Posts from 17th June 2009

Jun 09

Knowing Nothing

Do You See + FT4 comments • 347 views

As one of the few people who can speak confidently on higher mathematics AND popular trashy cinema, my heart always sinks whenever the lead in an action film is a maths academic. Its not that the ranks of professors and dons are not by nature action heroes, David Hilbert was a well known athletic rock climber and mountaineer after all. But the crossover between mathematics and action films is always so banal. Jeff Goldblum has essayed a number action mathmos, knocking out the aliens in Independence Day with a computer virus and working out the probability of things going wrong on Jurassic Park was VERY HIGH. Neither was a proper use of mathematics, neither swelled the ranks of undergraduate mathematics course.

Nicholas Cage is not a mathematician in Knowing, but he does end up playing with a lot of numbers. No instead he is an astronomer, in which he is as convincing as he was as a cursed motorcycle stunt rider or a man who could see a minute into the future. Knowing is a spooky thriller which turns into an odd action film and while you are watching it you allow it to spout the most ridiculous nonsense at you. But the moment you are away from its garish thrall you realise how absolutely terrible its premise is. (Almost bad as its poster which suggests the city is being menaced by a giant Nic Cage head).


Torta de Barros (cheesy lover #4)

FT2 comments • 975 views

Stats: A raw sheep cheese from Spain, made with a thistle rennet.
Bought from: Brindisa
Tasting conditions: I had this for lunch, on wholemeal bread.

This cheese appears hardish, and has a slightly translucent pale yellow rind with spots of green-grey mould. It’s softer and paler inside, sticky and a little paste-like.

My first impression is that it’s surprisingly sour. Slightly pungent, very citrusy and tangy; the tartness almost overwhelms the creamy texture. There’s a bitter herbal, floral aftertaste, which reminds me of thyme – and lots of mouth-tingling flavour.

The rind is sweeter, and crumbly, with musty, mouldy aftertaste. I’m not sure if you’re meant to eat the rind of this cheese, but I like it.

I was slightly taken aback by the sour lemonish-ness of the cheese. The soft and creamy-feeling cheese fooled me into expecting something soft and creamy tasting, too, and I spent the first few mouthfuls being slightly confused. Once my brain caught up with my mouth it was all good.

Cheesy conclusion: This was really interesting cheese! And also the first cheese I’ve ever bought from Brindisa.

THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 6: Over Aggressive Table Grabs

FT + Pumpkin Publog15 comments • 701 views

Just as there is a thin line between love and hate, or strong ale and LOOPY JUICE, there can some times be not much between excellent pubcraft and pubtwattery. One man’s smart land grab for a table in a pub is another’s aggressive take-over bid. So instead I shall describe a scenario and see if you feel this fulfils sin or is actually impressive work. Note, this is in the PUB DEADLY SIN section so it is clear what I think.

I was in a pub with a friend watching the cricket. The nature of this pub is that the table was close to the TV, so the best angle on the cricket was from one end of the table. The other end of the table was bookended by the window in the pub. Nevertheless we had happily shared this table with a French couple having a slightly disappointing Fish And Chips. Who left after being slightly disappointed. To be replaced by a couple of Finnish women who asked if the end of the table was free. Yet again, showing excellent pub manners, we assented.