missingopossum: (Default)
I like food. No, actually, I *love* food. I love eating food, and I love thinking about food, and I love discovering new things about food. As such, I reckon it'd be perfectly allowable to count "what I had for breakfast this morning" under towards the goal of "posting something most days."

Now, I know there's a lot of jokes about blogging and using "what I had for breakfast" as a shorthand for being overly self-regarding - but I really do want to write about this morning's breakfast. See, I'd like to to be keep track of recipes and so on here, and as it happens the first interesting foodstuff I've come across was breakfast today. Please do excuse how amusing I find this unintenional adherence to stereotypes!

Anyway, I was being rather experimental with this morning's breakfast. My usual involves toast-plus-protein but as it turned out I had no bread left. This kind of failure of organisation happens from time to time and usually plan B involves porridge. However, porridge fails quite badly on the protein front. Long years of trial and error have shown me that (A) I *really* fail to function without breakfast and (B) said breakfast needs to have a decent protein content or I just get hungry again about an hour later. So today I decided to experiment with nuts in my porridge. And then I decided to experiment with semolina instead of oats. The end result was a delicious meal that wasn't actually porridge anymore; it was semi-solid with a lovely fine texture, almost exactly like polenta (funnily enough.)

For the record and in the interests of reproducibility, the end result had about 25g of ground almonds, 30g of semolina and 250ml of soya milk (since I'm vegan - no reason dairy wouldn't work though). To my taste it didn't need any sweetening but I fully intend to experiment (more!) with adding stuff. I suspect than dried fruit might be rather nice...


Sep. 21st, 2010 11:51 pm
missingopossum: (Default)
Cinema visit: Salt

Shortest possible version: adequately silly )
missingopossum: (Default)
Today I am sitting in my favourite cafe (also known as my surrogate living-room; cost notwithstanding I do treat this place as an extension of my living space!) looking out of the window and watching the world go by.

The weather in Scotland is famously unpredictable; it is also often quite beautiful in that very changeability. At least I find it so, but I'm not entirely convinced that people who spend any amount of time here don't often end up developing a sort of Stockholm Syndrome with regard to the weather, a kind of expectation that the harsh treatment is desirable.

Today I watched as the heavy grey overcast gave way to the most beautiful golden slanting autumn sun simultaneous with a shimmering light rain shower. I could see every tiny droplet catch the light like a shining silver veil across the ordinary street-scene. The greens (and there is a lot of green here, gardens and trees and all) positively glowed as the low autumn sun turned them into a sort of natural stained glass window, and the rain-wet concrete turned from grey to a mirror-like silver. The first golds of autumn are just starting to show in the birches; they're mostly still green, just poised exactly on the cusp between summer and autumn, and that golden autumn light reflected that transition perfectly. Quite, quite beautiful.


Jun. 22nd, 2008 11:23 pm
missingopossum: (Peek.)
Today I saw a dolphin. In the River Clyde, no less. There are no words for how cool this was.

I don't know my dolphin species at all, so I took careful note of what I could see and checked identification guides when I got home. I'm also writing it down here because it was so amazing.

There's quite a lot more under this cut. )

A short summary of the identifying features would be a large, very curved fin on a good-sized animal, dark with no markings visible on the side, a light area on the top of the back, rough texture and a blunt snout.

Based on this and with liberal help from both T.E.P. and online identification guides, I'd say a Risso's dolphin is most likely. They're not an estuarine or riparine species at all, so it's very out of place indeed, but on the other hand they are found where the Clyde ends up (that being the Irish Sea.) The BBC's story agrees with this identification.

I saw a dolphin!
missingopossum: (Default)
...and finally getting sround to tidying my friend's list. Most of the ones I'm removing have never been posted to (and I think might even have been created under duress by people who are very much Not On Live Journal.) If by any extremely unlikely chance anyone I'm removing is still interested or active at all, then feel free to tell me here.

Bye for now. Some actual content may or may not be forthcoming about Whitby. At some point. But I wouldn't bet on it.
missingopossum: (Raka)
I mean seriously. If you, in your position as an evil overlord (formerly of Atlantis. Or possibly of outer space, no less), decide to use woolly mammoths as draft beasts to build the pyramids then you could at least shave them. Even then they'd be dropping dead of heat related issues, but you could make a token effort towards having 'em last more than ten minutes. Of course, given that this is Egypt there would be plain ordinary African elephants available to you but if for whatever reason you really *have* to use woolly mammoths then you could try shaving them. It certainly wouldn't make the damn' film you're in any less thoroughly realistic and believable.

This is 10,000 BC, by the way. Don't get me wrong, I didn't go to it expecting realism and believability. I went expecting it to be crap, and looking forward to same. I enjoy watching big dumb films that hit a certain level of cluelessness on topics I'm interested in. The Core is the perfect example; the Earth's core will stop spinning unless we fire lots of nukes while actually in it. In the Earth's core, I mean. Very, very classy indeed. I was really hoping for something similar here.

Instead I got, amongst other things, woolly mammoths in Egypt. An Egypt which appeared to be just a few days travel from the farthest frozen north. A few days travel through jungle somewhere in the Southern hemisphere, based on the nasty infestation of the kind of large, carnivorous, flightless bird found in South America and Australia (about two million years ago at that.) An Egypt which was building the pyramids. Using slave labour gathered by what appeared to be Cossack raiders on modern Arabian and Thoroughbred horses. Wielding iron swords and tools (when the film makers remembered and sticks when they didn't). In 10,000 BC.

All of which really could have been made for exactly the kind of film that I like, the kind that's so bad it becomes good again. The problem with 10,000 BC was the utter seriousness and complete lack of any sense of fun. And also the equally complete absence of any competent plot or dialogue. Oh, and the casual racism scattered throughout it, not least in the whole blue-eyed saviour theme.

I give it one stsr. And that's for the mammoths.
missingopossum: (Penguin)
The Emperor Penguin here.

Banhe has been in Spain for the last week - Malaga and Grenada, ancient moorish quarters, the al Hambra, Mediterranean food, bazaars, etc, etc...

Without me.

I've been working.


Anyway... Some of what I've been working on is her very first exhibition of photography. It went up at the beginning of the week upstairs in Biblocafe. Fifteen prints, on a contemplative, Taoist sort of a theme appropriate to books, comfy leather armchairs and as much caffiene as you can legally consume. All for sale, too, if you want to take some of that contemplative mood home with you, and all for very reasonable prices. I can also throw in some more hard-sell for free, if anyone's interested.

Oh, and if anyone wants me to organise an exhibition for them, I can do that too. But not for free. Definitely not for free. Next time, I'll be doing the easy bit and pressing the shutter, and she can do all the stressing about things being square and straight and even, and not breaking glass and smudging mounts, and carting stuff about and going up that bloody hill to the printers, and running about on lunch breaks and trying to get to Ikea for picture hooks before they close at 10, and pricing and co-ordinating with gallery-space owners. (Although Lou is lovely and was enormously helpful and gave me a free hot chocolate. OK, I may not be free, but my services may be obtainable in return for hot chocolate.)

So go, obtain hot beverages, look, those of you of a Glasgow disposition, and make admiring noises (I hear cheques sound very admiring indeed). Meanwhile, she's back tomorrow, and will promptly go "wibble", or possibly "meep" when she sees I've been shamelessly plugging her work in her absence - her self-esteem is taking a while to catch up to her talent, you see. And they really are rather good, you know.

Even if my shots of ice are better.

missingopossum: (Default)
Last year I kept note of what books I'd read (thanks to someone in real life introducing me to the fifty book challenge), and it was so much fun I decided to do the same this year too (I've also tried to do the same with the films I've seen, but with a singular lack of success). In the same spirit I'm going to keep track of book club books (because I keep forgetting which books were for which month) and also (a very short version of) what I thought of them.

Incidentally, the book group works on the system of everyone nominates a book or two books (depending on numbers) and the popular vote decides the titles for next month, which accounts for the wide variety of books to be found below.  I like this; a large part of the reason I decided to go was to read books I wouldn't normally have found.  To which end, of course, some of the unchosen recommendations are interesting too.

The books follow under the cut )
missingopossum: (Default)
First up on any political post has to be a disclaimer to the effect that not only do I support no party but I'm not hugely in favour of various aspects of the current system. My voting should not be taken as a tacit approval of *anything* about politics including its very existence.

Which leads me neatly onto my first point; there really ought to be some way of indicating that one abstains / wishes to re-open nominations / wouldnae touch any o' thae buggers wi' somebody else's ten foot barge-pole / however else you wish to put it with a greater or lesser number of expletives according to taste. Such a facility would be my preferred option since it would be rather more democratic than such make-do solutions as spoiling ballots or protest voting.

And from there we reach my second point - the large number of spoiled ballots. Quite an amount of media coverage is being devoted to how this is the fault of the new electronic counting system or a result of holding two elections with two different ballot papers* on the same day. Now, I must admit I hold a low opinion of the literacy and intelligence of the general public. Highlights of my experience with them** include regular conversations with people (native English speakers all) who didn't know what I meant by outlandish words and concepts such as zero / nothing / nought, what I meant by hundred or thousand, people who knew absolutely literally nothing about the world outside a part of their own town and people who had lost thousands of pounds on bogus workmen, 419 scams and fake lotteries. Bearing these wonderful experiences in mind I am in no doubt that the problem with spoiled ballots can be put down to user error caused by user stupidity and nothing but (except possibly a healthy dose of ill-education. And that old nature / nurture debate is for another day).***

The moral for the day is never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.

*For context, last night saw both local council elections in Scotland and also elections to the Scottish Executive. The latter features both first past the post constituency members as per normal and a limited proportional representation regional list system; for both one marks one cross against your single choice of candidate. As of last night the local council elections are now on single transferable vote with your chosen candidate(s) to be marked by number(s) in order of preference. Many of you will already know all of this but for anyone else the Wiki page on Scottish Elections isn't bad).

**I can recommend working on a public service to anyone. Anyone I don't like that is. The most representative of my experiences was working on directory enquiries; as T.E.P. said at the time, you don't know what stupid *is* until you've worked (effectively) tech support on something as basic as the phone book.

***This is somewhat borne out by looking at the number of spoiled ballots considered against low turnouts, assuming that voter apathy and voter incompetence are going to be somewhat related. That's yet another essay, though.
missingopossum: (Default)
One or two pictures of this about already but still; a couple of eclipse photos )

I'm not happy with them, but they're getting posted anyways because this is my journal, not a competition. So there and take that, demons of self-criticism.

I have good magnification; my 50 - 500mm lens plus x2 teleconverter = the equivalent of a 1000mm lens, which is enough to almost fill the frame with moon (these are cropped but not too much). The problem is that I don't yet have a "real" tripod (we used a small cheap one that we got for compact cameras) and there is camera shake. All the credit for getting the tripod as steady as it was goes to T.E.P., who is scarily good at centering the camera on the moon without even looking.
missingopossum: (dexter)
... the problem with that observation is that updating my LJ counts as socialising. And I don't socialise well when I'm depressed*.

In fact, this is now February and I haven't yet posted my New Year's intentions, which basically consist of:

- Cooking more often, instead of living on toast. I like cooking, I like variety in what I eat and it's relaxing. Why avoid it? (Now if I could answer that question, I'd be that much closer to establishing a more workable relationship with the depression).

- Further to the above, generally trying not to actively avoid doing things I enjoy (cooking, reading, swimming).

- More online communication. It is threatening and frightens me but not nearly so much so as the real-life version. The question of whether or not such interaction is actually good for me and/or necessary is a question to tackle another day.

- Get my posterior into gear and post some photos.

Having intentions rather than resolutions is something I do to avoid the inevitable self-criticism if they can't be attained. It's been fairly successful over the years, so here's to 2007.

*This is understatement for comic effect.
missingopossum: (Default)
This year I was following along with the fifty book challenge. Given that I'm an antisocial sod who'd almost always rather spend time with books than people, it wasn't likely to be a challenge. Not reading fifty books in a year, now that would be harder work. Or speaking to fifty people.

However, what I didn't manage to do was say anything at all about any of them, so the following (thoroughly cut-tagged) list is kind of cursory as a result. I think this year I'll try to actually comment on them

books, books, books, books )
missingopossum: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] ahforgetit

This is the Science Fiction Book Club's list of the fifty most significant science fiction/fantasy novels published between 1953 and 2002.

Bold the ones you've read
Strike-out the ones you hated
Italicize those you started but never finished
**and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

(and my own sub-category - underline those on bookshelf in the nearish future piles)

**1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
**5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
**6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison (well, I'm reading it now, to be precise...)
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
**22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
**27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
**30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
**32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
**36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

ETA: I've now read To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Dangerous Visions & Little, Big.

Of the books I would consider reading at all that leaves:
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
missingopossum: (Default)
....would consist of the following scoreline:
Depression 4 - 4.5 Me

A slightly longer review would be the conclusion that I mostly enjoyed myself, spent very little time non-functional (for any reason) and made it to the end in one piece. As compared to (for example) the studio session at college yesterday, Whitby was remarkably non-stressful.

And in the longest review I would like to mention (in no particular order) chocolate, wonderful waves, fire, storms, fireworks, some very nice new (to me) people (especially [livejournal.com profile] malcygoff and partner, [livejournal.com profile] arachne, [livejournal.com profile] matthewp and [livejournal.com profile] razornet) some also very nice not-new people (hello to [livejournal.com profile] kest, [livejournal.com profile] siani_hedgehog, [livejournal.com profile] edwardscissors and Dag and Kara, whose LJs are not very functional these days, amongst others), some excellent meals courtesy of T.E.P and the farmers' market (good combination) and some very nice mead.

There are photos of some of the above. I have four assignments due in between Monday and Tuesday (One of these was only announced while I was away - I think possibly the end of this unit has taken the timetable organisers by surprise sligtly). Once they're out of the way I will, I will, I will get some variety of online photo-hosting for some of them.

EDIT: If by any chance there was a small black notebook in the Elsi on Tuesday night it's mine - if not then no big deal, I've probably lost it elsewhere on the journey home.
missingopossum: (dexter)
Packing for Whitby, leaving early tomorrow. Well, not packing at the moment obviously. At the moment I'm either having a break or skiving, depending on how you see these things. Also. I've baked cookies for provisions on the way down. This isn't quite as domestic as it seems; it's actually purest greed and gluttony.

On the subject of cookies, the chocolate left me annoyed. I knew Green & Blacks had been taken over by Cadbury and had moved them down the ethical trading ladder (in favour of Montezumas, Chocolate Alchemist and Divine) for that reason. But today I noticed that the fair trade logo has disappeared from everything except the Maya Gold. Sigh.

But still, Whitby tomorrow. At some point I'm going to have to finish packing but for the moment cookies and internet are winning.
missingopossum: (wtf)
This was going to be a comment in response to [livejournal.com profile] siani_hedgehog's post about attracting Americans to Scotland but it grew past the point of being a comment. Which isn't surprising since it should have been an entry on its own when the incident happened.

Last week I went down to Stranraer to take photos of Dunskey Castle for one of my course projects. Rail services being as they are, the train back was cancelled without much explanation. Just this once there was a good reason for it (a lorry having collided with a railway bridge) but trying to track down that reason wasn't easy and it looked very much like your standard rail company ineptitude. Which meant some actual conversation between the passengers while a bus was organised. Which is how I got talking to a US tourist.

Mostly he liked what little he'd seen of this corner of the planet (Ireland mostly, having gotten into Stranraer by ferry). We talked cameras (who, me?) for quite some time and then got accosted by a very, very objectionable and even more drunk Ulsterman. He sleazed over me a bit and then got stuck right into my companion with a load of anti-American abuse.

This is where it ties into Siani's post - to me, drunken behaviour of that sort is something I really hate but it is also (unfortunately) something I see often enough to know how to deal with. My companion didn't. He was obviously very uncomfortable (and not just because of the personal abuse) and didn't have a clue what to do with such aggression from a total stranger. When we got off the bus later we were discussing it and he asked if the guy was drunk. Which I find really quite sad. Not that he had to ask - but that he was the only person who witnessed this who had to ask. All the natives present had seen it all before. To give credit where it's due, though, at least the anti-American abuse was seen to be out of order, thankfully. With any luck he'll enjoy the rest of his stay but the pessimist in me suspects he'll be more familiar with other people's alcohol problems before he leaves.

Oh, and what makes it even worse? My travelling companion wasn't young, he was well travelled and had spent years in the military. Which really does make that kind of "drunk past the point of civility or coherence at eight in the evening" look like a British speciality. Lovely, eh?

I'd put up some photos of the rest of the day, but LJ scrapbook doesn't want me to do so. Later, maybe.


Sep. 23rd, 2006 06:22 pm
missingopossum: (trenchcoats)
In keeping with my general journal policy of occasionally noting happy moments I would like to observe that chocolate chip cookies are best when the biscuit has cooled and firmed up but the chocolate is still slightly liquid in the middle of the bigger chips. Which is part of the reason i like to use great big lumps of chocolate.

I've baked, I've posted to livejournal and I'm willingly going out tonight. Things might actually be looking up.
missingopossum: (Default)
...so here's a post I've been meaning to put together since March(!)

Films I've seen at the cinema, in no particular order & with no editorial comment as yet )

Strangely enough, two of my favourite films this year have had two of the worst sets of reviews - Lady In The Water and An American Haunting both sucked, according to most critics (and many Real People). Never make a film critic out of me, I think....

And just for the record, I've been awake since just after midnight (I had a headache yesterday afternoon, I lay down, I fell asleep and now here I am)
missingopossum: (Default)
For the attention of [livejournal.com profile] edwardscissors and [livejournal.com profile] siani_hedgehog (if they haven't already heard). And for anyone else interested in strange and interesting organisms.
Go and look at the BBC for the latest news in Hawick.

Hello, by the way.
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