on ultima iv

I think over the next few days I’ll tran­fer some of my old fidlet.com pages into posts — oth­er­wise I think that they will for­ev­er float in cyber­space lim­bo. I shall start with my trib­ute to Ulti­ma IV:

For those of you not famil­iar with the mas­ter­piece that is Ulti­ma IV: it is a com­put­er role-play­ing game that came out in the mid 80’s, pro­duced by the Ori­gin soft­ware com­pa­ny (now owned by Elec­tron­ic Arts). Although prim­i­tive by today’s stan­dards, it was rev­o­lu­tion­ary at the time: instead of the tra­di­tion­al where you fight some big bad evil at the end, your ulti­mate quest was a moral one.

Con­tin­ue read­ing on ulti­ma iv

lentils & greens

After being ter­ri­fied by Super­size Me (an excel­lent doc­u­men­tary, by the way), I decid­ed to make myself a super healthy soup for lunch yes­ter­day from one of my favorite cook­books — The Unplugged Kitchen. It turned out to be very deli­cious. I include the recipe here for your enjoyment:

12 c lentils, washed
1 12 qts spring water (I use veg­etable broth for extra flavor)
1 large, ripe toma­to, peeled and chopped, or 4 canned toma­toes, chopped
14 lb, about 4 c loose­ly packed, chopped bor­age leaves, 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves (with­out ribs), or 1 bunch chopped stem spinach (I chose the spinach)
3 table­spoons extra vir­gin olive oil, plus a lit­tle for drizzling
black pepper
lemon (option­al)

Rinse and pick over lentils. Trans­fer to soup pot and add water (or broth). Sim­mer briskly for 30–35 min­utes, or until ten­der. Sea­son with salt toward end of cook­ing (prob­a­bly not nec­es­sary if you use broth).

Add toma­to, greens, olive oil, salt. Bring to a boil, then sim­mer for an addi­tion­al 10 minutes.

Very sim­ple. Very healthy. Very yummy.

on pleasure

I came across an inter­est­ing arti­cle on com­fort and plea­sure, whose claims includ­ed the fol­low­ing: Our afflu­ent soci­ety abounds with com­fort addicts. We have the means to imme­di­ate­ly sat­is­fy all of our desires (for food, phys­i­cal com­fort, etc.), and have thus become less tol­er­ant of dis­com­fort. Slight hunger, tired­ness, etc., dri­ves us to snack and buy gad­gets that decrease any need for phys­i­cal labor on our part. The unfor­tu­nate thing about such com­fort addic­tion is that, giv­en our reluc­tance to adven­ture far out of our nar­row com­fort range, we ulti­mate­ly deny our­selves the lev­el of plea­sure derived from the final sat­is­fac­tion of a desire that has built up in inten­si­ty due to the pro­long­ing of dis­com­fort (e.g., the inex­plic­a­ble plea­sure of eat­ing a decadant meal after hours of hunger). While we all rec­og­nize that antic­i­pa­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly inten­si­fies plea­sure, we rarely delib­er­ate­ly deny our­selves the imme­di­ate sat­is­fac­tion of a desire…and we end up cheat­ing our­selves out of the joys that make life delicious.

Con­tin­ue read­ing on plea­sure

pleasant surprises

Putting on my jack­et for the first time this fall, I shove my hands in my pock­ets to dis­cov­er a rem­nant piece of paper stuffed in there from last win­ter. I pull the paper out, expect­ing an old Pub­lix reciept or some­thing equal­ly dull, only to dis­cov­er an old shop­ping list dur­ing one of my fre­quent but short-lived phas­es of try­ing to eat well and and health­ful­ly. This list includ­ed ingre­di­ents from the deli­cious­ly sim­ple and nat­ur­al recipes from one of my favorite cook­books: The Unplugged Kitchen, by Viana La Place. How delight­ful! I think I’ll use this for­got­ten trea­sure of a shop­ping list next time I gro­cery shop. For those of you who are curi­ous, I give you this list here.

Con­tin­ue read­ing pleas­ant surprises