Monday, November 26, 2007

4/12/07 - As requested. Told you it wasn't worth publishing. Only one of you though, so sorry to the rest.

IMG_0612Anyone for cheesecake?

There's still two slices left.



A long, long time ago in a building not very, very away a neighbour brought home two catering size cheesecakes. And so it came to pass that within that neighbour's house much cheesecake was had by all. And then it also came to pass that the house of the neighbour did rapidly tire of cheesecake and thus became newly generous with their neighbours. And lo there was much rejoicing in this household for we are all misers. And so we ate cheesecake and decided that perhaps it is better warmer, or cooler, or diluted. And so we later came to have more cheesecake, trying the other flavour this time, thus discovering that it is a truth universally acknowledged that the lemon one is less sickly than the caramel one (as borne out by the platter being more caramel than lemon when passed by the neighbour), but still an unsatisfying mix of sweetness and that cloying slickness of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. And lo it was only eaten by those suffering illness, tiredness or failed culinary imagination. And so much relief emerged when it was realised that it could be taken elsewhere. And lo, although 'and so' would fit better, it came to be present at the haggissed evening. And so the Scots non-relatives opted for it to the dual delight and embarrassment of others (with those others having meringue, strawberries [yep, in November, yep, the SIL grew up a stranger to fruit and thus still can't buy it, yep, my brother muttered about them being as hard to cut as the swede] and goats' cream), though we did say it might be a bit sweet. And lo the Scots contingent, who we already know have a sweet-tooth-if-not-jawbone, did declare it to be "quite sweet", and she had the lemon one. And so it came to pass that the SIL made sure the cheesecake left the house with those it came with. And lo the confirmed owners were overwrought with happiness. And so the remains have sat in the fridge ever since, occasionally whittled by curious occupants who think to themselves that it cannot be that bad.

The worrying thing is that despite sitting unprotected for much too long it still looks new.

I think it must be like Marmite, which is too salty to rot. The cheesecake seems to be too sugary and too artificial for anything less than nanobots to gain a foothold.

So I ask again, anyone for cheesecake, or shall I shunt it off to the landfill, where it will be discovered by cetacean archaeologists many years hence, who will presume that Nestle made kilns?

And what-they-should-have-built-Chernobyl-from is about as exciting as life has been recently, because it's November and I'm busy being ill, so the highlight of the weekend was watching a film with the immortal line "Cut some capers man; use your bladder".

You know how it's really hard not to laugh when watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre? Ditto for wicked, or possibly whimsical, Wicker Man.


Friday, November 23, 2007

DSC_5189 - Braking DistanceRecent stuff:

Much haggising following the grand returning of books (The Last King of Scotland, The Long Firm Trilogy and Brick Lane: all good) and DVDs (Casino Royale and Sin City: AG), as much requested my by brother (i.e. he commented, frequently, that he hadn't had Casino Royale back yet, and I commented, fractionally less frequently, that if I hadn't seen him then when was I supposed to have returned things?). The haggis was the SIL's idea as her parents were down and the flat can only seat three for a meal. So off she went to Fortnum & Mason's to find out-of-season haggis (they give birth in the autumn so supplies are restricted), because, as anyone knows, F&M is simply the only place where haggis is to be had this far from Burns' Night (or this close to the other burns night). And so it came to pass that after my brother and I took turns breaking the masher (it turns out neeps are swede and bloody hard to mash; no wonder we only used to use them for Halloween lanterns), the SIL removed from the oven a haggis bigger than most turkeys. I'm not sure how old it was, though I'd guess it was an adult male that had failed to breed this year; it certainly wasn't the yearling implied. The SIL slashed it across the belly with great glee, as the innards steamed out, and the mingled parents worried from another room that it hadn't been addressed (except with that of the farmer on the packaging).

Thanks to my brother I got to end a note with the words "lunch at the Dorchester". Thanks also to him it wasn't about me.

And thinking in terms of excuses, what spurious details do you lot use? I mean when phoning friends via the switchboard at very strict workplaces, or filling in forms that ask too much. When ringing someone I either use my middle names as the name of the firm, or happen to use the name of a former university, now a college of a university, in London, as that never gets queried, presumably because interests from within that institution are many and deep (and liable to take an academically long time to explain). On forms that want everything including my birth certificate book number, I tend to either use the address of a certain demolished halls of residence in Devon if the website has a postcode checker, or if it does not, use '29, Acacia Road... CR2 9OW' (you'd think it would pick up that 'Bananamanland' is not a country). I also have been known to put my employer (on those pesky websites which demand annual household income in dollars [Canadian or Australian?]) down as Knox Oil & Gas. Which brings to the point where I wondered what other people use, because I recently found out that my father also has been known to claim an affiliation with Mr Happer's firm.

Random Google-borne fact of the day: BP was founded by William Knox D'Arcy.
RGBFOTD2: The Knox Oil and Gas Fields are in Ohio (or Kentucky, or somewhere around there).
Random New Word Of The Day: Vuggy.
Random ineptitude of the day: St Pancras Not-Wholly International.
Random advantage to playing round with new computer stuff (there are ongoing RAM issues; do not ask because my reply will be so long and without break that I am liable to asphyxiate): You know I mentioned aeons ago that the raffle-won MP3 player came with a really weird sample track embedded in it, but could not demonstrate it to you being unable to extract the MP3? Well, the player's got a wee bit confused (ditching nearly all its contents) and somehow exposed 01.mp3, the alarming Akura theme. Enjoy, and don't worry; it's meant to sound like that.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DSC_3677 - The Train Now AtI do so like getting paid for going on holiday. Yes, I've joined the ranks of proper photographers now. I'm just carefully not admitting to the other party that the shot they selected was one of an afflicted batch*, and so while the fault does not dominate that image unlike others from the same place, it's not all it might have been.

* Ok, I did, but they didn't seem fussed. Weird unperfectionists.

Oh, and I also pulled the Local Hero dollars or pounds thing (nearly) and got away with it. I rock. On a very small scale. More 'I pebble' really, but still mineralising.

So now I have X amount of dollars sitting, faintly uselessly, in my Paypal account. I would have converted it to pounds, but the acceptance screen gave the converted amount as £Y.45, but for some reason the connection to Paypal failed, so I had to restart the acceptance, by which time the final total was £Y.40. Being one who has never been good with the whole sunk-costs thing, I refused to take a worse rate than the one I've just been offered. I mean, if the exchange rate is slipping 5-pence per minute, then... oh bugger, that's the wrong way round. Wooyay for the pound, but I've just realised I'm holding dollars when all is not entirely well in the American markets [carnage indeed?]. Oh well, it's not like it was worth much anyway; certainly not on a par with Dan's £400 for a hotel full of Windsors - and Dan, I still haven't guessed which one (hang on, is that public domain, if so for which version of Dan? The source options are Blogger, Flickr, Facebook, email and personal website. Damn tangled social networks).

Moving swiftly on before I reveal his sort code (it's one of the Manxbanx), other recent events include discovering that inflatable mattresses come with all the comfort of sleeping on a sagging piece of single glazing. Cold, clammy and occasionally squeaky. Oh, and continuing my ever-present promptness theme, I watched the opening ceremony of St Pancras International Station via the magic of the London and Continental Railways's live-feed through BBC London.

Memorable bits were:
- Prince Philip's face on viewing the embracing couple from a vantage point dominated by the arse of the man.
- One of the fancy twiddles of on-screen graphics (of which there were many) declaring "Stratford 2012 - A New Hope". Good evening, Mr Lucas will sue you now.
- Timothy West's ability to tut bookending every word. Oh, and his "Thank God that's over" face as the Queen leaves, followed by the immortal lines "Ok, thank you very much... Are you going to give me a cue?", which was answered with a rapid and slightly terse "Go now". Ever the pro. Had to be to get through his as-Barlow speeches, which curiously make me want to resurrect the word 'tosh'.
- The failure of the trains to appear on time and the overuse of dry ice. Next we'll find Mr West was lip-syncing (rather than just lip-smacking the whole way through).
- Kristin Scott-Thomas fiendishly slipping into French while M&Sing a chocolate then being voice-overed by Ewan McGregor, who recited a work best described as inspired by Auden's Night Mail as David Coulthard looked benignly on. Assorted nameless others appeared, although they probably weren't meant to be nameless.
- The cataclysm that was an opera-voiced rendition of Ticket to Ride being met by Lamar introducing a different Beatles' song into which mire a local school choir and yet another Beatles' song was flung.
- Much breaking up and dithering following the "supper is served" announcement as the people running the feed didn't know what to show, or whether they were still showing anything. They actually managed to find unbluescreened static, while keeping the "20 All-Time Greatest Old-Time Railway Station Sounds, Volume III" CD churning out the sh-shs and the woo-woos, before cutting to an internal shot of the hideous statue to the inevitable strains (and I mean that in both senses) of Jack Johnson's Better Together. Cue cutting the signal before the second chorus.


PS. From a link of Sin's, I stumbled upon this vocab game. Addictive, yet to get past 48, possibly because I have occasional bouts of trying to argue with a computer. Oddly biased towards the works of Hardy and Burns too. Also reminds me of this chunk of arcanery (ish).

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