Ghosts and bathrooms

What is it about ghosts haunting bathrooms? It’s not something I really understand – I mean, if I was going to haunt someplace as a ghost, a library seems so much more comfortable and interesting, you know? Yet despite that, stories and legends of ghosts haunting bathrooms and toilets abound throughout the world. Or is it just an Asian thing?  Maybe it isn’t; I don’t know. I mean, J.K. Rowling put Moaning Myrtle to haunting Hogwarts bathrooms, so maybe the story of ghosts haunting school bathrooms and public loos aren’t just aren’t an Asian ghost encounter thing?

Japan probably has some of the most well documented ones, from the akai-kami, aoi-kami ghost – a ghost who asks ‘red paper or blue paper’? and will either skin you alive or strangle you if you pick one; Hanako the ghost, who is a bit of a cross of the Bloody Mary type of ghost story and ‘schoolgirl who died at school’ story; akaname the filth-licker, a Japanese yokai that dates back to well before the 20th century at least, and the noppera-bo, another yokai that has no face and has been described to also haunt toilets (there’s a story about a woman encountering one in Hawaii, in 1959.) (Note: that blogpost is worth a look at, as it describes that there is no lore in Hawaii that resembles the story; and it seems to folklore that transferred from Japan.)

Ghost stories about bathrooms aren’t something I’ve read about only online though; even when I was going to school there were stories of a nun supposedly haunting the showers in Miriam; as well of course as the stories of a ghost that would peek over the bathroom stall dividers. Every school seemed to have at least one bathroom stall ghost story, regardless of whether or not the school was a Christian or Catholic school, or a secular one. However, stories of ghosts haunting the bathrooms also occur in buildings and edifices other than schools. Continue reading

Moral and informed choices

Warning: I talk about abortion, morals, and loss here, so if you think  you can’t handle that, for whatever reason (whether it is triggering to your own loss; you feel it might be judgemental of choice – and it will be, because this is an opinion column – or simply because you don’t want to read about abortion) that’s fine; don’t click the read more as I have put this behind a blog cut. If you do, however, you don’t get to be offended about my opinions.

This is, however, from the perspective of a woman who has lost two babies of her own, through stillbirth and SIDs. This is not a religious opinion either, but a purely factually scientific one which is admittedly against abortion.

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YES! ORDERED!!!

So I planned to order the book on the day it got out – except it ended up being completely out of stock on Book Depository, and even looking on Amazon and being willing to pay the exorbitant amount in shipping ‘wrong side of the world, fuckers!’ costs just to get the book …found it was completely out of stock. For a moment, I thought yet again that Milo’s book had been stopped – but a quick look online reassured me and made me cheer at the same time. Milo’s book was simply SOLD OUT~!!!!!!

Good reason to not be able to immediately get it.

I figured I’ll try getting in a while later; and was reminded to check when I saw that Milo-sempai had a new video up. So while I was laughing myself into coughing fits, I checked on BD…

MINE NOW. Well, en route to me. Had to grab it before it went out of stock again, even if I might not have time immediately to read it.

Now I just gotta hope that Monster Hunter: Siege comes out a little later next month so I can save up for it again.

 

edited to add: Got another book I just cannot resist: The Lawdog Files!

Swiftness of the seasons

Lately I’ve been struck by how quickly time flies, mostly in relation to Rhys and I.

13 years together – it shocks me sometimes, when I look back. I have a photo of him and Vincent as a newborn, sleeping together. I see the photo and note how young and … light… Rhys looks in that photo. It brings tears of joy to my eyes. Tears of sorrow too, because I know why he aged, and it’s not just the passage of time. We’ve both aged, and the scars still bleed.

Still, somehow, we’ve survived and we’re somehow still going on.

So as part of getting myself back on the thing of drawing after a long hiatus due to health and RL concerns, I’ve been drawing. I’ve had some images stuck in my head inspired by various pieces of music. I’ve been drawing them as best as I can; the others are not finished yet, but this one I kind of didn’t want to continue touching up any more, because of the emotions it conveyed for me.

Thirteen years. Wow. It seems like such a long time but it sure flew by really fast. If I feel like this now, I wonder how it’ll be like when we’re both in our sixties, or older. Continue reading

Burger a lot

One of the things I like to take the time and effort of making is making my own hamburger. Not on the level of slaughtering my own cow and pig or from chunks of meat and fat to my own specifications, but at the least from mince. I’m not fond of ‘just meat’ burgers; I like my burger seasoned. I also don’t just have beef burger; my burgers are a mix of beef and pork ground meat – 2 kg beef to 1 kg pork. (So this will always be a minimum of 3kg meat.) This was a recipe that my parents used to make, and we lost at one point, until I decided to try recreate it. I remember my mother soaking slices of bread in milk while preparing the other seasonings, but I use breadcrumbs instead.

Since I usually make this as a large batch, the proportions of everything else is ‘per kilo.’ The last batch I made was 9 kg of meat.

Maybe I should have pre-mixed the pork and beef first, or at least pulled it apart in chunks and sort of distributed them a bit more evenly, but I was rushed. That’s a huge metal basin; I’m really happy I found it in Costco. The Housemate didn’t think I would need something this big, but The Husband knows about my periodic urges to ensure the freezer is stocked with something delicious, so… It’s only fortunate that this just fits the bottom of my fridge too, because this has an overnight marinate time before I shape the patties.

For this particular batch I did something that I thought might make the burgers yummier when cooked, which was cut up chunks of butter and a cube or two in the middle of the patty.

I reform the meat into a ball again and flatten into a patty.

Which I then put onto a tray lined with baking paper for freezing. I usually put two layers of patties before putting them to freeze.

For a batch as large as the one I made (I sat in front of the TV to watch while making this, so I had newspaper spread on the carpet) be prepared to set aside at least two days of prep work. For the smallest possible batch, you won’t need as long – start in the morning, marinate through the day, fry up burgery goodness for dinner! I’d suggest making smaller, flatter patties than the steaks I made though for putting between buns! I tend to cook these up in the oven with a sauce as a boneless alternative to steak.

Print Recipe
Rory's Burger
You'll need at least 3kg of meat, so the proportion of the patty is up to you! Freeze any patties you don't think you'll need for future meals. The proportion of beef to pork I use is 2kg of beef to 1kg of pork, and this is the base recipe.
Prep Time 2-4 hours
Passive Time 6 hours to overnight
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 2-4 hours
Passive Time 6 hours to overnight
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Open packages of minced meat and divide into smaller clumps. Place the clumps into a large bowl, distributing the beef and pork into more-or less even proportions.
  2. Add the bread crumbs. Set aside the bowl.
  3. In another bowl add all other ingredients except the sweet pickle relish. Mix it all together with an electric beater or in a blender.
  4. Pour the mixed seasonings on the meat and breadcrumbs. Add sweet pickle relish.
  5. With gloved hands, work in the seasonings into the meat and breadcrumbs until well incorporated and everything looks mixed evenly.
  6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Length of time depends on the amount of meat used. If it's the minimum 3kg, 4-6 hours of marinate/sit time; more than that will need overnight at least to allow the meat's flavour to absorb into the meat.
  7. Prepare baking trays: line trays with baking paper. If choosing to add butter cubes, start cubing butter.
  8. Set out your workarea with the bowl of meat and trays.
  9. Take into gloved hands the amount of meat mix you want for your patty. If you want butter in the middle, place a cube in the middle of your ball of meat, reform the ball and press slightly into patty shape.
  10. Place patties on the prepared trays. If wished, place another layer of baking paper on top and another layer of patties; no more than two layers of patties. Place another layer of baking paper on top to protect the patties and put in freezer, if freezing.
  11. Freeze for at least 8 hours, before removing burger patties to zip lock bagged portions.
  12. Use burger patties as you wish. Recipe is also good for meatballs (freeze in the same way.)
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Books Old and New

So, my son literally (hahahahaha see what I did there?) devoured every single Matthew Reilly book I have, except for The Tournament. He barely had put down The Four Legendary Kingdoms and was already looking for more. (He was VERY upset with what happened in Scarecrow.)

So I gave him what I had of Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, scraped together the money for  Games Wizards Play and it arrived just as he got through The Wizard’s Dilemma. I read GWP first of course, but hesitated on giving it to my son initially because of the sexuality/relationships subthemes. Son has a puppy-love girlfriend, but he isn’t mature enough yet for the more complicated hormones-sexuality-etc soup; and since I’d told him to come to me and ask if he had any questions, the introduction of a couple of young openly gay characters wasn’t something I was sure I’d explain just yet. So I went to have a chat with my son about the book.

Turns out though, he already knew that ‘gay’ = people who date/fall in love with the same sex, so while he doesn’t know/care about the nuts and bolts of it, he knows about that. (How, he’s not really sure. Kids pick up stuff.) Since Games never goes into more detail than ‘he’s/I’m gay/have a boyfriend’, I changed my mind on that score. Since we were talking about it already, I explained, very simply, what asexuality was, since that crops up too. (Son knows basic biological scientific sex; e.g. what makes a baby.)

I know there are some folks out there who will scream ‘censorship’ but, quite honestly, sod off. My son might be more emotionally mature than most kids his age (the death of two siblings will do that to a child who’s old enough), or perhaps a bit smarter (reading will do that) but I am pacing what he reads based on what I observe he’s ready to handle, or understand properly, or understands so he can properly enjoy or react to the work.This is a kid whose level of relationship is that ‘you’re boyfriend and girlfriend if you like each other and kiss and hold hands.’

In much the same way I wouldn’t hand him any of Anne Bishop’s books, and I love her writing, and am waiting until he’s a bit more mature before I give him any of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, and going by current development, the boyo might not read the Monster Hunter Memoirs books until he’s 14 or 15.

Toward that end I’m trying to get my hands on hardcover David Eddings books; and trying to find the first trilogy of Dragonlance.

It’s rather interesting that most of my book purchases of late haven’t been new release books, but trying to hunt down older ones. I prefer hardcovers now because they’re more durable and stand up to re-re-re-re-reading. I got lucky and found a Domes of Fire volume that has Larry Elmore’s art on it.

This is the reason why ultimately, my Dragon Awards nominations are rather sparse.

Best Science Fiction Novel : Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Best Fantasy: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo & Larry Correia (I know Larry recused himself from further Dragon Award noms, but John Ringo’s still game for it)

Best YA novel: Would have voted for: Games Wizards Play – Diane Duane (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Horror Novel : Etched in Bone – Anne Bishop

Best Graphic Novel: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card

Best Movie: Dr. Strange

Best video game: Would have voted for: Nier: Automata (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Mobile Game: Would have nominated : Shadowverse by Cygames or Sword Art Online: Memory Defrag

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Devouring Books

Earlier this week I noticed that my eldest son was almost done reading Matthew Reilly’s The Six Sacred Stones, mostly because he was asking if there were any more books in the series. I proceeded to dig out my hardcovers of the next two volumes, The Five Greatest Warriors and The Four Legendary Kingdoms, and handed them to him. He happily puts them in his room, and I figure he’ll be entertained by that for a while.

Two days later, the boyo suddenly starts talking about something that happened in The Four Legendary Kingdoms over dinner, and I interrupt, saying, “Hang on, didn’t I just give you those books practically yesterday?” Continue reading