Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Popcorn cake: it's not what you think (or maybe it is)

This is... this is kind of insane. I've been trying for the last ten minutes to find a way to describe it. It's not really cake because it doesn't contain any kind of batter... but it is shaped like a cake... It's a monstrosity, and at the same time so beautiful...

You'll have to see for yourself:

There's a recipe and everything - this thing is meant to actually be made! I don't know if I should be proud or sad that I didn't think of this :) Recipe and photo from the cookies and cups blog, and found via Must have cute.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reflections of reflections...

Prompted by The Daily Post, and specifically inspired by Huffygirl’s reflections, this is a blog reflection post (and it may run on and on, so apologies in advance).

I started this blog in September, 2006; my very first post was of the welcome-to-my-blog type. Starting and maintaining a blog was part of a class I was taking during my LIS education, about the world wide web and its user-created content. The blog started out as basically an online diary about selected topics, mostly related to my education: projects, interesting concepts and articles, exploring the web and its social possibilities.

That sounds very inspired and deliberate, doesn’t it? In reality, the blog always felt like a place to dump interesting things for no apparent reason – I just enjoyed writing blog posts about things that fascinated me for 5 minutes or 5 months :) Mostly, I just enjoyed writing - although I remember that exhilarating feeling before clicking "Post" that I got in the beginning: knowing that what you wrote would be posted on the web for all to see! Too bad it's a feeling you get used to quickly :)

The blog has never had a specific purpose, although some of the blog posts have. Way back in the archives can be found some posts that were specifically required as part of the class. Mostly reflections about the class itself, as far as I remember :) Maybe that's what has led me to keep writing posts where I rant/muse about one topic or another. I guess not much has changed since then - even the layout was unchanged until recently.

And now, specifically inspired by Huffygirl, a few selected highlights:

- Worst blog post ever: I have nominated two contestants for the title of worst blog post ever: "This post was written on Tuesday, March 15th" and "That's just about how friendly I am at 2:30 am". The first because, well, look at it! It's just a bunch of ramblings that make no sense, the sole purpose of which was to keep me entertained on a train ride. The second because, while it was a very valid feeling at the time, the actual phrasing of the blog post bothers me. Usually when I write something I think is funny, I will keep thinking it's funny - even years afterwards, if only because I remember the feeling I had when I wrote it. This blog post? Not so funny any more. I'm not going to change it, though; I rarely if ever have changed blog posts (apart from updates), and I don't think I've ever deleted a post either.

- Most enduring blog post: That has to be "Anime Laws of Physics". It's the post that has the highest number of hits and incidentally, it's also one of the posts that seem to keep racking up spam comments. I'm very happy about Blogger's spam filter, by the way.

- Easiest blog post to write: Well, whadya know, that's an easy one to answer ;) "Soooo many things happening!" is the blog post about how I got a job and an apartment on the very same day: September 16th, 2009, a few months after graduating. I was ecstatic, and the blog post basically wrote itself :)

- Hardest blog post to write: Compared to the one above, this is actually a hard one to answer ;) I have a couple of nominees: "Smileys at work, part 2: a library science-ish perspective". This post took a long time to write, because I had something I thought was intelligent to say (for once) but I didn't really know how to get it out properly. It's one of those posts that I feel can go either way on the genius/brain-dead spectrum... and I still haven't decided which it is :) For much the same reason: "noma", simply because the experience of having lunch at a restaurant with two Michelin stars was so unlike anything I have ever done that it was very difficult to find the words to describe it. From a more literal perspective, "Blogging on a PDA" was the physically hardest post to write :)

- Longest time in draft limbo: I don't actually use drafts in Blogger. I usually end up sending ideas to myself as emails, and then I write the post either in Blogger or in a reply to the email, to publish later. I have (by accident) saved a draft once, and that ended up as "I finally caved... and set up a Facebook profile" (metapost here).

- My all time favourite(s): I picked my favourites based on the experiences that the blog posts were about, in these cases food: "The first words I said on October 20th:" and "noma". If I should pick one simply based on the content of the post, not the underlying experiences... it would be this one: "Tewtly knowz how u feel..." :)

- Most attention: The blog post that has recently gotten the most attention from spammers is "First flight: autumn holiday in Barcelona". The blog post that has gotten the most attention from commenters is "Homebrew translations" with a whopping 7 (seven) comments! When I have readers, they're not the most active ones - but ultimately, this blog is for my pleasure, so I don't really mind :)

- Best part of blogging: That's a tough question... I guess ultimately the best part of blogging is having a place where I can write about topics that interest me, put pictures and videos that amuse me, and otherwise wonder about life in general - with the added possibility that someone else will someday read and enjoy it ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And you'll never doubt your pasta again!

I have to say, this is pretty amazing! I never knew there were so many different types of pasta... or that gnocchi is actually considered pasta ;)

What kind of pasta is on my plate?
What kind of pasta is on your plate? by Charming Italy

Click to see all the details :)

Wait a second... where are all the books?

There's a little bit of grumbling going on at the Closed Stacks blog, about the fact that LIS students don't seem to read much fiction. I couldn't agree more :)

When I first started my LIS education, I really had no idea at all about what being a librarian actually means. I had the local public library staff pretty much figured out (I thought) but I had never considered that the private sector or the educational sector needed librarians as well. As a result, the actual content of the LIS education came as quite a surprise to me - but a pleasant one :)

I too had imagined fiction books all over the place, with students literally bumping into each other in the hallways, because their noses were buried in books. The reality was quite different - not least because with a full-time education and sometimes a job or two to help you get three meals a day, homework or mind-numbing tv usually took precedent over fiction. Reading became something you did for school; rarely something you did for pleasure. Except during vacations: that's when you took your revenge on the stacks of fiction books you had accumulated during the previous semester.

There are always exceptions, of course. And I'll tell you one of them; the point in time when I knew exactly that LIS was the field for me, and that library science school was the right place to be: when, during a break outside enjoying the fresh air, I looked over at one of our older student mentors and saw that he had a paperback Discworld novel tucked away in the pocket of his jacket. I had never met another human being who knew the name Terry Pratchett. That little incident was a mind-opening experience in several ways :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This post was written on Tuesday, March 15th

Sitting on the train on the way home from a meeting about my company's nationwide database system. Great meeting; lots of information, and opportunities to talk to people who do the same work you do, only in a company across the country. Now, though, I'm bored. My usual train ride is 45 minutes; this 2+ hours trip suddenly feels endless! But let's face it: boredom is a healthy feeling, once in a while. When you don't feel like reading, or playing games on the pda, and you can't talk on the phone because you're sitting in the silent zone* ... eventually, you will find something to do.

So now I'm writing this blog post. Which was supposed to be about not knowing what to write about but you know how it is: once you pick up that pen, suddenly you're writing *something*. I can really tell, though, that I'm used to writing on a computer and not on a notepad (no, I don't mean Notepad; I mean the paper kind! The pda keyboard clicks too loudly to be used in the silent zone of the train, or I would have used that) with an actual pen. My hand is cramping up a little - which is not a bad feeling, actually :) I remember it fondly from when I was writing a story and had so many fully formed sentences in my head that my hand couldn't keep up. Being creative can be painful in so many ways.

So, let's talk gadgets. Not necessarily for writing; the pda is adequate for that. But... having taken this long trip today, I've found myself really missing internet access! I can't check my personal email (waiting for a reply from a moving company), I can't check my work email (would I? Yes, I think I would be too curious not to), I can't read reddit to keep me entertained (although as stated above, boredom is good sometimes), and worst of all, I can't check up on lolcats! My current favourite is Business Cat - that's kind of work related, right?

Part of me thinks that it's probably healthy in some way for me not to have internet access 24-7, while the other part of me wants to buzz out and buy a smartphone asap. That's right: I have one of those phones that can make calls and send texts, and that's just about it. Oh, there's a camera as well but it's crap.

Hmm. Maybe I should stop by a mobile store and hope that they know what my needs are, phone-wise, since I don't seem to know myself :)

¿Que hora es?
Som las diecisiete y ocho. (Train ride and Spanish practice rolled into one.)

- which means that I'll be at the central station in about ten minutes (which is good because a certain part of me is getting tired of sitting...). And there you have it: a blog post which kept me entertained on the last tough stretch of my trip - and which probably neither entertains you, the reader, nor contributes anything intelligent whatsoever to the blogosphere.

You can't win 'em all :)

*That's right, I'm one of those annoying people who talk on the phone on trains and busses. I spend so much time on some form of public transportation that I often spend the time keeping in touch with my family :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Success! Yummy, yummy patacones :D

We finally found plantains! We bought two at a small African grocery story on Gothersgade; one very thick and one normal-sized like the yellow bananas.

Ended up using this very simple recipe - here's the short version:

* Fry plantain slices in oil
* Mash with something heavy
* Fry again until golden
* Sprinkle with salt
* Enjoy as hot as possible

The thick one actually turned out best, when cut into relatively small slices (about 3-4 cm) and mashed to about 1 cm height.


So delicious... Photo credit goes to the boyfriend :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Expressing gratitude

The most awesome thing I have seen in a long time: thx thx thx: a thank you note a day – both in regards to content and layout. This blog is one woman’s "daily exercise in gratitude" which is something I’ve thought of doing myself as a way of being reminded that even on bad days, there are things to be happy about :)

I particularly love how the receivers of the thanks are everything from named people ("Dear Becca"), groups of people ("Dear Hipster Japanese Men"), various objects ("Dear White Subaru", "Dear Wallet"), to concepts and words:
"Dear Last Sentence of Infinite Jest,
Thanks for being impossible to read without getting goosebumbs and a lump in my throat. I’ve read you over and over and over and unlike so many things, you don’t lose potency with repetition.
Thank you.
Love, Leah."
Everything is copyrighted to Leah Dieterich, of course... and in this case, I kind of feel that the expression of the idea (not the idea itself) is hers to copyright as well. I mean, there are a lot of debates about copyright on the web, and wrongful use of images (did you see the story about the clothing company that swiped photos from fashion bloggers, and made them into t-shirts?), and intellectual property and rights etc. And particularly when it comes to intellectual property, it’s very difficult to find out what’s what – at least for me :)

So I go with my gut feeling: would I feel like I was ripping off this blogger, if I started blogging my daily gratitude? Yes, I would. Sometimes I don’t mind being a copy-cat but this time I’d rather not… even though it would mean more frequent updates (I’ve been in a rut lately), and who knows, possibly more readers.

On the other hand: would I feel like I was ripping off this blogger, if I started writing down things I’ve been happy or pleased about during the day, somewhere else than on my blog? Nope. Because the way I see it, the idea isn’t original – but the expression of the idea is.