The Simple Joy of Simplicity. And Games.

Photo #841: Simple BeautyLocation Taken: Alberta, Canada
Time Taken: June 2010

I just stumbled upon a link to a long forgotten gem. The games at Orisinal are a marvel of simplistic beauty.

If you ever wanted to play a game that’s beautiful, fulfilling, and very easy to understand what to do, check out some of the ones on that site. I’ve spent a lot of time playing Floats myself, while The Crossing is downright gorgeous both visually and musically. And then there’s Casanova, which is truly a delight.

Now, these aren’t games that challenge your mind, though they can put your reflexes through a real workout. They’re quite simple to figure out, and further gameplay is just repeating the same things again with increasing obstacles in the way. This does, however, make them marvelous for those times when your brain is in no state to think, when you just need to wile away the hours and let things rest for a bit. Many of these would also make great meditation aids.

I visited this site a lot when I was in college. It was a joy to just play when life was running me ragged. But I lost the link a while ago, for who knows what reason. I am glad I found this site again.


Fame and Introversion don’t go together well, and I’m solidly an introvert…

Photo #840: Empty BenchLocation Taken: Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington
Time Taken: June 2008

Is anyone reading this? Am I just speaking into the void, writing words that will never be read?

Well, except by my parents, but parents barely count towards readership anyway. *evil grin*

No one? Maybe a voice or two?

Ah good, I can enjoy some peace and quiet.


Sweet Summer Days, Leave Quickly, Please.

Photo #839: Summer SunsetLocation Taken: Olympic National Park, Washington
Time Taken: June 2008

I hate how the summer heat just saps all the energy and motivation out of me. It’s the hottest week of the year, well, hopefully. Nineties for days to come. At least it’s dropping below 70 degrees every night. That means a few of my neurons will manage to stay functional.

Seriously, why does anyone like summer?


Theoretically, Vacations are Memorable Purely Because You Never Do that Stuff.

Photo #838: Theoretical FallsLocation Taken: Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Time Taken: June 2008

Has it really been more than six years since I took this photo? Doesn’t seem like it…

Ah well, it’s probably just the standard time sense adjusting that comes as you age. I think the current top theory is that you keep comparing time spans to the total number of years you’ve lived and well, the longer you live, the smaller the percentage a specific time span is. Which is why a summer is forever and a half when you’re eight but a blink-and-you-miss-it when you’re eighty.

Suppose I should try to get used to it. Or do more unique things. That always helps. The other main theory for this time thing is that your memory trims out near-duplicate memories in order to save space, exactly the way a zip file compresses data. Adult life is full of routines, and often one week is very similar to the last. The more unusual things you do, the tougher it is to compress down the data. When you’re younger, of course, far more experiences are new and interesting to you, so it makes sense it looms larger in your memory. Mind you, not being able to compress memories can lead to you being overwhelmed, but still, go out and do unusual things!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m staying in and doing what I always do.


A Two-Continent Culinary Twist

Photo #837: Pouring WaterLocation Taken: Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington
Time Taken: June 2008

I wonder why more people don’t combine ingredients from multiple cultures into one meal like I do. I find such lovely combinations that way!

For instance, I’ve been making pasties lately. That’s pronounced with a long “aa” sound like father, not the short “a” of paste, mind you. It’s a traditional meat-and-potato hand pie type thing popular in a handful of spots around the world, most notably Cornwall in England, where it was invented, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place settled by a high number of Cornish miners and where I lived for a bit as a kid. It’s a quintessential lunch food: filling, easy to pack, good warm or cold, fast to eat, and so on. I’ve been making them a lot lately for just that use.

But well, I don’t like sticking with just one recipe. I like to experiment. Sometimes with simple things, like my swapping out the traditional rutabaga for other sweeter roots, namely golden beets and parsnips. Other times more complex, like my attempts to fuse the deliciousness of pasties and enchiladas (it’s a long story).

It was in that latter experiment that I hit gold. Enchiladas are frequently made with corn tortillas, and what would you know but that I’ve also been playing with a bag of Maseca lately, a special corn flour that’s used in just about every corn tortilla out there! And I’d tried out a pizza dough recipe that uses it lately, so I knew it substituted in as easy as can be for regular wheat flour. So, in an attempt to add more Mexican flavors to the experimental pastiladas, I swapped out a third of the wheat flour for the Maseca.

And lo and behold, I ended up with a dough that was both easier to work with and tastier. That, like, never happens. You usually get one or the other. The recipe I’ve been using for the pastie dough tended towards swapping between sticky or crumbly, either clinging to the rolling pin and tearing apart or cracking at the edges when I rolled it thin enough. But adding in the Maseca made it exactly the right springy consistency where it rolled out nice and easily but stayed intact the whole way through. And the Maseca adds a marvelous extra dimension to the flavor of the dough that just works perfectly! It’s even sturdier than the plain flour dough when baked, which is perfect for anything that needs to survive a commute!

I love it when things work out. English recipe with a Mexican twist. Who’da thunk.