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Archive August 2006
Sunday 27 August 2006
It's recipe time again! Now, I've said before that I mostly prefer stovetop cooking to baking, because it's more experimental, less downtime, and generally has less washing-up. So when I started making a cake from a several_bees recipe, I automatically started adjusting things, just as I would with a stovetop recipe of similar complexity. And, just as where with a stovetop recipe I would time things so as to reuse pans and save on washing-up, for this cake I decided to do similar reusing of utensils.

Lazy man single-pan orange-and-chocolate cake that is vegan except if your vegan objects to honey in which case use something else, it's easy you fool

Start with a small stainless steel saucepan that has a metal handle. Put a few knifefuls of margarine in (about 125g), and melt it a bit to make the next bit easy. Add eight teaspoons of horrible white sugar, and four teaspoons of delicious honey from the local Beesman, and stir it together.

Add a teaspoon of egg-substitute powder (I don't believe this actually makes much difference), a half-teaspoon of baking powder, and stir in.

Add a quarter-cup of soy milk, and stir in again.

Add three quarters of a cup of strong bread flour. That's right, I said strong bread flour. The recipe said a mix of self-raising and plain, which is nothing like strong, but strong is what I had so strong is what you'll use, if you know what's good for you. And another half-teaspoon of baking powder. And since it wasn't self-raising flour, add *another* half-teaspoon of baking powder too. And don't bother with the recipe's salt, that's only there for the yeast anyway, and there isn't any yeast, pay attention. Mix it up again.

Add a bit more than an eighth of a cup of orange juice, and, if you can be bothered (I couldn't, I don't even own a grater anyway) some orange zest. Add another eighth of a cup of STRONG BREAD FLOUR damn it! Stir it in again.

Skip the melted chocolate from the original recipe because that would need another pan, and instead add, ooh, say, seven highly heaped teaspoons of cocoa, and a splash more soymilk. Stir it up.

Add flour and stir until it's the sort of consistency where if you had two colours of it and tried to marble them together, that would work. If you were following the other recipe you'd actually be marbling them together about now, but this is a one-pan recipe, and it tastes the same whether marbled or all made as one, so THIS WAY IS BETTER.

Put the pan in a 350F / gas mark 5-ish oven (this is why it had to be a metal-handled pan), and leave it in for about 45 minutes. Then take it out, let it cool a bit, and remove cake from pan. Wash the pan now, and also the teaspoon and knife you used earlier. You've probably put the cake on a plate or something so you'll have to wash that too, later, you fool. You should have kept the cake in your hand or mouth to save that effort.
[18:51] [5 comments]
I have this advertisement for a talk, put through my door. Obviously I don't want to go to it, since that would involve leaving the house and then there would be people, but I do want to know what it would be about. But I don't want to know what it would really be about, because it would be something boring, so what I want is some entertaining imaginative things it would be about.

So what I'm hoping for is to tap the imaginations of my more amusing readers, and hear tales of what the talk might have been. Entertain me! Here's the content of the leaflet.
Welcome to our spiritual campaign

Global Warning - The good news !!! Is there more than what the scientists are telling us? (picture of an intense-looking mustached black man in a white suit)

Speaker: Pastor Maziva Maposa from Zimbabwe.
Date: 9th- 30 September 2006
Saturday and Sunday - 7:00pm
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - 7:30pm
Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church,
Boyer Street,
DE22 3TP
Tel: 555 555 555

All errors accurately duplicated, line-wraps mostly in the right places, italic left on just as in the original. Though the original did actually have a picture. So, is there more than what the scientists are telling us? If so, what is it? Tell me! In the style of a Zimbabwe pastor! [13:31] [1 comment]

Monday 21 August 2006
With my window open, I am assailed by a strange smell each day. Usually it's some sort of horrible scorching meat smell, or smoke, but not always - today it was the smell of cereal.

Hence the question - if there was a weekly smell rota amongst you and your nearby neighbours (I don't think that's the case here but they might have just not told me about it and stolen my timeslot), such that you control the daily smell for one day a week, what smell would you choose for your day? [17:52] [18 comments]

Sunday 20 August 2006
If I'm ever obscenely rich, instead of giving my excesses of money to my friends (sorry you guys), or to charity (ha ha, stupid orphans with diseased dogs on their heads), I think I would be obliged to spend that money on recreating car advertisements using real cars instead of the CGI ones they use in the ads. I think people deserve to be shown that if you flip a Vauxhall Astra through a burning hoop fifty metres in the air, when it lands on its wheels back at ground level that doesn't just cause a gentle bump, but rather a fantastic crumpling smash.

Once that goal has been achieved for all car ads, I would then move on to showing the real effects of cartoon actions. No, not hitting cats with frying pans, that's passé, but more modern things like attempting to summon Captain Planet with four elements and 'heart', or genetically engineering insane mutant animals that shoot lightning, trapping them in balls, and making them fight each other. [20:41] [7 comments]
There is a website/program fitday.com; you tell it what you eat and what exercise you do, and it says "lol fatty, why so fat" or something, and also tells you you're getting a million times the RDA of sodium or vitamin C, and probably about 2% of your vitamin D. Which is all moderately amusing, but also annoying with the focus on weight-control.

So now I want there to be, say, 'healthyday.com' (the domain is a lurker git, mind), which instead of counting your calories, vitamins and minerals, counts the important things that the USDA and similar organisations don't pay attention to. Your omega-3 to omega-6 intake ratio. Soluble and insoluble fibre. How much excessive free glutamate you eat. And then in your 'daily report', instead of it saying "hee hee, fatty-fat-fat-fat" and dancing around you until you stumble home and cry because all the kids at school hate you, it could say things like "ha ha, you consumed ten times the EPA recommended limit on methanol consumption because you consumed so much horrible fake-sugar - hope you like brain damage!" or "your liver hates you, and so do I." [13:37] [0 comments]

Saturday 12 August 2006
Making me angry today is this new late-night TV trend to have evil lying scams on. One example is a show where they have a woman begging people to call, for several minutes, telling the viewer "surely you know the right answer, you will win this large amount of money if you call and give the right answer (to a multiple-choice question)". They strongly present it as there being only one person calling every few minutes, given the sound of a ringing phone at that time, and the woman pleading with viewers to please call, strongly implying that nobody is. The truth, of course, is that thousands of people are calling (and paying outrageous prices for the call) and being told "no, you are not lucky, you don't get put through". There is a subscript on the screen saying the rules are "at itv.com", which presumably they are. Somewhere. Certainly not on the index page, nor linked from it, nor on the page of the show, nor linked from that.

Today I saw an example even worse, in that it doesn't even have a human face to the lie. It has the same small text claiming the rules are "at itv.com", but ... well, I'll explain my objection to that in the form of quoting from the complaint I just sent to the advertising standards authority.
The banner-game claims that the rules are available "on itv.com" - that website is the entire channel's website, and has no obvious links to the rules for the text-message game. The page for the TV show that it's superimposed upon also has no link to the game rules. A search of the site for the game rules doesn't produce them.

The game is clearly intentionally misleading about how it works, and the rules being "available" is as useless as they could possibly have made it.

The game is "text message the correct four digit number". It shows people guessing incorrectly for ten minutes, despite the correct answer being obvious usually before the first minute is up. The clear and deliberate *implication* is that you will win if you text the correct answer in before you see someone else do so (which you won't because only incorrect guesses are shown).

Since I was unable to find the rules I can't determine how the actual behaviour of the game differs from the presented behaviour, but I assume it's either that the first person with the correct answer wins (and the fact that they did so isn't revealed until nine-or-more minutes later such that people are playing for a prize they can't possibly win), or that the winner is selected at random from an undoubtedly very large number of correct answers, which similarly means the chances of winning are massively misrepresented.

I think even if the rules *were* easy to find from the given link, the misleading game would be reprehensible. With the rules concealed such that even a computer programmer can't find them with a concerted effort, this is completely evil exploitation of a lot of gullible people - people who presumably think of a 100 pound prize as something worth going for, who are then charged money they likely can't afford for a promised prize most of them will never receive.
The thing that really makes me angry is that I think that if they made the way the game works perfectly clear, they would still rake in about two thirds of the money they make. They wouldn't need to tell you the odds, only that your chance of winning is "one in however many people get the right answer", and there are plenty of people who will pay 50p for a one in X (where X is probably more than 50000) chance at a hundred quid. The other estimated-third, the ones who wouldn't play if they weren't being basically lied to, aren't being exploited for being fools, they're being exploited for being trusting. That's so much worse, and that's what makes me angry enough to make the effort of complaining, and ranting, and posting a blog entry that doesn't even have a joke in it. And no, I wasn't fooled by any of the scams. I am neither so foolish nor so trusting, I just have sympathy for trusting people. [02:59] [4 comments]