Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nom nom nom...

When I was a lot younger, a fortune teller told me that the greatest event in my life will happen when I am 31. Of course, I am not a rational person, and I have believed the fortune teller for over a decade. While 31 still seems ages away now, it’s actually only four years. So, I need to get busy.

I must learn how to cook.

And more importantly, I must cook delicious food. Because I will be pissed off if at the age of 31 I construct an amazing feast and then realise that I’ve wasted my event.

I used to be quite good in the kitchen. I had a stable of regular dishes that worked beautifully. Then I met someone who spoiled me rotten and because he made great meals that were far more varied, I took up the mantle of food critic and abandoned the kitchen.

I think it’s time I learned about food and took more of an interest in what I eat. Ideally, I’d like to avoid fat-person food. Today is Boxing Day, and I’ve gorged to the point that I feel sick. No cheers for unhealthy food.

If I make one reasonably impressive meal a week, that should cut it. I was thinking of starting with chilli lemon octopus, but then I read the word ‘beaks’ in the recipe and freaked out. I love octopus (ohhhh pulpo), but I think it might be best to start off with something gentle. In fact, better to start off with something that will work, so that I get my confidence up.

There is a recipe in our new Woman’s Weekly cookbook for a very simple chunky vegetable soup. I used to be quite amazing with soup (brag brag brag), although there is a beautiful ‘Jamie’ garlic soup that a friend made that depressed me about my soup making skills. This is slightly more difficult than the ones I usually make, mainly due to the fact that I am home alone, and could therefore just go buy a wheel of brie and eat that for dinner instead. Darn it, it’s not just about the difficulty of the dish, it’s about overcoming my natural inclination toward (toward or towards? I'm mildly festive right now so I suppose in the face of a good mood it doesn't really matter) laziness and ensuring that I have thighs of steel in time for my first portrait sitting. Being able to feed the lovely boys I live with would be nice as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New face.

Things have changed because this is not 2009 and I'm clearly no longer doing the Camino. In fact, 2010 is almost over as well. But my adventuring is not quite over yet. Yes, I'm in Melbourne and not having grand trips all over the world. But I'm in Melbourne! The second best city in the world!

Also, I'm a librarian now, which means I can do what I want. Being a librarian is the best job ever. I go to work, do a bunch of cool things (touch Megladon teeth, catalogue books about sea snails that are in Russian, sass people in power) and then feel sad when it's home time.

Unfortunately, my everyday non-work life has become a little bit dull, so I'm going to jazz it up with some new adventures. Here are some things I think I should do.

1. Fly a plane. Even if it's one of those stupid introductory flights.
2. Go caving in Victoria. I'm claustrophobic and afraid of the dark so this seems like a great idea. I mean real caving, with head torches and climbing gear.
3. Eat the coat of arms. I eat roo a lot, but I've never eaten emu.
4. Go zorbing. I am sure I will hate every second of it, but for some reason I have to try it. It's like brussel sprouts. Last Christmas I was in London and we had Christmas lunch with friends. There were brussel sprouts. Even though I knew I didn't like them, I thought 'I have to try these and see if I've changed'. They were repulsive, but I didn't stop at one. I ate about five, in the hope that the sprouts would win. Hmm. This isn't like zorbing at all.
5. This isn't an adventure, but I'm going to start going to movies on my own. I miss a lot of movies that I'd like to see on the big screen because other people don't want to see them, or people say 'yeah, I'd love to see that, but I can only go after this date so wait for me' and then it never happens. So screw them, I'm not even going to ask anymore. I'm going alone and that just means more popcorn for me.

Oh! And I'm getting a very interesting portrait done. My housemate is a talented artist, and I've now commissioned him. It's a very vain thing to do, getting a portrait. I have this strange idea that once I have the portrait, my 17th/18th century fantasies will start coming true and I'll have an estate and a grand house with a huge library and private chapel and I'll learn to play the piano and ride horses.

6. Learn to play the piano.

7. Learn to ride a horse.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Edinburgh - 24th July 2009

I am 25 years old and I don’t like the dark. So of course, it seemed like a great idea to do a spooky underground ghost tour. I have now been down in the Edinburgh vaults and I will never be doing a ghost tour ever again. I have never been so scared in my life (aside from the London Jack the Ripper tour. I just don’t learn).
While I was terrified, Gill was looking around in the most nonchalant manner, which was fair enough considering we were simply walking through some rooms with nothing but a bunch of freaked out tourists and a local with a flashlight.
We also took a day tour to Loch Ness so that I could hunt monsters. I didn’t manage to get any photographic evidence (therefore I also didn’t pick up the million Euro prize), but I did take lots of photos of surface ripples that could have been caused by a strong tail (or a boat). The tour guide was pretty great, cracking bad jokes and telling us good stories. Gill and I particularly liked hearing the song Cod Liver Oil & Orange Juice for the first time.
After we got back to Edinburgh we went on the 3D Loch Ness Experience. Please don’t waste your money. It’s the worst tourist attraction in the world. Gill will never stop giving me crap about it, and fair enough too. It’s rated as a four star (out of five) visitor attraction by the Scottish tourism board. It’s the lamest 3D movie in the world.
In contrast Edinburgh Castle was terrific fun. I particularly liked Mons Meg as I do love a good siege cannon. Aside from the cannon, the audio guide was pretty good, and it was worth paying for.
All in all I really enjoyed what little I saw of Scotland. Beautiful country.

Istanbul - 26 Jun 2009

Happy new year!
We're going back in time.

Istanbul is a gem. It’s such a lovely city, and when we were there it was fantastically warm. It was a quick trip but everything is so close together we managed to see almost everything in just three days.
We went to some amazing places. My favourite was the Basilica Cistern which was eerily beautiful, and considering the heat, wonderfully cool. Drops of water sporadically splashed down upon us, just enough to add to the atmosphere and make me jump. Carp swim around in the cistern, and some of them have grown HUGE. Apparently, before the cistern was re-discovered, people would lower buckets into holes in their basements and bring up water and on occasion, carp.
Topkapı Palace was enormous. Once again, the heat made the day a little difficult, but the clear skies made for some spectacular views. I got to view what is said to be the Prophet Muhammad's cloak and sword, some amazing Ottoman art, and a huge horde of diamonds. The crowds were tough going sometimes, but to see such treasure was worth it.
I got some lovely jewellery from the Grand Bazaar, which was chaotic but fun. Thousands of stalls all crowded together with spices , lamps and jewellery and all sorts of crazy things. Gill and I agreed to meet up with my parents out the front, only we failed to realise that there were 7 front gates! Of course it’s much cheaper to buy jewellery from the street, but it’s just not as much fun.
There is just too much to write about Istanbul. The beautiful Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque were also stunning, and there is absolutely no way I can do them justice here. Photos will have to suffice.
Istanbul was so absurdly impressive that I’ll be going back in February.
This has nothing to do with anything, but for some reason, there are a lot of stray cats just wandering around. Kittens were everywhere. Poor Gill even had to save a tiny one from being run over as it had decided that the road was an excellent place for a nap.
He wouldn’t let me keep it.