Jul. 22nd, 2018


I Can Has New Toy

I bought myself a PS4, because it's been a while between drinks, so to speak. I also got myself four games to go with it - the Kingdom Hearts "oh, all right, catch up!" remix pack (KH 1.5 and 2.5 remix double pack - basically "the entire story so far on one platform rather than three"); Dissidia NT (beating up various Final Fantasy protagonists and villains for fun and... well, fun, really); Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age (the high-definition update, with the new character building system which isn't as flexible as the original one); and Final Fantasy XV (which bills itself as a final fantasy for fans and newcomers alike).

I spent all of yesterday playing Final Fantasy XV, and I have learned two important things. Firstly, the Final Fantasy team at Square Enix are going all out to try and convey the ultimate in realism through their graphical work. Secondly, this means I really can't be in the room while the characters are going from place to place in their sports car.

The first is pretty easy to expand on: the realism of their architecture and design work in this game is stunning (and gives me a lot of hope for what I'm eventually going to see in the FF7 remake[1]). The buildings, unlike most RPG designs, are pretty much like what you'd expect from this world - a lot of them are pretty much copied directly from this world. The landscapes are largely believable geography and geology, with only occasional forays into what I call "Nibel Geology" (have a look at the Nibel mountains in Final Fantasy VII for what I'm meaning there: mountain shapes which appear to have been designed by the Rule of Cool rather than ordinary old rules of geology and weathering). Which means you don't have lines of mountains intersecting at right angles and so on. Steve, who is something of a graphics connoisseur, assures me their work on the landscapes is brilliant. I'm willing to take his word for it, because I can't really see to much of them, to be honest.

The reason for that is the second thing: I can't be in the room while the characters are driving from place to place, because the level of realism is so great that it really plays havoc with my over-sensitive proprioception, and I get motion sickness (or rather, lack-of-motion sickness) from watching the characters drive from one place to the next. The mismatch between the motion I'm seeing on the screen, and the lack of motion I'm experiencing sitting on the couch is enough to make me extremely queasy if I watch them driving from place to place for too long. So I'll tend to start the driving on auto, and then head out of the room while they go to their next destination, and come back when they've arrived, in an effort to keep my stomach where it belongs. Even then, I've been needing to chomp regularly on some crystallised ginger in an effort to keep the queases at bay.

Oh, and one more thing I've learned: I need to actually reduce the size of the visual field on the screen, because the edges of the game "screen" are sliding off the edges of my physical television set. So, something to deal with when I switch the PS4 on again tomorrow.

But overall it's been fun, and I certainly don't think I'm going to have wasted the money I spent.

[1] Which is, in fact, the reason why I bought this particular console in the first place. Now I just have to wait for it to finish being vapour-ware.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/121551.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 18th, 2018

[info]chapelridgemods in [info]asylum_promo

Chapel Ridge, Wyoming. Population: Changes daily. A place to live. A place to ski...all year long. People come from all over. Some stay longer than others, but one thing is constant: There is always fresh powder on the sloops. No one knows why any of this happens, but no one is really complaining either. * Chapel Ridge is a panfandom/slice of life game set in a fictional ski resort town in the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming. There are monthly plots with activity checks designed to accommodate busy lifestyles.

Jul. 19th, 2018


Meg Reviews Recipes: Boiled Apricot Nectar Cake

Source: Australian Women's Weekly "Quick Mix Cakes and Deliciously Easy Muffins" Cookbook, p81; ISBN: 1-86396-001-5; (c) ACP Publishing Pty Ltd 1999.

Okay, a quick plug for this particular cookbook as one of my absolute favourites at the moment. It dates back to the era of Women's Weekly Cookbooks where they were aiming at people who wanted to feed a family with minimal effort while holding down a full time job. The recipes are really aimed at the sort of person who doesn't own twenty-seven different types of baking pans and a full decorating kit, and who isn't aiming to win prizes at the local show, but rather to have something they can serve up to the family or to guests without too much effort. There's a few cakes in there which look a bit fancy, but most of the recipes are fairly straightforward and simple to do.

This is a fairly simple melt-and-mix cake recipe - you put your fruit, sugars and liquid ingredient into a saucepan on the stove and bring to the boil, simmer for five minutes, turn off the heat, stir in the butter and leave it to cool to room temperature before adding the eggs and the flour, stirring until combined, and pouring the mixture into the tin. Really, the most tedious part of this one is chopping up 250g of dried apricots (I found this the most annoying part because I was using a fairly heavy knife for it, and the blasted thing is a bit on the blunt side, so it needed a bit of force. A lighter and sharper knife would have been more effective) before you start. For me the trickiest part of the entire process was actually locating the "punch a hole in the can" can-opener we have so I could open the tin of apricot nectar (we're going to be having Apricot Chicken in the next few days, I can tell).

The recipe needed a bit more time in our oven than was recommended in the recipe book (about 25 minutes; this is a common problem with this oven, I'm finding - a more reliable oven which couldn't be used as a space heater for the whole house might actually cook things a bit sooner). Also, I should have started this recipe sooner in the day (I started it around 2pm) as it takes a couple of hours for the boiled up fruit component to cool down to room temperature, or at least to a temperature which won't immediately turn the eggs into scrambled eggs. I also had one of my standard problems with cake mixtures, namely, when I'm pouring them into the tin, they don't tend to co-operate nicely with the baking paper, and fall inside it - instead, I'll inevitably have some of the paper slump forward, catch some of the mixture along the way and wind up needing to be fished out of the completed cake. (Of such minor annoyances is a lifetime of home cookery made). But it is made and cooked, and I'll see how it turns out when it's finished cooling in the tin (the temperature is supposed to get down to 3C here tonight, so at least there's plenty of cool for it to be soaking up!).

Next day: Well, it came out of the paper and the tin okay, although slightly deformed from the lining paper having gotten tangled up with the cake. The cake itself winds up dense, fairly moist, and the main flavours I can taste in it are apricot and butter. The butter flavour comes through loud and clear in this one, and I'm not sure whether it's just because the pat of butter I'm working through at present is a rather cheaper-than-usual brand, or just because there's so much of it in the cake. Overall, a pretty straightforward recipe, easy enough to make, but I'm not sure I'm overly sold on the flavour. I might try it again with better quality butter, and see how things go.

It does last well - I think it took about a week for us to work through that one.

Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Spoons/Fuss and Bother: 2 out of 5 (chopping up the dried apricots)
Overall: 3 out of 5 - the main flavour I'm tasting in it is butter and apricot.
Considerations: It's a cake, so naturally it has gluten in it (plain and self-raising flour), along with enough sugar to stun a small mammal and heaps of butter, plus eggs. Don't eat a whole one in one sitting, and don't try to serve it to any vegans you know. Also, if you have an allergy to apricots, don't bother with this one.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/121319.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 16th, 2018

[info]lq_traintracks in [info]daily_deviant

Fic: Jerk: an escalation in three acts (Harry/Teddy; NC-17)

Title: Jerk: an escalation in three acts
Author: [info]lq_traintracks
Pairing: Harry/Teddy
Rating: NC-17
Kinks/Themes Chosen: 1) age disparity, 2) caught in the act, 3) masturbation, 4) spreader bars (although I cheated at this one, and it’s only a passing mention inside a brief fantasy)
Other Warnings/Content: godfather/godson (with a very brief hint of Daddyishness); hand job; blow job; mentions of anal sex; voyeurism; exhibitionism; second person POV; Teddy POV; and as stated above, the age difference (36/19)
Word Count: ~3,100
Summary/Description: Teddy is a super powerful wizard but seriously can’t control his penis at all, much less around his godfather.
Author's Notes: I think I squeed when I saw the themes for July, as they all instantly pre-wrote this Harry/Teddy fic in my head. :D Thanks so much to bixgirl1 for the lovely beta help!

Read more )

Jul. 15th, 2018


Five Things Make a Post 15 JUL 2018

Post below the fold )

How's things for everyone else?

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/120960.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 12th, 2018


Meg Reviews Recipes: Leggos Tuna Bake with Sundried Tomato & Caramelised Onion

Comes in a 500g jar, and I bought this at Coles when it was on special for about $2.50 - $3 per jar (yes, this is a Thing of mine; this is part of how I manage to make a budget of $30 per person per week for food stretch as well as it does).

I decided to try this as a result of basically realising at about quarter to three on a Sunday afternoon that I hadn't even thought about what we were having for dinner that night, and being sick of either leftovers or instant meals as options. So, okay, pasta bake. Now, pasta bakes are about the easiest type of meal out there to assemble - you cook up the pasta, you combine it with the sauce and the protein (tinned tuna, in this case), top with cheese, and bake in the oven until done. If you're baking it right after you've assembled it, it takes about 20 minutes at 200C to melt the cheese and heat things through. If you're like me and you assemble these things hours before you actually need them, and store them in the fridge until it's time to start cooking dinner, then the trick is to heat the whole thing at around 200C for about an hour, as this allows everything in the middle of your casserole dish to heat through as well as all the stuff around the sides.

I fancied this up a little by chopping up a leek and adding that to the tuna, sauce and pasta mix. I do this partially because I feel we need some kind of vegetable content with or in these things, and partially because it stretches things a bit further and makes everything taste a bit better. The leek will pretty much cook in the hour I'm heating things in the oven, so that's a bit of a mercy. The other minor experiment in this case is I'm trying pasta bowties to see how they work in these sorts of dishes (usually I'm using small shells, small spirals, or macaroni).

Because Himself got all organised and managed to stop off at a supermarket on the way home from picking up another computer component (he's involved in trying to get two rather finicky monitors to work properly), we're having garlic bread with this as well. What that means in terms of juggling executive function for these sorts of things (one of my bugbears) is that I have to remember to put the garlic bread into the oven to heat about ten minutes before everything's supposed to be cooked. Which I think I can manage.

And in the end... it turned out pretty good. Main note was, of course, tomato, and there was a bit of onion in there, mostly from the leek, I think. It certainly balances out the rather coarse texture of cheap tuna quite well. I'll probably buy some more the next time it's on special.

Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Spoons/Fuss and Bother: 1 out of 5 - the hardest bits about preparing this as directed are going to be opening the jar and the tin of tuna, and possibly the weight of putting the fully laden baking dish into the oven. Can be prepared well ahead of time and put in the fridge for later re-heating and melting of cheese (as per the post), so it's great if you need to time-shift cooking. If it's the only thing you're cooking, you can pretty much set a timer and forget about it, so you don't need to remember dozens of finicky steps along the way.
Overall: 3 out of 5.
Considerations: This one looks to be reasonably vegan-safe, provided you used mushrooms, quorn, or tofu/soy protein instead of tuna for your protein, and skipped the cheese (the only ingredients I can see on the whole thing which aren't obviously plants, plant-based or plant-derived are xanthan gum and yeast extract). If you're allergic to tomatoes, avoid this one. If you're allergic to tuna, dairy or gluten, make substitutions as required.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/120645.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 10th, 2018

[info]alisanne in [info]daily_deviant

Fic: A Narrow Escape (Harry/Severus, R)

Title: A Narrow Escape
Author: [info]alisanne
Characters: Harry Potter/Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall.
Rating: R
Warnings: Er...slashy shenanigans? None, really.
Themes/kinks chosen: age disparity, caught in the act, masturbation.
Word Count: ~2300
Summary: There's Severus' story, Harry's story, and then there's the truth. At this point, Minerva just wants a believable story.
Author's notes: Thanks to [info]sevfan and emynn for beta reading, and to the mods for allowing me a slightly later posting date this month. <3
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

A Narrow Escape )

Jul. 9th, 2018

[info]gracerene in [info]daily_deviant

FIC: Anticipation (Charlie/Teddy, NC-17)

Title: Anticipation
Author: [info]gracerene
Characters/Pairings: Charlie/Teddy
Rating: NC-17
Kinks/Themes Chosen: Age Disparity, Caught in the Act, & Masturbation
Other Warnings/Content: tattoos, masturbation, D/s dynamics, light dirty talk, light voyeurism and exhibitionism, shower sex, semi-public!sex
Word Count: ~2,100
Summary/Description: Teddy Lupin had only been on the Romanian Reserve for three weeks, but apparently that was plenty enough time to drive Charlie absolutely mad.
Author's Notes: Thanks so much to the brilliant [info]capitu for giving this a quick read-through for me!

Anticipation )

[info]anokaba in [info]daily_deviant

ART: Caught (Harry/Draco, NC17)

Title: Caught
Artist: anokaba
Media: Digital
Characters/Pairings: Harry/Draco
Rating: NC17
Kinks/Themes Chosen: caught in the act: interpret at will; solo or partnered, accidental or deliberate
Other Warnings/Content: N/A
Artist's Notes: Who is the accidental voyeur? An unfortunate visitor or a nosy reporter? Are they witnessing an intimate domestic moment, or a secret affair?

Art Preview:

Art Under Cut )