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.