Mail tonym here

Friday, March 7, 2003

Welcome to blogland. Here I'll be keeping an online diary. This outfit, Blogger, have just been bought by Google and will undoubtedly be big.
At the moment, the big sound in the world is WAR WAR WAR. Lot's of people seem determined to stop it but the Bush-man seems to be like a stampeding steer with only one thought to its name. Even as Nature brightens up and eases us into balmier days, the mood of the world grows darker and more menacing.
The garden gives some hope in troubled times. There is an ancient certainty - or at least optimism - about putting crops in the ground. It might well be a good thing to have our own food the way the months ahead look ...
I changed my life in the last few months by returning to a diet I had dabbled with in the past. It's simple enough - no wheat, no raw milk, no red meat, no fries, chew everything well, drink plenty water - on the basis of if yr doing it, go whole hawg. It works! Health and vitality levels are significantly up, and a surplus half stone or so has dropped off. Keeping it up will be the trick, but I allow the odd slip on the basis that it's easy to stay the course in the long haul of you can break out the odd time.
Anyway, back to earning a living - which these days is mainly from e-learning multimedia - poking at it, analysing it, trying to make it better.
BTW, I also write journalism, for an outfit called Irish Computer - or whoever wants a few words put together. I also do web design. You can check out other info about the kinds of stuff I do at, the website of Seed Solutions Ltd..

I see that magazine Red Herring have gone belly up - poster-children of the greed-is-good days at the height of dot com madness, providers of wealth porn for VCs. I remember when our CEO (I was in Critical Path at the time) appeared on the cover. The caption was "Take the Money and Run!", referring to our recent vastly lucrative IPO - but boy was it prophetic as the scumbag cheated the company and scarpered with a lotta loot. The following day, the stock was rapidly headed from double-digit dollar values to double-digit cent values. And the rest is history.
BTW, the Herring editor, not yet ready to say die, has popped up with a new website, here ....

There a blog I rather like to be found here. It's kept by Robin at a farm called Paulianne - one of a group of folks who have set up a working organic farm in the Drome valley where I'm visiting later this year. Gives a good feeling of the turning year, and living simply in a remote part of France. Bit like "A Year in Provence" with long hair.

I'm putting this link in so I don't lose track of it ... it's a really good rant on how to wreck a countries ability to compete in the knowledge and innovation space - where we all need to be successful. The writer has his own country - US - in his sights, but most of it plays pretty familiar right here in Ireland. You can read the full text here.
PS. Sometimes Yahoo gives a "page" expired message if traffic is heavy. It's worth clicking a second or third time if it doesn't work first go ...

What was a crap rainy morning was at least warm and spring-like. It's now brightening up into a decent day. Spring is definitely on the way.
Though I notice the daffs are much more profusely out in evidence on the coast than their more tentative showing in the mountainy acres round Aughrim. Oh well, next time I start a garden it'll be a bit closer to sea level ...

Reading the Economist at lunchtime. Creepily intelligent pro-imperialism - much harder to deal w/ than the childishly obvious stuff belching out of CNN and their ilk. The term belligerati springs to mind. BTW, if you understand and like the term belligerati, there's lots of other great neologisms documented at WordSpy. You need never feel at a loss if you run into a new term like embed or leather spinster.

Spotting bogus science is pretty easy for anyone whose had a basic scientific education. Judges - hmmmm, probably never even grazed the edge of basic. Here's some guidelines for judges who might be deciding on a case with commercial implications. How do you spot the garbage? Worth a read even if yr just deciding what to blank off when u read the Sunday papers. For example, those ghastly French space cadets with their cloning claims failed test #1.

I've taken to listening to the radio at work. Windows Media player really sucks - big time. It's another case of a crap Microsoft product, bought at knacker yard prices from the most distressed company in the space, and then arm-twisted into industry standard. Sound quality is shite, lots of fizz, but it comes w/ every box on the plan8. Instead, I've taken my digital radio to work and I've now got the cans pointed at Jazz FM 89.80 on the local waves. Maybe they have an Internet feed, can't look for it right now :-)

Must not miss gigs of 2003: Neil Young at Vicar Street, Massive Attack in Marley Park. Roll up good people.

Huge storm massing out on Dublin Bay, sunshine pouring in on the city and land. One thought is - working in what I might call a "mid-rise" building - say about 4-6 stories, glass walls - they give great views of the surrounding landscape. We have a stunner of a view of both the Wicklow hills and Dub city. Yet you never see the building in any intrusive way unless yr actually on the street it's on. Obtrusive it's not.
Yet we seem to have a phobia about this kind of office space here in Ireland. We'll allow all sorts of hillside-destroying residential developments to be whacked into place, but people seethe about what Los Angeles would regard as a simple classic piece of in-fill office development bringing in high-quality jobs to a neighbourhood - with the inevitable positive fallout for retail outlets, restaurants, etc. Fie!

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Grotty old morning with the rain sheeting down hard. The issues of the week are hashed over on the radio program Playback. Outranking the impending war by an order of magnitude is the public furore of Ryanair supremo Michael O'Leary slapping a taxi plate on his Merc to beat the traffic and use the buslanes.
Plenty to do today, as always on a Saturday. I have to pick up my trailer, which had a duff axle - and use it to haul fuel from the Bord na Mona depot in Arklow, for our fuel shed. The heart of our house is a stove, that in winter needs constant feeding but rewards us with a glowing core of heat in the house. After that, some indoor seed planting, as the weather is too daunting for work outside.
Once again, Dad left us off the hook for going down visiting him - just as relived not to make the round trip in the current unstable weather - rain and high winds.
Certainly won't be getting out in the hills either ... it's still four months to a hike I'm planning in the valley of the Drome, in the Rhone Alps, later this year. Sunshine seems a long way off, and frankly the fitness you need for a hiking trip seems equally distant right now.

17:22: Got loads done, with one or two glitches. Got the trailer rolling, looks lots better. Loaded up with nuggets and peat briquettes at Bord na Mona depot in Arklow, but lost some of the briquettes off the back of the trailer on the way home. Case of lazy man's load!
More positively, picked up 20 young silver birch saplings which I planted along the ditch that borders our property to the north. (It's Tree Planting Week so I'm getting into the spirit). There's over 100 metres of stone ditching I built over the last six months. The earth I got from the builders is beautifully soft, planting saplings in it is more like putting them to bed than the normal hard labour of planting a tree in a field.
Also we found a lovely new garden ventre near Arklow. Because they're linked with a Fas-type "youth program" the goodies are State-sponsored and cheaper as well as interesting. A good find - Ais got some shrubs, and I picked out the usual few alpine bits as part of le Grand Rockery project.
Right now chilling after a hot bath and listening to French chanson music as I blog. I didn't get to hear the result of the France vs Ireland rugby match today, but one announcer said they would be "reflecting" on the result later, which doesn't sound much like victory.
Anyway, I was as happy to plant the trees, I don't really care a lot for rugby anyhow. (Later, I hear we won - quite a miracle, as the French were apparently the much better team - now it looks like we might have a fighting chance of the Grand Slam).

Sunday, March 9, 2003

10:20. Last night we had some Massamam Chicken - a favourite Thai recipe. Every so often we go to the Asia Market in town and stock up on all the good Oriental spieces such as curry leaves and lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal. I discovered a great herb mix called Koo Koo Saab Dzi: it contains dried herbs like dill and fenugreek and conveys an immediate hit of authentic village cooking pot the moment it hits the pan. We're mostly eating Japanese rice these days, which is more glutinous - like a lot of the rice eaten in East Asia - it's lightly pre-feremented, whcih makes it easy to digest.
After dins we watch Moulin Rouge - mixed reactions - obviously plenty eye candy, action and pathos up on the screen, it's utterly sylized, but I'm not sure I bought into it. A second viewing will either win over or result in clear rejection.
Last night it howled and lashed, today is grey and grizzly. I have some indoor work to do - seeding and potting, so that will keep me occupied. I'd like to at least get out and plant the shallots in the bed I prepared for them. If there's a break I should finish off the bed for the maincrop potatoes. Both early and maincrops go in by tradition in Ireland on St. Paddy's weekend.
If you search the Web on Irish potato crop you get millions of hits on the Famine! Even in the 21st century, there is something visceral and emotive about planting spuds. It's big work: making proper potato drills is backbreaking - but you can eat wonderful spuds - different creatures to what people who buy them in shops eat - you can eat for months at a time out of a good potato drill.
Anyhows, I'll post and get down to work.
17:42. Started with the indoor stuff, and then onto planting the shallots: 60 or so in the main bed, and about another 20 or 30 randomly introduced into the ditch. All sorts of random long post-poned tasks attended to such as my debut with the Makita (a builder-grade circular saw) - cut up all the wood bits that are too long so now we have a nice load of usable wood for the stove. Got the cultivation area well improved, including shelving for the cuttings work. Some new shrubs added, a viburnum and a ceonythus, easy to grow stuff suited for these mountainy acres. A couple of new bits to the rockery.

Went for a walk with Scooby in Rednagh woods, to the spot where Adeline told me there was some frog spawn. I took a couple of scoops for the garden pond - technically illegal, but as Adeline says, just moving them from one part of the forest to another. I got some clippings too: two each of holly (female, so they'll have berries), some pussy willow, and a couple of dog rose. Had to pot these as soon as I got back, so well trashed by the time I got in the bath. After my bath, I did Scooby's - he was filthy after the woodland walk. Looking forward to the awesome roast chicken Aisling has put on - my breakfast consisted of a potage of various seaweeds with some leeks from the garden, in a miso base. Very worthy - and the current weight is down to 161 lpbs - but I'm about ready for some real food. The smells leaking down to the office from the kitchen are extremely eloquent ....

Monday, March 10, 2003

Sunshine and showers morning, each equally intense.
The countdown to war continues - as unbelievable as it is apparently inevitable.
The back can do with a couple of days break from gardening, methinks, feeling stiff and sore today.
Scooby got a great grooming last night and is looking lovely and fluffy this morning. Must keep him this way more of the time ...

Moved out to the living room with the laptop - it's good to make a change from the office, which seems quite cave like on some winter days. Dramatic shifts between huge hailstone showers and piercing sunshine. It's that time of the Irish winter when the whole thing seems tedious and interminable. Some solace provided by Tosca on Lyric FM. I'm definitely going for a hot whisky after work ... one of the few upsides of winter is justifying a hot toddy.

Hyacinths showing, white crocuses all looking good. Daffodils are about a week on the go at this stage ...

Rain and rain and hailstones and rain ... Scooby was barking at the thunder.
Big in-fill developments announced in Delgany, our last village, so if we had stayed we would have been listening to lots of building work going on ... we've had a lot of that here, so it's consoling to know ... in a Schadenfreude kind of way ... that we would have had the builders to put up with anyhow.

Electric Paper, the company I work for, has been sold for Euro 15 million ... the word went out today, tho we were told on Friday. Interesting times ahead!

Heard from a friend: Noreen used to work in a company I was in, later found a partner and happiness in Kenmare - she and her fella have a lovely B&B and bistro
here (I did the website, BTW). They have a new Asia/Thai-style chef starting soon, so keep an eye on the link if yr planning to visit Kerry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Bright clear morning after the storms.
Is this guy for real - check out some pretty outrageous pro-war views from a raving nutcase ... It's getting to be a funny place, the UK ...
The sale of Electric Paper is in todays Irish Times: can't link to it though, it's a subscription site. Here's the key details:
This share issue is being underwritten by Mr McDonagh - the founder of two other quoted Irish technology firms, Riverdeep and SmartForce - who may provide up to €5 million of the funding.

Rapid said yesterday it would issue more than 53 million shares to fund the transaction. Dolmen Butler Briscoe will also try to place shares with new investors.

If the acquisition goes ahead, Rapid plans to rebrand as ThirdForce and transform into an e-learning firm. Until now the firm developed point-of-sales technology for the retail sector with only limited success. It has already agreed to license its screenkey technology to SK Interfaces, a firm founded by former Rapid directors, Mr Cormac Molloy and Mr Mark McDonnell.

Under the terms of the deal, Rapid proposes to pay Electric Paper's shareholders €7.5 million in cash and give them a 41.1 per cent shareholding in the firm.

The deal would net Electric Paper's founders, husband and wife team Hugh and Gilly Skinner, €4.1 million cash. Other beneficiaries include Electric Paper's managing director, Mr Jonny Parkes, who stands to make €1.2 million and the firm's chairman, Mr Denis McMahon, who will make under €1 million.

State agency Enterprise Ireland would net just under €500,000 if the deal goes ahead, and Electric Paper's 86 staff would share just over €500,000.

End quote.

One of the guys at Slate suggested that Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble" is a good song for these times. I agree. The lyrics are here.

Info on Longhorn, the next generation of Windows, is pretty thin on the ground. There's a good FAQ here.

Life with the cans: amazing how much time "IT workers" spend wrapped up in headphones. There's this alternative universe out there, consisting of computer screens plus sound track. Stuff is happening (or not) on the screen, and there's music of choice belting away in the ears. Everything from classical to techno. Some of the rationalisation is to cut out office noise from co-workers, and there's a truth in this.
But also, I think people are getting into some kind of "zone": a personal blend where the needs of employer ("Got to get this work done") and employee ("I need my space") are balanced.
Personally, I prefer the vegetable garden, ratty little transistor radio strapped to the handle of the barrow, with Lyric FM pumping out Bach or Rossini, pausing to take breath and look at Croghane moving in and out of the sunlight.
But this space earns a living, and I can take a little time out to blog.
Right now, I'm listening to the Bremen concerts, Keith Jarrett playing solo.

Let's hear it for Sue's Recipe Server. One of the great pleasures of working in town is hitting the site for a good recipe and picking up some of the ingredients before heading for home ...

20:24 - had some great fresh cod in tempura batter. The two secrets of success: (1) use an oil thermometer to get the level exactly right (about 200 C). (2) Make the tempura batter using iced water.

Heard the Dublinese name for the new Millenium Spire on radio - tagged it straight away and wrote the following hissy fit to the Irish Times. Let's see if it get's published.


- After the many and entertaining names submitted by Irish Times readers, it is good to see the vernacular title of the Spire emerge. Overheard on the street and on vox populi, the chosen title is: The Big Pin.

Readers will recognise the sardonic, pungent brevity of Dublinese nomenclature. Aesthetics aside, the Big Pin makes a pointed statement about the relative budgetary merits of vanity projects versus Irish hospital waiting lists and rat-infested classrooms. A big pin is certainly needed to make contact with some of the bloated egos bobbing about the stratosphere of Irish public life.

The people have spoken - the Big Pin it is.

Yours, etc.

Tony Mulqueen

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Blogging away peacefully this morning, when it all went up in smoke: power cut, which was to last until 5.00 p.m. Found out later it was a scheduled outage, we just didn't check our mail enough. Anyhows, took the dog for a walk to the village, while finding this out, and later did some work in the garden on lunchbreak and after work. Lots achieved ...

But before that, here's a link I found this morning which must not go into oblivion just because of a power cut: Observe the chickens of America, clucking towards Baghdad. It's about the use of chickens - and can you believe it, sea lions, in Gulf War II.

So here's what went into the ground - or germination pots actually -

  • 4 doz. peas
  • 20 broad beans
  • 1 doz. sweet peas
  • 1 doz stations of calabrese
  • 1 doz. nasturtiums
  • 10 each of delphinions, alyssum, nicotiana and stock, into Aisling's propagator.

Outside, a row of carrots went in - used the bamboo marker to show where the drill finished, as I'll be station planting a row of carrots every two weeks as long as I have room to put them. Also, we built a bed for the first of the peas, and finished off the potato ridges that will take the the new and maincrop potatoes. The lower is for maincrop Roosters - and Irish breed - the upper for the lovely Belle de la Fontaine, a waxy yellow, elongated Europe-mainland type of spud - suitable for continental potato recipes - unlike the floury Irish native.

The power came back at 5.00 as promised, and everything works fine (I was worried about the PC, but the UPS did it's thing and protected it from the crash). Chilling after a very hot shower - the temperature dropped like a stone once the sun went in - a good sign for settled weather - and I made a bee-line for the shower so I wouldn't catch cold.

My friend SG has been in touch about coming down Saturday and helping me with the garden work. Maybe, we finally get the "backbone path" dug out - that's key for draining on that whole side of the garden. As Adeline pointed out - we had a chat after she brought Scooby back from his walk - we're all living on the side of a mountain around here - and drainage is crucial.

On the tech front, the big news is that Google has landed - they will based their European HQ in Irealnd - 200 jobs to start with. Nice to see we're still keeping our edge about attracting the key companies.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

A voice of sanity spotted on Slashdot - this article makes the case for an Apollo style push on developing hydrogen cell as a replacement for oil. Doubt if anyone other than the techies and the greens are listening terribly hard.

More lunacy from the Americans - renaming French fries to freedom fries now extends to all things French.

A fine clear morning, well bright by the time I got out the door (pretty late). But with the extra light you can zip along and I got in on time. The driving-in-the-dark bit really only lasts for two or three months, but boy do you notice those months ...
Frosty fields and mellow sunshine in the Vale of Clara: would love to stop and take a few piccies some morning, must bring the camera along.

And it's shaping up for a nice day out there by 11.10 - zinging along thru the work to the sounds of John Coltrane. Big puffy clouds with plenty sunshine between them.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Weather has really turned good now: frosty nights, clear blue sky days. Really regretted not having brought the camera this morning, as there was a fantastic orange-red sunrise over misty Clara Vale.
Gearing up for some big work in the garden this weekend - hopefulyy Sean and I can get the main path dug this weekend, and that's really the last big engineering work needed, apart maybe from installing the greenhouse. But that's just a foundation job, the path is very long and daunting. The spuds should go in too ...

Map of Drome region arrived last night courtesy of Laurence. Many hours of contented study lie in store ... I get nearly as much pleasure from planning future walks as from the walks themselves ...

Here's an interesting design: a tiny motor for propelling a bicycle. If oil goes through the roof, we might all need one of these.

Interesting article here on the future of memory drugs. An interesting point is that sometimes it's as important to forget as to remember. As well as working on drugs to improve memory probs for people where it's starting to slip, but also drugs for people trying to get over traumatic memories, and lose them. One of the worries about memory improvement drugs is that they might work too well and you'd be distracted by remembering everything, including trivial and useless info. I recall the short story by Jorge Luis Borges about a man who remembers literally everything. He dies quite young ...

Here's a list well worth looking at and exploring: it's the UNESCO list of World Hertiage sights. In fantasy land, I would take a year off to visit them all - but with 730 sites on the list, you might need more than a year.

Strolled around sunny Dunlaoire at lunchtime: bought a Nike baseball cap for 5 euro - quelle surpise, a bargain egad! Dropped in on Geoff for a quick chat. It would seem Argos is the place to get training weights - the Lifestyle place in the shopping centre doesn't do them.

Blogging for a week now - I like it. Little and often is the trick. I'm beginning to see why Google bought this lot - it's a blend of diary and bookmarking that's appealing both to write and read - when done properly. And the diary will work well for the garden too - something that badly needs one.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Well we finally pulled off the big one - the backbone path all 100 metres of it - dug, and ready for transformation into a proper mode of transport and drainage up and down the main artery of the garden. Well wrecked. Yvonne, Aisling's mum, is down to visit with us - we had a milder version of the Thai green curry, appreciated by all.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Up late :-) took Scooby for a walk up to Macreddin - early summer morning conditions, quite joyous. Collected by Ais and back for a great chicken roast with Aisling and Yvonne.
Cleaned and hosed the deck, looks good. Also, groomed the fernery which now looks about ready for further development.
Took out the calabrese today from the hotpress - rapid sprouters. The peas will probably follow quite soon.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Blissful St. Patrick's Day. Did some bed construction while Aisling dropped Mum back, cooked a perfect omelette for lunch when Ais got back, and planted the spuds, with - a first time - Scooby for company in the upper garden. He was well pleased to have the run of the place ...
Everything out of the hot press and sprouting away on the windowsills.
Everyone seemed to be off somewhere else during the afternoon, so a blissfully quiet day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Back to work - clear and bright over the hills while Dublin and rest of country was wrapped in clouds. Feeling fit and relaxed after the weekends exertions.
On the downside, the drums of war beat ever louder: Bush has given a 48 hour ultimatum.

This is turning into one of those "freak early summer" bits that so often pre-sage a typically crap Irish summer, I'm sorry to say. Still, enjoy it while we can before the weather gods wake up and start kicking our backsides again. It was 15 degrees Celsius in the *shade* yesterday - Paddy's Day, normally associated with goose-bumped cheerleaders and macintosh-clad punters braving the downpours and the cutting breezes.

Here's a good new word: "earworm" - a catchy, jingly tune that gets into your head, you can't get rid of it or shut it off. There's a good list of them here. I don't want to think what my worst earworm is, otherwise I won't get it out of my head for the rest of the day. Listening to Massive Attack "100th Window" at the moment. No earworms there ...

Got the France tickets at lunchtime, quite reasonable fare by avoiding peak days - 280 euro inc. insurance. Picked up some nice seafood as usual in Caviston's - haddock and mussels, smoked cod and anchovies. Mmmmmmm ...

Reminder to self: water all the seedlings in the current dry spell - cuttings also. Rockery probably would benefit too.
Plant seeds outside: radish, perpetual spinach.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Beautiful ride home last night through misty sunshine that turned Wicklow into a series of Chinese landscape paintings. I took the scenic route over to Glenmalure - ravishing. But driving over the mountains in a golden haze is also slow and tiring and I was too tired to do any planting - though I watered everything. I'll plant today at lunchtime. It's frosty outside, another cracker day in store.

The classic iMac has bitten the dust - the blue-green gumdrop that saved the company a few years back, and showed Apple still had sass, has been retired. Apple will now only provide flat-screens, as the cost of these has come down. Bout time too ...

Went out in the garden at lunchtime, planted a row or perpetual spinach by the shed, some radish by the oil tank trellis, and dug the patch that was the spud drill last year - lovely well tilled soil now. Got a few spuds out of it too ...

Back editing Courseware after a bout of AutoTest. Funny trying to get the knack back after the break - but it does come back after a while.

Back to carving out the path after work. That's going to be some piece of drainage when it's done ....

Thursday, March 20, 2003

The war begins.

Where is Raed? is the title of a blog kept in Baghdad. Wonder how the guy stays ahead of the thought police ... Whatever our troubles, we can keep our blog here going to the tunes of Charlie Mingus playing "Ah Um" not the bombs of war.

Good parody slide show says it all. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

Day-dreaming about taking a week off and doing the Wicklow Way round Easter. Mind you, I'll probably work out spending it in the garden ... there always seems to be some new project coming on. Still, could probably do it in five days given a good push.

Some fairly authoritative stuff from the real background to Iraq's arming with WMD is here.

An excerpt from an e-mail to Ais:
I actually think it would be fine if everything worked out in Iraq: quick clean turn-around, minimal civilian casualties. I couldn't give a damn what US motives are if it all came out right in the end. Unfortunately, war is the ultimate Murphy's Law territory. And it's the long-term effects you really worry about: when you think about it, it was something as non-lethal as simply the sight of US squaddies swanning around in his native Holy Land of Saudi Arabia that set him out on the long road to 9/11. Unforeseen consequences - it's never the obvious ...
Though I think the death of the UN is greatly exaggerated. Too many people have a stake in an open forum of nations. Anyway, it's been hobbled and constrained for years and somehow still lives on. And the UN is now the acceptable focus point for the groundswell against US hegemony.
I know what you mean about under-motivation. I've got those suddenly available free days and I find it hard to plan anything like a break-out of any kind. It's hard to plan picnics in time of war - though that's maybe the very time you should be doing just that.

Friday, March 21, 2003

At lunchtime yesterday, I got some horticultural fleece from Mackey's, and some clear plastic for frames. Can't wait to get stuck in on making cloches and cold frames tomorrow. Nice to be doing some pottering stuff after all the heavy lifting.

Texas Instruments have managed to get WiFi, Bluetooth, and GSM onto a single chip - called Wanda ....

Karlin Lillington keeps an excellent blog here.

St. Patrick as the patron saint of software developers - Desiderata for Developers.

A bizarre story from the New York Paddy's Day celebrations. The boys from Monaghan couldn't march behind their county flag as it has the same outline as Iraq. Read about it here.

Interesting piece on RSS, which is an underlying technology of interest to bloggers. Basic idea is aggregation of a variety of news-feeds to a single point of readership, such as a blog.

Here's a nice crawyfish recipe I came across: could be adapted to crabmeat easy enough:

Crayfish and Asparagus Dijonnaise (6)

1/2 tsp Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Fresh minced tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
9/16 tsp Minced shallots
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 lb Fresh crayfishmeat, cooked and shredded
2 To 3 heads Belgian Endive, carefully separated, rinsed and chilled
12 Or more asparagus spears, steamed, chilled and split lengthwise

Combine the oil, lemon juice, tarragon, shallots and salt. Toss with the crayfish. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for several hours to let flavors blend.

To serve, place an asparagus spear-half on each leaf of endive. Top with approximately 2-3 teaspoons Dijon Sauce and sprinkle with crayfish.

Dijon Sauce
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon slat
1 Dash of white pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche

Place the egg yolks, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend for a few seconds. With the motor still running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until well incorporated. Remove the sauce to a bowl and whisk in the Creme Fraiche. Cover and refrigerate. This can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Just so's we all know what to do in an emergency - or if we spot a bit of the old terrorism going on - here are some guidelines from the British Home Office.

The outrage continues - some Americans seriously didn't get the humour of the Reg piece on Iraq-Monaghan.

Saturday March 22, 2003

Blogging on the run today - one of those gardening days where you don't think much is getting done, but you feel quite s t r e t c h e d at the end of. Basically, planted and made cloches - the latter for the radishes, perpetual spinach, carrots / shallots and the Swiss chard, which looked grateful from the moment the wrap went on.
Aisling was busy too, cut the grass at the front which makes the place look a lot better. I planted a plane tree in line with the new house going up, also got a lovely if pricey bamboo for the fernery. A clematis and a hedera each went into the beds at the gas tank and shed.

Now, we're flying over to Wicklow to do some shopping, and to meet up with C. + S., plus Iano and girlfriend, making a rare sorty into the hinterland.

An enjoyable if slightly tense get-together of the six-some at the Forge in Wicklow Town.

Delectable fish-in-tempura - the ice cube technique really works in producing feather-light batter.

Sunday March 23, 2003

Got up early to a beaut morning, but feeling somewhat crap and clammy in myself. Still got a surprising amount of work done - 20 hazel saplings planted before brekker - two very light poached eggs - and spend the rest of the day mostly making a cold frame - bigger job than I thought. Anyway, into it went Savoy cabbage, cos and mixed lettuce, caluflower, broccoli and burssels sprouts. Feel I have the vegetable year under way with the brassicas started. All we need now is toget the toms going.

Feeling not too bad after a bath, and getting my blog written up in a cheerier frame of mind. Working with the Makita saw scares the shit out of me even when I'm feeling well ...

157 on the scales, big progress. That's about ideal, just maintenance should do from here.

Monday March 24, 2003

This is a pblog - new word learned today whiole reading Raed, who is back online. Apparently there's been massive interest, and the good folks at gave enormous help to ensure he didn't go offline coz of all the hits. Anyway, my post for the day seems to be up in smoke. I shipped my piece on CMS, and got some copywriting done for the InApps stuff. Put in a decent couple of hours in the garden after work, and cooked a Thai green curry for Aisling and myself.
Anyway, a pblog is one you post after the event.

Tuesday March 25, 2003

Started the day with a clanger of a sinus head - I always manage to forget that pork does this to me - about the only was Y can eat it is stuffed and baked to a crisp. Feeling better now though after a couple of batches of Japanese green tea.

What in the name of ^&*%? In the UK, they're preparing to launch the next thing after alco-pops - "herbal Viagra" drinks aimed at the alco-pop generation. Tastefully entitled Roxxoff: the Observer has the story here. As Miley might say: "Holy God ..."

The Blair/Bush war is starting to go sour - looks like they made the classic military blunder of over-extending the supply lines, and under-estimating the zeal with which an Arab defends his patch of sand. A session watching "Lawrence of Arabia" might have given them a better idea of what to expect ...
The next stage will be where the "Allies" leave out the bit about safeguarding civilians, and the whole thing turns into Lebanon Mark 2. And we all recall how Lebanon went for the US soldiery. Once the grunts started getting killed in ground action the Pentagon decided it might be a better idea to ship em all back to Germany ... Whatever way this is going to end, it won't be with rose-throwing crowds as the liberators parade down a Baghdad boulevard.

Listened to "These foolish things" on the way to work. Always thought it was Cole Porter - but in fact it's by a guy called Aaron Neville. There lyrics are here.

Here's an entry from MS Encarta that seems just a little dated. Though it's one of the "links of the day" on Hotmail. Wakey, wakey, editorial!
"In a war with Iraq, the United States can boast the strongest and most technologically advanced military in the world. Most military observers expect that U.S. and allied forces will easily rout the Iraqi military as allied forces did during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. If anything, these observers note, U.S. military forces have become even stronger than they were in 1991. Smart bombs, guided by global positioning satellites, have become more accurate, and new weaponry, such as the much touted E-bomb that destroys electronic devices, threaten to cripple the ability of an enemy to communicate." Seems like all bets are off if they resort to guerrilla warfare and other such sneaky camel jockey tactics :-)

This site containing artwork by Radebaugh. This was the "vision of the future" artwork that was doing the rounds back in the early sixties when I was reading Arthur C. Clarke and other SF greats, following the Moon program and dreaming of being an astronaut some day. Funny, it never happened, any of it - and now it looks as if the latest Space Shuttle disaster means that I can indefinitely postpone any "moon tourist" ideas (a la "Fall of Moondust"). The images have a certain retro chic. BTW, his first name is Art ...

I'm not surprised Microsoft is running scared of Slashdot, blogging etc. One-to-many communication in real time - it's a powerful concept. Instances such as Where is Raed? show the power of the idea - you cannot stop a witness (even if you cut the wires there can always be a pblog) - and people will read it ... and believe it in a way they never believe the newsfeeds and the "embeds". Where is Raed? is embedded in Baghdad not because it looked like a sexy career move - but because he lives there - and can tell us what he sees.
I like the way blogging makes ideas move around - this is meme theory in action (meme = the idea that an idea has a will to survive, just like a gene - and by propogation and mutation, it endeavours to do so).

Not quite in the order of Gulf II, but one of the age-old battles is finally being won - by the Guys in Black (clue: they used to be the Guys in Beige). Yes, read it and weep, the latest Dell workstations convincingly trash the latest Macs when running a bunch of graphics post-production benchmarks. The Mac equivalent of the Republican Guard - the core graphics market - has finally fallen to the PC hordes thanks to new hyperthreading chip tech from Intel.

Wednesday March 26, 2003

Rotten day. Got up feeling crap, sick tummy - and the PC takes a dive - seems to be virus-infested. I'll be without it until Friday, and have to work off the laptop in the meantime. Foo!

War continues to go bloody and messy - a market got bombed in Baghdad today - civilian casualties.

Don't think much of this blog will get written today, motivation is at a low ebb.

Got out at lunchtime and did some needed watering - a veritable drought - on March 26! Unheard of ....
Planted some spare Roosters (an Irish potato) in an opportunistic bed at the top end of the plot.

Thursday March 27, 2003

Up late and just about ready to do some work. Just about managed to come alive by lunchtime after trying to sleep off the worst effects of the tummy bug.

Broke out at lunch and had some comfort food - chicken and mushroon with white-bread broken into it - taste of childhood - and what you need when yr tummy's in knots.

Back making some progress with the editiing.

Some cyberwars going on among the real ones - they've taken out Al Jazeera's web site - they were trying to get an English one on the go. Guess who that was ....

Got in a pretty decent day's work in the end. Off the web and back to the war news. Raed seems to be offline right now too.

Friday March 28, 2003

Too ill to go back into work yet, but can work remote on the editing so it's not a sickday. Feeling a bit better but still run down.

War going into quarmire road. Looks like a good weekend ahead weather wise, hope I'm better enough to appreciate it.
John coming tonight to look at the PC - fingers crossed.

Went out at lunchtime and planted some spring onions - a little row at the bottom of the leek bed. Main priority right now is getting more cold frames - I'll need lots of room for hardening stuff off in the absence of a greenhouse.
Jim Fortune, my chippy, dropped by and we discussed moving ahead with the famouse boules court we're constructing above the rockery in the "Rose Garden" - currently Scooby Main Pooping Area - a status soon to change, heh heh.

Passed on Kim's old aromatherapy kit to Adeline - she was very chuffed as she is mad keen on aromatherapy. Good karma!

Happy enough to get to end of working day - it's tiring stuff when yr not well. Think I'll go and have a chip butty after a pint - Friday allowed!

Saturday March 29, 2003

Beautiful crisp blue sunny day. Went to Arklow for clear plastic for the cold frames - no luck, but got a great head with lots of settings for the hose.
(On the way back was the most wonderful crystalline view of Lugnaquilla - went the high road via Ballycoog for a classic vista of Bywater with Lug in the background).
Watered everything well. Planted lots: long rooted carrots, an opportunistic row of radishes at the top of the garden: put in a new cold frame and moved out all the peas etc. that were ready for hardening off. Also planted new peas and beans from last years store to germinate in the hotpress. New sweet peas to replace the alyssium and stock pricked out. Threw in a random row of stock over by the oil tank.
Sounds like little enough, but well thrashed.
The War looked well bogged down. Raed makes the Times.

Sunday March 30, 2003

Covered off the last of the upper border. Tidied up around the pond. Settled in the third cold frame.

War getting deeper and more entrenched by the day.

Monday March 31, 2003

Clocks back, so an early start. Wonderful sunrise again: some change forecast - we'll probably be back to hail rain and snow by the time I get my week off - *next week*. I'll be working from the office a lot this week ...

Interesting piece here on the future of flash memory.

A wonderful way to do prawns: Gremolata! Hmmmmmmmm ....

After a choppy start - it got DDOSed a couple of times - Al Jazeera is online in an English version.

Feeling thoroughly hacked off as I've been told I can't have the holliers I was looking forward to next week. The days will have to be carried over instead. Oh well, the upside is that I won't be heavily squinched for days after taking the two weeks in France. C'est la vie!

Rather a wacky chap to be found here. He reviews a lot of Amazon stuff and has attracted cult brownie points from the Reg.

Got some nice seafood at lunch, wolfed down over the usual pint in the Eagle - got spinach and tomato seed, also plastic to continue the war effort on the cold frames ...

The glorious weather continues apace ...

War-chalking and the revenge of Geography - an interesting piece from Tom Standage, the author of The Victorian Internet published in the Economist. There's a bunch of other intriguing stuff by the same guy here.

posted by A Seeker after Knowledge 12:39 PM

Powered by Blogger



Blogs we like:
Where is Raed? in Baghdad
Paulianne in Diois
Karlin Lillington on the move
Tom Chi in Seattle
The Homeless Guy - out and about
John Robb - war-blogging from the armchair
The Agonist - somewhere in Texas
Eric Raymond - an individual

June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003

I live in Ireland, in a lovely part of the country called Aughrim in the county of Wicklow, with my lovely wife Aisling, and my dog Scooby (Scooby's a feisty Glen of Imaal terrier with loadsa character). Both Aisling and I need to commute long distance to our workplaces in town, but it's just three days a week so not so bad - at any rate, it all seems worthwhile when the sun shines where we live under beautiful Croghane Mountain.