| Sunday, January 31, 2010
Cool! Eileen pointed me to this amazing blog post with photos from our Outback adventure. The blog belongs to Andreas, an Austrian guy who came on the trip with his girlfriend. I knew he liked taking photographs (he was never without his camera for the three days), but I didn't realise how gifted he was at it. Seriously, go look. He really captured all the best parts of our trip. I especially like this one of us all sleeping on the bus (me and Snookums are in the back seat) and this one of our swags set up around the campfire (Snookums and I are on the right). The rest of Andreas's photo blog is equally good. I'll be visiting from now on!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
I just sent an email to Gardens R Us about our little Wollemi Pine tree. He's looking very droopy lately, and I'm worried.
Hello, We bought a Wollemi Pine from the Kingsford store back in September. I was very excited to help in the conservation of these wonderful plants! The instructions we got indicated that the tree would be happy in a pot and out of direct sun, so we put him in a large pot near our front door. Here's what it looked like then.Have any of you ever seen this before? Have I actually managed to kill a tree species that survived untouched for hundreds of millions of years?
So... the iPad. I was half-hoping it didn't exist, just because the rampant speculation of the past few weeks was driving me nuts. I wanted Steve to come out, do a big preso on iPhone OS 4.0, then turn to the audience and say: "Oh, and one more thing. SUCKS TO BE YOU!" Exit, stage right. But he didn't, and now I've spent 24 hours reading crap like "HEEHEE, HE SAID IPAD. OMG WHO WOULD WANT TO USE SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT GOES IN/NEAR A VAGINA EWWW! HA HA! #iTampon" (I think the iPad-period meme has worn out even quicker than the previous speed record holder, the Kanye "Imma let you finish" joke.)
Anyhoo, the big surprise for me was the price of the thing. When was the last time Apple released a project that cost 50% less than everybody predicted? How about NEVER. Also, they're going into a nascent market with a device that has 140,000 third party apps at launch. (If I were Amazon or Sony, I'd be crying into my cornflakes.) That's just crazy. Still, I don't really see where I need one of these in my life. Sure, it'd be nice to have in the kitchen (seeing as how I cook a lot from my iPhone or laptop these days). And I'd love to be able to subscribe to comic books and magazines. Those aren't huge, compelling, drool-worthy reasons though. Then I read Stephen Fry's review. Okay, I'm a little more interested now. Fry knows his gadgets, and when he says something feels magical, I believe him. I like stuff that feels like it's from the future, but is actually usable and relevant today. (Like GPS. Snookums has commented more than once before that Google Maps on iPone feels like magic to him.)
As for reading books on the thing, I dunno. This morning, I noticed a girl two seats ahead of me on the bus reading from a Sony Pocket Reader. It was red and looked pretty nice. The text - at least from my view - didn't look very clear though. The black-and-white display reminded me of a 1st-gen Gameboy. I've heard that E-Ink displays are good stuff though, so maybe up close it was better. I tried reading books on my iPhone with Stanza, but I found that I just don't absorb digital text the way that I do printed text. It took me a lot longer to finish, and I didn't retain the story like I usually do. I do like the idea of carrying around a whole library though. I also really hope that the iPad will be the catalyst for the ebook market to really take off.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
It was a weird week. It's been hot and humid, and I'm still having trouble keeping my heart rate down. On Sunday, my HR was all over the place and I actually found myself getting irrationally angry about it. In retrospect it was actually kind of funny. (Gritting my teeth in anger doesn't do much to calm down the ol' HR!) I'm having a bit of shoe trouble though. I looked down at my Newtons the other day and realised that the outer lugs on each foot have worn completely down on the front! I got them at the end of August, and my total mileage in that time is just over 200 miles (325km). Is that normal? On one hand it's clear proof that I'm landing in the right spot (as are the calluses on the balls of my feet). But on the other hand, these are pretty expensive shoes, and I can't afford multiple pairs per year. I tweeted about it to sirisaac but they didn't respond. I'm guessing it's partly because I actually have racers, as opposed to trainers. (The racers had a big discount when I bought.) Can anybody comment on the longetivity of their Newtons?
Anyway, the weekly totals...
Jan 22: 5.56km
Jan 24: 7.13km
Jan 26: 5.61km
Jan 28: 5.44km
Total this week: 23.74km (14.8mi) - same as last week!
Total in 2010: 92.4km (57.75mi)
I've got quite a cushion built-up in my quest to run 1000kms in 2010. I haven't missed a run yet in January!
You know that famous artist, the one who takes huge group photos of naked people in famous locations? Yeah, he's coming to Sydney. He needs volunteers for a photo to be taken at the Opera House. Oh yeah, we're doing it. This comes at a pretty opportune time. I've been undergoing a real attitude change towards my body in the past year. I'm not at my "ideal" BMI/weight, but this seems to be the weight where I'm happiest. I feel fit and strong. I like my curves. Looking at the scale in the morning doesn't wreck my whole day anymore. I think I'm ready to get naked in public with hundreds of other people. I'm think I'm finally proud and happy in my own skin.
As for the Snook, apparently public nudity was a big theme of his college years. So it didn't take much convincing to get him on board.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Christopher has written a lovely blog post about being married to Matt. They went to a taping of Big Bang Theory a few months ago, and at one point in the evening Christopher found himself telling the entire studio audience that they were amongst the lucky few gay couples who got married before Proposition 8. The audience responded with applause and cheers. I love that. (He's collecting other gay marriage stories on his blog We Are Married Too.)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Snook and I celebrated the holiday by hosting a small barbecue at our place. We cooked some beautiful barbecued lamb, garlic chicken, and damper on the grill. Tia, Daniel and Rohan brought potato salad. Steph and Eva brought some amazing Australian-themed bento boxes, including one designed to look like a jar of Vegemite. (No Vegemite was actually IN the bento, thank goodness.) Rachel - who still persists in not having a blog - brought a gorgeous panzanella salad. And for dessert, I whipped up a "Lamingtonmisu" from Not Quite Nigella's recipe. (I used storebought lamingtons, cut them in half, and just wedged them in the pan as best I could.) Everyone scoffed when they saw me making it, but it really did turn out awesome! Clean plates all around. Other than that, we availed ourselves of the Snook's homebrew and tried not to move too much. It really was stinkin' hot today.
It made me a little sad to see comments on Twitter and Facebook from Australians who choose not to celebrate the day. I can understand their position, but not all national pride is misplaced. Many of us chose to come here, and we are proud to call ourselves citizens of this country. It's nice to have a day where I'm reminded of it.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I've mentioned before that American-style breakfast sausage is the #1 item on my list of foods that I miss. It just doesn't exist here (except on McDonald's Egg McMuffins, I think, but I don't eat those anyway). The supermarket just lacks that section with Jimmy Dean links and patties, and those big plastic tubes of sausage meat. Anyway, Danielle is in the same boat, and yesterday she linked to this recipe for homemade sausage patties. I decided to give it a go. I used regular pork mince from the supermarket, then dumped in all the recommended spices. It made about 8 small patties. I fried up four and froze the other four. We had them with pancakes this morning, and you know what? They were great! I need to play around with the ratios a bit to get them just how I like them, but they had that undeniably American breakfast sausage taste. Hooray! Biscuits and gravy, here I come...
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thanks to everybody who's listened or sent feedback so far. In case you missed it, the RSS feed for the show and blog is here. I've been approved for the iTunes Music Store and you can now subscribe to the show (and leave reviews!) here. For those of you who prefer to listen without subscribing, I'll be putting up an inline player today.
Friday, January 22, 2010
The inaugural episode of my new Geek Girl Runner podcast is now available! I've been thinking about doing a podcast for a few weeks now, so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. This episode features: introduction to me and the show; training update; and review of RunKeeper.
Running with the Pack
Special thanks go to Nick Arthur for the use of his song "Little Donut Party". Please give me some feedback and let me know what you think!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
As you might have noticed, my "secret project" didn't quite materialise just yet. It's a running podcast! I've got all the pieces in place though, and I'm hoping to upload the first episode tonight. It's called Geek Girl Runner, and the plan is to record a new episode every two weeks. In the meantime, training continues. I had an especially hard workout at Spudds yesterday, so my run this morning was crapola. Still, I haven't missed a run yet this year...
Jan 15: 5.09km
Jan 17: 8km
Jan 19: 5.54km
Jan 21: 5.16km
Total this week: 23.8km (14.8mi)
Total in 2010: 68.7km (43mi)
To meet my goal of running 1000km this year, I should be at 57.5km right now. So I'm about 10km ahead of schedule! That's good; I like to have a cushion.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I'm a big fan of the Powerhouse Museum's Photo of the Day blog, and today's picture was particularly interesting. It's a stereoscopic view of the "Wool Arch" set up for the big Federation parade. I'd never heard anything about the parade before, so I did some googling. Australian Federation took place on January 1, 1901, and they had a big process that went all the way from the city out to Centennial Park. (I've seen the plaque out there to mark the spot where they signed all the relevant documents.) Along the way, there were a whole bunch of gates and arches set up to commemorate important Australian industries and natural resources. The Wool Arch was near the intersection of Bridge and Loftus streets (near where Wagamama is now). Here's a really good picture of the Wool Arch. (Welcome to the Land of the Golden Fleece!) The ABC site has a wealth of information about the parade, along with a neat digital puzzle of the Wool Arch. And there's your learnin' for today!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I'm actually a former staff member of the Observer myself. I used to help write the "Days of Our Lives" update each week in my sophomore year. I thought they were pretty much idiots back then too.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
We finally had time on a non-rainy day to try out one of the kites we got for Christmas from my Dad and Cindy. This is a Prism Expandable Object, and it's one of the weirder kites I've ever seen. It's this flat, lightweight thing that springs up into this three-dimensional shape. It's meant to be really easy to fly. Unfortunately today was really gusty, so we had a hard time keeping it stable!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Tonight the Snook and I decided to try out the new Japanese restaurant that's opened on Broadway. We stopped outside to admire the menu. "Chawan-mushi! They have chawan-mushi! I have to try it." This savoury egg custard, much favoured on Iron Chef, is something I've always wanted to try. (The Snook warned me that he'd heard it was an acquired taste.) We went inside and took a seat. The fitout is really, really nice, and the waitstaff were friendly. The Snook was a little worried about the fact that it was 8pm on a Friday night and we were two out of only a handful of diners. (It did start to fill up later. Maybe they do a roaring lunch trade?) Anyway, the menu is extensive. We ordered my chawan-mushi to start, along with "eggplant with sweet miso." That's apparently a very traditional dish that I've seen in GrabYourFork's reviews of other Japanese restaurants. For the main, we decided to share the sushi/sashimi combo. The food came out very quickly.
The eggplant was cut into huge chunks, deep fried, doused in the sweet miso sauce, and then charred in an eggplant shell. It was gorgeous. The chunks were meaty without being mushy, and despite being fried they weren't greasy in the slightest. I'm not exaggerating when I say it may have been the best eggplant I've ever had in my life. My chawan-mushi was slightly confronting, with a strong smell of egg, broth, and mushroom. The texture was feather-light, like a barely set custard. I steeled myself to not like the taste... but it was good! The taste was more delicate than the smell. The two mushrooms were like amazing treasures. I was nearing the bottom of the dish when my spoon revealed a flash of pink. "Oh, there's stuff in the bottom! Just like Iron Chef!" I found a bit of prawn, a piece of chicken, some seafood stick, and a few edamame. So make it official: I liked the chawan-mushi!
Then out came the main, a long narrow platter covered with more than 20 pieces of sushi and sashimi. That's 20 pieces of raw seafood. Those of you who are new to my site don't understand the magnitude of this. Go back and read this post from 2001 where I was basically in tears because the Snook tricked me into eating some yabbie paté. And this one from 2002 where I say that I could never eat raw fish. And this one from 2003 where I finally, grudgingly try it. I was a fish phobic for many, many years. The fact that I sat there tonight and worked my way through a plate of raw salmon, tuna, kingfish, prawn, scallop, and squid AND ACTUALLY ENJOYED IT is just mind-blowing. The Snook certainly never expected to be able to share such things with me. Okay, so how was it? Obviously I'm not the best judge given my relative lack of sushi experience. Still, even I could tell that this was quality stuff. (The Snook says: "It was good! I enjoyed it.") The sashimi slices were lovely thick chunks of tender moreishness. The only one we didn't care for was the squid, which started out chewy and then went kinda sticky. The wasabi was plentiful and the homemade ginger slices were very refreshing. By the time we got to the sushi, we were actually getting full! The prawn was - I think - the only cooked meat on the plate. We finished off the lot.
Final verdict: Masaka is excellent Japanese food at a very reasonable price. (That sushi/sashimi plate? $26.80! More than enough for two people.) I really want to go back now and try some of the other Iron Chef items on the menu. They've got nattō! Okay, yeah, that might be a bit much for me just yet...
I've been on the lookout for a pair of black Mary Jane shoes to replace a couple pairs of mine that are falling apart. I checked out the Camper sale, but I didn't really like anything they had on offer. (My Campers from two years ago have held up well, but the insoles smell really funky!) Then I thought of Kumfs. I bought a pair of red leather Mary Janes there nearly five years ago and they've held up really well. They send me the catalog every season, but to be honest most of their styles are not my cup of tea. ("Horrendously fugly" would be one way of putting it.) I decided to give it a shot last night so I headed over to their store in the Piccadilly Arcade. As expected, it was filled to the brim with metallic orthopedic sandals that burned the retinas. Through the haze, I managed to discern a couple pairs of decent looking shoes at the back of the shop... and there they were! I tried on a couple other styles out of obligation, but I knew these were the ones. The price made me gulp a bit - these ones were not on sale - but I knew these would last me a few years. I wore them to work today and tweeted a picture, which was then picked up by the Shoes of the Day Blog. Fun!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Onwards and upwards. I'm meeting my goal of running four times a week, and this week I managed an itsy bit farther. We've had a run of hot weather, and it's really hard to maintain pace and stay within my aerobic heart rate zone on hot and humid days. I also had my first circuit training session of the year at Spudds yesterday. (I was definitely feeling it on my run this morning.) Let's look at the weekly totals:
Jan 8: 5.3km
Jan 10: 6.56km
Jan 12: 5.4km
Jan 14: 5.5km
Total this week: 22.6km (14mi)
Total in 2010: 44.9km (27.8mi)
I'm working on a new running-related secret project... which I'll hopefully unveil this weekend. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
How are you guys doing in your 2010 Happiness Challenge? Week 1 was about getting more sleep, and I'm proud to report that the Snook and I have made positive changes in this area. We have been getting off the couch and heading to bed pretty consistently at 10pm every night. It's not much, but it's an improvement. Week 2 is about getting more exercise. I've been doing plenty of running, and today I went back to Spudds for the first time in ages. I tore up my hand on the rowing machine, but it was still a pretty good workout. I felt strong afterwards, not tired at all. (That may be due to the fact that the shower at our office has NO HOT WATER, which I didn't realise til I was in there, naked and shivering. Good for the muscles, right?) Anyhoo, I'm feeling pretty energised so far. How about you?
Thanks for the sock monkey instructions. They were the best I found (and I looked at a lot). Made 5 sock monkeys to join a barrowload of others in Film Ficciones latest music video. Thanks a lot.Huh? Sock monkey music video?? So I looked it up. Film Ficciones is a UK production company that focuses on short films and music videos. The sock monkey video will be for the song "All We Wanna Do is OH!" by the band Kate Goes. (Apparently it's the themesong for a BBC comedy called "Coming of Age.") They put up an amusing promotional YouTube video which includes a sock monkey tutorial. They make their monkeys slightly differently than I do, and they gloss over the actual sewing. (I guess that's why Marian found my tutorial helpful.) Anyway, I look forward to seeing the video!
Wow. There are 37 streets named after me in North America. You can look up your own name here. (Poor Snook. No streets named after him.)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday night the Snook and I met up after work for an early dinner at Baja Cantina. Every time we've been lately they're full up, but luckily they managed to squeeze us in. (I hate local restaurants that take bookings; it should only be fancy places!) I had an excellent pork chimichanga, while the Snook had the chicken molé. I spent the rest of the night preparing for Saturday's Guild meeting. We got up super early Saturday and drove the GoGet wagon over to Flemington Markets. We needed more supplies from Ace Ohlsson for the garden, and we also stopped in at Bunnings Ashfield on the way home for compost. Back in the city, I headed off for the Guild meeting. We had 40 people again! It was a good meeting (though I worry that I overmoderate). Afterwards Rose and Geraldine (the other Guild officers) and I met up to work out the workshop schedule for the rest of the year. By the time I got home, I was bushed. I ended up zonking out on the couch for most of the afternoon! Sunday was dedicated to work in the garden. The full update will probably be a post of its own, but basically we pulled out a few dead/old plants, mixed up a new batch of Mel's Mix, topped up our planters, laid down mulch over everything, and planted a few new things. All on an extremely hot day! I also managed a 6.5km run at midday, and we did a big shop at Broadway in the evening. And people wonder why I always look tired on Monday mornings...
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
The first week of 2010 is over! To meet my goal of running 1000km (621.4mi) this calendar year, I need to average just over 19km (12mi) a week. I'm happy to report that I'm right on schedule. I ran four times this week for a combined total of 22.1km (13.7mi). I've also planned out my training schedule for the 2010 Sydney Half-Marathon. I'll be using Jeff Galloway's plan for a 2:20 finish from Galloway's Book on Running. It doesn't really start in earnest til February, so I'm still base-building at the moment. I'm aiming to do three of my runs each week at less than 145bpm, and I'll allow myself to push up to 160bpm on one of them. (Interesting sidenote: I found it much easier to stay within the easy zone this morning since I'd skipped my usual coffee. Might have to make that a habit.)
Jan 1: 5.23km
Jan 2: 5.12km
Jan 5: 5.81km
Jan 7: 5.95km
Total: 22.1km (13.7mi)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I was in the mood for feta tonight, so I hit up epicurious on my way home to look for a recipe. I found these interesting-sounding tacos. Harris Farms has canned black beans, so I decided to go for it. They were very quick and easy. I wasn't quite sure how to interpret the actual cooking stage. My frying pan wasn't big enough to spread out all four tortillas. So I kind of hung them half over the edge, then folded them in. That worked. (That said, I actually made six instead of the four it said it would make.) They were really zingy and tasty. Oh! And I screwed up and used actual coleslaw rather than cole slaw MIX, but I didn't realise that til just now. Made no difference; they were still good.
JERRY: I just don't understand the raisinettes.
ELAINE: The sax player?
JERRY: The box of raisinettes runs up to the concession stand, buys another box of raisinettes.
JERRY: Box of raisinettes eating another box of raisinettes? It's perverse.
ELAINE: HE's not gonna eat them. He's buying 'em for his Pepsi girlfriend.
When I got my heart rate monitor last month, the first thing I wanted to know was what level I should be training at. I used a number of online formulas to work out my Maximum Heart Rate, which turned out to be 185bpm. I knew I was supposed to be working at 70-80% to increase my aerobic fitness, so I aimed for 130-148bpm. This felt uncomfortably slow, but I told myself that I'd get used to it. A chance Twitter comment from Brandon about "zones" got me thinking though. I did some more reading and found out that I really need to be taking my Resting Heart Rate into account. For several days now I've been taking my RHR as soon as I wake up in the morning, and it's averaged out to 65bpm. (Hey, that's pretty good!) Okay, so 185 minus 65 equals a Working Heart Rate of 120bpm. Multiply THAT by .7-.8 and add back in the RHR, and I get a target aerobic zone of 149-161bpm. That looks better! That should allow me to push a little more without having to walk so much to stay within the zone.
Updated to add: These things are never simple. The great John Ellis is not a big fan of this more complicated formula, and he thinks basing it just on my MHR (as I was doing) is better. He's suggesting I keep my easy days under 145, and my moderate days under 160. That means I'm back to going SLOOOOOW. :(
Monday, January 4, 2010
As of today, web-goddess is now officially nine-years-old. We're comin' up on a decade, here! I definitely feel like my blogging took a backseat to other media in 2009. I started using Twitter and Facebook more heavily, and I do a lot of my "wacky link" sharing on Google Reader now. Still, I'm going to keep w-g going as long as I can. It's amazing to look through the archives and realise that nearly 10 years of my life - exciting years! - are documented here. As usual, I've compiled some fun statistics to celebrate. (Previously: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.)
Goals for 2010: Finish paying off my student loan. Run 1000kms in the calendar year. Run the Sydney Half-Marathon in May, and depending on how I do, think about aiming for a spring marathon. Take a vacation to the States to visit family. Go to a BA training course. Learn to sew a skirt for myself. And finally win that damn blue ribbon at the Show. That's all achievable, right?
Saturday, January 2, 2010
We had a fairly low-key New Year's Eve this year. Miss Fee and the Sock Victim invited us over for dinner at their place in Marrickville. We had barbecue pork, sauerkraut, baked potatoes, brie, grapes, champagne cocktails, trifle, and all sorts of lovely things. (Many of them supposed to bring luck for the new year!) Then we rocked out on Guitar Hero until the fireworks started at midnight. Good friends and good food are definitely the way to get the year off to a good start.
I've been following The Happiness Project for a while now, and last week I decided to sign up for the 2010 Happiness Challenge. Gretchen will be designating an overall theme for each month of 2010, and every week she'll be giving a small resolution for you to work on. January's theme is "Energy," and the first weekly resolution is to get more sleep. Which is perfect timing, really, because the Snook and I have been falling into very bad sleep habits over the holiday season (staying up too late and then sleeping in). I'm really going to make more of an effort to head to bed at 10pm every night. (If you take nothing else from that site, I highly recommend you try making your bed. We've been doing that for some time now and it really does make a difference!)
A lot of my favourite knitters (miss fee, Bells, RandomKnits, RoseRed, DrK) have been posting "recaps" of their knitting for 2009. I had a look back over my output, and the result was a little surprising. I feel like I knitted constantly but I don't actually have that much to show for it. I did some baby knitting, I did a couple pairs of socks, I did a couple accessories, and I did a couple adult garments. I guess that some of my knitting energy was expended in my duties for the Inner City Guild group. This is the reason I'm not signing up for any sock or lace clubs this year; I just don't see my available knitting time increasing for 2010. I'll have to content myself with fewer, larger projects!
1. bmp Socks, 2. Na Craga, 3. Rusted Root, 4. Brycie's Outfit - Vest, 5. Brycie's Outfit - Hat, 6. Brycie's Outfit - Socks, 7. Ribbed Noro Socks, 8. Cranford Mitts, 9. Child's French Sock in Citron Pattern and Diaper Knitting, 10. Baby Cardigan, 11. Tasman Summer Tunic, 12. Matt's Random Striped Scarf, 13. Biohazard Socks, 14. Posie Socks
(For those who want to make their own mosaic, I used Mosaic Maker.)
You can search through the archives by post keyword using the form on the left, or you can browse by month using the links at the bottom.
"Moblog" refers to posts and images posted directly from my mobile phone.
"PW Blog" refers to posts recovered from my very first weblog, which dealt with news related to my college dorm.
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