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Be sure you're logged in, as there's a friends-only entry from a couple days ago. ^_^ (On which note, having viewed the first set of proofs - I may have to offer a 36x24" of Marin's End. I'd really only ordered it for myself, to see how well it would print at that scale - but.. it's gorgeous! It really calls out to be seen at that kind of size)

You've probably not seen a set of ads for bananas quite like this. Needless to say, they're Japanese. ^_^

Here's a grand list of photographic documentaries, ranging from the early pioneers, to war photographers, Ansel Adams, Annie Liebovitz, and more, including YouTube links for all of them.

What's more adorable than meerkats? How about baby meerkats in Botswana, courtesy of wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas?

If you're in the UK, do you have any recommendations for a futon supplier? They're vastly less convenient to source than in the Bay. =:P Most of those I've seen from the usual race-to-the-bottom vendors appear to be effectively for ornamental purposes only. On that note, does anyone have words for particularly fluffy pillows, or shiny sheets?

iOS game of the month has to be Monument Valley, a sort of puzzle platformer, quite gorgeously playing with isometric perspective. It'd be a very attractively designed game without that crucial twist, but with, it's quite an original design, commendably realised. Its trailer gives some idea of what to expect.

I hadn't realised CloudFlare offer a free level of service - quite impressive, given what they can do to avoid DDoS attacks. That's obviously not for business use, as noted by the exclusion of SSL support at that level, but the lowest paid offering is $20/mo for the first website, $5/mo for additionals - perfectly reasonable for any commercial entity. The free service would be easily worthwhile simply for the DNS support, let alone their ability to ensure your site can withstand any amount of traffic tomfoolery - they have some quite extreme bandwidth available to absorb any attack.

That came from a thread on DynDNS finally outright ending their free domain support - not a surprise, really, following their purchase of EasyDNS, and their subsequent actions in ceasing opening new free accounts. (I'm the first to support paying for services, rather than placing them at the surveillance of advertisers, but for modestly trafficked personal websites, the burden on a DNS provider is quite light) Meanwhile, other reputable free options include FreeDNS and yDNS.

I see what poliphilo meant about the vitality of MasterChef! It's surprisingly engaging. True, it helps to have an interest in good food, but as much as anything, for me, it's about these hopefuls all displaying their passion, enthusiasm, and often, talent. That kind of energy is a real delight to witness, let alone the often remarkable dishes created. FWIW, there's also a sort of soundtrack available, "Cut the Tension". Quite a few fun highlights, I'd say, including track 4, "Heal the Breach", and track 10, "The Inquisitor". Get some good headphones on, bump the volume up, and have at it. =:D (One caveat: unfortunately, the current upload of the first track cuts to silence about 46s in. However, Apple support were entirely understanding, and refunded not just the cost of the one track, but the entire album!) Out of curiosity, does anyone know how far ahead the show's recorded? Has the winner of MasterChef 2014 already been annointed?

Thus far, I've enjoyed the most recent three series: the "normal" one from 2013, the Professionals, and Celebrity. The winner of the latter quite tickled me, but the former - ye gods, what an astounding contest that was! Truly, an impossible decision at the end, with all three finalists displaying skill many professionals would be envious of, technically and imaginatively.

2013's Masterchef Professionals also proved worthy. Having watched the second semi-final, wherein "Luke" was eliminated, I wondered what he was up to now - and a quick search showed he's at The Victoria, a gastropub just on the edge of Richmond Park. And lo, a couple of his signature dishes are on there, notably the semi-final dish: "Pan roasted guinea fowl, spiced pastilla, wilted spinach, smoked aubergine, golden raisin & harrisa jus". Which looked absolutely superb, and despite the complexity, married the spices with the flair he'd exhibited throughout the competition. I'm delighted to realise I'll be able to try it for myself. ^_^ (Love the idea behind the first round of the finals.. previously, as you'd expect, they'd always had whatever great ingredients they'd been offered, or requested. This time around.. pretty much the opposite, including vegetable trimmings, over-ripe Brie and fruit, meat bones, and a cod head, from which to create two perfect dishes) And then, they're given over to Massimo Bottura, of Osteria Francescana, holder of three Michelin stars. (For reference, it's series 6, episode 22; you can download it here) And ye gods, what a fantastic guy! I adore his passion for food! It absolutely shines through. Even if all you ate were McDonalds, you'd have to be dead not to be illuminated by that zest for life. =:D (So, I suppose, if I ever happen to find myself in Moderna, I'd have to go there.. I really like his unorthodox style, and of course, scintillating creativity. And looking at the menu options - yep, easily done. Not cheap, but for such top-tier wonderment - it'd be a night to remember for years. How about it, pawnytail?)

Let it be known, however, that I shall be applying to have the word "gutted" removed from the English language, on the grounds of deserving an honorable retirement at the hands of tragic overuse. Rare indeed was the contestant who left without its use. All the same, another thing that impresses me with the show is the superb cameraderie exhibited - they may all be vying for the one award, but they'll all congratulate and commiserate together, whoever's leaving or has gone through.

I've got to ask - what kind of cooking do you really enjoy engaging in? Is there a special favorite you keep coming back to? For my part, as a complete rank amateur, I'm quite a fan of light Thai curries and stir-fries - my style involves no oil, with the meat cooked either dry, in a bit of milk, or glazed in a sweet liqueur like Drambuie or Jack Daniels Honey, then adding milk for the body of the sauce, and then whatever spicing and vegetables (Sainsbury's vegetable mix is a handy combo, including a nice pepper and stalk of lemongrass, plus baby corn, baby broccoli, and mangetout). For the spices, I'm a fan of galangal (just powder, out of convenience), and Bart Spices' Berbere seasoning is one of the most fragrant blends I've tried. Potted curry pastes can be excellent, too, and of course, fish sauce and oyster sauce will often figure in.

The title of this entry, FWIW, is the result of a curious accident of timing yesterday. With the weather being a bit dull, but dry, I thought it'd be a good day to go on a bit of a stroll, to wind up at one of my favorite watering holes for dinner (gravlax, duck leg, bread & butter pudding =:9). My booking was for 6pm, and I set off around 3.30pm, with the intent of just enjoying some new footpaths and sights, maybe arriving a bit early. I arrived at 1800 precisely, quite accidentally. ^_^;
 
 
 
 
 
 
My "pyesetz.net" website uses AFRAID for its free DNS service.