I had a nice, relaxing weekend. You’d think I’d be less tired today. :)
On Sunday night we logged on for the Aion Open Beta, eventually. As you might expect, the servers took some time to come up, the client would crash occasionally, and it was pretty laggy – all part of the first hour or so of an open beta. There are some new faces in the character customisation screen, and you can now customise eye colour (hurrah!), but aside from that I haven’t seen anything new yet.
I watched a bit of the Burghley Horse Trials on TV – I do really, really appreciate that you can watch eventing and even dressage on TV here. And they show most of the competition (for the main riders, anyway) – not just a quick montage of the more spectacular spills, which is what you see in the States. It was always my dream to be able to compete in three-day events, but to be honest I didn’t have the toughness, or the nerve, to compete in one of the most dangerous Olympic sports in the world (to differentiate it from more extreme sports that aren’t mainstream events like skinnydipping with sharks or rollerskating off cliffs or whatever). In 2007/2008 there were twelve riders deaths worldwide. Those are scary statistics. I have an immense respect for 3-day event riders, and am quite starstruck over some of them – I grew up idolising Bruce Davidson, I love the fact that there are riders like Mary King who are competing into their middle age, and I’ve always loved both Princess Anne and Zara Phillips – Anne is a tough, ballsy lady and one of my favourite royals. You have to respect people who were born with every advantage, yet who train day in and day out so they can risk their necks in an extremely demanding, dangerous sport.
This weekend I got homesick and made several pans of American-style chocolate fudge, since that was one of the things that I was homesick for that I could actually find the ingredients for. This may not make much sense in the UK or Europe, but there is a section of American “Mom’s cooking” that is all about fifties-style comfort food that uses canned or packaged food as an ingredient. The myriad of casserole recipies that use Campbell’s Mushroom Soup is a good example – especially if they’re topped with French’s French Fried Onions. Bisquick recipes as well – I swear my mom could make anything from hamburger pie to breakfast biscuits to pancakes to desserts with Bisquick. I once paid £7 (almost $14) for a family-size box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because I was homesick. :) These are some of the things you just can’t get here:
Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (for eating raw in slices)
Any kind of biscuit or croissant dough in tubes
Artichokes – yes, there are tons of “real” foods that you can’t get here, including Southwestern chilis and so on, and they don’t really belong here. But I had to add artichokes because I miss them so)
Anyway, so this weekend I made fudge. What they call fudge here is a kind of soft-caramel type of thing, not proper fudge at all. Take dark chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, walnuts – cook together without burning, spread in pans, then refrigerate. Cut in big chunks once cool and solid…yum.
I think next week it has to be Southern Fried Chicken. Or maybe meatloaf and mashed potatoes if the weather continues to be poor. Now if I could just figure out my Mom’s taco pie recipe…