EBMSNPs (Fakte)

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I’m not too sure why anyone would want to know the questions people have been asked frequently, but many sites have sections on these so I suppose I should follow suit. Doesn’t really make sense but there you are. I hope you realise this now involves a lot of work in recording the questions people have asked me and trying to determine how frequently they have been asked. Here is a selection from memory until the stats are complete.

1 ) Are You Present?
2 ) Have You A Clean Hankie?
3 ) Can I Have a Sweet?
4 ) What Are Your Metabolic Functions?
5 ) FAQ Removed
6 ) Knitting Recipes – How Do I Get Started?
7 ) Are We There Yet?
8 ) What happened to FAQ 5?

1 ) Are You Present?

One of the most stupid and pointless questions ever devised. Twice every school day they would take the register. I would be asked whether I was present and would have to say “Here”. Hence this is probably the most frequently asked question I (and most people for that matter) will have been asked. Once I said “Absent” and was marked as such despite being there. Apparantly they even asked me the question when I wasn’t there! Duh! It confirmed in my mind at an early age that not everyone was operating with a full set of marbles.

Of course it is now a difficult question to answer – I am present as I type this so I am here, but I don’t know whether I will be actually here when you read this – it is extremely unlikely that I will be editing this page when you are reading it. So as you read this, I am only present in the past which is actually the future at this point in time.

This needs adjusting as those of you in France are in my future by an hour, those in North America are several hours behind me and so forth around the globe. I believe that at certain times of the day some of you have only reached yesterday or others might be forging ahead with tomorrow, not to mention the awkward buggers who enjoyed last Tuesday so much, they’ve refused to leave it and just keep looping round and round it with no consideration for causality whatsoever.

The simplest solution is to note the time of this post and wait at least 24 hours before reading it in order to achieve a common standard view of time and space. It is bad enough having to answer these stupid questions without having to establish a means to satisfy every available space-time continuum – I am not Dr. Who, you know. [This proves that the whole concept of FAQs requires a serious overhaul]

2 ) Have You A Clean Hankie?

Once every school day for many years, my mother would send me off to school with that question. The answer would be “Yes”. I hope this information is useful to you. Why on earth you should need to know things like this is beyond me. Even more puzzling is the growth in these social networking sites where apparantly people spend all their time exchanging stuff like this – weird.

3 ) Can I Have a Sweet?

The grandchildren are responsible for this one. I sometimes reply “Yes” but other times “No”. Note: as yet I cannot email sweets nor otherwise distribute them over the internet, not even if you call them ‘candy’.

[though I was hopeful about very soft toffee but the drawback is that the broadband speed drops to almost zero once you squirt it into the USB plug leading to the modem – I believe the electronic signal is trapped by the stickiness. Unfortunately without being able to add a destination address to the toffee, I was not able to discover whether it arrived anywhere and it might be trapped in a spam filter somewhere.

I washed all the cables and the modem thoroughly, but have still not achieved communications which shows that some toffee at least was sent down the telephone lines. Despite my removing, cleaning and replacing these all the way to the local exchange box (into which I poured several gallons of hot soapy water and then left the garden hose spraying water inside for half an hour to rinse it all off), I was unable to prevent the toffee from adversely affecting all telephonic communication in the area. It does appear that the toffee that got through to the exchange did not affect the lines further on, being trapped by the connections – possibly being responsible for all the crackly noises and smoke noticed whilst cleaning.

For my next experiment I had thought of trying a single example of 100’s and 1000’s or a sherbert grain – after the toffee expriment conclusions, I decided that candy-floss, while more ephemeral, had too high a stickiness quotient – on the other hand, perhaps your mileage varies?]

4 ) What Are Your Metabolic Functions?

Many people want me to explain in detail about the metabolic functions I carry out, as well as the associated secondary processes. However it is not part of the remit of this blog to pass on that sort of information. Most of my knowledge is innate and only applicable to life forms based on the same chemistry. If I offered advice or instruction, this may cause problems for organisms utilizing different chemical reactions for their life processes. For example, I would not recommend photosynthesis as a means of obtaining energy, but this would be bad advice for those of you with sufficient chlorophyll to make it an option worth considering as, in that case, it would be foolish of you not to.

It is simpler for me to suggest that those who have not mastered metabolic techniques to search elsewhere for the required information. Similarly for those seeking to abandon their amphibious state and emerge onto land or to progress to an upright stance. Also note that I have absolutely no knowledge about the means to achieve the necessary anatomical modifications required for flight, though I believe it is recommended that you initially aim to just glide.

This should not be taken to mean that I am totally indifferent to the plight of anybody having difficulties or those seeking to evolve to a more advanced physiology. I have the greatest respect for all creatures and plants, especially those eking out an existence around the deep-sea volcanic vents, I merely feel that I am not the best person to deal with such queries. Were you to have witnessed my attempts to encourage a common shore crab to modify it’s life style and evolve, you would be in complete agreement. Some people’s forte lies in the field of education and I have long ago accepted that these are skills that I just do not have.

5 ) FAQ Removed

I’m amazed at how often I get asked this and by total strangers too. I’ve responded several times by asking them why they need to know and they just look blankly at me as if I was stupid or something. It’s inexplicable.

So here is the answer – hopefully enough people will read this and I won’t get annoyed in the future:-

Extremely difficult due the the variation in all the factors that have to be considered and the rather illogical starting point. Unless you are stuck on the northbound carriageway of the Oxford bypass, I doubt if it will pose a problem especially if you remember to always wear a suitable protective. In the Oxford situation mentioned, a false moustache is almost certainly obligatory and a knowledge of French will assist you in avoiding any embarassment.

Unfortunately this is not a question that can be intelligently answered – whether it could have been intelligently asked is another matter entirely.

6 ) Knitting Recipes – How Do I Get Started?

Tough one this. The main problem is that very few foods are shaped correctly, those that spring to mind (e.g. sphagetti, noodles) only achieve the required flexibility after being cooked and are frankly too short. The resultant knots are too large, ruin the final effect and quite often break. I don’t believe that synthetic options are the answer as they would bypass the spirit of the challenge. The greatest success is through extracting vegetable fibres from celery. These can be knotted quite successfully if done with care and knitted into small squares to create ravolli or dim-sum cases. These can be stuffed with a variety of fillings and slow cooked in the oven.

On the meat site, the best option is to buy the entire intestines of an animal, clean them thoroughly and cut them into strands length-wise. This will require both patience and practice but the resultant strands will give the best knitting experience. The slipperiness of the material require practice to cope with and it is best to start with small, easy dishes that can be completed before the meat goes off. Amateurs are recommended to start with rabbit ravioli cases.

If you are less of a purist and are happy to emulate the knitting process, then life becomes slightly simpler. Merely follow the process for creating sphagetti or noodles (in fact any doughy mixture will do, but avoid the raising varieties since, obviously, as the dough swells all the fine detail will be lost), and weave the strands into the appropriate shape before drying. The advantage is that no knotting is required, each strand being merged into the previous one by a process of kneading. Occassionally chilling the completed parts of the product will help retain the individual strands – in some cases using olive oil to prevent the strands sticking will be acceptable, especially for Italian dishes.

Generally following any lasagne recipe will guarentee success though do bear in mind the limitations of your oven with regard to size. Lasagna Baby Rompers Bolognaise is viable but it’s difficult to achieve a good quality Poncho Cannelloni. Excellent results can be achieved with smaller scale offerings such as Dim-sum Bootees and Doner Sock Kebabs.

Beginners should perhaps content themselves with woven recipes, which, though simpler, achieve the same effect with far less effort though there is nothing like in being able to serve up a meal based on hand knitted items forming an entire outfit plus accessories a la mode.

If you want the ‘gain without the pain’, hunt round for a local catering company who will have the skill and expertise to provide you with authetic dishes (albeit more expensively). Sadly very few restaurants (at least locally) appear to offer knitted selections. However there is some consolation in that we do not have to suffer an explosion of ‘Drive-Thru-Nit-o-matics’ and ‘All-U-Kan-Nit Diners’ that have defaced so many of Canada’s main cities.

Final word of advice – ready-knitted meals may be available in your supermarket and appear to offer a viable alternative, however even the most amateur dinner guest will not be fooled. Home knitted cooking is an art that is hard to master but once you’ve had the real thing, mass-produced substitutes just don’t fit the bill.

7 ) Are We There Yet?

Another one from the grandchildren and the answer is usually no but occasionally yes.

How can knowing this be useful to you? We get the same causality problems as before. The question is totally irrelevant to you – who are the we? where is there? and what about the ‘yet’?

Perhaps you are expecting some sort of Zen-type answer indicating deep and meaningless wisdom such as ‘When the tree alone in the forest falls like one hand clapping, then, grasshopper, we shall be there – only to find that it has taken a two week vacation in Spain leaving a space that will echo to the chanting of a million gazebos” ?

Bollocks to that – you’re getting “Ask that question again and my hand will arrive at high speed on your posterior” instead. Who do you think you are pestering me for an answer anyway? Get a life.

8 ) What happened to FAQ 5?

Sorry about that – unfortunately just because a question is asked frequently enough to appear here doesn’t mean we can assume things have been settled – life is not always that clear cut. Quite understandably, the question was not really happy about being associated with this blog and requested that it be moved elsewhere, preferably as an article on the BBC or, failing that, it rather fancied a guest spot on the “Williams and Griffith’s Shower Rail Emporium” website.

Despite my attempts to placate it by offering to promote it to number 1, fancy lettering, and even a picture to go with it, it got quite stroppy and appealed to various ecological and environmentally aware groups which then threatened to organise demonstrations etc. After lengthy discussions in which alternatives such as Wikipedia, Barak Obama’s homepage and it’s own facebook entry, were discussed and rejected, we reached the conclusion that it was impossible to reach agreement.

Given that I am a responsible member of society and fully aware of the need for everyone to do their bit to the save the planet, I therefore decided to release the question back into the wild. As far as I know, it has migrated to the north country where it can be occassionally sighted. It seems to be doing well and has been selected as a reserve player in the local darts team. [note: several concerned organisations have requested that I do not reveal it’s exact location to prevent disturbance by twtchers and the like. The hope is to build up a breeding colony and ensure it’s continuing survival as a species]

So all I can suggest is that you either just put up with a questionless answer or head out to the moors of Yorkshire and try and locate it yourself. I console myself with the knowledge that at least I tried to help and would point out that this is more than most blogs do. Too many questions that could be living full and satisfactory independent lives are being sacrificed to the egotistic whims of bloggers and webmasters.

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