The Lyorn's Den
Mon Jan. 2nd, 2017
09:06 pm - New year's eve (and day)
New Year's Eve 2015, I spent getting data backups to a new laptop, after two PCs that were acting as backup for each other had died a week before. So, merging two one-year-long chains of incremental backups. I was done when it got light outside on New Year's Day 2016.
While that was a constructive way to spend the night, I wanted something more traditional this year. So I e-mailed all my friends a "save the day" note in October, and actually got a nice little party together. Ceridwen helped a lot, especially in keeping me from freaking out over every little damned thing (not enough food! too much food! wrong food! aaaaahhhhh!).
We hung out, talked, ate a lot and drank a little, went out for the fireworks at midnight, and then made Feuerzangenbowle and ate Krapfen, just because. The cats were amazingly cool about the whole thing. It seems that they felt that while all those strange people had to be handled with great care, just in case that the might be catnappers, the noise outside was of no relevance at all.
New Year's Day, around noon, half of the guests came back for a large breakfast, then we played Trivial Pursuit, cleaned away some more leftovers, and that was it.
Today I had to go to work. It was snowing the whole day. Hardly anyone else was if office -- even the ones who had something to do were mostly working from home. I read manuals and wrote documentation. Two days to go to my vacation.
This entry was originally posted at http://lyorn.dreamwidth.org/199912.html. Please comment whereever suits you.
Wed Dec. 28th, 2016
11:21 pm - Christmas food: Roast veal
- A large frying pan
- An oven large enough for the frying pan
- Something to turn a 2 lbs. piece of meat with
- A meat thermometer (or good instincts)
- Tin foil
- 3 lbs. of back of veal without bones
- Coarse salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)
Get the veal from a good butcher. Try not to faint at the price. 3 lbs. are likely to be two pieces, see that the pieces have the same thickness. Measure that thickness (in centimetres).
Get the veal out of the fridge 30 minutes before preparation. Pre-heat the stove to 150°.
Rub the meat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in the pan until it starts to smell nice. If you have a powerful stove, do not use the highest setting, but medium high. Fry the veal on both sides until it starts to brown. Then put the pan in the oven at middle height.
Leave it in for about 10 minutes per centimetre, then check inner temperature. Should be about 65°C. When you are getting close, 5 minutes can make a difference of 5 degrees!
Get the pan out. Let the oven cool down to 50 to 60°C. Get the meat out of the pan and wrap in tinfoil (what was "up" during roasting should now be "down"). Put in oven to rest (together with the plates you are going to use) and make/finish the other dishes (about 20 minutes).
Note that you cannot create gravy from the contents of the frying pan -- it's too salty!
I made a sauce from shallots, a garlic clove, cognac, gravy paste, a bit of orange peel, and cream, and served cowberries on the side. If I did not have gravy paste, I might have roasted a bit of tomato paste after the shallots started to brown and thickened the sauce with a bit of starch after the alcohol had boiled away.
Cut in thin slices when serving.
To re-heat, spread slices on a plate and microwave to lukewarm. You are doing yourself a disservice if you try to get it back to "hot".
I served it with Brussels sprouts and boiled potatoes the first day, with green beans and potato croquettes the second, and ate the rest on toasted pita bread. All very good.
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11:17 pm - State of the Lyorn
Couldn't sleep last night. That is very uncommon, as in, happens every few years at most. Got up at a quarter to four, drank hot cocoa with rum, ate a bunch of leftover christmas cookies and read comic books until a quarter to five. Then slept like a baby...
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11:13 am - I can't even
What the fuck's wrong with the world?
"People" Magazine: Carrie Fisher Dies
Dammit. Have a Cat picture (one of Scalzi's).
ETA:: And read Leia Organa - A Critical Obituary (via MakingLight Sidelights.)
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Mon Dec. 26th, 2016
12:13 am - Rogue One
Watched it last Tuesday with Ceridwen, in the only cinema in the region showing it in 2D.
Liked it a lot -- more than "The Force Awakens", actually, which felt like, "everything you have seen so far was futile, we are back at the start of "A New Hope"." Endless recursions are fine when you are fighting a Time War and cannot ever get rid of the Daleks, but WTH is wrong with the Star Wars universe to get into exactly the same mess barely 30 years later? Couldn't it be a slightly different mess? Everything that movie did well was tainted by the basic futility of all that had happened before.
Not so with "Rogue One". ( SpoilersCollapse )
I also noticed that I did not have many opportunities to hear English spoken this year. It took me about five minutes before I could understand what everyone was saying.
Fred Clark of Slacktivist thinks about contract workers on the Death Star here without having seen the movie yet.
Something fun: Leaked photos from the Rogue One sequel (Mainly Speculation - Possible Spoilers)
Discussion on Making Light (Spoilers). It includes the mind-boggling line: "yet I hear people screaming to boycott the movie because suddenly it has an anti-Nazi bias.".
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Sun Dec. 18th, 2016
11:01 pm - Things going thunk
2016 really hates me.
I was driving home in soft sleet that ate up all light and gave nothing back, through the suburbs at 8 p.m. after a very pleasant advent tea-cookies-and-a-movie get-together at N___'s place.
A bus stopped before me. So did I. The car behind me, a large one by the height of the lights, was a little too close for comfort, but nothing to be done about it. Bus started driving. I followed and noted pretty late that the bus has crossed a traffic light which was right before me now and showed yellow. I braked with a little force and brought the car to a stop a foot or so before the stop line.
The guy behind me didn't. I had time to think "uh-oh", before I heard the breaks of the other car engaging too late, and than it rear-ended me and shoved me three feet forward. Fortunately, there were not pedestrians crossing in front of me.
Mellowed by lots of cookies I though, "Oh, damn", activated the warning lights, turned off the engine, and got out. A young woman on the sidewalk said that she had seen it all and would testify if needed.
The other car was a big silver SUV, about twice the weight of my car. My number plate was dented, that was all the visible damage. As we were all fine and there we nothing dangerous on the street, we agreed not to call the police, but exchanged addresses and went our separate ways before we were all soaking wet.
I got home fine, scrounged a cup of tea off Ceridwen and then set to call silver SUV guy's insurance, which was calm and helpful. As I was standing at a red traffic light when that car rear-ended me, I expect no trouble out of it, but I have to go to the garage tomorrow and have the damage evaluated.
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Fri Dec. 16th, 2016
Yesterday, the cats had their yearly appointment at the vet to get their shots and have a check-up.
Now, getting cats into boxes can be risky and bloody (cats fight tooth and claw), or it can be annoying and stressful (cats diving under furniture), or very time-consuming, or all of the above.
Yesterday evening, I got out of bed from a little cat-nap. Got dressed. Picked up a sleepy Tully from the covers and set him down in front of his box. He got in and I closed the door. Repeated this with Jerry. Both cats boxed in less than two minutes.
Only when I carried the boxes out in the cold, there was a soft "human, what are you doing?"-meow from Jerry.
At the vet, the scary good behaviour continued.
Back home, they carefully left their boxes and looked for a place to nap in peace.
A bit later, mad_freddy and K___ came over for testing lebkuchen. We had nine different kinds, each cut in three and all pieces labelled, notepads and pencils, and very seriously set about to rank them by taste and lebkuchen-ness, or, in my case, just make notes of their distinguishing characteristics. I did that mostly one-handed, as Tully had decided that the best place to nap was right next to me, getting his ears rubbed.
After that, we were as happy and full as expected after finishing the equivalent of a three-course-dinner in lebkuchen.
Other than that, I feel as could be expected, all things considered. I.e. tired and in pain, but generally OK.
Also, dinosaur feathers! (via pallia.net)
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Tue Dec. 13th, 2016
01:51 pm - 2016 hates me
OK, so 2016 hates everyone, but Saturday it felt that it had to let me know that it is not below getting personal.
In other words, ouch. ( Cut for ouch and TMICollapse )I have sworn off any attempts at sports (except walking) until New Year's Day. No use tempting fate.
This year, I will throw a New Year's Eve party, and get some very loud fireworks to scare the evil spirits away. I feel that it's needed.
Sunday, Ceridwen, Gwydion, R___ and I were having our yearly cookie bake-a-thon at R___'s place. J__, a friend of Ceridwen's, had come, to, and we were talking so much that now have more burned cookies than usual. But we still have a lot of very fine and perfectly edible cookies. My mood could have been better, though. I have become so cranky and volatile that I'm scaring myself. And really, WTF is going on in my head when I'm getting a tantrum over some shortcrust breaking? Priorites much?
Oh well. Blame it on 2016, too.
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Sat Nov. 12th, 2016
Wed Nov. 9th, 2016
07:09 pm - Argh.
Mon Nov. 7th, 2016
10:30 am - Nougat cookies
(with "nougat" = gianduia, i.e. a mix of paste from ground and roasted hazelnuts and cacao)
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Fri Nov. 4th, 2016
01:05 pm - Bicycling experiment
For close to 4 years now I am bicycling to work if the weather is kind-of-OK (not freezing, not more than 32°C, no rain or thunderstorms) and I can make the time. (This years was not good for bicycling, but anyway.)
For close to 4 years, everyone who I told said, "Are your driving along the canal? You really should, you know..." But I never did.
Yesterday, still a bit short on breath because of a lingering cold, I decided not to brave busy main roads, complex left turns, posters for a show of giant vermin, and 17 traffic lights, and instead go for the unknown.( Read more...Collapse )
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Tue Nov. 1st, 2016
10:18 pm - Butter rules
Notes to self:
For yeast dough, put the butter in when you start the second stage. Later, and it won't bind well. Kneading by hand will fix it after a while.
For shortcrust, use cold or soft butter.
For crumble, use very cold butter in thin slices, or it will become shortcrust.
Pay attention when baking. It's not a forgiving craft.
I *do* know all that.
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Tue Oct. 4th, 2016
We used the three-day-weekend for a relaxed character-driven role playing game ( Read more...Collapse )
We cooked chicken casserole (feeds 6 to 8) ( Read more...Collapse )
And a pull-apart bread for dessert ( Read more...Collapse )
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Sun Sep. 11th, 2016
11:39 pm - Food: Sweet Potato Soup
Today's supper for two (would have fed three if I had had bread, but we were only two, so that was fine):
Chop a small onion or a shallot and gently brown it in butter.
Peel one sweet potato (about 400 grams) and dice. Cook in enough water (~ 1 litre) with tiny bit (about 1 teaspoon) of instant veggie or chicken broth, a laurel leaf, and a small twig of rosemary. When soft, add a package (200 grams) of pre-cooked chestnuts and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Take out the laurel leaf and the rosemary. Puree the soup. Add more water if needed. Do not bring to boil again, it will attack you.
Take off the heat, add chili flakes, salt (not too much) and ground black pepper to taste, and a splash of sweet cream.
Crumble 100 grams of mild greek sheep cheese and add to the bowls. (Note that the cheese is salty!)
In other news, ankle is getting better. Only hurting a bit now.
This entry was originally posted at http://lyorn.dreamwidth.org/51115.html. Please comment whereever suits you.
Wed Sep. 7th, 2016
11:55 am - Nightmares again
I guess I shouldn't sleep in. :-(
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Mon Sep. 5th, 2016
11:33 pm - Nightmares
I slept in this morning and got nightmares for it. I tried to dodge something, or run away, and twisted my amanged ankle so far that the pain woke me up.
I considered what I had just seen and done and learned, and thought, "This makes no sense at all. It must have been a nightmare." And then, "Just because it makes no sense at all does not mean it's not real..."
At which point I got up, put on my ankle brace and made coffee.
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Sat Sep. 3rd, 2016
12:36 pm - Still at home
And likely to be for the next week, too, because while mornings are fine, afternoons are still quite bad, and sitting at a desk (or at the piano) for more than one hour feels as if beavers are gnawing at my ankle from the inside. At least the swelling is kind-of down (only 1.5 cm more around than the other ankle, down from 3), I can walk without a stick (most of the day), and the sock-sized bruise is down to pale yellow and a few purple blotches. I am very annoyed that this is taking so long and argueing vainly with nature.
I went to the pool yesterday, that was kind-of OK, but with very weak legwork I could do only 750 metres, and it took me 35 minutes. However, it was nice and cool. (Ankle *hates* heat. No socks, no bedcovers, no warm water, no massage, or the beavers will wake and go to work.)
I made plans for the library/piano room. Maybe I can get up from the sofa today and make some pictures of the table, and offer it up on ebay. It's the wrong table for that room, because it's a living room (or dining room) table, it seats four to six and can be used as a desk if needed, but it is not the right size or shape for a library or guest room.
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Fri Aug. 26th, 2016
09:17 pm - Because I'm bored, a meme
Via trobadora. I'm not flocking, because nothing here is exactly personal or identifying information to any but those who already know me.
Anyone wants to do it, consider yourself tagged.
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Thu Aug. 25th, 2016
I sprained my ankle bouldering (indoors -- there's a limit to my taste for adventure, and especially to my current degree of skill) last Sunday. Fell out of an overhang too high to land easily, but too low so sort myself out before making ground contact. So now my foot looks as if I were wearing a thick black-purple-and-blue sock under the light orthosis, I'm sick off work, and can sleep (with the help of some ibuprofen) or sit on the sofa as much as I want, but unfortuantely, I cannot do anything else. Not even cook, or go to the pool, or declutter some drawers, or sit at my desk and do overdue paperwork.
At least my cats are happy to have their human available and un-busy all day.
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