Friday, September 30, 2011

Impressions of Canberra.

This is my first visit to Canberra, breathtaking and scenic capitol of Australia.

Visually, it's slightly crap. Let us not mince words. All the buildings appear to be chipped out of bricks leftover from elementary schools built in the 1970s. This is not helped by the grey skies, intermittent showers and blowing winds that accompanied us from NSW. Also, with the exception of a few cinderblock towers, nothing is over two stories tall. This manages to make everything seem smaller than it is.

True to my usual habits while on vacation, I purchased things that I theoretically could have got in Sydney: a New Pornographers CD, a couple of comics (Transmetropolitan & the first volume of Strangers In Paradise), books (including a book on Douglas Adams' roommate & a huge book of Watchmen portraits) and a nifty wireless Bluetooth keyboard that I am typing this entry on. I also nearly bought an HDMI out for my iPad, but Tanja correctly posited that I would have no use for such an item once this weekend was finished. Stupid logic. You foil me again.

The thing I've noticed about Canberra, though, are threefold. Attend:

Uno: All of the quality eateries look like rubbish, but make great food. It's like they are doing their best to look like a neighborhood takeaway or back alley milk bar but are turning out posh restaurant quality edibles. Examples: Madame Woo. This is what it looks like:

(images courtesy of Google)
But the food was amazing. Behold a bare imitation, grabbed from one of the brochures in our room:

Yeah. That but better. And the more I look around, the more terrible signs I see (using Papyrus font, terrible colours, handmade logos), I wonder which of those are secrets and which are honestly crap. This can be a downside, of course. On the way into Canberra, I looked up craft breweries and found two, the excellent Wig & Pen, downtown, and Zierholz, in Fishwyck. The Wig & Pen was inviting, inside and out and we've been there twice. Zierholz is out on an industrial park area and we had to drive past it twice to find it. It has a smash repairs on one side and a sex shop on the other. The whole front of the building is glass, with white walls & floors. I couldn't convince Tanja (or myself) to get out of the car. That's the problem with having a great book in a crappy cover.

Zwei: After having studies the walking abilities of people in Sydney (crowd in, bumping shoulders, high stress) and Melbourne (high speed avoidance, smooth sailing, the walking equivalent of Formula 1 racing), I can say that Canberrans have a problem with rearward personal space. Stop at the curb to cross the street? Don't put your elbows back. The pedestrian behind you has decided to stand so close to you that he can hear what you're thinking. And can comment. It's off putting.

Trois: It is very much a weekday city. You'll see people about all hours on weekdays, but the weekends, it's a ghost town. Absolute opposite of Sydney.

So yeah. First impressions. We still have tomorrow, where I intend to see Questacon (, damnit.

Location:The Diplomat Hotel

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I corrected people on today

I don't know if this makes me a grammar nazi or simply a vocabulary fascist, but I feel the need to point this out:

1. Prodded (prod'ded, def: to poke someone, to apply pressure) should be pronounced "pr-aw-did". Not "pr-oh-did".

2. The expression is "null and void", not "nil and void".

3. While a group may be both self-sufficient & efficient, they are not "self-efficient."

This has been a public service announcement.

Proxy Champignon,
Master of Brainthinking

PS: While this is not an error, it is inherently funny to hear that the company has "a special bucket for dead people."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anatomy of an argument

*Note: paraphrased for brevity*

*Scene: at the butcher shop*
L: (thought: I'm making a recipe, but i'm way insecure, so I'll ask T's opinion on how much of these small meat pieces I should get! She's way better at things!) Hey T! Should I get 5 or 6 of those? *points generally at small meat pieces*
T: (I don't know what recipe you're making, so I have no frame of reference to how many meat pieces you need. Also, it looks like you're pointing at these enormous unwieldy rib rack meat pieces.) 5 or 6? Maybe just 1.
L (Wow! Good thing I asked T! Turns out I would have bought the wrong type of meat entirely!) *buys 1 large unwieldy piece of meat*
L: Oh crap, the recipe describes a method of cooking that is difficult with a large unwieldy piece of meat! Woe is me!
T: I'll assist, but with this type of large unwieldy piece of meat it'll take an hour to cook & we'll have to alternate between stove & oven!
L: *takes assistance, but when meat is cooking:* You know, I wanted to buy small meat pieces. It's what the recipe said.
T: What? Y U No tell me that, bro?
L: I did! I pointed vaguely at the small pieces! That should be enough for man, god or beast! Let my vague indications never be questioned!
Both: This is your fault ZOMG.

Aaaaand, scene.

Proxy Champignon,
Master of Brainthinking

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bioshock Memories

A trip to the Powerhouse Museum's Love Lace exhibit brought back memories of Bioshock, specifically the music:

Kinda creepy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Gaming List of Shame

A page from my clockwork notebook (and it shits me that I can't directly import):

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A one page rant (comic).

Proxy Champignon,
Master of Brainthinking

Friday, September 02, 2011

Cooking Sunday: Sticky Chicken Tortillas (text version)

Now with 100% more recipe!

· Put a pan on medium heat with a little oil in it.
· Preheat oven to lowest setting.
· Rather rudely cut each chicken breast into 4 strips lengthwise.
· Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
· Zest the hell out of your lemon.
· Deposit thy lemon zest into a mixing bowl.
· Bifurcate the lemon.
· Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl. No seeds, you savages.
· Add approx. Twice as much olive oil as there is lemon juice.
· 4 tablespoons of yoghurt into the bowl and stir.
· Once the pan is hot, abandon the chicken to its hellish fate.
· Brutally snap the leaves from your defenceless lettuce.
· Baptise the lettuce under the holiest of taps, cleansing it of sin (and dirt).
· Using a salad spinner, whirl the lettuce about in a whimsical manner, drying it to some extent.
· Hold the lettuce leave still as you finely slice them. Ignore their pleas for mercy.
· Consign the chopped lettuce to the same fate as the lemon zest.
· Wash, trim and skin the carrots*.
· Once the little bastards are skinned and subdued, peel them into ribbons for their insolence.
· Put those ribbons into the bowl and stir.
· Grab a handful of alfalfa sprouts, hold them over the bowl, and take your scissors to them for being untidy.
· Oh right, the chicken. Yeah, turn that.
· Stir the mixture again.
· Time for thyme. Yes, I went there. 2 sprigs.
· Get out your fennel seeds and tortillas.
· Craft an aluminium foil coffin for your tortillas and put them into the oven.
· Poke vaguely at the chicken. Make sure it’s still dead.
· Strip the leaves from the thyme and discard the stem.
· Get two plates ready.
· Poke the chicken some more.
· Taste the mixture, make sure it’s ok. Stir.
· Fling the fennel seeds into the pan where they belong, and their thyme leaf buddies too.
· Shake the pan like a TV Chef to coat the chicken.
· Drizzle the honey onto the hot chicken. Feel a bit naughty as you do. TV-Chef-Pan-Shake again.
· When the chicken is coated in honey like some sort of harlot, turn the heat off.
· Stir the mix again. Free your tortillas from their mighty coffin and place one on each plate.
· Apply 1 tablespoon of tactical hummous and 1 tablespoon of also-tactical harissa/Sambal manis.
· Add ¼ of your lettuce-carrot-yoghurt-Franken-mixture. Top with primary and secondary chicken bits.
· Wrap up, seize, and consume!

Proxy Champignon,
Master of Brainthinking

Cooking Sunday: Sticky Chicken Tortillas

Look, ma! I made a video!

I might edit and post the actual recipe later.

Edit: it's later.