December 2nd, 2002

Surprising revelations...

...last night I soloed a roast for the first time.

This rather suprised me, as I've been out of the nest for nigh on 20 years now, and that was straight into self catering (which, I hasten to add, was something of a steep learning curve). I've cooked a wide range of different dishes, from the complex and impressive, to the simple and warming. I've made sauces, soups and sorbets, and stewed, grilled, baked and fried every kind of fish and meat I can think of.

But I've never roasted anything by myself. Sure, marypcb and I have worked together on plenty of roast meals together, but she has had responsibility for the meat... But last night she had work to do, I was at a loose end, and we'd just picked up a rolled, stuffed joint of meat at our local Waitrose.

And it was easier than I thought. Just stick the meat on the trivet in the roasting pan, set the temperature, and leave it in the oven for the appropriate amount of time. All very painless. I'm not sure now why I'd never done it before. I'm certainly going to do it again...

Next: my first cake.
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Seen on a CD-liner notes: words for the Digital Dark Ages

"The technology required to play this enhanced CD will be defunct and possibly unavailable to anyone but computer nostalgia freaks within a few years anyway. It will soon seem charming that anyone ever thought to put it there in the first place. We are proud to be part of our generation's rush to leave behind artefacts our grandchildren may have no way of seeing."

And adding to that, this story from BBC News, on the recovery of data from an early hyper-media project.
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The Monday Afternoon "Not Quite Jumped The Shark, Yet" Review: War Of Honor

David Weber's Honor Harrington novels are starting to feel like old friends. Their mix of SF adventure yarn and Napoleonic naval fiction blends to give us a story that is a slick and easy read, that fills the dead time of a commuting journey with derring do and danger. Or at least they used to.

The latest novel, War Of Honor, is a change of pace. As the war between the Republic of Haven and the Kingdom of Manticore hangs in the stony stalemate of diplomatic limbo, Honor Harrington and the Earl of Whitehaven find themselves in the position of being the most visible part of Manticore's loyal opposition. While the Manticore government takes advantage of the current state of affairs to feather its nest, they're hunting for a means to discredit Harrington and remove a vocal thornin their side. In Haven, the shock of defeat has resulted in a new rash of military development, and a desire to even the playing field with Manticore.

As political machinations on both sides start an inevitable slide back to shooting war, Harrington is sent as a show of strength into the fractured and pirate-ridden Silesian confederacy. It's a place where something suspicious is going on, but whether it is Havenite machinations, or a opportunistic expansion by a local power is a question for Honor to answer. It's a question that's going to change the strategic picture, and set the scene for the next few novels in the series. There are two interregnums here: one for Honor, and one for us, Weber's audience.

If you're used to the frenetic pace of earlier Harrington novels, you'll find this hefty book a much slower and more gentle book. What action there is takes place off-screen for the most part. This isn't a bad thing - what Weber has delivered is a novel that deals with the larger issues around the strategic nature of interstellar warfare, mixed with the byzantine politics of Manticore and Haven. However, for an audience that demands more and more Honor, the many different viewpoints used to construct War Of Honor may feel confusing - but Weber is making a point: the road to war is not one individual and one decision, instead it is a combination of deliberate decisions, mistakes and confrontations.

So, the verdict is in. Not a bad novel, just a different one. It's definitely worth a read if you're a fan of the series, and if not, the bundled CD-ROM of ebooks contains the other nine volumes in the series in a wide variety of formats for most common operating systems and PDAs, making this an economical place to start an Honor Harrington addiction...

I still haven't quite decided how close a match Honor is to Nelson. It's getting there, though...
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