, that mustard has been haunting me the whole damn week. And this week I'm probably going to attempt the mushroom (and bacon) soup.

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gaming related saturday shopping

gaymer boy
It's generally the weeks where I think "yeah, nothing I need, not going to spend any money this weekend" where I end up, you know, spending money.

But I get ahead of myself...

There really wasn't any news to report yesterday, hence why I skipped the usual Friday post. It was a short week anyway what with the public holiday, and I spent a good chunk of the holiday playing Red Dead Redemption, which I'm mostly enjoying. I love the whole open world thing anyway.

The beetroot soup I made last Sunday was both successful and disappointing. Successful in that I made it without coating myself and the entire kitchen in purple stains. But really disappointing in that it was a very dull soup to eat. And I got over it fairly early in the week.

I'm going back to fundamentals this week and making a basic chicken soup. I could go a couple of potential fancier routes, but we'll see.

Anyway, I got up this morning and did the usual clean-up thing... slightly more so than usual I guess, since I couldn't be arsed doing anything last night.

Then Ma arrived and we headed off to do the shopping.

It was all pretty standard really, but afterwards we had a wander around Target. I've been thinking for a few weeks that I'd like another small saucepan... I have frypans, giant soup pans, but my saucepan roster is pretty much confined to one. And I can't resist a sale sign, so the fact that Target had a bunch of kitchenwares on sale meant I had to have a look.

And they had a set of three saucepans, almost exactly in the style of the one I already have... and the tag on the shelf said $30... so bargain there, but the boxes themselves said $55, and even when I did the pricecheck thing, it was still $55. So I wasn't having any of that nonsense and went to ask.

Good thing I did, because even though the prices on the shelf were actually for completely different stuff, the woman (who I think was the manager, or at least the floor manager) let me have them for the tag price... so I saved $25!

Yay!

Turned out that Target also had a special on PS4 and three games... better than the previous deals I've seen around, at least for a while anyway. However when I went to ask, the girl told me that they were all sold out, but she could call another store for me.

So before I knew it I had a PS4 on hold. Okay, so the games aren't necessarily brilliant... two are okay, Infamous Second Son and Little Big Planet 3, although I'll have to look up some reviews... but the third is a driving game, so bollocks to that.

But I can always do a trade-in thing.

Anyway, we came back here, did the usual unpacking and whatnot, and then swung past the framing place to drop off Ma's flamenco dancer for some minor modification, then headed into the city.

Of course because we parked on Rundle Street we went past T2 and I picked up some more little coloured tea tins. Now I really need to reorganise my tea shelf and display it all nicely.

We probably should have left the PS4 until we were on the way back, but I just wanted to get it, so I ended up carrying it all around the city. It's not like I was going to come home and plug it in or anything, it's actually going away for Christmas and is kind of half of a Christmas present to myself (and partly from Ma if she gives me some money towards it), and also half a present for being extended at work until at least January.

Oh, yeah, they finally approved the next part of our project at work, so I won't be going anywhere before January, which is about what I expected... it's the post January thing that I'm not sure about. Although it wouldn't make any sense for them to get rid of us then either... but stupider things have happened.

Back to today though...

We took a wander down the Mall, stopped off at Typo, then Haighs, then headed back down Rundle Street, stopping off at Burger Theory for some lunch (specifically the Burger of the Month, the Bacon Kimi-Cheese, which is very spicy... and the Undercooked Brownie Concrete, which is very yum).

And that was about it really.

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