Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sorry to interrupt…

A pause in regular jelssie content to broadcast some unrelated stuff.
  • I'm doing a lot of sewing and things which I want to put on the internet but not clutter up jelssie, so if you are interested in girly crafty flowery stuff, whatever I'm obsessed with at the moment, I've just started jessisthinking so that I can dump. It is probably of limited interest to most of you, but I like it.
  • I have been waiting months to see Beauty and the Beast this September at Rockdale. Local musical theater is wonderful fun. Who wants to come along? $35, tix on sale now. Runs for about 2 weeks in mid-Sep.
  • Also, the B&B Disney movie is being shown in 3D at Hoyts, does anyone want to come with and see it at the Ent Q? I'd maybe like to go this Friday. It was about the 2nd or 3rd movie I ever saw at the movies, after Milo and Otis and Homeward Bound. Nostalgia. I heart Gaston.
That's all for now.

Greed: a misdiagnosis?

It's easy to look at our society and blame some of its problems (e.g. materialism, gluttony) on greed. Some of it is definitely motivated by the desire to accumulate more, but I suspect that's not the entire problem.

In some cases, I don't believe the root cause is greed. I believe the root cause is emotional discomfort and/or emptiness. I think as a society we don't know how to process our emotions. So when we have a feeling we dislike or when we feel empty, we look towards the experience of shopping or eating to make us feel better. It distracts us from the unpleasantness we are currently experiencing. We don't really want to buy more things or eat more food. What we want is to find relief from that yucky feeling.

This probably could explain some of society's addiction problems: gambling, smoking and binge drinking alcohol to name a few.

I do have more thoughts on this, but I will leave it hanging there for the time being.

Some articles to consider:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Girls and boys

Have you noticed how we don't really address ourselves as men and women, but as boys/guys and girls? Today, our lecturer spoke to some students up the back and referred to them as "girls". When a guy joined us for our last KESC, we called him a boy, not a man.

Why is this? Do we not view ourselves as adults? As men and women? (If not, why not?) Has it got something to do with emerging adulthood?

Maybe we don't feel like adults even though we do adult things e.g. be financially independent from our parents, move out of home, pay bills, hold down a job, make life decisions etc etc

I do like to address friends as "ladies and gentlemen", but that's because jelssie hearts chivalry and I like retro/vintage.

I feel there is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy about how we address ourselves. If we call ourselves boys and girls, then we don't feel like adults. If we start addressing ourselves as men and women, perhaps we start feeling like adults (whatever that means).

Note that the title of this blog post is the same as one of Blur's huge hits in the mid-90s :)

Baked beans.

I normally buy Heinz ham sauce flavour. But last night in a hurry in an unfamiliar supermarket I bought the first can I saw, and it happened to be SPC ham sauce. It tastes the same, but what I look for in a tin of baked beans is density of beans, because too much sauce soggies up my toasted sandwich. I compared my SPC tin with a coworker's tin of Heinz, and Heinz had 55% beans, but SPC only 50%. I am surprised that both tins are only half beans. That is worse than the percentage of tuna in tuna cans, which is also disappointing.

Underhated: Font hate.

Hating Comic Sans is just a way of fitting in among people who are cool about typography; most people don't genuinely hate Comic Sans, its more a sort of in-joke which is so widespread it's not 'in' anymore. If there was a way to wipe a font from the face of the earth, I would keep Comic Sans and I would DESTROY COPPERPLATE GOTHIC. Oh, how I loathe it. Like Michael Scott says: "I hate so much about the things that you choose to be"*. I can remember innocently using it in an assignment at Uni, and then driving around Newcastle and noticing it everywhere, on real estate signage, a funeral parlour, a butcher shop. And I realised it was common, and I realised it was ghastly, and I realised I did not like it. Over time, that dislike turned to a deep hatred, so that I can't help noticing it, staring at it, and being disgusted at the person who thought it was a good typography choice. And that is how to hate a font.

*Michael Scott quote on youtube here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Myth about books and movies

Movies don't ruin books. If anything, books spoil movies. It's always the movie which comes off second best, disappointing in comparison to our reading experience. The book is resilient.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Master packing list

Every time I go away, I write out a list of things to pack. I don't know why I don't just create a master packing list and use it each time.

I thought just maybe perhaps I did have one hidden away in my computer somewhere. I plugged in "packing list" in my spotlight search, and an Excel file came up. I was impressed with myself! I didn't recall creating one, but perhaps I had! Turns out the file is an Excel template! Bonussssss! I only have to modify that list.

Anyway, I'm still going to write out a list this time. Perhaps I'll make a master packing list next time...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Underrated: hommus.

Hommus covers a multitude of raw vegetables.

I've discovered that raw broccoli tastes OK, and it's apparently one of the most nutritional veggies. And I find that I have to be quite diligent to eat 5 serves of veggies a day. Everything else almost eats itself, I have no difficulties eating fruit, meat and carbs, but I need to force the veggies down. Hommus means that I can snack on them. It's like peanut butter, but garlicy. Mmmm.

Guide to the Eastern Suburbs.

There are 3 types of Eastern Suburbs. Just in case you thing we're fancy for living there, let me enlighten you.

There's the posh or trendy north part with all the bays and terraces, then the middle near the uni which is middle class plus international students, then there is the south which is semi working class plus 'bra boys.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I hate about Todd Sampson.

(the cool, good looking panelist on Gruen)
  1. His name is Todd. Eugh.
  2. He's naturally and carefully good-looking. Bone structure and disheveled hair.
  3. He dresses so hip. Ooooh, Threadless. So much cred.
  4. He appeals to the audience as one of them, but he works for ad agencies. Hypocrite.
  5. He goggles his eyes to get people to listen to him and appear more earnest.
  6. He talks over the other guy (Russel). Talking over people is rude, even if you sound earnest.
  7. He gives consumers no credit for their own decisions. It's all 'big bad corporations'. I take responsibility for every bottle of water I buy, you don't have to demonise Coke and treat me like an ignorant victim of evil corporate marketing. I have a brain, you know.
And for all that Russel Howcroft comes across as a suited marketing shark, at least he is open about it. He is honest about being sneaky, which I like. And he stands up for the intelligence of consumers (even if so that he can get away with being more sneaky). And I discovered he is actually just as socially responsible as Todd Sampson, I think he set up an organisation to help not-for-profits with media and marketing (compared to, say, inventing Earth Hour). So I'm on team Russel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

KESC 15 review - Dumplings.

Kingsford Eat Street Challenge has almost completely stopped being about the food, and has turned into a lovely sort of open family dinner. There were 10 people last Friday, and we only just fitted around one of the big round tables which I love so much. There were 3 new challengers and one of them was a boy — but that didn't cramp our style much. It was probably an enlightening experience for him.

Back to the Chinese Dumpling and Noodle House. They have dumplings, hand made noodles, other noodles, and other food. Who cares, as long as they have dumplings! We ordered mostly dumplings — fried and steamed, and buns. One hand made noodle dish with beef, one token plate of green veg and mushroom, and a shan dong chicken. In my opinion the shan dong was way too sweet and sour, not enough garlic and was overpriced at $15. Everything got eaten very well. It's hard to do dumplings bad. The food comes fast, and there was tea (I'm really getting asian now; there must be tea!). The bill was $8.50 each, which is good value, we thought it would be more. The same food at yum cha would cost 2-3 times that.

Other things to note: Kylie Kwong plugged this place so it must be authentic and yummy. And, there was a noticable higher ratio of anglos to asians than at any other place we've eaten at. Maybe dumplings aren't as good value if you're a student who wants to fill up on rice and ramen, or maybe they aren't as authentic and yummy as the rest of the street food.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good stuff on the internet:

2 things I've benefited from today on the wonderful world-wide web.

9marks record interviews with pastors on pastoral issues, and there is an interview with Mark Dever talking to Carolyn McCulley about pastoring singles. It might not be a new podcast, but it is new for me cos I stopped paying much attention to singleness/dating gurus because... I know the theory already. So knew nothing about McCulley. This covers some interesting stuff.

At the Best Book Co-op. Cathy and friends are thinking through what they call (in Maitland) Gospel Community, with a bit of a focus on depression and crisis at the moment.

Chair lift

While we're on the topic of chivalry, I just remembered another kind act from a fellow classmate yesterday.

We have these cool gas lift chairs in our little lecture theatre. My classmate and I were going to sit together except that the seat next to my classmate wasn't one of those cool gas lift chairs - it was an ordinary, stable, no-lift chair. I made a face, had a mini-whinge ("Oh, but it's not one of those cool gas lift chairs") and he went to the trouble of swapping the chairs for me :D

It's alive!

Woah. I got on the bus today. Nothing special about that. It was a bit crowded. I slowly made my way down to the back of the bus, planning on standing there so there'd be more room up front as more passengers got on. A guy gentleman sitting down saw me make my way down the bus. As I got close to him, he leapt up and offered his seat to me. It's alive people! Chivalry is ALIVE! I didn't even look at him or anything, or expect that kind of thing to happen. It just did.

Even though I'm capable of standing on my own two feet on a crowded bus, I graciously accepted. After all, how could he feel like a gentleman if I refused? :) I appreciated his act of chivalry. Acts of chivalry always make a woman feel like a lady and feel special :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Underrated: toasted sandwiches.

Enough said.

Colouring in for grown ups

Having recently bought some colouring pencils, I've discovered that colouring in is very therapeutic. Kids are onto something I tell ya! Why don't they have colouring in books for grown ups? I'd like something with retro or vintage images. As much as I love Sanrio, it just doesn't seem right for someone my age to be colouring in pictures of Hello Kitty.

Edit: I spoke too soon! Here is a colouring book for stress relief.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Underrated: repairing.

I feel immensely proud of myself when I fix something. If I screw a cupboard door handle back on, or glue something, or sew a button or patch something I've torn, it makes me feel all competent and skilled. I could totally survive if I was thrown back in time. Also, it is frugal to extend the life of something that just needs a little fixing. And in a way, when I fix something I make it more my own. My dress might have been mass-made in China, but only MY dress has a mend on one sleeve. I suggest 'making do' as an alternative to retail therapy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Far out brussels sprouts!

Growing up in Australia, there was a sense that brussels sprouts were a generally disliked vegetable amongst kids. I, however, had a very Asian upbringing when it came to food. I don't think brussels sprouts ever made it into our home. Hence, they became very exotic to me (and quite honestly, I'm not sure I even knew what they looked like for the first twenty-odd years of my life). I may have eaten them once at a restaurant, and that's about the extent of it.

In my quest to be adventurous with vegetables, I decided to pick up a bag of brussels sprouts at the greengrocer since they were so cheap ($1.20 for a bag, 99c at ALDI). I wasn't sure how to cook or eat them, so I peeled the outer layers, chopped the bottom off, quartered them and steamed them on high with some water in the microwave for two minutes.

They are actually quite lovely, like mini cabbages. I wonder if you could make kimchi with it?

I'm thankful I didn't grow up disliking brussels sprouts because they are a very cheap green vegie when they are on special. $1 peoples!! Cheap cheap source of green!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Underrated accent.

Oh yes, Scotch is quaint, Kiwi is quirky, but my favourite accent is Northern English. Like Scotch it works well with olde worlde words like 'yon' and 'thou'. It can sound very manly, for some reason, which gives Mr Thornton the edge over Mr Darcy. And some things sound much funnier, like in Chicken Run: "Ah doon't want to be in a paah, Ah doon't lahke greyveh;" ("I don't want to be in a pie, I don't like gravy") or in Cranford: "Ah doon lahke tooching ooders!" (I don't like touching udders")


It's the time of year when you're tired; it's been cold for so long, dark for so long, the same for so long; nothing has turned out as wonderfully as you anticipated back in those early summer months, and there is not yet any end in sight to spur you on. Life is "flat, stale and unprofitable", to quote Anne. I don't want to become gloomy and disillusioned about everything, but right now it seems inevitable.

I'm reminded to hope.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to vote, Engagers!

I shall be voting early this year, which is a little sad for me because voting is like giving blood; not nice, but good to know that you are making a contribution to your society. So I actually like the atmosphere of the voting queue; we're all in it together at this moment, and we'll never see each other again. But voting early is necessary this year because it's on the Engage 1 weekend, very inconveniently.

On the other hand, what better place to "fellow"ship and "meet" people than in the absentee voting queue at Katoomba High? Jump into the queue alongside a likely looking stranger wearing an engage wristband and no wedding ring and you have them captive to the electoral law.

Hey Elsie!

Mondays to Wednesdays are usually the most intense part of my week. This week has been even more so as I have had two assessments, I'm tired and I haven't been sleeping well. I predicted last night that I would experience post-adrenaline depression today.

I woke up this morning and had a very good start to the day. Early in the afternoon, I hit this low and I couldn't work out why. I decided to buy myself a little A7 art diary, brand new Crayola Twistables Coloured Pencils and a Uniball Signo 0.7 gel pen. I would use these to doodle, daydream and record little things about life that I'm learning.

There's a child-like delightfulness to doodling and recording thoughts in a tiny note book. I think it will be my new happy hobby.

As I walked home from the shops, I remembered yesterday's prediction *slaps forehead* Of course I'm feeling low! I've been running on adrenaline. I think I will leave a post-it note somewhere for myself next time...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Media and Politics.

It's a symbiotic relationship. Someone a bit older than me once pointed out that even when there is no election around, never a day goes by without the PM making news; and they could remember back to when you would go for weeks without hearing about the PM. That sounds like heaven! Certainly, in 2010 by the time the election campaigns starts pumping we are already fed-up and over-informed. I've stopped watching the news on TV and I still can't avoid it all.

It strikes me, though, that the Greens are quite low-profile in the news, only weigh in with a comment or policy point when it benefits them, and do not receive the same kind of celebrity hounding about annoying accents or budgie-smugglers*. Nor is there anywhere near as much critique of their policies. They are a minor party, sure, but growing in influence, so I'm waiting for the day when they get dragged into the 24hour news cycle, because I think some of the shine might wear off, and we will be completely sick of them, too. Or, here's a thought, the other parties could learn from their "less is more" approach and we would all benefit.



Making out at uni is uncool peoples. UNCOOL. Fine, hold hands, kiss, hug, whatever, but I draw the line at getting horizontal (even if fully clothed) in a public place. Show some decency, propriety and consideration for other people. My gag reflex can only handle so much.

While I'm at it, why do people leave rubbish lying around and make a mess of public spaces? How hard is it to clean up after yourself, put rubbish in the bin and leave things clean and tidy?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A bold statement

Here at jelssie, we're known for our bold, out-there statements. I'm going to make another one. Are you ready for it?

I like studying accounting.

There. I've said it.

I like it so far. Assessments and exams are never pleasant, but aside from those, I am enjoying learning and studying. I hope that translates to me enjoying working as an accountant one day.

Friday, August 6, 2010


There are two types of people in the student world: those who remember their courses by course codes and those who remember their courses by course name/title. I am the latter.

Learning to sneeze differently.

I inherited from my father a big shouty sneeze. Deafening. I'm also a multiple sneezer. And I sneeze often. So I recently decided to try and change my sneeze to a softer one, not a suppressed sneeze but one with less shout. More ladylike. It doesn't always work, but usually I get at least a series of sneezes decreasing in volume. Interestingly, I have to sneeze more times when I do softer sneezes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eat Street 15: Dumpling and Noodle House.

6.30pm, Friday 13th August. Bring a bib.

Character of cooking.

There are two sorts of people. You either start with the recipe, or start with the pantry. If you are a religious recipe follower then throwing random ingredients together with a few sauces and spices is way out of your comfort zone. You stick to the recipe. Donna knows best. And if you are at the other end of the spectrum, a 'master scavenger-chef', then cooking from a recipe is a little bit daunting.

I am the latter. I am very confident that I can eat whatever I cook from the random contents of my freezer and pantry, but when I have to cook for other people I feel like the food should be recognisable and have a name. And proper cakes and things really need recipes. So I have to think, plan, shop, and cook following instructions, which is just more stressful for me. At the same time, I feel the call to freedom; I'm not 100% bound to the recipe, and I'll "adapt" it for efficiency.

So the office birthday cake today has wholemeal SR instead of normal SR flour. I could not find coconut milk at coles last night (???) so I decided to use a bit of condensed milk and a bit of soy milk instead. Then I put in less sugar, because condensed milk is obviously very sweet. Then I didn't have a high enough cake tin, so I put a bit less mixture in the tin and cooked the rest in a bowl like a pudding for my own dessert. And then I probably had the oven up a bit high, but that probably turned out OK because Rachel, who cooked this cake for her wedding, said that it takes longer than you think, and I didn't test the cake with the skewer, I just took it out at the right time, so it was a good thing it was hotter.

I felt comfortable making all those variations on the recipe, they all seemed logical at the time, and I'm pretty confident the cake will be edible.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Suggestion for best biscuit.

Put aside your Tim Tam and your Oreo. These famously over-branded biscuits are only OK compared to the shy but DELICIOUS biscuit known as the Caramel Crown. The Crown is a round, gooey caramel topped biscuit, covered in chocolate. I'm not normally crazy about caramel, or chocolate biscuits in general; I find Tim Tams ordinary. But the Caramel Crown biscuit has taken hold of my taste buds. I am forming a biscuit obsession. I suggest you try a packet, next time you have to bring supper.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jelssie vocab: Sickness.

Put those boring disease words away this winter. Sick, flu and cold have all but lost their meaning. They raise no sympathy anymore. Instead, try these ones out.

Lurgeitis. "The dreaded lurgy" sounds interesting the first time only, then it sounds like a mum joke, so try Lurgitis instead. I haven't decided on spelling yet.

Incapacitated. "This is an incapacitating cough." Sounds extremely severe.

Poorly. "I feel quite poorly." One of my flatmates used to say "I'm poorly" in a special feeble voice, for extra sympathy.

Ill. A simple word, but often overlooked. "I feel ill" is understated but effective.

Attack of the vapours. Not sure what this is, something to do with corsets and smelling salts maybe, but it grabs me. "I'm suffering from an attack of the vapours!" Although… it has a distinctly female euphemistic quality to it. It makes you sound perioidal.

Underrated: Burger Rings.

Burger Rings are circular chips which are delicious. Tangy. Also, I like the colour of them. They are made up of colour and flavour and very little else, which makes them excellent value. You can get a great big bag for about $2.

Monday, August 2, 2010

KESC14 review: Honey Wok.

Seven challengers met last friday, including 2 newbies, although no Elsie. We ordered from the Banquet menu for 6, which is about $57? or something like that, anyway it only worked out to be $9 each and we STUFFED ourselves. The motherly waitress was quite astonished to see that we had finished off our rice and all but 2 of the dishes. Ladies got appetites.

So the food was not super quick, but mostly very delicious. The Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs, Shan Dong Chicken, fatty Pork Hot Pot and Beans in XO were all very good, the Eggplant Hot Pot and Satay Beef stir fry were OK but a bit bland. The soup and oranges were good too. Did I mention we ate a lot?

On the non-banquet menu, prices were good too: $11 dishes and $8 meals.

The waitresses were friendly, although they preferred not to speak English. As long as everyone is clear about the Shan Dong, it's all good.

Decor is cheap and not everything is super clean. However, I liked being seated at a round table. It made conversation* much easier, than when you are seated at a long table. Everybody could see everybody and see all the food. We would have loved a Lazy Susan.

So 4.5 our of 5! It was a hit.

Next KESC is Friday 13th for dumplings!

*Jess K kindly recorded some of the conversational highlights on her own blog.