Friday, December 31, 2010

Australian writing.

Australia doesn't have very imaginative TV. I reckon the reason Australia pumps out such good actors is that they have to earn a living acting lame scripts. There are few well-scripted local shows, with complex characters in layered environments.

But by lack of imagination I also mean in the premise. Cop/Doctor shows and small town/family dramas is all. I would LOVE to see a mystery series (adaptation of Arthur Upfield stories, perhaps) or a science fiction genre series, or a modern Australian adaptation of Oliver Twist. Something with an interesting premise, using history and place and personality. And it shouldn't be too high-brow.

If I was a writer, I'd be trying to get into television script writing. It seems to me a more potentially dynamic field, it's got audiences, and it's such a collaborative creative process. Also, if I was a composer, I'd want to score films and stuff, because that's where the most people are the most exposed to classical and cutting-edge music. Is anyone listening? You should make an Oliver Twist set in Bowral and Newtown with a soundtrack by the Whitlams and Nigel Westlake.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Packaging rant.

Vita-Weat Sandwich size 300gram box. Box is 30% bigger than product. Waste of packaging, space in transportation, and misrepresents size of product to customers.

I have complained to Arnotts, who replied unapolagetically but promised to mention it to the packaging and marketing department. I considered complaining to the ACCC, but it's probably not that serious. I looked into Choice, but I couldn't see an easy email form. Maybe Today Tonight? But I might have to be interviewed and I don't want Arnotts to know it was me.

By the way. Isn't it interesting that they left the H out of the word wheat and it doesn't look weird? I think it is because it saves space, shorter words can be bigger than long words. Nothing I hate more on a book design brief than a word like Everlasting or Reformation in the title. (Because I'll have to set it pretty small to make it fit, and then the author's name has to be even smaller, and it will all be unreadable on a bookshop shelf.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I engage in irrational behaviour and I'm not sure why.

The situation is this: I usually don't have any chocolate, biscuits or chips in the house because I am not to be trusted with them when I'm stressed.

So when I feel like doing some comfort eating, I will spend ten minutes in the kitchen opening pantry door after pantry door, opening the fridge door and freezer, several times. I basically go round and round in circles in the kitchen, opening door after door, looking for non-existent comfort food. I know it's not there because I haven't bought any and I know the contents of the pantry and fridge. Yet I still go foraging, in the vain hope I may have overlooked some biscuits. WHY?


Counting the year.

End of Year is like Week of Birthday. All of a sudden I realise my life is slipping by, and it's a tiny bit depressing. A year goes so fast, you only get used to writing '2010' and you have to get ready to start writing '2011'. And what have I done? Nothing. Still me, just older. The end of the year is a whirl, which adds to the feeling of time slipping by.

But I know it's an illusion. A year is still a significant period of time. Most of the months moved at a normal speed. And a lot of things happened. Moving house, new flatmates, Eat Street, holidays in different places, new directions at work, different health things, spiritual growth, spiritual challenges, deeper friendships. And the start of 2011 will be a long, long summer starting with CMS Summer School, then just lots of swimming, eating fruit, work, church and friends.  It's a lot, really, when I take account.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

KESC review: Taniphon Thai.

9 challengers. Too many for any of the shop tables so we were tabled in the back room. It has new tables and lighting, but needs new paint for it to be nice.

A ordered a green curry soup thing, JK ordered stuffed chicken wings, and the rest of us ordered either a noodle dish or a main each. I had roast pork in chilli and basil, very yummy, and enough for 2 meals, at a price of $12 I think, plus $1.50 for rice. Some of the meals were  $14, for duck or seafood.

The best thing about this place was that it was very meaty and verry tasty. They didn't pad out with bean sprouts and it wasn't bland. Which was a surprise, because I'm sure I had a lunchtime special here a long time ago and it was bland and stingy, JK had same experience. This time it was almost TOO strong and meaty. I added more veg to my leftovers the next day. Personally I'd give it a 4 out of 5. The value was pretty good and the service was good, quick with lots of water refills.
Now tragically ABC was shut, and won't open til mid-Jan. So at Elsie's persistent begging we went up to Papa Roti to try some gelato. They don't have very big scoops, and some flavours are a bit of a disappointment, like my choc mint that had no choc bits in it and tasted like toothpaste, and the shop isn't very nice to sit in, and they serve ice-cream in plastic cups not martini glasses (but you can ask for a cone as well). But they had classic music videos playing so we all sang along to Summer Rain. If you are going there, Ferrero flavour was by all accounts the best.

Monday, December 20, 2010

From little things.

I think my impatience is getting worse. The last few weeks I've noticed that I find waiting intolerable. Yesterday I found myself literally stamping my feet like a spoilt brat when I was being ignored at the chemist, and when I was finally served I was seriously fighting the urge to be the cranky customer. And it was a Sunday afternoon. I'd just been to church, and I had nowhere to hurry to! I should have been glowing with godliness and good manners. So I'm blogging the following paragraph because I just worked it out for myself, not because it's original.

Small trials—things that are just annoying, not even tragic—are excellent opportunities to grow in godliness. If I'm waiting, I should pray for patience, and then aim to be gracious to the person making me wait when my turn does come. If I'm doing a job I think is beneath me, I should rebuke myself for my lack of humility, and serve my co-workers or housemates with love. Small trials really are opportunities, because how am I going to remember to be humble if I get my own way all the time? And then I won't look as much like Jesus.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reading on the go.

I'm a booky person, but I don't read often now. I think because it's effort to go and find a good book. I'm trying to be better at keeping some handy. My lunchtime read is now a book on Martin Luther I pinched from my parent's bookshelf (so it's pretty old and daggy but I like books with an old-fashioned tone).

I always forget how addictive novels are! How hard it is to stop and go to sleep at night. It ruins my perfect body-clock. If only I could read while at work too (which is what audio books are for).

I have also remembered the art of reading while walking. I saw Michael Morrow doing it one day and I was impressed: what clever multi-tasking, and also what a good way to create the illusion of romance or intelligence. A little dangerous, but with practice it is very comfortable. It took me a few weeks to get used to it: the trick is, keeping your peripheral vision alert beyond the boundary of the page. Warning: a heavy book makes your wrists tired after 30 minutes.

Underrated: Making things.

This guy explains really well why making things is so satisfying, if you are a romantic and slightly alternative person like me. I made a lot of stuff when I was homeschooled and I'm getting back into it now, and appreciating it. I like stuff which is unique, hand-crafted, and really belongs to me: hand-making does that. And what he calls "the story", that it's not just a shirt, it's a shirt I made, I chose all the bits and sewed them together and it's unique and it's mine. It's not just biscuits, it's Julia's recipe and I made them and they taste better than shop ones.

I think hand-me-downs are almost the same thing—like a shirt mum used to wear. There is a story, and it may be a unique item by the time you get it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That's what friends are for

If I don't feel like going home after a day of uni, I sometimes call upon Jess. While veg-ing out on her couch, I have noticed she uses either a step ladder or milk crates to prop up her television.

Yesterday I noticed the perfect tv stand for her while I was at Salvos, so I barged into her office and told her to buy it. Pronto.

This photo is a photo of friendship: Jess bought the tv stand, I'm shielding her from the sun's rays because she forgot her hat, Jess K took the photo and helped Jess transport her new old tv stand home.

Tanaphorn Thai

Yo peeps. Just a quick reminder about KESC on Friday night.

Tanaphorn Thai
6:30PM, Friday 17 December
510 Anzac Pde Kingsford NSW 2032

Maybe we'll go to PappaRoti for dessert. They have quite a selection of gelato/ice-cream.

Lolly teeth.

Braces are really handy for sticking your lolly teeth in place. When did lolly teeth start tasting minty? Is it supposed to reinforce the irony of eating something teeth-shaped which is actually bad for your teeth, by tasting like toothpaste? I think I prefer whatever they used to taste like.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Of Transactional Analysis and Speaker Boxes.

Guest post by my mum. I asked for a brief guide to 'the voices' and she kindly obliged. 
Transactional Analysis (TA for short) is a helpful model that describes something of what internal conversations go on within each of us. Without wishing to imply that any of you dear readers ‘hear voices’, we do all have a whole range of messages that we ‘hear’, and that inform our decisions and actions. It’s a bit like those cartoons, where someone has an ethical dilemma, and we see the ‘angel’ sitting on one shoulder, and the ‘devil’ sitting on the other shoulder, and they’re arguing. So what are these messages, and where do they come from?
According to TA, there are basically three different sources of messages: Parent (Taught); Adult (Thought), and Child (Felt). Of these, two of the three can be further broken down: the Parent divides into Critical (CP) and Nurturing (NP); and the Child can be either Adaptive (AC) or Free (FC).
Our Critical Parent’s job is to teach us right from wrong – clean your teeth, put your seatbelt on, don’t steal, murder, lie, etc; the down-side is that it can be a very hard task-master. Our Nurturing Parent soothes us when we’re hurt, and encourages when we’re afraid; maybe it can be a bit soft on us, or a bit suffocating. Our Adaptive Child feels the hurt, anger fear, etc, and alerts us to what might be wrong or harmful for us. Our Free Child is full of fun, excitement, laughter, joy. Neither of our Children have much self-control, though, so AC can fly off into rages, become Victim, blame, etc, while FC can be terribly irresponsible. Our Adult is our CEO; it’s all in the head. This is the one that delegates, gives considered responses. Of course Adult can be rather like a whole box of dried fruit, sucking all the yummy juice out of life!
So maybe we’re a bit like speaker boxes: different speakers within the box give different sounds – bass, treble, etc. Sound technicians specialise in balancing all these sounds to get just the right mix. When one is too loud, it makes for terrible music. The same with us: if one or two parts of our psyche are over-functioning, if they are shouting too loud, we, too, make terrible music.
The two who tend to shout loudest together for most of us are Critical Parent and Adaptive Child. Try this exercise: write down 10 statements (more if you like) beginning with “I should….” Now read through your list again. How are you feeling as you writing and read all your ‘shoulds’? You have now heard your very own CP, and felt your very own AC! CP is all about ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘more’, ‘less’. AC is all about feeling guilty, sad, unworthy, angry, afraid.
It seems to me that ‘good’ Christians have most problems with our CP and AC. On one level, we know we are saved by grace, but on a much deeper level we also know we should be doing more, better; measuring up to God’s perfect standards somehow. There is so much ministry to do. How can I possibly waste time enjoying myself?!
I recently heard a sermon based on Deut 20:1ff, and the point was made that the kingdom and the battle is God’s! In this passage, all the fit, strong, brave (and even scared) young men were to be sent home from God’s army, so they could dedicate their houses, farm their land, marry their wives; they weren’t needed, because God would win the battles. And the first application? STOP running around like a headless chook and trust God! So now I’m wondering: if all I feel when I think of ‘ministry’ is tired and weighed down with guilt, maybe I’m listening more to my own personal, portable, Critical Parent rather than to my loving, gracious Nurturing Father. If this is the case, maybe I’m not really trusting in God to win his battles, but myself to do it for him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Revelation and liberation

I had a revelation yesterday. I have been living as if my life's primary goal is to find a marriage partner, settle down and have kids (this may have been obvious to some of you, but I was blind to it).

What is the effect of this? It means finding a marriage partner takes up a lot of your thoughts, prayers and conversations. It means questioning God, "Where is my husband? Where are my kids? Where is my house in the 'burbs?" and doubting yourself, "Why haven't I settled down yet? Aren't I good enough for anyone? What's wrong with me?"

What (or who) brought about the revelation? Well, God, obviously, but as I've reflected on my life throughout the year, I've been continually thankful for my current life situation. Life is good. Hard at times, but good. I can clearly see that he's given me opportunities that I can take only because of my current season in life: single and unburdened by marriage, kids and mortgage.

Secondly, we studied 1 Corinthians 7 in Bible study last week. Some of you may feel like you know this passage inside out, and you've done it to death. When we went around summarising what we thought the main gist of the passage was, I said, "If you're married, stay married. If you're single, stay single, but you're free to marry. Live as God's called you." It only struck me yesterday that the practical application for me is that my primary goal is no longer "find a marriage partner" but "live as God has called you". Once I realised that, I felt incredibly liberated.

It's liberating because the issue of marriage doesn't have to dominate my thoughts, prayers and conversations anymore. I don't have to worry about whether God has or hasn't got marriage in store for me or whether I'm an unmarriable nutter. It decreases the attractiveness of dating non-Christians considerably. But the greatest liberty is being freed from WRONG thinking. It is a beautiful feeling and state of being.

Sure, I'll continue to pray for me and friends regarding marriage (if it be his will) and at times I may be frustrated by my singleness and I may eventually try internet dating, but earthly marriage is not my life goal. It is neither here nor there. I am free to marry or stay single. Both are good options in God's eyes. Just live as God has called you, whatever circumstance you are in.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

5pm giggles.

It's the end of the day. I've been laying out a book called Robot Planet. I go to save a pdf of it, and I realise that I had totally unconsciously named my layout work Robot Chocolate.

My subconscious is trying to tell me something?

My test for sufficent digestion

If I can do 30 jumping jacks and not feel sick afterwards, I take it to mean lunch (or whatever meal or snack consumed prior) is sufficiently digested. It also helps if it's been at least 2-3 hours since a meal.

What's the significance of this? It means you can exercise. No more excuses.

More non-bread.

E: Gingerbread is actually not a bread.

J: No. It's sort of biscuit. Unlike banana bread/cake, it doesn't transition to bread by the application of butter.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some is better than none

Sometimes, I set myself some lofty aspirations e.g. I'm going to do an intense hour of exercise or I'm going to study for six hours today. But your day doesn't always go to plan. So what do you do? Throw in the towel?

No, I remind myself that "some is better than none". So thirty minutes of gentle to moderate exercise is better than none. Two hours of study is better than none.

Then I remind myself, some days I can achieve my lofty aspirations and other days I can't. And that's okay.

As Geoff Huegill said in a recent Good Weekend,
To be your best, keep it simple. You can't be excellent every single day, but you can go out there and be the best you can be at that moment.
So on the days I am tired, I remind myself "some is better than none", and that I will have days when I can do more. On the days I have energy, I crank it to the max.

KESC 20 Review: Buck Me

There were 6 of us: unfortunately Elsie was struck down and absent. We were all rather tired, so it was sort of subdued, but still enjoyable.

Chicken Jellicoe

Indonesian style noodles. They don't do table service (other than bring out the food) and they don't have any free drinks at all, it's only bottled water I think. It was not air-con, which made us even thirstier. So they loose points there.

Mince Jellicoe

We ordered the house special, either mince or chicken in soup with an egg, a giblet, some wontons and some greens. It was nice and salty and a little spicy (I added chilli sauce to it). They were $8.50 each. Pretty good value. The chicken wasn't all that nice quality or taste, but the mince was OK. The fried wantons were nice.

A fried wonton
Chicken stir fry noodles

Overall, 2/5.

We proceeded as usual to ABCafe, and ate our favourite ice-cream. The sugar kicked in and we were way too giggly. Sorry Dave. Sorry couple sitting next to us eating a banana split. Sorry the second couple sitting next to us sharing Death By Chocolate. Thanks again, AB!

Next, Taniphon Thai, 17th Dec, our 21st Eat Street and probably the last before Christmas (apart from a possible bonus visit to Nasi Goreng).

Envelope Grocery Budget Challenge update.

I have over a week to go of my $2 a day budget (groceries only), and only $1.55 left in the yellow envelope. Before you laugh, or start donating tinned food, don't worry. I spent the money on food, and I still have food.

I did really well for the first two weeks, spending less than my budget. I was helped by a weekend at my family, a wedding reception, and an Eat Street. I haven't yet touched my frozen meat, but I have supplemented my cheap food with 2 frozen pies, 2 sheets of pastry (which I made lentil pasties with), eggs, and other random scraps.

I'm not eating much tasty tasty meat, but I'm feeling healthier with all the vegetables I'm eating instead. Homemade soup with homemade bread is cheap AND easy (after the initial evening cooking you freeze enough for many meals) AND very delicious. Lunch envy in the office.

Last week I ran out of cheese, and bought a block for $7. And then on the weekend I got a bit cravy and blindly bought some bacon, chocolate and stonefruit. That cleaned out my last $10 a little bit before schedule. So the next 9 days I'll be eating only what I have in the house. Which is OK, cos I have lentils, eggs, bacon, things to bake bread, frozen veggies, cheese, and one tomato. Only going a week without fresh fruit will be a challenge.

I love challenges. You get to act a little crazy. I have now lived without shampoo, eaten at 20 restaurants since October last year, and lived out of an envelope. I want to refine the envelope challenge and do it again next year.

It's good advice.

J: I found a hole in my tooth last night. Boo.

D: How do you find a hole?

J: I flossed.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The phone was a near death blow to the watch. When my watch battery died, I started relying on my phone. But a watch is really more convenient, and it's a fashion statement now too. I think it's making a comeback. I'm getting the battery changed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gift giving.

I don't get too worked up about it. I buy for my immediate family, which isn't too hard, and I give to others depending if I find something or not, Christmas or birthdays. You might get an amazing hand-made card with Miss Bennet drawn sitting at a bay window looking through the carefully cut out panes, you might get a banana guard (I still have 3), you might get a vintage sewing machine, you might get a crocheted hand towel from a market, you might get nothing. Hopefully it all evens out over time. I'd rather give something interesting or nothing at all, rather than rush around in a panic or buy something token.

It's getting boring, I think.