How normal is it for a 7 year old girl to pick up a set of cheap plastic pan pipes she got with an Easter egg and, within an hour, with no tuition, music, or help, be playing a recognisable version of Ode To Joy amongst other tunes?

Seriously, we've never taught her to play anything and she's taught herself Beethoven on something she only got given this afternoon.

This isn't normal, right?
Apparently, if I stop posting here, people will start ringing me to check I'm ok, or wondering what I'm up to, or other similar things. This is especially true if I just, y'know, stop writing stuff and stop commenting elsewhere.

Well, I did. It started as a weekend break from t'internet in which I didn't even look at my email, then it turned into a few months where I simply scanned my email for important stuff, occasionally checked into Twitter, but otherwise didn't read any of my reading, friends or feed pages and simply turned off. Honestly? It's been good.

So, what have I been doing instead? Well, making money definitely wasn't one of them. Ah well, that'll have to start changing. What I have been doing is enjoying life in many respects.

Learnt how to bake and cook

I've learnt, not just how to bake (which is quite easy), but also how to actually, y'know, properly cook. I am no longer scared by a recipe that requires I chop an onion. I know what a vichyssoise is (but not how to spell it), and have even made one. My carrot, cream and orange soup, adapted from Mary Berry's recipe, is quite simply gorgeous, and I successfully made baguettes yesterday.

I've been helping [personal profile] miss_s_b in the garden, in which we have potatoes, beetroot, oregano and even scented geraniums growing well. The newly planted garlic is already sprouting, so that'll be nice for next year.

Biggest bestest cake in the world

I've been spending time with [personal profile] amazing_holly, reading, playing games, cooking and having fun. I managed to get her to teach herself the basics of multiplication and division while baking a cake. I even, as a reward for her for sticking with learning to be good enough at Speed Racer to actually beat Mummy in a championship cooked, with her, the biggest bestest cake that Mister Mat has ever made! which has, somehow, now become the biggest bestest cake in the world. Well, she is 6. It was fun making it though, even if it was so big it had gone dry before we finished it.

But also? I've been playing games. A lot of games. For this you can mostly blame [personal profile] liadnan. Y'see, awhileback I had a catastrophic OS failure involving a critical Fx vulnerability and a dodgy porn site, and we gave up on fixing Windows and switched to Ubuntu for the main desktop. I had some problems getting a few things to work, and he pointed me at the wonder that is the world of Linux repositories. So I installed some, to see what I could find.

Open source, extendable games

Mostly, I found games. Open Source, extendable, games. Based on some wonderful classics like Elite, Civilisation, Sin City and similar. I will, I hope, write up the ones I enjoyed, just so I can have a record of them. I may even write up the ones I hated, to remind me not to install them again. In the meantime, I'm back. I've been reading, and even commenting on, most of my reading pages, and plan to completely reorganise them to keep my sanity in place.

In the meantime, enough about me, what've you guys been up to, have I missed much?
I knew, when I moved in with [personal profile] miss_s_b, that I was moving in with a massive SF geek. What I didn't realise at the time was the extent that I was moving in with two SF geeks, one of whom was 4 and will be 6 next month.

Today, we took her to see her first film in the cinema. Given she's watched every single episode of TOS and has the Animated Series in her pile of favourite DVDs, the choice was obvious and we figured there was a good chance she'd enjoy it.

We were slightly worried, as it's certificate 12A, which means kids only with an adult, but I did look it up on the rating site and the reasons given made it look like it was fine for her. It was—she had to hold Mummy's hands a few times and give her a hug when Mummy got upset and emotional, but, y'know, what are 5-year-olds for if not to look after their big soppy mother?

I'll spare you the acclamatory review. The casting was excellent, the characters were played perfectly, the whole establishment of the parallel universe thing was cool, the science was suitable crap and full of PSB, they made up at least two impossible plot devices, and I didn't want to kill Simon Pegg. Nimoy was cool, the girl playing Uhura was gorgeous (#29), and there were lots of big bangs and cool explosions.

They didn't destroy the Golden Gate Bridge, but came close—perhaps an actual Trekkie can explain to me why they built the HQ of Star Fleet, the most important institution in the galaxy, on the wrong side of a major fault line?

Anyway—go see, and if the kids like SF, take 'em, just be prepared to hold their hands a few times.

Her review? As the credits rolled:
Is it over? I don't want it to be over.
On the way to the car:
Me: What was the best bit Miss Holly?
[personal profile] amazing_holly: All of it.
She was genuinely upset that there wasn't more to see. Wrath of Khan with her soon then (we've got two copies of the DVD after all).

ETA: Jennie's write up is here.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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