Lazy morning, watched tv mostly. We finally finished watching all the HP films.
We had the remainder of the dumplings for lunch, then drove out to another beach for a walk. So surprised that it was so empty at the weekend. We remember last time we were there we had to wait for people to leave to get a parking space, today there were fewer than 10 cars altogether. There were people fishing at the pier and the students at the watersports school were finishing up their sailing and windsurfing lessons.
There’s a derelict bar at the top of the beach, with abandoned tables and chairs outside so we could sit and watch the sea. A family playing on the sand. A trio of young people lounging around.
And in the bbq area, a group of people enjoying a bbq party. They brought bottles of wine and had set up a couple of hammocks using the railings. Because it was so quiet, they had the use of 2 or 3 grills, one of which they set up a teepee system with two ginormous beef pieces that look like either tomahawk steak or bone-in rib. We got talking to one of the guys, he says he’s a food distributor and got the beef from a butcher friend. It’ll have to be something like that because it looks delicious and expensive.
We didn’t have beef ribs or anything like that ourselves. Went to the market to get clams and prawns. Made a soup with sweetcorn and apple too.
We went out for buffet lunch at a small indian restaurant. They’ve recently renovated, and increased their prices. Still fairly decent value. The buffet is simple and tasty: papadum, salad, vegetable samosa, onion pakora, butter chicken, lamb rogan josh, vegetable curry, beans, daal, fruit, gulab jamun, and unlimited drinks–soft drinks, tea, coffee, beer and best of all, mango lassi. I ended up having 3 or 4 glasses of lassi, and we finished the meal with marsala tea.
The place was full, lots of office workers. We weren’t in any hurry so we sat around after almost everyone had left.
Ran a couple of errands after lunch, then took the slow tram so we can spin pokéstops along the way. I dropped my bag at mm’s place and we took a drive to one of the beaches for a walk. Nice to get some fresh air, and it’s always great to go to the seaside. The beach was moderately busy, by the time we got there it was almost sunset and people were packing up to leave.
Popped by the market after the beach and bought clams and dumplings for dinner.
Our friend L from Holland sent us a pic of icicles at her deck. Her house is in an Amsterdam suburb and it’s been an extremely cold winter in Europe this year. The canal hasn’t frozen over because it’s windy but the lake nearby has frozen.
I took this of her house when we visited a few years ago in April. It was cold then but not icy. I love the house and the deck.
I’m still looking for a backpack. While I’ll happily get another one of my current samsonite, I’ve been saving reviews when I come across them. Top of the list is wirecutter‘s recommended LL Bean quad. But this group of daypacks is also worth noting, especially since many of them are cheaper. The outlander is only US$20, can’t really beat the price.
The post is about boat shoes, but they all look really nice. The adidas is yet another adidas I’d wear, but the one that caught my eye was the nrs vibe. Never heard of the company before, they seem to be quite a specialist company that make watersports shoes for kayakers. This one is made from technical material, is tough and has good grip. It also drains and dries quickly, which is more important to kayakers but will be useful in rainy weather. I like it because, in the words of outside magazine, of:
the skate-shoe aesthetic
I’m not usually the one for single use items, so read this post with sceptism. Sometimes when mm and I go out, we’d take some whisky for picnic. We’d carefully pack two glencairn glasses in tissue paper–i have the small ones I picked up in Scotland, they use them in distilleries for tasting. The small tumblers have lids and are insulated to keep the liquid cold. Useful for cocktails. The testers say that none of the tumblers tested changed the flavour of the whiskey (spelled with an ‘e’ because they were using bulleit, I’m not as fanatical as some people think I am).
The one they liked is by klean kanteen. I’m a bit turned off by names like that, too cartoonish. And at around US$16 each I wonder if it’s worth it. May be I’ll stick with the carefully packed glencairns.
The Perennial Plate episode 175 is The Bite House, a private kitchen-restaurant in Cape Breton owned by chef Bryan Picard. What caught my eye was the intro post:
Many restaurant cooks have had the thought: I just want to cook for a dozen people, four nights a week, making the food I love and then take off during the winter. That is the dream.
Because that is a dream. Ever since the first time someone at work took me to a private kitchen, something like 20 years ago, that’s a dream. I’m glad Chef Bryan is able to achieve his dream. His dad makes the bread, his girlfriend and other friends serve. On his days off he forages and enjoys the outdoor life.
Arguably it’s easier at Cape Breton. He can forage in the forest and at the beach. His house is big enough to be converted to hospitality space. Living standards are probably reasonable there. Still, there’s something captivating about the chef, the food, the place. Two minute short video.
Looks like the type of place one has to immerse oneself in, not just a few hours’ visit for dinner. As Chef Bryan describes it:
SPACE 10 is Ikea’s not-so-secret secret food innovation lab, established to research and test modern sustainable food. Recently they posted about the type of food they envision the world will be eating in the future.
First up, a dogless hotdog. The filling is a whole glazed carrot, and it’s served with a beetroot & berry ketchup, mustard & tumeric cream, and herb salad. The bun is made from spirulina, a truly future food, a:
micro-algae that contains more beta carotene than carrots, more chlorophyll than wheatgrass, and 50 times more iron than spinach
Once there are hotdogs, there must be burgers. Theirs is called the bug burger. The burger is made from beetroot, parsnip, potato and mealworm and is served with beetroot & blackcurrent ketchup, relish, and a hydroponic salad mix. Two words stood out for me–mealworm and hydroponic–both in a positive way. I’ve known for a long time that in 100, 200, 500 years we will not be eating chicken or beef as we know it now, and the future of humankind depends on a combination of: a) manufactured aka lab-grown meat; and b) insects. I don’t have a problem with this, and will happily try them. In fact, I’ve been waiting for edible insect to be more readily available. I don’t think I’m at the stage of putting an entire large bug in my mouth, but mealworms or in a minced form, that’s fine.
I also love the hydroponic developments in the past few years. When I’m back in London, I’m going to research grow up urban farm that has a huge hydroponic facility in Beckton, and cleverly also raises tilapia using the plant water.
Moving on from hotdogs and burgers, it’s time for the iconic Ikea meatballs. In recent years, they’ve gone vegetarian and vegan. The lab has come up with their latest version, the neatball. There are two kinds, one made with mealworms and the other with root vegetables. I wish they are available for sale and not just test kitchen products.
They suggest serving neatballs with mash, gravy and lingonberry sauce, of course. But for a balanced diet, replace the potatoes with salad made from microgreens grown hydroponically. Some of the greens they have been growing include red veined sorrel, tarragon, pea sprouts, pink stem radish, borage, red frill mustard and lemon balm. Intriguing.
The microgreens are also used to make ice cream. They use a small amount of sugar and add sweetness via apple juice and apples.
I’ve had the same wallpaper since my first iphone. The homescreen setup is by and large similar, with more organisation when folders were first introduced. Like most people, I download and keep too many apps on the phone in case I want to use them. So what does my iphone homescreen really say about me? It’s organised clutter and full of folders. Notifications are only enabled on phone and text, and I zero out all notifications. I don’t use colour in any meaningful way.
Time for a change. What I want to achieve, is having a homescreen that is comfortable, set up for easy access, and uncluttered.
The fiery apple wallpaper looked cool 10 years ago, and although it still looks good it’s way past time to switch to a new one. Eventually I want to have a plain white one perhaps with subtle patterns. For now I changed to one with sunset because I love the colours. The caption says watsons bay, so I must have taken it in Australia although I can’t remember it and the date doesn’t coincide with me being in sydney. May be I scanned it from an older pic? That’s the problem with having 33,000 pics, it’s impossible to remember them all.
I’m also saving all my various wallpapers in one place for easy access.
I set aside some time for this mini-project. First, I deleted tons of apps: a) obsolete ones that aren’t compatible with the current ios, but I hadn’t realised because the apps had been on the phone for years; b) apps i had never used; c) apps I haven’t used in months. This enabled me to consolidate several folders too: I combined all text, messengering and email apps; I shuffled between utilities, info and productivity; I reduced all games to one folder.
The next tip is to identify the apps I use most. I had a long list of 24 core apps, which I whittled down to 15, including 4 of the most commonly used that I keep on the dock. I love the setups where the apps are at the bottom of the screen so I googled for instructions. The method of achieving this effect is to create transparent (or as they describe, invisible) icons. Of course there’s an app for that, makeovr. They need a screenshot of the blank page with wallpaper, then it’s a matter of patiently creating individual icons to match the spot it needs to go to. It takes advantage of safari’s copy to homescreen functionality. In this example, I selected icon row 1 column 1:
I planned out where I wanted the core apps, then created the appropriate transparent icon and moved it in place. Needs a little patience because each icon has to be created and moved. I like the result, although I’d like to get rid of more homescreen apps:
I’m thinking eventually I may move snapseed to the second page and may be even evernote (or its potential replacement, bear–see below). If and when I get a password manager, I’ll have to find a place for it too. The second page looks more like a conventional iphone page:
I did the same for the second phone:
And for the ipad, I used iempty, similar to makeovr but with a clunkier interface:
Since the second phone and ipad are used for a narrower band of tasks, the number of core apps is very few.
The exercise of looking at other people’s apps was both fruitful and not. Fruitful because there are some great apps and not because a lot of these great apps are paid.
Low hanging fruit first, free apps. Added spark, discord, mega, snapseed straightaway. I have snapseed already and it does have better UI and functionality than lightroom. I tested outlook vs spark and spark’s UI won hands down. I also downloaded bear on both iphone and mac and still researching it. A lot of people have moved from evernote and apple notes to bear and report good experiences. I’m not a power EN user, and mainly use it for text notes so its simplicity and speed will benefit me. As ” title=”verge”>the verge says:
Bear plays the sleek TextEdit to Evernote’s monstrous Microsoft Word
There’s a simple migration process and the app has a lot of positives like markdown support and tags. The problem for me is, I prefer folders over tags and bear doesn’t organise via folders. This is potential deal-breaker for me. The second one is that I’ll need a $15 annual subscription to enable syncing across devices, compared with EN which allows syncing across 2 devices for the free version. Two is what I need: mac and iphone. I may give it a try for travel research next trip.
Back to apps. There are a few paid apps I really want. I ended up buying one only, but I’m keeping tabs on the others. The paid app I got is carrot, and yes I paid $4.99 for a weather app, when there are tons available for free. I’ve known for a long time that dark sky is the best weather app and kind of holding out waiting. Carrot uses dark sky and has so much more, the funniest being its snarky comments and quests for secret locations. While I may get tired of snark and quests, there’s no question that its core functionality, showing me upcoming weather, is fantastic. It’s simply a pleasure to look at the page with hourly predictions.
I’m also toying with either IA writer or byword as a text editor for iphone and ipad, leaning more towards byword. I write all website posts in textedit then copy paste to wordpress, which is fine because it’s distraction free and has only the basic features. Byword is equally clean-looking and goes a little beyond by supporting markdown and publishes directly to wordpress. For writing writing, of course I’ll stick with scrivener. I’m not sure as yet I want to shell out $5.99 just because I want a direct publishing option.
One thing I’ve noticed, that I’m very disappointed in, is apps in the mac app store are not only more expensive than for iphone/ipad, the app can’t be shared. This means if I want byword for example, I have to pay $11.99 for the mac version and $5.99 for iphone/ipad. The argument is mac apps are inherently different because iOS is not the same as macOS. That said, there are rumours that apple is planning to combine both stores. In the meantime, I probably will stay with mostly free or included apps.
Most nights I can’t sleep and I start thinking of mundane things that involves going through a list, not unlike the traditional counting sleep method. Guided imagery, or focusing on an image or story to slow down a busy mind, is one of the methods suggested for combating sleeplessness. It’s not just taking a generic screensaver, it’s highly individual and may consist of:
a favorite vacation or calming outdoor spot, a relaxing activity like curling up with a book in your favorite chair, or something repetitive like remembering the steps of an exercise or dance routine. The key is to find something that allows you to focus your attention and let go of other thoughts. Begin to create this scenario in your mind. Visualize all the details of the image or story, as slowly and carefully as you can.
What has worked for me is to imagine I’m on a desert island. There’s a river within walking distance and the camp is by a rock formation that gives a sort of cave to provide shelter. The river runs to the ocean and there’s a small beach. Since I’m not a survival expert, the island isn’t exactly desolate, people used to live there so there are remains of houses but most importantly firestarter, vtools, pots, vegetables and, lately, goats. I would sustain myself via the plentiful coconuts as well as the produce from an abandoned fruit & garden. There’d be fishing gear available, like crab pots that I can use at the rocks that are at one side of the beach. I’ve even watched youtube videos on how to make salt from seawater and ropes from coconut husks.
There’s St Bean’s island by Wroe Clark. Everything is idyllic, from the morning beach to the occasional volcano to the hammock to the orchard. And what fantasy island can’t be without a mountain meadow with perhaps a llama:
Ericka Kendall’s island also has lots of features, like a beach with perfect sand that doesn’t get inside your underwear, a lush green forest with no bears or cougars, but best of all, guests who visit the island will have no memory unless the owner wants them to remember:
This one from 11-year old Ben P. has a castle, a skull mountain and a hut for the witch who guards the treasure:
I can’t draw, but I may take a stab at sketching out my fantasy island.
Yet another thing to add to my list of things I can buy for my niece. And as usual, something I want to get for myself.
For £19.99, I can order my own lego keychain with a lego figure that looks like me. They need a picture of me as well as some personal details like hobbies, favourite colour, usual clothing and such like. They say they have millions of combinations of head and body parts. An example of personalisation:
Molly normally wears blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. She has red hair and thick rimmed glasses.
There’s also a framed figure for £29.99 but I think the keychain is more practical. UK company so UK delivery but they also deliver to a few other countries. Firebox sells all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets, although I think I should be able to get them much, much cheaper on taobao.
Lately it feels like food & drink has become like one of those What’s your street name meme where you take the name of the street you grew up in and pair it with the colour of your socks. In the case of food & drink, it’s so random:
alcohol with snacks: champagne and hershey kisses, tequila and ramen, vodka and sour patch kids
beer with chinese food: IPA and orange chicken, stout and spring rolls (Americans: they’re NOT egg rolls, there is no egg), winter pale ale with kung po chicken
wine and pizza: syrah and pepperoni, riesling and hawaiian, pinot noir with cheese
beer and dessert: hefeweizen and key lime pie, double IPA and cr&$232;me brûlée, porter and chocolate strawberries
alcohol with cake: pedro ximenez with coffee cake, rosé champagne with red velvet cake, gin with ginger layer cake
And now, there’s beer and doughnuts. Chefs and masterchef contestants are increasingly making all sorts of weird and wonderful doughnuts. Although I can’t really see beer and doughnuts, I guess why not. They pair fruity framboise with chocolate glazed, sour beer with jam-filled, guinness with boston cream.
My choice is limited because I only like plain doughnuts and even those are too sweet and too stodgy for me. On the chart, cider goes with old fashioned and stout goes with cinnamon sugar, the two doughnuts that most appeal to me.
But wait, there’s more. Pairing alcohol with favourite book. It’s a superficial pairing, like Middle Earth cask ale and Lord of the Rings, as if an intern did some googling and came up with it. There’s a brewery in the Midlands called Middle Earth. Other pairings suggest a little more knowledge of the books, like mint julep and The Great Gatsby, smoking bishop (Victorian-era mulled wine) with The Christmas Carol, and wine, any wine with 1984.
Met mm at the travel agent’s to see what options we have for a European trip. We don’t have dates or destination, and this amount of flexibility is dangerous. Options include:
Spain and Portugal–we’ve never been, which adds to the attractiveness. So many cities and regions like Madrid, Barcelona, Basque country, Galicia, Lisbon, Porto…the list goes on
Italy–we want to spend more time in Tuscany, along the coasts, and to San Giovanni Rotondo (pilgrimage to St Pio)
south of France–we said after last time that if we returned to Provence, we’ll base ourselves at Aix and go further south
Normandy and Brittany–I still have lots of research notes
Holland and Belgium–can be combined with northern France, we can base ourselves at our friend L’s house and go from there
Scotland and Ireland–which of course includes London and distilleries
Airfares in april and may are okay, most of the airlines have open jaw or stopover fares. Another option is Emirates, but the cost is not that much different from KLM and Emirates has bad stopover times at Dubai.
The travel agent mentioned the possibility of spending part of the trip cruising. There’s one that goes from Hamburg to Southampton and passengers can embark either port which then goes to the Norwegian fjords. Not too bad, except it’s all Norway and it’s MSC. I’d rather mm’s first cruise experience to be with a better cruiseline.
I also asked him for summer Chicago tickets. He’ll look into it. The problem is again, the cheap fares don’t allow seat allocation and has no airmiles.
via daring fireball, Michael Lopp, an engineer at Slack, wrote an article about apps on his iphone and how he carefully curates apps on the homescreen, then he asked people to share their homescreen on twitter. There are some really interesting designs and use philosophies. Here are the ones I like out of the submitted screenshots.
Extreme minimalist, with the majority of apps in one folder in the dock, from @grinder:
Another minimalist, with a beautiful wallpaper and other apps in one single folder on the second page, from @michamore:
Beautifully arranged according to colours, from @daniel_whiting:
Another artistic one, from @lyle:
Black, from @jasonbaum:
I notice a number of minimalist screens, with only a few apps that are presumably the most heavily used, that have probably resulted from reading this post. Someone had all apps in alphabetical folders. Someone else had a picture of their dog and just one app.
The twitter thread then became a contest of the largest number of unread email, as theads like this are wont to become. I identified with the comment by someone who had none because notifications are all off except messaging apps.
Many people have the same set of apps–google maps/waze, instagram/snapchat/twitter, pocket/instapaper, spotify, overcast, strava/fitbit. Hardly anyone has facebook although one person has a folder called time wasters with the usual social media apps. I’m taking notes on apps I don’t have that seem worth downloading:
1password: I’m still on the fence about password managers, seeing the number of people with it is making me think more
bear: an evernote replacement. I’m not an EN power user but I use it a lot especially for travel research. I’ll have to look into bear
carrot: weather app with funny comments
discord: because that’s likely where it’ll be, when fb gets overwhelmed by advertisers and old people
fantastical: a calendar app that looks much more feature-rich than the native calendar app or even google calendar
iA writer: clean, clutter-free writing app
mega: ostensibly a dropbox alternative, but with its history of being created by Kim Dotcom…I’m not giving away secrets
reeder: rss reader, can be used with feedly
snapseed: I think I may actually have it, should install it
I find this image fascinating. This is a project by Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake called The Castle which is intended to subtly examine the impact of a single outside force on the bigger picture. He built a brick wall but somewhere in the middle there is a copy of Kafka’s The Castle which gets in the way of the neat line of the bricks. Colossal describes it:
This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.
For some odd reason it reminds me of the princess and the pea fairy tale although the pea was never the disruptive influence the book was meant to be. The similarity is purely along visual lines. I’ve never thought about the moral behind the princess and the pea story. May be don’t take anything on face value, because the princess didn’t appear to look like one?
The trigger was reading that the old £10 note has gone out of circulation. Then I realised that the old £5 notes expired in 2017. I looked in my drawer and I have both, eeek. Not a huge amount, added up to under £100. I also have a variety of different currencies, left over from travelling: eur, chf, dkk, jpy, krw, thb, sgd, aud, nzd, cad. Not sure when I’ll get a chance to return to those countries so I decided instead of keeping the spare cash at home, I should drop them off at the bank. I’ll keep £20 notes since they won’t go out of circulation till 2019. And usd because I go to the US most often.
Some currencies I can deposit directly into my multi-currency account and there won’t be a fee if I want to take it out next time. The smaller, rarer currencies the bank had to convert to local$ before depositing. They don’t have a real demand for accounts in dkk, for example. It took the poor cashier some time to handle the transactions, even though I’d already bundled different currencies, written down how many notes and the total. She still needed to officially count them and give me a deposit slip for each currency. All in all, I freed up a fair bit of space in my drawer and my bank balance went up by a tiny amount.
There was so much tempting and fresh food at the market, we were spoilt for choice. With great reluctance we limited ourselves to fresh clams, blue swimmer crab, and some very interesting small shell abalone that neither of us had seen before. On the way back to mm’s place, there was a pop-up stall selling still moving squid and clams. We got only the squid.
Food this fresh doesn’t need much work. Steamed with a little garlic, and for the abalone some dried orange peel. One dish at a time so piping hot when we started eating. Very sweet and delicious. My favourite was crab and mm’s favourite clams. The abalone were okay, not a lot of flavour although tender.
The squid we’ll reserve for lunch tomorrow. At the market we also got some ripe tomatoes so it’s simply a matter of making a calamari and tomato sauce then throwing in some pasta.
I was looking into getting a new computer around christmas but lost my nerve and saw the available units disappear in front of my eyes. I had a gut feeling that 01-March means a refresh and I was right. What am I talking about? A refurbished machine of course. There are lots of advantages of getting a refurbished mac, because it comes with a new casing, new serial number, possibly new battery, and is inspected and covered under warranty just like a new machine. All at an approx 15% discount.
The only con is, I can’t think of one. The model I chose was a June 2017 13″ mbp with 16GB RAM and 512GB HD. There was one with 1TB HD but significantly more expensive. Do I need that much hard disk space when I can plug in an external HD anytime? Absolutely not.
The only concession I made is that this is a Core i5 machine, not i7. I suppose I can wait another 3 months to see if they have an i7 16GB RAM 512GB HD but why wait. For what I’ll be using it, the bump in processor speed isn’t significant. Plus, I’ve been using my trusty 2010 mba with 4GB RAM and I manage both photoshop and imovies on it, albeit not at the same time. The new mbp will be fine.
The current batch of mb, mba and mbp isn’t perfect, and definitely has some flaws that made me think very hard and long before committing. This is the other reason I didn’t get the top of the line model. Like what businessinsider said, I may not want to future-proof this purchase so much because a few years down the line, my perfect mbp or whatever model they have then will be introduced, and I want to have no guilt or remorse when I upgrade.
Anyway, the new mbp arrived just after lunch and I’ve been transferring everything from the mba to it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to buy a usb-usbc cable so the transfer went over wifi at the lightning-fast speed of 5MB/s. It’s all good, because everything transferred, including passwords, settings and even the trash.
What I like: much faster, and since I’m not using an obsolete machine I can use things like the dropbox folder, whatsapp desktop, airdrop and see flash content on, gasp, firefox quantum. The keys have a good snap, and I’ve missed the keyboard backlight. I’m meh on the touchbar, so far all I’ve used it for is to adjust brightness and volume.
What I don’t like: only usb-c ports so I’ll be forced to buy adapters. I’m very disappointed at apple for this. At the corner of my desk I have 2 iphones and an ipad charging, and I can’t plug any of them to the mbp out of the box. What happened to the “It Just Works” mantra that we grew up with?
contains all the nutrients necessary to meet, but not exceed, our daily nutrient demands
or in other words, the perfect optimum food. There is no such food, but scientists took 1000 raw food and assigned each one a nutritional score. The usual suspects of healthy food that I’m quite pleased to see I eat often. From #100 to #91:
sweet potato–a staple at home, I roast, bake, boil, make oven chips, and mash with regular potatoes
figs–just bought a whole box of fresh figs from the fruit market
ginger–use in vegetables and stews
pumpkin–great substitute or compliment with potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes
burdock root–I don’t cook with it often enough, but I’ve had it before mainly in japan
brussels spouts–roast them till almost charred, fantastic
broccoli–mum just bought a bag of broccolini from m&s
cauiliflower–another one for roasting or making cauli couscous
water chestnuts–easy enough to get, I don’t use it often enough
cantaloupe melons–mm is allergic to melons, but canteloupes are the least allergic
The list continues with all the good stuff. Not surprised that there are tons of fruit and veg. Seafood gradually make a appearance, with octopus at #89 and pink salmon at #77. I’m scrolling down the list and there are very few foods I won’t eat, like leeks (#71), grapefruit (#67), coriander (#36). And there are favourites: rocket comes in at #64, kale at #31, clams at #28.
Top 10 in descending order:
beet greens–no wonder we save the greens
pork fat–this is the only non-seafood meat item on the list, and a total surprise
flat fish–this includes sole, flounder and one of my absolute favourite fish, turbot
I had to google cherimoya. TIL that it’s native to central america. I’ve had it before, we call it ‘westerners’ lychee’ and it’s also known by a more common name, custard apple. The ones I’ve tasted had soft, almost creamy flesh although it looks like some varieties may be juicier and more crunchy. Next time I go to the market, I’ll look out for it.
As for #1, almonds, sigh. I’m not a huge fan of nuts and almonds aren’t on the list of nuts I like. May be I’ll try to find alternatives.
From the guardian, the observer food monthly top 50 food related thing, place or people for 2018. An interesting list, because they split into categories of people, places, food & drink, and food writing.
In the people category, they have really diverse talents, ranging from butcher Charlotte Harbottle, to Burmese supper club chefs the Rangoon Sisters, to chef-humanitarian José Andrés.
In the places category, there’s cheese toast at the Cheesy Tiger in Margate; non-alcoholic restaurant The Brink in Liverpool where all proceeds go to charity and is intended as a safe place for people who suffer from alcohol, drug or other addiction; and, well, the new Noma because why not dream big.
In the food & drink category there’s oxtail canelones from Rambla for the princely sum of £5 (must try! must try!); the best £10 bottle of wine which is a 2015 Chinon from the Co-op (there goes my hidden secret, I was hoping to keep people from knowing all about chinons); and a new appreciation of…butter.
Smaller selection on food writing and the ones that caught my eye are Ruby Tandoh’s new book, and people starting to use Tiny Letters as a alternative to blogging and social media. I have a TL account, but I haven’t figured out how to use it. May be a monthly digest of the most interesting post? Since I only have a handful of readers on this website, I wonder how many will sign up for an emailed newsletter?
Here’s NYC chef Chuck George collaborating with videographyer Jimmy Pham and photographer Henry Hargreaves to take the contents of a packet of MRE and plate up fine dining style. Probably look better than the dishes taste. My emergency MRE may be expiring soon so I may play around with it when i get a new pack.
I didn’t get to see as many winter olympics events as I would have liked because of limited coverage. Mostly I read about the sports, the competitors and winners. Not that medals are the be all and end all of the Olympics, but Team GB came home with 5 medals, 1 gold and 4 bronze.
One event wasn’t part of the official Olympics but was so cute and worth watching was the Ski Robot Challenge. It took place at a ski resort about 1hr away from Pyeongchang and had 8 teams competing from universities and companies. The skiing robots
had to be more than 50cm in height, be able to stand on their own two legs, have independent power systems, use skis and poles, and have joints that allowed them to bend their knees and elbows
Like toddlers skiing. Not only cute, but useful research too.
Best day ever! And we didn’t do much. I keep saying I’ll cook lamb rack for mm so today I went over to her place with a couple of racks marinating in olive oil, rosemary and pepper. We can’t just eat lamb so we walked over to the market to look for inspiration. What a great market! We got there around 5pm and stallholders were beginning to discount their produce. Got some portabello mushrooms as well as prawns and clams for starters. The seafood was so fresh that all we needed was to drop them in boiling water. I overcooked the lamb slightly but it had lots of flavour and was still tender.
Opened a bottle of cabernet that a friend of hers brought back from California. Highly recommended, very fruity and not too tannic. Great for sipping whilst cooking and eating.
Watched HP 1 and 2, we decided to watch all 8 films as a goal this coming few weeks. Much more preferable staying home and cooking vs going out to eat.
Took my niece out for snake soup, because she wanted to try it and she asked me to take her. Sis won’t because she’s much more of an ethical/healthy type of eater, well actually she’s more squeamish. Rob won’t because he’s vegetarian lol. There are a few choices of restaurants but I picked one that is near my niece, has a good reputation and is a sit-down restaurant. Some other places I go to are holes-in-wall at markets and I wanted my niece to have a better experience first.
Snake soup is on many, many people’s bucket list. To be honest, it’s not so special although it’s not something I have all the time. I guess it’s like people don’t go out for clam chowder all the time. So, everything you want to know about snake soup:
it’s a soup made with snake meat, bones, chicken, mushroom, ginger, herbs and simmered for hours–since snake meat doesn’t have too much flavour it’s like a very rich chicken soup
the snake meat is shredded to thin slivers and looks quite similar to chicken, it can be distinguished in the soup because it’s slightly more brown and is a little bit tougher
snake soup has been around since the 3rd century and was a luxury dish enjoyed by the wealthy
it’s becoming more rare nowadays because special training is required to handle the snakes, most businesses are family-run
The place we went to has been around for almost 130 years and is currently run by the fourth generation family. It’s been in its current location since 1989. So, very traditional although it’s probably the one to take tourists and people who are trying snake for the first time.
And still a luxury. The soup is made from hours and hours of cooking and has additional ingredients to make it richer and sweeter. Equivalent to over £10 per bowl. I also had a bowl of rice with sausage and gis had rice with salted eggs.
The most pressing question, did she like it? Yes she did. She said it was unexpectedly good. She loves rich, almost gloopy soups and this one was exactly to her taste. The snake meat itself was pretty innocuous. May be next time I’ll take her to the really local one at the market.
It’s pokémongo community day #2 and it’s dratini this month. Good motivation:
increased dratini spawn
dragonite evolved during the window will get draco meteor moveset
3x stardust for all catches
I have over 500 ultraballs and around 60 pinaps in my bag (just because, not on purpose), so I was in good shape. I thought the event started at 12pm but when I went out at around 11.30am I saw a bunch of dratinis already. Of course it being niantic, there were problems galore: network error, error 2, error 22, error 26, no gps, and couldn’t login sometimes when I tried to restart the game. There were times after loading when no stops or pokémons could be seen. That went on for a good 1-2hrs, which was alright because I was at lunch.
Sometime around 2pm everything seemed to have gotten fixed. I went to central piers where there is a good 700-800m stretch facing the harbour where commuter ferries dock. Normally it’s already a great spot for dratinis and water-types and today it was a veritable bounty. I ended up using a couple of lucky eggs and basically walked up and down between pier 2 and pier 9 catching everything. Tons of stops, all lured and sometimes in one spot there’d be 6-7 dratini spawning one after another.
I saw on twitter that they knew there’s a problem and the event will be extended. In the end I was there for around 2hrs. I forgot to track my starting stats, rough numbers:
dratini caught: around 120
of which shiny: 5
evolved to dragonair: 1 shiny
evolved to dragonite: 1 shiny, 3 regular
stardust: no idea, but 120x100x3=36,000 and I caught others too
xp: no idea, I was at 3xx,xxx and now I’m at 448,000
Didn’t manage a 100% IV dragonite, the best is 98% IV which I’m really happy about. Threw away a lot of low IV dratinis, and the worst one I didn’t throw away is a shiny at 19% IV. I was using pokeassistant initially and got 18% but pokemeter and pokegenie both gave me 19%. It’s the absolute worst ever pokémon in my collection. Since it’s a shiny, and since it’s so terrible, I simply must keep it.
I also like the comments from pokemeter. “Your Dratini has an awful IV, but it’s happy!” Snerk.
This is a fun way of wasting a few minutes. An online word association game called Robot Mind Meld. Both human player and robot attempt to come up with the same word that associates with words each had already came up wth. The idea behind the Numberbatch AI is that it thinks quantitiatively about how words relate to each other by
analyzing millions of documents for patterns, these “numberbatches” now play a role in most programs that process language, from speech recognition to machine translation.
At first, I couldn’t get anywhere and got stuck after more than 10 rounds. But then bingo! We did it in 3 rounds.
I’m not that great with word associations because I either use very literal relationships or go off in a weird tangent. Some of the answers from the mefi users were odd and funny too. Some only took 2 rounds, someone took 79. I LOLed at this:
Last year, the folks at botnik programmed an AI to write a chapter of a Harry Potter book, by having it learn and analyse all seven books to find combinations of words likely to follow each other according to the style of the writer and then generating text using their predictive keyboard. The result was Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash and it was, as the guardian described it:
It started promising, describing a castle that could be Hogwarts and the surroundings which was
snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.
But then it rapidly descended into chaos:
Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance. He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family.
Uh-oh. A few favourites from the chapte:
“Death Eaters are on top of the castle,” Ron bleated, quivering. Ron was going to be spiders.
They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password was ‘BEEF WOMEN,’ Hermione cried.
The tall Death Eater was wearing a shirt that said ‘Hermione Has Forgotten How to Dance,’ so Hermione dipped his face in mud.
Several long pumpkins fell out of McGonagall.
Harry could tell Voldemort was standing right behind him. He felt a great overreaction. Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment.
And now they’ve recorded the chapter, with delightfully literal animation by Jamie Loftus and perfectly voiced by Rachael Wright. Must watch.
Visited Papa. I looked out from the terrace and realised I was looking at the same place mm and I went yesterday. The slightly curved shoreline with trees on one side that ends at a bunch of residental buildings? That’s one end of the waterfront bike path. It didn’t click yesterday because our attention was focused on the new residental buildings being built and were wondering what it’d be like to live there. Didn’t think to look beyond and up the hill. Plus, it’s further than it looks. Next time we go, I’ll know where to wave to Papa.
The sun came out so we went cycling. There’s a waterfront bike path near the velodrome park that we’ve been talking of trying out for a long time. It turned out to be perfect! A little out of the way, we each have to travel around 1hr to get there, but once there it’s pretty easy. We explored signing up for one of the dockless bike schemes that seem to be everywhere nowadays but opted for the more expensive, but safer and more reliable, option of renting from a proper bike shop. We weren’t the only ones, plenty of other people were renting from him too; we’re glad the shop isn’t suffering because of the dockless bikes. The advantage of the dockless bikes is they’re so much cheaper, but that’s about it. Some of the bikes weren’t in the cleanest condition, and they had no gears. The bike shop guy let us try out machines until we found the ones we liked, he checked everything, put in a basket and gave us his mobile number in case of problems. The additional customer service is worth it. May be for other purposes we’ll try the dockless bikes another time.
Like I said, the bike path was great. Well used, but thankfully not overcrowded. Can imagine gridlock at the weekends. There were of course the usual idiots who think they’re Chris Hoy as well as whole families spread out along the entire width but by and large, fairly civilised. After negotiating our way past housing estates, the velodrome and a sports stadium we found our way to the waterfront area. Flat and straight almost the entire way. There was a bridge which provided the only gradient and even then for the lazy, there was a lift.
We brought snacks for a picnic, and there were lots of benches along the waterfront to rest and take in the view. A few boats moored around the end of the canal, a few people put-putting their small boats around. Other people running, walking, just enjoying the day.
We kept track of distance and out and back was only 5k, so a nice gentle day out with fresh air and a bit of exercise.
Probably further, because some stars are way, way past the moon. The andromeda galaxy, located 2.6 million light years away, is the furthest object visible with the naked eye under the right conditions.
Those military higher-ups were probably asking how far can the human eye see on earth and with the ability to see details. Or the more common question, how far can a human eye detect a candle flame? The quickest answer from googling is 48km. Researchers at Texas A&M university say it’s less than that, at around 2.5-2.8 km.
It’s surprisingly hard to test, because there are assumptions and external variables. Do we take into account the earth’s curvature? At around 3km it’s less significant than 48km. How about light pollution? Even in completely rural areas, are we seeing the candle flame absent light from the stars and the moon? How about under conditions of absolute darkness?
The feed between the website and fb has been weird lately. More often than not, the image inside the post doesn’t get through and only the default website logo shows up. If I’m doing multi-day catchup posts, my timeline looks like a series of very boring links with the same maratree image.
Not that it matters. I deleted fb off default tabs and only check it once or twice a day if I remember. I’ve been slowly becoming disinterested in what I’m seeing on there; plus I’m fed up with its algorithms and how it’s so desperate for me to see what it wants me to see rather what I want to see. They’ve been in the spotlight recently, none of it good: it’s undisputedly the place where fake news fester and breed; its Protect feature is advertised as a security function but it actually installs spyware on the users’ phones; it spams users on the phone number provided to activate two-factor authentication.
So when the feed image problem started, I thought it was something to do with fb. I know that if they had their way, they won’t allow cross-posting via rss and instead force me to blog using their native Notes. If they stopped the IFTTT feed, I’m not going to spend the effort copy-pasting posts. I won’t play in their closed garden.
But when I checked feedly, the image problem was there too. So it’s more likely my rss feed.
I’ve switched to wordpress for just over 2 years now, and I’m still not finding some of the under-the-hood stuff intuitive. I kept googling and trying to look for how to edit and modify the wp-include files. I mean, yes, I can do it all the way at website level but surely there’s somewhere in the wp dashboard that allows that?
I finally found where I could be editing but couldn’t fix the image issue. I didn’t have much luck editing any of the rss files directly in the website’s control panel. either.
I should have gotten a clue when editing functions.php is under the themes sub-menu. So may be it’s time to try a new theme.
I suppose I have to grudgingly accept the versatility of wordpress and how easy it is to change themes. Just a few clicks and the problem seems to have been solved, at least for the last 3 posts. It’s not a bad theme either, still keeping to the clean and simple look I prefer.
Family dinner tonight at the posh club where sis and Rob are members. A bit of fun beforehand, sis booked the bowling alley and the three of us (me, niece and rob) tried to bowl. My scores were abysmal, the highest round was 95, ugh.
The dinner was buffet at the garden lounge at the top floor of the club building. Unlike hotel buffets, it was very civilised and the atmosphere very pleasant. There were only around 20 tables, so that was an advantage already. Soup and a half lobster salad were served at the table. My niece doesn’t like lobsters so mum had a whole one!
Both sis and I opted to add-on free flow drinks, which included champagne, red and white wine, and sake. We mostly stuck to champagne, I tried the sake with dinner and it was really good. Not dry, and went well with food.
Food was the usual buffet fare. Cold seafood of oyster, crab leg, prawn, clams were alright. Sashimi was fresh and enjoyable. I had two huge plates of rocket and beetroot salad and a little bit of cold poached trout. Skipped most of the hot food although the others said it was good–steamed fish, beef checks, iberico pork chops, curry. There was a noodle station which had very little business. Outside on the patio was a bbq station with skewers, roast rib-eye and other bbq meat. The skewers was disappointing, either overcooked (chewy and dry) or undercooked (the scallops were almost raw and not charred outside).
Had a sorbet and some macarons for dessert. There was a cheesecake with chestnut topping, I only ate the topping. Half my plate was full of delicious blackberries.
Most people spend CNY with family. All I did was stay home and cooked lunch and dinner. No difference from any other day.
Lots of greetings received on whatsapp groups. I looked and looked to find ones that didn’t have dogs, which was pretty difficult. These are from one of the priests mm follows on fb, he made them himself. I especially appreciate the explanation at the side, together with a pronounciation guide. With so much negativity around the use of fb (I deleted it from default tabs and check it once a day if I remember), it’s nice to see something that isn’t an ad, a stupid meme or spam.
Traditionally people go to a flower market on CNY eve to buy flowers and to participate in the festive atmosphere. Last time I went was so many years ago and all I remember is the crowd.
We set off around 11.30pm on the tram, the slowest means of transport. It was nice to enjoy the view and the cool breeze and not have to hurry. Catch pokemons too, tram is slow enough.
When we got closer to the flower market park, we saw the beginnings of the hoard. The station was completely blocked and there was a queue along the pavement to cross the road. Lots of police officers there to direct traffic and keep it orderly. It was very crowded, but organised.
There was a one-way system in place at the market, so we had to go up one aisle of stalls and down the next. So crowded that progress was slow, may be a few steps every minute. The market split into roughly two sections; one for flowers and one where mostly school and college kids sold soft toys, cushions and other festive stuff. Cute at the time, but incredibly useless and tacky a few days later. This year, there were so many dog soft toys it was hard to find anything else.
We only managed half of the souvenir section, there was one part that was completely gridlocked. When we calculated that we’d moved may be 10 steps in 20mins, it was time to give up. The flower section was marginally less crowded, so we headed there. Many stalls had discounted flowers, the market had been in place for about a week and it was the last few hours. We left with a few bunches of flowers, mostly for mm’s mum. I got a pot of basil for the equivalent of £1.
By the time we left it was something like 3am. Amazingly there were still people heading into the market. These wise and persistent individuals were there for last minute bargains, good luck to them.
My contribution towards Valentine’s Day? I cancelled lunch and a day out with mm. She’d booked an Indian buffet for lunch but I wasn’t feeling 100% when I woke up. Strange headache on the left side of my head behind my ear, sometimes it’d feel hot and sometimes it’d feel a bit numb. Occasionally there’d be a sharp pain. But not debilitating like a migraine. Thought it was best to stay home and rest. Headache persisted throughout the day, even with panadol. Drank a couple of large cups of green tea and took a 20-min walk to the small park to get some sun and fresh air. Slight improvement. Probably need a good night’s sleep or rather, a week of consecutive good nights’ sleep.
Anyway it wasn’t a proper v-day event, we were just talking about Indian food and how long it’s been since we had it. We usually don’t pay much attention to v-day. More importantly, it’s Ash Wednesday. Busy this week, between Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day and CNY coming up on Friday. May be it’s the trying to keep track that’s giving me the headache.
via giz, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (“EPSRC”) just announced the winner of its annual photography prize, which goes to David Nadlinger of Oxford University for a photography of a single strontium atom. The atom was excited by a laser, absorbs the energy, re-emits the light, and was held stationary by electric fields. The process occured sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture.
There were over 100 entries to the competition, in 5 cutely named categories: Eureka & Discovery, Equipment & Facilities, People & Skills, Innovation, and Weird & Wonderful.
The ESPRC was formed in 1994 after the SERC was split into reserach councils responsible for engineering & physical sciences, particle physics & astronomy, and biotechnology & biological sciences. Every scientist in my university cohort who went beyond first degree knows the SERC very well.
Not much happened recently, so in the spirit of r/benignexistence here’s a list of mundane things I did this week that are, in the sub’s definition perhaps relatable but do not necessarily evoke a strong reaction:
low level headache that refuses to go away, ran out of paracetemol blister packs, went to pharmacy to buy some
visited a local small restaurant that apparently has been there since before I was born, their speciality is Thai food–chicken rice, braised duck, red and green curries
He also talks about how he works, with particular care about the environment. He doesn’t take materials like stones or leaves away from their habitat and if necessary he will get permission first. His installations tend not to last more than a few hours, and in terms of damage to the environment, probably has the same impact as kids making sandcastles on a beach.
There has been some controversy about people stacking rocks and such like. Opponents call these rock stacks, aka cairns, graffiti, vandalism. They have a point, especially when they seem to be everywhere, like this riverside littered with them at Zion National Park. If people take rocks from one place to another, or dig them up from the ground, or remove them from rivers or lakes or seas, then it’s the opposite of the mantra of leave no trace.
Perhaps the trick, like many things in life, is a little care and moderation. Do as James Brunt does, only take materials from where they are found. Knock the stacks over or scatter the leaves when finished. Return nature the way we found it.
The student’s professor gave her a F for her paper. The reason? I’ll let the professor explain herself:
The student appealed, and sent a link to the Australian government website that describes Australia as both a continent and a country.
The professor dug her heels:
Thank you for this web-address
After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue I will review your paper.
Mysteriously the paper’s grade was adjusted to B+ but there was no apology or further communication. Subsequently, the college issued a sort-of apology via twitter:
We deeply regret the interaction between our professor & our student. We have apologized to Ashley, replaced the instructor, & are reimbursing her tuition for the course. To our friends in Australia, we know that you are a country & a continent, best of luck in the Olympic games!
Still, looking at both the reddit and twitter threads, there were people who defended the professor. A sociology professor doesn’t need to know geography. It’s just a mixup and the professor shouldn’t have lost her job for it. The correct name of the continent is Oceania (wrong, see below).
I can’t remember how old I was when I learned about continents and first heard of Australia. I’m very sure I was very young, primary school age. This is basic knowledge. Australia is a large enough country, with so many wonderful exports that I have a hard time reconciling the fact that a professor who teaches at a college has never heard of it.
There seems to be confusion between Australia the continent and Oceania the region. First of all, Australia is a country located on the continent of Australia. It’s the only country on earth to occupy an entire continent. A continent is a large land mass and again this is basic knowledge that there are 7 continents. Not all countries are located on continents, for example many of the Pacific islands are too small to be considered as being on a continent. Pacific islands, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia for the geographic region of Oceania. Clear?
We met a friend of ours, P, for lunch at a Japanese restaurant he recommended. Good choice, the food was fresh and the location convenient for all. P said he bought a small apartment in the Ōta region of Tokyo, which is southwest of Tokyo towards Yokohama. So jealous!! I wonder if we can rent it from him for short visits.
We talked about current affairs, Brexit, property, where we like travelling to in Japan, and since he is a branch manager of a local bank, what investment products are good right now. He stayed on the conservative side, telling us about guarantee funds, life insurance based products, and mortgage funds. Have to do some reading on mortgage funds, not as familiar as I would like. I do know that they are supposed to be relatively low risk and generate returns a bit better than money market funds. They’re supposed to be more resistant to interest rate fluctuations–when interest rates are low, income from mortgages are low but underlying equities do well; when interest rates are high, equity markets tend to correct but mortgage funds have higher payments supporting it.
Red flags to watch out for in mortgage funds: where it invests, the type of underlying loans, entrance fee, exit fee, management fee, whether it pays all dividends or partial dividends.
My risk appetite is higher than this although I try to take a balanced approach. Anyway I should take a look at my investments, seeing how volatile the market has been this week. I’m not going to panic sell, because I’m not in need of any of those funds. But it may be a good opportunity to find some bargains.
The building is nothing fancy, and the company is small enough to feel personal. The parts may not be all manufactured in Sweden (eg the sensors are made by Sony), but everything is assembled, calibrated and tested in Sweden. Almost all the process is done either by hand, or closely monitored by a human being if done by a machine. Dust is the enemy of all cameras, and the factory is spotlessly clean. All workers and visitors wear lab coats, hairnets and gloves if necessary.
As expected, quality control is of the highest standard. Parts are tested continuously and each body comes with a signed release by the person who inspected it. Testing is treated as part of the manufacturing process rather than something that needed to be done afterwards. Here the camera is being tested on how well it reproduces the blue of the test sphere.
Even though the cameras are state of the art, the manual manufacturing process means not all the tools used are hi-tech. They’re still using Windows XP and old Dell and Sony computers. Cleaning is done by hand using tiny brushes. Each one comes with certificates of quality and exhaustive paperwork.
Just for reference, the price of this camera is over US$10,000 for the body alone, and is Hasselblad’s cheapest camera. It’s the first mirrorless medium format camers available. Medium format photography is so far above my skill level that I still think of the old Mamiyas with 120mm films rather than modern digital cameras.
The X1D looks nothing like those old Mamiyas, or indeed like the first image of Hasselblad that comes to mind. It’s simply…breathtaking. It’s been described as the Ferrari of cameras. Is it for everyone? The professional photographer at petapixel correctly says no. It’s way too expensive for amateurs, and not even professionals who work with high resolution images. For professionals whose work are likely to be printed in ginormous sizes, like artists, fashion or portrait photographers, this is ideal. He’s definitely keeping his:
While I can’t say with any finality whether this camera is worth it for anyone else, I can say that you’ll do better trying to wrench a soup bone out of a pit bull’s mouth than to wrest the X1D from my firmly clenched grip.
I’d read about SpaceX but hadn’t paid a lot of attention to what is happening, so I was pretty excited to read that they just lauched their latest rocket, Falcon Heavy. The rocket launched from Cape Canaveral and is hugely significant: the rocket is intended to be reusable and it’s the heaviest rocket ever launched. The two outer boosters landed safely back on earth but the centre core didn’t land safely althought it was supposed to. The 27 engines produced 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, meaning it’s able to take a payload of 140,000 pounds and put it into the earth’s lower orbit. The launch video is 35mins, but all of it worthwhile viewing.
To test the rocket’s capacity meant trying to put a heavy object into orbit. While SpaceX could have just put a pile of scrap metal, a useless satellite, or something unimaginative, they put the silliest thing Elon Musk could imagine: his red Tesla Roadster. Definitely a great sense of humour, in the passenger seat is a spacesuit wearing a seatbelt just like it’s driving the car that is called Starman.
there’s a sign that says ‘Don’t Panic’ on the dashboard of the Tesla
apparently inside the glovebox: Asimov’s Foundation series, a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a a towel
Originally the Tesla was headed to Mars, but then it overshot and they said it would go into the asteroid belt. NASA calculated the Tesla’s orbital trajectory and they predict that it will stay closer to the sun and end up in an orbit somewhere between earth’s and mars’. It’s still visible from telescopes but will soon travel too far away. Astronomers say it won’t be visible again until late 21st century. TIL NASA has a articifial object database of things in space.
Trivla and coolness aside, the reusability and power of the rockets have the most value. They are still testing, but already on the schedule is a communications satellite from Saudi Arabia and a test payload for the US military.
Cold but sunny day. We decided we needed some fresh air so we headed out to the wetlands countryside area. Late lunch at an AYCE Japanese bbq place, then followed the signs to an “eco farm.” It was a big letdown. They charged an admission fee and it looked from the map outside that the so-called farm consisted of walking paths, small gardens, a playground and a kids’ petting area. There was one other car in the carpark which didn’t bode well either. We decided to save our money and give this placa a miss.
Ended up at the small village at Nam Sang Wai. First thing we saw when we parked the car was a row of dockless bikes that have invaded the city. No fewer than 3 different companies with yellow, green and blue bikes. To the credit of the users, the bikes were parked in a neat row. We saw others in poorer shape elsewhere–covered in mud or just thrown into an unsightly pile. How these schemes make money we don’t know.
The famous “wedding bridge” had been slightly repaired, and handrails added. This is the place where a lot of people come to take wedding pictures, because of the beautiful scenery. The bridge is more a small wooden pier but its location at the side of a canal and the background of trees and a small hill is ideal for photography. This was taken on the iphone and with no adjustments whatsoever. I know, golden hour and all that. Still, pretty.
Walked further into the small village. There are around a dozen houses, mostly metal-cladded and quite run down. People do live there though; we saw a young woman watering her vegetable garden, heard the sound of a tv or radio through the gap of another house, and there’s laundry out to dry in front of several houses. The concrete path turned into one that was basically rotten wooden planks, which is part of the charm.
The wooden planks lead to another small pier, this one at the side of a river/canal. There’s a boatman who rows people across to the other side, probably the shortest river crossing ever. Equivalent to 50p per crossing, add 10p per bike. Very sedate. A sign says it’s around 15mins’ walk to the nearest train station from the other side of the river. During the 10mins that we were there, we saw a good 5-6 people crossing, one came back to this side with his bike and 2 bottles of either detergent or comfort in the basket. Looks like it’s widely used by locals.
We caught the sunset as we were walking back to the car. It was quick! We were both full from lunch, so decided to call it a day. I was home by 7.30pm.
Almost every night when it starts getting late, after 11pm or so, I look at the clock constantly. The dilemma is, sleep or read on, because I’ll inevitably be reading a book.
It’s very cold the last few days, at night it’s below 10ºC. I can hear some people scoffing already, pffft only 10ºC, stop complaining. Consider this: our buildings have no insulation and no heating. Most of us get by with a small fan heater which is okay for heating a small area but nothing more than 10 steps away. Heat leaks out through the walls and the windows. Next time it gets to below 10ºC, turn your heating off and open your windows (to simulate the lack of insulation) for three days and just use a fan heater. See how you get on.
I’ve been wearing socks all day, so my feet are warm. Ease of falling asleep is directly proportional to feet temperature, more specifically temperature at bottom of feet. There’s an old study in Nature:
As we approach the threshold of sleep the body’s temperature regulation system redistributes heat from its core to our extremities. The phenomenon is closely related to the release of hormones such as melatonin, which regulate sleepiness and wakefulness.
Anyway, because of the cold weather, I find that I’m waking up later because it’s nice and warm underneath my duvet. This is a great duvet, even better than the 13.5 tog white goose down one I’ve had forever, this one mm ordered for me at a duvet making place, it’s supposedly handmade and very, very warm. Regardless of when I finally climb into bed, I tend to wake up around the same time. Late.
I’ve always been more of a night owl than a morning person. Luckily I only remember one all-nighter when I was studying, that one time I tried to do what people said to do and drank some coffee which resulted in me getting more sleepy and not liking coffee ever. I don’t exactly find myself getting more energetic as it gets later, it’s just that I find it quieter with few distractions. So I’m up past midnight and I’m reading, or writing a post, or doing something else. Again, there’s a study on this phenomenon which they call delayed sleep-wake phase disorder:
a typical sleep pattern that is “delayed” by two or more hours…Once sleep occurs, the sleep is generally normal. But the delay leads to a pattern of sleep that is later than what is desired or what is considered socially acceptable.
It’s not a disorder, really, is it. Following a different sleeping-hours pattern is not wrong, and people should stop discriminating against others who are simply different. As long as I get my work done, when does it matter what time I did it? Of course it’s easier when I had the freedom of living on my own, and not have to go to work at regular hours. Even people who work at home find it challenging.
Back to my original dilemma. Sleep or read? Let me go read for a little while longer, then I’ll decide.
Very cool quick puzzle that has a “surprisingly easy solution.” I had to think about the solution to fully realise, yes it is surprisingly easy.
You’re in a completely dark dungeon room with hundreds of coins; each coin has a silver side and a gold side. There are 20 coins with silver side facing up, the rest has its gold side facing up. You are to separate the coins into two piles, and each pile must contain the same number of silver-side up coins. The size of the piles may be different. The coins feel the same and flipping is allowed.
To coincide with yorkshire pudding day, Morrisons has launched a yorkshire pudding pizza. The base is a 6.5-inch yorkie, and it’s filled with tomato sauce, mozzarela plus one of two fillings: pepperoni or meat feast which is meatballs, pepperoni, spicy beef and jalapeño. Seems to be quite small, and will be sold at 491 morrisons for £3.
The trend of food mashups continue but this one should work. A base that is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, filled with traditional pizza ingredients. It’s not unlike Chicago deep dish pizza really, if you think about it.
We go through flickr, or google photos, or instagram, or facebook, looking at our friends’ travel pics. Even notice they’re essentially all the same shot. Different weather, time of day, and if they are normal people who stand in front of the landmark or scenery, the difference is in the people and where they stand.
Instagrammer Oliver KMIA made a video slideshow of almost identical images of planes, people, and instantly recognisable landmarks photographed in the exact same way, calling it:
a photogenic mass tourism experience
What he’s missing is what I see a lot on my friends’ fb posts: pic of the airport gate showing where they are going, and an image of their boarding pass. (And here’s why we must NEVER EVER post pictures of boarding passes anywhere.)
To my horror, I find that I’m also guilty of some of these clichéd pics, even though I will never do the let’s-pretend-we’re-pushing-the-leaning-tower-of-pisa atrocity. Like this arashiyama bamboo forest pic, I know I took it, I can show the EXIF and prove that I was, well, in Kyoto that day. But will anyone be any wiser if I had downloaded it off google images or flickr or instagram and added it amongst all the others I took on the same trip? I doubt it. I’m conscientious about linking and acknowledging, but not everyone is. Both my friend A and I have had people link and copy our images without crediting us, but that’s not the point of this post.
As for the photogenic mass tourism experience, dpreview said
We can’t decide if the video is funny or depressing
I think it’s both and neither. It’s a sign of the times.
First thing we did when we got to Bangkok airport on our trip, after getting our luggage and clearing customs, was to switch to a local sim card. When I took my iphone out of the case, I discovered that the screen had separated from the casing and was slightly warped. I hadn’t noticed it before, the sturdy case held it together, so I didn’t know whether it was recent or how long it’d been like that. The phone was working perfectly fine, so I kept on using it. Car said it’s probably a swollen battery and I should be careful.
Genius Bar is booked a week in advance so yesterday was the first chance I was able to get an appointment after coming back. Even with a reservation, there was a 30min wait.
I thought they’d replace the swollen battery with a new one. Nope.
I thought they’d replace the motherboard. Nope.
They told me I’m getting a new iphone. Yep, brand new. Same model, same specs, but not iphone X (I wish).
Originally she said it’d be $79, but when I came to pay the system kept coming up with $29. She went and asked her manager who said okay to $29. I wonder if their POS system is too geared towards the battery replacement program that it forced my case into it too. Does it mean I can’t replace the battery this year? I guess I did get a new battery, only it came with a new phone attached to it.
Restore from icloud took overnight since it had to upgrade to the latest ios and download all the apps again; fortunately I didn’t have to redo any settings. I had to log into everything again, of course. Now I’m thinking about whether to get a password manager.
Two things didn’t completely restore: whatsapp and camera roll. I think I turned off automatic backup for whatsapp and forgot to do a backup before I went to the apple store. The most recent backup it could find was 2015 so I lost a lot of texts and a number of groups. With some fiddling around I added myself back in groups I own, and my friends added me back to our various groups. Restoring camera roll was just tedious, I have it backed up in dropbox but I had to save the pics one at a time, there didn’t seem to be a bulk download option. It was a good opportunity to sort and delete pics I no longer want in the camera roll so time well spent.
Next time I’m out and about, I need to get a new screen protector and may be a spare sturdy case. Hopefully this phone will last a few more years, and this episode takes care of the low-level hanking after iphone X that’s been floating around in the background.
This is a great video I discovered via bb. Craig Evans from forages along the beaches in Pembrokeshire and he has a whole youtube channel of him finding the freshest seafood then cooking it there and then.
He looks under large rocks and in pools, moving from spot to spot so as not to take from just one spot. He puts back anything that is too small and only grabs what he needs, which is really ethical and sustainable.
What he got that day: edible crabs, velvet swimming crabs, bearded rocklings, winkles and whelks. Cooked simply in water, may be seawater? The water was then flavoured with seaweed he called dulse plus garlic and powdered lobster shells he probably made himself then used to make couscous. A great idea and so easy for outdoor cooking.
In this day and age, living purely on foraging isn’t possible unless in rural or almost uninhabited areas. It seems to be a nice hobby providing not too many people do it, and they all respect the need not to deplete the ecosystem.
I’m not in alcohol-drinking mode right now, the last alcoholic drink I had was the local lager at the treehouse in Bangkok two weeks ago. If I were in a whisky-drinking mode and if I were back in the UK, I’d totally sign up for the whisky of the month subscription offered by black rock whisky bar. Google maps tells me that it’s up the road from where I: a) went to school and b) worked when I was last in London, haha.
For £7 (when paid annually, or £7.99 paid monthly), subcribers get a 50ml sample of whisky every month. Launched in November, they’ve had Macallan Fine Oak 12, Royal Lochnagar 2000, and Loch Lomond Inchmurrin 18 so far. It’s around the cost of a dram in a whisky bar, so not too bad. I don’t know what will happen if people like the whisky and want to buy more, probably go to TWE.
The whisky is shipped in what vinepair called capri sun pouches. I guess it’s a good way of shipping, much safer and cheaper than small sample bottles. I’ve seen single serve wine pouches before, so it’s not a big leap to think about whisky transported this way.
Spotted this on social media recently. One point for each food I don’t eat.
Certain 2 points for me: eggplant (aka aubergine) and grapefruit. I dislike the taste, smell and for aubergine the texture too.
Another one point made up of half a point for onion and half a point for coffee. I’ll cook with onion, provided it ends up in a form that is incorporated into the dish. So as mirepoix whenever it’s needed. I’m okay with onion soup too, because it’s cooked down. If it’s raw, or barely cooked that I can see it, I’ll pick it out. And for this purpose, I include spring onion and leek. As for coffee, I rarely drink it and if I do it’s with mm and either iced or it’ll have to be a bean that is quite mild. I don’t hate coffee, I simply have no affinity with it.
So, total 3 points.
Everything else on the list, I’m perfectly fine with. Even controversial food like snail, oyster, liver. There are some foods on there that I absolutely love, like avocado, strawberry, tea. Such a large proportion of the list is fruit and veg, i hope most people don’t pick up points for those.
p.s. I’m giggling at how this was probably typed on Word, with the autocorrect formatting on nutella and the wrong spelling of brussels sprouts.
The NYT has a coffee table book out called In a Galaxy Far, Far Away which collects all NYT articles about Star Wars. It starts with a 1973 feature on George Lucas who was
working on another science fiction screenplay, ‘The Star Wars,’ which he describes as a ‘real gee whiz movie’ in the Flash Gordon-Buck Rogers tradition.
Obviously there are reviews when ep4 opened in 1977, and has a total of 85 articles. Articles in the Style section about Leia; a timeline when ep1 was released to remind people about where we were; and analysis just before December’s release of ep8.
It’s in the in-between zone, at US$70 ($80 if personalised). As a coffee table book, it’s a tad on the expensive side. As a collector’s item, it’s certainly something die-hard fans will want to get. I can’t help feeling it’s jumped the gun, why not wait till ep9 is out to be more complete?