30 March 2009


Yarn: The equinox project is coming along nicely. It's a Just Enough Ruffles scarf, which is one of those fantastically easy things that ends up looking fantastic. Highly recommended.

Mediaeval food: The Dean of St Alban's Cathedral is campaigning for the revival of the Alban bun, a 'denser, more cakey product than the supermarket hot cross bun' that 'claims to be the precursor to the modern version.' Unfortunately, the Telegraph does not include a recipe for this item. Nor do the Herts Advertiser or the Daily Mail, which also picked up the story. This is probably so that the Sainsbury's in St Alban's doesn't suffer from competition. Still, it makes it hard to assess the mediaeval authenticity of the Alban bun.

I am dubious about the claim that 'grains of paradise' is the mediaeval name for cardamom -- I was under the impression it was a different spice. Wikipedia backs me up on this; cardamom, it says, is the seed/seedpods of plants from two genera of Zingiberaceae, Elettaria (green cardamom) and Amomum (black cardamom), whereas grains of paradise are the seeds of Aframomum melegueta.

Chiropteran: NPR's Sounds Wild series addressed the mating calls of the African hammerhead bat this morning. Well worth a listen.

WoW: I sprang for a character recustomisation on a paladin I'd made a while back and who was mouldering as an overflow bank mule. So, new face, hair, and name later, plus a talent adjustment (from "I don't know what I'm doing" to full Retribution), and suddenly a low-level paladin is great fun. And possibly overpowered. I'm pretty sure none of my other characters could solo an elite three levels higher than they are. Or own a duel-spamming rogue three levels higher than they are, either. But the paladin did both those things this weekend. (Seriously ... that rogue? OWNED. IN THE FACE. I was almost embarrassed for him).

The change in Seal and Judgement mechanics helps -- when I first made the character, paladin attacks went something like this: Seal, break the Seal with a Judgement, re-Seal so you could Judge again when the cooldowns were up, and hope your mana held out until the mob beat itself to death against your Retribution aura. Now, it's less busting a Seal on yo' arse and more dropping a Judgement on yo' head, with no need to re-Seal in between. So much less playing whack-a-mole with the cooldowns, so much more bringing the justice.

Garden: Yesterday was lovely and the Viking was working, so I took the opportunity to get some extended quality time with the garden. Crocuses are done, daffodils on the way, lots of leaves raked up (and still more to do). Blackcurrants are leafing out, gooseberries don't look to be far behind. I am behind on spring pruning but what else is new?

Serendipity: The feral Bradford pears along US 50 and the exit therefrom to the Beltway are blooming. I could see them, all ghostly among the scrub pines and still bare natives, in the twilight as I drove to work this morning. Then, just before the Lottford Vista Rd overpass, the sun broke through behind me, tinting everything rose-gold. A dump truck passed me with the words 'Must be the Holy Ghost' painted on the tailgate. The mysterious third person of the Trinity. Spirit, from that Latin verb spirare, to breathe. The breath of life. Spring.

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