• scissors
    November 29th, 2011ImogenUncategorized

    After 3 and three quarter hours, it emerged from the oven to the exultant tones of Handel.

    There it sat in its double lined saucepan, a giant nugget of cakey, fruity, boozy goodness. Behold! I cried, brandishing the improvised tin at my dozing mother: a cake is born!

    The Reactants

    This weekend saw the first Stir-Up Sunday in a generation of Houses. At the grand age of 21 I decided that I wanted to have a go at making a Christmas cake, since I love Christmas and I love cake, so why not? When I declared this to my parents they were somewhat bemused since Houses don’t really “do” Christmas cake, nor pudding. Aware of the gaping abyss of mixed peel, brandy and baking times opening up before me I consulted Grandma House on the matter, hoping to receive some treasured handed-down recipe. Alas, none such was to be found. I heard from my Grandma that once she made Christmas puddings every year, a whole year in advance. She told me, without nostalgia, that a time came when you could buy puddings “that were just as good” from shops and so she hung up her pudding basin.

    It seemed odd to me that someone of my Grandma’s generation would value commercial produce over homemade, but then, when my Grandma was 17, WWII broke out. After rationing I’m sure the idea of buying your Christmas pudding was a huge step up from powdered eggs and hoarding butter rations. Now, in my generation, making things is back in vogue. Anyone can buy a chunky cable knit snood from Topshop, but who can make their own? (I couldn’t, but my sister did). Sure, you could just pop down to Tescos and purchase your Finest Christmas Pudding with caramelised holly leaves and a miniature of brandy for singeing your eyebrows with. However, who has the time to stir 2lbs of dried fruit into a gloopy mix and then bake it upon a sheet of newspaper for almost four hours? The excessive labour is part of the love that goes into it. Only once a year can such extravagance for one single baked good be justified.

    Only a mother could love it

    If no one else likes the luscious/delicious/blasted cake and it takes me until Easter to finish eating the concoction then so be it! If anyone would like to give me a hand, please send stamped addressed cake boxes from Boxing Day onwards. Only put quite a lot of stamps on because it’s pretty dense.

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors
    March 19th, 2011ImogenUncategorized

    Once upon a time 8 years ago my fellow year 7s and I had to make a powerpoint presentation. Oh the fun we had with the animations, making pages of text fly in letter by letter, and bringing warped photos swooshing in from the sidelines. However, times have (thankfully) moved on and today’s trendy swooshing is coming from the viewpoint and not the subject matter. This is down to Prezi.

    The main idea behind this web-based tool is to create a non-linear presentation. You arrange your text, pictures diagrams et al on an infinite canvas and map a route between them, rotating and zooming as you go. To see what I mean watch any one of the public examples on the Prezi site. Click the “next” button and get transported on a visual journey.

    I have my dad to thank for showing me the future of presentations. He was searching for a new Google programme for making slides (possibly a subset of Google Documents), but instead happened upon Prezi. He introduced me to it but I have never heard about it anywhere else. According to the website they are now turning over a profit, so Prezi must be selling enough subscriptions to survive through word of mouth alone. I actually use it with a free student license, so I feel obliged to express my gratitude via some mild plugging.

    These are my 4 fave things about prezi:

    1. The unpredictable path makes it a bit more interesting.

    2. You can hide things by making them really small and then zooming in

    3. The audience gets a sneaky glimpse of slides to come as you move between images. Alternatively, this could spoil the surprise, but that’s where no. 2 comes in.

    4. None of my audience so far had ever seen it before, so they all thought I was some kind of technical whiz. Once you get the hang of the unfamiliar control pad, Prezis are actually quite easy to make. Just don’t tell my audience that.

    So yes, I am pro-Prezi. I find it such a great tool that I can’t keep it to myself. I just wish there was a way to spread the word among all of the Presenters of the world and none of their Presentees. Oh well, I suppose the mystery couldn’t last forever.

    A Prezi I made recently for a presentation on a Letter to the journal Nature about a new nano-scale imaging technique

    Go forth and present!

    Tags: , ,