Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Straight Edge

I have been friended once on last.fm. I had no idea why, and I accepted the request at first because I thought it was my brother, Jason (turned out to be a completely different Jason).

I was playing with my last.fm profile last night and I thought I would have a look at Jason's. In his profile, he says "I am straight edge.". I said "???".

Google and Wikipedia to the rescue. It turns out 'straight edge' is a sub-sub-culture of the punk movement. From wikipedia:
Straight edge refers to a lifestyle and scene within the hardcore punk subculture whose adherents abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as well as promiscuous sex.
I thought, hey that's me... Hold on, take out the agro, the tendency towards veganism, the haircuts, the piercings, the X tattoos (and perhaps I might be on the outer with my spirituality too... Profanity warning if you follow that link)

So maybe not.

But surely Straight Edge sounds cooler than teetotaller.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

iMonk on unity

I always take time each day to read Michael Spencer, the internet monk . And note, when I say each day, I mean each day. The guy is like a machine when it comes to putting content up. I don't think he sleeps.

His post today was on rethinking the historical view of the Reformation (coming up to Reformation Day). To be honest, I find Michael is always rethinking some view of history, the church or scripture. This is a Good Thing™, but ironic given the first quote I have shared below.

Anyway, the primary thing I got out of today's post was a couple of views on the unity of the church, which I have quoted here:
  • I now believe that tradition is a very good word.
  • I believe we ought to grieve the division of Christianity and the continuing division of Protestantism.
  • I don't believe in ecumenism at any cost, but I can no longer imagine being a Christian without a commitment to ecumenism on some level.
Note, we should grieve the division of Christianity. My early Christian walk was in a specifically anti-ecumenical fellowship, but I have come to a point where I can relate to the third quote above.

Thanks again Michael, for stirring the pot and making me think, even if you do make me uncomfortable.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Ginger Beer

OK, as suggested earlier here is my world famous ginger beer recipe.

First of all, let's be clear. This isn't really my recipe. Most of it I copied out from an old magazine, which I then lost. Did a few searches on the internet, found similar recipes and fiddled them to make it similar to what I had used before.

I will take credit for the grated ginger though. All the other recipes used dried powdered ginger. I buy a large amount of ginger and grate it all in one hit. Actually I now just chop it up in my thermomix, but that's another post. I then lay it out in layers (on baking trays covered in baking paper) and the freeze. You can then break it up and put it in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later use.

First step is to make the plant. Take:
  1. 8 sultanas

  2. 1 tsp citric acid (or juice of 2 lemons if you have them)

  3. 2 tbsp grated ginger

  4. 1 tbsp sugar

  5. 2 cups water
And mix them all in a jar with a lid (just sit the lid on top, don't screw it on) and leave for 2 or 3 days or until fermentation starts (you can see bubbles rising when the plant is stirred).

Feed the plant for 7 days by adding 1 tbsp of sugar and another 2 tbsp grated ginger each day and stirring well.

At the end of the week:
  1. In a clean 10L plastic bucket dissolve 4 cups sugar in a kettle full of boiling water (We often just add 2 cups of sugar for a lower-calorie version. Tastes much nicer with 4, but still drinkable with only 2).

  2. Add 2 tsp citric acid (or juice of 4 lemons)

  3. Strain the plant through a fine cloth into the syrup. (If you are using lemons, you could also juice through this cloth to avoid lemon seeds). Squeeze the plant dry. Reserve half the plant (see below) and throw the rest away.

  4. Top bucket up with cold water.

  5. Pour into PET bottles and seal. If you are game enough you could use proper glass beer bottles but beware, this ginger beer is fizzy.
Could be drunk immediately, but starts to gain worthwhile fizz after at least a week. Leave at least three or four weeks if you can wait that long.

I have read that it is important to release the pressure from the bottles every couple of days by quickly opening and closing the lids. I did that for quite some time until I couldn't be bothered, and nothing bad has ever happened (at least not while I have just been using plastic bottles).

To keep plant alive, put the reserved half of the plant back into the jar with additional water. Feed as before for another week before using again.

NB: Apparently the more times the plant is used, the more alcohol will be in the final product. Early batches shouldn't have more than a token amount of alcohol. I have usually replaced my plant every eight weeks.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Pie Floater



Oh, what an aussie am I! I finally made a pie floater though you will notice that I have used yellow pea soup instead of the more correct green pea soup. Still tasted good though.

Friday, 26 October 2007

I am a grammar nazi

Yes I am. I admit it.

Now, I may have sent you a link to this post due to some unfortunate lapse firstly in your grammar and secondly in my manners. I'll apologise for the latter now while I am thinking more calmly and clearly. As for the former, hopefully despite my rudeness you might learn something.

My particular pet hate is the Terror of the Unwanted Apostophe. My good friend Bob The Angry Flower has something to say about that.

If you are still unsure about how to use your apostrophes, wikihow has a slightly more polite guide.

Another issue I am coming to grips with currently is the whole "writing then when I really mean than". When I first started seeing it, I just put it down to typos but it is happening more and more and all the time. I still don't understand it. I can even understand how some people get apostrophes wrong, but this makes no sense. Wikihow also has an article about this issue and I suppose it clears things up a bit, but really!?

Then = time, than = comparison. How do you get them mixed up?

Regular Customer?

At work at the pharmacy today, we had one of those incidents where you wonder if you are on the same planet as everyone else. Details have been removed for obvious reasons.

A lady presenting a prescription was asked "Have we done prescriptions for you before?" to which said lady replies "Yes, I come here all the time." Clearly one of our regular customers!

I dispense prescription, noticing at the time that we have done one (yes, one. Less than two, more than zero) prescription for her in the past. One.

As one of the pharmacy assistants said later, it is good that all of our regular customers are not like that, we would have all lost our jobs years ago!

Clearly, "all the time" == "at least once".

Reminds me of the language problems I have with my children, where "we never do .... (substitute favourite activity or food)" is equivalent to "we haven't done (activity) for at least a day".

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Our day at the show (sort of...)

We have never much gone in for the local show. Costs too much to get in, costs too much to do anything once you do get in. Granted, some of the displays are interesting, and it doesn't hurt to show some interest in things agricultural when you live in an agricultural town like Esperance.

For a couple of years I entered my ginger beer in the cooking competitions (which reminds me, I have been meaning to post my recipe) and some of the boys have done craft or cooking and entered that in the kids' competition.

Award for the best ginger beer and the stupidest face

We were meaning to do it again this year (last year when we didn't go I told them that we would do it every other year) but it really just seemed like too much effort. Dragging six children around the show (not to mention paying for them all to get in) just to see if anyone got a ribbon just didn't strike me as a reasonable use of time or effort.

At breakfast in the week before the show when I was trying to work out how I could get out of going, I made what I thought was a throw-away remark: "Why don't we just have our own show". To my surprise (and dismay) the boys thought this was a great idea. They thought it was such a great idea that when some friends were over that day (while I was at work thankyou very much) they shared my great idea and invited them over for it!

So Saturday comes and we have our show. Bought a whole pile of meat for the barbie, a bunch of lollies, Pat made some cakes and filled the fridge with the infamous ginger beer. Above mentioned friends came over, I cooked food, kids played (only one trampoline injury), we ate and drank and then out came the colourings-in, the origami, the lego creations and everyone got a certificate.

A great time was had by all (somewhat to my surprise!) and I am sure this will turn out to be an annual event. It has been said to me in the past that children will always have fond memories of family traditions and I am sure this is going to be one.

BTW, click on the photo of the fool to the right to see some photos of the action.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

What a score!

Just a bit more proof of how much of a geek I am (if you needed any convincing):

Since I have had my first Palm, I have played a Yahtzee clone called Yahdice. Yesterday I scored 732, and almost dropped my Palm in surprise! The author of Yahdice runs a high-score table which I have submitted my great new score to. When it is put on, I will be about 25th out of 4400.

Not too shabby.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Nano '07

Liam and I will be having another go at nanowrimo this year, and Patrick will be joining us. Not sure if Uncle Jas is though.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Warning, Geek reference ahead...

Today's Userfriendly had me laughing out loud. If you like obscure (or not so obscure) geek references, please go have a look.