Saturday, 12 January 2008

Curry (Mild)

recipe for my latest trick, mild coconut curry with exciting stuff in it. innit. this one's probably full of fat but, meh!

mild coconut curry (dairy free, sugarfree, vegetarian, vegan, ok for people who cant eat spuds)

2 sweet potatoes
1 parsnip
some peas
(general veg really)

Boil these for 10 minutes or so

4 shallots
some veggie stock

Top n tail the shallots and take of the brown skins on them, keep them as big as you can - pop them in a pan to boil with about a litre of water and 2 cubes of veggie stock.

1 large white onion
half a garlic, cloves all peeled and squished
a nob (lol) of ginger
handful of dessicated coconut
couple of spoonfuls of curry paste
various spices
s0me oil

fry these until they smell a lot. then, pop the mix in your blender with

1 tin of coconut milk

blend until you get something that looks like a curry sauce. meanwhile, fry your 'meat' or substitute. if you are adding mushrooms, fry these too. once they are pretty much done, add the (drained) veg.

then pour the curry sauce over the whole lot and mix it about a little bit in a wok over a low ish heat. Get a ladle and spoon in the shallots, the stock they were in can either go in the curry to think it out if it needs it, or keep it cuz it will do wonders for a stew, or over sausage and mash/toad in the hole/roast dinner/anything.

keep it on the hob till you are sure it's all cooked nice. serve with whateveeer you like.

TurnItIn - Part 3

Turnitin Part three.. a beginners guide

DMU have their own guidelines on how to use TurnItIn - Here's the link:

Time for a users guide/what to expect from it!

I submitted my essay at about 1pm on Friday, I checked it right up until midnight and then went to bed (i'm not that dedicated to the cause!) but in the morning, about 8.30, there was my essay, and next to it was a green box (this is good) and '10%' - I instantly thought both 'phew' and 'well where the hell did it get 10% from!' I wasn't sure about the sensitivity of TurnItIn, i was worried it would be VERY sensitive, and basically accuse me of copying the whole thing, or not at all.

Turns out it's an odd mixture of the two. There were quotes in the essay (it includes quotes :-/) that it picked up, and others that it didn't, the ones that it did, it identified the text or the website they were from, which i was quite impressed with, tho saying that, over 10+ hours, most people could probably do the same thing manually with google... but whatever, this is easier, and i'd much rather go to bed and let a programme do stuff for me.

It might be worth mentioning the typo... someone has put the letter b in 'assignment' but since i can't spell for toffee i quite like this b, and think it adds character to an otherwise boring page.

So enough vague summary and some proper explaining i think:

Here's what it looks like when you get your essay back, my essay doesn't look like black fuzz, i just don't want it plagiarised innit.

Down the left and side is the essay, and it highlights the bits it has found match other documents. On the right hand side, it lists the places it found bits of essay. For example, it picked up on a quote from an online article, and called me up on it. Luckily, it's a properly referenced quote so it can stfu. It also finds some really random things to tell you off about, like the following sentence: (or part of a sentence)

"have a positive effect on the relationships between members of the youth cafe and"

the words in bold were 'similar' to words in another essay, handed in at another university 3 months ago.

this gives me the feeling that as the database of essays submitted grows, the chances of this sort of thing popping up are going to get higher and higher. There are only so many ways to write a sentence. take a sentence from this blog entry and put it into google, it will come up with this blog, but that wont be the only thing it drags up, unless i write something truley fantastic and original. which i probably wont.

Ergh, written loads already, i think i'll have to cover this in 4 posts.

TurnItIn - Part 2

Ok so i checked this morning for signs of life from turnitin, and it has decided my essay is not plagiarised! (bargain! - but whether it will pass or not is another matter.. ) but yeh just a little warning, IT TOOK AT LEAST 10 HOURS TO DO!!

Now time for a quick run through of how to use it, and what to expect.

1. go to ur module on blackboard, down the left hand side underneath the discussion boards link is a link to turnitin.
2. once you're in, you should see a page like this:

Next to where it says "TPCD turnitin" on the left there is a tiny button, this is the 'upload your essay' button, clcking this will take you to a screen where you will be given the chance to browse the files on your computer and find your essay. Hit submit, and it will ask you to verify that you are the author, and because you are logged in though blackboard, it should know who you are.

When it has successfully uploaded, it will send a receipt to your DMU email accunt - this will contain some or all of your essay in plain font. Any images in your essay will be replaced by "[pic]" and tables will probably be distorted beyond recognition. This is fine, it's only interested in the words you wrote. (so you can plagiarise images and tables???)

anyway, once it's all set, log into turnitin again, the link will still be where it was, on the left hand side of the page.

What you are waiting to happen is for the box on circled in red with the "--" inside it to change, and a colour to come up.

Don't press refresh on your browser, it's annoyingly long winded - it will take you back out to the module guide again. Instead I have circled the refresh button that's there for you to use!

Now wait about 10 hours (i kid you not!)

I'll put the rest in my next post

Friday, 11 January 2008

TurnItIn -Part 1

Am currently experimenting with the new 'turnitin' feature of bb. Hopefully this will make no sense whatsoever to most people, cuz this blog entry is for my course peoples only.

TurnItIn is the exciting new plagiarism checking device that universities up and down the country are either using, or thinking of using.

It has the capacity (IRRC) to compare YOUR essay to all sort of other writings, such as
*blackboard posts
*online journal articles
*the content of news websites
*pretty much the whole damned internets
*the books we might have used
*other peoples essays (at any university i think)

It searches for direct matches (outright nasty plagiarism) and similarities, like where you take a sentence straight out of a book and change a couple of words around.

This worries me greatly, as even if you *know* you haven't done this, there are only so many ways you can explain one thing (or not, if the word 'community' is considered...) and you are bound to at some point write something that's been written before. Again, that's something i'll be able to update you on once my essay has come back.

The check takes ages. I've heard it's based on how busy it currently is, but earlier I submitted my TPCD essay on it and I still don't know what it's doing. Hopefully I will know before work!! But anyway there's warning to anyone who thinks they will 'just quickly whack it through TurnItIn' before they post it off... i'd consider leaving it overnight.

Later on i'll post a bit more about my general worries, and what happens if you forget one of these: "

Exciting stuff!

Thursday, 10 January 2008


i am making a cake. is nice.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

butternut squash soup for cheapskates

cooking stuff is all good fun but when you are trying to please a bunch of people at the same time, you need things that are low carb, sugarfree, low in fat, have loads of ur 5 a day in, dairy free, vegetarian and cheap. oh, and nice.

there's a load of butternut squash recipes out there, but i thought i'd add one that's easy, and a quick lazy adaption of gordon ramseys recipe.

Feeds about 10, depending on how hungry 10 are!

Ingredients (tesco value ftw!)
1 Butternut squash (about £1)
3 Onions (about fiddypee)
1 Apple (20p)
5 Veggie Stock cubes (10p)
Big spoonful of curry powder (10p)
Cinnamon (10p)
Olive oil (30p?)
Milk/Soya Milk (10p)
a few handfuls of sweetcorn (30p)

total cost: £2.70 or 27p a head.

what you need: a big old non stick saucepan or 2, 2 hobs, a blender and a good chopping knife

first, peel your butternut squash, get the seeds out and chop it up into small chunks. pop them on the hob to boil for about 10 minutes.

whilst they are boiling, chop up the onions and apple, (leave the skin on the apple) put them in a stick proof pan and cover them with the curry powder, cinnamon, and some olive oil. Let them fry together for about 5 minutes. then take it off and give it a little while to cool down.

next you need your blender, drain the squash and keep the water you've boiled it in in a saucepan, you'll need it later. blend up the squash, adding milk/soya milk to make it blend easy. if you aren't too fussed about fat, add some now! bzzzzzzzzzz

pop ur value veggie stock cubes in the old squash water and boil up some veggie stock, when the squash is fully blended, pop in in the stock and mix till it looks... like soup

then blend ur spicey appley onion mix up good, and put that in as well.


chuck in a couple of handfuls of sweetcorn as well if you want chunks of stuff in your soup at this point, if you have posh bread, prepare it.

bangin. off you go.

Friday, 4 January 2008

three are actually quite nice

just thought i'd update, had a very nice call from a chap from 3 - they are still not able to tell me if 'nancy' really was from 3s credit checking place, but they will be able to tell me one i have my three account set up.

they are forwarding my complaints and comments etc and i may be a little naive but i think they are pulling out some stops to keep my complainy paranoid self from being cross with them. let's start this off well, like orange and i leaving on *good* terms... mostly

anyway now that drama is over, i have an essay to finish, i'll complain more some other time. :-)

Thursday, 3 January 2008

0845 355 0440

so this mornings call has now taken up my entire morning,

I called 3, they took some details and put me on hold... i asked them to call me back... they did and i very stupidly missed it, so after 10 minutes i called them again & spoke to 'K'

i was on the phone for 35 minutes. they wanted my 3 number (which i don't have on account of ordering the contract yesterday) it turns out that 0845 355 0440 is in fact the number of 3s credit control company. the reason there is no proof of this is...

K told me he couldn't tell me if the credit control company had called me or not because my 3 account is not live yet

this gave me 2 scenarios - either
it WAS the credit control company and there is a problem, meaning my account will NOT be activated EVER so i will never know... except when 3 weeks later i think 'where is my damned phone??'

it was a scam and my phone will show up 2muro as promised by 3. which leaves me none the wiser and 35 minutes of calltime down, and my morning wasted.

So K ummed and eered a bit and put me on hold for about 9 minutes. He was very polite about it, one thing i will say is cs have excellent manners. he consulted the rest of the team, and between them, they actually managed to put me through to CREDIT CONTROL wooop!!!

they told me that their number is indeed 0845 355 0440 and because 3 had passed me on to them, did i now trust that they were the credit control company? I only had Ks word for it but he was representing the 3 network. they asked me how long i had lived where i do etc etc and oddly enough who i used to live with in my old house... i asked why on earth they needed to know that? they didn't ask for spellings of their names or anything like they did with my name... i give up. they said it was to prevent identity theft.

anyway they don't want people to call them and they are another department... so they don't give you ANYTHING to verify yourself that they are who they say they are.

so i asked how, as a new 3 customer i had any chance of telling for sure that it was actually 3 on the line, and not just anyone after my details? Nancy had told me to call back the number on the website, so i googled the number. Nothing. if you google it in brackets then this blog comes up and nowt else. no proof at all that it comes from 3!!

so anyway their fax number is 08707 330 362 and their email is (they told me this on the phone)

use these to verify that you are indeed talking to three's credit checking company, and not some evil scam artist. it's the best advice i can giveat the moment but i will keep you posted.

another thing--- by law the company name should show up on your handset when you get a call or text, but be careful, ThreeService etc is not necessarily 'Three'

As far as i can tell today, after extensive time wasting research is that 0845 355 0440 is indeed the number 3s credit checking company will call you from, despite no mention of this on their website to put your mind at rest.

If you still aren't sure, call 3 - their number is on the website

i'm now going to type a bunch of stuff to get this on a google search for fellow distressed people: 08453550440 three credit check credit checking service help number 0845 3550440

verify your details?

this morning I had a call from a lady called 'Nancy' who was allegedly from 3.

she said she was from credit control and she asked me to verify who I was. I told her that I was not going to give out bank or personal details over the phone and that I had no way of knowing she was calling from the 3 network.

she said ok, and to check the three website. the 'contact us' details are not this number (07782 333333) and the message that was later sent to me from 'Three' said to call 0845 355 0440 which doesn't seem to show up anywhere online.

the first number I later found on the 3 website, after first finding it in numerous forums where it was suggested it might be a scam. the second number still does not seem to be online anywhere and I am still at a loss as to if it was a genuine call or not.

what i would like to know is:

a) what their policy is for phoning customers and asking for their personal details
b) giving my number and details out to third parties and
c) what numbers I can and cant trust to be the 3 network?

they said they would be back to me in three (geddit???) working days...

next plan is to call customer services, who the internet tells me are incredibly stupid and unhelpful.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


it's the second day of the new year, so i decided i would sort some stuff out! i spent the first half of the day writing an essay, all good so far... but then in the afternoon i decided to go make some calls:

first i called my phone company...

i had asked them a month ago for my code so i could flip my phone over to a different /better/cheaper/more polite network and they said they had to send it in the post.. fine... i gave them my address but they missed off a whole line of it! that's quite important!! whatever... but yeh it never reached me.. so i asked if i could have it over the phone... nope, because it has expired!!!

it took them a whole month to cock up sending it to me! bastards! i have to call again 2muro now which is utterly lame!

i've ordered my new phone now! woop!

anyway, second phone call, payment of fees....

nope, i'm not allowed today as they are a bit disorganised... riiiiiight

who else did i call... ah yeh, the job i one day hope to have... they said they'd call back. i've been waiting since the end of september. i wonder if i can get any compensation for the waste of my life?

what a waste of an hour.. at least it wasn't my phone bill!

how do they keep this up?

ok, so i am quite in awe of some coolfolks who make great blogs that are fun and ranty and cool and i get online and am like 'urg, dunno what to write now...' meh!

i've just spent the best part of an hour playing with layouts and colours and i still HATE my fonts but not to the point of throwing all my toys out of my cot and giving up. i'm not a quitter, i've been smoking and not smoking for about 7 years now and i'm not going to stop stopping and starting again and stopping. it just isn't me. or is it?

ok bored of this elusive stuff. i'm starting to sound like... someone.

this year I am going to make a stand about feminist issues and stuff. posts to come one I have formulated an exciting rant. Yes.


and now, to write about it in my blag...

right, new year and time to start keeping on bloggaging. there will be several rules for this...
no one has a name. that is because no one exists. this blog is a figment of my imagination, if i exist at all. which i don't.

everything 'i' 'write' on this 'blog' is not true.

I: Refers to an imaginary being.
write: type and publish

a person who i may or may not know allegedly regretted blogging when another person discovered his/her/it's secret online blog and may or may not have reacted badly.


I'm sick of this already, there must be another way...