sarahx: (Default)
Just noticed I've not posted anything since 16 April. Must. Do. Better.
sarahx: (Default)
Argh. They're playing Wizzard's 'I wish it could be Christmas every day' on Radio 2.

It may be December but it's nowhere near enough to Christmas to be playing this sort of thing.

Please stop it and save such delights for the week before the festivities.

kthxbai
sarahx: (Default)
Arrived safely in Shanghai, which is blanketed by a layer of fog (or, more likely) smog. Hotel is suitably comfortable - although it's next to a building site, and they're busy building even though it's Saturday afternoon.

Off out for a bit of a wander now in the hope that it might wake me up. Not convinced it will.
sarahx: (chihuly2)
The standard Word dictionary appears not to know the word 'lupin'. This surprises me.

It would surprise Dennis Moore more.
sarahx: (Default)
102 all out. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
sarahx: (Default)
From: "Elvin Murray" <mellowsmc39@oceanspirits.com>
Subject: If you had a gold fish, you would ask for a bigger instrument.



Did you notice that arrogant look on some men’s faces but couldn’t understand where it was coming from? Well, we will open you the secret – that is the big monster in his pants and you can have one like that very easily


I love it when they get creative. Goldfish?
sarahx: (Default)
Butterscotch Angel Delight. Yum.
sarahx: (chihuly2)
The cat is trying to steal my tea. Little tinker.
sarahx: (chihuly2)
Back from Barcelona. Back working. Too much to do. Will probably add more re the trip later on when work is doing my head in.

However... I guess the smutty-sounding headline in this story doesn't sound smutty in American English. A most unfortunate acronym......
sarahx: (badger)
Not quite sure why I was sent this press release, but there may be people reading this who are interested!

--

 Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) and Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) UK celebrate the centenary of Korean comics ‘Manhwa’ with a host of interrelated special exhibitions, events and film screenings.
 
Special Exhibitions
 
Manhwa: A Language of Unlimited Imaginations
Manhwa celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2009. This popular art form holds a long and cherished history that began with the first publication of Doyoung Lee’s political cartoons in “Daehanminbo.” This print newspaper was founded on June 2, 1909, and manhwa was born along with it. Manhwa is an art form used to comment on a wide variety of topics. It can often spotlight societal injustices. Sometimes, manhwa tells marvelous tales of dreamy romance. Other times, the art form simply uses its simplified figures and their exaggerated gestures to provide amusement and entertainment. To this day, manhwa continues to evolve and hold a special place within the hearts and minds of Korean society.
 
We can examine the history of manhwa by identifying unique traits within each distinct era and observe how the beloved authors of each generation interacted with the public. Following its birth, manhwa had to endure Korea’s tumultuous history under Japanese colonial rule. Manhwa survived the time periods of national liberation, the dark years of the Korean War, and through the dismal military dictatorship. The 80’s and 90’s of the 20th century marked the renaissance of manhwa. Manhwa published during these bygone eras help us reflect on our nation’s past.
 
On the other hand, the new work from the year 2000 and onwards employs digital media technology. These works allow us to interpret present-day Korean comics in a new light and maybe even predict the industry’s future.
 
Art Toon Art:
Art Toon Art brings together the work of twelve artists including Dong-Hwa Kim and Young-Ok Kim, whose work humorously pushes the boundaries of conventional comic book art by reinterpreting famous masterpieces. This small display is derived from the exhibition Masterpieces Meet Comics which is held annually in Korea and is based on the theme of convergence between comics and art.
 
Manhwa Illustrations
A small collection of work by famous graphic illustrators including Min-Woo Hyung and Kwang-Mook Lim is shown together for the first time.
 
Events
 
Meet Korean Manhwa Artist Chul-Ho Park
Wednesday 20 May 6.30-7pm 
 
Live Drawing Performance & Workshop with Manhwa Artist Chul-Ho Park
Thursday 21 May 2-3.30pm
Manhwa artist Chul–Ho Park leads a live drawing workshop with London based journalist and leading authority on Asian comics Paul Gravett.
 
Manhwa Bang
Bang is the Korean word for room. It’s a social space where you can hang out with friends and read a wide variety of Korean Manhwa.
 
Film Screenings
Admission to the films is free but tickets must be booked in advance with the Korean Cultural Centre. Tel: 020 7004 2600
 
Hello Schoolgirl
Thursday 21 May 6pm
Venue: Multi-Purpose Hall, Korean Cultural Centre UK
Two civil workers at the local district office find love but in distinctly different directions. Written by famous Korean comic artist Pool Kang, featuring Ji-Tae Yu (Oldboy) and K-pop singer turned actor Kang (Attack on the Pin-up Boys).
South Korea 2008 Dir. Jang-Ha Ryu (English Subtitles) 113 min
 
The War of Flower
Friday 22 May 4pm
Venue: Cinema Hall, Korean Cultural Centre UK
Go-Ni loses his entire savings and the money that he stole from his sister in the high stakes card game known as “Hwatu.” Go-Ni figures out shortly after the game that he was swindled and he spends the next 6 months tracking down the person that robbed him of his money. Starring Seung-Woo Cho, Hye-Su Kim, Yun-Shik Baek.
South Korea 2006 Dir. Dong-Hun Choi (English Subtitles) 139 min
 
 
Opening Times
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat 11am-5pm
Closed Sunday
 
Entry to the Korean Cultural Centre is free.
Nearest tube : Charing Cross/Embankment

sarahx: (chihuly2)
There is a LOT of sawing going on in the kitchen o_O
sarahx: (chihuly2)
As my lovely husband is on a telecon for work (so much for being on holiday!), another wildlife-heavy update...

So. If I get around to it I'll food-blog the dinner at The Tasting Room, though it won't be up to the standards of the likes of [livejournal.com profile] anw or [livejournal.com profile] stu_n as I failed to take notes and my memory slips as its alcoholic content increases. Suffice to say for now that it was mostly very good – eight courses plus a couple of bonuses – although it just didn't quite have the 'wow' factor of Heston Blumenthal's surprises, and seemed to be trying too hard. Photos on my Flickr page if I don't get around to proper blogging. On reflection, the meal at Reuben's the night before was better (and much cheaper!) – but we're very glad we did it.

Oh, and there were sheep on the lawn outside the restaurant ...


And on the way back to the room we were followed by the second hotel cat, a tabby tabby. Who proceeded to invite himself in and sit on T's lap (note his spectacularly good bad shirt – Stu, it's a Ted Baker sale special, 90% off, bargain!).


He's clearly a tart of a cat as one lap wasn't enough...


Next morning was remarkably sunny and hangover-free. A gratuitous shot of the hotel pool; our room's downstairs on the right. And very lovely it was too.


Our next stop was Hermanus on the Indian Ocean coast, where I'd booked us into a B&B overlooking the sea which appeared to have insane decor. We weren't disappointed. Deliberate OTT chintz – can't beat it, though you might not want to live with it!

The direct route was closed for roadworks so we had to head back to Stellenbosch, from where we followed the very pretty coast road. And were seduced by a sign towards a place called Betty's Bay saying 'Penguins this way!'. Turns out it's home to the second of the two mainland colonies of African penguins. More gratuitous penguin shots inevitable...


Penguins!


Snogging penguins!


It wasn't just penguins, though – we met our first rock hyrax, or dassie to its friends.


Rather less cuddly – a lizard...


And on the way back to the car – Penguin! In a hidey-hole!


Hermanus itself at this time of year – out of the summer season and before the whales come to town – is rather like an upmarket British seaside resort (think Broadstairs not Blackpool) in mid-winter. It's pretty quiet, though it's still plenty warm enough to go wandering along the cliff paths admiring the sea and the mountains. If not the whales.


And T managed to get his feet wet sticking his paws in the Indian Ocean for the first time this morning.


The cliff path was swarming with dassies. There's plenty of meat on them – wonder what they're like to eat?!!


Mind you, if they live on food foraged out of rubbish bins, maybe that's not so appealing!


And now I'm waiting for T to finish his telecon. There appears to be some sort of bikini-encrusted photo-shoot going on on the cliffs opposite the hotel. Must be freezing; while it's not that cold, it's not exactly bikini weather!
sarahx: (sweep)
We're now in Franschhoek in the Winelands. It proudly claims to be the foodie capital of South Africa, and from the evidence so far, it might well be justified in that claim.

On the way up here on Saturday, we visited Moyo, a huge restaurant with a spectacular buffet on the Spier wine estate between Cape Town Stellenbosch, for lunch. We got 'attacked' with white paint... which doesn't show up very well in this photo...


The estate is also home to cheetahs. They say they're cuddly and you can go and pet them – apparently their tendency is towards flight rather than fight – but we resisted the temptation to get up close and personal!


We're staying at a place called Le Quartier Français, a small (and not exactly cheap – thank goodness for the three nights for the price of two offer) hotel with 15 rooms set around gardens and a pool, and a handful of cottages. This is the view from just outside our room...


The town is in a truly stunning setting with mountains on all sides. Looks even better in the sunshine, and thus far we've been really lucky with the weather. We ate in the hotel's bistro restaurant on Saturday night – though we probably didn't need to after the amount we'd eaten at lunchtime!

On Sunday, we went wine tasting at the Môreson winery nearby, and had lunch at its very lovely restaurant, Bread & Wine (yes, we managed both), followed by the wine tasting. We left the car at the hotel and got a lift, and T was seduced into buying some of their finest brew, which should turn up at home once we're back there. More gratuitous pretty mountains...


For dinner, we went to Reuben's, just across the road, where the food was astonishingly good, and the bill came to about £50 – OK, so we did have wine by the glass rather than two bottles, but still, two courses and wine of that quality for £50? Not complaining there. My skate wing cooked in chilli and coconut milk was bloody lovely.

Another good thing about this place is that the room has a log fire, and there's an extensive DVD library at reception, so both evenings thus far we've ended up back in our room watching a daft movie with a bottle of wine in front of a blazing log fire. Bliss.

Beautiful sunshine again this morning, and we took ourselves off north to Paarl just to see where it is. There's not much there, though there is a rather bizarre monument to the Afrikaans language on the hillside. So we pootled up there to check out the view. And it was spectacular.


That's Table Mountain in the distance – judging by the map it's about 60km away. Lucky it was such a clear day.


There had also clearly been a bush fire recently – there was a fair bit of scorched land and quite a few blackened trees to get arty with.


On the advice of my bro Nick, we stopped off for lunch at the Boschendal winery on the way back. And then chilled out by the pool back at the hotel. Or at least I sat and read my book and T lay there dozing off and feeling rubbish (no prizes for guessing he's finally managing to relax – the inevitable cold has come out – though of course he's trying to persuade me it's actually swine flu). And one of the two hotel cats decided to come and join us, and spent a happy couple of hours snuggled up on my lap.


She even followed us when we came back inside and settled down for a nice snooze at the end of the bed! Cheeky tinker...


And now we're contemplating getting ready for dinner. This is the reason we came to stay in this place – the other hotel restaurant, The Tasting Room, which regularly features in the lists of the world's best restaurants. Eight course tasting menu, with matching wines, coming up. Here's hoping T's swine flu doesn't impair his senses too much...

Next stop, three nights in Hermanus. It's whale-watching territory, but not whale-watching season. Can't have everything, I guess, and I dare say the views of the sea from our room will be dramatic even if devoid of whales!
sarahx: (chihuly2)
We've had a grand week here so far, despite the work.

Here's the view from our hotel room window last Sunday, on our first night in Cape Town...


And we went for a braai at Monkey Valley (boo! no monkeys! but fortunately no barbecued ones either....) It's just above Noordhoek beach, which we wandered down to briefly – and then looking at the state of the clouds scooting in beat a rapid retreat.


The work finished on Thursday, so from Friday we were officially on holiday. Hurrah! And the holiday started yesterday with an exploration of Cape Point with our host Kelly. And there was rather a lot of wildlife.

First stop, we climbed up Kanonkop, where there's an old cannon on the hillside. And we spotted bontebok – a sort of large white-bottomed antelope – on the way up, albeit rather in the distance so somewhat blurry.


Next stop was Cape Point itself for lunch. We'd got incredibly lucky with the weather – it was belting down on the drive from Cape Town, stopped just in time for the two-hour walk not to be too damp, and then started again on the way to lunch. Fortunately we were inside! But despite being at the top of the cliffs, we couldn't even see the sea through the murk. And this meant the baboons who inhabit the area begging for food were nowhere to be seen. Boo. No monkeys.

We then drove down to the Cape of Good Hope, and miraculously the weather lifted on the way and it was bathed in sunshine by the time we got there. Although the ostriches were looking rather damp.


As was this rather large (and scrawny) unidentified bovine creature.


Furthest southwest we've been!


I was, however, still rather disappointed at the lack of monkeys. Not for long. One of the baboon colonies was lying in wait on the way back to catch unsuspecting motorists. Yay! Baby monkeys!


Clicky here for more monkeytasticness... )

And if monkeys wasn't enough to die of teh cute, our final stop was to see the African penguin colony just outside Simons Town. It's just like Happy Feet!!


And clicky for more penguins... )

And yes, we did check. Squashed penguins are not a good thing.


We're now in Franschhoek in the Winelands. We plan to do extensive research into the quality of the local brew while we're here...
sarahx: (badger)
Sad that Clement Freud has died. He wrote my Desert Island Book – the kid's book Grimble. It still makes me laugh so hard it hurts. The conceit is that his parents go off on a trip to Peru without telling him, leaving him cups of tea in the fridge, sandwiches in the oven, notes with instructions on around the house, and a list places to go to cook himself dinner (which I seem to remember Freud did when reading it on Jackanory), all of which were curiously deserted when he got there.

Highlights include a telegram from his parents telling him there was a message in the airing cupboard; said message was written in green ink on a squashed fly biscuit and said 'Do not eat this biscuit because eating green ink is bad for you'. His response? 'If that's a grown-up joke, then I'm glad I'm not grown up.'

Then there's the football game called Twinge – one of the school's goalposts went AWOL in a firework-related incident so in the first half one whole team went in goal while the other team fired shots at them, and they swapped round in the second half. Grimble's team lost 61-2.

He also writes poems. My favourite:

My Situation, by Grimble

When parents go to Peru
And leave cups of tea in the fridge
It's jolly hard to know what to do
And I wish I could think of
a useful word ending in idge.
The End.

Closely followed by:

Women, by Grimble

Men are easily the best people I know
Men are sensible and intelligent and good-looking
Some of my best friends are men – like my father
And I'm jolly glad I haven't got a sister.
The End.

It also has fab Quentin Blake illustrations. I suspect it's been out of print for many years. Which is a shame.
sarahx: (badger)
Quote from the academic journal paper I've just been reading:

'[Cyclophilins] catalyze the cis-trans interconversion of peptide bond amino-terminal to praline residues, facilitating changes in protein conformation and protein folding'.

I blame Word autocorrect (and very sloppy proof-reading). Either that, or they had chocolate on the brain.
sarahx: (sweary)
To say I am pissed off with all things technological today is an understatement.

Last July, I had a hard drive disaster, and lost the entire Cambridge magazine that was at the final page proof stage, meaning I had to start again from scratch.

Thanks to copying glitches, when I cloned my older machine onto the replaced hard drive – the only way I could get Quark XPress onto it without paying for an entire new version as the old installation disks were non-OSX-friendly and I'd had an online upgrade since then – Quark didn't work and I had to have a forced upgrade to Quark 7. Either this (or Leopard) wouldn't recognise the magazine's main body copy fonts, so I ended up having to put the pages together on the very flaky old machine that should really have been put out to pasture in August 2007.

That machine now appears to have given up the ghost entirely. I'm in Cambridge today and one of the IT boys is trying very hard to dig the file off the hard drive, but isn't having much success, and I'm not entirely hopeful.

At least this time all the text and photos are on the hard drive of my new machine, and also on a flash drive that I was using to transfer them between the two. Unfortunately, I had failed to take the precaution of dropping the work-in-progress pages back on the flash drive. So I now have to start laying them out again from scratch.

About half the pages were fully done and subbed, and I do have printouts of them all. However, the font problem that forced me to do the pages on the old machine in the first place is still there. So I'm going to have to find a similar font that does work, remake all the templates and, of course, re-sub everything when I import the copy because it won't fit any more.

Pissed off = understatement.

Doesn't help that I was already really pushed for time to get all that and the other work I need to get done before going away for a week on Tuesday night. I think the magazine will probably now be Very Very Late.

Damn.
sarahx: (chihuly2)
Surely this press release I received this morning has to be an early April Fool's joke?!!

==

Pasante introduces canine condom 
New condom to help combat unwanted pregnancy in dogs
 
In response to the growing problem of unwanted dogs in Britain, Pasante, the UK's fastest growing condom brand, is launching the 'Condog', the world's first condom designed specifically for dogs.
 
Since the start of the credit crunch, it has been reported that the UK's streets are awash with more abandoned and un-neutered dogs* than ever before. This new canine pregnancy aid hopes to turn the veterinary world on it head as an alternative to expensive castration costs.
 
Last year, animal re-homing centres reported a marked increase in the amount of abandoned dogs. The average cost of caring for a dog for life is estimated at £13,000** and, as belts tighten, dogs are set to be the latest credit crunch casualty.
 
Many of these animals arrive at animal centres pregnant due to their owners not being able to afford fees for essential operations such as castration or spaying.
 
As one of the market leaders in condom manufacture, Pasante identified a market for a product to help address this problem. The new Condog adheres to the same stringent standards as its human counterpart and meets all quality regulations holding both a CE and BSI Kite mark.
 
Pasante is confident the Condog will go a long way to calming a rising problem and greatly reduce unwanted pregnancies. It will provide several associations, such as the R.S.P.C.A. with stocks of the Condog from early April and will be on sale in most veterinary surgeries from the end of this month.
 
-ENDS-
Notes for editors:
 
*Dogs 'victims' of credit crunch. BBC News, 21st May 2008
**Are dogs for a recession, not just a boom? Guardian, 16th December 2008
 
About Pasante Healthcare:
Pasante is the fastest growing condom brand on the market and the leading supplier of condoms and sexual lubricants within the UK's NHS and, second largest condom brand by volume in the total UK market. Pasante has one of the most diverse and innovative ranges of condoms in the market with 19 different types. Over 25 per cent of all condoms used in the UK every year are Pasante, and this is growing. All Pasante condoms are BSI Kite marked and CE marked healthcare products, providing ultimate confidence in use. Please visit the website www.pasante.com for more details.
 
sarahx: (Default)
I've just ordered a new kitchen and booked the builder for while we're in South Africa. All paid for out of my $ earnings over the past couple of years – I turned the $ into £ a couple of months back when the rate hit 1.36, a bargain as a large proportion of them were earned at about 2.00!

We've ordered these units – direct from the manufacturer, Crosby Kitchens, where my dad worked back in the 1970s (that job being the reason we moved to Sheffield) and where his best mate still works, so we got a pretty good deal...


We've run a little mad on the oven, but I'm rather excited about it. I've just ordered one of these Rangemaster beauties from John Lewis... love the right-hand oven which is tall and thin and has four shelves, including a plate-warming rack!


Pretty much all of the rest of the electrical stuff is remaining – it's almost all less than two years old as the decade-plus old stuff has been conking out. And finally I'll get the tumble dryer out of the spare bedroom where it currently resides.

It's unlikely to be completely finished by the time we get back from Cape Town, but the worst of the building work – plastering, floor tiles etc etc – should be done.

Hurrah!
sarahx: (doll)
It's all go with the door-to-door callers round here. Just been Jehovah's Witnessed again.

It always reminds me of this small piece of genius...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx-3trxxFFg

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