Thursday, 19 January 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum today

Kev, you asked for a non-wargaming one, so here you go!

I really do just shoehorn inaccurate titles in, don't I? In fact, I popped to a contemporary supermarket today. I didn't jump in the Delorean and zip back to practise my Latin and buy some olive oil from some chap not wearing trousers. I was picking up a few ingredients for a chocolate and rum cheesecake I made for Mum, for which the recipe follows. Anyway, I also picked up a picture frame. Some friends bought me some beautiful pictures of Audrey Hepburn for Christmas, so I need frames for them. Since I was in the "household stuff" bit of the store, there were all sorts of bits and bobs lying around. It gave me a momentary pang that at thirty, when so many of my contemporaries have long since picked out decorations for their own homes, I am not in sight of that milestone. Well, in a sense.

I have bowls, plates, ramekins and various kitchen bits and pieces upstairs, and downstairs a set of saucepans,* all residue from my relationship with Jenny. I am surrounded by bookcases and so on, likewise residue from said relationship. In the main, however, I don't have that accumulated pile of possessions, and I rather felt that lack for a few seconds. Then I went and finished my shopping. Tomorrow night I am going out with Mawbs and Deak, and we are going to try our hand at entrancing the good ladies of Newcastle-under-Lyme. I doubt I'll be back here tomorrow night declaring I have met my true love, but it's a start. Sometimes one doesn't want to admit to oneself that one's wary of relationships, having been hurt in the past. Sometimes one uses the third person to make things seem yet more distant! :-D

Tomorrow night should be amusing, at the very least. If my honest attempts at chatting to a lady fall down, I shall fall back on comedy. That said, I have been advised repeatedly in very definite terms that I am not permitted to use my favourite lines. First, from Futurama, a line uttered by Bender in his sleep, "Hey, sexy momma, wanna kill all humans?" Second, from Back to the Future, "I'm George, George McFly. My density has popped me to you." I think the former will be my exit line if things go badly, as it always amuses me. The latter has a little more history. I was out with Mawbs some time before last February, and we espied two pretty girls on the far side of the room. Pretty is a rather insubstantial adjective, and anyway, could only fairly be applied to one of the young ladies.** Her companion was a vision of beauty. You won't believe it, but I'll tell you anyway. She not only looked quite like the actress Natalie Portman, but appeared even prettier.

This was before I had my hypnotherapy session last year, so I wanted to talk to her, but didn't know how. Only the acquisition and consumption of some Dutch Courage (strange that I have never seen such a brand of alcohol on sale) gave me the strength to perambulate to the far side of the room, dragging Mawbs, unwilling as he was wise, with me. Faint heart never won fair lady, as the saying goes, and that rather scuppered me before I began. We got there, and I turned about, the room being full of people, and rather loud, we had probably not been observed. Mawbs was about as nervous as I was, but less laden with "Courage", and sought to persuade me that, as I had no plan or opening line ready, I should beat a tactful withdrawal. While he was right in one sense, in another I felt a personal need to at least make an attempt. I realised that if I let my brain engage, that it would concur with Mawbs, and talk me out of action, as it had done for years before last February.

So I shut off my brain, turned round, and declaimed to Natalie Portman's prettier twin the first thing that my brain offered me, "I'm George, George McFly. My density has popped me to you." Her response was confusion, even when I repeated the line, so I apologised and beat a tactful retreat. My courage was just about up to an unsuccessful attempt, but not to a prolonged siege! Mawbs then explained to them that I wasn't an escaped mental patient, and shortly thereafter rejoined me. So that's the history of that line. Funnily enough, I suspect that that recounting would go down quite well as an introductory story tomorrow - provided I was sensible enough to excise the information that the lady in question was drop-dead gorgeous. Even beautiful women are often self-conscious about whether their beauty measures up to that of others.

Tomorrow night we two, armed with a third in the form of Deaks, will sally forth to battle the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I am a little worried it won't go well, and a little worried that it shall. I'm not the same chap I was this time a year ago, though, so I will be making the attempt. One cannot damn oneself to inconsequence and inactivity, waiting in terror behind the DJ booth for that pretty girl you have your eye on to come talk to you. Well, since that worked perfectly well with Jenny, as she sought me out, let us say that one cannot do it twice! I may recount that tale at a future point. With the best possible will toward her, I rather hope to find someone of finer qualities tomorrow. Anyway, if you are in N-u-L tomorrow and see that fella who's visible on this blog in a tiny picture by the name Pete, but with a thin ginger beard drawn on him that ain't in the pic, then that's, er, Mawbs or possibly Deak. I'll probably write something when I return tomorrow night on this. Au revoir, mes amis!

Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

200-300g Sainsbury's ginger biscuits***
100g margarine
170g dark chocolate
225g vegan cream cheese spread****
50ml Captain Morgan's rum
Some blanched almonds (for decoration and because almonds are great)
Some dried cranberries (as many as you like, really)

1. Pulverise biscuits.
2. Melt margarine and mix in with biscuit bits.
3. Make the base with the above (Steps 1&2) mixture.
4. Melt dark chocolate.
5. Add as many dried cranberries as you like, the rum, the melted chocolate and the vegan cream cheese and mix thoroughly until a lovely chocolatey paste is formed. Don't worry about the cranberries being lumpy so long as everything else is well-mixed.
6. Smooth the chocolate mixture atop the ginger biscuit base.
7. Decorate with almonds and leave to chill.
8. Heart failure. :-D

* Which Dad has murdered by repeatedly putting them in the washing machine. Top tip #1: non-stick coating does not like to stay on when dumped in one of those things. Top tip #2: one can stop Dad doing it repeatedly, but he'll always end up doing it again.
** I use young lady rather indiscriminately. We weren't chatting up toddlers. I think the ladies were in the early to mid-twenties.
*** 200g will give a thinner and more coherent base, but 300g seems to work quite well. These are just about the only vegan biscuits they have these days, sadly. I think their Rich Tea ones are ok still.
**** I used Tofutti today and Scheeze last week and both worked perfectly well.


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