30 July 2006


Remember when you went to eat chinese food as a little kid? Always ordered the crispy noodles with everything? Well I did. On the weekend I discovered how to make them, by accident. Was a bit hungry for a proper meal before going off to a real party, with dress ups and everything. So here's the selection of veggies from the bottom of the fridge.

Imagine a regular pot of water boiling water for the rice noodles, and a frypan with oil heating next to it. When dropping the noodles into the boiling water a broken bit flies of and lands in the oil. I turn my back, to get the veggies, and lo! its puffed up and turned into a crispy noodle. So I tried some more.

The trick seems to be to get the oil so hot its smoking, and nearly burning the pan. The the noodles need to touch the hot oil, and they magically puff up. Its like popcorn! But they don't fly out. I would normally try this is a wok, but I am currently wokless due to housesitting constraints.

Anyway, here's the end results. Mmmm...

29 July 2006

I'd rather be alone

..insert overblown Za Za Gabor germanic accent here . . . than participate in a 10 minute conversation about leg waxing. Thats what the two women at the adjacent beach-side table next to me talked about for a good solid 10 minutes this morning. Frequency, comparison to laser (doesn't work apparently), and pain management tips. Pop a couple of neurofen before you go was the independently verified conclusion. Right, insert synthetic chemical at one end to mitigate pain of follicles being yanked at the other end - to meet a western male paradigm of beauty. Nice.

But then I guess I'm happy to spend a few minutes blogging about it. Just as shallow, but with no friend to share it. Oh, for the record, I shaved 'em last night - there's no moral high ground over here - just a cranky conversation censor.

Skulls and fashion

I liked this post, about the fashion of the goth aesthetic.

"It's a mistake to think there's only beauty in pain.

Fertility religions celebrate life, whereas Christianity and Islam celebrate death and resurrection."

"Joy Division were quite a good band, but New Order are better, ne?

Because, finally, it's better to be alive than dead, and happy than sad."

28 July 2006

Today at the seaside

(can anyone detect a bit of a running theme here?)

. . . I saw a pink and white galah fly into the local primary school playground. It screeched, landed, and immediately drew a crowd of little tackers to check it out. Moments later the JP teacher was calling out "leave it al-own, kids leave it al-own", follwed by "it must be very frightened, don't get too close", while Mr Galah strutted around for a while with his crest fanned out, looking around like he was the school landlord or something. I dawdled around the perimeter for a bit because I love watching animals in any setting, but refrained from actually stopping outside the playground fence at lunch break because I don't want to be mistaken for a creepy molesterer. So I don't know what it did after that. Nice little reminder about empathy from the teacher for the kiddies though, I thought.

and then . . . looking out the window later I thought I was seeing a couple of ususal swimmers who do laps of the beach, and sometimes wear black wetsuits. Then I wonderd why they kept disappearing under swell for more than a few seconds. Then I saw a fin loop out of the water in a classic dolphiny manner. And goodness me if there weren't about six of them making their way across the beach between the heads. I reckon only about 10 metres behind the line of surfers. I was a bit paralysed to know whether to try to run down the beach for a better look, or try to find where the video camera was hidden, to capture it. It was only a couple of minutes show in the end, but I was sqeaking with excitment up in my little fishbowl flat.

26 July 2006

Pass me the capers

So while I am temporarily a solitary lady of leisure* (except when I'm frantically tapping away to meet a deadline of my own making) I can eat all the salty, stinky, spicy, pickled food I want! Its no wonder that I nearly gave myself an ulcer about a year ago with all the brine and vinegar and Chili I consume when left to my own devices. When you're in the flat all day, and you do shopping whenever you feel like it, meal breaks comprise of whatever you darn feel like at that moment. For dinner I had a base of tinned tuna on bread, the lemon cracked pepper kind, and topped it with fetta and hmm, what else.. ooh.. pesto out of the jar... flavoursome - yes indeedy! Other faves are Polski Orgorski pickles, hot salami straight from the packet, bitey olives, and capers with everything. I can hear Miss J yawing at all this, she who is well used to the freedom of the self-managed kitchen. Other ladies like icecream but not me ! Pass the dolmades.

Oh and maybe they are friendlier here by the sea.. but its reasonable to decline to tell the boy who makes your coffee in the morning exactly *which* apartment you're in, isn't it?. Especially when he can see the building from his workplace. I mean he's only made my coffee twice. That's not just inner west paranoia, its common city cageyness.

*Mr Biz is off wearing the white good guys' outfit again for a bit. And he doesn't like some of the more, er, pungent of my culinary tastes.

23 July 2006

Dog faced boy

My imaginary husband, Richard Kingsmill, is doing his sunday arvo spot on the radio, and just played 3 or 4 live tracks from the Eels - songs off their Shootenanny album. A moment of (almost) synchronicity.. as this lovely band were the subject of one of my very early posts. Three years ago in September. Anyway, it feels a bit like coming full circle since that, now I am set up in a flat, with all my digital technology plugged in, and re-united with my very lovely CD collection. The small wall'o'music does lean rather heavily into the early nineties melodic rock with somewhat introspective lyrics. Since cultivating a smidgen more a extrospection in past years (its the opposite, ok!), your Aunty B had a nagging doubt that the old passion for the collection was fading, along with some of those wacky tees that have been packed in mothballs for a year. But happily a beachside neighbour's recent interest in burning a whole lot of the more classic gems (Billy Bragg, Patti Smith, Cat Power, Desmond Dekker, Joe Strumer, PWEI) has brought out the cd geek from her hiding place, and I'm re-delving. Particularly chuffed with the the more unlistenable like Laurie Anderson and the Slits. Mr Biz and me are united in our love of this a-tonal album and stomping around singing at top volume.. Nu-town, nu-town, nu-town, noo-towen!. This was originally intended to be a music blog, so it all kinda fits together.

22 July 2006

Noses run in our family

The thing about having a head cold is it makes you stupid. There's a pressing behind the eyes that seems to slow the thoughts down and only allow one into the occipital lobe at a time. Then there's the breathing through the mouth part which gives you cracked lips and makes you sounds like the kid with asthma and allergies from your year 6 class when you try to talk.

21 July 2006

We have a winner

Regina Sutton has pipped Bec and Leyton Hewitt for the most searches that brought up this humble blog. Go Regina! Probably all those nervous nellies at the State Library googling away down in the stacks, now that they have a kick-ass, IT savvy new boss.

Efficient is sexy

Alt title, Whats the deal with Aussies and Big Cars?

With the fuel price currently tipping out at $1.50 a litre following the latest Middle East "instability", I thought my car-owning readers may appreciate a little background reading in popular Australian model car fuel economy. (Source: NRMA Motoring and Services)

Ford fairlane - 4.0L engine, takes 11.6 L to drive 100km.
It can accelerate from 0-100 in 9.1 s

Holden commodore - 3.8 L engine takes 10.6 L to drive 100km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 8.9 s

Honda CR-V - 2.4L engine takes 9.6L to drive 100km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 10.1 s

Toyota Yaris - 1.5L engine takes 6.1 L to drive 100 km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 10.7 s

So lets see, 2,000 km, at 1.50 a litre of petrol, in a Ford equals $348, while in the mighty Yaris (now available in auto) equals $244. Goodness me, when the western world starts going down the road of allocating a carbon allowance to each citizen, like has been proposed in Britain this week, this will be very useful information indeed! This community service brought to you by Aunty B eco-services Inc. I shall return to posting about dreams, period pain, and/or Hugh Jackman next time.

19 July 2006

Seaside dreams

Well I guess my coastal abode is only temporary luxury, according to the report in today's Herald about the latest UN report into climate effects.
"Australia was already experiencing the effects of climate change and a sea-level rise was "virtually certain" to cause greater coastal inundation, erosion and salt-water intrusion into freshwater sources as well as damage to infrastructure and coastal resources, the report said
Meanwhile our flat is being buffeted by a series of squalls and storms. The rain gets thrown against the windows in rythymic bursts, as the wind seems to cycle round the bowl of the ocean and the cliffs. At night its a little like being under the ocean, as you can hear the waves crashing in time. The night before last I dreamed I was helping a dolphin give birth. She was on a human bed with sheets, on dry land, and writhing with the effort. It was a vivid experience of her grey, muscled form , larger than human-sized. When the baby was born it was having trouble breathing and the mother performed a kind of mouth to mouth. And in the same night, on the Northern beaches, a day old whale was stranded when separated from its mother.

18 July 2006

Just call me Nero

John Howard is 67, so he'll be nearly dead when we run out of oil, have to move our cities 20km inland due to sea level rise, have no barrier reef thanks to coral bleaching, and abandon tracts of farming land due to permanently changed weather patterns. And until then, he'll be laughing.

"As an efficient, reliable supplier, Australia has a massive opportunity to increase its share of global energy trade," he told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Sydney.

Mr Howard gave a nod to fossil fuels' contribution to rising global temperatures and changing weather. But he continued to reject both the Kyoto Protocol and carbon emissions trading or a carbon price as a way of dealing with climate change, preferring instead to rely on as yet commercially unproven carbon capture and storage technology.

"The Government's energy policy framework unapologetically emphasises the role of new low-emission technologies to deliver a sustainable greenhouse outcome and it unapologetically seeks to preserve the economic value of our energy resources at a time of soaring global demand," he said.

I would make some scathing commentry here but really he just says it all himself, plain as day. Bugger the rest of you, me and Janet will be dead so my kids have enough trust money to run really expensive air conditioning.

15 July 2006


Rain. Overcast with rain. Northeast winds, fresh at times. Great day for a barbeque on the roof, overlooking the ocean. Hmm, do I bother buying sausages or just give in and go up the road for pizza? Its a day for hunkering down in front of a movie with some creamy liquer rahter than beers and snags on the roof.

11 July 2006

Librarians set to take over the world

I was reading about the new State Librarian, Regina Sutton, in the weekend paper. Apparently, there's been a bit of whispering around the stacks that she can't do the job, because she hasn't been a certified member of the pencil-skirt-and-horn-rims-wearing profession. However, she has been an exec at IBM and Kodak - and a bit of a whiz in the area of electronic imaging. The library is actually well on the road to taking its massive collection, including documents on the discovery of Australia and the Pacific to the whole world, via the internet. According to their media release the collection contains over 5 million items including photographs, manuscripts, journals, maps and books and is valued at $1.9 billion. While the physical copies may be locked in temperature controlled sarcophagi, the copies on-line can be zapped into anyone's loungeroom. Woohee. Information wants to be free.

Leviathan and all that

I saw a whale today. I saw it flip is tail over in the ocean. I saw it from my window. I interrupted myself mid-sentence while speaking to the insurance broker..oh sorry Tracey I, uh, just saw a whale. Apparently its not that amazing becuase "as many as 150-200 pass the Sydney coastline every day" at this time of year according to the Australian Musuem's Living Harbour website. Getting into the swing of this working from home thing. Pretty much full time this week, creating some nice spreadsheets of schedules and developing a nice teal and black stationery set.

5 July 2006

How to deal with an existential crisis

From Wikihow, some step-by-step instructions for facing the long, dark, teatime of the soul..
Turn on a light, preferably 75 watt or brighter
If necessary, clean whatever room you're in. Changing your surroundings for the better both clarifies your power over the world and gives you a few minutes to do some problem-solving on a less grandiose scale.

Imagine several *different* people you like or respect giving you advice. Don't pick anyone abusive. Or try Mr. Rogers, your first grade teacher, and that girl (boy) you had a crush on in 9th grade. They don't help very much, do they? But it's fun talking to them.
I knew a tidy house was the answer to a crisis of the meaning of existence. Also includes tips, warnings, and things you need, such as:
  • Freedom
  • Individuality
  • To know yourself
  • To know what it means to be human
This website contains other gems such as How to Deal with Being in Prison, How to Look Sexy when Naked (I assume not concurrently) and How to Audition for Americal Idol Without Making a Fool of Yourself. - "Don't be shticky, kooky or just plain insane. Showcase your beautiful voice, but keep the voices in your head quiet."

We call it RE-cy-cling

Its what we do to limit use of the earth's. finite. resources. I'm talking to you, Harvey Normal print section service dude. B: "Do you have recyled paper?" HN: That's not going to produce high quality prints. B: "But its my job to write about environmental issues, so I'm only going to get recycled." HN: Well it bleeds more than regular paper, I'm just explaining why its not very good for presentation printing. B: [more slowly this time] "So you don't stock any, then?" HN: No. B: "Ok, thanks, bye."

Also visited a shop called "Pepe's Papiere" they had two whole walls devoted to fancy A4 paper products. They had 3 aisles of journals, notebooks, photo albums, invitations, envelopes. Recycled? Nup.

2 July 2006

Paging Aunty B

Friday night. Weigh check-in luggage to ensure it meets the weight limit of budget airline that flies Adelaide-Sydney once per day. (And crossing a 10 year time-zone in between ha ha). 19.5 kilos, perfect.

Saturday morning. Discover unpacked CDs, suncream, shampoo, reference book, thongs, and bolivian pillow covers, that must be added to bulging pack.

Saturday 1.15 pm. Bsharp and mjs arrive at airport, as they call for all passengers to check in immediately. Proceed to check out desk. Pay Aus$21 for the extra weight. Bugger. Informed that flight boards at 1.20.

Saturday 1.17pm. Team sharp proceeds through security carrying the *other* 20 kilos as hand luggage. Pause on hearing .. "Paging Miss Sharp, will Miss Sharp please proceed to .. mffle mffle mffle grrble". Mjs helpfully comments "oh that's you! they're paging you, I've never been paged before.. well my ex-boyfriend did once".

Saturday 1.19pm. Remember how if you're delaying the plane, they just take your luggage off, no more pages. Start jogging (in skirt, boots, and carrying unwieldy file box).

Saturday 1.20pm. Approaching boarding gate - the last on the concourse - gate is still closed, just to hear second page..."Will Miss Sharp, Miss B Sharp, please return to check in counter 39, to pick up your ID card. Miss Sharp please return to check in counter 39." Faaaack

Saturday 1.23pm. Back past 10 gates, double back along check-in counters, get ID ("It was up on the top counter" - yeh right, I know how you budget airlines like to play with people), back through security, down to gate, and mjs waiting diligiently with all unwieldy hand luggage. Get into last place in queue.

Saturday 1.30pm. Boarding plane, and a country lad now sitting in the front row with his parents says "you got your id then?" Big grin. Grit teeth, smile, laughs, "ah yes thanks".

Satuday 4.00pm (EST). Waiting at baggage carousel at Sydney Terminal 2. Glamorous blond about to take large lime green faux croc skin bag off the belt smiles and says "oh so you got your ID then?". Yes I did you horrible, organised, blow-dried person. Now LEAVE ME ALONE.