Did I Make My Goals? Yes and No

Today’s tea is something really special. Jasmine Downey Pearls, or Buddha’s Tears as they’re also known as, are these little hand-rolled balls of white tea. They are placed in hot water without an infuser and they slowly unfurl and sink to the bottom of the cup. It’s consumed with the tea leaves leaves left in. I find it really fascinating to watch.

It is late in the evening and there is not much time left in the month to post. I left it late again as I was doing more census work. This time in the rain. At least the air was fresh. But I did have to go home in my break to dry out a bit. I did a bit late in the evening around dinner time. I got some responses, but I doubt I will do any visits after dark again. You spend too much of your time on the edge on every little potential noise. You also don’t want to spend too much time at someone’s door wondering if anyone will answer. People might think I’m up to something. No response in 20-30 seconds after dark means they’re not home or not willing to see you. The area I’ve been allocated is also not as ideal at night. Never again.

Well, I think it’s time to look at those goals I set a month ago. How well did I meet them?

Finish Test and Tag website. I need photos. – NOPE
Set up MYOB invoicing on my work laptop. – NOPE
Design business cards. – NOPE

So I didn’t do any of this. I kinda got sidetracked by actually starting a job. Will need to get back to it though.

Stop Being EVAC treasurer. Call AGM to make that happen. – GOAL ACHIEVED
Go to sleep at 10:30 PM Tuesday through Thursday. – PARTIALLY ACHIEVED
Thursday night Pokemon Go walk. More exercise than I usually do. – ALTERNATE GOAL ACHIEVED

This was a lot better. I need to improve on my sleeping times. They were much better. I need to maintain them a bit better though. Not being treasurer has been nice. I don’t have to worry about drinks any more which is a good feeling. I’ve been way more active. There was one major exercise walk a week which was better than just a brisk walk on a Thursday night. There were nature walks. I’m also doing a lot of walking with my job.

Blaugust – 1 post a day for a month to improve my writing skills (that’s how I framed it). – GOAL ACHIEVED
Music – Neko Nation is in September. I need a 1 hour music set. – PARTIALLY ACHIEVED
Still stop Being EVAC treasurer. Come to EVAC because I want to. Not because I feel like I have to. – GOAL ACHIEVED
Find time to actually do some gaming. – NOPE

I did the Blaugust thing really well. My music set is closer to being complete but still needs work. Was barely any gaming time. But that’s only because I haven’t made time for it. Once again, EVAC has been more fun knowing that I only need to be there if I actually want to go, catch up with friends and have some fun.

Be tidy and maintaining my general living area. – YES AND NO

There are parts of my living area that are vastly improved. I packed a lot away from AVCon which was looming over my head. But I still have too much untidiness in my living space. I’ll need to give more attention to that.

Tomorrow I will get a new set of goals whilst trying to maintain the ones I have met. There is always time for fine tuning my life. I know some things didn’t get done. The Test and Tag site was a big fail on my part. But I’ve been working. The whole point of setting up a Test and Tag business was to get some work. The job I am doing still has an end date, so I need to get that ball rolling.

So the final goal. Less Soft-drink. More Tea! – HUGE GOAL ACHIEVED!

I have more tea than I could dream of. But I want to try many many more varieties. I have consumed less soft drinks as a result.

So that’s another year of Blaugust done and dusted. It’s definitely been fun. Join me next year for some more shenanigans. But if you like, I’ll try to make some more posts in between.

So Until Next Time,

Have Fun And Stay Sexy!

PS: THIS TEA IS AWESOME! YOU’VE GOTTA TRY IT!

Dungeons and Discords

Today’s tea is called Immortali-T. Three guesses as to where it came from (yes it was the T-bar). It is a rooitea chai. As you can mist definitely tell, I love chai tea. I love the way the spices result in a really fruity concoction. To think at the start of the month I was adding honney to my chai. I’m definitely not doing that any more. I’d love to make my own chai blend one day. I have plenty of spices left over from my curry. Why wouldn’t I want to give it a go?

We come to the last pony review of the month and we finish it off with a bang. “Dungeons and Discords” is a unique idea with a good execution. There is the aspect of role playing games partnered with the brilliant character of Discord brought to life by the voice acting of John de Lancie.

So who exactly is Discord? What so awesome about him? And what does he have to do with Start Trek: The Next Generation?

There exists a character in the Star Trek universe called Q. He is from the Q continuum. He is omnipotent and has exceptional abilities. Think of his as a manic God. But you have to also think of him as a man-child. He has everything in the world, but of anything of substance, he has nothing. So he spends his time toying with many being and many people. He was fascinated by Picard.

So who is Discord? He is the spirit of chaos. Originally the villain of the Season 2 opening episode, he has magical god-like abilities to cause chaos throughout the lands. When trying to describe Discord’s character to the producers, the writers just said “he’s like Q from Star Trek” which the production staff loved so much, they decided to get John de Lancie, the actor of Q, top voice the character.

Based on his incredible popularity, the writers decided to bring him back and try to reform his character. So they put him in the care of Fluttershy who has since made friends with him and helps keep him in check. So not Discord jumps in from time to time as part of his own friendship journey.

So now we get to the episode at heart. Discord has come for his weekly meet-up with Fluttershy. However she has to get ready for a trip to Yakyakistan (it’s a place full of Yaks) with the rest of the Mane six. She suggests she spend the evening with Spike and Big-mac, two of the side characters who always have a secret guys night when they’re gone, which isn’t very secret since she knows about it. Discord begs for Fluttershy to stay, but she is insistent that she has to go (naturally Fluttershy and Discord are frequently shipped together in the shipping community as the “Fluttercord” paring).

After the Mane Six head off on their toy train (as in, it’s a train that clearly exists to sell it in toy stores), Spike and Big-mac decide to invite Discord to their guy’s night. Discord assumes it’s some kind of lively evening with Jazz, Fedoras, zoot-suits. But it turns out to be a role playing game called “Ogres and Oubliettes” (ten guesses as to what it’s referring to). Discord reluctantly decideds to join in.

This is the point where you probably guess what’s going to happen. You think he’s going to hate it, but then it’ll slowly grow on him as they go in-depth into the game. They decide not to do that at all. They start playing the game, and Discord really sucks at it. He tries to do all the magical things he can do in real life, but because he’s an archer, he needs incredibly high rolls to do magic. So he gets frustrated and tries to make the guys do Jazz dancing by teleporting them to a jazz club. Spike and Big-mac just want to keep playing their game so Discord gets fed up and sends them to a dimension where the game is real. But not fun. In fact, it is absolutely terrifying. Well, comically terrifying. It is for kids after all. It’s probably the best five minutes of the episode as it really gets into the crux of the story. It’s not actually about role-playing, but about just reaching out and trying to be nice.

But it’s also about pride. Sometimes you have to give it up and get off of the pedestal that you put yourself on. Sure, Discord has magical abilities. But like Q, he has everything and yet, he still has nothing of substance. He can only call Fluttershy a true friend. He’s boisterous, but the reality is that he’s actually an introvert that finds it hard to reach out and make friends. As Fluttershy is also an introvert, it made a lot sense that she was chosen to befriend him. But I’m digressing now.

The Mane Six return the next morning to find that the guys, including Discord, are still immersed in their RPG, enjoying it so much that they don’t even see the Mane Six arrive. Twilight suggests backing away and letting them have their fun. But Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie decide it’s so much fun that they both want to join in. The episode end as the gaming party finds two new characters.

The way they managed to combine role playing with a way to add depth to Discord’s character was something I was absolutely fascinated by. This was definitely a great episode. It’s gets a solid A. Probably the geekiest episode of the show so far.

Next week’s episode is titled “Buckball Season” and appears to be about a team sport. The show has covered sport before, mainly Olympic-style competition. But they haven’t done anything related to a football-esque sport before. Buckball has been referenced to once before. But now we get to see the game for real. Like I said yesterday, I might come out of blog retirement to do a post about it. I will if it’s good. If not, I might go back and talk about an earlier good episode.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun And Stay Sexy!

To Blog or Not To Blog

Today’s Tea is simply call “Monks” from the T-Bar. It’s a blend of black and green tea with jasmine blossom and vanilla pieces. It is a luscious deep colour and has quite a unique aromatic scent. It is described as a good choice to swap a coffee for a tea. I would most definitely agree with that assessment.

I thought I was going to be doing more census work today. Turns out I was wrong in my assumption. Each visit phase is every four days. I thought it was every three. However I got confused by the recommendation that you not visit the same house until three days have passed. This is what tripped me up. They say to leave three days so that you don’t see a house on the fourth day of your visit phase then come back on the first day of the next phase. So I can go back to visit houses on Tuesday and Wednesday if I wish to keep visits at the start of each visit phase. I only told a handful of people that I’d be back on Monday so I don’t think people will be annoyed at me for not showing up. They shouldn’t have to see me again if they just do their Census. Do your Census!

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In other news, I have mailed off a gift to Thom for winning the Eurovision quiz by default. If you want to guess what it is, the clue is on the customs declaration. I have no idea when that will arrive in his hot little hands. It’s something edible and Something Australian. I thought it was something both Thom and Laura would enjoy. It wasn’t until after I sent it that I remembered that sugar is a thing that Laura can’t have. Now I feel bad. I know what it’s like to get something that you can’t enjoy. All the days of my childhood when I was allergic to milk products and I would receive chocolate as a gift. I’m genuinely sorry Laura. I meant well.

I find myself wondering if I want to keep blogging after the month is over. I know reality is that it will fade away. That has been the norm. But I’m actually considering trying to doing at least two posts a week for the time being. One will be my episodic review of the ponies, the other will be whatever comes to mind. Probably, how my week’s been going. As long as I’m going to be in the Magazine “work activity” I am going to have plenty of time that I could be doing something productive. I have quite enjoyed my ritual of putting on the kettle, making a cup of tea and typing away as I slowly enjoy my hot beverage. I have plenty of tea left over. More varieties than days in the month. The T-bar also have more sample packs that I have not tried. I don’t want to stop just let. I’ll just cut back to something more manageable.

But I still have two more posts to do. One of them is about ponies and the other I am yet to decide upon at this stage. But I do know that in order to do my pony post, I need to see the episode. So off I go to do that.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

Resurrecting Hardware

Today’s tea is Twinings Australian Afternoon. I’m not really sure what makes it Australian other than it being “created for Australians.” It is a dark and strong scented tea, I suspect trying to be reminiscent of a bush billy tea.

This is going to be a quick one today as I am running out of hours to get a post done. I am also in the middle of a cluster of software updates. I have resurrected one of my older computers. Specifically Kagami, my Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop that I got in 2009. I once got it to replace my dying laptop as a secondary machine to my desktop. It has served many purposes in it’s life. As a supplement to my desktop, my main workhorse when my desktop died, then many experimental roles after I got my Macbook Pro in 2011. For a long time it ran Windows 8 and the Windows 8.1 development preview as well as many instances of ubuntu.

Now it will be my new gameboy transfer machine. I need a computer that runs Windows XP that I can use to tranfer my music software and songs to my Game boy cartridges. The XP drivers anre the simplest and most reliable for that task. I have an even older laptop I inherited from my parents which I was using for that job but it was ancient and sluggish. Because I had an SSD I bought for the Speedrun Marathon at AVCon (was easier to throw a fresh Windows 7 install on it than to fiddle around with my nightmarish Windows 10 setup) I thought I’d whack it in and have a much snappier machine for the job. I’m using it now.

But I still want to keep it’s other use as an experimental machine that I could keep for other daily tasks if required. So I’ve spent all day getting a Linux installation on it as well. I decided to go with Antergos Linux, I derivative of Arch which I have been considering swapping my Linux installs to. Having it on this laptop means I can see how well it works and if I want make to jump for real. I came across problems trying to get the Live CD to boot. First it wouldn’t boot off of an burned ISO, then I tried copying it to a USB using Unetbootin. That wouldn’t work either. I was about to give up and try Ubuntu MATE a go instead but I tried another program to install to a USB. Antergos recommends using USB Writer for Windows. That did work.

This is not an installer for the uninitiated. For example, if you want to dual boot then you’re going to have to partition the drive using gparted outside of the installer. I have a 40 GB partition for XP, an 8 GB swap partition and the rest of the 240GB SSD went to the root of the linux install. I went with MATE as the window manager. I got a bit stumbled when booting into the finished install. Just an empty desktop and an empty panel at the top. You have to add all your buttons to the panel. The menu, clock, quick launch icons, notification area and even open programs have to be added using a customization utility. But once it was set up exactly how I wanted it, I was impressed.

Now I am doing all the Windows XP updates, despite not wanting to have it hooked up to any network once it’s done. XP is old and out of date. I don’t want to have it vulnerable. Fortunately there is a switch on the side of this laptop that turns off the wireless card. It’s taking forever to update. But I have found an unnoficial Service Pack 4 which should have every update released. I think I’ll have that fully downloaded soon enough.

But for now, I just want to catch up on some TV.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

A Day in the Kitchen

Today’s tea is one of my own creation. It is a ginger tea. It contains ginger. I diced it up then dry roasted it in a frying pan, diced it some more then dry roasted it again. I let it cool then I put it in an infuser. I filled a teapot with hot water then added the infuser. Five minutes of steeping later, I put it into a teacup. I’ve tasted it and I quite like it. Good job me!

Why did I made ginger tea? Because I had some left over from my day of cooking. Thom’s most recent writing prompt was “Got a good recipe for something hearty, maybe with chicken?” Today I attempted to answer that question.

My dictionary describes hearty as “substantial and nourishing.” I felt like a curry. I find that to be a bit hearty. So I decided to make a Chicken Madras. A Madras meant to be a hot curry. I didn’t find it t be very hot so I will call this “Chicken and Potato Curry.”

Curry Paste

2 Teaspoons Mustard Seeds
4 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
2 Tablespoons Cumin Seeds
2 Teaspoons Black Peppercorns
6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Teaspoon ground chilli powder (probably should have added more)
1 Teaspoon ground Turmeric
2 Tablespoons Malt Vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

  1. Cook Mustard Seeds in a frying pan over a medium heat, shaking the pan for 1 minute of until it starts to pop. Add Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, and Peppercorns. Cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Set aside to cool.
  2. Transfer your dry roasted mixture to a mortar and pestle (or food processor). Add remaining ingrediants. Combine until smooth.
  3. Store your curry paste in a screw-top jar. Store in fridge for up to one month.

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I don’t have a jar. I just placed in in a zip lock bag. It smells amazing.

The recipie says you should use two tablespoons of paste for 1 kg of meat. I would suggest using much more.

Curry

1 Onion diced
750 kg of diced Chicken breast or thigh fillets
3 Tablespoons of Curry Paste
4 large white potatoes cut into 2 cm cubes

  1. Brown your onion and then the diced chicken. Add salt.
  2. Add curry paste and potatoes. Cover ingredients with boiling water. Bring to the boil then simmer for a really long time.
  3. Your curry should be done when the chicken and potatoes are cooked well. You may need to add water or boil it away to reach the right consistancy. Or you could cheat by adding 1 teaspoon of corn flour like I did. That’s what happens when you add way too much water.
  4. Serve on a bed of Basmati Rice. I partnered it with a glass of Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

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So how was it? It was nice but I found it lacking in flavour. It could have used some more salt to bring out more flavour. Perhaps adding some diced garlic and chilli when browning the onion would have improved things. Another great idea would be to serve it with some grated cheese on top. Using the curry paste as a marinade for your meat may be a really awesome idea.

So it may not have been as hearty as I wanted it to be, I still enjoyed my time in the kitchen. Though I still think I did a better job making ginger tea. I have two more meals worth of the curry left over. It’ll probably be brilliant served on toast and a really strong cheddar grated on top.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

Jenny goes Door-to-door

The water for today’s has been spilled all over my computer desk. For the water that ended up in my cup, the tea is Dilmah Rose with French Vanilla. Well my keyboard is mostly dry and still works so I think I’ll be fine. At least the tea smells really nice to distract me from the water spills.

Today was the day when I was finally able to go door to door for my Census job. They said it would be best to divide your allocation into three and do it over the allocated three days in small batches. So obviously I proceeded to disregard that advice and do it all in a full day. It took me from 9:15 until 5:30 with an hour break for lunch. My feet hurt. But at least I can spend the next to days relaxing to the fullest.

I have a new appreciation for doorbells. I thought this was a thing that a majority of houses possessed. It turns out that doorbell owners are in the minority. Door knockers, less so. Out of the 140 houses I visited, I could count the number of houses will physical bells as their person-at-the-door-prompter on one hand. But gosh, there were a lot of doors with nothing. My knuckles are so so much pain. Two thirds of the way through I discovered that my water bottle made an excellent door knocker. It’s made of glass and has a neoprene sleeve which caused no damage to the doors or the bottle itself. It also made a really intimidating knock which gave the Census the gravitas it probably deserved.

I think only four houses thought I was a door-to-door salesman. One had a go at me for disregarding the “do not knock” sign, which we were specifically instructed to disregard. One person shut the door in my face and refused to answer to the canvaser. All these things get noted for the next follow-up visit.

(This tea is really bad. Part of me wants to add it to the ever-evaporating spill on the desk. It’s got a acrid artificial-chemical bitterness that is hard to describe with words.)

I had a trick to circumnavigate the anticipated backlash to the website failure that happened on the 9th. Bring it up at a conversation starter before they could. I’d also mention that I was hired after it happened (which was true) and rarely had to explain anything technical. We had been briefed to describe that it was a DDoS and “not a hack”. I preferred to just say that it was “a stress-related hardware malfunction” which could be interpreted as either a DDoS or a poorly planned infrastructure without actually saying so. It didn’t come up very often. Most people just acknowledged that “the website crashed” and they hadn’t made an effort to fill it out yet.

So that was my day. A late visit to EVAC and the markets gave me a bit of life after my physically exhausting work. Many steps were taken in my area. All I want to do is sit back and relax for the rest of the evening. I can also do so on my lazy weekend. My first weekend without plans in a long time. Happy Days!

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun And Stay Sexy!

Fun Eurovision Facts and Quiz Results

Today’s tea is called “Balance Ayurdeda” which I have no idea how to pronounce whatsoever. Turns out there is a YouTube video for that! Either way, it’s a tea made up of cinnamon, cardamom, liquorice, ginger root, coriander, fennel and rose leave. So it’s basically another chai. It smells like a spicier version of the liquorice tea so I’m pretty sure this is going to be fantastic. I’m also serving it up with a Turkish Delight chocolate bar on the side. Might be a good pairing.

I think now is probably a good idea to go back to my Eurovision quiz I did last Wednesday. It’s answers time! You might even learn something along the way, considering I believe only Thom gave it a go. That makes him the winner by default. I’ll sort some small prize out. I guess I’ll have to post to him something care of Brasenose College’s postal address and hope it gets there.

So here are the lovely facts.

What is the “Prelude To Te Deum” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier known for in Eurovision?

You will find that is the intro music played at the start and end of each contest. It’s been like that since the start and has become a bit of a little tradition.

In 2003, a country famously finished in last place with zero points. Name that country.

Ahh, the good old UK and Cry Baby. Not a Blaugust goes by when I haven’t talked about this train wreck of a song. It was also the the most recent non-semi final song to receive null points until the double null points of Austria and Germany in 2015.

Only one performer has managed to win the Contest more than one as a performer. This has given them the title of, “Mr Eurovision.” Who is the name of this person?

This would be Mr Johnny Logan of Ireland. Fun fact: he was born in Melbourne so we could claim him like we do with Crowded House. He actually won three contests. The first in 1980 was as a performer, the second in 1987 was as a performer and song writer and his last in 1992 was just as a song writer. My favourite was his first win with “What’s Another Year.”

In what year did Sweden win the contest with the song “Euphoria”? Hint: The second placed song were a bunch of singing grannies from Russia.

The year was 2012. That was definitely a Year for Eurovision. “Euphoria” was a chart smasher topping the charts in 17 countries and the European charts. One of my favourite Eurovision winners just behind “Love Shine a Light” from the UK in 1997.

Which county in the 2016 contest only achieved 7 points from the Jury vote but managed to finish in eighth place after achieving 222 point from the public televote?

Good old Poland. This was the surprise of the vote during the evening. I didn’t really care for the sone and neither did the juries. But for some reason, the public absolutely adored it. It absolutely shot past so many songs once they finally got their public vote announced. Just imagine how the Polish commentators felt.

In what year did the contest award four countries the winner of the contest as a result of a four way tie in the votes?

This was a crazy year. The year was 1969. Spain had just won the year before with a song called “La La La” because the Francisco Franco Regime had replaced parts of the lyrics that were written in Catalan as well as the singer. The next year the UK, Spain, France and the Netherlands all ended up on the same points. Because the organiser didn’t have a tie-breaking rule, they announced four winners. There was a mass of protests the next year with a lot of boycots. There’s only been one tie for the win since then which was between Sweden and France in 1991. Sweden won the tie breaking rule they had then (Highest number of 12, then highest number of 10’s etc.). There’s a new rule now (highest number of countries to give votes then highest number of 12’s etc.) that if it was in effect then, France would have won.

Still, I think the most horrifying thing from 1969 was the film they played during the interval act. Still gives me nightmares.

What is the song “Mil etter mil” by Jahn Teigen best known for after participating in the 1978 contest for Norway?

This, my friends, is the first song since the introduction of the “Douze Points” system to recieve no points whatsoever. Instead of ruining his career, Jahn Teigen became famous as the guy who finished dead last in Eurovision. He represented Norway two more times in 1982 and 1983.

In what year was the live orchestra used for the last time as well at the last time competitors were made to participate in an official language of their country?

1998 was the last time the orchestra and language restrictions were used. Things havn’t been the same since. An interesting fact is that using the orchestra was optional with each country having the option of a full backing track. Many took up this option but four countries that didn’t use the orchestra still presented conductors!

Various voting systems have been implemented in the history of the contest. In what year was the “Douze Points” system put into effect? (The procedure of awarding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to a range of countries other that their own)

The first time this system was used was in 1975 and it’s been pretty much the same ever since. Different systems have been used. Usually each country had ten jury members who would each give a vote to their favourite song. Sometimes there would be two jury members who would give each member a mark out of five. That was the worst system as the tallying for it showed the winner way too early in the vote. But it did result in this funny looking judge from Switzerland in 1973.

With Sweden winning for the sixth time in 2015, this put them with the second highest number of wins.. Which country still has the highest total of wins with seven?

IRELAND IRELAND IRELAND! They were unstoppable in the 90’s. They managed to win four contests in five years during that decade. Staging the contest every year was starting to bankrupt the broadcaster. But they always knew how to put on a show. In 1994 they came up with an interval act that blew everyone away. The act was called Riverdance. It was only meant to be a one-off but it eventually spawned a dance troupe that toured the world.

What are the participating countries that make up the big five?

That would be the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. They are the five countries that give the most money to the EBU and practically find the contest. They used to be the big four but Italy joined them in 2011 when they returned to the contest because they already gave more money than Spain. The reason for their existance was due to Germany not being picked to take part in the 1996 contest which had a pre qualifying round because more countries wanted to take part than they had places. They threatened to pull their cash is they couldn’t take part. The rule has been there ever since 1997. Now that there a semi’s I thinks it’s probably time for the big five to lose their auto qualification to the final. Especially is they continue to do poorly.

Which television series featured a show where the main characters attempted to be selected for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song, “My Lovely Horse”?

This is from the show “Father Ted” which sums up the feeling of Eurovision in Ireland at the time. They were trying to throw the contest so they didn’t have to stage it but they couldn’t stop winning. Definitely a great episode to watch.

So how did Thom go? He got six, which is six more than everyone else. Congratulations! YOU WIN!

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

Tech Talk Today

Today’s Tea is another of those Croatian fruit teas. This is labelled as a Blueberry tea but the first thing of note is that the tea is not coloured blue, or even purple. Instead it’s a deep red colour. I don’t have to box with ingredients on it so I can’t tell you what’s really in there. It smells alright. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t taste as good.

Once again I find myself in the daily rut of having to be at this waste of time of a “magazine activity.” Unfortunately I have to keep going to it whenever I’m not doing my ABS stuff during the day. I can’t visit houses until the official start date on Friday. This is due to the fact that “reminder letters” were sent to houses that haven’t successfully fill out the census form yet and they want to give people time to fill it out before someone like me is sent to knock on their door. But I do know the area I’ve been allocated to. We’re all put into a region which is then subdivided to a sub-region. The region I am in is the West Ward of Marion Council. Which starts as far north as Warradale and goes as far south as Seacome Gardens. I am the only person on the staff that lives as far north as Warradale. So naturally, I was allocated to do Seacome Gardens. I guess I’ll have to put that down to computer allocation as my Area Supervisor tried to get me near where I live. Oh well, not everything can be perfect. As least I get to claim for car travel.

My guess was right. This tea is disgusting. It doesn’t taste like Blueberry one bit. It barely tastes of anything with an after-taste of faint sourness. Like someone squeezed five drops of lemon juice into a cup of hot water. They can’t all be perfect. But I am running out of tea varieties. My bag contained even less options.

I am left wondering what I am going to do for the rest of the day. I’m in the middle of writing an article about preparing for Christmas celebrations on a budget. But it’s taking a lot of time to research and structure. I’ll keep going back to it every now and again but I’m not that enthusiastic about it. Other of the other things I do to pass my time is watching video podcasts. I have two that I frequently watch. Both of them are Linux tech podcasts made by the same people. The first is the “Linux Action Show,” a news, review and discussion show about Linux Distributions, open source software and Linux compatible hardware. The other is called “Linux Unplugged” which is more of the same but goes more in-depth into the discussions and debates. The Unplugged podcast is audio only except for screenshots of web articles that are being discussed and an IRC chat-log from when it was recorded and streamed live. They both started as recordings but eventually made the jump to live streamed shows using the Linux port of OBS. Though they do get edited down and cleaned up for the actual podcast. The unplugged podcast even has what it calls a virtual LUG (Linux Users Group) that calls into the live show using Mumble, an open source application similar to either Team Speak or Discord.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Linux and open source, despite also being a Mac and Windows user. I’ve always liked being proficient in all the operating systems. My jump to Mac was more based on the fact that I thought Apple’s laptops were better suited to my needs at the time. Apple had also released new hardware right when I bought in. That was in early 2011. They havn’t changed much since. They added Retina displays and USB 3.0, but they also removed features that I would want in my hardware requirements for a laptop. They removed the Optical media drive, which I didn’t like at the time but now accept as a fact of life. It does make loading a new OS a bit trickier as you need to flash a USB drive. But I have an external drive that I use instead. My desktop doesn’t even have an optical drive in it at all. But what Apple have done which I really despise is removed the ability to upgrade your RAM and Storage. They’re chips soldered to the logic board. They also haven’t really upgraded their hardware in a few years either. My Early 2011 i7 Macbook Pro is still going strong thanks to the upgraded 16GB of Ram and a 1TB SSD. The only things I wish it had is USB 3.0 and a 1080p screen, but I’ve been living fine without it. If it dies, I’d probably find something that has an excellent battery life, is upgradable and is able to run a Linux distro really damn well. Something like a ruggid Lenovo Thinkpad comes to mind. Somthing which I could drop and probably not even cause a scratch. Something that would still keep going with is had twelve gashes in it. That’s pretty much what Thinkpads have been known for in the past.

The question then becomes, what distro of Linux would I use? I have mainly used Ubuntu variants. Mainly because that’s what I’m familiar with. I’ve been using Ubuntu Gnome for the last two years as I’ve preferred Gnome 3 over the Unity interface that the standard Ubuntu uses. But I’ve been temped lately to move to MATE desktop environment (pronounced ma-tay). MATE is a fork of the old Gnome 2 desktop environment. There were radical changes from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3. Gnome 2 was definitely more customisable, and MATE has kept that customisability whist also keeping it fresh and modern. There’s also been an official Ubuntu MATE that has been out since October last year which has been picking up a lot of traction for being as awesome as when Ubuntu used to use Gnome 2 as the default desktop environment.

Another option I have been considering has been leaving Ubuntu altogethor and going with an Arch Linux variant. Arch is a bit of a hefty beast to install but once it’s set up, you have a rolling release OS that is completely bleeding edge and set up perfectly to your needs. You start by installing a the most basic of a command line OS. Then you add whatever you want to it. You pick your own window manager and set of programs from it’s repositories. Want MATE? Or perhaps GNOME 3 or KDE? You decide. But the hardest part of all of it is setting it up. Have you ever gone to use ‘sudo’ to find that you need to install it and set it up first? Ever tried to set up your wifi to find that you don’t have a wifi manager installed? That’s how close to the bare metal it is. I’ve managed to get installs to work in a Virtual Machine, but I wouldn’t want to install my own OS like that.

That’s where I would go with Antergos Linux. It is based on Arch but has a more user friendly installer. Think of it as Ubuntu for Arch in the same way that Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux. The installer lets you pick your desktop environment and a choice of apps. Then the installer downloads the latest packages and installs it to you machine. It also sets it up and themes it really well. You get sudo. You get a wifi manager. You get everything you would expect in an OS. And you still are able to install anything else afterward with their repositories.

But everything is going well for now so I don’t see a need to change anything just yet. I guess I might change my Ubuntu installs to Ubuntu MATE when the 16.10 installs come around in mid October.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy

The Times They Are A Changeling

Today’s tea is Puri-T, another punderful T-bar title. It’s a herbal tea with many great things such as hibiscus spearmint, elderflower, ginger, dandelion, nettle and clover. This one need to infuse for five to ten minutes. That’s a long time for tea. It’s been five but I think I’ll leave it a bit longer as there doesn’t seem to be a huge scent coming from the pot that I’m using. One of those ‘tea for one’ things with a small teapot that fits on top of a cap and saucer. I’ve really wanted one for a long time. Just a basic white one would do. I’m borrowing one that is covered in babushka dolls. But I came here to talk about pastel ponies. So I shall begin.

“The Times They Are A Changeling” is a bit of a mixed bag. I feel It tries to cover way too many things in the 22 minute running time. Mass hysteria, xenophobia, prejudice, peer pressure, but most of all, back-story. Back-story that even I have to feel I need to explain to make the episode make sense. This is the episode’s biggest failing. Anyone who’s seen everything wouldn’t need to have all the back-story explained. But because this is made for kids and syndication, it’s a fact of life that there’s going to be some exposition. Normally is all rushed through in the cold opening, but the back-story in this one takes up a quarter of the damn episode.

I’ll try to do my best. The story takes part in the Crystal Empire, some fancy place made so Hasbro could sell more toys) which was once saved by Spike the Dragon (Twilight Sparkle’s number one assistant). So Spike is a bit of a celebrity there. Twilight is going with Spike to see her brother and sister-in-law (who happens to be Princes) and their baby (another reason for Hasbro to sell more toys). But when they get there, they find everyone in the town is hiding or in a panic. This is because they believe there is a changeling in the area. Changings were the villains of the Season 2 finale as one of them posed as Twilight’s soon to be sister-in-law at their wedding and almost took over the entirety of Equestria, so it’s made everyone uneasy. Because Spike is so famous for being a hero in the Crystal Empire, they ask if he can help. Because he’s so incredibly vain, he accepts.

Eventually he finds the changeling, named Thorax, but discovers that he’s not actually evil and just wants to be friends with everyone. But nobody will accept him because they think he’s the spawn of Satan. Spike gets an idea. What if Thorax morphs into a pony and meets everyone in the town in that form instead? This is going well originally, only he accidentally morphs back into his original form in front of the royal guard. Everyone thinks the changeling has deceived Spike. And because Spike doesn’t want to lose his popularity, he decided to go along with that assumption.

Eventually, Spike realises how horrible he’s been and goes to find the Thorax again to apologise. He comes back to the royal guard with Thorax in his true form and tells everyone that he’s friends with him and that he doesn’t pose any threat to anyone with THE POWER OF SONG! Probably not the best to do it but the clock is ticking on the running time. Of course, if they hadn’t spent ages working on back-story then perhaps they could have gone more in-depth with getting Thorax to make friends with everyone rather than winning everyone over with a musical number.

The pacing of this episode was really weird. It felt rushed and padded out at the same time. But the show also got their toy selling plugs out of the way in inly one episode too, which I prefer over drip feeding it through the season. This gets a C+ from me. This could still the best episode with Spike as the main focus though. Spike episodes are usually the absolute worst. The episode next week diffidently has an interesting title and concept. “Dungeons and Discords” is going be about fantasy role-playing! I’m more excited that it’s an episode with Discord in it, a character similar to “Q” from Star Trek: The Next Generation who is even voiced by John de Lancie, the actor who played “Q” from Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Random Unplanned Blaugust Post #22

Today’s tea is Tetley Assam. I found this in a Cheep as Chips for next to nothing. I now know the reason it was heavily discounted was because it had a best before date of the 18th of August 2016. Still shouldn’t make it poisonous though. it certainly looks like tea and smells like tea. So my best assumptions is that it will also taste like tea. I’m more worried about the white calcium particles from the kettle that seem to be starting to float in my drinks of late.

I’ve just spent the last five minutes staring at a screen with only a paragraph of the tea I’m drinking. That’s how prepared I am to writing something tonight. I found myself realising that if I don’t try then I’ll be a day behind. And I really don’t want to be doing that, despite the small stakes involved in having to write a catch-up post.

I guess I could tell you about me day. It was a face-to-face training session for the Census blog. I got given a messenger bag, ID and little bits and pieces to help me visit houses. I also got a big delivery of Census forms, envelopes and various other forms of paperwork on Friday afternoon. The training went five hours but realistically could have only gone for about half that based on how much they doubled over on teaching everything. We all had to install an app to our phones or tablet that runs the admin side of chasing up everyone. It seems to work well enough. It even has an inbuilt barcode scanner in the app to grab details for the paper forms being handed out to households. What I found really stupidly finny is that there is a training app to get people to practice using the real one. It has a tiny picture of a train in the corner of the app icon. A good visual pun that was lost on absolutely everyone else but myself, at least until I pointed it out.

Don’t forget that I have my eurovison quiz that can still be done for the next few days. I realised I never actually set a date. I’ll reveal the answers on Wednesday. But for now, I’d rather just sit back, relax and finally get back to watching Twin Peaks. A good old TV show from the early 90’s one of my friend adores. He the kinda guy that only brags about something being good if it is excellent. It also finally makes that backwards scene in Who Shot Mr Burns Part 2 make sense.

So Until Tomorrow,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

Blaugust writing prompts (100% Thom Rip-off idea):
1) How is your job going?
2) What do you do when you are suffering from writers block during Blaugust?
3) What’s the most recent show you’ve seen which has only just made you realise an entire scene from the Simpsons was a reference?