No post the past few weeks – I’ve been a little busy with the typical early start to Mad March. Mostly birthday celebrations, but a few other things thrown in for good measure.
I’ve had a few things I was going to write up, but in the interest of actually getting something posted, I thought I’d just do a whirlwind overview of the stuff I was going to post about.
Three weeks ago in place of my regular weekend hike, I went to an aikido class. It was interesting and challenging but I ultimately decided that it wasn’t for me. Partly it was the cost and partly it was that losing the entirety of my Saturday mornings every week isn’t something I can sustain for any great period of time. But a lot of it came down to the teaching style used, the focus on art before self-defence, and I’m not comfortable with bowing to a picture of some guy I’ve never heard of every time I enter or leave the room. Anywho, the main reason is that it’s too much of a time commitment for a Saturday morning. I shall definitely try and check out some other martial arts schools though, see if I can find one that’s more my style and that has a weeknight beginner’s class. Because, you know, I need another hobby on top of the twenty or thirty I’ve got going at the moment.
The weekend before last, I went pistol shooting for my birthday with a group of 7 friends. I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect, but had a really fun day. I got to shoot four pistols and two shotguns. The first two were a pair of Glocks, I don’t remember which versions but one was a 9mm and the other a .45, then we fired a pair of revolvers – a Ruger GP100 (a .357) and a Ruger Super Redhawk (a .44 magnum). I found the glocks too light, it was really hard to keep it steady on target and I was really quite surprised when I got 93 out of 100 points on our competition round. The .357 I was woefully inaccurate with, down and to the right on every shot, I don’t think I landed a single bullet in the centre ring. I was dreading the competition round with the Super Redhawk. But apparently I like big, heavy guns. My first shot was a little low and in the 9 point circle and the rest were in the 10 point circle, mostly within the black centre. I was pretty damned chuffed about that. A final score of 152 out of 160 gave me second place. A former co-worker managed a perfect 100 with the glock and then 59 with the .44, giving him a comfortable first place. Third place was only a single point behind me. None of us had really fired guns before and all but one of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
One of the people elected not to fire the Super Redhawk, so the ammo got split between myself and the other birthday boy and we had a go at firing the Super Redhawk one-handed. I was not at all accurate doing it that way. Us two birthday boys then fired two shells in each of two shotguns which was an interesting experience.
The biggest take away I had was that recoil is not at all like in the movies or in pc games (not that I really expected they were faithful recreations) and was a lot less noticeable than I’d expected. I thought I’d have sore wrists by the end of the session, but it’s one of the least athletic things I’ve tried in a while. The shotguns did pack a bit of a kick, though again far less than I’d expected. My shoulder was a little sore for a couple of days afterwards – it felt a lot like the stiffness you get the day or two after you overdo it at the gym, but without any of the pain that normally accompanies that. I’d love to go shooting again, but the cost is somewhat prohibitive.
On Sunday night, I started watching a doco called Cooked, which is a fascinating little tour through “how cooking transforms food and shapes our world”. It was really interesting to watch and inspired me to take another stab at learning to cook. I will say though that Pollan (the narrator and author of the book the doco’s based on) definitely has a bit of an agenda with the story he’s telling and I’m fairly certain I noticed some minor foul-ups in his fact-checking, though nothing too egregious (at least, not so egregious that someone as lacking in knowledge in this field as me was able to spot). It’s worth-watching but, as always, be sceptical.
So, I’ve picked Cooking for Geeks back up and am slowly making my way through it (and annotating it too which I’ve always wanted to do with a book) and I cooked up a trivial dish on Monday night. So simple a lot of people probably wouldn’t really consider it cooking, but aside from occasionally cooking mince for the traditional family get-together tacos, the only thing I’ve really cooked in the last few years is mi goreng. So, it was cooking as far as I was concerned, and I’m hoping that by starting small and easy I can build up my confidence in the kitchen. In fact, since that night I’ve cooked dinner for myself about half of the nights since (most of the other nights I’ve been out for dinner, but there have been a few mi goreng meals).
Most of the stuff I’ve cooked has just involved boiling then frying (or just frying) a few vegetables and trying out a couple of different spices. It’s slowly getting more interesting. I tried adding some peaches I had lying around (courtesy of the ever-awesome Sew Nerd). That, erm, didn’t work very well. I also cooked some pancakes on the weekend. I thought I’d screwed a few things up (slipped with the baking powder and added ~50% more than intended) and “an egg” is really not a consistent measurement of anything. But they turned out pretty damned tasty, if I do say so myself. I might make ’em again this weekend.
This weekend just gone, I took it fairly easy. I was somewhat burnt out from all the festivities and have another busy week this week. I’m not even sure what’s coming up beyond this week is how busy it is.
I did get out for a hike though. Just a short hike at the loop around Hale Conservation Park. It took me about an hour. It’s a pleasant short hike along a narrow trail with intermittent views across the Barossa and Clare valleys and the northern parts of the Adelaide plains. I really enjoy the terrain, the geology and vegetation changes a moderate amount as you make your way around the loop and there are some parts where you get to have fun scrambling over rocks and trying to see where the trail starts back up – though there’s never any real risk of losing the track and though it gets my heart pumping from time to time, I imagine a fitter person would only barely notice it.
I’ve got another big weekend coming up – a fringe show on Friday night, and one last dinner on Saturday celebrating my birthday (with two of my closest friends. I’m really looking forward to it). Then getting some more renovations done around my place the rest of the weekend. But that’s going to seriously squeeze out time for a proper hike, so I guess I’ll be doing another short one. Maybe the Greenfields wetlands, which I’ve wanted to do for a while now, though it’s relatively short and unlikely to be taxing.
I’ve got posts coming up on the latest Whitecliff session and maybe some more world-building stuff for that. Fragged Empire, To the Stars!, and Demon all got cancelled this month (that’s Mad March for you) so no updates there, but Forge of Hope (our Dresden Files game) should start tomorrow night, so hopefully there’ll be a write up for that. Hopefully I’ll blog a bit of my cooking too. We shall see.