Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Soul Surfer : Bethany Hamilton

Saturday, October 29th, 2011


Spent a lovely evening watching Soul Surfer with my three eldest girls last night.  The film recounts the true story of a competitive teen surfer Bethany Hamilton from the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii.  Bethany lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003 and the film recounts her life before, during and after the attack.

Her determination to become a champion again is the main thread of the movie but it also touches on how Bethany and her family’s faith was instrumental in her recovery and reassessment of her life.  AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia – filmed just a few miles from our house) does a stand-out job as Bethany, with Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid well cast as her parents.  Robyn, who has read the book, noticed that Hamilton has a brief cameo as an extra in the scene about a World Vision mission to Thailand, while her mum and dad appear as extras in a church scene. American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, in her first movie, has a supporting role as Bethany’s youth group leader. The beautiful scenery and cloudscapes of Kauai also feature prominently and we found ourselves all keen to go see the place for ourselves!

While I am the first to admit to groans and grumbles at the sight of another teenage chick flick – seemingly hundreds pass through this house annually – this movie was so much more than that; it’s great to watch as a family or as an inspirational film for a youth group. Definitely one for our ‘to buy’ list.

Time to tell a better story?

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

To the disqualified driver of the uninsured, street modified Honda who drove into the back of my car after tailgating me on yesterday morning’s commute into town.

  • I am trying to think well of you though your actions, behaviour and manipulations left me sad, annoyed and inconvenienced.
  • I wish you no harm and my hope is that you choose not to drive again whilst disqualified to do so.
  • I bear you no ill-will and my wish is that you respect the law and other road users enough to not drive whilst uninsured.
  • I trust you are as safe & healthy as when you left the scene and my prayer is that you hold those you meet in higher regard than you seemed yesterday.

In closing, please think about telling a better story with your life, taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences, and enriching the lives of others as well as yourself.


Escalope à la diable

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

After an afternoon at the beach, we wanted a quick and easy supper.  While the rest of the family opted for chicken fajitas from a packet mix, I converted a great recipe for Blackened Redfish, from my twenty year old copy of Cajun Cooking by Marjie Lambert, to come up with ‘Escalope à la Diable’.  It turned out great and my mouth is still zinging from the flavours and the heat.  Here’s how easy it is.

After beating chicken breasts into escalopes, coat them with the following mix of herbs and spices, freshly ground to a medium consistency in a mortar and pestle.

2 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
2 tsp onion granules
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Pre-heat your barbecue plate or cast iron pan to the highest temperature.  You’ll need a raging hot barbecue plate or cast iron pan to cook this dish and, if you cook it indoors, make sure the kitchen is very well ventilated.  The first time I cooked this in our tiny apartment kitchen in London, the smoke hit me like riot gas and left me with streaming eyes and nose! Once fiercely hot, cook the escalope on one side until the coating is blackened and the flesh whitened, probably no more than 2 minutes.  Gently turn over and repeat for the other side.  Serve plain with steamed fresh vegetables, flavoured rice or a mixed salad – or serve as a burger with your favourite toppings.


Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Analogies by the excellent XKCD

I love the English language.

Heróis Comuns/Ordinary Heroes

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

flying men

One of the things I like about Flickr is that, every once in a while, it throws up images that make you see things in a different way – click the image for more.

R.I.P. GeoCities

Monday, October 26th, 2009


I discovered that Yahoo’s GeoCities is being shut down today – and with it a few of my fledgling attempts at blogs.  I clicked over there to find that only the index page of my first serious attempt remains, with broken links to my hand drawn graphics and 404 pages for the rest.


Back in the day, I used to blog a lot about food which I still do occasionally (see blog roll top right).  I was also a bit of a PDA geek and wrote a fair amount about Palms, Psions and iPaqs, which led me to writing a few pieces for the much-missed Happy Palm website, where I met my good friends Chuck, Jason and Roger.  I’m not an overly nostalgic person but I’ll miss those first stumbling steps and over-use of all those things we used to think essential in a web site like scrolling marqees and flashing text – a look captured brilliantly by the marvellous xkcd today.  I’ll close with the footer from my old site.


Planets in my house

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

After making a pair of tin can telephones and fooling around with them for a while, my youngest daughter were looking for other ways to spend time having fun together.

One of the photographs we took through the hole in one of the cans looked a little like a planet in space and Mum suggest we look for other ‘planets’ around the house.  I took the perforated tin lid, fixed it to the lens of my IXUS 850IS with a small ring of Blu-Tak and we set off round the house, finding textures to snap so we had lots of images of ‘planets’.

The four above are just a few of the many we experimented with.  You can see a few more of the better ones, including a ‘super nova’ and a ‘moon’ over a planet and gaseous flare over at bignoseduglyguyeye or Flickr.

You can’t have your kayak and eat it

Sunday, February 11th, 2007


That’ll teach me to be less than specific when asking for a birthday present. Having said that, SWMBO’s brilliant cake was a great consolation prize, as was the slap up dinner we had with our new friends at the restaurant at the end of our road.

NZ 4th best place in world to live

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

NZ is the fourth-best place in world to live according to the The International Living travel website.  This sounded great until I read that the first three are a strange mix of France, the Netherlands and Australia.  Closer inspection shows the site to be seemingly geared towards the U.S. expat executive market. [The pointed comments around how hard it is for U.S. citizens to get into New Zealand and secure residency struck me as a bit rich given the Bush administration’s foreign and immigration policies, not to mention the generally appalling attitude of Immigration and Homeland Security drones at U.S. airports.]

waitakere bush

Elsewhere, it would seem that the recent The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report Climate Change 2007 indicates that NZ may escape the worst impacts of global warming, according to NIWA climate scientist Jim Renwick, who contributed to the report and Climate Change Minister David Parker.

An early Christmas present

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

One of the unexpected aspects of buying books from second hand booksellers on the web is that they often take ages to arrive.  This was the case with the book above which appeared in our mailbox this week, all the way from somewhere in the USA. 

I bought this as it was recommended by someone who mailed me about a picture of my pagnotta on Flickr.  I was bemoaning the fact that the local flour and unpredictable weather were not conducive to consistent bread making results and my correspondent advised that a no-knead wet dough method, honed by the author, might help.  So, armed with the book and some imported doppio zero flour from a friend, I hope to find out.

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