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Boring History Girl

travel, history and eating. lots of eating....

Updated: 2016-09-08T13:52:14.280+09:30


the way to a good tourist's heart is through their stomach


The food writing project organised by Nicky at has certainly inspired an exciting collection of perspectives, memories and desires for food and food writing. Ever since my food awakening at the Australian sea-side, food has been an all consuming part of my life. Equally consuming have been travel and cultural history, things I regularly combine.Often when I visit cultural heritage locations, be they Royal Palaces in the UK, Imperial complexes in China or the ruins of Roman cities in Italy I am drawn, as a food person, to the kitchens. Searching out the warm and safe sensation from my favourite room of the house, and yet often I am left cold. Freshly cleaned floors, so different to mine with skins of onions mixed in with little piles of spilt sugar and pebbles of cat food. A few remnants of material culture - pots and pans, maybe some of which have been put on the hob or hung over the empty fire place. If I'm lucky there might be a wax cast of something that might be a kipper. Or is it supposed to be cake?The one thing food writers and interpreters should have in common is passion. So why? Why is there so little passion displayed when interpreting our culinary cultural heritage?For most of us who live in the parts of the world where we're lucky enough to eat every day, food is an integral and essential part of our lives. A cooked breakfast signifies a slow start to the weekend. A decedent meal on a special occasion. A quick bowl of noodles with a good friend on a weeknight evening. These are markers that help us to ascribe meaning to different parts of our lives. So many social events, in all cultures, revolve around food. This can only be reflected in the number of magazines, books, newspaper columns, television and radio programs, and even blogs that are dedicatedly pursuing the art and the essence of food and eating. When we travel food becomes a part of the whole experience. How often have you come back from some exotic location and one of the first things you're asked is "what was the food like?"?The essence of interpretation theory and practice tells us that for interpretation to effectively tell a story, and allow visitors to engage with a message it needs four things. Without going into the psychology of this, one of these four things is relevance.If it can be agreed that food and eating is something that we all use to define certain moments in our lives, finding relevance in food interpretation should be straight forward. If I go to Hampton Court Palace*, I want to have a Tudor food experience. Not this:Don't (just) tell me that the cauldron holds nine-thousand gallons or they cooks started at 4am. Or even that they ate partridge. Why? When? What does it taste like? What does it smell like? There is evidence to show that introducing smell allows visitors to relate tourism sites to their own experiences. So pipe in the smells of meat roasting or bread baking from the cafe or restaurant. Instantly you're taking a cold, hard room and turning it into something warm and familiar.Similarly, there is this regularly visited shop front in Pompeii, the local take-away:Admittedly Pompeii - at least when I was there last almost eight years ago - suffers from not just bad interpretation, but no interpretation, and lack lustre maintenance, but what an opportunity to make classical history and the classical world instantly recognisable to the modern visitor! Did the ancient Romans go out for the first century equivalent of fish and chips, or pizza? How was it different to what they ate at home? What does it actually taste like? What can we relate it to in our own food experience?There are so many excellent opportunities to bring history sites alive for people, particularly the younger members of the family. Make the most of it - make it edible. Appeal to not just the brain and the heart, but the stomach too. Why not put a second century Roman dish on the menu at the Pompeii restaurant (hold the garum for me please), or a Tudor dish rather than devonshire teas at Hampton Court? Let us sme[...]

Consuming passions - the culture of food writing


Late last week I received an invitation via my good friend Dr Space Junk to participate in a food blogging event - yes DSJ knows me well. However, rather than just blogging about food we've eaten, or food we'd like to eat, or food we've cooked, or food we're thinking about cooking, this is a blog event about writing about food.Walk in the park BHG I hear you say.Well, yes.And no.And as I've been thinking about this post, and what it will contain, I'm taken back to - of all things - one of those team building events that one is often submitted to in the workplace. In this one all participants were asked to bring an item of significance with them and the rest of us had to see if we could conjure up which one of us it belonged to. I bought along a plastic spade from my days as a sandcastle architect. Resplendent in hot pink it has little seagulls and wave ripples moulded into it.This spade, correctly or not, represents to me seemingly endless summers spent at Silver Sands beach in the outreaches (then) of the Adelaide suburbs. This was an idyllic location, and certainly the best of my childhood memories. Family upon family crammed into this beach house (many thanks to google.maps). In the days before we were concerned with skin cancer, and with feminism and multi-culturalism on the rise a motley crew of women, children and men, Anglo, French, Italian, Greek, gay, straight were all crammed into the three bedrooms. I particularly remember the curtains the room where the children slept and I fell out of the top bunk without waking. I also remember the year I broke my foot and couldn't go because of the perilous stairs. I remember the sand running out of our swimmers in the downstairs shower and the musty smell that came out of the shed that contained surfboards and the ping pong table. I remember hot, hot days and cool nights of cricket in the backyard. I remember FABULOUS 1970s brown bottle glass in the windows which now, sadly, seems to have gone.But aside from these drifting memories of the pre-iPod Australian summer, I remember two things. And both of these things relate to the long dining table, which probably wasn't as long as I remember it. I remember intricately prepared dinners where everyone, kids included, pitched in. I remember going out to the local farms to pick ears of corn and fresh berries that ended up on that table. I remember making fresh pasta and mousaka and wonderful crisp salad. And I remember the variety of languages spoken and the cultures that made up that commune.Looking back at that plastic spade that I chose to bring along to my team building day, it represented the dining table. And I realised that's where two of my greatest loves in adult life emerged: food and language (and dinosaurs, but that's another post).On an unconnected trip to a local ramen restaurant one of my friends commented on her inherent distrust of people who eat to live rather than live to eat. That summer holiday dining table certainly made me one of the later. And so now I talk about food, think about food, think about eating food (yes, I'm thinking about eating ramen as I type this), and I write about food. Even though I have famously said that this is no longer a food blog, you only need to look at the list of blogs that I follow to know that that's not really true (mmmmm... and the amount of time I blog about food).This is a long (very long) and involved way of letting you know that is starting a week of food blogging posts from an interesting and eclectic bunch of bloggers with an interest in food, and an interest in writing about food, or writing about the cultural implications of writing about food.At some stage this week I will be blogging about cultural heritage, interpretation, and food. Now I have set the scene and provided the background of life dedicated to bigger thighs, stay tuned![...]

"Adelaide all but closed on Boxing Day"


Well, Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you enjoyed a festive day, what ever your connection to Christmas, and had some good company and something good to eat. I certainly did, and all in all the eating seems to have continued, spurred on by a bout of hangover related pork consumption today.And with the arrival of the post-Christmas haze comes the inevitable discussion on whether we can all survive another couple of days without punching someone in the face to get to a handbag in the post-Christmas sales. My thoughts on the matter, frankly, is that we can.Admittedly, I'm not a shopper. I don't like to shop. I don't like to be in shops. In fact if I never had to spend a cent again, I'd probably be happy. The one major exception to this rule is cheese, but one so rarely finds cheese in the post-Christmas sales, if this is ever to change I am more than willing to revisit my stance on the sales.But until that happens, seriously people, stay at home with friends or family, or if you're sick to death of friends and family pop a DVD in the machine, or take a long nap. Enjoy a couple of days embracing the relaxing time of year, particularly as this year in Adelaide is experiencing some mild summer days that make doing not very much at all very very easy to do.There is an argument that tourists will be upset that they can't shop. Now, I like to think I'm relatively well travelled, my little facebook widget thingy tells me I've visited over 200 cities in more than twenty countries. And never. Never. Has the opening hours of department stores influenced my travel decisions. However, if you are a tourist in this fair city, and perplexed as to what you will do as you're not able to purchase cut-price crystal ware, here are my top 10 suggestions of alternative activities to fill your time.1. On Your BikeBike SA allows you to hire a bike and a helmet from a number of 'hubs' around town, including backpackers and hotels, meaning that on Boxing Day you can hire a bike and hit the roads. Adelaide is pretty flat and surrounded by parklands, so unless you're planning on tackling the peak hour rush on some of the city's less friendly arterial roads, it's easy to get around. I suggest taking the linear park track from the city at Elder Park to Henley Square (passing the Christmas decorations at the brewery), where you can have coffee, walk along the jetty and dip your toe in the ocean. Alternatively put the bike on the train (which is free on weekends) and take the Marino Rocks to McLaren Vale route, which is longer with bigger hills, but you end up in McLaren Vale, which is coffee and cheese! See a theme here?2. Don't Just Sit There - Eat SomethingOne thing that SA does well is food. And inexpensive food at that. For some uber-chic people watching on a budget, hit the Exeter or Austral Hotels in Rundle Street early to snap up an outdoor table. Enjoy a couple of pints of SA's Pride and Joy, with some of the best pub food you'll find anywhere. I personally recommend the mushroom burgers at the Exeter.If you want a bit of spice in your life, head to China Town. Not the biggest complex you're likely to ever encounter, but lots of gems. Silky prawn jiaozi at Dumpling King, pork noodles at the Noodle Kingdom, BBC at Yin Chow, or salt and pepper eggplant at East Taste. Or go Indian at Maya or the Village. Wash it all down at the end with another Adelaide institution, gelati at Cibo.3. The Real Boxing Day TraditionThe Boxing Day test. Find a pub or a bar or an RSL showing it on the big screen - it won't be hard. If you're from a cricket playing nation, mock the appalling form of the previous world number ones. If you've never watched the game, sidle up to a local and get them to explain the rules. You probably won't understand it on the first run through, but it's a great way to meet some locals, have a couple of drinks, and it's something to tell the folks about back home. Warning though, once you get the knack of it, it's addictive!4. Fur, Wings and Keratin Spike[...]

a tour of chez-bhg


Whilst tidying up so that I can do the floors, I realised you could do a tour of my house, and my life, through shoes. All of these photos were taken in the last 10 minutes – i.e. these shoes were already here, I didn't put them down for the purpose of this post.Please also note the first sentence. I am about to clean my floors. This is as bad as it gets. Also note, it's molting season for my three cats....So, welcome inside. If you've been out riding, please leave your shoes at the door. The cleats can damage the floorboardsJust inside is where you leave the shoes you put on when you go to take the bins out, or breakup late night cat fights.To your right, you'll find the lounge room. A place to relax and take your shoes off after a long day at work, or a walk up the hill.These purple shoes are the ones I wear in the garden, and around the house. They're so comfortable, but unfortunately too dirty for proper company. The pair underneath are also very comfy and together they form a nice group of dangerous Australian aquatic life, cros and sharks.I was going to wear these ones out to breakfast today, but couldn't find the other, so this poor lonely shoe was abandoned on the couch.Before we continue to the tour, maybe you need to use the facilities? Of course here's the answer to age old dilemma of when you get home late at night and you can't work out what you want to do more - pee or take your shoes off.From here we move to the bedroom - always a hiding place for many an abandoned pair of shoes. I got this pair on a trip to Rome about six years ago - so they're my Roman SandalsThis one was lost behind one of my speakers. Very old and shabby but very comfortable.These are hand embroidered, but so old, they're covered with dust and have a loose piece of bubble wrap sitting on top of them.Finally, we make our way into the kitchen for a cuppa. Take your shoes off, make yourself at home.And these are the ones I had on when I was taking the photos. They are now sitting on the floor of the study as I type this. Which as turned out quite nicely as the typing has formed a distraction from cleaning the floors, which means that I can leave the shoes there a little longer.All together - fourteen pairs.[...]

life is pretty good


I went to a gig last night. Years ago that would be have a standard Saturday night out, these days – it's extraordinary.Good mate Princess and I went to see the Charlatans, who have been in my life almost as long as I've been an adult, with their stonking track The Only One I Know* coming out the year I turned 18 (go on, do the maths). When I lived in the UK my flat mate, Geordie, and all round party girl Debs and I had it bad for Mr Tim Burgess, and I was kinda wishing I was able to be with her to see them play. All in all it's probably a good thing Debs didn't make the trip from her cosy house in Tyne-on-Wear. The band looked old. The band looked bored. And not long after so did I. And Princess too. I leaned over and said 'I'm happy to go back to the Worlds End for a pint if you'd rather'. She rathered. She also said it looked like Mr Burgess had taken a particularly strong trip in about 1991 and had never come down from it. Too bad it didn't get them bouncing off the walls. I didn't get to hear Only One I Know, but I was sure it would be an encore and I just couldn't be bothered waiting around that long.So we did go back to the Worlds End, where we'd eaten before the show (tip: Saturday night is $15 parmie and pint night, and very nice it was too). These days I'm nearly 40 and Princess has two kids under the age of three, so late Saturday nights at the boozer are not a common event for us. This venue used to be a semi-regular haunt for us when we were young and on the streets, and the clientele has certainly changed, but that's probably for a future post on the death of feminism....This evening, and conversations with some of more-academically minded friends have made something apparent to me. In my early twenties my successful, academically minded friends were nose-down-bum-up, hard at study and focused on where they were going. I on the other hand, was hanging around at gigs and drinking waaaay to much beer with musos, roadies and groupies. Hence me slogging at a Masters degree in my 40s, while many of my friends had PhDs under the belts in their mid twenties.Would I change it? Hell no. As Princess said, quite out the blue - we've done some good stuff in our lives, haven't we. This was sort of phrased in a "we're old and boring now, but..." kind of way. But it was 9.30 and we were both tipsy on our fifth beer and ready for home, so I knew what she meant. Princess and I have travelled Australia and the world together, been in at least three share houses together, laughed, cried, and held each other's hair while we were throwing up. We can also fight like no other friends can.She's right tho, between us we have:gone to school in Francelived in a small village in rural Chinabuilt an orphanage in Kenya (not single handed though!)shared a lift with Nick Cavelived through hepatitis and malaria (one a piece)danced in precariously high heals to Robbie Williams with the cutest boy on the floordone tray after tray of shots in those horrible sticky, plastic shooter glassesridden cycles and vespas to exciting localeswoken up with the rhythm section of the support act asleep on our lounge floorpicked up the lead singer of strange country-ska actsdone countless all night sessions of Donkey Kong Countrygot some of the best tattoos in town, from the best tattoo artists in towneaten BBQ'd chicken hearts on the silk routeSCUBA dived, parachuted and paraglidedended up homeless on the streets of Athensbargained for carpets whilst drinking endless cups of tea in Varanasito name just a few.And last night we got caught up in a friendly street tussle with the Hilltop Hoods.Yep, it's been a good life.* it should be noted that this stonking dance floor favourite is now being used to flog chocolate.[...]

exciting things are happening


What's been happening? I already told you - exciting things. There have been some non-exciting things too. I'm not going to the IAA conference in Tasmania next month (no leave, no cash). In fact the no cash thing is pretty much the most unexciting thing in my life, making the very act of eating a financial decision - can I afford to eat that? The answer, usually, is probably not.

But why so cash-strapped BHG? Glad you asked. It has to do with - exciting things!

Exciting Thing Number One
And expensive thing number one. Flights booked.

After boring everyone with my plans to spend my fortieth in Greece next year, I've put my money where my boring is and booked. Actually I booked for three. The other two will come back to me, but not for a while, so Exciting Thing Number One has made me very very poor. But excited

Of course, I have also booked rooms and bought guide books, so the guide orgy has begun. Bus schedules, hotel prices, museum opening hours, I can quote you the lot!

Exciting Thing Number Two
Ethics granted.

Mercy lordy, this has been a hard and bloody slog. Hundreds of pages of forms, and other forms, and extra questions and comments called for. I understand that ethics are important, but it's like a job application - the same questions asked a thousand times in a different format. My university also also famous for, amongst other things, producing the most god-awful, unusable, badly formatted forms known to god. This particular one is a the pinnacle of bad design unfortunately.

But, it's over now and the permission seeking stage has begun!

Exciting Thing Number Three
It's a little bit sunny. I don't like really sunny, but this is OK. I still need a jacket on inside, but the laundry's dry, the cats and warm and snuggly and ready to have their tummies kissed, and outdoor eating is upon us.

So, I feel it's time to mark Exciting Thing Number One with a Greek lunch. Which means a couple of hours away from the methodology chapter to write out the invites. Like I said, exciting things.

Exciting Thing Number Four
My mummy comes home next weekend.

Over and out.

I dream of themes


It is well documented that I am lazy. Bone lazy. Actually, that's not technically true. More, that I like to do what I like to do. mmmmm.... what do I like to do?:sleepeat dumplingsscour for old Blur videoswriteAnd write this sort of stuff, truth be known. Not writing theses, trying to make a lot out of not very much at all. And recently it's turned me into a bit of a social networker (in an attempt to write what I want and not what I should. There's this blog. And a couple of others. And facebook. And more recently Twitter. I've bagged twitter very much for a very long time, but now it turns out I quite like it. I have no followers except for Dr Space Junk - so go and find me and follow me now. oooooooo.... how I long for approval.And all of this tweeting, and blogging and stuff has drawn my attention to one thing - I'm not writing the stuff I like to write and writing the thesis is actually distracting me for the stuff I really like to do, and that's Interpretation.And how did I get on this roller-coaster of unemployability** I hear you ask... well, here's the story.One day, dunno about four years ago, I was at my desk as a state government employed events manager. It was OK, the events weren't big and I got to hob-knob it with those in the art world from time-to-time. But in government you have to do PD (professional development) with clockwork like precision. And one eventually runs out of things in which to develop oneself. So I googled 'events professional development', and up popped a little university run events course. Not that I though that much about it, it was just another tick in a bureaucratic box for me, so I rang to enquire.Now, I ended up talking not to the events guy (now known as Brown Steve), instead I got JJ. JJ could sell ice to the penguins. I rang up to enquire about 3 days of PD, and by the end of the call I was enrolled in a Masters degree. No - really. She's that good. I tell this story sometimes as part of my introduction during workshops and people think I'm making it up. But part of this degree was another 3-day workshop on Interpretation, which I had never heard about and if you'd asked me I would have thought it was something about languages.Hooked. Instantly hooked.I was like someone had turned a light on inside me, and I saw the world in a whole new way.And so I am here, writing the thesis, and really wishing I was writing interpretation. And recently I've been tweeting about interp, and reading interp blogs, and posting things about interp (like the dollar bill post below) and just dying to write something creative.aaaagggghhhhhh.And this is another little tit-bit that I got from IBD (and which you can also see on the Kulula airlines website).As IBD point out, this is hardly the height of sophistication, but by-golly-by-jim, it caught my eye and made me giggle (and now I'm writing about it, so it must have worked). Maybe it's the references to Dead Poet's Society – which is actually a reference to Walt Whitman – or maybe it's because I have always had an affinity to airlines because of my beloved Uncle John.Speaking of Uncle John, I get to see him in Greece next year. For my fortieth birthday party. For which I am on the verge of booking flights.I'm sure there's a theme in there somewhere, dying to get out.** like degrees in Classics and Archaeology in the 1990s didn't make me unemployable enough!![...]

more bang for your buck


A recent post on Interpretation By Design talks about a contest recently held (it closed yesterday) to redesign American paper money. The contest itself was run by designers, not by the US Government, so the winner is not actually going to end up on currency.

Both IBD and the Dollar ReDe$ing Project tackle an interesting problem, faced by interpreters all the time - how to make something complex, with multiple layers into something easily understood by all (although comments on the contest's page are slightly less than enthusiastic). What I think it's about is asking Americans who they think they are? Currency is intensely important for this, when the Romans conquered a new land one of the first things they did was mint new coins, in local denominations but with the Emperor's face on it. This is an amazing piece of propaganda, most of us handle currency everyday in a very matter of fact manner. Once we're comfortable and familiar with our notes and coins we become comfortable and familiar with their images. And all of a sudden half of our grain is going to Rome as tax and we don't think that's so strange. This was one of my big beefs with the Euro - taking away countries' sense of identities and cultural, historical and ethnic differences. Bad thing. The again, many would say the same thing about the EU in general, and its endless regulations, particularly cheese producers.

I can't see how changing the pictures can help the economy, as claimed by the organisers, but it's an interesting exercise how a nation sees its-self, well at least how a nation's designers see themselves. This is one of my favourites. Brings a whole new meaning to 'I Love Lucy'.




Today in an attempt to execute further avoidance techniques towards my thesis writing I went for a short ride to chez-Dr Space Junk, who had kindly invited me down for a picnic.

A lovely afternoon was spent in the park, eating very unhealthy food and half a bottle of wine. It was deeeeelicious tho. At least the bike ride may have burned off maybe the dip. Or the macaroons. Not both. And certainly not the roast chicken...

but anyhoo, DSJ was talking about how, on a recent trip to Brisbane to visit fellow archaeologist and sewing whiz Wallis, she had joined Twitter.

I've got a million blogs. And a facebook account I hardly ever use. But now, so that I could see how it works, I too have a twitter account. Mercy, when will it end.

But I've almot finished the lit review, and it's not nearly as crap as it could be

roll up, roll up


This post is a little late. Weeks late. It's a photo thing (and a lazy thing).However, a couple of Mondays ago, something pretty sad happened. On his way to work some poor chap had a heart attack in the car, veered across three lanes of traffic, onto the other side of the road, and plowed into a stobbie pole. Luckily he didn't take anyone with him, and from all accounts died quickly.And took out the power on most of the south ridge of the university.Now, universities are strange places. Very caught up on things like.... dunno OHS&W, and not so caught up on things like.... dunno, quality assuring assessment*.But maybe that's just me.Anyway, at about 9.30 when the emergency lighting was about to go it was decided that it was an EMERGENCY as we had to survive on natural light and this was obviously going to lead to an ACCIDENT.So the alarms were sounded and we were ordered out of the building. NOW. Because it was an EMERGENCY.Heaven help us.Anyway, it was a Monday, the sun was unusually sunny in the sky for this time of the year and we were foot loose and fancy free. So, of course Dr Space Junk and I decided to go to the Royal Adelaide Show. I love the show - how excitement. It's less excitement for DSJ, as she is a farm girl, and grew up around all of the things I get such a kick out of. But she was a very good friend and followed me to the pigs (my favourite) and the cows and the milking shed. I love watching the milking, I think it just brings back of memories of cold, early starts for her.But it was show time, so we also checked out:The cheese and wine pavilionsBad interpretation. Dreadful. All tourism experiences have been ruined for me, forever, I fear.the food hallsI made a remark about a guy with a huge salami. DSJ thought I was saying something quite different until she saw these.. tsk tsk.The piggies! I love the piggies. They're cute. And delicious. What more could you ask?And also the wood chopping. Everyone likes the wood chopping, must be something in our genes. the same guy has been competing here since I was a wee one, and I still get excited when I see him wield the axe.... ... and we saw a marching band while we were having dinner (it's a dark photo I know). They were quite good, only a few bum notes, and much to the horror of DSJ, I got up and danced.We also saw the textiles, the cakes and preserves, other baked goods, walked around the show bag hall, ate some curry, visited the CWA, bought a fairy on a stick.We also visited the main arena, where the show was being stage directed by friend Brown Steve. Again DSJ proved her self a good friend by sitting through the pipe band with me. It's my lifelong dream to play the pipes in a pipe band.And exhausted we went home, stopping at the train station to watch the fireworks. Until next year...* this is not to say that we don't have quality assessment, but there's resistance to actually quantifying and recording it.[...]

more freaking things


We've had blue fuzzy things recently - the cat-boy and the cookie monster.

When commenting on how hilarious it was that the cookie monster should be given fruit I was made aware of something I had hitherto be unaware of. It would seem that these days the cookie monster does indeed eat fruit. Apparently cookies are 'bad' and as such the good people at the Sesame Street Warehouse decided that the old blue shaggy guy was making kids fat, not their parents, or their peers, or their schools, or their community. No, it's the poor old cookie monster. Shame on him. So now he's reformed, and does eat fruit. WTF indeed.

As for the blue cat guy he was in the refectory yesterday as I was ordering my laksa, dressed in a full body suit like the one pictured above, only black. He was coming up and tapping people on the shoulder. Scared the shit out me.

blue fuzzy things


Yesterday it was a fruit-burdened cookie monster, today it's this fellow. Frankly I find him a little bit frightening. Costumes where you can't see people's faces freak me out a bit. If he sat in a theatre next to me, I'd have to move I think.

This is one of our first years. He comes into classes regularly dressed in costumes. The other day he was Zorro. Today he was this blue catish thing. In another class all the guys came in wearing tuxedos recently.

(image) This is funny. I mean quite funny. And it shows the power of facebook, because that's how they organise it.

But then again, when I was a student, there wasn't facebook. And we didn't all come in dressed as cartoon characters. We organised sit-ins in the union building. Using flyers, god damn it. Yes, we stood in the cloisters and handed out pieces of paper. Which we had written on (some even had individual paintings on them, like Underground Lovers limited releases). And we changed the world.

Oh, hang on. No we didn't actually. Although we did save the Women's Room from closing. I wonder if there is still a Women's Room?

Maybe we should have all just come in dressed as cats.....



I should be writing something witty and insightful about the (non) election results - the whole of the nation should be sent to the chalk board to write 100 times "I will elect a majority government".

However I just found this photo that made me laugh so hard it scared the cats, so I thought I'd share. It relates to nothing in particular.




mmmm... sausages. Could there be anything better in the world than fatty meat (pork preferably) seasoned and stuffed inside intestines. I'm doing my bit - toad in the hole for breakfast this morning, cheese kranskis tomorrow.

Maybe I should start a sausage blog. Or have sausage month. At least I'd keep in theme as I'd probably look like one by the end.

On an unrelated topic, this time next week, we'll know which dim witted soul will be representing us to the world. It's a tough call, but if push comes to shove - and it will - I'm hoping for this particular dim witted soul. Not that I'd vote for her as such....


the most boring post in the world


Not that proof was needed, but here is the proof: I am a damned procrastinator. Again. I know.

Feed and medicated animals

Fell back asleep. Soundly

Woke. Shite. Didn't realise that I was that tired

Ate dumplings, took a couple of phone calls, lay on the bed with the animals, brought the laundry (still soaking wet) in from the line. Did today's sodoku, checked my email accounts, generally fucked around

Drove to University. Killed sometime visiting colleagues working at the Open Day. Sold the benefits of an archaeology degree, practiced my French with Monsieur.

Hit the library. Got more work done that I have all week, including finding new references, photocopying chapters from books that were almost due back, and then even reading those photocopies

Library closed, so returned home

6.15pm to present
Heated and ate soup. Kissed the kittens. Emailed friends. Broke up cat fight outdoors.

the horrible reality is, I will have to start going to the library on the weekend.

oh my lord, the outrage


This weekend has turned into quite a slack affair. Friday was spent either largely in the markets or watching a selection of rented DVDs – not something I do very often, I'm notorious for my ADD-esque lack of attention. I have to get up three of four times during a movie to go and do something else for a bit. Hell, I've already got up to make a cuppa while writing this post....As Friday is now my food shopping day, Saturday has officially become my 'sleep until you're done day', and today was no exception. I rose at 10.30. Poached eggs and made tea. I've streamed a television show I missed during the week, and changed the kitty litter. And that's about it. Almost.One of the reasons that I'm feeling a bit slack is the study monster. It's getting nailed down, and although I'm yet to negotiate it, most of the data collection will probably happen in late October, early November. Which means between then and now what I have to do has been minimised. So I'm allowing myself to take this weekend off from study, mostly. However in a fortnight I've got to spend the day in Melbourne scoping out one of my venues.Now, last time I went to Melbourne, it was a disaster. Actually it rates as one of the worst days of my life (which shows just how jammy my life is). But I'm giving one of my favourite Australian places another go, and have booked to be there the whole day. Decisions: pho in China town or Greek in Lygon Street? Or maybe a cafe in Brunswick Street. What to do after I've left the Immigration Museum. I could train it out to the Scienceworks Museum. Or the Melbourne Zoo to see the baby elephant. And then someone reminded me of the Titanic Exhibition. I'd really like to see the Titanic Exhibition. It's got some great reviews and uses some interesting interpretive techniques (which I suspect they nicked holus bolus from Port Arthur). After the Great Pompeii Disaster of 2009 I decided to pre-purchase my ticket. It's expensive, but the costs of the show must be huge. I was happy to shell out extra for the audio tour. But then!Then!There's a collection fee. Yes, I'm going to be charged $5 to walk up to the counter, tell them my name and get my ticket. No options. No postal version. No 'print your own'. Jeezus. With this it would mean the exhibition would cost me nearly as much as the flight there.So now I have to make the decision. How much to I want to see this exhibition? I could get the tram to the Zoo and get in for free with my Adelaide Zoo Members card, and goo a the baby elephant. I likes elephants.What do you think? Would you pay $5 for the honour of collecting a ticket. If you really wanted to go?[...]

it's on


"Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic,but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republicanto lower taxes, brutalise criminalsand rule you like a king"Thanks Bob. Never a truer word have been spoken. Here in old Awhstrahlia, instead of having Democrats and Republicans we have The Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party.Traditionally, the Liberal Party is the party of fat and well being. I think they would say they pride themselves on keeping the books balanced, on making sure homes gets a double garage and that middle class Australians pay as little tax as possible, including by cutting public services (read: health and education). The Liberal Party is who Australia turns to when it's feeling a little cold and hungry. When it's not sure what's around the corner, and how we're going to pay for it.The Australian Labour Party on the other hand plays to what, most of us, feel is just. Notable ALP victories in my life time include Gough Whitlam, who came to power in 1972 as Australians were sick of bigoted foreign policy that had got us caught up in the Vietnam War (and gave us the best campaign slogan ever).Whitlam also began Australian's on the road to Reconciliation when he famously poured sand into the hand of Vincent Lingiari -a Gurindji man's - hand, starting the ball rolling for land rights and native title. He also laid the foundations for our current system of accessible health care and legal aid.Unfortunately Whitlam was especially bad at balancing the books and was dismissed from power by the Governor General on Armistice Day 1975.Labor Prime Ministers have continued in his footsteps, with commitments (real or spin) to health, education, diversity and human rights. They've taken other steps towards reconciliation, most notably Paul Keating's marvelous Redfern Addressand Kevin Rudd's Apology speech.Kevin 07 rode into power as most Australians were sick of putting our tired, sick and huddled masses into off-shore detention centers. We were sick of licking some foreign arses, while blowing the shit out of others. We were sick of climate change sceptics, misogyny and Wallabies tracksuits.And here we are three years later, and once again the ALP has shot itself in the foot. Despite a strong start, and amazingly managing to handle the GFC extraordinarily well, it's made poor taxation decisions and partaken in infighting in an election year.***sigh***and now, with a new leader, they've adopted policies that make it difficult to tell the parties about. It's not so much a case of "he said, she said", but "what she said".At least I get to host the greatest of traditions: the election night party. So we can drink beer and watch the ABC while Antony Green crunches the numbers.I'm cooking pork.And we started with Bob. Maybe another Bob's in with a chance this time? [...]

viva espana



catch up


So, aside from eating my own hair and dreaming of star wars pancake moulds, what the hell I have I been up to?1. ThesisGoing slowly, but at least it's going. I was supposed to review my lit review this weekend on the basis in a change in question. mmmmmm... that's probably not going to happen, but I WILL finish my ethics application. Need to get a police check to go with it. Hopefully they don't know about any of the stuff I got up to in my 20s.....2. Staying WarmOr not. It's been fucking cold. I know weather is the most boring blog topic possible, but it's been so cold it's been the constant topic of conversation with all. My office thermometer reads 7 degrees when I arrive in the morning, and I shiver for the rest. This does have a connection with point 1, as it's just too cold to work in my home study in the evenings. My fingers don't work on the keyboard. Good excuse I think.3. SleepingWhat better to do when it's cold and you don't want to study than sleep. mmmmmm.... sleep4. SimpsonsWhen you're not sleeping you can watch the Simpson's 20th anniversary season on DVD.5. Hate your jobSince going part time recently, I have realised just how much I hate my job. Or maybe I just hate working. Yes, that seems more the point. So while watching the Simpsons between naps I think of ways to not work. This has probably been the least successful of my recent ventures, as it will see me back in my cold, heartless office tomorrow.6. EatingLots. Last night it was Indian style roast beef (not for the Hindus) and Bulgarian pepper and feta toast. Odd combination. One of the cooks is Bulgarian. They other just likes roast beef. Today I've had bacon and egg rolls at the farmers market, come home with rabbit to braise and am out tonight for curry and too much red wine, I would hazard a guess.7. FootballFinally, but not least, talking about the football. I have watched very little of it, as it's just been too cold for 4.30am kick offs. But working with a range of Europeans and South East Asians (not to mention the Brits), it's been a hot topic of conversation. I need one of those looser t-shirts that says 'I support France and anyone playing Germany', so even though Les Bleus didn't make it past the group stage - in spectacular style - German's out of the grand final, and that makes me happy. Will do my best to get up this morning and watch Spain and the Netherlands fight it out. Smart money's on Spain. But I have a soft spot for the little orange warriors.Interesting point that I once read somewhere. When you have a tendency to travel the world as much as I do you realise that carrots can come in many colours: orange, yellow, white, purple. Although they all pretty much taste the same. But at one point or another the Dutch were producing almost all of Europe's carrots. And naturally they preferred orange, which is why in the west we only have orange carrots.True or not, I don't know. But it's a good story.[...]

just once


I'd like to eat a meal and not find one of my hairs in it.

choux and chewbacca


Another entry in my extended research into procrastination.

Today JC came round to help my bake my own birthday cake. But not just any cake, croquembouche (french for 'crack in the mouth'. Not crack as in amphetamines sold in dodgy neighbourhoods, crack the verb, as in I cracked my favourite coffee cup). This was to be my first ever croquembouche.

Croquembouche is choux pastry, filled with custard (ours was chocolate) and then built into a conical shape around a metal mould, and held together with hard toffee, which is also spun around the resulting pyramid to make think web of strung toffee.

It was much easier than I thought (partly due to the gift of new, and expensive piping bags) and we only ended up with third degree burns to 75% of our bodies from the toffee.

We had about six pastries each before I went door knocking the neighbours with kids to off load the rest. I have hurt my jaw from all the toffee and am going to have to go an lie down in a minute, such is the sugar crash currently going on in my endocrine system.

However in a short web browse before my nap, I checked some emails and some new posts. Garrett at Vanilla Garlic who has also had a recent birthday was talking about the prices of cookware in some store I am not familiar with. Googling it to find out what he was talking about I found these:

I think it is fair to say that my life will never be complete until I own a set of Star Wars pancake moulds.

Also, France drew with Uruguay in the first set of Group A matches early this morning. All matches were draws. I got up early to watch France play. Found the game to be dreary beyond words and went back to bed. We're up against Mexico next I think. Hopefully this will be a better match.

feet and butter


Today is a good day. A remarkably good day. It is cold and misty, the way I like it. But, still, the sun is shining a way that indicates that the washing in the machine may end up dry today.And in the machine? Socks. Well, other things too, but predominantly socks. It seems that every time I lift up something in my house: a book, the saucepan I like to cook pasta in, one of the cats. There's a sock. Now, I'm not the greatest housekeeper in the world. I know everyone says that, but I really mean it. Seriously - I live on my own. I don't have to keep the house clean for children, or husbands, or visiting literati. I only have to keep the house clean for me. And most of the time I couldn't be fucked. I'd much rather read a book, or cook pasta, or sit with the cats. But the sock conundrum probably can't be all down to me. Can it? OK, part of my disinterest in domesticity is now well placed with my penchant for footwear. I wish my camera was working, and then I could show evidence for this. Currently on the floors in my house are twelve pairs of shoes. And that doesn't include the pair on my feet. So it would come to reason that I would have many socks. But so many? But, undeniably the evidence is there. A washing machine full of socks, and a Persian rug in the lounge where the only thing obscuring the cat hair is the shoes. But today at least the socks will be dry.Another reason today is a good day? I am supposed to be curbing my spending now that I have joined the ranks of the part time employed. More frugality, less indulgence. Ba-bowh. Today I spent the same amount as you would spend on a good steak on butter. French butter. Methode traditionnelle butter. And to put the butter on? As close to proper French baguette as you're going to get in Adelaide. With creamy, rich, lush to die for French butter on it, so that the softness of the bread spreads the wonderful feel of the butter over every inch of your mouth.Dreamy.Today is a day of dreams. It's a day when I can dream that my thesis is not in as bad a shape as I fear it is (it's not the whole thesis. Just the research design. OK, yes I know that's the whole thesis, but give me this dreamy day). It's a day when I can dream of lying in bed all day listening to rain on the roof. It's a day when I can dream of Greek islands, and Czech castles. Of long, luxurious lunches with my favourite people and drinking pinot noir around crackling camp fires in my sleeping bag. It's a day when life feels like it's going to be OK forever.Not bad, really.[...]



On Thursday I had a meeting with my supervisor. Actually I had a meeting with the whole academic staff as they discussed who would be my supervisor, who would be the internal examiner (this person will have hot coffee on his desk for the rest of the year!) and who will be the secondary supervisor. I then had a 90 minutes conversation with my secondary supervisor about what is wrong with my paper while my primary supervisor sat by silently.

Now, this is no comment on my supervisor, he is probably the most academically inclined member of the staff. However the secondary one is by far the most powerful and opinionated member of staff, and the one I know the best. But after that 90 minutes I now feel I have much better handle on where the whole project is going, and have managed to re-write a large amount of material (some on screen, some in my head), to pull the whole thing together.

And I've decided I need to go on a road trip. I mean study trip. To Melbourne. Which will involve lots of serious study stuff and not so much shopping, and certainly not dinner at MoVida. I am currently obsessed with the idea of dinner at MoVida. I do seriously like Melbourne. But today I could easily be there. It's the Saturday of the first of my new three day weekend structure. It's cold. It's wet. I have what must be my twentieth cup of tea in front of me, and I've just had lunch of very hot soup followed by a cheese kransky rolled in cheese and tomato pide. There are three cats spread throughout the house, fast asleep in curls of the duvet, or the rug on the couch. Carefully dispersed like an alcoholic stashes bottles, so that I can always find an ear to scratch or a paw to kiss. Still in my pyjamas at 3.30 in the afternoon I am facing the harsh reality of having to take off my bed socks so I can wash my hair before venturing out for dinner tonight.

It's like a little piece of heaven. I don't think anything could possibly make me much happier now. Unless you volunteered to come around and finish the thesis for me? That's OK, I knew it was a long shot anyhoo.

sometimes they make it so hard


If you've read more this blog more than three times is means at least one of two things:1. You've been reading this blog for about two years, because I think it's taken me two years to put up the last three posts.2. You'll know that I'm a fan of Chris at A Free Man.And Chris has written recently about a lack of blogging time. I'm with you there sister... brother, I mean brother!!!! Not only does my lack of blogging time mean that I don't have time to blog (obviously), but it largely also* means that my life is filled with things that make finding saucy little vignettes about which to blog difficult. In the last six months or so, my life has been filled with:pointlessly stupid curriculum renewal projectslarge conferenceswork restructuresthesis procrastinationwriting conference papers (for a different conference to the one in dot point two)going on holidayObviously the last dot point, and even the one before were covered in my last post. I could write more about the holiday, I guess, but I'm notoriously crap at talking about my holidays, and hence the alternative blog full of pictures, to allow me to get out of talking to anyone about my holiday - I figure it's over and I need to move on and others don't really care they're just asking to be polite. Let's save both of us, I figure.One piece of good news is that I will very, very shortly be a part time employee. Yes, one of the very few benefits of working in a tertiary institution is that they feel you not failing your thesis through lack of dedicated time is something they want to be involved in. So very soon Friday will be my research day (note: not my hanging out with friends, going shopping, or sitting in pubs drinking pints day. It is a research day). So hopefully this will make my life a little less stressful, and I will not only have time to blog, but will have time to do things to blog about (Sunday will now be my fun day. Or my sleep until noon day - which ever one takes my fancy on a week by week basis).But for this post, I need to vent. Part of my job is supervision. This means approving leave, making sure that pays are run correctly, setting broad directions for the team I supervise, and telling them off when they've fucked up. If I did the last bit properly, it would basically be all I do. And as some of the other pressures at work have lessened off, I'm trying to be a better supervisor, so I got each member of my bedraggled team in and had an informal 'chat' with each of them.One of the things about working where I do is that if I want to do a certain level of work - and I do - supervision is something that is very hard to avoid. And I don't like it, and I'm not very good at it. Why can't everyone just get on with it and do things properly so that I can concentrate on the bits of my job I like. Yes, despite what you may have gleaned from these ramblings, there are bits of my job that I do like.On the whole these went better than I thought. I was able to tell people that I wasn't happy with their work in a nice, constructive way. Started each conversation with some good things, before I went to the bad (never sure which is the right way to do this, ie to start or finish with the bad). Even my bête noire took things well, and she was the one I had to tell off in no uncertain terms for stupid, stupid behaviour.And then the email arrives (on her day off), saying things like 'I know what I did was[...]