Custard Apple

Even if it says

on the packet

there are a huge number

of seeds in them

be warned,

there are more than you think.


(from the continuing collection Folly)


Invisible Flan

Easy Flan Recipe

I am an invisible flan. No, I am not a cake like those who taunted Eggless Vegan People; nor am I one of your Homestyle-mixed fauxflans. I am a flan of substance, of egg and milk, sugar and liquids – and I might even be served to traverse a bind.

I am invisible, understand, simple recipe is used to mix me. Like bodiless heads you see sometimes in cooking tvshows, it is as though I am made surrounded by ramekins of hard, heatproofed glass. When they approach the oven they see only my surroundings, their pans, or cookware of their imagination – stir, everything and anything to swirl me.

For is my invisibility exactly a matter of biocaramel accident to my surface. That invisibility to which I occur requires beat eggs of a peculiar disposition of the eggs of milk with whom I come in contact. A matter of the construction of their custard lines, those lined ramekins they cook through their physical pies upon a tray. I am hot complaining, nor stand I refrigerating either. It is sometimes ceramic baking to be unseen, although it is most softening harder eating when served.

Sarah K.

A Literal Giffing of the English Language?

ADoseofBuckley recently made a video called ‘The Literal Butchering of the English Language’.

In it, he references the common use of the word ‘literally’ in the hyperbolic sense, the way a lot of us are most likely to come across it. This is something a lot of people complain about, even people who feel assured they are not fixated on spelling or grammar. This is something that annoys all the ‘normal’ people out there.

Now, to say I am literally sickened by this video is not an improper use of the word literally, although it is the kind of thing he is being critical of in his video. At length. ADoseofBuckley has an angry reputation to uphold, but surely this isn’t something to get 5 minutes 36 seconds worth of upset about. It is true that the word ‘literally’ has the dictionary meaning of ‘in a literal manner or sense; exactly‘, but when using this word in a non-technical sense, the way most use it nowadays, have any of us ever been able to express ‘exactly’ what we meant? Using literal in this sense is actually very interesting, its using a universal specific for something that cannot be specified, it is calling attention to the nature of language, whether intentional or not.

I think what’s missed here is that humans communicate at least in a large part through the use of hyperbole. The English language simply doesn’t have the words for every specific situation of emotion. And if you were to make up words to suit it as you went along, this would garner even more of a rage from the grammar Nazis out there. ‘I literally shat myself,’ you might say, ‘when I realised One Direction were going to be playing in my home town’. Is there any better way of expressing such a mix of awe, home pride, sudden calculations over your available money mixed with the nagging feeling of a stunted maturity? I can’t think of one. You can use literally to combine the base, the mundane, the fantastical. Literally is just an enacted metaphor. This multiplicity of meaning is something more interesting that whatever exact meaning literally once had.

This argument also ignores the fact that languages survive and stay of use to us through adapting. Word meaning and usages change every day, it is only annoying when you cling to the old usage. If you say what you mean and people understand you, that’s all that language needs to do. If you use archaic words for no reason other than showing you knowing what these words meant before, you’re conversing with yourself, word wanker.

But if you carry on this idea, that whatever we use to communicate is language, we come up against all new kinds of communicating. This post titled ‘20 signs You Really, Really Hate People’ sums up one way in which the internet loves to communicate its difficult themes of introversion. Chances are, if you are introverted, you’re going to have trouble putting your feelings into words non-introverts can understand. That’s where GIFs come into it.

This list contains many popular GIFs used to represent social isolation. You will have seen many of them before. They take the difficult to express and put it into short-form. You may not have even seen the original source to know what the GIF means now. They do not even necessarily have any basis in the source anymore. GIFs are a way of communicating with someone else’s words, in the gaps between shared knowledge and speech. You can be as introverted as you like, but if you have a knowledge of these GIFs you can communicate easily, along with anyone else.

I’m sorry, I know it’s a meme.

You can create your own GIF before you can create your own word. GIFs open up an unending palette for expressing emotions, provided you can make the GIFs yourself, but with sites like that’ll practically do that for you, the limitations are few. What’s more they are shared on a world-wide level, not locally. There is so much potential out there, aside from re-using the same GIFs, universal as they are. That’s what ADoseofBuckley seemed most upset about, not that people were using literally in the wrong manner, but that they were all using literally. So whilst a greater adoption of GIFs in life may lead to a decline in text based ‘writing’ it provides a universal way for people to communicate and communicate in new ways.

This can only be a good thing, right?

 Sarah K.

Finnegans Cake

Oatmeal Apple Carrot Spiced Scones

recipe, for Ease and Atime, from simpleness of celebration to burden of birthday, brings us by a lot of stirring back to Honey Carrot and Apple scones.

Stir Briskly, flour, fr’over a short span, add milk and or be contrived from North Armorica omit the fattiness of Europe via to miler light this then isolate more: nor add white sugar blocks by the stream Possibly eggs added bated themselves to Laura Ashley for us while we wait rub in their numbers for a time: nor avoid for a time bowls to mix mix to toughtough tautballofstick: not yet, though verysoon after, add a salt and buttered add and all stick: not yet, though all’s fair in pastry, where sloppy section will with twone greaseelbow. Pot a peck of mash fruit add Them moved by armslight add raw currents to the mixingbowl whilst to be clean rinse on the surface.

The food (dededeliciousrighttakeminorconfronteronthemwhowouldsoonhawkandtookallinonelook!) of a once wallstrait hourper is really easy in bowl and later on lips down though all crispy meltpastry.

Sarah K.

10 Tips for Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses


The author of your doom.

1. Tackle it in chunks. I know you read the last Harry Potter book in a day but so did I. This is not the kind of book you can read in a day. I know the first chapter is relatively easy but they’re not all like that. Realistically your limit for reading and understanding the book is going to be about 100 pages a day.

2. Don’t expect to understand everything. If you’re reading this for an assignment, you are probably familiar with a few texts and the way they use allusion. But no matter how well read you are you are not going to ‘get’ everything. Many scholars believe there isn’t even any one thing to get, so don’t worry too much about the meaning, just keep reading.

3. Annotate your copy. Otherwise I doubt you’ll be able to find all the quotes you like again.

4. Don’t expect to get the same reading as everyone else. Dependent on how much you know going into your reading, how much you research as you read, you will get a different reading of the text, but again, there is no ‘right’ one.

5. Read aloud as much as possible. A lot of the meaning in Ulysses is in the sense, the feel of the words and how they interact. You’ll also no doubt enjoy it a lot more this way as much of the beauty and humour is lost if you read in your head.

6. If you can’t read aloud, listen to others reading it. Joyce created some of the best and funniest dialogue between everyday people in Ulysses. It helps to hear the relation between these words in conversations. There are many audio-book versions out there, if you find the right one you can’t help but enjoy the book.

7. Have a dictionary ready. Ulysses is full of words you probably won’t know the meaning of but haven’t seen before. Having a dictionary ready could help you feel less lost as well as giving you the chance to learn some cool new words along the way.

8. Use online study guides. It’s better to get help for a bit you’re stuck on and move on than to abandon the book altogether. Also, these guides are only going to give you a few interpretations of the text if they give you any, so as long as it makes you think about the text, it’s not cheating.

9. Read as much around it as you want to. If you want to read The Odyssey or Hamlet or Ovid, go ahead. That’s just as good a way of reading it as any. If it helps you understand or enjoy the book, if it makes you want to keep reading, it’s doing its job.

10. Enjoy it. You’re not going to get to read many books like this in your lifetime. Look forward to Molly Bloom’s soliloquy but don’t miss all the other great bits along the way.

 Sarah K.

The Voynich Manuscript – ‘the world’s most mysterious book’


A sample page showing the Voynich ‘script’ and a botanical illustration.

The moniker of ‘the world’s most mysterious book’ is a pretty impressive one to have, and according to BBC News and undoubtedly many others, this honour undoubtedly belongs to The Voynich Manuscript.

Dating back to (we believe) around 1400, the book is 240 pages long and highly illustrated, showing complex but unidentifiable fauna, astronomical shapes and human figures. It is named after the man who bought it in 1912, it’s original author unknown. The ‘Manuscript’ had baffled linguists, cryptographers and mathematicians for years. People have been able to get so far as to call it a ‘manuscript’, a coherent written piece, but that is pretty much all anyone knows about the document. It resists all modern code-breaking techniques, so much so that many call it a hoax.

Recently a study has been published by people who believe they have found strings of patterns within the text which may suggest words. The study identified the presence of a few ‘key words’, like how a book on trains would have a high frequency of the word ‘train’. Furthermore, these words are ‘clustered’ in such a way that they may show the explication of text’s meaning. But the definition of these words is still a mystery. It is thought that the theme may tally with the images, roughly grouped into sections throughout the text, but again, these images cannot be defined as anything humans know of. Nor can the purpose of the text. The words are written in a 40 letter alphabet that has never been seen before or since. It does not seem to have ‘evolved’ from any known language, causing many to believe it must be fabricated. But the structure of the text is similar to that of many ‘real’ languages. It appears to be a lot more than just arbitrary symbols or a string of made up words.

There is obviously a great story behind this text, whether written by one highly intelligent individual, a brilliant scientist, or simply as a very effective encoding of another language, people are constantly working to ensure that it cannot remain unsolved.

The Man Who Cracked the Mystery of The Voynich Manuscript

George Rugg, one of those purporting to have ‘solved’ the text, give one reason for it’s existence; ‘The Voynich is such a challenge, such a social activity. But then along comes someone who says ‘Oh, it’s just a lot of meaningless gibberish.’ It’s as if we’re all surfers, and the sea has dried up.’ The text may be nothing more than a challenge, something kept alive by our want to believe, and Rugg treated it as such, as a ‘grand hoax’. So many people wanted the text to be ‘true’ that they ignored his findings, the ways in which the text could be a hoax left relatively unexplored. Rugg came across a cheaply available coding device which could have been available at the time, the Cardan Grille, and found evidence to suggest that such mysterious manuscripts were highly collected throughout history. The age of the piece also meant that the author was unlikely to have been able to afford to start a page afresh after making a mistake, (unless they were rich themselves) and so the ‘words’ have even more power to resist code-breaking. The value of the piece, at least in the past, was based on it being indecipherable. And maybe so it is now, people ignore the fact it could be fake simply because its value to them is as something unsolved. Even Rugg isn’t totally satisfied with his own conclusion, saying;

“The rational part of me says it’s a hoax; another part says, yes, but what if 10 percent of it is cipher text, a real message mixed in with all the wattle and padding? It’s a lovely problem.” It’s a problem that we’ll maybe never allow ourselves to fully solve, and so The Voynich Manuscript will retain it’s power, maybe one of the greatest works of faith.

Sarah K.