Archive for November, 2013

Truffle. By Taylor Swift.

Do you know what I noticed the other day? You know that song by Taylor Swift which, embarrassingly enough, I loved? It’s called Trouble. Well, I noticed yesterday, that the song is immeasurably improved by simply changing the word Trouble to Truffle, throughout. 

 

Have a listen and follow the lyrics. I have changed some other stuff too, for fun. Don’t expect it to make sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y

 

There’s some nonsense adverts at the beginning then some chitchat. Boooooooring. Skip to 2:02.

Once upon a time
A few dinners ago
I was in the kitchen
You got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me

I guess you didn’t know
That I would get obsessed
And when I fell hard
You took a step in
The saucepan, the saucepan, the saucepa-a-a-a-an.

And he’s baking
When the oven’s on
And I realize the truffle’s on me

Cause I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

No apologies
He’ll never see you eat
Pretend he doesn’t know
That he’s the reason why
You’re eating, the truffles, you’re eating

And I heard you moved on
From truffles on the plate
A new lunch in your day
Is all I’ll ever be
And now I see, now I see, now I see
He was hungry
When he met me
And I realize the truffle’s on me

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had,
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

And the saddest fear comes creeping in,
That you ate all of,

The truffles,

From the fridge,

And in the kitchen, yeah

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
Truffle, truffle, truffle
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
Truffle, truffle, truffle!

World Takeover – Day 1

Everyone! At last! It’s finally here! The world takeover begins! And remember, you heard about it here first.

Let me explain. It is a world takeover through art. Very very good art. Very pretty art. Well, how will that happen, you’re thinking, aren’t you? Just trust me. It will. When the queen gets a look at this stuff, she’ll be raving about it to anyone who’ll listen. Trust me.

The website is finally complete and can be found here – www.kjh-artificer.com

There are links to the Twitter and Instagram etc, on there so get involved, should you be feeling particularly arty today.

And when you look at the website, be gentle. Remember, I made it and I’m quite self conscious about it.

Genetics and education (part 2)

It’s Wednesday morning and time for my weekly contributor, Rambler5319, to take over with his guest post.

This week we’re looking at the second part of the subject I started last week (13.11.13).

If you didn’t catch it here’s the intro again and then I’ll go on to the second two speakers and the subjects they covered.

The results of a study (in the UK) and a recent book (G For Genes) about the academic achievements of 10,000 sets of identical twins have caused something of an uproar. Why? Firstly because the report was leaked to a newspaper when it was meant for internal use only and secondly because of its potential implications. The senior policy advisor to the UK Government’s Education Secretary reckons that genetics are the largest factor in educational achievement.

Let me explain. The identical twins were born 1994-96 and the results of their GCSE exams (at 16 yrs old) have been analysed. A recent radio programme (The Moral Maze, Radio 4) tackled the subject and one of the authors of the book quoted a figure saying that 52% of the variance in the results was down to genetics. Their suggestion was that we should consider the idea of “genetically sensitive schools”. Wow! Does that make you think (like me): “I wonder where this is going?”

If you fancy a listen to the discussion programme here’s the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03fdjsp

Ok so the next speaker (the third in the prog) was asked if he thought that using genetics for human enhancement is immoral. His answer was that it was immoral “not to use it”. He believes humans don’t want sickness and ultimately death so if there is a way to get round these by using genetic information he thinks we should. However the panel made a good point on this by saying that surely our humanity (and its limited lifespan) is what gives us the ability to display certain characteristics. The example was given of say a normal person who walks through a minefield is showing great courage but if that person is immortal they cannot demonstrate courage because they cannot be killed by stepping onto a mine. I think you can see the point – as humans with a certain lifespan we can demonstrate things that an immortal person cannot. The panel believed that imperfections in everyone are what make us what we are as humans and the idea of getting rid of these takes us into a very difficult area. His response was that certain characteristics (not all) should be got rid of.

He then took the discussion into the area of cruelty. He believes everyone would like to get rid of cruelty. If they could discover what makes people cruel then they could change something in the genetic make up to stop it. One of the panel’s responses was quite simply – the idea is mad. The research seems to be going into the area of altering what is a human being. Who is going to do the deciding of what (and who?) is changed? You? Me? The scientist? The Government?

The last speaker felt that this whole area is just a short step away from eugenics. History demonstrates that genetic research has definitely gone down the wrong road he said. However he did agree that if the genetic information seemed to suggest that a person may have a pre-disposition to a particular medical problem, say heart disease or something else it should be made available and used to hopefully treat that person. This sounds ok but what do you do if you find evidence of something which may have serious implications about the life expectancy of a person? Do you tell the person? There is certainly a moral issue there. Is it right to let them know or will they be happier not knowing? And once again who is going to make that decision? And who is going to have the conversation with the affected person?

The more I listened to the various points of view on this the more I thought that the implications are too far reaching for us to know the answers. It’s a bit like asking the early travellers on a railway train which ran at say 15 mph whether they could imagine a world in which trains would travel at over 100mph and even 200mph. (Incidentally, in June this year, it was reported that Japan is trialling a new series of magnetic trains which will be able to travel at over 300mph cutting the Bullet train times – between Tokyo & Nagoya – by just over 50%. However you have another 14 years before they’re due to come into service!)

Who could have imagined those first ships that were built to carry just a few containers would end up the monsters we have today. Ships launched this year are just short of 400 metres in length and capable of carrying the equivalent of up to 18,000 containers. If all the containers were laid end to end they would stretch for 110kms – wow just read that again 110kms of containers on one ship!

Imagine a conversation say 40 years ago when many people had to look for a phone box to make a call with someone and telling them that in the future nearly everyone will be able to be contacted at any time of the day or night because they’ll all have a device which they can carry around with them; it will track their exact position anywhere on the globe and enable many other things to be done. Of course it would have sounded fanciful but aren’t we facing a similar conversation now about genetic information?

And so it is with this whole area of genetics. How can we possibly imagine what will be in 50 or 100 years time? Will those people look back on us as short-sighted & resistant to change. They probably will. By then any moral issues will have been passed by in some way and that new world will be functioning very differently to the one we know today. We may or may not be part of it (well the 50 year one for younger folks) but would we want to be?

World Takeover fast approaching

The world takeover is two days away (possibly three) and I have little brain space for other things.  There are a few things that I could hash together to see if it makes a full post. Here goes.

1. Sitting at the computer is giving me a bit of a bad back. It’s making me feel old. I’m wondering how soon this would have happened if I’d gone down the office-job route.

2. My NaNoWriMo is behind by about three days. It doesn’t sound much but it translates to about 5000 words. Which I need to do today. So then it does sound like a lot.

3. I’m having trouble working out how to get photos I’ve taken on my phone to all come out the same size on the website. Some come out big and some come out teeny tiny and some are just right. How/why does this happen? Why don’t they all look the same size?

4. Last night, during Masterchef, the contestants had to make something with a random selection of ingredients. Last time I asked Danda what he would have made, this was his answer. This time, they had a mango, some ricotta, a coconut, brown crab, an aubergine and some other stuff I’ve forgotten. I think I’d make something desserty, I said to Danda, what would you make? Danda’s answer – I’d eat the mango and throw the coconut at Monica’s head. Ever the professional chef.

5. I want a cup of tea.

And now, here’s a photo. To try and rescue this non-post. It’s a tiny snail.
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Frost and food

Yesterday was a day of frost and food, both of which make for pretty pictures. Check it out.

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Pics from the walk to work
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Cherry and apple cake
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Chopping chives in the kitchen garden for the day’s food
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Making chutney with the garden produce

A thing I used to do

When I was 17, I suddenly developed this preoccupation with the idea of being sophisticated. I thought it would be fantastic if I were like one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s characters. Charming and intelligent and educated and most of all, sophisticated. I read anything I could lay my hands on, got myself a complete works of Shakespeare and, after reading Hamlet, actually really loved it. I tried to accumulate as many facts as possible. My friend, Alison, (who will appear again in a minute), and I would go to the theatre almost every week and discuss the play at length afterward. We learned to eat our soup by scooping our spoons away from us, rather than toward us, like commoners. We presumed that any minute now, we would suddenly wake up and realise that we had become….. sophisticated.

There was a bookshop near school which had lots of university books in it, textbooks about things in medicine that I’d never heard of and huge anthologies of this, that and the other. The literature section was fabulous though, I understood what was going on there.

Upstairs in this bookshop, there was a cafe. Alison and I often used to go to the cafe if we had a free moment in our day. We liked to sit there because we figured that, with all the intelligence and learning floating around in there, some of it must surely stick on us? We would sit amongst the university students discussing intellectual things and try to appear sophisticated. We used to order tea and it would come in little teapots.

I am going to blame what happened next on the cafe. I mean, what kind of cafe has teapots that hold almost exactly the amount of liquid that fits in the cups?

We would pour out our tea into our cups. I think I remember, actually, that the first cup was fine. We would pour out, add milk and drink up. The second cup, however, was where the problem lay. We would pour out the tea and, as there was only a little bit left, we’d pour until the pot was empty. The problem then became clear – there was no space for milk. Black tea was not tasty, especially if it was the second cup so slightly overbrewed.

What to do? A full cup of tea with no space for milk? One cannot pour one’s tea from one’s cup back into one’s teapot, can one? That is, like, sooooo not sophisticated.

But never fear, Alison and I knew how to be sophisticated. We would rescue this situation. We took the lids off our teapots and pulled them close to our cups. Then we took our teaspoons and, scooping our spoons away from us, we transported our tea back to our teapots in little teaspoon amounts. It took a while but at least we were sophisticated about it.

This happened a few times, I remember, and yet we didn’t seem to learn. Perhaps that’s why I’m still so good at scooping away now. And being sophisticated….. I am sophisticated, aren’t I? Aren’t I?

Introducing…. Mrs Massey

So the other day, I went to see the Vagina Monologues. When I went to pick up the tickets, they had the name Mrs Tracy Massey on them. I didn’t notice it at the time but it was pointed out to me later and I thought that this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. The opportunity to remodel myself as…

Mrs Tracy Massey

I could live a whole different life as, like, an MI5 double agent or something. I could live my Mrs Massey life whilst also being Laura. In the daytime, I could leave the house in my National Trust t-shirt all innocent, then when I get to the end of the road, I could put on my black ninja outfit, which makes me almost invisible and I could use my powers of secrecy and stealth to go to the river and swim underwater to the Houses of Parliament (on one breath), where I use the secret underwater entrance.

In the secret changing room, I change out of my ninja outfit and into a business woman power suit, where I go straight into a meeting about the state of the country’s security and discuss the imminent threat of the giant lizard people who disguise themselves as newborn babies but then become lizards and eat all the nurses. Some days I dress as a nurse and use my ninja powers of extreme intelligence to save people’s lives all day while also doing undercover work into the giant lizard people babies.

For lunch, I would eat gold leaf and caviar made by small dragonflies from the Fijian rainforest. Cause that seems like a thing that a Mrs Tracy Massey might do, do you think?

In the evening, I underwater swim back down the river, sneak to the end of the road, change back into my National Trust t-shirt and walk into the house, super casual and all like, “O hey, how’s it going? I’ve had such a lazy day today.”

So, um, yeh. I could do that. I could become Mrs Tracy Massey, right?