Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hanging washing: comparison of disadvantages.

  • Fills house with laundry
  • Doesn't get that fresh air and sun feel
  • Dries slower

  • Clothes fade in the sun
  • May be ogled or stolen by neighbours
  • Exposed to rain, bugs and birds
I definitely like to hang sheets and towels outside. Some clothes I want to hang inside so they don't fade. Drying outside at night is a good compromise, but they just need a little bit of morning sun to finish them off.

Monday, November 29, 2010

KESC 20 and 21

This Friday at Buck Me Jellicoe Noodles,


Friday 17th at a place to be argued about. Should we skip Nasi Goreng where someone saw a cockroach crawl up the wall? It's a tricky one. On the one hand, we obviously don't skip places on the basis of probable bad hygiene, otherwise we would skip a lot. Kingsford Chinese combines possibly the best Shan Dong with possibly the worst food safety, and we won't skip that. On the other hand, a definite cockroach…

Ha ha tan line

Tan lines can be pretty funny. My flatmate (God bless her) has had a good chuckle over these two tan lines of mine:

Sock tan
Sock tans are pretty standard, but I have a sock tan AND a Birkenstock (sandal) tan at the same time (no, I'm not wearing socks and sandals together :P). You'd think one would cancel out the other, but no, I have both.

Elbow pit tan
You know where the needle goes in when you give blood? That's what I call the elbow pit. Now that it's (practically) summer, the mornings are sunnier. I came back from my run one morning and I noticed a ring of white skin in my elbow pit. I pointed it out to my flatmate and asked her, "What on earth is this?!"

Then I realised: it's from exercising in the morning sun. Think about it: you don't extend your arms fully when you go running, so my elbow pit doesn't get any sunshine, but the rest of my arms do. Thankfully it's only really prominent after a sunny morning run (which I'm now avoiding).

I don't know why, but tan lines just crack me up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kesc 19 tofu revu.

  Korean Restaurant Gourmet Tofu.


This is why this is called a Challenge: we climbed stairs to eat tofu.

This upstairs restaurant is surprisingly much nicer than the average dining room in Kingsford. Spacious, with proper wooden dining tables. We sat at a window, and since it faces west it had a blind, but as soon as the sun dropped behind the buildings the waiter opened it up and it was really nice. There were a couple of other groups but it was pretty quiet on Monday night.

This seafood pancake was delicious, like a scallop filled with fishy bits.


Gourmet Tofu Korean Restaurant in Kingsford is gooooood. Love the Korean pop music videos too.

There were 6 of us & we had four dishes: seafood pancake, bul gol gi (beef), sweet & spicy chicken & jap chae (sweet potato noodles). We also got special rice & lots of yummy side dishes incl kimchi, seaweed, 芽菜, fish, tofu hotpot. The side dishes come w the meal, you don't need to order it separately (I think). Yum!


I really liked the spicy chicken. The anchovies were crunchy. It was a good selection and it came to $13 each and we were plenty full. You can see in the photo all the hotplates, tofu hotpots that come along with the dishes, the rices, and the little condiments.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My one rule

This is a really handy rule if your family celebrates Chinese New Year (CNY or the Lunar New Year to cover all other cultures that celebrate it) and it's a big deal to them.


Now the tricky thing to this rule is that CNY is not always in February, but it usually is, so to be extra safe, just don't commit to anything from January to March until you know when CNY is.

CNY is a big deal to my family. When I was younger, I didn't tweak that it was bad to be away during CNY, so I was away once. Now I know that CNY is like Christmas for Westerners i.e. you're supposed to go home and see family and friends (and collect money if you're single, ho! ho! ho!).

That's the weird thing about being a migrant child, growing up with two cultures. Parents assume you know stuff about their culture, that you somehow pick it up. Some stuff you do pick up, but wikipedia and google fill in the gaps. Oh internet, where would I be without you?

And to make this a community service announcement, it's on Feb 3 in 2011. So make sure you're at the parental home on Feb 2 for a yummy, yummy meat-filled feast, and there as well on Feb 3 for a vegetarian meal (no meat on CNY's day). At least those are the two important days to be at home for my family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watch me scoot!

I bought a foot scooter for commuting purposes, but then I got all excited about the fun of it. I basically bought a toy! That is such a novelty. I always want to completely justify my spending, and not spend money on fun things (movies only on cheap tuesday, etc). The scooter is a fully justified purchase (I worked out how many bus trips I had to take on the scooter instead to break even), AND it happens to also be a toy. This is why I imagine that everyone in cars is jealous of me. As transportation it's a bit pov, but just it's so much cooler.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why Christmas should not start until December.

I wrote an email to the Prime Minister today. I think if she took a stand on this issue, it would really impress a lot of Australian voters. James Valentine did an excellent segment on the topic today, and I got all fired up.

Aside from the fact that Christmas decorations in October are plain stupid, my reasoning is: a long Christmas means a short year. When you see Christmas decorations and go "November already! the year went so fast!" do the maths: it has not been a whole year, it's only been 10 months. You lose 2 months from the year into the vortex of "End of Year". Less Christmas would mean more rest of the year.

If Christmas was compressed down into, say, 2 weeks, we could enjoy a peaceful, productive slide into summer, and then enjoy a mad rush of Christmas parties and shopping and food, do Christmas day, and it's over. Short and intense, not drawn out by 2 months of torturous carol muzac.

So I wrote to the Prime Minister. I'd sign a petition if there was one. If the people speak, the shops have to listen. Or, since shops can only focus on one feature event at a time, put something else just before Christmas, so that they can't get into Christmas until they have gotten through Schoolies or Back To Holidays or whatever happens in December. Fight fire with fire.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The media monarchy rant.

As soon as I hear some "big news", or something the Today show will think is "big news", I groan and go into media blackout mode. Royal engagement in this case. I like Royalty OK, but I am deliberately uninterested in the story because I'm kind of in rebellion against the media. Everything is over-exposed. There is no mystery. I know more than I want to know already. You've ruined the Royal family for me with 20 years of tabloid coverage, so now I just don't want to know anymore. Same in every case—nothing amazes me, amazing things just fill me with dread at the anticipated media bombardment of dull cliches and melodramatisation. Oh no, here comes Fairytale Wedding and Will Charles Be King Or Let William and Does Australia Want The Monarchy. Fingers in ears, nah nah na nah nah.

Monday, November 15, 2010

KESC 19: Gourmet Tofu

The date: MONDAY the 22 Nov.
The place: Gourmet Tofu, upstairs, opp IGA.
The time: 6.30pm.

Epic epic story.

Strong flatmate bonds are forged in the fire of battle. When invasion forces come against you, the trials of war and the emotional journey will shortcut months of "getting used to each other". Flatmates united against the terrors of evil. 

I speak, of course, of bugs.

At 11 o'clock last night, the new flatty and I confronted an enormous huntsman on the wall between our two bedroom doors. K is phobic. I'm alright with spiders but I'd rather have them out of the house before I go to sleep. As the least frightened, I was the frontline, while K was the tactical support.

There are 3 options. Squash, spray, or capture and release.

Squash is out, because Yuck. Squashed spider is no better than alive spider. Also, what if it's not a clean kill? I might injure or enrage it.

Spray is out, because it seems inhumane to spray larger bugs. Cockroaches I'll spray, but a big spider reminded me of the spider in Harry Potter that gets the Cruciatus Curse on it. All that writhing and pain. Also, all we have is surface spray. Can that be used directly on bugs to kill them? I'm not sure. Again, it might not be a clean kill.

So that left capture and release. K gave me a large 4L, clear decor container. And 2 cans of surface spray for backup. I stood there for 5 minutes moaning about how ugly it was and wishing I didn't have to be the one to do it, while K was moral support from the safety of the kitchen. Eventually logic kicked in: since the spider didn't move with all my screaming and jumping when I first saw it, I decided it probably wouldn't run around if I snuck up on it with the clean container. I covered it successfully, but when I bumped its foot to get it off the corner, it ran all around in the container and I screamed again. (It's interesting: I don't think of myself as the screaming sort, but it's an involuntary reaction I developed in my 20s.)

I got it outside, but in the dark I couldn't see if it was going out of the container. I was shaking it out and it was hanging on. I thought it was gone, picked the box up, and screamed again when I saw it on the box next to my hand. K leapt to my aid, providing backup again with a small book-light so that I could rescue my box in safety.

Such trials build unity and respect. Flatmates united against a common foe will be strengthened to withstand the smaller irritations of flat-sharing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quality of weekend life.

I think my life changed for the better… when I stopped doing housework on weekends. A little bit every couple of nights is the way. There is no reason why you can't mop a floor on a Monday night while the news is on TV. I have better things to do on Saturday.

Unless its something I will find satisfying, like fresh white bed sheets on the line, or organising books.

My other tip for having a better weekend is not to sleep in. Controversial, but still I stand by it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I think I want a kick scooter.

An adult-sized one with bigger wheels, but still folding and light. Can ride on footpath, store in small place, not wear a helmet. I asked a random man riding one in Newtown if he liked his and how much he paid for it, and he was very positive. $300 is the minimum price for a Micro or a Xootr. That means about 100 3-5 section bus trips to pay it off. So if I ride it to church for 2 years, 100 one-way trips means I break even, anything else and I'll make a profit.

I wonder if I'd stick with it? It's hard to know if something is actually a good idea, when you're obsessed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Counting down to the envelope challenge.

I've done a bit of research now. $60 a month doesn't get many results, but $2 a day gets heaps. 

Live below the line

I discovered a wealth of info here, where someone started a campaign to challenge people to eat for <$2 a day for a week in August. Now I've looked at some of the recipes and eating plans, it looks suspiciously like a lot of lentils. I'm not a stranger to lentils, I ate lentils all winter in 2009 for reasons of health, convenience and also I was a bit obsessed (I've noticed I get obsessed with things). I won't be able to afford to buy meat, but at least I can eat what meat I've got in the freezer. I suspect a one month challenge wouldn't be as challenging as a second month would be, when I've worked through my food storage a bit. But I'll still benefit from the discipline.

I've signed up to hear about the 2011 Live below the line campaign.

Tips for living below the line. From the stonesoup minimalist kitchen blog. I like these tips, good sensible advice. Foraging is going a little bit far.

Here's an extra $100 a week.

Wendy loaned me a book all about skimping on food spending. I don't think I'll be buying full cream milk, spreading it out over an extra bottle so that I can add 1/3 water and make my own lite milk. But there is a useful menu plan, if I feel like planning menus.

I like coconut biscuits, I like cheese and tomato sandwiches, I like baked veggies. This looks OK. It also include suggestions for what to do with the money you save (invest it!) and a helpful guide to flatulence.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Envelope Budget Challenge.

I don't know how much I spend on food, but some of my spending is pretty junky. I need an incentive to stop buying "a block a week (etc)". I want to make my diet more simple. And I want to keep track of my money better. I want a challenge!

This is today's brilliant idea:

I'm going to put $60* in an envelope at the start of the month, and my food purchases will come out of that envelope. Simple! I have no idea if that's a realistic budget, it's only $2 a day. I actually hope it's a challenge, I hope I'm forced to think creatively about what I eat and how I shop. I'm sure I'll eat through my freezer and tupperware. If I'm eating self-raising flour and tomato sauce at the end of the month I'll feel a great sense of achievement.

The escape clause is that social eating doesn't count, because I don't want to limit Eat Street and other social things. I believe single people need to eat with other people, not eat alone in front of the TV. And 3 or 4 eat-outs a month would take most of my envelope. Takeaway DOES count; if you eat it by yourself, it comes out of the envelope.

So those are the rules!

I get paid in the middle of the month so I'll start my month on 16th. That way the month challenge will be finished before Christmas (If I go away for Christmas and eat my family's food that would be be cheating!). I won't blog boring shopping lists, but if I learn anything profound, I will share it. Also keen to know if you are doing it with me.

Oooh, I'm excited about this one!!!!!

* I really want it to be $50, but I'm afraid I'd do one shop and spend half my envelope and freak out and not eat enough fruit and veg and meat for the rest of the month. $60 makes me feel like I can afford a balanced diet. If I have $$ leftover at the end of the month, I'll do something special with it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Big dinner theory.

You eat some big dinners and it stretches your belly out, and you get really hungry for the next meal because normal sized meals don't fill you up now.

Sometimes, though, you eat some big dinners and you are less hungry. Last week I was starving for morning tea every day. I ate big dinners on the weekend, and today I'm not as hungry. Sometimes big dinners fill in the gaps of things you were deprived of, probably.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hottie at work.

Yes, I have a hot water bottle at my desk. Every woman should have one. Overactive air-con, cold rainy weather, and of course monthly euphemisms. Such a good investment.

I also have a small fan heater under my desk for when my feet are wet or cold. I didn't bring it in, I just found it and put it to use. Thankyou, cold-blooded employee from the past.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Living in small spaces.

I like the small apartment life; the restrictions are, in a way, freeing. Less to clean, less reason to buy things which means less attached to worldly things. Renting makes me feel even more nomadic, which is a good thing to remember—heaven is home.

What I've noticed is, almost every inch is valuable. Putting these bars of soap here means more space here, note to self, do not buy soap in the medium future. Hanging those on hooks behind the door means more space in this drawer, note to self, stop buying stockings I never wear them. Having no bookshelf means more space in living area for table, less space wherever boxes of books can go, note to self, no more books while in this apartment. Space juggling. The best things to do are 1) don't buy things and 2) get rid of things).

But. One day, I want room for a piano.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A name by any other name.

I was brought up 'Jessica', didn't get to be called 'Jess' til I went to senior high and then it was always with my sir name hitched on because there are SO MANY JESSES the same age as me. Jess K pointed out that on her blog comments it looks like she's talking to herself, hilariously lame, but actually there are three of us. Anyway, getting abbreviated was a sign of peer acceptance, and the family followed.

But I've just changed my Facebook name to Jessica. I'm making some moves back towards the long name again. Bit fancier, bit more syllables, bit of a point of difference with all the other Jesses, maybe won't get the first name + last name as much if my first name is a bit distinct.

Apparently if you have your identity stolen repeatedly the only thing to do is change your name. I'd give that a go. I don't know what I'd choose but it would be fun to pick. Maybe something like Jenny which feels similar, or maybe something totally whimsical. I don't think I'd do it for no reason though, mainly for the inconvenience to others.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gender theory

We often wonder why KESC is dominated by women. Last Friday it was six women and one man.

I've noticed the Tuesday morning runs is dominated by men. This morning it was me and five men. Usually there is one other female, and at the beginning of the year, I'm sure there were at least a couple more.

Are women less interested in running? Not true, I have a lot of female friends who like to run. Are men disinterested in eating? Surely not.

Here is my theory: KESC is organised by women, so it will tend to draw a female crowd, perhaps because our closer friends are female, and they are more committed to going to something organised by a close friend. Our male friends are not as close, so they are neither here nor there about coming.

Tuesday morning runs is organised by a man, so it will tend to draw men. What do you think? Is it that simple?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inexplicable mis-purchases.

One thing that really annoys me is clothes I don't wear. I feel like I should get my money's worth out of everything I buy, and clothes which sit in the drawer till they go out of fashion is like food that goes out of date. Except the food will start to rot and be thrown out, but the clothes will sit there forever, still being 'good'. "I can't get rid of that, it's still good and I paid $40 for it." Guilt and clutter.

It's hard to judge in the shop if something is going to be worn. Some polyester opshop cardigan will get worn constantly. But you think something is lovely in the shop, and when you get it home you develop an insecurity about it: it has no pockets on the back and my bum feels weird without pockets on it, or it's too pretty—don't want to look too pretty. Or the worst case, no reason at all—nothing to alter, no reason to throw away. It just lingers on, unworn.