Archive for July 2010
It does not get much easier than this:
- Wash and cut slits into a tomato. I prefer the black-green ones but any tomato with rich flavour will do.
- Slice a soft cheese such as bocconcini into wedges and insert into tomato slits.
- Place on a plate with full flavoured greens like arugula and basil. Drizzle a little vinegar .
Preparation time: about two minutes.
Spring weather does not get any better than this. Cloudless sky, cool breeze and green rice fields with blue mountains in the distance. Naoko’s day off so we went to Osaka in the afternoon. Spent the time walking and sight-seeing.
Listened to a very good local punk rock band playing in front of JR Osaka Umeda station. Jeff, my God Son, a serious punk rocker, would approve.
In the evening we went to one of my favourite restaurants in Namba, 三間堂、 San Gen Dou. Take a look at the attached; it may appear to be a slushie in a box, but it is really Yuki Doke Zake, (melting snow sake.) Presented with a small dish of black sesame tofu (left), don’t believe what you learned in medical school about low temperatures slowing reactions, this innocent-looking treat will hit one like a Shinkansen on the fast track. A frozen glass is filled with very cold sake such that it overflows, filling the box which is also frozen. Almost instantly the sake — take your pick, dry or fruity — turns to ice. The challenge is to consume it without getting any on one’s kimono.
Wherever this note finds you, I hope it finds you well, J
Original note written April 25, 2010.
This post was originally written on September 24, 2007. Since this was the week I decided to learn to write and his lordship was released on bail I decided to edit and re-post it here:
Regardless of how one feels about charges and verdict against Conrad Black, his mastery of the English language can not be disputed. Ian Brown of the Globe and Mail interviewed Lord Black in the spring of 2007. I found Black’s comments on vocabulary noteworthy and quote them here.
A lot of linguists say we don’t need to teach standard or normative vocabulary because there’s no such thing – everyone learns the words they need for the circles they inhabit. Standard vocabulary, to these people, is undemocratic. Any opinion?
People should be encouraged to expand and use their vocabularies in unpretentious ways, to arm them as well as possible to communicate and to understand their language as well as possible.
The alternative view is just part of the vulgarization and mediocritization of everything and the triumph of a few trendy cultural charlatans at the head of a population of Philistines. Any such trend should be resisted.
I would like to learn to write well; to write articles and essays that people like reading. I have been thinking of this since late March, and practised by writing daily to Jason in April. It seems I had made the right beginning in what will be a very long undertaking.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” These were the first words I read upon opening On Writing by Stephen King in a bookshop last week. It is something I have always implicitly known, (I grew up in a very literary household,) but seeing it stated so clearly was all I required to take a copy to the cashier followed by the first subway train home to start reading.
King described his recovery from a 1999 car accident in an essay. I remember his words conveyed not only the accident, but the pain and emotions he was still feeling many months later. The essay was not long, but it certainly was powerful. So, that’s how I want to write: clearly, sparsely and interestingly.
When the summer is hot, as it is at the moment, I usually keep a melon seeded and cut into ready-to-eat-pieces in the Frigidaire.
I arrived home from the gym hungry and craving something cold, and filling. There was not much cold in the house at the time but I did have cantaloupe and bocconcini. I made my own variation of a Caprese salad by putting a little balsamic glaze on top; a healthy instant cool-down.
For those concerned that this is insufficient to restore one after a heavy workout I recommend a cheeseburger for dessert.
If you think the design of the cover looks like something from the early 1950’s you’re correct, actually it’s ’53.
Was doing some housework and rearranging of shelves (as astounding as that may seem,) and came across this beautiful book I had forgotten. Not sure which I enjoy more, the cover and illustrations (in similar style) or the recipes. One of three slim volumes published by Peter Pauper Press in my small shelf of cookbooks.
Will enjoy the illustrations while deciding which of the recipes I like best. I’ll share the results, but warn you now, Devilled Eggs are likely to be near the top.
As a long-time employee of IBM, the famous blue logo was an integral part of my identity: it was on much of the mail, both electronic and paper, which I sent and on most of the vast number of documents I wrote. It was on luggage tags of bags I carried all over the world. I displayed it proudly on my time-stained Hartmann briefcase which seemed to travel a million miles with me on the trains to work and the disintegrating backpack in which latterly I lugged around computers.
But what about the time when I did not want to be identified with IBM? How would I identify myself? Which one of my many interests or hobbies could best represent me? And, after I decided that, how would I display it visually? I let the questions rattle around, unanswered, in my head.
Standing at the bus stop one snowy night after calligraphy class I found the answer: a signature stamp, an inkan or hanko as it is also known. Briefly, a hanko is a stamp used with red ink as a signature. I decided to create a digital version which could be inserted into a document or used as an avatar.
Hanko designs can be very elaborate but since I would not be able to control the display medium I drew a single character within a square box using a stylized hiragana form of the character shi, the first of my name. The enclosing box was a set of Bézier curves and I saved the drawing as a PNG-file to preserve transparency such that an underlying image or background colour would be visible.
Although I initially intended to use the hanko only in digital form, recently I printed calling cards which included it. Peter Sherk of Haddon Press submitted three designs of which I chose the one below.
Although I have been interested in graphic design since childhood, my hanko project reminded me that there is much to think about before any work is begun. To anyone embarking on a similar activity I recommend two articles on the topic of Logo design written by Steve Naegele in February 2010, in his blog, A Sumtyme Blog of Knowthing. Whether you are thinking of doing it yourself or sending it out to the pros, read this first; you are tying your life to the results.