Monday, January 31, 2011

Great Little Ideas

I’ve watched series where chefs tell you how easy and simple cooking is. I’ve read their books and other cookery books that describe recipes as easy or simple. The truth in my experience is that their recipes require food that is not in the ordinary household cupboard and fridge. I haven’t found a book that makes cooking easy for me. That’s why I am something of a fan of the Great Little Ideas website. I’m not precious about making my own sauces, indeed it’s exactly things like making sauces that use up lots of unusual ingredients that are costly and not easy to find in the average house, so I usually use ready made sauces in jars or cans in my cooking for convenience – and there are lots of options for combining sauces with fresh vegetables and stuff. I know that Great Little Ideas is like adverts for products but they are products that are easy enough to find in the house and they are ideas for trying different things without making me feel like a failure in the kitchen. I may not be adventurous in the kitchen but I do want to make tasty food and for my family to enjoy what I produce within a budget. So I’m a fan of the site.

John Barry, RIP

It’s a sad day for music. Composer John Barry died. I loved several of his compositions. The James Bond films contain  some of his most well known pieces. A composer who can create so many great scores is rare indeed. For me, his music made me take notice of film scores. He was a master of his craft.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday evening

It’s Sunday evening and the end of another weekend. This one has been fairly quiet but it has been pretty good. It started with a nice trip to go shopping on Friday evening, which made a change from the usual Friday end-of-week collapse into bed.

Saturday and Sunday were spent just getting things done and organising my netbook and iPhone. I’ve found a free application that I think is quite amazing – more on this after I’ve got some more use out of it and can give you a true review.

I’ve been reading quite a bit more recently. Both using books printed on paper and e-books (nope, I haven’t got a Kindle but you can download a free Kindle application and free e-books). I don’t mind reading from a screen, I know some people don’t like it but it feels okay to me.

I watched the pilot episode of Twin Peaks again last night, it’s funny but I don’t know why it seemed so exciting first time round. I was a bit bored watching it, to be honest with you. Yet at the time, I thought it was really on the cutting edge.

I wonder what this week will have in store? Have a good one folks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video Call of the Future

Here we go again. Another week and it's mid-week. Goes by fast enough doesn't it? Your born. You live a bit. You work a lot. You die. It's stark but true.
I'm currently away from home on business. I did manage to successfully have a video-call through Skype with my daughter this evening, which was quite exciting. It does make a big difference when you can see the person you are talking to. I don't think I really appreciated that as much before tonight. I've used video-phone style technology for work but when comparing it for work use against use for personal reasons, I feel it becomes so much more important to see the person at the other end in a personal call. It means a lot. That was just through Skype, so I can only imagine how great Apple Facetime calling must be - you do need two iPhone 4s for that, which is the downside. I heard something about Apple bringing out a new iPhone this year. I love mine, I feel like I've wasted a few years not getting one before. That's the problem when new stuff just seems so damned expensive that it puts you off.
Anyway, I hope the rest of the week goes well for you all.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blue Mood

This weekend has fallen flat on its arse. I thought I was going to enjoy it more than last weekend because Sunday was relatively free. My wife wasn’t around much on Saturday, having planned a trip to London to see the show Wicked almost a year ago with friends. I looked after the kids, I did have an invitation to go and see a friend’s new house he’s moved into with his fiancĂ©. but I didn’t feel like it – mainly because I haven’t seen my friend for several months and I didn’t know who else would be going and whether they would have children and blah blah, I could go on but they are just excuses for my own awkward shyness. It was after 7pm when my wife got back and after a day with the kids, I just didn’t feel like going out and meeting anyone new. So I didn’t go, I did buy a card to welcome them to their new home and will post that tomorrow for them. Now it’s Sunday night.

I feel like I’ve squandered Sunday away, we didn’t get up very early and then when we did, we went to Costco. The roads were busy, Costco was busy and we didn’t really buy very much, but just about enough to justify the trip. Had a disagreement about eating food there with my wife, which kind of spoiled the day as well. So I just feel a bit deflated knowing that tomorrow is Monday and it all begins again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

M.R. James

I’ve recently discovered some radio shows on the BBC iPlayer that are narrated ghost stories from M.R. James. About 15 minutes in length they are ideal for bedtime. I find M.R. James’ stories quite cerebral and not horrific in the gory sense and I suppose I find them unsettling or disturbing more than horrifying. I confess I don’t know what the M.R. stands for or the gender of the author, infact that shall be my next Wikipedia look-up!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Was that a weekend?

What was that? Oh, a weekend? I missed it! My wife was working part of Saturday, so we got up early to run her to work and I took the children into town to get their haircut. I had to juggle my two children in two shops but that went pretty smoothly and fortunately neither had to wait to be seen at that time in a morning. We popped into the library before having to go and take my son to his swimming class. After that I took them both to the supermarket and selected the family shopping for the week, then back home to make us all some lunch. My wife called and asked to be picked up at two in the afternoon, after which we again pulled into town but this time to select some new glasses for us both. She made her choice of new frames faster than I did, so she took the children off while I finished up.

Late afternoon and evening I was doing finance stuff for work, which took about 6 hours. I stopped at 11pm because of having to get up at five the next morning. So Sunday was spent mainly as a passenger and a spectator. My children were both competing in a Judo Mini-Mon. Both came back with medals and some useful experience under their belt. When we got back got, I had a mountain of washing up to do – we don’t have a dishwasher sadly.

So it seems this weekend was one lost to complete functionality, with almost zero creative input from me! Shame that, can I have my two days off again on Monday and Tuesday though?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Led Zeppelin I Anniversary

42 Years ago (a fine vintage), this album was first released. I bet they didn’t ever really think that the band would be so well known and successful in another 42 years. Here’s the band from 1969 all fresh faced and young.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Eye Test…New Specs are in the Offing

I went for a routine eye test today. I am short-sighted and have worn glasses since I was a teenager. My eyes are in good health and my prescription has changed only very slightly. My current glasses are 3 years old, so it is time to change them. I went for quite a radical visual change of style last time and it felt good to change my appearance a little. I’m not sure what sort of style to go for now. There is an offer of buy one pair get one free, so I may go with a mix of one pair quite visually strong and another pair that are more conservative.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas Holidays Final Day

After allowing myself the luxury of sleeping in, today I set my iPhone alarm for 6.30am (I saw a news report of the iPhone alarm software bug for 1 and 2 January) and it went off and I got up. My wife was up already, she’s a morning person anyway, but I think she was a little stunned by returning to work. I read a story yesterday that suggested we would suffer Social Jetlag due to a variety of factors, such as a long period of not seeing work colleagues and late nights and morning lie ins. I’d never heard of Social Jetlag before, I hope it doesn’t become a popular expression. I decided that even though I wasn’t working today (because the children don’t start back until tomorrow), I would make the effort to get used to the clock again. I can see why getting out of bed early is useful but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I know today will go quick and then tomorrow it will all be for real and the holidays will be quickly forgotten. On the whole, we had a nice Christmas. The fact that Christmas and Boxing Day were on weekend days does make it feel unusual and I think the Bank Holidays also meant that shop staff got more of a break this year, even if it meant they started later and finished slightly earlier. We’d all been working really hard right up until the finish, so we needed the break but I think conscientiously there is a slight feeling of guilt that we completely put work (and school work) aside for a bit.

I just feel like going back to sleep now but no, must keep going to make the most of my last holiday day for three months or whatever it is until Easter…