In the name of beverage science!

After Spence commented on tea, I felt it was necessary to perform some experiments…

In order to extend our knowledge of the Fine Drink, I attempted something this morning that I believe is a world’s first.

The worlds first Capputeano.

I will share with you all…

First, get an espresso machine, and add tea to the attachment that usually holds coffee beans. I find that three ripped-up tea bags fills it up. Then, make tea concentrate in the same way you’d make your espresso. I like to call this ‘teaspresso’. The resulting teaspresso should have a good crema – the light-coloured foam you get on the top of a proper espresso. If it is anything like coffee, this should be a mix of strongly brewed tea and emulsified tea oils. Mmmm! Then, fire up the milk steamer and steam yourself some foamed milk. Add the teaspresso. Voila! one capputeano.

If you are feeling adventurous you could add a second shot of teaspresso, and maybe sugar, to counteract some of the bitterness of six teabags worth of tea concentrate. I also hope that a finer grind of tea would give better teaspresso. I also susprect that an ice-blended version would be magical on a hot summer day.

Expect it in Starbucks from early autumn. But remember you saw it here first.


109 pages…

Wow. I went through my hard drive and all over the web, grabbing pits and pieces that I’ve written over the years and throwing them all into a single big source file, for my role-playing book. It’s now a whopping 109 pages, although none of the pieces really form any kind of coherent whole, either in style terms or in structure terms. However, what is important is that it’s a great deal of ideas, some kind of structure, and it’s a very strong indication that I can actually write enough to fill a book.

read more…

Book writing progress

So, I’ve managed to put together about 50 pages of my book so far, once you take out the title page and the contents. Mostly I’m gathering old essays, web posts, etc and dumping them together, but it turns out I’ve written a lot of stuff in the last few years… So, with any luck I’ll have gathered together 100 pages by the end of the week. I reckon that’s not impossible, if I can find enough old stuff and burble about new things that catch my interest. It has surprised me just how quickly I was able to put together this much. Ah, the benefits of a wasted youth.

Summer Solstace

Just back from an all-nighter, watching the sun come up on the solstace on the beach at Lindisfarne with, among others, cfw, clotilde, and smorgasbord. Am now barely holding it together, because I’ve only had an hour’s sleep. I apologise in advance for what may spew forth.

The solstace seems like a good, solid holiday to celebrate to me. Being a confirmed atheist, and thus robbed of almost every other significant holiday, it’s nice to have something natural to celebrate.

We started the evening by celebrating greynolds‘s birthday. At the pub he revealed that, like every man, he has his price. For five million pounds, he would let his bollocks be bitten off my a horse. Which is eminently fair, I think. Five million is a lot of money.

We crossed the causeway onto the island around three, after a two and a half hour drive. We wandered over the beach until the light began to strengthen. Although there was a little cloud on the horizon, it was not long after four-thirty when the sun peeked out. As it did, everyone was quiet. It was one of those great moments where everyone is perfectly silent and yet there’s still a feeling of deep communion.

After the sunrise, we tried to cook a breakfast barbeque like a bunch of hungry clowns. You’d never think it would be so difficult for half a dozen people to light two disposable barbeques, but there were elements of slapstick…

We were off the island by six, and back in york soon after. And now I’m up again, posting to my live journal…

A little post-luncheon cynicism

cfw has had another rejection letter, and it’s really, really depressing. She’s talented as all hell, and just needs the break. Seems like a lot of people are having trouble getting a job, but that doesn’t really offer too much consolation, does it? If you’ve got a job that involves any kind of intellectual rigor, and you think a doctor of theoretical physics might be able to handle it, consider her.

It makes me think that, in one sense, we’ve been fed a whole load of shit about what it means to learn and work in the world. You grow up, and your parents encourage you to do well at school. At school, they teach you about these rarified and difficult-to-apply subjects; they teach you about places and concepts and languages you’ll probably never use. When you get out of school, employers won’t touch you unless you’ve earned qualifications in them, and when they do consider you, they reject you for missing skills no-one ever told you you’d need and no-one ever helped you learn.

What do you really need, then?

I think what you need is a form of acting; it’s the ability to convince people you’re talented, and to spin things so that people see the best in what you do. It’s all appearances. Real knowledge serves as the raw materials for your bluffing, real ability just makes the act easier.

So, look good in a suit, shake hands firmly, lock eye contact, and talk in a deep, confident voice. Keep your head still and straight. It’s amazing how effective these sorts of things are, especially keeping your head still. Absolutely weird, but very powerful.

Leave evidence that you’re achieving and that you’re a winner, baby! Lie well on applications and CVs. Produce stuff that looks great. Everyone loves a winner, right?

Be moronically positive People believe what you tell them, unless they’ve got evidence to the contrary. If you tell them stuff that’s positive, that’s going to work to your advantage, even if it’s neither balanced nor true. In the choice between truth and positive spin, choose positive spin.

Enough ranting…

Improv Games

Recently, I’ve been thinking about doing some Improv theatre games, maybe something like ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ but without such a comedy focus. I reckon I can probably drum up a bit of interest around the York SF&F society social, and run an hour or two every week. So, I think I’ll need to put together a number of games and situations and let people at it. I’ll scour some of my books and see what I can come up with.

It’s part of a larger push towards getting better at playing characters in role-playing games. I want to be able to create interesting scenes and characters easily, and I think it’ll be a good, fun way of learning