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February 2005

Cool and the Gang!!!

Sunday, 30 January 2005 At last, a little bit of cool weather and I have whiled away 5 hours this afternoon catching up on sleep and I feel so much better , well relative to a real person anyway!!! Well done, congratulations John Howard, I am sure all of Australia supports your lambasting of the UN. What in the world do you think you are doing? DO NOT stick up for Dubya. We are not American, we do not want to be Americans : in the same way that Americans do not want to be Australian. Oh, I forgot, together with Mr Ruddock, Little Johnny is trying to find a way to make life even more of a hell for Mr Habib, the Australian just released from American custody. The poor man has been released, no charges laid, yet our PM had decided he IS guilty, if only they could prove it. He will be under constant supervision, no doubt by ASIO, and he will not be allowed to benefit from his ordeal. Benefit?? If only the internet had sound – I am squealing this like Monica from Friends. How could any monetary compensation ever make up for losing 3 years of his life? For false accusations? For torture? It never can. I hope he sues the pants off everyone he can. Why the Government would not support him is beyond me. Oh, right, he is guilty despite the lack of evidence and his release. There, I have finished now it is safe to read on if you had your eyes closed. I have read more books, watched more of Carnivale which I absolutely lurve!! An made special dog food, and bought even more special Dr Harry large dog dog food. I have cut out a shirt and fiddle with the pattern to add some gathering and made some more beaded raspberries on my stump work. Tomorrow I have to go out to do bank money transfer things that can’t be doe on the Net, but then , should the weather be cool, I plan to sleep some more!!! Cherry Chocolate Slice 125 g chopped butter 160 g white chocolate, chopped 160 g sugar 2 eggs 100 g plain flour 40 g self raising flour 150 g dark chocolate chopped 100 g pitted cherries Nuts – if you like 100g or so. Grease and line a 20 cm square pan, preheat oven to 160 c ( 140 ff) Melt butter and white chocolate carefully, cool for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently but thoroughly. Spoon into pan , smooth top and bake for about 40 minutes. Cool in pan.

Camels, dust, bedouins: look, an oasis!! No, a mirage.....

Unending, relentless heat, the burning sun, no relief in sight...we had a minor thunderstorm and revelled in it, but it was ephemeral. Tomorrow will be just as hot and Hobart has 15 C today. How envious are we? VERY! There, the effect of the storm has completely gone, and only the cool memory remains. I have had to put red wine for dinner at Smokey Joe's tonight in the fridge to bring it to anything resembling room temperature!!! The heat has made me feel quite ill, and as it will continue tomorrow I am fast losing hope..... I read Glenda Larke's 'Havenstar' ( written as Glenda Normaly) today . On the couch, in the hope of catching any breeze that might come in the window, I read the whole thing. It had elements of her trilogy : 'The Aware', 'Gilfeather' and 'The Tainted', but was different enough that I still liked it. Once again there are no red shirts in her stories and everyone is fair game. Toffee Custard Cream 300ml cream 300 ml custard Whip together and refrigerate. 50 g butter 50 brown sugar 2 tbspn golden syrup 2 tbspn cream Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, bring to the boil, stir till sugar is dissolved and then simmer on low for 2-3 minutes. Add cream, bubble for 30 minutes and cool. Spoon cream/custard into dishes and pour sauce over.

The Flying Monkeys missed by THAT much!

I am like the witch in Wizard of Oz, I am melting, melting, melting. I am Pollyanna Glad Game glad though that I am not in Hobart where is was 36 C . Even sleeping cannot stop the never ending relentless heat. It is Lawrence of Arabia and the Get Smart episode with the pith helmet and the salt buttons : but worse. Peri has the right idea, she keeps playing in the paddle pool and getting wet from head to toe. Australia Day awards, now I have started there is no going back. Once again there are almost twice as many awards to men than to women and also once again politicians, judges , the military etc are given awards for just doing their jobs. No-one gives a nurse an award for just doing her/his extremely important job. No-one gives the Red Cross volunteers who do all the volunteering after they have finished work an award. The whole awards system is tainted. Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. The German people want to do what the Japanese are already doing : not just forgetting their past crimes, but rewriting their history to make them go away. It is the Government not saying sorry all over again. It is very upsetting to see the camps and it makes me cry. How can people be so unkind to other people? It is beyond me. White Chocolate Ice-cream 6 egg yolks 170 g caster sugar 700 ml pouring cream 1 tspn vanilla extract 100 g good white chocolate Beat yolks with 50 g of sugar till creamy. Heat cream till almost boiling, pour over yolks, whisk and return to heat. Cook over low heat till thickened. Add chocolate and stir till it is melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool. Add vanilla. Pour into shallow metal tray and freeze for 1-2 hours. Remove and beat until smooth. Return to freezer. Repeat 3 times. Place in airtight container and keep in freezer.

What's new puppy dogs? Woof woof woof woof woof woof.

Hi Aunty Captain Mrs Archer!!!! and to all the people reading!!! I wish I had music on my blog. What's new? The news!!! - the ABC news is having a big update . They are having the radio news theme - Majestic something or other - 2000 -ed up. There will be at least 2 cameras and a plasma screen TV. The weather will be presented in a different way too. I like the very old news theme, I hope this new on echoes it. I wonder if I am old enough to write a 'Why oh why?" letter about the olden days? Yep, sure am!!! The police have been extra specially busy and have arrested three 15 years old boys with regard to the $2 million arson on the City Mission and they have also caught the three men who escaped from the Hayes Prison Farm. They are morons, as all were up for parole and/or release this year. June Bronhill has died. She was a lovely opera singer : more a singer of the people than Joan Sutherland. Well it has only taken me 9 years, 6 months and 21 days but I have finally changed the car registration into my name only, and only my name!!!zssxxxxxxxxxswwasdsxzxxzxxzvdd That was me mopping up the Earl Grey tea slopped onto the keyboard. Oops!! No wonder I am having trouble I am throwing the DingleDangle toy, typing, having a cup of tea and listening to the radio!! I also have a book but you can't type and read with my terrible typing style. I have picked up my latest pair of new green shoes and the man in the shop says that there will be MORE green shoes for Winter!!!! I can barely wait. Now I shall address Australia Day - tomorrow. I didn't realise that we are expected to 'celebrate' this day. The hierarchy demands that we celebrate this day. I don't know why. What is so special about it? Maybe it is because of the parlous amoral state of the ruling party, but I don't feel like celebrating what Australia is.....I reckon we should all make George Dubya's devil sign and freak everyone out!! Have you seen Mr and Mrs Dubya? Very amusing!! Rosewater Meringues 3 eggwhites 220 g caster sugar 1/2 tspn white vinegar 1/2 tspn vanilla extract 1 tspn rosewater Preheat oven to 100 C ( as low as you can go in fan-forced) Put muffin papers into muffin tray and spray with light cooking spray. Beat eggwhites till soft peaks form and gradually add sugar till it is all dissolved ( no sugary grit when you rub mixture between fingers) Add vanilla, vinegar and rosewater, stir, and pipe or spoon into papers. Bake for 2 1/2 hours and leave in oven with door closed overnight. Serve with raspberries steeped in syrup ( 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water boiled after dissolved for 5 minutes, add 1 tspn rosewater) and lashings of whipped cream!!!

Ready - Set top box - GO!!!!!!!!

It is 27 C inside but over 40 C outside in the sun and I am encouraging everyone not to go out in the midday sun!! I have attached the set top box to the TV and made it work, and THEN I attached that, in turn, to the VCR. Now I can tape from the set top box - it is for digital TV. Now there are 5 main stations and a few other news ones, and radio too. The picture is so crystal clear, it was a bit pixalated at times but seems to have settled down. The heat in no way enhanced my experience. It makes me cross, bad tempered and impatient. i react very badly to the heat. I have also managed to dig out The West Wing and the last season of DS9. Amazingly I had already done a tape and a bit so I don't feel so daunted. Happy day today as the Season 2 DVD boxed set of Blake's 7 arrived all the way from sunny Macao/Macau and the Season 6 set of Stargate SG1 came as well!! Two people came to the front door so it was a good dog day all round!!! I have the urge to post cool weather desserts again. White Chocolate Cheesecake 100g plain sweet biscuits 50 g melted butter 250 g Philly cream cheese, softened 125 g caster sugar 250 ml ordinary pourinf cream 200 g chilled marscapone 500 g chopped good white chocolate Grease and line springform 20 cm tin. Crush biscuits and mix in butter, press into base of tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I do like to substitute some coconut or ground nuts for some of the crumbs. Beat cream cheese and sugar tillsmooth, add cream, and then merscapone, beating till just combined. Melt white chocolate carefully in a heat proof bowl over simmering water - that doesn't touch the bowl- then add to cream mixture. Pour into tin and smooth down. Refigerate for 3 hours, but overnight is best. make a sauce from cream and melted dark chocolate.

Ol' 55 - no Frankie J Holden though!!

Last night I watched the Battlefield Britain series, episode 1. It was very good, next week it will be the Battle of Hastings. There are people on the Net pooh-poohing parts of the show, but on the whole it is good. I also finally found episode 1 of the Melvyn Bragg series The Adventure of English. The mystery of its whereabouts was solved when I realised I had two tapes labelled 55!!! Tonight is the last of Carnivale series 1, no part of which I have managed to watch yet!!!Today so far I have been woken up at 9 am by the Labradors, made them an interesting meal of left over pasta sauce, grated zucchini and Stephanie Alexander food. It was very tasty apparently, as they ate it all up, and the end of my porridge too. Today it is cooler, I have drawn the curtains to preserve the illusion : outside it is sunny and warm. I hope to be able to sleep tonight, and not lie there waiting endlessly to sleep. The recipe today is Baked Ricotta with Poached Fruit 800g drained ricotta 2 eggs 225 g icing sugar vanilla extract Preheat oven to 150 C ( 130 fan-forced) and grease and line a 25 x 5 x 7 cm bar tin ( or whatever you have really) Beat ingredients till smooth, pour into tin and then place in a roasting dish filled with boiling water that comes 1/2 way up the tin. Bake 40 minutes, cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour. Turn out and slice. Serve with poached fruit, drizzled with syrup: Place 220 g caster sugar, 60 ml port/juice/wine and 250 ml water in a pan and stir over low heat till sugar is dissolved. Add fruit : peaches, rhubarb, tamarillos, etc. Poach 4 minutes, and remove. Boil syrup till reduced by 1/2. Pour over fruit and cool.

Summers' time, and he's not livin' easy.

Well, the academic who gave the speech I mentioned earlier this week has recanted!! There was such an outcry that he has published this - from the SMH.

"The president of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, has released a lengthy written apology, admitting he was wrong to suggest women do not have the same natural ability in maths and sciences as men.

In his third and most repentant statement this week, the former treasury secretary to Bill Clinton sought to make amends to faculty not just at Harvard but across the country who were offended by his remarks at a conference last Friday.

"I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologise for not having weighed them more carefully," he said in a letter posted on his website. "I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women."

Dr Summers had told the private conference on the position of women and minorities in science and engineering that women's reluctance to work long hours because of child-care responsibilities was behind them not performing as well in the sciences. He also said boys outperform girls on high school science and maths scores because of genetic difference. As an example, he told the conference about giving his daughter two trucks. She treated them like dolls, and named them mummy and daddy trucks, he said.

In his most recent statement, Dr Summers said the human potential to excel in science is not dictated by gender, as evidenced by the distinguished careers of many women scientists.

He spoke of having learned much in recent days from emails and calls that he said "made vivid the very real barriers faced by women in pursuing scientific and other academic careers"."

It is like the man who rang up and blasted women who use the appellation 'Ms'. He said they should all go back to the 1950s and , basically, be grateful. I wish for him to wake up one day and find himself a young woman in the 1950s with ambitions and goals and see how he would like it. I like being a Ms. I am far too old now to be a Miss, and Mrs is my mother's name. Men don't apparently feel the need to signal their marital status all the time, so why should I? I am quite happy for other women to be a Miss or Mrs, but it's just not for me.

Cold Comfort Cake

Today on The World Today on Radio National they had part 2 of their story on blogs. 10 years ago you would be lucky to have found 50 blogs, now there are millions. I am very happy TWT is back and I can listen to it twice: once on RN at noon, and then on northtas at 1 pm. When there is cricket or sport, the AM station (northtas) doesn't carry the programme. Soon northtas might change to FM. This would be good as there are ghosty signals and sometimes you can get a strong signal a few numbers apart and get a timeslip between one room and another. Last night the world was put on hold at Southern Cross as Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake played their third round match , I think. His new girlfriend after Kim Clijsters (sic) is Bec Cartwright a wannabe singer from 'Home and Away' a soap set at in a beach side town. Heaven help us it is spinning off into a 20 something show about Uni. I usually see only the end as it is on before Stargate SG1. And I am inordinately happy as I have found 'Timeless' and 'Emotional Chemistry' on the Minotaur website so I can buy them ( Dr Who 8th Dr books) and I can't find my 'Discontinuity Guide' but on the off chance I don't, they have that too!! Last night was the final Sarah Jane Smith and the jolly potplant she was holding changed colour from mauve in the TARDIS to white outside back on Earth. Mind you, there was a Labrador kind of dog!! So I forgave them. The Labor free for all for the Leadership is on. Steven Smith won't stand, Rudd will and Gillard is likely to. Don't think Australia is ready for a woman leader yet, I am , but we are very conservative and scared of change. The Howard government is talking seriously about bringing in an identity card of some description. It is so hard to prove who you are. When you get your new photo drivers' licence, you can't use your old one as part of your ID requirements. How weird is that? I don't have enough points to get a new Smart Medicare card, so I put the form in the bin. When you don't go to work anymore it can be difficult to be a 'real person' to some forms of bureaucracy. The Tasmanian Devil tumour disease has spread to more than 50% of the Devil population. The experts seem to think it is transferred through contact. 6% of the state is affected. They don't have a cure yet, though the scientists trying to breed Tasmanian platypusses in captivity hope to find a cure for the disease affecting them. Now a recipe - the first one !!!

Cold Chocolate Truffle 'Cake'
350 g dark chocolate
400 ml milk
1 tbspn instant coffee
1 tspn vanilla extract ( or a vanilla bean, split)
2 tbspn caster sugar
900 ml thickened cream
Grease and then line 20 cm springform tin with plastic clingwrap. Melt chocolate. Put milk and vanilla bean ( if using ) in a pan and cook 10-15 minutes till reduced by half.Add coffee, vanilla extract ( if using) and sugar. Stir till dissolved ( remove bean) Whip cream till soft peaks form, fold in cooled chocolate and milk. Pour into tin, cover with more clingwrap and refrigerate at leat 4 hours, though overnight is better. Slice and serve with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. ( melt 125 g dark chocolate and 180 ml thickened cream, cool slightly)

Shatner and The Elephant

2paw Ok I am pretty au fait with the 'Blog this' button, the only draw backs being that the spell check seems to go all weird and you can't change the colour. It is seasonably warm - well it is the height of Sumner, but I do long for coolness.They have forecast rain , but who knows? Watched 'Stories from the Stone Age' on the ABC last night and there, acting in the doco, was a girl I taught a few years ago. I do know that people went to Hobart to participate in the filming, but there could be more people I know. I will have to scan the cast list. I will have to ask Zarina for her autograph!! The show was all about the changes from a hunter/gatherer society to one of farming, and it was very strange to see our state's log pop up amidst all the overseas ones!!! The apricots this year are truly delicious and I have almost a kilo of blueberries from Di and Mark.They picked them on their way home from Bellingham. I shall experience the joy of Summer in the cold dark days of Winter!! I am looking forward to 'The Elephant' on SBS tonight and next week Enterprise is back. Oh and William "Captain Kirk' Shatner won a Golden Globe for an actor in a supporting role- as Denny Crane. He is terribly good, it is more about being Shatner I think, than actually about the acting. He has come into his own here though. There will be almost 8 hours of Dr Who being watched today - all the First Doctor, but I might be tempted to watch the DVD of all the missing episodes tomorrow. I have read the last John Christopher book and await more from the Library. I think I shall have a nap soon, what an exciting life I lead!!!