Friday, November 30, 2007

Lots of games's the weekend, OK?

Apparently this gizmo updates every week.....not sure whether that's a threat or a promise (and the good news, possibly, being that it'll disappear off the front page in a couple of weeks!)

They all feature the sort of repetitive music that revisits you in your warned!

Chat Noir


Play it here

Try to keep the cat from escaping the field by clicking on a spot. Dark green means 'no way out'...satisfyingly difficult in a gentle sort of way.

Name that booze......

77%LUSH Take the booze test by clicking on the image.....I dare you!

At your convenience.....

The UK's first SMS service for finding the nearest toilet launched in London today. Just text the word "toilet" and SatLav, run by the Westminster City Council, points you the nearest public toilet. From the Associated Press:

The system, which covers 40 public toilets, pinpoints the caller's position by measuring the strength of the phone signal. The texts cost about 25p, and most of Westminster's toilets are free.
The council said it hopes the service will stop people from urinating in alleyways, saying some 10,000 gallons of urine ends up in Westminster streets each year.

"Satlav".....don't you just love it?

Trying out Windows Live Writer

I'm trying out Windows Live Writer again to see whether there's been any improvements. Also to find out whether the plugins work with Blogger or only Windows products. On the left is an alternative way of displaying captioned pictures.....unfortunately there's no way of changing the colour of the background or the drop shadow....but hey, it costs nothing!

Map image

Then there's the option to add a map or an aerial photo with added notes (click on the image to find out the latest status of pantomime tickets!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A couple of podcast sources.....

They say........

"You’ve found the world’s premier horror fiction podcast. Pseudopod brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere.
WARNING: This is a podcast of horror fiction. The stories presented here are intended to disturb you. They are likely to contain death, graphic violence, explicit sex (including sexual violence), hate crimes, blasphemy, or other themes and images that hook deep into your psyche. We do not provide ratings or content warnings for specific stories. We assume by your listening that you wish to be disturbed for your entertainment. If there are any themes that you cannot deal with in fiction, that are too strongly personal to you, please do not listen.
Pseudopod is for mature audiences only. Hardly any story on Pseudopod is suitable for children. We mean this very seriously."

I say...."good for the metro, haven't lost any sleep yet!

And for the scifi buffs there's their elder sister podcast Escapepod, currently up to episode 133, with everything available as downloadable mp3s or as a regular podcast if you're that organised....and I think this has to be my favourite! They don't do a 'mission statement', just good fiction.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sarah's (sort of) selling exhibition.....

For Richard and Janet.....and anybody else for that matter!
Taking place at The Mushroom Works (that's the blue dot on the map) on Saturday 1st December, 10 til 4ish for the "What do you take me for, I've got a proper day-job" fraternity (early afternoon best) together with the possible unveiling of Hails' long-awaited, monkey-based animation (if pressed he might be persuaded to slip the DVD into the player!). Apparently the official opening (on Thursday) has been slightly scuppered because they have competition....the agent representing Banksy (graffiti giant) is in town arranging another high-profile event that clashes. Support your neighbourhood/family artists!!

Still on the food theme.....

Another recipe video site at FoodTube

Here's a "Cooking with the Hippy" taster. Chana......spicy chickpeas and potatoes with incidental olive oil application, laid-back rainstick action and lots of lurve for added value!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another new restaurant alert

suggested by Anne and John.....hopefully review to follow in the not too distant future!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Try to buy the blue cup....

....or just wait a while after the page has loaded (works best with the sound turned on!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

No equivalent in English for....

Kummerspeck (Germany): "Grief bacon" - the weight that you gain by overeating when you’re worried about something.
Attaccabottoni (Italy): A "buttonholer" - someone who corners casual acquaintances or even complete strangers for the purpose of telling them their miserable life stories.
Modré Pondeli (Czech): "Blue Monday" - When you skip coming in to work to give yourself a three-day weekend.
Razbliuto (Russia): The feeling you have for a person you used to love, but don’t anymore.
Shitta (Iran): Leftover dinner that’s eaten for breakfast.
Tartle (Scotland): To momentarily forget the name of the person you’re talking to. The word helps reduce the social embarrassment of such situations: "I’m sorry, I tartled there for a moment."
Pana po’o (Hawaii): To scratch your head in an attempt to remember something you’ve forgotten.
Ngaobera (Easter Island): A sore throat caused by too much screaming.
Backpfeifengesicht (Germany): A face that’s just begging for somebody to put their fist in it.
Papierkrieg (Germany): "Paper war" - bureaucratic paperwork whose only purpose is to block you from getting the refund, insurance payment, or other benefit that you have coming.
Rujuk (Indonesia): To remarry your ex-wife.
Mokita (New Guinea): The truth that everyone knows, but no one will speak about.
Gorrero (Spain, Central America): Someone who never picks up the check.
Fucha (Poland): Using your employer’s time and resources for your own purposes.....much as I'm doing right now!

from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Wonderful World of Odd.
This book focuses on the odd-side of life and features articles like the strangest TV shows never made, the creepiest insect on Earth, odd medical conditions, and many, many more.
Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. Check out their website here: Bathroom Reader Institute

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One for Chris

1 hour long, magazine-style, science programmes (delivered in a satisfyingly 'quirky' fashion!) from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.... available as podcasts or as mp3 downloads from their large archive. You can download whole programmes or individual segments (3 or 4 subjects covered per show) Perfect biking fodder!!
Quirks and Quarks homepage

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh no it isn't.......OH YES IT IS!!

This years Panto at the Priory Theatre Tynemouth.....anyone fancy it? If so, give me a ring with preferred dates and I'll book tickets. Current takers, me (natch!), S, H and D, Ma, Anne and John

Update....and Chris and Bex (Nick said "Er......probably not" boo, hiss to him!!)

Update 2...and Richard, Janet, Laura and Ben. Now all we have to do is settle on a date....I'm on the case!

Update occurs to me that we have a ratio of 3 under-10s to 10 (so-called) grownups, we may have to spread the 'smalls' around to look a push, one child to 3 and a bit adults looks ALMOST normal! But be warned, party frocks, alice bands and clean ankle socks for the ladies/long shorts, scabby knees, clip-on dicky bow ties and a dollup of Brylcreme for the gents MAY have to be declared mandatory! PS.....Grandmas are exempt!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If only I'd known.....

.....about 'Aspirine Usines du Rhone'.....
Instead I had to manage with a pot of cheap honey and some generic painkillers from the corner shop!

New additions on your right

A recipe/ingredients search (see following post) for those times when you're cullinarily challenged (so that'll be most days of the week for me!) and a 'free iTunes downloads' for anyone who has nagging gigabytes to burn (but have a sneaking suspicion that this one won't be there long, the selection available didn't ring any bells for me!)

UPDATE....iTunes search removed, decided it was a waste of space!

Sample 'Nosh' search

I typed in Couscous (because that's what I was planning on for tea) and this was the first in the list.....looks yummy (though I'll probably replace the saffron with a pinch of turmeric!)

Couscous Salad with Almonds, Raisins, Orange Zest and Saffroned Onions

This recipe serves:8

1 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads with 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup roasted almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups instant couscous
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
lemon juice to taste
chopped parsley

1. Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer. Set aside to plump. In a small saucepan combine the crushed saffron filaments and water and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat to steep.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the saffron mixture and orange zest and simmer 3 minutes. Drain the onions and set aside.
3. Place the couscous in a medium sauce pan. In a separate pan, combine the water, 1 cup of the raisin soaking liquid, orange juice, spices and salt and bring to a boil. Pour this over the couscous and cover with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
4. Drain the raisins but reserve any liquids that remain in case you need more moisture for the couscous. Toss the raisins, onions, and almonds with the couscous. Adjust seasoning. You may want to add a bit of lemon juice to bring out the spices. Add salt to taste. Top with parsley.
Variation: Chopped, dried apricots may be added to the dish or can replace some of the raisins in the salad. They also need to be plumped in hot water.
To roast whole, slivered, chopped or sliced almonds: Spread in an ungreased baking pan. Place in a 350°F oven and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to roast slightly after removing from oven.

A bit of judicial weeding

I'm planning on removing some detritus from the 'far right'....and maybe adding some new ephemeral stuff. Anyone who wants me to leave (or re-instate) anything in particular give me a bell.

point and click

another weekend time waster. This ones from Salford University, play it here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This one's for Ma......

VideoJug: How To Deal With Ants

Not seen in Berlin!

Amazing stunts with rubber bands....

.....and plenty of time to practice before christmas! Click on the image for a readable version.

Link update

I had an email from Lizzie Lines (nee Oates) a couple of days ago with the new address for her blog.....their house has come on by leaps and bounds since that picture of her in her foundations! Aren't they doing well?? Check up on progress at

The spy who came in from the cold.....

Except this one decided to bring the cold back with her.....there's dedication! This is just a quick plug for the hotel in Berlin I stayed at last week.....a John and Anne request.

The MarkApart Hotel
Reviews on TripAdvisor

The picture makes it look a bit better than the reality, but externals don't really matter in the long run. Internally, scrupulously clean, spacious bedrooms, bath as well as a shower, oodles of hot water, friendly, helpful staff, superb breakfasts....from full english to mind-blowing/stomach bursting continental served buffet style from 6.00am to noon (that's right, till noon!), quiet but centrally placed just off the Ku'dam for any of that designer label shopping you feel obliged to do, handy for U and S-Bahn.....and only 2 short stops or a 10 minute walk from the best department store in the world, Ka De We (check out their food hall on the 6th floor!). Only downsides, no tea-making facilities in rooms, so pack a portable kettle if you just can't live without.....there's a supermarket just round the corner for 'supplies'. And the water from the taps is never colder than buy bottled water. Possible downsides for the supremely bar (though personally I think that should be counted as a plus!) and no restaurant (but as the surrounding streets are jam-packed with them, who cares?)
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