Monday, 28 March 2016

my lonesome easter

I made some chocolate cakes.

They have 2 fresh Habanero chillies in them, so they're quite potent. I also undercooked them a bit but they can be salvaged with a few minutes in a toaster oven. As I have no one to eat them with i did a half-batch and froze most of them.

I also had a 3k pork forequarter that had been in the freezer a bit too long so I took that out and spent a couple of days cooking different things with it.

Sliced some up with some skin on, marinated them in something jerk-ish, and put them in the vertical grill; basically spare ribs. I used the marinade again on a the hock overnight and then long-roasted that the next day. Got a few nice sandwiches out of that.

Baked some bread for said sandwiches; well bread-maker baked. I throw in some Bulgar wheat and linseed to make it a bit more interesting.

Diced a lean cut and made a masaman curry with it; I had intended to make a green curry but the shops were closed and that's all I had. I froze most of that because I had too much other food. It could've been better but it's ok.

Then I took the meaty bones and a bunch of other bones i'd been keeping for the purpose and pressure cooked the lot for 2.5 hours. I sloughed the meat off the bones, added lots of chillies, some tomatoes, garlic, spices, soup powders, stock powders, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemon basil; and made a super-spicy pork soup out of it.

It's super-hot! And very fatty so to be consumed in small amounts. I made the noodles for this bowl too of course. Because the mixer bowl was occupied I first tried making the noodles by hand but failed miserably; didn't add enough water, but then I freed up the mixer bowl and finished the job.

The mixer bowl was busy because I also made some hot-cross buns and the dough was still rising.

Without the xtian symbology of course. The recipe I had seemed to have far too little water so I added more but the resultant texture doesn't seem quite right. I think i overcooked them a bit and maybe let them rise a bit too long as it's a bit light and dry inside but the holes are small and evenly distributed. I also added much more spice, a little golden syrup and chocolate pieces as well.

I have these strange chilli plants I got seeds from mum and I was curious as to which variety they were. This morning I did some searching and found out; Aji Orchid, aka Peri Peri, Bishops Crown, or many other common names.

I've got quite a few of these growing and as they are cross pollinated seeds they are all a bit different - shapes vary quite a bit and so does their heat from almost nothing to enough to notice. They are tall thin plants. A couple of the bushes I have are over 6' high now and still seem to be growing upwards. But I've had a lot of problem with Eggfruit Caterpillars (my best guess) this year, so much so that i've not managed to get any ripe fruit yet; well and I keep eating them before they get that far.

Anyway I still had a day to burn through so I looked into pickling some. I found a reference on pickling brine concentrations (beyond 'add salt'), found a lid that fit a lidless jar I had and made an airlock out of an empty pill bottle I suddenly have lots of. Then picked some chillies and cut them up.

I waited to see how much water would come out on it's own - as I expected not much at all so I topped it up with 500ml of 7.5% brine and inserted a jar to keep them submerged, sealed it up and put it in the cupboard to be forgotten about for a while to let them ferment in peace.

I then got out in the garden and did a rush job setting up some furrows and seeding some wintery things in one garden bed. I planted some snow peas but the rest was a medley of seeds I just threw around; bugs always seem to eat my winter vegetables so it's not worth the effort but who knows it might work this time. I think I used broccoli, chinese cabbage, brussel sprouts, and lettuce.

And then I dug a big hole and moved a lime tree from a half-wine-barrel into the ground. I was surprised at how much the roots had filled the whole barrel but otoh it didn't seem root bound either. Once it was out of the pot I managed to lift the whole thing in and out of the hole so despite watering regularly the dirt wasn't holding any of it but I knew that anyway from the state of growth and lack of fruit. I'm sure my back will be a bit sore tomorrow.

Over the last 4 days I also played a good many hours of Bloodborne and other games. I'm stuck again in Bloodborne - Micolash, Martyr Logarius, or Lower Pthumeru Chalice (Rom again). I'm starting to get a bit sick of grinding (i'm level 105 or something) because i'm just too slow in reactions to be able to get through some parts without it. I'm about 100 hours in anyway which is pretty much my limit with any long game. Maybe i'll keep playing.

I also played some DRIVECLUB in memorial of Evolution Studios being shut down. Why a game of such high quality and depth didn't sell well is beyond me but it's a bit of a bummer and hopefully they can find a way to make more driving games in the future as they have always made really special games.

RIP Evolution, the next beer I have is for you guys.

I nipped out to the shops on Saturday morning but otherwise haven't seen another soul since Thursday evening. I had no visitors, nobody called, the friends I might visit are all away for the weekend. At least I got a couple of emails but none from 'regular' friends.

It's all just so pointless isn't it?

Friday, 19 February 2016

unkown unknowns

If I quit my job, what will I do instead?

Pity I can't afford to retire fully although given no male in my family has reached 60 yet that might not be true either! Probably should be though as two of those were somewhat self-inflicted and dad was cancer in the 80s.

But I can afford to quit this one if I choose to.

For a start it's been around 10 years which is much longer than i've had any other job for and whilst it's been often challenging and engaging there is always the fair share of frustration and baggage built up over such a span of time. For instance i've had years of work stuck in locked drawers unused. Stuff that should have been published, stuff that may even be published yet. It's even in an industry I don't particularly want to be a part of (not that I can think of any I do want to be part of!). On-top of all this there have been a good few years of very odd circumstances which only came to a head around xmas last year. Circumstances that while discussing with peers in hindsight appear to border on abuse. It was only though incidental rather than malicious intent but the cause doesn't affect the outcome. It's been raised and addressed but it feels too little too late since too much damage has been done that just can't be undone. Actually the initial reaction to the insight i've gained about the workplace itself in the last few weeks is that the whole joint is a complete fuckup and is a big reason i'm thinking of leaving sooner rather than later.

One other particular thing of note that crossed my mind over the last couple of days whilst reflecting on the whole period is that i've made absolutely no new friends during it - not a single one. And I don't just mean "real proper" friends you keep in touch with decades later which can be rare - I've had absolutely no social interaction with anybody outside of being at work itself (or lunch) or the annual xmas party. And the xmas party is mostly contractors i've never worked with. It's not entirely without reasons, to start with there just wasn't that many I did work with, and most people already have their lives done at this age. But it still does seem a little odd in hindsight given i've generally gotten on quite well with most of them and all the time involved.

Despite all this I've usually felt it was adequately compensated with lower and flexible work hours, an almost completely free reign in technology and implementation choices, and extended amounts of summer leave (even if it was usually due to funding shortages). But even these - as absolutely awesomely awesome as they are to me - have their limit of worth.

So I haven't decided yet.

One reason is of course what happens next. I don't really feel like i'm capable of much at all right now (look at the dearth of hacking on this blog for evidence) but that might be more perception than reality and it could change in the blink of an eye. I can however afford to take plenty of time to get my shit together if I need to (decades actually). Another is that I've never had to actually look for any job i've ever had and i'm generally pretty hung up about doing such things for the first time, yeah still. Due to working for Ximian/Novell and now these guys I don't have much of a local 'network', although it's not empty either. And my skills and interests are (probably?) not in much demand around this sleepy city outside of where I am now. Well obviously with my skills and experience I can code almost anything for almost anything (or quickly learn how to) but there's a lot of rather unappealing anythings out there that get coded and there's often some really poor technology taking up the flavour-of-the-month pedestal at any given time as icing on the cake.

If I decide in the positive will I manage to last out the remaining money for this year? Professionally one would think there is no question but personally once a decision like this has been made it will be hard to continue. I'm just a casual employee (no notice needed) and this is not an entirely professional matter I think. Another 3 months? Hmm.

I'll think about it some more I guess.

update: Told 'em. Well, we'll see. They don't want to let me go. I mean really not. I guess i'm worth something.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

vulkan is out at last

I'm just starting to think about hacking again so that delay might not have been so bad for me. I haven't looked at it yet though.

Oh, and what a nice birthday present too!

Update: Not that i've had time to look but still no AMD drivers for linux; although if this means an end to fglrx then that will be worth it.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

still breathing

Holidays about to end. Yay, back to work.

Pretty uneventful overall. Getting sick stopped me going to the beach and then I didn't feel like doing anything at all; it's been a very quiet last few weeks and I haven't left the house in a week. I ran out of people to catch up with as well, and vary rarely does anyone try the reverse. Peach tree got ripe which is nice and i'm starting to get some chillies, and i might finally get some ripe tomatoes next week - they're just taking forever. Overall the garden's been a bit shit this year as it's just been too dry - we just had a wet couple of days but that's the only rain we've had for months. My water bill will make none of it worth it. Even the roses only flowered properly once.

I finally decided to crack open some of the games sitting here and I've been playing a lot of Bloodborne the last week ... i'm pretty impressed with the level and enemy designs and the fighting mechanics. I'm always surprised when i find a whole new area to explore which adds another major variation to the environments and enemies. The graphics and framerate are much better than I expected from "reports" - the chromatic aberration is barely visible from the couch and actually looks fairly natural, and it's got some frame-drops but is otherwise very solid. The level of detail and density is incredible and the lighting changes as one progresses (certain bosses advance time) changes the whole mood. After 28 hours i restarted with a new guy so i could level better and am 37 hours and 90 levels in with him. But despite the really tight combat (which took days to get to grips with) and inspired setting; it's just starting to feel like any other RPG - I progress till I get stuck on a new area or a big baddie and then have to grind levels and equipment to progress. Death is cheap so it's more just an annoyance at this point. I did the first couple of preset chalice dungeons yesterday and they are a mixed bag; it leveled up my weapons but even the first run feels like grinding. So it's getting a little boring actually since i'm getting a bit overpowered in the areas i've already done, stuck on a new area, and the chalice dungeons feel old already. I guess I'll keep going, at least it's a heavy time-sink. It's all a bit fucking dreary though.

And still no Vulkan?

Monday, 11 January 2016

vintage hardware

So my random visits to 2nd hand shops & pawnbrokers finally ended in spending some money.

It also came with the garishly-bright-orange lined, grey padded vinyl carrying case and a few bits as well. Was a little bit of a haul on the bike but it survived the journey home strapped to the pannier rack.

I took the top off and it looks unworn although there are a few wear marks here and there externally. I ran a few stitches and it seems to work ok, certainly better than the other machine from such a limited test. It has some strange stitches such as ones that move the needle backwards and the zigzag width setting mechanism is just a bit novel.

Not much about this make on the internet apart from someone trying to sell the same one for $400 on gumtree. But it just appears to be a Brother rebadge and there's more info on those and best i can tell it seems to be about as old as me. Strangely there are almost no manufacturer markings on the machine at all apart from the branding on the front and a serial number on a plate riveted to the underside. Maybe they were hiding the fact that it was made in Japan?

I just wanted a free-arm machine and given it was almost all metal and it looked to be in good enough nick the $89 cash converters wanted didn't seem much of a risk even if the bloke gave me some funny looks. Not that i have anything in particular to sew but it's handy to have one that works properly.

Friday, 1 January 2016

big whoop, another year down

Been busy with getting out of the house, going to the beach (it's turned into a weekly heatwave here), hanging around friends, ... but now i'm pretty stuffed and have some time to think about the year ahead.

It's just as bleak and pointless as it's been every year for the last 20 and i'm getting pretty tired of it.

Monday, 21 December 2015

making dough

Tried making some ciabatta today based on the first hit for such via a search engine.

Well it was more a two-day "effort" although there wasn't much interaction apart from trying to work with some very sticky glump.

I probably baked it a little too long but it's serviceable. Has a nice flavour and chewiness though.