Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've had better weeks.

I spent Labour Weekend visiting my sister in Palmerston North, which was neat, except that she and her flatmate had travails of their own, so I'm not sure if me being there helped out or made stuff that much harder for them. It's been pretty much downhill from there, though.

I haven't slept properly for several nights, which is making life some kind of zombie hell. This may be related to having lungs full of gunk which I can't quite cough up no matter how much I try.

Two people have tried to pick fights with me. [First person involved has asked me to take the details down and apologise. Bad days are continuing.] and I really DON'T LIKE BEING SHOUTED AT. Like, all kinds of fight/flight triggers and reverting to being a person I don't want to be anymore.

The second was from a former friend who made one too many snippy remarks when I was feeling down. And then I had this sudden realisation that I actually, really, thoroughly, never wanted to talk to him again, about anything. (Straw that broke the camel's back etc.) It's a strangely liberating feeling, actually.

Work is actually not bad, except I'm so tired I've had to periodically hide in the restroom and burst into tears for a couple of minutes. Fortunately, the stuff I'm doing right now doesn't need me to actually talk to people so I'm getting by.

Keeping track of the little things:
- cycling the waterfront on my way home was nice
- today I saw a man wearing a bowler hat and a really swirly black coat
- I'm signed up to do an Honours-level Chaucer course next year. Whee!
ETA: Also a long shower, a hot dinner, and a purring cat. Bliss.

To sleep and better days!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Commando Cookery

Tonight, I surveyed my food options. Some chicken mince, some filo pastry (spanakopita, mmm...), assorted vegetables and some bacon - this looks likes a good time to experiment with chicken filo thingies. My literature search found a whole bunch of recipes, none of which exactly suited the ingredients and patience I had to hand. (Seriously, refrigerating a food processor? I don't even have a food processor.) Sometimes, you just gotta experiment.

What I ended up doing was:
Fry a chopped up onion and the chicken mince.
Add some fresh thyme to the mixture and put aside. (1)
Fry some sliced leek for a bit, add sliced mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms have shrunk. Mix with the chicken.
Cut filo sheets in half, lay down a square and paint with melted butter. Lay down another square and repeat until the stack is five thick.
Pile some chicken stuff on the pastry and wrap it up. (Some of the recipes I used as references suggested sesame seeds, but such I have not in my house.)
Cook at 180 degrees Celcius for a while. (Yes, I know that's vague time. Reference recipes suggested 20 minutes, but in our toaster oven the pastry was definitely cooked at 10. Use your judgement, like.)

The quite tasty results:

(1) Yes, I, cooking noob have a herb garden, a very small one. It started out because I wanted to compost food waste, needed somewhere to bury said pickled remains, and felt guilty about the bare patch of dirt staring at me whenever I walked out the door. So far, all three plants are doing well (now I say "Not dead yet!" whenever I walk past, which is far more hopeful) and I have plans to put in some catnip when the next batch of compost does its thing. I always seem to do things in the wrong order - I suspect that most people would start out wanting a herb garden and going from there, rather than ending up with one and trying to think up things to do with it.

Naked Ninja Hugs

I got one. Oh boy!

Repton has been away doing heroic things hurling himself to the ground and trying to catch errant frisbees. He finally got home in the wee small hours of the morning, skinned into bed, and gave me a massive bear hug. It's nice to feel wanted, is all I can say.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Third person neuter

The English language is changing. Always has been, actually, but the bit I'm interested in right now is how we talk about some arbitrary hypothetical person. Time was, most people would default to say "he," until, quite rightly, it was impressed on people that there's an entirely different gender that would like to get a mention every now and then.

Since then, it's become quite common to use "they," "their" and "them" in a singular sense - while there are citations for that usage in the OED that go back hundreds of years, it wasn't at all common when I was a child and has become very common now. To us, personhood is tied up with gender and we don't like using "it" to describe a human being, that's reserved for animals and babies. All of which leads us to sentences like the following:

"Thou shalt not think that any male over the age of 30 playing with a child that is not their own is a paedophile - some people are just nice." Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, "Thou shalt always kill"

What fascinates me about it is that the "their" isn't necessary - the gender of the hypothetical person has already been identified as male, but it's been used anyway, as far as I can tell as a marker of generality. I've seen this usage in other places as well, and I think it's fascinating.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I has new computer

It arrived today, and is very black and shiny, and I'm still getting used to the typing feel of the keyboard.

Also, I finally finished the pair of gloves I spent the winter making Repton. Crochet is not my strong point, nor is making the same thing twice.
Show the nice people your hands, Repton...

ETA: Transferring data has turned out to be far simpler than I expected - we connected it to the house network and asked it to copy the My Documents folder (which took about three hours). Also some of the applications that I use that have lots of personalised settings turned out to have Import/Export functions. The case is so black and so shiny that for the first time in my life I lust to decorate a computer with sticker art.
Also, big ups to Dell, who not only made it easy to customise what features I wanted, but delivered the computer a full week earlier than promised.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What has Steph been doing for the past three months...

I've been working on the council's latest annual report. It has the financial status of the Council from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, erudite and entertaining commentary about what we've been spending your money on, corporate stuff, environmental stuff, and a picture of a naked man on the cover.

You can see a copy on our website, by visiting your local library, or calling up the nice folks in the Planning, Performance & Research team at the council (ie me) and I'll send you a hard copy. Also, there'll be a Summary hitting your mailboxes (if you live in Wellington) Real Soon Now.

Just remember: artistic naked man on cover = council annual report.