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I made paella Saturday a few weeks ago! Or something sort of like it. ^_^ It began a week previously, with the half Peking duck I picked up for quarter the usual price - I boiled the rest down for stock, which turned out remarkably tasty. Too nice for just soup, I felt, and the notion of risotto wasn't exciting me. And then the idea happened upon me: paella. =:D I already had chicken in the freezer, and some tiger prawns in need of using up, plus most of the herbs and such - but that still left a few bits I needed to buy, like chorizo (not pre-sliced), and ideally, some authentic bomba rice, the traditional Spanish varietal that manages to absorb around 3x its volume in liquid, rather than the more usual 2x.

So, I started with sauteeing the chorizo, chopped into small nuggets, leaving the oil nicely aromatic. Out with the chorizo, in with a sliced onion. Then, that's off to the side as well, ready for the main act. ^_^ Some saffron, tomatoes, garlic paste, thyme, oregano, and rosemary, plus plenty of lemon juice, until it became a thick paste, ready for the chicken and vegetables (some asparagus and broccoli), then the rice, the all important stock, and a little boiling water to ensure it's covered, back in with the chorizo, and then, on with the lid. Well, not that it's actually the right size.. it's from my old wok, which was a bit smaller, so it sat in/on the sauce most of the time =:/

Toward the end, I added a bag of tiger prawns, which I'd previously defrosted and marinated in lemon juice and oyster sauce, to be sure they wouldn't overcook, and then turned up the heat, to deliberately scald the bottom, as is the tradition. ^_^ Then, a few minutes' resting, and serving. Ahhh, yes. Okay, I won't be putting any Spanish chefs out of business, but it was very tasty indeed. ^_^ I'll certainly try some more variants in the future, emboldened by the way that bomba rice indeed doesn't ever go starchy - I'm not that comfortable with getting rice spot on, so having an essentially foolproof rice by my side definitely helps. That, coupled with a very pleasant Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Australia, made for quite a pleasant Saturday night, followed on with Now You See Me.

Rather an insightful consideration into what makes a good teacher: The Lesson of Grace in Teaching. (Psst, jakebe!)

A fascinating site, via lovelyangel: "Introvert, Dear", which bills itself as being "for introverts and highly sensitive people".

Easily worth a look: I Illustrate Scientists' Failures, including moments like "staring through my binoculars to count invasive parakeets roost @ NATO headquarters. Getting arrested by security team" and "baboons stole our last roll of toilet paper and used it to decorate a very very high tree".

Charlie Stross weighs in with the obvious (if you're not a manager) on how disruptive meetings or other interruptions are within a working day. And the comments are worth reading, too. (h/t supergee)

Does anyone have experience with ceramic kitchen knives? I'm giving consideration to picking up one or two, but first-hand experience would count for a lot, versus randomness on the web. Are there any brands to avoid, or things to look out for, good or bad?

Need something beautiful in your life? How about the Northern Lights in Iceland, shot by a camera on a drone.

A few weeks ago saw a rather fun little evening of science, courtesy of Dr Kat Arney, explaining (insofar as one can in but an hour or so!) just how genes work - not nearly as simple a topic as most headline writers would have you believe: the magic isn't really in the genes, so much as the specific timing of their expression. The questions afterwards added, too - I'm pleased I reminded the roomie to stay put for that. =:) If you get the opportunity to hear her give a talk, go for it - and be prepared to buy her book - Herding Hemingway's Cats - which, looking at the roomie's copy, is indeed well worth picking up.

Think you've got web design chops? Have a go at the 10K challenge - as long as your page(s) come in under 10K, with additional resources permissible later, you're fine. The winner gets a $4k Visa and other goodies, with three runners up (design, technical, people's choice) getting a $2k Visa and the goodies. Entries must be in by Sep 30 2016, and everyone can submit up to three projects. The rules don't appear to mention any geographical restrictions.

This boulder is also a WiFi access point, powered by fire.

Well, that was a minor relief - the iPhone had begun to exhibit difficulties charging, with both the cable I've always used, and the iPad's. I was beginning to wonder if there might be some weird fault, which wouldn't be a lot of fun, but thought the cable might be duff - but, no, the iPad's fine with either. I recalled having similar trouble a year or so back, which turned out to be just accumulated lint, so I tried folding a corner of a sheet of paper into a thin tool to try getting anything out, but couldn't seem to retrieve anything, leaving me without much of a solution. Finally, my meagre bunny brain wondered it a slender wiretie might do the trick, being thin enough, but also offering a definite point at the end - and lo, many tiny fluff nuggets were excavated, and it's merrily slurping down on electrons once more. So, whilst I still don't like the idea of wireless charging much, given the losses involved (though, there do seem to be ways of improving - the Wiki page indicates one system's capable of 86%), I'll admit there's at least something of a use case.

Game of the week has to be The Inner World, a release from 2013 which I'd completely missed. It's as well written as you'd hope from a good point & click adventure, with appropriately professional voice acting, and all in a nicely surreal (though not entirely unfamiliar) world. I only found out about it as its sequel is apparently on its way for early in 2017. ^_^ Anyway, here's the original's trailer - it gives a reasonable impression of what's in store, if perhaps a bit light on the (dry) humor that courses through it.

And then, by way of a new release, we have KOMRAD, wherein "you're communicating with an abandoned Soviet-era computer AI, the eponymous KOMRAD. It's not talked to anyone in thirty years, working in isolation without knowing that the Soviet Union kinda doesn't exist any more, and you're out to stop it." The twist? It's from the former Chief Design Officer of IBM's Watson. =:)

Not much to report on the rabbiteering front lately, I'm afraid - the weather and availability have conspired to make for only a couple opportunities in the past week or so, and frustratingly, on both, they've been more comfortable with staying indoors, to the point of only taking two shots on all three days. ^_^; I did take the time to check out the other spots along the circuit that I've sometimes had good fortune with, though - down in the dip by the footpath, there does seem to be some activity, with two buns wanting to get out of sight as I approached. Further on, the lower priority spot (for want of better access - there's long been an active warren by the footpath, but no useful visibility for photography) is currently out of reach, with shrub and nettle growth now obscuring the view entirely. I'd hoped the old spot where I took Momentary might perhaps have come back to life, but there wasn't any immediate sign of bunnitude there.

Aaaah! I am (somewhat cautiously) delighted to note that whilst one Thursday's rabbiteering began sparse, I caught some fun moments along the footpath, on one of my other spots, and toward sunset, returning to my current-main spot, there were five to be seen. ^_^ No action shots from them, I'm afraid, but still - after these weeks of wondering if they'd completely decamped, I was so happy to see some significant presence remaining after all, plus some awakening of some other locations, including the aforementioned "Momentary" spot, which has been completely vacant of bunnitude for well over a year, if not two. (Just the one, there, but still - where there's one, there may well be others! Aha.. indeed, a subsequent visit showed three around! No particularly remarkable shots as yet)

Similarly old school (relatively), we have Biker Mice: Mars Attack!, apparently a prequel to the TV show. "The stinkin' fish-faced Plutarkians have launched a devastating attack on Mars. They have won the war and begun extracting all of the planet's resources to send back to Plutark, but the resistance continues. Take control of the Martian Freedom Fighters in a turn-based strategy battle against the Plutarkian armies and their mercenaries. With your favorite characters from the classic 90s TV series 'Biker Mice from Mars' and gameplay inspired by another 90s classic 'Advance Wars', this game was built by fans for fans. Play as commanders Modo, Throttle and Vinnie."

On the TV front, I noticed The Beatrix Potter Collection has been relaunched for the author's 150th birthday - and you can download all the episodes from the iTunes Store for a princely £5.99! Only SD, unfortunately, as that's how it was originally produced. If you've not seen this version of these classic tales before, I'd encourage taking a look - the animation's fully hand-drawn, inspired by her style - they're a true joy to look at. ^_^ (If you're feeling impecunious, you can also find them on YouTube)

What it's like to be detained at Heathrow, having been invited to the UK by the organisers of a conference.

How would you like to try out the UK's only 360 degree swing? ^_^; It's not at any theme park - just someone's back garden. By someone who hates heights. ^_^

Everyone's heard of the "we only use 10% of our brains" myth - but, on trying to find out where that yarn's origins lay, I was rather surprised to find there isn't a definitely known source, though it's been circulating for around a century now.

This is technically an ad, but, it's from Spike Jonze. It's quite brilliant. ^_^ KENZO World, to an original score by Sam Spiegel. If you can dig superb choreography, this is one to watch.

Last Saturday's viewing was more single-minded, but far-reaching: all three episodes of A Cabbie Abroad, which pitches a London taxi driver into the reality of driving in some very different locales - Phnom Penh, Iqaluit (capital of Nunavut), and Fiji. There are no punches pulled in showing just how threadbare life can be in Phnom Penh and Suva, or the extent of the cultural upheaval the Inuit have had to try to come to terms with.

On the virtual world front, I was intrigued to see an old time SLUer resurface on the site, this time to help promote pre-launch design and testing of a new virtual world he's been involved with for a while: Space. Compared to SL, there are a couple qualities that particularly stand out: first, the graphics are scalable from gaming rigs down to the likes of Kindle Fire. (The graphics engine is Unity 5) Second, whilst SL still only offers full sims and homesteads (effectively about a quarter of the resources of a full sim, so, ideal for just somewhere for you and some friends, rather than a full-blown club), costing $300/mo or $125/mo, Space offers multiple options, from free for a 10 user sim with a 128MB upload size limit, $5/mo (launch price) for a 20 user sim with a 256MB cap and ticketed support, all the way up to $75/mo for 1000 users over 10 sims, 2GB cap, and 24/7 support with a 3 hour SLA. Whilst the mobile clients aren't out yet, they will be made available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. On the desktop front, it's the usual trio: macOS, Linux, and Windows. Consoles will also be supported, and via WebGL. Here's a rough'n'ready demo clip - as you can see, there are some rough edges, but equally, clearly, some tremendous potential! (Or, here's a newly minted teaser trailer, with more polished editing)

And I was quite pleased to see rabitguy had a new commission made of himself. How could you say no to those eyes? ^_^ (You know, I never realised he had pawpads)

 
 
 
 
 
 
Easily worth a look: I Illustrate Scientists' Failures, including moments like "staring through my binoculars to count invasive parakeets roost @ NATO headquarters. Getting arrested by security team" and "baboons stole our last roll of toilet paper and used it to decorate a very very high tree".

Heh! Those are good.

I'd never have thought of licking a (potential) fossil to determine whether that's really what it was, either. (In fact thinking about it some I still can't see how that would help.)
That does require a geologist's perspective, I think. Not to say it wasn't just "it seemed like a good idea at the time". =:) Else, how would so many people know what a 9V battery tastes like? *grin*
What would a geologist's perspective be, then?
The Inner World looks really interesting, thanks! I'm trying to work out how to buy it, but I can only find the OS X version priced at £12, which seems wrong when there's an Android version costing £2.29. Is that a normal price discrepancy?
Weirdly, that does seem fairly commonplace, for no reason I can quite fathom. Not that I'm complaining, of course - the iOS version is similarly priced, and it's entirely the same game as its desktop kin, no IAPs. I suppose it's simply the result of many folk thinking mobile games have to be next to free, as all the others are.
Ah, I guess that could be it, yes. Oh well. I tried the Android version but found it annoying that I couldn't interact with the game without putting my hand in the way of the thing I was trying to look at, so got a refund. I might get the OS X version at some point, then, but I'm trying to be relatively thrifty at the moment...
Ah, that's a pity, but understandable. I found that if I was uncertain of something and wanted to look more closely, either it (most of the time) would work as I'd want, or, I'd use the "press anywhere else to see all the points you can examine" tweak, as there are a few spots that were a bit too close, such as near the trapdoor in the Mecatre stage, where you can enjoy a rousing piece of mechanical theatre penned by the great leader. =:)

I do wish the next part were coming sooner, but still, before then, there's also the final part of Star Billions (a curious title with sort of Animal Crossing sensibilities, but a storyline that's quite nicely convoluted - you're advising four AIs aboard a spaceship, in a tale of trying to find where humanity's gone, and what happened), the next and/or final part of Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, another p&c adventure, this time with 1960s animation stylings, like a less serious Bond. Sadly, the concluding part of The Journey Down won't be out until early next year as well; there, the style is all about African tribal masks forming everyone's faces, rather effectively.
It wasn't so much about being uncertain of things, more being annoyed by having my view obstructed, if you see what I mean. It's like “hey, I was looking at that!” Perhaps it'd be better on a tablet rather than a smartphone.
Long ago and far away, my mom bought the kids a Peter Rabbit and Friends vhs tape (only two episodes, I believe), and it came with the series soundtrack on a CD! I still listen to these lovely, lilting songs and melodies. Netflix or Amazon had the series for a while, if memory serves me.


(Click to expand and read)

I'm glad your rabbits are re-populating. Such a diverse little species! We have three out front every morning and night now, and I believe two may be siblings who chose not to follow local biologists' "rules for rabbits" that the cottontails are solitary and keep to their territories.
I absolutely love your posts!! They're eclectic and witty, two virtues I greatly appreciate. A few comments on the content:

The "Scientists' Failures" blog is hilarious; many thanks for bringing it to my attention! I was already cracking up at your "glued myself to the crocodile" image, and quite a few of the others at that site cracked me up as well, in particular "Mr. Flappy" and "I swallowed the fossil".

It's great to see there's still life left in the Biker Mice franchise. It still utterly baffles me that there was never a release of the entire 65-episode original run in the US, nor a release of the new series. I mean, if a studio realizes that a series was so popular that they bring it back to life, wouldn't you think they'd try to milk it a little more by actually letting us fans buy the series? Like, multiple copies of it (you know, for backup)? Grrrr....

And yes, that commissioned bit of artwork at the end of your posting is quite lovely indeed. ;-)
Another cornucopia of lovely links! ... Thanks! *huggle*

- I too had to change my advisor in college, the one I had was not willing to to anything at all

- Going thru storage I found my original Beatrix Potter LP record from childhood :D

- hilarious science art!

- amazing wi-fi rock!

... and a very nice portrait of your rabbit pal at the finale ^v^