Saturday, May 31, 2008

Doctor Who Trailer

In excited expectation of tonight's Doctor Who episode (I enjoyed the Eurovision, but they bumped DW back a week), I went to the DW homepage on the BBC website.
And there I discovered a Very Fun Thing.
They have added to the website a trailer maker. One can put together a DW trailer with video clips, sound clips, effects and music. Matt and I spent this afternoon making trailers, and this was our best one.
It's a trailer for general DW, rather than for any particular series or episode.
We're quite proud of it.
Please excuse if it goes jumpy or looks badly edited.
It's not, but the website seems to get a tad overloaded.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eurovision 2008

Well, we held our usual Eurovision Song Contest party last night. It was Mouse's turn to host it this year, which was nice because it meant we didn't have to tidy up.

The way we play is this:
We make scoresheets. Each country is rated between zero and ten on each of a range of categories. This year, it was: Cheesiness, Costume, Lyrics*, Music, Dance, Performance, and Homo-eroticism.

*The lyrics one was a bit iffy this year, as the subtitles were only working sporadically.

Each person gets a scoresheet, and totals up the points for all the countries once they have performed.
Whichever country you gave the most points to is the one you are officially supporting.

Almost unanimously, the top act was Latvia.
Oh, Latvia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
Actually, no. I'll just show you guys what they did. Please note that this seems to be from the show choosing which Latvian act was to enter, and not from the Eurovision itself. They were even more wonderful in the actual show.


So, yes. out of the seven people playing, four were backing Latvia. Matt was backing both Latvia and Finland, as they had the same scores for him. Sebastian (age 8) was backing Finland, but he had rather cheated on the 0-10 scoring system, and Stuart was backing Azerbaijan, which seemed to confuse him a bit.

I understand that - I have sometimes been looking at the totals, going "But... I really didn't like (for example) France! How did they get so high a score?"

So we had much fun heckling the voting. Azerbaijan were clearly winning (as in being way higher than either Latvia or Finland) at about nine votes into the 43, so we all started picking on Stuart a bit. "Oooh, ain't you fancy with your points?"

So Russia won the actual contest, and Azerbaijan beat Latvia by miles, and Finland by about twice as many miles.

Stuart got the fabulous prize (top one on that post) for being this year's winner. We even wrote his name on the underneath in biro. I know, I know... he was totally spoiled.

In the pirate theme, here are the two Book of Ratings ratings of Aspects of Pirates. They make me cry laughing.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

A week on.

Well, we're getting by. It's been just over a week since Hastings went, and it's getting better. I feel terribly guilty still, though, as my thought at the time was "I'd give up either of the other rats to still have her."

I'm coming round to the realisation that that's a normal thing to think. They are gorgeous, and I love them, but we've only had them for a couple of months, and we'd had Hastings for two years.

It doesn't stop me feeling guilty, but I think it's a natural thing to think whilst in such pain. Not nice, but understandable.

Anyway, the little girls are being very comforting. We have been wuzzing them a lot. They're getting braver, which is nice. In this photo, Matt appears to be oozing rats from the ears. It's Spock on the left, and Tig on the right. I adore this photo, by the way, and please excuse the mess.

Ok, I promised Nettie, as a form of moral support, that I would post my before and after stats from ten weeks of my Callanetics class. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get it down in writing as to which bits had lost what, but I'll be able to tell you next week. All I can remember is that, over seven different places, I have lost seven and a half inches. Including three inches from my waist. I'm pretty happy with that. All the stuff that used to be flab seems to have become muscle, too, and I'm a lot more confident.

And now I must go and prepare for Eurovision tomorrow.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

R. I. P. Hastings

On Wednesday night we did our usual thing of having Hastings running around on our bed, playing.

She had a bit of a routine - she ran up and down between where Matt and I were, then she would headbutt the blanket by my side until I lifted it up, and she would run down beside my leg. She'd then lick my legs and toes, sneeze on me, lean up against me whilst she had scratches and washes, and then she'd pop back out and run up Matt's t-shirt. Having clawed, licked and sneezed on him a bit, she'd make a circuit of her beddy domain.

Some of her favourite things were: attempting to eat things off the dressing table, knotting herself into Matt's hair, trying to eat my vitamins off the other dressing table and, most of all, grooming my face.

Anyway, we had the opportunity to play with her and wuzz her and tell her we loved her.

Thursday, I had a job interview in the morning, and didn't have time to play with her until lunchtime. When I did, I saw that some of her lump had turned black, and that she was bleeding badly from the ear. We called the vet and got an appointment as soon as possible. Matt couldn't get the time off work, so I took her by myself.

Long story short, her infection had turned cancerous and was now not only pushing matter up through her ear canal, but had also spread down the other side of her body.
There was nothing left that we could do, as it would have got very nasty and very painful really soon. The vet put her to sleep.

Today she was buried beneath a new rose bush in Mouse's front garden.

I am still wavering between blankness and utter misery. Even knowing that she had a terminal condition, it was incredibly hard to do.
I comfort myself with the fact that she was still happy, and not in pain.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dinners last week.

Having no work at the moment leads to two things, culinarily. First, that I have to make use of food we already have, as we are poor just now, and can't really afford to buy much. Second, that I have more time to plan and cook the dinners, which is handy, because I want to stretch what we've got as far as I can.
So, I've been working with our stores.

Red pesto pasta with ham

Pasta in tomato pesto with shredded sliced ham.
Items bought for the meal: None.

Maharaja Curry

Recipe from here, with a few tweaks. I used a tin of tomatoes instead of peeling and deseeding my own, and I added an orange pepper and some mushrooms that needed using. I used half a pack of cheap chicken breasts we had in the freezer, and boiled up some dried noodles to go with it.
Items bought for the meal: None.

Stuffed mini peppers, baked chicken, and potato stir fry.

I stuffed mini sweet peppers with cheddar and cream cheese and then put them in the oven, along with the other half of the chicken breasts, which I'd covered with dry rub. For the stir-fry, I used a tin of potatoes, one of two leeks we had lying about, a red onion, some green beans, and a couple of cloves of garlic. For stir-fries, I generally use that spray-olive-oil - it means I use much less.
Items bought for the meal: Value cream cheese, 54p.

Green pesto pasta with veggies and sausage.

I stir-fried the other leek, another red onion, some rinsed mushrooms from a jar, and half a garlic sausage. Added them to pasta with a jar of green pesto.
Items bought for the meal: None.

Spicy potato, mushroom and beans, beef 'steaks'.

Potatoes boiled in bite-size chunks, chopped green beans, and chopped mushrooms.
I heated a tablespoon and a half of olive oil in the wok, then added a large teaspoon each of cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper and garlic to form a spicy paste. The potatoes, beans and mushrooms were tossed in this and then browned. The beef 'steaks' (made from reformed beef, so not as good as proper steaks) were baked in the oven.
Items bought for the meal: Fresh mushrooms, 24p.

Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.

A chunk of beef from the freezer, roasted. Pack of Yorkshire puddings, also from the freezer, baked. We made gravy from a tin of Royal Game soup, with a couple of teaspoons of beef gravy powder mixed in.
Items bought for the meal: None.

And here is a rather funny advert, which I think is meant to make me not want to cook but, in fact, has pretty much the opposite effect.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hastings!

Last Saturday, we threw a birthday party for Hastings. It was only a small get-together, but Hastings adored it. She was fed treats (pizza, garlic bread, pastry) all night, and everyone lavished attention on her. She ran about like a loon all evening, and generally had the most marvellous time.
She decided she needed a drink. And Chris's water looked good.

In these photos, you can see her lump. And also that she leans a bit, probably due to the weight of it - she's showing no signs of Head Tilt proper. I love the second one of Mouse and Hastings. They look so happy.

She had a great time with our friend Al, who is really soppy with her.

And this is my favourite photo of the evening. Matt's kissing her head, and she's licking his fingers.

Even if she doesn't have much time left, we had this at least.

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