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I’m a Sherlock Holmes in the Making

WW is drooling at the idea of watching wondering whether Robert Downey Jr. will pull off the English accent as Sherlock Holmes in the new movie out soon.

And, as usual, Nuffnang is offering the chance for some lucky bloggers to see the premiere, for free, before all the other plebs non-bloggers out there :-P

Go to the Nuffnang blog to find out more!

And here is the hidden picture, from "Keep Yakking Digital Commerce" (clue? can you work it out? ;-))



Elementary dear Holmes!

Say hello to Charles :)

[OK touching wood and not jinxing anything OK?!?!?]

Well - the Charlene/Charlotte/Charlize issue is sorted, anyway. We hadn't intended to check the sex of our baby, and leave it as a surprise, but at the last check up we were looking at the scan and suddenly WW said - "Is that a willy?", and the doctor confirmed it was.

So - here is Charles (to be known as Charlie, probably):
ultrasound baby pregnancy 16 sixteen weeks

It's not a great picture (at first I thought the picture was a total disaster, but WW told me to turn it upside down :-p), but you can see the backbone clearly, and his arms and legs are all there - and everything is fine so far apparently. The doctor said he was 'clapping his hands' :-)

This is what he might look like in more detail


They're doing the 'Triple blood test' from WW's blood to see if there is any likelihood of Down's Syndrome, neural tube defects (for the baby - indicating possibility of spina bifida, or anencencephaly - taking folic acids helps to avoid these defects), and anemia (for WW). They said they will only call us if there are positive results (i.e. if something may be wrong). So hopefully, NO calls from the doctor next week!

No Compromise for Mister Potato Fiesta 2009

What is the purpose of a potato chip? What is its function? What defines a potato chip?

For the answer, we can turn to the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophers, and Aristotle in particular:

He argued that everything has a goal, which is its reason to exist. Many things and animals have something in common – but what defines them is what they have which is intrinsic and unique to themselves. For example: both birds and fish eat food, but a fish cannot fly and nor can a bird swim. Therefore, the function unique to a bird is to fly – so, a happy bird is one that can fly (so don't go putting birds in tiny cages :-()

So, what about a potato chip? Well, it's clear, the purpose of a potato chip is to be a tasty snack.

First, it has to be somewhat filling (but not too much, it's a snack, remember): as an Irishman, I will of course need my occasional does of potatoes, so potato chips do the job well :-)

What is the other function of a potato chip? It is to delight your five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste:

Touch: a potato chip should be light, with a delicate dusting of salt and flavourful goodness that adheres slightly to the fingers, providing extra delight when you lick it off (or let your dog lick it off, **after** you've done eating)
potato crisp

Sight: a potato chip should gently recall the frying process, with crispy edges and an appetising colour.

Sound: an undervalued aspect of a potato chip is its crunchiness – as you eat, you ears should be filled with crunching. If there's no noise, then it's gone soft and gross...

Smell: as you open the packet, and bring a potato chip to your mouth, your taste buds should get an enticing foretaste of what is about to enter your mouth
potato crisp open packet

And, last but not at all least...

Taste! You can choose from many types of tastes, and each person has their preference
potato crisps on supermarket shelf

the taste of the potato chip is the ultimate reward to the Aristotelian seeking the good life. Applying reason to the case in hand, he (or she) will recognise the telos, the ultimate goal and justification of the potato chip as being in the taste. Is it a simple Salt and Pepper, or a complex and profound Curry Cha Cha?
curry cha cha potato crisps

Whatever it is, don't compromise on the quality of a potato chip!

Don't every compromise on the quality of anything – because by always understanding the essence of things, and aiming for the highest goals, we are able to bring philosophy to our daily life, and walk with the ancients ;-)



(This blog post was composed for a contest organised by Nuffnang and Mister Potato - check out the links for more information.)

Expecting!

I've been wanting to announce this for a while, but we were waiting for the first three months - we're expecting!! :-D
pregnancy ultrasound five 5 weeks

It was the best birthday present I ever had - on the 1st September, the pregnancy test confirmed what we've been hoping for for almost two years

Above is the first scan, at about five weeks. When the doctor said 'It's in the uterus', I felt a massive rush of relief, and realised how worried I'd been that we'd have a repeat of what happened two years ago. WW was pregnant, but it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy - i.e. the fertilised egg got stuck in the fallopian tube and started to develop there; surgery was needed and the fallopian tube was removed... :-( Fortunately, WW was fine, but it meant that getting pregnant again was more difficult...

I guess we got our first lesson in parenting - plans are wise, but don't expect them to always work as intended... :-|

A couple of weeks later, all was developing smoothly
pregnancy ultrasound seven 7 weeks

but we've both found out that we do worry about whether all will go well... It struck me that a lot of time being a parent must involve being worried about the kid. Just have to hope for the best, and prepare for the worst, or something like that I suppose.

At about twelve weeks, we heard the heartbeat for the first time! And saw it too - although the heart was just a blinking pixel, it was pretty amazing and really brought home the fact that WW is carrying a living person-to-be in there :-)
pregnancy ultrasound twelve 12 weeks

In the above one, baby was looking a bit like an alien and waving arms and legs. About a week later s/he seems to be taking a nap or something...
pregnancy ultrasound thirteen 13 weeks

Though I guess that also has something to do with the skill of the doctor at positioning the ultrasound, because originally when she started the scan baby was upside down, lol.

She checked three things: the backbone (all there), the nose bone (check), and whether there was swelling around the neck (nope). So all is OK so far (touching wood).

So there you go - sometime about the beginning of May 2010, I'll have some photos of a chubby little Charles or Charlene (named after my grandfather) to share :-) (or does anyone have any other female versions of 'Charles' to suggest??) In the meantime, I'll just have more scans, and find one of those widgets to put in the sidebar, in true proud blogger parent-to-be :-D

Chez Vincent - Brussels restaurant

Wow I haven't blogged for almost two weeks! Actually, I was in Belgium for a week - it was my mother's 70th birthday, and we surprised her by all turning up for lunch. There are six of us children in all, and she only knew that my sister was taking her out to lunch. I guess I was probably the biggest surprise of all, seeing as she thought I was in Malaysia :-) Anyway, thanks to my brother for paying for the ticket, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to go.

We had a very nice meal in a typical Belgian restaurant called Chez Vincent; it's located in the 'Rue des Bouchers' area near the Grand Place - this is a warren of small streets packed with restaurants and some bars. Chez Vincent itself is somewhat upmarket I think, but serving the standard dishes of steak, cod, waterzooi, mussels, and so on…

It has a very nice décor, in particular the murals that were done around 1920, using tiles
chez vincent brussels tile mural

The amount of work that must have gone into the tiling is huge, it has to be all planned in advance, then each colour has to be fired separately
chez vincent brussels tile mural

You enter the restaurant through the kitchen (I always find it reassuring to see the kitchen :-))
chez vincent brussels tile mural

The tiling was done by the Maison Helman, as you can see …
chez vincent brussels tile mural

It's been there for about 90 years now!

Their specialty is mussels - but I'm not such a fan of mussels. As it was the hunting season, there was some game available – “Râble de lièvre, sauce crème ou sauce poivrade” (hare stew, I think) and “Suprême de faisan fine Champagne, pommes pins” (pheasant). I chose the pheasant, with a sauce ‘fine Champagne’. It was very tasty, I had a recollection of pheasant as being somewhat gamey, but this was nice – more like turkey than chicken, but along those lines. It came with a baked apple topped with some berries.
chez vincent brussels pheasant

I dunno if it had anything to do with the game, but the knife I was given was a La Guiole knife; these are very good clasp knives, often used by hunters (those who can afford it, otherwise they get an Opinel). This one is not a clasp knife, but one made for the table, it looks the same but you can't close it.

It was not cheap, expect your dishes to start at 20 euros and go up from there, but it was good quality, very tasty, and in a unique environment. The service was fine, but the waiter got a tad confused with the orders after we changed places – I think he remembered the order by seating place, not by the person.