Author Archives: R.K. Modena

About R.K. Modena

Writer, artist, mom, all the rest is icing and sprinkles on the cake.

Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

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Quick post about LibreOffice – Write

I made my jump from MS Word to LibreOffice the same time I made a pretty huge jump from Windows to Linux (Mint, Debian edition) for security reasons. That was back in 2009, and while I’ve moved into ‘what works best’ mindset, I have to say I’m very happy about having moved to LibreOffice and away from Word.

LibreOffice can be used across most platforms and OS-es; I use a Mac, a Linux Debian box and a Windows box (the latter usually for gaming and entertainment) and they work, from my own personal usage, with no discernible differences for a simple end user like myself. So you do not have to move to a Linux OS just to use LibreOffice.

In fact, I have not used all of LibreOffice – the two which I use the most are LibreOffice Write and Calc, the latter being a spreadsheet program which I keep track of grocery shopping and house budget with.

I’m not here to convince people to make massive jumps away from unfamiliar OS but simply to illustrate that if you do decide to switch from MS Office to LibreOffice, you’ll find that there is very little to worry about in terms of learning curve – especially if you use it primarily for documents and writing – in which case, it’ll be LibreOffice Write you’ll care about the most.

I also use LibreOffice Write for the majority of formatting for both ebook and print books – that is, the formatting of inner book content. As I’ve thus far only made books with only text, as of this post I can probably comment only on that. But for now, this post is concerned with how LibreOffice Write looks and on the very basic, works.

This is a post done mostly in response to some comments in Mad Genius Club’s post  “Formatting for Print – Revisited.” I just found it easier to quickly snap off some screenshots and make this post.

Click on the image to see a bigger version. That said, the rest of this post will be behind a jump.

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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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