I am teh famus, lol, wtf

I do apologise in advance for the title of this blog post and the entire sillyness of anything it points out. But, apparently I am a little bit famous in a manner I never imagined.

In 2007 I created a Trading Card game for my company Shadowcat Systems as a bit of fun to give away as a Christmas Advent calendar item. The rules of the game and the associated files are linked to here (http://www.shadowcat.co.uk/resources/).

Spin forward a few years to the entirely inappropriately named site Fuck Yeah Nouns (http://fuckyeahnouns.com) has used these cards when you type in dbix-class (http://fuckyeahnouns.com/dbix-class), not really that surprising as there are very few images for that, but if you type in Mark Keating you get another card (http://fuckyeahnouns.com/mark%20keating), also works for Lego Robot Wars (http://fuckyeahnouns.com/lego%20robot%20wars) Leigh Keating (http://fuckyeahnouns.com/Leigh%20Keating) gets a picture I took of my wife Leigh.

The idea of the site, btw, is you put in some words and it finds an image associated with them. I have no idea how it works things out, I guess it is looking for descriptive tags in the alt text or something, but it does make me happy that something I did for fun, for free and for joy is still being used now.

And I am a little bit famous for a few brief fleeting moments, a transient star still to find my full fire in the firmament…I am sure at some point other images will replace these but for now, they are mine and I shall retire to my hovel with the clarion calls of fame still ringing in my noggin.

Thanks to Ribasushi for pointing me at this 🙂

Vampire Poem for Leigh

So, Leigh has been complaining in her writing challenges (see her posts here: http://www.leighkeating.me/) that she can’t do the poetry writing part of the challenge as well, or as easily, as she does the other challenges. It also seems to annoy her that I can write poems (fairly poor ones let’s face it) at speed. In fact if the requirement is for bad, sad or mad poems, I’m your man. This latest one was written in 8 minutes while waiting for a train at Preston railway station. It is from the Vampire Week Challenge (Diary Challenge: 24th-30th Jan 2011).

I should note that the challenge was to write a poem from a Vampire’s perspective, and that I take no responsibility for you cringing at any of the words I use in this poem, I already know the quality, i wrote it 🙂

Easy Prey

Diana calls me.
I am the Huntresses’ slave.
She holds aloft the night,
And pulls me from my grave.
Well, at least that’s what I tell the girls,
To get them to behave.

So simple are these pithy words,
That bring me my delight,
I tell them of my lonely life,
Where sorrow is my plight,
And then I take them to their bed
To feed all through the night.

Born in darkness, wreathed in sin,
Come hear my words of pain,
Then loosen bodice and open thighs
You need not have your shame.
While you dream of love you’ll place in my dark heart
All your blood I’ll drain.

 

Coffee Tasting: Ethiopian Yingacheffe and “Yule Love It” Blend

For today’s coffee tasting[1] I wandered for the first time to The Music Rooms which is located in Sun Square in Lancaster and is the new Café owned by Atkinson‘s coffee shop and rightly deserves to name itself as the “finest coffee in the North West”[2].

The Taste

[Please note this is not a professional tasting guide, just an enthusiast, I have used language that is in the register of food & drink tasting only to sound coherent, even if there is some debate as to whether this is fully cogent]

Ethiopian Yingacheffe

I drank this coffee as a filter coffee.

Gentle on the nose which entices with scents of sweet milk chocolate notes and a roast hazelnut essence. Smooth on the palate with a nice backtaste that reminds me of caramelised prunes.

With milk this becomes beautifully choclatey. Would make a nice latte and feel more like a mocha with that milk chocolate nature on the nose and palate.

Yule Love It

A blend of:

Old Brown Java
Ethiopian Yingacheffe
High Roasted Salvador

This was today’s espresso chaser 🙂

Zesty and sharp on the nose on a deep sniff but the blend hides the dark riches to come as the Java is hidden in the chocolate-scented Ethiopian and the Salvadorian, there was a feeling of citrus present, but it was a little more astringent than usual, a little lime perhaps or more a sharp grapefruit.

The Java in this blend makes this a powerful espresso. A rich strong kick that lingers on the tongue leaving an impression of licorice and to my mind losing most of the other two coffees. Perhaps there is an impression that the Java is smoothed by the addition of the Salvador but it was lost on me, maybe because the standard “office” coffee we use is Old Brown, or maybe becuase I greedily drank my expresso down and didn’t linger too long in the smelling. To my disadvantage with both of these coffees that I tasted today was that I wasn’t able to sniff the beans both ground and unground beforehand which always helps me to scent out the delicate smells (not that I am in any way correct about what I can smell 🙂 ).

The aftertaste lingers and leaves a note of bitterness and a hint of acidity displaying some of the citrus impressions felt on the nose.

I liked the “Yule Love It” and once again I am awed by the skill of the coffee producers, i have to say that it didn’t quite ‘blow me away’ as the “Santa’s Dark Secret” (but I am a strong dark coffee whore), but it is a worthy drink nevertheless.

Sun Square as always is a quiet seclusion in a busy town, I do hope many other Lancastrians find their way there as the cafes/restaurants on the square are all excellent in value and experience and different to each other in what they offer so that one has no guilt over which to frequent and patronise as you can visit each of them.

The staff in The Music Room deserve a special note as they were friendly, helpful and chatty. it is nice to go to a shop where you are invited to sit and make yourself comfortable as they are only to happy to bring a drink to you.

[1] [1] Please note that this is an Unsolicited Blog, okay I do use the same coffee shop, and the cafés in Sun Square, but they are in the city where I live, they provide a quality local service, not a manufactured chain store customer service guidelined response, and they are a very friendly and helpful group of people, so yes, I do gush about them in glowing terms. And, if by reading this blog you visit them and purchase some of their produce I say Huzzah, one for the local businesses with dedicated and talented professional employees.

[2] This accolade is used on their signage and I believe was awarded to them, no doubt they could tell you who declared it, I am happy to second it. I haven’t in fact found a coffee supplier as good in the UK as yet. I suspect the accolade comes from FFNW (Fine Foods North West) whose awards ceremony I believe Atkinson‘s have been winners at for a few years. See the blog article here (http://www.atkinsonsteaandcoffee.co.uk/page.php?Page=100).[3]

[3] Note that this coffee is reviewed by me here (http://www.markkeating.me.uk/2010/11/24/coffee-tasting-santuario/)

Coffee Tasting: Santa’s Dark Secret Blend

Once more I wandered to Atkinsons[1] to purchase some of their Xmas special blend, Santa’s Dark Secret and oh Santa you are a little naughtier[2] in the cup than suggested by your cover:

which looks likes every other Atkinsons cover as if they employed staff tutored in the nineteenth century. Atkinsons has an old world charm, every time I walk into the shop I think that if Dickens were to be stood at the counter discussing the novel Hard Times and it’s relationship to Preston and Lancashire he would not be out of place, and I could quiz him on Messers Chokeumchild and Gladgrind.

Also, to some of my readers who know I am a fan of decaf coffee as I sometimes like to sleep at night, you should note that this is a caffeinated blend, being neither neutered, broken, nor having as one might put it, “all its f*cking life sucked out leaving a no fun cup of p*ss replacement”.

The Taste

[Please note this is not a professional tasting guide, just an enthusiast, I have used language that is in the register of food & drink tasting only to sound coherent, even if there is some debate as to whether this is fully cogent]

The smell of this coffee completely blew me away when I first sniffed the freshly ground beans, it was so complex I really couldn’t work out what I could smell. So many scents were vying for my attention and this was not eased when I brewed a fresh pot.

The scents were not overpowering, they were all just…present…omnipresent even, each one a distinct and tantilising aroma that mingle and entice the sense and distract the attention. I personally felt there was a sense of Government Java and maybe some African coffee aromas (I thought I could detect Ethiopian but am probably way off the mark). So it would be guess work of the first order to try and decipher the beans/types. So instead I will tell you there is more than a hint of citrus in the nose, really reminiscent of orange oil mixed in with brazil nut and cocoa.

The cup quickly brings up a moderate crema, no doubt a machine would produce a satisfying top, and the first mouthful shocks you. The taste on the tongue is nowhere near as overpowering as the nose. Those distinct scents are lost and instead we have a smooth dark coffee that tastes full bodied and would, to my mind, confuse people if they hadn’t smelt it first. it does not taste like a blend, it has more of a feeling of a good blue bean coffee, reminded me of a coffee I had in Florida that was from a select Jamaican farm. It is fresh and rich and thoroughly Christmassy.

For once I am not going to try this coffee with milk, it would in my opinion completely kill this magnificent coffee. Have this coffee black or as an espresso, and have it quickly before Santa leaves for another year.

To summarise, while he’s not, quite, the Messiah, he is a very satisfying Santa, so bravo to the master mixer/roaster at Atkinsons once more.

[1] Please note that this is an Unsolicited Blog, okay I do use the same coffee shop, but they are in the city where I live, they roast their own beans and they are a very friendly and helpful group of people, so yes, I do gush about them in glowing terms. And, if by reading this blog you visit them and purchase some of their produce I say Huzzah, one for the local businesses with dedicated and talented professional employees.

[2] Middle English noughti, wicked,

Nathan and Sarah: the Announcement

Yesterday I went to a friends announcement/proclamation at the Yorkshire House in Lancaster. It was a Pagan event wherein the couple announced their intent to marry close to Midsummer 2011 and expressed their love for each other. Afterward we retreated to the comfort of H&N’s house for a festive Blót.[1]

What follows below is a series of images from the event (please just click on the thumbnail for a larger image).

[1] Note that this didn’t involve much sacrificing of Equine livestock, unless you count the threat to Dexter one of my son’s cuddly toys.

Leaving Facebook

a.k.a. Facebook can go f*ck itself

a.k.a p*ss off you over-subscribed bad medium

a.k.a. once annoyed the comments get bad but you’re still sh*t

So I’m leaving (indeed)

On a jet plane (not really)

Don’t know if I’ll be back again (hopefully never)

Hello, you might be reading this because you saw it linked from my Facebook page, you might be seeing it from Twitter. it doesn’t matter the message is still the same. I will soon be leaving Facebook.

I have a hard decision, but I have determined to make it.

I am leaving Facebook.

It’s true, I don’t completely like it but it is happening.

It is because I have had enough of this service, the launch of Places was the last straw… Well, no, it wasn’t, the launch of like button was the last straw… Well, no it wasn’t, the launch of the new security was the last straw… Well, no…

Actually, it was all of these and more. My laziness was the only thing stopping me, but now I am convinced I have to go. For all of you bothering to read this who only know me through Facebook, find me on Twitter (while I am still there – for a long while yet I think), or email me, PM me so we set up an email route, or whatever, but please stop thinking that Facebook is the route – as it is not – I have to go,

I can stand it no more.

It is a shame as I own my own name on Facebook. I have used Dopplr. Twitter and others with Facebook, I have reached people, but that dearest ones is over.

But why?

I could do a long treatise on why social networks inspire redundancy in communication skills by removing the onus to be active in pursuing ones familial network. But I am not going to.

Instead I am going to rant.

I would like to point out hate things against a certain Facebook founder who stated:

“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”

Well f*ck you.

Harsh words but I feel harsh. What kind of w*nk statement is that? The arrogance, the sheer ignorance. What the hell has your identity got to do with your integrity? That is either a gross simplification by someone who doesn’t understand those terms or a gross simplification by someone who does understand those terms but is talking sh*t.

I think it is an easy platitude but I am going to use it:

Those who know everything understand nothing.

We can all come up with the one liners but at least mine comes from a familiarity with the actual words.

So it is goodbye!

So long, farewell (and a song from The Sound of Music) I am going. Follow me on Twitter (shadowcat_mdk) or perhaps since we are friends ask for my gmail email and if you like use Buzz.

Please don’t rely on Twitter, for sometime soon it will be gone. I will give a few months for people to filter through and know me elsewhere where I will welcome them for the loved ones they have become (for I was selective in my Facebook attachments). But then I shall be gone.

No doubt one day people will look back and say “why did he do it, silly fool, when all we have is this marvelous tool”, well because for the reasons mentioned above – and perhaps others I will add in edits to this post.

For now, use this time to make sure we stay in touch – I may not have any other contact than Facebook and if so it will be sad to lose you. Let us use email, and those other social tools I am using for this time. But, mostly to email let us be consigned. True it may not have the immediate appeal and one has to choose who to inform, but surely that should be celebrated as at least you know I mean it…as opposed to: look, you knew I was here as someone I once knew told you so and now you feel obliged to contact me…

Facebook is no longer a tool for communication, it is the monkey we feed on our social back, it makes us feel good and wanted but is still a burden to bear…

So I am going…

Just not yet. I have to let you all catch up with me yet…I have to let you all know…I have to make sure all the services that this provides are replicated or replaced…Don’t I….

Will I really go…