heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Final vide grenier

Back on the 18th of March, a little town a ways from here had a vide grenier, the first of our season. Now, in the same town in the same place on the same day, only eight months later - as if bookending the vide grenier season, the final one has taken place.
Held indoors (both times), it wasn't particularly large but it was well attended and we didn't need to worry too much about the weather.

I got myself (yet another) "Sims2" game for my PS2, plus a pile of animé (including boxed sets) for five euros. Not bad.

Sims and anime

The animé was a fairly random selection. Well, not so random, it was pretty much "all the stuff that wasn't a bunch of mecha".

  • DNA2 [is "DNA squared", not part two]
    Wiki says: "Junta Momonari is a high school student with an unusual problem. Whenever he becomes sexually aroused by a woman, his "female allergy" kicks in, causing the poor boy to throw up. Needless to say, he is a complete failure with women, with no hope in sight. Then, one fateful day, Junta is confronted by an attractive girl in strange clothing who claims to be from the future." and so on.
  • Ghost Talker's Daydream
    Looks like this one might be borderline hentai. I'm not giving a wiki-link to explain that term, the picture on the page is very NSFW.
  • Metropolis
    A sort of Japanese manga/animé concept of the 1927 film of the same name, told in a more modern sense, although the plot is not the same; however with more than a passing nod to the original. Wiki for this film, and for the 1927 film.
  • AIRI
    Can't seem to find anything on this. I guess I'll have to watch it then... ;-)

I also purchased a Japanese postcard. This is "new" Tokyo Station, quite an impressive building, in a postcard sent on the 11th of January 1923. If you are familiar with the building, you might notice a discrepancy in the number of floors - two in reality and three in the postcard. This is because of a little work by B-52s in the second world war, and subsequent reconstruction that wasn't as glamourous as the original building, but retained a lot of its spirit. Perhaps the most striking thing is how undeveloped it is around the station. Quite unlike today!

Tokyo Station, 1920s

 

Rice cooker cooking

A rice cooker is a rather simple device really. It is a metal bowl that sits upon a heating element. It heats up water containing rice. When all the water has been absorbed into the rice, the temperature rises over boiling which triggers the cut-out to kick in and place the cooker in a "keep warm" mode.

At its heart, it is basically a non-stick bowl that warms up. If you are willing to give it some surveillance, you can use it for a number of things other than rice (or the obligatory vegetable steamer, for most rice cookers will give you a tray for steaming veg). For example, a frozen pre-cooked meal. You can buy these in bags in the freezers of your local supermarket. All sorts of things - chicken supreme, ratatouille (or however you spell it), beef balls in tomato sauce with pasta, risotto... The way of cooking them is usually to dump the packet into some sort of pan and heat. My method? Dump it into a rice cooker, turn it to "cook", and stir every so often.

Here, I am making a meal that is chicken in a sort of white sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta):

Cooking with a rice cooker
What you can see there is a frozen meal.
Alongside this, I popped oven chips into the oven:
Cooking with a rice cooker

For the first while, I did nothing much. Stirred it every so often, looked at the RISC OS Open forums, made a cup of tea, stroked the cat...

...you will, however, need to give it more attention as it draws closer and closer to being ready. As a rough rule of thumb, if you can put your hands on the top edge of the rice cooker's bowl without thinking "ouch!", it probably isn't done yet. My cooker is rated 600W, and it can do ~900g from frozen in about 15 minutes, or a 1.4kg family-sized bag in around 25 minutes. Your mileage may vary, however.

Here's dinner:

Dinner
and I put aside a portion in a bento box to take to work. Here it is, at work:
Bento meal at work

Two years ago, I think (!), Nikko sent me Christmas present that was a pack of cooking-cubes that were for "Hokkaido Cream Stew". So I precooked some chicken, prepared the veg, and threw it all into the rice cooker with a cube and some water.
Well, it reached boiling point and with a good amount of stirring started to cook. But I wasn't really that impressed because it was basically stuff floating in white water. But I kept on stirring, for the carrots weren't done.
Then something magical happened. All of a sudden, the solution started to thicken up, until the water was a lovely thick binding sauce that held the chicken and vegetables together. It was... actually a very lovely meal to eat on a cold winter's day. And it was also one of the first non-rice things I made in my rice maker.

 

Mom fail!

So mom and a friend of hers were discussing, via email, a variety of things. One of which was "Gay Search" and if that was her real name. So mom went to Google, and looked for "gay search".

And then the penny dropped.

All I can say is I'm glad her Google search runs in sanitised mode. It could have been worse...

 

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