Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Further cattle news

I was just reading a story about the "Angus beef" being trumpeted by the Scottish family restaurants. Maccas did some polling: Joe Average thinks Angus tastes superior for some reason, although there is no real evidence for that. Angus breeders seem pretty happy to agree that it is so.

Anyway, my actual point is that the journalist listed the winning breeds in this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show steer and carcass competition: Limousin, Charolais and in third, Square Meaters.

In the interests of full disclosure, I can state that it appears that Seacrest Chubby Dominator TX23475 is a Hereford.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Michael Stipe / Bull in a fishtank

I did not get this book for Christmas, it just so happens it was Christmastime when I finally discovered it looked quite good wearing my glasses.

This is my prize bull, Seacrest Chubby Dominator TX23475. He has spent the last three years in a fish tank, in case you are wondering about the green face. He is a magnificent specimen otherwise, and if I can scrub off the algae he stands a good chance of bringing in some ribbons at the Royal Hobart Show in the Plastic Toy Cattle category. Look out for his exclusive tell-all revelations, "My Three Years of Hell in a Fish Tank", in next month's Womens Weekly.

Christmas roundup

The boys didn't get up until after 6am on Christmas Day - a record for recent years. They got into their stockings, upended them and dealt with the contents pretty quickly. By 8am they had already reverted to building pyramids from mah jongg tiles.

Marcus was given a couple of different electronic sets. One of them required someone to wrap about a quarter mile of copper wire around a cardboard toilet roll in a very precise way, to ultimately produce a "radio". The toilet roll needs to be grounded on a metal pipe or wire fence, and the electronics buff then has to squat beside the pipe/fence as the supplied earphone, attached to the toilet roll, has a very short wire. While the kids played elsewhere and their tinkling laughter drifted on the breeze, a succession of adults wrestled with coils of wire and sweated, angrily.

Pictured below is the other electronics set. The boys can just click the various components together in different configurations for instant circuit-based gratification.

The other main Christmas action: Marcus received a pair of tennis rackets, and Michael a scooter. We have been down to the local tennis court to try out both - my phenomenal footspeed seems to have deserted me since last time I played. Michael's scooter is one of those tiny fold-up Razor types with very thin solid wheels. We hoped he'd have hours of fun out on the deck with it, but it turns out the wheels stick between the planks.

Mum and Dad are here for Christmas, and seem to be enjoying drifiting about with us with no particular plans. They gave me a fantastic book, The Great War by Les Carlyon. It is roughly the size of a loaf of bread. I have just started it and will possibly reach the Armistice in time for Armistice Day in November.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A table with a name

Closely following the new floor, we now have the new table. I have always wanted a big recycled timber table. Elf found a man at Salamanca Market named David making beautiful things from old timber and commissioned him to make one. It seats 8-10, its mostly made of oregon pine from the old Roberts woolstore. One side features part of an old apple grader, named The Lightning - it's such beautiful lettering. One minor flaw is that its about 10cm too high - David is going to scoot back one day with his saw.

My Mum and Dad arrived yesterday to spend Christmas and New Year with us. Do not they, the boys and the table make a fetching group?

We will have a quiet Christmas mostly at home, but it should be great to just flop horizontal for a while, admire the table, eat cherries, watch cricket, play cricket and see all the ex-Tasmanians who fly home at this time of year.

Thanks to everybody who stopped by and read the blog this year. Have a good Christmas, stay safe, see you in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A few beers

I went out to have a few drinks with Rob and Manuel last night for Rob's birthday. It was a Tuesday night but at this time of year every night is Friday night, down along the waterfront drinking zone. I have very rarely ventured down there since having kids - a) not many nights out and b) distinct lack of a sense of adventure.

At 7.30 there were already legless people of all ages (and fire twirlers) out and about, and a very muscular police presence. Outside Knopwoods, [where people used to spill out like cheese from an overcooked toastie], there was a front-row-forward type with an earpiece moving people about like chess pieces to keep the footpath clear.

We started at Bar Celona (why anyone thinks that's a clever name is beyond me) where I was ignored at the bar for an agonisingly long time. Apparently I was standing to the left of an invisible line, and this was impossible for the sulky bar staff to convey with words. The sulky bar staff and I performed a Samuel Beckett-like agony of longing, thirst, denial, regret, guilt, shame, fury and cleavage. I am too polite to shout "hey", so I would still be there now if an older gent had not pointed me out and insisted that someone walk two steps down and serve me. I enquired if I was standing in a Service Area (I have learned this term from the large helpful signs other bars deploy). Was told no, although I was bang in front of beer taps. To my suggestion "Maybe you need a sign?" I got a shirty "What do you want?"

But, as I was able to drink up and walk out of their dive, while they were stuck there for the night, [not to mention probably stuck in bar service forever as they seemed pretty dim and probably have no other options, plus once they lose their looks they will end up crazy cat ladies and harmless flashers] I didn't really mind too much.

I did have a non-bitter-and-tetchy story about the night but I can't remember it now. Manuel ducked off home for dinner, Rob and I had an over-sophisticated pizza and six or seven more beers. By the time we felt ready for a good espresso all the bars with coffee machines had turned them off.

Friday, December 18, 2009

E-Learning for High Lamas. Heee-onk.

Each year we (Roar Film) have a stand at the BETT education trade show in London. To be precise it's probably in a very large shed somewhere on a ring road in Hampshire, but as far as we are concerned out here in the peripheral Commonwealth, let's say it's in London.

At this time of the year there is lots of talk around about going to BETT, sending disks to BETT, emails to BETT, how many laptops are we taking to BETT etc.

In my mind I am now picturing the whole thing happening not at Slough or Staines, but up in the Himalayas, in Tibet. Steve and Craig will be trekking over mountain passes with a number of yaks, wearing traditional cloaks. Their destination is a precipitous monastery. Over a ceremonial dish of tsampa and butter tea they present their e-learning webinars to the yellow-hatted lamas. In response the lamas bow low, play their long mountain horns and chant rhythmically for fourteen hours.

While the lamas chant, the novice monks painstakingly create a mandala on the floor with coloured sand. When completed it reads "Thanks for the webinar. It was really nice".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brett Geeves : Mayonnaise

While I was painting the fence on Sunday I listened to the entire first innings of a one day cricket match, Tasmania v Western Australia. Fellow blogger Brett Geeves was playing for Tasmania. Peter Newlands described him as, "the flamboyant and somewhat charismatic Geeves". The amount of fence I actually completed over these 4 hours looks pathetic - that's pickets for ya.

In other major news, last night I made the first mayonnaise of my life. A simple lemon mayo to dump into some bacon n' lettuce wraps. Which turned into bacon n' carrot n' celery etc when it transpired we had no lettuce, after all. In any case my mayo was a triumph. Not a slimming food choice, though.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trying to think while a puppy rolls at your feet

It is hard to make major life decisions in the presence of puppies. People who work in the puppy industry must develop puppy resistance, to be able to decide what to have for lunch, how much copy paper to order etc etc. I would just be hopeless.

At the Dogs Home yesterday we met a delightful 6 week old labrador cross named Florence. She was friendly but calm. We had been looking for a dog aged about 12-18 months, but I could feel my mind changing as Florence mercilessly beamed her puppy forcefield of cute at me. If someone had tried to sell me timeshare apartments on the Gold Coast with Florence rolling at my feet I would have said yes.

I thought it best we get out of there and discuss Florence over lunch. We agreed there were some good reasons to get a little puppy instead of a big one, mostly to give Hattie the cat a chance to set some ground rules. I rang the Dogs Home to put a hold on Florence but she was taken already. Sigh. However I think we have clarified what we are looking for, and there will be dozens of puppies available for adoption in the next few weeks.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New floor

As a side-effect of our Get A Dog 09-10 campaign, we decided that the upstairs timber floor needed to be resurfaced. The original tung-oil polish has generally handled human traffic reasonably well, but dog claws would be a different story.

So we got a man named Alan in to give it a light sand and put down polyurethane. We put all the big upstairs furniture out on the deck wrapped in plastic, and stayed down at Imp and Ed's for the night. We are back now, and have started moving stuff back inside and back upstairs. Alan asked us to be kind to the floor for the first ten days so we are doing a lot of gliding about in socks.

We are shortly heading off to the Dogs' Home to inspect spaniels and so forth.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Spare 6:47 for this, it will make your day

I was just on YouTube collecting some music for Lost Cassettes, when I found this.

When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way,
No, no, no
I don't think you're allowed to sing that on kids TV any more. This is from 1973 I think, the year before we got colour TV. I probably watched it (aged 5), I just wish I remembered it. I like to think I was breaking it down in the old sunroom like the kid on the fire escape at about 0:39.

It's a great song, but what a performance - it just gets better and better and by the end, I was just wishing they would keep going. Sigh.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ferntree and Moonah social roundup

Yesterday we were invited to morning tea up at Scout's house at Ferntree by her parents Phoebe and Paul, who had made us a large chocolate cake. They have a classic Ferntree house, one of the very few in their patch to have survived the 67 bushfire. Beautiful dark oak panelling everywhere, and those metal doorknobs that are ribbed like beehives - (google tells me they in fact are called beehive doorknobs.) They have an ideal scruffy dog named Ramjet, and a big, beautiful rambling yard with a garden swing.

They also have many lovely collections of things, notably fossils and books, Scout (who is 6) has decided she will be an archaelogist. Here is a bad photo of Paul's J. Bond paperbacks - I always feel self-conscious taking pics in people's houses and rush.

We left the Newell's and had some down time at home before heading out the other way to bbq dinner at the McKinnons - the family with hereditary Ns. CameroN, SusaN, SaffroN and ImogeN McKiNNoN. Nnnnnnnn.

I have no pictures of them, however. Here is Cameron's handsome woodpile;

and here are some of Susan's handsome poultry featuring some fake depth of field.

Susan and Cameron's food was fantastic as usual. They also have a scruffy dog. Big yards, great food, scruffy dogs. That was Sunday.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Debate at the high jump

Michael was off having fun inside a giant pine tree. I was reclining against the Fat Mat - the one they bring out once the bar gets up towards a metre. At this early stage the athletes were leaping onto the Flat Mat.

Someone else's 4 year old, on top of Fat Mat, to me: This will be finished soon.
Me: Well, it might not. Usually the high jump takes a long time.
SE4YO: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
SE4YO: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
SE4YO: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
SE4YO: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes it does.
SE4YO: You're not the prime minister
Me: No, I'm not.
SE4YO struts away triumphantly.

[25 minutes later]
SE4YO, back on top of Fat Mat: You were right.
Me: Yes, I was.
SE4YO hugs my head.

Scorpion Knowledge

Brought to you by Michael, here is more information than you really wanted about the insides of scorpions. Plus - how to draw them.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

South Hobart this morning

I love the window display at the South Hobart Butchery. Usually empty egg cartons, some receipt books and half a jar of paprika.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Unsettling shopping list

  • Fish oil
  • Cheese
  • Gladwrap
  • Shaving Cream