Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Inspired by eating, now made by me

Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant that thought was so amazing yet simple, feel inspired to try & make it yourself at home? I have. The things that I now make regularly which were inspired in this way are:

* yoghurt with fruit salad, seeds, fruit salad & mint from some eco-tourism resort in QLD;
* seared scallops with cous cous salad, orange, mint & pistachios from a pub in Berry
* brown rice risotto with mushroom ragu, from the vegie bar, melbourne
* thai green papaya salad, my usual barometer dish at any thai place that offers it.

Okay, so the last dish isn't so simple, but I tried making it last night because it was too darn hot. I used the recipe from the hot pink thai food book. The worst bit was shredding the papaya. I pretty much shredded my hands using a cheese grater. The papaya was slimey in an oozing kind of way, and very hard to hold onto when i was trying to grate it. The potato peeler didn't really work in taking off the skin.... It result was tasty though! I only used 2x of the small thai scud chillies, but the sauce nearly blew my head off. Next time though .... less peanut in the sauce... more as an addition instead. And I'm quartering the papaya, removing the seed, & slicing it with the food processor. A pic when I can upload it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Thankfully, now that that tv series isn't showing anymore I can actually get a table at my local.

That's Billingsgate.

I was quite a fan of their take-away menu, more especially since I once tried to make seafood chowder. That took for bloody ever and next time I'd much prefer to pay someone to grind my prawn shells twice instead of doing it myself & covering the kitchen in pink bits of shell.

Then they stopped doing the take-away business & the show started on tv, and I couldn't get a booking at all, and I was deprived, *deprived* damn you all. But now all the foodies have moved on to the latest & greatest flavour of the month, so I can finally head there.

So I got to try:
* crumbed sardines (WA?) with salsa verda and mashed potato
* hirasama kingfish
* seared salmon with toasted pine-nut risotto
* seared barramundi with brussell sprouts and potato cubes

The kingfish had an almost sweet dressing - olive oil, lemon & sugar I think, and little baby salad leaves. The sardines - tasty.....but really tasted just like a sardine skin in batter.

The barra - well, if it wasn't for the barra, I think I would have said that I had arrived at Otto's pig-lovers 7 course banquet a little early. There were brussell sprout leaves which had had their edges crisped in bacon fat. There were little crunchy cubes of potato, made crunchy with bacon fat. There were itty bitty pieces of bacon, such as when you had fried bacon very quickly on a high heat & all the fat has melted away.

Salmon. Meh. Salmon Tasty. Pine -nut risotto though - wow! I'm going to have to try & recreate this one at home. Little triangles of pumpkin, toasted pine nuts- so moreish, spinach & stacks & stacks of cheese. And - not made with aborio! I don't like making risotto at home because you end up with a pot full of glug and a stomach that feels like you've eaten lead. But this - I gotta try making a risotto with long-grained rice instead. Seriously, it looked like rice that you've let soaking overnight in the rice cooker.

Gotta go back again. Deal! $35 pp for the pre-ritz (<7pm)>9pm) menu - and you get to choose 2 items. Mmmm, double dessert anyone?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Deja vu? Or tell-tale signs ...

Today I:

1. Hid a take-away coffee from Campos in my handbag so I could get on the bus;
2. Bought two kinds of chocolate from Haighs - peppermint chocolate frogs and coffee crackle;
3. Started scrabbling frantically at the stickytape on the latter;
4. Realised that I was mentally chanting "chocolate now! must *get* at *chocolate";
4b. Slowly put the chocolate back into its paper bag;
5. Resolved to cut down on my caffiene related products again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm sorry, who?

In this article:

the smh has decided to add a montage of faces, representing "some of the biggest names in australian music". The faces are of:
(1)missy higgins
(2)john butler
(3)kate ceberano
(4)shannon noll
(5)kasey chambers.

Sorry? Biggest names in music? I had to go look up who number (4) was , since I couldn't remember who he is from the picture. Since _when_ does coming runner up in a dreadful tv show based on how you look (rather than how you can actually sing) count you among "the biggest names in australian music"? When in fact, hmm, the show _itself_ is a ripoff of a tv show originally shown in the USA, and then your debut single is actually a cover of someone elses' work. Are you paying royalties, m'lad?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Skiing - woot!

I went skiing for a week, for the first time ever. It was so much fun, indescribable. I was pretty stoked to find out that I had been at the snow for the first time ever at the same time as adventure girl, but also at Perisher as well. Woot! So I went again, and got snowed upon on the first day, and had the most fantastic time screaming "Go faster!" at everybody. Technique be dammed. Speed is the key. Pics to come.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Minty Goodness. Mmm, Chocolate.

Apparently a must-stock-up-on-item when people head to Melbourne, I finally went & bought my own cellophane packet of Haigh's Peppermint chocolate frogs. Sydney has just scored it's own Haigh's Chocolate store, quite suitably situated in the Strand Arcade.Dithered between dark chocolate & milk chocolate versions, Got 10 for $8.80. Considering Woolies has packets of funpacked freddos at about 10 for $3 at the moment... I still reckon that at 88c per frog these are pretty rockin. Very smooth, without that oily mouth texture the compound freddos have. A good hit of peppermint oil, but without the sickening sweetness that you get with after dinner mints.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

But does it contain real girl guides?

I remember reading, in all that kind of trash that I used to read about girl guides and bob-a-job month and all those good-for-you curl-your-toes kind of altruistic fantasy. I had also read about these girl guide cookie fund raising drives, and the brilliant retort "But does it contain real girl guides?", which actually, come to think of it, is a Wednesday Adams line. I've always wanted to use it.

So today, for the first time in my life, I was offered a girl guide cookie.
I used the line. It got a chuckle.

It tasted awful.

I don't know how they manage to sell them, it tasted like fat (the choc coating), compressed sawdust (the biscuit bit) with a slight bit of texture. like those wheat cookies. but on the whole, awful. Not a minature girl guide to be seen!

Decaffing - II

I tried, I did. But now I've gone back to trying to get off the bean. I'm amazed at what caffiene is present in the lindt 70% dark chocolate that I've been using to prop up my habit, to try and supplant it. One square of the delicious dark stuff, and I've stopped yawning, my eyes have cleared, and I can actually tell the difference between my left and right hands. Dark chocolate is tops, lindt 70% is even tops-er. 85% cocoa is still a little till chalky for me.

I am reduced to sniffing coffee grounds at my desk utill the yawn attack passes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Challenging Times Ahead

I've just been roped into taking part in a global steps challenge through my work. It starts tomorrow. If the organisation wanted to increase the overall health of people in the workplace, wouldn't it make more sense to get non-active people to participate and thus improve their fitness levels? Rather than what has happened now, and roping in already-active people to count their steps. When I lived elsewhere, once-upon-a-time, way-back-when, I did have a pedometer, and I did count my steps for several months. I always exceed the recommended 10 thou, although probably not at the heart-elevating pace, and usually averaged 13 thou.
Coffee: 2. Steps: unknown.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Observing the Observatory

1. Jupiter is kewl. It is rotund, and has little stripes around its middle, and has four moons observable at present. Io, Ganymede, Callisto and one other.

2. The moon is yellow like cheese. Wallace & Grommit were right!

3. The guys at the observatory rock, to put up with idiotic geeks like us. I'm sure they've heard it all before.

4. The alternative scientist is vicious. The mouse that reckons that the super giant will turn into a blackhole: watch out for his 'spaghettification' demonstration, when he tries to show what happens near the event horizon of a black hole.

5. Play with the sound effects when in the telescope domes. Standing on opposite sides of the dome you can hear what someone on the other side is saying, but as if they're standing behind you. If you're in the middle, you can can hear all whispered conversations of everyone around the outside of the dome. They're out to get you. No, really.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My tax cut is bigger than your tax cut!

Not content with being the also-rans party, Beazley wants to be the one-upmanship party. Not happy with the libs bleeding the country dry (literally and figuratively), he wants to prove he's an ineffectual man of the people, but offering them a bigger tax cut. Not happy John!
Even unhappier Kim

Thursday, May 12, 2005

budget-oh-rama oh-five

Young Costello has just released his 10th budget. Since it _does_ affect me, I really should pay more attention to it, and stop the eyes from glazing over. The theory goes that I can then ask my local rep to propose changes to it when it gets voted through. It was all I could do to not switch off the radio last night when the coverage was on. This year, it really gets my goat*

What is with these tax cuts? It is so much easier to keep tax at the exisiting level, and use this 'surplus' to fund worthwhile causes, or even stick it in the piggy bank, rather than try and claw it back next year in the form of increasing taxes to their previous levels, because you suddenly find a funding shortfall.

Things to spend a budget 'excess' on:

  • Giving the money back to TAFEs instead of setting up your own, competing 'super skilled colleges' => part of a solution to solving this so-called "skills crisis"
  • Funding for more nurse and doctor places at unis instead of forcing places like Sydney Uni to close their nursing courses because you like the sound of Notre Dame better.
  • Give more money to hospitals! They can upgrade their equipment! Less waiting for elective surgery!Wow!
  • Allowing those Asylum seekers who are all locked up and costing us $1000 per day to do so, out! So they can work! And then pay taxes! Which gives you more money to spend in the future! Gosh! That's supporting the future that is.
  • Invest in infrastructure! A separate national freight rail network, so if a freight train breaks down, it doesn't affect ordinary commuters. It gets heavy vehicles off the road, and might even supply more jobs. Super!
  • Support people who want to work part-time/flexi-time by rewarding companies who allow employees to do so, to do so! Its not a novel concept, it's called the carrot, and not the stick!
  • Give grants and subsidies for people who install a FULL GREY-WATER-RECYCLING SYSTEM, so water can be re-used safely. Don't just rely on a water tank, which still relies on the skies being friendly and bloody raining.
  • More full time child care centres! Hello ?! guys - remember basic economics. Supply will equal demand for a certain price. Since demand at the moment is more than supply, train more child care workers and pay them better, so that then the supply increases. Gosh darn it, the price of child care will fall. And people can then actually afford child care, head back to work, and pay more taxes yet again.

*Shakes head* I am so very very disappointed with this year's budget. It smells like a "Hey look at me, I'm so waaaaay for the people!" type campaign.
*If I could afford to have a goat to be got.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

From Blarghh to Yarrrgh - I

Sick to death of feeling so BLARGH, and my skin feeling all yuck, I've gone all detoxy on myself. I'm giving up the lollies (oh no!), and the excess sugar (fantales - but I've eaten them all already. 500g in a week - is that a record?), and going all healthy and stuff.

I'm not going to make the same mistake I did last time, and try to give up all my vices all at once. I'm just going to give up two: sugar/lollies, and evil chippy snacky things (eaten mainly due to laziness). The coffee and the chocolate are non-negotiable. No really. No budgin'.

So I had a yoga lesson this morning - which was good, and the brisk walk to the train station made me chirpy.

After I got off the train, I went into the supermarket and bought juice, cherry tomatoes, rocket, corn thins and fetta. okay, so the only non healthy bit is the fetta because it's got a lot of salt in it - but it has calcium, right? And combined with the limes that someone has sooo kindly donated to work, I've had my cup of water (uh oh, it was supposed to be warm water, wasn't it? strike one down) with lime juice in it, also I have had two bottles of water, and am looking at the prospect of breakfast.

Reading Carrie's account of her unsuccessful detox is not encouraging. Oh dear.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Omakase at Rise Restaurant

Based on casey's glowing review, and similar raves on eatability, I toddled off to Rise one wednesday night to sample their Omakase menu. I tried to take notes. I took pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This is what I remember having:

  • amuse bouche: semi poached egg with sea urchin sauce and shiso

  • soup: sesame scented clear broth with panfried snapper and yuzu

  • sashimi: assorted 3 varieties of today's fresh market sashimi
  • seasonal plate (sushi): deep fried soft-shell crab tacos RISE style
    grilled eel & bamboo shoot mixed sushi "inari" style
    sea urchin & finger lime sashimi

  • signature dish: deep-fried "agedashi" hydroponic tomato stuffed with foie-gras
  • main course: "gai-yang" style grilled corn-fed chicken
    with ruby red grapefruit and spanish onion salad (plus pomegranate)
  • rice dish: tuna sushi

  • dessert: kiwi fruit granita and fruit flavoured jelly

The semi poached egg was an egg yolk with the sea urchin sauce, some caviar, and little green tails (shiso?) served in a 3/4 eggshell and a little pepper filo/breadstick on top. That was P's fave.

The broth was good, although I couldn't actually smell the sesame scent. How would you make a clear broth without tasting the ingredients used to make it? Couldn't be dashi, cause you could taste it, couldn't be miso, because that is also very distinctive. It came with a gorgeous itty bitty baby carrot floating in it.

Sashimi. Perhaps I'm a heathen, but out of the first 3 courses, this was my fave. Well duh, of _course_ it tastes way different to a sushi train! The last batch of sushi train I had bought takeaway was at 8pm on a thursday night, and the kingfish was stringy and chewy, and the rice had gone crunchy. The salmon and the kingfish here were served in little shotglasses. The kingfish with a bit of ginger on top, the salmon with sesame oil. The oyster had a mild ginger...chutney?.. and a tiny leaf of coriander on top. Loved the salmon. Loved the Kingfish. Good meaty chunks cut evenly. The oyster was great in texture, but the ginger sauce hid a lot of the tastiness. I'm a purist, just love oysters by themseves with a tiny bit of lemon. And who would have thought, sesame seed oil & salmon? Tasty!

Not a bright yellow corn taco shell, but a white rice paper or pastry wrapper that had been deep fried & cut in half, the soft shelled crab had been dipped in a spicy batter and fried as well, and the whole lot had been assembled with a strips of cucumber and bean sprouts. This was great, and on par tastewise to the sashimi plate before. The other two items on the seasonal plate were also a surprise, the finger lime 'beads' looked almost like caviar, but with a citrus burst instead; the eel was wrapped in a white wrapper similar to the stuff used for the crab taco. Unusual and a favourite.

I had misread the menu, and thought I was going to get agadashi tofu, not tomato. The cubes of foie gras stuffing tasted like liver, and the whole thing was coated in a gelatinous substance that was sort of crunchy on the tomato bits, but gelatinous when not on it. The resident "I dislike tomatoes with a passion" person quited liked this one, but conceeded he could hardly get tomatoes with foie gras stuffing at his next bbq attendance.

A fruit granita and jelly must be the in thing of the moment, I'm seeing them everywhere i turn. This was fantastic, bits of strawberry and whole blueberries, nextling amongst a tart kiwi fruit granita, and I had to beat off desperate hordes to finish mine.

Sooooooo worth it. Sooooooo going again. Even the vego & the tomaoto-hater were happy. Plus they have a deal with the entertainment guide, so I'm going to try some other dishes next time at 25% off the total bill.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Northside Produce Markets

Having missed the Growers Markets earlier in the month, I decided to make the trek over to the darkside & see what the Northside Produce Markets had to offer. According to Casey, as recently as last August, the mushroom man was still turning up, but alas it was not to be. This was, of course, my main attraction.

Upon arrival, we got told from a regular fruit & veg person that the mushroom guy hasn't been sighted for ages, and that they would usually stock more variety than the last packet of swiss browns we snapped up. Wandering around, I couldn't help noticing that a lot of the stalls were identical to the ones I usually visit at the Pyrmont Growers' ones, like Roche Brothers (the peach man!), Willowbrae Chevre, the Tobey's and Forsyth Coffee stalls, the Cootamundra Kid, and Lee from Kurrajong. So I whenever I saw something a bit different, I jumped at the opportunity to sample it.

Whitworths, well, I'm not sure what was going on here. I try and avoid all semblances of coffee on weekends, to prove to myself that I can do it dry, and that no, I'm not really addicted. But since I hadn't seen these guys before, I thought, well why not. There was a bit of miscommunication between the people working the stall. The girl taking the money seemed all too happy to assure us that the beans they were using in the machine were the Columbian blend. The girl doing the milk side wasn't sure what kind of beans they were using, and had to ask the barrista. The barrista replied that they were actually using the Costa Rican blend. Which I had just purchased 250g of. If I had been told that at the beginning, I would have purchased the Columbian blend instead! This already put us in a bad mood in which to sample the coffee. This is what it looked like:

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Car Dependance

Well. I have just gone and bought a car, after several years of dithering & thinking about it; then replying that no, I could get around on public transport and on my pushie just fine, and in fact, I live in the inner city, and I don't NEED a car, I went and bought one.

And what a shiny new toy it is. I feel guilty just filling up - and I've done it only once. Looking at those last few drops of liquid from the bowser, I made sure I got every single drop that I had paid for. Can you believe it, something like one tonne of fossilised and compressed plant material and dead dinosaurs went into making the one litre of petrol we are so cavaliar about combusting into nothing?

Already, I have used half a tank of petrol. In 3 days. Since I went and picked the car up, I've used it every single day without fail. And I'm going to use it for the next three days as well. Instead of thinking 'oh, i'll have a quiet night in', I went and drove across town to see a french film in leichhardt, and, because leichhardt is under the delusion that "kitchen open till late" means 10pm !?!?!?!?!, went to a friend's house and had take out pizza instead. Stayed until just after midnight, but the point is, if I hadn't had the car, I wouldn't have been lazy and driven over to leichhardt, I probably would have stayed at home and gone to bed. And even if I had gone, I would not have stayed so late. And what does that say? That the public transport system in this city is ROOTED, and it sucks that I can only get across town by going into the city and then out again. The public transport system resembles a spider: there is no way of getting from leg 1 to leg 5 without going through the main body. GRRR.

Anyway, back to laziness, and car dependance. Then, instead of riding across town again to meet my friends and go on a virtuous bike ride, I drove. Across town. With the bike in the back. In order to go on a "let's be healthy" bike ride.

I hang my head in shame.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sailor's Thai

I've always wanted to try this place, ever since I purchased the
Thai Food book by David Thompson, the founder of the restaurant. Plus, it was rated one hat by the smh good food guide. The book is so gorgeous, bound in hot pink silk with two ribbon bookmarks (useful!), but I found it so dense with information and complicated recipes, that the only thing I have managed to make from it was Tom Yum Soup. Another problem I found with it is that the spelling of the dishes is different to the spelling that you see in the Thai places around Sydney, so even Tom Yum is not filed as such, but under 'dtom yam gung'.

The menu was short - one side for mains, another for the drinks list. Some of the items on the menu included:
· Pad Thai - stir-fried rice noodles with peanuts, dried prawns, and bean sprouts
· Som Dtam - green papaya salad with cabbage, coconut rice and bbq caramelised pork
· Raw Salmon marinated with chillies and lime juice
· Jewfish with large chillies & ..?
· Yellow chicken curry with mustard greens

My only complaint about the wine list is all the wines available were very young, with the oldest being 3 years old. But perhaps older, more complex wines aren't suited to the thai style of food.

Usually a risotto is my 'test dish' of any restaurant that I visit; hard to do well, but fantastic when it is. It looks like the green papaya salad has turned my Thai restaurant equivalent. So I ordered it. It came out very quickly, so I guess they had all the ingredients to hand & just had to plate it. The salad was very smooth, with crunchy roast peanuts, dried shrimp, a cherry tomato & raw beans. The coconut rice was topped with fried shallots, and had that nice glossy finish & a delicate flavour. The BBQ pork, however, was the star of the dish. Intense nuggetty little squares of pork, that must have been air or oven dried before roasting it again with a yummy sweet sauce - similar to the Chinese Char-Siew, but more like the flavour of beef jerky that you can buy from stalls in Chinatown. The whole dish was a meal in itself, and you had enough varied tastes so that you enjoy every bite. However, I found the salad a bit lacking. It seemed to missing one element, one edge - like just a little more crushed shrimp, or a tad more chilli, or a pinch more garlic in the sauce.

The second dish ordered was a yellow chicken curry with egg noodles. The garnish was different, deep fried egg noodles, and at first I thought that were all the noodles I was going to get. Thankfully there were also some served in the curry sauce, although it seems a strange concept. Curry is for rice, right? Good yellow colour, but I'm unsure what a yellow curry is supposed to taste like. Even squeezing in the lime segment, and adding a little of the black chilli sauce to the curry didn't seem to make a difference. I could taste top note of chilli, and a base note of a light coconut milk, but there was no depth, nothing in between. Unlike the salad, I think that with this one, the dish didn't seem complex enough to hold it's own. "Wagamama-Syndrome", I've nicknamed it, where the dish tastes boring and 'samey' all the way through.

Rice was served in a flat open bowl, and got cold very quickly.

Service was very quick, atmosphere was fun & communal. I kept wanting to reach over & try a little of the prawn spring rolls that my neighbours had ordered. Serving sizes were deceptively large. Total damage was $56 for two, with two dishes, serving of rice, and two drinks. Would I go again? Yeah, probably, but with a larger group.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Motorcycle Diaries

The original plan had been to head to the moonlight cinema at centennial park, and with the atmosphere of screaming bats, vengeful ibises and suicidal mozzies watch "The motorcycle diaries". We thought it would be entirely appropriate, watching a movie about the life of Che Guevara before he became 'Che' under the stars.

Firstly, it sold out. Okay, so instead we went to the Opera Bar for a pre-movie drink (How far the mighty have fallen), where M was in raptures of the G&T.

The movie was great. It started out quite slowly, with Fuser & his sidekick Angelo (who was sidekick, who was leader)? conceiving a mad plan to ride across South America, and 'get lots of chicks', before Angelo turns 30, and before Fuser starts medical school. Starting out on 'The mighty one', visiting Fuser's girlfriend, finally losing The-Mighty-One after one too many encounters with cows. You could see Angelo as the kind of friend that you both hate to love, and love to hate, as he gets you embroiled in one scrape after another. The film got a bit disjointed near the end, where Fuser turns from just the quiet thinker, the background man, into something to really step back and watch; moving from observer/empathiser of south american hardships to a sudden rousing speechmaker. That was a bit jarring, as though the director suddenly thought that they had to finish the movie, and now.

But it was really really good.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Tank Stream Bar

I went here after work on Friday to check it out. It had a very after-work feel, and I must have been adding to the atmosphere. The entrance to the establishment hotel is also through here. I guess that if you are a guest here, you would be carrying minimal luggage. G&T with bombay gin cost me an enormous $7.20. $7.20! For a drink from a place with no view, and a rapidly diminishing crowd? Sheesh. Plus it tasted wrong, and not smooth at all. ..can't be the gin, so what - she used soda water instead of tonic on the tap? Or perhaps the tonic water flavoured syrup had run out? Or perhaps the lines were dirty. Hmm. Wouldn't get that drink again, and not from that place again.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Getting cultured x 2

Having subscribed to both the belvoir & the sydney theatre company last year, I decided that I would do the same again this year, but I would have to make a choice: I could only chose one. How awful! But I had felt very spread thin last year, running around with plays and various sporting activities, and I've just become a subscriber/supporter of 2mbsfm, and promptly stopped listening to it, so I had to restrict myself to just one theatre subscription.

And (OMG), I can't believe I did this. I re-subscribed to the STC, the one that all the bloody north shore john howard supporter types go to. *hangs head in shame*. Well....out of all the plays I saw last year, I enjoyed all but 2 from STC; and with the belvior I only _liked_ 2, and only didn't mind 1 of em. So that's 2/7 of belvoir that I liked, and 6/8 of the STC.

What on earth is going on? I'm a left-leaning greenie who supports independants, and I'm _supposed_ to like what the independants such as belvoir (although they do have nicole kidman & geoffry rush as supporters) present, but I didn't. *sob* I'm turning into a chardonnay swilling silvertail lah-de-dah.


How am I supposed to tell if my fish are alive? They are installed in a old cast iron bathtub (no feet, unfortunately), with lots of water lillies & irises as cover, and I can't see the blighters!! Because of this drought, they've been a bit neglected, and I haven't been able to fill up their pond as often as I would like. But I would say that the extensive water lily coverage would have helped slow the evaporation process down. Anyway - I would have thought that if my fishies had died, there would have been little bodies floating on the surface, but I haven't been able to see them. I had a bit of a rummage around, but wasn't able to detect their presence. I'm not in the mood to decant all the water & clean the pond, and hopefully find alive fish in the process - so how am I supposed to tell if they're still there, and not floating in the great toilet bowl in the sky?

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Opened a new packet of paprika today. As cool as Herbie's is, he's too expensive to purchase bulk items such as black peppercorns, mustard seeds & paprika from. So I got it from fiji market, down in Newtown. I know it is derived from chillies, pimetos, or something similar, but I didn't expect it to smell like dry tomato!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Big brother is already here.

My work has recently installed on all of our computers, a coffee-break type software which monitors every single keystroke, every single application you use, and how long you spend on the computer. Supposedly for OH&S purposes, it is surprising how much it really picks up. Like 'oh, did i really spend 2 hrs today checking emails?'. Hmm. I mean what it is supposed to do is go - uh oh, you've been working really intensely for 10 minutes, time to take a break! And then it suggests exercises for you to do whilst it has taken over your computer, and forces you to do something else. It is quite scary. And quite embarrassing how much you come to *ahem* rely on it.

I was looking at the application monitoring bit for the past week or so, just to make sure I wasn't spending _too_ much time on email. Before it got installed, I even went so far as to write the most enormous sign to stick on my monitor so I didn't keep compulsively clicking on outlook to check my mail (& finding, disappointingly, that nobody loves me). And now? After so many complaints about email monitoring, computer usage monitoring, and how none of this crap was part of our contracts, they've disabled it. So I have no idea how much time I have spent frittering away on the 'net, on the email. And now I'm back to
compulsively clicking on outlook, every 2 minutes, even if I've just closed the application. I guess I have an addictive type personality.


I can't believe how much of a wuss I am. It took 5 years of talking to myself (and believe me, people think I'm weird enough already) to go & get my ears pierced. It felt like someone had flicked me with a rubber band. That is all.

Car hunting

I can't believe that hunting for a car could be so time-consuming and expensive. Sick of begging lifts off people, asking if I could borrow "you & your car", unable to get the surfboard that I so dearly wanted to purchase, I decided that I should get one of my own.

At first the budget was under 10k, but I couldn't find anything I liked.

Then I upped it to 15k, which, would just borderline, get me something decent. For some reason, people kept insisting that I get an echo, because it's such a good deal. But it's UGLY! How could I drive an ugly car? Plus I've been in them (which the friends recommending them hadn't), and they were very very small on the side. You have to be very good, very 'close' friends to be able to seat 3 in the back of the 'sedan' version. Even riding shotgun - and I'm a skinny linny here, I could feel that any larger personage would have an uncomfortable squashed ride. The only positive thing that I could think about the echo is the digital speedo.

So now I'm looking at new cars. I've done ecos, why the hell am I looking at new cars? I _know_ I'm going to instantly lose 20% of the value. But they're so shiny. I can't believe I'm thinking of dropping over 20k on a bloody car.

And don't even talk to me about insurance. Okay, so I'm an unknown risk. But a $4k premium for a 6 year old GOLF worth $15k does not make any !sense!. ARGH, I can't believe it. Okay, so I'm a young'un, but a premium that's 1/4 the cost of the car does not make sense.

Grr. So if anyone knows of a good surfboard deal that comes with a free car, please let me know.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Markets, aaaaiii

Went to the smh/pyrmont growers' markets today. I haven't been for almost a year, just because I felt 'so over' it. The same producers, the same products, the same people each month. So I stopped going & really enjoyed that whole sleep in business you can do on weekends. This time I took some friends who had just returned from France, and who were missing the whole concept of fresh cheese that you could buy anywhere & everywhere there. Being unable to convince them to make their own (& thus be able to reap the fruits of my bossiness, as it were), I instead kicked them out of bed early to head to the markets.

And then I remembered why I had enjoyed getting up so early once a month when I was young and stupid. Just the whole
atmosphere, of people who enjoy food wandering around and talking to all the producers, who get up even earlier to tend to their geese or smoke their trout or turn their cheese. And this time I didn't encounter those incredibly rude pushy people who pushed in front of me when it was clearly my turn. Maybe somebody else had pushed them into the harbour as retaliation.

Unfortunately, the mushroom people weren't there, and I was a tad disappointed. I managed to resist the native jam man - hello, I _still_ have jars of stuff from 3 years ago that I haven't touched. but it should be okay, right? it's not as though I've broken the seal, and it's all sugar anyway so there is nothing to spoil. also resisted the lure of the willowbrae chevre, but got suckered in by the supreme tastiness of the SJ club blue (*aaaaaahhhhhhhh***), and a new cheddar......can't quite remember what it was. The jannai camerbert was diVine darls, so I suckered 3 others into buying it instead. I'll give it a shot next time, after all I already have a fridge full-o-cheese. And *squeal* you gotta get some peaches off the peach bloke if he's there next time, superb!

Thursday, February 03, 2005


At coogee! Unbelievable. I saw surfers hanging off the southern end of coogee waiting for a wave. In fact today, when I went down to visit late after work, there were guys who were just waiting for the flags to be pulled down before they went out for some nice ones off the northern end as well. Wow. Makes me wish I had a board so I could have gone & gotten hammered as well. And compared to the waves at Bondi, these ones were way better! Apparently the incredible swell was due to an 'intense low pressure system off NZ' in addition to another LP system off queensland, so come on El Nino, give us another one, so I can have a go too!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Time to Watch. And Laugh. And Mock

Yeah, woo. Buffy is BACK. At the worst time possible of course, 2300 on Sunday nights, when good little princesses should be tucked up in bed. Tonight's episode was 'Syd the dummy', one from season 1 when storylines were good & tasty. And x-files on on afterwards! argh! early first season! they look so young! Dunno why people pick on poor keanu for having no facial expression, young fox mulder is just as bad! mmmm, eyecandy. Speaking of things tasty - how irresistible are jb hi-fi's prices - $21 for a 3dvd box set of the buffster. I am so in lurve, and doing all I can to resist the lure of the instant purchase. The only thing holding me back is the possibility of getting frequent flyer points on the purchase, if I so had a credit card linked to a frequent flyer scheme. Hmm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Mmm, tasty

How good a diet does my compost bin get? Today's contributions included illy coffee grounds, helga's bread, celery, carrot & chai tea leaves. Plus a bucket full of general garden twigs & leaves to add to the carbon content. Apart from the last bit, the compost bin is eating really well, & it is all reducingas planned - I am soooo pleased! I'd better get some swanky compost out of it, the quality of stuff that I'm feeding it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Latham: He was damn well pushed

Not that I'm a fan of the labor party or anything. Not that there is much difference between the labor & the liberal parties at all. But Latham was damn well pushed.

What is the point, labor party, of all this political infighting, of stabbing each other in the backs, of attacking each other through the media? What is the flipping point? Do you really think that all these sudden leadership changes, and all of the above will _really_ win you any votes? The whole GODDAMN point of having a leader is that you chose her/him, and you support them 100%. If they decide to quit, fine, if they get sick whilst on annual leave, fine. If they make some bad decisions, okay, that was a bad decision, but live with it, and you continue to support your *leader* in public. This a presents a nice cohesive, stable and UNITED front to us, your dear potential voters, and gosh-darn, we might even vote for you in the next election. But fuckin attacking Latham while he's on leave, through the media, mind you, and forcing him to resign, by saying "oooh, he's a bit sick", and "oooh, he's made a couple of bad decisions" and "oooh, do you really want to stay on as leader?" is *not* playing nice at all.

Think about it. If you were on holidays from work. And you happened to be sick, whilst on holidays. And sure, you had been sick once whilst working, but you took sick leave, and that's fine. Your company, not even bothering to call you first says , "oh, so and so is sick. i don't think they can do their job anymore", and starts recruiting for someone to fill your boots. Don't you think that you were just pushed?

Petty Petty Petty

So I get moved, against my will, to a new section. As I have done so in the past, with no comment, I take my ergonomic furniture with me. This furniture was purchased on my behalf because my deskspace had been assessed to need it so that I could work efficiently. Halfway through the day I get an INCREDIBLY RUDE email from the petty dept saying that this furniture had been purchased using *their* budget, costing XYZ amount of dollars, and could I please return it immediately.


Okay fine. It had been purchased under their budget. So please drop me a nice email asking for it back. Don't tell me how much it cost (which I quite frankly disbelieve, if the item cost that much, it would behind glass), and don't couch it in such rude language. As usual, the petty department serves only itself, and is incredibly territorial over its own very small domain. I had though better of them before, but this incident just reinforces my own impression of them as administrivia.