So for YEARS the University of Texas Pagan, Vampire Larp, and GLBT groups tended to cluster around a particular oak tree in the west mall. I think we kind of mythologized it, even if it is just a tree, it had a lot of fond memories of lollygagging and that sepia-tone that college memories get 10 years after the fact.
Of course, it IS just a tree, I'm sure the gay pagan vampires are somewhere else on campus now. I don't know where, but I'm sure it's just as magic for them.
Anyway, I'm hanging out in the University's internet cafe on the first day of college, there's throngs of students all around the place. Lots of student organizations have their wares out.
And the UT Pagan Alliance has their table set up beside our old tree :)
It doesn't mean much, but it made me extremely happy to see that. Just a warm hit of nostalgia on a kind of crazy up-and-down day.
Whoof. I've taken a few beatings over the last few days over this.
My office is moving across town, which spells an end for my nice little commute with Whines. This is a sad thing, but not an unalloyed tragedy, it gives me a degree of freedom I haven't had in a while -- as much as I love being able to go home with my mate at the end of a work day, being nailed to someone else's schedule has its down sides. So I had to get a car, and I'm not totally upset about this, tho in the balance it would have been better if I didn't need to. Of course, I'm forgetting how to park, so there's trade-offs.
I ended up purchasing a station wagon from some friends, which seemed to be a nice arrangement all around--put my money to work helping someone else out of a fix, which I love being able to do, particularly if I can meet one of my needs in the process. So, that's good.
The initial purchase ended up costing me a lot more money than I thought it would, like $1200 more. Upsetting. I knew it would be expensive, there'd be some repairs that had to happen, but that was half again as much as I'd planned to spend, money that went down the car-toilet.
Now the car's acting up. It's not my friends' fault, there was some extenuating, complex circumstances...but I spent months and months with a car on its death bed not so very long ago, and the symptoms were too similar.
*sigh* I'm really not in a blame mode, I'm just sad and frustrated by life. I'm sad that I had to get the car in the first place, feeling a little helpless in the face of my own ignorance of cars in general...it's not a skill I particularly want to develop, there's only so much time in the world to learn things and do things, but I do recognize my basic ignorance in this field, it's occasionally a problem. And I have this dread that I'm falling back into the horrible, claustrophobic world of "guy with dying car," it's (mostly) irrational, but a hard fear to shake.
It is a nice car. Once it gets over its issues, anyway, it will be.
Okay, so it's Dogai's birthday tonight. Bauson said that D really liked "biscoff" cookies, which are buttery little things with a touch of spice, and suggested (I think because he had a jar of Biscoff spread) that a biscoff cake could be in order.
So...I thought about it for a while.
Currently chilling in my fridge, I've got an ATTEMPT at a Biscoff parfait. I took two 9" sponge cake rounds, sliced them horizontally into thirds (so I've got six centimetre-thick cake rounds), and layered them thusly--whipped cream with a bit of brandy, cake, biscoff spread, whipped cream, cake, custard, cake, biscoff and whipped cream, cake, custard, cake, etc.
I had to "wing it" a bit because I couldn't find biscoff, but I figured they were about halfway between a Pepperidge Farm "Bordeaux" cookie (one of my favorites, a butter-caramel crisp), and those light, delicate Belgian spice cookies, the kind that are about a millimeter thick. Wonderful things! I made a paste of those, coconut oil, a little sugar, a little cinnamon, a little vanilla.
The only real pressing problem I'm seeing is that the coconut oil freezes up in cold weather, so it's probably not the best choice to use in a parfait.
I've dumped the entire thing into a chamberpot for a serving dish, mostly because I didn't have any big round serving bowls...but also because I happen to have a chamberpot that I wasn't using, so to speak.
[Edit: Well, I'm not sure how to feel about the cake experience. It was a little busy - the cream of the whipped cream overwhelmed the custard, the custard wasn't very flavorful, which is sad, I love custard. But the cookies--well, the fact that the coconut oil set actually had an interesting side-effect, it made the spread crunchy and crisp, a bit like the original cookies were. So...in the balance, nto a bad experiment, but a little too complex to be worth repeating. If I'd let the overall thang chill overnight, it might have been more parfait-like, more blending of flavors and moist texture throughout, like a cinnamon-spice tirimisu. We'll see.]
Well, if that wasn't the cutest thing ever. We pulled into the grocery store parking lot, which has a fairly large green plaza with some high "xeriscape" grass growing in ragged patches, and Whines pointed out a ground squirrel! Or possibly a rat, but an awful cute burrowing one. It ducked into a hole under a bush, and we saw a few of its friends, and the exits for four or five more warrens.
Nearby, there was a tiny little maze in the high grass, showing the rodents' favorite paths. Adorable!
What a week. I swear, I had about half an hour of work to deal with, maaaaybe an hour. There was some minor stuff I could have been doing, but it's sooo hard to do the "maintenance" stuff when there's nobody in the office and nobody's saying anything...there's a fair bit of job-security gloom in the office these days.
Starting work on a new blog, possibly co-writing with Sam. The basic theme is "reading paranormal romance so YOU don't have to." Basically, a pair of snarky goths going through Twilight and other similer books. Should be fun. I'm asking a cartoonist to do pics of myself and Sam all gothy and foolish-looking.
Schlitterbahn yesterday, touching base with some furs we hadn't seen in a while. Not a bad trip, a bit of a mixed bag. Ate most of our time there waiting in line for a ride for, wow, nearly three hours. Not gonna do that again. Next time, if you see a sign saying "two hour wait," believe it! *shrug* these things, they happen.
Went back for a last-minute splash through the infinite water circle with rapids, my favorite "ride" in the park, a long loop, basically a wave pool in a big circle. Toward the end of one loop, I got thrown underwater, surfaced, and took an inner tube to the face--bending the frame of my glasses and popping out a lens. Sigh. Thankfully, I have my blue "in character" glasses (see icon), but they're a little hard to wear constantly. I'll see if I can't replace the lens or get a new pair over the week.
Thanks to Ip and Pacer for hosting that one. I wonder if it would be worthwhile to host a "graymuzzle gather," maybe once a month or so. Hmm.
Ach. Weekend off to a bad start with a series of e-mails Friday. The church is voting on hiring a volunteer coordinator (the answer to that should be “yes, absolutely, even if you have to sell off the children for the money.”) But the entire process has been hobbled a bit by the source of revenue for the position and the fiscally “responsible” opposition. Way to tend that corpse there, friends. Anyway, lots of anti-VC spam over the weekend, very frustrating, mass e-mails are NOT a good way to create an open process or avoid partisan bickering.
Frustratingly, blessedly, or both, my e-mail programs wouldn’t let me “reply all.”
Friday’s game was fun, a bit short—some very problematic puzzles, and my character’s “evil ex” (an Eladrin, or magicky-elf-type, that my anthro sparklewolf character has been crushing on for 15 years now and thought was dead) showed up to cause problems. At some point in the last six months Whines must have read a book on “establishing mood in RPGs,” he’s been doing a bang-up job at creepy and weird lately. Good stuff!
Saturday—a little light shopping. Got a pair of nice “sketchers” dress shoes, nice-looking sturdy stompy shoes that are pretty comfortable. Because of my two-mile daily hike lately and the crap shoes I’ve had, my dogs have been barking something fierce lately, and these may be just perfect. A little large, tho. Then home, get angry at e-mail again, attempt to do some PHP work but too muzzy and reference books too obscure. Finally found my “simple PHP concepts, one per page” book on my way out the door.
Went to Shakespeare play which was supposed to be directed by Samantha, but unfortunately she wasn’t going to be there that particular day and I didn’t know if I’d be able to make another showing. Halfway decent folk music band for preshow and intermission. A little whispy and I couldn’t sing along because, well, performance. Lhexa, Tofu there, Richard Garriott’s backyard theater. Play: 12th Night. Good show, lots of larfs. Sterling played a priest, which was unexpected, SidB also there in audience, doubly unexpected.
Sunday—church, vote for VC failed (three votes short of two-thirds majority, which is a bitter pill). Angry for several hours. Dinner with USBunny and movie (Homeword Bound, total Disney schlock, but amusing), USB, Bauson, Sebu. Then home, attempt to sleep but dogs decide to puke at 3:00.
Weekend: 1.5 stars.
--last night baked two large loaves of Hawaiian bread. We’ll see what happens—unfortunately kneaded the bread a second time, so it may be rather dense and heavy. I don’t know, we’ll see. I made a cloverleaf freeform bun, kind of like six petals on a flower, and painted the petals alternating with butter and egg, so one petal is glossy and red-brown, the other is tan. Looks neat. Hope it tastes as good.
--work a bit crazy right now as we’re gearing up for several website launches AND a big series of summer conferences.
www.thrifthorror.com is up to about a thousand hits a month. Cool! : )
Got a fairly positive new employee evaluation, so that’s good. I’m a little worried about what will happen to my role in August, but hey, the entire office is.
If you haven’t seen ITunesU, it’s fantastic. An ITunes resource loaded with free college courses on EVERYTHING. There’s some good web development curricula there!
I have to say, with the increase in my free time I've been enjoying weekends a fair bit more :)
Friday game got cancelled, unfortunately. Bauson and we hung out for a while--grabbed dinner, watched "Storyquest," a new webcast/DVD by the makers of "Gamers" and "Heart of Dorkness." Not quite as "every line's a joke" as the two movies, but good stuff :)
A little bit of unsuccessful puttering--Whines took me downtown Saturday to hit some thrift stores, one of which was closed and the other was meh. Then hit Zhi Tea (I love you Zhi Tea) and bought some tasty citrus-mate' for mother's day, and a tin of coconut chai for me, which was quite tasty.
D&D that night--Whines's game SEEMS to have driven into some strange, abberent-dominated alternate reality or chronology. I'm not sure exactly which--we hopped through a malfunctioning gate with a improvised piece of magic cast by a dilletant demonologist, so it's probably a good thing we're not in the Abyss somewhere. The landscape's creepy and weird and I think he re-watched the french animation, "Fantastic Planet." Again.
Mother's Day on Sunday, so I got up a bit early to clean up and prepwork--one of those "not quite right" mornings. I got chased around the kitchen by a very tenacious spider, the dog barfed, and my computer wouldn't turn on, but ultimately I got a nice turkey off the grill for a late lunch. Then we watched "Mamma Mia" with the sing-along track turned on.
Almost had to give the mexican hairless mouth-to-mouth *shudder* when he took a piece of turkey from my hand, but accidently INHALED the chunk of rawhide he was chewing. Stupid dog!
Nice weekend! Whines a little headachey on Sunday, and Lhexa came for a visit but he was kind of sleep-depped.
Brfblf. Eat way too much starchy food at Indian buffet, then sit down to edit a 50 page funding proposal/grant document.