Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm a late-comer to the tea world. A year or so ago Wendy told me that if you drink green tea all day you don't get PMS or something, so I gave it a go and was obsessed for a few months. I tried to keep black teabags handy for my parents etc when they visited, but usually didn't. Then I discovered Chai Lattes, and it's like a hot chocolate version of tea. And then I discovered flavoured green teas and herbals with lemon myrtle and stuff. So I actually have 4 types of tea now. I now call myself a tea drinker. Pity it stains teeth and that's bad when you have braces, but oh well.

When I was buying some loose leaf chai at T2 (I had a theory of using nice tea as chocolate replacement therapy) I was advised to buy a T2 canister for it. I said no, I had tupperware, and was informed that tea should be stored air-tight in glass or metal, not plastic or the cardboard box it comes in (T2 and everyone sell it in cardboard, so it's ok for them, but not us). The ideal thing I've found is the small moccona coffee jar. It even fits back into the T2 box. But who drinks moccona instant coffee? Nobody. Not even my parents anymore. And who keeps jars in case they are useful? Also nobody. I'm waiting to scab them from friend's workplaces. I'm seriously considering buying some coffee if there is ever a quantity discount at Coles. I think they sell coffee near the tea. Will I drink the coffee, so I don't waste it? Then I might be a coffee drinker as well. That's going a bit far.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nectarines are nectarines.

I have been under the impression for many years now that a nectarine was a cross between a peach and a plum. Many people have agreed with me. Last Saturday I was picnicking with Jess K and she disagreed. She was firmly of the opinion that it was a peach and an apricot. How silly. Plums have smooth skins, so that's where nectarines get their smooth skins, and the reddish colour, whereas peaches and apricots are hairy, so how could you get a nectarine from that? But nothing would change her mind, so as we wandered home we stopped in at Randwick fruit shop and asked the man stacking the nectarines what nectarines are made of.

His answer: nectarines are just nectarines. We were both wrong. Then he gave us each a slice of nectarine. We were only 50% convinced, and 50% still in favour of our own theory, so we vowed to google it: and lo, wikipedia backs up the fruiterer. They are in fact a sort of peach with a recessive gene for smooth skins, but they aren't a hybrid or anything. So there you go. Nectarines are nectarines.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Layer laws.

Very very sometimes I come across a person who is not wearing a shirt under their jumper or cardigan. Recently at the ABCafe one Eat Streeter pointed out to the rest of us that another Eat Streeter frequently flaunts nature in this way.

I had only ever half noticed it, until it was pointed out, but then I remembered past instances. It puzzles me. It puzzled many of us that night. A cardigan is a layer, not a main thing. No, that needs emphasis. It's a layer, not a main thing!!! It needs at least a singlet under it otherwise it's a knitted long-sleeved shirt, and who wants to go there? And even if you have a fashion-based comeback for that, or an excuse about saving time or washing (not to attack you personally, Eat Streeter who shall remain nameless), what about when it's hot and you need to take off your jumper? You can't! I can remember when I was little, my best friend was caught in that dilemma on a hot day—even if it had occurred to me to wear a jumper with nothing underneath, which it never would have because a jumper is a layer not a main thing, the problems inherent in such a practice were self-evident.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Tasting of Age.

2010 was the year of 3 big changes, 3 significant steps into eating like a grown-up.

1. In an effort to slow down my chocolate intake, I switched to dark chocolate. My tastebuds adapted and were refined, so that I actually got really specific and ended up disliking some chocolate altogether (not a fan of Lindt, for eg), whereas in the past I liked all chocolate indiscriminately (apart from Picnic and Snickers and fruit and nut). This is quite a breakthrough.

2. This was incidental and surprising: I started to like olives! I can actually name the date that I went from disliking or just tolerating olives to looking out for them: I think it was when I had some tapas on Halloween in Newtown (the weirdest night to visit Newtown). I went out and bought some soon after.

3. Tea. I've been into green tea in the past because of various short-lived health obsessions, and Chai Lattes are a good alternative to hot chocolate, and when I was just at Summer School I drank about 25 cups of peppermint tea with honey because I was sick and it was cold. I've collected 4 types of tea and I now drink them for fun. My favourite sorts of teabag teas are Nerada. I favour herbal types over actual black tea.

More on tea later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Regressive adaptation.

At the moment my mad cool talent is Missing The Bin. Missing the bin with my hand right over it, missing the bin when I sit right next to it. I've stopped even being annoyed anymore, I just drop my nectarine stone or whatever and before it hits the floor my hand is halfway down to picking it up again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Junk love.

There is one nice thing about the temporariness of the renting situations we (don't) enjoy. One bright side to the rent increases, evictions, flat hunting, moving, flatmate changing, and generally living in run-down-looking neighbourhoods full of transitory young people in overpriced investment properties.

I love: The hard rubbish market. The easy availability of anything you need, passed from friend to friend around the Christian grapevine, and the practical way to help others by getting rid of something you don't need by passing it on to a new renter or leaving it on the verge for a stranger.

I just think it is wonderful. You can pick something up off a nature strip, an opshop or a friend moving away, use it for a couple of years, and donate it away again when you don't need it anymore. You never know if you'll be forced to move house or downsize next year, so there is little point being proud about your stuff. Easy come, easy go. As a designy materialist I would love to buy things new and matchy matchy. But junk love is cool.

It's as close as I think we could get to that verse in Acts where "everyone had everything in common". People who own houses full of things they got from Ikea or put on 24 months interest free at Harvey Norman are missing out.

A gentle nudge

In case you didn't know, I'm currently a student. As a student, I've noticed the general reticence of fellow classmates to speak up in class. Not all students mind you, but there is a general reticence.

Over the summer, I've been doing a course and I've gotten to know J better (which is one of the rare highlights of spending your summer in lectures). He's young (early 20s), from China, bright, studious, hard-working and his English is good. He taught me a lot when we did a study session together so I knew understood the material and had a good grasp of it. However, I could never work out why he wouldn't answer questions in class.

So during one class, while the lecturer was waiting for someone to answer a question, I gave him a nudge and whispered, "Go J!". The lecturer saw me nudging him and picked on him :) And J did brilliantly! He answered the question articulately and correctly (even if he didn't, good on him for having a go).

We haven't had classes together for the last few lectures, but he sent me an email saying, "btw, i answered question on recent classes, thanks for the encouragement before~".

Aww! Isn't it powerful when you believe in someone's ability and you encourage them to act on it? It was very clear to me that he was capable. He just needed a gentle nudge :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life lessons at the Ritz.

This is a bit out of date cos it was before I went away, but it's still interesting.

I saw The Kings Speech. I went alone: it's nice to see some movies on my own, and movies are a good thing to do on my own. The first time I went to the movies alone I missed having someone to make comments to, but now I enjoy it.

Anyway, I was by far the youngest person in the cinema. It was Sunday afternoon and there was a full-on queue of oldies waiting to get in. I went to see Dawn Treader a week ago, different crowd, I think TKS crowd came ready to laugh, and they cackled their heads off at that CBA ad about the woman who faints in her garden and gets fanned with palm leaves by CBA customer service, whereas DT people didn't think it was funny, maybe weren't the target market. The funniest part of the DT audience experience was a man next to me who randomly stated the obvious: "Rachel McAdams, she's gorgeous" and "I am Eustace!". I wasn't annoyed, it was funny cos it's the sort of thing I used to do, when I used to go to the movies with friends.

Back to The Kings Speech. Three ladies behind me shared tips on what to do if someone is stalking your daughter: redirect his calls to Maroubra Police Station. Useful tip. They were also talking about being menopausal in air-conditioned environments. I came prepared for the cold cinema, I had a light scarf stuffed in my handbag, and when I got goosebumps I whipped it out and wrapped myself up in it, and I heard a soft whisper behind me "that's a good idea!". I was pleased to that they could learn from me as I had from them.

It's a pretty good movie, anyway. Plummy accents. And I like it when an Australian is something other than a novelty Australian. Spot Mr Collins.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

KESC review: In Chan Thai

Thanks to Georgina for her guest review below:

The first KESC for 2011 found 4 intrepid explorers ready to investigate the delights of Nasi Goreng. But not. Yes, you heard it, the challenge was issued to rise to the challenge and try every
restaurant in the Kingsford eating strip, and the 4 intrepid explorers (let the reader understand that only 3 made this fateful decision) decided to move on, to In Chan Thai restaurant.

As one explorer said, “We know we’re not going to get poisoned at In Chan”, not, it can be said, that any other restaurant might possibly poison us! (Insert legal disclaimer here). Apparently, it was “stuffy” and In Chan has air conditioning.

So, the 4 explorers headed to In Chan, where futuristic chairs were sat on, and food ordered.
We ordered curry puffs for entrée, and Beef Pad Siew Ew, BBQ Kai Yang chicken, and Sizzling Soft Crab. It was tasty. The Pad Siew Ew tasted differently, but good, the chicken was yum, and the soft crab amazing.

We gave it 4/5 (I think, actually I make that bit up).


I (Elsie) would like to add that we had an in-chan-ting Thai-me (enchanting time) ;).

Cool down yer porridge

My microwaved porridge was too hot and a tad dry. So I stirred in an ice-cube. It cooled it down and gave it a nicer consistency. Perfick.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I have this ripcurlgirl aqua skirt that I bought years ago (in my very early 20s). I never wore it very much over the years. It's a very stretch-y loose fitting skirt, so I can't wear it just as it is. I'm not handy with sewing, so I was thinking of different ways I could make it wearable for me.

I considered wearing it as a strapless top/dress, but it made for a very short dress and I wasn't convinced about wearing it strapless. So I ruled that out.

Maybe I could wear it higher and hold it up with a pin?

I used a Little Twin Stars pin that Karen gave me a few years ago, while helping her clean out/pack for a move. I really liked the pleat/ruche-ing it created.

Then I thought, why stop at one, when Karen gave me two pins??

Granted, that's a very untidy pinning of my skirt. You can definitely make it look neater and more even.

So here you go: a pencil skirt thanks to two pins. I like the pleats it creates.

I'm so chuffed to have found two wearable, easy solutions to this skirt AND to have put those Little Twin Stars pins to good use.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 is the start of something annoying.

Here is something you might not know about my job. I kern the year. 2011 unkerned above, 2011 kerned below. Kerning makes words more aesthetically pleasing by adjusting the spaces between the characters. 1 is a very bad number because it always has enough room to swing a cat, so 2011 looks all big and fat on the left, and all skinny and awkward on the right. Imagine 4 people of different sizes sitting on a bench and two of them are bumping elbows while two of them are unsociably alone. It's much nicer if everyone has the same amount of personal space. That's why I kern 2011. I will have to kern every year until 2020.

The 2011 above is unkerned, the 2011 is kerned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Open house.

I'm really enjoying how my flat is at the moment. My new flatmate is very easy-going (and I've quickly relaxed to accommodate her!), so while it's not the tidiest flat in the East, it's the best place I've ever had for hospitality—I can just invite someone in for tea or dinner or sewing without especially checking or lining it up on a certain night. It's important to have time and space to withdraw, but personally my home is truly my home when I can share it. Not that I'm a kitchen queen, I just like to see the couches all sat in and all the cups out of the cupboard at one time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I was surprised how many people I talked to before New Year were ambivalent about NYE. Some years I feel a little bit dreadful about NYE, cos I suspect that my nanna tendencies preclude me from doing really fun memorable things like kissing strangers and getting drunk on public transport (I think this is the sort of fun our culture wants us to get up to), but then I remembered that one of my favourite new years was when I watched fireworks on the hunter river with my mum. Low key can be sweet, so just do what you enjoy. And this year was weird cos it seems like people did whatever they wanted with 1 or 2 friends, no big group thing. So it was nice to set my own plan, not go along with others just so that I'm not left out. I was also surprised how many people don't like fireworks! I was happy this year because JK and I went to Coogee beach for the 9.30pm fireworks. I love fireworks. And it was just nice, watching kids throw glow sticks and run around with sparklers. Lets do it again this year, God-willing.

KESC 22. Nasi Goreng.

It's a weird time of year, but we seem to have a core of people around so we're going to slip a challenge in this Friday. Nasi Goreng needs to be got out of the way. We may get entree there, then jump across to one of the nicer places that opened behind us for proper dinner. 6.30