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Jiggity Jig [Aug. 19th, 2014|09:12 pm]
[Current Location |Yome]

Coming home from Worldcon, ExMemSec drove us up the A1 for much of the way.

There is a point where it crosses the Witham.  Who else knows: the Witham, the Welland, the Nene and The Ouse all flow into the Wash.  And then the landscape changes.  I am home.  The land is the proper mix of fields (pasture and under crops), woodland, and towns and villages.  The land rolls properly under these surface coverings.  The clouds knew their places, and allowed both sun and sky through, but provided a top layer pattern over the land use.

Of course, it had to end, as we entered the vale of York, but until we released Kiwi and Broggy from cat prison at Doncaster, I was in the landscape which provides my childhood security.

I should write more about the Worldcon - it was great to meet so many of you there.  I went to a number of excellent panels introducing writers and fandom from around the world, found out that my dream of a portable mass spectrometer is well on its way, and  quote that makes especial sense for me "Without the passivity of tourists, but fully aware of the power they have to act upon the world, to transform it, recreate it". (Constant Nieuwenhuys) I think that while I have many skills and abilities, the one that I have honed and most enjoy using is being a tourist.  But an active tourist.  I want to read the quotation in context, but it makes sense to me out of context.  which is as it should be, for to be a tourist is to make sense, out of context.
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Worldcon [Aug. 3rd, 2014|07:48 pm]
I hope to see some of you at Worldcon.

On the Thursday, the Tolkien Society are holding their seminar.  Unfortunately, I had to take over the organising, and didn't have the capacity to do this, so it's not what it could have been.

But there will be good things!

There will be a Tolkien Tent, with seed cake - and (once my alloted hour in the fan hall is over) a Lego Orthanc and Perrots Folly to build.

Put 'Tolkien' into the tag engine to see what's happening.

If anyone is going and has access to free large printing, please let me know ... I have elevation drawings of Perrot's folly to print.
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Learning to sail [Jun. 2nd, 2014|09:41 pm]
The week sailing was wonderful.  With some difficulty, I progressed from feeling that I was trying to run with bars of soap tied to my feet to - mostly- being in control of a series of headlong swooping steps.

Much to my surprise, I see well enough in the dark to  be able to sail a boat.  This is because boats move slowly, and much of what you are trying to see is actually quite bright against a quite dark background.

As a result, I am now certified to take charge of a boat, during the day, in familiar waters.

My instructor (the lovely Nigel)  recommends I do some non-tidal sailing for a bit, but I wouldn't mind getting more familiar with the Channel Isle in due course.  We sailed from Jersey to Guernsey to Sark (new to me), to Alderney (again new to me) to France and back to Jersey.  I did the passage plan from Sark to Alderney (secondary port - eek! to secondary port - more eek! - at mid-way between needps and springs - double eek!).  The eeking is because you can't use the nice given data, but have to jiggle it a bit to come up with the answers.  Then I helmed form Alderney to France.  Apart from Nigel having to take back control when I managed to sail into a whirlpool, this was much better than expected.
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A proper update [May. 19th, 2014|07:59 pm]
Loving my new job.

Dissapointed to hear today that we won't be on the 2014 boat to Tristan da Cunha.

Successfully passed Day Skipper Theory, and off to Jersey to do Compentant Crew Practical next week.

Cats still bugging us, although Kiwi had us worried last autumn/winter.

Looking forwards to Loncon3, (and now) Oxonmoot.
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(no subject) [May. 19th, 2014|07:57 pm]
If you are the sort of person who signs petitions, please consider signing the petition to the US Coastguard to restart the search for the crew of the Cheeki Rafiki. The father-in-law of one of my colleagues at work is one of the missing.
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Frijoles negro borrachos (drunk black beans) [Feb. 20th, 2013|08:01 pm]
Danny Miller has some very wise words: don't ask 'is it authentic?' ask 'is it good?' This is good.

Take 160g black beans, and soak overnight (about 3 inches water above the beans).

Rinse, and bring beans, covered in about 2 inches of water, 1 tspn bicarb of soda (I think the bicarb is for effect!), a bayleaf, an half an onion with its skin still on (I think that is probably important) and a bayleaf to the boil. Boil for 10 mins vigourously, then reduce and simmer for 45 mins.

When timer goes off, remove beans from heat.

Now, fry some bacon in a fairly deep pan - choose a pan that gets 'crusty' on the bottom when stuff caramelises. 'Some bacon' was in this case interpreted as a handful of pancetta. I expect anything is good. I added half a teaspoon of cumin seed here, but when doing again would add 2 teaspoons.

Chop up the other half an onion, and a VERY large clove of garlic (you have to be a friend of Martin and Annie to source these - I suspect 'some garlic, to taste' is a good alternative).

When bacon is 'done' (getting crispy / bottom of pan is getting crusty) add 1 teaspoon cumin powder (possibly 2 - came out quite mild), stir, and remove everything from the pan that will come out fairly easily - not the fat, but the stuff.

Fry the onion and garlic in the remaining - it needs to get translucent, and the crustyness needs to be good.

Open a can of cooking lager (the kind that is £1 for four pints). Pour a good dash into the onions and garlic, and work your spoon to get the crustyness lifted. Add more lager and work your spoon, repeat, until the crustiness is gone. Add more lager until you have added half a 440ml can. I am still not sure what to do with half a can of cooking lager. One of the few week points in this recipe.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes.

Strain the beans out, and add them (and the very squeltchy half onion and bay leaf) to the onions/beer/tomatoes. Cook for a while (longer = thicker) - I think I cooked for about half an hour, then ExMemSec came home.

Add the bacon back in, and also some frozen chopped coriander (about a tablespoon) - bravo anyone with fresh coriander hanging around waiting to be used up, this is your chance! Remove the half onion, and squeeze the squeltchyness back into the pan. Taste and season (we went 'oh, no, that's perfect'). If you want real heat, you could put in a tabasco-type sauce, but the cumin is a nice sweet deep heat.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream. There was going to be grated cheese as well, but there wasn't due to it not having survived the journey north. I believe that this is traditionally served over rice, but would also be good with tortilla chips. But good just on its own. The 160g beans was interpreted as 'about right' to make four portions, but this makes 2 portions if you don't have rice or chips.

Said to freeze well, but there wasn't enough to do that ....
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In which Muuranker goes shopping [Feb. 17th, 2013|09:02 pm]

I am now the proud owner of four cans of cooking lager.

I needed some beer to make frijoles negro borrachos (drunk black beans). I have found several recipies for this - ranging from the 'remove the bacon, then fry the coriander seed' to the 'put a can of black beans and a can of tomatoes in a large saucepan, stir and serve' type*, and think I will have to combine them - all, however, require beer (that's how you get them drunk). I will report back on the experiment.

I wonder if, if a minimum unit price for alcohol does come in, I can get a certificate saying that I don't drink beer, only cook with it, and therefore can continue to buy four pints for a pound.

* I have a brilliant chilli recipe of this kind, famous for not having any chillies in it, just cans of varous things, including beer (and an onion, clove of garlic and pepper per person).
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Growing up [Jan. 31st, 2013|07:30 am]
[Current Location |Wome +9]

This morning's reading is about personality development.

I have been thinking about how upbringing does, and doesn't seem to have an impact.
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Oh, so that's what I do! [Jan. 22nd, 2013|08:58 pm]
A meme from Wellinghall: describe your job, using only the 10,000 most common English words. Type your text in here to check that words are allowed:

I make sure that the past is not lost. I make sure that everyone can use the past of everyone.

In my job today, I manage people who work with old papers and very old things.

In my new job, I will work with ideas. The ideas of how to make things. Some people make things as people made things a long time ago. Some people take the ideas of making things, and make new things from them.

People who manage our land say that ideas, ways of doing, are not to be kept. My job will be to make sure they change their minds. Things you can't touch are important, too.
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Thankfulness meme [Jan. 20th, 2013|09:33 am]
Inzilbêth of the Dúnedain (inzilbeth_liz) gave me a thankfulness meme, and the letter G.

Not being quite sure of the rules, this might not be the meme it started with!

G for me is good. Good anything. Good coffee (good ground coffee), for example. Good is absolute - it does not need bad, the way better needs worse. If all the bad coffee were to disappear overnight, there would still be good coffee.

G is also Gilgamesh. The longevity of history (as opposed to archaeology) is amazing.

G is also Great Yarmouth, which got me into my PhD topic.

And Geography. There is so much of it! And it is so interesting!
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