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Further to the last entry's mention of Grillstock: I did finally pick up a few culinary tidbits toward the end of the day, from the good people of Chilli Seeds: a superbly tasty garlic chutney, a coriander pickle, their Dragon's Breath hot sauce (a Jamaican style sauce, with an amusingly slow start, sweet and tasty, before the punch hits), and their Pure Pain Paste, made of Bhut Jolokia peppers, weighing in somewhere in the region of 1m Scovilles. And a bit of their wonderful Teriyaki Wizard, except my friend wound up snagging the last bottle they had with them - but, they were kind enough to let me have the rest of the bottle they'd opened for sampling, for free. ^_^ Pure Pain does look like it'll be getting some use - I took advantage of it on Sunday, making up a hot teriyaki beef dish, tossing some in with ground beef, carrots, broccoli, and a yellow pepper, which turned out beautifully tasty and hot ("burns twice"). The garlic and coriander chutneys also go fantastically well with Cheddar and crackers, which I must resist. =:9

Want to help jharish with Project Nunway 4? If you're a fan of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and want to help bring some furriness to the proceedings, please do check it out. ^_^ By way of a taster, here's Project Nunway III last year.

The Whole Story is a comic anthology available without any DRM, with artists like Ryan Estrada, Ryan North, Zach Weiner, Shaenon Garrity, David Malki, and Erika Moen. And you get to name your price, though they're taking a leaf out of Kickstarter's book - pay more, and you get incremental bonuses. Is it worth it? Here's a preview, though quite large - at 42MB, be prepared for it not to download instantaneously, unless you're sitting on some revoltingly fast connection. (And payments are not via PayPal, but Gumroad - no registration required, just the magic numbers)

Breaking Out is the first in an experimental series of productions by the BBC - here, an audio play ("best experienced from the UK", and "performs best on Chrome using the Web Audio API, but should also work in Firefox, Opera and Safari through a fallback solution" ), on the basis of "perceptive media".

Saw David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis". ^_^ I shan't try to review it, but if you're expecting a conventional structure, don't even try here. =:D Needless to say, I loved it. It's not Fly-Cronenberg, but rather more Dead Ringers, where it's all about the people - or rather, just the central character. Toss in some David Lynch, and a tiny dash of nihilist Tarantino. It's a film that will (again, speaking personally) survive multiple viewings, as there's simply so much said, so many thoughts expounded, mostly worth consideration of their own. Having them delivered quite so densely isn't something you normally encounter in film, outside of the likes of Stalker.

In a more mainstream vein, The Awakening finally sees a limited US release. If you're up for a highly atmospheric, old school horror yarn - that is, entirely character-driven, with no gore - I can happily recommend it. Quite unsettling.

Wednesday was a particularly happy day, for one simple reason: peacefulness. ^_^ Rather than head into the usual office, I went into the library instead, and found quiet - on the top floor, away from the main parade. I could relax, think, concentrate, and work with so much more clarity than I usually know. It left me accomplished, and happy. (Wasn't quite so thrilled about one of my usual rabbiteering spots becoming a temporary car park for part of a small music festival, but I suppose it'll recover. I left the sultanas I'd brought in for the buns over at the nearer of the other spots I frequent. Whether or not it encourages them to hang around isn't really important, though it'd certainly be a bonus - it'll surely be an enjoyable variation from the norm)

Random bit of nifty biology: how the fairy wasp lost its neural nuclei. You see, they're quite remarkable creaures - being so very small, there's simply no room for normal neurons (and not many of those, either). Whilst a bee may have some 850,000, and even a fly some 340,000, these manage with a humble 7,400 or so - and yet, it manages all the functions required, in locating food, being able to fly, and finding a place to lay eggs.

I see Chuck E Cheese is getting a makeover: into a guitar-wielding rocker =:D The story doesn't touch on whether there'll still be costumes and/or animatronics, though I'd imagine there'd have to be some element, unless they went with just animated CG figures.

Bits and pieces are slowly being released by way of news of the next season of Doctor Who, with some fabulous casting news: there'll be Diana Rigg and her daughter, Rachel Stirling in a Mark Gatiss ep, and David Warner in another.

A nice prize, if you're a photographer: any size gallery wrap - and they go up to 30x40"! - if you win their Flickr contest on the theme of "Summer of Love". (US/Canada only, though I'd imagine there's no problem with having it sent along by a friend)

If you're looking for a good free field recording app, Blue FiRe works very nicely, judging by tonight's recording of a few songs by De Fuego, who did indeed rock it, acoustically - just two guitars (admittedly also via the pub's audio system), nothing else, but they made those things sing and stomp. Brilliant. Here's an example tune - as you'd expect of a recording made on a phone, it's hardly studio quality, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. Or, The Empty and Journey, over on YouTube, with them simply playing.

Meanwhile, for drums, there's the iPad-only Molten Drum Machine, which is soon to be replaced by One Red Dog's new app - so, to celebrate the transition, they're giving it away until the end of July, when it'll be removed from the store.

If you've ever thought new British houses are tiny, it's not merely a matter of perception: they're the smallest in Europe.

Five hints on shaking up your travel photography - definitely worth taking to heart. Nothing you don't know, at heart, but easily worth being reminded of. (Got any examples that demonstrate qualities as described?)

If the whole matter of the Higgs boson has left you a little perplexed, here's PhD Comics with a cartoon explanation into just what it is, and just how you go about detecting such particles. As for yesterday's Higgs Day discovery, John Ellis of CERN:
"There is no doubt that something very much like the Higgs boson has been discovered. The strengths of the signals observed independently by CMS and ATLAS are completely convincing, and they are supported by data from the Tevatron experiments CDF and D0.

Now the emphasis will shift to verifying the properties of the particle that has been discovered: does it have spin zero? Does it couple to other particles proportional to their masses?

The discovery will open up a new era in particle physics, as we look for deviations from the properties expected in the Standard Model, and for other physics beyond the Standard Model that might be connected, such as the nature of dark matter."
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'd love to try out "Breaking Out" but it seems utterly broken on OS X Firefox. And I *will not install chrome* on OS X, because Google do awful and stupid things with their 'updater' software.
Mm, I recall Google was taking a rather forceful approach with their software, particularly Google Earth, to the point where the only way to disable it was to replace the files responsible with nulls, then set them or that directory to have no write permissions, so it couldn't "repair" them and resume auto-updating. I do accept that it's a very good thing, for a company, to have the latest version out there as widespread as possible, as it obviously keeps stale bug reports from accumulating, and thereby a less buggy experience for people, but utterly removing any control did seem rather off-putting.

Sadly, it doesn't seem to work in the latest nightly of Safari - it brings me to a closed lift door, but that's as far as it goes, with nothing more heard, spontaneously or in response to clicks on the lift buttons or mousehole.

Early days, I suppose.=:/
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I fear as much, though I wonder if the current state of robotics is substantially more reliable? But, yes, going with pure visuals eliminates that upkeep entirely, howsoever modest, not to mention the initial outlay. I'll have to try digging around a bit, and see if there are any more details on what's to become of Chuck's corporeality, or if he's destined to become a being of pure energy. (Which wouldn't be so bad, but I don't think I'd be all that keen on being 2D)

With luck, maybe it'll become fursuits - still an investment, but probably a good deal cheaper than animatronics, even if the expressivity's not guaranteed. I'd bet the kids would have more fun with real, live CEC than just on displays - I suppose it all comes down to how much or little the company wants to make a fun, distinctive experience of it all, versus how much they can wring from the parents in exchange for how little. =:/
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Oh, indeed - I was hoping they'd keep them, or rather, replace them with the new design, as opposed to eliminating them.

(What's the pizza like, anyway? My understanding is that's somewhere near the bottom of their priorities)

I wonder if it was/is possible to snag the role for yourself, or if cycling through everyone was a matter of policy.
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their Pure Pain Paste, made of Bhut Jolokia peppers, weighing in somewhere in the region of 1m Scovilles.

In other words, completely inedible. :) (Unless perhaps you dilute it to a point where the taste – other than the heat – cannot be discerned anymore at all.)

Interesting wasp. I never knew insects that small existed at all!

The travel photography tips are good, too; in fact, they're good tips in general. I'd add one, a very general one: focus on what's interesting, not on what's representative. (This, too, applies more generally than travel photography, of course.)
It's not meant to be eaten as a relish, although it's perfectly possible to partake of it on a cracker, as indeed visitors to the stand were invited, same as with all their wares. ^_^ It's simply a convenient preserve of the pepper, making for a different style of heat to, say, the Berbere spice mix I often use for heat. It's perfectly possible to make very hot and thoroughly deliciously spicy food, after all. ^_^

It never ceases to amaze me - life, in the sense of things able to reproduce and react to their environments, comes in such a vast range of styles, from the humblest single cell (and of course, some of those can be surprisingly large, and with plenty going on at a microbiological level), slime molds, fungi, plankton, up through all the insects and worms, to the mammals, all taking advantage of different habitats and special optimisations for their lifestyles, from the heightened hearing of the rabbit (yay!) to the anteater's specialised jaw.

focus on what's interesting, not on what's representative

Mmm! That's something the 300mm's particularly handy for - being able to go into one specific little spot of what you're looking at, and possibly even crop down further from that, regardless of what the rest of the scene might have been. I've got a shot of some leaves reflected in the dark water collected in a log from yesterday, which - it's a messy shot, but there's something quite appealing about it. ^_^ Or, that "Sienna Lightning" from a few weeks ago - that was only in a relatively small area of the sky, but isolated, that becomes the star of the show.

(I really need to be better about checking up on friends' work on Flickr. I just so rarely seem to remember)
It's perfectly possible to make very hot and thoroughly deliciously spicy food, after all. ^_^

Perhaps, although I'm still a little unsure just how useful peppers like these are. But then I'm the kind who generally appreciates heat when it's balanced with other flavors; I know not everyone's like that, and when others have different preferences and like unbridled burns, that's fine, too. :)

In the end, as long as you genuinely ENJOY the taste (whatever it may be), everything's dandy; but with the jolokia peppers, I'm always a little wary that people (manufacturers and consumers) see them as a gimmick of sorts, too, seeing as they're currently considered the hottest you'll find.

It never ceases to amaze me - life, in the sense of things able to reproduce and react to their environments, comes in such a vast range of styles, from the humblest single cell (and of course, some of those can be surprisingly large, and with plenty going on at a microbiological level), slime molds, fungi, plankton, up through all the insects and worms, to the mammals, all taking advantage of different habitats and special optimisations for their lifestyles, from the heightened hearing of the rabbit (yay!) to the anteater's specialised jaw.

And don't forget the highly developed, complex social interactions seen in animals such as wolves. *s* Isn't it amazing that all that stems from nothing more than the desire (in a very loose sense) of the gene to replicate itself?

I'm also fascinated by microfauna, BTW, everything that's smaller than the eye can see, or at least smaller than the eye will usually notice — hydras, for instance, and other such critters. (Interestingly, hydras seem to solve the "brain problem" by simply not having a brain in the usual sense, although that's perhaps less surprising for a comparatively simpler animal.)

Mmm! That's something the 300mm's particularly handy for - being able to go into one specific little spot of what you're looking at, and possibly even crop down further from that, regardless of what the rest of the scene might have been. I've got a shot of some leaves reflected in the dark water collected in a log from yesterday, which - it's a messy shot, but there's something quite appealing about it. ^_^ Or, that "Sienna Lightning" from a few weeks ago - that was only in a relatively small area of the sky, but isolated, that becomes the star of the show.

Oh yeah, there is that, too. What I meant, though – especially in the context of travel photography – was to not take photos of the usual landmarks etc.; I've not really taken that advice to heart yet on previous travels, but I'll try to do so in the future. If you want a picture of, I don't know, the Niagara Falls, spend a dollar and buy a postcard, and you'll get one that's better than anything you could've taken; instead, go for the things that catch your eye, or your attention.

(I really need to be better about checking up on friends' work on Flickr. I just so rarely seem to remember)

Heh, you could use your favorite feed reader to keep up with what your friends post — just use http://www.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_friends.gne?user_id=31358401@N00&friends=0&display_all=1&format=rss_200 . :) In fact, you could even use LJ — that's what I do.

The only downside to this is that non-public images will not show up in these feeds (for obvious reasons), but it's a good way of keeping up with the public stuff, at least.
Awesome! I got mentioned in your blog! I hope it's just as spectacular. The angel of light at the last show had me screaming at the top of my lungs with excitement when her wings flapped across the audience!!
Hee! I'm just around, you know? ^_^ If anyone can be of assistance, that's what counts.

When actually will Nunway 4 be? I doubt I can help directly, given the pathetic finances, but the project's flexible enough that if I could be around, I could help - I'm free to work whenever I want, as long as it all gets done. Where it happens isn't very important.

Now.. I don't think Rubberzebra's really on LJ, but I'll try nudging him toward this entry, and see if he squeaks. =:)


Edited at 2012-07-07 01:44 am (UTC)
Don't know if you've heard yet, but they've managed to beat the Bhut Jolokia recently... The new hottest one is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, hits around 2M Scovilles.

Found a decent article about them: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/worlds-hottest-pepper_n_1281449.html

An interesting excerpt from the article:
During harvesting, senior research specialist Danise Coon said she and the two students who were picking the peppers went through about four pairs of latex gloves.

"The capsaicin kept penetrating the latex and soaking into the skin on our hands. That has never happened to me before," she said.

Oooh! I'll have to see if I can find a sauce or paste based on them - that kind of gentle build would surely make for a delightfully evil sauce. =:D And the story notes that used in moderation, they're also particularly tasty peppers!

(Of course, I'm reminded of one time the roomie back in yon tbyte days cut up some bird's eye peppers, then went to avail himself of the toilet, without first washing up..)
Also, I just read the Chuck E Cheese article and I didn't realize the chain was founded in San Jose by Nolan Bushnell!
And indeed, he was apparently a GoH at Cheesevention 9 recently!
Cracked.com discussed Chuck E. Cheese's transformation -- and its many previous ones, from the gutter to the street and back, apparently, to the gutter. See http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/the-surprisingly-dark-origin-story-chuck-e.-cheese/
I actually rather like the new look, although I'd be terribly tempted to give him leather jeans. ^_^ Or maybe have his musical repertoire supplied by Rammstein.. (I'm not generally much into metal, but they manage to get my interest. I still regard their video for Sonne quite highly)
I'm in Paris, whose real-estate agents advertise (apartment) dwellings that are the smallest I've ever seen by a very long shot. 15m (150 square feet, about the size of a bedroom) is fairly common. I took a picture of the prize ad: 5m (50 square feet), which is about the size of a double bed. No joke. On the other hand, it was well-located and only 59,000 euros.
Hoo! I think I've seen one or two shots of that kind of.. living space, over on Lovely Listings. Inevitably rather close-fitting, but done well, it's quite remarkably just how much can be crammed into a small space and still have a fully functional cooker and workspace, fridge, toilet, and bed.

Indeed, one place I looked at before the last move was probably not much larger than 150sq.ft. - it looked like a double bed would fill up much of the main space of the room, not including the kitchen spur. That, coupled with being right in the center, with single-glazed windows, rather put me off. Where I wound up has quite a bit more space, though still just an apartment, and with some rather heavy-footed neighbors upstairs - but, they're pretty decent sorts, and don't deliberately make much noise. And the location's nicely central, just across the river from the bus and train stations, so the commute's fairly painless.

I'd imagine taking photos for that listing must've been a mite challenging. ^_^ Still, yes, for a good location in Paris, that's actually an affordable amount.

I've got to ask, of course: what are you up to in Paris? ^_^
I love Lovely Listings. I used to read it before Cheezburger bought it.

I'm consulting for Commerce Guys for the next week, then head back to Rotterdam for (most) of the rest of the summer. I'm signed up to go to Eurofurence, but am thinking of canceling: The person I was planning to room with changed in personality (and attitude toward me) for the worse since we made the agreement, so I called it off. I don't fancy rooming alone, or sharing with someone I don't know. You're not going, are you?