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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Things.

I washed my hair.

When in doubt, or mental turmoil, a clean head is of great comfort.

Like when you feel like this, about...stuff.

And then you have an epiphany, and...think.

And then suddenly...huh.

And maybe, maybe; this is a good...thing?

So go.  Make It Happen.
Now.  I'm watching you.


---
My literary genius and profound wit is completely wasted, I fear.

Urgh.

Epiphanies suck.  Just so you know.
Watch this space.

Proof that my Hilarity is Inherited

The Father spent a day over the long weekend (Auckland anniversary or some shit, not nationwide) making some planter boxes for The Nana, who has decided she wants to compete with the Fathers amazeballs vege garden, top pic below; all of the fenced-off area and I'm not going to bother even trying to list all the shit they grow.  It's a lot.  And stuff gets frozen or converted (chilli jam and relishes and so on) or bottled and lasts all year.
And just so you understand the beautiful weather up here, the bottom pic is the view of the harbour out the front of the house, back garden looks out over the ocean.

Some whanau came down for the long weekend and we spent the Monday at Lake Rotoiti;  Not a cloud in the sky and we swam, BBQ'd, dunked the dogs in the lake (Trouble still smells like lake water, its a delightful change from the whatever-dead-seabird-or-fish-he-found-on-the-beach-most-recently aroma) swam, read, swam and chatted the day away.  Finished with fish & chips at the heads back in Whaka; completely beaut day.

In prep of the visit I made a blueberry cake (free range eggs and real vanilla) and it is quite honestly the best-baked cake I have made to date.  Ever.  Not undercooked, not overcooked, I was astounded with it.  There's always something I want to change (yeah ok, if I'm honest - with everything I ever do; to make it better), but this was sublime.

I drizzled Heilala vanilla syrup over top and sifted icing sugar, the two of which combined to make a delicious crackly topping.  Oooo I'm happy just remembering it.  Not too many blueberries to make it stodgy, but enough that every bite had some berry goodness.  Mmmm.  My fave base-recipe, but at this point I fiddle with things so much as I go, I'm not sure if it counts any more.  I'm trying to immortalise the memory, since its one of those things I think will only ever happen once.

There is just nothing quite like evenings at the beach.

And back to the original point of this rambling story - proof that my hilarity is inherited and not a novel mutation.  The vege garden planter boxes for The Nana looked remarkable coffin-like and got treated as such:
Much joking was had about whose was going to be made next.  I love my whanau.  A Good Weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kiwi Quilt Update

The BigSib's quilt is back from the Long-Arm-Quilter-Lady's workshop!  Earlier than I though and looking amazeballs.
The dogs approve of The Mothers side.

My side, where the quilting doesn't detract from the fabric much at all, despite being done in green thread.

And a close-up of The Mothers side, where the quilting makes it really pop and, I think, looks brilliant.

The Mother is on binding duty and then this baby is all done and ready for the BigSib and FiancĂ© in February.

The Other Side

Have started the other side of my own quilt, you know the one with the small floral squares.

Prep sucks.  Planning and designing and redesigning and measuring and cutting.

But then its ready to go and seeing the pattern assembled, though un-sewn, is very good at inducing the anticipatory state.
Just needs to be sewn (and I am so not in the mood for those diagonals, which is holding up the works a little), then a bit of a boarder (as yet undecided) and then its ready for the long-arm quilting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Jack Reacher

Urgh, I am in mental anguish even contemplating writing this.

Painful fact being - "Jack Reacher" wasn't that bad.

Oh god.  I am such a literary traitor.

Ok, lets look at this like a movie, and not an adaptation of a book character I really love.  The plot was good (of course it was, Lee Child) and Tom-the-psycho's performance was reminiscent of his Mission: Impossible (One, obviously) days.  That used to be one of my favourite movies, pre-psycho-Tom.

Tom just is absolutely not Jack.  He is not tall enough, not rugged enough, his hands are not 'the size of dinner plates' and I highly doubt that man has ever grown, or been able to grow, an attractive face-of-stubble in his entire life.  Jack is extremely specific and he is just not Tom (and, probably quite obviously now, I love Jack and I do not love Tom.  Gah!  The potential! Wasted!).  So, that point vehemently expressed, his acting is not actually that bad.  There was one scene, where he is beating up a group of huge rednecks, where he looks ridiculous.  There is only so much clever camera angles can do.

The movie is not bad.  It has a lot of plot development and from the murmurings of the group behind us in the wee WhakaMax theatre (I'm being polite, they weren't murmuring, they were chatting.  Unashamedly) this was unexpected.  Not nearly enough "gun fights" and "when is he going to kill more people, bro?" going on.  I'm left thinking that this was a massive ploy by Tom-&-Company (cough cough) to reinvent his image; I can't imagine LC would have OK'd this had there not been massive monetary incentive.  How could you abandon your invention so completely otherwise?!

So, if you are a fan of the books, forget it is Jack and you might not hate the movie, too.  If you've never read the books then you'll probably like the movie, assuming you are not of the ilk of our philistine cinema companions expecting a Bay-type explosion extravaganza.

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In other, but related news, I've caught up on the latest two books; A Wanted Man (2012) was good, but didn't blow my mind.  The Affair (2011), however, I really liked.  It tells the story of the scandal which lead to his quitting the army and filled in quite a few blanks, plus a pretty good twist at the end.  Good stuff.

I'd punch Lizzie

This is my 'win' video for the day, care of The Knitting One, and in honour of the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice, which was yesterday.
There should be a FemScience Fight Club.  There's a whole lot of anger & frustration that needs to be worked out in that community.

On Repeat

Loving Marina right now.  This one, her voice:
Her outfit is completely darling.

And this one:
And this one:

Birthday Presents are Better Late

BigSib sent parcels over from London in early November and two were still missing come Christmas.  The last Chrissie parcel finally turned up last week and my Birthday parcel turned up today.

I fully maintain that unexpected presents are better than expected ones.  Like flowers for no reason from, or for, someone you love.  Just sayin'.

BigSib sends over the best presents.   There was also a packet of Jaffa Cakes (which expired on the 5th Jan, which I noticed after): I had them with a pot of tea.  Delish.
Cath Kidston has very pretty floral prints (and produces my iPhone cases of choice) and I'm looking forward to a year of these wee note cards accompanying presents and parcels to my people.


Zombie cupcakes?!  Win!  So, so win!  I''ve a little practice in this area, so this new development is going to be fun.  Baking and weird - two of my favourite things.
These cookie stamps are complete win, I'm going to bail from the computer in a mo (the job apps can wait till tomorrow, right?!) and whip up a batch of sugar cookies.  I'm going to crush some blueberries in.  I'm all about the blueberries at the mo.  Oooo I can't wait.

The Hoggy Warty crest to the left of the stamps is a badge and so cute.   Its making me want a leather satchel to pin it on front and centre...must-repress-the-hipster-tendencies...

Big Sib is back for a visit in Feb, and at this rate I'll still be here and will actually see her.  Will leave some cookies in the freezer as a backup plan anyhow.

Doctoral Rant and...medicine?

So I've been rather preoccupied lately with the continuation of this issue (the fevers were infections, and I have never been more impressed with the bodies healing/coping ability than I am now, in retrospect), and had to register with a doctor up here to get things rolling.  And because I know y'all are nosey (in good company) turns out the Dunedin doc misdiagnosed me and the treatment I was on was actively preventing me from healing, which is ridiculous and I am angry.  Took a very expensive visit to a specialist to sort it out, but I am on the mend, finally (after 3 months of excruciating pain) and in retrospect it is impressive that I was able to function at all my last ~month at work (and should have gone to hospital when I missed that conference...maybe).  High pain tolerance for the win.

Soldier on, my lovelies, soldier on.

Anyway: Filled in all the deets on the registration form for the new doc surgery, including circling 'Dr' as my title (with no small amount of internal squee-ing, yes).  Went back today for blood tests, turns out the receptionist thought I was joking and had changed my title to 'Miss'.

 Because people 'joke' on forms like that?!

Bitch.

Sorted that shit out, quick smart.  The receptionists at this place are known for their condescension and massive sense of entitlement, so my ire was certainly primed.  Luckily the doc is brill and we chatted about science for the first half of my first visit.  She had an interest in my research area and was even familiar with my thesis-funding bodies work.  Best doc I've had so far.

Bloods back in a week, that'll be interesting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Floral Quilt

Have finished off the first half of my new quilt.

The bones:

Floral fabrics collected over ~2+ years when they caught my eye (you might recognise some from my skirt sewing phase...good god, which started this time 2 years ago, in fact) and supplemented with a couple old favourites out of Mum's stocks.

It took me 6 hours to cut out all the pieces, plain small squares for this one, am going to go a bit crazy on the other side with fluros and shapes, but this one is all about the floral fabrics.

I laid out the pieces to decide on pattern, and to organise the sewing order.  Had measured everything before cutting, and decided on 841 squares in total to get a good sized queen bed quilt.

I was understandably paranoid about wind and dog paws.

Took me a good 3 part-days of sewing to finish, and I don't even want to add up the hours (Def a bit over 12, I'm guessing).  Urgh.

I've never worked with such small pieces before, but it was quite satisfying watching it get bigger inch by inch.

And then suddenly, done!

Shrunk by about 15cm on each side, so down to a respectable size for a queen bed, with edge overhang (was a scarily huge monster when the pieces were laid out).

Closeup because the whole-piece photo makes it look blue-er than it is:

In other news, we dropped off the BigSib quilt for machine-quilting yesterday, chose a nice beachy wave/koru pattern.  Can't wait to see it finished.  Couple weeks at least, before the chick has time to do it though, I reckon.

I'm aiming to have my other side pieces cut for this quilt before the w/e and the sewing of it finished for Monday.  Yay!  Years in the making, soon to see the final results!

Next side - toxic fluro crazy-shapes!  (only 50% vomit-inducing girlishness (the other 50% of me - batshit crazy)).

Fish in a Blanket

Went fishing off the wharf with The Bustling Metropolis One, caught...um...nothing.  But we had fun!  And it was beautiful.

The kids and people either side of us were catching sprats, so I think I might go back with flies instead of rusty old hooks and bread-for-bait, and try again.  And throw them back, because god knows my fussy kitten won't eat fresh fish.

The dude next to us was packing up (had a huge camera set up for shots of the sunset) and gave us the last of his bait fish, one can only assume he was feeling sorry for us in our incompetent hilarity.  Of course we had no knife so were hacking bits of 'bait' out with our fingers (one million man points!).  The fish did protest:
Chrissie gifts this year included various bubble machines for everyone, we had a bit of a play one evening:
Trouble watching avidly, of course.  I don't really understand how bubbles can be so pretty:
'Taught' The BMO how to sew while she was visiting (and like her driving, no faster than 40km/hr...) and she whipped up a wee quilt for the baby only just making its home in the womb of her sister.
She did a fantastic job, considering it was her first time.  I did the binding, which was my first time, and I don't believe in invisible handstitching, so its....yeah.  Hah.  Do not zoom in.  I've always had Mum do the final binding on all my quilts in the past, think I will stick with that plan in future.

The BMO had brought down a jar of the jam she made from plums off her whanau's tree and I finished it off this morning - I wept over my piece of toast.  It was bloody good jam.

Fun week.  Love that girl.  Now get a job!  (umm...both of us.  Yep).

Everyone's a Critic: Life of Pi

Saw Life Of Pi with The Bustling Metropolis One last week, in the wee Whakatane theatre.  SPOILERS following, obviously.

The story follows a boy stranded in a lifeboat after the ship carrying his family and their zoo's-worth of animals is sunk in the middle of the ocean, on the way to a new life in Canada.  Everyone dies, apparently, except for Pi (short for Piscine, though linked to the number at school to avoid teasing) and a Bengal tiger, who at the very end disappears into the Mexican jungle, a beach alongside on which they finally land (the tiger who it turns out, is only a metaphor for himself.  Sorry to shatter the illusion this early in the game).

The storm scenes I hated, but more for my own fear of storms on the open ocean than anything to do with the movie itself.  The floating meerkat island was weird; was it supposed to be a metaphor for something else? Going mad?  False hope?  False gods?!  Soul-destroying consumerism?!

I do have one lingering question - if in the end there was no tiger, it was only Pi - why on earth did he build the raft?! (which lead to him losing all of his supplies in a storm).  And if he sealed the godamn boat at the beginning of the storm he wouldn't flood it.  Gah.

I think I liked it.  I'm sorry the illusion was broken at the end, but I see why they did it, and it does leave a powerful impression.  I'm also sorry they skipped over the Muslim religion explanation, of which The BMO assures me is covered in depth in the book.  Pandering to American audiences much?!

The graphics (for lack of a better word), were lovely.  Completely fantastical and quite beautiful.


Worth a look, but not one I think I'd see again.

---
On a side note, did see The Quartet with Mother, Grandmother and Family Friend, and it was...lovely?  They all loved it, I found it a bit...slow?  Empty?  Age gap, situation, fo'sure.  Definitely one for a lazy Sunday or to treat the parentals.  Maggie is, of course, fabulous.  And Billy is always going to be a winner.  Apart from that...yeah.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jelly and Wine and Things

Made a jelly cake for Dad's birthday, should have added extra gelatin as it was not nearly strong enough to hold itself up.  Pity - 'cause it looked beautifully toxic.  Used the milk-method for between layer distinction, however in a lactose-intolerant household I used Almond Milk, which curdled a tiny bit, though I'm not sure what exactly in the almond milk there is to curdle...

Went to Tauranga for the morning for various errands in the company of The Bustling Metropolis One (its ironic, trust me), whom is visiting for the week, grabbed a coffee at The Dry Dock where they had two of these beautiful lamp shades:

Want.

Also, this happened in this household a couple days ago, fo'shame:
Gold.

There was a discussion.  Things were sorted out.

And finally, which is ridiculous but anyway - I made wine back in 6th form and kept it.
I designed the (now faded) white wine label, with the school hat on it, using water paints and a printer and a scanner and pretty much inception of layers.  It was pretty pro, back in the day.  No photoshop to speak of back then, you know; when we walked 5 miles to school in the snow without shoes.  Yep.

Supposedly kept for my 21st, which passed us by, and my first graduation, which also passed over and then again my second grad (for PhD) which flew by with nary a shake of its tail feathers.  Then my 27th birthday happened and still nothing, until finally tonight, Mum decided she wanted the bottles off the bench, so they were opened and "tasted" and...disposed of.
It smelt like...soy sauce.  Decade old soy sauce.  Both of them, though the 'red' was much more alcoholic than the 'white'.  Urgh.
I think my teenaged talents lay not in wine making.

---

'Taught' The BMO how to sew today, she finished the front half of a pretty wee quilt for her sisters embryo, will finish the thing off tomorrow and maybe sneak to Manawahe for a swim.  So good to catch up with her, and talk though career choice/future plans, life-issues and so on, on which we are very similar with regards to stage.  Plus hearing amazing stories from volunteering in Africa and filling me with white-person-guilt.  Urgh.

---

Still no word on job application results.

Update

The Quilt has a border.

Bought batting in Tauranga today, will stuff, quilt and bind it asap.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Payback for Hairy Beasts AKA How I have the WORST luck

So I'm writing this post before Chrissie, because I cannot contain my evil, maniacal glee.

Drove with The Hairy One in his truck out to the airport early morning of the day I left Dunedin, and drove it back to park at his house after dropping him off.  Cause, you know, I'm brilliant and totally taken for granted.

I'm also a hilarious bitch.  Payback for so much teasing and shit-giving, and that time he did it to my car, and so on and so forth justifying my evil deed.

By my calculations he found it yesterday and I received angry abusive texts immediately after.  In this time-capsule of post-scheduling, from back before Christmas - I can't wait.
Oh sweet, sweet revenge.
---
EDIT:  Ok, revenge is not sweet - it is a convoluted bucket of my BAD FUCKING LUCK.  

Seriously.

Apparently THO's great uncle borrowed the truck to drive to Wanaka over the hol, must have cleaned up the mess and THO knew nothing about it.

Its not fair!  My perfect plans!  All awry!

Gah!

So not only do boys always win, but now I feel bad for his great uncle!

What the hell Karma?!  I am going to kick your scrawny butt!

Of course this now means that we are no longer even...

Presents In Time

So I'm all about the time-capsule posting today, scheduling this back before Christmas.  Didn't want to spoil any potential surprises for nosey people.

Since I was almost the last to leave the lab before the holiday I took the liberty of leaving a few surprises.

First, a new sign for above the office door.
(Click to embiggen)

Forget me at your peril, people.

Second, as my leaving gift to the lab, a box with this on top:
(Again with the clicking for bigger, readable version)

Inside there are tissues, mints, hair-ties, pain killers,  moisturiser, a USB drive, and some other detritus which everyone always stole off me anyways.  Underneath this stuff, separated by some Drosophila printed paper (of course) there are six kilograms of jellybeans separated into single-serve bags.  Magic beans, to fix everything.  Mostly hunger.  But yeah.  (have you ever seen six kg's of jellybeans?!  Or tried to bag them up? Sheesh!).

Love you kids.  Miss you horribly by now, probably.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It rains

And I'm full of snot.

So - I'm re-watching some Harry Potter movies (starting with PoA, my fav of the books) with the dogs lying across my legs, a pot of tea at my side.  We're (we because the dogs are obviously watching too) are up to Goblet, and I had forgotten about The Doctor and Edward being all up in there.  Cute.  And Neville is still a sweet wee nerd (not yet a BAMF, sigh).  Gorgeous.

I'm also researching patterns for my own quilt; I have quite the selection of 'vintage' floral prints but cannot decide what to do with them.  This is one of my favourites, but I don't have the plain fabric to do it justice:

I think because I want the prints to be the focus and not the pattern, I might stick with a simple repeating squares design, though smaller squares than the Kiwi Quilt.  And no rectangles...less 'retro' than this, but I think you get the gist:

I'm just not sure.  Decisions, eh?  It will definitely be excessively 'sweet', so I'm thinking the reverse will have to be a toxic mix of the leftover brights from the kiwi quilt, with some oranges, purples and perhaps even a bit of fluro pink thrown in for the clash-factor.  Can't have anyone thinking me fully 'sweet' after all.  Yuck.

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In other news, have you seen the fallout from the Forbes article?!  Its great.  Isis has a good starter rant if you want the quick version.  'Professorship the least stressful job of 2013' as judged by a woman who is deeply regretting her lack of article-research, right now.  Jeebus.  Gotta love the online science community, they totes got our back.  Go have a wee read, its...well, yeah.
---

"If chosen, you stand alone"
Victor Krum is a hottie.  I love the Durmstrang entrance.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Random stuff, cause its too early to retire

The dogs have been being very cute.  They are both asleep crushed up against my sides right now, since the parents have gone away for the weekend to an old friends 60th in Taupo - so of course they suspect abandonment on all sides.  I have a single bed here, and the only way to shut them up long enough to get any sleep last night was to succumb - they had about three quarters of the bed, but at least I got some sleep.  I am such an easy pushover.
How can you say no to those faces?!  Naughty boys.

Made a fresh cherry pie with Mum one day, that was exciting.  New for both of us - I don't think cherries have ever lasted long enough to make it into a pie before.  I had great fun being messy like a little kid.  Totally licked my fingers after.
The whanau turned up on the Eve for Chrissie, a day after me and the Ickle Brother, and then they all cleared out for work on Boxing Day; so Chrissie was very chilled and completely lovely this year.  In amongst the cheer I convinced The Ickle Brother of the genius of Kindle and sold him my old one.  Upgrade, baby!  He arrived NYE, just in time for an early birthday pressie and to sooth my wounded soul:
Black like my soul and dead, dead heart

Its beautiful.  Of course, exactly the same to read on as my first Kindle, though a tiny bit smaller due to the lack of keypad, but not noticeably different.  I just...love.  And The BigSib sent Mum a new case for hers for Chrissie, so I got her old one and didn't have to buy another.  Perfect.

---

I am currently full of a cold, had to cancel dinner out with my lovely Grandmother, nobody likes a snotty supper.  Who catches a cold in the middle of summer?!  I so do not approve.  I'm also feeling a bit apprehensive about next week - everyone should be back at work and I think I can safely start expecting word on all the job applications.  And - everyone should be back at work.  But without me.

Nope.

I think my greatest fear may be turning out to be a fear of fading into the mist.  I am real!  I am important!  You can't just forget me or dismiss me or stop caring about me.  I matter.  I do.  (well, maybe to someone, someday, specifically).

And with that rather oblique reference to inner turmoil...moving on.  I am moving on.

Just let it go.  
Don't let the bastards get you down.  
Get a job already.

Three pieces of advice from rather dear people I intend to follow.  Actually, that's worth reminding myself about - this week has been a haven of hearing from and catching up with, friends; some unexpected and old and still quite dear.  Faith in humanity.  Good.

---

In other news, I spent the majority of my Saturday afternoon rewatching all of the LBD eps to date.  Got up early to take the Nana to the craft market (disappointing - wanted to find something special for a house warming pressie (Shhhhhhhh), but nothing.).  Then crashed for a 3 hour nap, from which I awoke full of a cold and spitting with anger about it.  Might watch the 1940's balck and white version tomorrow, just for kicks.

I've also been using my old twitter (pic's) in place of Instagram, which I deleted.  I'm having a lot more fun with it that I thought I would.  Yes, yes - I hear your judging, you hipster idiots, but I don't care, and I'm not trying so hard to be cool like you are.  Idiots.  Until I get a job I am more than willing to waste my time however I can.

I bring this up because it was the LBD's use of these various 'social media' to help fleshout and make real the beloved old story they are recreating.  Pride and Prejudice, btw; a 'video blog' retelling of the story from the perspective of 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries'.  I've been watching it from the beginning and am loving it - surprising since I tend to hate any adaptation that has neither the letters 'BBC' attached to it, or the names 'Ehle and Firth'.  So, upshot of my rambling - check it out if you're a fan, its actually very good.  Master Farm Girl is a fan also, and prompted this wee session with her reminder of the very exciting tweet-convo happening between 'Fitz' and 'Gigi' at the mo.

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Caught up with The Oxford One for a good half a day in Tauranga last week.  Drank coffee and ate lunch and wandered around and drank more tea - and caught up on a couple years worth of gossip.  Love!  He's back in the lab for a week on Monday, so it just so happens that everyone will be there but me.  I'm not jealous at all.

Godamn!  Packing up your life fucks with your mind and sucks donkey balls.