Saturday, August 31, 2002

Couscous salad

Tried a new recipe tonight - from Jamie Oliver's old column in the Times Online. It was delicious!

Couscous salad with asparagus and courgettes

Serves 4


225g couscous

2 tbsp lemon juice + juice of one lemon

5 tbsp + extra olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

285ml water

1 red onion or 2 shallots

0.25 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 handfuls of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, basil, marjoram), finely chopped

1 medium chilli, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tomato, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 whole red capsicum

1 handful of fresh asparagus

2 courgettes (zucchini) cut into strips

Method >br?
Put couscous, 2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper, 5 tbsp oil into a bowel and mix. Add water and stand 15 mins or until water is absorbed.

Blacken capsicum on grill, peel, deseed and chop. Brush zucchini and asparagus with oil and grill until coloured. Chop zucchini and asparagus roughly.

Mix onion, garlic, herbs, chilli, tomato, capsicum and vinegar with a little oil. Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. Mix well into couscous. Add zucchini and asparagus and mix.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Ice Age

Twas a very cute movie, with many jokes that would be way over the heads of children (mostly). I didn't like the animation style, but it looks like Pixar are concentrating on stories rather than just 'pretty pictures' now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Aus Post gone potty?

Australia Post has denied sending an order through to workers to only use one sheet of paper per toilet visit. Joke?
According to an area manager, the same order requested less use of pens, delivery bikes, and sunscreen.

Children buried alive

Parents are fined if their children don't become unconscious after the extensive preparations before being buried. The burying ritual is thanksgiving to 2 local deities in southern India, and has been performed every 5 years for the last 400 years.

Australian Jedi population ignored?!

The recent census resulted in 70,000 people selecting Jedi or Jedi related as their religion. The Bureau of Statistics is however classifying these responses as undefined pending further investigation.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Cat Fantastic 2

A collection of stories about cats, mostly magical, this was probably better on average than the first volume, it only had a couple of ordinary stories. Some of them, shone. I miss my cats, and this helped and hurt at the same time. A couple of sad stories to finish though, it may have been better arranged to leave the reader on a happier note.

Various things in news...

Coke and Pepsi have recently denied knowledge of painting rocks with their logos in the Himalayas, adding the the environmental damage by tourists leaving the garbage there. The two companies claimed that local franchises authorised these 'advertisements' without their knowledge. The Chinese government stops the creation of new numberplates due to unpatriotic ones selling like hotcakes (such as 007, FBI, TMD).

Iraqis living in the US could be forced (trained) by the Bush government, to appear on TV and radio, write opinion articles and speeches to support the US to overthrow Hussein. As per normal Microsoft policy of releasing insecure software, a recent articles mentions they have release 30 security bulletins on different security flaws since January, about 4 per month. This is relatively soon after Microsoft admitted to misleading customers about the security of their Passport system, the Federal Trade Commission found they did not follow 'reasonable and appropriate measures' to keep private information safe in a business environment.

The Food Standards Agency in Britain wants to ban sheep intestines used for haggis, citing BSE as the reason.

Just as I start my dairy free diet, parents in Britain are warned against the dangers of a milk-free diet for children. A fairly biased article which mentions that of those studied who don't drink milk one in three are obese, not mentioning the rate of obesity in those that do drink milk. A repeat study done in several more years would be useful, to see which of the groups has a higher occurrence of illnesses.


Burning: Nothing yet, but will be Winter Blues mix

My favourite word at the moment - blah. Or failing that, the sound of a tortured scream. Maybe not favourite, but what is playing in my head. Thus the bassiness and loudness of the music. Reorganised kitchen to clear some space in my head, it filled with more of those two sounds above.

Anyone know any tricks for shutting the head up, discounting actual screaming?

Sunday, August 25, 2002

The Codebook, by Simon Singh

It was rather amusing that the first few chapters matched my cryptography honours course nearly exactly (omitting the maths)! A very well written book, detailing the sometimes sordid history of cryptology. An interesting look at quantum cryptography in the last chapter, and a large appendix for someone wishing to try out their code-breaking skills. Highly recommended for anyone studying or interested in cryptography. Amazon listing and reviews

Saturday, August 24, 2002

The City of Lost Children

I finally got around to seeing this for the first time, it took long enough. But it was worth seeing. A very twisted and strange movie, but extremely well done. The actors acted naturally in a very unnatural setting and story. Very dark and surreal movie - worth seeing!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Doctors closed!

I can't believe what happened to me today. I went to go for the next doctor's appointment, and when I got there, the whole place was shut! Closed due to staff shortages, blinds closed, note on door, and they were not answering the phones. I'm guessing the admin staff got sick, and the doctors couldn't cope without them.

Frustrating though, I'll have to get another appointment tomorrow, or leave it till Tuesday. *grrrrr*


I wish I had a photo this morning of the car that was driving along the footpath as it was quicker than driving legally around the block (one way street). It was a little car, and fit on the footpath with heaps of room to spare. 'Twas quite amusing ;>

Hippo Found!

They found the hippo in Prague zoo today, to the great relief of zookeepers. It wasn't happy, but is eating so will probably be fine. Unlike the poor elephant the other day.

Friday, August 16, 2002


Address: Brunswick Street Melbourne

Drinks: BYO

Cuisine: Turkish

Price: about $20 per head (set menu + drinks)

Rating: 9/10

Wonderful food, great variety on the set menu - 6 different entrees and several different main meats from the spit and an eggplant/tomatoe dish. All the dishes were excellent, Bernie reckons the doner kebab is exactly as it should be. I preferred the kofte and the lamb pieces - much more flavoursome. Service was quite decent, unlike what we were led to expect by the age reviewer in an old 'Cheap Eats' guide. It was interesting to see the volume of bread they were baking in the back, loads and loads! The only disappointment was the dessert and a fairly nondescript hot chocolate.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

More bad news (health)

grrrr... Apparently I have something else wrong - something new has caused my left kidney and ureter to become swollen and lumpy. This is on top of the recurrant severe endometriosis, possible adenomyosis, sciatica, a probable stomach/bowel problem, insomnia and migraines. It all ends in pain. I'm going to glow under xray on Monday.. yum!

Women's Trouble, by Ruth Tricky and Kaz Cooke

Women's Trouble: Natural & Medical Solutions by Ruth Tricky and Kaz Cooke Amazon listing and reviews

This was an interesting book, written with much sarcasm for the health system in whatever country the writers lived in. It covered medical and natural solutions to many problems that women may face, stressing that that normal medical route is the best one to trust. There are many good dietary tips and guides for specific illnesses, which I have yet to try.

Endometriosis was described very well, perhaps because Kaz suffered from this condition. Adenomyosis was mentioned briefly, and not explained at all well. There were sections for many other problems including: PMS, other causes of dysmenorreah, how to deal with menopause, and menarche.

A very good book to read if there is anything wrong, and indeed for understanding what could go wrong.

Monash Palace

Address: Monash Homemake Center, Cnr. Princes Hwy and Blackburn Rd, Clayton

Phone: 9544 5668

Drinks: BYO and Licensed

Cuisine: Cantonese

Price: about $20 per head Rating: 6/10

It was late, I wanted to eat out, this restaurante was on the way home. We passed another that had very few people in it, and decided to eat here. There were no other customers so it felt really wrong. However, the service was excellent and the food was good, even though it was overpriced. I ordered deep fried tofu and vegies - the tofu was the best I'd eaten anywhere, but the sauce was very non-descript. Bernie got crispy skin chicken, with a very yummy salt, whch I was tempted to put over my dish, and a pot of green tea rounded out our order. The ambience was completely wrong though - the music was Elvis Presley (blech!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Big leap for Australia... ?

The first Solar Tower is going to be built in Australia. It should generate enough electricity for a 'city' with population of 200,000. However, it costs a fortune, won't be ready till 2008 and contributes only a little to the natural energy generation target for 2010. Why don't they make solar panels mandatory on all new homes? That would be of more benefit sooner, with less effort, than a project that is due in 2008.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Pain study

A new study of the Luna procedure has been proposed by British Gynocologists. Luna is an operation for women with severe pelvic pain, where the endometrial nerve is severed. This effectively stops the pain messages getting to the brain. The study is going to look at how quality of life and pain management is altered by selecting at random half of 400 women who sign up to give the operation to. Pity about the other half.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Shut up!

Sometimes it's best just to shut up and not join in the conversation. Especially when those concerned think they know it all, or their experience tops all others. It's also wise not to comment on things said in order to stop the conversation earlier and cause less grief. Why do families cause so much pain? Why are parents so insanely stupid?

Nuclear Worms?!?!?

An article explained that Nuclear Worms are being used in America for bait as they keep better and are more appealing to local fish in SF! Shipped from Vietnam, apparently they are hot pink (fluorescent), up to 7ft long and can carry diseases (Cholera). Strange what gets accepted in America, and what they don't like.

Future of education?

Donald Norman, a professor at the University of California, has started ULearn, a 'distributed education' system, where "Top Professors design the course, and top Instructors teach the course as designed". In an article he ponders the future of university, and has some very good points.

It's interesting to see the same attitudes exist in other universities in other countries regarding teaching versus research.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

CA125 Blood test

The CA 125 Blood test, indicates the level of a marker which is released from ovaries when they are damaged. Typically is it used in the diagnosis of cancer and monitoring of treatments. a level of 30 or under is normal a level of around 100 may indicate TB or endometriosis a level of 3000 or more, may indicate cancer. This is is very inconclusive when used as an indication of endometriosis, and works best when diagnosis is sure, before surgery to remove endo, and then taken again after removal to monitor levels, and see if they change. The level will typically go back up when endo returns, if it indicated anything at all before surgery.

Friday, August 9, 2002

Short lecture

My lecture today ended in .5 hour, I have no idea why it was that short. I did extend it by talking about the reverse polish calculator prac, but only by another 15 minutes. How can you extend a lecture on stacks and implementing it (simply) in C to an hour?!?

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Rooftop Gardens

Tokyo is implementing a policy that buildings with flat roofs over a certain base size, must have a percentage of their roof devoted to rooftop gardens. A picture shows just what sort of garden you can grow on a roof! Unfortunately designers/builders are using slant roofed buildings to avoid this ruling. Perhaps one day we can have new buildings automatically incorporate solar panels, rainwater tanks and decent insulation and windows.

Pretty Atmospherics

Atmospheric Optics has some stunning pics of various atmospheric things, as well as detailed descriptions of them!

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Random thoughts

The blossom trees are flowering, not even having shed all their leaves. There is still rotting fruit on fruit trees. Jonquils are flowering, before snow drops. Plants are suffering from thirst. Shade loving plants aren't liking it in the shade. Sun loving plants are growing happily in mostly shade. Something is very strange weather-wise.

Burning: Lavender

Saturday, August 3, 2002

'Ware emergency hospital costs

Even if you are privately insured, most insurance companies do not cover you for emergency visits to hospitals, found the hard way. Top hospital cover does cover some if not all of the fees, but the price is obviously high.

A small portion is refundable through Medicare, partially justifying the 1.5% levy taken through tax. However, that's only for the emergency doctor's fees, still waiting on the pathology fees.

Some advice - take a credit card with you when you go to the emergency rooms!


Speaking of too much money spent, part of trying to reduce my costs is to create a veggie and herb garden. This requires a compost, and the compost pile required pulling out of about 4 trees (dead already) for space and light. Having just removed the final stumps, and pulling up the weeds, the pile is ready to be made, so information is needed on building the smelly thing.

Think I'll leave it at that... and go and build my heap...

Eating after surgery

Apparently eating and drinking soon after surgery does no damage, and in fact may help recovery time. Good news! ;>

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Plagiarism in Tertiary Education

An article in The Age recently outlined rampant plagiarism by the huge majority of students in all disciplines in university education. It also shows that the 40% caught on one Technical Documentation prac, was only half of those that had plagiarised!