Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Stop-motion Kindle

Isn't this advert cute? It's for the Amazon kindle.

I'm not sure what I think of the Kindle yet; I think it's good for people to have easy access to so many books, articles, journals & magazines, but
a) the physical feel of a book is irreplacable, would I want to read from a kindle?
b) how many books does one have to read on the Kindle for it to pay for itself?
c) people who buy them are likely to be those who read lots anyway, and would buy the books they download. What it needs is some sort of feature like Flickr's Explore or LastFM's Recommendations to introduce users to new things (although of course LastFM gives me more music like what I already listen to...). It may already have this?
d) how soon before copyright of books becomes an issue like that of music?
e) will it live as an idea? Why not have an app for the ipad/ipod/iphone or even read them on your laptop?
Yes a kindle is smaller than a laptop, but it's still nowhere near as convenient as a foldable, batterable, lovable paperback. You spill your tea on it and at best you've got a smeary screen, at worst an electricity-meets-water write-off. With a book it'll cost you at most the cost of another copy, substantially cheaper than a whole new device. And a smeary screen will never be as endearing as a brown splodge in a well-loved volume.

I'm not pretending to be a well-informed reviewer. These are just a few thoughts I've had after seeing the advert. I should probably research it a bit more as I'm sure there are some clever people behind the scenes who've thought it all through. We shall see!
Still a nice advert :)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Vase Love

All Three

So after posting about banning myself from buying anything new next month, what do I do? Buy old stuff this month. It makes perfect sense?!

Anyway, yesterday I took my younger sister to Asda to buy exciting helium balloons for a friend's birthday party and found these lovely(if slightly battered) orange roses reduced to a mere 24p! Twenty-four of my English pence!
So of course I couldn't leave them there; they came home with me and I put them in this lovely slightly bubbly blue glass vase which belongs to my Mum. Here they are in detail:

Asda Roses

Mum's vase
Isn't it a lovely vase?

Later on, on my way back from dropping the YS off at said party, I took a slight diversion in the hope of catching the lovely evening light on the reservoir above my village. Sadly it'd gone behind the hills by the time I got there, but as I was coming through the village I spotted a collection of furniture by somone's gate and stopped to have a look. It was a sort of garage sale with an honesty box; there were tables and a ceiling fan, a lamp and lots of picture frames. I was tempted by a washing basket but what really caught my eye was a box of vases priced at 50p each. I picked out the blue and white one first but only had a £1 coin so I went for the glass one too. It's an interesting sort of shape, like a conical flask with an open top.

Roadside Vases

I'm rather pleased with them :)
I don't often have flowers when I'm in Bristol but I always look longingly at the beautiful ones at the florist nearest my flat. They're really quite reasonably priced, I bought a little bunch of daffodils from there for 95p in March or so which ended up living in a milk bottle for want of a vase. Now they could have a much better home!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Buy Nothing New Month

So apparently October is Buy Nothing New Month, so say the Salvation Army in Australia*. As a student and someone who isn't good at lasting will power & self control I feel this might be a good thing for me to try. The idea is to go for the whole month of October without buying anything new aside from the necessities (food, medication, "feminine hygiene products"). This is a little like the no-new-clothes months which people like Lauren at Blooming Leopold have inflicted on themselves, only a little stricter.
Now one of the problems I have is charity shop shopping (the others being eBay and sales), which isn't banned under this. I seem to mentally not count any charity shop purchases, which is decidedly unhealthy I think, especially given the wonderful cluster of them on my route to and from lectures... Therefore anything I *do* buy from a charity shop/car boot sale/friend/eBay during the month of October will be appearing on this blog. I wouldn't have much to document otherwise, would I?
So today is the twenty-fifth of September, that's 5 days left before the shopping diet kicks in...

Topshop knickers are a weakness
Topshop knickers are a particular weakness, can you tell I used to sell Lingerie?

*I know I'm not in Australia but it's still a good idea :)

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Brief Introduction

As I start this blog I am:
- At the start of my twenties
- About to start the second year of a degree in Maths & Computer Science
- Living between my parents house and a student flat in South West England
- On the committee of the university photography society
- In posession of a shiny new compact digital camera
- Rendered unable to work at my desk by the vast amount of junk I own
- Listening to BBC Radio 4
- Supposed to be sorting out my room
- Sitting at the kitchen table with my hair wrapped in a towel and eating grapes

Things wot make me happy include:
Things which make me happy
(click through to Flickr for annotations)

I don't have any followers yet so I can't very well ask them what makes them happy, but if you're reading this the comment box is down there *points*

Courgette* & Cream Cheese Tart

*or zucchini if you're American

This post comes to you courtesy of Facebook. While it was down last night I spent a while discovering the Smitten Kitchen blog, which several people I follow had mentioned on their blogs; one of them was definitely Helen of Afeitar who makes me thoroughly jealous of her baking.
I bookmarked far too many recipes to try (they're sorted into those that I have tried and those that I haven't and, unsurprisingly, the latter folder is much bigger)and I decided to have a look in the fridge and see what I could make; I ended up with an adaptation of Zucchini and Ricotta Galette.
Courgette & Cream Cheese Tart
It was an adaptation because I had to use what I had, which means swaps: yoghurt for sour cream, Sainsbury's Basics cream cheese for ricotta, flora for butter, more cream cheese for mozzarella etc.
The pastry coped with the yoghurt fine, it was just a tad on the sticky side so I'd use less water next time. I also stuck some dried mixed herbs and chopped sundried tomato in the filling to make up for using inferior cheese (although I'm not sure I put enough in as I couldn't taste either). Also I'm lazy so I didn't rest the pastry, salt the courgette or brush egg yolk on the pastry as she does. It's bodge cooking but it seems to have worked.
One silly mistake I made was adding bicarb to the pastry because I decided that it needed to rise. I think that's what's responsible for the slightly odd taste of the crust and its spongier texture. I'm a baking n00b.
I quite liked the pastry really, it didn't require a vast amount of mixing or anything, just the extra flour at the rolling-out stage. I'd like to make more of these in the future I think! Possibly sweet ones with apples from the glut we have at the moment.
Courgette & Cream Cheese Tart

7 Rules for Happy Blogging

I'll start off by saying that I'm by no means a blog virgin (ancient and current attempts: 1 2), but I (somewhat naively) intend to make this one a success. That's success judged by whether a) I stick to the rules I'm going to give myself b) I keep posting c) people actually read it.
I'm willing to give myself some slack on the last one as expecting the rest of the world to find my ramblings interesting might be asking a little much.

Anyway, I shall:

1. Update at least once a week for at least a year from today (Friday 24th September 2010)

2. Keep it succinct. Fewer rambling descriptions of the minutiae of my life. I won't feel obligated to blog about something, or go into great depth when a brief sentence is fine.

3. Have no rules about posting a certain thing. I've failed at Flickr-based 52 Weeks projects because I just don't have the ideas (or Strobist skills) for 52 interesting self-portraits. (see said attempts here: 1 2)

4. Not worry too much about explaining who relates to who in my life. The boy shall be the boy, the older sister shall be the older sister (or OS) and the younger sister the younger sister (or YS) etc.

5. Include at least one photo in each post, doesn't matter what of, or if it's old or new. My other blogspot blog is full of photos, mostly in chronological order.

6. Not "abuse commas" as my OS is always saying I do. And spellcheck before I publish (I can spell, it's normally just typos).

7. Regularly re-read and remember these rules.

I was torn between publishing here and on Tumblr. Tumblr is nice in a sort of bubbly, enthusiastic, easy way but I think I prefer the more permanent feel of blogger/blogspot/Google and the fact that it already supports comments!
Things I blog about may include: cooking, clothes, charity shops, photos/photography, jewellery making, the occasional bout of Maths/Computer Science geekery, books, knitting/crochet, my love of train journeys, and anything else that crosses my mind.


52.16 - FlickLgraphique!

Oops! Almost broke Rule 5.