Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Literary larfs

I am a person who loves to read, and I read a lot of book blogs and review sites. One of my favourites is Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and it is the smart bitches I have to thank for alerting me to my latest favourite timewaster, Literary Starbucks, a Tumblr run by three students from Carleton College in Minnesota, USA.  This is hilarious. According to their "About" page,
 This page is run by two English majors and one History major who have WAY too much time on their hands. One day we thought, what would all of history’s famous authors and characters order if they lived in modern times and went to Starbucks?
The rest is history.

Give it a look! I loved the George R.R. Martin one, and the Wordsworth one is pretty funny too. The Tolstoy entry reminded me of this scene from the IT Crowd.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Curses!

The arthritis in my hands has been bad today, particularly my left hand. I've completely lost my grip which means I haven't been able to hold my knife and fork to eat, quel horreur! Well, I can hold my knife, but not my fork, which means I have had to eat my lunch the way they do in the movies, holding the fork in my right hand.

I decided a little wine would help with the pain so I hurried off to the supermarket and came back with what I thought was a bottle of pinot noir, only to find on closer inspection that it is what they call "low alcohol"! Who knew there was such a thing? I feel cheated!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bee friendly



This little video gives a serious message in a seriously cute way.

I'm doing my best to make the garden bee-friendly. No pesticides, and I've planted lavender, rosemary and other plants like borage that bees love. It seems to be working, I noticed quite a few bees buzzing in and out of the lavender yesterday. I've made a bee bath out of an old shallow dish which I filled with marbles and water, so they'll have somewhere to drink during the summer. I bought the marbles in the local $2 shop, the shop assistant raised her eyebrows when a grey-haired granny bought up their entire stock. Small stones would probably make a better landing pad for the bees but I like the way the marbles look. I'll see how it works out.

My bee waterer looks a bit like the one here at this link.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Life's little joys

I was going to call this post "Guilty Pleasures" but decided that was wrong, because I am not guilty at all about any of these little pleasures.


Nairn's ginger biscuits. Especially when eaten with a slice of blue cheese, preferably Kapiti Kikorangi. And maybe a few slices of tart apple, like a Granny Smith or Cox's orange.

Magnums
Not champagne, alas, but icecream on a stick. Preferably the classic vanilla with dark chocolate, though the caramel is good too. I suppose this is something of a guilty pleasure, in that I shouldn't really be eating them, but now and again I can't resist buying myself one of these. Sometimes when I have the right sort of guest I will even serve them for dessert. I was amused to read in an interview that even the great Michel Roux Senior indulges these treats. Two at a time. When asked if he had a guilty food pleasure, he replied "A Magnum ice cream. Each time I stop for petrol, if nobody recognizes me, I buy not one but two. The first I gobble, the second I enjoy. Has to be dark chocolate and vanilla!" (I bet Michel Roux Jnr wouldn't eat commercial icecream, though. He seems like such a purist.)

My Kindle: 
Some people are a tad snobbish about ereaders, as if somehow paper books (or "real books" as they call them) are more worthy and ebooks are a bit naff.  I prefer traditional paper for non-fiction, but for fiction I love my Kindle. Love it. I read and buy far more fiction than I used to before I had my ereader. My Kindle goes everywhere I go.  

Telly:
My name is Judith and I am a telly addict.  I even watch telly during the day, too, if I feel like it, something which scandalises some of my friends who think it is somehow sinful to "waste" the daylight. With MySky I can record what I want to watch and watch it when it suits me, fast-forwarding through the ads and boring bits. As a rule I hate so-called reality television but I never miss "Project Runway", which is nuts because I have absolutely no interest in fashion. (Runway just hasn't been the same since Michael Kors left.) Another thing I never miss is Andrew Collins' weekly online Guardian video "Telly Addict", where he reviews what he has been watching during the week.  Most of the programmes he talks about aren't available here, but some are and Andrew's commentary is always interesting.  Link here.

I could go on.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stunning

I found this on Facebook, as you can plainly see. Once again I stumble on internet sensations long after everybody else. Never mind, this is just too beautiful not to share. One of my favourite songs, ever.


Post by BBC Three.


If, like me, you don't recognise a lot of these talented people, there is a handy guide to who's who here on Buzzfeed.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fudge

This isn't my fudge, this is the picture that accompanies the recipe (link in the text.) Mine turned out
exactly like this, only not so neat (which is why I didn't photograph it.)
I was puttering about in the kitchen and found a bag of raw cacao powder in the back of the pantry. I don't know how long it had been there, I certainly don't remember buying it. I decided I had better use it up as it was getting close to its "use by" date and found a suitable recipe on Eleanor Ozich's website petite-kitchen.com, which has some interesting recipes though they are mostly a bit too "healthy" for me. I followed the recipe more or less exactly: just mixing together a cup each of cacao powder and coconut oil, half a cup of honey, and a splash of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Bunged it in the freezer for 20 minutes and voila! Sweet deliciousness, and easy and quick. Perfect when you need a chocolate hit. "One piece is enough" says Eleanor. She lies. One piece is not enough. Five pieces were not enough. Now I feel sick.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Penglings?

Benedict Cumberbatch cannot say the word "penguins". This made me laugh this morning.


Cat? What cat?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blog redux

It's the first day of Daylight Savings Time here in New Zealand, which is as good a reason as any to revive this moribund blog, after being inundated with requests (ie, two lovely people) to start blogging again.

I had the radio on as usual while making my morning coffee and I was interested to learn that the practice of DST is generally credited to New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, who introduced the idea in 1895, because he wanted more time for bug hunting in the evenings. So having a magpie mind and time on my hands (which makes me a good person to have on a quiz team), I consulted Google and found that Benjamin Franklin also came up with the idea over a century earlier, in 1784.

I now have to figure out how to reset the clock on my new stove (a Westinghouse), which means I have to track down the manual.  I always keep manuals and instructions and the like in a safe place, I just have to remember where the hell it is. I have a good memory when it comes to facts, my magpie brain retains all manner of random trivia, but I'm hopeless on the minor stuff (and getting worse every day.) I have a feeling I am not alone in this.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

I miss the stars

When I moved from the city to my isolated rural hillside all those years ago, I was overwhelmed by the clarity of the night sky. It was so dark! So vast! And so many stars! I moved from a 9 in the chart above, to a 1. On really clear nights I used to drag a rug and cushion outside and simply gaze at the night sky, just for the pleasure of it. And now I am back in an urban environment, not the inner  city but near enough...a 7 in the chart. It never gets really dark. I don't regret moving back to town, I love living here, but... I miss the stars.

In 1994 an earthquake knocked out the power in Los Angeles. Many residents called emergency centres to report a strange "giant silvery cloud" in the dark sky. That giant silvery cloud was the Milky Way, which many residents were seeing for the first time. Light pollution is stealing the night sky. Something to think about, especially this week (April 20 - 26) which is International Dark Sky Week. 
Astrophotographer Mark Gee has made this video, mostly shot in Wellington and the Wairarapa. Watch it on full screen - it's beautiful.

City Lights To Dark Skies - International Dark Sky Week 2014 from Mark Gee on Vimeo.