Monday, December 27, 2010
And with the arrival of the post-Christmas haze comes the inevitable discussion on whether we can all survive another couple of days without punching someone in the face to get to a handbag in the post-Christmas sales. My thoughts on the matter, frankly, is that we can.
Admittedly, I'm not a shopper. I don't like to shop. I don't like to be in shops. In fact if I never had to spend a cent again, I'd probably be happy. The one major exception to this rule is cheese, but one so rarely finds cheese in the post-Christmas sales, if this is ever to change I am more than willing to revisit my stance on the sales.
But until that happens, seriously people, stay at home with friends or family, or if you're sick to death of friends and family pop a DVD in the machine, or take a long nap. Enjoy a couple of days embracing the relaxing time of year, particularly as this year in Adelaide is experiencing some mild summer days that make doing not very much at all very very easy to do.
There is an argument that tourists will be upset that they can't shop. Now, I like to think I'm relatively well travelled, my little facebook widget thingy tells me I've visited over 200 cities in more than twenty countries. And never. Never. Has the opening hours of department stores influenced my travel decisions. However, if you are a tourist in this fair city, and perplexed as to what you will do as you're not able to purchase cut-price crystal ware, here are my top 10 suggestions of alternative activities to fill your time.
1. On Your Bike
Bike SA allows you to hire a bike and a helmet from a number of 'hubs' around town, including backpackers and hotels, meaning that on Boxing Day you can hire a bike and hit the roads. Adelaide is pretty flat and surrounded by parklands, so unless you're planning on tackling the peak hour rush on some of the city's less friendly arterial roads, it's easy to get around. I suggest taking the linear park track from the city at Elder Park to Henley Square (passing the Christmas decorations at the brewery), where you can have coffee, walk along the jetty and dip your toe in the ocean. Alternatively put the bike on the train (which is free on weekends) and take the Marino Rocks to McLaren Vale route, which is longer with bigger hills, but you end up in McLaren Vale, which is coffee and cheese! See a theme here?
2. Don't Just Sit There - Eat Something
One thing that SA does well is food. And inexpensive food at that. For some uber-chic people watching on a budget, hit the Exeter or Austral Hotels in Rundle Street early to snap up an outdoor table. Enjoy a couple of pints of SA's Pride and Joy, with some of the best pub food you'll find anywhere. I personally recommend the mushroom burgers at the Exeter.
If you want a bit of spice in your life, head to China Town. Not the biggest complex you're likely to ever encounter, but lots of gems. Silky prawn jiaozi at Dumpling King, pork noodles at the Noodle Kingdom, BBC at Yin Chow, or salt and pepper eggplant at East Taste. Or go Indian at Maya or the Village. Wash it all down at the end with another Adelaide institution, gelati at Cibo.
3. The Real Boxing Day Tradition
The Boxing Day test. Find a pub or a bar or an RSL showing it on the big screen - it won't be hard. If you're from a cricket playing nation, mock the appalling form of the previous world number ones. If you've never watched the game, sidle up to a local and get them to explain the rules. You probably won't understand it on the first run through, but it's a great way to meet some locals, have a couple of drinks, and it's something to tell the folks about back home. Warning though, once you get the knack of it, it's addictive!
4. Fur, Wings and Keratin Spikes
The Adelaide Zoo, Monarto Zoo and Cleland Wildlife Park are all open over the holidays, although you'll need wheels to get to Monarto (but the Adelaide Zoo is a bike hire hub, see number 1!). Yes, we have pandas, if you've been here for more than ten seconds you'll have worked that out. But Cleland has all of the cuddly critters those from overseas expect to see. Monarto has a new chip exhibition, and southern white rhinos. Be there for the keepers talk as if the right animal is there with the keepers supervision you can touch his impressive horn. No, not that one......
5. Hit the 'Burbs
One of the joys of a small town is that stuff is easy to get to. If you've got access to a car, hit some of the best suburbs anywhere. The Adelaide Hills are alive with cherries, almonds, oompah bands and some of the best wineries you'll ever want to discover. If you're feeling flush, splash out for lunch at the Bridgewater Mill, or the Lane. If you're feeling slightly more frugal try Pot Belly Pies in the main street in Hahndorf.
Or go south. McLaren Vale is less than an hour's drive away. Wine, coffee, cheese, chocolate, art, jewellery. It's got it all. I can't go past the pate at the Currant Shed. Go hungry. And you're close enough to the ocean that you can go swimming after (find a beach patrolled by a Surf Life Saving Club)
6. Walk the Gangplank, 'me hearty
A good one if you've got kids. The Maritime Museum at Port Adelaide has something for all ages, but at the moment they've a special pirate Skulduggery experience for the wee ones which will win you brownie points and buy you some time at the cafe across the road after. While in the neighbourhood you can also take a cruise on the Port River and try some dolphin spotting.
7. Discover your inner-Hippy
The Adelaide Botanic Gardens may not have size, but they make up for it in charm. The guided walks are done by volunteers, and if you get a good one they're fantastic. Make sure they take you to the mortuary of the old insane asylum. Who said gardens are boring! The garden has lots of hidden little nooks and crannies, wander down the paths and suddenly find yourself in a wide open grass area, with a creek flowing through and not another soul around.
8. Commune with the Dead
It may seem like an odd thing to do, but you learn a lot about a place from it's cemeteries, and they're open every day! Have a dig about (pun intended) and find the Jewish section, and the Catholic section (lots of nuns and Jesuit priests). I understand that the cemetery is working on a guided walk, but I don't think it's ready yet, so just wander. It's close to town and within strolling distance of everything.
9. Get some Culture
Adelaide's North Terrace has something for everyone. The Art Gallery has a great permanent collection of classical, contemporary and Indigenous art, and usually has at least two touring exhibits on at any time, at the moment they have one on Indigenous dessert artists. The SA Musuem has all of the usual contenders, but also has a new Biodiversity Gallery, you can walk in the footsteps of Douglas Mawson and check out his Arctic hut and marvel at the old world kookiness of the Egyptian Gallery, including mummies. Make sure the kids checkout the lion in the entry. Wait for his tail to flick and scare the living daylights out of them. Just next door is the Migration Museum, which has a great collection of artifacts from all of the people who have contributed to making South Australia what it is today. Their community gallery features a changing collection of exhibits, produced in collaboration with Adelaide's different ethic communities.
10. Get Wet
Heard that the waters of SA are full of sharks? Well - they are. Lovely to walk along but sometimes dangerous to get in. If you're swimming in the sea, please, make sure you swim between the flags at a patrolled beach as they will have a shark patrol. If you'd like to get into the water, but fancy going home with all of your limbs, Adelaide has some great swimming pools. The North Adelaide Aquatic Center is indoors and has a range of pools for those intending on doing the laps, or those who just want a paddle. On some days the dive board is also open to amateur bellyfloppers. If you'd like something out doors, and a little more sedate many councils operate swimming pools. My suggestions are Unley, Hazelwood Park and Marion.
There you go. If that doesn't keep you amused for two days when the shops are closed I don't know what will. If you're reading this, now or ever, and think you'd like to check out one of these places, please ring first to check opening hours, current exhibitions and prices.
If you're reading this and you're from the SATC you can contact me through this blog to let me know where to send the invoice.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Please also note the first sentence. I am about to clean my floors. This is as bad as it gets. Also note, it's molting season for my three cats....
So, welcome inside. If you've been out riding, please leave your shoes at the door. The cleats can damage the floorboards
Just inside is where you leave the shoes you put on when you go to take the bins out, or breakup late night cat fights.
To your right, you'll find the lounge room. A place to relax and take your shoes off after a long day at work, or a walk up the hill.
These purple shoes are the ones I wear in the garden, and around the house. They're so comfortable, but unfortunately too dirty for proper company. The pair underneath are also very comfy and together they form a nice group of dangerous Australian aquatic life, cros and sharks.
I was going to wear these ones out to breakfast today, but couldn't find the other, so this poor lonely shoe was abandoned on the couch.
Before we continue to the tour, maybe you need to use the facilities? Of course here's the answer to age old dilemma of when you get home late at night and you can't work out what you want to do more - pee or take your shoes off.
From here we move to the bedroom - always a hiding place for many an abandoned pair of shoes. I got this pair on a trip to Rome about six years ago - so they're my Roman Sandals
This one was lost behind one of my speakers. Very old and shabby but very comfortable.
These are hand embroidered, but so old, they're covered with dust and have a loose piece of bubble wrap sitting on top of them.
Finally, we make our way into the kitchen for a cuppa. Take your shoes off, make yourself at home.
And these are the ones I had on when I was taking the photos. They are now sitting on the floor of the study as I type this. Which as turned out quite nicely as the typing has formed a distraction from cleaning the floors, which means that I can leave the shoes there a little longer.
All together - fourteen pairs.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Good mate Princess and I went to see the Charlatans, who have been in my life almost as long as I've been an adult, with their stonking track The Only One I Know* coming out the year I turned 18 (go on, do the maths). When I lived in the UK my flat mate, Geordie, and all round party girl Debs and I had it bad for Mr Tim Burgess, and I was kinda wishing I was able to be with her to see them play. All in all it's probably a good thing Debs didn't make the trip from her cosy house in Tyne-on-Wear. The band looked old. The band looked bored. And not long after so did I. And Princess too. I leaned over and said 'I'm happy to go back to the Worlds End for a pint if you'd rather'. She rathered. She also said it looked like Mr Burgess had taken a particularly strong trip in about 1991 and had never come down from it. Too bad it didn't get them bouncing off the walls. I didn't get to hear Only One I Know, but I was sure it would be an encore and I just couldn't be bothered waiting around that long.
So we did go back to the Worlds End, where we'd eaten before the show (tip: Saturday night is $15 parmie and pint night, and very nice it was too). These days I'm nearly 40 and Princess has two kids under the age of three, so late Saturday nights at the boozer are not a common event for us. This venue used to be a semi-regular haunt for us when we were young and on the streets, and the clientele has certainly changed, but that's probably for a future post on the death of feminism....
This evening, and conversations with some of more-academically minded friends have made something apparent to me. In my early twenties my successful, academically minded friends were nose-down-bum-up, hard at study and focused on where they were going. I on the other hand, was hanging around at gigs and drinking waaaay to much beer with musos, roadies and groupies. Hence me slogging at a Masters degree in my 40s, while many of my friends had PhDs under the belts in their mid twenties.
Would I change it? Hell no. As Princess said, quite out the blue - we've done some good stuff in our lives, haven't we. This was sort of phrased in a "we're old and boring now, but..." kind of way. But it was 9.30 and we were both tipsy on our fifth beer and ready for home, so I knew what she meant. Princess and I have travelled Australia and the world together, been in at least three share houses together, laughed, cried, and held each other's hair while we were throwing up. We can also fight like no other friends can.
She's right tho, between us we have:
- gone to school in France
- lived in a small village in rural China
- built an orphanage in Kenya (not single handed though!)
- shared a lift with Nick Cave
- lived through hepatitis and malaria (one a piece)
- danced in precariously high heals to Robbie Williams with the cutest boy on the floor
- done tray after tray of shots in those horrible sticky, plastic shooter glasses
- ridden cycles and vespas to exciting locales
- woken up with the rhythm section of the support act asleep on our lounge floor
- picked up the lead singer of strange country-ska acts
- done countless all night sessions of Donkey Kong Country
- got some of the best tattoos in town, from the best tattoo artists in town
- eaten BBQ'd chicken hearts on the silk route
- SCUBA dived, parachuted and paraglided
- ended up homeless on the streets of Athens
- bargained for carpets whilst drinking endless cups of tea in Varanasi
And last night we got caught up in a friendly street tussle with the Hilltop Hoods.
Yep, it's been a good life.
* it should be noted that this stonking dance floor favourite is now being used to flog chocolate.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
But why so cash-strapped BHG? Glad you asked. It has to do with - exciting things!
Exciting Thing Number One
And expensive thing number one. Flights booked.
After boring everyone with my plans to spend my fortieth in Greece next year, I've put my money where my boring is and booked. Actually I booked for three. The other two will come back to me, but not for a while, so Exciting Thing Number One has made me very very poor. But excited
Exciting Thing Number Two
Mercy lordy, this has been a hard and bloody slog. Hundreds of pages of forms, and other forms, and extra questions and comments called for. I understand that ethics are important, but it's like a job application - the same questions asked a thousand times in a different format. My university also also famous for, amongst other things, producing the most god-awful, unusable, badly formatted forms known to god. This particular one is a the pinnacle of bad design unfortunately.
But, it's over now and the permission seeking stage has begun!
Exciting Thing Number Three
It's a little bit sunny. I don't like really sunny, but this is OK. I still need a jacket on inside, but the laundry's dry, the cats and warm and snuggly and ready to have their tummies kissed, and outdoor eating is upon us.
So, I feel it's time to mark Exciting Thing Number One with a Greek lunch. Which means a couple of hours away from the methodology chapter to write out the invites. Like I said, exciting things.
Exciting Thing Number Four
My mummy comes home next weekend.
Over and out.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
- eat dumplings
- scour youtube.com for old Blur videos
And all of this tweeting, and blogging and stuff has drawn my attention to one thing - I'm not writing the stuff I like to write and writing the thesis is actually distracting me for the stuff I really like to do, and that's Interpretation.
And how did I get on this roller-coaster of unemployability** I hear you ask... well, here's the story.
One day, dunno about four years ago, I was at my desk as a state government employed events manager. It was OK, the events weren't big and I got to hob-knob it with those in the art world from time-to-time. But in government you have to do PD (professional development) with clockwork like precision. And one eventually runs out of things in which to develop oneself. So I googled 'events professional development', and up popped a little university run events course. Not that I though that much about it, it was just another tick in a bureaucratic box for me, so I rang to enquire.
Now, I ended up talking not to the events guy (now known as Brown Steve), instead I got JJ. JJ could sell ice to the penguins. I rang up to enquire about 3 days of PD, and by the end of the call I was enrolled in a Masters degree. No - really. She's that good. I tell this story sometimes as part of my introduction during workshops and people think I'm making it up. But part of this degree was another 3-day workshop on Interpretation, which I had never heard about and if you'd asked me I would have thought it was something about languages.
Hooked. Instantly hooked.
I was like someone had turned a light on inside me, and I saw the world in a whole new way.
And so I am here, writing the thesis, and really wishing I was writing interpretation. And recently I've been tweeting about interp, and reading interp blogs, and posting things about interp (like the dollar bill post below) and just dying to write something creative.
And this is another little tit-bit that I got from IBD (and which you can also see on the Kulula airlines website).
As IBD point out, this is hardly the height of sophistication, but by-golly-by-jim, it caught my eye and made me giggle (and now I'm writing about it, so it must have worked). Maybe it's the references to Dead Poet's Society – which is actually a reference to Walt Whitman – or maybe it's because I have always had an affinity to airlines because of my beloved Uncle John.
Speaking of Uncle John, I get to see him in Greece next year. For my fortieth birthday party. For which I am on the verge of booking flights.
I'm sure there's a theme in there somewhere, dying to get out.
** like degrees in Classics and Archaeology in the 1990s didn't make me unemployable enough!!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Both IBD and the Dollar ReDe$ing Project tackle an interesting problem, faced by interpreters all the time - how to make something complex, with multiple layers into something easily understood by all (although comments on the contest's page are slightly less than enthusiastic). What I think it's about is asking Americans who they think they are? Currency is intensely important for this, when the Romans conquered a new land one of the first things they did was mint new coins, in local denominations but with the Emperor's face on it. This is an amazing piece of propaganda, most of us handle currency everyday in a very matter of fact manner. Once we're comfortable and familiar with our notes and coins we become comfortable and familiar with their images. And all of a sudden half of our grain is going to Rome as tax and we don't think that's so strange. This was one of my big beefs with the Euro - taking away countries' sense of identities and cultural, historical and ethnic differences. Bad thing. The again, many would say the same thing about the EU in general, and its endless regulations, particularly cheese producers.
I can't see how changing the pictures can help the economy, as claimed by the organisers, but it's an interesting exercise how a nation sees its-self, well at least how a nation's designers see themselves. This is one of my favourites. Brings a whole new meaning to 'I Love Lucy'.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
A lovely afternoon was spent in the park, eating very unhealthy food and half a bottle of wine. It was deeeeelicious tho. At least the bike ride may have burned off maybe the dip. Or the macaroons. Not both. And certainly not the roast chicken...
but anyhoo, DSJ was talking about how, on a recent trip to Brisbane to visit fellow archaeologist and sewing whiz Wallis, she had joined Twitter.
I've got a million blogs. And a facebook account I hardly ever use. But now, so that I could see how it works, I too have a twitter account. Mercy, when will it end.
But I've almot finished the lit review, and it's not nearly as crap as it could be
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
However, a couple of Mondays ago, something pretty sad happened. On his way to work some poor chap had a heart attack in the car, veered across three lanes of traffic, onto the other side of the road, and plowed into a stobbie pole. Luckily he didn't take anyone with him, and from all accounts died quickly.
And took out the power on most of the south ridge of the university.
Now, universities are strange places. Very caught up on things like.... dunno OHS&W, and not so caught up on things like.... dunno, quality assuring assessment*.
But maybe that's just me.
Anyway, at about 9.30 when the emergency lighting was about to go it was decided that it was an EMERGENCY as we had to survive on natural light and this was obviously going to lead to an ACCIDENT.
So the alarms were sounded and we were ordered out of the building. NOW. Because it was an EMERGENCY.
Heaven help us.
Anyway, it was a Monday, the sun was unusually sunny in the sky for this time of the year and we were foot loose and fancy free. So, of course Dr Space Junk and I decided to go to the Royal Adelaide Show. I love the show - how excitement. It's less excitement for DSJ, as she is a farm girl, and grew up around all of the things I get such a kick out of. But she was a very good friend and followed me to the pigs (my favourite) and the cows and the milking shed. I love watching the milking, I think it just brings back of memories of cold, early starts for her.
But it was show time, so we also checked out:
... ... and we saw a marching band while we were having dinner (it's a dark photo I know). They were quite good, only a few bum notes, and much to the horror of DSJ, I got up and danced.
We also saw the textiles, the cakes and preserves, other baked goods, walked around the show bag hall, ate some curry, visited the CWA, bought a fairy on a stick.
We also visited the main arena, where the show was being stage directed by friend Brown Steve. Again DSJ proved her self a good friend by sitting through the pipe band with me. It's my lifelong dream to play the pipes in a pipe band.
And exhausted we went home, stopping at the train station to watch the fireworks. Until next year...
* this is not to say that we don't have quality assessment, but there's resistance to actually quantifying and recording it.
Friday, September 3, 2010
We've had blue fuzzy things recently - the cat-boy and the cookie monster.
When commenting on how hilarious it was that the cookie monster should be given fruit I was made aware of something I had hitherto be unaware of. It would seem that these days the cookie monster does indeed eat fruit. Apparently cookies are 'bad' and as such the good people at the Sesame Street Warehouse decided that the old blue shaggy guy was making kids fat, not their parents, or their peers, or their schools, or their community. No, it's the poor old cookie monster. Shame on him. So now he's reformed, and does eat fruit. WTF indeed.
As for the blue cat guy he was in the refectory yesterday as I was ordering my laksa, dressed in a full body suit like the one pictured above, only black. He was coming up and tapping people on the shoulder. Scared the shit out me.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This is one of our first years. He comes into classes regularly dressed in costumes. The other day he was Zorro. Today he was this blue catish thing. In another class all the guys came in wearing tuxedos recently.
This is funny. I mean quite funny. And it shows the power of facebook, because that's how they organise it.
But then again, when I was a student, there wasn't facebook. And we didn't all come in dressed as cartoon characters. We organised sit-ins in the union building. Using flyers, god damn it. Yes, we stood in the cloisters and handed out pieces of paper. Which we had written on (some even had individual paintings on them, like Underground Lovers limited releases). And we changed the world.
Oh, hang on. No we didn't actually. Although we did save the Women's Room from closing. I wonder if there is still a Women's Room?
Maybe we should have all just come in dressed as cats.....
Monday, August 30, 2010
However I just found this photo that made me laugh so hard it scared the cats, so I thought I'd share. It relates to nothing in particular.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Maybe I should start a sausage blog. Or have sausage month. At least I'd keep in theme as I'd probably look like one by the end.
On an unrelated topic, this time next week, we'll know which dim witted soul will be representing us to the world. It's a tough call, but if push comes to shove - and it will - I'm hoping for this particular dim witted soul. Not that I'd vote for her as such....
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Feed and medicated animals
Fell back asleep. Soundly
Woke. Shite. Didn't realise that I was that tired
Ate dumplings, took a couple of phone calls, lay on the bed with the animals, brought the laundry (still soaking wet) in from the line. Did today's sodoku, checked my email accounts, generally fucked around
Drove to University. Killed sometime visiting colleagues working at the Open Day. Sold the benefits of an archaeology degree, practiced my French with Monsieur.
Hit the library. Got more work done that I have all week, including finding new references, photocopying chapters from books that were almost due back, and then even reading those photocopies
Library closed, so returned home
6.15pm to present
Heated and ate soup. Kissed the kittens. Emailed friends. Broke up cat fight outdoors.
the horrible reality is, I will have to start going to the library on the weekend.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
As Friday is now my food shopping day, Saturday has officially become my 'sleep until you're done day', and today was no exception. I rose at 10.30. Poached eggs and made tea. I've streamed a television show I missed during the week, and changed the kitty litter. And that's about it. Almost.
One of the reasons that I'm feeling a bit slack is the study monster. It's getting nailed down, and although I'm yet to negotiate it, most of the data collection will probably happen in late October, early November. Which means between then and now what I have to do has been minimised. So I'm allowing myself to take this weekend off from study, mostly. However in a fortnight I've got to spend the day in Melbourne scoping out one of my venues.
Now, last time I went to Melbourne, it was a disaster. Actually it rates as one of the worst days of my life (which shows just how jammy my life is). But I'm giving one of my favourite Australian places another go, and have booked to be there the whole day. Decisions: pho in China town or Greek in Lygon Street? Or maybe a cafe in Brunswick Street. What to do after I've left the Immigration Museum. I could train it out to the Scienceworks Museum. Or the Melbourne Zoo to see the baby elephant. And then someone reminded me of the Titanic Exhibition.
I'd really like to see the Titanic Exhibition. It's got some great reviews and uses some interesting interpretive techniques (which I suspect they nicked holus bolus from Port Arthur). After the Great Pompeii Disaster of 2009 I decided to pre-purchase my ticket. It's expensive, but the costs of the show must be huge. I was happy to shell out extra for the audio tour. But then!
There's a collection fee. Yes, I'm going to be charged $5 to walk up to the counter, tell them my name and get my ticket. No options. No postal version. No 'print your own'. Jeezus. With this it would mean the exhibition would cost me nearly as much as the flight there.
So now I have to make the decision. How much to I want to see this exhibition? I could get the tram to the Zoo and get in for free with my Adelaide Zoo Members card, and goo a the baby elephant. I likes elephants.
What do you think? Would you pay $5 for the honour of collecting a ticket. If you really wanted to go?
Saturday, July 31, 2010
but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican
to lower taxes, brutalise criminals
and rule you like a king"
Thanks Bob. Never a truer word have been spoken. Here in old Awhstrahlia, instead of having Democrats and Republicans we have The Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party.
Traditionally, the Liberal Party is the party of fat and well being. I think they would say they pride themselves on keeping the books balanced, on making sure homes gets a double garage and that middle class Australians pay as little tax as possible, including by cutting public services (read: health and education). The Liberal Party is who Australia turns to when it's feeling a little cold and hungry. When it's not sure what's around the corner, and how we're going to pay for it.
The Australian Labour Party on the other hand plays to what, most of us, feel is just. Notable ALP victories in my life time include Gough Whitlam, who came to power in 1972 as Australians were sick of bigoted foreign policy that had got us caught up in the Vietnam War (and gave us the best campaign slogan ever).
Whitlam also began Australian's on the road to Reconciliation when he famously poured sand into the hand of Vincent Lingiari -a Gurindji man's - hand, starting the ball rolling for land rights and native title. He also laid the foundations for our current system of accessible health care and legal aid.
Unfortunately Whitlam was especially bad at balancing the books and was dismissed from power by the Governor General on Armistice Day 1975.
Labor Prime Ministers have continued in his footsteps, with commitments (real or spin) to health, education, diversity and human rights. They've taken other steps towards reconciliation, most notably Paul Keating's marvelous Redfern Address
and Kevin Rudd's Apology speech.
Kevin 07 rode into power as most Australians were sick of putting our tired, sick and huddled masses into off-shore detention centers. We were sick of licking some foreign arses, while blowing the shit out of others. We were sick of climate change sceptics, misogyny and Wallabies tracksuits.
And here we are three years later, and once again the ALP has shot itself in the foot. Despite a strong start, and amazingly managing to handle the GFC extraordinarily well, it's made poor taxation decisions and partaken in infighting in an election year.
and now, with a new leader, they've adopted policies that make it difficult to tell the parties about. It's not so much a case of "he said, she said", but "what she said".
At least I get to host the greatest of traditions: the election night party. So we can drink beer and watch the ABC while Antony Green crunches the numbers.
I'm cooking pork.
And we started with Bob. Maybe another Bob's in with a chance this time?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Going slowly, but at least it's going. I was supposed to review my lit review this weekend on the basis in a change in question. mmmmmm... that's probably not going to happen, but I WILL finish my ethics application. Need to get a police check to go with it. Hopefully they don't know about any of the stuff I got up to in my 20s.....
2. Staying Warm
Or not. It's been fucking cold. I know weather is the most boring blog topic possible, but it's been so cold it's been the constant topic of conversation with all. My office thermometer reads 7 degrees when I arrive in the morning, and I shiver for the rest. This does have a connection with point 1, as it's just too cold to work in my home study in the evenings. My fingers don't work on the keyboard. Good excuse I think.
What better to do when it's cold and you don't want to study than sleep. mmmmmm.... sleep
When you're not sleeping you can watch the Simpson's 20th anniversary season on DVD.
5. Hate your job
Since going part time recently, I have realised just how much I hate my job. Or maybe I just hate working. Yes, that seems more the point. So while watching the Simpsons between naps I think of ways to not work. This has probably been the least successful of my recent ventures, as it will see me back in my cold, heartless office tomorrow.
Lots. Last night it was Indian style roast beef (not for the Hindus) and Bulgarian pepper and feta toast. Odd combination. One of the cooks is Bulgarian. They other just likes roast beef. Today I've had bacon and egg rolls at the farmers market, come home with rabbit to braise and am out tonight for curry and too much red wine, I would hazard a guess.
Finally, but not least, talking about the football. I have watched very little of it, as it's just been too cold for 4.30am kick offs. But working with a range of Europeans and South East Asians (not to mention the Brits), it's been a hot topic of conversation. I need one of those looser t-shirts that says 'I support France and anyone playing Germany', so even though Les Bleus didn't make it past the group stage - in spectacular style - German's out of the grand final, and that makes me happy. Will do my best to get up this morning and watch Spain and the Netherlands fight it out. Smart money's on Spain. But I have a soft spot for the little orange warriors.
Interesting point that I once read somewhere. When you have a tendency to travel the world as much as I do you realise that carrots can come in many colours: orange, yellow, white, purple. Although they all pretty much taste the same. But at one point or another the Dutch were producing almost all of Europe's carrots. And naturally they preferred orange, which is why in the west we only have orange carrots.
True or not, I don't know. But it's a good story.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today JC came round to help my bake my own birthday cake. But not just any cake, croquembouche (french for 'crack in the mouth'. Not crack as in amphetamines sold in dodgy neighbourhoods, crack the verb, as in I cracked my favourite coffee cup). This was to be my first ever croquembouche.
Croquembouche is choux pastry, filled with custard (ours was chocolate) and then built into a conical shape around a metal mould, and held together with hard toffee, which is also spun around the resulting pyramid to make think web of strung toffee.
It was much easier than I thought (partly due to the gift of new, and expensive piping bags) and we only ended up with third degree burns to 75% of our bodies from the toffee.
We had about six pastries each before I went door knocking the neighbours with kids to off load the rest. I have hurt my jaw from all the toffee and am going to have to go an lie down in a minute, such is the sugar crash currently going on in my endocrine system.
However in a short web browse before my nap, I checked some emails and some new posts. Garrett at Vanilla Garlic who has also had a recent birthday was talking about the prices of cookware in some store I am not familiar with. Googling it to find out what he was talking about I found these:
I think it is fair to say that my life will never be complete until I own a set of Star Wars pancake moulds.
Also, France drew with Uruguay in the first set of Group A matches early this morning. All matches were draws. I got up early to watch France play. Found the game to be dreary beyond words and went back to bed. We're up against Mexico next I think. Hopefully this will be a better match.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
And in the machine? Socks. Well, other things too, but predominantly socks. It seems that every time I lift up something in my house: a book, the saucepan I like to cook pasta in, one of the cats. There's a sock. Now, I'm not the greatest housekeeper in the world. I know everyone says that, but I really mean it. Seriously - I live on my own. I don't have to keep the house clean for children, or husbands, or visiting literati. I only have to keep the house clean for me. And most of the time I couldn't be fucked. I'd much rather read a book, or cook pasta, or sit with the cats. But the sock conundrum probably can't be all down to me. Can it?
OK, part of my disinterest in domesticity is now well placed with my penchant for footwear. I wish my camera was working, and then I could show evidence for this. Currently on the floors in my house are twelve pairs of shoes. And that doesn't include the pair on my feet. So it would come to reason that I would have many socks. But so many? But, undeniably the evidence is there. A washing machine full of socks, and a Persian rug in the lounge where the only thing obscuring the cat hair is the shoes. But today at least the socks will be dry.
Another reason today is a good day? I am supposed to be curbing my spending now that I have joined the ranks of the part time employed. More frugality, less indulgence. Ba-bowh. Today I spent the same amount as you would spend on a good steak on butter. French butter. Methode traditionnelle butter.
And to put the butter on? As close to proper French baguette as you're going to get in Adelaide. With creamy, rich, lush to die for French butter on it, so that the softness of the bread spreads the wonderful feel of the butter over every inch of your mouth.
Today is a day of dreams. It's a day when I can dream that my thesis is not in as bad a shape as I fear it is (it's not the whole thesis. Just the research design. OK, yes I know that's the whole thesis, but give me this dreamy day). It's a day when I can dream of lying in bed all day listening to rain on the roof. It's a day when I can dream of Greek islands, and Czech castles. Of long, luxurious lunches with my favourite people and drinking pinot noir around crackling camp fires in my sleeping bag. It's a day when life feels like it's going to be OK forever.
Not bad, really.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Now, this is no comment on my supervisor, he is probably the most academically inclined member of the staff. However the secondary one is by far the most powerful and opinionated member of staff, and the one I know the best. But after that 90 minutes I now feel I have much better handle on where the whole project is going, and have managed to re-write a large amount of material (some on screen, some in my head), to pull the whole thing together.
And I've decided I need to go on a road trip. I mean study trip. To Melbourne. Which will involve lots of serious study stuff and not so much shopping, and certainly not dinner at MoVida. I am currently obsessed with the idea of dinner at MoVida. I do seriously like Melbourne. But today I could easily be there. It's the Saturday of the first of my new three day weekend structure. It's cold. It's wet. I have what must be my twentieth cup of tea in front of me, and I've just had lunch of very hot soup followed by a cheese kransky rolled in cheese and tomato pide. There are three cats spread throughout the house, fast asleep in curls of the duvet, or the rug on the couch. Carefully dispersed like an alcoholic stashes bottles, so that I can always find an ear to scratch or a paw to kiss. Still in my pyjamas at 3.30 in the afternoon I am facing the harsh reality of having to take off my bed socks so I can wash my hair before venturing out for dinner tonight.
It's like a little piece of heaven. I don't think anything could possibly make me much happier now. Unless you volunteered to come around and finish the thesis for me? That's OK, I knew it was a long shot anyhoo.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
1. You've been reading this blog for about two years, because I think it's taken me two years to put up the last three posts.
2. You'll know that I'm a fan of Chris at A Free Man.
And Chris has written recently about a lack of blogging time. I'm with you there sister... brother, I mean brother!!!! Not only does my lack of blogging time mean that I don't have time to blog (obviously), but it largely also* means that my life is filled with things that make finding saucy little vignettes about which to blog difficult. In the last six months or so, my life has been filled with:
- pointlessly stupid curriculum renewal projects
- large conferences
- work restructures
- thesis procrastination
- writing conference papers (for a different conference to the one in dot point two)
- going on holiday
Obviously the last dot point, and even the one before were covered in my last post. I could write more about the holiday, I guess, but I'm notoriously crap at talking about my holidays, and hence the alternative blog full of pictures, to allow me to get out of talking to anyone about my holiday - I figure it's over and I need to move on and others don't really care they're just asking to be polite. Let's save both of us, I figure.
One piece of good news is that I will very, very shortly be a part time employee. Yes, one of the very few benefits of working in a tertiary institution is that they feel you not failing your thesis through lack of dedicated time is something they want to be involved in. So very soon Friday will be my research day (note: not my hanging out with friends, going shopping, or sitting in pubs drinking pints day. It is a research day). So hopefully this will make my life a little less stressful, and I will not only have time to blog, but will have time to do things to blog about (Sunday will now be my fun day. Or my sleep until noon day - which ever one takes my fancy on a week by week basis).
But for this post, I need to vent. Part of my job is supervision. This means approving leave, making sure that pays are run correctly, setting broad directions for the team I supervise, and telling them off when they've fucked up. If I did the last bit properly, it would basically be all I do. And as some of the other pressures at work have lessened off, I'm trying to be a better supervisor, so I got each member of my bedraggled team in and had an informal 'chat' with each of them.
One of the things about working where I do is that if I want to do a certain level of work - and I do - supervision is something that is very hard to avoid. And I don't like it, and I'm not very good at it. Why can't everyone just get on with it and do things properly so that I can concentrate on the bits of my job I like. Yes, despite what you may have gleaned from these ramblings, there are bits of my job that I do like.
On the whole these went better than I thought. I was able to tell people that I wasn't happy with their work in a nice, constructive way. Started each conversation with some good things, before I went to the bad (never sure which is the right way to do this, ie to start or finish with the bad). Even my bête noire took things well, and she was the one I had to tell off in no uncertain terms for stupid, stupid behaviour.
And then the email arrives (on her day off), saying things like 'I know what I did was wrong, but so-and-so is much worse', and 'I haven't complained about it before by Miss X does this, that and the next thing', and 'I have never liked Jo Bloggs'. etc.
sometimes people make things so hard.
Do you supervise this sort of behaviour? If so, I would love advice.
If you own a cross bow, I would love to borrow it.
On the upside, it's getting cold and frosty. This means one thing: polenta. Sometimes when the chips are down, a big bowl of creamy, cheesy cornmeal topped with roasted tomatoes and field mushrooms stuffed with garlic and butter can make everything better again.
*apologies for the split infinitive
Monday, May 3, 2010
Visited with my bro and the erstwhile Dr Wallis. Brisbane is hot. Real hot. And not just in a groovy way, sweat was the name of the game. Ate well (thanks Dr W), saw some funky stuff at the Museum of Queensland, the Art Gallery of Queensland and the Queensland Maritime Museum.
The lovely brother also drove me up to the Sunshine Coast so that we could visit Australia Zoo. I was sooooo excited. And later in the day I was sooooo disappointed. Expensive. Naff. An Irwin self promotion vehicle. Although I did see Bindi Irwin feeding a crocodile on stage. The whole audience was willing the animal to take her. Unfortunately we were disappointed. Again. I must admit the crocodile show was good, although brief (too much plugging of young Bindi's new straight to video movie).
The Elephant enclosure was also good. Other than that it was rather dull, very sticky and the food was horribly overpriced and near inedible - how somewhere that plugs itself as a conservation centre could serve such obviously battery reared, unhappy, chemical riddled chicken at its restaurant is beyond me. Bleaaagggh.
Far North Queensland-ahoy! Even more sticky, but beautifully air conditioned! Went to a wonderful predators of the deep show at Reef HQ, the local aquarium, and enjoyed some great coffee. The conference was hit and miss. Some interesting sessions, some really boring sessions, some totally inspirational sessions. However on the whole it just seemed to be an excuse for people to catch up with people they flirted with at the last conference, not great professional networking going on, and frankly I'm too old and grumpy for it, so I was quite happy to leave the closing banquet early (the food was ho-hum, but I'm sure there is no way to make it otherwise when you're feeding that number of people, lunches were great tho). However on leaving the banquet I was unable to find my left contact lens.
... which meant on the flights to Japan my eye was red and angry and horribly weepy (probably from me sticking my finger in it ever ten seconds trying to find the lens. Which, by the way, never appeared).
Japan was.... strange. Extraordinarily quiet. Extraordinarily organised. And clean. And punctual. And totally utterly beautiful at every turn. But I got the feeling that not many of them are very good at making their own decisions.
I could have added pictures here, but I have created the 'blog with the worst name ever'. The best are here for friends and family. And you're my friend, so feel free to browse:
Sunday, April 18, 2010
My session was yesterday, and I think the presentation went well and seem to be well received too. Now in Brisbane airport on the way to Japan. Many, many more pictures on my return, I suspect.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I discovered just how little I gig on the realisation that if I wanted to last the evening in the mosh pit I was going to have to strap my ankle.
And I'm leaving a pair of glasses in the car, because I know I'll never last all night with the contacts in (glasses are contra-indicated to moshing).
Worse of all, as I'm leaving my glasses in the car, I guess that means I'm driving. No beer.
..... mercy, when did I turn into this person???
Friday, February 26, 2010
It's been a busy six months for me. Fourteen months ago I started a new job. I know some readers have no doubt worked out where that job is, and even the quickest glance will tell you that I work in tertiary education. I may be able to narrow it down for those who know about Australian tertiary education by adding that it is the most administratively retarded, process and logic starved illustration of a doomed-to-fail business plan run by power hungry, agenda driven pedants.
If any of them were reading this, I'd probably be out on my ear. And I'm not sure that I'd care. I've typed up the resignation a couple of times in the last few months, and frankly - it's beyond me why I haven't handed it in. Well I know at least part of the reason, those in my immediate vicinity at work are not the power hungry, agenda driven pedants but very real, very nice people trying to do their best to offer students who can barely spell their own name some semblance of value for money in exchange for not inconsiderable financial outlay.
I like to think that I'm a pretty good worker. I don't always get everything done, and I make a few mistakes along the way, but on the whole I do my best, put in the extra hours when required and keep the team goals in mind. However recently I have felt the most rundown, beaten down, depleted and totally useless I have ever felt in my work. I have put students on the back burner in order to pander to the pedantic nitpicking of the power hungry agenda driven administration. I have forsake friends and family, added at least 10kg to my waist, let my study and professional development dwindle to nothingness and developed a drinking habit that would be the envy of most undergraduate engineering students (I calmly knocked off a full bottle of vodka the other night and it only just touched the sides).
Well, no more I say. I'm not playing your silly little games any more, large, uncaring institution. Fuck you. Fuck you, and fuck the horse you rode in on. I'm making a list at the beginning of the day, new stuff gets added to the bottom and at 5pm I walk out the fucking door. And I'm not taking it home with me (it should be noted that I do get paid a wage that could expect that I occasionally take work home with me. But not every night).
And next Tuesday I'm re-instituting Tourette's Tuesday. This is not to use legitimate, often debilitating, disorders as a social device. However staff members of our august institution are being invited to attend a well know hostelerie in the city where we will rant and rave and swear uncontrollably with regard to our place of employ, and maybe catch something at the Garden of Unearthly Delights, before scoffing pizza at an Adelaide favourite (the Beastie Boys eat here when they're in town. True Story).
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Not so long ago I said that this was no longer a food blog. I'm obviously an outrageous liar, as I have all of these food posts to give you. Above is my offering for my Australian Day BBQ - it was bring a salad or bring a desert, and so I made a trio of Australian Deserts.
On the far left is a lamington cake. It's fairly straight forward, vanilla cupcake, chocolate ganache with coconut. I'm sure you can work this all out. Although it does make me wonder how coconut companies think I'm going to use a kilo of shaved coconut, as this seems to be the smallest quantity available in your average supermarket. I would suppose my dozen cakes used about 15gm, so if you're ever in need, please let me know.
I got the ganache recipe from Joy the Baker. Most people thing ganache a doddle. It's always failed horribly for me and been runny and useless, even after a spell in the freezer. Joy pours the hot cream over her chocolate, rather than melt them both in a double boiler, and for me this made all the difference.
Also thanks to Joy for the middle cake, my Cherry Ripe cake. Cherry Ripe is apparently the oldest chocolate bar still being produced in Australia. I made a red velvet cake, using Joy's recipe below, but pushed a glace cherry just below the surface of each cake before putting them in the oven. The icing is a sour cream chocolate icing. This was too runny. Next time it's ganache all the way
Joy's Favourite Red Velvet Cakes
60gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
On the far left are my Violet Crumble cakes. Honey cupcakes with the same average icing as the Cherry Ripe ones
120gm unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 cups SRF
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and honey. Beat for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg, scrape down sides after blended. Add in vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds. Starting with the flour first, alternate between flour and milk, ending with flour. So 1/3 of flour,
½ of milk, 1/3 of flour, ½ milk, 1/3 flour.
Blend until fully combined.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Both of these recipes worked divinely, probably largely because I followed the instructions and blended as long as I should have and didn't cut corners. The honey ones in particularly were incredibly light and fluffy, and I allowed the sugars and butter to beat well together. The honey gave it a much lighter texture than just sugar creamed in butter.
So, Advance Australia Fair. Let us all eat cake
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
So, today I ate BBQ and a silly amount of dip and crisps and olives and things and now I feel quite unwell. You'd think after 39 years I would have learnt? Apparently not.
Back at home, tired and full and lazy I went into blog-o-sphere, and at Joy the Baker, whom I like incredibly for her style, her generosity of spirit and killer catering tendencies, I noted that Joy is nominated for a 2010 Bloggie. However I do not mention this to encourage you to vote for Joy - this is up to you - but because I checked out some of the other blogs up for a gong.
When We Were Beautiful is up in the music blog category, written by a young guy in Southampton, who like lots of young guys everywhere is into his tunes, and not necessarily the tunes that big record companies want him to be into. They want to him to be into Australian Idol winners, or the next boy band, because these are cheap eats, which require no sustainability, investment or thought. Those of you who have lived in the UK will know that which one of this quick bites ends up at the Number 1 spot on the charts on 25 December any year is a bit of a big deal and the pundits will debate who will occupy the 'top spot' from about mid November. Last year the latest X-factor winner was highly touted.
Some guy in Essex started an online campaign to get Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name Of to the top spot. And won!!!! More than a decade after it was released this catchy, funky, heavy protest song that shouts 'fuck you I won't do what you tell me' more times that most draft offices would care to count made it to the number one spot.
I must say, dear readers, this took me to my happy spot. You may have known this for some time and have been in your happy spot for so long that the floors need mopping, but this is very new for me. What a victory for us all, and how wonderful that someone thought to stand up against the corporations in such a very, very, very public way and won. There can't be a soul in Britain who doesn't know about this, what a fantastic way to bring the concepts of artistic integrity and mass consumption into every lounge room and work space. Not to mention the message of RATM's song in the first place, which unfortunately just as relevant today as when the track was first released.
This song is best listened to LOUD and somewhere where you can jump around and swing your hair about (if you have as much hair as me of course). Please enjoy this immensely!
PS: I was just called by the sound of a significant appeal to the lounge room to find that Pakistan have six out (and a ripper little clean bowl by Clinton McKay). Pakistan need 118 of 90 balls or there abouts. This could a heart racing fight. But I suspect it won't be. Again.
Monday, January 25, 2010
It's an old fashioned, traditional method. I'm not 100% sure of the pronunciation, as it's probably form ancient Aramaic or demotic Greek or something but in my best estimation, I believe it's called wine.