Monday, January 31, 2005

An office with a view

One of the things I like about my job is the view, even though I'm on level 2 of a building over looking darling harbour, it still has a reasonably good view. I get to watch the planes on their final approach to Sydney Airport, and what's going on below us at the Darling Harbour Monorail terminal.

Sometimes from our vantage point we get the mid morning & mid afternoon nookie sessions on the benches etc. But usually it's amusing watching the passers by that cross the bridge.

But today, was the funniest I've seen in a while. Just by chance I got up out of my seat and wandered to the window to take a look outside, and low and behold there was this girl, marching up and down just outside the window and she didn't look all that happy (body language says allot), and looked like she was having an argument on the phone, as you do...

As the conversation went on, she was getting more and more agitated as the call went on and then suddenly she took the phone from her ear and held the phone keypad towards her face and it looked like she yelled quite hard into it, but the funny bit was when she then threw the mobile down with some force onto the park bench, only to have it bounce back at her, and she grabbed it and started yelling back into the Key Pad again, and then stormed off at top speed.

My comment to a colleague was... "Hmm looks like someone's not getting dinner tonight".

Funny though, it just makes me remember of the Yellow pages add of this guy that had problems with his zipper and stood up against a Mirrored glass building thinking that there was no one on the other side, and tried fixing his zip, but the lady on the other side got quite a shock.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I am S M A R T... Really!

Another one the support person's problem is dealing with the really "intelligent" people we come across from time to time.

Spoke with this guy on the phone, saying that he'd had a technician come out to install XP on his laptop, but said that he couldn't because he hadn't filled in the appropriate form, all well and good, so I provide the client with the relevant information, then he goes to say that the machine has a sticker on it saying "Designed for Windows XP", and was getting confused because we still run with NT 4.

After the client getting me confused, I asked him to start the machine up, and tell me what the start button looks like... "It's green" says Mr Smart Computer Man. Ok was my reaction trying hard not to advise him how smart he is, and to send it back, because that would be bad!

In the end I just gave up and ignored his other stupid questions and sent him to our software delivery website to try and work out what he wanted, because there was nothing further I could do to help this idiot.

Maybe one day, we’ll have “Users” that can help themselves and work these complex problems out without calling IT. A pipe dream I know!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Teen arrested for posting gun pose pics - Breaking - http://www.smh.com.au/technology/

Teen arrested for posting gun pose pics - Breaking - http://www.smh.com.au/technology/

There's dumb and then there's just plain stupid! This kid fits the bill on both fronts. Why would you post photos of yourself on the internet, holding guns, loads of cash and proudly saying "through illegal or obscure deals you can live really well."

Idiot!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Symphony wrapup

Last night Eva & I joined Andrew & Kathleen, their neighbour Kevin and his friends, Holly and John for a night under the rain clouds in Sydneys' Domain which is a part of the Botanical Gardens.

I think I had stunned Eva a little with my "closet" interest in classical music, Eva's reaction when I said "Yes! I'll go", only because I wanted to see Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture being performed. I also explained to her how my mother tried to educate me in the art of appreciating classical music when I was a wee boy, see end of post "Sydney Weather".

Back to the story!

After a longish walk around Surry Hills and surrounding areas, we made it to "The Domain" at about 4:30pm, now this was the first time I'd been here, and was surprised by the size of the place, it just appeared to be a sound stage, and a large grassed area, great for this kind of event.

We found ourselves a good patch of grass and set out our blankets, and low and behold, a feast for thousands appeared before our eyes as we unloaded our bags. I think Holly & John had done this before somehow and had come prepared to feed a small army, but it was great, we sat and talked, and every 15 minutes or so, we would be invited to enter the SMS competition to win prizes called "symphony trivia". I think I amazed Kath & Andrew with my knowledge of classical music and music in general as I'm well known for listening to nothing other than Techno/Dance music. I even surprised myself how much I had retained after nearly 15 years since my last music lesson!

Eva joined us at about 5:30pm after having to go into work and do some stuff her IT Department should be doing, but that's another tale all together.

Throughout the afternoon, it had threatened to rain, and me being me, forgot the umbrella and any other extra cloting we would need should it 1. Rain and 2. it get suddenly cold. And rain it did for a while, but it didn't really dampen the spirits of the punters that had turned up to listen to the music.

I wasn't really interested in anything that was playing and really I can't remember too much of what the orchestra had played or what the fat lady had sung, except for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which has been a favorite of mine since a young child. All I can say, it was fantastic, cannons and fireworks. Then as an encore, they played the entire theme to Starwars (Episode IV) which was fantastic as it was the first time I'd heard it played live.

A great night had by all, and will be doing it all again next year!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sydney Weather

There's something about Sydney I'm slowly getting used to, the weather! Some times it will take a few days after they "predict" the rain, but for a change, it happened like clockwork.



In the radar image, where you see Randwick in the middle of the page, we're only just down the road in Alexandria, and so far tonight we've been belted with rain, hail and lightning, and to the west, there looks like there's more, see the Bureau of Meteorology Radar image site for a moving version, pretty cool!

I am a little worried though, Kathleen has invited us out to Symphony in The Domain on Saturday, and the outlook is not looking so good. According to the current forcast we've got thunderstorms Friday, Saturday & Sunday. I'm hopeful that there will be no rain because they're playing my favorite orchestral piece; Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with cannons and fireworks over the city. I can only hope that the weather fines up long enough for them to get to the cannons!

I have my Mother to thank for the love of the 1812 Overture. Mum would sit me infront of the stereo and play this peice, and others (I'm even honoured with the title of ruining Mum & Dad's favorite record, a story to be told later on) at full blast in the hope that it would make me a brillian musician, but alas mum's visions were not to come true, but this is one piece of music that has stuck with me for ever, thanks Mum!

Only in Japan!

Japanese Super hero's?


The Japanese are weird at the best of times, but this is just plain disturbing!

Eva's going to kill me, but I just had to share

Things that make you go hmmm...

There are times that you wonder what they were thinking when they did that! My friend and former collegue Grisel, kindly forwarded on a link of some rather ummm... scary photos of Bill Gates when he was a young man. And you just gotta say to yourself... What was he thinking!

The look in his eye almost makes you think he's romantically involved with his computer...
Bill Gates Strikes a Pose for Teen Beat Photospread, 1983


The rest of the photos can be found here: neowin.net

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Mango Ice Cream & Market wrapup

After yet another successful trip to the Flemington Markets (or Sydney Markets) out in Flemington, we managed to fill the car with copious amounts of fruit and a few vegies. Eva & I normally go once every couple of months and buy enough food to feed a small football team, and share as much as we can offload onto our friends, cause there’s no way we can eat 10kg of grapes! This time round would have been the best thus far based on quality of the produce on offer.

At the Flemington Markets, they don’t really sell by the kg, more like the box, or carton, so if you turn up at say 12pm on Saturday, you can certainly get; 1. An ok car park, 2. Good prices on fresh fruit & vegies.

The markets close at 2pm and the prices start to drop as the clock ticks around to 2pm and you can normally get yourself a good bargain.

Part of our haul was two rather mottled boxes of Mangoes, (or as Eva keeps chirping "Man Go"). We also had some Mangoes that I'd purchased before Christmas sitting in the fridge that were in surprising shape considering how old they were! So I took about cutting away the flesh from mangoes, very messy job! I think I hacked about 8 mangoes in the end, and I had juice from finger to elbow, very tempting to sit there and lick it all up!

After pulping the Mangoes, I was rather surprised to find myself with several litres of pulp; I was thinking 5kg would produce 500ml... Sorely mistaken! I now have 3 or 4 litres of the stuff!

I’ve managed to get some of the way to reaching the bottom of the Mango Pulp Well, and have made a double batch of Mango Ice Cream, (recipe below), which really doesn’t help with me having still enough ice cream mix for a small army!

My mother has kindly suggested we make “Mango Rollups” or something similar, maybe an idea! All I need now is a recipe!

Mango Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups mango puree
2 cups whipping cream
2 eggs

Beat the eggs with the sugar with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until pale and thick. Fold in the mango puree, and then pour in the whipping cream. Chill for a couple of hours then transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream has formed, scoop it out of the maker into a lidded container and store in freezer until required.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Ichiban Boshi - Oishii!

Last night we caught up with Lulu and Denzil before they leave for London and to our delight Martin and Winnie joined us at Ichiban Boshi, a yummy ramen shop in Victoria Galleries, TownHall.

This ramen shop is famous for its big bowls of home made ramen. And it’s decently priced, and so filling that the place is always packed!

Steph had a Very Hot Ramen and I had a Shio Butter Corn Ramen.



Steph was suffering the tails of a flu, so the spicy hot ramen was a godsend to his stuffy head and dripping nose.



My Shio Butter Corn Ramen was so yummy! I was a bit surprised with the big knob of butter in the bowl but it gave off such a heavenly scent I was delighted and very happy with my choice. And because I love corn, oh was there a chirpy Eva in the restaurant! It was like eating KFC Buttered corn with a big bowl of ramen!


It was Martin and Winnie’s first time at Ichiban Boshi and they loved it too! They will be Ichiban Boshi converts, now they just have to wait til it opens west. Or they will need to travel in for a ramen fix. :)



Oh and a Big Happy Birthday to Lulu! who turns 26 today! On Ya Lu!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Call of the wild...

errr... not quite, photographers then :O)

Finally got around to going through my email backlog today at work (thankfully not too much!), and found an email from Andrew post wedding asking for copies of any photos taken at their wedding. Eva & I were armed with a couple of cameras and are in the process of posting them on ImageStation, hopefully they should be up there by weeks end and a copy will be sent to Andrew & Kathleen on CD.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Chicken Congee - Cure for sickness

The english have chicken soup, the chinese have ABC soup and Chicken Congee.

Steph managed to catch the flu during our Hobart Visit, yes the weather is highly inclemential, rain, shine, rain, windy, shine, BBQ, rain, windy, windy... etc. Four seasons in one day is a great way to describe Tassie's Summer weather.

So tonight chicken congee had to be made for the sick, and the chef (myself)
Congee or (Jook) as i know it is basically rice that has so much liquid in it, its a soup. its great for people who are sick and cant swallow or chew very well. Normally its served with just salt but thats too borning for us so we normally add chicken meat, or mince meat, or in chinese yumcha preserved egg and pork slices

i found a Jook article on the about.com website, so for more info click there.

So what you need to make jook
  • Water
  • Rice
  • Chicken, chopped
  • Ginger
  • Salt
  1. Fill a large pot 2/3 with water and bring to boil
  2. Add the rice. (probably just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.) no idea what the measurement is. i just guess.
  3. Add the chopped chicken in, stir to seperate all the chunks
  4. Smash the ginger with the heel of your knife and chuck that in too.
  5. Put a lid on the pot and bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  6. When all the rice is cooked and broken down you will get a thick mixture. you can add more water to adjust consistency.
  7. when you are happy with consistency add salt to season.
  8. you can serve it with fried onions, spring onion sprinkles, roasted peanuts and chopped coriander.

but its good enough to eat on its own! yum!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Rude awakening

Andrew and Kathleen had the most beautiful and lovely wedding, in peaceful Tasmania.

Location was perfect. Music was top notch. And even the weather behaved, well as far as it could for Tasmania.

Food was superb, gorging ourselves out on dads food then fresh cherries straight from the trees, the cleanest oysters. Yummy!

Imagine leaving that idyllic place and returning to Sydney.

Yes Rude Stinking Sydney.

After a rather turbulent flight from Hobart to Sydney (only moments of smoothness were the take off and the landing) we arrived and picked up our luggage. Then had our first taste of Sydney service. The bloody Taxi.

The taxi even had a sun faded Australian flag. We hopped in as it because was the taxi the traffic person pointed out to us. That was fine. He starts the meter and when we told him that we wanted to go to Alexandria and he gets out and questions the traffic person. While the bloody meter is running!

The traffic person ignored him and the taxi driver gets back in to the taxi in one great big shit.

Our fare cost us more than it would normally would. And I can say now that if you ever flag a taxi down and it is from Combined Groups of Luxury ignore them.

The most stupid thing is that its suppose to be a luxury service but we had such shit service I would rather a normal taxi. In fact I think I would rather pay a friend to pick us up from the airport.

At least I would be greeted in Sydney with a smile.

ICM: Vanilla Ice Cream

Eva + Ice cream maker+ lots of milk = Vanilla Ice Cream!!!

As you know Steph got me an ice cream maker for Christmas. (I got him the star wars trilogy DVD - yeah geeky) And I have been in the process of whipping up icy cold desserts. This time I thought I would try to make vanilla ice cream for the following reasons.
  1. I have always wanted to make it
  2. Had a lot of milk I needed to use quickly!
However making vanilla ice cream isn't as easy as making sorbets, as you can see you need to heat it but not cook it! Fussy eh? Enter Steph. World class chef and ice cream maker. Mind you I never asked for the assistance - he just wanted in on the action. He stood over the stove and stirred the mixture until it thickened slightly while I gave up and sat on the couch.

Nevertheless the ice cream was "cooked", "cooled" and after testing the mixture several times

We had to freeze before leaving for tassie. (yes the holiday got in the way of making ice cream) Upon our return we churned the frozen mixture which made the mixture light and fluffy. Thus we have vanilla icecream!!!


RICH VANILLA ICE CREAM
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Stir milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture almost boils. Remove from heat.
2. Beat egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth and creamy. Slowly stir 1 cup of milk mixture into beaten egg mixture.
3. Return egg mixture to remaining milk in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
4. Place mixture into a pouring jug or bowl, cover and cool. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until mixture is completely chilled.
5. Stir mixture before pouring into rotating Freezer Bowl. Process until desired consistency is achieved.