night owls run on coffee

The great book cull of 2019

As I've mentioned a lot on twitter, I've been weeding my book collection lately. I've gotten rid of the easy decisions mostly, so now I'm re-reading a lot of books in order to decide if they spark joy etc.

It's been a weird experience re-reading the trilogy by Jayne Ann Castle (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz) (which, I gotta say, my copies have closeups of the title flowers, Amaryllis, Zinnia, Orchid, and not half naked dudes posing dramatically)

Only the first book summary on the website even mentions that they're set off world, on a planet which lost contact with earth... naturally they developed psychic powers on this new world, and also there's ancient alien artifacts etc. I had problems with the worldbuilding when I originally read them, not because of the offworld colony, or the alien artifacts, or the psychic powers, par for the course in a psy-fi romance!

But because when they lost contact with earth the colonists "had deliberately set out to promote a strong family structure. Their historical and psychological research had convinced them that only a society founded on the firm support of rock-solid families could meet the challenges that lay ahead. The institution of marriage was regarded as a permanent commitment."

Everyone just went yeah okay, sounds fine, let us rearrange our whole society according to our unified decision, without debate or dissent. The way people do. Sounds legit.

Anyway, now I look at the worldbuilding, and while I still have problems with that bit ; this is a dystopia.

Everyone wants to marry and raise children (of course). Divorce is very difficult and stigmatised, some pre-marital sleeping around is okay, but children born outside of marriage have a very hard time.

And the family basis of a stable society is very much a nuclear family, no variations on that, not even a mention of extended family living together. And the only poly mention is not good ; a threesome who is lying about their attachment.

And I don't think I saw much mention of PoC in my re-read. No other languages. The only religions were cults, and in the background. No people who didn't want to marry, or didn't want to have children. No people who thought this needed reform.

And only cis male and cis female people, and only orientated gay or straight. Some points for having gay and straight marriage being equally socially valid. But still ; dystopia.

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Wow my dreamwidth reading page is suddenly full of posts

Hi everyone!

It'll be interesting to see how this goes, hopefully not tumblr doesn't implode too dramatically, but...

It's been a long time since I posted here, and have been swearing for the last 4 years that I'm at least going to do posts about our glorious times at Fat August, and every year just talked about it on twitter. Maybe in 2019! Especially if dreamwidth has a proper renaissance.

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Fat August 2014

It is Fat August time again, and I have been meaning to write up the 2014 session ever since it finished. Fortunately I still have the food tweets of dinner mates favourited, and the 2014 schedule has survived, as have some of the menu's thanks to the Way Back Machine, bless it always.

We kicked off last year with the Mirimar Triple Header on the Saturday. We went to The Larder [] for lunch, saw The Hundred Foot Journey [] at The Roxy cinema as the movie (a great movie and probably the most appropriately themed movie we will ever see for the event, also Helen Mirren is always awesome), had cocktails and then ate dinner at CoCo at The Roxy.

The Larder was a terrible start. First they told us over the phone that they didn't take bookings, then they said we should have booked, then they said they'd fit us in in 20 minutes and that they'd call us. We waited in the week wintery sunshine for 45 minutes or so, then they said they wouldn't be able to serve us the Wellington On A Plate menu as we hadn't booked, and then finally at the end the male server (who had been thoroughly unapologetic throughout) couldn't work the eftpos machine! The food was good but the service was so terrible that I think we've all been bad-mouthing them ever since. L [] and S [] ordered a lot of offal off the main menu; brains and livers and so on, and enjoyed it a lot, K [] and I ordered the Burger Wellington burger with the Garage Project beer match [Flame-grilled Wapiti with smoked chipotle peppers, pickles and Garage Project onion relish. Garage Project beer match: Texas Tea] which I remember as tasty but not amazing, with good chips. And Texas Tea did not make it on to my regular Garage Project beer buying list. Despite literally talking about The Larder the other day over 2015 Fat August meals I can't remember what V [] ordered.

CoCo at The Roxy had amazing and attractive cocktails as always, and gain points for having good mocktails for sober driver me (okay so I had a beer earlier but that was at least 6 hours before going home) but their 2014 menu is sadly lost to the internet. I remember it as being delicious and that the dinner I ate contained lamb? beef? served 3 ways including a lovely mini pie. The dessert was (quoting from V's twitter “Coco Leche Frita -- deep fried chocolate custard in cookie crumb...” and AMAZING.

On Sunday we went to the Bangalore Polo Club [] for lunch (I remain baffled as to why someone decided to name and decorate a restaurant in this day and age for the British Raj in Wellington, New Zealand), and El Matador – Café, Asador Grill & Bar [] for dinner.

The Bangalore Polo Club had good food, good service, great company and really amazing gin. I don't actually remember what I ate but we had fun. And then stayed and drank really quite a lot. We then staggered to El Matador where we were unable to eat very much, thanks to the extended lunch. Which was really sad because the food was amazing. S who had snacked at mid afternoon decided not to even order dinner, and ate a bread roll. I went for the full three courses, at a really really delicious soup (Rescoldo (ember-baked) Cuba Fruit Mart root vegetable soup with fugazza), then I got the main course boxed up after poking at it for a bit, then ate dessert (Panqueques with dulce de leche and praline whipped Zany Zeus double cream) omnomnom. My boxed up dinner (Parrilla-grilled PrimeStar rump steak with chimichurri, wood-fired beetroot, ricotta and preserved lemon and mint vinaigrette) got combined with some home cooked couscous, and S and I ate it for lunch the next 2 days. The beetroot dyed the couscous a really lovely pink.

The next weekend we went to Fratelli [] on Friday evening for dinner, One80° Restaurant & Lounge Bar [] for Saturday lunch, and Little Beer Quarter for Sunday dinner.

Again this began less than well. Because I finished work later than the others, I went straight to Fratelli, while everyone else was still at pre dinner cocktails, I think I was a bit early even. This would have been fine, except some guys at the table over tried to pick me up. I didn't mind being asked to join them for a drink, but to have them then persist for the quarter hour or so to try to persude me after I refused, before Team Wellington arrived (while I narrated this by text to S) was Not Cool. They also tried to pick up their waitress while deriding her knowledge of wine, so all around Not Cool bros. The food was good though! I ate 3 courses; starter: Parkvale field and porcini mushroom risotto with spinach and Kāpiti pecorino topped with seared PrimeStar venison and vincotto, dinner: Housemade Boomrock lamb shoulder and roasted red pepper sausage on Commonsense Organics beluga lentils with cavolo nero and lemon braised fennel, and dessert: Honey and rosemary panna cotta with a poached pear, ginger and almond salad and Love Honey honeycomb, and enjoyed them all from memory, although I think the panna cotta was a slightly odd texture. I don't think T [] (who I think also ate it) found the panna cotta oddly textured though, so that might just be me. I might remember drunkenly shuffling my plate back and forth to watch the panna cotta wobble. Probably just me then.

One80° Restaurant & Lounge Bar was more sparsely attended, just S, V and myself. I remember the food as being good. I think I ate Whittaker's Dark Ghana chilli braised Wairarapa beef rib with cream corn, bone marrow gremolata crusted croquette and local parsnip crisps, but I don't remember what well. I think we might have been the only people there for lunch. Maybe they do more business on weekdays.

Little Beer Quarter had food precisely taylored to me. There was an amazing platter with pickled eggs, and battered gerkins and good brown bread and olive oil. Omnomnom vinegar tastes! They were extremely ample portions, and I don't think any of us managed to finish the next course (brisket sandwiches with chips). I think we all wound up overfull.

The last weekend we went to Ortega Fish Shack & Bar [] for Friday dinner, Pan de Muerto Mystic Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar for Saturday lunch, and Spruce Goose [] for Sunday dinner.

Ortega was good, I think. I drank deceptively alcoholic cocktails and later went to Rome in the local parlance. My memory of the food is not the best. The memory of getting off the train, walking to my Mums (she had just married, and moved in with her husband and we were borrowing her not-yet rented-out house as ours was getting rewired at the time. She was away that weekend also.), discovering that I'd locked us out, getting a taxi home to an electricity free house to sleep, and then the trek around Wellington the next day, while naming our various destinations things from Lord of the Rings as we went has overpowered the earlier evening fairly well. Home = The Shire, Mum's = Erebor, Mum's new house = Rivendell, my brothers = Rohan. We drove to Erebor to discover no, really I had completely locked us out (I had shot the bolts then we'd left through the garage, hitting the inside automatic garage door close button and ducked out), went to Rohan to get the key to Rivendell off my brother, went to Rivendell to get Mum's garage door opener from her car, then back to Erebor!

Twitter favourites, the Way Back Machine and my own memory have all failed me for what we ate at Pan de Muerto but we've been back since, so it must have been nice enough!

I think Spruce Goose suffered from being at the very end of Fat August. I don't even remember what I ate with the menu (thank you Way Back Machine!) in front of me.

I hope to also write up the (still ongoing) Fat August 2015 experience before we hit 2016!

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Fat August

This year, considering the annual food festival (long may it continue) of Wellington On A Plate, Team Wellington fangirls decided to go to a bunch of the places and dine sumptuously together…

The first place we went to was El Matador – Cafe, Asador Grill & Bar for lunch. The food was tasty and I am going back there specifically for the churros at some point. I don’t think they’ve put much effort into the décor, although I would always rather they put more effort into the food than the décor.

The very next day we went to La Boca Loca also for lunch. The food was nice - I would be happy to go there if I happened to be in Miramar - but not so amazing that I would trek all the way there just to go again. I was told it’s fairly authentic Mexican, not that I would know. The décor was cheerful. The non-alcoholic beverage was kiwifruit juice mixed with something else – guava I think? – and was surprisingly delicious; usually I don’t like kiwifruit juice.

We then went just a couple of places down the road to The Roxy Cinema, where I had never been. The Roxy is a very picturesque place, beautifully renovated, and lovely in every way except the height of the otherwise very comfy leather seats in the cinema. I had to rest my feet on my bag so as not to have them swinging. I am short yes, but not so very short that I feel that this should happen to me.

We went to see Now You See Me which had the most shoehorned in romance plot I remember ever seeing. They really should have stuck with heists, stage magic, and explosions. Those were fun.

We then sat around and chatted until it was time to have dinner at CoCo at The Roxy. The food was lovely, and the roast beetroot tartlet starter was especially fine. However, the bit which really impressed me was the bar. The pre-dinner cocktails lived up to the beauty of the surroundings, and (I am told) were delicious. Also the bit where the rest of the cocktail shaker was pouring into little jugs to top up the cocktail glasses is a very nice touch. The chairs were comfy, and we had a nice alcove to chat in. I really must go back there sometime when I’m not being sober driver and try some. My mocktail was nice, as was my pot of tea though.

The next week, [personal profile] hazel and I were off to the only actual Event we went to, and the only Fat August dining experience lacking others of Team Wellington. this was The Whittaker’s Hip’ High Tea “A decadent Whittaker’s Chocolate high tea in Hippopotamus Restaurant”.

That was a fancy, fancy place. Very lushly decorated, (I wonder where one sources taxidermied peacocks? I saw at least 6 of them) and with a waterfront view. The bathroom even had the ‘dry your hands on individual towels and put them in the basket’ thing happening. I was therefore extra unimpressed that they messed up our drink orders at the start and gave me the mocktail and [personal profile] hazel the cocktail, even if we did each actually like the taste of the drink that we hadn’t ordered better. Still! Be better swish restaurant!

Everything was delicious, and they came to refill the tea at reasonable intervals, but the sweet to savoury ratio of the high tea was far too unbalanced in favour of sweet, probably because of association with Whittakers. I will not be doing this event again next year – we had to sit quietly at the waterfront for quite a while to recover from all the sugar – but it was nice to try.

That evening we went on to have dinner at Floriditas with more of Team Wellington. The food was delicious and they had a vegetarian option for each course. The homemade lemonade was delicious and the Riesling was very very sweet. Definitely a dessert wine, I tried to have it with my main, was warned about the sweetness, ordered it anyway, and then had to drink it after I’d finished my risotto. It tasted good anyway. Then stuffed with much good food I slept like the dead that evening.

Next day it was time to have lunch at Finc. I got the burger (Burger Wellington!) and it was very nice. A rye bun works surprisingly well, and the big slab of beetroot was nice with it, and it was a good chicken patty. Kudos for it being gluten free as well. I do still feel that Finc is a bit overpriced, but it’s in central Wellington, so…

And then it was time for the final Fat August dinner at Bebemos where wow do they believe in proper portion sizes, and the food is very hearty. I ate until I was full, and then got the leftovers to take away and ate until full at lunch the next day. This would be a fantastic student pub. It would also be worth driving to Newtown on a grumpy winter day just to have a really hearty beans and rice and maybe a tap beer of the day, if I ever start to drink (lightly) and drive. Curse my lightweight liver!

And that was Fat August.

Tomorrow, roller derby!

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Suddenly an apple

So the kittens have started bringing things inside to stalk around the house, mostly the hallway. So far this has been a lot of leaves, one weta and today a randomly appearing apple.

It's a small apple, and the neighbour has an apple tree, so they didn't have to bring it in too far. But this is the first occasion I can recall where a cat gift has actually been edible...

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And now we have kittens!

I had not been intending to get new kitties this soon, but I foolishly said to [personal profile] hazel 'Look, the SPCA is having a kitten adoption day in the local community hall, maybe we should go see the cute kittens, and then go grocery shopping.'

Shortly thereafter we had two kittens. There is nothing like a purring kitten to make your life better...

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Rest In Peace

Well this morning we went to the vet with Jemima the tortoiseshell cat and had her put to sleep. We realised a couple of weeks ago that it wasn't just that she'd gotten really fussy about food, she wasn't eating enough, and she'd lost a bit more weight than usual for summer. So last Tuesday we took her to the vet and discovered she had in fact lost a quarter of her total body weight and had growths all through her lungs. We took her home with some magic food and a long lasting steroid injection that got her her appetite back, but she started panting for breath all the time, so.

My brother dug me a nice deep hole in the back garden and she is now buried beneath the plum tree that we grew from seed and was outgrowing it's shrub pot anyway.

I am deeply sad about this.

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First Christmas Lunch

So for much of this year, having expressed an interest in learning more about cataloguing to my manager, I have been working 4 hours a week with the cataloguing team. This means that I was invited to the team Christmas lunch. It was potluck and held at the home of the manager, who has a wood fired pizza oven. Much deliciousness followed. Also present were the managers partner and small female child. The following conversation happened this afternoon:

Librarian: Those are nice wings that you are wearing, [small female child], are they fairy wings?
Small female child: No! [tone of OBVIOUSLY] They're bat wings.


And then I ate more, and drank a beer, and lay in the sun for a couple of hours, and then went back to work to my usual team and tried very hard not to nap for the rest of my day.

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Another year over and a new one just begun...

Argh. I drafted most of a post and then foolishly googled a song title with the post tab and lost all the text :(

Oh well.

Anyways, this last weekend I went up to my Big Sisters house to visit her, her Partner and my Older Nephew, my Next Sister and my Younger Nephew, who were also visiting Big Sister, my Brother, who had moved up there earlier this year, and also my Mum, who had decided that if all four kids, and both grandkids were going to be in one place for a weekend she was also going.

I was really good to see everyone in one spot, and especially great to see my nephews, are super cute and have gotten so big! (I am totally going to be That Relative that says 'you've grown so much!' dammit. Still at 1 and 2 years old they really are growing so much.

Older Nephew has also gotten really chatty, and is developing his musical tastes and would periodically demand songs by his own names for them, (there are a few that Big Sister and Partner just can't tell what songs he's asking for. He seems to believe that they are just being mean not playing them), and would sometimes get them played on one of his parents iPhones for him. At one point he even got his Aunties and Uncle and Nana dancing with him to one of them, which I think may have been the high point to his weekend. His favourites are 'Friends!' [The White Stripes - We're Going to Be Friends] and 'Fell in a Girl!' [The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl]. There was also something by Violent Femmes whose name I can't remember, and something he referred to as 'Bang Bang Thingy' frequently requested...

Also I am now 30. Next Sister said she'd give me money towards a order for a birthday present, and I looked at their website tonight and saw that they had a 50% off sale. Well then. I went a little crazy and ordered many t-shirts (5) and a hoodie. [personal profile] hazel is a terrible enabler, and also ordered 2 t-shits and a hoodie.

I ordered these designs:


She ordered these designs:

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