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November 27th, 2016

04:54 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Loh Mee (it's braised noodle & this version had pork, shiitake, cabbage & a splash of black vinegar at the end)
Pasture, Auckland
Pasture, Auckland
Tuesday: Spinach ravioli with chicken. Greek salad.
Pasture, Auckland
Pasture, Auckland
Wednesday: Shakshuka with merguez sausage. It's getting better but I haven't perfected it yet. I thought we had pita bread in the house, but we didn't so substituted Vogel's bread instead.
Pasture, Auckland
Pasture, Auckland
Thursday: Two stir-fires with rice: courgette, egg & garlic; chicken, onion & capsicum.
Pasture, Auckland
Pasture, Auckland

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November 21st, 2016

06:53 pm: Cooking diary
This lot is part of the post-Wellington backlog.

Monday: Weekend's leftover chicken curry, stirfried veges (asparagus, mushroom, onion, carrot, garlic) & rice.


Tuesday: Poached chicken, tomato, cucumber, coriander, homemade chilli sauce, rice.


Wednesday: Had houseguest, had cooked too much the previous two nights, so tonight, a Greek salad to go with leftovers.

Thursday: I continue to do stuff with leftovers. Tonight, fried rice using leftover rice & chicken, added mushroom etc.


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November 20th, 2016

04:50 pm: Cooking diary
Haven't done one of these in a while; got out of the habit after the Wellington trip.

Monday: Pulled pork tacos


Tuesday: Panfried salmon, wilted bokchoy in oyster sauce, asparagus & garlic stirfry.


Wednesday: Salad with leftover roast pork


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November 14th, 2016

06:16 pm: When the Earth wants to move, stuff gets moved.


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08:25 am: Not for nothing is New Zealand sometimes called the Shaky Isles.
Via http://quakemap.co.nz/


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07:06 am: Shaky Isles
There was a big (magnitude 7.5) earthquake downcountry overnight. We're far enough north of it that I slept right through it.

Key facts:
- A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Hamner Springs at 12.02am
- There are reports of two fatalities, according to Prime Minister John Key
- Scores of severe aftershocks have hit
- A tsunami warning is in place, but has been downgraded. People in low-lying areas on the east coast of both the North and South Island have been warned to move to higher ground.
- Wellington residents in low-lying coastal areas were also urged to move to higher ground.

There are still aftershocks and now that it's morning, there's a bit of damage assessment & clean-up to do.

Stay safe everyone.

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November 9th, 2016

10:23 pm: A sort-of sequel to Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere"
"How the Marquis got his coat back" has been turned into a BBC radio play. You have 25 more days to listen to it.

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09:33 pm: Seen on Twitter

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09:29 pm: Possibly the greatest scene in documentary history.


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09:20 pm: Seems as good a time as any...
...to drink wine.


It's not Champagne though:
“I drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it -- unless I'm thirsty.”
― Lily Bollinger (House of Bollinger)

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November 1st, 2016

05:35 pm: Eating my words?
I didn't think Ted Chiang's brilliant "Story of your life" could be turned into a movie, let alone a successful one. It's such an outstanding example of the prose medium.

But maybe, I'll have to eat my words. The trailers for "Arrival", the movie based on the story, have convinced me that they've actually done it. And I'm rather looking forward to seeing the movie.

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October 20th, 2016

09:38 pm: How to include Dungeons & Dragons in your CV
http://www.tor.com/2016/10/19/how-to-use-dungeons-and-dragons-to-pad-your-resume/ #d&d #resume #geek

09:00 pm: Tyop
That feeling when you open up a winelist at a posh restaurant and find a typo on the first page...

(I mentioned it to them)
#winelist #typo

04:46 am: No bull
Really cool story about ancient hoof mammals. And not just for the incredibull pun...

October 19th, 2016

09:35 pm: Roadtrip: Wellington, Fidels (food)
f you're in Wellington & you end up on Cuba St? Go eat at Fidels:
Spicy chicken wings with real kick.
Beer battered fish tacos.
Sticky pork ribs.
#Wellington #food
Link to G+ for photos:

10:50 am: Roadtrip: Wellington, food
Best thing eaten so far was the duck egg creme brulee at The Larder in Miramar. #Wellington #food

09:59 am: Roadtrip: Wellington, Weta Workshop
Had awesome time on the Weta Workshop tour yesterday. Bonus: also saw Sir Richard Taylor walking past while parking car. #Wellington

09:12 am: Roadtrip: Wellington
Up at 5, so went for a walk, got rained on, buffeted by wind gusts, caught Pokemon, watched Wellington wake up. #Wellington

October 17th, 2016

04:30 pm: Roadtrip: food
Food so far has ranged from "Oh Lovely", venison pie in Taupo, to "Oh Dear", seafood chowder, only for lovers of flour...
#roadtrip #food

04:10 pm: Roadtrip
Wellington, we are in you!

09:11 am: Roadtrip
Taupo you've been lovely, but now we head for Wellington. #roadtrip

October 13th, 2016

06:39 pm: Not been posting recently. Also "Elements of Eloquence"
What with family visiting, and the uncertainty over work, I haven't been feeling much like posting.

"…adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out."

So this excerpt from Mark Forsyth's "Elements of Eloquence" went viral. Once I found out where it was from, I got myself a copy. It's a short and highly readable book that delves into the nuts & bolts of the English language. Highly recommended. As a native English speaker, there were always phrasings that felt wrong, especially when written by a non-native speaker. But I always had trouble explaining to them why it felt wrong. This book sheds light on many of those language conventions.

Forsyth himself has been doing a number of interviews as a result of this, including on New Zealand public radio. He comes across as intelligent, informed, and yes, eloquent.

Interestingly, the adjective order convention isn't the same for all languages. For example, the order is colour-noun in English but noun-colour in French. So where we would say red wine, the French would say vin rouge.

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October 12th, 2016

06:39 pm: Wurk
I have a job again.

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October 2nd, 2016

05:50 pm: Azabu: Peruvian-Japanese
Azabu opened earlier this year, doing Peruvian-Japanese food. Yes, really. And it's a combination that works superbly in their hands.

Their grilled octopus with yuzu pepper soy, aji amarillo potato mash & chives (pictured), is outstanding. And the other dishes we tried were all superb.

Clicking on the image takes you the the Flickr photoset for more pictures of the dishes we tried.
Azabu September 2016

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01:21 pm: The Tasting Shed
It was a tasty lunch at The Tasting Shed. Took visiting family & we were joined by my in-laws.

Standouts for me were:
- stingray assam laksa, prawn, coconut, puffed rice, coriander
- churros, pear, pumpkin, salted caramel, spiced pecan (pictured).

But it was all delicious.
Tasting Shed
Tasting Shed

Link to food photoset.

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September 30th, 2016

05:16 pm: Wurk
I am officially unemployed. (Current contract finished today. I remain hopeful I'll be offered new work though this is the first in years that I'm "between jobs".)


September 29th, 2016

10:49 pm: Lunch at Bracu
Highlight of the day with the Lee family was a very long lunch at Bracu restaurant.

Link to Flickr photoset.
Bracu September 2016

This coverphoto is of the Market Fish (Hapuka), Cauliflower, Prawn and Crème Fraiche, which was not only delicious, but looked gorgeous with its inventive use of squid ink to decorate the plate. It was just one of the many delicious delights.
Bracu September 2016

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September 28th, 2016

10:10 am: Making the most of the weather.
It stayed fairly fine yesterday so we took the opportunity to visit Auckland's west coast. Piha is probably the most popular of the west coast beaches. It's a surf beach with sometimes wild weather; you certainly get bigger waves than on the east coast beaches. It's also a black sand beach due to the high iron content.

After lunch, we headed to the east coast to Mission Bay, and I caught a few Pokemon with the niece. We went to Sidart for dinner. I've been saying for a while that their Tuesday Test Kitchen is the best value-for-money high-end dining experiences.

As I type this, it's raining heavily outside.

Follow the link/photo to the photosets.
Piha & Mission Bay
Piha & Mission Bay

Dinner at Sidart.
Sidart with the Lees

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September 26th, 2016

09:38 pm: Shockingly, it didn't rain.
Lovely day spent wandering around town with family, playing tourist. The forecast rain was only early morning showers, and by the time we left the house it had stopped. The overcast conditions & fairly still conditions made for a pleasantly cool day.

Some op-shopping got done on K'Road.

We had a delicious lunch at Baduzzi

We walked along the waterfront to Silo Park, the former industrial area now turned into recreational space.

We popped into two dessert places Miann *and* Milse.

(Niece & I may have caught a few Pokemon today.)

Follow the link/photo to the photoset.
Auckland sightseeing

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September 25th, 2016

09:48 am: That feeling when...
Whanau (family) visits for a week & you plan one or two rainy day events in case it gets wet. Then you check the long range forecast...
The long range forecast is for rain and more rain

(The long range forecast is for rain and more rain.)

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September 24th, 2016

Proving that painful & genius are not mutually exclusive.


Its not eazy being a pedent
correcting others’ mis-takes all daylong
My freinds and me are totally sic
of observing gramma witch has gone wrong.

“Whom are these language offenders”?,
“could it be that I maybe one, to”
Their ignorant; stupid, and careless:
off gramma they have’nt a clue.

They’re speling is sutch an embarrasment
its’ amature, wired, and, abserd,
comprized of neither thought or intelligance,
to a dictionary they should of refered.

Writing down there awkwardly formed sentences,
the participle clauses are left dangling.
just made one less mistake each would have the affect
to dramatically reduce this language mangling.

---------- Brian Bilston

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September 22nd, 2016

07:46 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Curry chicken tacos #fusion
Cooking diary
The prep:
Cooking diary
Tuesday: Grilled curry powder rubbed chicken, cauliflower & mint, lemon couscous.
Cooking diary
The prep:
Cooking diary
Wednesday: Panfried Hoki, salad of cauliflower, macaroni, parsley, rocket, lemon, garlic.
Cooking diary
The prep:
Cooking diary
Thursday: Grilled Cajun chicken, carrot & swede, leftover cauliflower.
Cooking diary
The prep:
Cooking diary

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September 20th, 2016

02:41 pm: As it’s “Talk Like Pirate Day”, here’s my geeky contribution...
What goes, “Pieces of Seven! Pieces of Seven!” ?

A parroty error.

(I’ll see myself out, arrrr!!!)

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September 18th, 2016

08:40 pm: Cooking diary
Monday: Char kwey teow.
Some people call Char kwey teow the Malaysian version of Pad Thai. I think Pad Thai is the Thai version of Char kwey teow.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

Tuesday: Wat tan hor (Hor fun rice noodles in an eggy gravy with chicken, fishballs & bokchoy). This allowed me to use up the noodles I didn't use for Char Kwey Teow, and the leftover bokchoy from last week.
Cooking diary

The Prep:
Cooking diary

Wednesday: Apricot chicken, sauteed leek, lemon couscous.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

Thursday: Hokkien mee / Hokkien char. It's thick noodles in a dark soy-based sauce.
Cooking diary

The prep:
Cooking diary

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September 16th, 2016

09:04 pm: Apero, yes again.
This time I finally did what I'd been promising to do for ages: I took labmates to Apero. It was fun to introduce them to this place, and even better that they enjoyed it as much as I did. We drank some interesting and excellent wines, and the food was (as usual) superb. It was a lovely way to end the work-week & welcome the weekend.

Click on the picture for the Fickr album & more pictures. The cover photo is the current incarnation of their burrata dish, for the new (spring) season. It's on a bed of green tomatoes and dressed with basil oil, and was magnificent.

Apero: September 2016

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September 15th, 2016

05:19 pm: Pokemon Go: two months in
I started playing Pokemon Go on July 13 (yes I waited nearly a whole week after release before jumping on the bandwagon). Two months in, it is clear that its initial surge of popularity has waned. Hotspots for lures aren't anywhere near as busy as they were. But I'm going to keep playing; I still enjoy it.

I'm not seeing many new Pokemon anymore, which suggests I'll need to visit some new places or hatch more eggs. In the meantime, the new appraise function means the game is not just about collecting the full set of Pokemon, but also finding individuals with the perfect stats & the best movesets, so there is still interest in it for me.

The other motivation to keep playing? It's gamified walking for me; you have to walk to hatch Pokemon eggs. And the consequence of doing much more walking in the last two months is that I've lost some weight. To be fair, it's not much weight at all, about 2kg according to our scales, but those 2kg mean a lot. For the first time in years, my weight fluctuations now fluctuate down into the normal range for BMI.

(Yes, I know that BMI is a poor guide for health on account of being based on what a dead Belgian's opinion of what a person's ideal weight range should be.)

Losing that weight is a good thing for me and if continuing to play Pokemon helps keep me fitter & the weight off, I'm happy to keep playing.

The stats:
Level: 29
Distance walked: 434km (Allegedly. The Pokemon Go GPS tracker is famously inaccurate, and I also play it while on the bus, so consider the distance with a large grain of salt.)
Pokemon caught: 4036
Pokedex: 108 caught/109 seen (The missing one is a Poliwrath which was way too high a CP the only time I spotted one.)
Highest CP Pokemon: Exeggutor 2000CP (Evolved this one and haven't powered it up any; it was a high CP Exeggcute to start with.)

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September 11th, 2016

08:46 pm: Sunday in Devonport
It was a cool crisp spring Sunday when we took the short (12 minute) ferry trip from downtown Auckland to Devonport. We wandered our way along King Edward Esplanade & grabbed brunch/lunch at Platter, which does a very good seafood chowder. (A few Pokemon may have been caught along the way).

King Edward Esplanade

Platter seafood chowder w/ skewer of prawns & scallops

Alexander Watson Memorial clock. (Unaltered photo: the sun was really bright & the memorial was really white)

Looking back to Devonport Wharf & beyond to the Auckland CBD

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September 8th, 2016

07:14 pm: Those 0.2 micron filters? Not small enough.
Microbial matter comes out of the dark.

We use 0.2 micron filters to filter solutions to get them sterile (because bacterial cells are larger than that so they get excluded). Turns out there are ultra-small bacteria, that are smaller that 0.2 micron.

Actually, we already knew that there are plenty of viral particles that are smaller than 0.2 micron. It's just that the best way to sterilize something is to autoclave it which involves heating under pressure. Unfortunately, some chemicals really don't like that sort of treatment, e.g. vitamins, so there are times when you can't autoclave but have to filter instead.

So now we have to live with the possibility of not just the very small viral particles potentially messing up experiments, but also these ultra-small bacteria.

Via andrewducker

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06:50 pm: One of them days...


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September 4th, 2016

04:38 pm: No "green great dragons"!
Goodness gracious me! It's true!

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September 1st, 2016

07:07 am: Auckland looking good on the first morning of Spring.

(I got a hint spring was nearly here earlier in the week when my allergies showed up briefly)

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August 22nd, 2016

08:08 pm: Cooking diary
Tuesday: Soy simmered pork, shiitake, bokchoy, rice.
Cooking diary
The prep:
Cooking diary
More...Collapse )

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