Saturday, October 29, 2005

Love those legacies

When we needed a new computer, some while ago now, our Son-Out-Law offered to build one to our specifications. Oooh!

Make it fast with great graphics, so we can play The Sims at speed! OK, no problem.

Give us six or more USB ports so we can dangle peripherals all over it! OK, no problem.

Give us a 3 1/2 inch disk drive! Huh? Whatever for?? Said the SOL. Why don't you just use memory sticks? Because we still have old disks, and because we are old fogies. OK, he said, and found one somewhere. We have used it, and I am glad we have it.

Give us two serial ports! Huh? Whatever for?? Said the SOL. Because we have LEGACY TECHNOLOGY, that's why. He shrugged, and said OK, and the new beast was delivered as specified.

Now despite the waves of E-Bay frenzy and general de-cluttering, we still have our two electronic books hanging around. Two Rocket e-books - His and Hers. If you've never seen one, here it is:

(Note the Pug coaster - nearby there is a pug mouse mat too.) I've long had a thing for electronic books, having done a consultancy assignment on them once in the dark ages (1986). I spoke about them at conferences, talked about them, thought about them, had to have one. So a big part of me resisted the idea of ebaying them.

The Women's Library, where I am a volunteer, has a book discussion group. Being a huge fan of Willa Cather, I suggested one of my favourites for a forthcoming group - A Lost Lady. Where is my copy? Looking, looking. Uh Oh. Purged in the Great Book Purge of 2005.

Thinks - this book was published in 1923. Maybe it is available digitally? I look. It is. I download it. Thinks - I'll put it on my Palm using DropBook and Palm Reader. I do that, it works. Reading on the Palm is a little bit small though, and I remember the ebooks. I wonder whether they will still work? They'll need to be fired up to be ebayed (if I decide to do that.) Rootling around in all the electricals, both of them come to the surface. I plug the cables into the sneered-at dinosaur-age serial port, fire up the CD with its software, and turn everything on. It works. Both books are just fine. Not a glitch, not a configuration problem, nothing. I am stunned.

A Lost Lady is a fine book. I am reading it in bed with the backlighting set at 60%. Ain't technology grand?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Home alone

After the Iron Chef episode, the food story goes sadly downnill. The Man has gone overseas. It is just the Pug and the Cat and me. Our mission, and we chose to accept it, is to go through the packets and cans and Unidentified Frozen Objects to search and destroy.... or eat. Because I am both extravagant and parsimonious, it is the latter.

So, the last piece of frozen Christmas cake, which I made myself to my mother's recipe, was very expensive and reasonably good. Still a sliver to go.

The last half frozen bagel was breakfast with vegemite. The box of tofu mix - mixed, set, pressed, chunked, dusted with potato flour, deep fried in my quite good attempt at agedashi tofu. The Cottee's raspberry jelly. Jellied, eaten. Never much trouble dealing with jelly, especially Red Jelly.

The can of Chicken Tamales in green sour cream and chile sauce. Well, at least half of it. The other half will probably be compost tomorrow.

The last two lots of frozen bread turned into toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. Carrots and celery and ginger and parsley, all juiced and drunk.

We are coming down to the wire. What about that packet of Four Cheeses sauce? The macaroni is waiting for it, but it is sure to be gluey and horrible. What about the besan flour that has been in the freezer since 1995? Or the Masa Harina in the freezer I brought back from Mexico? I managed to throw out the jar of tamarind puree - the mold was quite a work of art. The Quaker Instant Grits? No way. I'll eat grits no matter how old they are, and I have to keep them in case one day I have no grits at all (shudder }}}} )

The vietnamese rice paper wrappers? The iced over won ton wrappers? The Sara Lee croissants? ( I think I can deal with those, and they are only a couple of weeks old...) The marinated tofu wrappers? The Japanese sesame nori sprinkles? Some of those went onto a salad.

What was I saying about getting down to the wire? What will I do with the pomegranate molasses? I can't go on. What's that??? Lurking up there in the unreachable upper cupboards????? Oh no, it is instant red bean paste powder. I kid you not. There is a box there. Instant red bean paste powder. There were two sachets, now there is one.

See? The box says I will enjoy its great taste. The box says Step 3: taste great when served immediately.

Ummmmm - there is one sachet left. Ummmmm..........

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bang the gong, the heat was ON!!!

And did we ever have fun! We couldn't resist the opportunity to attend a dinner at Galileo's restaurant at the Observatory Hotel in Sydney featuring Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai. Having been Iron Chef fans for a long time, with a considerable investment in tapes and The Book, we just had to go. It was expensive, it was the middle of the week, Michael was leaving for overseas the next day, but what the heck!

Was it good? Was it worth it? Yes yes yes, it was fabulous. Eat your hearts out.... Here is the menu:

The first course was a series of little canapes:

Smoked salmon tartare, Oursin a la Printaniere (sea urchin roe - it is the little green cup) Beignets d'Huitres, Swordfish Brochette, Tartare of Venison, Endive a la Flamande. All with a Sakaitini cocktail.

Then came the Oeuf Cocotte a la Creme de Morilles et Macadamia Nut. Oh, divine. There was fresh truffle in there (this IS Iron Chef, after all) and the egg and the macadamias were (in high pitched voice..) sooo goooooood!

Then came Harry's (our nickname for Hiroyuki Sakai) Charlotte Mousse D'Asperges au Caviar. Yes, real caviar. And the little palisades of asparagus which Michael has tried with great success. Here he is enjoying it:

Valiantly onwards to Croquette de Foie Gras parfumee a la Truffe. Yes, truffles and foie gras. Ymmmmm. followed by Jewfish and Marron in potato wrapping, with a nori sauce and a vongole sauce. Moving right along to the spatchcock in a herb salt crust with mesclun salad. (yes, we have pictures of them all).

Finally the dessert, described as La fete des Berries, but as you can see, much more than that:

And the piece de resistance (sorry, I can't be bothered figuring out how to add accents to the French) - the chef himself came out to be photographed and rejoice in the good feelings engendered by the grand dinner. Alas, the group photo with the three of us was not achieved (we have dark video instead) but this proves we were there and we had a good time:
Did I say a good time? Try a GREAT time. Truly fantastic.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The people demand pictures

There should be some tatting in this picture, to illustrate the title of the blog. But for today the blog is just KnitPug. Here is my sock, in progress. Jonty is always close at foot.


No No No. When you are knitting with five needles, and are changing from one to the next, you use the EMPTY one. You DON'T pull one out of the stitches......

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I'm Back!

Well, my mother told me she thought my blog was crap. Her word. But I think I'm over it now, and am ready to leap back into the saddle and continue my record of life in the inner city.

It has been a busy time for me. My mother stayed with me for a week (and I forgive her criticism of my blog), I went to the ETD2005 conference, I went to Canberra for two meetings. It has been busy. The ETD conference was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. This is the area I have been working in since February this year. As libraries move away from print to digital storage, there is much work to be done on how to store a university's research work digitally. I've been working with a project called ARROW, which is building a digital repository system based on Fedora's open source storage layer, with an application layer being designed by ARROW and built by VTLS. My role has been to do use cases and develop content models for theses, research papers, interface with End Note, and now I am working on access control. It is a logical extension of my career, which has spanned library and information technologies through print, online, CD-ROM, and internet. This is a fascinating project and I am lucky to be involved.

It has meant learning another language though. I came home from the conference one night babbling about some of the interesting things I'd learned and talked about. Mum and Michael told me to stop, they couldn't understand me. Talk English! they said. I said I should have gone to the Conference Dinner where people at least spoke the same language.

In the meantime, back on the knitting front, I succumbed to socks. I borrowed my daughter's sock book and some double pointed needles, bought some sock wool, and despite the unfinished jumper have launched into my first sock. Struggling with all those needles made me feel like I was knitting with an octopus - they wanted to go every which way. I had to cast on and start knitting four times, finally getting it right. It is starting to go quickly, and is very exciting. I can hardly wait to see the sock develop. Pictures will be posted.

Finally, Sunday morning wouldn't be right without the Sunday papers. And the Sunday papers wouldn't be the same without spelling errors. This morning's crop included these:

City steals itself in wake of latest Bali terrorist attacks

This is a reference to the people of Newcastle. There was a group of people from that city in Bali, and many of them were injured, some killed. It is also, I think, a reference to the fact that Newcastle used to be a centre of steel production. Did the journalist (Amy de Lore) mean City Steels itself? Which would have been correct. But how can a city steal itself? Ridiculous.

Next, in the property reports, we hear that it was a young couple who lent casually on a wall who won the auction. What? Lent casually? How do you lend on a wall? Was this a new form of finance? Do you think the journalist (Michelle Singer) meant LEANT on a wall? I think she did.