Birthdays and bad TV

My birthday party baking went really well – the bread dough rose and baked up beautifully, the cake and eclairs were suitably chocolatey and decadent (even if I did slightly mess up the icing on the eclairs by getting a little bit too experimental and forgetting that adding orange zest to give it an interesting hint of jaffa also means you’re adding extra oils, which if you don’t adjust for will it make ganache come out funny… which absolutely nobody even noticed anyway, though they did notice they tasted good so that was all that mattered :-)).
And of course, the party itself went well too – many boardgames were played, and much fun had (even by the more “serious” gamers who had to compete for attention with the small people running around ;-)), and I had a lovely time.  And the Harvestbirds gave me a birthday present of a power tool!  The best friends are the kind who really get you 🙂  (Of course, now I’ve got no excuse not to do all those jobs around the house I’ve been putting off…)
I may have bought myself a few wee presents too – well, my birthday did handily coincide with the Steam sale, so there were all these games going cheap…  Actually, I was pretty restrained and only bought three, plus a couple of expansion packs.  So far I’ve only played one of them, an indie game called Banished which is a kind of pre-industrial Sim City – you start with a few settlers and some basic equipment and have to grow crops and build houses and generally keep them alive and grow the settlement into a full-fledged town.  It’s highly addictive in that “I’ll finish playing just as soon as the harvest is in / they’ve cut down enough trees to build another house / that child has grown up and can start working as the town blacksmith / the winter is over…” sort of way, so I’ve had a few unintentionally late nights this week when I thought I’d just play for a few minutes after dinner and suddenly it’s very very late at night.  Which didn’t seem like such a good idea when I had to get up for work in the morning…
Our site went down this afternoon (why do these things always happen late on a Friday?), so while we were waiting for the technicians to figure out what was wrong so we could get back to work, the team watched a little of Hope and Wire, the new docu-drama about the Christchurch earthquakes.  Can’t say I was particularly impressed – from what I saw, it was a cross between trashy disaster movie and Shortland Street: lots of stereotypical characters poorly acted, with overly-dramatic storylines.  Those of us who’d been here for the earthquakes agreed that while the director had ticked all the boxes of “things Christchurch people mention when they talk about the earthquakes” (including obligatory shot of family picnicking beside Shag Rock), she missed the mark completely on what it was actually like. Don’t know if I’ll bother watching the rest of it – I can’t see it getting any better.

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