August 2009 Archives
Had a pretty relaxing day today. A little too relaxing actually heh. Didn't really get much done around the house. Did have some yummy chippies for lunch and made a Yum, Delicious cake.
Tonight we met up with Nat and Andrew and went the all you can eat restaurant in Dickson (Dickson Family Food Court). It wasn't too bad.. for an all you can eat :)
After dinner went back to their place and played a little Sngstar and some random old Gamecube game.. very.. random.. heh
And so endeth Stu's 100111st.
Read Esio Trot by Roald Dahl in about half an hour last night. Pretty lame story really ;)
So that finishes the fiction section of that collection of books, leaving the two autobiographies - Boy and Going Solo. Both of these I've read at least twice, I really quite enjoy them. But might read some other things first. My pile of to-be-read books just seems to keep growing - especially since people keep lending me books! heh
Had another peaceful kind of a day at home. Bit more tidying (sorted out and tidied some crap downstairs), lots of Olympic-ing (I'm soo gonna have wii arm tomorrow), and cooking of dinner.
Thought I'd give these slow-cooked lamb shanks a try. Had to make a dash to the bottle-o this morning tho when I realised that we didn't actually have any red wine in the house!! So marinated a couple of lamb shanks in red wine, garlic and parsley. Quickly fried/deglazed, and added half an onion, more garlic, paprika (replacing chilli powder), some bay leaves (which I removed ;) ), worscestershire sauce, more red wine, little bit of stock and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Chucked them in the oven after our lunch (of nommm La Famiglia garlic bread). And waited all afternoon in anticipation!
The end result was meat that literally disintegrated (yes, there was a warning this might happen! ;) ). Epic nommm! For my tastes just slightly too tomato-ey, but Stu said it could have done with some more tomato paste to strengthen it up a bit. So I guess it worked out just fine :)
(bit of a crap photo)..
Finished Matilda the other night. I liked this one. Although I really don't remember much of it, and come to think of it don't really remember much about the movie either - not enough to know where they were different. Have the movie on VHS somewhere, will have to watch it soon :)
Finished Little House in the Big Woods last night. I started this book *ages* ago, in our last house I think so probably nearly a year a go. There's not much in the way of plot in this book, it's just a series of recollections about their life in "outback" Wisconsin in the 1800s. As a history lesson it's fantastic! Descriptions about all sorts of things they used to do to get by and making cheese and using every part of a pig etc. I actually found it fascinating.
The Canberra Times Fountain
APK lasagna last night
Dramatic clouds this arvo
So the rest of today was general house cleaning, finishing an evil 1000-piece jigsaw that we started down at the coast in April, reading news feeds, cleaning the house etc.
For dinner we went to the Dumpling Inn - one of our favourite restaurants. Had the shredded beef Peking style like we always do (epic nommm) and shantung chicken (which unfortunately they'd left the bones in, so was pretty fiddly). Super quick service. Then we did our shopping, and got home in time to watch Harry Potter with ads :)
Just a quick sampling of flowers going off in the front yard..
Tonight Stu and I met up with Nat and Andrew for dinner (APK - had lasagna - nomm!) and then went and saw Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.
I'd not even heard about it until mentioned on Blogography the other day, and then last night The Pen also gave it a mention. So organised to go tonight.
As per the several other Ghibli/Miyazaki movies I've seen, it's beautifully animated and unbelievably *sweet*. Quite enjoyed it :)
Hurrah!! A Google search for Dodgy Dendy returns me as number 3!! :)
*edit* - that was last night.. tonight I'm number 1!! heh
(didn't post last night cause got distracted)
I seem to have run out of things to blog about.. should I stop?
Before reading The Daily Coyote (and last night after) I'd been reading Roald Dahl before bed.
The BFG I'd had read to me when I was in primary school. During our library classes from week to week we had the story read to us. I actually didn't remember that much about it. Rereading it as a grown up, it wasn't too bad a story.
The Witches, I could have sworn I'd read, but after reading it I'm thinking not. Must see the movie! Also a pretty decent story.
The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, I'd never read before, was quite short and easy to read and obviously for younger readers.
Up to Matilda now, which I'm pretty sure I've read and have definitely seen the movie a couple of times. I remember the movie these days but will be good to read the book again.
I first started reading The Daily Coyote website in November 2007 (along with with a good chunk of the internet), after Heather posted a link to it on dooce.com. Obviously I was immediately hooked.
For my birthday, Stu bought me a copy of Shreve's book of the same title. I abandoned reading the Roald Dahl book I was up to in preference to this. I have to say I loved it. It is just a beautiful story, and wonderful to get so much more detail about their life that is not covered on the website.
Last night we did pasta for dinner, and watched Donnie Darko (director's cut edition). I saw this movie years ago and have been wanting to watch it again ever since. And Stu had never seen it, so watch it we did. I'm pretty sure this director's cut version had a lot more explanation about the time travel stuff than the version I saw did ...
Today was a catch up kinda of a day. For brekky I had some of Annie's organic free range eggs
We did our shopping in the morning and stopped at As Nature Intended for coffee and hot chocolate and puppy watching.
Lunch was some garlic bread we picked up at the markets.
In the afternoon I fought with Google Earth/Picasa. Google Earth had lost all my geotagged place markers and I couldn't figure out why (since the first batch had worked beautifully). In the end I figured you really needed to quit Google Earth and save temporary places, rather than marking the Picasa window as "done". Got the rest of day 2 saved properly, and day 3 (Space World) geotagged. I also cleaned the pool, setup a dvd player downstairs, and cooked a beef stew for dinner (epic nommmm!!!).
Is it just me or does this chick look like Helena Bonham-Carter?
So Windy organised a group of us to have lunch out at Fyshwick at Zierholz. It was a lot of fun.
The restaurant is set out with several large tables (about eight tables holding eight to sixteen or so people). It does mean that if there's only a couple of you, you'll have trouble getting a table. Most of the tables were reserved today, and we saw some people leave again straight away.
We got there just after twelve, and ordered their Sample Paddle - a 60ml sample of seven different beers, with a half pint of whatever was your favourite. This was a fantastic idea! Getting to try all these different beers together was great. They suggested starting with the light beers and moving up the the heavy darker beers. Well I drank the first, light, beer, then decided to do a mouthful of each up the line. When there were only two mouthfuls of each left, I went back down the line in reverse order, on account of not really liking heavy beers and preferring the lighter ones. :)
A while after receiving these, maybe twenty past twelve, we ordered our food. Entrées eventually arrived, however I didn't order one, as usually if I have an entrée I'll have trouble finishing the main. So I had one of Chris' salt and pepper squid thingies, and one of Stu's mussels. And then we waited. Ages and ages.
It was nearly 2pm by the time our mains arrived. Now we were having a nice time anyway, but that really was very slow service. I got the pork belly, which was delicious and nice and crunchy skin, although the portion size was a heck of a lot smaller than I expected. Stu got some sausages which were pretty good too.
By the time we'd finished, Nanette and I decided we were still hungry, so ordered some wedges to actually fill us up. We shouldn't have had to do this! Seriously!
So anyway. Nice enough lunch and the beers were good, but very slow service, and portion sizes left a lot to be desired.
I really don't like spiders. I can appreciate them from a safe distance, and actually I'm generally more afraid of webs than spiders themselves - because if you touch a web, the spider will come running and bite you!!
So this spider was in our house for like three days. And probably set off the alarm yesterday. So the stinky thing had to go. Caught it with a plastic chinese container and took it across the road to bother someone else.
Aren't these guys sweet?
And not-such-a-great pic of the male:
As seen at Fiona's..
Pity about the jpg artifacts .. irfan view seems to have trouble with solid blocks of red when resizing and resaving..
Other submissions at http://sh1ft.org/projects/index.php/2009/08/quick-snap-red/
So the weekend. Where was I?
Saturday (as usual) was mostly a cleaning/tidying/organising/shopping day.
Cooked a nomm roast pork and potato bake and had Julia and Paul over to enjoy it. They brought their PS3 and Queen Singstar over, but their PS3 wouldn't talk to our TV, so most disheartened about that. So watched Rockwiz instead. Dessert was a chocolate fondue with strawberries, banana, rockmelon, and biscuits to dip.
We were very full by the end of the night :)
Sunday was fairly quiet. Stu went out for a bit, which left me alone to tidy up, and then feel a bit down. Not really sure why. Maybe all the rain.
Sunday arvo I got NRMA to jump start my car. Really need to drive it more often. Every three or four weeks is just not enough. Took it for a drive out to Mitchell to dump some speakers, a (working) CRT monitor and a few bits and pieces. I decided it would be better to go late in the day rather than early. WISE DECISION! We were in and out of the place in about two minutes (whereas people who went early Saturday were waiting in traffic for an hour or more). The piles of CRTs (monitors, tvs) and computers were amazing. Would have been good to take some photos, but we were in and out so fast and I was driving so didn't have the chance. The guys were having fun throwing things around on the piles to smash them heh.
Geotagged just about all my Japan Day 2 photos, most of them to within a few metres of where they were taken.
And then it was Monday. It really felt like a Monday too :/ Got home, had dinner and watched a special on the Lockerbie bombing, and suddenly it's nearly 9:30 .. how??
And the interwebs is broked. So think will just go to bed and read some more of The Daily Coyote. .. Edit, internet is back. Posting, but then going to bed anyway.
Had a great day yesterday. Fiddly bits of work in the morning, then went to lunch - all you can eat Yum Cha for $16.80 (plus a dollar for a glass (corkage?)). Wasn't too bad. But did have a generous glass of champagne, followed by a generous glass of red. So didn't really feel like doing much work in the arvo :)
Ditched work a bit after four, and met up with Nat, who was also waiting for Andrew, and then we made Stu join us. Wandered around Civic, and had a slightly embarrassing ride on the merry-go-round :)
Went up to an arcade so we could play air hockey, but it was closed - doh!
So headed out to Bella Vista for dinner. As per usual (when it's available), we got the Mount Majura Pinot Gris - delish!
I got a special - Pollo Saltimbocco - it was amazing! Really delicious.
After dinner we went up to Rubee's for frozen custard, which I had trouble getting through, on account of being full from dinner and all :)
Then it was back to our place. We watched Cars, then played some Wii Carnival (not enough Wiimotes for three of to play most things). And then it was after midnight. So all up an excellent day :)
Don't forget Canberra peeps.. e-waste recycling this weekend.. get rid of old computer and stereo equipment for free
Further to my pondering about photo management, I was thinking I could maybe use Picasa locally to manage some of my more "miscellaneous" photos. I already have directories for "big" things, like holidays, weddings, various work photos etc. So I thought I'd expand on that a bit and do some broad categorisation of photos that are a bit more specific. And then what's leftover could be labelled/tagged/albumified/whatever.
So to that end I started going through my monthly directories of photos pulling out various bits and pieces.
While watching the last episode of season one of Monty Python. Only three to go :) (and later watched the pilot of Fringe - surprisingly with no ads!)
It hailed today. Which is pretty unusual for winter - usually only get hail in summer. There was even some of it left around when I got home.
So I thought last night I'd give Picasa another go. I'd previously downloaded Picasa 2 and hated it, but hoped 3 might be better.
Not so much.
The primary reason for using it would be not only managing my ridiculous number of photos (approaching 100k), but geotagging and sharing holiday photos.
Well the first road block is a total lack of ability to create subfolders. There's a deal-breaker right there. Doing holidays in a flat-file structure like that would be utterly ridiculous. It's pretty clunky as a management interface for photos, I didn't find it all that user-friendly. Altho the geotagging worked quite nicely with Google Earth.
The amount of online storage for a free account is also pretty small - only a gigabyte. The Europe photos that I wanted to upload are 140mb. So that's 14% gone on one trip.
So I think I'll be sticking with conspiracy for now (2gb used there :) ).
(For anyone that's interested, I did find a good comparison of Picasa web folders vs Flickr)
Had the entire family over today for lunch.
We did mexican..
It was a fair amount of work, but was pretty good, and not much in the way of leftovers (mostly just lettuce!)
Ok that was all out of order.
First up this morning as I stumbled out of bed I saw this... (I soooo need to do this!!)
The rest of the day was generally catching up, shopping and cleaning.
Tonight I made another bechamel sauce and used up the rest of the "meat" sauce and pasta sheets and made another lasagna. This one was a bit moister (added a bit of passata sauce to the mix first, and had a lot more bechamel sauce and cheese) and not cooked for as long. It was fan-fricken-tastic!! :)
Tonight we watched Meet the Robinsons, which I'd never even heard of before. Wasn't too bad, aside from all the time-paradox stuff and other such impossibilities :) And then we watched The Birds which I'd seen once years ago. King Kong (the original) is on now, but don't think we'll be staying up for it :)
Nice drinks tonight with a couple of other on-call officers :) Go team!! :)
Had an explosion day today. You know, the days where you're happily plodding along doing your thing, and then suddenly all hell breaks loose, and that's what you spend your entire day on? Yeah, well that was my day. All because of one malformed email. Fun.
But we did end the day on a nicer sort of bang.. winning for our second straight time at work Trivia Night. Mostly the same table as last time, with a couple of replacements. Was very cool :):) go team Blank!! :)
One of my favourite foods is lasagna. But I've only ever cooked them from frozen before. Last night I thought I'd have a go at doing one from scratch. So got all the ingredients while shopping yesterday. The biggest difference is that we wanted to do a vegetarian filling rather than a mince one. So we got a 200g packet of textured vegetable protein, as well as a carrot and a zucchini (both shredded) and some mushrooms (finely chopped). Other than that followed the recipe pretty closely. I've never made a bechamel sauce before, but the instructions were pretty good, and it turned out as it should.
So an a hour and a half of prep time and about an hour and a quarter cooking time and we had this:
Actually there was enough "meat" sauce and pasta sheets for three lasagnas. I made two because that's all the baking dishes I had available. I might make up some more bechamel sauce and do a third on the weekend.
The only problem I had was perhaps leaving them in the oven a little too long - they were very slightly overcooked. But oh so delicious!! :) Definitely a leftover winner! :)
The first time I went to Prince Palace I was a bit put off because we had the banquet menu, and it was very generic - lemon chicken, beef in black bean sauce, etc.
But I've been a couple of times since, and the rest of the menu isn't too bad.
Went along last night and had an amazing pinot gris (I swear it tasted just like alcoholic grape juice).
We had a soft-shelled crab for entrée, and dry chilli beef and Shantung chicken for mains
After dinner we went for a little walk, and were amused by the first exhibition at the soon-to-be-opened Belconnen Arts Centre .. :)
Started watching Meteor tonight. Thought it might have been something I'd seen, but actually it wasn't. But it turned out to be exceedingly lame. So abandoned that and watched this week's The Amazing Race. And proceeded to get jealous of their trip through Germany and Austria, and had me wanting to go back!!
For some reason I was dreaming about making a Mt Everest cake. And stressing about how I was going to do it and did we have the necessary ingredients and equipment ..