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If Cambridge (the original, not the Massachussetts one) is within reach for you, you might want to take note of the Retro Gaming Night at the Centre for Computing History, on Friday, Feb 21 2014, 7pm-1am. It's a "bring your own booze" affair, 18+ only, with systems including "Atari 2600, Grandstand Tennis Console, Nintendo NES & SNES, Sega Master System, Megadrive and Mega CD, NEC Turbografx, Panasonic 3DO, Sony PS1 and PS2, Nintendo N64, GameCube, Atari Jaguar, Sinclair ZX Spectum, Commodore 64, Amiga and CD32, Atari XE, Atari 600, Sord M5, Sam Coupe, Canon V20 MSX, Sharp MZ-80K, Toshiba MSX, Acorn BBC Micro, BBC Master Compact, Original IBM PC, Apple Mac, Commodore PET, Enterprise 128, NEC PC-FX, Super Famicom, Philips CD-I, Commodore VIC-20, Mattel Aquarius". =:D

Here's a time-lapse compilation worth a couple minutes of your time, Outside My Window, from aboard the ISS. It's quite wonderful, in the simplest sense. This is what we're capable of!

While viewing Blood & Oil, about the necessity of following your passions, I noticed a welcome tweak to the site: it's now possible to tip creators directly, not involving PayPal, though that's also an option. I'd love to see more support for non-PayPal tipping, whether Flattr, Amazon Payments, or a conventional payments processor.

A little geegaw of interest to users of newer iPads with Lightning connectors: a combo USB/memory card adaptor. Whilst it's not been a priority for me, on occasion, I've wanted to review the day's shots on a larger display than the D7100's own, and the iPad's obviously the ideal candidate for that. And lo, it works! It does feel as cheap as it is, but at least prima facie, it seems to do what it claims: reads SD Cards (at least, the 32GB SDXC I tried), and provides USB connectivity, proven here with an M-Audio Keystation 49 MIDI controller talking to VirSyn's Addictive Synth. =:D (And no powered hub required - just the keyboard straight into the iPad)

Apparently, the UK government intends to sell your medical records. Here's how to opt-out (also rephrased here).

So, that was a little out of the ordinary - received a call identifying itself as coming from a UK 0845 number (a relic of a bygone age, originally intended to make calling companies cheaper than doing so with their normal, geographic number, by charging all such numbers at the cheapest "local" rate. Of course, now, with most people either using cellphones with umptykajillion days of calls included, or landline plans with calls up to an hour free, those 0845 numbers wind up costing more than they would - a portion of which goes to the company in question), so I was expecting it to be some corporate follow-up or somesuch. Then I heard the words "Barclaycard" and "fraud" uttered by the synth voice on the other end.. =:/ I've had those a few times in the past, innocuously, usually after Linden Lab's tried processing a payment: the system reads out the most recent few transactions, and asks whether you recognise them or not. In this case, that was a tiny amount to some children's clothing company, then increasing amounts to a telco based in Ireland - first two for £25, then £100, then £300, followed by £2000 to a college (!). The larger ones were rejected, just leaving the two £25 and clothing to dispute online, when the replacement arrives on Friday or thereabouts. So, no huge harm done, though I'm left wondering which retailer's going to be announcing a data breach shortly..

And just out of random curiosity, how about sharing drinks you enjoy? ^_^

What’s in your drinks stock at the moment?

Spiced rum
Light rum
Red wine
White wine
Other spirits/liquors (tell!)
Sherry, for mock She Crab Soup. The bottle must be 15 years old and I still haven't finished it. I don't drink. But I do give the stuff away and I'll also cook with it. 8^)
Ah, I knew I’d forgotten one of the common spirits! But, that’s as many options as you can have in a checkbox poll, apparently, else I’d’ve wanted to include sake as well. =:9

Ooh, now cooking with sherry.. that’s something I haven’t engaged in in ages. Indeed, even cheap red wine can be superb, either as a dash in a stir-fry, classics like boeuf bourgignon, or - as I once enjoyed back in 2011, while visiting a friend in the City, lamb shanks braised in red wine and garlic. I think we went through about three bottles of Trader Joe’s finest two buck chuck, over the course of about six hours’ gentle simmering.. ye gods, it was good. ^_^
Without getting up and checking: sweet and dry vermouth, Belgian jenever, a couple of flavoured vodkas, cremes de various fruit, Amarula Cream, akvavit, lemon/elderflower snaps from IKEA, a tiny bottle of rum I got for Christmas and apparently am not allowed to mix with anything because it's 'good'.

Some of this stuff really needs to get drinked.
Oh, nothing wrong with mixing good rum - I used a good dash of Rumbullion NS with ginger ale the other night. ^_^ (Though, admittedly, whilst it certainly was good, I'd probably just use some cheap rum next time, given Rumbullion Navy Strength is such fantastically tasty stuff by itself)

I used to be very sceptical about flavored vodkas, but then, one GBBF a few years back, I discovered Thunder Toffee Vodka - very pleasant, smooth, and perfectly flavored. And of course, impossible to find in any shops, so it's mail order time for it - think the roomie got his bottle via Amazon. And last night, I set about two new infusions, having been quite pleased with how the previous ones had turned out (coffee beans, and long peppercorns): vanilla pod, and cinnamon sticks. Already, they're rather pleasant, with the vanilla one smelling positively heavenly. =:9 I'm using some cheap dry Schnapps Sainsbury was selling off a couple months back - basically half-strength vodka.

I do need to try jenever sometime. ^_^ Maybe that'll make its way into my next Master of Malt order in February. I'm quite hankering after a good Scotch, too - of which they have.. one or two. =:)

Reminds me, I need to try out the Baltic Restaurant sometime - the roomie was quite impressed by their range of infused vodkas. =:9 (Rose hip apparently works particularly well)
Ooh, all of those infusions sound excellent! (Not in the same league, but I am looking forward to opening my bottle of Absolut Pepar.)

I recommend http://www.jenevermuseum.be/index.php should you find yourself in Belgium. Anywhere in Belgium is close enough to be an excuse :)
Well, I am trying to lure an old Uni friend into being chauffeur for a Belgian trip around Easter.. ^_^ Neither I nor the roomie drive, and I'm quite keen to revisit Westvleteren - it's been much, much too long since I enjoyed Westvleteren Abt.12, which does indeed live up to its reputation. I'm thinking something like a gentle migration up from Calais to Bruges over a few days could be rather enjoyable - I recall there being no shortage of dangerously tempting restaurants in Bruges, let alone all the photographic possibilities.

The cinnamon's really taken off quickly! Even now, it's got a rich taste to it, with that lovely, mild pepperiness. We established it works rather nicely with a good dash of Thornton's chocolate liqueur. =:9 The vanilla will want more time (I'll probably simply leave it to sit as long as it survives), but it's rather nice as is, just relatively weak. Lovely aroma, though. ^_^
Well, I'll soon be enjoying my first sample of jenever, courtesy of the order from Master of Malt arriving on the morrow: Filliers 1992 Vintage Graanjenever 2nd release.

Though, arguably, the star of the delivery will be Dictador 20 Year Old Rum, a 14-24 year old rum from Colombia, which seems to review very well. Previously, about the best I've enjoyed was one I stumbled upon in Waitrose's selection a couple months back, Havana Club Selección de Maestros; well, okay, I'm also very fond of the aforementioned Navy Strength Rumbullion. =:9
Ooh, exciting! I look forward to your findings ^.^
Apparently, the UK government intends to sell your medical records. Here's how to opt-out (also rephrased here).

Thanks for the notice. I'll pass it on to my UK friends.

Other spirits/liquors (tell!)

Curaçao, for cocktails. The vodka's also just for cocktails, the rum's for cooking, the champagne Sekt is for special occasions, and the red wine is for... well, just in case I get visited by someone who likes wine.

And the water of life? Well, that is for me. :)

EDIT: Luna's sweet mane, how many times can you manage to misspell an HTML entity's name?

Edited at 2014-01-24 08:26 pm (UTC)
I have Cognac, Rye, Noilly Prat(for awesome Manhattans), Creme de Violette(for aviations), Luxardo Cherry Liqueur, Usquebach

I also have a wine cellar filled with wine despite my not liking wine all that much, for visitors mostly and most of my visitors aren't winos either.
I had not heard of aviations but now I am going to look them up :)
The aviation is a great old fashioned cocktail as it hails from 100 years ago, supposedly invented around 1911 or so. The base ingredients are gin, lemon juice, Creme de Violette and maraschino liqueur. It is a brilliant purple cocktail if made with the right amount of the Creme.
I will have to look out for Creme de Violette - that sounds fun! Thanks!
Oh, I'm sure I could be persuaded into helping out with the wine cellar. =:) BTW, whereabouts are you these days, anyway? I'm vaguely recalling Marin County, for some reason, but I could be hilariously mistaken. I'm quite inexperienced with wines (on that front, I'd have to defer to pawnytail's impressive expertise), but I know I'm generally quite fond of the spicier Shiraz and Grenache of California, as well as around Argentina, not to mention the wonders available in Australia - though, they do seem to keep their best for themselves. Quite understandable. =:)

Noilly Prat! Egad, I've not had that in a while. Violet? Ooh.. now that does sound rather magical! That could be a fun infusion to try sometime. Not sure how often I'd be able to use it in cocktail creations, but as a vodka variant, it'd probably be quite a delight by itself.

I do think one bottle in next month's Master of Malt order will be some kind of good Scotch. We've got a couple nice ones, but not up in the "destination" category. That said, we've both been quite pleasantly surprised just how enjoyable the 10 y.o. Auchentoshan is - a far cry from the 21, absolutely, but a good, mild session whisky.
I'm not a wine expert either. We just live in a place in SF that comes with a little tiny wine cellar as part of the kitchen, nothing super extensive with casks or anything.

I just got my paws on Usquebach, which is the old gaelic word for Whisky that means 'water of life'. Anyway, this is one of my favorite scotch blends, as it's not a single malt, but it's definitely praised by Robert Burns!

I'm sipping it neat right now and enjoying it as one of the finest glasses of scotch I've had.

Noilly Prat is perfect for making a Manhattan, BTW, and I just learned the secret ninja recipe during my wedding: Manhattan is area code 212. So you use 2 parts Bulleit Rye, 1 part Noilly Prat, 2 dashes Angostura and toss in a Luxardo Maraschino to finish it off.

I would not call it impressive expertise ^^ more like a modest expertise since I do not use (or even want to use) the classical wording ... And have not tasted every wines (but I wish I would)
Plus, wine is really a question of personnal preferences, the only advice you should follow is the one your nose and tongue
In fact I always thought that was used to impress people and make wine drinking and knowledge something elitistic ... And to sell at hideously high prices to rich and totally tasteless foreign clients , who only think it s good because it s expensive
I won t use a cliché ... But... Yes americans and chinese ... They do not know anything about food and wines (raw milk cheeses are weapons of mass destruction for those beotians), I m not sure they appreciate it (burgundy particulary cause it s far from californian fruity wines), but it s expensive so they "like" and buy plenty .
The side effect is wine becomes more and more expensive for all ...
That retro-gaming night sounds pretty awesome, and the line-up of machines is quite impressive. I did not see an Atari ST on the list though. I suppose the origanizers think they have that covered with the Amiga, but they would be wrong. :)

Drinks-wise, the Bourbon is not for me, I'm keeping it for a friend. I hope she comes back some day. :)
The other thing I have on hand is saké.
I am a terrible Frenchman because I do not like the taste of beer, or wine, or even champagne. I do occasionaly drink cocktails or hard liquor. But as a rule, I don't drink alcohol because it makes me sweat profusely.

I said cider, but I don't actually have any at the moment ^^"

That view is very nice :D

That night sounds fun, but I don't have money for travel costs at the moment, stupid unemployment :P
We're in the same boat, now at least. =:) Though I did only have a single bottle of Sainsbury's Normandy cider in the larder. (Being quite fond of cider, I did rather enjoy the opportunity of living in Bath. ^_^ Didn't hurt that the Waitrose in town carried one of my favorites, Ermie & Gertie's Yarlington Mill - a powerful, no-holds-barred farmhouse cider. Tragically, it's only carried in their Somerset and Dorset stores, and it seems to be ridiculously difficult to find online, other than in beer/cider festival guides)

Mm, travel's not a cheap commodity, more's the pity, even with railcards, as applicable. And unemployment benefit permits few avenues of fun that aren't purely online.. still, there'll be better times. ^_^
I've got a little bit of every one of those in our cabinet... but I usually prefer the wine-coolers... :>

Nice report all in all!
Not a one of them!
Ditto. Although there might be some undrinkable long-opened wine for putting in a stew.
I don't think that's the Atari 800 version of Pole Position, one of the few 'non-strategy' games I actually mastered, including the version I patched so that you went from zero to top speed instantly.

It was an excellent example of its graphics power (you could hardware scroll each horizontal line individually, so doing the winding road was easy) and it used to make owners of other 8-bit micros quite sick with envy :)
Not being able to supply any recommendations of spirits, I will instead thank you for sharing the ISS video! I hadn't seen that one, and I'm glad that I hadn't missed out.

I'm sorry to hear about your card being compromised. Having had that done just recently, I can understand the inconvenience.

My latest frustration with the whole thing was though my card was eventually reimbursed for the amount (after 3 weeks), the credit card company then tacked on a $25 charge because my card had gone over limit.

I had a feeling it was just automated systems doing what automated systems do.

Another call to the company and then another investigation opened, but in the end everything was straightened out and I was no worse the wear.


Assorted Schnapps

Edited at 2014-01-31 06:45 am (UTC)
Haha, I could spend ages listing the contents of our drinks cabinet. Beer (Imported and Domestic), Baileys, Toffee Liqueur, Amaretto, Ouzo, Creme de Menthe, some sort of kumquat liqueur, Triple Sec, Vermouth, Home made Sloe Gin, Home make coffee vodka, Kahlua...usw¸ usw
Ooh, feel free to elaborate!

I've begun experimenting with my own infusions (as noted above, somewhere or other =:), using some cheapy Stuff™ Sainsbury was selling off - only 22%, billed as "dry Schnapps", but a surprisingly decent distillate. My first attempts used a few nice coffee beans, and in another, a few long peppercorns - a relatively mild, sweet style, not a strong variety like the usual black. The pepper turned out enjoyably, though probably needed some other influence to bring it out fully. The coffee, though, turned out superbly, especially after being left to sit for a few weeks.

My more recent ones were vanilla (just cutting the pods into quarters), and cinnamon (again, simply cutting into thirds, to avoid any problems with bits floating around). The vanilla's turning out very nicely indeed, though I may have to try crushing the pods first, to help liberate the beany goodness. (If only they weren't so accursedly expensive!) The cinnamon I also haven't tried in a week or so, but it's smelling gloriously pungent. =:D In all these cases, I'm intending them more to be for cocktail usage than drinking per se, though they've all been very pleasant by themselves.

Which toffee liqueur is that? The roomie's got some Thunder toffee vodka in the freezer - I'd recommend it. Quite a rich flavor, and a good quality spirit beneath.

I was wondering just what to place in the recent Master of Malt order, and was very tempted by another gin - I've little experience with the kind, but I quite enjoyed the Bombay Sapphire East we had in house last year, and was impressed by the mellow nature of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's Bathtub Gin I partook of in London back in November, so I went with the Navy Strength version thereof in the Yule order. A radically different creature, almost a gin liqueur, as it were, burgeoning with botanicals, yet still perfectly delicious by itself, even at 57%. So, in this one, I went for an aged gin - a jenever, in fact, inspired by huskyteer. I've not tried Dutch gin yet, and this aged example seemed like a fair balance of moderate price and unusual quality.

Kahlua! Yay! Really handy stuff. Perfect for umbrella drinks. ^_^

BTW, are you at all familiar with Italian liqueurs? I'm trying to recall the ones the roomie and I had in Bath last June, at the Real Italian Pizza Company (well worth going to, if you're in town - it's actually as their name claims). Both were of a highly herbal nature, not the big name vanilla and lemon ones easily found, but not obscure either.
For the coffee vodka, we took a cheap vodka and steeped a spoonful or so of cracked coffee beans into it. Unfortunately, I think it suffered a little from being cheap vodka. Next time, I think we'll start with a named brand.

I've been considering cinnamon myself, too. We had some cheap cinnamon bark (From an asian supermarket, I think, though it may have been a present from somewhere). Next time we get some in, I'll snaffle a twig and try that.

The toffee liqueur we have is a generic one we picked up last time we were in Germany. It's Heiko Blume's Sahnelikör mit Aroma (hergestellt unter Verwendung von Wodka), so more like a Dooley's or a Toffee Bailey's than Thunder is (I believe I've tried some of the Thunder a few years ago at the Good Food Show and it was surprisingly good).

Gin-wise, we've got 2½ bottles of Bombay Sapphire. We DID spot a special edition of it (probably that Bombay Sapphire East you've got) in Heathrow, but decided not to buy it. How does it compare to the standard stuff? dsw has also been wanting to sample some Hendrick's. He says it's quite a distinctive taste and wants to find somewhere serving it before we splash out on a bottle.

I believe the only Italian liqueurs I've tried have been a rather nice lemony one we got as a present and Vermouth (which I think just about counts).

Edited at 2014-02-08 04:11 pm (UTC)