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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


Ladyhawke II

New video for "My Delirium". Tell me it's not good.

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Brr, it's cold in here

Latest Irish Weather Reports ON 29-OCT-2008 for 13:00

Location: Dublin airport
Wind (Kts): 11
Weather: Light sleet
Temp (degrees celsius): 1
Humidity (%): 97
Rain (mm): 3.3
Pressure (hPa): 1001



Produkty Polski

The Polish supermarket is the Asian supermarket in Auckland in Dublin. Next door we have one by the cinema. Shopping, today, I purchased some essentials.

Greetings & baba z wozu koniom lżej!

Cheese dumplings and halva for 50 euro cents.

Horseradish plain and with the beetroots - a must have accompaniment to all foods

Herring in the Jewish way



Looking forward to this trip...


US Presidential election dance-off



Life in NZ

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/4738596a26642.html

Labrador lush guzzles 4 litres of wine

The two-year-old labrador was left with a monster of a hangover last week after it drunk its way through four litres of cask wine.

Roxy's owner Anne went out to the garage last Wednesday night to discover two empty casks and Roxy snoring in the corner. Anne is a sales merchandiser for Independent Liquor and the casks were for a customer.

Roxy being a labrador and thinking there was a possibility of food had torn open the casks and proceeded to drink the wine up. It seems Mystic Ridge medium white wine really agreed with her palate....initially.

"She was fast asleep and snoring. When I realised what she had done I rang the vet who said to try and wake her and walk it off.

"She could not walk, her eyes were open but she could not move, so he told us to bring her in."

Highfield Veterinary Centre vet Bryan Gregor had never dealt with a drunk dog before.

"By the time I saw her at the clinic, she was comatose. She was lying flat on her side, and if she was a human, you would swear she was singing. I guess she was also telling me she was really, really sorry, I was the best friend she has ever had, and she will never do it again."

She was treated with fluids and left to sleep it off.

"In the morning the clinic smelt like a student flat on Saturday morning. Roxy was still asleep, raising her head occasionally and moaning.

"I guess it is at this stage that we should have offered her a Mays pie and a couple of Panadol. We opted for dog food which she ate with vigour."

During the day Roxy slowly became more responsive.

"When she could finally walk or should I say stagger, the girls took her outside for a walk. Staggering across the car park, she stopped in front of a tree, looked left and right, and promptly walked into it. I am supposing that she was still seeing two trees, and picked the wrong one."

Anne said when Roxy was taken home that afternoon, she got stuck halfway into her kennel, with her hind legs not working properly.

"When she first saw me she tried to jump up but fell backwards.

"By this stage I was laughing but it had been quite scary at the start especially when the vet did not know if she would survive overnight.

"The next day we took her for walk and she was not herself at all, she was puffed and didn't stray far. I guess she was hung over."

Anne estimates it took two-year-old Roxy until Monday this week to get back the spring in her paws and she's probably off alcohol for life.



Smithfield photos (not mine)

I found some good photos of Smithfield on flickr; take a look. This guy's stuff is pretty good, so have a look around at his Dublin set too.

Slow day at work I here you say...



Ladyhawke good

I'm probably behind the times (again), but self-titled album good. Think Pat Benetar meets Pet Shop Boys meets New Young Pony Club.

Buy NZ music.



All Pain No Gain (Irish) Budget '09

See this for a good summary.

Lowlights include:
  • a 1% supertax on all gross income up to €100,000
  • tax on savings increased from 20% to 23%
  • an annual levy of €200 on car parking facilities provided to employers by their employers (random!)
  • capital gains tax increasing from 20% to 22%
  • VAT (i.e. GST) standard rate increasing from 21% to 21.5%
  • Motor tax increasing between 4% and 5% depending on the car
  • Petrol tax increasing by 8c a per litre
  • Excise duty on wine increased by 50c per bottle; but no changes to beer or anything else (random!)
  • Air travel tax of €10 per passenger for all departures from Irish airports; a cheaper rate applies to shorter journeys under 300 kms


  • Aside from increased tax on ciggies and betting, nothing.

Seriously, could this kind of budget ever be passed in NZ? Would the ruling party not be doomed for next 50 years?




It was Ger's 100th blog post recently, and she had a prize draw. Guess what was waiting for me when I came home from work today?

And when I opened it up, lovely treats awaited me:

Congratulations again on your 100th post Ger - I look forward to reading many more. And thank you for the lovely gifts - what a great way to start the week!

(Apologies for the poxy photos, my personal photographer had things to do. Ger's lovely blog has much better photos, you should definitely pop in and say hi...)

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Thank you Colin!



Paddy Power says yes

Nice to see Ireland in the NZ Herald, shame it's about betting, but good that Paddy Power are now putting the odds at 6:1.11 that Obama will win.



There is no jam

So my plans for taking over the world - or at least our cupboards - with homemade jams and pickled onions are currently stalled, due to a distinct lack of sufficiently small jars available for the jam. We don't eat loads of jam anyway - and my recent conversion to a moderately healthier way of eating won't exactly increase our consumption - so small jars are in order. Short of scoffing everything in our cupboards that's in a small jar (yes, I did seriously consider this), I'll just have to be a bit patient.

Of course, pickled onions are perfectly good in large batches - but in a fit of generosity, I've decided to deal with one preservation project at a time. I'm sure that David will be quite relieved to read this.

I've used the additional time to knit, which is a fairly good alternative to preserving. I have one new garment ready to wear (just waiting for the photoshoot, ahem, David?), and tonight I plan to cast on for another.

However, the knitting hasn't completely quashed the urge to get creative in the kitchen. I know that pumpkins are not really viewed as food by the general public in Ireland, but they are certainly fit for consumption. Looks like it's time to make some pumpkin pie!

(If I find/empty enough small jars in time, I'd be able to make up extra pie filling and use up the space in the freezer that all those blackberries & rhubarb bits are currently occupying. I'm just saying...)

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WPF & Anika

A screenshot from my first WPF "application" - bodged together from various sources but fun!

Also -
I discovered the new (old) Anika Moa album, In Swings the Tide, today (yeh I know but I'm a looong way away and no one fills me in). I love "Dreams in My Head" - such clever catchy hooks.




We took a long weekend in Amsterdam two weekends ago and had a grand time. It's just over an hour's flight and we arrived to a beautiful sunny day. The area where we were staying was a mere hop from the central train station and very close to the sprawling residential area that hugs the Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengrach. The canal houses were beautiful, inside and out, and I just loved the canals. Cafes and restaurants were dotted around (we tried for sometime to find an outside table, but it was pretty difficult) - it was charming and relaxing and it felt a million zillion miles from Dublin.

The "direct marketing" in the red light area was unexpected and really quite unique but not necessarily seedy. In fact you have to hand it to the Dutch: it a city with more legal vices than most, there was virtually no Police presence and everyone seemed to be behaving themselves. I think they might be on to something.

On Monday we visited the Anne Frank museum which was interesting but not in a shocking way. For sure the saddest part is they were dobbed in so very closed to the end of the war; the plan had nearly worked. On that note I bought the first of two volumes Victor Klemperer's WWII diaries, but I haven't started it yet.

Some photos here, nothing amazing. I shot some transparency film and it was a bit experimental. The beautiful dappled colours on the canals didn't come out like I'd hoped, and the scans I had made were both expensive and not good. But this one, and maybe this one, show the potential. Lovely crisp lines and colours and much much less grain that regular film. I'm thinking of buying a negative scanner for myself for Christmas - there is one company that makes some really affordable ones.




Marky got with Sharon
And Sharon got Cherese
She was sharing
Sharon's outlook
On the topic of disease
Mikey had a facial scar
Bobby was a racist
They were all in love with dyin'
They were doing it
in Texas
Tommy played piano
Like a kid out in the rain
Then he lost
his leg in Dallas
He was dancing with a train
They were all in love with
They were drinking from a fountain
That was pouring like an
Coming down the mountain

I don't mind the sun sometimes
The images it shows
I can taste you on my lips
And smell you in my
Cinnamon and sugary
And softly spoken lies
You never know
just how to look
Through other people's eyes

Some will die in hot
In fiery auto crashes
Some will die in hot pursuit
sifting through my ashes
Some will fall in love with life
And drink it
from a fountain
That is pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the

I don't mind the sun sometimes
The images it shows
can taste you on my lips
And smell you in my clothes
Cinnamon and sugary
And softly spoken lies
You never know just how you look
other people's eyes

Another Mikey took a knife
While arguing in
Flipper died a natural death
He caught a nasty virus
there was the ever-present
Football player rapist
They were all in love
with dyin'
They were doing it in Texas
Pauly caught a bullet
But it
only hit his leg
Well it should have been a better shot
He got him in
the head
They were all in love with dyin'
They were drinking from a
That was pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the mountain

I don't mind the sun sometimes
The images it shows
I can taste
you on my lips
And smell you in my clothes
Cinnamon and sugary
softly spoken lies
You never know just how you look
Through other
people's eyes



Nothing to wear

Ok, a brief break from the cooking (and geekiness, love you David, mwah mwah).

I've completed two knitted garments recently. Both were intended to be comfy but stylish wardrobe staples for my winter - ah feck it, for my wardrobe, I don't have summer & winter wardrobes here because it is SO DAMN COLD the whole year long.

Anyway, these were going to be great garments. A lovely, classic cardigan in a nice teal merino (the Tangled Yoke, for knitters in the know), and a chunky v-neck vest in what was supposed to be pale grey, but ended up being pale lavender, but thankfully looked all right (Rowan - seriously, name your colours better in future please!).

Both patterns saw me measure myself carefully, select the appropriate size, and check my gauge (for non-knitters, that's the number of rows and stitches per cm, to make sure you'll get the intended size). I *never* check my gauge normally, because I always knit to it anyway, but I checked.

Both garments ended up HUGE on me. Not cutely oversized in a kind of stylish way - massive in a even-too-big-for-a-fake-hiphop-wannabe way. That's right, not once, but TWICE!

The cardigan has been shipped off to someone who will look stunning in it. The vest has been frogged (again, for non-knitters, this means unpicked and undone), and I've cast on again for the smaller size, which is supposed to be too small to even get over my head. I still want the cardigan, so I may try again at the smaller size that is also supposed to be too small to accommodate me... right after I look at the other* project I have on the needles that may also be too big.

Knitting gods, wherefore hast thou forsaken me? Is this a hint to bulk up for winter? Because I had plans to do exactly the opposite, but all this knitting and ripping and having nothing hand-knitted to wear is really starting to bug me.

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And soup

I forgot to mention the soup.

It's not a fancy kind of soup really - just one of those soups made with the packet of lentils & barley that you find in any supermarket.

What makes this soup blogworthy is that it tastes fantastic, and significantly contributes to your 5+ servings of fruit & veg a day. Which, given that it's basically vegetables with a broth made of vegetables, is apparently a surprise for some people.

When I mentioned it at work, people were genuinely surprised:
a) that I would bother to make soup
b) that it was quick and easy
c) that it didn't taste like poo

So here's the recipe:

Winter Vegetable Soup That Tastes Good

To make around 4 servings of the soup, you need:
- The barley & lentil packet soup stuff
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion (not a red one)
- 4 or 5 sticks of celery (plus the leaves if you can get them)
- Vegetable stock
- Garlic

(You could add other veges like cabbage, leeks, etc. - I certainly intend to try these in the upcoming weeks.)

Step 1: Soak the soup mix lentil stuff according to the packet directions. Depending on which mix you use, you may need to rinse and soak and rinse, soak and rinse only, or perhaps even not soak.

(In my experience, the cheap mixes that require overnight soaking are superior to the no-soak varieties. For example, the Marks & Spencer no-soak variety had lentils that started disintegrating into a grainy yuckiness once their very specific cooking time was met. In contrast, the super-cheap Tesco-brand soup mix stood up well even when the recommended cooking time was well exceeded.)

Step 2: Meanwhile, roughly chop your carrots (unpeeled please!), celery & onions, and sweat them off in some olive oil. Whack in a wee bit of garlic - I cheat and use a tube of pre-chopped stuff, because I am lazy and want to use up what we have, but a clove or two would be plenty.

Step 3: If your vegetable stock is kind of generic looking, now's the time to add some extra spices like paprika or dried herbs to the vegetables. Don't add any salt; stock is notoriously salty, and even low-salt stock may be quite salty. I guess you could use chicken stock, but we don't, so I can't comment on how it may affect the flavour. And really, why bother, because vegetable stock is great.

(The quality of your stock does kind of matter in this recipe - I have tried it with average stuff, and fancy-schmancy stuff, and the fancy stuff wins hands-down. The flavour is deeper and generally lovelier, so it's worth getting a good stock. Which, by the way, does not necessarily mean liquid stock, because my fancy stock was a powder.)

Step 4: Once the soup mix has been soaked, rinse it if you need to, then plop in in the pot with the stock. The soup mix will tell you how long it needs to be cooked for.

Step 5: 10 minutes before the end of that time, add all the veges, and keep cooking. Now is the time to add the celery leaves, if you have them.

There may be a very thin film of oil on some of the soup. Resist the urge to skim it off. It's vegetable-y olive oil, so it's good for you and delicious-tasting.

You may also notice that your pot will be quite full of vegetables, and a bit short on soupiness. Don't worry, this is how it's supposed to be.

Step 6: When the soup is supposed to be done, get someone to try a lentil or chickpea or whatever the biggest pulse is in the pot. Cook more if the pulse is not properly cooked; serve it up if the pulse is cooked.

Serve your delicious, healthy soup in individual bowls. Don't let anyone salt the soup before trying it - but add a whack of freshly ground pepper, and some tabasco sauce if you fancy it. If it was me, I'd serve a slice (or three) of lovely brown soda bread & butter on the side.

Feeling all virtuous about your nutritious and filling main course, feel free to proceed to stuff your faces with something unhealthy for dessert. Or wait until I post my recipe for crumble, which is also delicious, and not entirely unhealthy.

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Food, glorious food

A little while ago, I posted the omnivore's 100. I am proud to announce that in spite of general squeamishness, I can add eel to the list of things I've tried.

(It tasted strong & gamey. I'd comment on the texture, but I got a fatty bit, so I don't think it'd necessarily be representative.) If you're in Dublin and want to try eel that won't make you gross out, I recommend Aya. If you're a knitter, it is conveniently located across the road from the Powerscourt, where This Is Knit II has opened up.

(It was a great opening party, if you didn't go, you missed out. And not just on eel!)

Following my triumph over eel, we continued in the spirit of wild and reckless eating with a spot of blackberry picking on Dalkey hill on Sunday. It was sunny but cold, and the nettles and thorns on the blackberry plants weren't entirely cooperative, but we managed to get around a kilo of delicious, organic blackberries.

Cleaning the berries was a little gross - teensy slugs etc. - but worth it. The crumble was so good, I might even share a wee recipe. And I definitely see blackberry jam in our future...

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Don't like...

... Sarah Palin


We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast of geekiness for the following important messages:

- It is officially winter in Ireland, because the wind is bitterly cold and it's raining less. Also, I haven't seen an exposed midriff in several days.

- Naming a colour "pearl" is misleading when it's actually a pale purple.

- This Is Knit are throwing an opening party tonight to celebrate their new city-centre store. It's close to lots of touristy sights, so I'm looking forward to dragging any visitors there, especially if they don't knit.

- Our car was broken into last weekend and our beloved GPS was stolen. We have learned numerous lessons from this - including, but not limited to the following:
* Don't leave any sign of a GPS in your car.
* The service entrance to our building leads right to our carpark.
* Leaving the service entrance open *is* like an invitation to thieves.
* Security in our building *is* as crappy as we thought.
* It is possible to drive around Dublin without a GPS just in case - but not to places you've never been to.
* Someone will eventually clean up the broken glass in your carpark if you leave it long enough.

- The most delicious catering in all of counties Dublin and Kildare is from Tiesan, which is owned by the husband of a lovely knitter. They do beautiful-looking and delicious-tasting stuff, and you should order from them now before everyone else does. (Disclosure: they brought a free catered lunch to my office - which everyone loved.)

- Amsterdam is great, and has the best felafel in Europe so far.

- It is the season for pickling onions. I'm about to buy some jars and set aside my own store of deliciousness. Anyone have a great recipe to hand?

- I knew David was a geek, but his last few computer posts? Seriously geeky. Too much time on his hands methinks. Time to give him a refresher knitting lesson...

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Bill Gates strikes a pose for Teen Beat magazine

I found these by accident today. Bill Gates strikes a pose for Teen Beat (a US magazine, still in publication) photo spread, 1983. It's creepy. Creepy in the way where you can't help looking at it. And notice the Mac in the background? He must have started stealing researching ideas for Windows®.

Original link here, although it's not a real link, it's a link to link that used to exist, but now it doesn't.



CPUs I have known and loved: Update

I found out from my Dad that my first computer was a Sanyo and, after a little digging, it hard to be the MBC-55x. I was surprised by how much info there was about the MBC-55x online. Like, this guy is trying to sell you one for $995 ($US I presume) and reckons it's the perfect PC for "hacking", by which he means "[a] person who wants to learn the 'innards' of a computer rather than the person who wants to break into other people's computers as the term has now been reduced to".

And here is an article from Creative Computing Vol. 10 No. 9 September 1984, page 12. This article makes interesting reading as you can see what was on the mind of the savvy computer consumer, circa 1984. Presciently, the author concludes the article by saying:
"In any event, if you are considering a computer purchase now, you owe it to yourself to consider the MBC-550 to see if it can do the things that you want to do now, and to see how much of a gamble is involved with respect to your goals for future expansion. You may want to take the gamble. If you are currently considering a system with a disk drive, it won't cost much more to go with the MBC-550 than with a Commodore 64, and the 550 is a much more powerful and versatile machine."
I discovered, or rediscovered, or finally understood, the compatibility issues that plagued this PC: largely it came down to (a) it had its own BIOS which wasn't identical to IBMs and (b) it had its own graphics card which didn't have the standard "text mode" of the day - many software programs wrote directly to the graphics card and so you just wouldn't see the output. Really it wasn't designed to be compatible but rather an alternative and, in its day, it was a very well priced alternative at that.

I also discovered a number of "celebrities" who'd owned the Sanyo MBC-55x: Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Robert Ritchie - better known as Kid Rock and Hero's star Hayden Panettiere among others.