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Dena Grabinar
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Dena Grabinar

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This little clip is making me smile and smile. Something about the joyful abandon of it - I keep hitting replay just to get some more. Beautifully filmed too, and the music's wonderful.

#uplifting #dogwalking #mountainbiking
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Dena Grabinar

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#baking #cooking #food #soda-bread

Wow! That was a whole lot more successful than I thought it would be. I've never had much luck with soda bread before - it's always had more in common with cannon-balls than with baked goods.

But this recipe of Dan Lepard's works like a dream! (BBC Woman's Hour: "Cook the Perfect..." series). They puffed up beautifully, were soft and almost cakey in texture, and with a gently sweet almost nutty flavour. I started eating mine with butter, but soon abandoned the butter - it didn't need it.

(Please 'scuze the random photography - I'm a point-and-click-with-my-phone type, but it gives you an idea, at least.)

Tweaks and Notes:

1) I added a few splashes more milk than the recipe called for, and it still wouldn't really drop off the spoon without encouragement - but it didn't seem to matter.

2) Flour was organic stoneground wholemeal. Not strong flour, just the regular cake sort.

3) I used full-cream milk, and then a mix of yoghurt (low-fat) and creme-fraiche (half-fat). I intend to try all sorts of variations on this theme, to see what works best, but this worked pretty well for a first effort.

4) I lowered the temperature from 180 to 175 deg C (because my fan oven seems to cook hotter than most), and I cooked for 20 minutes (again, because my oven tends to over-do it a bit). On balance, I think they might have enjoyed another five minutes of cooking without much harm. The texture was just on the silky side of done - any less time and it would've been doughy. As it was ... delicious!

5) I used cup-cake cases not muffin ones, because that's what I had. I didn't adjust the portion sizes - just hoped for the best. Which probably accounts for the unusual shapes. Next time, I'll make smaller portions.
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I can thoroughly recommend soda bread muffins, cut in half, lightly buttered, and with a tub of tuna and olive and pepper salad....and if someone else makes them for you, even better :-)

Dena Grabinar

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bwahaha this is genius! Story of a man who taught his cat to use instant messaging:
http://louisvsrick.tumblr.com/post/258980760/louis-vs-rick-episode-1-the-ping
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Dena Grabinar

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...and then the phoneline went dead. But at least we had broadband still.

Until they started fixing the phoneline.

...and then the broadband died too.

Thankfully, the estimate of "we'll fix it by 5pm Monday" proved a little conservative, and I only had to endure 24 hours without it.

Now. If anyone with influence is listening: please no more things going wrong, at least for a while?
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Dena Grabinar

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Since I'm now stuck on the theme of exquisite animated shorts, here's a few more from ages back. What fun to re-discover them:

1) Delivery, by Till Nowak
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xiif2_animation-delivery_extreme

2) The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello, directed by Anthony Lucas
The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

3) The Last Knit, by Laura Neuvonen
The Last Knit
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Ooh, I love the Last Knit! Will have to watch the others, too...

Dena Grabinar

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This started off reminding me vaguely of an (excellent) animated short film I saw a few years ago (will see if I can dig that up again and share later), but pretty quickly it turned into something quite different. Will be eagerly watching out for next installment!
Jim Munroe originally shared:
 
The first five minutes of my lo-fi sci-fi movie Ghosts With Shit Jobs. Introducing the digital janitor! More at ghostswithshitjobs.com.
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Dena Grabinar

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A message from UK airline pilots about EU proposals for increased flying-time limits: A MESSAGE FROM BRITAIN'S AIRLINE PILOTS.

For those who want to sign the petition, it's here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16050

#flightsafety #petition
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Dena Grabinar

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#food #cookery #baking #soda-bread

Caught a bit of Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 this week. Was transfixed by the interview with chef Dan Lepard, who was baking soda bread in the studio. One of those magical moments of food radio, when all the flavours and aromas come zinging over the airwaves, tantalising the taste-buds and the creative impulse alike.

As soon as I could, I got myself some fancy-looking flour (from Waitrose, good old Waitrose), and some yoghurt. Hoping to commence baking tomorrow - will update if I manage it.

Meanwhile, listen to the podcast. It's only short, and it's just awesome. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/womans-hour/cooktheperfect/perfect/soda-bread/
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Dena Grabinar

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Time to follow up a recommendation from +Dave Burak (EDIT: via +Nessa D.!) Will be playing Bastion as soon as it's installed - because of the lush visuals, and the cracking soundtrack.

But first, gotta wait till it's ready to play. Meanwhile, amused by this clip showing the perils of narration in video-games: http://kotaku.com/5855092/why-video-games-work-better-without-narration
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+Nessa D. so you did. he told me that when we were talking. shame on me for forgetting!

Dena Grabinar

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This was the short film I meant. Years have gone by, and it still gives me shivers: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2410723818046908420&hl=en
Jim Munroe originally shared:
 
The first five minutes of my lo-fi sci-fi movie Ghosts With Shit Jobs. Introducing the digital janitor! More at ghostswithshitjobs.com.
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Dena Grabinar

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I'm upset. It's been a ... difficult couple of weeks. A much-needed holiday abroad got complicated by back-pain, leading to postponed flights home and substantial extra costs (including the cost of phonecalls to the insurers). It's unclear how much of this the insurance will cover ... we'll just have to see what they say when we put in the claim.

Then, within a day of getting home, I got taken down by a vomiting bug - one of those hideous 24-hour norovirus things. At least it was fast-in fast-out - 24 hours is quite long enough in my view. Most likely culprit? I'm looking askance at plane toilets from now on.

So it was with some relief this morning, that I rose to find that I was well, and my husband was well, and generally all seemed to be in order. Off we went to his physio appointment, happy as Larry.

At the parking meter, I may have paused to give an old boy a piece of my mind about his poor driving etiquette. But now look here, I wasn't rude at all. There was no red mist! Honest to goodness, I very politely pointed out that he'd caused quite a hold-up, that it's all very well stopping to wait for a space, but if you're blocking all traffic movement it's better to drive on to the roundabout and come back that way. What's more, he listened, argued a bit (well, who wouldn't?), and then to my astonishment he nodded and...apologised?

Slightly stunned, but secretly pleased with this +1 for Assertiveness, I set off back to my car with the ticket. In time to watch a white van back out of the space behind my car, straight into my rear bumper.

Crunch.

Loud enough to hear from 20 yards away. Hard enough to rock our mini-MPV on its wheels. I broke into a run. Also, I shouted. Goddamn, I never shout in public! But I was in no mood for letting him just drive off. When he wound down his window, the inevitable exchange followed.

"I know I hit it, but it won't have done any damage."

"Let's just look at the cars." He gets out, we look at my car. "Oh. There's a dent on my bumper now."

"I didn't do that. Are you trying to pretend I did that? I couldn't have done that. That's old that is. You'll never make me pay for that."

"I need your details." I start taking photos.

"Alright, you can have them, photograph all you like, but you're crazy you must be insane trying to con people-"

"I'm not trying to con anyone. You reversed into my parked car because you weren't looking where you were going. We must exchange details now."

"I know, yeah, I'm sorry, it was my fault, I wasn't looking where I was going, I'll give you my details," beat "but I won't have to pay for this, I never done that, you must be crazy, you can't pin this on me, what else are you going to try and claim I done..." etc etc

I kept pretty calm, considering. Assertiveness, I have learned, depends on a high Persistence Quotient, and I can be very persistent when I'm in the mood. It was only later, when my husband remarked it might not be worth claiming (apparently our insurers will increase our premiums next year if we even report an incident, regardless of whether we claim/were at fault/etc), that I gave way to tears&tantrum.

Well honestly, what a fortnight. And on top of that, this whole insurance thing just makes me so mad. Holiday insurance, house insurance, but most especially of all, car insurance. Because you have to have it, it's a legal requirement. But the costs go up each year, whether you claim or not. You're required under most policies to report incidents, but if you do so the costs rise even more - whether you claim or not. And the reason given for all these increases? That varies depending on who you ask, but I've heard more than once: "it's because of all the uninsured drivers out there - we have to recoup the cost of other people's claims somehow."

Is that right? It strikes me as a very unfair sort of business practice. Surely insurers should have to take some of their risks on the chin, just like other businesses do. Surely if you're legally required to buy something, the costs should be overseen by a regulator? (Are they already?) And surely it's not surprising there's all these uninsured drivers, if the cost of insurance keeps climbing all the time. I find myself wondering, like the middle-class citizen I am, should I be reporting this to someone? Radio 4? An obmardsman? Trading Standards?

But probably, I should let it lie, this time. I've fought plenty battles today, and it's enough that I'm not sick anymore.
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Dena Grabinar

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Well, so far this month we've had: a knee-op (him), throat infection (me), riots (everyone), the-delights-of-life-on-crutches (him), recurrence of old foot injury (me), two stumbles on the stairs (him) ... and now, the garage floor is flooded.

please, if you are a plague thinking of afflicting us, DO write first and make a booking. that way we can make sure you will coincide with everything else, rather than occurring at a quiet time when we can deal with you.
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*whimper*
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Environmental Consultant
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Scientist, programmer, writer, roleplayer.
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Live in the suburbs, dream of the coast. The days pass in a whirlwind of coding and writing and ecotoxicology. I'm a good cook, a bad gardener, and I spend too much time playing games.
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