Wednesday, August 31, 2005
At first, this was the most loved toy but sadly, as Ms R got older and refined her tastes, it has been ignored. This is not because she doesn't want a dolls house. Quite the opposite really, as every trip to the Khandallah Toy Library usually results in us dragging a large plastic monstrosity home.
When questioned, Ms R had the simple one liner of "But it's not pink". Can't argue with that as it was a lovely shiny white with a brown roof. Very stately I thought, but clearly I know nothing of taste.
Anyway, whilst hanging around in Mitre10, where every man worth his salt spends at least a few hours each weekend, I happened to walk down the paint aisle and a can of bright pink spray leapt into my arms. Luckily I caught it along with a can of black spray and some masking tape.
Several nights later and a few surreal moments with a naked Kylie Minogue (you really shouldn't spray that stuff in an enclosed workshop) we have a delightful pink house with a glossy black roof. Well, the desired result was achieved and the neglected toy now has pride of place again and we can hopefully go back to smaller items from the Toy Library...
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Often overlooked, it is vital to ensure that not only is the brew itself at the right temp, but that the cup itself is pre-heated. Most modern machines have a wee dial that ensures that the actual espresso is delivered at the right temp but this is no good unless the cup is not cold. I recommend nice thick stainless steel cups as these heat up nicely and hold their temperature well. The new machines have a warming tray but I find a short blast of steam does the trick.
Secondly, the temperature of the milk is just as important. It is no good getting the coffee at the right level and then adding boiling hot or luke warm milk. Some are experts at measuring the temperature through the jug but not I. Me? I use this clever little gadget, pictured above, that clips to the jug and has a shaded band when the milk is at between 60-70 degrees c (that's 140 to 160 degrees F for old school). This ensures that you get the perfect blend of hot coffee and hot milk which can be immediately gulped with no fear of scolding. $20 at The Home Store and worth every penny.
It's all in the details....
Monday, August 22, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
New Zealand is a truly great country for many reasons. One of those is simply freedom and it has this in common with a lot of other nicely developed countries. In this modern age it is hard to imagine living in a regime where freedom of speech, or freedom to just go about your business without being contantly monitored (in the style of 1984), is not permitted but it does exist. I am not talking about Mugabe or other such African dictators; they've got nothing on this guy.
I'll give you a clue. Juche (pronounced "Joo-cheh"). If you want control, then this is the country for you. This is a government that indoctrinates the entire country and whilst it is almost impossible to really know what goes on behind the borders, the spoutings of the Korea News Service (KCNA) give you a good idea that all is not quite right.
How about this for a crystal clear stance on defectors:
If there be any, they are just a handful of hooligans and criminals who are not in a position to look up at the clear blue sky over the country with an easy mind for the crimes committed against it and its people. It is hard to expect to hear anything from such human scum and we, therefore, do not care at all about whatever nonsense they talk.
But it gets better. My personal favorite is the story demanding that South Korea immediately demolish the 240km, 10m high wall that separates the two countries down the entire width of the Korean peninsula. There are some obvious issues with this. Taking down the wall would take time and cost a lot of cash and would, in theory, leave South Korea open to invasion. However, the biggest stumbling block to removing the wall is that it simply does not exist and never has!
Read this and other great propaganda from the master cults at a new site, NK News, which has painstakingly catalogued the entire KCNA database and, rather handily, put a nifty search tool in there. The wall story can be found under the "Hall of Fame" and it is a laugh a minute. If you think Helen Clarke can spin, you ain't read nothing yet.
Sadly, people live their lives without knowing true freedom and in absolute poverty and there ain't a damn thing we can do about it, especially with that damn wall in the way...
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Discovery Number One was finding out that little Ms R has absolutely no fear whatsoever. I took her to her first Tumble Tots class at the Nairnville Recreation Centre and boy can she climb, and climb, and climb....
Discovery Number Two was taking Ms R to the Dinosaur Sand Pit at Te Papa to dig for bones. I planted a small wooden box with some chocolates and a few dollars in it whilst she wasn't looking and, low and behold, she found some buried treasure. [Mrs R is a tad pissed at this stunt as she will expect it every time but, well, it was worth it to see her face].
Discovery Number Three was finding out that Mrs R is actually looking forward to my mother moving to New Zealand in September bringing free baby sitting and, hopefully, some free time to do things on our own. I was set for war and Grandma R is "challenging" after a few days, let alone forever.
Discovery Number Four is the best. I heard a song a few weeks ago and thought it was simply stunning. I promptly forgot the name of the singer until perusing my old vinyl record collection this afternoon and picking up the 12" extended version of Never Never by The Assembly, a song so stirring that it instantly takes me back to 1983 and laying on my bed dreaming of a girl called Sandra Mace, my first real bona fida girlfriend.
Fergal Sharkey was the vocalist with Vincent Clark on keyboards; Clarke was an amazing musician and I followed his career through Depeche Mode, into Yazoo with the incredible Alison Moyet, and on into Erasure with Andy Bell. I remember when I first heard this new track I thought of Fergal and how distinctive his voice was and how distinctive this new guy was too. And then a little door opened in my head and the name James Blunt popped out.
Now he is a new artist so I reserve judgement on his absolute ability but I predict he will be huge. A sad song yet....well, watch the video for yourself here. I'd be curious to know what you all think. One hit wonder or rock star in the making?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I am tempted to sit in front of the TV and vege. I have the box set of Series One of Blakes Seven. 13 episodes over 5 DVDs and all as fresh as the day they were made. I used to love this programme (5th most popular cult show apparently) and it will be kind of weird to watch it after so many years. I had the hots for the hardcase Servalan and the erotic goody-goody Jenna (her of the Bee Gees style clothing and hair) and used to want the namby pamby Vila to get shot or at least maimed. Cynical Avon was a legend at my school and was far cooler than Blake. Sadly David Jackson, who played Gan, died last month aged 71.
Gonna cook up some popcorn, get a cold beer put on a silver spandex suit and get down to some serious Liberator action....might forget the suit in case Mrs R comes home unexpectedly..... she might mistake me for Mork from Dork.....
Monday, August 01, 2005
In my version of The Three Pigs, the wolf is arrested at the end for attempted breaking and entering and locked up with his Grandma eating cousin from Red Riding Hood. This all started when Ms R began to confuse various stories and started to tell me goodnight tales to put herself to sleep. Some are just plain bizarre and best not to delve too deeply into her (nearly) 4 year old head. Lets just say that The Three Bears were seriously pissed at Goldilocks and she won't be eating their porridge again.
All good stories start with a cracking good first line; half the battle is picking that vital paragraph and I was reminded today of the infamous "It was a dark and stormy night" from the novel "Paul Clifford" by Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton. The context was from the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where budding writers look to create the worst possible first paragraph of an imaginary book.
This years winner, will appeal to petrol heads everywhere:
As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands,the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
Oh, yes baby.
Some of the Children's Literature awards are a good example of what to avoid. Get the full run-down here.
For those of you into bad sex writing, these awards will make you scream with pleasure or make you vomit. Either way, this will give you a taster of the dross on display:
The Food of Love by Anthony CapellaEnjoy.
She felt strange and wild. Her body was just a collection of organs. She was blood and plumbing, like any other creature, and there was nothing that was forbidden about any of it. She gnawed on Tomasso ravenously, like an animal plundering a carcass, and when she had had enough of that she swung her leg over him, like a rider swinging into a saddle, and galloped.