Round 1 Race Report: Buckmore V1

So, Sunday was my first return to karting for almost 3 months, at my best track in a championship where I feel I should now be getting podiums and might even be competitive for the championship, or so I thought.  While great fun overall during the day and excellent pace, events did not go my way in the slightest and I ended up with an exclusion and a 13th, which if the season improves how I hope, should be dropped the end of the year.

I had an hour test session in the early morning, starting at 10am.  Given the kart changes (different, more slippery tyres) and having not raced in 3 months, this seemed like a wise idea.  After a few laps timidly finding what the grip levels were, I picked things up and started gaining confidence on the new tyres, to the point where the lack of grip was actually helping me smoothly slide around corners.  A small shower in the middle of the session caused some worries, but it quickly dried up again and by the end of the session, I had set a 46.300.  This was enough for 2nd in the session, a third of a second ahead of anyone else.  1st was a further .16 seconds faster, but I later found out that this was the local driver in the elite class (although rocking 8kg of weight more than me).

The event proper starter at 2pm, which gave me a bit of a wait.  I tried to have a bit of a nap and watched some elite races, basically just milled around a bit.  I was in the first session of qualifying and it felt pretty good on track.  I got a smooth clean lap in shortly before the end, but had my final lap (which had felt similarly good) stuffed a bit by reaching a backmarker.  My earlier lap was a 47.003, a full second slower than the test session.  If anything, conditions should’ve been better than before, so this was a pretty big disappointment.  It was enough for 9th on the grid (pole was a 46.727, in the region of the next fastest people from the earlier testing).

Starting midfield has always been a struggle for me.  What tends to happen is I back of so as not to run into the guys in front, but then it gives the people behind excuse to shove me out wide and let tons of people through.  The first start wasn’t too bad, only a couple of places, but it was false started after an incident at hairpin two.  The second start was a lot worse for me. pushed wide into the first turn and dropping me to 16th place by halfway around the lap.  I had the pace (I went on to set the second best lap of the race), so I worked on getting the places back.  I got as far as making a move on 13th when the next guy up ahead made a cutback I wasn’t expecting.  I caught his rear corner and spun him out, which is an immediate exclusion.  Given the situation and having never gotten any sort of penalty for contact before, this seems a little extreme, but it’s just the way it goes sometimes.  The incident slowed me a little and I lost a couple of places again, although it didn’t matter now.  I finished 13th on the track, but reckon I probably could’ve just about made it back to 9th without the incident.

Mine was actually the only penalty given that race, which actually I find shocking given how bad some of the driving standards were in general.  Hopefully it will clean up a bit by the next race (probably a bit rich coming from me now though…)

Under the new rules, qualifying positions for the main final are finishing positions from the previous race (excluding penalties), so I was to start at the back in 24th.  Under last years rules, which were down to fastest laps in the previous race, I would’ve been 2nd and with any luck could’ve had a bit of return to form, but the situation was very different now.

In this situation, 12 minutes isn’t long enough.  I was consistently working out where people were weak and picking them off one by one, but it would typically take a lap or two each person.  In the little clean air I got, my pace was rapid.  On a now cooling, late afternoon track, I set the fastest lap of 46.567, a third of a second faster than the next best.  By the end of the race, I reached 15th on track, but a couple of people had fallen foul of similar misdeamenors as mine, putting me up to 13th.

 

The next round at Rye House is another good track for me, so I’m looking forward to a good result, but I’ve got a lot of work to do now, especially as I’ve lost one of rounds at my best track to some pretty poor results.

 

Food Extravaganza!

So on Saturday and Sunday last weekend, I prepd and served Toni’s birthday surprise, a five course meal!  I actually did ten courses last year, so one could call me comparatively lazy, but more effort and care went into each dish than last year.

I also made homemade mackerel pate (Toni’s favourite) and homemade saffron bread rolls for breakfast, which is what I did last year (although with shop-bought pate)

First course were “Sole and Wild Mushroom Bouchées” (I didn’t know what the were before, that’s just what they’re called in the recipe book and they looked like a nice starter

12773427_10156447011210408_814379808_o

(They did look a little better than this, but starting to eat them seemed like a greater priority than taking a picture)

One of the big things about these ones was I made my own puff pastry for them.  That whole thing that other recipes tell you about just getting it shop bought because it’s basically the same/better?  Complete lies!  The pastry was gorgeous and I’ve got some left over to make Mille Feuilles this week 🙂  So yeah, if you’ve got a day in advance to spend constantly taking some dough out of the fridge to roll it, fold it, it’s totally worth it.

Next up were smoked salmon scotch eggs

Nothing too special about these, although I’ve never really tried anything like them before and was impressed with how neat they came out (and Toni had no idea what they could be before cutting into them).  They were very tasty though.  This was a bbc food recipe you can find here

For main was my special chicken teriyaki recipe.

12765704_10156447010635408_1749676997_o

This is my own developed recipe and had some more authentic ingredients this time (I found mirin!) although it ended up tasting much the same.  Still, I’m yet to find a restaurant version that I prefer!

For pre-dessert, I had made a trio of sorbets, all tea flavoured!
12787363_10156447010515408_1675705546_o
This was what made the kithcne smell amazing on thursday, these brewing away in some bowls before I put them in the freezer.  From left to right they were Earl grey, green tea and chai.  The Chai one in particular was fantastic, although very sweet.  Definitely something I’ll try and make again.

Last up was the piece de la resistance

 

An Easter egg (yes, I know it’s not Easter yet, but they didn’t have any better moulds), with a slive of Buche de Noel inside (French Christmas log with chestnuts, yes I know it’s not christmas either).  This is tual a bit of a cheat picture as the one on the right is a separate slice (mine) as I tried to melt open the easter egg with a hot chocolate sauce, but basically just made a mess…

So that’s the fruits of a weekend of cooking!  Toni thoroughly enjoyed it and I enjoyed it myself as well (although probably the eating more than the baking).  I do need to get better at this whole taking pictures of food malarky though…

DJ Sushi?

I’ve started work on Toni’s birthday stuff (which is on Saturday).  I’d talk about it more, but I know she reads this and I want to keep it a surprise. The kitchen did smell goooooood last night though 🙂

Also, I finished my first game of 2016 yesterday, yay!  Was actually a game I hadn’t been trying to finish before now, Splatoon.  Definitely my favourite game of last year, but the campaign was secondary to the core experience.  I’d been roughly half way through the campaign and had some time last night, so decided to blitz through the rest of it (it’s not too long).  My completion criteria is all of the campaign collectibles, the amiibo levels, level 50 and S rank, so I may be a little off of that still.

Jumped online afterwards and went back to using a charger (a more sniper type weapon) and realized I’m a hell of a lot better at doing that than trying to use the shorter range stuff.  I ended the evening with a turf war game where from having held a defensive position in the middle of the map, I finished with just shy of 1000 points, 8 kills and 0 deaths, with my team romping the victory.

Frickin Andreas…

Below follows my account of Wednesday’s Pathfinder session.
(Brian(me): dwarf sorcerer, Maldred: rogue human. Yu: Half orc monk. Andreas: Elf fighter

Following our descent into a winding tunnel, seemingly hewn from the rock by previous picaxers, we came across some light in the distance.  Following an all-clear from a stealthy Maldred, we came across an opening, with a pile of rubble, a flat wall and a stone door.  From the pile of rubble, Brian noticed a hand and very enthusiastically started hacking away at the rubble to uncover what was underneath, not that whatever may be attached to the hand may still be alive.  However, a misplaced (read: crit fail) picaxe swing found blood and caused the source of the hand to start screaming.  Maldred took offence to the screaming and, despite attempts to stop him from the other members of the group to stop him, skewered the source of both the hand and the screaming straight through the hole that Brian had just created (read: crit success) and the screaming ceased.

We uncovered the rest of the rocks and discovered a dwarf girl with little more than light clothes and a picaxe, obviously having fallen foul of a cave in having reached the clearing.  Her story shall remain a mystery though as Maldred had BRUTALLY MURDERED HER.

Following this latest spate of bickering, we finally proceeded into the room behind the stone door.  Behind it was a large chamber with a pillar, four caskets each containing a currently unmoving skeleton and a fountain.  On the piller was the following riddle

As time turns forward, so it goes
The path will open when we close
But should you fail the present task, it’s
Your fate to be in these caskets
The blood, of course, is the origin.
Then the life force drains. Begin.

Maldred’s initial scout of the room revealed one casket had a blood stain on, so Brian readied to close that casket (“The path will open when we close”, plus “The blood, of course, is the origin”). Yu and Maldred stood attentive but distanced, remembering our recent run-ins with skeletons and expecting something bad to happen, even if we were doing the right thing with the riddle.  Meanwhile, Andreas decides to nonchalantly close one of the OTHER caskets.  The three remaining skeletons rose from their caskets and started to attack.

Combat proceeded about as well as it does with us an skeletons, with us constantly failing to make connections, but this time, neither were the skeletons.  Brian slipped up the skeleton from the casket that had been in front of him and managed to keep it busy until Maldred and Yu had finished with theirs and were able to charge this last one down.  After taking some hits, each skeleton would return to it’s casket and once all three had done so, the lid of the casket Andreas had closed also opened (shortly after everyone has yelled at him for trying to open it again).  Resetting the puzzle.

Yu and Brian then immediately started to subdue and tie up Andreas.  While unsuccessful in tying him up, they did distract him enough for Maldred to go around closing the caskets in the right order to solve the puzzle, with no further fleshless doom.  With the final casket closed, the fountain drained, revealing a grate we could remove.  Maldred went in first to check it was all ok and found a statue with an outstretch hand, it’s other hand on it’s chest and the following riddle

It can be said:
To be gold is to be good,
To be stone is to be nothing,
To be glass is to be fragile,
To be cold is to be cruel.
Give this to me and I am yours

What follows is the list of all of the items we tried to place on the outstretched hand before getting it right: A gold coin, a stone, a vial, a winter coat (around the shoulders), a loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese and Andreas.  Andreas also broke his sword trying to hit the statue.  After lots of umming an dahhing, Brian begrudingly suggested getting the heart from the dwarf girl, which Maldred did with pleasure, eviscerating her as he went.

Placing the heart on the outstretch hand caused the statue to move, bringing the heart to it’s chest and oustretching the other hand.  On the other hand was a pendant with a heart and a skull on it.  Written on the pendant was an incantation, which Brian spoke.  It did something, but we can’t discern what and it appears to not be re-usable (not immediately at least).  We proceeded back to the surface…

 

Normal Bloggery Stuff

I’ve not had enough to write a whole blog post about in the past week or so, but enough things have probably piled up now to make a few bullet point updates.

-Running is ramping up heavily (although hampered a little the past couple of days by a cold).  I ran almost 50km last week, ending in a 22km run (in stupid winds).  I now feel more prepared for the marathon than for the first karting event.

-The first round of the karting championship is in a little over two weks now and I don’t feel prepared.  I’m not sure there’s all that much I CAN do, but it will have been 3 months since I last raced, so I probably just worry I’m going to be a little rusty.  I’ve got an hour’s session practice in the morning, so it should all be fine…

-I ordered the racesuit, which should just about arrive in time.  I went with a slightly modified red vs blue design in the end, following a discussion that the tron one might look a bit generic.

-Last week’s D&D was reasonably uneventful (we got attacked by some goblins, Brian was loud, Maldred stabbed stuff, Yu punched stuff, Andreas was naked and overslept).  It’s my turn to write out what happened this week, which was a little more eventful, so  I’ll probably just turn that into a blog post too

-Made these for dinner this evening and may have a new top contender in the “Quick, easy and tasty” category 🙂

Everyone! Get in here!

The weekend before last I went to my first Hearthstone Fireside gathering/tournament at Loading bar.  I wouldn’t consider myself to be particularly good at Hearthstone, I’ve played it a bit every month for almost two years now, but the lowest level I’ve reached is 14…  However, I’m competitive and it seemed like quite a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Needless to say, I didn’t last long.  I lost my first match 3 games to nothing and that was pretty much it.  This does, however betray my chances a bit as were it not for a really dumb mistake I probably could’ve won the second game, plus I comfortably won the friendly we played afterwards while waiting for the next round.

I played some other non-tournament games with some other people and it turns out Hearthstone is much more enjoyable to play when you can see your opponent, deliberating across the table.  It was actually a really fun afternoon (even given the trek to get there takes just over an hour), the only thing that could’ve made it better would’ve been if it was in an actual tavern, with roaring fires and stuff, so that’s the next big kickstarter project sorted…