Monday, April 20, 2009

Outrage, Twitter worm author gets a job at exqSoft Solutions...

Why does someone who intentionally wanted to do harm to millions of people deserve a job more than me?

"It's because he can code, Steve," I hear you shouting. Yes but that's all very well, but a 17 year-old? People do improprietary things every day and sometimes they are punished and other times they are rewarded. It is such a crazy world. I mean, why would this dude get a job and the inventor of that terrible virus "Melissa" be headed to jail?

I think that it probably feels better to do the right thing. Every day I and other people too, are presented with situations where, if we said nothing, we would be undercharged, or we would not have to suffer the consequences of what would happen if we had spoken up. But for some reason, it always feels better to "face the music!"

I don't know about you, but I feel better at night. I sleep better if I know I have done the correct thing. Michael Josephson has written a book about ethics. In fact Michael Josephson writes a weekly column about how ethics make the world a better place. You can hear this on the radio too. The amazing thing is, there is so much quality to living an ethical life. The knock-on effect of your actions are very far-reaching! You have no idea how far-reaching they really are until you come to view it all from a point outside of yourself. Then you will see.

Well, here's hoping that I made a difference to somebody's life today!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

If Music Be The Food Of Love, Om On.....

We look endearingly at mantras. We gaze lovingly at yantras,

and yet we still cannot ground our chakras. Have you heard the crystal bowls being played? I had a friend who played the bowls. Their steady but haunting music had a positive effect on my thoughts. I was able to instill really great ideas in my head.

We need to breathe deeply and consider all of the great things that happen in our world. We need to be grateful for all the things we do have. We need to look forward to the things that will be coming to please us in the future.

There is so much in this world which is sad and dismal, we need to correct the balance. We can do that by being positive and upbeat. We need to look at happy things and face the brightness of the sun and shiny happy people. If we do that, all the shadowy, evil things will take their place behind us.

Every awesome day begins with the sun rising and warming our bodies. Even in winter, the sun comes for a few hours to warm up the earth. After the winter solstice, the days grow longer and the nights grow shorter all the time. That period is soon.

"When the white eagle of the north is flying overhead,
and the browns, reds, and golds of autumn lie in
the gutter, dead.
Remember then the summer birds with wings of fire
flaying come to witness springs new hope,
born of leaves decaying.
As new life will come through death, love will come
at leisure, love of love, love of life and giving,
without measure gives in return the wondrous yearn
for promise, almost seen.
Live hand in hand, and together we'll stand
on the threshold of a dream." - The Moody Blues

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Great Indian Food You Are Going To Love!

An Indian dish called dhansak. 

It is made with four types of lentils (aka "dhal" or "dal") and chicken. (Apologies to all the vegetarians out there.) The complete Indian (Parsee) name is murgh dhansak (meaning chicken curry made with lentils in a savory sauce.) Most restaurants who serve this dish make it medium spicy, so if you don't like any spicyness in your food, you may like to request it mild.  

It is eaten with Pulao Rice. Meantime here is the recipe for those who want to create it at home:

Rice Method: (start this around 15 minutes to the end)

2 cups         Indian Basmati Rice
6 tbsp          oil
1 tbsp          whole cumin
6          whole cloves
1 stick         cinnamon
8          whole black peppers
1/2          onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup          frozen peas
         large black cardamon seeds

Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the pepper, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Fry until brown. To this add the cumin and onions and fry until onions are soft and pink. Meanwhile wash and soak rice for 1/2 hour. Then add the rice to the pan and fry for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 4 cups water and cook until rice is done.

Dhansak Method:

1/4 tsp 
1/4 tsp 
1/2 tsp 
1 tbsp 
1/2 tsp 
1 tsp 
1/2 tsp 
1 cup 

2 1/2 cups 

1/4 cup 

1/2 cup 
1 1/3 cups 
2/3 cup 
1/4 cup 
1 tsp 
11/2 lb 
2-inch piece 
1/4 cup 
2 tsp 
1 tbsp 
2/3 cup
1 1/3 cups 
1 tsp

seeds from 3 cardamom pods
ground nutmeg
ground fenugreek
chili powder 
ground star anise 
ground black pepper 
mixed dal (lentil), washed and soaked for 1 hour 
you will need: toor, masoor, urad and moong 1/4 cup each. 
chopped cilantro 
large onions, chopped 
diced pumpkin 
diced eggplant 
diced potatoes 
vegetable oil 
garam masala 
boneless chicken breasts, cubed 
fresh ginger, peeled and grated 
garlic cloves, crushed 
chopped fenugreek leaves 
large green chilies, finely chopped up 
(you could make this only one chili, if you want a mild dish!) 
large tomatoes, chopped up 
tomato paste 
dark brown sugar 
Tamarind water 
chicken stock 
white wine vinegar 
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

Heat a dry skillet pan until it's hot, then add cardamom, cloves, and all the ground spices (nutmeg, star anise, pepper and fenugreek), and dry-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the spices are toasted and releasing their aroma. Put the dal (lentils mix) into a saucepan with the water, 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro, 2 tsp of the spice mixture, the onions, pumpkin, eggplant, and potatoes.

Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are very soft. Remove from the heat and puree in a blender (that's right! in a blender) to a smooth sauce.

Heat the oil and fry the remaining spice mixture with the garam masala. Add the chicken cubes, and fry on all sides to seal. (It is sometimes helpful to get the chicken going first by pre-cooking in a microwave.) Add the ginger, garlic, the remaining chopped cilantro, fenugreek leaves, tomatoes and green chilies to the skillet and cook for 10 minutes. Reminder: about twenty minutes into this final section of cooking, you will need to start the rice. Don't forget, because it is great when both gets served at the same time! Add the pureed dal mixture to the chicken with the tomato paste, sugar, tamarind water, and stock. Simmer gently, covered, for 35 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through and is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the vinegar and lemon juice.

Simmer for 5 minutes and serve on silver platters 
with Basmati (jasmine, pulao or whatever rice! It really is best with Basmati. Look at my separate recipe for the rice, which needs to be started 11 minutes before the rest of the dhansak is ready.)

Also, you might want to break out the mango chutney and lime pickle!

Serves 4 - Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Global Village

In my last blog, we touched on the Global Village. I wonder how many of you really understand this whole concept? I mean, it is one thing to know of the Global Village and entirely another to realize the implications of it too.

The Global Village is the phenomenon where we see that goods from around the world are easily available in our stores and in places where we would have struggled to obtain these items before. Of course the original term, "Global Village" was coined by Marshall McLuhan where he showed that the electronic hook-up of the world via the World Wide Web and what went before, made the distance between global areas so much shorter in terms of time.

Instantaneous movement of information has caused this phenomenon and it is clear that along with the information movement, so have goods and items from all over the globe, become easy to move into any area. In a way, this has been a little hurtful to some people, and extremely beneficial to others. Let me explain: the people who had come to rely on a certain methodology for trade, had to rethink their way of doing it, because  of all the new people from all over arriving on the scene...

So, now we see a completely different landscape emerging and goods and products are much more easily available in every area (at least every Western area!) Also we are seeing implications for forming new sociological structures within the context of culture. So the global village is actually helping us learn something new about our world.

There are many other things which the Global Village has changed about our lives. This blog is far too small for me to comprehensively go into all of them... I might do a Global Village Part #2 later on. 

Watch this space! OK see you all for Powerblog #3! 

Coffee Facts You Might Just Not Find At Starbucks!

Wow - what a plain title I hear you say!

Sorry, I am trying to create 30 100 word powerblogs by May 01, 2009! So here goes... My friends all say I can talk about anything under the sun (or the hind legs off a sick donkey!) I'll leave you to be the judge of that!

So here we are fishing for my first topic...

Let's talk about coffee, shall we? How much does anyone really know about coffee? First of all, it is grown all over the world, usually in hot places. (I.e. British coffee beans don't exist, or at least you won't find any called British, nudging shoulders with bags of beans from exotic places like Kenya, the Goald Coast or Java!)

Now that's out of the way, isn't it strange that although you don't see much coffee being grown in Britain, they sure drink a lot of it... Much more than say twenty years ago. Reason being is that they have improved their catered coffee over 700% since then. Gone are the days of the transport cafe, where a cup of "brewed" coffee was a mug of steamed milk with pretend coffee essence stirred in out of a bottle with the brand name "Camp" on it!

I can feel a blog about the Global Village coming on, but don't hold your breath. That's next!

OK, so to carry on, the coffee used to (after they ditched the stuff out of the bottle and started getting particular about how the powdered stuff would taste) be split into "arabica" and "robusta" beans. The difference was in the taste. The "robusta" beans had a coarse earthy taste to them and really lacked the delicate pungency of the "arabica" beans. Then the coffee importers would use so many parts "robusta" to so many parts "arabica."

To cut a long story short, we are all spoiled for choice now. British coffee drinkers can get their coffee from Costa or Starbucks. And the choice is no longer restricted to which brew is ordered, since the coffee can be created as a traditional Italian-style blended drink, along with the shots of expresso-made coffee added to it to create a perfect "Caffe Macchiato" (spotted coffee, rather like the spotted cow, really!)

I won't bore you with the rest. You can go to a Starbucks and just read the wall...

Happy coffee drinking! See you all on the flip-side for Powerblog #2!