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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ok, techie people, a little help

Since it's that time of year again, we're looking at presents and Beloved, very kindly, wants to upgrade my tablet.

The thing is, I'm not convinced that a newer tablet is especially necessary given my current - so I need people more technically minded than I to counter Beloved's shiny addiction.

My tablet  is

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

One of these: http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/galaxy-note/tablets/GT-N8010EAABTU

Beloved is thinking of the new google Nexus 9

One of these: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_9_32_GB_Wi_Fi_Indigo_Black?id=nexus_9_black_32gb_wifi

To my untrained eye, the difference between the two appears to be pretty negligible - and certainly not worth £399.


Other things to note:
The smaller screen doesn't bother me
I do not need 3G, 4G or any number of Gs.
My current tablet DOES have a damage screen (all the colours are wonky after being dropped) which means I want to get this one repaired anyway... which may end up cheaper.

By all means do run in and say "no, forget Samsung and google, you need this one!" but I do prefer Android over IOs and Windows

So techie people, help me out - is Beloved being wise and prudent as well as generous? Or is his shiny addiction overcoming reasonable common sense?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Well, that was vexing

Things that annoy:

Metal handled pans. Why why why would you make a pan handle conduct heat? Isn’t that one of the most ridiculous design ideas in the history of the world? Isn’t that up there with chocolate teapots and fireguards?

Metal handled pans that are also supposed to be oven safe – so you put said pan in, say, a 200oC for that handle to get stupendously hot.

But what really really really annoys is that, despite the aforementioned ridiculousness of metal handled, oven-safe pans, if you firmly grasp said handle, after it comes out of the oven, with your own bare hand you really have no-one to blame but yourself.

And that’s really really annoying because that kind of screeching pain of quite nasty burns over the entire palm of your hand and fingers really really REALLY demands you scream at SOMEONE. Screaming at one’s self is not sufficient.

On the plus side, I didn’t spill dinner.

On the minus side even an hour after the burn, removing my hand from a bowl of cold water or an ice pack was quite painful – to an extent of not being able to keep it out of water for more than 5 minutes before being quite willing to murder a rather large number of people if they were stood between me and that water. This was not a productive way to spend the evening.

Thankfully, it has reduced to being merely excruciatingly painful so I am not forced to keep it stuck in ice – but typing one handed is vexatious. Typing two handed is… unpleasant. The cold water is still nearby to top up.

What does surprise me is the relative lack of blisters – I mean, there’s a lot of redness and several blisters all over my hand –but the blistered areas are no more/less painful than the none-blistered. The blisters seem to be quite quite random.


Friday, 10 October 2014

I think a cake may be more expressive...

My cousin is getting engaged and, against my usual habits, I am getting her a congratulations card (I disapprove of cards for various reasons)

I just need to find the right one. I need one that says:

"Congratulations on the whole wedding thing" while at the same time also saying "good gods girl why would you do this? Were you drunk?!" and "STOP! STOP! IT'S NOT TOO LATE!" with a nice subtext of "when the time comes, I will help you bury the body."

And, of course, "just because I'm willing to help you bury the body doesn't mean that, in 18 months when you realise what an arsehole he is, I will be saying 'I told you so'"

See this is the problem with cards, they lack eloquence.


Maybe I could go with a cake - it could be full of butter and sugar symbolising something you will definitely regret later with a heavy lemon kick for the bitter bitter regrets that are sure to come and maybe some spiced caramel for the warming assurance of murderous support in the future.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The best laid plans of Sparky...

Thankee to everyone sending good wishes for this weekend, I managed to escape most of my usual angst by being ILL WITH THE NINJA DEATH FLU!

Honestly, this was the stealthiest disease ever. Here I was, healthy and fine, ready to actually go out and be social. Yes, I was not only strong enough to go outside without worry but I was *gasp* almost eager to do something vaguely social.

Yay!

And then the DISEASE HIT. And it was like being hit with a sledge hammer. My nose became the evil volcano of erupting snot of doom, gushing like the Niagara Falls of mucus. That was unpleasant.

My energy crashing like I’d just run 3 marathons while juggling elephants while singing opera and wearing cement shoes. It was not good. It was very not good.

But the worst element was the sledgehammer to the gut. No, really – it isn’t a sharp pain, it isn’t a twisty pain or a burny pain. It just felt my whole abdomen was one huge nasty bruise (it wasn't, but it felt that way) with the joyous side effect of EVERY position hurting and not having the energy to move but having to move anyway and then moving not actually making anything better.

This all came along in the period of 2 hours much to Beloved’s shock and F’s incredulity

In fact while I was convinced the end was nigh, cowering in bed making a positive art form out of self-pity, F arrived at the door and loudly declared (F does everything loudly. Low volumes are for people whose voice and ideas are not wonderful blessings to everyone within a 5 mile radius of them) that I was definitely faking to try and avoid the evils of socialism

One of the terrors of illness no doctor will tell you about is a bellowing F bursting into your bedroom while you’re naked, cowering in bed and feeling like death. It’s a terrible terrible thing to face.

Of course afterwards she had to be stopped from running down the street ringing a bell and yelling “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”. Also no painting red crosses on our doors. I heard Beloved and her have a spirited discussion on the subject

Of course, Beloved, seeing me suffering so badly, naturally hid as far away as he could. Loving and supportive through the worst of my mental illness moments, but the minute anything germ related rises its head he will hide in the basement (we don’t have a basement, but he would dig one so he could hide in it).



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cats!

So I am cat sitting sibling kitty and she and my old mog are doing their usual posturing and duelling. The worst thing is getting used to the old mog’s habits and finding they don’t work with the bundle of (aging but vibrant) energy from the sibling kitty.

For example, Old Mog likes to be petted – she shows this by laying next to you and staring at you. When you stroke her she melts into a puddle of contentment and you occasionally stop so she raises her head in outrage and you can confirm she’s not actually dead and you’re not actually petting a corpse. Because that would be creepy.

Now Sibling Kitty screams and begs for attention until you finally pet her at which point she has a near seizure of joy because ZOMG HUMAN TOUCHED HER AND IT’S AWESOME! All four limbs flailing as she twists around and probably does herself an injury. The worst part is she kneads with all four claws – the air, the sofa, cushions, fleshy bits of human – just flexing away little razor blades in every direction. She also demands attention because while the Old Mog will just puddle, Sibling Kitty will not only flail around with razors but every now and then will suddenly decide “KILL THE HUMAN!” and you need to pull your hand back quickly or be flensed to the bone. Doubtless this is to ensure human reflexes are kept at peak efficiency.

Old Mog is tolerating Sibling Kitty’s presence. She still hisses, but it’s more a “I would like to formally announce that your presence in this house is unwelcome and I disapprove most strongly” hiss, rather than a “I will kill you and wear your skin on weekends and high holidays” hiss.

However, she has developed a “you have betrayed all that is good and pure in the world, there is now a desolate wasteland where hope once resided and barren void where kindness once lay” glare every time she sees me or Beloved with Sibling Kitty. It’s a very eloquent glare.

Feeding time is… vexing. Both kitties will appear at exactly the same time and demand food. At which point both kitties are convinced that a) I have put the sublime ambrosia that the gods would kill for in the bowl of the other cat while simultaneously dumping goat excrement in their bowls; and b) that their bowl must be protected at all cost, under no account must the other cat come within a yard of their bowl or Death Must Follow.

This is more complicated by Old Mog needing medication for her super-scabby skin which now has to be hand given to her (oh dear gods cats and pills) because there's no guarantee who will eat the food

The most annoying habit of Sibling Kitty is her yowling. Now Old Mog yowls. Old Mog yowls a lot – but she’s adept at communicating what she wants with those yowls. If she yowls near her food bowl, she wants you to fill it (that doesn’t mean she’s hungry and she will, inevitably, walk away from said food. She just wants to test her human’s obedience). If she stands near a door and yowls she wants you to open it (again, not necessarily to go through it, she just wants it open). If she yowls near a chair she wants you to sit down and pet/comb her.


Sibling Kitty will sit in the middle of the floor and just yowl. She can keep it up for hours while you play a guessing game as to what this silly creature actually wants. I suspect she likes to hear her own voice.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Berries!

The beginning of September's coming up which means I should be seeing the end of Beloved's first harvest from the garden. I could ask him if there's a lot more summer fruit to pick, but I live in fear of him saying "yes."

Don't get me wrong, i mean he has managed to stick to this obsession for years now - that's almost unprecedented with him! Normally his attention span wanes 12 minutes after he's found out how to load the credit card with useless things we'll never ever use (like his tropical fish which are still in our living room and he still has little to do with them). So a hobby that lasts this long? Excellent!

And he's shockingly good at it- at least, so I can guess from the actual harvests he produces which is a) bountiful b) tasty and c) not mutating into evil monstrous plants that try to eat us. Now, my gardening prowess involves going to a wonderfully "wild" (i.e. "completely ignored") part of the garden and sitting down with a book (sitting on a blanket or bench - not on the actual GROUND with the DIRT and the INSECTS!) and I would actually rather murder the neighbours and be covered in arterial spray than get covered in dirt and fertiliser - so I admit some level of being impressed by this.

So this is all of the good, yes? Well, yes. It's just... too much of a good thing hits at times. And in July and August we have the SUMMER FRUITS DELUGE! Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Brambles, Gooseberries, Black Currants, Red Currants (what do you actually DO with these anyway?).

Last year I made a lot of jam. Which we still have because we don't actually eat much jam; I gave some away but everyone starts to get that "looking for the exits" look because they fear I may press more fruit preserve on them. Also, jam is one of those things that you never ever wants to eat again once you've actually made it (and realised that it's actually 50% sugar. You thought you were eating healthy fruit? Ha! You might as well crunch your way through a bag of caster sugar).

And yes there's loads of cakes and pies you can make with fruit - and we have, all the lovely things. But there comes a time when you've eaten the 9th creamy, meringuy fruity desert that you just crave chocolate. Or treacle. Or cheese. Or anything without berries.

There is one solution to this inundation - ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Exactly how long can ice scream freeze anyway? I worry about the ice cream. Ice cream always seems to be something that is oddly random compared to most of what we make - there's always chance of us producing odd, pykrete like blocks of indestructible yumminess

So... either I have a freezer full of tasty, fruity ice creamy goodness

Or I have the makings of a Summer Fruits Aircraft Carrier.

And gooseberries. Why do we grow this many gooseberries? Does anyone truly love gooseberries this much? I don't know what possesses him, I mean between us we eat just about everything. We're not fussy eaters, we'll try anything 3 times (the first two times it could have just been cooked badly. Third time and still awful? Yes, that's just awful). and usually like what we eat - yet he has this truly magical talent for producing large amounts of the few things we don't love: Gooseberries, Kale, broad beans and worse.

It's a special talent.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I have games!

Some people probably know Steam had a summer sale

It was a very good summer sale.

So many shinies. So very many shinies. I had my usual conflict - I see a shiny. I sensibly tell myself that I don't need said shiny. I don't want said shiny. I don't have time to play the shiny. So I will ignore the shiny

Then I spend the next several hours doing nothing but obsess over the shiny, staring at the shiny, checking the shiny every 5 seconds, until I finally give in and buy the shiny

This time was a little different because I rarely had to perform the last step - because Beloved had got there before me. Naturally, since he is irresponsibly buying a megafuckton of games on Steam that he will never play and this is Irresponsible and something I would Never Do, I confronted him ready to Shame Most Cruelly

He does have a good excuse - having seen my constant agonising over not buying these he has decided that I waste far more time, energy and productivity than I would actually lose if I just bought them in the first place.

He is SAVING me from MYSELF. Oh what a saint he is. And there is absolutely NOTHING self-serving about this excuse, of course

Needless to say, these excuses do not work. Especially since we know, oh boy do we know, that Beloved has absolutely zero impulse control when it comes to shinies and credit cards (do I need to mention the BBQ again? Because the BBQ is totally relevant here).

So now we have a gazillion games I do not have time to play and he does not have time to play. I haven't actually had time to play any computer game. But we have them, taking up hard drive space. And they're caaaallllling to me.

See, for this you have to understand the Sparky brain. The Sparky brain likes - no - NEEDS things to be complete. This is why when I start reading a series of books I have to finish them EVEN IF EVERY WORD IS AWFUL. The incompleteness nags at me. As to how this affects me with computer games?

I have Civilisation V. I have played it several times. I have played as the Moroccan, Greek, Assyrian Songhai, Hunnic, German and Celtic Empires. What is the connection? Their leaders are in alphabetical order. No, really. The next one is Casimir of Poland.

This is how my brain brains. It cannot be healthy

And now I have games. Games that haven't been played. Games that need to be played. Games with Steam achievements that now need to be filled. They're calling to me...

Of course this is helped a lot by Beloved reading my Steam library aloud, reciting achievements I don't have and, occasionally, just saying "plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeeeee! Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeee!" in a ghostly voice.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Things Straight, Cis People Shouldn't Say: I Wouldn't Hide

Time to add another line to the very very long list of things cis, straight people need to stop saying. These are generally not things said by the homophobes or even the completely clueless who refuse to analyse their prejudice – these are things said by people who probably mean well and probably try – but may not see the full implications of what they say.

“I’m not gay, but if I were I wouldn’t be ashamed/wouldn’t hide/I’d be out”.

Or words to that effect. Generally a straight person asserts they are straight and goes on to “prove” it by assuring us that if they weren’t straight they would tell us, because they’re totally cool with people being gay.

In some ways this is a better form of the panicked “zomg you called me gay, how very dare you!”. And in many ways it is better – people who treat the suggestion of being gay as an insult or an accusation are being homophobic and need to be hit repeatedly with a tuna. Denying the information while making it clear you don’t consider it an insult (even if it does sometimes feel like a belated “not that there’s anything wrong with that” seems better).

But…

Yes there’s a but…

“If I were gay I would be open”. No.

I call shenanigans. The vast majority (if not all) of everyone who is GBLT out there has spent some time in the closet. We are pressured into it since birth in an extreme manner cis, straight people can’t even begin to imagine. It takes extraordinary courage to come out. It is risky to come out. It is usually pretty hard to come out, to say the least.

If you were LGBT, dear cis, straight folks, I can nearly guarantee you would have been closeted at some point in your life and you’d probably still be closeted now. And that applies double if you’re in a big public situation where cameras follow you.

You’re not special. The chances are you wouldn’t dodge the bullet that hits 90% of us. You are not better than those of us who have been closeted, are still closeted or will continue to be closeted. If you were GBLT, you would hide. If you were LGBT and out at some point you would have hidden – at some points you probably still would. That’s not a judgement on you – that’s reality, the reality of a deeply hostile, bigoted society, the reality of what the vast majority of us have had to do or continues to do to survive. If you were like us, you would have to walk that same road


By saying you wouldn’t, you just show how little you actually understand the closet, what drives us to closet and the risks involved in being out of the closet.