January 2022 Round Up

January was a pretty quiet month here. Tried to concentrate on getting some stuff done, and didn’t. Hopefully going to make some progress on that. But for the time being, here’s what I did do in January.

What I Read

Fantasy

The Adventures of Alyx by Joanna Russ – Short story/novella collection about the equally scary and witty Alyx, a S&S/Sci-Fantasy heroine. A lot of it’s very fun but the novella starts to drag by comparison and the last story’s tonal change completely lost me, so the whole thing ended on a sour note. Still worth a look.

The Sword of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackett – Felt a little bland to begin with but it kicks into a higher gear as the plot develops and it’s not perfect, but it’s really entertaining and the basic bones of the plot are great.

Reaper Man by Sir Terry Pratchett – Hrm. Not quite as I remembered. The Death subplot and the Wizards subplot don’t really marry up. But I think it still works if you rate it by its highest moments because its highest moments are tiptop.

A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay – It’s poetic, thoughtful, original, at times startlingly good…

… and unfortunately very dull to read. Maybe some other day it would pop? But not now.

Comics

The Calculus Affair by Hergé – Picked as a slump buster. Didn’t work great. Highlights were Tintin in a tank and Captain Haddock’s anger.

What the Dinosaurs Did The Night Before Christmas by Refe Tuma and Susan Tuma – Very charming read. Further proof you can’t trust creatures who have (or pretend to have) facial hair.

The Blue Lotus by Hergé – Fun, but not much more. Probably just not that big of a Tintin fan tbh. But might read a few more when I’ve got an ideal moment.

Ze Blog

I’ve decided to add this section to highlight things I did on the blog I’m not mentioning elsewhere in this that I’m proud of.

Obviously this early in the year is Round Up time, so I did my Top 10 Books and my Top 10 Drinks. That leaves writing articles, eats, and the Peaties still to do.

My favourite review written this month was for Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.

Other articles I was particularly pleased with were my Top 5 Reading Resolutions and Top 5 Books That Changed My Life

What Else I Did

Food and Drink: I tried to do a thing of focusing on one particular cuisine a week to try new things. That didn’t quite work as I lingered on the same cuisine – namely Cantonese – for a whole month, and mostly did things I knew about already.

But what a month.

I think I’ve nailed a classic char siu recipe I’m happy with, mostly going with Made With Lau’s with a few tweaks. I substitute some of the brown sugar for honey, I use garlic instead of garlic salt, and I don’t use the red wine. I’m going to play with a little more, but I think after a few more tweaks, it’s time for me to start trying some untraditional tweaks. Things like ginger, maybe chili. Maybe even fish sauce? I remember once trying paprika in the past to make it redder and thinking it made an interesting twist. We all know the basic of marinading some meat in a bunch of sugar and soy makes it wonderful, but what else we can do with it? Maybe use some chu hou?

I learned about chu hou from this Braised Brisket recipe. I don’t think it’s quite the one I used when I made Brisket with Daikon, but I used one very similar and if there’s one real discovery I made eating a ton of Cantonese food is the standard soy/rice wine/ginger/star anise/cassia braising liquid used for dishes like this and Soya Chicken is fantastic. I love those dishes, and I love using the leftover liquid for, well, everything. I tend to use it as a master stock and in fact still have a little left that I repurposed into a more Sichuan style liquid for lamb and pork.

Incidentally, I kind of got the idea for that from Big Plate Chicken, a dish I encountered at Silk Road. It originates from Xianjiang, but its use of Sichuan peppercorns (of course I looked up the recipe) got me thinking about possibilities there.

TV and Movies: January was the month of Archer. If nothing else happened, I got that done. I’m not convinced the next season will be great, but that’s okay, I’ll always have the great seasons.

I also watched Big Trouble in Little China which is a bunch of fun, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which was a bunch of fun until about halfway through, and The Water Man which is pleasant but unlikely to live long in the memory.

Music: I did a listen through of Dark Tranquillity’s discography, an article of which will make its way up soon-ish. I’m planning to do a bunch of other discography listen throughs so let me know if there’s any band you think I should do.

And that’s it.

Oh. And one last thing. I passed one hundred followers! Pretty cool huh? Particularly as I also passed 10k views and 4k visits. I plan to have a celebratory post up for one hundred followers up at some point but it might take a while, as it’s one chungus of a post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s