Monday, 5 August 2013

Another bitesize Monday (with added navel-gazing)

So this is day 13 of 30 blogs 30 days and I don't feel ashamed to admit that, on top of everything else I have going on right now (which is a cocktail of jobseeking weirdness, ridiculous self-imposed academic targets and the continuing rearrangement of my room so that I can have a music corner, yes a music corner oh my god how exciting), I am well into mid-project stress on how to keep this up. So many people have given me some really excellent ideas but I am currently devoid of research time. What can be done?

The answer for today is "leave you all hanging and go to Oxford, ha ha ha ha ha". I think the answer for other days is to start serialising some more, like I did on Thursday/Friday last week (although that was two full-sized posts with a tenuous common thread)? Whatever happens, things are going to become much easier when furniture assembly becomes a less significant part of my life.

For today, let's do a rundown of a couple of generic things apropos of nothing:

I saw Hyrule Historia in the local bookshop and it made me 1) start my AJ-mas wishlist and 2) think of this awesome thing

For those who are not Zelda fans, Hyrule Historia is the epic english-translated artbook of ALL THE ZELDA EXCITEMENT and ownership of a giant hardcover book about videogame timelines is pretty much the only thing I need to complete my collection of things-that-sound-absurd-when-you-put-it-that-way. Sadly, spending £25 on majestic nerdy coffee table books is an activity for a different life phase, so I must put it in the "ONE DAY" category and hope that that day is this year's Annual Present Time. We shall see!

Zelda isn't very feminist though (no video games are! alas) because apparently even more than American studios, Japanese video game makers are a bit perplexed about the idea of female protagonists or non-stereotypical gender representations being possibly a good thing? That's why, even though I'm not an enormous Dresden Codak fan (how can you do a webcomic full time and still update it that slowly), I absolutely love his concept art for an actual Zelda-driven Zelda. If you haven't seen it, look at it, if you have seen it, look at it again and be reminded of it and how awesome it is.

It's *steampunk* because Aaron Diaz is *steampunk* but we can forgive that. I think.

Anyone with a freezer can make ice cream

After Wednesday's cake baking experiments left me with a large burn in the shape of a Geth dreadnought on my wrist (not even exaggerating), I decided to abandon the idea of heating food in favour of making really cold things instead. To be specific, I have been making ice cream! It turns out that even without a fancy machine, this is very easy to do (total credit to an awesome artist's tumblr for teaching me how). You need 3 cups combined of double cream and whole milk (more cream is better but also more expensive, I tend to use 1 1/2 cups cream and 1 1/2 cups milk), around 1/3 cup sugar, exciting things for flavour (suggestions: peppermint extract, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, fancy honeycomb pieces from the ridiculous Waitrose baking section, dried fruit, cocoa powder, Bailey's Irish Cream, sweet potato, beetroot, wasabi...) and a freezerproof bowl.

Put everything EXCEPT any "heavy" ingredients (like chocolate chips or fruit pieces) into the bowl, whisk like crazy for a bit, put in freezer. 30 minutes later, remove from freezer, stir with wooden spatula, return to freezer. 15 minutes later and then for every 15 minutes after that until FOREVER, stir again. You'll eventually get something which looks like mousse but super cold (same viscosity as soft serve ice cream, pretty much). When this happens, add any chocolate chips or whatever you want, then leave it in the freezer until you get an actual properly frozen thing.

Remove and eat! You'll have something that will be denser and icier than shop bought ice cream but will also have the expression of your personal flavour ideas in every bite. TOTALLY worth it. If you do this, let me know what exciting (or generic but amazing) combinations you come up with!

#inspiringwomen was, in the end, a better hashtag than #twittersilence

Honestly, I'm not quite sure why "not being on Twitter for a day" needed a hashtag, it's not like anybody could actually use it seeing as how they weren't on twitter, so all that happened was it got filled up with criticism from people who were still on Twitter. But aside from serious questions about whether not doing a thing for 24 hours really constitutes a meaningful boycott, as somebody who did use twitter yesterday I have to say that I enjoyed the people filling it up with awesome stories about women much more than I enjoyed the people who weren't there.

One of the best timelines, that's now a storify for your post-#trolliday viewing pleasure, was Fern Riddell's 12 women, 12 hours. I don't know how I feel about her ending with Queen Victoria but other than that that it's fabulous history that includes a mixture of well-known and depressingly obscure 19th century figures. I think it's always worth going out of one's way to learn about awesome women from the past, because history has an enormous male bias that a lot of people assume is because men have just done more things worth remembering. Nope, it's because history has an enormous male bias. Damn you, history!

A man has become a welder

In times of writer's block, when it feels like absolutely nothing in the world is worth writing about or that you are not qualified to write about anything, it's nice to know that journalists at the China Daily often have the same problem.

This actually turned out surprisingly long! Expect tomorrow's post late, Oxford is not going to visit itself.