Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another cool optical illusion from Richard Wiseman's blog

The yellow and blue rectangles are moving around at the same pace at all times... yeah, right.

smiley frog

smiley frog, originally uploaded by Riz RMF.

It's that time of the year when I warn readers to expect a drop off in blogging frequency, as exam time nears (June). I'll keep posting, of course, just a little less so,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Offer: Mr Fothergills

The gardening website Mr Fothergills is currently offering free P&P on all orders. What's even better is that their seeds packets are always free of P&P, and they are also giving customers a couple of free seed packs with every order. Nice.

Just got me some more sunflower seeds, green-fingered amateur that I am!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Superfrog keeps cool in the blazing sun

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Cheese: Pave d'Affinois

Lo! On the day he was born, the wise folk brought many a fine vegetarian cheese and plenty of good reading. The first of the birthday cheeses is 'Pave d'Affinois'.

This cheese is presented in the rare cuboid format, and is brie like in appearance and texture. It is super creamy and super fantastic. The only downside is the small portion size, for when combined with its addictive qualities (tasty and flavoursome without being intensely rich), sadly results in one of the fastest disappearing cheeses known to man. I would say it is perhaps good for three generous servings i.e. it is very much a cheese for one, or perhaps an ideal picnic cheese.

I must leave now, for the final third of the cheese is calling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wooden Don Quixote figurine – a prized possession

Here stands a recently acquired wooden figurine of Don Quixote. In two of the pictures, the valiant knight has found his place alongside a couple of Terracotta Soldiers. In the other two pictures, the Knight of the Sorrowful face looks out of the window, longing for more adventures.

wooden don quixote terracota soldiers (Large)

Friday, April 15, 2011


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Diary: Golf , the kebab and the red onion

Forogt to blog about the great round of golf that was had last week on our home ground (Stanmore, par 3). In true British golfing tradition, the golf was followed by dirty kebab and chips, and a short but interesting search for red onions: the onions from the first little grocer were old and rotten and the sorry state of those from Baghdad Supermarket a bit further down the road suggested several tours of duty through said city. The Tesco petrol station/mini-supermarket proved the eventual saviour but at great cost: £0.70 for two onions. Two onions! TWO ONIONS! Woe is me, paying so much for so little onion. I comforted myself in the sound reasoning that, based on the pitiful state of onions from the previous purveyors, there must be a great onion plague and these may be the some of last of the quality onions to be had.

The first onion carried a perfectly sweet but slightly tangy taste, without a hint of bitterness, and I can honestly say that it is the finest onion that I have ever eaten (okay, that I have bought myself and eaten whilst being consciously aware that it was perhaps the penultimate quality onion in the country). What it more, it was so large in size that I was able to use it in generous proportion over three meals. Then, the onion of joy was no more. But wait, what is this, yes, I am the holder of the last remaining quality onion. Joy is me! I have migrated the bulb from the cupboard to the fridge for reasons of preservation and value, for as much as I want to consume the bulb, perhaps with a few slices of cheddar alongside, word has got out of great onion shortages across Europe, with onions of the lowest quality being bid to "eye-wateringly" high prices. The mania is at its height in the Netherlands, my sources inform me; it seems the good Dutch folk have forgotten the lessons of the Tulip Bubble of yesteryear and are once again selling their houses to release capital for a new wave of bulb-based speculations. As for my onion, it can now be found on E-bay, with bids coming in every few minutes from all corners of the world. I suspect Russian and Chinese conglomerates are involved. But I know how this will end. I cannot live with the 'onion-sellers remorse' - on a quiet evening some time next week, I will hunker down with a suitable drink, a block of crumbly mature chedder, and what I believe may be the last good onion in this country.

Government cut backs?

"All primary school children in two areas of England can now have free lunches under a £40m, two-year trial."

"All" ??? Just listening to the head of one of the schools talking about this on the news, and whilst there may well be great benefits to be had from the scheme, his set of defences were terrible. They included saying that it isn't costing the school anything (fine, the council pays), and that under a means tested approach, a large group of deserving folk on the cusp would not qualify (surely you can decide the 'means' to suit you test?).

The bit that I really don't like is the unintended consequences of shifting the responsibility for healthy eating from parents to the state. There are also many ways to make a healthy meal for your child in a cost-conscious way, and this can knowledge can spill-over to add value to the family's overall budgeting and cooking. That's not to say the unintended and intended benefits won't offset the experiment, but the scheme just doesn't sit well in world where government spending is being slashed in other quarters.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Film: The Duellists (1977)

I have just seen "The Duellists" on Film 4 and highly recommend this beautifully filmed masterpiece to all. The story tells of two men belonging to the same army, who have a falling out and partake in a great many duels over the decades, over many the course of many battles.

The Duellists is Ridley Scott's first feature film, and I'd put it a strong second only to the Alien, arguably Scott's best work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I'm waiting for the Seventh Seal to start on Film 4. With a little time to kill to in the interim, I have been able to watch a few videos from my 'watch later' list on Vimeo.

Here is a cool little piece of bug based education:

And here, a much darker, dystopian French music video...I don't speak French, but the images tell a lot of the story:

Nice little French music video

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

End of Don Quixote - Book 1

I have finished book one of Don Quixote. This being my final reading, I am trying to decipher and extract as much meaning as possible from the text, but the interpretations are many. Here is my update to the review I wrote for Amazon way back when in 2006:

"Follow up - March 2011: I have read my copy of Don Quixote so many times that the spine has cracked and pages are coming loose and falling out. I also saw fit to rip out the rather off-putting introduction by Harold Bloom, where Bloom compares Cervantes to is a rather horrible thing that had to be done away with. Grossman's translation has had me transfixed and at times perplexed (do we admire or pity Quixote?). Indeed, my obsession with the book and its characters and ideas has not diluted over the years, but has grown stronger; I am half way through the book for one final time and while I feel that I must hold on to this masterpiece as a physical object of admiration, once I have finished this reading I am planning to tape the book up with sellotape so as not to spend any more time reading it. An eternal wonder. "

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Waterstones logo

To add to the already long of large corporates who are following the trend of de-seriffing and lower casing.

This one happened a while back, but it passed me by. They also dropped the apostrophe, which I guess this is down to the brand now belonging to the almost bankrupt HMV. But how the world turns: with the bookstore's original founder Tim Waterstone back in the bidding to take over the business, I wonder if the apostrophe could make a come back.

Friday, April 08, 2011

National Geogrpahic £12 for a year

£1 a copy. Here. Fantastic.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Monetary tightening in dark times

The ECB will most likely be hiking interest rates tomorrow, with the Bank of England and Federal Reserve not far behind in race. Alas, much of this monetary tightening will be a response to persistent high inflation and not economic growth. The consequence of these actions is that we will most probably languish in a state of stagnant doom and gloom for some time to come.

Question - How high do interest rates have to rise to bring down expected CPI (a basket of prices), when many of the prices are determined abroad and so are completely unaffected by UK monetary policy. If the plan is to regain some semblance of control over CPI, this would suggest that very high interest rates are around the corner (as they would be needed to sufficiently pull down the prices that we have some influence over such that the average price level is suitably affected). And growth be damned. I dramatise, but my view is something along these lines.

The situation reminds me of the man who had his head in the refrigerator and feet in the oven. He felt just fine on average.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Pebbles Magoo eats wasps and bees

In a five minute span, Pebbles Magoo killed and ate three bees/wasps. This is not good.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Cool new blogger functionality

If you have a Blogger blog type the following on to the end of your web address to see some cool new displays: (example) (example)

Press J or K to scroll around the stories and hit escape to go back to the main screen.

: )

A couple more cat pics (Photoscaped)