Friday, October 29, 2010

Why different bananas?

There are bananas, there are lady finger bananas, there are sugar bananas. I'm not sure why we have 3 sorts of bananas, or why the smaller ones cost more. I know there are differences in apples, but I would never pay more for lady fingers, they even look less bendy and bananary. I would pay less. I resent their existence.

I just went to use the 'banana' tag, but we don't have one yet. What an oversight! There is one now. I'm going to go back and tag all our banana posts. It's hard to think of a bigger topic on this blog than bananas.

Early night TV.

Rarely am I at home at 5pm or 6pm. I survive OK without Ten news or the Simpsons or M*A*S*H. But I'm getting home early on Tuesday to eat before Bible study and discovering the best TV on the ABC is on then.

I watched a doco series on post-war industrial design (plastic, the ipod etc, how they change our lives). This week they started a series called The Choir: Boys don't sing. A 9-month challenge for a man called Gareth to start a choir in a boy's school. Fascinating and cringey at the same time. The obvious reluctance to defy peer norms vs the actual enjoyment of group singing. Gareth looks a little bit like David Tennant.

6 o'clock Tuesdays, TV for cool people.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I don't know why, but there are some people I just wanna call by their initials, like JG, JK and DK.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vere is ze cheesecake?

While perusing the dessert menu at Bavarian Bier Cafe the other night, a thought struck me. Why is there no Bavarian Cheesecake on the menu? I'm sure most of us have had Sara Lee Bavarian Cheesecake at some point. Doesn't that mean Bavarians are famous for their cheesecakes? Or is it a made up dish like Singapore noodles* and Mongolian lamb?

*I'm aware they have noodles in Singpore and they probably just don't call it Singpore noodles there. And I think someone told me there's no Mongolian lamb in Mongolia. But I am sure Hainan chicken rice HAS something to do with Hainan.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Jess K has put her finger on it. Short-scooping! I'm always too shy to say anything, but I silently vow never to return to an ice-cream place that doesn't fill up the cone/cup enough. There should be some kind of metric scoop, or weigh the scoop or something.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

KESC 18: Turning Japanese!

We shall meet again at 6.30pm on Friday 29th October, at a very new Japanese place that starts with T. It's near the giant  yellow pub Churchills, opposite IGA. Hope that's clear enough for you.

Our first challenge on the Other Side Of The Road!

To add some bittersweetness to the victory, this place is on the site of the late Chuan Bar Chinese BBQ. When Chuan Bar first opened, Elsie and Georgina and I went there and Jelssie was born in my notebook. I think the concept for Eat Street Challenge was outlined there too. Closed already. Such is life in Kingsford Eat Street.

Constant vigilance.

Yesterday I tried to walk into a men's bathroom. I looked at one door, saw a man icon, looked at the next door, saw a disabled icon, so opened the 3rd door, and there was a man inside. Weird! I heard someone behind me say "Mens!" and realised there were multiple mans inside. Uh-oh. The first door icon did have a skirt on it after all, as plain as day.

Apart from the embarrassment, I find it quite stunning that I, graphic designer and lifelong user of bathrooms, was unable to read a simple icon. I don't feel safe anymore, my brain could fail me again at any moment! Although I'm guess there aren't many more embarrassing mistakes than the wrong rest room, which I will never do again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to cut onions.

Because of the tears, there are many theories. Wet them, or cut them underwater. Wear goggles. Put a peg on your nose, because it is breathing in the fumes which makes you cry, not exposing your eyeballs to them. The latest one I've heard, which I'm going to try next, is that the fumes are strongest at the root of the onion, so peel and cut them down to the root and then cut the root off LAST.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Modern-day Charlotte Lucas.

I've been doing some thinking in the back of my mind about settling. The millions of Christian articles which urge men to be godly and prayerfully pursue godly women… ideally, yes, but how often does that happen, really? How many couples I know actually got married because two perfect people who love Jesus were both attracted to each other (esp each other's godliness), the man took the lead, the woman responded, it was romantic, they prayed all the time, had a perfect courtship, never felt awkward, got married and lived happily ever after growing more like Jesus? It's the ideal, but this isn't heaven. Everyone settles.

Read this today:
"Rela­tion­ships are hard work. Love doesn’t hap­pen overnight. You’re not com­mit­ting to mar­ry­ing the first guy you go out with*. Give a guy a break. If you enjoy hang­ing out with him in groups, or in one on one set­tings, don’t hang out for Mr Right — hang out with Mr Right in Front of You. A bird in the hand and all that prover­bial jazz.
"Most Chris­t­ian guys have prob­lems — part of becom­ing a Chris­t­ian means you recog­nise you have fail­ings. The ones who don’t appear to have prob­lems are prob­a­bly arro­gant or har­bour­ing some sort of deep seeded emo­tional issues any­way, scratch the sur­face of most guys and they’re prob­a­bly incred­i­bly inse­cure when it comes to rela­tion­ships or entirely too scared of com­mit­ment to be worth pur­su­ing (that’s why they’ve dated all of your friends and none of the rela­tion­ships have lasted). If a guy seems to have it together, can hold down a job, and is pass­able at con­ver­sa­tion then he’s prob­a­bly a win­ner. It helps if you find him mod­er­ately attractive."
Although it's still hypothetical because there really are no guys in the 'single girl ghetto'. Some excellent wisdom from that wisest of spinsters, Jane Austen: "There is a great scarcity of Men in general, & a still greater scarcity of any that were good for much."

* But oh boy will I speculate about it, and my response to the potential "do you want to hang out" will be based on "do I want to marry you". Really hard to overcome that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cycle of escalating lateness.

When you are late*, secondary factors will combine to make you later. I formed this theory on the 400 bus, it is the perfect example. 

The 400 bus has a very long route. It goes everywhere. Uni, airport, two Westfields, a hospital. If it comes a little late, there are more people waiting at the bus stop. They take longer to get on, slowing the bus down slightly, and there will be more people at all the next bus stops. Full buses drive slower because they are heavier. It takes longer for people to get off, because the aisle fills up. People get off at the front instead of the back, because the aisle is blocked, which slows up the queue of people trying to get ON at the front. Every stop on the route ahead holds more people waiting for the late bus, instead of getting on the next bus. The lateness escalates, late upon late, late upon late.

* I just might rant that I find lateness extremely annoying both in me and in others. Habitual lateness is deeply inconsiderate, because making someone wait makes them feel as if you don't value them or their time. If you want to love others and show them that you value them, don't make them get up early and then sleep in yourself. Don't arrange for them to leave work on time and then stay back yourself. Don't tell them that you have set aside time to meet them and then cut a chunk off that time. Don't make them wait around on the street for 20 minutes while you're "on you way". It's not just slack, it's rude and unloving, and sometimes it makes me quite mad.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nap tip

I'm not a fan of taking naps because I'm never sure that I'll be able to get up after 20 minutes. Every now and then, my 20 minute nap turns into a four hour snooze. And then I can't sleep at night, and I've lost a night's good sleep. So generally I avoid naps.

I have thought of a way of having naps and ensuring you get up out of bed: nap with a full bladder. It won't be the most comfortable nap, but you'll definitely get up. Nothing like the call of nature to rouse you from your sleep.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Flattening ears.

In the local Courier I saw an ad for a cosmetic surgery, it had a before and after shot of a kid with his ears—sticking out, then flat. I can't find words to describe the ridiculousness and sadness of that.

I read somewhere, probably in an Anne of GG book, that you could put a band around your head when you sleep and your ears would flatten in over time.

The wonders of a hairbrush

My hair was looking dishevelled yesterday (as one does when one chooses not to wash her hair after her morning exercise...should I be admitting that?!). I was thinking of going for the dishevelled hair look when I came upon my hairbrush next to my bathroom sink (I usually put it away after I use it). So I decided to give my hair a quick brush. And it literally was a quick brush.

What a difference! My hair no longer looked dishevelled. Just an extra five seconds and I looked a bit more put together.

The wonders of a hairbrush, five seconds and short, straight hair!

I think I'm so amazed because I must not be in the habit of brushing my hair...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know you're getting older when...

...your idea of living dangerously is flouting strata rules and hanging one item of clothing on the balcony. Or it means you don't get out enough.

Sunlight is so precious! The one thing I dislike about apartment living is not being able to dry your clothes in the sun.

It would be great if you could have an arrangement with a friend who lived in a house with ample backyard space, that on a sunny day, you BYO laundry line and get to hang some clothes out in the sun (they might need to use their own laundry line).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three floors of bad clothes.

There are a lot of ugly clothes out there. I walked around Myer recently, and 99.9% of things were either ugly or hideous. Reminds me why I just shop at the same 3 shops.

If someone opened a shop which sold clothes which were nice, practical, had pockets, fit different sized women, and they sold summer clothes in summer and winter clothes in winter (which seems intuitive, but is not something most retailers have ever grasped)… that shop would sell a lot of clothes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

KESC 17 review: Sinma Laksa House.

The yellow restaurant on the Kingsford roundabout does Singaporean and Malaysian food. Four core challenge members met with much rejoicing. Sinma has fared badly on eatability reviews for service and food, but the service was fine and the food came hot and fast and tasty. It was reasonably busy, not full but bustling.

We ordered a hainan chicken with rice (which we ate before I remembered to photo), a noodle dish, a surprisingly spicy spinach dish and the only dish I remembered from my previous visits, butter prawns.

Food: Delicious but spicy. The prawns were a bit of a favourite, fried with buttery pork fluff on them, but didn't really need the big chunks of chilli. 

Value: the prawns were $19 a plate, the other dishes were cheap, so it worked out $13 each person.

Decor: not fancy, but Sinma is a good place to go with a big group, because it has big round tables and more space than many Kingsford shops. The music was a little crazy!

Service: we had a nice and helpful waitress.

It was a 2/5 or 4/5, depending on whether you like spicy food or not!

Poached in 30 seconds

Did you know you can poach an egg in the microwave? I used to think poaching an egg in cling wrap in a pot of simmering water was the most fail-proof way of poaching, but now I have discovered an easier method. Here's what you do:

1. Crack an egg into a small, Chinese-style rice bowl or an Western-style teacup.
2. Pierce the yolk.
3. Cover with microwave-safe lid.
4. Heat on high for 30 seconds.

And that's it! There was some exploded egg white on the cover and turntable of the microwave, but other than that, this is probably the easiest and least fuss way I can think of for poaching eggs. The cooked egg slides out easily.

This method has been sitting in my Australian Womens Weekly Cookbook, unbeknownst to me, until my temporary flatmate pointed it out. Ah, the joys of living with someone else: all the helpful, little things you learn.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Laundry: it's complicated.

Apologies, this will only excite people who are interested in efficient washing.

  • I used to stuff everything in one load when I had a basketful, but I found that if you have an old washing machine, you don't get good results this way: towel fluff on black tops, for example. So I started sorting my washing to improve results. When my basket is full I see what I have the most of and wash that stuff. There are 4 main categories to be aware of: clean, dirty, dark, light. This doesn't mean that I do 4 loads a week, it just means that eg I wash towels with other dirty things of a light colour.     
  • It's a good thing to stock up on undies (and socks etc), so that you can go longer between dirty loads. Even if you don't sort, buying more undies liberates you from a tight washing cycle. There is no rule that says you should have 7 pairs of undies, just because they come in packs like that. Buy enough for at least two weeks! This has changed my life. I am free from the pressure of the empty top drawer.
  • Another tip: if you have to hang your washing in your apartment, wash on a weeknight. Keep the weekend free of dreary housework. Also it doesn't matter if you have washing all over the place on a Monday night and into Tuesday, cos you're asleep or at work and won't see it. On Saturday, you're at home doing stuff and it gets in the way.
  • I've had it from two good authorities (Shannon Lush and the Choice website) that you only need to use 1/4 of the recommended scoop of detergent. It is still enough to break the water, and won't leave residue on your washing. Also, Emma T says to buy a 10kg box of detergent from Big W or Kmart, it saves you money and you won't have to buy it again for like 3 years.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pick a fruit winner.

Grapes won. Raspberries lost —a bit of a surprise.
Strawberries and pears did better than I expected.
Apple   4 (21%)
  4 (21%)
Banana (spotty and soft)
  2 (10%)
Banana (medium)
  4 (21%)
Banana (still green)
  1 (5%)
Pear soft
  7 (36%)
Pear hard
  1 (5%)
Grapes (crisp and seedless)
  12 (63%)
  1 (5%)
  5 (26%)
  4 (21%)
  8 (42%)
  4 (21%)
  4 (21%)
  7 (36%)
  5 (26%)
  6 (31%)
  2 (10%)
  3 (15%)
  0 (0%)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to purchase a whitegood.

The only whitegood I've ever bought was a freezer*, for like $300, I thought a washing machine was about the same price because they are the same size, but they are a lot more. It's a sort of big decision. So I've spent the day flapping around, because decisions are hard and I just want to settle as soon as possible but also not regret my choice. (Speaking of which, you can just join Choice and read their reviews and tests, D said it was worthwhile if you are buying a lot of big stuff.)

In my online research of various washing machine brands and types, I discovered that people really don't like it when their whitegoods break down. It's not like a car, which you expect to break down and where the NRMA comes to you quickly, tow trucks arrive at the speed of light, or you drive it yourself to a mechanic. It's all normal. If your fridge or washer breaks down (and bear in mind that you will not service it regularly like a car, so breakdowns will probably happen), you spend time on the phone to customer service, and then wait for a repair man, and in the meantime you can't wash or your food goes off and there is nothing you can do about it. Except get online and give bad reviews. It's a dodgy business. Extended warranties seem worth it, $40 per year for some peace of mind. Although things like $200 rubber seals on doors aren't included because they are "wear and tear". Oooh, they're tricky.

I narrowed my search down to a top loader and 2 front loaders based on reviews on and based on what I could find at some online retailers with good discounts. Online seems an OK way to buy a washer. It's not like I need to judge picture quality, it's just a boring white box, and you can't take a load of towels to Harvey Norman and test them out—so you are buying on written specification and customer reviews either way. The only reason would be if you have a trailer and want to save on delivery (and appliancesonline has free delivery to some areas).

So that's how I'm doing it. If anything goes wrong, I shall update you.

*The lesson I learnt from that experience was, DELIVERY MATTERS if you are a single person. The sales men will put it in the back of your station wagon for you, but who will get it out? And the only man I knew in the whole Southern Highlands was my boss.

Monday, October 4, 2010

You don't need a breadmaker... just need a can of beer. Hello beer bread! In the words of Jill Dupleix, "It's fast, and easy, requires no kneading, no proving, no knocking back, and no machine". And it only has four ingredients! Most of which you will find in the kitchen anyway, unless you are a beer eater like me, so you rarely have beer at home.

And by being a beer eater I mean I prefer to eat my beer rather than drink it e.g. beer battered food, beer in pies, stews, cake etc.