Sunday, 30 May 2010

Dust On Dirt

I should be sorry I expect.

I should be gripped with remorse and wishing that things had been other than they are and seeing everything through a rosy glow of nostalgia-tinted grief.

Suffused with compassion, understanding and knowing that whilst things couldn't have been any other way, there were reasons for why they turned out as they did.

But I always knew that you would die this way.

And to be completely honest I'm glad you did.

You had it coming.

I know the odds of your last thought being that I was right are slim but as I look down at your cold body, limbs akimbo, I get to think it.

I don't look for too long of course, that would look unprofessional.

I wish you could see me as I move, smooth, efficient, practiced, as I dust for fingerprints, pluck fibres from fibres and catalogue the tableau of your end.

I'm very good at my job and I always do my best, even for you.

I'd like to think you'd appreciate this but going on previous experiences I won't hold my breath on that count.

They don't know that I knew you.

If they did I would be taken off the case, bundled off to see a city appointed psychologist and treated with care and caution until they were sure I was 'fit for duty'.

But instead here I am, sifting through your worldly belongings for some clue as to who killed you.

I already know why.

And so, I'm sure, did you.

I'm going to find out who did this.

Not for you, you ungrateful shit.

I'm doing it for the science.

I'm very good at my job.

Even when I don't want to be.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A Chronicle Of Chronicles Chronologically... Chronicled...

Some time ago... oh save me, it was July last year! My life is running through my hands like water and... *coff coff*...

Sorry about that...

Anyway, last year I wrote a post about having re-kickstarted reading properly.

New books!

Books that fired the imagination and stirred the emotions!

Books that scared me or inspired me or made me angry or ecstatic!

Anything except re-reading old favourites for comfort like a self-stunting numpty!

And since then I have read:
  • 65 books
  • 23 296 pages
I have fallen in love with roughly half the authors and am even more convinced than previously that I probably won't survive the apocalypse for long but that if I do I will more than likely end up a tasty snack for someone else rather than a mighty warlord presiding over a Thunderdome type arrangement in an old car-wrecker's yard.

I've been keeping notes on the books and my opinions of them which I've decided to post in a little separate page attached to this blog which you can find here and posted in the sidebar.

I'm afraid I am very bad at identifying genres so it'll be very much 'thing/other thing/adjacent thing'.

The reviews might not be the most edifying ever written - I'm pretty sure the first draft of one review simply read 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!' - but hopefully they'll point you in the direction of some new authors and titles if you care to give them a look-see.

Go forth and read!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Cooking With Ricochet: How to Make Peanut Cookies

Makes about 28, depending on how big you like 'em.

125g (4oz) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
150g (5 oz) raw peanuts

  1. Look at your beeping phone and wonder why it is beeping.
  2. Read the reminder that has popped up to let you know there is going to be another pointless morning tea at work celebrating the ongoing march towards entropy that only take place because a handful of people would get shitty if nobody sang them Happy Birthday after 'Everybody else got a morning tea!'
  3. Grumbling in a resentful fashion, preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
  4. Thunk a bowl down on the counter and cream the butter and sugar. If you can be bothered, use the electric beaters and get a bit of a fluffier mix, if you are feeling cranky and don't feel like it the mixture turns out just as well if mixed by hand.
  5. Slap the egg in. Grind it into the dust, I mean batter!
  6. Fold through the flour, baking powder and surprisingly hard to locate in the supermarket raw peanuts. I mean you'd think peanuts in the shell would be an easy bet to be raw but no, they're roasted too! And BBQ flavoured!
  7. Shape tablespoon sized chunks of mixture into balls and press them down a bit onto a baking paper covered baking tray. Imagine they are the faces of the most immature of your mid-50s co-workers.
  8. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until they look particularly golden delicious and then cool on a wire rack.
  9. Eat half the biscuits with coffee because you've earned them dammit and everybody else will stand around talking about how they really shouldn't because they're already so fat and on a diet and blah blah blah blah.
  10. Take a deep breath and get over it. Until the next morning tea.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Iceberg, Dead Ahead!

When you go out for dinner you don't anticipate your restaurant colliding with a bridge.

It isn't one of the things you mentally prepare yourself for.

Even if you're on a dinner cruise on the river you assume, insofar as you think about it at all, that the person doing the steering has the full use of their eyes and has done this sort of thing a couple of times before don'tcha know.

And yet, tonight... well you can guess.

For an early Mother's Day treat I decided to take Mum on a ladies' dinner cruise down the river.

Just a nice relaxing bobble along the waterway, being fed and having a few glasses of wine before bobbling back.

It started off nicely enough, we were welcomed onto the boat, all the ladies introduced themselves, immediately forgot each others' names and turned to the important business of having a glass of bubbles.

We'd managed to dodge the talking-about-our-children clique, the talking-passionately-about-reality-TV-shows clique and attached ourselves to the talking-about-travel-and-books clique before the entrees came out.

By the time the main course arrived we'd heard about vans tootling their way naively across Eastern Europe in the 1970s, cultural misunderstandings in Japan and accidental border crossings and the fall-outs from all activities mentioned and I'd jotted the names of about a dozen books on the inside of my wrist with a handy pen.

We passed under a bridge, commented on how narrow the clearance was and then went back to chatting about the floodlights on the mirror-like surface of the water, the ghostly shadows along the bank and how they reminded various of us of falling off bridges, getting lost hiking or not noticing warning signs about local wildlife until after a midnight bathing escapade.

Somewhere around this point the boat gently described a circle in the water and began heading back for home.

Conversation had trickled to a halt for dessert which is why, as we passed under the bridge a second time, the lone voice saying "We seem to be a bit close..." drew our attention to the windows.

And then there was a tremendous crash as we bounced off a pillar.

There was a collection of shrieks and with an admirable sense of purpose hands reached to steady wine bottles and catch dessert dishes.

Then there was another smaller crash as we rebounded off the opposite pillar and then wallowed slowly out from underneath the structure.

The crew members rushed around looking purposeful and grim, staring out windows at the hull and very kindly not telling us anything.

After about five minutes we figured out we weren't actually capsizing and could stop thinking about scrambling to the deck and flinging ourselves into the cold water or how annoying it was that we couldn't cry 'women and children first' given we were all women.

THEN the crew saw fit to refer to the incident in a glancing, faux-merry way and point out where the life-vests were, which they had forgotten to do when we boarded.

The only casualty of the night was the coffee pot but all things considered the story we get to tell now is a lot better than the coffee would have been.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to have a stiff drink.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Staring Into The Void

I don't know what happened.

I really don't.

I was planning to go out shopping, maybe buy a dang chest of drawers or some new pens or something.

But then I found myself in the laundry.

The laundry at my family home is awe inspiring.
Unlike the laundry at my flat which is just an alcove containing a broken washing machine, the laundry at my parents' house is reasonably large, mostly made up of bench and storage space and looks like it has been hit by a meteor made out of the contents of a dozen kitchens' third drawer down.

We have a bad habit in our family of completely covering the flat surfaces in certain rooms with drifts of things that we either 'plan to put away later' or 'don't know where they go' because we haven't got a place for them.
This gives parts of our home a permanent 'tidy but slightly cluttered' look that magically doesn't vary.
It doesn't get any worse but unless we're having a big party, guests or inexplicably go a bit strange it doesn't get any better either.

This whole situation is partially a result of having shifted house about six times in four years when moving for my Dad's work when we were younger.
Every time we moved we went through a cycle that went something like this:
  • We should get rid of some of this crud before we move, why waste space and effort taking it with us?
  • Crap, we've left it too late! I don't want to risk throwing out something important, we'll do it when we're unpacking at the new place.
  • Jesus on a sailboat, I am waaaaay too tired to look at all that stuff now. We'll just put it all in the shed/cupboard/wherever and work it out later.

Anyhoo the point is that the laundry is usually a big old mess.

And on this day, this would not stand.

I went in there to feed the cats or something and somehow spent the entire day shovelling things off the benches onto a folding card table, wiping down the flat surfaces, scrubbing out the dang sinks, finding places to put the homeless items, throwing out a tonne of things that should have been thrown out in the first place and mopping the floors*.

And even though I didn't do any of the things I planned to do today, didn't even leave the house, I feel it was time well spent.
It won't take long for things to creep back onto the counter-top but at least we've been reminded of what it looks like.

*I found a sock underneath the washing machine that nobody can remember missing which might be an indication of how long it has been there.