Christmas…only one more week to go, and I’m not feeling all that Christmassy (apparently it’s a word) yet despite ongoing preparations. And yes, as you may be able to tell from my photos (though not quite as easily as I initially thought) it’s the start of sauce season! These, for a change, are mine. Part of my “playing about with old lenses” series, shot on a Canon 40D (still an awesome DSLR) with a Zeiss 50mm f1.7 lens. I love this prime, and along with being fast it’s also pin sharp and could rival some modern lenses. Plus I get some practice using manual settings as there is no connection between the lens and camera for this one, and no reassuring focus confirmation. It is tricky to get right, but produces some brilliant shots.
My first sauce of the Christmas period is sweet chilli sauce, though it could be considered insanely hot and weird sweet chilli sauce. It was my first attempt into making the stuff, though I’ve always been a fan and it was simpler than I thought it would be. Just sugar (a lot of it), water, chillis, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and fish sauce. This was the first batch and though I’m yet to , and the recipe could definitely use a tweak or two. Mum had me using soft brown sugar instead of caster or granulated which confused both the appearance and taste, and the recipe was pretty fish sauce heavy too. I’m yet to try it properly, but what I have tasted is pretty damn hot so whether it is suitable for consumption by the general public is questionable. I’ll try and get some pictures of the finished and jarred sauce, but it looks pretty much the same as in the photo. The brown sugar made the sauce significantly darker than the normal kind.
Part of the reason I didn’t get posting for so long was Skyrim, of course. It is an excellent game but occasionally I just lose all motivation to play. After walking about Dwarven ruins for the past two hours, fighting the same enemies who are significantly stronger than me, with potion supplies dwindling, and looking at the same crap over and over again I began to question my motives. Why am I doing this? Is it even a main quest? I seem to be looking for journals, but what’s what reward going to be? Oh yeah, a key to a bloody museum with more Dwarven stuff! Don’t get me wrong, I’m most definitely pro-museum. If anything there should be more museums in the country of the standard of the Ulster museum, but there is only so much I want to know about a fictional race in a fictional world. I did have some fun trying to defeat every guard in a city, which I almost accomplished, only thwarted by the last couple of guys. They are persistent, and weren’t particularly interested in my terms of surrender after I took about twenty of them down. In my defence, they did try to pin a lot of murders on me (most of which I didn’t commit).
Most of my time has been spent researching televisions over the last few days, as we’re in the process of replacing the old CRT. The little CRT has served us well over the last few years, but 21″ isn’t enough any more. The picture is still hard to beat though and it has never given me any trouble. Buying a TV used to be straight forward – any tube would do, but now the choice is bewildering. Do you go for CCFL LCD, LED LCD or plasma (you could always shell out a huge amount for a tiny OLED screen if you’re that way inclined). And the endless variations of model within one series of TVs is also mindmelting. I saw a Samsung LED backlit model over the weekend which looked fantastic, but there are so many other options in the price range. Plasma is said to offer better contrast and more vivid colour in some cases, and has a better size:price ratio but they’re bulkier and heavier (thanks to the glass screen) and may still be slightly susceptible to screen burn (though that problem has been largely rectified through various technologies. Another thing that annoys me is motion smoothing, known as Motion Plus in Samsung-land. I’ve noticed it increasingly over the last few years in more expensive sets: smoothing motion blur and artifacts by increasing refresh rates and inserting synthesised frames. This is good for the most part, but at the same time it completely ruins things shot in 24 fps or on 35mm film. If you’ve ever compared a film with regular TV you’ll know why. Movies aren’t supposed to be perfectly smooth! One particular TV managed to make Casino Royale look like a soap, negating the entire filmic/cinematic look. Does anyone else notice it? My brother and I both find it weird, but dad seems to be immune to the effect. I’ve also been looking into DSLRs, first on behalf of my dad, and now for myself. I’ve been without a camera for a long time, and missing out on photo opportunities.
I just heard something weird and looked over at the cat, to see it twitching uncontrollably. It’s in REM sleep, which is pretty cool. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an animal in REM like that…I wonder what it’s dreaming.
After the anatomy test on Friday we were held in quarantine for about 2 hours until the next class arrived. Most of the time was spent reminiscing about old consoles and games, including the wonderful Golden Axe (which I found on the PC on Friday). It also highlighted how poorly versed in Zelda I am, having only played Phantom Hourglass on the DS before. They do sound really fun, I’ve just never got round to playing them. That will be rectified in due course, but for now I still have to get through Skyrim and BF3 and all the other ends of games which need tied up.
I’ve grown weary of typing and it’s pretty late, so that’s it for now. As always, feel free to comment.