Hhhhmmm.... So I suppose this is where I explain what this is. I guess this is my spot for my ramblings, what's happening, etc. Let's start with Hi! I'm Calicoe or Urtica. Those are my main two online alias that I tend to go by. I'm an avid anime/manga fan and I try to do art in my free time. I'm married and have a one year old son and two cats. I'm here to make friends and hopefully improve my art. On that note I am willing to accept safe for work art requests, but depending on demand and my available free time it might take me a little while to fulfill. I am a stay at home mom so my free time is in short supply. Also I mentioned it once on one of my pieces, but I tend to keep clean line art of most of my drawings so if you are interested in doing a recolor of one just let me know all I ask is for credit for the line art.

Foreign Light-up Turtle

When we first had our son we of course received many gifts for him congratulating his birth. One of these gifts was a turtle toy from my husband's uncle that has stars cut out of the shell so lights can shine through onto the ceiling and it's also suppose to play "soothing" music. A year and a half later we come across the turtle in our son's room and decide we should give it a try. Dig through the drawer of random stuff and scrounge up some AAA batteries. Get it all in place and turn on the lights and there is quite the array of lights. All different colors, rainbowed, shifting, blinking settings. Okay that's pretty cool, now let's try the music.... This is where our turtle became oddly suspicious... The music that came flowing out can only be described as highly middle eastern. After staring very confused I figured I'd go ahead and switch songs and see if the oddity continued. I went to the next song to discover a rendition of twinkle twinkle little star or rather Twankle Twankle liddle star... English was clearly not the first language of whoever they chose the honor of recording. Mind you we don't hold it against our little turtle that his origins are of Istanbul Turkey, but we do find it highly amusing that he is now sharing his culture with our household.

Ramen

Lately I've been way into youtube videos where people go around trying different stuff from convenience stores in far off distant lands. Lots of them including instant noodles and different kinds of ramen. I'm definitely willing to admit that I joined the spicy noodle craze of the samyang ramen. The other day I was in World Market and saw that they have all the various spicy ramens and some other random noodles and figured why not. I got the samyang spicy chicken carbonara ramen. I have to say it is according to my spice thresh hold pretty spicy, but in a good way! It has these really thick chewy noodles more like fettucine than ramen noodles and a cheese packet very similar to mac n'cheese. It just gives it a tasty creamy taste to balance out the spice! Then while visiting the local Costco Moonfini pointed me in the direction of some delicious tonkatsu instant ramen bowls. Just had one of these and it was good, but throw some pan fried pork belly in it and a hard boiled egg... well it becomes awesome. I think adding pork belly to anything really is basically cheating. Have a few other noodles I haven't tried yet. Let you know how those go!

New Phone Blues

Recently my cell phone has been having issues. Some screen burn-in, doesn't want to send pictures via text, random freezing. You know all the really fun stuff. Decided finally to cave and get a new phone. Well due to how things are now days and various reasons I am on a friend's cell phone plan for financial purposes (really for reasons stemming back some 10 years ago, but I digress). As such I am not the main account holder. Turns out that my new phone is not compatible with my old sim card. I figure no problem I'll contact my friend who will then contact them and authorize the activation of the new phone. Friend gives me the password I should need and says that should do it if I contact them. This is the year 2020 and I don't have another phone to call with besides the one I want to switch so I'm going to use a chat window by golly!....An hour later I finally discover that my new phone is so advanced it can use an esim card and I merely have to download it! We have come full circle my friends to download said card I just need the pin number....I'm not the account holder...I don't have the pin. Contact friend again for the pin...they don't know the pin number. Finally get said pin number and get the card going and it tells me...my new phone is incompatible with current phone plan...WTF. How can a phone be incompatible with a plan? I understand being incompatible with a company, but a phone plan? Why? It does the same exact things my last phone did. The only difference is it works! I guess it's time to finally get my own account with a different company..... stupid phone.

Update: New plan scam! Friend called company they said nooo we can skip that part I just have to call and give them a number I gave them three times before! Called... got someone with a very unique accent. Let's just cut to the chase and three hours later I have a new working phone!

Mochi Adventures

Let me start this post by saying for my birthday in July I was given a mochi maker. In my mind I pictured myself making amazing mochi, dango, filled mochi treats and all the other amazing mochi based foods. So far we've used it three times, but each time has been an interesting experience. While not what I imagined it's still been pretty good. Also the lack of use isn't because I don't like mochi or what we've had so far it's just a process to get everything prepped. If you want fillings you generally want them done before hand, for the mochi itself there's the washing of the rice, and then soaking it for 6-12 hours (I generally just do this overnight). First time making it was the trial run. I definitely had high expectations of how it was going to be. I was going to make mochi and fill it with red bean paste (all home made of course). The visions of grandeur that filled my head were sadly not the outcome. I had to figure out the machine... well step one steaming the rice was no problem. The pounding I figured was like the steaming (timed by the machine), It wasn't. Pretty sure the mochi got over pounded and ended up being very soft. There is such a thing as mochi being too soft. Also fresh mochi hardens up pretty quick! I had most of the filling finished, but those beans take a lot longer to cook than I was anticipating. I could go in to details, but let's just go with the filling was a disaster...filling was nixed. We ended up enjoying the mochi dipped in soy sauce.

This brings us to experiment 2! Teobokki...I made it the standard way earlier in the summer making Korean rice cakes to put in it (lots of work) and it was pretty good. I figure why not try mochi instead! Made the stew and the mochi plopped the mochi in... as one can expect it wasn't quite what I pictured...the mochi took on the consistency of melty mozzarella cheese. It wasn't bad, but a little hard to eat and I might have been a bit heavy handed with the Korean pepper flake. On the bright side we did discover rolling pieces of fresh mochi in soybean powder mixed with sugar is delicious! Our experiments this time wasn't over yet. Mochi can be left in a cool dry spot for a few days and be fine. This is generally how to prep it for grilling....fairly certain I let it sit just a bit too long...while it properly puffed and cooked up it was to put it nicely tough as a rock.

Now we're onto last night experiment 3! Moonfini was over and we figured we'd make some mochi and attempt dango....I have to say this makes me chuckle just thinking about it. I did some research to find out if fresh mochi could be used for dango or if you HAD to use the rice flour mix. I couldn't find an answer anywhere so I shrugged and said what the heck let's do it. Mochi made! Rolled into balls to toss into boiling water. Water boiling mochi appeared to go as planned! Placed into the ice water to halt the cooking... mochi seemed...sticky and softer than I anticipated. Placed mochi on bamboo skewers (first mistake was made....didn't soak the skewers). Put the skewers on the mesh tray! (second mistake using a mesh tray). Popped them in the toaster oven to cook. Well I'm sure you can imagine what happened... if you guessed the skewers caught on fire you're wrong! Ha! They did get really hot though and seemed to be the only thing toasted. The mochi had puffed a bit, but the real trouble was that it had decided to cook through and around the mesh. It was a bit of a mess to clean up. This has not dissuaded me though from continuing to experiment! We still have some mochi left from last night so today we'll attempt to grill one more time! Hopefully no one breaks a tooth, but it should be interesting either way.

Amused Thoughts

I have discovered lately that saying you take requests on Deviant Art is a double edged sword and once said it is not easily taken back. It opens a door to a very weird side of the internet as well. Some of the stuff people request even after explicitly stating safe for work is well... surprising. Then you have the list people...they want so and so with so and so and can you somehow work in this person too and this random character sitting on them? By the end of reading it I have no idea what they even asked for. Not to say that I haven't had interesting things to draw too. After my few weeks of opening requests on there I find I already need a small break from the onslaught of randomness. I've already done one request that I had to tell myself it was requested by "a poor cancer ridden child at St. Judes" in order to finish. Was the person actually...no idea and probably not, but the image did help me manage to grit my teeth and see the project through to the end. So I guess the lesson learned is one that many before me have already learned of be careful what you wish for.