This weekend was really good

This weekend was really good. It started with a relatively early departure from work on Friday afternoon (about 5 o’clock). Abi was in town, after having been out to lunch with Angela, followed by a bit of a wander and some coffee with my parents. We met up in Starbucks on Princes St., and I took B, leaving Abi free for the rest of the evening.

Before heading home, though, I pleaded with Abi for an indulgence. I have been wanting a new games console for some time now. After having played Gran Turismo 3 with Richard and Dave a couple of weeks ago, I decided that Playstation 2 was the way to go. Last year, I wasn’t convinced of the quality of the games available, but seeing some of the title around now–GT3 being the prime example–it’s clear that the PS2 is becoming a mature platform, with truly next-generation content.

Any console is going to take time to come into its own. I had been thinking strongly about getting an XBox when it comes out, because essentially it is similar to a PC, and it is less likely to have such a growth curve. But on the other hand, for this same reason its games are likely to have a desktop PC slant, and I already have one of those. I’m sure that a year after launch, XBox will have a wide range of great titles available. But by that same time, PS2 will have had even more time to mature.

I guess I’m just not an early adopter of games hardware…

Anyway, by the time I got home, fed B, and had some dinner myself, Friday evening was mostly gone. I didn’t get the PS2 plugged in until almost 10 o’clock! But right up until bedtime I had some highly excellent racing fun.

Now here’s how I know I’m a “grown-up”: when I woke up on Saturday morning, I didn’t run downstairs to play games straight away. In fact, I didn’t switch on the console again until late that evening.

I woke up feeling like I could use some exercise, and I wanted to spend a bunch of time with B. Abi was planning to go out to IKEA with Ange & Ange mother, and I was going to take the bunny for the day. So just before noon, I strapped on our cool new backpack, and B and I walked down to Cameron Toll to do some shopping.

The plan was to get some milk and bananas for B, and maybe some new fruit or vegetables for him to try (Abi had suggested some squash or pumpkin). In Sainsbury’s, I discovered that I felt like doing some cooking for Abi and me as well, so I bought a whole bunch of lovely stuff: a stack of chillies, shiitake mushrooms, celeriac, butternut squash, and much more.

On returning home, I did the washing up, and then started on a mega kitchen cook-off. I put together four dishes:

  • For Saturday evening, baked frogs legs with lots of garlic and parsley.
  • Also for Saturday, a chunk of beef, roasted in some red wine, and accompanied by roast winter vegetables: potato, sweet potato, celeriac, butternut squash, garlic and shallots. It’s the first time I’ve ever cooked celeriac, and it was delicious.
  • For Sunday, the start of a voodoo chilli. I had four pork chops, from which I stripped the rind and fat, and which chopped up finely. I heated the far in a pan, and then tossed in an onion, seven indian bird-eye chillies, a cayenne pepper, a scotch bonnet pepper, and a pile of cumin. Then the meat went in and cooked for a long while, followed by a couple of tins of kidney beans. At one point, the air was so heavy with chilli, that Abi couldn’t come into the kitchen without coughing. Excellent!
  • With the bones of the pork chops, the shiitake mushrooms, and some left-over chicken stock, I also made a hot & sour soup.

We watched Shakespeare in Love over dinner, and afterwards I caramelised some bananas, and we had them over ice cream. Lovely yum!

(Some Gran Turismo 3 happened at the end of the evening. You don’t think I was going to go a whole day without it, did you?)

Sunday was much less active. We just hung out around the house, watched TV (there was a good documentary on Discovery Civilization about the World Poker Championships, and Farscape is in the middle of a grand story arc right now: this was the episode where John gets Scorpio’s chip removed from his brain), played with B, read books, and I raced cars around Rome. I finished off the chilli with some tomatoes, and had several bowls of the stuff. My digestive system promptly went into shock, and I suffered a sore tummy for most of the night. All in all, it was a great day, and a great weekend.