Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to buy little tomatoes

I love the little tomatoes, especially grape tomatoes.

When you buy little tomatoes (whether they be cherry, grape or whatever) pre-packaged in a plastic punnet, I highly recommend turning it over and checking out the bottom before buying it. Then you will see if it's slimy (yuck) or growing mould (yuck). Of course, don't buy those ones.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Turning into my parents

I used to cringe every time my parents cried out, "Look! There's an Asian on tv!"

Well, I'm turning into them. Almost. Every time I see an Asian on tv now, I want to cry out, "Look! There's an Asian on tv!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

All the single ladies' demographic trends.

The Atlantic magazine sometimes gets passed around the office (if you know the right people to ask) and it's a jolly interesting magazine. I read a whopping long article about urban density over several lunchtimes.

One of the best essays/articles I've read in a long time I found via Facebook last week, and it's online at the Atlantic. I've been telling people about it ever since. It's mainly about contemporary singleness. It's also a perusal of the modern Western concept of marriage (find your One True Love and live happily every after) and its (increasing ir)relevance today, for different reasons. It's not from a perspective that I really identify with, and I think Christian marriage has a unique place in society, and I'm not sure about applying the Decline Of Men idea in Australia, but the article covers A LOT of things I've heard about, observed or wondered about. It very much makes one think. And it's reminded me of stuff I take for granted, which I am very grateful for. While singleness is apparently on the increase, which is usually a depressing thought, there has never been a better time and place to BE a single woman, which is an amazing blessing.

KESC 35 REVIEW. Mama Teresa

This has a cool, clean, modern decor. It's the best inside of a restaurant we've seen, by far. As G points out, there is a fish tank for decoration, not dinner. One of the fish is a Nemo. The seats are cushy, although a bit too close together to get past them easily. The table is set with nice shiny cutlery and white plates, but they don't have cloth napkins, only serviettes. The tablecloth is covered with brown paper, for reasons which become obvious by the time I've eaten my pasta. The waiters are all men, in white shirts and aprons. Unusually, it has an open kitchen. It looks great.

We ordered a salad.

I tried a pasta, which was great. It was about $17. The prawns were delicious, salty chilli flavoured, and the pasta was drenched in olive oil. It could have had more greens, cos it promised baby spinach and there was barely any to notice. That would have been the main improvement. I reckon I could make it at home. I must try.

The pizzas are 13", which is just right for sharing. Thin base, looked all right in the topping department.

My meal, with a share of salad and a LLB drink, was under $25, the others were cheaper with sharing a pizza. I was pretty happy with the food, service, quality and price. The food came quickly and both mains came at the same time, which is ideal. It compares well with Giovanna's over the road.

How to eat toast

I like to eat toast with the spread side facing down because there are no taste buds on the roof of the mouth. More taste to the taste buds. However, I do not apply this logic to all foods.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tall food joy.

I get a little bit of happiness when I buy groceries and I have shallots poking out of my bag. Baguettes are just as exciting. I don't know what it is about long skinny foods, but they make me feel like I look like an authentic cook.

Before and after

Sometimes it's quite easy to pinpoint when a record company goes, "Hey, I think your band has potential. Here's more money!". Just check out the differences in these video clips. It's the same song, but clearly when they're trying to hit the American market or get more popular, they try harder with the video clips.

Example 1: Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work

Example 2: Ash - Girl from Mars

Example 3: Oasis - Live Forever

UK bands seem to do this quite a bit. I know Manic Street Preachers have done it too, but the song in questions escapes me. Think the same thing happened with Savage Garden for I Want You.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm on the global rich list!

Sleep routine is very important. I always listen to Nightlife on ABC radio, it helps me nod right off. If I can't sleep, then there is something to listen to.

My favourite talkbacks are about money. The share market, the poor, the debt levels, the housing prices. Is it just me? Economics is fascinating! I'm in heaven with a doco about the GFC or Enron. So last night I fell asleep as usual during a talk with the barefoot investor and a man called Arun Abey, who was on once talking about the Smith Family. So I downloaded the podcast and listened in full today. Here is an interesting gem:

On the Occupy Wall Street protest, Barefoot said we aren't the 99%, globally we are the 1%. I've heard that sentiment before. We are rich if we have running water. But he mentioned a nifty website that turns it into a real number for you, a reality. You put in your annual income (in US$ without cents) and you get your exact rich list position, and a rank as a percentage of the population. I'm just outside the top 3%.

It's a useful exercise. The website hopes to encourage generosity by reminding people not to compare themselves to the rich, but the many many poor.

I can also recommend the barefoot investor website for friendly articles about everyday money stuff.

Same principle

This one principle applies to exercise, housework and study: Just Do It.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New love

Ever since Merrick and Rosso stopped doing breakfast radio, I stopped listening to the radio. Because of that, I don't get exposed to new music. I listen to The Jillian Michaels Show regularly and she ended her most recent podcast with a song that caught my attention. I googled "and she spoke words to the basement people" and discovered Two Door Cinema Club.

I'm really excited because I don't listen to a lot of new music and it's exciting!! fun!! to find something new, fresh and exciting that you like. And I like that they're from the UK--my love for UK indie music never dies.

Turns out they toured in February. Sorry to have missed them, but will definitely be keep an eye out for them next year!

So yeah. I like 'em. Check 'em out. I'm gonna rave and rave about them.

Have you heard of them? I don't know how well-known they are.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bulk up your salad

Salads are really expensive to purchase. I like to buy a medium tub of tabouli (tabbouleh or however you spell it), bulk it up with cucumber, tomatoes and red onions. I add some protein to it, and then I have lunch for three days! Easy.

My one piece of wisdom about planning a wedding:

Do what you want.

This sounds selfish and financially dangerous, but what I mean is, start with two people getting married with their friends and family watching; absolutely everything else is optional. Cull out everything, and then think about what really will make a wedding celebratory for you. (A church, a reception and a photographer. A beach, a BBQ and a volleyball game. A tree, a morning tea and a gramaphone.)

The danger this avoids is, looking at other people's weddings, or reading bridal magazines, setting a bar for yourself and getting all sorts of ideas you never had before. You never thought about what shoes you'd wear, but now you've realised you have to wear pretty white high heels. No, actually that's a wedding industry convention. You can wear pink thongs or white dunlops, it makes no difference. Seriously, everything is up for grabs. Reception. Bridesmaids. Speeches. Cars. Food. Flowers. Photographers. Someone told me recently that the average wedding today is a super-wealthy wedding from a few generations ago—feasts and wear-once-clothes and glorious fun hoopla. Did you notice that when Elizabeth married Mr Darcy, they didn't have a reception, or speeches, or bridesmaids, or photographers? It was church, then wave goodbye from the carriage. That's a pretty low bar.

Honey is amazing.

Whenever I squirt a drop of honey into my tea I marvel "this is a bee's whole life's work". Bees that spend their lives laboriously collecting tiny blobs of flower juice from lots of little flowers each make about a teaspoon of honey—in its life. It's a bit weird to think about that, but it also makes me appreciate each teaspoon of honey a lot more. Appreciating effort always adds value to the experience.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Too old?

I wonder if you reach a point where you go, "Hey, I think I'm too old to be posting up videos of Jay Chou on Facebook, followed by love hearts <3 <3"?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Advice for the corporate world

I have been very blessed this semester to take part in a mentoring program at uni. The corporate world is utterly foreign to me, and I have been paired with two mentors from a large, prestigious, international professional services firm.

It's been a wonderful, eye-opening experience so far. This firm has a really friendly culture and I've been impressed by how culturally diverse it is. It's been great being able to pick peoples' brains and ask them why they've chosen their current career path, how they've gotten there and where they plan to go.

Here's some advice I've received today:

1. Read Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office.
2. Read Resumes That Get Shortlisted.
3. Consider doing a June Dally-Watkins course.
4. Go to as many workshops from the uni's careers centre as possible.
5. Use the UNSW Career Research and Assessment Service.
6. Take MGMT2725 Career Planning and Management if you can. If you can't, do all the readings listed in the course outline.

KESC 35. Mama Teresa

The two year anniversary of the first Kingsford Eat Street Challenge is marked in my diary for Thursday 27 October. We absolutely must KESC. Mama Teresa Italian Pizzaria, next to the Regent hotel, 6.30pm. There have been very mixed reviews and it's under new management, so who knows.

PLEASE RSVP by next Tuesday. We plan on booking a table, all proper like. It looks like being a little more expensive than the usual feed, but not-Asian will be a nice change.

Some nostalgia for you. First KESC:

And about this time last year. I can't believe Tensaya was a year ago! I could have sworn it was only this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall asleep in 3 easy steps.

1. Lie down.
2. Let your body temp drop.
3. Put on a blanket and raise your body temp.

I never noticed a pattern, until one day I was lying down and chatting to my sister on the phone, and I said "I've just gotten cold. Now I'm putting a blanket on, and then I'll probably fall asleep!" and she said "Yes, it's true, that's how I get pre-schoolers to have a nap. Boost the air con, then put the blankets on them." So it's a fact.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stealing a part of my soul.

Aaargh. What is it about smiling for a camera that's so unnatural? I can hold it for about 4 seconds, then I feel like I've turned into the Joker.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't just dream, email!

This is what I want to do—float in a boat. So I've emailed Maitland City Council about it. Maitland has a river, totally going to waste, right in town with nothing but the backs of shops and some car parking along the side, although recently they've put in a footpath. I mean, if that was Sydney everyone would be redeveloping to get as much river view as possible, and there would be jettys and cafes etc etc. Row boats for hire is all I ask. So I asked. You never know.

I emailed Randwick Council last week about wheelchair access to a park. I have heard back today so now I am waiting with interest to see if I get a real result. Emailing is turning into one of my special skills. I'm going to make the world a better place!

Woooo! Clean windows!

It's very hard to clean the windows in block of units. Impossible, really. But on Monday I will have clean windows, because we are getting NEW windows! Clean on the inside AND outside. I shall be so happy. If we get fly screens as well, that would be Christmas!

D.I.Y. skim milk

Someone once said to me that skim milk was watered down milk. That got me thinking. It's probably a lot cheaper to buy full-cream milk and then water it down so it becomes skim milk. If you could be bothered. If you were that strapped for cash.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hair rave.

I've got a hairstyle from Pinterest that I use a lot, second only to a pony tail. I hate how often I do a pony tail, it's kind of the jeans of hair-styles.

See my photobooth headshot for a rough idea.

You make a low pony, pull the hairband out a little bit, and make a hole in the hair above the hairband. Don't poke all the way out the bottom, just make a hole, start twirling your pony and stuffing it down the hole. Stuff it all in like a hair pocket. It won't stay like that by itself so stick some bobby pins through the pocket to keep it from untwirling or falling out the bottom, and slide one pin through the opening at the top to keep it closed and stop the hairband from rolling out. So now it's like a low, inside-out bun! It's very neat and simple. It's my only hairstyle that anyone comments on, and after a few practices it's almost foolproof. I can't recommend it enough.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unlikely covers.

Really old folk songs are a bit of a my favourite thing to re-discover. They are so simple and singable, and also quaint. I also love covers—who doesn't?!— like the Pickin' on series of bluegrass versions of pop songs, or Like a Version, or those anthologies of songs written by one artist and sung by others. So one of my favourite things EVER is when a contemporary artist covers a really old song, like Botany Bay or London Bridge is Falling Down or I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. If you search for old songs you never know who you'll find singing what. And then they get stuck in your head.

Speaking of covers, I've also just discovered Shed Muzak on facebook. Wish I had earlier. I'm so jealous of their fantastic coolness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The age gap.

I wonder about old people. 

Our society talks about the "ageing population" and retirement age and other economic things, and also about the social contributions made by older people, like caring for grandkids while their kids work, volunteering in general, and then there are things like ANZAC day which honour the sacrifices of those who are now old, and also the burden of caring for the elderly.

In church (local, bloggy, Sydney, etc), I don't notice any equivalent conversations. The young are completely privileged. I won't list the privileges but I do like them :) I feel so blessed and cared for.

But older people are silent. It seems like they burrow down into their traditions and their 8.30 am services. It's hard to connect with them because we never see each other. Is it a problem? I don't know, but it's weird to live in a void. There are probably significant opportunities being missed for us to serve each other and build each other up, and society in general is having these conversations, so it's strange that churches sort of aren't, in my experience. Elsie goes to a morning church and I do sometimes, but still—in a big church there are so few reasons to share your life with anyone outside your demographic… That's my impression, anyway. I'm going to try and keep my eyes and ears open more now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Do not give me a penguin classics Wuthering Heights mug.
It's too cliched. It's so mainstream hipster, so "I'm an authentic book person". Had a conversation in the office about this. If you have to write your love for retro editions of classic literature ON A COFFEE MUG, you're trying too hard, and you probably love the image of the book more than the book. Authenticity is not an accessory.

I'm trying to own "being a book person" without owning a lot of books or a lot of book-loving paraphernalia. I think it is possible. You can certainly read a lot of books without buying them, just borrow them from friends and libraries. It saves money and space and effort when you move house and saves the trees books are made from, but it is a bit sad not to be able to display your bookishness with wild abandon.

No, having said this, I own a lot of books and I love them! I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice from the 60s with a hilarious garish historically incorrect illustration on the front. I have nearly all the Discworld series. I have Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and other LMM. I have Narnia and illustrated Tolkien. I one day plan to own all the Arthur Ransom Swallows and Amazons books, and maybe the Harry Potter books as well.

But I stand by my point, no penguin classics mugs.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's a new day.

I am so happy we're back to daylight savings.

Still adjusting to it though. The going to bed early part is easy. The waking up early part is not happening yet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What I did on my long weekend, or, How to create art and unblock a sink.

This is what I did on Monday. I finished this piece of art. If you want to do some interior decorating style art, this is a good one. All you need is a ruler and masking tape, and you mix one colour at at time.

Then after I finished my book I unblocked a plughole drain. Notice my beautifully manicured nail from the wedding. I tried poking it with a long paintbrush, but I needed to pull it out not poke it down. So I cut a piece of wire from my tool kit (wire is a toolkit essential) and I slipped it down the hole and hooked out this revolting slimy hair thing.