My motherboard died a few weeks ago. Fortunately it didn't take my hard drives with it. I now have a freshly built pc consisting of a sempron 2600+ 1.8GHz cpu, ram, motherboard, cooler, 150GB hd, and a PSU. It's not redhot, but it's a big improvement over my last machine. I had been procrastinating about making a recent back up of my files and doing a clean install of WinXP, but this has moved the process along a bit. I forgot how nice a clean, fresh install is.
As atlaz said, it's been a gadgety month. Recenty acquired was his Windows Mobile 2003 "powered" phone (Orange SPV C500) which was a completely free upgrade. I had an opportunity to get one myself and now that I see how awesome it is I'm kicking myself for missing the offer (but I inherited his old Sony Ericsson T610, so I didn't come out too badly). An extra addition was a satnav system for the phone with full maps of Europe and the US, a 256Mb Mini-SD card, and a bluetooth GPS unit. We tried it out on the weekend to find a place near Rochester and it guided us there perfectly and re-calculating routes was instantaneous. It's funny being guided by a vaguely mechanical female British voice, she even manages to sound irritated if we decide to take a different route to the one recommended, but maybe I'm reading too much into it. ;) We're still keeping paper-maps in the car, in case of a technological meltdown.
The month of January
Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell
(slightly battered boarding card bookmark, due to dropping in the bath too many times.)
blackberry nettle tea
egg tart and lotus mooncake (chinese new year!)
smoked salmon eggs benedict
goat cheese salad @ the french market
duck salad with dried cherries, oranges and apples.
Julian Fane - Special Forces
+ the new typeradio mix, by Shuttle 358. Susumu Yokota, Yoko Kanno, DJ Krush, Ryuichi Sakamoto... no, it's not one of my mixes. :)
The Liberace of Baghdad
Battle for Middle Earth
Kingdom of Loathing (I'm a level 9 Accordion Thief, a "Hurdy-Gurdy Hooligan").
Most notable events:
New Year's Eve party at a friend's "stately home" (I observed posh people in their natural habitat), JPB's get together, His Dark Materials stage play (I'll post further about this soon).
The folder structure annoys me as well, but I haven't had a chance to play around with it too much yet to see if it can be changed. Other than that I love P2. I was impressed by the speed and that it even plays video. Although I made the mistake of allowing it to index all of my images so I've got every single cd cover, etc. in there. I'm going to remove them and manually add folders soon.
just ordered a phone through Orange last week, it should be arriving in the next two days. I checked out the SPV C500, but thought it would be wasted on me and my OS. Likewise, I don't know enough people with G3 phones for them to be of any use. In the end I went for the Samsung D500, and am looking forward to trying out the camera and email functions.
I think the Samsung D500 was one of the ones I looked at when I was considering upgrading. I think most of the new phones recently are hideous, but that one looks good (plus a decent looking camera). 1.3 megapixels was what my old Fuji camera was before the Nikon, my how times have changed. :)
David Mitchell: I was so excited when I heard about Ghostwritten that I asked for and received the hardcover as a Christmas gift, but I still haven't gotten around to reading it. The next one, number9dream I bought myself, read right away, and passed on to snej, upon whose shelf I believe it still sits. The third one, Cloud Atlas I posted excitedly about and got as soon as it came out, but hey, I'm in grad school and who has time to read other books. Still, one of the most exciting writers around these days.
Also, I forgot to mention that I've got about half of your park photos from that day as a rotating desktop background. Beautiful stuff!
I've had Ghostwritten in my storage in America for the past 3 years! That's why it looks a little battered in the photo. People kept recommending it to me and I had to tell them, "I have it, I just can't get to it.." Mitchell's writing was a bit dry for me at first, but I was sucked into the stories and their links quickly and ended up really enjoying it. I've heard/read very good things about Cloud Atlas and number9dream (some of it from your journal I think?); they're both on my reading list now.
That's fantastic you have the park photos as your desktop. snej had a moth photo I took as his for awhile, it's a great compliment when someone wishes to look at your photographs on a daily basis.
Yes, I made it. I used smoked salmon from my old hometown in America, best smoked salmon in the world. You can get hot smoked salmon in most grocery stores in the UK now, although only 5 years ago it was difficult to find. I don't use a typical hollandaise sauce with this, but one made from creme fraiche. It's a good idea to have someone help you whisk the sauce while you're poaching the eggs (or vice versa). :)
(for 2 ppl)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon mustard
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
4 (or more, personal preference) ounces smoked salmon
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Combine shallots and mustard in medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in wine. Boil over high heat until mixture is reduced to 1/2, whisking often, about 6-10 minutes. Whisk in creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper.
Place toasted, buttered muffins on plates. Top with salmon.
(The next two steps should be done simultaneously -- this is where you recruit help! ;)
Transfer sauce to a bain marie (a bowl placed in a pan of simmering water). Whisk 2 raw egg yolks into sauce. Whisk constantly until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add dill and whisk 1 minute.
Bring large skillet of water to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add eggs to simmering water. Cook until whites are set (about 3 minutes). Using slotted spoon remove eggs & place on top of salmon-- spoon sauce over.
David Mitchell - yay! I read Ghostwritten a few years back, and have been a major fan ever since. I love everything he writes (although there were passages in Number9Dream which didn't work, but the book overall was beautiful and very memorable), and I also love the fact that I can clearly see him progressing as a writer as I follow his work.
I want that smoked salmon eggs benedict.
As I mentioned above I've had Ghostwritten in storage in America for years, I finally rescued it and I'm so glad I did. He's such a fantastic writer and I'm looking forward to delving into number9dream and Cloud Atlas. I think it's better that I've read Ghostwritten now than if I had read it 3 years ago when I first brought it. I "get" the British references now more than I would have then and I can especially appreciate his descriptions of London better.
The smoked salmon in that benedict was from my hometown in America, seriously the best ever. Max's English and French families demand that we bring back several packs for them when we go back to the states. The benedict was so freaking good, I wanted to make it every day that week, but we're carefully rationing our salmon to hopefully last until our next trip. This benedict was different than the norm though as I used creme fraiche, gives a little piquant edge to it.