October 2011 Archives

More foodie goodness

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Saturday morning we went to Black Pepper for breakfast then did our food shopping.

Dessert Saturday night was pretty simple and wheat-free - strawberries dipped in white chocolate, and mandarin pieces and raspberries dipped in dark chocolate.  The strawberries especially were nommmm!!!

Fruit Chocolate
Sunday was mostly a quiet day at home, although I did go down to Tony's to do a plant swap - some fish tank plants for a big bunch of rosemary for the night's lamb roast.  As well as delicious lamb, we did a whole heap of vegetables - garlic, pumpkin, sweet potato, swede, zucchini, carrot, red onion, mushroom and capsicum.  So yummy!  And so simple, and apart from a good sloshing of oil, amazingly healthy (well maybe not the lamb so much hehe).

Roast veggie goodness

Alice's

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Went to Alice's Thai Restaurant in Civic tonight.  We had fish cakes and money bags for entree which were pretty decent, and a nice chicken Pad Thai, but the highlight was the "Crying Duck" salad which far surpasses 2Yummy's super tasty duck for being super tasty!

Yum yum yum!!!

Alice's Crying Duck

What do you do?

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Saw an article on Boing Boing during the week about "What do you do?" being a question most Americans ask each other when they meet.

Well I have to say it's not only Americans that do it.  Just about everyone I've met in Australia has done it too.  In fact they did it so often it used to drive me completely mental.  I used to *HATE* meeting people at church, because I'd ALWAYS get the same questions - Where do you live? What do you do?  I automatically got so defensive about it and once I was quite rude to someone that did it to me.

Yeah I'm pretty screwed up.

Whoops

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I might have accidentally bought a new toy today.

Well you see Phil asked me if I was looking to a buy a point-and-shoot camera and I'm like .. well actually .. 

Hardley Normal were doing a buy-one-get-one-free special on point-and-shoots and I'm like .. ooo!

So did some research on one of the ones I'd been considering recently (the Sony TX10).. it's waterproof!!  And reasonably decent picture quality and good in low light and only $225 with the discount!  So thought it would make a great new random camera.  

So got it.  It's pretty cool.  A few failures in a batch of pics but pretty awesome macro and it's 16 megapix!  Should be fun :)

New toy

Sunny Sunday

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Fairly quiet day today.  I was still feeling delicate after last night, as was the sweetie, who drank since I couldn't.

Went over to Annie's late this arvo to catch up with all the family and ended up staying for a yummy dinner.

Having a Ball?

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So had a ball for work last night.  Which might have been fun had it not been for an apparent case of food poisoning or some such affliction which left me feeling completely queasy the entire night :(  Managed a glass of wine and a little champagne and a fraction of entree - none of which stayed down.  Then a few mouthfuls of mains which didn't stay down.  Managed to keep a few mouthfuls of dessert down.  So yeah, spent much of the night feeling pretty miserable.  Everyone else seemed to have a good time though.

ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball
ABS Ball


National Velvet

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I finished reading National Velvet by Enid Bagnold during the week.

Omigosh what a terrible book.

Yeah.

I bought this book a long long long time ago, with a book voucher I'd won somewhere.  I bought Superman III the same day.  I can't remember if I ever read National Velvet when I was younger.  I started reading it just after Elizabeth Taylor died earlier this year.  I was reading it before bed but it was so painful to read that I stopped reading it, in preference to playing games on my phone.  I only finished it by making it bus reading material.

The whole first half of the book it's pretty much just her family life, but it's written in the really odd style that chops and changes scenes and assumes you already know what the heck is going on.  It makes really obscure references to things and several times I was rereading several pages at a time to figure out if I'd just missed something (or even Googling!!).  Painful painful.  There's no detail in the training of the horse whatsoever, just a sentence or two to say that it was happening.  And then the race.. told from the point of view of someone who never actually saw any of the race!!  Biggest waste of time ever.  

Verdict: don't bother. I'll be donating this book to Lifeline or something.

Babysitting

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Babysat Noah, Lily and Immy tonight.  Watched Flight of the Navigator, Despicable Me, and some of Chamber of Secrets.  And had a pretty terrible pepperoni pizza from Dominos (and they gave us regular garlic bread instead of cheesy garlic bread... doh..)

Her Majesty the Queen

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This was a bucket list thing that I never thought I'd get to do - see the Queen!!  
Seen mostly through my camera lens, because frankly, it has much better eyesight than I do :)
It was pretty much a case of blink and you'll miss her - the boat zoomed by fairly quickly (it slowed down a bit when it went past the Questacon shore).

The Queen
The Queen
The Queen

Whoosh

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Went to Jindabyne on Sunday to see this

Lake Jindabyne
Lake Jindabyne spill
Dalgety

Roy Billing

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Last night I was trying to figure out who this was:

Aussie actor
I was pretty sure it was an Aussie character actor, been in a heap of Aussie movies, but I couldn't find him.

Then I showed the sweetie and he was all.. oh he was in "The Dish"...

*bling* 

Well fricken duhhhh... because that screenshot above was taken at The Dish a week ago!!  I was just watching all the videos I'd taken that day.  Mostly of the dish moving around.  But there was a quick grab of the VIPs who were all standing right near me at one point, so I turned around and took a very quick shot of them all on the video.  And that's when I saw that dude!!  I never even realised it when I was there, I just saw it on the video.

Roy Billing

So yeah.  Roy Billing.  He played the mayor in The Dish.  Which is pretty funny, because in the video, he actually puts his hand on the current mayor of Parkes :)

Roy Billing

As it turns out, I shoulda known - it was on the program and everything hehe.

Leavesden

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So I heard the most wonderful news today.  Warner Bros will be opening up Leavesden Studios to the public next year for Harry Potter tours!!!!  I saw the studios from across the road last year (including seeing the tops of the Knight Buses and Privet Drive, and the hanger likely to house the Great Hall) so as you can imagine I'm all EPIC SQUEEEE!!  Think I'll be slotting that in next year along with Legoland.

Also went to Jindabyne today to see the dam spilling, but will blog about that when not so grumpy about missed photo opportunities.

Source Code

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Spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning the house.  Not that you'd ever be able to tell from looking at it :/

Went to Potty's for Thai takeaway dinner, and watched Source Code afterwards.  Nice evening :)

Hurl

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I finally FINALLY finished geotagging our UK trip photos this morning.  That only took about two months!!

I'll have a bit of fun with some maps at some point, but here's a starter to show why my last day took about a week to geotag.  This was about thirty hours of travelling, around 18000km (slight deviations around China).

Last day of UK trip

Swoop

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So I've never been swooped by a magpie.  In thirty eight years.  Until last night.  But even then, I'm not sure it was a true swooping, because this bird had been tormenting people all day and we'd even watched out the windows, so knew it was there and was waiting for it.  Funnily enough staring it down made no difference.  I actually thought it was quite a novelty and just watched it and teased it back (which probably made it more agro but hey).  It didn't really come anywhere near me.  

Rice

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The sweetie and I went to Rice Asian Tapas Bar in Civic for dinner tonight.  We just got five "tapas" - really just entrees you'd get at any Asian restaurant.

Fish cakes
Rice - Fish cakes
Peking duck
Rice - Peking duck
Curry puffs
Rice - Curry puffs
Money bags
Rice - Money bags
Satay chicken sticks
Rice - Satay chicken sticks

It was all pretty tasty, and we had the place entirely to ourselves heh.

The Dish

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Sorry this entry has *heaps* of pictures... Give up now if you're not interested :)

So Friday afternoon I left work super early and headed off into uncharted territory (Lachlan Valley Way - which I don't think I've ever been on in my life before!) and headed north.

Lachlan Valley Way
It's a three and a quarter hour drive to Parkes, but amazingly pretty (compared to the Hume Highway to Sydney which is quite boring for a lot of it).  Had the road to myself for a lot of it, and the sweetie had given me some podcasts to listen to, so was a great drive.

Lachlan Valley Way
Lachlan Valley Way
Well that is until the bugs got so bad I couldn't see out the windscreen anymore..

Windscreen bugs
Ha!  That's where the bogans come from!

Bogan Gate
I arrived at my motel at 6:40pm, and had to wait while they tried to find the room key.  Had just barely enough time to dump my stuff and go to the loo before Tony and family picked me up to go to dinner.  We went to Bellas in town which had good reviews.  And we all agreed, the food was delicious.  Although I did eat too much and it meant I took forever to get to sleep!

"Pollo Insalata" - proscuitto line chicken breast served on baby spinach and sweet roasted pumpkin with roasted hazelnut butter and crumbled fetta
Pollo Insalata at Bellas, Parkes
Fountain next to my motel, by night

Parkes fountain
Watched a bit of The Mummy Returns while waiting for dinner to settle.

Saturday morning it was foggy.  The motel also had a couple of police teams staying the night, apparently to cover the roads to Bathurst.

Police staying at the motel
Parkes fountain
Train
We were going to have breakfast at Tony's motel, but they don't do breakfasts on weekends.  (?????????)  Lame. So went into town and found an open cafe, and I had bacon, eggs and a hash brown.  It was bigger than I expected but did keep me going all day.

So off to The Dish!!

It was still foggy, but that made for some cool photos.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
We wandered through the visitors' centre and joined the queue for the telescope tours.  I think we had to wait maybe three quarters of an hour?  The queue length really didn't change the entire day.

They did have astronauts on segways, classic cars arriving, and Einstein to keep the crowds entertained..

Jess and an astronaut
Classic cars
Einstein
The tour was pretty cool.  

We got to climb up a temporary staircase on the outside to the outside platform.

Azimuth track
Hydraulic stuff
Jacks
Support structure

Here's a view you can't see every day!!

View from The Dish
View from The Dish
Then you climb *into* the top of the dish support.

The Dish cabling
And down into the control room!

The Dish control room
The Dish control room
Shielding on the windows
The Dish control room
What time is it?
The Dish control room
There were even some real astronomers doing some real observing.  Well so they say, I don't know what sort of results they would have gotten with all the people around with mobile phones and video cameras, and moving the dish around all the time..

Astronomers
And finally out the front door

The Dish front door
Next we had a wander down the train tracks past the old Kennedy Antenna (not in use anymore)

Kennedy Antenna
A quick look back at The Dish at a different angle

The Dish
Past the earth-air heat exchanger.  This is where they take outside air, then pump it underground for eighty metres to get the air to a constant temperature and into the twelve metre dish they have setup for testing for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Earth-air heat exchanger
Twelve metre dish setup for Square Kilometre Array testing

SKA dish
A Lego version of the SKA (not accurate - the real thing will be a lot more "random")

Lego SKA
Then headed back up and had a look around at the classic cars.

Old Holdens
One of them gave us quite a surprise - it had wallaby joeys in it!!

Wallaby joey
The dish from another angle

Family photo
The Dish
Then it was time for the official ceremony.  So they brought the dish down till it almost touched the ground.  So low in fact that it nearly took out a bottlebrush tree as they swung it round.

How low can you go?
How low can you go?
How low can you go?
They attached a banner to The Dish and raised it up during the official speeches by Prof Phillip Diamond (head of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science) (I think) and Dr Megan Clarke (Head of CSIRO).

The Dish - 50 years old!
They also had one of the sopranos for the night's opera lead a chorus of Happy Birthday (Helen Barnett I think)

The Dish - 50 years old!
Then Jess went off to make some Sandtastic art, so I wandered around and took photos as the sun was coming out.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
This is Jess' sandtastic art - it's just a sticky bit of card with all these stencils you pull off one at a time and cover with coloured sand.  Sand sticks to the card and you shake off the excess.  Way cool!

Sandtastic art
I didn't play cricket on The Dish..  I think maybe I shoulda bought one of these! :)

The Dish squishy ball
Another wander while Jess made a paper SKA

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
Jess and her paper SKA dish

Jess and SKA dish
Jess and SKA dish
SKA dishes
There were a bunch of people there from the Central West Astronomical Society, some of them with telescopes pointed at the sun.  Which has some super awesome sunspots going on at the moment!

Sunspots
Then had a look in the receiver room.  I never realised that they actually change the receivers all the time!  Takes them a few hours to change them over.  Dad would have loved all this stuff - he would have understood what the dude was talking about :) These are some of the receivers actually in use at the telescope!

Receivers
Finally we headed back through the visitors' centre to have a look at the displays.

This is a panel that they made up for the movie The Dish (2000) and donated to CSIRO afterwards.

Panel used in the movie The Dish
It's only a model! Shh!

The Dish model
We stopped at a couple of lookout places on the way out.

The Dish from a distance
The Dish from a distance
Then into Parkes to see the War Memorial.  It's supposed to be a lookout, but it was all locked up and nothing there to say it ever opened.  What's the point of a lookout if you can't go up it?  Too many trees around to have any views of the town, so that was a bit fail.

Parkes War Memorial
Then headed to Forbes for a late lunch.  There were like two places open in the entire town, one of them being Subway, so that's what we had.  Then filled the car with petrol and headed home, arriving a bit before 7pm.

So yeah a super fun day away.  Pity the sweetie bailed (still feeling too sick).  We might have gone to Dubbo for the Sunday, but those plans had to be cancelled.  Thanks Tony/Heather/Jess for putting up with me! :)

Because Dave asked

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834

That's how many photos I took in a 27 hour trip to Parkes and The Dish (open day)

Which was awesome!

One day soon I'll get some photos online...
Oh here's another thing I didn't blog about during the Great Radio Silence of July 2011.

I FINALLY finished listening to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!!!!!!  I borrowed the CDs off Luc years and years ago.  I struggled to listen to it in Sydney - I know I was listening when I first met Stu, because I remember on occasion talking to Stu at night, then putting it on to listen to before I went to sleep.  Of course I'd struggle to stay awake listening to it.  I tried listening to it in the car on a long drive one time - very dangerous thing to do as it's so boring I nearly fell asleep at the wheel.  Last year when I started catching a different bus and walking twenty minutes home, I finally was able to get through it.

So yeah.  Most boring thing, just about *ever*.  Maybe it was because I was listening and not reading, but I just couldn't get interested in the story or the characters.  I think Frodo and Sam's story was the only one that was even vaguely interesting to me.  Half the other characters I couldn't even remember who was who most of the time.

Yeah.

<dons flame-proof suit as I'm sure the zealots out there will want to attack me for that>

The other series I finished was the Mallorean by David Eddings.  Now *that* is a series that holds my interest!  Have read the Belgariad and Mallorean through twice now.  All these years I've called it the MAL-or-EE-an, probably because that's how Sami said it when he introduced it to me.  But in July when we were in Queensland Chay called it the Mal-OR-ean, which sounded completely bizarre to me.  David and Stu also thought it should be Mal-OR-ean.  I wonder how David Eddings pronounced it :)

Bean Boozled

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OK so this was from February.  Oops.

Darrell Lea had a Jelly Belly special called "Bean Boozled" - kinda like Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.  Eight "regular" flavours, with eight "yukky" flavours with matching colours.  So it was a gamble whether you'd get a good one or a bad one.  Silly thing is, with my disability to be able to pick flavours, half the time I couldn't actually tell which one it actually was!  Mostly the yukky ones weren't actually that bad (still sweet).  Only one I didn't like - rotten eggs, which actually tasted more like sardines.

Dog food (1) vs Chocolate pudding (1)
Centipede (5) vs Strawberry jam (1)
Vomit (1) vs Peach (3)
Mouldy cheese (5) vs Caramel corn (3)
Rotten egg (4) vs Buttered popcorn (0)
Booger (1) vs Juicy pear (2)
Toothpaste (3) vs Berry blue (5)
Baby wipes (2) vs Coconut (3)

Bean Boozled


Melting Moments

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My dessert challenge this weekend was "Melting Moments".  They turned out pretty well, although the shortbread is pretty dry/floury, I've never been a huge fan of shortbread.  Still, they were liked so that's the main thing.

Melting Moments

Melting Moments

Ingredients

Method

Biscuits:

250g butter, cubed, at room temperature

1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 3/4 cups plain flour

1/3 cup cornflour

 

Filling:

60g butter, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 orange, rind finely grated

2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

 

Beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence in a medium bowl with electric beaters until pale and creamy.

Sift together the flour and cornflour, add to the butter mixture and mix with the beaters on low speed until just combined and a soft dough forms.

Lightly flour hands then roll the mixture into small balls. Place on the prepared baking tray about 5cm apart. Use a fork that has been dipped in flour to flatten each ball to about 3cm in diameter and 1 cm thick.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.

 

Beat the butter, vanilla essence and orange rind in a small bowl with electric beaters until pale and creamy.

Add the icing sugar and beat until combined.

 

To assemble biscuits, spread the base of a biscuit with filling and then join with another biscuit. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling.

 

 

Options and Notes

From http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/10246/melting+moments

Makes twenty completed biscuits

 

 

 

Fresh Ingredients Shopping List

Pantry Ingredients Shopping List

Ingredients in stock

Butter

Orange

 

 

 

 

Icing sugar

Vanilla essence

Plain flour

Corn flour

 


Thursday night I probably gave myself pneumonia in the freezing and wet air, and headed out with the sweetie, Neil and Chris B and family to Floriade Nightfest.  As I said last time, I really don't think it's worth $25 entry.  Still, the lights were pretty.  

Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011


This year the flowers were arranged into patterns, but you'd really need to see them from the air to actually see those patterns.

Floriade Nightfest 2011


Last time this same walk had strings of coloured lanterns.  This year they had vertical strings of leds that started off as just white and falling gently with a soundtrack of forest rain.  They didn't really need the soundtrack for the rain, as it was raining a bit anyway.  But then the music changed and became a full on light show to music!  That was pretty cool :)

Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011


The other thing I quite enjoyed were the jugglers who had lots of lighted props, which made for some really cool painting with light photos.

Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011

Finally a bit of a wander before heading home.

Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011

Real orchids encased in resin

Floriade Nightfest 2011

I'd really love a string of these... really!! :)

Floriade Nightfest 2011
Floriade Nightfest 2011

Mobile ATMs!

Floriade Nightfest 2011

ImageMagick

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So I ran mt-check.cgi and discovered this:

Image::Magick

Your server does not have Image::Magick installed, or Image::Magick requires another module that is not installed. This module is needed if you would like to be able to create thumbnails of uploaded images. Please consult the installation instructions for help in installing Image::Magick.


So I guess my thumbnails are never going to work.

*sigh*
As discussed in several previous blog entries, my hosting provider changed something the other day, and since then the thumbnails over there on the right aren't being generated.  I could spend hours figuring how movable type creates those thumbnails, or I could just delete the widget.  Apart from my mother, who actually comes to my homepage to view my blog, and would miss the widget if I deleted it?
Even though I fixed the permissions on the main blog admin script, and the comments script, whenever I upload images the little widget on the side is not getting the image url.  Trying to figure out what script needs its permissions fixed ....

Mega hummer
Still can't get it to work.  I'm wondering if they've also broken the ability of php to generate images.  They broke something a while back which forced me to use recaptcha instead of the inbuilt captcha generator.  Of course they denied all knowledge of any changes back then too. 

Sydney 360

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When we went up Sydney Tower last weekend, I took a vertical shot out of each window of the tower (all eighty-odd, with a few extra to overlap).  Then I stitched them all together in the best panorama I've done from the tower.

Sydney 360 panorama

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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