Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Over The Rainbow

Two days without a blog entry, so here's yestern's vid:

How to make a mozzarella (or tofu) and tomato salad.  This takes about fifteen minutes if you've already boiled the kidney beans.  Click to tweet:

You will need:

Two limes
About 15 ml of cooking oil, preferably olive but sunflower is an option.
A fairly large number of tomatoes, preferably cherry tomatoes (no need to chop).
About 200 grammes kidney beans.
500 grammes (dry weight) pasta.
Two mozzarella balls or hunks of firm tofu.

1. Rinse the vegetables in cold water, including the kidney beans if they're warm to cool them down.
2. Boil a couple of litres of cold water using a kettle.  Put the pasta in a saucepan or steamer.
3. While waiting for the water to boil, top and tail the cucumbers and then slice them lengthwise into four.  Chop them crosswise into fairly thin segments.
4. While STILL waiting for the kettle to boil, dice the tomatoes if they're large, otherwise just sling them in.  You can also add pitted or stuffed olives, capers and/or sweetcorn niblets at this stage.
5. Just before the kettle comes to the boil, turn the ring on full and put the pot with the pasta in it on the ring.  Then cover them with the boiling water as soon as possible so that the pasta is entirely floating in the water, but not too high as it will waste energy and water otherwise.  Cover immediately with a close-fitting lid.  Turn down as soon as it begins to bubble and leave to simmer for ten minutes or until the pasta is the consistency you prefer.
6. While this is going on, mix the other ingredients together in a large bowl.
7. While this is still going on, chop each mozzarella ball into sixteen pieces and tear each piece in half.
8.  Start adding the white stuff to the bowl about four bits at once, mixing thoroughly each time.  Then put the bowl in the fridge or freezer to chill.
9.  Just before the pasta's ready, chop each lime in half and squeeze it.  You don't need a lemon squeezer for this.
10. Put the oil in a jar (or the bottom of the lemon squeezer) and shake it or whisk it with a fork or whisk.  Remember that metal and oxidation destroy vitamin C very fast.  However, luckily most Citrus fruits in Britain probably haven't got any vitamin C in them anyway!
11. When the pasta's ready, drain it using a cold, preferably metal, sieve or colander, then drop it into a bowl full of cold water.  Try to avoid draining the pasta water into the bowl.
12. Drain the bowl out until the pasta is almost falling out itself.  Then add more cold water until it's full again.  Stir the pasta around to cool it down and separate any which are stuck together with your fingers.
13. When the pasta's cold, drain it through another cold, again preferably metal, sieve or colander.  If you only have one, make sure it's cold.
14. Take the bowl out of the fridge and mix the pasta in.  It can help to separate the salad into two bowls for this.
15. Pour the oil and juice mixture into the bowl(s) in a spiral pattern and serve.

Two things about this video:
1. It wasn't supposed to be about salad. I was planning to make the Richard Briers video but the day ended up being so hectic that all i could manage to fit in was one which incorporated what i was doing anyway, so this is all a bit thrown together.
2. It's a recipe video, for a surprisingly cheap meal as it happens - about fifteen bob a person.

Here's the other one, which is a webcam video:

My tribute to Richard Briers.  Click to tweet:

Richard Briers is chiefly remembered for 'The Good Life' in which he played a man who turned his back on the ratrace to live an alternate, self-sufficient lifestyle in suburbia.  This is kind of what we've done except that we were not successful in another career.  I'm also quite a stubborn and obsessive person myself, like Tom Good, so i can relate to that.

Another one is Roobarb and Custard, the first TV cartoon i ever saw in colour.  This was animated interestingly by drawing each frame twice, giving it a wobbly appearance as used today in Charlieissocoolike's outro screen.  I considered doing the same but haven't got time - i was going to try drawing a green Tom Good and a pink Barbara Good and make them wobbly, but that would be hard on a webcam!

Another one is Oneupmanship, in which his character taught people how to pose to succeed.  One memorable scene for me is the winetasting scene, where he dips a pentorch into some red wine and exclaims "tramlines!"

Something Liz is a fan of more than i, although i do see it partly as a satire on suburban madness, is 'Ever-Decreasing Circles' where he plays the obsessive Martin Bryce.

He also appeared in Shakespeare plays, notably the film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, and in Torchwood, where ironically for today he played an old immortal man who wanted to die.

One interesting thing he said was that in order to subsidise theatre in this country, it was necessary for him to do a lot of commercial voiceovers, which makes me feel better about all that.  Because theatre acting is poorly-paid, actors such as him are hard to find and appear rarely on stage, on the whole, but he was one to buck the trend.  He also did a lot more than simply deliver the lines - he was visually very funny too.

Both of these videos were of course made in haste.  In the second case, it's a fairly shameless attempt to leap on a bandwagon and if it gets few views, that probably serves me right.  My father pointed out that my glasses are too reflective in this, so i may either remove them or turn off the monitor from now on for webcam videos.

The views have changed again.  They seem to be updating more regularly in the last couple of days and i now have seven and a half dozen subscribers, so i'm approaching, very slowly, the psychological barrier of the

I am now tempted to make two graph-based videos in a row, one on the idea of the triple-dip recession and the other on the Doomsday Argument.  I will probably be more creative with the second than the first.  In fact, why wait until the day after tomorrow?  Here's the graphical basis of my first idea:

Here is a graph of my views in the past month:

Here is the same graph with each decline in views from day to day marked (and yes, it's a bit crap but i'm tired and nobody reads these):

The point i'm trying to make with this is that if you regard every dip in numbers as a recession, you will end up seeing rather a lot of recessions.  With views on a single very small YT channel this is not important, but with the national or international economy, this is more important because the belief that the economy is doing badly can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People will hang on to their money against a rainy day, and as a result, it rains.  However, since a free press is clearly important it's hard to know what to do about this.

That's a future video though, with a nicer set of graphs.  Do graphs scare people off?  We shall see.