fandrogyne: (Default)
~ A huge package arrived in the mail, not stuff for me to review but instead one of those scanning devices that's connected to a "scan everything you buy and send us the info" thingies. Which takes very little time out of my day, and apparently will get me $15 a month plus chances to win gift cards, so I figure if I have the time, why not go for it. Hence the package arriving. Now I have to set it up and start scanning barcodes.

Which will probably take all of, what, 2 minutes a day. Maximum. If I've bought anything that day.

Total that up and it means about an hour a month of doing stuff I wouldn't normally do. $15 an hour is good money!

~ Went out in the morning to finish up some last bits of holiday shopping and to pick up some groceries. Stuffed pork chops were on sale again, so I definitely had to get them! A package of 2 pork chops stuffed with brown sugar and apples is normally $8, but they often go on sale for half price, as they did today, so yeah, I wasn't passing up that delicious deal!

~ Having to soak gauze off a wound because pulling it off would be very bad is just not a fun experience. Even less so when infections are involved. I could really do without this right now.

For the curious, I have 2 badly infected toenails. And they've been this way for years. A podiatrist treated them at one point by cutting off parts of the nail, but they grew back badly again, and the infection never really went away, and honestly, I'm so used to dealing with it that I don't even think about going to another doctor about it most of the time.

Though I probably should. If it takes removing half the nail on each big toe to make sure it can't go ingrown again, that would hurt like crap but admittedly be better than the alternative. Antibiotics would be great, too. (I kind of like being prescribed antibiotics for other infections, because my toes improve while I'm taking the pills.)

~ Spent a while talking on the phone to my dad tonight, which was nice. He woke me up, but it was still nice to talk to him.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I caught Landorus in Pokemon Shuffle. I missed catching Thundurus, but I at least got 2 of the 3, and I'm sure an event with them will come around again in the future, so I can complete my collection.

That's the thing that keeps me playing Pokemon games, really. The driving need to complete collections. The games are definitely fun, and they've gotten much more plot-heavy and dark over the generations (compare the first generation having enemies that primarily want to use Pokemon for profit, which later generations wanting to reshape the entire world for what they see as the benefit of nature, and the most recent game set dealt with the punishment of immortality, for crying out loud!), but mostly it's the collector aspect that really keeps me coming back for more.

~ This area is forecast to get over 10 cm of snow twice in the coming week, which not only means more shoveling, but it also means that if there's a thaw, the basement's going to leak more because the ground won't be frozen. So I'll have to siphon more water off with the ShopVac and send it down the drain.

But the basement issue is only one reason I dislike winter here. The other reason is the position of the doors on this house. The wind during storms nearly always manages to blow snow right up against the back door, so sometimes it won't open (I had to leave the house through a window once last winter, to start clearing snow off the deck and away from said door), and it does the same around the front door too. Lousy piece of luck that I managed to find the one house that desperately wants to keep me trapped inside. And you know, if money wasn't an issue and I had a stockpile of food and other products, plus a wood stove or generator in case the power goes out, and if money wasn't an issue, I don't think I'd mind much being stuck inside for a few months of the year, especially the winter when I want to stay inside anyway.

Because I have books and video games and sewing supplies and when it's really cold and snowy, the only reason I want to go outside is on the mild days, and even then it's mostly because there are things I need to do outside, like pick up groceries. If I had a stockpile, I wouldn't need to do that. I could just hibernate, essentially, until spring.

Maybe some day, when I own my own house and have work I can do from home that will pay all my bills. That would be a wonderful dream come true!

~ I made a beef vegetable stir fry with bean sprouts and rice for supper, which I haven't done in a long time. I love stir fry. For a while, I took stir fry and rice to work every shift for over 3 weeks, and didn't get tired of it. And the only thing I alternated was whether I used chicken or pork; the vegetables and rice and sauce always stayed the same.

Just one of those meals I can eat a lot of, I guess, and as far as meals go, it's not a bad one. A little high in sodium, maybe, from the sauce I use, but other than that I'm getting lean meat and plenty of vegetables and rice to give me some long-lasting energy. While I was eating that every day for weeks, I also felt pretty healthy and had plenty of energy, didn't get fatigued as easily.

Maybe I ought to start making stir fry again more often, then.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I didn't post a Daily Grind entry last night because I did absolutely nothing, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But saying, "I did absolutely nothing and thoroughly enjoyed it" doesn't make for a very interesting entry when there's nothing else to accompany it.

~ Had a great phone call with my dad, in which we talked about our usual wide variety of things: sex toys, hoverboards, transgender issues, the state of Islamophobia in the US. Really, this is actually a pretty average sampling of the topics we discuss when we talk. We bring up everything and anything, and it's usually pretty enjoyable. It was nice to hear from him again.

We did have a fun conversation about what I might like for Christmas, and he asked me to browse Amazon and send him a couple of ideas. I know roughly the price range he'd be looking at, so that helps narrow it down. The two biggest things I want in my life right now that I don't have are an affordable vlogging camera, or a manual treadmill. I miss vlogging, for one thing, and I also think that a manual treadmill would help me get more exercise when it's really cold or stormy outside.

The downside is that most manual treadmills have weight limits of, well, less than what I weigh. So I don't even know if I should be considering that as an option until I've lost more weight... Ironic, seeing as how I figure that it would help me lose weight...

~ Turkey burgers for supper. Nothing special, unless you count me adding a bit of smoked gruyere cheese to them (which goes so nicely with turkey, by the way).

~ My reviewing certainly seems to be taking off even more these days, with some of the products people are offering. So far I know I have 2 smartwatches and a wireless speaker coming my way, and a probably partnership to be a long-term regular reviewer for a plus-size clothing seller. All of which thrills me probably more than it ought to. Even though these aren't big brands that I'm being offered, I like that I managed to garner enough attention over the years to make people think I'm worth pitching stuff to.

~ Went out before bed to get some holiday shopping done, including a charity gift for a local senior citizen, a pork shoulder for Yule, and other assorted goodies. Then went to the library for a variety of new books, because books! I ended up walking over 11,000 steps today, which made my goal and then some!
fandrogyne: (food)
I didn't end up reviewing everything I received in the past 2 Skoshboxes, because a couple of the treats didn't leave me with much of an impression, either positive or negative. But I did write up things for most of them, and here they are. (May they help you with all your Japanese snack needs!)

Sakupan-Land Almond Cream-Filled Choco Biscuit - Bite-sized little cookie balls that are crisp on one side and chocolate-coated on the other, and filled with a really tasty almond cream. The flavours blend together really nicely. The almond cream flavour comes through strongest, but it's still balanced really well by both the small amount of chocolate and the general sweetness of the cookie part.

Also, each little cookie ball has a panda face printed on it, and there are so many unique faces that part of the fun is looking through them all and seeing the variety of adorable pandas!

Sakuma Ichigo Milk Candy - At first they don't look like anything special. Little hard candies that are a light pink, and you expect them to taste like the usual mild fake-strawberry flavour you get from a lot of hard candies. But I honestly have never had a candy that tastes more like a high-quality strawberry milkshake that this! They're so delicious, and I love to have a little terta-pouch of them in my pocket, so I can get that flavour again whenever I want.

Goma-Dango sesame mochi chocolate - This is the sort of flavour combination you don't see very often in North American snacks. First you've got a surprisingly touch chewy mochi in the centre, then the strong flavour of sesame seeds, all coated in white chocolate. It's a unique snack that was interesting to try but I don't think it will ever be one of my favourites, but that has less to do with the mochi and sesame combination and more to do with the white chocolate coating, which I've never been a fan of. I found that overpowered the rest of the flavours and ruined a bit of the experience for me.

The packaging is pretty cute, though, with either Japanese writing on it, or else a panda face, both done in a pattern of black and white sesame seeds. Definitely a snack that sticks out in your mind.

Blueberry Collon - I was surprised by this, because I'm not a big fan of blueberries or blueberry-flavoured things. But the blueberry flavour is so mild that it's more of a vague aftertaste than anything else, and all that really comes through is the flavour of crispy cookie and cream. So, not something that I suspect people who really like blueberries will enjoy much, because they may find themselves disappointed by the lack of stronger flavour, but otherwise it's an okay snack.

Pejoy Cookies & Cream - These things look like nothing so much as twigs from a tree! But don't let the appearance turn you away, because they taste really good! They're chocolate cookie sticks filled with a mild vanilla cream, similar to a sort of inverse Pocky. They're really good, with the cream being just a little bit richer than the chocolate of the cookie stick, so they're a great light snack with a classic sweet flavour. It works well at any time of year, but I've always associated cookies-and-cream flavour with the December holiday season, so I definitely have some good associations going with this appropriately-timed taste-test.

Bisco Cafe au Lait cream filled biscuits - I'm not a fan of coffee, and I rarely like coffee-flavoured things. And these little two-bite cream-filled cookies smell so strongly of coffee that I really expected to dislike them as much as I dislike a load of other coffee products. But I forged ahead and tried them anyway, and I was actually pretty surprised at how tasty they were.

The coffee flavour is nowhere near as strong as the scent, balanced wonderfully by the flavour of the biscuit it's layered between. So don't let the strong smell disuade you; I can see these appealing to coffee-lovers and non-coffee-lovers alike!

Pocky Demitasse - Shorter than your average Pocky stick, Pocky Demitasse comes in a fancy gold-and-black box with a black package on the inside, very classy and making me think of a very fancy high-quality product. The sticks are chocolate rather than the usual plain cookie that Pocky normally has, and the coating is a rich dark chocolate that hits hard and fast, just riding the edge between bitter and sweet. The chocolate is dark enough that it's hard to eat many of the sticks at one time, making it actually a really good long-lasting snack that can last you all through the day, not just something you eat all of at once. And despite the fact that the cookies were also chocolate, I found that I could taste the dark chocolate coating more than anything else, so I wasn't instantly overwhelmed with a "too much chocolate" sensation. Very nice, and I want more of these around the house for future snacking!
fandrogyne: (happy)
~ I made potato soup in the slow cooker, using this recipe. I didn't have any Russet potatoes, so I used 7 small yellow potatoes instead, and I think that works out to about the same amount, if I remember the size of Russet potatoes properly.

However, a friend wanted to go to a coffeeshop breakfast with me in the morning, so I ended up having a delicious chicken pesto sandwich and chai instead of potato soup. Which I'm definitely not complaining about. The soup was just as good when I woke up tonight!

~ I pretended to be a responsible adult and I emptied the recycling bin and took the bags down to the basement to await pickup day. I also siphoned more of the leak from the basement, because that problem's not going away any time soon, but I need to keep up with it or else water gets absolutely everywhere and it's a royal pain to just be in the basement, let alone do anything there.

~ I wrote 1 full review and 2 mini-reviews, all for books/novellas. The 1 big one has already gone live and have been cross-posted to GoodReads and Amazon, and the 2 smaller ones will lie in wait until the end of the month.

~ Speaking of books, I finished reading Daniel Polansky's novella, The Builders. It was pretty good. Think Redwall, but with guns and where nearly everyone dies at the end.

Now I'm settling in for a reread of Catherynne Valente's Fairyland books, because I seem to be in the mood for short-and-sweet books right now. (Probably has a lot to do with the fact that the end of the year is approaching and I want to achieve my reading goals for 2015.)

~ I went out for a walk before bed (mostly to mail my grandmother's Christmas present and letter) and discovered a pawn shop relatively nearby, with a second floor almost entirely devoted to video games. My bank account is already wincing in anticipation of how much money I'm likely to spend there at points in the future, since I saw a few games that I want (though I'm trying to use my money for holiday gifts for others, not holiday gifts for me). But it's been a long time since I've been in a store that sells second-hand PSX games, so even just being in there makes me feel good and makes me want to spend hours and hours gaming again!

~ December's Skoshbox arrived this morning, and I had fun trying out a little bit of everything before I went to sleep. Expect reviews and commentary later.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I'm pretty much finished going through my list of review copies and marking the amount of pages per book. There are some left on the list that aren't accounted for, in part because I didn't make note of the author's name at the time (I've been keeping this list for over 5 years) and the titles are too generic to find properly on GoodReads, so I might have to see if I can fill in some blanks if NetGalley's archives go back that far. But for the most part, I think I'll have a much easier time now deciding what to read based on whether I feel like reading something short and quick, or a doorstopper.

~ I had a lot of chicken breasts thawed that needed to be used soon, so I cut them into pieces, used some ranch Shake 'n' Bake that I picked up on sale at the grocery store the other day, and made a lot of large chicken nuggets. Very tasty, even cold. I love making homemade chicken nuggets like that, though usually I use a mix of panko and parmesan cheese instead of Shake 'n' Bake.

~ I finally got around to writing a letter to my grandmother, which I intended to send along with her Christmas present, and was getting ready to go out and mail it when I suddenly remembered that oh, the post office is closed on Saturday. So now I have to wait until tomorrow morning.

I'd be annoyed at having taken up time in which I wanted to do other things, but really, I'm terrible at writing letters, so it's good that I made myself do it, even if I couldn't mail it when I wanted to. I'd already been putting it off for a week, by that point, anyway.

~ The weather has been warm enough that some of the snow has started to melt, though there's still a lot of it around because it was so heavy. Also, when I thought a branch fell of a tree and knocked out the power line almost right at my front door, it turns out I was a little mistaken. It wasn't a branch. It was about half a tree. Right across the street there's a jagged tree trunk still sticking up, its top half missing, and that was what broke under the weight of the snow and came crashing down that night.

I feel pretty lucky that it wasn't bigger, and didn't hit this house when it fell. Or anyone else's house, for that matter! A downed power line is a lot easier to fix than a roof!
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I finished another double-sided embroidered bookmark, which didn't turn out quite the way I'd envisioned, but I still like it. Playing with grey-on-grey embroidery can still end up looking good, sometimes.

(I want to list it for sale in my Etsy store, but currently the Internet is being really slow again, so that may not happen for a while. Sigh.)

I then ended up with a bunch of other designs that I want to try out, so I think it's time to settle back with some scrap fabric and see how well I can transfer what's in my head to something solid in the real world. With luck, it might even be something that doesn't look like butt!

~ I made yakimeshi again last night, only instead of using beef like I did last time, I used chicken, about twice the amount of fresh garlic that the original recipe called for, and some chopped green onions. Very tasty! But honestly, if you give me food that involves garlic, some sort of meat, and ponzu for flavour, I'm probably always going to say it's tasty.

~ Woke up to snow! Lots of snow! Not as much as if it was February 2015, mind you, but enough snow to be notable. It seems like a very good night to stay inside, drink lots of tea, and alternate between doing something artistic and reading a lot.

Shame I can't do those things simultaneously.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I finished reading Delilah S Dawson's Servants of the Storm. Pretty good book, and I love the way it had me doubting reality by the end. Similar to but didn't go as far as Ilsa J Bick's White Space and The Dickens Mirror.

~ I spent some time organizing my list of review novels that I've received over the years. I keep a huge list in a spreadsheet, with title and author and publication date, which was very helpful in figuring out what to read when so that I could get reviews out on time. But not doing formal reviews much anymore has left me with a load of books and no idea what to read next, nor any particular guidelines I feel that I should follow. But weirdly what I can tell is whether I'm in the mood for something short or long, so I've taken the time to go through large chunks of the list and make a notation of the number of pages in the book. Between that and the other data I've collected (plus GoodReads if I'm curious as to whether a certain plot might fit my mood), I hope it'll be a bit easier to settle on reading material without as much deliberation.

~ A local grocery store had sampler trays of baked treats on for 50% off, so I bought one. $4 got me 12 pieces of various brownies, all about palm-sized, and they're so tasty! And bad foods are so much easier to justify when they're half price!
fandrogyne: (cooking)
~ I made salmon and rice last night, and oh, it was so good! I love getting fresh salmon fillets, pan-frying them shredding the fish into small pieces, and then eating it mixed with white rice. The fish oils give everything a fantastic buttery flavour, and I always go back for seconds. And one of the grocery stores I go to often has 50% off various fish fillets on Friday mornings (they have a lot of marked-down products on Friday mornings, actually), so it's definitely worth getting delicious salmon then.

Shame I was working on more of a budget than usual last week, or I might have splurged on trying swordfish, and buying a tuna steak, both of which were also 50% off. Oh well. There'll be other times.

~ I also made strawberry cream cheese brownies, which were absolutely amazing! The chocolate flavour overpowered the strawberry a bit, but the cream cheese gave it a nice zing that I really like. I'll definitely be making more of those in the future!

~ Experimented with another couple of drag king makeup tutorials, which might have turned out better had the mascara I used for the facial hair not been quite so waterproof. When I messed up, it was difficult to correct, so it didn't turn out very well in the end.

Plus I had to scrub my face almost raw just to get the makeup off, which wasn't the most fun. I think I removed actual hair with that facecloth!
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ It was a pretty relaxing weekend. I slept a lot, which was both good and bad, I guess, but I liked it. It passed too quickly, as weekends are wont to do, but it was still pretty good.

~ I finished reading Django Wexler's The Forbidden Library and started on Delilah S Dawson's Servants of the Storm, which is wonderfully creepy and I'm loving it so far!

~ I tried candied smoked salmon for the first time, which is a bit too sweet to eat on its own, but when it's between two thin slices of potato-chive focaccia, it's freaking amazing! Not something I would go out of my way to buy again, I think, unless it's on the amazing BOGO sale I got it on this week, but I'm glad I took a chance on it and tried it while I could.

~ I went to view a house for rent that looked like it would be perfect for what I needed. Same price as where I'm currently staying, 3 bedrooms (or from my perspective, a bedroom, a spare bedroom, and an office), 2 bathrooms, great location that could help save me money in cabs by being so close to major grocery stores that I could walk much more easily, attached garage, fenced-in back yard. It seemed amazing!

Then I got there and it was... less than amazing.

First off, the fenced-in back yard had a large chunk of fence missing. The garage roof leaked badly, and around light fixtures. The stove's range hood was missing. The walls and windows hadn't been properly cleaned since the previous tenants left, nor the floors from other viewings, so it looked very much like cleaning up someone else's mess would be part of the new tenant's move-in chores. The 3rd bedroom was in a finished basement, which also would have been wonderful for potential future heat waves because it would be cooled down there than upstairs, but it was hard to actually see anything because there was no power running to the building and the woman showing it to me (or more accurately, letting me wander through at it my leisure while she stood at the doorway playing with her cell phone) didn't know about that and didn't bring a light source, so I tried to get what info I could by the light of my cell phone camera. But that did reveal to me that some rooms downstairs were missing wall and/or ceiling panels.

I could understand a place like that being rented for $650 a month, with all those problems, but $800? Hell no! I could understand $700 if the fence and garage roof were fixed, but that's still not $800.

But the biggest nail in the coffin was that the house was up for sale, which means that even if the landlord was willing to drop the rent to $650 a month in light of all the damage done to the place, I might still find myself in the exact same situation I'm trying to move to avoid in the first place.

So that turned into a bit of a wasted hour on Saturday. It was interesting seeing another house to possibly rent, I admit, but nothing came of it.

Back to the drawing board where that's concerned, I guess.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I won NaNo! And impressively, the official wordcount was only 8 words shy of what Open Office told me I had written, so apparently I didn't use nearly as much hyphenation as in previous years. But either way, I've finished, and I'm happy.

Oh, I didn't finish an actual story from beginning to end. I have 3 partly-finished stories in the file. But I did write over 50,000 words this month, and that's all I needed for a NaNoWriMo win, so I'm still counting it as a victory.

I want to do the same thing in December. Aiming for 50k words a month might not be a bad idea, really, at least until I finish something and can move on to the editing stage.

~ I tried playing Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, just to see what it was like, and I suspect it's going to be a really addictive video game. It's an action RPG, somewhat childish but still fun, and best of all my computer actually plays it without crashing! (Touch wood!) I don't want to get too into it at the moment, because I still have other video games on the go and I don't want to neglect them for a load of new things, but at least when I do decide to spend more time playing it, I'll end up having some good fun with it!

~ For supper I made pork chops stuffed with apples and brown sugar (okay, technically they came pre-stuffed, but I still cooked them!), boiled potatoes, and carrots. With After Eight ice cream for dessert. This is the high life, folks!

~ I also made a trip to the library, where I got out Delilah S Dawson's Servants of the Storm. Looking forward to reading that, once I finish Django Wexler's The Forbidden Library.
fandrogyne: (make tea not love)
~ I ranked high enough on the last challenge battle in Pokemon Shuffle to get a Manectite! I'm really glad I'm getting to the point where I'm strong enough to stand a decent chance when these challenges come up.

~ I started embroidering a Christmas present for my grandmother. It's a simple thing, really, and it shouldn't take me longer than a few days to get it all ready and mailed off. Money being tight at the moment, I thought she might understand and appreciate something I made myself, and something that she might be able to use.

I'll try and remember to post pictures once I'm done.

~ It finished raining and instead there was snow on the ground in the morning. Just a little, barely an inch, but it looked beautiful. Apparently last winter didn't make me as snow-phobic as I first thought!

~ While I was asleep I left a slow cooker chicken and bean stew to heat. I haven't had any yet, but it sure smells good!

~ I finished my rewatch of Victorian Farm and have moved on to Edwardian Farm. I do love these historical recreation shows. Especially the ones that are done by experts and not just random people in an attempt to create a unique reality show (and all the associated annoyance and drama or reality shows).
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I wrote more than I expected to last night and got a bit ahead of the curve for NaNo. I already have tomorrow's wordcount met, so anything I write over the next 24 hours is a happy bonus!

Of course, every year I've done NaNo in the past, the word count feature of my word processing program always tells me I have more words than the NaNo verification feature, so I have to write about 2000 words more than the site suggests just so I can actually be declared a winner by their counter. So maybe this is less "getting ahead" and more "writing enough that they'll figure I did it right from the beginning anyway."

~ I made a really tasty pear crumble with some pears that I got on sale a little while ago. They were starting to go a little soft, so I needed to use them up soon, and what better way to beat back the rainy weather lately than with a hot pear crumble?

It was so delicious, too! I used this recipe, only I omitted the apples and optional nuts. Really simple, and a great way to use up fruit that's about to go off, I think.

I also made slow-cooker barbecue chicken while I slept. I know I've said it before, but I really do love that slow cooker for it's ability to cook things while I sleep, without worry of leaving the stove or oven on the whole time. It's so wonderfully convenient, and it's great to be able to wake up to a hot meal that I don't have to do any additional work for.

~ I started reading Django Wexler's The Forbidden Library, a book that's been sitting on my shelves for far too long now. It's a mid-grade book, but usually isn't my thing, but I like Wexler's writing and I like the synopsis, and I do like libraries, so I thought it was about time I picked it up and read it. (There are so many books I can say that about right now...)
The Wheel of Time Companion waiting on my front porch. Now, I've made it pretty clear since ceasing my formal book reviews that any books that show up unexpectedly are books that I will consider gifts, and given that I think most of my publishing contacts have acknowledge that I've ceased book reviewing, it's fairly safe to say that they're not expecting a review from me in this case.

Though it's definitely worth giving a shoutout to the amazing people at Tor who sent it in the first place, and who sent along loads of other wonderful books during the time I was reviewing. I still feel amazingly privileged to have met so many of them, and to still stay in touch with them.

~ I plan to spend tonight catching up on the dozen or so emails that I've let slide over a few weeks, see if any new jobs are available that I haven't applied for yet, and to generally get computer stuff done that has been languishing. That will involve using my laptop in an uncomfortable way, because the Internet connection on my desktop is still lousy, but I'll manage.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ A friend and I have started to read the Twilight saga together, as a sort of "share my pain" project and so that when people tell us that we can't badmouth the books because we've never read them, we can say that we have indeed, and that they're still pretty bad.

Really, though, we're a quart of the way through the book and nothing's happened except for a load of banal conversation about nothing, Bella being simultaneously pretensious and self-deprecating, and Edward saying a lot that amounts to, "Come with me. ...You should stay away from me. We're going here together... but I'm too dangerous to be around, for absolutely no reason that you can fathom. Want to hang out with me? WELL YOU SHOULDN'T!"

I'm honestly not sure how this managed to attract an agent, because there's absolutely nothing in the standard excerpt length that would lead me to believe the book is about anything but an unhappy girl trying to cope with general life while being ignored by attractive people. You don't even get to that whole "Edward saving Bella from a car accident" bit until after chapter 3, and that's usually the limit most agents will give anything, if they're feeling generous.

Yes, it went on to make lots of money and launched the YA reading careers of a million teens, but I don't know how, because it isn't a very good book, and there were plenty of better ones already on the shelves at the time.

~ At least I've finished Arrows of the Queen. That took some of the bad literary taste out of my mouth.

~ I did play more Final Fantasy X this weekend, which was nice because I neglected it all last week. Made it through the temple at Macalania, laughed maniacally over winning the battle with Seymour, then spent most of the night level-building on Bikanel Island, because the desert is vast and full of monsters that actually give me a bit of a challenge. So that was plenty of fun.

I have the Airship now, which I think is an event that every long-time Final Fantasy player waits for in every game.

~ I got quite a bit of housework done this weekend, too! The dishes are all done, laundry mostly folded and put away, the kettle cleaned and descaled, and I made beef strips and rice one day and then chicken fajitas the next, both of which were delicious!

And let's not forget the tasty pumpkin cinnamon rolls!

I'm glad I managed to be so productive and get so much done!

~ I'm finally and properly caught up with my wordcount goal for NaNoWriMo! It took a few 3k+ nights, but I got there, and now I can just work at a normal pace for the rest of the month, provided I don't take any more days off.

Then it'll just be a matter of continuing to write until I actually properly finish something. Which for me is a lot harder than writing 1.6k words a day.
fandrogyne: (reading)
~ I had a satisfying but unproductive night and day, which is okay by me because those kinds of nights are usually pretty relaxing.

~ I got a bit more writing done, and even though I'm still behind after leaving everything alone for that many days, I'm catching up, and the difference isn't insurmountable. I also signed up for the NaNoWriMo site, not for the community aspect or the wordcounter or anything, but mostly for the discount I'd get on Scrivener when I meet the 50k word goal at the end of the month.

~ I read more of Courtney Schafer's The Labyrinth of Flame, which I'm not reading as quickly as I normally would because I keep getting distracted by things like writing and playing video games. But I'm almost three quarters through, and if I make sure to take the time tonight, I ought to finish it and the heap the author with praise, because she's wonderful and writes wonderful books and ought to be told that more often.

(Can't tell I'm a big fan, can you?)

~ I used my slow cooker to make a pot of oatmeal while I slept, because the days are getting colder and sometimes it's hard to get out of bed when I know that it's cold outside the blankets. But knowing I have to get up because food is ready, especially hot food, makes it a lot easier.

I like my oatmeal a lot thicker than it turned out, so next time I'll add less liquid, but it still tasted okay, and was nice and warm, and that's the important thing.

~ I took a trip to the library and got out a couple of books tonight, because Tuesdays are the one night of the week the library's open late enough that I can go without having to get up really early. One book on money-saving tips, and the other on making trickle income online, combined with getting freebies to supplement budgets. Most of the info I suspect I'll already know, but even if there are a few tricks in there that I haven't already done to help cut my costs and expenses, I'll be glad to hear of them.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ On the writing front, I didn't actually get any writing done this weekend. I got too distracted by reading and video games. I should still be able to catch up over the course of a few days, but I'm still a bit disappointed that I was doing so well for a time and then let my wordcount fall by the wayside.

~ In Final Fantasy X, I got through the Djose Temple puzzle dungeon (and got the Destruction Sphere treasure this time, unlike in Kilika), had my heart broken of the failed Operation Mi'ihen, and made it all the way across the Thunder Plains and to the other side of Macalania Woods. Not bad playing, for a weekend. Plenty of plot along the way, plenty of level-building, and I still want to do a bit more level-grinding before tackling the next area, I'm pretty confident that I could do okay even if I just forged ahead right now.

~ I made a slow-cooker beef stew while I was asleep today. Or rather, I threw a pot roast and some chopped potatoes and carrots into a slow cooker, along with some beef stock gel, and let it go while I slept. It came out somewhere between a complete pot roast and a beef stew. Either way, it made a whole meal in my sleep, so I'm very happy with it.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ Went out to meet a friend the morning, to get help getting giant bags of cat litter home, and while I was out we stopped by the Granville Street Diner to give their food a try. Despite hearing reviews from locals like, "The food's not that great," or, "Don't bother going there," I found it a pretty good place. The food wasn't spectacular or anything, but it was exactly what I was hoping for, and the hot hamburger I had was really close to hot hamburgers served by a restaurant that I miss because it's back in the city I moved here from. I haven't had one in almost a year, and it wasn't exactly the same, but it was close enough to be comparable, so I was pretty happy with it.

The service was extremely fast, and I haven't yet found another restaurant that serves bottomless mugs of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate for only $2. So in all, a good restaurant when you want cheap tasty food but want something a bit more substantial than fast food.

~ Had a dream that I came out to my parents as transgender, and despite knowing I've told them such before in real life (though mostly that I don't identify with my physical/assigned sex), in the dream, they freaked out. Maybe because I'd made the decision to start living with a male appearance and was working toward that in a much more serious way than they'd ever seen, I don't know, but they were both extremely unhappy, talking about how they'd lost a daughter and were really upset and didn't know how to handle it.

I can get people not knowing how to handle it when someone comes out to them, because it's a mental readjustment you have to make, but even in the dream the whole "I've lost a daughter" bit stung, because they haven't had a daughter since I was in my early teens and decided that nope, I don't like being female, even though I'd never heard the word transgender at that point. I even remember one time, out shopping with my mother, when she made some comment about me having grown up so well but to her I'll always be her little girl, and I turned around in the middle of the mall and said to her that I am not a little girl. And I think she took it to mean that I was embarrassed by her and that I'm a grown person and not a kid, but even that hurt because only 2 days before that I'd talked to her about why I hated being female and the assumptions people made about me when they saw female attributes. It felt like she was trying to shove me back into some parent-approved box that I had just finished telling her I don't fit in.

So it's not like my parents haven't heard some of my trans issues. But I don't think they remember them very well, because we barely see each other anyway and conversations are so far apart and my issues aren't central to either of their lives. In the dream, I tried to tell them that getting so wailingly upset and making the announcement all about them was derailing and offensive, because I was being brave trying to be honest with them about a big part of my identity and struggles and they're now making it all about how hard it is to be them, having a kid with those struggles.

I have no idea why I had this dream, but wow, do I ever feel uncomfortable about the next time I talk to either of them...

~ But in happier news, I got a lot more Final Fantasy X played last night! I got through the horrible Blitzball game in Luca, and it only took me 4 resets before I actually won the tournament. I know winning isn't essential to the game progressing, but it just feels wrong to let Wakka's last game be a failure instead of a victory. I won, 1-0, and I consider even a single goal to be a good thing because I am absolutely terrible at that minigame!

I stopped playing right before the Chocobo Eater boss battle, and did a bit of level-grinding right before that so I'd be in decent condition when I fight later.

~ I did get some writing done, though I'm not caught up to where I should be by NaNo standards. Closer than before, though. I'm a bit less than a day behind now, instead of two days, so it won't take me much effort to catch back up. I just need to sit down and actually write, instead of getting distracted by fun video games.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ Not going to start updating this weekly. I just took a week of relatively Internet-free time so that I could enjoy other stuff in life. It was totally worth it, by the way.

~ My GST rebate cleared in my bank account, so aside from treating a friend to dinner at one of the local Chinese restaurants, I also splurged on a couple of video games. Dark Souls, and Lego Star Wars. They were on sale at a local drugstore, of all places, and for a decent price, and I thought they'd provide a load of entertainment and so would be worth the price.

I'm the kind of person who thinks that video games are a pretty good entertainment investment, since I usually play ones that have a lot of story and so playtime, and I rarely only play a game once. So if I spend $50 on a game that promises me 50 hours of gameplay, that's $1 per hour of entertainment, and that's assuming I only play it once and only take that amount of time to unlock all the game has to offer. It's a lot of money to invest in upfront, but if you're the kind of person who plays games the way I do, it's worth it in the end.

~ The first batch of games in the Humble Monthly Bundle were dropped, and hot damn, are there ever some good games in it! The gem for me is Valkyria Chronicles, which normally sells for $21.99, and even if the subscription hadn't been a gift, then spending $12 for the subscription would be worth it for that game alone!

~ Also used some of that GST money to buy some cheap bags of Halloween candy from the Bulk Barn, so now I have delicious sweets to last me for a while.

~ Now that my book reviewing days are behind me, I'm able to better focus on things like writing. I'm unofficially doing NaNoWriMo this year, and so far I'm on track when it comes to wordcount, even though I keep wincing at some of the things I write. I'm trying to follow the advice I was given by numerous people: write now, edit later. Hopefully it will help me finish things this time...

~ Surprisingly, I didn't actually do much cooking. I got together with a friend to make a Samhain feast, which consisted of various vegetables, chicken, stuffing, and other delicious things, but for the most part, it seems that this break from the Internet was also a break from the kitchen.

Which is a bit sad, since I do like cooking, but I think not cooking for a while actually made me more eager to get back in there and make good food again, so maybe it was worth it.

Though I did make a meatloaf that turned out pretty well. I'd never made meatloaf before, so I'm glad it was edible, let alone good. Definitely something I'll make again in the future, because especially if I can get the ground beef on sale, it's a pretty cheap meal that's not hard to make.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ I seem to be at that stage of having a cold where I'm useless as a human being, much less an adult. I just want to curl up in bed with an endless mug of tea and some books, and not come out until I feel better. Unfortunately, my body seems to also be conspiring against that plan, because I'm still going through stress-related insomnia, which makes my restless legs act up, so lying in bed isn't the most comfortably thing because of pain.

Thanks, Obody.

~ Did some reading last night, watched a couple of YouTube videos, and just generally tried to rest and relax. Can't say that I accomplished much, but it's probably better that way, if I'm feeling so cruddy.

~ I did catch Ho-Oh in Pokemon Shuffle, though. I had to use a whole load of money on Great Balls to do it, because the battle was seriously annoying and I didn't want to keep doing it over and over again and hoping for the best with a low catch percentage, but I did catch it, and now I can spend half a billion battles trying to recoup some of that money I just blew.

~ Technically finished all my responsibility reading for the month! This makes me so very happy, and it's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I still have to write up a final review, and I do want to read T Frohock's Without Light or Guide and review that on Friday morning, but after that, I consider myself free to read or not read however and whatever I want to.

That may not sound like such a big thing to most people, but when you've been running a relatively popular book review blog for almost 6 years, you start to feel the pressure of always having to provide regular content, always having to clear off the review copy pile (which never ends, and that's a blessing-curse of the best-worst kind), and so many books get left by the wayside because you don't have time or energy. I get to step back as of November first, and I think that's the right move for me because it feels like a lightening rather than a pure loss.

~ I made garlic beef yakimeshi for supper. It didn't turn out as flavourful as I'd hoped, probably because I lacked both mirin and any greens to add to the mix, but it was still tasty. Next time I think I'll add more garlic, and probably some chopped green onions, and I think that will help make it taste a lot better.
fandrogyne: (Default)
~ Still trying to force myself back into the usual things I do, and to not just let myself wallow and stare vacantly at the TV because doing so takes so little energy and I can't be bothered. I need to do things, so I'm trying hard to keep busy until I get back into the swing of living and not just existing. (Whoever said that a little bird couldn't touch your life so much has clearly never had an unsinging rescue bird start singing and keep singing for almost 10 years of their life...)

~ I've gotten 2 book reviews written this week so far, so that's something. I'm aiming for 2 more by the end of the week, which shouldn't be difficult. Well, 1 book review and 1 novella review, anyway.

~ I found out that while some amazon.com reviews crosspost to amazon.ca automatically (or at least I get blocked from crossposting to the .ca site sometimes when it claims I already posted the review on .com) others don't. Or possibly they used to block crossposts and now have stopped, I don't know. Either way, I now have to go check everything I've reviewed on amazon.com and see if it will now allow me to post it to amazon.ca.

I suppose the positive side of this is that my reviewer ranking on amazon.ca might suddenly skyrocket. I wouldn't complain about that; I'm so close to the top 1000 there, which is a nice achievement (I'm close to the top 10,000 on amazon.com, which is still an achievement though not as impressive), and I'd love to tip over that line.

~ I learned to tell the difference between horse chestnuts and regular chestnuts... the hard way. Yeah. No kurigohan for me, and that chestnut sapling I was so proud of is only going to grow up to bear poisonous fruit.

I feel like there's some kind of moral lesson to be learned in this. But really, the only lesson is that I probably should have confirmed that something was what I thought it was before putting it in my mouth.
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