Thursday, 30 March 2006

Wasted Opportunities

This image was on 'Astronomy Picture of the Day' recently:

The picture was taken nearly 37 years ago.

Why are humans not still there? The United States pulled off the greatest feat of engineering and exploration in history, and then abandoned the Moon.

Once there, they should never have left.

Now it will take yet another decade to make it back, while the imagination-free scream 'Been there! Done that!' and 'Waste of tax-payer dollars!' etc.

Many of the same people have no problem at all watching countless billions being poured into the black hole of the US military to wage unnecessary or imaginary conflicts of their own creation. A fraction of the military budget would put humanity back on the the moon and on Mars. And would be a better use (duh!) of the money.

The next 'giant leap for mankind' is inevitable (as long as a wandering 10km wide asteroid doesn't take us out first). The problem is getting politicians now to fund something that is not of direct benefit to their re-election strategies. Any true commitment would not bear fruit for decades or even centuries.

Sigh. It should have been in my lifetime. Now I doubt it will occur in my children's lifetimes...

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Cooking: Tomatoes and Pasta

All right - kind of basic, but we love it. Caramelising the tomatoes makes all the difference.

Serves 2 - 4.

Ingredients in metric. Sorry Yanks - the rest of the world left Imperial measurements behind years ago... As a small concession I have counted the tomatoes in non-metric units.

  • 8-10 good very ripe tomatoes
  • Good Splash or 3 (or 5) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 or 2 anchovies, or Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • A bulb of Garlic
  • A handful of fresh Basil Leaves chopped or shredded
  • Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
  • 125g - 150g thin spaghetti per person
  • Fresh parmesan cheese or similar
  1. Preheat oven 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Cut the stalk core out of the tomatoes and cut a deep cut into each tomato. Stuff the cut with the basil and place in a suitable baking tray.
  3. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic, leaving the skin on and showing a cross-section of all the cloves within. Place in baking tray with tomatoes.
  4. Break up the anchovies into tiny pieces and place them on the tomatoes. If you don't like anchovies, you can substitute a sprinkle of Worcestershire Sauce (or omit it).
  5. Splash on the olive oil.
  6. Grind on the salt and pepper in amounts that suit you.
  7. Place tray in oven and cook till tomatoes are collapsed and caramelised. The browner the better - the richer the flavour. Don't go to black... :-)
  8. If you wish, pluck the skins off the collapsed tomatoes. I am in two minds about this - the skins do provide flavour but the bits of skin may be undesirable to some.
  9. Pull out the garlic. Separate out some of the cloves from the garlic bulb - as many or as few as you like. The cloves should be mushy if you squeeze them. Mash the cloves and add back into the tomatoes.
  10. While the pasta is cooking, pour a little balsamic vinegar (if you like it) over the tomatoes and mash it all up. It should look runny and very rustic.
  11. Spoon as much as you like over the cooked pasta and grate on some fresh parmesan cheese.

With a glass of good red - Heaven on a plate.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Art Stuff

Over the last year or so I've spent as much time as possible trying to develop drawing and portraiture skills. This was from yesterday and was one of my first attempts at using soluble graphite pencils, to give a washed/painted look. They are not easy to use, but I think I'll persist with them as they provide a lot of opportunities for different effects.

You can see more of my artistic efforts good and bad here.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Monopoly F.A.Q.

Why are we playing this crap?
A. I dunno.


Monday, 20 March 2006

The photo on the top right...

(is currently missing - will return when I find another copy)...was taken when I was 5 or less. I have no memory of it being taken.

In fact, I can't remember more than a couple of events before 1959, and as early as the 1960's that was the best I could do. People who remember being babies certainly have a skill I never had. At the age of three I pulled a full size dressing mirror over my head. I was found sitting in a sea of glass shards. No memory.

I CAN remember being four and meeting up with a kid I didn't know, going into his house and pulling a tank loaf of bread out from under the kitchen sink and eating the middle out of it with him. His mother wasn't pleased and I have no idea why I did it, but I remember it.

First Post on the dark side...

Succumbing to inevitability, I'm trying out a blog service rather than blogging on my own site.

I will still be maintaining my personal website, but the blog element will be here. Just to see what it feels like for a while.