Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A recipe for Heston Blumenthal's mock turtle soup. It's just amazing and strange and has a mind-blowing list of ingredients. I like how preposterous and inventive the recipes can be. And the tidbit about Alice in Wonderland is great, too.
The House Of Fairytales. If you've ever wanted to turn a witch into a bunch of asparagus, you can do it there. And then there's the balloons... And all the other stuff. Vaguely creepy, but then that's what fairytales are all about.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Time: Two-and-a-half hours. Yes, it is very time consuming, but it's very easy as well and the time would actually be cut in half if I had a second cake tin of the same size and shape as this one. So if you've got two cake tins of the same size, it'll be much quicker.
Cake mixes: Two packets.
Food dye: 3/4 bottle of yellow, 1/2 bottle of blue, 3/5 bottle of green, 1 1/2 bottles of red. Yes, you do need this much dye. It takes a surprising amount of it to get past pastels.
Cooking instructions: Follow the packet instructions for the cake mix, then divide the mixture up into six equal portions. Dye these portions. Then scoop them into a cake tin, one colour at a time. DO NOT mix them together/swirl the stuff to get a rainbow effect. It does it itself.
Before we go on, I must warn you that you may suffer from some form of hyperactivity simply by looking at the colours to come...
^ Plain old vanilla cake mix. The packet said that it didn't have any artificial colours or flavours. Not for long, I thought.
^ Whizzy mixy goodness.
^ Separating it all up. Remember to wash things up as you go, by the way, or the amount of dishes, etc at the end will make you weep when you look at the sink.
^ And it all starts from here...
^ Half done!
^ Mmm, blue.
^ Time to make purple and I ran out of red! Noooooo!
^ Thankfully I have another packet of food dyes in the cupboard.
^ Doesn't it look delicious?
^ All done with the dying!
^ This made me think of R L Stein for some reason.
^ The first layer of the cake is in the tin and ready to go in the oven!
^ First layer cooked. I'm glad I used as much dye as I did, because there was a bit of fade as the cake cooked. Not a whole lot, but a bit. I'm sure there's still enough colouring in here to make even the most resolute person quake in their boots...
^ Second layer half "loaded" into the tin.
^ Compare and contrast... Second layer ready to go into the oven.
It's all finished cooking now and I'm debating whether to actually layer them or just have them as two cakes. With two cakes, it means that more people can partake of the hypercoloured wonder that is the Rainbow Cake. Might even do two different types of icing for it or something like that. We'll see. I'm letting the cakes cool at the moment.
While I was baking them, I was thinking about food colourings, additives and so on and thought that on the whole, they're not really such an evil thing. I'm sure parents would disagree with me, but hear me out.
When I was young, I'd occasionally get a Golden North ice-cream cone after school and loved their rainbow ice-cream. That ice-cream was most definitely mood enhancing/changing for me and I'd say the artificial colours and flavours would definitely be the ones to credit for that, rather than the sugar content. But it was fun. And I'd wear myself out thanks to the high and sleep quite well.
And it was delicious.
If I were to have kids now days, I'd much rather they ran around outside high on artificial colours and flavours than sitting inside playing computer games or whatever. Not every single day, obviously, but now and then is okay for fake flavouring and colours that make you wonder whether they glow in the dark or are the result of a nuclear accident.
Besides, I'm pretty sure the hyperactivity-inducing colours/flavours were put in there to create the high so the kids ended up running around like maniacs to wear the sugar energy off ;)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I'm not sure what I think about the whole process of groceries.
On Thursday night while shopping, I realised I never pay attention to things at the end of the aisles, or the things on top of the shelves for that matter. When I realised that, I noticed all of the random weirdness. Add to that all of the random weirdness hanging up and down the aisles - foam letters, temporary tattoos, dog groomers, tubs, body scrubs, etc.
And then there's that lovely harsh light in the fresh produce section under which you could perform surgery on vegetables... Although the good thing was that they have feijoas and mangosteens for around the same price as your firstborn. Therefore, I bought some.
I also bought frosting. And cake mixes and food colouring. Enough to hyper-up an entire Kindergarten. Why? Well, hyperactivity can be fun and seeing as things are winding up, why not make rainbow cake? (Although not a diet version.)
Rainbow cake that will be taken to work.
Just wish that gel food dye was easily accessible, otherwise I think I'll have to use loads of dye and I'm not sure what impact that might have on flavour. But nothing that can't be covered up with lashings of frosting, I guess.
Friday, May 22, 2009
^ Today's weather reminded me of all the reasons why I love this place while I talked home loans and real estate and uncertainty. A strange day on the whole. But it's sweet how my bank loves me. Or at least my money.
Anyway. The late-afternoon sunlight was nice. Ended up dawdling home, taking photos on the way. I loved the way the sun illuminated the heart of this dandelion "clock," how the stalks of the pappus are so translucently shiny. So delicate and transitory.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
^ Printed out some photos last night in A4 size (used up a whole lot of ink), brought them in to work and put them up. The office needs some brightening up and it's kind of working.
Also, I am LOVING QI. K and S gave me some of the series on the weekend and I've been watching it on and off since. Great stuff, love Stephen Fry. And all of the random ramblings on it. It's just gorgeous.
Additionally, I had the most hilarious SMS conversation with M late last night (or maybe it just seemed hilarious because it was so late?). It started out with me sms'ing him about reading Moonraker...
M: I wonder if they have the Bond books on tape, narrated by Sean Connery? "I shuppose there'sh no chansh of a shaushage shandwich?" More of a film man myself.
Me: As long as it's not the Shean Connery Guide to Correct Pronunshiation for Thoshe With Schpeech Impedimentsh.
M: "I woke thish morning and had a shlish of toasht..." Sean Connery narrating your life? That would be pretty cool. Maybe I should develop a shpeech impediment to get me famous? Worked for Mr Sean and Daffy Duck.
Me: You could totally Fake Sean Connery twitter! ;) Could be rather amushing. And who knows where a speech impediment could lead? It also worked for Chwis "Mr Went-a-Kiwll" Flannewy (think that was the name) on Underbelly. Until he got killed.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Other things included:
Teen guy on train to puzzled-looking Asian tourist: How do you confuse an idiot? I'll tell you tomorrow!
Teen guy's friend: No! That's how you keep a blonde in suspense!
Teen guy on bus: So what are you doing at TAFE?
Teen girl: I'm doing hospitality.
Teen guy: Oh, like nursing and stuff?
Teen girl: No, as in waitressing, bartending and that kind of thing.
Teen guy: Oh. I always thought that meant it was to do with hospitals.
Teen girl, in a weary voice: You would be amazed at the number of people who think that.
Also, I got hit on by a Connex guard guy. That was rather odd. Thankfully, my train was arriving within minutes, so I had an excuse to dash off. Amy later pointed out to me that it could have resulted in free train travel, if dating a train person. I didn't think of that at the time. Trying not to think of it now.
I also saw the err... "not totally edited" version of Wolverine at a friend's house last night. It was... Oh. Wrong. Crummy. Ridiculous. And we laughed ourselves silly (in a very tired way) about the unfinished CGI stuff. It was ridiculous - the thinnest of plotlines cobbled together to feature the CGI, more or less. And it just seems silly when they CGI trees, clouds, landscapes (which actually exist and therefore you'd think wouldn't need to be created), snow, planes, cars, claws (when out), etc. Pretty much everything.
Oh how we laughed.
And then admired Hugh Jackman's rippling torso. Before wondering whether that had been CGI'ified as well.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
According to The Mighty Book of Boosh, examples include:
"I was seven years old when I realised I had the ability to eat other people's shadows."
"The pirates all looked at the plate of freshly-cut sandwiches in front of them and immediately burst into tears."
In this vein, I've come up with an ending to a novel of the descent into anarchic horror from the regularity of office work.
"None of them could look each other in the eye. There was nothing to speak of any more, and yet they were united through the brutality, the horror, the insanity. As the sun sank below the horizon, the three of them walked out of the silent building into the gloaming..."
The officemates insist I write it, but I actually have no idea of what I'd put before that conclusion.
*stares off into the distance*
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I saw THE most awesome pervistache on Friday at JB Hi-Fi. One of the sales guys had a serious horseshoe moustache. It was sandy and totally pervistache-y! Therefore, fantastic.
Also, while sitting in the car in a gym carpark, Frank Sinatra singing something Frank Sinatra-y came up on the iPod and I felt the overwhelming urge to dance around the carpark in a stage musical style, with high-kicks included, singing along and ending with a flourish.
But resisted that.
Mainly because when I sing and do flourishes lately in public, there are people around. Like the other weekend when I was raking the yard, singing along loudly to a vaguely inappropriate song. Finished with a flourish that involved flinging my arms wide and the rake falling over, with a twirl that turned me around to see three people who had come to check out the neighbour's property that's for sale all staring at me.
I said, "Morning!" very brightly, then got back to the raking. As you do.
^ I've been a bit obsessed with Autumn leaves lately.
Yesterday, I walked along a driveway of an old factory that's lined with deciduous trees. The driveway was thick with them. I kicked through the fallen leaves and felt delighted on the inside.
When I came to the end of the driveway, there was one of those faint sounds off down the side of the building that indicate there's someone around. You know that strange feeling you get when you realise what you've been doing hasn't gone unobserved? Yeah, that vaguely rabbit-in-headlight sensation.
But regardless, I practically skipped back down the driveway, scuffing through the leaves. Childish fun.
The ads for last night's 4 Corners saying how we'll be surprised by the program, which features an interview with an NZ woman who alleges group sex with a bunch of rugby league players seven years ago (which has resulted in news stories ahoy), simply makes me think, "Quelle non surprise." I mean, we've heard about league players' misdemeanours for decades.
I was speaking about the upcoming program with a friend yesterday morning and he was saying when he played the grade below first with rugby, there were many, many women practically throwing themselves at all the guys. He said he didn't understand the group thing, but he knew people who were into it.
In all honesty, I think what people get up to in the privacy of their own rooms is up to them and if everyone involved has given consent and are happy, then whatever. It's not really any of my business.
What is concerning is the non-consensual side of things.
And it does seem (when looking from the outside and as someone not really interested in league) like the NRL is still struggling with issues relating to violence towards women. Or just violence in general. But then there does seem to be an increasing amount of violence in Australian society in general (or at least there's an increase in reporting, which is probably more the case).
That aside, I realise now that I am surprised by this investigation by 4 Corners. It's far worse than I thought, even though I think there's a weakness in focusing mostly on events that have happened quite a while ago, rather than some of the more recent things.
And it got to the point where my HEAD NEARLY EXPLODED when one young player said, "It's how you treat 'em afterwards..." at a tutoring program designed to raise awareness in younger players about sexual assault, responsibilities and what's not appropriate.
Why is it that there are men out there who think it's perfectly fine to force women to have sex with them? And then think nothing of it or seem to believe that it's just something that happens, as long as you order them a nice taxi afterwards.
When I moved to New South Wales from South Australia, I was astonished by the bad behaviour of rugby league players. Having been sheltered from league in SA and most AFL players seeming to behave themselves (or at least having better PR - or maybe not), it seemed like you couldn't pass a season without league guys being involved in sexual assaults, drunken rampages and all kinds of bollocks. The most prominent one in the time I was in NSW was probably the stuff involving the Bulldogs in 2004 (although it wasn't their first or last incident).
Prior to the Bulldogs saga coming out in the news, I went on a date with a friend of friends who was a league-playing guy. And he was into group sex (and according to him, a lot of league guys are - it's part of the "culture"). That was something surprising to find out on a first date while eating dinner. Try to keep a straight face while you hear such things, I challenge you.
There wasn't a second date.
When allegations relating to the Bulldogs players were revealled, I was somehow unsurprised, based on what I had heard about the "culture." None of the players allegedly involved were charged, but the NRL did fine them. There were also many discussions in the media about the attitudes of players towards women and the NRL has apparently been working to address these issues over the years.
However, misogynistic behaviour appears to continue within the NRL, in spite of the efforts of NRL admin. This makes me wonder how ingrained this "culture" thing is of seeming to see and treat women as objects who can be used in any way wished, rather than human beings who have thoughts and opinions and may not be up for sex with multiple league players, even if there are some women who are.
Perhaps the lines have been blurred for them relating to women because of the number of women who throw themselves at guys who play sport and are willing to do anything for attention from players. Perhaps this leads some players to think this means they can have any woman they want in any way they want. I don't know. But it made me think of a documentary I saw a while ago called Footy Chicks, which explores these sort of issues far better than I could. There's also an interesting 7.30 Report transcript about the doco, too.
I think it's likely some fans of league will react badly against the program aired last night. But instead of that, maybe it should be a case of getting angry at the people who are doing the wrong thing, instead of angry at those exposing it. We shouldn't be encouraging or protecting those who treat other people badly, regardless of whether they're a sports star or the ordinary person in the street.
Maybe there's more senior players could do to promote healthier attitudes in younger players, and league bosses could be stricter about these issues. Maybe clubs could stop closing ranks around those who do the wrong thing, tacitly rewarding those who have quite possibly done something illegal. Clubs don't penalise players - such as the way that Manly players turned up at practice after a rather drunken season launch - and then the NRL has to step in.
But then you get clubs who do try to do something about the drinking culture, such as the Knights coach who spoke about alternatives to going out and getting drunk as a team-bonding exercise. And there are programs being run to try to educate players about problem areas.
There needs to be some way of balancing the risks taken on the field with not taking those kinds of risks off the field for the idiots who don't behave themselves. But how? And who's going to lead the way, and with what kind of "policing"?
Yet, I know there are many players out there who do the right thing and unfortunately, these kinds of incidents end up spoiling things for them as well. The negative elements always tend to get the most publicity, which ends up obscuring what I would say would be a majority of players who do act decently.
Anyway. Enough ranting.
Update: NRL chief executive David Gallop has responded to last night's program, and quite well, from what I've read.
Monday, May 11, 2009
^ Devil Kitty decided he'd stay the night last night, which was okay. Although he hogs the bed, wants to snuggle all the time and then wakes you up with a paw to the face at 6am.
Was SMSing back and forth about cats with a friend and he was saying he doesn't understand how people think cats are intelligent. My response was that people think cats are smart because they're aloof. Other than that, it's greed and cunning. And snuggles. And violence. So on the whole, it's like domestic violence with fur.
Remember: Australia says no.
He later replied professing a love of Alf and quotes relating to casserole dishes because the cat can't fit in the toaster from said show, which I'd totally forgotten about until last night.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
^ My (distant) cousin John, who we met in England a couple years ago, passed away yesterday. It was a rather sad set of circumstances. I'm thinking of seeing how this photo looks printed out (there's always a difference between the printer and computer with colours somehow) and if it's good, maybe sending it on to the other cousins over there or something along those lines.
I like the colours and lighting in this photo a lot, though. So here's hoping it looks okay. Should have printed it off earlier today when I was printing a whole lot of other photos.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Me: *bwahaha!* That's so wrong it made my day.
Oh yes, dear reader, it has been one of those days.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
I bought some Hask Placenta, mostly out of curiousity and partly because I need to do a treatment on my hair. Although the concept of placenta grossed me out when I first saw these little vials in Priceline, the idea became less unappealing over time and yesterday I bought one.
Also bought a general hair masque thing, which I used today. Haven't quite plucked up the courage to apply placenta to my hair. My hair eats things anyway - bobby pins, hair ties, etc, so why not feed it some sheep afterbirth?
Maybe next week.
I was feeling rather sad about it when I boarded the bus and was preparing for a dull ride home when a guy whose shirt I'd admired on the train got on and sat next to me (I ask you, what woman doesn't admire a shirt that says Chocolate City?).
We got talking - he was from South Australia, over here on holidays, unsure where it was he was meant to be going as the mud map he'd been given was pretty vague. So we ended up chatting away. It was really interesting. He's a meditation guru and that led to a really interesting discussion about meditation, finding life paths, gaining deeper understandings and that kind of thing.
So we were probably the strange overheard conversation for others on the bus, as the people around us stared at us in a bemused fashion.
When I got home, I got to thinking further about how we make time for the things that matter the most to us, if they really are as important as we believe them to be. And about happiness and contentment in what is done in life. And how that's been non-existent lately.
But then I find out last night that an article I wrote is wanted for a book that's being released later this year. It's a rewarding feeling and I'm pretty excited about it, so of course I've given permission. It's odd how things keep turning up that sort of keep reminding me why I do what I do. But it's still hard in a lot of ways.
It was an interesting day.
Oh, and on top of that, there was a little old lady at a Salvos shop where I got a gorgeous 1950s vintage brooch in mint condition for a few bucks talking about how someone she'd heard of who was dead now had made a prophecy about how this year would be a year for a plague. And swine flu was it! Other little old lady behind the counter at the store was like, "Hmm... Riiiight."
And there's me thinking, "Bring out yer dead! Bring out yer dead!" "I'm not dead!"