Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Feed: Feast,

    Your days of feasting is definitely something to admire Gareth.

    Our Xmas feasting has become a slightly disjointed period.

    I grew up with a somewhat confused idea of what Xmas food was. With Dutch parents there was the Xmas ring, a butter, sugar and almond mix that was usually made several days ahead of time and somehow seemed to shrink in the fridge (absolutely nothing to do with raids by a young boy) it would then be rolled into a sausage shape and encased in pastry and finally formed into the ring that was baked and iced. On Xmas eve it would be cut into segments (not unlike a sausage roll) and devoured.

    But that was probably the only constant part of Xmas eating. We would have a big dinner Xmas eve but not anything in particular, although in later years (I guess when my parents could finally afford it) a ham became a major part of dinner. BTW Xmas eve was the celebration because one year my brothers opened ALL the presents at 5 am, so my parents switched to opening presents on the eve.

    As I grew older my brother's girlfriends became part of the dinner, bringing kiwi traditions into the meal, pavlova, strawberries etc but no Turkey. And then we started to be invited to their family dinners on Xmas day as well as our Xmas eve celebration. I have fond memories of one year eating a large proportion of three Xmas hams.

    And then time passed, and with it, my family grew smaller, first my eldest brother, then my father. Now my mother no longer lives at home and we really have no family centre to hang Xmas onto. We will try to organise something with my other brother and his children for Xmas but it may not happen.

    Instead our Xmas has shifted from my family to my partners family and most importantly to the circle of friends. Now we look forward to a dinner for 20+ friends where my job will be to slow roast an entire pig - an all day event that will gather all our friends to celebrate ... well ... friendship.

    It will be our second roast pig after much internet research and a practice run a month ago, if the first one is anything to go by it will be wonderful. We have that gathering early to avoid all the genetic family events. In many ways it has become my real family Xmas and the one I look forward to the most. Everyone will contribute to a course, sometimes a simple roast veg (yum), but sometimes someone will do something more adventurous (we made an amazing mushroom ravioli with shaved truffle as entree one year).

    Then we will move on to Xmas itself, for us this year will be some kind of nice breakfast and then a late Xmas lunch with my partners sisters. There will be all the expected elements as well as my partners amazing curried eggs which she now has to bring to almost every event (including the friends Xmas above) and my sister-in-law's shortbread, which nobody else can seem to make quite as well. And then home for a quiet dinner of something small. Next day is one of the many birthdays that land almost on top of Xmas itself it has the advantage of using up many of the leftovers. The family now has three young nephews to cater for ... I can't help but wonder what they will remember and which food will mean Xmas to them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    I'd love for CampbellLive to be WotY

    just because

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    Refugee will almost certainly get my vote.

    I really wish the Nelson Street Cycle Path had a great name but to be fair it’s just an Auckland thing.

    Another Auckland thing was the Pohutukawa 6

    Because I’m a scientist I’d suggest Genome editing, but I suspect it’s probably a year or two early. If you don’t know anything about it I suggest you look it up. If I had to pick one technology that will shake the world up it will be that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Bridge of Birds, Story of the Stone, Eight Skilled Gentlemen

    Oh god those are amazing! I have physical copies but I think I’ll just get them electronically as well because realistically that’s how I do all my reading now.

    And I didn’t know Fox published/destroyed books too. I presume they have rights to the rest of the series if he writes them so he can’t bring himself to do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to Ianmac,

    A really good book sometimes can have the solution to the crime being relatively less important than the setting.

    Very true. However it's really easy to cross the line into boring travelogue, which is where the current book (Paul McAuley's gardens of the Sun) I'm reading has failed me,
    "yes I know you read all about the moons of Saturn but so did I and frankly NASA did a shit load better job of making them feel real and exciting than you did"

    The first book of his I read "Something coming through" was much better and yes there is blood on the ground and a hard bitten detective chasing leads through a corrupt city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to Emma Hart,

    But I can’t fathom what would make me sit through I and II again.

    The value is you throw away vol I completely, however that still leaves you with the problem of the dialog in III which almost certainly has to win as the worst romantic dialog ever in a movie.

    And I’m pondering now how many of my non-mystery favourites nonetheless involve unravelling What Actually Happened.

    I'm pretty certain without that "mystery" I struggle to finish a book (something I HAVE to do). It's why I shy away from most "literature" because a) nothing happens and b) should anything accidentally happen it is blindingly obvious.

    As for Connie Willis I loved "The doomsday book" and "To say nothing of the dog" but Blackout and All Clear almost drove me mad with frustration, yeah I get that you did all that amazing research on the blitz but no I didn't want to read every little anecdote you dug up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to Emma Hart,

    the three existing Star Wars movies

    Making a statement there :).

    Not even tempted by the Machete order?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books, in reply to linger,

    camera film

    One of the hazards of older SciFi is the problem of current technology making the futuristic SciFi tech look old hat.

    I mean really, film is so amazing - nothing could replace it :). And as for those pathetic communicators they use in Star Trek, you can't even Skype on them!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books,

    I'm mostly a SciFi & Fantasy reader nowadays but I grew up reading EVERY 3 Investigators book and Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Arthur Conan Doyle blew my mind with logic (so glad I never knew what a nutjob he was back then).

    Once I became hooked on SciFi I worked through all the classic authors, I loved Asimov so much I tried to read all his books (since he was writing them faster than I could read, it was probably a vain pursuit). Included in that list were the books that I think had more impact on me than they deserved - Asimov's Tales of the Black Widowers. The butler always solved the mystery, the widowers themselves always swallowed the red herring, but most of all the guest had to justify their existence. It was a question I had never thought to ask myself before, "what do you contribute?", there were no wrong answers but you did have to have an answer.

    Now I get my mysteries within the SciFi & Fantasy genre, something that Asimov himself proved was possible when nobody thought a SciFi mystery novel could be written. Today's SciFi authors are completely comfortable embedding a ripping good murder into an alien culture or a future world. Just because the victim was an amorphous blob and the detective uses an imaginary third arm doesn't make the mystery any less fun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Change for the Better, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I guess driving is regarded by many drivers as not just a way of getting around, but a moral good and a human right

    Much like gun ownership.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3941 posts Report Reply

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