Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who is Dr Bunny?

You may have noticed I no longer have a profile. It was woefully wrong but is proving hard to replace. You may also have noticed that I've always put my career first in any description of me. Before I had kids, being a research scientist pretty much defined me, at least as far as I was concerned. Then I became a parent, and I was a research scientist who was also a mummy... Yes, probably that way round. But now... what do I say?

My current job certainly isn't me... I mean, I think I can do it well enough... I'm enough of a control freak, but I've met people who really are compliance nerds. They are more than a tad scary... and not in ways I am, I hope :-)

So primarily I'm a mummy... mostly parenting alone, which is hard... but I'm trying not to let that difficulty define me.

And I'm passionate about... My kids of course, child development and psychology... And biology, mostly, though other science too... Books, primarily science fiction, though if a friend recommends it, I'll give it a go (and when I find the time, movies-or-TV-on-the-computer)... Mucking around on-line (I get lonely when I don't)... Politics, I'm still a greenie and a socialist and a feminist, and I still care much more than I let on... Roleplaying, sometimes, at the moment even, fresh from Kapcon, thinking about running Covenant, and with Pendragony plans to kill a dragon in a week or 2... Food and associated issues, sometimes obsessively, enjoyment tempered by past disorder... Exercise too, especially tramping and social sport, neither of which I get to do.

Usually I do what I do with enthusiasm... sometimes it starts as a show, but with effort, I can make it real.

But who is Dr Bunny? I lost my career, but I'm still here, so what's left to say about me?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rainbow rice is nice

We have an on-going glut of zucchini from the garden, which my boys refuse to eat in visible form... a few weeks ago I started making this, which is healthyish, reasonably quick and tasty (and not bad reheated for lunch next day either). Every time I cook it, J says delightedly "This is so yum" and actually eats a large portion... so I think it is probably a useful vegetable input tool, and I think it's yum too.

Nice Rainbow Rice

Cook 1 cup of rice however you usually would, leaving it slightly on the dry side (basmati or long grain or a mixture with brown rice)... I put 1 c basmati rice with 2 and 1/8 c cold water in a big jug and nuke it for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed.

Cut 200-300g raw animal protein thing (I've used beef schnitzel or chicken breasts or thighs) into strips and mix with 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp prepared garlic (or a 3 cloves of real stuff), 1-2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp Indian-style curry paste (I am using a mild madras at the moment)... allow to marinade in fridge if you have time (which you probably don't)...
OR shred 1 cup or so of smoked chicken or leftover cooked chicken... in this case I mix the marinade and add it when I am cooking it...
OR use a tin of drained, rinsed kidney beans.

Chop 1 small onion finely.

Assemble 2-3 cups of grated/very finely chopped colousful veges... whatever you have... at the moment I start with 1 grated carrot, 1 grated zucchini... then add a selection of: red cabbage, ordinary cabbage, broccolli, spinach, silverbeet, capsicum, runner/green beans, frozen corn and/or peas... use whatever YOU have now.

Heat a heavy frypan (large enough to contain your food heap) with enough oil to cover the bottom... Seal raw meat, then add onion and cook until meat is cooked and onion is translucent, stirring as required to make sure it doesn't stick in your pan... or cook onion 1st and add cooked meat or beans and soy + spices. Add veges, cover pan and allow them to steam until cooked, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). Stir in rice, mushing up all the clumps so the flavour will spread through. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or so to allow the rice to absorb the yummy liquid.

Serve garnished with chopped fresh tomatoes and cucumber, maybe some avocado... fresh peas, coriander or parsley are nice on top too... so is chopped gherkin.

This does us two meals... so I'm guessing that in recipe book terms it serves about 3-4 people.

This is a Karen recipe... so if it used excess from the garden or stuff you had in the fridge already, and you enjoyed eating it, you did good :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've had this picture of Dione, one of Saturn's moons on my desktop for the last week or so and am still enjoying it, so I am sharing... I love iGoogle and Nasa's image of the day

Happy happy!

Morgue and Cal's civil union yesterday had such a fantastic buzz that I am still in afterglow! They both looked so happy that it was impossible not to be happy with them... from the awesome music when they walked in (man, I need a copy of that song) to the mega-dancing session at the end, I had a great time and discovered that at some level I actually do still believe in the whole love and ever after thing, at least for other people (though I am certainly glad that I am not still living out my own horrible mistake).

So congratulations (again) Morgue and Cal! Confounding expectation, I totally believe in you... and last night and today is the happiest I've been in a long time...

I am a big romantic sook!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congratulations Morgue and Cal!

Nice things happen to nice people that I know!

Kapcon 18: The joy of being several someones else

Round 1: Shelter Me
GM: Marcus Bone

Like last year's "Fear of Dreaming", this game really was one of the highlights of my con! Interestingly, I found it a bit less intense than last year, probably partly cos I have been gaming regularly, and partly because my character's fairy obsession took the edge off the stress for me (while making it much more stressful for some of the other characters). Still, it was plenty horrifying, and our interaction with the dead Nazi psychiatrist "bad doctor" and his victim will stay with me for a long time! Marcus's GMing style gives really excellent scope for players to interact and develop their characters' stories, and this group took advantage of that... there's been a lot of comment on the excellent roleplaying in this game (which also ran in round 6) on NZRaG... I absolutely agree that Mash's creepy obsessive list-making was truly disturbing (and worryingly reminscent of some people I know and love) and I'd recommend the sequel next year (so long as you don't take MY place).

Round 2: FRUP: One of our dinosaurs is missing
GM: Ivan Towlson

Cool premise and great fun... I did a lousy job of roleplaying my character who was someone else's minion, and a muscle-bound fighter... Strangely, not my usual choice in D and D.... Enjoyed the rest of the party's roleplaying and all the humans dressed up as various monster manual beasties... Loved the reserve where new beasties were being "bred" and was delighted by the appearance of real live dinosaurs (only in the game, silly). Good, but a bit light
following Shelter me... would've worked better for me the other way round

Round 3: Sneaking off for a swim and putting kids to bed

Unfortunately J eavesdropped on me asking his Grandma if I could go for a swim, so I clearly failed my sneakiness roll... however, the double tantrum (if one starts, the other follows to get in on the attention) had subsided by the time I arrived back at my folks' place and they were all eating happily. I was convincing enough in the maternal GM role to settle two very demanding PCs. In fact, I came out from feeding and settling my littlest darling to find the other wee darling asleep on his dozing Grandma, so just had to carry him to bed... easiest ever! A busy day was had by all!

LARP: Mafia 2071

I enjoyed the LARP this year (and I didn't run away... yay!). I played Rhond1a, a Stanford business graduate who had fallen foul of a nasty sexually-harassing corporate boss, ended up running
on-line gambling sites for the Neo-Mafia to launder money, and was looking for a way back into the legitimate corporate world. I made a couple of pretty satisfying deals... one with the Malandrinos to open a joint-venture casino that would serve as an interface to attract new clients, and another working as a consultant for a corporation to help them minimise their visible profits... not quite the legitimacy I was looking for, but I like to think I played my part in making the head of our family Don of NeoSteelsburg...

From my POV, a problem with this Mafia wake scenario was that there was not much action to watch or tag along with... to get the most out of it, you really had to walk up and engage other people in conversation, and I wasn't feeling awesomely confident in my roleplaying abilities (having had a panic attack and run away from last year's LARP)... so it was hard work for me... but well worth it!

Round 4: Games on Demand-Covenant
GM: Malcolm Craig

Last year I had to play Games on Demand cos of never knowing when my 6-month-old would need feeding... this year I was determined to play one cos last year rocked. This didn't disappoint! Malcolm was a great GM...

Covenant is awesome too... you play members of a a cult that was preparing for an apocalyptic event that never came... the use of motifs (images that crop up repeatedly within the context of the game... ours were London fog, timepieces, crying babies, puddles and ? ) gives plenty of scope for beautiful cinematic imagery which I loved! I actually came away with pictures... my character and her lover with coffee on the steps of the British museum, an armed confrontation in an abandoned docklands warehouse... cliched, perhaps, but very very compelling in context.

Relationships are central to the game... and in this scenario, they were truly f**ked up (as you might expect). Combats allow you to draw on motifs, on the conventions of your cell group within the cult (core beliefs you share... Suffering can be avoided, science trumps art) and your own edges (attributes and relationships)... the game itself was very tense, with lots of ugly dialogue and action...

My character Leonie was sleeping with an arsehole called Trent (one of her edges) who actually tried to kill her! Talk about plumbing new depths of relationship nightmare through roleplaying!

This was definitely my other favourite game at this year's Kapcon. You can read about Covenant... and I bought the PDF for $10 at RPGNow (it's the 1st new RPG I've bought in years if that is any recommendation... but I have a copy now, so if you know me you can totally check it out)

Round 5: Breach of Containment
GM: Me

Not my best effort... the players felt there was too much science and I explained it badly and probably came across as an arrogant nerd.... and sadly I couldn't convince most people to score me so I had a better chance at a spot prize.
[I had a bit of a self pity wallow after I f**ked up my game... and I apologise to anyone I talked to while that was happening, cos really my life hardly sucks at all these days :-) ]

Round 6: For me, there was no round 6

Still and all, life gets easier... and nothing highlights how much easier it's got than trying to do something that last year felt like an almost impossible struggle, and finding it almost frivolously easy! I got to the same number of sessions this year (apart from my sustained LARPing effort), but overall my Kapcon felt more satisfying because of being able to hang out and chat, and not having to race away immediately the breaks began.

I'm already looking forward to next year and I have 2 ideas for games to run... and I promise... whichever one I go with... there's not much science in either! See you at Kapcon!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Instructions for Bioterrorists

Today I printed out the delightfully titled "SENTINEL LABORATORY GUIDELINES FOR SUSPECTED AGENTS OF BIOTERRORISM" to refer to at work. Sadly, it is only packing and shipping instructions for diagnostic and clinical specimens, infectious substances, and biological agents, but for 30 seconds there I actually loved my job!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breach of Containment

Tonight we playtested my game for Kapcon... It was fun, though I worry that all my players were science geeks too and it may require too high a degree of that kind of geekery! I will post about it after the weekend when spoilers won't matter...

I am fascinated to see if the real game resembles the play-test in anything beyond the characters and initial scenario!

It is late now! G'night world.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Research has shown that the most erotic thing a man can do for a woman (after she has had a baby) is the dishes?!

... and Ali G tells Naomi Woolf she could make lots of money as a prostitute... what more can I add?

Friday, January 9, 2009

I do like you today...

I was burgled 2 weeks before Christmas... the bast**ds took my computer, my camera, 3 months worth of kid photos, 2 presents for the kids from their English grandparents and a whole whack of my self-confidence and security. Fortunately my insurance covered some of the above.

I finally got my modem this morning, though being fully mummified today have not not had much chance to make the rounds of my favourite places... and strangely all day today I have had the Vodaphone jingle jangling through my consciousness.

I think the reason is this: Being without a computer in the context of Christmas holidays and work's recent crackdown on internet use has made me realise how web-dependent I am... I pay my bills on-line, I get my news on-line... but most importantly it connects me... and in the context of my current existence, that is no small thing! I was unbelievably lonely without a computer... so to all my favourite blogs... to Ruth, Morgue, No Right Turn, Susan, Cal, Jenni, Carla, Dan... to my Gmail chat buddies, to iGoogle, to New Scientist, Science Daily, Nature News, The Panda's thumb and many others... I haven't finished catching up with you all yet, but really, truly, madly, deeply... I DO like you today!!