Moments of Permanence

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oh and Oct. 2nd, 2010 @ 12:46 am
Nifty thing I saw today: Indian couple parking their car. Their car had one of those text decals at the top of the windscreen.

My first thought as I approached the car, having not registered the humans in any real sense or parsed the text, was: "Ugh. Those windscreen decals always say something really douchey."

To my pleased surprise, the decal read Shree Hari.


Here's to dessert! Aug. 4th, 2010 @ 02:06 pm
A stranger is parked in our driveway today.

This morning, a middle-aged Chinese woman, who smiled a lot and was very polite and very very earnest, knocked on the door AND rang the bell and asked - pleaded, almost - if she could park in our driveway.

I couldn't quite make out where she needed to go, because she had an extremely strong accent and I'm not totally sure she was saying that part in English (she seemed to be having a somewhat stressful morning and English was clearly not her primary language; she might have forgotten to), but I think, from what I could make out and from her gestures, she was going to Princess Margaret Hospital For Children, which is walking-distance from our house.

There's very limited parking there and in this area.

However, I was willing to believe her need was genuine, given that she left her car key here in case we needed to move her car out of the way.

Sure, we're not going to steal her car, because patently, if nothing else, she knows where we live, but there's a fair amount of trust involved in leaving the key to it here, regardless.

I couldn't say no, and didn't. I was almost certainly going to say yes regardless, because she seemed very genuine, but if she's desperate enough to leave the key to her car here, she's definitely in real need, and the possibility that it will be A Problem is slim, because hey, I can move her car if I have to.

Of course, unless it's an emergency, I don't plan to do anything with her key but leave it on the table where I can be sure to find it easily when she comes back.

Still. Disconcerting moment, that. Despite the fact that we live in an area where parking is at a severe premium at the best of times, that's never actually happened before.

Meanwhile, today I've been cooking things.

First, my own invented Chocolate Custard Mousse, because I have a couple of friends coming over, who both love it. (Although the younger of the two was less than a year old last time he had it, I think, so it will probably be a fresh surprise.) I wanted to make it very fresh so that it wouldn't at all risk being pregnancy-unfriendly, since the older of my guests is in fact pregnant and already miserable with morning sickness, so I hardly want to give her food poisoning.

This is how you make it:

Step 1: Make custard. I use gluten-free custard powder, which I also find tastes better anyway, but this is up to you. Make it a reasonably thick custard.

Step 2: When the custard is about done, break up some chocolate and melt it into the custard, stirring gently until it's all melted and spread evenly through. (Doesn't have to be perfect, because this stuff will be whipped later.)

Step 3: Allow to cool. If making for pregnant friends and wanting to be paranoid, check regularly; when it has reached a state of reasonable coolness, proceed to step 4 without delay.

Step 4: Transfer to mixing bowl Add some whipping cream. (You'll note quantities are inexact; they don't have to be very exact, is why, and it depends how much you want to end up with.) Whip as if it were cream until it acquires a paler colour and a fluffier look.

It will be tasty.

I am also working on making sago pudding, but I'm not going to risk posting a recipe until I see if it works.

The thing with that is that my mother used to make a sago pudding when I was a kid that I *loved* - then Mum didn't make it for ages, and she forgot how. Most of the recipes I see for sago pudding-type things involve milk, which is patently wrong - the one my mother made was translucent and made with fruit juice, not milky and blurgh.

Photos, my day, etc Jul. 6th, 2009 @ 04:44 pm
Went to see a doctor this morning. Have antibiotics, slogged home.

Had an odd experience on the way there. I was walking past a block of Homeswest flats, on the way to the bus stop. Homeswest accommodation is government housing, and these flats, from what I've seen, contain an odd mix of people - from very old people to very sick people to stereotypical young(ish) bludger types.

Some of the residents are noticably mentally ill.

Now, I hope you all know that I am not one who tends to be judgemental about disability. Please keep that in mind as we go into this little story.

As I was approaching, I noticed a forty, forty-fivish man standing on the footpath in front of the flats. He looked vaguely twitchy, maybe like he was in a bad mood, mostly preoccupied.

Then, as I got near, he looked at me, and I saw his face twitch...

... and I flashed to episodes of Lie to Me, and discourses on micro-expressions, and in particular, the ones that indicate imminent premeditated violence. Because that was the way his face had moved. So I sidestepped just as he launched himself towards me, moving hard and deliberately, almost charging at me, going past me with a gap of inches, straight through where I had been, would have been had I not dodged in anticipation.

I have a bad cold, I felt like hell, and I had my camera gear in my backpack - I didn't feel up to confrontation. But my first thought was that he was trying to force contact, start a fight or mug me. (I had eighty bucks in my pocket, which I could handle losing, but no way in hell was some lowlife getting my camera.) So I half-turned, enough to keep him in sight. He came to a stop a few feet away, turned and glared at me angrily. I met his eyes, stood a little straighter. He looked away and started pulling what looked like a phone out of his pocket.

I walked on.

Chas suggests that he was probably crazy1, not a mugger.

1: No calls of "ablist language", please. As a mentally ill person myself, I do draw a boundary between recognising "mental illness" and just calling people "crazy"; trying to body-ram me as I'm walking past, minding my own business, is on the "fuck you" side of the boundary.

While I was at uni, I bought a copy of 84 Charing Cross Road at the used bookshop. I haven't read it in years, but it's a delightful, wonderful book, and it was only $3 for paperback happy.

Meanwhile, today's photos. I got around to trying out my flashgun for "bounce flash" - off my bedroom ceiling, in this case - to take a picture of my guitar, resting on the gig stand.

In the background you can just see part of my amp. It's not the whole of the guitar, but if you want a general look at what a Gibson Les Paul Studio looks like, hey, google it. I don't have the energy to move to where I can get a better shot of the whole thing.

Second photo is one I took at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital while changing buses. Things which are slightly disconcerting: Fire trucks, lights ablaze, pulled up outside the Emergency Department... especially when, even though they're settled there and the sirens are off, a couple more trucks are pulling up while you're waiting for the bus.

Photo of that below. )
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In which Sami can't ignore small children Jul. 4th, 2009 @ 07:45 pm
I'm siiiiiick. :whines extensively:

I woke up this morning feeling vaguely off, bit sore throat, now I feel like absolute hell and I can barely swallow and talking hurts.

In the meantime, I went into town to get my guitar dudes to check if the saddle on my G string was in shape. While I was there, I got a call from Dean, asking me if I could pick something up while I was in town. From, as it turns out, a shop that's about fifty metres, max, from my guitar shop, so that was very much a trivial request.

Even if the trip was profoundly exhausting due to my body's unexpected shutdown in response to whatever virus has hit my system, it was worth it for a few reasons, including saving Dean a trip into town that would have been a major inconvenience for her, and also including this:

On my way home from the bus stop, slogging exhaustedly with my guitar, camera bag, jumper, and a small quantity of shopping, I came across a small boy, about two years old, rather adorable with pale blond hair and a Tonka truck, playing on the footpath.

And no adults in sight.

Now, our street isn't the busiest street in the world, but it's fairly high-traffic for a residential street. There are many cars parked along it, so visibility, if driving down it, isn't that great when it comes to things like small children running out into the road.

I couldn't just keep walking. I couldn't. So I set my stuff down, and talked to the boy.

"Where do you live?"

"Here!" *points at house*

"So your Mum and Dad are there?"


"Shouldn't you be playing inside the gate?"

"No! I here."

I wavered back and forth a bit. Not my kid, don't know him or his family at all, he seemed pretty relaxed and happy, and I was feeling like hell and desperately wanted to get home. Carrying all my stuff was exhausting. I wanted nothing more than juice and a soft surface to lie down on.

Looked at the house - couldn't see any parents watching through windows, anything like that.

Looked at the boy - small, sweet, utterly adorable, and six feet from the road. There's a bad feeling in leaving a small child unattended at the best of times, these days - paranoia about paedophiles is excessive, and I know it, but at the same time, it's not discountable. I confess it crossed my mind that that was a risk, but mostly I was worried about the road.

So, I went up to the house, knocked, a man came to the door accompanied by barking dogs. My suspicions that the kid was doing something he knew he shouldn't was confirmed when, as I did so, the boy came back to the garden at a run and put his truck down on the garden path, exclaiming to get my attention so I'd know he was back there.

Gotcha, boyo, thought I.

So, after the dogs quieted enough for me to get a word in, I asked the man: "Sir, is your son supposed to be outside the gate?"

Man, unlocking the front door: "No, no he isn't, that's why we have the door locked. Thank you, thank you very much."

Me, stepping out of his way: "No worries, I just thought I'd check."

Man: "Thank you. Now you, little man, are coming with me..." And lo, he scooped up the boy and the truck - which the boy had no reaction of surprise or anything to, so I was reasonably sure that he was used to the man and accustomed to being picked up by him, so I was confident enough I had the right adult.

And then I went home and collapsed. I am remaining collapsed for the evening, it looks like, watching videos and drinking juice and water in quantities as vast as I can manage.

Zoozoozoo Jun. 21st, 2009 @ 06:01 pm
Went to the Zoo this afternoon.

Am comprehensively exhaused, far too tired for anything like coherency, but I will post pictures later, and for now, just mention:

I saw, and took a couple of photos that may not come out well of, two meerkats having sex. While being intermittently interrupted by another meerkat.

Watching a meerkat jump up into alert position as the one trying to have sex with it tries not to fall off the back?

Adorable, yet hilarious.

Am now very tired and also cold (didn't take a jumper, and it was past sunset when I got home), so I'm having some nice peppermint tea.

Current Mood: tired

I am a nice person (except when I'm not) Jun. 14th, 2009 @ 08:46 pm
I swear I'm going to catch up on comment replies soon. *cough*

So, this evening, I skipped going to the "Scene to Believe" service at the local church (which I'm intrigued about - it's the informal service that's explicitly aimed at "gay and lesbian people, their friends and supporters". Apparently it started as an outreach service. It's a good place for a church to do that - I hadn't realised how gay this area is until I went grocery shopping at Farmer Jack's on a Saturday afternoon, and wandered past queeny men having intense discussions outside the wine shop, and gay male couples selecting green vegetables together, occasional lone dykes, and just a whole lot of people who pinged as gay to me.

I haven't been a part of the community in years, but I still remember those secret subculture signals that code as gay, gay, gay.

Instead of church, I went to the ED to get my cut checked out. Apparently it was a mix of relevant diagnoses - partly the irritation was just my body wanting to reject the sutures, partly there's still questionable ooze, so while it's not serious, I have antibiotics and the doctor took a swab of the ooze to be tested out, and I see my GP in a few days - but if it does get worse, and especially if it builds up a "collection" of pus and ick, I go back and get IV antibiotics.

Do Not Want. But Should Not Need.

I impressed the doctor by picking his accent as Durban - he exclaimed that was a hell of a pickup, but I explained that I have the advantage of having been born there, and therefore knowing Durbanites and being able to recognise that accent.

After he pulled the sutures, and I was grateful for it (he was so nice! So gentle! etc.) I asked if he was allowed to accept quasi-bribes. He said no, and asked why, and I said, well, since he was from Durban, and I happened to have this in my bag... and pulled out a 275ml bottle of Appletiser.

Appletiser, you understand, is a South African drink. Sparkling apple juice. But it is not like other carbonated apple juice drinks - it's special and much more delicious. (Once, out of curiosity, [ profile] theducks did a double-blind taste test to see how it fared against a different sparkling apple juice drink. I and [ profile] paperishcup were the tasters. Both of us picked the Appletiser perfectly on account of its superior deliciousness.)

The doctor grinned and said that, well, Appletiser was the one exception to the no-bribes thing. His own return quasi-bribe was finding me some of the antibiotics he'd prescribed for me to take tonight and tomorrow morning, so I don't have to go on a quest to find a pharmacy that's open late on a Sunday evening. (Instead, I can go to the pharmacy that's literally a ninety second walk from my house on Monday morning.)

So, I possibly made for a highlight to a Sunday night ED shift for the doctor.

I also lent a magazine to a guy I knew from uni who was waiting while his friend was treated for a soccer-induced broken wrist, and provided moral support to the staff when they were dealing with a cranky, hostile, and aggressive suspected swine flu patient.

My main act of niceness, though, was in aid of a woman who had come in with her mother, who appeared to have had a bad fall or something and rather badly injured her leg. The woman was seeming kind of shaky and distressed, and seemed to read "needs food" somehow; I offered her my apple, and she thanked me but then said that she'd had a chocolate bar earlier so she was fine.

Then the nurse was free, so she grabbed the nurse. I overheard her explaining that her father is currently in the ICU... I think she wanted to see if her mother could be transferred to the same hospital, so she could be there for them both, but the nurse had to tell her that she'd have to choose which parent by whose hospital bedside she was going to tonight.

When the woman turned around, I could see tears.

Then the doctor came back, and I had to finish up myself, so it was after that that I went over to the woman and said, look, chocolate picks up your blood sugar but then it crashes down hard, and really, I'm going home now, I won't need it, please take this apple. And she did, thanking me way more effusively than I deserved for an apple, and then I headed out.

I hope she's okay. I hope her parents are. I hope she likes apples. Because I have a feeling that finding food isn't really on her list of priorities right now, but she clearly was badly in need of it, and an apple will do for a while.

I was in need of food by the time I got home (hypoglycaemia is annoying, and all), but the thing is, I was going home, and then when I got home I ate a mandarine. My house contains food, and my parents are healthy. I have more apples. This is more a record to remind myself, when I forget, that sometimes I do in fact have a positive effect on the world and people around me.

While I was at hospital I wrote a short Sulu-centric Star Trek fic, but I'm going to make that a separate post after I've checked it over a bit more.

Things Mar. 26th, 2009 @ 12:39 pm
... I have an awesome picture I was going to upload, but it appears that Scrapbook is STILL broken Scrapbook works with Internet Explorer and not Firefox, so:

Image is moderately NSFW. Contains gratuitous Picasso reference. )

In other news, I have a boatload of reading to do in the next four or five hours, so I should get on that...

Current Location: Reid Library
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Mar. 23rd, 2009 @ 01:00 pm
I keep meaning to write about something I saw the other week. Every time I see a peacock I'm reminded. (As UWA students and graduates will be aware, "every time I see a peacock" is actually "almost every day".)

My History course has two lectures in a row on a Monday morning. Between lectures we get a short break. On one of these breaks, I went outside for fresh air and to stretch my legs, and stood on the walkway overlooking the grassy courtyard in Arts.

Three students were sitting there, one eating. (At any time of day at UWA, you will find someone eating.)

And, giving every appearance of preparing to attack, a peacock and two peahens were walking a tight circle around them, staring at them (and possibly at the one student's sandwich.)

All three of them looked rather disconcerted, but the one with the sandwich, especially, looked freaked as the Attack Peafowl circled.

I realised two things:

1) Hostile peafowl are kind of hilarious.

2) There's a special kind of terror, nigh-hysterical but only with the mixture of fear and laughter, in being menaced by a creature you know you can easily fend off, but would feel deeply guilty about harming in any way (and would probably fear great censure from others for hurting; it's taken as a given around here that one Does Not Interfere With The Peafowl).

Current Mood: stressed
Current Music: Aphex Twin - Nannou
Current Location: Reid Library
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