Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kaylee's Outfit Is For Sale!

Who wants to get me an early birthday/Christmas present?  That's one expensive grease monkey outfit!  I love Kaylee, she's my favourite Firefly character (followed closely by Wash and Mal).  I think I see something of what I hope I'd be like in a similar situation - still girly and a little naïve, but an expert in something that makes her totally indispensable to the crew.  Plus, she gets Sean Maher in the end, and who wouldn't want that?  ;-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bread Crackers

I don't really like crackers.  I love the idea of something crunchy and savoury that you dip or load high with fillings, but I hate how much salt or artificial flavouring usually goes onto them.  So I decided to make my own.  I noticed that last time I made pizza dough, I rolled it out a little too thin and it went really crispy and crunchy, and decided to do it on purpose this time.  I had added a little turmeric to the dough when I kneaded it, rather than into the liquid of the dough, because that way it made pretty swirly patterns (actually, I just forgot to put it in...).  Then I cut little circles out using a cookie cutter. Before they went into the oven, I brushed them with a mixture of honey, soy sauce, and water, and sprinkled them with sesame seeds.  Mum and I accidentally ate a huge plate of them instead of having a real dinner, so you can tell they were pretty good.  Here they are, aren't they pretty?

Rest in Peace, Peter Falk

Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow?
As you wish...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alasdair Thompson is a Moron

Apparently women are paid less than men in New Zealand because of "their monthly sickness" and the fact that we all have babies that we need to rush home to look after.  :-|  This guy is an idiot.  Please watch the full interview here.

Usually it's enough to laugh at idiots, but this guy has some status as the CEO of the Employment and Manufacturers Association, and he's not backing down.  He should know better than to not have the statistics he's using to make such a broad sweeping claim.  What's that you say?  He has no statistics because he's just an idiot making sh*t up?  Oh, I see.

Maybe he should be reading/listening to Stuff Mom Never Told You?

Links of the Week VI

Because a picture's worth a thousand words, I'm adding one extra link to the Links of the Week from now on:  Image of the week.  :-)

Maths:  Champernowne's Constant at Io9
This is a really short article, and easy to understand, so don't be put off by the title!  This simple number confused early computers.  I think it's awesome when people fool computers, therefore, this constant is awesome.

Music:  Robbie Williams Flashes Crowd at TVNZ news
Yes, I know I'm juvenile, but this made me laugh.  Robbie is such a dood.

Marine Biology:  Penguins and Populations at TV3 and TVNZ news
I wish I could go visit the penguin, I mean from a distance, obviously, but how cool would it be!?  And then a very sad story about the fate of the ocean's biodiversity.  It makes me really mad to think that the people in political and corporate power care more about money than about the future of...  Sorry, I won't start a lecture.  I couldn't even finish the article without getting really mad, so if you feel strongly about this too, you are warned; but this might cheer you up a bit.

Inspiration:  Quote from Mae Jemison at No Country for Young Women
I love the pearls of wisdom that come from people who were the first to do something or invented something.  I think this quote is something we all must keep in mind when we listen to the wisdom of others, to "reevaluate the world for [ourselves]".

Fabulous Fashion:  Red Shoes at Kris' blog
Kris used to work with my Mum and she's awesome.  This is an example of why.  Her blog mostly talks about plays that she's been to, but this month she's posting at least once a day for a challenge, so her posts have varied to awesomeness like this.

Steampunk:  Monsters of the Sky at Steampunkr

Thursday, June 23, 2011

World's Greenest Homes

World's Greenest Homes is a Canadian television show that somehow made it's way into the dvd collection at the library and from there onto our holds list.  The collection that the library has is a 6-disk, two-series, 39-episode mega set, which we only had a month to watch.  So we've taken it out of the library again to finish it.

This series is pretty cool; the host goes to different houses around the world (mainly in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia) and tours them focusing on the elements of the house that make it green.  Energy and water efficiency, reuse or recycle of building materials, and the use of chemical-free building materials, along with the architectural innovation required to make all of these elements work together to form a family home, are the challenges the home-owners have taken on.

We used to watch Grand Designs avidly, but have grown a bit sick of the condescending manner of the host, constantly going on and on about how a plan cannot work, until suddenly he is surprised by the finished product (it's even put me off watching Grand Designs: Australia).  There's none of that attitude here, especially as the houses are already built.  The host is constantly in awe of the innovation and creativity the home-owners have shown, and I imagine him making mental notes of things he'd love to include in his own home!  But there's no sensationalism or hype either, it's just a tasteful and respectful show, that is so rare these days.

Definitely worth a look if you're interested in architecture, environmentalism, or simply love seeing how other people live.  Also, there's an episode about the A-frame wooden house in the protected woods in England that the man who collects peat built, that, if you've watched Grand Designs forever, you'd remember (it's my favourite episode!).  It's a few years on from the Grand Designs episode, and even more recent than the Grand Designs: Revisited episode too.

If you want to buy World's Greenest Homes, click on the picture to buy it from Mighty Ape.  If you do, I get credit so I can buy more pretty things to tell you about!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Experimenting with Prettiness concluded

For now, the blog prettifying is complete.  I have changed the background to an image from the Graphics Fairy, who I have posted about before - she has a separate page dedicated to background images that she makes and allows people to use for free.  You can use them on your blog or desktop, and they're very pretty (she also has a projects site and a DIY projects site which are so cool!).

I also contacted the artist who painted "Patriot", the painting I have been using in my header since I started this blog, and asked for permission to use it (I know, I should have done it BEFORE I put it up, but at the time I didn't think anyone would ever read the blog!).  He kindly agreed, and I created a little buttony link in the sidebar using his painting "Buttonmaker".  I used picasa to put the title into the banner, as the tutorial at Clover Lane explains (I didn't even know you could use picasa for adding text!  I blame only having had picasa for a little while!).  One day when I have a good camera, I will add pretty photos to the banner using this tutorial too.

I added a favicon.  This was the trickiest part of the 'redesign', but really shouldn't have been.  I was trying to follow a tutorial at Mommy Moment (the site is aimed at mums, but the tutorials are fantastic!), and kept getting errors from the HTML editor on blogger.  Finally I did a google search, and found out that the reason the tutorial didn't work was because it was written for the old blogger, and I am using the new templates.  Eventually, I found this website that not only converts your image into a favicon, but hosts it and gives you the code to put it into your blog.  At the moment I'm sticking with the very simple two colour favicon based on my banner, but someday I will upgrade to a picture of something.  By the way, a useful link to have when playing around with the HTML on blogger is Blog Doctor's Error Messages post.  This is where I found out why things wouldn't work, and it suggests ways to correct the errors.
Lastly, I used My Live Signatures to create a signature (see below).  I don't think I'll use it every time I post, but isn't it pretty?

So now you know what I've been doing for a week (apart from working on a VERY overdue project for an engagement present).  What have you been up to?

Apologies for absence

Hi there, sorry I've not posted in a few days.  I've been working almost full time on my next project, and will be for a few days yet.  I haven't even been on the internet at all in two days (I know, right?!).  Because I have to let the project dry for a while before continuing, I'll write up a post or two and set them to auto post over the next few days so you don't get blather-withdrawal.  I promise that this project is worth the wait, and as soon as the recipient receives it, I'll post about it.  I'm really excited about how it's turning out because I had so many doubts about how to do it at first.

Nothing much else is going on around here, except that my uncle's Labradoodle had puppies on Sunday.  I am desperate to go visit, but he works nights and lives at the other extreme end of Auckland (it takes us til lunch time to get there when we leave here at 7am), so logistics may be a problem.  But he sent Mum an email with pictures (which means he must be really proud/excited, he never emails us):

Aren't they cute?  I told Mum I want the chocolate-coloured one.  But really, I'm not a dog person.  I like to visit them, but cats and birds are more my deal.  Dogs smell...  and lick...  and are big and strong and unpredictable.  But I'm almost swayed by these cuties.  And yes, you did count right, there are 10 (poor mummy Jade!).

Okay, on to the futureposts.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Links of the Week V...part 2

I know I've already posted five links and that that is my (self imposed!) limit, but I wanted to just share this one too.  Hey it's my blog, I can break my own rules!

Telling it like it is:  Hollywood Has Stopped Trying at Chud.com
Now they're making remakes of films that are still to be released at the cinema?  I don't want to see either of these movies, but it just shows you that it's true - Hollywood sucks.

Links of the Week V

Look at that!  It's not even the end of the week yet, and I'm up to five interesting links.   Happy clicking!

Comic:  Peanuts at Wired.com
I've never been really impressed with Snoopy and co, though I do love the girl who calls the other girl "Sir".  But this mashup is hilarious.  I really like the one about Journey (yes, I'm sure they would be pissed) and the one about maths.  The rest of the comics (of which there are at least 300) are here at the Peanut Tweeter site.

Forum:  New Zealand Crafters at Crafster.org
JACKPOT!  Last week I mentioned wanting to find New Zealand blogs/websites with a craft/cooking focus, and here I've found a forum full of New Zealand craftsters.  I've followed this site for a while now, but never explored the forums...  silly me!  By the way, you don't have to even sign up to view the board; very convenient!

Competition:  Terrarium Book at Timber Press (via Crafster)
If you're in the States or Canada, please enter this competition so I can live vicariously through you!  I love terrariums, and have even made one of my own (that is currently sitting on the kitchen table dying because I lack a green thumb).  This is why I've been looking for New Zealand websites - jealousy.  Because we can't enter, win a MasterChef Vol 2 book here (answers are "having cameras in your face asking you questions" and "so everything's very comfortable") or a copy of the first season of Sherlock on dvd here (the answer is "And we thought maybe we should do it.") over at the TVNZ website.

Art/Architecture:  Bookcase House at BoingBoing
I want a house with this as its attic.  The rest of the house would be normal (well, normal as much as I am), but then you go to the attic and EVERYTHING is a bookcase.  Nice.

Current Events/Art:  Kissing in a Riot at NPR.org
So it's not just football fans that are completely insane and think that their feelings over sport are more important than the safety of the fans/bystanders.  Hockey fans can riot too.  But in the midst of the riots, this photo was taken.  I think that whether this is staged or not only changes the meaning behind the actions, not that there is meaning.  If it isn't staged, it means something either about love or stupidity or a calm in the chaos or any of a multitude of other things, but if it's staged it's up to the artist to tell us what they intend for it to stand for, or if the two people staged it just for publicity...  I guess it means people will do anything for their 15 minutes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Poetry Moment

I have heaps of interests, as you may have figured out by now.  In fact you could call me just a little crazy.  Today I want to share my two favourite poems.  I was inspired to post them when I remembered I had a recording of the first on my computer somewhere, and that I should find it.  Here is The Raven on youtube:

John De Lancie is awesome.  This video showed up on Io9 because he starred in ST:TNG, but whether or not you're a trek fan, this is a great performance and managed to give me a little shiver.

And my other favourite is The Lady of Shalott (click the image for the poem, it's pretty long). I love the rhyming pattern, and the image it paints. I think that's why the Woodhouse painting is what I think of when I think of the poem, the words in the poem must have been like a paint-by-numbers for him.

So, do you have any favourite poems?

PS: If anyone knows how to format HTML so that the spoiler picture is actually centred? With my very limited knowledge of HTML, it says it is.. But it's not in the final post!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coconut Loaf

I've been meaning to post this recipe from the Whangaparoa Primary School Family Recipes cookbook (circa 1991) for a long while now, and seeing as I plan to be far too busy and important* to write anything in the blog today, this seems like a good time!

Coconut Loaf

Sift together:
  • heaped cup flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • ½t salt

  • ¾c sugar
  • 1c coconut

Mix together with ¾-1c milk and bake in small (mine's 4c capacity) loaf tin for 40-50mins at 180°.

Yes it is that simple and it tastes fabulous.  Because there is no butter, and there's less sugar than most other baking goodies, you can feel a bit better about wolfing this down; but because it's nice and heavy and flavourful, you may not need to have more than one slice.

*My idea of being far too busy and important means vacuuming, dishes, washing, dusting, organising, and folding towels.  And if I have time, I may be able to fit a little bit of podcast listening and project working-on.  That's project-not-for-blog-yet, for those of you playing along at home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Links of the Week IV

Geology Porn:  (Part of) White Terraces Found at New Zealand Herald and Stuff.co.nz
When they found some of the Pink Terraces in February I was so happy I almost cried.  For some reason they have always fascinated me, and I couldn't believe that in my life time they may be visible again.  Now they've found part of the White Terraces and the story just gets cooler!  There are awesome pictures of the Pink Terraces and even a video.

'80s Geekery:  Behind the Scenes at Ghostbusters at Io9
I love Ghostbusters.  I love both of the movies, but because the second movie was on (what felt like) every school holidays from when I was 8 until I was 14, I go against the gran and prefer it to the first.  Don't get me wrong, I can't think of anything cooler than a huge exploding marshmallow man raining sticky yummy evil from the sky...  Except Lady Liberty blasting uplifting music while walking through the streets.  Anyway, this article has some behind the scenes videos, including one of the actress who plays Slimer practicing the scene in the bus.  More of the videos can be found at the special effects guy's youtube channel.

Food Psychology:  Lie to Yourself at Io9
Io9 is on the ball this week.  This article shows that lying to yourself can help you control the amount and type of food you eat.  So, take the calorie count on food and mentally add a hundred calories and you wont feel compelled to eat more.

New Zealand Blog:  Food NZ
I've decided to seek out New Zealand blogs to see who else is out there!  This is easier said than done because the way I have found interesting blogs is through other blogs...  And they're all American.  So I was so excited when I found the Lovely Blogs website all about New Zealanders blogging.  Many of the links no longer work (not all that surprising as the last post on Lovely Blogs is from 2008), but this one does and it looks really cool.  I mean, what blog could be uncool when there's a little love letter to a Trumpet (icecream, not instrument) on the front page?

Links:  Misc. at Not Martha
Not Martha's blog is about everything I love.  Craft, DIY, cooking, photography (I'm getting there...  Just need a camera!), and links.  This week's include book recommendations, and how life can be made more like games, and more.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Links of the Week: III

Sorry this is late, I'm trying to post these every Saturday, but Mum's been home on leave and so we've been having fun doing... housework :-( but also :-)

Recipe:  Kaiserschmarrn at SBS
My good friend Jonathan cooked kaiserschmarrn a few times while I was living at Toad Hall in Canberra (yes that is its real name, no there are no badgers or rats...  okay, there might be rats, but only if someone were to leave their uneaten lunch in their room...) and if he had cooked it every night I would have eaten it every night without any self control.  Luckily, he didn't, and I didn't explode.  Now I have this recipe...  I can't look at it *the light, it burns us*.

Fashion:  Vintage Sewing Books at Colette Patterns
This is such a great site.  At first I thought I was simply signing up to a feed that would let me know when they post a new free pattern (like this one and this one), but I have been learning all about the different techniques used in dressmaking, properties of different fabrics, and famous and/or fabulous designers, both modern and retro.  Do sign up if you think you might be even a little interested (money back refund upon request if you don't like it, promise!).  PS:  Damn I just found a whole bunch of craft blog links at the bottom of the page.  There goes my afternoon/week.

Environment/Craft:  Plarn at My Recycled Bags
What a great idea I had on the way home from the supermarket the other day - take plastic supermarket bags and crochet them to make strong reusable shopping bags and minimise the guilt of forgetting to bring my own bags now and then.  Then I found out it had already been done and this technique is so much better than I had thought up.  Still a great idea, just not original, and done better by someone else!

Science Fiction and Science:  Science Future at Escape Pod
If you're not convinced about signing up for this podcast, this very short article should do it.  If not the article, then the two very apropriate quotations bookending it.  If you're still not convinced... then...  I don't know, just do as I tell you, minions.

Food and Culture:  Matariki at Foodlovers
As I write this there is still time to rock on up to this event if they're still taking registrations (and if you're not like me living across the other side of Auckland like a chump).  Maori and Pacific Island food has always interested me, but I've never tried cooking any...  Now, where do I buy puha?

SBS Recipes

SBS is a television channel in Australia, and is high up on my list of things I miss about living there.  Television in New Zealand consists mostly of reality tv, cancelled sitcoms (I kind of liked 'Bleep' My Dad Says, and then found out it had been cancelled), and current affairs shows that are going American (ie sensationalist).  SBS is full of documentaries that are interesting and educational; television shows from around the world and not just America or England (that's right, some have subtitles because they're not in English!); and really informative news and current affairs shows.

But my favourite thing about SBS is the cooking shows.  Imagine my pleasure when I found that a lot of the recipes featured on these shows, along with others, are on their website.  I'd been collecting recipes from their site for a few months, starring them in my feed reader to go back to and make, when all of a sudden the pages wouldn't load.  Unlike some feeds, this one only gives a line or two, or at times just a title, and that's definately not enough to get me inspired.  So they've laid unread for more than a month now.  Until now:  the pages are loading again and I'm so pleased I had to post about it.  Here's an example of what I've been waiting to try out:

Finishing is Winning!

I finished two projects yesterday.  Yes TWO!  The scarf I started last weekend is now beautifully long and warm and I will post a picture soon once the ends are sewn in.

Also an engagement present for a friend has been finished, finally (it's about two months overdue!), and a post will be dedicated to it once she has been given it.

If any of you are like me; someone who starts a lot of projects and never finishes them; you'll understand how confused I am.  Confused, but pleased!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick Book Review - Miss Hope's Chocolate Box

This is a pretty little book, so pretty that I didn't just scan the recipes to keep, but the little retro pictures along the way.  This book is about chocolates - truffles, palmiers, fudge, and little cakes - so I might as well stop trying to convince you to read it because you've already gone to the library/book shop/wherever you obtain books.  If you're still here, I don't know why, but let me continue.  Miss Hope is very funny, and her humour extends past her introduction into her delicious-looking recipes.  I haven't tried any as yet because most of the ones to my taste require a sugar thermometer, and the only one I can find is in Stevens and is $16+.  I do, however, want to try the Black Forest Fudge that doesn't need tempered chocolate, but it asks for glacé cherries which I can't stand.  So I have to figure out a substitute.  I could see myself buying this book because it has a rather wide range of yummies, not just truffles, just baking, or just fudge; and because it is just so pretty (and naughtily funny)!

Visit their website here and see all the kinds of lovely things we in New Zealand are missing out on!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is it Thursday already?!

Sorry for the lack in posts, I have been busy.  Busy doing not much, but busy all the same.  I have scanned book pages into my computer as if my life depended on it (which it almost does; Mum's getting annoyed that books are always overdue and threatened to make me use my own library card!), and have continued working on my scarf (I seem to be addicted!).  Today I am aiming to start a new project (I know, I know, but this one's a time-sensitive present!), continue listening to the backlog of podcasts (I'm getting there, only another 190 to go, down from about 250 this week), and vacuum.  Exciting times!  Here's a pretty picture to tide you over til I get around to the next post (it will be about the books I have been busily scanning):


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