Monday, October 26, 2009

ever feel like an idiot?

Tears. Everywhere - tears. I'm a fairly standard neo-feminist. I hate crying. A lot. But it's all I've been doing lately. I cried at my mothers. I cried at my fathers. I cried in front of no less than four colleagues today.

I fear there's some stress in my life. A straw too many was placed upon my camels back. I could give you photos, but my fucking computer's still not got functioning ports.

Life sucks sometimes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R2D2 update

I am having beer for dinner. Again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

some days you just can't catch a break - or - there's no point crying over spilt beer

It's been a while since I wrote a post that was more than copying a recipe of someone else's site.

'Oh, has it?', you all say... 'hadn't noticed frankly'. Well yes, it has been a jolly long while.

There are several reasons for this:

1. Work has been crazy busy. Work is always crazy busy, I know. For us all, I know! But trust me when I say mine is extra crazy busy at the moment, summed up mostly by this shiny little droidy friend:
I know for most of you this will be meaningless, but for those in the know it's rather cute and funny, so please allow me this little in-joke.

Also, almost all of the positions for staff who work under me are soon to be vacant due to impending motherhood, pure selfishness and the joy of retirement (obviously not all in the same person).

2. Study has been equally busy, connected with that is a number '3'.

But first, let me tell you a story.

It all started a week ago today.

Well, actually it started on a warm August afternoon in AD79, when a little mountain call Vesuvius opened up the bowls of its molten body and started the eruption that would end the lives three cities, Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum, as well as the lives of many of their residents.

Going on two thousand years later some of the remains of these towns are on display in an exhibition 'A Day in Pompeii' at the Melbourne Museum. As a great lover of all things Classical I was all a-quiver about this development and immediately chose a weekend in October and booked flights for a day trip to Melbourne. That day was 10 October, last Saturday.

In the past when I've done these trips I've tried to get on the first possible flight out of town so I can have as much time as possible at my destination. The older I get the stupider this is, as by 3pm I'm dead on my feet. So this time I get a sensible flight time. Bus to the airport works a charm - only 5 minutes to transfer in the city. Row to myself - fabbo. Quick connection to the shuttle in Melbourne and I'm on my way. Walk down Spencer Street to Flinders Street and only just miss a circle tram.

Unfortunately I'm waiting nearly 30 minutes for the next, and I'm starting to think it would have been quicker if I had walked. When it does come, it's packed, but I'm happy to stand. At Russel Street the driver announces that because there's a rally at Parliament he's stopping here. That's OK, I respect the right to protest. Out I hop.

Now, Melbourne has a reputation for gray, wintry weather. However on this particular day the sun was hot and harsh and I was not dressed appropriately for this, mmmmmm.... starting to get a bit sticky. OK, not much further now. At Parliament I see the protesters, not many of them but they're blocking the whole street. As I push my way through I realise that they're trying to tell me that they know what I want with my body better than I do and that my choices should be removed by an act of legislation.

Blood pressure rises.

Keep going, BHG, keep going. Don't punch them and spend the day in the lock up.

Finally at Melbourne Museum. And it is HEAVING. Entry is timed, and despite the fact that it's only 1.30pm the earliest I can gain entry is 3pm. Bugger. I have to be back at the airport at 5.30, but that's OK, maybe I'll just have to pay for a cab. I get my ticket and decide to peruse the rest of this fine institution's collections.

But first a bit to eat, just need to get past this queue. Oh, hang on, this queue if for the restaurant. Not really moving either is it. Sod, that, I'll just pop out and find a cafe.

Yes, well, the Melbourne Museum is not really geographically located in a sensible place for weekend bites to eat. I'm setting up a hotdog stand out the front I think. By the time I've walked all the way to Swanson Street, only to end up with a bag of crisps from the 7/11, find an ATM to get money for the inevitable taxi fare and leg it back to the Museum it's nearly 2.15, and I figure I should go and stand in line so I'm the first of the 3pm'ers to get in.

There are actually some good displays in the entry hall, and I watch a couple of videos. What I would like is a catalogue so I can have a browse before. Of course it's only available from the exhibition shop, which is at the end of the exhibition and inaccessible to the rest of the world.


At 2.40 I decide to give the door bitch a sob story about flight schedules to see if I can slip in early, to be told that it would be bedlam if we all got in at 3 and I should feel free to go in now.

Go in where? It seems like all of Melbourne is in the exhibition. It's shoulder to shoulder jostling for every glimpse. They're all pieces I've seen before, and the interpretation is simplistic at best. I know not everyone there has an Honours degree in Classical Studies and a Grad Dip in Archaeology (they're too smart to have done that), but really, they could give those of us with an interest something to read.

After 15 minutes I can stand it no longer, and leave annoyed, frustrated, on the verge of tears. And the catalogue's crap and totally overpriced.

At least I could use my return shuttle ticket back to the airport. Where I had the worst sandwich of my life (half went in the bin) to be on a cramped flight where the woman next to me spilt her drink on me. At the end of it all I stopped at the pub near my bus stop to get some beer to drown my sorrows.

Half way home the holder broke, they fell on the ground and smashed.

Now truly this is a sad story, but how is this connected to my study and point number '3'? Well, I was going to take a photo of my ticket receipt as an illustration to go with my story of how I paid nearly $300 to spend 15 minutes in the Pompeii exhibition.

But unfortunately for some reason my computer has decided not to read memory sticks. So I can't upload photos.

I also can't access all of my study documents that are on my flash drive, meaning I'm wasting time and will have to go into the office tomorrow to access my presentation that I'm giving to a crowded audience of Barossa Tourism operators on Wednesday.

There is more things to be upset about. I have a searing hangover (remember, the last bottle is always a mistake), one of my favourite bloggers in hiatus meaning my almost daily relaxation read has been removed, and there's no food in the house.

Good news on the horizon? I have discovered a few new blogs that may help to fill the void (but never the whole thing AFM!) and I'm looking a burgers online. I love burgers - provided there are no yellow arches involved of course.

And I have an exciting new project to work on. I'm not actually allowed to tell you, or anyone, what it is, but it it involves this fuzzy, purple fellow

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

daring cooks, pho

Long time, no post. And it's another noodle recipe.

This month's Daring Cooks challenge is bought to you by Jaden of the Steamy Kitchen. Jaden rightly points out that we're not cooking fhow. These delicious spicy and sour noodles are pronounced fuhr? Like you're asking a question. Or fourth tone for those with a sinophone background (I think Vietnamese has more tones than Chinese. This is why I will never, ever learn to speak Vietnamese. Or Cantonese. My understanding is that Cantonese has about a billion tones, and that is one or two more than I care to master). But sorry, I 'm distracting from the noodles!

For Pho, you'll need
2 tbspn whole coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 litres chicken stock (As clean as you can make it. Don't buy it. That's cheating)
1 whole chicken breast
1/2 onion
1 5cm piece of ginger, bruised
1 tblspn sugar
2 tblspn fish sauce

...and some pho noodles. Also called Hor Fun in Chinese. You can buy these already sliced or buy them in a slab and slice them yourself.

For toppings you'll need
bean sprouts
lime (quartered)
fresh coriander
sliced red chili
Vietnamese basil
half a finely sliced red onion

Then you:
Heat a dry fry pan and roast the dry spices until just toasty
Add these to a sauce pan with the rest of the ingredients (I leave the sugar fish sauce until the end to test for seasoning)
simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Skim the liquid regularly to remove any of the scum that forms
remove the chicken, and add fish sauce and sugar to taste
shred or slice the chicken breast

Meanwhile cook the noodles.

Place the noodles in your bowl and strain the broth through a sieve to cover. Arrange the chicken meat on top, add a few drops of chili sauce, and serve with the toppings on a separate plate for everyone to add as they please.

I must say, I've cooked pho before, and eaten it plenty, but this is one of the best recipes I've ever tried anywhere (including Hanoi).

You gotta give it a go!!!