Sunday, 29 April 2007

Stupid Question, Stranger...

Why is it with spam email, it's always someone with a stupid name like "PINKYBOO" or SPOTTYUMBRELLAQUEEN" from an email address you've never heard on who sends you a forwarded group email telling you something along the lines of:

WARNING! This is REALLY IMPORTANT! If you receive an email from [UNKNOWN EMAIL NAME, USUALLY A STUPID SOUNDING ONE] at [UNKNOWN EMAIL ADDRESS] then delete it at once! It is a hacker! They will have access to your address book, IP address, all your details, everything, and they will be able to send out harmful viruses to everyone! This is VERY IMPORTANT for the security of your computer! Forward this email on to everyone in your address book so they don't get caught out either!


Saturday, 28 April 2007

On A Serious Note ... ANZACs, Turks, and Japanese

On the day after ANZAC Day, I watched Andrew Denton's ANZAC Day special, in snippets. He'd been to Gallipoli; his father had written a book on the Boer war and he had taken a significant role in ANZAC ceremonies and made a documentary on it.

In the documentary, he said his response was not sadness but anger at the waste of lives. But what was more poignant to me was when he asked one man whether he was aware of the difference between respecting the flag and having national pride, and the dangers of wrapping oneself in the flag and being driven by nationalism.

The man recounted a story about listening to a young man from the Allied Forces, having been told that the Turks suffered so many more tragic deaths than the ANZACS, said proudly, "Yeah, we really kicked their butts, didn't we?" The man said this was a rather dangerous attitude, and pointed out that these people, too, were people with real lives who had suffered as well.

Too right.

When it comes to ANZAC Day, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. One of the reasons I am not too eager to get involved in much of the marching hype is because I'm not too sure about how what it is meant to represent. There has been some confusion about whether it is more meant to represent the futility of war or the glorification of the military. For instance, the marching of conscientious objectors has been prevented, which puts forth the notion that it is more about the honour and glorification of the military.

While I acknowledge that people in the military suffered terribly, this does not mean I really feel that they were the only ones who did suffer - nor that we should see them as the foundation stone of Australian history.

But even more importantly were the mixed feelings about nationalism I have about it. The comment about the "nationalism" that the man on the documentary made brought back some memories.

When whaling began as a hot topic in the news, I read a few letters to the Editor saying that it was just typical of the Japanese to whale, and what could you expect since they'd tortured Australian Prisoners of War. I also read a few letters suggesting that Australia not give any aid to Japan should there be a natural disaster (such as a hurricane or tsunami) and no Japanese person was deserving of Australian help, considering the way "they'd" treated Australian Prisoners of War.

Will people never get over a wartime grudge? When I even called it a grudge, (and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking it sounds like some petty playground grudge) some people got mad as hell at me and told me to "read my history books, march on ANZAC Day and be proud". Proud of what? That I can hate someone a bit more?

Yes, people did some awful things in war - it's pretty disgusting. Every side does some pretty awful things in war. You look back at the deaths and destruction and it's an indictment on both sides - humanitarian-wise.

(Note: When you say "well, plenty of innocent people in Japan died horribly from atomic bombs dropped by the Allies" there's always a large number of people who will jump up and tell you that these were necessary to be dropped to end the war and gain peace, and therefore somehow 'more humane', whereas torturing PoWs was unnecessary and therefore brutal.

Note to those people: Dropping atomic bombs was not more necessary in itself, it just happened to work. The Allies' technique happened to work and the Japanese technique did not, but there was no agreement "If I bomb you, you will surrender, but if I torture your Prisoners of War, you won't". Both sides simply heaped on brutalities - upon people with real lives - with both sides suffering terribly, and waited for one side to give in.)

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Mandarins, Oranges And Chocolates

Some people believe that, simply because of the name of this blog, I am solely an orange juice drinker and an orange eater. This is a misguided belief. Never judge a book by its cover, or a blog by its URL.

It's utterly ridiculous, because even though I'm passionate about oranges, they could not be my sole source of enrichment. Like every human being, I need variety. It's vital to my soul, vital to my knowledge, my imagination, my existence on Earth, my happiness, and especially vital to regular bowel movements.

Lately, mandarins have been going into my system just as often as oranges. Orange Juice Snob turned Mandy Muncher. My verdict on mandarins right now is they are good. Very gooooood.

As an employed person right now (gosh I love saying that) I find the mandy extremely great for portability - no messing around with a knife, not much juice squirting, just a simple peel and eat. Mandy's are to oranges what individually wrapped Kraft Singles were to block cheese - without the funny plasticky processed taste.

I give the mandarin a Special Gold Star Award for Innovation and Practical Creativity By A Fruit - coming up with a delicious citrussy flavour that is similar to an orange, but managing the individually wrapped slices inside an even larger, portable, and aesthetically pleasing, easy to carry, easy to unwrap, orange peel. Well done!

Next, the hot chocolate.

Caught today in the pouring rain, I ducked into a busy cafeteria, cold, where many were having coffee or tea. Why is it that there is such an array of coffees and teas, but only one way to do an orange juice?
Cold as it was, I pleaded for a hot beverage, and was served up a hot chocolate, complete with little chocolate sprinkles in frothy milk and a marshmallow on the side.

Now - that felt good! Sweet, satisfyingly warm, right to the bottom of my stomach!

I give the Fill 'Er Up, Baby Award to the hot chocolate, for most adequately substituting an orange juice in cooler weather.

And now for the thank you speeches ...

Saturday, 21 April 2007

I call it mousse

I described my bloglessness at work previously as something like an elusive chocolate mousse.

I am proud to say that while I haven't exactly managed to recover blogging at work of late, I have managed to make meself a rather fine choc mousse. And oh, what a fine choc mousse that was! And oh, what an accomplishment for a gal whose previous kitchen accomplishments include washing lettuce with soap, and burning omelettes.

YAY for me.

I studied the choc mousse recipe carefully before beginning. Melt chocolate, it said, over a very high heat saucepan, over boiling water. I chose a chocolate block and popped it in the saucepan.

And waited.

And waited.

Here is a question for Chocolate Trivia Buffs.

Why is it, when a chocolate, whether it be Flake, or Mars Bar, dark or white, or a little shell chocolate, even on a cool day, if you wish to take it out with you to munch on at a picnic or at work and are looking forward to it, will turn to a gooey uneatable mess within the space of usually under half an hour (and usually have seeped out to ruin that lovely expensive novel you were reading, and that unreturnable silk shirt you just bought) ...

Yet when you wish to melt a chocolate bar and stick it on high heat over a stove for an hour, the darn thing stays as solid as a brick?

"Soften up! Soften up!" I cried.

I really ought to have taken the bar to work with me and gazed at it for 15 minutes greedily, and popped in a Booker winning novel and a silk shirt to hurry up the melting process.

Next step "two eggs, separated".

This seems to be a farcical instruction. Two eggs already ARE separated. That is why they are two and not one. They have different shells.

I managed to whisk up the eggs without too much drama and throw in some cream, and what resulted was very chocolatey ... stuff.

I'll call it mousse. Chocolatey is good, anyhow. I have broken down the barrier between chocolate mousse and myself. It's been a long, and delicious battle.

I still don't blog at work though. One more barrier to go.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Other Uses For Stegosauruses

The giant inflatable stegosaurus has long not been recognised for its many practical uses. It's been highly underrated for millions of years. Not only is it a great kisser and is it good to watch telly with over a plate of vegetarian dip and crackers, but ...

a stegosaurus is a great companion at yoga ...

and is a great barricade between good and evil. If dangerous thieves plunder your house, a giant inflatable stegosaurus may prevent personal injury.

There should be more stegosauruses in the world. Support this fragile, and what seems to be a dying, breed.

Who Would You Pash?

Whom from history would you meet and pash if you could choose?

I'd choose a stegosaurus.

No competition.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Bludging Without Blogging

Work or "work" has been an eye-opener for me in the last two weeks.

It's not, at the moment, that taxing - I've mastered the art of putting papers in alphabetical order which is a big part of the job here (handling paperclips is also a major art, as is kicking the photocopier, and I must give myself an A+ in all departments). So I've got plenty of time to myself.

Just ... no ... blogging ...!

What are lunch hours, spare moments at work for, if not for the joy of roaming the web and leaving half-witted spew on other people's rants and quarter-formed-thought-spaces? What are they for but to post drivel that you regret later, when similarly-minded individuals point out your inconsistencies and stupidities and mock you also? It's pain, I tell you.

I have a computer sitting right on my desk; unfortunately, the darn thing does not switch on. It's a mockery. It sits there to haunt me; to remind me that blogs exist but I can't reach them. I feel as though it's a very tempting chocolate mousse, but each time I reach out to grab hold of it, it darts away, just a centimetre away from me, and I am spending my time all day at work, jumping across the table, my arms flailing, as this chocolate mousse races away from my grasp, but I can never grab hold of it and stuff my face, because it's out of my reach, it's just not quite there, it's ... yep, it's been a slow chocolate week too.

I've been trying to comfort myself with doing the sudoku and the crossword, and reading the mindless entertainment and fashion/celebrity parts of the newspaper (hoping it will numb my braincells to the point of insensitivity to pain). It's not working.

Oh, for internet connection at work! How did people do without it? I guess they just ... worked?

What a horrible idea. No wonder people got addicted to cigarettes.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

I'm A Poor Employed Bum

I'm overjoyed to report to readers that not only has blogging resumed, but I'm now a productive member of society. I've joined the workforce. All that plodding to crazy interviews finally paid off, and I've found a job.

At the interview, the lady said, "Of course, we don't pay for this sort of thing, though we do give you a bus ticket ... and the dog seems to like you ..." and I was in. Yes sirree. Getting along with pooches is a plus in life.

I'm not getting paid, but I'm excited. I've finally found someone willing to take full advantage of me, 5 days a week. I've been rushing about telling people about my climb up the scial ladder. Recently, Myer even considered that I'd be a safe bet on a credit card, even though I don't own a house, a car, have an income or have any other credit cards. I'm a woman of status.

So, what is my job like? Hmmm, well, my first day. The computer broke down, so the challenge for the week has been how to remain busy and to do intelligent seeming-stuff without a computer. In the 21st century. So, how to glam up a job that is largely filing papers and tying string around manila folders and photocopying?

"Paperwork consultant" "File Processor" "Administrations Manager" ...

The real pain so far in the job has been the lack of the computer - I haven't been able to blog in between work sessions (or vice versa). The withdrawal symptoms haven't been good for me. I've had a hungry, crazy look in my eyes lately and I've been tripping over that dog a few more times than usual (it's a tiny quiet little pooch - I disclaim responsibility) and I'm growling ...