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August 3rd, 2015

07:56 am: Vintners' Brunch 2015
Good time at the Hospice North Shore Vintners' Brunch fundraiser this year. It's my most expensive food & wine outing for the year, but worth it.

Here are some pictures...

Food Pr0N...Collapse )

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August 1st, 2015

05:38 pm: Hugo awards voting deadline looms
It's the final countdown to the Hugo Awards voting deadline.

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04:19 pm: Lunch at Chikos
Took a visiting friend for lunch to Chikos the "Pacific Rim cuisine" place with the Filipino chefs. It's a brunch/lunch place during the day & a restaurant at night. We ended up grabbing tastes from each other's plates. The portions were large so we didn't feel any need for dessert, though it didn't stop us from buying something sweet from the cabinet to take home for later.

Kaffir lime ginger chicken kawali: half corn fed crispy fried chicken, garden salad, mung bean dhal, Agria wedges, sambal aioli sauce

Kaffir lime ginger chicken kawali: half corn fed crispy fried chicken, garden salad, mung bean dhal, Agria wedges, sambal aioli sauce
Nasi goreng with grilled chicken & prawn satay, fried egg,
spiced peanut sauce

Nasi goreng with grilled chicken & prawn satay, fried egg,spiced peanut sauce
Tender-braised Angus short ribs with cane chili glazed, wilted kale and steamed peanuts, corn pilaf, tripe cha-charon

Tender-braised Angus short ribs with cane chili glazed, wilted kale and steamed peanuts, corn pilaf, tripe cha-charon
Cabinet food

Cabinet food

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02:59 pm: Cooking diary
Where I am still a little obsessed with harissa...

Monday: Lasagna & side salad.
Made the lasagna on Sunday to make Monday night's prep a breeze.
Monday: Lasagna & side salad

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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July 28th, 2015

07:41 pm: Yakety Max
So what is it about Mad Max mashups that work better than you might expect?

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July 25th, 2015

01:30 pm: It's Kirsty MacColl, but who's that with the guitar?

Isn"t that...Collapse )

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09:11 am: Cooking diary
Comfort food was on my mind, and on the menu this week.

Monday: Sticky shiitake beef, pickled carrot, coriander, ciabatta.
We had some ciabatta rolls left over from the weekend. I threw beef & shiitake & soy sauce into the slow cooker. Grated carrot was lightly pickled in some white vinegar & sugar. Add some fresh coriander and it was an easy dinner.
Monday: Sticky shiitake beef, pickled carrot, coriander, ciabatta

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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July 22nd, 2015

06:56 am: Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo...
This is genius graffiti.

And on a similar theme...

Via http://www.tor.com/

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July 20th, 2015

08:37 pm: Livejournal Survey
You might want to contribute your thoughts.

Via nwhyte


July 18th, 2015

12:24 pm: Cooking diary
Fun with leftovers...
Monday: Spaghetti, garlic, oil, lemon, prawn, rocket.
Monday: Spaghetti, garlic, oil, lemon, prawn, rocket.

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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12:17 pm: ROAD WARS - The Imperator Strikes Back
Mad Max/Star Wars Mashup is more fun than it has any right to be.

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July 12th, 2015

09:56 am: A time machine story that is cute/horrific

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09:51 am: Winter scene
The grass was still frosty at nine this morning.
The grass was still frosty at nine this morning.


July 11th, 2015

05:58 pm: Cooking diary
May have committed a food crime this week...

Monday:Pork mince & tofu, cabbage & carrot stirfry, rice.
It's like a non-spicy version of Mapo tofu. Oh yeah, can you tell I've got cabbage to use up this week? And also carrot.
Monday:Pork mince & tofu, cabbage & carrot stirfry, rice.

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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09:06 am: Stabby stabby: tattooing needles in slow motion.

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July 10th, 2015

07:26 pm: Winter in the Southern Hemisphere
It was cold today & the sky was clear.
Cornwall Park

Took a day's leave today to celebrate spouse's birthday with family. Cornwall Park was cold but pretty.


July 5th, 2015

02:39 pm: Mashup gems from File770
The creativity is astounding & delightful.

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09:10 am: The Net of a Million Lies
>>Crypto: 0
>>As-Received-By: File770.com
>>Language-Path: Drazhar->Marain M1->Gallifrey->Radchaai, SJW units
>>From: Water that falls from the Skies
>>Subject: Rabid Video thread
>>Keywords: Hexapuppia as the key insight
>>Distribution: Threat of the Slate
>>Approved: yes
>>Date: 89 days since Hugo Incident
>>I haven’t had a chance to see the famous video from Realm Popoli, except as an evocation. (My only gateway onto the Net is very expensive.) Is it true that puppies have six legs? I wasn’t sure from the evocation. If these puppies have three pairs of legs, then I think there is an easy explanation for…

>From: Indominus Theropoda
>Subject: Rabid Video thread
>Keywords: Hexapuppia as the key insight
>Distribution: Threat of the Slate
>Approved: yes
>Date: 89 days since Hugo Incident
>Clearly the hydrated one knows nothing of the matter at hand as it is clear even to the most primitive sophonts that *Voxolalia* is the key insight!

MODERATOR NOTE: And so begins yet another flamewar on the Net of a Million Lies.

(Another strangeness my brain coughed up. With apologies to Vernor Vinge, h/t sjl)

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July 4th, 2015

03:21 pm: Star Wars in the style of Japanese woodblock prints
These are neat.

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01:32 pm: Cooking diary
Even split this week, two Asian dinners and two...

Monday:Beef brisket rice noodle soup (pho).
Monday:Beef brisket rice noodle soup (pho)
Happy with how this turned out. I think I've nearly got the flavours right. The beef brisket was slow-simmered on Sunday so prep time on Monday was very short: just reheated the stock, blanched to noodles & sprouts and sliced the beef brisket to add. A bit of bird's eye chilli for garnish & heat, and fresh coriander.
Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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July 3rd, 2015

06:31 pm: Chikos: Pacific Rim cuisine by a Filipino chef
Chikos is a neighbourhood restaurant in West Auckland. It's in the strip of shops in front of Mazuran's (who make really good port but the prices have gone up; they did well recently in international competitions). Chikos does Pacific Rim cuisine but with definite Filipino influences reflecting the chef's heritage.

We'd heard good things about it & finally got round to having dinner there. The food is very good and significantly cheaper than CBD prices. Some of the plating is colourful & flamboyant and can be a bit loud, but the flavours are good & the portions are generous.

Hot ladle chowder, crispy prawn roll, smoked blue marlin, salsa verde bruschetta.
Hot ladle chowder, crispy prawn roll, smoked blue marlin, salsa verde bruschetta.
The soup was served in a large ladle with its handle twisted to form a support so the ladle part stays upright.

More...Collapse )

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July 1st, 2015

06:54 pm: Syrah? In Marlborough?
Oz Clarke the wine writer says we should grow more Syrah in Marlborough, even though there is barely any there at the moment and the region is a bit too cool it is thought. But so far, the Marlborough Syrah I've tried have been excellent like the ones from Fromm and now the 2010 Te Whare Ra Syrah (and Seresin has planted some but I don't think they're producing yet).

The wine is a light to medium bodied red, with smooth tannins (it's aged well), berryfruit & floral aromas. It's a juicy & elegant wine.

This Oz Clarke, he might be on to something.
Te Whare Ra Marlborough Syrah 2010

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June 27th, 2015

04:05 pm: Abecedarian of Science Fiction & Fantasy short story love
Commenter Kyra over at File770 has shared this:

A is for Asimov, yes I’m his fan,
especially for Bicentennial Man.

B is for Bixby, I read him and squealed;
read It’s A Good Life (or end up in the field.)

Collier, genius that nobody knows,
I treasure my copy of Evening Primrose.

Delany’s unique, with no mimics or clones;
he saw Time As A Helix Of non-high-priced Stones.

Ellison, man of cantankerous bent,
knew even a Harlequin has to Repent.

Foster just left, but we haven’t forgot her,
and now that it’s Ended, I hope that He Caught Her.

And so on...
Go read the rest right now!
It's simply wonderful!

Current Mood: impressedimpressed
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10:46 am: Cooking diary
Winter is a more challenging time for eating seasonal.

Monday: Roasted vegetables & chorizo.
Potato, onion, mushroom, carrot, and the chorizo was grilled.
Monday: Roasted vegetables & chorizo

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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10:46 am: Seems like a good day for this song.
Seems like a good day for this song.

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June 22nd, 2015

06:39 pm: English as she is spoke
I'd seen snippets posted online before but never knew there was a whole long poem about the irregularities of English spelling & pronunciation:

"The Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité.

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

And so on...

Via andrewducker

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June 21st, 2015

11:26 am: Cooking diary
It's definitely cold & heavier foods seem more appropriate (or at least that's what I've been craving).

Monday: Beef tagine, couscous.
Made the tagine on Sunday, so on Monday I only had to reheat the tagine & make couscous (with sultanas & coriander).
Monday: Beef tagine, couscous.

Weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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June 20th, 2015

05:14 pm: E pluribus Hugo
Slates or bloc-voting is bad for the Hugo Awards because it allows a small group of people to shut-out the votes of the majority. The Sad Puppy & Rabid Puppy blocs comprising around 15% of the total nominations (according to one estimate) submitted, were able to dominate a number of categories this year. This is clearly bad for the prestige of the Hugo Awards.

It's been known for a number of years that the Hugo nomination system is susceptible to this sort of gaming (which is not against the Rules). So you may well ask, "Why has no-one done this before?" Well, until this year, no-one wanted to be That Guy. But now that it's happened, a rule change is needed.

I'm putting my support behind "E pluribus Hugo", a proposed rule change to greatly reduce the power of bloc-voting without removing the right of individual voters to have their say. It is something constructive I can do amidst what is a destructive & corrosive episode in Hugo history.

The proposal has been submitted and is now on WSFS Business Meeting agenda.

There is a Community Q&A thread open at Making Light to field any questions that may arise.

Current Mood: determined
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02:27 pm: Waiheke Island Montepulciano
Our last bottle of Obsidian Wine's 2006 Weeping Sands Montepulciano. It was very good, and now there is no more. It was the first New Zealand Montepulciano to win a gold medal, let alone a trophy (at the Bragato Wine Awards) and IIRC, I bought three bottles at the time. For a nine year old wine, it was still very fresh & delicious. We could have let it age longer but it's better to drink a wine too early than too late (even though I think it had years of life left).
2006 Weeping Sands Montepulciano

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June 16th, 2015

06:52 pm: Auckland sunset
It was a pretty sunset today, and it's going to be cold tonight.
Auckland sunset.

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June 15th, 2015

07:57 pm: “Load the Votes”
“Load the Votes”

Load the votes, irk the SMOFs
Smash the Lefties and burn the CHORFs
Bloc the voters and jam the slates
That’s what SJWs hates!

Send the Pups, bark at the chat
Use rhetoric damn the fact
Pour more oil on the flaming war
Let the strife grow more and more!

Dump Nutty Nuggets in a bowl
Crunch them up with a hyper-bole
When you’re finished if they are whole
Send logs down the Con to roll

That’s what SJWs hates!
So carefully carefully with the slates!

——- After “Blunt the Knives” from "The Hobbit", with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

(I guess this Hugo kerfuffle has got the creative juices going in a way nothing else has. I've never been one for writing poetry, or even filks.)

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June 14th, 2015

09:52 am: Cooking diary
More European flavours this week

Monday: Burrata, tomato, basil salad. Garlic bread.
A meatless Monday, though not by design.
Monday: Burrata, tomato, basil salad. Garlic bread.

Working weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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June 13th, 2015

08:24 pm: Hugo Graphic Story
I’ve just read through the Hugo finalists Graphic Story category.

I started reading Zombie Nation from the beginning of 2014. Is it me or is there no “there” there? It’s just a bunch of unrelated strips on a zombie theme, with no narrative I can detect (I lasted until the March strips).

Of the others, I had a blast with “Ms Marvel”, “Sex Criminals” had an intriguing premise but found it a bit rambly. “Saga” was excellent but it helps to have read the previous installations (which I have), and “Rat Queens” was violent but fun. “Ms. Marvel” has my top spot at the moment.

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10:18 am: RIP Christopher Lee
So many musical choices possible but I choose "Name Your Poison" written by Richard "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" O'Brien from "The Return of Captain Invincible".

Nicked from james_nicoll

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June 9th, 2015

04:33 pm: Auckland's best restaurant 2015
Best Auckland Restaurant 2015
Link to JPG.
Link to PDF (better for printing).

Disclaimer: I have tried to be as accurate as possible but cannot guarantee it, so if you spot any mistakes, do let me know.

I made the Venn diagram using data from the TripAdvisor top 60 Auckland Region, Cuisine Magazine's Good Food Guide Awards (announced last night), and Metro magazine's Top 50 restaurants.

Why not other crowdsourced restaurant review sites like Yelp, Zomato, Menumania, or Dineout? Because they don't rank restaurants and TripAdvisor does. I'm going somewhat on trust though, because it isn't entirely clear how the TripAdvisor ranking algorithm works, but it is what it is.

Since last year, the TripAdvisor categories have become more specific, so for example, perennial favourite Giapo is no longer listed in the Restaurant category, it's now listed in the Icecream category. (You should totally check out it though because Giapo makes awesome icecreams/gelati.)

TripAdvisor ratings can be volatile; I took the snapshot on May 22, between the announcements of the Metro & the Cuisine awards and the rankings will have changed since then. High rankers tend to be more cheap & cheerful yet popular places, especially if they are located in the CBD or tourist hotspots. The TripAdvisor list was expanded to 60 restaurants (10 more than the top 50 used last year) to mitigate some of these effects.

The Cuisine list includes not only the 34 "Cuisine Good Food Guide 2015" restaurants (in red), but also the "Cuisine Recommended" restaurants (in black). Given that both Cuisine & Metro lists are judged by a panel of reviewers while TripAdvisor is crowdsourced, it comes as no surprise that there is more overlap between the Metro & Cuisine lists. But I think the TripAdvisor list provides a useful contrasting view so a restaurant that manages to get on all three lists is likely to be special.

So if you were to pick the Best Restaurant in Auckland, which would you choose?

Current Mood: chipperchipper
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June 8th, 2015

08:09 pm: Upgoer Five Space Oddity
Cover version using only the thousand most common English words

(The Upgoer Five Text Editor.)

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07:59 pm: Because everything is nicked from Andrew Ducker
And because every Japanese schoolgirl ninja chase needs a rooftop sequence.

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June 7th, 2015

04:01 pm: Cooking diary
I had a cunning plan for the week's dinners, which mostly worked.

Tuesday: Pork stirfry with salted soy beans & capsicum. Sambal fried Chinese chives & sprouts.
Tuesday: Pork stirfry with salted soy beans & capsicum. Sambal fried Chinese chives & sprouts.

Working weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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04:01 pm: 2014 Nebula Award winners
Congratulations to the finalists & winners.

ETA: You can still read a bunch of the Nebula Awards finalists for free.

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June 5th, 2015

04:21 pm: Sometimes the hype is true
Hand-made Dan Dan noodles (Eden Noodles Cafe, Dominion Rd). A bowl of hot spicy deliciousness as good as people say. It's got chilli & Szechuan pepper in it which makes your tongue tingle. The topping is crispy fried pork mince.

We were in that part of town to buy a sack of rice & the noodle place was just a few doors away. It's a tiny place with enough seating for around twenty people, and already quite full when we turned up. The people in the queue behind us said that the place is always busy.

Along with the noodles, we also tried the wontons & a hotpot which had tripe & luncheon sausage (spam) & noodles in the spicy soup. Would definitely go back for the Dan Dan noodles.

Tuesday: Hand-made Dan Dan noodles


May 31st, 2015

05:19 pm: Cooking diary
Tuesday: Salad of grilled terakihi with tamarind.
Grilled the terakihi instead of frying in oil so it's less fatty. Unfortunately got the timing wrong so overcooked the fish (still tasted fine though). And the salad was made with a lime dressing.
Tuesday: Salad of grilled terakihi with tamarind.

Working weeknight dinners...Collapse )

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May 28th, 2015

07:08 pm: Christchurch to cater to Chinese tourists food preferences
So I saw this article on the news about Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism to cater to Chinese tourists by offering food more to their preference. It's a laudable goal; if you provide what the consumer wants, you're more likely to do well as a business.

But in the news article about it they propose offering food like rice rolls (they're Vietnamese) and crabcakes (they're Thai...), so I can't help but think that the campaign is somewhat misdirected.

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