Chicken Dhansak

This recipe is my homebrew attempt at synthesising my favourite restaurant/takeaway curry in a quick-to-make form, since all the dhansak recipes I’ve seen are very involved and don’t read like they’d produce anything very similar to the curry I know and love.

This is not my curry, but it looks pretty much like it.

As with all my cooking, quantities are very approximate: I never measure or weigh anything, so the amounts I’ve specified below are just my rough guesses at the amount that I tend to slop in. Although I work this way due to laziness, I argue that it’s positively a good thing, since the subtly different proportions every time you cook the same thing stop the palate from getting so used to it that it becomes boring.

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What I’ve been listening to in 2017

Here is a YouTube playlist of my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See this list of previous entries.)

I listen much more to whole albums than to individual tracks, so each year I pick the ten albums that I listened to the most (not counting compilations), as recorded on the two computers where I listen to most of my music. (So these counts don’t include listening in the car or the kitchen, or on my phone.) I limit the selection to no more than one album per artist, and skip albums that have featured in previous years. Then from each of those ten objectively selected albums, I subjectively pick one song that I feel is representative.

Here they are in ascending order of how often I listened to them. Continue reading

Paul Simon: One Trick Pony (1980)

Paul Simon’s fourth post-Garfunkel solo album, One Trick Pony, is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. The film was pretty much ignored on release, both by audiences and by critics — its IMDB entry has only four critic reviews. But one of those is by Roger Ebert, who to my mind stands alone among movie critics, and he rightly recognised it as “a wonderful movie, an affectionate character study with a lot of good music in it”.

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Don’t neglect the thing that’s most important to you

My friend and occasional co-author Matt Wedel is finding it hard to make time to write paleontology papers, in among all the administrative responsibilities that have accumulated as he’s become more senior at his university. He observed: “I need to recultivate the ability to Just Say No when it’s time to do paleo.”

This is an example of an important and pervasive problem: whatever is most important to us becomes — for that very reason — a kind of background-radiation thing that we do whenever we’re not doing something more urgent. But what that often means in practice that everything else is more urgent, and we paradoxically neglect the thing that is most important.

I am convinced this is a big part of why marriages fail.

STAR WNRS. Yes, Star Wnrs

This looks like a Lego 10221 Super Star Destroyer, from the Ultimate Collector’s Series (UCS) Star Wars range.

But it’s not. It’s a Lepin 05028 Super Star Destroyer, from its Star Wnrs range — an original space-adventure series, like Ricky Rouse and Monald Muck. (Slightly closer to the camera, a third of the way back, is a Star Wnrs Imperial Star Destroyer, to the same scale.)

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Who is Snoke? Don’t care, doesn’t matter

In deference to those who found it puzzling that The Last Jedi didn’t give us more on The Force Awakens‘ Big Bad, I concede that we’re entitled to wonder whether Snoke was a Sith, and if so, how he fits into the always-two-there-are model. One might profitably muse on whether Sith-ness is in fact constrained to the always-two-there-are model, or whether that was just a story Plagueis/Palpatine, Palpatine/Dooku, then Palpatine/Vader told to make themselves feel special.

What I don’t concede is that the film has to explore that. I rather think we’ll have more fun speculating on such things ourselves that we would get from being told the what The Answer is. Because whatever The Answer turns out to be, the only possible response will be “oh”.

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The Last Jedi: uncomfortable thoughts

With the whole family, I saw The Last Jedi at the one-minute-after-midnight showing on the day of release, at the wonderful Cinderford Palace Cinema (£2.50 on weekdays, £3.50 at weekends, snacks £1). I loved it and I’m keen to see it again. Almost everything I want to say about it, Matt Wedel has already said in his review over on Echo Station 5-7.

But there is one important thing that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere yet: not in Matt’s review, or Matt Zoller Seitz’s review on the Roger Ebert site, nor in Mark Kermode’s in The Guardian.

WARNING: MANY SPOILERS.

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