Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stupid is as stupid does.

Yesterday afternoon, J and I are out on the road, on our bikes to Aldi for some bicycle bits on special. Coming up to a set of red lights we negotiate past a car in a drive way reversing her way into traffic, her car end sticking out into the road. She would have needed other cars to let her in so it wasn't going to happen just yet. 
As I wave my hand to the driver politely acknowledging our passage through, the driver yells "Stupid bikes!".
I think 'stupid driver'. 
J asks me what she said, I repeat it. 
In true J fashion, without missing a beat he responds "But bikes aren't sentient."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Everything is prettier by candlelight

We sat by candlelight in the backyard with homemade pizzas and a roll of paper towel we have brought out for serviettes. I commented that by the candle light the roll looks like an expensive ceramic not cheap paper towel. My housemate's friend asks, 
"What would be the point/use of a ceramic paper towel?" 
I responded "It's a metaphor for the futility of cleaning!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Moving meatballs/pictures. Don't judge a book by its cover!

Until Christmas a few years ago I had absolutely no idea about Terry Pratchett or his books only that they had busy, grotesque, knobbly and bulgy figures in gaudy colours tumbling about their covers. I found those covers by Josh Kirby (R.I.P.) off putting, suggesting baudy fantasy stories and thus had no interest in reading them. Pratchett purists and of course Pratchett himself seems to adore Kirby's illustrations but for me they show Kirby's 1970s fantasy and sci-fi roots. That is an aquired taste and it can be polarising - you tend to either love or loathe it. I don't deny the skill and technique that went into these pieces. They're just not appealing to me...

 ... unlike Spanish meatballs with aioli! I had these two items sitting on my desk today:


 One thing led to another - with bit of half a**ed, crappy Photoshopping you've got a delicious meatball troll and, as it turns out, a blog post:

Then one Christmas there was a curious telemovie and it made me laugh: Hogfather. I had also read Good Omens by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman which made reading on the train a little awkward but fun because I barely stifled my chuckles. Although I'd read most of Gaiman's Sandman series it was only after reading more Gaiman paperbacks that I realised the humour must have come from Pratchett. I have since grown to adore his work, and can see how he has honed his skill over time.

When reading Pratchett's books I choose the softly coloured, beautiful new covers by Paul Kidby over the old - though I hasten to add I'm happy to get my hands on a book irrespective of cover. These and the teleseries really capture the essence of  Pratchett's work for a new generation. The steampunk flavour of Going Postal was wonderful, the story excellent, the casting and thus acting - loved David Suchet - superb making it my favourite telemovie so far. I will always imagine the Patrician, Lord Vetinari as Charles Dance now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Modern Utopia by H.G. Wells

If you have enjoying Wells' other works you may well find this to be a disappointment. An especially inappropriate book to introduce a H.G. curious, new reader. Wells is a fine novelist but A Modern Utopia is an essay/novel hybrid which doesn't work. Wells often introduces his books with great humility and self deprecation. I've learnt to take that with a pinch of salt because I have seldom found his works wanting. However in this case it's justified. I tried to finish it, resorting to skimming but it was still too much effort for what little reward I received. He should have written an essay without a narrative - at least then the unfortunate sci-fi reader would know that they are not in for an adventure. For the philosophical reader who is stimulated by theories about what might make a modern Utopia this could be a very interesting book. I am the aformentioned reader.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

First time cooking leeks and barley was mostly a success - yummy with room for improvement. I did the most of the prepping and J did the cooking. It's a pattern we have sort of fallen into rather than set out to do and it seems to work. He says it's because I like using my fine knives so much. I do, they're a pleasure to work with.

Cutting up food with skill into nice even or interesting bits is a bit like assembling a collage or carving a sculpture which I love doing. I relish collecting fresh herbs and things from the garden so that bit is a bit like gardening which I also enjoy. Plating up can be a stimulating exercise in composition but my skills in this area are honest and homely rather than restaurant style.

I often get asked by customers if I like cooking which I answer with a tentative yes. When there's time to put something worthwhile together and I'm not tired I do enjoy it. I take an interest in trying new things - especially with J inspiring me with greater confidence.

How about you - do you enjoy cooking? Do you grow your own produce or herbs? What's your favourite thing about cooking?

Shun knives are good...

Presumbly a TAFE or Uni student in a kitchenware shop in the CBD looking at various knives in showcase. Loudly to his friend who is somewhere else in the shop:
"Stop making me look at the Shun knives [friend's name]. They're giving me a stiffy!"