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‘Tis the Ides of March.

The Romans did not number days of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year.

Our upstairs toilet is working again, my bike has gone to the shop for a thorough tune-up, and the wind is supposed to blow over 40 miles and hour from early tomorrow morning until late tomorrow night.

Facts that bear no relation to each other, nor to the good weekend I am wishing you!

March 15, 2019 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 9


Geez, the image quality of the stupid shit I steal off Facebook is getting worse and worse.

Sorry, y’all, I was out late tonight. See you mañana!

March 14, 2019 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 5

From the moist bowels of FaceBook

I got spotted dick. Because of course I did.

Liner notes: a crumpet is an english muffin. I’ve heard of Americans making potato chip sandwiches, but not Brits — my guess is that should be a chip butty. Also, it’s only a shepherd’s pie when it’s made with lamb; most people make it with hamburger, which is a cottage pie.

Confession: I like mushy peas.

The images was credited to Getty Images/Buzzfeed, which doesn’t seem likely.

March 13, 2019 — 10:04 pm
Comments: 16

When pushbuttons go wrong

You know what’s really swell? When you’re a stranger in a strange land and you cannot figure out how to flush the toilet.

I never worked out Uncle B’s toilet in London at all. It was a lever action, but you had to kind of lift it and then put a little english on it (appropriately enough). I actually had to call him in once. (Can you picture it? “Hello, man I am courting — I HAVE MADE BOOM BOOM”).

Shown above is our toilet flusher off the master bedroom. It’s easy enough. You push the button.

Well, you push the little button for a ‘half flush’ and the big button for a ‘full flush’ — or the other half of a ‘half flush’ if it hasn’t refilled. Okay, it’s stupidly complicated – and you haven’t seen the insides yet.

It went wrong tonight. It won’t flush. The button, it is dead. We took the lid off and…honest to dog, I’ve had cars that were less complicated.

I never thought I’d be homesick for a float valve. (Yeah, you thought I was going to say “cock and ball mechanism” didn’t you?).

March 12, 2019 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 19

The most inconvenient of tails

Uncle B took this snapshot in the garden yesterday (gosh, phone cameras are getting better). My boy Boo, who is now about ten months old and the sweetest khet ever.

That tail, tho. The longest, skinniest, most inconvenient tail of them all. And there’s a white ring just before the tip, which seems an unnecessary mockery.

I feed all three beasts first thing in the morning; the kitchen floor is a minefield of lashing tails. Or one of those Russian sword dance things: step wrong at your peril.

See the snowdrops in one corner? They’ve been bursting out for a couple of weeks. It’s been very funny weather here. The sunshine says it’s Spring. The wind says, “fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”

March 11, 2019 — 10:04 pm
Comments: 8

Thus endeth a strange week in a recipe

My new favorite snacky:

Soak a cup* of dried soybeans overnight**
Drain and toss into a hot wok with 1 tablespoon† of peanut oil
Wok for ten minutes⁑
Sprinkle with salt‡

Keeps for days in a bowl. Tastes like popcorn, but more satisfying because it’s full of protein-y goodness. (Careful, fellas — don’t grow soy tiddies!).

Image stolen from Sincerely Nuts, a charmingly-named American online purveyor of foodstuffs. Recipes at the link look interesting, too.

Good weekend, all!

* a cup is kind of a lot. I do less in one go, usually.
** Seriously, WTF does this mean? I hate it when recipes say overnight. Is it eight hours? Is it twelve? Is there some magical alchemy that happens to food while the world sleeps?
† I need to start measuring this. I keep eyeballing it and using too much oil which is gross.
⁑ give or take. Less, and they’re chewy. More, and they’re crispy. I like them both ways.
‡ last, before you turn them out of the wok. I think it coats better if it goes on last, or perhaps it protects the surface of the wok. Chunks of coarse sea salt in a grinder is the best.

March 8, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 13

I’m having a weird week

Lost my wallet Tuesday. Woke up to a flat bike tire this morning.

Seemed the perfect time to raze my old XP machine to the ground and convert it to Linux. You may recall I pinched an ancient machine from work that was going in the bin. I use it in my little studio room to look at pictures of chickens and play YouTubes.

The pictures of chickens went fine, the YouTubes not so much. I upped it to 2 gig of ram, which helped, but not entirely. To be honest, I got sick of having a broken, ugly, insecure operating system that nobody supported.

I could have gone with one of those tiny Linuxes and I’m sure I would have gotten better performance, but I went with a 32-bit version of Mint and I don’t care. It looks nice, it’s tailored to work superficially much like Windows, so it’s easy. Chicken pictures look slick.

Still runs YouTubes like shite.

March 7, 2019 — 10:23 pm
Comments: 10

This is a Public Service Announcement

I lost my wallet! Spoiler: I got it back again. There it is, right there in the picture. I couldn’t bear to keep you guys in suspense.

Apparently, it fell out of my bag at the checkout line at Aldi yesterday. Which is in a wretched neighborhood. I was sweating this one. There are people in that supermarket for whom the bit of cash in my wallet would make all the difference this week.

But no. Staff had it and I got it back, with every penny.

But not until this morning, after I had cancelled all my credit cards. Count ’em: five.

I only use two of them, one credit and one debit. First lesson: maybe not carry all of them around, or even cancel a few. It’s a holdover from the days I tried to get as many lines of credit as possible to give myself a paper existence in a foreign country. At least I wasn’t carrying my passport around — I used to!

Second lesson: better records. I was fairly good about writing down the pertinent information and the process of contacting the banks is pretty easy (exception: boo Sainsbury’s Mastercard!), but it would have been even more painless if I had done something like photocopy the fronts and backs.

Third: I didn’t keep track of all the places online that I use them. The ones that I allow to keep the number, I mean. There’s Amazon, Ebay and PayPal and the rest…well, we’ll find out. And I’ll write it down this time.

Meanwhile, no tchotchkes for weasel 🙁

March 6, 2019 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 12

Recipe for weaselchai

What do I know from chai? I’m a small furry mustelid from Tennessee. I went on YouTube and watched Indians make the stuff. Which is so simple, turns out, the easiest video to follow wasn’t even in English.

Per the instructions, take 2 parts water and 1 part whole milk. Bring it to a simmer, add chai, bubble for three minutes, add sugar and done. If you’ve bought a decent chai mix, that’ll make a very fine drink. There are some nice mixes to be had online.

But what’s the fun in that? What I actually do is boil the water by itself first, including any ‘hard’ ingredients like stick cinnamon or cardamom pods that could use a good boilin’. I let that chunder until I remember it’s on the stove. Then I add the milk and any ‘soft’ ingredients: things like tea that shouldn’t boil too long. Let it all come back to a simmer and then strain into a pre-warmed thermos flask with lots of sugar.

Things that really should be in chai: water, milk, tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, sugar.

Things lots of people put in chai: star anise, cloves, peppercorns, orange peel, nutmeg.

Things that can be put in chai: anything. AN-Y-THING. Any spice you like the taste of, any herbal remedy that wants boiling. I know a herbalist who puts turmeric in it. The only error I’ll admit to so far is hops (fine in an herbal tea, too bitter for a sweet chai).

I stole the image from this article on whether it’s okay to re-use tea. It’s an interesting article (and, from the looks of it, a good American tea supplier). Read it if you care.

March 5, 2019 — 8:28 pm
Comments: 6

My cup, let me show you it

I bought a few of these for cheaps on Ebay. They are hand-thrown terra cotta cups, glazed on the inside and unglazed on the outside. They look like what Judah ben Hur would drink his Ovaltine out of.

I’ve been making chai. Not out of chai mix, but out of bits. I am enjoying myself very much, as only a weasel with a chemistry set can. It seemed right to drink it out of one of these. I keep waiting to transmogriphy into Mrs Hyde, but so far it’s just a delicious beverage that makes me piss like a dray horse.

Of all the supposed benefits of multiculturalism, the only ones I appreciate are interesting food, textiles and ceramics.

March 4, 2019 — 10:09 pm
Comments: 8