clhollandwriter: (Default)

I've done very little today except play on Hysteria Hospital until my DS ran out of battery, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For today's experiments in TV dinners, we started by trying to cook a vegetarian all-day breakfast using the not-George-Foreman grill and the microwave. It provided us with a way to get rid of some of the peppers and courgettes in the fridge from before the oven was condemned, and it all seemed to be going really well until - despite following the instructions - one of the eggs exploded in the microwave poacher. Luckily it only caused a mess, I dread to think what we'd do if the microwave gave up now.

Teatime's adventure was Tesco lentil moussaka, which I really liked but the BF didn't, with Morrisons broccoli cheese, and various frozen microwaved vegetables. It was surprisingly edible, but despite adding a couple of slices of bread to it, we both came away from it still hungry. It's a peculiar torment to know that there's a morello cherry pie sitting in the freezer that we have no way to cook.....

clhollandwriter: (Default)

It's not-quite-but-almost-out - The Best of Every Day Fiction Three, which contains my story "Beauty Sleeping" is available for pre-orders, although apparently already for sale by Amazon.com and B&N.

The main consensus I found so far on e-book readers is that everyone who's got a Kindle loves it. It certainly seems to be great for convenience, apart from whole not supporting other platforms thing. However there's something a little creepy and Big Brotherish about Amazon being able to delete books from it whenever they feel like it. It's like someone from Waterstones breaking into my house to steal my paperbacks.

Today's adventure in TV dinners: Waitrose mushroom and chestnut risotto for the BF - I hate risotto, and things overly flavoured of mushrooms, so it's not something he'd get at home and he said he really enjoyed it. I had chilli prawn linguine, which was nice but could have done with a little bit of veg adding - say a bit of sliced pepper or something. We also did an experiment in microwaving asparagus, which turned out better than we expected.

Today we invested in a cheap George Foreman-style grill and a microwave egg poacher, and tomorrow or Monday a friend is giving us an electric steamer, so hopefully pretty soon we'll be able to cook properly, albeit a bit haphazardly.
 


clhollandwriter: (Default)
An engineer came to fix our oven today - and condemned it instead. Apparently the wiring was so bad he had no idea how to fix it, and he'll be contacting the manufacturer. In the meantime we're not to use the cooker at all.

Which leaves us with a microwave. A friend of mine is going to make us some "ready meals" and falafel, and apparently she makes a mean "curry kit". I also see a lot of eating out in our future. Maybe it's time to buy that new barbeque....
clhollandwriter: (Default)

What was supposed to be a relaxed weekend turned out rather less so when, after I put a homemade lasagne in, the oven decided to die. For some odd reason so did one of the hobs, so we're now cooking on a three-hob-and-grill combo. An electrician was supposed to phone today to arrange to come and fix it, but he didn't bother which leaves me full of confidence about his workmanship.

And then on Sunday the TV died in a flash of light. It's been on its way out for a couple of weeks, although the randomly resizing screen was quite funny after a while. A quick trawl of the internet revealed that it's practically impossible to get a TV these days that doesn't have a freeview box. Which is a pain in the bum, because it makes our lives slightly more difficult when explaining to the TV Licensing people that actually, no we don't watch any TV with it.

To clarify for those living in foreign climes, in the UK you need to have a licence to watch TV. Yes, really. It stems from the days when it was used to make decent programmes, rather than for over-inflated stars' salaries and pandering to the lowest common denominator. According to the law, a licence is needed to watch any TV as it is being broadcast (and this counts watching on PCs and mobiles too), but not if you only use your TV as a monitor for DVD players/games consoles etc. Unfortunately, the TV Licensing people tend to assume that if you have a TV you're a fan of the X-Factor or Britain's Greatest Hairdresser, or whatever.

Since the whole country went over to freeview and digital TV it made our lives easier as we have neither a freeview box nor digital decoder. With a new-fangled telly we're back in the same position as before the digital revolution, namely having a TV that we could plug in and tune if we wanted to but not.

And between all the breaking appliances, we went to see Hanna at the cinema. And I honestly didn't think it was that great. The performances were excellent, but on the whole the fairytale/music motifs didn't work for me, the story had one too many cliched plot twists, and there was one massive loose end that seemed only to be left untied to maintain the film's 12A certificate - which seemed a cowardly choice to me. And the soundtrack....Ack. Far too prominent throughout, so much so that through some of the action scenes it pushed itself nto the foreground. Between that and the odd cinematography in places, sometimes I thought i was watching an extended music video.
clhollandwriter: (Default)

What was supposed to be a relaxed weekend turned out rather less so when, after I put a homemade lasagne in, the oven decided to die. For some odd reason so did one of the hobs, so we're now cooking on a three-hob-and-grill combo. An electrician was supposed to phone today to arrange to come and fix it, but he didn't bother which leaves me full of confidence about his workmanship.

And then on Sunday the TV died in a flash of light. It's been on its way out for a couple of weeks, although the randomly resizing screen was quite funny after a while. A quick trawl of the internet revealed that it's practically impossible to get a TV these days that doesn't have a freeview box. Which is a pain in the bum, because it makes our lives slightly more difficult when explaining to the TV Licensing people that actually, no we don't watch any TV with it.

To clarify for those living in foreign climes, in the UK you need to have a licence to watch TV. Yes, really. It stems from the days when it was used to make decent programmes, rather than for over-inflated stars' salaries and pandering to the lowest common denominator. According to the law, a licence is needed to watch any TV as it is being broadcast (and this counts watching on PCs and mobiles too), but not if you only use your TV as a monitor for DVD players/games consoles etc. Unfortunately, the TV Licensing people tend to assume that if you have a TV you're a fan of the X-Factor or Britain's Greatest Hairdresser, or whatever.

Since the whole country went over to freeview and digital TV it made our lives easier as we have neither a freeview box nor digital decoder. With a new-fangled telly we're back in the same position as before the digital revolution, namely having a TV that we could plug in and tune if we wanted to but not.

And between all the breaking appliances, we went to see Hanna at the cinema. And I honestly didn't think it was that great. The performances were excellent, but on the whole the fairytale/music motifs didn't work for me, the story had one too many cliched plot twists, and there was one massive loose end that seemed only to be left untied to maintain the film's 12A certificate - which seemed a cowardly choice to me. And the soundtrack....Ack. Far too prominent throughout, so much so that through some of the action scenes it pushed itself into the foreground. Between that and the odd cinematography in places, sometimes I thought i was watching an extended music video.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's the start of the weekend for most of the UK, as we now have the Easter Bank Holidays. After that there's the royal wedding holiday, and the May bank holiday. With the judicious application of three days of annual leave in the middle, the BF and I have managed to wangle ourselves an eleven day break to spend doing the garden, spring cleaning the house, playing video games and generally chilling out.

I really need the break. It turns out my prediction at the end of last week was right, so I started this week with two days off sick from something unpleasant and stomach related. There's nothing more boring than staying in bed all day, even if you do have a DVD boxset of Supernatural to keep you company. Back to work on Wednesday and I had to play catch-up, and then today it was so manically busy because of the holidays that I spent most of the day fielding technical support calls - it's amazing how many people forget that a bank holiday means that the banks are on holiday.

The veg sack came a day early this week: onions, potatoes, carrots, eggs, cabbage, brocolli, celery, peppers and tiny plum tomatoes. The brocolli and potatoes are going in a cheese sauce bake, along with the cauliflower from last week (not eaten because I was ill, and it's kept remarkably well). The tomatoes are going in salad tomorrow, and whatever's left will be turned into soup or pizza topping, since they won't keep long. I may put the celery in too, since neither of us can stand the stuff.

Not much going on in writing news at the moment. I spent this evening going through the proofs for "Beauty Sleeping", ready for the launch of the new Every Day Fiction anthology on 21st May. Plus I got a rejection, and got the story straight back out the door. Tomorrow I plan to revamp my submissions spreadsheet as it's got a bit cumbersome, and do some writing as my muse is currently handing out ideas at a rate that suggests it doesn't think I'm working hard enough. 
clhollandwriter: (Default)

It's been a rough week, but today I saw this - and giggled, then cackled, then laughed so much I cried -  and it made everything all better: The God of Cake.


After a week's break we got another veg sack yesterday. They always contain potatoes, carrots, onions, and eggs (not veg, I know), and three or four other fruits or vegetables. This week we got a massive swede, parsnips, cabbage and kale. The selection seems to lend itself towards a roast dinner, so that's the plan for tomorrow. This will probably be followed on Monday by bubble and squeak made with leftover mashed swede and other assorted veg.

We're quite enjoying the veg sacks, but will definitely be glad when swedes are no longer in season! Beyond mashing and roasting we've pretty much run out of ideas for what to do with them, and every one seems bigger than the last. It will be nice when the summer comes and there's a wider variety of veg available.


Also, I appear to have entirely stopped getting LJ notifications, so apologies to anyone who comments on a post or comment and I don't reply.


Still here

Feb. 7th, 2011 11:30 pm
clhollandwriter: (Default)

A productive weekend - another story written, and I also rearranged the kitchen and did some cooking. We recently started getting a veg sack of local produce, partly to cut down our food costs and partly to eat more fruit and veg, and the last two weeks it's had beetroot in it. There's only so much you can do with beetroot so I boiled it, threw it in a pot with apples, onions, ginger, sugar, salt, and vinegar, and made chutney. At least it'll keep long enough to eat that way, and give that I ended up with about 4lbs of the stuff I can repay in kind friends who've previously given us eggs, marrows, and plum chutney. I'm quite looking forward to seeing what we get this week.


clhollandwriter: (moon)
Samhain feast today, consisting of pumpkin flesh, onion, red and orange peppers, mushrooms, tomato and pine nut stuffing, and sweet potatoes, roasted in chilli and honey, then served in the roasted pumpkin shell alongside crispy roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Now the whole flat smells of pumpkin, and we have to fight over who does the washing up.

The bf took the afternoon off work yesterday and we spent it going around the local estate agents. None had anything available in our price range though. I'm starting to have less and less faith in us finding anywhere, even though these things usually work out. At least our price range is a little higher now that I'm starting a job on Monday.

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and not only do I not know the gender of my secondary MC but I'm also supposed to spend the day packing. With a full time job, and a house move to organise, I think I may have taken on a bit much this year.
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
Productive weekend, for everything but writing. We bought some fruit and veg from a local grocer, including lots of beetroot, and spent Sunday making pickled beetroot and beetroot chutney, plus veggie shepherd's pie and chilli to go in the freezer.

Job interview )
I'm off to my Mum's today, for a visit prior to trekking off to Writers of the Future, and leaving the bf and cats to fend for themselves. Hence the reason for making all the frozen dinners at the weekend. He won't eat otherwise.
clhollandwriter: (hello)
I've sent my entry to the LH end of Year Challenge, and while I know it won't win at least I enjoyed writing it. I know a lot of people will hang on , polishing and polishing until the last minute, but I'd got to the point where I didn't want to keep tinkering with it.

The Yule log went down well at work, and even gave me some amusing anecdotes to tell. Like how I had to throw a whole batch of icing in the bin because I turned my back for a few seconds - which was enough for Gabriel to insert her face into the bowl. That cat will eat anything as long as it's human food. It could be worse, I suppose: Lucifer still keeps trying to eat the Xmas tree.

All's been quiet on the submissions front recently, which isn't really surprising given the holidays. I've decided to send out one more email on all outstanding issues (one query, one payment conspicuous by its absence, one magazine also conspicuous by its absence) and then forget about them until the new year. At that point, once the Christmas post is out of the way, I'll withdraw the story and send letters.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
No posts for a few days as I've been lazy. We were out all day Saturday at the local independent gaming store, as the bf had decided he wanted to run a fantasy roleplay for the first time in four years. Everyone enjoyed it, despite the protests of "You're so evil!" his storyline got - well how would you like to have to fight zombies unarmed and butt-naked? (It's worth pointing out here that it's the sort of roleplay where you sit around a table and roll dice, not the sort where you actually get butt-naked and fight zombies.) It was nice to do something different for a change, and it's been agreed we'll pick up where we left off after Xmas.

Sunday was a bit of a non-event, with not enough writing and too much watching Star Trek. I'm on a long weekend at the moment due to a mess-up of holidays. I was supposed to have a friend visiting, but he can't make it because his car died. It's too late to change the days and add them to Xmas, so I'm back to work tomorrow until Xmas Eve. The bf finished on Friday. :-<

We went walking yesterday, revisiting old haunts where we used to spend time as students. Today the plan is to make a Yule log cake to take to work tomorrow, although I've had to promise the bf I'll make another one for home on Saturday. I don't mind making two, although I might by the weekend. :-D I also need to start working on my entry for the LH end of year challenge. I have an idea, finally, but I don't know how it will pan out.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Today is supposed to be writing update thingy day, so....

Last week I got my turn with the collaboration project done and sent back for the other party to look at, sent three or four submissions out, and I also wrote a poem(!). On the down side I now owe three or four crits (due in part to my own stupidity), so I have to get caught back up with those. Chapter 14 of Reunion was also supposed to be finished for today but, as those who were expecting it might have noticed, that hasn't happened. Hopefully it will be done for tomorrow or Wednesday morning.

The bf and I have a tradition that I cook the festive dinner these days. He used to do it when we had company, and did a full roast dinner, but now it's just us I tend to to a three course dinner. It's the one time of the year I have an excuse to go to all that effort. Unfortunately, this year he's decided he doesn't like cheese - and since he's vegetarian it's very difficult to find recipes that don't involve cheese in some form.

The cats are off to the vets tomorrow to have their stitches out. I fully expect Ludifer to try and gouge my wrists out again, because when she's upset she's a violent little psycho. She's gone petting mad lately though, so maybe I can distract her.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I'm not sure which is worse - the fact that whenever the morning bus runs really late I assume it's a female driver, or that nine-out-of-ten times I'm right. Come on girls, you're letting the side down!

So far this week every day has felt like Friday, which might explain why I'm so tired. It's also busy-week, and I'd rather be writing than working. I have no idea how I'll get chapter 14 of Reunion done for next week, none of it's even typed! I'm also trying to plan for Christmas, as the bf doesn't want a tree because of the kittens, but I don't want not to have any decoration. Maybe I'll put paper snowflakes on the windows like I did at work last year. It also looks like I'm doing dinner again this year. The bf isn't a particularly adventurous cook and doesn't like the pressure, whereas I'll happily do a three-course meal just because. Not that I've decided what the three courses are, and I also wanted to make a cake for work..... 8-o
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Two rejections and two submissions this weekend, on top of the submission made during the week. I'm now up to nearly forty submissions this year, and I've worked out that the reason for this is that I hate waiting for a response - the more stories I have out the less time I have to wait!

My submission to ASIM seems to have gone astray - twice. I subbed a while ago, waited a week like it says on their website but didn't get a tracking number. So I subbed again as instructed (again on the website) and a week later there's still no resonse. It's very strange as I've subbed to them before without a problem. Oh well, I shall wait a little longer and then query. There's no point in resubbing a second time if I'm just getting lost in the spam filter.


Over the last month of so I've started making my own bread. Soya is on my list of suspect foods, and soya flour is used in pretty much every commercial loaf out there, so I don't have a choice as bread is my all-time favouite food. I've been using ready-mixed bread packs, but now I think I'm confident enough to start making my own bread from scratch. I have a couple of recipes and plan to at least make a white loaf this weekend. After that the plan is to find a granary loaf recipe that my bf will eat, as he's quite fussy. Maybe somewhere down the line I'll buy a breadmaker. I've been looking at them online, but so far none of them seem to get good reviews, especially if they're being used as an alternative to buying bread. Which sort of defeats the point....
clhollandwriter: (Default)
So today I found out that when you buy a "freshly prepared" squid from Morrissons supermarket, what they actually mean is "well we scraped the skin off, but we left the head on and all the guts in for you to do, and then stuck a label over the front end so you don't see it."

Did they think no one would complain when they unwrap it and see Cthulhu staring at them? Fortunately my veggie boyfriend went above and beyond the call of duty and prepped it for me, so I now have a squid and bacon stew simmering on the cooker, but I am so going to complain! And not buy calamari from them again, as well.

On the writing front chapter 11 of Reunion is coming along, but I think maybe I should put it aside because I'm behind on my crits again. I don't want to risk losing the flow, though.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I now have an ending for my frog-like new idea. So far I'm mostly absent of middle though. The speculative content is also notably absent, although I'm fairly sure there's some in there somewhere. At the  moment it's a bit like doing a jigsaw without looking at the picture on the box.

I've just done the flash challenge over at LH, although getting into it was a struggle as it took ages to get anything from the trigger. I'm too stubborn to give up though, because I just know that if I walk away I'll have a brilliant idea too late to do anything about it. 

In a fit of displacemt activity, today I made pikelets for breakfast and then cleaned the grill and the oven. Then I finished rereading The Light Fantastic. There are several things I should be working on, but they've ganged up on me a bit. At the very least I should be working on something for submission. This time last month I'd made a start on my quota!

In other news: the mystery of the disappearing chocolate has been solved. My office has nocturnal visitors of the rodent kind.
clhollandwriter: (Default)

I spent two hours cooking a Chinese meal yesterday, even though we live within walking distance of a takeaway. We had sweet and sour vegetables, mushroom fu yung, egg-fried rice, garlic and coriander noodles, and vegetable spring rolls. It was a lot of work but fun, and at least I didn't have to do the washing up. Today I made doughnut muffins, and I'm thinking about making custard creams later. 

Oddly enough, there has not been a lot of writing. Oops.

clhollandwriter: (Default)

I haven't gone out much this weekend, which has left me with the end result of not feeling like I've done anything even though I have. I made a batch of what amounts to doughnut muffins (baked with jam in the middle), which the boyfriend has decided I can make again even though he didn't want me to try them in the first place. At the moment I'm roasting leftover tomatoes to turn into soup.

I'm also two thirds of the way through Monkey Island 3, and still managed to get a polish of "The Empty Dark" done. Take that, procrastination! I also had one of those weird dreams that you can turn into a story, if only you can work out the underlying reason behind the weirdness. On top of that, I had the "eureka!" moment that let me work out what was holding up a novel. Unfortunately it wasn't one I'm currently working on, rather one that's been stalled in the back of my head for four years and now has several others ahead of it in the queue.

clhollandwriter: (Default)

So far I haven't shaken the writer's meh, although it's not an editing meh so I've been working on chapter 7 of Reunion instead. It's almost ready to go up, except for the huge infodump in the middle that I need to either prune, or decide I can't be bothered to prune and leave as it is for the time being.

The boyfriend and I went out for a walk today, for about 2 hours. I've no idea how far we walked, but we went down underneath the bridge and listened to the traffic crossing it, which was a weird experience. We also had a look at one of the carved lions that sit at each end. They're creepy up close, especially as while you're crossing under the bridge you pass right through its line of sight. 



The footpath we were on is called the Lion's Walk - which immediately made me think "what if it's called that because the lions actually walk?"

We followed the footpath down to the sea, and looked at the creey door in the base of the bridge, that has water seeping out of the bottom of it. We then followed the coast, but didn't get far as the tide was in (but going out). There was a little bench to sit on and look at the view - except that the water was so high it was in the water, which made me comment that at least now we knew where King Knut took his summer holidays. We backtracked a bit to cut around the water by going through the woods, and came out on the other side of the section that had been cut off. There's a lovely island there, which you can reach at low tide, but the water was too high. We wandered back towards the submerged bench, and the tide had gone in enough that we could follow the footpath back around. The funny thing was, while the tide was going out the water was moving in opposite directions, like two lanes of traffic. It's strange to watch.

After that we headed back up past the lion and then went down past the church to look at the statue of Nelson that looks out to sea (sort of). It involved walking through the graveyard, something which always creeps me out a little bit. There were a lot of neglected graves. Some were blanketed in ivy, others were those with the stone "boxes" on the top that were missing sides or cracked across the top. Space is at a premium locally, so it was common to see stones with six or seven names on them. One had a giant Celtic cross as a monument, down at the end of the churchyard, with a yew tree at each corner that had grown taller than it a boxed it in. The grave was so old that there couldn't be anyone who knew the person left alive (end of the 1800s) and yet at the base of it someone had placed a piece of slate with something carved on it.

The tide was still in, so Nelson was too far out in the water for us to get to. It also cut us off from going any further without clambering over rocks at the water's edge - something we were reluctant to do since the coastguard are on strike this weekend. We walked back up through the graveyard, and spotted a cluster of molehills by some of the graves, something which the boyfriend commented looked rather worrying (eek, zombies!).

And then we trekked home, where I baked a cake that turned out to be an absolute disaster. That's what I get for following the recipe.

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