Thursday, December 30, 2004

Neon Sunflower

It's overcast outside (again). Looks like rain (again). Where is summer?

Good thing my Neon Sunflower does not actually need the sun!

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, it really is supposed to be summer over here.

Neon Sunflower Fractal

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bright Star

Here is my latest fractal "discovery". The formula that generated it was:

sin(z^5+4*z^3*c)/c

Go figure.

Brightstar Fractal

Monday, December 20, 2004

Random Sketch

Why photograph items when you can sketch them instead?

Below a statuette that came with me from South Africa. It was a gift from my dad. It was also really easy to sketch.

Mother and Child Statue

The above item is roughly 21cm in height. It sits on my bedside table gathering dust. Some of us have way too much time on our hands.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Ice, Ice, Baby Ice

As promised last week, here is the recipe for icing that chocolate cake.

Icing Ingredients

  • 50g butter / marge
  • 1 tsp coffee
  • 40 mL cocoa
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • boiling water (to half a cup of liquid)
  • roughly 325g icing sugar

Method

Combine the cocoa, coffee and hot water in a small jug or class, then add the vanilla to the mixture.

Loosened Cake
Loosen the cake with a pallette knife (around the sides and at the bottom).
Melt butter
Put the butter in the pot and melt it.

Don't let it go brown.
Add cocoa / coffee / water mixture
Add the cocoa, coffee, vanilla and water mixture to the melted butter.
Add icing sugar
Add the icing sugar.

Stir the contents of the pot until ...
Smooth Mixture
There are no more lumps.
Prepare to Spread
The icing should be thick enough to spread. If it is too thick,it won't stick on the cake. If it is too thin, then it may end up running down the sides.

Spread the icing on the side of the cake. Do this over the pot so that any drips get recycled.
Plate on cake
Place a plate over the centre of the cake, put your hand on top of the plate.
Cake on plate
Now turn the cake "upsidedown" so that the cake is on the plate.

Your cake should look like this.
Lines on side
Mark the sides of the cake (be gentle), this helps the icing stick on the cake and is also a handy guide for cutting even slices.
The top
Thin the remaining icing a little with some hot water (a tiny bit goes a long way), then pour the slightly thinner icing onto the top of the cake.
Spread it
Spread the icing evenly on the top of the cake.
Mark Top
Mark the top of the cake.
Almost done
It should look like this. You could stop here but if you have leftover icing, there is lovely finishing touch.
Thin icing (again)
Add about one teaspoon of water to the remaing icing to make it nice and thin.
Thinned Icing
It should look like this.
Drizzle
Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake.
All done
Your finished cake should look wonderful.

I have a confession. The above photos show my mom icing the cakes that I baked. My dad wanted to take a cake with him to the office and I needed one for a gift so I made up a double recipe of batter and then my mom volunteered to do the icing. The icing above can be a bit tricky, so if it does not work first time, don't be upset. I can guarantee that even if it does not look totally professional, it will taste really good. Obviously we doubled up the recipe for the icing as well but all the numbers above are to ice one cake only.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Chocolate Cake

Baked a cake today and inspired by Cooking for Engineers decided to blog the experience.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • Half a teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup castor sugar (you can use regular sugar if you are desperate)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • Half a cup of water
  • Half a cup of oil
  • 1 extra teaspoon of baking powder

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Farenheit)

separated eggs
Separate the eggs and add the vanilla to the egg yolks.
sifted dry ingredients
Sift the dry ingredients together.

Measure out the oil and water.
Mix it!
Add the oil and water to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Beaten Yellows
Beat the egg yellows until they are a creamy yellow colour.

Add the egg yellows to the chocolate mixture and mix well.
Smooth Mixture
Your mixture should look like this.
Egg whites
Add the extra teaspoon of baking powder to the egg whites and beat well.

Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Add Whites to Chocolate
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
Keep Folding
Your mixture should look like this when you are done.

Take out a Chiffon tin.
Batter in tin
Pour the cake batter into the tin.
Cooking...
Put the cake into the oven for 35-40 minutes (at 180 degrees C / 350 F).
Almost done
Don't worry if cracks appear on the surface of the cake.
Out of Oven
Take the cake out of the oven and check that it is cooked using a skewer (or a toothpick).
Upside down
Place the cake upside down and until it is cool.
Loosen and Ice
Loosen the cake and ice if desired.

Most of the time, I simply serve the cake with ice cream and don't bother to ice it. I did ice the cake today as it is for a party that I am going to, only the icing for the top was too thick so it did not spread easily and the resulting cake looks rather unprofessional. The plan is to make another cake later in the week. Will have another go at the icing and blog it the icing recipe if it goes well. Am still taking my rather homemake cake with me tomorrow as even though the icing "flopped", it still tastes really good.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

No Worries

Realised that it has been over a week since the last update and those flowers are getting old.

Had a job interview on Thursday afternoon for a teaching post. It was weird. Six people on the panel doing the interview plus one interpreter (the job is at Deaf school). Seems like a lot to me. Told them what I can do, what I can't do and that if the job involves a lot of English / Social Studies stuff, then they need to find someone who is better at teaching those subjects. Had to remind them that I am a Maths / Science person.

Telling them to "keep looking" for a better person for the job felt a bit (OK a lot) like shooting myself in the foot. That was probably the strangest job interview ever. They must think I am the wrong side of crazy after I told them that I may not be suited to the position. Wonder if that happens a lot. Still am not stressed about next year. If I don't get full time work, will just continue subbing / tutoring. No worries.

On the theme of "no worries", why not another fractal to celebrate the fact that I don't need to worry about finding work for next year? Hope you like it. Just wish I knew what it was.

blue green square spiky fractal

Thursday, November 18, 2004

More Digital Flowers

Here they are.

More digital flowers

Took more photos today. It was diabolical due to the gusts of wind and the sun which kept on coming out from behind the clouds. Got some good shots despite the challenging conditions. Of course the star shaped blue flowers that I have been wanting to shoot for days now came out blurred. Will have to try again sometime soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Digital Flowers

My brother gave me his digital camera. It is a pretty basic model but it can produce some very nice shots. Went for a walk this afternoon and took photos of all the flowers in my street. Then came home and played.

The composition below is the result. Am quite pleased with it. Especially liked the dandylion which came out nice and sharp. Not bad for a first time out. I took 45 photos in all. Ended up deleting all but 17 of them as they were not good enough. Then chose four whose colours worked well together.

Flowers Composition

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Vacation Fractal

Am on semi-vacation. So had time to create. Its name was "blue swirl". Simply Stunning suggested that it be called "Ocean Dream". I think that is a much better name for it.

Ocean Dream

Oddly, the "Previous Posts" section on the LHS side bar is not showing the last ten posts like it is supposed to! Very annoying. Please take a look at the Archives to see previous postings. Hope this glitch fixes itself soon.

The "glitch" mentioned above has happily fixed itself.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Spiral Fire

Below, yet another fractal. It almost looks like a firework, only its less noisy and lasts longer.

Spiral Fire Fractal

Spent most of today trying to fix my Rubiks Cube after randomising it due to boredom. I seriously need to get a life!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Wednesday Writings

Yesterday was Wednesday and I spent it with a group of Deaf students (as usual). In their language unit, they were working on Acrostic poems. Sadly they did not "get" the fact that the sentences they wrote actually had to be related to the word the acrostic was based on. In frustration, the following made it up onto the board. It got translated into New Zealand Sign Language as well.

On Wednesday nights I have Israeli dance class. You need this bit of information to make sense of the poem below.

Wish it was over
Endless frustration
Dreaming students
Not paying attention
Enough already!
Should almost be time to
Dance the night
Away.
Yet another week half gone.

The above took less than three minutes to compose.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Flower Power

Time for a new fractal. When I have something to write about, will quit wasting my time creating new fractals. Until then enjoy ...

flower power fractal

The original version is bigger and looks better. Compressing these things does dull them somewhat. Never mind.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Good Fractals are Hard to Find

Have absolutely nothing to write about. Thought I would post a fractal instead. It is called "Infinity Circle" (if you look real hard, you can see the infinity symbol inside the circle). Thought it was quite pretty.

infinity circle fractal

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why Blog ?

A couple of days ago, my brother called me on the phone and asked me why I blogged. Instead of explaining it to him, decided to blog my response.

  • I am lonely
  • It beats being bored
  • When stuff irritates me, I know that I can at least blog about it and get it off my chest
  • Everyone else seems to be doing it
  • It seemed like a good idea at the time
  • Its free
  • Its easy

One of the most attractive things about having a blog is that totally random people can read (and comment) on it. It is like the modern day equivalent of a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. Something oddly sad / romantic in there. It reminds me that I am not all alone out here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Room Service Frappé

The Frappé search & enjoy mission continues. My mom has also gotten into the act. This is a good development.

She got involved when I took her to Starbucks and we shared a Venti Mocha Frappuccino. She really liked it. A lot. The caffeine got her pumping. It was fun to watch.

Anyhow, whilst my mom appreciated the experience, she does not like the idea of forking out over $5.00 for what is basically ice and some flavouring. She is also concerned about her caffeine intake as she basically never drinks coffee and was freaked out by how the caffeine made her feel. So she has started to experiment with the *old* liquidiser in her quest to make homestyle Frappé's.

After several attempts yesterday she pretty much got it right. I know this cause I was slaving away at my computer and she brought down her latest (and greatest) attempt for me to sample. That was the best room service ever! The texture was pretty much there (no anomalous crunchy bits) and the flavour was quite good.

Today promises more experimentation, possibly involving fruit. I think she is going to make some chocolaty ones as well. Life is suddenly very good!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Purple Silk

Am finally on vacation :)

Created this fractal recently. Stared at it for a long time and still have no idea what it is.

Purple silk fractal