Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream


I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious. I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious.

But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though. But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though.

I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle. I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle.

Maybe someday I’ll remember to take a photo of a cake slice instead of going ‘om nom nom’ right away.

Maybe.

Until then, have a recipe!

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The Illusion of Memory

Recently I watched two sci-fi movies that I deeply enjoyed; Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and the live action version of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite vastly differing source material, they touched on related themes. Memory – or what is perceived as memory, also played heavily in the movie The Arrival. All of these were excellent movies that I highly recommend watching, as they both entertain and, for me, are incredibly good science fiction stories, full stop. Speaking of stopping, if you haven’t seen these, you’d probably want to stop here.

(Spoilers abound, you’re forewarned.)

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Redback spider!

Instead of an April Fool’s joke, I figure, I play up on one of the joking-not-joking things that is associated with living in Van Diemen’s Land.

Since I live in Australia, it was inevitable that we would one day encounter one of it’s deadly inhabitants, for which the Land Downunder is known, and indeed, famous for. While working in the back yard, we found, in a knothole, the Australian cousin of the Black Widow, the Redback Spider.

 

Isn’t she cute? We call her Scarlett. (Ba-bum-dum tish!)

That’s all she did, by the way; just sit there, as still as could be, and in fact we called the children over so they could have a look and identify her, and recognise her for what it was. Afterward, my handsome, manly Aussie hubby very gently caught the spider and released her under the fence, where her would surely find a nice place to hide and lots of other bugs, and spiders like Sydney Funnelwebs to eat.

I am extremely unfond of Sydney Funnelwebs, by the way. They’re freaking aggressive little bastards, who meet with crunchy stompy death and spray o’ bugger off. Or fire.

Speaking of spiders, my hubby has had lots of experience with the things, including the massive golden orb weaver spiders. He’s told me stories of walking through the bush, and finding one as big as his wristwatch… well, clinging to his wrist, where his wristwatch is, probably as surprised to be on him as well, hubby’s co-workers are to see the thing on him. Rhys just brushes them off onto the nearest tree branch, saying that he already has something ornamenting his wrist. He also recounted how he was talking to someone while walking through the bush, and in the same conversational tone of voice tell the other fellow, “oh, and you have a massive spider on your arm,” and keep going with the rest of the conversation.

“Wait? What?!” cue screaming and flailing

He told me that he saw a huuuuuge hairy wolf spider run across the floor of the place where he works recently too. “Oh crap, the humans are back! Run awaaaay~!”

Art as commentary

(above image is a screenshot from Danbooru by Sima Naoteng note: url is safe for work; though most of Danbooru is not.)

So I discovered a bunch of absolutely hilarious fan-art depicting the 2016 US elections. I’m probably very late to the whole thing, but now I know why there’s a running meme-joke of Trump being the God-Emperor. (Or, at least if this art circle didn’t start it, they ran with it and made it awesome and freaking adorable.)

Notable to me is the depiction of Hilary and Bernie doing a lot of fighting in the background in a number of these, practically ignoring their actual opponents – a rather apt depiction of how it looked to me for a chunk of the elections. Yes, that’s Milo Yiannopolous  dressed as a commissar; though he’s not tagged as such in a number of the other pictures where he shows up. I’m not sure why Rubio is depicted as a cross between the Terminator and Darth Vader though. Jeb Bush is the ghostly figure in the background.

That is seriously the most adorable fanart of Ben Carson I’ve ever seen.

I’ll cheerfully admit I don’t know most of the memes – like the water bottle, or the shiny pants. I sort of understand some of the ones portrayed (like how Hillary, more or less backed by Obama, overshadowed Sanders. I kind of gather in later potrayals Carson’s supposed to be a Paladin from Warhammer 40k. Notably, the depiction of a number of the GOP standing in the way, but not really …effectively doing anything. I don’t get the depictions of Bernie as a druid at all, but apparently there’s a lot more discussion about the artworks on the doujin circle’s blog that I really should look at. Heck, I agree with this post. It somewhat helps that they have a character list – and I agree with the writer, I value freedom of speech, not freedom from speech. It was rather obvious that even though the writer was solidly on the Trump side, the writer and artist were careful to take care with the fairy personifications of the people here. They aimed to portray US politics in a lighthearted way, and I think they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

On a different note, I really, really like this. Clearly, I’m not the only one. Mattis FOR THE WIN. Appeasement doesn’t work.

 

Veering off to news discussion now though, I really like how the earlier artist depicted Big Media. Having read bits of news here and there, it’s rather stark to me that neither Big Media, nor the screeching socjus wankers have really gotten a clue and plunged straight off into the deep end (conveniently forgetting what their preferred candidate’s husband and party was okay with, really revealing their double standards.) Pulling more of the political correctness bullshit and trying to shame people into pretzel-bendover accommodation of the feelings of a few, an entirely useless and pointless ‘women’s march’ with a main organiser that supports Sharia law and then telling pro-life people that they hope those pro-life women get raped? By reinforcing and proving true every single negative stereotype about women that exists, you’ve only become the laughingstock of the rest of the world. Guzzle a cuppa of ready-mix and harden the fuck up! and actually do something that isn’t screaming and throwing tantrums and tampons – but that would take more effort and thought and doesn’t directly benefit you.

Also, really, all the rest of you doing protests that Trump isn’t your president and whinge about getting abortion taken away somehow by his being in the White House – I don’t see why America has to pay for your abortions and contraception; and last I checked, America wasn’t the entirety of the whole world. Australia is not the 51st state of the United States of America, and is still part of the Commonwealth… and Brits, the US hasn’t been part of the Commonwealth for the last few hundred years. Philippines, the US hasn’t been the colonial master since… World War II ended at least. If y’all want to behave as if we ARE part of the US of A, then move there (though if they tried I can almost imagine that there would be a number of private citizens buying their own bricks to donate to a wall to keep these idiots out!)

There’s a time and place for voicing your opinions. A library isn’t it, scaring your children isn’t it, nor is harassing someone you happen to sit next to on a plane (the cheering made me happy, as well as the response by the staff) and a whole massive list of stupid actions since he won – not one of those are it. Harassing someone you assumed would give you the soundbite you wanted? NOT IT. Also, win answer, dude. Refusing to do your job because politics/religion/opinion? I thought that was verboten, leftists! Or only for your side?

And WAY TO GO TRUMP! Being more pro-woman than any one of those Women’s Marchers ever are, with just ONE SINGLE ACTION. Thank you for speaking on behalf of not just unborn boys, but also unborn girls.

 

Cake and work area

I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.

The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.

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All that fake news

I was looking for recipe posts to tag and came across the first ‘proper’ post I did here.

And laughed, cynically, because for all the screeching that alternative news sites are nothing but fake news…

the ‘proper’ news channels are sure good about faking up their news.

Notes on Dwende

Note: This is an expansion of a short post I made over at According to Hoyt, in response to Mary Catelli and Foxfier. As per usual, this description is based off our own experiences and encounters, as well as those descriptions that were related to us by others.

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Dwende is/are the Filipino catch-all term for faeries, brownies, nature spirits. It’s accepted belief that they share ‘space’ with human beings and encounters with them – intended and unintended – are part of the reason why superstitious belief is very strong in the Philippines. (Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters could probably go on safaris in the Philippines.) This post is to give a rough description of the dwende as we’ve encountered them (note I use present tense; even now I hear about encounters from my mother’s household.)

Because dwende are spirits who dwell in the land, they can be found anywhere, even urbanized areas. They are most often found in places where there is a bit of quiet -anything from deep forest to a small, stinking alleyway. Generally they are invisible to human eyes, though people with the gift of third sight or sixth sense can see or feel their presence. They vary in description from the typical small brownie, or small winged fairies, to manifesting as human-sized, or larger, beings; size seems to be relative to their ‘strength’ in ‘power’. They range from strange in appearance, fair, or ugly – not much different from the Western descriptions of fae.

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The Visiting Virgin Mary Statue

This being the Philippines, our practice of Catholicism may seem very strange to even other Catholics. I don’t know if the tradition of a visiting saint or Jesus or Mother Mary statue is common outside of the Philippines, but it happens. Usually (and this is the rough description from someone who hasn’t been involved in the process,) the caretakers ask if the statue (Usually a Mother Mary statue of some kind) will be welcomed to the household for a week’s praying of the rosary and novenas. It is done to bring blessings to the household; and daily from 3pm to 4pm, a full 15 mysteries of the rosary is said by a group of people, including the caretakers, praying for the family. Then afterward there is a bit of snacks and tea and coffee.

I had to consult with my mother because this story happened when I was quite young, maybe 7 years old, and requires a bit of a background story. I should note this doesn’t quite fall under ‘folklore’ and more ‘religious experience.’ Continue reading

We are living in Sci-Fi realms

A friend of mine linked this to me via Skype, and Skype, weirdly enough chose not to let me know she’d messaged me. Bloody hell.

Become a citizen of Asgardia

I wonder how it’ll be determined who goes onto the space station, should it launch? By merit and need, or by who has the most connections? There’s also the matter of more …hah! Earthly concerns; such as recognition of the things which require statehood – I doubt, strongly that they’ll go with a Star Trek concept of ‘no money’ – a concept which, though I love the series, I always found rather implausible (because trade still existed, and there were mentions of things like credits.)

Now, personally, I think they’re looking ahead; but at the same time I wonder how many of the old ‘rules’ will still hold, like the Outer Space Treaty, which is ridiculously vague, and I wonder always who will determine ‘the use of the resources.’ Every country will want to say ‘I need that’ but I do not think that such would simply be ‘given away’ – determined by some uncaring Communist-replacement body that decides who benefits based off some arbitrary guideline.

That said, I think that it’s an eventual step in the future that humanity will expand to the stars, for things like mining, settlement, and so on. It’s all a question of when, and whom. Continue reading

Star Trek Bridge Crew and cheese eating Vulcans

I love how randomness can result in my finding out about something rather cool.
Such as Star Trek Bridge Crew.

I make no secret of the fact that I play Star Trek Online. I’ve got a toon I started I thiiiink around New Romulus arc, then I made a Delta Rising character, and an Agents of Yesterday toon. (When the next arc starts, I am likely to make another toon because of rumors that it’ll center around Section 31.) Anyway, the current event that’s ongoing is the Mirror Universe Invasion; and we finished it on most of our toons today. Continue reading

Because Dragons

My son is reading, because of dragons.

I’m very happy that my eldest son is into reading fiction now. It was very difficult to get him to get away from computer and TV screens. I’ll admit that getting him to read segued from the kiddlywinks watching a movie then finding out that the movies were books first.

That, and the long periods of time when they couldn’t play video games because we couldn’t afford to fix computers/replace expensive parts. For years we didn’t have TV (it wasn’t plugged into the antenna) and they’d run out of DVDs to watch. “I’m bored,” holds no water when the parental response in the household is to brush a finger down the spines of several books, select one and hand it to the kidlet, “you can’t be bored, you haven’t read all the books in the house yet!”

So the trick to get him to read was to give him books that he liked. In this case he was very much into dragons, so I got him dragon-centric fantasy books and fantasy adventure books that I felt were straightforward engrossing stories that any of the children could read. Wings of Fire was obtained, along with some volumes of Brotherband (we’ll really have to try get him a boxed set at some point, because we fell behind, in favor of Wings) and then for his combined Christmas and birthday money, we went digging through Book Depository for books he wanted.

 

To my delight there’d be times where he would opt to read instead of watching TV or playing video games. In the morning after breakfast and before going to school he’d be curled up on the couch, reading. At first he rehashed all the ones he’d already read, and then I pointed out that he had unread books on his shelves waiting from his last book buy binge. It took some doing, but we got him Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and Dog and Dragon, which he enjoyed.

Recently, I handed him Matthew Reilly’s Troll Mountain. He liked it a lot as he finished it the same day, and remarked about how the cure for the disease turned out to be such a simple thing. I told him that the disease in the book was actually a disease that exists in the real world and it used to kill people very regularly. Right now, he’s working on The Great Zoo of China. He got through the first three chapters bam like that. Continue reading

Vote in the Dragon Awards!

Golden Dragon Bookworm

image source Google

 

First off, congratulations to the various authors who were nominated to, and are on the finalists for Dragoncon’s Dragon Awards! Larry Correia, who is a finalist, has a list of the other finalists on his blog.  Another finalist, Declan Finn, has made comments about the reactions; apparently already there is at least one author recusing himself from the ballot, for whatever reason.

However, there is a diverse range of books and authors, as well as games to vote for. Go vote for the ones you liked, enjoyed, the most, or find worthy for whatever reason you wish to use. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to pick or to vote for; this is your vote! And it’s free!

Vote for and support the thing you love! THIS is the award that is really and truly BY THE FANS. This has NOTHING to do with politics, nothing to do with the judgement of the gatekeepers. That’s evident from the finalists that ended up on the ballot!

So go forth, and vote. And most importantly, have fun!

 

 

 

Japanese Style Curry Bread

 

One of the things I like to eat here in Australia are meat pies. They fit in your hand, are a full meal in one, are served warm, and with a drink can be very satisfying. I’m also fond of pasties for the same reason. I mean, a food you can eat with one hand and a book or magazine in the other is tops for me.

Japanese Curry Bread is one of those delightful concepts where they took a good thing to an entirely new level. Instead of baking the stuffed bread, they dip it in egg, coat in panko bread crumbs and deep fry. Result: Crispy, savoury stuffed doughnut filled with comfort food. How could I not try this? I’ve technically eaten something like this in the Mini Stop shops back in the Philippines, but the dough left my mouth feeling dry; too much baking powder, perhaps? Nevertheless, they were filling, and cheap. But that’s all the way over across an ocean, and I’m in the Land Down Under. So, after my brother-in-law introduced me to a manga called Addicted to Curry, I resolved to make my own. I’m not as obsessive about curry as the folks in Addicted to Curry are, so I use the pre-packaged Japanese roux.

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Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake

This is an adapted version of Marta Stewart’s 1 bowl chocolate cake

It’s not as heavy as mudcake, with a good ‘chewy’ mouthfeel, and despite the sugar, isn’t sweet tasting. Combined with the icing, which isn’t that sweet either it makes for a rich cake that makes you feel like you’re eating something decadent enough to slice thinly and enjoy with tea or coffee after dinner, or with friends in the afternoon. The recipe makes 1 8-inch double layer cake. The version pictured above was my successful test; when I made this for Rhys’ birthday, I tinted the frosting blue; one of his favourite colours.

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Blender Sour-Cream Banana Bread

I’m lazy, so mashing bananas until they’re of a suitable consistency doesn’t appeal. However, I do love banana bread, and the kids don’t always get to eat all the bananas I buy for their lunch boxes. Blending the wet ingredients together also mixes them together more thoroughly. I like the use of soured milk or sour cream; it gives the banana bread a slight tang. If you don’t like it you can definitely substitute plain milk.

The picture above was taken only after half the loaf was eaten. Kinda forgot to take the photo; warm banana bread is irresistible. I bet these would make utterly delectable banana cupcakes.

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