Shared posts

27 Aug 20:30

At 86 Years Old, This Gymnast Still Has it

30 Jun 15:30

This is Perfect Motivational Drone

This is Perfect Motivational Drone

Submitted by: (via PTT)

Tagged: gifs , jogging , prank , g rated , win
21 Jun 12:37

Komplettüberwachung, wir erinnern uns, machen wir ...

Komplettüberwachung, wir erinnern uns, machen wir ja, weil man Al Kaida nicht infiltrieren kann. Kann man doch, wie sich rausstellt.
22 Jun 15:00

If You Play it, They Will Come

If You Play it, They Will Come

Submitted by: (via Acid Cow)

16 Jun 06:42

Sie sind alt und brauchen das Geld

by tpred@heise.de (Peter Mühlbauer)
Rentnerprostitution in Südkorea






14 Jun 17:00

Bricksy: 20 Classic Banksy Street Artworks Recreated in LEGO

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Banksy maid Lego Diorama

Selecting from Banksy favorites and classics, this series of brick-based fan art both replicates and expands on familiar two-dimensional works.

LEGO Banksy royal guard graffitti

Banksy Balloon Girl

Fridge Kite

Professional photographer Jeff Friesen is known for staging LEGO creations around Canadian provinces and American states, the latter having since been compiled into a book: 50 States of LEGO.

Lego Banksy "Kissing Coppers".

Lego Banksy bouquet thrower

The Bricksy series includes some degree of whimsical interpretation, often putting existing Banksy art into an expanded physical context. The photographer is selling prints of these pieces for $20 each.

Bricksy Lego diorama of Banksy's brick cowboy.

Banksy monkey: "Laugh Now But We're In Charge."

A bit more about the artist: “Jeff Friesen’s photography has gathered worldwide recognition for an uniquely diverse collection of work. His awards include the most prestigious in the photography world, including an Award Of Excellence from Communication Arts and a winning image in the PDN Photo Annual. In 2009 Jeff’s work was among the most repeatedly honored by the International Photography Awards”


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Fine Art Photographer Brings Banksy’s Street Art to Life

New Zealand native Linda Radosinska takes her photography to the streets in Exit Through the Thrift Shop, a stunning series of Banksy-inspired images. Click Here to Read More »»


Villa Savoye: Classic Corbu House Comes to Life in LEGO

One of the most iconic buildings of the 20th Century, the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier outside of Paris, France has long been a symbol of Modern Architecture. Click Here to Read More »»


Street Art Olympics: Banksy Works on 2012 London Games

When the games are in town, street art abounds, with locals and visitors alike responding to the huge city-shifting influx of infrastructure and viewers Click Here to Read More »»


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25 May 13:00

Sunday Sweets Hitches A Ride

by Sharyn

Hey, Hoopy Froods! Don't look now, but it's Towel Day!!

(By CakeCentral member JenLGAJ)

 

But Don't Panic!

Even if you forgot your towel, we've got you covered:

(By I Dream in Icing)

So you'll be safe from any Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal.

 

Now, let's fire up our electronic thumb and take a spin among Douglas Adams' stars!

(By Strawberry Lane Cake Company)

We'll look for land masses with lovely, crinkly edges, and we'll never, ever use the word "Belgium."

(At least not gratuitously.)

 

I promise, we'll have a whale of a time!

(By Gelly's Cakes)

Um, maybe I should rephrase that...

 

We'll flollop, willomy and glurry on Sqornshellous Zeta with Zem,

(By Guloseimas da titia Lilly)

...and his friends Zem, Zem, Zem, Zem, Zem, and of course, Zem.

Voon!

 

And maybe we can figure out where all the dolphins went.

(By Crunchies & Munchies)

It's been So Long...

 

Let's ask the mice, or Marvin the Paranoid Android!

(By Annica's Cakes)

Heck, he has a brain the size of a planet, so he ought to be able to figure it out.

 

And I'm sure we'll run into Agrajag again!

(By CakeCentral Member Ladybug Lady 13)

Really sorry about that, Dude. We didn't see you.

(You remember Agrajag, right? That poor creature who is continually reincarnated and then unknowingly killed -- every time -- by Arthur Dent? Of course you do...)

 

We'll stop at Milliways and dish with the Dish of the Day, before sitting down to a nice meal of...
um...

(By Debbie Does Cakes)

[*Gulp*]

 

...salad.

(By The Sugar Syndicate)

Definitely salad.

 

You don't mind traveling by Chesterfield sofa, do you?

(By CakesDecor member Coocakecachoo)

Any other mode of transportation is most definitely not Krikkit.

(Extra geek cred if you get the sofa reference -- I even managed to stump Jen!)
(Shhhhhh... Don't tell her I ratted her out...)

 

I promise we'll get you home in time for tea.

(By Cakes by Lorinda)

Or something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike it.

 

And maybe some cookies.

(By Cookie Cowgirl)

Because even though the mice have assured us 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, a couple of Sweets couldn't hurt.

 

Be sure to check out our Sunday Sweets Directory if you want to see which bakers in your area have been featured here on Sweets!

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

01 Jun 13:00

Sunday Sweets: Alphabetical Order Part 2

by Sharyn
Rebeccasaskia

Discworld

Time for the second half of our Sweets Alphabet!

 

N is for Nursery Rhymes:

(By Sugar Creations)

...read from a book.

 

O is for Owl:

(By Cake Whisperer)

Such a piercing look!

 

P is for Pinwheel:

(By Couture Cakehouse Melbourne)

So fun when it whirls.

 

Q is for Quilling:

(By Bella Cupcakes)

They do it with curls.

 

R's Ratatouille:

(By Richard's Cakes)

He cooks with renown.

 

S is for Steampunk:

(By Andrea's Sweet Cakes)

See, it's not all brown.

 

T is for Turtle:

(By Art2Eat Cakes)

Discworld on his back.

 

U's Ursa Minor:

(By Viva La Cake)

Countdown: Cute Attack!

 

V is for Violet:

(Submitted by Caroline H. and made by Cake Woman)

These cake builds are tough!

 

W's Wibbly wobbly...

(By Artisan Cake Company)

...timey wimey...

stuff.

 

X marks the spot.

(By Man Bakes Cake)

What? You thought xylophone?

 

Y is for Yoda:

(By Cakes by Beth)

He fought with a Clone.

 

Z is for zebra:

(By Creative Cakes by Julie, a course cake from Margie Carter Cake World)

He knows that he's cool.

 

Don't you wish they taught Sweets Alphabet in your school?

Be sure to check out our Sunday Sweets Directory if you want to see which bakers in your area have been featured here on Sweets!

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

06 May 18:37

im-not-a-climbing-frame: flynnabob: Just look at how his boobs...

by rampaigehalseyface


im-not-a-climbing-frame:

flynnabob:

Just look at how his boobs jiggle

#BustyGirlProblems

30 Apr 16:30

This New Zealand Beach Gets an Artsy Makeover

30 Apr 01:30

Lix is World's Smallest 3D Printing Pen, Lets You Doodle in the Air

London-based Lix Pen has just unveiled an all-new 3D printing pen that's touted as the world's smallest. Similar to the 3Doodler, you doodle in the air via melted plastic, which quickly cools so that 3-dimensional structures can be built up from the bottom. After some practice, you could use Lix for prototyping, making custom jewelry, freestanding decorative sculptures, or eye-catching art pieces. Continue reading for a video and more information.

22 Apr 20:26

Nigel Farage (Chef der britischen Rechtsaußen-Populisten ...

Nigel Farage (Chef der britischen Rechtsaußen-Populisten UKIP) hat seine deutsche Ehefrau als Sekretärin eingestellt. Hier muss er sich fiesen Fragen eines Journalisten stellen, ob es denn dafür nicht auch eine Britin getan hätte, immerhin vernichten diese Ausländer doch in England die ganzen Arbeitsplätze :-)
10 Apr 17:00

Animated Still Lifes: 7 Relaxing Cinemagraphic Illustrations

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

animated bedroom fan gif

Reclining in the space between the extremes of sped-up, movie-style GIF files and traditional, immobile paintings, this artist brings lazy scenes of everyday reality to life.

animated-window-tree-view

animated-train-ride-gif

Rebecca Mockam is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and comic artist whose cinemagraphs move only as much as needed, a different kind of visual artist’s takes on medium most often associated with photography.

animated gif magazine cover

Note that these reduced-sized examples don’t do justice to the detail and seamlessness of her originals, so it is worth looking more closely at her portfolio for these and more.

animated tabletop phone gif

Her work is peaceful and contemplative, lending itself to a lot of potential comparisons, including Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell. At the same time, much of the subject matters is definitively contemporary, including all-too-familiar ringing phones and tablet swipes. Still-life Americana revisited, this approach (in the age of portable computers, tablets and phones) uses a medium that makes sense with its era.

animated-pitchers-mound-gif

animated-street-scene-gif

Mockam has worked on everything from art exhibits and comic covers and is currently drawing a graphic novel titled Four Points, set to be released in 2015. She uses a Wacom tablet for most of her illustration work, sketches with a pencil and ink with various brush pens, and a nib & ink when it comes to drawing comics.


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15 Mar 17:00

Window Sketches: Minimalist Landscapes of Steam & Glass

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

steam glass sketch photos

No smoke-and-mirrors or post-production here, just fleeting vignettes swiftly staged on steamed windows and set against natural outdoor backgrounds.

steam water walking alone

Jim Osborne is a self-taught landscape artist who typically works in watercolor, acrylic and oils. He describes himself as being inspired by his surroundings, light and the weather. Recently, however, he has begun working in a new direction with water condensation on glass window surfaces.

band of brothers art

His Steamy Windows Collection represents a bit of a departure for him in terms of tools and approach – the work is necessarily fast, drawing on organic backdrops, lighting conditions and perceptual cues. Each piece is shot quickly as well, and prints can be found for sale on his website.

steam water window drawing

With the need for speed, every little gesture counts – the results are simultaneously planned but ultimately uncontrolled, a mixture of simple figures and hasty grounds that somehow manages to look like more than the sum of its parts. The approach seems like a a great way to train oneself to think in an agile fashion and be nimble in execution.


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Real 3D Sketches: 3 Furniture Sets that Draw on 2D Doodles

Like photo-realistic art in reverse, these three-dimensional objects are carefully crafted to look like rough-edged, hand-sketched representations. If the ... Click Here to Read More »»


Extreme Exposures: Light Landscapes Take Hours to Shoot

Most light photographers focus on making a shape in the foreground in a matter of seconds, then setting it against a dark static backdrop – this artist ... Click Here to Read More »»


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11 Feb 22:12

Aus der beliebten Kategorie "bei UNS ist Kernkraft ...

Aus der beliebten Kategorie "bei UNS ist Kernkraft SICHER", heute: "Weitere rostige Atommüllfässer in Brunsbüttel gefunden". Und wenn sie "rostig" sagen, dann meinen sie: Die Außenhaut ist nur noch partiell vorhanden. Guckt euch mal das Foto an.
28 Jan 15:00

Please Vaccinate

Please Vaccinate

Submitted by: Unknown

01 Feb 13:00

7-Year-Old Girl Writes Stern Letter to LEGO, Becomes Internet Sensation


Photo credit: SocImages

Charlotte, may only be 7-years-old, but when there's something that angers her, she always expresses how she feels, and this letter to LEGO voices her most recent concern. Let's just say that she wants more gender-balanced Minifigs thrown into the mix. Click here to view the first image in this week's demotivational poster gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of an amazing mid-air skydiving rescue.

Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo

19 Jan 14:01

Sunday Sweets: Pretty as a Peacock

by Sharyn

When I was younger, I read somewhere that having peacock feathers in the house was bad luck. Something about the "eyes" on the feathers being evil.

Now, I don't know about you, but if I could gaze into these eyes all day, I'd consider myself downright lucky.

(Baker unknown)

Especially if I had a fork.

 

In fact, I'd feel pretty fortunate if I had any of these cakes around.

(By Sweet On Cake, sub'd by Paul M.)

Who could dread such a perfect fall of feathers?

 

And this little birdie would be welcome in any season:

(By Tasha's Tasty Treats)

Especially with all that intricate Mehndi-inspired piping! Wow.

 

Here's another pipe(ing)-dream:

(Baker unknown)

Look closely. See the peacock?
(And wouldn't those piped feathers make a lovely tattoo?)

 

Check out how this next one manages to convey "peacock" without a single beak or feather:

(By Fleur De Lisa Cake)

 

And another modern take:

(By The Royal Bakery)

That crest on top is too perfect.

 

Not that I'm dissing feathers, mind you!

(By McGreevy Cakes)

I want these as earrings.

 

You can even have a gorgeous peacock cake without a hint of their iconic blue:

(By Sweet Little Morsels)

So soft and sweet! I like the blush of pink in the flower buds.

 

Or for a real statement, how about white-on-white?

(By Martha Stewart Weddings)

Fingers crossed the bird was the ring-bearer.

 

Think we can eat the cake out of the middle of this and turn it into a lamp?

(By Vinism Sugar Art)

Eat your heart out, Tiffany.

 

And finally, if you've got it, flaunt it!:

(By Cakelava)

Well, it seems we've run out of peacock Sweets.

How unlucky.

 

Can't get enough peacock Sweets? Then here's 11 more!  And if you're wondering which bakers in your area have been on Sunday Sweets, check out our Sunday Sweets Directory!

*******

Do you shop Amazon? Then how about clicking through my affiliate link to shop? Visiting Amazon through that link will help support the site, and costs you nothing. Thanks, guys!

21 Jan 23:30

Not That Simple

Not That Simple

Submitted by: Unknown

09 Jan 02:00

House in Reverse: Rooftop Driveway Leads to Hillside Home

by Steph
[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

House in Reverse 1

Most people with single-family homes are used to pulling up into their driveways and then ascending flights of stairs to get to the living spaces. But in this case, a ground-level driveway leads directly to an open-air rooftop terrace, and to enter the home, you go down.

House in Reverse 2

House in Reverse 3

‘Car Park House’ by Anonymous Architects takes advantage of the hilly Los Angeles landscape. Built on a steep plot of land just off a winding road, the home makes the most of a challenging site, maximizing views from every level. Local building code requires the home to have two parking spots.

House in Reverse 4

A steel frame and a series of concrete pillars support the modern house as it projects out from the hillside, with two separate terraces looking out onto the San Gabriel mountains from the kitchen and master bedroom.

House in Reverse 5

House in Reverse 6

Calling it a ‘car park house’ puts the emphasis on the least attractive part of the home, but perhaps it’s appropriate considering Los Angeles car culture. But it’s a lot more than just a driveway with a view.


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This terraced structure is not the remains of some ancient amphitheater, but a metropolis of the dead that’s just as dense as that of the living city of ... Click Here to Read More »»


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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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06 Jan 15:00

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber

by Nanette Wong

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber

Inspired by the belief that amber jewelry tends to be “strictly defined and conditioned by tradition,” Emilia Kohut created Superfine Jewelry to break that trend. The collection highlights and emphasizes the individual characteristics of amber.

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

To create this collection, Kohut used an unusual combination of materials and re-imagined uses of more well-known objects. Contrasts are created with indeterminate shapes and are visible through the used plastic. By combining wood, amber, synthetic and resin, Kohut provides a modern and unprecedented effect.

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category

Superfine Jewelry Emphasizes the Unique Character of Amber in style fashion Category








06 Jan 07:00

Amazing Video Shows Paramagnetic Paint Which Changes Color at the Push of a Button


Photo credit: Epic Carnage

Here's an amazing look at paramagnetic paint, which allows you to change your vehicle color using your smart-phone or built in controls. Simply put, prism-shaped metallic pigments are rotated based on the voltage frequency dispersed throughout the vehicle body, giving you the ability to change your cars color. Continue reading for the video.

03 Jan 15:55

That Time Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) & Number Six (Tricia Helfer) Made a Naked Charity Calendar

by Mark Poynter

maxresdefault

Now this is one great way to start off the new year. Two of our favorite ladies of Sci-Fi, Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer, of Battlestar Galactica, created the charity Acting Outlaws, which raises and donates money to good causes. One might say they do it for the Bonerment . . . I mean BETTERMENT of Mankind . . . This latest project is a 2014 calendar featuring the two in various states of tastefully artsy undress. We’ve got some of the stills and a behind the scenes video of the making of the calendar. If you were already sold on the title alone and want to buy the calendar, use this link. The calendar is a mix of new black and white photos and some of last years, but we don’t mind.

BcitugPCcAAxOS5

 katee-sackhoff-and-tricia-helfer-in-acting-outlaws-2013-calendar-01-900x675

Acting-outlaws-calendar-2014-Tricia-Helfer-and-Katee-Sackhoff-naked-back-to-back-650x365

acting-outlaws-2014-calendar-tricia-helfer-katee-sackhoff

maxresdefault

Here’s the behind the scenes video:

Via: Uproxx

02 Jan 09:49

Star Trek Enterprise Quilt

by Starrley

tnitnetny (aka Quiltoni) has really outdone herself this time. This quilt is amazing. She says, “I finished my masterpiece. It is a queen sized quilt made with Batik fabric. The backing is an awesome Star Trek fabric. I am really proud of it and think this is my favorite quilt I have made so far. I can’t wait to display it at Magfest and see the look on the couples face that ordered it.”

All I know is that I WANT.

via[TheSpriteStitchForum]

04 Jan 08:25

Naturally Us: Stunning Combinations of Nature + Humans

by Delana
[ By Delana in Art & Photography & Video. ]

we are nature volume iii

Photographer Christoffer Relander combines nature and human faces to create preternaturally beautiful portraits. The double and triple exposures blend aspects of the natural world and the grace of the human form.

humans plus nature photography

nature superimposed on humans

More than a few artists have compared the grace of nature and the beauty of humanity, but Relander’s interpretations imagine a world in which we, the animals, are as delicate and fragile as nature.

double exposures nature and humans

nature and human form

Many of the artist’s portraits add an extra dimension to the humanity of the subject. There are others, however, that all but erase the human portion of the composition. Leaves, branches and blossoms take the part of skin, veins and muscles.

graceful combinations of humans and nature

nature photography and human form

The truly amazing part of Relander’s work is that he doesn’t use Photoshop to create these masterpieces of multiple exposures. He creates them all in-camera using a Nikon DSLR.


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31 Dec 12:30

Love Across Space and Timey-Wimey

Love Across Space and Timey-Wimey

Submitted by: Unknown (via Neatorama)

30 Dec 10:00

My day with Nigella Lawson

by Stuart Heritage
Rebeccasaskia

receipe

Did Stuart Heritage keep it together when he cooked crumble for his longtime crush on her new TV show The Taste?

Things are not going to plan. After harbouring an intergalactically huge crush on her for longer than I care to remember, I'm now sitting in the same room as Nigella Lawson. This would be the greatest moment of my life, except she's sitting next to a surly Frenchman, and I'm pretty sure he hates me.

Nigella and the Frenchman – a chef called Ludo Lefebvre – are, along with Anthony Bourdain, the judges on Channel 4's upcoming new cookery competition The Taste. Already a moderate success in America, The Taste is best summarised as one part MasterChef to one part The Voice. Contestants cook dishes, and are judged on a single spoonful. Eventually, presumably, someone wins something.

Reading on mobile? Click to view

I'm here on a press day, seeing how the format works by trying it out for myself. These things are usually enjoyably zero-stake affairs, where nobody tries because nobody wins. But this time, the stress of meeting Nigella – not to mention the angry Frenchman – means I'm cacking myself. And that means I've started babbling.

"Why are you staring at me?" I gibber at Ludo. "You're very intimidating. Has anyone ever told you how intimidating you are? Why aren't you blinking? Do you have a condition? I like your tattoos. Where did you …" Ludo cuts me off by silently pointing at his temple. This means he's either thinking or that he wants me dead. It's hard to tell.

I've made them an apple and loganberry crumble and custard. As they are visitors to this country, I wanted Bourdain and Lefebvre to try something traditionally British. Also, the recipe is quite easy and I only had 45 minutes. The cooking itself was quite stressful – the counter was too small, the scales and timer didn't work, I hadn't worked out how to get any of it on to the poxy spoons – but it was nothing compared to the judging.

My heart beating in my chest, I sat down in front of Nigella, Ludo and Anthony. They stared at my slate, splodged with dodgy custard and molten fruit. They put the spoons into their mouths. And then …

And then they were quite nice, actually. Nigella, repaying my years of infatuation, was the first to compliment my crumble. Bourdain – who, for all his famed edge, has basically softened and aged into Elliott Gould – told me that he didn't like puddings, but that he'd happily eat mine in a restaurant.

And then Ludo. I have a feeling that Ludo will be the breakout star of The Taste, given that he is singularly the most intimidating man who has ever walked the face of the Earth. He'd only eaten half of the crumble. But after a moment's contemplation, he nodded and ate the rest. He asked if it was my own recipe, then displayed aggressive disbelief when I told him it was. He complimented the state of my custard. "Do you want more of it? I made loads. I can go and get some for you if you want. I can put it in a glass. Would you like a glass of custard?" I babbled. Apparently, Ludo did not want a glass of custard.

Nigella explained the show's format. Like The Voice, she explained that the judges are also mentors. If only one of them liked your food, they would become your mentor. If two liked your spoon, they would duke it out to mentor you. Nigella explained that I'd found myself in a threeway. "If this was the real show, we'd now have to convince you to join us."

"Do it!" I bellowed. "Fight for me!" So they did. Bourdain, polishing up a monologue he'd clearly used before, leaned across the table and told me he could see into my soul. Nigella declared herself to be a champion of good food like mine. Ludo muttered something indecipherable. With a predictability that sickened even myself, I chose Nigella. "We could make such beautiful food together," she cooed. I turned bright red, shouted "Fhrhrfhrhfrh" at her and ran away like a bloody schoolboy.

So The Taste, then. If my experience is any indication, it's just like MasterChef, except you get to spectacularly blow it with people you fancy.

Stuart's apple and loganberry crumble and custard

For the filling
300g braeburn apples
30g unsalted butter
30g golden caster sugar
130g loganberries
Half a lemon, juiced
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon

For the crumble
120g plain flour
60g unsalted butter, softened
60g demerara sugar

For the custard
150ml whole milk
150ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 egg yolks
25g caster sugar

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Peel, core and chop the apples. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan until it just starts to form a caramel. Add the apples and cook until they begin to break down. Add the loganberries, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Cook for another five minutes, pour into ovenproof dish, then set aside.

Mix the flour and butter with your fingers until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, mix it together, sprinkle it on top of the filling and then bake for 20 minutes.

Pour the milk, cream and vanilla into a saucepan and heat until simmering. Remove from the heat.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the egg and whisk hard. Return to the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until it thickens.

• The Taste begins on 7 January on Channel 4.


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27 Dec 22:41

BBC Radio Does Half-Hour ‘Buffy’ Special with Whedon, Gaiman and More

by Jason McAnelly

buffy

The legacy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer lives on, with hundreds-of-thousands of fans still out there singing its praises, cosplaying its characters and spending their nights marathoning the seasons. And as we pass the 10-year mark on when the show officially ended, the folks at BBC Radio 4 decided to do a half-hour special. They gathered up some famous faces, including Joss Whedon, Anthony Head and even the well-known writer and Buffy fan, Neil Gaiman, and interviewed them on their opinions about the show.

In addition to going over the basics of how the show got started, they focus on the role of Buffy as a strong female character and give Gaiman – another author who has been praised for writing strong female leads – a chance to voice his opinion on why he thinks Buffy fits the bill. At one point Gaiman has this to say:

“It’s worth pointing out that people, unfortunately, misunderstand the phrase ‘strong women. The glory of Buffy is it was filled with strong women. Only one of those strong women had supernatural strength and an awful lot of sharpened stakes. And people sort of go ‘Well yes, of course Buffy was a strong woman. She could kick her way through a door.’ And you go ‘No, that’s not actually what makes her a strong woman! You’re missing the point.’”

There are also plenty of other fun tidbits about the show in the interview. Buffy fans should make their way to the BBC Radio 4 website and give it a listen.

 

Thanks to blastr for the heads-up.

29 Dec 23:03

My Top 11 Games of 2013

by Jeff Green
Well, garsh....that was kind of an amazing year for games, huh?

As one generation wound down and another sputtered to a start with a phlegmy, throat clearing cough, we were left, in the end, with a rather monumental pile of great or at least very good games, on all platforms.
Thanks to the sheer volume of quality titles, this was the year in which I found myself back into handheld gaming with the 3DS,  and genuinely "struggled"  (if such a word can be used for such a joyous pastime)  to budget my time adequately and keep up with everything I felt I "needed" to play.  As such, I never even got to titles like Assassin's Creed 4, Super Mario 3D World, and more that might have otherwise made this list. So if you don't see your favorite game on here, that's one possible explanation.  Another might be that we just don't like the same things, which is okay and doesn't mean we can't be friends.  Also: I am personally singling out XCOM: Enemy Within as a game that I imagine, in an alternate universe, would not only be on this list but probably at or near the very top,  but is not here at all simply because I played so many hundreds of hours of XCOM: Enemy Unknown in 2012 (and 2013, on my iPad) that I am still in a heavy XCOM detoxification mode and could not handle rekindling the addiction.

As always, this list is the one I happen to be writing right now while I'm in the mood I'm in right now. That is to say, it is not based on science and is entirely subjective, to the point at which I'm likely to disagree with myself as early as an hour after I post this today.  Knowhutumsayin?

So without further waffling or bet-hedging, let's do this.  Oh, yeah, and,  I guess it probably goes without saying but my favorite overall gaming experience this year has been with Dark Souls.  But since that was last year's game, it doesn't count here.  But we all know what's what.



11.  The Swapper
Just barely edged on to the list at the 11th hour, thanks to a recommendation from Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek. Which is why I'm giving it the 11th spot.  Before he pointed me in its direction, I hadn't even heard of it.  But this PC-only puzzle game from Facepalm Games (available on Steam and from the company's website) is a profoundly clever little game, reminiscent of Portal in its mechanics, and instantly hit that part of my brain that loves this kind of challenge. How to get from Point A to Point B?  It looks impossible.  It seems impossible. Until you finally figure it out and it seems like it was obvious all along.  Here's hoping it finds a bigger audience in 2014.  It deserves it.

10.   Bioshock Infinite
If the rest of the game was as awesome as the first hour,  it'd be at the top of this list.  I loved the opening segment to pieces, writing at the time I played it that it was the best opener since Half Life 1.  I still stand by that.  And while the game was thoroughly entertaining and great to look at throughout, I had the same problem as a lot of folks -- the combat -- which to me just did not mesh well with  and did not have the same high quailty as the rest of the game. Bioshock Infinite abounded in cool ideas and clever, suspenseful storytelling, which is why it's on my list, but the gameplay itself fell a bit short for me.  Plus, I'm just too stupid to understand the ending.  And don't want to go through the combat a second time to try to figure it out.

9.   Rayman Legends
Like my #1 game  (I know you've already peeked ahead and spoiled it for yourself), this is a videogame that revels in being a videogame.  There is no point to Rayman Legends other than to ensure that you have a great time. And that I did.  This platformer franchise has always been mysteriously underrated and underappreciated, and I don't know why. Is it because Rayman has no bones?  Is it because it's actually somewhat difficult?  I do not know.  What I do know is that, even when the game was kicking my ass, I always had a smile on my face.  It looks great, plays great, has fantastic music,  and can (and should) be played by everyone in your family.

8.  Rogue Legacy
I think my average lifespan in this game was about 10 seconds. At best.  I am not very good at Rogue Legacy.  At times it feels like the gaming equivalent of beating my head against a wall.  But goddamn if a good head-beating doesn't feel good sometimes. Rogue Legacy's unique skill tree and progression are really what kept me going: funny in concept but actually super-smart in execution, with new abilities doled out just enough to feel like you may actually make it five more seconds into your castle run than last time. Everyone keeps telling me how hard Dark Souls is...and it is.  But I'll tell you this, I'm way further along in Dark Souls than I am in Rogue Legacy.  But it makes the list for continuing to make me come back for more even as it keeps having its way with me. I'm Rogue Legacy's bitch.

7. Saints Row IV
The sheer ludicrousness of the story is what made this for me.  Unabashedly over-the-top was absolutely the right way to take a franchise that used to draw comparisons to GTA, but has since gone its own way, gloriously, right off the deep end into zero-fucks-given absurdity. I gravitate towards "funny" games. It's just the way I'm built. I'm not sure where this franchise could possibly go now, but the cool thing is that the developers have proven themselves so imaginative now in conjuring the ridiculous that I'll basically follow them anywhere now.

6. Gone Home
Enough digital ink has been spilled on whether this is a "game" or not, so you're getting no more of that from me here. All I know is that I was riveted the entire way through, keeping me guessing (incorrectly), messing with all of my expectations, until arriving at an ending that showed that sometimes the most riveting stories are just the simplest and most mundane. Like the #2 game on this list,  and #3, too,  it focused on family, in a real way, in a way that resonated. That's good enough for me.

5. Papers, Please
On paper, perhaps the most boring sounding concept for a game of all time.  You get to check passport documents and entry visas for people trying to enter into a fictitious Eastern Bloc country, all in gloriously pixilated 2D graphics. Yay?  But, again, execution was everything here.  And what might, in lesser hands, have been a tedious exercise in "hidden object" gaming, turned instead into a funny, often poignant, and surprising meditation on power and choice,  on duty versus morality, on selfishness versus altruism....all laced with grim humor and damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't decisions.  What would you do if this was your real job? Not many games ever really make you think about your own morality.  This one did, and did it while never forgetting to

4. The Stanley Parable
The funniest game of the year  - as long as you're already a gamer.  Like Gone Home (but in a totally different way), The Stanley Parable messes with our expectations around games themselves.  It assumes we've played many of them and then defies us to make sense of this one.  It has an answer for every wiseass decision we try to make, and then out-wiseasses us. Every time you think you may have finally figured out a way to "break" the game, you realize that the developers were still five steps ahead of you, and had a joke ready for you when you land there.  Super entertaining, hilarious narration,  a game about games that's still a great game itself.

3. The Last Of Us
This one climbed higher and higher on the list the further I got into the game.  I'll admit it: After the first hour or two, I didn't even think it'd be on this list at all.  I found the opening section tedious and underwhelming, with a whole lot of "Press A to continue" along with a story that didn't feel very original. Another zombie apocalypse?  Really?  And another character who may be the hope for all humanity?  And even the first rounds of combat didn't do much for me at all. As in Bioshock Infinite, I felt the combat inferior and subservient to the developers' storytelling ambition -- except at least in Bioshock Infinite the story felt original.  But..I kept playing.  And it grew on me. A lot.  The sheer detail of the world began to impress, and, much more important, the dynamic between Joel and Ellie began to gain weight and resonance.  As the story continues, the combat that at first felt mundane takes on increasing urgency, and the story itself takes enough unexpected, suspenseful turns to actually justify itself as the primary raision d'etre (sorry) of the entire experience.  I don't think it's the masterpiece that its strongest adherents feel it is, but it's the one "AAA" game I played this year that seemed like it ultimately justified its budget.  If this was mostly just a game as a big-budget movie, it was a movie I was glad - very glad - to have seen.

2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Still, for all the emotional resonance that The Last of Us provided,  Brothers did it even better, and more profoundly, with far less.  And without even one word of dialog.  Brothers did something very cool this year, in the humblest of ways.  It presented an almost entirely new way of even thinking about game controls,  with one clever puzzle after another, while, simultaneously, telling an emotionally rich story with an ending as overwhelmingly brutal as any I've ever experienced in a game.  The game world itself is bizarre and mysterious and is never fully explained - thank god - as the developers seem to get that less truly is more, that showing is better than telling. The game looked and sounded beautiful, too.  I always think that the "games as art" discussion is pretty ridiculous.  Still, if any game was "a work of art" this year - whatever the hell that means -  it was Brothers.

1.  Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Pure joy.
I'm neither a Zelda nor a Nintendo fanboy.  I don't have a Wii U and don't particularly want one. I don't even remotely understand the history of Hyrule or how any of these games fit together, nor do I really care.  What I do know is this: I had more fun playing this game than any other game in 2013.  Every single moment in this game, every screen, every piece of music, every puzzle, was pure joy for me.  I played and played and played until I was finished, and then I started it again.   I've read complaints about the small dungeon size, and about the relatively easy difficulty level overall, but for me they were both just perfect.  So maybe that says something about me.  It probably does. But so does every list, and every choice on a list.  For me, A Link Between Worlds was just about perfect. Just challenging enough to make me have to use my brain, but not so tough that it held me up for long.  The wall merging was a brilliant gameplay addition, And that music...my god.  I don't know what really constitutes a "best" game of the year.  Every game on this list was awesome.  But Zelda made me happy every minute I played it.  It was pure joy.
25 Dec 17:00

Conflict Strategies for Nice People

by Liane Davey

Do you value friendly relations with your colleagues? Are you proud of being a nice person who would never pick a fight?  Unfortunately, you might be just as responsible for group dysfunction as your more combative team members. That’s because it’s a problem when you shy away from open, healthy conflict about the issues. If you think you’re “taking one for the team” by not rocking the boat, you’re deluding yourself.

Teams need conflict to function effectively.  Conflict allows the team to come to terms with difficult situations, to synthesize diverse perspectives, and to make sure solutions are well thought-out.  Conflict is uncomfortable, but it is the source of true innovation and also a critical process in identifying and mitigating risks.

Still, I meet people every day who admit that they aren’t comfortable with conflict.  They worry that disagreeing might hurt someone’s feelings or disrupt harmonious team dynamics. They fret that their perspective isn’t as valid as someone else’s, so they hold back.

Sure, pulling your punches might help you maintain your self-image as a nice person, but you do so at the cost of getting your alternative perspective on the table; at the cost of challenging faulty assumptions; and at the cost of highlighting hidden risks.  That’s a high cost to pay for nice.

To overcome these problems, we need a new definition of nice. In this version of nice, you surface your differences of opinion, you discuss the uncomfortable issues, and you put things on the table where they can help your team move forward.

The secret of having healthy conflict and maintaining your self-image as a nice person is all in the mindset and the delivery.

To start shifting your mindset, think about your value to the team not in how often you agree, but in how often you add unique value.  If all you’re doing is agreeing with your teammates, you’re redundant.  So start by telling yourself “it’s my obligation to bring a different perspective than what others are bringing.” Grade yourself on how much value you bring on a topic.

Here are a few tips on improving your delivery:

1. Use “and,” not “but.” When you need to disagree with someone, express your contrary opinion as an “and.” It’s not necessary for someone else to be wrong for you to be right.  When you are surprised to hear something a teammate has said, don’t try to trump it, just add your reality. “You think we need to leave room in the budget for a customer event and I’m concerned that we need that money for employee training. What are our options?”   This will engage your teammates in problem solving, which is inherently collaborative instead of combative.

2. Use hypotheticals. When someone disagrees with you, don’t take them head on—being contradicted doesn’t feel very good.  Instead, a useful tactic is to ask about hypothetical situations and to get them imagining. (Imagining is the opposite of defending, so it gets the brain out of a rut.) If you are meeting resistance to your ideas, try asking your teammates to imagine a different scenario. “I hear your concern about getting the right sales people to pull off this campaign. If we could get the right people…what could the campaign look like?

3. Ask about the impact. Directing open-ended questions at your teammate is also useful.  If you are concerned about a proposed course of action, ask your teammates to think through the impact of implementing their plan. “Ok, we’re contemplating launching this product to only our U.S. customers. How is that going to land with our two big customers in Latin America?”  This approach feels much less aggressive than saying “Our Latin American customers will be angry.”  Anytime you can demonstrate that you’re open to ideas and curious about the right approach, it will open up the discussion (and you’ll preserve your reputation as a nice person).

4. Discuss the underlying issue. Many conflicts on a team spiral out of control because the parties involved aren’t on the same page.  If you disagree with a proposed course of action, instead of complaining about the solution, start by trying to understand what’s behind the suggestion. If you understand the reasoning, you might be able to find another way to accomplish the same goal. “I’m surprised you suggested we release the sales figures to the whole team. What is your goal in doing that?” Often conflict arises when one person tries to solve a problem without giving sufficient thought to the options or the impact of those actions.  If you agree that the problem they are trying to solve is important, you will have common ground from which to start sleuthing toward answers.

5. Ask for help. Another tactic for “nice conflict” is to be mildly self-deprecating and to own the misunderstanding.  If something is really surprising to you (e.g., you can’t believe anyone would propose anything so crazy), say so.  “I’m missing something here. Tell me how this will address our sales gap for Q1.” If the person’s idea really doesn’t hold water, a series of genuine, open questions that come from a position of helping you understand will likely provide other teammates with the chance to help steer the plan in a different direction.

Conflict — presenting a different point of view even when it is uncomfortable — is critical to team effectiveness. Diversity of thinking on a team is the source of innovation and growth. It is also the path to identifying and mitigating risks. If you find yourself shying away from conflict, use one of these techniques to make it a little easier.

The alternative is withholding your concerns, taking them up outside of the team, and slowly eroding trust and credibility.  That’s not nice at all.