Weekend

Apr. 22nd, 2007 12:16 pm
leynos: (Jack Off Jill)
My Uncle and aunt invited me over for dinner last night. The evening turned out rather well, surprisingly. They'd made spaghetti with meatballs, and my cousin showed me Monkeyball on the Wii and a strange ITV show called Primeval that he currently seems to be addicted too. After dinner, we all watched Doctor Who and The House of Sand and Fog which was showing on the BBC.

Yesterday, I also sorted out cable Internet for my new flat and paid the balance on my sofa.

On Friday, I met Lu and Michael for coffee. Since I only had an hour, we met in town. The only place I could think of in town where we'd have a remote chance of finding a seat and holding a conversation at a sensible volume was the Whisky Society members' room, which turned out to be quite a sensible choice. (Besides, I'm paying for membership, why not use the bloody thing).

That, and they make pretty decent coffee there too.

From Lu, I bought Harvest Moon for the Gameboy Advance, which I played a little of over Saturday.

Today, I will hopefully get a decent amount of packing done (if I don't spend the whole day lying in bed eating chocolate). And it's steak diane for dinner tonight.
leynos: (Ladytron)
Since my Gran didn't thought it would be less hassle (she was right), I went to Bridge of Earn yesterday, and cooked us an early Christmas dinner. For a first attempt at making roast chicken, I thought it turned out rather well. My Gran seemed inclined inclined to agree. It all turned out to be quite a chilled out day. After lunch, we watched My Neighbour Totoro, which my Gran also liked. (Tho, as [livejournal.com profile] scotm observes, everyone likes Totoro.)

My Grandad is still in hospital, but he should be going home soon. Unfortunately for him and my Gran, he never made a full recovery from his stroke, so he's still confined to an electric wheelchair. He'll be getting a lot of help from visiting nurses, but my Gran is still worried that it will mean more work for her than she will be able to cope with.

Today, I visit my mother, then tomorrow, I'll have a relaxing day to myself, hopefully free from concerns (except for maybe what temperature to cook a duck casserole at.)
leynos: (Default)
A lot has happened in the past month. Too much to really write down on my lunchbreak (which is what I'm trying to do).

Living with someone takes a lot of getting used to. Especially if you're new to it all. It's worthwhile though.

Good things that happened:

I saw the Phantom of the Opera silent movie with live organ accompanyment at the Usher Hall on All Hallow's Eve with Scottie and Angus. That was lots of fun. It sounded like the organist was having fun too.

Firbush was great too. I've got some photies somewhere, which will be up in due course. I'll let Paul tell you about it. The half-day's sailing I managed to partake in was fantastic. A light breeze on a crystal clear loch.

I finally got to eat at the Queen Street Cafe during my lunch break. With Sam, no less. Yay.

We've been shopping at Ikea, Habitat and BHS for goodies for the flat. There's still a lot of junk that I brought over when I moved in, but we're making progress in sorting everything out.

Not so good things that have happened:

My Dad died two weeks ago. Basically, things have been a mess. My sister has been sorting most of it out, and taking care of my Mum. I hope I've been helpful, but I wish I could do more. The funeral was on Monday. A very sad day.

My Dad was really the person who held the family together. There was so much more I whish I'd asked him. So much more I sish I could have done to help him and my Mum when he was still alive. He taught me so much about life, but there was so much more he had to teach. He was a great cook, and a great father. He was respected at work, by his friends and loved by his family. Even his clients came to the funeral.

His death was totally unexpected. Just about the last thing I expected to happen.

I'll miss him.
leynos: (Default)
I received two rather noteworthy telephone calls today.

The first was from my Dad, to say that my Granddad had suffered a stroke. Thankfully, I'm told, the doctors don't anticipate any serious lasting effects. None the less, he is in hospital for the time being, and it must be quite an ordeal for him and my Gran. My Dad says he'll keep me up to date with what's going on. My Granddad influenced me a lot in my early life, and in good part, I have him to thank for my interest in computers and technology. Hearing this news reminded me that he won't be around forever, and despite his flaws, I should never let him and my Gran drift away, now more than ever. I really hope that he recovers as fully as possible.

The other call was from Ho-Il, who phoned to let me know that he had passed his exams, and will be moving to America in August. I told him about my new job, so we both had something to congratulate each other for. He says he'll be returning to Edinburgh in a year's time, so I'll be looking forward to seeing him again.

Splash Damage

The rest of the weekend brought much joy.

On Saturday morning, I joined some of my former workmates in an outing to the skirmish paintball centre. This was all a good laugh. Most of the games involved capturing a batton from the opposing team, with battlefields laid out in a variety of configurations. The first, a mock urban wasteland put both teams on an even footing, and five minutes of infinite lives gave everyone a chance to familiarize themselves with the paintball marker guns.

Being shot doesn't actually hurt as much as I'd expected. At a distance at any rate. One of our party received a really evil looking bruise on her shoulder after being hit at three metres. The brief moments of discomfort however were far outweighed by the excitement of the mock warfare.

More complicated battlefields included an assault on an island being held by the opposing team. Chris managed to surprise everyone, including the supervisors, by sneaking in the back way and catching everyone unawares, while the rest of his team were being mowed down in ineffectual rush attempts. Seeing him storm the base impressed the hell out of me. It was like watching something from Counter Strike played out in real life.

Chris says it's airsoft next for us.

Disco Sucks

Fever at Ego, once again, provided a quality night out, with the kind of techno that gets inside your head and won't let you stop dancing until you drop.

Possibly taking club accessories too far, but we love it anyway

Stuart and Fraser from my old work both made it along, so I wasn't lonely. Trying to catch both of them in the same room together was a bit of a challenge. I don't think I actually got them rounded up until around 2 AM. But it all worked out in the end, which made me happy.

I finally snarfed one of the DJ set CDs too. W00t. Something nice for my MP3 player.

After Fever, I followed Stuart and his gang to a party in a flat on Dundas Street. This being one of those parties where no-one knows anyone else, nor whose flat it actually is. Quite amusing. Anyway, the place was massive. More like a mansion than a flat. The only disappointment being that we didn't stay too long. A couple of DJs from the quarry party were just setting up as we left, but I think the polite thing to do was to stick with the people who got me here.

A second party took us to 6 AM, but by this time, I was reduced to sitting in the corner nodding. I finally got home and to bed at 8 AM.

The Best Place

It's been a while since I last visited the Listening Room, the open mic night on Sundays in the Blazer. I couldn't stay for the whole thing, owing to being completely knackered, but what I did here was worth it.

Chris Brown played two new songs, both top quality hymns that take one away to another place.

Frank "Freeloader" Titterton performed an amusing gripe about bluebottles pestering him during the long summers. Complete with a kazoo to emulate the buzzing.

A two piece band, Confushion played three lively country numbers, augmented, rather distinctively, with what I took to be a mandolin.
leynos: (Default)
"Now then, tell us about a time when you sat in a job interview, staring at the floor, mumbling incoherently in ridiculously convoluted and incomprehensible language about an occasion when you might, more in-spite of rather than because of your own abilities, have functioned successfully as part of a team."

No, I don't think I got the job. They'll let me know on Friday.

On the other hand, there are more important things in life than employment. I spent most of Sunday at my parents' house, showing the dandelions in the garden what for with a lawn mower. I also made a good start at ridding the garden of debris: mildew infested garden furniture, old dishwashers, etc. It's now all in a neat pile at the front, which with any luck a white van man is going to remove this week. My Dad has apparently bought a new barbecue, and it would be nice for the whole family to make use of it at least once this year. We didn't have time to empty the greenhouse, but I'll be returning in three week's time, so I'll see to it then.

My Dad had cooked beef olives (something I've not had in a while), and to accompany them, we prepared asparagus spears and mange tout. The asparagus turned out lovely, with the stalks al dente and the tips bursting with flavour. I'll have to make them at my flat some time.

Ho-Il visited tonight, so there was much playing of Killzone, and more cooking. We finally came across the machine gun that resembles the one used in Jin-Roh, which cause much delight. When I say "machine gun", you have to understand that this thing resembles a man-portable piece of artillery. Lots of fun. Although I prefer the assassin character, who is pretty much a rip-off of every female sci-fi assassin character ever, but wields an Aeon Flux-esque needle gun and a shiv, and talks with an oh so sexy Islington accent.

For dinner, I made a sort of chicken jalfrezi, using one of the "make your own curry" kits they sell in Lidl. These are little shrink-wrapped packets of fresh ingredients. I quite like the idea actually. It's not like you can buy a single birdseye chili in most supermarkets, and I don't think I've ever seen turmeric root in the shops. To that I added diced chicken, one onion, one capsicum, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a little powdered ginger. Et voila. Everyone was happy with the result.

I'm still a little funny about cooking. If I'm going to cook, I have to see cooking as a pass-time in itself. Something to do instead of watching a film or coding or whatever. I enjoy cooking for friends and family, even though I'm still learning. And I enjoy cooking for myself, providing that it's all I'll be doing that evening. If I'm cooking, I can pretty much write off getting anything else done. In my experience, self cooked food isn't any cheaper than ready meals, and most of the time, I would rather save the effort and devote my time to what I actually intend to do that day.
leynos: (Default)
Part 1 of 5

In which Leynos arrives, gets lost, meets the Singing Handyman, sees a play and gets drunk.

Lost in Transition


I stepped out of Leicester Square Underground station, and still slightly dizzy from all the beer drunk on the train, I started to wonder around aimlessly.

Erin, my sister, had said to meet at the All Bar One in Leicester Square. Now, erm... Where is that? Not really sure where I should be going, my wonderings took me down a rather pretty lane, lined with what appeared to be nothing but shops selling collectables. Coins, books, records, stamps, toy cars, you name it. That's something I like about London: the way streets and precincts become devoted to a single branch of commerce. Saville Row for taylors, Tottenham Court Road for electronics, Camden Town for cool gothy shit, etc. it's almost adorable. Streets in Edinburgh never become quite so single minded.

So, as you'd expect, I got a little distracted, which was kind of the idea anyway. Eventually, I found Leicester Square. All Bar One still eluded me however. I wound up sipping a glass of bourbon and ice in a chain pub that might as well have been All Bar One. Given the weather, I'd have preferred to sit outside, but a window seat had to suffice. Erin arrived at five o'clock, and we headed for her flat in Woolwich to ditch luggage.

Just to prove that crazy goings on happen all the time, as we left the Square, Darin-esque crooning lilted through the air. The source soon became apparent in the form of a smiling chap singing from the cab of his dinky toy van into a PA system. Ladies and gentlemen, may we present The Singing Handyman.


Voted small builder of the year no less



At Charing Cross Station, my sister informed my, much to my dismay, that my shiny new Ken Livingstone Card would be of no use on the overground trains to Woolwich. Drat. Back to bits of paper with magnetic strips.

Tartuffe


Tartuffe had been my suggestion, albeit one made without much fore-knowledge. The synopsis sounded agreeable, and I knew that it had run at the Lyceum in Edinburgh with much prominence. I don't actually go to the theatre normally, but seeing a play in London had been recommended by a number of people. As it turns out, the play was running in the Greenwich Theatre rather than the West End. Although that just made the whole thing even more fun. Like shunning the famous pubs to find a cosy tavern in a quiet back lane.

We both enjoyed the show, as we were treated to a masterful comedy of deception. The use of rhyming couplets in the writing worked delightfully to accentuate and mock the characters speaking the lines, and the writing positively dripped with erudite wit. The elabourate setup in the first half paid of spectacularly, as the sly villain got his comeuppance in the end, but not before the dull-witted figurehead of the play nearly saw his world collapse around him. Praise must go not only to the 17th century author, but to the translator of this new version, which connects with the audience and delivers impeccable humour whilst retaining the feel of a play from four centuries past.

End of the night


My sister's boyfriend joined us for drinks in a bizarre establishment in New Cross that purported to be an Irish pub. Before long, two guitarists on stage, the guy on the left looking strangely like on of The Proclaimers, had launched into a set of surprisingly passible pop covers.

I guess that this is the South London equivalent of a piano bar. As the night ran, the place slowly began to fill up, and then people started dancing. Before long, the floor was shaking. My sister suggested, "I bet you didn't think you'd see everyone in here dancing like this." An accurate observation I have to say.
leynos: (Default)
I'm of the opinion that Saturday was a very productive day. In the morning I visited the Palestinian Free Trade shop on Shandwick Place. I couldn't buy any produce that day, as I would be traveling to Kinross later to see my parents, but I purchased enough reading material as seemed reasonable.

The woman in the shop asked if I was considering travelling to Palestine, and I said that I was thinking about it. She suggested going in October for the olive harvest. I'm not sure if she meant as a tourist or to work. Right now however, my holiday plans for this year are already made, but it is something to consider for next year.

Before leaving for Kinross, I also got my hair cut in Haymarket and hassled the guy in Games and Movies about selling some of my PSP games. I'd get £12 each for PQ and Tales of Eternia. I might try flogging ToE at AASoc. It is getting better, but it still doesn't really feel like my thing. On the other hand, the Nippon Ichi published Generations of Chaos is now out in the US.

Kinross


I arrived at my parents house in the early afternoon, where the leftovers from last night's curry were offered to me as lunch. Yummy, curried spinach and chicken tika.

I couldn't cut the grass, on account of the heavy rain showers that had made their presence known earlier that day, but I gave the raspberry canes a good run for their money. Five years of unattended growth had left them as a rather heavy thicket behind the greenhouse. A pair of loppers and good heavy gloves sorted that lot out however, and now that part of the garden looks reasonably presentable.

In shades of my life in Glenrothes, the spent fireworks from November still protruded from the lawn. I felt kind of embarrassed about this, as I should have dealt with these long ago. They're in the bin now.

My sister had asked me to speak to my Dad about the possibility of getting my Mum put into psychiatric care. My Mum is ill, and she needs to be treated under observation. Unfortunately, none of us know exactly how to go about this. My sister is making enquiries, and I was to persuade my Dad to go along with this. I'm not sure if I did this well enough. He agreed that it was a good idea, but he is fearful of my Mum's reaction to it.

For dinner, I cooked steak diane under my Dad's supervision, and it turned out rather well. I got my Dad's steak perfect, though mine was a little on the well-done side of medium. I couldn't get enough of the sauce, which was a shame, as we all finished it in one sitting. This was followed by some heavenly vanilla icecream with maple syrup.

JakN


Back in Edinburgh, I got changed and left for the Venue, where Fuk-Nut and Sekonz were spinning the hardtek and the schranz. I'm always a little apprehensive about the top floor of the Venue, as it's a small environment with no quiet spots. This means that it's rare that I get to talk to people there. JakN also feels like a rather cliquey night, where the other attendees seem unwilling to talk to strangers.

Still, I love the music that they play there, offering the kind of driving beats that I crave and unpredictable transitions that challenge and entice.

I didn't stay for the whole thing, partly because I was feeling knackered, and partly out of fear that I would again damage my ankle. It's still healing from the last time I went dancing two weeks ago and managed to mess it up big time. Never the less, two hours of dancing was enough to bring a satisfying end to the day.

I did run into an acquaintance from Dogma at the night. We talked about the current state of Edinburgh clubbing, and the story sounded bleak. The Venue is to close next month. With the Honeycomb also closed, that really only leaves only Ego and the Studios as the last big venues. There is another establishment by the name of The Caves on South Nidrie Street that has opened recently. I will have to take a look at that one, as a promising sounding electro night runs there monthly.

Apparently a lot of people are down now that Dogma is gone. I know I definitely feel like something is missing from my life. It was one of the few places where I really felt like I could fit in and be the person I wanted to be.

Kinross

Mar. 12th, 2006 05:34 pm
leynos: (Default)
My Dad liked his presents, so that makes me happy.

By way of celebration for his birthday, my Sister and I cooked a steak dinner under his expert direction. I'm pleased to say that I turned out what I think is the best rare sirloin of my life. Beautifully charred on the outside and deliciously red and juicy right the way through. The key being, he informed me, to fry the steak in a mixture of olive oil and butter. That one went to my Dad, of course, but he was kind enough to give me a taste of it. The roasted winter vegetables were tasty too. I never get tired of caramelized squash and shallots. Once again, we decided that champagne is a waste of money, as we all far preferred the £2.50 bottle of Asti that accompanied the desert. Maybe we'd think differently about a *good* champagne, but I dread to think how much a bottle of such a beverage would cost.

After dinner, we watched Curse of the Were-rabbit, and ate lots of stilton. When the stilton was all gone, my Dad served up the oysters he received from my Sister. Although I pride myself in being willing to experiment, fresh oysters are a dish that has so far eluded me (yes, it was fear). So, two oysters, downed with lemon juice, and I have another new experience to chalk up. As with sashimi, the taste was more about subtlety than anything else, but far from unpleasant. I really feel tho that I'd need to eat a fair few more before acquiring such a taste. Maybe next time I'll be feeling brave enough to chew on them too.

Around ten o'clock, I received a rather bizarre text message from a workmate friend. Apparently, a "gorgeous female" might be interested and I was to forward a photo of myself, which I duly did. A further message asked if I attended the Mission, to which I replied "when I can." A few minutes later, a final message arrived reading "Maybe next time," accompanied by a photo of an embarrassed looking brunette doing her best to hide her face. Smiles all round.

The following morning, Kinross was of course covered with a blanket of snow, and I had of course forgotten to bring any appropriate footwear. By noon, there was a good six inches, and it was still falling. Since my Sister was taking the train to Edinburgh at three, I left with her instead of taking the bus. My Dad drove us to Inverkeithing, and despite some treacherous looking motorway, the journey was free from incident. Back in Edinburgh, the snow was slush, and not really anything to be concerned about.

My Sister starts a new job soon, taking her off of the shop floor and into the office. I'm happy for her, and I hope that this will let her find the kind of work that she'll ultimately be satisfied with.

Since it's been more than a fortnight since I last went clubbing, I'm going to head for Neon tonight to stave off withdrawal symptoms. I wonder if I'll survive Monday at work with only three hours sleep. I'm going to miss the Listening Room tho, partly because I'm skint and partly because I need a nap just now, still suffering from a week of <6 hour nights.

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