Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gambling problem

We played Keno the other night at the pub. You can gamble in all pubs here. We picked three numbers under 80, then placed one dollar bets on five rounds of draws, so we had five chances for our three numbers to be picked. In one round, we got two of our numbers, so we won $2! That is, we won back $2 of the $5 we had bet. Hrm...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

St. Peter's Cathedral

I took this photo of St. Peter's cathedral the other night when I dragged Hugh to the opening night parade for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. It's perdy. I will definitely miss bits of Adelaide.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day!

My second ever V-Day while in a relationship, and my first ever V-Day being taken to dinner by a boy (and such a handsome one to boot)! (If you'll recall, somebody flew home to Australia the day before V-Day last year, leaving me sobbing into my tea in Edinburgh.)

We went to Concubine, an award-winning "modern contemporary" Chinese restaurant on Gouger Street. I got the Spicy Sechuan Eggplant with Chicken--it was lip-smacking good. Hugh got a lamb dish, and though I don't normally like lamb, they had cooked it really beautifully. It was tender and tasty and not at all gamey. But I mostly ignored his dish and totally slopped mine up. Yum!

These came with the bill, and I, having consumed two gin and lemonades, cried out, "Are those nipple chocolates?!"

They were, dear reader. They were. They had some sort of creamy bit in the bottom and a hazelnut to form the nipple.  Hugh now knows that when Valentine's Day comes around again, heart-shaped chocolates will get him nowhere. Nipple chocolates are the only ones for this girl! After dinner, we drove to Henley Beach and walked in the sand while the sun set.

Someone who is good at being a sweety-pie but not good at aiming a camera. I suppose nobody's perfect!

(J/K I love you, handsome!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Am I overly sensitive, or is this racist?

I'm a little bit shocked by this ad for the Santos Tour Down Under (I couldn't get a good pic of my own from the bus window). It says, "Set le alarm, Frenchies."

I mean, I know the Aussies are proud of their sports records, but this is blatantly rude, n'est-ce pas? And it's located in the city hosting the Tour Down Under, right next to the epicentre of the festivities. You can safely assume that French cyclists competing in the Tour will see this poster. And how will it make them feel? Like Adelaide has rolled out the welcome mat for them? Or like Adelaide is about to spring some ill-thought practical joke on them and then be all, "In your face, foreigners! Go back where you came from!"? And the image of Adelaide that all the ads for the Tour portray is that the city is suffering from a huge chip on its shoulder. A bigger ad, which was plastered to the sides of trams, reiterated, "This time, the world watches us." Really??

Granted, I pay no attention to the world of cycling. But I've heard of the Tour de France. I've never heard of the Tour Down Under prior to moving to Adelaide. Perhaps I live under a rock, but that's still a pretty cocky thing to plaster on the sides of the one tram line running through a city with a population of one million people if you include all the sprawling suburbs for several miles around.

The tour was a couple weeks ago now, and in case you were wondering, no Aussies made it into the top 10. No Frenchies did, either. All that blustering for nothing.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


After finishing The Happiness Project at the end of January, I decided to make some resolutions, for fun and to improve my attitude and behavior. I haven't made much progress yet, but hey, it's a life-long project and anyway, I'm now more aware of my goals.

One of my resolutions is to start sketching. I'm terrible at drawing. I can't ever find inspiration, so almost every drawing I've ever made in my life has been of a tree. Sometimes with other stuff around it, but I always start with a tree. I drew some cute cartoons when I was in Africa, out of sheer boredom and a feeling of displacement. I also just don't know how to translate an image from my head to paper via my hand. But I want to force myself to practice regardless of how bad I am, and regardless of whether I ever get better.

I saw this journal by Eloise Leigh on Amazon that suggests some 600+ things to draw, like various animals. That would be perfect, but I'm broke. So I'll have to find a website that does the same thing. I'm sure such a thing must exist.

Last night on Pinterest, I saw a poster saying "I love you to the moon and back," and I had an idea to draw this:

 Get it?? He went to the moon and back? I know, I'm very talented.

Monday, February 04, 2013

A good bad day

I had a bit of a rough start to the day, but it was pretty great in the end. I knew going into work that my access to the University's computers and internet had been shut down. I also knew that I wouldn't be able to file my timesheets so that I can finally get paid for the work I've been doing for the past month. On the drive in, I discovered my phone was dead, so I couldn't communicate with any of the people that I needed to. I was basically on media blackout all day, which turned out to be not so bad. And hey, I got some work done and my boss bought me a coffee cuz she felt bad that I was po'.

When I got home, I discovered that I didn't have my housekeys and I had no idea when Hugh might be home. But I knocked on the door in the hopes that someone was around, and Hugh's adorable face answered it. Well, his face and the rest of his body, too. So that was a nice surprise.

To cheer me up, he took me to the pub for dinner (mmm, fried foods). I tried crocodile burgers! They tasted like chicken but with a texture in between chicken and seafood. Not amazing, but I might try crocodile again in another form.

Then I went to finally cash in my WINNING ticket from the Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne Cup is the nation's big horse race. It was held back in November and I did nothing to celebrate. But E and J went to the pub to place bets, and I gave them $2 to put on a horse called Jakkalberry. (Why that horse? Because his name was Jakkalberry!)

Jakkalberry actually had quite good odds, so it wasn't that surprising that he came in third! We calculated that I had maybe won, like, $4, $6 at the most. So I was a bit surprised when we cashed in my ticket tonight (yes, only 3 months later) and the girl handed me $31.40! Awesome!!! I'm not quite as poor anymore! I think I'll buy knitting needles...

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Aparna Special

Oh my gosh, sometimes, I amaze myself in the kitchen. I was trying to make myself lunch using random ingredients in the fridge but not using them all, because I still need some to make dinner for two later on.

In the end, I decided to try something like an Aparna Special, which is like a quesadilla but not very Mexican. This one was pretty Italian, with pizza sauce, Italian herbs, salami, a week-old half tomato, onion and lots o' garlic on a piece of flat bread. Oh, and leftover Neufchâtel cheese from when Hugh made Heston Blumenthal's mac 'n' cheese the other night (plus kangaroo pepperoni; awesome!) I wasn't sure how all these random ingredients would work out together.

I needn't have worried. That was the most satisfying and delicious lunch I've had in a while! Try it.

Fry a bit of onion in olive oil until browned (mine was red onion). Add salami sliced into slivers and fry for a minute. Add lots o' minced garlic (I used a garlic press and five cloves). Fry another minute or so, then add the tomato and fry for a short while.
Optional: spread herbed pizza sauce on half of the flat bread. Cut three slices of Neufchâtel and add to flat bread. Tip the contents of your frying pan into the flat bread, the put the whole thing back in the pan (it's good if there's still a bit of oil left in the pan). Fry until cheese is slightly melty and bread is crispy delicious. You are done! Good job, you.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Smurf Pixie hat

I knit this thing. I used this pattern, which I really like and will probably try again with a more suitable wool. I think it looks a bit someone put a Smurf in the dryer. I used Noro Silk Mountain, which Hugh bought because he liked the colors (he has such good taste). I probably should have knit something for him with it, but instead, I offered it to Aparna. It's cold over in jolly old England these days, and I thought she could do with a blue pick-me-up. I did warn her that it looks like a Smurf but that just seemed to make her all the more keen!

Friday, February 01, 2013


Look what I got from the library! Despite being fascinated by epidemiology, despite holding a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's in infectious disease control, I've still never seen this film. A certain Australian wouldn't take me to see it in theatres because he's afraid of outbreak scenarios. Films about aliens, zombies, paranormal activity, general guts and gore, he's fine. But no outbreak films. That shit's just too "realistic."

melbourne, part 2

Meh, I always lose interest in the second part of any travel post. Often I lose interest in the first part, too!

Okay, so the rest of Melbourne: we ate some food, we went shopping, we ate again, we slept, we ate, we wandered, then shopped, then ate. I guess I could go into a bit more detail.

I'm not sure why I left the last post where I did. After the market, I got tired and we sat for a while in a nice park. Then we went to two different outlet malls! One of them was really big and ugly outside, and mostly empty inside. Lots of the shops were gone, making the ones that had stayed look really lonely. The second outlet mall was attached to the Hilton at South Wharf and was quite a bit swankier. There were no empty shops there!

We wandered down the wharf area and found a nice Japanese restaurant for dinner. We sat at the reclaimed timber tables and benches along the river. I was brave and tried plum wine, which was a bit sweet for my tastes, but still nice.

Wednesday was our last day in town. We took the tram down to St. Kilda, which is a little seaside town on the southeast edge of Melbourne. It was very charming and I decided that I wouldn't say "no" to living there, though I don't think anyone will ever ask me to because it's a wee bit pricey. Lovely seaside towns on the edges of big metropolises tend to be that...

We returned to the city center and explored Federation Square for a bit. Federation Square is one of those bits of city that someone spends millions of dollars redeveloping and then it becomes a tourist attraction for that reason alone. Well, kind of. It is meant to be a modern cultural center. The Australian Open was just beginning in Melbourne that day or perhaps the day before, and there were big screens set up on the sides of buildings in Federation Square. There were also lots of lawn chairs scattered about so people could relax and enjoy the tennis.

We wandered into one of the buildings, which had some gift shops and some historical displays and a big screen showing TED talks and seemed to house some sort of conferency, museumy-type lecture hall. I thought we were leaving, but then Hugh led me into a place called the Australian Centre for the Moving Image: it was brilliant! It was like an art and science museum hybrid, dedicated to video: television, movies, cinematography, video games, all sorts. It was really interesting and had lots of cool interactive bits. And it was free to get in! I'm totally going back there to hang out.

I forced him to stop and pose.

And that was about it. We pretty much wandered to the airport after that.

When the plane landed in Adelaide, I involuntarily breathed a sort of relieved sigh. We were home, in the quiet, sleepy, laid-back, nature-surrounded country town that is also frustratingly stuck in the past and spraawwwwwling. Sigh, why can't I find a place to live that suits me just right? Am I too demanding? I want the country and the nature and the relaxed atmosphere, but I also want the humming and the movement and the open-mindedness and the excellent transport connections. And I guess I do get both, because I've spent the last 7 months in Adelaide, and get to spend the indefinite future in Melbourne!

A Melbourne tram is just like a rhinoceros on a skateboard so, you know, be careful.