Month: December 2009

Six suspects by Vikas Swarup

This book has been driving me crazy.  It was my hit list for this year and I couldn’t wait to read it so when Phil loaned it to me I was mightily excited.  Great start, an investigative journalist decides he will right the wrong he perceives to be done by a high rolling criminal with political connections who has recently been murdered but not before ruining the lives of lots of people who came into contact with him.  So six suspets have been arested and the ambitious plot of this book attempts to examine their lives and their motives for why they have been found with guns at the place where the notorious Vicky Rai has been killed.

All good so far, but because the book is told in so many styles, by so many characters all with lots more people in their lives this is not a straight forward book by any measure.

I skipped bits, I got a bit lost in all the characters even though I actually enjoyed large hunks of the book I just really got a bit over it.  I did finish it, even though other books were calling me.  Read it for the challenge.  Read it to see where the author went after the wonderful Q and A which became the movie Slumdog millionaire.  Despite kind of damning this book with faint praise, I think it is an interesting read, and I will certainly read the next book.

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Google Zeitgeist 2009

So, I always think it is interesting to check the Zeitgeist at the end of the year at Google.  This analyzes the search terms that were most commonly used in 2009, you can search by  most popular searches on google worldwide, by region or by category.  Makes interesting reading and it is interesting to see what was trending last year compared to this year.

Here is the quote from the NZ section:

2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist: New Zealand

Kiwis headed online this year to learn about things both close to home (new toll roads, lyrics to Kiwi music, Matariki) and global phenomena (swine flu, twilight, twitter, sustainability). But some things don’t change – All Blacks tickets are still the most searched for, and we still love our TradeMe. Enjoy this look at New Zealand’s searching psychology.
Interesting!  The BNZ login at search term no 3??  Worldwide Michael Jackson was top of the search pops!

The year in ideas

Courtesy of the fabulous Skerricks blog, by the equally fabulous Ruth Buchannan I present tye Ninth Annual Year in Ideas.  Divided by category, which you find by hovering your pointer on the categories or on the alphabetical list at the top of the page.

“Once again, The Times Magazine looks back on the past year from our favored perch: ideas. Like a magpie building its nest, we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009 — the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity, which, when collected and woven together, form a sort of cognitive shelter, in which the curious mind can incubate, hatch and feather. Unlike birds, we can also alphabetize. And so we hereby present, from A to Z, the most clever, important, silly and just plain weird innovations we carried back from all corners of the thinking world. To offer a nonalphabetical option for navigating the entries, this year we have attached tags to each item indicating subject matter. We hope you enjoy.”

There are some fantastic things on here, have a look and fill your brain just a little more before Christmas cheer wipes out some of your synapses.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

My favorite cake?  Could well be!

2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup of milk, 125 gms butter, 1tsp bicarb soda, 2 cups Self Raising Flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp nutmeg (I use more or you can put in a bit of cinnamon), 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (I never put these in)

Combine sugar, flour, nutmeg and butter in food processor.  Mix counting up to 8 or 10 then turn off.  Place 2 cups of the mixture in into the bottom of a baking paper lined tin.  Use a slice tin or a smaller squarer tin, doesn’t really matter.  Pat down with fingers.  Add the remaining ingredients (bicarb mixed into the milk) into the food processor and press go till it is mixed.  Pour over the top of the flattened mixture.  Cook about an hour at 180 C.

Makes a good desert when served with yoghurt or whipped cream.

Sean Plunket – crafting hero

For those of you who know me well this will be no surprise.  At all, I know you have all been waiting with baited breath for my true confessions about my fondness of Sean Plunket (I’m looking at you Sarah!).  It just isn’t morning in my house if Sean and Geoff’s dulcet tones are not reverberating around the bedroom.  I like a direct interviewer, I like uncompromising intellectual robustness – I like Sean and Geoff!  A lot.  Their only competition is John Campbell – the man of my dreams. And in the summer when Sean is off I get  obsessed with Matinee Idol/Idle.  More on those later though.  Our focus today is Sean.  See below.

Now in the news, there is Sean’s blog.  Sean’s Crafting Blog, no less.  Go check it out here http://seanmakescrafts.tumblr.com/ I recommend you check it out, particularly if it is the case that you have rather a lot of elbow pasta lying around and you want to make reasonably priced Xmas pressies with it.  Of course one suspects that an interloper has hijacked Sean’s good name and is doing it ‘on his behalf’ but I for one am convinced that Sean is a secret crafter.  I like that thought, takes me to my happy place. And look, in the background of the photo there is the  lovely Geoff, perfect!